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Bugs Do Their Own Exterminating on The Blacklist

For all its mysterious posturing and shadowy factions, The Blacklist is at the core a procedural. Oftentimes the episodes that focus more on one-off cases are better than the "mythology" episodes. This is especially true when the show travels into speculative sci-fi stories that play like a low-calorie version of Fringe. This week's episode utilized all those elements. It was a mostly standalone task force affair, beyond Red (James Spader) trying to pack his jury with sympathetic citizens. The case involved murderous bugs that were attacking humans from the inside thanks to a mad entomologist. It even featured your favorite perfect stranger and mine, Mark Linn-Baker. Unfortunately, those disparate elements didn't quite come together to make an effective episode. "General Shiro" was the first effort of the season that felt like filler.

We Finally Got Some Corrupted Liz Time on The Blacklist

Of course, the bugs were creepy. Bugs are always creepy. Beatles pouring out of people's throats? Tremendously unsettling. The most honest version of this recap is probably just BUGS BUGS B U G S.

And of course, Linn-Baker was great as the jilted scientist hoping to prove that insects could fight back against the most destructive force Earth has ever seen: humans. The Blacklist trots out political messaging like this from time to time, but it didn't really go anywhere here. As usual, Linn-Baker's character was framed as both villainous and deranged. Any reference to government or corporate culpability in the planet's decimation of insect and plant life was muted by the normal machinations of a broadcast TV crime drama.

Elsewhere, the episode moved the ongoing Red court case forward through the aforementioned jury selection process. However, the tête-à-tête between Red and Sima (Ken Leung) didn't have as much zip here, mostly because of the rapid-fire editing between potential jury members. The one wrinkle was Glen's attempted jury manipulation, which ultimately backfired because, well, Glen can't help but run his mouth.

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More than anything, it felt like the show was marking time to get to the more compelling material to come with the actual trial. Most of the task force is likely to be called to the stand. That could be fun, right?

Meanwhile, Liz (Megan Boone) and Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq) had a charged conversation in what was the episode's true standout moment. While Dembe is clearly loyal to Red above all else, he's also expressed that his mentor should come clean to his fake daughter. With Red trapped in a cell, there's room to explore the Liz-Dembe pairing, and for Liz to try to work Dembe into revealing parts of the "everything" he knows. This episode needed more of them, but hopefully future episodes will go that direction.

The Blacklist airs Fridays at 9/8c on NBC.

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The First Descendants 3 Teaser Is Here and It's Straight-Up Villainous Fun

Dove Cameron, Descendants 3 | Photo Credits: Ed Herrera, Disney Channel

At long last, the offspring of your favorite Disney villains have returned for another installment of infectious song and dance in the first official look at Descendants 3.

The preview finds new trouble ahead for Mal (Dove Cameron), Evie (Sofia Carson), Carlos (Cameron Boyce) and Jay (BooBoo Stewart) as they go up against the blue-haired, fingerless-glove-wearing lord of the underworld, Hades (Cheyenne Jackson). Sure, it's only a half-minute long, but those fun 30 seconds teased killer new locations, swashbuckling sword fights and King Ben (Mitchell Hope) finally going full beast mode. Plus, it looks like we're going to meet Dr. Facilier (Jamal Sims) and his daughter Celia (Jadah Marie) in live-action form. Who knew the evil witch doctor had a thing for arcades?

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Continuing this thrilling musical saga of good versus evil, the villain kids return to the Isle of the Lost to recruit others like them to Auradon Prep. When a breach in the barrier that divides both lands threatens the safety of everyone in the kingdom, however, Mal considers closing it for good -- especially with Uma (China Anne McClain) and Hades out and about seeking vengeance. Despite her choice to protect her people, an "unfathomable dark force" still looms and it will be up to Mal and the rest of the VKs -- including Harry (Thomas Doherty) and Gil (Dylan Playfair) -- to stop this evil as they face their biggest battle yet.

Descendants 3 arrives this summer on Disney Channel and DisneyNOW.

Photos: The 25 Best Disney Channel Original Movies, Ranked

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Jeremiah Tortures Bruce with His Most Tragic Memory in New Gotham Trailer

Cameron Monaghan, Gotham | Photo Credits: Fox

Gotham is going all out in its final season and next Thursday's episode is one of the most highly anticipated yet. The Feb. 21 installment, titled "Ace Chemicals," will bring Jeremiah (Cameron Monaghan) one step closer to his Joker-esque identity -- and he's going above and beyond to get there.

Fox released the trailer for the upcoming episode on Friday and revealed Jeremiah's diabolical plan to torture Bruce (David Mazouz) by recreating the night Bruce's parents died. Jeremiah, who has created look-a-likes for Martha and Thomas Wayne and hypnotized Alfred (Sean Pertwee), will force Bruce to re-watch The Mark of Zorro, the movie the Waynes saw before they died.

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The night of torture will culminate in a throw-down at Ace Chemicals and, as the trailer teases, could send Jeremiah over the edge and catapult his final transition of the series. With only three episodes left before Gotham's flash-forward series finale, this could be the thing to give Bruce his final push to becoming the Dark Knight.

Are you ready to see Jeremiah go mad?

Gotham continues Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.

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