WARNING – This story may contain spoilers and/or disturbing video images.
Did you see the last episode of Breaking Bad? For a show that specializes in shocking moments, Sunday’s final scene ranks up there as one of its most jaw-dropping.
It’s hard to imagine anything or anyone will ever be the same on the series. Walter White’s transformation from cancer-ridden chemistry teacher to ruthless drug dealer seems complete. Everything, it seems, will now be measured as pre-that-thing-with-the-dirtbike-kid OR post-that-thing-with-the-dirtbike-kid.
This happens occasionally on TV shows. Even in the age of spoilers, TV shows can still shock you. Secrets are revealed. Accidents occur. Characters’ lives change in a moment, leaving audiences to wonder what’s happening next:
TWIN PEAKS – We knew that, at some point in time, creator David Lynch was going to reveal who killed Laura Palmer. Yet when it happened, it was still a shock. I mean, father Leland Palmer didn’t really seem like the type. Crazy, but a killer? Of course, he was possessed by another spirit (named Bob). Still, that didn’t really prepare you for his off-hand, and crazed confession. It’s as hilarious as it is creepy. And once the murderer was revealed, the show struggled to keep its audience:
THE SOPRANOS – We all knew Junior was getting a little dotty in his old age, but we didn’t see this coming. Junior mistakes Tony for a man from his past, and the results are nearly deadly. From this near-death moment on, Tony had a slightly different philosophy on life. Well….for awhile anyway:
DEXTER – We’d seen Dexter kill bad men before. A lot of bad men. This moment from last season’s finale is memorable because sister Deb walks in on the murder in progress. Yikes. How is Dexter going to get out of this? After a weak season, it seems inevitable that Dexter will take a decidedly different direction in the coming season:
LA LAW – Though tough lawyer Rosaline Shay was something of a bitch, nobody expected she’d be taken off the show by a wonky elevator shaft. Man, that was a surprise. In the years that followed, the law series tried to top itself in twists and turns but never really got past this one for sheer shock:
BOARDWALK EMPIRE – There’s a tendency to pick that climactic moment last year when Nucky shot his adopted son Jimmy. But I’m going with this shocking bit in which disturbed agent Nelson Van Alden takes revenge on another agent he thinks betrayed him. Wow. I knew the guy was creepy, but this is freakin’ looney tunes. Up to this moment, I wasn’t sold on the series. I found it nicely-made but boring. And after? I gave it another try:
GAME OF THRONES – This was a first season, first episode moment, but it set the tone for a show that was going to push TV boundaries. I mean, it’s sick enough that a brother and his Queen/sister are getting it on, but murdering a kid? I didn’t see that coming. As it turned out, this single event set king against king, and nation against nation. And the kid didn’t even die! Oh well…:
THE WALKING DEAD – There was much discussion about whether TV’s The Walking Dead would deliver the jolts of an R-rated zombie movie. This opening scene certainly ended that argument. The slippers and stuffed animal clutched in that little zombie girl hand is a nice touch. Like Game of Thrones and its kid-pitching scene, we knew just how far the series was willing to go after this scene: