By Sandra Gonzalez
February 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM EST
Gene Page/AMC

Happy Hunger Games! Or not.

But it certainly feels like a fight to the death as we slowly approach season-finale time. I know, it’s not even March yet. But behind the scenes, a few of your favorite shows have already closed out the year (Raising Hope, for one) and others are prepping for their final installments as we speak. What’s that mean for you? Stay tuned, because this is going to get fun.

In the mean time, there’s some great stuff coming up a little sooner than finales. So check out the scoop below and thanks as always for your thoughts, questions, theories, and general flattery. Not in on the fun? Get into it. Address is same: spoilerroom@ew.com. I’m also on Twitter. See you next week!

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‘FRINGE’: WHAT TONIGHT HOLDS FOR THE OBSERVERS

Any Fringe news this week? I’ve really been enjoying these post-winter break episodes, but am dying to get back into the Fringe mythology. Can we expect to be seeing the Machine again any time soon? What about the Observers or the First People? — Ricky

I received the following question not long before getting my hands on tonight’s episode of Fringe, so it only felt right to pull it up (ever so conveniently) for this week. As you’ve probably heard, the Observer certainly reappears tonight (and gravely wounded to boot). And if you read my report from yesterday, you also know that the episode peels “back some layers about what his agenda has been and uses that as an opportunity to revisit the things on the show we’ve seen before,” according to EP Jeff Pinkner. And while you’re fully aware that I can’t tell you much about the Observer’s revealing conversation with Peter, I can tell you that one of the “things” Pinkner is referring to, is actually a someone.  (And they are revealed to be a fairly important part of the larger equation).

Meanwhile, and on a relatively unrelated but still juicy note: Peter and new timeline Olivia share a scene at the end that’s pretty darn sad (I wept), the episode is a fantastic one for Nina Sharp (I’m chatting with Blair Brown today; send questions, if you’d like), and Walter’s latest foodie creation seems like something ripped out of the Breakfast Club. (And, disgusting as it is, the child in me wants one immediately.)

‘GRIMM’: SILAS WEIR MITCHELL ON REVELATIONS IN EPISODE 13

Grimm took a bit to catch on, but the audience for this NBC genre-procedural is clearly growing and dedicated — judging by the volume of scoop requests. So the wonderful Silas Weir Mitchell was nice enough to hop on the phone to talk about the episodes we’ll be seeing soon — one in particular, he says, that holds mind-blowing mythology that will launch us into the last batch of episodes.

“The show is starting to get into the deeper history of some of the creatures and their behaviors,” he says. “[Episode 13, titled “Three Coins in a Fuchsbau”] is a very cool episode. You get into the mythology of the major players in a way that’s revealing … It sort of opens a door to a hallway that we’ll follow [for the rest of the season].”

Meanwhile, tonight’s episode, he says, will be an important one to Nick and Monroe on a different level. As the two investigate a creature fight club called the Lowen Games, they find themselves on a “perilous adventure” that will leave the pair leaning on one another like never before — and it speaks to their increasing trust levels, says Mitchell. “I don’t see him as a threat like I once did. He’s proved himself.”

NEXT: NCIS, HIMYM, CSI, and more!

Beck Starr/FilmMagic.com

SEAN ASTIN DISHES ON ‘NCIS’ STINT

Fans largely reacted well to the debut of Jamie Lee Curtis on NCIS this week, and her second outing will likely prove to be even better because the episode also marks the debut of Sean Astin’s character, a fellow PsychOps investigator who comes in to assist on a case.

When I spoke to him about the role, Astin, who could possibly guest in more than one episode, had nothing but praise for his character and fellow costar Curtis. But what popped out to me the most? The dish he gave me on the budding relationship between Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Curtis’ Dr. Ryan, and how it will effect their teams. “The fun thing is that Cote [de Pablo] and Michael Weatherly and me — as the corollary on Jamie’s side of the equation — are a little unsettled that their bosses might be having the start of a romantic something or other,” he says. “They’re usually so focused on what they’re doing and have a very sober approach to life. And now there’s something going on and we’re all a little uneasy. We’re like the uncomfortable kids whose parents might be dating.”

Sounds like we can look for at least a few good laughs in the ep, but also brace yourself for some action. “I got to see some action! There was some discussion about whether or not I got to carry a firearm. And I do!” Astin says.

(Be sure to keep an eye out for a full report on our convo soon!)

SIDE DISHES

Hello. I was just wondering when we will see the George Eads chat you mentioned recently. Thank you — Connie

George was detained, unfortunately. (Crazy filming schedule!) But we’re rescheduling. In the meantime, though, please accept this scoopage: Episode 20 is going to hit close to home for Stokes when a murderer he helped put away is about to be set free. So the CSIs must race against the clock to put him back where he belongs. Intense? You bet!

Sandra, the last Glee episode had me SO stressed out (but was great!). Now we have to wait forever until it’s back! Any scoop on what’s coming up? — Abbey

A show insider says that despite the emotional winter finale, Glee will return in April with “upbeat episodes,” including the much-buzzed installments with Matt Bomer as Blaine’s brother, and the music of Saturday Night Fever.

So now that we know the super-secret identity of Quinn… something’s been bothering me. In episode 14 of season 3, “The Bracket,” Barney’s busy trying to figure out which of his past conquests is sabotaging his current attempts on women, and has the revelation after Lily is met by her. Lily suggests that it’s Karma, to which Barney replies, “No, she’s stripping in Vegas.” Could it be? Has Barney’s love interest been under his nose the whole time? — Jacob

I love this so much, Jacob! If I had a gold star right now, I’d give it to you. In fact, why don’t you go to the kitchen, make one out of foil, come back, give it to me, and I’ll give it back to you. That’s a clever reference. (EDIT: Duh, we’ve already met her! Thanks to those who reminded me.) Meanwhile, Craig Thomas told me that part of what he loved about the character Quinn was her enigmatic nature. “The gang doesn’t know — and the audience doesn’t know — what to think because of what starts to come up between them. It’s a really hard to read the relationship at first,” Thomas told me last week. “I think people watching at home will all have different opinions. She’s definitely a character who keeps Barney and the audience guessing. I think Becky [Newton] likes playing that. She’s hard to read — you don’t know if she’s good news or bad news.” In fact, he added, an upcoming episode will touch on that very theme.

Sandra, your HIMYM scoops are second to none! But I haven’t seen anything on Marshmallow and Lily. Anything to report? — Julia

There’s a curveball coming this week. It’s not about the baby, but “there’s definitely a big shift that happens for them in the episode,” says Thomas. “And it’s cool.”

Sandra, it’s your last chance before the end of the season to give me White Collar scoop! Go! — Katey

You won’t see one of these things in Tuesday’s finale: a cake with a kitty wearing an anklet; a brief return from Diahann Carroll; Neal in handcuffs; someone on a [spoiler]; and someone in a possibly deadly [spoiler].

Community! I’m so excited for March 15 but the wait is painful! — Deena

Malcolm-Jamal Warner’s coming back! Per the lovely Yvette Nicole Brown: “I don’t want to say what happens, but it’s a full Shirley episode with him. It’s pretty exciting.” She’s excited! You’re excited! I’m excited! It’s all very… well, you know.

NEXT: The Walking Dead, Fairly Legal, Suburgatory, and more!

The Walking Dead: Are they building toward a Rick-Shane showdown? — Kelly

Depends what you mean by showdown — because the two certainly get into it in this week’s episode. In fact, it’s one of three clashes you’ll see. And of the other two, which take place among the ladies, one will result in someone being thrown out of the house.

Is Unforgettable going to get canceled? I love Poppy Montgomery — even when she accidentally slips into her Australian accent on screen. — Mandy

While the show’s ratings remain high, the show’s demo rating definitely isn’t up there with CBS’s strongest performers. It’s still a bubble show in every sense. And while some have bemoaned the show’s inconsistent quality, Tuesday’s episode, which finds the station at the center of a hostage situation after Roe (Kevin Rankin) shoots a man who may or may not have been armed. Rankin’s performance is easily the highlight of the hour, especially in the pivotal scene where he steps into the line of fire during the hostage situation. I mean that figuratively… or not.

I’m a big fan of Harry’s Law but I think a lot of the humor has been missing since they moved offices and since Brittany Snow [has appeared less]. Any fun episodes coming up? — Nikki

The March 11 episode, which marks the start of the show’s new night and time slot, isn’t necessarily a gut-buster. Harry (Kathy Bates) fights cigarette companies, Adam (Nate Corddry) questions some of Harry’s actions, and Cassie (Karen Olivo) works a divorce that turns dark. But if there’s one light spot in the episode, it’s Tommy’s (Christopher McDonald) unexpected fight against a lawsuit brought against him after certain truths come out about how he cons women into bed. There’s quite a bit of TMI involved, but that’s sometimes funny. Right? Meanwhile, Harry’s Law fans, the legendary Bates herself is headed my way soon for a sit down. Submit your questions!

Thanks for the scoop on Fairly Legal, Sandra. But what about In Plain Sight? I watch a lot of USA. Can you tell? ;) — Carrie

I can, indeed. And perhaps you’re just the person to help me think of ideas on how I can unload a little USA swag I seem to have gathered up. Taking suggestions on Twitter and via e-mail. Now on to your scoop: I just watched the premiere and really enjoyed it. Not only was the case compelling (it involves a troublemaking university society who want their secrets kept, well, secret), but it was action-packed (Marshall’s in a pretty epic car accident) and perfectly takes us inside Mary’s post-baby frame of mind. Since the episode picks up several months after we left off, flashbacks help explain what happened in between. And if you’re one of the doubters, the episode definitely might help you get accustomed to the idea of Mary with a baby.

Got any scoop on Kensi and Deeks’ sojourn into (fake) matrimony? I hear it’s supposed to be hilarious, but I’m kinda wanting something more meaningful. — Amy

You mean the one where they are undercover? They haven’t shot that yet, but I hear it’s going to be great. They do, however, have at least one instance in upcoming episodes where they quickly pretend to be together, an insider tells me. Frankly, I’ll take what I can get with these two!

I can’t believe Cougar Town’s numbers are so depressing. WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE WATCH THIS?! I’m about to give up my stumping for it… but will hang on long enough for some scoop! — Brooke

Episode 4 of this season (I’ve had a chance to see the first five) is among my favorites — and is directed by Courteney Cox. Anything that features a Braveheart nod and a pumpkin policeman is good stuff in my book.

Is Jay Mohr ever coming back to Suburgatory? — Lizzy

Not this season, but executive producer Emily Kapnek is open to it. “He hasn’t factored in again yet, but he’s out there, so I guess we could,” she says.

I’d love some Suburgatory finale news. Are we going to meet Tessa’s mom? — Cris

In one word: No. But the Mother’s Day-themed episode does have a similar surprise and a lot of heart. “It’s really nice and emotionally complicated to have all these things come to a head on Mother’s Day, which is obviously a very sore spot for Tessa and winds up making her feel that she is still very much alone and an outsider in this town,” says Kapnek. “It’s nice to see how Tessa handles that.”

Hi, I am so SICK of Vampire Diaries spoilers. Bleh! Any good scoops on Law & Order: SVU or Army Wives? Thanks — Liza

Well, a figurative storm is always a-brewin’ on the two shows you mentioned, but since the wives have a literal one hanging over their heads, let’s go with them: The previews for this season have certainly made it look like one of the women was going to bite it, and while one certainly finds herself in grave danger, the person you’re worried about at the end of the episode (which is a two-parter; yay, cliff-hangers!) might not be who you think. Elsewhere: One husband is making a big announcement, causing one of the ladies to reconsider her future.

Any scoop on my friends in Bluebell? (Hart of Dixie)– Amy

Speaking of storms, one will threaten to derail Lemon and George’s wedding toward the end of the season. And before you ask, no, it’s not named Zoe. Although, she might have plans of her own…

** SPECULATION BREAK **

(Sandra note: I love TV theories, so when space permits, I’ll include one. Feel free to tell me if you like the mini-feature and if it’s something you’d like to see more often.)

Hi Sandra, So my roommates and I were talking about the mother’s identity, and someone came up that I hadn’t ever heard brought up earlier: Barney’s half-sister (from “Legenddaddy”), Carly. She’s a college student in the area, she would be the right age for Ted to accidentally run into in an economics class (might have been a freshman econ class too?), and since no one knew about her prior to that episode, it makes sense that the gang would not recognize her previously. Uncle Barney now becomes an actual familial relation, and Aunt Robin (should Barney and Robin end up together) becomes an actual aunt Robin.  It also makes sense that they formally get introduced at Barney’s wedding, since Barney would presumably invite all of his family to the wedding, and on a storywriting scale, it would be perfect that Barney *did* end up introducing Ted to his wife after all… she just happened to be in her family. Am I out of my mind? — Krupal

I don’t think you’re out of your mind at all! I’ve heard this theory a few times, and I think the somewhat complicated nature of it is something the creators, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, would totally do. For that reason, I think it’s one of the more intriguing theories out there. I would actually be pretty pleased if it turned out to be true — if only because Barney and Ted would be brothers. (Awww.) My only hesitation to subscribe to it? We didn’t know of Carly’s existence until last season. I feel that if she was the mother, her name would have been mentioned a long time ago. Thoughts, gang?

If you haven’t seen it, check out the latest Spoiler Room: Video Edition below!

(Tim Stack, Shaunna Murphy, and Aubry D’arminio contributed to this column.)

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