bestof2013

The 65 Most Important TV Deaths In 2013

We lost a lot of the good ones this year — and several of the not-so-good ones too. Also, SPOILER ALERT for like, pretty much every show. You’ve been warned. posted on

65. The Chainsawed Shark (Sharknado)

Syfy

How it died: Chainsaw through the stomach.
How it made us feel: Grossed out (because it looked like Steve Sanders Fin Shepherd was being birthed from said stomach), but ultimately proud of him for saving the day.
What it meant for the movie: The humans had defeated the sharks! All was right with the world!

64. Archie (American Horror Story: Coven)

FX

How he died: Fucked to death by Zoe.
How it made us feel: Satisfied, given that he took part in Madison’s gang rape. However gross Archie’s death was, it just felt right.
What it meant for the show: Any doubts that the newest installment of American Horror Story: Coven wouldn’t be batshit quickly disappeared. (Not that we ever really had doubts.)

63. Ricky Schwartz (Awkward)

MTV

How he died: Succumbed to his peanut allergy offscreen.
How it made us feel: Confused. Ricky was never exactly likable, but we kind of counted on having him around. Also, death by peanuts?
What it meant for the show: It allowed both Tamara and Sadie to move on properly without that man-slut holding them back. We mean, rest in peace or whatever.

62. Flora Hernandez (Devious Maids)

Lifetime

How she died: Stabbed in the stomach by Philippe, then collapsed into the pool.
How it made us feel: Not too much of anything since it’s the opening scene of the series.
What it meant for the show: Literally everything since the entirety of Season 1 of Devious Maids focused on solving Flora’s murder.

61. Hank Foxx (American Horror Story: Coven)

FX

How he died: A gunshot through the head inflicted by human voodoo doll Queenie.
How it made us feel: Vindicated. Hank was a weak, back-stabbing witch hunter, and his death was certainly a welcome one (and the best use of Queenie’s power yet). We just wish he didn’t kill all of Marie Laveau’s minions in the process.
What it meant for the show: Though it was only just last week that Queenie blew Hank’s brains all over the Cornrow City salon, it already led Marie Laveau to find solace and safety at Miss Robichaux’s with Fiona and Co., thus creating an unlikely alliance.

60. Philippe Delatour (Devious Maids)

Lifetime

How he died: Poisoned by Adrian Powell, then thrown into the pool (à la Flora).
How it made us feel: Triumphant. Reverend Camden finally got his due!
What it meant for the show: Justice had been served and the mystery had been solved! But Philippe’s death now puts Adrian in danger. The police questioned how Philippe could’ve committed suicide when they realized he was dead before he hit the water. Smells like trouble for the Powells in Season 2.

59. Gracie Dunphy (Modern Family)

ABC

How she died: Unclear, but some sort of illness.
How it made us feel: Not particularly sad (since we never knew her), until Phil broke down and Alex read the card her grandma left her. Then, tearful. Very tearful.
What it meant for the show: Modern Family had largely gone off the rails, but Grace’s death made the Season 4 finale one of the series’ strongest episodes. She asked Phil (via note) to set up her newly widowed husband Frank with a neighbor, leading her son in tears as he talked about how her final wish was indicative of the selfless way she lived her life. And Grace had an incredibly sweet surprise in store for Alex as well. Her passing also led Frank to later find solace in a hooker, but let’s not go there.

58. Riley Wallace (90210)

The CW

How he died: Due to a blood clot in his lung after an experimental back surgery.
How it made us feel: Sad, but not surprised. Anyone who got in the way of Liam and Annie’s destiny on 90210 had a rough road ahead.
What it meant for the show: Annie was free to be with Liam again, and eventually the two were engaged in the show’s series finale.

57. Luna Garza (True Blood)

HBO

How she died: Spending too long skinwalking.
How it made us feel: A little sad, maybe. True Blood has so many characters that it often doesn’t know what to do with them. Luna did have potential, though.
What it meant for the show: Nothing, really. Sorry, Luna. Although, to be fair, her death did cause some werewolf-shifter drama, and it freed up Sam to shack up with someone new.

56. Erica Reyes (Teen Wolf)

MTV

How she died: Killed in a fight with Kali.
How it made us feel: Suspect, then sad. At first, it seemed as though Erica wasn’t really dead since we never saw what happened. But once we realized she was gone, then the feelings came.
What it meant for the show: Derek got new drive, as well as new reasons to feel bad about being Derek. (Poor Derek.) It also showed the brutality of the Alpha Pack.

55. Declan Porter (Revenge)

ABC

How he died: Heart failure following the explosion at Grayson Global.
How it made us feel: Admittedly kind of pleased. Sorry, but Declan was clearly the worst character on the show. Still, POOR JACK.
What it meant for the show: Jack turned against Emily, and really, can you blame him? But it made him realize who his real enemies are, and he’s still seeking his own revenge against the Graysons.

54. Sam Bates (Bates Motel)

A&E

How he died: Bludgeoned with a pitcher by Norman.
How it made us feel: Jolted. Fans of Psycho know what Norman is capable of, but it was still jarring for Bates Motel to reveal that this Norman started killing years before that.
What it meant for the show: It complicated the audience’s view of Norman as a sympathetic character. Sure, he means well, but he’s clearly got some issues — specifically, blacking out and killing people.

53. Sister Jude (American Horror Story: Asylum)

FX

How she died: Unexplained illness.
How it made us feel: Relieved. Watching Jude’s struggle from homophobic, take-no-prisoners nun to a victim of mental and physical torture was incredibly harrowing, to say the least. When she was finally kissed by the Angel of Death, after bestowing life lessons upon Kit’s children, it was truly a peaceful moment.
What it meant for the show: Very little, since Jude died in the Season 2 finale of FX’s anthology series, but it was satisfying as an audience member to know what really happened to Jude after the lies Lana had been spreading.

52. Maybelle White (Boardwalk Empire)

HBO

How she died: Accidentally shot by Richard Harrow.
How it made us feel: Gutted on Chalky’s behalf. While Maybelle wasn’t an integral presence on the show, her relationship with her father and her impending nuptials were a significant part of Season 4.
What it meant for the show: Surely Chalky is going to retaliate. Although the person who shot Maybelle is already dead…

51. Earl Haraldson (Vikings)

History

How he died: Killed by Ragnar in combat and then Ragnar slit his wrist.
How it made us feel: Upset to see him go, but the power shift was inevitable.
What it meant for the show: Svein tried to fight against Ragnar for killing their Chieftain, but Rollo killed Svein. And Siggy quickly killed Thyri’s husband, who her daughters didn’t need to be controlled by after Haraldson’s death. Ragnar, of course, became the new Earl, and his rivalry with Haraldson was put to rest when he gave him a grand funeral.

50. Madison Montgomery (American Horror Story: Coven)

FX

How she died: Her throat was slit by Fiona.
How it made us feel: Shocked. Was American Horror Story going to start offing regulars in Episode 3?
What it meant for the show: It certainly showed what Fiona was capable of. But Madison’s death didn’t last long — she was eventually resurrected by Misty Day.

49. Nora Gainesborough (True Blood)

HBO

How she died: Hepatitis V.
How it made us feel: Grossed out. I mean, yes, it was sad, but in the end, she literally collapsed into blood and guts in Eric’s arms. So, gross.
What it meant for the show: It gave Eric even more angst, and it showed what the humans were capable of doing in their new war against vampires.

48. Juno (Bates Motel)

A&E

How he died: Hit by a car.
How it made us feel: Enraged and in tears. You don’t kill the dog. You never kill the dog. Goddamnit, Bates Motel.
What it meant for the show: Well, it made Norman start to take taxidermy even more seriously. Juno’s death also seemed to complicate Norman’s issues with distinguishing dead from alive. Surely that won’t have lasting effects.

47. Caleb Rivers (Ravenswood)

ABC Family

How he died: He fell out of a house!
How it made us feel: Stunned. How could a spin-off kill off the character that connects it from its predecessor halfway into its first season?!
What it meant for the show: Psych. It can’t. Caleb’s still alive. He was just in some sort of limbo. Phew.

46. Vernon Boyd (Teen Wolf)

MTV

How he died: Impaled on Derek’s claws after being dropped by Kali.
How it made us feel: Distressed. And again, sad for Derek. Always sad for Derek.
What it meant for the show: See above, but namely, ANGST.

45. Daniel Douglas Langston (Scandal)

ABC

How he died: Stabbed repeatedly with a letter opener by his wife Sally.
How it made us feel: Surprised. Who knew Sally had it in her? In an episode full of twists, it was yet another perfect OMG moment.
What it meant for the show: Well, aside from the fact that Sally has some repenting to do, Cyrus and Mellie now bear much of the guilt for Daniel’s murder. And it looks like there’s a murder investigation looming.

44. Andrea Cantillo (Breaking Bad)

AMC

How she died: Shot in the back of the head by Todd.
How it made us feel: Bleak. Surely they wouldn’t kill Andrea. And with Jesse watching. Ugh. Just the worst.
What it meant for the show: Things fall apart. They fall apart hard. But we knew that already. And we knew that the “right” people aren’t always the ones who die. Thanks for the hard lessons, Breaking Bad.

43. Steve Newlin (True Blood)

HBO

How he died: Exposed to sunlight by Eric.
How it made us feel: Amused. What? His final words were “I love you, Jason Stackhouse.” So perfect.
What it meant for the show: Again, not much. True Blood had some trouble with the character of Steve, and he could only betray his own people so much before someone had to kill him.

42. Zack Shelby (Bates Motel)

A&E

How he died: Shot multiple times by Dylan.
How it made us feel: Disturbed. He looked real gross when he finally collapsed from his injuries. And even worse when his corpse showed up again in Norma’s bed.
What it meant for the show: Deputy Shelby’s arc hammered home the “trust no one” message. You could say it fucked with Norma, but let’s be real, she was pretty fucked-up to begin with.

41. Heather Brooks (Grey’s Anatomy)

ABC

How she died: She was electrocuted after a superstorm flooded the basement of Grey Sloan Memorial when she went to look for Richard in the generator room.
How it made us feel: Not that sad, to be honest. Considering we thought Richard would meet his end similarly, it was kind of a relief that it was Brooks instead. (No offense to the amazing Tina Majorino.)
What it meant for the show: Shane was pretty screwed up since he thought he was responsible for Brooks’ death, seeing as he sent her to the generator room, even though he was the one who was supposed to be looking for Richard. Derek was also a bit broken up by her passing, considering how much he liked Brooks as a mentee.

40. Bonnie Bennett (The Vampire Diaries)

The CW

How she died: By using magic to bring Jeremy back to life.
How it made us feel: Bummed. Even for those of us who never loved Bonnie, it was tragic to see her trade her life for someone else’s, especially when the two were clearly in love.
What it meant for the show: In the long run, not much. Bonnie hung around as a ghost for a while, everyone mourned, and then she came back — although she’s now experiencing the pain of every supernatural being’s death, so that’s not good.

39. Elizabeth Childs (Orphan Black)

BBC America

How she died: Suicide by stepping in front of a train.
How it made us feel: Shaken. But if watching Sarah witness a woman who looks just like her walk in front of a train in the first few minutes of the series wasn’t enough to get you hooked on Orphan Black, we don’t know what would be.
What it meant for the show: Beth’s suicide is what started Sarah’s investigation into the clone conspiracy and set into motion the entire plot of this incredibly gripping series.

38. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story)

VH1

How she died: Car crash
How made us feel: Devastated all over again. VH1’s version of TLC’s story was incredibly spot-on, right up through the tragedy of Left Eye’s death in 2002.
What it meant for the movie: That TLC would never be the same, but that T-Boz and Chilli would continue to create music together. In a meta sense, it also meant that Lil Mama, who played Left Eye in CrazySexyCool, would join TLC for a few live performances.

37. Todd Alquist (Breaking Bad)

AMC

How he died: Strangled with a chain by Jesse.
How it made us feel: So satisfied. After being held captive for a year, Jesse finally got his revenge. And it was sweet.
What it meant for the show: It may have darkened Jesse a bit, but really, the murder was about getting his freedom. Besides, no one’s going to miss a white supremacist sociopath.

36. Chris Amador (The Americans)

FX

How he died: Accidental morphine overdose, administered by Philip and Elizabeth.
How it made us feel: Frustrated. The KGB spies didn’t even mean to kill the man they were torturing? What a loss, especially what it led Stan to do.
What it meant for the show: A grief-ridden Stan went crazy, murdering KGB worker Vlad in cold blood, even though he had nothing to do with Amador’s death.

35. Talisa Stark (Game of Thrones)

HBO

How she died: Stabbed repeatedly in the stomach by Lothar Frey.
How it made us feel: Horrified, especially since she was pregnant. And it didn’t bode well for things to come.
What it meant for the show: It reinforced the brutality of the world of Game of Thrones, something that had been missing for much of the third season.

34. Johnny Morgan/Bloody Face (American Horror Story: Asylum)

FX

How he died: Shot in the head by Lana.
How it made us feel: Joyous! The fact that Lana, decades later, killed her murderous son — who had become the next incarnation of Bloody Face, the man who raped and tortured her in 1964 — was the ultimate success story.
What it meant for the show: That another season of American Horror Story had come to a close. And justice was served.

33. Peter Russo (House of Cards)

Netflix

How he died: Murdered via carbon monoxide poisoning by Frank, who staged his death to look like a suicide.
How it made us feel: Depressed. The fact that the likable Russo, who audiences were rooting for, would meet his demise, wasn’t particularly shocking. But him dying at Frank’s hands wasn’t necessarily something we saw coming (and maybe Frank didn’t either).
What it meant for the show: Though Frank intended to murder Russo to clear the way for him to get into the White House, it only made Janine and Zoe suspicious.

32. Claudia Joy Holden (Army Wives)

Lifetime

How she died: Heart failure due to diabetes.
How it made us feel: Slighted a bit. We didn’t actually see Claudia Joy die, just her funeral since she passed between Season 6 and Season 7 when it was announced the Kim Delaney, who played her, was leaving the show.
What it meant for the show: Season 7 kicked off with a beautiful memorial service for Claudia Joy in an episode filled with flashbacks of happier times. Michael wouldn’t eat and couldn’t sleep in the bed that he once shared with Claudia Joy, and Army Wives seemingly couldn’t go on without her either: Season 7 was its last.

31. Jolene Barnes (Nashville)

ABC

How she died: Deliberately overdosed on pills after murdering Dante.
How it made us feel: Depressed. She was trying so hard to get clean. And she clearly loved Juliette, as evidenced by the way she went out.
What it meant for the show: It added depth to Juliette’s character, giving her the kind of deep emotional scarring that country music is built on.

30. Tricia Miller (Orange Is the New Black)

Netflix

How she died: A drug overdose set up to look like a suicide when Mendez, who gave her the drugs that killed her, hanged her body in a supply closet.
How it made us feel: Infuriated. The fact that Mendez could do such a horrible thing, no matter how you felt about Tricia, was maddening.
What it meant for the show: Tricia’s death motivated Nicky to come clean to Red about being the one who ratted her out, and together they formed a common enemy in Mendez, determined to take him down.

29. Andrea (The Walking Dead)

AMC

How she died: Bitten by zombie Milton, after which she shot herself.
How it made us feel: Slightly sad, depending on your feelings about Andrea. She wasn’t a popular character, but she was a major part of the show. And her final moments, with Michonne by her side, were legitimately heartbreaking.
What it meant for the show: On a show with this much character death, not a whole lot. As always, the deaths of main characters just raise the stakes.

28. Tara Knowles-Teller (Sons of Anarchy)

FX

How she died: Gemma smacked her around, drowned her in the sink, and stabbed her to death in the head with a carving fork.
How it made us feel: Frustrated and a bit heartbroken. The fact that Gemma was motivated by booze and the inaccurate information that Tara had ratted Jax out made Tara’s death all the more tragic.
What it meant for the show: When Juice and Eli walked in, Eli revealed to Gemma that Tara didn’t actually rat Jax out, leading Juice to shoot Eli and dispose of anything that would implicate Gemma in Tara or Eli’s murders. Jax came home later to discover the bodies and while he sobbed over his wife’s corpse, Patterson walked in on the horrific scene. Now we have to wait until Season 7 next year to find out what happens.

27. September (Fringe)

Fox

How he died: Shot by a stray bullet.
How it made us feel: Heartbroken. The fact that this happened after we found out September nobly used the last time-travel vaccination on himself in order to help Michael achieve his destiny of saving the world made this Observer death a tough one to swallow.
What it meant for the show: Michael briefly mourned his father figure by playing the music box, before Walter offered him his hand. Seeing what was happening, Peter ran up to them, locked eyes with Walter, and mouthed, “I love you, Dad” as his father escorted Michael to the future. Tears. All of the tears.

26. Kay Chancellor (The Young and the Restless)

CBS

How she died: In her sleep.
How it made us feel: Like an era had ended. Kay Chancellor (and the woman who played her, the late Jeanne Cooper) were a part of the soap for nearly 40 years. Certainly, the series, which handled Kay’s death over the course of multiple episodes, did her justice, but it was still hard to watch Cooper’s death play out on screen.
What it meant for the show: That many favorites would return (including Cooper’s real-life son Corbin Bernsen, who reprised his role as Father Todd to officiate Kay’s service) and that the Kay-Jill feud was finally put to bed.

25. Amanda Clarke/Fauxmanda (Revenge)

ABC

How she died: Succumbed to injuries from the explosion of Jack’s boat.
How it made us feel: Conflicted. Amanda was one of the weaker points of Revenge’s mediocre second season, and her death raised the stakes appropriately. On the other hand, poor Jack. AGAIN!
What it meant for the show: Jack became a single dad and the least lucky character on this show. (See above.) But Emily did snap out of it and return to her original plans for revenge.

24. Sister Mary Eunice (American Horror Story: Asylum)

FX

How she died: An assisted suicide in the middle of Briarcliff (thanks, Monsignor Howard) and then cremated with Dr. Arden on top of her.
How it made us feel: Satiated. Lily Rabe did an incredible job playing a naive nun possessed by the devil, and though it was definitely sad to see her deliciously evil character go, it was gratifying that Sister Mary Eunice was finally freed from torture.
What it meant for the show: Mary Eunice’s death prompted Dr. Arden to commit suicide, hopping on the table with her body as she went through the crematory. Two devils, one stone.

23. Verna Thornton (Scandal)

ABC

How she died: Smothered with a pillow by Fitz.
How it made us feel: Horrified. We knew POTUS was capable of some less-than-kind things, but murdering a dying Supreme Court Justice?!
What it meant for the show: It was a nice reminder that every character, however beloved by the fans, is a terrible person. It also closed the chapter on the assassination plot.

22. Terry Bellefleur (True Blood)

HBO

How he died: Shot by an Army buddy whom he’d paid to kill him.
How it made us feel: Pretty damn upset. Terry had been around since the beginning, so his death felt a lot more meaningful than True Blood’s standard offings.
What it meant for the show: There was a whole episode devoted to his funeral, a rare chance for characters to grieve. And now Arlene is all alone again.

21. Adele Webber (Grey’s Anatomy)

ABC

How she died: A post-surgery heart attack
How it made us feel: Pretty damn distraught. We thought we were in the clear after Adele came into the ER during Bailey’s wedding and she and Meredith saved her life, thanks to Richard’s advice. But when he showed up later at Bailey’s wedding with tears in his eyes, it was clear what had happened. And it was heartbreaking. Adele had been through so much, and we didn’t get to say good-bye. Plus, Richard picturing a happier time (Adele as his beautiful bride) was incredibly bittersweet.
What it meant for the show: What was briefly a withdrawn Richard Webber soon became a romance between him and Jackson’s mom, super-surgeon Catherine. Eventually, that led her to offer the Avery Foundation’s investment in the hospital, getting them out of the legal drama with the plane crash, but only if Jackson sat on the board of directors. And that’s led to a whole lotta drama.

20. Helena (Orphan Black)

BBC America

How she died: Shot by her twin sister Sarah.
How it made us feel: Triumphant, but sad for Sarah. So long, crazy clone twin.
What it meant for the show: When Orphan Black returns for Season 2, we expect to see Helena’s demise allow for more of a look into the conflict between science (the Neolutionists) and religion (the Prolethians). But considering Sarah shot Helena at the end of the Season 1, there wasn’t much of an immediate effect.

19. Hershel Greene (The Walking Dead)

AMC

How he died: Decapitated by the Governor.
How it made us feel: Distraught. Hershel proved himself to be one of the most integral members of the team this season, saving several zombie survivors from a deadly strain of flu.
What it meant for the show: Again, there’s so much death on this show, but the fact that Hershel’s daughters witnessed his graphic murder added weight to his departure. Maggie and Beth probably won’t be OK for a while.

18. Brian Griffin (Family Guy)

Fox

How he died: Hit by a car.
How it made us feel: Sadder than it should have, probably. But how could Brian really be dead?!
What it meant for the show: It completely changed the dynamic of Family Guy — for all of three weeks. Brian is now alive and well. Our long national nightmare is over.

17. Matthew Crawley (Downton Abbey)

PBS

How he died: In a car accident.
How it made us feel: Heartbroken. If you hadn’t already heard about the tragic ending of the final episode of Downton Season 3 (which aired as the 2012 Christmas special in the U.K.), seeing Matthew meet his end must’ve been all the more distressing. When Dan Stevens, who played Matthew, wanted off the show, creator Julian Fellowes decided to kill the character off, which he called the only possible solution. Unsurprisingly, outrage ensued amongst fans, and both Stevens and Fellows have since apologized.
What it meant for the show: Season 4 has yet to kick off stateside, but we do know that it’s set six months after Matthew’s death and Mary is still grieving. She’s now a single mother to baby George, but she’s got plenty of suitors. Matthew’s death also means a shake-up for the servants (including Mr. Molesley). On another note, Stevens started to look like this after he left Downton. It’s been a rough road.

16. The Governor (The Walking Dead)

AMC

How he died: Stabbed through the back by Michonne, then shot by Lilly.
How it made us feel: Relieved! The Governor was a looming threat for so long, and his death felt both long overdue and earned.
What it meant for the show: It gave closure to a storyline that The Walking Dead’s third season had put on the back burner for some time. Of course, his final attack destroyed the prison, which will have all the survivors in chaos when the series returns.

15. Jeremy Gilbert (The Vampire Diaries)

The CW

How he died: Drained by Silas, who then snapped his neck.
How it made us feel: Destroyed. Not so much so that we wanted to burn the Gilbert house down, Elena, but still — this was rough.
What it meant for the show: It forced Elena to turn off her emotions, which had some serious consequences for the remainder of Season 3. But Bonnie brought Jeremy back! And he’s more shirtless than ever.

14. Robb Stark (Game of Thrones)

HBO

How he died: Stabbed in the heart by Roose Bolton.
How it made us feel: Shocked. How many deaths would we be forced to endure? (Oh, just wait.)
What it meant for the show: It was another reminder that no one is safe, as we first learned when Ned Stark bit it in the first season.

13. Joss Carter (Person of Interest)

CBS

How she died: Shot in the heart by Simmons.
How it made us feel: So incredibly sad. Carter telling Reese to tell her son she loves him without really saying it only made this death that much harder to watch.
What it meant for the show: Carter’s death prompted Reese and Co. to go on a vengeful hunt for Simmons. An episode later, they found him and Fusco brought him into custody, but Elias has Simmons murdered in the hospital. Not exactly how we wanted justice served, but we’ll take it.

12. Cathy Jamison (The Big C)

Showtime

How she died: Cancer.
How it made us feel: At peace. After three and half seasons, Cathy’s death was inevitable, especially considering the final fourth mini-season saw her drop out of treatment to enjoy her remaining time with her family. But seeing her in the afterlife in a swimming pool with her friend Marlene and her dog Thomas made Cathy’s death truly beautiful.
What it meant for the show: That it was over and that death isn’t always scary.

11. Kevin Tran (Supernatural)

The CW

How he died: Smote by Gadreel in Sam’s body.
How it made us feel: Really upset. Frankly, Kevin stuck around longer than most of us expected, which is why his sudden death felt so unfair.
What it meant for the show: That remains to be seen, but it already seems to be having a serious effect on Dean, who saw himself as Kevin’s protector.

10. JR Ewing (Dallas)

TNT

How he died: Shot by Bum, per his request since he was dying of cancer, but set up to look like Cliff Barnes did it.
How it made us feel: At peace and almost celebratory. Fans knew J.R. would meet his end after Larry Hagman passed away from throat cancer complications months prior. The second “Who shot J.R.?” storyline was answered quickly in the Dallas Season 2 finale when J.R. revealed everything in a letter to Bobby, saying he did this all to help his family. “The only person that could take down J.R. was J.R.,” John Ross said. Tissues, please! Also, the big funeral the show gave him was a very appropriate and touching send-off.
What it meant for the show: Time will tell. Season 3 of Dallas premieres in February. But it will of course be hard to watch Dallas without the simultaneously cunning and charming oil baron.

9. Sybil Branson (Downton Abbey)

PBS

How she died: After childbirth due to eclampsia.
How it made us feel: Gut-wrenched. The fact that one of the most beloved Downton characters died, after it seemed like she was out of the woods, was absolutely devastating.
What it meant for the show: Tom Branson, Sybil’s husband, became the heartbroken single parent to their daughter, whom he named Sybil. The rest of Downton was beside themselves as well. As the Dowager Countess said, “We’ve seen some troubles … Nothing worse than this.” Sybil was the kindest of the Crawley daughters, and even those downstairs were devastated, with Mrs. Hughes saying, “The sweetest spirit under this roof is gone.” Sybil’s death also caused a rift between her parents, since Cora clearly blamed Robert for letting Sybil die and not heeding the doctor’s warning to bring her to the hospital for a C-section.

8. Debra Morgan (Dexter)

Showtime

How she died: Shot in the stomach by Oliver Saxon, and eventually taken off life support by Dexter.
How it made us feel: Depressed. Deb deserved better. But then, so did Dexter — and everyone who tuned into this show for eight goddamn seasons.
What it meant for the show: It forced Dexter to really deal with his culpability and ultimately make the decision to become a lumberjack. (We know.) But so close to the end, we were just glad it was over.

7. Clay Morrow (Sons of Anarchy)

FX

How he died: Shot by Jax six times, but arranged so that it looked like he had a falling out with the Irish and died in a shoot-out.
How it made us feel: Vindicated, but still sad. As ruthless as Clay was throughout his longer-than-expected run on the FX biker drama, it was still upsetting to see him go (and in front of a stunned Gemma, Nero, and Tara, no less).
What it meant for the show: That the Irish storyline was finally wrapped up. And really not much else since Clay’s death, as Tara said, was a long time coming.

6. Richard Harrow (Boardwalk Empire)

HBO

How he died: Shot while trying to escape after his failed assassination of Dr. Narcisse.
How it made us feel: Inconsolable. Richard was the greatest character on Boardwalk Empire, and without him, it’s hard to know whom we’ll cling to.
What it meant for the show: It was the reminder we needed that Boardwalk Empire doesn’t give a shit about our feelings. Nor is it concerned with conventional storytelling, which allows it to off major characters at will.

5. Hank Schrader (Breaking Bad)

AMC

How he died: Shot in the head by Jack.
How it made us feel: Stunned. Hank’s death felt inevitable, but it was still a shock — as was Walt’s gut-wrenching reaction.
What it meant for the show: It propelled us even further to an explosive finale. Hank’s death caused a shift within Walt, who could no longer justify “doing it for his family” since Hank was his.

4. Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones)

HBO

How she died: Her throat was slit by a Frey at the Red Wedding.
How it made us feel: Speechless. Even for fans of the book who knew what was coming, the brutality of the scene was devastating.
What it meant for the show: More than ever, we realized how much Game of Thrones was not fucking around. Also, Starks are really, really unlucky.

3. Nicholas Brody (Homeland)

Showtime

How he died: Hanged after being sentenced to death by an Iranian military tribunal.
How it made us feel: Resigned. Brody was an important part of Homeland for three seasons, but he lasted a lot longer than he was ever supposed to — something even he acknowledged in his final episode.
What it meant for the show: That remains to be seen, but it does have the power to reboot Homeland. Gone is Carrie’s endless pining after Brody, or her obsession with his true motivations. If she moves on, she might just become a competent agent again.

2. Walter White (Breaking Bad)

AMC

How he died: Shot by his own remote-operated machine gun.
How it made us feel: Strangely peaceful. He seemed to feel the same way about it too.
What it meant for the show: The question of Walt’s fate dominated the final season. Once we saw him bleeding out on the floor, it was clear that was the way things had to go. It was a fitting conclusion to his life and to the series.

1. Finn Hudson (Glee)

Fox

How he died: Unexplained. The episode was an unplanned addition to Glee’s fifth season after Cory Monteith, the actor who played him, died unexpectedly shortly before production on the season began.
How it made us feel: Devastated. Watching Monteith’s real-life girlfriend Lea Michele, whom he met on set, and his former co-stars act out their grief on screen was truly difficult to watch. The emotions were very, very real, and no matter how you felt about Glee at the time, the episode allowed the actors and fans alike to grieve.
What it meant for the show: In the two episodes that followed “The Quarterback,” which centered on Finn’s passing, the audience saw both Kurt and Rachel struggle a bit with feeling normal again. They both ended up getting tattoos as a way to deal with the pain. Unfortunately for Kurt, because of a typo, his reads, “It’s get better.” But indeed, it does.

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