I put off watching this episode for a few days because I knew it would destroy me. And hey, I was right!
Tracy’s got her entire family (sans Jason because… Billy Miller had already hit his guarantees for the month?) and everyone else she cares about gathered in the Quartermaine living room for an announcement:
TRACY: I love you all. The people in the room are the ones I hold in my heart. The time has come for me to step out of my father’s shadow. I need to make a life of my own. I can’t do it here. Which brings me to my announcement: I’m leaving.
Everyone is shocked and appalled. I feel you, Port Charles.
Elsewhere: Nathan comes home to an empty apartment, and rips up the card he’d made for Maxie’s canceled return. This card, by the way? Made of red construction paper with silver writing and a picture of them pasted on the inside. He went full elementary school arts and crafts on this sucker.
Over at their divorce hearing, Sonny wonders if there’s some reason he shouldn’t have taken off his wedding ring. Carly stiffly tells him there’s no reason at all, just as her lawyer shows up. And guess who it is! Martina Morales, aka, Sonny’s latest conquest. The two of them share a moment of horrified realization before pretending to meet for the first time. Diane hopes they can all find some common ground. Sonny looks like he’s trying to swallow his own mouth.
Back at the Quartermaines’, Monica thinks Tracy’s just being melodramatic, but she insists she’s actually leaving — and selling her beloved painting to bankroll her fresh start.
The food arrives and it’s pizza! Because of course it is. Dillon and Ned are both upset. Tracy explains that she doesn’t have an exact plan yet.
TRACY: Believe me, I am not happy about leaving the two of you. It has been a thrill for me to have the three of us under the same roof. But the two of you have been living your own lives for years. It’s time for me to do the same.
NED: Do you have any idea how much we’re going to miss you?
WORD, ASHTON. I mean, Quartermaine. (I love that, btw, but it’s going to take a while to get used to.)
Dillon promises that they will go visit her wherever she ends up. He is weirdly choked up for a guy who spent the better part of the last decade voluntarily living on the other side of the country. But I guess a child leaving home is different from a parent leaving? He supposes it’s easier to be excited about saying goodbye when you’ve got an adventure waiting for you on the other side. Tracy thinks his big heart makes him the strongest Quartermaine.
I’m… just going to just pretend she’s talking to Scott Clifton’s Dillon to make that work in my head.
Nathan — shirt open and beer in hand — opens the door to find Amy 2.0. She hopes he remembers her, because she’s here to yell at him about his wife bailing on the Nurses’ Ball and invites herself in while ranting that Maxie is “the same self-centered witch” she always was. Totally an appropriate thing to say to a near-stranger!
Diane and Martina square off about the legitimate business holdings Sonny signed over to Carly back when they all though he was about to go to jail. Martina makes it clear that she knows enough about Sonny’s non-legitimate stuff to make a lot of trouble for him if he tries to fight this out in court. I almost love her? And then I remember I had to fast forward through Sonny making sex faces because of her. So I’m conflicted.
Finn tries to get Tracy to play one last backgammon game with him, but she can’t put off her departure — even if he’s currently in the hole for $150 on their games. They share a sweetly sincere moment: Tracy thinks her outlook on life has changed in part before of him. Finn affectionately tells her he’s never had a friend like her before.
they’re both wrong about pineapple on pizza, tho
Amy guesses Nathan doesn’t share her opinion about Maxie or else he wouldn’t have married her. Um, yes. Duh. Shut up, Amy. But of course that doesn’t stop her from continuing to complain that Maxie also bailed on the prep for their high school reunion. Wouldn’t Amy be happy about that, since it would mean her and Dillon spending even more time together?
Nathan figures out this whole weird and uncomfortable visit has to do with old high school grudges. Ding, ding, ding! Amy explains that when Maxie was head cheerleader, she didn’t let Amy join the squad, probably because of her weight. Which is a legit reason to bear a grudge, but still doesn’t justify taking it out unsolicited on a complete stranger, Amy. She also gives a speech about how she actually likes the way she looks, which would be a nice bit of body positivity if this character were not so awful in every other way.
Lulu tells Tracy that she’s proud of her for having faith in herself and trying something new, and that Tracy has always been her hero. That is definitely not true, but I enjoy the sentiment, and so does Tracy.
Next, Tracy sits down with Laura and tells her she has an amazing daughter:
LAURA: Yes, I do. And I owe a lot of that to you. You were a mother to her when I couldn’t be. You know, I’m never going to be able to truly thank you for that you set an amazing example. Generosity, bravery and larger than life spirit. You can do anything you put your mind to.
Tracy admits that sometimes she needs help and thanks Laura for coming to Turkey with her. Laura admits she had fun doing it. Tracy takes her hand.
TRACY: You think we could have been doing this all along?
LAURA: In another life? Yeah. I think we could have been friends.
TRACY: I do too.
They hug and I am a blubbering mess. Also, can we just start a new show that’s an alternate timeline where Laura and Tracy have been besties for years? I WOULD WATCH THAT.
Nathan gently reminds Amy that they’re talking about things that happened a long time ago, and Maxie as an adult is not that same person as she was in high school. Good lord, just kick her out and enjoy your beer in peace, man!
Tracy finds Michael in the foyer having an Important Business Call about ethics or something. But he seems to have a change of heart when he see her.
MICHAEL: I’m trying to be more like you.
TRACY: You what?
MICHAEL: You err on the side of pragmatism. Doing the most good with the least amount of harm. And now that you’re leaving, I’ve got to do the same.
TRACY: Michael, I have absolute faith that ELQ will thrive under your leadership. And if the company tanks, there will be hell to pay.
This just makes me sad that we never got to see these two really working together. And also that AJ and Tracy wasted so much time on pickle shenanigans when they could have been reluctantly putting aside their difference to teach Michael how to be a CEO. YES, I’M STILL MAD ABOUT AJ. NEVER FORGET.
Back at their meeting, Carly reminds Martina that she does not want to endanger Sonny’s offshore businesses. Damn it, where’s that Caroline Benson temper when you really need it? Sonny asks Carly not to do this and she reminds him that he brought this on himself. Time to pay the consequences. YES. GOOD.
Tracy tells Ned that he was always a Quartermaine, regardless of what his birth certificate said. Ned thinks this house needs an Edward Quartermaine under its roof. I’M NOT CRYING. YOU’RE CRYING.
NED: So, come on. Out with it. Isn’t it time for my goodbye speech?
TRACY: You’re my rock. You always have been. And you always will.
The hug and exchange I love yous, and then she walks off screen and Wally Kurth makes the same face my heart is making at the thought of watching this show without Jane Elliot:
I’M NOT SOBBING HYSTERICALLY
YOU’RE SOBBING HYSTERICALLY
Everyone is acting more like she’s dying than moving out of the country, and I’d be annoyed about that if I didn’t feel exactly the same way.
Monica tells Tracy that the jet is ready and her car will be there in a few minutes. Tracy is a little alarmed at how real it all suddenly is. ME TOO, GIRL. I’m also wondering how she’s possible had time to pack in the 8 hours since she made this decision, but I guess that’s what money and servants are for.
Anyway, refresh your kleenex supply because this is a rough one:
MONICA: I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.
TRACY: [laughing] Celebrate, no doubt?
MONICA: [seriously] No, I don’t think so. And I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened during all those years of us snarking at each other and backbiting and all the things that we did. But somewhere along the line, you went from being my sister-in-law… to my sister. And if you thought that I hated you… I didn’t. [whispering] I love you.
Tracy smiles and pulls a Han Solo that she knows, and that is 100% the best acting Leslie Charleson has done in YEARS, y’all. Y’all. I am losing it just a little.
Nathan confesses that he was totally shocked when Maxie told him he wasn’t coming home. But he shouldn’t have been — her daughter is in Portland. Her dream job is there. The only thing that isn’t is him. Which makes him wonder if there’s a place for him in her life anymore. Um, shouldn’t that just make him wonder if he should move to Portland? They have cops there too. And about 500% less mafia. Just sayin’.
Sonny makes his final offer: they keep what they brought into the marriage and Carly can also keep anything they acquired together. Carly says she’ll see him in court. After she and Diane leave, he immediately accuses Martina of setting up their night together. She denies having known who he was the night before — kind of strange they never even exchanged first names, but I fast forwarded those scenes for a reason, so whatever.
I’ve made a huge mistake
Sonny doesn’t entirely believe her but still wants to come clean to Carly. Martina tells him no: it would ruin her reputation. And any lawyer Carly brings in to replace her would just use it as leverage against him. He reluctantly agrees to stay quiet.
Amy finally notices that someone other than herself has a problem, and tells Nathan to stop being a drama llama, essentially. He can either move to Portland or he and Maxie will figure out a way to make the long distance work for a while. This isn’t the end of their marriage.
Tracy’s car arrives. She takes a final turn around the room, ordering Lulu and Laura to take care of each other and Hayden and Finn to stop wasting time. She also sort of suggests that ELQ should start bankrolling Dillon’s horrible movies? Say no to nepotism, Michael! Finally, she chokes up a little telling Olivia that she’s grateful Ned will finally have someone taking care of him, and that Olivia will be the one to do it. And then it’s Monica’s turn again:
TRACY: I’m a little worried about your decorating ideas.
MONICA: Well don’t worry. Because I will leave our house exactly the way you left it.
TRACY: Don’t you mean your house, the one that Alan gave you.
MONICA: I know what I said.
Aaaaaaaand that’s it. I’m dead from feelings. Tracy links hands with her, Dillon and Ned and tells them she cherishes them all, and then walks out the door. Everyone is crying. And then she comes back! And they all group hug and I am bawling so hard you guys. SO HARD.
Nathan thanks Amy for her advice, and sweetly offers to help with the Nurses’ Ball however he can. As Amy walks out, we see she took the photo of him and Maxie from his home made card. And promptly rips it in half and crumples the Maxie part. Oh good. This is going exactly where I was afraid it was going.
Diane stops Carly for a pep talk about how she has to be the bigger person because Sonny is an immature man child incapable of ever doing the right thing. Carly takes that about as well as you might expect.
As the Qs are cleaning up, Monica says the house won’t be the same without Tracy. Dillon offer to insult her ever morning at breakfast if that helps. Hah! Olivia finds Ned looking sadly at a picture of the family from the 90s. He feels like his family just keeps getting smaller. Even though they talked about her keeping her own name, Olivia thinks ‘Olivia Quartermaine’ has a nice ring to it.
OLIVIA: This family is the heart of Port Charles. Port Charles is my home. Someone’s gotta look after it. Why not you and me?
I appreciate what the writers are trying to do here, and I’d appreciate it even more if I thought they had any intention of actually treating the Qs like they are the heart of the show. Hey, Frank, how about the next time you can’t stop yourself from adding to this bloated cast, make it a Ward or a Holt or Brook Lynn and fill this family out again?
Cut to Tracy with a European art dealer, who tells her he already has a buyer lined up who will pay $60 million for her painting. Somewhere in Turkey, the monks are cursing their stupid ethics even more. Tracy wants to make the sale immediately. The dealer is surprised that she isn’t more reluctant to part with it, but Tracy thinks she’ll gain more by letting go of it than keeping it. He leaves a moment to say goodbye:
TRACY: I don’t know who you were. And I don’t know what kind of life you lived. And I certainly don’t know what’s in store for me. But I know one thing. I’m so gonna live it on my terms.
We launch into a montage that’s starts in the 90s and then quickly get a little too heavy on recent clips for my taste. I would really have loved some older stuff from when she first joined the show. And not a single scene with Edward, Lila or Alan? Come on. Cough up the the damn royalties, Valentini.
Anyway, the montage is also really heavy on Luke, and that’s because when she heads over to a nearby coffee show, he’s sitting inside. There are… no words that can adequately describe Tony Geary’s hair:
surprised to see him or admiring his lesbian chic?
They wordlessly stare at each other in shock and then the screen fades to black. And that is that for the story of Tracy Angelica Quartermaine! You guys… Jane Elliot more than deserves to enjoy her retirement, but I am bereft. Not only has this show just lost a powerhouse actor, but the last vet they were sometimes willing to write for.
I could have lived without the several weeks they wasted on the Samira red herring — especially because the story of Tracy coming to terms with her daddy issues would have worked just as well without days and days of painful acting and even more painful contact lens as a distraction. But I’m glad they let her go alive, and truly at peace for the first time in her life.
Farewell, Tracy. There will never be another like you.