Warning: Here be MAJOR spoilers for this week’s episodes of: The Flash, Arrow, and iZombie. Thou hast been warned.
Another week, another mountain of feels to obsess over. Here were some of the most emotional moments from this week’s TV. (Albeit of the youth-centric genre variety that this TV-watcher so adores. #SorryNotSorry.)
4. Donna Smoak makes Felicity face the truth.
Mama Smoak may be a little over the top at times, but she sure knows when to bring the situation down to earth, you know? In this week’s stakes-raising episode of Arrow, Felicity’s mom sat her daughter down to talk love life decisions and it was relatively glorious. The female characters on this show tend to be more or less secluded from one another in Season 3. Save for the odd scene (i.e. Laurel and Nyssa joining forces and complaining about their dads — one of our past Top TV Feels of the Week), we don’t get enough lady convos. Given the topic of the conversation between the Smoak women, this scene wasn’t exactly passing any Bechdel Tests, but it was still nice to see a mother/daughter relationship get some time on this, at times, unbearably dudely show. Especially when it involves Donna straight-up explaining to Felicity what we’ve all known since Felicity’s ill-fated relationship with Ray Palmer began: Felicity is madly in love with Oliver — even if he is a doofus. Can Mama Smoak move to Starling City permanently, please?
3. Ravi tells Liv she’s more than her zombie-ism.
This show managed to make me feel things this week in a way it hasn’t really succeeded at before. Given that iZombie is only on its third episodes ever, that’s suitably impressive. The most feels-inducing moment in “The Exterminator” came following Liv’s stint in full-on zombie mode when she killed former co-worker-turned-zombie Marcy to protect Ravi. As the two friends stuffed Marcy’s body into the trunk of Ravi’s car, Ravi reassured Liv that she is more than just her zombie-ism. She is still a person — and a good, caring, empathetic person at that. Though we’ve known since the pilot that Liv suffers for the way her zombie-ism has forced her to push the people she loves the most away, we’ve never seen just how scared Liv is that she has also lost herself in the process. Rose McIver manages to convey Liv’s fear and shame and misery all in one look, and it is incredibly humanizing. Who hasn’t worried about the bad parts of themselves? Who hasn’t feared that there is a selfish monster inside just waiting to get out? (Just me?) Maybe you’re not a zombie, but Liv’s struggle to discover the kind of person she is makes her self-reflection (helpfully explained to us in voiceover) so relatable. We all need friends like Ravi, the person who looks Liv in the eye when she is at her worst and most self-doubtful to tell her: I know who you are and you are good. #TeamFriendship
2. Detective Lance calls Oliver a villain.
Holy tension! This showdown between Detective Lance and Oliver as The Arrow has been a long time coming — and it totally paid off. The best thing about this scene? We can see both sides of it. Oliver is doing his best to help the city. Without him, Starling City would be failing even more of its population. Lance doesn’t know half of what Oliver has had to deal with, or what could have happened if The Arrow hadn’t arrived in town three years ago. On the other hand, Lance did lose his daughter to the world Oliver represents. Even if it wasn’t technically Oliver’s fault, Sara would most likely still be alive if she had never met him. Furthermore, Oliver has killed people. Though he has changed, though he has found “a better way,” that doesn’t absolve him of guilt. This week’s Arrow brought up some pretty great questions about Oliver’s flaws as a hero, mostly through the character of Detective Lance. These are questions the show still hasn’t adequately addressed. This show eschews greatness in its reluctance to critically question Oliver’s character and mission. It has the potential to really dive into complicated explorations of justice, the failure of institutions, systems of privilege (not only within this city, but within the superhero narrative), and mental health. Scenes like this one between Lance and Oliver flirt with Arrow‘s potential as a show, but never really deliver. That being said, this showdown rocked. That face slap? Come on!
1. Joe comforts Barry.
The relationship that continues to be at the heart of The Flash is the father/son dynamic between Joe and Barry. (Anytime Joe calls Barry “Bar,” my heart smiles.) These two are so great together (never leave us, Jesse L. Martin), and they may have had their best scene yet in this week’s episode. Barry’s father has been kidnapped, and Barry feels helpless at the thought of losing him. He is even more confused and disheartened by the fact that Harrison Wells, the man who may have had something to do with Barry’s mom’s murder, is the person they need to rely on to help find Barry’s dad. Joe gives Barry a pep talk that not only reinforces their relationship, but spells out the appeal of this entire show (more specifically: Barry’s appeal as a superhero): “You always wanna be the person who sees the best in people. I’ve been a cop for 25 years, all I can see are the flaws, the lies, the dark thoughts that people think I don’t see. I wish I could be you. As fast as you are, that is your real power.” It is so interesting that Joe present’s Barry’s ability to see the best in people not as an inherent trait, but as a choice.: i.e. you want to be this compassionate person vs. you are this compassionate person. Too often, goodness is portrayed as a trait you’re either born with or not. This depiction not only diminishes the strength of people who choose compassion, it also limits the potential to change from someone who doesn’t choose compassion to someone who does. The Flash has made some pretty amazing storytelling decisions in recent episodes, but this has to be one of my favorites.
FYI: If Joe’s speech isn’t enough to make you well up, then Barry’s desperate “I can’t lose my dad, Joe,” followed by the fastest man alive curling up into a little ball will probably do the trick. (Someone please give Barry a hug.) Rather than let Barry wallow, Joe pulls Barry to his feet. They have work to do. Joe really doesn’t give himself enough credit. As a cop, Joe may be looking for the worst in people, but, as a father figure, he is a huge reason why Barry is the person he is today. The behavior of choosing compassion was initially imparted to Barry by his mom and his dad, but it was Joe who had the immense responsibility of nurturing compassion after Barry’s mom was murdered and his father was falsely imprisoned for the crime. These tragic, frustrating circumstances could have easily been enough to turn even the most good-natured kid into a far less compassionate person. But not in the case of Barry Allen. Not on Joe West’s watch.
What TV moments gave you some of the biggest feels this past week? Share them in the comments below!