‘Sunny’ Turns 13, Revelations on ‘Castle Rock’ and ‘Sinner’
A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (10/9c, FXX): We’re thirteen seasons in with this proudly misanthropic and shamelessly bawdy buddy comedy, and the characters’ lack of growth makes Seinfeld look like a self-help manual by comparison. As the new season begins, the gang at least looks like it’s evolving by bringing on board Cindy (Mindy Kaling), whose ethnic diversity masks a devious competitive streak that fits right in. But her project to “make Paddy’s great again” goes awry when Mac (Rob McElhenney) introduces a replacement for Dennis (currently MIA Glenn Howerton) in a disturbingly lifelike sex doll, which gets in their heads in regrettably snarky fashion.
The Sinner (10/9c, USA): The always excellent Carrie Coon (Fargo, The Leftovers) gets her best showcase yet in the unsettling second season of the psychologically intense why-dun-it, as cult leader Vera lays out the sordid history of the Mosswood compound to a fascinated Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman). “I allowed horrible things to happen,” she concedes, but there’s ample guilt to share in this episode. Harry’s tragic childhood past gets an airing out, as he meets with young murder suspect Julian (Elisha Henig). “When do you stop being guilty?” wonders a tormented Julian. “When is it over?” Questions that lie at the heart of The Sinner’s dark core.
Castle Rock (streaming on Hulu): All is answered, more or maybe less, in the penultimate episode of the first uneven season of the Stephen King homage. Who is “the Kid” (Bill Skarsgård), and what is his connection to Henry Deaver (André Holland)? Let’s just say things get very weird as we see the town and its inhabitants from an entirely different angle.
Inside Wednesday TV: The two-hour finale of A&E’s moving docuseries Born This Way (8/7c) anticipates and celebrates the wedding of Cristina and Angel… If you watch USA’s Suits (9/8c) and wish they could all get along just a bit better, this week promises a rare degree of cooperation when Harvey (Gabriel Macht) helps Samantha (Katherine Heigl) settle an old score. Meanwhile, poor Louis (Rick Hoffman) once again learns nothing comes easy as he faces an obstacle to achieve his dream of fatherhood… Celebrated American Ballet Theatre ballerina Misty Copeland is a guest judge for the “Divisional Final” of NBC’s World of Dance (9/8c), during which the top three acts from each division — 12 in all — compete for a spot in next week’s “World Final”… Bill (Brendan Gleeson) acts on his suspicions in AT&T Audience Network’s Mr. Mercedes (10/9c). He launches an investigation of meek nurse Sadie (Virginia Kull), who’s unwillingly doing the bidding of comatose yet mind-controlling Brady (Harry Treadaway). It’s not hard to figure out where all of this is going, and it’s taking its sweet time getting there. And yet there’s a grim fascination to this bizarre cat-and-mouse game.