LUCKY: Who could have predicted that my undercover assignment would lead to the Balkan ordering me to deliver Brenda?
ME: You mean besides anyone who’s ever watched this show before?
This was said during a very public pow-wow down on the docks between Lucky and Jason, of course.
Because if you’re a cop trying to fool an already suspicious crime lord into thinking you’re an international assassin in your own damn home town, the thing you want to do is wander around in public as much as possibly, thereby increasing the chances that someone you know will inadvertently break your cover. And you should DEFINITELY never have potentially damaging conversations with your hit man buddy/man crush on the phone or anything. That would be crazy.
Of course, if people in soap operas behaved with any discretion at all when it comes to life-threatening secrets, then nothing would ever happen, so whatever. The larger point is now that both Liz and Lucky are back in Port Charles, it’s providing all sorts of opportunities for the writers to clumsily and selectively remember elements of their long-dormant story.
Which leads us to a situation where one of the worst side-plots this show has had recently (and that’s saying something) has unexpectedly resurfaced. Yes, contrary to my dearest hopes that Elizabeth’s idiotic investment woes would be dropped like so many other idiotic stories before it… it lives on. And yet, Lucky hating Nikolas’ guts seems to have been completely forgotten. So what if Nik fathered a child with Lucky’s fiancé and then acted like a total dick about it for months? I guess they just worked through their issues off-screen or something. Bygones!
My eyes roll forever, seriously.
The one silver lining is that having Siobhan trapped and forced to listen to Elizabeth explain her idiotic money problems to two of her baby-daddies was one of the soapier things this show has managed in a while, but that’s barely enough to justify having to sit through any of this.
(Will Jason be next on the apology tour, I wonder? Probably not, since the writers would like us all to forget he and Liz even know each other, much less that Jake is his son and the money she lost to contrivance came from him in the first place. I hate this show.)
Speaking of Spencer drama that makes me want to yak, this latest round of “Luke gets Tracy to forgive an enormous breach of trust by even more egregiously breaching that trust” manages to be boring, unoriginal and repulsive.
Granted, that’s a trifecta this show has kind of perfected at this point, so it’s not really that noteworthy. Still, I like to think that at least a little part of Brenda’s awesomely appropriate reaction to hearing Lulu explain her father’s current romantic woes reflected Vanessa Marcil wondering just what the hell kind of cesspit she’d wandered back into with this show:
LULU: Yeah, actually, he got her wasted in Vegas and convinced her they had tied the knot. It was like five years ago.
BRENDA: That’s very romantic.
LULU: Uh-huh. But the problem is that Tracy found out it was a scam, so now he’s working overtime to get her back.
BRENDA: [clearly momentarily speechless] … Well. Adorable. So how are you?
For the record, as I don’t anticipate watching very much of the faux-heart attack shenanigans going forward, I want to take this opportunity to say: really, show? Again with the fake heart attack? You literally could not conceive of any other way Luke might win Tracy back that might come off as more sincere/less offensive? REALLY?
I am so sick of Luke and Tracy’s relationship being constantly defined by him treating her like crap and her living with it. Bickering is fine. I like bickering! Scheming is fine. Scheming is fun! But there’s no balance in their relationship. Everything about it is on Luke’s terms. He comes and goes as he pleases, even though she’s said numerous times that it bothers her. He cheats on her, over and over again. And sure, she makes him grovel about it, but she always caves and then nothing changes. I want to see Tracy and Luke teaming up to scam other people — not Luke constantly disrespecting Tracy with his actions while claiming to love her with his words.
Would it have killed them to show him actually trying to make amends for lying to her about the marriage? Would it have killed them to show him actually working to get the money back so he could prove he was sincere about loving her more than the cash? Apparently, yes. Even that littlest bit of respect is too difficult for this relationship. But Tracy’s not even allowed to be legitimately angry at being made a fool of for the last five years — no, instead, her entire family is now in on a plan which further makes a fool of her.
But it’s all harmless wacky hijinks, right? Because Tracy’s a harpy, and that makes it okay to treat her like less than a human being, who has no right to real feelings or dignity.
(Also, I am SO SURE that Maya would decide to risk her entire career to help Luke scam Tracy into forgiving him for something which, honestly, she is completely within her rights to be angry about. The fact that Monica is endorsing it doesn’t bother me half as much as Maya making the decision in the first place. Quartermaines with long-standing animosity toward each other can pull that kind of thing, Maya. You have only been here for a few months and we barely know you. You haven’t earned the right.)
Last but not least, listening to Sonny ramble on to Dante about the connection he and Brenda have always shared, it really struck me that the main problem with this entire S&B reunion story is a very simple one: they’re not showing us anything about why Sonny and Brenda are so drawn to each other, just telling us over and over again that they are. They’re also not showing us much of why they shouldn’t be together, merely repeating that they shouldn’t.
In essence, this entire story is resting on the laurels of things that happened over a decade ago, and all the flashbacks in the world aren’t enough to sustain that.
Look, writers. I remember how much Sonny and Brenda loved each other way back when, and that they hurt each other pretty constantly too. You know what else I remember? That the last time they were face to face, they had made their peace with not being good for each other and it was all very bittersweet and nice, and then she was all set to marry another man, and oh yeah, he WAS already married to someone else, and in the seven years since, we have not seen or heard either of them pining over each other.
It’s not enough to say they were in love once. That’s old news. They got over it. You need to show them rediscovering all the reasons why they couldn’t stay away from each other. Show them falling in love all over again with the people they are now, because a lot has changed. Then, after laying that groundwork for a few months, THEN we can have the drama of them fearing the pain of losing each other again.
In conclusion: yes, their story was legendary in the 90s, but you still have to show your damn work. Writing 101 — look it up!