After two episodes to start the season that were, upon reflection, mostly duds, this season of Saturday Night Live has locked into a really good groove. New castmembers and writers have had a chance to show off their stuff, and while some of the bloated 21-person cast has been hard to find (Kate McKinnon's still MIA, Melissa Villaseñor remains woefully underused), many of the cast veterans have really shined. We got the third good SNL episode in a row this weekend with host Kieran Culkin and musical guest Ed Sheeran, and it contained the best cold open of the season, one of the funniest sketches of the season, and one of the best Weekend Update guests of recent years.

Let's start by singing the praises of Cecily Strong, who was a major part of all three of those sketches and who has been nothing less than a superstar this season. We already knew she was a versatile comedian—as good at playing the straight man as she is at nailing impressions of unhinged people—but she did something even more challenging with her remarkable Weekend Update character Goober the Clown on Abortion. It was brave, vulnerable, and hilarious all at once, utterly genuine and devoid of bullshit. I'm glad SNL didn't disable the comments for this one, because she deserves all the praise she's getting there.

In the Aaron Rodgers Trump Cold Open, Strong once again broke out her pitch perfect Jeanine Pirro impression. It's rare for impression to be upstaged, but SNL finally unleashed James Austin Johnson's much-admired Trump impression, and it did not disappoint. On the one hand, I'd be happy to not have any more Trump content on the show, especially while he's mostly out of the public eye—but if we must have it once in a while, at least Johnson's impression is so withering and uncanny.

Overall, Culkin was a totally fine if slightly forgettable host—he rarely got to tap into the unique energy (and uncomfortable comedy) he brings to Succession, with only a handful of sketches allowing him to step out of the straight man role. However, he served as the perfect anchor to my favorite sketch of the night, Cancelling Cable, which took an extremely relatable premise (companies like Spectrum really do make it that difficult to cancel your cable) and blew it out to absurd proportions. The pacing of this sketch is what really makes it work so well, but everyone contributes something great, especially Strong's hold messages, Heidi Gardner losing it, and everything Bowen Yang does.

Another sketch I think really worked was Men’s Room, which was all about the stilted social dynamics of a men's bathroom featuring Culkin, Chris Redd, Bowen Yang, Andrew Dismukes, Alex Moffat, and as a totally random surprise at the end, Tracy Morgan. (Note: Morgan was apparently there because he was part of a "Black Succession" sketch which was cut for time, and unfortunately isn't available online.)

Before this season, I did not expect SNL to get in on the '90s ska-punk revival with a song about a dude who rides horses like they're skateboards, but that is what we got with The Jockey. Your mileage may vary depending on your threshold for the genre, but it's a pretty fun bit of absurdity, bringing to mind last season's (much more sincere) "Tiny Horse."

The latest edition of Dionne Warwick Talk Show wasn't necessarily the funniest version of it, but it was almost certainly the sweetest: Ego Nwodim always kills it as Warwick, but seeing her joined by the real life Warwick to sing "What The World Needs Now Is Love" was pure sugar. (The less said about Ed Sheeran's charisma-less appearance, the better.)

The new writer's team of Please Don’t Destroy got another solid, lowkey pre-taped segment on this week with Please Don’t Destroy - Calling Angie, in which John's attempt to reconcile with his girlfriend goes off the rails quickly.

Check out the rest of the sketches of the night below: Culkin seemed a little nervous but very excited to be hosting SNL during his Monologue; he got to play it a little wackier during an emergency in Weatherman; and Chris Redd stole the show in the heist movie parody Car Heist.

Besides Cecily Strong, there was only one other guest on Weekend Update: Kenan Thompson played Ice Cube, going through a "gangster lumberjack phase," in Ice Cube on Refusing the COVID-19 Vaccine. There was also a cut-for-time Update guest, A Guy Named Brandon on “Let’s Go Brandon,” which is a must-see clip for all you Kyle Mooney fans out there.

My nemesis Ed Sheeran performed some new "music":

Next weekend, Lovecraft Country and Loki star Jonathan Majors makes his hosting debut with musical guest Taylor Swift.