What's On: After an Emotionally Devastating Tribal Council, Time for a Merge on ‘Survivor’ in a Two-Hour Episode

Matt Roush
Jeffrey Neira/CBS

Jeff Probst extinguishes Jeff Varner's torch at Tribal Council

Survivor (8/7c, CBS): The challenge: How to follow a shattering incident like last week’s tribal council, in which a desperate Jeff Varner outed Zeke Smith as a “deceptive” transgender only to be expelled by his tribe, and host Jeff Probst, in a cloud of shame. Time for the merge in a two-hour episode, but before anyone starts going all “Kumbaya,” another new twist keeps two of the castaways from taking part in the traditional celebration feast. That’s bound to leave a bitter aftertaste.

Fantastic Finales: Renewed for third years, two brand-redefining Syfy series wrap their second seasons (and high on my never-ending agenda is a pledge to catch up on both of them). Marlee Matlin guests on the season finale of The Magicians (9/8c), as Quentin (Jason Ralph), Julia (Stella Maeve) and Eliot (Hale Appleman) conjure a plan to save Fillory. On The Expanse (10/9c), there’s little time to celebrate the escape of the Roci when an unexpected enemy forces the crew to fight to save the ship.

Brockmire (10/9c, IFC): If you thought Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) was a handful, wait until you meet Lucy, the ex-wife who sent him into a career tailspin. Tony winner Katie Finneran is a riot as the sexually voracious Lucy, whose repentance only extends as far as the nearest bedroom. And how does Brockmire cope with this surprise visit? Drinking and ranting, of course, including this salvo from the broadcasting booth: “We have run out of cheeks to turn, people! We’re fresh out of ’em.”

Fargo (10/9c, FX): After more than a year’s wait, the Emmy-winning franchise is back in fine form, with Ewan McGregor in a dazzling dual role as combative brothers Emmit and Ray Slussy, who couldn’t be more different—except for the fact that each ends up over his head in quirky criminal shenanigans. Thank goodness local police chief Gloria Burgle (The Leftovers’ versatile Carrie Coon) is around to try to keep the peace. Quirky humor and shocking violence collide in a blissfully entertaining 90-minute opener.

Inside Wednesday TV: PBS’s Nova (9/8c) unearths a grim chapter of history in Holocaust Escape Tunnel, tracking the recent discovery of an escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners in the 1940s in the Lithuanian forest of Ponar, where up to 100,000 victims were shot by Nazis as an early example of the “final solution,” which erased the population of Jews in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. … The very busy Melissa McCarthy guests on TV Land’s Nobodies (10/9c) as herself, having agreed to participate in her friends’ Mr. First Lady film project. What could possibly go wrong?

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