Alias: Jack Bristow, in the Grand Finale, against the show's main villain — and recently immortal — Arvin Sloane:
Sloane: (to a dying Jack) I think you've overestimated your position, Jack. You can't hurt me anymore.
Jack: True. But I can keep you down here with me. (Jack opens up his jacket to reveal C4 and a detonator) You beat death Arvin. But you couldn't beat me. (Detonates the bomb, trapping Arvin, forever).
Burn Notice: Just before Nate dies, he is the one to capture Anson.
"This one's for my boys."
Doctor Who: The classic series is riddled with these. Some notorious examples include:
Fewsham from "The Seeds of Death", who is shot down after the Ice Warriors discover he is broadcasting their activities to an Earth station. Especially awesome because he'd been a Dirty Coward up until then.
Fewsham: Every word has been heard on Earth.
In another case of Redemption Equals Death, the Controller from "Day of the Daleks", who helps the Doctor and Jo return to the past to try and stop the Daleks' world domination scheme, but stays behind to confront his masters.
The Controller: Who knows? I may have helped to exterminate you.
Galloway from "Death to the Daleks", who, after acting like a treacherous coward, stows away into the escaping Dalek ship and blows it up.
The Master in "The End of Time". "You did this to me! You. Made. Me! One! Two! Three! FOUR!"
The Master: Get out of the way.
Luke Rattigan in "The Poison Sky". Sure, the Heroic Sacrifice is a horrible cliché (especially for Doctor Who), but even that utter stupidity is not enough to ruin the sheer awesomeness of that final "You Sontarans are so screwed" sneer and that defiant "Sontar-Ha!"
From "Doomsday": From "I did my duty for Queen and Country! (Repeats) Oh God!" Yvonne Hartman just before she walks into a conversion unit. She then does it AGAIN as a Cyberman becoming the first person to resist having their will overridden by the programming, holding off a small army of Cybermen as they try to escape through the rift in a You Shall Not Pass moment.
When River Song finds out the Doctor is planning to sacrifice himself to save thousands, she punches him out, handcuffs him to a wall and wires herself in instead, thus saving all the people and the man she loves. It's a major Tearjerker, not least because at the time, he hasn't got any idea who she is or why she's willing to die for him.
Captain Jack's first death. After trying to stop the Daleks with weapons he knows won't work very well, empties his assault rifle, then he warns the Doctor that time is running out, telling him how long he has left to complete the DIY Superweapon, whilst emptying his totally ineffective revolver into the first Dalek. Afterwards, it says, "Exterminate!" and he sets himself and says this:
Danny Pink, Clara's boyfriend, is converted into a Cyberman, but overcomes his programming to lead the Cybermen fleet in stopping the techno-virus that threatened the world in "Death in Heaven", by blowing up in mass, incinerating the clouds spreading the virus.
Game of Thrones has far too many deaths, but some of the characters go out on their own badass terms:
Especially Hodor. If you've been fated since youth to "Hold the Door", then dammit you're going out like a goddamned boss.
Syrio Forel takes down several guardsmen with a wooden sword before being overcome by a heavily-armoured knight.
Yoren takes down a fair number of enemies during his You Shall Not Pass stand, despite already being wounded and vastly outnumbered.
Even after Lord Commander Mormont is stabbed in the back, he tries to choke his killer to death one-handed. Unfortunately, Reality Ensues and his strength fails, allowing his assailant to finish him off.
Grenn and five others hold off a giant beneath the Wall in "The Watchers on the Wall". Their chanting of the Badass Creed only makes it better.
Ser Barristan Selmy rescues a comrade against seemingly impossible odds.
Jericho has Bonnie going down shooting while her home is being invaded. Did I mention she's a deaf teenage girl?
Kor, an aging Klingon warrior first seen in the original series, bordering on the edge of senility, knocks out Worf to take his place, and with just a single damaged Bird of Prey, delays a Jem'Hadar attack force long enough for the rest of the fleet to make it to safety. The emotionally moving performance by John Colicos just seals the deal.
The captain and crew of the Enterprise-C (TNG Yesterday's Enterprise) took on a Romulan task force attacking a lightly-defended Klingon colony. Despite knowing they were going to certain death, they gave the Romulans a good fight. This act of bravery was the single reason that the Federation and Klingons avoided a full-scale war and eventually became allies.
Harper's Island has Chloe Carter willingly falling to her death rather than letting serial killer John Wakefield murder her. But not before facing him and saying "You can't have me.
Shane Pierce also managed one, after having been a Jerkass and a coward for most of the series. When Wakefield broke into the bar, Shane faced him down with a pocket knife in order to buy the women with him time to escape. Then, after Wakefield stabs him and dumps his body on the floor, Shane proves to be Not Quite Dead and manages to go after Wakefield one more time, giving Trish enough time to get out along with the others.
The conclusion to the 2 part episode of Star Trek: Voyager entitled "Equinox" has Captain Ransom go down with his ship by piloting it out to space while a hoard of angry aliens attack and destroy it. This also counts as Redemption Equals Death.
Janeway also pulls one off in the climax to Year of Hell when she, as the last person aboard, sets a collision course and rams a crippled Voyager into Anorax's Time Ship. She also hit the reset button on her way so she's alive after time resets, but its still awesome. She even manges to get in a Pre-Mortem One-Liner while staring directly at the Time Ship through the hull breach Anorax blew into the bridge.
Harry Kim, having been killed repeatedly, gets more than one: his Big "YES!" as he saves Voyager in "Timeless," and his biomimetic copy's stint as acting Captain in "Course:Oblivion", in which Ensign Newbie demonstrates himself to be a clear-headed commander who refuses to go gentle even as Voyager's situation grows increasingly doomed.
Bodie's death in season four of The Wire. He realizes that the two figures stalking him in the night are Chris Partlow and "Snoop" Pearson, the top drug assassins in Baltimore who have carried out literally dozens of murders for their power mad boss Marlo. Everyone who has been confronted by Chris and/or Snoop up to that point has either run for their lives or begged (futilely) for mercy. Bodie decides to go out fighting. He grabs a hidden gun and makes the two of them run and duck behind parked cars for cover, all while shouting at them to Bring It. Too bad Chris and Snoop are just a diversion, occupying Bodie's attention while a third shooter sneaks up on him...
Jo and Ellen Harvelle: Jo is injured too badly to escape, so she and Ellen stay behind to blow up a building full of hellhounds and give the Winchesters a shot at Lucifer. Even if the Colt didn't work, that was still pretty badass.
Ellen:(as a hellhound breathes in her ear) You can go straight back to hell you ugly bitch.
Gabriel's final moments before his death are spent telling Lucifer that God is right: humans are better than them because they try.
Bobby's death in "At Death's Door" — having been shot by DickRoman in the previous episode, Bobby lies comatose, stuck in a dream world made up of his memories with the bullet stuck in his brain slowly killing him, while a Reaper chases him. So what does he do? Well, first he traps the Reaper in one of his memories, then proceeds to deliver an epicShut Up, Hannibal! to the memory of his dead, abusivefather, before forcing himself to wake up — with the bullet still in his brain — long enough to pass on some vital information about the Leviathans to Sam and Dean before finally dying.
Sam's Heroic Sacrifice in "Swan Song". Sam is not only willing to sacrifice his own life to seal Lucifer back in the Cage, but he also jumps into the Cage along with Lucifer, condemning himself to horrible torture for (what is as far as he knows) all eternity in order to save the world. He's also possessed by Lucifer at the time, meaning that he had to do this while resisting the influence of a being almost infinitely more powerful than him. Unlike those listed above, he got better.
Villainous example: Dick Roman in "Survival of the Fittest" goes out with a smile-not because he's succeeded, but because he's had the last laugh. The explosion caused by Dean killing him drags an unsuspecting Dean and Castiel to Purgatory.
In Stargate SG-1, when Dr. Janet Frasier is killed in the battlefield while tending to a wounded airman, ultimately saving his life. The same episode had been built up to suggest it was either that random soldier who died or one of the titular four SG-1 characters (Jack O'Neill). Janet dying, after being in the show for so long and having become a fan favorite after having started off as simply 'a necessary character'; and as someone who a lot of people would argue somehow almost always seemed 'safe'; her death was one of the most beautiful and heart breaking in the series for alot of people.
In the same series, Daniel Jackson dies after single-handedly preventing a catastrophe, exposing himself to a lethal dose of radiation in the process. However, this might not quite count, as he isn't really dead; Oma ascended him, and he later comes back to the mortal plane. Three seasons later, he stands up to RepliCarter, who is probing his mind for information, and overpowers her. He knows full well that this only means she will kill him sooner, but he does it anyway. This may not count, either, because he manages to ascend and come back one last time.
Dr. Samantha Carter, in the first Alternate Universe episode:
Samantha Carter: I surrender! I have information that can help Apophis! There is technology he will want to know about! This is a remote control to an interdimensional portal. I can tell Apophis how to find it! Jaffa: Hashak Kreyak! Samantha Carter: [pulling out a grenade] Thank you. Oh yeah. I also wish to blow us all to hell.
In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Last Man," alternate universe versions of Todd and Ronon get a Dying Moment of Awesome. Todd and Ronon run into each other on separate missions to blow up one of Michael's bases. They get trapped, decided to team up even though they hate each other and take out the base. Even more awesomely, as they are fighting Michael's soliders in their final moments, they dispose of all their enemies and then turn their weapons on each other, saying "Force of habit." In the same episode Sam gets one too. After her ship is crippled, she rams it into the enemy, taking down three Hive ships with her.
In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Riley's last act before being killed was to brutally and viciously assault Jessie, who had betrayed her and manipulated her all along. She lost the struggle, but for an untrained, terrified teenage girl, it was pretty damned impressive. Derek on the other hand gets shot in the head before he's even has a chance to be awesome by a foe who didn't even stop his stride. Both of these enforced a point the series was trying to make about the Terminators.
One of the best deaths ever on Lost Charlie Pace and "Not Pennys Boat"
Eko's death, staring down the monster defiantly, was this.
And so was Jack's death.
After Juliet survives being dragged into a 50-foot-deep shaft and hit by several huge chunks of metal, she makes a hydrogen bomb go off by hitting its core eight times. She survives that too, but dies shortly afterwards in her beloved's hands, with a smile on her lips. And she calls that bomb a son of a bitch while hitting it.
Repeated by Elena for Matt in the season 3 finale.
Jenna charging at Greta in an attempt to kill her to prevent Klaus from finishing the sacrifice.
George Mason's heroic exit from 24, saving millions including Jack Bauer himself.
During the siege of the White House Bill Buchanan tackles a Mook and fires his gun into the gas filled air. The resulting explosion kills him and most of BenjaminJuma's strike force, acts a signal for the FBI to storm the building, and gives Jack the chance to move. His actions saved everyone in the building, including The President. Both this and George Mason's death are a case of them recognizing that Jack is too valuable an asset and preempting his Heroic Sacrifice.
They generally don't stick, but the deaths of major characters in Heroes are often pretty damn awesome. One fan-favorite was the death of future-painter Isaac Mendez, who dies the typical death that all victims of Sylar face, except that it comes after painting his own death, selling and hiding important drawings and paintings of the future, and being CRUCIFIED by his own paintbrushes due to Sylar. His last words involve him mocking Sylar because he arrived too late to get any of Isaac's paintings, with the memorable line "I finally get to be a hero."
It didn't take, but Matt Parkman's momentary death in Volume 5 is also seen as a potential Crowning Moment of Awesome for the series. Sylar's been trapped inside Matt's head for a few episodes now.Sylar's been using this connection to make Matt do his bidding. Eventually Sylar supplants Matt as the primary controller of Matt's body even! This leads up to the climax of the storyline in "Shadowboxing", where Matt realizes that he'd rather be dead than let Sylar continue to terrorize people. He momentarily takes control of his own body to trick Sylar into writing down that he plans to kill everyone in the Burnt Toast Diner. As Matt-Sylar leaves, the owner calls the cops. The cops surround Matt-Sylar in the parking lot. Matt uses one lst bit of telepathy to control his body into acting like it's gonna pull a gun on the cops, forcing them to shoot him to death, ending Sylar's reign of terror...for about half an episode.
Similarly, Tracy Strauss's (not quite) bow out. She's made contact with Micah, the son of her heretofore unknown (and deceased) sister, who's organizing a resistance effort to the government roundup of superpowered individuals. As a strike force descends on their parking garage, she tells Micah to hit the sprinklers and run. When the squad shows up, she cranks her powers up to eleven, and freezes everyone in the garage solid — including herself. She ends up getting shattered soon after, but that's the funny thing about water controllers...
Reborn's final episode has not one but two Heroic Sacrifices that qualify for this. First, Luke uses his solar-based pyrokinetic powers to absorb the first of the two massive solar flares about to hit Earth, neutralizing it at the cost of his own life. Then, Noah allows himself to serve as the conduit for Tommy and Malina's combined powers to channel through in order to protect Earth from the second flare, which ends up being too much for his body to handle.
Power Rangers in Space: Just when you think the I Am Spartacus scene in the finale was the bar-none Crowning Moment of Awesome for the series, Zordon's sacrifice shortly afterwords nearly supplants it, convincing Andros to shatter his tube. The resulting wave destroys every monster in the entire universe, bringing peace to everyone...until next season.
Dark Specter has one as well as he SWALLOWS Darkonda after being defeated
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Okay, maybe not as cool and universe-wide reaching as Zordon's death, but Kendrix's death stopping Psycho Pink and the Savage Sabre (even though it was written due to Valerie's leukemia) to save Cassie (Space Pink) and her friends/teammates HAS to count as it was the only on-screen Death of a Ranger (like, EVER) in PR that stayed for more than a few episodes (try about half the season) where they HAD to get a new Ranger in order to continue, unlike certain other Ranger 'deaths' (Damn Disney Deaths in the final episodes of RPM).
John Basilone at Iwo Jima in The Pacific. Everything he did leading up to the death was surperbly badass and his actions saved many lives in what bloodbath.
The death of Zhaan, who's already dying of a terminal illness after reviving Aeryn in the season 3 premier. Moya and a Pathfinder vessel are entangled and trapped in the periphery of a wormhole, and the only way out is to steer one of the two ships into the wormhole where it will be ejected, but the other will be ripped apart by tidal forces. Zhaan calmly walks onto the bridge of the Pathfinder vessel, turns it so Moya will be pushed into the the mouth of the wormhole, and engages the engines. She even has time to send Stark (who is having a panic attack when he realizes Zhaan's intent) a telepathic message, before calmly waving good-bye to Crichton and Aeryn as they watch.
Later in the season, the sacrifice of one of the twinned Crichtons. With a Scarran Dreadnought bearing down on the planet, Crichton and the Ancient, Jack, construct a displacement engine, which will essentially use a wormhole to blast the ship with the corona of the nearby star. The device is stolen by Furlow before it can be used, and after she wrecks attempting to escape Crichton, the casing is damaged, flooding the area with random pulses of radiation. Crichton attempts to dive and seal it in the gap between pulses, but instead takes a full-face blast of lethal radiation. Even as he's practically collapsing from terminal radiation sickness, he still flies the mission to destroy the Dreadnought.
Earlier in the same episode, Rygel, of all people, gets one, manning a point turret to help defend the spaceport from Charrid ground troops. During the engagement his gun is struck by artillery fire and Rygel is fatally wounded by a massive piece of shrapnel. Aeryn does manage to revive him, though, so his death doesn't stick. And what does he do? Despite the severity of his wounds, and the fact that he had just been resuscitated, he gets right back up and takes control of his gun to keep killing Charridsnote Hynerians despise Charrids, as Charrids consider Hynerians (and more significantly their young) a delicacy, and have been responsible for the slaughter of millions, if not billions of Hynerians in the history of their interactions, so It's Personal.
In the penultimate episode of season 3, Crichton's attempts to sabotage Scorpius's wormhole project are failing, and Moya's crew has been captured. It turns out, Crais knew all along that Crichton's efforts would be in vain, so comes up with a plan of his own: Have Talyn engage StarBurst while contained inside the Command Carrier. The resulting release of energy will cause the ship to collapse upon itself, destroying the vessel while still giving time for the crew to escape. Crais secures Talyn's assistance, and delivers an epic"Reason You Suck" Speech to Scorpius. He then stands at attention, closes his eyes, and disappears in a ball of fire as he gives the order.
Crais: Talyn. StarBurst!
In the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries, D'Argo is mortally wounded fighting the Scarrans, and elects to stay behind to cover the rest of the survivors' retreat. After saying their goodbyes, D'Argo reminds the Scarrans exactly who their daddy is, as he opens fire on the reinforcements.
D'Argo: I'm your daddy!
In Primeval, Cutter calmly mocks Helen's time- changing scheme: "You know what, Helen? You're not as smart as I thought you were." That she shoots him immediately after just seems to prove him right.
Sergeant Doakes in Dexter. When he realises he's got no way out of the exploding hut, he utters one word: "Motherfuck!"
Felix Gaeta's death from Battlestar Galactica. You can see that for the first time since New Caprica, he is at peace, even though he is staring down the guns of an execution squad.
Referring to the phantom limb pain from his lost foot, which had been getting worse and worse, to the point where he was bordering on becoming addicted to pain killers.
The Battlestar Pegasus. When it's lost, Lee sends it rocketing towards a baseship. It not only destroys the baseship in the collision, but destroys another nearby with what's left of its starboard flight pod.
Apollo's death in the original series at the hand of Count Iblis was treated with great dignity. The fact that he went down defending someone else was very awesome. He recovered later, but still.
Prison Break: Amazingly enough, Brad Bellick gets one by sacrificing himself and facing his death down so the rest can finish stealing Scylla.
Detective Roy Montgomery in Castle. It's revealed he's been lying to them since the start about his involvement in whoever it was who killed Beckett's mother. But rather than go down easy he lures four trained killers to one location, tells Beckett almost everything and goes down shooting. His final act is to shoot the last of the four monsters with a concealed derringer.
Mike Franks, already dying from some unknown illness (probably lung cancer), decides he'd rather go out on his own terms when he confronts Jonas Cobb, the Port-to-Port Killer, just outside Gibbs' house. He manages to wound Cobb before getting knifed in the chest.
"My name is Mike Franks. I figure I got one more fight left in me. You want it?"
Similarly, Jenny Sheppard. Knew there were assassins on her tail (and that she was already dying of a terminal illness), so lured them out to an abandoned diner in the middle of the desert and managed to take four of the assassins with her.
In the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise Trip kills himself and the party of invading aliens by rigging a plasma relay to explode. His final words are "One more thing. You can all go straight to hell!" Although since this episode was very badly thought-of for various reasons, according to the Star Trek Novel Verse his death was faked by Section 31.
This is Gus Fring's as well. After the explosion, he gracefully walks out of the door with half his face blown off, adjusting his tie before he falls dead.
In Season 5, Hank Schrader goes out like a champ, in stark contrast to Walt pleading for Jack to spare him.
Hank:My name is ASAC Schrader, and you can go fuck yourself.
Walter White dies from bleeding out after being with with a bullet from an M60 he set up to remotely wipe out all the white supremacists in their compound, being hit after using his body to shield Jesse. Before he dies, he gets revenge on Jack for killing Hank, not even letting him finish his attempted bargain, catches Lydia on the phone to let her know that he poisoned her with ricin and she has days left to live, and finally walking in the meth lab, the one place where he truly feels alive. He dies on his own terms rather than from the cancer as the police storm the compound.
Happens offscreen in a Bad Future episode of Sanctuary. Helen somehow ends up a few years in the future during a Zombie Apocalypse, and Will tells her how Druitt died. He teleported with a nuke into a city infested with zombies and detonated it.
Ashley gets one in the real timeline when she overcomes her brainwashing long enough to recognize her mother and kill herself along with the enemy.
Evan Abby, a guy dying from leukemia, in the Criminal Minds episode "Ashes and Dust" decides to lead the UnSub (who is an arsonist who likes to watch people burn to death) into a highly flammable building, knowing that the UnSub wants to kill him. This doubles as a Thanatos Gambit.
Arsonist: How do you plan on getting out? Evan: (holding a lighter) I don't. (cue Oh, Crap! look from the arsonist)
The line just before that is even better, considering that Abby is a man who founded an eco-terrorist group to try to redeem himself after helping various companies hide toxic waste, then dissolved the group when he realized that it itself was becoming too dangerous, and doing more harm than good:
Arsonist: What are you doing? Evan: (Laughing bitterly) I'm doing the right thing.
First Officer York's clone in Hyperdrive. Squadron Leader Mason has locked his crew out of the bridge and is flying the Pride of Glenrothes straight at the Camden Lock. The clone takes Shuttle 3 and flies it into the Pride of Glenrothes' ramscoop, gutting the engines and forcing the ship to crash on the Lunar surface.
York Clone: (Girlish voice) Helloooo? (Normal voice) I do this for you, Eduardo Pauline York. Bye...
Later averted in that during the clone's funeral, he keeps interrupting Henderson's eulogy with phrases of gibberish from inside the coffin, incliding "I'm dead. Has no one seen my handbag?"
Sheridan bringing a nuclear-armed Whitestar crashing down on Z'ha'dum as he takes the plunge to his "death" (after a fashion).
The part of Kosh that remained with Sheridan after his earlier Heroic Sacrifice later leaps out of Sheridan to aid in the killing of Ulkesh ("Kosh II"), taking them both outside the station where they die in a massive and spectacular energy release.
Cold Case features a variation. Many of the victims get their own personal Crowning Moment of Awesome (standing up for their principles, calling their killer out on their bullshit, etc.), and more often than not this is what results in their death.
Revolution: After spending most of the series thus far in captivity, in the episode "The Stand", Danny decides that he needs to start pulling his weight and refuses to run and hide. Soon afterwards, Rachel and Miles return with the anti-air weaponry, but Miles is non-fatally wounded by the enemy fire before he can take out the chopper carrying the amplifier. Danny runs out, grabs the missile launcher, and blows up the chopper, immediately causing the other chopper to lose power...and then as said chopper is falling, its guns discharge multiple rounds clear through his body. (Which sort of also makes it a dying moment of awesome for the Monroe RepublicMooks, who knew that they were dead as soon as their chopper hit the ground and still managed to take out their killer on the way down.)
In the first season finale of Intelligence, CIA Director Tetazoo is ambushed and shot twice in the chest before he can send some crucial information to Lillian. He manages to draw his sidearm and shoot his own killer, then sends the information before expiring.
Arrow: The Season 2 episode "Seeing Red" gives one of these to Moira Queen. When Slade abducts Oliver and his family, he tries to make Oliver choose whether Moira or Thea will die, in an intentional Call Back to the situation on the island that resulted in Shado's death. However, Moira, being who she is, refuses to let Oliver have to make that choice and live with the guilt. So, while still tied up, she calmly gets to her feet, tells her children she loves them one last time, then looks Slade in the eye and tells him to kill her. Slade even admits he admires her courage, before whipping out a sword and stabbing her in the chest, letting her gracefully fall to the ground.
Sebastian Blood has one in "Streets of Fire". His last act is giving Oliver the Mirakuru cure cementing his Heel–Face Turn, when confronted by Isabel, he tells her she's lost before she stabs him twice
Falling Skies has two in season 4. First the 2nd Mass is pinned down by Espheni led by an overlord with a personal vendetta against Tom Mason. While the others hide, Tector takes a long-range shot at the overlord's head and misses by an inch. Skitters swarm him. He opens his coat, says, "Tick, tick, boom!" and all of them up.
In the season finale, Lexie scores one when she manually flies an Espheni ship into the moon base's power core, destroying it.
In one fourth-season episode of Sixties Dragnet, a cop is mortally wounded while saving bystanders from a gunman.
Fringe: Nina Sharp, cornered by the Observers, delivers an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech about their pretensions towards being an advanced species by pointing out they've unintentionally bioengineered themselves to take on primitive lizard traits, then blows her own brains out to avoid interrogation.
John Reese in the Grand Finale of Person of Interest, fighting off hordes of Samaritan's men in a shootout and being fatally wounded before the cruise missile strikes.
Blackadder: The series finale has all of the main characters, sans Melchett, going over the top of the trenches to their (implied) deaths. Doubles as a tear jerker because instead of it being depicted in a comedic way, it is depicted in a rather somber and depressing manner, complete with a melancholic piano version of the series' main theme. It's even made sadder by the fact that there were thousands of men that died the same way in WWI.
Legends of Tomorrow: Captain Cold, of all people, sacrifices himself to destroy the machine that allows the Time Masters to observe and control the timeline, which has a failsafe requiring someone to stay and hold it down. Time Master Druce arrives and orders him to shut it down, and his response - and last words - is a snarled "There are no strings on me", before the big boom.
The Twilight Zone (1959): "The Obsolete Man" is one long one for Romney Wordsworth. He has been deemed obsolete due to his occupation as a librarian and sentenced to death. However, he's allowed to choose his method of execution. He chooses to have a bomb go off in his room and for the event to be televised. With less than half an hour to go, the Chancellor who ordered his execution decides to pay him one last visit and gloat about the superiority of the state's methods...which Wordsworth uses to lock him inside. Both men claim to Face Death with Dignity, but while Wordsworth calmly spends his final moments reading from his Bible, the Chancellor ultimately cracks and begs to God to be let out. Wordsworth frees him seconds before the bomb goes off and dies, but the Chancellor now has to face the reality that he showed great weakness and begged to God (who he claimed that the state had proven nonexistent) on live television. As such, he is declared obsolete- something Wordsworth surely new would happen. The ending implies he's also given the much more painful death of being ripped limb from limb by an angry mob.