Making real life the good life

For the Week of June 17, 2019
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A new lease on life, a new life in jeopardy, and a life outside prison walls? Real life is messy, but with hard work and a little luck, you can make it a good life -- unless you live in Port Charles.

It's a good thing that Shiloh lives the good life in Port Charles rather than the real life like the rest of us, because in real life, Harmony's confession wouldn't have saved him. In real life, people have to prove that they are guilty if they confess to save another.

Now, it's true that Harmony drugged Kristina. We all saw it, and Kristina can attest that Harmony handed her the cup of tea. But Sam? That's another cup of Kool Aid altogether.

On the night that Sam was drugged, I'm pretty certain that Harmony was in Beechers Corners. I recall that Shiloh had cleared out the house -- except for DOD 1 and DOD 2 -- then he locked the door and scurried up to the attic to start the ritual of depravity with Sam.

That brings me to something that has been bugging me ever since Jason handed Margaux the proof of Shiloh's crimes against Sam. Do I understand correctly that Spinelli -- tech wizard extraordinaire -- only set up audio devices in that attic? I thought the plan had been to cover every inch of that attic with surveillance equipment -- audio and video -- to make certain there was no doubt about Shiloh's culpability in the crimes.

It's truly a miracle that Sam wasn't raped.

Additionally, if the audio recording, along with Sam's testimony, had been sufficient proof to warrant the arrest, then I don't understand how Harmony confessing to drugging the tea without Shiloh's knowledge changed the fact that Shiloh had kidnapped and tried to force himself on Sam? It's Shiloh's voice on that recording assuring Sam that the tea would help her relax, and even going so far as to threaten to call off the ceremony if she didn't drink it. It's clear that he knew the tea was tainted, and it was Shiloh who threw Sam into a car and drove to his lighthouse where he said all manner of delusional -- and incriminating things -- while he undressed and began to grope Sam.

Please, excuse my language, but -- What the hell???

As the week drew to a close, rumors swirled that head writer Shelly Altman might be retiring. I'm happy for her, and I wish her well, but I think some new blood is exactly what the show needs right now because the writing, the pacing, and even the direction has been a little inconsistent for quite a while -- and often downright baffling.

I loved the Dawn of Day storyline, especially in the beginning when Shiloh's intentions were unknown and there was a possibility that he was the genuine article. I liked the idea of someone going through dark times, turning their life around, and building something good and productive that inspired others to be better, too. I also loved the idea of someone challenging Sonny and Jason as the bastions of honor, values, and integrity.

It was a great build-up because even when it was confirmed that Shiloh was exactly what Sonny and Jason had suspected, the bait had been taken. I was interested in seeing where the cult storyline was headed. Then, the pacing changed. It was like a switch had been flipped, and suddenly, Shiloh went from ambiguous but charming to full-throttle bad. Gone was the charismatic motivational speaker who had inspired people to follow his lead, and in his place stood a creepy lecher who didn't know the meaning of personal boundaries and who grifted for money.

Evidently, Shiloh only recorded his encounters with Sam because he never once caught on to the fact that she would skulk about the place, snooping through drawers and slipping into locked rooms. No, Shiloh was too busy stalking Willow and giving her a hard time at every opportunity to see what was happening under his roof. Not exactly how I would go about luring lost sheep back to the flock, but Shiloh was on a mission to embrace his evil cult leader persona.

It's not just the DOD storyline that has fallen a bit flat of expectations. Lately, everything seems plot-driven, not character-driven, which I think is a huge mistake to make on soaps. I've been watching for decades because I love the characters, and I know my favorite characters' histories better than I do some of my own relatives' life stories. I want the writers to have the same passion about the characters and the show's rich history that I do.

One of my main frustrations with the writing lately has been the nonsensical things. Not just the gaping holes in Shiloh's dropped charges, but Sonny and Carly's lack of communication about pretty much everything except other people's business; Sam coming up with a plan that put herself in a position to be drugged and assaulted by a sexual predator given her history not just with Franco, but Manny Ruiz; and even Brad's recent decision to pay Nelle a visit to ask for help. None of it jibes.

It was clear by what Sam told Jason when they were at Charlie's Pub, talking about Shiloh, that she still has a lot of unresolved issues about what happened with Franco, so why exactly did she put herself into Shiloh's clutches? Kristina had already been rescued from the cult, and Kristina's exit therapy had been a success. And why didn't Jason speak up when Sam hatched her ridiculous plan to stop Shiloh?

If I'm about to do something stupid, it's not disrespectful or controlling to tell me so.

Jason admitted that he still had nightmares about not being able to save Sam from Franco, but he also told her that her risks were hers to take. I think that's nonsense. You don't let the person you love hurt themselves or you without at least trying to talk to them before things blow up in their face. The conversation that Jason and Sam had at Charlie's Pub should have taken place before she went into that attic with Shiloh.

However, that didn't happen, and here I sit, feeling absolutely no sympathy for Sam and resenting the writers for making Sam look like such an idiot. Jason, too, for that matter.

The only interesting development in this twisted tale of lunacy was Margaux's chat with Jason on Friday. Margaux's last-ditch attempt to redeem herself after dropping the charges against Shiloh just might bring this story to a decent conclusion. As her last act before fading away into soap oblivion, Margaux revealed that a DOD follower named Douglas Miller had died under suspicious circumstances from a drug overdose. Margaux believed that Shiloh had killed the man because the two had argued bitterly right before Douglas' overdose.

I don't think it's going out on a limb to guess that Douglas Miller was once married to Lorraine Miller, a.k.a. Harmony. I also suspect that Willow will not be the least bit surprised if anyone tells her that her father's death was a result of foul play. I wonder if perhaps Neil had a brother named Douglas. Could that be his link to the cult world?

It's possible, but based on Neil's reaction when Alexis asked how he would feel if his daughter learned something untoward about him, I suspect that he had or has a daughter, but I don't think Neil or his family is connected to DOD because he doesn't appear to have a burning desire to take down the cult or to find other members in need of rescuing. My guess is that Neil's experience with a cult was years ago, maybe in his youth, because he's way too guarded for the pain to be in the recent past. Could Neil be a Jonestown survivor?

Hopefully, we get some answers soon, but in the meantime, I would like for Neil to consider recommending yoga to Alexis because that woman needs to find a way to center herself. It's like Alexis has replaced alcohol with caffeine. She's jumpy, she babbles endlessly, and her conversations bounce all over the place. It's exhausting watching Alexis these days.

Also, Alexis' concern about Kristina's pledge is exactly why Sam's sacrifice to get the pledges had been doomed from the start. The very fact that Shiloh knows Kristina's secret presents a threat to Alexis. Burning the pledge and getting rid of the tape didn't really do much. The damage was done the moment that Kristina handed Shiloh the recorder.

I imagine this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I think it could be interesting to see Sonny and Carly face the challenges of raising a disabled child. They certainly have the money to give a child every advantage that technology and cutting-edge medicine can provide, and I'm certain there are disabled child actors who would love to have an opportunity to be on a soap opera.

General Hospital is a medical-based drama, and I would love to see more stories that center around the hospital. Where have all the doctors and nurses gone? These days, Finn is the go-to doctor for all, and he's an infectious disease specialist! At least Griffin and Patrick were neurosurgeons, which is much more practical, given the frequency that people get shot in the head or suffer some sort of brain trauma in Port Charles. Viruses are not much of a problem; the people of Port Charles are a surprisingly hearty lot.

Back to Carly. I have no idea why she didn't go straight to Sonny to tell him about the results of the latest tests that indicate that something might be wrong with the baby. I don't understand the reason for the distance between them, but it's been there ever since Sonny helped Margaux uncover the truth about her father's murder.

Sonny and Carly have married each other more times than I can count. They have left a trail of bodies and broken hearts a mile long in their wake, and they have seen the absolute worst in each other, but their love had remained strong. Carly is Harley Quinn to Sonny's Joker; nothing should have stopped her from getting to her man with the news that their baby might be in trouble. The last place that Carly should have been was sitting in Metro Court Restaurant, confiding to Sam. Nothing against Sam, but Carly is not exactly a girl's girl. Her best friend is Jason, not Sam.

I might have bought Carly telling Jason, but that's not what happened.

In other news, Ryan is in Pentonville and he is not a happy camper. Luckily, he found a sympathetic ear in fellow kidney donor Nelle. However, her scar is much bigger, so he shouldn't complain too much.

In real life, I would never condone what happened. Good or bad, I believe that a person has a right to choose what happens to their body.

However, this is a soap opera, and Ryan is a horrible creature who has murdered indiscriminately for decades. We know about the women that he's killed on the show, but does anyone believe that a person like Ryan wouldn't have continued feeding his homicidal impulses during his years working for the DVX? Of course not. Heck, the DVX probably tripled Ryan's list of victims.

What Curtis, Finn, Liz, Kevin, and Valerie did was illegal, wrong, and unethical. Yet, I'm happy that they did it. Not because it saved Jordan's life, but rather because it balanced the scales between good and evil. That's the beauty of scripted shows; good can always prevail. That's not always true in real life.

Would I have gone another route with getting that kidney? Yup. I think Ryan has run his course, and it's time for him to take a one-way trip with the Grim Reaper. I would have had him declared braindead and gone the legal route of facilitating the transplant. I'm not sure why the writers opted to go down this road because Jordan's remark about how she couldn't prove her theory suggests that the matter is now closed. Just another example of twisted turns for no good reason.

I'm confused, is Crimson a fashion magazine or a news publication? Because I can't understand what Ava, or her story, has to do with fashion. Don't get me wrong -- Maxie is right that scandal sells, but it's a fashion magazine. Ava's story seems more fitting for a publication like the Invader, and who better to tell Ava's story than the sympathetic reporter who helped Ava set up the serial killer? Lulu should be working on this story, not Nina. Nina and Maxie should be working on the college admissions scandal involving fashion designers and the upper echelons of society.

People like Nina and Valentin, who refuse to accept that any child that they might raise is anything less than an exceptional genius.

Jax's insertion into the storyline makes me worry that the writers might be trying to set up a triangle between Ava, Jax, and Nina. I hope that I'm wrong because I was kind of rooting for Ava to finally give Scott a shot at a relationship. I think they could be fun, especially with Scott working hard to be a better person.

Also, I have no idea what kind of chemistry Cynthia Watros (new Nina) is going to have with her costars. She's an incredible actress, and she has two very talented leading men to work with, so I would prefer that the writers focus on Jax, Nina, and Valentin. I think that's where the juicy story is. Jax is the perfect foil for a man like Valentin because Jax has money, intelligence, and charm, and he's learned a few dirty tricks, tangling with the likes of Sonny, Helena Cassadine, and, of course, his twisted brother, Jerry Jacks.

Finally, Brad donned a lab coat and sneaked into Pentonville on the pretense of delivering medical supplies. He didn't want any record of his visit with Nelle, except everyone, including delivery people, who enters the premises of any prison in the United States has to sign in and show identification. They require this to keep accomplices from entering the jail to aid in a prison escape. Just saying.

Anyway, for reasons that mystify me, Brad wanted Nelle's assurance that she wouldn't step in if Shiloh should demand a paternity test and discover that Wiley is not Shiloh and Willow's son. Nelle promised that she had no intention of turning Brad's good life upside down. As soon as he relaxed, Nelle announced that she might be up for parole because of good behavior -- and she wants a relationship with her son.


I could have sworn that Nelle's little car confession had sealed the deal on the murder of her first fiancÚ as well as the attempted murder of her second fiancÚ. Who gets parole after a year of good behavior for a murder and attempted murder conviction? I really hope that was just Nelle being her delusional self, but Brad's reaction suggested otherwise. He looked as if he actually believed her.

I don't want Nelle back. She's Heather Webber 2.0, and she's incapable of redemption. But I wouldn't mind if Nelle turns out to be the catalyst that brings Jonah home to his father. Talk about karma. Will Nelle share her tale of woe with her new roomie, Harmony? Most assuredly. Nelle loves to talk about how Carly had wronged her -- and gloat about how Nelle got the last laugh by keeping Carly's grandson hidden right under Michael and Carly's snobby noses.

Random observations

Why did Jordan and Curtis get a bill for the transplant? I could have sworn that Drew told Curtis that he would cover all of Jordan's medical expenses, so Curtis and Jordan wouldn't have to worry about anything other than Jordan's recovery. It's not like Drew isn't exceedingly rich, and his mother runs the hospital.

Just when I lost hope that anyone would remember Jax's history with Crimson, someone wrote that wonderful scene of Jax confronting Ava about murdering Connie Falconeri. I love Ava, but she totally deserved that.

Reason #306 that I can't take Carly seriously when she goes off on one of her tangents: she ripped into Julian for helping Lucas, but Carly practically patted Sam on the back for doing the same exact thing that she blasted Julian for. Sam and Julian literally worked together.

Reader feedback

If Kevin posed as Ryan to donate Ryan's kidney even Ryan would have to appreciate the irony after he posed as Kevin for so many months. -- JDF

When Margo compared Sonny to Shank, it made me realize that there are so many seriously flawed characters on this show being portrayed in a sympathetic light, it makes it hard to tell the difference between the Good Guys and the Bad Guys. The problem is that redemption without penance is nearly impossible. If TPTB don't want to punish these characters, or for us to hold their past misdeeds against them, they shouldn't have written them doing those things in the first place. -- Scrimmage

At some future point, I expect Andre to come up with an alternate way to bring back [Drew's] memories, somehow including Jason in the process. Most likely for fall sweeps, if Shiloh is still around. -- Kim LaSota

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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