Deimonic

When I first started going to message boards in 2006, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me who this “Shelle” person was. I’m embarrassed to say how long it took for the light bulb to go off. When it finally did, I initially thought the whole concept of couple names was overly cutesy and an affront to proper grammar. But, I have since completely reversed my position. Some couple names sound truly lovely (Lumi, Ericole) and the ones that don’t (Bope, EJami) still save a few keystrokes. It’s also fun when fans of a couple will go with one name (Danicole) and non-fans another (Dicole). So it has been with Nicole and Deimos. Neimos is what I see on Twitter as the neutral-to-positive name for this couple, and non-fans have kicked around Nicodeimos and (in a stroke of genius) Deimonic.

I haven’t made a secret of my dislike for this pairing, and as far as I can tell they haven’t caught fire with other fans either. And as Deimos keeps ramping up the villainy and with Eric back on the canvas, I think Deimonic is not long for this world.

I know a lot of people find it difficult to root for Eric to get together with the current version of Nicole, and I get it, I really do. It gives even me pause to imagine her going from loving Daniel, to Deimos, to back in love with Eric without a pause. I’m not bothered by the mere fact that she’s been with two different men, because Nicole has always had a past, and they’ve more or less established Nicole as a character who always wants to be with someone. It’s part of what I enjoy, the contrast between seen-it-all Nicole and priestly Eric, who seems virginal in comparison.

But what’s been missing the past year is the desperate edge that made her “looking for love in all the wrong places” sympathetic. And here I put the blame squarely on the day to day writing. They keep telling us she and Daniel had this once in a lifetime love, but I’ll never believe it. Even if I did believe it, it doesn’t fit her character to have her going on and on like Hope talking about Bo.* Talking about drawing strength from his love even in death, “what would Daniel do?” etc.

The emphasis through all of this should have been on Nicole’s certainty (after Daniel’s death) she could never find love without it all going wrong. (Even better if they made it clear that she wanted marriage and a family more than she wanted Daniel as a person, but that might be too much to hope for.) But, that just makes her more desperate to have love of any kind. That would create a feeling that she has to latch onto anyone who shows an interest. She’ll never have a great love, but she still can’t stand being alone. If a lifetime jailbird with questionable morals is the only option, she’ll take it.

So, I might have to pretend in my head that this is what happened, because I adored the Eric scenes from yesterday that indicated he was still in love with Nicole. There’s nothing I like more than a tortured man hopelessly longing for someone he thinks he can never have.

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And if the story had played out as I illustrated above … she moved on, but not happily; he never moved on … it would preserve the contrast of their two characters that I love so much.

And, of course we had some lovely, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Steve and Kayla scenes yesterday too. I was a little distracted by the fact that Stephen didn’t act at all like he was in pain from his bullet wound. He was moving his arm freely and not wincing at all. Such is the healing power of Kayla!

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I loved that Steve mentioned that the most romantic thing to him was that she jumped on a plane and flew across the ocean to nurse him back to health “just like Stockholm.” Sigh. And with Sheri back, in six months it will be just like Stockholm again.**

*Actually Hope never talks about Bo.

**Please don’t expect this.

Screencaps Joanie

 

Nouveau Deveraux

Technically, that should be “nouvelle,” but that didn’t rhyme.

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(Look at that picture of Jack! Jack, who I met last weekend!!!)

I was quite favorably impressed with Marci Miller as the new Abby. I thought her scenes with Jen were very good. She connected very naturally with Jen and they gave off a nice mother/daughter vibe. She also really sold the whole “I faked my death so you could all move on” thing — not the easiest sell for one of your first scenes. And, family resemblance isn’t everything (see Brady, Ciara), but Marci’s striking resemblance to Melissa Reeves is a nice bonus.

She’s also got the “blink and let one tear fall down your cheek” thing down pat — always a good skill for a soap actress!

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The big test will be seeing her with Chad.  They seem to be banking a lot on nuChabby, based on the general buzz, the frequent behind-the-scenes photos, and the constant cutesy tweeting between Billy and Marci. I worried that it was all being built up too much, because for me anyway, I won’t automatically ship a couple I like if there’s a recast — quite the opposite, actually.  Now, I’m not a Chabby shipper per se — I like them, but I was open to seeing Chad paired with someone else. I didn’t want to see Billy Flynn wasted just because Kate Mansi left the show. At any rate, I’m excited to see how it plays out.

Seeing Steve and Adrienne together is always something special, and this was a particularly good scene:

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I loved the banter about “the blues” being her “something blue” and Steve saying he was the “something old” and Adrienne cracking up and saying “at least you didn’t say me!” Such a cute sibilng vibe to these scenes.

At the (pitifully attended) wedding itself, the highlight for me was Steve and Kayla making googoo eyes at each other:

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I was on board for Justin’s big entrance, because it’s so soapy, but this is the kind of thing that calls for more than a couple of scenes (not even episodes) of preparation. I heard there was a cut scene where Adrienne was talking about the wedding and accidentally said Justin’s name instead of Lucas. That seems like a scene we should have seen, don’t you think? And a better writer would also have made more of Sonny being torn between encouraging his father to interrupt the wedding and the fact that he’s Lucas’s best man, his former father-in-law, and Lucas has endured so much loss in his life recently (as has Sonny). But instead it was just “Oh, by the way, Dad, you should totes interrupt the wedding.

Then there was Theresa’s exit this week. I actually have been drawn into this little arc against my will.

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I was so annoyed at the whole Mateo retcon, and I still don’t believe in a million years that Shane and Kim would help Theresa leave her son and go off with a dangerous man, no matter how powerful he was. But, I must admit it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a decent “I have to pretend to be a horrible person” storyline (a story which can be good soapy angst if done well), and this one actually gave Jen Lilley and Eric Martsolf some surprisingly good material to work with. I haven’t liked Thrady that much since Theresa’s redemption. But they had an interesting dynamic when Theresa was bad and Brady was a drug addict, and the angst they got to play this week reminded me of when I liked them.

And, I’m glad they gave a little hint that Shane might have another plan in mind, and he’s not letting Theresa go off with Mateo after all, in his last scene on Friday.

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Now can we get some scenes with Kim and Shane with Kayla and the rest of the cast, pretty please?

Screencaps Joanie

Tale of three Romans

Roman Brady, played by Wayne Northrup, was introduced in late 1981 as the detective assigned to protect Marlena.  I watched Wayne Northrup’s version of Roman when I was a child, but I don’t remember him very well. Just about the only thing I remember clearly is that when he and Marlena kissed, he used to grab the back of her head in a way that I felt would pull her hair. Ha ha. In general, it was played as an “opposites attract” type of story, the classy psychiatrist and the rough and tumble cop.

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I also remember that Wayne’s Roman and Bo had a really good, conflicted, adversarial relationship. Drake’s Roman and Bo mostly resolved those differences in the mid-80’s. I loved their dynamic too, but it was friendly rather than prickly.

Roman’s popularity ushered in a new era of male heroes:  the blue collar, rough-around-the-edges alpha male, distinct from the lawyers and doctors like Neil Curtis and Don Craig that had previously dominated the show. After Roman came Bo, Pete Jannings, and Steve Johnson. The show gradually brought on an entire family for Roman. Bo, Kayla, Shawn, Caroline, and Kim soon followed him onscreen. It’s easy to forget now that Roman has faded into such a secondary role, but were it not for Wayne Northrup’s popularity, the Bradys would not be the second major family in Salem. That boggles my mind!

After Roman died in 1984, he came back in 1985 in the form of Drake Hogestyn. This was a very successful recast, from the mystery of “the Pawn,” the exciting reveal that John Black was Roman Brady, and his chemistry with Marlena and his family. Drake, Peter, Mary Beth, and Patsy made a fantastic Brady foursome that in my opinion has never been matched before or since. After Deidre Hall left the show, Drake’s Roman went on to popular pairings with Diana and Isabella.

In 1991, Days brought back Marlena from the dead, followed just a few months later by Wayne Northrup’s Roman. In hindsight, I really wish they had not done this story. Drake was too established as Roman. He had played him for 5-6 years, had recovered his memories of being Roman, and was fully integrated into the Brady clan. To upend all that for what ends up happening (Wayne leaves again in 3 years, John’s past is retconned again and again, Josh Taylor) doesn’t seem worth it to me.

But, since I had never seen the story, I was really curious about how this plot would play out. One thing I really appreciate is that we get to see everyone’s reactions to Roman being alive. Marlena, Shane, Abe, all the Bradys. I know this is standard for soaps at the time, but it’s something that is often sadly lacking nowadays, since things often happen too fast and they don’t milk the drama out of it. The show also drew out the suspense of the final determination of which one of these men was the real Roman, when they sent Kayla off with the tissue samples to DC, only to have her get kidnapped by Cal Winters en route. In the meantime both John and Roman were both terribly hurt by the rest of the family waffling about who the real Roman was.

Here’s a taste, where Roman is re-introduced to the rest of the Bradys:

(Starts around 8:30.)

And then, there is this great scene, probably my favorite in the whole storyline. It is a perfect example of milking the drama of Roman’s return, when Roman finds out that Victor is Bo’s father:

Roman confronts Caroline

First of all, as I pointed out above, Wayne and Peter have a very interesting prickly chemistry. All the progress that Bo made with his brother was actually with an imposter! That plus the fact that they haven’t seen each other in 7 years, and he’s still not 100% sure which man is his brother, makes for a chilly dynamic which I find fascinating. Then, I like how Roman goes to confront Caroline about her affair, which everyone else dealt with years ago. I love when she points that out, that the family has gotten past it and forgiven her. “Oh, so now it’s my turn?” Roman says coldly. Great moment.

The show would never in a million years have the patience or attention to write a scene like this today. Back when Steve came back from the dead in 2006, we on the boards discussed all the things that had changed while he was “dead” — John not being Roman among them! — but the show seldom took the trouble to have him react to them.

Also, I would say that even back then, this scene is the exception rather than the rule. Roman’s return, after the initial shock, feels mostly like fuel for a triangle with John and Marlena, rather than an exploration of what it would be like to come back and find that someone had been living your life for 6 years and was accepted by all of your family and friends. Generally speaking, the Bradys and Marlena seem more concerned with John’s angst at finding out he’s NOT Roman, than celebrating Roman’s return from his imprisonment. (Or guilt at accepting another man in his stead for so many years.) There was a lot of potential material here that feels glossed over, and signals the show’s investment in Drake over Wayne.

A few years later, after Isabella’s death, the show went with John and Marlena in a big way when they had their famous affair. Roman left town and was later killed offscreen. Then, Roman returned again in 1997, now played by Josh Taylor. His return was dramatic, just when John and Marlena were about to get married. I haven’t seen this storyline, but I did find these return scenes on YouTube:

(This is part 1. It continues through part 6.) Looks like high drama, which I’m sure was fun. I’m not sure, though, why they decided on Josh Taylor as the recast. He already played a perfectly viable character, Chris Kositchek, who was a fine addition to the show — lawyer, bar owner, Kayla’s ex-boyfriend, all around supporting player. I know he is friends with Ken Corday, and that might be part of it — Ken wanted him to have a featured role and meaty material. Josh Taylor probably has the highest job security of anyone on the show! But, to me that means he didn’t need to be pimped into this role — just make the role he already had bigger and better!

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll mention it again. Once, after not watching Days for many years, I turned on the TV and saw Christie Clark and Josh Taylor discussing her upcoming wedding to Austin. I was delighted to see the grown up Christie Clark still playing Carrie, who I remembered playing Carrie as a child, but I was mystified when she called Chris Kositchek “dad.” What plot point had brought that about?

Because the thing is, although Josh Taylor has played the role far longer than either of the other Romans — 19 years (!) to Wayne’s 6 and Drake’s 5 — he will always be “Fauxman” to me. He has never made the role his own. He’s fine as a supporting player, but when the story calls back to Roman’s rich history, Josh Taylor cannot bring the weight and gravitas that the character needs. We saw that just recently, in a major way, with Orpheus’s return. Roman was always his target, his original grudge, the man who changed him from a good man to a bad one obsessed with revenge. Yes, we saw Orpheus battle it out with other people in 1986 and it’s natural he would want revenge on them too, but there is no way that Roman should have been forgotten. At the same time, do I want to see more Josh? No. And that weakens the story, which is a shame.

 

Sweeten the pill

DENA: Guess what? Steve and Kayla are getting back together!

ME: Yay!

DENA: But I’m going to do it in a way that you hate.

ME: Impossible!

ME: …

ME: Oh.

Dena truly is the monkey’s paw. It wasn’t just that Steve and Kayla got back together so fast. I expected that. It wasn’t that their issues were presented superficially. I expected that too.

It was that she seemed to be going out of her way to thumb her nose at Kayla fans who were worried about how she would write for Kayla. This is “I’ve finally accepted who he is” times one hundred. So many things! Marlena says it’s nice to see Steve happy again. (What about Kayla? Who cares!) Kayla says she wants Steve to go back to Blackpatch — she realized Steve shouldn’t give up her job for her. (She said that at the time!) She says she talks too much (wtf?) and they should try it Steve’s way (not talking, I guess).  Steve doesn’t have to go to therapy — she’s all done with that silliness. He just needs to watch sports … while she fetches his pipe and slippers, presumably.

I did like some of the dialogue. I liked that Kayla, when she mentioned he quit his job, said that danger came to them anyway. I am truly not against the idea that Kayla would or could come to the realization that you can’t banish danger from your life. I just feel that Steve should have come to a realization or two himself regarding playing God, regarding the cost of his decisions on other people, namely Kayla … and maybe have done some more heavy lifting in their reconciliation. (Couldn’t he have set up this romantic dinner?) I also liked when Steve insisted he was going to go to therapy, because he doesn’t want to screw this up again.

The sad thing is, I think this was Dena trying to write them talking about their issues. And according to some people, she’s not wrong. So what do I know?

Okay, so that’s the pill. But the she did sweeten it, and it was very, very, very sweet. I really loved the opening scenes, the fab four sitting around, reflecting on what just happened. It was refreshing to see everyone smiling, and Kayla teasing John and Marlena about their wedding date.

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And no more headscarf! I love her hair like this.

Setting up their romantic dinner on the pier was absolutely perfect. I have so many fond memories of Steve and Kayla on that pier. I think the only thing that would have pegged my squee-meter more is the loft … or maybe the loft roof. 😀 I actually squealed when Steve called Kayla his “Lady in Red.” Nice use of history, Days! As always, Stephen and Mary Beth did so much with their eyes and their body language, showing how much these two love each other and enjoy each other.

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Watching them dance was so lovely. Days doesn’t do these romantic scenes as much as they used to, so we have to enjoy them when we can. And Steve was always a big romantic at heart, and I love to see that side of him. (Another reason why it would have been much better if he had set this up *cough*).

I’ll leave you with this. My awesome friend Liz clipped that beautiful dance, with one notable improvement. Check it out:

I’m melllllllting. 🙂

Screencaps LizK ❤ SnK

Settling for less

My favorite aspect of the Shayla relationship is the family conflict it creates. But there is another interesting facet that the show touches on but doesn’t fully explore. And that is that this is a “second choice” relationship for both Shane and Kayla. For Kayla, this is straightforward: Steve is dead, so she doesn’t have a first choice. But for Shane, his “true love” relationship is still a possibility. So why does he choose Kayla? The suggestion is that Kim has just hurt Shane too many times, and he’s not willing to go down the road with her again. A quieter relationship is just what he needs right now.

Here is a great scene where they play on the appeal, and the limits, of a quiet relationship:

Lawrence’s press conference

Kayla’s insecurity makes perfect sense, after hearing Lawrence talk snidely about their relationship and refer to Kim as “the most passionate woman he’s ever known.” I like how Kayla tells Shane that doesn’t want him to “settle for less.” I also think there is more than insecurity talking here. I think Kayla knows if Steve were to come back, there is no way she would “settle” for Shane. So how is it fair for her to expect Shane to settle for her?

I like that Shane’s reassures her that what they have is passionate. (By the way, they haven’t slept together yet.) It would probably be a little much for him to say, “I’ve had enough with getting my heart broken again and again with a grand passion. I’d rather be with someone who lets me keep my walls up.” But I do think there is some truth to that assessment, though Shane might not be fully aware of it.

This is a way to keep their options open. As I talked about here, I think the show always wanted to be able to reunite Kim and Shane down the line. Now that I’ve finished watching the whole Shayla relationship, I think there is a point where that was the plan.

Here’s what happens: Cal Winters comes back to town, fully off his rocker (and played by a really bad recast). He plans to kidnap Kim and his “daughter” Jeannie. (Who is really Shane’s daughter; Cal blackmailed the doctor … of course). Through a mistake, he nabs Kayla instead. While she is captured, Cal is ranting and raving to her and refers to Jeannie as “Shane’s daughter.” Kayla confronts him on his slip, but he denies it.

Then, after the big complicated plot has been resolved and everyone is home safe, Kayla has to tell everyone what she heard, right? Well, take a look:

Kayla and Jeannie

It’s clear what they were setting up, don’t you think? Kayla is afraid of losing Shane, so she keeps the secret of Jeannie’s paternity. Meanwhile, Kim and Shane grow closer because Kim has moved in with Shane (for safety reasons). Kayla would now be the interloper, and the reveal of her secret keeping, plus Jeannie’s true paternity, would push Kim and Shane back together.

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But, that’s not what happens. Kayla keeps the secret for a couple of weeks, and then she tells the truth. Kim and Shane are mad at first, but then they get over it. Shane and Kayla stay together.

Kim leaves the show right after this, so I think it’s pretty obvious the story was changed because Patsy Pease decided to leave. And all I can about that is — whew. I would not have enjoyed watching Kayla play the bad guy in this triangle. And yet — I’m also a little intrigued. It is fascinating to hear Kayla in the clip above, in the scene with Caroline, passionately defending her right to be selfish:

“Am I supposed to stand on the sideline and be a martyr? I used to be really good at that, but I’m not anymore, Mom. Not after I had my husband taken away from me, and my whole life just ripped from underneath me. And nobody, not even you, knows what I went through. It was only Shane, because Kimberly was doing that to him. And he knew how lonely it was for me, and how empty the days were, and how endless it all seemed. I felt that I would never be happy again. And that I would never, ever in my life, find love. But I did. Shane gave me that. He gave me back my life, and I’m just not willing to give that up so easily.”

I love how she connects her grief about Steve with the right to hang onto any happiness she can find now. It shows how much Steve’s death shook her to her core. Sometimes, when you settle for less, it’s because it’s all you have.

Storyline of the day

Hey everybody! I’ve been reviewing the Marina/key storyline as I repost my Jack and Jennifer clips on Google+. I had so much fun re-watching this clip, I thought I would share it with you all again. This little arc is more about Steve and Kayla, and is a great example of how you help two characters reconnect after something like the Marina disruption. Would love to see something like this for Steve and Kayla today … hint hint.

Days has carefully established a fragile bond between Kayla and Jack. They’ve used it to create some jealousy and angst for Steve when his relationship with Kayla was at its worst, but what’s going to happen now that things are a little better?

This is a fun denouement to the plot where Jack tries to break Isabella out of Bayview.

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He succeeds, but in the process ends up getting himself and Kayla captured. In desperation, he called Steve for help, but Kayla came instead. Let’s watch:

Steve rescues Kayla and Jack

(As always, you’ll have to be my follower on Google+ to view the video. Click here and leave a comment there and I’ll add you!)

Steve pretending to be a cop is always fun. I love how Jack adds “bribery” to the charges that Steve is listing—since Jack was the one doing the bribing when he was sneaking in to see Isabella. He reminds me of snotty little brother in this scene, big brother is here to rescue him now and he can hang back and shoot off smartmouth remarks. It’s very cute. And I love the very last look between Jack and Kayla as Steve is leading her away. They seem to have a shared understanding of, “Yes, Steve is shouting and ordering us around, but it’s best to just humor him, really.” It’s a perfect way to show that the bond between them is still there, and this little adventure has reinforced it.

Back at the Brady house, Steve keeps trying to blame Jack and Kayla keeps defending him. Mary Beth plays this very calmly, though, and not with the passion Kayla usually has when she’s defending someone. She can step back enough to see he has changed and, in typical Kayla fashion, doesn’t let her own issues stop her from speaking up for Jack when the situation seems to warrant it. But, she is still not totally comfortable in that role, and I like that tension. It would have been very easy for the show to make everything hunky-dory between Jack and Kayla after this storyline, but that doesn’t happen—though admittedly this is partly due to Mary Beth and Matt Ashford and the way they play it, never letting Jack and Kayla get too comfortable with each other.

But, at the moment, she is certainly more inclined to trust him than Steve is. When Jack arrives, Steve is still unconvinced. But, he lets him in calmly (no lapels grabbing).

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When Jack asks for Steve’s help, I can really feel what a brave thing this is for him to do, to let down his walls enough to reach out like this. Plus, I love the way he prefaces it by saying Steve has every right to turn him down. It shows he’s not going to play the martyr if Steve turns him down. He used to use Steve’s suspicions about him as an excuse to lash out and act even worse than he would have otherwise. Now he seems to sense that he has to accept those suspicions, and work through them, in order to have any hope of being in a position of trust again.

Steve agrees to look for Isabella with Jack (but makes it clear that it’s only because he wants to find her too). As Jack turns to leave and says “Thank you, both of you”, Kayla gives one look at Steve but leaves him alone, not pushing it. And then there’s the ending shot on Steve’s face, contemplating that Jack might have good motives, with a vulnerable look that shows he hopes it’s true. We haven’t seen his buried feelings for Jack in a long time. The irony is perfect. Steve was the last to give up on Jack (not counting Jo), and he will also be the last to start acknowledging any change in him. It shows how much damage Jack had to do to get Steve to let go. That means he will have to work that much harder to get Steve to accept him again.

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After Jack leaves, we get a very nice, tender scene of Steve and Kayla together. Kayla still keeps a little distance when she expresses skepticism that he can really take care of her, listing all the things that could still go wrong. But when Steve ushers her over to the couch and says they shouldn’t think about it, she relents and lets him fuss over her. That’s a step forward in itself. Of course it’s very soapy that when he makes his heartfelt declaration of his love and faith in them, he turns around and finds she’s asleep. But then we get a sighworthy moment as he gently takes her cup from her hands and covers her up, and says, “I really love you,” in that husky voice. Perfect.

Goodbye my friend

I will be posting about this week’s Days, but for now I wanted to commemorate the fact that I just finished watching my Shayla DVDs. I have been binge watching over the last few weeks and just finished the last scenes this morning. I posted about Steve’s death back in August of 2011 (here , here,  and here), so it’s taken me five years to watch a year and seven months worth of shows. But I’m so glad I did. It’s really fascinating to see Kayla’s character explored apart from Steve, and to see Mary Beth do some different material.

I’ll be doing some more posts on this late 91/early 92 time period. 1990-1992 was a time of upheaval for the show in general. A lot of cast comings and goings, and churning through different writers. But it’s not until 1992 that it really starts to do some damage — it feels a little more like the show today, choppy and inconsistent. But, for all that, one thing they still knew how to do was give a proper exit:

Kayla leaves Salem

I have heard that Mary Beth had to fight for the “Goodbye My Friend” montage, and I’m so glad she did. I teared up at the first scenes and cried through the whole thing.

But even aside from that, we got to see a real departure, unlike today, where someone will have one scene where they say got an offer to go to Timbuktu. Or they just disappear and someone else casually mentions it later. We get to see Kayla get a job offer from LA, and then decide to take it when she loses her job at University hospital and starts to have problems with Shane. We see her family helping her pack. She has a going away party. She visits Steve’s grave.

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Doing the “courage” sign. Sob!

Speaking of those problems with Shane … Patsy Pease had departed the show abruptly just a few months before due to personal issues. So they ended the triangle somewhat suddenly, when Patsy Pease left, and suddenly Kayla and Shane were happy and blissful. Then they had to break them up pretty quickly after that, when they decided not to renew Mary Beth’s contract. Shane had recently paralyzed in an explosion (and that, I think, wasn’t part of Kayla’s exit story, it was happening anyway). So the show went with “Shane is impotent and can’t deal with it, so he pushes Kayla away.” Poor Shane! 😀