6 Brilliant Clues Hidden In The Background Of TV Shows
Foreshadowing is hard to get right. You want to reward loyal viewers with hints of what's to come, but if you make it too obvious all the tension will drain out of your show like gravy out of a balloon. When done well, the big plot twist will shock people the first time around ... but upon a second viewing, all the pieces fall into place like you're the detective in The Usual Suspects. As such, we're betting most of you didn't catch any of these the first time around ...
The Walking Dead: Major Plot Points Are Revealed In Split Second Images
Shane was one of the two male leads in The Walking Dead, and (arguably) the primary bad guy of Season Two, constantly squaring off with Rick, the show's "hero." As tends to happen in situations like these, the two wind up in a love triangle. After competing over Lori (aka "TV's worst mother") for two seasons, Shane loses his mind and decides to turn their love triangle into a biangle by murdering Rick, because obviously getting laid should be your biggest priority in a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Shane fails on account of not being the protagonist, and becomes a zomb- er, walker after Rick stabs him in the heart. Symbolism!
We're not sure what punching Carl in the dick symbolizes, we just know it's important.
Two episodes earlier, and after months of alpha male posturing, Rick and Shane finally come to blows. Rick manages to repeatedly punch Shane in his stupid, perpetually open mouth, and all that face punching leads to Shane staggering around with a nosebleed. We see him reflected in shards of broken glass ...
And even then he can't close his dumb mouth.
... looking suspiciously like the pale, shambling legionnaire of the undead he would soon become.
If that's too subtle for you, another twist gets revealed via Easter egg in season four. The gang follows signs promising sanctuary to anyone who can reach the community of Terminus, because characters on The Walking Dead have no sense of pattern recognition. Upon arrival our heroes are greeted by Lieutenant Tasha Yar, who offers to feed the weary travelers. In a twist that shocked literally no one, we learn that Terminus is run by cannibals and the food that was offered up was probably the parts of Ray Liotta left over after Hannibal.
"Hi, welcome to our totally normal community, where nothing bad happens to anyone!"
But if you paid attention five episodes prior you could have seen the obvious twist coming even earlier. When exploring a house, Michonne takes a break from lopping off zombie heads to work on her art appreciation skills. The painting she studies depicts a woman who looks exactly like the one who offers them food ... except she's covered in blood. Because she's a cannibal. Symbolism!
"This is reminiscent of early classical bullshit."
True Detective: Every Detail About The Cult Of The Yellow King Is Given Away
True Detective is a critically acclaimed series with a name so dumb it might as well have been called Police Cops. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are actual detectives tasked with solving a murder that was committed by a mysterious figure known as the Yellow King. Eight hours of soul-crushing ennui and pretentious literary references later, the saddest buddy-cop duo ever take down an occult-inspired murder club led by an unassuming minor character no one suspected.
If you were watching closely, you already knew the detectives were hunting for more than one perpetrator. That twist was foreshadowed through the strategic posing of beer cans, paintings and toy dolls, much like how we foreshadowed flunking out of college by constantly getting drunk and playing around instead of studying:
Plus, with all the scenes with two breasts in them, we're amazed we didn't see it earlier.
Meanwhile, the identities of the men associated with the cult were given away with the use of yellow. There's Billy Lee Tuttle, a yellow tie wearing, yellow office occupying reverend who tries to cover-up the investigation...
He looked smug too often as a kid and got his face stuck.
...and Reggie Ledoux, a meth cook with such appalling hygiene that the yellow hue is grime radiating out of his very pores.
A creepy, corrupt reverend and a meth dealer? Truly, True Detective broke new ground!
But the main killer is the apparently inconsequential groundskeeper the detectives briefly meet in an early episode. The writers were so confident that no one would guess his real identity that they wrote it on a sign and slapped it right in the goddamn foreground.
Though, that could just as easily be an ad for a Post-It Note tycoon.
House Of Cards: Zoe's Murder Is Hinted At From The Series Premiere
Playing against type, Kevin Spacey stars as a deeply unpleasant politician (and terrible schemer) named Frank Underwood. While the first season mostly consists of Underwood being a gigantic dick to everyone, he ups the ante in the premier of Season Two by throwing ally-turned-enemy journalist Zoe Barnes under a subway train.
Making him the first politician to have literally railed someone he shouldn't have.
This violent turn of events was hinted at throughout the first season with such ridiculous dialogue we wouldn't be surprised to learn that it was written by the Riddler. In the very first episode we learn that Zoe works on her newspaper's metropolitan pages, a job she says is "killing her." If you don't speak British, "metro" means "subway" and "newspaper" means "bbc.com for old people." In the next episode, Zoe and Frank meet at a station, a rendezvous that ends with Zoe being told not to miss her train.
"Back in Gaffney, if an affair gets out of hand, we just push them in front of a train."
"Sitting right here, Frank."
In a later episode, Frank says "I don't use people unless I can throw them away afterwards," a telling line considering he's been using Zoe to plant damaging stories about his political rivals like a human Drudge report.
The murder's even foreshadowed in the opening minutes of the episode in which it happens: When Frank's wife asks him how he's going to deal with Zoe, he remarks that he's fully prepared while studying a map of the Metro. Okay, we guess that's not really foreshadowing anymore, but even by House Of Cards standards it would be too on the nose for Kevin Spacey to say "Let's just say I'll murder her ... to death."
Lounging in bed is definitely the most relaxing way to plan your murders.
Friends: The One Where Phoebe Predicts Chandler And Monica Getting Married
The episode where Ross marries his British fiancee Emily contained a lot of surprising and tense moments, at least by the standards of a '90s sitcom. Rachel flies across the ocean to tell Ross she loves him, Ross mistakenly says Rachel's name at the altar, and Monica convinces everyone that not being able to have the wedding exactly where the bride wants it is a perfectly legitimate reason to postpone the ceremony and screw dozens of people out of thousands of dollars in airfare. Oh, and Monica hooks up with Chandler for the first time.
It would take another three years for Monica and Chandler to get married, but there was nothing to worry about -- and not just because sitcom cliches prevent anything but the safest, most saccharine ending.
If man was meant to have gritty TV shows in the 90s, David Simon would have invented The Wire sooner.
Several episodes earlier, Monica's tasked with picking up Emily's wedding dress. After seeing it, she succumbs to a nasty case of being a female sitcom character and just has to try it on, lest she die alone and unloved, her shriveled ovaries rattling around her uterus like marbles in an empty gourd. She also gets Phoebe and Rachel to pick up their own dresses to lounge around in, because if she was doing it by herself it would just be weird.
Then Chandler knocks on the apartment door. Monica freaks out because she doesn't want to get caught wearing Emily's dress. Phoebe also freaks out, but only because "The groom cannot see the bride!"
"Wait, you're not marrying Ross? God, I can't keep track of who's fucking who anymore."
What the hell? Chandler isn't anybody's groom, not at that point.
Now, Phoebe is the gang's token fruitcake who believes in all sorts of ridiculous things, like ghosts and vegetarianism, so most viewers would have dismissed her comment as nonsensical rambling. But there are other incidents that suggest she might have legitimate psychic powers -- after the gang returns from London she immediately accuses Joey of eating meat and Monica of getting laid, both of which are true. So, someone in the writers' room got clever and decided to have the "psychic" Phoebe accidentally point out that, in fact, Chandler was about to see his bride in a wedding dress. See? Even sitcoms put thought into this shit.
But that doesn't mean they don't yearn for the heady days of Matlock when you could just make shit up on the fly.
American Horror Story: Coven: The Supreme Is Revealed In The First 10 Seconds
American Horror Story's third season revolved around a school for girls that, like all such schools, is secretly a coven of witches. Their leader, a figure called the Supreme, has the power to harness the Seven Wonders of Stevie Nicks. When the current Supreme, Fiona, gets cancer (a witch's greatest weakness), the students must pass a series of tests to determine the identity of her successor. The coven collapses into chaos as the witches try to eliminate the competition, but it's eventually revealed that none of the claimants are the new Supreme. It was the school headmistress, Fiona's daughter Cordelia, all along. Zoinks!
You know she's the Supreme because she's just like a regular witch except with sour cream.
American Horror Story's credits always contains clues to the plot of the season. For example, you could gleam from the medical equipment and jars of fetuses in season one that it was going to involve insane experiments on children, from the demonic statues and the nun mounting a restrained patient in season two that a believer was going to turn to the dark side, and from all seasons that you're watching a show that thinks horror comes from storylines soap operas would consider ridiculous.
That trend continued in season three, where Cordelia was identified as the Supreme from the first minute of the first episode. If you know your Mexican folklore, the hint was so unsubtle they might as well have stuck signs around Cordelia's actress that said "This one right here, she's the Supreme. Show's over, go watch Mad Men."
Hell, she even comes first in the credits.
As Reddit user Kiddens pointed out, that's no random photobombing skeleton. That's Santa Muerte, otherwise known as the patron saint of drug lords, but also otherwise known as the Lady of the Seven Powers. Series co-creator Ryan Murphy actually instructed viewers to pay attention to the opening credits, because apparently he was excited to spoil his own show for his own fans. Luckily, eagle-eyed Reddit users notwithstanding, we're all pretty dumb.
Game Of Thrones: Major Deaths Are Broadcast All Season
Poor Tyrion Lannister can't catch a break. In addition to being a dwarf and an outcast, he's married to a teenager against their will, which complicates his relationship with Shae, the secret prostitute he's fallen for. In a different genre that would lead to farcical shenanigans, but instead he's falsely accused of killing his nephew, King Douche. Shae testifies against him because she's feeling pouty, and he gets sentenced to death.
"Have you anything to say in your defense?"
"My Lord, bitches beith cray."
Tyrion gets busted out of prison and, for reasons that make no sense to anyone who hasn't read the books, decides to pay a visit to his dear old dad, Tywin. When he finds Shae in Tywin's bed, he snaps and strangles her before killing his dad in the middle of some good old post-coital defecation. Tyrion had plenty of reasons to be angry, but he always rose above senseless violence. Who on Earth, aside from all those smug book reading nerds, could have predicted that he would turn into a cold-blooded killer?
Tywin's official title was Hand of the King, and as the LA Times pointed out, there was a season long "motif of hands in distress." A random Lannister was stabbed in the hand ...
And a non-random Lannister had his hand chopped off.
... Theon bit his sister's hand, because this franchise has precisely zero healthy familial relationships ...
Though not quite as unsettling as what she let him do with his hand.
... and Davos showed off his mutilated fingers.
But the spookiest part is an off-hand (ahem) remark made by Littlefinger, Lord of Ephebophilia and Wandering Accents. After the snotty Lord Arryn expresses his fears about leaving his fortress, Littlefinger unhelpfully reminds him of the many ways he could die in his own home. "People die at their dinner tables, they die in their beds, they die squatting over their chamber pots."
Well, Joffrey died at his wedding feast ...
Ending yet another royal marriage between Natalie Dormer and a homicidal king.
... Shae died in bed...
Which is why you always practice autoerotic asphyxiation with a spotter.
... and Tywin died in the middle of the most dignified shit ever, because Charles Dance can make anything look badass.
His colonoscopy footage looks better than your wedding photos.
Littlefinger appears to just be listing random examples, but he's actually counting off the season's biggest deaths in chronological order. So either the writers really like dramatic irony, or the next big plot twist is that Littlefinger is a Scanner.
When he's not refusing to read Game Of Thrones books, Chris writes for his website and tweets. Manna cries about Game Of Thrones most days on Twitter. Carolyn never shuts the fuck up about The Walking Dead on Twitter.
For more things you probably never noticed, check out 6 Video Games That Put Insane Detail Into Stuff You Missed and 5 Brilliant Moments You Probably Missed in Famous Movies.
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