Barry – “The Show Must Go On, Probably?” (A-) / season premiere
There was the fear that this season wouldn’t know where to go next, since it ended on such a perfectly dark note. But it’s clear Bill Hader and his creative team haven’t lost a step. They still know how to balance tension and humor, even when it seems like the show’s on separate tracks.
Veep – “Iowa” (A-) / season premiere
After two years off, there was the potential for this show to just kind of spin its wheels for its last episodes. It’s almost as if the writers knew this, turning that subtext into text as Selina’s campaign tries to avoid the same mistakes of the past, as documented in an enormous bound guide. It’s already funny stuff, but punctuated with extremely dark jokes about abortion and mass shootings that only a show this ballsy could pull off.
This Is Us – “Her” (B) / season finale
A somewhat satisfying finale, or course correction, depending on your point of view. Randall and Beth figure out a way to make it work, but it’s also wrapped up in such a way that I don’t necessarily care what happens in future seasons. Mostly, the show has just made me shout “Tell them what you’re feeling!” to various characters, which is a bit frustrating.
A.P. Bio – “J’accuse” (A-)
Jack finally wins over Lynette, but his cynicism and ambition may kill their relationship before it even gets off the ground. Sarika finally gets to cut loose a bit, letting her be a kid again.
This Is Us – “R&B” (A-)
Another excellently cut episode showing the progress and cyclical mistakes characters have made over the years, as Randall and Beth have both failed to express their true feelings until the emotions and resentment are too much to bear. Their issues aren’t petty, but the impasse might not last forever.
The Twilight Zone (Season 1)
“Walking Distance” (A-)
“Mirror Image” (A)
While I won’t be subscribing to CBS All Access for the fourth version of The Twilight Zone, I’m using its premiere as an opportunity to catch up on some original episodes that I’ve never seen. These episodes prove the show peaked in its first season, with simple-but-haunting stories that would be often imitated but never duplicated. (“Mirror Image” in particular was a major influence on Us.)