Soap Opera Digest/Editor's Choice-Goodnight, Sweet Mob Prince 6/08

”Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

Though that line was Horatio’s upon Hamlet’s death, its sentiment suits the Shakespearean tragedy that unfolded on General Hospital after Carly and Sonny’s young son Michael was struck by a bullet meant for his father. Surely he’d be OK, he’s Sonny and Carlys son! But GH pulled no punches showing the devastating effects of living in Sonny’s violent world. When Michael’s parents took their comatose son to a long-term care facility and said good-bye, it was absolutely heartbreaking.

One by one, Michael’s protectors filed in, each devastated that they’d failed to keep the boy they loved safe. First up, Jason recalled happier times, when, “We’d sit in the grass, and I’d put you down beside me, and you would just take off. You were crawling so fast. You’d grab leaves. You’d pull grass. You’d try to scare all the birds away. You were everywhere and now you’re here.” Guilt-wracked Sonny grieved. “I really felt in my heart that you could hear me, feel my presence. But you’ve gone to a place that I can’t reach. And I’m still here, which makes no sense.” Finally Carly left her firstborn with the words, “I don’t care what the doctors say. I don’t believe your life is over. I know you’re going to find the courage and the strength to come back to me. I will never, ever give up on you.”

GH’s varsity trio, Steve Burton (Jason), Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Laura Wright (Carly), brought their A game and took these characters to depths we’d never seen. Jason cried. Sonny put his heart on the table and Carly summoned every ounce of strength she had to get through the crisis.

But they were hardly the only ones affected by the tragedy. Kate and Jax were also grieving for Michael, but stepped aside so their partners could address the situation together. To forget their troubles, they focused on business and attended a gala party in New York. As Jax and Kate played the society game, they laughed and, to their surprise, enjoyed themselves. And on the way home, their pent-up emotions exploded in a sweet, silent, forbidden kiss.

Back in the limo, Sonny and Carly reminisced about their past and the impact Michael had on their lives. When Carly screamed, “Turn the car around. I want to go back.” Sonny held her and rocked her and suddenly, in a moment of raw emotion, they found themselves dulling their anguish with sex. Afterward, they realized the error of their ways and agreed to never speak of the moment again.

While other soaps doled out frothy weddings for May sweeps, GH took us to the dark side, where characters went through a living hell and emerged as different people. Sleep well, young Michael. We, too, have faith that one day you will awaken and when you do, it’s going to be a whole new world.