Firm believers in double standards

For the Week of April 18, 2022
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It was an exciting week with a blackmail scheme turned deadly, a family battle turning nasty, and several secret plots unfolding. Love, honor, and trust mean little when most live by the creed of do as I say, not as I do. Let's discuss in this week's Two Scoops of soapy double standards.

Oh, Harmony. Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

There's no salvation for Harmony. She has now killed two men to keep a secret. At this point, it would not surprise me in the least if the body count is higher, because I have my suspicions about Madeline Reeves's sudden heart attack. Harmony's motive for killing both Neil and his brother was to keep her secret safe. Madeline was just one more link to that secret.

Neil's brother Brendan confirmed that Neil did not have a history of drug use, which is one more reason that the police failed in their original investigation. Alexis was raising all kinds of red flags at the time of Neil's death about the overdose, starting with the fact that she had never seen Neil use drugs, much less under the influence of anything other than a few glasses of wine. Now, we learn through Brendan that Neil hadn't even experimented with the hard stuff in high school, so he couldn't have been a recovering addict, which you think the police would have asked when they notified the Byrne family of Neil's death.

I'm sorry, but that's just shoddy police work. A man with no history of drug use and whose lover never saw him use drugs or under the influence of drugs, dies of an overdose with an injection site in the back of his arm, and the needle found under the bed rather than in bed with him, and it's ruled an accidental overdose? Also, let us not forget that Jordan didn't find any paraphernalia that one would expect an intravenous drug user to have. It was simply a single syringe under the bed. That's it.

Had Jordan done her job properly, and perhaps taken a close look at Neil's patient list, another man might not be dead right now.

That brings me to Harmony's motive for killing Neil. Honestly, I don't understand it. Why would Harmony share a secret that she was willing to kill for with Neil during her sessions then turn around and murder him? Why not just keep it buried, since she had no problem holding onto the secret for the first 20-something years of Willow's life. Plus, Neil was bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. There is no way he would have risked losing his license again after that debacle with Alexis to right a wrong by betraying his patient's trust. Neil would have encouraged Harmony to come clean, but that's it.

It's not as if Willow was still a minor, and Neil certainly wasn't close to either Willow or Nina. Now, if Harmony had confessed to murdering Madeline to keep the secret buried, I can see Neil telling Harmony that he was obligated to go to the police. However, I would think that Neil would have gone straight to the police rather than stopping off at Alexis' place for a romp in the hay. I feel like the pieces to this puzzle fit, but not perfectly.

Now, for Brendan Byrne. I'm not really sorry that he's dead. The guy was creepy, and he was clearly not cut from the same honorable cloth as his brother Neil. Unfortunately for Harmony, his death is not going to look like suicide, mainly because he fell over that cliff backwards. People tend to jump forward when they leap to their deaths. Also, there will be signs of a struggle near where he fell because Harmony and Brendon did tussle.

The other problem that Harmony has is the evidence sitting in Brendan's motel room. She is going to have to get in there, grab the incriminating file on her, and skedaddle before the police show up to investigate Brendan's untimely demise. Even if Jordan doesn't connect the dots and rules it accidental, Alexis is going to be suspicious. Very suspicious. She's already wondering why Harmony feels indebted to Nina, and Brendan had that very odd encounter with Michael, Willow, and Nina.

As much as I liked Harmony -- I had such great hopes for her redemption -- I realize that I never really knew her. When someone shows you who they are, you should believe them. Harmony drugged her own daughter and handed Willow over to a sexual predator, and she didn't stop there. Harmony did it repeatedly to numerous other young and innocent women. Murder isn't a big jump from that kind of amoral behavior.

There's no justification for any of this. Willow's adoption might have been questionable, but Harmony could have said that she had been acting in good faith and had no idea that Madeline was anything other than a grieving mother trying to find her granddaughter a good home. It's not like Madeline is around to dispute it. It's hard to say that now. Harmony killed Neil, and she showed up for her meeting with Brendan, armed with another lethal syringe. Even if she pleads self-defense and gets away with Neil's murder, she's ruined. Harmony has been shown to be a cold-blooded killer. This time, I'm believing her.

Ryan Chamberlain might just have met his match. If we are lucky, Harmony will dispatch him to hell before she meets him down there.

Folks, I'm starting to question if Ryan is truly Esme's father or if it might be some kind of Machiavellian plot. Who is Nanny Maggie, who apparently knew about Esme's connection to Ryan? Was this mysterious Maggie the one who told Esme about Ryan? I wouldn't put it past Ryan to target a young impressionable girl, claiming to be her father in a twisted scheme to get her to do his bidding to prove her worth and loyalty to him.

Esme is bad. There is no question about that, but she's young, and she hasn't done anything that can't be forgiven. Even the revenge porn can be atoned for with a little time at Spring Ridge and community service. Ultimately, if Esme does something heroic -- like save the Cassadines from Ryan's evil intentions -- there is hope for her. But she has to lose the smirks and sneers.

Only serial and spree killers like Ryan and Harmony are beyond redemption, and even then, a brain tumor (I'm looking at you, Franco) can turn things around. I hate that route, though, so if Esme is to find salvation, I would prefer that it be through her actions, not a growth in her noggin.

Then again, I can't imagine that Esme is going to take kindly to finding out that Spencer is playing her because he's in love with Trina and is desperate to clear Trina's name. Even if Esme wasn't in love with Spencer -- and I don't think she is -- Esme is not the type to take losing someone to another girl lightly.

Esme had quite an interesting chat with Nikolas, and I have so many questions. First, what happened to her adoptive parents? She describes their deaths as "unexpected" and "tragic," which strongly suggests to me that they might have been murdered. Was it Nanny Maggie, Esme, or another player in this saga that we are unaware of? Apparently, Esme has several siblings whom she was never close to, but was that a lie?

It's hard to tell what is true and what isn't, since Esme claimed that she had lost touch with Maggie when Esme was shipped off to boarding school. A boarding school where Esme just so happened to meet Spencer Cassadine, who has a direct link to Nikolas and Ava. That can't be coincidence. However, it's clear from the letters that Esme has hidden in her Cartullo shoebox that Maggie not only remained in touch with Esme up until Esme's trip to Port Charles, but she cares enough about Esme to advise Esme to stay away from Ryan. I want to know more about Maggie!

What really surprised me was the exchange between Nikolas and Ava. Why didn't Ava follow up on Nikolas' admission that he had pretended to believe Esme's tale of woe? That was huge because it means that Nikolas doesn't believe Esme's lies any more than Spencer does. Ava wrote it off like it was nothing. It's not. Until that moment, I was worried that Nikolas might fall for Esme's wicked ways, and that would have been a massive disappointment. Not only would it be gross to see Nikolas fall for his son's ex-lover -- a teenager no less -- but it would have made a mockery of the love that he and Ava share.

Now, let's talk about Spencer.

Spencer admitted that he's falling in love with Trina and that he is certain that Esme was behind the revenge porn. To save his lady love, Spencer has decided to stay close to Esme in the hopes of uncovering evidence that would incriminate Esme and exonerate Trina. However, he made Cameron promise not to tell anyone, especially Josslyn and Trina. Why? I have no clue. It's a stupid request.

Not only does it show a lack of trust for both Trina and Josslyn, but it puts Cameron in a pretty rotten situation. It's wrong to ask that of someone who is in a relationship because you are asking them to chose you over their significant other. That's not cool. Doubly so in this case because Cameron and Josslyn are already having trust issues because of Spencer's crazy ex-girlfriend.

Sadly, I don't think that Cam and Joss are going to make it. They are both traumatized, and each is dealing with things that the other is not in a position to understand because of their own pain. There's no question that Joss is bearing the brunt of the fallout from the scandal, but Cam is struggling, too. He's constantly walking on eggshells for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and making things worse for Joss, and he downplays how he's been impacted by having his privacy violated and his very first sexual experience viewed and critiqued by his peers.

It's not all high-fives and slaps on the back for Cam, and now he's lost his summer job at Lila's Kids, a program that he's been participating in since he was in elementary school. I feel bad for both Cam and Joss because the truth is, neither is wrong for feeling the way they do. They both would benefit greatly from a few individual sessions with a therapist.

I don't think Cam will be the only one to end up with a broken heart because I have a feeling that Rory, the new rookie on the police force, is sweet on Trina. Rory just might solve the crime before Spencer can. Unlike Spencer, Rory doesn't have a history of making Trina complicit in his lies or of stalking people that Trina cares about, and Rory seems like an honest enough chap. Spencer can't say the same. Right now, I'm more Team Rory than Team Spencer, mainly because I think Trina deserves better than someone who treated her like a side piece while dating a conniving shrew.

In other relationship news, Sam did something that, quite frankly, shocked me. When Dante stepped away to deal with Liesl and Scott, Sam heard Dante's phone ping, so she decided to check it. His phone was locked, but she easily figured out the passcode and opened the email from Rory. She knew that it was official police business, but she justified her actions by arguing that the information would eventually become public.

Not only did Sam violate Dante's trust, but I'm pretty sure reading confidential police files is a crime, even if it's in an email. I just don't understand why Sam would do that. I can't blame Dante for feeling betrayed. Sam didn't just violate his trust, but she might have jeopardized his career because I doubt that Jordan would be pleased to learn that Dante's lover was reading his work emails. It seems awfully foolish on Sam's part because Dante would have seen that the email had been opened when he checked his phone.

Why take such a big risk? Sam chose Dante over Drew, so I don't want to see her sabotage their relationship now that she's finally found happiness with Dante. I know that Dante had to leave to deal with the attempted robbery at Charlie's Pub, but I hope he and Sam have a deeper conversation about boundaries. I want Dante to get to the bottom of why Sam thought that what she did was okay.

Moving on to Nina and the drama unfolding with Michael and Willow. Nina is gearing up for a court fight to secure visitation with Wiley. Things are getting nasty. Michael and Willow have enlisted Smoltz's help to remind the world of Nina's past sins and a few additional bombshells about her time in Nixon Falls. When Nina got wind of the hit piece, Nina decided to toss around a few veiled threats and hurtle insults at Willow, all of which is going to come back to bite Nina in a big way when the truth comes about Willow's birth.

Would Nina drop the lawsuit if it means having a chance at a relationship with Willow? Absolutely not. Nina will only see time with Wiley as an opportunity to build a relationship with her daughter, so she will fight harder in court to get visitation with Wiley. It's doomed to fail because Nina being her mother won't change anything from Willow's perspective. Nina still lied about Sonny, she still played a key role in Sonny and Carly's divorce, and she still manipulated people into doing her bidding.

Even Phyllis is unable to defend Nina's actions.

Nina's life has been a complete mess ever since she found out about Nelle. From that moment on, it's been one bad decision after another. The only way for Nina to have a prayer of fixing things with Willow is if Nina starts taking responsibility for her wrongs. Nina needs to start with accepting that even if Carly could have saved Nelle, Nelle was broken. She killed her fiancÚ, she tried to kill Michael, and she even tried to kill Carly in that clearing before Nelle fell to her death. Nina needs own up to what she did to Sonny and how she used him to punish Carly. It's not just the lies in Nixon Falls, but it was Nina's behavior when Sonny returned home to his wife and family. Nina constantly showed up wherever Sonny was, and she asked him to keep secrets from his wife. Time and again, Nina put herself squarely in the middle of Sonny and Carly's marriage.

The night that Nina and Sonny slept together was not about love or even what-ifs. Sonny was hurting because he thought Carly had stood him up, and he gave in to his desire. It was about lust and forbidden fruit. Even now, they don't go out on dates, have dinner together, or even meet for coffee. The only time they see each other is when they bump into each other or Nina needs Sonny's help with Michael or Carly. Sonny and Nina are not a couple, they are friends with a few benefits.

Before Nina has a relationship with Willow, I think she will have to give up Sonny. I don't think making peace with Carly is an option right now, but they can have a ceasefire. I'd also like to see Nina pull back and give Willow space because I have a sneaking suspicion that Michael is not going to be thrilled to learn that Nina is going to be his mother-in-law.

It hasn't escaped my notice that Willow has been awfully tired lately, and she recently fainted. Pregnancy or illness? I'm leaning toward pregnancy -- and the possible catalyst for the truth coming out.

Finally, Finn has a plan to flush out Liz's stalker. He enlisted Chase's help, and Chase's first order of business was to check on Heather. Finally, someone remembered that Franco had a homicidal mother known for stalking and terrorizing people. According to Chase, Heather hasn't even had a visitor in over a year, so she has been eliminated, but I'm not that foolish. Heather should never be completely eliminated as a suspect because that woman is slipperier than a greased eel.

Please, don't hate me. I absolutely adore Rachel Ames, but I believe that she has retired from acting, and I would not want to see anyone else play Audrey Hardy except Ms. Ames. As much as I would hate to see it, I think it might be time for Liz's beloved grandmother Audrey to pass away. It would give Jeff and Carolyn the excuse they seem to be looking for to come to Port Charles.

My gut tells me that Chase's cameras are going to catch Liz sleepwalking and as the person responsible for the ominous occurrences, which means that the boys are going to need someone to look after them while Liz receives treatment for whatever repressed memories are trigging these unsettling episodes. While I'm an avid reader of paranormal romance, I have no desire to see the show go in that direction with this storyline. I think something happened to Liz that prompted her move to Port Charles, and that is the reason that Jeff and Carolyn have had no contact with her.

Franco's death and Jeff's attempts to reach out to Liz have triggered something in her. That's my theory.

I'm okay if there's a visit from Franco, since Roger Howarth is still on the show, and it would be a no-brainer for the writers to utilize that to their advantage, but if they go down that road, I want it to be for closure.

Random observations

I have a confession to make. I am hoping that Maxie and Spinelli rekindle things. I think they are each other's soul mates, and it's the perfect way for Georgie to grow up with both of her siblings. Also, I'm really hoping that Austin's profile is in that matchmaker website and that he was a match for Britt.

I had to chuckle that Phyllis seems completely unfazed by the fact that the bar she decided to buy was just robbed by two masked gunmen. I'd seriously be reconsidering that decision if I were in her shoes.

Reader feedback

Okay. I give up. WHAT is currently taking up Residence on the Corinthos Kitchen Island??? The Glass Bowl is now Wood. I see...Lilies? Driftwood, Moss, and...Cottage Cheese? And Saint Jason the Undead! This reminds me of those Highlights for Children games that we used to do in First Grade!! Whoever guesses ALL of the Ingredients in the *Corinthos Kitchen Island Bowl* wins the Grand Prize of a Barbed Wire Bath Mat!!Batteries Not Included. -- Missez Premise

During the interminable Nixon Falls debacle, I posited that Nina was off the anti-psychotics the court had ordered after she induced Ava's labor and stole newborn Avery. Her decisions are even worse now than they were in NF, so I'm going to stick with this theory. Of course, it will make her nagging Sonny about his meds look extremely hypocritical, but if she was experiencing a psychotic break, we can look past a little hypocrisy. -- Deffft

Harmony is a great character with a lot of potential. I LOVED how she saw the "error of her ways" and was becoming a better person and hate that now she might have murdered good, innocent Neil. It was like how Julian worked so hard to not be in the mob, to run a restaurant (where all the customers hated him) and wanted to be a better person and then they made him worse than he was before!! -- 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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