You’ve probably all heard the news by now that Stephen will be joining Mary Beth on the show for the 50th anniversary coming up, along with a SORASed Joey. Part of me is excited and hoping against hope for a real, angsty reunion story — and part of me is expecting a tired triangle with — I don’t know, Eve? Ugh. Likely the reality will be somewhere between the two.
In any case, I’ll definitely be tuning in! So this has inspired me to try to shake the dust off this blog. I’m not ready to jump back into the current show — I’ll do it when we get closer to the anniversary — but this is a perfect opportunity to check back in with the past, in preparation for the future. But can I just be posting about Jack and Jennifer and Shayla with S&K coming back? No! So I’m going to break out of my current timeline for a bit and go way back, back to the beginning ….
I have to say, my favorite way to watch these scenes is to think about them from a storytelling perspective, how carefully this was planned. It’s important to remember they had already started adding depth and layers to bad-guy Patch at this point in the story: we saw he genuinely loved Britta, we saw him starting to help Bo. Hope already likes him. However, he is still mostly a bad guy, and it would have been perfectly plausible for Steve to work for Emma simply because he was a thug-for-hire. It adds a little something to his character that he initially refuses her offer (and calls her “the wicked witch of the west” — love it!) and says he is “selective” in who he works for. But his anger at Bo over Britta gives him a personal, more understandable motive to scare Bo’s sister.
At the same time, though, the show isn’t pulling its punches — let’s face it, it’s not really that great of a reason to stalk and scare someone. And it shouldn’t be. If this is a true redemption story, and it is, we need to see that Steve has something to be redeemed from. Steve’s line to Bo and Hope above frames the issue perfectly: “Don’t give me this ‘Steven’ crap. I’m Patch — that’s all I’ll ever be.”
Here’s another awesome thing, again from a storytelling perspective: we aren’t told who Kayla is. We see Steve react to the name on the piece of paper, but we never see the name ourselves. And through all of the scenes in Cleveland, Kayla is never identified. It is not until it is all over and Kayla receives Kim’s call, asking her to come home and help Bo, that we realize who she is. It’s a great way to introduce a new recast, essentially a new character. All through these scenes, we wonder who she is. Why does he say it will be “fun” to scare her? Does he know her? Is it someone from Steve’s past? An alert viewer might remember that Kayla is a nurse, that she moved to Cleveland, but I bet most people didn’t figure it out (ah, the days before spoilers!). It creates interest in a new character from the beginning.
And now for the stalking itself. I am amazed at how scary Steve is, amazed that the show decided to make him that scary (and seeing a yellow rose used this way makes me want to cry). Personally, I don’t see anything in these scenes that hint at the planned love story. This wouldn’t have been inconceivable. We could have seen Steve regret what he was doing, have second thoughts, hesitate. We could have seen him overcome with self-loathing afterwards. We see his attraction to her, sure, but given the context it comes across as, frankly, creepy. But I love that they do it. I think it demonstrates the confidence of a show at the top of its game. They knew they had the patience, the writing ability, and the chops of two amazing actors, to come back from this.
(I am going to try, try, try my very hardest not to let weeks pass between posts as I go through this. I want to spend some time in detail with very early Steve and Kayla, since I feel this time period gets a bit neglected. I’ll also keep posting about Jack and Jennifer and Shayla as I continue to watch those stories. This is going to be fun!)