Survivor
OK, I know it's wrong to take so much delight in other people's suffering, but it's kind of fun to watch the Ulongers get their hopes up, fail and then watch Jeff's disgusted head shake when they show up at tribal council again. Pretty soon the Kororians are going to have to sit out almost their entire tribe at each challenge if the Ulongers don't step up their game. Stephanie, however, might be better off dropping the dead weight she's dragging around — she took home that reward challenge almost single-handedly.

And I was glad to see James go instead of Ibrehem, especially after James' particularly delightful quote: "Ibrehem's overstayed his welcome. He was meant to go last time but by the grace of Allah he didn't. My God says he is [going] today." Charming, truly. For that alone the knotty boy deserved to be hung out to dry. — Angel Cohn

Smallville
OK, another repeat, another bang-up hour of background for those of us still soaking in the Small-ness of it all. And a scary one at that! Of course, it's all thanks to the LuthorCorp toxin factory that everyone is seeing their worst nightmares come true, since any time something funky goes down in this town, it can be traced back to either Lex's lab or that pesky meteor. But who knew that, beyond Clark and Jason's fears of being found out, Lana's worries about losing more than just her folks and Lex's nuclear presidential future, it would be the skeleton in Chloe's closet that packed the toughest punch? Her bit at the end, confessing to Clark about her crazy mom? See those tears? And that little dig about being able to tell your best friend your biggest secret? Man alive, I am liking that character more and more each week. Especially since the last few have been a little stingy with the Lois, you know? What's up with that, WB? — Damian J. Holbrook

Lost
On "Cruel Intentions: The Island Edition," Shannon uses her step-bro Boone and then seduces him. It's icky, but I guess you really can't blame the green-eyed monster for rearing its well-styled head. Especially since Sayid proved that he might quite possibly be the world's perfect man by giving Shannon a pair of shoes he found. That's the way to win this particular girl's heart, not by beating up and buying off her boyfriends.

We also learn in this episode that Sun speaks English, and Hurley's suspicious that Jin also understands more than he's letting on. Watching this rerun, I think he may be on to something. How does Jin comprehend Hurley's deal? The lotto winner's crude attempts to sign out his wishes weren't that good. He couldn't even get the fisherman to pee on his foot without it seeming like he was hitting on him. — AC

Alias
I almost wish they'd use subtitles all the time on this show. At least that way it would be easier to make sense of the mishmash of names, covert organizations and faux-techno jargon that's thrown around whenever new missions are assigned. Prior to this episode, I liked Mia Maestro just fine, but this performance rocked. You name it, she did it — from a tragic death scene to her restrained exchanges with Sydney and Sloane. Muy bueno.

So it appears that both of Irina's resourceful, butt-kicking daughters were approached and trained by criminals posing as national intelligence agents. Adding to this week's coincidence roundup was Vaughn's Lisbon trip, which revealed that his father (are we thinking dead or not now?) had delivered Nadia to Sonia Braga's orphanage years ago. And what the hell did "Nightingale" mean? It sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. So much to digest... wait — I almost forgot — Marshall and Vaughn will be grabbing lunch together at some point in the near future, too. Wow, that was a jam-packed installment. — Danny Spiegel

American Idol
How about that? Somebody figured out how to screw up the voting process and still give us something to be happy about! Replaying Tuesday's performances to make up for some fubu graphics slipup, this do-over was more than just Fox serving the egg on their face with a side of rehashed sounds. Simon finally got to have his say about the singers without Paula the Human Pom-Pom on Percocet getting all up in his gravy, Seacrest got the voting phone numbers right, Pepito the Wonder Chihuahua got a full hour of scratches and we got to see those smashing numbers from Vonzell, Carrie and Nikko once again. Honestly, aside from a series of way raunchy "leaked" Pat O'Brien voice mails, those three were the best things I heard all day. Unfortunately, we also had to relive Mikalah's full-frontal attack on Taylor Dayne and Nadia's mohawk, but hey, the good with the bad, right? And speaking of good, cheers to Cooler reader Tom N. for suggesting that Anwar check out "Calling You" from the Baghdad Caf&#233 soundtrack. An inspired pairing, sir. Now if someone could only find a song that Mikalah could take on without having to hide the body. — DJH

Smallville
Oooohh, maybe I spoke too soon. Thank you, thank you, WB. Replaying this season's opener is like a Lois-palooza. Not to mention a buffet of Tom "Beef" Welling-ton. Good lord. You can almost see the sparks flying and bouncing off him and Erica Durance, unless that's just the heat rising from his sick, sick body. Someone get that boy a carb, aiight? And while you're at it, fire me an e-mail if this was the first time we've ever seen Clark flying, because it seemed pretty major. Now, back to La Lane. I don't know what it is about her, but that smoke-jonesing, coffee-slurping city mouse is the best thing to hit this one-Talon town since a certain Kryptonian with abs that can stop time. Plus, once pretty-boy Jason is sent packing for his and Genevieve's whole burned-witch scheme, it's so gonna be on between Lois and Lana over Kansas' hottest crop. And if there's anything that gives this little-show-that-can the edge over Lost, it's some girl-on-girl action, you know? That and maybe a little bit more Michael Rosenbaum. Whose increasingly intriguing Lex just about makes up for his participation in the steaming pile of Wes Craven that is Cursed. Dag, even Lionel couldn't come up with something that foul. — DJH

The West Wing
Two shows left, who's it gonna be, Vinick or Santos? After watching Vinick handle the church politics of his party, I have to say I'd vote for either one. But do you think we'll really have ourselves a new pretend president in two weeks as the previews seem to hint? Or are they going to mess with us until the fall by leaving us with a cliff-hanger where the election is too close to call. I hope not. That would be like, so '80s.

The only thing that isn't up in the air is Santos' nomination as the Democratic candidate. The only suspense there is waiting to see how the battle for the party nomination plays out. Can you imagine a national convention where the nomination was actually up for grabs?! Like CJ says, all hell would break loose. It would be a real media event, as opposed to the predetermined pep rallies we've grown accustomed to. Aaah, but that's why we have The West Wing, to daydream.

I still don't know how to take Ron Silver as Bruno. Don't get me wrong; he's great in the role and the character is intriguing in snake oil-salesman kind of way, but I keep getting these images of him during the last election cycle as one of Chris Matthews' crew of talking heads. Anyhow, that soliloquy where he pitched himself as a campaign manager to Vinick, with his "You do this right, you can do a lot more than win. You can stop using politics to divide this country and show us how much we agree instead of how much we disagree. You can put this country back together" — that was almost too smooth. Just substitute "we" for "you" and it reads like the acceptance speech that John Kerry never had a chance to deliver.

Loved the scene with Bartlet and Vinick having a heart-to-heart while mowing down five assorted tubs of ice cream in the White House kitchen. Forget CJ, Toby, Leo and the rest. There are only two guys to turn to when the weight of the world is on your shoulders — Ben & Jerry.

P.S. I really didn't want to say anything, but Charlie, you gotta shave the goatee. Leave the facial hair to Toby. — Dan Roberts

Channel surfing
Why was it such a shock for the girls on Top Model to see Tiffany throwing up — isn't that supposed to be part of the whole model society? And Brandy got sent home for doing more catfighting than catwalking. Shocker... TVLand's grand experiment with Farrah Fawcett featured the least startling revelation ever when she admitted that all her assistants go, or are, crazy. Somehow the former Angel isn't someone the world needs an all- (or almost all-) access pass to. Now if TVLand could convince Bea Arthur to do a bio-reality show, then we'd be talking. — AC

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