Stray dog

Steve takes a gamble. He allows Kayla to persuade him to come back to Salem to try to clear his name. At first, her assurances, and his trust, seem to be fully justified. Roman says he knows that Britta’s death is “bigger than any lover’s quarrel.” He declines to arrest Steve.

But then the system kicks in and Steve is held anyway — based largely on the testimony Kayla already gave to police. This is the first time, not the last, that Steve will trust Kayla, feel like he gets burned by it, and bitterly blame her.

Steve is arrested

In addition to believing in his innocence, Kayla knows that their bond, the fragile bond of trust they established in the barn, is at risk. She harangues Roman so much about the case that he notices something is up. He asks her why she is taking such a strong interest in this. “I just don’t want to see injustice done,” she says (stammering a little). “That’s a very noble cause,” he says, eying her skeptically.

But even though Kayla is ready to put herself on the line for Steve, and she understands Steve’s anger at her, she will only be pushed so far.

Kayla visits Steve in jail

When she goes to see him in jail to apologize again, he’s too mad to listen. He mocks her, and himself, for trusting her.  Finally, she gets mad: “We’ll just let all your other friends worry about you.”

Steve does get out (with a little help from Bo asking Victor for a favor). Kayla comes to give him a ride home, but before she can, she runs into Bo and gets another lecture.

Bo tells Kayla about the stray dogs she used to take in, get cleaned up and find a nice home for. But Steve can’t be fixed, he says. If he’s any kind of dog, he’s one with rabies. Kayla fires back, “Oh, so we just shoot him? Put him out of his misery?” I love how all these warnings just make her more stubborn.

That stubbornness is on full display when she offers Steve that ride, saying defiantly that she’s not “lots of people” — the ones saying he’s dangerous — and is he coming or not? But then when he presses her again, “Are you sure you’re sure?” she looks at him and doesn’t have an answer.

That’s the end of the episode, and that’s a perfect way to end this arc. What are we supposed to make of it all? Who was right? Was Kayla right to persuade him to come back? Was he right to trust her? Her faith in Roman was justified, but not her faith in the system. She couldn’t make it right for him (it took Bo, and Victor, to do that), but she never stopped trying. Steve blamed her and tried to shut her out, but then relents (a little) in the end. The show doesn’t provide a clear answer. It’s ambiguous, and messy, and I love that.


19 thoughts on “Stray dog

  1. I agree, I love the ambiguous messy ending. The look in Steve’s eye, at the end, seemed like he is trying to scare off Kayla before they get too deep. But at least, he is consistent in those early days of continually trying to scare her off. I have always believedd, of course, he was trying to scare her off for her own good (a little) but mostly to save his own heart. Down deep, he knew he was a goner the first time he saw her.

    • Yeah, I think it’s definitely both, which is what makes it so great. The more he felt for her, the scarier it was, and the more he wanted her to have something better. But, of course, the more he felt the harder it was to keep up the act. Great dynamic.

  2. What a study in their differences…

    Steve is so volatile, angry and in your face in these scenes. When I first watched this I was taken aback by how angry and confrontational he is with Kayla (who had already told him she believes in his innocence and didn’t deserve his wrath). And I wonder if new viewers to their story might feel that way as well…But on re-watching it’s always so clear to me that he is using that anger at the situation to push Kayla away again (because at this point she is already believing in him and he is trusting her: two things Steve was wary and afraid of). He keeps angrily pointing out their differences and how/why he shouldn’t trust her, her brothers or the system. And he thinks that the louder and snarlier he gets, the more Kayla will just back away and get turned off. *Sidenote: re Roman and Steve having a shout off in the police station-That was louder than I remember.

    It’s interesting to watch Kayla take it all in, While they shout, she internalizes it all. She tries to make sense of it. Her eyes tell the whole story. She’s disgusted and infuriated (at the whole situation), but rather than back off she keeps coming around to make sure Steve sees that she hasn’t given up, despite all of his blame and anger. Bo is there to try and talk her down too (the writers made it a point to show us that she wasn’t just there to see justice done, but also because of her feelings for Steve). Steve and her brothers have all underestimated her tenacity and treat her as if she were a child who doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into. (Sometimes that seemed sweet and protective, and other times it seemed condescending). That’s why I love the scenes you highlighted where Kayla shows what she’s made of “I’ll let your other friends worry about you”, and then the scene where she comes to pick him up and drive him home. She wasn’t going to let Steve have the last word.

    “Are you sure you’re sure”? Sounded like Steve was re-iterating that she didn’t really know him or what she was getting into by believing in him. And at this point maybe Kayla wasn’t sure what she was getting into. But it was too late, because she already had feelings for Steve.

    • Sometimes it’s a bit shocking to watch these early scenes and see how angry and hateful Steve can be. SN/the writing team really took it up to the limit of what they could come back from. It shows a lot of confidence in the story and these actors. That’s why it’s so important to show Kayla is not a doormat, which they do really well here. They lost a lot of this side of Kayla in 2006-09. I hope we’ll see it again now.

      When SN, DH, or PR are together yelling at each other, that’s a lot of alpha maleness on my screen – and it makes me very happy. 🙂

  3. I think there are a lot of things fueling Steve’s anger and just plain out meanness. Some of it is trying to scare her away (for his sake and for hers) but a lot of it is him being mad at himself for believing in her belief in him. She convinces him to come back, not so much because he believes it will all work out okay, but because SHE believes it, and believes in him, and he wants so badly to believe she’s right. And then, when she’s wrong (sort of, anyway), it’s this double betrayal. On the surface it’s her fault for being wrong, but deeper down it’s his fault for ever believing anything she said, which then makes it her fault again for making him believe it. All throughout this early period he tends to overreact when something like this happens that proves he was right – about himself or about the system. Because each time she’s pulled him out of his cynical/protective shell enough to believe in something and that means it just hurts twice as bad when it doesn’t work out.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean Kayla deserves his anger and I love it when she is allowed to call him out on it and/or walk away from him because of it. It’s a fine line and I appreciate the show took the time and care to make sure she’s never a doormat. That said, when people looked at BSC!Steve in 2007 and said that Steve was never that mean and cruel to Kayla, I had to disagree. He was every bit that mean and cruel in the past. The difference was in how Kayla was written in dealing with it and it took them far too long in 2007 to find any kind of balance that they had here.

    • Excellent points, Erica! I love the way you describe the dynamic, the circularity of it – he’s blaming her and blaming himself for believing her, but that means he has another reason to blame her, for having that faith in him to begin with and making him believe it.

      I do think people forget about how cruel Steve could be, because they took care to balance his cruelty with two things: showing how he was really feeling – how much he cared about her – and having Kayla only willing to put up with so much. But even then there really were times when we were just hanging onto this ship by our fingernails.

      I was thinking about this a lot when I was watching the Ericole clips from when Eric was so hateful after he found out about Nicole shredding the evidence. A lot of the right elements were there – we saw that Eric still had feelings for Nicole, she did get angry with him. I really think it could have worked, if they toned down the “hate” talk (what’s wrong with “angry”?), showed her with someone else being semi-happy (instead of judgy Daniel), where he had to eat his heart out about it. And if they had moved the story forward more quickly – sometimes I think that’s the only thing that saved Steve and Kayla when he broke up with her for Jack, how quickly they drove it all through.

      • Mary.. speaking of Ericole…I looked at the clips you posted when he was a priest. What a perfect match with Nicole. He is so different than the cookie cutter characters…I do see him like you said as kind of in the woman’s role and I really dig that! How refreshing! I can see them in the new episodes trying to keep him as someone who fights to be on the side of the angels… I don’t know where I came up with that lol but do you kwim? What a great contrast. I haven’t seen all the angry scenes after the “shredding”.. but it sounds like she deserved it? Or no? I can’t see her with Daniel. When she had sex with him the other day I was like where did that come from? And no chemistry. I liked SC when he was on ATWT a long time ago and he was cute for a long time but he seems like the go-to guy for the women on the show. So I’m team Ericole for sure. There’s so many young guys on this show and I’m still trying to get their names right. I’ve been planning on looking up a family tree.

      • Eric definitely brings a different male energy to the show, and I love it too. He’s a perfect match for Nicole.

        Yes, she did deserve blame for what she did. And there was the extra element that she took away his vocation, not just with the shredding but because he fell in love with her. Even after he could have been reinstated (which Nicole helped to bring about), he felt he couldn’t do it. He was too filled with rage and lust, lol. After years of training to be a priest and feeling like it was a calling, suddenly that was all gone. So it did make sense. All the right pieces were there, but the way he kept saying he hated her, and being mean and almost spiteful, got really old. But I am encouraged by what’s been happening lately, to come back from that. They are kind of filling in some gaps.

    • great post 🙂

      -ITA with what you said Kayla’s response to the cruelty was the biggest difference in the second run. I was soften SO disappointed with how she was written as a doormat. That said, Kayla already knew who “real Steve” was and could explain his behavior not really being “real Steve’s” choice. She could blame amnesia & brainwashing as obstacles to getting to the “the real Steve” who would never treat her that way after all they had been through. In the early first run, Kayla was not completely sure what motivated him to push her away.

      -Steve was pushing Kayla away in the second run, but not because of any complex fears or being hurt or past demons. The underlying push-pull of a romantic storyline was not there. This time it felt like he was devoid of emotion, and that may have been due to brainwashing but it was still tough to watch. I understood and sympathized -Steve felt like he was being forced to accept a life he didn’t remember and wasn’t sure he wanted. They got that across. But what the writers didn’t really show that he was drawn to Kayla in any deep or lasting/consistent way. You didn’t see him yearning for her. It was like he felt forced toward her because of a history. And I think that’s what felt especially cruel (at least to me). I think that’s what viewers most wanted to see: that Steve at least felt something for Kayla. (eventually they got there but it took a long time)

  4. I think everyone above has pretty well said what I’ve been thinking about Kayla and Steve during these scenes. I have to mention the scenes with Bo. Bo is trying to protect his sister, but somehow I think deep down even though he tries to act like he doesn’t care about Steve, he does. Their history is long and Bo knew the good guy before the knifing and then he knew what Steve turned in to (and he is partly to blame for that). Maybe if Steve and Kayla hadn’t been attracted to each other (and Bo trying to keep them apart) maybe their friendship could have resumed during the first run. Not that that’s what I would want 🙂

    • One of the things that surprised me and that I loved discovering while watching the show is how close Bo and Steve were before Kayla ever met Steve. They had a bit of a bromance going on before bromances were cool, no? 😉 That was something I was not expecting in my Kayla/Steve journey. Did they team up again in the 2000’s? Hopefully coming back at the same time this time means we’ll get to see more of them, hopefully on the same side.

      • Yes, they absolutely have a great bromance. 🙂 I kind of resented Bo when he was working against Steve and Kayla, but it was great drama. As Lisa mentions, they hadn’t exactly fully made peace when Bo left in 87, but somehow it worked perfectly for them to be friends when Bo came back in 1990. They had some great scenes together in the 2006 run, and I expect we’ll see lots of them together this fall. Looking forward to it!

      • If there was ever a scene where Kayla found out the true history of Steve and Bo I don’t recall it. You would think that if Bo is so certain that Steve will be bad for Kayla he would played that card and told her that she was just a pawn in Steve’s quest for revenge on him just the way Hope had been. I always interpreted this as Bo was holding out hope that the Steve he used to know was still in there somewhere. Hope seemed sure that there was a good guy deep down behind the patch and I think Bo wanted it be true. So while he is yelling at Kayla he just says stuff like that guy is bad news or he is no good but he never puts all his cards on the table.

      • There wasn’t a scene where Kayla found out – which I always regret as a major missed opportunity in their story. I always wanted it because it annoyed me so much how Bo always said he was bad news and never admitted his role in making him the way he was. But you bring up an even better point, which is that Bo had ample reason to think Steve was using Kayla for his revenge on Bo (that’s how it started, after all!). So why not say that? I love the idea that deep down he is holding out hope for Steve. Better than him just not wanting to admit what he had done.

  5. I love when Steve see’s her when she comes to pick him up. Before he puts on the mean act, his face registers surprise and just a hint of happiness before he gets snarky with “well looky who’s here” . Plus when she takes his elbow and walks him out, he is so stiff and keeps his arm rigid that shows his apprehension but also confusion as to how Kayla treats him. Great small details by SN is what made these early scenes between them so good.

    and I agree with others comments, it is amazing to see early on how Kayla just doesn’t back down from ANYONE and gives it back.

    • Nice observations – and I agree that with a character like Steve, we need those touches by SN to show what he’s feeling. They make all the difference.

      I love seeing Kayla this way – just on a tear! But I love the hint of vulnerability too, in her final look at the end. She’s scared too.

  6. Kayla says “We’ll just let all your other friends worry about you.” Then it is Bo who finds out Victor is pulling some strings here and he asks him to stop and get Steve released so it was Steve’s other friend who was worrying about him. The Steve and Bo relationship is certainly complicated and I would like to have seen a little more of rebuilding of that relationship but again I read a lot into the actions of both. We have to assume that at some point Kayla finds out the history between them but the fact that neither of them tell her indicates to me that they both still hold onto a bit of their friendship.

    I really can’t believe that we never got a scene where Kayla finds out about the patch. That seems like such a major omission to me now. I can understand that the patch was never important to Kayla. She accepted him scars and all. But it was a huge part of how he saw himself and how he led his life. And there are so many places where it could have fit in and this is one of them.

    • Ha – good point that Steve actually did have another friend to worry about him.

      I like your idea that neither of them tells her because they are hanging onto their old friendship. Better than thinking it’s just a glaring oversight be the show. 🙂 It didn’t even occur to me back then, but now I think it’s a major missed opportunity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s