This week in television was jam-packed with excellent episodes and memorable moments. Sunday’s episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine featured fun bonding experiences for every member of the team at the 99, especially Gina and Captain Holt. There was nothing fun about the police work that took place on Monday’s episode of Castle, as Jerry Tyson and Kelly Neiman were back to torment the team at the 12th precinct. On Tuesday, Peggy’s sneaking around finally caught up with her on Agent Carter—despite some wonderful help from Angie. And Tuesday’s comedies were at the top of their game, with Parks and Recreation brilliantly balancing sincerity and satire and The Mindy Project featuring one of its best and most emotional endings ever. On Wednesday, Louis and Mike finally reached an understanding on Suits; family drama was everywhere on Nashville; and The Americans continued to explore the idea of finding intimacy in the most unexpected situations after Elizabeth faced another very close call. Finally, NBC gave us the perfect precursor to tonight’s celebration of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary by re-airing the first episode of the show on Saturday night.
There were so many standout scenes on television this week that I wanted list all of my runners-up for the best moment, because in any other week, any of these would have probably have been the best thing I saw:
- Castle confronting Jerry Tyson alone in the interrogation room on Castle, which featured some of Nathan Fillion’s best work on the show to date.
- Leslie and Ben perfectly bringing to light the ridiculously sexist questions asked of women in politics and working mothers in general on Parks and Rec.
- Danny discovering he’s going to be a father and then rushing through New York City to find Mindy as Beyonce’s “XO” played on The Mindy Project.
- Louis telling Mike he’s not a fraud on Suits.
While all of these moments were incredible, and many of them made me cry or cheer, there’s one scene that aired this week that I’d consider one of the best scenes I’ve ever watched on television—and that was the tooth extraction scene (and the hug that came before it) on The Americans.
This scene could have been memorable for its gruesome nature, and for some that’s probably how it will always be remembered. However, the reason I think it’s one of the best TV scenes I’ve ever watched is because it took what could have been a disturbing moment of pain and turned it into a moving moment of trust because of the care the director brought to the scene and the emotional depth Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys brought to it. It’s always risky to film scenes with no dialogue, and this scene’s content was risky to begin with. However, this moment was all about trust—the trust the director had in his actors, the trust the actors had in each other, and the trust the characters displayed onscreen. That trust created a moment of startling intimacy the likes of which I’ve never seen before—a love scene that only The Americans could give us.
Due to the brutal nature of this scene, I’m going to post some links to it instead of embedding a video of it here:
- This is Vulture’s video of the full extraction sequence.
- This is Slate’s video the full scene with commentary by the show’s creators. (I highly recommend watching this one!)
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?