Our favorite (and least favorite) episodes of 2011 | EW.com

TV | Game of Thrones

Our favorite (and least favorite) episodes of 2011

Kudos for ''The Good Wife'' and ''Game of Thrones,'' scorn for ''Kim's Fairytale Wedding'' and ''The Killing''

1. The Good Wife, ”Closing Argument” (May 17, CBS)
Also known as ”The Episode Where They Finally (Finally!) Hook Up.” After two seasons of acting like repressed lovers in a Merchant Ivory drama, Will (Josh Charles) and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) took a deeply viewer-satisfying ride up to the presidential suite, with the elevator doors opening and closing on every floor, giving brief glimpses of Will grabbing Alicia’s hand (bing!), stroking her hair (bing!), and disappearing with her into the hotel room, with HR violations dancing in their heads (BINGBINGBING!). Yes, the secondary story lines were awesome — Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) shame-spiraling over sleeping with Peter (Chris Noth), Eli (Alan Cumming) deciding to bring his consulting firm to Lockhart & Gardner — but if ever there was a reason to pound that gavel, this long-awaited rendezvous was it. —Melissa Maerz

2. Homeland, ”The Weekend” (Nov. 13, Showtime)
Like all the best scary stories, this one started in the woods. When CIA agent Carrie (Claire Danes) brought possibly ”turned” POW Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) to her family’s cabin, it was either a romantic getaway or a very dangerous experiment — or possibly both. Is Brody a terrorist, or is Carrie just off her meds? And even if she’s paranoid, does that mean she’s wrong? Every tense moment changed your mind — until the final twist left it blown. —MM

3. Game of Thrones, ”Baelor” (June 12, HBO)
Fantasy has never felt so real. From the opening glimpse of doomed patriarch Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) breath in the darkness of his dungeon cell to the final shot of his silent prayer being cut off by an executioner’s blade, director Alan Taylor (who should have received an Emmy nomination for this hour) turned the shocking climax of the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones into darkly gripping high art. —James Hibberd

4. Revenge, ”Pilot” (Sept. 21, ABC)
It was love at launch for ABC’s soapy Count of Monte Cristo retelling: Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) returned to Southampton under a new guise and with the mission of taking down society queen and foe Victoria Grayson (the fabulous Madeleine Stowe) via a delightfully smart game of backstabbing. The beach setting, pretty people, and lavish parties add to the show’s charm, of course, but Revenge’s appeal remains rooted in the juicy murder-mystery plot launched in this first episode. It’s the gift that’s been giving all season. —Tanner Stransky

5. The Killing, ”Undertow” (May 22, AMC)
The desperation to find Rosie’s murderer was taken to a nail-biting extreme when Mitch (Michelle Forbes) incited her husband, Stan, to seek brutal vengeance on Bennet Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren), the man they believed killed their daughter. Trouble is, while Stan (Brent Sexton) was busy slamming Bennet’s head into the pavement, Mitch came to the realization back home that their daughter’s favorite teacher was actually an innocent man. Though it was her character’s lowest moment, it was Forbes’ finest hour. —Lynette Rice