Worth Watching: ‘Saul,’ ‘Plot Against America’ Finales, ‘Prodigal Son,’ Binge on ‘Battlestar’ & ‘Friends’
A selective critical checklist of notable Monday TV:
Better Call Saul (9/8c, AMC): The best season yet‑with only one more to go — of the riveting Breaking Bad prequel signs off with a supersized nail-biter. Jimmy/Saul (Bob Odenkirk) and Kim (Rhea Seehorn) are entitled to breathe a sigh of relief after their encounter with a suspicious Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton), who’s thankfully Mexico bound — with Nacho (Michael Mando) in tow. But the respite could be short-lived, especially when Kim’s former boss Howard (Patrick Fabian) gets a whiff of her current situation. And if what happens in Mexico doesn’t stay in Mexico, they’re all going to be in for a wild ride in the final season.
The Plot Against America (9/8c, HBO): The intensely eventful final chapter of the excellent adaptation of Philip Roth’s political allegory finds anti-Semitism on the rise and democracy on the ropes as another election day looms in 1940s America. “The hate is there,” laments Herman (Morgan Spector). “It’s like dry leaves waiting on a spark.” A mission of mercy takes some of the family on a gut-wrenching road trip to Kentucky, while pleas for peace and justice go seemingly unheard. Is it too late for the family to head to Canada?
Prodigal Son (9/8c, Fox): The prize for most twisted freshman show of the season proudly goes to this darkly amusing crime melodrama, which returns from a few weeks off for its penultimate episode. It opens with a shock for haunted profiler Malcolm (Tom Payne) and socialite mother Jessica (Bellamy Young) that sends them right back to psycho Daddy-Leers-Best Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen, merrily chewing his padded-wall scenery). But what is daughter Ainsley (Halston Sage) already doing in his cell? Seems everyone but Jessica can see right through the show’s latest villain, Nicholas Endicott (a chillingly smug Dermot Mulroney), a “genetic narcissist” pharmaceutical mogul whom Malcolm is convinced bears responsibility for the latest case. By the end of the episode, there are enough twists that make you wonder how much can be resolved in next week’s finale. As usual, Jessica gets the best line: “Never bet against your mother, darling. Your father’s just a man. Grab him where it counts and he’ll squeal like a pig.”
Inside Monday TV: Binge alert! One of Syfy’s greatest series ever, the epic reinvention of Battlestar Galactica, returns for a mega three-day marathon (starting at 12 am/11c Sunday, through Thursday at 9 am/8c) including the two-part miniseries, all four seasons plus the movies Razor and The Plan… TBS knows we could all use some Friends in these cloistered times, and is bringing the ever-popular sitcom back for weekday “from the beginning” marathons, Monday to Friday at 10 am/9c to 4 pm/3c… Shades of Little Jessica on Fox’s 9-1-1 (8/7c) when Eddie (Ryan Guzman) faces his past while trying to rescue a boy who fell down a well… On HGTV’s Celebrity IOU (9/8c), Melissa McCarthy pays tribute to her aunt Connie and uncle Jim, career police officers in Chicago, and with the help of her cousin Jenna and the Scott brothers (Drew and Jonathan), renovate the couple’s home. Providing a functional main living area is especially critical for Jim, who was injured on the job and has limited mobility. Expect an especially emotional reveal… The finale of National Geographic Channel’s Cosmos: Possible Worlds (9/8c) projects forward to the 2039 New York World’s Fair — previous versions inspired Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson to pursue lives devoted to science. The pavilions of the future suggest how today’s problems could be remedied through scientific imagination and public commitment. Even a cure for coronavirus?