Let's rattle the cage

For the Week of June 14, 2021
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As justice was served in Port Charles, a new kind of trouble brewed. Cages were rattled between jealousy, wedding bells, death knells, and enemies working together, but our columnist is here to help shake things out.

Jax, you jerk!

I don't care how Jax tries to spin it or how many times he denies it, that was a straight-up case of blackmail. Insisting that it's not does not make it so. Shame on him for demanding that Michael give Nina a second chance with Wiley, or Chase would learn all about Michael and Willow's little gatehouse tryst.

That answers the burning question many had as last week drew to a close about the identity of the person spying on the secret lovers. I just hope it teaches Michael and Willow a lesson about closing the blinds. Also, take it to the bedroom because no one wants to sit where people bump uglies, and Wiley is certainly old enough to get out of bed and go looking for his parents as kiddos that age do when they have a nightmare or want something to drink.

Honestly, I don't get Jax. I know he loved Nina, but the poor woman left town to put some distance between them. When he tracked her down in Nixon Falls, she sent another painfully clear message by not falling into his arms and returning to Port Charles with him. Why is Jax having such a hard time letting go? I ask because Nina has been in Nixon Falls long enough to save the town and fall for Sonny. At this point, it feels more like Jax is obsessed rather than in love, and for him, it's more about winning Nina back instead of earning her forgiveness for putting Carly first.

It's a shame that Jax threw Michael under the bus for a relationship that has long since sailed. Michael might one day forgive Jax, but I can guarantee you that he won't forget.

Meanwhile, Nina is a messy mess. Nothing that she is doing with "Mike" makes a lick of sense whatsoever. How she thinks that she can keep her secret about Sonny is beyond me, especially when the first thing that she did when she reunited with Wiley was tell the toddler that Grandpa Sonny is alive -- but don't tell Grandma Carly. Did Nina learn nothing from the last time she shared something she shouldn't have with Wiley?

It's almost like Nina wants to get caught. I say almost because I know that she doesn't. If she does, her little fantasy in Nixon Falls will go poof. "Mike" might not care about Sonny's life, but I suspect that he would have an issue with being deceived.

How long before Wiley shares Nina's latest ramblings with his parents and/or Grandma Carly? It can't happen soon enough, as far as I'm concerned, because I don't find Nina and Sonny's halcyon days in Nixon Falls appealing in the least. It's wrong on every level.

"Mike's" lack of interest in his past, Phyllis spinning fantasies about Nina settling down in a small town seemingly off the beaten path, and Nina thinking that she has any kind of future with "Mike" are just a few of the issues that I have with this storyline.

Nina runs a multi-million-dollar business in the fashion industry. What's going on with that? Shouldn't she be attending fashion shows, working with her staff on the monthly covers and content? You can maybe get away with running a top fashion magazine remotely for a short period of time, but unless Nina is planning on moving her headquarters to Nixon Falls, her business is going to start suffering from her lack of hands-on leadership.

Then there is Sonny's amnesia. Even if "Mike" has zero interest in his past, there's nothing to say that Sonny won't wake up tomorrow with his memory fully intact. That's how amnesia works, especially on soap operas. Additionally, the writing has made it quite clear that "Mike" has retained most, if not all, of Sonny's qualities and instincts. Nina should recognize that, and she should realize that his memories might be far closer to the surface than they are buried. The only thing that "Mike" seems to be lacking is Sonny's deep and abiding love for family.

The quality that Sonny prides himself on most. Family is Sonny's driving force, and what he values above all else, except for perhaps Carly's love. Yet, the writers would have us believe that a couple of hazy dreams of the back of Carly's head aside, nothing in "Mike" is calling to him to find his family.

What kind of person wakes up with no past and no desire to find his possible loved ones? Sonny's culinary skills carried through the thick veil of forgetfulness, his distrust of cops, his knowledge of running a bar, his keen eye for thugs and trouble, but not his love for his family? I don't buy it. It's not like Sonny had a big falling-out with Carly or his children. He was very much on good terms with everyone, so there isn't even a subconscious block working against Sonny.

I recall "Mike" once saying that he was disappointed that no one was searching for him, but how does he know that? What kind of effort did he make to see if there was a family searching for a missing loved one? At best, he made a cursory one, and that's where this storyline loses me.

Also, the horrible romance. Sonny would never have given Nina a second glance, and she darn well knows that. Whatever is happening between them in Nixon Falls is not real, and it's disturbing that Nina has let it drag on for so long, knowing that Sonny would want his family to know that he was safe. I get Nina not wanting to do Carly any favors, but Sonny has five children, one of them younger than Wiley. For Avery and Donna, Nina should speak up.

How can Nina claim to care for "Mike" when she not only is keeping him in the dark but is also letting those he holds dearest mourn for a man who isn't really dead? Why is she risking so much, including the second chance that she's been given with Wiley, for something that she has to know is going to end in utter disaster for her? When Carly cleans Nina's clock -- and she will -- Nina is going to deserve it, and I won't feel the least bit sorry for her.

Nina's doomed romance with "Mike" wasn't the only disaster in the making this week.

Folks, I have no idea what Finn and Liz did with Peter's body, except that it's unlikely still sprawled in a pool of blood in the stairwell. At this point, Peter's corpse would be stinking to high heaven, and people would be taking notice. Since that is not the case, my guess is that Peter was stashed in one of the freezers in the hospital's morgue, with a toe tag that identifies the body as a John Doe.

I don't really care where Peter is, except that I want to be certain that he is, in fact, truly dead. I don't trust him not to pop up like a bad rash down the road, mainly because Peter is exactly the type that would do just that.

Finn and Liz were wrong to cover up Peter's death, but in the scheme of soap crimes, theirs was more along the lines of a transgression rather than an unforgiveable wrong. Peter was evil, and I'm not going to miss him. I doubt that anyone on the show will, either.

Despite the unnecessary plot device to make Finn and Liz coconspirators, this storyline took a fascinating turn when Finn's Trojan horse serum for Chase -- comprised of Finn and Jackie's DNA -- failed to turn things around for Chase. Quite the opposite; Chase's health nosedived, and Finn has all but given up on saving his son.

However, Chase's relationship to Finn is now very much in question because if that serum didn't work, then that might mean that Finn is in fact not Chase's father. Will the latest tests that Finn ran, but didn't bother to look at before talking to Chase, reveal what seems so obvious? I know I can't be the only one who is now questioning those paternity results that revealed Finn to be Chase's father.

If you recall, at the time Cyrus was in charge of the hospital, he had an axe to grind with Jackie. What better way to get back at Jackie than to drop a paternity bombshell on her family?

That brings me to Chase. Poor Chase is desperate to seize whatever joy he can out of what little time he has left before Peter's poison snuffs out his life. I'm not really worried that Chase is actually going to die. Not only have I not heard even a whisper about Josh Swickard leaving, but there is no way that Finn is going to fail Chase.

Also, the wedding proposal kind of sealed it for me. Once Willow accepted, I realized where this was all headed. Willow and Chase will exchange wedding vows, and as soon as the ink dries on the wedding license, Finn will save the day with a cure - a cure that will likely be comprised of Jackie and Gregory's DNA. Willow will find herself married to a man she doesn't love, while hiding her feelings for the man she does love.

Michael and Willow have slept together a few times, so a surprise pregnancy is not out of the question.

It's hard to feel sorry for Michael and Willow when they've had several opportunities to be honest with Chase -- and everyone else. How hard would it have been to pull Chase's family aside in the very beginning to explain that Chase had the wrong impression?

That said, I'm impressed by Chase's incredible ability to manifest his desired destiny.

Across town, Anna took a break from hunting down Peter to slip away for some much-needed stress relief with none other than Liesl Obrecht! It was a frenemy match made in heaven, as far as I'm concerned.

I love a good foes-to-unlikely-friends story, especially between women. On soaps, women seem to have adversarial relationships with each other far more often than they do with men. A few have best friends, but not many. For the most part, female friendships tend to be strained because they all seem to fall in love with the same small group of men.

I grew up watching shows like Dynasty, Dallas, and Falcon Crest, which featured some of the best catfight scenes in television history. The soaps were no exception. One of my favorite rivalries was between Victoria "Vicki" Lord Buchanan (Erika Slezak) and Dorian Lord (Robin Strasser) on One Life to Live. Vicki and Dorian had been bitter rivals, each hurting the other through the years in a million little and big ways, but also growing to love many of the same people.

However, when Vicki learned that she had breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, it was Dorian -- of all people -- who became Vicki's biggest supporter. It was a turning point for both women, and the beginning of one of the most interesting relationships that I had the privilege to watch grow. It wasn't all roses and sunshine, they would hit many snags along the way, but they were there for each other when it counted. They were the original frenemies, and it's a dynamic I have sorely missed.

That was, until recently.

When Liesl showed up for Anna, I was delightfully surprised. Like Vicki and Dorian, Anna and Liesl have a long and twisted history, most of it bad. Epically bad, but they also love some of the same people, namely Maxie and James. Anna and Liesl have each suffered tremendous loss and heartache because of Faison. It's a bond forged in hellfire, and it is what drove Liesl to offer a lifeline when Anna needed it most. They will never be best friends, just like Vicki and Dorian weren't, but they are finding a way to move beyond their ugly past, and in my book, that is a good thing.

My favorite scene, by far, this week was watching Anna and Liesl destroy a room full of relics from the late 20th century as they vented their anger and high-fived each other on the path of destruction they had left behind. I was a little envious. I wish we had a place like that around here.

I have to give the writers major props because they also found a way for Carly and Ava to work together. I know that Carly and Ava will never be besties, but Avery is part of both of their lives, so for her sake, I hope that Carly can find a way to make peace with Ava's role in Morgan's tragic death. It's not about forgiveness. Ava was wrong, but she never intended for Morgan to die.

Morgan was manic not insane when he stole Julian's car. He knew right from wrong. It bothers me that Carly (and Sonny, for that matter) always ignore the fact that Morgan, too, played a role in his death. It wasn't just Ava's fault that Morgan ended up behind the wheel of Julian's car that awful night, and she certainly wasn't the one who planted the bomb that ultimately killed Morgan.

I like seeing Carly and Ava work together, and I definitely wouldn't mind more bonding time between Anna and Liesl. It's nice to see the ladies getting along. These days, I like girl power much more than I do catfights, anyway.

So, who is stalking Nikolas and Ava? All signs point to Ryan, but then Dante threw a curve ball when he raised the possibility that the target might be Nikolas rather than Ava. I don't know why, but Spencer immediately sprang to mind.

Spencer is Cassadine enough to think a great way to teach good old daddy a lesson or two for the various wrongs Nikolas has inflicted on Spencer, like allowing him to believe that Nikolas had died, and for marrying Ava, who betrayed Spencer by refusing to testify against Valentin a million years ago.

Truth be told, I would prefer it to be Spencer giving Nikolas some payback rather than it being Ryan, because that would mean that Ryan is faking his locked-in state. I like the idea of Ava living her best life while Ryan is trapped inside a paralyzed body, fully cognizant of his surrounding but unable to do a blessed thing except suffer in silence.

Maxie knows what that is like.

Maxie is sticking to her story that Louise was kidnapped by crazy nurse Chole. We know that Chloe fell into a shaft/hole in the ground, and when they find her body, they won't find a baby. With Peter dropping off the radar, everyone will likely surmise that Chloe handed the baby over to Peter, and he, in turn, tossed her into her cold grave. No one will have a clue that Louise is safely hidden at the Quartermaine mansion in Brook Lynn's care.

Except we all know that Maxie is not going to be able to stay away from her daughter. How long before Valentin starts becoming suspicious? I give it a month, maybe two, unless Peter's body surfaces.

Before I sign off, I would like to send positive vibes and well wishes to Kirsten Storms for a speedy recovery. My heart broke for her when I read about her recent surgery. Yikes, what a scary ordeal , but I have to say, I loved seeing that Emme Rylan was right by her side. A true friend indeed. It makes me smile to know that they have each other's backs in real life as much as their characters do on the show.

Random observations

I cracked up when Lenny told "Mike" to take a plane to Port Charles. Why shell out all that money when it's just a couple of hours' drive away?

Did Cyrus have Florence stashed at Metro Court? How in the world did Carly reunite Martin with his mother so fast?

Dear Brando and Sasha, run! That jealous gleam I saw twinkling in Gladys' eye does not bode well for the sweet lovebirds and their unborn babe.

Reader feedback

You'd think these Soap Characters would learn to trust in the incompetence of their own police force. When has the PCPD EVER proven a case that wasn't handed to them on a silver platter? -- Scrimmage

I can't stand the NF story. Mike is just like Sonny, the arrogant know it all, but without the boatload of money to make it believable.

Nina is more insane now than when she stole Ava's baby. What is her end game? Does she like-like Mike? Phyllis used to be nice until she decided that her heartbroken friend should be with an amnesiac man that has a wedding band. -- Lucky Lady

Liesel's 180 on Britt+Jason was mildly surprising given that just days before (at least in soap time) she was warning Britt from so much as working with Jason. I am assuming that just Jason's act of reaching out to her for Britt's sake allowed her to give him the benefit of doubt that he wouldn't leave Britt hanging. Liesel has grown a lot as a mother since her early days. -- Bianca Jackson

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email me.

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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