The Apprentice: Martha StewartIt took the final three a long while to realize that neither

Marcela nor

Ryan would be returning to the suite and that they were indeed the final three. Martha confirmed the demise of Matchstick, then hurried Bethenny, Dawna and Jim off to their corporate interviews. Bethenny was at best "scrappy" and at worst "manic." Dawna was sitting pretty as "almost the whole package." But Jim failed to impress, and at his dismissal it struck me that he honestly thought he was going to win. I applaud Jim's self-confidence; it's his self-awareness that I question.

With the chaff gone, we have an all-female final pair, which is fitting for this incarnation of The Apprentice. Two big charity events will wrap this whole thing up. Luckily, the circus was in town, and Liz Claiborne had a fashion show to put together. Finalists chose their team of employees (a nice touch on Martha's part). Dawna cherry-picked Amanda, Sarah and Howie, assembling a team she apparently felt would perform the task for her while she disappeared behind a clipboard and then went to bed early. Psst! Dawna, Howie's background in fashion will not help you since he has no sense of style, and Amanda, who is at times off-putting, should not front your crew. Put down the clipboard and get out of bed! Bethenny chose Jim, Ryan and her grudge-holding nemesis Carrie, thus creating a dynamic mix of cheerleading and resentment, elements that rarely work well together in pressure situations.

To my eyes there's no contest between Dawna and Bethenny. Martha clearly likes Bethenny and merely tolerates Dawna, but since this is a Mark Burnett production, this can only mean that the less obvious candidate will win. I'll offer my condolences to Bethenny now. However, for anyone who has been following this column, you'll realize that I'm no prognosticator. Here's hoping for a worthy winner and a surprise announcement for a second season.  Rhoda Charles

Jack cut off Desantis' ear and then let Renee Reinne kill him! That's the kind of fatherly and grandfatherly protection you definitely want to have if you are eight-months pregnant. The look on Jack's face when he saw the nursery that his ex had carefully crafted was just priceless. I think when he finds out that Syd's mom is the one who took his daughter and had her tortured in a supposedly "safe for baby" procedure that hacked into her memory, things are going to get really ugly. I'd love a showdown between Mama and Papa Bristow  the chemistry between Lena Olin and Victor Garber is insanely intense and fabulous. Here's hoping that plays out well. Gotta love that Syd was able to fight through the pain and confusion to give her captors false info about Horizon, which isn't just related to Prophet 5 but also SD-6. I'm so confused. Let me guess: The Horizon is really a Rambaldi device and everything in this Alias world is tied together? And finally, how nice was it to see Michael Vartan as Vaughn again? Even though the whole thing was a fantasy, it was cute to see them flirting on the pier and living in domestic bliss and chopping broccoli. It makes me remember the good old days of this show. But while there was the big "shocker" (really, if you've been watching all these seasons, who else could have been behind that mirror?) of Mama Bristow returning and the way that Vaughn was worked in, this hour seriously lacked the spirit and spunk that last week's episode with Sark had. I was a little bit bothered by Syd's dialogue, "I want the world to forget about us." And while I understand the sentiment that harkens back to her original hope when she tried to dismantle SD-6, if this show doesn't liven up a little bit, I'm worried that the world will forget about it before the "final episodes" have finished airing.   Angel Cohn