During its original airing, fan favorite comedy Will & Grace ran for a whopping 194 episodes over an eight season stint and with the show about to make its much anticipated comeback, it’s time to look at those ‘essential’ episodes that you need to binge before the show returns to brush up on your Will & Grace history.
These chosen episodes provide pivotal moments in the Will & Grace timeline from major relationships, back stories and family members that bring us to the characters we will meet again in season 9.
1: The Pilot
Obviously, this episodes sets up Will & Grace and their highly dysfunctional long standing relationship. How much each play in the others lives makes a big impact especially on Grace who finds herself walking away from her boyfriend Danny.
2: The Unsinkable Mommy Adler / Season One – Episode Thirteen
This episode introduces us to Grace’s flamboyant mother Bobbi Adler (Debbie Reynolds) who causes a ruckus when she suggests that Will & Grace should get married. The comment forces Grace to take a closer look at who she is and just how like her star dazed mom she really is.
3: Big Brother is Coming Parts 1 + 2 / Season One Episode Fourteen and Fifteen
Jack’s surprise party provides more of a surprise to Will when his estranged older brother Sam (John Slattery) arrives at the request of Grace. A truce between the two is put on hold after Will discovers that Grace and Sam had hooked up at Jack’s party.
4: Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner / Season Two – Episode One
Will is finding that Grace is not coping well with their new living situation and to prove Will wrong that she can survive in her own apartment, attempts to throw a housewarming dinner party with Karen and friends Rob and Ellen. Meanwhile to keep the INS at bay, Jack moves into Karen’s mansion to maintain his fake wedding to Karen’s maid Rosario.
5: Homo For the Holidays / Season Two – Episode Seven
In this Thanksgiving themed episode, it’s revealed that Jack has never actually come out to his mom Judith (Veronica Cartwright) even though Jack was responsible for pushing Will to do the same to his mom. It’s also revealed that Jack used Grace as his fake girlfriend causing Karen to go into a jealous rage and that Judith lied about who Jack’s real father is.
6: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, He’s Kept me in the Closet and I’m so Sad / Season Two – Episode Thirteen
This episode takes a closer look at Will’s relationship with his father George (Sydney Pollack) and shows that things between the two aren’t as rosy as Will thought. It turns out George has told all his co-workers that Will is actually married to Grace meanwhile Karen hires a private detective to track down Jack’s real father.
7: An Affair to Forget / Season Two – Episode Nineteen
Leading up to Rob (Tom Gallop) and Ellen’s (Leigh-Allyn Baker) wedding, it’s revealed that when the pair had separated, Rob and Grace had hooked up causing a rift between Grace and Ellen.
8: Lows in the Mid-Eighties Parts One and Two / Season Three – Episodes Eight and Nine
This flashback double episode delves back into Will & Grace’s college years when the two were dating. Grace brings Will to her parents home for Thanksgiving but he is struggling with issues of his own and seeks help with the out and proud Jack meanwhile Karen meets Rosario for the very first time.
9: Sons and Lovers Part Two / Season Three – Episode Twenty Five
Jack has finally tracked down his birth father but is devastated to learn that he had passed away years earlier. Struggling with the news that he never got to meet him, Jack is surprised to find out he has a teenage son named Elliot (Michael Angarano)
10: Rules of Engagement / Season Four – Episode Six
Grace is disappointed when boyfriend Nathan (Woody Harrelson) proposes to her, not for proposing but how it was done. When deciding she wants to make it right, her big surprise gesture goes wrong and Grace finds herself single again.
11: Dyeing is Easy, Comedy is Hard / Season Four – Episode Fifteen
Grace and Will attend Grace’s ex – Danny’s (Tom Verica) wedding where the two try and reinvent themselves from the people they really are while Jack comes head to head with Elliot’s mother Bonnie (Rosie O’Donnell) who isn’t happy with how Jack is raising Elliot.
12: Something Borrowed, Someone’s Due / Season Four – Episode Eighteen
Jack, having finally tracked down Karen’s estranged mother Lois (Suzanne Pleshette) attempts to get the two to reunite but Karen still can’t get past how Lois would use a young Karen as a ploy in her scams.
12: Cheatin’ Trouble Blues / Season Four – Episode Nineteen
Under the assumption that his father’s affair was done with, Will gives his parents tickets for a cruise as a gift for their wedding anniversary but is shocked to learn this George’s affair with Tina (Leslie Ann Warren) is anything but over and that his mother Marilyn (Blythe Danner) is also having an affair. The episode ends with Will’s parents making the decision to separate.
13: A.I: Artificial Insemination Parts One and Two / Season Four – Episodes Twenty Six and Twenty Seven
Off the back of a ‘bucket list’ Will and Grace begin to talk heavily about having a baby together and consider the options on how to make it happen. After two failed attempts at IVF and sex being off the table they decide to try IVF once more but a mysterious man on a white horse could change everything.
14: The Kids Stays Out of the Picture / Season Five – Episode Three
With Grace’s relationship with Leo (Harry Connick Jr) moving more quickly than expected, Grace asks Will if they can take a step back from the IVF treatment so she can evaluate her options. The episode ends with a particularly brutal fight between Will & Grace.
15: Marry Me a Little, Marry Me a Little More / Season Five – Episodes Nine and Ten
Grace and Leo make a spur of the moment decision to get married as part of a TV stunt for the Today Show but the move isn’t well received by Will and Grace’s friends and family. At the following wedding reception, Grace becomes uneasy as she realizes just how little she knows about her new husband. After learning their marriage wasn’t actually legal, the two decide to have an official wedding where Will ends up walking Grace down the isle.
16: 23 / Season Five – Episode Twenty Three
Karen is concerned how she’ll come out after her divorce with Stan is finalized but is shocked to learn he has died while in bed with his mistress Lorraine (Minnie Driver). Leo is offered a job in Guatemala with Doctors without Borders and Grace agrees to join him.
17: Last Ex to Brooklyn – Season Six – Episode Two
Leo and Grace decide to throw a dinner party for Will, Jack, Karen and Leo’s ex girlfriend Dianne (Mira Sorvino) but it turns out, Dianne is the girl Will slept with right after breaking up with Grace (season 3 episodes 8 and 9) and Grace isn’t taking this revelation so well.
18: The Accidental Tsuris: Season Six – Episode Eleven
Karen finds herself with the unwanted attention of Lorraine’s father Lyle (John Cleese) but changes her tune when Lorraine makes it clear that Karen is to stay away from him meanwhile Grace’s older sister Janet (Geena Davis) arrives to launch her jewelry enterprise/folding table subway stand but Grace can’t handle her free-loading sister anymore.
19: I Do. Oh, No, You Di-in’t: Season Six – Episode Twenty Three
Karen and Lyle make the spur of the moment decision to fly to Vegas and elope but shortly after the wedding, it becomes clear that Karen isn’t too keen on Lyle’s strict demands. Leo also arrives in Vegas and reveals that he cheated on Grace while in Cambodia working for Doctors without Boarders.
20: Alive and Schticking: Season Eight – Episode One
Will informs Karen that Stan is actually alive and that he was forced to fake his death. It turns out Rosario also knew this, much to the disgust of Karen, and is fired.
21: Grace Expectations – Season Eight – Episode Sixteen
Grace finds herself struggling with the idea of telling Leo she is pregnant with his child but decides it’s in their both best interests if she tells him.
22: Blanket Apology: Season Eight – Episode Nineteen
Jack goes for an audition for a bit part in a new cop drama but ends up scoring the lead role and a simple dinner at Will’s parents place turns into an all-out brawl as Will’s father gives Grace Will’s cherished baby blanket under the belief that Will will never have children of his own. The two leave things unresolved before Will learns his father passed away shortly after.
23: The Mourning Son: Season Eight – Episode Twenty
Will struggles with the fact he left things so harshly between him and his father and with the help of his mother, comes to terms with how everything ended.
24: Partners ‘n’ Crime: Season Eight – Episode Twenty One
Will begins to rekindle his relationship with Vince (Bobby Cannavale) forcing Grace to take a look at whether or not Will will have enough room in his life for Vince and Grace and her unborn child.
25: The Finale: Season Eight – Episode Twenty Three
The culmination of eight seasons ends tonight with a one-hour series finale — will Will and Grace raise a child together and find ultimate happiness? Will Jack find anyone that loves him as much as he loves himself? Will Karen find true happiness with the absence of Stan?
Will & Grace returns Thursday night, September 28th on NBC and begins streaming on Friday the 29th on STAN Australia.