Foreshadowing is one of those things that takes a lot of effort from the writers but goes largely unnoticed by viewers -- it exists mainly as a reward to those loyal fans who watch a movie or TV show over and over. Yet, as we've already pointed out on several occasions, your favorite movies and TV shows are absolutely rife with tiny clues that predict important plot developments. Here are five major plot twists that were actually spoiled by the characters themselves, if you'd just listened closely ...
5 Everyone in The Matrix Tells Neo That He's Going to Die
The Matrix was a pretty groundbreaking movie in many regards, not the least of which was trying to convince us that Keanu Reeves is in fact Jesus Christ. The movie achieved this by first putting Reeves' Neo into a virtual reality game and having him kill a bunch of cops before ultimately (and thankfully) giving way to the main plot twist where Neo dies and comes back as "The One," the trench coat-wearing kung-fu savior of humanity.
"I don't need a cross. I'm already wooden enough."
Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:
First, the obvious ones.
Early on in the movie, we get a glimpse of Thomas Anderson/Neo's life as a cubicle schmuck where he has a few interactions with regular people that are just lousy with foreshadowing. The first is when Neo sells a floppy disk to the '90s cyberpunk Choi.
Upon delivery, Choi then tells Neo:
"Hallelujah! You are my savior, man! My own personal Jesus Christ!"
The disk is just Depeche Mode MP3s.
In hindsight, this reads like a stealth advertisement for Subtlety in Screenwriting and You, considering that Neo eventually does pull a Jesus by coming back from the dead. But a little less subtle is Choi somehow managing to read from Neo's completely blank facial expression that he is stressed out, and telling him:
"It sounds to me like you need to unplug, man."
This is of course soon followed by Neo literally unplugging a bunch of cables from his body and waking up in the real world through what can only be described as a virgin birth.
"Pee! It's all pee!"
But the biggest clue to Neo's inevitable, messianic death comes from his interaction with the Oracle: the kindly cookie-baking lady who lies to Neo and tells him that he's not the One because he needs to discover it on his own and all that jazz. Except that ... she didn't really lie. When Neo confirms with the Oracle that he is not the One, she tells him he is waiting for something. What, exactly?
"Your next life, maybe. Who knows? That's how these things go."
"Cool. Thanks for nothing, Miss Cleo."
In the movie, the line is played off as a sarcastic remark from a sassy character, but sure enough, Neo didn't become the One until his "next life." As in, the life he lived after he died and came back. She could have made it all easier by just telling him he was going to get shot in a hallway, but apparently there's a law that says all prophecies have to be kept super vague.
4 The First Episode of Sherlock Predicts the Main Character's "Suicide"
The second season of the acclaimed BBC series Sherlock culminates in a rooftop confrontation between the genius scarf mannequin and his archnemesis, Moriarty, in which Sherlock is presented with a tough dilemma: kill himself or Moriarty's assassins will kill everyone he loves. He tries to persuade Moriarty to stop being such a dick and call off the hits, but Moriarty inconveniently shoots himself in the mouth (see: dick), leaving Sherlock with no choice but to leap to his death. OR DOES HE?
Spoiler for the next sentence: He doesn't.
Well, obviously he doesn't, because he appears alive and well at the end of the episode. Still, his faked suicide was the shocking plot twist that would keep viewers in suspense for the next two years, and it had apparently been in the works from the start.
Why We Should Have Seen It Coming:
Two people around Holmes actually told us Sherlock was going to die by his own hand, and they all did it in the very first episode. Doing her duty as a TV cop (that is, being antagonistic toward the brilliant outsider who always turns out to be right), Sergeant Sally Donovan says this early on in the episode:
"One day we'll be standing around a body and Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there."
"Now, if you'll excuse me, any more dialogue might turn me into an actual character."
She's convinced he's a psycho, and to Sally's credit, he is, but it's also true that at the end of Season 2 the police end up on the scene of a death Sherlock was responsible for -- his own.
Even more chillingly, the taxi driver who'd been responsible for all the murders throughout the first episode turns out to be a pawn in Moriarty's cat-and-mouse game with Sherlock, and even says this to the detective:
"I'm gonna talk to you, and then you're going to kill yourself."
"Then you're going to turn into a dragon and terrorize your little friend out there."
By the end of the scene, it appears that Sherlock outwitted him and the man has been proven wrong, but two years and five episodes later, that's exactly what Sherlock does. Or appears to do -- Sherlock does such a good job of faking it that he even fooled the foreshadowing gods.