A review of tonight's "Lights Out" coming up just as soon as I apologize to a cadaver...

"You do know not to trust these people." -Mike

So Ed Romeo's gone, and outside of the stab wound Lights suffered as a result of Ed's brawl with Johnny, he may as well have not come at all, as "Cut Men" feels like it could have very easily come right after the Morales fight, or even after the episode that ended with Barry K. Word and Hal Brennan having a clandestine meeting. (Change the injury delaying the fight to Lights' eye instead of his stab wound and you could slot this episode pretty easily as is to right before the Morales fight episode.)

On the one hand, this is where we knew the season was heading all along, with Lights foolishly getting into bed with both Barry and Brennan, in a way that's likely going to screw him out of the money he'll need to stay retired. So it doesn't feel like a cheat that we've wound up back on this familiar ground. Plus, Ed's presence and his white-hot hatred of guys like Barry and Brennan would have made it much more difficult to place Lights in the position he winds up in at the episode's end.

On the other hand, though, the show was just so much livelier with Eamonn Walker around in the previous two episodes that it's really frustrating to see how easily both Lights and the show were able to leave Ed behind. I'd been enjoying "Lights Out" well enough through those first 7 episodes, but the ones with Ed opened my eyes to just how good the series could be - and also to an ingredient I hadn't realized was missing - and so it's disheartening to see it revert back to what it was before. Still a good show, still a terrific lead performance from Holt McCallany, still fine supporting work from our guest villains in Reg E. Cathey and Bill Irwin, but my excitement level was far lower this week than it's been in quite some time - and that's even with the episode climaxing with a pretty spectacular sidewalk brawl between Lights and Death Row.

In fact, I'm just going to move on to the bullet points right now and then regroup to see how next week's episode is, rather than go into some half-assed blogger version of Juliet's monologue from the balcony about her fair Romeo:

• Good to see that Mike mostly landed on his feet, even if his career still seems a little too uncomfortably tethered to Lights'. As a former newspaperman, I empathize with his recent difficulties.

• Here's something I'm confused about: Barry makes a big deal about how Reynolds has to fight on a specific date because the network has cleared that night, but wouldn't this fight - which everyone insists is the only one in the heavyweight division anyone's cared about for the last five years - almost certainly be a pay-per-view? And can't you pretty much do a pay-per-view whenever you want it? Or are there PPV networks that have strict schedules?



• Call it, friendos: is Brennan dating Margaret another sign that he's pure evil, or is a more complicated dude who has genuine feelings for the sister of the boxer he's about to screw over?

• I've joked in the past about how clumsily the show keeps writing out one daughter per episode for budgetary reasons, but that's got nothing on Lights' dad not coming back after his son gets stabbed. Very weird to see Lights working out in the gym without any kind of trainer, even if it was just some light rehab work.

• Poor Richie Reynolds. Doesn't he know that Rocky Marciano and Lennox Lewis are about the only guys who got to walk away from that title cleanly?

What did everybody else think?