Open Thread: Five episodes you like

(by froborr)

Five episodes of five different shows that you really like (the episodes, not necessarily the shows). Why do you like them?

Reminder: the topic in an open thread is there to encourage discussion, not restrict it.  Nothing is off topic in an open thread.

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9 thoughts on “Open Thread: Five episodes you like

  1. Lonespark February 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    The DS9 episode(s?) involving Captain Yates getting arrested and sent to jail.

    All the X-Files episodes where Scully’s skepticism was proved right.

    The pilot of Xena: Warrior Princess (and other eps, too, but I recently rewatched that and was all Hell Yes!”)

    The episode of Legend of Korra where Asami took Korra racecar driving.

    The episode of BBC Robin Hood where Djaq was introduced.

    I shall have to come back to explain why, for gymnastics class calls.

  2. Firedrake February 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    All right, probably not a canonical list of Firedrake’s Favourite Episodes Ever, but…

    As someone else said, “Sleeping in Light” from B5. Even if it did get shown out of order. It’s a great wrap-up, and does that key thing of pointing out that this story is over, while other stories are still going on.

    Actually, that reminds me, “Preemptive Strike” from Trek Next Gen. It ‘s been a long time since I’ve seen it (I’m not much of a Trek fan these days and only watched it on first broadcast), but it felt to me at the time like a better series-ender than the official one.

    Another episode with a cast that was getting really good at working together: “Window of Opportunity” from Stargate SG-1. It’s a time loop where they actually have some fun with the concept.

    The pilot of Max Headroom (“20 Minutes Into The Future”). Does a fine job of setting up the world and showing you just as much as you need to know, without going into info-dump mode.

    The pilot of Defying Gravity. So much promise, most of it never fulfilled.

  3. froborr February 12, 2014 at 11:23 am

    My five are listed here.

    As I said there, it’s not the Five Best Episodes of Anything Ever, just five episodes that I like.

    Short version of the list without explanations:

    Buffy: “Once More with Feeling”
    DS9: “In the Pale Moonlight”
    Veronica Mars: “Pilot”
    Puella Magi Madoka Magica: “I Won’t Rely on Anyone Anymore”
    Babylon 5: “Sleeping in Light”

    Also, “Sleeping in Light” wasn’t shown out of order–it was supposed to be the last episode aired, and it was. It ended up being *filmed* out of order, but so are a lot of episodes of a lot of shows. (A fairly extreme example is The West Wing, which would do one location shoot in D.C. per season. All (non-faked) outdoor scenes in D.C. were filmed during that shoot, resulting in some scenes being filmed months before the rest of the episode in which they appeared.)

  4. Lonespark February 12, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    “In the Pale Moonlight” is an excellent episode. It’s my ex’s favorite. But it gets its resonance from familiarity with the Star Trek world. It’s a terrible episode to show to people as an example of “how awesome DS9 is.”

  5. Lonespark February 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    “Rocks and Shoals” is one of my favorites, and it has the same problem. Most of the later season episodes do…

  6. froborr February 12, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    I’m with you on that, but then most of the episodes I cited are not good episodes to show someone who’s never seen the show. I think Veronica Mars’ “Pilot” is the only one I’d unequivocally say “You should watch this,” to someone who’s never seen the show. *Maybe* “Once More with Feeling.” The other three, I would definitely not suggest to a newcomer–“Sleeping in Light” in particular has pretty much NO power if you aren’t intimately familiar with the characters.

  7. Firedrake February 13, 2014 at 3:48 am

    Similarly, the first episode of Firefly someone showed me was “Out of Gas”, which is an even worse introduction to the series than “The Train Job”.

    As far as “Sleeping in Light” goes, I was thinking of the sudden switch back to the season 4 cast.

    Incidentally, location filming is getting close to obsolete. Have you see the Stargate Studios demo reels? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clnozSXyF4k and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhN1STep_zk

  8. christhecynic February 14, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Out of Gas is my favorite Friefly episode. But it has to be said that a big part of that is knowing the characters and learning more about them.

    Since Firefly is the story of 9 people on a ship, how they got on the ship kind of matters.

    Book, Simon and River have that story told in the Pilot. Mal, Zoe, Wash, Kaylee, Inara and Jane get their arrival stories (not the same as origin stories) told in Out of Gas.

    The episode of Beast Wars: Transformers where Dinobot dies is my favorite because of the sacrifice of it. Because it’s do the right thing even if it most benefits people you don’t like.

    Lots and lots of background required.

    Dinobot is a Predacon, descendant of the Decepticons (the bad guys from the original transformers). His ancestors lost and he’s been a member of a second class race all his life. In addition he was raised in a morality not remotely our own, so whenever he does something that we would consider good, especially something selfless, that’s either:
    1 A matter of Honor, which he does value.
    2 A sign of moral and ethical growth.

    After disputing the leadership when Megatron (of the Beast Wars era) turned out to be a kind of crap leader in the first episode, he was cast out, he tried to take over the other side. He lost but was taken in.

    That said, taken in isn’t the same as accepted. He was the butt of every joke, subject to constant ridicule, and so forth.

    Also, he never had much fondness for humans.

    There’s one other thing you need to know. No one needs to die. The reason that the show can be about two small groups fighting each other with lethal weapons over an extended period and have the main characters survive everything is that they’re robots that can be repaired. If a certain amount of damage is done, they automatically shut down for safe keeping until someone drags them to a repair unit.

    By the time of the episode I’m talking about you’ve had two and a half seasons to get used to this idea that these people do not have to die.

    So, time travel. They’re on prehistoric earth and the bad guys would like to kill off the ancestors of humanity because then remember what I said above about the Decepticons losing? Yeah. Humanity was a deciding factor. Stop us from being created and you change everything.

    Dinobot is the only on there to stop it. So he fights. Alone. Against the entire other side.

    Because he did call for back up but they can’t make it in time.

    So him alone against an army. He never stood a chance.

    And sure enough he reaches that critical point where his systems tell him he has to shut down. He overrides. He keeps fighting, keeps overriding, and eventually manages to hold the line for long enough for reinforcements to arrive and stop the destruction of our pre-human ancestors.

    But, since he fought to the last breath, there’s no way to save him. He dies.

    He dies to protect a species he doesn’t like, which (because they’re in the past) will cause his ancestors to lose a major war, which will cause his people to live as second class citizens, and cause him to lead a life of constant verbal abuse trapped on this wretched (in his mind) planet. There is literally nothing in it for him. He’d be better off if he stood aside and let the other side do their genocide.

    It’s already established that while making changes to the past will change the future it will not affect the memories or locations of the sentient beings who have traveled to the past that is being changed (but will affect historical records grabbed from the future.) So he wouldn’t get snuffed out of history if history changed because he decided to fight merely to a level everyone in the series has been content to stop at before.

    He’d just make things better for his people and make it so the world he returned to when rescue finally arrived was a better one for himself and his people.

    But he does the right thing because it is the right thing and does it unto death, even though it’s preserving a timeline that pretty well sucks for him.

    It was a very emotional sacrifice for me to watch.

    The two episode arc of TNG where we discover what happened to Hugh. Both because I like Hugh and because Dr. Crusher makes a pretty awesome commander of the Enterprise.

    I feel like I should have an episode of .hack//Sign here, but they tend to form a whole for me and without looking things up I don’t even know where one ends and another begins. Epitaph was my first. Very talky, very philosophical, and at the same time everyone else is doing that Tsukasa is on an epic quest to save a digital pet for someone he doesn’t know. (Tsukasa is logged on all the time, so for someone desperately looking for someone to take care of their pet at a weird hour when most people are logged off he’s not an unlikely person to run into.)

    It’s also a major turning point in that, I think, it’s marks the first time that Tsukasa expressed an interest in being around another person. When in the sadness of the end Mimiru offers to leave Tsukasa alone and he says that, provided she’s willing, he’d rather she stay.

    Sanctuary, pilot episode.

    I feel like this episode really made a promise that the show never managed to keep. The Sanctuary was meant to be a Sanctuary for all. Yes, they hunted monsters, but that was because not all monsters are nice or safe. They’d much rather help monsters. It was a place you could come to where you wouldn’t be judged on the fact that you’re a lizard creature, and it was a place that could help you make it so that your bizarre and potentially deadly abilities didn’t harm anyone.

    But the show, at least as much of it as I saw, really did seem to end up being about hunting the monster of the week.

    Pilot episode: This isn’t a prison or a zoo.
    Other episodes: Let’s go capture things to stick them in prison/zoo.

  9. storiteller February 18, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Argh, this is really hard. There are only a few shows I am a big fan of and I’m having difficulty thinking of individual episodes. Two of my favorite shows ever are Lost and Battlestar Galactica, both of which are so continuous and non-episodic that I can’t recall specific ones I like that much.

    Doctor Who is the one show I really remember by episode. Of those, I would say:
    – The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances (9th Doctor): These are the first two episodes of watching Doctor Who that I super-engaged with and would be able to say I was a fan of the show. I loved the combination of bodily horror, moving character moments, and innovative imagery. It was just one of the most imaginative things I’ve seen on T.V.
    – The Mind Robber (2nd Doctor): A meta-episode before post-modernism was even a thing. The Doctor as being terrified that he will become a fictional character (or perhaps will be forced back into being one from being real?) is brilliant.
    – Carnival of Monsters (3rd Doctor): While the 3rd Doctor is a bit of a futz, Jo Grant is fantastic and the idea of them being stuck in a time-traveling zoo for aliens is hilarious and perfectly weird.
    – Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead (10th Doctor): The introduction of River Song, who is fantastic in this episode even if the writers don’t treat her well later on. Again, another set of amazing images and fantastic ideas. (Unfortunately, the Miss Evangelista stereotype is bad, but the rest makes it one of my favorites.)

    Also, I remember loving the X-Files episode Ice, even though I found out later that it’s a complete rip-off of The Thing. Scared the crud out of me as a teenager though.

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