Readers, I live in a military town, and after all these years of war, too often, my local news starts with the faces of fallen heroes. That's the sort of news that should be front and center, in my humble opinion, versus the trash that passes for news these days, like whatever incendiary things the President tweeted, or which reality star is feuding with another reality star. Fallen heroes don't get good ratings; they remind America that people are dying in wars that we desperately want to forget about.
Sometimes the same is true for policemen. Due to the unconscionable actions of some bad cops, it seems we only hear about officers of the law in stories about the ones who behave badly. But be assured there are real-life Nathan Wests out there in the world, protecting and serving their cities.
Nathan West was a hero, a man who died protecting his wife from a maniac. He was a good brother, a good son, a good friend, a good partner, and heck, I'll admit he was even a good phony Ask Man Landers.
Many soap characters are created in the antihero mold, like the "mobsters with a heart of gold" kind of guys, or people deeply flawed in some other way. But Nathan was just genuinely strong and true and good. There aren't many characters like him on daytime. Dante is kind of a good guy, but he had that whole sleeping with Lulu's cousin thing…
I'm sad to see Ryan Paevey leave, but I understand the desire to try something new and to see what's out there. After the magnificent success of Justin Hartley jumping from The Young and the Restless to the award-winning This Is Us, I'm sure many soap stars are saying, "That could be me." Ryan has already done some delightful Hallmark movies, so maybe he's ready to try his fortune outside of daytime. I can't blame him. He's handsome. He's charismatic. He's a great actor. If I were a casting director, I would snap him up in a heartbeat.
But where does this leave Maxie? As a pregnant, grieving widow, that's where. She has a great support system and people around to love her through this devastating loss, but Nathan was the love of her life. Do you disagree?
I admit when the powers that be broke up Maxie and Spinelli, I was dead set against it, but I was wrong. Of all the loves of Maxie's life, I think Nathan was the best fit. Do I still love her with Spinelli? You betcha. If Ellie dumps Spinelli and he comes back to Maxie and they raise Georgie and her new baby together, I will cheer with glee. But not just yet.
I want to see the grieving. I don't want her to be fine next week, as if nothing happened. That's not realistic. Grief is a process, and I want to see her go through every step of it. Why? Because Kirsten Storms is a brilliant and soulful performer. We rarely get to witness this side of her skill set. We see a lot of snarky Maxie, but not enough heartbroken, devastated Maxie. Kirsten can emote with the best of them. She has broken my heart this week -- and probably yours, too.
This past week of TV has left me in a puddle. From the two gut-wrenching episodes of This Is Us (If you don't already watch it, you MUST. Get on Hulu, go back to episode 1, and bring Kleenex.) And watching the aftermath of Nathan's death on GH, I can barely breathe. The thing about seeing grief portrayed on TV or movies is that if it's done well, and if you have in your life experienced loss, it triggers all of those feelings in your soul. People say, "Time heals all wounds," but that's a lie. You learn how to live beyond loss, but you never really get over the death of someone you love.
The list of beautiful performances this week is endless. GH has the most incredibly talented cast. Where shall I begin?
If you read my column with any regularity, you'll know I have a deep admiration for Michelle Stafford. She is a force of nature, and when she is on-screen, I can't look away. Her words at Nathan's funeral about the coins in his pocket had me ugly crying on my couch. Nina's loss of her little brother, and knowing how many years she lost with him while she was in a coma, her deep love and adoration for him, all came through in her face and voice. Her performance was so true and moving. Also, I didn't anticipate the open casket, so when I saw Nathan lying there in uniform, I bawled.
Dante, played by the wonderful (and I feel underrated) Dominic Zaprogna, was subtle and understated but still very compelling. He was putting on his brave cop face, but Nathan was not only his partner but also his best buddy. Watching Dante silently packing up Nathan's belongings from his desk, when you know he wanted to scream in rage or punish the person who did this to his partner -- the helplessness of it all was apparent on his face. The poem about cops read as a voiceover at Nathan's service was perfect and also made me weep. Like the rest of America, I've had mixed feelings about law enforcement after all the controversial news the past few years, but that poem made me cry for all the good cops who are truly out there on the streets, trying to protect our towns. Great work both vocally and physically by Dom Z.
Every now and then, GH pulls out Ghost Georgie when Maxie really needs her, and every time they do, I'm angry that Georgie was killed off in the first place. Lindze Letherman's Georgie was always a great balance to Maxie's over-the-top emotions. Georgie was steady, calm, and comforting when Maxie spun out of control. I was so happy to see her face, and if one day we find out Georgie never died but was being held captive by Jerry Jax or something and comes back to life, I'll totally suspend my disbelief.
My list of kudos continues with Kathleen Gati. Dr. Obrecht appeared first as a villain, but now, she's just a grieving mom who has lost her son, and she has been so demure and quiet in her grief, it's broken my heart. There was a moment during the memorial service when I saw a look of vengeance in Liesl's eyes. If anyone can sniff out Henrik and hold him accountable for everything that happened to Nathan, I think Liesl is our girl.
It's strange to see Anna and Liesl, who have been at odds since the day Liesl got to town, bonding lately over Faison's death, and on Friday's episode, where Anna put a comforting hand on Liesl's shoulder -- another small gesture that moved me to tears.
But let me digress for a moment… Clearly one person in town knows Henrik, and it's Valentin Cassadine. Valentin told Anna a sad story about her giving birth in a secret place to her and Faison's… daughter. Why? How do these two know one another, and why are they partnering up? Was Valentin helping Henrik rid the world of Faison for Anna? Are they up to something else? If Nina ever discovers that Valentin had anything at all to do with Jay's (Nathan's) death, she will never, ever forgive him.
Peter (a.k.a. Henrik) feels guilt and remorse about his brother Nathan's death. He feels compassion for Maxie, Nathan's widow. He is working to absolve Lulu of her guilt. Readers, don't hate me here, but I agree with Maxie; this is Lulu's fault. If I have to assign blame to anyone, it was, after all, Lulu's dumb idea to use Nathan as bait to lure Faison into town. That plan ended up with Nathan dying. Maxie begged and pleaded with everyone to make sure Faison never found out about Nathan, but no one listened to her.
The worst part is Lulu didn't do this to try to help Nathan and Maxie in their troubles. Her motivation was to advance her career at their expense. In the same circumstance, I doubt I'd ever forgive her -- or even want to look at her again. Did Lulu pull the trigger? No, but she set things in motion. I know she is filled with remorse and regrets ever having written that article, but she did, in fact, write it. Hey, Maxie, Sam has always been a true friend to you; maybe it's time to switch besties.
Speaking of Sam, I was disappointed that it was Alexis who showed up at the door to drop off Danny instead of Sam. When Danny called Jason "Dad," it melted my heart. Sam can't be around Jason because she loves Jason, and when she's in his presence, she can't resist that pull. When you're bored some day, listen to David Wilcox's song "Strong Chemistry" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szRv55H7DPs) -- you know that's where Sam is right now.
Speaking of songs, Spinelli singing "Danny Boy" was downright angelic. Wow, that Bradford Anderson can sing. So lovely. But my husband, who pretends he doesn't watch GH, said, "Aren't his parents Obrecht and Faison? Neither one of them is Irish."
One thing really bugged me about this scene -- Mac and Felicia, Obrecht, Anna and Robin, Spinelli, Amy -- all of these friends and family members left Maxie, their pregnant, widowed daughter/cousin/friend, alone at the gravesite in the snow while they went to the bar and started drinking! They all just left her there! What the heck? (I'm only using heck because this is a family-friendly column.)
But I'm glad for those quiet moments Maxie got with Nathan. When she felt his hands on her shoulders, I cried. When she saw him hand in hand with Georgie, walking into the afterlife, I cried. That's our hope, isn't it? When a loved one dies, we hope they are heading to heaven to be reunited with the family and friends who have gone before. We imagine some happy reunion in the clouds. There are some days where that hope is the only thing that carries me along to the next day.
Another moment that caught my attention was Nina and Franco's eye lock. Remember when they loved each other? Remember when Franco injected himself with LSD to get into he psych ward to be with Nina? Man, I loved them together.
Maybe some cold winter night when Elizabeth finds out Franco is still lying to her and Nina finds out Valentin is buddies with Henrik, Nina and Franco will have a one-night stand in their disillusionment.
But back to Maxie. I have been thinking about Kirsten Storms this week. Yes, I know she's a total stranger, and yet, I am still thinking about her. It must be hard for her to play this storyline. As a person who used to act for a living, I know that when you have to be heartbroken on stage, you have to summon some of your own real-life heartbreak to access those emotions if you want to make it real. If GH plays this right, Maxie will be grieving for months on-camera, and that means Kirsten will have to make herself cry day after day. I hope she has the ability to shake it off at the end of the workday and be present in the joy of her real life!
Chloe Lanier has it much easier; she gets to play a devious crazy person plotting revenge on Carly. What exactly do you think her evil scheme is all about? Were you shocked to find out she did time in a mental hospital? No, me neither. I think Nelle will give Lisa Niles a run for her money. Do you think her new pal Ava will ultimately help her pull off her evil schemes, or will the new, improved version of Ava grow a conscience in the end and tip off Sonny and Carly to what is coming? I really hope so. I want Ava's change of heart to be real. I want her to actually be a better person, not just fake being a better person for Griffin's approval.
I want Ava to think about how her last plot left Morgan dead and stop encouraging Nelle to be evil. But I suspect I'm living in a fantasy world, because Ava's nice girl spell will end as soon as Griffin dumps her for Kiki.
But wait! Michael and Kiki are getting close again. Just wait until Nelle notices that and turns her evil schemes to getting Kiki out of the way, and Ava will again be complicit in someone she loved getting hurt. Just a sudsy prediction.
Mike Corbin… What is going on there? First, Sonny's dad was recast from Ron Hale to Max Gail. Not sure why, but I guess the casting geniuses know what they are doing? I feel like this storyline might be going a different direction than we think. I think maybe the GH writers have been watching Y&R and thought the Dina Mergeron storyline was killer and decided to give Sonny's dad dementia.
Why? He called Carly "Courtney" (Sonny's dead sister for those of you who haven't watched long) -- and the money he thought he delivered was in his cigar box (kind of like Uncle Billy on It's a Wonderful Life, losing the deposit in a newspaper). And Mike's gal Rita telling Sonny, "Mike just hasn't been himself." The lead-in is that this is a mob thing, but I think instead it's going to be that Mike is starting to falter mentally. I am looking forward to seeing if my soapy-sense is right on this one. If so, I think it could be a very compelling storyline.
What will happen tomorrow, dear readers? Will Maxie ever find the family members who ditched her to do shots at the Floating Rib? Will Danny like his new bedroom and refuse to go back to Drew and Sam's place? Will Jim Harvey be the one who helps Drew remember his past, or just get "Bobby" punched in the face? Will Robin encourage her mother to give it a real spin with Finn? If so, will Hayden come waltzing back into town with Baby Hamilton on her hip? Will Nelle's dress fit Josslyn even though they aren't the same size, like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants jeans?
Will Spinelli dump Ellie and bring baby Georgie back to Port Charles to comfort a grieving Maxie? Will Valerie ever get to speak a line, or will she just stand in uniform, looking somber? Will Jordan remind her officers to wear their bulletproof vests in the field? Will Lucky come back to Port Charles to be Dante's new partner? Will Kevin change his mind and decide to study nice guys instead of lunatics and get Nathan's brain in a jar to find out how good guys think?
Only tomorrow knows, dear readers, and I will tune in tomorrow as long as there are tomorrows.
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