Last night, during a conversation with a friend that TOTALLY exists, Dexter came up. This used to be a cause for excitement; now, it’s a cruel and unusual form of punishment. After the Trinity Killer season, Dexter jumped off the deep end, into an swimming pool otherwise empty but for broken treadmill parts and sawdust. The friend mentioned that she saw a comment on Facebook, of course, that said the Dexter finale was one of the best finales…EVER. This is why Facebook should be banned. Anyway, it’s hard to believe people who love “Remember the Monsters?” exist, but fortunately, they’re in the minority: the IMDb user rating for “Monsters” is a stunningly low 4.9, a far cry from the consistent eights and nines Dexter used to regularly bring in.
This got me thinking: what are the highest and lowest rated episodes of 15 of our most-discussed shows, via IMDb? Some make perfect sense (The Simpsons), some make no sense (Breaking Bad), and all are better than Dexter.
Archer — “Coyote Lovely” (7.4)
Also as many people who got shot living made no human sense to me. (Via)
Notes: There’s no such thing as a BAD episode of Archer, but objectively speaking, I can see how “Coyote Lovely” can be considered weak by the show’s high standards. It’s got a ton of great jokes — the old woman, the voicemails, the hologram excuse — but the plot is messy. Then again, “Coyote Lovely” also has Art Mullen, so…
Highest-rated episode: “Skytanic” (8.3)
Arrested Development — “Indian Takers” (7.6)
Representative review: N/A
Notes: In his episode-by-episode recap of Arrested Development season four, Maske had the following to say about “Indian Takers”: “When I completed my first watch of Arrested Development season four, I was certain ‘Borderline Personalities’ and ‘Indian Takers’ scored 1A and 1B in the weakest episode rankings. Not only do they both come early in the season and are burdened with laying a lot of expository groundwork, but they also feature members of the Bluth family I find the least compelling and prefer in complimentary roles.” Apparently the world-at-large agrees. “Indian Takers” was highly convoluted, and the episode’s best setup wouldn’t get a satisfying punchline until much later, a criticism that’s true of much of season four, actually.
Highest-rated episode: “Development Arrested”/”Pier Pressure”/”A New Attitude” (9.1)
Breaking Bad — “Fly” (8.0)
This episode proves that even a great show can misfire, but it doesn’t take anything away from the series. I can’t say the same for Rian Johnson, who continues to expose what an uninteresting person he is. (Via)
Notes: The split between those who think “Fly” is garbage, versus those who think it’s brilliant, is nearly an even 50/50. It’s pretentious, boring nonsense to some, and a stunning visual achievement, the best bottle episode of all-time, to others. It certainly stands out, I think for the best; “Fly” works as both a season three outlier and one tremendous part of a greater whole. That’s a testament to the outstanding work done by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul and the direction of Rian Johnson, who most assuredly is not “uninteresting.”
Highest-rated episode: “Ozymandias” (10.0)
Game of Thrones — “The Night Lands” (8.4)
I know it is based on a book, but couldn’t they have done something to make it just a little bit interesting? Nothing is really happening.
First season was awesome but now it is just a lot of blablabla. The only good and positive thing with some excitement is Tyron Lannister. He is an awesome character that keeps it all from falling down. (Via)
Notes: “The Night Lands” has Theon fingering his sister, so, yeah, makes sense.
Highest-rated episode: “The Rains of Castamere” (9.8)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — “Frank’s Brother” (7.3)
Representative review: N/A
Notes: “Frank’s Brother” gave us Shadynasty, and terrific performances from Danny DeVito and Jon Polito, but not much else. Some of my favorite It’s Always Sunny episodes are the weirder, more experimental ones, but “Frank’s Brother,” like “The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell” before it, was too dragged down by specific references to the time it took place in to give us the weird.
Highest-rated episode: “The Nightman Cometh” (9.4)