This was a very dramatic week in the world of television. On Sunday, Once Upon a Time gave us the shocking backstory of Cruella de Vil and pushed Emma closer to darkness than ever before. Also on Sunday, big changes happened for a variety of characters on Game of Thrones, including Arya, Jamie, and Jon. Monday’s episode of Castle revisited Castle’s missing two months and seemed to finally answer the question of why he had to miss his wedding. Wednesday featured an episode of Nashville that broke everyone’s heart by taking away Deacon’s immediate hope of a new liver and taking another step toward the discovery that Juliette is suffering from postpartum depression. That same night also gave us the season finale of The Americans, which was everything the finale of an excellent season should be. Finally, Saturday’s Orphan Black spent more time developing the story of the Castor clones, and Outlander brought Jamie and Claire home to Lallybroch.
In general, this was a week of heavy, depressing television, and I don’t even watch Grey’s Anatomy anymore. (My condolences to those of you who do.) Such is the life of a TV drama fan in the weeks leading up to season finale time, so I’ve learned to treasure small moments of happiness on the dramas I watch when they happen at this time of year. Therefore, my favorite moment on TV this week is actually a pair of moments from two different dramas that offered small moments of joy in the middle of heavy episodes.
The first of these moments happened on Saturday’s excellent second episode of Orphan Black‘s third season. During the very tense episode, I was thankful for the brief scene of domestic joy we were given between Cal, Sarah, and Kira. Watching the three of them play hockey together in the home Cal hoped to share with them was lovely, and it helped counteract the sadness to come, as Sarah had to let Kira go far away with Cal as she went deeper into Helena’s disappearance. Things might be difficult for that family unit right now, but there is still the memory of that happy hockey game (and that fantastic kiss) to hold onto for characters and fans alike.
The second moment also aired on Saturday. This week on Outlander, there were many flashbacks to the horrors both Jamie and Jenny suffered at the hands of Black Jack, and the episode ended with an anxiety-inducing cliffhanger. However, throughout the hour, there were moments of such sincere love and adorable happiness that it made the heavy parts much easier to handle. This was especially true of the episode’s penultimate scene. To hear both Jamie and Claire finally tell each other “I love you” was beautiful. However, the moment I liked even more was when Jamie was describing Claire’s “round arse” and “rock-solid head.” There was something so comfortable, happy, and realistically sexy in their body language during that part of the conversation that I couldn’t help but smile. It felt like a real moment of playfulness between a husband and wife, and that made the professions of love that came after feel even sweeter.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?
OK I have two this week. I am among those gluttons who still watches Greys Anatomy and this week can not pass without a pause for the final 15 minutes of the episode. Ellen Pompeo with strength, anger, anguish, dignity, intelligence and grace strapped all the viewers on her back and reminded us why she is our primary narrator and the show’s namesake. I knew Derek Shepard’s days were numbered and I knew death was the only out for this character. What was astonishing and a stroke of brillance was that Meredith was all but absent from the episode yet she is the lasting impact. It reminded me of when George died and the shock factor. Pompeo’s speech when they attempt to talk to her about turning off life support is one of the best, measured, biting breakdowns I have ever watched. It built like a creschendo and quickly took us out at the knees. I would argue it was even more powerful than the moment she says her goodbye, the wife who for a moment wants to believe a miracle is possible and tries to will her husband back to the living. A beat later she steels herself, the surgeon, the woman she became and draws the strength to let him go, the knowledge that she will live on and not be her mother, but because of Derek’s love knows she can survive. She lets him go with the stoic disposition of the surgeon she is but quickly allows the wife to stand along the surgeon as her husband takes her last breath. It was a great moment and fantastic acting.
Then there was Broadchurch. I’ve had mixed emotions about season 2 both because there was no chance the show could capture what it did in season 1 and because I didn’t want a second season to tarnish a nearly perfect set of episodes. Independent of my mixed interest in the secondary plot Olivia Coleman and David Tenant are always worth my time. However this season finale tied up a mixed bag of a second season with 30 minutes that I would argue rivaled last season’s finale. Broadchurch managed something I didn’t think possible, it returned us to the core of what made season 1 great, the ability for people who are shattered from tragedy to rise from it and gain footing through goodness and use their agency to stand up against evil independent of justice. It was a powerful close that took hold visually as Broadchurch is so spectacular at doing and through great dialogue and even better acting provided hope in a season defined by the absence of it.
This was apparently the week for two choices! 😉
I’m so happy you enjoyed the end of this season of Broadchurch, because I know this season left some things to be desired at times from fans. And your comments on the brilliance of Ellen Pompeo reminded me of how much I loved her back in the heyday of my Grey’s obsession. No one on that show could make my chest ache from the force of my emotions like she could. It’s wonderful to know she still has that gift, even if it was shown in such a tragic episode.