My worry all along about Dena, as a writer for Steve and Kayla, is how she would write for Kayla, or really all of the female characters. She doesn’t seem to know what to do for the “good” women. She seems to enjoy writing for bad girls, like Nicole in the babyswitch story, or Ava (gag) in her first run. But her supposed heroines are often bystanders, dupes, indecisively drawn to two or more men, or gone temporarily bad (like when Hope was taking sleeping pills that turned her into a nighttime mugger who tried to kill Bo — remember that story?)
So far, in this run, it hasn’t been that bad. I have enjoyed how she has written for Marlena, showing her as a doctor, a profiler, and someone willing to go toe to toe with Orpheus. The writing for Kayla hasn’t been as good as that, but I have enjoyed the scenes with Kayla as a doctor, particularly the scenes with Abe. And I have enjoyed watching Steve and Kayla cooperating and working together since this whole business with Orpheus and the other villains began. I appreciated that Steve and Kayla’s reconciliation seemed to happening (somewhat) slowly, and I really liked when Kayla contrasted her optimism that Steve would rescue her when Orpheus kidnapped her in 1986, to how she feels now. Even if it wasn’t exactly accurate (she thought Steve had been killed in 1986), the larger point was a good one: her earlier faith and naivete has given way to a realistic awareness that things don’t, in fact, always work out for the best.
So, I was feeling a little cautious optimism. Then came this week.
First, I did enjoy the scenes where Kayla helped Steve evade the lockdown at the hospital so he could go after John.
It was fun to see her arguing with the hospital administrator, and to see them cooperating for John’s sake. Stephen and Mary Beth always add a little extra something to their scenes. This time, I loved Steve’s look when Kayla asked him if he could make out on the fire escape: it seemed to say, do you know who you’re talking to? And then of course their kiss — the way she grabbed him was really lovely.
But then, when Kayla told Adrienne about what happened, Adrienne said “You couldn’t talk him out of it?” And Kayla’s response … “I’ve come to accept this is who he is.”
Is this Dena’s understanding of what their problems are? That Kayla can’t accept who Steve is? She even told him after he quit his job at Blackpatch that it wasn’t about him changing who he is — that would only lead to him resenting her for it. Instead it was whether she could live with the danger that he always seemed to attract. AND another issue, which they haven’t come close to addressing, is trust. Can she trust Steve not to keep her in the dark, not to play God with her life and Joey’s life. They’ve never properly addressed what happened in Africa that made him run off, nor have they really hashed out what happened with Ava. All the pain that Kayla has gone through, and she’s the one in the wrong? I said recently that I was worried that their issues were being boiled down to, “Does Kayla realize that Steve is, in fact, a hero?” And that seems to be exactly what has happened.