When Kayla arrives in Salem, the show doesn’t throw her immediately into Steve’s orbit. Instead, it takes a little time to let us get to know her first. The Brady family’s various crises (Kim just had her baby, John Black was revealed to be Roman Brady, and Bo revealed to be Victor’s son — this is right after May sweeps, after all!) provide the perfect pretext for Kayla to interact with all kinds of different people. I would say that the first moment that really shows the Kayla we come to know and love — active, determined, idealistic, maybe a little naive — is when she decides to call Victor and ask him, just ask him, if he’ll leave their family alone. Maybe no one has given him a chance!

While Kayla is running around dealing with all these family crises, she runs into Steve maybe four or five times. I was looking for two things in these early interactions. First, I wanted to see when Steve first showed regret, or that famous Steve Johnson self-loathing, about the way he treats Kayla. Second, I wanted to see the first time Kayla actively engages with Steve. Since she is the one who drives their early love story, when she decides to pursue him, I wanted to see the very first spark of that — a moment where she isn’t just reacting to him, she’s trying to engage, in however small a way.

Luckily for me, these two things happen for the first time in the same little mini-story — three scenes. When Steve drops Britta’s picture in Kayla’s Cleveland apartment, and when she returns it to him in Salem.

Britta’s picture

In the first scene, we see Steve acting in what has become his pattern — crowding her, making jokes, acting sleazy. But I hear a little bit of an extra edge when he says, “I know what the problem is — your feelings are hurt I wasn’t here to see you.” He says this thinking — knowing — that this could never be true, that she would never feel that way in a million years. And it rankles. And then when he leaves, outside the door, we see that reaction shot for the first time, the one I was looking for: he’s upset, maybe a little ashamed. Stephen often uses this gesture, where Steve adjusts his patch, to signal I hate what I’ve become.

On Kayla’s side, in the Cleveland scenes, we see her fear and wariness, and also a suggestion that she is aware of him physically. When he tucks the dollar into her arm “for her time,” she brushes it away and then touches the spot on her arm that he touched. Again this is the pattern that we’ve seen develop over their early scenes.

But back in Salem, there is a shift: she’s not as afraid of him. Maybe it was seeing the picture of Britta — knowing there is someone he cares about, that the women in his life aren’t all “Christys.” I also think he’s gotten to her enough that she has something to prove to him, a little. She wants him to know he can’t intimidate her, she doesn’t scare so easily. When he asks if she’s afraid of him (I love that he asks her twice, with extra intensity the second time), she says no. She’s not being entirely truthful, but it is starting to be true. This is the first scene, as I said above, where she spars with him instead of just shying away. I especially love the moment when she pulls out the picture to give back to him. It turns the tables on him, takes the wind out of his sails — Stephen shows that perfectly in his reaction. It proves that he’s underestimated her.

(By the way, does anyone know when Patsy Pease’s return scenes will air? I heard she shot some episodes that would be on in April.)


9 thoughts on “Snapshot

  1. Just a few of observations; Don’t you love that Sweetness was originally used to annoy Kayla. Although we all know that’s what Steve did think of her. I also liked the feisty side of Kayla showing when Savannah kept getting her name wrong. Sneaky Steve was stealing TP and silverware and even though he was hired to scare her he did try to do her the favor of warning her of working on the riverfront.
    As creepy as he was with her in the apartment, his better side starts to peek out in with the warning and offer of coffee. I know I didn’t read all that much into it when I watched it originally, but I so enjoy seeing the little details now. Oh, and why is Chris orange?

    • Ha ha! Thank you for pointing out that Steve is helping himself to free TP. I liked how he was juggling them in the scene, but didn’t make the connection that he is probably stealing them from the Shenanigans bathrooms. That’s a great detail.

      I agree that Kayla sparring with Savannah is terrific. Another way of using the Kayla/Chris connection and helping us get to know Kayla. And I love how he asks her for coffee. It’s a little sincere moment. And you’re probably right that he is being sincere with his warning also — which is ironic since (as we’ll see) it’s probably what bothers her the most, since she takes the EC job partly to show him that she’s not scared.

      As for why Chris is orange, well, it was the 80’s! 🙂

  2. I didn’t watch DOOL when Catherine Mary Stewart played Kayla, so MBE is the only version I’ve seen. In the beginning she was hanging out with Chris and it almost seemed like the writers were testing the waters, even though MBE screen-tested with SN. But Kayla was all over the place: catching up with her family, seeing Chris, getting offered the job at the Emergency Center. One scene I remember is when Chris is showing her Bo’s basement apartment as his new office and it ends up becoming Steve’s new home.
    OK, I can get long-winded I know. But one question I have is who cleaned her place in Cleveland – the landlord? When she gets the call from Kim her place has been broken in to and spray-painted. She acts like she’s ready to escape. Then when it’s time to return to Cleveland she has no trouble walking into the apartment like she knows everything is going to be back in place like it was before (she even brings in some groceries if I remember correctly). Maybe she was talking to the landlord and he told her everything was cleaned up?

    • I too feel there is a continuity error there, Rene. I can fanwank that it happened offscreen — that either Kayla cleaned it all up before she left, or called someone else and asked them to do it. But, it seems like that should have been explained. Especially since we see her in the apartment just a little while later.

      Also, as I commented on the last post, it seems like they could have used the stalking scenes a bit more, thematically. Like Erica says in the comment below, it could factor in to her decision to stay in Salem — to not be scared twice. It still works as subtext, but I just think it’s funny she never mentions it to anyone.

      And I did watch Catherine Stewart as Kayla, and she and Chris were my favorite couple on the show at the time — which always makes me laugh to remember.

  3. I love these early scenes, especially in retrospect. They are filled with little treasures, yet are also less obvious than I often remembered. You can see the seeds of what might be coming, but there is no glaring neon sign to that effect (yet).

    I love the point you make about Kayla having something to prove to Steve. I can even extrapolate that it comes from what happened in Cleveland. That is, she was scared out of Cleveland and here she is in Salem and I think she’s stubborn enough to refuse to be scared there too. Obviously, she doesn’t know it’s the same person, but I think the connection can be made in how she responds to both Steve’s challenge and that drunken bum at the EC.

    And, like you, I love the moment after the second trip to Cleveland when she returns Britta’s picture to him. It so perfectly turns the tables and I like that, somehow, Kayla knows that before she even returns the picture. As you say, just finding it changes her view of him slightly.

    Oh, and I also really love Kayla’s introduction to Salem. It’s wonderful to see her interact with everybody and establish her role as the family peacemaker/mediator so quickly.

    • I love watching this knowing what the plan was, and how patient the show was being about it. They also recognized, which the show did not in 2006, that in order to care about Steve and Kayla as a couple, we have to care about them as individuals. And that means seeing what Kayla is like, apart from Steve, since this is a new recast of a character who has been off the canvas for awhile.

      I love your point that Kayla is determined not be scared twice. Another thing that struck me this time, as I was watching, is that Steve assures Emma that Kayla was scared “permanently” out of Cleveland, and yet she turns around and goes back there just a week or so later. In fact, she almost screws up Emma’s plan. It would have been really funny to have a scene where Emma chews Steve out for being such an inept scarer. And Steve trying to defend himself, saying anyone else would have been terrified, he can’t help it if she’s just really stubborn …

  4. So fun to see these scenes again — it’s been a while! Even though they seemed to be testing MBE’s Kayla with Chris a little, I liked hearing her say that she didn’t want to go backward in coming back to Salem. They did such a good job of establishing where characters were in their lives back then.

    Patsy is supposed to be back for five episodes in May, according to Jason47 (although she said April). I don’t think the exact days are out yet. They were filmed around Christmas-time.

    • Thanks for the info on Patsy Pease, lska. I’ll keep my eyes open. Given the developments this week with Kristen and Teresa’s baby, Kim’s return must have to do with that!

      Good catch on the line about Kayla not wanting to go “backwards.” You’re right, those little touches make all the difference in helping us understand where people are coming from. It’s not in this huge dramatic way, just naturally through the dialogue.

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