By now I should have formulated an opinion on Ava Jerome. She has been living in Port Charles and thus on my TV screen for ten months, but I remain conflicted.
First, I have this “no new people” rule. (It is mostly for General Hospital, but sometimes for my real life too.) Around 1998, when I was really settling into GH—and, by the way, that one can settle into a soap opera is by far their main appeal for me—I decided that those were my people. Take ’em or leave ’em, for better or worse, nobody leaves, the characters from those late 90s years are the ones I mostly closely associate with GH. Ava just isn’t part of that, and at this stage of the game, it doesn’t feel like a smart move to be bringing in an unknown, untested element. Now, Maura West isn’t unknown or untested, of course. It’s the character who is under scrutiny here.
So I was predisposed to dislike Ava and I mostly do. She just never does anything that I like. While I am a registered fan of older woman/younger man relationships, maybe I have just known Morgan too long to feel OK about his relationship with Ava. She was so clearly taking advantage and emotionally manipulating him at first and I don’t care if she genuinely loves him at this point. I do care about Morgan because while his character is from post-1999 and his face is new, I’m good friends with his parents. I can’t give up on him just yet. None of the Jeromes have earned any emotional loyalty from me.
However, after yesterday’s episode, I can’t deny that Ava is a fascinating character. The way she orchestrated an expert set-up of Julian for AJ’s murder was impressive. Her original plan to have AJ murdered went awry and she improvised, even whilst being choked, without panicking or spilling her martini. She’s basically a sociopath, and that is interesting to watch. I’m not sure there has ever been a female character on a soap opera quite like Ava. Whereas their male counterparts are motivated by defending territory or honor (theirs or their women’s), female characters of this badass type are usually motivated by revenge or protecting children or lovers. Ava is motivated mostly by self-preservation. She isn’t even building a mob empire, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up the head of the Jerome crime syndicate when all this is over. Wherever the story takes Ava, her crazy is much more fun to watch than Heather’s.
Every now and then, GH really surprises me, though it isn’t a place I expect or want surprises. It has happened perhaps ten times over the course of our sixteen year history, but it happened twice this year. First, I was dumb-struck when Brad and Lucas ended up in bed together on screen like any other soap opera couple. Then, yesterday, when I realized Ava might be the only character of her ilk, I thought, Damn. I wonder what this all means. I’m thinking about the future again, and that’s dangerous business these days.