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Why (And How) GH’s Esme Prince Can Absolutely Be Redeemed

There is a lot more that can be done with Esme Prince on GH.

esme prince can be redeemed on general hospitalEsme can be redeemed.

There’s a lot of debate going on right now in the General Hospital fandom over whether Esme Prince, a character who has done some pretty horrific things while descending from two of soaps’ most infamous sociopaths (and serial killers), can ever be redeemed. We say she can, but it has to be done right.

Esme Prince: Her Litany Of Crimes

Since 2023 began, we have only seen a confused and scared Esme (Avery Kristen Pohl), a girl who hasn’t known how she got onto The Haunted Star all wet and hypothermic on New Year’s Eve — and who certainly didn’t know how she ended up pregnant. It’s easy to gain sympathy for her and forget all the things she did in the year and a half she has been in Port Charles, just as she has forgotten. But her victims have not forgotten because they had to live through her reign of terror.

As Spencer (Nicholas Alexander Chavez) admitted recently, it was Esme who set Ava’s (Maura West) car on fire and left her late daughter Kiki’s (Haley Erin) name tag by the scene of the crime. And, it was Esme who taunted Ava with that Teddy bear placed on Avery’s (Ava and Grace Scarolo) bed. That was at her own father, Ryan’s (Jon Lindstrom) bidding. However, it wasn’t Ryan who told her to drug a teenage girl and set her up for an unspeakable crime — recording Josslyn (Eden McCoy) and Cameron (William Lipton) having sex and then blasting it onto the Internet.

It also wasn’t Ryan who told her to attempt to lock Trina into a supply closet at Ava’s gallery. Sasha (Sofia Mattsson) and Gladys (Bonnie Burroughs) ended up locked in there instead, thanks to Esme, which delayed Sasha getting to the hospital after her water broke. Is Esme responsible for Sasha’s baby dying? Possibly as doctors may have noticed an issue with the placenta sooner if she had gotten to the hospital on time.

Esme was also trying to save her own hide when she gave Oz Haggerty (Max Faugno) a lethal overdose of the drug she gave Trina (Tabyana Ali). These are all crimes she committed while her psychopath father was asking her not to get distracted from the task at hand — breaking up Nikolas and Ava. And she needs to face consequences for these crimes. Otherwise, she can never work as even a shades-of-grey character.

Amnesia Is A Start, But GH Needs To Do More

It seems that GH knew it had written Esme into a corner when it decided to have the pregnant young woman voluntarily jump off the Wyndemere parapet to escape Nikolas’s North Tower Prison and wake up having no memory of what she had done or even who she was. It’s pretty clear that Esme was not faking that amnesia, or she would not have had a dream about mentioning her memory loss to her newborn son and fearing Heather (Alley Mills) so much in that nightmare.

It’s also pretty clear her memory is starting to return, even if she doesn’t realize it yet. Otherwise, she would not have instinctually named her baby Ace, the name she called her son while she was pregnant and Nik’s prisoner. However, the memory loss has allowed viewers to see a different side of Esme, perhaps a side she had when she was younger and before Ryan became an influence in her life. This has all been the start of her redemption arc, but if it is to work, we have to see more and learn more.

Esme Prince Needs To Pay — And We Need More Back Story

Who was Esme before she decided to make contact with this man she believed was her father? Was she someone who could have committed the horrific crimes she committed? Did Ryan brainwash her and/or groom her? Knowing this would go a long way in making this character redeemable, but it is still not enough. Esme needs to spend time behind bars — and be dragged for filth — but only after her memory returns and her victims are aware it has returned.

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We can certainly see Esme faking amnesia once her memories come flooding back, but that won’t last forever and eventually, we need Josslyn, Cameron, and Trina to confront her for all she did and see some remorse on the character’s part. Not only that, there is no reason she should not spend time in prison for her crimes. She committed them, and nothing should absolve her from their consequences. However, prison doesn’t have to mean the end of the character and can spark a new beginning.

In recent years, incarcerated contract characters do not leave the Port Charles canvas as witnessed by both Spencer and Alexis’s (Nancy Lee Grahn) stints in Spring Ridge, as well as Spencer’s time in Pentonville. Those who hate Esme get to see her receive consequences. Those who are thoroughly entertained by this fascinating new character still get to be entertained while also seeing her pay for her crimes as she should.

Why Are We Even Talking About This?

After the atrocious things Esme has done, GH and fans could have written her off as a short-term one-note villainess who pops in and out every once in a while to reign down terror on her enemies, but there is one reason why redeeming her has become such a hot topic, and that is Avery Kristen Pohl. This young actress has never made Esme one note. Everything she does with this character is with purpose, and we have seen her grow into the role and truly understand how to infuse vulnerability into her when necessary.

We started seeing this vulnerability in her desperate need to know who her mother was and then saw more of it when she turned up pregnant at Wyndemere and got locked up. She clearly felt an attachment and affection for her baby, even if she tried not to show it, but we truly got the see it the night she set the fire that changed everything. It finally hit her that she would be this child’s mommy while we also saw her fear that she may have done the wrong thing for herself and Ace by igniting that Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

This is all a testament to Pohl’s talents as someone who took a character who shouldn’t have lasted six months and turned her into one that the GH fandom can’t stop talking about on multiple social media platforms. Now, let’s just hope the writers do what they have to in order to make Esme a viable long-term character who is not all good and not all bad. All the elements are there. We just have to see this show take what it has and pull it off.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. For an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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