Ava 2.0: Jerome wasn't built in a day

For the Week of June 1, 2015
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GH Two Scoops: Ava 2.0: Jerome wasn't built in a day
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Always expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to dead people and love. Identical twins in bad wigs, fatherly sacrifices, guilty confessions, and diabolical plots have our columnist eager to dish about all the soapy goodness keeping viewers on the edge of their seats these days.

It was a short but jammed-packed week full of delicious twists starting with the arrival of Ava -- ahem, I mean Denise -- who turned up on Julian's doorstep, looking for a drink and some answers just mere moments after Julian announced that he intended to leave the mob for good and focus on Derek Wells Media because his infant son's death had made him realize what was important in life.

This is why I love Julian. He does bad things when he's a mobster because that's what bad guys do, but he keeps trying to get out because he doesn't want his loved ones to pay the price for his choices. Sadly, something always sucks him back in, but I give him points for trying.

Sonny, on the other hand, never tries. Ever. He arrogantly believes that he can find a way to protect his loved ones because he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Back to Denise -- or as I like to think of her, Ava 2.0 -- who was a positively delightful surprise in spite of that bad Cleopatra wig they plopped on her head. I'm so thrilled that we didn't lose Maura West because I think she's an incredibly talented actress who is a joy to watch and a true asset to the show, whether she's playing bad girl Ava Jerome or brash, tough-talking Denise from Queens.

I will admit that there were a few moments, which were no doubt intentional, when it appeared that Denise just might be Ava, but then I remembered how very sick Ava was just a few short weeks ago. No way would she have rebounded from the brink of death that quickly, even if Silas had given her a miracle cure. Also, Ava wouldn't have gone to Port Charles wearing a flimsy disguise. She would have stealthily slipped into town during the dead of night to sneak a visit with Julian to let him know that she was alive and ask him to watch over her daughters.

Delia's timely arrival at the close of Friday's show combined with the three separate DNA tests that revealed that Denise was a close relative of Ava's told me that Denise is Ava's identical twin. She is a new character, played by a great actress, so I'm intrigued to see what Ron Carlivati's vision of Denise is.

I have no doubt that Denise's heavy Mob Wives accent will be bleached away along with that terrible "dye" job once Delia confesses to everyone that oops, her bad, she forgot to mention that she gave birth to identical twin girls when she had an affair with Papa Jerome all those years ago.

However, the question then becomes will Denise be Ava's twin in more than just appearance, or will she be someone completely different and quirky. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Denise DeMuccio and Ilene Kristen's character, Roxy Balsom, from One Life to Live. If anyone is up to the task of playing a character like that, it's Maura West. It could be fun to watch, especially if Denise sets her sights on mob boss Sonny Corinthos.

It certainly would be exceedingly entertaining to watch because Sonny desperately needs loosening up. His first scenes with Denise reminded me that Sonny could actually be funny, which I find far more appealing than intense, angry Sonny. Plus, a little competition will give Carly something other than Jake to focus on.

Although, it would be equally interesting to see Denise pick up where Ava left off, especially with Julian once again poised to leave the mob so he can focus on his legitimate business ventures. Julian had a deep and genuine love for Ava, their attempts to kill each other aside, so I can see him being sucked back into organized crime if he thinks he's protecting his vulnerable sister Denise.

Julian's love and loyalty to his family tend to be his downfall, unlike Shawn who, for reasons that I will never understand, chose to remain loyal to Sonny and go to jail rather than be a father to his newfound son, T.J.

I'm certain that Shawn's decision to do the honorable thing is not what T.J. would have wanted if T.J. knew the truth. T.J. loves Shawn and would be ecstatic to learn that Shawn was his father. It wouldn't have mattered to T.J. if Shawn had rolled on Sonny because the truth is, Shawn is just covering up Sonny's crimes. The right thing to do is to tell the truth and respect the law. Shawn didn't set a good example for his son by going to jail. He martyred himself for Sonny.

I really felt bad for T.J. because his father not only threw away a chance to have a life with him but didn't even claim him. Sure, Shawn explained that he didn't want to take two fathers away from T.J., but that's exactly what he did by not accepting Scott's plea deal.

Folks, I have to say that I've had a big shift in my view of Kyle Sloane. I was not thrilled when they abruptly replaced Robb Derringer with Grayson McCouch because I really liked the younger man/older woman vibe between Kyle and Anna, especially since Anna had once been his mentor. It gave it a slightly naughty spin that made it exciting and titillating.

It seemed far less believable that Anna had once mentored Grayson's Kyle, and for whatever reason, Kyle seemed to morph into an obsessive stalker instead of a man infatuated with a woman whose respect he hoped to regain. The creepy sexual innuendos didn't help.

I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I started to warm to Kyle again. I didn't even realize it at first, but the day he showed up on her doorstep, asking to use her shower, I found myself smiling. Ironically, it was the same day that Duke had had an epiphany that Anna was worth more to him than his vengeance against Julian for all Julian had taken from Duke and Anna. Perhaps I was a bit annoyed that it had taken Duke that long to make that realization, or maybe it was because Kyle had stopped aggressively chasing after Anna, but I wasn't all that disappointed when a towel-clad Kyle answered Duke's knock when Duke went to talk to Anna.

I loved Duke, but he had that coming to him.

Kyle won me over completely when he covered for Anna after she unloaded her gun into Carlos on the pier. I know Duke was a bad guy in part for having put a hit on Jordan, which he thankfully canceled at the last minute, but Duke was charming, and I liked him. Carlos was not charming or even all that likeable. He constantly lied, betrayed everyone, used people including his precious Sabrina, and seemed to relish killing people. I did not blame Anna for shooting him dead when he egged her on by bragging that he would get away with Duke's murder. You don't poke a bear and not expect it to attack.

Duke and Carlos were both mobsters, so they knew the price they each might pay for their lifestyle. In the end, they paid with their lives. If it took Anna dispensing a little vigilante justice, I'm fine with that. It's also why I applauded Kyle for not even thinking twice about covering up the murder to help Anna. However, what truly won me over was how he took care of Anna after they had disposed of Carlos' body in the harbor.

My heart melted when Anna tearfully confessed that she couldn't close her eyes without seeing Duke, and Kyle gently told her that it meant that she would have sweet dreams. Wow. It was the absolute perfect thing to say at a moment like that.

Too bad for Anna that she is plagued with a guilty conscience and is having visions of Carlos tormenting her, which I suspect will pave the way for Anna to briefly exit the show. Sad but true, I can easily see Carlos saying all those things to her if he had the chance because Carlos was a spiteful person, as evidenced by his final words to Anna.

As the show drew to a close on Friday, Lulu learned that her father had vanished from the sanitarium where he had been sent after it was discovered that he had been responsible for all the nefarious plots to kill a vast number of people in Port Charles over the past year or so. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Luke supposed to be locked up in a facility for the criminally insane? I distinctly recall someone (Bobbie) assuring Scott that they would find a place to send Luke where he couldn't escape. Yet, escape he did.

I know that it was necessary because Tony Geary is exiting, but it's still frustrating that every facility, whether it's a maximum-security prison or mental institution, is little more than a brief rest stop between crimes. I would have preferred it if Luke had been released because they had deemed him no longer a danger to society the way it works in real life. It's not as if Luke had been faking his mental break, so I can see him getting well relatively quickly with a little therapy, since he'd had the big breakthrough when he recalled killing both of his parents.

Of course, it is possible that Luke was released but asked that no one in the family be notified. That would be his right and certainly well within the realm of possibility when dealing with Luke, but the cliffhanger made it seem that Luke had pulled a Houdini.

Regardless, I'm certain Luke will quickly turn up in Port Charles to say his goodbyes because a character like Luke will go out with a bang (perhaps literally) rather than a whisper.

I know that this won't be a popular opinion, but I am not really all that sad to see Luke go. I respect Tony Geary as an actor and wish him all the best in his new endeavors, but I've never been a Luke fan. I know all the terrible, unforgivable, horrific things he's done over the years -- like raping Laura, neglecting his children, killing Jake while driving drunk, and so on -- were a result of his dark half, but that's not even redemption, much less absolution.

Luke wasn't all bad, so I do concede there were times that I found him tolerable and could even enjoy him as a character, but was he my favorite? No. I honestly don't hate any character on the show unless I'm supposed to, like Manny and Javier Ruiz, Karpov, Theo Hoffman, and others of that ilk. I probably will shed a tear or two if they give Luke an emotional send-off, but in the end, I will not miss him.

Besides, I'm kind of used to Luke disappearing for long stretches at a time.

Finally, what in blazes is going on with Nikolas? My prince charming is no more. Ordering hits on women? Plotting to steal a company out from under Michael -- who is a pretty decent guy -- and lying to his cousin about her husband? These are not things that Nikolas would have done in the past. I appreciate that he's a bit bitter because being nice has always left him brokenhearted, but it's no excuse. My fantasy is shattered because Nikolas was that guy every girl dreams of meeting and more. The man owns castles, for heaven's sake. On private islands. In two countries.

If I didn't know better, I would think Helena hit him over the head with the Ice Princess, but I've been watching Nikolas in action over the past few months as my heart slowly broke more and more each day. Everything he's doing, he's doing without reservation or coercion.

And now Elizabeth has jumped onto the crazy train with Nikolas by lying to Jake, even though her idyllic happily ever after is doomed to implode when Jake learns that she knew he was Jason and chose not to tell him in a desperate attempt to hold on to him.

I hate that two of my favorite characters are doing these inexcusable things. The only people I truly feel sorry for in this whole mess are Patrick and Emma because there is no doubt in my mind that Sam and Jake will reunite and rekindle their love. The signs are already there. The two are being drawn toward each other more frequently, and I finally saw a spark of chemistry between them after the botched hit in the garage.

My only hope at this point is for Elizabeth to come to her senses and tell Jason the truth before he or Sam finds out on their own. Either way, Jason will be mad, but at least Elizabeth would have done the right thing in the end. And then she can get to work redeeming herself and Nikolas by steering him away from the dark side.

Random Observations
Not that it matters, since Shawn was caught in the act of carrying out a hit against Jake, but ballistics will eventually clear him of any wrongdoing in Hayden's shooting. After all, it was Nikolas' hit man who fired that fateful shot, not Shawn.

I cracked up that no one trusts the lab at General Hospital, so they ran two other independent DNA tests on Denise at different facilities to confirm the results from Brad's lab.

Wouldn't hair bleach strong enough to chemically burn your fingerprints off cause clients' hair to fall out? Plus, they make latex-free gloves, and anyone who has had their hair highlighted knows that professionals use foils and brushes, so there is minimal contact with hands.

Well, well, well, the plot thickens. I did not expect Ric and Madeline to be in cahoots.

Things that tickled my fancy

Liesl makes her way to her office and discovers that her favorite painting is missing from her office

Liesl: [Humming] "Pah! Pah! Pah!" [Sighs] "Brilliant. David Hasselhoff is a vocal artist for the ages." [Sighs] "Aah! Security! Security! There's been a break-in! My egg salad is gone! Not my lunch! My painting, dummkopf! Someone has absconded with it!"

Kyle arrests Ava's look-alike at Julian's apartment
Kyle: "I'm about to make an arrest. Well, this was unexpected. Welcome, but unexpected. I came to talk to Julian and I find his supposed-dead sister."
Denise: "Except, I'm not his sister."
Kyle: "In a terrible disguise."
Denise: "Hey! Watch what you say. Some women would die for this color."
Kyle: "What's with the accent? When you fell off the bridge, did it affect your speech?"

Sonny pays Denise a visit in jail, certain that she's Ava
Denise: "Every news story said you hated Ava Jerome. She offed your girlfriend, didn't she? Connie Canary?"
Sonny: "Falconeri. Don't be a wise ass."

Denise explains why she has a tattoo on her breast
Sonny: [Chuckles] "Getting a tat to cover up your scar. That's good thinking."
Denise: "No, I got it to cover up something a lot worse than a bullet wound."
Sonny: "Yeah?"
Denise: "My ex's name. Look, if you look real close, you can see the letters that were there. B-O... B-O."
Sonny: "Bobo?"
Denise: "Should have been a red flag right away, right? Should have known how crazy his mother was to name him that, and how damaged he was not to change it."
Sonny: "Well, I can't argue with that logic."

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Liz Masters
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