TV

50 best season finales in TV history

Written by:
September 30, 2020
Television 360

50 best season finales in TV history

When it comes to television, wrapping up complex seasons—and entire shows, in the case of series finales—in a way that does justice to their complex characters and lengthy storylines can be difficult to accomplish.

This is especially true when the final episode of a season hinges on a major reveal, like Kendall Roy betraying his father at the end of “Succession” season two; ends on a cliffhanger, such as the season four finale of “Supernatural”; or the ultimate fate of an iconic protagonist—think Walter White in the “Breaking Bad” series finale.

When done well, the final episode of a season of television can be a rewarding climax that offers a cathartic end to a gripping installment in a favorite TV show. Perhaps even more importantly, the good or bad buzz surrounding finales can ultimately convince potential viewers to begin or skip a television series that is dominating the current pop culture conversation. The series finale of “Game of Thrones” is a negative example of this. But how can audiences determine which finales, and by extension, shows, are most worth their time?

To find the best TV finales, Stacker compiled data on every TV finale with more than 750 votes on IMDb, then ranked them according to IMDb user score. Ties were broken by the number of votes, and miniseries and documentary series were not included. However, midseason premieres that were followed by large gaps in their air date, such as “Mad Men” season seven, were included.

This data, compiled by Stacker on Sept. 15, 2020, includes 50 episodes from 35 different television shows. So sit back, grab a refreshment and some popcorn, and read on to see if your favorite season ending made the list. Beginning at #50 and counting down to #1, here are the best TV finales of all time.

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1 / 50
ABC Studios

#50. Daredevil - A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen

- IMDb user rating: 9.3
- IMDb user votes: 7,388
- Season 2, Episode 13
- Air date: March 18, 2016
- Director: Peter Hoar

The season two finale of this Marvel Netflix series follows Matt Murdock/Daredevil, played by Charlie Cox, as he and anti-heroine Elektra Natchios, take on a villainous ancient ninja clan known as the Hand. The organization has kidnapped 20 people who Daredevil previously saved or brought to justice in an attempt to lure him to them, which results in a tragic season ending for Elektra. This episode also marks the end of Foggy Nelson and Matt’s law firm, as the protagonist makes the decision to work as Daredevil full time.

2 / 50
CBS Television Studios

#49. The Originals - The Feast of All Sinners

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 1,062
- Season 4, Episode 13
- Air date: June 23, 2017
- Director: Bethany Rooney

In the season four finale of “The Originals,” the vampiric Mikaelson family are forced to confront The Hollow, an all-powerful entity that threatens the life of Hope, the infant daughter of Klaus Mikaelson, played by Joseph Morgan. Their ally Vincent comes up with a plan to stop The Hollow that involves splitting her into four parts and placing each part of her soul into a vampire—in this case, Mikaelson family members Kol, Klaus, Rebecca, and Elijah. However, this forces the siblings to live apart from one another forever, a cliffhanger that carries into season five.

3 / 50
David Hollander Productions

#48. Ray Donovan - Exsuscito

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 1,275
- Season 3, Episode 12
- Air date: Sept. 27, 2015
- Director: David Hollander

At the end of “Ray Donovan” season three, Ray, a “fixer” who makes celebrities’ problems disappear and played by Liev Schreiber, discovers that his teenage daughter Bridget is being groomed by her high school teacher Mr. Donellen. Ray retaliates by beating him, which prompts Bridget to run away. At the same time, the Minassian crime family punishes Ray’s father, Mickey, played by Jon Voight, for betraying them.

4 / 50
Directors Guild of Canada: Ontario

#47. Shadowhunters - Beside Still Water

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 2,098
- Season 2, Episode 20
- Air date: Aug. 14, 2017
- Director: Matthew Hastings (as Matt Hastings)

In “Beside Still Water,” demon-hunting Shadowhunters Jace, played by Dominic Sherwood, and Clary, played by Katherine McNamara, are tasked with stopping series antagonist Valentine, played by Alan Van Sprang, from summoning the archangel Raziel, the creator and patron of Shadowhunters. Valentine hopes to then control Raziel and compel him to create a new race of Shadowhunters and violently replace his current enemies.

5 / 50
ABC Studios

#46. Once Upon a Time - There’s No Place Like Home

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 2,324
- Season 3, Episode 22
- Air date: May 11, 2014
- Director: Ralph Hemecker

The season three finale of “Once Upon a Time” follows Emma, played by Jennifer Morrison, and Hook, played by Colin O’Donoghue, as they are pulled into the evil sorceress Zelena’s time portal and are trapped in the magical Enchanted Forest of the past. While navigating back to the present, the pair must be careful not to alter anything around them, or they could permanently affect their loved one’s lives. Notably, this episode introduces the character of Elsa into the show.

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6 / 50
Berlanti Productions

#45. Arrow - Fadeout

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 2,532
- Season 8, Episode 10
- Air date: Jan. 28, 2020
- Director: James Bamford

“Fadeout,” the series finale of “Arrow,” unfolds in two different timelines. In one, Oliver Queen/Arrow, played by Stephen Amell, apprehends a human trafficker in 2012. In another timeline set in the present, the remaining members of Team Arrow rescue Oliver’s son William from the same trafficker.

7 / 50
3 Arts Entertainment

#44. Silicon Valley - Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 3,211
- Season 1, Episode 8
- Air date: June 1, 2014
- Director: Mike Judge

At the end of “Silicon Valley” season one, programmer Richard Hendrick, played by Thomas Middleditch, and his startup, Pied Piper, scramble to create a product to present to investors after their competitor copies Pied Piper’s cloud storage technology at the last minute. The episode garnered a nomination for outstanding writing for a comedy series at the 66th Emmy Awards.

8 / 50
Chase Films

#43. The Sopranos - Funhouse

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 3,823
- Season 2, Episode 13
- Air date: April 9, 2000
- Director: John Patterson

In “Funhouse,” James Gandolfini’s mob man character, Tony Soprano, makes the complicated decision to kill Salvatore Bonpensiero (Big P.), played by Vincent Pastore, after realizing that his close childhood friend is a double agent for the government. The episode was nominated for an Emmy in the category of outstanding writing for a drama series.

9 / 50
Mutant Enemy

#42. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - S.O.S.: Part 2

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 3,990
- Season 2, Episode 22
- Air date: May 12, 2015
- Director: Billy Gierhart

In the second half of the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” season two finale, Phil Coulson and his team fight to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Skye back after a race of altered, superhuman people called the Inhumans take her prisoner. The Inhumans plan to use terrigen crystals in order to suddenly reveal all the Inhumans on Earth, and kill all ordinary humans around them.

10 / 50
Warner Bros. Television

#41. Supernatural - Lucifer Rising

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 4,341
- Season 4, Episode 22
- Air date: May 14, 2009
- Director: Eric Kripke

The apocalypse looms in the season four finale of “Supernatural” as Sam Winchester, played by Jared Padalecki, and Ruby, played by Genevieve Padalecki, rush to stop Lilith, an ancient demon who is preparing to raise the devil Lucifer from the cage in which he’s imprisoned. Meanwhile, the angels Castiel and Zachariah tell Dean Winchester that he will play a key role in stopping Lucifer. The season ends on a cliffhanger, as Lucifer’s arrival is imminent.

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11 / 50
20th Century Fox Television

#40. How I Met Your Mother - The Final Page: Part 2

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 5,565
- Season 8, Episode 12
- Air date: Dec. 17, 2012
- Director: Pamela Fryman

At the end of “How I Met Your Mother” season eight, Barney, played by Neil Patrick Harris, tells his friend Ted that he plans to propose to his current girlfriend, Patrice. Feeling conflicted, Ted invites Barney’s on-again, off-again love interest Robin to the gala where the engagement is to take place in hopes of letting her know what is going on. Meanwhile, their friends Marshall and Lily spend their first romantic night away together after having a baby.

12 / 50
Bad Robot

#39. Lost - Live Together, Die Alone

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 6,249
- Season 2, Episode 23
- Air date: May 24, 2006
- Director: Jack Bender

In the two-part season two finale of “Lost,” a series of flashbacks show how mysterious figure Desmond, played by Henry Ian Cusick, arrived at the show’s central island and came to oversee the hatch, a station that supposedly averts a worldwide catastrophe. Elsewhere, Jack and Sayid rescue young Walt from the other group of people on the island simply known as “The Others.”

13 / 50
ABC Studios

#38. Daredevil - Daredevil

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 9,367
- Season 1, Episode 13
- Air date: April 10, 2015
- Director: Steven S. DeKnight

The season one finale of “Daredevil” follows Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, as he faces off against sadistic crime boss Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, for the last time. After defeating Fisk, the New York media officially begin to call Matt’s vigilante alter ego “Daredevil.”

14 / 50
Home Box Office (HBO)

#37. Game of Thrones - Valar Morghulis

- IMDb user rating: 9.4
- IMDb user votes: 28,736
- Season 2, Episode 10
- Air date: June 3, 2012
- Director: Alan Taylor

In “Valar Morghulis,” Stark heir Robb, played by Richard Madden, defies his arranged marriage to wed his lover, played by Oona Chaplin, while Daenerys, played by Emilia Clarke, rescues her dragons, and Lannister prince Tyrion discovers that his sister Cersei attempted to have him killed. The episode title comes from a “Game of Thrones” code phrase that means “all men must die.”

15 / 50
20th Century Fox Television

#36. M.A.S.H - Abyssinia, Henry

- IMDb user rating: 9.5
- IMDb user votes: 785
- Season 3, Episode 24
- Air date: March 18, 1975
- Director: Larry Gelbart

The season three finale of “M.A.S.H.” created controversy when main character Henry Blake, played by McLean Stevenson, was surprisingly killed when his plane was shot down. At the time, virtually no main characters in American TV comedies had been abruptly killed in a tragic way. After the now-iconic episode aired, creator Larry Gelbart claimed that more than 1,000 people sent letters expressing their disappointment in the ending.

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    16 / 50
    Atlas Entertainment

    #35. 12 Monkeys - Witness

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 984
    - Season 3, Episode 10
    - Air date: May 21, 2017
    - Director: Grant Harvey

    For multiple seasons, the sci-fi time travel drama “12 Monkeys” hinged on the mystery of who was behind the destructive organization “Army of the 12 Monkeys.” This question is revealed in the show’s season three finale, as lead characters Cole, played by Aaron Stanford, and Cassie, played by Amanda Schull, travel back to 1959 and finally learn the identity of the group’s leader—known only as “The Witness.”

    17 / 50
    Marvel Studios

    #34. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - What We’re Fighting For

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 1,494
    - Season 7, Episode 13
    - Air date: Aug. 12, 2020
    - Director: Kevin Tancharoen

    In the series finale of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the agents wage their final battle against the Chronicoms, a semi-robotic alien race that has stranded them in time. The creatures hope to occupy Earth by creating a new reality where S.H.I.E.L.D. never existed.

    18 / 50
    Heald Productions (II)

    #33. Cobra Kai - No Mercy

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 2,343
    - Season 2, Episode 10
    - Air date: April 24, 2019
    - Directors: Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg

    “Cobra Kai,” which takes place 34 years after the events of 1984’s “The Karate Kid,” sees tensions between rival dojos Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, played by Ralph Macchio, finally come to a head. This occurs during a first day of school showdown between two of their pupils, Robby and Miguel. However, they’re forced to temporarily put their rivalry aside when the fight unexpectedly leaves Miguel in critical condition.

    19 / 50
    Lionsgate Television

    #32. Mad Men - Waterloo

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 2,648
    - Season 7, Episode 7
    - Air date: May 25, 2014
    - Director: Matthew Weiner

    The mid-season finale of “Mad Men” season seven spells trouble for advertising giant Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm, who may be fired for breach of contract. Due to his precarious position, his coworker Peggy Olson, played by Elisabeth Moss, is tasked with presenting the firm’s pitch to its client Burger Chef. Meanwhile, the characters prepare to watch the first moon landing.

    20 / 50
    Outerbanks Entertainment

    #31. The Vampire Diaries - The Departed

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 3,068
    - Season 3, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 10, 2012
    - Director: John Behring

    “The Vampire Diaries” made a major change on its season three finale, in which human protagonist Elena, played by Nina Dobrev, is saved by vampire blood and begins to transition into a creature of the night. Before her transformation, Elena reflects upon her life before meeting the Salvatore vampire brothers—Damon, played by Ian Somerhalder, and Stefan, played by Paul Wesley—after losing her parents. During these flashbacks, viewers learn that Elena actually met Damon before Stefan, but he made her forget the encounter.

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    21 / 50
    John Wells Productions

    #30. Shameless - Lazarus

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 3,465
    - Season 4, Episode 12
    - Air date: April 6, 2014
    - Director: Mark Mylod

    In the season four finale of “Shameless,” the misadventures of a dysfunctional Chicago family, the Gallaghers, continue to be explored in “Lazarus.” Fiona, played by Emmy Rossum, gets out of jail and finds a job with the help of her parole officer, while Sheila fights for custody of the five children she has recently adopted. The ending revealed the twist that Fiona’s ex-boyfriend Jimmy, played by Justin Chatwin and whose character was previously thought to be dead, is actually alive.

    22 / 50
    Teakwood Lane Productions

    #29. Homeland - Prisoners of War

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 3,546
    - Season 8, Episode 12
    - Air date: April 26, 2020
    - Director: Lesli Linka Glatter

    Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin played CIA officer Carrie and her mentor Saul for the last time in this series finale episode. As “Homeland” ends, Saul passes his top-secret Russian asset on to Carrie, who has now fled to the country herself. Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson noted that the episode works well because “it stripped away some of the show’s brittle context and compacted itself into a character study.”

    23 / 50
    Home Box Office (HBO)

    #28. The Wire - Final Grades

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 3,547
    - Season 4, Episode 13
    - Air date: Dec. 10, 2006
    - Director: Ernest R. Dickerson (as Ernest Dickerson)

    “Final Grades” marks the end of “The Wire” season four, in which police informant Bubbles, played by Andre Royo, becomes suicidal and enters rehab after confessing his role in his mentee Sherrod’s death. Elsewhere, policeman Lester and his colleagues search for more bodies clustered in vacant Baltimore houses.

    24 / 50
    SutterInk

    #27. Sons of Anarchy - Papa’s Goods

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 5,325
    - Season 7, Episode 13
    - Air date: Dec. 9, 2014
    - Director: Kurt Sutter

    In the “Sons of Anarchy” series finale, outlaw motorcycle club president Jax Teller, played by Charlie Hunnam, ultimately meets his demise when he purposefully crashes into a truck as several cops tail him. By doing so, he effectively ends the family legacy of criminal activity and violence associated with the club in which his father was also passionately involved. “It wasn’t a happy ending for everyone, but it definitely closed things in a way that felt right,” wrote Diana Steenbergen in her episode review for IGN.

    25 / 50
    Anonymous Content

    #26. Mr. Robot - shutdown-r

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 5,404
    - Season 3, Episode 10
    - Air date: Dec. 13, 2017
    - Director: Sam Esmail

    The third season of “Mr. Robot” ends with programmer-turned-hacker Elliot, played by Rami Malek, reversing the 5/9 hack, which a group of hackers created to destroy financial records and destabilize United States financial markets. However, the episode ends with a post-credits scene in which the drug kingpin who Elliot got arrested for abuse arrives at his apartment door after blackmailing his way out of prison.

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    26 / 50
    Television 360

    #25. Game of Thrones - Fire and Blood

    - IMDb user rating: 9.5
    - IMDb user votes: 32,565
    - Season 1, Episode 10
    - Air date: June 19, 2011
    - Director: Alan Taylor

    Much of the “Game of Thrones” season one finale concerns itself with the aftermath of Stark family patriarch Ned’s unexpected beheading in the previous episode. Arya, played by Maisie Williams, escapes from her father’s murderers, the Lannisters, although her sister, Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, is taken prisoner. After losing her husband, son, and army, Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, also hatches her now-iconic dragons.

    27 / 50
    Alloy Entertainment

    #24. The Originals - The Bloody Crown

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 1,516
    - Season 3, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 20, 2016
    - Director: Matthew Hastings (as Matt Hastings)

    During the finale of the third season of “The Originals,” ancient vampire Klaus is put on trial by his adoptive son Marcel, played by Charles Michael Davis, for the centuries of crimes he has committed. At the same time, the Mikaelson family’s compound is overrun by an army of “sireling” vampires that Klaus once created. Things once again end on a cliffhanger, as Klaus is tortured by an all-powerful weapon known as Papa Tunde’s blade.

    28 / 50
    Your Face Goes Here Entertainment

    #23. Banshee - Requiem

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 2,217
    - Season 4, Episode 8
    - Air date: May 20, 2016
    - Director: Ole Christian Madsen (as OC Madsen)

    In the “Banshee” series finale, ex-con Hood, played by Anthony Starr, makes plans to leave the town of Banshee, Pennsylvania, where he has hidden and posed as a sheriff. “Requiem” also revealed that the local mayor’s personal bodyguard, Clay Burton, played by Matthew Bauch, murdered Lucas’ ex-lover Rebecca, played by Lili Simmons.

    29 / 50
    My So-Called Company

    #22. The Originals - From a Cradle to a Grave

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 2,388
    - Season 1, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 13, 2014
    - Director: Matthew Hastings (as Matt Hastings)

    The end of the first season of “The Originals” follows Klaus, played by Joseph Morgan, and Elijah, played by Daniel Gillies, as they search for Hayley, played by Phoebe Tonkin, who is desperate to protect her and Klaus’ unborn baby from the witches who are after her. She is almost murdered immediately after giving birth to her daughter, but then begins turning into a werewolf-vampire hybrid.

    30 / 50
    Mutant Enemy

    #21. Angel - Not Fade Away

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 2,813
    - Season 5, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 19, 2004
    - Director: Jeffrey Bell

    In the series finale of “Angel,” the titular character, played by David Boreanaz, and his crew spend one last day with their loved ones before preparing to fight evil members of the supernatural Circle of the Black Thorn. The episode ends as the army descends upon the main characters, and swords clash as it fades to black. Co-creator Joss Whedon defended this ambiguous ending to TV Guide Online, saying, “The point of the show is that you’re never done; no matter who goes down, the fight goes on.”

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    31 / 50
    Shapiro/West Productions

    #20. Seinfeld - The Opposite

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 3,596
    - Season 5, Episode 21
    - Air date: May 19, 1994
    - Director: Tom Cherones

    In this season five finale, George, played by Jason Alexander, begins to have uncharacteristically good luck—from going on a date with a beautiful woman to landing a job with the New York Yankees—after deciding to do the opposite of what he normally does. Meanwhile, Elaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, gets a raise and is reunited with her boyfriend Jake, played by Marty Rackham. “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David appears in the episode as the voice of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

    32 / 50
    Deedle-Dee Productions

    #19. Parks and Recreation - One Last Ride

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 3,730
    - Season 7, Episode 12
    - Air date: Feb. 24, 2015
    - Director: Michael Schur

    Lead actress Amy Poehler and “Parks and Recreation” co-creator Michael Schur wrote the last episode of the show, which serves as the 12th and 13th episodes of the final season. After many of the main characters decide to leave Pawnee, Indiana, the episode flashes forward to several points in time to show what the characters are up to in the future. Notably, it’s implied that Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, is the president in 2048.

    33 / 50
    Mutant Enemy

    #18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Becoming: Part 2

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 3,909
    - Season 2, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 19, 1998
    - Director: Joss Whedon

    In the second half of the season two finale of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Buffy tries to prevent a trio of vampires from awakening the demon Acathla. During this episode, Buffy’s lover Angel is sucked into a vortex and appears to be gone indefinitely. Christopher Beck’s score for “Becoming” won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1998.

    34 / 50
    Tall Ship Productions

    #17. Outlander - Dragonfly in Amber

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 3,961
    - Season 2, Episode 13
    - Air date: July 9, 2016
    - Director: Philip John

    “Dragonfly in Amber” flashes forward to 1968, where Claire, played by Caitriona Balfe, travels to Scotland with Brianna, played by Sophie Skelton, her 20-year-old daughter with Jaime, played by Sam Heughan. During the trip, Claire finally tells Brianna the truth about her time-traveling experiences, and who her father really is. Back in the 1700s, Jaime prepares for the Battle of Culloden.

    35 / 50
    Chuck Lorre Productions

    #16. The Big Bang Theory - The Stockholm Syndrome

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 6,841
    - Season 12, Episode 24
    - Air date: May 16, 2019
    - Director: Mark Cendrowski

    The final episode of “The Big Bang Theory” follows the gang as it flies to Sweden so that Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons, and Amy, played by Mayim Bialik, can receive their Nobel prizes. Penny, played by Kaley Cuoco, also reveals that she and Leonard, played by Johnny Galecki, are expecting a child, and Raj, played by Kunal Nayyar, gets the chance to meet actress Sarah Michelle Gellar.

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    36 / 50
    The Colleton Company

    #15. Dexter - Born Free

    - IMDb user rating: 9.6
    - IMDb user votes: 7,415
    - Season 1, Episode 12
    - Air date: Dec. 17, 2006
    - Director: Michael Cuesta

    The season one finale of “Dexter” centers on Dexter, played by Michael C. Hall, and the “Ice Truck Killer’s” final confrontation. The twist comes when it’s revealed that the killer is actually Dexter’s biological brother Brian Moster, played by Chris Diamantopoulos. Dexter’s love interest Rita, played by Julia Benz, is contacted by her abusive, imprisoned ex-husband Paul, played by Mark Pellegrino, who warns her that Dexter, a vigilante serial killer, isn’t who she thinks he is.

    37 / 50
    Shondaland

    #14. How to Get Away With Murder - Stay

    - IMDb user rating: 9.7
    - IMDb user votes: 2,104
    - Season 6, Episode 15
    - Air date: May 14, 2020
    - Director: Stephen Cragg

    In the series finale of “How to Get Away With Murder,” lawyer Annalise Keating, played by Viola Davis, is put on trial for her crimes over the course of the series, after the FBI opens an investigation into her work. At the end of the episode, Christopher, played by Alfred Enoch, the son of Laurel, played by Karla Souza, and Wes, also played by Enoch, teaches the same law class that Annalise herself taught at the beginning of the show’s pilot.

    38 / 50
    Berlanti Productions

    #13. Arrow - Lian Yu

    - IMDb user rating: 9.7
    - IMDb user votes: 6,964
    - Season 5, Episode 23
    - Air date: May 24, 2017
    - Director: Jesse Warn

    In the season five finale of “Arrow,” Oliver/Arrow, played by Stephen Amell, searches for his son, William, played by Jack Moore, who has been kidnapped by his vigilante enemy, Adrian, played by Josh Segarra. Oliver recruits several unlikely allies, including Nyssa, played by Katrina Law, and Slade, played by Manu Bennett, to get his son back. It’s the last episode of the show that featured a flashback storyline to Oliver’s past.

    39 / 50
    Warner Bros. Television

    #12. Supernatural - Swan Song

    - IMDb user rating: 9.7
    - IMDb user votes: 8,267
    - Season 5, Episode 22
    - Air date: May 13, 2010
    - Director: Steve Boyum

    “Swan Song” revolves around brothers Dean, played by Jensen Ackles, and Sam, played by Jared Padalecki, supernatural creature hunters who are attempting to prevent the apocalypse by way of the satanic Lucifer, played by Mark Pellegrino. Eventually, Sam is able to overpower Lucifer, who was planning to possess him.

    40 / 50
    Warner Bros. Television

    #11. Friends - The Last One: Part 2

    - IMDb user rating: 9.7
    - IMDb user votes: 11,478
    - Season 10, Episode 17
    - Air date: May 6, 2004
    - Director: Kevin Bright (as Kevin S. Bright)

    In the last episode of “Friends,” on-again, off-again couple Ross, played by David Schwimmer, and Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston, finally get together, as Monica, played by Courtney Cox, and Chandler, played by Matthew Perry, prepare to move to suburbia to raise their kids. The band Pearl Jam licensed one of its songs, “Yellow Ledbetter” for the first time, and it played in “The Last One: Part 2.”

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    41 / 50
    Television 360

    #10. Game of Thrones - The Children

    - IMDb user rating: 9.7
    - IMDb user votes: 38,809
    - Season 4, Episode 10
    - Air date: June 15, 2014
    - Director: Alex Graves

    This “Game of Thrones” finale follows its usual ensemble cast of characters, as Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage, escapes from prison; Stannis Baratheon, played by Stephen Dillane, and his forces help the Night’s Watch fend off the wildling people; and Bran, played by Isaac Hempstead Wright, encounters the mystical Three-Eyed Raven, played by Max von Sydow. Many fans were disappointed that the character of Lady Stoneheart didn’t appear in “The Children.”

    42 / 50
    Disney Television Animation

    #9. Gravity Falls - Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls

    - IMDb user rating: 9.8
    - IMDb user votes: 2,765
    - Season 2, Episode 20
    - Air date: Feb. 15, 2016
    - Director: Stephen Sandoval

    The animated “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls” centers on twins Dipper, voiced by Jason Ritter, and Mabel, voiced by Kristen Schaal, who fight to stop an apocalyptic conspiracy plot that’s unfolding within the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. This “Gravity Falls” series finale also included Disney Channel’s first gay male couple, and was Disney XD’s most-watched telecast ever at the time.

    43 / 50
    Gary Sanchez Productions

    #8. Succession - This Is Not for Tears

    - IMDb user rating: 9.8
    - IMDb user votes: 2,795
    - Season 2, Episode 10
    - Air date: Oct. 13, 2019
    - Director: Mark Mylod

    The season two finale of “Succession” revolves around the Roy family, whose members attempt to decide who to use as a public scapegoat for the sexual misconduct scandal that has jeopardized the future of their media empire. Patriarch Logan Roy, played by Brian Cox, selects his son Kendall, played by Jeremy Strong, who reveals at a press conference that his father was responsible for covering up the scandal. “This Is Not for Tears” won outstanding writing for a drama series at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards.

    44 / 50
    Bad Robot

    #7. Person of Interest - Return 0

    - IMDb user rating: 9.8
    - IMDb user votes: 9,126
    - Season 5, Episode 13
    - Air date: June 21, 2016
    - Director: Chris Fisher

    In the “Person of Interest” series finale, the central characters of “Team Machine” wage one last battle to prevent the evil A.I. surveillance system Samaritan from controlling the world. They succeed in their mission, but one of their own dies in the process—Jim Caviezel’s Reese. Entertainment Weekly writer Chancellor Agard described the episode as “a pathos-filled and near-perfect end that focused on the show’s relationships.”

    45 / 50
    John Goldwyn Productions

    #6. Dexter - The Getaway

    - IMDb user rating: 9.8
    - IMDb user votes: 10,463
    - Season 4, Episode 12
    - Air date: Dec. 13, 2009
    - Director: Steve Shill

    “The Getaway” throws Dexter’s secret double life into jeopardy, as Arthur, played by John Lithgow, discovers his true identity and Debra, played by Jennifer Carpenter, learns that he and the Ice Pick Killer are brothers. However, the real shock of the hour comes when his significant other, Rita, is unexpectedly killed. Elsewhere, the police close in on the mysterious Trinity Killer.

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    46 / 50
    Warner Bros. Television

    #5. Lucifer - A Devil of My Word

    - IMDb user rating: 9.8
    - IMDb user votes: 10,537
    - Season 3, Episode 24
    - Air date: May 14, 2018
    - Director: Eagle Egilsson

    Much of “A Devil of My Word” centers on the team’s investigation into the Tricia Helfer character’s—reborn lawyer Charlotte Richards—recent murder. Chloe, played by Lauren German; Lucifer, played by Tom Ellis; and their allies attempt to find and bring the killer to justice, while Chloe finally learns the full truth of Lucifer’s demonic origins. Although this was supposedly the series finale, since Fox had canceled the show after season three, “Lucifer” was soon picked up by Netflix.

    47 / 50
    Cartoon Network Studios

    #4. Regular Show - A Regular Epic Final Battle

    - IMDb user rating: 9.9
    - IMDb user votes: 905
    - Season 8, Episode 27
    - Air date: Jan. 16, 2017
    - Director: Calvin Wong

    “A Regular Epic Final Battle” is the animated show’s series finale, and follows Mordecai, voiced by J.G. Quintel; Rigby, voiced by William Salyers; and their fellow park workers as they aid their friend Pops in defeating his evil twin brother, Anti-Pops, on their home planet of Lolliland. The A.V. Club critic Eric Thurm praised the episode, noting that “amid all this death and closure, there’s a lot of humor.”

    48 / 50
    Home Box Office (HBO)

    #3. Six Feet Under - Everyone’s Waiting

    - IMDb user rating: 9.9
    - IMDb user votes: 7,404
    - Season 5, Episode 12
    - Air date: Aug. 21, 2005
    - Director: Alan Ball

    The series finale of this show about a dysfunctional family who run a funeral home ironically centers not on a death, but on the premature birth of Nate, played by Peter Krause, and Brenda’s, portrayed by Rachel Griffiths, daughter, Willa. “Everyone’s Waiting” ends with a series of flash-forwards to important milestones in the characters’ lives, as Claire decides to leave Los Angeles. The episode received multiple Emmy nominations in 2006, including outstanding writing for a drama series.

    49 / 50
    High Bridge Productions

    #2. Breaking Bad - Felina

    - IMDb user rating: 9.9
    - IMDb user votes: 85,162
    - Season 5, Episode 16
    - Air date: Sept. 29, 2013
    - Director: Vince Gilligan

    In “Breaking Bad’s” series finale, anti-hero Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, delivers the money from his illegal drug empire to his family, gets revenge on the gang who threatened them, and accepts his impending death from cancer. The ending was followed by a spin-off Netflix movie, “El Camino,” in 2019. Many outlets, such as Digital Trends, Screen Rant, and Rolling Stone, have named “Felina” as one of the greatest TV finales of all time.

    50 / 50
    Television 360

    #1. Game of Thrones - The Winds of Winter

    - IMDb user rating: 9.9
    - IMDb user votes: 130,426
    - Season 6, Episode 10
    - Air date: June 26, 2016
    - Director: Miguel Sapochnik

    “Winds of Winter” is perhaps best known for its reveal that Jon Snow, played by Kit Harrington, is not illegitimate, but Lyanna Stark’s son and a Targaryen by birth. Elsewhere, Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey, enacts her plan to kill her immediate enemies by destroying the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire. This “Game of Thrones” finale was praised as one of the show’s best episodes, and became one of the only TV episodes to ever receive a 9.9 rating on IMDb.

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