'Handmaid's Tale' Looks Beyond Gilead, Gordon Ramsay's New Gig, 'Archer' Finale
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Handmaid's Tale (streaming on Hulu): Having just returned from a vacation abroad, I get how Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) feels when the Waterfords leave for a diplomatic trip beyond Gilead's borders, and the Commander's wife feels the tug and temptation of a new life outside her oppressive homeland. Meanwhile, also having escaped the horror-show of Gilead, refugees Luke (O.T. Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley) deal with survivor's guilt.
Gordon Ramsay's 24 Hours to Hell and Back (9/8c, Fox): Where would the Fox network be without ubiquitous hothead chef Gordon Ramsay? We'll probably never know, because he launches yet another new reality franchise with this rapid-fire makeover show, which gives Team Ramsay just one 24-hour time span to fix a failing restaurant. His first target (victim?): the family-owned Bella Gianna's Italian restaurant in Congers, N.Y., whose short-fused owner (sound familiar?) has created an unsavory workplace environment.
Archer: Danger Island (10/9c, FXX): Having channeled their inner Indiana Jones in the latest genre spoof, Archer & Co. complete their quest for the idol in the season finale. A deadly temple on Mitimotu provides one last challenge for the hapless adventurers.
Brockmire (10/9c, IFC): When Jim Brockmire (Hank Azaria) hits "brock bottom," he's not kidding. After his latest binge lands him in the hospital, the diagnosis is epic: liver damage, two strands of chlamydia and even scurvy. ("The only case we'll ever get to see," marvels a doctor.) All of which prompts an estranged Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams) to stage an intervention in the penultimate episode of the dark comedy's rollicking second season. You'll be surprised who shows, and who doesn't.
Inside Wednesday TV: Rescued from cancellation by Amazon, Syfy's The Expanse (9/8c) continues its third season with Bobbie (Frankie Adams) leading a group into uncharted territory, while Melba's (Nadine Nicole) mission is threatened by a phantom from her past. … CNBC's home-renovation series The Deed (10/9c) returns for a second season, with real estate mogul Sidney Torres rescuing property investors—including longtime friend James, who made the mistake of falling in love with his flip. (Does he not watch HGTV?) … Just the sort of thing that's both blessing and curse to the family of divorce lawyers on SundanceTV's addictive The Split (11/10c): a government scandal that ensues when an extramarital dating site is hacked. But that's nothing compared to the fireworks at home when Ruth (recent Tony nominee Deborah Findlay) hosts a dinner party for daughter Rose (Fiona Button) to celebrate her impending wedding, and more secrets drunkenly spill out.