Now we’re getting into my favorite aspect of the Shayla storyline, when the conflict between Kayla and Kim ripples out into the rest of the family.
This is fantastic use of Brady family history. Shawn’s favoritism of Kim has been well-established. Way back in 1984, the show introduced the “Best and Brightest” moniker, and how it affected Kim. The show explored the pressure of being Shawn’s perfect daughter, and how it made it difficult for her to talk about her sexual abuse, or admit that she needed help. Later, at Jack and Kayla’s wedding, Shawn apologized to Kayla for his focus on Kim, saying he hoped she didn’t feel overlooked.
I like how it all starts so naturally. Kayla is late and Bo says he would understand if she didn’t want to come. It makes perfect sense that Bo would sympathize most with Kayla. He is in a position to know how she feels following Steve’s death, because it’s the same way he feels after Hope’s. That leads to Roman sticking up for Kim and then Shawn jumping in. And then the wonderful moment when Bo snaps at Shawn that if Kim is his best and brightest, what does that make Kayla? I love this because it’s exactly how family quarrels tend to go. You think you’re arguing about something in the present, and suddenly you’re arguing about things that happened decades ago.
That leads to a general eruption, as suddenly everyone jumps in and starts talking over each other. The actors here play so well off of each other, all perfectly in character. Shawn and Bo butting heads, Roman taking his dad’s side as the eldest child, Kim protesting that she’s fine, she’s fine, and Caroline trying to calm everyone down. And Bo’s accusation of Shawn’s favoritism has more bite after Shawn blurts out that Kayla went after Kim’s husband — just in time for Kayla to walk in and overhear.
Kim’s grand greeting is sincere, I believe, but has a note of look-at-meism that I think registers with Kayla. Then they all sit down and try to eat, but Kayla can’t do it. (She’s so upset she manages to knock over her water glass without even moving!)
On her way out, she breaks my heart with her line, “I never meant for this to happen.” Kayla is obviously not used to being the one creating conflict. If this were about anything else, she’d be right there next to Caroline, trying to smooth things over. It will be interesting to see how the family peacemaker, the good girl who never caused anyone any trouble, reacts to being at the heart of a family quarrel.