It all seemed so out of nowhere and for no real reason. Mike would be returning to General Hospital (GH) and he’d be played by former Barney Miller star Max Gail? That seemed a little surprising.
We honestly never expected to see Mike again because Ron Hale, the actor who played him for 15 years, had retired. We never expected a recast, but Sonny (Maurice Benard) sure needed a story that doesn’t involve Jason (Steve Burton), Nelle (Chloe Lanier), or shootouts–and maybe GH realized that.
So far, Mike seems like an entirely new character because Hale was so synonymous with the role and seeing someone else play the lonely gambler is just jarring. But, it’s also been eight long years since we’ve seen Mike last and no matter who would play him, we’d expect him to age.
After all, the man has grown grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. Today, it hit us that Mike was brought back to tell a compelling story–that of a man with some sort of dementia.
Whether Mike knows what happened to the large chunk of cash Sonny found remains to be seen. Since he offered Sonny a cigar from that humidor, he didn’t seem to know it was there. Perhaps he was set up–or maybe he put it there and honestly doesn’t remember doing so.
But, when he referred to Carly (Laura Wright) as Courtney (Alicia Leigh Willis), we pretty much knew what was going on. Courtney was his beloved daughter so it looks like an innocent mistake, but our soap instincts tells us otherwise.
The Young and the Restless (YR) has tackled dementia–specifically Alzheimer’s–over the past year. The story also involves an estranged parent who was never there for her kids growing up, but Y&R’s story added corporate intrigue.
GH’s story, by nature of the soap, looks to be adding some mob intrigue to this type of story if Mike indeed does have dementia. But, it also shows, it can happen to anyone–rich or poor, criminal or not. Dementia doesn’t discriminate and perhaps GH is ready to give us a story that illustrates that.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.