Nurses Ball 2020: Zombies, secrets, and songs
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Lights, camera, sing! The 2020 Nurses Ball kicked off with lots of action and a parade of secrets bubbling to the surface. It was an illuminating week filled with wicked plots, deadly shears, and a hot mic, so sit back and get cozy because our columnist is ready to shine a spotlight on all the exciting action -- and, of course, share some opinions!

Huzzah! The 2020 Nurses Ball did not disappoint this year.

Sure, I missed the red carpet fashions, but I actually liked the telethon setup more than an audience of fancy dresses and suits. The performances were far less flashy than years past, but I enjoyed the original content, cute dance numbers, and the kind words for all the front-line workers and first responders. It was clear that it was the show's way of acknowledging those working to keep this pandemic from taking an even greater toll than it already has. It's just a shame that GH didn't provide a number for viewers to call and donate to because I suspect that they would have raised money this year for a very worthy cause.

To my surprise, this year's toned-down Nurses Ball turned out to be one of my favorites in recent history. Secrets were exposed, Nelle put her horrible plan into motion, and, of course, we finally learned the identity of the person that Jordan talked to on her secret burner phone. I hardly know where to begin, so I'll start with the good.

Marcus Taggert is alive!

I never really had any doubt, but I was thrilled that my suspicions were confirmed at long last when Réal Andrews' handsome face appeared on my television screen. It was wonderful to see Taggert meet Jordan on the docks and for Jordan to reveal that Epiphany had helped make it appear that Taggert had died by administering a drug that had slowed his heart. Taggert was given a new identity and a new life far from Port Charles, which begs the question: how was that accomplished if Taggert has been exposed to be complicit in framing drug lord Cyrus Renault?

I want Taggert to be free to return to Port Charles when everything is said and done with Cyrus. Trina needs to not only be put out of her misery but also to have a chance to reconnect with her father, even though I suspect Portia will be dropping a little bombshell about her daughter's paternity in the near future. After Portia's talk with Curtis when she confessed that her marriage to Taggert had fallen apart because she hadn't been able to get over Curtis, I suspect that part of the reason might have been because Portia had been left with a reminder of their affair.

I do implore the writers not to make Portia another Kim Nero. I'm tired of weak women pining for a man who walked away. It's so unhealthy and a terrible message to send.

Speaking of unhealthy obsessions, Valentin has not given up on winning back Nina. He showed up at the ball on a mission to impress and charm. He was successful on both counts because Nina was unable to peel her eyes off of him. It didn't escape Jax's notice, either, which means that we can look forward to Jax stepping up his game, starting with getting some answers about Nina's special necklace.

I never expected Jax to be a long-term romance because rebound relationships rarely last, but I was hoping that Jax could at least get Valentin out of Nina's system by showing her that there are guys who can treat her with respect.

I was proud of Nina for reminding Valentin that despite his efforts at the Nurses Ball, the end does not justify the means. Trust requires vulnerability and honesty, not lies and secrets. I don't want Nina to take Valentin back because it's a toxic relationship that inevitably reverts back to the same destructive cycle. Valentin hasn't changed, as his little deal with Nelle proves. He knew perfectly well what Nelle was up to when he gave her those documents, which was why he felt compelled to warn her that she would never get away with kidnapping Wiley because Michael would use all of his considerable resources to hunt her down.

Valentin will always be his own worst enemy because he sees himself as a deformed child rejected by his parents and society. He needs to make peace with the past before he's ready for a future. That's truer now than ever because he hasn't even begun to deal with the revelation that he's Helena's son rather than Mikkos Cassadine's heir. He brushed it aside as if it means nothing, but how can it mean nothing when he let Mikkos define so much of his life up until that point?

Valentin is a smooth operator, though, and I couldn't help but notice a spark of chemistry between him and Brook Lynn when they met at Metro Court Restaurant and chatted about his plans for making ELQ a more prosperous empire. Honestly, it surprised me because I haven't seen that kind of energy with Valentin and anyone except Nina and, to a lesser degree, Anna.

Too bad, Brook Lynn will be out of commission for a while thanks to Nelle and her big shiny fabric shears.

Not for a minute do I think Brook Lynn will succumb to her injuries, but that didn't make the scene any less harrowing. Even though Brook Lynn will survive her encounter with Nelle, my gut tells me that there will be a cost because her injury is right where her precious vocal cords are. If I'm right, Brook Lynn is about to face some dark days, which sounds a lot more interesting than watching her trying to revive a music career that never quite took off.

As Brook Lynn slowly bled out, Ned was spying on his wife and Robert Scorpio as the green-eyed monster reared his insecure head. Robert told an ecstatic Olivia that he had managed to arrange for her to sneak a visit with Dante at the WSB facility in Geneva, Switzerland, and that he would take her. I couldn't be happier because that means Dante will soon return to Port Charles and finally resolve things with Lulu.

Mailing Lulu divorce papers was never closure for me.

Dustin rebuffed Brook Lynn when she kissed him because he was happy with Lulu. Will Lulu do the same when Dante appears on her doorstep? The odds are not in Dustin's favor.

If Lulu does reject Dante, that will put him squarely in Brook Lynn's orbit while she's recovering from a near-fatal injury because Olivia will insist on Dante moving into the Quartermaine mansion. Who better to help Brook Lynn deal with the PTSD and the scars from the attack than someone she grew up with who is dealing with his own recovery from similar issues?

While the stars might be aligning for Dante and Brook Lynn, they will never stay that way because Dante and Lulu are soul mates. They have a son, a past, and an undeniable connection. They might not start out together, but I'm certain that they will find their way back to each other.

Folks, we have a mystery. Who defaced Franco's portrait of Ava? I know Nikolas was accused of doing the deed, but I don't recall any real confirmation that he had, in fact, done it.

Is Franco's brain tumor back? I ask because I get the sense that there is something different about Franco. Maybe it's his desire to revive his painting career, but he seems more intense lately. Then again, Liz isn't exactly being supportive, and Nikolas is pushing Franco's buttons whenever possible. I'm disappointed in Liz. She wants to bury the past and never speak of it again, but that's not healthy because you can't escape the kind of history that Franco carries.

Franco was a serial killer. Lives were cut short, and loved ones were left heartbroken.

That brings me to Dustin. What exactly do we know about Dustin's past except that he's a teacher, one-time song writer, and Brook Lynn's ex-boyfriend from her days working at a bar in New York City? A city where Franco began his reign of terror.

Did Dustin slip away to vandalize the painting and remind everyone of Franco's dark and twisted history? A part of me hopes so because Dustin seems far too good to be true. Did he loose someone special to murder? Everyone has skeletons in their closets, especially on a soap.

Just ask Julian, who is having his skeletons being turned against him by a purely evil Nelle. Nelle was quite the busy little havoc-wreaking vixen at the Nurses Ball.

After Brook Lynn overheard Nelle barking orders at Julian, who was sporting a ski mask as he lurked outside the Quartermaine mansion, hoping that Nelle would have a change of heart about kidnapping Wiley, Brook Lynn decided to take bold action. Unfortunately, it was the wrong kind because, instead of calling the police or alerting a single solitary soul about Nelle's kidnapping plot, Brook Lynn confronted the convicted murderess!

What a nitwit! Brook Lynn and Julian are two pea-brains in a pod. If things don't work out with Dante or Valentin, Brook Lynn has a future with Julian.

Stupid Julian could have scored valuable points with Sonny by calling the police and letting them catch Nelle in the act of snatching Wiley. Sonny would absolutely be furious about Nelle's claims that Julian had known the truth about Wiley's paternity long before Brad's lies came to light, but he would also be grateful that Nelle had been caught and sent back to prison, where she belongs. Sonny's a hothead, but he would want corroboration before acting, which means a visit with Brad. If Brad, knew what was good for him, he'd be honest and admit that Julian had learned the truth about Wiley pretty late in the game, long after the die had been cast and set by Brad.

Sonny might hate Julian, but even Sonny would understand a father's desire to keep from hurting his son.

I have serious doubts that Julian will be smart enough to pull the trigger and kill Nelle, even though he would be able to claim that it had been the only way to protect Wiley. Julian has proven to be completely incompetent for a man who once ran a crime syndicate and managed to get out alive. Twice. He's squandered several golden opportunities to turn the tables on Nelle and work a deal out with Sonny, so I fully expect Nelle to find a way to gain the upper hand on Monday and abscond with Wiley, leaving Julian to take all the heat.

More than ever, I don't want Nelle to end up being Nina's daughter because Nelle has now pretty much sealed her fate as completely beyond redemption. The vicious attack on Brook Lynn proved that Nelle remains as deadly as ever. That's not the kind of person that should be raising a child or even walking the streets. Nina deserves better than the likes of Nelle, so I really hope that the writers have one more twist or two up their sleeves before Nina's heart pendant necklace is reunited with its other half.

Another big development was the news about Maxie's pregnancy finding its way to Peter's ears -- and the ears of the entire town, thanks to a hot mic moment. Peter is over the moon, and he eased Maxie's fears by assuring her that she was free to focus on her career because he was more than happy to sell his paper and embrace fatherhood full-time. Overjoyed, Maxie was finally able to relax and take some joy in being pregnant.

Too bad it's not going to last because Spinelli knows that Shiloh was blackmailing Peter about Drew's abduction. Spinelli is ready to run to Maxie with the news, but Robert wisely advised Spinelli to wait. It won't be long before Robert uncovers that Peter was behind Drew's disappearance. At last!

I'm sorry, but I can't root for Peter and Maxie, even with a baby in the picture, as long as Drew's possible death remains a specter over Peter. To me, that is Peter's greatest sin. The stuff with Drew's abduction doesn't matter. Who cares what Shiloh claimed? The man is dead, as are all the key players involved except for Peter. Peter can insist that Nelle is lying, and it would be his word against Nelle's.

Short of a séance, there's no way for Nelle to prove anything. That is, if Nelle survives her latest crime spree. If Julian doesn't kill her, there's a long line of people who just might.

The baby news has Anna questioning if she made the right decision not to pursue the possibility that her twin, Alex, had given birth to Peter. Will that desire become stronger if Anna learns that Peter has been busy ordering hits, framing innocent people, and orchestrating Drew's disappearance?

Finally, Anna and Finn discussed inviting Finn's father to their wedding. Finn declined because he didn't want his father's second wife -- Chase's mother -- to attend.

Seriously, what does Finn have against this woman? Why can he not let this go? It's not like this happened a few years ago because Chase is a grown man. That's the kind of reaction someone might have to a lover who had spurned them, not to their father's new wife. Even if Finn's father had been unfaithful with Chase's mother there comes a time that you forgive and move on, if for no other reason than for the sake of your sibling.

I hope Gregory Chase and his wife make a surprise appearance at the wedding because it's time to get some answers. I have my theories about Chase's paternity.

Random observations

Correction, Ava: it was Charlotte, not Nikolas, who put that snake in your purse during Violet's party. Why has no one told Ava the truth about what happened?

I'm so glad that I'm not married to Curtis. My phone gets an average of ten calls a week from "Unknown Caller," and it's always a solicitor.

I had to chuckle when Nina told Jax she had worn her heart pendant necklace because she had wanted to keep it close. Never mind that she's left it for weeks in her office, often unattended, sometimes with the box open, and other times dropping the necklace on the floor.

Reader feedback

I was really impressed with Nina in the courtroom scenes. I thought she was going to testify for Nelle, and I was grinning from ear to ear like Carly when Nina turned on her and told the truth. I loved Martin's reaction too; he was clucking and posturing like Foghorn Leghorn and it made me laugh. I am not happy that Nelle intends to kidnap Wylie again and I will be really upset if she gets away with it. -- Daffy Sez

When Valentin and Martin were having their conversation at the Metro Court it did make me laugh about the Pine Valley comment. I would love to know why Maya, and Skye especially, gave up their shares to ELQ. Skye used to hold onto ELQ like her life depended on it. -- BCAD

Dante's Letter: "Dear Ma, Send more pencils. Love, Dante" -- Scrimmage

It might be her off week, but Tamilu had some input for this week's column!

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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