The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (10/12 – 10/19)

This week kicked off with another strong Sunday night of television. On Once Upon a Time, we spent some more time with a mysterious new villain; on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, we were introduced to the “Jimmy Jab Games;” and on The Good Wife, we were reminded what brilliant blending of comedy and drama looks like. Monday’s Castle put some spice back into Castle and Beckett’s relationship. Tuesday’s New Girl featured a new phone for the loft and a new man for Jess, and The Mindy Project featured a fun cameo from Shonda Rhimes. On Wednesday, Black-ish tackled the differences between moms and dads, and Nashville made my heart ache for Juliette more than ever. And Thursday was a night of big twists—from the president’s daughter’s sex tape on Scandal to the last nine words of How to Get Away with Murder.

It was impossible for me to pick just one standout moment for this week, so I’m going to talk about two moments that shared the same theme: vulnerability. The final scene of this week’s How to Get Away with Murder was absolutely astounding in the complete vulnerability showed not just by the character of Annalise Keating but also by Viola Davis as an actress. As I watched her take off her makeup, peel off her eyelashes, and show her real hair, I was floored by the honesty Davis brought to that moment when Annalise stopped hiding and let her guard come down completely before confronting her husband. It was a moment that showed total honesty for this character, and Davis brought total honesty to this moment as an actress. While watching the restrained emotion in that scene, I was ready to give Davis her Emmy immediately.

The second moment of vulnerability that floored me this week came from Once Upon a Time. Emma opening up to Hook about why she was pulling away from him was such a huge moment for a character who has been given every reason to fear vulnerability. To say she trusts Hook was a monumental moment of growth, but even that was topped by her telling him she can’t lose him. It was the most open and vulnerable we’ve ever seen this character, and I loved that her vulnerability was met with love and reassurance from the man she was opening her heart to. In opening her heart completely, Emma finally let hope in. In a way, it was the opposite of what happened with Annalise. Annalise admitted to her husband that she didn’t trust him at all, while Emma finally let herself trust. Both moments were outstanding portraits of character growth, and both left me incredibly excited for what’s next for these two great characters.

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

6 thoughts on “The Best Thing I Saw on TV This Week (10/12 – 10/19)

  1. I knew that that moment on HTGAWM would probably make it to your best of list this week. Wow! Watching Annalise Keating strip off all of her armor was so powerful. I don’t even have words for what this meant, challenging her husband as his wife, not as a lawyer, completely stripped down (perhaps more than she would have been if she’d been naked but still made up and wigged). It wasn’t my favorite moment, but it was probably the best thing on TV last week. But MY best thing, my favorite, was Emma’s moment of vulnerability. No great surprise there =) I also had fun laughing with New Girl and Mindy, and I enjoyed Sting doing singtones on Fallon (I think that was this week – someone shared it on social media. I can’t stay up late enough to watch that kind of thing). Oh, and Gold Rush is back on Discovery. Hubby and I love to watch Todd Hoffman making questionable choices week after week… well, hubby enjoys that. I prefer watching success.
    Looking forward to an awesome week (or honestly, just the Once episode) ahead!

    • Thanks for sharing your favorite moments of the week with us, Jo! I especially loved the point you made about Annalise being stripped bare more in that scene had she been if she was naked but still in her makeup and hair. It’s so true.

  2. I am so glad you added Viola into this week’s mix because everything you said was true. I was struck however by the contrasts of your two choices. Yes they both display a form of vulnerability, but for me they were starkly different. Emma’s expressions are an exhale. A final veil falling away in the safety of her trust of Killian. All I thought of when Viola Davis was going through that moment was she was stripped down to the barest part of herself. She had literally stripped away the armor that protects her and defends her against the reality she faced with those nine words. Removing the things that protected her the most wasn’t safe, it was brave and necessary. It was the symbol of the fact that her marriage had stripped her of her sense of dignity as wife. Ignoring her instincts as a defense attorney stripped her of her pride. It was astonishingly visceral and what struck me was so much so that the final shocking nine words that had been advertised all week long were no longer relevant. In exposing herself, she exposed her husband and it was jaw-dropping worthy.

    My top moments of the week however were the following:

    Jane the Virgin — a show based on a telenovela always gives me pause. The ability and likelihood for the absurd is high and my threshold for it very low. However, the absurdity actually stops with the concept and that for me was the revelation in this hour of television. With the opportunity for stereotype existing at every turn Jane the Virgin chooses instead to take the foundation of the stereotype and turn it into something vastly more nuanced. There is a pivotal moment when pregnant Jane asks her mother about choosing to have her as a teenager. Her mother’s response is both heartbreaking and beautifully honest even more so when you are given context later in the episode. For a show that had a lot to establish in its first hour. Jane the Virgin made me care about the majority of their characters, proud to see three generations of Latinas in a show that weren’t relying on long standing stereotypes and set up a story I am more than curious to follow.

    Grey’s Anatomy — While Viola Davis had the moment of the night, it was preceded by 48 minutes I didn’t particular care about. Where Grey’s Anatomy, in it’s 11th season managed to put forward one of its most complete, character driven hours it has had in the series. The pacing and dialogue hearkened back to season 2 and brought a pivotal relationship – Meredith and Ellis Grey’s to the forefront in a way that was both relevant to bringing it full circle and providing Meredith key insights to what is currently going on in her world. It was simply a great hour of TV and the best thing to come out of Shondraland this past Thursday night.

    The Good Wife — It’s a week later and that triangular formation fed with red wine between Eli, Alicia and Stephen Pasquale as possible campaign manager was astoundingly paced, brilliantly written and a feast of cut away shots. It brought humor, surprise, gravity, fear and defiance. It was something I would have wanted to see on a stage from 5th row center seats and it continues to marvel me. If someone had asked me what I would think of a Good Wife without Will Gardner, better would have never entered my vocabulary. I think I might have been wrong.

    Special mention for the Affair. I don’t know that I am going to love the show. But I loved the way they approached the concept of the importance of memory, disposition and point of view. No show I have seen has ever done it better than this pilot did. And it is the thing that will bring me back tonight.

    • I LOVE your picks! I really need to watch Jane the Virgin because I trust your opinion and was very interested in it when I first heard the premise of it. And YES to your desire to see those scenes from The Good Wife onstage. It was like a great play, and I could relive those scenes over and over again.

  3. Last week was such a good week of television and I’m glad I finally have a chance to talk about it! There were several best moments for me, including the two you mentioned that I will now skip over.

    -Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Such a great episode that it was hard to decide on a best moment. I think Amy and Rosa’s disguise failures may slightly beat out Terry’s confusion over how he should sit. “My baby is on the side” had me cracking up (and I was watching in a library, so probably not the best place)

    -Sleepy Hollow: I will talk your ear off about Abbie and Ichabod at pretty much any given moment so of course they land a mention. Ichabod tried cappuccino for the first time after complaining about the price to coffee ratio, then proceeded to love it and leave foam all over his mustache, which Abbie then proceeded to wipe off for him because that’s what platonic friends do now I guess. The use of the phrase “I can’t even” on tv did make me chuckle, but it was the simple intimacy that killed me.

    -Scandal: Oh Mellie Grant, I continue to love you more with every episode. That scene with Karen in her bedroom was perfect. Can we just give her all the awards already?

    Bones: This is perhaps the one I am most excited about because of how rare it is. I dearly love Brennan’s friendship with Angela but as they’ve both gotten married and have had children, it has taken a back seat. This episode featured them taking a break with their kids and the park and while the kids played, they got to have a conversation about their sex lives, just like they used to. They shared the unusual locations in the house they are fans of and everything felt so natural, like it was a conversation they’d had so many times before. Once again, it was a level of intimacy that I loved and I have missed so much.

    • I love all of these picks! I’m pretty sure I laughed harder at Brooklyn Nine-Nine than I laughed at anything else this week (but that’s becoming a regular occurrence). The reason Rosa lost was so true to her character and so perfectly hilarious, and I loved it.

      I don’t even watch Sleepy Hollow, but I saw the cappuccino scene on you Tumblr, and it made me smile. That’s when you know a show and a dynamic are excellent. 😉

      Mellie’s scene with Karen was so wonderful that I’m still trying to figure out exactly how to articulate my feelings about it. I loved that she told Karen she would have supported her if she did that because she genuinely wanted to and not because she felt broken and empty inside. It was a really nice moment to juxtapose Fitz telling her she’s been a terrible mom. She may be empty inside, too, but she was genuinely trying to be the best mom she could be in an impossible situation. I just would like to give Bellamy Young all the awards now, please.

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