So you've been watching a show for a few weeks now, you like the characters and are just getting comfortable with the routine of how things work. You tune in expecting another Monster of the Week
when all of a sudden the writers pull a fast one.
This is done either give the audience just what they've been waiting for, raise the stakes, or change the game somehow to keep things more interesting.
Generally the point when the Exposition
stops and the real plot begins. Usually falls on episode 7 or there about, as it's halfway through the first 13 episode season, or 1/4 of the way through your 26 episode season if you get renewed. May extend to later seasons as well.
Warning. Examples may count as spoilers, but since they're so early in the series, most are probably closer to You Should Know This Already
Obviously, this is a sub trope of Wham Episode
Anime and Manga
- Aquarion EVOL: In episode 13 (halfway through the series) Jin learns first hand the meaning of Redemption Equals Death and it falls like a bomb in the lives of his newfound friends (specially his love interest).
- Bomberman Jetters: White Bomber discovers his big brother Mighty has been dead all along. Shout's sad backstory is also explained and Max is revealed to be the one who killed Mighty. These are in 23, 24 and 25, but to be fair, it's a 50+ anime series.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, we have the demise of Maes Hughes.
- Gundam SEED's first half is about the crew of a prototype ship trying to get to their main base, and shows the ennemy try to take it every week with a different tactic. And then, halfway through, the main character's childhood friend turned rival goes beserk after seeing his friend killed, and the two have a fight that ends with the main character apparently dead.
- Gundam Wing: The 5 Gundam pilots come together for the first time in the 7th episode.
- G Gundam hits one episode earlier. Episode 6 is when you learn Domon and Kyoji's backstory and he activates supermode for the first time.
- Digimon Adventure: Hit's one episode later, Devimon the first Big Bad makes his first official appearance in episode 8
- Naruto: Episode 7 is when Zabuza is formally introduced, and the show jumps from being about a kid in ninja school to an A-rank protect against an evil assassin mission.
- Gurren Lagann: Episode 8. Kamina dies. Nuff Said.
- Chapter 7 of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force sees the resident Lady of War Signum utterly and messily fragged by a newcomer villainess, establishing a much more gory mood of this manga compared to the previous installments.
- The first two episodes of Rumbling Hearts seem like a sweet high school romance until the last two minutes when Haruka gets hit by a car and goes into a years-long coma. The show then jumps ahead three years, advancing most of the leads into their post-high-school years and giving them new character designs. Also, the reguilar title sequence doesn't appear until episode 3. Oh, and it gets a lot less sweet.
- Princess Tutu's 7th episode introduced the Dark Magical Girl, Princess Kraehe, and the 14th episode showed that the Happily Ever After isn't quite so happy.
- Prétear revealed in episode 7 that the previous Pretear fell under darkness and became the Big Bad.
- Despite short lived, the 12 eps long Puella Magi Madoka Magica had heavy whams on the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks exactly.
- Episode 3: Mami's death
- Episode 6: The other girls find that once making a contract they become not human anymore
- Episode 9: Sayaka and Kyoko's demise
- Psycho Pass note had episode 11 in which the Big Bad was revealed. He was the same person involved in an important case years before (the one that triggered Kogami's Start of Darkness) and was revealed to be immune to the Sibyl system, which left him free to murder Akane's friend right in front of her.
- Episode 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is when we learn that Angel is a vampire.
- The 3rd season of 24 begins with a virus threat and a demand to release a drug lord from prison. By episode 7, it's revealed that the virus threat was all a hoax created by the good guys as part of a completed undercover mission to obtain the real virus.
- Heroes second season. It takes until the 7th episode for all the plot threads to finally come together and make sense.
- Chuck season 4. By the end of episode 7, we are introduced to the Big Bad and Chuck loses the intersect.
- In episode 7 of Dollhouse, we find out that Caroline was investigating Rossum (the company that owns the Dollhouse) before she became Echo.
- Episode 7 of the show Moonlight marked the reappearance of Mick's supposedly dead wife, as a human.
- In season 3, episode 7 of Angel, Angel finds out that Darla is pregnant. In the 7th episode of the following season, the result of the aforementioned pregnancy and the show's lead female have sex. There's a reason that this is the example given on the squick page.
- Episode 7 of Fringe is the one "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones", the first Big Bad.
- Episode 4/13 of Season Five, continues with the standard "find the next piece of the puzzle and save the world" plot. And then Etta Bishop is murdered by Windmark.
- Doctor Who
- The series 2 episode The Age of Steel ends with Mickey choosing to stay in the parallel universe and battle Cybermen.
- The series 5 episode Cold Blood ends with Rory being unexpectedly shot and killed, then consumed by a time crack so that he never existed and Amy forgets him.
- The series 6 episode The Almost People ends with Amy discovering that she was actually kidnapped months earlier and is in reality in a space station somewhere and about to deliver a baby she didn't know she was pregnant with. This baby also turns out to be River Song.
- Episode 5/10 of Game Of Thrones' second season sees Renly Baratheon die, completely changing the course of the war and making his brother Stannis the main threat to King Joffrey's power.
- Series//Smallville: Season 8 has been building up Doomsday as a briefly glimpsed but always mysterious serial killer of the kryptonite-fuels freaks of the week. Then, at Jimmy and Chloe's wedding, we see Doomsday, in the flesh, tear a bloody path right through the wedding party, seemingly kill Jimmy, throw away Clark with one punch, and kidnap Chloe, taking her to a corrupted Fortress of Solitude to be possessed by Brainiac. This marked the shows transition from freaks of the week to the more comic-booky villains and more conventional superhero fair.
- Trope Namer Babylon 5 had one in every season but its fourth - that season was wall to wall arc episodes and no one really stands out. The others were:
- Season One's Signs and Portents
- Season Two's The Coming of Shadows
- Season Three's Severed Dreams
- Season Five's Phoenix Rising
- Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance : Chapter 7 is when the divided group comes back together, and when Greil Dies forcing Ike to go from rookie to commander of the Mercenaries at the beginning of Chapter 8.
- Avatar The Last Airbender : Episode 8, the second part of the two-part "Winter Solstice" episode. Part one focused on the nature of the Avatar, but it's part two where the series-long arc really starts. The series goes from 'Let's wander aimlessly, have fun, and maybe eventually get Katara to learn Waterbending,' to 'defeat Ozai in 8 months or the world gets destroyed.'
- The Legend of Korra: Episode 6 and 7. Episode 6 has Amon and his Equalists perform a terrorist attack, blowing up the pro-bending arena, right after Amon de-bends one of the pro-bending teams and announces the beginning of the war between him plus his followers and benders. Episode 7 reveals that Hiroshi Sato, sponsor of Korra's pro-bending team and father to Asami, is The Mole, who has both been supplying the Equalists and hates benders with a passion. Asami attacks him and runs away, joining sides with Korra and the benders.
- Episode 8 goes a triple whammy. Not only has Tarrlock begun to imprison innocent people as well as Korra's friends, he reveals himself to be a bloodbender, possibly connected to a bloodbender that the Gaang dealt with in the past, and kidnaps Korra. Yeah.
- South Park has "You're Getting Old", where Stan becomes extremely cynical so as to literally see everything as excrement, and he was moving out as his parents were divorcing. By the end of the episode, neither got resolved like the show would usually do, although the latter did with the parents getting together again in "Ass Burgers".