Man, I love Quentin Tarantino. He can start with what is already a fantastic procedural show and take it to the next level. His odd-but-appropriate music choices and visual style are unmistakable (I'm sure he added the Dukes of Hazzard board game, too). However, I'm a little bit worried about his current obsession with stuffing people in confined spaces. He tossed Uma six feet under in Kill Bill 2, and now Nick is in the same predicament. Tarantino does do tight quarters better than anyone, though Alias and Veronica Mars have followed suit pretty convincingly this season. He really kicked it up Tarantino-style with the icky fire ants and tons of explosives. Did anyone else start itching when they showed those bugs biting into Stokes' flesh? I'm not too squeamish, but that really got to me. I'm not sure if tonight's torture was delayed payback for George Eads' money-grubbing stunt earlier this season, or a reward for his solid performances since then, including that showcase episode where he really got to show some range. Or maybe he and Gary Dourdan really did flip for it. The warped autopsy scene was also clearly a byproduct of the oddball Tarantino mind, but I've got to give credit to the writers for keeping their snappy dialogue and tone intact, even with a big personality calling the shots. They did a great job of bringing the whole season full circle with Grissom's request to reunite his team. That was very poignant, as was watching Grissom read Stokes' lips on the web cam. But the most touching moment of the evening was unintentional. This episode turned out to be character actor Frank Gorshin's final performance before his death earlier this week. So riddle me this: Is there any better way for an actor to go out than on the top-rated drama on TV? I don't think so. — Angel Cohn
What is with Fox making me cry this week? Last night it was losing the Vonz on Idol. Tonight I'm wet-eyed over, like, everything. First it's Hailey and Jimmy returning for Caleb's funeral. Then, it's the funeral itself, though don't ask me why. He was the devil. After that, Sandy explaining Kirsten's drinking problem to Seth gave me a lump in my throat, which became full-on chin-quivering as soon as the gang whipped out their tough-love for Kiki's "after-school special" intervention. Once she 'fessed up and broke down, forget it. Gone. (Oh, and FYI: Kelly Rowan? Devastating, thank you very much.) Honestly, I barely pulled it together before Marissa shattered into a million pieces and told Summer about Trey's attempted rape. Even the ensuing — and horrifyingly brutal — beatdown between the Atwood boys had me sort of open-jawed upset, though not as much as the inevitable tragedy of Coop blowing a hole through Trey to save Ryan. Good thing there was the action of Jess the Coke Whore's drug-deal-turned-shootout at the Bait Shop. We needed the jolt just to break up all those raw emotions. But that's the beauty of Josh Schwartz's writing. He respects his characters' histories, so we don't just get random, out-of-the-blue dramas that scream "SEASON FINALE!" We get moments jammed with resonance: Summer seeing her addict stepmother in Kirsten's boozy mess at the wake, Ryan risking the last year of being a good boy to teach his scuzzbag brother a lesson and Julie realizing that Jimmy was the best thing to happen to her. And mentioning Caitlin! Whoo-hoo! Of course, how all of this plays out will have to wait until next season, so until then, let's all say a little prayer that Kiki makes friends with Bill W. at that rehab and that Marissa makes bail over the summer. After all, they'll probably want to be around when Theresa the 40-year-old teenager finally turns up with that damn kid of hers. 'Cause you know that's coming, right? — Damian J. Holbrook
So Kendra got hired. I'm so shocked... OK, not really. Especially after Tana's less-than-professional outbursts about her team during last week's task. I thought for a moment that she just had one bad night, but her Arsenio Hall-style whooping when she took credit for the Pontiac task — during which she ditched Kendra in order to get some beauty sleep — made me realize that's just her personality. I was with her up until the Bedazzling incident and then... well, she just started to crack. I was worried that Trump might appreciate that sort of outspoken behavior, but at the end of the day, he chose the quiet, hard worker to represent his company. The fact that polished, book-smart Kendra has teamed up with gritty, street-smart Chris made me realize a couple of things: This whole grand experiment between the two kinds of education was really a failure, as it seems like you need a bit of both to succeed; and also that Kendra wasn't sitting around wasting the last few months hoping that Trump would give her a job, but was out there working it with the most difficult partner she could find. Good luck; just stay spunky and don't become a humorless worker drone like Kelly and Bill have become. And Donald, before next season, maybe you want to spend less time plugging your friend Martha and all your sponsors' great products and actually learn the names of the contestants. He clearly got confused when it came to Erin and Kristen. Ahh, the beauty of live TV. — AC
American Idol: The World's Worst Auditions
I made it through about 20 minutes of this before realizing that watching off-key saps try out for the global versions of Idol wasn't exactly funny. More like unsettling. Without subtitles, who knows what the judges were saying to that tone-deaf Belgian Idol wannabe. And I'm sorry, but the Danish Idol hopeful in those wooden shoes will haunt me for days. Just not a good look, you know? Anyway, even though it was kind of a hoot to see salty Tamika from AI's second season, the clips of her giving a big ol' load of whatnot to Simon, Paula and Randy only served to prove that the real fun of these bad singers is the torture they inflict on the judges we know so well. And they so deserve it. — DJH
Thank you, Skip Carrington, for telling us via the Thursday Hot List that this "farewell" episode for Noah Wyle was not one of those over-the-top goodbye shows, probably because Noah will be back for four shows next season and four the following. Rather, it was a "Please pass the salt and oh, Carter's leaving" departure. What made this finale one of the most exciting episodes of the season was the real-life, ripped-from-Chicago-headlines story of the collapsing porches. But here's the irony for me: That actually happened a few blocks down from where my dad lives in Chicago. I remember the day he called me a few years ago and said, "You will not believe what happened on my street! It's all over the news!"
Speaking of the porch, it was really cool to see Shane West's Ray play the hero, especially since he wasn't sure if he wanted to sign his contract. Shane got to shine and he was just fine. One of the best lines, though, was Abby's to the theater director after he said, "The show must go on" (the episode's title). "Why is that exactly?" she questioned. "I mean, why can't the show just stop?" The show won't stop with Noah's departure, but there were a few tear-jerking scenes. The one that made me cry the most was Luka quoting his dad: "We only part to meet again." Awesome ending when Carter heard the flashback voices, and then we heard Lynyrd Skynyrd ask, "If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?" We will, Noah.
Three random things:
Why was Danny Glover only in a cameo?
What was with Chuny's Dorothy pigtails?
And where was Laura Innes? Made no sense — "The party's on Weaver," but where was Weaver? — Dave Anderson
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