Finales of 'Saul' and 'Lodge 49,' 'Good Doctor' in the ER, 'American Experience' at the Circus
A critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Better Call Saul (9/8c, AMC): In the terrific and tense fourth-season finale, expanded to 85 minutes — since less is never more in this “peak TV” world anymore — the evolution of underdog wannabe lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) into the Saul Goodman shyster we grew to love to hate on Breaking Bad takes another leap forward. To get there, Jimmy has to confront, or possibly exorcise, the demon of his late brother Chuck (Michael McKean, who returns for a poignant flashback). It’s a process that may infect you with an ABBA earworm for days to come. In a suspenseful subplot that recalls the most gripping days of Breaking Bad, including a devastating phone call, Mike (Jonathan Banks) unhappily goes on the hunt for runaway engineer Werner Ziegler (Rainer Bock) — a search that is being watched by a sinister third party. The spinoff’s slow burn is definitely heating up.
Lodge 49 (10/9c, AMC): Speaking of slow burns, the funky and thoroughly enjoyable dramedy about a mystical Long Beach lodge concludes its first season on a high — and not that sort of high (though anything is possible) — because AMC just renewed the series for a second year. A good thing, too, because drifting Dud (Wyatt Russell) and sister Liz (Sonya Cassidy) haven’t nearly finished their soul-searching, as they seek purpose in very different ways. The fate of the Lodge is also in jeopardy, but the alchemy within this misfit community is too precious to let go just yet.
The Good Doctor (10/9c, ABC): Sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at least a teaching moment, when Dr. Lim (Christina Chang) is called away and decides to leave the emergency room in the care of Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), whose bedside manner is still a work in progress, and obnoxious Dr. Reznick (Fiona Gubelmann). For Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff), his post-op recovery is complicated by his relationship with his daughter (The Americans’ Holly Taylor, who’ll have a more significant role in the following week’s episode).
The Circus (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Over four colorful hours in two nights (concluding Tuesday), American Experience looks back at the social phenomenon of the traveling circus, an era that essentially ended with the closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in May 2017. The documentary tells the stories of legendary impresarios P.T. Barnum, James Bailey and the five Ringling Brothers, who helped create a form of entertainment that lured people seeking an escape from traditional society while offering attractions challenging conventional norms.
Inside Monday TV: The HBO documentary RX: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee (8/7) follows the TV host and lifestyle expert through her breast cancer diagnosis, double mastectomy treatment and subsequent advocacy for early cancer testing and detection… TLC’s Long Island Medium (8/7c) starts a new season in a state of transition, with Theresa Caputo facing divorce from husband Larry, recovering from knee surgery and living on her own while her house is under construction. Maybe she could use a reading herself… Ken Jeong (Community) guests on CBS’s Magnum P.I. (9/8c) as rival investigator Luther Gillis, in a case involving a comatose woman whose identity is in doubt because of her extensive facial surgery… On NBC’s breakout drama Manifest (10/9c), someone from Flight 828 has been murdered, and Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) is on the case, along with brother Ben (Josh Dallas).