Performers of the Week

Stephen Nichols and Mary Beth Evans

Soap Opera Digest, July 25, 2006

(Steve and Kayla, DAYS)

Nearly 16 years have passed since Nichols and Evans appeared together as Steve and Kayla, but even if you didn’t watch the pair ascend to supercouple status in the ‘80s, their first scenes at the church showed why they did.

In a word?  Chemistry.  Yes, it’s an overused term in daytime, but these are two actors who have it.  They just click.  They didn’t force anything or try to make moments.  Their scenes were effortless, fluid, like not time had passed.  To be fair, they’ve had some practice working together since DAYS as GH’s Stefan and Katherine, but they never recaptured the magic in Port Charles that they created in Salem.

Steve has amnesia, which means Nichols isn’t just putting on his old cowboy boots and rolling with it.  Gone is the cocky swagger of yesteryear.  In its place is a reserved, still rough-around-the-edges man calling himself Nick Stockton, with the same sly smile and telltale eyepatch.  Evans’s Kayla is emotional, but with a brittle shell that came from years of dealing with the grief of losing her beloved husband.  But in the graveyard, she summoned all of her strength, desperate to prove to him that they were once a loving couple.

“How could you not know me? You were the love of my life,” she cried, nearly becoming unhinged.  “I don’t have any memory of ever being Steven Johnson,” he said simply.  Kayla tried to hug him, but he recoiled awkwardly. She was hopeful one minute, then only wept the next, for her fondest wish had come true, but with a cruel catch.  Steve was stoic, disbelieving, with an air of, “Hey, you’re cute, but I don’t remember you, lady.” Finally, she pulled him into a searing kiss, and it was easy to see why the legacy of this couple has loomed so large.  And it only took one episode to show it.  Welcome back, indeed.