TV Watch: 19 Highlights from Nov. 26 to Dec. 3, 2009
FlashForward recap: Setting Things in Motion
Jeff Jensen takes on the new series' fall finale and its time-travel/parallel-universe themes
Zoey — Demetri Noh's fiancée — was dealt a nice little arc in the episode. We learned that Demetri had a strained relationship with his parents because of a culture clash conflict: presumably, they could not accept that their son wanted to marry an African American woman. Zoey left a message with Noh's mother and made a personal plea to at least talk it out with them. She wanted reconciliation — and she wanted to make sure that her wedding day flash-forward, which included Noh's parents, came true. But while attending the memorial service of a colleague's wife, Zoey had a revelation about her flash-forward: She wasn't glimpsing her wedding — she was peeking at Noh's funeral.—Jeff Jensen
Survivor: Samoa recap: The Art of Self-destruction
How to make an entire tribe turn against you, in just five easy steps!
Hey, all. It's me, John Fincher from Survivor: Samoa! You know, the rocket scientist. I like to remind people about that, because, frankly, what's the point of being a rocket scientist if you can't go around bragging about being a rocket scientist? No point, really. Anyhoo, I want to tell you all about my awesome new instructional video I've just come out with. It's called How To Screw Yourself Over In 60 Minutes Or Less. Okay, I know what you're thinking: ''Hey, John, I can screw myself over just fine, thanks. What makes you think you're any better at it than I am?'' Well, I'm glad you asked, Mr. Invisible Inquisitor. I don't like to brag (I love to brag!), but I am a board-certified moron with a post-graduate degree in F---ing Up Beyond Belief. In other words: I am a professional and do this kind of stuff for a living. So let this rocket scientist drop a little more science on you, if I may, with my patented John Fincher Five-Point-Plan For Self-Destruction. —Dalton Ross
Fringe recap: Wiggly Worms and a Woeful Walter
At first it was amusing to see Walter in an ascot, talking with crisp authority, only to lose himself in Chinatown. But things became poignant quickly, as Walter used up the supply of change Peter had given him as bus money, making frantic calls from a pay phone to his son? except Walter couldn't remember the number. Which Peter had put in Walter's pocket for just this reason — Walter had forgotten that, too. —Ken Tucker
Glee recap: Photo Finish
The yearbook photos lead the Glee kids to a commercial spot and Will to the truth about his wife. Is it the end of line for him with her and the club?
The frustrating volcanic pressure that had been building for weeks in that faux-pregnancy plot created a compelling display of emotional fireworks when released last night. There was Will in his apartment bedroom, rummaging through drawers for a pocket square, when he happened upon a pregnancy pad. He confronted Terri in the kitchen, and when she tried to pretend that the pad was an aid for trying on maternity clothes, the mood turned tense and dark; Will whipped the pad across the room and demanded, ''Pick up your shirt.'' She didn't. ''Think about what you're accusing me of,'' she said nervously. ''...turn around and go find your pocket square.'' Good Will Husband was gone....—Dan Snierson
Steven Seagal Lawman: Camp-classic TV at its Finest
If you missed last night's premiere of this reality show, you missed one of the best cop comedies since the first Police Academy — except I don't think this one was intended to be a laugh-getter. For over 20 years, it turns out, the martial-arts action-hero has been a deputy for the Jefferson Parrish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana. Only now has he agreed to let cameras follow him on his appointed rounds. Lucky us. —Ken Tucker
Top Chef recap: Keeping it Local
In part one of the finale, the four chefs cook on a train and then head to Napa Valley before one is eliminated
As for the Quickfire dishes themselves, Bryan and Kevin didn't seem to get the memo that they were supposed to highlight the grape. Bryan's was a roasted hen with a concord grape reduction along with bacon that overpowered the grape and Kevin's was a honey and fromage blanc mousse with glazed grapes that needed more ''grape love,'' according to guest judge and former Top Chef Masters contestant Michael Chiarello. So they weren't terrible, per se, but next to Michael's couscous-stuffed grape leaf, which also had a grape kebob skewered with the vine itself, they might as well have dropped a dollop of Smuckers grape jelly on their plates and called it a day. —Archana Ram
So You Think You Can Dance recap: Viewers' Choice
Voters seem to almost get it wrong as two of the top 10 are voted off
Midway through the program it dawned on me that we were veering in a horribly wrong direction and I had half a mind to stop this car right now! if the voters didn't behave and get back on course. Because how else to explain Kathryn's presence in the bottom two? It was so, so, so many shades of wrong. She and Ellenore are toe to pointed toe the most talented female dancers of the season. She's never made a misstep. No, America, I don't get it. —Allyssa Lee
Friday Night Lights recap: The Son Rises
This week's Friday Night Lights, which was entitled ''The Son,'' had moments of the usual terrific FNL boisterousness, but for the most part was a solemn affair with beautifully crafted details. The episode found Matt dealing with the aftermath of the news of his father's death. The soldier, deployed overseas, was given a military funeral, but not before some finely emotional scenes. These ranged from Matt having to come to terms with his anger at his dad (Matt has long felt as though his father left him to take care of his grandmother, and to otherwise fend for himself), to making arrangements for the funeral. —Ken Tucker
Sons of Anarchy season finale: A Great Season, a Great Finale... With a Disappointing Ending?
We came to Sutter's second great set piece of the night. Polly enters Eddie's house, sees his dead body and pulls her gun. Stahl, also armed, is hiding nearby. Before she can decide what to do, Gemma enters with her own gun. You've got three women in a room ready to shoot: It was almost Tarrantino-esque. Gemma shoots Polly. Stahl reveals herself and (a bit improbably, given how ruthless and desperate Stahl is at this point) seems genuinely moved when Gemma tells her about Polly's role in her gang-rape. Stahl tells Gemma to scoot ''before we pick you up.'' Gemma scrams. —Ken Tucker
Bones recap: Cheater, Cheater, Avatar
Just because Sweets' girlfriend, Daisy, is a little grating doesn't mean that I won't mind that Sweets, who was feeling jealous of Fisher for bedding nearly 100 women, let a chippy sit on his lap and kiss him inside a pitched tent. I was disappointed in Lance... until we were reminded that he is a total sex machine with Daisy. I'm easy like that. —Mandi Bierly
Scrubs season premiere: 'Gather 'round, Murderers'
The back-to-back new episodes showed us how the new Scrubs will work. Or not. The hospital has been replaced by a university campus, where J.D., Turk, and Dr. Cox, among others, teach. For the moment. (Zach Braff is only committed for six episodes, for example.) Filling up time and space are new young students, most prominently Lucy (Kerry Bishe), a young, intimidated, slightly dim woman — oh, let's just say it: she's like the earliest incarnations of J.D. or Sarah Chalke's Elliot, and as such is both wan and verging on irritating. So far. These things can/might change/improve. And I don't blame Bishe, who does the best she can with the material she's been handed. —Ken Tucker
Melrose Place recap: Amanda Brings Out the Crazy in Everyone
Week two of Amanda Woodward and the drama on Melrose has definitely ramped up big time. It's not all to do with Amanda, but her bitchy presence on the show seems to have amped everyone else up to be sexier (Riley straddling Jonah!), crazier (Violet with a baseball bat!), and more scheming (Lauren turns against Dr. Mancini!). Which is all a good thing. —Wendy Mitchell
Heroes recap: Shadowy Shadows
Peter wanted his brother back. Sylar surprised him in the hospital elevator, and because extras cost money, he and Peter fought on the one abandoned floor of the hospital. Peter totally Haitianed Sylar, and then nailed him into the ground, and then Haitianed him some more, until Sylar morphed into Nathan.
Peter was happy to have his brother back, but Nathan just looked miserable. ''I'm tired, Pete.'' Peter tried to cheer him up by bringing him back to that same old rooftop from way back in season 1, the one that Peter fell off of, right before Nathan learned that he could fly. I can still remember that moment — it was the show's first cliffhanger, and it ended the first episode with a moment of zippy revelation. You felt like anything, absolutely anything, could happen on this show.
So I got a genuine pang of nostalgia during this scene. —Darren Franich
SYTYCD recap: Time to Shine
The top 10 dance solos and two routines with new partners, highlighting weaknesses and strengths and giving Kate Ward a new frontrunner
And to think, just a few short weeks ago we all thought Russell had it in the bag. After last night, I can't imagine anyone else but Jakob capturing the title of America's Favorite Dancer. Caring, humble, beautiful — what else could America want? If we're looking at SYTYCD history, most of the technically superior dancers have suffered from either an ego or a perceived ego. (Danny, Brandon, etc.) But Jakob has managed to avoid such a pitfall, while executing perfection week after week. —Kate Ward
Gossip Girl recap: Serena and Tripp Get Closer and... Dorota's Knocked Up!
The big entrée was Serena's relationship with the most boring man in New York, aka Tripp Vanderbilt. I honestly don't get why Serena would choose this dude over Nate. He's a snooze and he has Conan O'Brien hair. Also, is it just me or does it seem like Gossip Girl producers have a thing for elevators? Why are things ALWAYS going down in elevators? Just a couple weeks ago we had that major heart to heart between Serena and Blair in the elevator. Let's move on to some new locations. Maybe an escalator? Or perhaps one of those treadmills they have in airports? That could be fun! —Tim Stack
The Amazing Race recap: How Do You Spell Failure?
A word jumble derails one team while Dan and Sam continue their bickering ways
By the time Brian got there, Big Easy had been struggling with his five letters for 2 1/2 hours. Two and a half hours! After Brian bolted, Big Easy went outside to his gem of a partner and the two decided to take a 4-hour penalty. Flight Time, the most patient man alive, didn't even seem angry at his idiotic partner. Instead, he tried to make the big lug feel better, saying that he probably wouldn't have gotten it either. I'm here to say, Flight Time, that yes you would have. In fact, my 2-year-old daughter who thinks Rs are Bs, and Zs are 2s would still have managed to figure out that word was ''Franz.'' —Jessica Shaw
Brothers & Sisters recap: Sweet Little Lies, Plus the World's Gayest Bachelor Party!
We had the return of the popular Walker Sibling Phone Tree? after Kitty walked in on Nora and Simon having relations in the shower and, naturally, had to call Sarah because Robert didn't give her the horrified reaction she was looking for (''Good for her,'' he said. ''It's a whole new day in Pasadena.'') Kevin, unfortunately, also chose to call Sarah at that moment to tell her that he and Scotty were having their sperm counts tested (''I'm not at work. I'm waiting for my husband to finish masturbating'') and he had to hear about Nora's afterglow before going in to make his deposit. (''There's not a DVD in the whole of West Hollywood that could counteract what I just heard.'') —Mandi Bierly
The Office recap: Scott Free
We've seen Michael through some pretty turbulent times, but he rarely harmed anyone but himself or loosely complicit bystanders; this episode (where he backed out of paying for college for a school class he'd made a promise to 10 years ago) robbed us of whatever last shred of compelling humanity Michael may have had left. —Margaret Lyons
Desperate Housewives recap: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
Katherine takes her obsession with Mike too far and two Wisteria Lane residents lose all hope when faced with rejection
I realize, too, that Katherine is being totally nuts. Randomly telling MJ about her problems? (Although, I do have to say that it was more than adorable when MJ was concerned about her and told Mike: ''I'm worried about Mrs. Mayfair. She's not getting any younger, and it's really hard to meet guys in this town.'' Too cute!) Picking him up from parties? Check and check, she's certainly a crazy person. But Mike is probably going to feel bad if Katherine actually succeeds with her seeming suicide attempt. —Tanner Stransky