Guys, I'm trying a new format this time; please let me know what you think of it! :)
The Spencer Clan
What Happened: Luke's long-lost sister, Patricia (Dee Wallace), told Bobbie and Tracy that his mental breakdown was likely the result of repressed memories of murdering his parents, Lena and Tim, as a teen (4/1). Luke (Anthony Geary) fatally hit Lena in the head with a bat on accident, trying to guard her from the abusive Tim (Bobbie was too young to remember this). When Tim berated a devastated Luke after a hospital call confirming Lena's death, Luke snapped and struck him dead. Patricia and Bill Eckert covered up any remnants of the event, and she sent Luke and Bobbie (Jackie Zeman) to live with their Aunt Ruby. After this was explained, Patricia, who was already ailing from multiple sclerosis, presumably died from shock (Luke bound and gagged her) and Luke was sent to a psychiatric hospital. Patricia's daughter, Valerie, who was also attacked, nearly slit Luke's throat for revenge (4/8). Later, Luke is cleared for release by a doctor. Laura (Genie Francis) returns to town and alerts Luke that Lucky and Ethan have been kidnapped by Frank Smith and they're commanded to tell no one (6/15). Lulu and Dillon find out and demand to help in the rescue. Tracy is led to believe that Luke dumped her for Laura (6/9) and Dante (Dominic Zampronga) is told Lulu is visiting her grandmother. Dante assumes Lulu and Dillon (Emme Rylan, Robert Palmer Watkins) are having an affair when he discovers she actually booked a hotel room with her ex-lover (6/30). Dante kisses Valerie on 2 separate occasions and they ultimately have sex (7/6). When he learns the truth, he only cops to kissing Valerie (Brytni Sarpy) and makes her vow to keep the rest quiet. Tracy (Jane Elliott) feels that Luke doesn't see her as an equal and he needs time to heal from his childhood revelations; they agree to separate (7/21). Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) finds that Helena Cassadine has had his adopted son, Jake, on Cassadine Island since 2011, when he was thought to have died after a freak accident where Luke hit him with his car (7/6).
My Commentary: The multi-episode flashback arch revealing Luke's parricide was beautifully done and directed, and a sight for sore eyes with continual, in-depth storytelling. It had my heart and caught my tears. It was a sweet thrill to see Laura Wright (who portrays Luke's niece, Carly) as Lena, and Jason Thompson and Rebecca Herbst as GH genesis characters, Dr. Steven Hardy and Nurse Jessie Brewer. The arch was great independently, but within context of the "Fluke" storyline, it still left a lot unexplained. Why break now, after all these years? If the drugs Heather's Miscavige men gave him caused the memory to come back, why would it bring out an evil side? The deaths didn't happen callously. The implication is that Luke is inherently evil, but he assumingly showed no symptoms of this before the trauma. Most of all, this incident doesn't explain the inclination towards womanizing and sexual assault (in addition to raping Laura, Luke attempted to do the same to Kiki and threatened Julian with it against Sam), or logistical details, like being in WSB custody with Julian Jerome. I did like how the writers connected the parricide to Bill Eckert's final words: "forgive yourself for what you did to your mother." Geary suggested last June that this year-long journey (that fans found arduous, by the way) kept him from leaving GH, but allegedly after having a post-surgery epiphany, he opted to go anyway. Rather conveniently, the double-homicide unveiling provided a built-in exit, but the writers wanted to take Luke down the corner of Ridiculous Lane and Unnecessary Road one last time. Jennifer (Frank's daughter) wanted to blackmail Luke into sleeping with her to get "closure" from their broken engagement 35 years ago (6/22). Frank, who's supposed to be dead, wanted to avenge being shot 21 years ago (7/3). A retro villain was resuscitated (and recasted) to be shot again after about 4 episodes (7/6). Oh, and he has something to do with Little Jake (who wasn't born until 2007) being alive, though we won't be told how! It was silly and pathetically underdeveloped. What was the reason for it?! To reunite Luke with his off-canvas sons and ex-boos, Laura and Holly? Him severely needing psychological care was sufficient enough. Was it to bring back Little Jake? Geary theorized the Jake scenario was to redeem Luke from being a child killer, but I think it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with making things more complicated between Liz, Jason and Sam, once Jason regains his memory (more on that in a bit). It would be nice if Jake wasn't killed in the first place or was resurrected to right a wrong, but instead he's being used as a plot device, which I always hate. Luke and Tracy's parting scenes were well-scribed and bright, with Elliott being the queen she can't help but be. The dialogue about how Tracy needs to feed her spirit after chasing Luke and ELQ, and how he needs to recover and can't pick up where he left off gave a powerful and sensible conclusion to their romance that didn't feel hurried or unnatural. The ghosts of Luke's youth reappeared on 7/24, giving him resolve and perspective; again, beautifully done and thorough. Why kill Patricia though? We just got her! I hate when phantom characters are finally brought out of the shadows, only to die almost instantly.
Hayden, Ric, Liz, Nikolas, Jason & Sam
What Happened: In case you missed it, Jason (Billy Miller) was kept alive by the Cassadines. He escaped, got hit by a car, lost his memory and needed facial reconstruction. He thinks his name is Jake (who's really his son). Wanting Liz to himself and away from Jason, Ric (Rick Hearst) paid a woman, Hayden Barnes, to pretend to be his wife. Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) supposes Helena hired her. When he questions her, she denies it and they randomly begin a sexual relationship right there (4/8). Carly (Laura Wright) has Spinielli investigate Hayden to see if she's legit. He finds the male model that Hayden posed with for faux wedding pictures. In the middle of Ric's (really sweet Bruno Mars "Marry Me" performance/slideshow) proposal to Liz (Rebecca Herbst) at the Nurse's Ball, Carly Kanye'd him with the model by her side and exposes the fraud (5/1). Knowing Liz would make a bee-line to Jason, Nikolas told her his true identity to avert another shocker down the line. Initially, she was going to take the high road and announce to Jason's loved ones he was alive, but then she got crazy eyes. She convinced herself the universe was throwing her a bone (literally and figuratively) and this was her chance to finally be with Jason (5/5). She then took him home and made love to another woman's husband. Nikolas had Hayden (Rebecca Budig) shot in the head to keep her from telling his and Liz's secret, leaving her in a coma (5/18). He was finally able to sweep ELQ from Michael after tricking Nina into thinking she sold Franco's shares to Michael via Rosalie (6/1) and blackmailing Brook Lynn for hers via Sloane (6/15). Lucy voted in his favor to break a tie (6/23). He claims he did it to recoup Cassadine wealth that Helena and Victor were siphoning with their diabolical projects (not the strongest motive, but at least the writers finally gave him one). Both Lucky and Laura found out about Jason, but Nikolas used reverse-psychology to ensure their silence.
My Commentary: Though I really enjoyed Hayden's love scenes with Nikolas (she threw him against a wall once; I got my life!), her shag-every-male-stranger-on-sight sex drive is written in a way that feels satirical. Outside of that, Hayden is a witty, perceptive and unapologetic straight-talker and I love her. She's fun. I honestly felt sorry for Ric; what a waste of a nice proposal! Haha! I dreaded that moment for him, but it had to come. He was on a good track for a minute. Boy, was the apple calling the orange fruity when Liz told Ric was he was never "good enough" for her and scolded him for lacking honesty and respect and being full of "self-doubt, obsession and insecurities." How dare she chastise Ric for not changing when she was being the same ol' thirsty, desperate woman she's always been?! Fans of the character were upset she was written to be making yet another deplorable choice to snatch a man and chase Jason again. JaSammers (fans of Jason and Sam) were rioting, and all others found her act just down-right dirty. I personally can't wait until Sam and Carly find out. It should be an epic blood-bath. If the writers do this right, we're talking an Emmy-reel-worthy scene for Kelly Monaco (Sam). Speaking of Monaco, she slayed more than usual in May, pouring so much heart and skill into all these little moments and filling out scenes. For example, the silent, but palpable pain she conveyed on 5/14 where Sam came across her and Jason's wedding bands (Jason's ring was recently returned to her after being lost for the last few years). Over the May 15th/18th live tapings, Sam was in a side-plot position (confronting Jason about Duke's murder, whom she had no relationship with), but Monaco was a such a standout, her scenes with Miller were amongst the top talk.
Sabrina, Michael, Morgan, Kiki, Ava & Avery
What Happened: To get Baby Avery back in Sonny's hands, Morgan (Bryan Craig) swapped out Michael's allergy meds for pills that would interact more significantly with alcohol, causing him to appear as a drunken, unfit guardian. A wobbling Michael (Chad Duell) knocked over Avery's stroller while she was in it (4/8). Michael eventually caught Morgan and pressed charges (4/24), which he dropped after Sonny (Maurice Benard) promised to stop his appeal for Avery's custody (4/28). Dr. Silas (Michael Easton) rescues a wounded Ava (Maura West) and helps her heal while everyone thinks she's dead. He finds she has cancer and kidnaps Avery from Kiki on 4/13 to take her bone marrow (6/3). To elude previous murder charges, Ava resurfaces in PC disguised as Denise Demuccio, a separated-at-birth twin sister (6/1). The marrow altered her DNA and she burned her fingerprints to not get caught by police. Ava is devastated to know Morgan is dating Kiki again (6/9) and that she can't have access to Avery; Michael returned the infant to Sonny to bury the hatchet (6/29). Michael also calls a truce with Morgan (6/3). Ava tells Franco (Roger Howarth) about her charade (7/6) and in exchange for destroying the evidence she killed Connie, she agrees to help him get Nina back. Ava and Morgan can't resist each other (he believes he's just drawn to "Denise" because she looks like Ava) and after multiple close-calls, they have sex (7/17). The 2nd time, they're caught by Silas. With his daughter's boyfriend cheating on her and the mentally unstable Nina (his ex-wife) starting to believe she took Avery, Silas swears to blow Ava out of the water, even if it means jail-time for him (7/30).
My Commentary: The stroller accident and Michael's drugging scenes were pretty exciting and entertaining. He was making a public fool of himself, getting crass with everyone, including the police and his lawyer...poor Alexis. It was great watching "off-the-hinges" Michael--mouthy, insubordinate, persistent and emotional--that's the Michael I know. This white-knight, white-washed thing has gone so far, they even had him being the 1st to stop sex with new girlfriend Sabrina, to "take things slow." Sabrina, the character who's walking holy water, and at the time was worried about her criminal 1st love being hurt by law enforcement. Absurd. The essential writing problem with M&M (I just had to use that) is imbalance and extremities-Michael's a spotless angel, Morgan's an ignorant devil-which ignores and contradicts their character histories and every precedent set. They deserve their own tailor-made narrative, versus being forced into being AJ and Jason part deux, which was a completely different situation. Michael is the clear winner, when it should be muddier and more complicated than that. I might do a more exhaustive piece on this later. Square pegs are being forced into round holes all around; the prime reason we have to suffer through a needless "MorKi" redux and the ill-pairing of Michael and Sabrina is because there aren't enough young people on GH and soap writers seem too afraid to explore angles that aren't romance-based. Heaven forbid a character is single. Who cares if it's awful for the storyline, redundant or feigned, right? I object to Sabrina and Michael in part because I'm sick of Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) being used as a romantic bridge for other characters and not having a storyline that's all about her. That's why, in hindsight, I hate that her baby didn't live. I hate the Ava poisoning plot was thrown away so quickly and that "Carlina" (Carlos and Sabrina) was so short-lived. Carlos was from her past, and with him, she's wasn't this saccharine sweet, girlish push-over. Proving my case are comments and tweets where viewers imply they're only interested in her because she's with a guy they like (exhibit A). If nothing else, Michael is a boy.
Ava lives! So happy to see West back in action; she's clearly having fun playing Denise. I don't care that Ava is helping Morgan cheat on Kiki. The way I see it, it's karma for her dumping Morgan for his brother. I still can't stand Kiki overall, but I am liking some of the developments with her character and the recast, Hayley Erin. Post-Michael Kiki isn't as whiny and co-dependent. Add this in with Erin's assertive energy (she sells it), and you have a fireball. It was cool to see Sonny actually forfeit his own desires to protect Morgan. Parts of hell must be frozen. In making a (dishonest) parallel of Michael to A.J.'s alcoholism, Morgan said "That's what made Jason a robot." I thought it was fascinating that was Morgan's perception of his namesake. It was a view so vastly different (and unfeeling) from everyone else in the circle, making it more apparent how much of a stranger Morgan is in his own world. His statement also highlighted the uncomfortable and sparingly mentioned truth that A.J. intentionally tried to kill Jason in a car accident years ago and that tragedy is what made Jason the man they know and love.
What Happened: Duke and Anna planned to runaway together and give love a second chance. Before meeting up, Duke (Ian Buchannan) unsuccessfully tried to call off the hit on Jordan (Vinessa Antoine) for being a police informant (she was able to get the upper-hand and kill the shooter; 5/8). On Julian's orders, Carlos (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) cornered and shot him in the abdomen (5/7). Duke made it to the docks and died in Anna's arms. Carlos bragged that he would likely get off for lack of proof, and a grieving Anna (Finola Hughes) shot him (5/15). Commissioner Sloane (Grayson McCouch) helped her dispose of Carlos' body and any evidence (5/20); they tell everyone that Carlos attacked her and escaped arrest. Anna's guilty conscience causes hallucinations of Carlos taunting her (5/22). Sloane's consolation turns into sex (6/1). Anna leaves town to spread Duke's ashes and clear her head (6/8). On 5/18, Jordan had to break her cover and arrest Shawn (Sean Blakemore) to prevent a Sonny-initiated hit on Jason (at the time, it was believed he killed Duke). She pulled him back as began to fire. It's assumed his bullet is what hit Hayden in the head. Jordan confesses TJ is Shawn's son, hoping it will motivate him to take a plea deal and give Sonny up (5/22). He refuses and goes to prison, furious at Jordan for her lies and betrayal, never telling TJ the truth (5/27). TJ (Tequan Richmond) has a department store racial profiling incident that escalates to him hitting a cop (6/11). Ric clears him to leave jail until his 1st court date, but the mayor tells Jordan, who's now the commissioner (6/2), that it will look like preferential treatment if he's released. Jordan caves; TJ resents her more. Sonny intimidates the officer into foregoing his charges and pays TJ's college tuition (6/16). TJ moves in with Sonny until his dorm is ready. This sparks a vendetta for Jordan against Sonny (6/24).
My Commentary: It seems like death was the go-to write out option for Carlivati and his team, and it was aggravating, to say the least. I was so deeply disappointed in and didn't understand the choice to kill Duke, another legacy figure. I wonder what the rationale was and if alternatives were discussed. Duke got AJ'd; brought back from the dead after ages (to the joy of many), only to be murdered 3 years later. Carlivati was given cookies for pulling in old favorites, but he never knew what do with them; they're were either written out of character, given lame or minimal storylines and/or killed. If Duke just had to be scribbled out, Anna could've hid him away, faked his death or pretended to not know where he was. To top off this bitter cake, Julian (William Devry) still won because he eliminated Duke and was the very reason he and Anna were separated in the first place (Duke joined the mob to get retribution for Anna's miscarriage). Anna faulted Duke for his choice, but sought retribution herself; hmph. In the process, she ruined any chances for legal justice in Duke's murder, and because Sloane was busy helping her, Jordan had to blow her cover. I can't believe Anna had sex with Sloane; Duke hadn't been in the ground a week! She didn't seem to have any reservations about it until later, and even then, she talked about revisiting the idea of a relationship with Sloane! Awful. *Shakes head* Sloane went from shady dealings to snitching on Nikolas (5/29), so I think they're trying to clean him up, but I'm not interested in him at all. The "haunting" scenes with Parise were perfection; so fantastically crafted and performed. I love that ghost-Los said what I was thinking about how Anna took action over Duke, but couldn't harm Faison, who staged her daughter's death and held her captive for years (5/22). It was kind of backwards. Sabrina deceived Carlos to give Anna his location, so she's going to be pretty sick with herself when she realizes she had a hand in his death.
Just like Parise, Blakemore showed how under-utilized he was in his concluding episodes. He finally got a moving storyline and he was leaving the show. Antoine (I love her) and Richmond were no slouches either. I can't take Jordan's Sonny witch-hunt (she's trying to find a way to arrest him) seriously. She hates that he got TJ off the hook. Well, if you were less worried about P.R. and your job, TJ wouldn't need Sonny's help. She says she doesn't want her child around mob violence. Um...you sent your kid off to live with a hit-man because, again, your job was the priority. Where was the concern then? Get outta' here, J. From the mayor speaking about diversity at the PCPD, to TJ's arrest and him observing that Shawn's Caucasian counterparts who committed worse crimes got off scot free, the racial commentary in may and June was refreshing and reminiscent of a time where GH tackled social issues. Too bad it was fleeting.
The Nurses Ball 2015 & GH Live!:
2 super fun, entertaining and enjoyable events back to back! The Nurses Ball (5/1-5/5) is always a blast with its scandalous bombshells and amusing sung performances from the cast. My favorite number this year was The Haunted Starlets doing Meghan Trainor's "Dear Future Husband" (Castillo's voice is so beautiful) and, of course, Magic Milo & The Magic Wands, haha. It was wonderful seeing Britt visiting Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel), her mother and Brad (Parry Shen) to chomp on ice-cream and dissect the red carpet. Also, Alicia Leigh Willis reprising her role as Courtney; really sweet moment with a sullen and injured Spencer. GH Live was a treat; aside from a few minuscule errors, the cast handled it like the pros they are. I was hoping someone would mess up, accidentally curse or laugh though; that's the beauty of live TV, right? The Periscope set feed was so awesome! Who knew the stage was so tiny. It was funny seeing who's "house" was next to what. I hope they do it again soon. I cracked up watching Parise hold his "shot dead" staring pose for so long and hearing the word "live" repeated through the dialogue.
Nina & Ric: Ric has the dough for an elaborate extortion plan, but needs to get in on penniless Madeline's (Donna Mills) scheme rip her daughter's inheritance away (5/29)? Planting cribs & baby sound effects to drive an already batty woman (i.e. Nina) battier to convince her she kidnapped an infant so you can have her committed and steal her money is pretty low; even for Ric (7/15). I understand that characters got to have something to do, but this plot does nothing for the players because it's not designed for long-term effects or repercussions, and Nina (Michelle Stafford) still won't be integrated into the PC troupe. Additionally, it's almost shameful having Mills in a role where she's chasing the same money for over a year. I feel sorry for Nina; she's pushed and pulled by everyone and hasn't gotten any real sympathy or vindication for what's happened to her.
Nathan, Maxie, Spinelli & Ellie: Nathan (Ryan Paevey) has risked life, limb and employment for Maxie (Kirsten Storms), and she left him dangling in her romantic indecisiveness, in the end choosing Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) on 4/13. Nathan and Ellie's efforts to make Maxie and Spinelli jealous worked and they instantly went back to their respective partners with no penalty (5/6). The whole thing was so rushed and random, I wondered what the point was. Maxie doesn't deserve either guy, in my opinion. Ellie (Emily Wilson) eloquently and logically reading Maxie down for her selfish, childish and flaky behavior on 4/14 was everything I needed.
Ned & Olivia: Ned (Wally Kurth) foolishly sold his ELQ shares to Franco (4/16) to keep it on the hush that Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) was pregnant with Julian's child, but it got out anyway at the ball, where Olivia gave birth (5/8). The infant was ill, but once his health improved, Olivia put the child in hiding and told Julian he died (5/19), which is pretty screwed up, though I get her cause.
Helena's Last Hoorah: Tying into Luke's farewell, a neutered Helena (Constance Towers) provides Little Jake (who sees Liz on 7/13), hilariously slaying "Nikolas has finally picked up the gauntlet...exiled me...stripped me of all my power; I'm so proud. I mean, how much more Cassadine could he be?" I doubt this is the last we've seen of her, but her speech about her games with Luke coming to an end was of course terrifically carried out and full of sarcasm (7/9). It was actually a little bit sad; Helena looked so down, haha.
Well, that took a lot out of me; I need some eats!