It always comes back to Katherine, doesn’t it? As Stefan and Elena secretly work against Damon to find the Grimoire that can free Katherine, we flash back to the past to find out what exactly Stefan did to make Damon hate him for all of eternity. (Hint: it involves Katherine, their love triangle, and Kelly Hu.)
More bloodsucking flashbacks as Stefan and Damon recall the events that strained their relationship
The 'Idol' season's final audition episode is a catch-all showcase
9:01 p.m. General Larry Plant is the only memorable contestant to audition for "American Idol," this season, a fact that the show sadly has no choice but to acknowledge as Wednesday (Feb. 3) night's "Road to Hollywood" special begins. The "Pants on the Ground" auteur is the only good *or* bad contestant to stir up any buzz in Season Nine, which can't possibly be ideal. But maybe Wednesday's episode will fix things?
9:02 p.m. Denver contestant Jessica Furney opts to sing something called "Footprints in the Sand," a composition notable for carrying Simon Cowell's name as a co-writer. It's an awful song, but Simon's new status as creative individual astounds that episode's guest judge, Posh Spice. She's through to Hollywood. I guess everybody tonight will be?
9:04 p.m. "We saved the best for last," Ryan Seacrest assures us. Oh good. Then why have we been watching for the past seven episodes and for the past eight-plus hours? It was one thing when this catch-all special was used to make sure that we didn't miss out on the few singers who weren't quite exciting enough to make individual audition episodes, but this season's openers have been all about the most intriguing stories and barely at all about the most talented singers. Does that mean that we're finally about to meet the next American Idol? Click through...
The two-hour kick-off to the final season breaks my brain
I'm going to have to watch that again.
Even taking notes, even looking at a few scenes a second time, I'm not 100% sure what I just saw, and I have a feeling that's exactly what Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were aiming for. Mission accomplished, gentlemen, because I'm hooked right back in, a junkie who didn't even realize he was jonesing until that first taste, and now I wish I could just download the whole season into my brain tonight so I could start sorting out exactly what they're up to.
There's a short recap at the start of the episode, and instead of trying to condense the entire mythology of the series into a few minutes, they carefully just highlighted a few key ideas and characters, starting with Jacob and the Man in Black sitting on the beach. I think this sort of proves they're going to be the lynchpins to this final season. Then we see Ben and the Alterna-Locke in the scene where Jacob is killed, and we hear the ominous line, "They're coming." Then quickly, we're at the end of last year, and we're looking at Juliet in the base of that shaft, the bomb next to her, and as she hits it one last time, there's a flash of WHITE...
... and we're back on Oceanic Flight 815. There's Jack, looking out the window. The moments before the crash that started this whole thing. We watch the build-up to the crash as he talks across the aisle to Rose, and then the plane starts to shake. Here we go. The whole thing's going to happen again...
... and then it doesn't. The plane levels out. Jack looks over at Rose, relieved. "Looks like we made it."
"Yes," she responds. "We did." Bernard comes back from the bathroom, shaken up but no worse for wear, and Jack goes to wash his face. He finds an odd cut on his neck. When he comes back to his seat, Desmond is sitting in his row now, tired of his seat where some guy's been snoring since Sydney.
Wait a minute... Desmond's on the plane? What the hell is going on? Obviously something's been changed, but how did Desmond end up on the plane? That was never part of the timeline in the first place. He and Jack have a moment of deja vu, but then as it passes, we look out the window, then race out, down through the clouds, into the ocean where the Island should be. We keep moving. Down. Down. And we realize that what we're seeing is the Island, but it's completely underwater now. We see familiar buildings, completely submerged and rotten, and then just after the Dharma Shark swims by (nice callback, everyone), we finally stop moving, staring right at a giant four-toed statue's foot.
Simon, Randy and Kara join the Mile High Club. But not in the way you're thinking. Pervert.
7:55 p.m. ET. Look, I know I don't get a vote on these things, but in the future, if it would be possible not to have Oscar nominations, "American Idol," the "Lost" premiere and Groundhog Day all align together on the calendar, I'd really appreciate it. [And yes, I'm well aware that "Lost" premieres are never, alas, going to coincide with anything else ever again.]
7:56 p.m. I'm just really tired. So if I come across as extra incoherent or extra catty, The former is more likely than the latter. But you've been warned. Anyway, on to Tuesday (Feb. 2) night's "American Idol" after the break...
With Peter and Sylar trapped in a nightmare world, Claire learns of Noah's past.
Usually, in the penultimate episode of a season, the action builds to a boiling point, with the finale serving as catharsis for the built-up tension. Well, “Heroes” never does things the normal way. So instead of featuring an episode full of action, “The Wall” focused on two chamber plays featuring four of its major characters. On one side, Noah and Claire just went for another spin on the “Why Didn’t He Ever Tell Her Before” Merry-Go-Round, whereas Peter and Sylar went on a mental Moonwalk of forgiveness inside of Parkman’s twisted nightmare world.
Oh, and Samuel finally revealed his endgame, which should make Mayor Bloomberg happy. But more on that at the end.
[Full recap of Monday's (Feb. 1) "Heroes" after the break...]
Chuck has to play Sarah to a new Chuck, while Sarah helps the old Chuck with a 'BSG' t-shirt
"Chuck" is in the process of turning a corner these days. Or, at the very least, "Chuck" is in the process of giving the impression that it's turning a corner. And, as those of us who have occasionally been known to operate automobiles know, you can't turn a corner too quickly or else you're going to end up flipping over and over again as "Rocket Man" over the sound of crunching metal*.
[* I think that was a reference to the classic Steve Prefontaine biopic "Without Limits," but sometimes the references get all jumbled up in your head and you end up referencing half of one thing and half of another thing and it becomes sufficiently unlike either thing that nobody knows what you were talking about. That's the sort of experience Quentin Tarantin calls, "an original thought."]
Monday (Feb. 1) night's "Chuck," titled "Chuck vs. the Nacho Sampler" was the third or fourth consecutive "Look Papa, I'm a Real Little Spy" episode of the Chuck-as-Espionage-Pinocchio third season. And that means the third or fourth episode in a row of Chuck uncovering the dramatic responsibilities of being a real spy and the third episode out of four where we've had "Chuck Is Becoming Sarah, Leaving Sarah Missing Her Chuck" undertones (or, in this case, overtones).
But the episode had Sarah in a "Frak Off" belly t-shirt, Weap-Con, a Mexican cantina called Two-and-a-Half Amigos and Kristin Kreuk in a jaunty tie. So there were myriad pleasures to be found...
More on "Chuck vs. the Nacho Sampler after the break...
As Jack tries to keep Renee alive, the peace accord at the U.N. threatens to unravel.
So far, Season 8 hasn’t exactly gained much by moving the action to New York City. I guess I should be pleased that the show’s not exploiting overexposed landmarks in order to consistently remind viewers of the setting, but given the rather generic settings so far (The U.N. being the notable exception), the city itself hasn’t leant anything new to the proceedings. Did this hour bring anything new to the table? Not much, except to bring its female protagonists down even further. Here’s what went down.
[Full recap of Monday's (Feb. 1) "24" after the break...]
'Big Love' embraces the tragedy in its latest episode.
In its long run, "Big Love" has never defined Margene Heffman as handily or specifically as it has Barb Henrickson or Nicki Grant. Both Barb and Nicki are wonderfully complex characters who can't be easily pinned down, but both have had their complexities plumbed and examined by the series. Margie has always played around the edges of the show. She's the youngest wife, the one who most obviously turned to Bill because she just needed somewhere to belong. She's the one who's often able to build bridges between the different family members. And Ben has a crush on her. We know other things about her, obviously (like the fact that she has a sometimes alluded to dark past), but the writers have chosen to keep Margie mostly in the background throughout the series.
[Full recap of Sunday's (Jan. 31) "Big Love" after the break...]
In his second 'SNL' hosting stint, the 'Mad Man' star keeps things funny
There are four types of “Saturday Night Live” episodes: episodes where you’re legitimately excited about the host, episodes where you really like the musical guest, episodes where both the host and the musical guest seem to hold promise, and episodes where the expected quality of the episode is anyone’s guess.
If the show surrounding the variables is in good shape, none of this should matter: there will be some political satire, a few Bill Hader impressions, and your usual slew of Weekend Update jokes. However, right now the show is at the bottom of the barrel, leaning on fart jokes and Kenan Thompson more than I would have ever imagined just a year or two ago.
So it means that I’m tuning into "Saturday Night Live" tonight for Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Jon Hamm only: if the rest of the show happens to pull together in his presence, then consider me pleasantly surprised.
If, however, it ends up the television comedy equivalent to Michael Bublé, then consider me destructively cynical.
[Full recap of Saturday's (Jan. 30) "Saturday Night Live" after the break]
'Dollhouse' almost pulls off a perfect series finale.
I'd like to sit here and tell you that "Epitaph Two: The Return" is an unmitigated triumph, an episode of television that will singlehandedly push future generations to realize that "Dollhouse" is nothing less than a stellar 26-episode miniseries and one that will redeem even some of the series' weaker outings by revealing their place in the overall scheme. And, actually, it does some of that. It's a very, very good episode of television, notable for the fact that it looks like it was made with whatever pocket change Joss Whedon found in his couch. What's more, the script itself here is quite well done, bristling with heady ideas and a forward momentum that never lets up. But some of the episode's execution is off. Not so much that it ruins the experience but enough that this won't sit proudly alongside the "Angel" finale as one of the all-time greats.
[Full recap of Friday's (Jan. 29) series finale of "Dollhouse" after the break...]