Goodbye, Barbara Jean

For the Week of January 15, 2024
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It was a week of grieving, adventure, and revelations. Between Bobbie's passing and her heartbreaking funeral, the fallout from Nina's bombshell secret, Esme's unexpected arrest, and an angelic visit from B.J., there is much to discuss in this week's Two Scoops with Liz Masters.

Wow, what a week! I loved everything about it, and I'm eager to dive right in. Let's start with the most important part -- the unbelievably beautiful tribute to Jackie Zeman and her alter ego Barbara "Bobbie" Jean Spencer. Even though the January 10 and 11 episodes focused on Bobbie, the writers pulled at my heartstrings from the moment that Carly got the crushing news of her mother's death. It took me right back to the morning when I got the call that my dad had suddenly passed away from heart failure. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I remember feeling as if the very ground I stood on had fallen away.

Laura Wright did a spectacular job conveying that awful moment -- and all the ones that followed, including how you desperately go through various scenarios in your head of ways you could have changed the outcome. It doesn't make much sense, I know, but that's how grief works. It sends you reeling.

Of course, it wasn't a surprise to see Lucas at the funeral. He was Bobbie's pride and joy, and she loved him beyond words. Having Ryan Carnes step back in the role was bittersweet because I love him dearly -- he is the heart and soul of Lucas -- but I knew his return was only temporary. Fading Lucas out after he handed Wiley over to Michael was not the ending that he deserved.

I know that some people were disappointed that Anthony Geary didn't make an appearance as Luke, but I wasn't. There are too many questions surrounding Luke's death -- even Bobbie had doubts that he was dead -- so her funeral was not the place to address those things. The focus needed to stay on Bobbie, and the writers did just that by giving us B.J. and revealing that Bobbie had been helping women in Europe escape human trafficking. What a fitting nod to Bobbie's past!

It was a lovely twist to learn that the AP reporter Angela Brighton was really B.J., and kudos to whoever thought to bring Brighton Hertford back to reprise the role. I have to admit, it didn't click at first, even when I heard "Angela's" last name. However, once I realized who the reporter was, I wept like a baby. How absolutely perfect to have B.J. there. I was completely wrecked when she told Lucas "Anytime -- Champ." The writers truly did a fabulous job with that.

I appreciated B.J. pointing out to everyone that Bobbie had been a victim of human trafficking, too. I know that Ruby had turned her life around in her later years and that both Bobbie and Luke forgave her, but I never bought into the hype about Ruby. It always bothered me that she never paid for forcing her traumatized teenage niece into prostitution to "earn" her keep. Unlike Carly, I don't blame Luke for not saving Bobbie because he was a teen, too, and equally traumatized from having done the unthinkable, trying to protect everyone from his violent father.

I suspect if that story had been written today, things would have turned out very differently for Ruby.

It was such a touching tribute to Jackie to change the name of Kelly's to Bobbie's. Longtime viewers will remember that Kelly's Diner was also a boarding house, and it was owned by Rose Kelly and her husband in the early 1980s. Paddy Kelly was killed, and Rose eventually sold the diner to Ruby and left town by 1984. Bobbie inherited it -- along with Luke -- in 1999, so it's long overdue. I really enjoyed the heartwarming scenes between Carly and Elizabeth as they talked about what an incredible person Bobbie was.

The writers did an amazing job honoring Jackie's legacy, and she will be forever missed.

There were some other big developments this week, including Ava's decision to press charges against Esme. I squealed with delight, and the expression on Maura West's face as Esme spun her little tale of woe was sheer perfection. It was the face of a woman who smelled a little liar. I really have no idea why Laura was surprised that Ava didn't fall for Esme's excuses because it was etched all over Ava's face.

I'm disappointed by Laura's blind spot when it comes to Esme because it's not as if Esme doesn't have a wicked side. I expected Laura to be more vigilant. Luckily, Spencer -- or should I say Spence? -- has always been distrustful of Esme, and he was able to see right through her act. She overplayed her hand when she called him "Spence," so now it's a question of whether he will share the news with Nikolas or take Ace and flee?

A week ago, I would have said that Spencer would take off to Paris with Trina and bring Ace along with them if Esme ended up in jail, but now I'm not so sure. Curtis' talk with Trina has made me wonder if she might ultimately decide to go to Paris alone, especially if Spencer renews efforts to get custody of Ace. Curtis did make a great point about it only being for a semester and how Trina needs to spread her wings a bit and throw herself into her studies.

I had assumed that the trip to Paris was a way to usher Spencer off-screen because Nicholas Chavez is filming season two of Netflix's Monster series, but this plot twist with Esme has me questioning everything. Things are certainly moving a lot faster than I would have thought because I fully expected the writers to drag things out with people discovering that Esme's memory had returned. However, if Spencer figured things out this easily and quickly, and Ava is ever suspicious of the vicious vixen, it's only a matter of time before the cat is out of the bag. I don't want Ace anywhere near her when that happens.

I would like for Nikolas to deal with his legal mess, which could easily be resolved if he can persuade Elizabeth to recant. Elizabeth might be more inclined to do so if Nikolas told her that the old Esme was back, because she has no loyalty to Esme after what Esme did to Cameron. It wouldn't bother me in the least if Elizabeth suddenly developed a case of amnesia where Esme is concerned. Esme is no victim, and Nikolas had good reason to worry about her running amok in Port Charles and putting his unborn child at risk. After all, she did set fire to her room and take a swan dive over the parapet into the icy waters, which triggered her labor. She's lucky that she didn't kill the baby.

A part of me still believes that Esme was responsible for the early Hook slayings and that Heather only stepped in to draw attention away from Esme.

On a slightly different note, I'm excited to see what Adam Huss does with the role now that he's playing Nikolas on a permanent basis. I loved Tyler Christopher, and truth be told, I never really warmed up to Marcus Coloma's version of Nikolas, but that was more the fault of the writers than because of Marcus. I felt like they weren't true to the character because they wrote Nikolas as petty and mean. Nikolas had his faults, but he would have always put Spencer first. When Marcus left, I had high hopes that the powers that be would be able to work something out with Tyler, but that was not to be because tragedy struck when Tyler died in October. I was heartbroken, and it's still hard to believe that he's gone.

As much as I loved Tyler, I want the writers to honor his legacy by fixing where they went wrong with Marcus. It saddens me that there are keyboard bullies out there harassing Adam on social media because he's taken over the role. It's not right. He's a fine actor, and he definitely has chemistry with Maura West. I, for one, intend to give him a chance because I have mad respect for soap actors. It's the characters that I grumble about.

Now, let's discuss the fallout from Nina's dirty little secret. Carly and Drew were busy dealing with Bobbie's death, so they haven't really had time to process that Nina was the one who reported them to the SEC. Carly might be overwhelmed with everything right now and not be in the mood to deal with Nina, but Drew has been riding the anger express since getting out of Pentonville.

Clearly, something is amiss with Drew. There might be a component of PTSD to it, but I get a feeling that something bigger is happening. The result of traumatic brain injuries? Helena's old brain mapping getting short-circuited? Anything is possible on a soap, but it's clear that Drew's outbursts and impulsive behavior are getting worse as time goes on. What happens when Jason returns home and Carly remembers all the reasons that she was in love with him? I can't see Drew handling jealously any better than anger.

I'm looking forward to seeing Steve Burton return. I watched the primetime special celebrating GH's 60th anniversary and loved every second of it. My only complaint is that it wasn't two hours long. It was fun to see so many familiar faces and the collection of Daytime Emmys -- they definitely need a bigger room -- and the ending was brilliant. What a way to make an announcement. Love him or hate him, there's no disputing his fans are loyal and enthusiastic.

I fully expect -- in the short term, anyway -- for Jason to resume his role as Sonny's enforcer, but I really would like to see Jason get more involved with his family. His sons are teenagers now and young men, he has a brother that he's never really gotten a chance to know, and he's older now. It's time for him to put himself first and find some real happiness that doesn't include babysitting Sonny and saving him from himself. Sonny is a grown man, and it's long past time that he learns to take care of himself.

Meanwhile, Willow is mad as blazes at Michael, and she's questioning everything about their relationship -- including whether it's worth salvaging. I get her anger, but I also feel that her reaction is a bit overblown. There's no disputing that both Michael and Willow have a tendency to think that they know what's best for everyone because they both have kept secrets from the other, believing that it was for the greater good. But is their marriage truly broken beyond repair? I don't think so.

Michael kept Nina's secret for roughly three months. He opted to keep quiet to spare Sonny and Willow the pain of finding out that Nina continued to lie to them both. It's true that he tried to get Nina to sell back her half of the hotel to Carly, but that didn't pan out, and Nina still retains ownership. He also told Nina to get his permission to visit with Willow and the kids, but he never once told Willow to stop taking the kids around Nina or try to limit when she could visit her mother. Willow acts like she missed out on a bunch of family vacations with Nina, but how many could there have been with Willow working as a nurse, Wiley in school, and everyone celebrating the holidays?

I think Willow is taking her anger out on Michael because making him the villain in the story is easier than admitting that she betrayed him just as badly when she didn't tell him about her cancer diagnosis. They've never really dealt with that because the truth came out when Willow was almost on her deathbed. It wasn't the time, and then they quickly got married, and then she had the transplant. However, it would be foolish of Willow to assume that Michael wasn't hurt by her lack of trust in him to respect her medical choices.

I'm not absolving Michael, but I do think both Michael and Willow bear some responsibility for their lack of communication.

Now that Willow knows everything, I think it's time for Sonny to, as well, and that includes being told about Michael's arrangement with Dex. If someone else gets wind of Michael and Dex's initial agreement and goes to Sonny with that, Dex won't be hanging from a meat hook. He'll be six feet under in the Pine Barrens.

I have no idea why Dex continues to work for Sonny. It's clear that he's not really a killer. A shootout to defend himself is one thing, but cold-blooded murder is another. Sonny has plenty of bodyguards, and it's not like Dex brings a special skill set to the table that sets him apart from the others. In fact, I would say that Dex is the most inexperienced mobster of the bunch.

I really think it's time for the writers to take Dex in a different direction. Have him sign up for culinary classes or go into medicine with Josslyn. I feel like I might enjoy his character more if he wasn't always carrying Sonny's bag and following Josslyn around like a lovesick puppy.

Random thoughts and observations

I loved Carly and Felicia's adventure to finish what Bobbie had started in Amsterdam, but I had to chuckle that they managed to fly from Amsterdam to Ontario, rent a car, and escape a collision with a moose in the time that it took Robert to make some phone calls at the hospital.

That memorial wall at the hospital is getting harder and harder to look at. We've lost so many in recent years.

Why does Robert act like having Sonny's DNA at the scene of Cyrus' assault makes it a slam dunk case? Couldn't Sonny simply plead self-defense and accuse Cyrus of initiating the attack? At best, it's a he-said/he-said, and neither man is to be believed.

I'm happy that Sasha did that switch with the hair samples before Felicia had them tested because I definitely don't want everyone finding out that Cody is Mac's son while John J. York is on a medical leave.

Reader feedback

When it comes to dropped storylines, it upsets me that Willow never heard about Nina wanting the baby [Amelia] terminated. Willow has no idea that Nina vehemently attacked Michael over the baby before she found out she was Amelia's grandmother. Then all of a sudden she was happy the baby was alive and thought she should be in her life. -- Kasi Blake

Olivia wasn't entirely truthful when she told Lois why Ned hasn't exposed the REAL "rat." She said it was because they "agreed" that it would hurt their extended family if he did, but the truth is, Olivia badgered Ned into keeping quiet because SHE didn't want to ruin Sonny's marriage, or Nina's thawing relationship with Willow and her kids. To her, preserving the tenuous peace in the family was more important than her husband's reputation, AND his relationships with members of HIS family! -- Scrimmage

Well it appears that Nikolas has returned and looks like Adam Huss in the role. Now that he is back, he needs to take more responsibility for Ace since -- unless something changes -- he is his dad not Spencer and Spencer and Trina should now be able to go about their own lives. -- Sheigh McKay

What are your thoughts about what's going on 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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