This week in television started off strong on Sunday, with a powerful pair of Once Upon a Time episodes, a true test of Jake and Amy’s relationship on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and the introduction of Vanessa Williams on The Good Wife. On Monday, Dancing with the Stars asked its contestants to perform three routines, Castle further explored the shifts in both the Castle/Beckett and Ryan/Esposito dynamics, and Jane the Virgin showed Mateo’s growth and how his family grew with him through a series of time jumps. Tuesday’s episode of The Muppets featured a budding romance between Scooter and Chelsea Handler, and The Flash reminded us all why Barry has the best dads on television. On Wednesday, Nashville added some new obstacles for Deacon and Rayna to overcome and broke all our hearts when Avery sang Will’s new song. And this week’s Saturday Night Live was its most entertaining episode of the young season.
Even though there were plenty of great moments on television this week, it’s been seven days, and I still can’t stop thinking about Once Upon a Time. Everything about “Birth” was the best thing I saw on TV this week—the twists, the complexity, and, especially, the performances. Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue were at their very best throughout the hour, allowing me to get lost in my emotions without ever once stopping to think about simplistic concepts of who was “right” or “wrong.” Those two actors are such an important part of this new fairytale love story we’re all watching unfold every week. And it was their incredibly vulnerable work that allowed this tragic chapter in Emma and Killians’ love story to resonate as fiercely as it did.
However, I think one my favorite things about this episode was the reminder to hope even in dark times. From Operation Light Swan to Killian telling Emma he loves her no matter what she’s done, there were hints that no matter how bleak things might look, there is still forgiveness, healing, and a happy future to look forward to. And at the center of all those hopeful moments was the scene in which Emma chose to let go of the darkness and light the flame that would make it possible. Emma’s fear of allowing herself to start planning for a future with Killian felt so relatable, because who hasn’t been afraid to actually start working toward a future that you know might not work out or might get taken from you? But what made that moment so beautiful was watching love conquer fear and, by extension, darkness. Their love was strong enough to light the flame that was meant to defeat the darkness. And if that doesn’t give you hope that their love will be strong enough to conquer the darkness once and for all, then I don’t know what will.
Once Upon a Time is a show about hope, and I love that, even in an episode that felt almost unbearably sad at times, there were still so many reasons to hold on to hope. Love is stronger than darkness. And that’s a message I will always believe in.
What was the best thing you saw on TV this week?