The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (6/8 – 6/15)

I apologize for being late with this post once again, but I needed the extra day to get caught up on Orphan Black (and I’m so glad that I waited to post this until I did). 

This week in television started off with a penultimate episode of Game of Thrones that was possibly a little too heavy on the action sequences but somehow managed to strike a good balance with plenty of strong (and especially tragic) character beats as well. Sunday also featured a Tony Awards ceremony filled with incredible performances and plenty of deserving winners. The rest of the week’s TV offerings included another round of auditions on So You Think You Can Dance and another hilariously entertaining episode of Hollywood Game Night. The sports world also offered plenty of excitement in the form of NHL and NBA Finals, World Cup soccer, and U.S. Open golf. And Saturday’s episode of Orphan Black was filled with the plot twists, character development, and phenomenal acting that has made this show one of my favorites on television.

It was easy for me to pick the best TV episode I watched this week (that title belongs to Saturday’s Orphan Black), but it was far more challenging to pick just one moment from that episode as the single greatest one. Instead, I’m going to cheat a little bit and say that the best thing I saw on TV this week was a pair of moments that reminded me exactly why Tatiana Maslany is the greatest actress on television right now.

Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in talking about Maslany’s ability to seamlessly shift between clones that we fail to mention the real reason she’s such a good actress: Even if she only played Alison or Helena or Sarah or Cosima, she would still be deserving of critical recognition. She makes us care about each character on their own. Yes, sometimes I sit back in awe of the quantity of roles she plays, but this week, I was reminded that her true gift is in the quality she brings to each role. Watching Maslany, as Sarah, sit at Kira’s bedside as her daughter’s bone marrow was taken to give to Cosima, I found myself crying harder than this show has ever made me cry before. There was such real fear, love, and self-loathing in Maslany’s performance, and it was all shown with a subtlety that only the best actors possess. In that one moment, I forgot that there were other roles she plays on this show. I was so caught up in Sarah’s genuine and grounded emotions that everything else fell away, which is a hard thing to achieve on a show with as many plots as this one.

While Sarah’s bedside vigil reminded me that Maslany has a gift for making me care about each clone independent of the others, her turn as Rachel impersonating Sarah reminded me that the thing that really sets her apart from any other actress is the way she links so many independent characters together. From the slight changes in Sarah’s accent to the tiniest differences in her posture and gait, Maslany used her gift for subtlety to reveal to those paying attention that it wasn’t Sarah going up to see her daughter. Rewatching it again after the twist was revealed, I noticed all of those quirks, but in the moment, I was left with such a delicious feeling of eerie anticipation and total surprise. No other show gets the kind of visceral reactions out of me that Orphan Black does, and so much of the credit for that has to go to Maslany.

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

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6 thoughts on “The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (6/8 – 6/15)

  1. My best thing on tv this week–same as yours. Orphan Black wins hands down. I especially loved the Alison and Donnie segments.

    Runners up were a couple of the World Cup games and Longmire.

    • Those are some great picks! Alison and Donnie’s storyline was such a great counterpoint of dark comedy to the really heavy things going on in the rest of this episode.

  2. I totally agree with you, I like all the clones but I love Sarah, she’s my favourite. I think it has to do with her relationship with Kira. Every scene they have together gave me goosebumps. I love this messed up girl who would do anything in the world to protect her child and for me, that moment, at Kira’s bedside was one of Tatiana’s best performance in this season.

    • I really feel like Sarah is becoming my favorite this season, too. There’s something so special that Tatiana brings to Sarah’s moments with Kira that always have me on the verge of tears, and I love it.

  3. OK, first off Donnie – who knew?!?! That van scene was worth it’s weight in gold. But the complete honest fear, self loathing and pain that Maslany displays as she asks Felix what kind of mother would let this happen was devastating. Sarah has always been my favorite clone, hands down. But I’ve got to say, more than anything else I am so wonderfully impressed by the quality of the second season.

    That said, it wasn’t my favorite moment of the week. That honor goes to the little, wonderful ball of fantastic that battled with Cyrus and FIkshun only to totally geek out upon meeting Twitch. There was such joy in that moment that it made me smile whenever I thought of it throughout the week.

    • I never would have thought Donnie had that in him! And for as much as I loved Cosima the most in the first season, Sarah has become my favorite clone in Season Two due to the incredible vulnerability and complexity Maslany brings to this part of the role. Like you, I am so impressed that this season has been such a strong one, and I can’t wait for Saturday!

      I NEED to find a video of this SYTYCD moment. I’ve been hearing so much about it, but I still haven’t seen it yet!

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