Six Devastating TV Plot Twists


by Marianne Paluso (@Marianne_P81)

When we nerds love a television show, we love it with fervency that everyone in our lives is aware of. We become passionate about the storylines and are deeply invested in the characters. It is because of this dedication that we also react strongly to certain plot twists more so than if we were simply a casual viewer. Sometimes these twists are shocking, heartbreaking, and can turn off even the most dedicated viewers. I still stuck with the shows I discuss here, but never really got over these plot twists either.

Very heavy SPOILERS from shows past and present so read at your own risk.

“Not Penny’s Boat:” Charlie sacrifices himself to save Desmond (and all his friends) after discovering the freighter people are not who they say they are.

LOST – Season 3 (2007)

From the first season of the groundbreaking drama, Charlie Pace was a favorite character of mine. He struggled with demons, but was ever the charmer, and steadfast in his love for Claire. In the third season, Desmond predicted Charlie’s death, but I kept hoping this would not come to pass. But when it inevitably did come in that now-iconic scene of holding up his hand to the glass, I understood what his death meant in the grand scheme of things. Those three words “Not Penny’s Boat” said what we needed to know. His actions were heroic. But this also made me bawl like a baby and I never quite got over his loss.

“Clark Kent marries a Lois Lane clone, whilst the real Lois is held hostage by Lex Luthor.”

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman – Season 3 (1996)

This fresh take on the Superman universe was a favorite of mine growing up, and I especially liked that they focused more on the romance between the two characters and put the fantasy element slightly in the secondary position (Don’t hate me, nerds). But the third season saw a shift towards the latter and even more convoluted plot twists. After waiting three years for Lois and Clark to find happiness, we rejoiced in their wedding, only to find out that Clark did not marry the real Lois, but rather a clone. What? I remember being shocked and very upset. Luckily, in the fourth and final season of the show, the real Lois Lane and Clark Kent were married in the episode “We Swear to God, This Time We’re not Kidding,” a title that clearly addressed how displeased the viewers felt the previous season.

“Melinda’s best friend Andrea dies because of the plane crash in Grandview; She had been a ghost the entire episode.”

Ghost Whisper – Season 1 (2006)

The end of this spiritual drama’s first season was very intense, especially in its final moments. After a place crash over the sleepy town of Grandview leaves medium Melinda trying to help hundreds of confused souls go into the light, she is also dealing with her best friend Andrea’s fears that her brother was on the ill-fated plane. In the finale’s final moments, we are relieved when we see him arrive, and then subsequently shocked when he walks right through his sister. Andrea is a ghost. The realization that she has died was devastating for her character to accept. I cried and subsequently always missed Andrea from the show.

“Fred dies in Wesley’s arms and her body is taken over by an ancient demon named Illyria.”

Angel – Season 5 (2004)

After years of missed opportunities and bad timing, brooding Wesley and sweet Winifred finally seemed to be on the road to romantic happiness. We should have known. This is a Joss Whedon show and happiness never lasts. Fred’s body is taken over as she dies in Wesley’s arms with one of the most gut-wrenching lines ever: “Why can’t I stay?” We aren’t even allowed to grieve because no sooner is Fred gone that she suddenly emerges with blue hair and an icy cold stare. A demon named Illyria was now using Fred’s body. I did enjoy seeing Amy Acker be able to show her range, as well the evolution of the character from adversary to fellow champion. But just like Wesley, the loss of Fred was pretty much impossible to get over. Fans of this pairing and of actors Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof should be happy to know that they play the would-be lovers Beatrice and Benedict in Joss Whedon’s upcoming Much Ado About Nothing.

“Guy of Gisborne kills Maid Marian.”

Robin Hood – Season 2 (2007)

Anyone who is familiar with the legend of Robin Hood knows that his true love is Maid Marian. Every depiction has portrayed them as such with any obstacle between them, such as Sir Guy or the Sheriff of Nottingham, easy to dislike and foil. But BBC’s show created a Guy of Gisborne that, for the first time, seemed like a legitimate romantic possibility. In the first season, he was pretty evil, but as the second season rolled along you saw his character develop and start to take a turn towards the good side. Marian knew he loved her and she took full advantage of that, deep down hoping he could be redeemed. That is what makes her last moments with him so devastating. She had given him one last chance to prove he had changed, but in the end he cannot stand up to the Sheriff. Marian taunts him, says she could never love him and he snaps, plunging his sword into her. He instantly regrets the action. It was all very dramatic and shocking. But I truly wonder what the creators were thinking. A Robin Hood show without Marian–this is unthinkable! I know that Gisborne’s portrayer Richard Armitage did not like this scene, just like many viewers. Gisborne found a sort of redemption in the next and final season, but the void Marian left was never filled.

“August Booth turns into his seven-year old self and loses all memories of his former life.”

Once Upon a Time – Season 2 (2013)

Those who are acquainted with me know how strongly I feel about August W. Booth. He is my favorite character on my favorite show, not to mention being pretty easy on the eyes. Good looks aside, his character was one of the most complex and rich ones on the fairy tale drama. He was imperfect and but still inherently likeable. I had been patient all season waiting to see him again, and when his big episode finally arrived, little did I dream that his final redemptive act would result in such a bizarre and disappointing plot twist. He becomes real again. But he is not restored to the man he was, but rather his seven-year-old self, sans memories of the life he’s led. Let’s forget for a moment that this did not logically make sense. More importantly, with one flick of a magic wand, August was erased. His journey with Emma was a significant part of the show. Now it seems the possibilities of future storylines and conversations that we should see, not to mention a possible romantic connection with Emma (I truly think he loved her), are all gone. However, unlike all the other shows I’ve discussed here, Once Upon a Time is ongoing and this twist can be rectified. On a show with magic where characters walk around without their hearts, anything can still happen. I sincerely hope we have not seen the last of August Wayne Booth in present day Storybrooke.


  1. LizApril 23rd, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Ahhhhhh. “Angel” and “Robin Hood” both killed me inside. So. Much. Pain..

  2. ZoeApril 23rd, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Ugh. Fred broke my heart, but Amy Acker did such an incredible job!

  3. GeeMay 2nd, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I sooo agree with August. I mean, that was wayyy tooo lame of an exit. I’m hoping sooo much they bring his adult self back and kill Neal off instead. 🙂

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