Steve Burton, Kelly Monaco "General Hospital" jason sam
Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

The show has been building to this moment for a very long time. 

Ever since realizing that she could have lost Jason and Danny in the Floating Rib bombing the shook General Hospital to its core, Sam has been struggling with some very big questions. But things seemed to become clearer for her after a heartbreaking talk with her son. “I don’t get why it has to be this way, Mom,” he admitted. “I wish it was different. I wish we had a normal family.”

In that moment, a lightbulb seemed to go off above Sam’s head. And so when later that night Jason prepared to leave on yet another dangerous assignment, she knew what she had to do. When he said he was sorry even as he turned to walk out the door, she replied sadly, “I know you are, and so am I. Because I finally get it.”

Viewers braced themselves, sensing what was about to happen. “All that time that Julian tried to live this fantasy that was just really a lie… I can’t do it anymore,” Sam said. “So when you leave tonight, please don’t come back.”

It was a shocking moment and yet, given what we’d seen over the past few days, shouldn’t have been. And while some fans of the pairing already have denounced the show and vowed not to watch anymore, we can’t help thinking they might be missing the forest for the trees. Because whether you love or loathe the couple, this twist has the potential to be fantastic soap opera.

More: Is the time right for Drew to return? 

There is no question that Sam loves Jason. Were that not the case, this wouldn’t have been a difficult decision for her to make. Instead, as we’ve seen happening over the past few days, she has had to weigh the love she feels for her soulmate against her love for and concern about Danny and Scout.

When Sam told Jason not to come back, the unspoken words hung in the air. What she was truly saying was, “I need you to make a choice. I need you to put our family first.”

At the very least, she was saying, “Don’t come home… until you and Sonny have dealt with Cyrus.” Although that in and of itself might not be enough to quell the fears which are now living in her brain rent-free. After all, Cyrus is only the latest in a long line of evil-doers who have taken aim at Sonny and his territory. And each time Jason and his boss squash down one, another rises up to take his or her place.

The Balkan. Faith Rosco. Andrei Karpov. Joseph Sorel. Lorenzo Alcazar. The list goes on and on, with people gunning for Sonny (literally and figuratively) since even before he took over for predecessor Frank Smith.

More: Sonny’s greatest trials and tribulations [PHOTOS]

And therein lies the stuff of classic soap: a couple that loves one another but is forced by fate to separate. The question then becomes if and how they find their way back together. Does Jason declare that Sam and the kids mean more to him than anything else, quit the Mob and try to create a new life for himself? And if he does, can he truly sever his ties to not only that world but Sonny? Or would he, like Julian before him, be drawn back in — perhaps to keep best friend Carly and her children out of danger?

And what of Sam? Does she eventually realize that, danger be damned, life isn’t worth living without Jason in it? Does she adopt the “Hey, risk is part of the deal” attitude that Carly has foist upon her own offspring? Or does Sam perhaps try and push down her feelings and focus on something else, whether it be new business ventures or, eventually, a new romance? Could any man measure up to Jason, or would she only be fooling herself?

More: General Hospital‘s unsolvable Carly problem

As with the best of all possible storylines, the audience would be divided (which is nothing new where these often-polarizing characters are concerned)… especially if Jason or Sam happened to begin growing closer to new partners. Already, some on Twitter have commented on the sparks which seemed to fly between Jason and Britt. And even as Sam urged Brando to keep his distance from Molly, some wondered if perhaps he might be a good match for the older Davis sib.

The possibilities are endless, and they all begin with Sam doing what she believes to be the right thing. Once she pushes Jason out the door and closes it behind him — or at least tries — the next phase of the story begins. And as with our favorite soap sagas, where it might go is anyone’s guess.

What do you say, General Hospital fans — and in particular, those who’ve long loved Jason and Sam? Does the idea of them separating and the great material it would generate for the couple sound like something you could get behind? Hit the comments with your thoughts — yes, we’re braced for them — and then visit the gallery below to see where Jason and Sam ranked on our list of the 30 greatest supercouples of all time.