“Beware the Ides of March” was the Roman version of a spoilery TV promo. Caesar knew to tune in at 9/8c with his tissues in hand, but he didn’t know why he’d need them, so he just walked around sad and scared all the time.
In his memory, here’s a list of my favorite TV deaths. To clarify, I’m talking actual, never-coming-back deaths, as opposed to the “technically dead for a while” thing, which 83% of TV characters have been at one time or another. I also limited myself to one death per show, to keep this from being The J.J. Abrams Compendium of Sadness.
Obviously, in the spirit of this Roman holiday, the whole list is a spoiler.
Vincent Nigel-Murray, Bones:
Oh, tiny British squintern, with your endless facts and your glorious accent, we liked having you here. We liked your enthusiasm and your curiosity and your cleverness with ribbons. We liked your tales of Jeopardy-induced debauchery. We liked your loveliness.
But your death led directly to 4:47 am and rampant B&B nakedness. So we’re conflicted. We’re not yelling “hallelujah” or anything, but we might kind of want to.
Jack Bristow, Alias:
I was so upset about this one for the longest time. Jack is my FAVORITE. Why the heck wasn’t he wearing a vest?! I will never forgive JJ for not putting him in a vest. But I also accept that there is literally no better way for Jack Bristow to die than in a badass blaze of glory, protecting his daughter from the man who caused her so much pain. Jack wins the battle once and for all. He beats death, beats Sloane, and beats Rambaldi, all in one flick of his finger. He’s so sure of himself (and of the dynamite that he apparently just has on him at all times).
His smirk, you guys. HIS SMIRK.
Marvin Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother:
Someone bring Jason Segel his Feelings Emmy, stat. When he calls his dad to share good news, only to see his wife pull up in a taxi with the worst news of his life, I lose it every time. He and Alyson Hannigan (who eats Feelings Emmys for breakfast) knock this scene out of the park, and Segel’s improvised last line—“I’m not ready for this”—is just so absolutely in line with what I think everyone would feel in that situation. Nobody’s ready for this.
Denny Duquette, Grey’s Anatomy:
Shut your mouths, people. Before ghost Denny, there was real Denny, and real Denny’s memory doesn’t deserve to be tainted by ghost Denny’s nonsense. The guy was cute! And sweet! And he and Izzie totally loved each other! Try not to be at least a little bit emotionally ruined at the sight of Izzie Stevens in her prom dress, cradling her new fiancé.
Also, yeah, I watched a couple seasons of Grey’s. Which is saying a lot, because I don’t do blood.
Jenny Calendar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Feel free to judge me harshly for this, because I’m only just now working my way through the series, and I haven’t seen “The Body” yet. I mean, don’t get me wrong—I ALREADY FEEL THINGS about “The Body” and would love to include it on the basis of my preemptive sadness, but that feels kind of like cheating. So for now, we’ll go with Jenny Calendar, whose death is (a) weirdly aesthetically beautiful, framed in the window like that, and (b) 27 kinds of devastating. By killing the woman who could restore his soul, Angel loses the chance to ever REALLY be restored. Not just literally, but figuratively. Because even once he gets it back, we’ll always have to live with that one time when he was unbelievably terrifying. Plus, Giles is just so sad!
Charlie Pace, LOST:
This one will pretty much haunt me for the rest of my life. I try not to think about Charlie Pace too much, because that way lies debilitating sadness, but “NOT PENNY’S BOAT” just will not let me go. It might as well be written on my own hand, reminding me of the man who marched to his own death to save his friends, thought for one second that he might get to live after all, and then acted quickly to save Desmond’s life—not to mention send him a warning. That’s a whole lot of lives you saved there, Charlie.
Except mine. Mine is ruined forever, because I’ll never forget.
So what TV deaths have ruined you for life?