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Soap Opera Digest, May 22, 2007

Thumbs Up!  The One That Got Away

It's a twist that made absolutely no sense on paper: Henry, erstwhile buffoon, perennial loser in love, finally gets the girl of his (or anyone's) dreams, then rejects her at the altar.  But the reasons why Henry allowed Vienna - gorgeous, filthy rich and head-over-heels in love with him - to slip away are actually quite complicated, which is why this story works so well.

Like Henry before her, Vienna might have been a one-note punch line (the ditzy, self-absorbed heiress), but ATWT gave her layers by letting her see in him what we've seen for a while: the kind, loving soul that Katie abused in 2005 by marrying him to make Mike jealous.  That cruel slight was finally, properly addressed when Henry realized that he could not subject someone else to the heartache of a one-sided union.  ATWT played all the beats: Henry's lingering devotion to Katie, her guilt at once again being responsible for his unhappiness, Vienna's character-deepening devastation and even the comic relief of cold feet, Coleman-style.  But by resisting the urge to play this just for laughs, ATWT delivered a compelling, emotional story.  That makes perfect sense.

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