After choosing the best series of 2020, we look back to review some of the best episodes of a turbulent year but with great stories on the small screen. As we always remember in these compilations, it is a subjective list made from the series that the author has seen this year (many, but not all of them because it is impossible). The episodes are not ordered according to any criteria. Of course, the texts contain spoilers.
The Good Place (4×13: Whenever You’re Ready)
It seems like a lifetime ago, but The Good Place said goodbye less than a year ago. The series starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson closed its path with an hour-long episode in which each character had their moment to say goodbye. And also, literally. Each could choose the moment and the way to leave forever after accepting that their path was over. A chapter with an extra dose of emotion, but that did not forget the friendly and intelligent humor of the house. The best series finale you could wish for. (Netflix).
Mythic Quest: Feast of Crows (1×05: A Dark Quiet Death)
The comedy set by the team responsible for an online video game scored one of the best episodes of the beginning of the year in the middle of its first season. It is a bottled chapter that tells a story outside the main plot focusing on a couple of video game developers who years ago embarked on the adventure of creating their own game. In half an hour he tells the whole life, from his birth to his death, of a video game and a love relationship. (Apple TV +).
Come on Juan (1×06: Istanbul)
Javier Cámara directs and stars in one of the best chapters of the Spanish series in 2020. Juan Carrasco has accepted a political deal that includes a trip to Turkey to get hair. The action of the episode takes place in a hotel where men go for that purpose. There, the politician will meet a fan, a girl who has followed him since he gave a talk at his university. Anna Castillo and Javier Cámara are 10. But above all, the script by Diego San José and Pablo Remón of this kind of Spanish-style Lost In Translation stands out. (TNT).
Better Things (4×06: New Orleans)
The Pamela Adlon comedy managed to maintain its high level this year with a brilliant fourth season. In one of its episodes, Sam travels to New Orleans to attend the wedding of some friends. There he will live reunions, become intimate with strangers and merge with the atmosphere of a city where he finds a constant party. So much so that he even seriously considers staying and living there. Pamela Adlon herself is the director of this exciting and vibrant episode. (HBO Spain).
Better Call Saul (5×08: Camel)
Huge season the fifth of Better Call Saul, a series that started high, but has been surpassing year after year. Having Lalo Salamanca as a client has turned Jimmy into a “friend of the cartel,” and now he has no choice but to accept a mission: to go to a certain point in the New Mexico desert to collect seven million dollars in cash. The mission, of course, is complicated in a harrowing episode reminiscent of the best moments of Breaking Bad. (Movistar +).
Killing Eve (3×05: Are you from Pinner?)
Villanelle returns to Russia to try to find the part of her family that is still alive and perhaps thus rediscover her roots. This trip to the most personal side of the murderer allows Jodie Comer to shine and the viewer to enjoy an episode (the best in an irregular season) that supposes a break in the plot and that has moments for comedy, drama and smile frozen. Looking at his roots we find aspects that we did not know about the character. (HBO Spain).
Look what you’ve done (3×04: The lucky condom)
In what may have been the best season of the best Movistar + comedy, there are several chapters that deserve to be on this list. We are left with the one who looks back to continue the narration of the day that Berto and Sandra met and that circus afternoon they lived when they were children and that, without them knowing it, marked their future. (Movistar +).
Ramy (2×08: Frank)
The episodes focusing on non-main characters are the best in this series, and in season two it has even taken advantage of Uncle Naseem (with an unexpected reveal included). But the jewel of the season was starring Ramy’s father, whom we knew very little about so far. An emotional chapter that shows the difficulties and concerns that this man hides from his loved ones and that secretly torment him. (Starzplay).
What we do in the shadows (2×06: On the run)
Laszlo (or should I say Jackie Daytona?) Is the undisputed protagonist of this chapter, one of the best of the great second season of the vampire comedy. On the run from an enemy, Laszlo camouflages himself among the mob somewhere in Pennsylvania (which he chooses because it sounds like Transylvania), where he impersonates a normal person and becomes a pillar of his new community. As long as you have your toothpick in your mouth, everything will be fine. Among the 20 craziest minutes you’ve seen this year on television. (HBO Spain).
Unity (Episode 5)
Within a great series like La Unidad (one of the best that was seen in the first half of the year) is one of the most shocking and overwhelming scenes of all Spanish television fiction in 2020 and possibly in many years. And if only for the impact of that moment, the episode that contains it is worth highlighting. One of the most technically complex sequences in the history of Spanish television to reflect the horror of terrorism in the foreground. (Movistar +).
Mythic Quest: Feast of Crows (Special: Quarantine)
Exceptionally, a series repeats on this list to highlight the best confined episode of those produced this pandemic year. The team of this Apple production managed to launch a special chapter against the clock that stands out for its technical quality (despite the limitations) and, above all, for maintaining the fun spirit of the series and combining it perfectly with the emotional touch that asked for the moment. Its plot reflects, through video calls, the loneliness and anxiety that many have felt so strongly this year. Of course, before finishing, he also manages to start a knowing smile. (Apple TV +).
I could destroy you (1×12: Ego Death)
Another series from which several chapters could have been chosen. I’ll stick with the last one, the plot resolution, a kind of Choose your own adventure that shows the different ending options that the story could have had based on Arabella’s decision in front of her rapist. Brilliant in its formal aspect and in substance, with all its implications. (HBO Spain).
Ted Lasso (1×10: Hope Kills)
The upbeat comedy of the year ended with a chapter that is a roller coaster of emotions with which it is easy for football fans to feel fully represented. Joy, pain, hope, frustration … life. And life in football. The connection with the characters is key for those emotions to surface in this episode in which Richmond plays it all or nothing against Manchester City. (Apple TV +).
Riot Police (1×01: Osorio)
The bases of the series directed by Sorogoyen are set in a vibrant chapter that shows an eviction (from which the entire plot of the following episodes will start) shot camera in hand with a naturalistic style that quickly puts the viewer in a situation. Although the best scene of the series is in the last chapter, with a dinner with friends shot in a sequence shot in which the tension is extreme, we are left with that first chapter in which the rest of the building of this series is founded. (Movistar +).
Venom (1×05: Cristina through the looking glass)
Spanish fiction has shone this year through series like the one created by Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi. The story of Cristina Ortiz has even put the American specialized press at her feet. In the fifth episode, at the halfway point of the series, viewers attend the rise and fall of La Veneno, turned into a television icon on Tonight We Cross the Mississippi. But, in this case, what television gives you, television takes away from you, and the fall was very hard. The guts of television and its ability to create broken toys breaks the soul in this episode thanks to the performance of Daniela Santiago. (Atresplayer Premium).
Homeland (1×01: Benign October)
The series that adapts the novel by Fernando Aramburu laid its foundations in an excellent first episode that presented the characters and the fragmented narrative, focusing on the character of Bittori. The episode allows Elena Irureta to show off with a heartbreaking final stretch before which it is impossible to hold back tears. (HBO Spain).
The Crown (4×07: Hereditary Monarchy)
Margarita’s health problems and her position within the royal family are at the center of this episode in which it is discovered that the Queen of England and her sister have several cousins admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Helena Bonham Carter makes good use of a secondary character who shines when she becomes the protagonist. (Netflix).
How to with John Wilson (1×06: How to Cook the Perfect Risotto)
Outside of fiction, John Wilson signs one of the best episodes of the year focused on the covid-19 pandemic. And that which is actually a chapter on how to cook the perfect risotto, a dish with which the director of this program, which combines documentary and comedy, wants to entertain his landlady. What begins in the most mundane way in the world ends up as a chilling and moving portrait of the early days of the pandemic in New York. (HBO Spain).
The Mandalorian (2×08: The Rescue)
The best example of how well the series created by Jon Favreau has fitted into the Star Wars universe is the final episode of the second season, which manages to close the plot of the season and connect with the mythology of the franchise. Entertainment, excitement, lightsabers and a Jedi to the rescue condensed into 40 vibrant minutes that are quite a roller coaster of emotions. (Disney +).