In this week’s shorter-than-usual Week in TV post, we have a truly astounding offering from The Walking Dead’s continually impressive third season, a brilliantly amusing and light-hearted episode of Castle and the appearance of Scandal for its second season.
As always, I would love to hear your highlights from the last week’s worth of television, what you thought about the episodes/shows mentioned below and vice versa. Hit the comment box at the bottom should you wish.
The Walking Dead – Killer Within
Now that is how you kill off one of your main characters in a fashion that resonates with the viewer! This week’s episode of The Walking Dead was easily one of the strongest of the entire series to date, and easily of the third season so far.
Before we get to the stand-out moments, it has to be said that the pacing was just right this week. It’s something the show struggled with last season but now it seems it’s no longer a concern. We started off calmly and with a bit of humour before heading straight into the rough waters of the zombie prison siege, which remained tense and exciting all while it was happening.
I’ve said before that you always get the feeling that nobody on The Walking Dead is truly safe from getting the chop, no matter how big a cast member they are. In a show that operates with the constant threat of death in the foreground like TWD does, it helps to have that element working for it. As such, Lori’s death hit all the right notes.
I haven’t been a big fan of Lori for a while now, yet her horrific death traumatised me. It wasn’t because I liked the character, but because of how it was done. Dying in childbirth, in a dingy prison maintenance room with zombies lurking outside and with her own son having to watch the whole thing before putting a bullet in her head at the end. It really was just horrible.
Credit has to be given to those who expressed fantastic acting skills within, namely Sarah Wayne Callies and Andrew Lincoln. Rick’s lost people before but this will be the first time somebody close to him has died and it’s sure to have a profound impact on him and those around him. Lori’s conversation with Carl right before her death is also sure to go down as one of the show’s finest scenes due to how strong it was.
The Walking Dead continues to go from strength to strength in its third season and this week’s episode reminded us all just how good it’s capable of being. RIP Lori, and also T-Dog, but nobody really cares about his death do they?
Castle – The Final Frontier
When Castle wants to be serious, it does it well. When it wants to be light-hearted and amusing, it also does it well. Last week was a case more akin to the former while this week’s episode was more of the latter, to huge success.
This week’s episode was nothing less than a love letter to the sci-fi fans around the world. It was chock full of references to other sci-fi shows, including “That Joss Whedon show” that Nathan Fillion happened to be a part of. While I have never watched Firefly, even I could appreciate the blatant loving going on throughout the entire forty minutes and I’m sure the Firefly fanbase appreciated it too!
Castle just works so well when it makes an effort at being amusing, whether it’s Beckett donning her Nebula 9 outfit, Ryan asking a costumed man whether he has information and the man replying in a made-up language, the ridiculousness of a genuine laser blaster being the murder weapon, Beckett’s obvious fangirling throughout the episode and much more. I laughed, I found it very subtle and comical and I appreciated what it was aiming for and how it achieved it.
If you are a Castle fan and a sci-fi enthusiast, this week’s episode would’ve hit all the right spots. It was never intended on being anything but a purely light-hearted outing of often ludicrous proportions and it just worked. Weeks like this remind me that Castle can sometimes be something other than just another cop show and weeks like this also remind me why I do enjoy watching the show so very much.
Scandal – All Roads Lead to Fitz
Watching Scandal is the very definition of an addiction. You watch one episode and then you’re on the hook for another, and another, and before you know it, your eyes are red from staring at a screen for an incessant period of time. Scandal’s first season was excellent at doing the above; the second is even better.
‘All Roads Lead to Fitz’ was another particularly strong outing for Scandal. The case of the week was interesting, albeit massively predictable, but the true power always lies elsewhere for Scandal. The cases of the week are merely dressing for what lies underneath, and it’s a core of intrigue, conspiracy, lies and love.
Even though Fitz’s name is in the title of this week’s episode, the charming President himself doesn’t appear at all, disappointingly. However, we’re still treated to great scenes with the mysterious round-table of conspiracy, the elusive Abbey and her unknown motives, the shouldn’t-be-so-hilarious Huck and of course, the lady who never ceases to inject glamour into the show, Kerry Washington.
Kerry Washington is what carries Scandal more than anything else, at least in my opinion. Olivia is a wonderfully interesting character made even better by Washington’s consistently good performances. The scenes with Olivia and Fitz are always that much more special because of the chemistry between them, and you can’t help but root for them despite their love being forbidden. As I said earlier, Scandal’s true power isn’t in the stories, but in the characters.
There are some elements of the second season so far that I haven’t liked. For one, how quickly Quinn’s colourful past seems to have been brushed under the carpet. Another would be Abbey and David’s sudden relationship, which I just can’t believe at all no matter how hard I try.
For the most part, I’ve been pleased with how the show has continued the momentum of its inaugural run and if the ending to this week’s episode is anything to go by, things are set to get even more interesting as the weeks go by. And with a 22 episode season announced recently, there’ll be plenty of weeks to enjoy it still to come.
Now we’ll take a look at some of the ratings highlights from the past week, whether good or bad. Be warned Nikita fans – it wasn’t good news, unfortunately.
Sunday saw Once Upon a Time once again do extremely well, albeit for a not-so-great episode, with a 3.5 rating. With demographics like that, the show will easily secure a third season for itself come next year.
Also, ABC’s 666 Park Avenue’s misery continued as it only managed a 1.3 rating for itself, which surely means that cancellation is edging closer and closer as the weeks go by. A 1.3 isn’t good on a weekday; on a Sunday, it’s horrible.
On Monday, NBC’s run of surprise ratings with Revolution finally showed some signs of slowing as it failed to secure a rating above a 3.0 for the first time, with a 2.8 rating this week. It’s not quite in danger yet and it’ll likely rebound next week but with the confirmation that the show will be going on hiatus till March after it finishes for the year, I’m not convinced that the waters are steady just yet.
Wednesday saw Arrow increase to a 1.3 from last week’s series low 1.0, while NBC enjoyed a moderately successful week with Chicago Fire’s 2.2. Plus, The Voice decimated and then danced on The X Factor’s grave as its 3.8 rating squashed TXF’s miserable 2.6 rating. It’s already been renewed, however, but it’s clear what singing show is winning the slot this year. Perhaps TXF should’ve spent the money they used on securing Britney Spears on making a better show rather than hiring one of the most robotic and disinterested judges I’ve seen on shows like this.
Thursday’s ratings included The X Factor struggling for a dismal 2.3 rating, while The Vampire Diaries continued to be a ratings winner for The CW with its strong 1.5 demographic. With figures like those, a fifth season is inevitable. Also on The CW, Beauty and the Beast managed a 0.7 for itself. While not great, it would probably be renewed if it continued with those numbers for the rest of the season. The likelihood of that, however, is debatable.
Friday came along and offered up a 0.9 for Fringe – even with last week – but a miserable 0.3 for Nikita, right before it prepares to take a leave of absence for three weeks before returning to its original time slot. It pains me to see the show struggling like this despite its quality and I’m sure if it doesn’t improve when it returns, it’ll be in more trouble than what it’s already in.
Friday also saw Grimm continue to be a huge success for NBC. For it to be getting ratings in the region of 1.7 on a Friday night is pretty darned good and the network has got to be thrilled with the results. I certainly never expected the show to do so well, that’s for sure.