21 TV And Movie Characters Who Acted Completely Out Of Character, Ruining Their Arcs
I'm still so mad about Cordelia.
I loovvvvveee a character with some great character development, whether they're becoming the hero or the villain.
But sometimes, characters will just act super out of character, and it will be as if none of their development even happened. And that really pisses me off! Here are 21 times it happened that still make me fume.
Cordelia had some of the best character development in the Buffyverse, so to see her character be absolutely ruined and act completely out of character for an entire season was awful. Of course, it was later revealed that Jasmine had basically taken over Cordelia's mind all season, but it wasn't clearly established at what point this happened. (If it was after she got her memories back, then this means she kissed Connor while still being Cordy, which I can't see even memory-less Cordelia doing.) They also completely undermined her arc by having Skip say that everything that had happened to Cordelia was predestined so that Jasmine could be born, and Cordelia wasn't deserving of being a higher power at all.
Haley was having such a great arc in her career and maturity, and then they just stuck with Dylan, who didn't seem to have grown at all. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with settling down with a high school boyfriend and having children, at the end of the series, Haley seemed to revert in many ways to who she was in high school, and it was as if none of her growth had happened.
Game of Thrones
Jaime had grown SO MUCH over the course of the series, and like everything else in Season 8, his return to Cersei felt extremely rushed. I could maybe believe he'd go back to her, but not in that way. It didn't feel as if we were seeing the layered Jaime we'd come to know, but one from seasons ago. I totally thought he was pushing Brienne away as a trick and was going to bring down Cersei, so when he really had just come back to die with her, it was a complete letdown.
Game of Thrones
I can't talk about
Game of Thrones without talking about Daenerys. I could see Daenerys's arc eventually going the way it did, but it happened so fast that it felt as if we were watching a different character in the last few episodes. Daenerys was certainly capable of someday doing what she did in the finale, but definitely not yet, and it felt as if it ignored everything she had been for so many seasons for her to take such a drastic action.
One Tree Hill
Rachel went through a great, albeit small, arc. She wasn't some vastly different person at the end of Season 4 from who she was in Season 3, but it was clear that she'd grown and cared more about people. It was tough to see her rob Brooke and relapse in Season 5, but at least it felt somewhat consistent with her arc. In contrast, when she returned in Season 7, she had absolutely no redeeming qualities. She had no depth or thoughtfulness and was used as a two-dimensional villain to further the arc of Dan, a literal murderer. Oh, and she also got a kid killed so he'd have a heart. That's not the Rachel I knew.
I'm sorry, there is NO WORLD in which Steve leaves Bucky behind in the present and goes into an alternate timeline to live with an alternate version of Peggy. It completely goes against his arc of learning to live in the present and, really, everything he stands for in terms of loyalty and saving people. It also feels as if he abandons the memory of Natasha, one of his best friends.
The Umbrella Academy
It felt as if Diego had such character development in the first season, but by the second, he'd turned into a shadow of his former self who was often used as comic relief rather than being a strong, three-dimensional character. This also happened to a degree with Luther.
It's not as if Dan had some incredible character development from seasons 1 to 5, but in Season 6, it's as if he became a completely different person. He was SUCH an ass, and yet he still truly believed he was the good guy, and somehow in the end got everyone else to believe it too. I wish they'd embraced Dan's villainy and just acknowledged that he was worse than any of them, if they really wanted to go that route — it just all felt so false, and his character seemed to be all over the place.
Orange Is the New Black
Daya went through a lot, and I was fine with the way her arc was going up until Season 5 and into Season 6. She became a totally different person, and while I can't decide whether maybe it was justified, it was still so frustrating to see all of her character development fall by the wayside. I guess that happens in real life, but still.
Sherlock had such great development through seasons 1 and 2, and then, when he returned in Season 3, it was as if he was back to Season 1 Sherlock. He completely brushed over what he'd done to John and showed absolutely no emotional intelligence — unlike in Season 2, when it was clear that he was much more aware and understanding of John's reactions and emotions (even using this knowledge in order to push John away and make him believe Sherlock was dead).
13 Reasons Why
Ugh, this dude. To be honest, I liked him in Season 1. He did a great job taking on the outsider role, and I was really rooting for him to find the truth, and I felt that he grew over the season. But after that, he became too self-righteous while simultaneously becoming more and more similar to the people he had originally hated, and it was as if he'd learned nothing from his earlier experiences.
The Vampire Diaries
I felt as if Elena returned to who we knew her to be by the end of Season 6, but she just didn't feel like herself for much of seasons 5 and 6. I was thrilled she was with Damon, but it felt as if she'd changed so much, even from Season 4 (meaning the change didn't just come from her becoming a vampire). Like, there was that time she told Caroline's friend who got turned about how awesome being a vampire was, despite in Season 2 literally crying over never wanting to be a vampire, and in Season 6 clearly not wanting to be one anymore. She also became as toxic as Damon instead of being the Elena we knew before they were together, as if their characters blended too much.
Even Evangeline Lilly
hated Kate's development; she said, "I felt like she became more and more predictable and obnoxious. I felt like my character went from being autonomous — really having her own story and her own journey and her own agendas — to chasing two men around the island. And that irritated the shit out of me." So many of her choices felt tied to Sawyer and Jack — such as when she went back to rescue Jack from the Others and got captured herself — and I was really frustrated by her lack of concern for those still on the Island after she came back, even though I know she wanted to protect Aaron. She didn't feel like the same brave character in Season 1.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Wizarding World / Via
Okay, so my issue is not with Harry from the films or books, but Harry from
Cursed Child, which is not technically a movie or TV show. However, I'm counting it because we mostly know Harry from the movies/books. Some of the stuff he says to Albus in the musical is just straight-up stuff Harry would never say. Ron's also really bad — overall, the parents are SUPER out of character.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The Rey from
The Force Awakens would NEVER have kissed Kylo. She felt so out of character in The Rise of Skywalker, and it did not at all feel earned that she called herself a Skywalker at the end — and what was up with her burying the lightsabers?? So many of her actions felt out of character both for Rey and for the series, and she just wasn't the same character she was in the first film.
The Vampire Diaries
Matt's development was just all over the place. He goes from this caring brother and boyfriend to a jaded vampire hater, and it felt as if this happened only because they didn't know what else to do with the character and they wanted to create another antagonist. Then, by the end, he was somehow a good guy again, despite helping to kidnap and attack Caroline, Stefan, and Damon for Rayna and killing his own wife. None of his arc in later seasons made any sense.
Orange Is the New Black
Cindy was great for comic relief, but she became more serious in later seasons, and I loved her relationship with Suzanne and Taystee and her conversion to Judaism. But screwing over Taystee with her testimony...that didn't feel in character for Cindy, and it was just so painful to watch. She never really makes up for it, and it just feels as if her whole story arc has no resolution.
It felt as if Rachel had come into her own and had really come a long way in her friendships, while still remaining this incredibly ambitious (yet still, yes, stuck-up) character. But when she achieved her life's dream to star in
Funny Girl and left to star on some TV show?? It felt as if her head was way too big and her earlier character development meant nothing, and she wasn't listening to her friends.
I still like the scene because it's a fun, romantic surprise and feels as if it ties the series together. BUT Rachel getting off the plane and giving up her dream job in Paris to be with Ross...I don't know. It didn't feel right for her arc personally, and it didn't feel as if Ross had gone through enough of his arc to warrant it. Don't get me wrong — I wanted them together in the end and was happy to see this — but it irks me years later that Rachel had to give up her dream, and I don't think it was a good fit for her personal arc.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Anya went from a literal demon to a valuable part of the Scooby Gang, and though I get her initially becoming a demon again after Xander left her at the altar (another annoying moment of character regression), I don't believe she'd go to the lengths she did in Season 7. All of a sudden, she didn't seem to care about the Scooby Gang anymore (besides Xander), and she was fine murdering multiple people — then wouldn't take responsibility for it until way after Buffy tried to kill her for it. And then to have her die in the finale...? It just felt as if Anya was sidelined and then lazily killed off in a one-second "heroic" scene that didn't bring any finality to her arc.
And Finally, Toph on
Legend of Korra
There is no way the Toph I know would be the kind of person to abandon her children and allow them to hate her and each other! Or that she would leave her friends' families and the Avatar to fend for herself. I hated how late she appeared in the series and how closed off she'd become. Sure, it was funny to see Toph as a grumpy old woman, but she was so much more than just a feisty wisecracker.
What other characters had their development just thrown away? Let us know in the comments!
TV and Movies
Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.