The purpose of a cliffhanger is to keep the fans talking — for a week or for months. Here are five that got our readers buzzing.
5. Grey’s Anatomy, “Flight”: Perhaps we should really be naming season 8’s penultimate episode, “Migration,” which ended with the plane crash that would leave us asking “Who’s gonna die?” for a week until this finale (it was Lexie Grey), but then, even at the end of “Flight,” the doctors still weren’t rescued, despite Cristina’s meta-commentary: “If there’s one thing that I’ve learned with all the bombs and the guns to my head and the buses running down my friends is that I am not interested in dying! I want to get out of here, and I want to go home, and everyone has to help!”
4. Breaking Bad, “Gliding Over All”: September’s midseason finale caught Hank with his pants down as he connected the “W.W.” inscription in Walter White’s toilet copy of Leaves of Grass to the initials he’d seen in Gale’s journals. Now that Hank knows his brother-in-law is the infamous meth cook Heisenberg, what will he do with the information? Fans would only have to wait a year to find out!
3. Game of Thrones, “Valar Morghulis”: In a stunningly shot and thoroughly disturbing blizzard scene, we met a whole new series of mysterious W.W.s — the White Walkers (referred to as the Others in the books), their creepy heads held high above undead horses as they led an army of Wights towards the Night’s Watch encampment. ZOMBIES? Whaaaaaaaaat?
2. Once Upon a Time, “A Land Without Magic”: Here’s another “shaking up the landscape” moment for the ages: A billowing cloud of purple smoke swept over everyone in Storybrooke, restoring their memories and bringing back magic. Now Emma (Jennifer Morrison) had to believe in something besides her rooted-in-reality collection of colorful leather jackets! Anything is possible. MAGIC IS COMING. The finale set up season 2 perfectly: How would the characters deal with knowing their true identities in a modern world?
1. Revenge, “Reckoning”: In EW.com’s annual Season Finale Awards last May, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) stepping onto a plane that then blew up earned the show the Best (Presumed) Death crown — and it was just one of the cliffhangers in the soap’s first season ender: Emily also discovered that her mother is still alive, Lydia Davis and Charlotte could have also died (in that plane crash and from an overdose, respectively), and pregnant Fauxmanda returned to once again thwart Emily’s chances with Jack.
Written by Mandi Bierly and Annie Barrett