Finales, all season, that were noteworthy. Characters that elicited reactions from me. Things that were awesome. Things that made me make a good old fashioned :O face (one for a bad reason, one for a good reason).
The magic of the entire second season is how convoluted the relationships between the characters were while still maintaining a straightforward plot. At the center of it is, of course, Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan, but he’s tangled up in the whole mess of Mags’ (Margo Martindale) family, the mess of the mining, the mess of Boyd (Walton Goggins) existing, the mess of Ava (Joelle Carter) getting tangled up with Boyd (it suits her more than being a lawman’s girl did), the mess of Winona (Natalie Zea) getting back with him and being pregnant and begging him to quit his job, the mess of Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever) in relation to the Bennett clan, all of it. The finale episode managed to wrap it all up so nicely, but not neatly, not perfectly happy-ending, just… wrapped enough up to be satisfying, but still to leave room for more. (Season three, January 17.)
2. Sons of Anarchy
I’d been expecting more death, but it surprisingly didn’t upset me that there wasn’t. The thing about Sons is that it keeps you on such a highwire that you feel like at any moment something bad could happen. Even if nothing bad does, it’s still tense enough to be interesting. I’ll discuss the brilliance of Ray McKinnon in a moment, but even if rewriting the lyrics to “The House of the Rising Sun” to say “Charming town” instead of “New Orleans” was a little cheesy, the big images of the last montage are powerful. The picture of JT and Gemma (Katey Sagal) back in the day, and then Gemma watching as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) hits the gavel and takes the club over as still-wounded and seriously craycray Tara (Maggie Siff) goes up behind him and mimics that picture perfectly. This was a good year for Oedipal things to go on, to whatever extent, ’cause Gemma seriously does care too much about her son sometimes, but most importantly, craycray Tara. I’ve always liked Tara, I have, but even though she is probably going off the deep end and is sinking deeper still into the life of crime, I think it’s kind of brilliant. Not for Tara-the-person, but for Tara-the-character. She kind of had crazy eyes the last few episodes of the season, perpetually, and it’s awesome.
1. True Blood
3. Sheriff Graham (Jamie Dornan, Once Upon a Time)
NOT because he was that important to me (though he did earn signs of my high praise: a nickname [Sheriff Vest] and a Buffy analogue [Angel, in the fairy tale scenes]). But because, well, damn, ABC, you killed off an actual semi-main character right-quick. You killed off a handsome male character at the hands of a manipulative lover woman. Gutsy for you. And you killed off a character that at least 1/5 of the threads I saw on the Once Upon a Time IMDB message board pertained to. So someone that people liked. Thank you.
2. Max Black (Kat Dennings, 2 Broke Girls)
Surprise, surprise. I mean, I love Kat Dennings, I always love Kat Dennings, but I mostly give Max a pat on the back for getting to make really raunchy jokes on network TV and as a woman. Usually women don’t get to make that many raunchy jokes, especially on network, and I’m pretty sure she’s referenced masturbation at least three times, which women never get to do (I make a mental note every time they do, because it’s that rare). So, again, it’s a small thing, but she’s snarky as hell. 2 Broke Girls is really just a string of jokes for 22 minutes, but that Kat gets to make most of them and that most of the ones she makes are dirty… cool.
1. Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon, Sons of Anarchy)
Ray McKinnon is always quality. He’s a member of the Deadwood mafia, and the good reverend was one of the most brilliant characters in that brilliant world, thanks in large part to him and his freaky awesome. Lincoln Potter came to Charming as a U.S. Attorney hell-bent on getting the RIRA (real Irish Republican Army), the ROC (Russian organized crime), and the Sons. But he’s just such a weirdo that everything he does, everything he says is brilliant. In the finale, he bursts in on a city council meeting holding sex toys, including a pedophilic sex doll, to prove that Hale (Jeff Kober) is funding his development with really dirty sex money. When asked why? “I don’t like you.” Just like that. It’s the most perfect moment ever.
Moments of hilarity
3. Wheels only responding to Chinese swear words (United States of Tara)
It’s really unfortunate that Tara had to end, but though the entire season was great, the best moment of all was that which I’ve previously mentioned repeatedly: that Charmaine (Rosemarie Dewitt) and Neil’s (Patton Oswalt) baby only responds to “Wheels and Chinese swear words.” Patton Oswalt (who’s guested on Dollhouse and wrote the Serenity comic “Float Out”) is such s raging Browncoat. And it’s beautiful.
2. The simultaneously worst and best almost-sex of all time (on New Girl)
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think that Jess (Zooey Deschanel) is too precocious or weird or “quirky.” She is weird, and she is awkward, but I… know people who would do any of the things that she’s done. I don’t know that anyone I know would actually go through with the weird sex she attempted with Paul (Justin Long), but that’s what comedy is, right? Exaggeration? It’s ridiculous. But it’s also a little amazing. I mean, an old-fashioned newscaster spanking Jimmy Stewart? That is all kinds of absurd brilliance, in a way that’s both cringeworthy and riotous.
1. Put a Bird On It (Portlandia)
Thank you, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.
Moments of shock
2. JIMMY SCREWED HIS MOM (Boardwalk Empire)
We were a bit late in watching the last two episodes of Boardwalk this season, but maybe that’s good. Now even just mentions of what we were eating for dinner the night we watched it make us cringe and go “JIMMY SCREWED HIS MOM.” Luckily, we didn’t have to watch Jimmy (Michael Pitt) and Gillian (Gretchen Mol) actually go at it, but he was on top of her and it was weird and then he was waking up naked in her bed. No Jimmy no bad bad BAD. Like I said, it’s an Oedipal year, apparently.
1. BABY DRAGONS (Game of Thrones)
And this is all that needs to be said. I mean, it’s rad that Boardwalk and True Blood and Game of Thrones killed off main characters, but it’s HBO. That stuff happens on HBO. Not every day brings you BABY DRAGONS as Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is all badass.
–your fangirl heroine.