This week in television brought us more returns of beloved shows, which started on Sunday night, with Once Upon a Time‘s season premiere jumping right into the quest to save Emma from the darkness; Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s season premiere giving us a look at Jake and Amy’s new dynamic after their game-changing kiss; and Quantico‘s pilot providing us with plenty of questions to keep us coming back next week. Monday’s Dancing with the Stars honored classic TV theme songs, and it was followed by a controversial episode of Castle that shook things up for the show’s central marriage. On Tuesday, The Muppets introduced a new love interest for Miss Piggy (Josh Groban), and The Mindy Project tackled the topic of new parenthood. Wednesday’s Nashville was filled with heartbreaking drama—from Juliette’s deteriorating mental state and Luke’s decision to cut Will from his label to its fatal final moments. Finally, Saturday gave us the return of Saturday Night Live, which will be remembered for Hillary Clinton’s impression of Donald Trump and her sing-along with Kate McKinnon.
In a week filled with captivating moments, none made me hold my breath like the climactic scene in Once Upon a Time‘s season premiere in which Emma’s loved ones reached her just as she was about to crush Merida’s heart. There were plenty of reasons to love that scene: Jennifer Morrison’s brilliant performance, Colin O’Donoghue’s ability to emotionally destroy us all with his sincerity, the way the scene made Emma’s inner darkness feel visceral and exhausting and real rather than some overly dramatic struggle against evil…
But the thing I loved most about this scene was that it was all about Emma’s ability to save herself. As Hook said, fighting the darkness has to be Emma’s choice. Only she can save herself, but that doesn’t mean she has to do it alone. Watching Hook get through to Emma and support her ability to choose to overcome the darkness in her was beautiful, and it seemed like a great piece of foreshadowing for how this whole arc could play out. Hook didn’t force Emma to do anything; he simply reminded her that everyone has demons that can be overcome, and she’s strong enough to overcome hers. The decision to put Merida’s heart back was Emma’s; she saved herself in that moment, with the support of someone who loves her helping her find the strength to save herself. That’s something I hope we see play out as this arc reaches what we all hope will be a happy conclusion. That scene (including the fact that the darkness seemed to disappear when Emma hugged Hook and Henry) gave me so much hope for the rest of the season, and that’s exactly what I needed in what was a very heavy and sad week for a lot of the other shows I watch.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?