This week marked the end of the season — and in some cases, the series — for a lot of TV’s biggest shows, so there is a lot to unpack from the latest slate of episodes. Here we’ve made our picks for the most stand-out moments of the small screen, for better and for worse, with shiny yearbook-style prizes!
The facepalm moment: For Saturday Night Live‘s final cold open of the season, the show recruited a few of its key guest stars to join its regular cast for a Donald Trump-themed rendition of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and even though it was in keeping with that season’s political bend for that segment, it was mostly annoying and unfunny.
Most upsetting snub: Alejandro Aranda was the absolute story of American Idol Season 17. The self-taught artist was beyond compelling from start to finish, often presenting his own original music and inspiring stories with a can-do spirit that inspired judges and fans alike. His audition video alone received over 10 million views on YouTube. So, when he ended up getting second place to Laine Hardy, it was a head-scratcher. What more could he have possibly done to earn that W? Of course, as some have pointed out, there are perks to being the runner-up and side-stepping those intense winner contracts and whatnot.
Most depressing action sequence: Barry ended its second season with its title aspiring actor fully reverting to hitman form, massacring a building full of gangsters he trained to be soldiers in order to get to one man. On a lesser show, this would be played as a badass action moment of the hero asserting himself. But Barry has bigger ideas, and the sequence was actually about how Barry (Bill Hader) can’t change himself, and will always let the rage inside him win, no matter how much he doesn’t want it to. He’ll feel remorse for what he did, but he still did it. Barry is (supposed to be) a comedy!
GIF of the week: The Game of Thrones series finale was … well, it was what it was. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) barely got to touch her hard-won Iron Throne before being eliminated by Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who had to go back into exile for his crime. Then, the Lords and Ladies of Westeros got together and decided that Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) should run things with his alarmingly incompetent small council because he has the best stories (???), and it left a lot of loose ends open for interpretation. Perhaps the best moment of the entire episode took place at that Dragonpit summit, though — and no, we’re not talking about all those water bottles that made it into multiple shots. The Stark kids’ uncle, Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), was one of those missing-in-action characters who finally made it back into the show’s final moments, and when he tried to state his case for claiming the crown, it was Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) who spoke for everyone when she politely told him to sit the eff down and stop embarrassing himself.
Least expected burn: Sansa wasn’t the only one dishing out sass this week, and one of the other epic takedowns came from an incredibly unlikely source: The Voice host Carson Daly. While promoting NBC’s Red Nose Day event on the show’s finale week, he had OG coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton join in on the Rudolph-esque fun. As thanks for the country superstar’s participation, he told Shelton to go get some of those charitable noses while he was at Walgreens to “pick up some of those little blue pills.” Who had Carson Daly making an ED joke on their TV bingo card this week?
The surprise renewal: For a while there, Ellen DeGeneres seemed ready to walk away from her hit talk show after her contract ran out in 2020, revealing that she felt a bit confined by the character work she’s doing as host and that her wife Portia de Rossi wasn’t fully sold on her continuing with the show. So, when she addressed her audience on Tuesday and compared the show to a relationship, wherein sometimes “you need to take a break,” it seemed like the end. In a surprise twist, though, Degeneres revealed she’d signed on for three more years of Ellen because of how many fans have reached out to say that it helped them through tough times. So, yay, lots more dancing and scare-pranks ahead!
Best kept secret: Game of Thrones‘ anti-leak security system proved to be pretty flawed this season, as anyone with a Twitter and/or Reddit account could see every detail of the final episodes coming. However, the set of NCIS managed to keep their top secret finale twist under lock and key, which meant it was a complete stunner for fans when Cote de Pablo‘s Ziva David returned to the scene after so many years away.
Most explosive finale: One Chicago was absolutely bananas this week, as the trio of Dick Wolf procedurals wrapped up their seasons. Chicago Med left Natalie (Torrey DeVitto) in potentially mortal danger, Chicago P.D. ended with Antonio Dawson (Jon Seda)’s fate up in the air as well, and Chicago Fire put pretty much put everyone on Ladder 81 on blast, literally speaking, as a lot of the key players were trapped in a mattress factory basement as it was about to explode. Cliffhangers, cliffhangers everywhere!
Best theme song revival: There were a lot of memorable moments in ABC’s live-taping of Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons, including Marisa Tomei‘s stellar performance as Edith Bunker and Marla Gibbs‘ surprise reprisal of her iconic role as Florence. Perhaps the most spirited moment of the evening happened when Jennifer Hudson came along to deliver a new rendition of The Jeffersons‘ classic theme song, and it was impossible not to bounce right along with every note.
The randomest mic drop: What better way to prepare for Memorial Day weekend than by watching a “visual poem” from the Lonely Island boys about Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco with cameos from Sterling K. Brown, Jenny Slate, the Haim sisters, Hannah Simone, Stephanie Beatriz, and Maya Rudolph? Okay, we don’t know either, but this random act of parody popped up on Netflix early Thursday morning and fully commits to the bit. Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer play, respectively, Canseco and McGwire, the Bash Brothers of the late 1980s, who hit tons of home runs and courted lots of controversy because of their steroid use. The “unauthorized,” 30-minute special — part Lemonade, part Terrence Malick, all ridiculous — posits that the pair recorded a rap album during the height of their powers. The result is a must-watch for Lonely Island fans. (Bonus GIF of the week below!)