General Hospital has been the topic of much discussion on social media the last few days and no it wasn’t because Michael and Willow shared their first kiss. It’s because Alexis woke up to find her new lover had passed away while they slept. Needless to say this was not something that the audience expected to happen.
Alexis and Neil did have their followers. Alexis is one of the most popular characters on GH and actress Nancy Lee Grahn is beloved by her many fans. GH was Joe Flanigan’s first soap but he is a popular actor most notably from his starring role in the sci-fi series Stargate Atlantis. It was clear the two actors got along well and their fans were hopeful that they would soon get a story….any story. Alas, a real story never developed for the pairing beyond their rocking beginnings.
The romance started out somewhat controversial with Neil as Alexis’ therapist and professional lines being crossed as they discovered a mutual attraction. It’s not clear if the writers had thought about how this situation may be perceived in a post MeToo world when they started this story, but a lot of time seem to be spent on how to transition the pairing into coupledom without sending the wrong message. In the end, Neil and Alexis couldn’t really be together until they were both striped of their careers and place on even ground. However, even after that happened, it was a while before things were allowed to heat up.
After about a year of poorly paced story, Neil and Alexis finally decided to embrace their potential for happiness and move forward with their relationship. And then he died. Neil’s death is certainly shocking but is it good soap? As the story stands now, it’s not.
Neil wasn’t part of the Port Charles canvas for very long. We barely knew the character and there was a lot left to be fleshed out. I think most of the grief fans feel is for what could have been. Had more time been given to Neil and Alexis’ relationship, this twist would have played a lot better. As fan @CatzforMe stated on Twitter, “Can’t say it’s good soap because there was no build up of story. We barely see them together to invest and now he’s just dead. I feel badly for Alexis but will there be follow up story or was this just a fast cheap way to get rid of a character and little follow up”.
The million dollar question is “What happens to Alexis now?” Alexis hasn’t had much to do since Julian held a knife to her throat years ago. Though Julian’s other pairings have not had any success, he was at least allowed to move on. Fans were hoping that Alexis’ new romance with Neil would lead to long awaited romantic adventures for the tragic heroine.
There has been no hint of what story is next for Alexis now that Neil is gone. It’s quite possible that her latest sad twist of fate could lead to great Emmy-worthy material and possibly a new romance that the writers may actually invest in this time. “Should the Alexis character become reliant on painkillers and Cyrus’s association and interest in the hospital (ie pain products) I I could picture them having Cyrus feeling guilty about Alexis reliance on them as he starts to have feelings for her. Strange but w/Neil gone?” suggested @loveamystery on Twitter. It certainly does seem like a plausible option for Alexis to fall into addiction again and GH is in the middle of a hospital/mob story that involves drugs.
Alexis might be a little nervous to take another jump in the sack after waking up to find Neil dead in her bed. However, there are men in Port Charles who have survived a night with her. Julian is currently single but he comes with more baggage right now than I think Alexis should have to deal with. Ned is married but things seem to be a bit rocky right now between Olivia and him. With Olivia and Robert doing a bit of flirting, perhaps Ned and Alexis will be able to comfort each other. There is also the Teflon Don. Sonny and Carly have been fully committed for awhile but it seems that Carly and Jax could become entangled thus leaving Sonny available.
Whether killing off Neil is worth its shock value or not will depend a lot on the fallout. GH’s current head writing team has so far proven that writing decent fallout is not their strong suit. There is a first time for everything though. Hopefully, what comes next maks it all worth it.