The fickle -- and faithless -- hand of fate
For the Week of March 15, 2021
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Peter proved once again to be a chip off of Faison's murderous block, sealing Franco's fate, but will Peter's luck continue, or will karma soon catch up? There was plenty of heartbreak to go around this week as secrets were exposed, love was tested, and relationships crumbled.

Well, I did not see that coming! Franco is dead. Not just dead, but truly dead. There is no coming back from hanging out in a morgue freezer while two of your loved ones weep over your cold, ashen body, hours after you bled out from a gunshot wound to the chest.

A friend on Twitter speculated that the writers might have a big twist up their sleeves and that Franco would be back in a roundabout way. Ryan might be onto something, but the Franco that we knew -- and eventually grew to love -- appears to be good and dead. At this point, nothing short of a supernatural event will bring him back, and I just can't see that playing out right now.

With Franco gone, where exactly does that leave Roger Howarth, who has assured fans that he's not going anywhere?

I've seen suggestions ranging from Franco faked his death to it was someone else in a Franco mask. My husband even weighed in with his own theory that Franco has an identical twin, and that's the real reason he thought Jason was his long-lost other half. Admittedly, though, the identical twin thing has been overdone. I'd rather we find out that Franco had himself cloned during his first go-around with the brain tumor than another twin surface.

If it were up to me, Roger would reprise his role as Todd Manning. I'd love to see Todd return to Port Charles to seize control of the Invader. It would open the door for Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson) to join her father, which most definitely would shake up Michael's life. Both characters fit quite nicely on the canvas the first time around, and now that the Prospect Park lawsuit has been settled, there's nothing really to stop the writers from bringing the characters back.

Then again, Roger could return as Drew Cain. He pretty much assumed the role when Drew's memories were transplanted into Franco's brain, so it wouldn't be a stretch for Roger to step into the role permanently. Honestly, I don't care who Roger plays, as long as he remains on the show. He's an incredibly talented actor who is brilliant at portraying complicated characters.

Franco was just such a character. Once a serial killer with an obsession for Jason, Roger took over the role from James Franco when Franco was diagnosed with a brain tumor that had driven him to kill, kidnap, and commit all manner of mayhem.

There was nothing redeeming about James Franco's Franco, but Roger's Franco was a different matter. Slowly, over time, Franco evolved into a caring, insightful person who deeply regretted the horrors that he had inflicted on others. He accepted that some would never forgive him, and he always strived to do better. He didn't always succeed, but he owned his mistakes and never gave up on making amends to those he could.

There were those who insisted that Franco was inherently evil, and he would eventually kill again. I was not one of those people. Don't get me wrong -- I hated the brain tumor defense because it felt like a cheap cop-out, but that was on the writers. Regardless of how it came about, it was clear that Franco was trying to be a better person. His friendship then love for Nina was the beginning of my being able to move past the Franco he was. His relationship with Kiki, his friendship with Ava, and how he fell in love with Liz all endeared him to me. It wasn't overnight, but I grew to count Franco as one of my favorite characters, especially after he sacrificed himself to save Cameron from Shiloh's diabolical intentions.

Franco's relationship with Liz was both unexpected and incredibly perfect. I'm a huge Liz fan, and I had waited years to see her find someone who loved her and only her. Until then, it always felt like Liz had to share her romantic interests with someone else.

With Jason, it was Carly and Sam -- in that order. With Lucky, it was Sarah then Siobhan; with Nikolas and Zander, the woman first in their hearts was always Emily; and A.J. brought the ghosts of his past into their relationship. Even Ric, who loved Liz to obsession, was never truly faithful to her. If he wasn't sleeping with Faith Roscoe, he was nursing his vendetta against Sonny. I refuse to add Ewan Keenan to the list because his entire relationship with Liz was a con.

Franco was the first man who only had eyes for Liz. His loyalty was always to her and the boys, and he proved time and again that they were family through thick and thin. It was so nice to see Liz genuinely happy with a man she didn't have to constantly compete with another for and to see the boys each develop a uniquely special bond with their stepfather.

It breaks my heart that the one man who had no intention of ever abandoning Liz and her sons was cruelly ripped away from them just when things had gotten downright perfect. Cameron, Jake, and Aiden did not deserve that after all the men before Franco who had drifted out of their lives once things cooled with Liz. It's such a shoddy (R-rated in my head, G-rated for my readers) thing to do, and yet Ric, Lucky, and Jason each did it. The only reason that Jason even has a relationship with Jake now is because Drew had cultivated it when Drew believed that he was Jason.

It sucks that those boys are going to lose the only real father they've had.

As news of Franco's death spread, it was Scott (Kin Shriner) and Cameron (William Lipton) who reduced me to tears. Not just tears, but the ugly cry. The one that leaves you with a lap full of tissues, puffy eyes, stuffy nose, and headache when you are done.

Poor Scott has now lost three children: Karen, Logan, and Franco. As a parent, it's absolutely unimaginable to even think about the loss of one child, let alone three. Scott's grief and fury were gut-wrenching and completely understandable. I'm happy that it was Laura who broke the news to him; it seemed fitting, given all they've been through. Scott and Laura have such a long history together, and when Kin Shriner and Genie Francis share a scene, they light up the screen.

I just hope that Serena flies home to support her father in his time of grief. I also pray that Franco's death doesn't end Scott's relationship with his grandsons because family is more than blood. It's the people who love you, accept you, and are there for you in your darkest hour. The greatest tribute that Franco's loved ones can pay to him is to lean on each other. He would want that for both his father and his boys.

Cam in particular will need that relationship with Scott because both Jake and Aiden still have their biological fathers in their lives. Cameron lost Zander before he ever had a chance to know him. Franco had filled that void in Cameron's life, and now that vacuum is back and bigger than before.

William's performance blew me away. It was raw, realistic, and gripping. That kid is phenomenal, and if he doesn't get an Emmy for his scenes in the living room with Liz -- and later at the morgue when he saw Franco's body -- then the system is rigged. My only complaint about those powerful scenes is that they weren't longer, especially in the morgue when Liz found Cameron on the floor.

As surprised as I was at how Franco had died, I wasn't shocked that the character was killed off because the writers had given us plenty of warning. Franco had an inoperable malignant tumor. In recent weeks, it was revealed that the treatments hadn't yielded any significant results. At least this way, his death has a purpose.

It better have. If Franco's death isn't the catalyst for Peter's downfall, I will be sure to list this as one of the worst storylines of the year when I do my year-in-review in December. You can't have a character like Peter running around killing innocent people without consequences unless that character is one of the Corinthos Untouchables or a supervillain like Jerry Jacks. Even they pay a price for their crimes, which is why Jason was the prime suspect when he stumbled across a dying Franco, and why Jerry lives in hiding.

If Peter is forced to flee to evade jail, I'm okay with that as long as he never lays eyes on his daughter. Let that be his purgatory if it can't be jail. Based on his little chat with Anna at the end of Friday's episode when he spat that Anna -- not his murderous mother -- should have died, it's abundantly clear that Peter is perfectly content to embrace his dark and twisted heritage.

My hope is that Anna's call to Frisco jump-starts an investigation into Drew's disappearance, which will turn up the heat on Peter until he is forced out of Port Charles. I don't have any illusions that Frisco will show up to personally arrest the man who betrayed his daughter so callously, but I do expect Robert to do the honors if Peter foolishly sticks around.

Until then, I'm thrilled that Maxie finally sees Peter for who he really is. There were a few tense moments when I worried that she would accept his outrageous offer to run away, but then Maxie blessedly set Peter straight by telling him that he was not the man she loved. He proved that by thinking -- even for a second -- that Maxie would leave Georgie behind.

Maxie would never willingly abandon Georgie because Maxie knows what that feels like firsthand, thanks to both Frisco and Felicia.

The fickle hand of fate didn't stop with Franco's death and Peter's lucky break. No, Chase fell victim to the whims of fate when Jackie -- fresh from a visit and heart-to-heart chat with Anna about how destructive secrets and lies were -- decided it was time to be honest with her son.

Chase was blindsided by the news of Finn and Jackie's one-night stand on the eve of her wedding to Gregory and the possibility that Chase might be Finn's son. Chase's anger was explosive as he condemned both Jackie and Finn for their betrayal then tossed them out of his apartment, but I did appreciate the self-own when Chase later questioned if he had the right to be so angry after he had manipulated Willow into marrying Michael.

The truth is, Chase is an adult, who, by all accounts, had a fabulous childhood. His relationship with Gregory, and especially his love for the man who raised him, will remain as strong whether they are father and son or grandfather and grandson. Chase won't lose Finn or Violet, either. If anything, he gains a sister and father. Once Chase calms down, I think he will see that, as surprising as the news is, it's not the worst thing that could happen.

Sure, it would have been great if Jackie had told Gregory the truth about her tryst with Finn, so they could tell Chase when he was old enough to handle it, but I understand why she decided to let sleeping dogs lie. She loved her husband, they had a good life, and Finn had stepped away. The past can't be undone, but they make peace with it because there's still Violet to consider. She loves Gregory, Chase, and Finn. For her sake, they need to work things out and find a path forward.

When the dust settles, I'm certain that Chase will want to see the results of the paternity test. He's a detective, and it's in his nature to want answers. There's no point in wondering, and it might impact Violet's future if anything should happen to Finn.

Finn's relationships with Gregory and Chase might be salvageable, but I don't think he will be able to forgive Anna anytime soon. It's not that she decided to keep the truth about Peter from him, but rather that she chose to share it with Valentin rather than the man she planned to marry. I knew that would come back to bite Anna, which is why I've already made peace with Anna and Finn parting ways.

Anna is a wonderful person, and I totally get why she confided to Valentin rather than Finn. Valentin not only loves Peter as a son (which Finn most definitely does not), but Valentin had a better understanding of how Peter might react to the truth about Alex if it were to come to light. Anna's fate was sealed, and the price she will likely pay for her folly in not trusting Finn is losing him.

Will Valentin help Anna pick up the pieces, now that Peter hates Valentin as much as he does Anna, or will Valentin be too busy dealing with Brook Lynn, who is poised to return now that Amanda Setton is back from maternity leave? We will have to stay tuned.

Relationships are hard, and doubly so on soap operas where they are constantly tested by extraordinary situations and incredible challenges. It's rare for any couple to stand the test of time -- just ask Jason and Sam.

Jason and Sam love each other to distraction, and they have overcome so much in their years together -- including Jason returning from the dead -- but it wasn't enough to keep them together. After countless brushes with death for self-proclaimed danger junkie Sam, it was seeing her son nearly become collateral damage in a mob hit that finally made her cut the cord on her relationship with Jason.

Now, it remains to be seen if Jason and Sam can actually follow through with their commitment to move on from each other. I hope so, because I don't think it's healthy for Danny to be worrying about his mother crying for Jason in her bedroom at night when she thinks the kids are asleep. Danny has experienced great loss in recent years with the deaths of his uncle Drew and grandfather Julian, and recently his grandmother Alexis has been in and out of his life. That's a lot for an adult to handle, let alone a young child.

Jason should take both of his sons on a nice long camping trip.

Of course, now isn't the time for Jason to push for a visit with Jake, since Liz blames Jason for Franco's murder. I can't blame her for jumping to the wrong conclusion, given that Jason never really clarified that he wouldn't kill Franco, and he was found standing over Franco's bleeding body. However, the police could have easily cleared the matter up by checking Jason's gun and testing him for gunpowder residue. Since Jason hadn't fired his gun, both would have quickly ruled him out as the shooter.

Luckily for Jason, ballistics will clear him, since Peter fired the fatal bullet. Will Jason be able to vindicate himself before then? Doubtful, since Peter seems to be going with the "It wasn't me" defense. (If you didn't hear Shaggy singing that line in your head when you read it, you are now. You're welcome.)

Finally, Sonny remains blissfully unaware in a fog of amnesia, living as Mike a few towns away from Corinth, Pennsylvania. He appears to be content to sell the few personal items he owns from his past to scrape together enough money to buy a seat at a high-stakes poker game, all in an effort to help Lenny and Phyllis save the Tan-O from having to be sold. It was a sweet gesture, but I'm having a really hard time figuring out what the endgame is with Sonny's amnesia storyline.

Sonny has been missing since Christmas, so we are three months in, and during that time, Sonny has not expressed even a passing interest in researching his past, despite clear evidence (a wedding ring) that he left someone behind. If it were me, not only would I want to be reunited with my spouse, but I would also desperately want to be with the rest of my family, like my children, parents, and siblings. Not only would the support bring comfort, but the exposure to my loved ones and old life might trigger my memories to return.

I would hate not knowing who I was, where I came from, and how I ended up a stranger in a strange land. I certainly would never want my loved ones to suffer, and that's precisely what my disappearance would do to them.

Lenny and Phyllis are lovely people, but it doesn't make sense that Sonny is content to live as Mike, a man with no past or last name. It's sad that he's not willing to move heaven and earth to get back to his loved ones. Of course, Sonny returning home would mean facing a pesky murder charge for Julian's death, but he doesn't know that. If I didn't know better, I'd say Sonny was faking amnesia.

Random observations

With both Julian and Franco dead, I really don't understand why the writers bothered to give Kim Nero a child. At this point, who really cares? It won't impact anyone's life unless Kim dies and the child needs a next of kin to raise him.

Please, give us more of Terry. I love her connection to Liz, and their friendship is one of the best things on this show. To have a childhood friend is a special blessing in life, and it's really nice to see it on a show where friendships are forever tested. Terry deserves a story -- and a romantic interest!

Here's hoping that Jason is smart enough to get his hands on Franco's phone and turn it over to Spinelli, because there's a strong possibility that Peter has already disposed of the murder weapon. If anyone can figure out there's a deleted audio file -- and retrieve it -- it's Spinelli.

Reader feedback

I liked the nod to Martin's chicken finger days on AMC. :) I wish this show would get off this "good mobster" kick -- just because Martin's mom is in good health/good spirits doesn't dismiss that she was kidnapped. -- Andrew

Did I mention that I simply adore James Patrick Stuart? Has anyone been treated to his Bedtime Story (live!) Instagrams?? Absolutely fabulous!! This is *why* I want Valentin to find happiness. Even if he *is* a jerk. A most charming jerk. -- Missez Premise

Since they consummated the marriage, shouldn't Michael and Willow have applied for divorce instead of an annulment? -- Marci Robin

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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