No Joy

How are we all feeling? Do we need a hug, a tranquilizer, a straightjacket?

Let me discuss the rest of the show first, because most of it was actually … good. It felt a little less cartoonish, and more dramatic and grounded overall. More Josh, less Dena.

Deimos moving into Ben and Abby’s old place is the kind of detail that is unnecessary to the plot, but it added a layer to Deimos’s character. I enjoyed the relish with which he contemplated living in the apartment of a serial killer. And it was great to hear Ben mentioned — remember him? The guy who killed all those people?

I think Belle and Phillip have chemistry, and their scenes today were quite a bit better than the WTF-ery we saw around their trip to Vegas.


They actually discussed the nature of Belle’s attraction to Phillip (he’s like a drug to her, but she feels she should stay away from him), and Phillip played on that rather skillfully to get her back into bed. (“Don’t you deserve a little fun?”) I’m still not sure what he sees in her or how serious he is about it, but at least we got some insight into her side. And she managed to seem a little more human and sympathetic in her text-exchange with Claire.

But it was all short-lived. She went right back to being entitled and passive aggressive when she snooped in his desk and then drew that big question mark on the envelope of pictures. She acted like she caught him cheating! Phillip doesn’t owe her any explanation at all. I’m guessing these will be pictures of the girl who died in Chicago, but the whole thing was weird.

I thought Joey and Theo’s scenes were also good. At first, when Joey yelled at Theo, I thought we were in for more shallow “Joey punches random guy at party” conflict, but this was really nice. He heard Theo out about Chase, even if he didn’t offer much in the way of guidance. Then he even opened up a little himself. It felt very real, two friends who were upset about different things, trying to talk but not really succeeding.

I also enjoyed Paul, JJ, and Gabi. The corrections officer was a perfect little plot point — it gave Paul a chance to snark on his homophobia, brought up some demons for Gabi, and gave JJ a chance to be a hero (and show off some policin’ skills). Very efficient use of a day player.

All right, I guess I can’t put it off any longer. This is my take on Steve and Ava.


I got advance notice that this was going to happen today (selective spoilage), the only question was how it was going to play out. And here’s the thing … it was actually dramatic and gut-wrenching. It wasn’t asinine and cartoony like Monday and Tuesday’s scenes, where Steve stupidly put the moves on Ava as a first resort, and was ready to do the deed in his living room where his son could walk in. Here, the setup was more logical and organic. They were in Maui, far away from Salem, and Steve knew the clock was ticking for Kayla. Intercutting their scenes with Kayla looking ill and dehydrated in her little prison raised the stakes nicely. She had to get out of there, and fast. Also, it was nice that they gave Steve a smart moment, when he figured out she wasn’t dying, based on a minor slip by Ava.

And Stephen played the hell out of it all, and so did Tamara.


Now, please don’t get me wrong. I hate this. It’s unimaginative, it’s been done a million times, it’s been done before with these same damn characters! Also, it makes me sick because it was rape, and I expect Days will blithely ignore that fact because Steve is a man. Ava’s blackmail was there to “justify” Steve’s actions, to give him a pass with viewers. There will be no trauma, no recovery from being violated. From here on out I expect they will treat this much like any other adultery, especially if Steve keeps it secret, which is what I expect.

But hear this. Fellow Steve and Kayla fans, we’ve always treasured that Steve and Kayla are one of the few longtime Days couples that haven’t cheated on each other. That has not changed. This was not adultery. It was rape.

And screw you, Dena.




22 thoughts on “No Joy

  1. >Ava’s blackmail was there to “justify” Steve’s actions, to give him a pass with viewers. There will be no trauma, no recovery from being violated. From here on out I expect they will treat this much like any other adultery, especially if Steve keeps it secret, which is what I expect.

    Yeah, I dislike this too, and the sort of bind it will probably cast over Kayla’s position in the story. If she’s angry, it’s going to be perceived as being too hard on Steve. (Even the viewers who can’t bring themselves to call it rape will think this.) If she’s understanding, she’s going to look like a doormat.

    S&K have never cheated exactly, but I’m almost at the point where I would take a well-fleshed out affair story over this kind of wishy-washy conflict. Higley has driven me there. Whatever strong points in the writing or the performance, I’ll be shocked if it isn’t ultimately a cop-out.

  2. Well, thank you for this post, which is helping me process my complicated feelings. 😦 Even though we can’t correctly call it “adultery,” the fact remains that Steve slept with Ava without (in my opinion) exhausting other more logical options, something I think Steve would never really do. Knowing he hates Ava and felt under duress to have sex with her doesn’t help me when I imagine the look of pain and betrayal on Kayla’s face when she finds out, which she inevitably will.

    I think in a way I’m feeling as betrayed by the writers as Kayla will feel betrayed by Steve. We count on the people who hold these stories in their hands to recognize and treasure how special this couple is, and to let their long, magical love story remain unsullied. But instead they just plonked a third person in their bed to gin up drama, like any other soap couple. Moving around the chess pieces with no regard for whether the character (Steve) would really do these things — which I think he would NOT have. Stephen Nichols played it the best he could, I guess, but it just shouldn’t have happened.

    • Yes I definitely agree with your ideas in the second paragraph. I thought The writer Josh knew these characters and would not have written it this way. Like Steve did not have a brain to figure out a better way to solve this problem.

    • I don’t like this story at all, but I think what’s always been special about Steve and Kayla for me is more what they did do together, than what they didn’t do with others. There’s a line that was never technically crossed, but we’ve walked right up to it a number of times in other stories, too, and it’s just been pushed a little further here. They both have pasts with other people, and that hasn’t changed… but neither has the fact that they just wrote Steve claiming not to be involved with anyone else since he and Kayla divorced, which surprised me.

      I was disgusted by the way Ava’s rape of Steve was played for titillation, too, but it doesn’t take away from what I’ve always loved about S&K… just my enjoyment of this story (and really, the whole show right now).

      • Iska, intellectually I get your viewpoint and would love to be able to share it. Steve and Kayla have a bond much deeper than anything Ava has ever had or will ever have with Steve (I think she knows this, and it gets to her somewhere in her crazy brain). Their bond has survived other things, and will survive this. (Although I probably shouldn’t say that so confidently — I wouldn’t put anything past these writers.)

        For some reason, I just have a hard time dealing with the whole thing. I think it’s because, as others have said, something like this has never been part of S&K’s history and identity, and now it’s been made part of their history, so I have to re-adjust some of my ideas about what defines them for me and makes them special. And I’m mad at the writers for making me do this!

  3. I haven’t watched this weeks episodes yet, just read the different boards to find out what happened. I have the clips and may one day have the desire to burn eyes out, but I can’t right now. However, my problem with this horrible sl, other than it’s a complete redux of 2008, which was bad enough, is that they didn’t show him trying to find Kayla at all!!!!! He’s able to find Bo in some remote Mexican place after years he’s been off the grid, yet he can’t use his super spy skills to find Kayla!!! And now that Kayla’s free he continues to search for this supposed man-child instead of having Ava arrested for assault and kidnapping and heading home to see Kayla. Does he even call her to see if she’s ok? And why are they sharing a room? And most importantly, DID HE WEAR A CONDOM!!!!???

    Do the writers even see that it’s completely the same story from 2008? Do they think we are that dumb that we don’t know it’s the same story, except now he actually slept with the B*TCH!! Before it was holding Bo, Hope, and Kayla hostage instead of just Kayla this time. Before it was demanding to keep Kayla’s baby, now it’s find this supposed man-child that she forgot she had. Before it was Kayla walking in on them kissing, now it’s Joey. Before it was Steve slapping Ava, now it’s Steve strangling her. Before it was Ava demanding to have sex with Steve to free everyone, now she’s demanding sex with him to free Kayla and HIM DOING IT THIS TIME!!!!! And now she’s going to blackmail him to have him continue to do her BIDDING!!!!!! They are making Steve sooo dumb here!! Why does he continue to stay and try to find this child. Why does he believe he even exist after finding out that she lied yet again about having leukemia. Will he tell Kayla and Joey that Ava’s not dying?

    Steve stop letting her Ava have the control. Leave and go home to Kayla and tell her the truth. Let the chips fall where they may. Have Ava arrested for kidnapping Kayla. Ugh!!!

    This story has soooo many holes. What was the point of Ava working with Joey to get S&K back together? What was the point of her telling them she was dying? Was her original plan before Kayla “messed” it up to have Steve agree to find this man-child, seduce him while they were looking, and when they did find him, have him leave Kayla and Joey for her and their man-child and be one big happy family????? Why, if they had to write this crap, aren’t they giving us any real reasons for these actions. Let us know what Ava’s plans are. They are not giving any reasons here. We are to believe that Ava has been pining away, if we go by Joey’s age here, for 17 years for Steve?? For 17 years the Federal government has been “doing” an investigation of her last horrible deeds and not yet prosecuted her for murder. Is Kayla going to go to the police—-her BROTHER, and tell them that Ava bashed her over the head and held her hostage. Ugh !! I could go on for ever how horrible this sl is and the many holes here.

    I’m just sooo sad that the one thing that really separated S&K from other soap couples was them not sleeping with other people when they were together. Heck, Steve didn’t sleep with anyone when Kayla was married to Jack just to drown his sorrows which is standard operating procedures during that kind of soap Sl. This was simply shock value writing instead of true story telling. Dena at her finest.

    I’m sorry for the long rant. Thanks MP for having this blog as a safe place to share our thoughts. I still love S&K, just have to go through some counseling to come to terms with this. LOL!

  4. I wasn’t going to watch this episode, but I did because, ever the optimist, I kept hoping something would happen to stop this like last time. I, too, appreciate your post as I had not considered some of the things you said. I DO feel betrayed by the writers as Susannah said because I don’t think Steve would actually have done this. When Steve came back for this run we saw a more mature character who seemed to have learned from his past mistakes. He and Kayla had worked through some issues and committed to keep no more secrets. I have said before that S and K work the best when they are facing a challenge together rather than Steve playing God and I think Steve had finally understood this.
    There were so many other options, but the first thing the writers did was put sleeping with Ava as the only means to free Kayla. I might could have accepted this if Steve had tried everything else first like trying to get help from Roman or John. I still find it hard to believe that NO ONE saw anything such as Ava somehow getting an unconscious Kayla out of the Inn.
    I am actually surprised that Ava kept her end of the bargain and told Joey where Kayla was. However, blackmailers are never satisfied and now Ava has something big to hold over Steve’s head so he will continue to dance to her tune so Kayla will not find out and be hurt. This will, of course, hurt Kayla even more. And now Joey is in the picture and will inevitably find out what Steve did. Kayla will already be hurt when she finds out Steve has run off the Hawaii with Ava. Is Steve going to continue to sleep with Ava? She already said she was not going to be satisfied with a “quickie.” It is so sad that it came to this and as MP said so unimaginative. I am seriously depressed today. Thanks for being our “support group,” MP!

  5. Yes, Steve was raped….he was certainly under duress and worried that his wife was dying. Perhaps his desperation took out his ability to use his extraordinary skills to find his wife. But, as everyone has mentioned, it’s tired, it’s been done, and it’s contrary to the extraordinary love story that Steve and Kayla represent.

    One of the great things that they used to do with “super-couples” was send them on adventures together where we got to see them working together to solve some greater issue. Their loves were tested and retested by the adverse circumstances–but that strengthened the love in question.

    As for this story line, oh brother, end it all. Awful, awful treacle! Can’t we stop screwing up the best thing on Days?

  6. First of all, let me say I am still nauseous about how yesterday turned out. And angry and just plain pissed off. I hear all of you when you say it was rape, and I see the point in that argument. What sets my blood to boiling, (and makes it hard for me to call it rape) was the fact that Steve kissed her, multiple times. And throwing her down on the bed, which was so obviously what the bitch wanted. I have loved Steve since he arrived in ’85, and I have wanted to slap him upside the head a few times, but something in me changed yesterday seeing that. If it WAS rape, that kissing should have never happened! And why in the hell didn’t he jump out of the bed IMMEDIATELY instead of laying naked in the bed with that skank? That is just not our Steve.

    My next fear is that he won’t immediately come clean with Kayla about what happened. He could score major points to get back in my good graces if he will man up and lay it all out ASAP. I dread the day Kayla learns what happened, because she never deserved any of this pain and heartache.

    I hope that when Dena Higley’s writing has passed, Josh and Beth M can somewhat restore our beloved Steve and Kayla. And quite honestly, I hope Dena Higley is never allowed anywhere near Days again.

    • I had the same thoughts, Heather. What was with all the kissing? And yes, I would’ve liked to see him immediately jump out of bed and stand far away from her after the deed was done. I think he figured he had to make it seem like “making love” or Ava wouldn’t keep her end of the deal.

      Like you, I’m hoping Steve will come clean quickly with Kayla and take away some of Ava’s power to hold it over his head. But honestly, I’m not holding my breath that these writers will do anything intelligent at this point.

      I also hope Dena Higley is never allowed anywhere near Days, any other soap opera, or any other form of filmed storytelling medium that viewers care about.

  7. Another thing that bugged me: didn’t Ava change the terms of their agreement in Maui? I thought her deal was that he had to show her he was serious about finding the supposed son by coming with her to Indonesia, and then she’d tell Joey where Kayla was. Then in Maui, that changed into “you have to sleep with me to save Kayla.”

    I don’t know, for a guy who said he’d rather dig his good eye out with a spoon than be with her, he gave in pretty quickly. He should have stayed put in Salem all along. I guess Steve has always been sort of given to making extreme statements like that, but then folds and “sacrifices” when the chips are down. But I was just not expecting the writers to go there. I really wanted them to make us think it was headed there, then stop it at the last second. Silly me.

    It irritates me that this story made it through production. At no point did some saner head prevail and say, “You know, we really shouldn’t do this to Steve and Kayla.” Anne Marie is right, there are many things they could’ve done besides this to create sweeps-worthy drama. I think I’m feeling like Will fans did last fall: “You’re not really gonna to do this, right, writers? Nope, you’re gonna to do it.” I realize S & K are still alive, but it feels like something important about them has been killed off. Sigh.

  8. What I would love to see is for Steve to come clean with Kayla right away. He performed a physical act because he was left with no choice to save Kayla’s life. He didn’t desire Ava, and he didn’t enjoy it. This isn’t cheating. I doubt it’ll be that simple, but it would be such an interesting relief to have him reunite with Kayla and admit that he had to do something awful to free her, and for Kayla to be horrified but also not ANGRY at him — to even express regret that he was driven to this. I’ve never seen one of these stories (and it’s a dumb, overused trope) played like that, and it would at least be a fresh spin and really show us how far these two characters have come, as individuals and as a couple.

    • This is a good thought! It would actually somewhat redeem this storyline for me, to see Kayla have the opposite of the reaction I think she’ll have, and the reaction Ava wants to see. Ava wants this to hurt Kayla and drive a rift between Steve and Kayla. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d love to see Kayla turn the tables by having a completely different reaction.

      I don’t know, if I were Kayla I’d be pissed not just about the sex but about the fact that she warned Steve repeatedly not to let Ava into their lives again, and look what happened.

      • Agreed on all counts. It would be cool (well, as much as a situation like this can be “cool”) to see them turn the tables on Ava in this way. She’s counting on the fact that Steve won’t tell Kayla and/or that Kayla would lose it if she finds out what Steve did with Ava.

        And yeah — Kayla pushed back repeatedly re: Ava, and Steve pressed on anyway. I do enjoy that as a conflict for them (especially because it draws on Steve’s childhood), so I’d rather they focus on that instead of this icky sex.

  9. Once written, it cannot be unwritten. And so unfortunately, we our left with THIS as a part of Steve and Kayla’s history. It is depressing to say the least. I was watching an episode I had saved on my DVR of S&K from November, the episode that ends with them being locked in the closet together. It was such a good episode to watch and I needed that after this latest fiasco.What the heck happened!?? Ok, I get it, soap couples cannot live happily ever after. They need the drama. We dealt with this before with the whole Marina storyline and then again with Ava on the 2008 run. And we had to watch Ava pull this crap then while our stomachs turned. Did Dena look at that storyline and think “oh hey, there’s a good idea. Let’s do that again only this time we will completely ruin a classic love story.”?? I agree, this isn’t a clear cut adultery case. But it still hurt. I would think that anyone taking over writing should seriously investigate characters and find out who they really are and write for them. Maybe this would work for some of the other characters (I could see Theresa being blackmailed into sleeping with someone or blackmailing someone to sleep with her.) But not for Steve and Kayla. Like many have said, all efforts weren’t exhausted . In fact, none were!! Everything seems choppy and nothing seems explained. I am really holding onto hope that this is greatly redeemed somehow because this episode left me madder than I have ever been at a show! And like MP mentioned, I am sure they won’the even address this as rape. I have always hated Ava’s character, which I get that I am supposed to and the actress is doing a wonderful job at that. But this was over the top for me. S&K were divorced, why didn’t Ava come after him then?? Then at least, we wouldn’t have had to seen this.

  10. I still haven’t given in and watched yet so my reactions are clearly just about the story in general rather than the actual scenes or performances.

    After seeing Monday and Tuesday’s show and the preview video I knew it was happening so that is why my reaction to Wednesday’s show was “Thank God Steve and Kayla were not on!”…because it delayed the inevitable at least one more day.

    I am upset that we got a re-run of a storyline. Hell, they could have had Ava seduce Joey or even Kayla this time but why repeat the same story as 2008? Oh I know the deal wasn’t exactly sealed last time but that is actually a minor detail and I am not sure that the fallout would have been a lot different either way.

    I am upset that the writers continue to write rape/sexual assault/coerced or non consensual sexual encounters in ways that try to make them titillating. Ava had made a comment when Steve handcuffed her to the table that he always did like it rough. It sound as though these scenes were a bit rough as someone commented on another board that they thought he was violent with her and she enjoyed it. Seeing Ava in sexy lingerie while all we got in Steve and Kayla’s last love scene was Kayla in fluffy bathrobe that may has well been a turtleneck. I get the impression (again I haven’t seen it yet) that they wanted this to be sexy and that is the wrong tone for this kind of storyline!

    I’m upset that this show has been editing so much crap out that I don’t exactly know what the full story is/was/should be! I know that is probably a confusing rant but we’re assuming that Steve wasn’t trying to find Kayla because they didn’t show us a scene of it happening but given the other crap that I now know has been cut out of the show, I have no idea what the real story was supposed to be. I think this matters because the actors work off a script. When there are scenes in the scripts that are then cut from the show it could impact the tone, context or sub-context of so many other scenes so I would like to know what was in the scripts….that is what I consider the real story.


    Does Steve come clean to Kayla? Does he let Ava call the shots and blackmail him? What happens next actually does interest me. I almost hope that it isn’t up to Steve to come clean. Given what happened before, given what Ava is, and given the situation Kayla was in…I can totally see Kayla figuring out exactly what choice Steve had to make in order to save her.

  11. Ava may blackmail him for more or she will tell Kayla. I hope he comes clean quick with Kayla. The longer he waits the worse it will be, but maybe that’s what the writers want. They have already done plenty of damage.

  12. I was so upset with the episode it literally made me sick to my stomach!! Also hasn’t Ava been taking medication? Hopefully it wasn’t fertility pills! That would be a disaster having Steve believe she had s son all those years ago only to become pregnant now?? I have watched this couple since they first met. Watched whenever Steve returned with No memory and wanted Billie. I even managed to somehow watch Ava the first time. Now when I finally thought Steve & Kayla were finally be together this happens…..

  13. Thanks everyone for the comments. I do hate this story with a passion, as I know many of you do too. I’m kind of just hanging in there not willing to write off Steve or Steve and Kayla because of it. Hoping against hope that Josh (along with Beth Milstein) is back in charge now and can handle the fallout properly.

    I kind of expect Steve to keep it a secret — but then I’ve been waiting for him to keep a secret since this story started, and it hasn’t happened yet. We’ll see what happens.

    • I just watched it. I am glad I read a lot of others reactions and took time to process before I watched it. It wasn’t as jarring that way. It almost felt like I had already seen it before…oh, wait…I kinda did. 🙂

      You were right MP, the rest of the show was good and I even felt like I saw some progress in developing the Belle and Phillip characters.

  14. My BIGGEST problem, other than the obvious of them repeating 2008, is that they didn’t show Steve trying to find Kayla. Even if he had a conversation with Joey of ways he tried but failed. They showed him finding Bo after he was off the grid for years in some isolated Mexican island, and finding this supposed man-child sold on the black market at least 17 years before as a baby is in Indonesia, yet he couldn’t bother looking for Kayla. His go to plan is seducing Ava. And some how he’s surprised that she up the ante of him sleeping with her to let Kayla go. Maybe that was her plan all along, but we don’t know because these writers SUCK at showing any character motivation at all!!! I know we are now stuck with this as part of their history. I’m interested if he’s honest with Kayla because he needs to be and also so Ava has no more control over him and Kayla. He needs to tell Kayla because he has to know Ava will tell Kayla and do with relish and make it out that her and Steve are getting back together. Please stop making Steve sooooooo dumb!!!!!!

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