First of all, we couldn’t not mention an episode in which a guy plans an escalator proposal to his girlfriend only to fall through the steps and get chewed up in the machinery. It was a bonkers moment — even for a show that featured a woman strangled by her own snake and a baby flushed down a toilet in its series premiere.
Black-ish, “Dream Home”
Black-ish tackles its dramatic moments better than most comedies, and the fourth season finale offered a satisfying payoff to the surmounting strife between Andre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), two characters who had long gone through the motions of their marriage, focusing more on their kids instead of working on their relationship. After struggling with their co-parenting arrangement, Dre and Bow finally reconciled, and not because it was easier to do so — to the contrary. But, as both spouses realized, the work is worth it.
Killing Eve, “Nice Face”
If veteran Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh wanted to wait for the perfect reintroduction to TV, she certainly found it with this series premiere, playing a middle-level MI5 investigator fixated with a psychopathic serial killer (Jodie Comer). With a crackling script, gorgeous cinematography, and a killer soundtrack, this episode vaulted Killing Eve to the must-watch list of many critics.
We’re not feeling as much Coachella FOMO after seeing Issa (Issa Rae) and her pals’ experiences at the star-studded California music festival. All they wanted was to see Beyoncé’s performance, and instead they had to contend with bad MDMA trips, broken Ferris wheels, and taser-happy security guards.
RuPaul’s Drag Race, “Grand Finale”
To paraphrase Tyra Banks, I was rooting for you, Asia O’Hara!We were all rooting for you! How dare you?! Learn something from this! Asia’s charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent made her a fan fave and poised her as a real contender for the Season 10 crown. But during her finale lip sync, her butterflies fell limp to the floor… as did our hopes. Here’s hoping she makes an All-Stars comeback.
Nashville, “Beyond the Sunset”
What’s better than having former headliner Connie Britton cameo in Nashville’s series finale? Breaking the fourth wall in the final minutes of the episode so that dozens of Nashville writers, producers, crew members, and stars — past and present — could reunite on screen for one last performance of “A Life That’s Good.”
Pose, “Love Is the Message”
One of the best episodes in the debut season of a groundbreaking drama, this installment was directed and co-written by trans activist and Redefining Realness author Janet Mock. Among all the other heart-rending moments, one highlight is the cabaret show that ball emcee Pray Tell (Billy Porter) throws in the hospital where the love of his life is dying of AIDS complications.
This Is Us, “A Philadelphia Story”
Randall (Sterling K. Brown) detailed the hardships of growing up as a black, adopted son of white parents during a political debate in Season 3’s winter finale; but for our money, this episode of This Is Us explored the same territory with more nuance. Randall is heartbroken and betrayed when he learns that sister Kate (Chrissy Metz) thinks she’s the only one who can pass on a piece of their father since she’s one of Jack’s (Milo Ventimiglia) biological offspring — and since bio-brother Kevin (Justin Hartley) doesn’t want kids.
Grey’s Anatomy, “All of Me”
We Grey’s fans have a Stockholm syndrome-like relationship to season finales: They’ve done us dirty so many times, and still we can’t look away. So imagine our surprise when Season 14 ended on an upbeat note, with Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) getting back in touch with an off-screen Callie, April finding a happily-ever-after with original fiancé Matthew (Justin Bruening), and Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) tying the knot in an impromptu ferry wedding officiated by none other than Meredith (Ellen Pompeo). Swoon!
Who says television is mindless?
The following TV episodes have given us food for thought equivalent to a holiday feast. Sure, these installments aren’t necessarily the best episodes of 2018, but they all swayed us with their drama and comedy — intentional comedy or otherwise — and we’ll remember all of them long after the water-cooler chatter quiets down.