Episodes

Episodes is a column in which senior contributor Valerie Ettenhofer digs into the singular chapters of television that make the medium great.

If you’re new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these:

Explore the entire Episodes archive below

Chernobyl Episode 1

On the Particular Devastation of the ‘Chernobyl’ Premiere

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For our Episodes column, we re-examine “1:23:45”, the bleak, fantastic first installment of HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ miniseries.

Game Of Thrones Pilot

Revisiting the ‘Game Of Thrones’ Pilot 10 Years Later

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Before it was a worldwide phenomenon, it was just a new HBO show with a hell of a good hook.

Orphan Black Episode 1 Natural Selection

How ‘Orphan Black’ Hits the Ground Running with “Natural Selection”

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“Natural Selection” introduces viewers to the series’ fast-paced, thrilling world, as well as to the gift that keeps on giving: Tatiana Maslany’s powerhouse performances.

Justified Bloody Harlan Timothy Olyphant

‘Justified’ and the Battle of “Bloody Harlan”

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Justified’s second season finale, “Bloody Harlan,” is a master class in acting, directing, writing, and American myth-making.

Youre The Worst Lcd Soundsystem

When ‘You’re the Worst’ Took a Hard Look at Marriage

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One of the series’ most unnerving and enlightening episodes, “LCD Soundsystem” sees Gretchen stalk a seemingly picture-perfect married couple.

Mulder Scully X Files Bad Blood

“Bad Blood” is ‘The X-Files’ Operating at Peak Silliness

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Scully falling for a buck-toothed sheriff played by Luke Wilson? Mulder singing the Shaft theme song? That’s right, we’re revisiting “Bad Blood.”

Mad Men The Other Woman

One of the Best ‘Mad Men’ Episodes is All About the Women

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Season 5’s “The Other Woman” offers a pivotal moment of character development for Joan, one that’s deeply rooted in the gender dynamics of the era.

The Leftovers I Live Here Now

‘The Leftovers’ and the Many Miracles of “I Live Here Now”

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The profound, emotionally devastating series closed out its second season with an all-time-great hour of television.

Haunting Of Hill House Two Storms

When ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ Performed a Cinematic Magic Trick

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With “Two Storms,” the series high point pushes the Crains to their emotional breaking point with the help of an unrelenting camera.