The dark prince rises

For the Week of June 22, 2015
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GH Two Scoops: The dark prince rises
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A prince embraced his dark side, but is he truly past redemption, or can love save him? As Liz scrambled to keep her new life with Jake from unraveling, forces worked against her by teaming up Jason and Sam to save Michael. Meanwhile, Luke and Laura's quest to rescue their son led them to the past, but who could be behind Lucky's kidnapping? Our columnist looks at all the good and bad shaking things up in Port Charles.

For months now, I have been watching Nikolas slowly turn darker and darker with a burning hope that something, somehow, will turn him around. I thought that Spencer's brush with death the night of the fire might have done the trick because there were glimmers of Nikolas' conscience breaking through when he almost confessed all to Sam, but it turned out to be smoke and mirrors. As soon as Spencer was out of the woods, Nikolas picked up right where he had left off without even batting an eye -- the cur.

I don't know what has driven Nikolas to become the man he is today. Sure, he loved Britt, but he also loves Elizabeth. It has been the one constant in his life. He's loved other women: Katherine Bell, Sarah Webber, Courtney Matthews, and, of course, Emily Quartermaine. However, his heart always seemed to return to Liz.

The turning point for Nikolas, when he went from good to bad, appears to have occurred when Britt betrayed Nikolas for the last time. I remember him making some ridiculous speech to someone about how being the nice guy had never gotten him anywhere, so he was done with it. But why? I don't get how Britt's betrayal cut him so deeply that he gave up and radically changed. He always knew what a lying, conniving, self-centered shrew Britt was, even if she was also beautiful and intelligent. Nikolas loved Britt, yes, but it was hardly the kind of great love he once shared with Emily or the enduring love he has for Liz.

Plus, a broken heart and even Helena's yammering about Nikolas embracing his Cassadine side doesn't explain the horrendous things that Nikolas has done, including ordering the murder of a woman who -- albeit larcenous -- wasn't evil. Nikolas grew up listening to Helena's mantra about the joys of being Team Evil Cassadine and has suffered far more tragic losses than Britt without giving up. Additionally, Nikolas has the most important reason in the world to be a good and decent man -- his son. So, what exactly drove him over the edge?

I really don't have a problem with Nikolas making a play for ELQ. Business is business, and if it wasn't Nikolas, it would have been someone else going after ELQ. Remember Jasper Jacks, the corporate raider? Michael is learning what it truly means to run a financial empire, so Nikolas making a grab for ELQ is par for the course.

My issues with Nikolas' conduct are the lies he's telling his loved ones, the measures he's taking to protect his secrets, and how he's even willing to exploit his loved ones to get what he wants. The only saving grace is that Hayden didn't die. A coma is bad, don't get me wrong, but a coma means there's hope for a full recovery in the soap world.

I want more for Nikolas than this, so I hope with Genie Francis sticking around, his mother will be the one to start the ball rolling that sets Nikolas back on the right path. I miss having the handsome prince you can root for, who sweeps his damsel off her feet, and then carries her to his castle to live happily ever after. Well, as happily ever after as a couple on a soap opera can be, anyway.

We have dark heroes aplenty with Julian, Sonny, Luke, and so on. I don't mind Nikolas being ruthless, but I prefer that he save it for business, not his personal life. With any luck, Liz and Nikolas can be each other's salvation.

Liz is wracked with guilt over her lies, which is why she can't truly be happy with Jake. She knows her idyllic life with him is built on lies, requiring her to constantly run around putting out fires as the truth slowly bubbles to the surface. It's inevitable that both Nikolas and Liz will face the piper because already Jake is showing signs of remembering. Not only was he fascinated with the picture of Monica and Danny, but he clearly had a sense of déjà vu when he entered the Quartermaine foyer and saw the infamous staircase. Sparks are also flying between Jason and Sam, which means it will only be a matter of time before the flames of passion flare to life and burn down the wall blocking Jason's memories.

I can practically hear the clock ticking down in the background to Liz's life imploding whenever she and Jake are together. Nikolas might be all kinds of bad right now, but I can't see him abandoning Liz in her hour of need.

Meanwhile, Ric seems to have moved on quite nicely to greener pastures by teaming up with Madeline in a nefarious plot to get their hands on Nina's fortune, which was seized by the state when Nina was carted off to Shadybrook. Too bad for both Ric and Madeline that Nina is crazy like a fox and still very much enamored of Franco, who has a diabolical streak a mile wide and will move heaven and earth to make Nina happy.

I have a confession to make. A part of me would love for Nina and Franco to walk in on Ric and Madeline in bed together. Not only would Ric and Madeline be a bit reminiscent of the Ric and Faith Roscoe days, which were sizzling, but it would also be absolutely hilarious to see Nina's reaction.

Michelle Stafford and Roger Howarth are a comedic goldmine, so a scene like that practically writes itself. I know Nina and Franco are both off-the-charts nuts, but they are soul mates and interesting to watch because, in a strange way, they bring out the best in each other.

So, is Valerie going to go Fatal Attraction on Dante or not? I can't decide yet if Valerie is merely crushing on Dante or if it runs much deeper and far more dangerous than that. I like Valerie, so I'm praying she's just attracted to Dante but wouldn't consider ever acting on it. I don't want her to be the downfall of Dante and Lulu's marriage because even though I think Dante and Lulu could use a little shaking up, I want their marriage to stand strong.

Certain couples seem destined to be together, like Steve and Audrey Hardy, Edward and Lila Quartermaine, and even Monica and Alan. They've had their ups and downs, affairs, and illegitimate children, but through it all, they managed to persevere and find their way back to each other. Dante and Lulu are such a couple.

I don't want Valerie to be sacrificed for the sake of giving Dante and Lulu a storyline. She's an interesting character with a lot of potential who could easily be paired with several handsome young men, including Dillon.

Finally, this week, Luke and Laura hopped into their DeLorean then took a trip back in time to the 1990s when they lived in British Columbia, running the Triple L diner. Hanging in the diner was a framed photograph of Luke, Laura, and a young Lucky, which made Laura nostalgic. After Luke fired up the generator -- I loved that even Luke was shocked it still had juice -- he and Laura sat down to wait for the kidnappers to contact them, so they talked about the past and present.

It was touching to watch Luke and Laura together. No, they aren't lovers or even in love with each other anymore, but the love is still there. It's just different. Even Laura acknowledged that Luke belonged with Tracy and was confident that Tracy would forgive him once she learned the truth.

I felt bad for Laura when she realized that, while she might have had happy memories of their life together, Luke likely didn't because he had always subconsciously struggled with what had happened to his parents, which had made him restless. I appreciated Luke validating what he and Laura had shared when he assured her that he didn't regret having a family with her and that, for a time at least, she had made him feel whole.

It was a respectful nod to Luke and Laura's past and the perfect closure to their relationship. As a fan of the show, its rich history, and for the characters, I'm satisfied.

Now the big question: who is behind this? Helena? It certainly wouldn't be the first time she kidnapped Lucky to use as a pawn against Luke and Laura. Helena might be captive on Cassadine Island, but that doesn't mean she's incapable of escaping. As long as there is breath left in that woman's body, she will cause trouble.

However, Luke has many enemies, any one of whom wouldn't hesitate to snatch one of Luke's children to lure him to his death.

It's going to be interesting to see how all of this unfolds.

Random Observations
Hey, Michael, 1980 called and wants its phones back. What is with those antiquated phones at ELQ? I half expected Rosalie to tell Michael that she had to dash off to the computer room to organize the microfiche files.

Speaking of ELQ, Morgan and Ava almost did the nasty on Michael's sofa, proving two things: Morgan still hates his brother, and Ava has a lot of confidence in whatever is keeping her Cleopatra wig in place.

Luke and Laura must have worked magic with a mop and dishrag back in the day because two decades later, and there was nary a cobweb or layer of dust anywhere in sight at the Triple L diner.

Was Kiki double-dipping on lunch? I could have sworn she arrived at Silas' office with lunch then went to Metro Court to join Morgan and his parents for lunch.

Things that tickled my fancy
Ava explains why she kissed Silas
: "It's the perfect solution. I can't be busy kissing Morgan if I'm busy kissing you, can I?"
: "I'm sorry, did we just time warp back to the eighth grade?"

Sonny attends T.J.'s arraignment
: "Corinthos."
: "Hi, Scotty."
: "Well, it must be my lucky day -- godfather of Port Charles shows up in my courtroom."
: "You got a problem with my presence?"
: "I've got a lot of problems with you."

Sabrina tries to cheer Tracy up
: "You raised a really great son, by the way. Dillon is smart, he's compassionate, he's genuine, and he clearly loves his mom."
: "Would you like me to fix you up? Just ask."

Nathan reveals that Dante told him about Maxie's confrontation with Valerie
: "Were you two just sitting around gossiping and eating doughnuts?"
"Ah-ha, between manicures and braiding each other's hair."

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Liz Masters
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