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What are your favorite single TV episodes so far in 2017?

What single episodes have stood out to you and blown you away? What TV episodes have really impressed you and left an impression on you?

Instead of saying this has to be a specific number, just go with what you think is the best whether it is 5 or 10 or some other number. As the year continues, you list may change.

For me, I have five so far:

5 - Fargo, Episode 3.8 “Who Rules the Land of Denial?”: Again avoiding spoilers, this episode was beautifully shot and the characters work was striking. The first half of the episode was especially breathtaking.

4 - Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 1.15 “Part 15”: Without spoiling anything, a character dies in this episode and the scene with the character is the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, tear-inducing performance ever committed to film for any medium. The actor and David Lynch created a scene that should become legendary.

3 - Rick and Morty, Episode 3.3 “Pickle Rick”: This episode exemplified everything that makes this show great: Batshit crazy comedy and serious family drama. The drama is weighted with humor but never loses its punch. It had two fight set-pieces that topped anything Game of Thrones did this season. And it had Rick as a pickle.

2 - Legion, Episode 1.1 “Chapter 1”: This is the bar every “superhero” comic book adaptation should strive to reach. It held nothing back. It went for it. And it did it with intelligence and creativity rarely seen on television. It showed you what comic book television could do. And it did it. this is what happens when you let people with vision and the skills to realize it make television series. It puts all other superhero series to shame.

1 - Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 1.8 “Part 8”: This was art. There is no other way to put it. This was an art film with a budget shown on television as part of a series. It felt like it should have been shown in a movie theater. It made you question it and what you were thinking. David Lynch is probably one of the most underrated filmmakers of all time. This episode shows you some of his best work. Not just great television but great art as well.

So what has best the best episodes on television for you?

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Twin Peaks: Episode 8 - Lynch comes the closest anyone’s come to producing Kirby Krackle in live action. Stellar work.

Legion: The Chalk Episode. It had Legion actually conversing with another ID and the delightful chalk segment was brilliant.

Gotham: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies - It is perhaps the culmination of everything people used to say this show would not be able to do, and then excelled at. Jerome and Bruce take on their respective mantles in superbly depicted scenes.

Episodes, Season 5 Episode 1 - It’s cheating, but this is going on this list simply because it’s the first episode of the final season of a fantastic show.

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1 - Legion 1.1 “Chapter 1” Because:

2-8 Legion all the other episodes. Because.

9. Supergirl 2.9 “Supergirl Lives” Because it’s basically just good fun, emotionally satisfying if you care about the characters, and I believe there’s still a place in the world for simple, uncomplicated heroics. This episode tones down the annoying interpersonal melodrama and concentrates on a light-hearted romp that makes the heroes shine (and grow). And that’s enough.

10. Dark Matter 3.4 “All the Time in the World” Because come on, who doesn’t love “help I’m stuck in a time loop” stories???

11. Dark Matter 3.9 “Isn’t That a Paradox?” Channelling Star Trek at its best. Nuff said.

I’m watching very little new television at the moment, so I think my list ends at 4.

Edit: hold on, had a re-think. If I can include two Dark Matter episodes, I can include more than one Legion episode too. List amended accordingly.

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Twin Peaks episode 8 - Probably the best hour of TV ever. And cool stuff happens even when The Nine Inch Nails aren’t on stage.

The Expanse “Home” - This episode was a masterclass in storytelling, managing to make a sequence where two people talk to each other on the radio into an incredibly moving moment.

Sense8 “Isolated above, Connected Below” - Lito’s speech as grand master of Sao Paolo Pride was amazing - empowering, romantic, and emotional. I cried tears of joy. Honorable mention to “What Family Actually Means” for when Nomi’s dad stands up for her and call her his daughter for the first time. And for when Nomi and Amanita propose to each other.

Legion - pretty much the whole thing, but episode 1 and as @Tom_Punk noted, that one with the blackboard stand out.

Silicon Valley “Server Error” - seriously, Action Jack going to notFoxconn and trying to get worker productivity increased with the Conjoined Triangles of Success, leading to a worker’s strike in China? That scene alone was worth it.

Veep “Qatar” - This was one of the most cynical and horrible episodes of Veep and I felt terrible laughing at it. But I laughed. How I laughed.

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Better Call Saul, episode 3.05: “Chicanery”

This is probably the best episode of anything so far this year, for me. Everything that had been building between the McGill brothers in the series so far comes to a head here, and it marks a major turning point for the overall story and for several individual characters. As courtroom dramas go it’s relatively unflashy and straightforward, but it all builds to a brilliant climax where the writers stay one step ahead of the audience at every turn, and the performances elevate the script to something very special.

Game of Thrones, episode 7.04: " The Spoils of War

My favourite episode of the most recent series, I’ll refrain from saying too much about it for spoilery reasons, but I thought it pulled off a great mix of personal drama, intricate plotting, fairly significant developments for the overall story of the show, and big exciting action.

The Handmaid’s Tale, episode 1.03: “Late”

It’s very difficult to pick out a single episode of this series for praise, as the whole thing is structured very much as a single story, and so it’s hard to choose just one chapter as standing above the others. But this is the episode that I found most affecting, mixing some great character work (both for the show’s lead and the supporting cast) with some genuinely shocking developments that didn’t feel at all forced, and which helped to sell the nightmarish quality of the series’ alternate reality better than anything that had come before. It’s rare that I feel speechless and genuinely arrested when an episode of something ends, but I did with this one.

Inside No. 9, episode 3.02: “The Bill” & episode 3.03: “The Riddle of the Sphinx”

OK, it’s maybe a bit of a cheat to pick two episodes instead of just one, but I liked these two equally. Kicking off the third series proper (after the Christmas special that constituted episode one), The Bill is a great little drama that makes the most of the kinds of twists and turns that the show is famous for, builds to a wonderfully unexpected conclusion, and also features an excellent guest cast. The Riddle of the Sphinx is more in the horror mode (and is pretty unflinching in places) but is incredibly creative and clever with its crossword-based story that provides the foundation for a nasty tale peppered with great wordplay and layers of meaning.

The Trip To Spain, episode 1.01: “Txoko”

I haven’t quite finished this series yet (so maybe one of the last few episodes will be even better), but the opener is a great reminder of what makes The Trip work: a mixture of foodie restaurant-reviews, travelogue landscapes and a lot of silly banter (and competitive impressions) between Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, I think I laugh more during this show than anything else on TV. This episode’s Mick Jagger-off was a particular highlight.

Catastrophe, episode 3.02: “Episode Two”

The third season of Catastrophe was a bit of a step down from the brilliant first couple of seasons, but it was still very good. The second episode benefited from having got a lot of the melodrama out of the way in the season opener, leaving this one free to be a lot funnier. I always enjoy the show’s take on modern parenthood (this episode dealt with playground politics) and its unashamed rejection of sugar-coating anything to do with relationships in favour of the honest (and often crude) realities, mixed with a healthy dose of dark humour. Some subsequent episodes of the series fell victim to overwrought melodrama again, but this was a good one.

Doctor Who, episodes 10.11 & 10.12: “World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls”

Two episodes that form one single story, this was Moffat & Capaldi’s Doctor Who going out in style (before the curtain call of this year’s Christmas special). A great sci-fi concept, some understated and disturbing horror elements, several unexpected twists, and the payoff to a lot of great character work this season - this story did pretty much everything right.

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In no particular order of quality - other than the utterly mindblowing Twin Peaks which is top of the list of pretty much any thing I watched this year, big or small screen.

  1. Twin Peaks The Return: Ep 8

Yes, it is as good as everyone says it is.
Lays down a marker for television. One I doubt will ever be matched, because this is simply a bravely unique and uncompromising work of art.

  1. American Gods: S1 Ep 4: Git Gone

A change of pace and an episode that made me care a lot about a character who I previously disliked.
I really liked the Penny Dreadful episodes that showcased Vanessa and I felt this was on a par in quality. I like a show that can flex different muscles and change gears like this.

  1. Blood Drive: S1 E2: Welcome to Pixie Swallow

Funny, sexy, batshit crazy. A travesty that this show is not making waves yet. I love it so much and this was a ridiculously entertaining piece of TV.

  1. Game of Thrones: S7 E7

7 series in and they still do epic, still surprise, still make an absolutely essential show. This episode was a rollercoaster. Massive.

  1. Better Call Saul: Season 3 Ep 5: Chicanery & Ep 10: Lantern

The best characters and acting on tv, paired off with the finest writing. These two episodes filled me with butterflies of tension, brought tears to my eyes, made me think about my relationships with family and made me care deeply not just about the characters I like but also the characters I hate.
This is the tightest show on TV. It’s up there with The Wire. It actually makes other most other shows seem a mess in comparison. Note perfect.

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Now I have to watch Twin Peaks. Do I need to have watched the previous series to start in on the new series?

My top5, one episode from each show:

Black Sails - XXVIII. Endings are hard, but I thought Black Sails handled it’s ending really well. You didn’t know what was going to happen until the last few scenes, and the actors really raised their games (particularly Toby Stephens in the role of his life).

Game of Thrones - Beyond the Wall. I loved the Loot Train battle, but this A Team episode was pure fan service. Silly plot device aside, it delivered everything I wanted this episode to deliver, and as soon as it ended I watched it again. Not the best GIT episode of all time, but in the top 5.

Better Call Saul - Fall. Not Lantern, not Chicanery. The way Jimmy work the old folks and put poor Irene in her spot was just riveting, ruthless TV. Pure Breaking Bad, making something you couldn’t tear your eyes from about a bunch of old ladies turning on one of their own.

Silicon Valley - Terms of Service. I love dhow they transformed Dinesh when he became CEO and the elegant way they made him a complete disaster. This was good Silicon Valley in a season that suggests the show is starting to become thin.

Preacher - PIG. It’s between this and Mumbai Sky Tower. I loved the energy of the Sky Tower episode, it had a breakneck pace and was so stylish and fun. But I think the origin of Herr Starr trumps it as being the best new TV character I’ve seen in years. This season has been slow, but this episode was worth the wait.

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Yeah, outside of the esoteric stuff - most of it is mined from the events of the original show. This is very much a continuation from that. Plus, the movie and the movie’s deleted epilogue.

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You do need to see the original series plus the movie Fire Walk With Me. It can be a real slog at times, especially 2.10 - 2.19. That was when Lynch had left the show.

The great thing about the current 18-episode season is that Lynch directed every episode and cowrote every one with series co-creator Mark Frost. It maintains a specific and singular vision.

The big decider is how you feel about David Lynch and his work. Twin Peaks, especially the current series, is distilled, concentrated Lynch. If you have any reservations whatsoever about him and his work, Twin Peaks may not be for you.

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And you need to keep in mind that Twin Peaks is capital A Art. To paraphrase Kevin Smith (he was talking about Buckaroo Banzai), this show does not care about what you want. It’s coming up to you,saying “this is what I got”, and it doesn’t care what your reaction is. It’s deep, bizarre, and often incomprehensible.

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While Twin Peaks can be playful and downright silly at times, it really assumes a higher level of intelligence from its audience. Things are done and said without traditional Hollywood explanations and dialogue. It assumes you will figure it out on your own. It is not for the faint of heart (or mind).

Should you watch this @Jim, you will be able to see the huge influence it had on the TV series Lost. I truly believe that without Twin Peaks, there never would have been Lost.

The original series was made in 1990 and it was so far ahead of its time that TV is only now catching up to it.

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Yeah to get anything from the new series you’d definitely need to watch the old stuff. The second half of the second season is not very good and not essential to the story. The last episode of the second season when Lynch returned to direct is amazing though. And the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is also required viewing.

I’m in two minds about the new series. It is brilliant in places, hilarious in places and visually stunning, but storywise it is frustrating. It is very “Lynchian”. If you like Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive and/or Inland Empire, you’ll probably enjoy at least parts of the new series. And there is some great music.

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Time to drop a bomb here…but I’ve skipped the music bits since James’ song.

Unless you mean the score…which is brilliant.

I don’t think I’ve seen one episode of any of those shows. For mine I’d say:

  1. The Superbowl. Definitely a lot of fun to watch with a room full of friends and the greatest, most exciting, most dramatic win by the greatest player ever.

  2. Celtics 129, Wizards 119, OT. A legendary performance by Isaiah Thomas, pouring in 52 after a 48-span in which he attended his sister’s funeral and had two oral surgeries. Unreal.

  3. Celtics 111, Cavs 108. They got killed in this series but this was officially the Marcus Smart game, with a killer shot by Avery to clinch it.

  4. Celtics 108, Bulls 97. This was Avery’s real moment. After being disrespected by Jimmy Butler the day before he went out and broke him with laser-like focus.

  5. David Letterman on the Norm MacDonald Show- The two greatest minds in American comedy together. What could be better?

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You should really watch Lissie’s performance of “Wild West.” Great song.

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But how can anything live up to the surprise of James reprising “Just You”?
And I probably will at the end, right now I’m just focused on the plot as it is haha.

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The Super Bowl was the best ‘episode’ of TV this year. Easily. Lots of great NBA games too, even some that didn’t involve the Celtics.

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Not to derail the thread but there were some GREAT games not involving the Celtics. I just couldn’t remember specifically which ones aside from the Cavs-Warriors Christmas game which was obviously 2016.

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Prison Break 5x9 "Behind the Eyes"
Michael finally gets his revenge on Jacob. This whole series was really about Michael Scofield’s genius, but he ended up being known as the guy who tattooed structural plans all over his body to break out of prison. This revival gave him a chance to prove how smart he really is, and I personally found the end result breathtaking.

Emerald City 1x4 “Science and Magic,” 1x9 “The Villain That’s Become,” 1x10 "No Place Like Home"
Tarsem is one of my favorite directors. I think he manages to make real magic again with this reimagining of Oz. These episodes are a few highlights.

Taboo 1x8 "Episode Eight"
The conclusion of this Tom Hardy series features James Delaney proving his Scofieldesque cunning.

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It’s hard for me to think of Twin Peaks: The Return in terms of episodes because it was shot from a single script and then edited into 18 episodes by Lynch and his collaborators. It feels much more like a very long movie than a TV show. But episode 8, aside from the first ten or fifteen minutes (which includes an awesome Nine Inch Nails performance at the Roadhouse), is a self-contained flashback that would work perfectly as a short horror film. It’s one of the finest things David Lynch has ever directed and one of the best hours of TV I’ve ever watched. It outdoes the psychedelic imagery from 2001’s ending (although Lynch’s version is more nightmare than psychedelia) and includes the most striking and horrifying depiction of an atomic bomb blast I’ve ever seen. There are a few things (scenes, characters, ideas) in the show I like better than episode 8, but as an episode, the eighth has so far been the strongest.

Otherwise, I have to agree with Todd about “Pickle Rick” and Dave about “Chicanery,” although Jim’s sort of swaying me towards “Fall.” He’s absolutely right, watching those old ladies slowly turn on Irene is one of the saddest, meanest, yet most gripping things I’ve watched in ages.

After Twin Peaks, Big Little Lies has been my favorite TV show this year. The final episode, “You Get What You Need,” is pure catharsis. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the most cathartic endings to a story ever.

The Leftovers series finale, “The Book of Nora,” is also quite cathartic and beautiful. Lindelof and Perotta should be proud, as should Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux.

Oh, and David Meadows is right on with Legion. Not a weak episode in the bunch. It rewrote the rules of what you can do with a superhero adaptation–really, any kind of action adventure, good vs. evil, genre show.

This has been an exceptionally strong year for TV. Even without the transcendent experience of Twin Peaks it would be impressive. In addition to all the shows I’ve mentioned, there’s been great stuff from Fargo, Master of None, Veep, and Game of Thrones.

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