Gilmore GirlsWatching Lorelai desperately trying to make small talk at Rory's over-the-top 21st-birthday party while surrounded by hoity-toity guests, snobby finger food and foofy decorations was the most gut-wrenching part of the hour. They might as well have been talking about the weather (Lorelai: "Nice party." Rory: "So what's new?") And that devastated look on Lorelai's face as she stepped away from the crowd surrounding Rory as she blew out her candles You know she was thinking about how far away they were from Atlantic City and about their plans to be at the blackjack table playing 21, buying 21 things and picking up 21 guys. (She has to be the coolest mom

ever.) She should have hope, though. This was their first civil meeting in months. And not only did Rory send the invite, she called to make sure Lorelai would be there. Okay, she shouted the entire conversation at Luke while her mother listened across the diner counter, but good enough. Most importantly, she saved her mom a chocolate box. (Priorities, you know.) But as great as that scene was, I am tempted to say it wasn't my favorite part of the episode. Nope, that had to be Emily and Richard's cozy little dinner party with the priest who told Rory that she must "save her most precious gift" (aka her virtue) for the right man. You know, or else she'd have nothing left to give him but a sweater? Rory's cool, calm response: "That ultimate-gift ship has sailed a long time ago. It's somewhere in Fiji by now. Oh, and have you seen The 40 Year Old Virgin? You might like it." Too bad Lorelai wasn't there to hear that one a couple of lines straight out of her book of banter. Like mother, like daughter. Yes, Rory is drifting, but clearly not very far.   Robin Honig

Commander in Chief
Jack-o'-lanterns in the White House windows, orange-and-black twinkle lights hanging in the first daughter's bedroom and a terror plot against the nation's elementary schools: 'Tis the season, folks. Mac's up against her first threat to national security, leading to some delicious infighting with her attorney general, aka The Ghost of Teri Bauer. (See? Halloween! Spooky!) Clearly, the former Mrs. Bauer learned a thing or two from her husband, Jack she's busy pushing the president to torture the answers out of their terror suspect. Hey, play your cards right and you'll be faking your own death in less than 24 hours. Or at the very least, you'll be dusting off your résumé: Mac gives her the "Oh, snap!" moment of the night with a far-better firing than the Donald ever thought about delivering. "You are relieved of your duties. And I'm not talking in metaphors." Too bad I can't appreciate Geena Davis' dead-on snark there, as I'm too busy giggling over the fact that she just said "duties." What do you want from me? I'm all hopped up on preholiday candy.

I can't decide how I feel about this show's portrayal of Washington as a hotbed of misogyny. It's unsettling, to be sure, but I think that's because I suspect it's not that far off the mark. I find Templeton's pointed use of the word "girl" week after week to be every bit as offensive as the "b" word, the "c" word and any other epithet you might want to throw around. And now we're adding Bosco to the list, as he calls out Ally McPressSecretary on some mealymouthed accusation of her collegiate, ahem, extracurricular activities. Mad props to her for not offering up a swift knee to his groin; I'm pretty sure once you use the phrase "on your knees" to a female colleague, any claim you have to professional diplomacy goes right out the window. In other words, dude, I'd start wearing a cup.   Chana Shwadlenak

Just in time for Halloween, FX gives us a creepfest that made the "normal" episodes tame in comparison. I really have to remember not to be eating while watching this show. It was creepy enough that the dude was assembling a body made of the corpses of various women, but finding out the head was his sister's? How pleasant. Speaking of the head, did you not think that it looked like Ruth Fisher from Six Feet Under? I was actually looking for Frances Conroy's name in the closing credits as "Laura's head." Yikes. While we're talkin' creepy, or rather, sleazy, how about Gina giving sexual favors to the construction workers in order to get discounts on their service? And inside the port-a-potties! Starting a business is hard work, but come on. Glad Julia wasn't havin' it. Now that Jessalyn Gilsig is in the opening credits, we'll be seeing more of Gina's sleaziness. Thanks for all the Carver prediction feedback I got last week. Lots of you think it may be Gina, some of you think it's Quentin and some think it's Kimber. Any of the three could've done it, but because Gina has turned into Alex Forrest, I'm going with Gina. At least for now. I keep waiting for her to say "I won't be ignored, Christian!" Having Liz take a general-practitioner position at Julia and Gina's surgical-recovery spa just adds to the drama of it all. The creep-a-thon ended with Sean cremating the head of Frankenlaura (which was the episode's title). Maybe it was a way to release his demons? Or at least a head start. Dave Anderson