5 Mind-Blowing Season Finale Cliffhangers

mind-blowing season finale cliffhangers

It’s officially May now and all of our favorite shows are starting to wind down. That can only mean one thing– cliffhanger season is almost upon us. Lives will be in peril, unexpected kisses will be shared and the Fringe team will probably go for the gold by finding enough universes to have one for each color of the rainbow. But just as things are getting good the writers will cruelly push pause on the action leaving us to wait through the long summer months to find out what will happen next.

There is no more frustrating or delightful time to be a TV fan. As we wait for the latest crop of cliffhangers to come along and shock us into renewing our season passes for shows we swore we were abandoning, let’s take a look back at a few mind-blowing cliffhangers of seasons past.

1. “Through the Looking Glass” — Lost, season 3


Trying to pick just one Lost cliffhanger was no easy task. Remember the time the Others snatched Walt? Or the time the hatch exploded with Desmond still inside? Or the time the island disappeared? There was no crueler hiatus than the Lost hiatus. But the third season finale holds the title of most shocking cliffhanger of them all. It completely changed the game by flashing into the future and revealing that some of the castaways actually got off the island.

The image of a badly bearded, drug-addled Jack screaming, “We have to go back!” will never stop giving me goose bumps. In that moment everything that we thought we knew about Lost and where it was going was tossed out the window. And then we had seven long months to ponder what might happen next.

That, my friends, is how you do a season finale cliffhanger.

2. “Devil’s Trap”– Supernatural, season 1


Supernatural has had flashier season enders (Dean going to hell immediately comes to mind), but the first one remains the most effective for its simplicity. The boys and John were already beaten, bloody and on their way to the hospital after a brutal encounter with the yellow-eyed demon when a semi smashed into the Impala as “Bad Moon Rising” played on the soundtrack. The fate of all three men was left up in the air, and since the show was still in its infancy, the possibility that one of them could die felt very real.

It was a fittingly grim way to go out given the show’s gritty vibe, and it was shocking enough to guarantee I would be back for season 2.

3. “Casino Night”– The Office, season 2

the office

Not all great cliffhangers hinge on life or death situations, some of them are purely emotional. Season 2 of The Office was a solid season of television from to start to finish and much of its momentum came from the sweetly awkward courtship between Jim and Pam (who was engaged to Roy at the time). The tension between them had been building all year when a tearful Jim finally confessed his feelings and was promptly shot down.

That scene broke thousands of hearts, but the episode wasn’t over yet. The final shot gave us the long-awaited kiss between the potential office sweethearts and then left us wondering what kind of fall out we would be facing when season 3 rolled around.

4. “The Getaway”– Dexter, season 4


For a show with so much killing, Dexter has always had relatively low stakes. Every season ends with Dexter catching the big bad and restoring the status quo. It is a frustrating formula that continues to suck much of the fun out of the series the older it gets.

But in season 4 John Lithgow was there and all bets for the outcome of the season were off. His Trinity Killer gave Dexter a much needed infusion of real tension with his creepy nice guy/terrifying serial killer dynamic that acted as a mirror for Dexter himself. Still, once Dex put a knife through his heart it seemed we were in for much of the same.

Then Dexter went home and found his wife, Rita, dead in a bathtub and his son wailing in a pool of his mother’s blood–a final parting gift from Dexter’s cruelest foil and an image fans of the show will never be able to get out of their heads.

5. “The Great Game”– Sherlock, season 1


The cat and mouse game between Moriarty and Sherlock fueled the show’s tension-filled first finale and by the time the pair finally came face to face in the final minutes of the episode the energy was down right electric.

Moriarty had a bomb strapped to John’s chest and guns trained on Sherlock. Things did not look like they were going to end well for our intrepid duo, but then Moriarty left…just long enough to let everyone think the danger had passed. Then he came back, guns aimed and ready.

But Sherlock was armed too and his gun was trained on the bomb he had just removed from John. The two men shared a nod right before a dramatic smash cut signaled the end of the episode. American fans are still waiting to find out how John and Sherlock will get themselves out of that particular mess.


Those are five of my personal favorites, but there are plenty of awesome season finale cliffhangers that I didn’t have room for. I want to know which finales left you counting the days until your favorite show’s return. Tell me all about them in the comments!

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