Checking back into General Hospital
For the Week of August 10, 2020
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What was your favorite part of GH's long-awaited return? Was it Nelle's meltdown in court, Brook Lynn's pact with Valentin, or Dante's return? What about Jason's shocking accident and Sonny's heartbreaking decision for Mike? Our columnist is ready to serve up two hefty scoops of all the exciting soapy action of a week filled with all new episodes.

The hiatus is finally is over! GH is back in action.

Things kicked into high gear right from the start when Nina took the stand then promptly threw Nelle under the bus in spectacular fashion. It was a sight to behold. Nelle began simmering like a pressure cooker on high as Nina told the judge all about Nelle's wicked ways, including how Nelle had blackmailed her new groom into a marriage for show when Nelle learned about Michael and Willow's nuptials. Nina didn't make it off the stand before Nelle's lid blew.

In true Nelle fashion, she played victim to the hilt as she spewed venom at all those who had wronged her. Basically, she gave the judge a front row seat to exactly the kind of manipulative behavior that Nina had just finished describing.

My daughter had decided to celebrate GH's return with me by stopping by for an in-home spa day, complete with charcuterie board, facials, and nail strips for a manicure. At 2:00 p.m., we sat in bed, our nails looking fierce and the bubble-masks tickling our noses as we nibbled on cheese and crackers, sipped our sparkling water, and watched Nelle lose her ever-loving mind. The pièce de résistance was when Nelle clutched her chest and hyperventilated as if she were about to collapse from a heart attack.

Not one person in the courtroom, least of all the judge, took Nelle seriously, which was not the reaction that Nelle had been hoping for. My daughter was disappointed, though, that Nelle, in her fit of rage, didn't throw the heart necklace at Nina, which, I must confess, would have been the cherry on top of the drama sundae that Nelle served up.

It's clear from the documents that Valentin provided to Nelle that she never had any intention of abiding by the judge's decision or even sticking around. Nelle planted a tracking device in Wiley's favorite toy that Willow unwittingly revealed went everywhere with Wiley. I give Nelle major props for the sleight of hand she pulled off under Michael and Willow's noses when she deftly removed the tracking device from the Trojan bear that she had toted in then slid it into Mr. Hopsicle, the stuffed kangaroo that Wiley loves so much.

I just hope that the bug that Nelle planted is secure because if Wiley finds it, he's likely to pop it into his mouth, thinking it's a surprise piece of candy. Toddlers aren't known for their keen observation skills, not that Nelle cares. Wiley is nothing more than a pawn to use against Michael and now Willow, and Nelle has become the Energizer Bunny of revenge.

Valentin is a fool if he thinks that helping Nelle is not going to return to bite him in the rear at the worst moment possible. Nelle has a gift for timing, and even if she doesn't roll on Valentin about the forged documents, she will expect him to help her when she gets caught, because she's too unstable to carry out her schemes long term. Nelle will be caught -- or killed.

I know that I've been advocating for Nelle to be at the center of a murder mystery, which I think would be a perfect way to draw in viewers. A "Who killed Nelle?" storyline is perfect in large part because Nelle is well past any kind of redemption, and I don't think she has a single friend in that town, which means oodles of possible suspects, starting with her newly minted groom, Julian.

It almost feels like Nelle is being set up for just that because it really feels like Nelle is spiraling and growing bolder and more desperate by the hour. How long before Valentin grows tired of Nelle's threats and demands?

Valentin was quite the busy bee as he stepped up his campaign to seize control of ELQ. He dangled the relaunch of Brook Lynn's career as the carrot in exchange for her agreement to say nothing to her family -- including her father -- about Valentin's plans. Stupidly, she thinks that Valentin, out of the goodness of his heart, intends to make ELQ more profitable and, therefore, her family richer.

I hope Ned revokes Brook Lynn's Q card because she is not worthy to call herself a Quartermaine.

Quartermaines might be selfish, diabolical, and at times even vicious, but they are always true to ELQ. It's their North Star and as much a part of their heritage as their last name. That Brook Lynn would make such an important decision without talking to anyone in her family says everything you need to know about her. She doesn't care about anything except herself and her "career."

If Valentin's motives were truly altruistic, why all the secrecy?

To be honest, I'm tired of hearing about Brook Lynn's career. If she hasn't made it by now, with all of the advantages and opportunities that she has been handed over the years, then how talented can she really be? Brook Lynn isn't a twenty-something ingenue. She's well into her thirties, and she's been trying to break into the music industry since her early teens. Not to mention, both of her parents are considered celebrated superstars in the industry, which opened doors that aren't usually opened for most up-and-coming singers.

Brook Lynn might have a great voice, but she clearly doesn't have what is necessary to take it to the next level.

I do concede that Ned's talk with Brook Lynn was a bit misleading. He was lamenting about the toll that running ELQ has taken on his personal life, but let us not forget that Ned is trying to permanently replace Michael as CEO with Olivia's full support. At the very least, Brook Lynn should have reminded Ned that Michael has every intention of taking back the reins of the family empire, so Ned is free to walk away in just a few short months. She didn't because she doesn't want an obstacle to stand in the way of taking Valentin up on his offer.

I hate that Ned is conspiring to unseat Michael because I think Ned is better than that. It's disappointing that Ned is taking advantage of Michael spending time, bonding with his son, and I question what is driving Ned. He's not a businessman; he's a musician at heart.

In the most shocking twist of the week, Jason lost control of his motorcycle and ended up in the middle of the road with a traumatic brain injury. He was rushed to the hospital, and it was determined that his only hope of recovery was exploratory surgery.

Carly authorized the surgery, which brings me to all the signs that Jason was fated to dance with the Grim Reaper.

It all started when Sonny was faced with the heartbreaking decision of whether or not to authorize Mike to receive a feeding tube because his father had stopped eating and drinking. Mike is in the final stages of Alzheimer's disease, and Sonny agonized over what he should do because he and Mike had never discussed these things. Maurice Benard has been giving us his best work with these scenes, and it's gut-wrenching to watch Sonny navigate the last days with his father. I always keep the tissues close because it opens my own fresh wounds over losing my own father just a few short months ago.

Jason realized that it's not a position that he would want any of his loved ones to be in, so he decided to make his wishes crystal clear to Carly that he didn't want to be kept alive on machines if there was no hope for a recovery or a reasonable quality of life.

Like most of us watching, Carly wondered why Jason didn't want Sam to be the one to decide when to let Jason go. Jason explained that he didn't want Sam to be burdened with that responsibility because Danny might grow to resent Sam if she was the one who pulled the plug. That was all nice and good, but to me, it was just another sign that Jason and Sam are more apart than ever.

Wouldn't Danny trust his mother more than anyone to make that decision? More importantly, shouldn't Jason? Yes, it's a huge responsibility, and no one wants to be in that position or to have their loved ones in it, but if you can't trust your soul mate to understand and respect your wishes, then are they really your soul mate?

Additionally, the point of writing a living will, which Jason directed Diane to do, is so that you are the one in control of your fate, even when you are unable to articulate it.

The other portent of doom for Jason was at the courthouse when he ran into Jordan. My antenna immediately went up when Jordan told him that she knew that he had survived an accident that had left him with some cognitive issues, which had led him to Sonny's doorstep, looking for a mentor. I thought it was an odd thing to say, especially that parting comment about Jason making an excellent cop in another lifetime. When I saw Jason on the side of the road, I couldn't help but wonder if that other lifetime was upon us.

I would definitely welcome the shakeup. Jason isn't getting any younger, and he's in an incredibly dangerous line of work. The question is, would Sam welcome a different Jason? She did when Drew believed that he was Jason. Perhaps, Sam is ready for some changes, as well.

I loved Sam's talk with Carly at Metro Court Restaurant when Sam took accountability for what had driven her to infiltrate Dawn of Day, besides trying to liberate Kristina from Shank's evil clutches. Her admission that she wanted to know if she still had it and could con a con had the ring of truth to it. I've always felt that there had been more to Sam's quest to take Shiloh down, and it was nice to have that feeling validated.

I was also pleased that Sam questioned Valentin's motivations for requesting the voting proxy of Danny and Scout's ELQ shares. I just hope that Jason's crisis doesn't push her to give in to Valentin's request because there is no way that Jason would want her to do that under any circumstances. Plus, speaking of a being conned...

Before I move on, I want to take a moment to commend Lindsay Hartley, who has temporarily replaced Kelly Monaco as Sam. I think that she's doing a phenomenal job under such short notice and with so many pivotal scenes. COVID-19 has presented the industry with many challenges, so these types of temporary recasts will likely be a part of our new normal moving forward, at least for the foreseeable future. In fact, on Thursday's episode, Briana Lane debuted as Brook Lynn Quartermaine while Amanda Setton is off on maternity leave.

If a role has to be recast, I'm delighted that we are getting some great talent to fill in. Casting deserves accolades for always finding the right fit. These are unprecedented times, but I'm happy that the show gets to go on.

Now, back to our stories.

Things are heating up at the hospital. Not only is Jason undergoing exploratory surgery, but Maxie showed up to take a pregnancy test. It was her fourth, including the three home pregnancy tests that were positive.

The chances that Maxie is not pregnant are pretty much slim to none, but I'm still holding out hope that she isn't. I just don't want her saddled with Peter's child. Sam was right. Peter doesn't deserve to be living his best life while Drew is dead. It's not right, and I hate how both Maxie and Anna are made to look dumb and blind to keep Peter around. Maxie deserves so much better, as does a poor innocent child.

I don't want Maxie to have a serious health issue, since she is a heart transplant recipient, but I definitely don't want her to be pregnant. Here's hoping that she picked up a faulty batch of pregnancy tests and that her period is late because of the stress of kicking off Deception.

Meanwhile, Cyrus has set his sights on GH, which can only mean that he intends to use the hospital as a clearinghouse for his illicit drug trade. It's laughable to think that in real life, a man like Cyrus would have a prayer of having a prominent role in a hospital. Aren't there laws in place to prevent such a thing? The very fact that the DEA had an active undercover investigation -- regardless of how it ended -- should be enough of a taint to disqualify any hospital from wanting to associate with him.

The big question, though, was what went down at Brando's garage when Cyrus paid him a visit. Was it a ruse to distract Brando while Cyrus' goon slipped in to tamper with the stabilizing bar that Brando had just installed on Jason's motorcycle? Right now, that's my theory, because I don't think Brando would have volunteered to Sonny that he had repaired Jason's bike right before the accident if Brando had done anything to cause the crash. Then again, we have no idea what Cyrus and Brando discussed. Yet.

One of the best developments this week was the return of Dominic Zamprogna as Dante Falconeri.

Dante remains under treatment at a WSB facility. At first, I thought Dante was locked up in the tiny cell-like room, but it turned out that he kept himself isolated on purpose because he continues to have vivid thoughts of killing Lulu, which means that the deprogramming is not going well. Dante spends his days doing push-ups and secretly writing letters to his loved ones, which he then folds into tiny squares and stuffs under his mattress. It's sad and tragic, and I'm really annoyed that the doctors haven't been able to help Dante.

I'm starting to think that Dante would have been better off under Kevin Collins' care. Heck, even Liz could do a better job than the WSB. Just ask Lucky.

I have no idea how long Dominic has signed up for, but I really hope he sticks around long enough to give this storyline some closure. Not only is Olivia suffering, but I don't think that Lulu will ever really be able to move on with Dustin -- or anyone else -- until Dante is recovered and free to choose his own path. She loves Dante, so how can she not hold out hope that he'll return to her?

Overall, I give the writers a solid A for their first week back. Their opening scenes with Nina and Nelle were fantastic, and I'm enjoying all the surprises that they've given us so far. The temporary recasts have worked well, and each storyline is in a really good place. The timing has been great, too; things are moving at a wonderful pace.

Welcome back, GH!

Random observations

I love Felix, but wasn't sharing details about Yvonne's prognosis with Sonny a HIPAA violation? I realize that Mike and Yvonne exchanged vows, but it was a sham wedding. She's still legally married to Marcus.

Thank you to the writers for not acknowledging COVID-19, at least for this first week. Soap operas are an escape, and now, more than ever, we need it. I recognize that it must be addressed to some degree because our new normal includes face masks, social distancing, and small gatherings, but soaps are an alternate universe where miracles happen. That said, I'm digging the new looks many of the actors are sporting. Michael's longer hair makes him look more rakish and less boyish, while Maxie's hair color and style are both fun and chic.

I loved, loved the shout-out to All My Children
(Valentin and Martin discussing their plans for ELQ)
Valentin: "So, now I have Brook Lynn. I have Nelle, Maya Ward, Skye Chandler-Quartermaine."
Martin: "Chandler?"
Valentin: "Why, does that name ring a bell? Family hails from Pine Valley, Pennsylvania."
Martin: (Shrugs) "Eh"

Kudos for the quick recap at the beginning of each episode. It's a great way to set up the new episodes, and I imagine newer viewers are grateful for the insight into what is going on.

Reader feedback

I'm also hoping for a break up between the Big Bowl of Moss and Sonny's Island Countertop. She'll take it hard at first but then realize that the outdoor Coffee Table by the pool is her Soulmate. Someone as big and green as her needs to be outside. -- Audrey

Both Carly and Sonny have done FAR worse than AJ ever did. I am still angry and will NEVER forgive Sonny for murdering AJ. Sonny is irredeemable to me. -- Doreen2

I'm convinced that the only reason why Sonny ever pursued Emily was to pay Jason back for dating HIS sister, Courtney. -- Scrimmage

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email me. 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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