<p>&nbsp;Kayla Ewell of 'The Vampire Diaries'</p>

 Kayla Ewell of 'The Vampire Diaries'

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - 'Haunted

Shocking events strike Mystic Falls as Vicki gets out of control on Halloween.

After a week off and a spectacular last episode, I was really looking forward to the Halloween-themed “Haunting,” which promised to unveil Vampire Vicki finally unleashing her newfound bloodlust during Mystic Falls’ Halloween bash! What we got instead was an inspired episode in which the word “haunted” took on an unexpected meaning, a slow-burning shocker that left everyone involved emotionally drained -- including us.  

[Full recap of Thursday (Oct. 29) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...] 

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<p>Gordana of 'Project Runway'&nbsp;</p>

Gordana of 'Project Runway' 

Credit: Lifetime

Recap: 'Project Runway' - 'The Best of the Best'

A challenge to create a companion piece leads to tension between Althea and Irina
Oh boy, there are only six designers left, and just two of them are boys. Girl power! Irina is thrilled about this, because it's about time women had a little bit of a say in the male-dominated fashion industry. And though it pains me to say it, I am so down with Irina on this. If I have to try on another pair of pants that only fit girls who have not gone through puberty or have the misfortune of being built like Chazz Bono, I will take out the first snippy salesgirl I see. I'm just saying.
 
Anyway, it's "Runway" time! Whee!
 
[Full recap of Thursday's (Oct. 29) "Project Runway" after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Jaison of 'Survivor Samoa'</p>

 Jaison of 'Survivor Samoa'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: Samoa' - 'Houdini Magic'

As Foa Foa's struggles continue, Russell contemplates a dramatic move to shake up the tribe
Pre-credit sequence. It took me a few minutes to remember that the big twist of last week's "Survivor: Samoa" was that nobody went home. Well, nobody except for Non-Psycho Russell, which means that Psycho Russell can now just be "Russell." We start the episode at Non-Psycho Russell's old tribe, Galu, still trying to figure out what comes next. The guys are mostly concerned about how to keep Shambo with them to prevent her from joining forces with the ladies. They only need Shambo til the merge, though, and from that point, it's "Bros before Hos." 
 
[Full recap of Thursday's (Oct. 29) "Survivor Samoa" after the break...]
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<p>Nicole of 'America's Next Top Model' in brown-face for Wednesday's episode</p>

Nicole of 'America's Next Top Model' in brown-face for Wednesday's episode

Credit: The CW

Recap: 'America's Next Top Model' - 'Let's Go Surfing'

A trip to Hawaii brings surfing, sunburn and a lesson in mixing races and makeup

 After many episodes, the sad diagnosis must be brought out into the open: Sundai, you are not a model. You are extraordinarily gorgeous, and your eyes are the stuff of legend, but you stand there in panel like a junior high school band major who plays Warcraft with all of her free time, and in this business, you need to be a level 80 mage in front of the camera, not just in front of your computer. There. I said it. You're cute, Sundai, but no.

[Full recap of Wednesday (Oct. 28) night's "America's Next Top Model," with spoilers, after the break...]

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<p>Russell Ferguson of 'So You Think You Can Dance'</p>

Russell Ferguson of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - The Top 20 perform and 2 dancers go home

Noelle Marsh has to miss Tuesday's performances, but the judges eliminate two other hoofers

After Monday's Top 20 showcase episode, "So You Think You Can Dance" kicked off its formal competitive season on Tuesday (Oct. 27) night with its first pairings and, shunning democracy, our first elimination, courtesy of the judges' whims.

With HitFix's normal "SYTYCD" recapper otherwise indisposed, you're stuck with me, dear readers. And I can only warn you that while I'm sure I'm a solid judge of vocal talent, which it comes to dancing, I barely have a clue what I'm talking about. So feel free to set me straight.

The episode begins with Nigel Lythgoe explaining that Billy Bell is no longer with us and that Noelle Marsh is also indisposed for the evening. Noelle will be replaced by a stand-in for the night, but if she can't return next week, she'll be out.

Here we go...

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<p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande'; color: rgb(27, 27, 27); white-space: pre; ">Hayden Panettiere of 'Heroes'</span></p>

 Hayden Panettiere of 'Heroes'

Credit: Justin Lubin/NBC

Recap: 'Heroes' - 'Strange Attractors'

With Rebecca seeking to claim Claire for the carnival, Samuel sets his eyes on another recruit.

 "Heroes" giveth, and "Heroes" taketh it away. In other words? Par for the course in this improved, but still mixed, volume of the show. For everything that works, something else steps in and results in a response often favored by C+C Music Factory. In other words, there were plenty of things that made you go, "Hmmm," in this week's outing, "Strange Attractors."  

Since the title of the episode derived from Claire's storyline, let's start with her, shall we? 
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<p>&nbsp;<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: 'Lucida Grande'; color: rgb(27, 27, 27); white-space: pre; ">Mollee Gray of 'So You Think You Can Dance'</span></p>

 Mollee Gray of 'So You Think You Can Dance'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Top 20 Showcase

Things will get serious on Tuesday, but on Monday, the "SYTYCD" Top 20 showed what they can do
It's time for a closer look at our top 20, and, as usual, it's going to be THE MOST TALENTED SEASON EVER. Just once I'd like to hear Nigel or Cat or someone say, you know, the people who turned out this year kinda sucked, so it's going to be a pretty so-so season. You may want to try us next year. Just kidding. Kind of. But I will say, based on tonight's show, this is going to be one interesting, weird and definitely loud season. And for once, I have to agree that almost anyone could win it, because with a few exceptions, these kids look goooood.
 
[Full recap of Monday (Oct. 26) night's "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'</p>

 Jon Hamm of 'Mad Men'

Credit: AMC

Recap: 'Mad Men' -- 'The Gypsy and the Hobo'

While Betty decides what to do about the contents of Don's desk, an old client stirs up trouble for Roger.

As we near the end of the third season of "Mad Men," the 1960s are moving faster than ever for the show's major characters. Whereas earlier seasons seemingly moved in slow motion, with action moving at an almost glacial pace, Season 3 finds its central players noticing the earth beneath their feet is moving ever more rapidly. In the widening tectonic crevices left behind lies the difference between the lives these people thought they would lead and the lives they actually live.

This week's episode, "The Gypsy and the Hobo," centered around three couples looking at each other in the eye and seeing the illusions of their lives dissipate, leaving behind a reality that is both unforgiving yet oddly banal. Much in the way that life went stubbornly on in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis at the end of Season 3, so too does life continue to proceed even after deep secrets and shameful truths rise to the surface. And rather than hold off until the end of the recap to deal with the most seismic event, let's join Don and Betty in the kitchen, shall we? 

 
[Full recap of Sunday (Oct. 25) night's "Mad Med" after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Flight Time and Big Easy of 'The Amazing Race'</p>

 Flight Time and Big Easy of 'The Amazing Race'

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' -- 'Do it for the Hood! Do It for the Suburbs!'

Still in Dubai, one team builds on a big lead, while a water slide proves a Waterloo
When most "Amazing Race" fans go through the show's history, their favorite teams and their favorite tasks, "The Amazing Race 8" usually goes conspicuously unmentioned. That was the "Family Edition," which stunk because of the teams of four, stunk because very few of the legs left the United States and stunk because there's something awkward and unsightly about watching small children face challenges in high pressure situations.
 
I highly doubt that Bert Van Munster and company are going to go down the "Family Edition" path ever again and if they ever have their doubts regarding why emotionally unformed kids shouldn't be allowed on the Race, they should just check out Sunday (Oct. 25) night's "The Amazing Race."
 
Nobody in America was a fan of FOX's short-lived "Nashville," but those of us who were forced to watch an episode or two for work already knew that Mika was an innocent, a sheltered, coddled naif. I guess you can take that as an insult, but I don't mean it that way. I just don't know that I've ever seen a reality TV contestant less prepared to face even a scintilla of adversity than poor Mika. And I watched every episode of "Kid Nation."
 
So what Mika did on Sunday night may have seemed like a pathetic and humiliating choke job, I don't view it that way. Sometimes spoiled children just misbehave and when that happens, sometimes it costs the people they love a whole heap of money.
 
[Recap of Sunday night's "The Amazing Race" after the break...]
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<p>&nbsp;Dichen Lachman of 'Dollhouse'</p>

 Dichen Lachman of 'Dollhouse'

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'Dollhouse' - 'Belonging'

After concentrating on Victor in the last episode, 'Dollhouse' turns its attentions to Sierra

 

First, a programming note: Fox is pulling “Dollhouse” for the month of November. If you are reading this recap, you surely already know this and have written an irate blog post or something about it, but when the show returns, it will be for three two-hour “events,” and then the remaining three hours will be burned off at some point in time. Hence, when the show returns, these recaps will bloat to 7,000 word recaps of both episodes, probably involving elaborate citations of the works of Immanuel Kant. Maybe the ratings will perk up and we’ll all get to follow this show for years to come. Maybe the ratings will slowly crawl and some other network (or DirecTV) will figure, “What the hell?” and pick it up for another 13-episode season. Most likely, though, none of this will happen. But God willing and the Hitfix.com don’t crash, I’ll be here, covering this until the bitter end.

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