Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 12, "America First"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, "America First"

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, "America First"

For 11 episodes, Homeland has been burying its lede in plain sight, making us believe that its sixth season was little more than a traditional spy thriller. Many pains were taken to establish a “deep state” conspiracy, led by Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and General Jamie McClendon (Robert Knepper), and shamelessly abetted by the right-wing propaganda machine of talk show host Brett O'Keefe (Jake Weber). “America First” plays along with that ruse for much of its running time, sending Carrie Matheson (Claire Danes) and Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) on a last-ditch mission to save President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) from some sort of half-baked military coup.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 3, "Draggily Ever After"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 3, "Draggily Ever After"
RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 3, "Draggily Ever After"

I'm neither the first nor the last person to point out that, nine seasons in, there are some RuPaul's Drag Race contestants who were in their formative years when the series was first making waves, contestants who've quite literally always known drag in a mainstream context. We caught an early, often irritating example of that in season six with the finger-wagging, tongue-snapping, “OK-r-r-r-r”-ing Laganja Estranja, but you always had a sense in her case that the drag persona was the result of an internalized split, and that the drag persona for 'Ganj was a brassy form of wish fulfillment. But Valentina's win in last week's episode feels like the next evolutionary step in the process. And, thankfully, RuPaul's ready with a challenge that helps restore balance between the Valentinas of the competition, for whom drag is an almost subconscious element of their DNA, and the Eurekas or Trinitys, who are paying their dues and letting the world know it.

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 5, “Lotus 1-2-3”

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The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 5, “Lotus 1-2-3”

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The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 5, “Lotus 1-2-3”

In my “What's the Matter with Kansas?” recap, I refrained from describing one important yuk that played out in the Jennings' kitchen that receives a very pointed rejoinder in “Lotus 1-2-3,” tonight's episode of The Americans. Last week, upon sensing that Henry (Keidrich Sellati) was getting sassy with her, Elizabeth (Keri Russell) admonished him: “Don't be smart, Henry.” To which a frazzled Henry blurted out: “I'm not!” This week, in a meeting with Henry's math teacher (Don Guillory), Elizabeth and Philip (Matthew Rhys) learn that their son is so good at math that his school is considering placing him in Algebra II. The parents' joy is the son's sadness in a subsequent scene, which very casually brings to the fore how Elizabeth and Philip's grooming of Paige (Holly Taylor) into a next-generation spy has unconsciously done a number on Henry, a wallflower of his parents' creation who deflects the praise heaped on him by retreating into the world of his video game.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 16, "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 16, "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 16, "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life"

Skipping lightly across the surface of relationships and individual states of mind to focus on the stockpiling of weapons or the formation of fragile alliances, The Walking Dead's seventh season was almost exclusively about the march to war. Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sadistically fetishized slaughter of Abraham and Glenn in the season opener established him as a ruthless despot who could only be unseated by extraordinary means. Several characters, including Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Morgan (Lennie James), and Ezekiel (Khary Payton), tried to resist the call to battle that was Maggie's (Lauren Cohan) unwavering response to Negan's psychotic display, but their reservations were swatted away with no real debate, creating the illusion that war was the group's only viable alternative.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 11, "R for Romeo"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, "R for Romeo"

JoJo Whilden/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, "R for Romeo"

Tonight's episode of Homeland, “R for Romeo,” divides its characters into three factions. First there are those who dwell in the light, like President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) and Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), and believe that truth is generally the best policy. Then there are those, like Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham), who insist on working from the shadows, distrustful and sneering of the common people. Finally, and most dangerously, there are those, like Brett O'Keefe (Jake Weber), the zealous producer and host of the alt-right talk show Real Truth, who genuinely believe themselves to be doing good, even as they descend into the blackest depths of hatred.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 2, "She Done Already Done Brought It On"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 2, "She Done Already Done Brought It On"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 2, "She Done Already Done Brought It On"

Occasionally on RuPaul's Drag Race, frontrunners emerge right out of the gate. Raja set the bar for season three when she aced both the photo and the runway challenge without so much as breaking a nail, and Sharon Needles cut down among the fiercest of competitor slates the series has ever seen with a “post-apopolopic” look that instantly rewrote season four in her favor. Other times, though, queens emerge into their essence only with the passage of time. Just ask season five's Alyssa Edwards, who didn't really peak until her All-Stars run, or season seven's Katya and Trixie Mattel, who are arguably still reaching a creative crescendo with their brilliant “UNHhhh” segments on the World of Wonder YouTube channel.

The Americans Recap Season 5, Episode 4, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

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The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Patrick Harbron/FX

The Americans Recap: Season 5, Episode 4, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

Funny isn't something that The Americans often does, and “What's the Matter with Kansas?” is unique in the canon of the series for the sterling self-reflexivity of its sense of humor. The episode opens with Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) receiving an update from their supervisor, Gabriel (Frank Langella), about what their sleuthing in the Oklahoma science lab's rolodex uncovered. After being assigned two new targets who are, coincidentally, both single, husband and wife exchange looks, no doubt sensing the potential long game they'll have to play. It's clear that neither Philip nor Elizabeth care to bring another Martha or Gregory into their lives, but above all else, they have a lot on their plates right now, and as Elizabeth goes down the list of all their—and in turn the show's—outstanding commitments, she sounds like she's trying to get out of brunch plans with someone she disconnected from previously, and with good reason.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 15, "Something They Need"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 15, "Something They Need"

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 15, "Something They Need"

Aside from the armored walker that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) fought in the junkyard where Jadis's people live, it's been months since roamers posed a credible threat to anyone on The Walking Dead. They're usually just a slightly titillating excuse for some action, and the catalyst for a jolt of camaraderie or tension among the humans they encounter. True to form, the barnacle-festooned skeleton that stumbles into focus at the start of “Something They Need,” and the herd that materializes behind it, lurch obligingly into Oceanside just as Rick's arms raid is teetering on the edge of catastrophe.

Homeland Recap Season 6, Episode 10, "The Flag House"

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Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Flag House"

Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Homeland Recap: Season 6, Episode 10, "The Flag House"

In “The Flag House,” our heroes finally approach the evil that's been hiding in plain sight, and each time they must choose how to prioritize their devotion either to the American flag or to a more personal desire to get their house in order. In the first of two literal interpretations of the episode's title, Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) tracks the Watch-Cap-Wearing Man (C.J. Wilson) to a suburban home, while Max (Maury Sterling), undercover in the belly of a false-flag operation, makes the connection between Dar Adal (F. Murray Abraham) and Brett O'Keefe (Jake Weber). And then there's President-elect Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel) and Dar, who meet in a metaphorical flag house, a stand-in for the White House to which Keane has been elected by 60 million voters (“Who the hell voted for you?” she brusquely asks of him), but also for the shadow constituency that opposes her (“Don't go to war with your own national security establishment,” he says, smugly).

RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap Season 9, Episode 1, "Oh. My Gaga!"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 1, "Oh. My. Gaga!"

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RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Season 9, Episode 1, "Oh. My. Gaga!"

Opulence! O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E! You'd think season nine of Rupaul's Drag Race would have it rough matching up to the show's still-ballooning legacy. Season eight maybe didn't mark itself as distinctive in many respects, but it at least afforded itself the chance to dance like Beyoncé in the end zone about reaching 100 episodes/100 queens. But the recent All Stars season truly elevated the entire Drag Race universe to new levels of sickening. Even fresh off the heels of Mama Ru's Emmy win, though, apparently World of Wonder still has something to prove on the runway. Why else would the franchise shantay its slot all the way from Mondays on Logo (the perfect time to commemorate the total evaporation of a weekend's worth of hangover) to Friday nights on VH1? (Cue the shade rattlesnake sound cue.)