Julexis, The Davis Girls, Corinthos Clan & Jeromes
What Happened: Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) tells Sam (Kelly Monaco) she was suspended from college for offering sex to a professor named Parker in exchange for a grade (1/18). Kristina questions her sexuality (3/16), as Parker is revealed to be a lesbian (1/19). Her parents find out about the suspension and confront her (3/17). When Kristina admits to Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) that she may not be heterosexual, she assumes Kristina was influenced by Parker and that her past with men is the root of her confusion (3/30). Molly (Haley Pullos) has sex with TJ (Tequan Richmond) off-camera on 2/12 after being taunted by Kristina for remaining a virgin and accused of being gay, and gets outed by Kristina before Alexis and Julian's wedding (2/19). Morgan (Bryan Craig) intentionally interrupts an enemy gun deal on Sonny's territory (2/22), where Kiki (Hayley Erin) is shot trying to shield him. When police show up, one of the ringleaders, Dixon, runs into the church and holds the wedding guests hostage (2/23). Dixon shoots Nathan and tries to kidnap Kristina before Sonny (Maurice Benard) jumps him; everyone sees he's no longer paralyzed (2/24). Morgan blames himself for Kiki's injury and nearly jumps off a building (2/26); Sonny and Carly decide to have him committed for thorough treatment of his bipolar disorder (3/4). Ava convinces Morgan to break up with Kiki for her own good (5/19), and Kiki's budding relationship with Dillon leads to a kiss (5/26). To save his and Ava's necks, Paul says Ava was a cohort for the gun bust. Julian (William Devry) rejoins the mob to protect Ava (Maura West) from the organized crime groups, who think she's a rat (1/7). Sonny teams up with Anna to bring Carlos to justice for killing Duke on Julian's orders (4/13). Julian enlists Alexis to defend Carlos (4/25). Julian snoops through Alexis' papers to locate and murder a prosecution witness (5/2), and later stabs Carlos (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) to death with the dagger Helena used to slit her mother's throat (5/12). She keeps Julian's bloody shirt and considers turning him in (5/17). Carly (Laura Wright) gets a hold of Ava's sex tape with Paul (Richard Burgi) and uses it to retain custody of Avery (5/25).
My Commentary: As it relates to diversity, GH has always been sadly behind the curve. Though we've seen more minority-race and LGB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual) characters in recent years than in the last decade, most have been given back burner plots or used to prop others. Hopefully, Ainsworth being a popular actress and Kristina being the child of two major figures in GH history will mean the story of our first (possibly) bisexual female will gain the traction and attention it deserves (even though the last we saw on 4/27, she was going out with a guy. *Rolls eyes* They better not get chicken). It's been written extremely well so far, with detailed discussion about sexual development and usage of important terminology, such as "polysexual" and "queer" (3/23). When Parker visits Kristina, she argues that Kristina subconsciously fixated on her as opposed to another woman because she was essentially inaccessible--Parker is both married and her professor. The odds of them really being together were next to none; no realities to deal with (3/25). I said, "Ooh, psychology. Thoughtful." It appears that this isn't just about the sensationalism and drama of a hidden secret, and that the writers actually want to teach us something. Ainsworth superbly captures the fear, confusion and frequent deflection that comes with the journey of sexual identity. I was a crying mess with the suspension confrontation; she was using her entire body to emote, down to the point of visibly quivering.
As illogical and ridiculous it was for Dixon to start a hostage crisis instead of running away, it was so got darn entertaining. It was the most gasping and jumping I've gotten to do in forever. It didn't supersede the Metro Court one in 2007, but I'll take it. Thrilling action is so rare these days in PC. Also rare is a smoothly-completed wedding, so yay for letting 'Julexis' finish their vows at least before chaos ensued. The church decor was upgraded, there were underwater shots (a tied-up Lulu nearly drowned after a dealer waiting on Dixon threw her overboard the Haunted Star) and plenty of gun-fire. I tweeted "They spent money today!" It's appreciated when production goes an extra mile to give us some glitz, which is why I love the Nurses Ball (more on that later). I know it was part of the storyline, but it tickled me how there was a cop, a P.I., 3 mobsters, a serial killer and a prince with lethal DNA in the building and Dixon was up for so long. Sam killed me with her unbothered facial expressions, as Molly and Kristina quivered on the pew. Their new lily-livered step-daddy didn't do a thing to prevent Kristina from being taken: Alexis grabbed for her, Sam pretended to be her (Dixon wanted a Corinthos sire), and practically everyone—including Franco—made a gallant effort to neutralize Dixon while Jules just stood there and offered cash. It was cool to see Morgan be a boss, overwhelm the bad guys and not be a total screw-up, if only for a few minutes, haha. Carly having an "I'm tired of the violence!" fit and throwing guns into the harbor was so random and amusing (2/24). I was like, "Hun...you're contaminating a crime scene." Her best friend "died" and her son was in a coma after cross-fire, but someone else's kid getting hurt pushed her to edge? Girl, bye. I saw what the writers were trying to do, but it was ill-timed. Ava, on the other hand, didn't wait a single second to have an epiphany. She came to grips about her selfishness, was done with Paul, lost all sentiment for Morgan, and was no longer cavalier about having killed Connie (2/25). The dialogue about "sins of the father," how Kiki was innocent just like Connie, and her fearing that God wouldn't hear her prayers—superb scripting and a riveting performance from West. Craig did excellent work on 3/4, when Morgan begged his parents not to hospitalize him and Diane painfully looked on.
I was happy to see Julian acting like a big-brother and trying to protect Ava, but I should've known his nobility would be short lived. His self-serving cowardice has no boundaries. First, he asks Alexis to defend the man who murdered her friend, and is suspected of kidnapping Molly's boyfriend and shooting Kristina's father. Then, he uses her paperwork and Helena's dagger to kill two more people. The despicable cherry on top? He tries to mentally manipulate her by saying his actions were all about preserving their marriage, that she's just as dirty as he is and she could face accomplice charges. He had the audacity to say he loved her after this (I miss Grahn getting meaty material like this because she's always so incredible). It's okay though, because Alexis is about to hand him over to the po-po. It's about to get juicy (or so I hope; you know how these writers are with "bombshells")!! The scenes with Molly confronting Alexis about compromising her ethics (4/25; Pullos is so great) and Sam chastising Julian for putting her mother in this situation (5/2) were fantastic. Julian was so oblivious to (or just didn't care) how tortured Alexis was, he insisted she was fine, and then tried to psychologically play Sam: "I would think you would approve of your mother's loyalty to the man she loves, but haven't you shown that kind of loyalty to Jason?" Chile, you know Sam didn't fall for that, right?: "No, it's just the opposite. Jason has never asked me to go against who I am, and he never would...I thought my mother's happiness mattered to you." I love how assertive the Davis girls are and how they back each other (Kristina could be better at this). Molly could easily be the new Emily Quartermaine: she's super-intelligent, virtuous, good-hearted and outspoken. One last thing about Ava real quick...it seems that no matter how much time there is between LIPC's, I have to complain about an Avery custody battle and Ava being someone's bitch. Make it stop already! I've thrown up so much from watching Ava gravel to Sonny and Carly, my esophagus has deteriorated. Furthermore, it's just sickening to watch Carly take control and ownership of a child that is in no way hers. Is this how A.J. fans felt when Sonny took Michael??
What Happened: In late 2015, an on-the-run Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash) asks Lulu (Emme Rylan) to hide him out for awhile on the Haunted Star. After hearing about Dante's dalliances with her cousin Valerie, he promises to get Valerie out of her hair and out of town. He initially plans to frame her (a new cadet) for drug trading, but when the cops get on his trail, he lures her to a cabin and ties her up in a panic (1/15). Valerie (Brytni Sarpy) knocks over a candle trying to get loose and a fire rages. Lulu's able to save her (1/18), but they get in a physical fight when she quickly estimates Lulu was somewhat involved (1/19). When apprehended, Johnny covers for Lulu and she isn't charged with any crimes. Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) tells Sonny he's unsure if he could forgive Lulu (1/23). Valerie says the incident was a wake-up call and tells Dante goodbye (1/26). Lulu and Dante sign divorce papers (2/1). Maxie and Nathan lock 'Lante' in a hotel room with a relationship manual on Valentine's Day, hoping they'll talk things out (2/15). They address issues they had before and agree to try counseling. Dante rescues Lulu from drowning (2/24).
My Commentary: Ooh honey, Dante doesn't deserve it, but I'm glad he and Lulu got back together because 1) he was taken out of character and 2) my pisstation was about to boil over. Dante slept with her cousin twice, and half-way started a relationship with her—this was the catalyst that got the catastrophic snowball rolling, yet, Lulu's behavior was unforgivable??! I hardly understood the choice to make Lulu the villain in her own story; it was preposterous. Her deeds were made to exceed Dante's, making him and Valerie the victims. She was disrespected and blamed for Dante's cheating in her own home, called a "self-centered, overly dramatic, stupid a** b*tch," and got slapped and whopped up on—all by her husband's mistress!! She couldn't even win the fight? Really?! Then, they had her begging for Valerie's forgiveness on 2/4 (and getting harshly rejected), when Valerie hadn't apologized once (and still hasn't)! Let's not forget all the pleading to Dante and scolding she received for trying to save her brothers' lives! Ugh! I was so heated. Further, almost all responsibility was taken off of Valerie with the constant insistence that 'Lante' had issues beforehand, and she was just a symptom. What were these phantom issues? These scribes act like we don't watch the show and don't know the history.
JaSam, Liz, Nikolas and Hayden
What Happened: Little Jake starts drawing frightening pictures, including one of Sam. He begins seeing Franco for art therapy (1/20). When Sam visits Liz's house, she finds that Jake has deliberately broken a window and cut himself on the glass (she realizes he likely staged the break-in on 1/11 that he blamed her for). Sam falls and knocks herself unconscious, following Jake into the basement (1/29). Startled, Jake runs out into the street and is hit by a car (2/2). Sam wakes briefly and plugs in a space heater, which causes an electrical effect. Jason (Billy Miller) arrives and gets her out seconds before the house explodes (2/8). These events leave Liz to "hope it's enough punishment for playing God with the truth (i.e. Jason's identity)." She tells Jake that Sam is a good person, his dad's wife, they'd be together if not for her decisions, and she was wrong if she did anything to make him hate Sam (2/11). At Helena's will reading, Liz receives a creepy book with illustrative clues as to how Helena captured Jake, and Nikolas is left out totally (3/14). JaSam processes the divorce they initiated when they were tied to other people (during the Jason secret debacle; 3/22). Jason's motorcycle collides with a police transport; when he comes to, he has visions of Robin, Carly, Helena, Sam and Sonny coaching him through how to save Dante, who's pinned under the car (except for Hels, haha; 5/9). Afterward, he makes a beeline to Sam to tell her he has his memory back (5/10). Disputes over having children result in Franco and Nina breaking up (4/28). Franco's interest in Jake and persistent attempts to bond with Liz heighten (5/25).
Tracy (Jane Elliott) blackmails Hayden (Rebecca Budig) with her mysterious past to help her get ELQ back from Nikolas (1/8). Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) proposes to Hayden (1/25) and they have a Vegas wedding (2/3). When a man recognizes her on 2/4 and calls her "Rachel," Nikolas hires Sam to investigate her (2/18). With some internet-digging of her own, Liz (Rebecca Herbst) discovers that Hayden is Rachel Berlin, the daughter of an infamous finance criminal (a la Bernie Madoff; 3/24). Meanwhile, Tracy spills her collaboration with her to Jason and Sam in a post-surgery fog (3/26). HayChel threatens Nikolas with evidence he had her shot in the head to prevent him from divorcing her (4/4). Appalled that her cousin would have HayChel murdered to keep a company and Jason's identity under wraps, Sam attempts to call the police. They scuffle over the phone and Jason almost beats Nikolas to death (4/6). Rather than give Tracy her ELQ shares as negotiated, HayChel keeps them to avoid going broke (4/11). To outmaneuver her, Nikolas sells his shares to Jason, who says he'll otherwise out Nik to the authorities (4/12). An IRS inquiry makes Prince Nik financially vulnerable, causing him to sell Berlin diamonds Haychel shouldn't have, and sue Jason on the grounds that he purchased the shares with illegal funds (5/25). He prompts HayChel to come home via text and vows to make a truce. Jason makes it to Wyndemere before her, finds an empty castle, hears a window crash and sees Nik's body down on the rocks (5/26). The body is gone moments later when he and Sam (who came 7 minutes after Jason) make it outside. The commissioner figures the harbor current took him away and Jason pushed him (5/27).
Anyhow, Rebecca Herbst is so underrated and totally deserved an Emmy nomination (at least a pre-nom) this past year. The delicate way in which she can convey so many emotions at once is a skill. On 2/9, for example, she precisely expressed shock (for Jake's situation), relief (that he didn't try to kill Sam), parental and personal heartache (guilt for her part with Jake and seeing 'JaSam' reconnect). Given Herbst's talent, it's agitating that anytime the writers make reconstructive or redemptive progress with Liz, they backpedal or put her in another degrading situation. I'm not sure what's worse: Franco being paired with Carly or Elizabeth. I understand they have to integrate him into the show some way (which I think is next to impossible), but like Carly, Liz's child was harmed by him. It's hard to make it feel right and sensible. Why does he have to be paired with anyone? Hell, why can't Liz get a breather herself? I know the old slogan used to be "Love in the Afternoon" and couplings are arguably the heart (no pun intended) of soaps, but that isn't the only way to keep a character active or interesting. The focus is more on building matches, than characters or good stories. This brings me to Hayden and Nikolas...'HayNik' had hot sex scenes and humorous banter at first, but after the assassination attempt, it just wasn't buyable. Any declarations of love sounded asinine, not just for the violence, but because they hardly know each other. When you remember that Hayden knows Shawn in sitting in prison for her shooting and she's done nothing about it, it's really absurd. In totality, it's no surprise though; Nikolas hasn't had proper development or explained motives in ages. This entire thing has felt haphazard and goalless from the start, like they're just winging it. They brought a fan favorite (Budig) back to soaps for this?
Before I close out on this bunch, I have three pounds of beef with the 'JaSam' reunion, believe it or not. Pound 1: Because the Nik/Liz-lie was stretched out for so long, it eliminated the opportunity for Jason and Sam's renewal to adequately simmer. When they finally got together, it honestly felt fast-food and like a rebound.
Pound 2: Jason retrieving his memories is a big deal, right? There was a hash-tag (#JasonRemembers) and two dedicated episodes, but it was anti-climatic as hell. Jason found Sam after the wreck, told her he remembered, they kissed and the credits rolled. We didn't see them again until a week later, and they discussed it like they were going over the grocery list. Subsequent scenes with Monica, Carly and Michael were slightly more sentimental, but mainly because Wright can transmit emotion no matter what's printed on the page (5/17). The conversation with Sonny on 5/18 was flat-out forgettable. Sam has been looking into Jason's eyes, feeling every tinge of their history, knowing he was incapable of doing the same. He was alive and in her arms, but there was still an emptiness. When Jake was presumed dead, Jason wasn't raising him and carried guilt about it. The last time he saw Danny, Jason had just rescued him from a kidnapper (Heather Webber), reconciled with Sam, and thought Danny was the product of a rape—he didn't know Danny was his son. I pictured tear-jerking scenes where he'd take Sam into his arms (she'd be confused at the sudden movement) and go on a poetic tangent about what she means to him, with intricate details about their relationship. Her face would be wet and he'd be holding onto her for dear life because he'd recall what he had to go through to get back to her from Helena...and what he was kept from her for months. He'd gaze into his children's eyes, overwhelmed by the amazing 2nd chance he's received. The cup would runneth over with love and elation. You know, poignancy. The dryness may be why (and I hate to say this) it doesn't feel like Jason. Maybe I should be patient and the vibe will be different since he remembers now.
Tracy, Paul, Anna, Jordan & Andre: I have lots of "why's" here. Trying to match Anna (Finola Hughes) with Sloane was disastrous, so why did the writers think a reincarnation with Paul (Richard Burgi) would be a good idea? They ruined his villain potential (and a plot) trying to clean him up just enough to make him feasible for Anna. He went from being a shady D.A. who was cunningly edging out mobsters and knocking people off, to just an undercover arms investigator who committed murder in defense of his child (2/18). We saw him shoot Sonny and nothing was presented to refute this, but it kept being said Carlos did it (even by Carlos himself!). They really don't think we watch this show, do they??! Bizarre. The person who shot Sonny also had TJ kidnapped by goons who didn't know who they worked for. Carlos didn't have a squad! He was a Jerome henchman! This individual also kept blowing up Corinthos shipments; Carlos didn't do all that! Explain that, dang it! Explain that! Also, if Paul's hands are so spotless, why is he still blackmailing Ava?! What does he need her for?! Ugh. They don't know what the hell they want to do. Why is Carlos dead again (5/12)?! Duke, A.J., Carlos; I'm tired of them reviving characters people enjoy—those who shouldn't have died in the 1st place—just to kill them again shortly after. I love Carlos' sarcastic, handsome self. He brought a certain level of personality and pizzazz that's missing in PC. I really wish the writers had committed just once to Carlos and Sabrina having a relationship.
An Anna Devane attempted murder trial was an intriguing concept. Why was it thrown away?! I wondered the same thing about Tracy's medical crisis. I thought Elliot was finally going to get an absorbing, Emmy-worthy story, and Tracy would battle a life-threatening, debilitating illness (because heaven knows she'd rock it), not a silly brain virus that's cured with 1 procedure (3/21). This time last year, I was living for Jordan (Vinessa Antoine). She was a kick-butt secret DEA agent with an unsavory personal past, trying to make amends with her son. Her chemistry with hitman Shawn Butler was sizzling (Oh, how I miss that coupling). Now, she's an ineffective police commissioner who harasses innocent parties, like Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) to make up for her failings and acts like an insecure, jealous, petty, always-pissy schoolgirl with sweet, cuddly Andre (Anthony Montgomery) because of his friendship with Anna. I can't believe they have this grown woman being jealous of her friend! Her consistent agitated demeanor debatably feeds into the "angry black woman" narrative, which is a problem. I'm here for Anna and Andre getting together, so bring on the fulfilling prophecy!
The Scrubs Wedding, Boob-Gate, Helena's Will Reading & Nurses Ball 2016: Time constraints forced a rushed rapprochement and quickie wedding for Patrick and Robin, but it was beautiful and their exit was wrapped with a pretty bow. No cliffhangers, no unexplained or over-the-top happenings, just love and great montages (1/7). "Boob-gate," where Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) fought to openly breastfeed her child in court was fun. It will probably be the only time half the female cast will flash their breasts all at once and not for a sex scene (3/21). It's such a delight when the deliciously diabolical Queen of Read-Downs Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) is on my screen. I thoroughly enjoyed her getting to morbidly perplex, terrify and insult all her favorite Port Charles residents once more through her video will. It's a shame her bequeaths haven't come to much. Liz doesn't have any more answers about Jake's whereabouts within the last few years. Nikolas not receiving a penny doesn't affect him because he put Hels in exile. Lulu was praised for having helped her the most (inadvertently of course) and was told her gift to come might fulfill her when her life was "empty," but there's been no follow-up. I suspect a baby with Stravos is somewhere. Laura (Genie Francis) received weird clues to something "she's loved and lost," but so far, it took her back to the club where Luke raped her. Nothing more. I hope it gets better than this, but again, you know what tends to happen. I look forward to the Nurses Ball every year (5/24). I love the glam, the cheesy lip-synced performances, Magic Milo and his Magic Wands, and the surprises. Best dressed goes to Kiki Jerome; Haley Erin was stunning in her figure-hugging, sparkling, dreamy blue Jovani gown. The acts were a little underwhelming this go-round; Ned and Emma easily won for being cute. Fun staples, like Lucy's dress falling and Obrecht crashing the party, were out. Why didn't I get a Felix and Sabrina reunion?? I love bestie stuff. No big surprises this year. Someone's been killing patients at General Hospital and making it look natural, but no rabbits came out of hats. I'm glad both Lucas and Bobbie—legacy characters—are still alive; I was about to riot. The best part of the ball to me was Carly and Ava throwing down in the bathroom (5/25). I died when Ava didn't say anything when Carly goaded her, and she just took off her jewelry and heels. I said " YASS! Come through Hood Ava!"
Whew, after all that, I may just need wine for lunch.