TV Rundown: April 20 - 25: No One is Safe on 'Vikings'

Most Provocative Close Call: Vikings: Rollo’s life was left hanging in the balance after another fearsome battle. In the world of “Vikings” no one is ever safe and the atmosphere is always tinged with an ominous tension, as a result. The second season is winding down and not without its share of controversial violence and hypnotic allure. How after this season, one could still care about even one of these characters (except Lagertha) being dispatched, defies all mental logic and yet, it happened.

Sweetest Storyline: Reign: The Renaissance drama continues to be the most improved show on this year’s schedule of freshman series. “Reign” provides a refreshingly romantic idealism that has been absent from other network efforts.

In the latest episode “Toy Soldiers”, Greer learned the value of looking beyond the cover of her suitor’s appearance to appreciate the beautiful soul, lying on the surface. It’s an important message and one not greatly seen on teen dramas. Greer’s storyline has been one of the series’ most impressive and like the series itself, it has pleasantly surprised.

Necessary Renewal: The Tomorrow People: The final moments of “A Sort of Homecoming” proved why this series has earned a second season. It’s a rare sci-fi show that is unpredictable, tightly written and well executed. Luke Mitchell’s standout performance in this week's installment is indicative that the series’ has a rising star on the roster. Not many series can boast that. As for the great dinner debate, the reactions were strange and Roger might’ve been able to curb the collective’s frustration by dining underground instead.

Best Speech: Game of Thrones: The philosophical musings made by Tywin Lannister to his latest grandson to ascend the Iron Throne, brought the majesty and illuminating introspection that has become synonymous with the character as played with significant gravitas by Charles Dance. Constantly thought-provoking, “Thrones” is often at its best when the quiet moments of mental combat take center stage over sword play.

Strangest Suspicion: Fargo: Why is Deputy Solverson so convinced something is up with Lester? The mechanism behind her overwhelming suspicion of the seemingly affable guy-next-door is either an indication that she is clairvoyant or being given insight beyond reason. Read more about "Fargo" here
 
Questionable Death: Arrow: The series bid farewell to one of its best characters in a stunt kill that’s only redeeming factor was the temporary shock it delivered. In a television landscape where it seems every show is trying to outdo each other with a killer twist, it has become redundant. This is the second major death on the series and they both share something in common. They were a waste.

Last year, Tommy was killed off and the promised pay-off fell remarkably flat. The worst part is the show has lost another outstanding actor in the process. Is it a short-term shocker? Yes. Is it an effective long-term story direction? Initial instinct says, probably not. On a positive note, Sara rode away!

Best Battle: The Blacklist: The anticipation for Liz and Tom’s explosive face-off was well worth the wait. The wordy confrontation and crushing confirmation of Tom’s activity would eventually lead to an all-out physical battle and it was intense. The level of fight choreography was reminiscent of the much hyped “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” battle between the film’s titular leads.

Another Unnecessary Death: The Vampire Diaries: Another fabulous actor and character were ushered off of the supernatural sudser. As with Janina Gavankar and Olga Fonda this season and Kayla Ewell, Sebastian Roche and Taylor Kinney before them, the series continued in its frustrating habit of letting promising talent get away and this latest kill was no exception.

On another sour note, Damon was again revealed to be the culprit of a horrific deed, as Stefan stood falsely accused. If the goal is to make Damon the most despicable and irredeemable character on the series, the mission is being accomplished. If the thought is that it makes Stefan more likable in the process, it is failing.

Best Character Interaction: Bates Motel: Norma and Norman Bates relationship has been one of the founding cornerstones of “Bates” mythology. Equally as valuable to the show has been the development of Norma’s relationship with her eldest son, Dylan. Her hands-off approach to his parenting; lies in stark contrast to her aggressive mothering of Norman.

In “Meltdown”, she was forced to interact with Dylan and she finally let a little affection and pride boil over, in the process. This quirky scene of familial mingling brought to the surface a sense that Dylan is natively, very similar to his mother. While, Norman is more of what Norma wishes she could be, an idealized vision she has for herself. She is, as this episode clearly demonstrates, a woman who fights an inner war within herself; a sort of love/hate relationship playing in the background of her psyche. 

The fascinating portrait of this complicated woman was once again brought into magnificent focus by Vera Farmiga. It was a quiet scene that she and Max Thieriot portrayed with effective restraint, saying so much without having to say much at all.

[Image by HISTORY]

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