A gift of murder

For the Week of December 4, 2023
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Good things might come in small packages, but in Port Charles, bad things definitely come in unmarked envelopes. Did Austin's killer avenge Ava, or was the claim a clever misdirection? Trouble is brewing as Carly meets a charming stranger, Michael's frustrations with Nina mount, and Drew is acting out of sorts. It's time to unwrap this week's Two Scoops of intrigue and mayhem.

'Tis the season for giving, and Ava received a gift that she never asked for. So, who sent that note, and more importantly, who killed Austin? If Julian Jerome were alive, I would say he ended Austin's life, but even that would be a stretch because Austin's death doesn't benefit Ava in any way. Just the oppositive. It appears to have made her the prime suspect.

Austin had nothing on Ava because Nikolas is very much alive and kicking, so without Nikolas around to file assault charges against Ava for braining him with a bronze statute, there was nothing that Austin could have said or done that would have hurt Ava. Sonny's suggestion that Ava killed Austin out of anger isn't motive, either, since she wasn't in love with Austin.

The missive to Ava suggested that Austin was killed to avenge Ava. Who would want to avenge Ava? An ex-lover? A stalker? Victor perhaps? Do we know for certain that Victor is indeed dead? I've always had my doubts because it's hard to kill a Cassadine. That is a fact, not an opinion.

For months, viewers have been told that something is afoot with the WSB, a changing of the guard that started when Victor was vanquished in Greenland. The shakeup was not for the better because, from the onset, the new regime treated Anna like she was the enemy rather than a revered and respected agent. On top of that, two assassins have taken aim at key people in Port Charles, and one used a gun registered to the WSB. Even Robert -- a former Director and WSB legend -- became persona non grata with the spy agency, and now, an agent with a dark past and links to Anna has turned up dead.

Did Victor's cronies overthrow the leadership and send him a lifeline in Greenland by helping him to stage his death? We saw a Victor-sicle in a body bag, which could have easily been achieved with a drug to make it appear that he was dead. Also, Victor has a history of cheating death in deadly explosions. If Victor is alive, then perhaps he's also been having clandestine meetings with Charlotte, which would make so much more sense than some poison pen letter triggering Charlotte's vendetta.

Back to Ava, I could see Victor -- who had seemed quite fond of Ava shortly before the fiasco in Greenland -- killing Austin out of a misguided sense of chivalry because Austin had betrayed Ava. We learned from Victor's decades-long obsession with Liesl that Victor had a skewed way of viewing things, and in his mind, he might have thought that punishing Austin would impress Ava. However, Victor is also a Cassadine, and he would want to punish the man who had kept his nephew in hiding during Nikolas' recovery and used the information to blackmail Ava. I know Austin didn't directly blackmail Ava, but he stood by and remained silent while Mason did, so he was definitely an accessory to it.

Of course, we can't rule out Cyrus. In truth, he's the most likely culprit because he had the most to gain by silencing Austin. Austin had decided to cooperate with the police and blow Cyrus' little Machiavellian plot out of the water, which most certainly would have resulted in Cyrus going back to jail for orchestrating Ava's kidnapping. Sending a little letter like that is just the kind of head game I would expect Cyrus to play in his game of misdirection.

I've seen some suggest that it might be Nikolas, but I Nikolas is the least likely person to kill Austin. First, Nikolas would have no reason to want to avenge or help the woman who put him in a coma. Second, why would Nikolas return months later and kill Austin? Nikolas didn't hold any ill will against Austin the last time that we saw the two chat, and Nikolas had made it known that he was alive. What threat did Austin pose to Nikolas? Finally, Ava was married to Nikolas for quite some time, so I would think that she would recognize his handwriting. I know if my husband sent me a note, I'd recognize his chicken scratch in a heartbeat.

I have to give the writers credit here. They've set up a great little whodunit. I just hope it lives up to its promise.

Even though Austin is dead, I don't think that we've seen the last of Roger Howarth. I have a sneaking suspicion that he will be returning as Todd Manning, ex-husband to recent visitor Blair Cramer (Kassie DePaiva). Todd has connections to the dark underbelly of the world, government agencies, and Anna DeVane, who was the recent subject of a hit piece in his newspaper. More importantly, I find it curious that Alexis keeps mentioning Todd's newspaper, the Sun.

Now, let's talk about Finn's legal woes, which are driving me bonkers. I'm not a doctor, but I've watched enough medical dramas to know that doctors are taught when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

Finn's patient -- Muldoon -- actually had a tapeworm and was treated for it, and he opted not to return for a follow-up appointment until months later. That's on Muldoon, not Finn. Despite the weak premise for the lawsuit, I'm actually happy to see Finn in a storyline where he is pushed out of his comfort zone and has to depend on others for a change. I hope Roxy is still around to share her special gift of emotional support.

Speaking of gifts, Nina dropped off a few Thanksgiving presents for Wiley and Amelia to let them known that she was thinking of them, even though Michael made it clear that he doesn't want Nina inserting herself into his children's lives without talking to him first. I empathized with Michael because I grew frustrated with Nina as I watched that scene. It's like she wants him to expose her secret.

I saw a recent post asking if Willow should leave Michael for what he's doing to Nina, but what exactly has Michael done to Nina besides issue empty threats and make demands that she promptly ignores? Yes, she made an offer to Carly to sell back the hotel, but Carly rejected it. So far, Nina hasn't paid much of a price for anything.

I think Willow will be miffed that Michael didn't tell her that Nina had tipped off the SEC, but she will see that Michael isn't the villain here. Willow let Nina into her life because she didn't know what Nina had done or that Nina had tried to get Ned/Eddie to leave town to hide her dirty little secret. Nina is the one who was in the wrong, and Michael demanding that Nina make things right with Carly and keep her distance from his family was perfectly reasonable under the circumstances. In the end, Michael keeping Nina's secret was more to Nina's benefit than Michael's.

Let's not forget that Michael sees that Nina is a master manipulator who will use and hurt anyone -- including his children -- to get what she wants. Remember when she wanted to hurt Willow by telling Wiley that Willow was not his real mother? Every time Nina ignores the boundaries he sets, like she did on Thanksgiving, it only reinforces that opinion.

I'm over this nonsense. It's gone on way too long, so I'm at the point where I'm ready to fly to Port Charles and tell Sonny and Willow myself. Preferably, Nina would just own it and come clean. It's doubtful that Sonny would leave her over this because he knew what Nina was capable of when he married her, and he knows the pain of being on the outside, looking in at his family. Willow has a forgiving nature, so she'd be open to reconciliation if Nina shows a little remorse and a willingness to do better.

Carly is another matter. She will be vicious and cruel, but ultimately, there's little else that Carly can do to punish Nina. The person that Nina needs to worry about when her bombshell drops is Drew.

Drew is rich, and there's been a noticeable shift in him since his release from prison. He's a lot more intense, and I sense a simmering rage just under the surface. It makes sense for a man who just spent months in a prison and who was nearly beaten to death. The problem is that Drew isn't just a man. He's an ex-Navy SEAL who spent years as Helena's captive, who had his brain rewired to believe that he was his identical twin brother, and who suffered the unimaginable loss of a child to cancer. Yeah, it was a bad year for Drew, but it was nothing compared to what he's been through.

I know that traumatic brain injuries can lead to personality changes, so perhaps that's what's going on. I don't know, but I do know that I didn't like how Drew handled the situation with Scout and that upscale private school. I felt so bad for Scout, and I don't think it would have been inappropriate for Sam to have told him that it wasn't the time or place for that discussion. Drew was wrong not to discuss it with Sam first and to put Scout on the spot like that.

I like Drew, but I'm disappointed in him right now -- not just about Scout, but also the Ned stuff. Drew has never been the vengeful type, but going after ELQ is all about revenge. Drew blames Ned for tipping off the SEC, and he wants Ned to pay for that. I get it, but Ned hasn't exactly been having an easy time. Everyone has ostracized him because they think he's a snitch, and he just recovered from months of having no memory of his life or family and living as a completely different person.

It would be easy to blame Michael for silently standing by while Drew punishes Ned for something that Ned didn't do, but Ned knows the truth, too, and he has the power to stop Drew whenever he wants. Michael doesn't know that, but Michael thinks he's protecting everyone he loves -- his wife, father, mother, and Drew -- by remaining silent.

I don't mind the writers exploring the dark side of Drew, but please leave Scout out of it.

Meanwhile, a handsome man with an Australian accent named Mr. Brennan went to Kelly's for a burger and walked out with a little crush on Carly, who impressed him with a well-made burger and an act of kindness for a homeless man. I love Carly these days, but that was some heavy-handed writing. Mr. Brennan will be in for a big surprise when he meets the real Carly.

Mr. Brennan was as charming as he was handsome, and there were sparks between Carly and the debonaire Aussie. But looks were deceiving, because it turns out Brennan is connected to Pikeman. High up the Pikeman food chain, since the Pikeman emissary reported to him that Sonny had rejected their generous offer. Is Brennan the mysterious Pikeman? I don't know, but he's someone important, that's for sure. I'm also suspicious of that accent. Jerry Jacks is an Australian. I don't think Brennan is Jerry, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had connections to the infamous Jacks brother.

I'm delighted that we are finally getting some movement on this storyline, too.

Random thoughts and observations

A friend of mine recently told me that she thinks T.J. and Portia are being set up to hit the sheets. At first, I dismissed it, but she pointed out that they've been thrown together a lot lately, and they are confiding in each other quite a bit. I hope she's wrong, but this is a soap opera, and things like that happen all the time. Imagine the drama if Portia ends up pregnant from an affair with T.J.

The end of Monday's episode was a gut punch. I'm still shook that we lost Tyler Christopher.

I love Yuri as the Quartermaine butler. It reminds me of the days of Reginald and Big Alice.

I adore Trina, but it really bothered me that she decided to spend Thanksgiving with Curtis instead of visiting Taggert. Curtis has a father and wife to keep him company, but who does Taggert have? No one. Why not spent time with Taggert and then pop over to mom's house to visit with the new family?

Reader feedback

Disappointed (but totally understand) by the break-up of Anna and Valentin. FH and JPS had some of the hottest kisses in Daytime TV!👄💕 -- WideAwake in Sleepy Eye

Drew has two modes: Hallmark Drew or Shrew Drew. I'm not a fan. -- Jane

Emma was just what the doctor ordered with her surprise, and well-timed return to Port Charles, to spend the holiday with her "Action Grandparents!" (I LOVE that!!) -- Scrimmage

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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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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