I had one of those click through journeys this morning, you know, where you look at something that links to something else, that links to something else and eventually you can't quite remember how you got there?

In my case it was to a Huffington Post review of the SPN episode The Man Who Would Be King. I enjoyed the review in itself since I liked that ep. I've never really been too deep in the SPN fandom but the few things I remember reading after the ep were mostly just using it as grist for the mill of ongoing fandom arguments about Castiel and whether or not Dean and Sam should kick him to the curb etc. The reviewer felt like the story of Castiel's fall is great because of how it reflects the main themes of the show about faith and doubt. It is therefore, he her view, a Hall of Fame ep. An ep that encapsulates "what this show is about." An ep that was "richly rewarding on its own terms and that also provided a road map of the themes that have made 'Supernatural' worthy of six seasons of attention"

I'm not going to argue about whether "The Man Who Would Be King" actually deserves that title (since I don't know if it's as well-loved as most eps like that usually are)...

...that concept really is interesting--the eps that do that

Her review starts out by giving other examples of Hall of Fame Eps, starting with one of the best of all time, imo, Mad Men's "The Suitcase." Maureen Ryan writes:

"Take 'Mad Men's' 'The Suitcase' versus another episode of the AMC drama, 'Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency.' The latter is one of the most wonderful, entertaining and pitch-perfect episodes of 'Mad Men' ever.

But the reason 'The Suitcase' deserves to be in the television Hall of Fame is because it captured the show's twin themes of alienation and connection so profoundly. After four years of often outstanding television, that episode provided not just an opportunity to appreciate what the show's writers, directors and performers are capable of, it was a masterful, complicated, profound distillation of what the show is about.

She then rattles off some other examples: Justified's "Bloody Harlan," Breaking Bad's "One Minute," Parks and Recreation's "Harvest Festival," or Lost's "The Constant."

Having watched all those shows I would agree with all those eps. I was trying to think of other eps I felt that way about, because when you love a show in a profound way (meaning you really connect with "what this show is about) I think it makes you love those eps in a really significant way.

The first one that came to mind was Northern Exposure's "The Body In Question" where Chris finds the body of a French soldier frozen in ice who may or may not prove that Napoleon came to Alaska, leading Joel to a bit of a crisis of the nature of truth and faith, and a conversation with the Prophet Elijah.

I also thought of Brooklyn Bridge's "Saturday" where the adults start out with a list of chores and then chuck 'em Ferris Bueller style in favor of Danny Kaye and Coney Island and The Best Day Ever.

Also Huge's "Letter's Home." This show was so short-lived but so good. In this ep the kids are all encouraged to write letters to their parents, and the letters that don't get sent are sometimes the most revealing.

I'd love to hear of anybody else has episodes they think of this way. Just going off the top of my head I know I'm missing some. Thinking about it makes me want to rewatch I'll Fly Away because I feel like that show must have had one ep that stood out but it's been so long since it was on and when I think about it I think about moments rather than one ep. I'm sure I'm missing obvious ones!

The three I added I picked I picked instinctively, just the way I would have picked the ones Ryan mentioned, starting, of course, with "The Suitcase." She mentions the themes of alienation/connection in Mad Men and father/doubt in SPN and that makes me think about the three I picked and what it is that they're about that is so at the heart of their respective shows.

For "The Body in Question" it's that nature of truth question, and how we create ourselves based on what we believe and love.

For "Saturday" it's that it's that love is in the ordinary, small things.

For "Letters Home" it's about longing to be understood and loved for who you are. (Which sounds really cliche in a show about teenagers, but not when it's as vulnerable and honest as on this show.)

Does anyone else read about Hall of Fame eps and think of something not mentioned?


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