You’ve seen the best television shows and funniest moments of 2015. Now we’re proud to present our favorite episodes. Just like it was last year, these aren’t necessarily the greatest episodes of the past 12 months; they’re the ones we hold most dearest. What’s yours?
The Americans, “Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?”
Betrayals already made and betrayals to come made The Americans‘ third season even more unnerving that those that preceded it. Elizabeth and Philip tried to keep bonds based on falsehoods fraying — including the one based on the lifelong lie they’d told their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor, a standout in a season of standouts). In a way, this episode was the season in miniature, showing that intimacy can be deadly and righteousness creates a fog of moral delusion. After breaking into a repair shop they believe to be abandoned, Elizabeth finds herself in deep conversation with the elderly Betty, a bookkeeper who discovers her there. Elizabeth knows she’ll have to kill her and, before long, Betty realizes this too. But on her way out, they enjoy a deep conversation in which Elizabeth tries to explain that she’s working for the greater good of the word. Betty’s reply: “That’s what evil people tell themselves when they do evil things.” — Keith Phipps
Better Call Saul, “Five-0”
Better Call Saul spent the majority of its first season introducing us to the sad sack lawyer who would eventually become Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman. But for one brilliant hour it changed course and basically became The Mike Ehrmantraut Show. Or, more accurately, The Jonathan Banks Show. The performance Banks turned in carried an episode that was both thrilling and heartbreaking as it explained what set Mike on his journey from Philly cop to eventual Gus Fring enforcer. God help you if you made it through his “I broke my boy” speech without feeling anything. — Danger Guerrero