28 Devastating Character Deaths That Were Either The Most Shocking Thing I'd Ever Seen Or The Most Predictable Thing I'd Ever Seen

·12 min read

🚨🚨WARNING: Before we go any further, I am putting out a MASSIVE spoiler warning that involves the recent Stranger Things episodes. There are also spoilers for Euphoria, Killing Eve, and Yellowjackets, so read at your own risk!!!🚨🚨

Okay, you've been warned! Let's get started!

1.SHOCKING: Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tara is shot and says "your shirt" as willow's shirt is splattered with her blood - she collapses and Willow says "Tara? Baby? Baby, come on!"

Buffy's two biggest deaths (not counting Anya's since I do not acknowledge it) are extra heart-wrenching because neither of them are magical in nature. And in Season 6, the villains — even the woman-hating Warren — come across as a bit of a joke. So when Warren shows up with a gun and shoots Buffy, and a wayward bullet goes through the window to hit Tara...it felt even more horrifying and shocking than if there had been some supernatural reason Tara died. Also, Amber Benson had finally been added to the credits for that episode, and she'd JUST gotten back together with Willow, so it was extra shocking that she died.


2.SAW IT COMING: Vision on WandaVision

Vision muses about what he's been in the past and what he might be next, and reasons that they'll see each other again, before saying goodbye to Wanda

Vision started the show dead, and it was pretty clear he'd end it that way, too. Still, for Wanda to lose him AGAIN...ugh. WandaVision truly ripped out my heart and stomped on it, and I'm still a little mad Vision was barely even mentioned in the second Dr. Strange after this devastating scene.

Disney+ / Marvel

3.SHOCKING: Villanelle on Killing Eve

Eve swims towards Vilanelle's body

Look, the show's called Killing Eve. And yet, Villanelle is the one who dies in the end??? Maybe that makes sense for the genre, but it just felt like in a show that subverted so many expectations, maybe the show really would end with them living happily ever after. Or in some other twisty way than this — it felt like a cop-out and almost a betrayal by the writers, so yeah, I was really shocked to see this. I'm still mad about it, tbh.


4.SAW IT COMING: Eddie on Stranger Things

Dusting saying, "Eddie? Eddie?" as Eddie dies in his arms

Stranger Things has a penchant for killing beloved characters that were newly introduced that season, so heading into the Season 4 finale last week, it seemed pretty obvious that Eddie was going to die. And then, when he was telling Dustin to never change...I mean, come on. Still, his death was just as heartbreaking as I worried it would be, and I am frankly not okay. We only knew him for a season, but he was such a fantastic new character. LET EDDIE GRADUATE!!!


5.SHOCKING: Quentin on One Tree Hill

Xavier shoots Quentin, then Lucas is woken up by a phone call saying he's dead

This death was SO RANDOM. It didn't even happen in a season finale or at any time you expect deaths to happen. Quentin was there, and then he was just...dead. I know this is how death often happens in real life — especially as a result of senseless violence — but still. This really tore the rug out from under me, and I'm still not over it. Quentin had gone through such a great arc, and it felt like there was so much more story for him to tell.

The CW

6.SAW IT COMING: Jackie on Yellowjackets

Shauna saying, "No! Jackie, wake up!"

We knew Jackie was dead since she clearly wasn't alive in the present day, but we had no idea how she died. It felt like we were waiting the whole season to find out. Still, that didn't stop this from being just horrible to watch. I didn't hate Jackie (TBH, Shauna really needed to get off her high horse), but it was still just such a depressing, horrifying thing to happen, and it obviously wasn't what Shauna intended or expected.


7.SHOCKING: Enzo on The Vampire Diaries

Stefan rips out Enzo's heart and Bonnie cries in shock

I didn't love Enzo, but...Bonnie was finally happy!!!!! So close to the end of the show, I really thought they would let her be happy. And of all the characters for Stefan to target, Bonnie felt like the least likely option. This was just so out of pocket and shocking, and it happened so suddenly.

The CW

8.SAW IT COMING: Jack on This Is Us

The doctor telling Mrs. Pearson that her husband has died, and her responding, "No...I'm sorry. You know, we were just here for a burn. On his arm."

We knew Jack was dead, and we even knew he died on Super Bowl Sunday, but we didn't know exactly how or when or why. Still, it was obvious it would happen in this episode, which meant we spent the entire thing DREADING it happening. And yet, somehow it was even worse than I ever could've guessed. I literally had to stop watching This Is Us after this; that's how much this episode broke me.


9.SHOCKING: Lexie on Grey's Anatomy

Lexie saying "Meant to be" as she dies.

Maybe not so shocking after the plane crashed, but definitely shocking before. Lexie was such a sweet and pure character, and it felt like there was so much more story to tell with Mark. And then their story just ends, in the most heart-wrenching way.


10.SAW IT COMING: Ashtray on Euphoria

A gun pointed at Ashtray as Fez looks on.

We knew going in that Ashtray or Fez was probably going to die, and after Ashtray killed Mouse, I knew which one it was going to be. It was still incredibly hard to watch, however, especially because Ash was so young and because Fez cared so much about him.


11.SHOCKING: Poussey on Orange Is the New Black

Taystee shouts "P" as Poussey suffocates

This is probably one of the TV deaths that makes me the angriest — maybe because it felt so topical. And also so preventable. Poussey was such a great character, so to see her life end this way...it was a reminder that this show WOULD go there and forever changed the way I saw a show that was oftentimes more of a comedy.


12.SAW IT COMING: Tracy on How I Met Your Mother

Ted reads to Tracy at the hospital

We kinda knew the mother wasn't around, so we knew this would come eventually...still, after waiting SO long to meet her, it was really disappointing and sad to see her story end this way. Especially because it was so quick! I feel like viewers were more sad about it than Ted himself.


13.SHOCKING: Charlie on Lost

Charlie drowning

Lost was clearly a show where no one was safe, but Charlie was such a pure soul, and it felt like there was supposed to be so much more story for him, and especially for him and Claire...this remains, in my mind, one of the saddest TV deaths of all time. And it came out of nowhere!!!!


14.SAW IT COMING: Fred on Riverdale

Archie hears about Fred's death.

Obviously, we knew Fred was going to die because the actor, Luke Perry, had died in real life. And of course, the episode was devastating anyways, especially because Perry had died. But I also thought the show did a really good job of handling it, and helping the actors and the audience grieve in a way that felt true to both the character of Fred and the actor Luke. I sobbed throughout the entire episode and have never been able to bring myself to rewatch it.

The CW

15.SHOCKING: Fred on Angel

Fred asking, "Please...Wesley...why can't I stay?" as she dies.

Yes, Fred was dying this whole episode. But it was still shocking because our heroes came close to death in monster-of-the-week storylines like this all the time. And it seemed like Angel and Spike were going to save Fred, pretty much right up until the end of the episode. Fred says she's going to keep fighting. And then she dies. This woman who has been through what feels like worse than this just dies in a single-episode arc. I sat staring at my TV screen after the episode was over in shock.

The WB

16.SAW IT COMING: Finn on Glee

Someone hangs a picture of Finn on the wall

Yes, I know it's kind of cheating to include another example where we knew the character was going to die because the actor died in real life. Still, how could I not include one of the most devastating TV deaths/episodes of all time on this list? This is a heart-breaking episode of television, and there was no way to emotionally prepare for it, even though you knew exactly what it was going to be like.


17.SHOCKING: Logan on Veronica Mars

Logan smiles at Veronica and gets in the car, then Veronica is thrown from the window by an explosion

I mean, come on. THEY HAD JUST GOTTEN MARRIED. It was the last few minutes of the finale!!! It would've been so easy for the writers to just NOT do this. And yet, they did. It's so freaking depressing that it makes me angry.


18.SAW IT COMING: Hank in Breaking Bad

Hank saying, "Do what you're gonna d-" before getting shot.

While Walt was certainly shocked, as a viewer I felt much like Hank did — that there was only one way this played out, no matter what Walt did or said. Watching this scene was especially painful for that reason. I knew Hank's minutes were numbered, and waiting for him to die was just so, so difficult to watch.


19.SHOCKING: Andrea on Breaking Bad

Todd tells Andrea it's nothing personal then shoots her as Jesse watches from the car screaming

Unlike Hank, there was no clear narrative reason for Andrea to die. Jesse's storyline was relentlessly tragic even without this, and this almost felt like overkill to just kill a female character as carnage to further bring Jesse into despair. I mean, she had a son!!!!! I was very distraught.


20.SAW IT COMING: Dani on The Haunting of Bly Manor

Jamie screams as she swims down and sees Dani dead in the bottom of the lake

Dani herself warns of this happening, and it quickly becomes clear that this is the only way Dani's story ends. I'm honestly surprised (and grateful) she got as long as she did to be happy — yet of course, I still sobbed when she died. Dani and Jamie deserved so much more. :(


21.SHOCKING: Catelyn, Robb, and Talisa on Game of Thrones

Roose tells Robb the Lannisters send their regards

I guess this wasn't shocking if you read the books, but for me, it certainly was! I never expected them to kill so many characters at once. They essentially killed off an entire storyline that felt integral to the show. It was shocking and upsetting and really just the gold standard for TV twists.


22.SAW IT COMING: Daenerys on Game of Thrones

Jon holds Daenarys' stabbed body

In contrast, it seemed pretty obvious the writers would go this route with Daenerys. Once she began burning King's Landing, it was clear she'd have to be taken out, and that Jon would probably be the one to do it. But for me, it just felt like such a disappointing and underwhelming end for her character. While I wasn't necessarily sad to see Daenerys die in this scene, it made me sad for her character in general, and the potential she had had.


23.SHOCKING: Mary on Sherlock

Mary tells John he made her so happy and he gave her everything she could've ever wanted

I really hate Season 4 of Sherlock. Mary dying felt so unnecessary. I really liked the dynamic they'd found between Mary, John, and Sherlock, and it felt very much like they killed Mary as fodder to create conflict between John and Sherlock. Still, it was certainly shocking.


24.SAW IT COMING: Sherlock on Sherlock

John yelling, "Sherlock!"

The episode starts with John saying Sherlock is dead, so obviously, we knew what was coming. But if you had asked me how Sherlock was going to die (okay, fine, he doesn't really die, but we don't know that until the episode's end!!!), I would not have been able to guess how tragic it really was. Making John believe that this was how his best friend died...it still gets me, and I'm still angry that Sherlock never properly apologized.


25.SHOCKING: Robin on Once Upon a Time

Robin dying

Ah, yet another entry on this list where it felt like the character had more story to tell, and like the love interest the character was leaving behind had already lost too much. This also happened so late in the show, when we were just beginning to think Regina could be happy and that she might actually deserve to be. Oof, this one was rough.


26.SAW IT COMING: Il-nam on Squid Game

Il-nam remembers his name and tells Gi-hun before he's presumably shot

Okay, so this is sad because not only did Il-nam live, but he was actually behind everything....but when I first saw this, I sobbed! Even though it was clear from the start, an elderly man like Il-Nam was probably not going to make it through these games. And you become pretty certain he's going to die once this game is announced, as it seems pretty early for our main character — who Il-nam is competing against — to die. It was extremely painful to watch at the time, especially as Il-nam had become a fan favorite.


27.SHOCKING: Margaery on Game of Thrones

Screen shots from "Game of Thrones"

I should've known better after the Red Wedding, but I really, really did not see this one coming. It felt like Margaery had a plan up her sleeve like she always does — and, like many of the other characters on this list, it felt like she had so much more story to tell. I loved Margaery, so this one really upset me.


28.And finally, let's end on a somewhat happy one...SAW IT COMING: Chidi on The Good Place

Chidi saying, "I'm ready."

So Chidi was technically already dead, but since all the characters started the show out dead, I'm going to count them going through the door at the very end their death. I definitely saw it coming that Chidi was going to be ready before Eleanor, especially because it was such a great end to his arc after dealing with so much indecision throughout his life. But watching him go was still difficult, even if I knew it was what he wanted, and felt like the right ending for the character.


What TV deaths did you see coming, and which ones were shocking to you? Let us know in the comments below!