Everwood and Lost appear really good at giving us episodes dealing with issues we want to see, exactly when we want to see them. Here’s the trick, as far as I can tell:
Hint at it one episode before.
For instance, in Lost, Jack didn’t want to speak at the memorial service. It wasn’t a huge thing but it drew attention to how he didn’t want to adopt a leader role. Next ep? Foregrounded that issue.