General Hospital commentary: Sam and Julian teamwork was unexpected and welcome

William deVry and Kelly Monaco as Julian and Sam on General Hospital.
Sam and Julian teaming up was a curveball. Pic credit: ABC

Every now and then a soap throws viewers a curve, something utterly unexpected. It happened last week on General Hospital when a couple of characters hooked up for the common good, putting their animosity aside.

Whoever would have imagined Sam (Kelly Monaco) and Julian (William deVry) joining forces to right a wrong? Yet there they were, teaming up to help out Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) and baby Wiley.

Sam does not suffer fools, and Julian is no fool. But he is her dad and a nasty excuse for a man in her eyes. Maybe it was that time he held a knife on her mom (and his ex) Alexis (Nancy Lee Grahn)? Plus there’s that whole shady mobster thing.

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Not that mobster ties bother Sam in general. Her boyfriend works for East Coast mobster extraordinaire Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard), who also happens to be her sister Kristina’s (Lexi Ainsworth) dad. There’s also the fact that Sam herself is not as pure as the wind-driven snow, so who is she to call the kettle black?

But they set aside their dislike in the name of love and tricked a records employee into believing that Sam was Willow, allowing them to manipulate the info in her adoption file records.

Soaps traditionally depend on shock value to drive the story forward. And who doesn’t like a well-done back-from-the-dead, evil twin, sudden amnesia storyline every now and then?

But often it’s the little unexpected twists that make us sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what happened watching Sam and Julian working together instead of against each other. Sometimes subtlety leaves a bigger impression than a kick in the pants.

Why don’t soaps take the road less traveled more often? If you happen to watch NBC’s Days of our Lives, you know the pleasure that fans are taking in a similar surprise coupling, that of bad boy millennial Xander (Paul Telfer) and mature heroine Maggie (Suzanne Rogers). In their case, the out of the blue bonding is over childhood hurt.

It’s amazing how startling a fresh plot twist can be. If TPTB more often tried to amaze viewers with unpredictable nuances, they would be rewarded by favorable fan response (and maybe increased ratings).

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC.

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