Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Gray Star Mutual” (B+)
Even if I wouldn’t mark this episode as one of the best of the season, the fact that all three subplots hum along AND advance the plot is an example of this show firing on all cylinders, and I’m going to miss that when it’s gone.
Silicon Valley – “Facial Recognition” (B+)
2018 is probably a little late for an Ex Machina parody, but Todd Louiso is bringing his A-game as a creepy A.I. programmer. Also, Zach Woods continues to be the best actor on this show.
Barry – “Do Your Job” (A)
Maybe having Barry do a Macbeth monologue is too on-the-nose, but who cares. This is the show’s best episode yet, balancing its off-kilter humor with horrifying violence. It was already confident, but now it knows for sure where it’s headed.
Westworld – “Journey into Night” (B-) / season premiere
A lot of exposition. So much exposition. Too much exposition, but damn if it didn’t look gorgeous. Depending on if the show picks up, this might be the first casualty of the busy spring season.
Legion – “Chapter 12” (B)
An episode where the visuals are more than just cool, they have meaning. It’s just too bad that this emotional journey into Syd’s past is spelled out as obviously as possible.
The Handmaid’s Tale
“June” (A) / season premiere
Two startling episodes that both raise the stakes and change the game for this series. June on the run sets up the tension for Season Two, while spending an entire episode in the Colonies with Emily (Alexis Bledel) and diving into her backstory gives us another character to root for. Also, it’s early, but so far John Carroll Lynch and Marisa Tomei deserve Best Guest Actor and Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
The Americans – “The Great Patriotic War” (A)
One of the series’ best episodes, as Philip loses his shit after finding out the depth of the training Elizabeth has been imparting on Paige. That causes him to tip off Kimmy, which sets off a chain reaction for the rest of the season.
A.P. Bio – “Walleye” (B+)
Jack pushes too hard in his quest to embarrass Miles, hurting a student in the process. But he may have gotten what he wanted: out of Toledo. Props to NBC for shooting on-location, but I think we know Jack’s going to want to stay.
Atlanta – “North of the Border” (A-)
This is what this show does best when it’s not experimenting: starting out fairly traditionally, turning a corner and going wild, then having that experience change a character’s perspective. This also proves it could go anywhere next season, even if Earn and Paper Boi aren’t on speaking terms.
CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
Andre the Giant (B+)
A satisfying documentary about a larger-than-life character. Also tells the story of how wrestling became a national phenomenon, which is explained elegantly for a non-fan like me, but that’s the least interesting aspect.