A cad, a rat, a liar -- but not a killer

For the Week of September 19, 2022
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Big things are happening in Port Charles as terror stalks the good citizens of our beloved seaside town. Will Brando survive? Who will next fall victim to the barbed hook? Let's discuss in this week's Two Scoops.

Brando, buddy, I love ya, but what kind of wimpy fight was that? Yikes, my 80-year-old Oma (God rest her 4'8" soul) could have done a better job defending herself than Brando did in that alley. Despite that, I did find myself holding my breath as Brando tangled with the Port Charles Hooker, and Kristina suddenly appeared out of nowhere. For one horrifying second, I thought Kristina would be sliced open, too, but instead, the shadowy figure fled into the stormy night.

I don't know about anyone else, but I hit pause and spent far longer than I should have trying to study the dark-clad image for any clue to his/her identity. Other than their use of their left hand, there was nothing useful to be gleaned. I couldn't even determine the person's height because of the camera angles. At times, it seemed like the person was Brando's height or taller, at others shorter. It could have been anyone.

The most obvious suspect is Ryan. He's not only missing his entire right hand, but he's a serial killer who is currently in a minimum-security prison, pretending to have locked-in syndrome. It certainly wouldn't be the first time Ryan enlisted the help of a disciple to help him in his criminal endeavors, and Victor showed us that the guards at Spring Ridge could be had for the right price. Plus, Ryan has a motive for attacking Ava, and he has a penchant for bloody crime scenes.

It appears the PC Hooker's intended target was Josslyn, but Brando caught the would-be killer by surprise when Brando appeared in the alley. It likely saved Josslyn's life, but it means the PC Hooker had another victim in mind. Given Josslyn's connection to Esme, Ryan would have good reason to want to hurt Josslyn. I just feel that if Ryan had been behind the two attacks, both Ava and Brando would have been killed with the first blow.

Ryan skulking the streets of Port Charles with a lethal hook makes sense, but there are other possibilities to consider. For example, we saw Dex leave Charlie's Pub through the back door just minutes before Josslyn. Did he leave his sunglasses on the table to lure Josslyn to the alley? It's certainly possible. We've already seen Dex's violent side when he gave that sleazy photographer a beatdown on Sonny's orders. Dex had no qualms about hurting someone, and he certainly didn't have any regrets that I was able to see.

Like Dante said, Dex had been at the Quartermaine mansion the night of the charity event, and Dex had been close enough to hear Josslyn call out for help when Joss found Ava. Was that because he'd been the one who had attacked Ava? It also didn't escape my notice how Dex reacted to learning that Kristina had seen Brando's attacker. Dex practically sighed with relief when Kristina clarified that she'd seen the attack, not the person's face.

Dex moonlighting as the Port Charles Hooker would certainly be an interesting twist. Not only would it put Josslyn in direct line of danger, but it might provide Cameron an opportunity to shine as the hero he is. Sometimes, it feels like Josslyn takes Cameron for granted and doesn't appreciate what a truly wonderful guy he is. Saving Josslyn from a serial killer in the making would definitely serve as a good reminder that Cameron is a great catch.

I think it's pretty obvious that Josslyn has a little bit of a crush on Dex -- the bad boy aura is like catnip for soap opera vixens -- but it's also clear that Dex has a closet full of skeletons clamoring to break out. I would prefer that Josslyn learn from her mother's mistakes. Leave the bad boys alone. They are trouble and bring nothing but heartache.

I'm unabashedly Team Cameron.

I have no idea if Brando is going to survive his brush with death, but things don't look good. Portia warned Sonny that Brando is far from out of the woods, and even though Brando opened his eyes at the end of Friday's episode, I've been watching soaps long enough to know that come Monday, the alarms on the machines could start blaring, and Brando could flatline. Nothing is guaranteed.

Sasha is a complete mess, and she just signed paperwork granting Brando guardianship over her. Does she become a ward of the state if he dies, or will she be given time to find another guardian? One thing is for certain, Sasha needs help, and she is going to need it even more after this ordeal, whether Brando lives or dies.

Even I get stressed thinking about all that Sasha has endured since her breakup with Michael. For every step forward, there are ten steps back. She's had some ups -- falling in love with Brando, getting pregnant, and success at Deception -- but she's had far more downs. Addiction, a brush with death, losing her baby, a relapse, and a mental breakdown. Those are just the highlights. It's not fun to watch Sasha constantly beaten down by life, so I'm not looking forward to another setback. Unfortunately, if Brando dies, I fear things will only get worse rather than better.

I can't believe I'm going to say this -- there was a time I wouldn't have wished Gladys on my worst enemy -- but I think Gladys and Sasha could be good for each other, especially if they lose Brando. My heart breaks for Gladys because she finally has a good relationship with her son, only to face the possibility of losing him. It's awful and unfair. At the same time, she's been the only bright spot in Sasha's tortured story -- besides Brando, of course. Family isn't biology; it's the people who stand by you through thick or thin, who support you in your worst times, and who celebrate you at your best. Sasha could do a lot worse than having Gladys in her life.

Sadly, one man's misfortune is another man's vindication.

Nikolas has now been scratched off the top of the suspect list because Nikolas was with Ava -- the first victim -- during the time of Brando's attack. I never really suspected Nikolas any more than I suspected Elizabeth of the grisly deed. Nikolas loves Ava, and even though Nikolas was oddly triggered by Spencer learning the truth about Nikolas' illicit dalliance with the sneering femme fatale, I never for a second thought Nikolas would kill Ava over it. Like he said, he'd kill Ava with his bare hands, not a hook, if he had wanted her dead. Such sweet words, don't you think? Who says romance is dead?

I applaud Ava, though, for not giving in to Nikolas' apologies and pleas.

I know couples who have successfully worked through infidelity. In each case, it started with taking full responsibility for the affair. Nikolas hasn't done that. He paints himself as the victim who was seduced by a calculating Mata Hari. That is not what I saw. What I saw was a frustrated man-child who enjoyed having his ego stroked. Esme didn't have to do much to spark Nikolas' interest, and he probably would have continued the affair if Ava hadn't decided to move back home. Ava deserves better, and I'd rather see her move on than take Nikolas back at this point. Nikolas has betrayed her one too many times.

As for the identity of the Port Charles Hooker, Esme remains my prime suspect. She despised both Ava and Josslyn, and she is perfectly capable of acting out of revenge and turning homicidal. An enraged person could easily overpower someone they caught by surprise. Esme is slender, but she is in excellent physical condition.

I assure you, if I'd fallen from the parapet, I would have died. If the sheer terror of falling from the parapet didn't kill me, the shock from the long fall would have done me in. If Esme survived that fall, she would definitely be capable of gaining the upper hand during a brief tussle, especially if she was armed with a deadly hook.

Now, let's talk about Carly and her quest for enlightenment and a new path in life.

Carly hopped on a plane bound for Aruba to attend a seminar and clear her head, but she was waylaid by a storm. Much to Carly's dismay, she found herself in her old stomping grounds of Jacksonville, Florida, where she was assailed by memories of a life she had left far behind. Her first encounter at the airport was with an elderly lady full of judgment and insight -- and a tremendous fondness for Carly's hometown.

I have no idea what the point of Carly's encounter with the nameless lady and her silent rescue dog Gretel was because the good stuff happened at the hotel when Carly bumped into a woman named Peyton Honeycutt (Linda Purl) from the Jacksonville Beautification Guild. Carly should introduce Gretel's mom to Peyton.

Folks, I was tickled pink to see Linda Purl. She is a fabulous actress, and she's still as beautiful as she was back in the 1980s and 1990s when it seemed like she was on every television show and movie. I really hope her appearance isn't just a one-off. Peyton and Carly have a lot of unfinished business, starting with Peyton's perception of what transpired between Carly and Peyton's first husband, Dan Roberts.

I was gobsmacked when Carly realized that Peyton's first husband was the father of Reese Marshall. Reese and Carly had been high school best friends until Reese found out that her father and Carly had been having sex. Reese had seen it as a betrayal of a friend rather than what it really was -- her father grooming and sexually exploiting a troubled teen. Yes, Carly had a crush on Reese's father, and she'd been captivated by the extravagant lifestyle the Roberts family lived, but that didn't change the fact that Dan was an adult who manipulated a minor to satisfy his twisted carnal desires.

Originally, this storyline unfolded in 2005 at the end of Tamara Braun's reign as Carly. Tamara had been wildly popular with viewers, and the rivalry between Carly and Reese had been well stoked. Unfortunately, Tamara parted ways with the show just as things heated up, and the role was recast with Jennifer Bransford on the day that Carly caught Reese in bed with Sonny. As you can imagine, fans were not happy.

The timing was terrible, and Jennifer brought a completely different energy to the role. It was an awful time, and I truly felt bad for Jennifer because she received an incredible amount of undeserved hateful comments. Five months later, Laura Wright took over the role. By that point, Carly had suffered a complete mental breakdown, had nearly killed Emily Quartermaine with a scythe, and had been sent to a sanitarium for treatment.

We've come full circle. Like Peyton, Reese saw Carly as the antagonist in the story. Reese blamed Carly for destroying Dan and Peyton's marriage, for Dan's suicide, and even for Reese's car accident that nearly killed Reese. To make matters worse, Carly didn't exactly go on to live a pristine life. Gold-digger, social climber, homewrecker, scheming shrew, Carly was all those things and more, especially when she first arrived in Port Charles.

Heck, the reason Carly came to Port Charles was to seduce her biological mother's husband as punishment for Bobbie giving Carly up for adoption at birth. No one could ever claim Carly was an angel, least of all Carly. However, that doesn't mean that Reese's lecherous father was innocent.

The guy was a sexual deviant who groomed a vulnerable teen. He ended his life because he was afraid to face the consequences of his actions. Carly was the victim, not Dan Roberts. I'm glad that Carly gets a chance to revisit this part of her life and to truly set the record straight. Sadly, in 2005, much of that was drowned out by the uproar over Jennifer replacing Tamara.

I hope Carly gets another opportunity to have a conversation with Peyton because Peyton isn't really in any position to point fingers. If memory serves me correctly, Peyton secretly whisked Reese's broken body to a private facility after the crash and told everyone -- including Reese's father -- that Reese was dead. As far as I'm concerned, that's what truly triggered Reese's father to take his own life.

As for the reason Carly embarked on her trip to Aruba in the first place, I stand by what I said in my last column. Carly needs to stop overthinking things and just enjoy the moment. She should have fun with Drew if that's what she wants. It doesn't matter if the romance lasts or not because nothing is guaranteed, especially tomorrow.

The couple I'm not rooting for is Curtis and Portia.

Portia mystifies me. She's clearly a wonderful doctor and loving mother, but she's also lying to the ones she claims to cherish most, and she apparently has zero remorse. I haven't seen even a smidgen of flicker across her expression, not even when Curtis told her point-blank the importance of truth and honesty to him. The only thing Portia was concerned about was if Curtis would take Jordan back if Jordan promised to be honest. If it were me, I'd be more concerned about Curtis' capacity for forgiveness.

I do think Portia is a good person who made poor choices. What she did is bad but not unforgiveable -- as long as Portia shows remorse and explains why she felt compelled to lie. I want to hear Portia's side of things and why she chose not to tell anyone about Trina's paternity. I don't think Portia acted out of malice, but her continued silence has been cruel. She's building a life with Curtis, so she owes him the truth. Curtis and Trina deserve to have an opportunity to get to know each other as father and daughter.

Trina has a great big heart, so she'll forgive her mother. In the end, that's really all that matters. I'm sure Curtis will be hurt, too, but his hands aren't exactly clean in the secrets department. He has a habit of keeping things to himself, too.

I suspect one of those secrets might be Curtis' unresolved feelings for Jordan. Could there be a little bit of projection going on when he questions why Jordan would intentionally misplace the divorce papers? It's not like that's what really happened. Jordan lied to cover for Stella, who was the one who absconded with the original set of signed divorce papers. Why was it so hard for Curtis to believe that Jordan lost track of the papers because she'd nearly been killed and spent months recuperating at an out-of-town facility? More importantly, why does it bother Curtis if Jordan has moved on or not?

All Curtis needs to do is have his attorney print up another copy and get them signed. He's making a mountain out of molehill, and I find that curious.

Finally, is Hayden Barnes on her way back? Nikolas and Ava spoke about her, and Elizabeth is struggling with repressed memories from the past that appear to center around Elizabeth and Hayden's father. Plus, there is Finn. Not only is Finn dating Elizabeth, but he's Hayden's ex-lover and father to Hayden's only child.

Hayden's reappearance would certainly shake things up. Hayden left town because of Nikolas, but Hayden has a very long and sordid past. She could have gone into hiding for a host of reasons, which means she could easily step out of the shadows if the writers will it. Honestly, I just want something -- anything -- to kick Elizabeth's story into high gear, even if it's a reunion with Hayden.

If Hayden were to return, I believe she would be more of a threat to Nikolas and Ava's relationship than to Elizabeth's and Finn's. Hayden would be thrilled to know that Elizabeth had been helping Finn raise Violet, and I do believe Hayden loves Elizabeth enough to want to see her sister happy. If Finn makes Elizabeth happy, then so be it.

Hayden would take her frustrations out on Nikolas. Not going to lie, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Random observations

The rain in Port Charles is pretty amazing. It goes from torrential downpour to full stop in the blink of an eye -- literally -- as it did in the alley when Sonny found a distraught Kristina hovered over Brandon's body.

My first thought when I saw Spencer behind bars in Pentonville was that it looked exactly like the jail cell that Michael had shared with that piece of garbage Carter. Dear writers, please do not go there again.

Why was T.J. walking in and out of the operating room during Brando's surgery? These days, the family is updated through things like MyChart and cell phones. Each time T.J. left the operating room, he would have had to go through the process of washing up and sterilization before re-entering. It seems like a huge waste of time and resources.

I know Kristina is ageless, but she's a woman close to her thirties. I found it annoying how Sonny acted like the police needed his permission to question Kristina. She was a witness to a frightening crime where the assailant got away, and time is of the essence.

Reader feedback

Portia's so giddy and I find it weird since she's always been shown as a good, ethical doctor, that she doesn't even have guilt or think about Oz at all. You'd think she'd be thanking God that Oz was fine and not dead or injured from her law breaking/oath breaking little adventure. -- Lucky Lady

Have you noticed that the women who are featured in three major medical storylines, Willow, Elizabeth, and Sasha, are all, to some degree, resistant to accepting the treatment they so obviously need, and that they have consistently rejected any help or support from their significant others? You could even include Ava in that last category since she's banned her husband (and the prime suspect in her assault) from her hospital room. At least Britt's accepted her terminal prognosis, even though she has no clue about how to deal with it, right now. -- Scrimmage

Did anyone else LOL when Nina told Ava that Nik's excuse that he thought his marriage was over was really no excuse? Isn't that the excuse Sonny used to justify sleeping with Nina when he was still married to Carly? -- FleurdiLisa

I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to leave a comment below or email me.

Take care and happy viewing,
Liz Masters

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