Another week of television has come and gone, so to help you catch up on all you might’ve missed, here are our picks for the stand-out moments of the week on the small screen.
The instantly iconic scream: Big Little Lies really knocked it out of the park by landing the unconquerable Meryl Streep for its Season 2 call sheet, and in the premiere the actress lived up to her reputation as the sharp but sweet mother-in-law Mary Louise. Not only did the character trade a few nasty barbs with an unexpected new nemesis, but she also issued the kind of guttural, soul-clawing scream that would send every bird within a mile flying for dear life as a means of self-care. This character is gonna be fun to watch, and yeah, go ahead and pencil Streep into your Emmys ballot now.
The best long game: Billions‘ Season 4 finale tied together the mystery of the “idiot” in a way that was both crushing and miraculous all at once. Chuck (Paul Giamatti) and his father (Jeffrey DeMunn) managed to ensnare their rival, Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore), in such a nimbly woven trap that it’ll take a re-watch of the entire season to get the full experience of the two pulling this off. Even better, Connerty got to hear about just how done-in he was while committing the very act he’d be accused of. Masterful. Which also leads us to our GIF of the week …
The most satisfying reunion: The finale of HBO’s Gentleman Jack finally gave fans what they’ve been waiting for as Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle) returned to Anne Lister’s (Suranne Jones) side to declare that she was ready to finally accept that marriage proposal. First, the two caught up on the hardships that had befallen them, and the misunderstandings that came between them, before declaring that they would not allow any of it to happen again. Instead of ending on that sweet reunion, though, the final scenes went on to show just how their relationship would unfold from there, as they took the sacrament that made them Britain’s first lesbian spouses, planned their next travel adventures, and snuck in what moments of public affection they could all the while. It was all very, very satisfying to behold and paid proper homage to the true story of Anne Lister and Ann Walker’s early life together in the 1800s.
The best use of celebrity status: Former The Daily Show host Jon Stewart has dipped his toes into the political waters here and there in recent years — mostly by making cheeky appearances on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show to make fun of what’s going on in Washington — but his voice has been severely missed by fans. This week, though, Stewart decided to step up to fight for a cause he cares deeply about in a televised testimony about the need for funding security for the 9/11 first responders’ healthcare. His testimony on the Hill this week was jaw-dropping as he reamed the legislature for its inadequacies in this effort in an impassioned speech that quickly dominated the airwaves. Most importantly, it worked.
The all-too-real twist: The Bold Type‘s Season 3 finale ended on a note that is painfully familiar to a lot of journalists: the sight of the Scarlet office being dismantled and packed away with no warning whatsoever. The show has always illuminated certain truths about the industry, and the idea that a media job could disappear literally overnight is absolutely one of them.
The adorable front-runner: Simon Cowell doesn’t just tamp that Golden Button for anyone on America’s Got Talent, but 11-year-old Tyler definitely deserved it. The tiny tyke had already survived cancer and a school full of bullies and channeled his hurt into something productive by teaching himself to play the violin very, very well, and every mouth in the room was agape after his uplifting and spirited audition performance.
The gut punch: The premiere of Pose‘s second season began on a somber but necessary note as Blanca (MJ Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter) went to Hart Island, aka the Island of Lost Souls, to find the remains of Pray’s ex. They discovered that his body was one of many that had been boxed up to a mass graveyard of those who’d succumbed to AIDS, and as the camera zoomed out to show the breadth of this devastating realization, it was a gutting reminder of just how many lives were lost and how the ensuing panic dehumanized victims into becoming just numbers on boxes.