The Night Of – “Ordinary Death” (A-)
The kiss between Nas and Chandra is the only misstep the show has made thus far. But who has time to worry about such things, when the testimonies of Detective Box and Dr. Katz are such compelling television. I think we may be headed for a mistrial, which is the best possible outcome as a television viewer. Having the stepdad get arrested on his way out of the courtroom would feel too easy and having Nas be found guilty or get shanked in prison would feel like a cheat, so we’ll find out if they stick the landing next week.
Casual – “The Great Unknown” (A) / season finale
This season was kind of a mess for a good chunk of the middle section. But this finale might be the best episode the show has ever done, and it wouldn’t work without having seen all the previous messy, sometimes ugly episode. It’s basically the “Goodbyeee” for shows about disaffected L.A. people. It was quite a jump to get to an episode that reflects on death and sadness this much, but it absolutely works.
The Office (Series 2)
The first episode pushes the limits of cringe comedy. There are two consecutive scenes that aren’t just uncomfortable, they’re physically painful to watch. What David and his pals do veer straight into abusive territory, and it makes it not actually funny. But the rest of the episode is great, particularly the final minutes. The series finale is great from top to bottom, and features the most downer ending to a Britcom since Blackadder.
The Wire (Season 5) – “The Dickensian Aspect” (A)
Bunk learns just how deep the budget cuts affected the city’s ability to affect crime. Templeton learns how to do some honest-to-God reporting. Marlowe’s people learn just how bad their life will get with Omar still on the loose. It’s a big episode with big lessons.