TV shows aren't really meant to go on forever (we're looking at you, Walking Dead). This means we get an inevitable final episode that either delights or enrages fans. We've talked before about some television endings that went off the rails, and those weren't isolated incidents. Recall some other infamously frustrating television endings, such as ...
How I Met Your Mother Killed The Mother Off Immediately
How I Met Your Mother was TV's answer to what it would be like if the gang from Friends had a collective drinking problem. The show spent nine seasons teasing out the identity of the titular mother, as a future Ted likely drove his children to the brink of madness with irrelevant stories about his friends' sexual conquests. At last, in the final season, we meet the mother, Tracy. Then in the final episode, we see her meet Ted. And then we get to ... watch her prematurely kick the bucket thanks to some unnamed illness. This happens literally within one minute of their wedding scene.
Then we cut back to the framing device of Ted's story. Ted (who no longer sounds like Bob Saget for some reason) finishes his epic tale, and his kids, who are surprisingly not cobweb-covered skeletons, point out that his anecdotes were less about their tragically deceased mom and more about a laundry list of other women he got it on with. Specifically, their "aunt" Robin.
Presumably, in the future year of 2030, psychotherapy has been outlawed. Otherwise, why would Ted subject his poor children to this bullshit? The show ends with Ted leaving his kids behind to chat about what a dirtbag their dad is as he runs into the night to hit on Robin.
The mother being dead in the future wasn't even all that surprising. Fans had predicted that twist years before. What no one had predicted, however, was that the show would spend less time chronicling her tragic demise than the average Pepsi commercial does trying to sell you brown sugar water. Some fans were so enraged by the finale that they even started a petition calling on producers to redo the ending. And the producers obliged, creating an alternate version for the home media release which technically fulfilled their demands while feeling kind of hollow. This is what is known as "The Mass Effect 3 Phenomenon."
Full House -- Michelle Gets Brain Damage
Beyond explaining why no one evicted Uncle Joey after his schtick wore thin years earlier, the Full House finale didn't have a ton of loose ends to tie up. So, bizarrely, the first half of the two-parter concerns Michelle randomly entering a horseback riding competition, only to be almost killed after being thrown from her horse. Whatever happened to predictability, indeed.
She's rushed to the hospital, where it turns out she has amnesia. She doesn't remember her dad, her sisters, or even Uncle Joey (the only silver lining to this unfortunate incident).
Yeah, it's kind of a depressing turn for the fluffiest show of all time. Michelle's brain damage then mostly serves to complicate other people's stories. DJ doesn't want to go to the prom anymore, and poor traumatized Michelle has to convince her to suck it up, possibly because she's confused and thinks DJ was hired to supply the music. In the end, Michelle gets her memory back, which is visualized by having both Olsen twins merge with each other onscreen.
Lois And Clark Inexplicably Find A Baby And Keep It
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman is a pretty dated show now, what with Superman not murdering anyone and a print newspaper thriving economically. The show was a huge hit ... until it wasn't. It was cancelled unceremoniously after the fourth season, ending with a weird, unresolved cliffhanger. The last episode finds Lois and Clark discovering that they can't have children, based an in-depth study of Kryptonian genetics and a passing familiarity with the filmography of Kevin Smith. Which especially sucks, because just that morning, Clark's parents randomly gifted them a baby crib -- which is an insanely shitty thing to do to any couple, let alone one having trouble conceiving.
Then, in the closing moments, Lois and Clark are awakened by a strange noise. They investigate and discover there's now a baby in the crib.
Instead of, say, contacting the proper authorities, the couple just decide to keep the child, to the surprise and horror of their parents.
Then the show ended forever. Instead of simply removing this last scene to keep things tidy, it was left in to forever vex fans. Apparently, the original idea for this storyline was to eventually reveal that the baby was from Krypton. He would then begin "to grow at an abnormal rate," becoming a troubled preteen who uses his powers for, well, the evil things a preteen would. Then he would have to leave Lois and Clark, who still can't have kids, but have hopefully learned a lesson about claiming random infants as their own.
Castle Ends With Castle Possibly Being Murdered
Castle was the show that thrilled both fans of mystery shows and fans of Firefly who chose to believe that it chronicled Mal Reynolds' journey back in time to masquerade as a 21st-century writer. The series ran for eight seasons, building up to a final episode in which Richard Castle gets randomly shot in his home minutes before the end. Castle's wife and partner Kate Beckett then walks in. She manages to kill the intruder, but not before he shoots her too! She crawls over to Castle, and the two hold hands as they bleed on the floor.
This cliffhanger was of course supposed to be resolved in the following season, but said season did not materialize. Not wanting their series to end with the leads in a state of Schrodingerian maybe-dead, the producers were allowed to shoot a new scene to tie everything up. And what they went with was ... weird. The show inexplicably flashes forward seven years, where the same apartment is now full of children and giant toys.
Adding to the mega-happiness of the scene, Castle and Beckett have breakfast with their newly introduced children, toasting each other with coffee cups like no human outside of a Maxwell House commercial has ever done.This scene really only makes everything more confusing. There's also no dialogue; not even a brief "Remember how we survived getting shot here seven years ago?" Devoid of context, cutting from our lead characters being seriously wounded to a sun-dappled paradise sure makes it seem like this scene is a dying hallucination.
House Of Cards Ends With A Random Murder
Robin Wright took over as the lead of House Of Cards after Kevin Spacey was fired for, well, Kevin Spacey behavior. The series had already been wobbly up to that point (though the title had given us all fair warning), and the finale is no different. A pregnant President Claire Underwood decides to start a nuclear war to distract from her litany of scandals.
In the final scene, we learn who killed her husband Frank. Yes, it was ultimately Netflix, but in the world of the show, it turns out to be the couple's henchman Doug Stamper. He then threatens to kill her, but can't go through with it. So instead Claire murders him. In the Oval Office.
Claire kneels over her victim, then looks at the camera and ... the show ends. Thankfully, she resists the urge to wink.
What about that impending nuclear war? Or any of the other dangling plot threads? Yeah, they're never resolved. And probably never will be, seeing as the closest we'll ever get to another season of House Of Cards is Kevin Spacey's creepy fanfiction pitch.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Ends With Captain Sisko Being A Selfish Dick
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a great show. It had drama, excitement, and Iggy Pop for some reason. But the finale, "What You Leave Behind," is kind of a bummer. The episode finds the Federation winning the Dominion War surprisingly quickly, leaving lots of time for ... a tuxedo-clad Odo wading in the disgusting sludge of his home planet.
Most odd is Captain Sisko's storyline. After seven years of build-up about him being the chosen one of the Bajoran Prophets, we get him tussling with occasional villain Gul Dukat, who is possessed by the bad aliens. The epic, mystical arc that was set up back in the very first episode is resolved with two dudes wrestling in an unconvincing cave. Turns out the evil aliens' Kryptonite is pushing, because despite the fact that Dukat has superpowers, Sisko is able to rather easily bump him off a cliff.
Then Sisko enters the realm of the Prophets. It seems his destiny is to go off with them on some kind of spiritual journey.
Which sucks a little for his pregnant wife. Sisko promises he'll be back -- a line that was added only because the actor, Avery Brooks, was "very uncomfortable with the notion of a black man abandoning his pregnant black wife." That's right, the show ends with the hero ditching his family. Sure, it's nice that he gets to fulfill his mystical destiny, but wouldn't it have been nice if his baby had the destiny his dad being around and not tooling around in some wacky alternate dimension?
The last shot is Sisko's other kid, Jake, staring out the window waiting for his dad to come back. Does he? Who knows, it was the last goddamn episode.
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