Finally, some balance on All My Children

I know I should bite my tongue now, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Finally, some balance on AMC! Yes, the last couple of days have been some of the best writing I’ve seen on All My Children. It all began with the preparation of Jesse and Angie’s wedding (or rather, the day before the wedding), all leading up the the life-altering events and the aftermath that I’m sure will be felt across the Pine Valley canvas.

The high point of it all had to have been Friday’s (May 23, 2008 ) episode confronts Robert Gardner (from here on, referred to as Uncle Papel). Actually, the confrontation began the day before, but the climax was on Friday’s episode which led to the infamous Friday cliffhanger (and really, a cliff-hanger… or should it really helicopter-hanger).

While the central event was Jesse and Angie’s wedding reception, all the events going on around it just fed to the balance of the episode. It was nice seeing the veterans in the fold, such as Opal, Joe & Ruth. Add to that, Greg Nelson, who really should be brought back full-time because the PV canvas could use a wonderful character and actor, Laurence Lau.

As many know by now, Julia Santos Keefer was a casualty of Uncle Papel’s craziness, because he walked Angie through the reception and fired his Transformer .9mm (thanks MB) point-blank, the bullet hitting Julia. Another shot was fired on his way out, grazing Greg on the arm. Julia was critically wounded and eventually died at PVH, because the gunshot fatally damaged her liver.

Meanwhile, on the rooftop, Frankie, Jesse, Jake and Tad follow Uncle Papel and Angie, in an effort to keep the lunatic from escaping.  During this melee, as Uncle Papel tries to make his daring mistake, he fires his gun (the one loaded with unlimited bullets) and Tad becomes his next casualty.  Jesse runs for the ‘copter, grabs onto the bar and wrestles Uncle Papel out of the ‘copter (because good ol’ Uncle Paps wasn’t wearing his seatbelt) and we see him go *thunk* on the roof. Of course, being the stubborn villain he is, Uncle Papel is still alive, without a broken bone. The ‘copter lands safely (with the skills of Jesse, who had no idea what he was doing) and almost kills the geezer but Frankie persuades him not to and urges his dad to let Uncle Papel rot in prison. Jesse agrees… Uncle Papel is hauled off.

Meanwhile, Tad is being tended to… it’s bad… it’s painful and it looks like Tad may die if he isn’t brought to PVH stat. Frankie and Jake airlift him to PVH and this leads us to yesterday’s episode, possibly one of the most balanced ones I’ve seen in a while.

Most of PV made their way to the hospital and waited until they heard any news on either Julia or Tad. Sadly, we all know Julia didn’t make it and Tad is in critical condition. Different feelings are expressed by different characters, most notably by Frankie and Jesse. Frankie regrets letting Uncle Papel into their lives . thinking Uncle Paps was a good guy and Jesse has a regret of coming back from the dead because it resulted in Julia’s death and Tad being shot.

It was nice to see the residents of Pine Valley gathered at PVH because of what happened. Everyone wore an anguished look on their face as they all hear Julia did not make it. Perhaps what made this a balanced show was the fact that even though the sextet of Kendall/Zach/Greenlee/Aidan/Annie/Ryan was touched upon, at least the current tragic event was weaved into what was going on. No matter where any character was, the news of Julia’s death and Tad being shot was injected into the scene. No one scene took precedence over another, which is probably what made the episode so well done.

Finally, some balance. It’s been a while and I hope this trend can continue. Ironic though, that Esenstein and Brown were responsible for the last few episodes, some of the best of AMC in a long while, considering everything between the crash storyline and what happened in the last few days has been sub-par.