On Twitter: @JamesEppler
"Family Guy" returned from a week off with its first new episode since killing off Brian. Any hope fans might have had of Brian coming back from the dead were squashed pretty quickly as the new dog, Vinny, took his place in the opening title song.
Although, it doesn't appear that actor Tony Sirico (the voice of Vinny) was asked to record the opening song - we don't hear him singing. Vinny also wasn't used much in the episode, and for now, it appears this is a pretty thinly-written one-joke character.
I've never been convinced that Brian is dead. It's felt like a stunt from the get-go.
And now there's something else.
At the end of Sunday night's episode, we watched Peter shoot himself in the head.
Now, it's unclear whether this was a gag or whether the death was meant to be taken literally, as with Brian's demise a couple weeks ago when he was run over by a car.
And in a way, that's the problem with the decision to kill Brian in the first place. It's such an odd departure.
"Family Guy" has never really taken death seriously - we've seen characters "killed" multiple times. I'm remembering an episode where Peter shot himself in the head while teaching Chris the art of stamp collecting. And of course, there are all the episodes featuring Death himself.
What's most entertaining about all of this - and, I promise, the reason the writers did it - is the outcry online. There are petitions circulating to bring back Brian, and after Peter shot himself last night, Twitter was flooded with fans wondering whether "Family Guy" is killing off characters one by one.
I have no doubt Brian will be back, just like I'm positive Peter will be back next week. (Just read the episode summary on the TV listings). In fact, there are rumors Brian will make his return by the end of the month, although it's not known under what circumstances.
Should he be wearing an orange parka?