Okay, I need to get this off my chest right away: I want a Mr. Eko lunchbox, a Mr. Eko t-shirt, and Mr. Eko Underoos. I want a Mr. Eko & Locke spin-off where they kick ass and debate philosophy every week. If I was being given a $10 million bar mitzvah, I would want Mr. Eko to be at the top of the celebrity guest list. He's not only my favorite character on "Lost" right now, he's probably my favorite character on all of television. (It helps that Vic Mackey, Tommy Gavin, Al Swearengen and Paulie Walnuts are all on hiatus right now, but still.)
The Eko/Locke scenes were the highlight of an especially strong episode of "Lost." I bag on the show a lot for all the narrative foot-dragging, but for once, the writers didn't screw around with the audience. We finally know what Kate's crime was (not that it was a shock, but it was still well-played by the usually uneven Evangeline Lilly, and especially by the actor who played her adoptive dad), we know what was on at least one of the gaps in the Dharma film (though there could be others), Sawyer is finally conscious again, Jin finally got the damn handcuff off his wrist, Walt made another appearance (sort of), etc., etc., etc.
But best of all was Eko's Bible story to Locke (and if there were any doubt before over whether the guy used to be a priest, there shouldn't be now), and his later suggestion that John not confuse coincidence with fate. Someone's needed to tell our resident zealot that for at least half a season now.
Between that and "Veronica Mars," that was about as good a two hours of TV as you're gonna find, and since I'd already seen "Veronica" last week, I didn't have to tape one and watch the other.
Far too many highlights to list 'em all, so I'll give just a few: the Cordelia vs. Willow smackdown (though the best line in that scene -- and possibly the season -- was Logan's "Rode Hard, meet Put Away Wet."); Logan and Weevil doing the whole "48 Hours"-style "We'll team up, but only after we kick the crap out of each other" thing in the men's room; the (now former) vice-principal manipulating Veronica into doing his wetwork; and Trina Echolls showing actual emotion (her hug with Lunchlady Doris put almost as much dust in my eye as the Rose/Bernard hug last week on "Lost"). The alternate ending on AOL.com was an interesting little bonus feature, but I'm glad the real show didn't go in that direction. Without spoiling it (and, if you haven't seen it yet, the only change is in the last two minutes), it would paint Veronica and the show into an uncomfortable corner that would take weeks, at least, to get out of.
Finally, today's All TV column makes fun of Fox's usual switcheroo scheduling. NBC predictably followed that by moving "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office" to Thursdays, while having back-to-back "Scrubs" episodes airing Tuesdays at 9, starting Jan. 3. (More details in tomorrow's column, or you can just read the press release here.) J.D. and Turk are back, baby! Is it time to do the Rerun dance?