What I Watched This Week: 20 May 2018

Saturday Night Live – “Tina Fey/Nicki Minaj” (B-) / season finale
Maybe it’s just me, but I expect something more from my alumni returning to host, and from my finales. This felt like a very half-assed episode to me. None of the sketches were out-and-out bad, but none were that memorable. It seems especially like they were just dusting off decade-old bits, including a cold open that spoofed The Sopranos finale (from 2007) and a parody of To Catch a Predator, which hasn’t been on in years.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Jake & Amy” (A) / season finale
Yes, I teared up. Had this truly been the end, I would have cried even more. But thankfully NBC is letting the 99 ride again for 13 episodes in 2019. This was a great season finale, and could have served as a true series finale. But this show brings me so much joy that I’m over the moon it’s got at least another season of romantic entanglements and shenanigans. (Romantic Entanglements and Shenanigans: title of your sex tape!)

Westworld – “Akane no Mai” (B+)
That Shogun World is really the same as Westworld but with different costumes actually made for a thrilling sequence, and its wild differences at the climax made it all the better. I’m less sold on Dolores full-on torturing Teddy after the finally consumate their passions, but it’s definitely a decision that could pay off dramatically later in the season.

Legion – “Chapter 16” (B+)
A little more on-balance (at least for this show), as we set up a big showdown with a minotaur(?)

The Handmaid’s Tale – “First Blood” (A-)
The show dares us to empathize with Serena, then slaps us in the face for doing so. A shockingly violent episode, both in present and in flashback. A haunting final shot sets up the rest of the season.

Westworld – “The Riddle of the Sphinx” (A)
Arguably the show’s best episode to date. It forces you to keep up with its multiple timelines. Completely absent Dolores and Teddy, it maximizes its running time, showing how the horrifying plot of implanting DNA and memories of real people into hosts hasn’t worked (yet), and how it further rotted William’s core.

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