The Emeralds (2)

Can the leopard change his spots?


If this storyline were a magic 8-ball, it would say “Reply hazy, try again.”

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On the plane on the way home from Stockholm, emboldened by their conversations in Stockholm, Kayla gives a sweet, sincere speech: “I’m not saying I could change you or you could change me, but we can change ourselves.” It all sounds so easy. And isn’t it? Steve left the emeralds behind, didn’t he? He silently takes her hand — the closest he can come to agreement.

Then it all unravels. Boom, boom, boom.  The pieces fall so perfectly, one after another, for maximum pain and humiliation. Steve falls asleep, Kayla puts on his jacket. Steve sees the customs officials, then turns to see Kayla wearing his jacket. He tries to trade coats. It’s too late. He is detained, questioned, strip searched, down to the removal of his patch. Then Kayla is grabbed and strip searched too. Steve is helpless to prevent any of it, to protect Kayla or keep her out of it.

The icing on the cake: Chris witnesses it all. Because Kayla believed in Steve, she believed in his innocence, she helpfully called Chris, her lawyer friend, to help him out …. and then she finds the emeralds. The undercurrents in the scene with Chris — Kayla shooting daggers with her eyes at Steve, hugging Chris as Steve looks on, them both sourly agreeing to go to Marlena’s party, and the capper … Kayla saying so disdainfully “Oh, I almost forgot … your jacket.” Ouch.

The agonizing dance continues over the next few days. (Honestly, how could I stand to watch this when it first aired?)

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Warner shows up making threats, believing he’s been double crossed. Steve has to repeatedly go to Kayla and ask her for the emeralds. But Kayla is so angry that she won’t even admit that she has them. It all ends with Steve being stabbed by Warner and Steve desperately concealing his injury from Kayla, feeding every negative opinion she has about him to get rid of her as quickly as possible.

Then, finally, the turning point:

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Kayla comes back. She sees the blood on the snow and follows him, and finds him bleeding on his steps. One of my favorite exchanges:

K: I’m going to help you whether you like it or not.

S: I don’t like it.

K: Tough.

It kind of breaks my heart, the way Kayla helps him and enters into his problems, before she ever finds out he didn’t really intend to smuggle the emeralds. The part that always gets me is when she says, “Look, we’re both angry …” she’s obviously trying to calm things down and work through it together. But Steve is too upset to listen.

He lets her have it with both barrels. When he taps his chest and says he’s already dead — we haven’t seen Steve like this for a long time. But it makes sense. This is all an overreaction, an overcorrection. He tried to do something right, and it blew up in his face. This, to him, puts the lie to what Kayla said on the plane, that you can choose who you want to be. He believed her, he bought into her vision of him, and now he’s doubly angry at her: for grabbing the jacket, sure, but mostly for raising his hopes and telling him “everything could be different.” The ultimate con.

He yells at her to get out, and she goes.

One thing he told her is people like her have choices. Unlike him, she can decide how she wants to live. But … maybe Kayla doesn’t have as many choices as he thinks. She comes back, and it’s really a key moment in their relationship. Remember how sure she was in Stockholm, how confident (“I found out I was right”) and compare that to what she says here: “It doesn’t matter what I want… I can’t stay from you.” This is the first time that Kayla’s need for Steve really breaks to the surface. It supersedes everything else — her anger and disappointment, his anger and certainty they don’t belong together, all the crap he just threw at her.

And that breaks through. He understands, because that’s what he feels. Needing her, desiring her, against all logic and reason. And he can’t help but respond to that.

What a kiss! (And, finally!)

Another favorite moment: when she asks what they’re going to do now, and he thinks she means about the emeralds, but it turns out she’s saying she wants to sleep with him. Mr. Sleazeball’s shocked reaction is priceless. Ha!

But what have they gained, really? He’s taken that step forward, but without any belief that anything good will come from it: “There’s no hope for us, you know that.”

She’ll recover her belief in him, that certainty that he’s a good man, and they are, after all, right for each other. But it’s telling that what she says tonight is “I don’t care.”

12 thoughts on “The Emeralds (2)

  1. One of my favorites yet very hard to watch moment in their love story. Kayla so hopeful then she finds the diamonds. The hardest part is watching Steve be so cruel to her during their fight. SN is terrific in that scene when he says ‘I’m already dead’ Such an intense wonderfully acted scene by both of them. It’s what makes them better than other couples. Kayla returning and giving up because she wants to be with him above all else.
    Sigh. I just love them.

    • I kind of love angry, angsty Steve in that scene where he yells at her. The show, and SN, had to walk a fine line with those kinds of scenes and this is one where it works because we know where he’s coming from and why he’s acting this way. They really kept a good balance so that Kayla never felt like a doormat and he never felt so cruel that we didn’t want Kayla with him (well, except when he gave her up for Jack. I wanted her to run off with Mike Horton and foil Steve’s plans, lol. But they got me back.).

  2. Not too much to say that you haven’t already said – it always bugged me that Steve never fessed up that he tried to walk away and leave the emeralds. I want him to tell her that he left the jacket for a reason. I don’t think he ever did. From the montage to the “if your heart comes out tonight” music that brings so much to their story. So so good. While I love watching the old shows because they were so good, makes me so frustrated that the current ones can’t somehow get anywhere close!

    • Yeah, I kind of wish they had made a bigger deal about his change of heart, because it was a big moment for him.

      The “If Your Heart Comes Out Tonight” montage is really nice getting ready for their first kiss. Nice way to show them both reflecting on how they got to this point (and it kind of gives Kayla a reason to go back).

      I get frustrated too. I know the budgets aren’t there, but they still have the actors and the characters. I don’t see any reason a writer can’t write long term stories worthy of them.

    • I didn’t this this outfit was that bad, lol. I agree about that powder blue dress though. That was the absolute worst. They dressed her so horribly when she was pregnant and the show was trying to hide it.

  3. I still can’t believe how much of an ass Steve was to her then and she still fought for him… hell of a lot more forgiving than I would ever be (thank goodness for us, though, right?) I agree w/Michelle it was/is hard to watch Steve w/his anguish. I get what Mary is saying, though, he felt like he stuck his neck out and got smacked upside the head. Although it is heart breaking, at least we now know what would be and can take some comfort in that, but agree– how did we make it thru these tough times?

    Michelle, so correct about her outfits! Even later, in the deaf s/l when Steve is signing The Rose to her, I’m like WTF with that shirt? It’s a horse print. I still want to know if the pants she was wearing were Rockies… was she all decked out in cowgirl gear? (I know about Rockies, I used to wear them🙂 shelled out close to $100 for each of those dumb-ass pair of jeans.. but I’m from a small town in the south, so I had a good excuse- had to fit in)

    • She was definitely forgiving, but like I said above the show kept the balance of power between them so it never felt like too much. I never realized how important that was — and how difficult — until I watched a more badly done version of that in their second run. It made me appreciate the little things they did back then to get it right.

      I remember that horse blouse. I didn’t think it was that bad either, lol. I thought it was cute how Kayla dressed kind of dorky sometimes, it somehow fit with her character. But sometimes it was too much. I have to say that Kayla dressed soooo much better during the Shayla phase. One reason to watch Shayla.🙂

  4. Drama. Heartache. And finally finally the Kiss. What a well-rounded scene. They were both so great at showing the longing for each other, bringing it to the edge, then backing off. Amazing acting and writing for these characters back then. I remember rewinding this like a million times to watch the lead-up and kiss over and over again. Maybe it was youth, but I don’t remember doing that with any soap scene in the past few years🙂.

    Kayla’s outfits were always horrible, but the 80’s didn’t do anyone any favors! Thank god no more shoulder pads!

    Thanks Mary for going back through these again. I love revisiting these storylines together.

    • I’ve told this story before, but I missed the start of this episode due to a pre-emption. They cut back to Days with only about 10 minutes left and they were in mid-kiss. I was so traumatized! I never saw it until 2006.

      The shoulder pads were terrible, especially when combined with the big hair. I think with Kayla’s maternity outfits they were trying to make her belly look smaller with bigger hair and shoulder pads. It didn’t work. LOL.

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