Crimson tides of war

For the Week of February 26, 2024
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The blood of mob bosses runs through the streets of Port Charles as an enemy closes in on Sonny. Is it John Cates -- or someone far closer to Sonny? Alliances are shifting, tantalizing clues are dropping, and several are getting a second chance at love just as Jason is poised to return. Let's discuss in this week's Two Scoops of retribution and shakeups.

Folks, I'm not a Sonny fan. I don't hate him, but in the end, he's a criminal who puts money and power above everything else, including all the people that he professes to love. For Sonny, loyalty is a one-way street. He expects everyone around him to accept his choices without question and to defer to him in all things, but heaven forbid anyone push back. Love and loyalty are tightly intertwined with Sonny, and he views anything less as the ultimate betrayal. He's utterly toxic, and it's hard for me to look past that.

It's clear that what truly burns Sonny's bacon about Michael and Carly paying Dex to safeguard him is not so much that Michael plotted against him, but rather the idea that people think he's weak. His fragile ego took a hit. Now, most adults would ask themselves why those who know them best are worried, and perhaps look at their own actions and shortcomings to see if they somehow contributed to that lack of faith, but not Sonny. Nope, he's stuck in man-child mode, nursing a hurt largely of his own making. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Michael didn't wake up one day and decide to take Sonny down for kicks and giggles. There were things that led up to that decision, which Sonny had a direct hand in. Not only did Sonny quickly -- and quite easily -- forgive Nina for hurting his children and grandchildren by letting them mourn Sonny for months on end, but he chose Nina over his son by testifying on Nina's behalf in court to spare her from being held legally accountable for her actions in Nixon Falls. Those weren't Nina's only transgressions, especially against Michael.

Nina has been at war with Michael from the moment that she learned Nelle was her daughter. She took him to court over Wiley, told Wiley that Willow wasn't his biological mother, and continues to gloss over Nelle's repeated attempts to murder Michael. Yes, murder. Nelle fully intended for Michael to die that fateful day of Wiley's birth. Had it not been for Sonny's timely intervention, she would have succeeded.

I have two grown children, and I still hold grudges against the select few kids who did them wrong growing up. Is that petty? Perhaps, but I'm a mama bear, and I will fight to the death for my cubs. It's why I never understood how Sonny didn't feel even a smidgen conflicted about his feelings for Nina when his memories flooded back. I could never love someone who had caused my family as much pain as Nina caused Sonny's loved ones.

I never liked Sonny and Nina as a couple because their relationship was built on a foundation of lies and betrayal, and it continued throughout their relationship. As far as I'm concerned, their divorce is long overdue. It's hard to predict where things will go, since there will soon be a change in writers -- and presumably a new direction for many characters and storylines -- but I don't think it's coincidental that both Valentin and Ava have been thrown in Nina and Sonny's orbits in such a big way. Ava is living with Sonny, and he's viewing her more and more as a trusted confidante, while Valentin is providing Nina with the means to punish Drew and Carly for ousting her from Crimson.

However, as viewers were reminded during the conversation between Sonny and Ava, they, too, have some dark history. Ava was the one who switched out Morgan's medication with placebos, which sent him spiraling into a manic episode and bad decisions, including stealing Julian's car. Ava was also the one who murdered Connie Falconeri/Kate Howard and who manipulated Sonny into killing A.J. Sonny's decision to focus on the present rather than his sordid past with Ava was a huge sign of where things are headed between these two.

There's no denying that there is chemistry between Maurice Benard and Maura West. My friend Vanessa saw it months ago when she first speculated that the writers might be plotting for Sonny and Ava to hit the sheets. I told her that there was no way -- for the reasons I listed above -- but I didn't factor in Avery. Sonny has let go of a lot of his anger toward Ava for the sake of their daughter, and because of that, he's slowly grown protective of her. The recent threats to Ava, the shooting in Puerto Rico, and now the danger he faces from an unknown enemy have brought them closer. I can now see what Vanessa saw, and she was spot-on.

Will Nina and Ava's friendship survive an affair between Sonny and Ava? Unlikely, but they say you lose them the way you get them. It's how karma rolls.

As things heat up on the mob front, Sonny can use all the allies he can get. Luckily for him, Selina showed up just in time to provide him with some useful information. She, too, had a traitor in her midst, and he was still alive and available for interrogation in exchange for her card games being reinstated. Selina's lackey coughed up the name "Stone," and immediately, Sonny's thoughts turned to Special Agent John "Jagger" Cates, elder brother of Stone Cates.

Is John a good guy or a wolf in sheep's clothing? That's still to be determined, but there are two other people with connections to the name Stone. Morgan's middle name was Stone, and Jason's nickname was "Stone Cold."

Is Morgan about to make a reappearance? On soaps, there's a Beetlejuice effect that brings people back from the dead when their names are invoked several times in a short period. Morgan's name has been dropped a half dozen times in recent days. Is it because of Olivia's murder and her role in Morgan's death or is there more to it?

Morgan's death was confirmed through DNA testing. At the time of the explosion, Jason was on the phone with Morgan, and he saw Morgan get out of the car. Seconds later, the blast from the car bomb threw both the car and Morgan over the cliff and into the sea below. All they found was a finger or two -- just enough genetic material to identify Morgan -- which led some viewers to believe that Morgan had survived the explosion. The theory was that Morgan's injured body was spirited away by the man who had put the bomb in Julian's car -- Winston Rudge. As a reminder, Winston also had ties to Victor Cassadine. It was Winston who helped Victor abduct Holly Sutton and fake her death.

Why would Morgan go after Sonny? He wouldn't, but he definitely would go after his father's enemies. Morgan was eager to get into his father's world and to prove himself capable of following in his father's footsteps. Was Olivia killed because she betrayed her accomplice by going after Sonny -- twice?

I know there is a growing number of viewers who are speculating that Jason is the sniper taking out mobsters and that he's been deliberately missing Sonny, but I just don't see that. Jason would never have fired wildly at a crowd at Metro Court's pool. He also wouldn't take out mobsters because he knows that it would bring the heat to Sonny and put everyone, including some of Jason's loved ones, in danger. If Jason is involved, I'm certain that it's in another capacity. Having him return to Port Charles a bad guy would only work if he's not in control of his own faculties, and frankly, that's been overdone. I don't want to see another amnesia or mind-control storyline.

I would like for Jason to make changes to his life, but I would prefer growth rather than more violence. I want more for Jason than to be Sonny's enforcer.

I'm also hoping that the writers take Nina in a new direction. As much as I loved Carly quitting Crimson and bowing out of Nina and Drew's war, watching Nina and Drew go off the rails on the Revenge Express is not my idea of compelling television. Neither is watching Valentin encouraging Nina's self-destructive tendencies. Valentin and Nina have always brought out the very worst in each other, and Nina inevitably ended up with a broken heart because Valentin is incapable of being fully transparent with her.

Nothing will be different this time around because I already see signs of the old Valentin rearing his ugly head. It was Valentin's decision to keep Charlotte's secrets that led to Anna thinking that she was confronting a WSB assassin when she walked into her apartment on Halloween night. Valentin has no one to blame for the tragedy but himself and Charlotte. She broke into Anna's apartment, so Robert was more than generous offering Charlotte probation, mandatory counseling, and community service without time behind bars. Cameron faced a much stiffer sentence for not buying pot for his dying friend.

Beyond that, this was not Charlotte's first run-in with trouble. It's a pattern with her. In elementary school, she relentlessly bullied Aiden to the point that Willow and the adults, including Lulu and Elizabeth had to step in. Both Valentin and Nina dismissed it as harmless and kids being kids, but if it had been the other way around, they would have demanded that Aiden be arrested. I also remember the incident with the snake that Charlotte put in Ava's purse during a children's party, which was incredibly dangerous. Charlotte is no victim here. The fact that Charlotte so easily fell for Victor's lies says more about Valentin as a father than Victor as a Machiavellian mastermind.

Valentin treats Charlotte as if she's five. How does she not know how dangerous and evil Victor was? The man tried to wipe out the population of earth -- including Charlotte. The whole reason that Valentin decided to turn over a new leaf was because Charlotte had confessed to him that she had seen him shove Ava off the parapet, and it hadn't bothered her. It was such a chilling moment and an example of how Valentin and Nina's coddling and glossing over her terrible misdeeds had skewered Charlotte's sense of right and wrong.

With new writers at the helm, my fervent wish is that Nina stops blaming others for her own misfortune. I want her to grow up, to stop rewriting history to fit her victim narrative, to show some kindness toward others -- not just to those who make her feel good about herself -- and, most importantly, to forgive. She was on that path before she learned that Nelle was her daughter.

Now, let's talk about Trina, who is still reeling from the death of Spencer.

Trina's world is grey, she feels numb, and nothing has value to her anymore. Those who love her are rallying around her and trying to be supportive during this awful time -- except Taggert. It's as if he never was, which I find to be deplorable. Biology doesn't trump love, yet the show would have you think otherwise because there has been zero mention of Taggert, not even by Trina. Curtis might be Trina's biological father, but Taggert is her dad. He is the one who raised her, who kissed her boo-boos, who read her bedtime stories, and who protected her throughout her childhood. He's the first man that she ever loved, and he's the one that she turned to with her troubles.

Curtis is a nice guy, but the less I see of Taggert, the harder it is for me to accept the growing closeness between Curtis and Trina. It feels heavy handed and forced. I would love for the new writers to fix this mess. It can be easily accomplished by having Curtis throw Taggert a lifeline, perhaps help him get sober, and build a friendship. There's no reason that Trina can't have two loving fathers.

Speaking of fathers, Spinelli has been living at Maxie's and helping with the kids and bills. To both Spinelli and Maxie's surprise, they each confessed to others that things had been going far better than expected. Suddenly, the cold embers of love have been sparked back to life, and they can't help but think of the future and all the possibilities. Spinelli and Maxie's romance had been fun, quirky, and a bit unconventional, much like them, but things ended badly when Maxie lied about Georgie's paternity and a custody battle ensued that greatly limited Maxie's contact with her daughter for quite some time.

Both Maxie and Spinelli have made peace with all of that, and they are both in a much different place than they were then. Maxie has two other children, a mortgage, and bills, and she's been through a lot of heartache and betrayal. Spinelli is older and wiser, too, and less prone to the juvenile antics of his youth. It's why I find myself actually rooting for Spixie to get their second chance and raise those three beautiful children together. I know who Spinelli is, and I know that he would treat Maxie as well as Nathan did. It was an encouraging sign, too, that they both were able to admit that they had feelings for each other rather than playing games and running from them.

In the past, Spinelli and Maxie would have danced around things for months on end and maybe dated others to prove something to the other. That works for singletons in their twenties, but not 30-somethings with children. I would also love to see Maxie return to Crimson instead of waiting for Brook Lynn to hand Deception over to her. Deception has too many people running it, and fashion was Maxie's first love. She is the reason that Julian's plan for Nina to drive Crimson into the ground didn't work. I miss Maxie the fashionista, and I would love to see her get a makeover. Just because she's a mom of three doesn't mean that she can't be stylish.

I'm hopeful because someone -- shout-out to Ryan -- suggested that there were some signs that the writers might be planning just that. Tracy's comment about Maxie selling her shares of Deception and returning to Crimson seemed completely out of left field until Carly suddenly up and quit. It will also make things a lot harder for Nina to go after Drew if Maxie is at the helm of Crimson because Nina loves Maxie and wouldn't want to put her career at risk.

It would also take the wind right out of Lucy's sails after Lucy threatened to go to Tracy with her suspicions that Brook Lynn and Maxie were cooking something up. I hate how Lucy accuses Tracy of "stealing" Deception, because the truth is, Lucy deserved to lose control of the company because she's a terrible businesswoman and an even worse negotiator. Tracy was after that share of ELQ, not Deception, and I'm pleased as punch that Tracy got both because I never liked the idea of Lucy having so much control over Quartermaine business. Now, Lucy knows what the Q's felt like when she used that share to play her games.

Preferably, Tracy wields that share to force Valentin out, too. ELQ is a family business, and it should go back to that. As for Brook Lynn, if she wants to hand Deception to someone, she should give it to Sasha. I love Sasha, and I really want her to have a good year. I also wouldn't mind if Sasha found a long-lost relative -- a brother or sister -- in town. What if Sasha's father and Dex's mother had history?

I have little doubt that Josslyn will eventually reunite with Dex. All Dex has to do is sneak back into town and save Sonny from certain death, and atonement will be achieved. As for Josslyn, I really don't have much pity for her. She knew who Dex was, and he agreed to keep working for Sonny, knowing there was a possibility that Sonny could one day learn the truth. Did she think there would be no price to pay? She should thank her lucky stars that Sonny didn't kill Dex on the spot for being a mole and instead let him walk away with his hide intact.

It's hard to take Josslyn seriously when she rants at Sonny for being a criminal, while sleeping with a guy who willingly and gladly worked for him. Oh, and don't get me started on how she idolized Jason, a man who killed for a living.

Finally, trouble is brewing for T.J. and Molly. Kristina had her first ultrasound and felt the wonder of hearing the baby's heartbeat for the first time, and a twinge of possessiveness when T.J. and Molly told Dr. Navarro not to share the baby's gender. Kristina raced over to Blaze's place and confessed that -- for a moment -- she felt like the baby was hers. Blaze assured Kristina that it was only natural because the baby was her family, and Kristina was the one who was carrying it. And so it begins.

I hated this storyline from the moment that Kristina made the offer to be Molly's surrogate and got bent out of shape because Molly rejected the idea. I knew this would happen. I've been pregnant, so I know that as the baby grows, so will Kristina's feelings. There's nothing that can prepare you for that moment after you give birth when you hear your baby's cry for the first time and you breathe a sigh of relief that they are okay. Kristina is not going to be able to hand that child over to Molly and T.J., which means there will be a nasty custody battle, and the baby will be caught in the middle.

I still haven't warmed to this new version of Kristina -- it's the writing, not Kate Mansi -- and this storyline won't endear her to me.

Random thoughts and observations

Dare we hope that Kevin and Laura will decide to give Ace a fresh start with a name change when they go through with the adoption? I've always hated the name, especially since Esme latched onto the nickname because she considered her unborn child her ace in the hole. That baby deserves better.

I absolutely loved Diane calling Nina out on her privileged life and how Nina had only spent a few months locked up for the heinous assault on Ava when she injected Ava with a paralytic, induced her labor, and kidnapped a newborn Avery. I noticed that Nina couldn't even look at Diane as Diane dropped those truth bombs.

I'm delighted that Lydia Look is back as Selina Wu. Even though she's unapologetically bad to the bone, she keeps Sonny on his toes. I just love her.

I feel for Danny, but it really irks me that the writers have completely forgotten that Jake is also Jason's son, and Jake understands exactly how Danny is feeling.

Reader feedback

I'm really hoping (but not holding my breath) that when Jason returns he remembers ALL of his past and moves back towards the Qs and maybe medicine and doesn't go back to the mob. His previous character just never had enough depth and I was often bored with him. I would rather see him back and being a dad to his kids, maybe even see him with Liz one day. But I'm so over the Sonny show that I don't need another character on the show telling us how amazing Sonny is, and I have no interest to watch a grown man shove his kids aside for a man child who is simply narcissistic and lets his temper rule him so much that I can't understand how he is supposed to be the most feared and the strongest mob leader on the east coast. -- LittleHollywoodMT

Tracy was great with BOTH Marty and Gregory. Who but Tracy would ever think that someone being a good influence on her could be a "bad" thing? She can blame him for making her "soft" all she wants, but I believe the truth is, being so close to Gregory's tragic situation has made Tracy aware of her OWN mortality, since they're in the same demographic. She trying to be a better person while she still can, but it sure doesn't come naturally to her. -- Scrimmage

Best scene of the week [Feb 5] was Scott calling Tracy and seeing "Ambulance Chaser" as the caller ID. -- JDF

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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