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Three Terrifyingly Tense Television Scenes That Almost Killed Us This Week

By Cindy Davis | Lists | December 2, 2015 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | December 2, 2015 |

During the last few nights of playing TV catch-up, there were several times I practically screamed out loud and may possibly have thought I was having a heart attack. There was pillow pounding (no, not like that), a hand clamped over my mouth (no, not like that) so I wouldn’t startle sleeping kids, and a few minutes last night where I was so distressed, I think I may have forgotten to breathe. That particular series should have had a stronger warning before the episode; TV-CS: The following show is for emotionally stable audiences only, Conscious Sedation is advised.

***MAJOR Spoilers Ahead for Fargo, Jessica Jones and Homeland. If you’re not caught up to the newest Fargo and Homeland episodes, and through Jessica Jones, Episode 9 “AKA Sin Bin,” back out now.****

Let’s run down the most harrowing scenes this week (so far):

Fargo, “Loplop”


The empty chair, Ed surveying the room and us waiting for Dodd to come out of nowhere. It didn’t take long but the speed and the ferocity of Dodd stringing up Ed, watching him as we saw movement from Peggy, and our collective scream heard round the world (“GET HIM, PEGGY!”) all felt like it happened in slow motion.


We actually got two terrifically tense (apparently I’m on an alliterative T tear tonight) scenes in quick succession there, as Hanzee showed up and promptly — unsettlingly — asked Peggy for a haircut. “Something professional.”


Peg’s got the scissors in her hands, Lou and Ben are approaching the cabin and Dent spies them outside. He shoots…Peggy whacks him, and next thing you know Dent’s out one door and Ben and Lou are busting in another.


Jessica Jones, “AKA Sin Bin”


Where to start? If you’re like me, sometime over the past week you’ve binged the hell out of Netflix’s JJ, and when you got to this episode, your whole world turned upside down. This is where everything went insane, and our brains just kept screaming, “No! No! No!” as our eyes tried to figure out whether they should actually keep looking at the screen or not.


There are truly horrifying attacks that happen this hour, all at the behest of Kilgrave’s undeniable commands. Held Jessica’s prisoner inside a glass tank, which has a certain amount of water covering its electrically wired floor so Jones can shock the fuck out of him (or herself) if need be, Jessica attempts to beat a confession from her nemesis. When that doesn’t pan out Jessica hunts down Kilgrave’s parents, and lets them into the tank with their son to help gain his confession, or video evidence that will prove he can control peoples’ minds. Unfortunately, Kilgrave’s mother has another idea — to kill Kevin with a pair of scissors — and when she makes a failed attempt, in turn he orders her to stab herself to death. When Jessica tries to shock Kilgrave it doesn’t work (thanks Hogarth!), Trish shoots through the glass wall, allowing Kilgrave to escape; he orders her to shoot herself (luckily out of bullets), and commands his father to cut out his own heart.


Finally, before he goes, Kilgrave tells Clemons — who’s handcuffed to a pole — to come with him; Clemons breaks his own hand to get out of the cuff, and finding he can no longer command Jessica, Kilgrave orders Clemons to get her off him, and the Purple Man makes his escape. Don’t even ask me what happens in the next episode, “AKA 1,000 Cuts;” I’m still traumatized.

Homeland, “The Litvinov Ruse”


To be fair, Homeland’s latest episode had a couple of hold-your-breath moments, the first when Saul got up in the middle of the night to bug/track Allison’s purse and phone. Watching him quickly work with tiny tools, waiting any second for his paramour and traitorous lover to call out or walk down the staircase behind him was a little 2-minute stress test in itself. Later, when Krupin realizes Allison had fallen for a CIA trap and led them right to him, he becomes so filled with rage that she slaps him; in turn Krupin grabs and holds her by the face and there are several seconds where it’s uncertain he’ll be able to stop himself from becoming insanely physically violent with Allison. But the truly terrible, heart-stopping moment comes near the end of the hour.


Captured, bound and completely helpless, Quinn is dragged down a hallway toward an enclosed room where jihadists plan to film their testing of a batch of Sarin (nerve agent) gas on Quinn. Qasim signals Quinn to fake an attempt to run, then takes Quinn down and quickly, covertly injects him with atropine, which may or may not lessen the nerve agent’s effects (seriously, they even tell you that during military training); the other men pull Quinn to his feet and lead him toward the chamber. There is nothing that could have prepared Quinn (or us, for watching) as he sees a masked, protective-suited man turning on the gas, his face absolutely filled with terror, and eyes beginning to water. He starts uncontrollably drooling, foaming at the mouth, and that image…



of Quinn convulsing and choking, is where Showtime left us until next week. Cruel, inhumane, and positively terrifying.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is still shaking in a corner somewhere.