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ABC Thursday Dramas Return, Saving the Best for Last

The last of the broadcast networks to do so, ABC last night fielded a lineup with all-new episodes of its Thursday night series. There was a birthday gone awry on Ugly Betty, a contest spun out of control on Grey’s Anatomy, and a whirlwind of jaw-dropping activity on Lost.

The best was saved for last. Grey’s had an interesting medical subplot, and Betty some sweet moments, but Lost just never let up for a second.

With Lost last night, we got to see how dangerous Ben, in a flash-forward, really is. On the island, in the series’ “present” timeline, we also saw his daughter be killed ruthlessly, and a hail of gunfire and explosions, and – out of nowhere – another appearance by the killer black cloud. A new symbolic name was dropped (Moriarty, the nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, used by Ben as an alias), as was a stunning connection: Charles Widmore, the string-pulling villain of the whole series, has a daughter named Penelope, whom Ben vows to kill to revenge his own daughter’s death. Presumably, that’s Desmond’s Penny, setting up a major confrontation in this show’s future future.

Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy were nice to have back, but hardly compared. Parts of Grey’s were as cartoonish and unbelievable as that show can get (complete with slapstick pratfalls), and Betty went out of its way to stretch out the obvious: That Betty has a charming new beau on the scene, and it isn’t Henry.

Promos for next week’s shows, for both series, looked much more promising: Addison (Kate Walsh) returns from Private Practice to pop in for a visit on Grey’s, and Betty develops a juicy plotline in which Renee, Wilhelmina’s sister and Daniel’s new girlfriend, goes psychotic after Wilhelmina switches her meds.

As for next week’s Lost? I don’t need promos to convince or lure me. I’m there… and I’m glad, once again, Lost is there, too.