"When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching -- they are your family." - Jim Butcher
A.J. learned just how true those words are when the person that he least expected, his Aunt Tracy, reached out to him during his time of need. In one of my favorite scenes this week, Tracy put aside her animosity towards A.J. to let him know how deeply and truly sorry she was for what Michael endured in prison and for what A.J. was going through as a parent. I became misty-eyed as Tracy talked to A.J. about Michael and even her own sons, Ned and Dillon. That was a rarely seen glimpse of who Tracy is at her very core, so I know that she meant every single word that she said to A.J. It warmed the cockles of my heart when she reminded him that, despite their differences, when push came to shove, they were family.
Unfortunately the truce lasted all of five seconds because Franco darkened the family doorstep and dragged his black sheep self inside to promptly steal a pair of silver tongs from the wet bar. Classy.
Dear readers, I've received a lot of emails from fans of the show about the return of Roger Howarth, Kristen Alderson, and Michael Easton. There are those who like the return, those who wish they had returned as different characters, those who are willing to keep an open mind to see where the Franco, Kiki, and Silas storylines go, and finally those who are furious and can't understand why the actors returned at all.
The reason for their return is simple. Each actor was on contract, so the show was going to have to pay them whether they were on-screen or not. Paying actors to sit around and twiddle their thumbs doesn't make good business sense, so, since they legally couldn't return as the characters they had originally arrived as, the show was forced to bring them back as other characters.
Keep in mind that the search for the missing Quartermaine heir began on Thanksgiving 2012, when Edward's will was read, which means that the idea germinated in the writers' heads a few weeks earlier when the scripts were written. It was well past time to move this particular story forward, so it made sense for the writers to capitalize on a storyline that they had already set up with the viewers.
I've seen quite a few comments about the actors changing their appearance to set their new characters apart from the ones that they had portrayed just a few short months earlier. Short of putting each actor under the knife for major facial reconstructive surgery, I don't know what else they could have done to set Franco, Kiki, and Silas apart from Todd, Starr, and John...oh, and Stephen/Caleb.
I, for one, am glad that the show and actors made an effort to look different. Both Roger and Kristen actually colored their hair, which is a pretty big sacrifice. I would freak if I had to change the color of my hair or cut it for a job. Then again, I'm a little neurotic about my hair since a trip to the salon a few years back ended in disaster when my Megan Ward hairstyle was trimmed up to look like I went ten rounds with a weed whacker and lost.
The only look that I'm not digging is Michael Easton's scruffy Silas Clay. Michael Easton is freaking hot, but that's hidden behind an unattractive ponytail and sourpuss expression. They did a much better job with Roger Howarth, who looks pretty good as a blond.
Franco-ly, I'm not bothered that Roger is now playing a Quartermaine. If Friday's scenes are anything to go by, A.J., Tracy, and Franco are going to be pure entertainment as they battle for control of ELQ. The trio is like a soap opera trifecta because each actor is incredibly talented and has a phenomenal sense of timing that leaves me howling with laughter at the most unexpected times. Friday was so reminiscent of the Quartermaine glory days that a part of me half expected Alan and Edward to stroll through the door.
As for Franco himself, I'm not sure yet where I stand with the character. I'm happy that he didn't rape Sam, but it wasn't cool that he let her think he did. However, others have been forgiven for far worse, so I am willing to give him a pass on that as long as he continues to be nice to Sam. The Michael issue is a little trickier.
A.J. had a valid point about Sonny and Carly and the role that they played in Michael being sent to jail and landing in Carter's orbit. To refresh your memories, this is what Judge Carroll told Michael at the time of the sentencing on May 7, 2010:
"Michael, you have grown up surrounded by people who flout the laws the rest of us have to obey. They have given you no guidance. They have systematically exposed you to violence and mayhem of the worst order. There's no question that you have suffered mightily through no fault of your own, and your medical records indicate that you awoke against all odds after being in a coma for a year. But I have deep reservations about how you have lived this life that was so miraculously given back to you. And I would remind Detective Falconeri that it is not the role of the court to provide counseling sessions or guidance, especially not when the criminal is of legal age. Though you all seem determined to treat Michael as a child, in the eyes of the court, he is an adult. Michael, I hope your time spent in Pentonville will teach you respect for the law. I hope it will prove that actions have consequences. I know it will remove you from the terrible influence of the adults in your life that I would keep from visiting you if I could. Five years in prison with an opportunity for parole in two is an extremely light sentence for taking a human life. I hope you will use your time in prison to plan a better life for yourself. I hope you will leave Pentonville with an aversion to being locked up so you will never break the law again."
So yes, A.J. is right; Michael went to prison because of Sonny and Carly. Does that mean that Sonny and Carly are to blame for Michael's rape? Absolutely not. I agree with Tracy; the person to blame for Michael's rape is the rapist, Carter. Sonny, Carly, and Franco all had a hand in putting Michael into Carter's path, but they in no way made Carter do what he did. That is solely on Carter.
My big issue with Franco at this point is that he's a serial killer who is accused of slaying a slew of innocent people in various grisly ways. I'm not sure that I believe his claim that someone misinterpreted his artwork to use it as an excuse to murder people. I need more than his word for that because Franco has been proven to be a skilled manipulator who lies with ease. Perhaps the person that Franco called from the green room of that show that we shall not speak of has some answers. I hope so, because if Franco isn't a serial killer then there's potential for the character, especially with Roger portraying him. Otherwise, I can't see Franco building much of a fanbase.
If Carly has anything to say about it, Franco will be dead fifteen seconds, or however long it takes her to pull a gun out of that ugly handbag that she's toting around, into Monday's show.
Ladies and gentlemen, Carly is on the warpath, and the object of her wrath is Franco.
Initially, I was absolutely disgusted with Carly's bloodthirsty demands for Franco's head on a platter. However, as she ranted and plotted to kill Franco, I started to suspect that her hatred of Franco stemmed from more than just her belief that Franco is to blame for Michael's rape. Don't get me wrong, that's sufficient reason to hate someone, but Carly's hatred is almost fanatical, which indicates that there is more going on than meets the eye.
Could it be that Carly is in a blind rage because Franco's twin, her beloved Jason, was denied a second chance at life, unlike his less-deserving brothers, A.J. and Franco? It wouldn't surprise me.
That said, though, Carly's current behavior is one of the main reasons why I just don't like this character. She's on a mission to kill Franco without sparing a single thought to how it will affect her children when she gets caught. And she will get caught because she has all the finesse and tact of a bull in a china shop.
It's sad that Carly can't be bothered to put aside her bloodlust long enough to check on her best friend's son, who is in the hospital. It's also frustrating that she can't appreciate the ramifications of her actions beyond Franco's demise. Killing Franco might appease Carly's need for revenge, but it will shatter the lives of her children when they lose their mother to prison. Michael will have to live with the guilt that his rape drove Carly to murder and robbed his little sister of a mother.
Speaking of Michael, it looks he's going to need some serious therapy soon because this week, his cousin, Kiki, sauntered out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel, after an apparently very long, hot shower, and paraded around under Michael's nose in nothing but said towel until he finally gave in to his attraction and nearly kissed her. I imagine that sometime in the very near future, Michael is going to be eternally grateful for Morgan's timely arrival.
Right now, I'm okay with the attraction thing playing out between Michael and Kiki, provided that they don't lock lips, because they don't know yet that they are related. However, once it's revealed, I don't want the writers to continue to explore a romance between Michael and Kiki. It would be creepy and icky for Michael and Kiki to continue to be drawn to each other sexually, knowing that they are closely related. Their fathers are half-brothers, so that makes them half-first cousins.
Naturally, Morgan, who sadly remains incredibly obnoxious, has confessed to Michael that Kiki is the one. This does not bode well for us viewers because it appears to be a setup for Cain and Abel love triangle with Kiki in the middle. Again, it's that cousin thing. I can't get past that. I have a gorgeous third cousin, but the idea of playing tongue tag with him is about as appealing as chugging bleach. This is not a triangle that I want to see.
If you are reading this, Carlivati, please cast Serena Baldwin! I want Michael away from the vortex of doom that is Morgan and Kiki.
Meanwhile, across town, Felix is dealing with his own family drama thanks to the arrival of his bratty sister, Taylor, who has moved into the tiny tinderbox apartment that he shares with Sabrina and now Britt. Britt is there because Sabrina plans to get a sample of Britt's blood to prove that Britt doesn't have the Kate Middleton morning sickness disease. Taylor had been in town all of ten minutes when her predator eyes spotted poor unsuspecting T.J. In an impressive short period of time, Taylor managed to snag herself a date to the prom with the heartbroken teen who is still pining for Molly.
What I didn't like about Taylor was her attitude towards Molly, and Taylor's assumption that T.J. is now Taylor's boyfriend. That was strike one for the new character. Strike two was when Taylor promptly befriended the Britch then proceeded to blackmail Felix without a smidgen of remorse. She's like a female version of Morgan -- annoying, smug, selfish, and lazy -- so I don't see any reason to get invested in her unless they show me that there is a small part of Taylor that does actually love her brother.
Sure, Felix can be overbearing at times, and judgmental, but at his core, he has a kind heart, so he's not a bad guy.
Finally, there is Sam. Poor Sam is living a mother's worst nightmare on several levels.
It started when Sam showed up for court to fight Silas for custody of Rafe. Per Silas' instructions, Diane tore Sam apart on the stand and made her look like an unfit mother. I'm not sure why Silas has such a take-no-prisoners attitude towards Sam. Did she kick his puppy when we weren't looking? It seems completely unwarranted, which makes him look like a total jerk.
Granted, Sam wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy towards Silas when she first encountered him in the New York City hospital, but there was good reason for that. He looks exactly like his deranged maniac of a brother, Stephen. Surely, a doctor of all people can muster up a drop of compassion for the situation that Sam had found herself in when she came face-to-face with the man who had kidnapped her and her son just a few weeks earlier.
After shredding Sam at the custody hearing, Silas diagnosed Danny with cancer during a two-minute examination and broke the news to Sam in the most hostile and uncaring manner possible. Who does that?
I want to like Silas, but right now the writers are making that very difficult.
I'm someone who needs to know what drives a character to do the things that they do, good or bad, in order to be interested in them. If I'm not given that basic understanding of a character then I become indifferent to them. I loathe Carly with a passion, but I understand what drives her, so I can appreciate the importance of having an antagonist like her around.
I know that Silas is going to stay in Port Charles, and no doubt Danny's illness will play a big role in how that happens, but I want to be able to root for Silas. I don't mind him having a dark edge, but he doesn't have to be such an asshat to everyone.
Speaking of Danny's cancer, I smell a donor storyline on the horizon. Something tells me that Danny's leukemia is not only going to pave the way for Silas and Rafe to stay, but it will also give Franco an opportunity to "redeem" himself through a bone marrow donation. After all, who would be a better match for Danny than Danny's father's twin brother?
Truthfully, I think it has the potential to be a fascinating storyline because Sam would have to face the a gut-wrenching decision of whether or not to accept Franco's gift of life or take a chance that another, more suitable, donor can be found in time. What would you do in Sam's shoes?
A few things that tickled my fancy
Felix's sister asks to be introduced to T.J.
Taylor: "Uh, rude much? Aren't you gonna introduce us?"
Felix: "T.J. Ashford -- blight on my existence. Blight -- T.J."
Britt complains about the glass of water that Sabrina fetched for Britt
Britt: "The water here is probably teeming with lead and chlorofluorocarbons. I know you don't really care about poisoning me, but this is for my baby. I have a very serious condition. If I don't get enough water, I might get dehydrated, and then what could happen? My baby could shrivel up and die. And how are you gonna explain that one to Patrick, hmm?"
Maxie's reaction, to Patrick, to the news that Britt is staying with Sabrina
Maxie: "Let me lay it out for you, okay? Sabrina seems like a kind, loyal individual, who's nobly standing by you, even though you stupidly -- and let's be honest, recklessly -- impregnated Dr. Evil."
Britt leaves the room, so Sabrina can explain to Felix why Britt is living with them
Britt: "You know what? I'm gonna let you two work this out. The last thing my baby needs is to hear the thought process of Dumb and Dumber. If you could keep your volume at a low shriek, that'd be fantastic."
Diane gives Franco some advice after he's released on bail
Diane: "Stay out of trouble. No killing, no maiming, no kidnapping."
Franco: "None whatsoever?"
The Quartermaines are stunned to learn that Franco made bail
AJ: "You made bail. How?"
Franco: "Well, I already mentioned -- I have a great lawyer. I think you know her, actually. I think she represented you, too, A.J. Diane Miller."
Tracy: "A felon's best friend."
A.J. warns Kiki not to go anywhere with Tracy
A.J.: "Hi, Lauren, I'm A.J. Quartermaine. And I wouldn't do that. The last person who went off with Tracy wound up in a gingerbread house. It did not end well."
Tracy: "Yes, it should have been you in the oven."
Until next time, dear readers, take care.