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As a watcher of All My Children for quite some time, in my humble opinion the final broadcast episode gets two enthusiastic bubbles up. As it rather conveniently tied up some loose ends, like Adam calling out to Winfred like he always did, later proposing to Brooke, Scott and Madison getting back together, Franklin and Randi having a baby, Marian, Scott and Stuart reuniting, it also gave way to more questions that can only be answered when the show takes on it’s new form online under the auspices of Prospect Park...
As the episode opens, a nurse hands a newborn with dark hair to it’s mother and says: “Your little girl just might be the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen. Do you have a name for her?” The young mother replies: “Her name is Erica. Erica Kane.”
We then hear Angie’s voice over saying “from birth, life itself is miraculous” as we see scenes of other PV children, then and now.
Angie’s voice over continues over the action: “Watching our children grow up from infant to toddler to teenager to adult, and the people that we’ve grown up with and grown older with in this town -- it is a gift to have shared our lives, for however long – 20, 30, 40 years. Hopefully, many more. …We can’t take miracles for granted.” Angie Hubbard, September 23, 2011
How fitting that a show called All My Children features in its final broadcast all of the children of All My Children and, that the final broadcast episode begins with the birth of Erica Kane and ends with what could very well be her demise. But I digress...
Some of the stand out moments of the episode were the adorable little kids reciting Agnes Nixon’s trademark introduction to All My Children:
"The Great and the Least, The Rich and the Poor, The Weak and the Strong, In Sickness and in Health, In Joy and Sorrow, In Tragedy and Triumph, We are ALL YOUR CHILDREN"
The touching speech by Michael E. Knight (Tad) toward the end which sort of tied everything into a nice little bow -- how All My Children has been about neighbors, friends and family.
“It’s funny because at a time like this there is always so much that you want to say. So many people that mean so much and you can’t find the words. I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve come up with three: neighbors, family and friends. Found all of you here – it’s been my home, the best years of my life. Not to mention the beautiful woman standing beside me. (Dixie) Here’s hoping she stays there. And then again, there are all these amazing people that should be here but aren’t -- deserve to be here – that have meant so much. Now, some of them, I am sure, sooner or later, they are gonna get around to buying a ticket home. Usually they do. And then there are others who, sadly, can’t. But I bet my life on one thing. If they were all here, they would remind us what a miracle this place is. My dear, dear friends. What would I do without you? I met you back in high school. Now we all have kids that have said good bye to high school a long time ago. How the hell did that happen? But it’s because of the love and the help of everybody, of everyone is this town, because that is the way Pine Valley works. Always has. Always will. Tragedy, triumph, we come together. I wish the rest of my kids were here to see this because this is something to remember. We’ll talk about this for a long time. Then again, I’d like to think that no matter what, the family and All My Children will always be here. So, here’s how. What do you say? “ Tad Martin, September 23, 2011
(Set side sources reveal that Knight had to tape the speech twice. Was he too choked up to get through it the first time?)
I loved some of the fun references to iconic pieces of theatrical entertainment, like oh say, “Gone with the Wind.” As Erica comes running after Jack, begging him to stay, that she would be nothing without him, “Jack, I need you,” she calls out. He turns to her and as deadpan as can be says, ”Frankly Erica, I don’t give a damn -- what you need.” Rhett Butler would have been so proud.
There were times when Erica was total Erica, reminding Opal that Krystal posed no threat to her where Jack was concerned. She declared, “I am Erica Kane,” the same way she bested the bear in the woods many years ago.
A homage to January 5, 1970, All My Children’s first episode, the one black and white clip we’ve all seen time and again where a teen Erica sporting an amazingly “big hair” boufont and spouting with her mother, Mona, postures: “Well, Pine Valley is not exactly the corner of Hollywood and Vine.”
The final episode echoes this scene, taking Erica’s character full circle, as now, she does have the opportunity to be at Hollywood and Vine thanks to the movie producer/screenwriter’s pitch to make her biography into a feature film.
But is it at the risk of losing Jackson for good? Is Opal right?
The cliffhanger at the end was set up quite nicely, with Nixon and the writers planting the seeds of JR’s continuing to spiral out of control. In the final scenes, he lurks in the shadows at the Chandler mansion, guzzling from a bottle of booze, undoubtedly feeling sorrier for himself than he ever has, plus he has that gun. He points it at a number of people. Melissa, Adam, Tad …and just as Erica rushes after Jack, she gets in JR’s line of fire as BOOM -- the gun goes off!
Like the remarkable cliffhanger of primetime’s Dallas, “Who Shot JR,” we are left with the cliffhanger of “who did JR shoot?”
Again great fun and what a way to keep our intrigue piqued until Prospect Park mounts the show again in early 2012.
Along with the major cliffhanger, there are a number of other unanswered plot points.
Just who remains under David’s care? What other Pine Valley resident is he treating? He wouldn’t tell Dixie when she pressed him. All he said was “Believe me, you don’t need to know.” Who could it be?
Speaking of David, will he finally find love, home and family with Cara, who is carrying his baby, or will he self-destruct that relationship too.
Plus, why did he ask Adam for money? We believe it has more than bringing Adam’s brother back to life, although that is no small feat. Did he and Adam strike up a partnership? Will the money Adam gave him help finance Orpheus project into the future? If so, will Adam be a silent partner or a very vocal one?
And is David truly out of the lives of Zack, Kendall, Ryan and Greenlee?
Will Erica find her way back to Jack, or has Jack really moved on? Is Krystal his next conquest? Will Erica find eyes for the distinguished movie producer?
Do you have any guesses? Who do you think JR shot? Share your thoughts below in the comments section. I am dying to know what you think.
Most importantly, do you think show creator, Agnes Nixon, and the writers did justice to the denizens of Pine Valley in this last broadcast episode?
Far as what’s in store for Pine Valley next year, all I can say is we’ll find out the answers to the questions above after Prospect Park takes over the reigns and begins airing All My Children on the brand new TOLN.com (The Online Network) in early 2012. Stay tuned!
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