Stephen King Bonanza With 'Mr. Mercedes,' 'Castle Rock,' Plus 'Yellowstone' & 'Queen Sugar' Finales
A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Mr. Mercedes (10/9c, AT&T Audience Network): Last summer's best Stephen King series returns for a second round, skipping to the third book of the Bill Hodges trilogy. Which means the retired detective (Brendan Gleeson) is once again obsessed with psycho killer Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway), currently deep in a coma but still haunting Bill's nightmares. Thanks to a mad-science experiment by a brain surgeon (Booardwalk Empire's Jack Huston), Brady will soon be able to wreak psychic havoc without even having to leave his bed. Mortality is a major theme this season, so take bets now on who'll survive this macabre story.
Castle Rock (streaming on Hulu): If you've been waiting patiently for the summer's other Stephen King-inspired series to shift into high spooky gear, this week's episode delivers—anchored by a tremendous performance from Sissy Spacek (the original Carrie) as befuddled Ruth Deaver. Experiencing "confusion in time and space," Ruth wanders in and out of troubling memories during a terrifying dark night of the soul, further disoriented by the lurking presence of the mysterious John Doe "kid" (Bill Skarsgård). If you end the hour wondering what you (and Ruth) just went through, Castle Rock has done its job.
The Sinner (10/9c, USA): Possibly the night's creepiest hour is the fourth chapter in this unnerving mystery anthology. As Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman) continues to pry into the secrets of the Mosswood Grove cult, his investigation leads to a psychiatric facility that hits close to home and a fateful walk in the woods. "Are you playing games with me?" he asks enigmatic cult leader Vera (the electrifying Carrie Coon). Does he need to ask?
Finales: Paramount Network's Yellowstone (10/9c) closes the first season of the modern Western saga with battle lines drawn within the Dutton family. In other words, dirty business as usual… OWN's Queen Sugar (10/9c) expands its third-season finale to 90 minutes to celebrate Aunt Violet's (Tina Lifford) big day with Hollywood (Omar J. Dorsey). In other family news, a prison protest triggers a revelation from young Micah (Nicholas Ashe) that helps Nova (Rutina Wesley) make a decision about her unpublished book.
Inside Wednesday TV: ABC partners with People Magazine for a two-night special telling The Story of the Royals (9/8c) — the British royals, naturally — with a focus on the modernization of the monarchy with the offspring of Princess Diana and Prince Charles… NBC's World of Dance (9/9c) moves into the first round of "The Cut" phase, with only the top three scorers in each division moving on. Guest mentors include Julianne Hough, working with brother Derek to counsel the Upper division, while Savion Glover teams with Jennifer Lopez to coach the Junior Team contestants… Community's Danny Pudi stars in the latest installment of truTV's darkly whimsical Bobcat Goldthwait's Misfits & Monsters (10/9c), as a scientist whose breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence might end the world instead of saving it.