Togetherness – A-
In what abruptly became the series finale (in the little behind-the-scenes bit the Duplass brothers call it season finale, ouch) I find myself alternating between shaking my fists angrily at HBO for canceling this still budding show and delighting in the tying up of all the loose ends. After an entire season that should have been titled Separateness, we finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The relationship bonds have shifted. Michelle’s affair caused a closer bond between Bret and Alex, Michelle got a little more me time, and that left Tina to bond with the kids and with the idea of having her own.
Just when I had enough of the charter school storyline, it became the catalyst for Michelle and Brett to actually talk and be a team again. The board takes a vote on a new spin on Michelle’s art interactive school idea and she actually wins! Talk about a happy ending. The whole ordeal gave Brett a lot to think about and by the end of the episode he is begging to come home and work things out, phew. Meanwhile, in an attempt to stop Tina from having some rando’s baby we see Alex step up to the plate and take Tina in his arms, sans a condom (aka he is telling Tina let’s go ahead and make a baby). Then it’s curtains. But I’m not ready to let this storyline go! Of all the characters I feel like Tina has evolved the most and now we’re just left hanging, wondering what kind of parents she and Alex will be? It’s rude is what it is. I’m going to miss the honesty of this show that reminded me that life is friggin’ messy and that’s ok; it can still work out in the end. Hopefully it will still work out for Togetherness and we can continue the saga a la Mindy — on HULU or Netflix.
– Navani Otero
Fear the Walking Dead – B
FTWD starts its second season in the same vein as its initial mini-season — rare walkers, few on-screen deaths, but with no shortage of fear. It’s a closer parallel to the opening of the second season of Lost — right up to someone screaming “we have to go back” — than The Walking Dead, as the families load onto Strand’s boat, and we prepare for zombies on a boat (“I’ve had it up to here with these…”). Mysterious and glowering, Strand continues to be inscrutable as he glowers, rants, and ignores pleas to help others. Yet, for some reason, he has gone out of his way to save junkie (and brief cellmate) Nick and those connected to him. Back to the Lost analogy, he’s definitely got a lot of Ben Linus in him, which is certainly a good thing — for us, if not for those around him.
For the most part, very little happens in “Monster.” They give Lisa an ocean burial, which flips out her son Chris, Alicia chats with a supposedly stranded young man who asks a few too many questions (leading to a Strand freakout when he finds out she gave away intel), Chris goes for an impromptu swim, Nick jumps into save him, and we meet … ocean zooooombies. Somebody rammed a yacht, and that someone is coming right for the Abigail. And just like that, we have the likely arc for the second season.
– Jason Thurston
Last Man on Earth – A
Phil’s brother, Mike, has made it to the coast, and predictably makes life worse, outing Tandy as “Skidmark.” He’s also clearly the generally smarter, funnier, and more handsome Miller. Skidmark reacts with jealousy and resentment, which reinforces his position as the titular Last Man On Earth, and it’s unusually delightful, especially in light of Todd digging his grave deeper. I hope Todd figures it out soon, because I miss Nice Guy Todd as much as I love Mike Miller.
– Katherine M. Hill
Bob’s Burgers – B+
Whenever the Belcher kids team up on a madcap scheme with their dad, you know it’s going to be a fun time. This week, the misadventure brings back Critter, the leader of the One Eyed Snakes who, at one point threatened the restaurant, but of course became one of Bob’s many lifelong friends (as with Mickey, Marshmallow, Randy, etc.). Critter’s in jail and needs Bob to raise bail by selling a motorcycle to a doofus investment banker while evading another investment…you know what, it doesn’t matter, but what is important (and wonderful) is they are all voiced by actors from The State/Reno 911 universe. Linda’s B-plot is more of an afterthought as she watches Critter & his lady Mudflap’s hellion baby. It’s all funny, if a bit imbalanced, but it’s Bob’s so there’s plenty of classic Belcher lines to go around.
– Jason Thurston
Madam Secretary – A+
The problem with Madam Secretary is that the opening scenes have a lot of talking, and are pretty boring—even though the show is often pretty funny—so who came down with what (ebola?) is unclear, but I was promised that Elizabeth would free the kidnapped girls of Boko Haram and she did. She had to hand over some rare and valuable antidotes, which didn’t make sense, but she did it, so A+ for a woman who gets shit done.
– Katherine M. Hill