'Dancing with the Stars' Inspires, 'Dallas' Makes Dastardly Move, and More

Dancing with the Stars Promotional Poster

After “Dancing with the Stars,” watching the emotional package that led into Amy Purdy’s contemporary dance, there was no doubt Purdy and Derek Hough would follow suit with matching poignancy. “Dancing with the Stars” viewers were given a snapshot of all she and her family have overcome, and it was heart-wrenching.

Then with majestic elegance, she once again defied all of the obstacles life has thrown in her way as she gave a magnificent tribute to the human spirit and, more pointedly, her own. It is moments like these that prove “Dancing with the Stars” is more than a reality/competition series and why after eighteen seasons, it is still a must-see.

Most Dastardly Power Play: John Ross, “Dallas” 

Master manipulator and expert skirt chaser John Ross upped the ante on “Dallas” this week when his stunts graduated from the more juvenile aspects of tantrum throwing to taking a page from his father’s playbook. It was a two-edged sword of morality for the roguish character.

The writing on “Dallas” wisely honed in on how he could convince himself he was doing the “right” thing by getting Sue Ellen's help while also accomplishing his self-motivated agenda. It is these fleshed-out angles that make him difficult to write off as a straight-up villain and compelling to watch as an anti-hero (emphasis on the 'anti-' part).

Best Jigsaw Puzzle/Most Frustrating Triangle: “The Tomorrow People” 

Is “the founder” the bad guy, or is it the nefarious Jed? The lines on “The Tomorrow People” got even blurrier this week, and because of a well-written lead-up, the dread that it might be Jed -- after all -- carried its own set of anxiety for it not to be true.

Meanwhile, Cara became jealous that the teenage Stephen was moving on after their one-night affair. Making matters worse is that John presents as a much superior suitor. It is hard to understand what she could possibly be missing that could be full-filled by the one-note teenager, Stephen. Not to mention, she was fortunate that John took her back in the first place.

Most Dynamic Duo: Elizabeth and Red, “The Blacklist” 

After Liz learned the terrible truth about Tom at the end of last week’s episode of “The Blacklist,” it was time for her to get to the bottom of what was really going on. Zoom forward an hour, and she is conspiring with Red as they interrogate a hostile witness like they have been working together their whole lives.

The bond of their characters is at the core of what makes the show work, and there is still more to explore about their relationship. Who is Liz to Red? It is the obscure cloud hanging over “The Blacklist.” Here is hoping it is indeed the father/daughter reunion it seems poised to be. Imagining Red helping her, if she wasn’t his daughter, would be hard to fathom.

“Arrow” Bids the Fondest Farewell

Roy pouted, thrashed, and ranted for an entire episode of “Arrow,” and then…he rode away on his motorcycle. Please let him find harmony outside of Starling City and the dreadful island. Speaking of which, can we please stop panning back to that hole?

We know who survived. There is no tension. Elsewhere, Oliver unwittingly vested his company to the enemy. Apparently, Oliver didn't watch "The Dark Knight Rises." On another note, “Arrow” desperately needs more Felicity.

Worst Evolving Family Tree: Jack, “Revenge”

Jack became a satellite character on “Revenge” after his only remaining relative that could speak was killed off last season. So the show, apparently feeling that he is integral to the web of “Revenge,” recently retconned his entire family tree in an attempt to keep him relevant.

As obvious as it is that this is completely contrived, the writers of “Revenge” could have done a better job shoehorning him into his new family. It has defied all we knew concerning previous timelines. If Conrad is indeed his father, it continues the enduring fad that a son-aged character will always be sired by the older man they loathe. It is getting worn out at this point.

Best Episode of the Week: “Bates Motel”

This week’s episode of “Bates Motel” offered romance, dirty deals, mob intrigue, life and death peril, family drama, and one heck of a smackdown. It is true this is to be expected on a show that has been nothing short of exemplary in its sophomore run. The writing is unparalleled in the dense entanglement of each of its characters, and they are all worth caring about, as crazy as that might sound given this is a prequel to “Psycho.”

As the doomed tragedy of Norma and Norman looms ominously over the series, there has been a wise decision to focus on characters that were not a part of the original cannon. At this point, they have so seamlessly blended into the fabric of the “Psycho” mythos that one cannot imagine the story without them.

It is also what adds that nice slice of tension that imbues the show with its dangerous edge and keeps “Bates Motel” viewers wondrously invested in seeing what happens next. This week’s episode proved just how effective it has been.