The time has come for me to bitch about the current Jason/Sam and Lucky/Elizabeth/Nikolas clusterfuck. I’ve been avoiding talking about it in the hopes that the writers might get distracted by something shiny and the whole mess would just go away. But sadly, that’s looking less and less likely.
So let’s tackle this couple by disastrous, nonsensical couple:
JASON & SAM
I was on a break from the show when Jason and Sam got together the first time. I have it on good authority from Incandescentflower that their initial romance was a delicious slow build, something for which this show rarely has any patience any more. So I’m kind of sorry I missed it.
Instead, my first exposure to them as a couple was Sam losing her baby. Which was devastating to watch, even when I had no idea who she was. But shortly thereafter, Sam got shot in the babymaker, Jason dumped her “for her own good,” and it seemed like all she did was cry, cry, cry five days a week. It was exhausting. And annoying. Then came the step-father fucking and the devolution into complete craziness, culminating in her allowing his baby to be kidnapped and hiring goons to point guns at Liz and her kids. Jason really seemed to hate Sam. He threatened to kill her. Doesn’t get much uglier than that.
I know the writers think that by having Sam save Jake and Liz from the Russians a few months ago, they’ve redeemed her earlier, Jake-endangering actions. And I could buy that Jason might have stopped hating her after that. Even that he might have forgiven her. But forgotten? No way.
Look, I’m not a parent. But I can only imagine that if someone repeatedly endangered my child out of pure spite, there would be no going back. I might eventually stop wanting to put that person’s face through a wall, I might eventually wish her the best. But I would never again be able to look at her with the same love I felt before. I would never again be able to truly trust her, or to forget that when push came to shove, she was capable of taking out her anger with me on my child.
As for Sam, why would she want to get back together with a man who treated her so callously before? Jason got her shot, he paternalistically made the decision to shut her out of his life, he got another woman pregnant then lied about it for months. And he threatened to kill her and really, really meant it.
I don’t like the person Sam becomes around Jason. She’s clingy and whiny, insecure and jealous. She loses all sense of self-respect and dignity. And everything in their relationship is always All. About. Him.
So far, their reunion has been fairly light-hearted (if utterly ridiculous — one second he’s on his deathbed, the next he’s picking her up for energetic sex?) and refreshingly angst-free. But I have no confidence that it will last, because these writers are hacks. And I can’t forget all the baggage between this couple, no matter how much the writers want me to.
None of which is even touching on the fact that as of only a few months ago, we were meant to believe Jason was deeply in love with another woman. Just because they can’t be together, those feelings shouldn’t have just disappeared. The absolute last straw was Jason freaking out all “Won’t somebody please THINK OF THE CHILDREN?” style after witnessing Elizabeth and Nikolas together.
I’m sorry, but the unrepentant HITMAN who decided he would rather keep KILLING PEOPLE FOR MONEY than be a part of his own son’s life has a lot of nerve questioning anyone else’s devotion as a parent, especially since he is now hooking up with the very woman who once allowed said son to be kidnapped. And especially since the parent is in question is Lucky, who has already proven that his love for Jake transcends both blood ties and any feelings of anger and betrayal he might be feeling toward Jake’s mother.
But every other character always has to be thrown under the bus in order to make sure Jason comes out smelling like a rose in every situation. Which, of course, is why we’re currently being subjected to the heinousness that is…
ELIZABETH & NIKOLAS
In the spirit of fairness, I have to admit that taken in a context-free environment, yesterday’s Liz/Nik love scene was actually kind of hot. (Hey, I like hot ladies in their underwear and sexy stomach kissing as much as the next woman, okay?)
But back in the land of context, there was just no way to justify any of it. You know, there was once a perfect opportunity to get Liz and Nik together and have it be pure, soapy goodness. Unfortunately for today’s writers, that time was over a decade ago, during the year everyone believed Lucky was dead. Woman falls for her Dead Love’s brother, only discover the Dead Love is alive (preferably as he breaks up her wedding to the brother, if the gods of soap timing have any say) — classic!
But that’s not what happened. Nikolas’ feelings for Liz were used as a foil for her burgeoning friendship with the town bad boy instead. And I can’t complain about how that worked out. In the many years since, there’s been no indication of anything the slightest bit romantic or sexual between them. Elizabeth and Nikolas have treated each other with sibling affection and perfectly platonic friendship.
Except now, suddenly, they’re unable to be in the same room together without shoving their tongues down each other’s throats. What!?
I think Sam expressed it best:
SAM: This is very unexpected.
I’ll say! Even poor Liz seems confused by her own inexplicable lust:
ELIZABETH: God, I don’t know why this is happening. Why, after all this time am I– ? It’s like I can’t help myself, but I know it’s not right.
Indeed, Liz. It’s almost as though your actions are being “written” by some third-party who is completely unconcerned by petty details like “character motivation” or “internal logic.” Strange, isn’t it?
(Note to the writers: having your characters point out exactly how random and implausible their actions are doesn’t absolve you from having to convince the viewers that these actions actually make sense.)
The thing that kills me is getting Liz and Nik together believably at this point in their long history wouldn’t actually have been impossible had the writers simply bothered to put in the legwork. Emily’s death presented another perfect opportunity for her best friend and husband to come together in shared grief:
Instead of Nik’s tumor farce, we should have seen him spending more and more time with Elizabeth — the two of them talking about Emily and how much they both missed her, Liz helping with Spencer. All completely innocent at first. We’d see months of this, and no hint of a reunion with Lucky in the meantime. (That part is crucial.)
Slowly, slowly, there would start to be moments of awkwardness, when you’d see them becoming aware of each other in a new way. They’d get caught in awkward positions, strangers would see them out with the boys and confuse them for a couple, etc. Then, just as they’d be about to admit their new feelings for each other, Rebecca shows up! (Rebecca, of course, being Emily, brought back to life and brainwashed by Helena.) And it would be like she’s cast a spell over him. Liz would be suspicious, but everyone would think she’s just jealous — which she would be! But she’d also be right, and it would all be terribly frustrating. Until she’d rescue Nikolas from Rebecca somehow, and they’d finally kiss. And by this point we’d all have been waiting for it for so long that it would really be delicious.
They’d get a few days of happiness until Rebecca regained her memories of being Emily. And then, of course, we’d have a whole new conflict — could Liz and Nik forget their passion for each other out of respect for Emily? Would she want them to? Or would Emily and Lucky finally take their longstanding friendship to the next level, completely turning the Four Musketeer dynamic on its head?
Well, anyway, that’s how I would have written it. But what do I know? Clearly, the Emmy award winning (sorry, that will never stop being horrifying) GH writers know much better. After all, what woman doesn’t dream of hearing, “hey, I may be obsessed with the twin sister of my dead wife, but when I’ve got beer goggles on, you make me really horny!” from her brother-in-law?
That’s romance, y’all.
But, of course, beyond the randomness of it all, the very worst part of Nikolas and Elizabeth’s sudden insanity is the damage their mutual callousness toward Lucky is doing to both of their characters. Which leads us to…
One of the most infuriating parts of the Jason/Elizabeth story over the past two years was the way Elizabeth continued to lie to Lucky, over and over again, for no apparent reason. It was cruel, it was near-character destroying, and it was also completely unnecessary.
I still have no idea why Liz ever agreed to marry him again when she was already in love with and carrying someone else’s child. I don’t know, because the writers don’t know, and so never felt the need to make Liz’s point of view clear to the audience. Perhaps the biggest waste of that entire story was the fact that Elizabeth’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, and fears were completely ignored. She was a prop in her own story. For a Liz fan, it was excruciating to watch.
And now it’s happening again. For all that Liz’s many lies over the past few years didn’t make much sense, she at least seemed to have learned from them. So why on Earth would she pull almost the same exact stunt a second time? Why agree to marry Lucky for the third time so soon after they both agreed they were better off as friendly exes? Why marry him for the second time under false pretenses when she knows her heart’s not in it?
As for Lucky, why is he making this offer at all? Lucky and Elizabeth have been an after thought to the writers ever since Greg Vaughn took over the role. Each of their numerous reconciliations has been rushed and mostly taken place off-screen. They’re clearly a fall-back couple that the writers use when they lack the imagination to do anything else with the characters. Which is a real crime because Vaughn and Herbst are both incredibly pretty, and they both play legacy characters with a rich history who could be put to much better use. The one thing they’re can’t do, at least IMO, is spark with each other very well.
At this point, I think the entire relationship is incredibly played out. Lucky and Liz had a great high school love story with Jonathan Jackson in the role. But they’ve never been able to recapture that magic. It’s seems obvious to me that Elizabeth may love Lucky still, but that she fell out of love with him a long time ago. She’s moved on with other men several times, and carved out a life for herself that’s separate and independent. For some reason, the writers have never allowed Lucky to do the same.
If I wanted to give them some credit, I’d say that the year Lucky spent imprisoned by Helena and Faison did some severe emotional damage, causing him to fixate on the relationships that were important to him as a teenager. He’s never moved on because he can’t; he’s still stuck in that headspace from when he was seventeen years old. But it seems more likely that the real reason is simply the writers don’t care about Lucky as a character, and thus can’t be bothered to develop him or give him an actual grown up relationship. (I liked him with Sam, by the way. I hate the way they ended just as they were getting interesting.)
Whatever the reason, the bottom line for me is that Lucky and Elizabeth just don’t work together as a couple anymore. Their relationship dynamic hasn’t evolved since they were teenagers — Lucky longs to be Liz’s hero, as he was in the aftermath of the rape, which usually results in him becoming controlling and/or oblivious to her feelings when they don’t match up to his expectations. For her part, Elizabeth is forever repressing her own desires or going behind his back to keep from disappointing him or rocking the boat — which inevitably leads to her disappointing him even more when the truth comes out. They make great, loving co-parents, but they completely lack romantic passion.
I hated Liz lying to Lucky about Jake and her feelings for Jason, but I could at least buy that her feelings for Jason were real. I’d watched and loved that couple for a decade. But Liz lying to Lucky again, barely a year after the last betrayal — this time over his own brother, for whom she’s never exhibited a single bit of romantic interest until a few weeks ago? And all of this seemingly in the service of making Saint Jason look like less of a heel for forgetting his love for Liz and throwing himself into a relationship with the woman who allowed their son to be kidnapped?
I’m thisclose to taking another break from the show, you guys, I swear. Molly’s about the only character I don’t want to punch in the face at the moment, and she’s a freaking ten year old kid. Johnny and Olivia are the only couple that I’m excited about — and in a perfect world, yesterday’s episode would be proof they were endgame, but we all know that will never happen as long as Sonny’s around.
Now they’ve taken my favorite character and embarked on a campaign to make her the most repellent, confusing hot mess this side of Claudia? You’re on notice, GH writers. This is NOT COOL.