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Sunday, November 11, 2012

The return of AJ Quartermaine

The story of Michael’s parentage is very unique.  It is sort of an anti-baby-switch or anti-who’s-the-daddy or combination of the two.  Everyone is fully aware of who his real father yet instead of being given back to his father he was given to someone else.  Something tells me though that we are about to see that switch take place.

AJ has done some really horrible things and he is not what I would call a good guy.  Carly and Sonny can be pretty nasty themselves.  Pointing fingers and yelling “he started it first” may seem a little childish but in this situation I think it definitely holds some weight.  Because the beginning of this story line started in the ‘90s, there are many layers to why everyone did what they did.

I like Carly’s explanation to Michael this past week that she was young and stupid.  She certainly was.  She started the chain of lies because she wanted to keep her lover Tony whom she had stolen away from her mother.  It was selfishness on her part that she decided to make AJ think he had fallen off the wagon so he would be shipped to rehab out of state.  Other issues did come into play such as her conflicts with the Quartermaines whom she saw as controlling.  AJ being an alcoholic probably didn’t help either.  In my opinion, Carly never really cared about AJ although he at one time had feelings for her.  She didn’t want to be tied to him.

Sonny’s part in all of this was pure mobster.  He felt AJ took his child away from him when Carly lost Sonny’s child after a spill down the stairs during an argument.  At this time in GH history, Sonny wanted nothing more than to be a father.  This was something that never seemed to work out for him (he didn’t have his super sperm or kids popping out of the woodwork at this point).  Sonny decided to take what he wanted from AJ so he hung AJ from a meat hook and got him to sign away his rights to Michael.  This has aways been my perception of things.  I’m not saying Sonny doesn't love Michael but he didn’t become his father honestly.

As for AJ, I feel that Guza went in a really odd direction with the character and he wasn’t suppose to be as bad.  AJ was the black sheep of the Quatermaines.  He was very flawed and a bit of a bad boy.  Things such as shooting Alan in the back though was not something I think AJ would ever do.  I also felt Billy Warlock’s portrayal of AJ changed the character.  When Sean Kanan plays AJ, he’s the black sheep of the family because he is a screw up and does reckless things.  With Billy Warlock, AJ seemed like the black sheep of the family because he wasn’t as tall, blond, and golden as Jason.  Sean Kanan’s AJ is what will be making this current story work.

Although AJ, Sonny, and Carly are the stars of this tale, Michael has always been at the center of it.  He is the prize that everyone has been fighting over all these years.  Michael has had a rough history in Port Charles.  His character profile is a bit of a mess.  It’s filled with things such buying a gun as a teenager, shooting someone, being shot in the head, ax-murdering, bar fights, prison time (which lead to him being sexually assaulted), and dating a striper (which helped him get over his assault naturally).  I have seen fans posing the question of whether the character of Michael could be redeemed as a result of all this.  Being Sonny’s son was not easy on this character.  Would Michael has been better off had he been raised with AJ as a Quartermaine?  I feel that the story that is being unfolded is an attempt to answer this.

It feels as though the current creative team is taking some of the poor choices from the past regime and working them to their advantage.  Guza’s placement of the mobsters as good guys is being held up to a mirror.  Sonny, Jason, and Carly’s lifestyles are being questioned and we are having a look at their flaws.  This is what I want for these characters.  They were once very interesting characters to watch and dissect.  It was sad that Guza had reduced them to what some fans refer to as “The Mob Three” or “Unholy Trinity.”  GH should have never become a lite version of The Sopranos.  This story line is going to change things for the characters that are involved for the better.

Michael has finally learned that Carly and Sonny did some very bad things that set in motion AJ’s actions and some pretty traumatizing experiences for Michael himself.  The rose colored glasses have been yank off his face, thrown on the floor, and stepped on.  Chad Duell and Laura Wright did an outstanding job in the scenes where Michael asks Carly for the truth.  The expressions on their faces said it all.  A little bit of both their worlds had shattered.

I’m glad that Carly admitted to Michael what happened when he asked her.  Let’s face it this all happen 15 years ago (realtime not soaptime) - why drag out the lie even longer.  Also if Carly would have lied to Michael, she would have only dug herself in deeper.  I also feel that in telling the truth to Michael, there has been given room for him to forgive her.  I don’t want him to hate her but I want him to have an honest view of her.

Carly has never been very good at admitting when she is wrong.  While I love when characters have flaws, this is an annoying one to have.  Her admitting what she did to AJ is good first step in her overcoming this.  I still want Carly to be a bad girl but I want her to be more self aware.  I want her to realize that her actions can be selfish and cruel.

Sonny doesn’t know AJ is alive yet and Michael hasn’t spoken to him about what he now knows.  I’m really looking forward to these scenes especially after their recent scenes together at the boxing gym.  Sonny, still numb from the news of Jason’s death, told Michael he wanted better for him than the mobster lifestyle.  He told Michael that he would never be his right hand man and that he wanted him to live a safe and happy life.  I suspect Sonny may be put in the position to let go of Michael or lose him forever.  If you love someone, set them free.

As for AJ, I’m looking forward to him gaining some power and developing a relationship with Michael.  This has been a long time coming and really seems to be more on path with how I imagine the story would go when I first started watching years ago.  I don’t see AJ as a hero but I see him as someone who is very flawed.  I love that AJ is now aware and sorry for his past misdeeds.

I also love that this story isn’t stand alone.  It is connected to a lot of the other story lines we currently have on campus.  I can see it creating movement in the budding romances between Starr/Michael and Carly/Todd.  It’s nice to see the contrast in the parent/child relationships here too.  I have always been a fan of Starr and Todd’s relationship.  He’s very protective of her and doesn’t want her to be like him while she understands he does bad things but loves him anyways.  I can imagine Carly and Michael eventually getting to this point.

There is also the impact to the Quartermaines.  This is a huge step in rebuilding the mass destruction that was done under Guza and JFP to this beloved core family.  With AJ back and Michael hopefully turning Q, this means a lot of interaction with Monica and Tracy as well as ghost Alan pop ups. It would be great if they could return a few still living cousins also.

By bringing back AJ, Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini have captured soapy goodness.  This has created a hug character driven umbrella story.  It’s really giving this fan what she wants.

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