Finally, in April, the season finale arrives. Early in the episode, the villain's henchmen promise to kill one member of the heroes' crew, right on schedule. After 90 minutes, 28 minutes of which were commercials, we get the final scene. All of the protagonists are restrained and lined up. The villain emerges and gives a monologue that seems to last for 46 hours. The camera cuts to a first-person view from a victim, the villain swings his weapon ...
Cut to black and the sound of screams. Season over, come back in six months to find out who got killed.
"Please enjoy a metaphorical hate-cock to the face until then."
Yes, it all turned out to be a cheap ratings stunt, which was shitty for obvious reasons (you don't reward loyal fans by lying to them, and you don't ruin huge emotional moments by chopping them up into teasers for the next episode). But, it also featured one of my least favorite storytelling tricks: coyly denying the viewer information in a way that reminds us we're watching a TV show.
Think about it: Every main character in the show knows what happened -- it occurred right in front of them. The only party left in the dark is us, the viewers, because they chose to turn off the camera at the key moment. It would be like if at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, they bleeped out "I am your father!" and superimposed "TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT WHAT VADER SAID, AND POST YOUR GUESS WITH HASHTAG #WHATDIDHESAY" across the screen.
20th Century Fox
"Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as- *fanfare end credits*."
This cheap trick is usually the sign of a creative team that has run out of gas -- Lost got very bad about this right when the show was in mid shark-jump. Example: At the end of Season 3, we see protagonist Jack walk into a funeral parlor with a closed coffin in the room. He and the funeral director talk ... but carefully avoid saying who is in the coffin (we know from context that it's a key member of the cast). About an hour of show time later, in the final scene of the episode (and the season), Jack and Kate meet to discuss said dead person and proceed to have another ridiculous conversation in which two people discuss the death of someone close to them without ever A) saying his or her name or B) referencing anything that could give away his or her identity. So, instead of Jack simply saying, "Did you know Locke died?" he silently hands Kate an obit cropped from a newspaper: