I'm running way behind on this post, so things will be a bit more bullet point-y than usual.
The Simpsons: Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart
I get that this was a parody of Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, and maybe if I was more familiar with that film I'd appreciate this episode more, but the whole thing seemed odd and kind of toothless. There were some good moments sprinkled throughout (most of the Marge birthday stuff at the beginning, the Swapper Joe's bits ("grass fed lettuce"), Drederick Tatum lining his pigeon cage with Kindles, the sincere hats/ironic hats lines) but for the most part, I'm not quite sure what this episode was trying to do.
Family Guy: Burning Down the Bayit
An odd episode in that there was no B story, the episode instead focusing entirely on Peter, Quagmire and Mort's efforts to commit insurance fraud. The rest of the family barely appeared at all, and then mainly in cutaways. I wasn't terribly impressed by the plot, but there were several good cutaway gags, like the I Love Lucy parody with Peter and Quagmire on the assembly line, the Peter/Lois camel/donkey swap, and Joe's insurance agent refusing to pay for new legs.
American Dad: The Wrestler
Not as good an episode as usual, with Stan's obsession with hanging onto his wrestling title somehow less manic than it needed to be. A theme with the animated shows this week, the best stuff was on the margins, like Steve's increasingly inept wrestling matches ("he's so limber!") and Principal Lewis' various bets (and I'm not a huge Principal Lewis fan).
Once Upon a Time: Dreamy
The ever adorable Amy Acker more or less salvaged this episode, as the FTL story of a dwarf falling in love with a fairy and the Storybrooke counterpart of the town drunk trying to help a nun would have been far less appealing without her in the role of both women.
I did appreciate the fact that in FTL, Grumpy and Nova's relationship was all sweeping romance and speedy declarations of love while in Storybrooke, the relationship between Leroy and Astrid was more about platonic affection, born simply of Astrid not looking down on Leroy. The heightened emotions on display in FTL are perfectly suitable for that setting, but would be totally false in Storybrooke.
While I liked the dwarfs mining diamonds to be crushed into fairy dust, and the "ax gives them their name" bit, the whole "hatched from an egg" things seems needlessly weird. Is that from some kind of story with which I'm not familiar? (Also, at the risk of being insensitive, I continue to find it odd that the dwarfs aren't, well, shorter. But I suppose in FTL "dwarf" just means "hatched from an egg to mine diamonds" and has no connection to any physical state).
I'm 100% sure Regina somehow fabricated the phone records. Also, Mary Margaret should really wash her car.
Nice to see Belle again, presumably post-Rumpelstiltskin but per-imprisonment.
The Walking Dead: Judge, Jury, Executioner
The end of this episode is what everyone is talking about, for good reason, but the events leading up to it were pretty good in their own right. This episode is still a lot of talking punctuated by a few moments of action, but for the first time, the "what kind of people do we want to be in this world?" conversation everyone has flirted with in the past took center stage. The outcome wasn't terribly surprising (you knew Rick wasn't going to go through with executing Randall, especially once Carl egged him on, but Carol's "I didn't ask to be made responsible for a man's life" comment was a different take on things), but watching it unfold was still entertaining, and it gave the episode a nice bit of structure (this second half of the season has, on the whole, done a nice job of that; whereas episodes in the first half tended to run together, this batch has done a good job of presenting a specific beginning-middle-end narrative to each episode, along with the overarching story. There's still a lot of talking, but the structure helps put it in context. Yes, that's right, I'm actually praising episodic storytelling over serialized storytelling for once).
Poor Dale. I haven't read the comics, but knew from being aware of them, that Dale would die at some point, but I didn't expect it so soon. It's especially a shame since Dale was one of the most well-developed characters on the show.
This was an episode for sudden characterization. Learning that Andrea was a civil right lawyer means with one line we learned 33% more about her than we knew before, Daryl came roaring back with gusto (I especially liked the fact that he also figured out Shane killed Otis, making that one of the worst kept secrets), Lori apparently has an opinion on the death penalty, and Carl suddenly developed some personality as well.
Unfortunately, that meant that Carl suddenly became a sullen moron. He's been pretty much a cipher through most of the show (a few sweet Sophia moments aside), but this episode he suddenly got all cocky and surly, mouthing off to Carol, stealing a gun, wandering off, hucking rocks at a zombie for his own amusement, then being unable to kill said zombie when it got free, thus inadvertently leading to Dale's death. It's probably wrong to wish comeuppance on a ten-year-old kid, but man, he pissed me off this episode. I know it's rough being the only kid in a zombie-poc, but quit being stupid.
Daryl torturing Randall reminded me of Sayid and Henry Gale in the second season of Lost, another situation where an ostensibly good group of people do bad things for fear of an unseen "other". While Randall is no Henry Gale, the revelation that the people he's with aren't the greatest human beings was chilling, and did a nice job of raising the stakes on the debate over what to do with him (though I wonder if he wasn't exaggerating the size and strength of his group; if a heavily armed group of thirty rolled up to Hershel's farm, I don't think there's anything Rick and company could do about it).
I feel like we missed a chapter in the Glen/Maggie saga; last we heard, he was pushing her away because she was making him a less effective member of the group; now he's accepting dowries from Hershel.
The last shot of the episode, with Daryl staring down the barrel of a gun at Dale was, as Baroness Van Bitzenhofer said on Twitter, very Boondock Saints-esque, for obvious reasons.
Alcatraz: The Ames Bros.
I only watched one of the two episodes which aired this week, which was the 'Traz's first bottle show (taking place almost entirely on Alcatraz) and also the first that showed us multiple 63ers coming back at once (and working in tandem with a 63er who returned earlier). It worked pretty effectively as a bottle show, and also offered up some more mythology bits (Past Archer is determined to find out what's happening to Madsen, Hauser doesn't know how involved the warden is in the time traveling).
Once again, I'm curious why some cons seem to be on some kind of mission after arriving in the past, while others (like the Ames Brothers) just go about their business.
Top Chef: Finale
While I'm happy that Paul won, as it's been clear he's the best chef out of this group from about the fourth episode on, I'm even more happy this fairly lackluster season is over. And honestly, that's about all I have to say about this episode. Okay, two more things: I thought the editing worked way too hard to make it look like Sarah might win, to the point where it had the opposite effect on me and Paul's win felt assured just because they were playing the "danger" music for him all the time. Also, I find Tom's claim that the food they had at this finale was the best they've ever had dubious. Not only because Tom seems to say that a lot, but because I find it hard to believe that any of these contestants, as presented, could best some of the other past finalists in that regard.
Saturday Night Live: Lindsay Lohan & Jack White
This was not a terribly good episode, though surprisingly enough, Lindsay Lohan had very little to do with that. Yes, she flubbed some lines especially hard in the sketch she was asked to do the most in, and her reliance on the cue cards was pretty noticeable, but SNL has had better episodes with hosts who had similar problems. But for the most part this episode suffered from some pretty uninspired sketches that weren't terribly funny.
Cold Open: A stronger-than-usual Romney-based open. The robotic sons were a nice touch (who was playing the fifth son, in the background? It wasn't a regular cast member).
Monologue: Kudos to the show for addressing the elephant in the room and not shying away from Lohan's more recent persona (someone constantly in trouble with the law). Also, kudos for not featuring a song.
The Real Housewives of Disney: A pitch-perfect sketch, and the clear highlight of the night. Just about every princess got in a nice gag, and Kristen Wiig was funny!
The Psychic Awards: After a solid opening, a strong monologue and that excellent Disney sketch, I thought we might be in for a great night, but unfortunately, that third bit of the night was when the episode peaked. This sketch, which started the downward slide, wasn't awful, but wasn't particularly inspired either. It got a few laughs, but just kind of existed.
Sacred Straight: It's the same bit every time out, but it's usually pretty funny, and this one was no exception. Lohan had the most trouble here, the sketch she was asked to do the most with, but just the fact that she was playing herself was more or less worth it. Also, Jason Sudeikis slamming down on the desk and making EVERYONE break at the end was priceless.
Weekend Update: I mentioned it on Twitter, but any Weekend Update segment that features both Hader's whacky James Carville ("it doesn’t matter why, but I’m friends with some alligators") and Moynihan's Snooki is a winner in my book.
The Delinquent Teen Girl Gang: Another sketch that seemed kind of aimless, and went on a touch too long. Again, I chuckled a few times, but nothing to write home about.
BF108 Radio: This sketch wasn't bad, but I spent the whole thing being really confused about what it was trying to lampoon. Early morning radio? How cold and dark it is in Minnesota? Other Minnesota stereotypes? The fact that no one listens to radio at 5 AM? Between that and wondering who on the writing staff is from Minnesota (Shakopee, the setting of the sketch, is a real place, but relatively obscure on a national level), I had a hard time getting into this sketch.
Digital Short: That was just kind of...odd.
Crank Calls: The typical Kristen Wiig showcase: it goes on too long, she's not funny, I don't laugh.
Rude Buddha: I probably shouldn't have, but I enjoyed this one quite a bit (easily the most of any of the sketches in the back half). It wasn't great or anything, but it was better than Wiig crank calling herself.
Jason Sudeikis by the fire: A couple odd little half sketches to end the night with. Nothing great, I chuckled once or twice, and it was over. But the end of the show was rather odd, between this and two repeated commercials that suggest something more significant was cut at the last minute.
Favorite Sketch: Real Housewives of Disney, hands down. Brilliant stuff.
Keenan: I’ll save you the trouble. I’ve been stoned since Good Burger.
Cinderella: I heard he used his last wish for a lap dance...with me.
James Carville: Romney looks Presidential, but we don’t always get the job we look right for. If we did, I’d be king of the snakes!
Episodes Featuring a Game Show: 5/16
Episodes with a Monologue Featuring a Song: 7/16