2022 is coming to a close! While I don't think it's been a great year for movies, it has been a great year for TV. Whenever there's a new season of Stranger Things, that year's TV shows are fantastic. And that was the case with this year. This ranking was really, really difficult. There were a lot of great episodes from a lot of great TV shows, but some stood out more than others. That said, here are my twenty favorite episodes of TV from 2022.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR
House of the Dragon
The Book of Boba Fett
Good News About Hell (Severance E1)
Return of the Mandalorian (The Book of Boba Fett E5)
Taikai (Cobra Kai E8)
The You You Are (Severance E8)
The Sound of Her Wings (The Sandman E6)
20. The Choad Less Traveled (Peacemaker E4)
This episode of Peacemaker had everything. It had the nasty James Gunn sense of humor while also having the emotions that you get in the later episodes of the season. There are some fantastic moments in this episode, whether you're talking about Vigilante attacking a bunch of guys in prison for being complete jerks or the huge reveal that Murn is a butterfly. It's a cool episode that has a little bit of everything and worked as a shifting point for the series as a whole.
19. The Rogue Prince (House of the Dragon E2)
The sophomore episode of House of the Dragon builds on the conflict that was set up in the pilot. We see the fallout of Aemma and Baelon's death as tensions build across House Targaryen. Daemon's insanity is put on full display here as well. Matt Smith chews up every scene he's in. The first episode of this show set up a deeply complex and disturbing conflict that is then built upon very well in the second episode.
18. Driftmark (House of the Dragon E7)
This episode would be much higher on the list if it weren't for the fact that it's so dark (literally). It has one of the best scenes in House of the Dragon as tensions between Alicent and Rhaenyra explode, causing Alicent to attack Rhaenyra with a dagger. Top-notch acting from both Emma D'Arcy and Olivia Cooke are knocked down by the fact that it is difficult to see for most of this episode. I don't understand why that's a Game of Thrones thing, but it is, and it's super annoying.
17. Best Friends, For Never (Peacemaker E2)
Much like The Rogue Prince, the second episode of Peacemaker builds on everything the first one set up. It's just as funny as the first while also giving us some new, awesome elements. The highlight here is Freddie Stroma's Vigilante, a literal sociopath that has this weird, touching aspect to him. He's so innocent while also being a horrible person at the same time. On top of that, the story of the season really begins to take shape here as we get the first hint of Peacemaker's dad maybe not being the best person and Amanda Waller maybe having her own agenda. There's some cool things in here. It really worked with episode one to get me hooked onto Peacemaker.
16. A Murder of Woes (Wednesday E8)
The finale of Wednesday finishes the woefully wonderful show in perfect fashion. This episode had a surprising amount of resonant, emotional payoff that kind of got to me. Enid hugging Wednesday and then Wednesday hugging her back after the whole battle is one of the most heartfelt moments in TV this year. Sure, the twists and turns were obvious, but they were satisfying. The payoffs in the final battle, whether it's Eugene's arrival with the bees or Bianca helping Wednesday take out Joseph Crackstone, are all really satisfying. And it leaves the show on a nice cliffhanger note as we hint towards this whole mystery being a part of something bigger. It was a great note to end the initial season of Wednesday on, and my fingers are crossed for season two.
15. The Lord of the Tides (House of the Dragon E8)
This is the episode of House of the Dragon that maybe had the most politics, but it was interesting. The episode starts with the conflict over Corlys Velaryon's presumed death and who will take over as Lord of the Tides in Driftmark. This leads to more conflict between House Targaryen as Rhaenyra's sons are considered illegitimate. All of this converges in on one final family dinner. A weakened and dying Viserys wishes to have his last meal with his whole family together. Alicent and Rhaenyra make up, but their sons still fight. It's one of the best written scenes in the show, and it absolutely works as a devastating and poetic end to Viserys's character as well as a set up for what's to come in House of the Dragon.
14. The Black Queen (House of the Dragon E10)
The finale of House of the Dragon starts off slow, but it culminates in one of the most shocking and heart-wrenching final ten minutes ever. After Viserys's death, Alicent tries to undermine Rhaenyra's claim to throne, causing Daemon to want to go to war. Rhaenyra wants things to remain peaceful, though, so she sends her sons to negotiate. This does not work out well, because Lucerys encounters Aemond on the way out. Everything culminates in a tragic fight between dragons wherein Aemond accidentally kills Lucerys. That sets Rhaenyra off as the final shot of the season shows Emma D'Arcy's devastated, infuriated expression that says everything it needs to without speaking words. Fantastic, fantastic finale.
13. The Goldfish Problem (Moon Knight E1)
If only Moon Knight lived up to what the first episode was. The pilot of this show was fantastic. It didn't feel like a superhero show. It didn't feel like the MCU. It felt like this weird, trippy psychological thriller. We follow Oscar Isaac's confused, nervous character of Steven Grant as he tries to figure out exactly what's happening with these blackouts and other mysterious things. It all culminates in his first encounter with Marc Spector, his other personality, who transforms into Moon Knight to give us the first hint of where we were going. Unfortunately, where we went was not nearly as exciting as what this first episode was, but this was still a great intro to a somewhat disappointing show.
12. The Heirs of the Dragon (House of the Dragon E1)
I have never seen Game of Thrones, so I was completely new to Westeros when I pressed play on the first episode of House of the Dragon. And it absolutely blew me away. I was so impressed by the show's ability to have an impending sense of doom. Beyond that, it introduced great characters and began to slowly set up the dominoes that would make the events of the show happen. It was an impressive introduction into this prequel that got me immediately invested.
11. A Whole New Whirled (Peacemaker E1)
Speaking of impressive pilots that got me immediately invested...holy crap. The first episode of Peacemaker was amazing. As soon as that intro rolled for the first time, I knew this show was something special. It had all of the James Gunn humor that I wanted while setting up an interesting story with amazing, amazing characters. It was one of the funniest and most entertaining episodes of TV that I have ever seen. I absolutely loved it. Fantastic first episode for this show.
10. 24/7 (The Sandman E5)
24/7 felt like a piece of art. The Sandman was a mixed bag overall, but this episode was jaw-dropping. The show plays out a little bit like an anthology with certain arcs continuing throughout, but 24/7 barely connected to the main narrative. It focuses on David Thewlis's John Dee as he goes into a diner and uses his powers to remove all of the lies from everyone in the restaurant. It lets the situation play out and gives us a beautiful and tragic story that has deep, complex themes and interesting, layered characters. The acting wasn't great, but besides that, 24/7 was a masterclass in episodic storytelling.
9. We Light the Way (House of the Dragon E5)
The mid-season finale of House of the Dragon delivered everything that you want. Tensions were at a peak between Rhaenyra and Alicent. Criston Cole was pissed off. And Rhaenyra was getting married to a gay man. But Viserys, being the peaceful man that he is, wanted Rhaenyra to have a perfectly nice wedding. Of course, that doesn't happen, as we get a shocking final ten minutes that gives us some horrific imagery and sends us into the massive time jump awaiting what happens next.
8. Part VI (Obi-Wan Kenobi E6)
Obi-Wan Kenobi was a disappointment. It should've been a lot better. BUT...the finale was absolutely incredible. It delivered an incredible showdown between Obi-Wan and Vader that has some peak moments from both characters. We also get some awesome moments of earned fan service, whether it's Obi-Wan greeting Luke with a "Hello there" or Qui-Gon showing up near the end. It was a great way to wrap up a not so great show. I loved it.
7. From the Desert Comes a Stranger (The Book of Boba Fett E6)
I liked Obi-Wan Kenobi. I didn't like The Book of Boba Fett. It was actually awful. However, episodes five and six were great. Episode five was essentially an episode of The Mandalorian, and episode six was just a gift to Star Wars fans. We see Luke and Ahsoka return and we get to witness Luke actually training Grogu. Along with that, we see Cobb Vanth return and we get Cad Bane's live-action debut. It was a fantastic episode that had basically nothing to do with the main show (which is probably why it was great).
6. Defiant Jazz (Severance E7)
Defiant Jazz was one of the most thrilling episodes of the year. Severance was a crazy show that had tons of twists and turns, but none were as big as in this episode. There are multiple big, shocking moments in this episode. The final moment had my jaw in the floor. Beyond that, we get some really well-directed and well-acted scenes in here. The dance party is a highlight of the show. Tramell Tillman gives his best performance in this episode. It elevates a fantastic story that sets the stage for the final two episodes in dramatic fashion.
5. What's for Dinner? (Severance E8)
The penultimate episode of Severance paid off all of the tension in fantastic, fantastic ways. We see the severed workers preparing for their plan and trying to avoid being caught by Ms. Cobel and the rest of the higher-ups at Lumen. The tension slowly ramps up throughout the episode and builds to what is possibly the best cliffhanger in a pre-season finale episode ever. Amazing way to build up to your final episode.
4. Extreme Measures (Cobra Kai E5)
Extreme Measures was probably the best episode of Cobra Kai...ever. The tension of the season is building. Terry Silver is becoming a more dangerous threat than ever. Daniel's life is heading down the drain. And Johnny's life is on the up and up. We get some huge emotional payoff in this episode. The obvious is the fight between Miguel and Robby as the two of them finally work their differences out and become friends. But the final scene where Silver beats the crap out of Daniel is absolutely amazing. It ends with Cobra Kai expanding even more and Johnny joining forces with Daniel to take down Silver, who is a legitimate threat to their safety. I adored this episode. So, so much.
3. Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab (Stranger Things E7)
You've probably been asking yourself: where is Stranger Things on this list? Well, here we go. The Massacre at Hawkins Lab was a shocking way to finish off volume one of this fourth season. It builds...and builds...and builds as we get more explanations for what Vecna is doing and why he's doing it. Beyond this being just a thrilling, exciting episode, it ends with a shocking twist about Vecna and his true identity. Wow. I don't know how else I can praise this show. It's the best.
2. Chapter Nine: The Piggyback (Stranger Things E9)
The finale of Stranger Things season four was literally the length of a movie, and it delivered on everything that you wanted. There are incredibly satisfying story payoffs and exciting emotional moments. Hopper and Joyce fighting the Demogorgon. Eddie playing Master of Puppets to draw the demo-bats away. Nancy and co. torching Vecna with a frickin' flamethrower. Eleven battling Vecna in her mind. All of the plotlines converge to have this huge, intense, slam-bang finale that leaves me salivating for season five.
1. Chapter Four: Dear Billy (Stranger Things E4)
Masterpiece. That is the only thing that can describe this episode. Season four of Stranger Things got off to a slightly rocky start. It wasn't bad, per se, but it certainly didn't feel like it was the best that we've ever gotten. Then you reach Dear Billy, and you get an episode that reaches Breaking Bad - Ozymandias heights. The end of episode three shows us that Vecna is hunting Max, and this episode spends the first half building on that conflict. Our team desperately races to find solutions and save Max...and then Vecna grabs hold of her, and we get the best twenty minutes of Stranger Things ever. The Running Up That Hill sequence is thrilling. It's incredibly intense and filled with emotion. It was exhilarating. I absolutely loved it. One of my favorite hours of TV I've ever seen.