General Hospital: The Best and Worst of 2022 (so far)

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Liz Masters checks in to take the pulse of GH's current storylines in this special edition of Two Scoops. Is GH headed in the right direction, or is there room for improvement? Let's find out.

Six months ago, a friend of mine reached out to me when she started watching GH. A few episodes in, I received the following message:

OMG! GH is on fire. This show is so amazingly better than Y&R with so much going on using so many different characters. At Y&R we have about sixteen characters featured in about four stories, and we see this every single day in some version or other. If you don't like one of the stories you're up the creek.

Since then, Vanessa and I dish about GH every week. Right now, we are debating who Esme's mother might be -- she suspects Felicia, while I'm certain it's the mysterious nanny that Esme fondly recalls. Vanessa is spoiler-free, so it's all pure speculation, but her excitement is contagious. She loves everything about the show, and she often picks my brain to get the backstory on various characters and references. Finally, my superpower -- an ability to retain vast amounts of detail about GH's storylines and characters dating back far more decades than I care to admit -- can shine!

GH has it all. Evil twins? In the dozens. Serial killers, evil villains, and mobsters? Oh, yeah, we have that and more. Royals -- both Aztec and Russian -- international spies, doctors, nurses, and an infamous diamond that once powered a machine capable of freezing the world. So far, 2022 has been on fire.

Let's kick things off with the storyline that has dominated our screens for months and pitted two formidable women against each with claws out and battle lines drawn.

Mommy dearest

Carly Corinthos has met her match in nemesis Nina Reeves. On the surface, these two women are very much alike. They are fierce mama bears who have done some exceedingly awful things over the years in the name of love and revenge. Both have struggled with their mental health, and both have a tendency to make self-destructive choices.

Carly and Nina are perfect soap opera adversaries because both are perfectly willing to bend if not outright break the rules to get what want. For both Carly and Nina, the ends always justify the means. Even when they don't go looking for trouble, it finds them.

Carly despises Nina, and the feeling is very much mutual. Nina kept quiet about Sonny washing up in Nixon Falls during a time when Carly was forced to deal with the power vacuum left by Sonny's absence in the criminal underworld. Not only did it cost Carly the love of the man she was married to, but she also ended up losing the love of the man she married during Sonny's disappearance.

When Sonny returned home, Nina remained a presence in Sonny's life by sharing his secrets and continually turning up wherever he was. I began to question if she had somehow managed to plant a GPS on him, because it was uncanny how she always found him. Not surprisingly, Carly eventually caught Sonny and Nina in bed together, which prompted Carly to file for divorce. Sonny insisted that he wanted to save the marriage, but sleeping with another woman is not the way to do it.

Things really hit the fan when Nina made the foolish decision to push Michael and Willow for visitation with Wiley. When both parties squared up in court, Sonny sat on Nina's side and testified on her behalf. During his time on the stand, Sonny confessed that he had decided to not search for his family prior to Nina's arrival in Nixon Falls. For Carly, it was the final nail in the coffin. Carly is ready to move on.

Nina has just as many reasons to abhor Carly. Carly failed to save Nelle from a fatal fall, and Carly had kept quiet after learning that Nelle was Nina's biological daughter. To Nina, it was an unforgiveable act because Carly denied Nina the opportunity to be Nelle's mother when Nina buried Nelle.

Harmony Miller's deathbed confession to Carly that Willow is Nelle's twin put Carly in a position where she faced a choice: tell Willow the truth or repeat history. After a DNA test confirmed that Harmony had told the truth, Carly opted to learn nothing from past mistakes. She promptly destroyed the results.

I have no idea what will happen, but all the elements are in place for an explosive reveal. Nina is fresh off the heels of a bitter court loss that prohibits her from seeing her beloved grandson, Carly is -- again -- lying to her loved ones, and Willow is thrilled to have the reprehensible Nina out of Wiley's life. There's also a good chance that Willow is either pregnant or sick with a mystery illness because she has been complaining of fatigue for months, had a few bouts of dizziness, and recently fainted.

I'm unabashedly Team Carly, and even though I don't agree with her decision not to tell Willow that Nina is Willow's biological mother (Carly doesn't owe Nina anything), I have to concede that it makes for great soapy drama. When the truth comes out about Nina and Willow -- and it most definitely will -- the repercussions will ripple into next year and possibly beyond.

Papa, can you hear me?

One of the biggest shockers of 2022 so far is not that serial killer Ryan Chamberlain is faking his locked-in syndrome -- most viewers familiar with Ryan's history suspected it -- but rather the discovery that at some point during the past 20 years, he fathered a child. Esme Prince appears to be a chip off the ol' block and every bit as diabolical as her father.

If Ryan were a cat, he'd be on his tenth life. This man has managed to escape death more times than I can count, and the time has come to put Ryan out of commission for good. If he somehow manages to survive this latest round of evildoing, he needs to be locked away where he will never see the light of day again. However, I hope he meets a much more permanent end.

Ryan's exact plans are unclear. Right now, he expects Esme (whose mother remains a mystery) to irrevocably destroy Nikolas and Ava's marriage. Once that mission is accomplished, Ryan intends to take action, which involves abducting Ava, vanishing into the mist, and living miserably ever after with his captive. What Esme gets out of plotting with her dastardly papa is unclear to me, but she appears to thrive when doing bad things. Esme has already wreaked her fair share of havoc when she recorded Josslyn and Cameron's first time making love and framed Trina for posting revenge porn on the Internet. Esme also helped Spencer stalk Ava, and Esme recently succeeded in seducing Nikolas.

As much as I despise Ryan and detest Esme, there's no denying that there's a lot going on with this story, and it's delicious soap opera telling at its best. During a time when people are divided over so many things, GH viewers are united in their agreement that Esme is bad news.

Will Esme end up pregnant with Nikolas' child and exploit the situation to get her hands on Nikolas money and make his life hell? Nikolas would certainly deserve it. However, it's Ava I'm rooting for to prevail in this storyline. I would love to see Ava end Ryan's wicked existence once and for all. Not just for Kiki, but for all the daughters whose lives he callously snuffed out over the years.

As for Esme, I need to learn more about her before I decide if she's capable of turning things around. I want to know about her adoptive parents and how she found out that Ryan was her father -- or if he truly is her father. I look forward to finding out in the coming months.

Love in the afternoon

One of the reasons that I got hooked on GH as a kid was romance. I've always been a sucker for a good love story, and Laura and Scotty delivered in spades, as far as my impressionable young mind was concerned. To me, it felt like a modern day Cinderella story. Scotty was a handsome young prince (the son of much respected Lee Baldwin) and Laura was the beautiful young maiden who struggled to fit into her new life with her birth mother.

Side note: If you've never watched Cinderella with Stuart Damon (Alan Quartermaine) and Lesley Ann Warren, please treat yourself. It's one of my favorite versions of the classic fairy tale and a wonderful musical.

As I said, I love a good romance, but GH has been little lacking in this department for quite some time. The writers have no problem penning good stories that bring couples together, but they can't seem to keep them together. Once a couple finds happiness, they either fade into the woodwork or face endless obstacles to their love that eventually pull them apart. It's frustrating because it makes me leery to invest in a pairing, knowing that if they do work out, they won't last.

For example, not one single couple currently on the show has been married for more than ten years. The closest we have to a long-term couple are T.J. Ashford and Molly Lansing-Davis, who have been together since high school. However, we hardly ever see them unless it's to support other characters. Kevin and Laura Collins are more visible, and certainly a wonderful representation of loving and supportive spouses, but they've only been married since 2017.

There are no Edward and Lila Quartermaines or Steve and Audrey Hardys on the show. Even Sonny and Carly, who share three children and four stepchildren have never been married for more than a few years at stretch over the past few decades. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, they are on their sixth divorce from each other.

I understand the need to keep things interesting, but I'm tired of seeing relationships sabotaged -- like when Nikolas slept with Esme for no other reason than she batted her beady eyes at him and showered him with insincere flattery. I loved Nikolas and Ava, and I was certain that his love for Ava was true, but it wasn't. He succumbed to the succubus, and now I find myself hoping that Ava kicks Nikolas' worthless hide to the curb. She deserves better than a faithless husband who would betray his vows as easily as Nikolas did.

I spy with my soapy eye

Romance isn't completely dead on GH. Dante and Sam have found love with each other, Michael and Willow are building a life together, and Brando and Sasha got married. Also, Valentin and Anna have a blossoming relationship with oodles of potential and a storyline slowly pulling them into an odyssey filled with action and adventure.

Anna was Valentin's first love/obsession, but they ended up on opposite sides in the battle between good and evil when she cruelly rejected Valentin's advances. Their story has been years in the making. Even when Valentin was with Nina, whom he loved dearly, the specter of his love for Anna always hovered in the background. Nina felt threatened by Anna because she knew that Anna would always have a place in Valentin's heart.

In the last few months, as this storyline slowly builds, viewers have learned that Valentin has secrets -- the kind that will have far-reaching consequences -- and Anna is unwittingly on his trail. Anna is determined to find out who framed Jennifer Smith with the Ice Princess diamond -- and why. The viewers know that Valentin -- disguised as a French naval officer -- did the deed, but we aren't privy to his motivation or how he got his hands on the diamond in the first place.

This storyline has plenty of intrigue, with multiple facets. Not only is there the budding romance between Valentin and Anna and the mystery of the Ice Princess, but there also is another group of people -- led by Laura Collins -- who are determined to get to the bottom of Luke Spencer's untimely death in a cable car crash that was ruled an act of sabotage. Valentin's father, Victor, orchestrated the shocking death, but we don't know why. The only thing that Victor has revealed about what is driving him is that the Cassadines are facing a threat from an unknown enemy lurking in the wings.

The writers have done a marvelous job of setting up this story, and I've been hooked from the very beginning when Victor returned from the dead. Is Victor the one who abducted Holly Sutton, staged her death, and has been keeping her hidden from the world? What really happened to Jason in the tunnel collapse on Cassadine Island when a search of the ruins failed to turn up any hint of Jason's body? What does Drew have hidden in his memory that Victor is desperate to discover?

I love anything involving the Cassadines, and this is one of my favorite storylines of 2022. I can't wait to see what the writers have in store for us and to learn the answers to all those questions and more.

With the Cassadines, anything is possible.

Twins, zombies, and a poltergeist

Do you know what I find weird? We have all these twins in Port Charles -- Anna Devane/Alex Merrick, Kevin Collins/Ryan Chamberlain, Drew Cain/Jason Morgan, and Willow Tait/Nelle Benson, just to name a few -- yet we have never seen any woman give birth to twins. For once, I'd like to see parents raise a set of twins.

Back when Willow Tait was introduced, and we learned that Nina had a long-lost daughter, I speculated that Willow was that daughter. I thought it would be a great twist and exactly what Nina deserved, given her unreasonable animosity toward Charlotte's well-intentioned teacher. Nina desperately needed a lesson in judging people harshly just because they didn't tell Nina what she wanted to hear. It's one of Nina's worst traits.

To my disappointment, the writers went in a different direction when it was revealed that Nelle owned the other half of Nina's heart pendant necklace. I thought it was a huge missed opportunity and rather shortsighted of the writers, since Nelle was promptly killed off. Nina didn't even find out that Nelle was her daughter until after Nelle was buried, so we never got a mother-daughter reunion. To be clear, I don't think the revelation would have changed Nelle in any way. Nelle was beyond any help that Nina could have given her, and she would have eventually turned on Nina.

But I did feel bad for Nina because she'd been denied the opportunity to be a mother, even if it was for a short time. During those days, I liked Nina.

The Nixon Falls storyline changed my feelings about Nina. Nina has used her grief as an excuse to be manipulative, selfish, and a home wrecker. Despite my disdain for Nina, I am happy that the writers decided to make Willow and Nelle twins. For starters, I feel like they've righted a wrong, and Nina will finally get to have a reunion with a child stolen from her. It won't go well at first, but Willow is a kind and forgiving person. If anyone can help Nina find her way -- and a little redemption -- it's Willow.

It was sad to see Inga Cadranel go, but Harmony Miller's downfall was pretty exciting to watch unfold, and it was a fabulous way to tie up a loose end -- Dr. Neil Byrne's overdose death -- and to give Willow deeper ties to Port Charles. Harmony's deathbed confession also put Carly in a position to either repeat history or choose a different path. Naturally, Carly made the wrong choice. Bad for Carly, but a promise for an epic showdown between Carly and Nina when the truth comes out.

I'm not concerned about Michael because Michael loves his mother. He might be angry with her for a time, but he will forgive her. Willow will show him the way.

The other big storyline that I've been hooked on is the haunting of Liz by the poltergeist of her past. At first, it seemed that Franco had found a way to return to Liz from the dead by taking the form of a sinister apparition that moved her wedding ring around, shredded the dress she wore at their wedding, and set fire to his studio. There were a few other disturbing incidents, but no one was able to figure out what was going on, even when Liz called in an expert for a sťance.

Viewers speculated that Liz had dissociative identity disorder, that Heather Webber was on the loose, and even that Liz's sister Hayden had returned, but the answer was much closer to home. It turned out that Liz had been stalking herself while under the influence of sleeping pills and during bouts of sleepwalking. Liz is certain that it's tied to her grief over losing Franco, but Finn isn't so certain -- and I think he's onto something.

This is such a fascinating storyline because Liz has been through a lot of emotional turmoil during her years in Port Charles. A violent rape after a high school Valentine's Day dance, two miscarriages, the death of a child (who was discovered to have been kidnapped), heartbreaking divorces, kidnappings, terrifying hostage situations, and several brushes with death. Those are just the highlights. Franco's death was the latest heartache in a long string of hardships that Liz has faced over the years.

Finn is mulling over whether or not to call Liz's parents, Drs. Jeff and Carolyn Webber, because he thinks they can help Liz get to the root of the problem. To say I'm giddy at the prospect of seeing Jeff and Carolyn would be an understatement. Liz has always been one of my favorite characters, and I have waited decades for her deadbeat parents to show their faces and explain why they abandoned their teenage daughter and have been absent for all of her adult life.

I need answers, and I can't wait until I get them.

A look ahead

Britt has a secret, and Selina Wu knows all about it. Much of the secret remains shrouded in mystery, but Selina hinted that Britt did something during her time on the lam with Faison that could land Britt back in jail. I'm way more interested in learning the details about what Britt is hiding than in watching people try to find Britt a man to make her happy.

The race is on to prove that Esme framed Trina. If Trina doesn't clear her name before the trial, she could end up going to jail for a crime she didn't commit. I love that Trina has the support of friends like Josslyn and Cameron, but the sparks between Trina and Rory are undeniable. If Trina is going to get a helping hand, I'd rather she get it from Rory than from Spencer. Spencer has made too many mistakes with Trina. For now, I'd rather that Spencer and Trina remain friends.

I have a feeling that Trina is going to need all the friends she can get because the signs point to more upheaval for Trina. Britt isn't the only person in need of advice from a genetic counselor; Portia has need of one, too. Portia was shaken when Curtis revealed that Marshall walked out on his family when Curtis was a child because Marshall had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. There have been several strong hints that Curtis is Trina's father, especially in recent months.

Curtis is a wonderful guy, and Trina will be lucky to have both Curtis and Taggert looking out for her.

Finally, Maxie has moved on with Austin, but is he the right guy for her? I'm not feeling this romance at all. I like Austin. He seems like a nice guy, but he's not the one for Maxie. I saw more chemistry between Austin and Britt than I do Austin and Maxie. To be honest, I was hoping that Spinelli and Maxie would get a second chance now that Peter is dead and gone.

I like the idea of Spinelli and Maxie raising Georgie, James, and Bailey.

How do you feel about the last six months on General Hospital? What are some of your favorite things -- and what are you less than thrilled about? Drop a comment in the Comments box, tell us on our social media channels, are share your thoughts on our message boards.

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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