We've just survived another week—but lots of TV shows didn't. For the last few days, the carnage has been pretty constant; while a fortunate few will ascend to the nirvana of the 2014-2015 TV season, for so many others, this is the end. The Four Horsemen of the TVpocalypse have burst through cracks in the Earth's core, and they're dragging doomed series kicking and screaming into the Netherworld, where they will spend the afterlife chained next to The Playboy Club and Pan Am while Mario Lopez whips them with chains and wet noodles. But hey, that's the circle of life for television. Light some incense and pour out some of your 40 for our fallen shows. Except Mixology, that show can burn. Now let's see what we liked and what we didn't like from the week in television.
Jon Snow takes care of Karl, Brodor takes care of Locke
The bloody battle at Craster's Keep culminated in two spectacular kills in Game of Thrones' "First of His Name." Bran used his body-jumping ability to possess Hodor and put the big lug's strength to use, snapping Locke's neck with a whack to the side of the head, and Jon Snow served up a hot plate of shish ka-Karl when he skewered the mutineer through the back of his head with Longclaw. Finally, some good old-fashioned violence to take our minds off the rape debate!
Person of Interest puts its viewers on jury duty
The debate over which machine would win the war of the gods was interrupted by Vigilance's Peter Collier with a third stance: "Let's not use any machines at all." The supervillain-in-the-making (or is he a freedom fighter?) kidnapped government officials (and Finch and Greer) and threw them into a pirate broadcast of a kangaroo court to stand trial for invading the privacy of the citizens of America. But what really made this work was Collier's sympathetic flashbacks, and his origin story that was straight out of the Dark Knight films.
The Veep finally has a campaign manager
Diedrich Bader made a very special appearance on HBO's political satire this week as Bill Ericsson, a political adviser lobbying for the campaign manager spot on Selina Meyer's upcoming run at the Oval Office. He's a crass, conniving, no-B.S. straight-talker. He is three miles ahead of everybody else. He ran through Selina's campaign crew of misfits, and listed the reasons why she should fire them, and it was cruel and hilarious. But in the end it was the guy who's "all eyelashes and teeth" that won out. Congratulations, Dan!
Louie gets unlucky, then lucky, then unlucky, then sorta lucky
In "Model," the second half of Louie's one-hour Season 4 premiere, our hero bombed at a charity event hosted by Jerry Seinfeld. Then he went home with a very sexy model played by Yvonne Strahovski. Then he accidentally knocked her out when she tickled him and got sued by her parents. And then he earned a sympathy drink with the waitress at the Comedy Club who'd previously shot him down. VICTORY! This is life through Louie's lens, and we're thrilled to have it back.
Freddy Rumsen tells Don Draper to nut up
Freddy Rumsen has come a long way since losing his job after he peed his pants in the conference room while in the midst of a drunken stupor. And he came full circle this week when he saved Don from the exact same fate after Don indulged in an unfortunate in-office bender. The next morning, when Don was hungover and still pissed about his work situation, it was Mr. Rumsen who may've finally gotten through to him with a perfectly timed message: "I mean, are you just going to kill yourself? Give them what they want? Or are you going to go into your bedroom, get in uniform, fix your bayonet and hit the parade? Do the work, Don."
On Adventure Time, Finn copes with the loss of his arm by building a tower of grief
Despite seeming okay with his minus-one-limb status in "James II," Finn was definitely struggling with the situation in "The Tower" as he tried to make use of various prostheses from the princesses of Ooo. So his anger and grief over the missing appendage and his father being a jerkwad manifested not only as a telekinetic arm, but as a plan to build a tower into space to catch Martin. And all the while, he sang: "Baby’s building a tower into space / Space is where he’s gonna find his dad / Daddy’s got an arm /And baby’s gonna harm his arm / By tearing it off his dad." Sad, dark stuff. Finn's emotional maturation was a big part of Season 5, and "The Tower" made it clear that Adventure Time isn't going to drop that idea. The show is all the better because of it.
The Simpsons builds a Lego episode
It's been a while since The Simpsons felt like a relevant must-watch on our very busy Sunday night, but "Brick Like Me" was just the stunt the series needed to bring viewers back to Springfield. The animated show teamed up with Lego to build an episode that was half cartoon and half bricks, and the result was one of the series' weirdest-looking episodes since Homer went 3D. Seeing all the characters in Lego form was rad, and we got ourselves a new Ralph Wiggum zinger: "Yo soy language lab."
Maron visits Talking Dead, embarrasses himself
IFC's Curb-ish and Louie-like Maron saw its star and host Marc Maron take a one-time gig as a guest on Talking Dead. There was just one problem: He'd never seen The Walking Dead. Oh, and Chris Hardwick hated his guts. During a binge-watch of the AMC hit, Maron asked the important questions: Why aren't there fat zombies? How come there aren't more black zombies? Where do zombies go to the bathroom? Do zombies get erections? Why didn't the survivors build a moat around the prison, fill it with gasoline, and light it on fire? Needless to say, his appearance on the after-show was a total disaster, with Hardwick and guest Michael Ian Black destroying him for not knowing a thing about the zombie drama.
Norman learns the truth about himself, and Norma convinces him to live with it
Bates Motel's Season 2 finale tied up a lot of the season's ongoing storylines, from the White Pine Bay drug war to Romero's suspicions about Norman's involvement in the murder of Blair Watson. The real emotional weight of the episode hinged on a confrontation between the Norms, as Norman was prepared to kill himself after realizing he'd killed Watson during one of his mysterious blackouts. And despite the show's love of playing up the Norms' just-that-side-of-inappropriate relationship, Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore made the scene sing with pitch-perfect emotional intensity that helped sell the series as the tragic tale of a mother's love for her son.
Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers' drum-smashing theme song (plus Episode 4's nifty money shot)
Fargo's a top-notch show from top to bottom, beginning to end, and eyes to ears, and one of its best sensory delights is the pounding score that signals when Mr. Wrench and Mr. Numbers are taking care of business. The original piece, appropriately titled "Wrench and Numbers," was written by Fargo composer Jeff Russo and we need it on our iPods ASAP.
Also, this week's fourth episode, "Eating the Blame," contained an awesome tie-in for fans of the original film: the answer to what happened to Steve Buscemi's character's briefcase full of cash.
Dammit Chloe! The 24 clock is ticking once again
24: Live Another Day finally brought Jack Bauer back into our lives, and we didn't realize how much we'd missed that rascal 'til we saw that slight smirk on his face as he got himself captured on purpose. The two-hour premiere was familiar in a good way, and we're excited to see what happens next. (.GIF courtesy of @edshrinker, whose 24 .GIF party is totally worth checking out if you haven't already seen it.)
Wedding bells are ringing on The Big Bang Theory
After being fired from her latest not-the-greatest acting gig, Penny reevaluated her life and decided that marrying Leonard wouldn't be the worst thing she's ever done. So Leonard pulled out the ring he'd been carrying in his wallet and there was no mushy soundtrack or champagne, there were no roses or violins or any obnoxious displays of affection. It was just two people who've been dating for forever finally deciding to do the thing, and it was sweet and simple and awesome.
Netflix digs further into our pockets
This week, Netflix raised its prices for new streaming-plan customers from $7.99 to $8.99. Why? It needs the money to add new movies and TV shows to its depleting catalog as Amazon Instant encroaches on its turf. Current members won't see a rate hike for another two years, and even at $8.99, a subscription seems like a bargain. But you'd better spend wisely, Netflix. We'd love to see more comedy specials, original documentaries, and fifty seasons of Orange Is the New Black. Deal?
The bubble-blowing and -bursting of the Upfronts
It was an up-and-down pre-Upfronts week for many of our favorite shows as the networks handed out renewal notices and pink slips while finalizing their fall schedules. At times it felt like the fates were playing "good cop, bad cop" with us, delivering fantastic news one minute and terrible news the next, in such rapid succession that we were left in a daze. FTW! Hannibal is cooking up a third season, making it Bryan Fuller's longest-running series to date. But WTF, Community fell one season (and a movie) shy of its #sixseasonsandamovie ambitions. FTW! The Goldbergs will return for Season 2! But WTF, Trophy Wife is getting dumped after one brilliant season. Maybe we should all just stick to The Simpsons, Grey's Anatomy, and NCIS and save ourselves the stress.
Everybody be trippin' on The 100
This week on The 100, everybody ate nuts that caused vivid hallucinations... and not the fun kind. Some of the lead characters ended up facing their worst fears—Bellamy had to deal with his guilt over shooting the Chancellor, and Jasper saw Grounders everywhere—while other folks had heart-to-hearts with dead parents. This was all supposed to be deep stuff leading to Clarke telling Bellamy that she needed him to stick around, despite the fact that he acts like an ass most of the time. Ultimately, it felt kind of silly in comparison to last week's really dark storyline, but at the same time, it's kind of hard to hate an episode where teenagers unknowingly get high. (Image courtesy of @Toni_watches' great photo recap, which you should definitely read.)
Resurrection goes out quickly
ABC's dead-people-come-back-to-life drama ended its first season abruptly, with a pile of dead bugs, some helicopters flying overhead, and a crescent mark on one of the main characters. It didn't mean much to us, because who knows what the heck is going on with this show? (It got kind of weird toward the end of the season.) But apparently ABC is eager to find out what the series will do with this cliffhanger, because it went ahead and renewed it for Season 2.
We've now seen the last of Christopher Evan Welch's run on Silicon Valley
The actor behind Peter Gregory—the nutcase tech guru who invested in Pied Piper—passed away from lung cancer in December, at the age of 48. He was only able to film four episodes of the series before he died, but every single one of his scenes was like watching an artist burrow into realm of the absurd. Welch wasn't just good as Peter, he was brilliant, standing out among an already very talented cast. The way Welch was able to temper Peter's craziness was a thing of beauty, and he'll be greatly missed. Peter Gregory would've been Welch's breakout role, and we can only hope that the Emmys will honor him with a Best Supporting Actor nomination. R.I.P., sir.
Wait, THAT'S why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ward is evil?
Ward has undoubtedly been S.H.I.E.L.D.'s most interesting character for the last four episodes or so, but his arc lost some steam this week when the series finally got around to explaining his reasons for allying himself with a guy who thinks turtlenecks are a suitable fashion choice. In short, the answer was dummbbbbb: Garrett broke Ward out of juvie and forced him to live in the woods for six months to teach him survival skills. And sure, we can see how that affected Ward and made him stronger, but is that really why he feels like he owes Garrett everything? Seriously?
Warehouse 13 blows one of its final episodes on "Savage Seduction"
Que lastima! It's been known for some time now that Warehouse 13's final season would only be six episodes long. And yet someone, somewhere decided it was no big deal to waste one of those episodes on a goofy telenovela parody that got waaaaay out of hand. From the forgettable case of the week to the evil-twin angle to the terrible Spanish, endless subtitles, and rampant stereotypes, "Savage Seduction" was a hot mess, and a major disappointment considering there are now only two episodes left in the entire series.
The Vampire Diaries "kills off" its main hero
It was the heart-ripping heard round the world (you know, assuming the world consists of only TVD fans, which it does, right?). Stefan was straight-up MURDERED this week! The hows and the whys were relatively complicated, but it involved a body-jacked hybrid mourning the loss of his wife who'd died and then been sucked into the sky and long story short, Stefan had his ticker torn clean out of his body and all of the sudden he was doing that permanent graying-crinkle thing that vampires do when they die the True Death (can we use that term with this franchise?). But because we are not dummies, we know that Stefan won't be exiting the show permanently. In fact, this season's imminently crumbling afterlife will most likely result in his immediate resurrection. However: Stefan DIED. That's not a small thing. Kudos to TVD for still knowing how to shock us after all these years. Too bad death doesn't mean much anymore, but still: Wow.
What's on YOUR list of TV loves and hates this week? New Girl's mostly meh Season 3 finale? The Mindy Project's way-less-meh Season 2 finale? SVU's surprise romantic reveal? The CW's decision to pass on Supernatural: Bloodlines? All the renewal/cancellation madness? Share your own FTWs and WTFs in the comments!