Toy Train

I love props on soaps. I love seeing the villain holding up the key/prism/folder full of bonds and gloating, “Mine, all mine!” Or the hero investigating a murder, holding up a single earring and musing, “If I find the partner to this it tell me everything I need to know.” I love old diaries locked up in safes embedded in a hole in the middle of the forest in Italy, or a piece of jewelery that demonstrates that your romantic rival is your long lost brother.

Sometimes these props don’t end up making much sense—for example, I’ve been watching all this stuff recently with Isabella’s mother’s diary. Isabella and Roman are convinced that a 20+ year old diary is a clue in Marina’s murder—tell me how, please. But I still kind of love it anyway. Even though the diary’s use as a clue to Marina’s murder is poorly explained, its use as something that brings Roman and Isabella closer together is impeccable.

Maybe it’s just because I know their story so well, but I think Steve and Kayla got more cool props than other characters did. I’ve been racking my brain, but other than the diary I just mentioned, all I can come up with is that cameo for Kim and Shane. (But there must be others, so if you can think of any, please let me know.) I wrote about this once before, but Steve and Kayla had so many props that served multiple functions in the plot—with Jo’s necklace that Steve gave to Kayla as I think the all-time champion. First its use as a wonderful Christmas gift when they were just starting to date, then the clue to Adrienne’s identity for Kayla, then something that Steve had to ask her to return (in the most cruel way possible) when he was afraid Jack would see its resemblance to his “mother”s ring. Then I loved that the show remembered to show Steve giving it back right before their wedding. That’s a lot of work for one prop.

But there were so many others: the patch, the dagger tattoo, the polaroid picture of Kayla, the harmonica, the cookbook Kayla gave to Steve, Steve’s red keepsake box, Billy’s baby picture, the engagement ring Steve wore around his neck, the rose he gave to Jack and Kayla for a wedding present, the ID bracelet and locket Steve gave to Kayla after Stephanie was born.

And here’s another one: Steve’s toy train.

We first started seeing the train when we started seeing flashbacks of Steve’s childhood—the treasured toy of a child who didn’t have much. Then, when Adrienne was just a mysterious woman with an unknown connection to Steve, she broke into his apartment and took the train. It’s not 100% clear to me in retrospect why Adrienne did this, but at the time it was confirmation that her connection to him had something to do with his childhood. When Steve retaliated by breaking into her apartment and taking it back, Kayla caught him and demanded to know why he was breaking into poor little Adrienne’s apartment.

After that the train would pop up here and there during the Jack is Billy storyline. Steve would take it out, along with Billy’s picture, to shore up his resolve at what he was doing for his brother. As a relic from his childhood of which nothing else remained, the train came to be a poignant symbol of everything he lost.

And then there’s this:

YouTube link

As far as using props, and using history goes, it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s wonderful to see Steve bring out a symbol of everything he lost and turn it into a symbol of his promise that Stephanie is not going to lose all of that. (Of course this is putting aside that Steve misses Stephanie’s entire childhood.) It’s also a nice moment of closure for Kayla too to witness this moment. It goes back to their conversations during the Benjy storyline, when Steve wasn’t sure about having children. Kayla reassured him then that he would be a wonderful father, and here she’s seeing a confirmation of that faith. By giving Stephanie the train, and talking about what it meant to him when he had nobody, the implication is that being a father to Stephanie will help Steve redeem his bad childhood. It provides a wonderful moment of closure for a character who was haunted by so many demons.


7 thoughts on “Toy Train

  1. Sigh. This is such a great scene. So much symbolism for Steve and for Steve and Kayla. I just love that a little toy train that held so much loss and so much pain for Steve becomes a gift that he can freely give his daughter as a promise of nothing but love and family.

    As you say, it’s a wonderful use of a prop over the course of about a three year period.

  2. I am a bit ahead of the storyline, but jack and jennifer also had a quite a few props, first the shell ring on the island and then later on the jade plant as a symbol of their love and Romeo and juliet that Jennifer gave to Jack.

  3. Thanks, love the soaps. I knew there must be others, I just couldn’t think of any. And I haven’t gotten to the part you are talking about yet. Something to look forward to—I love a good prop.

    Esp, it is a wonderful, consistent use of a prop over several years, isn’t it? When S&K were still on in 2000’s Days, I would occasionally see fans wishing they could see Kayla’s plane necklace, or the locket, or Jo’s necklace. I think that would have been nice, but what I really wanted was the kind of writing that made props meaningful.

    It was nice, though, to see Adrienne’s bracelet when Adrienne went to see Steve in the loony bin. I thought that was actually pretty well used.

  4. They did do a great job with using Adrienne’s bracelent during the BSC!Steve storyline. I would have loved to have seen that toy train come out again when Joe was born, but that might have been weird since he did give it to Stephanie.

    I think the only prop I really, really wanted to see was Steve’s red box of keepsakes. It was so symbolic of how little he had in some ways, but how much those little bits of memory meant to him. If Kayla had pulled that out when he was NicknotSteve and they had used that to show some flash of memory or connection, it could have been wonderful.

  5. Yes, that would have been wonderful. That would have been a nice one to see, because it would have helped reveal who Steve was—not just with Kayla but who he was as a child. Which would have been nice for newer viewers as well as NickNotSteve.

  6. Since you asked about props for other couples, in addition to the cameo, here are a few for Shane and Kim:

    1) The firehouse photo Kim gave Shane after he called the fire department to save her from being raped. It appears later, with Emma trying to give it away secretly for the Juvenile Diabetes benefit and when Kim is in the hospital after being hit by a car in 1992.

    2) The first engagement ring, which Kim keeps returning. After it is returning the first time during the break-up after he finds out about Victor, Shane carries it around with him. There are a couple of times when he pulls it out of his pocket and looks at it (during the Britta/Lars plot and later during the West Virginia chase.) He gives it to Kim to hold when they are in the cabin and she gives birth to Andrew. It also appears when she gives it back to him during the Andrew kidnapping plot. He gives it back to her and re-proposes the night before she goes to jail for killing Emma and she gives it back to him when she’s about to go to jail.

    3) The locket Shane gives Kim with a photo of Andrew when she’s on trial for Emma’s murder. She keeps that with her through her time in jail.

    4) Shane’s family photos, which move from Donovan Manor to Salem, plus the “twins” photo of him and Drew that he adds once Drew reappears. I would also add that there are a lot of other photos that reappear a number of times in their storylines. Off the top of my head, they include the photo of Andrew as an infant used in the locket and throughout the kidnapping (and is the key to Shane tying Andrew to the Stewarts’ son), the photo of Shane that Kim constantly looks at and carries when he “dies,” the photo of Shane, Andrew and Jeannie that Kim takes in 1992, the school photo of Eve that she gives Shane as a birthday present

    5) The watch that Kim gave Shane for Christmas in 1989 that he keeps with him during the amnesia storyline.

    6) Shane’s wedding ring, which he gives Kayla before he “dies” in the Jericho mission. Kim constantly looks at it during the aftermath.

    I’m sure there are some others, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. (There also are the emerald ring and music box that appear during the Shayla storyline.)

  7. Ah ha, now this is what I’m talking about! I remember the picture of Andrew and the engagement ring going back and forth a few times. 🙂 I am coming up on :gulp: Shayla pretty soon, and after that will be going back to 1983 and will be able to see the Kim and Shane story from the beginning. I’m so excited!

    Thanks for commenting!

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