Soap Reaction: GH’s Cause for Murder, ‘Non-Story’ for Jason & Sam, More

Photo Credit: ABC/Rick Rowell

This week’s Soap Reaction covers a few General Hospital storylines for episodes airing the week of September 26-30, 2016. I touch on Jason and Sam’s storyline (or lack thereof depending on who you ask), Carly’s aversion to mob violence, Paul as a serial killer and more.

GH: ‘No Story’ for Jason and Sam

It’s interesting hearing complaints from some fans about General Hospital’s Jason (Billy Miller) and Sam’s (Kelly Monaco) lack of a storyline. There’s this perception that because they’re not featured solely interacting with one another and being romantic, that there’s no story in place for them. It’s quite the contrary. You’re seeing a happily reunited couple existing in a world that isn’t isolated for a change. Life is happenings for them jointly and as individuals, and they’re balancing supporting their loved ones while also making time for each other. There’s also the realization of how their loved ones are affecting their lives, and how their life decisions are impacting others.

GENERAL HOSPITAL - Show coverage of ABC's "General Hospital" airing the week of September 5, 2016. The Emmy-winning daytime drama "General Hospital" airs Monday-Friday (3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. GH16 (ABC/Todd Wawrychuk) KELLY MONACO, BILLY MILLER, LEXI AINSWORTH

Photo Credit: ABC/Todd Wawrychuk

Jason’s decision to not return to the mob as Sonny’s enforcer has had a direct impact on the way Sonny conducts business and in turn Sonny’s relationship with Carly. Sonny doesn’t have his trusted hand, the man who would handle his enemies with ease and leave no trail tying back to him. For Carly, seeing Jason choose his family over the business is something she’s subtly envious of, and I believe, wishes Sonny would do the same for her and their children. I found it telling that Sam chose to express Carly’s feelings about the violence to Jason while they were discussing the Julian situation. It spoke to the growth in Carly and Sam’s relationship and also brought Jason in on how his best friend is actually feeling.

As for Sam, she can’t help but feel a little guilty over the happiness she’s feeling given the mess her mother’s life has become. It’s refreshing to see how involved Sam is with Alexis and the other Davis girls since reuniting with Jason. I was a little apprehensive towards the idea of a JaSam reunion because I feared Sam would once again be isolated and return to being simply an extension of Jason. Thankfully the creative team has made an effort to keep her ties to others presented.

This Jason and Sam aren’t the danger junkies that were scaling rooftops and jumping out of exploding buildings 10 years ago. They’re parents now, and they’re trying to find their way in a world that appears to haven’t changed much over the years even though they have. Their choices are driven by their children and family. It’s an evolution. Drama can come from that. It already has…and there’s more to come.

Oh, and don’t believe every spoiler you read. It’s amazing how much some “know” about what will happen in five months, even though GH is only one month ahead of filming.

GH: The Voice of Reason

Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Photo Credit: © Howard Wise/JPI Studios

Head writers Jean Passanante and Shelly Altman stated they’re using Carly has a vehicle of opposition to the violence that comes from Sonny’s business. The botched gun deal last winter that resulted in Kiki being shot is being used as the trigger for Carly’s aversion to the violence. While the issue of violence has been brought up in the past, it’s never been used to this level for Carly. She’s actively working to convince Sonny to find alternative means – convincing him to let the police handle Julian; urging him not to escalate the increasing tension. And while she stands by Sonny, in private she tries to use their family’s safety as the reason Sonny should think differently. Unfortunately for Sonny, the safety of his children has never been enough to force a change in profession.

It’s easy to criticize the creative team for Carly having this stance now, but they shouldn’t be faulted for what should have been her stance this whole time. This is their own way of correcting that by using a situation that hit close to home to be the incident that sparks her fear.

GH: “The System Failed”

In the September 30 episode, Sonny tells Jason: “And I’m not the only target. We’re talking about Carly and the kids. Now, look. You’re out of the business — I get that — but if somebody was c-coming after your wife and your kids, you would do exactly the same thing that I’m doing. I tried to go to the cops, to fix it. The courts, the law. I told Carly, ‘Hey, I’ll watch, I won’t do anything.’ But it failed. Now I’m doing it my way.”

Hilarity. Sonny murders AJ Quartermaine in cold blood, lies about it, goes to jail only when exposed and gets out a few months later because he “saved” the Governor’s daughter? So the system didn’t fail that time? Look, I understand that GH takes place in a world in which Sonny is the moral compass. I’m not happy with it, but I’ve accepted that it’s something that won’t change and probably never will. But there needs to be a counter-point to his reality and it would be nice if it was a character who didn’t sacrifice their integrity to work with him for the “greater good”.

GH: Murder for Cause

gh-092616-paultracySo Paul Hornsby went on a serial killing spree to get revenge on the people who hurt his daughter Susan. Of course all of their transgressions against her took place off-screen, with no flashbacks filmed to accompany Paul as he retold the horror his daughter went through, and how the system truly failed her. Richard Burgi’s performance in the scenes with Susan and Jane Elliot were stellar, but the execution of the story through this reveal has been messy and uneventful.

Extras murdered with no explanation, escalating the emotional resonance by murdering Sabrina, then to reveal Paul’s motive? On paper that sounds interesting. Unfortunately, when you have an overloaded canvas, things get lost in translation and that’s what happened.

Last summer Paul shot Sonny and framed Julian as the culprit, kidnapped TJ, blackmailed Ava and forced her into being his ally, murdered Kyle Sloane and passed off his body as Carlos’. Then he spent months forcing Ava to do his mob bidding with talks about being the true mob power in town, only to spin his hold as some kind of anti-gun task force. Paul’s return to the canvas has been riddled with inconsistent rewrites and that blame lies firm at the pen of the creative team.

Had this story been crafted meticulously, I imagine it would have played out similar to the way primetime dramas How to Get Away with Murder and Quantico executive their storylines through a series of revealing flashbacks. The difference is the meat of their storytelling takes place on-screen, whereas GH’s takes place on this parallel series known as Off-screen GH. I hear it’s a great show.

GH: Holding Out for Freedom

Is no one going to get Shawn out of jail? I know Sean Blakemore’s off the show, but Shawn’s sitting in jail for an attempted murder he didn’t commit.

Share your thoughts in the comments below. I mentioned before, I want to use my reaction columns as a way to directly engage readers. It’s hard to reduce all my thoughts to 140 characters, which has been my way of commenting as of late. You can ask me my thoughts on pairings, stories, developments, etc. I’ll answer for all soaps. I may even do one for primetime.

Ryan White-Nobles
Ryan White-Nobles is Editor-in-Chief of TV Source Magazine. He's began covering entertainment and soap operas in 2005. In 2009 he co-launched Soap Opera Source, and led the TV Source rebrand in 2012. 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.

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  2. I could not agree more with this. One only needs to look as far as the dull as dust Nathan, Claudette, Griffin situation. Maxie being wasted in a storyline with a character created for Frank’s friend Bree WIlliamson plus two newbies is ridiculous and shows just how far out of control Frank Valentini (aided by Nathan Varni) is.
    Before you know it GH will join OLTL in the scrap heap.

  3. I disagree that the fault lies solely with this writers in this case. I believe GH has become the object of Frank Valentini’s hubris and ego and he’s doing a piss poor job of making over the show into what his distorted vision of what it should be is. He’s forced actors in characters that they don’t belong in, hired so many new actors that the core cast of fan favorites aren’t getting the screen time they should, and let’s not forget running off veteran actors that have been with the show for decades!!!

    Shelly Altman and Jean Passanante have been successful daytime writers for decades and have written for GH in the past…I find it unlikely that they’ve suddenly become incompetent. What I find way more likely is that they’re bwing micromanaged by a man who has already run two shows into the ground and manages to keep network execs happy by operating the show on a shoe string budget but allocates the money to all the WRONG places!!!

    Why not tell a handful of stories very well using a smaller cast as opposed to trying to keep a bloated cast busy by cutting corners with their storylines??? It’s not rocket science. Employee salaries ALWAYS take up a large percentage of an operating budget. Cut the number of employees you have and you can reallocate those funds and put them to better use!!!

  4. When will the show fix the writing for the cops. I would love see other characters please. Why don’t Jordan and Valerie have their own storylines. When will we get any Carly and Valerie scenes.

  5. Can someone please tell me what happened to Alexis being pregnant? Did they just act like it never happened? I never saw this ever explained.

  6. One of my problems with the hospital killer story line is Monica. Are we to believe that Monica saw the name Susan Hornsby and didn’t know who she was?

  7. Jason and sam were boring DURING the island story, so I disagree, that’s more an actor and character chemistry problem. VERY pretty actors who look great together, but they lack chemistry EXCEPT in sex scenes together. So, write to their strengths. Sam is fun with her family, Jason’s interesting with the Q’s, write them in stories that work for them.

    Happy couples are NOT always boring. I loved ATWT in the mid 200’s and they had constant adventures with my fave OTP couple carly and jack. Of course they didn’t write the happy couple hanging out and chatting all the time like the BORING sam/jason scenes, but that’s why you hire imaginative HW’s who write creative stories.

    GH CLEARLY has a head writing problem, and blaming any couple for those failures isn’t fair.

  8. I loved the take you have on Jasam & Carson. The story of Paul has always seemed like an excuse to have him onscreen. My biggest problem with the show is there are too many characters & they are not able to tell deep emotional stories for more than 1 onscreen. They concentrate on a couple of people & then just throw the others on to meet their requirement of them being onscreen. I would rather watch the offscreen version as some of us refer to on twitter. It is where all the drama, emotion seems to take place. Julexis had a lot of time on air but during the time it was such a fail to not have either family really involved during the whole story. Sam sat through the trial but on the day of the verdict she was nowhere to be seen. These are the things that matter in good storytelling.

  9. Such a waste of Paul and Richard B.. They could have done so much more with him. So many possibilities. Serial killer made absolutely no sense.

    I want a payoff from this….More Tracy, Dillon and Quatermains.

    They should make Jason a Q again and be done with it.

  10. I agree with you regarding the Hospital Killer reveal.They should never do a murder mystery without having it meticulously plotted out step by step.This reeked of throwing crap & the walls & seeing what stuck.The timelines made no sense & the plot holes were like Swiss Cheese.

    Jasam bore me to tears.I see very little acting on Billy’s part.He sleepwalks through every scene no matter who he’s with.You mentioned Jason’s BFF.All the connections Jason once had ring false with Billy. I see no BFF connection with Laura & anti-chem with Mo. Kelly carries every scene with Billy. Jason needs a job & fast. Give the man a purpose/direction.Sam at least has her hands full with Alexis’ drama.Have Jason return to ELQ, open a bar, just something! The character is stagnant.

    The Carson story is eye rolling. Sonny’s choices got Michael shot in the head & spent years in a coma. That should have caused Sonny to get out.That should have been the final straw for Carly but nope! Now they expect us to think Carly has her knickers in a twist? That ship sailed.Plus, Morgan’s such a loathsome character I don’t really care if he’s collateral damage. All I’m really hoping for is for someone ANYONE to kill off Julian. His ass should be in prison for 3 murders (one being Duke!) and attempting to slice Alexis from ear to ear.
    He’s an abusive murdering POS! End him!.

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