The infamous supervillain, Helena Cassadine, has constantly defied death over the years, returning to GENERAL HOSPITAL over and over again to wreak havoc. And though the last time viewers have seen her, it was just in flashbacks, is Helena really and truly most sincerely dead? The character was first introduced back in 1981 when GH fan Elizabeth Taylor arranged for a guest appearance on the soap and became part of Luke and Laura’s infamous wedding. Dimitra Arliss made a brief appearance as Helena for a couple of episodes in 1996, but it wasn’t until 1997 when the villainess returned in the form of actress Constance Towers that she really became a force to be reckoned with!
When Helena appeared in Port Charles in the fall of 1981, Luke Spencer and Laura Webber were preparing to walk down the aisle. But vowing revenge for the death of her husband, Mikkos Cassadine, during the infamous Ice Princess adventure, Helena put a curse on the happy couple on their wedding day. And while Helena wasn’t seen again for years, the curse seemed to be genuine, because trouble dogged Luke and Laura all of their lives together, and the Cassadines were usually behind it!
Helena returned with a vengeance in 1997, plotting against her son, Stefan Cassadine, who she viewed as weak and unworthy of the Cassadine name. She murdered Katherine Bell and framed Laura, then revealed that Nikolas Cassadine was really Stavros Cassadine’s son and the true Cassadine heir.
Lucky Spencer was presumed dead in a fire, but it was revealed he’d been kidnapped and brainwashed by Helena to do her bidding. She also had her dead son Stavros in suspended animation waiting for the right time to bring him back to life. Thankfully, Lucky broke free of Helena’s conditioning and Luke managed to kill Stavros again.
Helena abducted Nikolas’ son, Spencer, and later orchestrated the appearance of his late wife Emily’s look-alike, Rebecca. When Helena resurfaced again, she was deathly ill, and fearing the mysterious Valentin Cassadine, so Nikolas had her flown back to Greece for her own safety.
A recovered Helena returned to Port Charles and began threatening Elizabeth Webber, who she believed was carrying Nikolas’ baby. This led to lots of DNA test shenanigans. Helena made another grand appearance when she shocked Ethan with the news that Cassandra was really her daughter, Irina, and part of her plan to wreak vengeance on the Spencer family. Revealing a kidnapped Luke, Helena announced that one of them would die, and then shot and killed Irina!
Lulu Spencer was kidnapped by Helena, and Luke and Laura were shocked when they tried to rescue her and instead found Ethan. Helena gave Laura a gun and offered to release Lulu if she shot Ethan or Luke. But Luke and Laura turned the tables, shooting Helena and believing her dead.
However, Helena was later revealed to be alive, thanks to Robin Scorpio’s miracle formula that also saved Jason. With Luke suffering from D.I.D., he teamed up with Helena and they plotted to blow up the Cassadine yacht with everyone aboard. Nikolas banished Helena, and when Luke recovered and went in search of answers, he found a weakened Helena who appeared satisfied and offered him a gift — his presumed-dead grandson, Jake!
Once Jason regained his memories, clues led him, Sam Morgan, and Liz, to the Cassadine compound where Nikolas was ministering to his dying grandmother. She put a curse on Sam, and just as she was about to tell Jason a secret from his past, finally passed away. Liz was unable to revive her and everyone left believing the villain was at long last defeated.
Since then, Helena has made additional appearances from beyond the grave in people’s nightmares and also in flashbacks when it was revealed that she’d bought the Chimera Virus from Valentin and hoped to have Jake set the virus loose during the 2017 Nurses Ball. She appeared again in August of 2019 in a flashback as part of the Jason/Drew/Shiloh storyline revealing she was involved in the memory mapping scheme.
Given Helena’s frightening history, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if she physically returned from the dead to wreak further havoc on Port Charles once more! Stay tuned to see what happens next, and for more GH news and features, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine!
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