This week in television kicked off on Sunday with a fantastic season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and quite possibly the most controversial episode yet of Game of Thrones. Monday and Tuesday featured a pair of ABC reality shows, as Dancing with the Stars crowned its champion (the very deserving Rumer Willis) and The Bachelorette aired a two-night season premiere. Wednesday night saw the end of David Letterman’s reign on The Late Show. And Saturday gave us one of the most emotional and shocking episodes of Orphan Black in the show’s three-year history.
While nothing on TV this week made me happier than Jake and Amy finally sharing a great kiss on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, there was nothing better than Paul’s final minutes on Orphan Black—even if they did break my heart in the process. After multiple seasons spent wondering where Paul’s allegiance lies and what’s behind his stoic facade, we learned the truth, and what a beautiful truth it was: Paul is a protector, and once he fell in love with Sarah she was always the one he tried the hardest to protect. He spent so long trying to help the Castor clones, but once he realized the truth of what was going on (and what a terrifying truth it was—planning to use their sexually-transmitted defect as a weapon and testing it on Sarah), he turned his fierce protective instinct toward the women who were harmed, especially Sarah. He was willing to die to destroy the science behind those experiments and protect Sarah and all the other women who could have been sterilized by the Castor clones.
Paul died a hero, and it was the most honorable death scene I’ve seen for a character in a long time. He died with love in his heart and a brave purpose filling his soul. All of his interactions with Sarah in this episode reminded me why I was once so captivated by their dynamic—because, in a world where Paul’s loyalties always seemed to be a mystery, his love for Sarah (which was never supposed to happen) became his primary motivating factor. It shouldn’t have surprised me to hear Paul tell Sarah that it wasn’t Beth he loved, but I was floored by his honesty in that moment. It was the most beautiful way imaginable for Paul to go out, and it was the perfect way for us to say goodbye to Dylan Bruce as an actor. His little smile after saying that line just about killed me.
This episode of Orphan Black showed us Paul’s heart, and it also showed us Mark’s. I loved the comparisons drawn between them in this episode. Mark’s honest confession that he loved Gracie perfectly paralleled Paul finally admitting to Sarah he loved her. And Mark’s desire to defy orders to avenge the pain he never meant to bring to Gracie humanized him in such a beautiful way. Both Mark and Paul were motivated by their love for women treated as pawns in Dr. Cody’s experiments, and I loved the way that connection was shown, especially in the final scene between them. Ari Millen absolutely destroyed me when Mark told Paul to make things right. The tears started then, and they didn’t stop until long after the final credits rolled. I was so sad to see Paul die, but his death scene honored his character and the actor who brought him to life with deep respect and understanding. But, of course, I wouldn’t expect anything less from Orphan Black.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?