TV column for Thursday, April 23

“Mom,” 9:01 p.m., CBS.

A good show in its
first season, “Mom” has turned terrific in its second. That has
peaked with a three-episode arc that concludes tonight, with sharp
writing and two supurb actresses.

Anna Faris is
Christy, with Allison Janney as her mom Bonnie. Both were pregnant
teens ... as was Christy's daughter; both are recovering alcoholics.
Now Bonnie has regressed, drawing sympathy from some and rage from
Christy. There are spirited clashes from people who share blood and

“The Blacklist,” 8 and 9 p.m., NBC.

With the rest of its
Thursday line-up sagging, NBC keeps seeking ways to double up on
“Blacklist.” It's had “The Real Blacklist” documentaries; now
it will have reruns at 8 p.m. and new hours at 9.

That starts today
with the season-opener, as Red continues to fight Berlin, while
facing someone from his distant past; Mary Louise Parker and Krysten
Ritter guest. Then the new episode finds him fighting for his life;
he needs help from Liz ... and gets help in an unexpected way from
her ex-husband Tom.

ALTERNATIVE: “Parental Guidance” (2012) and “The Comedians,”
8 and 10 p.m., FX.

Here are two
extremes for Billy Crystal: First, a relentlessly adequate movie;
then a comedy eisode that has some sharply clever – and sort of
perverse – moments.

In the film,
Crystal's daughter (Marisa Tomei) hopes he'll be a better grandfather
than he was a father; the sportscaster audition scenes are lame, but
the rest of the film has some gently funny moments. Then Crystal and
Josh Gad play twisted versions of themselves. They're supposed to go
to an awards show ... until medical marijuana intervenes, bringing
some weirdly hilarious moments.

ALTERNATIVE II: “The Red Road,” 10 p.m., Sundance.

Kopus, the giant
ex-con, remains at the center of an emotional swirl. Fellow tribesmen
still think he killed the chief; he didn't, but he stole a fortune
afterward. Now come dangerous confrontations.

And now Jensen, the
honest cop with a troubled family, faces more drama. Two scenes –
one with his daughter, another with Kopus' imprisoned dad – send a
terrific show in new directions.

Other choices

“Grey's Anatomy,”
8 p.m., ABC. Derek rushes into an accident scene to help.

“The Big Bang
Theory,” 8 and 9:31 p.m., CBS. A new episode at 8 is followed by a
rerun, with Sheldon worrying that his too-comfortable life is
stopping him from greatness.

“The Odd Couple,”
8:31 p.m., CBS. Could Felix, the tidy one, really be a better athlete
than Oscar, the shabby sports-talk guy? Tonight, they have their own

“Backstrom,” 9
p.m., Fox. Backstrom disapproves of the man his ex-fiance (Sarah
Chalke) is dating. He also doesn't like Valentine's abuser ... but
now that guy has been killed.

“Scandal,” 9
p.m., ABC. With the public turning harshly against the First Lady,
Cyrus comes to her defense. Also, the team fighting the B613
black-ops agency is in danger and takes harsh action.

“American Crime,”
10 p.m., ABC. Great performances and overwrought plot twists keep
entwining. Tonight opens with an absurd TV interviewer; it finally
gives a mourning mom (Felicity Huffman) some humanity ... but not
until continuing to have her seem just this side of Cruella De Vil.

“Louie,” 10:30,
FX. After an odd-but-interesting prologue, this settles into a story
with Michael Rapaport as an annoying cop who knew Louie long ago.
There's a strong pay-off, but to make the story work, there are long
stretches that are simply ... well, annoying.