The Simpsons – “Brick Like Me” (A-)
To me, this LEGO episode works even better than Community‘s G.I. Joe episode. The animation is gorgeous and this feels like the first time in forever Homer’s been given something more to do than be a joke delivery service.
Louie – “Back” (A-) / season premiere, “Model” (A)
Louie‘s back. Oh, Louie’s back. Ouch. The premiere proper is a plot-free re-introduction to the character that ends with a grand appearance by Charles Grodin as a nihilistic doctor. The second episode, featuring Yvonne Strahovski, is even better. After a distastrous turn at a benefit for heart disease, he ends up spending the night with a beautiful model. Of course it ends in the most Louie way possible.
Modern Family – “Message Received” (A)
Well, they did it. Modern Family finally did something with real stakes, that was devastating without feeling cheap. Jay and Mitch’s fight felt absolutely authentic. Sometimes Jay’s archaeic viewpoints are played for laughs, but his struggle with his son’s marriage is strictly dramatic. As much as progress as he’s made, he’s still, at his core, a little uncomfortable. That’s something he has to wrestle with. But Mitch has every right to be upset that Jay is more worried about how he’ll be perceived by the guys at the country club (even though we’ve seen they seem fairly open-minded). Oh, and it’s also hilarious. This is probably the best episode since Season 1’s “The Incident.”
The Americans – “Stealth” (B+)
It was a little more traditional thriller than usual, but it’s still an extremely well-executed traditional thriller. Elizabeth finally concedes some ground with Paige, Larick starts his murderous rampage and maybe that kid is gonna start being recruited. But the emotional stakes get raised in the Stan-Nina-Oleg love triangle as Arkady promises deportation and death if Nina fails her mission. That’s the most compelling aspect of the show right now.
Hannibal – “Kō No Mono” (A-)
Perhaps the most unsettling episode of the season, and not just because the most famous scene from Manhunter still terrifies no matter how many times it’s restaged. Michael Pitt has completely stolen the show as Mason Verger and yet the main story is still incredibly gripping. Thank God there will be a Season 3.
The Americans – “Yousaf” (A-)
The re-introduction of Annalisse allows the show to play with some of the themes (sex, trust in a deceptive life) but with different characters. The edits between Annalisse seducing a Pakistani intelligence officer while Elizabeth murders his superior is one of the best scenes of the season.
Hannibal – “Naka-choko” (A-)
The show has come so far since this season began as a detour into courtroom drama. It’s almost a completely different show, but one that’s still terrifying and engaging, raising a ton of questions: Has Will actually lost his mind this time? Is Freddie dead? Did Will kill her? If so, is he any better than Hannibal? And the introduction of Michael Pitt as Mason finally gives us a villain we can experience for more than one week.
Modern Family – “Sleeper” (C+)
While The A.V. Club said it might be the worst episode the show’s ever done, I don’t think it’s any worse than a typical overstuffed latter-day installment of the show.
Saturday Night Live – “Andrew Garfield/Coldplay” (B+)
While Garfield didn’t exactly distinguish himself as a great host, this was a shockingly consistent episode, with one for the all-time reel: The Beygency. And any episode featuring Jedediah Atkinson can’t get anything less than a B- (for now). I’m also loving Kate McKinnon as the Suicidal Russian Villager. She actually had the best Beyoncé-related joke of the night: “Ladies leave your man at home. The club is full of wolves and it’s very dangerous.” And can Leslie Jones come back more often, even if she makes jokes about slavery?
The Simpsons (Season 7) – “Bart the Fink” (B+)
Treads a lot of the same territory as “Krusty Gets Kancelled,” but without the guest stars. Even so, it’s a hilarious showcase for arguably the show’s most reprehensible character. “Come on! I’m-on-a-rolla Gay! I flew that plane with Dean Martin!” Exasperated Krusty is the best Krusty.