Giving thanks

Hope you all had a happier Thanksgiving than the Salemites did.

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I know we’ve talked about it before, but the timing issue continues to be mind-boggling! So screwy! It’s now very clearly on the second day after Hope’s wedding, which was on the Salem bicentennial. Lest we forget:

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November 9! And now it’s Thanksgiving!

I’m guessing this is all for the sake of the Abby storyline. It has to be believable that her family isn’t raising the alarm. Personally, I’m not sure it’s worth it. I think they could have snuck in a few more scenes of Jen and JJ fretting about Abby, even going to the police. Ben could keep sending text messages, or force Abby to call them and say everything is fine.

They also could have moved everything so her labor started the beginning of this week, without losing much in the way of suspense. As it was we watched her labor begin, then took a big break while everything went down with Bo. Someone who has a Salem day’s worth of time on their hands should go back to when she first found out she was pregnant, and actually count the Salem days until she had her baby. It’s gotta be only about three months – and frankly I think that’s a generous estimate!

I enjoyed Wednesday’s episode. I thought it was funny that the only people who got anything to eat was Salem’s homeless population – and I saw more people serving than I saw people eating.

TPTB obviously shelled out the bucks — almost the entire cast was on. I love holiday episodes that blend the ongoing stories with the plot-free holiday elements. They had a good balance in this episode. We found out that Eduardo went to Winterthorne academy, which will bring him into that story. The coincidences surrounding Eduardo are pretty funny. The two families he abandoned both happened to move to Salem, and now this. And did Paul describe Eduardo as his roommate’s “father”? That means either than Dario was his roommate, or Eduardo has another family somewhere! Hey, why not?

I just have to say, Wally Kurth and Kassie de Paiva have killer chemistry. How I wish Eve weren’t leaving! A triangle with Justin, Eve, and Eddy would be fantastic. And I also have to say that someone in the costume department loves Kassie:

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(Look at Eddy, smoldering through the crack in the doorway. Mmm.)

I like this pissed off Hope, kicking ass and taking names.

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I loved her reaming out Steve for not being willing to drop everything and chase the bad guys all over the world. I like believable conflict between the good guys. Kudos to Steve for not taking the bait, since it would break his promise to Kayla. I have a feeling he might cave, but for now, I am glad to see him put Kayla first. I also like ghost Bo:

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It’s such a great twist to have him be semi-evil (and what’s with his hair? Apparently the afterlife is lacking in hair products!), encouraging Hope’s risky choices. I hope they don’t overuse him – when it comes to ghosts, a little goes a long way.

Belle’s back!

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I hope I can like Belle this time around. I grew to loathe the character back in 2006-7. Back during the TWoP glory days, we coined the term GHH, for “glittery hoo-ha,” to explain a certain type of Days heroine who has no particular personality, no life goals or defining interests, and yet usually has two or men pining after her. She seems perfectly content to waffle back and forth between the two men without feeling she is being unfair. And that any man would be lucky to have even a few crumbs of affection from her. All that would be bad enough, but everyone else in Salem seemed to feel the same way, and acted like glitter came out of her … well, you know.

Despite my loathing for Belle, I always saw potential in Martha Madison. I genuinely liked her in her scenes with her family, and I remember writing on this blog more than once that if they gave her something to do besides wonder which man she should be with, I think I could get into the character. I am definitely excited to see her with her brothers Brady and Eric. It’s a good sign that they are splitting up Shawn and Belle — but I know a recast Phillip is coming back, and the last thing I want to see is Shellip, redux. This team pays more attention to jobs and careers, which I really like. She became a nurse right before she left last time, so they could do something with that. They could also throw her into the Basic Black storyline, since it is her father’s former company. Maybe she’ll try to wrest back control of it. Anyway, here’s hoping!

 

 

Brunch with Stephen and Mary Beth

Now onto Day 2 – the brunch!

My friend Erica got there early and saved seats for MamaPickford and me in the very front! Thank you, Erica!

Here again I got to meet more online friends, including the woman behind Daytime Royalty and another woman who used to post at Television without Pity back in the glory days (this led to much reminiscing). I also met more people from the S&K Twitter group. I have to say, one of the best things about this weekend was meeting people that I “know” online, who are as passionate and interested in this little corner of the world as I am!

Everything kicked off with Stephen and Mary Beth coming up onto the stage.

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The first thing that struck me is how at ease they are with each other, how much they obviously like each other. The second is how much they wanted all of us, the fans, to have a good time. Mary Beth asked for stools to be brought out so they would be high enough for everyone in the audience to see. When she climbed up onto hers, she used Stephen’s thigh as a prop to help herself up, and she joked about letting her hand slip. Hee!

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Mary Beth looked adorable, as you can see, in what she identified as an outfit from Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line. You can see it better here on her Instagram. Stephen was all in black, and was wearing the same jacket he wears on the show.

They started by answering questions from the audience. I don’t think there was a kibosh on revealing any of what they said, so here we go – I’ll remember as much as I can.

Stephen said he would love for them to be on the show as long as it airs, eventually aging into a Doug and Julie-type role. He said that would be in fifty years, then amended it to twenty. Mary Beth said, “Twenty for you, thirty for me.” Hee!

They said that the next few months are going to be a “roller coaster” of a story, that we won’t like everything that happens (Mary Beth made a face when she said that — I’m guessing this is Ava-related!) but hang in there, there are lots of twists and turns.

They talked about the drudgery of memorizing so much material, and how little rehearsal time there is. Mary Beth said she’s always running around to find people she has scenes with, to get them to rehearse with her. She said that when it’s time to tape a scene, she just has to let it all go, look into Stephen’s eyes, and she’s ready.

One fan asked who they would like to work with that they haven’t worked with much. Stephen mentioned Billy Flynn. Mary Beth mentioned how much she enjoyed working with Kate Mansi, and Stephen said he had filmed a scene with her recently. So at some point, we’ll get a Uncle Steve/Abby scene!

Another question was what happened to old sets. Mary Beth brought up the loft, how much she loved that sliding door. Stephen said, “The rooftop.” (Be still, my heart!) Stephen said that they haven’t used that set, but the spiral staircase from the loft will be featured in a few months, and to look for a shot of him descending it. They said that Steve and Kayla do get a place to live, and Mary Beth said that she loves the way it’s decorated – the colors, everything about it is what she would have picked out.

Someone asked if they ever had to act something that went against their morals or beliefs. I was bracing myself for a Shayla mention, but that didn’t come up. 🙂 Mary Beth said that recently Kayla had some dialogue she didn’t think Kayla would say, and she approached TPTB and was able to get it changed. They both said that collaboration is more possible now, and they can have input into their scenes. Mary Beth teased Stephen about how much he always marked up his scripts. They mentioned Shelley Curtis, a producer from 80’s Days, and how she told them that the dialogue doesn’t matter, to use it a vehicle to show the underlying connection of the characters, and they really took that to heart. They also said that in the end, they have a job to do, and they have to do their best with what they’re given.

Speaking of Shayla: they talked about how fans have named their children after these characters. (Stephen said he met a woman at a book signing recently who named her son “Patch”!) Mary Beth told a story of sledding with her kids, and overhearing a mother calling to hers: “Come on, Shane, come on, Kayla!” I wish I had a picture of the face she made!

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Stephen had to leave the stage at one point to take out his contacts and put on his glasses. He said that he has a hard time seeing with his patch on, because his eyes have gotten worse over the years. Aw!

At one point, Mary Beth called herself a “talker” and Stephen said “No!” with mock surprise. Sometimes when there was a question for Stephen, Mary Beth would start to answer. Stephen would turn to her and say, “Can I talk?” Hee!

After the Q&A they drew tickets for prizes. We’d all been given a raffle ticket on the way in. Prizes were Steve and Kayla or Days of Our Lives merchandise: frames, mugs, pins, tote bag, and hats. One of the prizes was a Days of Our Lives coffee mug that Stephen had used. Mary Beth wiped it on her sweater, joking that she needed to wipe off Stephen’s lip prints. My mom called out, “Oh, you don’t need to do that!” and then Stephen read the winning number. My mom had won! Hee!

Stephen brought her the mug and hugged her, and just like with Drake, she kissed him on the cheek. MOM!

Next up was a Days of Our Lives baseball cap and keychain, and I won. Surprise! Stephen asked if we were mother and daughter, and when we said we were, he said, “Wow, lucky family. ” Yes, yes, we are, Stephen. Mary Beth brought me my prize, and gave me a hug.

After we ate, we lined up for autographs and pictures. When it was my turn, I was introduced as having a blog about Days of Our Lives. They asked me the name of it, and when I told them, Stephen said, “Oh, I’ve seen that.”

DEAD.

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Thank you, Stephen and Mary Beth!

Now, off to catch up on Days!

 

My Day of Days

I had an amazing weekend in Los Angeles at Day of Days. I promised a full report, so here we go!

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My mom and I walked over to Universal Studios about 9:30, and lined up along the red carpet where the cast was due to walk out. We met up with commenter Erica, and she introduced me to some other folks I know from Twitter and various message boards (“This is Mary Pickford,” she said. Hee!). We got a good position along the red carpet, but there was a cute little kid standing along the other side who was a magnet for all the actors. (I kicked myself for not bringing my ten year old daughter along! That kid could have finally earned her keep!) So, I managed to mostly get pictures of people’s backs, though I did get a few good ones. You may have seen some of the pictures I posted on Twitter. This was the best one:

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Note cute kid in the background.

The thoughts going through my head at this point are probably what you feel meeting any famous person. The actors are all so familiar to me, from seeing them five days a week on my screen. It was surreal to see them walking in front of me, in three dimensions, like dolls come to to life. This feeling never quite left me the whole weekend.

The emcee for the event announced that tables would be set up where the actors would assemble in groups of three and four. Half would appear in the morning, half in the afternoon. I was warned that you had to find your line early because they were closed after a certain number of people were in it. I knew I would be meeting Stephen and Mary Beth the next day, so I dragged my mom to Greg Vaughan’s line (She said, “Who does he play again?” MOM!) Susan and Bill Hayes were at the same table, so it was win-win.

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Bill and Susan were so nice. They asked us where we were from and what else we planned to do in LA. Bill helped my mom with the camera on her phone when she was having trouble with it. Hee!

Then came this guy:

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I was too shy to ask for a hug, which everyone told me afterward was a big mistake on my part. But it was ringing in my ears that the cast members must STAY SEATED and fans must STAY BACK. Later, I saw Greg standing up and giving hugs and taking selfies with everyone, so he’s clearly not a rule follower. My bad. Anyway, I stammered out that I was a huge fan, and he took my hand in both of his. Then we got this photo:

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Mamma mia!

I got a message from commenter Liz, who was down in Stephen and Mary Beth’s line. She was with some other folks I know from Twitter. We went down there and all identified ourselves by our Twitter names (lol), and they very kindly let us in line with them so we could see Stephen and Mary Beth. Ari and Peggy were also at the same table.

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I love Ari here!

I had recovered my powers of speech by this point, and actually managed to chat with Ari and Peggy a little. Ari was so talkative and friendly. I asked about Ericole, and Ari said “Ahhhh …. ” (meaning, I can’t say), and then said, “You know they love to torture you.” (I heard later that Greg was a little more frank in his Daytime Royalty interview. Follow the link if you want to be spoiled.) My mom told her she loved Nicole, whether she’s being good or evil. I said that she (Ari) always let us see Nicole’s motivation, so we sympathize with her even when she makes mistakes. Ari has probably heard this all a million times, but she seemed genuinely touched and glad to hear it. She said she loved playing Nicole and joked about not knowing if she was going to be good or bad from week to week.

With Peggy, I told her I loved her work in the Hope/Aiden wedding. She told me that was so much fun to do and she loved working with Peter and being the one to believe in Bo. She too seemed so happy to hear we liked her work.

Then came these two:

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Such beautiful people!

I didn’t talk with them too much except to say I was so glad they were back, and I would see them at the brunch the next day.

Drake and Dee were appearing in the afternoon, and I wanted to make sure my mom would get to meet Drake. I was a little nervous because, I have to say, the John and Marlena fans there were a little bit insane. I saw a number of people wearing Days of Our Lives t-shirts (including this one!), but the John and Marlena fans were by far the most represented. Some said “Don’t Drake and Drive,” others “John loves Marlena,” still others “#Jarlena.” There were signs everywhere that you couldn’t start lining up for the afternoon autograph tables until 1:00, but a whole cadre of people were lingering around where the line was due to form. Security guards repeatedly told them to disperse, which made them shuffle their feet a few inches but otherwise had no effect. I wasn’t about to let them crowd out MamaPickford, though, so I camped out too. (See, I can break rules!)

We did manage to get in line, and ended up waiting about an hour or so. We chatted with two older ladies who have also (like my mom) been watching since the 60s, exchanging reminisces about storylines past and present. One of them said she went online sometimes to read spoilers, and made me laugh when she said she had to block some Haiden fans on Twitter. We got to the front, and my mom had a lot more chutzpah with Drake than I did with Greg. When he half stood up to greet her, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek!

I have to post this photo of Dee. You might think that she glows onscreen only because of great lighting and soft focus, but you would be wrong:

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Crazy, huh?

After that the cast all assembled again onstage, and they took questions from fans. There were some bizarre questions. Reinforcing my feeling that John and Marlena fans are the most obsessive, one fan’s “question” was to ask Dee and Drake to sit next to each other, because it was wrong for John not to be next to Marlena. Dee and Drake have obviously heard it all a million times, and handled it like pros.

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The best questions were from two little kids. The first one asked Stephen why Steve wore a patch, and Steve explained the fight between Bo and Steve. (When he mentioned Britta, Mary Beth turned away like she was giving him the cold shoulder. So cute.) The second one asked Kate Mansi if Chad was really the father of Abby’s baby. That got a big laugh from the cast (and the audience), and Kate’s shocked reaction was priceless. Of course, she told her that she’d have to wait and see.

The other noteworthy question was to Ari. Someone asked if after Daniel left, Nicole found comfort with the new doctor in town. Ari joked that she just wanted “doctor” in her name, anyone would do. Then she went and sat in Alexander Bruszt’s lap and said “Are you implying that I just move from man to man?” Ari was adorable, but you can imagine how my heart sank on hearing this.

Then they showed a promo for upcoming stories, which I won’t embed here because it has spoilers galore. But you can watch it over at Mykleraus’s blog, if you haven’t already. I have to say, it made me very excited for what’s coming!

I still have Stephen and Mary Beth’s brunch to talk about, but I’ll split that into other post later today. All in all, it was an amazing, amazing day. Whew!

LA bound

I was a little underwhelmed by the episode yesterday.

I’ll try to keep an open mind, but I wasn’t too impressed by the new Aussie doctor. Wally Kurth can pull off the womanizing playboy role, because he has an impish charm that stops him from seeming sleazy. This guy just put me off. And much as my “Ericole is endgame” heart didn’t want to see it, it was clear that Nicole was attracted to him too. Ugh.

The story for Theresa and Brady feels all off to me. She’s so eager to please, to “take what she can get,” as she said. And he seems utterly unaware of the unfairness of sending mixed signals. For all that, I’m starting to see some chemistry between them – they just really, really need to fix the power imbalance.

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Theresa looks great, though. I love this red dress on her.

I’m glad they are showing the fallout for Bo and Hope, and Ciara and Chase, from Aiden’s death and attempted murder of Hope. It’s important not to skip those moments. But I’m not really looking forward to weeks of Hope blaming herself. And Bo’s collapse surely signals the way they are going to write him out … 😦

But no matter — in a few hours, I’ll be in LA, and from there I’ll take the wormhole to Salem. Whee! I’ll try to post some pictures on Twitter, so be sure to check in with me there — Saturday I’ll be at Day of Days, and Sunday I’ll be at the brunch with Stephen and Mary Beth. Of course, I’ll do a full report when I get home!

We

Steve and Kayla’s scenes were perfection today.

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When Kayla started off yelling at him, it felt like more of the same, but then it became clear that something has shifted, and I think I know what it is. Up until now, Kayla has had to struggle with the fact that Steve left her, that he was bored and craving adventure, and he deserted her. Not only is that painful, but it isn’t Steve. Did she even know him at all?

Now, she still has plenty of reasons to be angry, but she is back on familiar ground. This line summed it up for me:

Steve: You want me to be someone else.

Kayla: No, I just want to know what is going on.

This is perfectly in character for both of them. Steve was trying to do the right thing, and he has a tendency for self-sacrifice (just like Jo). I can see his reasoning perfectly: my family’s lives are more important than my happiness. Not seeing it’s not just his own happiness he’s sacrificing. And Kayla, the decision taken out of her hands, and forced to conclude that Steve didn’t love her the way she thought he did. It’s like the sacrifice for Jack all over again!

But I like that we can see Steve’s hurt too, hurt that he was trying to do the right thing and he’s getting nothing but grief for it. When Kayla got wound up at the end and said that they are a team and will deal with this together, I loved the expression on Steve’s face. He was so happy. “You want me back.” I loved when she threw the tissue box at him!

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And I was so happy when she said, you’re not getting rid of me, so why don’t you tell me everything you know … and we’ll tackle it together. It was so very Kayla!

It all feels fair and evenhanded (finally), and I’m excited to see how it plays out.

I thought Bo, Hope, Ciara and Chase scenes were all very good. Vivian Jovanni (Ciara) did especially well today. I’m not that invested in Chase, but they have to deal with the fallout from Aiden’s demise, so they were necessary scenes. I liked that Hope said they had to take him in, and Bo agreed. I noticed they didn’t actually tell Chase his father was the necktie killer, but obviously he has to find out. I hope when it’s revealed to be Ben, Chase finds some comfort in the fact that his father “only” tried to kill Hope.

The Chad, Abby, and Ben story continues to be excellent. I loved watching Rob Wilson in the scene with Chad, the look on his face when Chad told him that Aiden was the necktie killer. Watching him try to process that actually made me laugh. I also loved how he stopped himself from mentioning Chad’s accusation, when he realized Chad didn’t remember their fight. He might hate Chad with the fire of a thousand suns, but it didn’t make him lose his head.

That led naturally into Ben forcing Abby (poor Abby!) into calling Chad.

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This was such a tense, amazing scene. I loved the big soapy drama of Bo’s return and the big fight with Aiden. But I love this kind of soapy drama even more. I know it involves a serial killer and a kidnapping and a WTD story and all of that, but somehow it is more realistic, more grounded in emotion. Seeing Chad sense that Abby is in trouble, and quickly offer her a way to tell him that doesn’t put her into further danger, seeing her quickly take advantage of that chance – that’s true (soap) love.

 

 

Not giving up

This will be a quick post. I’m a little pressed for time these days, getting ready to go away for the weekend (to Day of Days — whoo hoo!)

The Abby/Ben scenes were really terrific. I love how Rob Wilson plays Ben’s craziness – he’s a murderer, sure, but he still think he’s a pretty good guy.  When he said he’s “not giving up on us,” he was obviously sincere. It’s just that, to him, “not giving up” means he’s willing to kidnap her and keep her tied up.

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And he’ll even wrap a blanket around her shoulders. What a sweet boyfriend.

Ben feels like the wronged party, and everything flows from that. The cracks are starting to show for Abby, in her attempts to keep him placated and win his trust enough so that she can escape.  When he told her today that he knew about her night with Chad, I think it really sunk in how much trouble she is in. This has been going on a lot longer than she thought, and Ben actually hasn’t trusted her for a long time.

I liked how Aiden’s apparent guilt has rippled out to affect other people. I especially liked how they used it to get Gabi to talk to Eduardo, and having JJ encourage her was a nice touch (with another Jack reference!). I guess this means Ben won’t be getting that $100,000 now.

And, of course, Chad was set free. I liked the touch of selfishness in that he didn’t tell Rafe that Andre knew about Hope’s attack. He didn’t want anything to screw up his release, understandably so. But I think he will tell him eventually. And when he went over to Abby’s apartment, and Ben was there, I was cringing for him. Because he has no idea that Ben is the killer, he is like a lamb to the slaughter. And how will Ben react to finding out his plan to frame Chad has completely fallen apart? It’s going to drive him around the bend. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I can’t wait to find out.

And then Abby going into labor! Ack!

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Bo and Hope – oh my God.

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The fight scenes were incredible, especially the way they crashed through the Bope house set, destroying all the furniture. Kristian was the star of these scenes, when she woke up, hallucinated Aiden, and then realized it was Bo. When Rafe arrived and she was sitting there with that dead look in her eyes, mascara streaking down her face. And when she turned to Bo and started hitting him, yelling that he wasn’t there when she needed him. Wonderful. And then those final shots in the hospital, Bo holding her in his arms. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to melt at that ending.

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Sometimes I think the only thing grounding the serial killer story in reality is Rafe. I love his quiet, understated reaction to everything, even as he obviously takes the whole thing with deadly seriousness. When he turned to Bo, after they’d already been talking for several minutes, and said “Where the hell did you come from?” I had to laugh a little. And then pondering Aiden’s apparent guilt, saying, “How did I miss this?” It shows how heavily this is weighing on him.

I love this shot:

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I’m glad to see Chad’s memories staring to come back. I really want Rafe and Chad to work together on this case!

Abby’s scenes with Ben were tense and creepy. I am so glad to see her being smart, working to placate him and maybe win his trust, so she can escape. But it obviously made her skin crawl, as mine did when I was watching, to have to return his kisses today. I’m glad she didn’t get hold of the poker. There is no way that would have worked, and I’m scared he would hit her with it. Eee, this is killing me.

Sami: all I got is WTF?

Now, Steve and Kayla.

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With just a couple a quibbles, I thought today’s scenes were really good. We finally heard for certain that Steve’s ISA mission was explicitly about protecting Kayla and their children. But this plays right into his history of playing God and making unilateral decisions. The price of those decisions was summed up by Kayla’s line: “I divorced you because of this. I lost my trust in you.” He is not going to be able to win that trust back easily, even if he didn’t leave for “adventure.”

What I didn’t like was Steve’s line that he finally got the “respectable” job she always wanted him to have. Stephen played the line so well I almost wish it wasn’t so completely wrong. They could have kept it if Kayla had replied, “Do you really think I care about that?” Kayla never cared about his job – Steve did.

My other complaint is I thought her line about staying away from her and Joey was a little harsh. But it’s possible it was in reaction to his line that he shouldn’t have come back. I’m on the fence – I want a little bit of softness, something to encourage Steve, but I don’t want Kayla’s valid reasons to be angry to be swept aside. At any rate, I thought the scenes were very, very promising for where the storyline is headed. I’m glad Steve opened up enough to tell Kayla a little bit of what is going on. It’s all but certain that Ava is the threat Steve is talking about, and the worst thing would be for Steve to keep her a secret (again).

So, cautiously optimistic?

Loved Kayla and Bo’s hug! I want more, but at least they saw each other!