2010 Primies: Best Episodes

By on Jan 23, 2011 in The Primies |

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It’s often hard to remember all of the television I watch every year, but some episodes make themselves impossible to forget. The following hours or half-hours of television were exemplary in some way, whether it was for the writing or the direction of the episode; for the way they ended seasons or, in some cases, entire series; for their plots or subplots; for the emotional toll they took on the viewer; for the way they broke the mold and parted with tradition; or sometimes for just one scene or performance in particular.

  1. Lost “The End” (Parts 1 & 2)
    … for providing an unexpected, moving, and controversial finale sure to keep fans talking, dissecting, and criticizing for years to come.
  2. Grey’s Anatomy “Sanctuary/Death and All His Friends”
    … for the tensest, most emotionally-draining two hours of television this year.
  3. Breaking Bad “Half Measures”
    … for the brutal, game-changing last thirty seconds alone.
  4. Mad Men “The Suitcase”
    … for the most finely-written “bottle episode” I’ve ever seen.
  5. Lost “The Candidate”
    … for being the first television episode to actually elicit tears.
  6. 24 “Day 8: 2:00 PM-3:00 PM/Day 8: 3:00 PM-4:00 PM”
    … for finally letting Jack Bauer run off into the sunset (even if he is doing so under duress) after a tender moment with Chloe
  7. Fringe “Over There” (Parts 1 & 2)
    … for smashing the two snowglobes—the two universes—together, and in so doing, kick-starting a powerful season to come.
  8. The Buried Life “Make a Million Dollars” (Parts 1 & 2)
    … for the guys’ dogged persistence and cheerful optimism in the face of their most challenging task yet.
  9. Glee “The Substitute”
    … for Gwyneth Paltrow’s bravura performance as the goofy Holly Holliday.
  10. Dollhouse “Epitaph Two”
    … for providing an epic, post-apocalyptic finale, while still being a love letter to the fans jilted by the show’s cancellation.
  11. Private Practice “Did You Hear What Happened to Charlotte King”
    … for not dwelling on the rape so much as the physical and psychological aftereffects.
  12. Breaking Bad “Full Measure”
    … for ending another stellar season with more narrative propulsion than any other third-season finale
  13. Modern Family “Family Portrait”
    … for the scene of Mitchell attacking the pigeon in slow-motion to the sound of Cam’s rendition of “Ave Maria.”
  14. Mad Men “Public Relations”
    … for showing the chinks in Don’s well-groomed armor that will lead to his season-long descent.
  15. Community “Modern Warfare”
    … for making a paintball game into a riotous send-up of action movies and for letting Jeff and Britta act on—and purge—their romantic tension.
  16. The Walking Dead “Wildfire”
    … for the horrific aftermath of the zombie incursion on the camp and for the survivors’ foray into the wilds of downtown Atlanta.
  17. So You Think You Can Dance “Meet the Top 11”
    … for the humility of Kent Boyd’s impassioned speech and for the jubilation of the finalists and their family upon hearing the good news.
  18. Justified “Blind Spot”
    … for Raylan’s chickens coming home to roost in regards to his relationship with Ava, for his intensifying verbal sparring with Boyd, and for the introduction of the Crowder patriarch, Bo.
  19. Damages “The Next One’s Going In Your Throat”
    … for efficiently connecting all the dots laid out in the third season in a devastating and thrilling finale.
  20. The Good Wife “Hi”
    … for the triumphant scene in which Daniel and Kalinda cleverly win Peter a retrial.

Honorable mentions: Parks and Recreation “Telethon”; The Good Wife “Running”; Modern Family “Fears”; Glee “Grilled Cheesus”; Cougar Town “When the Time Comes”; Fringe “Entrada”; Top Chef “History Never Repeats”; The Office “Andy’s Play”; Lost “LA X”; Breaking Bad “Sunset”; Justified “Bulletville”; Breaking Bad “One Minute”; Grey’s Anatomy “These Arms of Mine”; Modern Family “Strangers on a Treadmill”; Modern Family “Starry Night”; The Buried Life “Get Married in Vegas”; 30 Rock “When It Rains, It Pours”; Glee “Furt”