TV Character Deaths That Left Us Shocked in 2017
When a TV character dies, it can sometimes feel like losing someone we personally knew. In 2017, it felt like there was a never-ending flow of beloved character deaths that we never saw coming. If we learned anything, it’s that no matter how much they make you fall in love with a character, no one is safe from getting the ax.
On the other hand, some character deaths we may have seen coming, but we were still stunned realizing we’d never see them again. Here are the TV character deaths that left us shocked in 2017, including the No. 1 death that we still can’t get over.
1. Stranger Things — Bob Newby
When we first met Bob Newby on Season 2 of Stranger Things, we had no idea just how much we would love — and quickly miss — his character. Newby entered the scene as Joyce Byers’ new boyfriend, and he was almost too sweet. It made us feel suspicious of his kindness, considering there seems to be a dark side to everything in Hawkins.
As soon as Newby volunteered to turn the electricity back on at the Demo-dog infested Hawkins National Laboratory, we knew he would at least have a near-death experience. Instead, he had a near-life one, where he almost escaped the lab behind Byers and Hopper, when Newby got taken down by Demo-dogs and gruesomely ripped to shreds. He was the unlikely hero who sacrificed himself to save everyone else, making us instantly regret ever doubting his pure kindness.
Next: We knew a death was coming, but we didn’t think it would be his.
2. Mr. Robot — Agent Santiago
When Agent Santiago got the ax (quite literally), it was unexpected, to say the least. After all, he was working with the Dark Army as a mole in the FBI, and was killed by one of his own. Just as we were getting ready to say goodbye to Dom, an FBI agent who is too curious for her own good, our mouths dropped wide open when Irving swung the ax at Santiago instead of Dom.
Irving’s reasoning? “We’re retiring this sh*tstain,” he tells Dom, “and you’re taking his place.” We’re nervous to see how this storyline plays out — especially because Dom only agreed to replace Santiago when Irving threatened her family.
Next: The ultimate schemer was beaten by his own game.
3. Game of Thrones — Petyr Baelish
Petyr Baelish definitely had his death coming for him, but that didn’t make the moment any less shocking. A large portion of Game of Thrones’ seventh season was spent making us think Littlefinger was pinning Sansa and Arya against each other. In a tense scene, we found out that the sisters were scheming against Baelish the whole time, collecting evidence that he deserved death. Sansa ordered the sentence, and Arya carried out the deed by slitting his throat.
Next: We knew his death was coming, but it still hurt.
4. This Is Us — William Hill
We all knew William had to die eventually on This Is Us, but we didn’t expect it to hit us in the gut as hard as it did. Randall’s biological father eventually lost his battle to terminal cancer, but not without us falling in love with their new father-son relationship. They may have had some rough patches in getting to know each other so late in life, but they grew closer than they ever knew they could.
William’s death came in the aptly named episode, “Memphis.” Randall took his father on a trip to Memphis, William’s hometown, but it would sadly become his place of death, too. After giving his old stomping grounds one last tour, he passed away in a Memphis hospital with Randall by his side.
Next: The show deviated from the comics for his death.
5. The Walking Dead — Carl Grimes
The Walking Dead is no stranger to killing off main characters, but Carl Grimes’ death was particularly shocking. Despite his young age, he’s outlived a huge chunk of the original cast, all while facing a number of near-death experiences himself. Plus, the comics indicate that he’s actually supposed to go on to play an even bigger role, so his getting written off was certainly a huge deviation.
According to Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Scott Gimple detailed the moment that marked the end for Grimes. He was bitten by a walker, apparently when he and Siddiq were ambushed in the woods. Gimple explained, “We didn’t see the absolute bite, but we saw when it happened and we even saw Carl’s reaction to it after it happened in one of the episodes that we’ve seen this season.”
Next: This abusive husband got his karma.
6. Big Little Lies — Perry Wright
Perry Wright definitely wasn’t a good man, but his death was still difficult to watch. He’d been an abusive husband to his wife, Celeste, and Bonnie Carlson got involved when she walked in on a horrifying scene. Wright was in the middle of an abusive outrage after he learned Celeste was planning to run away with their two sons.
Carlson ended up pushing Wright down a tall flight of stairs to his death. As Variety described the scene, “there was relief but also sadness for the fact that a horrific cycle of violence that could only be broken with more violence.”
Next: Her death proved the real dangers of prostitution.
7. The Deuce — Ruby
The Season 1 finale of The Deuce proved just how violent the world of prostitution could be — especially in the 1970s. You never know what kind of person you’re entering a hotel room with, and for Ruby, she would walk into, and be pushed out of, her last.
When Ruby’s latest customer tried to steal his money back from her purse, she refused to let it happen. After calling Ruby “Thunder Thighs,” she shot back with the title of the episode: “My name is Ruby.” This ignited violence in her customer, and he charged at her, shoving her out of the window — where she fell to her death.
Next: She died with dignity — and a big dose of sass.
8. Game of Thrones — Olenna Tyrell
As sad as we were to see Olenna Tyrell go, her death scene was possibly the most dignified in Game of Thrones history. Upon Jaime Lannister’s surprise attack on Highgarden, he visited Tyrell to fulfill the deed of killing her.
Although Cersei would have preferred a brutal death for Tyrell, he granted her a painless death by poison. She drank the poison without hesitation and went on to epically admit she was behind Joffrey’s death. She instructed Jaime, “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.”
Next: After some close calls, this main character finally saw her end.
9. Nashville — Rayna James
Rayna James came close to death a few times on Nashville. Back in Season 1, she managed to recover from a serious car accident. If being the subject of an armed stalker in Season 5 wasn’t close enough of a second call, she met her fate in yet another car accident during the same season. She made it to the hospital from the crash, but complications ultimately led to her death.
Writing off Connie Britton’s character was a bold move, considering she’s been with the show since the beginning. It’s safe to say she will be missed.
Next: She put her death into her own hands.
10. The Walking Dead — Sasha Williams
Sasha’s death on The Walking Dead prompted one of the show’s most emotional episodes. It involved a number of flashbacks from Sasha’s life, including moments with Abraham and Maggie.
Rather than becoming another casualty at the hands of Negan, Sasha put herself in control. She was meant to be used as a bargaining tactic for Negan, in which he trapped her into a coffin. While in the coffin, Sasha took a poison pill, which resulted in her transforming into a walker by the time the coffin was opened.
Next: Their happy marriage was short-lived due to her husband’s death.
11. Jane the Virgin — Michael Cordero
Just when things were going right for Gina Rodriguez’s character Jane on Jane the Virgin, her husband’s death devastated her world. Jane and Michael’s wedding was long-anticipated, so losing his character was definitely difficult for us to wrap our heads around.
Michael had gotten shot in a hallway at the Marbella, sending him to the hospital. We may have gotten a glimmer of hope when he’d survived the gunshot and seemingly recovered from surgery. However, he, unfortunately, didn’t pull through due to an aortic dissection.
Next: She was the one thing keeping Tyrell going.
12. Mr. Robot — Joanna Wellick
While Tyrell Wellick was held in isolation with Irving, only two things kept him going: chopping wood to keep his mind clear and his family. He couldn’t stop talking about getting back to his wife, Joanna, and their baby once he finished his mission for the Dark Army — but he didn’t know Joanna’s fate until long after she was gone.
Joanna had been sleeping with a man who would turn out to be ruled by his anger when he discovered he wouldn’t be seeing Joanna anymore. It led him to shoot his ex-lover in a car with her baby next to her. Irving knew about Joanna’s death, but kept it from Tyrell in order to avoid distraction from their mission.
Next: Was his death a suicide … or staged?
13. Riverdale — Clifford Blossom
As the search went on for Jason Blossom’s killer in Season 1 of Riverdale, the last person we’d suspected would have been his own father. After all, Jason was clearly the favorite of the Blossom children, who was being groomed to take over the family business.
Leave it to Betty Cooper to discover a USB hidden in Jason’s old letterman jacket, which included footage of Clifford Blossom shooting his own son in the head. Not long after Clifford was unmasked as the killer, a chilling scene revealed him hanging from the Blossom barn. Though we would assume he hanged himself, we wouldn’t put it beneath the rest of the Blossom family to have been behind his murder with a staged suicide.
Next: She didn’t die without finishing one final deed.
14. Orphan Black — Mrs. S
Saying goodbye to Mrs. S on Orphan Black was an emotional blow that we definitely weren’t ready for. She’d become one of the show’s most lovable characters as Sarah and Felix’s foster mother, and was always willing to risk her life for the ones she loved.
Once Mrs. S found the way to expose Neolution, Ferdinand confronted her and shot her in the chest. Before she eventually bled out from the gunshot wound, she was able to retrieve a gun she’d hidden in a chair cushion. She shot Ferdinand, delivering him the same ending he’d given her. In her last moments, Mrs. S uttered, “Chickens,” while gazing at a photo of Sarah and Felix — the perfect ending to a truly tragic storyline.
Next: This may have been the hardest death to watch all year.
15. Game of Thrones — Viserion
We’ve seen more deaths than we can count on Game of Thrones, and we’re bound to see a lot more. However, we can confidently say the most devastating death in the show’s history (and of 2017 as a whole) will go down as that of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon, Viserion. Her dragons aren’t like her children — they are her children, and we could truly feel the pain of her loss.
Her dragons are nearly indestructible, but now that they’re coming into play as weapons for Targaryen, many (including Cersei) have been plotting to take them down. The Night King’s killing of Viserion with his spear to then transform him into an undead dragon was truly frightening. Now, everyone knows killing her dragons is possible, and the Night King has one that is even more powerful on his side.
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