TV series where the penultimate episode is better than the finale

There is an ongoing discussion in Fargo S2 about the last episodes of season 2 of Fargo (where each season essentially stands alone). The penultimate second-to-last episode was super intense and full of suspense that made the final episode seem tame by comparison, at least to me.

In what other TV series has this occurred, either for a season finale, or as the series finale?

Spoilers would be appropriate for recent shows; you probably don’t need a spoiler for the Bob Newhart final episode.

Here’s another recent show: You’re the Worst on FXX turned into a comedy-drama where the “boy meets girl” story line becomes “boy can’t help the clinically depressed girl”. The second-to-last episode however contains a very moving scene:

Instead of running to a weekend romp with a hot girl, the boyfriend stays and builds a pillow fort for the girl, watches her until she wakes up, where she says with tears: “You stayed!” which snaps her out of her depression. The acting and emotions were superb in that episode, but the final episode was back to normal silliness.

Other examples please…

While I’m quick to stick up for the final episode of THE PRISONER, I’m just as quick to admit that it’s not as good as the penultimate one.

Since the final episode of *Seinfeld *was sooo baaad, I can safely say the second to last episode was better, without even looking it up.

A lot of people don’t like it, but The Puerto Rican Day is one of my favorite episodes.

Both the series finale and the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad are great, but the pen-penultimate episode Ozymanidas is pretty much considered the best episode of the show and one of the best episodes of any TV show.

The previous season of Homeland wrapped up all the political/terrorism stuff in the second to last episode. The final episode was a bunch of family drama that mostly came out of nowhere (I give them a little bit of slack because they were trying to work in the death of the actor who played Carrie’s father but still, it was kind of a letdown). A lot of people complained about it and this season they seem to be saving the excitement for the last episode.

I’d expect that this would be the case for most TV shows. The final episode is operating under the terrible burden of having to wrap everything up, and it’s much harder to make a good episode under that constraint. The better question would be, in what TV shows was the final episode better than the one or two that came just before it?

(and bonus points for the correct usage of “penultimate”, by the way)

The story goes that Ray Romano did not want to end Everybody Loves Raymond with a grand finale, so instead they made an episode that could have run at any point in the series. The episode before that focused on Georgia Engel as Robert’s mother-in-law trying to keep a secret. Her performance was funnier than anything in the final episode.

On Band of Brothers, Why We Fight (Which deals with the liberation of a concentration camp.) struck me as a much stronger episode than Points, which is mostly about who’s going home and who’s getting transferred to the Pacific theater.

Every season of Game of Thrones

The second-to-last episode of The Sopranos (“The Blue Comet”) was one of the best of the entire series. The final episode (“Made in America”) sucked.

“Turnabaout Intruder” vs “All Our Yesterdays”? :dubious: :confused:

Debatable. In one, we get to see most of Mariette Hartley; in the other, we get to see the Shat play a man and a woman.

Really, really hard to decide! :smack:

The penultimate episode of this season of Doctor Who, “Heaven Sent,” was a masterpiece that many fans consider to be one of the best of the series (all of it, not just NuWho).

The last episode, “Hell Bent,” was good, but not nearly that good.

I much prefer “Institutional Memory”, the penultimate episode of The West Wing, to the final episode, primarily because “Institutional Memory” focuses on wrapping up C.J.'s storyline.

Thanks, I saw someone in the Fargo thread use the word; I had to look up the definition to make sure what it meant!

And I suppose we can add the finale “it was all a story I made up” on Roseanne.

“antepenultimate”. :wink:

I wouldn’t think this question applied to older shows, prior to the days of official series finales.

Shows in Star Trek’s day didn’t end, they just stopped. The Prisoner and The Fugitive were exceptions, and the Prisoner shouldn’t count at all. It’s more like a spread-out movie than a series.

How I Met Your Mother’s final season was awesome until the last episode. The fact that, in retrospect, they had obviously building up to the reveal that

Tracy (the Mother) had always been dead from the viewpoint of Future!Ted, that Robin and Barney’s marriage had likewise been over fr years, and the story he was telling his kids was a leadup to his asking out Future!Robin

only made it worse. They could have had mid-20s Alyson Hannigan shoot all her scenes for the season years ahead of time while entirely naked and it wouldn’t have helped.

So instead he sent us off with quite possibly the *worst *episode of the entire series. I didn’t realize the smoking episode was the second to last but it is easily the best in the series. The final one is easily the worst, and in fact actively pisses me off.

Star Trek : Enterprise had a stinker of a finale, on a last season where it finally seemed to be hitting its stride.

Beat me by 5 minutes there, leachim.