A Dance with Destiny on ‘This Is Us,’ Who’s the Lunatic on ‘Prodigal Son,’ PBS’s ‘Extra Life,’ ‘Mayans’ Finale

This Is Us returns for its first episode in four weeks. Prodigal Son continues its season-ending storyline of escaped madman Martin “The Surgeon” Whitly. PBS launches a new series about increased life expectancy. A power play fuels the season finale of Mayans M.C.

This is us season 5 mandy moore chrissy metz
NBC

This Is Us

In what has been a frustratingly stop-and-start season for many series filming during the pandemic, the emotional family drama returns after another hiatus with many of the extended Pearson clan facing personal and professional crossroads. Especially Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson), who long ago abandoned her dreams of being a professional dancer and now faces more disappointment when her burgeoning Philly dance studio is affected by the shutdown. (The episode is titled “The Music and the Mirror,” a shoutout to the ultimate dancing musical A Chorus Line, for good reason.)

FOX

Prodigal Son

It wasn’t a huge surprise to learn at the end of last week’s episode that Martin “The Surgeon” Whitly’s (Michael Sheen) escape from his asylum prison was abetted by mysterious Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Catherine Zeta-Jones). What may shock even the notorious serial killer is that he may not be the crazier of the two. As the manhunt for Martin continues in the penultimate episode of the gloriously twisted thriller, Martin’s son Malcolm (Tom Payne) is thrown off the case for being too intimately involved. But when did that ever stop him, especially now that he senses that his killer dad may be a victim of someone even more dangerous.

PBS

Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer

While “life’s too short” remains a popular phrase for many of us, the truth is that we’re by and large living longer these days. A four-part docuseries explores how the response to pandemics of the past—smallpox, cholera, the Spanish flu—led to scientific and medical breakthroughs that have doubled life expectancy for many over the last several centuries. The first episode deals with the ever-popular and once-again controversial topic of vaccines.

FX

Mayans MC

Power plays are nothing new in the violent world of the Sons of Anarchy spinoff, recently renewed for a fourth year. In the season finale, Bishop (Michael Irby), the Mayans Santa Padre Charter president, makes his move to become the one and only king. But when the dust settles, who will wear the crown? And where do brothers EZ (JD Pardo) and Angel (Clayton Cardenas) fit in?

Inside Tuesday TV:

  • The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship (streaming on BBC Select): The new streamer, available on Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV app, weighs in on the popular topic of Britney Spears’ controversial 13-year conservatorship. Among those interviewed: Catherine Falk, daughter of late Columbo star Peter Falk, who was subject to a conservatorship in his later years.
  • Money, Explained (streaming on Netflix): Arriving just in time for the extended tax deadline next Monday, a documentary looks at the various pitfalls, from credit-card debts and student loans to scammers and casinos, that affect our personal bottom line.
  • NCIS (8/7c, CBS): Another case gets personal for Gibbs (Mark Harmon) when a stolen laptop is tracked to the uncle of Phineas (Jack Fisher), the young boy who was once his neighbor.
  • FBI (9/8c, CBS): Ever wonder why Special Agent Scola (John Boyd, formerly of Bones) gave up a lucrative Wall Street career to join the agency? This episode provides some answers when the team investigates the killing of a brokerage firm’s CEO.
  • black-ish (9/8c, ABC): Now that his parents are back together, Dre (Anthony Anderson) can’t decide whether it’s safe to confide in Pops (Laurence Fishburne) or Ruby (Jenifer Lewis)—or either. In a more traditional sitcom scenario, Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) tries to teach the twins to drive after surprising them with a new car.
  • Little People, Big World (9/8c, TLC): Like with most families, the Roloffs’ world shrinks when they quarantine during the pandemic as a new season unfolds. Matt rethinks the family business plan when son Zoch considers co-owning and running the farm with his dad. And Amy starts planning her wedding to Chris.
  • Supergirl (9/8c, The CW): David Harewood (J’onn) directs an episode that finds each character facing their worst fears as they head into the Phantom Zone to bring Kara (Melissa Benoist) home.