Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Box” (A+)
The best episode the show has ever done. Masterfully stages an interrogation of a murder suspect (Sterling K. Brown, who has locked up this year’s Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy) for the entire 22 minutes. It’s so beautifully done, with perfect delivery from all three principal actors, that you don’t even miss the rest of the squad.
Silicon Valley – “Reorientation” (B+)
Richard finally finds some inspiration, which of course doesn’t get him anywhere. Top-notch Guilfoyle-Dinesh bickering and another appearance from Andy Daly keep this season moving in the right direction.
Barry – “Use It” (B+)
I was already in the tank for this show, but Bill Hader wondering about the comedic potential of a scene from Doubt sealed the deal. A fleet episode that left me wanting more, this sets up the rest of the season but still manages to take its time.
Legion – “Chapter 9” (A-) / season premiere
Throws even the most attentive viewers into the narrative deep end, starting with David’s rescue, then circling and zig-zagging back to reveal what happened in the year since the events of last season’s finale. It’s as stylish as ever, even if this premiere feels a mile wide and an inch deep. Still, there’s absolutely nothing like it on the air, so I’m more than willing to simply be dazzled for an hour each week.
The Americans – “Tchaikovsky” (A)
Professional turmoil affects both Philip and Elizabeth, but only one ends with them being held at gunpoint. One of the most devastating endings this show has ever produced.
A.P. Bio – “Rosemary’s Boyfriend” (A)
Another incredible, darkly funny episode. Michael Gross is wonderful as the lover of Jack’s now-dead mother, the health-class baby subplot is creepy with a horrifying but cathartic end and the not-dating-janitors C-plot sidesteps cruelty by making it about petty revenge.
Atlanta – “Teddy Perkins” (A-)
So, I’m still not sure how I feel about this episode. It’s extremely well-executed and the weirdest thing this show has ever done, but it also feels like just a detour. You might have said that about “Barbershop,” but that at least felt relevant to Alfred’s character. This is just another weird story for Darius, that doesn’t add anything to him (despite Lakeith Stanfield crushing it as usual).
A.P. Bio – “We Don’t Party” (A-)
Arguably the best episode of the season thus far, with Jack meeting his immature match in Chase, the doctor boyfriend of Meredith (the luminous Collette Wolfe), the nurse he’s pining for. It’s a magnificent display of childishness. Meanwhile, the class gets drunk (or in Victor’s case, fake drunk) and grows closer. Plus, the reveal of a hunky party guest who’s into “toes clothes.”
Atlanta – “Barbershop” (B+)
Brian Tyree Henry’s finest hour yet on the show, as Atlanta proves once again it can do anything. The entire episode is devoted to Paper Boi’s ongoing efforts to look fresh for his photoshoot, and the obstacles his con artist barber puts in his way. It’s magnificent and the funniest episode of the season thus far.