10 of the most shocking moments from popular TV shows this year

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  • Nick Brewer
    English rapper
  • Kate Winslet
    Kate Winslet
    English actress
Characters from Squid Games, You, and Love Life.
From sudden deaths to unexpected relationships, there were some shocking television moments in 2021.Noh Juhan/Netflix; John P. Fleenor/Netflix; Sarah Shatz/HBO Max
  • 2021 ushered in popular shows with mind-blowing twists, shocking deaths, and unforeseen drama.

  • "You" and "Mare of Easttown" took bloody turns that shook viewers to their cores.

  • Warning: Spoilers ahead for popular shows like "You," "Ted Lasso," "WandaVision" and more.

  • Editor's note: This post mentions suicide.

Il-nam's confession on Netflix's "Squid Game" left viewers reeling.

Squid Game S1 Production still of Oh Young-soo
Oh Yeong-su as Player 001, Il-nam.Noh Juhan/Netflix

On the Korean drama "Squid Game," down-on-his-luck Seong Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-jae) is invited to play in a series of increasingly deadly children's games for a life-changing jackpot.

On the finale, Gi-Hun wrestles with the guilt of being the lone survivor and refuses to touch his prize money. But after receiving a mysterious invitation, Gi-Hun finds his friend and "gganbu" Oh Il-nam (Oh Yeong-su) dying in a hospital bed.

Il-nam reveals that he created the games to keep him and his ultra-wealthy partners entertained. When he was given a terminal diagnosis, he decided to play in the games as Player 001 and relive his childhood.

On Il-nam's final scene, he wagers with Gi-Hun whether anyone will save the homeless man dying on the street corner. But as Gi-Hun wins the bet, he turns to see that Il-nam has already died.

On Netflix's "Clickbait," Nick's coworker stole his identity.

CLICKBAIT (L to R) ADRIAN GRENIER as NICK BREWER in episode 106 of CLICKBAIT Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021
Adrian Grenier as Nick Brewer.Netflix

On the thriller "Clickbait," a family races against time to save Nick Brewer (Adrian Grenier) after a hostage video of him holding a sign that says "I abuse women" and "at 5 million views I die" goes viral.

Nick is killed early on, but the twists keep coming. As detectives, journalists, and family members dig into Nick's past, it seems more and more likely that he wasn't the innocent man everyone assumed.

But on the season finale, it's revealed that Nick's 60-year-old colleague Dawn (Becca Lish) stole Nick's private photos and computer passwords to catfish countless women online.

Dawn's obsession with catfishing eventually led to Sarah's (Taylor Ferguson) death by suicide and put her brother Simon (Daniel Henshall) on a path for revenge. Although Simon took Nick hostage, it was Dawn who first set up Nick to be murdered by stealing his identity and preying on women online.

Detective Zabel's sudden death came mid-season on HBO's "Mare of Easttown."

evan peters kate winslet
Evan Peters and Kate Winslet on "Mare of Easttown."Michele K. Short/HBO

On "Mare of Easttown," Pennsylvania detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) investigates the tragic death of teen mom Erin McMenamin (Cailee Spaeny).

The murder case connects her with Colin Zabel (Evan Peters), a young county detective with promise. Mare and Zabel grow close throughout the season and even share a kiss.

On the fifth episode, a lead on a suspect takes them to the house of kidnapper Wayne Potts. During a tense conversation, the two kidnapped girls — Katie and Missy — bang on a pipe to alert the detectives and Potts suddenly shoots Zabel in the head.

In the end, Mare is able to eventually retrieve Zabel's gun and kill Potts, but her partner is already gone.

The mysterious love interest on Apple TV's "Ted Lasso" second season was hard to predict.

Hannah Waddingham on season one of "Ted Lasso."
Hannah Waddingham as Rebecca Welton on "Ted Lasso."Apple TV+

On "Ted Lasso," a sweet-hearted Kansas coach (Jason Sudeikis) trades American soccer for English football when he moves across the pond to work wonders on the failing AFC Richmond team.

On the second season, team owner Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) looks for a fresh start in her love life when she downloads the dating app Bantr, which conceals users' identities until they're ready to meet.

After weeks of flirting, Keeley (Juno Temple) encourages Rebecca to go on a date with her mystery man.

When she arrives at the restaurant, she quickly realizes that her anonymous match is none other than footballer Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh).

When the initial shock wears off, Sam and Rebecca try to make things work throughout the remainder of the season.

A surprise pregnancy caught Marcus off-guard on HBO's "Love Life."

William Jackson Harper and Leslie Bibb on "Love Life."
William Jackson Harper and Leslie Bibb on "Love Life."Sarah Shatz/HBO Max

On the second season of "Love Life," Marcus Watkins (William Jackson Harper) struggles to find lasting love after his marriage implodes.

Halfway through the show, Marcus stops nursing a seemingly unrequited crush on Mia (Jessica Williams) and tries to enjoy dating without strings attached, which means connecting with single mom Becca (Leslie Bibb).

At first, Marcus enjoys the late-night hotel trysts and his first venture with a threesome, but at the end of episode six Becca drops a bomb — she's pregnant with his baby.

The reveal is a punch in the gut to Marcus, who finally felt like he was getting his life together. However, it forces him to gain a newfound perspective.

The coffin reveal was a game-changer on HBO's "White Lotus."

Natasha Rothwell, Murray Bartlett
Natasha Rothwell and Murray Bartlett on "White Lotus."Mario Perez/HBO

"White Lotus" follows an elite group of vacationers as they stay at a five-star resort in Maui. Their ridiculous standards and interpersonal drama test the patience of the staff, including hotel manager Armond (Murray Bartlett).

On the very first scene of the show, a coffin is loaded onto an airplane, alluding to a future death and adding a sense of dread to the dark comedy.

The internet was rife with coffin theories about everyone from Rachel Patton (Alexandra Daddario) to Mark Mossbacher (Steve Zahn).

But in the end, it was Armond who was killed on the season finale after he became heavily intoxicated and broke into Shane's (Jake Lacy) room. After Armond pooped in his suitcase, Shane mistook him for a thief and stabbed him with a pineapple knife.

Whether viewers loved or hated the finale, it will definitely go down as one of the more bizarre deaths on television history.

The reveal that Jeanette heard Kate screaming for help on Freeform's "Cruel Summer" was bone-chilling.

Cruel Summer CHIARA AURELIA, SARAH DREW
Sarah Drew and Chiara Aurelia on "Cruel Summer."Freeform/Bill Matlock

"Cruel Summer" centers on high schoolers Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) and Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) during three turbulent summers in 1995, 1996, and 1997.

Across the three time jumps, it's revealed that Kate was kidnapped by her teacher and held captive for months on end. Upon her rescue, Kate tells the media that Jeanette saw her and did nothing to help.

Throughout the show, Jeanette maintains her innocence and even convinces Kate in the end that she never saw her in the house.

But on the season finale, viewers see Jeanette wander through the house in 1996 and hear Kate plead for help, only to leave her locked in the basement with a smile on her face.

Love and Joe both double-crossed each other on the season-three finale of Netflix's "You."

Love and Joe standing outside of the glass box in the basement of the bakery on season 3 of "You"
Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley on "You."John P. Fleenor/Netflix

On "You," Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) finds himself constantly drawn to new women and his obsessions usually end in blood.

Joe seemed to meet his perfect match in Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), who has a similar penchant for killing, but he can't help but have wandering eyes when they move to the suburbs.

Throughout the third season, Joe and Love try to make their marriage work for their son. In the end, they both double-cross each other over one last meal. To test Joe's loyalty, Love poisons the hilt of a knife with aconite so that it will leave him temporarily paralyzed.

But before Love can kill him, Joe turns on her and injects her with a heavier dose of the poison, revealing that he suspected her plan and gave himself an antidote before dinner.

After chopping off two toes, staging a crime scene, and setting their house on fire, Joe leaves Love behind in the rubble.

It was Agatha all along on Disney+'s "WandaVision."

agatha wandavision 108
Kathryn Hahn on "WandaVision."Marvel Studios

On "WandaVision," Marvel superhero Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) recovered from the events of "Avengers: Endgame" (2019) and lives in a fantastical suburbia with Vision (Paul Bettany).

As characters awaken in a new television era each episode, Marvel kept viewers guessing. From Easter eggs, missing dogs, and mysteriously reanimated dead brothers, everyone had a different theory for what was unfolding.

But on episode seven, Wanda's loyal neighbor Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) confessed that she is an ancient witch named Agatha Harkness.

The villain reveal was even accompanied by a fun, upbeat song that explained it was "Agatha All Along" who manipulated Wanda so that she could ultimately consume her magic.

The rooftop murder on Hulu's "Only Murders in the Building" set off the show's central chain of events.

Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin in "Only Murders in the Building."
Selena Gomez, Martin Short, and Steve Martin on "Only Murders in the Building."Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

On the comedic mystery series "Only Murders in the Building," three neighbors bond over their shared love of true crime after a murder takes place in their apartment building.

Throughout the show, Charles-Haden Savage (Steve Martin), Oliver Putnam (Martin Short), and Mabel Mora (Selena Gomez) attempt to piece together who killed fellow tenant Tim Kono (Julian Cihi).

Unbeknownst to her older neighbors, Mabel actually grew up with Tim and believes his death is connected to the murder of her friend Zoe (Olivia Reis), who was pushed off the roof 10 years before the show takes place.

Although Mabel's friend Oscar (Aaron Dominguez) was convicted for Zoe's death, a big twist on episode seven reveals that their Arconia neighbor Theo Dimas (James Caverly) accidentally pushed Zoe off the rooftop on that fateful night, and Tim was threatened into silence for watching it happen.

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