*Just kidding. How long has it been? Three, four weeks? Too long.
Today’s show was really good, though, and not just for Steve and Kayla. Paul and Sonny’s scenes were stellar – I loved that Sonny talked about how he’d changed, become more cynical, more determined to go after what he wants. One thing that bothered me about the Sonny I saw (which was his late storyline) was his passivity, how he was always so Nice and Understanding that nothing got resolved. And I found Paul’s reasons for not wanting to be a detective surprisingly effective and moving.
It was a nice character moment for Christopher Sean. I’m ready for a new romance on the show (one NOT involving Deimos) and I’m on board for PaulSon.
But let’s get to Steve and Kayla! Their scenes actually felt like a shift in direction. Stephen and Mary Beth have gotten some strong stuff over the last few months, and they’ve made the most of it. But there’s not denying the story felt stalled — Steve would profess his love and his desire to prove she can trust him, she would be obviously tempted but turn him away. That plus the fact of their disappearance for days and weeks at a time added up to a frustrating experience.
Today, though, it started with Kayla reaching out. (I would have liked to have seen the setup that Kayla alluded to, that Joey was the one who suggested couples therapy, especially given what happened with Joey later. But anyway.) I was surprised, but intrigued, at Steve’s reluctance. On the one hand, given how eager he has been to prove himself in any way he can, it doesn’t make sense for him to turn down the one thing she has asked of him. But on the other, his reluctance fits his character. He likes big, grand gestures, not the slow slog of getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other to solve a problem. His arguments against therapy rang true – a lot of people see it as just sitting around and “complaining,” and his unwillingness to dredge up old demons is certainly believable.
The most interesting moment was when Steve got genuinely angry and threw the fact that he quit his job in her face. This goes back to the root of the problem — if Kayla can’t stand to be around the chaos and danger that seems to swirl around him, how much can he, or should he, change? Is that even what she wants? This is an actual, grown up, complex problem, and I think it’s fascinating. What I am hoping, though it might be too much to hope for, is that can be an actual both right/both wrong situation. Kayla could realize that it’s not the danger itself that bothers her, but his reaction to danger (he tries to hide it from her, to shut her out, to make decisions without her input). And Steve could realize that there is no big, grand gesture that will make everything all right, there are no shortcuts to winning back Kayla’s trust.
Personally, the last person I would want to see as a couples counselor is an old friend I had known for years, especially one who was possessed by the devil and was a serial killer and so on … but the pickings are generally slim in Salem when it comes to professional help. 😀
Joey’s scenes with Jade were interesting, although (as with many things lately) a bit lacking in setup. We don’t know what Marlena told him, but it seems plausible that it was something like “How can you be ready for a relationship — especially with someone troubled — until you figure out your own issues?” But Joey’s take on it can be read, possibly, as what Steve is afraid of. Would a therapist tell Kayla that what she really needs to do is cut Steve out of her life? If that’s what Marlena told Joey regarding Jade, maybe that’s what she’ll tell Kayla regarding Steve.
The other moment that jumped out at me was when Steve told Joey to “be true to yourself.” This seemed an echo of his anger at Kayla from earlier — I quit my job for you, I changed who I am, and it wasn’t enough. Is he wondering if he should have done it? Is he proving Kayla right when she said, “You’ll resent me”? When Steve was late to the appointment, that was my first take.
But then the show threw me a curveball, when Steve remembered Kayla’s words about being afraid of what he would uncover in therapy. Was that a clue that there is something specific, a buried memory, perhaps? Or a general admission that he’s got more demons and problems than he wants to admit? I have no idea, but I hope they pick it back up again.
PaulSon screencap Forever SAFE