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‘General Hospital’: Robin Scorpio’s Dramatic Return Excels with Rejection of Clichéd Tropes

Photo courtesy ABC
Photo courtesy ABC

Monday’s episode of General Hospital was wrought with drama, building up the suspense as to whether or not Anna and Robert would murder Faison for what he’s done to their family; and whether or not Robin would interrupt the wedding of Patrick and Sabrina. It was a day that will live on in my mind as one of the best days in recent soap history.

For almost two years, Robin Scorpio-Drake (Kimberly McCullough) was driven by a desire to return to her family, reclaim the life that was stolen from her by the late Dr. Ewan Keenan, Jerry Jacks and Cesar Faison. That hope kept her sane as she was forced to come up with a cure to Jerry’s polonium poisoning. When she finally returned to Port Charles, she was blindsided with the news that her husband Patrick (Jason Thompson) was engaged to marry Sabrina (Teresa Castillo). As hurt as Robin at the thought of Patrick moving on, it is what she wanted him to do; even going as far as to have made a video telling him to do it, albeit under different circumstances. Then, Robin thought she was going to die, thus she wanted Patrick to move on with Elizabeth someone who could love him and love their daughter. Sabrina fit that criteria.

A few weeks ago, Robin had a scene with Nikolas, expressing her fear that she would be doing the wrong thing by coming back into their lives after all this time. Though Nikolas assured her that Patrick and Emma still loved her, she couldn’t help but he affected by news of his pending marriage. Fast forward to today’s episode, Robin’s standing in the rectory of the church, watching her husband marry the woman who, in her mind, replaced her in his and Emma’s lives.

Watching Robin watch her husband say vows to another woman was torture in the best possible way. I tried to put myself in Robin’s shoes, wondering if I would have been as conflicted as she was to watch someone she loved marry someone else.  My interpretation of the scenes from Monday was Robin was conflicted over how to make herself known to her loved ones.  She debated the merits of uprooting their lives beforehand. Watching Patrick and Sabrina declare their love for one another in front of their friends and family was overwhelming and sealed the tough decision she was getting ready to make – walking away. As heartbreaking as it would have been, she was willing to walk away in a selfless act. But Emma spotting her during the ceremony changed all that.

Now, the best thing about soaps (TV in general, really), is the variance of scene interpretation. Show a room full of people one scene and you’ll get various perspectives on what they viewed. Many fans wondered if Robin was actually considering abandoning her family, something quickly shot down by General Hospital script writer Kate Hall. She explained on Twitter: “You guys – Robin wasn’t going to walk away and out of their lives. She just wasn’t going to announce herself at the wedding. Huge difference.”

After reading Hall’s explanation, I understood the intent of the scenes leading up to the dramatic reveal. Even though my take differed from what was explained, that doesn’t necessarily mean those who feel as I were wrong. That’s one of the upsides of leaving scenes open to interpretation.

Some felt Robin should have been given the “satisfaction” of rushing in to stop the wedding. I disagree. If Sabrina had been part of the conspiracy to keep her from her family, absolutely I would have supported it. But Sabrina’s an innocent in all of this. The only thing she’s guilty of is falling in love with Patrick and Emma. So many expected Robin to interrupt the nuptials. I’m glad General Hospital didn’t go the tired, clichéd route of having Robin reveal her presence during the “speak now or forget hold your peace” part of the ceremony. Utilizing Emma as the first person to see Robin and then run into her arms was a hell of a more more effective — creatively, visually and emotionally. Sometimes doing the opposite of what is expected leads to a better result.

By taking the different, less conventional approach, GH allowed the angst to build to an unbearable level. Angst made more intense thanks to Kimberly McCullough’s acting choices throughout the episode. She was very subtle, reserved, but was still able to move you on an emotional level with just her expressions. She told a story with out words; allowing her face to express the pain, longing and hurt that dialogue just wouldn’t have even able to convey. The final segment reduced me to tears as Emma spotted Robin lurking and called out “Mommy”.

The visual of Emma parting Sabrina and Patrick hand holding stood out as kind of symbolic to me. Emma is a major part of what brought them together, something that wouldn’t have happened if Robin hadn’t been taken from Patrick and Emma’s lives. In that moment, the only thing that mattered was Emma rushing into the arms of her mother.


 
 
GIFS courtesy fyeahgh Tumblr

One of the best things about the continuing drama is the much anticipated payoff. There’s a sense of satisfaction one feels when a long-teen story comes to a resolution; especially when it delivers a desired result. For two years, fans have longed for Robin to reunite with her parents. That happened last week. For two years, fans have wanted Robin to take Emma in her arms and never let go. That happened on Monday. For two years, fans have been anticipating Robin returning to Patrick and trying to make up for the time that was stolen from them. That chapter has yet to unfold, but I’m excited for the scenes airing today between Patrick and Robin. In the coming weeks, the next arc of this storyline begins — one that is rooted in the kinds of character driven tales that soap fans (and critics alike) salivate over.

Where do Patrick, Robin and Sabrina go from here? How will Patrick resolve his feelings for Sabrina now that his thought-to-be-dead wife has returned? What will the impact of Robin’s return have on her family? I want to see the answers to these questions play out on-screen. There are so many layers to explore and motivations and perspectives to showcase. There’s just too much story to leave on the table with a hastily created reunion. I just hope fans are willing to go along for the journey.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC, weeknights on SOAPnet and is available onDemand at ABC.com.

About the author

Ryan White-Nobles

Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TVSource Magazine. He's a natural #Heel who loves a spirited debate and probably watches too much TV. Follow him on Twitter at @SourceRyan to discuss all things TV, soaps, sports, wrestling and pop culture.

  • N.

    Team Robin! I never wanted Patrick with Sabrina. I hate to sound cheesy, but Patrick and Robin belong together. My favorite soap couple.

  • Mary Campbell

    Robin return dragging this storyline out so long should return to Patrick and Emma really.I will miss KM her wish the best god bless.

  • Thank you so much for your comments. No matter what Patrick decides, someone he loves is going to be hurt. It’s a great story with so many layers.

  • DD

    Beautifully written take on the return of Robin. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out in the coming weeks. It won’t be an easy decision for Patrick…it won’t be an easy for Sabrina to handle that Robin, the love of Patrick’s life, is really alive…it won’t be easy for Robin to reconcile that her husband has fallen in love with another woman.

    Talk about being soapy? And I am along for the ride!

  • Deedee

    This was one of the best scenes! I agree – Robin did an amazing job, and when Patrick took that long pause before “I do” spoke volumes. But the most incredible part was when Emma spotted her mother, ran down the aisle and into her arms. I have to say that girls expressions and acting was amazing! She has a bright future ahead of her. Well done GH writers. You can always bring me to tears. Watched this show with my mom and now watching it with my daughter who is as hooked as me!

  • CTwildheart

    Emma’s “Mommy!”‘s at the end while running into Robin’s arms had me bawling!