…. I can write about Steve and Kayla again. I think I understand now how people can say that couples they loved are “ruined.” (I would still never say that, though, because I’m too softhearted, and I always hold out hope for redemption.) Ever since the scenes where Kayla found Steve in bed with Ava, I truly have not been able to enjoy them. Not because he was in bed with Ava (though the scenes there were horribly written), but because of the lack of fallout after it. It made all their interactions seem a little off, somehow wrong. So their scenes today (7/21) were a welcome relief.

We never would have gotten these scenes if Stephen and Mary Beth hadn’t lobbied for them, and if the fans hadn’t followed suit by writing letters and posting on Dena’s blog. It’s baffling to me that getting these scenes had to be subject of a letter writing campaign. To me, the emotional fallout is the whole reason to have contrived scenarios like psycho ex-girlfriends at all. Otherwise, why bother? The show spent weeks building up to the the Big Shock, and then shrugged and abandoned the whole thing.

So, given the delay, it was nice that the show gave us a specific trigger for the fallout to happen now—Steve and Kayla are bringing Joe home when they find Ava looking at Sami’s apartment across the hall. Here they are, out of the hospital, back in the real world, and suddenly Ava is there again. It was a nice touch when Kayla said she had run out of patience, because it implied that she had been burying her emotions about Ava, until now.

Part of the reason these scenes were so necessary is that Kayla needs a reason to forgive Steve (and so do the viewers). It never made sense that he was willing to just dive into bed with Ava without any guarantee that doing so would actually save anyone’s life. If he was trying to trade sex for freedom, it was a really stupid way to go about it. But if he was trying to gain her trust, with the very Steve-like goal of sacrificing himself permanently for Kayla and the others, it makes more sense. His line about being in a “shallow grave” highlighted the sacrifice he thought he was making. This explanation also better preserves his love for Kayla. Their fidelity to each other, unique on soaps, really is a part of what makes them special.

When Kayla asked him why he hadn’t just told her about Ava to begin with, they made it clear that Steve didn’t remember her until he saw her in Ireland (nice clarification there), and reminded us that he was trying to protect Kayla’s pregnancy. And Kayla’s perfect response was that it didn’t work, that Joe was born early anyway, and Steve keeping her in the dark may have contributed to that.

Steve saying that he couldn’t ask for her forgiveness or love, because he never deserved either of them, hit on another important point, the fact that it has seemed like Steve has taken both of those things for granted ever since he came back. While Steve certainly loves Kayla, he hasn’t seemed to appreciate her or what she’s been through—the 16 years alone, Billie, BSC Steve, now Ava. He’s been happy to be reconciled with her, but he’s shown none of the self-loathing and guilt that I would expect from Steven Earl. So I particularly liked the line that the worst thing for him was that she would think he had abandoned her, because it showed some awareness of everything he’s put her through.

The final hug was perfect, with Steve pulling Kayla in and her hanging back a little but then going to him. It showed the tentativeness of the reconciliation, and didn’t tie it up too neatly. I doubt we’ll get much more after this, but it was still a great note to end on. For a brief moment, I felt that I was watching the couple I remembered and loved.

screencap days 2


13 thoughts on “Finally

  1. It was interesting watching those scenes because I had been advocating for fallout for a long time because I was angry that Kayla had been denied her voice. And, that was a big part of it because it was important that Kayla finally be allowed to voice her anger, her pain, and her doubts.

    But, what I realized when I watched it was that as much as I had fanwanked Steve’s motivations, I really needed him to say it — as much or more as I needed Kayla to give voice to her emotions. I needed to hear that he wasn’t being stupid enough to trade sex for freedom without any guarantees Ava would comply. He was, essentially, sacrificing his life for the lives of his family and willing to use sex to convince Ava of his sincerity. Whether I agree with his decision or not, at least that is a motivation that is in-character and something I can understand. And it really made all the difference.

    I also felt that the last big of dialogue at the end, where Steve says that he can’t ask for her forgiveness or her love because he never deserved either was a great, great moment. It really helped set aside my feelings that he had never truly appreciated what Kayla had gone through with him since is return from the undead.

    In essence, all of this reminds me of the power that a single set of scenes can hold. It was one episode, the major portions of which lasted about 7 minutes, yet through some good writing and excellent acting the scene addressed issues that have gone unresolved for months and, in some ways, years. That’s what good soap can do. And it saddens me that we see it so rarely.

  2. I don’t have much to add to what you or ESP said but I second both wholeheartedly. Today was very well done, way too late for my taste but at least it was eventually addressed. I agree that was probably only because of fan campaigns too, which is a sad commentary on the writers and the show.

    MBE and SN really were great in their scenes today and it was nice to see them work their magic again. Here’s hoping they get to do more and soon.

  3. I’m too mentally drained to make many coherent points except to agree that the scenes were really well done and that they were waaaaaay overdue.

    I’d also like to know why, Days, when you have actors of that caliber on your acting staff, you spend so much of your airtime pimping Chan and Stax?

  4. I agree with you, esp, about hearing Steve’s motivation. I didn’t realize how nice it would be to hear him explain himself plausibly, and to acknowledge how much she’s had to deal with.

    Like all of you, I love it when we get these flashes, but it’s so frustrating too, to think about what could be.

  5. Agree with what all of you are saying. Not much to add. MP, I also noticed that about the hug at the end. There was a little hesitation, which was perfect imo. It wasn’t just “we talked and now it’s over”. Something like that will have impact on a marriage for years, if not decades, to come.

    esp13, I was thinking the same thing when I watched the scenes – that here we see the power of just a few scenes. Soaps used to be made up entirely of scenes like that. Nowadays, the show is mostly filler, with a few meaningful moments here and there.

    Another comment I wanted to make on the scenes was that I found myself wishing we’d seen more of the drama regarding little Joe and what S&K must have gone through. It was mentioned in the dialogue yesterday, but that only made the fact more glaring that it hadn’t played out on screen. I was almost embarrassed for the actors to have to say those lines, knowing they were talking about something that happened almost entirely offscreen. What a missed opportunity by the writers. 😦

  6. I agree, Ellie. While I’m not sure I would have wanted 3-4 days a week of S&K hovering over the incubator (mostly because I don’t trust the writers to give us something that wasn’t totally repetative), I think they made a big mistake by basically dropping anything Joe related after his big “crisis” a few weeks ago.

    I think it would have worked much better if there had been some moments where Steve or Kayla could show how the stress was affecting them (irrational lashing out at somebody or something). Or show Kayla talking about how unfair it was that she could only hold her son in the NICU, that she couldn’t be there when he cried at night, etc. It would have only taken one or two days a week to allow that to play out and to make the homecoming that much more special.

    And, to totally steal Paula’s comment from the other day, it kills me to think how much better this could have played out if they had given them the fallout scenes right after the ViMansion and before Joe was born. SN and MBE could have rocked the scenes where they are still trying to deal with what happened with Ava while also leaning on each other to get through the crisis of their son’s premature birth. I have many visions of Steve having a soliloquy over his’s son’s incubator while Kayla listens unseen in the background. Sigh.

  7. esp13, agree with what you’re saying. Were you watching in 1993 when little Belle was kidnapped? That imo was the right way to do a “child in distress” storyline. Every time Marlena was shown, she looked sleep-deprived and awful. Belle’s stuffed animals and baby things would always be shown in the living room, to remind viewers what Marlena and Roman were going through. Every time the phone rang, Marlena would jump for it, thinking it was someone calling with information about Belle. The viewers became totally involved in the storyline and saw every ounce of Marlena and Roman’s distress.

    I disagree with you and Paula about having the fallout after Joe was born. I think a situation like this really might fester for a while. If the doctors told Kayla to avoid stress, she might not have wanted to bring this up with Steve. Of course, we’d have to see it festering inside of them, or my version wouldn’t work, lol. I’m not suggesting this as a cop-out for the writers.

  8. Well, I don’t think Paula or I are advocating that the fallout conversation happen in the midst of the Joe drama. Rather, that it would have happened before Joe was born and it would have been something they were dealing with while also dealing with Joe. Then, at least in my fantasy world, dealing with Joe would have been a way of healing some of the hurts from the Ava situation. That’s where my Steve sililoquy comes in — he’s standing over Joe’s incubater telling his son how much he loves his family and how scared he was that he might lose them, etc., etc. while Kayla listens. And Kayla could have done some of the same. It’s a great way to get that internal dialogue out.

    I agree that if it didn’t happen before Joe was born then it makes sense that Kayla wouldn’t have brought it up while Joe was still in NICU. But, in that case, it would have helped to see it festering, as you say.

    And no, I wasn’t watching in 1993. I pretty much left Salem when Kayla did in May of 1992. I know the storyline, but I never watched any of it. Sounds like it was done pretty well. They did the same thing when Stephanie was kidnapped in 1990. They really showed Steve and Kayla’s fear and angst.

  9. Thanks, understand what you’re saying now. Yes, that would have added an extra dimension (which should have been there anyway) to the Joe drama. (Though trust me, I’m not sure if you watched in 2003 but you do NOT want Higley or her team writing any soliloquys.) Either way, whether the ‘fallout conversation’ was before or after Joe’s birth, sounds like we agree that the issue should have been incorporated into baby Joe’s drama rather than pushed aside till Joe was healthy.

    lol I think Marlena and Kayla fans have watched opposite years, since I didn’t watch in 1990 since Deidre wasn’t there. But I’ve also heard that the Stephanie storyline was done very well.

  10. Yep, we definitely agree that the fallout could have been much better incorporated in the drama surrounding Joe’s arrival and given some meaty scenes for Steve and Kayla. And it’s a fair point about Higley writing soliloquys (I think I’ve spelled that word three different ways and wrong each time). But, like I said, it’s all in my dream world anyway. 🙂

    And yeah, I think we probably did watch in opposite years except for the few months Dee was on after MBE joined the show and the few months MBE was there after Dee returned. But, at least together we have the whole thing covered. 🙂

  11. I can definitely picture a scenario where they are fighting about what happened at the ViMansion, and it’s in the middle of that that Kayla goes into early labor. Kayla could be resisting Steve’s help until things get so bad that she has no choice. Then, after Joe was born, they could show them being there for each other during the crisis, but with the unfinished fight festering underneath. I think it would have been great drama, sigh.

    Then, when they’re still in the hospital, a long “sounding board” scene for Kayla with someone like Hope. (Maybe Hope could have gotten actual treatment for her gunshot wound, instead of relying on, I don’t know, the power of positive thinking?) That was another thing that was forgotten, Hope’s willingness to put her life at risk to protect Kayla. They could have talked about that, about Joe, and about what happened with Ava. Hope would be in a good position to see how crazy Ava really was, and give that perspective for Kayla.

  12. esp13, sounds like we do have it covered! 🙂 And lol don’t worry, I have lots of ‘dream scenarios’ for many of the characters.

    mp, I had totally forgotten about Hope’s role in all of this. Sounds like Higley has too.

  13. Excellent point about Hope, MP. She was right in the thick of things and certainly could have provided some insight for Kayla (not that Kayla couldn’t see how nuts Ava was on her own). Plus, I just would have like a scene between them where they talked about Hope pretending to be Kayla, etc. They are old friends who had been through quite an ordeal and a conversation would seem to be in order.

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