Fear and loathing in Port Charles

For the Week of October 18, 2021
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Victor had Peter's number, and Ryan saw through Esme, but will either face any punishment for their crimes? Why are Sonny's lips sealed about Nina, and why hasn't Carly put the pieces together yet? Liz Masters is ready to answer these questions and give her take on another exciting week of our favorite soap stories!

Two things are abundantly clear to me: Sonny is not going to be able to keep his secret about Nina for much longer, and Esme doesn't give a fig about Spencer.

Let's start with Sonny.

Carly senses that something is off with Sonny. She can't put her finger on it, but she is quite miffed that she didn't get to share his experiences for the last nine months and a part of her fears that "Mike" has somehow intrinsically changed Sonny.

The way that people talk about Sonny -- and "Mike" -- is setting off alarm bells. It makes me wonder if perhaps rather than amnesia triggered by a traumatic brain injury, Sonny suffered some type of dissociative identity episode. It's not out of the realm of possibility because Sonny has always lived a very violent lifestyle filled with traumas and heartbreak, and he endured a significant amount of horrific abuse in his childhood at the hands of his twisted stepfather Deke, who eventually beat Sonny's beloved mother to death. Those things can seriously damage a person's psyche.

Was the fall during the bridge collapse and his subsequent brush with death one trauma too many for Sonny to handle? "Mike" sure did seem to be awfully determined not to find out about his past when he lived in Nixon Falls. It never sat well with me because his excuse -- no one appeared to be looking for him -- was flimsy at best and very short-sighted. It's like the idea of his family believing that he had died, even though "Mike" had washed ashore, nearly half-drowned -- was somehow too farfetched for him to entertain. Never mind that that is exactly what had happened.

I'm not in any way excusing Nina or mitigating her role in keeping Sonny from his family, but I can't help but feel that "Mike" should have made an effort.

Even if "Mike" had wanted to punish his family for not finding him, I just can't understand why anyone would not want to know about their past. It's 2021, not 1950. A quick Google search for a missing man presumed dead at any point along the river's path would have done the trick. Heck, a basic image search of his face would have yielded results. Had "Mike" read that he was a mobster and the prime suspect in the murder of another mobster, and he then decided to remain hidden in Nixon Falls, I would have totally bought that. No one would want to face possible murder charges for something they didn't even remember.

However, that's not what happened. "Mike" knew nothing about his past, so he decided that he would start all over because he made new friends and found love. That's something an alter personality would do, not someone with amnesia.

Jason suffered a traumatic brain injury that wiped out all his memories of Jason Quartermaine when a drunken A.J. crashed a car into a tree. There were occasional flashes of the old Jason, like when Nikolas needed a life-saving tracheotomy and Jason instinctively knew what to do, thanks to what Jason Q learned in med school, but overall, Jason Quartermaine's personality never returned. Jason's TBI left him forever altered.

In Sonny's case, he not only lost all his memories of Sonny, but when a beam knocked those memories back into place, "Mike's" memories became integrated with Sonny's, and all the things that "Mike" felt and experienced remained with Sonny. Those experiences and feelings remain so strong that even those closest to Sonny sense a shift. As "Mike," there were signs that Sonny was there -- the infamous pasta sauce recipe, dreams about Carly in silhouette, his head for business, and his skill with a gun -- yet somehow, living a mundane life as a man with no memories for nine months has fundamentally changed Sonny. I just don't get it.

Sonny has loved Carly for decades, yet we are now to believe that Sonny continues to have a soft spot for Nina, even though her betrayal was born of vengeance, and his children were absolutely devastated. Poor Donna didn't even remember her father. Why isn't Sonny screaming "You're dead to me," like he did every other person who has ever betrayed him? The only answer I can come up with is that "Mike's" feelings for Nina are still there.

The love for a woman whom "Mike" knew for nine months now competes with the love that Sonny feels for his soul mate of over two decades. Really?

I guess an argument could be made that Sonny is trying to protect Carly by not telling her the truth about Nina, but to what end? Carly is already on the warpath, and Sonny, more than anyone, knows that the truth will always catch up with a person, no matter how hard they try to hide from it. Didn't he and Jax just have that conversation in Nixon Falls and again before Sonny two-stepped it up to Crimson to talk to Nina?

To me, it feels like Sonny is protecting Nina, because he didn't even share it with his best friend Jason, and he's had several opportunities to do so. For example, when Sonny decided to question Jason about what Sonny walked in on between Jason and Carly on their wedding night. Worse, Sonny didn't tell Carly, even when he confronted her about what Jason revealed.

Jason and Carly thought that Sonny was dead, and they were looking at being married to each other for the rest of their lives to minimize the threat of rival mobsters who saw an opening with Sonny's death. Why wouldn't they be open to making their marriage real, given not only their history -- and their future -- but also their decades-old deep and abiding friendship? For Sonny to stand there and demand honesty from both Jason and Carly while not extending the same courtesy to Carly is the height of hypocrisy, but it's also one more reason that I think Sonny is wrestling with his love for Carly and "Mike's" love for Nina.

Only an alter personality would have strong emotions like that. If "Mike's" love for Nina is still that strong, even after Sonny can now see that the woman who had been haunting "Mike's" dreams was really Carly, then I can only presume that "Mike" is a much bigger part of Sonny than anyone -- especially Sonny -- realizes.

If "Mike" isn't an alter personality, then the writers are really doing Sonny and Carly's epic love and their history a huge disservice. What Jason and Carly shared during those short few hours before Sonny returned was far more profound than anything "Mike" and Nina had in Nixon Falls.

As for Nina, I think she very much deserves the wrath of Carly, and I'm more than eager to see it unfold. Nina's crocodile tears don't move me. She is not the victim, and I truly believe that she's sorrier about getting caught than she is about keeping Sonny from his family and putting his loved ones through unnecessary grief. If she actually had remorse, she wouldn't be weeping to the victims, she wouldn't be sarcastically asking for a list of places to avoid so she won't cross paths with Sonny and acting like Sonny was the bully. She definitely wouldn't be holding onto photos of "Mike" and going to Carly's restaurant for breakfast.

If Nina regretted the pain she had caused, she would give Sonny and his loved ones space, she would apologize without all the tears, and she would respect Sonny's request to not cross paths with him instead of whining to him that she's tired of people always throwing a litany of her transgressions in her face whenever she leaves the house. She's lucky Carly hasn't sent over one of Sonny's goons to break both her legs.

Shockingly to me, Carly has been the bigger person. She didn't raise Nina's rent, she didn't decide to not renew the lease, and she didn't shove Nina into a fountain. (Please, please, pretty please give us a good old-fashioned Dynasty catfight between Carly and Nina.) Yes, she screamed at Nina and issued warnings, but other than that blowup, Nina hasn't really had to deal with Carly.

In fact, quite a few people have given Nina passes, including Curtis, Ava, Phyllis, and Maxie. That's quite a bit of support for someone complaining about being a pariah.

Poor Carly, she's not only going to have to compete for Sonny's attention, but it looks like Jason is reconnecting with Britt. The two are about to join the hijinks in Greece, where Anna, Valentin, Robert, Dante, Sam, Drew, Liesl, Victor, Peter, and a mystery woman (who I still believe is our darling Holly Sutton, especially now that Robert has joined the party) are up to their eyeballs in exciting action.

I can't wait. I'm especially interested in finding out if Victor tampered with Britt's test. As she pointed out to Jason, only Liesl, Scott, and Jason knew that she had the genetic marker for Huntington's disease because she had had the test done out of town under an assumed name.

Yet Victor knew that Britt had Huntington's disease, which is why he had set that trap for Liesl in St. Lucia. Did Victor have Britt followed, and when the doctor ran the tests, had a lab tech change a negative to a positive? Of course, he did. I'm just surprised that Liesl hasn't figured it out yet. Then again, she's been busy befriending Drew, patching him up, and trying to hatch an escape plan that gives her time to kill Peter on the way out.

Then there's Valentin, who is still reeling from the news that Victor is his father. I can't wait to see how Valentin deals with that little bombshell and if Victor will follow the gang back to Port Charles. Most assuredly. Wyndemere is going to be quite crowded this Christmas, practically bursting at the seams with Cassadines.

I'm not worried about Victor facing criminal charges for all of his dirty deeds, mainly because he has all kinds of connections and money, which he will wield to his advantage. Nikolas might want to cozy up to his uncle because Shawn is on a mission to find out who shot Hayden. However, the only way Shawn will ever be able to prove that Nikolas was behind it is to find the hitman who pulled the trigger. Unfortunately, professional killers aren't exactly the cooperative type -- and they are in a very dangerous line of work with a high mortality rate. Doubly so if Uncle Victor is persuaded to lend a helping hand.

I'm ready to see things unfold in Greece. I already love Cameron Mathison's Drew Cain, and I want to see him return to Port Charles. I also like that he and Liesl have struck up somewhat of a friendship, which I hope they can build on. I've always found friendships between two unlikely people far more interesting than those between likeminded folks. And who knows? If things don't work out between Jason and Britt, then perhaps Drew can help Britt move on from his identical twin.

The other big storyline this week was the fallout from Spencer being exposed as Ava's stalker. Ava had Spencer arrested, which has sent Esme into a tailspin of desperation. Ryan can read Esme like a book -- further evidence that Esme is Ryan's spawn -- and red flags are going up. Let's just hope that Spencer sees the light soon because Esme will not hesitate to throw him under the bus to save herself. Literally. Heck, she might even be driving it.

I realized that when Esme told Nikolas that setting Ava's car on fire and planting Kiki's ID badge at the scene of the crime was all Spencer's idea, even blaming it on Spencer's darker urges. Not that he doesn't have any, but Spencer was actually horrified by what Esme had done, so his darkness is not as intense as Esme's.

Esme's friendly veneer seems to slip far more frequently these days. The only time she actually appeared happy was when she learned that she would be working at Spring Ridge. Is it because she will be close to her daddy? I think so because Esme seems to have a particular disliking for Kevin. She can barely contain her disdain, especially when Kevin calls her out on something. It feels personal, and that would definitely make sense if Esme were Ryan's wicked offspring.

I have to agree with Josslyn; Esme is exactly like Nelle, right down to the sneer. Nelle was just better at hiding it.

Finally, I'm ready for Maxie to take back Louise. I'm sick of Brook Lynn's double standards, and I'm particularly tired of her always going rogue like she's smarter than everyone else. It's becoming more and more clear that Brook Lynn lies, schemes, and manipulates because she thrives on chaos. She's one of those toxic people who wreaks havoc in an effort to get attention. Good or bad, it doesn't matter, as long as everyone is paying attention.

Brook Lynn decided to fake a pregnancy to trick Valentin into handing over his shares of ELQ, so the Quartermaines would regain control. In her mind, it would have made her the hero, even though she is the reason that Valentin seized control in the first place -- another fire created because she had decided to throw in with a record producer without properly vetting him. See what I mean?

Brook Lynn always thinks she knows best, even though it always blows up in her face. Always. She decided to destroy Austin's medical career in an effort to save the family from a lawsuit. She hasn't bothered to get to know the man or to really hear him out about Leo. I'm not suggesting that Austin is perfect. He's not. But manipulating a grown man into helping procure evidence is not the same as faking a pregnancy then actually passing off another woman's baby as that man's child.

I know there were extenuating circumstances, but Brook Lynn could have told Valentin the truth. If anyone would understand protecting Louise from Peter, it's him. Yes, it would have meant telling him about faking her pregnancy, but his desire to protect Louise would have tempered that storm quite a bit.

Even when Britt urged Brook Lynn to take Austin seriously, despite him violating HIPAA laws, Brook Lynn continued to assure Olivia that Austin was not to be trusted. Ironically, I suspect, when all is said and done and Brook Lynn's own lies catch up with her, Austin will be far more charitable toward her than she has ever been to him.

I am suspicious, though, of Austin. When he told Maxie that he recalled Brook Lynn saying that Maxie was the strongest person she knew, even Maxie's ears perked up. It was something that Brook Lynn had only said to Maxie in the woods as Brook Lynn had left with Louise -- when they had presumably been alone. Could Austin already know Brook Lynn and Maxie's secret?

If Austin knows that Maxie gave Louise to Brook Lynn, and he hasn't said anything, it doesn't necessarily mean he's up to no good, but it doesn't bode well. Then again, Austin had been bashed on the head, so he might have stumbled around the woods and witnessed the exchange, but the memory got lost in the fog of a mild concussion.

If nothing else, Sonny's story has taught us that amnesia is a tricky little beast.

Random observations

Why has no one come knocking on Sonny's door to question him about the final moments of Julian's life? Is Mac too busy searching for Louise?

Speaking of the police, it's good to see Chase back at work!

I really wish Olivia would consider taking up yoga or deep breathing exercises because her constant anger is exhausting. She's always flying off the handle, thinking the worst of everyone around her, and she comes across as one of the most closed-minded people in town. I hope Leo's journey teaches Olivia to be a kinder human being, for his sake as well as ours.

I want Phyllis to stick around, but I would rather she act as a moral compass for Nina rather than the president of the Sina (Sonny and Nina) fan club. Phyllis is an interesting character, and I think she can bring a lot to the table at the hospital. Maybe when Martin returns, he can befriend the lovely widow.

I better never ever hear Spencer direct another "townie" insult at Cameron again. Cam has been one heck of a good friend to Spencer. Spencer could learn a lot from Cam.

Reader feedback

Strangely, Sonny was pretty easily fooled by Esme. The true king mobster would have seen through that evil little girl not that long ago. ≠ Lucky Lady

How can Finn doubt that Elizabeth is attracted to him? Has he EVER looked in a mirror? When was the last time a woman ever shot him down? Grade School?? -- Scrimmage

These kids really need to learn to not spill their guts to Esme all the time! She can always figure out how to get ahead of things when they get so proud of themselves and can't wait to tell her all about how they got one over on her. -- RedRocks

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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