Read on for Part 2 of this year’s Television Chaos awards. (Check out Part 1).
Cutest Creature: The Child, Star Wars: The Mandalorian
The moment this little creature peeks out of the blanket in his little hover pod, you automatically want one of your own! If that wasn’t enough, during the next episode we get to see him walk, play, eat an entire frog whole like a duck and prove his worth with force power. The puppetry (which we later learn in Disney+’s Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian was performed by five separate puppeteers) was outstanding, giving the little guy the perfect amount of curiosity, emotion and carefree attitude that proved that the Mandalorian had a soft side under the hard exterior of his bounty hunter predilections. From saving his friends from a flamethrower to sipping soup while watching his new father-figure fight, the Child (who was instantly and affectionately dubbed “Baby Yoda”) became a favorite among hardcore and non-hardcore Star Wars fans alike.
Best Cameos: Tom Ellis and Ezra Miller, Crisis on Infinite Earths
If the extraordinary five-episode Arrowverse cross-over event wasn’t big enough, producers packed the meta-fueled arc with plenty of great cameos. But the best ones came in the form of those from completely different franchises, making them all the more special. First, and most surprising, was Ezra Miller’s big-screen Barry Allen popping in to give advice to TVs Barry Allen. It was shocking, not because it was another Flash, but because I never expected stars from the Zak Snyder-produced Justice League universe to cross-over with the television series. This alone opens up a whole new world of possibilities, should the producers feel the urge to unseal that Pandora’s box in the future. The other cameo that came out of left field but fit so nicely into the world was Tom Ellis’s Lucifer enjoying life in Hell. Presumably, this would either take place prior to his journey to L.A. to pair with Detective Decker (Lauren German) or between seasons 4 and 5, but to see his smug, arrogant mug ham it up with John Constantine (Matt Ryan) as the official Satan on Legends of Tomorrow was a true delight.
Best Fight Choreography: Ahsoka vs. Darth Maul, Star Wars: The Clone Wars
For as long as The Clone Wars has been on, the show has yet to earn any awards on this site. That ends today, as the fight sequence between Ahsoka Tano (voiced by Ashley Eckstein) and Darth Maul (Ray Park) in the anti-penultimate episode of the series was truly extraordinary. As part of the mind-blowing final four episode arc, which takes place at the same time as the events of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, these perfectly-crafted episodes helped fill in plenty of gaps as to where Ahsoka was during the activation of Order 66 and how she escaped. All four episodes had their highlights, but none were better than the epic lightsaber duel between these two characters. I can’t say that it was the best lightsaber duel of the entire series (I still believe that Duel of the Fates, the battle between Qui-Gonn, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace holds that crown), but this is definitely a close second. Everything from its sweeping nature to the acrobatics on display to the music that accompanied it led to some of the greatest animation of the series, as well as one of the most impactful episodes. It was also great to learn that Ray Park, who embodied Maul in Phantom Menace, did motion capture for Maul in this episode as well. Kudos to Dave Filoni and the team at Lucasfilm for creating such a stellar end to a terrific chapter in the Star Wars Saga.
Most Surprising Death: Nicholas Endicott (Durmot Mulroney), Prodigal Son
Though seeing the Ugnaught actually get killed trying to protect the Child in The Mandalorian was a devastating, and somewhat shocking moment in the series, there was another death that surprised and shocked to a greater degree — and not because of who died, but who did the killing. In Prodigal Son‘s final episode, everything was leading up to Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) taking the life of villainous Nicholas Endicott to complete the transformation his father (Martin Sheen) so desperately wanted. It was only a matter of how he would do it. Would it be on purpose? An accident? Would he use a gun, a knife or his bare hands? The moment was finally upon us, and then — Bright’s sister, Ainsley (Halston Sage) comes up behind Endicott and takes a knife to his throat! If that wasn’t enough, she then stabs him seven times for good measure. It was a moment that came entirely out of left field but made complete sense in the overall story. To see Bright’s reaction to her being the killer, and then watching Ainsley wake up as if she was in some sort of dream state when it happened, was a mind-blowing end to an incredibly well-done new series, opening the door to many possibilities moving forward.
Saddest Death: Christopher LaSalle (Lucas Black), NCIS: New Orleans
The initial reason why I was excited to watch the second NCIS spin-off was not only because Scott Bakula was starring, but because Lucas Black was joining him as his protege. Neither disappointed, and within moments, Black’s Chistopher LaSalle became one of the best characters of the show. His comraderie with the cast, his upbeat nature and his sly smile livened up every episode. So it was sad to watch as LaSalle succombed to the injuries he sustained while protecting a witness. Not only that, but it was a little disappointing. Having him die in pursuit of his brother’s killer felt a bit anitclimactic; if he was going to go out, it should have been in a way that showed his dedication and sacrifice for the job, not because he wasn’t thinking and doing things he shouldn’t have been doing. RIP LaSalle. You will be missed.
Most Heartbreaking Moment: Hen’s (Aisha Hinds) Vehicular Manslaughter, 9-1-1
Entertainment, whether it’s books, movies, television or stage production, is meant to elicit specific emotions out of the viewers. We are meant to profoundly connect to specific characters and events so as to empathize and connect with the world in a deeper way. No more is this accentuated than in the moment Hen (Aisha Hines) finds out she accidentally murdered a young teen. As her mind is in the clouds on the heels of her partner (Tracie Thoms) losing all of her embryos during her IVF treatments, Hen runs a red light while transporting someone to the ER and T-bones an innocent girl. As the paramedics and the fire crews work to keep her alive, Hen was powerless to do anything as Athena (Angela Bassett) kept her at bay. Not only was Hen’s reaction to the accident and her need to help heartbreaking, it was that moment she realized the girl died that sent chills down your spine. Hinds did a terrific job of escalating her emotion to that inevitable breaking point when there’s nothing left in the tank, and in so doing ripped the viewer’s heart from their soul.
Worst Dismissal: Alex Karev (Justin Chambers), Grey’s Anatomy
Writing people off of shows, especially long-running series, is a normal occurrence in television. Actors wish to move on to something new; squabbles between cast members or crew push people out; or someone says something offensive and are forced off the show — all of which have happened at one point or another during Grey’s Anatomy‘s tenure. Usually, the producers will find a way to respectively write these characters off the show, so it’s wholly disheartening to witness the egregious way Grey’s Anatomy producers tossed Justin Chambers aside without any fanfare whatsoever. Whether it was Chamber’s request or not, to first banish him off to another hospital and then basically have him disappear to then write a letter to everyone explaining why he left wasn’t just a major slap-in-the-face to the character of Alex Karev, but to the audience, his fans, and of course Chambers, who has been with the show since the beginning.
Most Convenient/Coincidental End to a Story Arc: 9-1-1: Lone Star
When 9-1-1 Lone Star began, it took a while to gain its footing and build the right chemistry between the diverse cast of characters. But if you stuck around long enough, everything started to come together quite nicely. One of the more intriguing storylines that kept me interested enough to keep watching was the search for Michelle Blake’s (Liv Tyler) missing sister. The story built well across each episode was just starting to build to an incredible crescendo, when all of a sudden the unthinkable happened — there she was, living in the homeless encampment Michelle volunteered at on her down time. Wrapping the entire story up in one episode like this felt way too contrived and coincidental for its own good. Putting the idea that Michelle had never once seen her sister there before, the whole scenario just felt like a cop-out to a story that deserved a much better finale.
Coolest Special Effect: Lucifer
Lucifer has always had a pretty good special effects team, and that didn’t change after moving from FOX to Netflix. This declaration was solidified in Lucifer‘s season five mid-season finale when they took the stopping of time to a whole new level. After Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) accidentally freezes time for all beings except celestial, archangel Michael (Tom Ellis) and longtime bounty hunter sidekick Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt) pick a fight with the angelic duo. During the fight, Michael throws Lucifer (Tom Ellis) through a plate glass window. As Lucifer flies across the room, the glass shatters into thousands of pieces that, because time has stopped, literally stay in place once each piece is free of Lucifer’s momentum. The look of the glass as it hangs in midair with the shape of Lucifer’s body in the center was an awesome visual in the center of a great finale battle.
Best Psuedo-Meta Moment: Baby’s cameo on Legends of Tomorrow
When Sara (Caity Lotz) and Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) had to ride to Vancouver to track down a piece of the Loom of Fate in Legends of Tomorrow, Sara found a flyer announcing the production of Supernatural. I wasn’t sure if I saw right until Sara started telling Charlie all about the show. I then wondered if we’d get a cameo from the Winchester brothers as their actual selves. The show didn’t quite go that far, but we did get the next best thing: an awesome cameo appearance by the Winchester’s iconic ’69 Impala, aka Baby. For fans of the show, it was great to know that the CW’s show was one that was part of the Legends world, and now begs the question: with Lucifer and now Supernatural popping in for clever, fun appearances, what other interesting cameos does Legends have up their sleeve for future episodes? It’ll definitely be a blast finding out.
Don’t forget to check out Part 3 of the 2019-2020 awards, including Worst Anthology Switch, Most Poignant Confession and the season’s most noticeable trend.