Game of Thrones’ eighth episode in season five titled ‘Hardhome’ is our choice for the best television episode of the past year….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It’s never an easy choice to pick one series for best television show of the year, but whittling that list down to a single episode seems an even taller task.
With over 400 series on television or online currently, that means there are thousands of episodes to pour over while trying to figure out which one hour of programming was better than all the rest.
As difficult as it was to choose this year — because the choices were so outstanding — it ultimately came down to one of the most action packed and thrilling displays of effects ever packed into an hour of television along with a massive payoff that fans and viewers have been waiting for years to see.
The best television episode of 2015 goes to Game of Thrones ‘Hardhome’
Written by Game of Thrones show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the episode was the standout for the show that just recently won Best Drama at the 2015 Emmy Awards.
There were several major stories explored in the episode including Daenerys Targaryen’s first conversation with Tyrion Lannister as well as Arya Stark’s continued journey from refugee to assassin.
But the highlight was undoubtedly Jon Snow arriving at the home of the Wildlings in a place called Hardhome where he hoped to recruit them south to The Wall to help defend the realm against the army of the dead that’s been amassing for years while waiting for winter to finally arrive.
Without giving too much away — and you can read the full recap here from ‘Hardhome’ — the last 20 minutes of the episode is a dazzling display of fury and combat as the living battle the dead in a kind of fight that would make everyone on The Walking Dead soil their collective pants. Game of Thrones routinely does on television what few have done before but this was just another example of the kind of amazing filmmaking that has turned this show into one of the best in the history of the art form.
Typically, Game of Thrones has saved episode nine as the huge moment of the season — The Battle at Blackwater Bay in season two, the Red Wedding in season three, etc — but this past year, the show opted to really turn up the fire with episode eight and it’s an unforgettable moment to witness.
Game of Thrones will likely remain at — or at the very worst near — the top of the list for shows in 2016 as well but ‘Hardhome’ was certainly the best in class for any television series in terms of writing, directing, acting and execution this past year.
HONORABLE MENTIONS FOR BEST EPISODE IN 2015:
Better Call Saul — ‘Five O’ — Season One, Episode Six
This series was full of great episodes, but the one that gave fixer Mike Erhmantraut a back story was unrelenting, sad and revealing. The entire episode sat on a somber note for a show that was highlighted by humor throughout, but this hour not only became the stand out performer from the freshman series, but in many ways ‘Five O’ was the perfect compliment to Breaking Bad, which served as the source material for the show.
Mr. Robot — eps1.8_m1rr0r1ng.qt — Season One, Episode Nine
Mr. Robot won our award for the best show of 2015 so it’s no surprise that at least one episode also made this list. Episode nine of the outstanding first season of this show from creator Sam Esmail made some huge revelations that many suspected from the very beginning of the series, but the impact was felt nonetheless. Rami Malek and Christian Slater were spot on with their performances and everything about this episode was taxing on the mind as well as every emotion in the spectrum.
Fargo — Rhinoceros — Season Two, Episode Six
Fargo was another top show in 2015 but this was definitely the single best episode of the season with everyone playing a huge part in making it a success. Nick Offerman was window dressing for large parts of the season used primarily for comic relief, but ‘Rhinoceros’ was where he really got the chance to shine as a lawyer — the only lawyer in town mind you — who is forced to negotiate a peace with a gang of gun bearing family members hell bent on getting their loved one released from jail by any means necessary.