The Simpsons – “The Clown Stays in the Picture” (B+)
A funny diversion episode, where we learn of Krusty’s ignominious time as a director of a sci-fi epic, during which Homer and Marge served as grunts. It’s a lot of fun, and will feel especially timely when Denis Villeneuve’s Dune crashes and burns next year.
Crashing – “Mom and Kat” (B+)
Pete’s mom gets an absolutely killer final line, but before then it’s a sharp battle of wills between her and Kat, both of whom are more right than they seem to the other.
True Detective – “The Final Country” (B+)
An excellent penultimate episode that keeps raising questions as it answers them. It ties into Season 1, but I like my wife’s theory: That Julie was taken not as part of a pedophile ring, but as part of a sad, twisted desire for Edward Hoyt to replace his lost daughter and continue to keep his family together.
This Is Us – “Our Little Island Girl” (A-)
We finally get some backstory for Beth, explaining with mere looks and hesitations why she is the way she is. When this show is devoted to subtle, effective storytelling, you see why it’s one of the highest-rated shows on television.
Documentary Now! – “Batsh*t Valley” (B+) / season premiere
Owen Wilson is a delight as the goofy shaman/informant, but the real revelation here is Necar Zadegan as his second-in-command who usurps his power and turns the cult into a group of demons, terrorizing the nearby Oregon town by giving them all pink-eye, turning the only repair shop into a juice bar, and re-naming the town Ra-Sharir’s Butthole.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Honeypot” (A)
To me, the funniest episode of the season. The entire spy plot – “like a Thomas Cruise film” – is just aces. I was crying laughing. The show also features jokes about the importance of physical media and Ryuichi Sakamoto, as well as Scully’s single funniest moment.
Russian Doll – Season 1 (A-)
A prickly but open-hearted take on the horrors of addiction, selfishness and getting older. The only way out of hell is to help each other, and the only salvation from annihilation is accepting help from others.