Don't you forget about me

For the Week of September 25, 2023
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There are quite a few people in Port Charles these days who could use a delivery of forget-me-nots to help them to remember. Eddie unwittingly holds the key to Nina's downfall, Sonny's days as Mike appear to be far behind him, and a monster lurks inside Esme. Let's discuss in this week's Two Scoops of absolution and amnesia.

Lately, it feels like the answer to absolution is amnesia. Sonny shot and killed Julian Jerome in cold blood, but a plunge into an icy river and a long bout of amnesia in Nixon Falls earned him a free pass from even being questioned about the shooting when he finally returned to Port Charles. Then there's Esme, who did all manner of evil deeds, including attempted murder and framing an innocent young woman for revenge porn, but a swan dive over Wyndemere's parapet, the birth of her son, and an erased memory bank earned Esme a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Ned didn't fare as well as the others, but his memory loss benefitted another little sinner in town -- Nina. As long as Eddie is around, Nina's dirty secret -- that she tipped off the SEC -- remains buried, and she gets to happily plan her wedding to Sonny and build a relationship with her daughter. She has a lot of incentive to keep Ned from returning and remembering. Unfortunately for Nina, it's not a matter of if Ned will return but rather when. Nina's house of cards is doomed to crumble at her feet, and I predict that her wedding to Sonny will be the catalyst.

In Esme's case, it's a bit more complicated. Her amnesia is real enough, but she's not the innocent waif that she would have people believe.

I see signs of the old Esme all the time, especially lately. If she's not acting shady, she's schlepping Ace around like a prop (doesn't Alexis pay her enough to buy a stroller for the tyke?) and eavesdropping on private conversations. She's also incredibly manipulative, like during her exchange with Gregory when she was once again caught riffling through papers on Alexis' desk. She immediately painted herself the victim of all the mean people who distrust her and are skeptical that she's a changed person. In fact, the only time she mentions her past high crimes and misdemeanors is when she's trying to plead her case that she is not that person anymore.

Esme completely disregards that her victims -- Spencer included -- have valid reasons for not trusting her, especially when she continues to do the same shifty things that she did in the past, like lurk, lie, and deflect. In Esme's world, she came into existence when she emerged from the frozen waters around Spoon Island, so she should not be held responsible for spending the better part of two years trying to destroy the lives of Spencer's closest friends. Esme's attitude is that if she can't remember, then she wasn't responsible. It's why she has zero empathy for her victims.

We learned from Sonny's time in Nixon Falls that amnesia doesn't change who a person is at their core. Sonny was still bipolar, he had the same instincts and reflexes, and he could still make a mean marinara sauce. The same is true for Esme's psyche. Heck, she's low-key pursuing Spencer romantically, despite the fact that he's been openly hostile to her. Esme's attraction to Spencer survived the amnesia, so it stands to reason that other things might have, as well.

If Heather's veiled comments about the circumstances of Esme's adoptive parents' deaths are even half true, I would think that Esme would want to get to the bottom of things for Ace's sake. If I thought I had a monster lurking inside of me capable of killing my adoptive parents and doing the heinous things that Esme had done, I would want to know so that I could safeguard my child by taking steps to make sure that I didn't go down that same road again. Not Esme. She ignores it.

That's exactly how the old Esme would think. Esme also doesn't seem to be the least bit worried that both of her parents were serial killers and that there might be a genetic component to what drove her to do all the things that she did in the past. I know that Esme does love Ace, but sometimes love isn't enough. Heather loved Steven Lars, but her mental health struggles made his life hell whenever she was around.

The problem with doing terrible things and never facing the consequences for those actions is that it dooms us to repeat history. Nina is a perfect example of that. She acted out of spite and let everyone believe that Sonny was dead when she knew that he wasn't. Rather than pay for that selfish choice, she ultimately ended up with the guy. It's why she again lashed out at Carly by secretly tipping off the SEC without any thought to how that would impact others. It was only in hindsight that Nina realized that she had messed up.

Each time Nina lies to Sonny, it gets easier for her. She showed little guilt or remorse for going behind Sonny's back and trying to persuade Eddie to leave town, which would have taken him away from his children and wife. No, Nina was frustrated that she had failed in her endeavors. Now, she's keeping Valentin's secret about Charlotte. She didn't trust her fiancé to keep her secret from his good friend Anna, and that tells me all I need to know about Nina's future with Sonny.

If Nina can't trust Sonny to keep her secrets, then her relationship with him can't survive. It's not like Valentin has plans to keep things from Anna. He only needed to buy some time to figure out exactly what's going on. When Valentin tells Anna about Charlotte, Sonny will soon learn about Nina's role in helping Valentin. Anna will tell Sonny.

Even though I never believed that Sonny and Nina had what it took to go the distance -- I'm genuinely surprised that they've lasted this long -- it feels like Nina has been finding new ways to dig herself deeper and deeper into a hole. Is it intentional? Nina loves Sonny, but she fell in love with Mike, and she's been getting steady reminders of just how different the two are. Sonny's world is fraught with danger and enemies in the shadows. Her rose-colored glasses have begun to chip, and Sonny's arrest was a huge eye-opener. She was terrified when she realized that the people close to Sonny would face imminent danger from his enemies if he should go to jail or worse.

I don't think that Sonny would end things with Nina over her decision to help Valentin, but I'm certain that the lie will come back to haunt her when Sonny learns about her role in the SEC going after Carly and Drew. Michael learned to hold grudges from Sonny. Sonny forgives, but he never forgets, and lately, I've seen more of the old Sonny than ever before, while Mike seems to be fading further and further away.

Now, let's talk about Charlotte.

Charlotte has been revealed to be the one who ransacked Anna's suite -- or so it seems -- but was it really Charlotte? I have my doubts.

Let's start with the footage itself. Both Valentin and Nina repeatedly watched the surveillance video, but each time, they stopped it when they saw Charlotte enter the suite. They never waited to see what happened next. How long was Charlotte in there? Was it enough time to do the damage that Anna and Valentin found, or did she flee seconds later upon seeing the destruction? Did someone else enter the room after Charlotte left? There are a million reasons why Charlotte might have entered that room, and a million more why she might not want anyone to know, the least of which is a fear of being falsely accused of the damage.

Admittedly, Charlotte has a history of extreme behavior. She bullied Aiden in class, and eons ago, she put a snake in Ava's purse. She was also unbothered by witnessing her father toss Ava over the parapet during an argument. In fact, Valentin was horrified that Charlotte thought Ava had deserved it, and it was the reason that he ultimately chose to clean up his act.

There's no denying that Charlotte has had a lot of upheaval in her life, too, especially in recent years, starting with the sudden loss of her mother when Lulu ended up in a coma. The hits kept coming. Victor effectively kidnapped Charlotte and held her prisoner at a posh boarding school in Europe, but she was denied access to her beloved papa. Sadly, after being rescued, Charlotte didn't return to her father's loving arms. Instead, she bounced between her grandmother's home and her little brother's home.

That's a lot for anyone to deal with, let alone a 15-year-old girl. Charlotte has every reason to resent Anna's role in Valentin's life. I imagine from Charlotte's perspective that Valentin has prioritized Anna over his own daughter. However, I strongly feel that Charlotte is a red herring and that someone else has been targeting Anna. I can see Charlotte destroying clothes and leaving accusatory messages, but I just can't see her committing arson.

The only thing that does trouble me and raises some concerns are the tarot cards. Cassadines have a long and dark history with tarot cards, and the cards most recently made an appearance when Victor tried to activate Drew and Jason's programing. What is Charlotte doing with those cards, and do they have anything to do with her sudden closeness to Jake? Don't forget, Jake, too, had been subjected to Helena Cassadine's mind control shenanigans when Helena tried to use Jake to unleash the deadly chimera toxin during the Nurses Ball. It was Valentin who had saved the day -- and Jake.

If Jake is involved, I can't see him setting fire to Anna's home any more than I can see Charlotte carrying out the deed. Jake has no reason to hurt Anna. Yes, Peter August killed Franco, but Anna had nothing to do with that. In fact, Anna was trying to take Peter down. Jason's death occurred on Cassadine Island, but again, Anna was not directly involved, and she had no hand in the tunnel collapse. I still believe that Alex was responsible for the fire and the hit pieces on Anna in the Sun.

I do agree with Anna, though, that Sonny was the real target of the sniper at Metro Court's pool. I have always believed that, and I can't wait for Portia's apology to Anna.

My theory is that Cyrus hired the hit men, and the second shooter was Mason. It's clear that Cyrus sees Sonny as competition, and he's been working to get rid of Sonny for quite some time. It's also obvious that Cyrus' interest in Pikeman is business, and Sonny stands in the way of that. Not for a second do I think that Cyrus has altruistic reasons for wanting to cut Sonny out of the Pikeman shipments. Cyrus had Martin give away his fortune likely because the money in his accounts was a drop in the bucket compared to the fortune that Cyrus has stashed away in offshore accounts. As long as everyone thinks that Cyrus is walking the path of redemption, they are unlikely to suspect him of trying to take Sonny down. That vision during his heart attack was malarky. Cyrus' mind is twisted.

It's all smoke and mirrors, just like Cyrus' gratitude to Drew for saving Cyrus' worthless evil hide. Cyrus turned on Drew the second that Cyrus got wind of Sonny's request to find out who Austin Gatlin-Holt had visited in Pentonville. That's not the act of a man walking with God.

While Drew was getting a beatdown in the prison shower, Diane told Carly that the crooked judge who had sentenced Drew had ambitions for higher office, so Carly might soon receive an offer from the SEC to release Drew early in exchange for information that would lead to Sonny's arrest and conviction. Carly refused to even consider it because she's well aware of the dangerous position that would put everyone in with Sonny's enemies. However, that was before Drew was fighting for his life.

Will Carly have a change of heart when she sees Drew's bruised and battered body at General Hospital? Carly has been known to make rash and stupid decisions when she's upset, and Jason isn't around to talk her down from the ledge. I have no doubt that Carly is going to lash out, and she's definitely going to be tempted to turn on Sonny because she will blame him for Drew's situation, but I don't think Carly will sacrifice Sonny to save the man she loves.

Not only would Sonny's enemies remain a clear and present danger, but Drew wouldn't want Carly to do it. In the end, I think Carly will remember to count to ten and stay the course. The thing is, as hard as it might be for Carly, Drew needs to be inside that prison because it will be the only way to discover that Cyrus is behind everything. It's obvious that Sonny's inside men are absolutely worthless.

Nina will have a lot to answer for when she's confronted with the ramifications for her selfish choices. Drew's brush with death is certain to be mentioned.

That brings me to Gladys, who is long overdue for a big dose of comeuppance. That day appears to be fast approaching now that Cody and Sasha are safely hiding out in the cabin where Liesl held Peter hostage. Sasha knows everything, including how Gladys racked up a massive debt to Selina. More importantly, Dante knows, and both Dante and Sam are working hard to gather evidence against Gladys and Montague.

I'm happy that Sasha knows everything, including how Montague had been drugging her. I hated this storyline, and it will go down as my top pick for the worst storyline of 2023. The torture of Sasha wasn't compelling television, and watching a recovering addict get repeatedly injected against her will with addictive drugs was a level of cruelty that neither Sasha nor the viewers deserved. To add insult to injury, the writers decided to have a guy rescue Sasha. Why? I don't know. Perhaps it was to clean up Cody's tarnished image, but it was the wrong move. In this day and age, people -- women and men -- can save themselves. The damsel in distress schtick is old; I prefer empowering storylines.

I also find it ludicrous to suggest that Sasha went through the physical withdrawal from powerful opiates in a matter of a few short hours. Montague was injecting Sasha with heavy doses on a steady basis to keep her in a near catatonic state. Even the nurses were alarmed by how quickly Sasha had deteriorated. It was completely unrealistic. However, I am grateful that all of that is behind Sasha and that Gladys will soon be facing the music. I can't wait for Sasha to confront Gladys.

Despite how much I detested this storyline, I want to make it clear that Sofia Mattsson is a phenomenal actress, and her performances throughout this storyline have been nothing short of perfection. My complaints are strictly about the writing, not the performers. Cody annoys me to no end, but Josh Kelly is a wonderful actor.

Finally, I can't talk about GH this week without mentioning the tragic passing of Billy Miller. To say that I was stunned and heartbroken by the news would be an understatement. Some celebrity deaths hit harder than others, and this was one of them. I was a fan of Billy's, so I was blindsided.

Since Steve Burton's departure, I have periodically advocated for Billy's return to GH as Jason in my Two Scoops columns. I know there were those who didn't like that Jason had been recast, but I was not one of them. Billy's version of Jason showed real growth when he chose Sam and the life that they had built together over Sonny and Carly. That was so huge because, until that moment, Jason had always sacrificed his own happiness for the well-being of his best friends.

Jason's children -- Jake and Danny -- deserved better, and so did the women who loved Jason. I was incredibly disappointed when the writers undid all that growth by turning Billy's Jason into Jason's long-lost twin who had been given all of Jason's memories. However, Billy turned straw into gold and gave us Drew Cain.

I loved Billy Miller, and he had chemistry with everyone he shared the screen with. I didn't watch him on The Young and the Restless (I'm an ABC gal through and through), but I did watch All My Children, so I knew him as Richie Novak prior to GH. He was a talented actor, and it saddens me that he struggled privately. I can't imagine how difficult this is for family and friends, but I'm forever grateful that Billy shared a piece of his beautiful soul with all of us through his poignant performances and the many acts of kindness that his friends and co-stars shared in their tributes. He will be terribly missed.

Random thoughts and observations

Blair Cramer had an affair with David Vickers? Aunt Dorian's David Vickers? What the heck? Why do Blair and David -- and Dorian, for that matter -- dirty like that? Of all the people for Blair to cheat on Martin with, David is the last person I'd picture her with, especially with Max Holden, Victor Lord (Todd Manning's twin brother), and Todd in the picture. Sorry, but I'm just going to pretend that bit of insanity didn't happen.

Does anyone else get the feeling that Gregory might have been misdiagnosed? I like Gregory, and I wouldn't mind if he stuck around for Tracy. Now that I know that Tracy is trying to get back Lucy's one percent share of ELQ, I understand why Tracy did what she did. It's very much on point for Tracy, and I'm a little ashamed that I didn't figure it out myself.

Robert was an absolute heel to Diane when he excused himself to give Anna that thoughtful gift. Why didn't he just explain that he wanted to brighten Anna's day by gifting her copies of photographs that she lost in the fire? Diane would have understood that.

Reader feedback

Regardless of whether Valentin is being coerced with this Pikeman situation, he has not learned anything from his situation with his father Victor about lying to Anna and keeping her in the dark? This is Anna, not Nina. Trust your damn partner! -- Marci Robin

My dream is that IF Dex has to be related to someone, that he is AJ's son!! Sadly whether he is AJ/Jason's son or Sonny's, he'll ALSO be related to half the town, which is so limiting with future relationships. -- JDF

I absolutely hate plot-driven writing, especially when the writers create a completely unrealistic situation just to create drama. There is no way the US government would've spent three days with Sonny in custody and taken him to arraignment BEFORE they ever opened the evidence. In fact, they wouldn't have even arrested him without having examined the crates. -- Notgoingtotakeit

What are your thoughts about what's going on on General Hospital? Do you agree or disagree with anything that I've shared in this week's column? I love hearing from everyone and reading your thoughts, so drop me a comment in the Comments section below. You can also join us over on the message boards for even more conversation!

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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