Sometimes you can watch one episode of TV so good it elevates everything else that came before it… or, in some cases, make everything else that comes after it seem a bit flatter. However, in the case of our picks, we’re highlighting one of many fantastic episodes from the respective show or season.
Wanda Maximoff coming to terms with her past, Rue learning to discuss her trauma, and how a Detective can lose it all in a moment are just some of our picks for the Best TV Series Episodes from 2021.
5.) “Previously On” (WandaVision)
Written by: Laura Donney Directed by: Matt Sharkman
In the penultimate episode of WandaVision, Agatha takes Wanda on a trip through her past that reveals her upbringing, the moment the Stark bomb hit her house, the experiences she endured to get her powers, and the truth about Vision. This episode features Elizabeth Olsen’s best performance as Wanda Maximoff as she lays out all of the trauma she’s endured and swept aside for years, all culminating and exploding when she lost Vision during the events of Infinity War.
– Dylan Blight
4.) “Illusions” (Mare of Easttown)
Written by: Brad Ingelsby Directed by: Craig Zobel
This episode featured a scene where a new widower revealed he had an affair with Mare’ mum at his wife’s wake and featured a hard cut to Mare hysterically laughing as her mother tries to explain. This alone would be enough to see this episode earn a place on this list, but this episode does so much more.
More clues are dropped about Erin’s killer, more misdirects are laid out for us and then there is Colin Zabel. He goes on an emotional rollercoaster as he finally gets his date with Mare, only to realise she is only trying to keep him close to stay up to date on the case after her suspension. He kisses her and lays his feelings on the table only to enter that kidnapper’s pub. The kidnapper may have been caught but we still don’t know who killed Erin, and at a heavy cost, another for Mare to shoulder. The episode ends on Mare, having survived life or death encounter, taking in what just happened just like us watching.
– Ashley Hobley
3.) “Episode 8” (Sex Education: Season 3)
Written by: Laurie Nunn, Jodie Mitchell Directed by: Runyararo Mapfumo
I keep coming back to the season 3 finale of Sex Education again and again because it is filled with so many great moments. While a large portion of the episode is focused on Otis waiting in the hospital to see if his mother will be alright, everyone gets a chance to shine, showcasing the show’s amazing ensemble cast.
Whether it is Cal teaching a fellow non-binary student how to safely compress their breast with a chest binder, Erin giving Maeve the money she needs to go to America while hiding in a bush or Chidi berating a man who wants a pack of Hula Hoops while he and Otis are clearly having a moment, there are a ton of special moments filled in this episode that brings so many stories to their conclusions yet sets up many for season 4.
– Ashley Hobley
2.) “Trouble Don’t Last Always” (Euphoria)
Written by: Sam Levinson Directed by: Sam Levinson
It’s been a long wait for the second season of Euphoria (early January, by the way), but Sam Levinson did direct a Christmas and New Year special in 2020 to tide things over. Neither are throw stories either, and I suggest you watch both before the new season begins. Especially since Trouble Don’t Last Always is one of the show’s best episodes and one of the best-written things of the past twelve months. Nearly the entire episode occurs at dinner as Rue talks with Ali about life, starting with Jules, before her recent relapse. The two dive deeper into the conversation than simple rights and wrongs and discuss why a person takes drugs. It’s impeccable writing from Levinson, delivered by two great performances.
– Dylan Blight
1.) “The Boy from 6B” (Only Murders in the Building)
Written by: Steve Martin, John Hoffman Directed by: Cherien Dabis
It is very hard not to be impressed with what the team behind Only Murders In The Building pulled off with this episode. Moving the POV of the episode away from the main cast and instead focusing on the deaf son of Teddy Dimas (Nathan Lane), Theo (James Caverly), sees the episode told entirely non-verbally, save for a couple of words at the end.
Not only does the episode manage to go 31 minutes with no spoken words, but also answers one of the big mysteries of the series so far and maintained the fun tone of the series. In a year where a number of deaf characters have featured in big series, this look at the deaf experience was a very memorable one.
– Ashley Hobley