For one General Hospital school year, when a now-teenage Charlotte Cassadine was in the third grade, Nina was the annoying parent every teacher dreads who couldn’t accept that her stepdaughter was bullying another child — Nina was mean to Willow Tait. That is done and established, and nobody denies it, but does that mean Nina deserves the treatment she is getting from Willow now that both women know they are mother and daughter?
General Hospital: Nina Did Not Torture Willow Tait
Did schoolteacher Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) wake up each day a few years back rolling her eyes at what she had to accept from that pesky stepmom Nina (then played by Michelle Stafford, now Cynthia Watros), who thought little Charlotte could do no wrong? We are sure she did if she was like every other elementary school teacher who has to deal with a parent they really don’t like.
It happens, and it’s also normal for parents to not accept that their kids have flaws, especially one whose dreams to one day have a daughter seemed stolen from her by her own mother. Did we roll our eyes and sigh right along with Willow having to deal with Nina day in and day out? Yes, but we also knew where her behavior was coming from — and that behavior certainly cannot be considered torture.
Was Nina being nothing but a town gossip when she overheard the supposedly-pure-and-perfect schoolteacher talking on the phone about giving a baby up for adoption and then loudly spreading that news? Yes, and she was wrong. However, Nina realized just how wrong she was when she learned about Willow’s cult past and why she gave up her child. In fact, as soon as she knew about Shiloh’s (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) role in Willow’s life, she tearfully apologized for her behavior, leading her and Willow to tentatively form a tepid friendship.
In fact, Nina was there by Willow’s side the night Julian Jerome (William deVry) took Wiley from the Quartermaine mansion to hand him to Nelle (Chloe Lanier). She allowed Willow to vent and cry with her and offered her support. This was after Nina voluntarily testified against Nelle in a custody battle for Wiley, helping Michael (Chad Duell) and Willow win full custody of the boy.
Willow and even Carly (Laura Wright) were grateful to Nina for what she did. Heck, even Josslyn (Eden McCoy) loved having her as a pseudo-stepmom when she was dating Joss’s dad Jax (Ingo Rademacher). Nina was friends with Carly, Willow, and Joss, and was Jax’s lover. That is one reason why it was so baffling and hurtful to her when she learned Carly and Jax, two people she cared for and trusted, kept secret that Nelle was her daughter.
Why Can’t A Dying Willow Show Some Grace?
Willow’s current hatred for Nina came only after she learned that Nina kept the truth about Sonny (Maurice Benard) from both Sonny and his family. She knew he was alive for months and never told anyone in Port Charles. Nobody is denying that was wrong — including both Nina and Sonny. In all fairness, she did call Carly as soon as she found Sonny and tried to tell her to come get her not-dead husband, but Carly just insulted and berated her.
That caused Nina to make the snap decision to keep Sonny’s whereabouts a secret. Was it a mistake on Nina’s part? Yes, but if the ‘victim’ was able to forgive her and even fall in love with her, why can’t Willow show forgiveness when she supposedly only has weeks to live (something she was told months ago)?
While there have been loads of animosity between Willow and Nina since Sonny returned to town and the truth came out, is that a reason to show cruelty until your dying day when you see a woman doing everything she can to help and save you upon learning you are the daughter she’s longed for? Willow and Nelle were stolen from Nina at birth while she lingered in a 20-year coma that her own mother put her in. Willow was as much of a victim of Madeline Reeves’s (Donna Mills) madness as Nina was, but she can’t see that.
Instead, she cruelly decides not to invite Nina to her wedding but still invites Sonny, knowing they are a couple and knowing how much that would hurt Nina. This is the woman who wanted her from the moment she learned she was pregnant. Had things turned out differently, Willow could have been raised by a loving parent with a twin sister — and never raped by a cult leader her other mother handed her to.
What happened to Nina, Willow, and Nelle was never Nina’s fault. It was Madeline’s. When Willow learned that Harmony (Inga Cadranel) most likely stole her, she wondered how the parents she was stolen from might feel. Well, she now knows, but that doesn’t matter to Willow. She is no longer the kind schoolteacher with the feisty attitude breaking free of a cult so she could live her life as she wanted and think for herself. Instead, she has become Michael and Carly’s mouthpiece, mimicking everything they feel and say.
As her life (allegedly) ends, she cannot think of the woman who spent years searching for her and how her wedding invite decision might feel. It’s almost galling to watch each day, and the cruelty seems to be the point. That also might be just one of the reasons a decent portion of the General Hospital fandom is rooting for the cancer when it comes to Willow Tait.
General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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