This week in television kicked off on Sunday with a closer look at several of the love stories on Once Upon a Time; a classic Jake/Holt team-up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine; and an episode of The Good Wife that put both Jackie and Veronica in the spotlight. On Monday, the contestants on Dancing with the Stars paid homage to some of the most famous dance routines in pop culture history; Jane the Virgin introduced us to “Bachelorette Jane;” and Castle showed us that it doesn’t take an expert in sniffing out the truth to know that Castle and Beckett still care for each other. Tuesday’s episode of The Flash gave us more insight into both the West and Snart families, and Wednesday’s episode of Nashville continued to tackle heavy material—as Deacon and Scarlett worked through their issues, while Avery and Juliette seemed unable to work through theirs.
While there were plenty of strong moments on television this week, my favorite was basically a forgone conclusion from the moment it aired on Sunday night. I’m a sucker for romance; I love a good love story. And there’s something truly special about getting to watch a new fairytale romance being created right before our eyes every week on Once Upon a Time through the relationship between Emma and Killian.
This season of Once Upon a Time is full of darkness, but what I love so much about this show is that it never feels hopeless. There’s always something sweet to balance out the bitter. And in this episode, that sweetness came from Emma and Killian’s scenes in Camelot. Whether it was Killian’s adorable enthusiasm upon learning about Henry’s crush (Could Colin O’Donoghue have a more perfectly expressive face? I think not.) or his insistence that he and Emma could get back to a “white picket fence life” (O’Donoghue’s sincere line delivery made me cry once again in that moment), I was struck by the beauty of this character who battled darkness for centuries embracing the light within himself just in time to help Emma hold on to the light inside of her.
The idea of love being a light in the darkness was shown in such a beautiful way during Emma and Killian’s scene among the flowers. The cinematography during that scene was stunning, with both characters bathed in a gentle, glowing light. Sometimes all we need to let go of the demons in our own head is to share our struggle with someone—to open up and let someone help us. Emma was able to do that with Killian, and she was rewarded for putting her faith in their love with a much-needed moment of peace.
The sweeping camera work during their kiss solidified this moment as one of pure fairytale romance, and sometimes that’s all you want from a show called Once Upon a Time. At a time when a lot of the shows I watch are having trouble balancing heavy and hopeful storylines, Once Upon a Time has achieved that balance this season, and much of its success has come from its focus on the way love can provide a light for us and give us strength in the darkest times in our lives.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?
As usual, I have more than one.
First, on Monday, Alba broke my heart. Ivonne Coll was so good in Jane the Virgin this week. She us all feel her fear and later her resolve to take steps to move beyond it for Mateo. The scene with Jane on the bed was so simply done but conveyed so much emotion and it was a beautiful example of why the Villanueva women are the core of the show.
Then on Wednesday, You’re the Worst left me speechless. Aya Cash did such a phenomenal job in every moment she was on screen. Her angry tirade against her friends was hard to watch but in the best way. I know a lot of people are writing about the end scene where she tells Jimmy about her depression but it was her scene with Lindsay that destroyed me. Lindsay is the only one who knew what was wrong with Gretchen and she did the only thing she could do – accept the unspoken apology for the things Gretchen said about her and encourage her to tell Jimmy. None of these characters do vulnerability well or any form of emotional intimacy but this was a beautiful moment between friends. Lindsay may be a disaster in every way, but her simple statement of “wear your stains on the outside of your clothes” really hit me in in simplicity and in the way it reflected that the times we least want to feel vulnerable are often when we need to be the most.
I have a lot of feelings about how this show is handling Gretchen’s depression and what this will mean for her relationship with Jimmy in the future and it’s nice to feel confident that a subject that is rarely discussed or handled well in the media will be treated with the gravity it deserves.
In further proof of this show being the best, it also made me laugh harder than anything else this week with a lot of picking on Jimmy for his pretentious explanation of the phrase “hakuna matata” that he failed to recognize as a Lion King reference. It’s a show that does comedy really well, even in a more serious episode.
I really need to add You’re the Worst to my to-watch list. This storyline seems incredible and powerful, and I’m glad you feel confident that it’ll be handled well. It’s so nice to have faith in a show you love handling an important story like this one.
And I just want to co-sign everything you said about Alba. I cried like a baby during that scene with Jane on the bed. It was beautiful and unforced in its emotion, and it tugged at my heartstrings more than anything else I saw on TV this week.
I came to write about Alba too and Heather beat me to the punch. Ivonne Coll was far and away the best thing I saw on TV last week. Her brave and vulnerable portrayal of Alba has always kept Jane the Virgin centered in it’s bigger moments and last week was a tour de force example of why.
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