Happy New Year General Hospital fans! The sudser aired its final episode of 2016 last week, ending a year of both highs and lows. It was nice to see a glimmer of romance as the residents of Port Charles said goodbye to the year and looked towards new beginnings.
2016 was a strange year for the soap genre as a whole creatively and GH was certainly not the exception. It had a lot of great episodes but overall story arcs felt a bit choppy. A lot of stories that could have and should have been good failed due to poor planning, pacing and lack of quality payoff. The show was at its best when the focus was on romance, characterization and family drama rather than suspectless mysteries and unnecessary mayhem.
In reviewing last week’s GH, I looked at where the characters landed after a rocky year and shared some of my hopes for 2017. I wasn’t able to discuss everything but please leave a comment below or tweet me if you’d like to chat about anything that happened on GH.
“I see you.”
The Julexis journey this past year has been rather convoluted. At the beginning of the year, this couple was happy and in a healthy relationship. They were married in a big church wedding surrounded by all their family and friends (plus a few mobsters because hey why not?). It seemed they were destined to be one of the show’s tentpole couples. Then things got a little weird. I liked the conflict that Julian and Alexis were given in dealing with his past crimes. Both Nancy Lee Grahn and William deVry brought their A game to the material. But things went a little too far when Julian tried to slit Alexis’ throat after he caught her wearing a wire. Fans called foul and now GH’s creative team is getting a little creative trying to fix it.
Julian has moved back in with Alexis and is showing concern for her well-being again. There isn’t any trace of the man who tried to kill her but what he did has not been forgotten. Alexis has a nightmare about Julian and continues to hit the bottle in an attempt to deal. When Rudge stops by to issue Julian a warning, she overhears enough to make her suspicious that more is going on with her ex-husband that she knows.
I made a joke on Twitter that maybe Rudge has a crush on Alexis and this is all a ploy to get Julian out of the picture. Julexis’ story would have been much better if it had more of a romantic angle to it. Instead of death threats and mobsters, Julian and Alexis’ conflicts could have come from somewhere more relationship based. The consequences of Julian’s past crimes could have caused stress on his marriage to Alexis, leading to dissolution. Alexis could have gotten a job in the DA’s office and caught the eye of another hot lawyer. Julian would have become jealous and tried to win her back. Alas that is not how the story went. I hope that whatever explanation we get for Julian’s actions at least entertains me. And I hope that Alexis can get back on her feet and quit being so self-destructive.
History In Pictures
I’m delighted that Anna is moving away from the whole #JusticeforDuke stuff. I liked Duke and I liked Duke and Anna together but enough already. The attempt to avenge his death was depressing and ended in failure. Anna’s story hasn’t been what I’ve wanted for her the last few years but now she’s back to the complicated, flawed and kickass spy that I need her to be.
Anna wants to figure out her connection to Valentin. Why is he triggering memories of her early spy days? My theory is Anna and Valentin may have been lovers or Valentin was in love with Anna. He alluded to the fact that he had felt betrayed by someone he cared about in the past when discussing his missing photograph with Nina. Did Anna capture both him and his heart as part of an assignment with the WSB? Were they comrades?
This story line is currently on my list of things I’m enjoying about GH. It’s sexy and adventurous and befitting of the character of Anna. I want her to really pursue the truth and for the answers she finds to be scandalous.
Mr. & Mrs.
Whatever past Valentin and Anna have will no doubt put a damper on things for Nina and him. Nina still looks at love with the spontaneity of an inexperienced 20-year-old. She dives into her relationships without thinking of the consequences. Valentin is giving her the attention she desires and the child she wants. Right now that’s all that matters to her and she has allowed herself to be blind to all the red flags that are popping up. In TVSource’s Year In Soaps 2016 Podcast, our editor-in-chief Ryan White-Nobles discussed the excellent rehab that Nina has gone through under the current writing team. Nina’s leap into a relationship and marriage with Valentin will end up getting her hurt but I think it could further evolve the character, leaving her wiser in the end.
Nina and Valentin’s marriage is an attempt to put the odds in their favor with the upcoming custody battle for Charlotte. I’ve been pretty vocal about my dislike for the way in which Lulu’s baby-rabies has been portrayed. I still wish we had gotten a much more grounded story about the struggles to have a child but I’m warming up to this tale a little more. I like the cattiness between Lulu and Nina and that it appears the majority of this battle for baby will take place outside of the courtroom. I loved the scenes in which Laura offered Lulu a plan of attack. “You strike a deal with Valentin so that you have time to build some trust with Charlotte and lull him into a false state of security. And then we bide our time until the circumstances favor us,” Laura advised. “We pull the rug right out from under the bastard. We take our girl home.” I feel that Dante is the rational one in this situation, not wanting any part of the manipulations that Lulu, Nina and Valentin will resort to. This could test the Falconeri’s marriage and give the couple some drama that doesn’t feel out of character for either. It’s a much better way to shake things up than sudden cousins and Johnny Zacchara prison escapes.
Back to the wedding – Nina and Valentin’s marriage was not the nuptials that viewers were anticipating. When Nathan showed up on Maxie’s doorstep three years ago, the duo quickly gained a following. They were even promoted as GH’s hot new super couple for a short time. But they’ve been stuck in a lot of non-story recently much to their fanbase’s chagrin. I think it’s safe to say that Naxie fans are feeling cheated since they didn’t get a big, beautiful wedding. Obstacles are needed not only to solidify a couple’s love for each other but to prevent boredom. At a certain point though, the audience needs to start getting returns on their investment if they are going to continue to invest. Nathan’s offscreen marriage to his offscreen wife just isn’t great drama. The pre-wedding shenanigans of the men losing the rings and Maxie taking the wrong cold medicine did feel very classic Naxie though, reminding me of their travel mishaps during New Year’s 2015. Maybe that’s a sign of what fans can look forward to this year.