Click here to read Tamilu's take on 2014 in part one of our special General Hospital Year-In-Review
I don't like to dwell on negativity because life is too short, and it's far more fun to be positive.
I have been watching General Hospital for decades because I love the show, the characters, and most of all, the actors. Yes, I will admit that I'm biased -- I think GH is the best soap opera around. Ever. This is especially true in recent years since Frank Valentini and Ron Carlivati joined the show.
It's clear that both men are from my generation and love GH as much as I do because they have successfully blended the past with the present in such a way that fans, old and new, can enjoy the storylines without feeling lost.
Since I prefer to be positive, I'm going to take the Band-Aid approach and just dive right in with the bad to get it over with.
I'll start with Britt "The Britch" Westbourne, who was my least favorite character this year. Others annoyed me -- like Peter/Levi, Brad, and, yes, even the delicious Nathan West -- but they died, faded into the background, or changed their ways. Not so with Britt. She was consistently unlikeable to me throughout the year and remained front and center of all the drama.
On the night of Britt's engagement party to Prince Nikolas Cassadine, Britt's big bubble of joy burst when it was revealed that she had stolen her fiancé's beloved sister's frozen embryo then impregnated herself with it in a desperate and pathetic bid to keep a man who didn't want her because Patrick was in love with Sabrina. Britt picked up the pieces with Nikolas, but she kept the baby that never belonged to her.
Meanwhile, poor Dante and Lulu deeply longed for a child of their own after the child they thought was theirs turned out to be Maxie and Spinelli's daughter. Dante and Lulu were miserable because adoption wasn't an option, and they were given the crushing news that their remaining frozen embryos had been "accidentally" destroyed.
Britt had a front row seat to all of Dante and Lulu's heartbreak and loss but said nothing because she didn't want to lose Ben or Nikolas. In the end, both happened, but that didn't stop Britt from resorting to Plan B by enlisting Spencer's help to woo Nikolas back.
Britt conspiring with Spencer while Spencer ran away made everyone look bad -- Spencer for being a brat, Nikolas for being a fool, and Britt for proving yet again that for her, the end would always justify the means, even if a child might be hurt in the process. The only bright spot about the storyline was that it paved the way for Britt to exit the show.
I think Kelly Thiebaud is a wonderful and beautiful actress, so I wish her well, but I am glad that Britt is gone.
The storyline that utterly broke my heart was the destruction of A.J. Quartermaine. There had been so much promise with A.J. when it was announced that Sean Kanan would be reprising his role as the troubled black sheep of the swiftly dwindling Quartermaine dynasty, but in the blink of an eye, A.J. went from sitting on top of the world to being dethroned by Connie when she publicly revealed that Franco and Kiki were not Quartermaine heirs and therefore their votes backing A.J. as CEO of ELQ had been invalid. A.J. immediately spiraled to rock bottom and had several violent confrontations with Connie.
It was ugly and frustrating because it all seemed so unnecessary. Yes, A.J. wanted to return ELQ to its former glory, but the driving force behind his sobriety and dedication to the family business had been the opportunity to have a relationship with Michael. A.J. had all of that and more without being CEO of ELQ. So, while I understood that losing control of ELQ was a disappointing blow, I didn't think it was enough of a reason for A.J. to chuck everything out the window by seeking solace at the bottom of a bottle.
Things went from bad to worse when Ava shot Connie then Connie inadvertently pointed the finger of guilt in A.J.'s direction by scrawling the initials "AJ" in blood right before she died. Connie meant Ava Jerome, but everyone assumed A.J. was the guilty party, even before Ava planted incriminating evidence against him, because A.J. had been on a drinking binge and raging for days.
However, Michael stood by A.J.'s side throughout it all, including the trial. He continued his relationship with A.J. even after A.J. was acquitted of Connie's murder -- despite everyone's certainty that A.J. had gotten away with murder. Michael cared so much about A.J. that he begged Sonny to promise not to touch A.J. to avenge Connie's death.
The whole mess ended tragically when Sonny shot and killed A.J. then added insult to injury by having sex with Ava, Sonny's devious accomplice, in the Quartermaine crypt, practically on top of A.J.'s coffin, following the funeral.
However, the worst storyline of the year honor goes to the arrival of Fluke, an impostor with Luke's face who had recruited Julian Jerome in the Witness Protection Program to take down Sonny Corinthos.
Nearly a year later, we still have no idea who Fluke is, why he picked Luke to impersonate, or what is driving him to take down Sonny and seize control of ELQ. All we know is that Fluke's accomplices are Helena, Jerry Jacks, and Cesar Faison. They are the only ones who know of Fluke's existence, except for Luke. Unfortunately for Luke, Luke is still being held captive in some dank basement, so fat lot of good the information does him.
Part of the reason the storyline has dragged on far longer than it should have is because Tony Geary was waylaid with back surgery so he was forced to go on medical leave in the middle of things, which put everything in a holding pattern. However, once Tony became available for work again, the writers decided to subject us to a little more torture by having Faison pop up out of a hole in the ground -- literally -- to don a mask of Luke so the impostor could be "rescued" from Miscavige to live another day as Luke. Fluke is not one of those entertaining villains who makes you chuckle as they go about their business, doing all manner of dastardly things. No, he's a creepy pervert who is doing what he's doing for reasons that no one knows and I no longer care about. I just want him gone.
Now, moving on to the best of GH over the past year. There were a lot of things I loved about the show, starting with Michael finally seeing Sonny and Carly for who they were and cutting all ties with them.
Despite how much I despised what happened to A.J., there was a silver lining, compliments of Franco, who decided that the best way to punish his cheating fiancée was to expose the truth about A.J.'s murder. It was a gift that kept on giving because in revealing the truth about A.J.'s murder, the truth about Connie's murder finally came to light, thereby clearing A.J.'s name completely and finally making Sonny and Carly accountable for their actions.
Betrayed and hurt, Michael did what I had been praying would happen for years; he severed all ties with Team Corinthos then embraced his Quartermaine roots by legally changing his name to Michael Alan Quartermaine and moving into the mansion with his grandmother, Monica. It breaks my heart that A.J. didn't live to see that happen, but I am delighted that Michael finally walked away from a set of parents who had filled his life with violence, lies, and betrayals. A.J. wasn't a saint, but he certainly wasn't worse than Sonny and Carly.
The most touching moment of the year for me was after A.J.'s death when he was met by Emily, Edward, Lila, and his beloved father, Alan, at the bottom of the staircase at the hospital. I wept like a baby as they all ascended those stairs as a family. It sucks that A.J. was killed off, but it was a beautiful send-off and tribute to some beloved characters.
Noticeably absent on the stairway to heaven was Jason, who turned out to be lingering in a deep freeze at the Crichton-Clark Clinic, which was revealed to be a World Security Bureau facility.
That brings me to my second favorite development this year, which was the return of Jason Morgan. Or will it be Jake Quartermaine? Only time will tell.
The powers that be made the brilliant decision to recast the character of Jason Morgan with the very talented and exceedingly handsome Billy Miller, but rather than have Jason return to town and resume the life he had left behind two years earlier when he was shot then dumped in the harbor, the writers gave us a twist.
After Jason returned to Port Charles, but before he could reunite with his loved ones, Jason was struck by a car that resulted in extensive facial injuries that required reconstruction surgery. His appearance had been so drastically altered that even those closest to Jason didn't recognize him. Additionally, Jason also suffered amnesia from the brain trauma sustained during the accident.
Well, not complete amnesia because right before a recently defrosted Jason fled the clinic with Robin, Jason had undergone some "mental conditioning" that gave Helena complete control over his mind.
The mind control thing is only a temporary issue that will likely lead to the discovery that Jake is Jason Morgan, but the amnesia part is what I like most about the storyline because it has allowed a new Jason to emerge as he tries to pick up the pieces and build a life for himself without having any idea about his past history.
As John Doe, Jason decided to use the name Jake because it sounded right to him. More right than the name Jason apparently had when it passed Elizabeth's lips a thousand times as she shared stories about "Jason." Jake also felt a connection to the name Quartermaine but not Morgan.
Ron Carlivati is doing an excellent job of creating an interesting new Jason who very well might turn out to be a completely different person than the one who nearly died being Sonny's mob enforcer.
I know there was an effort to revitalize the Quartermaines in the past when Franco and Kiki were first introduced, but that quickly fizzled out when it was revealed that Franco was Heather and Scott's love child and Kiki wasn't even related to Franco.
I hope this time around the resurgence of Quartermaines will stick. Ned is back in town, Michael is now a Quartermaine, and Jason is poised to return to the family fold.
I want more for Jason than for him to resume his life as a hired gun for the mob and be Carly's go-to guy whenever she has a mess that needs cleaning up. Plus, I have a feeling that Sam won't settle for being a mob wife as she had in the past because she's been through a lot with Danny and has had a taste of what life could be like with someone like Patrick.
Next, I have really enjoyed the return of Julian Jerome. I will confess that I don't recall much about him during his first stint in Port Charles other than that he was a really bad guy and Lucas' father, so my view of him is less jaded that someone who was well acquainted with his evil deeds. However, I adore Julian as he is now.
Unlike Sonny, Julian is a reluctant mobster. Yes, Julian has done terrible things, but his desire to be a better person since learning that he not only has a daughter but also a son and grandson is what makes me like him so much. He wants out of the mob and continually tries to break ties with organized crime.
I'm also thrilled that Julian's presence in Port Charles facilitated the return of Bobbie and Lucas, but I'm most delighted by the romance that developed between Julian and Alexis. Julian is sexy because you can see that he only has eyes for Alexis. Even when she ends things with him, Julian holds on to the hope that he can find a way to woo her back. He doesn't give up on their relationship. Ever.
The chemistry between Julian and Alexis is incredible, so I will continue to root for them even though at the moment Alexis isn't all that happy about the lies Julian was forced to tell because Fluke had threatened to kill everyone Julian holds near and dear.
I would like to also note that I love how the writers changed things around with Nathan. At the beginning of the year, I could not stand the character. He was annoying, repetitive, and -- I thought -- pointless. However, that changed with the return of Maxie and the revelation that the sister he thought had been wronged by her cheating husband had actually been mentally unbalanced and a victim of the woman he believed was his mother.
Nathan became even more interesting when it was revealed that Liesl was his mother and that his father is someone that even "Mutter" fears enough that she murdered Victor Cassadine to keep him quiet about her secret. These days, Nathan is one of my favorite characters. He and Maxie are adorable together, so I hope 2015 will be their year.
Romance. Lots and lots of romance, including a man who is truly deserving of Lucas. Brad is just a male version of Britt, so I think Lucas can do a lot better.
Spencer taught some humility by being forced to live like a "townie" for a few months.
A reunion between Duke and Anna when she finally accepts that she's being a huge hypocrite by holding Duke to a higher standard than she holds herself.
For someone, anyone, to destroy all the blueprints, schematics, and any trace of those dreaded masks that allow people to pass themselves off as others.
Please, keep those returns coming. I'd rather see a villain like Helena, Victor, and Stavros return than for a new villain to crop up. I love knowing that Mac and Felicia are running the Floating Rib, Scott is the district attorney, and Bobbie is around to stir up trouble for Lucy.
Finally, I'd like to thank all the wonderful readers who read my columns and take a moment to either email me or leave comments. Good and bad, I appreciate hearing from you because many of you offer me insight that at times has shifted my view of things. Thank you.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday. See you in 2015.
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