Editors' Choice Salute
Sonny is Shot
Soap Opera Digest
January 30, 2001

It seemed only fitting. A little over three years ago, General Hospital's then-incoming head writer, Robert Guza, Jr., burst back upon his old stomping grounds with a storyline so incendiary- the shootout at Luke's- that it rocked old P.C. for months. So, with the tale that was to be Guza's swan song (he left GH in November, but his handiwork aired through the end of the year), there was little doubt that the scribe would go out with anything but a bang.

And so, we were treated to a farewell with arms: Sonny getting shot outside of the P.C.P.D. on Christmas Eve (to the ironically haunting strains of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," no less). Accompanied by Alexis, Emily, and Zander, Sonny was mowed down in a dramatic ambush made all the more powerful by its slow-mo editing. Zander, too, was shot (and was the real target of the Sorel-arranged hit) but it was Sonny who was the most injured.

Ambulances finally arrived, spiriting Zander and Sonny to G.H. Alexis, her clothes stained with Sonny's blood, made her way there, too, to find Carly and spread some Christmas fear. "He's alive, right?" Carly sternly asked a stricken Alexis, who rushed Carly to the E.R. "You're not alone because I'm right here with you," Carly tearfully whispered to her unconscious husband. "You can't leave, okay?"

Though this wasn't the first time we'd seen Sarah Brown (Carly) pull out a performance that seemed to emanate from somewhere deep in her soul, it was among her best. She held Carly together, and then let her fall apart as Sonny battled through surgery. By his bedside afterward, she whispered the words she'd meant to say earlier: "I've loved you for such a long time. I should have told you. I want you to wake up and look into my eyes and let me tell you that I love you."

But the worst was yet to come. While recovering in the I.C.U., Sonny went into arrest. As medical personnel tried to revive him (while a terrified Carly looked on), Sonny found himself in a pleasantly un-hokey version of heaven. A hallway lead to a door, and behind that door was his late wife, Lily, and the two children he would have had had they not died before birth. "I knew you'd be here," he smiled. "You're home now, Sonny," Lily responded warmly.

Of course, this would not be the case. Though torn by his desire to stay with this family, Sonny (a powerfully restrained Maurice Benard) explained that he had to live. "I can't stay," he sighed. "I've got a wife. I've got a little boy. I love them...I don't tell them enough."

And so, while time of death was being called in the hospital room, Sonny left behind an understanding Lily and made his way home. "I came back for you," he breathed to Carly upon awakening. "Thank you," she replied with heartfelt gratitude.

Emmy-reel material for Brown and Benard, no doubt, but also a beautifully executed (no pun intended) goodbye from Guza meant not only to usher in a new era at GH, but also a deeper phase of this marquee romance. So here's to a parting shot (okay, pun intended that time) we won't soon forget- and one that once again reminds us how fierce and formidable soap storytelling can be.

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