Traditionally, when an acclaimed TV show nears its conclusion, it usually saves a shocking character death for the finale. However, there are rare exceptions where a TV show features a crucial death a few episodes before the finale, which heavily affects the other characters.
Whether this utilization of shock value is effective or lacks proper development, it still comes as a surprise to the audience and makes them wonder how this affects the show as it reaches its end. From to , these shocking deaths help to leave a lasting impression with fans.
Cast Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose, Frances Conroy
Genres Comedy, Drama
HBO's followed the Fisher family as they operated a funeral home and had common occurrences of strangers grieving the deaths of loved ones. However, the family rarely experienced the deaths of their relatives, which is why the loss of Nate Fisher came as a shock to the characters and viewers.
In the third-to-last episode of the series, Nate suffered a seizure that landed him in the hospital and later died due to a brain hemorrhage. The followed his family coping with his death and arranging a funeral for him. Nate's death heavily affected those closest to him, especially Brenda - his pregnant wife —and David — his brother.
Engineer Gordon Clark - played wonderfully by Scoot McNairy - was one of several characters in who wanted to revolutionize technology in the 1980s. Throughout the show's run, he had gone through different partnerships, obstacles, and milestones with his business colleagues. His mission to put his ideas out to the world unexpectedly stopped when he passed away shortly before the series finale.
In Season 4, Episode 7 "Who Needs a Guy," Gordon died of an undefeatable brain disorder he developed in Season 2. Instead of overdramatizing the death, the show presented Gordon walking through his house and reminiscing about his family's past before dying offscreen. The other characters' reactions only made the scene more heartbreaking to watch as they and the viewers didn't know how to process the news.
Introduced at the end of Season 1, hacker Root was originally an antagonist for tech billionaire Harold Finch. At the start of Season 3, she became a series regular and an ally for the heroes. Her and Amy Acker's witty performance made her a fan-favorite to watch.
Any fan expectations that she lived until the end were diminished during the 's 100th episode titled "The Day the World Went Away." While saving Harold from getting assassinated, Root got hit with a sniper bullet and succumbed to the wound. Her physical body died, but Root's contact with the Machine allowed the program to use her voice and guide Harold in stopping the evil Samaritan in the show's final episodes.
Set 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed civilization, when a spaceship housing humanity's lone survivors sends 100 juvenile delinquents back to Earth, hoping to repopulate the planet.
Cast Eliza Taylor, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Isaiah Washington
Main Genre Drama
had several character deaths throughout its seven-season run that ranged from shockingly heartbreaking to wildly controversial. One that fell into the latter category was that of Bellamy Blake. Bellamy was one of the standout characters on as he went from an arrogant leader to a more caring and protective person.
In 's final season, Bellamy went back to his more antagonistic ways after learning about the beliefs of the villainous Disciples. A tearful confrontation with his dear friend, Clarke Griffin, ended with him getting shot in the heart and left for dead. When the show's characters transcended into a better future in the finale, not even Bellamy was allowed to return. His change in behavior and anticlimactic death were just a couple of reasons why .
While there have been shows that have killed off important characters before the finale, took a massive risk and killed off the main character two episodes before the conclusion. Some fans predicted that Oliver Queen/Green Arrow would die in the series finale, but they were shocked when he bit the dust in the 's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" special.
While fighting off an army of shadow demons to save innocent lives, Oliver suffered terrible injuries and died surrounded by several of his super-powered friends. Oliver did technically die, but he was resurrected as a spiritual entity known as the Spectre. 's final two episodes were dedicated to the Green Arrow legacy left behind by Oliver, presenting the idea that someone will pick up the mantle.
The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island.
Cast Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Yunjin Kim, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O'Quinn, Naveen Andrews
Main Genre Drama
Throughout 's six-season run, viewers grew to care for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 as they tried to escape off a mysterious island. Two were the beloved Korean couple Sun-Hwa and Jin-Soo Kwan. Fans were enamored by their complicated love story through past flashbacks and present events on the island.
Season 6's "The Candidate" saw the two meet an unfortunate demise. When the survivors took control of a submarine, a smuggled bomb damaged the vehicle and trapped Sun under debris. When it became impossible for her to escape, Jin made the bold decision of staying behind and dying beside her. The fact that their deaths happened shortly before the finale was too heartbreaking for fans to take. Another casualty in the episode was fan-favorite Sayid Jarrah, who sacrificed himself so that his friends could live.
HBO's has been considered one of the greatest TV shows of all time. One crucial element that made the show engaging was the well-written characters that populated the Baltimore setting. The most popular character was undeniably Omar Little - played by the late Michael Kenneth Williams. Omar was a fearless character who embraced his homosexuality and could make people run in fear just from his whistling.
It was shocking for fans when Omar got shot a couple of episodes before the series finale. During Season 5's "Clarifications," Omar was unexpectedly shot in the side of the head by a little boy. The moment was shocking for fans who thought that another main character would arrest or kill him. However, considering that was going for a more gritty approach in its storytelling, enough to fit with the show's realistic themes.
A chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a former student in order to secure his family's future.
Cast Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito, Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, RJ Mitte
Main Genre Drama
followed Walter White as he went from chemistry teacher to the drug kingpin known as Heisenberg in the span of five seasons. One of the storylines that hooked fans throughout was Hank Schrader - a DEA agent and Walter's brother-in-law - hunting down the notorious Heisenberg. When Hank finally put the pieces together halfway through Season 5, fans were ready for the showdown between Hank and Walter in the final episodes.
In 's highest-rated episode, "Ozymandias," it seemed Hank finally caught Walter, but drug enforcer Jack sabotaged the arrest and held them both at gunpoint. Despite Walter's pleas, Hank knew his fate was sealed and got shot in the head by Jack. Hank's death left both Walter and the viewers speechless, acting as the beginning of several consequential moments in the show's final three episodes.
Nine noble families fight for control over the lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for a millennia.
Cast Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Lena Headey
Genres Fantasy, Drama, Action, Adventure
was famous for killing off many characters across its eight seasons. By the time the show reached its final season, everyone had predictions on who would die. Surely enough, two of Season 8's casualties were siblings Cersei and Jamie Lannister. While Cersei kept making nefarious moves to secure the Iron Throne, Jamie moved on from the inappropriate relationship with his sister to redeem himself.
In , Jamie returned to Cersei when their home - King's Landing - came under attack by Daenerys Targaryen and her army. The two shared one last embrace before getting crushed by falling debris. Not only did the Lannister siblings not make it to the series finale, but they received severely anti-climatic deaths, especially considering that they were two of ' most well-developed characters.
The Roy family is known for controlling the biggest media and entertainment company in the world. However, their world changes when their father steps down from the company.
Cast Brian Cox, Nicholas Braun, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook
Main Genre Drama
did the unthinkable during its fourth and final season by killing off one of the show's most important characters. The show's premise revolved around Logan Roy figuring out a successor for his media company, which caused his children to turn against one another to vie for the position. Fans expected that the final season would see Logan waging war against his children.
In a shocking turn of events, Logan died of natural causes during the final season's third episode. While his eldest son Connor was getting married, Logan's death caused massive panic between the characters. The performances from the cast and the realistic dialogue elevated the episode to become one of the show's best. With , the show cleverly avoided taking a nosedive in quality and, instead, increasingly raised the stakes for the rest of the final season.