GH sonny mike funeral screenshot

Image: ABC screenshot

The show’s cast was every bit as moved by the drama as were fans.

We knew going into October 8’s General Hospital that it was going to be tough. What we couldn’t have foreseen was that as the denizens of Port Charles gathered to say their final farewells to Mike, the actors who brought the episode to life would also find themselves overcome with emotion and, like us, have to reach for a tissue.

Maurice Benard (Sonny) shared his reaction to the episode on Twitter, saying, “I’m not afraid to admit I was crying like a baby watching it.” He went on to sing the praises of everyone involved — “editing, writing, directing, lighting, producing, crew, music and my fellow actors nailed it” — reminding us in the process that raising a child isn’t the only thing it takes a village to do.

When not weeping their own tears, fans took time to single out their favorite performances, with many saying that both Benard and Max Gail — whose portrayals of the complex dynamic between Sonny and Mike were at the very heart of the story — deserved Emmys. In response, Eden McCoy (Joss) suggested that as worthy as the men were of Emmys, perhaps they deserved more. “Give them all the things. Immediately,” she tweeted.”

Speaking of McCoy, she was praised for the beautiful musical performance Joss offered to her grandfather during the service (which you can catch in the video below). Overwhelmed by the outpouring of love she received from fans, the young star said, “Your kind words mean more than I can say.” For those asking about the song, she said it was called “Stronger Than Before” by Paige Parucci and Gavin Linnihan in the show’s music department.

As the hour unfolded, viewers were not particularly surprised to see Sonny have one final spiritual reunion with his dad before Mike walked out the door and into the light. But the episode — which focused entirely on Mike’s service — managed to catch the audience off guard when, in the final seconds, a grieving Sonny, alone in the church with his thoughts, turned to find son Dante standing there.

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Of course, we’d known for a while that Dominic Zamprogna’s much-missed character was on his way back to Port Charles, having been charged by Obrecht with bringing down Peter. But we never suspected he would appear in so unexpected a fashion. Perhaps, however, we should have. Because for weeks now, General Hospital has used truly shocking twists (Neil dies in Alexis’ bed!) and returns (Holy Holly sighting!) to keep viewers on their toes. As Chad Graeber tweeted of headwriters Chris Van Etten and Dan O’Connor, “I don’t know what [they] put in their [Wheaties], but the show is engrossing/engaging every single day now, with a brisk pace that is enjoyable and featuring people we love, including vets!”

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Lest the scribes get too big a head, however, he still had one request: “Now all we need is a storyline for Mac/[Felicia]/Bobbie.”

What did you think of Thursday’s funeral-centric episode? Share your thoughts in the comments, then visit the gallery below to see how the people of Port Charles will be impacted by the passing of Sonny’s dad.