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Entertainment Weekly

TV

The 30 most shocking TV moments of 2019

Posted on

Jack Rowand/The CW; Lucasfilm; HBO

A shocking year

2019 delivered A LOT of television, and with it, quite a few shocking moments. Veronica Mars killed Logan! Baby Yoda...exists! Here are 30 TV moments that will stick with us. Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Michael Desmond/Hulu

Logan dies, Veronica Mars

Marshmallows waited 12 years for Veronica Mars to return to the small screen — and it didn't disappoint, delivering one of the best revivals to date. One of the highlights? Fans getting to see Veronica and Logan tie the knot! It was a moment years in the making, which is why it was so shocking when, minutes later, fans watched as Logan got into Veronica's car seconds before it BLEW UP. Just like that, the happily-ever-after viewers had waited so long for...disappeared. —Samantha Highfill
ELIZABETH FISHER/CBS

The baby in the pool, Evil

Episode 4 of Michelle and Robert King’s brilliant procedural proved that the show is more than deserving of its title. In “Rose390,” investigator David DaCosta meets with a young boy named Eric to determine whether his troubling behavior is psychological, or rooted in something more demonic. At first, David seems to connect with the unsettlingly creepy Eric, and he meets him poolside at the boy’s home for a drawing lesson. But everything about the scene feels wrong, from Eric’s seeming calmness to the unnatural stillness in the air, and when David ultimately looks at the pool, he realizes ERIC HAS THROWN IN HIS BABY SISTER IN AN ATTEMPT TO DROWN HER. David eventually rescues the baby, but the attempted infanticide is still the most unsettling reveal I’ve seen on TV all year. —Devan Coggan
Michael Parmelee/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Angela dies, Mr. Robot

Picking up with the exact scene where we left Price and Angela at the conclusion of season 3, the Mr. Robot final season premiere opened with a bang. Angela told the powerful man, whom she now knew to be her biological father, that she wanted retribution against White Rose. When she refused to back down, we heard doors open from afar. Just by the look on Angela’s face, we all knew what was coming. “I’m not going to run, so you should probably leave,” she declared, returning to sit down as Price walked away, taking off the wire he was wearing under his shirt. Two Dark Army men in masks then walked by him, stopping behind Angela and shooting her in the head. And that was only the beginning of the bloody end for Mr. Robot. —Derek Lawrence
Lucasfilm

Baby Yoda reveal, The Mandalorian

Almost everything about The Mandalorian was kept under wraps before its November premiere, but no surprise has been as delightful — or as adorable — as the child dubbed Baby Yoda. Oh, did you think this was going to be a show about a grizzled bounty hunter? It’s now a show about a grizzled bounty hunter and the tiny, green, Force-sensitive infant he’s sworn to protect. Definitely the cutest plot twist of the year. —Devan Coggan
Steve Schofield/Amazon Studios

Fleabag swats the camera away while having sex with Hot Priest, Fleabag

From its first moments, Fleabag was defined by its heroine’s desire to let us in, her mugging directly to the camera and breaking the fourth wall for humor and pathos. It marked a truly surprising moment of character growth (and intimacy) then when she finally managed to get season 2’s Hot Priest into her bed and closed us out of this moment of religious ecstasy. Fleabag of old would’ve gloried in sharing this carnal victory with the camera. The Priest helped Fleabag feel worthy of love and whole again, but this was a shocking signal that she’d outgrown the audience she used to rely on for absolution and instead found it within herself (and some holy rolling). —Maureen Lee Lenker
ABC

Hannah B. dumps Jed on After the Final Rose, The Bachelorette

Although an early fan favorite amongst Hannah’s guys, Jed quickly earned the ire of viewers once PEOPLE broke a story that he’d left behind a girlfriend at home he seemingly planned to return to because he was only on the show to help his career. We waited all season for Hannah B. to find out the truth (or send him home and save herself the trouble), but it didn’t come until after the two were already engaged. The Bachelor franchise prides itself on manufacturing happily-ever-after moments, but instead of an engagement, we got what truly was the most dramatic ending ever. In a nearly unprecedented move, after the final rose, Hannah B. chose herself (and her dignity) over the appearance of a fairytale (i.e. resuming her relationship with Jed) — and then went on to win this season’s Dancing With the Stars. That’s honestly the most surprising and fulfilling happy ending we can think of. —Maureen Lee Lenker
The CW

Max dies, Roswell, New Mexico

There’s a universally accepted rule in television that as soon as things are going pretty well for the lead characters, something truly terrible has to happen. In the first season finale of The CW’s extraterrestrial series, that rule was realized. The gang was just getting its life back together after the whole evil alien-killing-people thing when Max used his powers to bring Liz’s sister back from the kinda dead. Sounds great! But not so fast. The exertion it took to resurrect Rosa killed Max, leaving Liz heartbroken. —Ruth Kinane
Rick Rowell/ABC

Constance Wu is mad that her TV show is renewed

“So upset right now that I’m literally crying. Ugh. F---,” Constance Wu tweeted. What happened to make her feel this way? Did someone steal her car? Did Jennifer Lopez get a bigger trailer than her on Hustlers? Nope, Fresh Off the Boat — the ABC sitcom that put her on the map — was renewed for a sixth season. Wu may have further voiced her “dislike” on Instagram, but she surely liked the recent news that FOTB will end in February. —Derek Lawrence
Colleen Hayes/HBO

Selina betrays Gary, Veep

We knew that Selina Meyer was vicious, vainglorious, venal, and other merciless adjectives not starting with the letter V. We also knew that she would do anything to return to the White House, but not…THAT. Her chess moves in the fearless government comedy’s unforgiving finale turned her from hell-bent to hell-bound; see: her horse-trading away of the environment, the educational system, gay rights, etc. But no act crossed more lines than her cold-blooded betrayal of Gary, her overeager-beaver bagman who did everything for her to speak of. (As well as some unspeakable things.) On the night of her convention coronation, she set up Gary as the fall guy for her myriad scandals, soldiering on with her speech as she watched her confused loyal servant be led away by FBI agents. It was a soul-shuddering shock, yet chillingly on-brand. —Dan Snierson
Jordin Althaus/NBC

Beth "kills" Rio, Good Girls

Faced with the choice of shooting Agent Turner or being shot herself, Beth opted for none of the above and shot drug king Rio instead in the season 2 finale. Here’s the thing, though, if you’re going to take out a terrifying criminal who is definitely capable of killing all your kids as retribution for even considering it, you’d better make sure he’s dead dead. With Rio bleeding out on the floor, post-Beth shooting, Turner offered to call an ambulance if Rio vowed to owe him one in return. Meanwhile, Beth headed home to bake celebratory cupcakes — and by cupcakes, we mean laundered cash — and hatched a plan to continue the business without Rio. We imagine Beth’s about to discover it really isn’t easy being king. —Ruth Kinane
Comedy Central

Abbi leaves NYC, Broad City

When Broad City ended, Abbi accepted a position at an artists residency program in Boulder, Colo., and left the concrete jungle and bestie Ilana behind. Yes, we were just as floored and heartbroken as Ilana by the news, but we’ll take solace in the fact that just like a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, their friendship will never expire. —Ruth Kinane
Jeff Daly/HBO

Ballers goes meta with Elizabeth Warren's book

EW knows better than anybody how much Elizabeth Warren loves Ballers. And in the final season premiere, the HBO comedy paid back the presidential hopeful’s loyalty by having Spencer read her book This Fight Is Our Fight. Sounds fun, right? Well, actually, it blows up the Ballers Universe since Sen. Warren begins the book by talking about watching Ballers. Does Spencer now know that he’s in a TV show?! —Derek Lawrence
Elizabeth Morris/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Otis dies, Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire is constantly almost killing someone. It makes sense — it's a dangerous line of work. However, it's rare that the show actually pulls the trigger on saying farewell to anyone, much less a character that's been there since the beginning. But this year the show did just that when Otis never made it out of the mattress factory fire. —Samantha Highfill
Graeme Hunter/HBO

Kendall throws his dad under the bus, Succession

In the season 2 finale, it wasn’t a question of if someone in the Roy family was going to be sacrificed, but who. The unfortunate pick proved to be Kendall, who was asked by Logan to be the face of the Waystar cruises scandal. To his credit, Kendall appeared ready to fall on the sword — with “appeared” being the key word. As his family watched from back on their yacht, Kendall told the world that his father was the true villain here. Logan can’t help but perfectly smirk, seemingly proud of his son for becoming the killer that he told him he wasn’t. —Derek Lawrence
TV Land

Diana learns Liza's real age, Younger

So the truth’s been trickling out for seasons now, but in the season 6 episode “The Debu-tant,” it was finally time for Liza’s boss, reluctant friend and queen of statement jewelry Diana Trout to find out — and she wasn’t the only one. A disgruntled Pauline announced Liza’s real age to a room full of people in the publishing industry, which meant pretty much the whole world. Poor Diana fainted upon learning the news, but soon got over it with some “old maid of honor” quips. Her chandelier feather earrings returned one episode later. —Ruth Kinane
Myles Aronowitz/Starz

Tasha kills LaKeisha, Power

The highest murder rate on television belongs to the final season of Power, which has already claimed the lives of three main characters, including Tommy’s ride-or-die LaKeisha. But it was how LaKeisha went out that was truly shocking, considering a fight over a gun between her and her best friend Tasha left LaKeisha wounded, only for Tasha to follow in her husband’s cold-blooded footsteps and finish the job. —Derek Lawrence
Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Big Little Lies screams…but not for ice cream

Sometimes you just need to scream! Meryl Streep’s Mary Louise shocked Celeste with a guttural scream in the season 2 premiere. It quickly became one of Big Little Lies' most meme-able moments and even inspired a King Princess dance remix track,"Mary-Luiz (Pls Pls)." But perhaps even more shocking (and scream-inducing) was the absence of the scene in which Madeleine throws her ice cream cone at Mary Louise. Photos of the ice cold move nearly broke the internet when they were released during filming, but we gasped when it didn’t make the final cut. Screams all around (but, sadly, not for ice cream). —Maureen Lee Lenker
Colin Bentley/The CW

Everything that happened in episode 3, Riverdale

Let's quickly recap the third episode of Riverdale's fourth season: Veronica organizes a car wash! Moose goes by Marmaduke now! A rat crawls out of Jason's stomach! Betty disarms a bomb with a bobby pin! Edgar reveals his plan and it involves BUILDING A ROCKET and wearing an Evil Knievel jumpsuit! Then Alice shoots him! It was arguably the most insane episode of Riverdale ever — and it was kind of great? —Samantha Highfill
Netflix

Maritza is deported, Orange Is the New Black

With her sharp wit and quick thinking, Maritza Ramos was always one of Orange Is the New Black’s most entertaining inmates. But in the prison drama’s final season, the Beyoncé-loving beauty vlogger suffered one the series’ most tragic fates. After being picked up during an ICE raid at a bar, Maritza wound up in an immigration holding facility — a place where detainees have no rights and no hope. When she gets a lawyer, Maritza shares the contact information with the other inmates, and that act of kindness seals her fate. In the episode’s final minutes, she and other shackled prisoners are loaded onto a plane bound for South America. One by one the women disappear, until finally Maritza — alone and bound for Colombia, a country she’s never been — is gone, too. —Kristen Baldwin
Mark Hill/HBO

Cal is Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen

The original Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins is often hailed as one of the greatest comic books ever made. One way the book earns this reputation is by rewarding endless rereads; every time you revisit, a new panel or clue or line of dialogue will catch your eye. Impressively, the HBO show has replicated this quality to a certain degree. How many previous scenes and lines play differently now that we know Cal Abar was secretly the omnipotent superhero Doctor Manhattan in an amnesiac disguise? Think of Cal telling the kids that there is no God, or his wife Angela sitting silently in a car while Laurie Blake droned on about her own previous relationship with Doctor Manhattan. Having previously revealed that the original superhero of the Watchmenworld, Hooded Justice, was a black man named Will Reeves, Watchmen then revealed that their most powerful superhero was also living as a black man, further deepening the show’s examination of race, power, and masks in America. They didn’t start dropping big hints about this twist until the episode itself, but all credit to Regina King for selling the revelation with one of the best line readings of the year: “Hey baby, we’re in f---ing trouble.” —Christian Holub
Hulu

Osama Bin Laden appears as a character on Ramy

For “Strawberries,” the fourth episode of Ramy’s first season, the Hulu series flashed back to 2001, and specifically 9/11, showing the impact that the national nightmare had on young Ramy who was already struggling to fit in. Shortly after that horrific day, Ramy wakes up in the middle of the night to an unexpected visitor going through his refrigerator: Osama Bin Laden. The two then share a conversation and bowl of fruit in a chilling dream sequence that no other show would be able to pull off. —Derek Lawrence
Ed Herrera via Getty Images

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s intimate "Shallow" performance at the Oscars

Over the years, Lady Gaga has made a meal of her Oscar performances, from her take on The Sound of Music to the powerful “Till It Happens to You.” But none titillated or shocked as much as her stripped-down performance of A Star Is Born’s “Shallow,” which brought her director/co-star Bradley Cooper up to share her piano bench as they sang deeply while gazine into each other’s eyes. She’d already delivered the song at several other awards shows, giving it plenty of intense production value, but no one knew what to expect on Oscar night — certainly not this potent, intimate version. The performance ignited a thousand showmance theories, leading many to speculate the duo’s intimate bedroom eyes were more than just acting. Regardless of the veracity of the gossip, we were still scorched by their chemistry that left us feeling far from the shallow. Why did they do that, do that, do that to us? —Maureen Lee Lenker
Dean Buscher/The CW

Oliver Queen learns he's going to die, Arrow

When it comes to spoilers, the Arrowverse is very cautious about what it lets get out. So it definitely came as a surprise when Arrow’s season 7 finale revealed that Oliver Queen would die in the next crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Of course, we knew Oliver made some kind of deal with the Monitor, but we couldn’t have predicted that Mar Novu would come to collect so soon. The writers then threw another surprise at the audience by killing the Green Arrow off in the first hour of “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” —Chancellor Agard
Jack Rowand/The CW

Supernatural is ending (and God is its final villain)

The most shocking twist for Supernatural fans in 2019 was the devastating news that, after such an impressive run, season 15 will be the series' last. But if any show is determined to go out with a bang, it's this one. It all started with the season 14 finale, which threw everyone for a loop when it revealed the show's final villain to be God himself. —Samantha Highfill
Aaron Epstein/HBO

Barry goes sci-fi with wild episode

“ronny/lilly,” the fifth episode of Barry’s sophomore season, aired right after Game of Thrones’ epic battle “The Long Night” and still managed to be the most bananas thing that was on HBO that night. What started as a masked Barry breaking into a house to avoid killing a man morphed into a sci-fi-type face-off between Barry and a young girl who appeared to have supernatural abilities. “Her not being fully human was kind of happening very slowly; it was very intuitive,” Hader previously explained to EW. “It was like, ‘How far can we push this before it gets too crazy?’” I don’t know about “too,” but it sure was crazy. —Derek Lawrence
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Awards shows do away with hosts

When Kevin Hart backed out of hosting the Oscars following his controversial statements, the Academy made a bold decision: They weren't going to have a host. And you know what? It turned out okay! The Emmys then followed suit, and that turned out less okay. But regardless, the move was unexpected and in many ways, welcome. —Samantha Highfill
Eric Milner/SYFY

Quentin dies, The Magicians

The seventh episode of The Magicians’ fourth season revealed that one of the beloved characters would be taking a one-way trip to the Underworld in the finale. So viewers were prepped for someone to die. However, nothing could have prepared them for who it ended up being: Quentin Coldwater, the ostensible lead of the show. Like what?! Not only did the writers have the nerve to kill off No. 1 on the call sheet, but they also made it clear that this isn’t a Jon Snow situation. Quentin is very dead and not coming back. A bold move from a very bold series. —Chancellor Agard
HBO

Dany torches King's Landing, Game of Thrones

For all the buzz about the battle against the dead at Winterfell, the final season of Game of Thrones was entirely defined by what happened much farther south. Having finally breached the gates of King’s Landing, Daenerys Targaryen and her last dragon were poised to restore her family to the Iron Throne. But instead of accepting the capital city’s surrender, she decided to torch the place. The sack of King’s Landing was the final brutal note in Game of Thrones’ series-long statement on power and the cruelty it entails. Daenerys’ rampage disappointed and angered fans who had followed her journey as if she were simply an empowerment icon, but it’s important to remember that you are supposed to be unsettled by this. When “The Bells” director Miguel Sapochnik cuts away from Daenerys to zoom in on the normal people she’s burning to death, it creates a hard but honest look at the senseless violence of war, unique in the annals of both fantasy sagas and television as a whole. —Christian Holub
Hilary B Gayle/Apple TV +

Billy Crudup and Jennifer Aniston duet, The Morning Show

We'd like to call this Morning Show episode: The One Where Rachel Green Sings! In its fifth hour, the Apple TV+ drama surprised just about everyone by having Cory (Billy Crudup) and Alex (Jennifer Aniston) sing “Not While I’m Around,” from Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at a charity event. For as random as it felt, it was also pretty good. —Samantha Highfill
Netflix

Hopper dies (?), Stranger Things

After we all got over the initial shock of being attracted to Billy in his lifeguard gear, we (un)settled into another Stranger Things season of '80s fun with Eleven and Mike making out and the Scoops Troop being generally wonderful. Then, in the finale, we were devastated by the potential passing of grumpy-but-lovable former police chief Jim Hopper after a high-stakes showdown with the Russians in an attempt to close the gate to the Upside Down. Only, he might not be dead since we got a glimpse of an unseen American imprisoned by Russians at the very end of the episode. Whoever said, “Nothing happens in Hawkins?” Oh, yeah, it was Hopper. —Ruth Kinane
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