Top Moments: Intrigue on True Blood, Mad Men and... Hot in Cleveland?
Betty White, Denis O'Hare
Television was a place of intrigue this week. Top Chef set the tone with a CIA-themed challenge. Bachelor Pad showed us a classic double-cross. Ari fell victim to a well-executed bluff on Entourage. The Jersey Shore girls tried their hand at skullduggery. Hot in Cleveland threw Elka in the slammer for her covert ops. And True Blood revealed a madman's plan for world domination. Welcome to Top Moments: Cloak and Dagger Edition.
10. Best-Timed Exit: On Top Chef, the cheftestants are asked to disguise a dish to serve to members of the CIA, including director Leon Panetta. During the rather subpar dinner, Panetta pulls the ultimate spy move: He excuses himself abruptly after he is handed a note by the waiter. Maybe he's off to investigate Pea Puree-gate?
9. Best Double-Cross: As the house becomes divided on Bachelor Pad, Gia has all the power when she wins immunity. She sets in motion a plan to oust the "cool kids," even promising Craig M. she'll give him a rose on her 3-on-1 date. But as soon as she lays eyes on bad-boy Wes, she goes back on her word and gives the rose to him instead, leading Craig M. to be voted out.
8. Best Bluff: Desperate to keep his reputation intact and his name out of Deadline Hollywood, Entourage's Ari goes to Warner Bros. for a favor from ex-flame Dana Gordon. Unfortunately for Ari, Dana wants something in exchange. "I'm pushing 40. I don't have a man. I want a baby," she says. She's kidding, of course. Who besides Mrs. Ari would want his offspring?
7. Worst Move: The Make It or Break It girls' lives are tumbling out of control. Just as Payson thinks Sasha, her coach and Olympic inspiration has helped her overcome her injury, she damages their relationship with an inappropriate kiss. Worse: It's on camera.
6. How-Do-You-Really-Feel Award: After receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis on The Big C, Cathy Jamison (Laura Linney) becomes a woman who speaks her mind. "You can be fat and jolly, or you can be a skinny b----, Andrea. You can't be both," she tells a back-talking student (Precious' Gabourey Sidibe). She was nicer before cancer.
5. Biggest Cowards: We understand that it's hard for the ladies of Jersey Shore to be friends with both Ronnie and Sam. But Snooki and J-Woww take the coward's road when they write an anonymous letter to Sam detailing Ronnie's activities — getting one woman's number and "motorboating" another. Do they think Sam and Ron will assume a stranger broke in and shoved the note in drawer? And then they're too chicken even to deliver the missive. Who would think Snooki and J-Woww, of all people, would be afraid of confrontation?
4. Best Blindside: Just moments before the Big Brother contestants are set to evict Matt from the house, he reveals to his fellow houseguests that he has the diamond power of veto and uses it to save himself. Just like that, Kathy, the unsuspecting deputy sheriff, goes from being safe to being nominated to being evicted by a 5-0 vote.
3. Best Metaphor: Mad Men is fond of having its characters gaze into mirrors, but this week's episode ends with Peggy and Pete on opposite sides of the glass doors of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, looking fondly at each other. It's an interesting moment, as we see how much each has changed since their illicit tryst — and wonder what they would have been like together.
2. Most Arresting Image: The first season of Hot in Cleveland ends with Betty White's Elka Ostrovsky posing for her mug shot. Turns out she has a stash of valuable goods in her storm cellar — because her late husband was a fence for the mob. Free Elka!
1. Best On-Air Talent: True Blood's running gay-rights analogy hits a roadblock when Russell commandeers a live newscast — and yanks out the anchor's spine. His actions all but sink the efforts to pass a Vampire Rights Amendment, especially after he announces his plans to overthrow the human race. "We will eat you after we eat your children," he says, then transitions like a pro: "Now the weather... Tiffany?"