The best TV episodes of 2013: 'Orphan Black' convenes Clone Club, 'Scandal' and more
'Breaking Bad' - 'Ozymandias'
This wasn't even the penultimate episode of the lauded series -- it was the third-to-last episode, and it was the most bone-chilling, horrifying hours of television I've ever seen. I couldn't talk for about 20 minutes afterwards. I loved it. The aftermath of the Nazi shootout led to the death of one of the show's most beloved characters, and Walt finally -- finally! -- realized he could never avoid the consequences of what he'd done.
'Saturday Night Live' - 'Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake'
Sure, it just aired, but one of my favorite "SNL" cast members and his BFF (my favorite singer and an honorary cast member himself) teamed up for one of the funniest -- and highest-rated -- episodes of the year. They brought back a number of recurring sketch favorites ("The Barry Gibb Talk Show"!!!) and turned in a top-to-bottom strong episode as an early Christmas episode.
'Orphan Black' - 'Variations Under Domestication'
This isn't the most dramatic episode of the wonderful BBC America clone drama, but it's one that highlights the very best of Tatiana Maslany's performance. When neurotic Suburban soccer mom Alison suspects her husband of being her monitor, British punk rocker Sarah steps in to impersonate her fellow clone during the monthly neighborhood potluck party. Watching the subtle, nuanced differences between how Maslany plays one clone and how she plays one character impersonating another shows us the true brilliance of her performance. Plus, drunk, paranoid Alison is hilarious.
'The Good Wife' - 'Hitting the Fan'
"TGW" is great at melodrama, but this episode -- where Lockhart Gardner finds out about Cary and Alicia's plan to start their own firm -- was straight-up exciting. You feel the nervous energy of Alicia, Cary and their crew as they set their master plan into motion, and you feel the betrayed rage of Will and Diane as they realize what is happening. And you thought the Will/Alicia relationship was the high point of this show!
'Scandal' - 'A Woman Scorned'
Sure, the on/off relationship between hotshot problem-solver Olivia Pope ( Kerry Washington) and President Fitzgerald ( Tony Goldwyn) can get a little tedious after a while, but the stakes raised exponentially during this episode when First Lady Mellie gave her cheating husband an ultimatum: Break it off with Olivia or she'll tell the press about his infidelity. Meanwhile, Cyrus frantically tried to fix things, Jake continued to try to protect Olivia, and the team made progress on their season-long case, finding out who the White House mole was. Bonus: The episode was directed by our sexy president himself, Tony Goldwyn.
'New Girl' - 'Cooler'
That kiss. You know what I'm talking about.
'Glee' - 'The Quarterback'
Because of "Glee's" propensity to get ultra-cheesy during its lesson-learning episodes, it was nerve-wracking to think of what they were going to do to address Cory Monteith's tragic July death. Luckily, when "Glee" is good it's very good, and this was a beautiful, emotional, touching tribute to the man mourned by cast, crew and fans alike.