…. from the trial storyline, anyway.
But no kidding, it really is good. If you love Steve and Kayla, if you love what Stephen and Mary Beth can do with layered, meaty material—if love angst like I do—you must, must, must watch this scene:
We open with a fantasy, which is always a nice relief when things are sad and angsty. Then I really like the fact that Steve wants to jump bail and skip town. It’s just so very Steve, consistent with how he behaved when the police were pursuing him for Britta’s murder and for Harper’s shooting. He hasn’t been able to do a thing to help Kayla since she was arrested, and this seems fueled as much by a desire to act, to do something, as really thinking it’s a great idea. Plus I love the idea that the DA was right, when he justified asking for a high bail for Kayla because her loose-cannon husband might encourage her to skip town. Case closed.
This is old-school Steve and Kayla, too, in that Kayla is arguing against running away—just like she did when he was a suspect in Britta’s murder. But there’s a difference. Kayla has seen enough now that she knows the system doesn’t always work. She wants to stay not because she is so sure she will be cleared, but because it is in her nature to stay and fight. (And isn’t it ironic that for all of Steve’s fears about being railroaded by “the system,” that it’s Kayla that it happens to instead?)
Because he frames his whole issue by asking her to trust him, when Kayla rejects Steve’s suggestion, it comes across as a direct rejection of Steve’s help. This taps into a recurring theme for them—that Steve “I love to play God” Johnson needs to believe he can fix any problem. All along, he has been reassuring her that he’s going to fix this for her and make sure she doesn’t go to jail. Kayla has accepted those reassurances, without, I think, being particularly reassured by them. What is reassuring to Kayla is Steve standing with her, loving her and supporting her, not a belief that he will make the problem go away.
All this goes back to a conversation they had during the rape storyline, when Kayla told Steve she used to think he could fix everything, and now she knows he can’t. Because circumstances won’t always allow it, for one, but more importantly that the “hero” in Steve has his dark side too—as she found out, only too well, when Steve pushed her away for Jack’s sake. It’s bittersweet that she doesn’t see him as the all-conquering hero anymore, because he still wants to be that for her. In fact, early on one of the things that drew Steve to Kayla was her vision of him, her recognition of him as a hero. But in the end losing those rose-colored glasses makes her continued love and faith in him more meaningful and real.
Then I love, love, love the moment when Kayla says she can’t remember the last time they faced a problem, and Steve correctly reads that as a reference to the way he hid Marina’s existence from her. I love to hear Kayla talk about how much it hurt to be kept in the dark, to doubt him and to doubt them. It’s a wonderful way to connect what’s happening now, which are mostly external problems, with the more internal issues of the Marina storyline. It’s like she’s thinking, haven’t you learned anything?
Then comes Steve’s wonderful breakdown. He’s shattered and a little scared to hear Kayla talk about how she felt then—it reminds him of the time when he wasn’t sure she was going to forgive him. It’s very cathartic to hear him say that not a day goes by that he doesn’t kick himself for not doing the right thing, and then the way he hurls the music box as he says he just wants to do something.
I love the double meaning when Kayla picks up the music box and Steve tries to say that he’ll “fix it.” This is where they started, with Steve trying to fix something that is unfixable. Stephen is wonderful showing Steve breaking down, saying he’s sorry, over and over again. It encompasses so many things—hiding Marina from her, letting Marina hurt her, not facing the problem then, not knowing what to do now. And we can see Kayla relent as she sees him at the end of his rope, and her strength comes out as she takes his face in her hands and says they will face this and fight it out. Kayla might have been angry, but she hasn’t lost her faith in them. It’s a wonderful place to end the scene.