Yeah, there’s going to be spoilers in here.
There’s no doubt it’s been a pretty great year for television, but in order to have exciting TV, we have to lose some characters along the way. Whether they were brutal, heartbreaking, controversial or deserved, these are the TV deaths we’ll remember long after 2017.
Essie McGowan, American Gods
Emily Browning’s character Essie McGowan goes from maid to thief to wife over the course of “A Prayer for Mad Sweeney”. At the end, Mad Sweeney escorts Essie to her death in old age, giving us a meaningful death in the series.
Olenna Tyrell, Game of Thrones
Even as a beloved character on the show, Olenna has been terrorized by the Lannisters throughout the series. What makes her death memorable is the badass speech she gives after Jaime poisons her, in which she reveals she was behind Joffrey’s death and sneaks in one more insult to Cersei. In the words of our own Ciara Wardlow, “It was a total mic drop moment”.
William Hill, This is Us
Through flashbacks, we learned Randall’s father William’s past after they reconnect in “Saying Goodbye”. They forge a relationship long overdue, but the catch is William has stage 4 stomach cancer. Randall takes him to a hospital hoping he will recover, but he dies in front of his son. He leaves with a beautiful speech, telling his son, “You deserve the beautiful life you’ve made”. This one broke our hearts. See above for an episode highlight.
Mrs. S, Orphan Black
Sarah’s badass mother has been a pivotal character in Orphan Black since the very beginning of the series. Her death in “Guillotines Decide” came as a heartbreaking surprise, but Mrs. S didn’t go down without a fight. She punches her killer after she’s been shot in the chest. As she dies, she gazes at a picture of her two foster children, Sarah and Felix.
Bob Newby, Stranger Things
Even those who wanted Hopper and Joyce to get together had to grow to love her new boyfriend Bob through the course of season two. A nerd and utter sweetheart, Bob sticks by Joyce no matter how crazy stuff gets in Hawkins. He selflessly volunteers to turn the electricity off in the Hawkins Lab to save everyone else, only to be killed by demadogs. Bob becomes the kind of hero he loved in the movies.
Norman Bates, Bates Motel
No better way to end a dynamite series than to kill the leading character. Norman Bates has murdered plenty over the course of Bates Motel, and he finally meets his end in the series finale. After he comes to terms with what he’s done, Norman’s Mother persona leaves him. He wants nothing more than to be reunited with her, even if that means in death. As a form of suicide, he runs towards his brother Dylan, who shoots him. It’s a great ending to a character that has been creeping us out since the ’60s.
Chuck McGill, Better Call Saul
After his devastating exit from his law firm, Chuck took a downward spiral in season three. Nothing seemed worse than his “allergy” to electricity in past seasons, but the series finale proved that wasn’t true. Chuck’s death came just as he was working toward change, which made it even more surprising. He dies as the result of what he was afraid of, an electric lamp.
Petyr Baelish, Game of Thrones
If any show deserves a repeat in this list, it’s Game of Thrones. Performing the orders of her sister Sansa, Arya kills Littlefinger by slitting his throat. The conniving trickster had it coming after being sentenced to death for treason and murder, but his death scene was more emotional than expected.
Hannah Baker, 13 Reasons Why
In one of the most talked about TV shows of the year, Hannah’s suicide is the central event of the series. However, it will be remembered not just for being emotional, but because a lot of people considered it to be romanticising suicide to a young and impressionable audience. It was a shockingly brutal scene that didn’t spare much, trying to make it as real as possible. The result was a scene many were furious with, but one that everyone watched the show to see.
Perry Wright, Big Little Lies
The year’s most deserving and satisfying death goes to the abuser and rapist Perry Wright, played by Alexander Skarsgård. Throughout the season, Perry violently abuses his wife Celeste in hard-to-watch scenes. Another character, Jane, is also in search of her son’s father, who had raped her years ago. In the final episode, Celeste finally leaves her husband and tells her friends what he had been doing to her. Jane sees Perry and immediately recognizes him as the man who raped her. The women of the show throw Perry down the steps at an elaborate party and beat him to death. The best part of Perry’s death was that the women who feuded the entire season put their differences aside to protect each other. It was an emotional ending to the show and will be hard to beat now that Big Little Lies has been renewed for a second season.