I keep trying to care about this show right now, guys. I really do. I’m so sick of hating it. But even when something I’ve been waiting for finally happens, the lack of emotional continuity just gives me whiplash.
Last week: Jason had a heartwarming moment with Tracy and reconfirmed his determination of get ELQ back for the Quartermaines. This week: he and Sam casually betray Tracy by telling Nikolas she’s been working with Hayden all along. No conflict there! Then, later that same day:
SAM: You were so desperate to keep the truth about my husband from me that you hired someone to kill Hayden and when they botched the job, you did what, you married her?
NIKOLAS: Hayden is no victim–
SAM: She’s YOUR victim!
I mean, yay? Sam actually got to yell at Nikolas after months of BAFFLING cordiality. It’s just a little hard to get invested in her sudden moral outrage when a few hours go, she cared so little about his attempts to keep her child from ever knowing his father that she was sincerely offering Nikolas condolences over his failed marriage to a con woman they both despise.
(It is also hard to swallow her laments over Nikolas killing for money when she’s speaking to her ex-husband, the MOB HITMAN, in a room financed solely by the blood money he earned over many years of KILLING PEOPLE FOR MONEY.)
SAM: For years we used to tease him that he was the good Cassadine, and it was true. I mean, he wasn’t perfect. He made mistakes. But he wasn’t greedy. And he certainly wasn’t murderous. He would not do anything to hurt anyone. It just doesn’t make any sense.
JASON: Are you okay?
SAM: I’m not sure. You’re telling me that Nikolas sent someone to kill a defenseless woman, somebody he knew, somebody he was sleeping with. That is not the man that I knew.
On the other hand, this speech is exactly what the entire audience has been saying for over a year? And it’s nice to hear at least someone on the show who knows Nikolas articulating it too? So. Whiplash.
The extra irony is that Sam’s anger on Hayden’s behalf is directly proportional to Hayden’s complete lack of outrage over her husband putting her in a coma for six months.
HAYDEN: We’ve both said things and done things we regret. Deeply. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make this work.
I mean, have you both done things that you regret? Have you, really? Because from where I’m sitting, Nikolas has never expressed a single ounce of guilt or regret over anything that’s he’s done. He certainly hasn’t so much as offered even a half-hearted justification to Hayden herself, much less an apology of any kind. So I’m not sure where her certainty that he feels super bad about paying someone to shoot her in the head is coming from.
What I do know is that after a year of waiting for this confrontation, Hayden telling Nikolas she knew about the failed hit was weirdly bloodless and unsatisfying. They had the perfect set up for a big, emotional reveal during their fight big last week. But instead, they backed off so they could… wait a week for no reason and drop the actual reveal with zero passion, anger, or sense of betrayal. How do you botch something like this? It’s soap 101!
The powers that be seem convinced that Hayden and Nikolas are an “edgy” love for the ages. I have news for them: they are not. He acts like he barely even likes her half the time, they have lukewarm sexual chemistry, HE HAD HER SHOT IN THE HEAD AND DOESN’T EVEN FEEL BAD ABOUT IT, and she comes across like a limp dishrag every time she goes crawling back to him, begging to make their dysfunctional relationship another go. It’s boring and it’s gross and it mostly just makes me wish they’d use those bedside table knives to commit mutual homicide.
Thankfully, there is one bright spot on the canvas, and as always, it is Tracy Quartermaine:
TRACY: You might think that you’re finally going to get to live in that house my brother gave you all by yourself. Not so fast. I plan on living in that house until Alice has to carry us both up the stairs.
MONICA: Well, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
ME NEITHER, MONICA. I am going to be a broken husk of a woman when Jane Elliott finally retires. Not the least of which because she keeps giving fantastic interviews like this:
But here’s the problem with soaps: The bar keeps getting lowered. This is the golden age of television. I stream a lot of great shows on Netflix, plus I’m addicted to HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, BBC America. That s–t is remarkable! And then you put all that up against our soap operas and the disparity just gets bigger and bigger. It makes me crazy. This is not the best that we can do. Yes, there are limitations in daytime with budget and time but then we need to write material that accommodates those limitations. Don’t write shootouts on the pier. Don’t write explosions and fires. If you don’t have the time and the money, make the stories small and intimate and heartbreaking. I also find it completely irresponsible to play guns the way do on GH and as often we do.
For real, who do I have to pay/kill to get less explosions and more stories based on real emotion that actually make sense on this show?