Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “USPIS” (A-)
Another strong episode, but I’m still waiting for that flawless episode like Season 1 was full of. Ed Helms kills it as the Ned Flanders-esque head of the Postal Service’s investigation unit. The Amy quitting smoking story isn’t as strong, but gives plenty of opportunities for the cast to do what they do so well. But the MVPs of this episode are Scully and Hitchcock. Their scheme is the best cold open of the season.
The Newsroom – “Main Justice” (A)
There’s an absurd joy I get hearing Sorkin’s dialogue read by actors giving it their all. If actors phone it in, it all sounds like Will’s takedown of the Correspondents’ Dinner. But when all the actors are committed, like they are on The Newsroom, it’s the best thing on TV. Like last week, this episode is packed with plot, but it all finds a way to fit. Will’s decision to protect Neal might end up hurting them both, depending on how this subpoena situation plays out. But that just means we’re getting a trial episode, which as anyone who’s seen A Few Good Men knows is going to be incredible.
The Mindy Project – “How to Lose a Mom in 10 Days” (A-)
Mindy’s on a roll lately, and I’m glad to see Rhea Perlman has gelled so well with the cast. I can only hope that Morgan and Tamra’s break-up means less Tamra overall, even if she’s been more tolerable this season.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Lockdown” (A-)
Bottle episodes are almost always guaranteed winners, and this one is no exception. But it also allows Sarge and Captain Holt plenty of time to just be ridiculous together. I’m still giggling over Holt bouncing on that ball and ordering Sarge to “Crumb me up.”
Key & Peele – “Season 4, Episode 2” through “Season 4, Episode 9” (average: B+)
Consistently hilarious as usual, but only a few sketches really stung, which is what truly sets this apart from everything else on the air. Standouts thus far would include “Georgina & Esther & The Devil,” “Scariest Movie Ever” and “Aerobics Meltdown.” But the misinterpreted texting bit is transcendent. The titular performers are at the top of their games, but it’s really director Peter Atencio who’s the show’s secret weapon.
Modern Family – “Three Turkeys” (B)
Was every character’s worst tendencies turned up to 11? Yes. Did I still laugh my ass off? You bet I did.
The Simpsons (Season 8) – “Hurricane Neddy” (A)
Still one of my top 10 episodes. It’s one of the funniest episodes of the show for sure. In fact, my friend and I quote this any time we do a homebuilding volunteer event together. (“Welcome to your master bedroom!”) But for me, this is the best exploration of faith the show has ever done. It humanizes Flanders even more than past episodes, even if it ret-cons his niceness unnecessarily.
The Wire (Season 2) – “Backwash” (A-)
It’s the least we’ve seen McNulty since the show began, and his scene feels a little tacked on. But the rest is spot-on, and Sobotka being pushed to the breaking point makes for some of this season’s most intense moments. And then there’s Stringer, who I think everyone in the audience has turned against at this point, and rightfully so. But I feel the most for Nick, who’s doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.