Before I get to this week's exciting episodes of General Hospital, I'd like to take a moment to wish my very good friend, gossip buddy, keeper of deep dark secrets, and mentor, Dan Kroll -- founder, of this wonderful site, Soap Central, a very happy birthday. You are a true inspiration to me not just because of your creative genius but also your great big loving heart. Have fun, and please keep those pictures of the trip coming -- your mom is adorable.
Now, time to dish about my favorite soap, which was particularly interesting this week thanks to a few unexpected developments and some nice hefty doses of karma.
Let's start with the battle for baby Avery.
I've never hid my desire to see Michael to win custody of Avery, so I doubt anyone is going to be surprised that I'm happy Michael prevailed at the hearing -- dirty tricks and all. Yes, I know it's a bit hypocritical of me to say that, since I get on other characters' backs for similar behavior, but I guess it all boils down to the fact that I like Michael more than I do Sonny, and I do believe -- when all is said and done -- that Avery is better off with Michael than she is with Sonny.
And let's face it, it's not like Sonny hasn't done something like that himself in the past. He's had judges and crooked cops in his back pocket for years, so he looks like a little boy throwing a tantrum because Michael pulled a page from his book and outmaneuvered him.
That said, holy guacamole did Ric come to court with both guns blazing as he grilled Michael on the witness stand. It was brutal and ugly, but in the end, I think Ric overplayed his hand by throwing Claudia's death in Michael's face. It backfired with me mainly because I saw it as just another shining example of why Sonny is a horrible parent. Carly, too, for that matter, but she's not on trial to determine her fitness as a parent.
I don't dispute that Sonny loves and adores his children, but I think Tracy was right when she suggested that Sonny ultimately loves himself most of all, and his children are little more than treasured trophies to him.
Michael wouldn't have been shot or even crossed paths with Claudia if not for Sonny's lifestyle and he certainly wouldn't have been in a position to kill her if Claudia hadn't lost her mind after marrying Sonny and miscarrying their baby. Claudia's death was completely justified, but as usual, Sonny and Carly, along with their yes-man Jason, decided to cover up the death rather than allow the police to get involved.
It was Sonny, Carly, and Jason obstructing justice that ultimately led to the judge sending Michael to Pentonville where he was raped, not Michael killing Claudia.
What struck me the most about the custody hearing was not the clever way Ric managed to get more mileage out of Sonny's act of heroism by saving a boatload -- literally -- of people including Michael, but how Sonny truly believes with every fiber of his being that he can protect his children. He seems to ignore, minimize, or downright forget how everyone close to him has paid a high price, in one fashion or another, to be a part of his life. Sonny's children most of all.
Kidnapping, nearly being blown up, stumbling across loaded guns, and being shot are just a few of the things Sonny's children have been subjected to over the years, yet he was able to testify with full confidence that he can protect Avery.
The truth is, Sonny's children need protecting from Sonny more than anyone else.
I applaud Michael for enlisting Monica's help to get Judge Walters assigned to the case because Sonny's very reaction to Michael's victory proved why he is an unfit father. Rather than allow this to play out in court through appeals and maybe get visitations with Avery that Sonny could use as an opportunity to mend some fences with Michael, Sonny decided to kidnap Avery and enlist Morgan in the process, thereby making Morgan an accomplice to a very serious crime. It's a federal offense to take a child over state lines if you are not the child's custodian or do not have the guardian/parent's permission, so Morgan would be looking at some serious prison time if he goes along with Sonny's plan.
I never thought I'd say this, but Kiki was the voice of reason when she made it clear to Morgan that taking Avery to Sonny's island was not an option. It seems like Kiki is actually growing a brain, which is why my one issue with Michael is his insistence that Kiki not be allowed near Avery.
I get that Michael is hurt that Kiki lied to him, but she is Avery's sister and the only person who will be able to share memories of their mother with Avery when she's old enough to ask about her mother.
I hope Michael bends on that issue because Kiki does try to do the right thing, even if she is misguided sometimes.
I suspect on Monday, Kiki will drag Morgan and Avery to the handy-dandy transporter and beam the three of them to Sonny's place in time to save Sonny from being carted off to jail by a U.S. Marshal. Michael isn't heartless, so I'm sure he'll understand that Kiki had taken their sister to Ava's memorial service.
Side note: RIP, Leonard Nimoy. May your legacy live long and prosper.
I agree with Tracy that it's poetic justice that the son Sonny stole from the Quartermaines is the one to take Sonny's newest trophy, err child, away.
As I listened to Sonny squawk about how he would never allow Michael to take Avery from him, I wondered if there was ever a point where a part of Sonny's brain recognized that he was in the same exact position, minus the meat hook, that A.J. was in when A.J. was forced to give up his parental rights. Somehow, I doubt it. Sonny simply isn't that self-aware especially when he's on the losing end of a situation.
Surprisingly, Carly was another voice of reason when she reminded Sonny that Michael is not a monster. Michael is one of the good guys. He's kind and generous and will provide Avery with a safe and happy environment. Like Carly, I just don't get why Sonny is so afraid of Michael taking custody of Avery.
First, Avery is only a baby, so there's not much Michael can say or do to poison Avery against Sonny at this point.
Second, not in a million years do I think Michael would do to Avery what Sonny and Carly did to Michael when they painted A.J. as all kinds of evil. At his core, Michael is a decent human being who will put Avery first. I'm not suggesting that Michael will sing Sonny's praises, but he will explain that he just wanted to keep her safe from a life that he and the rest of their siblings narrowly escaped with their lives and/or sanity.
Michael keeps trying to explain that to Sonny and Carly, but either they can't or won't hear it. They are convinced that he's only being driven by a vendetta.
I think it was very telling that despite Sonny's insistence that he's a great father, none of his other three children bothered to show up in court to testify on his behalf. Not. One.
That says a lot to a judge.
Elsewhere, Elizabeth confessed to Jake that she does have feelings for him, so Jake decided to accept Sloane's deal to work undercover for the Jeromes to avoid going to jail for the rest of his life. I can't help but wonder if Sloane was telling the truth about Scott agreeing not to purse the charges in exchange for Jake's cooperation or if there was more to the story.
Perhaps I'm overthinking things, but I sense Duke's hand in this. Remember, Duke was the one who arranged for Jordan and Shawn to dump that ballot box into the harbor, which means that both Sloane and Lomax answer to him. There was also that incident between Duke and Julian, where Duke vowed to bury Julian for not handing over the Jerome territory, so I suspect Duke had Sloane persuade Scott not to pursue charges because of the microchip implanted in Jake's brain then had Sloane manipulate Jake into working undercover to take down the Jeromes.
In a roundabout way, Jake will be working for Sonny.
I have a sneaking suspicion that won't sit well with this new version of Jason when his memories return.
In the past few months, it's become clear to me that Jason woke up a different man than he was when he was shot and cryogenically frozen. It was like the fateful crash into the tree many years ago when Jason emerged from a coma as Jason Morgan.
As Jake, Jason sees things from a different perspective because he doesn't have any memories or history to draw from to shape him. This time, he does have emotions and a very strong sense of right and wrong. I can't see this new Jason returning to Sonny's side as an enforcer when his memories return because he would want to provide his son with a better life than bullets and bombs and hit men lurking around every corner.
I hope Jake makes the choices that Jason couldn't. He effectively has a clean slate, despite his Batman-like reflexes. I want Jake/Jason to make the sacrifices that Sonny won't by leaving the mob.
Even now, Sonny has the perfect opportunity to walk away. He could let Duke and Julian fight it out and move on with his life, but that's not what Sonny wants. He's just biding his time until Avery's custody is decided then he plans to resume the reins of the Corinthos organization.
I don't want Jake caught up in that mess, and I also don't want Sam and Jake to end up together the moment Jason's memories return. Where's the soapy drama in that?
I love Patrick and Sam as a couple, and I adore the idea of Jake and Liz, especially since Ric pretty much blew his chances by resorting to underhanded tricks to get Jake out of the way.
I would have been happy with Nikolas and Liz if Nikolas hadn't decided to sit on the bombshell about Jake until he can get his hands on ELQ. Liz is going to be furious when she realizes that Nikolas knew the truth about Jake and didn't say anything, so there won't be any love blooming on that end for quite some time. She'll eventually forgive Nikolas because they've shared a special bond since their teen years, but it will take time.
Perhaps Nikolas can redeem himself by helping Liz pick up the pieces when and if Jason and Sam get back together.
As much as I enjoy Ric -- dastardly bastard that he is -- he just has a crazy switch when it comes to Liz. His love for her borders on desperate obsessed stalker, which eventually leads him to self-sabotage in ways that hurt people. Liz deserves someone better than that, and frankly, so does Ric.
Jake is sweet, kind, and really into Liz without being too pushy or manipulative, so for right now, I want to see that relationship explored.
The most unexpected development this week was Silas' announcement at the close of Friday's show that Ava is dying. I really did not see that one coming. I'm not sure why the writers saved her from the fall off the bridge only to kill her off another way, but I am curious to see where this all goes.
What is ailing Ava remains to be seen, but I suspect it might be some kind of cancer, since that's Silas' specialty, and it gives Ava a lifeline of sorts.
However, that seems unlikely because it's been repeatedly pointed out to Ava that she cannot return to her life in Port Charles without going back to Pentonville for Connie's murder and framing both A.J. and Carlos for crimes. Plus, there was that attempt on Franco's life that nearly killed Olivia.
Ava would need to save the president's family to get a pardon to cover all of her crimes.
Franco and Nina each have their "pardons" thanks to Franco's overdose of LSD that apparently only gave him a good trip and then left him sane - well, as sane as a child of Heather and Scott could be -- once the drug leeched out of his system. Nina has her "snapped" defense, so technically, they could leave the sanitarium free people if they played their cards right. Granted, Franco was sane when he aided and abetted Nina during the kidnapping drama, but I'm sure Diane could argue that he stayed with Nina only to make certain that both Nina and Avery remained safe until help arrived.
Sadly, Franco and Nina are not going to play their cards right because, for some unfathomable reason, they have decided to join forces with Dark Luke. I have no idea what Dark Luke intends to do once he escapes Shadybrook, since staying in town will just land him right back at Shadybrook, Pentonville, or a grave, as he's currently public enemy number one, and anyone he encounters will be perfectly justified to shoot him on sight.
On the other hand, Franco and Nina are entertaining, so I'm happy to see them in a storyline, even if it is with Dark Luke.
Finally, the person I most wanted to strangle this week was Spinelli. Maxie was spot-on by accusing him of being disingenuous if not outright lying by claiming that his only option had been to ask Dante and Lulu for a place to stay. It's obvious that he's there because he knows that Maxie and Lulu mended their friendship and there was a very high probability that Maxie would show up there to visit Lulu.
I also find it exceedingly annoying how Spinelli keeps throwing his history with Maxie in Nathan's face to illustrate that Nathan and Maxie don't have the same connection. It's a ludicrous argument because Nathan and Maxie just started dating, whereas Spinelli and Maxie dated for years.
I loved that Maxie reminded Spinelli that there was a reason that they didn't go through with their wedding and never worked out. I was also impressed when she admitted that she was in a far different place than when they had dated. What I see is that Maxie has grown while Spinelli has not. He continues to play the same childish games he always did.
I get the impression that Spinelli wants to recapture what was lost, not build something new and stronger, which is why I think Maxie would be making a terrible mistake by letting Nathan go. Nathan is a decent, mature man with strong values, while Spinelli acts like a pubescent boy with impulse control issues and exhibits questionable morals. That is the last thing Maxie needs in her life because one of Georgie's parents has to be adult enough to raise her.
I love that General Hospital is shining a spotlight on Shriners Hospital for Children. As a parent of a child who suffered extensive burns on his arm from a pot of boiling hot coffee, I will forever be grateful for everything the doctors and nurses did to save my toddler's arm -- yes, it was that bad -- during the year he underwent treatment. We had insurance, but we were never charged a penny beyond what our insurance covered. The doctors and nurses at Shriners truly do work miracles and go above and beyond, so they deserve the recognition.
Apparently, at GH you go to the ICU when the tip of your ear is bitten off by a deranged maniac and then successfully reattached.
Did anyone notice that Franco was reading a newspaper about the incident at the courthouse just hours after it happened? The newspaper appeared to beat Luke to Shadybrook, which leads me to think Julian employs the inmates to print his newspaper.
Why does everyone keep referring to New York City as New York? New York is the state; New York City is the city.
Carly is excused from court when Avery gets fussy while Michael is on the witness stand
Tracy learns about Olivia's pregnancy
Tracy: "You are making me a grandmother again?"
Ned: "Aren't you going to congratulate me?"
Tracy: "With Olivia Falconeri?! What are you thinking?"
Ned: "Liv is a wonderful person."
Tracy: "First Lois, then Olivia. What is with your obsession with fishwives from Bensonhurst?"
Tracy talks to Ned about Michael's bid for custody of Avery
Ned: "What makes you think that Michael has a prayer of getting custody of his baby sister?"
Tracy: "Oh, more than a prayer."
Ned: "Based on what?"
Tracy: "A conversation I happened to overhear."
Ned: "Eavesdropping. How Quartermaine of you."
Tracy: [Chuckles] "Somebody has to uphold the family traditions."
What are your thoughts on General Hospital? Share your thoughts on the show or this week's column with us. Leave your comments in the Comments area further down the page. If you prefer, you can click here to send our columnist a note by Feedback. You can also call our 24/7 caller feedback hotline at 267.341.7627 and voice your thoughts.