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GENERAL HOSPITAL 56th Anniversary Episode: Gail’s Final Wish Brings Remembrances & Touching Moments

Courtesy/ABC

Simple two-person scenes that most soap opera fans long for were the order of the day in a special love letter to longtime viewers tied with a nice bow, as well as saying goodbye to the beloved Susan Brown (Dr. Gail Baldwin).  The actress passed away at the end of August of last year.

Using the history of many iconic characters relationships that are still on the canvas decades later, General Hospital celebrated its 56th anniversary with the airing of this special standalone episode on Tuesday.

In story, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) has gathered everyone that Gail has requested to be present at the hospital to honor her final wishes. So, Scott (Kin Shriner), Franco (Roger Howarth), Laura (Genie Francis), Lesley (Denise Alexander), Bobbie (Jackie Zeman), Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) Monica (Leslie Charleson), Kevin (Jon Lindstrom), Lucy (Lynn Herring), Maxie (Kirsten Storms), Mac (John J. York), Felicia (Kristina Wagner), Sonny (Maurice Benard), Carly (Laura Wright) and Julian (William deVry) all wind up together at a nurses’ station.

Alexis explains the task at hand at Gail’s request that has each of them receiving a piece of the original blueprint of the hospital.  Next, each person is to go to that location and find an envelope with their name on it and then return to the nurses’ station.  And from there, the story unfolds, putting former enemies, painful memories, and heartfelt enduring relationships to the forefront.

Courtesy/ABC

First, we find Lesley Webber and her longtime nemesis Monica Quartermaine going at in the locker room looking for their envelopes, which featured Lesley calling Monica “a slut” for ole’ time sake!  Next, Bobbie and Felicia find their envelopes by the wall of photos which brings back B.J.’s death and Maxie’s heart transplant that saved her life.

We then find Lucy going through some of her Nurses’ Ball gowns and Monica happens by.  Lucy finds a pocket square of Dr. Alan Quartermaine, and then tells Monica how badly she feels that she treated so bad, and that Alan would want his true love, Monica, to have the pocket square.

This episode though, truly belonged to Kin Shriner, who brought the anguish of a grown-up son now having lost both his parents.   =When Scott sees Laura, she is trying to help him figure out his piece of the blueprint.  He shares that he remembers Gail dragging him back to Port Charles kicking and screaming, but how if it was not for her, Laura would have never been in his life.  When Laura finds the envelope meant for him, he shares that he hopes it contains advice about how to continue on without Lee (the late Peter Hansen) and Gail.

Courtesy/ABC

Then, in a hankie-inducing moment, Franco apologizes to his dad for working undercover with Jordan and not telling him.  Scott understands, as it reminds him of how he treated his parents in much the same way.  An emotional Scott tells Franco he loves him and he will never turn his back on him.  Because of Franco, Scott now understands what his own parents went through and the two men hug, sort of.

CourtesyABC

At the hospital chapel, Sonny and Laura talk about how she knew that the mobster was a good guy right from the start, and the two touch upon their mental health issues.  Maxie thanks Mac for being there as her father, while Mac says he never thought he would be a stay-at-home dad, but wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything.

Epiphany and Liz have a nice moment about the nursing profession and being there for each other, Carly tells Bobbie she’s pregnant, Julian and Alexis share a close moment.  And later, Scott and Bobbie discuss their past which ends in a friendly hug.   Also, Sonny comes down the hospital stairs and looks up and see the Stone Cates Memorial plaque in remembrance of the fight against HIV/AIDS and a nod to that landmark storyline on GH.

Kevin and Lucy cross paths, and he clarifies he loves Laura.  Lucy says even still she will stand by him.   When they go to the hospital chapel to find the envelope for Kevin, Laura is there waiting.  Lucy bows out.   Kevin says he will always love Laura.

Once everyone returns to the nurse’s station with their envelopes, it’s time they open it at the same time.  But what was in it?  Confetti!   When Alexis reads more of Gail’s letter, she tell everyone that they all need to carry if forward, and do some amazing things. and Gail thanks them for coming and being her friend.

Courtesy/ABC

Just then, Scott leaves the group and walks to the GH memorial wall and unveils a photo of Gail.   What followed was a montage of many of the moments discussed earlier in the two-person scenes, which was a clever way to let the characters and the dialogue speak for themselves, and go to the clips at the end of the episode.

How nice it was to see moments with Kin Shriner, Genie Francis, Jackie Zeman, Denise Alexander, Leslie Charleson and many more!

What did you think of GH’s 56th anniversary episode? What did you think of the performance of Kin Shriner? Genie Francis. etc? Share your thoughts and review via the comment section below. But first, watch the final emotional moments and montage of the 56th anniversary episode below, as the song “Good Times” an original composition by Becky Shaheen and Gavin Linnahan, written for this standalone episode, accompanies the action.

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Joe
Joe

Gail went through all that trouble, writing up her fjnal wishes, in her will, keeping everyone in suspense for weeks, only to throw a bunch of glitter at several people she hadn’t seen in years? Dumb. But Kin Shriner and Genie Francis were awesome. Love those two. They are the reasons why I started watching GH in 1978.

Harry
Harry

Nor had she met her grandson, Dumbo, er, I mean Franco, who was dancing around trying to catch the confetti.

Shay
Shay

@Harry….She might as well have “glitter-bombed” that clueless crowd who didn’t even realize they’d been had until the very end. And all to provide Franco’s highly-contrived confetti moment which remains to be surpassed only by his skillfull rendition of munching on “air popcorn!” Remember that dramatic gem????

Soapqueenforever
Soapqueenforever

I agree Joe. For obvious reasons, this was Scottie’s episode, and Kin proved it by his performance. Like everyone else in the late seventies, I was glued to my TV everyday after school, during the Luke and Laura years. Due to work, and losing interest, I gave up in the mid-eighties. I started watching the anniversary shows at the 50th, just to see ( not to sound morbid ), the the vets that are left, and to see if the ones who are gone are mentioned. When Scottie uncovered Gail’s picture, I was hoping the camera would do a quick long shot so we could see the entire wall. Leslie calling Monica a slut was perfect, and I cried when Lucy gave Monica Alan’s handkerchief. But like I said, this was Scottie’s episode, and Kin played it beautifully

Steve
Steve

Overall, it was a touching episode. Great to see the interactions.

No need for Julian to be there, however. They could have had Alexis flashbacks if they included the more logical Ned.

And did we really need Laura to prop up Sonny? Would rather have had her in a scene with Bobbie.

Otherwise, the stroll down memory lane was nice for us long time viewers.

Shay
Shay

Touching at times, yet still woefully inadequate! Where to begin, where to begin??? Well, I will take your cue, Steve, and go with the most obvious flaw in this whole episode. As you pointed out, there was absolutely no need for Julian’s clearly out-of-place presence! It was just another transparent excuse concocted to promote a “Julexis” re-coupling, which quite frankly, always brings a dirty, raunchy vibe to any scenario! Hardly the appropriate emotion to be included in a purported salute to a classy, highly-respected, dearly-departed member of the GH staff! Sorry, but are we really expected to buy into the notion that Gail, in her last days, gave such concerted consideration to this purely disgusting couple compared to her logical list of loved ones? Oh, spare me! Those of us who watched the ever-competent professional Dr. Adamson in her prime recall both her huge heart and generous, gracious soul, although she was also all about self-respect and dignity, especially for women. Even though she clearly adored Lee Baldwin, when he was in the deepest throes of his alcoholism, she was not about to stand by and allow his self-destructive behavior to mar her own life….she gave him a real dose of tough love and told him to clean himself up or she wouldn’t be there for him anymore. (As any female of substance would do….) Perhaps it was that very impetus that finally forced Lee to address his drinking problem because he didn’t want to lose his lady love…Gail’s ultimatum worked! Yet, at the same time, we’re supposed to believe that this iron lady of such strong convictions was in favor of Alexis reuniting with the man who violently held a knife to her throat? Oh, yeah…NOT! Adding to the insult of this dubious implication was the purely predictable sight of those two salivating over one another on the hospital staircase, practically succumbing to their barely-controlled lust in full-fledged public view. Right! As far as the ongoing effort for the golden girl Laura to sanitize Sonny’s sordid saga with her own sweet form of flimsy praise, well, that is an exercise in futility….even the beautiful, courageous heroine of GH’s glory days cannot remove the heavy tarnish of the Corinthos character from Sonny’s personage. It’s stuck like a piece of old gum on his “soul!” (Note: Use of homophone was purely intentional!)

Steve
Steve

The Sonny propping continued on Thursday with Epiphany singing his praises. This is the same man who is in many ways responsible for her son’s death! Ugh!

What’s next? Scotty and Sonny playing cards? Monica and Sonny doing a duet at the Nurses Ball?

Harry
Harry

Yep, Shay and Steve, Epiphany treats Sonny like he’s a hero and she treats a truly good guy, DR Kevin Collins, like he’s the Devil incarnate.
Epiphany irritates me with her misplaced angry, moral indignation.

Shay
Shay

@Steve…A more appropriate storyline would have seen Monica and Epiphany forming a support group for all the mothers who’ve lost children at the hands of Sonny Corinthos and his minions!

Davy
Davy

I enjoyed the show for the most part, but couldn’t they have included at least one clip of Gail. Was it necessary for Sonny, Franco, and Julian to be there?

Joe
Joe

Right? It was supposedly all about Gail and yet it wasn’t. SMH.

Carrie
Carrie

I agree Davy. Although I liked this episode better than last year’s anniversary, I wish it included clips of Gail.

Shay
Shay

No, no and NO! And your’re so right, Davy! How could it be that the “woman of the hour,” Dr. Gail Adamson-Baldwin didn’t rate even one video appearance? Whilst her photograph on the wall of GH honor was a fitting reminder of this beautiful character and the equally-lovely actress who portrayed her, it was extremely curious that she was not represented more prominently in this episode. Unless I missed it, there wasn’t even an “In loving memory” tag dedicated to this very special lady….how strange!

Joe
Joe

The “In Memory of Susan Brown” was shown at the end of an episode months ago.

Shay
Shay

Thank you for the information, Joe. I thought that was most likely the case, but given this special episode was one which no doubt attracted a wider audience than this soap does on a regular daily basis—i.e., a lot of former GH fans tuned in to see their old favorites—-I expected a bit more than the perfunctory unveiling of a photograph of Gail/Miss Brown. I especially would have appreciated video footage of her ever-elegant character interacting with the featured legacy players taking part in this 56th anniversary salute, as that would have very nicely tied this episode together with a lovely, big bow!

James R. Poissant
James R. Poissant

I loved it but yes, the scenes between Monica and Lesley were the best.

Shay
Shay

They were also the saddest….watching those two laboring down the hallway like little old ladies made for difficult viewing. On the other hand, it was too comical to have them still rehashing old grievances…especially when Lesley couldn’t resist calling Monica a “slut” for the umpteenth time for good measure! Given the conduct of more modern GH-ers, Dr. Quartermaine was a real piker in sexual licentiousness!!! (Just compared to that floozy Lucy Coe alone! And what about Bobbie???)

brian
brian

thought I was one of the best anniversary shows yet !

brian
brian

Thought it was the best anniversary show they have done

Colin
Colin

It always baffles me. If they CAN write classic soap opera that is moving, and emotional, and true to history…why don’t they???? They trot out the vets once or twice a year for these special episodes…when that’s who they should be writing for and focusing on all along! The scenes are richer and Fuller with the vets. Don’t get me wrong…I think the Ryan killer story was for the most part very layered and well written. I get why Ava had to be front and centre! But this story should have been full of Lucy and Scott and Mac and Felicia and not Carly and Jason. Its like a sequel to a movie where the original major players only have cameos. It does the job…but leaves you wanting more! It is nice that they honour beloved stars who have passed….but why can’t they honour the stars they have had around for 30 and 40 years by giving them story?

Judith Sekscenski
Judith Sekscenski

Well said, Colin. I so agree with you! It was so good seeing the old faces that I grew up watching every afternoon when I got home from school. It’s proven over and over, the shows that discard their veteran actors and bring on a bunch of newbies, always create fan backlash. When will the producers learn???

Rodd
Rodd

The writing wasn’t brilliant, but the delivery by those stellar actors sure was! I was expecting clips earlier in the show and so was a little disappointed at first. But the acting! Those pros really delivered and made me feel like I had seen what they were talking about from all those years ago; years before I started watching. That’s talent!

Congratulations to all who participated in that episode for such compelling work!

Here’s to 56+ more years, GH!

Shay
Shay

@Rodd….Having video clips interspersed throughout the show when the actual characters were referencing their past storylines would have provided a far more effective and enjoyable method of presenting this episode. This would have offered a more “you were there” experience for viewers like yourself who weren’t initially around when these scenes originally aired! Whilst I was fortunate enough to have watched a great many of those scenes firsthand, I still would have preferred the appropriate clips accompanying that dialogue down memory lane. It would have made it much more special.

Jimh
Jimh

Should had shown some Gail flashbacks in scenes with Monica, Scott ect so new viewers could be introduced to and know what a wonderful character Gail was from the shows golden years…show felt good seeing many iconic characters interact with each other tho i did not understand why Lesley is still angry at Monica when both seemed civil and friendly to each other during a visit a few years ago…of course it had to have Sonny and Carly who i guess dont get enough screen time(roll eyes) and a few others we didnt need but i let it pass-it is what it is…at least we didnt have Ava verses Nina in who chews up the most scenery…showing the iconic characters made the show really feel like GH the way it should be-these character need to be used more often instead of like Christmas decor that comes out very briefly then put away for another year!!!

su000
su000

Heeey Jimh ..
I, like many others, have never heard of Gail.
The entire episode was a huge HUH?

It was made for the ol’ timers, only.
All others, like me, that came to Y&R well after that era hadn’t a clue about what in the heck was going on. It was nonsense to us.

I have not a clue as to who was whom and the whole of it was a complete HUH??

Jimh
Jimh

They could had done more with the ep to help give a clue to what a wonderful era that was for all you youngins-lol

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

HEy su, all the more reason it should have had clarity.

Shay
Shay

Well put, Jimh! I could have done without Sonny and Carly, too, not to mention, Alexis and Julian, Franco, Stella and Curtis! This episode should have included only the nearest and dearest to Dr. Gail during her years on GH! (And copious clips of the lovely lady doc in action with those she chose to assemble in her honor.) But it was lovely to see Epiphany back where she belongs, and the timeless Liz included in the episode. (That girl simply does not age…amazing!) And the ever-luminous Laura whose smile still lights up the room! (I would have loved to have seen more of her past with the remorseful Scott depicted, as well as dwelling upon her hopeful future with Kevin…Even after four decades, Genie remains the star of the show!) Monica looked really wonderful and it was a kick to see that Lesley couldn’t forego her momentary slut-shaming of her former foe even now….LOL. (Some clips of their famous fracas would not have gone remiss!) And speaking of trashy antics, how gratifying was it to see that after all her whoring and hustling, Lucy Coe has ended up alone with nothing more to show for her efforts than a well-earned tattered reputation and a rackful of flashy eveningwear…that pretty much sums up her character for me! Hah!

Jimh
Jimh

As usual..well said comments from you…agree 100%

Shay
Shay

Thank you, Jimh! Very nice to hear from you! Hope you are well…

cooks7570
cooks7570

Don’t forget Franco is Scotty’s son. And Franco works at the hospital.

Satan
Satan

Yeah…. a serial killer who works as an “art therapist” for children. Who the Hell made that hiring decision??

Shay
Shay

Sounds like a decision which would have emanated from your own Human Resources Department, Satan! However, I do believe it was Dr. O.’s call…certainly not one of her best, although I do miss her running GH. There was never a dull moment when “Mutter” was in charge!.

Shay
Shay

How can we forget, cooks 7570? They never let us overlook that sorry fact, although Heather’s maternal half of Franco’s DNA-equation seem to have been conveniently swept under the rug as of late…Her role as “Mommy Dearest” has been diminished to nil….about time Franco visits his mom in her high-security cuckoo’s nest, since there’s no way on God’s green earth that we wouldn’t have heard a peep from her for such a long expanse….something surely must be up with this legendary GH schemer??? (I should have thought that our canny super snoop Heather would have had the goods on Ryan being alive….) As for Franco’s specious links to both Lee and Gail? They never met him, he has no biological ties to either of them since Scotty was adopted by his “father” when Lee married his birth mom and given Franco’s not-so-illustrious past as a serial killer, I highly doubt that the upstandling Baldwins felt any sort of pride or kinship to the illegitimate result of Scott and Heather’s tawdry ‘80’s fling!

Satan
Satan

Bit of a disappointment honestly. After months of build up about “what was in Gail’s will” we get envelopes full of confetti?

Flashbacks would have been better in context, not mashed together at the end with some dumb song playing over them.

And Frodd didn’t need to be there at all. Yeah I know we’re supposed to pretend he’s a “Baldwin” now, but he never even met Gail. Or Lee. Or any other member of their family apart from Scotty. And for Frodd to be in the flashback montage at all…. It’s a General Hospital anniversary show, for Hell’s sake. So of course Frank Valentini is going to make it all about his pet interloper.

Good to see Leslie Webber again, at least. Can still verbally spar with Monica… though watching those two now, it’s hard to imagine them ever in a full on hair pulling cat fight with each other.

Harry
Harry

The confetti was anti climatic for sure.

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

Why Franco, why Julian (JULLIAN? REALLY?), Stella, and other characters having nothing to do with Gail and her legacy character? Laura and her mother Lesley? PURE GOLD! The rest?
A perfunctory episode-appearing done out of duty rather than compassionate commitment.

Alan
Alan

What a waste to have Laura reminding viewers what a swell fella Sonny is when we could have had a scene between her and Bobbi recalling how they started out as enemies fighting for Scotty.

Joe
Joe

I thought it was a beautiful memory brought together with understanding

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

As I mentioned in the other thread about this episode, I found this anniversary episode excellent, with one major exception: As pointed out by others, the need to prop up the character of Sonny was an incongruous, unconscionable, incomprehensible plot point that stood out like a sore thumb. Saddling the much beloved Laura with the herculean task of affirming the goodness of polarizing Sonny was a gratuitous waste of time in this milestone, otherwise special, episode.

Sadly, I see this trend of propping up the character of Sonny at all costs to continue until GH wraps up its historic run.

On future episodes:
Sonny helps a little old lady cross the street!
Sonny, in a random act of kindness, pays the tab for unfamiliar fellow restaurant diners!
Sonny rescues a cat from a tree!
Sonny donates a kidney to a complete stranger!
Sonny cures cancer!
Sonny walks on water!
Sonny is issued sainthood status!

nancy dillingham
nancy dillingham

(SMile!)

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

In keeping with the theme of Laura validating and propping up Sonny by stating that she has always known he was a good person, here is some dialogue from future episodes:

Monica: “You know, Sonny, you’ve been more of a son to me than A.J. ever was. He was nothing but trouble. When you killed A.J., you were actually relieving me of my long suffering. So, thank you, Sonny. And I apologize that it took me so long to realize that.”

Scotty: “Sonny, I’ve been meaning to thank you for helping my little girl Karen when she was so young. You taught her how to dance, and you who gave her the confidence to put herself out there.”

Ava: “Sonny, please give me a moment of your time. I just want to thank you for helping me become self-aware and self-actualized. All those times you yelled at me and threatened me, you selflessly did it for my benefit! I didn’t get it at the time, but you were giving me tough love in order for me to comprehend how worthless I was, at rock bottom, and how I could only go up from there. I am not where I want to me, but I am in your debt for all those nudges.”

Mac: “Sonny, we haven’t always been friends, but you should know how much I admire you. When I think back on all those times, as police chief, I threatened to put you away for life, and you always stayed one step ahead of me. It takes cunning intellect to remain unscathed and out of jail, given all the crimes you’ve committed, including murder. I’m blown away at how adept you’ve been at remaining a free man, despite the best efforts of our police force as well as myself. May I give you a hug?”

Bobbie: “Sonny, this Christmas, why don’t YOU read the story of the first Christmas to the children in the hospital? You’re a much better reader than Steve Hardy ever was!”

Melissa Darling
Melissa Darling

Join the discussion…Hey James this was hysterical! Thanks !!

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Thanks so much, Melissa!

Shay
Shay

Excellent suggestions, James! You should be writing for GH, although I’m not sure your tongue-in-cheek suggestions would be well-received by those who seem to think that Sonny the Great walks on water! Having said that, all I can is add “Encore, encore!!!” (I had a few ideas of my own regarding other characters to add to the “Sonny Songs of Praise” scenario…How about an entire episode featuring the ghosts of all those dead people he wronged??? It would be sort of a reverse take on “It’s A Wonderful Life!”)

Jamesj75
Jamesj75

Thanks so much, Shay! I know I only scratched the surface. As we know, there are many more characters Sonny has “wronged!” I wholeheartedly support and like your idea for an “entire episode featuring the ghosts of all those dead people he wronged.” Maybe it could morph into a whole week. “This week on General Hospital…”

Caleb
Caleb

Looks like something I’ll look up and watch, although I am happy to fast forward through anything that involves Laura saying anything nice about Sonny – part of my Laura love stems from the fact that she’s told him off more than once over the years and has maintained that. If she’s lost that, it diminishes the character for me. He’s not a good guy. Never was/never will be. Geez, they just had a storyline a few months ago that was all about him having killed a guy when he started out in the mob. These writers can’t even remember their own work!

General Hospital

Ingo Rademacher Returns As GH’s Jax Beginning In May

Things will get more interesting in the lives of Josslyn (Eden McCoy), Carly (Laura Wright), Sonny (Maurice Benard) and many others on the GH canvas with the arrival back in Port Charles of Jasper Jacks.  That’s because as previously announced, Ingo Rademacher is headed back to the ABC daytime drama series to reprise his signature role.

Circle May 7th for when you will see Jax back in action.  According to EW.com. “He’s back to see his daughter Josslyn and ex-wife Carly”   Jax will also share scenes with Steve Burton (Jason) and of course Maurice Benard (Sonny).

Looks like Jax may be back to help out Josslyn in her time of need as her boyfriend Oscar’s (Garren Stitt) final days seem to be drawing near, or does something else also bring his attention back to Port Charles?

It’s been a bit since Ingo played Jax on GH having last appeared on the soap in April of 2017.  Ingo eventually landed the role as the recast Thorne Forrester on CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful, a part he played till December of 2018.

Back in March, the actor originally from down under shared on his Instagram account: “Won’t be long now.  Just had my fitting. All new look for Jax. Start shooting next week. No air date yet. Stay tuned. Can’t wait!”

So, excited for some Jax on GH? What do you think will bring him back? What do you think will keep him in town? Comment below.

 

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General Hospital

GH’s Coby Ryan McLaughlin Talks: Shiloh’s ‘Dawn Of Day’ Followers, Playing A Cult Leader, And His Co-Stars

Ever since the arrival in Port Charles of the mysterious “David Henry Archer” (Hank) now better known now as “Shiloh” (Coby Ryan McLaughlin), the minds of several members of the community have been revealed to, or have fallen under his spell.

For Shiloh is the cult leader of the group “Dawn of Day”.  He wields his manipulative skills to entrap unsuspecting people in his quest for power and control.   And make no mistake about it … he certainly has a target for Sam (Kelly Monaco), and an ax to grind with her.   For in her past, “the con-artist” Sam apparently swindled Shiloh’s father leaving him with next to nothing.  In addition to that, it has been noted, that Shiloh shared combat time in Afghanistan with Drew Cain (Billy Miller), before changing his name and coming to the town, where says he owes Drew for saving his life.

In story, one of his most loyal followers, Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) was to be initiated in the inner-circle of the cult, and after drinking from the cup as part of the ritual which drugged her, she was saved by Jason (Steve Burton ) who got her out of the “Dawn of Day” house and to a secret location, leaving Shiloh infuriated and needing to cover his tracks.  As the story has played out, we learn that Brad (Parry Shen) has also been bitten by the “Dawn of Day” bug and believes in Shiloh’s musing.  So much so that he wiped the evidence from the cup Krisina drank out of that Jason provided to Elizabeth (Rebecca Herbst) for testing in the hospital.  The GH audience has also learned that Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) was one of Shiloh’s favorite former members of the cult.  She has revealed she had a child with the guy (the baby she thinks is being raised by Brad) and needs to make sure he never finds out.  But, does Shiloh secretly know?

When we last saw Shiloh on Thursday’s episode of GH, he went into the files of the “Dawn of Day” followers and found Kristina’s.  He opened it, and we finally learn her “pledge” – a deep rooted secret from her past that one must share as part of the journey with the cult.  It revealed, that Shiloh knows that Kristina was abused by her former boyfriend Kiefer and that her mother, Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn) ran him down and killed him with her car.  Kristina knows about it first-hand, because she saw it happen as she was in the car with Alexis.  What will Shiloh eventually do with this Intel?

Michael Fairman TV chatted with Coby Ryan McLaughlin, who has been the catalyst for much of the latest trouble brewing on-screen on GH about: the complexities of playing such a dynamic, and yet terrifying character, what has it been like mixing it up with the stellar cast of the ABC daytime drama series, and what he thinks Shiloh’s next move might be.  Here’s what Coby had to say about all and more!

What do you think about the reaction of the GH audience to Shiloh?  Is it what you expected?

COBY:  I’ve never really played a bad guy like this.  It’s interesting playing a villain because they love to hate you.  I’ll go on Instagram every now and then and throw elbows at the fans.  It’s really a trip.  The thing I like about this guy is that he’s not completely diabolical.  There are other things going on with this guy; he has other agendas as well.  It’s interesting seeing people react to what it is that I am doing while I have a storyline that is playing out.

Courtesy/ABC

It’s is a bit of a trip as you say; because you have to, in many ways, be subtle in the manipulation as a cult leader would do.  Did you do any research on cult leaders before stepping into Shiloh’s shoes?

COBY:  I didn’t do much when I initially got the part, because I actually know some people like this.  I think as actors, one of the most interesting parts of our jobs is that we just get to sit back and observe things about people’s behaviors.  There are certain people who I have come across where my “Spidey senses” start tingling, and you think, “Well, I’m not going to get involved with this person, but what a fascinating individual.  This behavior is so fascinating.”  However, once I started this gig, yes, I did do research.   I’ll tell you, the one thing that a lot of these guys have in common is that they are extraordinarily exuberant.  They have just this energy about them, and they are seemingly humble.  They have these grandiose visions and these delusions of grandeur, but they do it in a way where you’re like, “Huh.  That almost seems kind of normal.”  In order to get a large number of people to follow you, you’ve got to be charismatic, you’ve got to be saying something that people really tap into and want to hear.  The behavior and psychology behind it are really interesting.  I watched this one documentary and these people literally had no idea … until they did.  They literally had no idea that they were in a cult until they woke up, and they were like, “Holy s**t.  This isn’t right.  This doesn’t feel right.”   Shiloh is an interesting role to play, and it’s written so straight down the line that I really don’t have to push anything, because the guy is written as what he is.   It’s really cool to be able to find all of the little things in that character, so I try to make him a whole bunch of different things to different people.

Did you know from the beginning that Shiloh would turn out to be this cult leader in the “Dawn of Day” storyline?  Who did you screen-test with that landed you the part?

COBY:  No, I didn’t know what he was going to be in the beginning.  I knew that he had an agenda, and when Mark Teschner (casting director, GH) told me that he was going to be a cult leader, I was like, “Oh, okay.  I know what I want to do.”   I have always had the opinion that cult leaders don’t come off bad… they’ve got to be likable.  You have to be able to relate to them in a way.  You have to be able to look at them and be like, “Ah well, maybe in certain circumstances what this guy is doing is okay.”  You have to be able to almost justify some of the behavior until you can’t anymore.  I screen tested with Laura Wright (Carly), and she is really fantastic.  We sit in the makeup chair and shoot the breeze all the time.

Courtesy/ABC

So, is Shiloh infatuated with Sam?   What does he ultimately want from her?

COBY:  Yes, but he wants a lot. (Laughs) There’s a lot of backstory to him and what really brought him to Port Charles.  Frank Valentini (executive producer, GH) and I have conversations all of the time about what this guy really is, and what his ultimate goals are, and that may change.  I think that Shiloh is a guy who has come to find his power, and the more powerful he gets, the more he wants.   You know, I’ve become a fan of General Hospital now.  I never watched the show before I got this gig.  I was a Days of our Lives guy years ago.  Don’t tell anybody. (Laughs).

Okay… we will not tell. (Laughs) Ah, sorry!  That’s got to be in the interview! (Laughs)

COBY:  All of  sudden, I will get a message from HR saying, “You’ve been great, but…” (Laughs)   But as to what Shiloh wants with Sam, you know I will read the scripts in advance, and I’ll start creating certain these things for myself in my own mind, such as: “What if he wanted to screw over Sam because of what she did to his father?”  What if it started like that, but all of the sudden he’s coming into some prominence and he wants to go after Sonny’s empire, and what if he wants to run the whole town and screw everybody…?”  I go through this whole thing.  It could literally go anywhere at any time, which is so cool about the soap world.

Without revealing what it is, do you have an idea of what the endgame is for Shiloh, or do you not?

COBY:  No, I don’t.  I think that it changes.  This is a really malleable medium, I’m coming to discover.  I think that nothing is set in stone.  I ultimately know what I want… just because I ultimately think that the foundation of the whole thing is rooted deep within this individual’s character: his emotional makeup, and how he was treated.  There is a lot of revenge going on with this guy, but there is a lot more than that.  He’s not just motivated by revenge.

Courtesy/ABC

Something had to have happened to him, of course, because you know how it works in soap operas!?  If you’re completely evil or bad, and even if you do horrendous things, and they want to keep you on the show, they have to find a way to humanize the character.  Otherwise, you’re there to cause trouble for a time, and you’re killed-off.  Shiloh’s tentacles seem more far-reaching then viewers first suspected.  He has this thing for Willow, who used to be in the cult, and now he’s got Brad under this thumb. What did you think about how much Shiloh is intertwined with and affecting the Port Charles canvas right now?

COBY:  I think that he is an apex predator.  I think that he sees certain people, and he knows how to utilize them for what he wants.  It’s kind of like a chess game.  He knows where Brad is.  He’s always wanted Willow, because it’s the one that got away, so there are certain things he uses as a means to an end, and there are certain things that I think he wants just for himself.  I think the relationships that he creates with this “higher-ups” in the town are because he knows he can utilize them, and there are some personal relationships that he keeps personal.  Shiloh has his own reasons for doing what he does, especially with Willow.  I think he was grooming her to be something.  Just the fact that she left him … really bothers him.

Photo: ABC

He doesn’t know that Willow had his child, or does he … hmmm? 

COBY:  No, not as far as we know.

If he was to know, what do you think he would do?

COBY:  Well …  you’re just going to have to watch and find out.

So, when you found out that there was this major initiation going on which included: the drugging of Kristina, the huge payment she made to be in Shiloh’s inner-circle, and how he was preying on her vulnerability, were you like, “Oh my, God! They’re really going all the way with this cult thing?”

COBY:  No.  We kind of alluded to it, and it has to go all the way.   I wasn’t surprised when I read that in the script.  This is this guy’s MO.  He gets what he wants.

Courtesy/ABC

Shiloh’s s really upset that Kristina is missing and has figured that Jason kidnapped her.  He wants her back in the fold, correct?

COBY:  He does want her back, but he wants her back for a variety of reasons … and not just the fact that she reminds him of Willow.  That’s part of it, but I personally believe that he wants her back, because as I mentioned earlier it’s all about chess pieces for him.  He sets up the prominent people in his organization, so he can set them up to expand his means and to expand his agenda … to motivate his agenda, because there is a bigger picture to all of this.  Kristina is a Corinthos and she is part of the most powerful family in Port Charles, so there is that as well.  He wants to be able to have that power hold over that towns that he is in.

Many in the audience are wondering if Shiloh having sex with Kristina was a key part of his plan.  Is that part of his ritual?  Having sex with women upon initiation into his “inner circle”… or is that a grey area?

COBY:  Here is the thing, everything is consensual with him … that’s where his charm comes into play, that’s where sense of power comes into play.  So, with these women, nothing is forced.  There is not coercion …  at all!   So, yes, its alluded that he sleeps with them, but we don’t necessarily know if that is true for all of them … or…. if it is just for the ones that he takes a liking to.   The other thing we know; is that this guy is also a megalomaniac, so it’s also an exertion of power as well.  What I tried to do with it was not make it so completely overt.   He is a bit of a jerk, but I don’t want it to overstep that boundary of being tasteless.  I think you can go too far with it, so that is one of the reasons that we alluded to the fact that it was always consensual, and people what to be with him for one reason, or another.

Courtesy/ABC

That’s why there was an important conversation written into the script with Jason, Sam, and Michael (Chad Duell) about how there is no way to nail Shiloh for a crime because he is so cagey with every move he makes.

COBY:  Yeah, you could say cagey, I say smart.

Now, Jason is his target.  Would you say there are even more underlying reasons that the obvious of why he dislikes Jason so much? Does he really have an axe to grind with him?

COBY:  I think he likes messing with people, and I think if he is unable to exert his power, or his will, or his control, over somebody, it really annoys him.  The stuff with Steve Burton is rather fun!  Shiloh can’t manipulate Jason like he can manipulate these girls, or the way he manipulates Brad, because Jason just operates on a whole different level.  I think that Shiloh finds it fascinating that he can’t get to him.   Shiloh also wants to get him out of the way, because he can’t out-muscle him.  Even if I could, the writers wouldn’t allow it. (Laughs) So, that’s never going to happen.  As Shiloh, I have to out-think him, because I want him out of the picture.   Shiloh sees Jason as an obstacle and he wants him out of the way, and he will do it by any means necessary, via him or with his kids… anyway that he can, because he can’t get at him on his level, because the playing field isn’t equal.

Courtesy/ABC

What about Shiloh’s relationship with Drew (Billy Miller)?  What does he truly feel about him? 

COBY:  I have this conversation with Frank Valentini all the time.  I think the relationship I have with Drew might be the only true relationship I have with anybody.  I think that Drew really did what Shiloh said that he did.  I think Drew really saved his life, and he does really want to pay that debt back.  I think therein really lies the contradiction with this guy.  It makes it difficult for him to operate.  I think he is conflicted on some levels because he is one guy to Drew, and he is a different guy to everybody else.  I think the way Shiloh is with Drew is real.  In his past, I think that Shiloh was completely fatalistic and reckless and didn’t care if he lived or died, and Drew did save his life, and he gave him a purpose.  However, I also think that he is such a damaged individual.  He needs that feeling of safety by exuding his power and control over others.  The writers have alluded to the fact that he has this other life, and that he was a broken individual, and turned his life around and came back from the brink of dying, of killing myself, of not caring.  So, with Drew, I don’t want to manipulate him.  I don’t want to use him.  I am truly just grateful for the fact that he allowed me another chance at life.  I love working with Billy, because that’s when I get to be human.  I’m not trying to gaslight him.  I’m not trying to get something from him – well, I’ll take that back, because I am trying to get something from him.  I’m just not trying to do it in a way that I go about it with the other characters.  There is a huge amount of respect between the two of us.

Unfortunately, Drew doesn’t remember anything about their past, which puts “pause” in believing Shiloh’s war stories.

COBY:  Yet.  (Laughs). Well, we’ve been alluding to the fact of, “What if he did this? What if he went back into his memories?  What if he were able to remember?  There are a lot of “What if’s …”  So, they keep a lot of balls in the air with this relationship.

Photo: ABC

What has it been like working with Lexi Ainsworth in this story, because she has been the main character so far drawn into the cult? 

COBY:  She’s great.  I love Lexi.  She is so easy, fun, and safe, and just a really nice person.  We sit and chat all of the time and talk about what it is that we want from each other in the scene and how it’s going to work.   Everyone is great.   Kaetlyn MacMullan is so much fun as well as Willow.  As an actor, it’s really fun when you get people who really want to play and want to go.

And, what are your thoughts on working with GH favorite, Kelly Monaco, who is key in your storyline?

COBY:  Kelly is rad.  We talk about being able to “play jazz” all of the time, which means being able to go into a scene and just riff and have a good time, because there is so much dialog that you have to learn.  I mean, that dialogue is nuts, and sometimes you forget halfway through a page-long monologue when you are at 27 pages in.  That’s when it’s wonderful to have a really good dance partner who can pick you up.  There are times where I get so off script, and I’m like, “Holy s**t!  Where am I going with this?” (Laughs) I have got really good people like Lexi, Katelyn, or Kelly who have my back and that just makes it fun.

Courtesy/ABC

Some actors like to watch back their work, while others don’t.  Do you check out your performances on GH?

COBY:  Yeah.  Somebody on Instagram, this wonderful fan, will take all of the Shiloh’s scenes and post them!  Shockingly, I don’t own a television, so I don’t watch the show that way.

Do you make changes or adjustments once you see your work?

COBY:  Not really.  I made a decision to keep it real low-key with this, and just try to play everything real.   The other thing is I had never done anything like this before in my career.  I was so intimated by this whole thing, that it was like, “Alright man.  Just get in and listen.  Listen to what your scene partners are saying to you.”  In my approach, I am trying to be as still as I can possibly be and let whatever that person is saying motivate my responses and my actions.  If I watch my work, I’m like, “Yeah, that makes sense to me; I like that.  That’s something that this individual would do.”  Shiloh controls every situation that he is in, and even when he is introduced to new characters, he doesn’t wait to be introduced, he’ll just walk up and say, “Hi, I’m Shiloh!  What’s new with you?  How’s it going?” (Laughs) He kind of disarms them in every scene he is in.

Photo: IMDB

Soap fans first saw you on The Young and the Restless in your stint as Andrew working alongside Eileen Davidson (Ashley).  How was that experience for you?

COBY:  Eileen was unreal.  She was really cool, because none of this phased her.  She had been doing daytime so long that it was just a thing to her.  I’d sit there and read my scripts over and over and over again, but she just knew how to do it.  It was so easy for her, that it made it easy for me.

In a broad stroke, what would you tells the fans to look forward to with Shiloh?

COBY:  Well, Shiloh is going to continue his agenda.  He is going to have to go about it in a different way.  There are things going down right now (and I won’t spoil it) that are going to change the way he operates, and he is going to have to get what he wants in a different way.  Some of the people who you would have thought that he trusted, have turned against him.  It just all makes it more fun for him because this is a huge game.  Even the stuff with Sam, you may think that you know where it is going, but it may not be.  So, as much as he is enamored by Sam, he has an agenda with her.

So, what do you think will be Shiloh’s next move?  Will he blackmail Alexis to get Kristina back at “Dawn of Day”? What is his plan for Sam? Is Shiloh connected to a key family in Port Charles, but it has yet to be revealed? Who else do you think might wind up in the cult? Finally, are you enjoying Coby’s performance on GH? Share your thoughts and theories via the comment section below!

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Breaking News

Cynthia Watros Replaces Michelle Stafford As GH’s Nina Reeves

Another big name is headed to the cast of General Hospital on the heels of the upcoming departure of Michelle Stafford.  Daytime Emmy winner, Cynthia Watros had been cast as the the new Nina Reeves.  Fans of Guiding Light remember her star turn as Annie Dutton, and she was last see on on daytime in the role of Kelly Andrews on The Young and the Restless (2013-2014).

As previously reported, Daytime Emmy winner, Michelle Stafford is headed back to her old stomping grounds of The Young and the Restless to play her signature soap role of Phyllis Summer.  She will replace her own recast, Daytime Emmy winner, Gina Tognoni.  Both actresses are said to be finishing taping their current runs on their respective shows in May. Watros will begin her GH run in Port Charles in June,

GH’s EP Frank Valentini tweeted on today’s casting news: “It’s a bittersweet day. I love @TheRealStafford and wish her all the best. I’m also really excited about @watroswatros joining the #GH family and continuing Nina’s legacy.”

PEOPLE.com broke the casting change.  Stafford has been with GH since 2014.  As for Watros, she opted to leave her role on Y&R to join the cast of MTV’s Finding Carter.  She is also known for her run on the hit ABC drama, Lost and other notable primetime series and films.

Michelle Stafford’s on-screen GH love interest, James Patrick Stuart, tweeted on the news: “Cynthia Watros … Big fan.”

So, what do you think of the casting of Cynthia Watros as the new Nina Reeves? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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GH icon Genie Francis chats with Michael Fairman about her return to the soap as Laura after being taken off-contract earlier this year. Leave A Comment

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