Experiments in Pain, Part II

Welcome back!

Girded by some booze and a good night’s sleep, I’m ready to dive back into the recap. (See part one.)

First things first: I am happy to report that there’s about 100% less Winifred in the second half of the episode. I’d like to say there’s also about 100% more excitement, but I promised I would never tell you any filthy, filthy lies, readers.

So, in that spirit, without further ado, I give you the lackluster conclusion to this utterly insipid Friday installment of General Hospital.

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We begin with Claudia and Sonny having a heart to heart about the state of their marriage. Sonny demonstrates his interest in this conversation by barely managing to stay awake —

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— while I demonstrate my interest by wandering into the kitchen to grab another glass of wine. Sorry, where was I?

Oh, yes. Sonny and Claudia. They recap how she proved herself by betraying her father for him and they’ve got similar interests now and yada, yada, yada. Sonny wants Claudia to help him find Anthony, but she claims she has no idea where he might be hiding.

It seems clear to me here, by the way, that Sonny is working Claudia and still mistrusts her new found loyalty to him. Which would make sense, so I hope it’s true. As far as I’m concerned, the faster this sham marriage is over, the better. I still have hope that Claudia could become a viable and interesting character, but not when she’s tied down to this tired retread of Carly/Sonny v1.0.

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Over at the MetroCourt, Nikolas is still moaning about Rebecca, and of course Nadine wanders in to hear the last of it. Of course.

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Now back to Jason’s penthouse, where I have further proof that someone in the writers’ room on this show hates me. Because instead of getting to see what happened with Maxie, Lulu and Johnny, we’re going to hear it narrated in Spinelli’s tortured syntax.

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WHY, GUZA, WHY? What have the viewers ever done to you to deserve this torment?

It seems that, unable to make the decision himself, Spinelli left the entire question of who Johnny would be escorting to the gala up to a coin toss. Which Maxie won. Huzzah!

(Would I like to have seen Johnny and Maxie’s reaction to that? Why, yes. Yes, I would. Would that have been infinitely more interesting to me than Spinelli’s rambling recital? YES. YES, IT WOULD.)

Jason, by the way, shares my feelings.

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Spinelli, all worked into a lather over Johnny’s perfect size 40 body, wants to use some of his mad hacking skillz to ruin the gala. But the threat of the evil FBI still monitoring his every move pulls him up short.

I have to say — beyond all that — the idea that he would ruin a charity event for a noble cause on a petty, jealous whim seems like a pretty damn crappy thing to do. Especially for someone who likes to think of himself as a “good guy.”

(…you know, one of those “good guys” who regularly breaks the law in service of the mob. But as I’ve said before, my grasp on Port Charles ethics is shaky.)

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Oh, LORD.

We swing back around to Casa Corinthos, where is seems Max — as the designated corporate whore of this episode — is once again shilling for Prego and other assorted “heart healthy” products.

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(I’m amused to note that Sonny must finally have noticed what an utter crap bodyguard Max is, because he’s been reduced to buying groceries for the house. Awesome.)

The following scene between Max and Claudia is so awkward and belabored that I’d be glad for almost any interruption. Any, that is, except for the one we get, which is Kate. I really don’t understand the logic here. We’ve already had one boring, repetitive confrontation between Kate and Claudia in this episode. Why do we need another one? Especially when there are things going on at Crimson with which she could and should be involved?

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Speaking of Crimson, Maxie’s now wearing the famed red dress:

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I like the top two-thirds all right, but I can’t say I’m all that crazy about the bottom flare. Kirsten Storms wears that shade of red very well, though, so the overall effect is quite nice.

Lulu, after granting us all a truly enjoyable reprieve from her usual smug bitchery the past few days, seems to have reverted to form. As usual, I think we’re supposed to be feeling sorry for her here. And as usual, what the writers want me to feel and what I actually do feel are so far apart, they’re not even on the same planet.

ANYWAY. Lulu gives smug bitchface at the idea that Maxie has ever been a good friend to her and makes a crack about BJ’s heart (classy!). Meanwhile, Maxie and Johnny look vaguely guilty over their recent snowbound lip locking.

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Nikolas, forcibly reminded that Nadine exists, apologizes for not informing her earlier of his intention to stalk another woman. I have to say, of all the people in Port Charles, Nadine certainly has enough stalking under her belt to understand where he’s coming from.

She then busts out this truly LUDICROUS statement:

Nadine: Oh, you were kind of in the middle of a burning building. There’s not much time to talk.

Not much time to talk? Hah! That’s all anyone did in the fire that would not spread or die. People slowly wandered through the corridors while stopping for leisurely chats with anyone they happened to run across. It was the least urgent “crisis” in the history of television!

But back to the show: Nadine — super understanding girlfriend that she is — gives Nik the go ahead to stalk his little heart out. And just in time, as here comes none other than the lucky stalkee herself, sporting some trademark eyeliner and black boots of dubious evil.

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Carly and Jax are in bed, talking about women’s heart health (as you do) when Morgan shows up at the door. Man, that kid’s acting may be awkward as hell, but he sure is cute.

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He’s also about to get his cute little heart jerked around some more as Mommy and Daddy Jax announce they’re going to be living together again.

Eh, I give it two months, tops.

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Spinelli’s still waffling about whether or not he should ruin a charity event for a noble cause in a jealous snit. Oy.

Fortunately, Sonny shows up, and — when Spinelli actually has the nerve to suggest he come back after the whole ‘ruining charity events in a jealous snit’ issue has been resolved — lays some awesomely dismissive truth on him:

Sonny: Do you have any idea what Jason put on the line to keep you out of prison?

Spinelli: I-I am most aware —

Sonny: Okay, don’t make it any worse than it already is. Know when to leave a room, and that would be now.

Okay, normally I’m pretty unimpressed with the way Sonny bullies Spinelli. But that was satisfying.

After Spinelli leaves, we find out that Sonny’s here to make an overture to his estranged ex: they should work together to find Anthony. Aw, it warms the cockles of my cold, dead heart to see these two crazy kids working things out!

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Rebecca continues to endear herself to me by letting Nik know, in no uncertain terms, that he is being creepy and inappropriate.

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Unfortunately, she also needs a job, since her last prospect is now a burned out husk. Nikolas bribes her with a job offer if she’ll give him an hour of her time.

Oh, this won’t end well. For the viewers, I mean.

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Kate and Claudia. Blah blah threats, blah blah bluster. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Kate: But you see, I don’t need evidence. All I need to do is plant a tiny seed of doubt in Sonny’s mind.

Yes, that’s absolutely true, Kate. SO WHY DON’T YOU JUST DO IT, ALREADY. GOD.

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Sonny explains again how very, very much he wants Anthony Zacchara dead, but that he’s willing to leave him alive and cooperate with the Feds out of love for Jason.

Oh, you two — just make out, already!

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Meanwhile, upstairs, Spinelli participates in one last, desperate product placement shill:

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You stay classy, ABC!

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At the gala, Johnny and Maxie step out onto the red carpet, and my, don’t they look good together!

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Lulu watches from the limo, jealous and alone. Alone, that is, until Spinelli calls to join in on the pity party. The two of them sadly try to convince each other that Maxie and Johnny aren’t a dream couple waiting to happen. No one buys it.

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And there we have it! No, really. The final scene of the episode, the one meant to keep us hanging on the edge of our seats until Monday…really was Lulu and Spinelli talking on the phone about how nice Johnny and Maxie look together.

And people wonder why this show’s ratings are in the toilet.

As experiments go, I’d say this one was a success. If nothing else, it proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m not missing anything by fast forwarding through three-quarters of the show on any given day. In fact, I’m saving myself considerable agony by doing so — you might even say that skipping scenes of General hospital is the heart healthy thing to do! It certainly helps keep my blood pressure down.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m suddenly craving some Prego.

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