The story so far: After being convinced by Dante to confess to killing Claudia, Michael was sent to prison. Jason managed to get arrested and become his cellmate and had a sneaking suspicion that Michael's bruises masked a far darker incident. Sonny and Johnny's feud escalated, culminating in Sonny shooting Johnny in self-defense. After losing Shirley and giving birth to Aiden, Liz left town to visit sister Sarah while Lucky went undercover in Ireland. Robin learned of Patrick's one night stand with Lisa while Lisa slowly unraveled, threatening to harm Robin and Emma, and Brenda Barrett slowly began to return to the fold...
What works: 2010 has been a good year for the show so far. The murder trial was riveting and showcased the talented Dahlia Salem as federal prosecutor Claire Walsh. The judge calling Sonny and his posse out as careless and irresponsible criminals was a long time coming, while Michael's stay in prison laid the groundwork for a potentially riveting story of what really happens to people in prison. Lucky has gotten his groove back now that he's temporarily out of Nikolas and Liz's orbit, while the potential pairing of Nikolas and Brook Lynn is adorable and a breath of fresh air. The long-gestating "Fatal Attraction" story featuring Robin, Patrick and Lisa finally kicked into high gear, with Brianna Brown finally getting to showcase her talent as Lisa continues to lose her mind.
What needs work: Vanessa Marcil's heavily publicized return to the show has yet to match the hype. When Brenda returned to town eight years ago, she immediately burst onto the scene in a major story focusing on Sonny, Jason, and Jax. This time around, Brenda is a supermodel hanging out in Rome with a rather irritating Adrienne Barbeau as her manager and Brad Rowe as her movie star boyfriend. Both Barbeau and Rowe are talented actors, but why should we care about them? It took nearly a month for Brenda to see Sonny and their encounter was dullsville compared to their rainy encounter at the church all those years ago. Back in Port Charles, the formerly charming Maxie and Spinelli have totally fizzled out as a couple, while Brook Lynn returned to town a trashy slut, unrecognizable from her former run. What happened to the funky, mature girl with the guitar we all used to like? Luckily, her dud of a story with Dante and Lulu is over and she's finally in a fun story with the usually boring Nikolas. Most infuriating is the fact that Claire recently slept with Sonny, making the tough lawyer just another in the long line of women not strong enough to stand the mobster's charm.
Suggestions: Get Brenda back in Port Charles. STAT. Decide what to do with Maxie and Spinelli once and for all. Find a way to salvage what's left of Claire and stop changing characters to fit the current story. Port Charles is a compelling place to visit every day; just stop sacrificing women at the altar of Sonny Corinthos.