By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman
It’s a soap’s absolute responsibility to be clear about what’s going on. Last week General Hospital presented a mess of a dream sequence about two possible Francos that was so confusing, I couldn’t figure out what supposed to be real and what was not. I’ve rarely been so bewildered in many decades of watching soaps.
The sequence occurred on a bridge in Port Charles. That much is certain. The rest … well, not so much. Here’s what we were shown:
Franco, who thought he was Jason, had just kidnapped terminally ill (with leukemia) baby Daniel from the hospital. The baby’s mother, Sam, had tried to prevent the kidnapping, producing a gun and firing it at Franco. Evidently she missed, and somehow wound up unconscious on the floor. Meanwhile, Franco had escaped with the child. He took up a position at the railing of the bridge, properly wild-eyed and crazy-acting, and holding the baby as it to drop him over the side.
By this time, we viewers were beside ourselves with fear for the baby’s life. Amid all this alarm, Elizabeth appeared in her hospital uniform. She stared in horrified disbelief, and then we saw what she was staring at: not one, but TWO Francos, one ostensibly Jason, and the other the real Franco — or was he? There ensued a debate between the two (courageously acted by Roger Howarth) about what to do with the baby. Franco won, but instead of deep-sixing the infant, he ordered Jason to shoot Elizabeth. Jason inexplicably complied, then helpfully took possession of the child as Franco dumped Elizabeth’s lifeless body over the side of the bridge.
Quelle horreur! But not to worry. Cut quickly to Elizabeth, very much alive and carrying out her duties at the front desk of the hospital. Presumably, some or all of what had just transpired was intended as a dream sequence. But whose dream? And how much of it? Was the baby really kidnapped? What was up with the two Francos? Was the person who was claiming to be Jason the real Jason, who had ostensibly been killed off when Steve Burton left the show last year? Was the real Jason still alive? If so, this would be a key fact in the ongoing GH narrative. Nous avons été très confus. To put it mildly.
And we weren’t finished. Before the episode ended, the presumed dream sequence resumed. Franco decided to jump off the side of the bridge, his last vile directive urging Jason to dump Danny over the side also. This was truly scary! Finally, just as Jason was about to commit this dastardly deed, Carly appeared. Slowly but surely, Carly talked Franco (calling him” Jason”) out of killing the baby and talked him down from the bridge.
What was the explanation for this muddled exercise? GH’s creative team actually offered one. Seems Franco had a brain tumor, and thought he was Jason. The dream was his, in which he appeared as both Jason and himself. Later in the week, Patrick operated on him for this tumor. As the week ended, we assume the operation was successful. Better yet, it had just been discovered Franco is a match for Danny’s bone marrow, thus saving him from leukemia.
At last, a happy ending for the saga of Franco and some semblance of clarity. Maybe. Can we be sure, given the week of clumsy storytelling we had just endured? If only the writers of General Hospital had made clear all along what was really happening during this dream (or was it reality) sequence, maybe the viewers would be happier, too.