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Image: ABC

The evidence points entirely elsewhere. Which makes us think, “OMG! Holy crap!”

When General Hospital at last unveiled Franco’s portrait of Ava, a disfigured image further marred by his old graffiti tag, accusations flew fast and furious. Ava herself did it, Elizabeth assumed. What better publicity for the gallery and its art! Nikolas did it, Lulu suspected. The delighted look on his face spoke volumes about his guilt. Or maybe, theorized fans, just maybe Spencer did it, as part of his and his father’s scheme to push Franco and Ava closer together.

All of which are entirely possible. Very possible. Likely, even. But this is a daytime drama that we’re talking about, and one that’s currently firing on all cylinders. So if an answer seems obvious, it’s probably the wrong one. The last thing that General Hospital would do at this excellent juncture would be the predictable.

So who did deface Ava’s portrait? Our hunch is that it actually was — wait for it! — Franco. He’s shown no signs of psychological distress — not to the audience, anyway. However, that doesn’t mean that, in the hours that he’s off screen, he isn’t deteriorating, falling back into heinous old habits, reverting to a version of himself that he wouldn’t recognize, much less trust around Liz and the kids.

Think about it. What answer to the question of “Who vandalized Ava’s portrait?” generates the most drama? If Ava did it, eh, shrug. That’s par for the course for her. Supervixen 101. If Nikolas did it? Again, whatever. That’s remedial War of the Roses nonsense. Were it Spencer, OK, that would be a twist but also a cheat, what with him not being on the canvas and all.

Which brings us right back to — holy smoke! — Franco did it. Perhaps he doesn’t even realize that his mental state is devolving once again. Perhaps he has no clue that the tumor the removal of which turned him into a man worthy of Liz’s — and our — love has begun to grow back. Perhaps the couple are about to face their biggest crisis since they had to exorcise Drew’s memories from Franco’s brain (and remove Kim’s lips from Franco’s!).

What do you think? Could Franco be reverting to his more dangerous self and be completely unaware of it? While you contemplate what to say in the comments below, check out this photo gallery that reveals the real reasons that 10 soap superstars — including the ones who play Ava and Jason — walked away from their frontburner roles.