Love axe-ually

For the Week of March 7, 2022
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Esme carried out her revenge, but will it backfire? Sasha brought some extra baggage on her romantic getaway with Brando, Nina continued to ride the Excuse Express, and Liz's stalker made a bold move. Love is in the air, but so are a few axes.

What's with all the axe throwing? Don't get me wrong, it looks fun, but it seemed odd that suddenly everyone was swinging an axe and chugging beer. It's like how all the women in town flock to the same yoga studio, where there is apparently only one class per day and the instructor is optional.

Anyway, the axe chucking was entertaining but unnecessary. I would have rather seen Dante and Sam flirting as they snuggled in bed or whipping up dinner for the kids as they talked about Liz's stalker, but more on that later.

First, let's discuss Esme.

Esme put her nasty little plan into motion. She uploaded the video of Cam and Joss making love for the first time and sent it in a group chat. At least, that's the impression I had, since everyone in the classroom received the upload at the very same instant. Seconds later, some little jerk shared it on the big screen with the professor and the mortified couple in question, while Esme sat in the corner, practically cackling with glee.

How very late 20th century of Esme. Sex tapes aren't quite the scandal they once were.

For instance, when Diego Alcazar (the Text Message Killer) did something similar to Brook Lynn. In that case, Diego slipped Brook Lynn a date rape drug, took nude photographs of her, and circulated them on the Internet. Brook Lynn had been traumatized not only by the realization that she'd been drugged but by having her image exploited. Diego ended up going to jail for that.

I can't imagine that what Esme did was any less illegal. She might not have drugged Cam and Joss, but Trina was certainly drugged that night, and there have to be laws against recording people during intimacy without their consent.

Beyond that, I question Esme's wisdom of going down this road. Not only is Josslyn connected to a mob boss and a billionaire tycoon who can easily afford to trace that video to its source, but Trina's father is also a retired police officer with all kinds of connections, and he will stop at nothing to clear his daughter's name. It's a huge risk to take for very little reward.

At least, I presume Esme's intentions are to humiliate Josslyn and to frame Trina for sharing the video with the world -- and the entire Port Charles University student body. There are several fatal flaws with Esme's dish of revenge. First, Trina would never do something like that to anyone. Ever. Trina has way too much honor and integrity for those kinds of games. Everyone who knows Trina is going to know that she was framed, and if they don't, then they are morons.

Once people figure out that Trina is innocent, the next logical question will be who would want to hurt Josslyn and set Trina up for the fall. Esme is going to spring to mind like a Jack-in-the-box. Esme is the only person who has had issues with both Josslyn and Trina. Josslyn hasn't exactly been quiet about her distrust of Esme, and Esme has good reason to be jealous of Trina.

The truth is, Trina has feelings for Spencer, not Cameron. Everyone, especially Esme, knows that. Ava, Laura, and even Josslyn have each commented on it in recent weeks, and Spencer hasn't exactly been subtle about his interest in Trina. It's definitely a two-way street, and everyone sees it.

Even though Esme never faced criminal charges for torching Ava's car, it's an open secret that she did it. It's also known that Esme fully supported Spencer's reign of terror on Ava, participating on more than one occasion until he was caught. Spencer took the fall for both of them, not just himself. Someone capable of that kind of deviousness is exactly the kind of person who'd hatch a scheme to take down both Joss and Trina.

Also, let us not forget that Trina was in no condition to sneak into Cam and Joss's room that night and set up her phone to record the couple during their night of passion. How could Trina have known that it would happen? Cam and Joss weren't even certain that they were going to make love until the very last minute. They kept changing their minds. There's also the little matter of Esme's trip back to the cabin to retrieve the phone. Esme doesn't drive. She uses rideshares to get around, which means there will be a record for Spinelli to follow, which will lead him straight to Esme being at Sonny's cabin after everyone else had left it.

That is going to look very incriminating.

That brings me to the final flaw in Esme's plan. Spencer has a knight-in-shining-armor complex, which is going to kick into high gear when Trina finds herself the town pariah. Esme's plan will backfire in spectacular fashion and push Spencer and Trina closer together, not further apart. For someone who claims to know Spencer and to have a fascination with psychology, Esme's scheme is very shortsighted and filled with risks.

I honestly don't understand why Spencer is with Esme. She's whiney, manipulative, unable to make friends, and perfectly willing to let Spencer take the fall for her crimes. She clings to him like a barnacle, and she shows no interest in supporting herself. Spencer is still a teenager. Why is he tying himself down with someone like that, especially when he has feelings for another girl?

Spencer doesn't deserve Trina, and it really irks me that he's sleeping with Esme while treating Trina like a side piece. Joss was spot-on when she told Trina that. Sometimes the truth is uncomfortable but necessary. Trina shouldn't settle for scraps.

I also have a huge issue with Spencer's attitude about jail. The kid is lucky that he didn't end up in Pentonville for several years (see Diego Alcazar), but he can't stop complaining about being stuck in Spring Ridge for 30 days. I really wish he'd grow up, truly accept that he was wrong for stalking Ava, and do his time with a little grace and humility. Heck, Cameron served a much stiffer sentence for his failed attempt to buy pot for his dying friend, and he was a minor at the time.

That brings me to the other big development this week. Franco's portrait of Liz -- thought to have been destroyed in the studio fire a few weeks earlier -- was found hanging over Liz's fireplace when she got home from work. For a time, the prime suspect was Betsy Frank, who conveniently dropped in for a visit with Liz just in time to be questioned by Dante. However, Betsy was quickly cleared because she had an airtight alibi and a psychiatric unit to account for her time.

Not for a minute did I think it was Betsy. Not only because it's far too obvious, but never in the history of soaps has anything even remotely like this been resolved that quickly or easily. There's a much bigger story afoot here with a much better payoff than Betsy Frank in the dining room with a pair of scissors.

I still say it's Heather who is behind all of it, but I do think that Jake will fall under the spotlight, at least for a short time. The writers have already created a cloud of suspicion around Jake with that sketch of Franco that Liz found, although I didn't really see anything strange about it. It's natural for Jake to be missing Franco, especially since he also just lost Jason. Losing your father and beloved stepfather in the span of a year is overwhelming for anyone, and I can completely understand why Jake might be reluctant to warm up to Finn. Not only is Finn terribly awkward, but what if Finn gets ripped out of Jake's life, too?

Jake told Cam that he sometimes fears that Franco is being forgotten, so it makes sense that Jake -- who expresses himself through his art -- would sketch a portrait of Franco.

I loved the scenes between Cam and Jake. Cam apologizing for believing the worst -- that Jason had murdered Franco -- was touching. Cam is such a wonderful big brother, and I love seeing how protective he is over his brothers. I have a feeling that bond is going to be tested mightily in the coming weeks.

As for my theory about Liz's stalker, if Betsy was struggling with Franco's death, imagine how it impacted Heather. I can't believe that Dante hasn't even bothered to pick up the phone to check on Franco's homicidal maniac mother. I chalk it up to the euphoria of being in love. Even though I was rooting for Drew and Sam, I definitely can see the potential in a romance between Dante and Sam. They are a cute couple, and they have a nice dynamic.

Folks, I have to take a moment to applaud the writers. Some newer viewers might not appreciate this, but those who were watching in the days when Jason went back and forth between Sam and Liz will understand my deep appreciation for two very special scenes: Sam and Liz at the hospital when Sam told Liz that she'd always have Liz's back, and the chat that Dante and Sam had when he confided to Sam about Liz's stalker because Sam and Liz were friends. That was so huge.

There was a time when the idea of Sam and Liz being friends was about as possible as pigs taking flight. I still bear the scars from the Jasam (Jason/Sam) and Liason (Liz/Jason) fan wars that raged over message boards and landed many a poster in the ban box. My eyes saw things that I will never be able to unsee, both on my television screen and in various discussion threads. No one had clean hands, and both Sam and Liz did things in the name of love that everyone is better off forgetting.

In the end, it seems fitting that both Sam and Liz ended up with the best part of Jason -- his sons.

I love the idea of Sam helping to uncover who has been sending Liz the ominous messages about Franco. I'm grateful that the writers have given Sam and Liz a healthy relationship and that they are finally in a place where they can be supportive of each other. Danny and Jake will be better off for it.

It's also why, if Heather is responsible for Liz's recent troubles -- and let's face it, it's definitely in Heather's wheelhouse to stalk a person -- Sam needs to be the one to take Heather down. Sam should always remain a thorn in Heather's side as payback for Heather hiding Danny in Llanview for the first year of his life.

Sam was quite the busy little bee this week because she was also part of another interesting development with Drew when they -- along with Anna and Laura -- hatched a brilliant plan for Drew to pretend that he remains susceptible to mind control. The hope is that it will get Victor to reveal what he's really cooking in Port Charles besides the unseasonably warm temperatures.

Laura is certain that Victor was behind Luke's death, and we already know that she's right. The hunt for answers is on, and I'm eager to see where it leads us. A lot of my favorite characters are involved in this storyline, and it has all the hallmarks of an exciting adventure with lots of twists and turns.

I know that Victor has done terrible things, including most recently when he told Peter about Bailey. Endangering children is inexcusable -- even if they ultimately come to no harm -- so I'm not even going to try to justify that. It was wrong, and it will always be wrong.

However, this is a soap opera, and I think that we need dark characters like Victor to spice things up and keep them interesting. Look at Valentin, Liesl, and Britt, all of whom, at one time, were considered beyond redemption. Each had done heinous things that hurt innocent people, including children, but with time and incredibly good writing, each was able to find salvation.

Victor is entertaining. He makes for good TV, and Charles Shaughnessy is absolutely divine in the role. I don't want Victor written into a corner the way that Peter August was. Victor is a much better character than Peter ever was, and Victor has a rich history that is begging to be explored. I want him to stick around, and the only way for that to happen is for the writers to balance the bad with just enough good that the majority of viewers find him enjoyable.

Now, let's discuss the mess that is the Corinthos marriage.

Folks, I'm not one to blame the other woman (or man) for the breakdown of a marriage. That is strictly between the two parties who entered into the marriage. Nina didn't make Sonny cheat.

Sonny slept with Nina because he is not in love with Carly. I don't know if Nina is right about his alcohol consumption diminishing the potency of his medication or if there's something else going on with Sonny, but I do know that when you truly love someone, you don't desire others. By the same token, if you are committed to fixing your marriage, you don't bail the first time things don't go your way.

My issue with Nina is not that she slept with Sonny. That was always going to happen because Sonny has always wanted what he can't have. It's like catnip for him. He was not going to get Nina out of his system until they hit the sheets. Now that he's slept with her, he's right back to trying to fix things with Carly. He's already moved on, and that is the crux of my problem with Nina.

No, she's not a homewrecker, but she's also not taking accountability for her actions.

Nina is passive-aggressively pursuing a man who has made it very clear that he wants nothing more than to work things out with his wife. Nina is always popping up where Sonny is, sticking around when she sees him, and taking every opportunity to remind him that she has very strong feelings for him. Nina accuses Carly of walking out on Sonny and not giving him a second chance, but that's not exactly true. Carly filed for divorce because every time she turned around, Nina was right there. Worse, Sonny refused to say that he wasn't in love with Nina.

Carly told Sonny -- on several occasions -- that all she needed to hear was that he was not in love with Nina, and for whatever reason, Sonny has refused to say those words. Why should Carly stay in a marriage and fight for a man who can't even say that he's not in love with another woman? A woman that he has now slept with and who continues to remain in the picture. Nina isn't wrecking Sonny's home, but she's very much trying to keep him from going back into it and picking up the mess he's made.

I loved that Britt called Nina out on it. Drew, too, for that matter. Nina is not the victim; Carly is. Sonny cheated on Carly not on Nina.

So, did anyone else catch how Harmony grew tense during her talk with Shawn when she saw Nina enter Charlie's Pub? It's really starting to look like Harmony knows far more about Willow's birth parents than she has told Alexis. I know that Harmony is aware of the issues between Nina and Willow, but given that Harmony isn't Willow's biological mother and Willow has ongoing issues with Nina, the signs are pointing to Willow finding her birth mother very close to home.

Nothing is random in soaps. Nothing. There's a reason that everyone is squaring off, and it's not to do-si-do.

Finally, for the storyline that just breaks my heart. Brando and Sasha are struggling in the aftermath of losing their newborn son. They are grieving, and each is floundering in their own way. Brando is desperate to work through his grief, while Sasha is equally determined to shove it under the rug and pretend it's not there.

Sadly, Sasha's substance abuse has reared its insidious head. In order to put on a happy front during her romantic getaway with Brando, Sasha has resorted to taking pills, compliments of a drug dealer that she bumped into at Kelly's.

I don't blame the writers for going down this road. Both Brando and Sasha are recovering from addiction, and the loss of a child is profound. It seemed inevitable that one or both would, at the very least, be tempted to escape from their pain, even if it's temporary, but I hope this isn't just a vehicle to blow up Brando and Sasha's relationship.

I like Brando and Sasha as a couple, and despite Sasha's relapse, I do think that they can be good for each other. I don't want this to be a story about addiction, but rather about recovery and hope.

The world needs that more than ever right now.

Random observations

I'm confused. Why is Josslyn leaving Trina voicemails and sending text messages when they live together in a dorm?

Courtney, Courtney, Courtney. Is dear Uncle Victor hiding Courtney Matthews in one of his secret lairs? The Beetlejuice effect cannot be ignored on a soap opera. If everyone is talking about a character, it generally means they are lurking in the shadows. Poor Spencer. Imagine how mad he would be if it turned out that his mother had faked her death, too.

I love the idea of Anna and Liesl burying the hatchet and continuing to build on their relationship. Liesl made such a good point about them having a unique understanding of each other. Let the "Scarecrow and Schnitzel Adventures" begin.

Reader feedback

I must have napped during General Hospital because when Peter said they were Switzerland you should have seen the look on my face! That not only was fast but Maxie had a passport. If he had forged ones he should pass the forgers name along to Harmony. Did Maxie pack her clothes? She wasn't wearing the same dress. And who throws their lipstick out at a gas station? Is this a thing in Switzerland? -- lynn

I don't understand why Spencer is the heir apparent. Why not Charlotte? She is just as much a Cassadine, and Victor's grandchild instead of a great nephew. Now that Valentin is blood related, he should be pursuing the Cassadine estate. There was some mention of that with Martin, but then it was just dropped. Spencer is getting propped up a bit too much for me. -- Kim LaSota

Spencer needs to stop punishing Ava, too. Her sin was choosing not to go through the rest of her life as a disfigured monster rather than helping Spencer punish Valentin. Moreover, Spencer himself has suffered from facial burns that drove him to make bad decisions! One would think he'd have MORE sympathy for the lengths someone would go through to recover. Not everyone has access to The Shriners' Hospital for Children. -- 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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