When Hope, Roman, and Steve get to Stockholm, things immediately go very wrong. Roman is arrested and Steve is shot. Hope, caring for Steve, calls Kayla for advice.
Then, a scene for the ages:
The moment when Kayla walks through the door, and Steve smiles involuntarily and says her name, has to be one of the greatest soap moments of all time.
Kayla has just made a big move by showing up in Stockholm unannounced, and it’s an elephant in the room through the scene. They’re both thinking about it, but they don’t know what to say or how to talk about it. She feels defensive because she feels she’s put herself out there, and he wants to find out why she’s here without revealing too much himself. These undercurrents turn their conversation into something of a fencing match. I love when Stephen and Mary Beth get a nice long scene like this one, where they can play out a whole dynamic of advance, retreat, advance, retreat.
They each retreat into familiar roles – Steve the sleazy guy, Kayla the exasperated nurse. But I think Steve is so happy that she’s there that his attempt at his sleazy-guy routine sounds more like lighthearted banter. Some great lines: “I got no heart, baby.” “It’s bad blood, anyway.”
Then Steve tries to break through this delicate fencing with a blunt maneuver, when he grabs her by the hair and asks why she came. But she throws it right back at him by saying it’s for Roman, and “Why else would I come?” She’s challenging Steve to meet her halfway, to acknowledge there’s something between them. I also love the way they are touching each other here: he’s holding her hair, she’s holding his arm, almost caressing it.
Hope’s entrance interrupts that moment, but they pick up again when she leaves. More sparring, each trying to find a way to get the other to make a move. When she says she’ll try not to hurt him, he says “you do that.” Later, when he says, jokingly, “Don’t you trust me?” she says “Should I?”
Then, finally, after she’s given him a sedative, he thanks her for being there. She strokes his hair and cheek as he drifts off to sleep.