Friday, December 16, 2011

To All the Television I've Wept Before

For some reason, over the last several days on Twitter, we’ve been chatting about the most sob inducing television episodes of ALL TIME. Bless my dear friend MelissaLeaman for starting this trend and my friend Carrie Raisler for dubbing said episodes as #cryisodes.  I guess the holidays are really starting to wear on us. Either way, I suppose it’s best to get all of the creys out now instead of next week over gifts and too much eggnog surrounded by family. Right? So let’s get to it. Grab a glass of wine (or 6) a box of tissues (or several) and read all about my favorite television breakdowns.

P.S. These are not in any kind of order. It seemed wrong to rank my points of emotional annihilation.

P.P.S. I decided to choose only one episode from each show so all mentioned shows get a “Runner up”

*Dawson’s Creek 5x04 “The Long Goodbye”
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Reason for tears: Dawson loses his dad in a car accident and blames himself.

Quote: (Telling Dawson about his last conversation with Mitch) Mr. Brennan: “Well, when I mentioned your name, his whole face just lit up. He said you were this brave kid, but he had no idea how you got to be that way. He said you had a romantic streak a mile long, and he said he was proud to know you. I'm sorry if that makes you sad, Dawson, but I figure if somebody says that about you, you ought to know it.

All the feels: I lost my own mother just a month and a half before this episode aired. Dawson’s Creek was always something my sister and I shared and we always felt like it was a pretty big part of our lives. Never before though had we related to the characters so much. Holding each other while watching this one will always be a bitter-sweet memory for me.

Runner up: 6x24 “...Must Come to an End”
 – The death of Jen Lindley – please never again make me watch that video she made for her daughter. “Hi Amy, it's mom. Well, by the time you see this, I won't be here anymore, and I know how much that sucks, for both of us. So seeing as how I won't be around to thoroughly annoy you, I thought I would give you a little list of the things that I wish for you.”

*Grey’s Anatomy 2x27 “Losing My Religion”
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Reason for tears: Izzy risks her career and everyone else’s to get Denny a new heart only to have it give out on him after she leaves to get dressed for the hospital prom.

Quote: Izzie: "An hour ago he was proposing. And now... and now he's going to the morgue. Isn't that ridiculous? Isn't it the most ridiculous piece of crap you've ever... " (starts sobbing. Alex picks her up, cradling her, and sits down on a chair holding and rocking her while she sobs).

All the feels: If she hadn’t been so damn happy when she left to go get dressed, if she hadn’t crawled into bed with him after he died, if Alex wouldn’t have cradled her the way that he did to get her to let him go, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad. Except that it was SO BAD.

Runner Up: 6x24 “Death and All His Friends” 
– Nearly everyone at Seattle Grace is shot by the husband of a dead patient – please never again make me see Christina’s tears as she is forced at gun point to stop performing surgery on Derek. It only makes me think of “She’s my person.”

* The O.C. 4x01 “The Avengers”

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Reason for tears: Months after Marissa was killed in a car “accident” the residents of Newport are still reeling from her loss.

Quote: Ryan: “Face it. I always bring troubles. Trey, Volchok. You and your family... You're better off without me.

All the feels: Because Ryan Atwood chooses to cage fight instead of cry about losing the love of his life, I feel like I must cry extra for him. He has shunned anything resembling love and comfort as some kind of punishment he doesn’t deserve. Which makes the unveiling of his Origin Story that much more heart crushing. Comic books are not supposed to make people cry. SETH! 

Runner up: 1x27 “The Ties That Bind” 
– Everyone mourns when Ryan feels he must leave Newport – please never again make me witness Kirsten Cohen breaking down as she folds up Ryan’s abandoned bed clothes. Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” serenades everyone’s pain perfectly.

*Buffy The Vampire Slayer 5x15 “The Body”
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Reason for tears: In the land of all things supernatural, Buffy loses her mother to natural causes.

Quote: Anya: “But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens, how we go through this. I mean - I knew her, and then she's... there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And... and Xander's crying and not talking, and... and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, "Well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch - ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever," and no one will explain to me why.

All the feels: Again, because I have lost my own mother, this episode is especially hard. But Joss Whedon did something with this episode that no one else has tried before or since for a major character death: silence. There was no score or soundtrack or song. Just the normal sounds of the opening and closing of doors, of birds chirping outside. Which just made it all so much more REAL. Because when you lose someone in real life, there is no orchestra standing behind you to score your emotional breakdown. There is just loss.

Runner up: 2x22 “Becoming, Part 2” 
– Buffy is forced to send Angel to hell in order to save the world just as he gets his soul back – “Close your eyes.” Please never again make me listen to "Full of Grace" by Sarah McLachlan.

*Castle 3x24 “Knockout”

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Reason for tears: Beckett learns more about the murder of her mother and then is gunned down at a friend’s funeral.

Quote: Castle: (After gunshot) “Kate! No Kate... Ssh. Kate please. Stay with me Kate. Don't leave me, please. Stay with me okay? Kate... I love you. I love you, Kate.

All the feels: We all knew Beckett wouldn’t actually die. Obviously. But watching her get shot and Castle’s subsequent reaction proved to be more than my emotions could handle. His confession of love when it may have been too late didn’t help much either.

Runner up: 4x01 “Rise” 
– Beckett fights for her life after being shot – please never again make me suffer through Castle screaming at Beckett out of love and anger when she never called him post recovery.

*Friday Night Lights 4x13 “Thanksgiving”

Reason for tears: After getting caught running an illegal chop-shop Tim Riggins takes all of the blame so that his brother Billy can care for his new family.

Quote: Tim: “You are my brother. You are all that I have. You have a family now. You are a father. You need to be one. This is my decision. This is what I have decided. This is what’s gonna happen. You’re my brother.”

All the feels: Tim messed up a lot. But most of the time he just got crapped on. Time and again. And then he took all of the blame when the law came down just so that his brother could be a father in a way that their father never was. He gave up everything for family. And while he never had lofty goals, I doubt being in prison a year after his senior state championship game was ever on his list. It’s probably easier to choose FNL episodes that DIDN’T make me cry but this one will always bring the rain.

Runner up: 4x05 “The Son” 
– Matt loses his dad – please never again, I just cannot. “I gotta get up there in front of everybody and say good stuff about this man. And all I really want to say is 'Hear lies Henry Saracen, his mother annoyed him, his wife couldn't stand him and he didn't want to be a dad so he took off to be in the army because that's the only way he could come up with to get out of here and ditch all your responsibilities and no one could call you out on it and that worked out great so you just decided to enlist four more times and that ended up getting you killed and now here you are. And all you left behind is a mother with dementia, a divorced wife and a son that delivers pizza. Thank you for coming 100 people I do not know.' You know what the worst part is? Even if I did get up and say all that I don't even know if I'm saying it to him because I don't know what's in that damn box. It's a closed casket-- might be someone else, someone funnier or a bunch of rocks. I understand Matt. I really do.

*Angel 5x15 “A Hole in the World”

Reason for tears: Moments into realizing true love with Wesley, Fred loses her battle with a supernatural virus after opening an ancient sarcophagus.

Quote: Fred: “I need you to talk to my parents. They have to know I wasn't scared. That it was quick, that I wasn't scared. Oh God!” Wesley: “I need you to fight, you don't have to talk, just concentrate on fighting. Just hold on.” Fred: “I'm not scared. I'm not scared. I'm not scared. Please. Wesley. Why can't I stay?

All the feels: Wesley loved Fred from the moment he saw her. And isn’t it Joss’ way to take her away from him just as he gets her. And Fred, always so brave. Of course, it gets worse for Wes and the rest of Angel’s inner circle when Fred’s body becomes the God Illyria who couldn’t be more different from Fred. Too bad Illyria insists on wearing Fred's face. You know it’s bad when even Spike is suffering. “There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known.

Runner up: 5x12 “You’re Welcome” 
– Cordelia comes out of her coma to give Angel both a proper goodbye and what he needs to win – “Don't make it hard, Angel. I'm just on a different road...and this is my off-ramp. The Powers That Be owed me one, and I didn't waste it. I got my guy back on track.” Please never again make me see his face when he realizes that she has been dead the entire time. 

*The Vampire Diaries 2x21 “The Sun Also Rises”

Reason for tears: Despite everyone’s hard work to keep death at bay, Aunt Jenna is turned and then murdered by Klaus.

Quote: Elena: “Just turn it off. Jenna turn it off. You won’t be scared anymore.”

All the feels: TVD has never shied away from killing major characters. And it has always hurt. But none quite like this one. Even though a lot of us made fun of Jenna for being a mostly drunk door opener, her loss had us all hitting rock bottom. In order to really feel the pain we were forced to face those who loved her most. Jeremy, Elena and Alaric. And all of their tears came together to create a Molotov cocktail of sorrow no one was prepared to swallow. Making the cocktail stronger is “Skinny Love” by Birdy. OUCH.

Runner up: 2x06 “Plan B”
 – Elena gives up her relationship with Stefan to keep her family safe - please never again make me watch Paul Wesley cry like that. When he cries like that all of my unicorns stop eating and nearly die. It’s gut wrenching. (Made worse/better listening to “Wires” by Athlete).

*Bones 5x16 “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole”

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Reason for tears: After revisiting their first case, Booth gives his heart to Brennan only to have it refused.

Quote: Booth: “Well then let's go for a different outcome here, all right? Let's just, hear me out alright? You know when you talk to older couples who, have been in love for thirty or forty or fifty years alright? It's always the guy who says ‘I knew.’ ... I knew, right from the beginning.” Brennan: “Your evidence is anecdotal.” Booth: “I'm that guy. Bones, I'm that guy, I know.” Brennan: (crying) I- I am not a gambler. I'm a scientist. I can't change. I don't know how ... I don't know how.

All the feels: After overcoming years of a “we’re just partners” partnership and his own insecurities, Booth finally lets Bones know just how much he loves her and is immediately shot down because Bones doesn’t know how to feel her feelings. And it is not for her own sake that she stays away, but for his. Because she doesn’t feel that she has the love to give him for the 30-40-50 years he wants and deserves.

Runner up: 6x22 “The Hole in the Heart” 
– Intern Vincent Nigel-Murray falls victim to a hunted sniper – please never again make me watch Brennan tell him he will be ok.

*Supernatural 5x22 “Swan Song”
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Reason for tears: Knowing that there is no other option, Sam gives himself up to Satan in order to help Dean stop the Apocalypse.

Quote: Dean: “Sam. Sammy. It’s ok. I’m here. I’m not gonna leave you." Sam: “It’s ok Dean. It’s gonna be ok. I got it.”

All the feels: It’s hard for me to even talk about this one. Dean finally lets Sam grow up. But letting Sam grow up means letting him go. Dean has to trust Sam to take on Satan himself. It’s so hard to watch Dean take that brutal beating before Sam gets the reins back, but Sam wins. Except that when Sam wins, the Winchester brothers who have spent the last 5 years together, saving people, hunting things, lose. Because they lose each other.

“So what's it all add up to? It's hard to say. But me, I'd say this was a test... for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against, Good, Evil, angels, devils, Destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well... isn't that kinda the whole point? No doubt--endings are hard. But then again... nothing ever really ends, does it?”

Runner up: 2x22 “All Hell Breaks Loose: Part II” 
– Dean sells his soul to bring Sam back from the dead – There isn’t much in this world more powerful than one brother trading his life for another. Please never again make me watch Dean take the blame for losing Sam. “It's like I had one job. I had one job, and I screwed it up. I blew it, and for that, I'm sorry. I guess that's what I do. I let down the people I love. Y'know, I let Dad down, and now I guess I'm just supposed to let you down, too. How can I? How am I supposed to live with that? What am I supposed to do? Sammy? What am I supposed to do?”

So how did I do? Did I make you cry? What did I miss? Go ape shit in the comments. After I recover from putting this soul sucking list together I may read some of them! 


  1. You didn't make me cry. I'm sobbing here, big noisy sniffling and all. Buffy, Angel and our boys, Awww. You make me want to go back and sob through these episodes again. But then I would have to spend all my Christmas money on tissues. Thank you for the memories @tmateotb

  2. MarcellineCazz said....I don't watch Grey's, but on everything else Erin you are right on the money. So Sad. Each & Every Episode! It's all part of what makes those shows so damned good. Sniffle

  3. OMG, 'All my unicorns stop eating' I'm sorry, I didn't cry at that - I LOLd! But only cuz I got this mental picture in my head.....
    As far as the shows go, I only watch 3 of them & you hit paydirt, woman. What a bang on job of the episodes for all the feels. Yup. 
    First, let's talk about Denny, because he figures in my next show (the actor that portrays him, JDM). I didn't watch Grey's until season 5 & then, as with the next show, was bored & marathoned all the seasons. I do NOT suggest this. TOO MANY FEELS!!! Unless you WANT to look like a swollen, puffy mess for a week...well then, go nuts. Yes, when Denny died, part of me died too. It ruined me for P.S. I Love You & a little bit for Supernatural. 
    Speaking of which.....another nail on the head. Nothing kills my cold, dead, black heart more than watching Dean or Sammy go to Hell :'(  I'm watching them all again. Do not judge me. I have OCD & no outside life at the moment. Last night was season 3. *SOB*
    And clueless Aunt Jenna...well, once we got over the prerecorded scream from Elena, was heartbreaking to see the only family they had left sacrificed. Also, an interesting turn of events. Yes, the writers DO like to kill of their characters, and maybe it's just MY naivety, but I SO did not see that one coming. 

  4. Angel's "A Hole in the World" is definitely the stand out in my mind. I cry just thinking about it. What an amazingly written episode. I agree with the Bones episodes, too. Dammit, David Boreanaz, why do you make me cry.
    I may have to come up with my own personal list of #cryisodes for my blog - it would include a Boy Meets World episode or two, a Mad About You episode, a few How I Met Your Mother, maybe a Firefly... Fringe... Lost... man, I'm a TV nerd.
    Thanks for the spark! I'll link back to you. I suppose I have to write this now!

  5. If I may (and I know these go in a different direction):
    "My Screw-up"

    "Jurassic Bark"

    "Kenny Dies"