A complaint that I had heard many times among Steve and Kayla fans is that Days was setting up a Shane and Kayla relationship even before Steve died. To be honest, I was bracing myself for something pretty bad. Shane casting soulful looks at Kayla across Steve’s deathbed … Shane holding Kayla in the hospital lounge as she worries about Steve. Things like that.
I have now watched up through a good chunk of Steve’s time in the hospital. And maybe it’s only because I was bracing myself for something much, much worse, but I haven’t seen a thing so far that seems inappropriate between the two characters. I think it’s knowing the future that makes all the difference. (This is why I try to stay as spoiler-free as possible—even with these 20-year old storylines! 🙂 ) If you know what happens later, you can say the show is paving the way for Shayla beforehand. And honestly, they probably were. And I can definitely understand it being upsetting. But, for me personally, if Shane and Kayla aren’t acting out of character, it’s hard for me to get too upset about it. Here is an example of the kind of scene I think you can look back on and see shades of the future Shayla relationship:
In retrospect, the emotional tenor of the conversation, their conflict over the way Shane treated Kim, and the way Shane confides in Kayla can all add up to a certain intimacy between them. But it’s also a powerful, realistic scene between the sister of the woman Shane hurt badly, and a man who doesn’t have anyone to confide in anymore.
What also gets lost in the focus on Shane and Kayla is that the show also seems to be paving the way for a possible Marcus/Kayla pairing. Check this out:
This is actually far more overt than anything involving Shane and Kayla. If they had gotten together later, this scene would come across as “ew, he was macking on her before Steve even died!” And I know that Marcus does, in fact, develop feelings for Kayla later, so if you were so inclined, you could read this scene that way anyway. But, although this one skirts closer, this doesn’t cross the line for me either. Instead it seems to be mostly based on the envy we’ve seen all along that Marcus has had for Steve and Kayla’s relationship. But now, faced with the fact that Steve and Kayla are leaving, this adds a slightly different dimension. It’s like he’s realizing he doesn’t just want a deep and abiding relationship like Steve and Kayla have, maybe he wants someone who is well, a lot like Kayla.
There is also a scene where there seems to be some minor chem testing between Kayla and Brian Scofield, of all people. But unfortunately, my choice for post-Steve pairing for Kayla (after a suitably decent interval, of course) had left the show by this time: Michael T. Weiss’s Mike Horton. Here is a great little segment from 1988, when evil Jack sees Kayla and Mike innocently flirting and decides to try to cause some trouble:
I think there is a nice bantery chemistry between Kayla and Mike. But what I love about this is how stupid Jack looks for thinking it would bother Steve. I think he is comparing his own relationship with Kayla to Steve’s relationship with her, and thinking how he would react. Actually, how he is reacting, because Jack clearly envies the easy give and take between Mike and Kayla, that is such a contrast to how she acts with him. And actually, Mike and Kayla really did have a short relationship (when they were played by two different actors!), so this is great use of history.