Most shocking TV moments of 2018: The Walking Dead, Killing Eve, more

Most shocking TV moments of 2018: The Walking Dead, Killing Eve, more

December 11, 2018

Small screen, big surprises

Television supplied viewers with plenty of bombshells in 2018. Jane the Virgin brought back Michael! ABC canceled RoseanneGame of Thrones… did nothing! Those, plus 27 others, are the moments we’ll remember. (SO MANY spoilers ahead!)

The murderer revealed, Sharp Objects

In her first novel, Gillian Flynn saved the revelation of the true killer of Wind Gap’s little girls for the last chapter, just before a lengthy epilogue. For the small-screen adaptation, Flynn nixed the follow-up: The series ends instead with Amma (Eliza Scanlen) walking in on Camille (Amy Adams) discovering Amma’s victims’ teeth arranged on the floor of her dollhouse. Cue a ruthless last line — “Don’t tell Mama”—plus another Led Zeppelin track, and the result is the most disturbing, electrifying, and brutal closing of a crime thriller this year. —Shirley Li

Timeless is uncanceled… again

We should have seen this one coming. After all, NBC’s time-travel adventure drama went through the cancellation-then-surprise-revival cycle once already, at the end of its freshman season. This year, it went through another round of being canceled, then saved — only this time, it’ll return in the form of a two-hour finale special. Fans, of course, would love to see more. If only we could turn back time… —SL

Michael’s alive, Jane the Virgin

After Michael (Brett Dier) died in Jane the Virgin’s third season, much of the show became about Jane’s (Gina Rodriguez) grief and her journey to find happiness again in a Michael-less world. In fact, she spent years trying to figure that out, and just as she started to plan a future with Rafael (Justin Baldoni) — she was going to propose — she turned the corner and discovered that Michael was still alive!!! It was a classic telenovela twist that absolutely NO ONE saw coming. —Samantha Highfill

Eve stabs Vilannelle, Killing Eve

After eight episodes of the best cat-and-mouse game on television, MI5 agent Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) finally tracks down the Parisian lair of the enigmatic killer Villanelle (Jodie Comer). It’s a sequence that keeps viewers on the tensest of tenterhooks as a bruised and battered Villanelle returns to her apartment, only to find Eve pointing a gun at her head. The power in the room constantly shifts as these two women circle each other, finally having a heart-to-heart about their mutual obsession. “God, I’m tired,” Eve says as she lies down on the bed, while Villanelle silently picks up the gun and lies beside her. This is where Killing Eve delivers its best work, as the two women have an intimate conversation and Villanelle believes she finally has ensnared her prey. Eve and Villanelle’s connection runs deep as they realize that one can’t exist with the other, but just for a moment in time, they inhabit the same space. And then, Eve stabs Villanelle suddenly and unexpectedly. The shock on Villanelle’s face mirrors that of viewers, as she tells Eve, “I really liked you.” Once again, the power quickly shifts as Eve realizes what she’s done and tries to help, but Villanelle attempts to shoot her and vanishes into thin air. It’s simultaneously an effortlessly satisfying climax and infuriatingly enticing cliffhanger that will keep viewers biting their nails in anticipation of season 2. —Piya Sinha-Roy

Budd shoots himself, Bodyguard

It was one of those moments that you really didn’t think would to be carried through to completion, but then it was, and you practically fell off the couch in response. Yes, when PTSD-suffering bodyguard David Budd (Richard Madden) put a gun to his head to end his suffering, he proved he meant it and pulled the trigger. It was that precise moment that Britain collectively gasped and everyone in the country spat the tea they were sipping back into their cup. Okay, fine, the gun wasn’t properly loaded and David survived, but the moment was only marginally less traumatizing for it. —Ruth Kinane

The Walking Dead doesn’t kill Rick

For weeks, AMC hyped “Rick Grimes’ final episode.” And then, as the the Walking Dead hero was seemingly blown to smithereens on that river bridge nobody else cared about, before tears could even begin to form in the corners of our eyes, Grimes was revealed to be alive and whisked away on a deus ex machina helicopter. AMC quickly announced a series of Rick Grimes movies — because “movies” aren’t “episodes,” get it? The reverse-Ned Stark surprise was certainly shocking, yet some fans felt AMC traded concluding its biggest hit’s main character’s story in satisfying way for a franchise-expanding stunt. —James Hibberd

Roseanne is canceled

It actually wasn’t that shocking when Roseanne Barr — who has a rich history of speaking without thinking — posted a racist tweet last spring about former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett. What was shocking was how swiftly ABC responded with its decision to cancel the revival of Roseanne, even though it was a critical and ratings success. The network regrouped and brought back the show without its namesake star, but the ratings just don’t compare. —Lynette Rice

That very dark finale, Barry

If only the Barry season 1 finale could have ended a few minutes sooner. Instead of a happy ending for Janice, Gene, Sally, and Barry, things quickly turned deadly. Just as Janice (Paula Newsome) realized that Barry (Bill Hader) was the hitman she’d been pursuing, he tried to convince her that they’re the same. “We’re not the same,” she said. “Because I’m a cop and you’re a f—ing murderer.” But as she had him backed up at gunpoint, we saw a gun strapped to a tree and the camera panned upstairs to a sleeping Sally (Sarah Goldberg) with gunshots ringing out. Barry eventually returned to bed, once again trying to convince himself that his former life was over, all while we tried to convince ourselves that we’re okay. —Derek Lawrence

Eobard Thawne returns, The Flash

All season long, fans suspected that Nora (Jessica Parker Kennedy) wasn’t being completely honest with Team Flash, and series’ the 100th episode finally revealed what she was hiding: She’s been sending reports of her time in the present back to Eobard Thawne (Tom Cavanagh), who is imprisoned in Iron Heights in 2049 and has essentially been her coach. What made this twist work is that it’s actually pretty obvious and the show did a good job of setting it up with the occasional reference to Thawne in the episodes leading up to the 100th. —Chancellor Agard

And the Turd Burglar is…, American Vandal

So who was the Turd Burglar? Turns out… kind of everyone. Whereas season 1 of American Vandal gave us a compelling answer for who drew the dicks but left it purposefully open-ended, season 2 walked us through the entire diabolical plot: Grayson Wentz (Jeremy Culhane) was expelled for posting vulgar tweets on a school computer, and set out to expose the hypocrisy of high school by catfishing a number of fellow students (and one teacher) into doing his dirty work. Among the victims: star athlete DeMarcus (Melvin Gregg), whose popularity left him isolated and lonely, and Kevin (Travis Trope), who turned out to be less a victim and more a willing participant. —Dana Schwartz

Arie pulls a Mesnick, The Bachelor

Again?! Really!? Yep. In the finale of his season of The Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk Jr. pulled a Mesnick as he first chose Becca Kufrin to receive his final rose, but then realized he’d made the wrong choice and ended up dumping Becca on national television and winning back the heart of runner-up Lauren Burnham. The upside? Things seemed to work out for Jason and Molly. —SH

Candace returns, YOU

Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a killer. He made that clear as he slowly took out the people in Beck’s life during YOU’s first season. And by the end of the season, he even took out Beck (Elizabeth Lail). But what no one saw coming — including those who’d read the book (and maybe even Joe?) — was that the one person Joe hadn’t killed was his ex-girlfriend, Candace (Ambyr Childers). That’s why it was so surprising when she showed up in the season finale. —SH

Sabrina slits Agatha’s throat, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Remember the start of the season when ’Brina was a sweet, Satan-rejecting natural blonde with a bow on top? Yeah, that didn’t exactly last once she learned she could use her powers to resurrect Harvey’s dead brother with dark magic. Part of that deal meant taking a life in exchange for his, and though that didn’t transpire exactly, the moment when Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) stepped up a ran a blade across Agatha’s (Adeline Rudolph) throat was a chilling adventure for sure. —RK

Alison dies, The Affair

It’s not like we ever expected something to go right for poor, doomed Alison (Ruth Wilson), but when she OUT OF NOWHERE died at the hands of new love interest Ben (under unclear circumstances) in the penultimate episode of season 4, even the most pessimistic of viewers were startled. Guess we’ll find out what really happened to her in about 20 years — no, really, there’s a significant time jump coming up in season 5! —RK

The Emmys proposal

A fairly dull Emmys ceremony got a much-needed boost of energy in the form of love: Glenn Weiss, who won the trophy for his direction of the televised Oscars ceremony, took his opportunity at the mic to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Jan Svendsen. Svendsen ultimately made her way to the stage and accepted Weiss’ ring in front of a bunch of Hollywood stars. Leave it to the guy who directs live TV to know how to make an exciting show. —DS

Paige ditches her parents, The Americans

Concluding six seasons of FX’s critical darling The Americans, the series finale stunned fans by having impressionable teen daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) ditch her Russian spy-seduce-murder parents by giving them the slip during a stop on their escape train out of the country to rejoin their Soviet comrades. As Bono wailed “With or Without You,” Paige thankfully decided: without. —JH

All the shows that DIDN’T air in 2018

Premium networks are spending more time to produce seasons of their most labor- or creative-intensive shows. But this was the first time that trend has collectively really stung. Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Fargo, True Detective, Big Little Lies, Veep, and Rick and Morty were all, for varying reasons, delayed. The good news? With the exception of Fargo, they’re all either very likely or most definitely airing in 2019. We’re almost sure about that. —JH

Charles finds out the truth about Liza, Younger

After four full seasons of believing Liza (Sutton Foster) to be a twentysomething up-and-coming book editor, Charles (Peter Hermann) learned the truth about Liza’s age in the season premiere of the fifth season. Yes, his initial reaction sucked, but in the end it meant he and Liza could finally get together and live happily ever after. J.K., this is Younger and their relationship has already cost Charles his top position at Empirical. But yay to honesty! —RK

Asia O’Hara’s finale disaster, RuPaul’s Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 finalist Asia O’Hara rehearsed for weeks to release real butterflies from pods within her lewk during her final lip-sync (which was unfittingly set to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty”). Let’s just say the concept didn’t fly, and queens Monique Heart and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo weren’t the only ones watching VH1 in horror that June night. —Patrick Gomez

Charlie and Gabriel return, Supernatural

Charlie’s death is one of the biggest points of contention within the Supernatural fandom, so when the show managed to bring back an alternate version of the fan favorite (played by Kathryn Felicia Day) in the Apocalypse World, all was right. But let’s not forget the other incredibly shocking, non-Apocalypse World return: After dying in season 5, Gabriel (Richard Speight Jr.) returned in season 13. (Turns out he faked his death.) —SH

Nicky Pearson is alive, This Is Us

On This Is Us in 2018, the Lord taketh in a big way, but he giveth a little too. After watching Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) perish from hero-related smoke inhalation, teary fans of the NBC family drama received a shock to the system when the season 3 fall finale revealed that Jack’s mysterious brother, Nicky (Michael Angarano) — whom the audience only learned was a thing in season 2 — had not died in the Vietnam War as believed, but was actually living a few hours from Pittsburgh in a trailer. Did Jack know more about his not-actually-deceased brother than he led his family to believe? File that one under possible surprises for 2019 (which is next month, when the show returns). —Dan Snierson

Diane is caught on tape, The Good Fight

In “Day 450,” the DNC placed a video camera in the firm’s conference room in order to observe them discussing their impeachment plan for Trump, and ended up capturing both Diane’s explosive speech in which she said she was close to taking to the streets with her gun and Maia’s late-night hook-up with a DNC staffer. Guess which one reared its head again in the finale? If you, like most people, thought the latter, you’d be wrong. In the season 2 finale, Diane (Christine Baranski) almost went prison because a federal prosecutor got his hands on the recording of her speech and tried using it as evidence that she was conspiring to kill the president with her fling, Tully. Sure, the bedroom recording the prosecutor had of Diane and Tully was also surprising, but the return of this second tape was even more so. —Chancellor Agard

Julie Chen signs off Big Brother as Julie Chen Moonves

In the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations against him, Les Moonves was ousted as the chairman and CEO of CBS — and his wife, Julie Chen, had steered clear of her daytime chatfest The Talk. But Chen returned to the network Sept. 13 to host the first live episode of Big Brother since the Moonves drama emerged. It seemed the hour would pass without any reference to the headlines, until, in the final moments of the episode, the host shocked viewers — and producers — by signing off, for the first time ever, as Julie Chen Moonves. Later, in a statement, the veteran reporter and host revealed that she would be professionally known as Julie Chen Moonves moving forward. Chen Moonves ultimately did not return to The Talk but will host Celebrity Big Brother in early 2019. —PG

Murder-suidice in “Teddy Perkins,” Atlanta

Viewers couldn’t possibly have known what they were getting into when Atlanta’s exceptional episode “Teddy Perkins” aired for the first time. What began as a simple story about Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) trying to buy a rainbow piano from a reclusive musician, Teddy Perkins (Donald Glover), evolved into a horror story/meditation on showbiz and childhood that climaxed with Teddy’s piano-playing brother, Benny Hope (Derrick Haywood), murdering Teddy, who was about to kill Darius, and then kill himself. Who could’ve seen that coming in an episode that opens with Stevie Wonder’s “Sweet Little Girl”? —CA

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend recasts Greg

What happened to Greg? The misanthropic fan favorite disappeared from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in season 2 (with Santino Fontana heading off to helm the Broadway-bound Tootsie musical). But just because Fontana is out of the picture doesn’t mean Greg is gone for good. The Crazy Ex team shocked fans by announcing that Greg was coming back to West Covina — played by a different actor, Skylar Astin, who shares Fontana’s Broadway pedigree. It’s a meta-turn meant to show how much people can change, but we’re pretty sure we won’t feel like we’re settling for Astin in the role. —Dana Schwartz

George rounds the corner, Grey’s Anatomy

IT’S GEORGE! Grey’s Anatomy ended its Day of the Dead episode by surprising fans with a tribute to its deceased characters. Things kicked off with Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) walking down the hall and, much to everyone’s surprise, George (T.R. Knight) rounded the corner! Viewers hadn’t seen his face since his tragic death at the end of season 5, and for him to suddenly appear was a heartwrenching and bittersweet shock. —SH

The car scare, The Haunting of Hill House

Usually horror movies end after an hour and a half, but with the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, viewers have to brace themselves for a marathon of ghosts and frights as the story of the Crain family starts to unravel. By episode 8, you’re lulled into a sense of security as your understanding of what happened to the Crain siblings grows, and you finally think you have a grasp on the story. As sisters Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser) and Theo (Kate Siegel), already rattled from some loud knocks at the funeral home, jump into a car, the two argue as they drive fast on a dark, foggy road when BAM — the ghost of their dead sister Nell (Victoria Pedretti) pops out of nowhere between them, screaming. The scene becomes a bit of a blur as the sisters scream, the viewer screams, and the car veers off the road, prompting Theo and Shirley to jump out in a panic. It’s a fitting jump scare as the story races toward its conclusion, as just like Hill House, the show doesn’t want you to get too comfortable. —PSR

Giancarlo Esposito reveals himself, Dear White People

In the season 2 finale, campus firebrand Samantha White (Logan Browning) and reporter Lionel Higgins’ (DeRon Horton) search for a powerful black secret society on campus led them to a clocktower, where they came face to face with Giancarlo Esposito, the show’s narrator. —CA

Batwoman joins the Arrowverse 

For years, the Arrowverse shows couldn’t even mention Batman or Gotham City because DC Comics kept its prized possession off limits (save for brief references to Bruce Wayne on Arrow season 6 and in The Flash’s future newspaper) — which made Stephen Amell’s announcement that Batwoman would be part of this year’s crossover (played by Ruby Rose) incredibly surprising and exciting. —CA

The Doug reveal, House of Cards

The fact that Doug Stamper, Frank Underwood’s right-hand man and fixer extraordinaire, died isn’t surprising. After all, Frank’s offing meant that Doug (Michael Kelly) lost his north star; what’s a guy to do now that he has no one to serve? His manner of death, though — in the final minutes of the series finale, at the hands of a pregnant Claire (Robin Wright), and inside the Oval Office — certainly took our breath away. And his. —SL

To see what else made EW’s Best (and Worst) of 2018 lists, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands now, or buy it here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

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