What a week of TV! This is the kind of week that is so incredibly satisfying as a fan of good TV. There were so many great episodes this week and so many tiny character moments that filled me with pure joy (and sometimes the best kind of heartbreak). What did you love about the past week in television?
- Looking: I can’t say that I’m disappointed to see Kevin go. Seeing Richie and Patrick talking and hanging out again reminded me that I like them together so much better, even if it’s just as friends. Patrick needs someone to call him out when he’s being an idiot, like when he’s having an affair with his already-taken boss and getting too emotionally invested in a future that wasn’t going to happen with Kevin. I’m glad it made him realize that he needed to stand up for himself and ask for what he needed out of the relationship, then leave when Kevin wasn’t capable of giving it to him. In other breakup news, I’m also proud of Dom for leaving Lynn. I liked Lynn a lot last season but he’s an awful boyfriend. Like Kevin, he wasn’t capable of giving Dom what he needed because he is still emotionally in a relationship with Brian. It’s understandable but unfair and Dom deserves better. I’m so happy that he has Doris who is so supportive and has his back 100% of the time. We all need a friend who will look into ways to Kickstarter our restaurant and help us make our dreams come true for no other reason than it is important to us. Finally, to round out the group, I cannot tell you how happy I am with the changes and growth in Augustin between s1 and s2. Eddie has been such a good influence on him and I am excited to see how he adapts to working at the shelter.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: This wasn’t a brilliant or groundbreaking episode of this show by any means, but it was so much fun to watch. I loved the more action-oriented scenes as the team took over the training and took down all the other agents. It’s easy to forget that this is a show about cops and this was a nice way to bring their jobs into focus a little more while retaining all of the great character moments I love about the show. Amy’s failure to start the Nine-Nine chant (and her subsequent excitement when it worked) was adorable and so Amy. Terry’s description of the team as “boss ass penguins” may be my favorite Terry line in a while, and Rosa opening up and explaining why she needed Saturday off was perfect. Back at the precinct, I loved Captain Holt’s apology most of all. While I’m not sure that I necessarily agree that they should have ended up with the same personality classification, it’s nice when a leader can recognize that part of leading is encouraging and accepting the strengths of those who work for you. It takes a lot to admit your failings to an employee and it made me respect Captain Holt as a character even more.
- Jane the Virgin: I fall a little more in love with this show every week. I am all-in on Jane and Rafael’s relationship (even though he is acting awfully shady at the moment) and thought their mutual concern for the health of their unborn child was so well done. I’m glad that Rafael went with his gut and planned the graduation celebration for Jane even if it was cheesy because it led to the best moment of the episode. It’s just become a fact of this show that any scene featuring the three generations of Villanueva women will be outstanding. Xo’s speech to Jane was beautiful all on it’s own but the shot of the three women sitting on Jane’s bed as she asks for the secret to being a good mother is one that will happily stay with me. No matter what is happening with Jane and the men in her life (Rogelio included), her relationship with her mother and grandmother is always stable and always a source of comfort, love, and acceptance.
- Castle: Oh how I love the 3XK arc. It never fails to be wonderfully chilling and it brings out such good things in Nathan Fillion’s performance. Both Castle and Ryan carry so much guilt over Jerry Tyson and the murders he committed that both feel responsibility for and you could feel that guilt this week. When they found Tyson, I was not alone in thinking that maybe there was a chance they found someone who really had surgically altered their face to look like a serial killer and I loved that doubt. It wasn’t until that brilliant final interrogation scene that I felt sure they had caught Tyson only to have things go so terribly wrong when the precinct realized it was all a part of Tyson and Nieman’s plan to kidnap Beckett. That interrogation is some of the best work Nathan Fillion has done on this show. He found the story and my jaw dropped when he pulled out the pictures of Tyson’s mom and compared them to the recent victims. I have been anxiously awaiting part two of the episode and I’m so glad that tomorrow is Monday.
- The Fosters: So many things happened in this episode, it’s almost overwhelming. The most-talked about this week was the Jude and Connor scene at the movies. However this unfolds, I am in no way prepared. I feel so incredibly protective of Jude and his happiness and I just want everything to work out for him. Regardless of what direction his relationship with Connor goes from here, it’s obvious that these two deeply care about each other. They are young and figuring out who they are and unfortunately, only one of them has the space to do so. If Connor decides he might like to move forward with a future relationship with Jude, his dad isn’t going to be supportive and it’ll just make this time that much more confusing for him. I trust this show to handle it all well but I guarantee it will make my emotions a mess. Just the small scene of them touching (and eventually hooking) pinkies tells me that there are so many good and heartbreaking things to come for them. It was full of innocence and excitement and uncertainty and everything that a first crush should be.
- In other brief thoughts of the week, I love most of what they are doing with Mariana’s character. I love that she is enjoying STEM Club as well as her dance team. She’s one of the more unapologetically feminine characters on the show and it’s nice to see her continue to maintain that identity while excelling at a traditionally male-dominated field. I’m less excited about her wanting to go on tour with the band and would rather see her work through some of her abandonment issues, but I sometimes forget that she’s still a teenager and sometimes they don’t make the best choices. Along similar lines, Jesus could also stand to work through his own issues regarding his mother and how that’s affected him and I will look forward to seeing that happen so he will stop making such stupid decisions. Finally, Robert and Callie. I want these two to have an actual relationship that doesn’t just have Callie calling him when he’s in trouble. I think they have a lot they could offer each other and I want to see that develop. In order for that to happen though, Robert needs to realize that he can be Callie’s dad without being her guardian. As a parent, you have to think of what’s best for your child and I just don’t see how taking Callie away from the family she’s chosen for herself and her brother is going to help her, especially not at 16 when she may not have that many years left at home.
- Parks and Recreation: I have not stopped smiling since “Pie-Mary” finished airing and I’m pretty sure it’s partly because it was another amazing episode of this show or because it made me so disappointed to say goodbye to this show that I’ve now lost my mind. Stepping back to “Ms. Ludgate-Dwyer Goes to Washington”, this show gave me a lot of my favorite things all at once. Barney and and his deep love for Ben and his accountancy-related puns is my favorite recurring character on this show. I love him nearly as much as he loves Ben and I wind up with a big smile on my face whenever he appears. So the fact that he managed to scare Andy the human puppy with his enthusiasm cracked me up. Then we had politician cameos, the highlight of which was Madeleine Albright and the fact that Leslie ate her waffles. This show gets a lot of milage and gets genuinely excited about Washington politics and it’s that optimism (coupled with Jen’s deep cynicism) that I adore. Finally, everything with April was perfect. It is just what I would have wanted for her and such a proud moment for Leslie as her mentor.
- “Pie-Mary” is one of the best episodes Parks and Recreation has done. It was funny, it was sweet, and it had some great satirical moments of the American political system. It gave us a chance to see April and Ron working together again and Ron being reminded of why he has always liked April so much. It gave us some adorable moments of Andy teasing April about her crush on him (and confessing his own). It gave us a great look at Donna and Garry’s friendship, ending in a very sweet gesture on Donna’s part. Most importantly, it gave us the absolute perfection that was Leslie and Ben’s story for the week. It started with an always welcome appearance from Jen Barkley, who was horrified by Leslie and Ben’s children and the lack of interesting things to do in Pawnee as well as deeply cynical about the state of American voters. The rest of the episode was a tribute to Parks and Recreation’s unabashed pride of its feminist roots. Leslie Knope (and Amy Poehler) have never been shy about embracing feminism and the idea of gender equality and it’s only natural that it’s an issue that is also very important to her husband. Both of them were committed to combating the criticisms leveled against both of them by the media and the Male Men but it was always up to Leslie to set the tone. He would have supported her entering the Pie-Mary for him but he found a way for her to avoid that and retain the respect of an organization she cares about so much. Above all, this was a statement against the policing of women and the choices they make and it was wonderful to see. Leslie’s speech was an instant classic for this show and will be an important part of its legacy when it ends in a few weeks.
- The Mindy Project: Oh Danny. He has come so far in so many ways but sometimes he can be incredibly hurtful without meaning to be. I understand crazy families and not wanting your partner to see them or be subjected to the drama that was inevitable at the dinner with his parents. But that the same time, when you choose to build a life with someone, that makes them family. Annette understands this. She has Dot and the two of them would be lost without the other. They may not be related or even romantically linked, but they are family all the same. Fortunately, Danny had his mother to set things straight for him this week. In his effort to step up and be son he’s always had to be, he was ignoring the new family that is just starting to grow. And to Danny’s credit, the second he learned that Mindy was pregnant, he realized his error and dashed through the city in order to find her and make things right. They have some work to do as a couple before the baby gets here, namely, to stop making big life decisions without consulting the other. But at the end of the day, I think these two want to be together and want to raise this child together so they’ll do what it takes to make that happen. They aren’t going to give up and that’s what makes them such a compelling couple to watch. They may not be a perfect couple and neither is without significant flaws but they love each other and are willing to try and work on the relationship.
- The Flash: I was not expecting Cisco to tell Joe that an adult Barry was present on the night of his mother’s murder. I don’t know anything about the comics or any potential plot points they are going to try to work in, but I assume that an adult Barry learns of all the manipulations that Dr. Wells has taken to create The Flash and goes back to try to stop it all? No matter what happens, I am excited to see that unfold over the course of several seasons. In a smaller plot point of the week, I felt so badly for Caitlin. She’s had to say goodbye to Ronnie twice now and while I think he may still be alive and could make another surprise appearance, her face when Barry was carrying her away was heartbreaking. I do need him to be alive though, especially if it means we get more of Victor Garber as Martin Stein. I’d like to see him work with the team, especially Barry.
- Fresh Off the Boat: “Success Perm” is the first episode of this show that I feel worked all the way through. I like Eddie better in smaller doses and I thought he worked really well in contrast to his grune-loving cousin (who I also found hilarious). What I enjoyed the most however is the fact that Jessica and Louis are a team and value that partnership. They may team up to fool her family into thinking that they are doing better than they actually are, but at least they are on the same page. Randall Park and Constance Wu have such an easy, natural chemistry and I think their scenes together are often the best in any episode. I also can’t get enough of Emery or Evan, who are used just enough to be funny without coming across as obnoxiously precocious.
- The Americans: This show really is off to an outstanding third season. This episode had some of the most intense spy elements in the show so far while Elizabeth was being followed as well as one of the more unusually intimate scenes with the teeth-pulling and it pulled it off so well. Neither were loud, splashy moments and it was the better choice. This show is so good at the quiet moments and episodes like this show why.
- How to Get Away with Murder: I can’t tell whether it’s the show that’s inconsistent or just my response to it. Viola Davis continues to be amazing in this role and I’m enjoying the addition of Marcia Gay Harden as Sam’s sister but this show just isn’t very interesting to me a lot of the time. I am enjoying the more assertive Laurel and Connor managed to have a moment in this episode that made me really care about him but as a whole, the students just feel like they are there to provide the plot, which is mostly them standing around and worrying at this point. I’d like to see how everything unfolds so I’ll watch the last 3 episodes of the season but it just doesn’t have that vital energy that makes it must-see TV for me. The final scene this week was fantastic though and I look forward to meeting Annalise’s mom. Also everyone’s coat game was on point this episode, I want them all now.
- Borgen: LinkTV finished this airing of Borgen this week and now that I’m done, I can definitely say that I’m incredibly glad I got to watch this show. I see why it gets compared to The West Wing a lot because Birgitte shares a lot of the same political optimism that made TWW stand out. It’s a pragmatic but uncynical look at government work and the good that can be done if we elect those who genuinely want to make the country they live in a better place. The third season faltered a little with half of its story because I just did not care about Torben at all. The idea of corporate influence in a news program to achieve better ratings was more interesting but the affair was so dull from start to finish. But I fell in love with so many of the characters and really enjoyed experiencing this world. As the New Democrats were hearing their election results in the final episode, I found myself getting really emotional for them as well as the shot of Birgitte walking into Borgen with her children and boyfriend. It’s a fictional election in a foreign country but I wanted the results to be real because she is the type of person I would like to see in government. So many critics recommended the show the year it ended and I’m glad I took a chance on it.