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UNITED STATES OF AL this week showed different emotional sides to both lead characters. Al (Adhir Kalyan) expressed his frustration, fear and irritated attitude when he did not not hear from his Afghanistan family for over 24 hours. Riley (Parker Young) allowed viewers to see his patient, mature growth as he guided Al through this time period.

The writers knew where they were leading all of us. It was real, honest and made the audience think about what was truly important. The message that rang loud and clear over and over was all about family, whether we live in the same house or across continents. Family is the glue that holds us together.

The tone, intense dialogues and authentic moments made believers of us as we watched UNITED STATES OF AL. It was necessary to see Al as an imperfect man. It made him more human.

UNITED STATES OF AL is available to stream on CBS ALL ACCESS Television.

"It's not enough to predict a future where things are different. They have to be unexpected and inevitable at the same time."

Television backstory can be filler, but not in the hands of Craig CHERNOBYL Mazin. BACKSTORY is a perfect 30 minutes. Audiences that have and have not seen MYTHIC QUEST will fall in love with the latest episode.

For those following this little-seen comedy, we finally get to know why C.W. Longbottom (played expertly in all other episodes by F. Murray Abraham) is the man he's today. In this flashback episode, C.W.'s played in an Emmy-worthy performance by Josh "Big Head" Brener. His C.W. mannerisms are at once heartbreaking and infuriating as we continue to watch his ego destroy his life.

BACKSTORY isn't a comedic episode. It's 100% intense drama. It reminds me more of scenes from THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT than anything we've seen come before it in MYTHIC QUEST.

Everyone believes they can be a good writer, yet to be one, you have to "really see the world that is yet to come." What's so fascinating about C.W.'s claim to fame is that he does see the world to come, just through a different lens. One that's not approving in simple linear terms, but one that will eventually turn him into the lovably infuriating character.

Thank you, Rob McElhenney, for an expertly crafted episode. "P.S. I enjoyed your use of backstory."

It's avaialble on AppleTV+.

Finally - a LEGO MASTERS challenge based on the Lonely Island's song COOL GUYS DON'T LOOK AT EXPLOSIONS.

This week's challenge is based on the action trope of the hero not looking back at explosions, which Will Arnett introduces with a forced joke.

While the builds this week are impressive, with only 10 hours and a smaller Minifigure-scale, they will not be as memorable as last season's destruction episode. I may be in the minority here, but I really don't really love seeing LEGO being blown up.

Also, there was almost no critical feedback from judges Amy & Jamie. Either everything just truly worked out well enough or criticism was cut, but it felt less dramatic without seeing the detailed critique we've come to expect.

On the bright side, this week was about stories more than anything, and the contestants did a fantastic job with creative builds and unique setups.

LEGO MASTERS airs on FOX on Tuesdays and is available to stream on Hulu the day after.


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