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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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You nailed it on Castle's "Still"; the best clip show I've ever seen I believe.

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Rookie blue episodio 4x13 OMG !!!! The best !!

Marija gostiljac

For me, the best episode of 2013 is Once Upon a Time - Think Lovely Thoughts.

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NCIS season premiere and the series finale of the mentalist

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I liked the episodes you stated were the best, but maybe its just me but I feel that Person of Interest's Endgame Trilogy episodes should have made the cut.

Corlando
@ Andrew+Jeeves

Andrew+Jeeves - Sorry, I don't watch the show but I've heard good things about it. Unfortunately there's only so many hours in the day to watch TV. ;)

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@ Christine Orlando

Well, you are missing one of the best written and acted shows on TV now and ever! Your loss!

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SOA: I may never recover. - so many ways this can go, but my feeling is all will abandon Gemma - the club, the man, and the son - the man and the son via death. She will have to bear the burden of her guilt alone. RB: Oh please I called that after the first episode. He will get hurt, she will profess her undying love Nick and Marlo get the shaft.
S5 better and expand other stories cuz the Samdy show is annoying and predictable at best. Give us Oliver & Celery - I think uh Oliver don't know how to tell you this in the midst of your mid life crisis... you're gonna be a daddy again. Steve & Traci are yummy. Yes oh yes Gail and Holly someone who will not just passively take Gail's crap.

Corlando
@ anon

anon - Agree completely about Oliver & Celery, Steve & Traci, and Gail & Holly. Hope to see a lot more of all of them in Rookie Blue season 5.

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Arrow: Crucible was great, absolutely loved the Sara/Oliver
Criminal Minds: Brothers Hotchner/The Replicator was good but sad as well R.I.P Erin Strauss
Castle: That is hard. All have been really good. But I did really love Number One Fan
Grey's Anatomy: Puttin On The Ritz was amazing and the 200th episode really left a great feeling for the rest of the season
Law And Order SVU: Surrender Benson was absolutely incredible, one of Mariska's best episodes
Nashville: Don't Open That Door was superb
NCIS LA: Recovery for sure, Deeks as a sex addict and then the ending :)
Nikita: The WHOLE 4th season
Once Upon A Time: Quite A Common Fairy and Going Home. Its a tie. So good.
Scandal: The whole season was great but I enjoyed Everythings Coming Up Mellie. Have always loved Mellie Grant and Bellamy Young did such a fantastic job
The Good Wife: Who can deny that Hitting The Fan was one of the best they have ever had.

Terrie
@ PattyBruce

I agree with you about Law and Order SVU..........Those episodes where she was kidnapped was some of her best work........can't wait for them to come back because she's about to face that creep in court.................. How could you leave out Walking Dead? Their midseason ender was flawless............... NCIS......opening this season with Tony trying to get Ziva to come home was heart wrenching..........Hope Cote decides to return one day....... Criminal Minds: The episode where Hotch was in the hospital as a result of being stabbed and dreamed of Haley and Foyette..........and the episode where Rossi played a suspect much to the dismay of Morgan......... Nashville: Rayna's recovery after the wreck and Deacon's attempt at redemption............and of course Juliette being Juliette................ I could go on and on and on I'm a TV nut..............

Corlando
@ PattyBruce

PattyBruce - I don't actually review Scandal but I do watch it. I tried to stick to shows I've actually reviewed this year but I agree about Scandal's "Everything's Coming Up Mellie" Bellamy Young is amazing and that was easily my favorite of the season.

Joyeful

Castle: "Still" was pretty awesome, but I think I love "The Good, The Bad and The Baby" a bit more :-) Once Upon A Time: I'm torn between "Going Home" and "Good Form". Archer: The Honeymooners was my favourite of last year's season of Archer. The dive Archer did off the side of that building to save Lana was just epic. It's also important because in retrospect, we realize that was the episode where Lana decides to go with a donor for her baby. Lastly, one of Archer's best lines ever. (North Korea...that's the nation state equivalent of the short bus!). Brooklyn Nine-Nine: "Christmas" was my favourite episode. Arrow: Definitely "Sacrifice." Arrow crossed lines on that episode that we never saw coming - actually allowing the destruction of the Glades, and Tommy Merlyn's death (*sniff*) Grimm: "El Cucuy" was fun. The ending was surprising and pretty funny. New Girl: "Cooler" was a PERFECT sitcom episode. Everything about that episode was perfect, from the return of True American, to Schmidt passing out when Nick went on the ledge, to the brilliant kiss at the end. Community: Everyone rags on season 4, but the puppet episode was amazing. Homeland: "One Last Thing". Watching Brody's transformation from drug-addled defeat to a strong marine was fantastic. It was also the only episode where Dana was remotely tolerable. Legend of Korra: The origin episode of Avatar Wan. That was probably the best episode in the entire series.

The Mentalist Quotes

Jane: The point is there's a coded message here.
Cho: Or doodles.

Krystal: Oh, you're trouble.
Jane: Harmless as a fly.