Warning: Here be MAJOR spoilers for this week’s episodes of: Pretty Little Liars, The Flash, Arrow, and The Vampire Diaries. Thou hast been warned.
It was a good week for feels on TV. There were arrests, attempted murders, actual murders, and some subtler moments. (Somehow, Arrow is my example of a subtle moment this week. What has the TV world come to?) Without further ado, here are my top TV feels from the week ending March 20th, 2015.
5. The Vampire Diaries: Kai is left alone in the prison world.
This week’s episode of TVD was nowhere near as great as the previous installment, which saw Caroline convincing Stefan to join her in a life (or at least a year) of humanity-less existence. But it had its share of feels. Surprisingly, the most poignant for me came in seeing Kai’s agony-face when he realizes that he has been left alone (or so he thinks) in yet another prison world. To be clear, Kai should not be a sympathetic character. He has done terrible things. But, somehow, Chris Wood’s performance in this episode, most especially his desperate attempts to convince Bonnie (and himself) that he’s changed, managed to endear me to him. This moment was also heartbreaking to watch because of what it meant for Bonnie. She is working through her trauma in some pretty awesome ways and, on a meta level, I love it because her character hardly ever gets anything to do. However, within the context of this show, Bonnie’s choice to take an eye for an eye (so far, only figuratively speaking) was sad. Lots of feels.
4. Pretty Little Liars: Ali is found guilty of murder.
Pretty Little Liars may be known for its crazy twists and turns, but the real magic trick it manages to pull off on a week to week basis is making us care about these characters after five seasons of shenanigans. This is especially true of the character of Alison DiLaurentis, who hasn’t always been the most compassionate person or friend. But Sasha Pieterse really sold Ali’s agony, regret, and panic in the moment when the jury read the guilty verdict. Watching Ali tear up as she glanced desperately back at the Liars made me tear up. Well played, PLL.
3. Arrow: Felicity tells Oliver she’s happy with him in her life.
Finally, a happy feels! OK, so it is more of a bittersweet feels with a healthy dose of optimism, but — compared to what the Olicity dynamic has been like for most of this season — Felicity and Oliver’s scenes in this week’s episode were practically song-and-dance numbers. Sure, Oliver was still angsting out about his man pain, but there were sparks of perspective in his requisite brooding, and they were almost exclusively brought out by Felicity. To be clear, this shouldn’t be Felicity’s sole job on this show — I’m still still waiting for the subplot that involves Felicity teaming up with Laurel, Nyssa, and Thea to start their own vigilante-style, consensus-based team — but I do love when our girl whips out her own superpower: emotional intelligence.
2. Sleepy Hollow: The show is renewed for a third season!
Praise the TV gods! Sleepy Hollow has been renewed for a third season — albeit with a new showrunner (Clifton Campbell, formerly showrunner for The Glades). I’m nervous to see how the change in showrunner, as well as the network’s perspective that Sleepy Hollow floundered this season because it was too serialized (a lazy, ill-defined breakdown of its flaws), will affect what I love about this show. But I don’t really care because it is coming back! I have to admit, especially with the announcement that Mark Goffman was leaving as showrunner, I was seriously worried about the fate of this show. I was so happy to find out that it will ride again.
1. The Flash: Dr. Wells kills Cisco.
I don’t know about you guys, but this moment had me staring at the screen in horror wondering a) when Cisco became my favorite character on The Flash and b) when The Flash got so good. The weight of the moment was partially lessened by The Flash‘s PaleyFest promo, which included a yet-to-have-occurred moment of Cisco humorously expressing his love for Laurel, but maybe that was a good thing? Because I’m not sure if I could have taken this moment if I thought there was any chance that Cisco would remain dead for reals. Inexplicably, he has become a breakout character for me on a show that too-often delegated him to the role of unintentionally awkward comic relief in the early episodes. Now, I want to know more about this family he’s estranged from. I want to know what’s under all of the quips and enthusiasm.
So much of the credit for the impact of this scene goes to Carlos Valdes (Tom Cavanagh is excellent, as well, of course). Rather than play Cisco’s realization that his father figure has not only betrayed them all, but is probably about to kill him in a stoic, angry, or overt way, he chooses a more subtle route. In this scene, Carlos is quietly scared. His lower lip trembles and he cries unabashedly as he tries to use that big brain of his (the one that was clever enough to figure out Dr. Wells’ true identity) to find a way out of the situation. But there is no way. (Well, other than time travel.) We get the impression that Cisco is crying as much for the loss of the Dr. Wells he thought he knew — the man he looks up to and chose as family over his presumably less-than-stellar biological family, the man with whom he chooses to share his favorite Buster Keaton film– as he is his own impending death.
The Flash works so well as a show because it is a much needed counterbalance to all of the doom and gloom of the anti-hero dramas that populate so much of TV drama and so much of the superhero fare out there right now. Cisco is the embodiment of the unabashed enthusiasm and wonder of the fans of shows like this. He is the youthful optimist. He is the Felicity. Because of this, in addition to all of the other reasons we like him as a character, his death was downright agonizing to watch.