Today was Steve and Kayla’s last day. It was nice to see overprotective!Steve with Stephanie, and to see flashes of his dislike of the Kiriakises. It reminded me of Steve repeatedly warning Adrienne away from Justin. And I have to remark on the irony of Kayla worrying about FancyJudgmentalFace and Hope and Bo’s latest breakup, when part of the reason she came back to Salem three years ago was because of their last breakup.
They were good scenes, but certainly nothing befitting the sendoff of a popular couple. I just have to keep telling myself that it’s better than being paralyzed or turned into a murderer.
What do you think of our exit story, Steve?
When I look back on the whole of their second run, while it is assuredly filled with disappointments and missed opportunities, there are a lot of good things to remember as well. The reunion scenes. The babymaking scenes. Steve as an undercover agent at the DiMansion. The beginning of BSC Steve. The deprogramming scenes. The fallout scenes from the Ava storyline.
But, ironically—-ironic because of all the times I have trashed JER as a hack writer—one of the best storylines they had was a little mini-arc in 2006, when JER was still writing the show. When Nick Stockton arrives in Salem with Jack, he is not sure he wants to dive into Steve Johnson’s life. But, eventually, he is persuaded to try to find out what happened to him all those years ago. He and Kayla team up and go to Cincinnati, where Steve was living as Nick Stockton, to look for clues. When they go to Steve’s Cincinnati hangout, with all his friends welcoming him and calling him “Nick,” (including a girlfriend, Della) Steve suddenly feels comfortable again, for the first time in weeks. He tells Kayla this is where he belongs, and he won’t be going back to Salem with her.
Kayla tearfully calls her mother from outside the Cincinnati bar, telling her she’s lost Steve for good. In the meantime, Steve realizes going back to being “Nick” might not be possible. This was one of the only times Nick felt like a real character, a man without a past who had built up this small life for himself. Della derisively calls Kayla “Blondie” and Steve lashes out at her. I love seeing Steve like this, in a dive bar, drowning his sorrows … trying not to think about Kayla. And I love the fact that, as devastated as she might be, Kayla leaves, and once in Salem, tries to pull herself together.
Steve reasons that someone went to a lot of trouble to “kill” him and take him away from Salem, and that someone might be a threat to everyone in Salem—including Kayla. This arouses all his protective instincts, and Della confronts him about the fact that he has feelings for Kayla. Steve doesn’t say much, but next thing we know, he’s back in Salem:
If you watch this not thinking about what’s coming next, or the fact that all of these story threads were immediately dropped, it’s really a wonderful arc. I highly recommend going through the whole thing on OLAB, starting with July 26, 2006 and finishing up on August 7.