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