Happy birthday, baby.

Well, folks, it’s hard to believe it’s been another year already, but here we are. So, happy birthday, General Hospital! Even though I complain sometimes — sometimes a lot — I’m glad you’re still around.

Old credits

We open this year’s anniversary episode on Luke standing outside the old Elm Street house — which is way more intact than I expected, considering a bomb went off in the basement not that long ago. I am seriously starting to doubt Jason’s qualifications as a demolitions expert, you guys.

Over at the hospital, Lulu wants to put out an APB out on her father, but Patricia thinks he needs help, not cops. Um, okay. Maybe tell that to your daughter, who he terrorized for hours? Bobbie asks her sister to just finally, finally tell them what happened in their family home all those years ago.

Luke and his mom

Cut to black and white! Old Luke watching his teenage self come into the house, muttering about baseball and sporting the beginnings of older Luke’s eventual curls. Laura Wright, aka Lena Spencer, comes out dressed like a 60s housewife and chastises her son for being late. They both know his father wouldn’t like that.

Teenage Patricia comes downstairs wearing pants — like she thinks she’s Mary Tyler Moore! — which her mother also warns their father will hate. Tiny Bobbie bursts out from behind the curtains as an April Fool’s joke, just in time for their father (played by Geary) to come home.

Patricia Spencer

Back in the present, Patricia says it’s fitting this is all happening today, as the terrible thing that broke Luke’s brain occurred 52 years ago on April Fool’s Day. Bobbie clarifies that was the day their mother died and their father left them, although she doesn’t remember anything about what happened.

At the dinner table, Tim Spencer shares his charming drunk opinions about immigrants, hitting baseballs like a girl, and how terrible their mother is at everything. The whole family is clearly walking on eggshells around him, except for Patricia, who keeps talking back. The actress playing young Patricia looks a lot like Tamara Braun, by the way, and it keeps distracting me.

Young Patricia

Patricia mouths off one time too many, and he smacks her, prompting their mom to step in. In the present, Bobbie recalls that her mother’s appendix burst after he beat her, and he just walked away and left her to die. But Pat says that’s not the whole story.

Young Pat takes their mom to the hospital over daddy Spencer’s objections. Luke stays behind to stop Tim from following them and protect Barbara Jean. Cut to: the old GH set from the 60s! Where Jason Thompson and Ryan Carnes and are looking fiiiiiiine as Steve Hardy and Phil Brewer. They reenact a scene straight out of the first episode before Pat calls Dr. Brewer to look at her mom.

Steve Hardy and Phil Brewer

Jessie Brewer and Steve Hardy

Behind them, Rebecca Herbst’s Jessie Brewer runs into Steve and gives him an update on a mysterious female patient who’s refusing to see anyone or look at her own reflection, which is also lifted almost word for word from the first episode:

Momma Spencer lies that she fell by accident and tries to leave, but collapses before she can get far. Steve seems familiar with the family — enough to tell Jessie to call Lena’s brother rather than her husband. Pat sits in the waiting room until Steve comes out with the bad news: the swelling in mom’s brain was too great and she’s dead.

In the present, Bobbie gets a call from Lucas with the news that a man was spotted entering the old Elm St. house. Back at that house in the past, old Luke watches as young Luke finally stands up to dad, telling him that when mom comes home, things are going to change. But then the hospital calls with the news. Geary does some nice work on Old Luke’s reaction shot.

Luke's mom is dead

At the hospital, Steve is comforting Pat and asking her to tell him who did this. Jessie interrupts to say that the Eckerts have arrived, and Patricia confesses she’s never met any of her mother’s family. So she’s extra startled when she turns to find her cousin Bill, looking exactly like her brother.

Young Bobbie comes downstairs, asking for their mother. Luke lies that she went for a walk and sends Bobbie back upstairs. Tim is still mean and drunk and doesn’t seem the slightest bit remorseful. Young Luke screams at him, in denial about his mom.

Pat and Bill

At the hospital young Pat talks with Bill, who explains that the Eckerts tried to get her mom away from their father, but Tim didn’t like that, so that’s why their families have never met. Pat explains that Luke and Bobbie are still with their father, and Bill volunteers to help her go get them. But when they get home, they find Tim lying dead on the floor.

In a flashback within a flashback, we see Tim threatening to leave the kids to be wards of the state. Young Luke picks up a baseball bat and… Old Luke can’t remember anything past that point. In the present, he’s still trying to remember when Tracy, Bobbie, and Patricia burst in.

Tim Spencer

Patricia finally finishes the story. After she and Bill came in, they hid the body inside a wall in the basement. That’s why she signed the house over to Bill — so he could make sure no one would ever find it. Old Luke flashes back to Bill’s death.

At first we hear the words that actually aired in the 90s. But then suddenly Luke remembers Bill’s “real” dying words: that Luke needs to forgive himself for what he did to his mother. Kudos to whoever did the dubbing on that scene, because it looks pretty damn good.

Bill's death

We see another flashback to Tim screaming that he may be abusive, but it was Luke killed their mother. GASP! Suddenly, we’re watching the confrontation from earlier again. Only this time, we see Luke intervening over his mother and sister’s objections, in the process, accidentally smacking his mom in the head with the end of the bat.

Tim screams that they’re the same and Luke is a monster. Young Luke loses it and hits him with the bat. And in the present, Old Luke finally remembers it all and breaks down sobbing and apologizing while his sisters — young and old — gather around him.

Luke knows the truth

Well, that was uplifting! Nothing like accidental matricide to set the right celebratory tone! But I did like the homage to the first episode, and frankly, seeing Rebecca Herbst in that old timey nurse outfit is a gift in and of itself.

As for the resolution to the Luke/Fluke mystery… um. Okay? I have so many questions. Like: why did Bobbie have to go live with Aunt Ruby and become a teenage prostitute when the Eckerts were living in town and clearly cared about Lena’s famly? Why did Patricia abandon her siblings? And what would this story have looked like if Tony Geary’s health problems hadn’t given the writers enough time to second guess their original plan? Tune in tomorrow for these answer and more.

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5 thoughts on “Happy birthday, baby.

  1. I really love Tony Geary’s comment in the interview you linked about sometimes just having to say to himself, “Okay, today we’re just in comic book world.” I’ve wondered how some of these fine actors live through the outrageously bizarre stories they are handed. Thank you Tony, for hanging in there through all those comic book days.

  2. I wondered too why Bobbie and Luke had to go live with Aunt Ruby, unless Luke decided that he couldn’t continue to live in a house where his father’s dead body was buried inside a wall. Or he was too traumatized? We still don’t know why Patricia basically abandoned her siblings yet. And how old is her daughter supposed to be if Patricia is like 70 something? I hope we get the answers to all these questions.

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