When we did the first Sonny and Brenda post a little over a year ago, there were two major S&B moments that I couldn’t find anywhere on YouTube. I’m kind of a completist, so it was very sad.
Thankfully, ABC, in all its wisdom, decided to air both of those episodes in their entirety during all the pre-Brenda hoopla a few months back. So now instead of just clips, we get full retro recaps! First up: come on back to 1996, as Sonny brings Miranda to interrupt Brenda and Jax’s second wedding…
We open on Brenda wearing the puffiest of her many wedding gowns. She’s also frantically banging on one of the bedroom doors at the Quartermaine mansion for Jax to let her in. Which he does, despite it being bad luck to see her before the wedding. Oh, Jax. Old wives’ tales exist for a reason, you know. (SPOILER!) But honestly, he really had no choice. Not letting her in might have ruptured his eardrums, as Brenda screeches like a banshee when she’s freaking out. Also, check out how pretty she is in that dress:
(Jax, on the other hand, is wearing his 1996 hair, which I had forgotten how much I hate — so poofy! Ugh.)
Anyway, Jax is somewhat concerned, as Brenda’s wearing her serious face. She has something to tell him before the wedding, you see. Something she doesn’t want to say in front of all those people: she loves him. DUN!
Yes, even though they’re already married (or… they think they are — SPOILER!), Brenda’s just now realized that she’s actually in love with her husband and would really enjoy spending the rest of her life with him. And she’s pretty excited about it:
Hee! Also: awww… I was never a fan of Jax and Brenda together, but even I can admit he made her happy. A boring, passionless kind of happy, but still — how can you really argue with the cuteness of this speech?
BRENDA: I want to live with you forever. And have a family with you. And do everything and nothing together. I even want to get old and lumpy with you.
Again, I say: AWWWWWWW. They are adorable. For his part, Jax looks kind of bowled over. And poofy. So very, very poofy:
He twirls her around, and neither of them can stop smiling or laughing and… OMG, you guys. I might be turning into a retroactive Brenda/Jax shipper. Only a little bit, I promise!
(Also, I am sorry, present-day Carly, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jax look at you like that. Suck on it!)
Brenda says she’s “the original do everything wrong girl.” She and Jax exchange rings and private vows and it’s all so sweet you could just go into a sugar coma right here. Well, gee, what could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile, downstairs, Edward is telling Ned what a good job Katherine did putting the wedding together. (“She has poor Reginald babbling to himself back in the kitchen.”) Hah! And also: I miss Reginald.
Anyway, Edward wants to gossip about John Jacks, but Ned’s having none of it and cuts him off cold. I’m left wondering 1) why Ned is in such a bad mood, and 2) why on earth Katherine would be planning Brenda and Jax’s wedding. I don’t recall them every being particularly friendly. Didn’t Katherine make Brenda’s life hell when she was running Deception?
John comes over to schmooze, saying that since Jax has had “his share of adversity” what he and Lady Jane want for him is some peace with his new bride. Uh-oh. Smells like foreshadowing!
Speaking of Lady Jane, she’s thanking Alan, Monica and Emily for hosting the wedding in their living room. Young Amber Tamblyn is looking particularly stunning in her wedding finery, by the way. She gets best dressed of the wedding from me.
Alan and Monica joke a bit about how second weddings are a tradition for the Qs, to Lady Jane’s polite confusion. Man, seeing Leslie Charleson (with a face that moves, no less!) and Stuart Damon together just makes me sad.
ALAN: Actually, this room has seen quite a few weddings.
MONICA: Yes, we specialize in repeats.
I miss them so much!
Katherine tries to horn in on the conversation, but no one’s really giving her the attention she obviously wants, so she abandons them to scuttle over to Mac.
I’m having a hard time figuring out where we are in the Katherine timeline here — is she still “married” to Ned? Because she seems awfully flirty with Mac. When the latter doesn’t give her the compliment she’s clearly fishing for, she starts straight up grilling him about how the room looks. It’s all so pathetically desperate that I’m beginning to feel sorry for her even though I know she’s horrible. Mac finally takes pity and says it’s beautiful, but Kathy’s still feeling some bad vibes.
Cue Lucy, stage right!
Awesome. Lucy babbles some exposition about Katherine apparently having attempted to sabotage some shoots Brenda was going to do for Jacks Cosmetics, which Lucy is now running. Blah blah, rivalry. Blah blah, cosmetics corporate intrigue. Mac looks more resigned than disgusted, but then he walks away without even letting her explain, causing poor Katherine to literally facepalm:
And… we’re off to a cabin in the woods, where original recipe Carly has just walked in on Bobbie crying. I gather from their conversation that Carly’s affair with Tony has been recently revealed, and that Bobbie still has no idea Carly is her daughter at this point. Oh, boy. This should be good.
Bobbie tells Carly that Tony loves her. Carly, to her credit, looks kind of devastated. She apologizes, saying she never thought Bobbie would come back to the cabin (where she first discovered the two of them together, if memory serves).
No one does angry tears quite like pre-facelifts Barbara Jean, by the way:
CARLY: Tony would hate for you to be hurt like this.
BOBBIE: Please do me the courtesy of not telling me what my husband of eight years thinks or feels.
CARLY: I’m not saying that I know him better than you. I just know him differently– God, I’m not helping, am I?
BOBBIE: No, you’re not. What is it you’re trying to express, Carly? That you understand, that you respect the relationship that Tony and I have? That we’ve built over all these years?
CARLY: No. I guess I don’t. Or I would never have let this happen.
Well, that’s honest, at least. Carly claims to feel sick at herself over causing Bobbie so much pain. And I actually believe her, even though I know her initial goal was to trash Bobbie’s entire life. Basically, both of them are in tears as Bobbie gets her to admit that she’s still in love with Tony, no matter how much she regrets ruining her friendship with her mentor over it.
Damn, this whole story was such good soap.
BOBBIE: I haven’t heard Tony sing in a long time. I never liked this place. It was so old and decrepit. I could never understand why he liked to hang out here. You’ve made it new for him. You’re new. Nothing really bad has happened to you yet.
Ouch. Knowing what we now know about sweet Caroline’s past, I guess her grimace there is understandable. Also, I’m sorry, I kind of want to transcribe this whole conversation, it’s just that good. But I’ll restrain myself. Suffice it to say that Jackie Zeman’s delivery through that whole speech was devastating.
Carly says she never thought this would happen when she came to Port Charles. Which, no, I suppose she didn’t ever expect to end up feeling sorry for her victim. Bobbie manages one last bitter blow as she promises not to try and stop them: “In a way, I almost wish you well.” Walk out with your head high, Barbara Jean!
I’m glad this scene was in this episode, because early Bobbie/Carly stuff is awesome, but it definitely feels weirdly out of place. Are Bobbie and Carly simply the only people in town not at Jax and Brenda’s wedding?
Back at the Quartermaines’, Edward is giving Mike the third degree over the inappropriateness of his attendance. All things considered, he’s kind of got a point. Edward notes that while Sonny wasn’t invited, “that’s never stopped him before.” Hmmm, anyone else feel that anvil?
Elsewhere on the foreshadowing front, Ned and Emily go off in search of the bride and groom, and Lady Jane excuses herself to interrogate her husband — it seems he’s got a look on his face that goes way past mere nerves. Curiouser and curiouser! Meanwhile, upstairs, the happy couple is still blissfully making out:
They break it off to exchange some mutual nerves about their vows and it’s all still sickeningly adorable… until Emily interrupts. And then it gets MORE adorable, because little Amber Tamblyn’s indignant irritation that they’ve broken the rules and allowed groom to see bride before the wedding is just too precious
Ned joins them as Emily marches her cute little self downstairs to tell on them. (John continues to look suspiciously anxious — I forget. Did he suspect Miranda would show up?)
Brenda somewhat sheepishly tells Ned that she doesn’t want him to walk her down the aisle anymore — she and Jax will walk each other instead. Ned, to his credit, isn’t offended in the slightest. He and Jax shake hands — were they not really friends at this point? I’m sensing some tension. Ned heads down to reassures the waiting guests:
NED: Trust me, I’ve never seen a couple more willing to tie — I should say re-tie — the knot. Yes, the groom did see the bride in her dress. And they say: so what? And to be even more untraditional, they’ve decided to walk themselves down the aisle. Believe me, there is absolutely nothing that can stop them.
There’s that trademark General Hospital subtlety! Jax leads Brenda down the stairs, and I’m amused that even when he’s five steps down from her, Ingo Rademacher is still almost the same height as Vanessa Marcil. Girl is tiny:
They pause at the bottom for a last happy look — and I do hope they enjoyed that, because here comes Sonny!
And he’s not alone, of course. Enter Miranda, stage BORING. (Sorry, sorry… I just find her so dull.)
In any case, she gasps at the sight of Jax and there follows some intense eyes close ups as everyone stares at each other.
“Is it you?” Jax wants to know. Instead of answering, she accuses Sonny of having lied to her. Presumably the sound of her voice confirms her identity for Jax, as he drops Brenda’s wedding band in shock. Sonny scoops it up, because he’s suave like that.
SONNY: May I present Mrs. Jasper Jax?
Boom goes the dynamite! Man, I remember how happy I was when this first aired. I was Team Sonny all the way, and Jax’s perfection was really annoying. I longed for a chink in his white knight armor, and a secret wife was just what the doctor ordered. Too bad she turned out to be so uninteresting.
Apparently failing to notice the tell-tale shell-shocked expression on her husband-to-be’s face —
— Brenda lays into Sonny for trying to hurt her like this. Amusingly, she spits out that she doesn’t need to ask Jax anything… before turning around and asking him what’s going on.
Miranda takes the opportunity to bolt, and Jax, looking anguished, tells Brenda he has to go to her before running off. Ouch.
Sonny starts to explain, but he’s interrupted when Brenda full arm slaps him. Awesome.
I could literally watch Sonny getting slapped all day and not get tired of it.
In the next room over, the guests are starting to get restless. Rather than check on the missing bride and groom again, they decide to just start the proceedings and hope they show up. Sounds like a great plan!
Mac is distracted, but won’t explain why, much to Katherine’s annoyance. I guess his Miranda-sense is tingling! He claims he feels like he’s seen a ghost. Meanwhile, the ghost in question is tearfully running through Lila’s rose garden. Jax calls her name, and they stare at each other, gobsmacked.
Back from commercials, Sonny — wearing a really unflatteringly belted trenchcoat, by the way — says he doesn’t blame Brenda for being angry. How big of him! He thinks she’ll understand when he explains his reasoning. Brenda begs to differ! She insists she doesn’t want to hear anything he has to say.
Sonny thinks Brenda needs to hear him out — whether she wants to or not — and launches in the story of how Miranda was maimed in an explosion deliberately set by Jax’s family to get them a mine they were after, and then hidden away because she wasn’t pretty enough anymore, or something.
Honestly, I could never really get into the whole overly-complicated Miranda back story. Wasn’t Mac somehow involved, as well? Because he and Jax knew each other back in Australia? (It’s a pretty small country, you know. I’m sure they all know each other.)
Sonny is amusingly outraged at the idea of someone else having the nerve to use violence (and a bomb! Heavens!) to get what they want:
Oh, Sonny. Even in the nineties, thy name was always hypocrisy. Brenda’s not even trying to hear any of this:
BRENDA: Oh, I see what’s going on. You’re so happy right now, aren’t you? You accomplished everything you wanted to accomplish. You ruined my wedding, and you hurt me more… than I ever thought you could. You did it Sonny! You finally got me back, didn’t you? You finally got me back for wearing that wire and betraying you! You really happy now?
The stink eye she’s giving him here, by the way, is truly impressive:
Out in the garden, Miranda begs Jax, in that limp noodle way of hers, to believe that she had no idea he was getting married again — and that if she had, she wouldn’t have stood in his way. Jax, in that typically overwrought way of his, replies:
JAX: If I could have had one wish, in my whole life, it would have been to see your eyes looking at me again as they are right now, Miranda.
Inside, the crowd’s growing restless as the wedding march start and neither the bride nor the groom has shown up:
Everyone except Mac, of course, because he’s still staring out into the garden, Miranda-dar pinging wildly, I guess.
For some reason, no one thinks to open the door and see what’s going on in the hall, which is too bad, because what’s going on out there is Brenda continuing to rip Sonny up one side and down the other. Good stuff. She points out that this wedding was all for show, so they could have a ceremony in front of their friends and family — but it doesn’t matter if he’s ruined it or not; they’re still married.
Sadly for Brenda, she hasn’t really put all the dots together to figure out that if Miranda was married to Jax first, then that kind of makes the rest of his subsequent marriages invalid. Oops! Sonny somehow (manfully!) refrains from pointing this out to her. Perhaps because he is honestly looking a little unhappy to see her so distressed. Good for him.
Brenda reiterates that she’s in love with Jax with all her heart, and marches out to find him — just in time to spot her not-husband locked in an embrace with his not-so-dead wife.
Watching this again is interesting — it’s an important moment for the Sonny/Brenda relationship, because Miranda’s story, as silly as it ended up being, was the beginning of the end of this round of Brenda and Jax. It’s also nice to see Sonny working on a crazy plan to get Brenda back (for once!) rather than the opposite. And it gives them an opportunity to bring up the wire again, which never gets old.
But it’s not really a great Sonny/Brenda episode — he comes off rather jerkish and she’s so sweet with Jax that I’m a little sad for them even though I don’t ever want to see them together again. Still, it sets the stage for Sonny and Brenda to get closer together as Jax follows Miranda to Australia and Brenda finds Sonny overdosing on heroin — and that is truly one of my favorite S&B moments of all time, so… not bad for an hour’s work.
Next up on retro recaps: Sonny and Brenda trapped in the catacombs! Stay tuned, readers.