King of the Hill episode # 8ABE15, "Hank's Back" (originally "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hank")
Written by Gregory Thompson & Aron Abrams (veterans of Third Rock From the Sun and other shows, writing their first KotH episode)
Directed by: Robin Brigstocke (a longtime KotH animator making a directorial debut, and doing an excellent job of it)
Guest voices: Johnny Depp, Marg Helgenberger, Phil Hendrie
Plot: Hank injures his back at work and only yoga can fix it; a nosy claims investigator tries to prove that Hank is abusing worker's compensation; Peggy goes to work at the Pink & White to revive the lost art of bagging.
My thoughts: 5/5. Funny stuff all along the way, and no sagging or moralizing in the third act (which is a trouble I've had with the last few episodes). Johnny Depp was a classic KotH guest star, which is to say that everything about him makes Hank want to kick his ass. That's the way I like to see Hank: impossibly square, constantly annoyed, dealing with pencil-pushers and New Age hippie-types, and holding onto his values while maybe picking up something new along the way. Minor quibbles (underuse of Bobby; lack of Luanne and Kahn; yet another wacky Peggy subplot, albeit a funny one) don't stop this from going on my shortlist of the best of the season (my others so far are "Reborn to Be Wild," "The Incredible Hank," "My Hair Lady," possibly "DaleTech").
Next week's episode, "The Redneck on Rainey Street," was described to me in glowing terms by someone who's seen it, so I have high hopes for that one, particularly since it's written by Jim Dauterive, one of the show's original writers (he did "Junkie Business," "Hanky Panky," "A Beer Can Named Desire" among many others). And the season finale is by Garland Testa ("Aisle 8A," "Movin' On Up," "Chasing Bobby".) Hopefully this season is headed for a good finish.