(Note: I’m trying to make this a regular Thursday thing. Let’s see if it works.)
It’s no secret that Steve Burton’s hyped return to the show last fall has fizzled out. After a relatively promising start (there was about two weeks where it was can’t miss television for me) sometime in December/January, the story started to take a turn. It became a story about Franco’s past, about Anna’s past, about Nathan’s past.
What it hasn’t been is a story about Jason or Drew. I have lots of ways I would have written this story, some of which are in progress, but if I wanted to hit some of the same beats the show did — i.e. turn this into a major umbrella story that revisited the back stories of popular characters, here’s how I would have done it.
It turns out that Jason isn’t really Jason — he’s Jason’s twin brother whom Heather gave to Betsy Frank to raise along with Heather’s son Franco. Jason has been kept in some sort of captivity for the last five years in a Russian clinic. He is freed by Ava, returns home to dig out the truth, learns about Danny and Jake. Meanwhile, the Jason in Port Charles finds out he’s a missing Navy S.E.A.L. named Andrew Cain. Their story should involve Andre, Anna, Faison, and Nathan along with the rest of Jason’s family. Franco should also play a role in this story.
My main issue with GH is that they never seem to really lay a proper foundation. I would have started this story last summer and put the teens in front. Joss and Cam have both been SORAS’d and are best friends. No hints of romance. Joss is drooling over new guy Oscar Cain. They’re hanging out, talking about their families, and Oscar talks about his father. His dad was in the military but went missing when Oscar was nine years old. He’s pretty sure he’s dead and they just never found the body. It’s been awful for everyone. Cam talks about not really knowing his biological or adoptive father and not being wild about any of his mother’s choices. Joss throws some shade about Jason being one of them–she’s a fan.
At some point, the three of them are hanging out at Cam’s house while Jake is going through therapy after the Chimera. Jake is looking at photographs of his parents, and Oscar sees one of Jason before the accident and he’s just struck numb by it. It looks like his father. Joss tries to play it off, but Cam remembers the weird story of Franco being Jason’s twin brother until he wasn’t. What if Oscar’s dad was the twin? And they realize for the first time Oscar’s dad and Jason went missing at the same time.
None of them take this to their parents. Carly and Sonny have been struggling since Morgan’s death, it’s kind of the last thing they need, and Cam definitely doesn’t want to bring it up to his mom. Franco hates when Jason comes up. They decide to look into it for themselves, but they don’t know how to do it so they call Spinelli who agrees to look into both of it.
Audrey passes away, which distracts them all. She’s Cam’s great-grandmother, but kind of his special person, the member of his family that belongs to him. Without her, he doesn’t have anyone except his mom and brothers. Joss and Oscar put the investigation on hold to help with him with it. (June/July)
The summer is kind of spent with false leads — learning more about Andrew Cain. At the same time, the Jason in Port Charles should be slowly becoming less and less like Jason. Making decisions that don’t seem to fit with him. After he’s shot, he walks away from the business and starts to buy Aurora (I would have started that storyline in late July, early August). Sam and Carly are both kind of expressing surprise that Jason is doing this, but Sam sees it as evidence of Jason finally putting her and his family first, and no one is taking Carly’s concern seriously.
Franco is also looking for an explanation for a photograph he’s found of himself with someone who he vaguely remembers from his past. He’s been having a lot of weird thoughts, weird memories that he can’t explain. He knows this kid, and he also knows he shouldn’t. He’s not talking to Elizabeth about it, but she’s not talking to him either. Audrey’s death hit her hard and made her look at some of her own choices. She also feels as alone as Cameron does. She’s not as close to the people she used to be.
This can be an opportunity for Carly to come to her, to talk to her about Jason’s choices. Carly expects Liz to back her up–that something isn’t right, but Liz agrees with Sam on this. It’s more evidence that it was always Sam for Jason because leaving was never an option presented before. Carly is frustrated, but acknowledges that there’s always been something missing and it’s only after Jason has had his identity back for so long that it’s clear to her. Jason never really came home. She and Liz both agree with that, and they talk about a little about Franco–Carly does not approve.
The summer moves into September when a seeming unrelated storyline connects. Valentin has been trying to discredit Ava’s testimony about Nikolas’s death and recommends a clinic to help restore her face. Ava agrees. The scars are more than just a cosmetic deficiency, but a harsh reminder of the terrible choices she’s made in her life, choices that have left her alone without a relationship without either of her daughters. She wants to wipe it away as if it will change anything.
Ava goes to Russia, to St. Petersburg and befriends a mysterious patient who appears to be mute. He wears a mask, which leaves Ava to assume he’s scarred like her and gives her a sense of kinship. She talks to him because she’s always loved to talk and now she thinks she has a captive audience.
By the beginning of September, the stories are starting to converge. Ava is telling the patient all about her life and talks about having a child she can’t be with, and mentions Sonny’s name. The patient is startled, and Ava notices. She manages to understand he knows Port Charles, knows Sonny. But the staff at the clinic discourage further discourse. It’s not dangerous, but the patient is moved somewhere else and Ava can’t see him.
Franco has had a lot of issues over the last two months–he’s remembering a lot of things he doesn’t know how to explain — time in a lab, a version of a young Jason–and he’s getting frustrated for being able to understand it. He can feel Elizabeth slipping away from him, so there’s anger there. And one night, he lashes out. He gives into the urge and grabs someone from the street, taking her back to his studio where he kills her, uses her blood to paint, and discards her body.
Spinelli has learned that Andrew Cain had a mysterious past — he was born somewhere in upstate New York and left at an orphanage when he was three years old, his first name pinned to his shirt. The timing fits because they know Betsy Frank was in the area until then. He tells them there’s enough to take this to Jason. To tell him there’s a twin out there. Spinelli doesn’t tell them what he’s beginning to suspect–that Andrew Cain has somehow replaced Jason. The trio agree that they should take this to their parents.
Spinelli and Joss go to Sonny and Carly, and Spinelli is honest with them about what they think. Sonny is slow to accept it, but Carly immediately leaps onto it. This was all happening with Faison, so it’s time to make some other calls. She contacts Anna who knows more about this than anyone else.
Cam goes to Elizabeth, who is upset by this news and takes it to Franco. Shouldn’t Franco have known about another little boy? Franco lashes out at her, of course he didn’t know. Except, he thinks now he did. He doesn’t tell her that. He talks to Scott about it, and then promises to find his mother to get the answers to the memories he can’t explain.
Oscar tells his mother, Kim, that there are leads into his father’s disappearance, and Kim wants to take it to the police. He can’t stop her from talking to Jordan, who opens an official case and interrogates Jason, who learns for the first time about a possible twin brother who might actually exist.
The patient in Russia manages to get out of his room and gathers the strength to find Ava to ask her for her help. At the same time he’s trying to escape, Griffin shows up to get Ava out of there. Ava convinces Griffin to help the patient–there’s a mystery here and she can’t leave without knowing. Griffin agrees and the three of them spirit out of the clinic in the middle of the night.
Anna gets on the case and reveals a secret that troubles her — they’ve been cleaning up the WSB since Victor’s terrible time in charge, and she’s learned Faison was actually working for the agency during 2012, and had called on Victor’s assistance to masquerade as Duke. They still never understood why Faison wanted Sonny’s territory or why he tried to have Jason killed–or how Victor ended up with Jason in the first place. But she’s been looking through the files and the WSB was playing with memory experiments: mapping them, transferring them, manipulating, creating them, etc. A set of twins would have been an excellent experiment.
She agrees to work with Jordan. Jason doesn’t believe any of it, but admits to Curtis…there’s something…he can’t explain. Something in the back of his head.
Franco finds his mother who is shocked that Franco doesn’t remember Drew. Betsy didn’t talk about him much because it always upset Franco, but Franco always knew who Drew was. Betsy tells him it’s why he got interested in Jason Morgan. Franco always knew they weren’t brothers. Always knew Jason was Drew’s brother. Franco is angry. He never knew any of that. He storms out. But he knows it’s true, and other pieces are coming back.
Griffin is trying to figure out how to get them all out of Russia without any documents for the patient, when Ava manages to finally free the patient from the mask that had been restricting his speech. They’re both stunned when he does so, revealing the face of Jason Morgan before his accident. He tells them that’s his name. Ava blurts out it can’t be–that Jason lives in Port Charles. Or at least someone does.
And that’s where I would have left it going into October.