It's called "Peak TV" for a reason. And now that season finales are airing, a crescendo of unpredictable story beats are keeping fans enthralled and, in some instances, filled with rage. TheWrap has rounded up some of the best, most surprising and shocking finales to air this season so far. Beware of major spoilers ahead!
“The Walking Dead”
The aptly titled Season 8 finale of "The Walking Dead," "Wrath," finally pitted Rick versus Negan in a showdown that the whole season had been building towards in All Out War's final moment. Negan checked his gun the episode prior, but Eugene's faulty bullets backfired on him none the less. And even though his throat got slashed, Rick spares Negan's life. It may not be the biggest shock since it's how it plays out in the comics, but it is a nice nod to Carl's dying wish. "May my mercy prevail over my wrath," Rick said in the Season 8 premiere, and here we are.
Fans barely had time to pick their jaws up off the floor when in the penultimate episode of "Riverdale" we learned that Betty's father Hal Cooper was, in fact, Black Hood. But the season finale starts off with the revelation that Jughead is alive and that there's a second Black Hood as well. That discovery leads Archie to confront Hiram, only for Sheriff Minetta to arrest Archie at his class president inauguration for the murder of Cassidy Bullock (he didn't do it) from that infamous hot tub scene.
How do you close out a show that has been so gobsmackingly insane, twisty and steamy? Start by having a guy blow his brains out in the first five minutes, and then take David Rosen -- a character who has never really been given his due -- and have Cyrus poison him and smother him to death with a pillow. “Scandal” had been largely reluctant to kill off characters, that is, until its series finale.
Isn't it nice when "Grey's" opts for a happy ending that has you crying tears of joy at the departure of two characters -- rather than some horrible tragedy that befalls them all? April and Arizona are leaving the show, and they got the sendoff they deserve. April had a nearly fatal car crash scare in the penultimate episode of this season, but she's back to plan Alex and Jo's wedding -- which, in a hilarious turn, has the bride and groom sneaking off to have sex in a shed and ditching the ceremony to get married on a ferry. It's such a great moment, it inspires April to get hitched to her old flame Matthew and even sets up that Arizona might be getting back with a newly single Callie in New York.
With Al on the verge of firing him, Van considering moving away with their daughter and Darius in need of last-minute babysitting, Earn’s life is unraveling in the season finale of “Atlanta.” But in a heart-stopping moment, the real world catches up to all of Earn’s personal problems. While going through airport security, Earn realizes he still has a gun with him in his backpack. He makes a choice to leave it behind and avoid the fate of imprisonment that has doomed and shaped the lives of so many in his family.
Peppered throughout the first season of “Barry” were his brief fantasies of settling down with a family once he’s moved past his hitman days. The finale teases yet another idyllic escape -- but this time it's no dream. Barry is reclining along with classmate Susie in a lakeside hammock. They're a couple now! But detective Janice never gave up her suspicions about Barry, and an innocent moment of praise from drama teacher Gene tips her off. Barry looks cooked before audiences see he’s stashed away a gun -- just in case he needs it. The heaviest blows come when Barry shoots down Janice, and realizing he may never put his life of crime behind him.
“The Looming Tower”
The finale is simply titled “9/11.” The whole season has been building toward this fateful day. Fans knew it was coming, but just not quite how. “The Looming Tower” creator Dan Futterman took pains to handle the death of John O’Neill -- not with a maudlin, re-created scene but with Robert simply showing up on a doorstep all covered in dust, evoking the same sense of confusion and dread that affected so many people on that day.
"Will & Grace"
In the ultimate creep-out cliffhanger, Will and Grace learned that their parents are getting married. They'll now be brother and sister. Yikes.
Now that the show has officially been cancelled, the Season 3 finale to "Lucifer" is an even bigger cliffhanger. Lucifer finally kills Cain and fulfills his promise saying, "I am a Devil of my word." But before deciding to send him to Hell, Chloe appears and tells Lucifer, "It's true." Then everything fades out.
Who is "Engram Pattersky?" No one, actually. It's an anagram for "My Greatest Prank" left by none other than Prank Sinatra himself. It turns out for months Winston has been leading Nick and Jess to think they would be evicted, even though there never actually was an eviction notice. Nick and Jess move out anyway, but rather than a sentimental ending, "New Girl" felt much more at home with this cleverest of twists.
In a way, the Conner family scored a major cameo on the finale to "Roseanne" with a (fictional) tweet from President Trump
. The last few episodes have invoked issues of undocumented workers, opioids and healthcare. So when the president declares a state of emergency that can fix the Conners' basement and Roseanne's knee, they couldn't be happier. “The president spelled ‘Illinois’ wrong in his tweet, but it still counts, right?” Darlene asks.