Things I Watched That I Loved: Week of February 24th, 2013
Welcome to another edition of “Things I Watched That I Love,” which is pretty self-explanatory. What stood out to me on television this week? What did I absolutely love? What am I dying to discuss? To answer those questions, I will discuss plot lines from recently aired episodes of Justified, Hart of Dixie, Arrow, The Walking Dead, and Nashville. Read at your own risk.
Episode 4×08, “Outlaw,” aired Tuesday, Febrary 26th, 2013
Oh wow, Justified. That was brutal. Visually and emotionally. Arlo was willing to kill to keep the secret of Drew Thompson, and he took the secret with him to his grave. Looks like there was no redemption for the old man in the end, no attempt to make amends to his son, not even on his deathbed. And that’s the way it should be. This episode really rang true to Arlo’s character, and his continually rocky relationship with Raylan. When Raylan told his fellow Marshalls about his father’s death, he announced the news very matter-of-factly: “Arlo’s dead. I got the call an hour ago. What?” That is how Raylan would act, right? And yet, that scene at the elevator … such excellent work by Timothy Olyphant. I feel like I need to watch the episode again to really take in the nuance of the performance, and all the little beats and moments that built up throughout “Outlaw.” This episode was a longtime coming, and it felt very earned.
Boyd Crowder is a wonder to behold. Walton Goggins is one of my favorite parts of television right now, and I’m really glad that this season of Justified is so focused on his character’s journey—both his personal life with Ava (Ava Crowder continues to be THE BEST), and his empire-building. Make way for Boyd and Ava Crowder, Kentucky. Make way, World. Season 3 was not my favorite, but with season 4 it feels like a return to form for the show. Boyd is making bigger power plays than ever, which feels like a natural progression. He never ceases to use any situation to his advantage, and I couldn’t help but shake my head with admiration at what Boyd pulled off this week.
P.S. Colt and Johnny are not long for this fictional world. Buh-bye, boys.
2. Hart of Dixie
Episode 2×16, “Where I Lead Me,” aired Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
I’ve seen a lot of outrage directed at this episode, along with some well-reasoned arguments for why it was a misstep on the part of the writers and/or unfair to the audience and the character of Wade. The criticism is certainly valid, and I can see where it’s coming from … but I loved the episode. I thought it was a brave and honest and did no character-destroying whatsoever. Maybe it’s because I’ve never thought Wade was the best part of that show, or Zoe’s lobster, or never loved him as much as some do? I really do like Wade, but I really like all the characters on Hart of Dixie. All of them. He is not the main draw for me, but one of many, and I can’t tell you how rare that is for a show.
But back to Wade. I think that Hart of Dixie has always demonstrated him to have a good heart, but he has also suffered from almost crippling self-esteem issues that have been a factor throughout the series. What has sometimes been perceived as snobbery on Zoe’s part, has actually been two-sided prejudice. I think Wade is really his own worst enemy. Wade Kinsella is very much a Pacey Witter in that way—engaging in self-destructive behavior because he doesn’t think he deserves better. This was not a matter of “guy gets caught in a lie”; he sabotaged his relationship with Zoe on purpose, albeit subconsciously. I think he kind of had to ruin this relationship with Zoe in order to really face this and work on himself. It seems like he’s been trying to make more of himself to impress Zoe, but if he really wants to change his life, he needs to do it for himself. Not that I think Wade should or needs to change, but it seems that he is unhappy with the status quo. One way or another, I hope for Wade to accept and love himself. (Ugh, I sound so cheesy. Ignore me.) Zoe and Wade have had great chemistry together, but they both have a lot to work on individually. So I think that their breakup has the potential to lead to better things down the road for both of them.
On a lighter note: Tom and Wanda’s wedding! Lord of the Rings–Star Wars mashup wedding? So Bluebell. Those beautiful weirdos. And to paraphrase Wanda’s mom, you’ll all find your weirdos someday too. I loved the bridesmaid dresses, the groomsmen’s light sabers, the geeky cake, and everything else. It was a perfect way to frame the episode, as it allowed Zoe to be Maid of Honor, and Wade to be Best Man, forcing everything to come to a head.
And Wade and Tom’s conversation about Ryan Gosling was everything. “No, I will not be your Sex Yoda. Rent a Ryan Gosling movie. Do what he does.” Excellent advice. But when Tom takes Wade’s advice, and is worried he doesn’t have the abs to make Wanda happy, Wade lays down some true Gosling knowledge, which is worth sharing here: “What women like about Ryan Gosling in that movie is his body. But what they love about him is him going out on that boat with that chick in the rain with them stupid ducks! He’s like the most romantic dude ever. And so are you. You’re a good, honest, loyal guy. That’s why Wanda loves you.” My heart. Oh, Wade. Is it weird that I feel like cheating on his girlfriend really taught him something important and maybe made him a better man? It’s probably weird. Sorry.
In B Plot news, this episode was super important in reuniting Lemon and Annabeth. Their friendship has become one of the best parts of the show, so I’m so glad that the creepy paste guy could bring them together. “I think that psychic was right. I did go to the wedding with my true companion.” Awww. Best friends forever. (And how fun was fired up George? So fun.)
Episode 1×16, “Dead to Rights,” aired Wednesday, February 26th, 2013
I actually had to watch this episode twice because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to watch it on Wednesday. But when I rewatched the episode, I really saw how awesome it was. I’m so glad that Tommy knows, you guys! People knowing stuff is just the best, and I wish more shows realized that. And there was some excellent father-son angst thrown in for good measure. And on a superficial note, I loved the reveal scene because we really had a chance to examine Oliver’s vigilante eye-makeup.
Oh, and now that they fixed China White’s wig, all is well in the world. Kelly Hu is one of the most beautiful humans in the world, so I am always happy to see her. Throw in a kickass fight scene, and all the better. (The fight scenes on this show are GREAT, right?) And I was happy to get a glimpse of China sans wig too (though in the show’s universe, her brunette tresses are the wig).
Now for a bunch of jumbled and random thoughts. Yay, Felicity training scene! And oh hey, Laurel’s mom is back. And she thinks Sarah might still be alive? Things are about to get crazy. And I actually really like McKenna—way more than I thought I would. So many other shows would have made her boring or unlikable, because she seems like a placeholder for other pairings on the show (like Oliver and Laurel, or Oliver and Felicity), or because she is kind of the one trying to take our hero down. And yet Arrow manages to make the detective pretty lovable and fabulous. Also, I’ve said this on Twitter already, but I Stephen Amell has really grown on me. I came into the series with doubts about him as a lead—he was great with the action stuff, but I wasn’t sold on his portrayal of Oliver. Well, consider me sold … and then some. But ugh, his flashback wig is still the worst. Also, I’m kind of bored by the island backstory at this point. Let’s have a break from that soon. Oh, and Diggle is still the best.
4. The Walking Dead
Episode 3×11, “I Ain’t a Judas,” aired Sunday, February 24th, 2013
I don’t really like Andrea a lot of the time, and I often don’t agree with her choices, but I actually love her character. It seems like there’s a lot of Andrea hate out there, so I just wanted to make my case. She is a very conflicted character, and it is that inner conflict which makes her so interesting and relatable, to me. Life is hard, especially in an apocalypse. Who wouldn’t be conflicted? Was I mad when she dumped Michonne for a warm bed with the creepy Governor? So mad. I’m still mad. But wouldn’t most people do the same? Take the easy way out, after going through so much hardship?
When examining my anger at Andrea, I realized it also might be more a reflection of how cool Michonne is. In this dangerous world, most people can’t afford to be generous or kind, and yet Michonne cared for a lost woman in the woods, and protected her all winter, even when she got sick. That’s pretty incredible for the someone in the universe of The Walking Dead, where people just can’t afford to be compassionate or trusting anymore, so it made Michonne remarkable and likable immediately. I’ve read that people were disappointed in her lack of characterization, but from where I’m standing, her actions say a lot. Plus Michonne has major ninja skills, and an ingenious bodyguard system, so there’s that.
Also, I’d like to point out how badass Andrea is. Dismembering a zombie and mashing its teeth in to make a personal shield for a solo trip through walker-filled woods? The lady has skills and guts. Horrible, awful, terrible taste in men, sure. But she’s tough. I was so glad that this episode finally gave her a reunion with her old group. It was super awkward of course, and ended badly, but it was so important. I was glad that Carol, at least, welcomed her, as Andrea totally saved Carol’s life and that was what forced Andrea to be left behind. And Carol’s advice to her old friend? Carol may be the toughest of them all. As for Andrea laying down the knife and choosing not to kill eye-patch psycho at the end, I think it makes sense for her character. She hasn’t killed a living human before, so it seems like that’s a big line for her to cross. Yeah, it would solve a lot of problems for our heroes if she would have taken the Governor out, but this choice will make for better TV in the long run. And it would have made Dale proud. (Sniffle.)
Mostly, I’m just really happy that Daryl is back with his friends. Daryl is the best the end. And that scene with Carol was excellent. It’s just too bad he had to bring his jerk of a brother back to the prison with him. Merle isn’t going to be able to co-exist with the others for long—especially Michonne—but he seems to be behaving himself for the time being.
And ooooh, looks like Rick should have been nicer to Tyreese and his people. Rick’s ranting sent them running right to the Governor, and they know about the prison layout. Oops. This can’t be good. Tyreese and Sasha seem like good people though, so maybe they’ll realize that Woodbury isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Also, I’m still hoping for a coup by Andrea. Maybe she can team up with Tyreese and Sasha, and fight for peace. (Hahaha! Peace? Yeah right.)
P.S. Last week’s Talking Dead featured Retta. So that was awesome.
Episode 1×14, “Dear Brother,” aired Thursday, February 27th, 2013
I love a good party episode, and this definitely delivered. Beautiful music performances, catty exchanges, significant glances, a mother falling off the wagon, and a dead brother. What more could you ask from a birthday celebration? This episode was great. I love that Deacon spends every birthday watching Old Yeller, because of course he does. And I love that Juliette pulled him out of his preferred funk anyways. And I love that Juliette opened up about how her mom ruined her 9th birthday party, and is finally facing some of the pain she’s been holding onto. (Who knew that Hayden Panettiere would be so incredible on this show? Because she is.) Hopefully this will be a step in moving past it. And I love that Avery wasn’t invited, and he was like a sad puppy looking through the window, and I just laughed and laughed.
What I don’t love? Teddy. And everything related to Teddy. However, I’m glad that he realized he did wrong by Coleman apologized. Those two teaming up against Lamar could be fun. Maybe. We’ll see. But, ugh, Team Rayna. The show is so much better now that Rayna and boring Teddy are no longer trying to make their dull marriage work. On to bigger and better things for our Queen of Country.
Oh, and I love that Scarlett and Gunnar were finally pulled into the rest of the story. They had been pretty isolated for awhile. But poor Gunnar. I knew when he threw that gun in the water that his brother would end up dead, unable to defend himself. I have a cruel and twisted mind, just like the writers. Poor Gunnar. On a positive note, Scarlett served up some sexual healing. But will they regret it in the morning?
- You can listen to my thoughts on The Following over at The VRO: “The Fall”
- I talked about my thoughts on Pretty Little Liars on The VRO as well: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”
- And clearly I can’t ever stop talking, because I discussed Scandal on The VRO too: “Boom Goes the Dynamite”
- The Americans is still amazing. I just thought I’d give you guys a break from me repeating myself, so that’s why it’s not on the list again. (But really, The Americans is so so good, you guys!) This episode featured Keri Russell’s best work so far, and the show is really dealing with some awesome stuff in terms of gender and marriage.
- Do you watch Switched at Birth? Well, you totally should. Last week’s episode was intense and very well done, and that scene between Melanie and Travis made me tear up. What a beautiful pep talk! And “Tight Rope Walker,” really set up the stakes for tonight’s all American Sign Language episode. To find out more about the episode, check out my Q&A with Katie Leclerc, who plays Daphne.
- The series finale of Bunheads aired last week. No more Bunheads for the foreseeable future? That makes me sad. Hopefully ABC Family will renew the series. It was a really weird episode, but all Bunheads episodes are weird, and that’s what makes me love it. And that scene at the end between Michelle and Ginny made me cry. It was just such a surprisingly real and honest moment, in the midst of retro-stylized cuteness.
- Cougar Town: I still love it. Wine times are the best times.
- I’m still really into Girls, and last week’s Jessa-centric episode was no exception—especially the way it led to Hannah’s conversation with her own parents. That was some intense stuff. The thing about Girls is that I don’t really know how to share my thoughts on it, but it just always makes me think about stuff for days after watching. Someday when I am feeling smarter, I will explain to you why and how.
- Oh hey, this whole list is a lie, because all I really care about is Lost Girl. Seriously, I have a problem. I am just really invested in the state of Dyson’s heart, and I want to be just like Kenzi when I grow up, and I really admire all of Bo’s weapons. Ahem. I’ll spare you the rest of my feelings.