Part 3 of the best in television this year included masterful episodes from some equally extraordinary television shows–favorites from “Fargo”, “Game of Thrones”, “The Leftovers” and more! Here are the final five and my five favorite television episodes of 2015:
- “Lost Horizon” (Mad Men)
- “Testimony” (Veep)
- “Mama’s Here Now” (How to Get Away with Murder)
- “Looking for Home” (Looking)
- “She’s Leaving Home” (Grey’s Anatomy)
- “Indians on TV” (Master of None)
- “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?” (The Americans)
- “Run” (Scandal)
- “Dog-Whistle Politics” (Scandal)
- “You Got Served” (Scandal)
- “The Wrath of the Lamb” (Hannibal)
- “Kina Hora” (Transparent)
- “The Book of Life” (Transparent)
- “There is Not Currently a Problem” (You’re the Worst)
- “LCD Soundsystem” (You’re the Worst)
- “April 5, 2015” (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)
What were your favorite episodes of television in past year? Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a comment!
5. “Looking for a Plot” (Looking)
The one where Lauren Weedman really gets to shine. It’s a shame that Looking is a show that has largely gone unlooked because its second season is some of the year’s best television. The best episode follows characters Doris, Dom and Patrick as they venture off to central California, Modesto to see Doris’s passed father off to the grave. The story hits the expected scenes one might anticipate with a plot like this, but it does so in a way that only feels the need to service its characters and their history. The episode is bottled catharsis, occupied by lovely tonal shifts and characters attempting to make peace with their tumultuous pasts.
4. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Scandal)
The reality of a tormented relationship is that it is just what it is: tormented. Scandal has moved past indulgent OMG-moments and is now more focused on exploring what this new world of Olivia Pope and President Fitzgerald Grant means for the entire cast of characters. The most interesting development, one that should have been immediately apparent, are the various punishments both characters continue to deal each other for past and present sins. The show’s feminist themes are highlighted in this episode more than ever (thanks to Mellie) and there a compelling confrontations (Huck and Papa Pope). This episode even gets to the root of the issue: Olivia doesn’t really know Fitz in his totality and it is causing her to feel trapped and small. The power shift in their relationship finally topples and even beyond an abortion, Oliva finds herself compelled by more than the necessary sacrifices one has to make for the Republic. Something about it all feels final and brutal. And yet somehow freeing.
3. “Election Night” (Veep)
In which Selina Meyer loses like a winner…or wins like a loser? It’s unclear, but what is certain is that the season four finale is perhaps the show’s best episode yet. Its culmination earns its raised stakes after a season hugely dedicated to character-based comedy and creativity. The entire cast is top-notch and everyone is given some sort of clear relevance during this momentous election. Its execution is brilliant and even at times nail-biting as much as it is laugh-out-loud hilarious, which truly compelling character beats. There are even brief moments of warmth, emotion hope amongst the oft repugnant political vitriol and exploitation. Even if Meyer loses, this episode is a triumphant winner.
2. “Time & Life” (Mad Men)
The eleventh episode of this AMC drama’s final season finally felt like the end of the world was coming or had already arrived and our characters had been carelessly informed at the very last moment. There is little room to wiggle out of this trap, even as Don Draper attempts to do what he does best in rallying the team together for a much-needed save-the-day extravaganza a la the badass heroics from “Shut the Door. Have a Seat”. However, it is all for naught. Their fates are sealed. After an already pressing number of permutation, this one finally beats them to their death. There are casualties, which Don and company try to salvage, but for what? Jim Hobart, the one who swallows SCDP up insists, “Stop struggling. You won.” But in all corners there are struggles, from Pete Campbell’s lament of “The king ordered it!” to Peggy’s self-confrontations about her estranged child. Their legacies are coming to an end.
1. “Man on the Land” (Transparent)
This is a show largely seen through the female gaze. Throughout its second season, Transparent made it a point to look into the rituals and history of Pfefferman clan, from religion to sexuality—attempting to find meaning and provide a pivotal framework that might give us explanations of why these people are the way they are. When Ali brings her sister, Sarah and “moppa”, Maura to the Idyllwild festival (a safe space created by women, for women) there is a ruminative and deeply poetic unraveling of season-long tensions, crafted in esteem, parody, and a healthy dose of passionate analysis/criticism. There is something a bit sour about this place of sisterhood—a necessary place in some cases, but one that, as we find out, leans on a limiting idea that excludes people like Maura: women born women only, meaning no transgender women. This forms a debate about a complicated feminist issue that also takes a startling look at a moment in the Pfefferman family past. What do these rituals and labeling ideologies impart in us even in our supposed safe spaces? Finding a satisfactory answer to such a big question is as rare as whole acceptance.