Let’s wallow, shall we?
This is obviously nothing on the angst we’ll get later, during the Adrienne breakup, the Jack breakup, or Marina, or many other storylines. But it’s painful enough.
I do think it’s interesting, psychologically speaking, that Steve drops the flowers outside Kayla’s door before he goes. Maybe he can’t bear to take them with him, or feels they belong to her, not him. Maybe, subconsciously, he wants her to know he was there, that he didn’t just stand her up. And maybe, just maybe, he even wants her to come after him. (Though if that’s true, his subconscious mind should also have prevented him from kissing a prostitute on his doorstep.)
What I think it particularly well done is that they make this painful for both of them, not just Kayla. Steve goes to the Cheatin’ Heart to drown his sorrows and a woman starts chatting him up. Steve softens a little, listening to her sympathetic banter. Then, when it becomes clear she is a prostitute, just looking for a customer, the look on his face is heartbreaking. When he says “Why not?” and leaves with her anyway, we can see clearly what is in his mind: maybe this is all I deserve.
Then — and we knew this was coming — Kayla finds the flowers, goes to find Steve … and sees him with the prostitute. I can never watch this scene without covering my eyes when Kayla comes upon them. It’s just a horrible, horrible moment. After her excitement and hopefulness earlier, it kills me to have her evening come to this. After that, I appreciate the fact that Steve sends the prostitute away. And I think it’s in keeping with his character, the same person we saw reluctant to fall into bed with Britta, who we see having romantic fantasies about Kayla.
Back at the loft, watching Bo comfort Kayla, when he was the one who ruined her evening, adds insult to injury for me as a viewer. Actually, it kind of makes me want to punch his lights out. But, I have to admit that Bo would not have been able to ruin their evening if Steve hadn’t been susceptible to what Bo told him. This is a dynamic that will play out again and again over the next months. Kayla succeeds in breaking through to Steve, and then something happens that makes him close up and run away again. The pain Kayla feels tonight foreshadows far greater pain to come.
Then the final shot – Steve sitting on his steps, holding the harmonica Kayla gave him. Caught between longing for more, and better, and not being able to accept the comfort of less, and worse.
Next: Heart of my own