I am going to do something I’ve never done before: re-post something. I originally posted this six or seven years ago. But since it’s exactly what I want to say next about the Steve and Kayla story, and my readers might not have every post I’ve ever written committed to memory, here it is again.
Longtime commenter Erica and I both have the Steve and Kayla DVDs, and we like to watch together and exchange emails about them. Here is what we said about one of my favorite scenes of all time, when Kayla believes Steve might be guilty of Britta’s murder.
maryp: I want to say at the outset how much I love this little triangle. It’s great drama, the best kind, where everything flows from understandable character motivations. I can’t think of a way they could have structured this whole thing better. I love that Kayla doesn’t have faith in him here, because it’s such a different dynamic than they have later. I also love that Steve still has feelings for Britta, instead of it being all One Big Misunderstanding. It’s all very “real,” which is what is so great about early Steve and Kayla. Later plots like the senator’s shooting are more contrived and soapy (though still really fun). But here, it really is believable that Steve could maybe snap and kill Britta.
Erica: They really set up everything perfectly for the moment that Kayla hears Steve threaten Britta. She’s stepped back and built up a few of her own walls by trying to see him only as everybody else does. She’s seen him be quite menacing and threatening to Britta in the Emergency Center. She’s even heard Britta tell her that Steve’s dangerous. And now she hears him very specifically and angrily threaten to kill her. When Britta shows up dead and seems to name Steve as her killer, there isn’t much left for Kayla to hold on to.
maryp: I’d like to say one more thing about Britta before we leave her to rest in peace. The wrongs she committed against Steve were never righted before she died—she never found out she was wrong about Steve, or wrong about Kayla. She never got her comeuppance. This final betrayal by Britta is one that drives Steve further back into himself, which is a good leaping off point for our love story. If Steve had evened the score before she died, it would have been more about Britta than about Kayla. As you so brilliantly pointed out in your last message, no matter how much he loved Britta, he’s never been truly loved in return.
Erica: I have to give MBE kudos because she really does convey a real fear of Steve when he first shows up. If she doesn’t sell Kayla’s fear, then the rest of the conversation really doesn’t work nearly as well. But, she does sell it — completely.
maryp: My heart just breaks for Steve during this scene, because it doesn’t occur to him that Kayla will think he’s guilty. And when he realizes his mistake, it’s another nail in the coffin. He thought she saw him as a person and not just a “Patch,” and when she thinks he’s guilty, well, it kills him. His reaction, though, is really telling, and I think fits with his reaction when she called him a “thug”–he acts scarier than ever. I just love the way SN says the line, “But I’m a murderer, and I killed somebody that I once loved.” There’s so much menace there, and he’s almost smiling, and yet behind it we can hear his hopelessness.
Erica: It is a heartbreaking scene for Steve. Particularly at the beginning when he doesn’t know that she heard him threatening Britta or that Britta said his name when asked who shot her. All he knows is that she thinks he killed Britta just because of who he is — “Patch.” And all he can do in response is try and prove her right by being as scary and menacing as possible. Even when he realizes why she thinks it could be true, it’s too late. He’s already been betrayed, so to speak.
maryp: But, sigh, I have to admit that this is a very fine Kayla Brady moment. Because here she is, alone with a possible murderer and he’s grabbing her and acting threatening, and she answers his questions honestly and even says “I think it’s terrible that they call you Patch, and I just won’t do it.” The other part I love is when he says, “But I’m all bad, right?” and she says, “No,” immediately, and then hesitates before saying she’s seen him care about Max. That hesitation is perfect. Her feeling that there’s more to him is so complex and so, I don’t know, private, maybe, sacred, that she just picks the safest example in Max.
Erica: I love that moment when, in the middle of everything, she tells him exactly why she won’t call him Patch. Because her answer is evidence that she isn’t pretending to be different, she really is different from everybody else. I also love that she’s still telling him that he’s not a bad guy, that she’s seen the good side of him. It shows that deep down she still can’t just see him as some thug. It’s beautifully played on both parts because both come off as sympathetic characters. We know Steve’s being accused of a crime we know he didn’t commit. But, Kayla also generates sympathy simply by being honest and trying to help even though she has been intimidated and semi-threatened, and is clearly unsure what to believe.
I think it’s important to lay the groundwork as carefully as they did to protect the very essence of the Steve and Kayla romance — namely that she sees a different side of him from everybody else, and believes in him when nobody else does, and he needs that belief like he needs a drug. If Kayla could just believe that Steve killed Britta based on nothing but the conversation on the pier, then it would undermine the supposed faith she has in him, even this early on. But, by setting it up with several different incidents, it provides a strong basis for having significant doubts about Steve’s innocence. And, it sets up for the next big step forward when she does finally believe him.
maryp: Yes, they did a beautiful job with this. This is perfect example of the step back having the step forward built into it. They could have played this very black and white, a complete seesaw from suspicion now to belief later, but instead they gave Kayla every single reason in the world to believe that he’s the worst he could possibly be, and yet there’s a seed in there, that seed of belief, that we saw in the Andrew kidnapping and even more importantly here.
Erica: I also think Kayla’s physical fear at the beginning is based on the way Steve chooses to approach her. By grabbing her and restraining her, he immediately freaks her out and she can’t hide that response. And, I love the scene at the end, just as he is about to leave, where he tells her she doesn’t have to be afraid of him. It’s very sad and sincere and I think goes a long way towards convincing Kayla that, if nothing else, there is more to the story.
maryp: I think the reason Kayla doesn’t give him up to the cops is because of what they say, “He killed once, he’ll kill again.” Even though Steve just acted in a really menacing way towards her, that core of belief tells her he won’t hurt her. If the cops had said instead, “If he’s innocent, he’ll have nothing to worry about,” or some such thing, she might have given him up. Of course, she still wants him to turn himself in, but she has just enough faith restored to reject the cops’ version of Steve.
Erica: It’s funny, I think MBE does a great job of showing Kayla really is scared when Steve first shows up at the EC. But, I think she does an equally fine job of showing that her fear was really an initial response based on the circumstances and not really how she feels about him.
maryp: I think it’s the difference between a primal, physical fear for one’s safety vs. mentally doubting someone’s guilt or innocence. At the beginning of the scene, Kayla has that physical fear based on everything she knows about the evidence against him, but by the end of the scene that physical fear is gone, even though her intellectual opinion of his guilt is still uncertain. Her body knows the truth of his innocence before her mind. And, of course, this seed of belief sets up the great moment in the barn, when she tells him she believes he’s innocent. The two scenes are like mirror images of one another, with the delightful on the run adventure in between.