As much as the drama of soaps calls for secrets, public humiliation and confrontations between the bad-choice maker and the ones they wronged, there was a scene this week on General Hospital that actually made my heart hurt. Because the humiliation and confrontations coming at Elizabeth don’t make me happy.
That isn’t to say she doesn’t deserve her lumps for the choices she has made. She does. Absolutely.
Nonetheless, once again, the happiness that Liz has found is taken away.
“But she deserves it! She lied!” you might say.
For the lies, yes, she deserves her lumps. Absolutely. But the happiness she had found was taken away months ago. Liz met a handsome man she felt an immediate connection with. Over months, they fell in love with each other. Each other. That is the important distinction here. It wasn’t just Elizabeth. They both fell in love. And they were kept apart and then finally, in the moment where that happiness was in the grasp of her hand, she was faced with the truth of who Jake truly was.
She was faced with the real chance of losing Jake once more. She had just experienced his reaction to believing he was married when he thought Hayden was his wife. He did the honorable thing, even though he was in love with Liz.
That split second where Liz realized that Jake was Jason was heartbreaking. #Rebecca Herbst played it with all the joy, pain, sorrow and elation that made sense. It was a mixed blessing. Jason was back. He was alive.
But he was Jake. The man she loved was the man she has always loved.
This week, we near the wedding that we already know will be a disaster. And another scene struck me as heartbreaking. After a really sweet scene with Jake and her boys, Liz was sitting with Epiphany, Felix and Michael talking about their good fortune and about how Elizabeth deserves the happiness she has found. Epiphany commented on everything Jake and Liz had been through to get where they were, with Hayden’s ruse and with Ric’s involvement. They said Liz deserves happiness.
That isn’t to say that she hasn’t made mistakes, because she has. Big, gargantuan mistakes. She’s in the midst of one right now. And yet… given the history that the character of Liz has faced, I can understand why she chose to seize the day and grab the happiness that had been hers for about five seconds.
Wrong? Yes. Absolutely.
She took the choice away from Jake. At the end of the day, she made decisions for everyone. Because she didn’t trust he wouldn’t leave her. Because she was scared. Because she’d lost so many times in the past. Because she was tired of losing. Because he loved her now. And because of the past she shared with Jason. He gave her every reason not to trust he would chose her. But it’s also more than that.
Liz has not had much of anyone stable in her life. She spent years without much of any relationship, languishing on the back burner doing laundry. Though the character has caused her own fair share of unhappiness, she’s also been the victim of bad writing, no writing, changing lead partners, love interests leaving the show and many other things. While other characters have had love stories, Liz has often been left holding her hand out, being thisclose to her own love story, but never quite getting there. Lucky, the actor chose to leave. Nikolas, Britt was brought on and made the focus. Matt. Ewan. Jason. Ric. The list goes on. If you wanted to get psychological about the character, you could point to the fact that her family has abandoned her, all but her grandmother.
I know people who love to hate Liz will see this post as one big excuse for why she should be forgiven for her misdeeds. Frankly this is not that.
She should be forgiven, because that’s what soaps are about. Period. Mistakes, love, redemption, forgiveness. This is not new. This is not shocking. And Liz’s transgressions aren’t any worse – and in many cases, far less tragic, than most every other character on this show. Let’s keep that in perspective, shall we?
But at the end of the day, once again, we’ll be watching Liz’s heart get crushed. Liz’s almost-there love story not quite make it past the finish line. We’ll see Liz find love, but she’s never allowed – by character choice, by writing direction, by a lot of things – to hold on to it. There’s always
Isn’t it time Liz gets her true love story?