TV Watch: 18 Highlights from Oct. 9 to Oct. 15, 2009
Glee recap: Minority Rules
Sue's reign of terror threatens to destroy the glee club as she employs her divide-and-conquer strategy, while Quinn and Finn continue to struggle with the pregnancy
So Sue's mole Quinn reported back that the minority kids in glee club feel like they aren't being heard, and Sue had her ''chink in the armor.'' As Sue told Quinn: ''I am going to create an environment so toxic no one will want to be part of that club. Like the time I sold my house to a nice young couple and salted the earth in the backyard so that nothing could grow there for 100 years. Know why I did that? Because they tried to get me to pay their closing costs.'' Give these writers an Emmy already. —Wendy Mitchell
Modern Family recap: Taking the Long view
The casting of Shelley Long as Jay's passive-aggressive (except when violently aggressive) yet sexually reactivated ex-wife was a stroke of genius, especially because Long's presence brought out heretofore unseen yet completely believable aspects of her children's personalities. Certainly, DeDe's arrival shed light on the origins of Claire's scathing sarcasm (''Oh, Uncle Toby! I'll be sure to include that in my Amber alert.'') and Mitchell's need to prove his maturity and independence, which resulted in one of the night's best lines: ''We're all gonna move past this. And because of me, who's not a mama's boy, but is a caring person with wisdom and emotional insight. So make a note, bitches!'' —Michael Slezak
Hell's Kitchen recap: The winner is...
Despite the reasons to pull for Kevin, my heart still leapt for joy when Dave's door opened and he was declared the champion of Hell's Kitchen. How could you not root for Dave? It was a minor miracle every time the guy completed a sentence, and he still managed to deliver some of the season's best quotes (my favorite: ''You're not supposed to drink duck!''). He was unbelievably mellow and unassuming — the exact opposite of Kevin — and as a few of you pointed out last night, Dave evolved throughout the season while Kevin remained stagnant. Of course, there was also Dave's fractured wrist, which made all of his cooking accomplishments seem even more impressive. Just wait until next season — every contestant is going to show up with an ailment of some kind! I'm putting my money on the chef with no sense of taste or smell. —John Young
Heroes recap: Claire gets her girl on and Peter trips the light fantastic
Claire kissed a girl. We don't know if she liked it — and Claire and Gretchen were pulled away for sorority rush duties — but I do know that unless Heroes devotes some real story time to this plot thread, the whole stalkery-Gretchen-macking-on-Claire business will feel like a cheap and tawdry ratings stunt. Not to continue to invoke the hallowed name of Buffy, but the care with which Joss Whedon brought Willow into college life and then out of the closet is a good model to follow. I just hope Heroes doesn't hastily retreat from homosexuality with the same clumsiness it's cozied up to it. —Marc Bernardin
Brothers & Sisters recap: Life goes on
This Brothers & Sisters dealt with something you don't see often on TV: How you tell your loved ones that you have Stage 3 cancer. Kevin found out about Kitty's illness in the worst possible way — from Travis, who asked him when Robert was holding a press conference so that he could clear the governor's appearance schedule out of respect. I know that look that actor Matthew Rhys had on his face when he went running to Kitty for answers. Seeing Kevin, a character known for his biting humor, scared silent and reverting back to the little brother who needs his big sister to tell him that everything will be okay, was heartbreaking. But I didn't cry until Kitty opened the door at the end of the episode and Sarah was there. There's nothing like hugging that person who you trust to be strong for you, who knows exactly how to handle you. For Kitty, that's Sarah. —Mandi Bierly
Alynda Wheat's Beat Cop: Having fun storming the Castle
As much as I love the vertigo-inducing he is!/he isn't! aspect of this episode, what I really appreciate is the fact that Beckett is a Castle reader. The writers established Beckett's little secret early on, with the hint that she might even comment on Castle's fan site. But what's cool is that they haven't used that to diminish her in any respect. Instead of Castle using her fandom against her, Beckett actually uses it to tweak him. This also gives me hope that the writers know how to draw out the slow burn of this showmance (in spite of some of the Internet rumors about an impending Castle/Beckett smooch). We know that eventually, say season 7, Beckett and Castle will realize they're meant to be. But with scripts in lesser hands, that could happen as early as season 4 — and that would be a shame. —Alynda Wheat
Gossip Girl recap: Rufus and Lily tie the knot...and gain a son
This season has been a little spotty but last night's Gossip Girl felt like old times. There was Blair bitchiness (my fave line of the evening: ''Trust me Nate: I know women...and none of us are that nice.''). There was fabulous fashion (J'adored Serena's dress at the wedding). And there was Dorota (her own wedding ensemble was genius — the woman should wear more large hats). —Tim Stack
90210 recap: Zip code for splitsville
The headliner, of course, was the Adriana-Navid split, which was sad to watch. I know, I know, couples have to break up to keep things interesting on TV; but I felt for them. They were good for each other. She dropped it on him quickly, in the middle of dinner, which was at least more humane than sneaking around with Teddy. Navid, of course, took it hard — so hard, naturally, that he had to talk it out with the guys, like they do now usually about 15 minutes into any given episode. This time, the bro-bonding happened at Liam's. Navid hugged Dixon, hard. He told and retold the breakup story: ''I was like, 'Maybe I'll get the shrimp...''' —Jennifer Armstrong
Mad Men recap: Affairs of the Heart
Sal ends up paying for Don knowing his secret, Betty opts out of an easy dalliance, and Don is back to his dirty-dog tricks
No secret is safe. Everyone will eventually play it. ''You people,'' Don goes on, sneering under his rotten breath. Don! You love Sal. You love his work. Come back to us! Poor Sal looks so stunned and broken by his friend and colleague's betrayal. ''I didn't do anything but turn him down,'' he says simply and sadly. ''He's a bully.'' Sal thought he had a real ally in Don — someone who knew him, really knew him, and still accepted and respected him. Turns out his friend is something of a bully too. Damn you, Don. Roger is right: You are in over your head. You are losing the best parts of your fractured self. —Karen Valby
Amazing Race recap: Monkey Business
In Cambodia, teams have to act like monkeys, but one team should have been evolved enough not to lose their passports
Zev and Maria seemed to be the only two people who really struggled with the task, although at least Maria didn't collapse under the stress. Zev remained stuck on the last monkey trial, a crawling move. ''He kind of has the body of an 80-year-old man,'' said Justin. ''And bending over on his hands is really not in his bag of tricks.'' I can't really mock Zev, as I am incredibly inflexible and might well have struggled with it, too. I just think I would have refrained from falling down in despair. I don't care how hard it is, it's still humiliating to crumple into a heap from exhaustion because you weren't able to, quite literally, go bananas. —Josh Wolk
Desperate Housewives recap: Tests of Love
Carlos is threatened when Gaby's ex-lover reenters their lives, and Susan is obsessed with the idea making someone pay for Julie's attack
I couldn't help but get all mushy inside in the last scene of last night's hour, when we saw Susan going over to the Bolen's house, which had been trashed and graffitied, to help Angie clean up the mess that she'd indirectly caused. I suppose that after spending days telling the residents of Wisteria Lane that the place housed a killer, it was the least she could do. —Tanner Stransky
Grey's Anatomy recap: Standing Your Ground
As Seattle Grace is overrun with Mercy West staffers, our home team goes on the defensive. But it's too late for one of them.
Cristina retreated to the solace of Meredith's room to cry. (Liked the way Meredith's room became a place for everyone to articulate the frustrations of the day. And how cute was it when Derek stopped by to ask if Meredith and Cristina were ''having the dark and twisties''?) In one of many Big Speeches of the night, Cristina sobbed, ''Do you know how long it's been since I held a heart in my hands?...I miss Burke. I miss him all day.... Every day he was here, I held hearts.'' —Jennifer Armstrong
Survivor: Samoa recap: I'm with stupid!
Dreadlocked Russell and Shambo compete for the highly coveted title of Dumbest Survivor
Galling Incident #2
After being sent to Foa Foa with another parchment from Jeff Probst and instructions to open in private, Shambo goes and utters the 14 stupidest words ever spoken in Survivor history: ''Hey, guys I'm gonna share the clues with you for the hidden immunity idol.''
What I yelled at my TV: Not printable on a family-friendly website. —Dalton Ross
Project Runway recap: Stage Presence
The designers try to wow guest judge Bob Mackie with a showstopper number worthy of Christina Aguilera, and modest mouse Carol wins the big cheese
Compared to the judges' takedown of Christopher, their critique of Shirin was pretty tame. Heidi called her black gown an ''upscale witch Halloween dress'' (broom and hat apparently not included), while Nina faulted the disconnect between the ''glimmer of promise'' top half and the ''Carmen Miranda moment'' bottom. The skirt portion was a dowdy downer for sure, but Nina seemed to be in Shirin's corner, mentioning her meticulous eye for craftsmanship. Surely that, along with the fact that she was in the top last week and has never, not once been in the bottom, would give her the edge against Christopher, right? No dice. The petite spitfire got the ax. Which I have no choice but to greet with a resounding boo. It should have been Christopher. —Missy Schwartz
The Vampire Diaries recap: Best ep yet?
Even in 1864, Damon was a smartass. Just one of the many things that made this flashback episode the best Vampire Diaries yet. See also: the rampant shirtlessness and the hear this, CW censors? sound effect for Damon snapping Vicki's neck. —Mandi Bierly
30 Rock: Why does a hilarious show have to beg for viewers as though it had a case of...arrested development?
It had all the elements you want in a Rock: Misperceived motives (Liz and Pete's attempts to find a new cast member misconstrued as an office love affair by everyone including Pete's all-too-understanding wife); Tracy Jordan doing something absurdist ridiculous (in this case, trying to get back in touch with his inner poor-man; this, from a man who has to ask his assistant-pals which elevator he's not afraid of), and Jack inveighing against the policies of ''Comrade Obama.'' Jenna decided one way to attract viewers was to ''go country'' (Jack's eyes lit up like firecrackers when she leapt out wiggling in a small outfit plus cowboy hat); Kenneth led a strike against the absurdly large disparity between the pages' paychecks and those of management. In short, classic 30 Rock, no? —Ken Tucker
Fringe: Olivia solves an anagram, Peter recites a mantra, and Walter feeds his head
In some ways, this was one of the less-distinctive, more X-Files-ish episodes of Fringe on Thursday night. The core case investigated by Olivia, Peter, and Walter involved people committing violent acts — they saw everyone around them as demons, and lashed out at the creatures (who were just innocent bystanders). But as usual, there was another narrative layer at work here, a couple of them, in fact. One involved Olivia: She was still mourning the death of Charlie — or rather, her killing of ''Charlie,'' the shape-shifted version of her friend and colleague. —Ken Tucker
Jon & Kate Plus Eight recap: Learning Curve
The fractured family starts a new adventure as the sextuplets start school
We were thrust into the middle of the hustle and bustle of the kids prepping for the start of their junior kindergarten lives. That included taking six 5-year-olds to a shoe store — something that is akin to a nightmare. For all her control-freak bluster (''Now is time for order because I can't stand chaos'') I think that Kate handled this really well. She let them choose, people! This could all have been done from the comfort of her home computer. But she decided to ''branch out.'' Velcro instead of laces — check! A few glow-in-the-dark sneakers — check! —Abby West