As many fans of TV series know, while there are many good and happy times for our shows, there are even more soul shattering, gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking moments that leave us forever changed. This year’s shows didn’t miss the mark there and almost seemed to step up their game. From tearful farewells to shocking and excruciating deaths, 2017 packed a punch to everyone’s feels. This is our list of the top TV moments that broke our hearts in 2017.
1. William Hill’s Death, This Is Us – 1×16
From the moment the world met William, Randall’s biological father, there was this sense of calming and love. William was one of those special characters that you immediately adored and wanted nothing but the best for but as fate would have it, he was dying from a terminal illness. Watching him getting to know his son throughout season 1, something he had always wanted, was such a beautiful journey. Seeing glimpses of him in Randall and witnessing that beautiful relationship and dynamic change and grown was something for the record books! And even though we knew William’s end was coming, it didn’t make the moment any easier. For a man that had become so straightforward and fearless, in the end, he was scared of dying alone like so many before him but with his loving and loyal son beside him, William passed and was finally at peace. It was truly one of the most stunning, yet heartbreaking, TV moments and it will stay in the hearts of many for years to come.
2. Martin Stein’s Death, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – 3×08
This is still a fresh one for many of us. As we all knew, Victor Garber was set to leave the show, so the team had been working to separate Firestorm over the last couple of episodes. In a perfect world, Stein would return home to his family and live out the rest of his life happy and healthy. But of course, this is the world of DCTV and nothing ever goes perfectly. From the moment he was shot on Earth X, we knew it was coming and it didn’t get any easier as the episode progressed.
Seeing Stein in his final moments doing what he does best, caring for and easing Jefferson’s pain was so reminiscent to his character’s death on Alias. Jack Bristow died in his daughter’s arms, loving her and telling her how proud he was of her and it was the same with Stein. While Jefferson may not have been blood, he was the son that Stein never had and he was more his family than anyone. Like Jack’s death over 11 years ago, this will sit with many fans for very long time.
3. Mon-El’s Departure, Supergirl – 2×22
Love him or hate him, Mon-El made an impact, more positive than negative, on everyone in the second season of Supergirl. A character who came from a drug-induced world led by tyrants, Mon-El had one of the best character developments throughout the 22 episodes. He grew and learned and became the person HE wanted to be, not just who he thought Kara needed him to be. That’s what made his departure (though temporary) that much more painful. He was finally getting his stride and had made a home with Kara and the rest of the DEO family.
From the moment the show introduced the idea of a back-up plan to rid the earth of Daxamites, it was inevitable that we and Kara would lose this wonderful character. Like any true hero, Mon-El was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, even if it meant losing everything, including the love of his life. The tearful goodbye was acted beautifully but the amazing Chris Wood and Melissa Benoist and felt unnervingly real. It’s one of those moments that no matter how many times you watch it, it doesn’t get any easier.
4. “The Big Three” Episodes, This Is Us – 2×08, 09, 10
The writers of This Is Us continue to deliver powerful episodes week after week and “The Big Three” episodes were no different. Focusing on each of the siblings, these three episodes were unlike anything we had seen before. From Kevin’s battle with addiction, to Kate losing the baby and Randall fighting to keep his family together, the emotion and tear inducing moments touched every person who watches this show in some way.
Each sibling has their own internal struggles that they put aside when it comes to helping the others. And these are such relatable problems/struggles that we or someone we know has dealt with or is currently dealing with. As we head into the fall hiatus, viewers have a moment to take a deep breath and prepare for what’s to come because with a show as emotional and ground breathing as this, we are going to need the break for sure.
5. Erin Lindsay’s Departure, Chicago PD – 4×23
Like many who watch Chicago PD, Sophia Bush’s portrayal of Erin Lindsay was one of the many reasons that fans were first attracted to this intense drama. Erin was a strong female character who had been dealt a rough hand in life but overcame it all and set herself on the right path. As the series went on, the hard exterior she had developed throughout her life was slowly chipped away by none other than her beloved partner, Jay Halstead. Linstead was a huge part of what made this show so successful and while it wasn’t always easy for this couple, it was always worth it in the end because we knew they were endgame…or so we thought.
Season 4 started off so wonderful, the couple we had shipped so hard were finally living together and were hopelessly in love. But the road isn’t always a smooth one for TV couples and that’s something every fangirl/boy knows so as we assumed, Linstead hit a rough patch. And that would’ve been doable but the way the entire relationship and departure of Erin was handled was anything but okay. Foreshadowing to an engagement that fans had wanted from day one was utterly crushed when it was announced that Bush would be leaving the show. Four seasons of waiting for this couple to have their happily ever after was taken away in the blink of an eye and for a shipper, that’s a tough pill to swallow. As the dust settles, we’re left with an unclosed chapter in this book of Linstead and questions that unfortunately, we’ll never get the answers to.
6. Castiel & Crowley’s Deaths, Supernatural – 12×23
Every season finale of this sensational cult drama always leaves fans stunned and in shock and the finale of season 12 was no different. There were pleasant surprises like the reappearance of Bobby, albeit a doomsday version and a plan that seemed fool proof to trap Lucifer once and for all. But little did the boys know that that plan came with Crowley sacrificing his own life and love him or hate him, Crowley was a huge part of the brother’s lives. Still reeling from that loss, we all thought for once things would work out.
While the plan worked and the gang was able to trap Lucifer, we lost not only Mama Winchester but the shocking and completely unexpected “death” of Castiel. It was something that no one saw coming and we even doubted it was real and final. As we know, Castiel is back but for the first couple episodes of the season, it seemed like he was gone for good. And for Crowley, seeing the new supposed “King of Hell”, Asmodeus, leaves a lot to be desired. While we have our ass kicking angel back, we’re left heartbroken over the loss of our snarky former King of Hell who gave no shits about anything except for the Winchesters.
7. Tom Keen’s Death, The Blacklist – 5×08
Like Martin Stein, this death is still a fresh one. For a show that you never know who can trust, Tom Keen started off as your average, everyday husband who went to work, loved his wife, and wanted the all-American dream. As season 1 went on, we realized that the Tom we and Liz knew was most definitely not the real Tom. Throughout the shows five seasons, we have seen Tom grow and change and we now know who he truly is, and not just where he came from, but what makes him tick; what’s important to him. And nothing, nothing was more important to Tom than Liz and their daughter.
On a show that has faked deaths more than once, when Tom passed in this season’s mid-season finale, many didn’t believe it to be true. After all, we saw the heroine of this amazing show “die” in season 3 only for it to be revealed that it had been faked. But as the producers have confirmed and Ryan Eggold himself, Tom is truly dead this time and it is utterly devastating. All Tom has ever wanted was to be with his family and he finally found that family and in the end, he lost it all. Excuse us while we go cry in a corner.
8. Viserion’s Death, Game of Thrones – 7×06
THE DRAGON, THE DRAGON! How can we be more upset about the dragon than about actual people, you ask? Well, Viserion has been with us for seven years, and though he didn’t speak, he had a personality, he was one of Dany’s children, and we loved him as we loved her. Also, animal cruelty! Plus, Game of Thrones has made sport of killing our favorite characters, and we’ve sort of prepared for it (as much as you can prepare for pain) but a part of us always thought the dragons were safe. Even if we should have known better, no one’s safe on this show.
Yes, the end is coming. Yes, we were going to lose some people, and we still might lose more people, people we care about, but this death hit the hardest in a season that was mostly uplifting, Especially because it turns out dead Viserion was resurrected by the night king and turned into an ice dragon, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of our faves in Season 8.
9. Stefan’s Death, The Vampire Diaries – 8×16
After eight seasons, The Vampire Diaries said its final goodbye earlier this year and with it, Stefan Salvatore made the ultimate sacrifice. At its core, this show was about two brothers who had spent centuries together, fighting and at odds but always loving and caring for the other, even if they had a shitty way of showing it at times. In the end, Stefan sacrificed himself for Damon because his brother had finally seen the good in himself that Stefan always knew was there. He wanted to give Damon a chance to live his life unburdened and happy. It always seemed that Stefan was always willing to sacrifice his happiness for others but that’s what made him such a powerful character. He always put others first and he even when he tried to be selfish, he couldn’t. And while his death has left a hole in many fans hearts, Stefan went out in a literal blaze of glory and got the epic farewell he always wanted.
10. Elijah’s Compulsion, The Originals – 4×13
“Always and Forever” a motto that the Mikaleson siblings have lived their lives by. Family has always been above everything, even if it meant backstabbing the other in order to protect them. But no one lived by this motto more than Elijah. Like Stefan, Elijah seemed to take the brunt of the punishment and anger from his fellow siblings. He would take it and move on because that’s what family did; they fought and then made up. Elijah spent the majority of his immortal life trying to save his brother’s life. Again, like Stefan, he fought to show Klaus that he was indeed enough and worth saving and redemption. That is what made his request for Marcel to compel his memories away so heartbreaking. With the brilliant plan to save Hope, the siblings would have to live their lives apart…forever. This weighed heaviest on Elijah as he has spent his life protecting his family above all else. As Marcel compelled him, you could see this weight almost lifted from his soul. It was like he was breathing for himself for the first time in his life and while it’s such a beautiful sentiment, it’s also a painful one because in the end, he would rather live not knowing who he is or where he came from than living with the pain of losing his siblings.
Here’s to 2018, may it be more merciful on all our souls!
What were some of your most heartbreaking TV moments of 2017? Share your thoughts below.