The most exciting city

I was so happy watching the episode today, I had tears in my eyes. My thoughts are still jumbled up, but here are some initial reactions.


So many things they did wrong in 2006, they seem to be doing right this time, mostly showing Kayla’s point of view. I love that she is able express her anger and hurt.

They gave her some good lines, like when she said the name Brady meant a lot to her, and Steve couldn’t help asking if the name Johnson meant a lot to her too. She said it did, because “it’s the name of my children.” Ha! And, of course, “Don’t you give me parenting tips!”

I loved her sarcasm too when she said he must want to go back to New York, since it is an exciting city, much more exciting than Salem (though actually, um, I beg to differ). And isn’t that what he wants, excitement? And her depth of anger when she wound up by saying sorry didn’t cut it, and she can’t forgive him.

But through it all – and this is what Mary Beth is so good at – we saw the pain underlying the anger. We saw Kayla struggling to be fair when she talked to Joey about his dad, even defending him when she said he wasn’t just using him to get back to Salem. I was impressed with James Lastovic – I thought he did well not overplaying his “angry young man” lines, and I loved his facial expressions and the way he stayed in the scene even when he didn’t have dialogue. I think it’s interesting that he appears to be harboring anger against both of them – usually soap kids line up with one parent or the other. I will love it if it’s not so simplistic this time.

And Steve. Sigh. I love having him on my screen again. I love his voice! So raspy and sexy. It appears he knows he has work cut out for him, and he looks prepared to put in the time and effort (fangirl squeee!). I’m assuming we’ll hear more about why he’s been away, and I hope he has a better reason than what we’ve heard so far. I think he does. But I’m glad they didn’t introduce it today, because today was all about Kayla and her reaction.

So, timeline-wise, we found out today that Bo has been gone three years, but that since Steve left Africa when Joey was still a baby, that was at least 14 years ago. So … oh, never mind. I’ll just go with it. I’m hoping that Steve uses his contacts in the ISA to inquire about Bo’s mission, and finds out that Bo has gone missing. That would neatly explain why Steve gets worried enough to go look for him, and let his family and Hope off the hook a little bit (they don’t have ISA contacts). One thing that’s been chewed over endlessly on the boards is why no one in Salem questioned Bo’s absence. To me the answer is obvious – because Peter Reckell wasn’t on the show – and honestly, it doesn’t bother me. But, it would be nice if there is an attempt to explain why Steve gets worried when no one else did.

The Steve and Hope scene was great too. I loved hearing “sweet thing,” but mostly I loved Hope’s chilly reaction. One thing about the TomSell era is that everyone in town seemed to have the exact same reactions to things, like a memo went out. It’s so much more interesting if people have different reactions, and layered reactions. Hope isn’t as angry with Steve as Kayla is, but she has seen what Kayla has gone through, and she has her own issues with Bo that parallel what Steve has done.

Oh, were there any other characters in this episode? I don’t have much to say about Aiden’s proposal. I found his evilness a little more flat and boring this episode, thought still not nearly as boring as he was this summer. I’m guessing Hope will eventually say yes, just in time for Bo to come back and bust things up. We’ll just have to see if he’s on a motorcycle or not.

I enjoyed the Abby and Ben scenes, especially when Abby scolded Ben for using Serena’s death as an excuse to trash Chad. But she also said she understood he had reason to hate Chad and want to trash him. Give me more Abby scenes like this, and I’ll start to like her more in her own right. And Christmas looks to be the time for a (another?) dramatic wedding bust up!

Oh, and starting this weekend I am staying away from message boards for the moment. During the long wait I couldn’t resist reading and speculating, but now that the show looks to be getting good, I want to just enjoy it without getting sucked into fanbase wars and the like. And it will help me stay spoiler-free.πŸ™‚

18 thoughts on “The most exciting city

  1. It’s amazing watch MBE & SN in their scenes. I love the fact that they are letting Kayla be angry this time and calling Steve out on the fact he’s been an absentee parent. Even Hope seemed to be happy to see Steve, she wasn’t falling all over him welcoming him back to town, especially since she’s dealing with her own absentee parent in her daughter’s life. Steve called her Sweet Thing – that made me squeal because I’ve missed all the nicknames he had for people. Steve has already figured out that something isn’t right with Bo, while no one else has seemed to be concerned in the last three years.Seeing Steve in Horton Square with the monument to Tom and Alice made me tear up a little.

    • The “Sweet Thing” made me so happy too. I wanted Hope to call him “Steven” in response, but she didn’t. She and Victor were the only ones who called him that.

      I loved the moment in the Horton Square too, and hearing him say “Dr. H” and “Mrs. H” was great. Nice little moment that led naturally into him going to see Hope.

  2. I rushed home from work to watch this episode. That has not happened in a very long time! MBE did a fantastic job portraying both anger and pain. I loved how when they first went into her office she immediately goes to sit behind her desk almost as if to symbolize the huge barrier that is between them. I also think she feels comfortable in her role as a doctor and behind the desk is a comfort zone so to speak.
    I loved Steve’s conversation with Hope. He seemed a little surprised at Hope’s coldness towards him- she has always supported him- but it was good for him to see her pain as well. I still don’t buy the fact that Steve would simply abandon Kayla in Africa because he knows first hand how painful it is to be abandoned. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see what else he has to say about it. I agree there is more to the story- there had better be! We are off to a great start this time around!

    • Excellent point about her going around to sit behind her desk. I think you are right that it is for two reasons, to put something between them and to get into more of a comfort zone.

      MBE did say that the reason they gave Steve to be gone “makes sense” so I think we’ll definitely hear more about it. I was intrigued that he’s no longer with the ISA. I kind of thought he would still be working with them. Can’t wait to hear more!

  3. I said this elsewhere, but the scenes yesterday were better writing than anything that they got in the entire 2006-2009 run. This was THEM, with depth and context and real issues to resolve. I love that Kayla got to express her anger and her hurt. But, like you, I also loved that she tried to set that aside when she was talking to Joey and trying to make him understand that his father does love him – the best he can. That line about it not always being as much as you want just floored me. That clearly encapsulates what Kayla has been feeling.

    I also loved her sarcasm/anger when Steve said he wanted to stay in Salem. For how long? Only until something more exciting comes along? (paraphrasing). Those are the issues they have to deal with to make this work. And the moment when Steve is waiting in Kayla’s office was perfectly shot and lit. You could Steve realizing – after his conversation with Hope – that Kayla wasn’t just going to cool down and forgive him this time. His apology was nice, but as Kayla noted, not nearly enough.

    I’m still confused about the timeline. I didn’t get that Steve left Africa when Joey was a baby (I mean, I know that the’s real timeline, but I didn’t hear that confirmed in dialogue today). I do think it’s clear that the timeline is longer than the 3 years since Steve and Kayla split, but it’s not clear how much longer and I’m okay with leaving that vague. I don’t want it to be that Steve’s been gone another 12 years. So, as long as they don’t make it specific, I’m going to fanwank it’s 5-6 years.

    And I too really hope that Steve comes up with information other than “it’s just not like Bo” to assume something is wrong with Bo. I don’t want Hope and the rest of the Brady family looking THAT bad when the truth about Bo comes out.

    Oh and I want to know what Steve’s “good reason” is too. But, I’m okay with waiting on that and I think we’ll find out why Joey seems mad at Kayla soon. I like that these scenes not only addressed certain issues, but also set-up some more stuff to deal with down the line.

    I tried to keep my expectations low, but I have to say that these scenes blew them right out of the water.

    • Totally agree that this was better than anything they had in 2006. More depth, more balanced with both of their points of view. (Hearing Kayla’s point of view throughout is what was making me tear up.) I said before that in 2006 it was like it was written by someone with a kindergarten understanding of Steve and Kayla.

      But I’m still glad they had that run, and they aren’t coming back for the first time since the 90’s now. This way, there are things to build on, real issues from the last time. We’re not dealing with a “back from the dead” storyline. Both of them are more familiar to viewers. And we have Joey of course!

      I loved that line too, when Kayla said that Steve loves Joey (and by implication, thinking of herself as well), as best he can, but it’s not always as much as you want. This sets up such a great issue, where Kayla will believe that Steve still loves her, but that doesn’t mean she will trust him.

      I remember hearing SN and MBE saying in that plank blog video that the writing this time around was looking at them as a mature couple, at this stage of life, not trying to recreate the 80’s/90’s. I definitely saw that yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier.

  4. There was so much to love about the episode. I was really impressed with the pacing and the structure. They covered enough ground that you felt like there was movement in story, and played out all of the beats. I particularly loved how the scenes with Hope informed the last scenes with Steve and Kayla. It often feels like Steve takes Kayla for granted in a way — their relationship is so much a part of him, it’s hard for him to step back and see her feelings and needs as separate from him. Talking to Hope and seeing her point of view helped him see Kayla’s reality more clearly and stoked his anxiety that he had truly lost her. I loved seeing that all happen in the same episode.

    (I also enjoyed how there was no mention in the dialogue of Aiden and the proposal — they left it up to the audience to carry that subtext over from the previous scenes).

    People were also pointing out on twitter that Kayla was acting like she got Salem in the divorce, lol, and I love that her demands of him to stay entirely away are a little unreasonable. I don’t want her to be 100% right, and it seems so clear that she wants him at arm’s length because on some level, she doesn’t trust herself around him.

    I thought James Lastovic did a great job, too, and it was good that the material didn’t rely too heavily on his performance. It felt like were giving him time to get his feet wet, and that’s really smart.

    • I totally agree about Kayla being a little unreasonable. I don’t want this to be completely one-sided. It’s okay for her to be a little bit wrong too. And I agree, it’s clear that she wants him gone because she doesn’t want to get sucked in again. She knows that if he’s there, she’s vulnerable. Of course, he’s going to figure that part out pretty quick too.πŸ™‚

      And I agree that Steve’s kind of always taken Kayla’s love (and forgiveness) for granted and I liked seeing him realize that maybe this time he might have pushed her too far.

      I love that these scenes really tied in to what Kayla said when she and Steve divorced – he’s the man she loves, but not the man she wants to be married to. You could really see that in their interaction. She loves him, she just doesn’t like him very well right now – and she definitely doesn’t trust him. I think I’m going to enjoy watching Steve try to become not just the man she loves, but the man she trusts.

    • Kayla has custody of Salem, LOL!

      I love your point that she doesn’t trust herself around him, I think that’s exactly right. He needs to be away and out of town, or she’s vulnerable to him.

      I agree that Steve takes Kayla for granted sometimes, she’s always been such a rock for him we can understand why. I think the way they were written last run was especially that way, which both was and was not true to his character. In any case, after that, it’s especially important to show the shoe on the other foot now.

      Erica, that’s a great line, that Steve is the man she loves but not the man she wants to be married to. I did kind of want Kayla to be involved with someone else, just to make Steve worry a little, but it looks like we are going to get some great organic conflict regardless.

  5. We all want it to come full circle for S&K. The first time around she had to get him to fall into trust before they could fall into love and she fought like hell for her man. Now we hope he has to work to win her trust and we get to see him fight like hell for his woman.

    I can’t watch today’s show until tomorrow and I miss it!

    • Shea, sure is different from a couple of months ago, isn’t it?πŸ™‚ I love thinking about it as coming full circle. I really want to see him step up and do the heavy lifting. I think it will be fun to watch.

  6. I’m coming to the party late. I’ve been looking forward to this episode, but life got busy and I just got around to watching it. Still haven’t seen today’s.

    I really enjoyed watching Steve and Kayla. Their scenes really were very good, very engaging. When she told him he’s just the same as always, I thought, “Yup, same guy you and I both love.” I am struggling with how long he’s supposedly been gone though, to the point he feels he has to get to know his own son? I find it hard to believe. Steve loves his kids (how I loved him with Baby Stephanie!), and he missed so much of Stephanie’s life, it’s just hard to believe he’d be willing to miss out on Joey too. Maybe they’ll give us a better reason. I hope so, because I’m having a difficult time swallowing it. I gotta say, Steve’s looking a heckuva lot worse than Jack did, and Jack was crucified on the boards and FB. Will they be kinder to Steve? I kinda hope so, but then again, it will annoy me if Jack got crapped on, and everyone’s cool with Steve, but then, they aren’t pitting Steve against the show’s current golden hunk boy (who hopefully will be gone soon—yay!). I love Steve and Kayla, and I’m excited for them to get some good story, and I so hope that they will, because I will enjoy the heck out of it, yet my jealousy bleeds in a little. I will have to apologize in advance for that, and if it gets too annoying, y’all can slap me. I loved the scene with Hope “Sweet Thing” too. And I love that Steve calls Joey Joe. Now, hopefully in time we will get to see him call someone by my personal favorite of all of Steve’s nicknames, HappyJackBillyJack.

    I enjoyed the movement on Chad’s story, and like MP, I liked Abby today, even in a scene apart from Chad or Jack! So that’s something.

    Aiden/Hope—who cares? I was surprised they got a dance with song. Guess we need to up the angst for Bo’s return.

    Oh, and Rafe, I liked him today. I enjoyed how he questioned Chad. I can’t hold his suspicions against him here. Stefano, I can. He knows Chad better than that, I would think.

    • Girl, what are you doing hanging out on the Days Facebook page? That is where the Bizarro world Days fans hang out. They looove Shawn Christian there. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hate Steve and Kayla. It’s where black is white and up is down.

      At Daytime Royalty they hate Daniel and love Jack, they still talk about how Jack was thrown under the bus for Daniel and Dannifer, and everyone wants him back. That is where the sane people are, so if you want to go to a message board, I would recommend that one.

      I know what you mean about jealousy. That’s actually why I decided to stay away from DR for awhile, even though, as I said, it is a pretty good message board. There was kind of a bitchfest going on there on Saturday, now that the fall stories are coming into focus. It’s just a fact that even with an improved show, not everyone is going to get what they want. I started getting caught up in it too, because it looks like Chabby are getting the big supercouple story for fall, and it feels like Ericole have kind of disappeared for the time being. Even though I like Chad and Abby, I found myself getting caught up in this competitive spirit of who “deserved” the big story. It was stupid. That’s when I knew I had to take a break.πŸ™‚

  7. All good points, MP. Yeah, Daytime Royalty is a pretty intelligent board, overall. I don’t generally go to the Days FB page, as it hurts my faith in humanity, but sometimes I take a peek and wish I hadn’t. I think to satisfy my itch for Days discussion, I should hit your blog and not the message boards so much. I like it best, and I waste too much time when I get on the boards. I really wouldn’t be so bitter and jealous if JnJ had just not come back in the first place, only to be (pardon my language) shat upon, but now I want it fixed, dangit! Gotta catch up on your next post! I hope you get your Ericole and your Steve and Kayla, and I hope it’s good stuff. I think Ericole is bound to come around. Nicole is a well loved character, and Eric’s the best shot at romance with a guy who actually loves her best that she’s ever had. I mean, there was Brady, but that guy’s been in love with like a legion of women now, so his credibility is shot.

  8. “I think to satisfy my itch for Days discussion, I should hit your blog and not the message boards so much.”

    Yes, please!πŸ™‚ Come here, come here!

    I am still hopeful for Ericole. I have just been very disappointed that they’ve had only one brief scene together since the new writing started. I thought the Daniel triangle was a promising one and I thought they would continue the storyline, as they obviously have with the Ben/Abby/Chad triangle. But, they seem to have different plans. I like how they are writing Nicole, so I’m happy about that. I haven’t seen enough to know how they plan to write Eric, or for them as a couple. I just have to be be patient as see what they have in mind, and hope those plans include Ericole. One good sign is that they don’t seem to be writing for Daniel and Nicole as a couple either — I mean, they are together, but that’s it. There’s no focus on them in terms of story, not yet anyway.

    And hee! about Brady.

    Regarding Jack, I agree that it was awful for him to come back just to be shat upon, last time. I am still hopeful for a return in 2016. Jason47 has said that there will be more returns. I also want Jack to come back and to be written well. There’s been so much bad writing for Jack over the years.

    One positive: Beth Milstein is back on the writing staff. If I’m remembering right, she was the one who wrote the reunion and exit for Jack and Jennifer back in 2006, when she was the interim headwriter between JER and Hogan Sheffer. She obviously was tasked with writing them out, but she did a great job, and wrote them both really well and in character, I thought. They had that big hash it out conversation in the cave, and then had a brief investigative reporter story arc (where there was a fantasy sequence of the two of them as Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant in His Girl Friday), and then the job offer from London and their going away party.

  9. Yes, JnJ’s second run was a mess, but at least it was wrapped up okay. Milstein is also listed as “associate head writer” for both Steve and Kayla and JnJ’s glory days. Fingers crossed.

    • Wasn’t Milstein an Associate Producer in late 80s? I am not sure when she became a writer but I am pretty sure I remember her listed as an Associate Producer.

      • I just checked and it looks like she was an associate producer from 81-87, and an associate head writer from 87-92. So she was both, but a writer by the late 80s.

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