20 of the Best TV Flashback Episodes Ever

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We’ll just come right out and say it: No TV show feels complete without at least one flashback episode. Even though it often feels like we already know these characters better than they know themselves, it’s so amusing to get a glimpse of what they were like before the pilot. Sure, they may have briefly mentioned old memories or told stories about their past in a couple of scenes, but it’s just not the same as getting to watch their stories unfold firsthand — complete with the outdated hairstyles and weird outfits that we once thought were cool.

These flashbacks are always a treat because they do more than just fill plot holes. They give us a deeper look at the characters we’ve grown to love by revealing past relationships, childhood traumas, and other life-changing events that helped mold them into who they are. They also reveal surprising new connections, offer clarity when it comes to characters’ motives, and even address questions that have been left unanswered for way too long (like when we finally found out what happened to that elevator on The Big Bang Theory!). These flashbacks can range from a ten-second cut to a five-minute memory, but we’ve found that the most meaningful ones extend for an entire episode (FYI, we’re not talking about recycled scenes from previous seasons. We’re talking legit, never-before-seen footage that may or may not feature at least one hideous wig).

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