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General Hospital's Face-Off

This post was first submitted in June when Natalia Livingston returned to GH as Rebecca. The following is my opinion about how she should have returned to the show as Emily. I thought it was appropriate to re-post this considering that the actress is once again about to leave the show.

When Natalia Livingston decided to leave General Hospital, prompting the demise of her character Emily Quartermaine, speculation immediately began about how the show might be able to bring her back someday. Earlier this year, Natalia fans got their wish when she returned to the show as a new character named Rebecca. However, it remains to be seen what, if any, connection Rebecca has to Emily. And while I love the fact that General Hospital was able to bring Natalia back, I wish they had written her return differently, especially since they had already brought Sarah Brown (ex-Carly Corinthos) back as Claudia Zacchara last year.

When soaps re-introduce actors as new characters it becomes confusing and distracting, especially if said actors have only been off-screen a short while before their return. This was the case with Natalia, as the show brought her back as Rebecca, less than a year after she stopped portraying Emily. And while the actress is certainly convincing as this new character Rebecca, it is still difficult to see her as anyone but Emily. This is at least partially due to the fact that most of her scenes are with Tyler Christopher, who portrays Emily’s heartbroken fiancĂ© Nikolas Cassadine. However, since General Hospital is a soap opera it is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that Rebecca and Emily are one in the same, but I still cannot keep from wishing that they had simply re-introduced the Emily character. I believe this could have been achieved in a way that would have provided months, if not years of storyline, and would have involved many of the show’s core characters.

In the months leading up to Emily’s murder, a new crime family emerged, the Zaccharas, who wanted to take over Sonny’s territory in Port Charles. Anthony Zacchara, the head of the Zacchara organization, had a reputation for killing members of his enemies’ families. Around this same time Nikolas was suffering from bouts of rage, often becoming violent and having no memory of these episodes later. Nikolas feared the worst, while Emily offered reassurance and vowed to help him get diagnosed and cured. Incidentally, a cure would not come before Emily’s murder, causing many people to speculate that Nikolas was her assailant.

It is important to note that with all of the violence surrounding Port Charles at this time, Emily was perhaps the most susceptible to it all. First of all she is Jason’s sister, who, of course, works for Sonny, Anthony Zacchara’s primary target. This connection makes Emily a target by extension since Anthony was notorious for sending messages to his enemies by killing their loved ones. Moreover everyone knew how important Emily was to Sonny. The two had previously been in a relationship, during which she helped him face his diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Emily’s involvement with Nikolas also placed her in danger, as he continued to display violent outbursts that were beyond his control. This was of particular concern since Emily was usually isolated on Spoon Island inside Nikolas’s castle. One would think all of this would be enough for Jason to convince Emily to leave town as soon as possible. In fact, Jason did want Emily to stay away from Nikolas as he increasingly became concerned about his violent outbursts. This was particularly evident during the Black and White Ball, an event coordinated by Nikolas and held inside his castle. The ball turned out to be an unprecedented celebration of Nikolas and Emily’s engagement, but Jason became so concerned about Nikolas’s behavior he tied him to a chair and took Emily to safety. In the end this proved to be too little and too late as Emily and Nikolas found their way back to each other just in time for Nikolas to suffer from another outburst, giving Emily’s killer time to make his move.

I think that Jason should have tried a little harder to convince Emily to leave Port Charles until things settled down and she was no longer in danger of being the target of a mob hit or the victim of Nikolas’s mysterious illness. And when Emily refused to leave Nikolas, like she did the night of the ball, Jason should have made the decision to get Emily out of town by any means necessary, with or without her cooperation. And of course the only logical way to get Emily out of town in a way that no one would try to find her would be to facilitate the faking of her death. I think Jason should have done this by employing Spinelli to search the internet for a drug that would give her the appearance of being dead, like in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Jason would have obviously had to be discreet in carrying out this plan, informing no one of his intentions, particularly those closest to Emily. This, of course, would have included Elizabeth, Emily’s best friend, with whom Jason shares a child.

After obtaining this drug, I think that Jason, in the way he so characteristically calculates his every move, should have made the decision to wait for the perfect opportunity to slip Emily the drug. The Black and White Ball would have provided that opportunity, as Anthony Zacchara showed up and began shooting, stabbing, and strangling people at random. And since another murderer was present at the ball, the one who was eventually revealed to be Emily’s assailant, Jason would have had no problem staging Emily’s death before she became an actual victim. I think that Jason should have been alone with Emily prior to her “death” and toasted her engagement to Nikolas, giving him the opportunity to slip her the drug. This would have worked out perfectly because when Emily was attacked she was alone with Nikolas as he was having one of his blackout episodes. At this point, instead of Emily being attacked, the drug could have taken effect and Jason could have laid everything out to make it appear as though Emily had been strangled. In his altered state, Nikolas, being the only witness, would have been unaware of Jason’s actions.

Once Emily’s “funeral” was over, Jason could have paid someone to help him sneak her out of the country undetected. Once Emily woke up it could have been revealed that the drug carried an unexpected side effect of memory loss. Emily could have woken up with no memory of Jason or her life in Port Charles, which would have temporarily worked to Jason’s advantage as it would have prevented Emily from trying to find her way back to Nikolas too soon. Meanwhile in Port Charles, Nikolas’s actual search for a diagnosis would have fit in well with Emily’s absence since it eventually led him to Nadine, a fascinating character with so much potential before she became paranoid and insecure. If GH had continued to write her as the initially charming character she was she would have made the perfect love interest for Nikolas, creating drama and conflict upon Emily’s eventual return.

When Nikolas was ultimately diagnosed with a brain tumor and treated, he and Nadine could have moved forward with their relationship, eventually getting engaged. This would have fared much better for the storyline than Nikolas continuing to dwell on the loss of Emily. This type of mourning is only interesting for a while on soaps. If it goes on too long it makes it difficult for viewers to invest in new storylines and characters. It also makes it that much harder to accept when a beloved actor returns as a different character. Soap viewers need to have a little time to forget that their favorites are no longer there, without constantly being reminded of their absence. Therefore I think Nikolas and Nadine should have continued to grow closer, as Jason contemplated bringing Emily back upon realizing that her memory was slowly returning. I also think that Jason and Elizabeth should have grown closer in the wake of Emily’s “death,” perhaps even contemplating marriage themselves. Bringing Emily back at this time would have created the perfect dilemma for Jason because Emily would have been hurt to discover that Nikolas had moved on. It would have also meant Jason explaining his actions to Elizabeth, thereby jeopardizing his relationship with her.

Eventually I think there should have been a confrontation between Jason and Emily in which she demands to return to Port Charles after remembering Nikolas and what he was going through when she left. Jason would have then had to tell her about Nikolas’s engagement to Nadine. No longer trusting Jason, Emily would have likely insisted on proof, eventually convincing Jason to take her home. Once arriving in Port Charles, I think Emily should have seen Nikolas and Nadine kissing on the pier, not realizing that it was the night before their wedding. After witnessing this she should have tried to leave quickly so as not to be detected by them, perhaps even contemplating leaving town again. At this point I think Nadine should have left the pier, prompting Nikolas to turn around and catch a glimpse of Emily, something he quickly dismisses as cold feet. Later on, Emily could have been seen on the pier reflecting on the time she spent with Nikolas. This reflection could have made her realize that Nikolas deserved to know that she did not abandon him during his illness. She could have then decided to talk to him the next day, which of course, would have just happened to be the day of his wedding. Nikolas’s wedding would have had to be “conveniently” held in his castle, giving Emily the opportunity to walk in on it just as the preacher asked if anyone had any objections. In this moment everyone’s lives would have been changed. Nikolas would have been faced with the dilemma of having to choose between Emily and Nadine and Jason would have been at odds with everyone who had been mourning the loss of Emily.

Emily and Nikolas the night of the "Black and White Ball"
[no copyright infringement intended]


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