The central story this week on General Hospital was the disappearance of Mike and Avery. They remained missing for the entire week, in a lengthy ordeal that wasn't what I expected.
The story was an emotional one, with ample opportunity for great performances from all of the major players involved.
Mike and Avery wandered off in the final moments of Friday's episode. They remained entirely off-screen until a full week later, when Dante had his epiphany about their whereabouts.
It was an effective choice to keep the audience in the dark as much as the characters on-screen. By not cutting back and forth to Mike and Avery at the horse stable, the writers managed to ratchet up the tension and the fear about whether the two were okay.
I didn't doubt for a second that Mike and Avery would be found alive.
There's too much left to tell in Mike's story, and killing off (or seriously harming) both of those vulnerable characters would've been a bit too dark for General Hospital.
The way it all unfolded was perfect, particularly as word first started to spread about the disappearance.
Maura West was an MVP this week. Ava's emotions ran the full gamut between desperation, frantic worry, anger, and even guilt that her own criminal past may have caused the disappearance.
Maurice Bernard and Laura Wright were, as usual, excellent too.
The pair have such fantastic chemistry; it truly felt like you were watching a real-life couple support one another through one of the most difficult experiences imaginable.
I loved the fact that Dante was the one to save the day by figuring out where Mike had taken Avery. It was even better that his long conversation with Mike at the police station a few weeks back is what led to the breakthrough.
Dominic Zamprogna is such an incredibly talented (and underused) actor. He's always quietly emotional, never over-the-top. That really worked in his favor during the scenes between Dante and Mike in the stable.
I've gotta say, those stable scenes were some of the best on this show in a long time. Both Max Gail and Dominic knocked it out of the park.
I'm always asking for the writers to give Dante meatier material – ideally separate from Lulu's journalism nonsense – and it seems like they're finally starting to deliver.
It was well worth the wait!
Now, it just remains to be seen what the fallout of this event will be.
Ava is on the warpath and intent on using this incident to regain custody of Avery. It's an obvious move for her character – it falls in line with what her goal has been all along and it also (sort of) makes rational sense.
I just feel so bad for Mike, because it's clear he really loves his granddaughter. And there'd certainly be ways for Carly and Sonny to ensure Avery is kept safe. But because this is a soap, Ava will absolutely unleash hell on earth to keep her daughter away from Mike.
Interwoven with Avery's disappearance were Carly's concerns about her mental health.
Griffin officially confirmed that there was nothing physically wrong with Carly's brain, as we already knew. He suggested that she see Dr. Collins, insinuating that the problem may have been emotional/mental instead.
Of course, Carly reacted angrily. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing something is real and true and having literally everyone else in the world doubt your sanity!
Laura is always great in high-stakes, emotional territory like this, so I'm enjoying this storyline simply for the performances. However, logically, it just doesn't make a lot of sense.
As the weeks go by, I'm finding it harder and harder to suspend my disbelief. It makes no sense whatsoever that Carly (or anyone else!) wouldn't have considered that Nelle is messing with her.
Carly knows that Nelle hates her. Nelle conspired against the entire family not too long ago, so they know she's capable of going to great lengths to manipulate and destroy.
Why has no one even mentioned that Nelle might be behind this?!
This bizarre blind spot would make more sense if Nelle was at least "playing nice" with Carly. But she's not even doing that! She's acting bitchy as heck – totally like someone who would be playing mind games would act.
But no – Sonny is much more willing to believe that Carly is losing her mind.
Sure, it's happened before, but are they really not even going to consider the alternate scenario? This is a poorly plotted storyline, and I'm hoping it's over fast.
Actually, the only way this could be redeemed is with an epic twist.
In my dream version of GH, Nelle would drive Carly to the brink of insanity and then Morgan would actually show up, alive, unbeknownst to all of them (including Nelle).
That would be pretty crazy and soapy, wouldn't it?
Meanwhile, over in Switzerland, two separate groups worked to track down information about Henrik.
Though it was initially Anna and Jason working together, that all fell apart when Sam and Robert individually showed up. Jason, Sam, and Spinelli wound up going undercover to hack into Henrik/Peter's bank, while Robert, Anna, and Emma went to a bunch of boarding schools to find information about Henrik's past.
On the Sam/Jason front, this was a perfect trip down memory lane for shippers.
But, uh, did anyone else think it was weird and sort of bad that Sam left her kids at the drop of a hat to go off adventuring with Jason?
It sort of encapsulated the exact reason Sam shouldn't be with Jason.
If I were Drew, I'd be real mad that I agreed Sam could take our infant daughter all the way across the world – only for her to instantly toss the baby at Grandma Alexis in order to go play private investigator.
I get that Sam and Jason are reliving their glory days and reconnecting and all that, but it's kind of annoying and cringeworthy how the writers have retconned the past five years.
Now, it's all "Sam never felt fulfilled after Real Jason died! Even when he came back and she was loving life, she was secretly not, because reasons."
Honestly, that's a bunch of bunk. We all saw what happened, and that wasn't the case at all.
Sam really, truly loved her life with Drew for a long time. There wasn't a hint that she missed anything about her "glory days." It seemed like she grew up and simply developed other priorities in life.
Of course, I'm not completely made of stone. The trio all dressing up and playing characters to infiltrate the bank was pretty fun.
Plus, they seem to have gotten a good look at a photo of Henrik! Does that mean they know he's Peter now?
On the Robert/Anna/Emma side of things, I loved how the writers had Emma be an expert kid spy.
It was very cute and perfectly in keeping with the precocious little girl she's always been.
On a practical note, they didn't actually get much information about Henrik, other than that he has brown eyes, loved theater, and may have gone by the name Henri Francois as a student.
The actual takeaway? Robert totally knows that Anna has a personal stake in this case. I'd bet that by early next week, she confesses that Henrik is her son.
That'll be a hell of a scene, and I'm looking forward to it already.
Curtis and Nina are also closing in on information about Peter back in Port Charles.
I like how the writers have several different sets of characters racing to find out the truth. It's just a matter of time before Peter's cover is blown.
The only question is how Maxie will deal with it. And whether Nina will ever be able to forgive Valentin! (Speaking of which... Where has he been?)
Another big part of the week is something that I officially no longer care about at all: Franco's childhood trauma.
That sounds terrible, doesn't it? Well, yeah, it probably is. But I still don't care. Sorry, not sorry.
I'm not denying that this could be a great, powerful story. It's just... not turning out that way. It is, quite frankly, a slog to get through.
The writers just seem to be devising ways for people to talk about how great Franco is and how he was never really bad after all.
But that's not how you redeem a villain! The best villain redemption stories (in soaps and beyond) don't rewrite the villain's past. They reckon with it, they come to terms with it, and they slowly but surely give the character complexity and development as they transition them to antihero and, eventually, hero.
Think Damon on The Vampire Diaries. Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On the soap front, EJ on Days of Our Lives was a significantly better villain redemption than this!
Roger Howarth has been great, of course, and has turned in plenty of powerful moments. Just this week, his imagined confrontation with Betsy was great.
However, Becky Herbst is drastically underused, being relegated to Franco's perpetual cheerleader. It's been ages since she's had a great story of her own. So lame.
This story could be good, but for now, it just seems like a waste of time – and an excuse to prop up Franco's character (at the expense of Liz) yet again.
- So... did Nelle use invisible ink on that Noodle Buddha menu she left for Carly? Do they still make invisible ink? Guess Nelle's going old school on this psychological torture.
- On another Nelle note, what is she planning with Griffin's test results? If she's willing to backstab even Ava, that's a bad sign. Even villains should be loyal to at least one person.
- I'm not a Jason hater or anything, but do we really need to have Anna repeatedly telling people that he is "the best asset"? Ugh. The most annoying thing about Jason isn't Jason himself – it's how much the writers have everyone deify him constantly!
- I've been speculating that Hayley Erin (Kiki) would be on her way out due to her casting in the Pretty Little Liars spin-off for a few weeks now. Looks like the actress recently commented on those rumors, saying she has "no plans to leave" and hopes "it will all work out." Given that both ABC and Freeform are Disney-owned, maybe she could juggle both!
- Thanks to Lucy, I'm starting to get hyped for the Nurse's Ball, which I'm guessing will be sometime within the next month or so (based on the timing of prior years).
- Dr. Bensch is the worst. THE ABSOLUTE WORST. James DePaiva is doing a flawless job at playing a complete dick.
- I'm still not sold on Chase, but the writers are doing a good job of gradually interweaving him into the cast – with Mike's dementia journey and with Finn.
What did you think of General Hospital this week? Hit the comments to share your thoughts, and don't forget to drop back in again next time!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.