The 10 Best TV Episodes of 2017
The 10 Best TV Episodes of 2017
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
There were a ton of great TV shows in 2017, but it takes something special to be a great individual episode. Whether featuring a standout scene, a brilliant performance or a wildly inventive way of telling a story, 2017 had plenty of memorable episodes.

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Here's a look back at 10 of my favorite episodes of the year, including musicals, crossovers, epic battles, impressive technique, topical conversations and gut-wrenching emotion.

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#10 "The Spoils of War," Game of Thrones

The final sequence of this episode, the Battle of the Goldroad, is simply the finest battle in the show's history. The Dothraki charged the Lannister army, but the game-changer was when Daenerys rode in on her dragon and utterly destroys the wagon train with fire. Bronn's use of the Scorpion to take down a dragon was a bad-ass confrontation and the entire scene was expertly choreographed and filmed, so much so that I'm willing to overlook the lame "Is Jaime dead?" cliffhanger.

#9 "Memphis," This Is Us

The emotional power of Randall and William's road trip, filled with flashbacks and culminating in William's death, was a tour de force for Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones and one of the show's many tear-inducing episodes.

#8 "Duet," The Flash

I'm a sucker for the CW's superhero crossovers (as you'll see later on this list) and musical episodes, so this was a double hit. Kara and Barry teamed up, both trapped in a magical dream world that became a musical. The singing and self-referential jokes were inspired and the message of love was great for The Flash and Supergirl. The pair of original songs, the cleverly silly "Super Friends" and the powerful, emotional "Runnin' Home to You," became instant classics.

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#7 "eps3.4_runtime-error.r00," Mr. Robot

Elliot being fired as Stage 2 of the terrorist plot was started and protestors broke into E Corp and destroyed the building was more than enough for a great episode. But the decision to tell the entire story Birdman-style, in what looked like one never-ending take, helped to mirror the claustrophobic waking nightmare that Elliot was trapped in. It was a stylistic achievement of absolute perfection.  

#6 "Lemons," Black-ish

No TV show did a better job at dramatizing the cultural reaction to Donald Trump's election than ABC's hit comedy. Through the standard hilarity, the show looked at the depression and anger felt by so many in the aftermath of Hillary's lost. Watching Dre's co-workers lose their minds when they learn that one of their own, a white woman no less, voted for Trump was great, as was Dre's closing speech about how he loves America, even when it feels like the country doesn't love him back.

#5 "Chicanery," Better Call Saul

The feud between Jimmy and his brother reached a critical point in this well-acted, tensely-written hour. The centerpiece was the courtroom scene, when Jimmy was forced to discredit his brother on the stand. The way he did it was masterful as was Michael McKean's performance as Chuck.

#4 "The Ricklantis Mixup," Rick and Morty

Adult Swim's animated series did something different with this episode that revealed several vignettes from the Citadel, a society comprised entirely of Ricks and Mortys from the multiverse. Parodies of Training Day and Stand by Me joined a disgruntled employee and a presidential election, all leading to s shocking twist and the return of Evil Morty. The show's compelling mythology and bleak look at society was both earnest and hilarious. Adding to this impressive episode is the fact that, aside from a commercial narrator and one line for a young Beth, the show's co-creator Justin Roiland did all of the voiceover work as every version of both Rick and Morty.

#3 "Crisis on Earth-X," Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Technically this was four episodes, but they all served as one giant TV movie. The heroes from four different shows joined forces for a singular story as they fought their evil doppelgangers from a Nazi-ruled Earth X. Characters from all of the shows got to shine, with two weddings, a sad funeral, a steamy hook-up and a whole lot of entertaining team-ups between the shows (when else can you see the Legends and Team Arrow fight Metallo?). On top of the sheer enjoyment of seeing everyone come together, the action sequences (especially that wedding fight) were exceptional.

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#2 "Thanksgiving," Master of None

A deserving Emmy winner for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, this episode of Netflix's Aziz Ansari comedy explored Dev's friendship with Denise over the years, all set around the same titular holiday. Denise's journey of coming out to her mother was both touching and hilarious.

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#1 "Number One," This Is Us

This Is Us dedicated an entire episode to Kevin, and it turned into the show's most emotional hour. Juxtaposing his high school football injury and his present-day downward spiral at a homecoming tribute to the local star turned actor, this hour was spot-on with Justin Hartley's performance that revealed Kevin's inner pain and no one's ability to see it. The hour was emotionally exhausting, and then the show doubled down on the tragedy with the revelation of Kate's miscarriage at the very end. I defy you not to cry when a drug-addled Kevin starts seeing his dead father giving a speech honoring his son.

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(Image courtesy of NBC, Videos courtesy of ABC, Adult Swim, AMC, the CW, HBO, NBC, Netflix and USA)