This is the Pajiba Power Rankings for episodes that aired between Sunday October 23rd and Saturday, October 30th.
10. Cougar Town: An unusually sweet episode that lands in the top ten this week on the strength of an unexpected guest star in Ken Jenkins, aka, Bob Kelso. As far as I’m concerned, Bill Lawrence can keep rolling in those “Scrubs” cameos every single week.
9. Sons of Anarchy: I still like it, but I expected more from this super-sized episode that puts the Sons in Ireland. Nevertheless, it was still the scenes in Charming — with Tig — that were the most compelling (on a side note, I don’t keep up too much with the real names of the actors on this show, but this week, I finally looked it up to see who the third named woman is in the credits — Kim Coates — only to realize that the actor who plays Tig is Kim Coates. Am I the only one that didn’t know this?) The Ireland plot is still very much slow-burning, and the contrivances they’re using to keep Jax away from Abel are really starting to strain. Kurt Sutter needs to pull this together, quickly. But there are still five episodes left this season, and I feel like Fuller is going to need to work to stretch the Abel kidnapping over the next five hours.
8. Parenthood: In his recap, Todd VanDerWerff over on The AV Club perfectly summed up my the why “Parenthood” is such an amazing show:
“‘Parenthood’ is the mythical TV show I’ve always said I wanted about the fact that functional relationships have fights and disagreements, yes, but also find ways around the conflict and are, indeed, stronger for that conflict. This shouldn’t surprise me. Showrunner Jason Katims’ other series, “Friday Night Lights,” features the strongest, most realistically depicted marriage on TV in a long time, in Eric and Tami Taylor. Katims is dedicated to making shows where the conflict arises from people discussing earnestly what they want, but he’s also dedicated to making shows where people work these conflicts out and not every fight has to be a world-shattering thing.
7. The Office: Another excellent episode of “The Office.” They brought back some of the early-season excruciatingly uncomfortable humor, here with Michael and Daryl’s power struggle. The opening segment, which played upon Stanley’s obliviousness, may have been one of the best sequences in all of “The Office” history.
6. Modern Family: “Modern Family” fell out of the top five for the first time this season, but it wasn’t due to any lack of quality on the show’s part. It was just an unusually good week for five other shows. They’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of Gloria’s Colombian heritage, but it never fails to be funny, including this week’s fantastic idiom mangling.
5. Raising Hope: “Raising Hope” for an entire hour. The Halloween episode was stellar, especially Dillahunt’s hug scheme. The second episode was pretty goddamn great, too. It’s a show that’s doing fairly well in the ratings, but I’m a little disappointed that it’s not talked about as much as “Modern Family” and even “Community.” It’s definitely in the same league, comedically.
4. Terriers: This week’s episode, where Britt was kidnapped, brought it back to form after a slow week. I’m still not entirely sure where they’re going, but it is my understanding that the overall conspiracy arc will return in two weeks for the final three episodes. In the meantime, Britt is almost as compelling as Donal Logue’s Hank now.
3. The Good Wife: An honest to God brilliant episode. It was like a little legal drama heist, and whoever wrote this episode ought to be rewarded come Emmy time. A masseuse came in with a rape accusation against a Nobel Prize winner (for his work with women, no less), and the firm had four hours to figure out whether to take the case. I thought it was brilliant how they played the back-and-forth over the entire course of the episode, only to see politics come into play in the end. “The Good Wife” seems to get better with each passing week.
2. Friday Night Lights: I don’t know whether to include “FNL” on the power rankings during its DirectTV run, or it’s NBC run, but since I’m watching it now, I think I’ll include them here, which means that it’ll probably be competing with “The Walking Dead,” “Community” and “Raising Hope” for the top spot on most weeks. It began its final season right where it left off: As a heartfelt drama about good people. Welling up once is about the equivalent of ten good sitcom jokes; it just happens that, this week, the top spot had about 31 great jokes, edging out “Friday Night Lights,” and the heartbreakingly subtle send-off of Julie.
1. Community: Everything about this episode was aces. Zombies and ABBA, cats being tossed, Troy upending the black man in a horror movie stereotype, and a Human Centipede joke. That’s a perfect goddamn episode, people.