Soap Opera Digest: Editor's Choice (July 16, 1996)
Lily's Death, General Hospital

Some soap episodes are so well crafted that they are absolutely riveting. Such was the case with the dramatic climax to GH's Sonny/Brenda/Lily/Jax quadrangle.

Sonny had finally decided to leave his wife, Lily, for Brenda; Lily was about to move back to Puerto Rico, and Jax had slipped into the shadows. But news of Lily's pregnancy changed everything. Sonny vowed to make his marriage work for the sake of their child, which jet-propelled Brenda into Jax's arms. Meanwhile, Lily's mafia father, Rivera, ordered a hit on his fickle son in law.

As the Corinthoses were celebrating their happy news at Luke's Club, Brenda was preparing to Marry Jax aboard his yacht overseas. Sonny had too much to drink and his dutiful wife offered to fetch the car; Brenda donned a white satin sheath in anticipation of her wedding. Then, in suspenseful slow motion, Lily approached the car while Sonny shared hugs and high fives with his father, Mike, and Luke. Meanwhile, Brenda took her place by Jax's side as they were married. Back to the pregnant Lily, who smiled radiantly at Sonny before she got into the car. Sonny smiled back, at peace and dedicated to making a commitment to his family. To watch these two situations in counterpoint - Sonny and Brenda each taking decisive action to move on with their lives-was compelling, but we hadn't seen anything yet: As Jax and Brenda clinked their champagne glasses, Lily put her key in the ignition-and an explosion rocked Port Charles. Like Michael Corleone's doomed wife in The Godfather, Lily had died in place of her husband, and whether you loved or hated Lily-and there were two camps-her death was as heartbreaking as it was shocking.

A stricken Sonny sought refuge in Luke's, then broke down on tears. Maurice Bernard artfully balanced Sonny's public pain at losing his wife and child with his private resolve to bring her killer to justice. Meanwhile, a cheery-if dazed-Brenda was contemplating her future with her loving, ultra rich hubby, Jax. "Will [your parents] welcome me with open arms?" Brenda wondered. "Will I have a walk in closet? I'm a married woman, and I have no idea what I'm doing from this moment on."

No kidding-just what will Brenda do now? Lily is no longer blocking her path to Sonny, but Sonny's guilt over Lily's death may prove to be an even more formidable obstacle. Not to mention Jax, who adores Brenda. Can she forsake the only man who's made her feel safe?

Lily's tragic death not only made for a spectacular episode; it swiveled the Brenda/Sonny story into an unexpected direction that is rich with dramatic possibilities.