Successfully executing television plot twists is harder than it seems, and in 2017, we were treated to the most innovative curveballs on some of your favorite TV shows. From The Good Place’s unexpected game-changer at the end of the first season to the devastating (and heartbreaking!) deaths on Nashville and Jane the Virgin, we’re giving major kudos to the comedies and dramas that totally blew our minds.
As we count down the final days of the year, ET highlights the 11 most jaw-dropping TV plot twists from 2017 that had us reaching for the remote and desperately pressing rewind.
The Good Place The Twist: The humans were actually in The Bad Place all along.
The Good Place accomplished what many TV shows often fail to do: create and successfully execute a game-changing reveal so mind-blowing that it upends the fabric of the show, propelling it to another dimension creatively. That’s exactly what the season one finale twist did, when Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason discovered -- along with the unsuspecting audience -- that they weren’t actually in The Good Place. They were in The Bad Place all along. It’s a twist so perfectly achieved that none of us saw it coming and it made the current season so much more exciting. Congrats, hooligans, you pulled off the best TV twist of the year.
This Is Us The Twist: Jack’s death is related to a house fire.
When This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman said fans would learn more about how Jack died in the season two premiere, he wasn’t lying. While the popular topic of discussion has revolved around Jack’s demise (the how, the when, the why, the what), the final moments of the Sept. 26 premiere revealed a definitive answer: the Pearson patriarch’s death had something to do with the Pearson home burning down to rubble. The scene itself was a shock to the system and Mandy Moore’s performance in that moment -- the unrelenting wails of a wife in shock -- made us all the more devastated as the answers to Jack’s death slowly come.
Jane the Virgin
The Twist: Michael dies after collapsing from complications of a gunshot wound.
Michael’s death was teased by the narrator on Jane the Virgin from the very beginning when the show debuted in 2014, and though we were crossing our fingers that the fateful day wouldn’t arrive, it did. And it was unexpected. This one hurt the most because Michael brought out the sweetness in Jane, and they went through every possible trial and tribulation together (breakups, gunshot wounds, etc.). Just when they were finally on a path of true happiness, mortality got in the way. R.I.P. Michael, you’re still very much alive in our hearts!
The Twist: Rayna unexpectedly dies after a horrific car accident.
Rayna Jaymes’ death from complications following a terrible car accident midway through season five is still one of the most devastating TV moments of the year -- and an obvious callback to the season one finale misdirect, when Rayna’s fate was in question after the SUV she was driving flipped over and landed in a ditch. Rayna’s death came at the worst moment possible for the characters on Nashville. What was going to be the new normal? Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty. With the sixth and final season fast approaching, that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Game of Thrones The Twist: Jon Snow is the true heir to the Iron Throne and the White Walkers know how to make good use of a dragon.
Many fans saw this one coming, but it didn't make it any less shocking. The season seven finale of Game of Thrones showed Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen getting it on, while a disturbing voiceover revealed Jon’s true identity: Aegon Targaryen. Yup, that means he's the true heir to the throne and he just took things to the next level with his aunt! On top of that, the Night King proved he knew exactly what he was doing when he killed Viserion, using Dany's dead dragon to destroy the wall. If only we didn't have to wait until 2019 to find out how it ends!
The Twist: Lucious’ leg is amputated and, surprise, he has amnesia!
Are we that surprised? Empire really leaned into the crazy this year and one of the biggest shockers took place at the start of the fourth season. Lucious had his leg amputated following the car explosion and he was battling a serious case of amnesia after waking up from his coma. Seriously. Considering the list of ailments he’s already dealt with, this one takes the cake in our “shock-o-meter.” An honorable mention goes out to the surprising revelation that eldest Lyon son Andre’s new girlfriend was F A K E, the product of side effects of his medication. Talk about a ghoulish reveal.
Pretty Little Liars
The Twist: Spencer has a British twin -- and she's A.D.!
Pretty Little Liars brought us some serious déjà vu drama in the series finale when we finally discovered A's identity. Turns out, A.D. was short for Alex Drake, but just how is this random character connected to our favorite Rosewood residents? (Drumroll, please!) Alex Drake was Spencer Hastings' identical twin. Jaw, meet floor. In this classic evil twin scenario, Spencer discovered that she had a deranged doppelganger running around Rosewood impersonating her and wreaking havoc on the rest of the Liars.
The Walking Dead The Twist:Caaaarrrrrrrrrrllllllll's about to bite the dust, thanks to a nasty walker bite.
Season eight of The Walking Dead was quite underwhelming -- until the show decided to kill off one of its original cast members. The midseason finale took viewers by surprise, deviating from the comics and revealing that Rick's son, Carl, had been bitten by a walker. It was a sad moment for fans, leading many to wonder how Carl's comic storylines will be handled in the series. We thought Carl was untouchable, but we were wrong. You got us!
Big Little Lies The Twist: Perry is Jane's rapist! And he dies! And his son is Amabella's bully!
We knew there was a mystery to be solved the minute we started watching Big Little Lies. The first episode, titled "Somebody's Dead," should have been enough of a tip-off. Little did we know, there were three mysteries ... and they all had to do with Perry! Alexander Skarsgard played such a clear-cut villain, but we honestly didn't have the confidence in Nicole Kidman's Celeste to do what needed to be done. It only made sense that the finale would reveal Perry's death to be a group effort, with Madeline, Bonnie and Renata helping Jane and Celeste whoop Perry's butt once they discovered he was not only an abusive husband, but also raped Jane. Last but certainly not least: nothing is more satisfying than the women pushing Perry down a flight of stairs and then lying about it!
Kevin Can Wait
The Twist: Donna’s death comes completely out of the blue.
The behind-the-scenes decision over the summer by the Kevin Can Wait producers to kill off Kevin James’ onscreen wife, Donna (Erinn Hayes), was a jaw-on-the-floor moment. (Leah Remini essentially replaced Hayes as the female lead.) So when it came time to see how the off-screen decision affected the show creatively onscreen, we weren’t quite ready for it. The comedy did its best to give Donna a heartfelt send-off, but we couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve been had Donna been spared.
The Twist: Quinn is (probably) dead, thanks to Olivia's feud with Papa Pope.
Tensions in the Pope family reached an all-time high in the Scandal midseason finale, when Olivia and Eli's family feud seemingly resulted in the death of the pregnant Quinn Perkins. The episode's final moments saw Olivia's father disappear to fire off gunshots after Olivia bluffed when she said she didn't care if her friend lived or died. While we didn't see the body, we think it might be safe to call this one: Quinn's dead, and now Olivia's got some real blood on her hands, just in time for the series finale next spring.
Additional contributions by Jennifer Drysdale and Leanne Aguilera.