Over the years, television has given us captivating stories that often reflect the spectrum of human emotion and experience. One narrative device that writers often employ to keep viewers on their toes is the plot twist – an unexpected turn of events that defies the viewer’s expectations like a National Casino jackpot. Here are the top 10 TV show plot twists that left audiences shocked, stunned, and eagerly hitting the “next episode” button.
1. “Game of Thrones” – The Red Wedding
Season 3, Episode 9: “The Rains of Castamere”
George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series is no stranger to shocking moments. But nothing prepared fans for the bloodbath known as the Red Wedding. What was expected to be a celebratory occasion turned into a massacre, resulting in the deaths of Robb Stark, his pregnant wife, and his mother Catelyn. It left viewers aghast and solidified the show’s reputation for unpredictability.
2. “Breaking Bad” – Hank’s Discovery
Season 5, Episode 8: “Gliding Over All”
Hank, the dogged DEA agent and brother-in-law to the show’s protagonist, Walter White, discovers Walt’s secret meth operation while casually reading a book in the bathroom. The realization that the elusive “Heisenberg” was right under his nose all along was a mind-blowing revelation for viewers.
3. “The Good Place” – The True Nature of The Good Place
Season 1, Episode 13: “Michael’s Gambit”
For a season, viewers believed the characters were in ‘The Good Place,’ a heavenly afterlife. However, in a masterful twist, it’s revealed that they were actually in ‘The Bad Place,’ enduring a novel form of psychological torture devised by the demon Michael.
4. “Lost” – We Have to Go Back
Season 3, Episode 23: “Through the Looking Glass”
After three seasons of island mystery, “Lost” stunned viewers by introducing a flash-forward, revealing that some of the survivors eventually leave the island. Jack’s desperate “We have to go back!” remains one of the show’s most iconic lines.
5. “Westworld” – Bernard’s True Identity
Season 1, Episode 7: “Trompe L’Oeil”
Bernard, initially introduced as a human programmer for the park’s android hosts, is shockingly revealed to be a host himself, challenging viewers’ perceptions and expectations of character identity.
6. “Dexter” – Rita’s Demise
Season 4, Episode 12: “The Getaway”
Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter expert and secret serial killer, often managed to separate his dark hobby from his home life. However, the Season 4 finale left audiences in shock when Dexter’s wife, Rita, is discovered dead at the hands of the Trinity Killer.
7. “Sherlock” – Reichenbach Fall
Season 2, Episode 3: “The Reichenbach Fall”
Sherlock Holmes’ apparent death after a fall from a building, in front of his best friend Dr. John Watson, was a harrowing sight. While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original story contained a similar event, the modern rendition in “Sherlock” was particularly heart-wrenching.
8. “Twin Peaks” – Laura Palmer’s Killer
Season 2, Episode 7: “Lonely Souls”
The central mystery of “Twin Peaks” revolved around the question: “Who killed Laura Palmer?” When it was revealed that her father, Leland Palmer, was the killer (albeit under possession), it was a profound and disturbing twist in an already surreal narrative.
9. “The Walking Dead” – Negan’s Victim
Season 7, Episode 1: “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”
After a cliffhanger in the previous season, fans were on edge about which beloved character met their end at the hands of Negan and his bat, Lucille. The brutal and unexpected deaths of both Abraham and Glenn were devastating to fans.
10. “How to Get Away with Murder” – Sam’s Death
Season 1, Episode 9: “Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me”
Throughout the first half of the season, viewers know Sam is dead but aren’t privy to the full circumstances. The reveal that the group of law students, along with their professor Annalise Keating’s involvement in covering up the murder, was a jaw-dropping moment.