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Which soap opera featured 2014's hottest Fourth of July fireworks?

Holiday episodes are a big deal on soaps. Sometimes, a single festive day can last an entire week (on Passions in 2003, one night lasted from August to November). Soap fans expect fireworks on their shows all year round (of the emotional, if not literal, variety), but they especially want to witness some dramatic explosions on the Fourth of July.

Did The Bold & the Beautiful, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital and The Young & the Restless deliver the goods on the big day?

We rank this year’s drama pyrotechnics below.

General Hospital: As fellow EW Community Contributor Karen Belgrad ably summarized, on Thursday, July 3 (the show ran a repeat on Friday), while Nina continued to play Silas, Nikolas allowed himself to be manipulated by Britt … and his elementary-school-age son. Patrick finally admitted to Emma just how unhappy he was with her otherwise saintly mother. And viewers were treated to a cliffhanger of the not-at-all-surprising “surprise” reveal that newly bad boy Rafe (you know he’s bad now because he wears an earring) was driving the car that ran Patrick and Sabrina off the road a few weeks ago and killed their baby. Rafe was about to reveal which villain put him up to the deed to Molly (who’d jumped into the speeding car of a guy she believed to be on drugs, proving that her common sense when it comes to men is exactly as vulnerable to hormones as her mobster-loving mom’s) … when both teens apparently careened into a roadblock, to the accompanying squeal of brakes and requisite shaky-cam.

It may have been a loud cliffhanger (add in Sam shrieking at Molly over the phone), but it wasn’t a particularly exciting one. Odds are the kids will be all right—though not until Rafe has spent weeks trying to get his secret out (only to be thwarted at the last moment), Alexis has dithered and blamed everyone (including her presumed dead ex-husband, since Ric is usually her go-to on that score), and the teens’ accident becomes all about Sam and Silas—as all things in Port Charles that aren’t about Sonny tend to be.

Our score: 2 Firecrackers (out of 5)

The Young & the Restless: Nick wore a red, white and blue Uncle Sam top hat and proposed that Sharon not marry him. This was after Sharon explained that they’d been married twice before and ended up hurting each other deeply. If they merely shack up now without the sacrament of marriage, it stands to reason that they will not cause each other pain in the future. This is presumably the sort of sterling logic that also led Sharon to marry her ex-husband’s former stepfather, and her own ex-father-in-law. And burn his house down.

Meanwhile, said former stepfather, Jack, was lecturing his own daughter, Summer (once thought to be Nick’s child, again due to some questionable logic on Sharon’s part), about the folly of marrying a young man most likely on his way to prison. Summer did not agree with his assessment, and ended the evening happily watching fireworks in the arms of said jailbird-to-be. Also, Victoria found out that Stitch (who may or may not be her unborn baby’s father) has been lying to her about the identity of his sister, Kelly (whom Victoria once tried to set Stitch up with—awkward!). Meanwhile, Billy (the other candidate in the Victoria baby-daddy sweepstakes) came close to figuring out that Chelsea (whose son with Billy is being raised by Victoria, since soap children are interchangeable) is being spied on by way of a secret camera in her apartment. He also told Chelsea she was wearing a very ugly dress. Which was true.

Our score: 3 Firecrackers (out of 5), mostly because anything Peter Bergman (Jack) says can sound compelling, even if you don’t really care about Summer or her new husband.

The Bold & the Beautiful: Quinn wanted to kill Liam because Liam is dating Hope. Quinn wishes Hope would date Quinn’s son, Wyatt. Quinn hand-welded herself a nifty sword (looking a bit like Jennifer Beals during the opening portion of Flashdance) and headed over to Liam’s. There, she kicked him in his sprained ankle, knocked his crutches out from under him (why Liam didn’t try to defend himself with the crutch is unclear) and held the pointy end of her sword to Liam’s throat. At the same time, Deacon whined about wanting to be a better father to Hope, Brooke whined about not wanting him to be a father to Hope, and Bill just tried to get Deacon out of his house quickly so that he and Brooke could have sex.

Our score: 4 Firecrackers (out of 5) for Quinn’s holiday-themed, mega-combustible version of crazy.

Days of Our Lives: Sami had EJ arrested on their wedding day and dragged out in handcuffs, then set it up to look like he’d been planning to flee the country as a long-con revenge for EJ sleeping with the nubile Abigail. Sami has also got EJ thinking that she is his only ally, and the sole person EJ can count on to represent him at the board meeting that she got him arrested to keep from attending in the first place. EJ seems to be buying it.

Eve revealed she was suing Jennifer, the mother of her daughter’s boyfriend (and Eve’s high school rival, not that the latter has anything to do with it whatsoever). And the entire young, ripped, male cast stripped down to Speedos and proceeded to get wet in a raucous (alas, off-screen) game of water basketball. Plus, cute baby alert! Arianna in a swimsuit!

Our score: 5 Firecrackers (out of 5) for 2014’s hottest Fourth of July episode.

Do you have a favorite soap Fourth of July episode? Let us know in the comments!

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