#3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- Willow Comes Out of the Closet a Season Early in an Alternate Universe
Mutant EnemyThe Twist:
For a show that was ostensibly about a teenager who hunts undead monsters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer's most memorable moments had to do with boning: Buffy humps her vampire boyfriend and turns him evil, Buffy humps her vampire enemy and turns him good, etc. Of these, the most genuine was probably the plot in Season 4 where Buffy's best friend and budding witch, Willow, has an epiphany that so many other young women experience during that special time known as freshman year of college: She realizes she's gay.
Gay. Not bi. Bisexuals are imaginary, like leprechauns.
While this was a groundbreaking moment in pop culture history, it was also completely unexpected from the bookish, naive, boys-liking Willow from the earlier seasons. Or not, if you had paid any attention.Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:
In an episode from the previous season, "The Wish," we get a glimpse of an It's a Wonderful Life-like alternate universe where Buffy never came to Sunnydale and the city is, predictably, filled with vampires, one of which is Willow. When regular-universe Willow gets a load of her vastly different vampelganger, she comments, "I'm so evil and skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay."
Fondling yourself means you're gay? Then we don't know many straight folk.
Buffy assures Willow that vampires don't retain any trace of the human they once were, but Angel starts to correct her, and he's a vampire so he should know. It's an awkward moment that, in hindsight, is a whole lot more awkward than anybody realized, because Willow being gay does indirectly turn out to make her evil -- when her girlfriend gets randomly murdered in Season 6 (surprise!), Willow starts flaying dudes alive and threatening to destroy the world.
The only thing that's missing is the "skanky" part, but presumably she would have gotten there if her friends hadn't turned her good again.
#2. How I Met Your Mother -- The "Shocking" Death Was Spoiled Two Seasons Earlier
In the Season 6 episode "Bad News," the How I Met Your Mother gang spends the entire episode awaiting the arrival of, uh, bad news. We're led to believe that Marshall and Lily, having spent the episode agonizing over their potential infertility, are going to receive the news that they're never going to have children, and in the end Marshall finds out that his swimmers ... are just fine. Oh, and also, his dad died. Psyche?
"I'm so sorry, honey. Want me to do 'skanky Willow' to make you feel better?"
... but in this case you really should have known, because this show is constantly showing us the future. In fact, they told us ol' Marvin Eriksen wasn't long for this world more than two years earlier, in the Season 4 episode "The Fight." In it, there's a quick flash-forward to Thanksgiving at the Eriksen family home, set three to five years in the future. But look around the table. Who's missing?
Besides the petty arguing. No one said the show was realistic.
Uh oh. Where's Marvin? He's not seen, heard, or mentioned. Marshall addresses his mother, but notably not his father. It's easy enough to miss, because the focus of that scene is Marshall carving the turkey with a sweet-ass lightsaber that damn well better show up by next year or we're suing the shit out of CBS.
In a tragic flash-forward, it decapitates the mother.
The revelation becomes even more obvious once you consider one thing: Even if Marvin was sitting at the other end of the table or went to the bathroom at that moment, why is Marshall the one carving the turkey? Isn't that a duty typically reserved for the male head of the household? Does Marvin Eriksen seem like a man who would pass up the opportunity to pull rank over decimating a bird corpse with a laser sword?
#1. Mad Men -- A Suicide Is Telegraphed for an Entire Season
Spoilers for a Mad Men episode from a year ago (or 46 years ago, depending on how you're counting): Near the end of Season 5, the "Pryce" in Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is suddenly dropped as a partner in the ad agency, and then he hangs himself in his office. Lane Pryce had been depressed for a while due to legal, financial, and "having a terrifying dad" problems, and after being caught embezzling money from the company, he finally decides to end it all. OK, so that's some pretty heavy shit, but nobody could have predicted that things would end so tragically for Lane, right?
After all, the show had never featured anything like that before.
The guy was always a little morbid: Two seasons earlier, Lane mentions to Don that he's been reading Mark Twain and feels like he just witnessed his own funeral and didn't like the eulogy. This is a guy he just met, by the way. Then in the first episode of Season 5, Lane jokes on the telephone in his office, "I'll be here for the rest of my life!" Presumably not knowing that he literally would be.
"And then later, I'll haunt it from an alternate timeline!" (Season 7 Fringe crossover spoilers.)
In a different episode, Peter Campbell comments that their company's life insurance policy pays out even in the event of suicide. We're gonna go ahead and guess Lane noticed that too. Then we have a bunch of visual omens (collected by Vulture in this neat compilation) that seem innocent on their own, but creepy as hell if you put them together -- like Joan exiting an office with a scarf around her neck and dangling down her back like a noose, then lingering on the door, which places her in a similar position as Lane's corpse.
To say nothing of Lane's scarf burlesque routine in the season premiere.
And if that's too much of a reach for you, let's take a look at what Don Draper has been sketching on his notepads during this season:
Aaaaaand we're done. We're just done.
As 2013 draws to a close, be sure to check out Cracked's year in review because, well, we know you don't remember it half as well as you think.
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Related Reading: We've got more Easter eggs where those came from. That club scene in Black Swan gives away the whole film. Not done? In The Departed, X marks every character who gets iced. Prefer your Easter eggs with a musical twist? Read up, friends.