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All My Children Goes Out With a Bang—Literally

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"This is not the ending I want." So said Erica Kane in the last moments of All My Children's final episode today. And so, more than likely, said soap opera viewers across the country.

Because even though it featured a proposal, heartbreak, a single gun shot and a cliffhanger ending, it wasn't just another day in Pine Valley. It was the last day in Pine Valley.

Or was it?

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For the time being, yes, it was. After 41 years on air, the final broadcast episode of the venerable ABC soap opera aired today, bringing to a close the show that helped launch the careers of Kelly Ripa, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Amanda Seyfried, Melissa Leo, Mischa Barton, Kim Delany, Christian Slater, Michelle Trachtenberg, and, of course, Susan Lucci.

So how did it end? With a bang.

The gang was all there in Pine Valley, gathering at the Chandler house for a celebration of several sorts—there was a proposal, a pregnancy reveal, a seeming shout-out to Gone With the Wind and a possible miracle curing of some medical mysteries (ya got to love those soaps).

But the real drama lurked, as always, in a darkened corner as J.R. watched the revelry from a hiding spot—where he was waiting with a loaded gun. He didn't make his move until the final moments of the show, of course, when Erica Kane walks into the presumptive line of fire just as a shot rings out, with the screen immediately going black.

MORE: Soap stars talk end of AMC

Forget who shot J.R. What we want to know is, who did J.R. shoot?

Dramatic? You bet. But the cliffhanger won't necessarily be unresolved for long.

Lucci herself has reportedly declined an offer to continue on with the show in another medium, though—while nothing has yet been finalized—the production company Prospect Park has already announced plans to debut webisodes, or some kind of online version, of the show in January.

Kicking off that series of shows with Erica Kane's funeral certainly would be a heck of a way to start.

In any case, thanks for 41 years of afternoons, AMC.

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