The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (4/27 – 5/4)

This week began the final push towards many popular shows’ season finales. On Once Upon a Time, many major plot threads came to a head in Sunday’s episode—including who cast and who would break the latest curse, what would happen when Hook’s curse was revealed, and how would Henry regain his memories. Sunday night’s stellar TV lineup continued with another strong episode of The Good Wife (featuring Laura Benanti!) and some beautiful scenes between some of my favorite characters on Game of Thrones. Monday brought us Latin night on Dancing with the Stars and a Castle episode that featured wedding party plans, Scrabble upsets, and strip poker. Tuesday’s episode of New Girl brought Jess and Cece’s friendship to the forefront and The Mindy Project showed Mindy and Danny facing their complicated relationship. Wednesday’s Nashville took Juliette’s character a big step in the wrong direction; Thursday saw Burke’s return to the world of Grey’s Anatomy; and Saturday featured an episode of Orphan Black that introduced us to Kira’s father and an episode of Saturday Night Live that proved just how funny Andrew Garfield can be.

All in all, it was a thoroughly entertaining week in television. But the moment that has stayed with me the most was the beautiful final scene between Jaime and Brienne on Sunday’s Game of Thrones. I’ve already written extensively about how thrilled I was with the show’s take on the “Oathkeeper” moment, so I’ll will spare you all any redundant analysis. All I’ll add is that this scene only gets richer with repeated viewings. The nuances Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie brought to this scene—and this relationship as a whole—elevated it to a new level of warmth, intimacy, and love. On a show that doesn’t have a lot of healthy relationships between men and women, this moment was a beacon of genuine light.

What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?

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2 thoughts on “The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (4/27 – 5/4)

  1. I finally caught up on Game of Thrones yesterday, so I had a feeling this was the moment coming down the pike. I am actually very torn about this week between something old and something new. One moment was about rejecting the return of the past and the other was mourning its passing. Grey’s Anatomy is a show past its prime. It isn’t nearly as compelling as it was when it bounced back from the challenges of life post season 3. After a particularly strong resurgence this year has been a bit middling to say the least. However, when they hyped the return of Burke I’d hoped it wouldn’t be merely window dressing and I sincerely hoped he wouldn’t be her reason for going. So Thursday night was a great surprise in both the layout of the episode, the return of Burke and the amazing scene of triumph for Christina that emerged as a result. The misinterpretation of Burke’s offer handed Sandra Oh the strongest scene of dialogue she has had in 3 years. She made each and every moment of it count and brought every emotion conceivable to surface for anyone who has spent time with character. Her confused anger turned defiance was triumphant and a distinct call back to the Christina Yang we first met. The difference this time is Oh bringing the pain of loss, missed opportunity and abandonment to the monologue. The Christina the Burke left at the alter was not the one that stood before him on Thursday night. This Christina Yang was no longer afraid of the fact that her feelings were intimately intertwined with her ambition. This Christina Yang had lost friends who were now family on the side of a mountain in a plane crash and this Christina Yang who leans on Meredith Grey does so not out of twisted codependency, but out of mature strength of a friend who sees, knows and reflects the best parts of herself. What Thursday night’s scene did so well was establish that indeed in the heart of this episode was the bedrock friendship of Meredith and Christina. The resurgence of Burke beautifully highlighted how much had changed, how much was the same and how they had matured together as a result. Which was all the more stronger for when Sandra Oh delivers that earth shattering “NO!” with an extended pause of silence that made not only Burke, but the viewers uncomfortable. It was a monologue of change, strength and reclaiming who Christina Yang is. It was quite possibly the best set up for the departure of a beloved character I have ever seen on television. I have a lot of qualms with Shondra Rhimes at times, her over the top melodrama. But then she has moments like these that are character driven and exquisite. The show has suffered over the years from age. But Sandra Oh’s brilliance isn’t among the faded pieces. I look forward to next week’s close to her story and if Oh’s stance this episode is any indication, we are in for an apt and strong end to a beloved TV character.

    The other part of me feels the need to give an honorable mention to Orphan Black and more specifically the work of Jordan Garavis. Felix’s decision to leave Sarah and Kira in the cabin. Garavis’ work is simply exceptional. Here the person who so often brings levity to the gravity of the universe these characters navigate gives us a gut punch of emotion when he suddenly chooses to leave because with the arrival of Cal he has become the odd man out. Simply put Felix broke my heart in that moment when he explains to Sarah why he’s leaving. The audience is given a rare unguarded moment from Felix where he is vulnerable and fully exposed. It’s gone in a flash as he begins to itemize off why he needs to go back but the wound is there and Garavis allows it to marinate in his performance for the remainder of the episode. It is a great scene and a terrific episode from one of my favorites in the Orphan Black universe and among the best things I saw on television this week.

    • I loved both of these moments. Sandra Oh’s exquisite work on this week’s Grey’s Anatomy reminded me why Cristina Yang was always my favorite character on that show. I gave up on Grey’s a long time ago, but I’m so glad I came back to say farewell to this character as long since she’s being given such a beautiful and true-to-character send-off.

      And the moment when Felix left, I could not stop myself from crying. It was such a rare moment of vulnerability for a character who hides behind his humor so often, and it broke my heart as well.

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