You figure it out

If you’re a Steve and Kayla fan, the mere mention of the city of Stockholm can run a shiver up your spine.

Three knives

I always think of this scene as the first scene of the Stockholm story, but the setup has been going on for months and months to this umbrella-story-to-end-all-umbrella-stories. There is actually another story that takes place in Stockholm in 1985-86, but I would say what most people call “the Stockholm story” is kicked off with Marlena’s kidnapping in late summer 1986. We also learn around this time of some missing treasury bonds that everyone and their brother wants to get. Many threads from current stories will come into play:

Bo, recently revealed to be Victor’s son, is working with Shane to bring Victor down. (Victor, naturally is after the bonds too.) Hope, unaware of this, has recently left Bo.

Prior to the kidnapping, there was a mysterious person tracking and targeting Marlena – later revealed to be Orpheus, Roman’s former ISA partner who holds a grudge against Roman for killing his wife (accidentally).

It is the ISA, not Orpheus, that is secretly holding Marlena (to motivate Roman to find the bonds), and Shane’s new partner is in on it.

The tattoos (I could weep, it’s such genius):Β  Bo, Steve, and Britta all got matching tattoos that, all together, provide clues to the location of the bonds (still not sure how, but who cares?).

Britta’s murder, of course, is properly part of the Stockholm story too. What I also really like is how they use not only Steve’s tattoo but his relationship with people in Stockholm to bring him into the plot (on the good guy’s side) in a very believable way. Lana, the wife of the owner of the tattoo parlor, won’t agree to meet with them until Steve talks her into it.

This all sounds so complicated, doesn’t it? But it’s incredible how smoothly and effortlessly it unfolds onscreen. I love how intricate it all is, but all of it would mean nothing without the emotional and character moments within the plot. And this is what this storyline has in spades. Steve and Kayla fans probably love this storyline the most, but Roman and Marlena have some really nice, if brief, reunion moments within the plot, before she is “killed” by Orpheus at the end. Bo tells Hope, right before she goes to Stockholm the first time, about his secret plot to bring down Victor, and they spend the next several months publicly estranged but secretly reunited (this is one my favorite “established couple” stories, one that, in my opinion, they don’t use enough!).

But let’s get back to Steve and Kayla. Right before Steve, Roman, and Hope head off to Stockholm to track down a copy of Britta’s tattoo, Victor pays Steve a visit and tries to get Steve to do a job for him. Kayla overhears that Steve was being paid by Victor to spy on her and Bo. She is, naturally, angry and upset:

Kayla finds out Steve worked for Victor

Later, Steve tries to explain and try to get her to understand. I really like this because this is one time Steve doesn’t react to Kayla’s anger by blaming her for having faith in him in the first place. She’s pissed, he’s reaching out, and I love that.

It drives him into this very revealing statement – I can’t lie to you anymore. I love this because it’s almost purely in the way Stephen plays it that makes it the big moment that it is. The way he breaks off, and turns away and gives that derisive chuckle, show that Steve revealed more than he intended. It’s amazing how almost all of Steve and Kayla’s early breakthrough moments have to do with trust and belief, honesty and dishonesty. As I said back during my discussion of the patch removal scenes, for Steve, “falling in trust” is more important, and unprecedented, than falling in love.

At the airport, Kayla is quizzing him about what he meant, and he refuses to answer. Finally he says, “You’re a smart girl, you figure it out. ”

And she does. I love that they give them this moment, because it gives Kayla a little extra encouragement right before she makes the decision to fly out to Stockholm when Steve is shot — which I’ll talk about next time.

31 thoughts on “You figure it out

  1. And Steve and Kayla weren’t main characters in the saga, every one was brought into the story with their own story making this the best example of how to engage the viewers in the story!!! Thank you!!!

  2. This is my all time favorite story line; just watching Steve and Kayla fall in love, or in Steve’s case fall in “trust”. The other great thing about this sl is the fact that everyone was involved organically, even Kim showed up in Stockholm when Shane was shot. This is also a huge part of Steve’s redemption. There’s just sooo much goodness that happens here. I love this story line.

    • Me too! (Obviously!) I can’t say it’s my favorite storyline of all time, that’s the Steve/Kayla/Jack triangle, but it’s a very, very, very close second. And it’s more fun to watch — much less angst!

  3. Aw I love this storyline, and this type of storyline…where everyone would interact, everyone was intertwined, and yet each character/couple story had its own unique vibe. While the umbrella story was “out there”, that didn’t diminish the way characters were developed and the fact that the characters and love storylines remained the heart of the story.

    And Steve and Kayla…*sigh*. I could just hear Kayla’s heart pounding out of her chest when Steve blurted out “…because I can’t lie to you you anymore”. But she wouldn’t just take that information and store it, and kiss the guy the way we all wanted her to. Noooo she had to get him to repeat it and make sure she wasn’t hearing things LOL. It was so frustrating. Days loved stringing us (and Kayla) along back then lol.

    Good good gooood story. How I miss that!

    • I’m so hungry for a good story! I know we’ll never get a Stockholm again, but a good setup, some good angst, and then a payoff … is it so much to ask?

      Good point that Kayla was always pressing him. What did you mean when you said this? How did you feel about this? She was never one to just let things be. And even though Steve was frequently nettled or unsettled by all her questions, I think it was nice for him too. Someone cared enough to want to know what he was thinking and feeling.

      But yeah, I wonder what would have happened if she had just grabbed him and kissed him instead.πŸ™‚

  4. One of my all-time favorite storylines too. I will say both Stockholm storylines were important in me personally falling in love with the man behind the patch. This type of storytelling is exactly why I was obsessed with Days of our lives in the second half of the 80s. Multiple storylines that intertwined, paralleled and crossed. The way they would use half of Salem in the same storyline and the way they would layer things so well. They were so skilled at laying the groundwork for future storylines even during the peak moments of the current ones.

    I characterize most of the early S&K storyline as one step forward, two steps back but in these scenes we have a little change. The scene in the loft…”I can’t like to you anymore” seems like 2 steps forward. Then you follow it up with the scene at the airport where Steve is refusing to answer any questions looks like it is going to be usual step back but it ends with the “You’re a smart girl, you figure it out.” I remember watching these scenes over and over with my best friend back in the day and we were just ecstatic that it finally felt like progress!! Of course we’re still a couple of months away from a first kiss but at least we’re

    On a lighter note, are Hope and Steve sharing a suitcase? She clearly brings the blue suitcase downstairs then Steve takes it when he leaves for the airport. At first I thought he was just helping her out and carrying her bag but Hope’s not there and he is carrying the suitcase onto the plane.

    • It’s funny you mention the suitcase. I just noticed for the first time that Steve takes the suitcase Hope brought downstairs. Presumably they are not sharing a suitcase – that would be strange! – so I think it was just a mistake. (ETA: LOL, Liz! We posted this at the same time. Funny we all noticed the suitcase!)

      Totally agree that Steve’s line feels like a huge step forward, more so in the context than it would otherwise. He gets braver right before they are about to be separated.πŸ™‚

  5. Oops..I deleted a line…It should say Of course we;re still a couple of months away from a first kiss but at least we’re starting to sense they both want it.

  6. This is the storyline when I started saving my VHS tapes. Back in the days when the writers didn’t try to tell us who we should root for and who we were supposed to not like. When stories made us think and wonder “who kidnapped Marlena” since we didn’t know in the beginning, what is going on in Roman’s past (I miss DH as Roman; sounds weird, but I don’t like him as much as John) or will Steve and Kayla EVER KISS? When storylines were able to put multiple people in scenes together and it felt right. I don’t think there are umbrella storylines in today’s world. I think the 50th Anniversary is going to be closer than we’ve had in years. I’m holding out hope at least.

    Back to these scenes. It still takes a while for the whole truth of the stalking to come out, but at least Kayla is beginning to understand why Steve was around every time she turned around. But the tables are turned on Steve and he’s the one having to try to make things right – for a short time at least. Always before he’s been able to blow off any comments he’s made, but this time he realized he spoke the truth from his heart and he wasn’t sure how to handle it. I love your comment of falling “in trust” because it had been so long since Steve trusted anyone.

    • I’m hoping too that this fall story will be closer to an umbrella type story than we’ve had in a long time!

      I like the role reversal too, Steve having to be the one to try to explain. The show doesn’t remember so well anymore that it doesn’t have to be all one way or all another. They can mix things up. I noticed this particularly in 2006 when S&K came back. It was a like a kindergarten understanding of the Steve and Kayla story. Sigh.

      I miss the “wondering” too, though I think it is partly just that everyone reads spoilers now.πŸ™‚

  7. This story was sheer brilliance, and the type of “umbrella” story I wish we’d see more of today. It really makes the cast seem like a troupe, a family, all involved in different degrees at different times. I loved the old A, B & C story format that seems to have been lost! As for Steve and Kayla at this point…sigh…I can’t say enough at how absolutely SHINING they are together. Mary Beth is just luminous. How could Steve NOT fall for her. They both showed so much with just their eyes (or eye in Steve’s case). And with the almost painful “non-contact,” the palpable yearning really begins here doesn’t it? The push/pull between the characters was amazing (and at times supremely frustrating!). Can you imagine they don’t even kiss for MONTHS, let alone sleep together. Days was really smart with all of their “fantasy” sequences that gave us a taste of romance, a glimpse into what the characters were feeling, while still torturing us with the “real” world. They were also brilliant with their use of music in the day. What ever happened to those cheesy musical montages (budget, I guess)? I miss them. Were Steve and Kayla the only couple that had a song written especially for them?

    • I wish we would get love stories where they delay the first kiss for months and months like they used to. It really builds up the longing and hooks us in. That’s part of why I got so hooked on Ericole – the fact that he was a priest meant they didn’t kiss for over a year (with lots of dreams and fantasies of course).

      Yeah, I think both umbrella stories and music montages were sacrificed for budget reasons. Music montages because they can’t afford to pay music rights – though they occasionally will do something similar at the end of an episode, with score-type music. I love it when they do that.

      Umbrella stories I think are just more complicated to write and shoot, though I think with careful planning they shouldn’t be impossible. Kristen’s return to Salem in 2013 was kind of an umbrella story, actually. I hope that this 50th anniversary fall story will be good. I’m not expecting Stockholm, but something that involves lots of cast interaction and stories overlapping would be great.

  8. I think I’m sensing some overlapping stories beginning to develop. It will be interesting to see within the next month what stays and what goes. I’ve only recently returned to Days, but what they do seem to do ver well is keeping the core families together, and allowing people to have more real seeming relationships, with friendships. It’s not always just romance. People care about each other in a realistic familial way. They do this MUCH better than GH, which seems to isolate it’s characters into stories and allow no overlapping. GH tends to be very plot driven, where Days has always seemed to flow much more organically from relationships. I’m very interested to see what the new regime accomplishes. For me, this is a clean slate, since I’ve just returned full-time and am still getting to know the characters and storylines. One thing MBE and SN said on her PLANK blog (I’ve you haven’t seen the video blog of the two of them, you must, it’s very cute) was that the new writers are invested in dealing with who Steve and Kayla are NOW, not just rehashing the old formula. They wanted to write them as people who have been away from each other and are reconnecting. People who are getting older, and share children, etc. A mature love story. I’m so excited for this re-set. I hope they don’t rush it, and we get the long, torturous journey.

    • I did watch MBE’s plank blog, that was great. I’m getting the impression that there is a greater awareness all around that the big six, the three supercouples, are kind of past the dating and mating stage. Maybe I’m just getting that impression from what MBE said, I don’t know. I hope we can get a strong reconnection story for S&K, and presumably B&H too. But I hope after that we don’t see people in their 50’s and 60’s getting stories more appropriate for the 20’s – 30’s crowd. That’s why I’m glad to see the show bringing back other popular, but younger characters.

      One thing I do remember from Dena’s last run is that she was good at showcasing friendships, and that’s something I love to see too.

  9. Exactly! The big 3 couples are NOT teens, and that’s exciting. Days has some great younger couples to explore, and I think they are setting up some good stories for them (especially Chad and Abby – thought I’m not a fan of “who’s the Daddy” stories in general – doesn’t anyone use birth control LOL). They key to the “mature” love story is to try and keep it fresh, without being ridiculously corny. These folks are in their 50’s and 60’s and I hope they deal with that. There can still be love and passion, I believe, without trying to re-invent the wheel story-wise. Part of the problem is that WE already love S&K. This isn’t NEW, so they have to find a way to make it so. We can’t have Kayla running after Steve AGAIN. I wish they’d reverse it. Steve returns, but Kayla has moved on and doesn’t trust him, or something to that effect. I’d like to see him trying to woo her. I don’t even think they’d need to throw a third party into it (though they probably will) because she’s at a great independent successful point in her life right now. I wonder sometimes if Steve will come back with another woman. We’ll see. I just don’t want “cutesy.” And thank goodness they are too old now to have another baby LOL. The fact that Kayla has never had another successful romantic relationship is interesting to me. She has truly been a one man woman. I know Days has tried her with other folks, but in the age where everyone has been married like six times, she’s a rarity.

    I used to love all the great friendships too. Steve loved Hope in a platonic way. Diana and Mike’s friendship. The brother/sister dynamics of the Bradys, Hortons and Johnsons. How not all the male/female relationships were sexual, but were caring and true nonetheless.

    I know MBE and SN are back on contract, but I know nothing about PR. Is he staying around, or just a brief visit? I also wonder if they will finally bring MA back.

    I’m also making a pledge to myself NOT to read any spoilers. Pinky swear.

    • Yay! I’m going to have a spoiler-free buddy!

      I believe that PR is on contract as well as SN and MBE. Not sure how long any of these contracts are, but I’ll enjoy the ride as long as it lasts. I hope I will, anyway.πŸ™‚

      If they do any kind of triangle, I am so over Steve being the one in the middle. I don’t think that’s going to happen (that Steve comes back mixed up with another woman) just because MBE is so happy with the storyline. She has said before she doesn’t like that storyline. I would love to have someone for Kayla, but I don’t see how that could happen with the current cast and the current lack of storyline for Kayla. It would have to happen really fast.πŸ™‚ But Kayla has plenty of reason to be doubtful and not trust Steve, so I hope we see that. I hope we see him really having to work to earn back her trust. Lots of angsty longing, my favorite.

  10. From your mouth to God’s ears. I Do Not want a triangle. There’s enough between the two characters without adding that into the mix again (they’ve already done Steve with another woman four times at least). I don’t think Kayla will find anyone else either. One of the charming/frustrating things about Kayla is that she just could never love anyone else. She wouldn’t settle or compromise. It was the great love or nothing. I love that about her! I want Steve to WORK IT. I don’t want Kayla to just give take him back. I doubt the writers would be that foolish. I kinda want Kayla to kick his ass a little. Everyone knows she loves Steve, and if Steve returns with the expectation that they can just pick back up, I want to see her basically give him the finger for a good long time. Was there ever a reason given why they broke up? I wasn’t watching when MBE returned.

    It’s going to be a long month, but I’m pledging spoiler chastityπŸ™‚. I’ve found it ruins the anticipation, and I WANT to be on the edge of my seat this go around. Thank god for DVR’s and youtube. I remember coming home some days and the damn VCR didn’t work!!!

    • I remember that too! I also remember just sweating through the weekend waiting for Monday. Now I CHOOSE not to read spoilers (though I did this summer, before I started watching full time again — and I keep getting accidentally spoiled on Twitter), but back then, there was no choice. You just had to wait. I kind of miss that.

      I did watch the scene where Kayla says she and Steve broke up. It’s been awhile, but I think she said he was off on a case and they were apart so much they were having problems.

      If anyone else can fill in more details, feel free!

      And yeah, I really, really want it not to be too easy for Steve. She’s been the patient one, the forgiving one, and the one fighting for him, too often. Let him do some heavy lifting.

  11. The breakup — Kayla said Steve got restless at the clinic in Africa (which is the only part of it that I didn’t believe, that it wasn’t adventurous enough!), and called the ISA looking for a job. And that she spent the whole time she was stuck behind the bar at the pub thinking it over.

    Let’s see if it will let me post a link in the comments — πŸ™‚

  12. It’s odd we all lament the loss of great storytelling and the slow build storyline but remember how much TORTURE it all was to watch and wait? I think the reason for the shift has been that the ever important TV demographic is full of people who grew up in daycare instead of at home with our soap watching grandmothers/mothers and getting hooked on these shows as kids the way we did. It’s the generation that has grown up with reality TV and the internet that is so used to instant gratification that they lack the attention span necessary to pull off a great storyline. I was looking at a few soap themed websites recently and some of the people were complaining about how the storylines take too long and all I could think was THEY HAVE NO IDEA!

    • I agree that people don’t grow up watching anymore, and that’s sad. That’s how I got hooked. I watched Doug and Julie as a preschooler!

      You’re right, those long term stories were torture! And I always say I loved every minute but I didn’t really. Sometimes it drove me crazy, and sometimes it upset me way more than a TV show should upset me.

      Another difference between then and now is that I trusted the show & the writing. I wasn’t conscious of that trust, but I assumed – usually rightly – that the show was taking me to a good place and I should hang in there when things were difficult. I don’t have that trust anymore. I have hope, but not trust. And that’s kind of too bad.

  13. I think the writers pander too much to want they think the audience WANTS, but not what they truly NEED. The slow build did drive you crazy, but it made you invest in the characters in a much more solid way. If you waited and waited (and waited) for the payoff, it was much more exciting when it DID happen. As we all know, once that couple finally reaches the ILY moment, something bad is going to happen LOL, so it’s really the journey that’s the best part! In the 80’s (starting with GH’s LnL) the writers really wrote for the story, NOT the “demo.” I think people would get just as invested today if they would go back to that formula (at least a little bit). It seems like everyone just kisses then starts mauling each other right away LOL. Bring back the romance, I say!

    • I agree! And I can’t help hoping we’ll see some better romantic stories with Josh Griffith. It’s supposed to be a strength of his. That’s good because it’s not a strength of Dena Higley from what I’ve seen.

      Good point about wants vs needs. Soap queen Irna Phillips was famous for saying “make ’em wait” and I really think that’s what they should do. They do it with other stuff like characters keeping secrets – make us hang on waiting for it to come out. Why are they in such a hurry with the love stories? Anyway, the fact is viewers are going to complain no matter what. Might as well try to tell a good story.πŸ™‚

    • I love your statement about the writers giving the audience what they want versus what they need. When I look back at the S&K love story I can say without a doubt that my favorite part was the Johnson Family reunion. Now at the time I hated it and it was pure torture and I shed WAY too many tears over a soap opera but the scenes of Steve with his gaping wounds and his finally letting Kayla know he needed her. Then his guilt over what happens with Duke and pushing her away again. I still get chills thinking about those scenes and I still get emotional if I go back and watch them. This was a storyline I definitely NEEDED but it was agony to watch! I definitely have more appreciation for it now than I did when I was 14 and watching it all unfold.

      A few weeks ago I was watching some old scenes on my laptop (with headphones) and my husband walked by and saw one of those closing shots of Steve crying on the pier. His response was “Is HE crying?” and I just told him that Steve probably cried more than any other man on a soap opera ever has. My husband just laughed and walked away. I was just glad he didn’t notice that I was crying too.

      • I was 14 then too! My mom would scold me sometimes for caring so much about Days happenings. She said it was a soap, no one was happy for long. I couldn’t understand how she could be so cold.πŸ™‚

        I still cry over Days clips too, even when I’ve seen them before, multiple times. Steve/Stephen is so great in his breakdown scenes. Even the “happy” ones sometimes, like when he admitted he cared for Kayla, it just seemed like it was being ripped out of him. So hard to watch. MBE is also an excellent crier, but very different. She doesn’t sob, she’s a very quiet crier. Tears running silently down her face, it kills me.

        Sometimes a story should be dropped because of negative fan reaction – some stories really are bad! But even when the show drops a story they still need to wind it down, not just abruptly drop it. That drove me crazy in 2006-09, the show’s stories were lurching all over the place. My impression is that the show has been better about this recently, perhaps because of the long taping schedule. We’ll see.

  14. I was that age when I started watching LnL on GH. I remember my mother saying “what is wrong with you? it’s only a TV show!!!” But it wasn’t really. When you watch soaps long-term you become so invested in the characters. You know them. They are on every single day, rather than just once a week. I think that’s why those of us who appreciate good drama (or melodrama) got so hooked and invested. My mom as watched Gone with the Wind a billion times, it’s her favorite movie, but it always ends the same way. With soaps, even in death, there is always hope! Daytime drama is such a great genre. I hope they can restore it to at least some of it’s former glory. To think that these wonderful shows might be replaced by game shows or talks shows is a crime. I’m hoping that Days is ready for some out of the box thinking that really rejuvenates them.

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