FRIDAY

Battlestar Galactica
Baltar's willing to stand in flames just to hold Number Six's hand? Now that is love. And I'm glad to see that the engineers in the Galactica universe employ the same timing devices on their spaceships that we enjoy on earthly TV cars. You know, the ones that blow the fuel tanks of burning vehicles after — and only after — the last passenger dives out and hits the deck? A minor quibble, though. Still love this thing.

Meanwhile, back in the jungle. Or down on Caprica, rather: Caprica Boomer, well, lowers the boom on Helo and tells him she's pregnant. Like he wasn't already freaking out about being the only human left on a planet overrun by the enemy? Then Starbuck shows up and has no problem finding the arrow in the museum, which is why she's the hero. Me, I headed to the Natural History Museum out here and couldn't even find the men's room. (She does get points off, however, for shooting the glass out of the arrow's case without aiming away from the actual arrow. Wouldn't that have been a "D'oh!" moment if she'd blown the head off it?

Now here's Number Six to engage Starbuck in a blonde-on-blonde smackdown, which is pretty — OK, completely — one-sided, but at least they didn't end the fight with Six slapping her over to her fallen gun or anything. Instead, they concentrated on the gravity of the situation (ha!).

And poor Galactica Boomer, having to face a whole crowd of her exact duplicates. I know the first thing that would go through my head: I'm not that fat, right? And... holy crap! She just shot Adama! Not once, mind you, but twice, leading to a decidedly churchlike ending. Will this show actually kill off one of its leads? Could be, but c'mon, folks. Edward James Olmos lands his first hit series since Miami Vice and this is what he gets? Besides, if he's really dead, I'll never see my dream of a Vice reunion with Glenn Frey on here.

See you next season, people; hell of a first one, I say. — Michael Peck

SUNDAY

Desperate Housewives
It's hard to decide which was the most shocking scene: Juanita taking a tumbling header down the stairs; Andrew being dragged off to a juvenile center in the middle of the night; or — and this might be the craziest of all — Edie casually hanging out with the girls early in the episode. We all knew that couldn't last, and it ended as soon as Susan accepted the date with Bill the contractor. Even Susan later agreed that she does "invite the drama in — just a little." She needs somebody boring. Hey, how about George the pharmacist? He's available and, in between eating TV dinners and slowly killing Rex, he's got a lot of free time, too.

It's a true testament to Eva Longoria's likability that we still empathize with Gabrielle, who, if you're objective about it, is a selfish, egocentric bitch. First, she gets cranky with Carlos on the day he's burying his mother. Then she strongly encourages him to spend some time in prison, and finally she neglects to mention the big fat settlement from the hospital — and yet we still (mostly) love her.

Kudos go out to Housewives' creator, Marc Cherry, and his writing staff for maintaining the show's consistently clever quips and sharp dialogue despite the melodramatic themes this serial gets into. It would be easy to let those get lost, but tonight was another fine collection of smoothly executed one-liners:

  • "Maybe you should've waited until I left to do that." — Mike, having just slipped a letter halfway under the door to Susan, who took the envelope a moment later
  • "I have it in my head that only bad people break up marriages and offend the handicapped." — Lynette, after she arguably did both
  • "You just signed 'I told you so,' didn't you?" — Lynette to Tom, who had learned a little sign language from guest star Marlee Matlin
  • "Oh, you can toss that." — Gabrielle to the nurse who had packed up Juanita's personal belongings
  • "I know what the odds are, but I just love those scratch-offs!" — Gabrielle hypothesizing with her lawyer about what would happen if she were to come into a lot of cash from, say, the lottery (or a hospital settlement) — Danny Spiegel

    MONDAY

    24
    Kudos to everyone who guessed correctly: Anderson stole the Stealth bomber to shoot down Air Force One. But did you notice he brought the plane down but didn't take it out completely? Only in the coming attractions did we get a few clues as to why. Looks like this latest terrorist plot was less about killing the president and more about stealing the top-secret information on board, which just happens to be the codes and locations to our entire nuclear arsenal. Yeah, that's something you want Marwan to get his hands on. While this ep didn't exactly have me on the edge of my seat (it was fairly obvious what was going to happen) there were little lightening bolts along the way. When the flight simulator and plane schematics were found on Anderson's hard drive, I flashed back to the real terrorists of 9/11 (one of the hazards of watching a show like this). And when Chloe said, "We're being beaten by our own technology," I got the chills. Maybe that's why I welcomed the weird drama between Michelle and Tony (one gentle gesture, and he knows she's sleeping with Buchanan?), Audrey and Paul (the minute she told him he was brave, you knew it was over between her and Jack) and my favorite "couple" Chloe and Edgar. She totally saved his butt by taking the blame for the incompatible code. I stand by my theory. Get those two geeks a room! Some complain these stories take away from the true drama. I say we need them, if only as breaks from what could be a very scary reality. — Robin Honig

    TUESDAY

    Veronica Mars
    Every time I think I've got the Lilly Kane murder mystery figured out, another wrench gets thrown in the works. Celeste seemed like the perfect suspect, but if Duncan's alibi was that he was showering and his pampered family actually washed his soccer uniform, then all signs point to the fact that Veronica's maybe-bro had some cruel intentions. Unless it is someone else entirely. Does Duncan have a twin brother we don't know about? Was Logan really not in Europe and just making up the whole blind-rage story? Did that snazzily dressed Clarence Weidman do it? And more importantly, is Abel's streaming-video patent real, and could it speed up my snail-paced browser at work? Speaking of work, I'm thinking of setting up my office in the bathroom. I know it sounds weird, but if it worked for both Fonzie and Veronica, it might be worth a shot. At least there's good lighting in there.

    Did anyone else catch Amelia watching Harry Hamlin in Clash of the Titans? Logan's dad looked darn good in a loincloth in his day. And he wasn't the only father figure in the spotlight tonight: Lilly's papa doled out cash in the name of a scholarship; the sweet Hamilton sacrificed his shot at Oxford to deliver pizzas in order to cover for his daddy's devious misdeed; and Veronica's pop is finally sharing his intel on the Kane crew with his precocious daughter. It would be really good for the family business if they could crack this case wide open. Plus, ever since the Just Shoot Me alum traded in his camera for a gun, he's gotten much better dialogue. Like asking that soon-to-be-divorc&#233e who wanted to set up her husband with a hooker if she "looked up pimp in the phone book and stopped at P.I.?" And now I don't have to suffer through annoying David Spade in order to watch Enrico in action. — Angel Cohn

    The Amazing Race
    That was hilarious. I loved the totally opposite ways Lynn and Alex and Brian and Greg prepared for the possibility of having to give up their backpacks. The brothers stripped down to their bathing suits and donned winter hats; Alex put on extra layers of clothing for backup. (Did that remind anyone else of that Friends episode where Joey put on almost all of Chandler's wardrobe and kept doing commando-style lunges?). I'm not sure, but I think Phil actually had two discernible facial expressions when he witnessed the ingenuity of each team. Can you just imagine if Brian and Greg hadn't been eliminated and they were forced to go forward dressed like that? That would've been one awkward flight out of Africa.

    It seems like this installment was all about sightseeing and mishaps. For every cool animal the teams saw (elephants, giraffes and zebras, oh my) something screwy happened or someone screwed up. When Meredith and Gretchen and Uchenna and Joyce all had to go back to finish the last task, my heart sank. Getting eliminated for such a random oversight would've really sucked. And man, Lynn and Alex were amazingly calm considering they had to get two replacement vehicles. (Personally, I would've lost it.) After getting their third car, Lynn wisecracked, "Let's see if we can destroy this one." Luckily, they didn't.

    Ron and Kelly took a wrong turn into Bickering City on this leg. Assuming that the footage and editing were accurate, I'm not sure how in the world Kelly could've thought Ron said "Shut the f--- up" when he actually said, "Kelly... chill a minute." What?! They don't sound anything alike in terms of syllables and cadence, so who knows what happened there. (Yes, he said "Shut up" earlier, but that didn't seem to be what she was reacting to.) Of course it got much worse when she responded with "You're a piece-of-trash redneck," which is a lot harder to take back. It sure makes you wonder how often people misunderstand each other without the benefit of a camera crew to clarify what actually happened. — DS

    WEDNESDAY

    Lost
    One door opens, another door closes.... It's the circle of life.... Out with the old, in with the new... Any number of clich&#233s could have described the not-so-subtle juxtaposition of one young man dying at the same time a baby boy was born, but somehow I was too preoccupied to care. I almost fell off the edge of my seat. I'm glad that Jack caught on to the fact that Locke basically used Boone as a human sacrifice. So did Locke fake his inability to walk last week just to set the poor boy up? I was thinking that, but it just seemed too evil. The good doctor tried to overcompensate and gave his own blood, sweat and tears in a vain (and vein) attempt to save Boone. Too bad Dr. Quinn had better medical equipment than he does. Thank goodness Sun didn't ditch her hubby at the airport and was there to help Jack and act as his conscience before that disturbing amputation. Now that would have been hard to explain to Shannon when she got back from her sexy picnic with Sayid. Instead, her little guilty pleasure is going to provide guilt issues for years to come. Poor Boone. I will miss your very pretty eyes.

    And I realize that women have been giving birth on their own and in the wilderness for eons, but I'm making a note to myself now that if I am ever nine months pregnant, I'm not taking any international flights or even any three-hour boat tours. No way in heck I'd want to be stuck on an island in the woods with three people who have never delivered a child before. But Claire toughed it out and even seem to appreciate Jin's presence despite the fact she didn't have a clue what he was saying. His trying to help another person was out of character; perhaps Daniel Dae Kim was right when he told me that there was more to Jin than we've seen.

    But amid all the jungle drama, the flashbacks presented some even more shocking surprises. Jack is (or was?) married to that girl from Ed. I never noticed a ring, but now I've got to go back to the old episodes and double-check. I'll be so grateful when this show is on DVD. And was his cold-wet-feet discussion with dear old Dad before or after he squealed on his lush old man's operating procedures? And why was Julie Bowen wearing a T-shirt with the number 44 on it. Is that some kind of a hint? There are 45 survivors now (well, 46, if you include Claire's new addition). Are her jammies someone's sly way of letting us know that not all our fave castaways are safe? Oh no, and next week is a rerun. Is someone at ABC trying to kill me? I may suffer withdrawal and start mumbling numbers at my desk. As it is, I can't wait to go watch this episode again. Maybe my heart won't race quite as much this time around. — AC

    Alias
    Ah, the age-old question arises once again: Does exposing himself to the potentially lethal radiation of a nuclear core excuse a father's devious manipulation and exploitation of his only daughter? Jack has to be the most complex character on this show. We know Sydney, Vaughn and company are good. And it's abundantly clear that Sloane is dangerously close to evil personified. So where does that leave Jack? For every instance of bravery in the name of his country, and for every sacrifice he has made for his beloved (we hope) daughter, he has serviced a variety of questionable agendas. Then again, who knows, maybe he's a real gas at house parties.

    More questionable judgment: How desperate for information must Vaughn be to have injected himself with an unknown — and ultimately paralyzing — agent? I know he needs answers about his father, but he could have ended up dead, dead, dead in that library.

    Two notable images: That sequence where the guy basically melted was certainly one of the most disgusting things I've seen on broadcast television this year. (I emphasize "broadcast" because any single episode of HBO's Carniv&#224le puts Alias to shame in this category.) At the other end of the spectrum was the commercial with Miss Piggy dressed like Sydney in her infamous red wig. Pretty cute. Now if only that swine could run like Jennifer Garner. — DS

    Eyes
    Whoa! Jeff is alive. That's not right! I know, I know. I said last week I'd miss his character, but having him lose a piece of his ear rather than losing his life... that kind of lowers the stakes a little now, doesn't it? Suddenly Nora isn't an evil murderer, she's just a double-crossing manipulative bitch with a gun to Jeff's head. And where the hell is Danny? I liked him too, but the absence of his picture on the ABC website tells me he ain't coming back — at least not until sweeps.

    Don't you just love Harlan's candor? While everyone else is sneaking around, using high-tech surveillance to get the goods on the suspect, Harlan flashes that supremely smug smile and cuts to the chase. He's like the antithesis of Columbo. No pleasantries, no mind games, no trying to draw the suspect out, just "I know you did it and we're going to take your money." Which he does. I loved it when he confronted Brad at his clinic by offering to buy some Oxycodone. Brad's wife thinks it's a joke and says, "Why not heroin?" To which Harlan replies (with that smug smile of course), "Why not?!" Meanwhile Brad is standing there smiling and crapping in his pants. Serves him right. I mean, what was he thinking by bringing his case to Judd Risk Management? If you have something to hide, whether it's an ulterior motive or a million dollars, don't ask Harlan to do your dirty work, because its his job to know your business and he is very, very good at it.

    Can you tell I'm enjoying this show? Granted, this episode wasn't as polished as the first, but it's still a breath of fresh air compared to the most recent season of Law & Order. If I have one complaint about the show, it's that Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon needs to keep her legs covered. I'm getting tired of cleaning up my own drool! — Dan Roberts

    THURSDAY

    The O.C.
    So you knew the second we saw the crystal egg from Risky Business — and heard that cheesy-classic Tangerine Dream synthesizer — that Trey was gonna be lifting it, right? Especially after Marissa sold him on renting Alex's old place. Which, thank you very much, writers, was a nice little explanation of what happened to the lesbian who bored Newport. Now, if only they could do something about this Zach feller. Because unless he's setting Seth up to lose Summer with the graphic-novel idea, the dude is 100 percent Zzzzzzzzzzz-grade beef. Same thing with Carter. Great on the eyes, no doubt, but has anyone else noticed that Billy Campbell has more chemistry with Peter Gallagher than with Kelly Rowan (whom we love)? That's not to say that what's going on with Kiki isn't cause for concern, if only for the amount of booze she's been guzzling to drown her jones for the baby-faced editor. Learn from Liza, honey. It only makes things worse, OK? Also worrying me is the fact that I seem to have missed something major. Have Ryan and Marissa done it yet? Based on her comments about sleeping in his bed before and that semi-flirty "It's nothing you haven't seen before" after he walked in on her undressing, I got the feeling that a "very special" episode happened while I wasn't looking last season. Anyway, if they haven't, they need to before the sparks between Coop and Trey either ignite or blow up in someone's face. I'm guessing it'll be Trey who goes too far. After all, any dude who tries to fence a Tom Cruise prop earmarked for Sandy's debut as honorary chair for the Newpsie's pseudo-charity non-yard sale probably doesn't have the best decision-making skills. Though he does have good hair. And that sometimes counts for more than a lot of people realize. It's a shame, really. — Damian J. Holbrook

    Survivor: Palau
    I know I offhandedly joked a few weeks ago that Stephenie might be better off going solo in the challenges than carrying around the deadweight of Bobby Jon, Ibrehem and James. But I never really thought it would happen. I'd heard rumors that they wouldn't be merging but I guess I always figured that the Ulongers would eventually win at least one immunity challenge by pure dumb luck. I would have been wrong, but come on, who could have predicted that they'd be the losingest tribe in Survivor history? But you can tell Jeff Probst is having fun with it — from teasing She-Ra and Captain Caveman that since immunity was back up for grabs, "anyone" could win it, to telling Koror just to let him know which two players would be competing instead of which six would be sitting out. And after the campfire starter lost a one-on-one flame-growing competition to Steph, Probst looked a little too happy uttering, "Your tribe definitely did not speak tonight," as he snuffed out poor Bobby Jon's torch.

    But while the bad news bears couldn't keep it together, something is really rotten in the state of Koror, where rats are crawling around and munching on dead shark carcasses. You may be in the wilderness, but you don't have to be disgusting. It's just like The Real World: Seattle when they had the awesome digs and then trashed the place. OK, maybe it's not just like that, but the Home Depot hut is pretty darned nice. They've even got a functioning shower with fresh water, not that alpha males Tom or Ian would let anyone use them. I guess being on the island has made them completely forget that cleanliness is next to godliness. — AC