This week was such an emotional week in Oakdale especially for the viewers who have grown to enjoy the performances of Benjamin Hendrickson. Besides saying goodbye to Jennifer, we saw the final scenes taped by Benjamin as Hal and they just happened to be at the memorial service for Hal's daughter, Jennifer. It was so sad to watch the show this week as real life and reel life intersected in ways that it so much more powerful and heartbreaking to watch.
Hal's Final Scenes and Jennifer's Memorial
I did not watch last Friday's episode until after I watched this week's episodes. I knew that the scenes of Jennifer's death would be very sad - the acting in these scenes was the best that I have seen in a long time. As a matter of fact, I believe that if the show were to submit the episode of Jennifer dying and the Memorial Service with Hal's final scenes - they could easily take the Emmy next year.
The writing has been superb and again each character was at their personal best especially Colleen Zenk Pinter (Barbara), Jesse Soffer (Will), Jennifer Landon (Gwen), Roger Howarth (Paul) and Grayson McCouch (Dusty). Dusty truly loved Jennifer and he cannot imagine his life without her. The scenes where Jennifer appeared to him, he was at his most vulnerable we have ever seen him as he told her that he could not do this alone and he was not like her when it came to forgiveness. It is going to interesting to see how this character changes as a result of this love and loss in addition to being a single parent to little John Dustin.
It was difficult for us as viewers to watch these final scenes of Benjamin Hendrickson I can only imagine how hard it was for his ATWT family, his real family and friends felt watching these episodes. The final toast that Barbara gave after everyone arrived at her place to Jennifer then to see the show pay tribute to Mr. Hendrickson - made all of this final as I wondered how different this show will be without the character of Hal and the terrific performances of Benjamin Hendrickson. His character was so much involved with so many characters on the show; he will truly be missed by all.
The world continued to turn as other stories began to move forward:
Casey admitted that he loved her and she has totally shut him out. It's obvious that she still wants to be with him but can't because of her past sexual assault. She does need to get this out before something more serious happen that her setting Lia's sweater on fire. This did seem out of character for Maddie but she does have a lot of pent-up anger so she letting it out now. She is not opening up to her brother or her friend, Gwen or Margo who let her in on her own history.
It is good the way the show is slowly integrating the character of Dallas into the show. He is not the person who assaulted Maddie and he wants to help her. He seems to be a good cop so let's see where the show takes his character.
Carly and Jack
Carly wants to move on with her life because she has accepted that he wants to end their marriage. I loved when Carly told him to mind his own business when he had problems with Jade living with her. I like the strong Carly who takes control of her life. She now wants to start a new business for herself and this will be a good thing for her. I believe that Jack will come to his senses at some point and want her back but I hope that she has not moved on with someone else. Carly is a woman that needs a man in her life and it won't long before she gets one so Jack had better be prepared.
Emily appears to have changed since her suicide attempt and she is a strong woman again. She used to have a career and she let all of let get away from her. I do like the way that she and Susan are friendly to each other. Emily definitely needs her mother right now. She was hurt when Jennifer died as she was her only other friend besides Henry. I have to wonder what is going to happen to them if Emily becomes a free woman. Henry seems to have a thing for blonds.
I think that Emily should get a break like Paul received from Jennifer. At the moment, Paul is painting Emily as this horrible person when he has done some terrible things himself. If she goes to jail, he needs to be in the cell next to her. Why does he feel that Emily does not need to receive the same type of consideration he got?
One more thing about Emily: why is Tom prosecuting the mother of his son? Isn't that some type of conflict of interest? How will Daniel feel to know that his father was the prosecutor in his mother's case that could send her to jail for a long time?
This was supposed to provide some comic relief to what else was happening on the show. I like that Simon is back just leave his girlfriend where he found her. I am just glad that island thing was not dragged out too long as it was a retread that was done well the first time as we don't need to see it again.
Mike's reaction to Jennifer's death was strange as he did not go to pay his respects to her family. She had been his wife and he was the legal father of the baby when he was born. I hope the writers correct this next week - it seemed so strange.
What is he up to with Lucy? She is quite vulnerable and she does not need someone trying to use her? He is already manipulating Luke so he won't see Holden. I guess we have to wait until Martha Byrne (Lily) returns from maternity leave for him to get his.
Finally, ATWT is the best soap on the air right now. It was proven this week as everything: acting, writing and performances were fantastic. This is going to be a different show without the character of Jennifer and Benjamin Hendrickson who played Hal for over 20 years. We have seen it happen before and as always, the world keeps turning and we keep watching.
That's all I have for now.