A good plot twist can be the difference between a great story and an average one. Whether it’s a surprising villain reveal or shocking betrayal, a well-executed rug pull can upend the narrative and keep viewers hooked.
Plot twists are a hugely popular narrative technique in film, television, and video games. But what makes a good twist?
1. The Walking Dead Season 4
When The Walking Dead premiered back in 2010 it was one of the most popular — and certainly most talked-about — shows on television. Its fans were incredibly invested in every twist and turn, making it nearly impossible to talk about the show without spoiling it for those who didn’t watch live.
Whether it was the deaths of Carl, Glenn and more, The Walking Dead always made sure to shock viewers. This was part of what made it so successful, the idea that anyone could die at any time in a post-apocalyptic world invaded by flesh-eating zombies.
Now, the series has expanded to include spinoffs, movies and books — but it’s still The Walking Dead at its core. And despite its slow start this season, it seems to have found its groove. The season is bringing new blood to the table, including a surprisingly quick death for fan favorite Alden and some majorly disturbing news about Rosita.
This season also introduced notable comic characters like Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr), Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos). These additions were a welcome sight as they brought some freshness to the show and gave the survivors much-needed diversity that previous seasons did not have.
As the show moves into its final season, it’s bound to have a few big surprises for fans. Last week’s episode saw the return of Negan and the Saviors, who burned down Alexandria and left a few major fan-favorites in their wake.
The season’s mid-season finale left a lot of questions up in the air, but it did promise to take a more focused approach in its second half. Unlike the first half that frequently jumped between the present and a year earlier, the second half will focus solely on Rick and Carl as they try to cope with Hershel’s death.
2. Game of Thrones Season 6
From a bloody Battle of the Bastards to a final scene that blew our minds, Game of Thrones Season 6 provided some of the series’ most historic moments. Whether it was Jon Snow’s revival, Daenerys burning the Khal leaders alive or Hodor’s penis getting crushed by The Mountain, there were plenty of surprises to keep fans on the edge of their seat.
This season, we see more of the Stark children and their allies make their way back to Westeros. But there’s more to the story than meets the eye. In the midst of it all, Cersei reunites with Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and learns about her dead daughter Myrcella. While Jaime is helping the Freys retake Riverrun from the Tullys, he also reveals to Edmure that he really only cares about his queen.
The show’s most famous siblings continue to fight against Ramsay Bolton, who takes Sansa and Theon hostage after he kills their father at Winterfell last season. Thankfully, they get rescued by Podrick and Brienne, who invite them into their service. And while Ramsay may be the ultimate jerk, he isn’t without his defining moments. In a highly-anticipated confrontation, he meets his match when Jon confronts him. Then, with help from Rhaegal and Viserion, Jon crushes Ramsay’s fleet of ships and feeds him to his hounds. It’s a moment that brought tears to the eyes of many viewers, and it’s sure to leave an even bigger impression when HBO airs its season 8 finale. Until then, keep up with the latest GoT news by checking out our full recaps of the sixth season here. Or, watch the series premiere on April 24.
3. Breaking Bad Season 5
Amid the carnage and bloodshed of Breaking Bad’s season 5, Walter White — played by Bryan Cranston — grew to fully embrace his role as a criminal mastermind. The series reached its climax in “Ozymandias,” a season 5 episode that was both a masterful display of acting and a shocking look at the depraved human side of a man who was once a chemistry teacher.
After killing Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito), Walter takes control of the local meth business and forms a criminal crew with Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantraut. But the former chemistry teacher’s ego grows out of proportion to his abilities, and his team is beginning to worry about his safety.
To re-establish himself as a force to be reckoned with, Walt starts to order the slaughter of anyone with any connection to his drug empire. This includes his former students and their families, as well as those who work for him like his accountant and his pest-control employee. This is a far cry from the humble professor he began the show as, and he demonstrates that he will do whatever it takes to protect his legacy.
Then there’s Hank, who has been on the trail of this meth empire since season 1 and finally realizes that Walt is behind it all. His scene ordering old boxes of evidence at the house is a clever montage that recalls five seasons of twists and plots, and it also serves as a retread of his final scene in season 4, where Hank is murdered by the Salamanca brothers.
Hank’s death is a gut-wrenching turn that reveals two major things: 1. KumKum Bhagya Written Update is no longer a good guy; he can’t escape the law any more and 2. Jesse isn’t able to forgive him for his role in Jane’s death. His genuinely evil confession to Jesse at the end of the episode is a fitting swan song for Breaking Bad and arguably one of the series’ best episodes ever.
4. The Walking Dead Season 4
When it comes to television, few shows have the enduring appeal of The Walking Dead. It has managed to transcend genres over the course of its run, from full blown zombie action to high-flying drama to the creeping dread of a serial killer plotline. The fourth season of TWD is no different, blending several different genres into the mix to create a riveting and compelling experience.
The story begins with the survivors moving from Woodbury into their new home at the prison. While there they are plagued by an illness that kills people and reanimates them into walkers. Throughout the season, the survivors attempt to find a cure. However, many are dying along the way. In addition, Michonne is still searching for The Governor, fearing he will seek revenge on the survivors.
Among the most shocking moments in TWD Season 4 were the deaths of Carl, Glenn, and Andrea. These tragic deaths sent a message that no one was safe in the apocalypse. It also made it clear that the anti-heroes of TWD could be taken out at any time.
This season also saw the debut of a new antagonist named Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The actor is given the space to flex his acting muscle and prove why he has become one of the most popular villains on television.
The season concluded with ‘Rest in Peace’, giving fans a glimpse of what the future holds for their favorite characters. While it is a bit sad to say goodbye, it also hints that TWD will live on in some form or another, ensuring the story of Rick Grimes and his family will never truly be over.
5. Game of Thrones Season 5
Game of Thrones book fans have long lorded it over those who just watch the HBO series, partly because they’re snobs, but also because they often know more about what happens next than people who don’t read the books. Well, author George R.R. Martin is officially squashing that nonsense.
Martin, speaking at the 2015 Writers Guild Awards, revealed that he and co-executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss “have no idea what’s going to happen” in Season 5. “We’ve got a lot of stuff that’s already written down and we know where we want to go, but they have their own ideas and I don’t think it’s ever wise to speculate about what those might be,” he said, according to Showbiz 411.
But despite the fact that we don’t actually have any clue what’s coming in the upcoming season, it’s safe to say that the series isn’t without its fair share of shocking twists. Here are five of the biggest.
1. Cersei Learns Her Future
A lot of things happened in the fifth season of Game of Thrones, but perhaps the most shocking twist was when young Cersei learned her fate in a vision. It’s hard to imagine a more satisfying punishment for the wretched queen, who killed Ned Stark, tormented Sansa and set up Margaery and Loras to be tried by the Faith Militant.
2. Jorah Mormont Dies
When it comes to the sexiest deaths on Game of Thrones, there’s nothing quite like seeing beloved characters get ripped apart by slavers or beheaded by their enemies. But none of the brutal deaths on the show were more heartbreaking than the death of Jorah Mormont, who was attacked by the Sons of the Harpy and left to die from Greyscale, an illness he contracted from being chained up for months.