Malevolent plots and magical thinking
For the Week of September 21, 2020
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Reality can be challenging, especially for the folks in Port Charles, so it's no wonder that some succumb to the temptation of magical thinking. Luckily, our columnist is ready to separate fact from fantasy and give her take on the good and the bad.

Dear readers, it was a tough week for me to watch GH. September 15th would have been my father's 77th birthday had he not died two days before Christmas from congestive heart failure. I miss him, and the grief is as strong today as it was ten months ago when I got the call. Stronger, in fact, because the shock of learning that I had lost my dad buffered some of the raw pain in those early days.

I don't care how prepared you think you are for a loved one's passing; when it happens, the bottom falls out from under you, and you remain stuck in that freefall for a period of time. Once you do regain your footing, the finality and enormity of the loss hits you. I can't tell you how many times over the last few months I saw something, heard something, or thought of something that I wanted to share with my dad, only to realize that he's not there anymore. I know that he's always with me in my heart, but that isn't the same as hearing his slight German accent, his inappropriate jokes, or his off-key singing when he heard one of his "oompapa" songs.

I was tempted to ask Tamilu to switch with me because I worried that I wouldn't be able to watch Mike's final days without completely falling apart. That proved to be true, but I also found myself uplifted by the touching and loving goodbyes that Mike shared with each of his family members. My absolute favorite part was when Mike looked up and saw Courtney waiting for him in the hereafter. Alicia Leigh Willis hasn't aged a day, and Courtney was the most fitting person to greet Mike. Any parent who has lost a child would want that beloved face to be the first one that they saw in the afterlife, so it was a perfect way to send Mike off.

Without exception, each of the performances, from Eden McCoy to Laura Wright, has been powerful, poignant, and absolutely heart-wrenching, but none more so than the scenes between Maurice Benard and Max Gail. As soon as I saw both men on my television screen, my eyes began to mist because it all felt so real.

The writing for this storyline has been superb, and I'm happy that Sonny got the peace and closure that he needed before his father died. Not all of us are as lucky.

As I said, my dad had congestive heart failure, and in the last year of his life, it seemed that he had spent more time in the hospital and rehabilitation centers than in his apartment. Yet, when the end came, it did so without warning, and he was gone in an instant. There were no final words for any of us. Not for my brother, who had hoped to introduce his firstborn daughter to dad (Ellie was born in April); not for my mom, who, despite their divorce, had remained close to the man she had shared most of her life with; and certainly not for me, who'd been estranged from him because of circumstances beyond my control.

I know that my dad loved me, but I would have liked to have heard those words one last time, especially since I know that he had hated the distance between us as much as I did. Sadly, magical thinking had led us all to believe that there would be more time than there had been.

I've heard a variation of Brando's story about butterflies being a sign that your loved one is with you, and I admit that I take comfort in that idea because I have noticed a lot of butterflies lately whenever I go outside. That's why I completely lost it and wept like a baby when I saw the butterfly fluttering near Sonny and Cary shortly after Mike had died.

I cannot applaud the scribes enough for giving us such a realistic and beautifully written storyline. They stayed true throughout, and they managed to find a way to make it a hopeful message about love and finding peace rather than the decline of a parent. I'm grateful for that, because reality bites these days.

I just hope that the insight that Sonny has gained while repairing his relationship with his father doesn't end with Mike's death. I'd love to see Sonny use what he's learned about priorities and being a good parent to make better choices for Avery and Donna. He's in a much different place in life than he was when Michael and Morgan were children, and he has the money and even the means (Jason) to retire.

Of course, Sam might have something to say about that, but I can't see Jason saying no to Sonny if it means that it will make Sonny, Carly, and the children safer. Jason's vow to Mike that he would always take care of Sonny was not an idle promise intended to pacify a dying man. Jason meant it.

I know there's Cyrus to contend with, but the truth is, there's always going to be a Cyrus waiting in the wings because that is the nature of the beast when you run a criminal empire.

Not only would it be interesting to see how Sam would react to Jason stepping into Sonny's shoes, but it would be equally fascinating to watch Sonny navigate the world of semi-retirement while still running his coffee empire. I want Sonny to honor his father by being the father to Avery and Donna that Mike was in the twilight of his life.

Then again, the writers dug up a bad penny in the form of Winston Rudge, who was living large in Monte Carlo, running one of Cassandra Pierce's old casinos until Holly managed to sneak a call to Robert, pleading for his help.

So many questions, starting with how did Rudge manage to get out of jail without Sonny getting wind of it and sending Jason to kill Rudge or at least break both of his legs? Also, how did Rudge go from being Olivia Jerome's henchman to Cassandra's successor? One theory (not mine) is that Olivia Jerome purchased the casino, and she, too, made like a cuckoo and has flown the D'Archam Asylum coop. Oh, and she is holding Holly as well as Captain Morgan captive.

However, Friday's episode showed that Holly's captor was a man. Jerry Jacks, is that you?

Even though we saw Holly on a monitor in her cell, it doesn't mean that she is the only prisoner, so listen up, powers that be: call Bryan Craig!

I want Morgan to return home, mostly for Avery's sake. It's bad enough that her father is a crime boss, but she shouldn't have to live with the burden of knowing that the mother she loves was responsible for Morgan's death. It doesn't matter that Olivia Jerome intended that bomb for Julian, or that Rudge had planted the explosives in Julian's car, or even that Morgan had had an opportunity to reverse course when T.J. had tried to stop Morgan from stealing the car. Sonny and Carly will always blame Ava for Morgan's death because she had switched his medication with placebos.

I'm not saying that Ava was innocent, but I blame her sister and Rudge far more for Morgan's death than I do Ava.

That brings me back to Rudge and how he failed to immediately recognize the mother of Julian's son. Rudge had been keeping tabs on all of Julian's family members for months when Olivia Jerome was revealed to be alive. I would assume that meant Leo, who at the time was attached -- literally -- to Olivia Falconeri's hip. Clearly, Rudge was off his A game, playing casino owner.

While I am enjoying Robert and Olivia's adventure, I really don't understand Olivia and Ned's sudden marital strife. It seems out of character for Ned to be this out of tune with his wife's feelings, and Olivia should be checking in to see how Leo is doing rather than leaving vague voicemail messages for Ned. I'm sorry, but what is Ned supposed to tell Leo when he asks why his mother hasn't returned home or called?

It's not cool that Olivia has essentially gone radio silent on her husband. It makes her look like a coward.

Ned will have every right to be furious with Olivia for traipsing off with Robert to find Holly. It was dangerous and could have ended very badly. On top of that, she's only avoiding Ned because it turns out that he was right to worry that Dante would break Olivia's heart. Sure, Ned should have been more understanding, but Olivia acted like Dante had vanished into thin air when, in fact, he was in the best hands possible, receiving the treatment that he desperately needed. Plus, Robert had been giving her periodic updates.

As hard as it was, Olivia should have respected Dante's request for space to heal without having to worry that his loved ones would become a casualty of his demons.

Despite my annoyance with Olivia, it was nice to see Ethan Lovett's (Nathan Parson) handsome face. I would love for him to stick around and maybe stir up trouble, break a few hearts, and perhaps help take down Cyrus.

Folks, I'm really liking Briana Lane as Brook Lynn, especially her chemistry with Chase. Willow and Chase were a wonderful romantic pairing, but I don't see Willow running into his arms once she learns what Chase and Sasha did. Sure, it was for the greater good, but it was also manipulative and deceitful. The trust was broken, and since Willow now finds herself married to another man whom she's already half in love with, there won't be much incentive for her to give Chase a second chance.

I see sparks between Chase and Brook Lynn, and I like their dynamic. Brook Lynn challenges Chase in ways that Willow never could because Brook Lynn has a self-destructive streak a mile wide and bad girl tendencies. She would give Chase a run for his money more than Willow ever could, which is why I won't be surprised if Brook Lynn moves from the sofa to Chase's bed in short order. But we all know that rebound relationships seldom last.

Sasha is going to need some help before her growing addiction takes her down the same path that apparently Neil's took him. I have been rooting for Chase and Sasha for a while because I think they both deserve happiness, since they were each willing to make sacrifices for Wiley. Sasha has got a big heart that sadly leads her astray more often than not, which is why she will need someone to rescue her. As we have seen, Sasha likes to keep her pain to herself, and she's incredibly fragile and always has been because she was grieving for her mother when Valentin recruited Sasha to pose as Nina's daughter.

I recall Sasha doing a lot of projecting in those early days with Nina, which I suspect helped Sasha bury her grief. If nothing else, Chase can be the kind of friend that can help Sasha pick up the pieces as she goes into recovery. Unfortunately, I fear that Sasha will get much worse before she gets better.

Meanwhile, the Britch is back, and she is on a revenge tour, decimating the hospital with massive budget cuts that just so happen to have the added bonus of punishing each and every one of her detractors. Kevin isn't fooled. He knows that Cyrus hired Britt to do Cyrus' dirty work because the drug lord has plans for the hospital -- dark, nefarious plans that I'm certain will eventually be tied to Neil's overdose.

I like Britt, and I definitely would love for her to stick around, but not if it means turning a blind eye to what Cyrus is up to. Britt is hardly a paragon of virtue, but I do believe that she's turned over a new leaf. My hope is that Britt will join forces with the rest of the staff -- and Liesl -- to save the hospital from Cyrus' wicked scheme.

I also wouldn't mind if Britt found a way to save Julian because, even though he has done some monumentally dumb stuff, it's always because people keep blackmailing him by threatening to sic Sonny on him. Julian didn't know the truth about Wiley's paternity until nearly a year later when Brad blurted it out then promptly blackmailed Julian to make several attempts on Liesl's life.

In an interesting twist, Nina recalled that Phyllis Caulfield had been the name of the nurse who had cared for Nina when Nina had woken up from her coma. I don't know why, but I immediately thought of Harmony, a.k.a. Lorraine Miller, who has changed her name at least once that I know of, and who was awfully comfortable administering drugs to Shiloh's victims.

Things will really get interesting when Carly finds Nelle's necklace in Avery's possession and runs to Jax with the discovery. What's Jax going to do when he sees that familiar charm necklace and realizes its significance to Nina? Will he wonder how Phyllis is connected to Frank, or will he decide to quash everything to keep Nina from learning that Nelle might have been her daughter?

We all know how Nina feels about lies, even if they are for the greater good.

I'm quite sure Nelle is alive and recovering from some serious injuries thanks to the fall from the cliff. If there had been a body, then they would have found it. The police would have used search dogs to try to pick up Nelle's scent, since she was last seen on foot, and those search dogs would have picked up Nelle's scent if her body had landed in a bloody heap at the bottom of a cliff. The fact that there hasn't been a body recovered tells me that someone found Nelle.

We will see Nelle again, mark my words.

Random observations

Nelle got a second chance to wreak havoc, Britt Westbourne is the hospital's chief of staff, Cyrus Renault is its new chairman of the board, and Winston Rudge was running a casino and playing henchman again, yet Shawn Butler remains locked up in Pentonville? #FreeShawnButler

Hey, GH, I haven't forgotten that Aunt Stella and Trina each had joined an ancestry site that notified both of them that they had an unknown relative living in Port Charles. This is why I remain convinced that Curtis is Trina's father.

Reader feedback

Willow and Michael together doesn't bother me only because I think they have always secretly liked each other. The problem is by having them get married, it ruined the genuine connection they already had because it forced them to be together and quite frankly, I think they would have gotten together eventually anyway. -- BCAD

I am convinced that Cyrus is the reason for Neil's demise. Before the show had gone dark, Laura asked him to head up a drug rehab program to help counteract a growing drug problem in PC. Neil would be just another thorn in Cyrus' side, trying to get addicts clean, thereby cutting into Cyrus profit margin. -- lovethedimples

So Nelle actually did mention Julian's name on the call. She had been on the call for a couple minutes while Brook Lynn was listening and half way during the eavesdrop, Nelle said Julian's name since she was giving him an order. Brook Lynn had to have heard her, but it was indicated as though she didn't so I'm not sure. I was waiting for her to say something when people were visiting her in the hospital. -- moniemone1980

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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