And we're back!
This week on General Hospital, Port Charles dealt with the aftermath of Detective Nathan West's death, while others had, uh, stuff going on too, I guess.
To be honest, Friday's episode – which focused in its entirety on Nathan's funeral – was so much better than the entire rest of the week combined. So I'm going to start with that, even though it's not chronologically first!
It was a smart move to make 100% of Friday all about Nathan, with no cutaways to ancillary other characters that would have pulled viewers out of that storyline.
I continue to be totally devastated by Michelle Stafford's performance. She is playing Nina's anger, shock, and heartbreak perfectly.
Michelle was one of my stars of the week, giving far and away one of the best performances. Her delivery of the speech at Nathan's funeral had me straight-up sobbing! The fact that Nina missed out on so much of "Jay's" life while in a coma makes the whole thing so much more painful.
While he didn't get much of a focus during the funeral episode, Dominic Zamprogna also killed it this week. He's incredibly talented and hasn't gotten much to work with recently, so I'm thrilled we got to see him dealing with his grief over Nathan's death.
Of course, I also need to give major props once again to Kirsten Storms. She has been phenomenal (a total powerhouse) from the moment Nathan was shot.
I didn't separately review the week prior's episodes, but she was simply stunning on the actual episode where Nathan died and the one immediately before it. The shock, the visceral grief, the anger – it was all so raw and real. I didn't think she could possibly top it, but she just may have with her performance during the funeral.
Soap operas, in general, get a bad rap for being melodramatic and over-the-top. People who don't watch them tend to think they're all like the most outlandish viral moments of telenovelas, 100% of the time.
But those of us who watch shows like General Hospital know that, while there certainly are goofy and over-the-top moments, soaps also have the capacity to showcase genuine, emotionally affecting performances, as was the case with Kirsten's.
I won't go too much into the particulars, but I think the capacity for this lies in the fact that a lot of the emotions are genuine.
When you work with someone near-constantly, year-round, filming a show that airs five times a week – well, it's simply not the same thing as being on an ordinary show that airs weekly episodes for a few months and then wraps up.
I imagine that the actors form genuine bonds, and I'm sure Kirsten (and other members of the cast) were truly devastated to see Ryan Paevey go! That was certainly, visibly the case when we saw Tony Geary and Jane Elliot's departures in the last few years. You can tell when someone isn't faking sadness!
Anyway – Kirsten portrayed quiet devastation brilliantly, and I can't imagine anyone beating her out for this year's Daytime Emmy.
Seeing Maxie struggle with Nathan's death was tough, but when Ghost Georgie showed up, I just about lost it altogether.
As soon as Maxie slouched to the ground, I predicted we'd get another ghost encounter. I thought it would be Nathan again, but the moment I saw the hand slip into Maxie's, I knew it was Georgie.
The return of Maxie's late sister was excellent and so fitting. It didn't all feel gratuitous or unnecessary. I love that they also had other characters, like Robin, make reference to Georgie and how difficult it was for Maxie to get over that death.
On a personal level, Georgie's death came about at the same time I started watching the show regularly, so she was the first major character I saw General Hospital kill off. For that reason, her character and death always stuck with me.
And when ghost Georgie and ghost Nathan walked off into the afterlife together? Killed me!
Another major development for Maxie – and the one that closed out the week after Nathan's beautifully done funeral – was her finally coming face to face with Lulu.
Though these two best friends have gone through a lot together over the years and have fallen out in ways that seemed irreparable more than once, it was still shocking to see the pure, visceral hatred and anger in Maxie's eyes when she accused Lulu of killing Nathan. And Lulu's devastation and shock in response.
Now, obviously, Lulu didn't kill Nathan. She also didn't force him to go through with her idea about interviewing him to draw out Faison. However, it was all her idea to begin with.
From Maxie's perspective, it seems obvious that, if Lulu hadn't ever suggested the interview, Faison wouldn't have come to town and therefore wouldn't have accidentally shot Nathan.
Of course, we as the viewers know that that's not quite the case.
It's pretty obvious that Faison came to Crimson to confront Peter August (aka, his son Henrik), not Maxie. Jason's suspicious conversation with Peter pretty much confirmed that.
I'm predicting that Maxie will want nothing to do with Lulu for a while, but that she'll eventually learn Faison was coming to Port Charles whether or not Lulu had written the article. This will likely happen when Peter is "unmasked" as Faison's other son.
Speaking of Peter: I'm really into Wes Ramsey's addition to the cast so far.
I remember him as Wyatt Halliwell from Charmed back in the day, and his performance as "Evil Wyatt" in particular. He's really good at doing menacing-yet-conflicted, which is exactly what he's playing here as Peter.
He is, incidentally, also not bad to look at.
I'm also intrigued by the fact that, at the funeral, Peter seemed genuinely upset that Nathan was dead. In his conversations with Faison right before dear old dad finally croaked, he also mentioned he was disappointed at not having gotten to know his brother.
His conversation with Lulu – in which he essentially told her his true life story (minus all identifying information that would've given him away as Faison's son) – also seemed to suggest that he's genuinely grieving Nathan, in a sense.
That makes me think that Henrik/Peter won't remain a villain by default for long. I'm assuming he'll be integrated into the cast and redeemed, Franco-style, with some sympathetic explanation for his hand in what happened to Jason and Drew.
It just remains to be seen who the writers will decide to pair him with. The obvious current choices are Maxie or Lulu.
I sincerely doubt they'd split up Lante again (especially after the whole Valerie debacle was so poorly received), which leaves Maxie.
It would certainly be soapy for Maxie to fall for her late husband's secret brother, without even realizing he was Nathan's brother.
Of course, I don't think Maxie is going to be looking for love any time soon, nor am I advocating for that quite yet – this is all just future speculation! This is a soap, after all. Maxie won't remain alone forever.
It might be interesting to see whether Peter has any chemistry with Nelle, who is quickly veering off into unhinged Fatal Attraction territory.
Chloe Lanier gets an A+ in "crazy eyes."
I mentioned in my last General Hospital review that Nelle would have a lot of potential if they chose to redeem her. Alas, it seems like the writers are more interested in making the crazy stick. Which, again, is a bummer, since Chloe is hugely talented and unhinged villains don't last very long in Port Charles (unless they're Faison, or Helena Cassadine).
But this week, Nelle faced off with Carly and almost slapped her baby's grandma when Carly taunted Nelle with her knowledge of Nelle's mental hospital stint.
I generally like Carly, but the way she acts with Nelle really brings out the worst side of her. Not that Carly doesn't have the right – but man, snide, self-righteous Carly is so hard to watch, when you consider all the shit she and Sonny have pulled and gotten away with over the years!
I almost gagged a few weeks back when Jason assured Carly that her actions as a young woman – nearly identical to Nelle's – were somehow more understandable/more excusable/less bad than Nelle's.
Dude, what? How contrived and nonsensical can you get?
Nelle later confided in Ava that she had a plan to take down Carly. Interestingly, she lied to Ava about what ended her relationship with Michael, insisting it was Carly's interference and not her own pathological lying that caused it.
We still don't know the details of said plan, but it involves calling Carly's cell phone from a payphone and not saying anything, I guess?
I'm bummed about this storyline for two reasons. One, it's pretty clear that Ava's involvement with (or at least knowledge of) Nelle's plan is going to backfire spectacularly for the recently-redeemed Ava.
It's obvious that Ava is desperate to get Avery back, but her sitting back and allowing Nelle to mess with Carly is so obviously a regression for her. Here's hoping it doesn't cost her access to both her kids plus her relationship with Griffin.
Also bad news for Nelle: her desperate and delusional desire to believe Michael still wants to be with her romantically couldn't be more wrong. As if it wasn't already obvious enough, the writers are now giving us a whole lotta this:
It's pretty clear that they're angling to reconnect Kiki and Michael. Which... I don't have any strong feelings about either way.
I guess this means that the Kiki/Griffin hugs were a red herring, or just meant to give Ava something to fret about without it ever coming to pass!
I did enjoy the very first go-around of "Miki," back when Kristen Alderson's Kiki first came to town with "Captain Morgan." I actually didn't like Hayley Erin's Kiki at all in the beginning, but she grew on me and now I love her.
But do I love her with Michael? That I don't know yet.
It also seems odd that these two are now, all of a sudden, reconnecting. I feel like they've hardly spoken so intimately in years, and now there's random hugging and very obvious flirting? Come on, writers! Give me at least a little bit of a slow-burn, huh?
Nelle is obviously gonna go koo-koo-bananas when she realizes that Michael and Kiki are reconnecting. It'll be interesting to see how Ava's newfound camaraderie with Nelle fractures once she realizes that Nelle's scheming could be turned onto Ava's own daughter, if Michael and Kiki do give it another go.
Speaking of "giving it another go": Julexis, anybody?
How hilarious was that scene in the pub where Alexis (with Finn) and Julian (with Kim) ran into one another out at dinner? The entire scene was comedic gold and so soapy. Then when they added in Anna arriving with Robin? Amazing.
For one, Alexis and Finn's friendship is great, and I want it to remain strictly platonic. Nancy Lee Grahn and Michael Easton have flawless banter-y chemistry together.
It was very telling how annoyed Alexis was at seeing Julian with someone else – in spite of the fact that their relationship might potentially cost her the mayor's race.
I still don't fully understand the thought process behind the storyline that split Julexis up in the first place, but the writers seem to have realized they erred and are working overtime to fix it. So that's something.
I still don't fully buy Julian's redemption, but if the writers keep at it at this rate (and let him spend more time with Kim, who is totally charming and deserves more to do), I may be willing to accept the inevitable Julexis reunion.
Another reunion I'm here for is Finn and Anna's. Even Robin is shipping them, y'all!
Unfortunately, the writers seem to be steering away from a focus on Finn/Anna for now. Instead, most of Anna's screentime this week was dedicated to her secret baby with Faison.
Say what now?
Other viewers guessed this twist earlier, when it became clear that Anna was overly-invested in Henrik's wellbeing. I, for one, was hoping beyond hope that it wasn't true.
There's just so much wrong here. Anna spent years being terrorized by Faison. Now, the writers have stuck her with a secret child who was either the result of Anna giving in to her darkest impulses (and going against everything that makes her Anna) by sleeping with Faison willingly or the product of Faison raping Anna. Neither option is good here!
The one bright spot from this extremely disappointing storyline was the big scene between Anna and Valentin.
I'm a huge fan of the chemistry between Finola Hughes and James Patrick Stuart (maybe I just ship Finola with everyone, okay?!) and they're two of the most talented actors on the show. Finola was, as usual, incredible as Valentin confronted Anna with his knowledge of her secret child with Faison.
Of course, the dialogue was a bit clunky in the scene. It was virtually all exposition, for the benefit of cluing the audience in to the newly retconned story of Anna's youth and firstborn child. But James pulled it off decently well and oy, the story was a doozy.
Essentially, Anna dressed as one of the prostitutes that Faison would hire to dress as her, back when she was in spy school, in order to get intel from him to take him down. In the course of that, he either raped her or she voluntarily had sex with him (because she wanted to or because she needed to go along with it for her ruse).
A baby resulted from that. According to Valentin, the baby was a girl and Faison never knew about her. But is Valentin lying?
Almost immediately after speaking to Anna, we saw Valentin call Peter, who he clearly knows is really Henrik. Exactly what role is Valentin playing in all of this? And did he say Anna's baby was a girl when it was really a boy: Henrik?
The show certainly seems to be hinting that Peter is really Anna's son. But if Valentin was telling the truth, that means there's a random fourth child of Faison out there somewhere. Are we going to meet her, in that case?
Basically, my head is spinning, but I'm hoping that Peter's story is worth all of this.
- I love Valentin and Nina together, but that Nina/Franco eyelock during the funeral was so good. Things fell apart between them, but they were great together when Franco drugged himself to be with her in the mental hospital.
- Bradford Anderson popping in as Spinelli was so right. I love Spinelli and Maxie's love-turned-friendship, and his brief return had so many wonderful moments. I particularly enjoyed him giving Maxie a hug from their daughter and his rendition of "Danny Boy" at the wake. I really hope they find a way to bring him back to the canvas more regularly! I love Spinelli, and I'll always have a soft spot for "Spixie."
- You know how I mentioned that Hayley's version of Kiki eventually grew on me? Yeah, I never had that happen with Emme Rylan's Lulu. I loved Julie Marie Berman's Lulu, and I don't think I'll ever enjoy that character (or Lante) quite as much without her in the role.
- I love Sam and Maxie's friendship. I think it's great that the writers realize Sam went through this exact thing when Jason "died" five years ago and are having her be there to support Maxie in her grief. More of this, please!
- I could not be more bored of what's going on with Franco and Lulu. Please, for the love of all that is holy, give Becky Herbst and Roger Howarth (two supremely talented actors) something more interesting to do than this repetitive, un-engaging drivel!
- This week, the show seemed to initiate a new storyline with Sonny and his dad, Mike Corbin. It was pretty clear that Mike is developing Alzheimer's, which is really sad. I think this has the potential to be a great storyline for Maurice Bernard. I'm just glad it's something new and unrelated to the repetitive mob stuff, to be frank.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.