Twin Peaks – “The Return, Part 15” (A-)
The first 10 minutes were the happiest I’ve been watching TV this entire year. The rest of the episode can’t quite live up to that. Part of that isn’t David Lynch’s fault, since David Bowie is no longer with us. Regardless, none of the other scenes have nearly as much emotional weight. But we’ve got three more episodes that might make me feel the way I did when Norma kissed Big Ed as Otis Redding played on the jukebox.
Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Summer Edition – “August 24, 2017” (B)
Solid without grasping at straws. Cecily Strong was clearly this week’s MVP.
The Sinner – “Part IV” (A-)
The best episode yet, with the plot moving forward at a rapid pace. I’m a sucker for scenes involving therapists talking to their patients, trying to get painful memories out of them. Not sure what that says about me, though.
GLOW – Season 1 (A-)
Possibly the slowest I’ve ever consumed a Netflix Original, but it did have a rough go of it in the beginning. But this show’s arc, its focus on female friendship and its deep love for all its characters, was so rare that I felt like I was part of something special while watching it. Also, has been noted elsewhere, Marc Maron is so much better as burnt-out director Sam than he was playing himself on Maron. He should win Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series at the Emmys next year.
I’m going through some of the highlights from the previous three seasons. At the end of Season 25, I gave up on the show except for the annual Halloween specials. I’ve seen a couple here and there, but I’m going back to hit the big parodies, travelogues, holiday specials and episodes that were actually well-received.
“The Princess Guide” (B+)
This is a sweet-natured episode that lets Moe be the big softie he really is underneath that gruff exterior, and I love when that happens. It’s no “Moe Baby Blues,” but it’s a solid episode with no unnecessary subplots. All the action is directly related to the deal Mr. Burns is trying to close with a Nigerian king. Homer has to watch the princess, but she sneaks out of her hotel room and ends up seeing the sights with Moe, who’s finally with someone who’s nice to him.
“Much Apu About Something” (B)
Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? Apu still, apparently. After losing his beloved convenience store after a police tank crashes into it, his nephew takes it over, filling it with organic food and high-brow magazines. I do like Bart’s subplot about his new prank-free life, but the millennial jokes are too frequent and lame to land.
“Gal of Constant Sorrow” (B+)
A surprisingly heavy episode that features Lisa looking up to another washed-out musical icon (in this case, a junkie folk musician voiced by Kate McKinnon with singing by Natalie Maines), only for her to be let down by an addict. But it still finds plenty of laughs, including a Drake-set montage with Bart going on a shopping spree at the dollar store and Homer’s misadventures in home repair.
“The Burns Cage” (A-)
Starts with one of the most downer beginnings in show history (“0 Days Without a Heartbreak” is one of their most depressing sight gags), but then lets Smithers disentangle himself from Burns and find temporary romance. Instead of Homer taking over, a series of lawyers and other employees do, to hilarious results. Of course, it’s all going to reset at episode’s end, but this did have Smithers declare, in plain English, his love for Mr. Burns, and his acceptance that that love will never be reciprocated.
“There Will Be Buds” (A-)
Unless I’m forgetting one, this is the best kids’ sports episode the show has done since Season 6’s “Lisa on Ice.” A sly parody of Friday Night Lights (the show), the town becomes obsessed with lacrosse after the entire pee-wee football team gets concussed. It’s an extremely strong showcase for Kirk, still Springfield’s most pathetic man.
“The Last Traction Hero” (B+)
Homer is immobilized yet again, but this time doesn’t grow closer to Marge. Instead, she gets her emotional fulfillment from Smithers, while getting sexual gratification from Homer. (“I’m the luckiest man alive!” he says to himself.) Meanwhile, Lisa becomes the school bus monitor, which unexpectedly becomes a Snowpiercer parody.
“A Father’s Watch” (A-)
One of the best episodes of the last five years without a doubt. Bart, Homer and Abe all connect over an inherited pocket watch in a story about resentment, pride and bad parenting. But again, there are plenty of laughs as Springfield falls prey to “parenting gurus” who have opposite views on raising kids.
“Moho House” (B)
Combines two plots the show has already done before: Marge and Homer split up AND Moe remodels his tavern. It can’t help but feel redundant, even if Marge’s sadness still hits like a punch in the gut.