Patch is back

Okay, everybody, we can relax again now.


Recently I talked about how the show uses the fact that Steve re-injured his eye to build sympathy for him. Similarly, they also use the fact that Steve refuses to get another eye surgery to enrich the plot:

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Other than the lines about “punishing himself,” I really like this scene. First, because Steve is worried Kayla is in danger, he doesn’t want to go into surgery and recovery in case it prevents him from protecting her. Also, I like the way Steve talks about the loss of his eye more symbolically, as something to keep him grounded. If the patch symbolizes how far he has come, and what Kayla’s love and faith means to his life, then getting it back is a reminder of all of that. (This wouldn’t work if they hadn’t set up how much Steve really wants and loves Kayla before he ever lost his eye again.) I also love the way Stephen plays the fact that all this discussion about the surgery is an annoyance and a distraction for Steve. If he has Kayla, the patch doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t have Kayla, not having the patch won’t matter either.

The above scene takes place at the point of maximum estrangement for the two of them. This next scene takes place several weeks later. We can see that things have improved:

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This is such a wonderful callback to the first patch removal scene. He grabs her hand as she reaches for the bandage, just like he did then. It shows that this is still not easy for him, and I love that they keep that element. It’s something that made the character who he was when we first met him, and even though he can mostly get over it, it makes sense that he would still be sensitive about it. Then I love how she looks at him with reassurance and love, and he looks at her like he’s pulling his strength from her as he lets her take the bandage off and covers up his bad eye.

I also love the look Mary Beth gives when Steve brings out the patch and gives it to Kayla. It might have been tempting on the writers’ part to put some words in Kayla’s mouth here to suggest that she actually prefers him with the patch (to go along with the fan reaction). I think Mary Beth would have played it fine even if they had, but I’m glad that they didn’t go that way. There would be the danger of coming across as insensitive, especially given his emotion right here. Instead it’s clear that her primary concern is for Steve, and how he’s coping with this, which is just right. But her look as she touches the patch conveys that this is an emotional thing for her as well, just a touch of “I missed this.”

Steve takes a deep breath as he puts it on and Kayla says, “It’s okay.” Then we see the re-patched Steve again and he’s nodding his head saying “okay” and trying to smile as well. He seems to be trying to tell her, “I’m okay with this.” And after she leaves (pausing to lean against the door as she also did back then), he nods again and says, “it’s okay,” reassuring himself too. It’s really a wonderful scene, so much rich subtext played with just their looks and expressions. The patch might not be as big a deal as it once was, but it’s still charged with emotion for both of them, and carries a lot of memories—good and bad..

(As a bonus, I’ve included the scene just before this one, where Kayla refuses to be sent out of town. I love the ways she insists that she won’t be any safer away from her family, and it was Steve keeping things from her—in order to “protect” her—that got them into this mess. When she says if she stays at her folks’ house, Roman “… and you” will be there to keep her safe, represents a big step forward for Kayla. She’s granting him her trust there, to be with her and protect her. And I love the way Steve responds to that, and relents.)

13 thoughts on “Patch is back

  1. Thank you for posting these scenes. I really like them. I felt like the real Steve was back. It’s not that I couldn’t accept him without the patch but it felt different. I felt like I was watching somebody else. When Marina came he was acting like his mind was in a fog or something. The patch was a big part of who he was and a part of their love story. I loved the look on Kayla’s face too. I was thinking I missed it too and I was glad he had the patch back.

    I really like how he talked about the patch being like a badge he was proud to wear and because Kayla thought he was okay then others did too or something like that.

    I am glad that they showed Steve wanted and loved Kayla before he lost his eye. That was important. I wouldn’t want him to be with her because he lost his eye and wanted to be taken care of or something.

  2. This scene was a great way to reference their early story in so many ways. Even when he asks her to help him, it’s reminiscent of all those scenes where he’d show up at the clinic, bruised and battered, and reluctantly ask for her help. Even the way she told him to get up on the table reminded me of those days.

    And the patch really is intrinsic to his character and their story. I think his instinct is correct — he’s better with the patch. He once hid behind it and her ability to see beyond his walls was what made them special. (I feel the same way about my husband’s mustache. Every time he shaves it off, I feel like ‘who’s this guy?’) And I love how this scene shows them re-establishing their unique bond with each other.

  3. I really like the line about he knew he was okay because Kayla thought he was okay, Mary. It’s an echo of that scene where he says when he looks in the mirror now, instead of seeing a bum, he sees the man Kayla loves.

    Good point about how when Steve asks Kayla for help changing his bandage and she agrees, it’s just like old times. It might be Steve is trying to recreate that old bond by asking for her help. It’s a nice touch.

    • I love that scene too when he said when he looked in the mirror and didn’t see a bum but the man Kayla loved and that made him special. I wish we had heard more of that from him when they came back.

  4. There is much to love about this whole scene. First, I love the set-up with Steve trying to convince Kayla to leave town and Kayla not wanting to have anything to do with that. I just love that we get the moment of angry/frustrated Kayla. Her life is spiraling out of control yet again but she’s not going to just let Steve dictate what she should do. Even if he’s right (and in some ways he is) too much has happened for her to just acquiesce to his “I know what is best for you” plea. But, I also love that she grants him his right to worry and want to protect her by acknowledging that she’ll be safer with Roman and him watching her. And I also love that Steve recognizes all of this and doesn’t push. So much played through subtext and it’s wonderful.

    As for the return of the patch itself, the show does a wonderful job of acknowledging and calling back to history with all the parallels to the first patch removal scene. Mostly what I love about all of this — Steve’s refusal to have the surgery and Kayla’s involvement in the return of the patch — is the underlying sentiment that Kayla really doesn’t care one way or another except to the extent it matters to Steve. They even touched on that when she first saw him in the hospital after his return from Italy. For all her hurt and anger, the first thing she did was touch the bandage and ask if he was okay in a way that was much more about his emotional state than the actual injury.

    And here, Kayla is much more concerned with how Steve feels about the return to the patch than the return to the patch itself. I think MBE does convey just a touch of “I missed this” when she holds the patch which is great. And I love that Steve is okay because he knows Kayla is okay with it. As MP says, if he has Kayla, the patch doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t have Kayla, not having the patch won’t matter either. I just love that they find the balance of using the patch as a symbol, but also making it, in a way, irrelevant. That may not make any sense to anybody but me, but there you go.😉

  5. It’s a symbol because it is irrelevant.

    One of the things I always loved about their story was the way they gave the characters a history. S&K were surrounded by items — the patch, the necklace, the harmonica, the pool cue, the snapshot Max took of them, the engagement ring — that had resonance in a truly meaningful way. They were symbols of barriers broken down, feelings acknowledged, hopes for the future. And when the director referred to them visually or in the script or when MBE or SN used them for a reaction, those moments had meaning to viewers because they had so much meaning to the characters. At times when not much was happening between Steve and Kayla,when they were separated or estranged, Steve would take out one of those icons and look at it and their love was there in the room. It gave him something to hope for and it gave us something to hope for, too.

  6. I love the props that they used for Steve and Kayla. The Polaroid Max took (and the picture he drew of the two of them before that), the engagement ring, the necklace from Jo. They all worked so beautifully. The patch is such an iconic symbol of their relationship, and their attitude towards it (especially Steve’s) evolves as their relationship evolves. I really like how these scenes are both a callback to the earlier scenes, but also different and appropriate for where they are now.

    It’s too bad we don’t have a symbol for their separation over Marina the way we did during the Jack marriage (unless I’m forgetting something). I like seeing them moon over something. The wedding photo in their living room comes closest. And everyone who breaks into Steve and Kayla’s house (Marina, Jack, Isabella …) seems to immediately pick it up.

  7. You know, it’s not exactly an object, but Kayla’s pregnant belly is almost treated like a symbol. First there is Steve’s obliviousness to it, as he loses focus on his relationship with Kayla. It becomes a touchstone for both of them later, representing everything that’s at stake while they’re separated.

  8. You’re right. One of the most telling moments about how bad things are is when Steve is enraged because Jack knows about the baby and Jack points out that the changes in Kayla’s body are obvious. Steve looks like he’s been slapped as he realizes he didn’t notice.

  9. Good call on Kayla’s pregnant belly, lska.

    I love the wake up call for Steve when he realizes that Jack figured out that Kayla was pregnant when he didn’t even notice. I also love his enraged reaction when Jack—of all people!—says, “Look at her body.” There’s a primal protectiveness (with a bit of possessiveness) there.

  10. I just happened to be watching the original patch removal scene. You know what? Kayla is murmuring “It’s okay” as she leaves — before she leans on the outside of the door. Isn’t it wonderful when writers actually pay attention to history.

  11. I do love the parallel of the “it’s okay”s as well, Flaco. I think it’s clear that at least Stephen and Mary Beth rewatched the scene so they could play the similarity. Maybe the writers did too.

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