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. 🙂