It's all phone and games until someone gets arrested

For the Week of April 4, 2022
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It was a week with a few shocking revelations. Harmony is a killer, but was Neil her only victim? The race is on to take down Esme -- can she continue to remain a step ahead, or will her evil ways finally catch up with her? Let's jump right into this week's Two Scoops.

Well, I certainly didn't have Harmony murdering Neil Byrne on my 2022 GH Bingo card, but now that it has been revealed, I'm not exactly gobsmacked. Harmony was involved in several cults, and Neil's daughter -- Joanne -- had been mixed up with one, which ultimately led to Joanne's death from a drug overdose. Is there more to that story? I'm almost certain there is.

Harmony has a long history of wielding syringes filled with drugs, so I fully expect several additional deep, dark secrets to bubble to the surface in the coming weeks, and not just about Harmony's possible victims. We also learned through a conversation between Phyllis and Harmony that Harmony was once good pals with Madeline Reeves during Nina's Crichton-Clark days. This only further supports my theory that Willow is Nina's daughter.

I love Inga Cadranel, and it sucks that Harmony has now been written into a corner -- but I didn't see that twist coming. It was a bold move to turn a likeable character like Harmony, who genuinely seemed to have turned over a new leaf, into a killer. Sadly, there are few options for Harmony once her sins come to light. She will either go to prison, she will go on the lam, or karma will deliver her the same fate as her victim(s). Staying in Port Charles and bonding with Willow and Wiley is simply not possible for someone who murdered in cold blood, but I'm delighted that the writers have found such a clever way to tie up so many loose ends. It's positively brilliant.

Now that we know that Harmony killed Neil, it raises the question -- are there more victims? For instance, Willow's dad, Douglas Miller, was found dead in a hotel room from a drug overdose. Another Dawn of Day member took the fall for his murder, but she did so because Shiloh had asked her to. It could just as easily have been Harmony who wielded the deadly syringe that killed Douglas.

Did Shiloh test Harmony's loyalty to him by ordering her to kill Douglas? It was definitely in his wheelhouse. If Harmony was willing to drug her own teenage daughter to be sacrificed at the altar of a sexual predator, then she was capable of anything. Murder to please her cult leader isn't a huge leap. Harmony certainly wouldn't be the first to do something like that.

I know there are viewers who never bought the idea that Neil had relapsed and died of an accidental overdose. Not only had there been no hint of a past issue with drugs, but there hadn't been any indication that Neil had been actively using. At the time, I was surprised that Neil was revealed to have struggled with addiction, but we never really knew much about Neil. He was a character that had a lot of potential (his love for Russian nobility was so intriguing), but the writers never really explored it. I agreed that it had felt rather out of left field, but I figured that it was a plot device to trigger Alexis' relapse with alcohol.

I really had no reason to doubt the circumstances of his death, especially since the syringe had been found under the bed. However, now that we know that it was murder -- and Harmony did the deed -- I do have a few questions.

For starters, why did Harmony kill Neil at Alexis' house? Why not wait until he was alone at home? Harmony might have stealthy ninja skills, creeping around a person's house, but why risk Alexis waking up and busting her? Also, a syringe in the arm stings. Certainly enough to disturb a person's sleep, if not wake them entirely. Neil didn't even twitch when Harmony stuck him. Why not? Neil didn't die instantly, especially since Harmony jabbed him in the back of his arm rather than in a vein.

That's another thing. Don't most experienced drug users -- especially those with a medical background -- inject their drugs into their veins? Shouldn't the odd injection site have raised red flags with the medical examiner? As I recall, Alexis was adamant with everyone that Neil had not been using, so the medical examiner knew before the autopsy that there were concerns about the circumstances of Neil's death.

The motive for Neil's murder remains a mystery, but I suspect that it's tied to the file that his vile brother found at the end of Friday's episode. Brendan isn't going to hesitate to use that to his advantage. He's a sinister guy and desperate for money, which is a dangerous combination. His encounter with Alexis in her office was very unsettling. I half expected him to leap over the desk and try to kill her. I was relieved that Harmony showed up when she did.

Will Brendan become Harmony's next victim? I guess it will depend on what exactly is in that file that he has on Harmony and what his blackmail terms are. The man gives off a malevolent vibe, so it's unlikely that he'll do the right thing with whatever is in that file.

Now, let's discuss Nina.

It turns out that Harmony has a connection to Nina that goes beyond Wiley. Thanks to a revealing conversation between Phyllis and Harmony, we now know that Harmony and Madeline Reeves were good pals back in the day. It seems that Harmony and Madeline would go for daily strolls when Madeline would take a break from sitting at her comatose and pregnant daughter's bedside. Just another reason that I'm certain that Willow is Nina's daughter. That, and Nina's little rant on Friday when Nina went off on a tangent about how awful "Weeping Willow" is and always has been.

Nina is going to end up choking on those words in the very near future, and I, for one, cannot wait.

I'm still not certain if Harmony knows who Willow's birth mother is or if she took a baby from Madeline without asking questions. Harmony seemed to speak with surprising conviction when she told Nina that "Willow is no stranger, and she's just as strong as her mother." I had the distinct impression that Harmony had not been referring to herself. There's no telling what story Madeline weaved for Harmony about Nina and the baby, but Madeline was a skilled liar and manipulator, so anything is possible at this point.

I don't know how Nelle and Frank Benson fit into this saga, but I have a feeling that Harmony does.

Unfortunately, we will never know Madeline's side of the story -- except through possible flashbacks -- because she died in August 2018. It happened shortly after Madeline had had a visit from Valentin, and he had questioned her about Nina's daughter. If I remember correctly, Madeline suffered a heart attack a few days later after learning that her parole had been denied. However, there are drugs that can mimic a heart attack, so murder can't be entirely ruled out.

Madeline was in jail, but she had seemed pretty healthy. Even Liesl had been surprised that her sister had died of a heart attack. Knowing what I now know about Harmony, Neil's murder, her connection to Madeline, and more importantly, her reaction when Phyllis mentioned it, I can't help but wonder if Harmony had a hand in Madeline's sudden demise. In 2018, Harmony was still very much a part of Dawn of Day. In fact, DOD was in full swing with disciples everywhere, so someone -- possibly even Harmony herself -- could have gotten to Madeline. Harmony might have even been invited to attend Madeline's parole hearing to speak on her behalf. I could see Madeline trying to play a card like that, since in 2018, DOD was still considered a respectable organization.

If Harmony got baby Willow from Madeline, she would have had a motive to kill Madeline, especially if Madeline threatened to tell Nina the truth about the baby girl that Nina was desperate to find.

Time will tell, but until then, Nina has several irons in the fire to keep her busy.

Nina has decided to enlist Scott's help to take Michael and Willow to court for visitation with Wiley. Scott only agreed to do it because Nina assured him that she would choose Wiley over Sonny if push came to shove. It most certainly will, but I doubt that Nina will give Sonny up that easily.

Michael wants nothing to do with Nina. She lied about Sonny, and he blames her for Carly and Sonny's divorce. There's also that incident when she told Wiley that Willow was not his mother. Michael forgave Nina for that, but he didn't forget. Michael learned that from Sonny. Willow is equally over Nina. She is done trying to give Nina the benefit of the doubt when Nina only offers half-truths and continually paints herself the victim, all in an effort to manipulate people into doing Nina's bidding.

A perfect example of this Machiavellian behavior was Nina's encounter with Carly at the yoga studio.

After telling Carly how sorry she was for what Josslyn was going through and Carly walking away without a word, Nina decided that it would be a good idea to try to enlist Carly's help to see Wiley. Maxie pleaded with Nina to abort the mission, but Nina forged ahead. Nina only ever listens to advice that best suits her agenda.

Predictably, it did not go well. Carly had no desire to intervene on Nina's behalf. Rather than walk away, Nina decided to poke the bear and basically accuse Carly of not putting Wiley's needs first. Carly was right; Nina only has herself to blame for not being able to see Wiley. Nina was the one who pushed the issue with Willow. When that failed, she turned to Sonny to do her dirty work. When that failed, she started making threats about escalating things by taking it to court, and Nina was the one who approached Carly.

Nina never takes responsibility for her actions. Instead, she mitigates her culpability by arguing that others are just as bad as, if not worse than, she is. She kept the truth about Sonny's whereabouts because Carly was mean and because Carly didn't tell Nina about Nelle the instant that Carly figured out that Nelle was Nina's daughter. Allegedly. Now, who knows if Nelle was even related to Nina.

Nina approached Carly for help with Wiley. The woman whose husband Nina slept with. The woman that Nina has been at war with for over a year. I can only think that Nina did it because she knew that Carly would reject the request, and it would give Nina the excuse she needed to turn to Scott. When Sonny asks Nina why she decided to go through with the lawsuit, she will blame Carly. Mark my words.

I just don't think that things will play out as Nina anticipates. I'm really hoping that Diane insists on a DNA test to confirm that Nina is, indeed, Wiley's biological grandmother. If nothing else, it will tell us if Nelle and Willow are twins or not. My hope is that they are not, mainly because I would love to see Nina's reaction to learning that Nelle was not her daughter, after all. It will suck the wind right out of her sails, and we will never again have to hear Nina cry about how her love might have saved Nelle from turning into a serial killer.

That brings me to the other legal drama playing out in Port Charles.

Trina was arrested for posting revenge porn. For whatever boneheaded reason, Esme went to all the trouble of buying a duplicate cell phone and phone case, but she didn't switch out cell phones. Instead, she pretty much made it obvious to everyone who believes in Trina's innocence that Esme framed her. Not exactly a brilliant move.

Dante and Jordan agreed that the second cell phone gave credence to Trina's assertion that she'd been set up. It didn't stop them from arresting Trina, but they are going to take a very close look at that cell phone. Luckily for Trina, Cam and Joss believe that she's innocent, and she has a whole bunch of people working to prove that Esme is the real perpetrator.

Ryan is not going to be happy if his daughter's vendetta gets in the way of his plans.

So, is Esme pregnant or not? I really hope not. Yes, accidents can happen, even when you use protection (as Spencer said he and Esme had), but we don't need a Nelle 2.0 storyline. I'm still bitter about Sasha's baby being killed off, so I definitely have no desire to see Esme conceive a baby to be used as a pawn in her twisted games with Nikolas and Spencer.

I don't think Esme is pregnant. If she was, she would have already taken a pregnancy test. Her excuse -- that she's afraid to find out -- rings hollow, mainly because I know for a fact that Esme is guilty of making that illicit recording of Cam and Joss, that she framed Trina, and that she's in town on a mission for Ryan. Spencer is just a means to an end, as any child that she might conceive with him would be. Even now, Esme is using the possibility of a pregnancy to her advantage by weaseling her way into Nikolas' home and his good graces.

I also noticed that every time Esme claimed to feel nauseous, she was, in fact, not. When she walked outside for "a breath of fresh air," she grinned and flopped down on the bench with a smug expression. Not once during her private moments have we seen her cradle her stomach or indicate in any way that she indeed believes there might be a bun in the oven. Instead, she seems very pleased when people jump to the assumption that she's pregnant, as if that had been her plan.

Esme is certainly the type to intentionally get pregnant, but I suspect that Esme is either faking it, or she will act like she's shocked by a negative result and use that as a means to garner sympathy. Honestly, unless I see an ultrasound and hear a heartbeat, I will question Esme's pregnancy. She has shown time and again that she's deceitful to her core.

I loved when Sonny reminded Esme of all the reasons that he didn't trust her. It was rather refreshing to see him call her out on her duplicitous ways, but unfortunately, it was all for nothing. In the end, Esme used the situation to throw herself into Nikolas' arms and turn on the crocodile tears. It's sickening to watch Nikolas falling for all her lies.

Nikolas isn't a young buck. He's an experienced man who is old enough to be Esme's father. Surely, he is picking up on Esme's less-than-subtle attempts to stroke his ego and play the damsel in distress to his knight in shining armor. What happened to the man who didn't trust Esme? Everything that Esme does is calculated, from her constant sneers, smirks, and low tone of voice that always sounds like she's on the verge of tears to the way she gets people to pay her way for absolutely everything.

Esme is auditing classes and is an intern at Spring Ridge, but she hasn't done a single thing to actually support herself.

What I'd love to see happen is for Spencer and Ava to team up to take Esme down and clear Trina's name. Not only would that mend the fences between Spencer and Ava, but it would take care of Esme -- an all-around win-win situation. It's clear to me that Spencer is finally starting to see through Esme's act.

Marshall is another one who is as transparent as glass.

I've seen all kinds of interesting theories about Marshall, including that he might be Sonny's stepfather Deke Woods with a new face. Admittedly, that one is a little far-fetched.

Marshall is too young to be Deke, who was closer to Mike's age. Plus, Joe Scully shot Deke dead in an alley. It's hard to survive both a head shot and one to the heart. Don't get me wrong -- I think Sonny facing the man who abused him for over a decade and shaped the man that Sonny became would be utterly fascinating, but I don't think that's Marshall's connection to Sonny or the root of Marshall's disdain for our resident Godfather.

I don't know why Marshall despises Sonny, but I do know that Marshall continues to rub me the wrong way, and I'm getting fed up with both his endless circular conversations and his attitude. He doesn't respect boundaries, he steamrolls over people, and he acts like Curtis and T.J. are a couple of five-year-olds rather than grown men capable of taking care of themselves and making their own decisions.

Whenever I hear Marshall issue one of his ominous warnings -- especially to Sonny -- I gnash my teeth. Who is this guy to threaten a mobster and think that he can get away with it? I don't find Marshall interesting. He's annoying.

The writers need to stop dragging their feet with Marshall. He's been around for months and all we know about him is that he's a musician, he lived in Buenos Aires, and he's an entitled deadbeat father. Oh, and he has a personal grudge against Sonny.

There are a lot more interesting storylines going on right now, and I feel like Marshall's scenes are a complete waste of time because the story is not advancing. I'm far more fascinated in finding out what earth-shattering secret Portia is keeping from Curtis and Trina.

Finally, I can't sign off without saying just how much I've enjoyed Tabyana Ali's performances since she took over the role of Trina Robinson. Wow. What an amazingly talented young woman. The transition has been seamless, and she's hit the ground running. I'm blown away. I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for Trina.

Random observations

Whose idea was it to make "The Face of Conception" the cover page for the Deception IPO portfolio? Talk about insensitive. Poor Sasha, I felt so bad for her when she saw that photo of her pregnant self. I just hope that Brando figures out what's really going on with his new bride before she spirals even further.

I have a bone to pick with Ms. Molly Lansing-Davis. She might be a legal wunderkind, but even she must know that Scott would have been derelict in his duty if he had persuaded Trina to take a plea deal at her arraignment. It's an arraignment, and Trina hasn't had a chance to properly sit down and talk to her attorney. Shame on Molly.

Why are Phyllis and Kristina never working behind the bar? Phyllis is supposed to live in the back of the pub as well as work there, but she is never around. It's strange. At least when Julian ran the place, you saw him there quite a bit, and Kristina, too.

Reader feedback

Liz, I've been hoping for a Sebastian Roche sighting for months now! (I mentioned a while back how I'd recently binged on all seasons of "Fringe", and what a marvelous shapeshifting villain he was!) Jerry Jax and Madame Wu? That would be delightful. -- Missez Premise

There's been no follow-up on Terry's chance meeting with Chet, after her unfortunate blind date. That seemed like a pleasant enough side story to follow, but it hasn't been mentioned since that night. You'd think Liz would welcome the distraction. -- Scrimmage

Drew is quickly being changed into Carly's lapdog and Jason substitute. He is losing his power and independence. He needs a life of his own that does not involve being Carly's new partner. He is way too savvy to fall for her flirty bs. Hook up with Sonny's ex? Never. -- Ruthie

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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