Friends, foes, and fireworks

For the Week of July 3, 2023
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Lucy smells something fishy, Austin crossed a line, Nina is being Machiavellian, and Cyrus is throwing out the welcome mat. Fuses are lit for a spectacular fireworks show, but will it live up to its promise or fizzle out? Let's find out in this week's illuminating Two Scoops.

Battle lines have been drawn, and things are definitely heating up. This week, it seemed as if all roads either led to Deception or Pikeman, so let's kick things off with the secret world of Deception.

It turns out that Tracy has a mystery partner, and both are after Deceptor -- a magical wand that erases wrinkles and leaves your skin filtered perfection. Naturally, this miracle device is in high demand and making the gals at Deception oodles of money. The only fly in Lucy's ointment of delight is Martin's unwillingness to take any kind of credit for helping her invent the revolutionary instrument of beauty. Meanwhile, Martin's third ex-wife is stirring up trouble and issuing threats because he has gone radio silent on her. You don't need a roadmap to see where this is headed.

If I had to guess, Martin's ex-wife is Tracy's cohort, and ex-wife #3 is the one who actually invented Deceptor. That's why Martin doesn't want anyone to know that he had anything to do with Lucy's invention. It will land him in hot water with ex-wife #3 and possibly the law, due to patent issues. Unfortunately, his goose is already cooked, since Lucy has been blabbing to people that her boyfriend is a bloody beauty genius.

I love Michael E. Knight, so I'm happy that he finally has a real storyline where he isn't chasing after Lucy. I found myself genuinely intrigued with where this was going, and my friend Vanessa and I chatted extensively about the possibilities. Clearly, there are a few twists and turns just around the corner, and a lot is at stake for a handful of people, including Maxie and Sasha, which means plenty of drama. Will Martin's error in judgment be Deception's downfall? I hope not because I do quite like the idea of Maxie, Lucy, and Sasha working together, and I want Maxie to get a house for her family.

Brook Lynn sealed her fate with Deception, so her future will not be in cosmetics. She won't mind, but she will miss the friendships. She will also have to explain things to Chase, which will be his first real test. Did he mean it when he said that he could accept Brook Lynn, warts and all? We will soon find out. She was a victim of blackmail, and asking Tracy to help get him reinstated as a detective isn't exactly an unforgiveable act, especially since Chase was desperate to get his job back.

Now, let's discuss the identity of Martin's plaintive #3, whom he once described as being the worst of his three wives. A few weeks ago, news broke that Walt Willey is bringing legal eagle Jackson Montgomery to Port Charles. I squealed with joy because I was a longtime All My Children viewer, and Jackson was one of my favorites. For those who aren't familiar with him, Jackson has a very long and complicated history with the one and only Erica Kane. In the soap world, Erica is an icon in the fashion industry. Additionally, Jackson has connections to a few other ladies who might fit the bill of Martin's ex-wife, including Krystal "with a K" Carey.

One of Krystal's claims to fame -- besides a daughter named Babe -- was her marriage to Tad Martin. She is also the mother his daughter Jenny, who was named after Tad's beloved sister. Sister Jenny (portrayed by Kim Delaney) was tragically killed riding a Jet Ski that had been wired with explosives. It was quite a shocking plot twist that few expected, least of all me.

While it's certainly possible that Tracy and Erica are working together, it's highly unlikely that Erica was ever married to Martin. It seems far more likely that Jackson will be representing Martin's ex when Tracy shares that flash drive with her partner. I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for us and how all of this ties together. The only part that doesn't sit well with me is Tracy's treatment of Brook Lynn. She has been doing that poor child dirty since returning to town, but I take comfort in knowing that this will all eventually blow up in Tracy's face. Karma isn't always swift, but it's usually sweet, so Tracy won't escape unscathed.

Okay, folks, I consulted my brother about Spencer's dilemma with the evidence against Esme. My brother is a criminal investigator for a state prosecutor, so he knows the law. When I asked him about this situation, he laughed ("lololol"). I'm also pretty sure he rolled his eyes, but I can't be sure because we were texting, and he doesn't use emojis. He definitely expected me to know better, since I watch ID and have often volunteered to help him solve crimes. He's no fun, so he has always declined. Anyway, I patiently put up with his ribbing because I really wanted to know if this crazy writing had any smidgen of truth to it. As I suspected, it does not.

According to my brother, as long as Spencer acted in good faith, and explained that it was found in a safe deposit box and might be fabricated, he wouldn't face any charges if the evidence turned out to be fake. In fact, withholding possible evidence of a crime could be more problematic, and you definitely don't want to destroy it. However, all of that is moot, since viewers know that Esme is guilty as sin, and the evidence is legit.

The writing for Esme's amnesia storyline is as nonsensical as Spencer's excuses for keeping the evidence under lock and key. I wanted to throw something at my television when Esme had the audacity to suggest that Nikolas should pay for his crimes when she's walking around free as a bird. That girl needs to take several seats because she's done some seriously evil things, whether she remembers it or not. I don't for a minute buy this new, redeemed version of Esme, either, because she still plays the eternal victim, she continues to be calculating, and she only thinks about herself. Even with Ace, it's more about her than him.

Yes, Esme loves the little guy, but in a possessive way rather than a selfless one. That's why she took Ace with her to jail instead of letting someone like Laura care for him. It's also why Esme didn't trust Spencer to take care of Ace during a rough night for the tyke, even though there was -- until Laura left for Chechnya -- a house full of other people on hand to help if Spencer needed it.

As the week drew to a close, news broke that Nicholas Alexander Chavez landed a role in the Neflix series Monster. Suddenly, everyone is wondering if the role of Spencer will be temporarily recast or if Spencer will be written off for a while. Heck, there's even a possibility that Nicholas might not return to GH at all. Despite everything being up in the air, I am truly happy for Nicholas, and I wish him nothing but the best with the series. He's an incredibly talented actor, and I've always seen something special in him that made me think that we only had him for a short time, so I should enjoy the ride while it lasted.

It doesn't look good for Spencer, though. He and Trina had a pretty heated argument at the dive bar where Esme found Oz. Spencer took a swing at Dex because Dex offered advice that Spencer didn't want to hear. I don't like Dex, but Spencer's hostility was definitely overblown and uncalled for. Trina was right to be furious and to read Spencer the riot act, but let's be honest, the writers have never been invested in this pairing. Not like they are with Dex and Josslyn, who act like two lusty bunnies, while Spencer and Trina appear to have taken a vow of chastity.

It's disappointing because we've had two years of buildup for Sprina, and they've gained a loyal following, but instead of capitalizing on the momentum, we've barely gotten two kisses. Now, suddenly, Trina is jealous of scheming Esme, and Spencer is referring to the evil shrew as his first love. Excuse me? What Spencer and Esme shared was not love. It was lust. You'd think that Spencer would recognize the difference now that he's with Trina.

I don't know what's going to happen to Spencer, but if he is taken off canvas, the writers better get someone new for Trina because I definitely don't want her pining for him to return and for Trina to once again be relegated to being Josslyn's relationship cheerleader. In fact, I would love for Trina to find another girlfriend to hang out with. She needs to spread her wings.

Now, let's discuss the road to Pikeman. This storyline seems to have grown tentacles in several interesting directions. Not only is Sonny the conduit for Pikeman getting arms to various regions around the world in turmoil, but now it seems that Mason and his mystery lady boss have an interest in Sonny's association with Pikeman. We also know that eons ago, Cyrus warned Sonny of a West Coast threat, and I have a vague recollection of Cyrus and Sonny having a chat about all this shady business with Pikeman during Spencer's incarceration.

The fact that Cyrus is positively giddy at the prospect of Drew being locked up in Pentonville with him is definitely cause for concern. Good news for Cyrus is always bad news for others. Not for a nanosecond do I believe that Cyrus has turned over a new leaf. He found religion the way a cult leader does, so I fully expect Drew to have his hands full dealing with Cyrus. There's no reason for Cyrus to be excited about Drew being in Pentonville because they don't have history, which makes me think that Cyrus is interested in Drew because of Drew's connection to Sonny.

While Drew is facing three years in prison, Carly's penalty for her role in the insider trading fiasco is having to fork over her entire savings of $5,000,000. Josslyn offered to tap into her trust fund to help her mother, but Carly wouldn't hear of it. Diane warned Carly not to go to Sonny or Michael, either, because the SEC would put Carly and Sonny's finances under a microscope; Michael was able to fly under the SEC's radar the first time around, but he wouldn't be so lucky again.

Josslyn gasped with horror at the idea of her mother getting a job, and in true Carly fashion, Carly vowed that she would claw her way back to the top and get back every single thing that she had lost. I believe her, and I suspect that the first rung of the ladder to success will be found at Aurora Media -- Crimson to be exact.

It's time for Crimson to get new leadership, and what better way for Carly to embark on a new career? I'm honestly surprised that Drew hasn't suggested that he and Carly stop by the courthouse for a quickie wedding. Why not? They are in love and planning a future for when he gets out. However, even if they don't get married, I can't see Drew or Michael objecting to replacing Nina with Carly at the helm of Crimson. Carly was a co-owner of Deception at one time, so she has some experience in the industry, which was more than Nina had when she took over the magazine.

For years, we've heard from Nina how time-consuming it was to run a successful high-end fashion magazine, and we've heard the same from Carly about running the hotel and the restaurant. It's ridiculous to suggest that Nina is not only juggling all three demanding businesses but that she still has time to plan a wedding and manipulate a man with a traumatic brain injury into leaving town and the safety of his family.

The way that I understand Kevin's explanation, Ned's delusion/amnesia is an escape from his reality because no one believed Ned's cries of innocence. Sure, Brook Lynn did, and Olivia finally came around, but apparently, it was too little, too late. Tracy thinks a good knock upside Ned's noggin will set him straight, but Kevin recommended a less violent option -- time and rest. Enter Sonny, who gave "Eddie" a place to stay.

Nina knows that the minute Ned's memories return, he's going to reveal that she reported Carly and Drew to the SEC, so she feels that her only option is to get him out of town and on the road to reviving his career. It's not right. Ned has spent months being skewered by everyone for what Nina did, and now he has retreated into a fantasy to avoid further backlash. It's not just Ned paying the price for Nina's folly, either. Ned's son who has autism is struggling, his daughter is heartbroken, and Olivia is a hot mess.

I don't know how Nina sees this ending. Is she hoping that Ned will never regain his memories as long as he's on the road, touring? If so, it's foolish and doomed to fail because "Eddie" has no access to money, much less what he needs to put a band together and book a concert tour. Plus, his family would never give up on him. Ever.

I've read some comments on Twitter and message boards that suggest that Sonny would ultimately forgive Nina for reporting Carly and Drew to the SEC because she was in a bad place. People also feel that encouraging Ned to follow his dreams isn't a horrible thing. Both are definitely true, and if that was all it was, I might agree with them. Sonny forgave Nina for lying to him in Nixon Falls, and both Carly and Drew were guilty, so it's not like Nina framed them for a crime that they didn't commit.

The newer version of Sonny is more forgiving, but the problem I see with forgiving Nina is that Nina's dirty deeds endangered him. Had it not been for Carly's unwavering loyalty, Sonny very likely would be on the receiving end of Cyrus' welcome wagon, and both Avery and Donna would be growing up without their father. Nina's betrayal will cut deep, especially juxtaposed against Carly's actions, because Carly sacrificed her and Drew's happiness to keep Sonny safe.

Michael will fare better than Nina, too. He hired Dex to get the goods on Sonny, true, but when Dex handed the evidence over to Michael, Michael ultimately chose not to use it. Luckily for Sonny, Willow persuaded Michael to make peace instead. Michael did offer the flash drive to his mother to help Carly get out of her legal troubles, but she opted to crush it to smithereens. I have no doubt that Sonny will be deeply hurt by what Michael had planned with Dex, but Michael is Sonny's son, and Sonny loves him deeply.

When it comes to your kids, there is little that you can't forgive. Sonny will be angry, but I do think he's also going to see that Michael and Carly gave Dex a new mission -- to protect Sonny -- and that will go a long way in atoning for Michael's wrongs.

I don't know what lies ahead for Nina, but she seems to be on a collision course with a downfall of her own making. She didn't break any laws, but she hurt innocent people. With a little luck, a whole lot of accountability, and a commitment to learn from her wrongs, Nina might be able to find a path to redemption that includes a relationship with Willow -- or she can go scorched earth in her war against Carly and keep the toxic cycle going. I really hate this dark place that Nina has been stuck in, so I'm hoping she chooses redemption over revenge.

Finally, Mason wants information on Pikeman, so he's demanding that Ava provide it -- or else. Austin had the bright idea to plant drugs on Pilar, so Sonny fires the nanny and hires a new one that can help Ava spy on Sonny. Ava rejected that idea, so Austin went with Plan B. He distracted Pilar with a phone call and lured Avery away to make it appear that Avery had been kidnapped in the park. Ava quickly figured things out when Austin strolled up to the scene of the crime, holding Avery's hand, and tried to play the hero.

Where were Sonny's bodyguards? Why were Pilar and Avery walking around the park without a guard when Sonny knows darn good and well that an enemy has already sent a sniper to take him out? There is no way that Austin's plan would have worked if Sonny had been taking the necessary precautions. Also, just how quick is Avery that she was able to vanish from Pilar in the time that it took for Pilar to look at a phone screen and accept a call? We all have phones. It takes literally a second or two.

Austin's refusal to tell Ava who is giving Mason orders irks me to no end, too. Ava is not a delicate flower. She's an ex-mob boss who has killed in cold blood and faced down serial killers and Cassadines. Ava is badass to the core, and she has a right to protect herself from her enemies. She can't do that if she doesn't know who they are.

It really makes me think that Austin won't tell Ava because Ava has a connection to the mystery woman. Is it Olivia Jerome pulling strings from behind bars? Now that Drew is in Pentonville, I hope he bumps into the infamous Jerome sibling and we find out. It's time to unmask the Pest from Pautauk.

Random thoughts and observations

Does Anna not have a Ring camera? What kind of international superspy doesn't have security cameras all over her townhouse?

Why is Laura's apartment devoid of any baby things like a playpen, swing, bouncer, toys, mat for belly time, or highchair? I felt so sorry for little Ace when I saw him strapped into his carrier on the living room floor with nothing to entertain him but a pacifier.

Did anyone else's heart skip a beat when Elizabeth mentioned that she drove to Finn's apartment? Nothing good ever comes of people driving in Port Charles. Be safe, Liz!

Olivia's constant sniveling in every scene was like nails on a chalkboard, but I burst out laughing when her temper exploded because "Eddie" recognized a guitar from the 1990s but not her or their family. By the way, do people still put together photo albums?

Reader feedback

Ava gives Nina the WORST advice. If I didn't know better, I think this has all been a part of her long term plan to get revenge on Nina for inducing premature labor, and kidnapping Avery, back before they inexplicably became BFFs. If that was the case, my respect and admiration for Ava would become pure AWE! -- Scrimmage

I have a bone to pick with Monica: why is the Q mansion daycare central for Danny, Scout & Rocco, but we never ever hear about Jake going there? When Liz was in Shadybrook, it would have been a nice gesture to have Jake & Aiden stay with the Qs. Instead of putting most of the burden on their 20 year old brother who is in college with multiple jobs. They are old enough to not require much effort & Aiden makes lemon bars. -- Kathie

Esme needs serious 'medical' help. Her lawyers may keep control of the estate till she is of whatever age is in the will (25?) but if so they are 'still' responsible for her upkeep. She should have a stipend for her living expenses. Lawyers to the left of her and lawyers to the right of her and NOBODY says, let's check w/your attorneys if there are any 'exigent circumstances' (aka Act of God -- which amnesia could be considered) that would give Esme some money to live on. -- Evave2

What are your thoughts about what's happening on 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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