Ringing in 2023 with a little mayhem and murder

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Britt tangled with the Hook -- or did she? The New Year kicked off in Port Charles with serial killers, secrets, and vengeance. Liz Masters is checking in with Two Scoops of soapy melodrama and a dash of murder.

There's nothing like kicking off a New Year with a good, long ugly cry. If that isn't your cup of tea, GH also had serial killers plotting, a pregnant woman surviving a dive from a castle parapet, a tryst between secret lovers, and a breakup. The writers came out swinging in 2023, and there were no misses.

Let's start with the big twist.

Britt Westbourne was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, so she decided to throw herself a big birthday bash as a bon voyage then slip out of town to spare her loved ones from having to watch her wither away from a cruel disease. The night went as planned, complete with a wildly entertaining karaoke duet between Britt and Brad that blew Chase and Blaze's performance in Rice Plaza out of the water. After Britt left the party, she sat on the docks, waiting for her ship to come in, which gave her plenty of time to ponder her choices.

That's when Britt heard Josslyn's cry for help as Josslyn fought off a maniac with a hook. Britt sprang into action and saved Josslyn from certain death, but Britt did not escape unscathed. After calling in the attack, waiting for the police, and answering questions, Britt decided that she wanted more time with her loved ones. No sooner did Britt return to the Haunted Star and her overjoyed mother's side than the deadly poison from the hook slowly squeezed the life out of Britt.

Britt's murder was as shocking as it was heartbreaking. I did not expect Britt to die. I foolishly held out hope that Britt would go off and find a miracle elixir in some remote corner of the world and return to us one day, cured and ready to stir up trouble with some handsome man. That was not to be. The writers had different plans, and I found myself boo-hooing like a baby, especially when Liesl realized that it was too late to save Britt. It was awful to watch and even more gut-wrenching to realize that Liesl was about to lose her second child through a cruel act of violence.

Kelly Thiebaud and Kathleen Gati were spectacular in their final scenes together, and both should submit those scenes to the Daytime Emmys for consideration because their performances were flawless. Between Britt asking her mother to hold her -- the way that Liesl had wanted to hold Nathan -- and Liesl talking about her regret that she hadn't been an affectionate mother who had embraced their gifted child's uniqueness, I was gutted. I sobbed when Liesl leaned over and whispered a private message for Nathan in Britt's ear then lovingly kissed the top of her daughter's head one last time.

All I could think was Run, Heather, run. Mutter is coming.

I will admit, I got a little thrill when I saw Liesl enter Esme's hospital room to confront the devious little vixen. I know that Esme isn't responsible for Britt's death, but she is the reason that Britt is dead. Also, Esme is no innocent. The fact that she survived a second dive from the parapet tells me all I need to know. Only evil villains have that kind of resilience. They also are good fakers. I don't believe that Esme has amnesia. It's an act to bide herself some time to figure out an escape plan.

I'm happy that Kelly Thiebaud has an opportunity to spread her wings into a primetime gig, and I'm certain that we will soon see her on the big screen because she's an incredibly talented actress. However, I hate that Britt was killed off. Sure, it was an emotional punch that will likely propel Liesl to do terrible things in the name of vengeance, but at what cost? Britt was a wonderfully developed character with a complex past and so much more potential. Not only was Britt one of the handful of characters who worked at the hospital, but she was a reformed-ish bad girl who had found redemption the old-fashioned way. She actually did time for her crimes.

I feel like it was a tremendous waste to kill Britt off. I would have preferred a recast over this because Britt's death seems senseless.

Now, let's talk about Heather. Is she the Hook? I'm not convinced that she is. I don't recall Heather copping to all of the attacks when she talked to Ryan, just that one on the pier. To be honest, I don't believe that Heather is the Hook. Until recently, Heather had been locked up at D'Archam, which is the most secure facility for the criminally insane on the show besides Steinmauer. Additionally, how would Heather find a reptile smuggler who trafficked in poisons from behind bars? In order for Heather to be the Hook, we have to believe that she slipped out of D'Archam, but she stopped off to pick up poison, went to Windam's for a snazzy outfit to kill in, hunted for victims, changed out of her killing garb, returned to D'Archam, and crept back into her cell before anyone noticed that she was missing. Repeatedly.

Then there is motive. Heather seemed genuinely surprised that Ryan knew about Esme and that Esme had been spending time with him. That told me that Heather had no clue that Esme had been in town, which means that Heather would have no reason to go after everyone around Trina. That's another thing. Why is everyone around Trina being targeted, but not Trina?

Know what I'm starting to think? Portia is the Hook. Hear me out. Portia has been a complete mess ever since Trina was arrested for the revenge porn. Portia and Ava are friendly, but Portia has made it clear on many occasions that she doesn't approve of nor much like Ava. Portia is civil to Ava for Trina's sake. Also, Portia was frustrated with Diane's defense of Trina. In the end, it wasn't Diane who secured Trina's freedom; it was Oz testifying that he sold the burner phone to Esme and that Esme had poisoned him.

Why would Portia want to kill Oz, especially since he had helped Trina? Easy. Portia violated all kinds of medical oaths and several laws when she decided to wake Oz up to save Trina from certain conviction. What if he had found out? Do you think someone like Oz would go to the police and press charges, or would he be more apt to try to blackmail a rich doctor? Why would Portia want Josslyn dead? Josslyn hasn't exactly been the best influence on Trina over the years. Trina has found herself in all kinds of dangerous situations with and because of Josslyn.

Now, to be clear, I don't think that Portia is a cold-blooded killer. I think she might have dissociative identity disorder or another psychological trauma, perhaps triggered by the time she nearly died in the basement with Jordan or the time that Cyrus held Portia and Trina hostage. Either way, Portia has gone through several horrific events that might have impacted her far more than anyone knows. She's also been under tremendous stress, not only with Trina's trial, but Portia is also keeping the secret about Trina's paternity. All these things combined would be overwhelming for anyone.

I noticed during Portia's scene with Curtis at the coffee shop that she was wearing earrings. In fact, she often wears jewelry, and she's one of the few characters who does. I've been making a point of looking ever since it was revealed that the Hook wore jewelry that jangled.

I could be totally wrong, but I think it would make for an interesting twist if I'm right.

However, I do think that Heather was the one who killed Rory. I think she found out about the poisoned tip, and she was able to find one of the five smugglers that Dante had uncovered. Heather was already at Spring Ridge by this time, and she knew about Esme. I suspect Rory showing up at the smuggler's apartment when he did was just an unfortunate coincidence.

Back on the pier, while Heather fled into the night, Dex told Britt that he couldn't get involved because the gun he had fired at Heather had been given to him by Sonny. What I can't understand is why Josslyn had to leave with Dex. All Josslyn and Britt had to say was that they had no idea who the shooter was because everything had happened too fast.

It irked me because Josslyn hiding her role in what had transpired denied the police crucial evidence. It was important for the authorities to know that the intended victim was Josslyn, not just some random person. Of course, staying with Britt meant that Dex wouldn't have been able to take Josslyn back to his apartment, where the two wasted little time shedding their clothes and getting busy on the sofa.

What is with soap characters and their sofa sex fetish? Ewww. I'm no germaphobe, but if I lived in Port Charles, I'd never touch a sofa, let alone sit on one.

The pillow talk between the new lovers was uncomfortable. Josslyn assured Dex that she didn't have any regrets, and he promised that he felt the same. I get that Josslyn feels that she and Cameron have been over since she left his bed a few weeks ago, but she neglected to tell Cameron that. Instead, she's been leading him on while simultaneously avoiding him because she didn't want to have an uncomfortable talk. In reality, what Josslyn doesn't want to do is admit the truth.

Josslyn has been lusting after Dex -- and he after her -- ever since the two first laid eyes on each other in the parking garage. Josslyn was drawn to the danger and the violence in Dex as he went from pummeling a guy so badly that the guy was hospitalized to making goo-goo eyes at Josslyn as Dex and Joss verbally sparred, inches away from the unconscious victim. I'm not foolish enough to think that Josslyn decided to hightail it over to Kelly's to break up with Cameron because it was the right thing to do.

No, Josslyn did it to cover her tracks. There's a reason she didn't tell Cameron that it was too late to fix things because she had already slept with Dex -- or that she's been attracted to Dex for quite some time. Doing so would mean taking accountability for her own role in the breakdown of the relationship.

To borrow from Taylor Swift, Josslyn is the type who will stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror.

I don't trust Dex. Why did he take Josslyn to his apartment instead of to Carly's place or even Michael's house? She would have been safe because both places have guards and plenty of people who could safeguard Josslyn if necessary. Lately, it seems that Dex is everywhere Josslyn is. If I didn't know better, I'd say the guy was stalking her, except Josslyn seems to seek him out just as much.

We know little about Dex except what he's chosen to share with Sonny, Michael, and Josslyn. To my knowledge, none of it has been verified. It's basically been just Dex's version of things. How honest Dex is remains to be seen, but he's a hired gun secretly working to take down a powerful mobster. That doesn't bode well.

I'm unclear what Michael and Dex's plan is other than to gather intel against Sonny. What happens next is a mystery. Citizen's arrest, a stern talking-to, Sonny's banishment to a dungeon? Whatever it is, I do know that Dex has no business pursuing any kind of relationship with a teenage college student when there's a very good chance that he might go out in a blaze of gunfire in the very near future.

It sucked seeing Cameron's gentle heart being crushed under Josslyn's designer boot heel, but he's better off. Cameron is the kind of guy you marry and raise kids with. He's handsome, hard-working, and honorable, and he has a generous heart. Here's hoping the soap gods have heard my prayers for Emma Drake to transfer to Port Charles University.

In the end, I don't think that Dex and Josslyn have what it takes to go the distance. There might be physical attraction, but Josslyn plans to go to med school, while Dex doesn't seem to have any ambitions beyond taking down Sonny. We all know that is going to end far worse for Dex than for Sonny. Greater men than Dex and Michael have tried and failed. Also, Dex is keeping secrets, and Josslyn does not like being kept out of the loop. She is going to be furious when she realizes what Dex has really been up to. Not because she's concerned about Sonny, but rather because Dex didn't tell her. Joss will make Dex pay for that.

Finally, Willow received some good news. A match has been found through the bone marrow registry. Unfortunately, Willow still clings to her desire to keep everyone in the dark about her cancer diagnosis -- except for a select few. Carly is not one of those privileged people. If she were, things would be a heck of a lot different for everyone, especially Willow.

Long ago, when Carly first learned the truth about Willow's birth mother -- and she received the DNA confirmation that Nina was Willow's mother -- I said that Carly was wrong to keep the truth to herself, regardless of Willow's desire to leave the past in the past. Willow made that decision without knowing that Carly held all the answers. I stand by what I said, Carly should have told Willow the truth.

However, I can't blame Carly for not saying anything now. Yes, Carly knows that Willow wants to find her birth parents, but Carly has convinced herself that Nina would be equally as a destructive force in Willow's life as Nina has been in Carly's. Carly has good reason to believe this because Nina and Willow have a very long history of animosity between them that preceded Nina's contentious relationship with Carly. Recently, Carly walked in on a heated argument between Nina and Willow that resulted in Willow fainting. Unfortunately, Carly doesn't know that Willow's desire to find her birth family stems from a desperate need for a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

When the truth comes out -- and we all know that it will -- Carly will deserve the blowback headed her way. It will be completely valid, and I won't feel sorry for her if Drew decides to end things. After all, Carly did actively undermine his investigation. What I better not hear anyone do is blame Carly for Willow's declining health. Willow -- and only Willow -- is to blame for that. Even now, Willow continues to lie, and she has enlisted others to lie for her, too.

It was Willow's choice to keep her illness a secret, so she has to accept the consequences for that decision. Michael does, too. He can be mad at his mother, but I hope he sees that Carly would have made different choices if she'd known that Willow needed a bone marrow transplant.

So, who do you think the match is? A stranger, or is Nina signed up as a donor on the registry? That would be hilarious and wonderfully soapy.

Random observations

Sonny's reaction to learning that Nikolas was the father of Esme's baby was laughable. Of all people to judge, given how Dante, Kristina, and Avery ended up in his life. Nikolas hasn't been my favorite person lately, but I'd slap a restraining order on Sonny if I were in Nikolas' shoes -- and send Sonny a dictionary with the word "hypocrite" highlighted in neon yellow.

I loved Ava and Laura's little chat about the past as they cleared the air between them. It's nice to see people acknowledging their wrongs. Ava has come such a long way, and Laura is a treasure. I adore both of these ladies so much.

I felt completely blindsided by the awful news that Sonya Eddy (Epiphany Johnson) had passed away right before Christmas. Losing a loved one is awful as it is, but it's particularly hard around the holidays when the focus for many is family. Selfishly, I'm sad that we won't see Epiphany become a doctor, and I was incredibly disappointed that we didn't get to see her sing one last time as she had done during previous Christmas episodes. Godspeed, Sonya. We will miss you.

Reader feedback

Chase N Blaze? Sounds like lousy instant coffee. The song actually wasn't too bad, but this whole premise sucks. Writers? Please end this. Save the so called music for the Nurses' Ball. Which, BTW, BETTER have a tribute to Sonya Eddy!! -- Missez Premise

Any storyline that lasts a year, or more tends to lose momentum, and viewer interest. Some stories should be resolved in six weeks, at the most. More complex stories could last a few months, or more, but the writers should ALWAYS know how the story will eventually end, instead of making it up as they go, which is all too often the case. -- Scrimmage

Just the other day, Sonny referred to finding out his elderly father had Alzheimers as the WORST moment in his life. So, I guess that surpassed finding out his son blew up, having to tell his son's mother or burying his son. Has everyone forgotten about Morgan? -- Lucky Lady

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email me. I love hearing from everyone and reading your thoughts.

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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