- TV plot twists that aren’t planned ahead of time can feel cheap and leave dedicated viewers feeling unsatisfied.
- Unexpected plot twists can come out of left field and lack a solid foundation, like the ones in Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars.
- Some TV shows introduce plot twists that were not properly hinted at or developed, leaving viewers questioning if they were planned in advance.
Plot twists can make or break TV shows, and the well-executed ones often elevate their series and make them more memorable overall — but there are some massive TV turns that clearly weren’t planned ahead of time. When TV shows include plot twists for the sake of shock value, it can feel cheap to dedicated viewers. This can make such developments memorable for the wrong reasons, landing them among the worst TV plot twists of all time.
Even when they do work out, it’s usually noticeable when TV writers take a turn that’s different from what they initially intended. When the building blocks for a major twist aren’t there, it can feel like it comes out of left field. At best, the twist still works, just without any real foundation to support it. At worst, such a development will be poorly executed and jarring, raising suspicions that it wasn’t planned in advance.
8 TV Plot Twists That Were Planned But Still Feel Like They Weren’t
There are some plot twists that were so unexpected and out of left-field that it left viewers asking if the writers had even planned them.
8 Clarke Killing Bellamy In The 100
The 100 Season 7, Episode 13 – “Blood Giant”
- Devon Bostick , Christopher Larkin , Marie Avgeropoulos , Sachin Sahel , Richard Harmon , Chelsey Reist , Henry Ian Cusick , Bob Morley , Jarod Joseph , Paige Turco , Adina Porter , Ricky Whittle , Eliza Taylor , Isaiah Washington , Lindsey Morgan , Tasya Teles
- Jason Rothenberg , Mallory Kass
- Jason Rothenberg
The 100 spent four full seasons building Bellamy and Clarke’s relationship, with the two growing close to one another as co-leaders and friends. While The 100‘s leads certainly had their differences, they always found their way back to each other. They made huge sacrifices for one another over the show’s run, and they could never fully let go of their friendship, even when it got rocky during the later seasons of The 100. In fact, The 100 season 6 even saw the duo vowing that nothing would come between them again.
This promise was broken when Bellamy betrayed his friends and Clarke killed him. The 100 season 7 made a lot of unpopular choices, but the conclusion to Clarke and Bellamy’s friendship was undoubtedly the worst. Given the emphasis on their relationship throughout the show, it’s hard to imagine this particular twist was planned. More likely, this storyline was prompted by Bob Morley taking time off during season 7 (via TV Guide) and the writers having to work around his absence.
7 Dan Being Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl Season 10, Episode 6 – “New York, I Love You XOXO”
The biggest mystery of Gossip Girl was the identity of the titular internet persona, and the series finale revealed Dan Humphrey to be the character behind all the drama. This certainly came as a surprise, but it didn’t seem like this Gossip Girl twist had much of a foundation. For one, Gossip Girl threw Dan and his family under the bus multiple times over the show’s run. It’s unclear why Dan would do such a thing to his loved ones. Even if he felt it protected his secret, he could have been less aggressive about it — assuming this twist was planned from the beginning.
In an interview with Vulture, writer and executive producer Joshua Safran confirmed that Gossip Girl wasn’t always Dan, admitting there were initially plans to make Serena’s brother the mysterious blogger. Unfortunately, word got out via the New York Post, and plans changed. There were still clues that it could be Dan, but there were just as many developments to suggest it wasn’t.
6 Spencer Having An Evil Twin In Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars Season 7, Episode 20 – “Til DeAth Do Us PArt”
Pretty Little Liars had no shortage of outrageous plot twists over its seven-season run, but the revelation that Spencer’s evil British twin was the final outing’s Big Bad took things a tad too far. No such storyline appeared in the Pretty Little Liars books, though Allison had a twin, which is likely where the idea stemmed from. And actor Troian Bellisario even told Elle that this twist was devised somewhere around Pretty Little Liars season 5, when series was originally supposed to end. Instead, it continued towards this conclusion, which was never properly hinted at during the early outings.
In addition to coming out of nowhere, the Spencer’s twin twist didn’t properly honor the series’ original premise. Although Pretty Little Liars started as a show about Allison and her core group of friends, its main storyline quickly got out of hand. This twist proved just how much, driving home how far off the rails the teen drama had gone.
5 Clifford Blossom Killing His Son In Riverdale
Riverdale Season 1, Episode 12 – “Anatomy Of A Murder”
- Camila Mendes , Marisol Nichols , Ashleigh Murray , Cole Sprouse , Ross Butler , Madelaine Petsch , K.J. Apa , Luke Perry , Lili Reinhart , casey cott
The central mystery of Riverdale season 1 revolved around who killed Jason Blossom, and the revelation that his own father did it packed a punch during the finale. However, this twist wasn’t predictable prior to its reveal, as it wasn’t hinted at throughout season 1. There were no early clues that pointed to Clifford Blossom as the killer, and Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa even admitted this wasn’t always the plan during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. In fact, the creators pinpointed three potential killers, and they chose Clifford in the middle of season 1.
Unfortunately, this shone through during Riverdale season 1, as the mystery series wasn’t one that viewers could piece together as the episodes continued. Clifford’s motive for killing Jason was also iffy, leaving viewers to wonder if there was no other way he could have protected his empire. Sadly, this trend of poorly executed mysteries continued throughout Riverdale‘s seven seasons.
4 Chuck Being God In Supernatural
Supernatural Season 11, Episode 20 – “Don’t Call Me Shurley”
- Jensen Ackles , Misha Collins , Jim Beaver , Jared Padalecki , Katie Cassidy , Lauren Cohan , Mark A. Sheppard , Mark Pellegrino , Alexander Calvert
- Eric Kripke , Andrew Dabb , Robert Berens
- Eric Kripke
Supernatural wasn’t intended to continue for 15 seasons, so arguably, anything beyond season 5 wasn’t planned from the very beginning. But the twist that Chuck was God was surprising, even if season 5 subtly hinted that he was more than he seemed. Still, the early seasons of Supernatural regarded Chuck as a prophet. His character changed completely later on, and seemingly, so did the story centered on him. While Chuck becoming God wasn’t a negative development, it wasn’t one that seemed planned from his first time on-screen.
3 The Smoke Monster Being The Man In Black In Lost
Lost Season 6, Episode 1 – “LA X”
- Evangeline Lilly , Naveen Andrews , Henry Ian Cusick , Daniel Dae Kim , Harold Perrineau , Dominic Monaghan , Emilie de Ravin , Jorge Garcia , Josh Holloway , Michael Emerson , Terry O’Quinn , Matthew Fox , Ken Leung , Elizabeth Mitchell , Yunjin Kim
- Damon Lindelof , Carlton Cuse
Lost had far too many mysteries to solve over its run, and although the question of the Smoke Monster was eventually addressed, the show’s explanation didn’t quite match how the monster was portrayed in earlier seasons. Season 6 revealed that the Man in Black and the Smoke Monster were one and the same. However, as Reddit confirms, many viewers felt that this wasn’t originally the plan for the strange entity. As the Smoke Monster acted differently during the earlier and later installments, it’s easy to see why this theory holds weight.
During an interview, co-executive producer David Fury admitted that there wasn’t a clear-cut plan for the Smoke Monster when it was first introduced (via Lostopedia). The creators made decisions as the show continued, suggesting that the consensus about the Smoke Monster is. Even though the Man in Black twist went over well with some fans, Lost could just as easily have revealed the Smoke Monster to be something else.
2 Sara Coming Back From The Dead In Prison Break
Prison Break Season 4, Episode 1 – “Scylla”
- Curtis Lum , Sarah Wayne Callies , Marina Benedict , Amin El Gamal , Wentworth Miller , Steve Mouzakis , Dominic Purcell , Bobby Naderi , Christian Michael Cooper
- Paul Scheuring , Nick Santora
- Paul Scheuring
Sara Tancredi was a major presence throughout Prison Break, but she was absent for season 3 — and the show went so far as to kill the character via beheading off-screen. This seemed like the end of Sara’s storyline, but the character miraculously returned from the dead in Prison Break season 4. As for why Sara wasn’t in Prison Break season 3, it was seemingly due to contract negotiation issues with Sarah Wayne Callies. As there was uncertainty about the actor returning, the death twist and subsequent retcon were almost certainly not planned ahead of time.
1 Luke Having A Daughter In Gilmore Girls
Gilmore Girls Season 6, Episode 9 – “The Prodigal Daughter Returns”
- Lauren Graham , Scott Patterson , Sean Gunn , Keiko Agena , Matt Czuchry , Alexis Bledel , Yanic Truesdale , Kelly Bishop , Melissa McCarthy , Edward Herrmann , Liza Weil , Jared Padalecki , Milo Ventimiglia
- Amy Sherman-Palladino
While the twist of Luke having a daughter in Gilmore Girls wasn’t quite as outrageous as some other TV reveals, it didn’t seem like the writers planned it in advance — and if they did, it certainly wasn’t hinted at prior to season 6. Unfortunately, April’s introduction seemed like a means of injecting more drama into Luke and Lorelai’s relationship, as their passion had gone a bit stale after they left the “will they, won’t they” stage. The arrival of Luke’s daughter wasn’t built up to, nor was her story well executed. In fact, the April drama was regarded as one of Gilmore Girls’ worst storylines.