Another year, another anniversary, another recap. Before we get into it, I’m calling a moment of silence for Television Without Pity. Here’s to you, TWoP: there was a time when posting on the GH forums was the only thing that got me through some very boring days. We’ll always have our memories. And Demian’s magnificent Charmed recaps.
Onto this recap! We open in black and white, on a picture of Steve Hardy and other notables from GH’s past, hanging on a wall in the hospital.
A ghostly voice over the hospital intercom pages him, Alan Quartermaine, Jessie Brewer, Rick Webber, Jeff Webber, Leslie Webber, Noah Drake, Amy Vining, and Tony Jones as we pan across the empty hospital. Well, this is probably going to be emotionally devastating.
Right on cue: color and people return to the screen as Monica steps out of the elevator, telling us in voiceover that even though she’s dealt with death so often as a doctor, it never gets easier when it’s a loved one. Well, Monica would know. She’s had enough practice.
While Monica collapses over AJ’s body, Carly’s down the hall, confronting Sonny over AJ’s deathbed confession. Laura Wright’s hair is getting seriously puffy and I kind of hate it? Just say no to growing out your awesome cut, Laura!
Couples night at the Floating Rib! Mac, Felicia, and Kevin are gossiping about a recent mayoral scandal over some margaritas. Mac half-jokingly suggests that Felicia run for mayor herself, and she’s obviously intrigued by the idea. Meanwhile, Lucy stares into space, distracted by her turmoil over Scotty’s ultimatum.
Speaking of Scott, he’s waiting for Bobbie at Kelly’s. She shows up late, in tears over Noah, who just broke up with her over the phone. It seems he’s been cheating on her with an old flame — Annie Logan. “The virgin?” Scotty asks, incredulous. Heh.
Back at the hospital: Sonny’s frozen panic face segues into a desperate attempt to deflect suspicion. (That AJ! Such a wacky prankster, even on his death bed! And he was high on drugs, too! Who knows what he was saying?) Oh, Sonny. This is just sad. Carly agrees, so he drags her off to the chapel to talk about a murder cover up. As you do.
Monica tells AJ’s body that she’s had to say goodbye to too many people and can’t do it this time, not alone. Which is when Emily ghosts in to help.
Back at the Floating Rib, the rest of the gang finally notices Lucy’s distraction. She covers by pretending to be worrying about the Nurses’ Ball, only a month away (hurray!) and Kevin sweetly promises that she won’t have to do it alone this time — he’ll be there every step of the way and won’t let any of his patients keep him from being there for her. OH, DOC.
Mac offers the group a preview of his new Mr. Marbles act for this year’s show, and is gently but firmly shot down by everyone. Felicia diplomatically says that Mr. Marbles “got a little angry last year.” Mac complains that Frisco sang that stupid song, but Felicia cuts him off before he can get too worked up. Kevin’s just happy that all of them are blissfully happy and in love. Cue Lucy’s guilty face.
Sonny wants Carly to stop shooting her mouth off about AJ in public, which she takes as proof that he did it. Finally, he admits that he killed “that son of a bitch” and seems honestly flabbergasted when she doesn’t immediately fall all over herself promising to keep his secret.
Monica lists off all of her many dead family members — including Dawn! — and laments that parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. She doesn’t want to live like this anymore. Emily says she’s never alone; they’re always with her. And considering how blasé everyone in town is getting about casual conversations with dead people, she makes a good point.
Sonny condescendingly asks Carly if she remembers that AJ “killed” their unborn child. No, Sonny, I’m sure she forgot all about that! (Although it was an ACCIDENT. But anyway.) Cue flashback:
We see the fall, and then the aftermath where he and his amazing 90s hair told her the baby didn’t survive. Back in the present, Sarah Brown Carly is here! I wish I hadn’t known this was happening, because it would have been amazing as a surprise. (It’s still pretty fun, though.)
Anyway, she tells him that of course she remembers.
The “you asshole” is kind of implied
Lucy gets a moment alone with her very best friend in the whole world, and confesses everything that’s been happening with Scotty. She loves both him and Kevin and can’t choose. Across town, Bobbie rails against homewreckers and Scotty reluctantly confesses that he is one. Bobbie pretty much instantly figures out who he must be talking about, because: duh.
Kevin and Mac come back over to tease Felicia some more about running for mayor. Clearly this is a thing that will be happening, and it will either be hilarious or excruciating. Lucy makes some really unconvincing excuses and runs out.
Monica thinks she’s earned a rest; Emily argues that she’s a Quartermaine and needs to fight. But Monica’s upset that every single one of the children she raised have died horrible, violent deaths. That is a pretty bad track record, Mon.
Emily thinks it doesn’t matter that she was brutally strangled on her wedding day, because hey! She got to experience TWU WUV with Nikolas, the man who once cheated on her because she refused to put out after his doppelganger raped her. Oh, Em. Sometimes I don’t mind that you’re dead. I really don’t.
Monica says that AJ’s life was always in turmoil, which is probably more polite than the truth, aka his entire life was an unrelenting garbage pail. But she’s grieving, so I’ll allow it. She just wishes he could have found peace. Which is when AJ’s spirit shows up to tell her that he finally has.
Sonny and Carly flash back to that time he was shot in front of the police station and nearly died. Which prompted her to go insane and also make a deal with the Feds to force him out of the mob. And just like that, we’re with Tamara Braun! She’s not my favorite Carly, but I’ve always thought she had the most believable romantic chemistry with Maurice Bernard.
They argue about her BETRAAAAAYAL and whether it was justified, but agree that they could never get each other out of their hearts, even after they divorced. He thinks they’re a lot alike: stubborn, opinionated, loyal. It would be sweeter if I didn’t remember this entire walk down memory lane was him manipulating her into not turning him in.
They remember all the times he was there for her — like when they thought Michael was dead. Which, of course, brings this back around to AJ and all the reasons why they hated him. Tamara Braun Carly references the minor nervous breakdown she suffered after that, and Laura Wright Carly is suddenly back. Man, what a wasted opportunity to showcase Jennifer Bransford Carly’s greatest moment.
AJ tells Monica it wasn’t her job to make him happy. But she did save him and protect him and give him a second chance with Michael. He’ll always be grateful he was able to have a relationship with his son. JUST KEEP HITTING ME IN THE FEELS, AJ.
Bobbie tells Scotty that this thing with Lucy can’t continue like it is. He knows! That’s why he gave her the ultimatum! But she hasn’t given her answer yet. Which, of course, is when Lucy walks in. She’s there to tell him she’s made a decision: she loves Scotty, but she’s staying with Kevin. They fight about whether they can remain just friends. Scott thinks they’ll always want more.
AJ hopes Emily can be his guide into the afterlife. Monica still wants to join them, which spawns a Quartermaine-ish mini-argument where everyone is yelling over each other — until Emily breaks it up, as is her wont. Monica heartbreakingly explains that the silence at the Q mansion is killing her; the family is gone. AJ and Emily argue that Michael and Danny are the next generation and they’ll need her there to show them where they come from.
I get what the writers are trying to do here, but it still feels like pretty poor consolation in the wake of yet another Quartermaine death. WE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL, PEOPLE. We could have had AJ and Tracy working the relish lines together!
Meanwhile, Sonny and Carly are laughing about that fun time he tricked her into marrying him for a fourth time in order to save his skin. The fact that they’ve now brought up two times Carly’s married Sonny to keep from having to testify against him (OH, SOAP LAW, YOU SO WACKY) makes me a little nervous that we’re headed for a fifth trip down the aisle sometime soon. Even if Carly does specifically say that their love story is over — over clips of the limo tryst when Michael was in a coma. Ew.
Carly think this time, they could maybe try out this fancy newfangled notion called “honesty” with Michael. Sonny thinks this is crazy talk. He begs her to just do nothing. But she refuses to make any promises until she’s thought about it some more. As she leaves to go comfort Michael, Sonny stays behind to pray — presumably for God’s help in covering up the cold-blooded murder he just committed? OH, SONNY. NEVER CHANGE.
Lucy heads back to the Floating Rib, telling Kevin that she’s made some decisions and feels better. I wish I could believe that, Luc.
At last, Monica agrees to stay — on the condition that AJ tell her who killed him. AJ says it’s too long and complicated to explain, but she’ll be proud when she finds out the full truth. Um, not to quibble with your ghost logic, AJ, but two sentences would really cover it: Ava set me up; Sonny killed me. Would that really have been so hard?
They say their last goodbyes, and I’m doing okay until Monica calls him her sweet boy. AJ and Emily walk out hand and hand past the wall of pictures. Sad music plays them out as they walk into the light, led by stand ins for Edward, Lila, and Alan. Okay, fine. Now I’m crying. ARE YOU HAPPY, SHOW? ARE YOU?
And that’s that. I’m bummed to see AJ’s death confirmed so definitively. And slightly puzzled by the decision to juxtapose Monica’s suicidal grief with her son’s murderer reminiscing about his love life? But, you know… flashbacks! Carlys! Veterans! Feels!
Happy 51st anniversary, guys.