This week in television started with another stellar Sunday night, featuring a second episode of Once Upon a Time that was even better than the season premiere, a fantastically funny look at Jake and Terry’s friendship on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and another wonderful episode of The Good Wife. (Who knew Christian arbitration could be such a comedy gold mine?) Monday’s Castle gave us some more clues to Castle’s disappearance. On Tuesday, Selfie‘s second episode improved on its pilot, and New Girl and The Mindy Project both took on some racy material, with divisive results. On Wednesday, Black-ish continued its strong first run of episodes, and Nashville continued to break my heart with Juliette’s story and Deacon and Maddie’s father/daughter perfection. And Thursday gave us another hour-long master class from Viola Davis on How to Get Away with Murder.
I’m going to be honest with you: I knew what my pick for my favorite thing on TV this week was going to be as soon as I saw it almost a full week ago. Sometimes you see an episode and just know nothing else is going to be able to top it because it gives you everything you could ever ask for as a fan of a certain character. And I think everyone who is a fan of Emma Swan found a million little (and big) things to love about the latest episode of Once Upon a Time.
As many of you know, I’ve spent a lot of time writing about Emma Swan. To say this character makes me feel very strongly is probably the understatement of the year. We all have those characters we want happiness for so badly because we’ve watched them struggle with believing they were meant to be unhappy, and Emma is one of those characters for me. From the pilot of Once Upon a Time, we’ve watched Emma grow from a woman who believed she was better off alone to a woman slowly learning to accept and tentatively reach out for love in her life. And in “White Out,” we got to see just how many people Emma has in her life who love her and genuinely want to take care of this woman who spent so long with no other option than taking care of herself.
In this episode, we got to see Emma surrounded by her father, her son, the man who’s in love with her, and a new friend. It was beautiful to watch Emma and Elsa instantly begin a friendship based on learning that they things that made them feel isolated from everyone else are things that can connect them—not just as people with magic but as women struggling with a life they didn’t choose. And it was also beautiful to see Emma—this woman who spent so long feeling like she was unable to trust anyone in an intimate way—embrace Hook’s love to the fullest extent we’ve seen yet, letting herself be completely vulnerable with him and leaning into him instead of pulling away from his obvious devotion.
As someone who has spent a lot of time thinking and writing about Emma Swan’s journey towards accepting love after so many years without love in her life, I was so happy with her story in “White Out” that I still smile just thinking about it. From being a lost girl who didn’t think she would ever matter to being a woman literally surrounded by love, Emma Swan has come so far, and I am enjoying every moment spent watching her embrace so many different kinds of love in her life.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?
I love your love of Emma Swan. I suspect mostly because it is unabashed and unapologetic. There were tons of great moments over the course of the week that I enjoyed. I’ve found some comedies that I am enjoying and think I’ve probably found a gem in The Flash. Hockey came back which is always a favorite time of year for me.
Ultimately though, I’ve gotta say the best thing I saw on TV last week was the combination of scenes on Castle when Rick reveals the tape to Kate and then confronts the man who holds the answers to his missing two months. I waxed on about Fillion’s performance elsewhere and it really is wonderful watching him mine out interesting choices with a character he’s played for so long. But for me it is the show’s ability to achieve two great things. Establish a new set of questions around a show that has little to explore in the world we’ve watched them in the last six years. Second they’ve managed to make the couple that I’ve grown to adore over the course of that time stronger in their adversity. That reveal with the well placed ‘always’ does more than pull at the heart strings of those of us who are invested in Castle. It successfully pivoted and role reversed our main couple. We watched Beckett chase her mother’s killer with Castle’s support, pushing and empathy. We watched him stand strong for her when she most needed someone in her corner. To watch Beckett serve that role for Castle was rewarding as a long time viewer and for a show in its 7th season to feel that fresh regarding their characters (if not their plot lines) for me was wonderful.
“I love your love of Emma Swan. I suspect mostly because it is unabashed and unapologetic.” – You know me; if I’m going to love something, I’m going to do it unapologetically. 😉
I absolutely loved what you had to say about Castle. I especially loved the fact that you pointed out the role reversal which is keeping these characters so interesting into their seventh season. They really have managed to make Castle and Beckett’s relationship stronger through this new obstacle, and that’s so wonderful. I went from someone who was very skeptical of how their relationship would be handled this season, and I find myself loving the direction they’re taking. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us, which is not something I’ve been able to say for every show I’ve watched that’s made it to a seventh season.