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The Satisfying Unsatisfaction of "SofA" and the 10 Best Episodes of the Week

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 28, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | November 28, 2011 |

10. Dexter: I’ve zoned out so many times this season that I’m beginning to lose track of some of the plot strands. I know that Deb is seeing a shrink; I know that Joey is depressed and sleeping around; and I know that Batista is protecting his sister from Masuka’s intern, but I no longer know how any of this plays into the main serial killer plotline. Besides the spectacular kills, Mos Def was the only guy who kept me engaged. Now he’s dead and so far as I can tell his death has little bearing on the rest of the season, other than it giving Dexter an excuse to visit the Trinity Killer’s son, which acted as a standalone filler ep. Episode 9 didn’t do much to pull me back in, either, and Captain Matthews cover-up of that woman’s OD doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything else. It’s like different writers were in charge of different storylines and none of them consulted with each other. Oh, and who was in charge of Dexter’s intelligence this year? Of course, Professor Gellar is dead; everyone else figured that out five episodes ago but, no, Dexter had to have it spelled out for him. This has been a really long, really frustrating, really tedious season and I don’t think it can recover.

9. The Walking Dead: Fine. You can have a spot in the top ten this week, but only because it’s a slow week and because the last sequence — which did not save the season — at least almost salvaged the episode. But I want you to know that I actually enjoyed last week’s “Modern Family” episode more than “The Walking Dead.” TK will have his full review up tomorrow, so save your bitching and let it all out there.

The Above Shows Were No Good, But There Weren’t A Lot of New Episodes This Week To Choose From

8. Up All Night: Jason Lee has infused some additional life into “Up All Night.” I wish he were a permanent cast member — he leavens Maya Rudolph’s character considerably. I also felt considerable sympathy for Chris’ character this week: Look ladies with husbands who do a considerable amount of the household/parenting: Gratitude is far more appreciated than assistance.

7. Homeland: Strange episode, really [Spoilers]: The flashback was necessary to explain Brody’s motives, but the explanation felt a little empty and emotionally manipulative: A little kid? Really? Here’s a guy who has been in combat, and who is no stranger to civilian casualties and collateral damage, but all it takes is the death of one boy by an American drone attack and Brody turns terrorist? It works, but it doesn’t work well. Meanwhile. following Tom into the woods didn’t move the story along, it only demonstrated what we already knew: Tom is a bad guy. It might be as a result of brainwashing or conditioning, but it doesn’t change the fact: Tom is one of the few characters (including Abu Nazir) on the show who doesn’t posses shades of gray. He’s just evil.

6. Happy Endings: Not one of the show’s better efforts, and the subplot involving the UPS guy, Drew, fell flat on account of Drew being so goddamn annoying. But it was mostly redeemed by Max and Penny’s babysitting adventures, the creepy dolls, and the giant taco tattoo on Max’s side belly.

5. Boss: Tom Kane may be the least likable anti-hero on television: He has managed to alienate everyone except for Ezra Stone, including — this week — his own wife after violently slapping her after she tried to do him a solid. He reminds me of Ian McShane’s character in “Deadwood”: A mostly awful human being that you root for anyway. It’s a testament to Kelsey Grammer that I still want him to pull it out in the end, although the first act of this week’s episode was one of the more overwritten episodes of TV I’ve seen recently.

4. Suburgatory: The best episode since the pilot, “Suburgatory” reintroduced the premise, provided a few great comic moments (and Jay Mohr, in his limited role, is killing it) and even doled out a nice parenting moment. It’s too bad this episode was so little seen on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

3. Parenthood: OK, how many women complained that Kristina was overreacting? Now, how many of you would’ve reacted far more dramatically? Be honest. I love Adam, but Adam should not have put himself in that situation, and he only made it worse by digging and digging and digging that hole. Kristina reacted appropriately. Meanwhile, everything is going to hell for the rest of the Bravermans — including the adoption from the coffee girl — so Jason Katims naturally gives us a Dax/Jasmine hook up. A bittersweet episode, as always.

2. How I Met Your Mother: Damn, folks. There are twists, and then there are twists, and I didn’t see that one coming and I can’t imagine anyone else did, either. There could potentially be two babies next season on “How I Met Your Mother,” and while the show has gotten a great deal out of the pregnancy drama these last two seasons, we know from “Friends” that babies can be show killers. Enjoy the ride this season; next season may turn into “Up All Night” with a laugh track. The twist does, however, all but settle the wedding mystery scene at the end of the season, although I’m sure Carter and Bays will fake us out a few times before we get there.

1. Sons of Anarchy: [Spoiler] Is Clay dead? Not a chance. Will he die? Maybe, and I’m conflicted about the scene. It was intense, and the payoff was satisfying, but only if it’s a kill shot, or else Kurt Sutter finds a way to double the satisfaction in one of the two remaining episodes by allowing Opie and/or Jax to really kill Clay. Clearly, he can’t be dead because Jax doesn’t know that Clay killed John Teller or that he tried to have Tara killed, and until Jax knows that, the death of Clay won’t achieve maximum satisfaction.

Nevertheless, I don’t understand why Jax was so anxious to prevent Opie from gunning down Clay? He should’ve taken a couple of shots himself. Why should Jax be afraid of blowback from the club? There’s hardly anyone left, and the ones who are have no loyalties to Clay. Hell, the president-to-be is in prison now. Juice is in prison. Tig can’t stand Clay. And Piney is dead. The only guy left with any pull is Chibs, and he’s more concerned with Juice than anything else. Who is running this club?

I also don’t quite understand Gemma’s about face, unless she’s trying to save Clay’s execution for Jax. That was bizarre.

It was fun to see Opie gun down Clay, though. I just hope he gets a chance to do it again in the next episode. And then the next. And maybe next year’s season opener. The question is: Will there be any SAMCRO members who are not dead or in prison next year? Season five may be “Sons of Anarchy: The New Class.”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.