TV in 2012 has definitely had it’s ups and downs. Some of my favorite shows had some of their best episodes yet, and others had some of their worst episodes yet. Still, there were definitely episodes of many shows that are worth watching, and there are those that stand out above the crowd. Below are just five of ten such examples of excellent TV episodes.
10. Robot Chicken Season 6, Episode 1 – DC Comics Special
I don’t really watch that many full Robot Chicken episodes. I would say that I’m a fan of the show, but normally I just watch clips on the site or YouTube, with the exception being some of the parodies. And, when I heard about the DC Comics Special, I knew I had to watch it. And it was in no way, shape, or form disappointing. It was just over twenty minutes of quality humor, from the ever-present Aquaman jokes to the questionable use of the Green Lantern ring by one of the Robot Chicken characters. The episode manages to be strikingly hilarious while, at the same time, not being too offensive to the fanbase. The show masterfully manages to point out actual flaws with the DCU (like the over abundance of ice villains) while at the same time being extremely funny. A must watch for any fan of the show, the DCU, or just comedy in general.
9. Young Justice Season 2, Episode 10 – Before the Dawn
Before the Dawn was the second part of a one-two punch delivered by Young Justice. In a startling return to from, Young Justice completely turned around. Gone were the days of seemingly endless mediocre episodes. Before the Dawn was a fast paced, action packed episode that finally gave us some of the answers we’ve been waiting for. Finally, the wrapped up the drawn out plot about The Light’s partner, revealing, at long last, that it was Black Beetle and the Reach. Also, we discover the true reason Impulse returned to the past; to prevent Blue Beetle from joining the Reach and conquering Earth. The action in this episode is some of the best we’ve seen for a while, starting with a swift infiltration of the Reach’s ship and the rescuing of Lagoon Boy (sadly), Blue Beetle, and Beast Boy, as well as the others that were in the ship. But the main action is the battle between Black Beetle and almost half the team. He manages to, single handedly, take out almost half the team. Superboy, Wondergirl, Bee, Batgirl, Robin, and Miss Martian all for before him. The episode also sees some great character development for Miss Martian, after she brain blasts Aqualad, only to find out that he wasn’t really on the side of the Light. She then goes into a state of guilt and mourning that will lead to some very interesting development for her as a character. Oh, and we finally truly learn why this season has been dubbed Invasion, as the Reach begins their attack on Earth. Though not in the way one would expect.
8. Arrow Season 1, Episode 5 – Damaged
“Damaged” did the two things that Arrow seemed to be able to do well in the first part of this season. It provided the bets action sequences the show has seen so far, which have not been matched yet, and, at the same time, managed to actually craft a pretty good story. this was back when they were using the another week, another corrupt billionaire formula. “Damaged” was really the first episode that truly broke away from that formula, instead the major focus of the episode (in the present at least) being Detective Lance’s investigation of Oliver Queen. In a completely unexpected move, the show made it appear that Detective Lance had discovered the identity of Arrow. Not knowing how Oliver was going to get out of that was tense, and the way he manages to do it (by having Diggle go after the corrupt billionaire while Oliver was at home) was a genius move. But despite that story line being really awesome, it was the flash backs that made this episode truly awesome. They introduced Deathstroke to the show, and while I do have a slight issue with his costume, the introduction was a great one for such an awesome character. And it ends with the best battle on the show so far, between Deathstroke and Yao Fei.
7. South Park Season 16, Episode 14 – Obama Wins
“Obama Wins” managed to combine one of the bets things of the year with one of the (at least initially) worst things of the year – Obama winning the presidential election (the good thing) and Star Wars being sold to Disney (the bad thing). Even though the episode’s jokes were quite funny, the most hilarious thing about the episode was the premise of it. Obama made a deal with the Chinese that they would rig the election (through Cartman) if he gave them Star Wars. That sentence on it’s own sounds simply ridiculous. And that’s because it is ridiculous. But, because of that, the episode is hilarious. From Cartman talking to Mickey Mouse about starring in the next Star Wars movie to the deal happening in a Hummer dealership because no one wants Hummer anymore, the episode is jam packed with all out hilariously ridiculous ideas. And that’s what makes this episode so good and earns it it’s spot on this list.
6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 4, Episode 13 – Escape From Kadavo
The climactic conclusion to the season 4’s stellar slaver arc, “Escape From Kadavo” was a fast paced, action packed episode of the Clone Wars. Plo Koon leading the assault on a hovering station is probably one of the most awesome moments of the Clone Wars, and something that I’ve always wanted to see. The aerial portion of the battle is awesome, due in part to the high caliber of animation. But the events on the station itself are equally awesome, if not more so. Obi-Wan and Rex taking out the lead slaver in the station’s control room is the episode’s best moment, showing Obi-Wan in a moment of ruthlessness and anger that is uncommon, especially for him. Meanwhile, Ahsoka leading the slaves to safety is awesome. Having the Venator cruiser move under the statio nfor the captives to escape onto was awesome. More than nearly any other arc, the Slaver arc brought out sides of the three leads (Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka) that we rarely see, and that’s nice. The high stakes of this episode resulted in some great tension, making the episode all the better. The fact that The Clone Wars, a kids show, for all intents and purposes, is tackling topics such as slavery is awesome on it’s own.