A Family Affair 

By Rosemary Rossi

Soap Opera News, August 26, 1997

To protect the interests of her family, Alexis schemes to plant the seed in Stefan’s mind that an affair with Katherine could be incestuous — that, indeed, they might be brother and sister.

Why?  Katherine Bell, she of the shady and manipulative past, presents a threat to the Cassadine dynasty – or so Alexis believes.  And GH fans know what trouble a Cassadine woman can create.  (See sidebar, page 14).

When last seen, Alexis had stolen a picture of Katherine’s mother from her apartment and given it to cunning photo retouchers.  Using their technical wizardry, they combined the snapshot with a photo of Stefan’s father, Mikkos, making it appear as if Katherine’s mother was being intimate with him.

Alexis then arranged for Stefan to see a picture of Mikkos with his “mistress.”  Later, she maneuvered it so Stefan sees a picture of Katherine’s mother.  She gets him to admit that there’s a resemblance between Katherine’s mother and the woman in the picture with Mikkos.  Could Katherine’s mother have been Mikkos’ mistress, she hints?  Stefan shrugs off the insinuation, but Alexis, to her satisfaction, notices a definite reaction to her suggestion.  And since Stefan never reacts to anything, Alexis knows her devilish plan may be working.

Alexis confirms with her cohort Leo that the groundwork has been laid and that the next phase, subtly implying that Katherine is Stefan’s half sister, should be put into motion.

Stephen Nichols (Stefan) says his character has no reason to be suspicious of Alexis and her insinuations.  “I trust Alexis not only because she is family but because we were confidants,” he explains.

“As children, we were the two odd Cassadines who were always dreaming about getting out – and we did.  When she meets me back in Port Charles, she asks me why I’m involved as I am in family business.  I can’t really give her a straight answer because I’ve sort of come there out of loyalty, out of whatever hurt and disappointment I’ve had in my life.  I sort of went back there to take refuge and I’ve become what I despised about my family in many ways.”

“His family is a very big part of who Stefan is,” Nichols adds.  “It means everything to him.  He’s really never known anything but them.  That’s why it’s so hard for a Cassadine to break out and be like anyone else.  It’s so deeply ingrained.  It’s almost in their genes.  They come from a very rich history of wealth and aristocracy.  It’s not really, I believe, that conscious.  It’s an unspoken arrogance, which is inherent in being a Cassadine and carrying that kind of history in your guts.”

On the other hand, Stefan’s involvement with Katherine is letting him find his lighter side.  “He’s waking up to that other side – feeling a fit freer to enjoy life, to have that breath of fresh air.  Katherine is such a radiant person and there’s such an attraction that it must mean something, aside from all that traditional garbage of class and place and all that.  He feels that there are a lot of things that are out of the way now.  If he’s going to find any happiness or peace in life, this is his chance….and he should take it.”

But if he doesn’t, it will once again spell disaster for Katherine’s romantic life, “For her, this will be a major bummer,” Mary Beth Evans (Katherine) says.  “She likes this guy.  She wants it to work.  They’ve been through a lot.”

“All the months in the hospital, baring her soul, telling him things she never told anyone.  She’s felt more of a connection with him as a soul mate than anyone else.  She seems to get thisclose to happiness and then something goes wrong,” Evans adds.  “That’s been a problem she’s had.  Now, with Stefan, she thought it might be going a different way.  But even with Mac and Ned and Scott, it was an idealistic thing she was looking for, not who was really the right kind of person for her.  She was looking for the picket fence and the little house.  That’s not really what’s going to make her happy.”

Would Stefan make Katherine happy?  Evans thinks so.  “Stefan is someone who challenges her, more like Damian did,” she points out.  “But Damian was more ‘nasty’ bad where I think Stefan has a good heart.  He’s always trying to do what he thinks is the right thing in his mind, where Damian was much more devious.”

“Katherine thought things would go better here.  But it’s been a rocky road so far.  We constantly move one inch forward as a couple, and then there is a blow up and something happens and then we’re mad at each other.  Trust has to be built again.”

Through the breakups and make ups, there has always been an underlying message to Katherine that she somehow doesn’t fit in or isn’t good enough for her prospective mate.  “She’s tried very hard to be a normal person, but that’s not really who she is.” Evans says.  “Her whole life has been about trying to fit in.  But she needs somebody spicier.  That’s why the whole thing with Damian lasted as long as it did.  As much as she thinks she wants a solid, ‘picket fence’ life, underneath that’s not who she is in her heart.  She wanted the money and the power and the life her father gave to Dominique.  That eluded her, so she’s been on a quest for that.  Now she has that, and now it’s just about finding someone who is her match.  With Stefan, it was never anything that she sought out to do.  It just happened.  They connected.”

But now that they’ve connected, will the sinister lie that Alexis has planted tear apart the love that has begun to grow?  In the weeks ahead, we will see how Alexis’ “truth” affects Stefan’s feeling for the woman of his dreams.

And Now A Word From The Conniving Cassadine Woman….

Here’s where the buck stops.  What could that conniving Cassadine woman possibly be thinking?  Nancy Lee Grahn laughs at the prospect of the treachery she gets to toss around these days as Alexis and looks at the motivation behind her character’s evil ways.  “She grew up in a household of deceitful women, hatchet women,” Grahan points out.  “Helena, for one.”

But Grahn admits it’s more than just genetics.  “She’s looked into Katherine’s background, and Katherine has done some heinous things.  Now of course, she’s acting like an angel.  But Alexis doesn’t trust her because she grew up around very manipulative women and she’s bound to protect – or what she thinks is protecting – Stefan and Nikolas.  She feels that Katherine is a threat.  She feels that this is the only thing that she could do to keep the two of them apart.  I think that this is something that she is doing that is beyond her control.  She is going way beyond the call of duty.”

“In my definition of the character, I believe that she absolutely has a conscience,” Grahn adds. “Number one, she’s a defense attorney –she obviously cares.  This is where things get very messy for her and maybe a little inappropriate.  But I don’t think she’s doing it intentionally.  Do I think that she is capable of doing something really wrong to protect her family?  Absolutely!  Family loyalty is the dysfunction of the Cassadines, having grown up with not one single appropriate role model.”

….And Words From A Fan 

The sky is the limit for Stefan and Katherine!  These two characters are so complex, and they both complement each other so well.  They have both felt isolated from the rest of the world for their entire lives.  They can both understand never having the love they always wanted and longed for.  They both know how it feels to be betrayed by people they trusted.

Stefan can give Katherine everything she ever dreamed of, and Katherine can understand – and accept – that Stefan doesn’t follow the same rules that others do.  She, too, has lived life thinking that the end justifies the means.

What GH writers need to understand is that when they write for these characters, they have to stay true to their past histories.  Recently, they seem to write Katherine’s storyline as if she were a simple heroine – and that is now what she is.

As we get to know Stefan and Katherine better –and the characters get to know each other better – I hope a stronger bond develops between them.  And in doing so, please, GH, be consistent.  Too often we get a few great days of Stefan and Katherine and then we don’t see them for many days.  This really destroys the momentum.  You reel us in and then abandon us!

Stefan and Katherine have captured my heart and imagination.  It’s time for the writer’s to broaden the scope of their storyline!

—Alison Williams, Edmonton, Albert, Canada

 Photos by Craig Sjodin/ABC