Saying Goodbye

Well, I have now recovered sufficiently from the quivering puddle of goo I become after getting all the way through Steve’s death (sob!). I think I’m finally ready to blog about it, so here we go!

First of all, I just have to say how impressed I am at how well the whole thing is handled, plot-wise. Nowadays they would toss Steve down the Salem Stairs of Death and call it a day. Here, they do an excellent job folding his death into an umbrella story, and then gathering all his family and friends around in the hospital and sending him off in grand old soapy style. (There’s so much to talk about, I’m going to split it up over a number of different blog posts.)

They also do something quite ingenious, before we even get to the accident itself. Steve and Kayla start planning a trip around the world, setting up a Bo-and-Hope style sendoff. This ups the ante and the angst factor when Steve decides to stick around for “one last case” and it turns out, indeed, to be his last case. They were so close to their happy ending. But it also allows everyone on the show (and in the audience) one big happy goodbye, before the sturm und drang of the accident and his death.

Here’s an example of the kind of scene I mean:

YouTube link

This is just a very cute scene. Some of it sounds ad libbed to me, like Steve’s comment that he always wanted to be a “one-eyed actor” and Kayla saying, “Westerns!” Hee. Steve’s line about “I’m going to die one happy dude” is heartbreaking, of course, but also a tiny bit consoling. He did die a happy man—and after the life he led, before he met Kayla, that is no small miracle.

For Kayla, no such consoling thoughts exist. So we have to take our comfort from other things. And here’s one thing: Steve’s death gives Mary Beth Evans the chance for an acting tour de force. Let me fast forward for a moment and give you a little tease, in a scene that bookends the scene above very nicely:

YouTube link

Isn’t Mary Beth incredible? The contrast between the Kayla on the tape and the Kayla watching the tape is so stark—complete happiness versus complete devastation. I love her anger at Shane and how she goes to leave the room when he wants to watch this—it’s a way of showing how fresh her pain still is. But then she stops by the door after all. She can’t help watching. The camerawork is perfect, just stays right on her face as she contemplates everything she has lost. Her facial expressions are perfect. Listening to Steve’s lines about having more children, her expression just breaks my heart—she’s thinking of what will never happen.

(And all I can say is THANK GOD for the 2000’s return and little Joe. I wasn’t in favor of a baby story for Steve and Kayla when they came back; I thought it would take them out of having an active role on the show. But I have to admit, sometimes it was knowing that they got back together and got their happy ending—complete with baby makes three—was all that was getting me through this!)


16 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye

  1. Sigh. It is so hard to say goodbye. But, like you, I find it easier to watch these scenes knowing we get a reunion and baby Joe. MBE and SN do a wonderful job with all these scenes, but it is really MBE’s time to shine. She makes you feel Kayla’s every emotion along the way.

    And the video they make is heartwrenching. Steve’s comments are so true to his life and it is so bittersweet to see him having finally found the happiness he never thought he could have, or deserved to have. It’s wonderful soap, but so hard to watch.

    And I have to give some credit to TPTB. I don’t think they were thrilled when SN announced he was leaving and they could have given Steve some kind of one-day exit where he drives off a cliff and his body is never found or something. Instead, they gave the character a very nice send-off with the party and a very emotional one with what happens next. They used his death within a bigger story, but not just as a plot point but as an emotional turning point of sorts. And they gave SN and MBE one last chance to act the heck of some scenes and for Steve and Kayla to say goodbye. It’s hard to ask for much more than that.

  2. I totally agree that it’s wonderful they gave Steve such a good sendoff, given that TPTB were pretty angry with SN for leaving. I agree that all this gives both of them an opportunity to shine, especially MBE. I also can’t help comparing all this to the non-sendoff sendoff they got in the 2000’s. Really good soap.

  3. Hi mary Pickford, good to see a new blog entry. :). I agree that it is sad to see the end of steve/kayla . i guess it is inevitable when one half of a super couple decides to leave for greener pastures. but at least they did have a wonderful send off and ensuing storylines that resulted along with excellent acting. i was not watching days on a regular basis and thought in 2006 it was so lame that they had steve not remembering kayla or that we were cheated of scenes with the johnson brothers together in sync before jack left for london for what we thought would be his forever happy time with jennifer. flash forward to 2011 and we know how that is turning out. :(.

  4. I cry every single time I get to this point on my DVDs. It’s easy to be bitter about SN’s decision to leave, but I can see the reasoning behind it. TPTB at the time simply didn’t know how/what to write for a happy supercouple. We all know what would have happened had he stayed: Shane/Kim status where the plot points drive more than the characters themselves to the point where everyone ceases to care in the slightest. They’d already set a foot or two down that path (Steve being a cop in any sense was a bad idea). This way, we got to see some damn good acting in his death scene, hope for the future with the coffin switch, and untainted memories of the good times. It really saved the integrity of the couple in my mind.

    As for the return, it was extremely short in my (vastly edited, admittedly) memory. All I chose to remember is Jack discovering Steve, Kayla’s faint in his arms at the wedding, the memory return, and lots of Baby Joe making! (Billie who? Ava who?) πŸ™‚

  5. love the soaps, I am so regretful that Steve and Kayla’s return overlapped so little with Jack. I loved the little bit of interaction we got with Steve and Jack when Jack first found Steve. I heard a rumor, though, that Reilly was planning a love triangle with Jack, Kayla, and Steve. Ick! It might not be true, but it seems like something Reilly would do. The man loved endless love triangles.

    RileyKay, I do think supercouples are really difficult to right for, long term. I love, love, love the supercouple formula but it’s tough to keep things interesting after three or four years have gone by. I won’t say it’s impossible, though, and I agree that the writers from this time period certainly didn’t know what to do. Kim and Shane probably got the worst of it—too many breakups, too many recycled stories.

    And I like your selective memory—maybe I’ll try to cultivate that as well! Like I said above, I am so glad that they came back and got their happy ending. If I forget Billie and Ava, I like it even more. πŸ˜‰

  6. Hi MP! I am glad you’ve recovered enough from this most painful goodbye to blog about it and am looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Steve’s death slays me. I was a mess watching it when it first aired and was sad for days thereafter. To me, at the time, it wasn’t just the death of a beloved character, it’s also the end of a beautiful love story, of an amazing couple that I grew up loving, which made it even more painful. Needless to say, I’m grateful for their return, their reunion, and their happily-ever-after ending plus baby Joe, no matter how frustrating their storylines (or lack thereof) might be or how infuriating at times TPTB have made me.

    Stephen and Mary Beth are great in those scenes, especially Mary Beth in the second clip. Every emotion Kayla is feeling is right there on her face, any amount of dialog wouldn’t have been able to convey Kayla’s pain and sorrow like what MB can do so effortlessly with her eyes and facial expressions.

    Have a great July 4th!!!

  7. I totally agree Mary Beth is amazing in the second clip. What she can with just her eyes is incredible.

    I never saw all this the first time around, so it was all new to me. That made it very fresh and painful, but definitely mitigated by the fact that I knew he finally did come back.

    I was surprised by all the threads they threw in there to pave the way for a possible return. I had heard about the coffin switch but didn’t realize how big a deal it all was. Like they showed that Steve’s doctor was being paid by Lawrence, which explains why he was declared dead (since Lexie wasn’t a doctor then, hee!). It’s too bad that none of that was picked up in the return, and instead it was just “Dimera plot!!” and nothing else.

  8. Yeah, the whole “DiMera Plot!” thing was a total cop-out. Stefano and his ilk had become so blasΓ© by then that it really made no sense, either. It’s not like they had a shortage of characters who knew who Lawrence was and had possible story with him. Jack and Jennifer, John, Bo and Hope, and (of course) Steve and Kayla would certainly have been enough to bring Lawrence back into the fold of the show. After all, what was MS doing at that time? Passions? Hmmm … some seldomly reccurring role as a magical dude in a giant turban, or a multi-faceted villain with a whole history to mine? Hard choice, I tell ya. πŸ˜›

    MP, you also mention something in jest that struck a more serious nerve with me: Steve’s doctor being payed off. It’s a minor thing that, when held up in comparison to today’s Days, shows just how small the world of Salem has become. Sure, when our characters needed their lives saved for the story, you had the doctors Horton, Curtis, and (eventually) Manning to help out and share in the glory.

    However, when it came down to medical records being switched, IV bags being drugged, or declarations of death, you never saw our illustrious MDs involved because there were always other doctors on-hand. If “our” doctors were involved, it was so very rare that it could be chalked up to them being somewhat human (some elaborate hoax getting by their usually spot-on reliability or some story-mandated wrongdoing that they would be punished for). Once you eliminate the ever-present dayplayer doctors and have one or two main characters doing all of the “medical stuff,” you wind up with doctors that must simply be called incompetent for their rates of failure. If you’ve declared five people dead onscreen and all five of those people come back, your record’s not exactly squeaky, eh? How about if you get caught switching paternity results and subsequently become CoS at your hospital? It’s a mockery, and your watchers know it.

  9. I totally agree that the incompetence/villainy of our doctors and police officers has really hurt the show. None of the Bradys deserve to be police officers anymore, given how often they have tampered with evidence, covered up for family members, even committed felonies! And Lexie has gone beyond a joke. I know that certain plot points demand that the doctors or police officers don’t figure out what’s going on, or are in on the plot, but like you say, that’s what minor characters should be for. And there has to be a certain level of plausibility for our heroes, and Days in its current form has just completely lost that.

  10. hi mary pickford… the sun is sining, a bit of heatwave here in canada… hope to get a new blog soon soon:)

  11. I think RileyKay makes a good point about Steve’s death saving the integrity of Steve and Kayla. I think they have been the most faithful to one another of any supercouple, and it makes me have even more respect for the characters. Sure, there was Kayla/Shane, but that was dumb and Steve was dead. Ava and Billie, Steve had amnesia. I can excuse those slips. (I can give Jack similar praise for faithfulness (nope, I don’t count faux Jack/Laura), but sadly not Jennifer.) The super couple dilemma. I don’t want either member of a couple with a great love story straying—I hate third parties, yet I want drama for them. It’s tough. It would be nice if someone could figure out how to write for a super couple once they are together.

    I too regret that there wasn’t much play between Jack, Steve, and Kayla when Steve came back. I did love Jack discovering Steve and moments like Steve telling Jack, “Man, you live in one crazy berg,” but we didn’t get much, and there could have been some drama when Steve remembered the nitty gritty Jack/Kayla past, perhaps something with Abby learning about it too. There was potential for drama, but going with a Jack/Steve/Kayla triangle would have been a travesty. Jack and Kayla would never, never happen and there’s no way I’d buy that either one of them would ever want it to. We’re not talking about Sami and EJ here.

    Steve’s death was handled nicely. I didn’t watch it until quite recently, so I knew Steve and Kayla would get their happy ending, but I can imagine it was heartbreaking to watch when it originally aired. And it’s still sad that Steve didn’t get to raise Stephanie. (Something went wrong with her—that is another thing that irritates me—Stephanie’s character being sacrificed for the benefit of Melanie.)

    Lastly, I have always thought it odd that Lawrence was responsible for Steve’s death but that Stefano ended up being the one who had him all those years. There’s got to be some sort of prisoner exchange program among the villains:
    Lawrence: Hey, Stefano. It’s Lawrence Alamain calling. I’ve got a guy here. I just faked his death. He’s got some Brady connections. Do you want him?
    Stefano: I don’t know. How much do you want for him? Is he fit to carry out dastardly deeds once he’s been properly brainwashed?

  12. Hi Angie,
    Good post. :). It is true that Steve and Kayla did have a happy ending after all and even another child. I wasn’t watching days at that time on a regular basis but the chemistry between them was still strong. it’s funny that when they were both on GH, there was none. It is true that we cheated of more Jack/Steve/Kayla moments in 2006.
    As for the charcater of Stephanie, it is true that she was thrown under the bus for the irritating melanie, (have to say that i don’t see why and how she was proclaimed the princess of salem with all the men panting over her.)
    As for Jennifer, the former princess of salem, not much to say but hard to believe that the young woman who once held out for the right guy to be with, has been trashed lately by hopping into bed with Dr.Dan after a couple of dates. Where is Alice Horton, RIP, when you need her to give a good talking to her Jennifer Rose???

    • I’ve missed Alice for the same reason, but I fear under Dena Higley we’d even see Alice pushing Jennifer to forget Jack and move on with Daniel, and that would really be hard to stomach, worse than even Adrienne and Abby. Jennifer and Jack seem to have experienced a strange reversal of roles when it comes to sex. She was the one who wanted it to be all about true love and the right person. But it seems since 2nd run, Jack’s been the one to feel that way more than Jennifer has. I have theorized that the rape and Jennifer’s influence (back when Jennifer seemed to feel strongly on this subject) have caused Jack to come to take sex as very serious deal.

  13. Alice,
    Another great observation.However, last week there was a slight change in the way Abby spoke about her dad and also jennifer acknowledged the great love that they did share so this maybe the tweaking of some scripts. Have a great day. :).

  14. love the soaps, my mom is visiting so I’m not having much time for watching DVDs and blogging about it. But, I have been watching the current show with her. I’ve seen a week’s worth of shows now, and I think I must have gotten caught between the writing change or something. The show has been depressingly bad, with some odd fits and starts with the stories. I was disheartened to see Jennifer and Carly as rivals for Dr. Dan, and the only other story getting any play was fakeRafe in prison. They killed him off in the most anticlimactic way possible, it seems to me.

    Angle, I am so torn, always, between my sense of the supercouple problem—the way it writes stories into a corner—and the fact that I love, love, love the supercouple formula. And I love your snippet of dialogue between Lawrence and the Dimeras. Salem villains would probably really do that. πŸ™‚

  15. Mary Pickford, summertime is for family and friends. This summer has been so lovely in my part of Canada… I am off for the summer so have been watching days with my own dear mom .. she was a long time viewer of days and will be again when All My Children goes off the air.
    What is on days right now, not very pretty to see. It is disheartening to see characters that we knew acting in uncharacteristic ways. Yes, Jennifer Rose Horton ex-Deveraux and Adrienne Johnson Kiriakis that means you, bashing the love of your life and your once dearly loved brother in favour of a a character who left a woman that last summer he declared to love so deeply when she was fragile and a most precious baby without a backward glance.
    I know that the writing is supposed to be rset in September but honestly, sometimes it is better to watch old clips of the glory days, when love, friendship and family ties really meant something

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