A review of tonight's "Lights Out" coming up just as soon as I don't believe in cheese...

"I'm a grown man. I have to fight for myself." -Lights

Boy, I hope this isn't it for Ed Romeo, because Eamonn Walker has really delivered what I realize was a necessary shock to the show's system in his two episodes.

I was enjoying "Lights Out" quite a bit in the early and middle hours, but when Walker turned up last week doing his intense, twitchy thing, I realized how much the show needed a character like this: someone who hasn't been a part of this world for the last five years, doesn't know all the players well, and most importantly, doesn't act in the same buttoned-down style as the rest of the cast. I'm not saying I would have wanted Stacy Keach or somebody to be hamming it up previously - I think the show worked very well previously - but Ed's presence has definitely put a spring in the step of the characters and the actors who play them.

Of course, he's also nuts, which is a notion last week's episode circled around and this one dove straight into. In many ways, Ed is the best trainer Lights could possibly have for this fight. But he's so tunnel-visioned, and so damaged from what Death Row did to him, that he can't see the downside of his approach. He can't see that Lights does get some emotional benefit from being around his father and siblings, can't see that in trying to erect a wall between Lights and the rest of the world, he winds up building a barrier between Lights and himself.

Just great work throughout from Walker, and from Holt McCallany as Lights struggled to accept that what was good for his body wasn't being so good for his mind. Again, I don't want to say goodbye to Ed just yet, but after his brawl with Johnny leads to Lights getting accidentally stabbed with scissors, it's hard to imagine Lights - or Theresa, or anyone else - wanting the guy around, even if Johnny was the idiot who grabbed the scissors in the first place.

The presence of Ed these last two episodes, meanwhile, has allowed the show to finally spend a little time with Death Row Reynolds as someone other than the man who took Lights' championship belt five years ago. We meet his wife(*) and baby, see his swank pad, get a bit of his backstory, and also get a sense that underneath the muscles and the sunglasses and the confident talk, he is very nervous about facing Lights Leary again - particularly when his old mentor Ed is involved. Any good boxing story makes sure we have the measure of our hero's opponent, and slowly but surely, Death Row is going from a shadowy figure to a real man. We'll still root for Lights, but he's not going up against a cardboard cut-out.



(*) Played by "24" and "Lost" alum Reiko Aylesworth.

And speaking of backstory, the show finally - 9 episodes in - lets Theresa talk about her childhood in England, the shame her father brought on the family, why she came to America, etc. This is useful info not only in explaining Catherine McCormack's accent, but part of Theresa's reaction to the news of their financial situation. She's already been through ruin once before with a breadwinner who wasn't as perfect as he seemed to be, so you can understand a bit about why she reacted so poorly to the news here - even if her own insistence that Lights quit boxing was a big contributor to the problem.

In the homestretch now. Four episodes to go, and I am going to fight very hard to stick to my one-episode-per-week viewing approach. Can't wait to see what happens next.

What did everybody else think?