The agony and the ecstasy

Days takes a simple premise – Kayla asks Steve to the loft for dinner – and turns it into an emotional roller coaster. They tease our hopes up to a maddening pitch and then knock us down to the depths of despair. Then they turn around and bounce us back up again with one of the greatest breakthrough scenes of all time.

I’m going to spread my discussion of this over a couple of posts. Let’s take a look at the setup, when Kayla issues her invitation:

Failed date 1

This scene is complicated wonderfully by the presence of Chris. First we see Steve’s jealousy, as Steve looks on while Kayla hugs Chris excitedly over some football tickets. Then, when Kayla actually asks Steve to come to dinner, Steve hedges – not very convincingly – before accepting. (Also, his “I didn’t see you there” after watching her hug Chris is endearingly transparent).

The key part of this scene is Chris’s conversation with Steve afterwards. This is brilliantly written. It’s easier for Steve to fight back against Chris when he accuses him of seeing Kayla as just another notch in his belt, or doing something that will put Kayla in jail. But then Chris says Steve might be a good man underneath the chip on his shoulder, and he’s asking that good man to leave Kayla alone. Now Chris is attacking Steve on his weakest side.

Steve fights that off, too, saying he doesn’t think Kayla would appreciate her friends talking behind her back and trying to run her life. He almost sounds like Kayla there! But as we’ll see, this is mostly bravado. I don’t think we hear Steve talk like that again until the summer on the run.

As we watch them both get ready, and the anticipation builds for them both, I find it very distressing to watch Kayla’s excitement and anticipation, knowing what is going to happen. (And I find Steve’s leather blazer and bolo tie distressing too, but in a different way.)

When I was watching this the first time, as soon as Kayla had the fantasy of what would happen at their date, I suspected that the reality would be much different. But still I hoped. It all ends with a Friday cliffhanger – such a simple thing. Steve is all ready, he has his bouquet of yellow roses, and he hears Chris’s voice in his head, telling him to leave Kayla alone.  Will he stay or will he go?

That was looooong weekend to wait through. Then, Bo happens:

Failed date 2

This is torture. It kills me that Bo’s lecture to Kayla has a little more weight now, in this situation. She’s all dressed up, her hopes were high, and she has to admit that Steve is late. She fights Bo’s warnings off, but we can see she isn’t as sure of herself as she has been before.

Then, when Bo leaves, he runs into Steve. Oh, he was so close, just outside the door!

In Steve, Bo finds a more receptive audience for his lecture than he did with Kayla. Just like Chris, Bo manages to find the chinks in Steve’s armor. But he’s even more effective then Chris because of the friendship he and Steve shared. He plays on that friendship, on the feelings that Steve still has for Bo. He says he’s not “telling” Steve to stay away from Kayla this time, he’s asking. And if Steve has any decency left, just a little from the old days, he’ll stay away from Kayla. That’s what gets to Steve, not Bo’s threats.

Next: the depths.

17 thoughts on “The agony and the ecstasy

  1. Done in by: One ex-lover, a brother & a happy……! * It’s still weird to me the actor playing Chris is now playing Roman, all kinds of Ewwwww!!! * Come on Bo! Did you HAVE to rain on our parade?? Hope’s just shaking her head at you… Can’t wait to read what you write about on the third party crasher!

  2. I love the show’s use of history; Hope & Bo used a lantern in the window as a means of communication , signalling to each other. The reason Bo came to the loft, he (& that bottle of champagne, Bo left it on the counter too bad Steve and Kayla didn’t that far) was in wooing mode. DAYS in the golden age, writing for every single scene. Aww.

    • That was brilliant, the use of the lantern signal for Bo and Hope to throw a monkey wrench in Steve and Kayla’s evening. It might even factor, a little bit, into why Bo is so persistent in his questioning of Kayla. He’s trying to distract her from his own situation.

  3. I do love the scene with Steve and Chris talking about his big,blonde love bunny…lol.

    Steve wore that leather blazer quite a few times. It’s better than his leopard print blouse he use to wear but not much. It is funny that this is one of Kayla’s sexier looks…and Steve never saw it. She usually dresses so much more conservatively with high necklines.

    I love how we see all the insecurity Steve has regardless of his bravado to everyone else. Again I am amazed that Bo doesn’t play his Ace with Kayla. Yeah, I know I just REALLY wanted to see a scene where Kayla finds out the truth about Bo and Steve’s past but the fact that Bo never plays that card and tries to convince Kayla that Steve is using her to get some kind of revenge against him just blows me away. I have to think they were saving that for something but then for one reason or another never got around to using it. But Bo does strikes a cord when he tells Steve that he will hurt Kayla and we know that is part of what Steve is afraid of.

    • I think it’s assumed that Kayla knew about their past by this point? I don’t know. I do think it’s frustrating that we never hear Bo talk with Kayla about anything specific about their past. It’s not just putting out his eye.

      I like how Kayla points out that Bo and Steve used to be friends and “people don’t change that much.” It’s a great point.

      • I never assumed that Kayla knew at this point. In fact, when I re-watched this storyline on YouTube I think that it probably happened in the “long talk” Kayla says she and Bo are going to have after she finds out he was the reason Steve left that night. Of course we don’t see them have that talk but I don’t really think we see Bo come right out and confront Kayla about this relationship again. (I would have to re-watch the playlist to be sure about that.)

  4. I love and miss all the layers that went into the writing from these days. So good. I remember watching this during the first run and I know that is when I got addicted to SK angst.
    I hope we get so echoes of it in the 3.0 run. Fingers crossed.

  5. I never knew about the lanterns significance with Bo and Hope – makes Bo showing up make more sense. I just thought he was looking for Bo.

    I really liked Kayla and Bo’s relationship, you could totally see them as brother and sister. The one thing that always bothered me was that Steve WAS Bo’s best friend and in the earlier scenes with Steve he can never see any good in him (where Hope always could). If Bo was that good of friends with him how could he not know that there was good in Steve and that a lot of his attitude was self protection and tough guy attitude?

    • The Bo and Steve relationship has always really interested me. I know when Steve came to town he was set on revenge and made lots of threats before kidnapping and torturing Hope. Then when they were in Stockholm with Britta and Bo opens up about the night he put out Steve’s eye, Bo says he fled after the fight and basically left Steve to die. I could see where Bo might still be afraid that Steve is out for revenge but that is why I am so upset we never saw him tell Kayla about it.

  6. “Tell her I raided a funeral.” Hee. I love Steve. I love Bo, too, dangit. And cute Hope. They really were all pretty great. And Kayla’s shy, embarrassed, hopeful self when she asks Steve to dinner . . . so endearing.

    Steve is such a deeply sensitive character. I think he’s maybe one of the most sensitive characters the show’s ever had. I mean, he’s practically crying in these scenes. But of course, a lot of the other characters don’t see it. What’s funny is that Steve doesn’t even seem to get it about himself at this time. He’s seems so willing to believe others when they accuse him of being the kind of callous guy who would use a girl; meanwhile, he’s about in tears trying to gear up to go to Kayla’s dinner.

    How does Mary Beth Evans define “chubby”?

    No one wears a leather blazer and a bolo tie like Steve. Man, he rocks that look.

    • I love Steve’s sensitivity and emotion. It’s really what gets us to root for him — to see how vulnerable he is. I love the contradiction of his rough exterior and then being a big bowl of mush on the inside.

      I think MBE is talking more about now when she calls herself “chubby.” But she isn’t, then or now!

  7. Both Chris and Bo are trying to take watch over Kayla, even though she doesn’t realize it and if she did, she wouldn’t like it. Their comments to Steve are hitting his vulnerable side (which six months ago, who would have thought he had one) and unfortunately Steve listens to them. Seeing Kayla’s excitement (after knowing how the evening ends) is painful. I have to admit, I love the dress she is wearing.

    I know I’ve said this before, but Steve and Bo have a fascinating relationship that we never really got to see (in the first run). It was like Steve was still friends with Bo, but often, it feels like Bo would do anything in his power to keep Steve from moving forward in his life like Bo did after he returned to Salem.

    • I love her dress, too. And I think it’s endearing that she dresses up so much, like she’s going to the prom. It’s part of what makes this so heartbreaking.

      I always regret that the Steve/Bo relationship wasn’t fully explored and redeemed, onscreen. The focus shifted to Steve and Kayla and then Bo and Hope left. But I love their relationship.

  8. I don’t think Kayla is going to just jump into Steve’s arms. I have a feeling he’s got some work ahead him where she’s concerned and if so I like that. I’ve read that Steve has a really good reason for being gone all this time and maybe that helps with Kayla or at least gets her to listen to him.

  9. This also sets up another of the great issues with early Steve and Kayla. The fact that Steve is always giving up and Kayla is always fighting for him. Think of all the times Steve stands her up, lies to her face, and Kayla still fights on! Even after they are truly together…the biggest give up of all…he pushes her into Jack’s arms. it really isn’t until after the rape, when Steve finally give up on “Billy” that the roles begin to reverse. Steve fights for Kayla, and never stops. During the deaf storyline, the Marina storyline, right up until his death.

    I also wish we’d seen more of Steve and Bo’s relationship played out on screen. We get glimpses and tastes. We hear what happened, but we never really see Steve and Kayla or Bo and Kayla discuss it I don’t think (the fact that Bo is the reason Steve lost his eye, I mean).

    During the 06 return we revert to type a bit. Steve always giving up, and Kayla fighting. Hopefully, beginning this week (squee!) we’ll see another reversion. Steve really needs to be the one fighting this time. Whatever reason his given for his absence, it has to be good enough for the audience to buy it, but not so good that Kayla forgives him right away. We need some of those good old meaty conversations. I’m so excited for Friday. The promo you posted practically killed me! LOL.

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