15 Television Moments You Were Most Pissed Were Spoiled For You
(Publisher's Note: This is a post about spoilers, so obviously, spoilers abound.)
There's been a lot of talk about spoilers this week. There's one particularly nasty spoiler for the The Dark Knight Rises going around right now that, in revealing a cast member, has revealed a major plot point in the film. You can, of course, avoid the spoiler, but once it's out there, finding out almost seems inevitable if you spend enough time on the Internet. Likewise, Chuck Klosterman has written that the inevitability of spoilers have even begun to affect the screenwriting process, a position that "Lost" writer, Damon Lindeloff, seems to agree with, as he writes in reference to what he might choose to do next:
But now, if I thought of a major twist, I wouldn't do it unless it was a home run. Because at this point, a base hit is not acceptable. And once you decide to do something like that, you're faced with the question of, `What am I willing to do to hide this?' Am I willing to lie to pretty much everyone I know? Is it worth lying to the crew and to everyone I work with? Because that's the only way you can pull it off. (Grantland)
Dan touched on the topic some in his piece earlier this week, and while there is a lot to be said for watching a television series in huge chunks after the series has already completeld its run (or a season), the popularity of social networking has actually had a detrimental effect on time shifting. If you wait, there may be consequences. Viewers are so anxious to talk about what they've just seen, and since Facebook and Twitter are the most popular outlets for those conversations now, even West Coast viewers run the risk of being spoiled about plot points in their favorite television shows by East Coasters before they air.
It's annoying. In fact, it can really piss us off. A few weeks ago, it happened on this site. Someone in the comment thread for a post unrelated to "Game of Thrones" revealed a major plot point (which is among those listed below) and at least three of the writers here on the site (who had not read the novels) were spoiled to the fact. We were furious. A reader actually emailed and asked us to remove the spoilers, but we were faced with our own dilemma: In order to delete those spoilers, we would have to wade into those comments and risk reading about them ourselves. Did we really want to step on those spoiler landmines?
Fortunately, it was such a big moment on "Game of Thrones" that the spoiler didn't lessen the impact too much. But it did piss us off mightily. It also inspired this post, and we're just going to put it out there now: If you watch a great television series years behind when they air, you may want to avoid this post all together. Certainly the comments. We will avoid those spoilers in the headlines, so skimming should still be possible. Just be careful.
Here are, in no particular order, the 15 Television Moments You Were Most Pissed Were Spoiled For You:
Six Feet Under, "Singing for Our Lives.": "Six Feet Under" may have given us one of, if not the best season finales in television series history, but it was the last second of this episode that gave us one of the biggest Holy Sh*t moments of the last decade. It left me breathless, unsure. It's so seldom that a series kills off a major character, and this wasn't just a major character, it was one of the two the series revolved around the most. (--DR)
Battlestar Galactica, "Crossroads: Part II.": The identity of the Cylons in "Battlestar Galactica" was the dramatic crux at the center of the series. If anyone could be a Cylon, then everyone could be. The highly-stylized and musical reveal of the "Final Four" at the end of season three had been teased since the beginning of the series, but if you knew in advance who the Four were, the irony of the brusque, intolerant Tigh and the heartbreak of affable Tyrol lost all its shock. I watched the series for the first time just this past year and during the first few episodes a friend kept saying "oh he's important. . .pay attention to her." That friend was banished from my life until I chewed through the entire show. Even a vague spoiler is a spoiler. (--JR)
Breaking Bad, "One Minute": Arguably one of the best episodes in three seasons of stellar episodes, "One Minute" had two huge moments that might have lost their luster had they been spoiled. First was the shocking beat down that Hank gave Jesse at the outset of the episode. In the final minutes, however, it was a insanely tense sequence between Hank and the Cousins. I had no idea how it would end, but if somebody had filled me in before seeing it, I might've given him the same beatdown Hank gave Jesse. (--DR)
Veronica Mars, "Not Pictured": Before she started watching the series, a friend of mine knew the identity of the Bus Crash Bomber. Consequently, she claimed she hated
Beaver Cassidy Casablancas from the start. I call spoiler BS. Cassidy (portrayed with puppy dog vulnerability by Kyle Gallner) was the kind of bullied character we were made to love from the beginning. His adorable/troubled relationship with Mac sealed the deal. Upon rewatch, you can see the writers did a good job laying the groundwork for the villainous reveal, but I was as heartbroken as Mac to lose the Beav and would have used Veronica's taser on anyone who dared to spoil it for me. (--JR)
Dexter, "The Getaway": I did have this one spoiled for me in a small way. I'd planned on watching the episode the morning after it aired, but Twitter and Facebook were flooded with "OMG" messages as soon the moment happened, none of which actually gave away the plot point. But I knew something big was coming, and by the end of the episode, I could predict what it was. The scene itself was still fantastic, but the impact was certainly diminished. (--DR)
The Wire, "Middle Ground": While "The Wire" was a bloodbath from the start (Wallace! D!), the death of Stringer Bell, a seemingly irreplaceable character and a powerhouse performance, came as a huge surprise. The entire episode is a tense nail-biter, but a telegraphed punch loses all its power and the O'Henry-esque double betrayal of String and Avon is a knockout. In fact, after that episode, I spent the rest of the series gnawing at my nails, convinced no one was safe. (--JR)
Sopranos, "Made in America": The series finale to "The Sopranos" wouldn't have been an easy one to spoil, if only because it would've taken some explanation. But the in the aftermath of the finale, the ending had been so discussed and parodied (even in a Hillary Clinton campaign ad) that anyone coming into the series fresh in the years to follow would've had a decent idea as to how the series ended. Knowing how it ends might have also put a lot of potential viewers off watching the series entirely. (--DR)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, "Passion": 1998 was a simpler time. No Facebook or Twitter. My classmate would tape BtVS and bring me the VHS Wednesday morning so I could watch. When she handed me "Passion" she said, "You're going to cry." And I did. Before Whedon became notorious for killing off our favorite characters, he slaughtered Jenny Calendar. It's not that Jenny was necessarily our favorite, but in a signature Whedon move, she was beloved by a favorite and on her way to redemption/reconciliation. BtVS clips are notoriously hard to embed, but if you so desire, you can click here to relive the shock of Jenny's death and the hearbreak of Giles' discovery all set to some of the best writing Whedon's ever done. (--JR)
Game of Thrones, "Baelor": This was the scene referenced above that was spoiled for several of the writers on this site, and probably plenty more who had innocuously clicked on a post to read about television shows coming out in the fall season. I didn't know how it was going to happen, but I knew it would. It still stung, but it wasn't as out of left field as it might have been for many who had no idea that Ned Stark would meet his demise. (--DR)
Deadwood, "Here Was A Man": Anyone who knows their history knows that Keith Carradine's Wild Bill Hickok was not long for this plain. But I doubt most people expected such a strong character (portrayed by such a well-known actor) to go out so early in the series. There was an air of tragedy and inevitability surrounding Wild Bill, sure, but we all thought he had a little more time before we had to say goodbye. (--JR)
West Wing, "18th and Potomac": It was the end of this episode that actually made it possible for the next episode, "Two Cathedrals," one of the very best in the series run. But to inspire that much anguish in President Bartlett, there needed to be a death. And it came. It came hard. Right after Mrs. Landingham celebrated buying a new car, she was hit and killed in a car accident. Crushing. (--DR)
Lost, "?": Nobody was sad to see Ana Lucia go, right? We were all pretty tired of her at that point, even if she had done us the favor of putting a stop to Shannon and her incessant whinging. But Libby? I did not see that coming. In a positively Whedon-esque turn of events, she was on her way to a romantic rendezvous with a universally beloved character. Poor Hurley. The word behind the scenes is that the actors were taken out because of their DUI infractions, but in terms of the narrative it was brutal and nasty. (--JR)
Friday Night Lights, "A Sort of Homecoming": Again, the big spoiler moment came at the tail end of this episode (which led into the amazing, gut-wrenching episode, "The Son.") The writers did a decent job of teasing a death in the episode (which you can see in the promo below), but most of us expected it to be Matt Saracen's grandmother, Lorraine. It came as a huge blow to learn that it was Matt's father, and when the tears began rolling down Julie's face as she delivered the news and the episode faded to black, my jaw dropped and my heart sank into the floor. There were months between when this episode originally aired on DirectTV and when it re-aired on NBC, so I can only imagine how many people were sadly spoiled to this twist. I doubt it diminished the power of "The Son," however. (--DR)
Alias, "Before The Flood": Beleaguered and oft-separated lovers Sydney and Vaughn are off to elope when Vaughn drops a heavy "I'm not who you think I am" reveal followed by an abrupt car crash which made me jump out of my seat. I certain even J.J. Abrams didn't know Vaughn was going to be an impostor at the start of the series and that knowledge sours much of the poignancy of the early, excellent seasons of "Alias." In its final seasons the show jumped the shark that was actually a dolphin in disguise that was sent from the future to warn Leonardo da Vinci about the apocalypse. . .or something. . .I lost track. I wouldn't however, trade my enjoyment of early "Alias" for anything. (--JR)
24, "Season Finale": I watched only one season of "24," and I did so years after it had aired. And thanks to the Internet, I already knew what would happen at the end of that season, whether I wanted to or not. The lack of surprise really did ruin that episode for me, and I never cared enough after it to move on to the second season. (--DR)