We're lost in a masquerade

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Every day is Halloween in Port Charles, a town where the residents hide behind the masks they wear every day. Princes, mobsters, and super spies harboring dark secrets and chasing down evil villains made for lots of mayhem during a spooktacular week of action and mystery. Our columnist is dying to discuss all that -- and frightfully more!

November Sweeps is around the corner, and it shows. The writers are setting up some great storylines, the most exciting of which for me is the return of Jeff Webber.

Before anyone fires off an angry email accusing me of spoiling things, I'm not. I have not seen a single spoiler that Jeff Webber is returning, but we all know the Beetlejuice effect is a very real phenomenon on soap operas. If a character hasn't been around in eons (in this case a good three decades), and his or her name is mentioned a half dozen times, you can expect that character to pop up in a scene much sooner than later.

In this case, Jeff's name was not only mentioned multiple times by several key characters, but a photograph of him was also found, and he actually reached out directly to the friend of his closest relative in town. If someone checked with Metro Court, I bet they'd find a reservation in his name.

Violet was delighted to learn that she had another long-lost relative, and she cherished the photo that she found of him. Liz, not so much. She couldn't shred that photo fast enough.

Folks, I've been watching GH long enough to remember Dr. Jeff Webber (Richard Dean Anderson), who first made his appearance in the hallowed halls of GH with his new bride, Monica. Yup, that's right. Monica's first hubby was none other than Liz's dad, Jeff Webber. Back then, the dynamic duo was known as "Mr. and Mrs. Intern." They were up-and-coming modern doctors who had studied cutting-edge medicine and were the pride and joy of beloved Dr. Steve Hardy, who couldn't be happier to have them on staff.

Later, Steve would learn that Jeff was really his biological son, a result of an affair with Jeff's married mother. If memory serves me correctly, Helene wrote a letter detailing the secret. On Helene's deathbed, she had shared the letter with her daughter, Terri, and Terri, in turn, told Jeff.

Jeff was a great guy, but he wasn't lucky in love. His marriage to Monica didn't last, mainly because she was in love with his brother, Rick, and because she ended up getting mixed up with another hotshot doctor named Alan Quartermaine. Jeff also had an ill-fated affair with emotionally unstable Heather Grant that ultimately drove him out of Port Charles with their son, Steven Lars. Shortly afterwards, Jeff married a woman named Carolyn. Presumably, Carolyn is the mother of Liz and Sarah.

I had a crush on Jeff. He was quite handsome and genuinely nice. I was quite disappointed when he left town, but life went on. Jeff's absence didn't really become an issue until his daughters showed up on his stepmother's doorstep while both girls were still in their teens. From that moment on, Audrey Hardy raised her granddaughters without any visits from Jeff or Carolyn.

Heck, I don't even know if they sent cards or presents after that first year.

The lack of concern from Liz's parents became glaring when poor Liz was brutally raped one cold snowy night after a high school Valentine's Day dance. As the years passed, and Liz endured one trauma after another -- including nearly dying a half dozen times, going blind for a short period, and enduring one heartache after another -- the absence of her parents just became cruel. I mean, these people didn't even call her or send flowers.

I can understand Liz's reluctance to discuss her father. What do you say about a man who everyone hails as a hero, but who has ignored you since you were fourteen years old? Jeff and Carolyn were deplorable parents who treated Liz abysmally.

Steven and Sarah fared better because both became doctors like their parents, but Liz always felt like she was a disappointment who had never been able to measure up, even when she became a nurse.

I can't wait for Jeff to show his face. This visit is long overdue, and I want to hear what he has to say for himself. I want to know why his work with Doctors Without Borders was more important to him than being there for Liz when she thought she had lost Jake. Where was Jeff when his daughter's life was threatened by a husband hiding a pregnant woman in a panic room? I need answers, and I need to know what the deal with Carolyn is because Jeff wasn't alone in his neglect of Liz and her children.

The other big storyline gearing up for a climactic conclusion is the saga in Greece. I can only presume that Peter August is headed for an epic downfall. Will he meet his just deserts and die, or will he be carted off to jail? I'm not sure, but I am certain that Peter's fate will be the catalyst for Drew's long-awaited return to Port Charles.

The problem with Peter being killed off is that death really means little on a soap opera these days. Short of having the body wash up and it undergo an autopsy (Nelle and Julian), there's no way to trust that what you are seeing is real. While Peter certainly does deserve to die, I'm not sure that is the best course of action for the writers because Peter is a great villain.

I honestly would prefer that Peter gets shipped off to Steinmauer. At least, if he's under lock and key, someone will notify Anna and/or Robert if (when) Peter should escape.

I hate to have that kind of threat looming over Louise's head, but at the same time, it makes for great soapy drama for the writers to keep Peter in their back pocket, especially since they've apparently lost Jerry Jacks in the dryer.

The struggle between good and evil is a cornerstone of soap operas.

It's one of the reasons that I fully expect to see Jordan back on her feet and in action (probably with a different face) in the near future. Unlike Lulu, Jordan just went away for treatment. She's not in a coma, and it looks like the writers will soon be focusing on the police station, now that both Chase and Dante are back on the job.

I haven't heard about anyone being appointed as police commissioner, which is another strong indicator that Mac is filling in until Jordan returns. I just hope, when that happens, that the police are written to be effective and start solving crimes. Obviously, I get that they have to coexist with Sonny and Jason, but it shouldn't have been a trio of teens who uncovered the teenage stalkers terrorizing Ava. The same goes for Shawn's investigation into who really shot Hayden Barnes.

If Shawn was able to uncover the truth in a matter of weeks, why wasn't Jordan able to do so when all the evidence was fresh? Had she properly investigated this case, if for no other reason than to corroborate Shawn's confession, she would have found the bullet -- the one that Shawn actually fired -- in the garage wall, which would have cleared Shawn of nearly killing Hayden and pointed to a second shooter.

I have no worries about Nikolas going to jail for any length of time. He certainly deserves to, but he's a key character, Victor has more connections than a telephone switchboard, there's not a scintilla of evidence, and the hit man is long gone. It's also very unlikely that Nikolas is going to say anything incriminating to Spencer, as much as Shawn and Spinelli might hope.

Spencer is Nikolas' Achilles' heel, but I suspect that Nikolas would not want Spencer to see him in that light. Now, if Nikolas thought the confession might save Spencer, then he might be compelled to be honest. However, I don't think a confrontation with Spencer is enough incentive.

I love Shawn. I know Nikolas was right when he said that Shawn was far from an innocent man, but I can't really blame Shawn for being sucked into the vortex of Sonny's world. Everyone eventually spends time there -- and they each walk away viewing Sonny more as Robin Hood than Tony Soprano. Scotty is one of the very few exceptions.

I can't hold the attempted hit on Drew against Shawn any more than I have held it against Jason, Max, Milo, Diane, and the rest of the town, including Mayor Laura Collins, when they threw themselves on a sword for Sonny. It's the price of knowing Sonny. Shawn was following Sonny's orders, and in the end, Shawn was a rotten shot because he missed his target. Who knows, maybe subconsciously, Shawn intended to miss.

What truly matters is what Shawn plans to do with his second chance. From what I can see, Shawn has no plans to repeat his past mistakes. He wants to clear his name --understandably -- and do better. I like that, and I look forward to seeing his journey. If that journey includes Alexis at his side, I'm okay with that, too. They have history, and Shawn grounds Alexis quite nicely. Perhaps they can both do a podcast together about crime and punishment.

Now, let's talk about the fallout from Nixon Falls.

Willow mounted her high horse this week and turned all judgmental on Michael because he made a generous campaign contribution and persuaded a district attorney to charge Nina for some sort of identity theft. Willow's issue? Michael didn't tell her his plans when they discussed how to proceed with Nina and Wiley. Willow was hurt, and she felt like Michael had been deceptive.

Willow is exhausting. She's quick to lie and keep secrets when she thinks it's for the greater good, but she gets her nose out of joint when someone else does it. I'm really annoyed that Michael didn't call her on it. She was pretty hard on Michael for something that wasn't done out of malice. As Michael conceded, he didn't tell her because he wanted to keep her in the clear because, even though it might not technically be illegal, it was most definitely shady. Michael is hurting, and he sees shades of Nelle in her mother.

I like Willow, but she needs to stop expecting perfection from those around her, especially since she's unable to live up to those lofty expectations. Often, it feels like she holds others, especially Michael, to a much higher standard than she does herself.

Not that I like what Michael did. Sonny was the victim, and he's a grown man who doesn't need his son fighting his battles for him. Also, doesn't Sonny have to file the complaint? How can they prosecute Nina without so much as a statement from the person most impacted by her crime?

While we are on the topic, I'm also curious how in the world Nina was allowed to walk out of jail? The woman has a criminal past that includes kidnapping and drugging with the intention of stealing a pregnant woman's baby -- from her womb! That was a crime that Nina succeeded in committing, and then she took that stolen newborn babe on the run. How is she not a flight risk from prosecution, especially when she has a fortune and access to private jets at her disposal?

I have some serious problems with Nina's redemption tour. She says all the right words to her friends and family, but her actions are another matter entirely. Nina plays the victim when people like Josslyn and Michael confront her. Her eyes turn sad, she gets a hangdog expression, and she flinches when someone says something particularly harsh (true), but she doesn't really say sorry or even acknowledge that she has done anything wrong.

It's such a passive-aggressive move, and so is going to Carly's restaurant to meet Britt for breakfast and stopping for a cup of coffee on the way to her office. How about working from home for a little while and stopping off at the local Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?

I find myself wanting to see Nina punished, not because I'm Team Carly but rather because Nina seems to think all her lies were justified because Sonny was happy living as "Mike."

If Sonny had truly been happy living as "Mike," he would have stayed in Nixon Falls and told Jax to go home and pretend he never saw him. That is not what happened. I do suspect that Sonny still has some residual feelings for Nina, but I don't think those feelings are deep. What I see in Sonny's eyes when he talks to Nina is nothing compared to the sparks that ignite when he looks at Carly.

Sonny's silence about the tryst with Nina is more to spare Carly's feelings than it is to protect Nina from Carly's wrath. Although, I do suspect Sonny fears a little rage blowback on him when Carly finds out because she is quite a jealous person. There's no doubt that Carly won't react well when she finds out that Mike and Nina had an affair of the heart, but it will go much better if Carly hears it from Sonny first.

The absolute worst person to hear it from is Nina. Unfortunately, it feels like Nina is bursting at the seams to throw that truth bomb in Carly's face, so the odds are that Carly will eventually give Nina that opening. I hope it's on a week that I am scheduled to Two Scoop!

Finally, Gladys stumbled onto a secret, and she didn't waste any time exploiting it. The question is, how long will Gladys keep her secret?

Folks, I have always had an issue with Valentin's acceptance that "Bailey" is his daughter. It's been very out of character for a man as suspicious and jaded as Valentin. Why did he never have a DNA test to confirm it? I recall Brook Lynn objecting to one when she was pretending to be pregnant, but why hasn't he asked for one since "Bailey's" unconventional birth? It was a one-night stand, and Brook Lynn was demanding controlling shares of ELQ in exchange for visitation, so you'd think Valentin would at least want to make sure that BLQ didn't have any other passionate encounters around the same time.

Then, there is Gladys. Oh, Gladys.

First, why did no one notice Gladys' gigantic cell phone with the even more humongous microphone screen sitting on the table like a neon beacon? Second, why didn't Gladys have an app that converted the recording to text instead of going old school and playing it back while she typed it out? More importantly, when are people going to learn never to discuss deep, dark secrets in public places, especially when there is a person of questionable morals like Gladys sitting just a few feet away?

It's really a miracle that Brook Lynn and Maxie have managed to keep their secret this long because they never stop talking about it. Ever.

I hate that Brook Lynn continues to keep this secret because, for as long as everyone (except Maxie) is in the dark about her faked pregnancy, she has no moral high ground with anyone -- despite what Brook Lynn might think. I like Brook Lynn, but I can't stand the way that she treats Austin. It's like she has blinders on, and I really don't understand why.

I get why Olivia wants to believe the worst about Austin, but why Brook Lynn? Even Ned has come to realize that he was wrong to judge Austin as harshly as he had. Austin isn't a bad guy. Yes, he did enlist Chase's help, but Chase is a grown man who, to my knowledge, was in possession of his faculties when Austin manipulated him.

It's not like Austin faked a pregnancy, passed off another woman's baby as his own, and lied to everyone.

As for Gladys, it's time for her to go away. I don't get why Brando would put up with the woman. She's deceitful, self-entitled, greedy, and only loyal to herself; she has zero social skills and no desire to earn an honest living. Also, she spent years telling people that her only child was dead, and even now has no qualms about throwing him into the middle of a mob war if it somehow benefits her. I would not want a woman like that anywhere near my newborn baby.

Brando deserves better than a mother like Gladys, and I can now see why he had trouble dealing with his PTSD when he first returned home from serving in a war-torn country. I can't imagine that Gladys was all that empathetic or supportive. She seems oblivious to anyone's pain except her own.

Gladys isn't that smart, either. Instead of waiting for Brook Lynn to smooth things over with Maxie, Gladys hotfooted over to the hospital to share her newfound discovery with Valentin. Then what? Gladys will be out of a lucrative agreement and a job. Oh, and she will have poked a bear, and I'm not referring to that ridiculous gift she gave to Valentin.

Not that I think Valentin will remain angry once he learns the truth about "Bailey." Maxie's desire to hide her daughter in plain sight is completely understandable. Valentin will probably commend Maxie for making a wise decision. Valentin won't be happy with Brook Lynn for lying about the pregnancy, but he doesn't have feelings for her, and he's done much worse in his lifetime, including to the people he claimed to love. Valentin will be quick to forgive Brook Lynn, especially with Anna helping to guide the way.

Anna and Valentin are my new favorite current pairing. I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for them. They've done a lovely job of setting things up between the star-crossed lovebirds, and I like that Anna and Finn are in a good place with each other. There's nothing to stop Anna from exploring a relationship with Valentin or for Valentin to finally get a chance with his first love.

Random observations

I love Mac, and I know he's wicked busy with Jordan gone and the search for baby Louise, but can someone please pay Sonny a visit to discuss Julian's last moments? If nothing else, to clear him of wrongdoing and to close the case? I hate loose ends, and this is a big one.

Dallas Kirby took over the casino from Winston Rudge. Does this mean she knows who has Holly Sutton? Will we get some resolution on this storyline during the upcoming Sweeps? I hope so, because I've been waiting for Holly to make an appearance ever since I heard a woman screaming in the distance in that jail where Drew was locked up.

Cam must have mad training skills because Spencer was working alone and handling things like a pro just one day after being hired to work at Kelly's. I'm impressed.

Reader feedback

I was all about Jason & Britt when they first hooked up, but now I hope she stands by her "not interested in coming in second" comment to Carly. No one will ever come before Carly to Jason, and no woman worth a damn would put up with that. -- Dani Khal

Did it bother anyone else a lot that Phyllis gave the watch to Nina (and obviously a Timex that not only survived the fall off the bridge in the icy water but also was thrown in the woods ) She gave it to NINA! She gave Sonny all the SMike junk that survived the fire and pictures with Nina but she kept back the thing that connected him with Sonny's life. -- Mary Keeley

Why were people SURPRISED that the stalker which the PD had been looking for several months was arrested? They act like it was just some cruel idea of Ava's for him to be arrested! What a weird town! Murder, stalking, lighting cars on fire -- all not jail-worthy? Teen Cam does NOT buy the pot -- spends half of high school in community service LOL -- Lucky Lady

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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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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