Reflections on Zander
By Sue Ellen
When Zander Smith first arrived on the scene, I was intrigued. I had a sense he
wasnít just a three day character around for the time Emily hung out at the
raves following Juan. At first I thought he was arriving on the scene to bring
back Elizabethís wild side. His connecting with Emily was a total surprise. It
was a surprise that worked though. The two really had chemistry.
They certainly had enough obstacles to over come. Their was Zanderís choice in
professions, he was willing enough to put aside his drug dealing. But at first
he worked for Sonny, Not exactly the right choice for someone courting a
Quartermaine daughter. Then there was his being a witness against another crime
lord which put Emily in danger. There was also the matter of his hot temper.
Zander acted without thinking. That though, was a large part of his charm.
Doesnít every girl fantasize about a man thatís reckless and daring?
But Zander was a bad boy with a soul. The scene when he encouraged Emily to go
to a rehab clinic even when he wanted her near was one of the most moving
scenes. I was in tears. I was also saddened during that wonderfully intense
scene when he had his break up conversation over the phone with Emily. His other
phone call scene with Emily when she was with another guy was amazing. Rarely,
have I scene a character who showed so much in something as simple as a phone
His next relationship was with Carly. Though this stayed a friendship for the
most part. They might have made an interesting couple. He was the perfect kind
of friend, teaching her to drive, and listening when she finally explained why
she took the name of her best friend. And finally, when he gently but firmly
turned her down after Carly had caught Sonny and Alexis in bed. He was being the
most kind to her when he explained that he would not be a substitute for Sonny.
He was powerful and persuasive when he confronted Sonny about how he drove Carly
to what they thought was her death.
They did finally get him together with Elizabeth,
but by then Elizabeth had lost most of her edge. Even when they were together,
Elizabeth was the voice of reason, trying to save Zander from himself. Though
they got together mostly as a result of shared crisis, they cared for each
other. I think they could have done more with those two, especially if they let
Elizabeth go back to what she was when she first hit town full of attitude.
However, after that story with him and Elizabeth,
they seemed to have lost their focus as to what they wanted to do with him.
Having Emily return seemed like a great plan. He brought out the fun loving side
of her which she tended to cover being the perfect Quartermaine daughter. She
softened his rougher edges. That scene when they were dancing under the
streetlight was pure magic. Now that they were older and wiser, nothing could
stop them. The writers blew it with the cancer story. Her trying to push Zander
and Gia together so he wouldnít have to watch her die was one of the oldest
clichťs in the book. I didnít like him and Gia as a couple anyway. Especially
not with that actress who I didnít like in that roll. Bringing Zanderís dad to
town was terrific too. It started what promised to be a really fabulous
storyline. Those early scenes between him and Cameron were very powerful.
Watching them work through their issues revolving around the death of Zanderís
brother Peter, your heart went out to both of them. And yet there was no
permanent resolution. Cameron got pre-occupied with Alexisís custody problems
and Zander was trying to figure out what was going on with Emily. Given the
depth and complexity of that relationship, one would think that they would have
done more with them. And where was dear old Dad when Zander and Emily were
having their quickie wedding while she was on her death bed. I would think then,
with his lady love just steps away from the pearly gates, that his father would
be coming around to at least try and lend some moral support and guidance.
Instead, he was trying to help Alexis get custody of little Kristina.
Having Zander lose Emily to Nicholas after quite a little struggle was another
story that could have been great but seems to have fallen flat. I really routed
for him to be the one Emily chose after all heíd done for her. I didnít really
expect Zander to take it lying down. Him hooking up with Faith I could believe.
She seems to be a magnet for men on the emotional skids. If they had played it
right, I could have even bought him and Elizabeth falling in to bed together.
But after that one night as soon as Rick made a few protestations of love and
remorse, Elizabeth ran right back to him. Then she turns up pregnant and Rick
still wants her and is willing to raise another manís child. I just donít by
that one with those characters. I certainly didnít see Liz going along with this
plan and sitting back while Zander was cut out of his childís life. I would have
thought this would have caused Zander to climb out of his dark emotional pit and
pull himself in to the kind of grown up a judge would agree should be a part of
a childís life. Instead, they still had him running around with Faith, framing
Nicholas so he could get back Emily. That just never added. Before the pregnancy
I could have seen him doing that. But you got the idea this baby might have
given Zander something to live for. I couldnít have seen Zander agreeing to sign
away his parental rights to get Nicholas out of the way. That seemed like a
regression from where they had brought Zander to. Up to his separation from
Emily, Zander had been growing and maturing. Then suddenly, he was the
opportunistic punk from the raves again.
Now, Zander lies locked in a closet while the Port Charles Hotel burns. Theyíve
completely wasted the character with this ending. There were so many more
directions they could have gone with him. They could have something develop with
him and Maxie. She could be a second chance for him to get things right. With
her help, he could make himself in to a man worthy of playing a part in his
childís life. They could have continued to explore his relationship with his
father and maybe achieved some true closure on that. Maybe we could have learned
more about his relationship with his mother. They never touched on that. Was she
someone like Alexis or totally different from her. He certainly respected her
like a mother figure. There also seemed to be more to Peterís death. There was
the hint that Zander knew more to that story and that could have come out. Had
Peter perhaps killed himself, tired or unable to handle his fatherís exacting
standards? This just seems like such a tragic end if they are indeed going to
kill him off. Though his death presents some other great storylines, will
Emily blame Nicholas for his death and will that blame kill their love, Will
Cameron blame Alexis for not getting his surrender arranged soon enough and for
taking more time with her own family, is Cameron depressed by once again losing
a son? There are so many great possibilities and yet, to accomplish so many more
stories they are killing off a character played by a truly gifted actor. A truly
complex and interesting character. This is a true shame. I wish the writers at
General Hospital had given this one more thought.
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