The Best Episodes of 2013: A Look Back

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As we head into 2014, I've decided to take a moment to look back at all of the amazing TV I've had the privilege of covering over the past year.

So below are a few of my favorite things from 2013… make that my favorite episodes of the shows I was lucky enough to review for TV Fanatic over the past 12 months. 

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The Mentalist:  "Green Thumb"  As much as I liked the conclusion of the Red John storyline, I think I like where the show is going even more. The Mentalist Season 6 Episode 10 had a light heartedness we haven't seen…well, maybe ever. The case was fun. Jane was at the top of his game as he sent the FBI scrambling.  Best of all, Teresa finally told Patrick off for taking her for granted which will hopefully help move their relationship as colleagues, friends, and possibly more than friends, forward.

Handling Patrick Jane
Cute Castle

Castle:  "Still"  I didn't get to review it but that doesn't mean it wasn't my favorite episode of 2013.  It may have been a "clip show" but it was the best damn clip show ever! From the opening scene of Rick bringing Kate breakfast in bed, through the argument of who fell for who first (Castle, no contest), Kate's vast array of hairstyles (season 2 is still painful) and finally their best kisses, I can watch Castle Season 5 Episode 22 again, and again, and again.

Southland: "Chaos" The penultimate episode of the series was the one that haunted me long after it aired. When John Cooper and Hank Lucero responded to a routine call, things went horribly wrong. In the end Lucero was tortured and killed while Cooper was left so emotionally scarred that his very survival was left in question. Southland Season 5 Episode 9 was one of the best episodes of one of the premiere cop dramas on TV.  

Once Upon a Time: "Going Home" This winter finale brought so many characters full circle. Rumpelstiltskin gave his life to save his family. Regina took responsibility for the curse and earned forgiveness from her son, who lost all memory of her as he and Emma went off to live a blissful life post-Storybrooke. That is until Captain Hook ended up on their doorstep. Once Upon a Time Season 3 Episode 11 wrapped up one end of the curse while leaving viewers anxiously anticipating a whole new story. 

The Newsroom: "Election Night Part II"  After a full season of angst, it was wonderful to smile through The Newsroom Season 2 Episode 9. Charlie rescinded his resignation and everyone else's after the Genoa debacle just as Reese decided he wouldn't accept them. Maggie finally started to find her footing after the Africa incident. Sloan planted a heated kiss on Don and Will finally forgave Mac for her past by proposing. Thankfully she accepted. Now bring on season 3!

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: "Home"  Alice was finally reunited with true love Cyrus…as The Red Queen stepped up and declared her love for The Knave of Hearts who was then turned into a genie.  How will this twist from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1 Episode 8 change Jafar's plan? We'll just have to wait and see. 

Sons of Anarchy:  "A Mother's Work"  I wrote an entire review on this episode and yet I still find I'm at a loss for words. From the fear of having SAMCRO find Tara, to the elation of having her and Jax reconcile, Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 13 was already a roller coaster ride. But Gemma brutally stabbing the woman to death with a carving fork still has me shaking. 

Dallas:  "J.R.'s Masterpiece" To say that Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing was the heart of Dallas is an undeniable understatement. So when the actor passed away, the show had the unique challenge of honoring his legacy while still moving the story forward. Dallas Season 2 Episode 8 accomplished that beautifully. The loss of J.R. has reverberated throughout all of the characters on the show but especially son John Ross, ex- Sue Ellen who dove back into a bottle, and brother Bobby. Without J.R. to play the bad guy, will Bobby continue to take the high road? We'll all find out when Dallas returns on February 24th.

Mistresses: "All In" Full of campy fun, Mistresses Season 1 Episode 7 had me yelling at my TV. Just as April was moving on with her life with Richard, a truly great guy, her not-so-dead husband popped in. It may have been a typical soap opera twist but that didn't mean it wasn't pure soapy goodness at its best. 

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "F.Z.Z.T." It was the hour that completely sold me on this show. From Coulson telling a dying fireman that there was no need to be afraid of what came next to Ward sharing his desire to protect his team Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 6 was compelling TV. Add Fitz watching Simmons throw herself from that airplane and I was hooked for the rest of the season. 

Rookie Blue: "You Can See the Stars" It was a season full of angst as shippers suffered through watching Sam and Andy in relationships with other people. Even though I ended up liking both Marlo and Nick, Sam and Andy belonged together and watching our favorite couple admit their feelings for one another in that ambulance was a huge relief. Add a special mention for Traci and Steve as the show's newest fun couple and Rookie Blue Season 4 Episode 13 was the best of the season. 

What were your favorite episodes of 2013? Sound off now!

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Mentalist Quotes

Kettle to pot. Hello? Come in pot.

Rigsby

Who knew a trip to the cemetery would be such a downer?

Danny