More on Jo

I thought I’d post one of my favorite Jo/Steve moments, showcasing the dynamic they had during the whole “sacrifice Kayla to save Jack’s life” storyline.

The setup: Kayla and Jack are married. Steve and Kayla, due to various plot contrivances, are forced to spend the night together in an abandoned cabin. At the cabin, Kayla tries everything short of throwing herself bodily at Steve, but Steve is able to resist (barely). This is the next morning.

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First of all, I love the crosscurrents in the opening scene. Kayla is angry about being rejected by Steve, so she enthusiastically kisses Jack in front of Steve in order to rub his nose in it. Steve looks like he’s just been through the wringer, which he has, and then has to absorb more body blows, first watching the kiss, then having Kayla reject his attempt to lie, and then watching Jack and Kayla go upstairs together.

Jo’s reaction shots are great, watching Steve watching Jack and Kayla. Afterwards she tries to comfort Steve by asking him to have dinner with her, but he only accepts when she makes it clear she just wants to be a “friend.” (This shows that Steve participated in their partner-not-parental dynamic.)

Afterwards, over beers, we can see the “partners in crime” element on display as they talk about how Billy is looking better. But there’s a difference now. As far as Jo is concerned, the crisis is past, their goal has been achieved, and what’s done is done. She can see Steve is in pain, but she seems to see that as almost a good thing, at least in the sense that it shows what a great person Steve is. For Steve, though, it isn’t the past, it’s the hellish present. It’s like he has to keep making the decision to give Kayla up, over and over again—and now he doesn’t have the balls-to-the-wall motivation of his brother’s imminent death anymore. Steve comes close to questioning here, for the first time, whether the price was worth it. Jo’s praise feels inadequate in the face of his pain, and I think it’s meant to.

These scenes are also interesting because we see Kayla pledge her commitment to Jack. After this she stops needling Steve, stops reaching out to him, stops trying to make him jealous. She really seems to try to commit to Jack, even if she isn’t happy about it (and can’t bring herself to sleep with him). I hadn’t noticed that change in Kayla until my third time watching these clips, because it gets obscured by the poisoning storyline. It’s perfect soap irony that just as Steve weakens, Kayla pulls back.

10 thoughts on “More on Jo

  1. “Partners in crime” is the perfect description of their relationship at this point. In a strange way, it made them closer because she was the only person he could talk to about it and share his feelings with. Everyone else had to believe that he didn’t love Kayla anymore.

    I also had never noticed that Kayla changed her attitude after that point, but now that you mention it, she did stop pushing. I always thought it was interesting when she sent that note to him saying she was so happy, he immediately recognized it as a lie. So no matter how jealous he was of Jack, he always knew that she never really left him emotionally. And he never really wanted her to. He was so dependent on her loving him, it was the only way he could survive but it also shows how wrong-headed he was. He was willing to give the illusion of Kayla to Billy, but not the reality of her love.

  2. I’ve always loved the way Jo spent so much time during the Jack/Steve/Kayla storyline watching Steve watch Kayla, or watching Kayla watch Steve. It’s like she’s always ready to jump in if she sees any weakness or anything else that might jeopardize Jack’s perfect life with Kayla.

    I like the scene with Steve and Jo because JO provides Steve’s only confidant, yet she’s the worst person for him to seek any advice from (at least from an S&K perspective). And I love how Jo is so proud of Steve for resisting Kayla and not breaking Jack’s heart, and Steve’s wondering why he resisted Kayla and not caring quite so much about breaking Jack’s heart.

    And I really love the dynamic of Kayla stepping back after the cabin. She made it clear to Steve what she wanted and he rejected her, again. I think she just decided she couldn’t do that anymore and resigned herself to her commitment to Jack (however unhappily). It is the perfect twist with Kayla backing off as Steve’s resistence is weakening. Such a great storyline.

  3. It’s one my favorite moments of all time when Steve says about that letter, “It’s a lie!” For one thing, I love reversals like that, when the show teases you thinking that everything is going to go horribly wrong (i.e.. that Steve is going to believe the letter and won’t go rescue Kayla) and then the opposite happens. And then like you say it shows that deep down Steve knew that Kayla still loved him, no matter what he told himself on the surface. So great.

    Jo was definitely always watching them and that fact alone showed that whatever she might have said, she knew that Kayla still loved Steve. There were a few times when she congratulated Kayla for Jack’s recovery, rather like she does with Steve here, and it always falls flat.

    From an S&K perspective, Jo’s finest moment was when she told Steve after the rape that he couldn’t protect Billy from what Jack had done. That was pretty much the only time she gave good, objective advice, and I loved the way she acknowledged the Jack/Billy split. She and Steve were both guilty of projecting the perfect baby Billy onto the very imperfect Jack, and I loved the way she openly said that was impossible in this case.

  4. By the way, you’re causing a crisis in my DVD watching. My daughter and I are at the Emily and Gideon stage (not one of my favorites). She’s not around that much so, watching on my own, I’ve gotten to the Adrienne stage. Now, however, as a result of your blog, I have a burning desire to revisit the breakup.

  5. I’m watching Emily and Gideon right now too, Flaco. I’ll be posting about it soon, probably.

    The breakup is a really, really interesting time in the S&K story. There’s so much there. Just speaking for myself, though, I like to go in order as much as possible, so if it were me I would just keep going forward from the Adrienne story. Of course you can do whatever you want, but that’s what I would do. 🙂

    In fact, I’m trying to figure out the best direction to go after I get through the 89-92 stuff that I’m watching now. Esp13 has convinced me to revisit the S&K Hogan stuff, but after that I am pondering finding full episodes of Days from 1982 or 83 through 1986 when my S&K DVDs start. (If anyone knows of a good source for full episodes, let me know!) I want the early Steve, pre-Kayla stuff but I think it would be even more interesting to see how he was introduced into the canvas, and to see Sheri Anderson’s full run. She was so good at integrating storylines and I’d love to get the full picture by having whole episodes. Plus then I get the beginning of Bo and Hope and Kim and Shane, which I’ve never seen. My idea is to go through all those in order, than pick up the S&K story from the beginning again and go through in order toward the wedding—blogging as I go, of course. That ought to keep me busy for awhile!

  6. “My idea is to go through all those in order, than pick up the S&K story from the beginning again and go through in order toward the wedding—blogging as I go, of course. That ought to keep me busy for awhile!”

    I can feel the angst building up again for the “shore leave” scene already. 😛

  7. I did decide to just move on from the Adrienne story. Being in more than two places at once was just confusing. I found an S&K music video based on “Watching Over You” and that helped.

    Well, it certainly sounds like you’re going to be very busy. I might join you for the Hogan era stuff, and I have also developed great interest in pre-Kayla Steve but I’ll probably just follow your blog for the pre-S&K stuff. I’ll have more time every day since I think I’m giving up on current Days. They’ve broken my heart too many times.

  8. It was a very sad moment for me to give up on current Days because it felt so final, but I can’t say I have regretted it at all.

    I think full Days eps are probably pretty expensive if we’re talking multiple years, which I am. So we’ll see what I am able to do. I might have to start with 85/early 86 and go backward from there. Though I do love to go in order. 🙂

  9. I felt I had to jump in and give my girl Jo some defense here. 🙂

    From the get-go, Jo begged Steve not to try and force Kayla and Jack together. She told him time and again that he couldn’t force Kayla to love Jack simply by pushing her away. She only started being on the K&J team after Jack actually started getting better and Steve’s theory seemed to be proven true.

    I think a integral part of Jo’s character has always been her “sleeping in the bed you’ve made” outlook. She stayed with Duke because she’d married him and insisted on living with it. She never looked for Stevie or Billy because she’d given them up and that was that. Regardless of how these decisions tortured her, she was not going to go the selfish route (at least in her own mind) and change things simply because she couldn’t cut it. She didn’t have a Kayla to show her that she deserved to be happy, too.

    I believe that she expected the same selflessness from her children . . . especially Steve, who was most like her out of the three. While she didn’t agree with the choice in the making, Steve had created the marriage, and he was damn well going to respect it!

    . . . not that I would have wanted him to, of course!

  10. Aw, thanks, RileyKay, for representing!

    I think you make an excellent point—that she saw decisions as final, and you have to stick with them regardless of the consequences—and I had not thought of it quite that way. Thinking of what it took to get her to finally leave Duke for good (attempted murder, for the second time!), a little unhappiness wouldn’t be enough reason to dissolve a marriage.

    I actually love the way she becomes Jack and Kayla’s biggest supporter, as I’ve said. I have more of a problem with how she treated Kayla after the rape, and the way she often treated Jack problems like it was the end of the world, and brushed aside the problems of Steve and Kayla. But I love some of the explanations here for why that might be. And I love that she never became a Days supermom.

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