The hit sitcom “Friends” is more than just a television show, it’s a cultural movement. From “The Rachel” to Joey’s famous catchphrase, it’s hard to not love the six characters navigate New York City for ten seasons.
Throughout the ten-season-run, a lot happens. Rachel and Ross are in an on-and-off relationship, the whole cast engages in different career paths, and so many iconic moments happen in between. A lot of those iconic moments happen in the season finales.
To honor those highlights and less notable parts of the show, I’ve ranked all of the season finales.
10. Season 2 – “The One With Barry and Mindy’s Wedding”
This episode does have some key storyline moments, including Monica and Richard Burke’s breakup. Other than that, this finale isn’t as strong as some of the others. The episode is funny and lighthearted, though. Rachel almost runs out on what would be the second wedding she is a part of due to an embarrassing character malfunction. Instead, she sings “Copa Cabana” with the wedding band. Most of the other finales tug at your heartstrings (see the top five.)
9. Season 9 – “The One in Barbados”
It kind of feels like the “Friends” team ran out of ideas and stumbled upon this episode to end the second to last season. There’s not really much to this episode that drives the story along. I also feel like the writers could have done so much with this episode that would have ended season ten with a bang. Personally, I’m not much of a fan, but there are parts of the episode that are funny and lighthearted.
8. Season 10 – “The Last One”
I know I might take some heat for putting such a heartfelt closer to an era in a low position, but this finale just doesn’t do it for me. I love the full circle moment with Ross chasing to see Rachel at the airport like we see earlier in the season with Rachel to Ross. That “I got off the plane” moment gives me chills. Wrapping everything up in a nice, neat bow is beautiful. But that’s it. I need an episode with a little spice. A little flavor. I realize you can’t do much with the very last episode of a series, but it’s just a personal preference.
7. Season 8 – “The One Where Rachel Has a Baby”
This episode makes me both laugh and cry. I love seeing the humor, the seriousness and the heartfelt moments in the episode that really tie in to one. I think the only issue is now the only major storyline to focus on from here on out is the Rachel and Ross relationship. If you think about it, everyone’s character has developed through the seasons. Monica and Chandler are together, Joey is pretty much stable and Phoebe is doing her thing. Adding Emma, Ross and Rachel’s child, to the mix keeps the story just interesting enough.
6. Season 5 – “The One in Vegas”
After becoming a fan of The Weeknd, I have to do right and put the “Friends” Vegas episode higher in the ranks. I do admit that there really isn’t much to this episode other than Rachel and Ross drunkenly getting married, but that’s about it and gives you enough content to go through season six. We also have Monica and Chandler (possibly) getting married, but it ends up not happening. Otherwise, in my opinion, the show is pretty bland.
5. Season 3 – “The One at the Beach”
This entire episode is so toxic – and I love it. Rachel wants Ross again but he’s seeing another girl so Rachel convinces that girl to shave her head so Ross thinks she’s ugly. It’s just fantastic. We also have the plot with Phoebe going to see her birth mother. This episode I think is very funny, entertaining and we’re ultimately left off with a great cliffhanger. Will Ross choose the girl he’s currently seeing? Or will he choose Rachel? We don’t know.
4. Season 7 – “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding”
I remember the first time watching this season, I thought it would end so cute and sweet, and then boom, the writers throw in that Rachel is pregnant. This episode really sets up a great cliffhanger as to who the baby belongs to. Then, season eight is kind of sculpted around the Rachel pregnancy and potential for her and Ross to get back together. But in this specific episode, I just love seeing the chaos that leads up to Monica and Chandler getting married. So much goes on and it’s all fun and emotional and beautiful.
3. Season 1 – “The One Where Rachel Finds Out”
This episode sets the scene for the rest of the series to happen the way it does. It plants the flower of Ross and Rachel’s relationship that we see grow and change throughout the ten seasons. I love when Rachel finds out because in the first episodes and throughout the season, it’s evident that Ross has the strong feelings. Then, Rachel ends up having the strong feelings. Then, it just flip-flops back and forth until they get together for the first time. It all begins with this episode and I don’t have enough good things to say about it.
2. Season 4 – “The One With Ross’s Wedding”
I also remember watching this episode for the first time and getting serious chills because of Ross’s name mixup. In a way, part of me was shocked, but I also wasn’t shocked. Ross seeing Rachel definitely through him off. In a way, this is kind of what Rachel wanted, but she didn’t have to outright say it. I also think this finale has the second best cliffhanger. The priest goes “Shall I go on?” and then it just fades to black. *chills* Like with Monica and Chandler’s wedding, this wedding is also very chaotic but also funny and lighthearted.
- Season 6 – “The One with the Proposal”
To me, nothing beats this episode. Nothing beats this episode in any show I’ve ever watched, honestly. I chose this episode as the best season finale because everything ultimately builds up to the final scene of Monica and Chandler, well, proposing to each other. I get chills just thinking about the scene playing out. Then after the engagement, three of the four friends (sorry Ross) all come together to celebrate the engagement. I sobbed the first few times I watched this episode just because of the development that both of these characters go through to get to where they are. Both characters face a ton of crappy relationships, but then they finally get together and make it official and this is what true love and a happy ending looks like.
What would you change? What is your favorite from this list? Let me know in the comments.
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