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The Top 15 Television Episodes of 2017

3 Jan

15. Mr. Robot, “eps3.5_kill-pr0cess.inc”

14. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “I Never Want to See Josh Again”

13. Veep, “Blurb”

12. Twin Peaks: The Return, “Part 17” – “Part 8” is getting all the attention, but I don’t think there’s a better episode in The Return than “Part 17”. It’s the real conclusion of the season, with the various storylines converging in one intense, fascinating, and thoroughly Lynch-ian climax.

11. 13 Reasons Why, “Tape 7, Side A” – Excise the awful setup for the unnecessary season two, and you have one of the most gut-wrenching episodes of television in 2017. Absolutely horrifying and almost paralyzing to watch, and impactful like few other things.

10. Master of None, “Thanksgiving” – Written by Lena Waithe, this wonderful episode beautifully chronicles a coming out story across several Thanksgiving dinners.

9. The Handmaid’s Tale, “Late” – A harrowing performance by Alexis Bledel and a brutal hour of television.

8. Bojack Horseman, “Time’s Arrow” – Yet another penultimate episode that helps solidify the show as both inventive and deeply human. It tackles dementia in an honest yet unflinching manner, providing clarity as it marches through time. The final moments are marked by kindness, heartbreak, and an embrace of the show’s rich characters and history.

7. Better Things, “Eulogy” – Has a structure that sounds interesting but has the potential to fail on screen. Thankfully, it goes above and beyond, reaching emotional heights through an exploration of family.

6. Black Mirror, “Hang the DJ” – Far and away the best episode of the new season, and one of the best episodes of the series. Georgina Campbell and Joe Cole are so, so good, and a unique concept provides fertile ground for an examination of relationships. But the driving force is its beating heart, paving the way for one hell of an ending.

5. Halt and Catch Fire, “Goodwill” – “I lost a really good friend, and I don’t have many of those to spare.” A masterful portrayal of grief, and that’s all that really needs to be said.

4. The Leftovers, “Certified” – Brenneman takes the spotlight here in a gorgeous but heavy episode. There’s a scene atop a hill that’s among the very best scenes of the show.

3. Nathan For You, “Finding Frances” – A life-affirming documentary that turns the series in on itself, its introspective nature serving to enrich not only the comedy, but also the flashes of humanity that endure long after the camera is turned off.

2. Better Call Saul, “Chicanery” – Goddamn, this is a new height reached for the series and is truly television drama at its finest. It ends with a sequence so nail-biting and so well shot and acted that you’re left marveling at the sheer creative talent on display.

1. Review, “Cryogenics, Lightning, Not Reviewing” – The third year in a row that my top episode of the year is from a comedy, but this final episode could not be further from a comedy. It pulls off the darkest and most brilliant twist of the year, one befitting the series in as perfect a manner as one could ever hope for. A masterpiece of an episode and one of the greatest series finales of all time.

Honorable Mentions: “The Spoils of War” (Game of Thrones), “Marionettes” (The Crown), “Dyatkovo” (The Americans), “Michael’s Gambit” (The Good Place), “Au Reservoir” (The Deuce)

Others Considered: “To Right the Wrongs of Many” (Orphan Black), “So Then a Bat or a Monkey” (Santa Clarita Diet), “Rest and Ricklaxation” (Rick and Morty), “Episode 2” (Mindhunter), “If All the World’s a Stage, Identity is Nothing but a Costume” (Sense8), “Chapter 2” (Dear White People), “Chapter 8” (Stranger Things), “Terms of Service” (Silicon Valley), “American Bitch” (Girls), “A Disturbance in the Kitchen” (Curb Your Enthusiasm), “Family” (The Girlfriend Experience), “The Toll” (Ozark), “You Get What You Need” (Big Little Lies), “Hero or Hate Crime” (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), “A Day” (Love), “Part 30” (Bloodline), “Aporia” (Fargo), “Episode 10” (The Young Pope), “Like People” (You’re the Worst)

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One Response to “The Top 15 Television Episodes of 2017”

  1. Matthew Thompson January 13, 2018 at 7:38 pm #

    I think it’d be “Michael’s Gambit” or “Chicanery” at the top for me. Your inclusion of 13 Reasons Why on these lists makes me want to give it a try. Every time I’d hear praise and want to try it, I’d hear from someone who didn’t like it and talk myself out of watching it… haha. I never ended up getting around to it. I caught a couple of old Review repeats on late one night and it was hysterical. That is another one I’d like to check out from the beginning. Nothing on TV I watch is really like that show.

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