If you don’t already know, we here at RPW really enjoy a good countdown. After discussing an entertaining evening of television on Sunday, and freaking out about the possible untimely and fiery death of Eric Northman during the True Blood finale, the idea for this list hit us. We are counting down the 12 worst deaths in television history. By “worst deaths,” we don’t mean the ones that made us sad because we loved the character or the ones that were heartbreaking to watch. We mean the downright disappointing ones. The ones that make you question the sanity of the writing team, the ones that make you say, “Oh my gosh, are they really dead? Did that seriously just happen? They can’t be dead? They deserve a much better death!” If a major character is going to depart a show, the death should be gut-wrenching, appalling, and downright difficult to watch but it also needs to make sense. And so our list begins:
12. Charlie Harper, Two and a Half Men
So we all knew the death of Charlie was inevitable after Charlie Sheen’s sudden departure from the show. But being hit by a subway car? Really? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Charlie to die surrounded by prostitutes? We guess It was a nod from the creator that Charlie Sheen would never, ever return.
11. Russell Edgington, True Blood
For being one of True Blood’s biggest and baddest villains, his death was shockingly boring. He was killed by Eric Northman in the opening scene of Episode 5×12 but his death was ultimately way overshadowed by the death and rebirth of Bilith. They really should’ve stepped up their game and given Edgington a more fitting True Death.
10. Jimmy Darmody, Boardwalk Empire
Jimmy Darmody’s death still sparks debates among critics and RPW writers alike, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment. But there is one thing that everyone can agree on – the ultimate success of this show was hurt by the death of Jimmy. Michael Pitt was a stellar actor and his Jimmy was beloved by many. It was too soon for the show to say good bye to the second lead character, and the third season was noticeably weak without him. It also felt unfair to see Jimmy die at the hands of Nucky, his make-shift father, as Nucky’s other enemies (Eli and Manny, just to name a few) escaped with their lives. The argument can be made that Nucky finally became a full gangster, but did he really? Did he murder Jimmy and walk away without guilt? Did he take out all of his enemies, or just the one that was easiest to target?
9. Matthew Crawley, Downton Abbey
Many argue that Matthew’s death was unavoidable after Dan Stevens decided not to return to Downton Abbey, but it doesn’t make his death feel any less bogus. After two seasons of waiting for him and Mary to get together, they finally get their happy ending…only for him to die almost right after. #Disappointing.
8. Andrea, The Walking Dead
No one was more pleased to see Andrea die on the season finale of The Wakling Dead than me. But come on writers, there wasn’t a better way to do it? In a horrendously stupid scene, where Andrea has to fight for her life against Milton using her (perfectly manicured) toes and a pair of pliers, Andrea finally comes up short and is bitten by a walker. She then has all the time in the world to sit and bleed out and wait for Rick and Co. to show up and mercy-kill her. It would have been 1000x better to see Rick & Co. arrive to find zombie-Andrea munching on someone.
7. Bill Henrickson, Big Love
We have one giant complaint about the way Bill was shot. After all the enemies he made through the years, it’s the neighbor that offs him?!
6. Robert McCallister, Brothers and Sisters
HE HAD JUST SURVIVED CANCER!… only to die in a car crash. Everything about it felt SO WRONG.
5. John Locke, LOST
Our biggest complaint isn’t the fact that John Locke, the biggest believer in the magic of the island and most obvious replacement for Jacob, died before the series finale. No, we can deal with that. Our biggest complaint is the way Locke died! The scene in which Ben pretends to want to help Locke and then suddenly turns on him to kill him was so sudden and so forced that it was almost unbelievable. And it especially threw off the audience when Locke’s body was suddenly alive and well and perusing the Island. In a series that posed more questions than it answered, this curveball was unnecessary and hurt the storyline more than it advanced it.
4. George O’Malley, Grey’s Anatomy
He got hit by a bus and spent majority of the episode as an unrecognizable John Doe surrounded by his best friends as they half-assed operated to save his life. When they realized that the John Doe was George it was too late and his actual death got wrapped up in Izzie’s almost-death.
Watch the clip below but be warned, you’ll probably feel annoyed just reliving it.
3. Lady Sybil, Downton Abbey
Probably one of the most unexpected characters to be killed off on TV, Lady Sybil was a cast favorite. Revolting against her families wishes and expectations, Sybil set out to form her own life. After a difficult childbirth, the audience knew Sybil made it out alive, however toxemia claimed the best of her post-pregnancy, leaving TV viewers reeling the death of a beloved character. Once word spread of the sudden, unexpected death of Lady Sybil, the ratings of Downton spiked, bringing in many new viewers just in time for them to be let down by the (expected) unexpected death of Matthew Crawley.
Watch the heartbreaking scene unfold below.
2. Rita Morgan, Dexter
We get that the death of Rita was inevitable (she’s married to a seriel killer!). And the shock factor for this death was definitely there. No one, Dexter included, thought that Trinity would break his cycle and go after Rita. All of that aside, I have some major beef with this death. My biggest complaint is that the audience didn’t see it happen. Rita was such a big part of the show and it felt unfair that we didn’t get to see her live her final scenes. I get the shock factor wouldn’t have been there, but couldn’t the writers throw in a flashback somewhere? Or even a flash of memory from Harrison? Because we didn’t get to see the interaction between Rita and Trinity, we will never know if Rita died knowing the truth about Dexter. #ThingsThatKeepMeUpAtNight
Watch the [disturbing] clip of Dexter finding Rita below.
1. Ned Stark, Game of Thrones
Ned Stark’s death could be viewed as the best death ever on TV (I mean, who can argue it’s epicness?) or the worst death. For our purposes, we think it was the worst. Why? Because Ned’s death meant that the Lannisters (AKA the dad guys) won. Ned’s death was such a shock because it directly defied everything that viewers come to expect from a drama – the hero faces trials and tribulations, the hero suffers, the hero finds a way out, the hero is victorious. Game of Thrones took the opposite route. They killed off the main character and protaganist in the first season, throwing everyone for a major loop. Not only that, but Ned’s death meant Joffrey won and who the hell wants that to happen?
Watch the chilling scene unfold below.