The Most Shocking TV Show Endings That Left Viewers Speechless

The endings to these popular shows were so shocking they absolutely stunned the viewers.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Over the years, several television shows have earned dedicated fan bases that invest their time and emotions in characters and storylines. So when a series ends, viewers have high expectations for the ending. In some cases, finales can be shocking or unexpected, leaving fans disappointed or betrayed.

10. Black Mirror: “White Christmas”

Black Mirror’s Christmas special, titled “White Christmas,” features two men, Matt and Joe, trapped in a remote outpost. Through a series of interconnected stories, Joe confesses to murdering his fiancé’s father. At this point, the cabin gradually transforms into the deceased man’s house. It is revealed that Joe and Matt are cookies – a digital copy of a person’s consciousness. The faux Joe has just made a confession which will be used to convict the real Joe.

For assisting with the confession, Matt avoids imprisonment for his role in the murder. But he will be registered as a sex offender. A police officer then sets Joe’s cookie to experience time at 1,000 years per minute. Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday,” is set to play on repeat.

9. The Americans

The final episode of The Americans, titled “START,” sees the Jennings family facing the fallout from their life as undercover KGB agents in the United States. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings are forced to return to Russia after posing as Americans for years. However, the ending was bittersweet as they had to leave their children behind.

Henry, who was unaware of their true identities, remained at a U.S. boarding school. Paige, who had joined the family business, was to accompany her parents to Russia. But she changed her mind at the last minute and stayed behind. This unexpected twist shocked Elizabeth, who threw herself against the train’s window as she saw Paige on the platform. The series ends with the couple driving to Moscow.

8. How I Met Your Mother

The final two-part episode of How I Met Your Mother, titled “Last Forever,” picks up years after the previous season’s events. Ted Mosby finally meets the titular “Mother,” whose name is revealed to be Tracy McConnell. Ted and Tracy have two children together, but Tracy becomes ill and dies six years after their marriage.

In the series’ final moments, it is revealed that the entire story was Ted hinting that he is in love with his friend Robin Scherbatsky. The story ends with Ted getting his children’s blessing to pursue a relationship with Robin. He is standing outside her apartment with a blue French horn, mirroring a scene from the series’ first episode.

7. Twin Peaks

The season finale of Twin Peaks, titled “The Return,” ends with a mind-bending and ambiguous story. Agent Cooper travels back in time to try and prevent Laura Palmer’s murder, but he cannot change the course of events. Instead, he finds himself transported to a strange otherworldly realm, where he meets the Fireman, who gives him cryptic instructions on defeating his doppelganger and saving Laura.

Cooper then returns to the present day and travels with Laura to Twin Peaks, but they arrive at a different reality where Laura is now a woman named Carrie Page and doesn’t remember her past life. As they arrive at the Palmer house, they find it belongs to a different family, and the series ends with Cooper asking, “What year is this?” and Carrie screaming in terror.

6. The Leftovers

The final episode of The Leftovers, “The Book of Nora,” sees Nora living a solitary life in a remote Australian town. One day, an older Kevin appears at her doorstep, seemingly unable to recall any of the events that transpired, except when they met at a school dance. Kevin awkwardly asks Nora to accompany him to a local dance. Still, she rebuffs him and angrily calls Laurie, accusing her of betraying her trust by revealing her whereabouts to Kevin.

Kevin later admits that he has been searching for Nora but does not know how to approach her when he finally finds her. To Nora’s surprise, Kevin confesses that he never believed she actually “crossed over” even after Matt died. Nora then reveals that she was transported to an alternate reality where 98 percent of the population vanished, leaving behind the 2 percent who were missing from this world but chose to return after discovering that her family was content.

5. Dexter

The final episode of Dexter, “Remember the Monsters?” Dexter’s sister Debra is in critical condition after being shot by serial killer Oliver Saxon. Dexter tracks Saxon down to a hospital, where he confronts him and kills him in self-defense. After taking his sister off life support, Dexter drives his boat into a hurricane in an apparent suicide attempt.

But the final scene shows him alive and working as a lumberjack in Oregon, living under an assumed identity. The episode ends with Dexter looking at the camera and breaking the fourth wall by staring directly at the audience, leaving viewers to wonder whether he will continue his life as a killer or start anew.

4. Lost

The final episode of Lost, titled “The End,” features two parallel storylines. One is a “flash-sideways” universe, where the characters live in a world where Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed. Another takes place in the “present” timeline, where the remaining survivors are battling the island’s mysterious forces and attempting to stop the Man in Black from leaving the island and wreaking havoc on the world.

As the two storylines unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that the flash-sideways universe is not a traditional “flashback” but is, in fact, a form of afterlife where the characters are brought together to remember and reconcile their pasts. In the present timeline, the characters finally succeed in their mission to protect the island, with Jack sacrificing his life to save the island and the world.

3. Game of Thrones

The final episode of Game of Thrones, “The Iron Throne,” opens with the aftermath of the battle for King’s Landing, in which Daenerys Targaryen has burned the city to ashes with her dragon. Jon Snow, who has become her lover/nephew, kills her to prevent her from continuing to wreak havoc on the world.

The surviving characters convene to determine who will rule the Seven Kingdoms and ultimately choose Bran Stark, known as the Three-Eyed Raven, who can see the past and future. In the final scenes, the various characters go their separate ways, with Jon Snow returning to the Night’s Watch, Sansa Stark becoming the Queen in the North, and Arya Stark setting out on her own.

2. The Sopranos

In the final episode of The Sopranos, “Made in America,” Tony Soprano, the head of a New Jersey crime family, is shown meeting with various members of his organization and having dinner with his family in a diner. The tension builds throughout the episode as viewers wonder if Tony will be assassinated by one of his enemies or if he can evade capture by the authorities.

In the final scene, Tony sits in the diner with his family, waiting for his daughter Meadow to arrive. As the camera cuts to a close-up of Tony, the screen goes black, and the episode ends abruptly. This ending has been interpreted in many different ways. Some believe Tony was assassinated, and others see it as representing his constant anxiety and paranoia.

1. Breaking Bad

The final episode of Breaking Bad, “Felina,” sees Walter White tying up some loose ends while attempting to make amends for his past actions. He returns to Albuquerque, New Mexico, intending to make a deal with his former business partners to use their connections to get his remaining money to his family after he’s gone.

Walter then confronts his former business partners, who refuse to help him. He rigs a machine gun in the trunk of his car and sets off to seek revenge on his former enemies. He manages to take out most of them in a violent shootout but is mortally wounded. In the final moments of the episode, Walter stumbles into a meth lab and dies peacefully on the floor as police arrive on the scene.