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[[quoteright:346:[[Webcomic/{{VGCats}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Reaction.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:346:The standard reaction. [[note]]Take a look at [[http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=207 this strip]] to see [[RealityEnsues WHY]] they have that reaction.[[/note]]]]

->''"The live experience is thrilling and if some dramas can replicate that and present a story to an audience as new and no-one knows what's going to happen, then '''that's''' good storytelling. That's the way it should happen."''
-->-- '''Creator/RussellTDavies'''

The point in a series where the story takes a sudden dramatic turn. Things will [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore never be quite the same again]].

When advertisements tease you with words such as "The most ''shocking'' episode of the season!", they're probably referring to this ([[NeverTrustATrailer unless they're not]]). This is the episode meant to [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore radically alter the status quo]], and in doing so send a major shock through the viewership.

Note that it's not a Wham Episode if it turns out that the shocking events were AllJustADream, or if the changes are reversed with a SnapBack or ResetButton, or if the series has NegativeContinuity. To count as a Wham Episode, the events must actually happen and become {{canon}}. When a series is already successful, and the writers decide to do this, it's very risky. The writers are making a bold move and risking losing a lot of their fans. The writers have balls. You might even say they have [[ArmedWithCanon canon]] [[{{Pun}} balls]].

Also, just because an event is dramatic or has a reveal, that doesn't make it a Wham Episode. The episode must shake up the status quo and/or drop a major bombshell.

The term was coined by Creator/JMichaelStraczynski, creator of ''Series/BabylonFive'', which is very liberally sprinkled with them.

[[TropesAreTools It's not always done well, of course.]] Particularly poorly-done wham episodes almost invariably result in a ShockingSwerve.

Almost always takes place at a SeasonFinale, and at times can even be a GrandFinale if it includes a high enough shock factor ([[StockSeriesFinales which isn't always]] [[WrapItUp the case]]). Alternatively, it might come ''before'' the Season Finale, which then resolves the plot twist.

Compare GenreTurningPoint and NothingIsTheSameAnymore. Contrast with BreatherEpisode. Related to DramaBomb. Complete opposite of StatusQuoIsGod. If this is the first episode and/or the prologue, it's a DownerBeginning. If the WHAM aspect is concentrated in a single line, it's a WhamLine. See also AscendedFridgeHorror, wherein some aspects of the series leave some viewers with reason to expect a tone shift, before they see it applied by the writers. Often the first warning that the viewer is dealing with a {{Deconstruction}}. Frequently caused by or contains a GutPunch.

It also has nothing to do with a certain British 80s [[{{Music/Wham}} pop band]] with Music/GeorgeMichael, or [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure a JoJo villain]] named after said band.

'''Here be ''unmarked spoilers''. Proceed at your own risk.'''
* WhamEpisode/{{Anime}}
* WhamEpisode/ComicBooks
* WhamEpisode/FanWorks
* WhamEpisode/{{Film}}
* WhamEpisode/{{Literature}}
* WhamEpisode/LiveActionTV
* WhamEpisode/{{Music}}
* WhamEpisode/ProfessionalWrestling
* WhamEpisode/VideoGames
* WhamEpisode/WebAnimation
* WhamEpisode/{{Webcomics}}
* WhamEpisode/WebOriginal
* WhamEpisode/WesternAnimation