I have to admit, I wasn’t very hopeful that the end of ATWT would be what it could be.
I certainly wasn’t very encouraged by the scenes from early last week. The entire Avalon story was a culmination of so many of the things that were not good about the last span of the show (Janet and her 32 boyfriends, Craig going after Lily – which would never, ever, ever, EVER happen) and defined the idea of “treading water.”
So what does ATWT do? Surprise me with two nearly flawless back to back episodes.
I’ve already praised Colleen Zenk Pinter, but Friday’s air show saw her bring new layers to Barbara. She brought Barbara full circle – to a wiser, kinder Barbara who embraces her flaws and accepts her spouse for who he is.
The entire Stenbeck/Ryan clan story over the last few weeks has been beautiful: Emily asking herself why she couldn’t forgive Barbara (and eventually doing so), Paul coming to terms with the Stenbeck curse and letting go, Will and Gwen dealing with all of the changes to their family (and Iris’s bad deeds).
It was all played perfectly, with an eye to history: Kim and Barbara talking about both Jennifers, Barbara remembering Will’s dad Hal. (The only complaint? Where was Lisa??) I loved that they played “More Than a Woman” at the end (a reference to the dance contest they entered – and won).
The last segment of the episode, especially, was just so poignant:
And of course, the end of the episode was priceless: Johnny D walks into the hotel lobby!
Monday’s episode was almost as perfect. Seeing John, Bob and Kim together was great. (Classic line from Kim to Reid when Reid learns John and Kim had been married: “Whatever you’re thinking? Don’t say it.”)
As bored as I am with Katie getting married to her 112th husband, Daniel Cosgrove is really selling Chris, his love for Katie and his concern and love for his family. This is at last a grown Chris Hughes, a man who could follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Christopher Hughes, who was the main focus of the show as it started. It seems poetic that he’s really coming into his own as the show ends.
Seeing Lisa was a joy: first to see her react as only Lisa could to John Dixon’s return, and then seeing her at the end of the episode, when the family got the heartbreaking news about Nancy’s death.