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Darkest Hours in western animation TV.


  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Season Four Finale "The Disaster" involved Rob using the reality-warping Universal Remote to systematically ruin Gumball's life by tearing his family apart with Darwin running away, Richard and Nicole arguing into a divorce, making Gumball lose track of Anais, and then breaks his girlfriend Penny's heart before pushing her from the upper floor into her likely death just as Rob paused the moment to rub it into Gumball. Then he drops the bombshell to Gumball on the world they are in not being real for it is a TV show and uses the remote to try to send him into the Void. After their fight, Rob throws his thought-to-be-dead remote to the Void to get rid of Gumball... with the latter able to reach it and rewind to the beginning to prevent the disaster from happening.
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    • Season Five Premiere and Part 2 "The Rerun" has the Darkest Hour of the series gets even darker! Gumball travels back to the beginning with the knowledge of the last episode to stop Rob by successfully warning Darwin and Anais of him. However, things go From Bad to Worse when Rob uses the Universal Remote to rewind Nicole and Richard into babies. This leads to a time paradox that causes the Watterson kids to cease existence from youngest to oldest as they wouldn't be able to raise them as children. Anais ceases to exist despite fighting Rob, Darwin who was adopted by Richard in "The Origins" and evolved because of his bond with Gumball turns back into a normal fish and because he is out of water when it happens... he dies out of suffocation in front of a horrified Gumball who teared up. When Rob taunts him about it, Gumball goes Berserker Tears on him... only for Rob to dodge and use the remote to Fast Forward crashing into Penny and pushing her into her death before Rob pauses into that moment. Even Gumball admits this is worse than the last time he tried to stop Rob.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has two potential candidates.
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    • One is the "Crossroads of Destiny" where Zuko does not complete his Heel–Face Turn, Azula backshoots Aang with lightning, nearly killing him, and the previously impenetrable Earth Kingdom Capital Ba Sing Se falls to the Fire Nation.
    • Another is the "Day of the Black Sun" where Sokka tries to lead an invasion of the Fire Nation during a solar eclipse. Instead, we learn that Azula knew about the invasion all along and the Fire Nation was ready. The end result was that the invasion failed, virtually all the troops were sent to prison, and the few remaining children had to hide out in the Western Air Temple. But it wasn't all bad—the thing keeping it from being a total downer (as opposed to the fall of Ba Sing Se) was Zuko's long-awaited real Heel–Face Turn, heralded by an epic Calling the Old Man Out scene and badass lightning redirection.
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    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has one in Book 1 when Amon and his Equalists have taken over Republic City, and benders are having their bending taken away. Korra and her friends have to hide from the invasion, and the help they receive from General Iroh II goes haywire.
    • Book 2 is even more heartwrenching. Unalaq has managed to fuse with the ultimate dark spirit Vaatu, becoming a Dark Avatar, and he and Korra duke it out. But then...Vaatu pulls Raava out of Korra and brutally kills her, shattering Korra's connection with her past lives. As if that wasn't enough, Unalaq then grows to enormous size and starts wreaking havoc on Republic City.
  • Happens a lot in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • The first season premier has the massive breakout of the 4 super villain prisons, forcing all of the superheroes to unite against them.
    • Then Kang's massive invasion forces has swarmed all over the Earth, which forces Ant-Man to use his Ultron army.
    • After that Ultron nearly succeeds in a global nuclear apocalypse. Whew!
  • The last episode(s) of Danny Phantom where an asteroid is about to come hurtling towards Earth. Several attempts to create a Hope Spot occurs when the world sends missiles towards it, but they ultimately fail and the planet is left to bide their time till their doom. The protagonist and titular character has gotten rid of his ghost powers and the villain offers everyone another hope spot...in return for being named ruler of the world.
  • Disenchantment:By the end of season 1, everyone in Dreamland has been turned to stone, Bean is kidnapped by her mother, Luci is also captured, and poor poor Elfo is dead.
  • In the Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score", the Darkest Hour comes when the scammer aliens manage to buy out the Earth and exile its inhabitants to the moons of Neptune. The Earthicans end up teaming up with Robot Santa to take back their home.
  • The season one finale of Gravity Falls, "Gideon Rises". Gideon Gleeful takes over the Mystery Shack and plots to turn it into an amusement park dedicated to himself, Dipper and Mabel not only fail to get it back but lose Journal 3 in the process, and Grunkle Stan is prepared to send the twins home because he won't be able to take care of them over the summer.
    • "Dipper and Mabel vs the Future" takes it Up to Eleven, with Bill Cipher starting the apocalypse by tricking an emotionally compromised Mabel into giving him the Rift.
    • "Weirdmaggedon" takes it even further. Bill has turned Gravity Falls into a weird apocalyptic wasteland, captured a large number of people, including Ford, the only one who knew of Bill's weakness, and destroyed the Journals, the only other source of information on Bill, before sicking his lackeys on Dipper.
  • Justice League Unlimited season finales:
    • The season 3 series finale: Darkseid has been resurrected and leads his armies in an all out attack on Earth, forcing all the superheroes and supervillains to join forces to save Earth.
    • The Season 2 finale is even more bleak: Braniac and Luthor are merged together, and the reserve League is occupied, dealing with the aftermath of Cadmus' attack on the Watchtower, leaving just the original seven to fight him. Near the end, Braniac!Luthor is about to destroy Earth and has knocked out everyone but the Flash, who gets scared and runs away -or so the evil duo thought.
  • Kim Possible has had two of these moments, both in the original and second Grand Finales.
    • In the first, Kim is devastated from being played by Drakken, who is about to unleash an army of powerful robots all across the world.
    • In the second, Kim has been captured by Alien Invaders while the planet is overwhelmed by alien walkers. The second is probably the closest the world has ever been to being taken over.
  • A lot of moments come close in Miraculous Ladybug, the runner up goes to "Mayura"; after Ladybug and Chat Noir's team are akumatized and left to fight an army on their own. However, the definitive winner goes to "Heart Hunter". The episode ends with Master Fu kidnapped by Hawk Moth, Chloe is willingly akumatized and betrays the heroes, Marinette gives up on her love for Adrien, allowing Kagami to pursue him before finally breaking down in Luka's arm under the weight of all her responsibilities.
  • Happens to the titular Motorcity in the first part of the finale "Vega": Mike Chilton has been arrested and is to be executed, KaneCo bots are running amok and the Genesis Pod has been planted, the latter of which is set to wipe out the entire city and its people.
  • At the end of the first episode of season two of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Discord has won, most of the heroes have been broken and brainwashed, the Elements of Harmony, the only thing that can possibly stop him, are in his grasp, and he's ready to unleash a storm of chaos upon Equestria.
  • ReBoot: The city is completely ruined, only the principal office has any power, and it's impossible to repair the city. The remaining population is holed up in the principal office and doesn't have the supplies to last very long. And to make matters worse a game has landed which will crash the entire system when the User wins. The only way out of this mess is to invoke a Deus ex Machina and pray for the User to intervene as the system crashes and everything fades to black. A couple of key strokes from the User and everything is fixed, including bringing back the dead.
  • Samurai Jack Episode C; Just when it looks like Jack is going to make headway in his mission to destroy Aku, with his Love Interest Ashi at his side, the demon himself shows up and discovers that Ashi is his biological daughter, a fact he gleefully exploits to get Jack and Ashi to fight. Then, he forcefully transforms Ashi into a demonic female replica of himself, Ashi trying and failing to fight the corruption before begging Jack for a Mercy Kill. Jack cannot go through with it and surrenders, with the last shot of the episode being Aku holding the sword in triumph while the samurai sits slumped over in defeat.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Being Star Wars, several episodes have Darkest Hour moments, some resulting in a Downer Ending in the middle of an arc.
    • "Weapons Factory": Outside the factory, ray-shielded Separatist super tanks are tearing through Anakin and Luminara's troops and blowing them to kingdom come, and inside the factory, Ahsoka is knocked out (again), and the Geonosians steal the explosives that were going to be used to blow the reactor, throwing a monkey wrench into Ahsoka and Barriss's operation.
    • "Wookiee Hunt": During the final fight on the Trandoshans' floating fortress, they shoot down the hijacked speeder drivven by O-Mer, and our heroes our downed on the floor with the Trandos pointing their weapons at Ahsoka, the teenaged younglings, and Chewbacca, and Garnac gloats that Ahsoka will make a prize trophy (her skin at least) to his "hunting collection". Thankfully, the bounty hunter, Sugi arrives to save the day with a squad of Wookies who got the transmission from the at first not working transmitter built by Chewbacca!
    • At the end of "Gungan Attack", Riff Tamson and his Sepratist forces have defeated and captured the Republic/Mon Calamari/Gungan Army and stands victorious on Mon Calamari, with only Ahsoka and Prince Lee-Char uncaptured.
    • At the end of the first half of Season Four, "Slaves of the Republic", our heroes are all captured and enslaved by the Zygerrians and have no hope of escape, with Anakin as the Zygerrian queen's personal servant, Ahsoka caged above the queen's palace and being tortured without pity or mercy by the prime minister of Zygerria, and Obi-Wan and Rex broken by the keeper of the Zygerrian slave hub on Kadavo. It carries over to the next episode, "Escape from Kadavo".
    • In "Escape From Kadavo", during the rescue mission, Keeper Agruss activates the floor trap to the Togruta slaves' cell and breaks the controls to prevent Obi-Wan and Rex from turning it off, and Plo Koon can't move his ship for the rescue mission until the ray-shielded enemy cannons are destroyed, which are shooting at Plo Koon's fighter and gunship squadron.
  • Naturally, Star Wars Rebels continues the trend.
    • In the season 2 premier, "The Siege of Lothal", the defecting Minister Tua is killed as the Rebels try to bring her to safety and they are framed by the Empire for her murder. Darth Vader effortlessly dominates the entire group, then lets them escape in order to find the Rebel fleet. He proceeds to single-handedly decimate the fleet. Suring the battle, Ahsoka senses the horrible truth that Vader is her mentor and friend Anakin Skywalker, while Vader likewise senses that Ahoska is still alive. And while the surviving Rebels (including the main cast) escape, the effort to liberate Lothal that had been the focus of the entire first season is rendered a complete failure, with the Imperial presence on Ezra's homeworld being larger and more oppressive than ever.
    • In the season 2 finale, "Twilight of the Apprentice", on the ancient Sith world Malachor, the group encounters Darth Maul, who subtly tempts Ezra toward the Dark Side and then blinds Kanan. And the Sith Temple that Maul tricked Ezra into unlocking via a Sith Holocron turns out to be a planet-killing superweapon. Ezra pleads with the Holocron's AI to shut down the weapon, saying he doesn't want it, but the Holocron responds that if Ezra doesn't want the power, maybe the one outside the door will. Ezra looks out and discovers that it's not Maul as might be expected. It's worse. It's Darth Vader. Kanan and Ezra manage to shut down the weapon by removing the Holocron, but barely escape with their lives. Ahsoka, however, doesn't escape at all, with it being ambiguous whether she died or is "merely" trapped forever in the Sith Temple.
  • Steven Universe has a few examples;
    • Perhaps the biggest was in I Am My Mom. The episode, and Season 4 as a whole, ends with Steven and Lars being taken off to Homeworld by Gems who believe Steven to be Rose Quartz, Steven has his opinion of his mother has fallen so far that he actually blames her for the Gem War, while the rest of the Crystal Gems are stuck on Earth with no apparent way to reach them.
    • In Reunited, Yellow Diamond joins the fray, taking out Peridot and Lapis in one shot and incapacitating Steven, and we get to hear the desperation in everyone's mind. Only by Steven's interference did they get the courage to keep fighting, and for the Diamonds to stop their assault.
    • Escapism has Steven and Connie being trapped inside a dark room with seemingly no means of escape, Blue and Yellow Diamond have turned against them, and the rest of the Crystal Gems are poofed, helpless to do anything about what may happen to them. Steven uses his psychic powers to get help.
  • Every season of Teen Titans has one of these occur during the season finale.
    • Season 1: The Teen Titans are infected with nanobots that will kill them upon Slade's command. To save their lives, Robin swears to serve Slade as his apprentice.
    • Season 2: Terra casts aside all compassion she once felt for the Teen Titans, ruthlessly attacks and attempts to kill them, and helps Slade conquer the city.
    • Season 3: Cyborg quits the Teen Titans so he can be leader of Titans East. Titans East, however, are under Brother Blood's psychic control.
    • Season 4: Trigon arises and kills everyone on the face of the Earth except for Slade and the Teen Titans.
    • Season 5: Though not technically the season finale, the culmination of the story arc involved the Brotherhood of Evil kidnapping every teenage superhero on the planet (with only five or six exceptions). The actual season finale also fulfilled this trope, at least if you were a Beast Boy/Terra shipper.
  • The concept of the "Darkest Hour" is a major part of Transformers philosophy, signifying a threat that seems to blot out all hope in the universe. The way to avert it is to bring all Transformers together against whatever threatens them - thus the phrase "Till All Are One". The animated movie is the example of this, but it recurs throughout different continuities:
    • Beast Wars (and its sequel series, Beast Machines) is more or less the completion of the original continuity that includes the G1 the movie, and has several believable "darkest hours" in season finales, namely the potential re-writing of the space/time continuum, and the complete fall of Cybertron to Megatron. However, the series finale of Beast Wars in particular reveals the importance of the phrasing "Darkest Hour" and its historical and mythical weight, in phrasing from the pseudo-religious text the "Covenant of Primus", Primus being the Transformers' creator god. Such phrases include "the stone of their protection shall rise upward forever and ever, as they who live and war as beasts confront their final cycle" and "In the spark of an enemy, there will be salvation, and in the darkest hour, there will be a light."
    • The season 2 finale of Transformers: Prime, a show in another continuity but which also has a Covenant of Primus, actually has "Darkest Hour'' as its title. And it is.
  • In X-Men: Evolution we have the season two finale, "The Day of Reckoning", where an Enemy Mine between the X-Men and Brotherhood against Magneto's newly formed Acolytes turns out to be a trap (more so for the former) as they come face-to-face with a Sentinel. Magneto uses the situation to expose mutants to the world at large even as they fight for their lives against the Killer Robot. Even after the Sentinel is destroyed, several members of the team were captured in the fight, Wolverine among them, the Xavier Institution has been destroyed, and the Professor is missing, having been replaced by Mystique at some point, all the while the authorities are hunting down mutants as hysteria ensues across the country.


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