“People can pretend it’s not real, but that’s exactly what they’re doing… pretending!” 

The moment it became clear that General Hospital‘s Esme had framed Trina for a crime she didn’t commit, the hackles of many fans went up. While the show failed to directly address the implications of what had gone down, it was right there for anyone to see… in black and white, one might say.

For a long time, most — including us — thought the show would skirt the racial issue. But in the episode which aired Friday, July 15, the show finally tackled the issue head on.

“I’m not naive, Portia,” said Stella, as she and Trina’s mom fretted about the upcoming trial, her next words causing fans who’d been waiting for this moment to sit up and take notice. “I’ve lived in this world long enough to know how elusive justice can be for people who look like Trina.”

That simple line would have been enough to start a conversation. But the writers went so much further, allowing Portia and Stella to have a full-blown discussion about racial inequality in the justice system… and how they believed Esme knew full well what she was doing and what the fallout would be.

“I know in my bones that this is more than jealousy over Trina and Spencer’s friendship,” declared Portia.

“What are you saying?” asked Stella. “That girl targeted Trina because she’s Black?”

That’s exactly what she was saying. “Yes, [Josslyn and Cam] were the victims,” Portia said. “And Trina was framed as the criminal. To face the criminal justice system, in the midst of everything that’s been going on in this world, in this country, everywhere. Esme had to know the ramifications of that kind of an action. That Trina would have a harder time with it. People can pretend that it’s not real, but that’s exactly what they’re doing… pretending!”

GH stella portia

Portia then admitted that one of her greatest fears was that when the trial began, Trina would find herself facing a nightmare scenario. “I’m praying to God that [racists] didn’t get past Diane Miller and aren’t sitting in that jury and passing judgment on my daughter.”

More: Spencer calls out Esme in new preview

Portia also pondered whether she’d unintentionally sent her daughter out into the world unprepared. “Maybe in my quest to give her this ideal life, I failed to inoculate her against the realities of being a woman of color in this world.”

Stella, however, encouraged Portia to think otherwise. “You taught her what’s important… to keep her head to the sky. The world’s gonna knock you down, but what matters is that you get back up and don’t stay down. And Trina’s a fighter. Whatever life throws at her, our girl is gonna always get back up on her feet!”

This week, of course, Trina will enter the courtroom and face the fight of her young life. Will those she loves be able to not only support her, but find a way to prove her innocence? And might Spencer’s plot against Esme finally reveal the truth and prove Trina’s innocence?

Which General Hospital couples are thriving, and which are on the outs? Check out our complete romance report