Best of 2013: Episodes

My Best of 2013 coverage continues with the best episodes of the year (and for even more Best Of fun, be sure to check out Katie’s posts as well). This was the first year that many of the episodes I loved have also ended up on several other year-end lists and I loved being able to experience so much good TV.

Parks and Recreation “Leslie and Ben” Words fail me a little when it comes to talking about this episode, so I’m just going to direct you to Katie’s recap of the episode. This episode is everything I love about the show. Everyone got a great moment, not just Leslie and Ben. They are a family and they love each other and do good things for each other. It was a beautiful, perfect episode. I could not have imagined a better wedding for my favorite couple on TV.

Game of Thrones “Rains of Castamere” The only thing I didn’t like about this episode was the fact that I didn’t get to watch it live. Book readers knew what was coming at the end of the episode and it still managed to be horrifying and shocking. Those who only watch the series got to experience the complete surprise at the ending and it proved to be deeply affecting. I love episodes of TV that make everyone want to talk about it and work through the experience of viewing it together and this episode did just that.

Breaking Bad “‎Ozymandias” It took nearly the entire series but with this episode and one preceding it, I completely understood why Breaking Bad gets the amount of love and devotion as it does. The entire series had been building up to this episode – 60 episodes of build up. Sixty episodes to watch Walter White build his drug empire to finally see his world crash down around him. It was everything that I had wanted to see for so long but it still managed to make me feel badly for Walt despite the fact that I haven’t ever been a big fan of him. It was a brilliant episode and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was remembered of one of the best of the antihero era.

New Girl “Cooler” This is the perfect example of how to get a couple together. Honestly, the episode was good just with the True American scenes because they made me so happy. Then factor in the kiss and the fact that this show was brave enough to go there in its second season and it became one of the most memorable episodes of the year.

The Good Wife “Hitting the Fan” This was a very heavily hyped episode and it lived up to every bit of that hype. The acting was strong, the writing was strong, and it revitalized the series. I loved the little moments of humor throughout the episode and the way David Lee enjoyed every moment of lying to the clients about Alicia. I loved Will and Alicia’s conversation about Grace and their connection beneath the anger. I loved kick-ass Alicia and her victory sex with Peter. Everything about it was perfect and it made me so glad I stuck with the show after nearly quitting during season four.

Hannibal “Pilot” While Hannibal had a number of good episodes in its first season, I chose the pilot as my favorite because it was one of the rare shows that I instantly fell in love with and one of the best pilots of the year. I loved how beautiful the cinematography was and I was instantly intrigued by both Dr. Lecter and Will Graham.

Parenthood “Because You’re My Sister” Season four of Parenthood was a phenomenal season of television. It had all the characteristics of the show but managed to do everything even better. This was the episode that started my Episode of the Week posts. It was one of the most emotionally affecting episodes of TV that I’ve ever seen – I’m pretty sure I cried through at least half of it. The scene with Victor’s adoption was everything this show is about. They are a family and they love and support each other. In that moment, Victor realized that he got way more family than he could have imagined and it was beautiful. There were also happy personal victories for Kristina’s battle with cancer and Amber’s relationship with Ryan and they all added up to a great episode.

Elementary “The Woman”/”Heroine” I thoroughly enjoyed the twist on two classic Sherlock Holmes characters. Overall, Elementary hasn’t drawn from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories in the way that BBC’s Sherlock has. That is part of what made the two parts of the season one finale so good. It brought in elements from the stories but gave them a unique twist, and in doing so, highlighted the relationship between Sherlock and Joan that had been building all season.

Sleepy Hollow “The Sin Eater” Perhaps the highest praise I can give this episode is the statement that I watched it twice in one week which is not something I ever do. I love the crazy mythology of the show but I watch it for Abbie and Ichabod’s relationship. I watch TV for the connection between characters more than the plots and this episode gave me that. The baseball scene was adorable and fun (who can resist Ichabod calling the ref a basketface?) but the real focus was on the bond between Abbie and Ichabod. They were destined to save the world together and they will because of the connection they share. They are each other’s anchor in the crazy world around them and it is truly a joy to watch them. As a bonus, this episode introduced a very interesting new character played by the very talented John Noble.

Masters of Sex “Brave New World” Allison Janney completely made this episode fantastic. Her intake interview with Bill and Gini was heartbreaking and it just kept getting more heartbreaking as it went on. As viewers, we knew the reason for her disappointing sex life but Margaret didn’t. She didn’t know that sex could be more than relief that it was over but she desperately wanted to. We also got to see a truly compassionate Bill, who gently explained why she didn’t qualify for the study without belittling her or making her feel abnormal. In keeping with the theme of woman who wanted something different for their lives, it was also a heartbreaking LIbby episode. To hear her describe her perfect family with her two beautiful children and deceased husband showed how far about she and Bill had drifted. Her desire for children was so strong and his refusal to talk about it with her in any real way or reconnect with her wounded her so deeply that she thought she’d be better off if he were dead. The rest of that plot was admittedly not great, but that scene was devastating.

Honorable Mentions: The Mindy Project “Christmas Party Sex Trap”, Trophy Wife “Twas the Night Before Christmas…Or Twas It?”, Orphan Black “Variations Under Domestication”, Castle “Target”/”Hunt”, Bones “The Woman in White”

8 thoughts on “Best of 2013: Episodes

  1. I just discovered your blog today, and I think this is a great list, though I haven’t seen most of the shows on it — this was such a good year for TV that it was impossible to keep up with everything. I definitely agree with the inclusion of “Ozymandias” and “Hitting the Fan,” probably my two favorite episodes of TV that aired this year. A couple of episodes I would include are the finale of Broadchurch, which was completely devastating, and episode 3.5 of Downton Abbey, which gave the cast some of the best material they’ve had. (I hesitate to say more about them in case you don’t watch those shows.)

  2. I just nodded along as I read because I couldn’t disagree with any of those picks. Particularly Game of Thrones and The Good Wife. They were amazing, game changing episodes. And the more I read, the more I realize I am going to have to just suck it up and buy Masters of Sex.

    That said — my picks include:

    Broadchurch’s pilot – for as powerful and strong as the finale is, you don’t get there in 8 episodes without the strong setting of the story we are about to enter. The unfolding of people discovering Danny’s murder is handled with such deft storytelling you barely feel time passage. I will forever remain astonished at how invested I was in these people before I’d barely had the chance to find out who they are.

    Orphan Black – For as much as I loved Variations, and I did. My favorite episode was 2 later in Entangled Bank. The fact that I never saw the last 5 minutes coming and that Paul rose to become one of my favorite things about the show made this particular hour neck braking in its intensity and pace. I loved every minute of it.

    Castle – Still – I admit it, I am a sucker for a clips show and this was a GREAT clips show. The setting was perfect. The interplay was all the pieces of Kate and Rick that made us adore them. The montage that included Montgomery’s “We speak for the dead” monologue. All of it. I ate it up like candy and I never tire of watching it.

    Downton Abbey – I agree with Natalie, episode 5 is one of the best of the show and most certainly the best of the season.

    Nikita – It was a throwaway show for many, but I adored Nikita and they managed last Friday to wrap a truncated season into a series finale that was smart, well paced, true to the characters I loved and with a twist I never saw coming.

    1. Still was an amazing episode of Castle. It was such a great clip show and a pleasure to watch.

      I’m also very happy to get another recommendation for Nikita. I have a friend who loves it and is pretty sure I’ll like it too so I think I’ll have to watch it in the near future.

      1. Now that I am moving back to only working 1 job one of my priority posts to my own blog is going to be about Nikita. I was a big fan of the USA Network series with Peta Wilson. So when this one came along I was very excited. I’ve got to say, I really loved the show. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because it is a very specific show/appeal. That said, it’s wonderfully produced and did an amazing job of building a core group of relationships that were pretty terrific within this fantastical/hyperdriven plot. It’s also a show you will know you love within the first 5 episodes. I was hooked from jump so the 3 1/2 year run was big fun for me.

  3. I don’t have much to say about your choices because so many of them echo my own, but I suppose that just means we both have great taste. 😉 Also, I don’t watch Elementary (which needs to change, I know), but I know enough about it to know that the finale presented such a great twist on the traditional Sherlock Holmes tale that even someone who doesn’t watch it (aka me) almost included it on her list of great TV moments in 2013!

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