By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
General Hospital: “No one ever dies in this town,” exclaimed Luke and Tracy together as they talked about the wounded and missing Joe Scully Jr. on Friday’s episode. Don’t you just adore when soaps make fun of themselves? Because back from the dead has certainly been endemic lately on GH. Last week, one of the most thrilling back from the dead story scene reveals I have ever seen was when Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan) presented himself to disbelieving wife Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) as being alive after a 23-year absence.
His declarations of continuing love for her (complete with flashbacks) were the most romantic and intense scenes of the soap year so far. You know (see Soap Reflections 6) that I am just a marshmallow for the ever handsome, divinely British accented Buchanan. And Hughes should win an Emmy for her portrayal of silent disbelief slowly turning to a burgeoning sense of joy the character felt reuniting with her long lost husband. Didn’t you just love the welling of tears in Anna’s eyes, the moment she realized he really was Duke and the two a rushed into each other’s arms in a reunion embrace? That’s good writing, electric chemistry (still strong after 23 long years) and great acting!
Again, as in the last week, the writers of GH proved how expert they are at weaving great storylines together in single episodes. The week also featured Jason finally telling Sam that her baby son was alive and concluded when the two found kidnapper Heather clutching their baby son in her arms on the hospital rooftop. Spine-tingling! No one plays “crazy pants” better than veteran actress Robin Mattson. Too bad the previews of Monday’s episode gave away that Heather does jump off the roof (sans baby, I’m guessing). Why should a show usually so careful about disclosing its storyline secrets permit such a big boo-boo? Marlena just loves suspense that is unspoiled.
So GH has really been great hot soap opera these last two months, hasn’t it? From the September day the show changed time slots, headwriter Ron Carlivati has been expertly writing storyline crescendos or setting off story exciting climaxes week after week. First there was the waterside remote with the explosion, then Sonny and Kate’s almost wedding, and this week the Lavery return with Heather’s return to Port Charles and the kidnapping the baby. Next week, we have the beginning of the end (death?) of Jason.
GH seems committed to trying to save itself through this continuous level of excitement and unrelenting storyline tension. You really have to hand it to Carlivati, Frank Valentini and all the show’s cast for giving the show all they’ve got. GH certainly does deserve its impressively climbing ratings of late.
The Bold and Beautiful: B&B brought a real tear to my eye this week when Stephanie’s oncologist told her that her cancer was back, and this time there was no hope. What will B&B — and all of daytime TV – be like without that singular acting phenomenon known as Susan Flannery? No one plays the expression of absolute truth better or more movingly. Flannery is retiring from B&B in December after 25 years. That Steph’s death couldn’t have been kept a secret for the sake of suspense is too bad. But I’m sure Flannery’s acting when Steph tells her family and friends (in special episodes over the next two weeks) that the cancer is terminal will bring many more tears to us longtime B&B viewers. I’m counting on you, headwriter Bradley Bell, to make the scripts of these disclosure scenes truthful and not full of treacle. Flannery has never played a false note in all her years in daytime (which before B&B encompassed many fine years as the original Dr. Laura Horton on Days of Our Lives.) Get out your boxes of tissues, B&B fans!