One door opens, another door closes.... It's the circle of life.... Out with the old, in with the new... Any number of clich&#233s could have described the not-so-subtle juxtaposition of one young man dying at the same time a baby boy was born, but somehow I was too preoccupied to care. I almost fell off the edge of my seat. I'm glad that Jack caught on to the fact that Locke basically used Boone as a human sacrifice. So did Locke fake his inability to walk last week just to set the poor boy up? I was thinking that, but it just seemed too evil. The good doctor tried to overcompensate and gave his own blood, sweat and tears in a vain (and vein) attempt to save Boone. Too bad Dr. Quinn had better medical equipment than he does. Thank goodness Sun didn't ditch her hubby at the airport and was there to help Jack and act as his conscience before that disturbing amputation. Now that would have been hard to explain to Shannon when she got back from her sexy picnic with Sayid. Instead, her little guilty pleasure is going to provide guilt issues for years to come. Poor Boone. I will miss your very pretty eyes.

And I realize that women have been giving birth on their own and in the wilderness for eons, but I'm making a note to myself now that if I am ever nine months pregnant, I'm not taking any international flights or even any three-hour boat tours. No way in heck I'd want to be stuck on an island in the woods with three people who have never delivered a child before. But Claire toughed it out and even seem to appreciate Jin's presence despite the fact she didn't have a clue what he was saying. His trying to help another person was out of character; perhaps Daniel Dae Kim was right when he told me that there was more to Jin than we've seen.

But amid all the jungle drama, the flashbacks presented some even more shocking surprises. Jack is (or was?) married to that girl from Ed. I never noticed a ring, but now I've got to go back to the old episodes and double-check. I'll be so grateful when this show is on DVD. And was his cold-wet-feet discussion with dear old dad before or after he squealed on his lush old man's operating procedures? And why was Julie Bowen wearing a T-shirt with the number 44 on it. Is that some kind of a hint? There are 45 survivors now (well, 46, if you include Claire's new addition). Are her jammies someone's sly way of letting us know that not all our fave castaways are safe? Oh no, and next week is a rerun. Is someone at ABC trying to kill me? I may suffer withdrawal and start mumbling numbers at my desk. As it is, I can't wait to go watch this episode again. Maybe my heart won't race quite as much this time around. — Angel Cohn

You're gonna have to excuse me, 'Ville-ians. I'm a little rusty on Season 3, so I had no idea that the teleporting whacko Alicia was actually a major pill last year. Yeah, I know. Apparently, this one tried to kill Lana and got all Alex Forrest-y on Clark. She was trouble with a capital CRAZY, I tells ya. Which is why this recent spell of repeats has been a godsend for those of us who missed her the first time around. This way, we (and by "we" I mean "I") got see why her release from Belle Reve in last week's rerun was so shady and why everyone's blaming her for the attacks on Lana and Jason tonight. Makes sense. After all, who knew that the shaggy-haired dude squiring Lois around town could pull the same disappearing act as Skinny McNutty? Or that he would off her in such a Lost-Hangs-Charlie sort of sick twist? Of course, this is a town of secrets, as Chloe learned after Alicia gave her a peek at Clark's secret with that bogus car-wreck setup. How about that action, huh? Now I understand all her veiled "You can trust me, Clark" comments. Blondie's trying to pull him out of the Closet of Solitude! Maybe she should put those Nancy Drew skills to work on Genevieve Teague, 'cause if you ask me, there is something seriously not right with Jason's mommy if she's getting all icky into Lex. It's so... Demi, you know?

In the second hour, it's Mxyzptlk! I'd heard a lot about this episode, so I'm jazzed that it's the last repeat before new episodes start next week. Of course, I never realized that the mind-controlling elfin dude from the Saturday-morning Superfriends series of my sugar-cereal-fueled childhood actually started out as a teen with bad hair and a thing for roughing up chicks. But hey, they can't all start out on American Idol, right? Anyway, once again, I'm kind of marveling at the craftiness of the writers on this show. From using Kryptonite as Clark's anti-steroid to Chloe's article on sports betting to Lex's getting Jason canned for his Dateline-fodder romance with Lana, there's almost too much to take in sometimes. Especially when you tag on the kickers that always seem to leave us scratching our heads. Like, what was in that 33.1 room? Other mutants? The long-missing Pete Ross? Piles of Michael Rosenbaum's hair? Whatever it is, it's supposed to keep the now-captive Mxyzptlk company, so I'm betting it's probably not something Lex wants getting out. My money is on a stash of unaired episodes of Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane. Oh, and the choking scene? I know a lot of you are like "He's Superman... he's impervious to mind control" and all that. But at the risk of sounding like the biggest geek on the planet — Daily or otherwise, har, har — I have it on good authority that the Man of Steel is, in fact, susceptible to magic. Check your premiere issues of "Countdown to Infinite Crisis." (See, I told you last week that we would discuss it later.) — Damian J. Holbrook

Ah, the age-old question arises once again: Does exposing yourself to the potentially lethal radiation of a nuclear core excuse a father's devious manipulation and exploitation of his only daughter? Jack has to be the most complex character on this show. We know Sydney, Vaughn and company are good. And it's abundantly clear that Sloane is dangerously close to evil personified. So where does that leave Jack? For every instance of bravery in the name of his country, and for every sacrifice he has made for his beloved (we hope) daughter, he has serviced a variety of questionable agendas. Then again, who knows, maybe he's a real gas at house parties.

More questionable judgment: How desperate for information must Vaughn be to have injected himself with an unknown — and ultimately paralyzing — agent? I know he needs answers about his father, but he could have ended up dead, dead, dead in that library.

Two notable images: That sequence where the guy basically melted was certainly one of the most disgusting things I've seen on broadcast television this year. (I emphasize "broadcast" because any single episode of HBO's Carniv&#224le puts Alias to shame in this category.) At the other end of the spectrum was the commercial with Miss Piggy dressed like Sydney in her infamous red wig. Pretty cute. Now if only that swine could run like Jennifer Garner. — Danny Spiegel

American Idol
You know what? Between the lingering headache from that Broadway mess and Nikko's ouster, I'm not really in the mood to talk. Especially to those of you who seem hell-bent on shoving that joyless lump of poorly groomed blah known as Scott down our collective throats for another week. Did any of you actually watch the show Tuesday night? It should have been him, Anthony and, as much as I hate to say it, Anwar. What is this bull, putting Vonzell in the bottom three? Last time I checked, nobody had a receiver-shaped bruise on their head from her. And spare me the expletive-ridden hate mail, Savol-ites. If it weren't for the saving grace of Fantasia's fantabulously earthy performance — and the fact that this is a family website — I'd be taking her "Just act ugly" advice to the group to a whole new, nasty level here, trust me. So let's just get rid of him and spare me another week of having to deal with the "I told you he'd make it" comments from the receptionist at my physical therapist's office, OK? — DJH

(Can't get enough American Idol? Watch Kimberly Caldwell and Rosanna Tavares dish about the show on Idol Chat, Thursday, 8 pm/ET on TV Guide Channel.)

The West Wing
So I guess teachers are a potent political force — who knew that they could decide the fate of the Democratic party? And who knew that Leo would be the VP nominee? That was a nice surprise.

Less surprising was Santos getting the party nomination. Still, they managed to keep it interesting by shaking things up a bit. First Baker throws his hat in the race and then Russell's people subsequently sandbag him with a leak about his clinically depressed wife. But what really shook things up were those handheld camera shots in the war room — what is this, NYPD Blue?

Another nice twist was sending Santos on stage to make his concession speech. The look on his face when Leo told him to throw in the towel for the good of the party? I thought he was going to cry. And when Santos took the podium, all somber like this was his swan song, I swear I felt a lump in the back of my throat. But then he turned it around big time, with a speech about voting your ideals rather than trying to buy political favors that would've made Henry the Fifth tear up. Oh yeah, he had me at "We're all broken." Looks like he won over Bartlet, too. And in the last shot, where Vinick watches Santos and Leo be anointed as his official rivals... was that a look of concern I saw? Not likely. Vinick eats lefty liberals for lunch, and when he rose to his feet, you know he was already looking for the gloves.

Ooooh, this is gonna be good. September is too far away. — Dan Roberts

Whoa! Jeff is alive. That's not right! I know, I know. I said last week I'd miss his character, but having him lose a piece of his ear rather than losing his life... that kind of lowers the stakes a little now, doesn't it? Suddenly Nora isn't an evil murderer, she's just a double-crossing manipulative bitch with a gun to Jeff's head. And where the hell is Danny? I liked him too, but the absence of his picture on the ABC website tells me he ain't coming back — at least not until sweeps.

Don't you just love Harlan's candor? While everyone else is sneaking around, using high-tech surveillance to get the goods on the suspect, Harlan flashes that supremely smug smile and cuts to the chase. He's like the antithesis of Columbo. No pleasantries, no mind games, no trying to draw the suspect out, just "I know you did it and we're going to take your money." Which he does. I loved it when he confronted Brad at his clinic by offering to buy some Oxycodone. Brad's wife thinks it's a joke and says, "Why not heroin?" To which Harlan replies (with that smug smile of course), "Why not?!" Meanwhile Brad is standing there smiling and crapping in his pants. Serves him right. I mean, what was he thinking by bringing his case to Judd Risk Management? If you have something to hide, whether it's an ulterior motive or a million dollars, don't ask Harlan to do your dirty work, because its his job to know your business and he is very, very good at it.

Can you tell I'm enjoying this show? Granted, this episode wasn't as polished as the first, but it's still a breath of fresh air compared to the most recent season of Law & Order. If I have one complaint about the show, it's that Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon needs to keep her legs covered. I'm getting tired of cleaning up my own drool! — DR

Channel Surfing
Having Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo get lost somewhere over the rainbow and Miss Piggy looking bewitching in the aforementioned crimson wig as promos for ABC's upcoming The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz during Lost and Alias was pretty clever. Let's hope the movie is at least half as creative... On America's Next Top Model, Keenyah won the Cover Girl challenge and took the drunken table dancer to a swanky hotel with her. And they got to show up fashionably late for the early-morning desert-storm fashion shoot. No wonder the other girls sent them looks that could kill when they finally arrived. And by assuming bizarre international personalities while the girls presented their signature fragrances, the judges proved that they have officially gone crazy. Tyra, "Precious Tang"? Really, what were you thinking? And Michelle, the word you were desperately seeking was "feminine." Something you might want to investigate if you want to be a model.

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