Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “Moo Moo” (A)
The first time I can remember this show tackling the “very special episode,” and it pulled it off in the best possible way, as Terry suffers racial discrimination at the hands of a fellow cop, then encounters resistance from Holt when he tries to file a formal complaint. That this manages to be thoughtful and hilarious is pretty miraculous.
The Americans – “IHOP” (A)
The most intense episode of the season, even though every scene is just an extended conversation. Another example of this show’s brilliance.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine – “The Last Ride” (A)
Seemingly written as a series finale, this is one of the show’s greatest episodes, both touching and uproarious. If somehow it’s not renewed for a fifth season, we’ve had a great run.
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Offred” (A) / series premiere
A harrowing pilot that grabs you from the first frame and never lets up. Maybe the last thing we need is a horrifying dystopian drama, but maybe it’s exactly the thing we need. The acting, editing and directing are all tremendous.
The West Wing – Season Five (A-)
Oh, so you heard this season was pretty bad? That it had a major drop-off when Aaron Sorkin left? FAKE NEWS. This season maybe had a little more inconsistency and some episodes didn’t quite have that perfect musicality, but it was still just as engrossing and engaging as the first four seasons.