Burning down the house with fireworks and wedding bells

For the Week of January 13, 2020
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Nikolas back from the dead on General Hospital
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Nikolas stepped out of the shadows and dropped several shocking bombshells about Valentin's origins. Not to be outdone, Nina confronted her groom with a few hard truths of her own then she walked out on him. As the new year kicked off, GH was on fire with a week of explosive secrets and several unexpected twists that changed the course for several key figures.

Wow! What an awesome week. There is much to unpack, so let's get to it, starting with the shocking bombshell that the kid is not his son -- he's Helena's! I'm referring, of course, to Valentin, who had the Cassadine throne ripped out from under him with a phantom codicil and the more damning news that he's not Mikkos' son!

I did not see that one coming. What a wonderful, wicked twist, and what a great way to tie the past with the present while filling in some storyline holes in the process. It makes much more sense now why Helena would want to stay as far away from Valentin as possible and why she worried to the depths of her itty-bitty black soul that he would one day murder her. Like his poor dead sister Cassandra, Valentin was a pawn in his mother's machinations, and Helena pretty much threw him to the wolves at a very tender, young age. I'd fear my child, too, if I had done that to him.

It also explains why Helena would want to use Valentin as the unwitting donor to conceive a child with Lulu when Stavros proved to be sterile. I never understood why she had turned to Mikkos' dreaded bastard son instead of some hapless fool that she could make disappear when she was done with his services. I had thought that it was about preserving the Cassadine bloodline, but this is much better and far more logical. Valentin was her offspring, which meant that his progeny would be her grandchild. For Helena, it was a win-win situation.

Naturally, we will need a DNA test to confirm Nikolas' claims, and even that will be suspect because I don't recall any accurate DNA tests coming out of GH's labs in the past decade, at least not on the first try. It usually takes someone from the police department and/or the WSB overseeing every step of the process to get a definitive result -- and even those can be changed with the stroke of a scribe's pen.

My theory is that one of Mikkos' brothers became ensnared in Helena's sticky web of seduction when she discovered one of Mikkos' illicit affairs. It's definitely in Helena's wheelhouse, and it would explain why Mikkos didn't arrange for Valentin to die within hours of his birth. Then again, Mikkos might have seen Valentin's physical deformities as karma for his diabolical wife's infidelity and the perfect way to torture her endlessly. Helena would have been horrified at the idea of giving birth to a child who was less than perfect, and she would have hated having to see the proof of what she would consider to be her failure.

Could Victor have fathered Valentin? Time will tell, but I'm not ruling it out.

I noticed that Valentin didn't seem all that surprised by the shocking revelation. Sure, he denied it, but I didn't hear him volunteering to have a DNA test, which would clear things up nicely if he were a true Cassadine heir. Instead, Valentin quickly snatched up Charlotte then tried to take flight before Jordan recalled that she's the police commissioner and should perhaps address some of the criminal accusations being lobbed at Valentin.

Unfortunately for Valentin, his problems didn't just end with Nikolas. Nina finally confronted Valentin about his role in Sasha's deception. To no one's surprise, I'm sure, Nina broke things off with Valentin then sailed out of Wyndemere with Jax hot on her heels like the devoted admirer that he is. However, for reasons that truly baffle me, Nina continues to defend Valentin when it comes to Charlotte.

I realize that this might be an unpopular opinion, but I feel that Valentin's love for his daughter is unhealthy, especially for Charlotte. Valentin treats her more like a possession rather than a precious young mind in need of guidance. To him, she is his daughter and only his. That is why he encourages and nurtures Charlotte's relationship with Nina but not with Lulu. He makes it clear that Lulu is a necessary evil, and her role in their daughter's life is unimportant and irrelevant. Indeed, Charlotte's relationship with Lulu reflects that attitude.

Charlotte wasn't the least bit upset at the prospect of running away with her father and never seeing her mother again because Valentin made certain that Charlotte learned at a young age that a mother was as interchangeable as a nanny. Claudette, Nina, Lulu, it doesn't matter. What matters is which one Valentin prefers on his arm because he's the most important person in the room, not Charlotte. He speaks French with Charlotte not because he wants her to be bilingual but rather because he knows that those around them aren't fluent in the language. It's his way of reinforcing to Charlotte that it's the two of them against the world.

In real life, Charlotte would be a ticking timebomb set to rebel, so it's a good thing that she's a fictional child.

I get Lulu's knee-jerk reaction to seek sole custody of Charlotte when it was clear that Valentin had every intention of disappearing with their daughter, but I fear that keeping Charlotte from her father will end up backfiring in spectacular fashion. Like it or not, for good or for bad, Charlotte is completely and utterly devoted to Valentin. He made certain of it, and she will do anything to be by his side, including defying her mother the minute that Lulu's back is turned.

For her daughter's sake, Lulu is better off playing nice with Valentin. Perhaps, in time, as Charlotte grows older and begins to see Valentin for who he truly is rather than the image that he has carefully cultivated for her benefit, things might shift, but that is far off in the future when Charlotte is old enough to understand things like manipulative tactics and homicidal tendencies.

Now, on to Nikolas and his miraculous resurrection.

Ever since it was confirmed that Nikolas was truly alive, I've been anticipating his reunion with Laura and with Spencer. I looked forward to others, too, but Laura and Spencer were at the very top of my list because they are the two most important people to Nikolas, followed by Liz and Lulu. The week kicked off with Laura seeing her son enter Wyndemere during Valentin and Nina's wedding, and as I had hoped, Laura breathlessly ran to her son, lovingly cradled his face in her palms, then hugged him as tears of happiness cascaded down her cheeks. No one can cry like Genie Francis. She is the master, and Laura's joy at seeing Nikolas brought tears to my eyes.

I barely had time to grab a tissue when the joyous reunion between Nikolas and his family abruptly turned ugly. Laura and Lulu mounted their high horses then promptly berated Nikolas for not letting them know that he was alive, and they were especially angry because he had let Spencer suffer for three years, thinking that his father had been murdered. Nothing mattered to mother and daughter except Nikolas' lies.

I was a little surprised, especially with Laura, because I seem to recall her shipping Spencer off to a high-security boarding school in France because she was desperate to safeguard her grandson from Valentin, who had begun making threats -- against a child. I would think that Laura would at least have a little empathy for her son's predicament, especially since Nikolas had been shot in the chest and left for dead by the man who had ruthlessly stolen Nikolas' crown. I could understand Laura and Lulu's anger if Nikolas had simply disappeared when he had originally faked his death, but that is not what happened. Valentin very much tried to kill Nikolas, and he would have abducted Spencer and done heaven only knows what with that child if Sonny hadn't intervened.

Valentin made it very clear that he was not above murder to hold onto what was his. If Nikolas had stepped forward to reveal that he was alive, Valentin would have gone after Nikolas once again and perhaps succeeded in killing him and even Spencer. I don't know how Laura and Lulu can discount the very real danger that Valentin had posed to both Nikolas and Spencer.

Also, if I got my son back after mourning him for three years, the last thing that I would do is slap him then lecture him about what a huge disappointment he was. I'd be too busy being grateful that he was alive. I was disappointed that Laura's anger eclipsed what should have been an emotional and loving reunion.

I much preferred Nikolas' reunions with Alexis then Liz. Both Alexis and Liz expressed their frustration that Nikolas hadn't reached out to anyone to let them know that he was alive, but their joy that he was alive overshadowed any irritation they felt at not being kept in the loop.

Speaking of being kept informed, Nikolas shared with Liz that he had tied the knot with Ava. Liz was shocked, but Nikolas quickly reminded her that she had no room to talk because she was married Franco. Touché. I love Nikolas and Liz's relationship. I just hope that Franco and Ava can handle it.

While Nikolas was visiting with Liz, Ava was busy spreading the news about her marriage with the good people of Port Charles. After she broke the news to Julian, Ava ran into Sonny. My jaw dropped when Sonny actually expressed concern about Ava's safety, but Ava assured him that she was in it for the money. I didn't believe her any more than Sonny did. Ava has carried a torch for Nikolas ever since she found herself seated next to him on a flight to London. That steamy kiss that they shared after the wedding only underscored that Ava is in it for more than money. Nikolas, too, for that matter.

I do question the legality of Nikolas and Ava's marriage because I seem to recall Nikolas and Hayden discussing the state of their marriage a few months ago. It was made very clear then that Nikolas and Hayden were still legally married, which would make Nikolas' marriage to Ava invalid and Nikolas a bigamist -- unless the man who married Nikolas and Ava was an actor that Nikolas had hired. Always a strong possibility with the sly Cassadines.

The other possibility is that Nikolas obtained a divorce from Hayden, but that's very unlikely. There wasn't enough time. Plus, I rather relish the idea of Hayden returning to stir up some trouble for Nikolas after everything that he's put her through. It would serve Nikolas right to fall in love with Ava only for Hayden to hold their marriage over his head.

I'm okay with Nikolas paying the piper for some of his sins. I just don't want it trickling down to Spencer, which Ava's plan would definitely do. Taking everything that Nikolas has also means taking everything that Spencer is due to inherit. It's the birthright that Spencer implored Ava to help him reclaim when Spencer filed a lawsuit against Valentin.

I have no problem with Ava seducing Nikolas then breaking his heart, but I don't want her to succeed in getting her hands on his fortune because that money belongs to Spencer. I also have an issue with Ava -- of all people -- exacting revenge for being cruelly manipulated. She is the last person to point fingers at anyone after what she did to Morgan. I love Ava, and I do enjoy seeing her feisty side, but someone needs to help her put things into perspective before it's too late.

There are quite a few people who could benefit from a little perspective, including Sam, who, to my delight, got a nice reality check from Robert.

Once again, Jason and Sam are being pulled apart. This time it's because Sam's parole officer informed Sam that she can't associate with known criminals and other convicted felons. I've watched enough crime shows to know that is pretty much status quo for parolees leaving prison, so Jason's assertion that Delores has an agenda against him seems a little narcissistic and out there. However, in this case, the world of Port Charles does revolve around Sonny and Jason, so I'm sure that Jason is right.

I hate saying this, because GH was incredibly good this week, but what is with this need to put Jason and Sam in a perpetual state of being torn apart? It's overdone and does the characters and their history a complete disservice.

If there needs to be conflict between Jason and Sam, then let it be because of Jason's choices while trying to raise two young children with Sam. I would like to see them deal with real relationship issues because, until Jason returned from the dead, the idea of Jason and Sam raising a child together had just been a fantasy. They never had a chance to be a family with Danny because Jason was shot and presumed killed the night that they brought Danny home.

Robert was right when he told Sam that she would always pay for Jason's sins because there were consequences to living outside the law. As much as Sam hates Delores' restrictions, it's the consequence of dating a mob enforcer, and I'm a little frustrated that Sam hasn't expressed any dissatisfaction that Jason never even considered making the same sacrifices that Drew had made when Drew believed that he was Jason. As Jason, Drew had walked away from Sonny because he had valued his family with Sam above Sonny and Carly. I don't understand why Sam accepts less from Jason.

This issue needs to be tackled because it appears that Sonny has an enemy who is gunning for him, and Jason is going to put himself in the line of fire to protect his boss.

That brings me to Gladys. I'm almost certain that she's up to no good, mainly because she appears to be trying really hard to connect with Sonny on an emotional level. First, she talked about recently losing a friend to Alzheimer's disease, even though she never mentioned this friend before, then she reminisces about Brando in a way that seems designed to remind Sonny about losing Morgan. Further adding to my suspicion was Gladys' desire to stay where she clearly wasn't welcome. Not only is Carly openly hostile, but Sonny literally talks to Gladys between clenched teeth. No way does Gladys enjoy being under Sonny's roof, which means that she's up to something.

Could Gladys be in league with Sonny's new foe? There are no coincidences on soap operas, so the timing of Sonny's stolen truck and Gladys' efforts to get close to Sonny suggests that they are linked.

I also suspect that Gladys will be the catalyst for Dev's past to catch up with him. When Josslyn asked about Dev's parents, it was clear that Dev had a strong reaction. In the past, he'd brush off any talk about his past and family, but this time, he blinked. I really hope the writers address some of the issues that I've had with the storyline, starting with the fact that Sonny knows next to nothing about Dev after all these months. Sonny has the resources to do an extensive background check on Dev, so it makes no sense why he hasn't done so.

Also, give Dev some direction and a desire to be something other than a criminal in Sonny's organization. It was one thing when life forced Dev to live by hook or by crook, but his circumstances have changed. I can't muster any compassion for a kid who has all kinds of opportunities to make something of himself and to do good in the world yet choses to be a thug.

I love Cam because he genuinely tries to do the right thing, and he learns from his mistakes. Cam wants and strives to be one of the good guys, even when he messes up and loses his way. Dev, on the other hand, seems perfectly content to take shortcuts to get what he wants, even if that means breaking the law. If Dev is here to stay, then that needs to change, because that can only end badly for Dev and anyone who gets caught in his orbit. That is not something that I want to see.

Finally, Jordan has a murder mystery to solve, thanks to Curtis, who decided to follow up on the death of someone from his wife's past. I have no idea what is going on with Jordan, but she needs to get her head out of the clouds. During the fiasco at Wyndemere, she was almost lackadaisical about taking Valentin into custody. If not for Anna, Valentin would have skipped town with Charlotte.

It's a sad day, indeed, when Curtis the private investigator does more crime solving than the entire police force put together.

As Friday's show drew to a close, Jordan decided to reach out to a mystery colleague to ask for help investigating the death of "Bob." Jordan became concerned when she learned that Bob had died of an opioid overdose because, according to Jordan, Bob was not the type to take opioids. As Curtis so wisely pointed out to his wife, addicts can be quite clever at hiding their addictions, and anyone can be an addict.

It's a good thing that Jordan has Curtis in her corner to help her solve this mystery. I just hope that it's a good one. If this past week is anything to go by, it will be.

Random observations

Did anyone else notice during Friday's episode an abstract painting in the exam room during Liz's scenes also appeared in the conference room during Michael and Sasha's scenes? Someone really likes that painting.

I'm so confused about Sam's private investigator's license. First, we were led to believe that she had failed the criteria to get one, which was why Spinelli became her partner, along with Sonny's old attorney Bernie Abrams. Now, she's a private investigator, even though she's also a convicted felon. Shouldn't that license have been revoked when she was convicted?

Halleluiah! Cam is off of probation. I swear, it felt like he had served a stiffer sentence for trying to buy a dying kid some pot than most people on this show do for murder.

Reader feedback

The sole reason some of the stories are bad is simply that they drag them out too long, and then euthanize them with an ending that is rushed or anticlimactic. They took Shiloh over the top, and then HAD to kill him off. They turned Kim into an unhinged sexual predator when she could have just gracefully slipped away. Mike's story was a really great concept with incredible performances, but then WTH with the silly wedding to a married woman? Wiley should be with Michael already...what possible reason could there be to put one of the rare doctors at GH into a coma, and at Turning Woods? Easier ways to make Jules look bad, and there is NO WAY to redeem Brad now unless they discover that he, too, has a Franco type tumor that can be blamed for all of his misdeeds. Nik's return is great, but get on with it so Hayden can come back to see Violet and we can move to the next level of angst with Val. And for heaven's sake, have a memorial service for Drew so he can then return from the dead! -- Kim LaSota

The Shiloh story could have been so much better if it would have drawn on GH's rich history with Sam, baby Lila, and Kristina. The stem cells from baby Lila saved Krissy's life and should have played a huge part in why Sam was so invested saving her! She in a way was also saving her deceased daughter! But they basically wrote Shiloh by the end of it as a caricature and just killed him off without a great murder mystery most viewers were hoping for with many suspects of who done it! Unfortunately, that decision landed JaSam mired in this ridiculous story! -- Marlene

Okay, so is anybody else confused by this?: Tracy was on the Dec 23rd episode at the hospital with Monica, Ned, Michael, and Brook Lynn, but then on the Dec 26th episode when she showed up at the house, everyone seemed surprised to see her. Did they air the episodes out of order? The other thing that is bugging me is regards to the redecorated Q mansion. Did the set designers forget the stairs have always been to the right of the front door not to the left? They now have the front door being the door that led to the bedroom they had Oscar staying in. That would be an extensive renovation to move an entire section of the house!! While I don't mind the redecoration, the door and stairs being in the wrong position is driving me crazy! -- Evangeline

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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