Three flew over the Spring Ridge cuckoo's nest

For the Week of February 20, 2023
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Cliffhanger Friday ended with a few bombshells. Has Austin fallen victim to the Hook or an imposter? Will Felicia and Ava be able to turn the tables on Ryan before one or both end up dead? What happens now that Portia's secret has blown up in her face? Buckle up, it's time for a wild ride on the Two Scoops express.

Folks, when I write my Two Scoops, I start by typing notes on Monday, either during the show or right after. I do this each day, and by the time Friday rolls around, I'm usually three pages in with all manner of random thoughts, impressions, and word salad. My fingers aren't as nimble as my thoughts, so my notes tend to only make sense to me. Not this week, though. My notes were filled with comments about Ava and Laura, and how -- as much as I love Ava -- I just can't defend what Ava (and the writers) have done to Nikolas.

Nikolas is/was a cad to Ava. I don't dispute that. He's been a rotten husband and a lousy father ever since his return from his self-imposed exile/faked death, and Nikolas did things that I just couldn't understand, chief of which was his one-night fling with Esme. It's not like Esme had to even try all that hard to seduce Nikolas. A few kind words and a coquettish smile here and there were all it took. A man in love isn't led astray that easily.

I was happy that Ava divorced Nikolas, and I definitely didn't mind her getting custody of Wyndemere in the settlement. Nikolas deserved to lose it and a nice hefty chunk of his fortune for what he put Ava through. I have far less empathy for Spencer. Spencer has been a royal brat since leaving boarding school and demanding things that he had no right to ask of his father. I'm sure Spencer wouldn't have appreciated Nikolas dictating who Spencer could love, so what gave Spencer the right to tell Nikolas to dump Ava?

That is truer than ever since Spencer has made peace with Ava. Why couldn't he have done that before instead of resorting to stalking and terrorizing Ava?

Ava is no angel. She's done her fair share of awful things, too. She murdered Connie Falconeri/Kate Howard, and she was the driving force behind Sonny shooting and killing A.J. Quartermaine. Ava also had a long and sordid history as a ruthless mobster during her days running the Jerome crime family with her brother Julian. However, Ava has come a long way from those days, and she found redemption through a series of tragic events and both doing time in jail and as town pariah.

All the progress that Ava made and the good will that she earned are now threatened because the writers decided to have her "kill" Nikolas.

Don't get me wrong. Nikolas had no right to threaten to snatch Avery, but Avery's father is a powerful mobster who is perfectly capable of safeguarding her from the Cassadines. It's not like Avery was in the nursery or even somewhere on the island, so there was no imminent threat. Ava had plenty of time to give Sonny a heads-up and to report the threat to the police and/or Laura. Instead, Ava struck Nikolas in a fit of rage.

It was fury, not self-preservation, that had Ava lashing out at Nikolas. What the viewers saw unfold in Wyndemere's living room would never hold up in a court of law as justified. It was manslaughter, especially since Ava didn't even try to render aid to Nikolas.

I love Maura West, and I love the chemistry between Ava and Austin, but I hate these circumstances. I really do. It would have been better if Ava had bashed Mason over the head and -- in a moment of panic -- covered it up. Mason is a creep, and he wouldn't have been at Wyndemere for any other reason than nefarious intentions.

To be honest, it's not even Ava potentially killing Nikolas that bothers me because I refuse to believe that Nikolas is truly dead. No, what really sticks in my craw is Ava boldly lying to Laura, knowing what it's like for a mother to lose a child to murder. Ava is doing to Laura what Ryan did to Ava when he killed Kiki then comforted Ava over the loss. In this case, Ava hopes to make Laura believe that Laura's beloved son has turned his back on his mother and his son, knowing that Laura will never hear from Nikolas again because he's dead. Did Ava forget how tortured she was by the realization that she would never be able to reconcile with Kiki because Kiki had been murdered? It's not right because Laura won't even have the opportunity to have closure, since she has no idea that her child is dead.

That's why I'm really hoping for a twist. I want Ava to be vindicated of Nikolas' murder by having it revealed that Nikolas is not dead or that the man that Ava stashed in the chupacabra room was not Nikolas. Victor has the means to transplant memories and access to the best surgeons. It's well within Victor's wheelhouse to plant a sleeper agent that could pass for Nikolas. I can overlook the death of Victor's pawn but not Nikolas' murder. Nikolas is a legacy character who deserves a better ending than rotting away in the Wyndemere stables.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Heather kicked their family reunion with their long-lost daughter into high gear by killing a guard and escaping from Spring Ridge. Mac was the first to stumble across the serial killer parents and their unsuspecting offspring. Luckily for Mac, Ryan was too pressed for time to do more than knock Mac out, but I couldn't help but wonder what Mac was thinking when he decided to pull over on a dark road near Spring Ridge and approach two people who had kept their backs to him the entire time.

Has that ever gone well for anyone in the history of Port Charles? No, never.

Folks, I now concede that it's more likely than not that Esme has amnesia. Her horrified reaction to seeing Ryan murder the guard and being dragged along for the flight from Spring Ridge were far too genuine to be an act. It's clear that Esme is a very different person than the devious vixen that she was prior to her swan dive over Wyndemere's parapet. It suggests that Esme's evil streak was nurture, not nature, but if so, when did that happen? To listen to Maggie tell it, Esme was an innocent lamb right up until she found out about Ryan.

Something doesn't add up because the Esme that we were introduced to is not the person that Maggie seems to fondly recall. The only thing that is crystal clear is that Maggie is not the Hook. There goes my theory. It seems highly unlikely that Maggie is taking periodic trips to Port Charles to murder people who have hurt Esme and returning to Devon to bartend for Hook-trip money.

I'm just not sure if the person at Wyndemere is actually the Hook or Heather still on a mission to throw suspicion off of Esme. Heather doesn't fit what we have seen about the Hook, starting with the fact that the Hook was left-handed, and Heather is very much a right-handed gal. Additionally, Heather was locked up in D'Archam when the attacks started, and Heather had no idea that Esme was in town, much less that Esme had an enemy list.

Esme might not be the Hook, but she most definitely did terrible things since darkening Port Charles's doorstep. Despite the change in Esme since her amnesia, I want her to be held accountable for her crimes. Esme needs to face the same charges and sentence that Trina faced, and she needs to be found guilty because she most definitely did the crime. I will not be satisfied with anything less. The innocent should never pay a higher price than the guilty, and I want justice for Trina as well as Josslyn and Cameron.

This might not be a popular opinion, but I don't want Esme to find salvation. We need dark characters to stir up trouble and give the white hat brigade something to do. Avery Kristen Pohl is a fabulous actress, and Esme makes a far more interesting villain than heroine.

Now, let's talk about the wedding.

Portia is a perfect example of a good person who did a bad thing. She made a selfish choice out of fear, not malice. To Portia, it was the path of least resistance with little to no personal accountability. It was the coward's way out, pure and simple, and Portia recognized that. Unfortunately for Portia, she is about to pay a high price for that.

Portia had her fairy-tale Valentine's Day wedding, but it wasn't exactly a happy event. The whole time, a dark cloud hovered over Portia, and she spent most of the day on the verge of tears. She was one of the unhappiest brides I've seen in a long while, and I'm genuinely surprised that no one in her life picked up on it. As beautiful as Portia looked -- she was utterly gorgeous in that dress -- the wedding itself fell flat with me. Despite all of Laura's leading questions and the long pauses, I never for a second thought Portia would come clean and blurt out the truth.

Portia is a coward. It's what drove her to keep the secret all these years. Why would she suddenly grow a backbone and tell Curtis -- and Trina -- the truth in a church full of guests? Despite Jordan's visit and very sage advice, Portia was deep into her denial, and nothing short of an earthshattering event -- like a brush with death -- would have shaken that secret loose from Portia's lips.

I'm happy that Stella told Trina that Portia was keeping something from both Trina and Curtis. Was it messy? Yes, but Stella had absolutely no obligation to keep Portia's secrets, and Trina was rather relentless in her questioning when she confronted Stella about not attending the wedding. I couldn't help but wonder if Stella thought, "Heavens, it's like looking in a mirror with this one. Definitely my great-niece." I know I did.

Stella did the right thing. She told Trina the truth up to a point, but she made sure that Portia had an opportunity to tell her own truth. Stella's loyalty is to Curtis, so she can't be expected to lie to him about something that Stella knows is important to him. The same is true for Trina. Trina is an adult, and Stella doesn't want to break Trina's trust, especially if Trina is indeed Stella's great-niece.

I felt so bad for Trina when she cried that she no longer knew who she was. It's not true, and once the shock and pain fade, Trina will realize that she is still the same wonderful, intelligent, kind, and generous person that she was before the revelation. Only now, Trina has more family members. I'm also certain that Trina will forgive her mother. Yes, Portia will have to work to regain Trina's trust, but Portia is a loving mother who made a terrible mistake that she wants to atone for.

I don't think that what Portia did is unforgiveable. It's not like Portia intended to hurt anyone, least of all Trina. Taggert was a devoted father, and when the dust settles, Trina is going to have two great men in her life to call father. Portia made a decision out of fear -- fear of being alone, fear of rejection, and fear of her child growing up in two households. At the time, Portia believed that she could give Trina a better life in a traditional home with a man that Trina could love and respect.

Did Portia owe everyone the truth? Absolutely, but Curtis doesn't exactly have clean hands when it comes to secrets. He's in cahoots with Selina Wu, getting kickbacks and large cash gifts from her illegal gambling operation in the Savoy's backroom. If caught -- or if things go sideways -- Curtis could end up in jail for a very long time, or worse -- dead. Curtis really has no moral high ground to stand on, so I really hope he realizes that Portia deserves some grace. Curtis is definitely entitled to be upset about Portia's lies, but if he truly loves her, then he will forgive her.

Forgiveness won't be quite that easy for Victor. So far, he's been revealed to be responsible for Luke's death; Holly Sutton, Ethan Lovett, and Lucy Coe's abductions; possibly the murder of Naomi Dreyfus; and all manner of dastardly deeds, all because of something connected to the infamous Ice Princess diamond.

Valentin and Anna are determined to ferret out Victor's secrets, but until then, they are laying low and biding their time. I love Valentin and Anna, but they can only remain in hiding, doing couples yoga, for so long. Haunting Eileen is entertaining and all, but it's time to step up the game because I'm getting tired of Victor spending his days plotting in Metro Court's alcove. I want to know what Victor is up to, what that stuff was that Selina slipped into his drink for Holly, and why Luke had to die.

There's never a good reason to kill people to further an agenda, and with that in mind, I would ultimately like to see Victor's plot foiled and him shipped off to the Hauge for a little R&R. I don't want Victor to die, and it's unlikely that everything he's done is for the greater good of anyone but himself, so it's time to bring this storyline to a close.

I'm the kind of person that roots for good to prevail. I want justice to be served. I don't need an eye for an eye, but I definitely need for evil to be conquered. That's why I'm okay with Ryan and Heather being captured alive and sent back to jail. However, I also wouldn't be opposed to seeing the deadly duo go down in a blaze of gunfire like Bonnie and Clyde.

Esme can pick up where her parents left off.

Random observations

What's the deal with Heather's flesh-eating disease? Did Finn cure it?

Elizabeth's farewell tour seems completely unnecessary. How do you charge a person for a crime if the victim doesn't remember and the prime suspect is in the wind? If Sonny can get away with killing Julian Jerome in cold blood, surely Elizabeth can walk away from that mess between Nikolas and Esme.

Why didn't Sterling and Zeke Robinson stick around until the end of Portia's wedding? Better yet, why didn't Sterling stop off at GH to inquire about a job? I liked both men, and I think Portia is going to need her family's support in the coming days.

Reader feedback

I think having relatable stories is what first attracts us to Soaps. We feel a kinship to a character that we feel is going through a similar experience. -- JDF

It seems that everyone knows Britt died because she saved someone else. But they don't seem to know or even care who it was! -- Mary Keeley

This has bugged me from the start of this insider-trading story: MICHAEL is Carly's son; DREW is a LONG-TIME 'friend' and HOW is that in any way PROOF that Carly had insider info? Diane would argue that she wanted to invest in her son's company for her GRANDCHILDREN. -- evave2

What are your thoughts on last week's General Hospital? Do you agree or disagree with anything that I've shared in this week's column? I love hearing from everyone and reading your thoughts, so drop me a comment in the Comments section below. You can also join us over on the message boards for even more conversation!

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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