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'General Hospital' recap: 51st birthday party with ghosts on the guest list

Season 50 | Ep. 250 | Season 51 | Eps. 1 -4 | Aired Mar 31 to Apr 4, 2014

After 365 days of celebrating its 50th anniversary, General Hospital officially entered its 51st year this week. Flashbacks abounded on Tuesday (11!). This week also saw special appearances from Carly No. 1 (Sarah Joy Brown) and No. 2 (Tamara Braun), as well as Ghost Emily (Natalia Livingston) and the ghost backsides of Lila, Edward and Alan. But all the tricks and nostalgia couldn’t change the fact that we said good-bye once again to another legacy character. For the second time in a decade, A.J. Quartermaine dies on screen. This time, we watch his ghost ascend to heaven with other fallen family members — or to whatever afterlife is located up the staircase at the hospital. Is it possible the great beyond is located on the rooftop of our favorite medical facility?

Michael is devastated, but we only see a moment of his grief. Tuesday’s anniversary episode is focused on Monica trying to decide if she can face the world after outliving four children and the love of her life. A pep talk from Ghost A.J. and Ghost Emily convinces her to go on mostly for her grandchildren, with the additional reminder that the Q-mansion would fall into Tracy’s hands (and Alan gave it to Monica!). Wouldn’t it be nice if this led to Michael truly embracing life as a Quartermaine?

Of course, A.J.’s dying words to Carly have the potential for the most fallout. Carly wastes no time in hightailing it to Sonny to confront him with her new knowledge that he shot A.J. Sonny doesn’t deny it, but he does play into his history with his four-time ex-wife to beg for her silence. Through scenes interspersed with Carly Nos. 1 and 2, we are treated to a walk down memory lane of one of daytime’s most twisted love stories: flashbacks of everything from their first steamy scene to their vow renewal to Carly’s miscarriage to (ugh) limo sex. Sonny reminds her that they may not be meant for each other, but they are “it” for each other.

But Carly still isn’t sure if she can keep his crime a secret from Michael. Sonny manages to interrupt Carly before she spills the beans to Franco, but once again, Carly wavers on promising silence to him. She queries him as to Ava’s involvement, so Sonny tells her the whole story from his perspective. Sonny relays how he found A.J. choking Ava, just like he did with Connie. Carly believes he is justified, but Sonny admits that A.J. released Ava before he shot him. He didn’t have to shoot him; he wanted to. Reflecting on A.J.’s past misdeeds (and conveniently ignoring their own), Carly decides to keep Sonny’s secret. They both fear what will happen if when Michael finds out. Carly also wonders what Ava did to provoke A.J. in the first place. Won’t it be fascinating to see the fallout when the truth about Connie’s murder is finally revealed?

The other big to-do this week revolves around Dr. Olbrecht kidnapping Ben. Holding Liz hostage in her own home while she holes up with Ben may not have been the best idea, as Liz gets more visitors than she’s had in months. First Nikolas stops by to apologize for tearing into Liz at the interrupted engagement party. Liz lets him in while Olbrecht is nearby with a gun. She’s quick to get him out the door, and when he hears a noise, she lets him believe that Ric spent the night. Next up on the visitor log is Lulu, looking for a shoulder to cry on over Ben’s abduction. Liz promises her that Ben is safe, chalking it up to a mother’s intuition. She makes a point to let Liz know that Ric did not spend the night. Lulu passes the information back to Nikolas, who returns to Liz’s door, only to be surprised by a gun-toting Dr. Olbrecht.

At the police station, Dante is aghast when Diane shows up as Britt’s lawyer to get her released. It seems that stealing embryos is more of a misappropriation than a crime, as New York laws haven’t caught up to new medical technology. Britt is let go from custody, and her mother calls to let her know where she can come to claim “her baby.” Britt admits to Brad that she’d love nothing more than to take off with Ben and start a new life. But since Britt’s on the path to character redemption, she heads right to the police station to advise officers on Ben’s whereabouts.

Movement is also made this week in the Nina Clay arc. Still convinced that Ava is culpable, Silas and Sam recruit Nathan to prove her guilt. Nathan admits to his mother Madeline that he is beginning to doubt Silas’s guilt. With him on board, the threesome get Julian to plant a fake story that Nakamura is alive, assuming that Ava will track him down to finish him off. Against Silas’s wishes, Sam uses herself as bait by lying in a hotel bed. To absolutely no one’s surprise, it turns out Madeline is the guilty party as she is caught entering the hotel room, syringe in hand. This story has had so many holes from the get-go, starting with Nathan transferring to the Port Charles Police Department to investigate a crime in a different jurisdiction. I, for one, will be happy when the “who killed Nina Clay” story is resolved once and for all. Of course, as a longtime soap viewer, I also suspect it will eventually lead to a “Nina Clay is alive” plot!

What do you think is coming next? Luke is clearly not really Luke, as his rage for Sonny and his cocaine habits are proving. But who is he? Now that Jordan is going to work for Ava, will we learn what her backstory is and why she abandoned T.J. in the first place? Lucy made her decision, choosing Kevin over Scott. All that’s left is for Kevin to find out about their affair, right? And what surprises will the Nurses’ Ball hold for us in 2014? Happy 51st birthday indeed!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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