For the most part, I liked tonight's episode, especially when they were at the hospital. How weird was it to see that towel pulled out of Kathryn Joosten's lung area? If you're reading this without having seen the show, I can imagine how strange my last sentence sounds. Imagine seeing it. Kathryn's second only to Madchen Amick in juicy guest-starring roles this year. First she's a cranky, curmudgeonly neighbor on Desperate. Now she's a cranky curmudgeon getting her second lung surgery. If you want a cranky curmudgeon, get Kathryn! I'm thinking best guest actress in a drama series Emmy nomination. Brilliant.
What I thought was quite lame were some of the nonhospital scenes. I'm so sure that Meredith, normally resistant to the flirtations of Derek (the suddenly studly Patrick Dempsey), ended up having sex with him in his car and then (please!) caught by Dr. Bailey. And Izzie's boyfriend getting mad at her ("This is my life now. These are the people I hang out with.")? Whatever. It was nice that Cristina finally got some, though. When she locked that door, I was like, "You go, Sandra Oh!" Dave Anderson
Well, here's Ellsworth trying out his notion of proposing to the pregnant Alma and making an "honest" woman of her. Only he's bouncing it off a dog. Not so crazy a notion, really. It looks like a pretty smart dog. Nor is it so crazy, I guess, for Al to talk to a severed head in a box, considering the level of conversation he's likely to get from his employees. Although opening the box so the rotting head can actually watch Tom ride his new bicycle the length of the boardwalk? OK, that's a little nutty.
Oof. Here's a pay-cable privilege I didn't need to enjoy right now. It's bad enough that we see Jane throw up, but did we really need to linger on the product itself? Yeah, I know. It's a brutal show. And why does that gross me out more than, say, Doc shoving a metal rod clear through a gunshot victim's head early last season? I don't know. I'm weird.
Then there's the most artful rejoinder of the episode. "How are you sir?" Tolliver asks. "F--- you, Tolliver," the gentleman replies. "Your crooked games and your watered-down liquor." Best response I've ever heard anyone give the man.
On to a demonstration of why Merrick may not be the best chronicler of life around him. "You encounter one of our wonderful, meaningless American traditions the tall-tale conversation," he says to the camp's new telegraph operator (whom Al is already trying to bribe). Meaningless? You may call yourself a journalist, but you're no observer if you think that's the case, A.W. Nothing our Al says is meaningless, particularly when money and influence are involved. Keep your eye on this situation, folks.
Now just when I find myself concentrating only on the cussin', killin' and schemin', along comes a scene like the graveside one where Charlie relates his concerns to poor, dead Bill about Jane's hard-drinking self-demolition, and promises to deliver the late gunfighter's last letter to his widow. I'm reminded of how touching this show can be.
But how great is it when Wolcott comes calling on Joanie, not even sure himself whether he means to butcher her or not, and she lays a bourbon bottle across his head to send him out in the street, bloodied for the second time in as many days? About as great as the acting of Garrett Dillahunt, who went from a believable portrayal of scumbag Jack McCall to making the abhorrent Wolcott damn-near likable when he refers to E.B. as a "grotesque." As Jane says, he ain't lied yet. And it occurred to me: Despite his murdering and overall psychopathic tendencies, she's right: He hasn't.
And speaking of chronicling, that little Sofia is either gonna grow up to shoot someone, or go down in history with a tell-all, Little House-style book. My money's on the book. Michael Peck
In case you were late to catch on to the Wisteria Lane phenomenon, ABC aired this helpful catch-up (or filler until sweeps) episode. It reminded me of a few pressing questions that remain unanswered, like what secret Lynette's husband is keeping. Is it just infidelity or something worse? And will Rex ever figure out that George the pharmacist is poisoning him? Or will Gaby kill Carlos when she discovers that he's been tampering with her birth control pills? And will Paul Young ever not be the creepy guy next door? Aside from these reminders, the hour was a bit, well, uncomfortable. First of all, it seemed a bit odd to have a male narrator instead of the comforting voice of Mary Alice from beyond the grave. And seeing each woman's life separately was kind of sad, especially Susan's segment, which ran like a gag reel and failed to offer any great insight. And Edie didn't even merit her own story; she just trickled in among the rest of the girls' arcs, and got called a hussy by the voice-over guy. Part of this series' charm is the way the characters' lives all intertwine and how the stories connect at exactly the right time. Dissecting them like this took away some of the magic. Not sure if newcomers could get what makes this funny, soapy drama such a guilty pleasure after seeing only its dirty laundry and not its heart. Angel Cohn
In the spirit of Passover, VH1 Classic decided to air Matzo and Metal, a semitraditional seder with some semifamous rockers. Like Anthrax's Scott Ian and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister. A great idea on paper, but they spent more time kibitzing about the industry à la Dinner for Five and less time on the traditions, so it wasn't really educational or all that cool. In fact, Xena fighting off swarms of locusts on CBS was probably a better tie-in to the plagues that are recalled during the seder than this forced heavy-metal miss.... On Extreme Makeover: Home Edition the biggest battle was with termites and vocabulary. Two new words came out of this episode: "mehussive," Ed's combo of massive and huge, and "junk," the Harvey family's term for something that is really awesome. Much like how bad can mean good and sometimes bad. Guess you really do learn something new everyday. AC
On Joan of Arcadia instead of seeing God, somehow Joan can now also see dead people, and her mother has developed some psychic abilities. Hmm, those story lines sound familiar. In addition to chatting with deities, now Joan is also dealing with the Devil, or at least the Devil's advocate. Who would have thought that Satan or his minion would be such an attractive guy? But on a show that has God looking like Neil Gaiman's Sandman, nothing should be shocking.... And speaking of The Devil's Advocate, it turns out that Al Pacino really did manage to beat the hell out of Henry Rollins in Heat, as Rollins himself reluctantly admitted on Dinner for Five. The other mealtime revelation is that Tony Soprano has some competition, as Shield badass Michael Chiklis sought out therapy after finding his role as the Thing in Fantastic Four a bit too Grimm.... And who knew that math could be so fun? Apparently the creators of Numbers, who managed to make quantum physics accessible and useful in uncovering a dirty bomb's potential target and getting bad guys to fess up by using risk assessment. Wow, the crew at 24's CTU could really use someone like David Krumholtz on the payroll. AC