Blackmail in Port Charles
For the Week of August 14, 2017
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Hanky-panky in the park from Mac and Felicia; Val being set up on a blind date with a guy she's already seen; Rachel, er, Hayden busted succumbing to blackmail; and so much more in this week's Two Scoops.

I don't understand blackmail. I never have.

I suppose that we all have things in our lives that would embarrass us or wreck our lives in some way if people knew everything we have ever said or done in life. If someone found out one of my secrets and said "Embezzle funds, or I'll tell on you." I would say, "So, tell on me." I can't imagine giving in to blackmail in order to run from the consequences of my actions. My life has been blown apart a few times, and I survived it. I have made decisions that would have definitely embarrassed my folks, but they'd never have disowned me. I have wrecked relationships, cars, careers, opportunities, and more. In other words, I am human. I acted impulsively most of my life until I had other people I was responsible for, and then I learned to make myself behave.

Just like Hayden. She did some shady things in her past. But she found love in Finn, and it changed both of them. Love can change people; do you believe that? She has a baby on the way and a new home and is about to start the life she dreamed with her beloved, yet suddenly her previously unbeknownst-to-us ex has shown up threatening to take it all away from her.

As I said last week, I wish she had trusted Finn. I wanted her to tell him. Either A, he would understand and forgive her, or B, he would not forgive her. But for her to risk going to prison for embezzlement while she's pregnant to keep her past from coming out made no sense. Potentially losing Finn wasn't worth the cost. She realized that and was trying to undo it when Finn walked in and caught her in the act.

Now Finn knows. Was he angry? Yes. Was he disappointed in her? Sure. But ultimately, did he say, "I love you, and we can work through this?" Yes, he did, just like we believed he would. But she was unable to accept his grace-filled response.

Why? Because it's hard to trust that people can love you when you screw up, when you are flawed, and when you feel wholly unworthy of such great love. I have trust issues. I grew up with a Dad who loved me but was sometimes stingy with that love. He would shut me out and stop speaking to me if I did anything to displease him, like get a grade below a B or go to a concert he thought was inappropriate, and once he didn't speak to me for weeks because I cut my hair, and he thought "young ladies should have long hair"…

So, is it hard for me to confess my sins? You betcha. I am constantly jumping through hoops, trying to gain acceptance and to be found worthy. After a lifetime of that, I can count on one hand the people who genuinely accept me as I am.

Thus, I understand Hayden's inclination to hide her error-filled past. When you have had instances of people rejecting you when an imperfection shows, you try to hide them. Hayden's response to Finn will make sense if you take into consideration that people in her past have abandoned her when they discovered she was flawed. Like Prince Nikolas, and who knows how many others?

I'm saddened by this storyline for a plethora of reasons, but mainly because I love Rebecca Budig's work and the relationship Finn (embodied by the soulful Michael Easton) and Hayden have shared.

I want more. I want to see this play out. I want Finn to convince her that he can love her in spite of her flaws. I want to see what that looks like. I want to learn how to overcome that sort of monumental insecurity and to embrace trust in a lover who can overlook your shortcomings and failures and see only your beauty.

But, alas, ABC has decided to end this relationship and send Rebecca Budig out into the night, where Y&R, B&B, or Days will happily scoop her up.

Side note: when Hayden said she had purchased tickets to Zanzibar for her and Finn, my giant jukebox brain immediately jumped to "I've got the old man's car/I've got a jazz guitar/I've got a tab at Zanzibar/Tonight that's where I'll be …"

In other casting news, something wonderful to report, William DeVry will officially be sticking around Port Charles. It's a good thing because soap fans have long memories. I'm still mourning him as Storm Logan (on The Bold and the Beautiful) when he ended his life so his sister Katie could have his heart! If I lost him as Julian, too, I don't think I could take it.

I am delighted that "JuLexis" still has life and will have another chapter to write in their tangled love story. I thought the court scenes were done well and that Alexis stayed true to herself. She told the truth and shed light on both the good and the bad decisions Julian made that ultimately left him a hero who saved her life. I understand her hesitation to forgive him completely, though, because his secrecy nearly cost Alexis her life, and it would be hard to forget that. But this is a soap, so they better be reunited by Christmas. That's my hard deadline, writers. Do you hear me?

Next up, the Phantomess of Port Charles, Ava Jerome. Ava is learning a hard lesson on the truths of being beautiful in this life.

When you are an outrageously beautiful woman, life goes a certain way. Doors open, strangers pay for your coffee, you get away with things others wouldn't dream to try. But when beauty fades, it changes the trajectory of your life.

Not that I know this firsthand; I am ordinary. But I have beautiful friends, and I have observed their lives.

Ava has been able to avoid paying for her crimes, flirt people into helping her, and persuade people like poor Carlos to take the rap for her and do prison time… Heck, you can even put on a wig and convince people you're a low-rent cousin from Bensonhurst, and your beauty is so mesmerizing, they don't see the smoke and mirrors.

But since the fire, Ava has had to do soul-searching and realized that her beauty can't be the thing that carries her through life anymore and that she has to develop a soul and a conscience. She has seen the evil she has done and wants to make amends and become a better person. But when Charlotte saw her at Kelly's and screamed in horror at the sight of her masked, mangled face, Ava probably considered taking Valentin up on his offer.

Readers, don't hate me. You know how much I adore Michelle Stafford and how much I have rooted for Valentin and Nina, but…

I am starting to see great romantic possibilities in a pairing between Ava and Valentin. It's been a long time since Ava had romance in her life, and former hunchback Valentin knows full well what it means to go from hideous to hunky, and he's offering a hand to Ava to take her down the same path. Imagine a custody battle with Sonny and Carly vs. Valentin and Ava over Avery and then another with Dante and Lulu for Charlotte. Oh, my, so much juicy drama on the horizon. Although it must be said that soap custody cases are way more fun than real custody cases.

Just like brain infections… Sam had a brain infection, which made her shoot Sonny and kick him into a hole with her tiny little boot, and I laughed out loud every time they replayed that scene in flashbacks. It's like when Santa in the Christmas Story movie kicks Ralphie down the cotton-covered department store slide with his boot while saying, "Ho-Ho-Ho." It's just plain funny.

Sam was on the verge of telling Carly she shot Sonny when Jason scooped her up mid-sentence and shuffled her along. Carly would have gone from holding Sam's hand and comforting her to hair pulling and face scratching in 0.2 seconds.

Is shooting people a symptom of encephalitis? I don't think I have seen that in any medical journals before. Okay, that's a lie. I don't read medical journals. But it sounds suspect, or there would be a lot more encephalitis murder cases on the news.

Sonny is willing to forgive Sam because he knows what it's like to not be in your right mind and to do things you wouldn't normally do when your mind is playing tricks on you.

Dante and Nathan are on the hunt, though, and my gut tells me this will all come out and that Sam's act of violence will land her in trouble. I don't think local law enforcement will just say "Oh, don't bother arresting her for shooting a man in the leg and kicking him into a hole to die because she has encephalitis."

On a light note, I really dug seeing a couple that is my age getting busted having sex in the bushes at the park. I loved it. In my humble opinion, it would totally be worth spending a night in jail for some old people passion. But wait, it's not the 70's anymore, and instead of a night in jail, you'd get the chair or something. I don't even know. At any rate, the scene was funny and sweet, and I loved seeing John J. York and Kristina Wagner in action.

On the down side, they had to mention "Ask Man Landers," and I'm thinking of making that my drinking game catch phrase on GH. But I'd probably become an alcoholic, so I'd best not.

I'm hoping we get the distance thing between Maxie and Nathan ironed out fast. Either move Spinelli and Georgie back to Port Charles so Maxie can come home (that's my vote), or let Maxie have shared custody of Georgie that lasts until her next vacation.

I am delighted to say that Kirsten Storms looks amazing, healthy, happy, and whole again. I was so touched to read that she told fans that Brandon Barash, her ex, was the one that persuaded her to get treatment for her depression. In my soapy daydream brain. I am hoping that they reunite in real life and that True Love will win out in the end. I always hope for that.

In other fun scenes this week, Olivia committed a Quartermaine faux pas and cooked food in the kitchen of the Q mansion -- a big no-no, as Cook doesn't allow anyone in her kitchen. Olivia tried to bribe Cook to let her in, and when that didn't work, she fired her -- this will not go over well with the rest of the Q clan. I think Olivia integrating into the Quartermaine family is going to be a hoot. It's a kind of culture shock.

I grew up in rural Ohio but moved to southern California back in 1997. After 20 years here, I suppose I've gotten accustomed to being…fancy. I went home two weeks ago for a reunion and stayed in a local motel close to my family. I went to the breakfast buffet at the hotel, and the lady behind the desk said, "How come you got all dressed up for breakfast?" I looked at myself, in jeans, a T-shirt, a ponytail, with no makeup, and thought, "What is she talking about? I'm super frumpy right now." Then I walked into the breakfast bar and saw many other guests in their pajamas and slippers! I had forgotten how genuine and unpretentious Ohioans were, and it made my heart smile. I breathed easier there.

Olivia grew up in Bensonhurst and didn't have a mansion filled with maids, butlers, and cooks. She can't fathom the notion that you can't cook in your own house because the kitchen is the domain of a hired cook. Watching her navigate this new world will be a hoot.

What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Rachel Berlin go back to visit Daddy in jail and sneak in a file? Will Griffin and Kiki bond over trying to save Ava from herself and bust him out of the priesthood once and for all? Will Carly blow a gasket when she finds out Nelle was lying to cover for Josslyn and Oscar? Will Valerie be shocked to find her blind date from Aunt Stella is with Curtis? Will he go out with her to please Aunt Stella and then dump her again? Does Dr. Bench (a.k.a. Max Holden) really think Kiki has potential to be a doctor, or was he hitting on her? Will Kristina sign up for Molly's class so she can trade sex for grades again with Parker?

Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.
Tamilu

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.

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