'Mad Men,' 'Sherlock,' 'Girls,' 'The Killing': Sunday-night mini-reviews, from A to B-minus | EW.com

TV | Mad Men

'Mad Men,' 'Sherlock,' 'Girls,' 'The Killing': Sunday-night mini-reviews, from A to B-minus

So much TV on Sunday night; inaugurating a new occasional feature: A round-up of mini-reviews. (All rights reserved to expand upon these thoughts later in the week.)

Mad Men: “I got a million of ‘em,” said Michael Ginsberg, quoting Jimmy Durante and referring to ideas he has for ad campaigns. He’ll need ‘em, since this week’s theme was “every man for himself.” I know – when isn’t that a Mad Men theme? This night

the adage was both workaday (Don betraying Ginsberg, Roger trying to betray Pete, Pete betrayed by The New York Times Magazine and his own damp dream about Beth Dawes) and intricate when it came to the show’s female characters. Betty might have found some comfort in Weight Watchers had the organization not been inherently structured to have her compare herself to other ounce-counters, and who suffered for the most for her discomfort? Sally, who’s quickly become a central player this season. (Kiernan Shipka’s recent guest turn on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23 proved prophetic here, since Sally’s new attitude toward Megan was Don’t Trust the B—- at 73rd and Park.) I thought the final scene between Roger and Jane rang false – Roger, abashed? – until I realized he’ll probably walk out of that apartment with a triumphant grin on his face… the very sort of triumph Betty was denied. All this, plus a Ginsberg misapprehending Shelley. A-

Sherlock: “The Hounds of Baskerville” Skirting the boundary of being a tad too-too self-aware (Watson to Holmes: “Could we not do this? You being all mysterious with your cheekbones and your collar turned up so you look cool”), Sherlock took its twists to the Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles and reduced its thrill to a repressed memory and hallucinogenic fog. Michael Dirda, in his wonderful recent book On Conan Doyle, describes a moment of jolting joy in the prose original: “Their informant, Dr. Mortimer, pauses, then adds, hesitantly, that near the body he had spotted footprints on the damp ground. A man’s or a woman’s? eagerly inquires the great detective, to which question he receives the most thrilling answer in all of twentieth-century literature: ‘Mr. Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound!’” Alas, I had hoped, on TV, for more from what Martin Freeman’s Watson described early on as a “mutant super-dog roaming the moors,” and the series’ usually-crackerjack on-screen illustrations – this week of a “mind palace” (the mnemonic device “memory palace” described by on this side of the pond by Joshua Foer) – was disappointingly visualized. Nice final-minute kicker, though. B-

• The Killing: As I wrote in my review of the rather disappointing second season thus far, The Killing remains, mostly, sludge-slow. But this hour, directed by exec producer Veena Sud, tapped into some of the elements that are most effective, foremost among them: placing Joel Kinnaman’s Holder front-and-center. Beaten up on the rez, his interactions with any character, even when consigned to a hospital bed, are delicately shaded emotionally. And the series took one of the oldest cop-show scenes – hopping-mad Lieutenant asks rogue cop (Linden) for her badge and gun – and made it seem fresh, largely due to the perennially-underrated Mark Moses. All in all, encouraging. On to that construction site! B+

Girls: The show can pivot its attention to any one of its core girls/women – this week, Marnie – and prove how meticulously Lena Dunham has thought through each of these characters: what she believes in, what she values, how each react in any given situation that is distinctive from the others. Here, Marnie’s complex reactions to Charlie trying to break up with her were both masterly written (by Dunham) and executed (by Allison Williams). Plus: a superlative flashback scene that, through the exigencies of the half-hour format and Dunham’s directorial sense that everything happens in a kind of perpetual present, was both breathtaking and exceedingly funny. Plus-plus: Two increasingly terrific non-girl characters, Charlie (whose “the community of this apartment” speech was delivered by Christopher Abbott with neurotic verve), and the deadpan hostile Ray, whose profane address to Marnie in the coffee shop (in which he asserts she has “a– f—ed my best friend in the heart”) was a marvel of a mouthful. A

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