I’ve been watching the show very carefully, trying to figure out when TPTB started to lay the groundwork to put Kayla and Shane together. And despite the fact that they spend nearly every minute together in Alamania, and there may well have been some chem testing going on, I don’t get the sense that anything in particular was in the works.
Here, though, at the very end of their stay in Lawrence’s country, is the first scene where I felt the strings starting to be pulled:
Personally, I find it very awkward. Carly’s comment about Kayla being a comfort to Shane sounds forced, especially when she tries to take it back, saying, “I’m sorry, I know he’s married to your sister, I just thought …” I mean, who says that?
The point of these “call someone on their feelings” scenes is usually to show that there is some truth to them, even as the person denies it. But Mary Beth Evans doesn’t play it that way. She shows confusion, certainly, but Kayla comes across to me as feeling uncertain about the state of her friendship with Shane. She was recently blaming him quite strongly about his role in not preventing Steve’s death, and has accused him of coldly working on his “case” without regard to the feelings of the people involved. I think that Mary Beth plays Kayla as being quite sincere in what she says here, and she’s not saying it to cover up deeper feelings. She always thought she and Shane were friends, but never really knew him that well. Their recent conflicts have called that friendship into question, but at the same time she’s gotten to know him better and might start a friendship on a new basis.
Carly’s response, lavishly complimenting Shane and telling Kayla not to turn her back on him, is again soap boilerplate for setting up a new couple. The coda to the scene could also be read this way: Kayla calls Marcus, and stresses to Shane (who comes up in time to overhear the end of their conversation) that she was talking to her “friend” and talking about how she can’t wait to see him. It’s begging to be read that Kayla, in denial of her feelings for Shane, is latching onto Marcus. (A few months from now, this will indeed be the case.) The scene calls for a final awkward exchange of glances between Shane and Kayla, Shane registering a bit of jealousy, Kayla a bit of pique (with a hint of uncertainty underneath). But Mary Beth and Charles again play against it. Kayla plays her line pretty straight, and Shane merely smiles, seemingly happy for Kayla that she has a good friend in Marcus.
I’m not implying that Mary Beth and Charles were against the pairing of their characters. Maybe they were, maybe they weren’t. I’ve heard mixed things about that. But here, at least, I think both felt, quite rightly, that it was too soon for this kind of signal to be sent, and played the scene accordingly.