Was Last Night’s “Better Call Saul” the Best TV Episode in History?

03.10.15 4 years ago

That's what a lot of people are calling it.  Twitter is pretty much demanding the Emmy be handed over on a silver platter to Jonathan Banks for his dark dramatic turn in the “Five-O'” episode which featured Mike Ehrmantraut's backstory.

Our own Alan Sepinwall had this to say in his review:

I wouldn't want “Better Call Saul” to be this serious every week, as that's missing the point of building a show around the man who would be Saul Goodman. But the series did originate out of one of the darkest, angriest TV dramas ever made, and when you have a superb dramatic actor like Banks on hand, it helps to both get good value out of him and to remind you that Mike is, was and will be far more than our hero's sarcastic, world-weary foil. His work throughout the episode was wonderful, but that last scene – where Mike tells Matt's widow exactly why her husband died, why he feels such guilt over it, and what he ultimately did about it – was some next-level, emotionally naked stuff. Banks didn't win an Emmy for his final “Breaking Bad” season, but he won't have Aaron Paul as competition this time around, and this is one hell of a submission episode, in addition to showing how deftly the new series can shift between its usual state and something that evokes the adventures of Walt and Jesse a bit more.

The intense focus on Mike made “Five-0” a pretty simple episode, plot-wise. But as a look at how Mike Ehrmantraut started on the road from mildly corrupt cop to the man who would come to work for Gus Fring, it was stupendous.


Approximately eight times a week, the Twitter mobs declare something the best episode in the history of television, but nonetheless, when people make their really great episodes list, “Five -O” is likely to chart with a lot of folks.  The depth of Jonathan Banks dramatic turn, revealing the sadness within the already iconic character is likely to haunt fans of the show for some time to come.

So the best episode in TV history?  There's a lot of contenders for that slot  – Mary Tyler Moore's death of Chuckles the Clown episode, MASH's interview, Seinfeld's “The Contest” come to mind, as does quite from “Breaking Bad” itself, lest we forget.  Does “Five-O” compete on that level?

The best episode of the year?  Well, three months in there might not be much competition there?  Of recent years?  Better than the heights of “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones” to name a few?

Well you be the judge!  Let us know in the comments whether you're ready to make the “Greatest Ever” declaration in writing and stick with it for all time.

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