Wow. To hear Carly, Sonny, and Michael tell the story, you'd think that A.J. was a grizzly ghoul closing in to seal their doom, who reeked of the stench and funk of forty thousand years. I half expected to hear Vincent Price's diabolical laughter each time someone finished gabbing about A.J.'s wicked ways this week.
The thing about bringing back a character like A.J., who has such a rich history with the show and a fan following that still recalls each of his storylines, is that you can't get away with sweeping history rewrites. A few tweaks here and there are okay, but writers have to be very careful indeed about going overboard.
Our current storyline involving the Dukelgänger is a perfect example of jumping the shark. The real Duke would never have treat Anna so deplorably by making her suffer the loss of another child.
Simply put, a soap fan has the memory of an elephant, and we don't take kindly to having our intelligence insulted, so tread lightly with history rewrites.
I vividly recall when Carly got pregnant with Michael, so no amount of revisionist history was going to change what I saw unfold. It would have been an insult to try, especially because the writing back then was quite phenomenal. Why mess with success when returns like A.J.'s are juicy enough in their own right.
As a die-hard GH fan and yes, an A.J. fan, I was thrilled -- fist-pumping, singing the Happy Joy-Joy song ecstatic -- when A.J. told Michael his side of the story this week. What made me so over-the-moon happy is that Ron Carlivati stuck to the script of the past. Everything out of A.J.'s mouth was A.J.'s truth and can be backed up. When Michael confronts Sonny and Carly, and he will, they cannot deny anything that A.J. told Michael, unless they lie.
I never agreed with Carly's decision to exclude A.J. from Michael's life because she never really had a valid reason to justify it. A.J. didn't threaten to take Michael away from Carly until she started lying and plotting against him. For a very long time, I honestly believed that A.J. was the better parent. Sure, A.J. had battled alcoholism, but he only fell off the wagon when his life fell spectacularly apart and everyone he respected and loved abandoned him. If he had been in charge of raising Michael, I believe that A.J. would have kept off of the sauce.
Carly and Sonny's chickens were long overdue to come home to roost where A.J. was concerned. Michael deserves to know the whole truth, not just the strongly edited garbage that Carly, Sonny, and Jason fed him over the years. Everything that A.J. feared would happen to Michael growing up in Sonny's world happened -- and worse.
I'm not angry that Michael accused A.J. of lying about Sonny and Carly or that he treated A.J. with such hostility and animosity. Michael does have good reason to resent A.J. because it crushed Michael to be told by A.J. that Sonny and Carly no longer wanted Michael because they had Morgan, their own biological child. Michael also witnessed his grandfather's shooting, the violent struggle on the staircase between his father and uncle, and the subsequent fall that nearly killed both men. Michael was traumatized even further when he witnessed Asher Thomas smother a drugged and paralyzed A.J., whose feet and hands had been restrained to the bed.
I am willing to forgive the writers for ignoring the scene of Michael trying to kill A.J. with that same pillow just minutes before. That kind of history rewrite is acceptable because I'm perfectly happy to forget that Michael himself would have been a killer at the age of ten if Dr. Thomas hadn't entered the room.
I get why Sonny and Carly would be reluctant to share all the ugly details of what transpired between them and A.J., but I think that they should have taken some responsibility for all the ugliness that happened. To my recollection, they never have.
I remember Jason once expressing remorse for the ruthless way they drove A.J. out of Michael's life, but not Sonny and Carly. Those two continue to make excuses to this very day and never utter a single word about the downright cruel things that they did to A.J. Things that eventually led A.J. to align himself with a lethal person like Faith Roscoe. A.J. was wrong for arranging to kidnap all the little Corinthos children, allowing everyone to think that Michael had been murdered, and shooting Alan, but so was Carly for drugging AJ when he was fighting to be sober, ruining his life, and denying him his son. Sonny was no better when he hanged A.J. on a meat hook and then threatened to kill him if A.J. didn't give up his parental rights.
It was a vicious cycle that Carly put into motion.
It really saddens me to hear Michael talk about his father the way that he does, because Michael has no idea just how much A.J. loves him. That is Sonny and Carly's fault, and to a lesser extent, Jason's too. No child should ever feel that their biological parent didn't love them. It's like the ultimate rejection.
I've read some complaints about why they didn't try to get Billy Warlock to reprise the role of A.J., but as much as I love Billy, I'm happy that it was Sean Kanan who returned. Sean played A.J. during the years when A.J. and Jason were close, so when I hear A.J. talk about loving Jason, I can really see it. Literally.
Plus Sean and Steve have such a strong physical resemblance to each other that I doubt that anyone is going to mistake A.J. as anyone other than Jason's brother. It also makes scenes like the one we saw at the end of Friday's show so effective.
I had chills running down my spine when A.J. first stepped out of the shadows and Carly realized that she was looking at A.J., not Jason. Brilliant scene and perfect setup for Monday's showdown. I can't wait.
I'm not sure what A.J. knows about Michael's life during the years since Monica spirited A.J. out of town, but I hope it's enough to ask Carly if she truly believes that Michael had been better off raised as a Corinthos. She can't answer yes while her son Morgan is living under an assumed name at some secret Hogwarts-like military school that Sonny doesn't have access to.
Sure, the Quartermaines are ruthless in their own right, but that is nothing compared to watching a video of your father ordering a hit on someone, shooting and almost killing your father's girlfriend, and buying a gun on the street before you are even old enough to have a driver's license. Michael saw and did all of those things and more. In Michael's world, the bad guys were the good guys, up was down, and wrong was right.
None of that excuses the awful things that A.J. did. However, I firmly believe that he wasn't in his right mind. It took time, and constant berating from everyone around him, for A.J. to slowly unravel. His alcoholism fueled his rage as he repeatedly lost those he loved like his son, his wife, and even his parents to Sonny, Carly, and Jason. Everyone's hands were dirty, not just A.J.'s, but it was Michael who paid the ultimate price.
I'm having a little bit of a hard time swallowing the idea that Steve and Monica were in cahoots all these years about covering up A.J.'s greatly exaggerated demise and subsequent treatment in Europe.
It's not that I wouldn't put it past Steve and Monica to do this, but I just can't see Monica allowing Alan to die without telling him the truth. I also can't imagine her staying away from A.J. all of these years, especially after the heartbreaking losses she has suffered.
By the way, how creepy was it that A.J. was using a passport with Crane Tolliver's name? For those who don't know the name, Crane Tolliver was Lila's good-for-nothing first husband who murdered Susan Moore, Jason's mother. I really hope that was just an oversight on the writers' part, because it's a little twisted to use the name of your brother's mother's murderer.
Then again, the latest man back from the dead was running around a ship called the Haunted Star, dressed as the Grim Reaper and mingling with other guests, several of whom also returned from the dead.
I love Halloween episodes, because I enjoy seeing the costumes, and this year didn't disappoint me at all.
Best Teen Spirit: Michael and Starr's hip Goth-vampires. My favorite by far.
Funniest: Ellie's DNA strand. I just wish someone had tried to tamper with it!
Sexiest: Tie between Maxie's Grecian goddess and Lulu's sex kitten.
Coolest: Mac and Felicia's hippie costumes
Best kid costume: Josslyn's ear of corn was cute, but Emma was working her princess costume big time, especially during her verbal smackdown with Britt, so Emma wins it.
The "What the hell were you thinking?" award goes to Sabrina's bunch of purple grapes. Really? That's the costume you pick to wear when you go out on a date with a hunky hot doctor? Poor Sabrina looked like she got into a fight with an eggplant and then mugged one of the Fruit of the Loom guys on her way over to Patrick's house. Sabrina was a mess, but Britt was a hot mess in that painted-on nurses' uniform.
On a side note, I so wish I could look half as hot as Kelly Thiebaud did in that outfit.
However, you don't show up looking like your next stop is a stripper pole when you are meeting a guy's young daughter for the first time.
I wanted to kiss little Emma when she told Sabrina that she didn't like Britt because Britt was mean. That was the moment that Britt lost Patrick. I love that Emma has Britt's number. Britt is about to find out what it's like to tangle with Daddy's little girl, who has super-spies for grandparents.
Emma and Sabrina's scenes also foreshadowed two awesome events that I'm eagerly anticipating. The first is the return of the wonderfully crazy, in a good way, Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring). Dare I hope that Kevin Collins (Jon Lindstrom) isn't far behind? Lucy will be heralding the return of our beloved Nurses Ball, which was a yearly talent show to raise money and awareness for AIDS research.
I cannot wait to see what the writers have in store for us this year with the revival of the Nurses Ball. They were always such a joy to watch because you were able to see your favorite actors in a completely different light. It was also very clear that the actors had a blast doing it.
I also adore Lucy Coe, so it's going to be wildly entertaining to have her around for a while. My dream scene would be of Lucy, Diane, and Todd. Please, soap gods, hear me.
Speaking of Todd, this week Todd and Carly finally stopped tiptoeing around their attraction to each other and just threw down. On the sofa. However, their passionate makeout session hit a snag when wet-blanket Johnny showed up to beg Carly not to spite him by sleeping with Todd. I was in stitches.
Poor Johnny. He's such a fool. I've been pretty vocal about my dislike for a Todd and Carly pairing because I feel like Todd would be settling for a Blair substitute. However, that doesn't mean that the actors and characters don't have chemistry. They do. Carly has been spending so much time with Todd lately that she often just strolls into the suite without knocking. How can Johnny not see that Carly has been lusting after Todd, to some degree, for quite some time now?
It's clear that Todd and Carly are going to happen, in large part because we know that Kassie DePaiva is returning for a stint. It would be foolish for the writers not to take advantage of the goldmine of drama that would result from Carly and Blair becoming adversaries over Todd. Certain characters are simply more interesting when they are being bad.
Another big development that was announced this week, which is sure to have a huge impact on the Anna/Duke storyline, is the return of Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers). I suspect that Robert is going to be showing up with some news that will shed more light on the Duke storyline, but I hope that it will also be the catalyst for Robert and Anna to join forces to bring their daughter home. I think a storyline like that will not only appeal to a lot of fans, but it will finally put some closure on Kimberly's exit from the show. It's time to make a decision about Robin's fate, because it's not fair to keep Patrick in limbo.
Elsewhere in town, Sam continued to get emotionally slammed. This time it was with some good news. Without much fanfare, which is unusual for a soap, Steve arrived on Sam's doorstep and handed her the paternity test results that confirmed that Jason was Danny's father. Naturally, Sam didn't know what to make of it. Handing someone any kind of test result from GH is rather like handing them a Magic 8 Ball.
Even after Steve assured Sam that he had confirmed with the lab that the test results were legitimate, Sam had doubts. Again, I don't blame her. I would too. However, she soon realized that deep down inside, she had known the truth, which is why she had kept seeing Jason in Danny. After Steve left, Sam indulged in a wonderful fantasy about Jason arriving home and her sharing the good news with him. I really felt bad for Sam when reality came crashing down and she realized that it had just been a dream.
I'm confident that Sam will soon find comfort in John's arms. She might try to fight him in the beginning, but it won't last because she has admitted on several occasions that she feels an undeniable connection to John. It's going to be impossible for a grieving Sam not to want to take comfort from the one place that she's strongly drawn to.
Plus, John feels the same way about Sam. He's not going to be able to ignore the pull any more than Sam can because he's as vulnerable as Sam. He's a father who is being denied access to his son, so naturally he's going to feel drawn to Sam and Danny.