Credit: ABC (3), ABC screenshot

Thanks to some clever literary references, the March 8 episode was full of surprises.

On the surface, Tuesday’s episode of General Hospital left us with more questions than answers. What was Esme doing talking to Ryan, and much more shockingly, what was he doing talking back? Fortunately, there was one big tip-off in the hour that we think might just explain what was going on.

More: Maurice Benard reveals return of a familiar face

As Josslyn, Cameron and Trina dealt with Esme’s sex-tape betrayal, Ryan had Harmony read to him from Emily Brontë’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. It was an interesting choice but also, it seemed, a very deliberate one.

The book tells the story of Heathcliff, an orphan taken in by a wealthy English family. It follows him from childhood until death, weaving a tale of broken hearts, thwarted love, class warfare and cruel revenge. It’s full of soapy drama and characters with vicious edges who could only be found in a good Victorian novel — or a modern-day soap opera!

At first, it may seem like Ryan is trying to hint at a parallel between Esme and Heathcliff. She lost her adoptive parents when she was younger, and the experience has left her embittered. She’s also admitted that she’s not close to her adopted siblings.

That’s not too far off from Heathcliff. His adopted dad treated him as a favorite, much to the anger of his adoptive older brother, Hindley. Once their father died, though, Heathcliff’s whole life changed as Hindley took over the family and allowed his hated “faux” sibling to stay at the house… as a servant.

Esme visits Ryan GH

Above: Did Ryan just show his hand?

Credit: ABC screenshot

More: Finola Hughes responds to wild exit rumor

But what if Ryan views himself as the “hero,” as Harmony called him, of Wuthering Heights? She mentioned that the story is one of family strife as Heathcliff becomes obsessed and vengeful, all because of thwarted love. Heathcliff and his adopted sister, Catherine, grew to love each other, but she marries someone else because of his low social status.

Between that and Hindley’s cruelty, Heathcliff becomes an angry, vengeful man who disappears for a few years, only to return after making his own fortune to get even with his onetime family and love. That sounds an awful lot like how Ryan hates his own brother, Kevin, and became obsessed with Ava, only for her to turn around and marry Nikolas, doesn’t it?

On top of that, Wuthering Heights is a story that crosses generations. The sins of the fathers are very much visited upon the children. Heathcliff doesn’t just go after Hindley, Catherine and her husband but their kids as well. And he uses his own son as a pawn in revenge while he’s at it, manipulating him into a marriage with Catherine’s daughter.

Ryan despises Carly (remember how much he and Nelle bonded over that hatred?), and Nikolas has been on his hit list ever since Spencer’s dad moved in on Ava — and tried to kill him! Esme would be the perfect person to work her way into Spencer’s life and make Carly’s daughter miserable as Ryan seeks revenge on their parents. Plus, Esme’s worked with Spencer to split up his dad and Ava. So it would make a very Wuthering Heights kind of sense if Ryan was using his own daughter in his quest for revenge!

It’s been obvious for some time that Ryan and Esme share a connection, and that was made crystal clear in Tuesday’s episode when she asked him is she could get him something and Kevin’s psycho brother hissed at her, “What in the hell are you doing?”

Esme apologizes to Joss and Trina at Kelly's General Hospital

Everyone could be in deadly danger from Esme and Ryan.

Credit: ABC screenshot

Yes, it was the first time we got confirmation that he’s not quite as locked in as he’s been letting on, but it also seemed to confirm that she’s been aware of this. Perhaps his angry response was because she’s just risked tipping off that they’ve been working together in a father/daughter revenge scheme!

And if that’s the case, then all this plotting could have incredibly dire consequences because almost no one in Wuthering Heights gets a happy ending — and Heathcliff wasn’t even a serial killer. If Ryan’s pulling all the strings, we’re sure he’d have no problem racking up the bodies. Cameron, Joss, Trina and Spencer could all be in mortal danger!

More: Bryan Craig lets fans know it’s ‘time to worry’

Trina, especially, had better watch out, because while it seems Ryan and Esme might have plans for the others (for now!), the two schemers might just see her as getting in the way. And if that happens, and Esme’s latest plot to frame Trina for the sex tape fails to sideline her, we have no doubt her very life could be in jeopardy. Then again, if Spencer starts paying more attention to her than Esme, he might want to start watching behind his back too!

What do you think? Did Ryan just lay it all out for us when he had Harmony read to him? Or is all of this just a red herring? Sound off below, then dive into some more family strife with a gallery of daytime’s all-time greatest good-and-evil twin combos! Ryan, as we know, has hated Kevin for a long time.