If Friday’s episode of GENERAL HOSPITAL left you in tears as tormented new parents Sasha and Brando made the heartbreaking decision to take their newborn son, Liam, off life support, then you weren’t the only one! The scenes were perfectly played by GH stars Sofia Mattsson and Johnny Wactor, who were tasked with bringing some heavy, distressing material to life as their characters come to terms with the fact that their little boy had suffered such severe brain damage that he would spend any life he had connected to machines.
The beautifully devasting scenes hit all the right notes in being prime gut-wrenching soap opera drama: Sasha and Brando tearfully cradled their son as they said goodbye, and the tot was later escorted to heaven by his namesake, the late Mike Corbin (in a cameo appearance by Max Gail). As powerful as the scenes were, however, some viewers couldn’t help but wonder why GH would opt to tell such an upsetting storyline just a week before Christmas. After the episode aired, Wactor took to Twitter to share his thoughts about the tale from his perspective as a performer in an ensemble cast.
“I want to thank everyone for being so invested in watching Liam’s journey,” the actor began his lengthy post. “It’s obviously an incredibly painful storyline that has left many of you with the question, ‘Why?’ Why tell a story of two new parents, with a shaky foundation, but who have hope to maybe be something together, and then take away the greatest gift they’ve ever had before they even get to truly cherish and nurture that gift, their baby boy Liam? Why this story during one of, if not the roughest, stretches of time in many [of] our personal lives? Why during the holidays? Especially when GH is [an escape for many of you] that is expected to provide joy in times of need. I won’t speak on the timing, appropriateness, etc. But I will offer my speculation from my end as a player in telling stories.”
Wactor explained that on soap operas, the stories told are often planned out on purpose to be worst-case scenarios. “These stories are painful. Painful to watch and painful to play,” he wrote, adding that the tale of Liam’s birth and death was especially devastating since an innocent newborn was at the center of it all. “Imagine the pain of those families that have suffered these circumstances in their own real lives. This story is for them. To show them that we see them. That something so terrible and seemingly uncommon and unbelievable can be recognized by the storytellers they watch, and they get to see their story shared with millions of viewers. Perhaps, that brings them comfort in some way. Being seen. And perhaps as a not so gentle encouragement to people everywhere to be grateful for the things we do often take for granted. One of them being life. Our own life and the life of our loved ones. Especially during the holidays.”
While many of the actor’s followers responded that they didn’t agree with GH killing off baby Liam, Wactor’s words struck a chord with one viewer who, unfortunately, had experienced in real life what Sasha and Brando went through in the episode. “I have suffered this loss and while so many people are angry, I was moved!” she wrote. “I felt seen and represented in an amazing, beautiful way! We all dream of a lost family member taking our baby home like Mike did. Thank you for such an amazing story!”
Liam’s death, no doubt, was tragic. But Wactor suggested that the GH storyline should serve as a reminder of what is truly important in life, especially at this time of the year. “So often we can get caught up in buying gifts and receiving gifts and prioritizing such as the most important part of the holidays when really the most important is being with those you love and are still with you on these holidays,” he mused. “Life is precious and fragile and death, although inevitable for everyone, can come [unexpectedly].”
In the end, Wactor confessed, perhaps there was no right or wrong time for the soap to tell this tale, but more of a why it should tell Liam’s story of a birth-related injury. “There is no right answer. This is just my speculation. My understanding,” he wrote. “And I think conversations that are geared towards understanding are far more productive and helpful to everyone than a conversation where the goal is to be right.”
Before signing off, Wactor thanked the soap’s fans for their support and hoped that his thoughts about why Sasha and Brando’s worst nightmare as parents might help viewers understand the timing and reasons behind baby Liam Mike Corbin’s tragic death. “I’m so thankful to all of our fans for watching, the kind praise and truly just honored to have such sparked such fervent conversation with this story,” he concluded. “Hope to bring everyone some undisputed joy in the storylines to follow. Much love. And happy holidays.”
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