Well, I’ve been wanting to move on from Steve’s death, but I can’t resist this beautiful scene of Kayla giving Steve’s jacket to Bo:
You all know I absolutely love the meaningful use of a good prop, and this is fabulous. Steve’s leather jacket was always such an important part of his character. From early on—after his introductory, criminal phase—here was a bad boy who wasn’t committing crimes anymore, couldn’t swear (this was daytime!) or smoke (bad example for kids!), or even drink very much. Steve’s black leather jacket and black patch were one of the only ways to establish his dangerous edge. The rest, needless to say, was all Stephen. I give him serious props for creating an authentically edgy, threatening character almost purely from his voice and body language. If “Patch” wasn’t scary, it would be easy for him to be ridiculous.
But back to the jacket. Watching this scene made me remember a wonderful little subplot that featured this jacket: the smuggling of some emeralds from Stockholm. I love this storyline partly because it’s one of the few times we see Steve, after TPTB decided to redeem him, consider doing something genuinely criminal (not “soap” criminal like trying to kill Duke). Here’s the story: while in Stockholm, Steve and Kayla have finally tentatively started some kind of relationship. Steve is tempted by an old crony to smuggle some emeralds for him into the states. He sews the gems into his leather jacket, but then has a change of heart and leaves the jacket in his hotel room. But, Kayla grabs it, thinking he’s forgotten it. On the plane, while Steve is sleeping, she puts it on. Complications, to put it mildly, ensue.
Here’s a taste:
What I love about this is the one step forward/one step back supercouple dance this represents. Steve, inspired by Kayla, decides not to leave the jacket behind. Kayla, feeling good about Steve, puts on the jacket because it’s a girlfriend-like thing to do—I’m cold, so I’m going to wear my boyfriend’s jacket. But in soapy irony, these baby steps forward lead to a major rupture as they both get strip searched at the airport, Kayla is disillusioned with Steve, and Steve refuses to defend himself.
(Lots of great little moments in that clip above: Steve’s reaction to the customs agents forcing him to remove his patch; Kayla’s death stare at Steve right before she gets searched; her disdainful line: “Oh, I forgot—your jacket,” as she tosses it back to him at the end.)
Eventually, of course, as all Steve and Kayla fans know, this leads to Steve getting stabbed, Kayla patching him up, major angsty arguments, and then their first kiss:
It would have been easy to have their first kiss be in Stockholm, when they were getting closer (God knows they had enough near-misses!). But this is so much more interesting. A rupture over real issues (remember, he was tempted to smuggle the emeralds) leads to a major pullback and then a major step forward. And all, of course, with my favorite, a good use of a prop.