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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
    • Coulson always answers "Tahiti. It's a magical place" whenever someone asks him where he's been since he "died" in The Avengers. It's a conditioned response programmed into him.
    • What They/We/I Become in the second season and continuing throughout the third.
    • The code phrases that HYDRA uses as part of their brainwashing program: "I'm happy to comply" and "Compliance will be rewarded", first appearing in Season 2 and appearing intermittently later on.
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    • Combined with Iron Man: "Rodeo", used as a euphemism of the same kind as Going to See the Elephant.
    • Two different villains in Seasons 4 and 5 justify their actions with the phrase "I worked myself to the bone."
    • In Season 5:
      • "A life spent, a life earned", and "vacancy" for the Lighthouse arc.
      • The moniker "Destroyer of Worlds" is passed around from character to character throughout the season, first being applied to Daisy then to Ruby before finally stopping on the real culprit, Talbot. The antithetical "The One Who Will Save Us All" also follows a similar trajectory, going from Talbot to Coulson to its true owner, Daisy.
  • "Someone's at the door" from American Gothic (1995).
  • Ancient Rome Rise And Fall Of An Empire has:
    • "Who will fight with me?" for Caesar.
    • "Rule as the gods rule" and "Not enough" for Nero.
    • "I want to be the mother of Tiberius Gracchus!" for Gracchus.
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  • On Angel, "The Father Will Kill the Son" was an important part of the Holtz/Sahjahn arc. Characters find out what they think it means, try to stop it from happening, leading to events that later (sort of) cause it to happen...
  • Arrested Development:
    • Season 1: "'Light' treason."
    • Season 3: MRF (which was read as Mr. F, but was Mentally Retarded Female)
    • Season 4: "Love each other".
  • Arrow:
    • General
      • "[You/I] have failed this city!"
      • "The [insert loved one] you lost, is not the [insert loved one] you/they found/we/you will get back."
      • "I [must/will/have to] become someone else. I [must/will/have to] become something else."
    • Season 1:
      • People are always telling Oliver to "Survive".
      • During the flashbacks, "Planes" often gets included in every conversation.
      • On the bad guy side, there's "The Undertaking".
    • Season 2:
      • "Prochnost'", which is Russian for strength. The biggest Plot Device of the season is a strength inducing Psycho Serum.
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    • Season 3:
      • "Family."
      • "A man cannot live by two names."
  • Babylon 5:
    • The middle seasons had a question associated with each of the two most prominent races of First Ones in the show: "Who are you?" commonly asked by the Vorlons, and "What do you want?" from the Shadows. (When Sheridan asks Kosh "What do you want?" in an early episode, not realizing its significance, the Vorlon angrily tells him, "Never ask that question!") During his Near-Death Experience he meets Lorien (the First One) who has his own questions: "Why are you here?" and "Do you have anything Worth Living For?". In "Into the Fire," the younger races throwing off the yoke of the First Ones is emphasized when Sheridan turns their questions around on them: "Who are you?" he asks the Vorlons; "What do you want?" he puts to the Shadows; they are unable to answer. And in the final episode, Sheridan meets Lorien once again, who rhetorically asks him, "Who are you? What do you want? Why are you here? Where are you going?" Which are, altogether, a slight recasting of the key questions from Alfred Bester's (no, the writer) The Stars My Destination: "Who are you?" "Where are you from?" "Where do you live?" and "Where are you going?"
    • Babylon 5 also referenced the arc words from The Prisoner; when the more sinister members of the Psi Corps say goodbye they do the same salute, complete with "be seeing you".
    • "After a fashion."
    • "There's a hole in your mind"
    • "Crysalis" in Season 1.
    • "And so it begins."
    • "Hello old friend"
    • Crusade would have had a few more, along with the Vorlon and Shadow questions, but it got Firefly'ed: "Who do you serve and who do you trust?" and "Where are you going?"
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • "All Along The Watchtower" is a set of Arc Words: because it foreshadows the identities of the final five Cylons.
      • Lyrics from the song were later integrated into the series finale as a sort of reveal. For example, Starbuck says the phrase "There must be some kind of way out of here" before inputting the coordinates to the new Earth and their new home.
    • The Mandala from the Temple of Five pops up in seasons two and three, and it's starting to look like it might be hinting at a deeper connection between Starbuck and the Final Five.
    • "The shape of things to come" may or may not be, as it is not yet established exactly why the half-cylons are so important, barring medicinal use.
      • Eventually revealed: Hera, Athena's daughter, was Mitochondrial Eve. In other words, the mother of all modern-day humanity.
    • "All this has happened before, and will happen again" is another possible example, having been spoken repeatedly without proper explanation so far.
      • Season 4 has a bit of that: Some Cylon Centurions are briefly allowed to "rebel" against some of their humanoid cylon masters, in response to what they see is being done to the raider. This echoes the original cylons' uprising against humanity.
      • Sort of explained in that a main tenet of their religion is the idea of a cyclical time line, the same story being told over and over again throughout eternity.
      • "Sometimes a Great Notion" reveals more: Earth was nuked to a barren wasteland 2000 years before The Colonies were at the start of the series.
      • And the finale has Head!Six and Head!Baltar saying a slightly different version: "All of this has happened before... but does all of it have to happen again?" Possibly in reaction to modern-day humanity progressing the same way their ancestors did.
      • The Plan has "Love outlasts Death": spoken by the Cylon Hybrids before destroying the Colonies, and written on the suicide note of the Simon who killed himself rather than harm his human family. Also, Sam's Shut Up, Hannibal! paraphrase of the concept turns out to be the Epiphany Therapy that separates the Caprican Cavil from the one on Galactica.
    • "Nothing but the rain", on the other hand, is not Arc Words, just an inside joke between Adama and Starbuck.
  • Bored to Death: "I believe I can help people."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Ascension" from Seasons 1 to 3 — referring to the Master rising to the surface, Angelus summoning Acathla, and the Mayor completing his transformation.
    • Season 4 finale and Season 5 premiere: "You think you know. What's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun."
    • Season 5: "Death is your gift."
    • Season 7: "From beneath you, it devours", "Early one morning, just as the sun was rising..." and "She will not choose you".
    • Twilight first appears in winged lion form in Buffy's nightmares, saying "The Queen is Dead, Long Live the Queen." It first seems to mean Genevieve Savidge's attempt to replace Buffy as lead Slayer, but is actually referring to Twilight replacing the current universe.
  • Carnivàle: "Every prophet in his/her house."
  • Chuck: "Don't freak out."
    • "Chuck vs. The Beefcake" had "Everyone talks".
  • A senile old man in the Cold Case episode "World's End" keeps asking Lily (who resembles his late wife) "Where's my supper?" That's what he was saying to his wife when he killed her.
  • Community: "Annie, you live in a terrible neighborhood." She moves in with Troy and Abed in Season 3.
  • The 1967 series Coronet Blue depicted an amnesiac who couldn't remember anything about himself or his past except for the cryptic phrase "Coronet Blue". The series was cancelled before he could find out who he was, where he came from or what "Coronet Blue" meant.
  • The 2014 Cosmos: "Come with me." Neil deGrasse Tyson's invitation for the viewer to join him on his explorations of the universe or history.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had that case about a murder in a swingers community. They always talked about the 3 rules: "No affairs. No picture or video. The kids should never find out". The murder happened because all 3 rules were broken.
  • The Jim Henson teleplay The Cube — "Strawberry jam".
  • Dark Oracle: "What just happened here?" Everyone asks it at some point.
  • Da Vinci's Demons: "I am a son of earth and starry heaven. I am thirsty. Give me a drink from the fountain of memory."
    • "Time is a river."
  • Day Break: "Decision ... consequence." These words are originally spoken by the Man in the Quarry to threaten Hopper, and recur several times throughout the series. It's unintentionally appropriate to Hopper's predicament, since every action he takes during the time loop to solve the conspiracy could result in something he didn't foresee.
  • Dexter: "Tonight's the night." In Season 5: "Tick tock, that's the sound of your life running out"
  • Doctor Who: The new series usually has one each series/season.
    • "Bad Wolf" from Series One.
      • "Bad Wolf" is also something of a subversion in that the words kept appearing (although less often) after the "arc" was concluded, because the words were across all of time and space, so they wouldn't be expected to only appear where they were actually needed. And then it is Double Subverted when the crack between universes becomes less severe, heralding Rose's return to the show for a few episodes.
      • The phrase also appears in the DVD release of "The Invasion" (with animation replacing the Missing Episodes). From the Doctor's perspective, that's long before the arc...
      • Since Torchwood is set in the same universe as Doctor Who, it's not surprising that "Bad Wolf" has appeared there as well (on the wall behind Jack and Toshiko when they go back in time).
    • The episode "Bad Wolf" not only (obviously) had the titular phrase, it also had the first appearance of "Torchwood", as an answer to a question on the killer version of The Weakest Link Rose finds herself on.
    • "Torchwood" from Series Two.
    • "Love & Monsters" has appearances of "Bad Wolf" and "Torchwood", the first appearance of "Saxon", and a reference to the Series 4 Story Arc, to boot.
    • "Mister Saxon" and "Vote Saxon" from Series Three.
    • Also, the significance of "You. Are. Not. Alone." from "Gridlock" that clues the Doctor into realising the true identity of Professor Yana from "Utopia".
    • Series Four expands the concept, and instead of Arc Words it has a series of foreshadowing words dating all the way back to the first episode of Series One: The Shadow Proclamation, the Medusa Cascade, Rose Tyler continually appearing in the background, the disappearance of planets and bees, Donna being told she has something on her back, and Donna being the focal point of several timelines. Naturally, they all come to a head in the finale.
      • Right before the finale, how bad things truly are is established at the end of "Turn Left" when the Doctor learns that Rose Tyler has broken through the dimensional barriers. To herald her presence, the words "Bad Wolf" appear everywhere, including on the TARDIS itself.
      • The Ood in "Planet of the Ood" seemingly refer to the Doctor and Donna as the collective Doctor-Donna — of course, they hear, "Doctor, Donna".
      • And the episode itself had "The Circle must be broken".
    • The 2009 specials had their own arc words in "He will knock four times."
    • The Arc words for Series 5 are "The Pandorica will open" and "Silence will fall". The latter carried over for the Eleventh Doctor's entire run and was not fully explained until his last episode. The two arcwords were often seen together and therefore mistakenly assumed to refer to the same thing, much like Doctor-Donna was assumed to refer to separate things.
    • "The Doctor's Wife" gives us a new set of arc words: "The only water in the forest is the river." This one gets explained only three episodes later: "The only water in the forest is the river. They don't have a word for 'Pond'." A soldier from a forest world gave Amy a symbolic leaf with Amy's baby's name (Melody Pond) sewn into it, but it ends up translated as "River Song".
    • Don't forget Series 5's references to "A good man". It's first mentioned in conjunction with the "murder" for which River was jailed and eventually comes to a head in the episode "A Good Man Goes to War", with one of The Doctor's more epic comebacks "Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many." References to what kind of "man" the Doctor is, and whether he is a "good" man, go back to the Tenth Doctor's first episode. This stands out especially because the Doctor really isn't a man at all.
      • It returns as the Driving Question of Series 8, "Am I a good man?" He finds the answer at the end of Series 8: No, he's not a good man, but he's not a bad man either. He's an idiot, with a box and a screwdriver, who likes helping people.
    • Series 5 has yet another example in the case of recurring phlebotinum: a Perception Filter is used, and mentioned by name, in every story in that series.
    • And with "Let's Kill Hitler", we get more of the arc phrase: "Silence will fall when the question is asked. The first question. The oldest question in the universe. Hidden in plain sight."
    • The second half of Series 6 has "Tick-Tock goes the clock".
    • "Fish fingers and custard" is a minor example, acting as a Trust Password between Amy and the Doctor.
    • The Series 7 Arc Words are a question themselves: "Doctor who?"
    • The first half of Series 7 has "Christmas" as its arc word, leading up to the new companion's introduction in the 2012 Christmas special. Flickering lights and eggs are also arc pieces of the first half, calling back to "Asylum of the Daleks", with the stuttering beginning of Ex-Term-In-Ate, the souffles, and the power flickering.
    • The second half of Series 7 has the words "Run, you clever boy, and remember" (although they actually first appear in "Asylum of the Daleks"). They're Clara's last words in "Asylum of the Daleks" and "The Snowmen", the way she remembers her Wi-Fi password in "The Bells of Saint John", and then the last words she says before entering the Doctor's timestream in "The Name of the Doctor".
      • So naturally, Clara's last words to the Doctor when departing for good are "run, you clever boy, and be a doctor". (Series 7 ended the "mystery of the Doctor's true name" arc with saying it's the Doctor, the name he chose, that matters, and in Series 8, she'd once encouraged him to "be a doctor, not a warrior" to talk him down from Oncoming Storm mode. The Doctor has lost his memories of Clara, so her usual farewell won't work — he won't remember. So, instead, she gives him one final reminder to be his best self.)
    • The words "No more" pop up a few times before being introduced as the War Doctor's Catchphrase, most notably in "Voyage of the Damned", "Journey's End", and "The End of Time".
    • Series 8 had "the promised land", which turned out to be Missy's computer afterlife, which was part of the cyber-conversion process.
      • Also "Do as you're told" is thrown back and forth between the Doctor and Clara a lot.
    • Series 9 has "hybrid" as the big arc word.
    • "Story" and variations of it shows up a lot throughout the Steven Moffat's tenure as showrunner - generally in relation to the Doctor.
    • For Series 10, "promise", or "oath".
  • The Dollhouse series loves the word "broken" when applied to the dolls. Among other lines it appears in, Echo insists that she is not broken. Whether or not she's right remains to be seen.
    • That whole "Did I fall asleep" conversation seems to apply.
    • Senator Parrin's "white knight/beautiful damsel" conversation with his wife.
    • "I try to be my best" is yet another example.
  • ER: "You set the tone" is a repeated phrase that first appears in the pilot when Dr. Mark Greene is almost overwhelmed by a bad day in the ER and his superior Dr. Morgenstern tells him these words. As Mark runs the ER, how he acts will set the pace for all to follow him. When Mark leaves the hospital many seasons later, he tells the next generation's leader of the ER these words, passing the responsibility to the next generation. When that gentleman leaves, he too passes it on to the next generation's lead doctor. It takes him a while to grow into the responsibility, but he does, like the others before him, set the tone.
  • The logos and name of the Blue Sun Corporation from Firefly may have been intended as Arc Words, but the series got canceled before anything came of them. River's repeated "two by two, hands of blue" is definitely an example, though.
  • The Flash (2014):
  • Fringe has "The Pattern" and "ZFT" which (in German, "Zerstörung durch Fortschritte der Technologie") stands for "Destruction Through the Advancement of Technology."
    • They seemed to have moved onto "First People," after the ominous phrase cropped up as an Easter Egg late in Season 2's opening credits.
    • And of course "Be a better man than your father"... in Greek!
  • Game of Thrones: Aside from the examples already listed in the Literature section.
    • Season 4 : "Wars are rather expensive."
    • Seasons 5-6: "The wars to come."
    • Daenerys had even more internal mantras in the books but we get some new spoken ones just for the show.
      • "I do not have / you have / a gentle heart"
      • "I will / I / take what is mine."
      • "I want to go / we have to go / home."
      • "They are the only children I will ever have."
      • "A dragon is not a slave."
  • Gossip Girl: "Three words, eight letters. Say it and I'm yours."
  • Hannibal has "Do you see?"/"What do you see?" and variants as questions asked of borderline supernaturally empathic Will Graham. His mantra when using his gift of 'empathy' to understand and capture criminals is "This is my design." Together, the phrases serve as a call-and-response which, fully understood and expressed, forms the basis of the whole first season and its climax. What does Will see? Hannibal Lecter's design.
  • "Save The Cheerleader, Save The World" from Season 1 of Heroes.
    • The second half of Season 1: "Are you on the list?"
    • It's later parodied in a commercial about some tax program: "Save the Taxpayers, Save the World!" It's lampshaded.
    • Also "Be the one we need."
  • In Season 1 of The Hour, after Freddie decodes a secret message, he spends a lot of time trying to figure out what (or who) a "brightstone" is.
  • How I Met Your Mother season 6 had "Things have to fall down to make way for new things" and "New is always better".
  • Jeeves and Wooster gets a couple, used to blackmail Spode, although they're more like Episode Words: "Eulalie" in the first couple episodes of Season 2, and "Celia" in the series finale.
  • Jessica Jones villain Kilgrave often gives the order "Smile" to his victims, especially women.
  • Kamen Rider has run across a few shows that share arc words.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O had "The past should give us hope."
    • Kamen Rider Decade has "Destroy everything. Connect everything" and some variant of "Destroyer" or "Devil" when talking about Decade.
    • Kamen Rider OOO had "Desire" as its major arc word. The main character lacks desire but gains it in the end, his enemies are made of nothing but desire, and there's a man who sits in between the battle rambling on the greatness of desires and births.
    • Kamen Rider Wizard had "Hope" or more poignantly "Last Hope". Haruto denotes himself as "The Last Hope", as his parents' dying wishes are for him to be hope for everyone. His mentor even adapts the "Last Hope" title and calls him "One of the Last Hopes", as his hope is to revive Koyomi. Near the end, Koyomi asks Haruto to be her "Last Hope" before she dies for good and Haruto even states that getting the Philosopher's Stone so he could put Koyomi's soul to rest is his "Last Hope".
  • Life: "There were six. There is five. There could just as easily be four." It's a death threat to Jack Reese from the other conspirators of the Bank of LA Robbery, who killed off another conspirator when he started turning against them.
  • Lost:
    • Lostpedia has a whole list of commonly used phrases on the show, many of which become arc words by the end.
    • Some of the most important Arc Words for Lost are "You can let go now".
    • The early seasons' variants on "What's inside the hatch?"/"What's the hatch?", and its later Meaningful Echo, "What lies in the shadow of the statue?"
    • Some characters get their own Arc Words, sometimes echoed and adopted by others — "fix" for Jack, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" for Locke, "coward" and "I'll see you in another life, brother!" for Desmondnote ... Hurley in particular gets several over the course of the series: "Dude"note , "You are lucky", "I'm a jinx", "What do the numbers mean?", "His/her name was X"note 
    • The word "special" comes up a lot with regard to various characters
    • characters constantly identify themselves and others as "good people" and "bad people", with much philosophical toying with how true this description actually is for and from a given character.
    • "Live together, die alone" It's even lampshaded by Rose towards the series' end, when she tells Jack that if he says "live together, die alone" to her she will have to punch him in the face.
    • And then in season 5 we get "dead is dead," "whatever happened happened," and "what's done is done."
    • And of course season six's "Drink this" and "Now we're the same."
  • Luke Cage: "Always." By the end of season one, they're lampshading how corny it's getting.
  • Medici: Masters of Florence has "A man always has a choice." spoken at various points to underline Cosimo's idealism, frustration, and finally his acceptance of his father's legacy and doing whatever it takes to win.
  • The third season of The Mentalist had "tiger tiger" (sometimes also "tiger tiger, burning bright"), a fraction of a poem by William Blake which was recited by Red John when Jane encounters him at the end of Season 2. The phrase is repeated along the season multiple times by individuals who are connected to Red John.
    • Then along came Season 6, which had "tiger tiger" again, except we now learn it's the code for members of the Blake Association, a corrupt group of high-profile law enforcement officers (FBI, CBI, and so on) of which Red John is part of.
  • Millennium Season 2: "This is who we are."
  • Minority Report (2015): "Can you see?" makes a return from the film.
  • Monk: A gift... and a curse.
  • Every episode of Mystery Hunters ends with one of the presenters saying "Remember, things are not always what they seem". This highlights how many strange occurrences, such as the ones investigated on the show, can often be explained through logic and science (or at least, have a logical theory on what caused the events) even if they at first seem to have supernatural causes.
  • Night and Day: Someone has written ‘Who Am I?’ on the wall in the catacombs, which forms a basis for much of the later narrative, including Jane Harper’s amnesia story.
  • Once Upon a Time:
  • Person of Interest:
    • Various permutations of Reese's comment to Jessica in "Mission Creep": "In the end, we're all alone and no one is coming to save you."...
    • ...and of its counterpoint: "You have to trust somebody."
    • "Can you hear me?"
  • The Pretender contained a nursery rhyme sung by Young Jarod at the very beginning of the show, which continued to appear throughout the remainder of the show, and was even sung by characters other than Jarod. Its significance was never explained.
  • The Prisoner (1967) had a creepy set of Arc Words: every time someone would say goodbye to anyone in the Village, they would form a circle over their right eye with a thumb and forefinger, tip it forward in a salute, and say "Be seeing you."
    • More Arc Words: POP, which either stood for Protect Other People, or the song "Pop Goes the Weasel," and the penny farthing bicycle that was the Village's logo. What's more, none of these were ever explained.
  • The River: "There's magic out there." And there is.
  • Sherlock has Moriarty's "I.O.U." in The Reichenbach Fall, which is echoed, in a sense, by Watson at the end of that episode when he says to Sherlock's grave, "I owe you...so much."
    • From that same season, one also gets "Stayin' Alive," which is Moriarty's ringtone and what he perceives to be the "Final Problem" (which itself could be construed as an Arc Word, when Moriarty asks Sherlock, "The final problem... Have you figured it out yet? I did tell you, but did you listen?"
    • Earlier, in The Hounds Of Baskerville, part of the plot was figuring out what "Liberty in" meant. Turns out it stands for Liberty, Indiana: the town where the HOUND Project took place.
    • Series 3 has "Redbeard",the name of Sherlock's childhood dog.
    • "Miss me?" First appeared at the very end of Series 3, originally said by Moriarty on a video, and becomes the arc words for the New Year's Special and Series 4.
    • "AMMO" for the Series 4 episode "The Six Thatchers".
    • Another word for Series 4: "Sherrinford". It's not the name of a third Holmes brother, like many people predicted, but rather, the name of an asylum that houses the third Holmes sibling, Eurus Holmes, actually Sherlock and Mycroft's sister.
  • The Spartacus series has "A man must accept his fate or be destroyed by it.", "There's always a choice.", "Spartacus must/shall/will wall", "Kill them all", "A gladiator does not fear death".
  • In Stargate SG-1, a saying that pops up a lot of the times Ascension is discussed goes, "If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, the meal was cooked a long time ago." None of the Ascended Ancients ever elaborates on what that means, and by the end of the series none of the main cast get it either. It turns into something of a Running Gag.
    • It also becomes a Trust Password in one situation, where Daniel recognizes a fake Ancient by her failure to understand the phrase.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Season 2 keeps mentioning "The Dominion" until in the season finale "The Jem'Hadar" they're finally revealed as an Evil Empire (kind of an anti-Federation) of fanatical religious zealots who clone and genetically enhance/imprint their diplomats and soldiers with loyalty and see all the regular Star Trek powers (Federation, Romulan Empire, Klingon Empire etc) as threats that must be absorbed or destroyed. Their "Gods" are really just shapeshifting aliens and most of the regular empires recognize this.
    • "No Changeling has ever harmed another." This is the reason Odo gets locked into human form in the Season 4 finale - he killed a Changeling.
    • The Prophets continuously tell Sisko "We are of Bajor. You are of Bajor." In the season 7 opener it's revealed that Sisko's mother was a Prophet.
  • Taken has a couple, reinforcing that ideas will get passed down form generation to generation. The Clark family has one phrase about Love, the Crawfords have one that revolves around fear, and the aliens have one that's just plain threatening.
    Crawford: All your memories play at once. All your memories and all your fears.
    Clark: I love you. Every day and twice on Sundays.
    Alien/Half Alien: Look at me. IMMINENT MINDRAPE
  • Taken:
    • From "High Hopes" onwards, the phrase "All your memories and all your fears" frequently comes up in relation to the ability possessed by the aliens and Half Human Hybrids to use their Psychic Powers to Mind Rape people.
    • Three generations of the Clarke family, Sally, Jacob and Lisa, all express their affection for their children using the same phrase: "I love you. Every day and twice on Sundays."
    • When Jacob Mind Rapes Travis and later Owen Crawford in "Jacob and Jesse", he says, "Look at me." In "God's Equation", when Allie is about to save her father Charlie, she says, "Look at me, Dad." In "John", when Mary sees a manifestation of Owen on the ship that Allie created and asks what he saw when Jacob showed him all of his memories and all of his fears, he says, "Then look at me, Mary. Look at me" and induces it into her.
    • In the first three episodes, Owen says, "You're the sun and the moon to me. The sun and the moon" to three women: Sue, his eventual wife Anne and Sally. He murders Sue in "Beyond the Sky" and Anne in "High Hopes". He doesn't kill Sally but he does ruin her life by breaking her heart and kidnapping her son Jacob in "Jacob and Jesse".
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles gets one in late season two: Will You Join Us?
    • "Come with me if you want to live" and "I'd die for John Connor".
  • Threshold has a fractal triskelion pattern that appears throughout the series. Though it is explained in the first episode as a representation of a triple helix, and the characters consider its mere presence to be evidence of an infectee, its true nature is never explained.
  • Torchwood:
    • The latter part of the first season has multiple people saying that something's coming, from "the darkness." It refers to two things: the moment Abbadon is freed from the Cardiff Rift, but this is a Red Herring- the true meaning of the arc words is revealed after Owen is shot dead and Jack decides to resurrect him with an alien gauntlet. Owen Came Back Wrong with an entity from the netherworld possessing him, a being calling itself Duroc that looked like the Grim Reaper. It killed everything it touched, and went barreling for Jack on sight, who had repeatedly cheated death since Rose used the time vortex to give him immortality.
    • Starting toward the end of season 1, we have "the most horrible creatures you could possibly imagine". We still don't know what they are, but in the middle of season 2, we find out their significance — they kidnapped and tortured Jack's younger brother, who later returns with an almighty grudge.
  • True Blood: Various supernatural creatures narmfully ask Sookie "What are you?" Turns out she is a fairy.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): "To Serve Man... it's a cookbook!"
  • "Fire, walk with me" from Twin Peaks (it was even the name of The Movie that was made after its cancellation).
    • Found under the fingernails of various murder victims were what we might call Arc Letters — R, B, R. Which all appear in the name Robert, a diminutive of which is Bob, the name of the villain.
    • Another example is the phrase "j'ai une âme solitaire", meaning "I have a lonely soul" in French.
    • The Giant's first appearance in the second season premiere gave us a number of cryptic clues, the most long-reaching of which was "The owls are not what they seem."
  • United States of Tara: "You will not win..." for Season 3.
  • V (2009): "John May lives." It's even used as a password... on Anna's ship. You'd think checking to see if that phrase was in any of the files in the ship's computer would have been the first thing they tried when they were looking for the Fifth Column...
  • Vintergatan had "...And remember, anything can happen in space." Plain enough on paper, but it always sounded like foreshadowing.
  • Warehouse 13: Knock Knock.
  • "What's next?" from The West Wing, a phrase that may have originated with President Bartlet himself. Also, the duo of "I serve at the pleasure of the president" and "The president is asking you to serve."
  • Westworld has a few throughout the first season.
    • The Shakespeare quote that causes the robot hosts to malfunction: "These violent delights have violent ends."
    • When a host's perception filter kicks in, it might say, "Doesn't look like anything to me."
    • Various hosts tell the first season's antagonist that "the Maze isn't meant for you."
  • The Wire: Several, but most memorably, "All in the game".
  • The X-Files
    • "The truth is out there."
    • "I want to believe."
    • "Trust no one."


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