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Dollhouse recap: 'Meet Jane Doe' and 'A Love Supreme'
The second hour had the enormous asset of Alpha: Alan Tudyk making a pretty triumphant return in a dapper suit and a very loud shirt and tie. Committing his first murder even before the opening credits, Alpha has set his sights on Echo, his new ''number one'' target (Whiskey used to be first in his shrivelled heart). —Ken Tucker
2 of 16
The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty: A Big Family Mess
Certainly the Jackson who comes off worst on this six-part series is Jermaine, who blows off a family photo-shoot and flies off to Vienna to promote a Michael tribute concert without his brothers' involvement (and that subsequently fell apart). —Ken Tucker
3 of 16
Saturday Night Live recap: Taylor Lautner and a Show Full of Tiger Woods Jokes
Taylor Lautner also gamely played a girl who was on ''Team Edward'' debating a ''Team Jacob'' fan portrayed by Jenny Slate. There was also a school sketch that made so little sense, there was a weird moment when students played by Andy Samberg and Pedrad questioned the teacher (Bill Hader) as to why we were all listening to ''this nonsense.'' They were, in effect, surrogates for the audience, in the studio and at home. The sketch dribbled to an embarrassingly studio-silent conclusion.—Ken Tucker
4 of 16
The shocking Dexter season finale: Read This If You've Seen It
The episode was building to the moment we'd waited for all season: Arthur on Dexter's killing table. I cheered at the screen when Dexter slammed the hood of the Mustang down on Trinity's head and said with reptile warmth, ''Hello, Arthur Mitchell,'' making ironic fun of the way Mitchell had greeted him.
Lithgow got to play his final scene immobile, strapped down, but fully capable of making us believe that, even at his most physically helpless, Arthur's psychotic confidence enabled him to take command. He lectured, trying to deny Dexter a pure triumph, saying, ''I was following my path. God led you to me.'' —Ken Tucker
5 of 16
Lie To Me: A Truck, a Bomb, a Dr. Horrible Singalong
To be sure, the main story, about a trucker who claimed to have a bomb set to go off unless he spoke to the President about his foreclosed family-farm, had its moments of tension. And the subplot was the one most EW readers would have tuned in for, since it featured Buffy/Dr. Horrible star Felicia Day as a teacher who somehow thought it would be a good idea to bring third-graders to see Roth's Cal scowl as an educational day-trip. But that subplot permitted Lie co-star Brendan Hines to strum a guitar and sing a sweet harmony with Day, and both of them got along just swell. —Ken Tucker
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Big Bang Theory recap: Leonard's Mother Kisses Sheldon. Will Life Ever Be the Same?
And just when I began to wonder what sort of man would marry and procreate with a woman like Beverly, and if we would ever meet him, Beverly casually dropped the bombshell on Leonard that she's divorcing his father, something Sheldon apparently had known was in the offing since pretty much the season premiere. This news, including the sordid revelation that Leonard's papa was cavorting with a waitress, of all people, seemed to put the kibosh on Beverly learning that Penny, Cheesecake Factory waitress extraordinaire, was dating her son.
That is, until the next scene, when Penny learned, while driving Beverly back to her hotel, that her possible future mother-in-law has been responsible for her own orgasms since 1982. So, naturally, Penny took Beverly on a detour for a drink, and we cut to Sheldon futilely attempting to help Leonard through the compound indignity of his roommate learning his mother was getting divorce and that his beloved dog Mitzi had died before he'd learned about either. —Adam B. Vary
7 of 16
So You Think You Can Dance recap: Make Them Love You
The final six dancers perform three dances each in their last bid to win over America
But if anyone can steal the title from Russell, it's Kathryn. After watching the contemporary dancer's Jason Gilkison samba with Ryan, Adam added a subtitle to this series: So You Think You Can Dance: The Rise of Kathryn. Well, buy me some Ralph Lauren nautical gear and get my hands on deck, because I'm on board with that idea! And not just because I love subtitles. (Especially when they come in unnecessary parenthetical form, à la ''Quit Playing Games (With My Heart).'') No, I love the fact that a dancer that isn't full of quirk and bells and whistles is actually a frontrunner going into the finale. Because though we're supposed to vote for our favorite dancer, wouldn't it be nice to actually see one of the best dancers win? Especially when a dancer like Kathryn brings so much sexy subtlety to her work. Just watch her dancing during her samba — the dancer managed to show off her technical skills while still not sacrificing personality. She really let go, something I feared would be difficult for her without an emotional partner like Legacy.—Kate Ward
8 of 16
The Sing-Off premiere: Keen Singing and Swan Songs
This being the post-Susan Boyle era of TV competition judging, no act was ridiculed in the making of this show. And I do have to say that Ben Folds is my new favorite TV judge, hands down. The once-and-future Ben Folds Five leader was smart, articulate, funny, and perhaps the only person currently on TV who can use ''keen'' as a word of praise and not seem like he's reading from an old Archie comic book. —Ken Tucker
9 of 16
Gordon Ramsay Cookalong: Delicious Steak and I Didn't Even Call Myself 'Donkey'
Gordon called his menu ''food so good it could jump start your love life'' but actually this butter- and cream-laden main course would have you sitting on the couch in a food coma. I'd love to see him trying something a bit healthier and with ingredients that everyone already has in their pantry — my kitchen stocks don't regularly include heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, Marsala wine, or lady fingers. Still, the man was teaching Americans to cook a three-course meal in one hour, which should help kitchenphobes feel like they can get cooking and avoid calling Domino's at least one night this week. —Wendy Mitchell
10 of 16
Better Off Ted: Lemurs and Lawyers in Lingerie
Ted's daughter Rose, while at company day-care, started hearing rumors of employee firings — or as Veronica put it, ''another round of down-sizing. There's blood on the cheap industrial carpets.'' Veronica starts pumping little Rose for the latest rumors she hears from the kids of employees. Why? Because in a neat twist on Veronica's usual disregard for any human other than herself, she wants to save their jobs, because the firings ''makes me look weak, like my people are expendable.''
I take it back — that was completely in keeping with Veronica's usual disregard for any human other than herself. —Ken Tucker
11 of 16
Survivor: Samoa recap: Heaven Help Her
Natalie seeks divine intervention at the reward challenge, while Russell gets even cockier at Tribal Council
Apparently, Natalie felt her team was a little outmatched [in the reward challenge], so she sought out a new alliance partner: the Big Fella Upstairs! She asked God to guide Brett's hands and told Mick not to worry about dropping 19 coconuts because "You have two Prayer Warriors on your team" — as if that guaranteed them victory.... Sorry to break it to you, but the Man has BIGGER FISH TO FRY! So let's get back to the challenge. If I'm God — and let's all count our blessings right here and right now that I am not — and Natalie starts putting out the prayers to me in this instance, here's exactly how I'm responding: "Are you freakin' kidding me? All the things I have to deal with — disease, famine, genocide, MTV's Jersey Shore — and you're bugging me with this? I mean, it's not even an immunity challenge, for crying out loud! If you were playing for immunity maybe, just maybe, I could understand you asking me to deliver you up a little' somethin-somethin. But a reward challenge? C'mon, now. And just for that, I'm going to cause you to drop 58 coconuts on your next pull. That's right, you heard me! And not only that, but because you hit me on my lunch break, I'm also gonna send Shambo another one of those clairvoyant dreams I have so much fun with and give her the exact number that Jaison is gonna drop. Heck, I may even cause Jeff Probst to inadvertently start breakdancing just to rub it in! I haven't decided yet.—Dalton Ross
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So You Think You Can Dance finale recap: All the Right Moves
The season's star takes home the prize as America's Favorite Dancer on a night when Adam Lambert, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige and more perform In the end, it was the hard-hitting krumper, ''unpolished diamond,'' and all-around sunny delight Russell Ferguson who successfully out-bucked his competition and was officially announced America's Favorite Dancer. And rightfully so: This guy has been a clear fan favorite since he first arrived all rough and tumble at the Boston auditions so many eons ago, and as the season progressed we've seen him grow by leaps and bounds and get all but slobbered on with the judges' constant praise. ... Clearly the ebullient krumper's megawatt smile and matching personality won out over Jakob and Kathryn's technical superiority. Though if there is any justice in this world, this won?t be the last we?ll see of any of these stellar dancers.—Allyssa Lee
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Friday Night Lights recap: Tim Riggins, puppies, and guns
Hey, something good finally happened to Tami over at her new school! She was given a ''blue ribbon for academic excellence'': apparently, she's helped the school raise its previous standards in between being pilloried by school families yelling at her at PTA meetings, and suddenly everyone on the staff thinks she's the bee's-knees. We, of course, knew this already: I mean, look at her — it's Connie Britton, for Pete's sake! But as in the Luke plot, there's a bit of foreshadowing here: The teaching staff wants to throw her a party. At a karaoke bar. Uh-oh?.—Ken Tucker
14 of 16
Ugly Betty Bites: The 11 quippiest gems from last night's episode, 'Be-Shure'!
The final new hour of 2009, before the show moves to its new Wednesday night timeslot on Jan. 6, packed quite the emotional punch, between (SPOILER ALERT!) the double-threat of pregnancies for the Suarez sisters, Hilda and Archie?s break-up, and Claire?s trip to South Dakota to find her long-lost son. And, damn, damn, damn Adam Rodriguez! Your smokin? self would keep me coming back no matter what else was going on with the show. Good riddance to Archie! (Even though I do love you Ralph Macchio!) Tanner Stransky
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The Real Housewives of O.C. recap: Guys Weekend
We knew Jim and Simon would be in tow. What we didn?t expect was Slade sauntering into the lobby in a pair of white shorts. Vicki?s face went slack, and her twitching eye went into overdrive. Vicki had rightfully complained that having a few of the men in the midst would upset the rhythm of her woo woo. Cut to Tamra stroking her husband?s thigh with a little patented Housewives sweet talk: ?Is that a wallet in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?? Vicki you?re a nut, but congratulations on having the good sense to excuse yourself to the mini-bar and high thread count sheets in your hotel room. I like to imagine that you Skyped Don for a little pep talk but I worry that instead you left five panicked messages for Brianna asking her to call you back and tell you how much she loved you. —Karen Valby
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Jersey Shore: Last night's top 10 amazingly ridiculous lines
The most important element of this week?s episode was what they didn?t show, namely the punch seen ?round the Net. The cynic in me would say that MTV?s decision to show Snooki?s attack in last week?s promo but cut it out of the episode itself was just a blatant attempt to exploit and sensationalize violence against women for ratings without having to deal with the consequences. Luckily, that can?t be the case since we all know that MTV programming is the height of good taste and restraint. Right, Tila Tequila? Right?! Keith Staskiewicz