Worth Watching: 'Handmaid's Tale' Finale, Mike 'Suits' Up Again, 'BH90210,' 'David Makes Man'
A selective critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
The Handmaid's Tale (streaming on Hulu): June (Elisabeth Moss) has somehow become the Moses of Gilead, preparing to lead 50-plus girl children to freedom from an oppressed land in a suspenseful third-season finale. "No one belongs here," June declares, determined to be as ruthless and fearless as it takes. A good thing, because obstacles threaten to derail her bold plan, with the help of an underground network of Marthas, to save the next generation from the fate of institutional rape and slavery she has endured for far too long. The intensity of Moss's performance has a classic movie-star aura, reminiscent of Bette Davis at her most ferocious. Stand in her way at your own peril.
TV shows that are acclaimed are not always popular, and vice versa, but which shows have divided critics and audiences the most?
Suits (9/8c, USA): Final seasons are often about providing closure by welcoming back favorite characters for a victory lap — and so it is when Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) returns to clash with his former mentor, Harvey (Gabriel Macht), in a much-awaited comeback. Samantha (Katherine Heigl) finds herself caught between the alphas when Mike shows up from Seattle. Minus, we presume, wife Rachel, since Meghan Markle has gone on to much better and royal things.
The actor left at the end of Season 7, but he's never been forgotten.
BH90210 (9/8c, Fox): The gloriously, garishly meta reboot-within-a-reboot continues with Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth (as slightly heightened versions of themselves) pitching the 90210 revival to Fox, which may be a case of talking shop too soon. Because when the rest of the gang catches wind of the project, the first response is — you guessed it — laughter. But Tori is undaunted: "'No' never stopped my dad," she announces in homage to the late power producer, Aaron Spelling. And with deals and concessions to be made, they all seem oblivious to the fact that they're caught up in a cheesy new soap opera, complete with a sinister stalker lurking in the wings.
The co-stars and real-life pals on how they made it happen, what's real and what's not, and why the show is 'like a do-over.'
David Makes Man (10/9c, OWN): Subtle, soulful and mesmerizing, this artful coming-of-age drama from Moonlight Oscar winner and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney dives deep into the mind and magical imagination of 14-year-old David (Akili McDowell), a gifted student in a Florida magnet school who yearns for a way out of the projects. Befriending an abused classmate (Nathaniel McIntyre) and leaning on mentors, including the great Phylicia Rashad as a tough but caring teacher, David struggles to keep up at school while looking after his irrepressible younger brother (Cayden Williams) and helping his struggling mom (Alana Arenas). There's poignant power in the authenticity of David's story.
This is the closest OWN comes to achieving the sort of literary art Oprah Winfrey admires.
Yellowstone (10/9c, Paramount Network): Enemies become allies when John Dutton (Kevin Costner) holds a war council with former (and probably future) antagonists in reaction to last week's violent incident that left daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) a bloody, bitter mess. The clash with the evil Beck brothers (Neal McDonough and Terry Serpico) heats up as the Duttons plot revenge, fearing the villains will come after the most vulnerable among them. Maybe it's not the happiest timing for Monica (Kelsey Asbille) to move onto the ranch, where she tells husband Kayce (Luke Grimes): "This place isn't a home. It's a giant Alamo." And we all know how that ended.
The war against the Beck brothers is getting intense.
Inside Wednesday TV: The HBO documentary Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America (8/7c) isn't as depressing as it sounds, taking a life-affirming approach to case studies of people who choose non-traditional ways to deal with the end of life and memorials to passed loved ones… With seven of 12 acts moving on in the first results show of NBC's America's Got Talent (8/7c), performers include Season 13 and Champions winner Shin Lim and Season 1 winner Bianca Ryan… Followed by a new episode of NBC's terrific music series Songland (9/8c), in which Macklemore sits on the judging panel with veteran producers, hearing pitches from fledgling songwriters to find a new tune that fits his style… Season finales include Syfy's Krypton (10/9c), in which Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe) faces off against General Zod (Colin Salmon); and NBC's The InBetween (10/9c), where Cassie (Harriet Dyer) finally confronts the spirit of serial killer Ed Roven (Sean Bolger).