One of the most delightful things about the early Steve and Kayla story is watching Kayla slowly break down Steve’s resistance. We get to see her woo him, convince him, try to seduce him, yell at him, or comfort him even when he’s shutting her out. So many of the wonderful things she said to him then—that if they loved each other they could work through anything, that if they take a risk the end result with be worth it—find their echo in this storyline. But this time, the roles are reversed.
This scene takes place right after Kayla has gone to get an ultrasound without asking Steve to come with her. Steve finds out about the appointment and sneaks in to be there, and afterwards they have a confrontation:
This scene is Steve’s wake up call as to how much her faith and trust in him have been damaged. When Kayla says she wishes she could forgive him and everything would be all right, he says immediately that if she forgives him, everything will be all right. This is an echo of what Kayla used to tell him, that if they loved each other they could work through anything. But it also shows how much Steve is used to having Kayla’s trust and forgiveness—from his point of view, they’ve done this before, he’s screwed up, she’s forgiven him, and they’ve worked it out.
This is really the first time that Kayla opens up about all her doubts, and it’s very painful to hear. She says, if she comes back, things are never going to be the same, she can never be that trusting again. She’s wondering if that means that she and Steve are over. It puts it out there beautifully, all the subtext we’ve been seeing. What happens when Kayla no longer has that blind faith? That is, in many ways, the fundamental question in all of this. Kayla was always the emotional rock in that relationship. She believed enough for both of them and, ultimately, Steve found faith in her faith. Now, Steve has to find his own faith in their relationship, and that has to be enough for both of them for a while. Can he do it? He’s never had to before. Even in the rape storyline and the deaf storyline, both stories that showed Steve working hard in their relationship, he never had to face such a strong fundamental doubt from Kayla.
One thing I also appreciate about this time period is how clearly we can see that Kayla not only still loves Steve, but that she really wants to forgive him. (She just doesn’t know if it’s possible, or even if it is, whether their relationship can survive.) This creates an interesting tension where Kayla is fighting against herself. She wants to believe what he’s saying so badly that she doesn’t trust her own reading of it—is it real or just what she wants to hear? At the end of the scene, when Steve kisses her belly and tells her he loves them both, Mary Beth shows how much Kayla is affected by that. I think part of the doubt and pain in her face is not just about the future of their relationship, but uncertainty about how long she can hold out in the face of Steve’s continued pursuit.
This scene takes place soon after the one above:
There are so many great moments here. I love when Steve makes an explicit callback to their early days, reminding Kayla of how much she believed in them then. He says she’s never given up on them, that no matter what they went through, she always knew they’d make it. And we see Kayla weakening a little as Steve goes on that he still believes in them and he knows deep down in her heart, she does too. Kayla tries to say it doesn’t change things, but Steve says it changes everything. It changed him, remember?
Then the moment when the baby kicks is wonderful. This is the first time Steve has been there for it, so he asks if he can feel. I love how the camera focuses on Kayla’s hands guiding Steve’s hands to the right place. It’s just such an intimate moment. Then Steve feels the baby kicking and I love how Stephen plays Steve’s amazed reaction. That reaction is the key to Kayla’s barriers coming down as she kneels with him and says “it’s amazing isn’t it?” And his hands go to her face and for once she doesn’t pull away. It’s a moment showing how much they share despite all their distance. (Note that this is how you use a baby to bring an estranged couple together.)
But, the moment is broken as we hear a crash outside. It’s Marina—of course. And again Mary Beth plays Kayla’s reaction perfectly, the hurt, anger, and hopelessness that they can ever escape from Marina’s presence in their lives.
I also like this scene because it shows both of them making mistakes. Kayla is being a little unfair when she seems to expect that Steve can control what Marina does. She obviously thinks that Marina wouldn’t keep coming around unless he was giving her some reason to hope (perhaps there is some projection going on here—after all, Kayla kept coming around because he kept giving her reason to hope). And Steve isn’t a model of patience, tenderness, and unselfishness, either. I love his cry of “What about me?” at the end of the scene when Kayla is leaving. It hurts to keep putting yourself on the line, over and over again, and to be rejected, over and over again (as Kayla knows only too well). It makes his determination to keep doing it that much more meaningful.