The shocking plot twist is a staple of TV fiction, especially in an era in which shows are competing for our attention with stuff like games, social media, and massive, massive amounts of free porn. The people who write non-naked characters have to keep us on our toes -- but, at the same time, they can't help dropping hints about their upcoming revelations when they know you're not paying attention. Probably because you're looking at porn.
Here are the game-changers you totally should have seen coming.
#6. Breaking Bad -- One Song Gives Away the Entire Ending
The best part about Breaking Bad was that you never knew what the hell was going to happen next -- the show kept us constantly wondering, "How is that wacky Walter White gonna get out of this one?" By the time we reached the final episode (and that's your cue to scroll down to the next entry if you haven't seen it), Walter is on the lam for meth dealing, but he decides to return to New Mexico anyway to tie up loose ends. This includes setting up a drug-money trust for his son, saying goodbye to his wife, and gunning down some neo-Nazis in a meth lab.
Struck by a stray bullet, Walt takes one last nostalgic stroll around the meth lab before dropping dead. Man, who could have seen all of that coming?
Calling it "thematically inevitable" doesn't count as predicting it, Dan.
You, if you'd paid attention. Because the entire plot is revealed at the beginning of the episode. In the opening scene, while Walt is searching the glove compartment of the car he stole to go back to New Mexico, a cassette tape falls out: "El Paso," by Marty Robbins.
Robbins also sang the hit "Ti Pol," which played during the show's pilot.
Walt pops it into the tape deck and drives off, and check out what the lyrics are predicting for him:
I saddled up and away I did go, riding alone in the dark.
Maybe tomorrow, a bullet may find me.
Tonight nothing's worse than this pain in my heart.
Well, that doesn't bode well, but when you look at the story told by the rest of the lyrics, it gets downright spooky:
A cowboy falls for a girl named Felina -- which happens to be the title of the episode -- and, stealing a horse, flees town to New Mexico after he kills a man who threatens their relationship. Later, the outlaw returns, explaining, "My love is stronger than my fear of death," and during a shootout he is struck by a stray bullet. The cowboy dies in the arms of Felina, his true love. Just like Walt died accompanied by his true love: no, not his wife or his family. Meth.
#5. Arrested Development -- The Company Mole Is Revealed in a Throwaway Joke
If you're not a fan of Arrested Development and can't understand why the Internet won't shut up about it, the following might clue you in. In short, the show was a complex, rapid-fire succession of hidden background references, call-backs, and in-jokes that are easy to miss even on the 10th viewing. The first time you catch one of them, you feel like you're in the club with the cool kids. Like the ridiculous plot twist below that, in reality, the show spent more than a year setting up.
They plan a year in advance? Then how do they respond to audience feedback?!
At the end of Season 3, in what would have been the series finale had those impertinent upstarts at Netflix not meddled with the wishes of the gods of television, it's revealed that the person responsible for most of the Bluth family's misfortunes is a minor throwaway character who'd only been in a few scenes -- the family's adopted child from Korea, whom they ignorantly call Annyong (since that's the Korean word for "hello," the first thing they heard him say).
In the big twist, it's revealed that the kid had been a mole for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating the Bluth Company for fraud. Even more shockingly, it also turns out the Bluths have been more right about Annyong's name than we thought: He's actually called "Hel-loh," which is Korean for "One Day," and he says he's been plotting vengeance against the Bluth family from the beginning for stealing his real family's idea of opening a stand to sell frozen bananas.Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:
We know he's telling the truth about the "from the beginning" part because, more than a year earlier in the Season 2 episode "Afternoon Delight," Michael Bluth finds the family banana stand has been vandalized. Did you notice what the graffiti said?
No, not "dick." That would be redundant.
It appears to read "I'll get u Bluth," and underneath that, you can just make out the word "Hello." Or, you know, "Annyong." On the same episode, it's also mentioned that Lucille sent Annyong/Hel-loh to boarding school to teach him a lesson, though she can't remember what, so we know he had a reason to be pissed off. They might as well have written "mole" across his che-
... oh. That's from even earlier in Season 2, by the way. So, yeah, in retrospect that was kind of obvious.
Thanks for once again making us feel dumb while entertaining us, Arrested Development.
#4. The X-Files -- A Crazy Person Tries to Warn Scully About Her Cancer
Late in its fourth season, The X-Files' usual "will they/won't they/OH SHIT ALIENS!" dynamic gets abruptly interrupted by a harsh dose of reality when Agent Dana Scully finds out she has brain cancer. Of course, it later turns out the government gave her that cancer for some fucking reason, and she gets cured through a magic chip implant, but for a while there, her struggle with the disease was a driving force for the plot of the series -- so much so that there are now dozens of fan-made music videos on YouTube dedicated to "Scully's cancer," as if it were a character in the Twilight movies or something.
Which has made it a pain in the ass to find songs by the Danish metal band of the same name.
Scully could have avoided all of that, if only she had let a crazy person jam a screwdriver into her forehead.
Perhaps we should explain: Months earlier, on the second episode of Season 4, Scully wakes up strapped to a dentist's chair, having been kidnapped by a nutjob named Gerry Schnauz, who keeps abducting women and giving them shoddy lobotomies. He explains that he does it to remove what he calls "howlers" in people's brains that make them act crazy, because crazy people are clearly something this guy just won't tolerate.
He made the brain tissue into Schnauzages and ate them.
Unfortunately, according to Schnauz, Scully's got just a dreadful case of the howlers, and helpfully points out exactly where they are. Take a look:
"Your partner Mulder has them all over his body, too."
"No, that's syphilis."
Now look at this X-ray of Scully's brain tumor from later in the season -- sure enough, it's right there where Dr. Batshit said the howlers were:
We cropped out her butt to help you focus.