Torture! Clones! Betrayal! Sexting! And just sex! From touching series finales (farewell, 30 Rock and The Office!) to Game of Thrones' brutal Red Wedding, 2013 was brimming with fantastic hours of television. TVGuide.com has compiled the top 25 episodes. Which ones made the cut? Tune in all week to see the full list.
What were the best TV shows of 2013?
Here are Episodes 15-11. (Catch up with Episodes 25-21 and Episodes 20-16.)
15. "Decoy," Justified
After a bumpy start thanks to the convoluted, season-long Drew Thompson mystery, this episode kicks Season 4 of the FX drama into another gear entirely. With Drew's identity finally revealed (Shelby was under their noses the whole time!), the task becomes getting him out of Harlan before one of a number interested parties kills him. Although the hour is chock-full of amazing scenes (the sniper stand-off between war vets Tim and Colt, Constable Bob's hilarious refusal to give up Drew's location despite being beaten senseless), it's perhaps most effective because it once again puts hero Raylan Givens at odds with Boyd Crowder. Their mental chess match is made all the more powerful because of their forever-entwined history, but it also reminds us that, when the show is operating at its best, we're not sure which of the two men we really want to see win.
14. "Variations Under Domestication," Orphan Black
We take a break from Orphan Black's intense melange of bioethics, murder and identity for treachery of another sort: the suburbs. When the clone Alison suspects that her husband Donnie has betrayed her, she clocks him with a golf club, ties him up and interrogates him with a hot glue gun. Oh, and no big deal, but the monthly potluck is going on upstairs. This episode is the first time we were rooting for all the clones, not just Sarah.
13. "Surrender Benson," Law & Order: SVU
If you've seen SVU's Season 15 premiere, there was no doubt Mariska Hargitay deserves to be on our Best Performances list. The first half of the two-parter is unnerving, as Pablo Schreiber's The Beast tortures Detective Benson for four days, beating, burning and drugging her, and forcing her to drink vodka, while the rest of the precinct is rendered helpless in their search for the leader of their squad. Although the episode includes more than a few cringe-worthy moments that will make you watch through your fingers, it proves that even in its 15th season, this procedural has some juice left in it.
The best performances of 2013
12. "Two Parties," Parks and Recreation
For two people so dedicated to caring for others, it makes sense that Ben's and Leslie's respective bachelor/ette parties would transform into a celebration for others. Ben's night turns into mini-parties dedicated to each of the guys whom he befriended in Pawnee and Leslie's becomes a quest to save her park project for the city and foil her enemy Councilman Jamm. Even though Ben and Leslie don't really share the spotlight in the episode, their relationship resonates throughout, providing a great balance of comedy and heart.
11. "The Quarterback," Glee
When Cory Monteith overdosed on drugs in July, it presented Fox's musical drama with a nearly impossible feat: How would the show say goodbye to Monteith's character Finn? In the end, the story is practically irrelevant (the show never specifies how Finn died). Instead, standout performances by Monteith's TV mom Romy Rosemont, Mark Salling, Chris Colfer and Monteith's real-life and on-screen girlfriend Lea Michele are chilling, in that it's difficult to tell if what we're watching is acting at all. The hour manages to take a celebrity's highly publicized death and turn it into something intimate and profound.
Check back Monday to see the rest of the list!