It’s been an exceptional week for finales and because we’ve worn ourselves out talking about Once Upon A Time’s masterful 5A finale here and here, we’ve chosen to talk about our other favorites that’ve floored us this week — The Flash, Nashville, and Arrow.
Most Noteworthy Performance by an Actress
Shantel VanSanten | The Flash
It’s no surprise that VanSanten is an absolute delight as Patty Spivot, but “Running to Stand Still” gave us the opportunity to see the character’s heart breaking burdens layer her in more profound ways than before. VanSanten’s brought Patty’s effervescent spirit to life beautifully, but it’s the vulnerability exhibited in this week’s episode that broke me. You empathized with her. You understood her regrets. You understood her guilt. It’s not her fault, but it doesn’t change the fact that in the back of her mind, she’ll always blame herself. VanSanten made you feel every bit of Patty’s heartache and rage. Patty isn’t just a spritely spirited adorable little nerd, but she’s fierce. VanSanten colored the character differently this week because even though we’ve seen her break down over her father before, we’ve never seen the profundity of it all — the guilt threaded with rage, emptiness, and determination. There’s so much more strength in Patty than we get to see and it’s fantastic to have had the opportunity to watch her fall and rise. She could’ve given in to darkness, but instead she chose honor, and that appears to be a running theme in TV series this season. Sometimes, the person who smiles the brightest has the most aches in their heart — and that’s the beauty we’re able to appreciate through Patty’s character.
Most Noteworthy Performance by an Actor
Grant Gustin | The Flash
We cannot say enough good things about Gustin’s performances. Fun fact: my sister’s not really a TV person but even she finds Barry riveting. Gustin’s able to do so much with the character and while he’s always evocative and has a pristine way of making sensitive nerds like me bawl, he’s off the charts when it comes to manifesting openness that truly resonates with the audience. Barry’s heartfelt honesty is a trait that’s most admirable — when Gustin pours his heart into a scene that requires Barry to be vulnerable, we’re able to see into the character in ways not many series allow. There’s a childlike wonder in Barry that creates moments of raw sincerity such as the scene of him apologizing to “Harry”. Barry’s open to forgiveness and love, but he’s also angry — in the midst of the beautifully kind soul lies a broken man in a constant state of anguish from the terrorizing loss he’s known. Gustin makes you feel the pain within Barry so deeply, but he’s also able to leave you with hope. Hope in the fact that Barry’s a character who’d never let the world turn his heart cold. And that’s always refreshing. Gustin’s not just great at delivering vulnerability, but he’s exceptional when it comes to showcasing immeasurable gratitude and elation. “Running to Stand Still” was yet another beautiful episode giving Gustin the opportunity to deliver all sorts of emotions to which he mastered phenomenally.
Most Exquisite TV Moment
“We’ve Got Nothing but Love to Prove” | Nashville
Who doesn’t love a good proposal? And while there was more than one this week, I’m sorry, Oliver and Felicity, but I’ve been waiting a little bit longer for Deacon Claybourne to pop the question. Interestingly, I’ve never thought about how their proposal would go down, perhaps during a concert together? However, what we got literally had me in tears. What I’ve always appreciated about Deacon and Rayna is that the two have always been so open to forgiving one another. They’ve been through so much heartache together, but ultimately, it comes down to the fact that no one can ever make them happier. They can never be as mentally, spiritually, and physically intimate with anyone else because the bond they’ve formed is magic. They’ve lost each other too many times before, but this was the moment they chose to cease their happiness. Connie Britton and Charles Esten have always been remarkable scene partners but the sincerity in their performances this week made for a raw, beautiful proposal. It was honest, simple yet bold, and intimate in all the right ways exuding profound adoration remarkably.
Most Stunning Montage
“Running to Stand Still” | The Flash
Creating this category was perhaps one of the most brilliant decisions we’ve made because there’s nothing that tugs on our heartstrings more than montages that are often seen in finales. Once Upon A Time undoubtedly takes the crown with the Nevengers off on a journey to the Underworld, but since we’ve already discussed that here, we’ll just continue praising The Flash for doing a Christmas special adorably. All of us here at MGcircles have different taste in media, but the one thing we can all agree on is that the cheesier the Christmas specials, the better. Joe’s choice to give Barry the watch his father had given him was beautiful — the father/son dynamic between the two never fails to evoke tears, but this moment was especially gorgeous because even though Joe’s learned he has a biological son, it doesn’t change the fact that he’ll always love Barry like his own. Caitlin and Jay’s ridiculously sweet banter ending with a kiss under the mistletoe followed by Cisco’s “finally” was delightful. Patty’s adorably ugly Christmas sweater topped with Barry finally introducing her as his girlfriend was lovely. Iris hanging up an ornament of the Flash and authenticating the fact that her belief in his heroism will be showcased in any way possible was perhaps the most wonderful little moment. And finally, Wally West coming home for the first time resorted us into a puddle of happy, hopeful tears. We cannot wait to get to know him, and we’re so pleased with this episode’s stunning conclusion.
“Wait what? What just happened?”
“Dark Waters” | Arrow
Arrow knows that it’s not allowed to kill Felicity Smoak right? It’s in their contract right? Okay good just checking. Both Arrow and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did a cliffhanger really well, but because Arrow’s made us gasp louder, we’ll go with that. A sweet proposal showcasing the fact that Oliver cannot do anything justice without Felicity by his side ending in a motionless body isn’t what we signed up for. We signed up for the two of them going home after the beautiful moment and ending the night with wine plus, treasuring one another in every little way they could find. We signed up for Oliver telling the truth. We did not sign up to have our hearts ripped out of our chest. Here’s to hoping Arrow remembers it’s not allowed to kill Felicity or split up Olicity. That is all. Refer to Italia Ricci’s twitter for it appears we share the same exact thoughts.