The start of summer is always bittersweet; okay, mostly sweet, but saying goodbye to your favorite shows for the next few months is absolutely heartbreaking. Particularly if the season finales are up to par. Final episodes don’t merely set out to entertain, they’ve got to leave you wanting more, paralyzed by anticipation all the way through September. Shocking moments seem to do the trick, and many of the year’s most noteworthy shows clearly got the memo.
Jane the Virgin (CW)
Each episode of this breakout show came with Telemundo-worthy drama (it’s about a pregnant virgin, after all), but the season-closer was almost too much to handle. We barely flinched when Jane (Gina Rodriguez) gave birth to a baby boy rather than the girl she was expecting. We even kept our composure when learning Jane’s on-and-off-again mom and dad drunkenly tied the knot in Vegas. But when Petra took the last of Rafael’s sperm!? And baby Mateo was kidnapped from the hospital by Sin Rostro!? We immediately questioned how we would survive the summer with these cliffhangers lingering over our heads. Whether or not Petra will get pregnant, we have no clue, but as for Mateo, we keep telling ourselves that he’ll be safe and sound in season 2. This is Jane the Virgin, not Six Feet Under.
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Shonda Rhimes is a talented woman—she simultaneously knifed nearly 10 million hearts when she tragically killed off Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Derek technically bit the dust an episode shy of the finale, but this is far too significant not to mention. Despite some Internet speculation, most fans were blindsided and furious; they’re still mourning McSteamy’s 2012 death for crying out loud. Even more unsettling is the alleged reason behind Dempsey’s firing: on-set diva antics. And we read that in Page Six, so we know it’s true.
Mad Men (AMC)
After 8 glorious years of sexism, alcoholism, and adultery, Matt Weiner’s pride and joy bid farewell with a brilliantly fulfilling series finale. Most loose ends were tied, and each of the characters was left with an unexpected fate, whether tragic like Betty’s (January Jones) terminal cancer diagnosis or as heart-tugging as Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) and Stan’s (Jay R. Ferguson) love confession. However, most of the finale’s shock and awe moments belong to the dapper Don Draper (Jon Hamm). First surprise of the night? The notorious suit man opened the episode in a Canadian tuxedo; unsurprisingly, he pulled it off quite well. On his cross country road trip, he lands as far from his New York stomping ground as he can get: at a yoga retreat in California. Just as we’re convinced he’s given up his former life for good, inspiration strikes for Don to create one of the most memorable ads of all time, Coke’s legendary “Hilltop” commercial. Welcome back, Don, and goodbye for good.
Many can agree that Scandal isn’t what it once was; with storylines crazier as the seasons go on, the smart primetime drama may very well have jumped the shark. Nevertheless, its diehard fans are invested, especially when it comes to the most buzzed about political love story since the Lewinsky scandal. Olitz fans, this season finale was for you. Jake is (Scott Foley) out of the picture (for now) and boy has the Olivia (Kerry Washington)/President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) flame been relit. When Fitz learns First Lady Mellie was responsible for a mass murder, he gives her the boot, and his marriage appears to be over. Making up for all the time they’ve been apart, POTUS and Pope take to the White House balcony for an epic reconciliation a.k.a. passionate make-out sesh. With its simple, happy ending, a show seemingly addicted to shock value surprised us more than ever.
There are only two types of people in this world: those who watch Empire and those who don’t. If you’re in the latter category, it’s only a matter of time before you bite the bullet. After watching the first season’s 2-hour finale, it’s easy to see why rumblings about this hip-hop drama have become unavoidable. Between an attempted murder, an actual murder, a Real Housewives-style catfight and a steamy hookup, viewers barely had time to process each of the episode’s bombshells. Particularly shocking: despite what we’ve been told from day one, Luscious (Terrence Howard) doesn’t have ALS, he was misdiagnosed. Yep, that whole season-long premise about his upcoming death was so quickly just thrown out the window. He may not be dying, but he is in the slammer, where he utters the final line of the season, “It’s game time bitches.” Now that Revenge has been cancelled, the telly’s got plenty of room for your vengeance, Luscious.
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
Wait, something interesting happened on a recent episode of Saturday Night Live? Yes, and you can thank host Louie C.K. for that—or boycott him, whichever you see fit. During the 40th season’s final opening monologue, C.K. first admits to being “mildly racist”—you know, fearing a black man at a gas station in the middle of the night type of racist. He goes on to reminisce about the child molester who lived in his hometown, admitting that his presence in the neighborhood wasn’t all that controversial. After mentioning the term “child molester” a disturbing few more times, he questions why on earth someone would choose to live that lifestyle. His answer? “[Child molesting] must be really good.” Anyone want to take bets on whether or not that was the last of his hosting duties?