It's been 15 years since Sydney Penny (Julia Santos) made her All My Children debut. Her return to the show three years ago was trumpeted as a throwback to some of All My Children's more recent "golden years." After a splashy debut, Penny's alter-ego languished without story, and this week her time in Pine Valley will come to a sudden and dramatic end.
When Penny returned to All My Children in August 2005, her return was supposed to fill a void left by the departures of several high-profile leading ladies. In an unfortunate bit of timing, Penny was unable to connect with her on-screen sister, Eva LaRue (Maria Santos). LaRue exited All My Children just a few weeks before Penny's return.
It had been about two-and-a-half years since AMC fans last saw Penny in Pine Valley. The actress debuted as the middle Santos sibling in September 1993 and remained with the show through November 1996, when her character was enrolled in the Federal Witness Relocation Program and ushered out of town for parts unknown. Despite being in hiding, Julia made a few short-term visits to Pine Valley in August 1997 and December 2002.
The storyline that wove Penny back into the fabric of the show involved her coming face-to-face with the man who had killed her husband: Garret "The Dragon" Williams. The plot was widely panned by viewers and was nominated as one of the worst storylines of the year in 1996's Dankies Awards.
Since the resolution of that storyline - Garret was shot and killed by Julia - Julia has had little in the way of story. The writers seemed to struggle to find a post-Noah romance for Julia and that stifled any subsequent story.
This week, while attending Angie and Jesse Hubbard's wedding, Julia finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. During a hostage situation she is shot and critically wounded. Julia is prepped for surgery, but as a nurse Julia soon realizes that surgery will only prolong the inevitable.