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Soap Opera Digest, February 6, 2007

Performer of the Week

When the situation gets really dire in Oakdale, when someone's really in a jam, Henry's the guy everyone ends up turning to.  As the surprisingly soft-hearted cynic who can't say no to a pretty lady in distress, a well-placed threat or even a martini, it's Henry who'll provide a distraction, spin a lie or arrange an under-the-radar flight out of town if necessary - and make you laugh out loud the whole time.  Henry is rarely the center of a storyline; it's almost never about him.  Trent Dawson is the kind of actor who always makes you with it was.

So when Simon and Katie found themselves on opposite ends of a moral quagmire this week, it was up to their old friend, Henry, to clean up after them simultaneously - and Dawson, equally touching and hilarious, to play every nuance as he ricocheted between their desperate, self-centered and conflicting demands.  Dawson could have just played the comic relief of Henry's pseudo-spineless, how-did-I-get-myself-into-this-predicament panic as he literally wrestled with Simon over a phone and wriggled under a suspicious Katie's grilling.  Instead, Dawson laced his performance with sweet streaks of self-loathing, empathy, loyalty and tough-love frustration, so that when he interrupted the hijinks to chastise Simon for ruining two women's' lives or express his disappointment in Katie's reckless, hopeless vendetta, he came off as the most morally upstanding of the bunch.

It's no wonder that his words finally stopped Katie in her nutty tracks when it turned out he might be the only one who was hurt by her overzealous actions.  "There are so many times that I have told myself that I saw something in you that other people simply did not see.  Maybe I just didn't want to see what was really there," he told her sadly, his voice cracking with heartbreak and history.  While Henry may be in and out of her life at the writers' whim, Dawson never forgets what she means to him.

So yes, Henry is our favorite go-to guy in Oakdale.  Now if only ATWT would go to him more often.

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