The best, most gruesome television death of all time might have happened on the most recent episode of Game of Thrones.
Anticipation for the match between The Mountain and the Red Viper kept us champing at the bit for weeks through the Memorial Day holiday, and our patience finally paid off yesterday…but probably not the way anyone (who didn’t read the books) expected or wanted.
The Mountain turning the Viper’s head into a crushed paczi will go down as the mother of combat scenes. Since pretty much everyone thought Oberyn Martell was awesome sauce, it’s a reminder in the Golden Age of television that no one is safe, even beloved characters. We miss them when they go, but we respect the writers for having the cooyans to say goodbye.
Here are a few other television deaths that took everyone for a loop — including one from the ’70s!
Hank – Breaking Bad
There’s a ton of commentary about Breaking Bad to this day, which is a testament to its place in pop culture. To me, the point in which Hank is truly meant to come to grips with his scores of bad decisions is when his brother-in-law eats a bullet in the desert. It was a powerful moment in the very best episode of a brilliant show.
Rita – Dexter
Dexter discovering his wife’s bloodless body in the tub was easily the apex of the show. It had gotten progressively more awesome leading up to this point before going completely the hell downhill. The series finale was the television version of Chris Webber calling the timeout at the end of the game.
The Red Wedding – Game of Thrones
Dude, everybody dies. EVERYBODY DIES. My guess is no Game of Thrones death before or after The Red Wedding will be as shocking. Dude, they ran a knife in a pregnant woman’s tummy! And they killed a dog! Son! I’m breaking out in hives just thinking about it.
Hershel – The Walking Dead
One of several elements of The Walking Dead that has resulted in it becoming one of the most successful basic cable shows of all time is its willingness to knock off characters we’ve come to know and love. Hershel was the patriarch and the voice of reason in bitch-ass Rick’s left ear. When the Governor went all Michonne on him, it left a little void in us all. Hopefully Rick is next.
James – Good Times
This is bullshit. Why y’all have to go and kill James? I know John Amos had beef with the show runners, but couldn’t they have found a better way to write him out of the show? This is already a show about trying to come up and get out the hood — why’d they have to make it worse on Michael, JJ and ‘em? Cold, man.
Richie – The Sopranos
The best death on the best season of the show, Janice blowing Richie Aprile the fuck out of the frame as they were preparing to have a nice, leisurely dinner solidified the show as a force with which to be reckoned, as well as established a still-standing trend of the second-to-last episode of any HBO season being the best episode of the season.
Omar – The Wire
The next 4-5 minutes after Omar’s death may as well not have happened. I still don’t know what went on in them — I was in shock and awe like the rest of the world that the hood Robin Hood didn’t make it to the end of the series. Even worse, he got taken out by punk-ass Kenard of all people! Can we get a do-over?