Top 10 TV Episodes of 2013

Photo Credit:

Time to narrow things down a bit further. When writing our Top 10 Shows list we found that even the best shows weren’t the most consistent (besides Breaking Bad). Even so, some episodes are just so eventful and well put together that they can’t be ignored. That’s why we also do an episodes list. Here’s our take on what the best individual entries to our favorite shows of the year were.


Matt’s Take:

Photo Credit: Star Wars: The Clone Wars– “The Wrong Jedi” (Season 5, Episode 20)

If you thought Anakin’s jump from light to dark in Revenge of the Sith was too quick, watch the closing arc of The Clone Wars, which sees his apprentice Ahsoka on trial for murder, forcing her and her master to question the Jedi Order. It culminates in this wonderful series finale in which Ahsoka gives up her life as a Jedi, pushing Anakin further out of sync with his comrades. (Original Air Date: Mar. 2)


Photo Credit: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia– “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award” (Season 9, Episode 3)

Nine seasons in, and this series still knows how to deliver a classic. With It’s Always Sunny hardly an awards darling, the gang visits bars that look strangely like a lot of other comedies you might watch. Bright lighting. A random minority. Even a will-they-won’t-they romance. When the gang tries to replicate it, we get one of the most self-aware commentaries on modern television you’ll ever see. (Original Air Date: Sept. 18)


Photo Credit: Homeland– “The Star” (Season 3, Episode 12)

After one of the most up-and-down seasons of television all year, Homeland delivered a killer season finale, one that almost felt like a series finale. Essentially a reset button for the series, the episode got rid of one of the series’ biggest problems: Brody. It did so while making us care for him again and maintaining at least some realism. Homeland was Homeland again. (Original Air Date: Dec. 15)


Photo Credit: Orange is the New Black– “Fucksgiving” (Season 1, Episode 9)

So many great things happen in the best episode of the Netflix original series. Taystee gets out of prison in the most tear-jerky moment of the season. Red runs into trouble with Mendez. But best of all, Piper is stuck in solitary confinement in a trippy storyline that has her re-evaluating her whole scenario. (Original Air Date: Jul. 11)


Photo Credit: Girls– “One Man’s Trash” (Season 2, Episode 5)

For a show so centered on being “real”, this episode feels like Hannah’s fantasy. She’s met a good looking older man, who happens to be a doctor and owns a brownstone. Hannah gets a taste of what an ordinary, traditional life can feel like. She realizes that despite all her adventures as a writer trying to “feel it all”, she simply wants to be happy. It’s a deep lesson, and the most fascinating idea in all of Girls‘ second season. (Original Air Date: Feb. 10)


Photo Credit: 30 Rock– “Hogcock/Last Lunch” (Season 7, Episode 12)

As far as series finales go, this one is sure to be a classic for decades to come. Seeing Liz, Jack, Tracy, Jenna, and all the others off in style, this two-part finale was funny and poignant, a perfect sendoff to a show that always struggled with ratings, but never with pleasing its devoted fanbase. From Jack’s short-lived boat trip to Kenneth’s immortality, this finale hit every note just right. (Original Air Date: Jan. 31)


Photo Credit: Mad Men– “The Flood” (Season 6, Episode 5)

Season six of the beloved drama took on perhaps the most eventful year of the 1960s, 1968. This episode, in particular, dealt with the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination. It culminated in one of the best scenes of the whole series. Don take his son to see Planet of the Apes, which he reacts to as we all did (“Jesus…”), but then he asks a black usher if he had seen the movie, explaining that “Everyone likes to go to the movies when they’re sad”. Don later cries to Megan, admitting that’s the first time he ever truly felt love for his son. Complicated, dark, and beautiful, this episode was Mad Men at its best. (Original Air Date: Apr. 28)


Photo Credit: Game of Thrones– “The Rains of Castamere” (Season 3, Episode 9)

The Red Wedding, quite possibly the most talked about event on TV in 2013. But the whole episode is really excellent even beforehand, especially with how close Bran and Jon Snow come to crossing paths. But the infamous massacre of course takes the cake. Robb and Catelyn never saw it coming and nether did those fans who haven’t read the books. The North remembers. (Original Air Date: Jun. 2)


Photo Credit: The Legend of Korra– “Beginnings” (Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8)

Want to see fantasy world-building at its finest? Look no further than the origin story of the Avatar that breaks up the first and second half of Korra‘s second book. We meet the first Avatar, Wan, an Aladdin-esque hero prepared to take on the world. We learn of how bending came to the human race. It’s an exciting, funny episode that is believable to the world built around it. But what raises it even higher is the new lore it establishes. (Original Air Date: Oct. 18)


Photo Credit: Breaking Bad– “Ozymandias” (Season 5, Episode 14)

The outstanding series finale would come two episodes later, but the episode that the whole series had really been building to was this one. After a flashback to the early days of Walt and Jesse’s cooks, we are thrown right into the action with Hank getting brutally murdered. Walt screws over Jesse before going home only for Skyler to kick him out at knife point. It’s an epic, haunting episode. There was nothing else like it on TV this year. (Original Air Date: Sept. 15)



Mike’s Take:

Photo Credit: Brooklyn Nine-Nine– “The Vulture” (Season 1, Episode 5)

The detectives of Brooklyn’s 99th precinct are hot on the trail of a juicy murder case…and they may still be buzzed from happy hour. This episode is full of snappy dialogue and features Dean Winters as the “Vulture” in question, but the real treat is watching the cast wonderfully play off each other. Whether they’re discussing first arrests or tipsily relaying murder information, it’s all done with hilarious synchronicity. (Original Air Date: Oct. 15)



Scandal is at its best when several plots progress simultaneously, and there were about a thousand things in motion in this episode. While Pope & Associates try to jumpstart Josie Marcus’ (guest star Lisa Kudrow) presidential campaign, Mellie and Cyrus scheme and counter-scheme, and Fitz and Jake try to take down B6-13.  It’s a whirlwind of diplomatic intrigue, but the finest moment arrives with Marcus’ impassioned rant about female politicians on national television. (Original Air Date: Nov. 7)


Photo Credit: 30 Rock– “Hogcock/Last Lunch” (Season 7, Episodes 12 and 13)

It’s still hard for me to believe that Tina Fey’s ingenious, screwball comedy is off the air. The show played itself out to triumphant fanfare with its final season, culminating in this excellent pair of episodes. Both “Hogcock” and “Last Lunch” worked to wrap up some series-long jokes—Jenna’s affair with Mickey Rourke! Kenneth’s immortality!—while giving heartwarming goodbyes to these indelible characters.  To borrow a phrase from the Fey-penned Mean Girls, it was totally Grool. (Original Air Date: Jan. 31)


Photo Credit: Masters of Sex– “Brave New World” (Season 1, Episode 6)

This episode marks the start of a major upswing in Masters of Sex’s first season, proving that the show can handle both interesting plot direction and intricate character development. Masters and Libby’s vacation gives great insight into their marriage, while Virginia breaks ground on a new area of the study. Of course, the best part is the steamy ending scene where Masters and Virginia become closer than ever before. A normal office romance, this is not. (Original Air Date: Nov. 3)


Photo Credit: Homeland– “The Star” (Season 3, Episode 12)

To say that Homeland’s third season was “rocky” would be an understatement. The show vigorously tried to distance itself from its season 2 woes to varying degrees of success. Yet, in its final moments of the year, the Emmy-winning spy drama was a phoenix rising from the ashes. By making the smart choice of killing off one of its central characters, the show finally put a tired plotline to bed. Now, it can start completely anew. (Original Air Date: Dec. 15)


Photo Credit: Game of Thrones– “The Rains of Castamere” (Seaon 3, Episode 9)

If, like me, you didn’t read George R. R. Martin’s novels before watching this series, you were taken completely by surprise by the events of The Red Wedding. The episode does some interesting things involving Bran and Jon Snow, but there’s really only one reason it was talked about on social media for weeks after it aired. The bloodbath at Tully’s wedding is shocking, brutal, and totally unrelenting. It’s also groundbreaking because, unlike in other series, no one in the Thrones universe is safe. (Original Air Date: Jun. 2)


Photo Credit: The Legend of Korra– “Beginnings” (Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8)

Ever wonder how the first Avatar came to be? This two-part episode effectively expands the show’s fascinating mythology, taking us back to a time before bending even existed. Aside from the gorgeously hand-painted scenery, we get an enthralling origin story about Wan, the first man to ever harness the power of all four elements. Wan is a spunky hero worth rooting for, and his insertion into the battle between the light and dark spirits is one of the best things this series has ever done. (Original Air Date: Oct. 18)


Photo Credit: Orphan Black– “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” (Season 1, Episode 10)

It’s weird to say that Allison—who is easily my favorite clone—watching her neighbor choke to death is not the most exciting thing about Orphan Black’s season finale. Between Helena’s murder, Kira’s kidnapping, and Cosima making an ill-advised deal with Dr. Leekie, this episode is bursting with nonstop action. With each of the characters put in very fragile states, and Tatiana Maslany giving her most emotionally florid performance yet, we’re left to ponder over the endless thrills that await us in season 2. (Original Air Date: Jun. 1)


Photo Credit: Breaking Bad– “Ozymandius” (Season 5, Episode 14)

If you ever want a lesson in true, spine-curdling panic, look no further than the third-to-last episode of Breaking Bad. Things move quickly right out of the gate with Hank’s death, and then escalate into the most intense scene to ever take place at White’s house. The strength of this episode is a testament how well Vince Gilligan and Co. have built up these characters. Once it starts, you’ll be unable to peel your eyes from the screen. (Original Air Date: Sept. 15)


Photo Credit: Orange is the New Black– “Can’t Fix Crazy” (Season 1, Episode 13)

It’s fitting that the season finale of Orange is also a holiday episode, as it allows us see how this diverse group of characters has progressed. The Christmas pageant, though excellently played for laughs, worked well to showcase the community that these inmates have created for themselves. Piper, meanwhile, struggles with the weight of her often misguided decisions. For those who haven’t seen the ending, I’ll just say this: it’s a total knockout. (Original Air Date: Jul. 11)


What were your favorite episodes of the year? Let us know below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *