Lies, schemes, and epic machinations
For the Week of April 6, 2020
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Flashback Fridays are now a thing, and the ratings are ramping up as strange bedfellows traded more than kisses, an explosive confrontation exposed a secret, and a mystery phone call gave hope that a fallen hero might be hiding in the shadows. Buckle up, because it was a week of lies, schemes, and epic machinations.

Folks, we now have Flashback Fridays to celebrate the show's 57th anniversary, and I couldn't be happier. They kicked it off with a rather recent, but no less poignant, episode featuring Gail Baldwin's loved ones gathering at the hospital for the reading of her will. As Alexis passed out envelopes to each of the mourners to kick off the nostalgic scavenger hunt, I reached for my tissues because I knew exactly where this special episode was headed -- down memory lane and a river of tears.

I love the idea of Flashback Fridays. It's a brilliant way to not only celebrate the show's longevity but also to stretch out the precious new episodes the show still has in the vault until our lives can return to normal. I have several favorite episodes that I'm hoping they will air, including when Tony said goodbye to B.J., Carly walking in on her own memorial service (I knew she was alive!), Luke learning the truth about the day that his parents died, and, of course, the episode when Stone died in Robin's arms. That would be a perfect episode to kick off the upcoming Nurses Ball.

What are your favorites? I'd love to hear from everyone, especially those who watched before my time in the 60s and 70s.

Folks, I like Joe Flanigan. He's a fine actor, and he's not bad on the eyes. However, I just can't get into his character, Dr. Neil Byrne. I don't care if Daniel Craig played him, I still would find him boring. The issue is his lack of story. All the interesting things -- his fascination with Russian history, his broken marriage, and even Britt's certainty that she had met Neil before -- led absolutely nowhere. Despite Neil's hobby, he apparently had no knowledge of or even a mild curiosity in Alexis' rather impressive noble Russian lineage. As for his wife, Deirdre Byrne, other than a few mentions, we know nothing of her or what his relationship with her had been like. As for Britt, even that turned out to be a dead end when it was revealed that Britt had been the one to see the pair on the night of their illicit tryst following the opera.

The only person that nugget of information shocked was Julian. I had hoped that Britt knew Neil from her days of being on the run with Faison. It's not that I want Neil to be bad -- I don't. I just want there to be something about the man that gives me a bead on who he really is, especially if he and Alexis are going to pursue a relationship.

Even though I found Julian's confrontation with Neil a bit over the top, I do agree with him that Neil is not good for Alexis. She slept with Neil when she knew that she shouldn't then she compounded the situation by lying to the review board about their relationship. Two wrongs don't make a right, which is why she ended up knocking back a shot of booze following the blowup with Sam. Three very unhealthy and self-destructive choices in a very short period of time do not bode well for a healthy relationship.

It bothers me that Neil didn't speak up during the hearing to stop Alexis from lying, if for no other reason than because it was the right thing to do. I feel that an honorable man would have done that, yet Neil remained silent.

Julian is definitely not an honorable man, but he does try. I give him credit for wanting to defend Alexis' honor, but I don't buy that convoluted malarkey about being driven to rescue Alexis because he was haunted by what he had done to her. He might be haunted by the memory of holding a knife to her throat, but the reason he confronted Neil was because Julian is territorial about Alexis. He always has been. She is his soul mate, and he can't turn that off just because Alexis is determined to move on without him. The closest that he got to letting her go was when he was with Kim, but now that she's out of the picture, Julian is falling back to his old ways.

It's sad, really, because no one on a soap has any room to judge. Julian has done bad, a lot that he's gotten away with, but so has everyone else. Some less than others, to be sure, but not all. Those who judge Julian the harshest tend to be the ones who have gotten away with the most.

Men like Jason, a mob enforcer who makes a living killing Sonny's enemies and blowing things up, are the harshest critics. Jason is such a bad dude that Sam can't be around him while she's on parole, even though he's the father of her eldest child. Rather than accept that as the price for her freedom, Sam acts like the rules don't apply to her. It's frustrating because this is a woman who went through hell to be a mother, and to see her acting so recklessly just to be able to openly date her mobster lover makes no sense.

Sam is lucky that she doesn't have more restrictions because she's surrounded by quite the seedy lot in Port Charles. Of course, Delores lost quite a few points when the writers threw her under the bus with an adulterous affair that ended up in the backseat of a car.

What was that? Why did they have to go there? Delores' affair doesn't make Sam's actions any less wrong. The terms of Sam's probation were clear before Delores entered the picture, so why trash Delores?

To be honest, I have no idea what to make of Jason and Sam's relationship. Are they engaged? Were they living together, or did he keep his apartment? I know that they love each other, but it didn't seem like they were in any rush to get married. I find that odd because, in Sam's shoes, I wouldn't have hesitated to retie the knot with my back-from-the-dead husband. I wouldn't need a big fancy wedding, and I certainly wouldn't need a formal engagement, just my love and someone to officiate, so we can get back to our happily ever after.

Instead, Sam returned to using her maiden name, McCall. It's baffling.

Equally confusing is Ned's inability to add things up and figure out that Brook Lynn unloaded her shares of ELQ in exchange for Linc releasing her from the ironclad contract. I'm disappointed that only Olivia, firmly mounted upon her high horse, smelled the stinking, rotten deceit wafting off of Brook Lynn as she flounced away to take her important business call.

Olivia was quite the busy bee that day. Prior to portending doom all over Brook Lynn's newfound freedom, she stopped off at Lulu's table to lecture Lulu about loyalty. In Olivia's world, that is a one-way street because she seldom ever extends it to Lulu. I'm not suggesting that Lulu was in the right when she printed the story about Brook Lynn's foolish mistake, but it's not like Brook Lynn was an innocent lamb in all of this. Brook Lynn has been relentlessly hounding Lulu at every opportunity. It's borderline obsessive and makes Brook Lynn look like an insecure teenager rather than a woman in her thirties who has a legitimate gripe with someone.

I just hope that Olivia has a similar talk with Brook Lynn on the merits of loyalty when the truth comes out about the shares because, in my book, Brook Lynn has hurt the Quartermaines far more by signing over those shares than Lulu ever could have done with that article. Not that it matters, because Olivia's beef with Lulu wasn't about loyalty to the Quartermaines but rather loyalty to Dante. Olivia always seems to forget that Dante is the one who ended the marriage and made it clear that he was not coming back. Lulu has a right to move on, and Olivia should be grateful that she's with a nice guy like Dustin because Lulu hasn't always been the best judge of character.

Sadly, I fear things will only get worse for Lulu now that Dustin will be collaborating with Brook Lynn on some music as she prepares to relaunch her music career during the 2020 Nurses Ball. I love the annual Nurses Ball, but isn't that like a step up from a mall performance? The whole point of the Nurses Ball is that the skits and musical numbers are performed by doctors and nurses, not professional performers.

Lulu is going to have her hands full because not only will Brook Lynn remain a thorn in her side, but Charlotte seems to be headed down a dark path. Did Charlotte trip Jax in Kelly's when he was fetching scones? The worried expression on Nina's face suggested that she suspected as much because she knows that Jax is far too graceful to trip over his own feet. Plus, Charlotte looked guilty as sin when Nina glanced at her.

Charlotte already has a very well documented history of bullying and aggressive behavior, suggesting that this runs far deeper than recently having had her heart crushed when Nina left Valentin at the altar. I'm fairly certain that Charlotte has seen at least a bit of her father's nefarious deeds over the years, including his attempt to kill Ava when he shoved her off the parapet. I will never forget how Charlotte stopped in the very spot where Ava had stood only seconds earlier to peer over the ledge.

These things have an impact on impressionable young minds. Kids see and understand far more than most adults give them credit for, and Charlotte's life has been particularly challenging because of all of Valentin's lies and machinations.

I have little pity for Valentin if he should end up losing custody of Charlotte because, as much as he loves his daughter, he has seldom put her best interests ahead of his own. I have no doubt that he would have gone to his grave with the truth about Charlotte's maternity and conception if his hand hadn't been forced. He's a selfish man who only thinks about what he wants, which is why he lured Nina outside of Kelly's to manipulate her with all that talk about how he likes her haircut and vowing to wait until Nina's relationship with Jax burns out.

No doubt, Valentin has either been stalking Nina and saw her go to the salon, or he hired someone to follow her and they reported back to him that she had cut her hair. If he truly loved Nina, and he regretted what he had done, he would stop playing mind games with her. He's always going to be deceitful and do things that he keeps from her because Valentin is his mother's son. The question is, who was Valentin's sire? I shudder to think.

Speaking of mystery people, Jordan reached out to someone on a secret burner phone that she had stashed in her office credenza. Who was she bouncing ideas off of? It better be Taggert. Oh, please, let it be Taggert!

I realize that Jordan's report to the Department of Justice about Taggert and his partners conspiring to frame Cyrus will complicate things for Taggert once he steps out of hiding, but that can easily be resolved with Taggert working out a deal with another agency that required him to fake his death as part of the agreement. Taggert needs to return, if for no other reason than to give Trina some peace of mind. Plus, I can't imagine that Portia's affair with Curtis is not going to return to haunt everyone. Things like that always do when there's a possibility of a paternity switch.

Meanwhile, Laura and Kevin put a plan into motion to have Cyrus transferred to Ferncliff until Mac could build a solid case against Cyrus. I'm not a lawyer, but even I saw at least two or three felonies in that little plot of theirs. Luckily, Robert stopped them.

I love that Robert, Laura, and Kevin are teaming up to deal with Cyrus. I'm okay with laws being bent to take down someone like Cyrus. He's a bad guy that is beyond redemption, but I haven't forgotten that he has some partners overseas. Things are seldom random on soaps, so I can't help but wonder if there is a bigger plot at work here, and a puppet master is pulling Cyrus' strings -- and secretly calling the shots on the outside in Cyrus' name.

One thing is certain, Cyrus could not do this alone, which means that someone other than Jordan and her team might be a target. Most likely, that person is Sonny. Who from Sonny's past would work with a man like Cyrus Renault? I can think of several, but they are either dead or locked up.

I don't know where this is headed, but I hope that Jordan will soon be relieved of duty and Mac put in charge. I don't care if Laura gives Jordan a pardon, but it's time for a new police commissioner because Jordan has way too much baggage to remain effective in her job. Admittedly, I'm not happy with her because poor T.J. has been pulled into Cyrus' vendetta against Jordan, and now his fate rests in her incompetent hands.

Jordan fumbled everything with Cyrus by failing to protect those closest to her once she realized that Cyrus had been targeting her old team. Presumably, she was Cyrus' right hand and knew him best, yet she failed to put any kind of security on T.J. She then made a bad situation worse for T.J. by breaking the heart of the woman he loves. I'm not suggesting that Jordan should have told Molly what was going on with T.J., but she didn't have to be so cruel about it. She could have advised Molly not to make matters worse by going public with what had happened or perhaps reminding Molly that as the police commissioner and the mother of the missing person, she was in the best position to determine when to be concerned and when to back off.

Now, Molly appears to be ready to make a point, and if her scenes with Brando were anything to go by, she intends to make that point with him.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. First, there's a considerable age difference between Molly and Brando, which shouldn't matter because both of the actors and characters are adults. However, I've watched Haley Pullos grow up, so it's different with her because I still see the young teenager that she was not too long ago. My second issue is that I'm rooting for Molly and T.J. to work things out. I've seen Molly and T.J.'s love story unfold over the years, and it's not fair for T.J. to lose Molly like this.

T.J. deserves better. He and Molly overcame so much to be together, and now, when he has a bright and promising future at GH, I don't want him to lose everything that he worked so hard for. T.J. is one of the good guys who would give a person the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it. I want him and Molly to have an opportunity to work through their differences and decide for themselves if they can find a compromise or not. I don't want the decision to be made for them through a series of unfortunate events and poor choices made in the heat of the moment.

Despite Molly's interest in Brando, I have a feeling that he only has eyes for Carly. Yes, she's very much married to his cousin the mob boss, but there's something in his manner, especially when he sees Carly with children, that makes me think he's smitten. I also see a spark of interest in Carly. He's already her hero because he saved her life, plus he's handsome, soft-spoken, and has just enough bad boy in him to give him an edge, which is Carly's kryptonite.

If it were anyone else, I would love to see where things might go. After all, it's a soap opera, and marriages are always tested. However, this is Sonny and Carly we are talking about, and we've been down this road so many times that most of us can expertly navigate it with our eyes closed. It always ends the same -- Sonny and Carly get back together. It doesn't matter if one or both marry other people because, eventually, they will leave their spouses for each other. Just ask all of their exes.

Random observations

I'm not a doctor, but I've had surgery (emergency and elective) a time or two, so I know that elective surgery is scheduled in advance, not done the same day as with Wiley's heart surgery. I also know that a hospital doesn't need to have the consent of both parents to operate. One is sufficient, and if, by chance, one of the parents does object to surgery, then a hospital would call in Social Services to help determine what is in the child's best interest. They certainly wouldn't let great-grandma lecture the parent before heading into the operating room.

Ratings are up as viewers search for a little escape from their pandemic reality and the constant dire news on the various news channels! As a lifelong soap fan, I am thoroughly delighted. I have hated the daytime lineup since they canceled All My Children and One Life to Live, so I'm hoping this boost sends the powers that be the message that viewers want love and drama in the afternoon, not news and talk shows.

Is Gladys out looking for Dev? Where are they? One minute, Gladys is thanking her lucky stars to have a chance to make amends with her son, then the next minute, she has vanished into thin air and taken Dev with her.

Reader feedback

What annoys me is how the rules never apply to Sonny or Carly or Jason. Nelle is horrible. We all know that. But she's also extremely entertaining and keeps Carly on her toes which I love! Nelle is crazy. She should NOT have full custody, but who is to say she shouldn't have a life with her son? Her attacks have solely been on adults. No one has ever seen her once be cruel to a child. -- moniemone1980

Couldn't Maxie go to the same HR people that supposedly blessed Jax and Nina's affair and complain that Jax declined a raise and promotion that Nina already offered her because of that affair? If I knew that my boss's superior declined something my boss promised me, and said it was because they didn't want the appearance of favoritism because they were dating, HR would be my first call. -- Gloria

If Brad Pitt wanted to marry me, but because if his business, one of my kids was shot in the head and RECENTLY the target of a mob shooting that almost took out him & my daughter. If I was almost killed, if my husband, father in law & best friend were almost killed...if my children couldn't leave the house without a BG or even go to school, I'd tell Brad to go back to Jen :) -- Lucky Lady

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below. 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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