"My dear, dear friends, what would I do without you?" Oh Tad, we have no idea!
But before we let our tears flow freely, there is plenty to discuss. All My Children series creator Agnes Nixon was not kidding when she told TVGuide.com last month that her long-running soap would end — at least on ABC — with several big cliff-hangers. Going into Friday's final broadcast episode, major questions loomed: Is Stuart going to survive? Who is the other patient Dixie saw while under David's care? Will Jackson finally leave Erica? Is JR headed for suicide... or murder?
[SPOILER ALERT: The following story reveals key plot points from Friday's ABC series finale. If you don't want to know where everyone ended up, look away!]
The all-too-brief hour concluded literally with a bang, but not before many of Pine Valley's finest got the happy endings loyal viewers had been waiting to see. Let's go over everyone's fate:
Erica and Jackson: Faced with pursuing her lifelong dream — to be in the movies! — or marrying Jackson, Erica chose the movies. Opal, of course, was there to knock some sense into her best friend ("It may not be Hollywood and Vine, but can't you be happy on Main Street and Pine?"), and so Erica ran after Jackson with another option: He could come to L.A. with her. But Jackson, who, let's face it, has been more patient than any of Erica's other paramours, grew an eleventh-hour backbone and declined. Erica in turn admitted she didn't want to get married, even though she loved him. (So modern, that Erica Kane!) And when she begged him to stay, Jackson got a grand Rhett Butler moment: "Frankly, Erica, I don't give a damn..." Never one to accept defeat gracefully, Erica pledges to get him back... (Will she? Who knows? Susan Lucci hasn't not yet decided to continue with the show online.)
Stuart: Miracle worker David frantically operated on the near-resurrected Stuart, but things were flatlining. So Angie, in her infinite wisdom, brought Adam into the operating room, shoved the doctors aside, and let Adam's love revive his brother. And it did! (So many tears. Adam never would have shot Stuart, drugged up or not, while Agnes Nixon was in charge — it's only right she should bring him back!) Word of Stuart being alive made the rounds and everyone in Pine Valley — literally, everyone except the raging JR — was overwhelmed with joy. Scott, newly reunited with Madison, got to deliver the news to Marian, still sprung from the Oak Haven loony bin. She and Stuart share a sweet moment, and he calls her "my queen of hearts."
Frankie and Randi and Brot and Natalia: You already knew Brot and Natalia had gotten engaged, and Monday's Hubbard-o-rama provided plenty of closure for Angie and Jesse and extended family Maya and Lucy. But Angie, re-armed with her sage vision, noticed Randi was "glowing," and Randi announces that she's "maybe" pregnant to Frankie and the Hubbards. (Maybe? Madison just lost a baby, All My Children, you can't deny someone else one so soon after!)
David: After saving Stuart's life, Jesse took David back to jail — lest we forget he knew all about the plot to murder Zach (among all his other heinous crimes). But Cara, now pregnant with David's child, pleaded for his release. "To have someone you love brought back to you — that is the ultimate dream come true." (Yes, Cara, and also I would like everyone in Pine Valley to stay too! On my TV. Into eternity. Can you make that happen?) Angie, who can now see again thanks to David, also argued for his release. But it wasn't until Adam made a phone call to "his friend, the judge" — classic! — that David was able to walk free. He and Cara smooched, and later that night he crashes the Chandler party (more on that shortly), where he first asks Adam for a chunk of cash for saving Stuart and then refuses to tell Dixie who the other patient is. (What is this new project that the cash is for? Who the hell is that female patient? Looks like you'll have to go online when the show relaunches next year to find out.)
Adam and Brooke: After helping to revive Stuart, Adam came back to the boxed-up Chandler mansion where Brooke happily surprises him: She bought the mansion back with her inheritance from Aunt Phoebe (Aw, we miss you, Aunt Phoebe!) Colby and Scott decided with all this good news, a big Pine Valley party was in order. During the celebration, Adam puts a ring on it, and Brooke jumps into his arms, reminding those of us who have been watching for years that these last months without Adam have been painful ones indeed.
Ryan and Greenlee, Zach and Kendall and Marissa and Bianca: Brought back together by the powers of David, both Rylee and Zendall get to live happily ever after. In Thursday's episode, Ryan treated Greenlee to the circus, and today, we saw they also played red rover with Emma in the park. Man, are they happy. Kendall and Bianca urged Erica not to neglect Jackson, but we all now know how that turned out, so Kendall and Zach just resume smooching, but only after Zach reminded Erica that she rocks and shouldn't give up on her dreams. (So there, Jackson.) Bianca reassured Marissa that AJ would be safe... which may not be true because JR tricks them into coming to Adam's big party...
Tad and Dixie: All the Martins — Joe and Ruth, Jake and Amanda, Jamie, about to be re-Martin'd Dixie, surrogate Martin Krystal — got to attend the big bash at the Chandlers. And here's where Tad, who over his decades on the show has gone from Tad the Cad to Pine Valley's moral compass, got to deliver the final toast to the town. "Neighbors, family and friends, I've found all of them here. It's been my home. The best years of my life... " He saluted those who had moved on and passed on ("If they were here, they'd remind us what a miracle this place is") and he put into words what many All My Children fans were probably feeling at the moment of his speech ("My dear, dear friends, what would I do without you?") Oh, and that final line — "I like to think my family and all my children are always with me" — would have been a perfect last moment for many, especially as the cast, er, the residents of Pine Valley fought back tears. But this is a soap opera to the end, and Agnes Nixon doesn't want you to forget it! And so...
JR: After falling off the wagon and spiraling out of control — even Wednesday's vision of Babe couldn't save him — JR grabbed a gun and decided to get out of town. After saying goodbye to AJ, he made off for Pine Valley airport, only to be stopped by Dixie and Tad, who shared the good news of Stuart's resurrection. But JR didn't believe them because, hey, Babe's still dead. Still, when he learned of the big Chandler party the whole town would be attending, JR came up with a different plan. It involved a lot of lurking around the mansion while speeches were given, and while David continued to withhold his final patient's name from Dixie. And in the end, it involved firing that gun. At Marissa, who filed a restraining order against him? At Bianca, who stole away Marissa? At Scott, who's getting his happy ending with Madison? At Adam, who disowned him? At Dixie, who he believes ruined his life? At himself, because he's such a disaster? Looks like you won't find out until next year. (Although Jacob Young, who plays JR, just signed a deal taking him to The Bold and the Beautiful, so...)
And that's it! What did you think, All My Children fans? Did you like the happy endings? Deliciously frustrated by the lack of resolutions? Will you watch next year online? Are you just plain frustrated? Or are you too busy crying to answer these silly questions. Once you've run out of Kleenex, let us know in the comments below.