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- 7 Yüz: Pınar's diffident and clumsy persona is established within the first minutes "Hayatın Musikisi", when she nearly stumbles over a janitor's cart on her way to the office and fails to make small talk with a colleague while riding the elevator.
- Every single person on 24 gets one of these, to the extent that Television Without Pity has started timing how many seconds it takes a new castmember to establish their character. (The record is Morris O'Brien, at 4.)
- In the pilot of 30 Rock, Liz "buying all the hot dogs" and the tour de force that is Jack's first scene.
- In Alphas, nearly all the main characters get one. Nina uses her powers to get out of a speeding ticket, Bill uses his to shove a van out of the way, and Gary flips through electromagnetic wavelengths while measuring out the precise amount of milk for his cereal.
- Ashes to Ashes (2008) had three of the same characters from Life On Mars, but manages to give them each an ECM for those members of the audience who weren't familiar with LOM. Gene Hunt's tour-de-force entrance - "Today, my friend, your diary entry will read, 'Took a prozzie hostage and was shot by three armed bastards.'" - Ray bouncing Markham's head off the Quattro, and Chris's insistent "I'm not nervous. I'm just cautious.". For the new characters, Shaz's is her dancing to the Walkman, and Alex's know-it-all use of finger quotes when she talks to Gene, calling him a construct.
- The Austin & Ally pilot gives us, Trish announcing her newest job... and how incompetent she is, Ally enforcing store rules, Dez clumsily filming, and Austin playing drums... with corndogs.
- Babylon has a few in its pilot:
- Liz is first seen giving her TED Talk on the new era of public relations, using her own nervousness as an example of how to utilize honesty. Within minutes, she makes it clear that the PR aspect is just as important to her as the idealism.
- In a silent scene, Richard insists that Tom steps closer to an active drone, for no apparent reason. Tom obeys despite being visibly terrified, laying the foundation for his position as the series' Butt-Monkey.
- Finn sits on the toilet, watching Liz's TED Talk on his phone, and spits on the screen when she claims "the PR game as we know it is over".
- Members of a TSG unit try to give a warm welcome to the cameraman accompanying them by hazing him.
- In Babylon 5, Londo gets one for not only himself but the entire Centauri Republic in the pilot movie.There was a time when this whole quadrant belonged to us! What are we now? Twelve worlds and a thousand monuments to past glories. Living off memories and stories, and selling trinkets. My god, man! We've become a tourist attraction. "See the great Centauri Republic - open 9 to 5 - Earth time."
- The Shadows get a good one too. Up until their arrival, the recurring villains have been a group of raiders: simple, money-oriented pirates with considerably less armament than any actual military. Then we discover that they have a lot better equipment than we thoughts, and can fight right up against the station and get away with it, and have high-ranked contacts in the Centauri government, and are smart enough to avoid overreaching, and are about to double or triple their threat level... And then a Shadow Battlecrab shimmers into existence next to them — breaking the established rules of how you reach normal space — and wipes them out in one shot. With enough precision to leave a piece of jewelry inside the ship intact.
- Band of Brothers:
- Captain Ron Speirs has a very memorable first scene, wherein he offers cigarettes to a group of German POVs and then promptly guns them all down. This cements his reputation as a Blood Knight, in-universe as well.
- Buck Compton getting reprimanded for gambling and getting overly chummy with his men.
- Captain Sobel revoking an entire company's weekend passes for a couple of minor offenses.
- Janovec fraternizing with a German girl.
- Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome: In the very first scene, Bill Adama's in a dogfight with two Raiders. When he gets his Viper's windscreen damaged destroying one, he jettisons it despite the radiation hazard and uses his handgun to destroy the other. It also foreshadows/Calls Forward to his mature self's tolerance of Starbuck's antics.
- In the first few episodes of The Big Bang Theory they manage to firmly establish each character's personality fairly well.
- In the pilot we learn everything we needed to know about Sheldon when Penny accidentally stole "his spot".Sheldon: Um Penny...that's where I sit.
Penny: [flirtingly] Sit next to me.
Sheldon: [clueless] ...no, I sit there.
Penny: What's the difference?
Sheldon: "What's the difference?"
Leonard: Here we go.
Sheldon: In the winter that seat is close enough to the radiator to remain warm, and yet not so close as to cause perspiration. In the summer, it's directly in the path of a cross-breeze created by opening windows there and there. It faces the television at an angle that is neither direct, thus discouraging conversation, nor so far wide as to create a parallax distortion. I could go on, but I think I've made my point.
- Leonard's moment is basically the entire pilot, his friendly demeanor leads him to invite the pretty girl to lunch but his desire to get close to her also leads him to do stupid things to get on her good side.
- Howard's first scene has him awkwardly hitting on Penny in multiple languages and trying to act suave and cool even while offering her a juice box.
- Penny's moment comes in the second episode when she gets outraged that Sheldon cleaned up her apartment when she was sleeping using their spare key, but after some time to cool down and work it out she freely forgave them.
- Raj's moment also comes in the second episode when he manages to have an entire conversation with Penny without him saying a word, also including his mind wandering off while Penny kept on talking.
- Amy's first scene solidifies her very well as being Sheldon's Distaff Counterpart, to the point Howard (who found her through a dating site prank) exclaimed "My God, What Have I Done?."
- Bernadette's key scene came in her second episode when Howard tries to apologize for his rude behavior by doing this over-the-top declaration of love while playing the keyboard at the restaurant she worked at. Penny responded with a Face Palm but Bernadette smiled brightly and considered it the most romantic thing anyone has done for her.
- In the pilot we learn everything we needed to know about Sheldon when Penny accidentally stole "his spot".
- Black Books opens with Bernard ignoring a customer while on the phone to his accountant. When the customer tries to get his attention, he writes "On phone" on a post-it note and sticks it on his forehead. He then proceeds to make fun of the customers admittedly strange request ("I need to know if they're real leather because they have to go with a sofa.") to the point of outright preventing a sale. "Sorry, I need leather-bound pounds or they won't go with my wallet". Next, Manny enters searching for The Little Book of Calm and Bernard proceeds to agitate him as much as he can. Then, to cap the scene off, he kicks everyone out of the shop to close up in the early afternoon and visit his accountant.
- This scene also establishes Bernard's love of books as he refuses to sell the man Charles Dickens books when he is only interested in their appearance.
- Blake's 7:
- Vila trying and failing to steal Blake's watch.
- Avon keeping to himself as Blake formulates an escape plan, then chiming in with technical details as to how the doors work for no reason other than to show how smart he is.Vila: Blake, Kerr Avon. When it comes to computers, he's the number two man in all Federated Worlds.
Nova: Who's number one?
Vila: The guy who caught him. [To Avon] You've got nothing to be ashamed of. D'you know, he came close to stealing five million credits out of the Federation Banking System.
Blake: What went wrong?
Avon: I relied on other people.
- Gan threatening to tear a guard's hand off to open a door.
- Cally surprising Blake, knocking him down, pointing a gun at him and communicating with him telepathically.
- Dayna's Big Damn Heroes moment by saving Avon from some angry natives with her bow and arrow.
- Tarrant, disguised as a Federation officer, casually introducing himself to Avon and Dayna and asking what they're doing on his ship.
- Boardwalk Empire does well with these too.
- Nucky Thompson tells a story to the Temperance League about how he had to catch rats for his family to eat because his alcoholic father couldn't support them. Just afterward, he tells his driver it was all a lie: "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story."
- In season 3, Gyp Rosetti and his boys are stuck in the middle of nowhere trying and failing to change a flat tire. A good Samaritan stops and offers some "3-in-1" to help them get the lugnuts off. When Rosetti doesn't know what that is, and the man comments that obviously it's a kind of oil, Rosetti is so offended by this seeming disrespect that he kills the man. And then steals his little dog, cementing his status as easily offended, psychotic, and bizarrely eccentric.
- The very first scene of Breaking Bad is of Walter White recording a video confession to his family when he thinks that he's about to be busted for cooking meth. Though seemingly innocuous on first watch, Walt's argument in his own defense—that he only had the best intentions, and wanted to provide for his family—gives valuable insight into how he rationalizes his criminal acts; the series that follows is essentially one long dismantling of that claim, as we gradually find out that it's not nearly as true as Walt wants it to be. As several people have pointed out, the specific phrasing of Walt's claim ("I only had you in my heart!") is particularly telling, as it can be understood both as "I only wanted to help you!" and "I don't care what happens to anyone but you!"
- Also, on his first mission out with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, Todd Alquist murders a child in cold blood just because the child saw them (and Walt said earlier that no one can know they were there).
- The first scene of the first episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine features Detective Jake Peralta goofing around in an electronics store that's been burgled while his more strait-laced partner Amy Santiago questions the owner. Initially, his smart-ass, flippant and immature behaviour makes him look like he's just going to a dumb goofball detective until he reveals he got there several minutes before Santiago, dug around the place on a hunch and located a camera that secretly recorded the burglars as they were robbing the place. The scene thus clearly establishes him as immature and goofy, but smart and competent at his job.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In the first episode, Giles attempts to remind Buffy of her duties, she sneers, "Blah, blah, I've heard it okay?" Cements her character pretty solidly, but she has many much cooler moments.
- Darla's very first scene is the first scene of the first episode. Well, you know the plot, so it isn't a spoiler that the cute blonde in the Catholic schoolgirl outfit being led astray by the tough guy in the biker jacket is not an innocent. It's Darla, luring him into a place where she can rip his throat out. Not only an ECM for Darla but a defining moment for the show and a scene with a gigantic HSQ for the unprepared.
- The pilot episode has Xander babbling incoherently when confronted with a pretty girl (Buffy).
- Cordelia seeming nice until she's confronted with shy, nerdy Willow.
- Willow herself eating lunch alone and offering to move when someone comes to sit in her spot. More specifically, Willow talks about losing her Barbie doll as a child and when Buffy asks if she got it back, Willow replies happily "Most of it" as if this was a positive. Saying the line that way got Alyson Hannigan the role and it establishes the character for the first three seasons.
- Spike's very first scene in "School Hard" is smashing into a "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign in his car and strutting out wearing a leather coat and Sid Vicious mannerisms. He proceeds to march up to the current villains all vamped out, Offhand Backhand one of them and boast about how he can solve their problems for them... and then at the sight of his ill girlfriend, immediately take off the vamp face and insist that she should be resting. He then gives her his jacket without hesitation when she complains of cold. Establishes his character well... but then at the end of the episode he kills the previous season's Chosen One villain and his prophecy devoted mooks saying that from now on there would be less ritual and more fun which sets him up as the new Big Bad and his role of subverting the traditional ancient villain behavior.
- Riley's friend Forrest seemed nice enough until he suggested that they use Buffy as bait to lure Spike.
- Richard Wilkins asking the deputy mayor to show his hands.
- Mr. Trick greets a drive-in guy then eats him.
- Faith casually beating up a vamp while greeting Buffy.
- The very first thing Adam does upon being created is impale his "mother" Maggie Walsh For the Evulz.
- When we first see Giles, Buffy asks him about books (she means school books) and he gleefully slams a thick tome with the title "Vampyr" in front of her. It's clear from there on that Giles will be a constant source of supernatural book smarts for the slayer.
- Spike roughs up the Anointed One's minions but then an Ominous Music Box Tune rises and everyone turns to see this spooky woman in white. Drusilla has arrived.
- The Judge disintegrating Dalton because he likes reading too much.
- Oz explaining his decision not to become a Corporate Computer Suit Guy... or a work-of-any-kind guy.
- At the Wiccan meeting where we first see her, Tara sits on the floor because she doesn't have the confidence to insist on a chair. She perks up when Willow mentions magic, but then stutters and retreats when all the attention is on her.
- Burn Notice
- The first we see of Michael Westen is him being cut off by the titular notice in the middle of making a payment to a warlord. Since he can no longer come up with the money, the warlord promptly orders him killed. Mike lures his captors into the bathroom, uses his signature Combat Pragmatist ways to take them out, then escapes on a nearby motorbike. Then he lures the warlord's men, who are chasing him in a car, into crashing in the middle of a marketplace, which causes everyone there to point guns at them while Michael makes his way to the airport. Cool head in a crisis, a good fighter, a gift for improvisation, and a Batman Gambit that lures his stronger foes into a vulnerable position: Michael Westen, ladies and gents.
- Fiona's is her sitting at Michael's bedside in a Miami hotel room, kicking him awake and then picking a fight while flirting with him.
- The first view we get of Sam Axe is him flirting with a hot girl in a bikini and drinking, putting the "Crouching Moron" in Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
- Madeline doesn't even have to be onscreen for hers - Fiona tells Michael his mother knows he's in Miami, and all you see is Michael's terrified reaction, as well as his voiceover admission that Maddie should have been a communications specialist for the NSA. She later shows up to nag Michael into taking her to the hospital for imaginary medical problems and nag him about never spending any time at home.
- Jesse shooting his way out of an ambush after he was sold out by his handler showed he wasn't just some desk jockey.
- Carla, before even appearing in person, directed Michael to the site of a nasty shootout and a terrified, Bound and Gagged man who, as she explained, had tried to escape her organization with his family, who are now hostages: she's the ruthless, manipulative handler who will not accept your resignation.
- Victor, the subject of the page quote, meets Michael in a chess park, makes some graphically violent "jokes", and when Michael tests him, threatens to shoot him in the crotch: He's Michael's Laughing Mad, Ax-Crazy Evil Counterpart.
- Larry shows up smiling, laughing, joking with Michael, and offering to cut him in on a murder-for-hire job: he's a Friendly Enemy with aspirations to The Corrupter.
- Brennen is introduced having already kidnapped a child to extort cooperation from his mother, circumvents the heroes' intervention without even knowing about them by strapping a hidden bomb to the kid, walking away clean with everything he wanted, and being incredibly smug about it: he's evil and unfortunately an Insufferable Genius.
- Psycho for Hire Gilroy has his when he, as Michael puts it, "introduces himself by firebombing a hotel room."
- Castle is at a party where he is signing the breasts of an attractive woman. His teenage daughter and his mother are both present: doing her homework and scouting for singles, respectively. As Castle mentions his boredom of the celebrity life to his daughter, someone taps on his shoulder. He turns around and immediately likes what he sees. He asks her where she'd like her signature...and Beckett flashes her badge and drags him down to the precinct. Thus begins a beautiful partnership.
- The very first glimpses we see of Castle and Beckett individually tell us all about who they are before we even hear them speak. When we first see Castle, he's all smiles and charm, flirting with the ladies, signing books and being the centre of attention, but the camera frequently cuts away from him to show what's happening all around the party — he's charming, lively, ostentatious and fun, but for all the noise and fun of the celebrity lifestyle we get the sense he's getting a bit lost and unfocussed inside of it. When we first see Beckett, she's walking down a darkened corridor towards a murder scene with a sober, driven expression on her face, with the camera very tightly close-up on her face except when it cuts away to the scene of the crime; she's driven, focussed and determined, but we get the sense that her life is a bit dark, she doesn't have very much fun and there's not much else for her outside of her work. They kind of need each other, in other words.
- Cheers, Diane is stopping in at a bar in the opening segment of the first episode. Temporarily abandoned, she hears the phone ringing, answers it, and then Sam walks in. His mouth is full, so he uses body language to tell her how to handle the caller. It's quite obvious Sam is pantomiming a haircut, but Diane declares to the woman on the phone, "He had to go to mime class!" When Diane hangs up, Sam asks her what the message is. "You're a magnificent pagan beast." "Thanks. What's the message?" Not soon after, Coach answers the phone and asks loudly to the bar, "Is there an Ernie Pantuso here?" Sam replies, "That's you, Coach". Coach then responds to the caller, "Speaking!" The astonished look on Diane's face cannot be described with words.
- Chicago P.D. opens with Hank Voight giving a death glare to a frightened and beaten drug dealer, forcing him to drive outside Chicago city limits. Voight then gets out of the car, kicks his ass some more, gets him to give up his supplier, takes his money (four thousand dollars of it), and tells him that if he ever steps inside Chicago again, he'll kill him. Then he leaves him a hundred bucks for bus fare.
- Bryce Larkin's first scene in Chuck, immediately after Chuck said that he thought Bryce was an accountant. Cut to Bryce, falling from a ceiling.Bryce Larkin (not an accountant)
- In "Pilot":
- The whole episode is one long ECM for Jeff, establishing his Anti-Hero status.
- The series begins with Dean Pelton giving a speech to the campus. He starts by going on about how they've all heard that community college is for losers, then says "That's what you've heard. However: I wish you luck! Wait... there was a middle part of that speech, if you see a card..."
- Abed notes how much the study group is like The Breakfast Club.
- Britta almost sees through Jeff's claim to be a tutor, and challenges him to say "I actually tutor Spanish" in Spanish. However, she knows so little Spanish herself that she can't tell what he's actually saying and just assumes he got the answer right, meaning that asking was completely pointless.
- Jeff mentions that Duncan "seemed less concerned with ethics the day [Jeff] convinced twelve of [Duncan's] peers that when [Duncan] did a U-turn on a freeway and tried to order chalupas from an emergency call box, [his] only real crime was being an American."
- Pierce introduces the rest of the study group to Jeff-and gets all of their names wrong, except for himself and Shirley.
- Shirley's passive-aggressiveness is established when she responds to Annie's insinuation that she's made "bad life decisions" by saying "Well, Im sure Ive made bad life decisions. [...] And maybe Annies decisions will be better. And I think she should decide whether she wants to be considered a child or an adult, because a child gets pity, but not respect, and adults can get respect but they can also get grabbed by the hair and have their faces put through jukeboxes."
- In the second episode, Chang's rant about how he's a "SPANISH GENIUS" at the beginning of class establishes his insanity.
- In "Pilot":
- Criminal Minds:
- The pilot episode "Extreme Aggressor" gives us a few ECM's. Gideon has two, first when he has a bit of Sensory Overload and completes the profile hours before anyone else, and second, when he takes on the Footpath Killer completely unarmed. Morgan's is his flirting with the FBI trainees. Reid's is his rattling off of his eidetic memory, IQ level, and the fact that he can read 20,000 words a minute and concluding with a deadpan "yes, I'm a genius". Hotch's is when he confesses to Gideon that the reason he keeps shooting down Haley's choices for baby names is that they're all first names of well-known serial killers. Elle's is her startling transformation from Innocent Bystander to Action Girl when she gets the UnSub to walk into a house with her, then cuffs him before he can flee. Garcia's is her phone banter with Morgan:Morgan: I thought I was calling the Office of Supreme Genius.
Garcia: Well, gorgeous, you've been re-routed to the Office of Too-Frickin'-Bad.
- Emily Prentiss joins the team in "The Last Word", but doesn't get hers until "Lessons Learned", when she proves her usefulness to the team by speaking flawless Arabic and allowing them to realize the next suicide attack is set for the next crescent moon.
- David Rossi's very first scene, in "About Face", establishes that he's the anti-Gideon: he shoots down a bird (something always associated with Gideon).
- Ashley Seaver is introduced at an FBI training course where she beats the other trainees at figuring out a solution, showing her as quick-thinking, and when Hotch and Rossi ask her for some information, she immediately volunteers to change clothes and join their team, showing her as impulsive and somewhat reckless. These character traits sort of disappeared after her introductory episode, but they play a key role until then.
- Alex Blake is introduced with a Right Behind Me to Garcia, wherein she breaks down the etymology of the word "nice," twisting it into an insult, which shows off her focus on linguistics and also sets her up as unfriendly and confrontational, while later in the episode she withholds some profile background from the local authorities and explains to Morgan that she doesn't trust them with it because she knows they've already formed their opinions. All of which establishes her as smart (almost on par with Reid) and competent, but also someone who has trouble with teamwork.
- Kate Callahan was introduced similarly to Elle, as part of an undercover sting of a pedophile, but focuses more on her guile, coaxing a confession out of him by being sweet and coy, but instantly getting serious once she has the incriminating evidence in her hands. She also mentions that the undercover operation took months (though it was all online communication), which demonstrates she's able to invest in a long game, setting up the season's arc. When she's properly introduced to the team, it's by chatting with Reid in an elevator. She engages with him and doesn't let the conversation lag despite his awkwardness; she teases him ("Seriously? You don't twerk?"), but lightens up when he doesn't engage, showing her as social and friendly.
- The pilot episode "Extreme Aggressor" gives us a few ECM's. Gideon has two, first when he has a bit of Sensory Overload and completes the profile hours before anyone else, and second, when he takes on the Footpath Killer completely unarmed. Morgan's is his flirting with the FBI trainees. Reid's is his rattling off of his eidetic memory, IQ level, and the fact that he can read 20,000 words a minute and concluding with a deadpan "yes, I'm a genius". Hotch's is when he confesses to Gideon that the reason he keeps shooting down Haley's choices for baby names is that they're all first names of well-known serial killers. Elle's is her startling transformation from Innocent Bystander to Action Girl when she gets the UnSub to walk into a house with her, then cuffs him before he can flee. Garcia's is her phone banter with Morgan:
- Daredevil: After an entire pilot where his forces attempt to kill Karen Page to prevent her from exposing some of their shady dealings, once she's done that, Wilson Fisk says about her, "Forget her. Everything she knows is in the papers." He's uninterested in killing her now that she has no more information that can damage him, not even for revenge.
- The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: When the librarian gets Brea's books and then she asks if he had a copy of another book she wanted to read. Once Tavra arrives and notifies her that she'd be able to attend the ceremony, Brea giddily wonders if she'd be able to ask the lords the many questions she has. This highlights not only her lust for knowledge, but also her wanting to understand the world around her and wanting to come to her own conclusions based on what she learns.
- The first thing we see Davy Crockett do in his Disney mini-series? Kill a bear with a knife. Badass status set.
- Rube from Dead Like Me had a memorable one when he took George to her own autopsy and compared her corpse to a ruined peach cobbler, establishing his interest in food.
- Grandma Phyl inspecting her daughter's roof. She meant it when she said she's not gonna lend Joy money if she doesn't inspect the roof herself.
- In Season 8 of Degrassi Clare and Alli are given an effective moment, based on the comparison between the two, setting their roles in the series. Clare is with Darcy (Clare's older sister), who is telling Clare to be more normal 'like Sav's sister.' Due to Clare's wearing her old private school uniform to a public school and spouting off random facts as Darcy comments on how different they are. On the other side, we see Sav trying to tell Alli to stop wearing clothes that are so evocative, as their parents won't approve. Due to Alli's desire to be seen and popular. While Clare had appeared in an earlier season, this defined her character a lot more.
- Dexter: The first scene of the series portrays Dexter as your typical intimidating killer, but once his inner monologue explains he's targeting Mike Donovan because he's disgusted that the latter murdered a child, we know he's a Sympathetic Murderer.
- Doctor Who:
- As each incarnation of the Doctor is often vastly different, each of them have at least one Establishing Character Moment in their respective first appearances.
- The First Doctor persistently acting like a senile old man to the two teachers in "An Unearthly Child".
- The Fourth Doctor's bizarre choices for new outfits in "Robot". It establishes him as completely loopy and with an alien attitude towards humanity, but note also that the outfits he chooses are 1) a Viking (e.g. a warrior whose tactic is to land a ship somewhere, burn everything down and leave) 2) a King (a noble, similar to a Lord) and a 3) a ridiculous Pierrot clown with tears painted on his cheeks. This pretty much sums up each side of the Fourth Doctor's personality.
- The Sixth Doctor's first line being a bit of pure snark directed at his companion in "The Caves of Androzani".
- "Rose": The Ninth Doctor's first line is "Run!", which pretty much sums up the entire show in a single word. Later, he gives a speech to Rose about how he can feel the Earth revolving, which also counts.
- In "The Parting of the Ways", the Tenth Doctor's first reaction was to be intrigued and confused by his new teeth and then offer to take Rose to Barcelona (just as the Ninth Doctor had offered to her before regenerating). Then in "The Christmas Invasion", he then lands in London, announces he's forgotten something very important, which turns out to be "Merry Christmas", and passes out. This all quickly establishes how seriously he takes his relationships as well as how incredibly weird and dippy he is.
- At the end of "The End of Time", after a painful regeneration, immediately preceded by the loss of his entire race again, the very first line out of Eleven's mouth is to cheerfully note that he still has legs, then kiss said legs before checking to make sure all his other body parts are in order. This is before he remembers that he's about to crash into Earth, at which point he only gets more excited.
- Twelve's second episode, "Into the Dalek" establishes his Good Is Not Nice personality, when he purposefully gets someone killed in order to evade capture by Dalek antibodies.Journey Blue: I thought you were saving him!
The Doctor: He was dead already, I was saving us!
- Not to be outdone by his very first, "Deep Breath" when the Doctor warns the cybernetic villain of that episode, the Half-Faced Man not to cross him, and that if he doesn't stop, the Doctor will force him to. Suddenly, all the robots attacking the Doctor's friends suddenly deactivate. Cut to the Half-Faced Man impaled on the spire of Big Ben, leaving it ambiguous whether the Doctor threw him out of the balloon or goaded him into killing himself.
- Note that, as well as showing what makes their Doctor different, each regeneration also needs a moment where they establish themselves as still essentially being the Doctor. This will normally be the moment where they step up to save the day with a brilliant, improvised plan and declare themselves as humanity's (and the universe's) protector:
- In "The Power of the Daleks", the Second Doctor looking around at the destruction he caused saving Vulcan from the Daleks and asking in an extremely pleased voice, "Did I do that?"
- The Fourth Doctor's "he is the Doctor" scene is unusual in this regard. His regeneration filled him with energy and temporary super-strength and he's out saving the world almost the second he's regenerated, so the moment we realise he is the Doctor isn't the moment he starts coming up with clever plans to defeat the robot, but the moment he displays his Doctorly compassion for the first time by offering Sarah Jane (who he'd previously been ignoring and attempting to abandon) a jelly baby. This is highlighted by the fact that he attempts to repeat the Brick Break he'd done easily while in the supercharged post-regenerative state, but instead just injures his hand.
- Endured a heavy Lampshade Hanging in "The Christmas Invasion", as the Tenth Doctor wonders who he is, eventually receiving his own Moment as he kills the Sycorax leader, remarking "No second chances. I'm that sort of man".
- "The Eleventh Hour" has the Eleventh Doctor's now-legendary speech to the Atraxi, in which he literally takes his place among the other regenerations:
- At the climax of "The Woman Who Fell to Earth", after spending much of the episode not remembering her identity, the Thirteenth Doctor finally introduces herself during the climactic confrontation with Tzim-Sha, where she reveals that she had the foresight to take his ride home and threatens to destroy it if he activates the "DNA Bombs" he planted on her and her friends. When he detonates the bombs anyway, it turns out that the Doctor had already extracted them and tricked him into absorbing them earlier.The Doctor: I know exactly who I am. I'm the Doctor. Sorting out fair play across the universe. Now, please, get off this planet. While you still have a choice.
- Similarly, each incarnation of the Master receives their own Establishing Character Moment, though due more to the length of time between appearances than the disparity of the portrayals. Examples include Roger Delgado's immortal line "I am usually referred to as the Master. Universally.", while John Simm had the less immortal but no less impressive "Why don't we stop and have a nice little chat while I tell you all my plans and you can work out a way to stop me, I don't think!" Anthony Ainley's ECM doesn't even involve lines it's his signature sinister cackle during "Logopolis". When his character O is revealed to be the Master, Sasha Dhawan starts giggling and clapping his hands relishing in the Doctor's reaction to his joke, whilst Michelle Gomez' Missy is stunned the Doctor hasn't clicked who she is yet.
- Companions get a similar treatment:
- The first three companions in "An Unearthly Child": Barbara is introduced being neurotic about a girl in her class. Ian is introduced supporting her and suggesting a plan of action. Susan is introduced alienating everyone around her and dancing to pop music coming from a strange futuristic radio.
- The first shot of Polly in "The War Machines" is of her privately pulling a silly face to make fun of her nagging sexist boss, and quickly turning it into a forced smile before looking around. Her male counterpart Ben is introduced moping in a bar, beating up a man who sexually harasses Polly, and then blaming Polly for the assault.
- Zoe's first scene in "The Wheel in Space" has her relay instructions from her boss, only to be distracted by a mathematical problem she is completing in her head, establishing her as a human calculator.
- In "Spearhead from Space", Liz is escorted into UNIT via a limousine with sexy music.
- In "Terror of the Autons", Jo is introduced barging in on the Doctor's experiment and accidentally causing it to explode by trying to be helpful.
- Sarah Jane Smith is introduced in "The Time Warrior" infiltrating UNIT by impersonating her aunt and getting belligerent when the Doctor asks her to make coffee.
- In "Robot", Harry is introduced bursting in on the recently regenerated Doctor with an offer of help the Doctor finishes his self-quotation "...and stupid!" just as he enters.
- In "The Ribos Operation", Romana is introduced in a slow pan up her legs wearing a stunning white feather cape.
- Adric's first appearance in "Full Circle" has him trying to join the gang which his brother, Varsh, has formed. This scene includes a close-up of Adric's badge for mathematical excellence, as well as establishing that he has a rather high opinion of himself. "Of course I'm better than you. I'm an Elite."
- Turlough's first scene in "Mawdryn Undead" has he and a friend steal the Brigadier's car.
- In "Planet of Fire", Peri is introduced with a closeup of her in a bikini, indicating what kind of companion she is.
- Rose Tyler is introduced getting out of bed and going about her normal day.
- Jack Harkness' first line in "The Empty Child" is "Excellent bottom." ... While staring at Rose Tyler's ass through binoculars, as she dangles thousands of feet in the air from a rope tied to a barrage balloon. His fellow soldier thinks the line is aimed at him, to which Jack responds by patting the guy's bottom before setting out to go rescue Rose.
- Donna Noble, interrupting the very end of the tear-jerking season 2 finale "Doomsday" while the Doctor splutters in confusion: "Who are you? Where am I?! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PLACE??!"
- "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!" That one word sums up the Daleks in a nutshell.
- "Dalek" has an unusual one to sum them up for the new series: the Dalek doesn't actually do anything. It's the Doctor's complete and total Oh, Crap! reaction upon realizing he's locked in a room with one, leading to him begging to be let out of the room. That's right, it's so dangerous that the Doctor's first instinct is to get as far away from it as possible.
- In Torchwood (the Darker and Edgier spinoff of Doctor Who), team member Owen gets an extremely nasty Establishing Character Moment in his first episode when he drugs a girl and her boyfriend for date rape purposes. Since his plot is a constant Trauma Conga Line, it's a very effective starting point for his character and his steady Character Development.
- In The Sarah Jane Adventures (the Lighter and Softer spinoff of Doctor Who), Sarah Jane is seen talking to an ethereal, gorgeous, floating alien at night. An alien of that same species appeared earlier in Torchwood as a manipulative, sex-obsessed murderer. But this one is just a sweet and sensitive woman she and Sarah Jane were casually discussing poetry. Also counts as a very effective Establishing Series Moment to contrast The Sarah Jane Adventures with Torchwood.
- As each incarnation of the Doctor is often vastly different, each of them have at least one Establishing Character Moment in their respective first appearances.
- Thomas' first line in Downton Abbey: "You're late when I say you're late."
- Also Mary's first reaction to finding out that her cousin (and sort-of fiance) has died on the Titanic was to ask if she had to be in full mourning.
- Lord Grantham showing remorse for the non-aristocratic victims of the Titanic.
- Sybil saying her father and the new valet (who was his war comrade) have a romantic relationship.
- Cora reading the paper, showing more concern for the high-class Titanic survivors.
- O'Brien explains to Anna and Gwen the complications caused by the deaths of Lord Grantham's heirs. It shows she has the inside track on the Crawley family's affairs.
- Violet's first few minutes reveals she has the inside scoop on the family, she is a Deadpan Snarker, is imperious and all business.
- Isobel making the faux pas of trying to shake Violet's hand.
- Due South provides a beautiful two-part introduction to Benton Fraser. First, having established that he's chasing down a criminal on a dogsled in a horrendous blizzard (and that his coworkers think he's crazy), the door bursts open to reveal Fraser, fresh from the blizzard with the fugitive slung over his shoulder, delivering the immortal first line: "That's the last time he'll fish over the limit." However, once that's had a minute to establish itself in everyone's minds, he politely explains to his apoplectic boss that the man was in fact dynamiting the streams with plastic explosive and nitroglycerin, which Frasier has confiscated. Oh yes, and he's donated the resultant four-and-a-half tons of fish to the nearest Native village, who are very happy with the police force about now. Benton Fraser: completely insane, but a hell of a cop.
- Faking It: The first thing we see Karma doing is pretending to be blind for popularity's sake, presenting her as someone obsessed with popularity (to the point where she ropes her best friend Amy into pretending to be lesbians after being mistaken for lesbians by the most popular guy in school). Amy's moment comes at the end of the pilot... with a nervous Aside Glance telling us that kiss she just shared with Karma was way more than pretend for her...
- Farscape has many such moments.
- In the first season, John Crichton hadn't quite developed into the Crazy Awesome character he became in series 2, but season 1 episode "Exodus From Genesis" did give the audience a preview: it involved commandeering a unit of clones produced by a gigantic Hive Queen alien to defeat the squad of Peacekeeper commandoes attacking the ship, ultimately fooling them into thinking that humans can clone themselves.
- Another side of John Crichton's personality is firmly established when he fixes the damaged DRD at the end of the premiere.
- Zhaan gets a good one in "Throne For A Loss": after having to keep watch on a drug-addicted prisoner, she decides to help when the man begins showing signs of a very painful withdrawal. The man almost immediately attacks her in a frenzy, only for Zhaan to very calmly fling him aside; then, after quickly mixing a few chemicals, she applies the makeshift potion to her lips, and administers it to the prisoner by kissing him.
- Aeryn got one in her very first episode; after awakening to find herself in a cell with Crichton, she ignores his attempt to introduce himself by kicking the crap out of him, pinning him to the ground, and demanding to know his rank, regiment and the reason for him being out of uniform.
- After a long introductory episode, in which she's gone out of her way to kick, kiss and cry her way out of any danger that comes her way, Chiana is asked if she was the one who killed Sallis, her jailer. Chiana just grins. Possibly more telling is that after John leaves, the smile becomes a look of pain and regret.
- Scorpius gets one in his first episode, too: already introduced as a mysterious, leather-clad figure that even the base commander fears, the true nature of his character are revealed when he passes Crichton in one of the base hallways, glances at him for a moment, and without raising his voice, promptly announces, "That man is an impostor. Seize him."
- In the first season, John Crichton hadn't quite developed into the Crazy Awesome character he became in series 2, but season 1 episode "Exodus From Genesis" did give the audience a preview: it involved commandeering a unit of clones produced by a gigantic Hive Queen alien to defeat the squad of Peacekeeper commandoes attacking the ship, ultimately fooling them into thinking that humans can clone themselves.
- Father Ted: Tom first shows up sitting on a low stone wall, where he turns toward a crow that's standing next to him and blasts it with a shotgun for no apparent reason.
- Mrs. Richards in the Fawlty Towers episode "Communication Problems" sets the tone for her general behaviour by barging into a conversation, demanding Polly's attention, and refusing to listen to anything anyone says. This leads to about the only episode in the show where Basil comes off as sympathetic, because he's dealing with Mrs Richards.
- At the end of the first aired episode, Mal kicks The Dragon (already defeated) into the ship's engine rather than bother arguing when he swears revenge on him.
- A deeper one from the same episode is when he gives back the medicine he robbed from a train after finding out how badly it was needed.
- Also, in the same episode:Drunk: The Independents were a bunch of inbred cowardly pisspots should have been killed offa every world spinning.
Mal: Say that to my face.
Drunk: I said, you're a coward and a pisspot. So what are you going to do about it?
Mal: Nothing. I just wanted you to face me so she could get behind you.
[And * WHACK!* Zoe lays the drunk out with the butt of her mare's leg.]
- Niska's introduction in the same episode is one long lampshade of the trope.
- In the ''intended'' pilot, the first glimpse the audience gets of Wash is a scene of him playing with plastic dinosaurs while he's supposed to be piloting the ship. That's all we needed to know.
- From the same pilot:Mal: You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me, and you'll be armed.
- From the same pilot:
- Firefly also pulls a fake example with Simon in the (intended) pilot: the first shot of him is all sinister, including Scary Shiny Glasses, setting him up as the number one suspect to be the Alliance agent aboard ship. Needless to say, he isn't, though the cold, "almost reptilian" behavior would indicate his drive to protect his sister.
- His real ECM comes later, along with his sister's.
- Hilary Banks' first scene in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has her telling her dad she needs $300 for a hat, all the while ignoring the newly-arrived Will.
- The first dialogue showed Monica as a hopeless dater, Chandler as a Deadpan Snarker, Phoebe as a Cloudcuckoolander, and Joey's blunt views on relationships.Monica: There's nothing to tell! He's just some guy I work with!
Joey: C'mon, you're going out with the guy! There's gotta be something wrong with him!
Chandler: Alright Joey, be nice. [to Monica] So does he have a hump? A hump and a hairpiece?
Phoebe: Wait, does he eat chalk? [The others stare, bemused] Just, 'cause, I don't want her to go through what I went through with Carl- oh!
Monica: Okay, everybody relax. This is not even a date. It's just two people going out to dinner and- not having sex.
Chandler: Sounds like a date to me.
- Butt-Monkey Ross shows up.Ross: Hi.
Joey: This guy says "hi" it makes me want to kill myself.
- Rachel appears in her wedding dress recounting how she ran away from Barry.
- The Pilot as a whole counts: You've got Monica taking care of everyone while dealing with her own problems, Joey telling Ross to experience more women and forgetting the name of his dates, Chandler remembering all their names and personal details, Rachel asking if everyone 'has these job things', Phoebe trying to cheer people up by singing the sound of music and Ross getting over Carol leaving.
- In Season 5, after Monica and Chandler get together, the writers' commentary talks about how they had an establishing relationship moment. After making up from a fight, Monica walks away and Chandler starts his infamous Happy Dance. Without turning around Monica quip's 'Don't do the dance' and he looks sheepish. In a second you've got their friendship and integral understanding of each other.
- The first dialogue showed Monica as a hopeless dater, Chandler as a Deadpan Snarker, Phoebe as a Cloudcuckoolander, and Joey's blunt views on relationships.
- On Get Smart, Larabee was once disguised as a chauffeur, standing by his car. As a KAOS agent escaped in his own vehicle, Max yelled, "Larabee! Follow That Car!" Larabee promptly ran after the KAOS agent's car, revealing for the first time that Larabee was a massive ditz.
- Gilmore Girls:
- The opening scene, which takes place in Luke's Diner, firmly establishes Lorelai and Rory's unique mother-daughter relationship, as well as a glimpse into grumpy Luke. It also contains many trademark Gilmore features, such as the girls' caffeine addiction, the rapid-fire dialogue, and pop culture references.
- The very first Friday night dinner does this for Richard and Emily, too. Richard nonchalantly handing a newspaper to Rory as he reads his became representative of his character and appears in the opening.
- A criminal had a cop hostage, demanding his pills. Jim Gordon distracted him with a bottle of aspirin before taking him out with the hostage out of harm's way and then tried to stop the other cops from unnecessarily beating the unarmed criminal.
- Another moment for Gordon is that he was the only officer who actually tried to comfort Bruce Wayne after his parents were killed.
- Meanwhile, Bullock just casually read the newspaper when the hostage situation started and later berated Gordon for not shooting the criminal.
- Selina Kyle demonstrated her skill and boldness at pickpocketing, as well as her fondness for cats by stealing a jug of milk for them.
- Dr. House manages to have a few of these in the pilot, showing off his assholishness ("Brain tumor, she's gonna die, boring"), his pride ("Patients don't want a sick doctor") and his need to butt into other people's lives. But what really stands out for most people is this little bit of conversation:Rebecca (patient of the week): Did you think you were dying [when you had the infection]?
House: I hoped I was dying.
Rebecca: So you hide in your office, refuse to see patients because you don't like the way people look at you. You feel cheated by life so now you're gonna get even with the world. You want me to fight this. Why? What makes you think I'm so much better than you?
House: When you're scared, you'll turn into me.
Rebecca: I just want to die with a little dignity.
House: There's no such thing! Our bodies break down, sometimes when we're 90, sometimes before we're even born, but it always happens and there's never any dignity in it. I don't care if you can walk, see, wipe your own ass. It's always ugly, always. [Pause] You can live with dignity, we can't die with it.
- Wilson too in the pilot, when he lies to House about the patient being his cousin so that House can get out of his funk of the moment and start seeing regular patients again. This set up his "Trying to do good by being a Manipulative Bastard" side.
- House established himself pretty well to a clinic full of patients early in the first season with this little number:"Hello, sick people and their loved ones! In the interest of saving time and avoiding a lot of boring chit-chat later, I'm Doctor Gregory House; you can call me Greg. I'm one of three doctors staffing this clinic this morning. This ray of sunshine is Doctor Lisa Cuddy. Dr. Cuddy runs this whole hospital, so unfortunately she's far too busy to deal with you. I am a bored ...certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology. I am also the only doctor currently employed at this clinic who is forced to be here against his will. But not to worry, because for most of you, this job could be done by a monkey with a bottle of Motrin. Speaking of which, if you're particularly annoying, you may see me reach for this. This is Vicodin. It's mine. You can't have any. And no, I do not have a pain-management problem; I have a pain problem. But who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too stoned to tell... Now, who wants me?"
- Dr. House manages to have a few of these in the pilot, showing off his assholishness ("Brain tumor, she's gonna die, boring"), his pride ("Patients don't want a sick doctor") and his need to butt into other people's lives. But what really stands out for most people is this little bit of conversation:
- The pilot of How I Met Your Mother does this:
- Future!Ted makes his kids sit down and listen to him talk, telling them they're gonna be sitting there for a long time.
- Marshall anxiously but earnestly practicing his marriage proposal to Lily on Ted.
- Barney's first line: "You know how I've always had a thing for half-Asian girls?" Also, he says this on the phone while getting a shave at a ritzy salon.
- Lily brassily gives a cab driver TMI on her and Marshall's sex life. Also, an establishing moment for the Lily/Marshall relationship: when the cab driver thinks Lily's black eye is from Marshall hitting her, they both burst into hysterics.
- Robin rhapsodizes at length (in the form of a montage) about loving scotch, dogs, the Ghostbusters, etc.
- Past!Ted steals the blue French horn Robin was admiring during their date from under the restaurant owner's nose and presents it to Robin while standing in the street under her window.
- The Mother's first appearance is helping a stranger on the train, trying to comfort them.
- Human Target: Guerrero being confronted by two big heavyset guys in a diner, who ask him to step outside, only for him to address both of them by name and intimidate them into leaving the diner without violence.
- In iCarly, "iPilot" introduces Mrs Briggs as a Sadist Teacher, Principal Franklin as a Reasonable Authority Figure, Sam as a mean bully, Carly as sassy and the only one who can control Sam, and Freddie as the Dogged Nice Guy tech nerd Butt-Monkey with a crush on Carly (to be honest, for Freddie, it's more like a constant Establishing Character ''Episode'' as nothing goes right for him), and finally, Spencer as a wacky artist.
- The IT Crowd is full of this. Roy is introduced by eating while completely ignoring a ringing phone. Moss is introduced giving a long Techno Babble explanation for a common computer problem, only to discover that they hung up halfway through it, which he shrugs off as a mistake on their part. Jen and Denholm Reynholm are introduced together - he by giving her a 'long, hard stare', her by how she takes his weirdness mostly in her stride, and trying to take advantage of it. Richmond is introduced by his horrifying entrance immediately followed by him engaged in pleasant conversation. Douglas Reynholm was introduced by barging into his father's funeral, yelling "FATHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!" and getting into an extended slap-fight with the priest for no reason.
- JAG: The resolution of the Pilot Movie is where Harmon Rabb, Jr. is firmly established as the self-confident heroic figure that would remain throughout the rest of the series. When Harm saves the CAGs life in an F-14 Tomcat he gets redemption from the dishonor of having been forced to turn in his wings, despite the diagnosed night blindness, and proving that hes still a capable aviator, just as his father once was. From the CAG's perspective, it's the son of the man he couldn't save who now saved him.
- Jeeves and Wooster managed to use this trope on top of its own inversion. When Jeeves first shows up, he very calmly tidies up Bertie's room in what seems to be a matter of seconds and whips him up a hangover antidote, completely unfazed by the fact that his new employer is so preposterously hungover that he can't even form any semblance of coherent speech. Bertie doesn't act like himself for the full first 5 minutes of the show. He doesn't even talk.
- Since the characters on The Joe Schmo Shownote were intended as archetypes such as "The Rich Bitch", "The Asshole" and "The Gay Guy", the show tried to have these early on in the first episode to get both the viewers and schmoes acquainted. One of the most memorable of these, in Joe Schmo 2, was certainly that of Cammy, "The Moron". All of the prospective suitors of Austin and Piper (this season parodying reality-romance shows) were supposed to give them gifts. Cammy gave Austin her cellphone, saying that now whenever he wanted, he would be able to call her.Ingrid: [interview segment, Beat] ...But she just gave him her phone...?
- Kamen Rider:
- Kamen Rider Fourze: In the first episode, Kengo receives a letter that seems to be a Love Confession, but throws it in the river before even bothering to read it. We're then introduced to Gentaro Kisaragi, the main protagonist, who tells Kengo not to reject an offer of kindness before reading it, jumps off the bridge into the river to get the letter back, and yells happily about hurting both legs. When he's introducing himself to his new classmates, Gentaro then walks back to Kengo's desk, slaps the drenched love letter on it, and says that even though Kengo's a jerk he still wants to be friends with him. It establishes Gentaro's The Power of Friendship attitude, self-sacrifice, and utter stupidity that loops back around to Crazy Awesome.
- Kamen Rider Gaim has two separate moments in the first couple episodes that establish main characters not only on their own but in direct contrast to each other:
- In the first episode, Kouta finds a kid who got separated from his parents. Kouta comforts him by turning "find Mom" into a game that he helps "play" until they're reunited, showing him as an All-Loving Hero.
- The next episode has The Rival Kaito come across a kid in similar trouble, having climbed up a tree and become too scared to jump down. Kaito pointedly does not help, instead giving the boy a Dare to Be Badass; and when the kid does work up the nerve to jump, Kaito catches him and compliments him on developing the strength to do so. It's a "teach a man to fish" philosophy opposing Kouta's "give a man a fish"; and sets Kaito up as The Social Darwinist, but an unusually noble one.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid:
- While Taiga Hanaya debuts in the first episode, it's not until episode 3 where his character becomes apparent. After an infected kid's turned into a monster that towers over Taiga, his response is to calmly transform and knock the protagonist away when he tries to help him fight it. And whereas the two heroes so far have shown to need to use quite a bit of effort to break monsters of this type, Taiga needs only a few seconds and he's done. But after the patient's freed and still stressed out, Taiga does nothing to help him and continues fighting the monsters. In a few minutes, the viewers learn that not only is Taiga skilled, but he's laser-focused on defeating the Bugsters and nothing else.
- While Kuroto Dan first appears in Episode 1, when he's revealed to be Kamen Rider Genm, the no-nonsense threat that's been going after the others for the past few episodes in Episode 5, he has one line. And it tells you all the basics about who he really is.Kuroto Dan: What's terrifying is my own talent!
- Kuroto gets a bigger one later on that's also an instance of Throw It In!. According to actor Tetsuya Iwanaga, one episode's script simply said "Kuroto laughs at Emu Hojo's misfortune", leaving the details up to him. He chose to go full-on Laughing Mad, which instantly redefined the character from a Smug Snake into a ham of epic proportions while still maintaining the God complex established earlier, turning Kuroto into someone who could be over-the-top hilarious and absolutely terrifying at the same time.
- Kamen Rider Build:
- The entire first episode nicely establishes Sento Kiryu as a genius who loves rubbing his inventions and intellect into anyone around. However, it takes until near the end of the episode for the audience to see what he truly is underneath. Right in front of him, the government has cornered Banjou Ryuga, an escaped convict who claims to have been framed of his crime. With absolutely no evidence that what Ryuga is saying is true, Sento decides to believe and rescue him, knowing full well the consequences of doing so (albeit while still complaining about it).
- Gentoku Himuro is such a Dynamic Character that he actually gets four different moments for each of the stages his character goes through.
- During the first episode, he sends his troops after Sento and Ryuga to capture them, dead or alive. When his aide questions him about killing them, he angrily retorts that "we don't need toys that break easily." Unsurprisingly, he turns out to be Night Rogue, leader of Faust.
- Gentoku's second moment comes after a long absence. We're first introduced to a new villainous Kamen Rider with a terrifying Transformation Sequence and enough power to deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to the heroes, only speaking at the end to introduce himself as Kamen Rider Rogue. The heroes immediately recognize the similar alias, which he confirms by canceling his transformation, revealing both his grown-out hair and Thousand-Yard Stare. Whatever happened to him during his absence, it's changed him into a completely different person from the original maniacal tyrant we knew.
- The third moment occurs some episodes later. In the previous episode Gentoku passed on vital information about Nanba performing a Kill and Replace on Seito Prime Minister Mido and helped them get through by throwing his fight, claiming that he couldn't help more because he has a kill-chip installed in his heart. There's a lot of reason to doubt whether any of the spoiler was genuine, but he proves it in this episode by sparing Kazumi's hostage friends from an execution and letting them escape, even at risk of his kill-chip activating (which it does, shocking him into immobility).
- The last moment occurs as the show enters its final arc, after Gentoku cements a HeelFace Turn. Said moment is showing up in an incredibly hideous Rumage Sale Reject outfit that he honestly believes is fashionable, demonstrating that he's just as silly as the rest of the heroes. While his more serious traits are still present, he does become the main comic relief for the next few episodes.
- Kamen Rider Zero-One:
- During the first episode, Isamu Fuwa and the rest of AI Ms are losing to the Magia attack. Against his adviser's orders, he grabs the experimental Shot Riser and uses it anyways, aiming it at her face to shoot down a Magia right behind her. Later on in the next episode, said adviser has reinforced his arsenal so he isn't authorized to use it. He simply brute forces it open, suffering a broken arm afterwards. And on a lighter note, his reaction to the protagonist's terrible jokes is a genuine laugh he constantly holds back. Even if he'll never follow orders or common sense, Fuwa's still a good guy without a doubt.
- Jin's first introduction scene is him bouncing up and down like a kid at a candy store during his attack. Then, when one of his own soldiers attacks him in a malfunction, Jin nonchalantly grabs it and shoots it in the face without missing a beat or losing his smile.
- The very first scene of Kung Fu shows, for what feels like a long time, our hero Kwai Chang Caine reacting to the taunts and assaults of a local brute by only doing the bare minimum of what is necessary to physically defend himself, while in the process making it tremendously clear that if he really wanted to do more, the guy wouldn't stand a chance against him.
- Law & Order: SVU: ADA Rafael Barba's introductory episode culminates with Barba goading a defendant into strangling him with a belt from the witness stand — in front of the judge, jury, and courtroom gallery. He wins the case. (Unsurprisingly, the actor, Raul Esparza, was promoted to series regular at the beginning of the next season and became the first ADA since Novak to stay for more than a year.)
- Legend of the Seeker:
- The first we see of Richard is him building a bridge, and being friendly and helpful to a kid who comes to use it — showing him to be a cheerful, down-to-earth Nice Guy. The first we see of Kahlan is her escaping from enemy soldiers through cool action stunts and dazzling magic, and being forced to leave her sister behind to die to escape and continue with their mission — showing her to be a romantic Hurting Hero who puts the greater good first. And then there's Zedd's naked-and-talking-to-a-chicken scene...
- The first time we see Cara, she criticizes and subtly mocks Darken Rahl to his face for the failed efforts to stop Richard, saying he would have had him long ago if he'd sent her. Rahl tolerates this and also appears to appreciate her spirits.
- Leverage gives all of the main characters one in the first episode:
- Nate starts off as a downtrodden man drinking in a bar with another man who's pleading with him to recover stolen property. Nate refuses to take the job, even when he realizes that the people his client has hired to work on the job will need someone skilled to co-ordinate them. Nate repeatedly insists that he's not a thief, but an honest man (and continually states this), but when the client tells him that the people who stole his property had links to the people who killed Nate's son, Nate agrees to work on the job. We also get a flashback to Nate's son Sam dying, wherein Nate practically knocks down the door to get into the hospital room and tries to revive Sam's lifeless body. Throughout the job, he's calm, effective and unfazed, a skilled leader despite his alcohol problem.
- Sophie is initially shown as one of the worst actresses you will ever see. A flashback shows that she forged art (and she and Nate once shot each other). All of this clues in the audience that while she's a terrible actor, Nate wouldn't have approached her unless she had some useful skill, and she's not afraid to get rough. She then immediately turns around and gives an amazing performance as a grifter, despite being unable to act. As Nate tells Eliot, "She can only act, when it's an act".
- Eliot's ECM is a flashback, where he walks into a building, looking very calm and non-threatening (especially with his glasses) while sipping coffee, and calmly states that he's there for the merchandise. Almost all of the men in the room pull guns on him. Cue a huge gunfight, and when we see the room next, all of the men who drew guns on him are dead, Eliot doesn't have a mark on him and his coffee has remained within his mug. The last remaining man calmly gives him the merchandise- a baseball card. This combined with his intro, where he playfully banters with Hardison, shows the audience that Eliot's very dangerous, very deadly, but won't go off at the drop of a hat. He's willing to fetch small things, can outlive the worst situations, and really likes coffee.
- Hardison is first shown as the arrogant, playful hacker, who shows off his much more up-to-the-minute technology and constantly snarks with Eliot. His flashback shows that he managed to hack into a hotel's computers to make it look like Mick Jagger was staying in his rooms, and he hired women to have a scantily-clad lightsaber fight. Security busts in and Hardison waves his hand slowly, "This is not the room you're looking for." Major geek.
- Parker's intro shows her abruptly hanging upside down from above Hardison and Eliot to ask if she can have one of their comm units. She perches above them, smiling happily. Her subtitles, unlike those of the others, fail to sugar-coat her profession and simply put 'Thief'. Then we get her flashback, where her foster father hits her foster mother, mocks her for thinking that he wouldn't find her toy bunny, and tells her to be a good girl 'or, I don't know, a better thief'. Then she walks out of the house with her bunny... and the former blows up.
- Everything you need to know about Chaos is summed up in his first scene with Hardison.
- Tara first appears as the client's lawyer in "The Lost Heir Job". By the time the team realizes that she's not who she says she is, she's broken into Nate's house and is waiting for them, with her introduction from Sophie. Throughout the ensuing conversation, she's calm, gracious and always has an answer ready.
- In "The Underground Job" the corrupt mine owner's first reaction when a large explosion happens at his mine, with fire still spewing out of the entrance, is to tell his assistant to call his attorney, not emergency services.
- Damien Moreau is summed up quite nicely in his meeting with Hardison and Eliot. He handcuffs the former to a swivel chair, kicks him into a pool, and tosses the keys in after about a minute of Hardison's flailing, all the while sipping brandy and chatting with Eliot, who can't do anything because he's surrounded by armed men who will riddle him with bullets if he makes a move.
- The first episode begins with a series of clips talking about how Detective Charlie Crews was imprisoned for murdering his best friend and said friend's family after the friend was skimming money from the bar they owned together. After serving twelve years and being treated horrifically for being a cop in jail, he was released, sued the police department and got his job back (along with millions of dollars). Then we see Charlie in action: he spends several seconds staring at the sun, looks at the crime scene, ignores his partner and finally asks if anyone talked to the victim's dog. For a few seconds, it looks like he'll stab the dog (who got shot) and then he digs into the dirt, revealing that the dog bit off the man's finger. Crews in a nutshell: eccentric, headstrong, intuitive and generally refuses to follow anyone else's path but his own.
- His partner, Dani Reese, also gets her ECM: The first few scenes show her acting like the average cop who's got a crazy partner after she informs Crews that she didn't ask to be partnered with him and that he needs to follow her lead. He asks her what she did to get him as a partner, thus clueing the audience in that while Dani seems capable and good at her job, she evidently did something wrong to get stuck with him.
- Another example is Ted Early, who is interviewed and explains that he was arrested and convicted for white-collar crime, met Crews in jail and came to him for help when he got out, being left with nowhere else to go. He now lives with Crews and manages his finances. The interviewer asks pointedly if it's true that Ted lives in Crews' garage, and Ted corrects him, saying that he lives above the garage. Ted, we can see, is someone who's proud, but not too proud to ask for help or admit the truth, and who obviously isn't that bad, given that Charlie trusts him.
- Detective Carl Ames was one of the lead investigators of the murder case Crews was convicted for. He goes over the details of the case in a voice that suggests that he's seen a lot of things like it, and says that 'no DNA is gonna tell me we got the wrong guy'. This clues in the audience that while Ames is a good cop and one who will fight for justice, he isn't willing to believe that things could have happened differently (and possibly that he refuses to move with the times, since the case happened before DNA testing became a thing and when it became a thing, it was made perfectly obvious that none of the DNA belonged to Crews.)
- Limitless begins with protagonist Brian evading the FBI using the NZT powers, dodging traffic perfectly, and evading being shot at by jumping into the path of a moving subway train. Then it freezes, and the narration begins.Brian: The first thing you need to know is that I didn't do anything wrong.
- The pilot for Lost is full of these. For example, in the very first scene, Jack wakes up in the jungle, stumbles onto the beach, takes in the carnage before him, and immediately begins running around saving people's lives. And the first time we see Boone, he is trying to do the same thing and failing miserably at it.
- Lucifer (2016): Lucifer Morningstar only needs a couple of seconds to show the audience what sort of character he is. Lucifer gets pulled over for speeding, he's asked for his license and registration, so he pulls out a wad of bills and starts counting them.Cop: Are you trying to bribe me, sir?
Lucifer: Yes, of course. [continues counting]
- Mad Men:
- Rachel Menken's two scenes in the pilot episode establish her character wonderfully. But if you have to pick just one moment, it would have to be when she puts out her cigarette in the cocktail shrimp.
- Don Draper's is when he drives home from the train station at the end of the episode - after we've seen him having sex with his mistress - and arrives at a home, where we realize he has a wife and children.
- One possible ECM for Joan Holloway's is the moment from the pilot, where she tells Peggy to "go home and put a paper bag over your head", but a case can be made for the stunningly perfect meta-shot in "Babylon" where she bends over a table facing away from what she knows to be two-way glass, letting all the execs get a nice, long look at her ass.
- Peggy Olsen's has to be when she lets Pete into her apartment in the pilot; she knows she shouldn't be sleeping with a drunken, soon-to-be-married man, but does it anyway because she thinks she's grown-up enough to handle it.
- Roger Sterling, in "Red in the Face", having hit on Betty Draper in front of Don: "At some point, we've all parked in the wrong garage."
- Married... with Children: Proving you can do this before the show even airs, is Ed O'Neill's audition for one Al Bundy. Upon walking through the door, he was supposed to read his line. But he added something beforehand that nobody thought to add at all: a weary sigh indicating Al wasn't happy to be home. He locked the part up.
- In M*A*S*H, during Charles Emerson Winchester's first episode, he spends a lot of time showing his spoiled upper-class roots. But at the end of that episode, it's made it clear he was going to be a much more complex and capable character than Burns: He calmly listens to his phonograph as Hawkeye loudly discovers his snake-in-the-bed prank has been turned back on him.Hawkeye: Clever. Very clever.
Winchester: Please. Mozart.
- Merlin (2008):
- Guinevere's introduction was particularly sweet and understated. While Merlin is put in the stocks for assaulting Arthur, she introduces herself and playfully banters with him but assures him that what he did was heroic. Especially lovely is the fact that she dismisses Arthur as "a bully" and later says to Merlin (about Morgana): "Some people are just born to be queen! Not that I'd want to be her. I mean, who'd want to marry Arthur?" Oh, delicious irony.
- Merlin also gets a pretty decent Establishing Character Moment when he first enters Camelot. After witnessing a man get executed for the crime of sorcery and learning that magic is forbidden in Camelot, what's one of the first things he does? Use his magic to save someone's life.
- Gwaine in season 3 appeared throwing the first punch in a bar fight (it originally had nothing to do with him) and he joined in for the fun of it. He later took a hit for Arthur despite not even knowing him.
- From his first appearance in the last episode of season 3, we hardly know anything about Percival other than he arrived with Lancelot to help save Camelot. The first episode of Season 4 shows him endangering his own life to save three frightened children by carrying them to safety and abandoning his only means of a weapon.
- Misfits gives all five of the main characters their ECM in the introduction of the first episode, while being given a pep talk by their probation worker: Nathan interrupts the speech with some of his trademarked sarcasm and gets into an argument with another young offender; Alisha gets a phone call and answers it, ignoring the probation worker's demands that she hang up; Curtis requests to be transferred to a different group, declaring that he doesn't belong here; Kelly demands to know why Curtis thinks that he's better than the rest of them, and gets offended when the others can't understand her accent; finally, Simon remains completely silent throughout the introduction, looking completely terrified in the process.
- The first scene of Monk has him at a crime scene in a woman's home, when he says "stove". A policeman points him to it, and he responds "No. The one at home. I think I left it on".
- Ivo and the Cholito, from Muñeca Brava. When Ivo and Cholito first met, in the first episode. Ivo kissed her, "to find out if she's really a girl". The Cholito kicked him in the groin, "to find out if he's really a man".
- The main characters of The Musketeers each have one.
- D'Artagnan fought off two men attempting to rob him and proceeded to recklessly hunt down the man he believed murdered his father, showing his talent with the sword and how he let his emotions rule over his head.
- Athos woke up extremely hungover and surrounded by empty bottles before sticking his head in a bucket of freezing water. But then he put on his uniform, establishing his dedication to his duty, and set off to gather his friends.
- Porthos beat a Red Guard at cards, was accused of cheating (which he did) and fought the Guard with a fork while laughing the whole time, displaying his love for a good fight and overall sense of humor.
- Aramis was having an affair with the Cardinal's mistress and professed that he loved her more than the Cardinal, revealing his love for women and romantic nature. When the Cardinal himself arrives unexpectedly Aramis is forced to climb out the window to avoid him. Athos and Porthos happen to approach as Aramis is dangling by his fingertips and proceed to laugh at their friend's predicament.
- Constance, Queen Anne and King Louis all have one too.
- Constance threatens D'Artganan with a knife and admonishes him when he mistakes her for a prostitute and then immediately helps him when his injuries become clear. She also follows him to the garrison and stops the duel. This shows her bravery, her compassion, and her outspoken, adventurous nature.
- Queen Anne is watching the king's shoot despite her dislike for the sport and quietly contradicts his assertion about it making you feel alive '"except for the birds"'. She also interjects to state her disbelief about the Musketeers being murderers and commend the regiment for their 'loyalty and law-abiding'. All of this hints at her empathy, her respect and faith in the musketeers and her determination to be an equal in important matters (all of which become more important in the series).
- King Louis has his in the same scene. He's more concerned with hunting than his soldiers being potential murderers, is annoyed by Queen Anne's gentle rebuttal, teases Treville and is reluctantly cajoled by Richelieu. His respective relationships with all three characters is established as is his attitude to being king and his preference for the perks of the role over the responsibilities.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000:
- Mike Nelson's moment in his first episode as "host" is when he makes Dr. Forrester wait in The Brain That Wouldn't Die to show that he would be much more belligerent towards the Mads and wouldn't take being imprisoned lying down, unlike Joel, who never showed any ill-will towards them.
- The episode featuring Monster A Go-Go featured Tom Servo's as, when Gypsy tries to get Tom's goat by telling him "I don't get you.", he replies "Nobody does! I'm the wind, baby!" and leaves off humming.
- In the very first episode of Noah's Arc, Ricky has two. The opening scene has him flirting up and getting a number from a guy on the beach. The third or so scene that we see him in next, he's in his store having sex with his employee.
- Once Upon a Time:
- Emma shows up under the guise of an internet date, she confronts a married embezzler who tries to get away. She chases him through busy traffic and wearing heels to get to his car, which she had already booted. When he smarts off to her, she slams his head against the steering wheel.
- In Cora's first unmasked scene, she critiques her daughter's horseback riding. When the daughter walks away mid-argument, Cora uses magic force her to apologize. And claims she'd "helping" her. Sums up her insanity, power, and evil behavior pretty well. This also serves as a good establishing moment for her daughter, Regina, who we know becomes the Evil Queen. Cora establishes Regina's past and demonstrates how Regina became the person she is.
- Snow White, upon seeing the Evil Queen interrupting her wedding, immediately pulled out Prince Charming's sword and threatened the Queen with it. Prince's soon followed as he tossed said sword at the Queen.
- If the Expository Hairstyle Change has you wondering who Mary is supposed to be, her lecturing children about how birds are loyal creatures and letting a bluebird fly out of her hand in a similar way to Snow White shows that they are one and the same.
- Rumplestiltskin's comes when he tells Snow and Charming about the curse in exchange for the name of their unborn child. The first of many deals we see him make, and none without purpose.
- One of King George's first moments is talking with Rumplestiltskin about a deal to ensure his son will marry into a rich family. He sells out the Fairy Godmother, his family's patron, to Rumplestiltskin as part of the deal. A few episodes ago, we saw the consequences of that selling out and the ensuring suffering that Cinderella had to endure from Rumple. That sets the long road ahead for King George.
- In Parks and Recreation, the episode that introduces Chris and Ben has one for each. First, Chris's talking head segment in which he explains that he does everything necessary to be healthy and that he plans on becoming the first human being to live to 150 years. Then Ben finally opens up to Leslie about his reasons for trying to be so responsible and serious. The second they are introduced also has a much smaller example. Leslie claims that Chris is so positive that making eye contact with him is like staring at the sun, and Ben's first few words make him Chris's scapegoat as he explains that they intend to reduce everything by 50%.
- Throwing almost all Power Rangers clichés out the window, the opening of Power Rangers in Space had the Red Ranger Andros infiltrating the Council of Evil wearing a concealing cloak. He was working to get information on this "Grand Plan" being set up by the council. After being discovered, he fought his way out and escaped. No prior Ranger was this devious or bold as to try something like that. Said cloak later becomes his Iconic Outfit in both team up episodes he appears in.
- The show is full of all kinds of Character Development, but the opening scene with main character Lucius Vorenus is fairly defining of his character. He suggests, under duress, that the best way to find a thief among the conquered tribes would be to crucify members of each clan one by one until they talk. He shows no pleasure at this, even slightly pained by their screams, but still does it, but when one gives him the information, he orders all of them to be taken down (while lamenting his own situation - pretty rich for a guy at the foot of a currently occupied cross). This sets up the moral overtones of most of the series, and shows how honor-bound Vorenus is.
- Mark Antony's ECM has to be the bit where he's shagging a random shepherdess under a tree with his entire personal escort watching.
- Incorrect. That was a moment, but his actual first scene did more to establish his character: strolling into Caesar's tent covered in blood, bantering with Brutus, and then, when given a mission to accomplish on a strict budget, unabashedly stealing half the money anyway.
- After being rescued by Pullo and Vorenus, Octavian fills them in on the political situation and coldly beats to death the man who was whipping him moments before.
- Julius Caesar mourning his daughter for a few moments, then says "Pompey is going to need a new wife". It shows his political mindedness and tendency to see people as game pieces.
- Servilia having sex in front of her slaves.
- Atia of the Julii, who allows her son to see her in the nude.
- The Shadow Line has several of these:
- Jay Wratten's first scene has him delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown in a lift to a man who insulted him.
- Glickman's first appearance sees him tracking down and murdering a man who recognised him when he was in hiding, to establish that he really doesn't want to be found.
- John Druitt aka Jack the Ripper aka Helen Magnus' ex-fiancé is first seen as murdering a prostitute (very subtle, show, very subtle) after which he longingly looks at an old photo of Helen. Cue the crazy, romantic serial killer.
- Helen in her first scene accidentally hits Will with her car while chasing an abnormal, her second one is performing an autopsy while casually chatting about her weekend plans, but her true moment is when she proudly shows off her Sanctuary to Will. For Science!, indeed.
- Ashley spends the whole pilot chasing an abnormal in leather clothes.
- Scrubs has several in the pilot.
- JD messing around with shaving cream ("I get a little goofy when I'm nervous") and then being completely overwhelmed when he walks into the hospital.
- Turk: "Dude, be whiter."
- Carla calling out Elliot for being judgmental about her hooking up with Turk, as well as rescuing JD and calling him "Bambi" for the first time.
- Doctor Kelso seems like a sweet old man to be there for his staff, but at the end of the episode he reveals himself to be concerned only with money with no care for any sort of human emotion.Dr. Dorian, do you not understand you are nothing but a large pair of scrubs to me?
- Similarly, Dr Cox's moment appears to be when he forbids JD from talking in his presence, but it actually comes later when he walks in after Dr Kelso's ECM:JD': So if he's the villain, who's the good guy?" [enter Dr. Cox]
- The episode "My Two Dads" serves to establish the characters' motivations further, particularly the golfing scene.
- The eponymous Sherlock has a show-stopping one when he first meets John in "A Study in Pink. It is, naturally, a startlingly accurate analysis of John and his background after having known the man for all of two minutes. Watch the epicness here.John: Is that it?
Sherlock: Is that what?
John: We've only just met, and we're gonna go look at a flat?
John: We don't know a thing about each other. I don't know where we're meeting, I don't even know your name.
Sherlock: I know you're an army doctor and you've been invalided home from Afghanistan; I know you've got a brother who's worried about you but you won't go to him for help because you don't approve of him; possibly because he's an alcoholic - more likely because he recently walked out on his wife, and I know that your therapist thinks your limp's psychosomatic; quite correctly, I'm afraid. That's enough to be going on with, don't you think?
- John's ECM goes like this:Sherlock: You're a doctor. An Army doctor.
Sherlock: Any good?
John: Very good.
Sherlock: Seen a lot of injuries, then. Violent deaths.
John: Well, yes.
Sherlock: Bit of trouble too, I bet?
John: Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime, far too much.
Sherlock: Want to see some more?
John: Oh God, yes.
- Moriarty gets two in "The Great Game". His first appearance has him masquerade as "Jim from IT", the obviously gay boyfriend of Molly which retrospectively shows how capable he is at being Hidden in Plain Sight, while his second appearance has him introduce himself while holding John hostage with a suicide-vest, being alternatively affable and menacing, in addition to establishing him as a complete sociopath and Sherlock's Evil Counterpart.Sherlock: People have died.
Moriarty: That's what people DO!
- Irene Adler gets an particularly memorable one in "A Scandal in Belgravia". The audience sees her debating a variety of dresses to wear for her eventual run-in with Sherlock, only to be sitting completely naked when he finally does show up. In addition to establishing her as The Tease, it shows her as smart enough to realize that by giving him absolutely nothing to read, she could completely throw off his Sherlock Scan altogether. Furthermore, when they're later held hostage and Sherlock is forced to figure out the code her safe at gunpoint, he does so because she knew that he'd size her up, the code being her measurements.
- The eponymous Sherlock has a show-stopping one when he first meets John in "A Study in Pink. It is, naturally, a startlingly accurate analysis of John and his background after having known the man for all of two minutes. Watch the epicness here.
- In The Shield, the Pilot is one big establishing moment for Vic Mackey. We get to see how he polices and gets results, even if he has to shoot another cop to save his own skin.
- Silk gives nearly all of its main characters an ECM, but the best one is probably Nick Slade, extending a hand to the other trainee lawyer, who happens to be the daughter of a judge. She informs him that "barristers don't really shake hands."
- The first 10 minutes of the pilot of Skins show Tony working out, coolly covering for his little sister, and calling Sid to promise to get him laid. Sets him up as the bastard he is, and also shows his soft spot for Effy.
- A good introduction episode does this with the main cast. While they get more 'real' moments later, Space Cases actually gets credit for the shortest version ever. Each main cast member gives a single line, in some cases, but it gives an impression of their personality.
- Samantha Carter's first scene in Stargate SG-1 is well remembered... for its cringe-inducing hilarity, including the so-not-cheesy line "just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside doesn't mean I can't handle whatever you can handle". Thankfully, she improved after her actress, Amanda Tapping, pointed out that she should just contribute to the team without constantly going "Hey, I'm a girl! Girls rock!" The "reproductive organs" line was mocked twice in later seasons.
- Nonetheless, her early defensiveness is not so strange if you consider her position in two male-dominated fields. She's probably gotten plenty of crap before coming to the SGC.
- Naturally, the cringe-worthy line was completely removed in the 10th Anniversary Children of the Gods Re-Cut. Instead, Carter's ECM is winning the argument by matching her male colleagues with combat experience and wit, responding to Kawalsky's claim that Gate travel to being like pulling out of a combat dive at plus-8G by mentioning that she had done that several times before, in addition to logging over 100 hours of flight time over enemy airspace during the Gulf War.Carter: Is that tough enough for you? Or are we going to have to arm wrestle?
- See Daniel and Jack's memorable introductions in The Movie in the appropriate section.
- Teal'c had a good ECM in Stargate SG-1 as the leader of a Jaffa raiding party into what turned out to be a nearly deserted top-secret storage facility. His men mop the floor with the guards, abduct one and leave. Teal'c is clearly a particularly badass Proud Warrior Race Guy... but as you can tell from his facial expressions throughout this scene, he's really not happy about this. He gets another one in the second part, when he finally performs his HeelFace Turn to help them escape.O'Neill: I can save these people, help me! Help me!
Teal'c: Many have said that... [shoots the guard next to him] But you are the first I believe can do it!
- The subsequent episode has O'Neill admit that he considers the above to be Teal'c's ECM as far as he's concerned.O'Neill: Teal'c, I saw you stand up to a god. You refused to kill. I saw you make that decision... In that moment I learned everything I needed to know to trust you.
- Many characters from Star Trek: The Original Series get their moment in the episode "The Naked Time". It establishes the dichotomy that defines Kirk's character (Married to the Job vs. Boldly Coming) as well as the one that defines Spock's character (he's Not So Stoic after all, forever cementing him as the Stoic Woobie). McCoy is shown to be a hardworking and dedicated medic, who is also gruff and deeply stubborn; Scotty is established as Mr. Fixit and a Gadgeteer Genius (especially when working in tandem with Spock), and the episode marks his first use of Scotty Time. Sulu's rampage with the fencing foil establishes him as a Fan of the Past and sets him up to take take several levels in badass over the course of the series and films.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation. All the characters get an establishing moment at some point in "Encounter at Farpoint":
- Captain Picard appears in silhouette through the window of the Enterprise-D, making a captain's log entry. The first appearance of a remarkably different captain to Kirk.
- And then there's his speech to Q. There's a reason he's the Trope Namer there, folks. Plus the moment when he commands them to take an untested starship on its maiden voyage to well-beyond-regulation-safety-limits.
- Commander Riker boards the Enterprise and immediately has a talk with Captain Picard about his previous service. Picard brings up a time when Riker refused to let a previous CO beam down to a planet (which becomes a running theme between the two of them in the later series). Picard gruffly asks if Riker has any respect for a Captain's rank. Riker, without being either defensive or smug, says that a Captain's life means more. Picard suddenly smiles and says "Welcome aboard the Enterprise." This scene is more or less sums up how their relationship is going to go for the rest of their time serving together.
- Data gets confused by a human figure of speech—and upon discovering its meaning, immediately reels off various synonyms like the walking encyclopedia he is.
- And then there's a little later in the episode when Riker finds him trying to whistle in the holodeck (he finds how easily humans can do it amazing) and makes the statement:Data: I am superior [to humans], sir, in many ways. But I would gladly give it up to be human.
Riker: Nice to meet you, Pinocchio.
- And then there's a little later in the episode when Riker finds him trying to whistle in the holodeck (he finds how easily humans can do it amazing) and makes the statement:
- Geordi's establishing shot was probably during his checkup in sickbay, where we get a pan across the VISOR - the means by which he sees - and Geordi offers the Doctor an explanation for its purpose:Geordi: A remarkable piece of bioelectronic engineering by which I quote "see" much of the EM spectrum ranging from simple heat and infrared through radio waves etcetera etcetera and forgive me if I've said and listened to this a hundred times before.
- After harassing the crew, Q appears on the Enterprise's main viewer. Worf draws a gun and is ready to shoot, prompting Picard to ask him if he want to put a hole in the main screen. The Son Of Mogh may be a little hot-headed, like all Klingons, but damned if he's gonna back down from people screwing with his Captain and his ship.
- Worf is re-established on Deep Space Nine when he arrives on the station and promptly walks up to a jerkass Klingon who's being all loud and rude in Quark's bar, and proceeds to knock his ass clean out.
- Also in "Encounter at Farpoint", when Picard orders Worf to take command of the Saucer section of the Enterprise and continue to Farpoint Station.Worf: Sir, I am a Klingon. For me to seek escape when my Captain goes into battle...
Picard: You're a Starfleet officer, Lieutenant.
Worf: (pause) Aye, sir.
- Wesley might have some unfortunate associations but to be kind, his early appearances (begging to get to see the bridge of the Enterprise, getting overexcited in a holodeck and falling in the water, etc.) established him pretty well as a smart, eager kid and probably would've been okay if they left it like that. It was all downhill from there...
- Q's first appearance—as a middle ages Sea Captain taking in iambic pentameter, is almost jocular (Soundtrack Dissonance aside)—but a few seconds later he's freezing a crewman solid with a glimpse. Enter...chaos.
- Tasha's impassioned speech about how much the Federation did for her and how much of a mockery Q's "Court and Jury" setting was established her attitude, and hinted heavily at her background.
- The first thing Deanna Troi does on screen is start sensing things and recounting what she's feeling. Then later she talks right into Will's head via a kind of telepathy, establishing their romantic history.
- The first thing Dr. Pulaski does in "The Child" is not report for duty. She's in the bar at the time, talking with Deanna. As Worf says, "Not the best way to meet your captain." Most of the more notable moments she has in the rest of her first episode involve insulting Data repeatedly, even though he can't be insulted, which just comes off as pure spitefulness rather than the ribbing McCoy would give Spock. And *she's not even doing it on purpose*. She just doesn't think of Data as a "real" person.
- She warms to him the longer she's on the Enterprise. In an episode later in the season, she is the first to defend Data's care and affection for a little girl he's been communicating with.
- Captain Picard appears in silhouette through the window of the Enterprise-D, making a captain's log entry. The first appearance of a remarkably different captain to Kirk.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- The first thing we see of Kira Nerys is her shouting match with a member of the provisional government. Although her character softens over the course of the series—and we find out why she is the way she is—she never loses that fire. Or, for that matter, her contempt for most of the provisional government.
- The scene that immediately follows is arguably the same for Sisko: A firm, but polite and pleasant officer...who is not to be trifled with.Kira: Yes?
Sisko: (smiles) I'm Benjamin Sisko.
Kira: I suppose you want the office.
Sisko: Well, I thought I'd say hello first...(smile gains the tiniest hint of malevolence) and then take the office. But we can do it in any order you like.
- The seventh episode of the series really establishes what kind of commanding officer Sisko is in comparison to the then standard, Picard. When confronted by Q, the first thing that Sisko does is knock his ass to the floor with one punch.
- Bashir is first introduced ineptly flirting with Jadzia, and putting his foot in his mouth by expressing his enthusiasm for 'frontier medicine' to Kira, demonstrating his high-energy idealistic personality along with a naive inexperience dealing with reality. Also foreshadows the show's darker tone than previous installments in the franchise and the inevitable conflict between Bajoran traditionalism and Starfleet's heavy-handed approach to the situation.
- Bashir gets a second one later in the episode, when he responds to the injuries on the Promenade during the scuffle with the Cardassians. He may be naive and socially inept, but he's a more than competent doctor, he keeps his calm in a crisis, and he doesn't shy away from taking charge of a situation when it's needed.Bashir: (to Odo, while tending to an injured patient) Press there, hard.
Odo: Look, Doctor, maybe I should find you someone —
Bashir: (firmly) Hold. It. There.
Odo: (complies silently)
- Bashir gets a second one later in the episode, when he responds to the injuries on the Promenade during the scuffle with the Cardassians. He may be naive and socially inept, but he's a more than competent doctor, he keeps his calm in a crisis, and he doesn't shy away from taking charge of a situation when it's needed.
- A rather minor character, but nonetheless memorable, Koloth establishes himself as an Old Master with Awesome Ego by sneaking up quietly on Odo and offering his name, completely seriously, as an explanation.Odo: How did you get in here?
Koloth: I am Koloth.
Odo: That doesn't answer my question.
Koloth: Yes, it does.
- Strangers with Candy:Jerri: Hello, I'm Jerri Blank and... and I'm an alcoholic. I'm also addicted to amphetamines, as well as mainline narcotics. Some people say I have a sex addiction, but I think all those years of prostitution was just a means to feed my ravenous hunger for heroin. It's kinda like the chicken or the nugget. The point is, I'm addicted to gambling. Thank you. (pauses) Oh, and... my daddy's in a coma.
- Stranger Things: The opening D&D game between the four main boys in the pilot serves effectively as one for the entire party:
- Mike's creativity and intelligence is shown off when he enthusiastically GMs for the other three, which also establishes him as The Leader of the group. Later, when Will confesses that the Demogorgon got him, Mike reassures him and tells him to keep safe on his way home, demonstrating how he's A Father to His Men, of sorts.
- Dustin plays defensively, and urges Will to use a protection spell, demonstrating that he's The Smart Guy with a thoughtful and pragmatic worldview. He then eats the last piece of pizza.
- Lucas plays aggressively, is the first into the fray, and urges Will to take the offensive with a risky fireball spell, showing off his Hot-Blooded personality, but also his courage as The Lancer of the group. He later tells Will that if Mike didn't see him roll a seven, then it doesn't count, showing Lucas isn't afraid to bend the rules a little for the sake of his friends.
- Will is unable to decide on a move in time, and his PC gets killed by the Demogorgon. Afterwards, despite the dice rolling off the table and no one seeing the result, he meets with Mike alone afterwards and admits that "the monster got me", showing off his remarkable honesty and ultimate decency. When the Demogorgon is hunting him, Will's first instinct is to run to the shed and get the gun, showing that he's much smarter and braver than anyone gives him credit for.
- Hopper wakes up on a filthy couch in a nauseatingly cluttered trailer, smokes a cigarette, brushes his teeth, washes down some pills with Schlitz, smokes another cigarette... and then puts on a police uniform.
- Jonathan Byers nearly breaks down in tears towards the end of the pilot when Will is still missing, and blames himself for it even though literally no part of it was his fault. Jonathan is the sweetest and most loyal big brother in television history.
- Max drops a piece of paper in the trash can and then leaves, seemingly unaware that she's being watched by the party. When the boys dig through the can and find out what it was, it turns out the paper says "stop stalking me, creeps".
- Bob comes into Joyce's place of business and asks if she has Halloween decorations in any color other than orange. After a Smash Cut to the two of them making out like teenagers in the back room of the store, Joyce reminds him that they have plans that night and Bob, without being prompted to, notes that it's Jonathan's night to pick the movie, showing what a great guy he is to Joyce and her sons, then leaves after 1) asking that Jonathan not pick something too scary and 2) snarkily pointing out a plastic pumpkin... that isn't orange.
- Billy displays what a lovely person he is in Season 2x02 when his younger sister Max meets up after his school to get driven home.Billy: You're late.
Max: I had makeup homework...
Billy: Yeah, I don't care! You're late one more time, and you're skateboarding home.
- Kendall's first scene is him (badly) rapping in the back of a limo while wearing noise-canceling headphones, much to his driver's chagrin; this shows how immature and out-of-touch he is (and also displays his unfortunate affinity for white boi rap). He then arrives to an important business meeting and immediately starts using casual youth lingo, showing that he's pretty unfit for the world of business.
- Connor's first lines are explaining to a child how he's developing a parcel of land and wants to hoard the water on it for himself when the world starts to run out. This touches on Connor's lack of interest in the family business, his mild personality in most situations (talking to a child) and his weird political views.
- In his first scenes, Greg gets fired from a low-level Goofy Suit job at an amusement park after suffering a bad reaction to pot and then tries to unsuccessfully blame the entire situation on a contact high. This establishes him as a slacker, a loser and a Consummate Liar.
- During the pilot, Dean was this snarky, flirty, junk-food-loving badass and the fans loved him for it but when it came to "I can't do this alone." "Yes you can." "Yeah, well, I don't want to," his fate as a complicated woobie was sealed.
- While remaining still quite whiny and closed off, Sam's first defining moment as the snarky little brother came with this line in the pilot: "You smell like a toilet."
- Castiel's first scene. He walks serenely into the barn where Dean and Bobby are waiting while they shoot him, the barn shakes, and the lights explode overhead (the last two are direct results of his presence). Despite the chaos, he never flinches or even blinks.
- Death, often considered by the fans to be the best entrance in the history of television. He pull ups in a Cadillac El Dorado, with the song "O Death" playing in the background, and steps out of the car in his Badass Longcoat complete with Classy Cane. A random passerby, while texting, brushes him, then has the nerve to tell him to watch where he's going. The passerby walks a little bit further, than abruptly drops dead, while Death never stops walking.
- In Crowley's first interaction with the Winchesters, he examines his immediate environment and discovers the Devil's Trap under his rug, whereas most demons would have just walked right in and gotten themselves stuck. He then asks if they know how much the rug they defaced cost.
- Charlie Bradbury comes into work listening to "Walking on Sunshine". When out of sight in an elevator, she rocks out happily to the music but regains her composure the moment the elevator doors open again.
- Ruby is introduced killing three of the Seven Deadly Sins with a knife, something until then thought impossible, establishing what an Action Girl she is. When Sam asks who she is upon meeting her, she tells him "the girl who just saved your ass", establishing her mysteriousness and snarkiness.
- Bela Talbot dressing up as a waiter and distracting Sam in order to steal the lucky rabbit's foot from him.
- Rowena is introduced calmly reading a book from her hotel room as blood drips from the ceiling.
- In the pilot episode for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron has several moments that could count, from running over Cromartie with a truck and uttering the iconic "Come with me if you want to live" line, to her brawl with Cromartie that levels a house to her nonchalantly beating up a group of drunks while stark naked. It's up to the viewer to figure out which one works best.
- Her flirting with John showed she operated differently than Ahnold.
- Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It with the first line he speaks in the series ("As useless as a marzipan dildo."), and his first action: first reassuring Cliff Lawton that the Prime Minister doesn't want him to resign after a less-than-stellar run... and then comes "That's what makes it so difficult..."
- This Is Wonderland: Alice is introduced waiting outside the courthouse for someone who isn't coming. Nancy shows up, says he isn't coming, and then leaves, because her job is done. Zona is trying to keep multiple phone conversations going simultaneously but still has time to help Alice, if only a little. Elliot is some scruffy weirdo who knows his way around the courtroom and checks out Alice's legs. James - the guy who didn't show up - doesn't show up, and when he does, he's wearing no pants under his desk. And Judge Frasier wears running shoes into court, sings to himself, and calls Alice "kiddo".
- William Shatner expressing his dislike for marshmallows in T.J. Hooker.
- In True Blood, Lafayette walks up to a bunch of homophobic rednecks at a table in his restaurant and asks the question no fan will ever forget. "'Scuse me, who ordered the 'hamburger with AIDS'?"
- Officer Paul Woodrugh from True Detective's second season is introduced being offered Sex for Services by an actress after he catches her driving while intoxicated. After he refuses, she turns the story around and claims that he was the one who propositioned her. Since Paul happens to be Armored Closet Gay and could easily refute the accusations if he just admitted the truth, this ends up demonstrating what a Fatal Flaw his sexuality is for him.
- The Twilight Zone (1985):
- In "Dead Woman's Shoes", Maddie Duncan's first scene involves her walking down the street and immediately stepping out of the way of everyone in her path without saying a word, indicating that she is very shy, mousy and withdrawn.
- In the first scene of "Red Snow", KGB Colonel Ilyanov arrests a young dissident named Ivanovich for possessing banned books and orders the guards to send him to The Gulag. It turns out that Ivanovich is well known for his contact with Western agents and this is not his first offense. As such, his crimes warranted the death penalty. A high-ranking minister overrules Ilyanov's order and has Ivanovich put to death. Ilyanov is upset when he hears this but does not say anything.
- "The Last Defender of Camelot" opens with Lancelot being approached by Tom and two other punks who intend to take him to Morgan le Fay. As Lancelot appears to be in his early 60s, they don't think that he will put up much of a fight. However, he proves to be extremely agile and, using his cane as a weapon, effortlessly defeats all three of them in less than a minute.
- In the first scene of "Acts of Terror", Louise Simonson is shown to be a timid, abused woman as she nervously tries to hide the most recent of the many bruises given to her by her husband Jack, telling the mailman that she had an accident. When she goes back inside, Jack verbally abuses her because his lunch is five minutes late.
- "Cat and Mouse" opens with the shy and timid Andrea Moffatt reading a Romance Novel while avoiding any meaningful human contact.
- The first scene in Utopia sees two hitmen, Arby and Lee, walk into a comic shop. Lee starts killing customers with a club and poison gas whilst Arby quizzes the owner of the shop about the whereabouts of a manuscript. After everyone in the shop is dead, they Make It Look Like an Accident and are just leaving when Arby spots a small boy hiding under the counter; Arby smiles and offers him some chocolate raisins. And then:Arby: Don't put the gas away yet.
- Veronica Mars begins with Veronica's monologue while she's spying on a couple. The kind of character Veronica is becomes especially clear when she says "$40 an hour is cheap compared to the long-term financial security sordid photography can secure you... your offspring... your new lover." Cynical, jaded, witty, and sexy. Veronica in a nutshell.
- Walking with Dinosaurs:
- The Postosuchus in "New Blood" is introduced eating a Placerias alive.
- The Allosaurus in "Time of the Titans" is introduced attacking a group of Diplodocus infants.
- The Liopleurodon in "Cruel Sea" is introduced snatching a Eustreptospondylus in its mouth and eating it.
- The Basilosaurus in "Whale Killer" is shown eating sharks in its first appearance.
- The West Wing:
- President Bartlet enters a meeting with Religious Right representatives quoting, "I am the Lord, your God; thou shalt worship no other god before me!" He then blows right through the demands they were making of his staff (they were wanting compensation for being publicly insulted by Josh), relays a story of an implied death threat being sent to his 12-year-old granddaughter by an extremist Christian group, and then demands that they publicly denounce said group — "...and until you do, you can all get your fat asses out of my White House. CJ, show these people out." Not only was it an Establishing Character Moment, it made the character; before then, the plan was to focus mainly on the White House staff with the president only appearing about four times a season, but Martin Sheen turned in such an impressive performance that they made Bartlet a regular.
- Toby grumpily complaining to stewardesses while showing detailed knowledge of the aircraft and refusing to shut his cell phone off.
- Sam sarcastically dismissing a journalist, while catching an attractive woman's eye...
- Josh in trouble for speaking too candidly to a right-winger. And Donna's reaction to Josh's problem, being supportive yet sassing him for his faux pas.
- CJ at the gym, talking about her busy life and seeming to have it all together—and then falling off the treadmill.
- The 7-minute walk-and-talk at the beginning of the pilot is Leo's, showing his competence, prickly nature, and the affection he holds for both the job and the people he works with.
- There's also an argument to be made for his calling out Bartlet in "A Proportional Response":"So, my friend, if you want to start using American military strength as the arm of the Lord, you can do that. We're the only superpower left. You can conquer the world, like Charlemagne! But you better be prepared to kill everyone. And you better start with me, because I will raise up an army against you and I will beat you!"
- There's also an argument to be made for his calling out Bartlet in "A Proportional Response":
- Some minor characters also get some very notable ones including Lord John Marbury ("Geraaaaaaaaaaaald?"), Ainsley Hayes (a smart and loquacious blonde Republican sex kitten) and Lionel Tribbey ("I will kill people today, Leo!").
- The opening scene of the White Collar pilot was Con Man Neal Caffrey escaping from prison and walking right out the front door.
- Wilfred seemed nice enough until he started digging up Ryan's yard.
- Will & Grace: Jack asked Grace if she thought he was gay and she says he's so gay that even dead people know.
- The Wire:
- In the first episode, narcotics cop Shakima "Kima" Greggs is part of an operation to arrest some drug dealers in possession. Which they do. Carver pulls a pistol out of the car when Kima casually walks to the car and pulls out a shotgun. "Two guns."
- Also the introduction of Ziggy Sobotka in season 2. "You're not getting your dick out in here again!". Cue Male Frontal Nudity.
- In Marlo Stanfield's first appearance, we see Bubbles and Johnny have a gun pulled on the both of them. Marlo enters and asks what's going on. When told, he simply says "Either do it or don't, but I've got someplace to be." Characterizing him as someone who, in all honesty, doesn't give a fuck about human life if it doesn't affect him.
- "These are for you, McNulty. This one is going up your narrow fucking Irish ass. And this one is in your fucking eye." Rawls' introductory scene is nothing if not memorable, and it establishes his adversarial relationship with McNulty right from the get-go. "You have my attention, Detective."
- Omar patiently and methodically staking out a Barksdale stashhouse before he and his crew rob it.
- In the first episode of Wizards of Waverly Place Alex is introduced by having her convince her dad to do what she wants with puppy dog eyes. That was just the beginning.
- Xena: Warrior Princess wandering through a burnt-out village with memories of her past showed her as The Atoner.
- A unique ECM was Najara. Xena beats up her men then Najara draws her sword. But instead of a battle, she sticks her sword in the ground, takes off her mask and tearfully asks Xena for forgiveness for attacking her.
- Draco had an impressive one before he got demoted to joke character. He fights to the death a subordinate who failed him while nonchalantly issuing his orders to his lackey.
- On The X-Files, the very first scene Mulder and Scully have together perfectly showcases both their personalities and firmly establishes the believer vs. skeptic dynamic. After Mulder explains the case he is working on:Mulder: Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?
Scully: Logically, I would have to say no. Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space, the energy requirements would exceed a spacecraft's capabilities...
Mulder: Conventional wisdom. You know this Oregon female? She's the fourth person in her graduating class to die under mysterious circumstances. Now, when convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?
Scully: The girl obviously died of something. If it was natural causes, it's plausible that there was something missed in the post-mortem. If she was murdered, it's plausible there was a sloppy investigation. What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there. You just have to know where to look.
- In the pilot episode of The Young Ones, we learn everything we need to know about Vyvyan when he crashes through the kitchen wall of the guys flat holding a severed human leg, then stomps over to the sink and kicks the basin clean off the wall.