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Foreshadowing / Live-Action TV

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  • The 4400: In "Terrible Swift Sword", when Shawn tells Jordan Collier that he is worried that he is beginning to think of himself as a Messiah, Jordan says that he sees himself more as John Brown. In "Till We Have Built Jerusalem", Jordan seizes control of a rundown, impoverished area of Seattle. He gives it the name Promise City and describes it as a sanctuary for all 4400 and people with promicin abilities who wish to join him. The government regards it as the unlawful seizure of US territory. Jordan's actions are similar to John Brown's seizure of the federal armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia in 1859 as part of his attempt to abolish the institution of slavery. Like Brown, Jordan is seen as a visionary and a champion of an oppressed people by some and a terrorist by others.
  • Done both subtly and not-so subtly on The Amazing Race. There are times when you can tell a team is going to be eliminated just by what they say at the beginning of the leg, while there are other lines that take on a lot more meaning once you've seen the end of the season.
    • One example of the subtle variety came from leg 2 of All-Stars, where, upon leaving the Detour at the same time as Eric & Danielle, Rob said that even on Eric's best day, he had no chance of beating them. Rob & Amber were eliminated two legs later, while Eric & Danielle won.
  • American Horror Story: Asylum has a nice case of literal foreshadowing: take a good look at the poster for Asylum. Dr. Thredson is standing near the back of the room — now, who's standing where his shadow should be?
  • Andor: Two instances prior to the reveal of her public identity as Mon Mothma's cousin in "Nobody's Listening!":
    • In "Narkina 5", Cinta refers to her as a "rich girl who's running away from her family", indicating that Vel is from an upper-class background and status originally.
    • "Vel Sartha" is a name that resembles other Chandrilian names (Mon Mothma, Tay Kolma, Perrin Fertha) since so far in Star Wars.
  • Angel had its share as well. "Soul Purpose" in Season 5 pops to mind rather quickly. When Fred is doing surgery on Angel in his coma-dream, she looks in and tells him "there's nothing left, just a shell". Although mainly referring to Angel, it was likely also a reference to her becoming a literal shell for Illyria several episodes later.
    • In the same episode, Gunn growls like a cat during another dream scene. In "A Hole In The World" the White Room's cat conduit takes the form of Gunn himself.
    • Wesley's talk with Gunn about "the pull of conflicting loyalties" serves as both a Call-Back to the choice Wes himself had to make back in Season 1 (the Watchers Council or Angel) and as foreshadowing of his conflict with Connor and the team later in Season 3.
    • Wesley getting his throat cut is foreshadowed several times as early as Season 1. Bad guys always seem to go for the throat when they attack him. This includes a demon-possessed boy shoving the sharp tip of a crucifix into Wesley's neck, a group of rebels almost decapitating him in Pylea, Faith holding a knife to his throat (she actually does cut him, but not very deep), and even Angel himself almost strangling Wesley after being startled awake out of one of Darla's hypnotic dreams.
    • There's a brilliant but very subtle bit of foreshadowing in "Fredless", when Cordelia sarcastically remarks that they face the occasional demon who tries to kill them with pillows. Flash forward to the end of "Forgiving", where an enraged Angel tries to smother Wesley with a pillow.
  • Virtually all of Arrested Development's major plot twists are repeatedly hinted at long before they take place.
    • "This party's gonna be off the hook!" -Buster, one year before he loses his hand and gets it replaced by a hook.
    • That's not nearly as bad as "I never thought I'd miss a hand so much!" in reference to his hand-shaped chair.
    • Light Treason.
    • Michael: I don't even have a girl, much less a stupid one.
  • Arrow: In Episode 10 of Season 1, Burned, Tommy tries to run back into the burning club to save Oliver, but the entry collapses before he can. While this moment was mostly used to show that Tommy had indeed become a good person, that heroism comes back with a vengeance in the season finale, when he rushes into a collapsing building to save Laurel. This time, he’s able to make it in to save her, but the building collapses before he can get back out, killing him.
  • Extensively used in Babylon 5, noted for having a pre-planned five-year arc.
    • For example, characters often say "Watch your back" to security chief Michael Garibaldi during the first season (said character is then shot in the back in the first season finale). Almost every company mentioned in the series becomes somehow important in the storyline, even if they are used in throwaway lines in the beginning (Interplanetary Expeditions, ISN, Edgars Industries, etc.)
    • When Sinclair and Garibaldi return from Babylon 4, he tells a disappointed Susan that next time he'll take her. Of course later when they go back through time to steal Babylon 4 he leaves Garibaldi on the station and takes Susan.
    • Mr. Morden asks Vir what he wants. The answer is exactly what Londo does to him later in the series.
    • Or the Technomage's warning to Londo about how he'll have billions of victims. Only a few episodes later Londo starts the Narn-Centauri war.
      • Even earlier, Londo refers to his three hated wives as "Famine", "Pestilence" and "Death". By exclusion that leaves himself as "War".
    • In "Ceremonies of Light and Dark" Susan and Garibaldi ask Sheridan how long he'll be out of uniform after the station's secession from the Earth Alliance. Sheridan replies that he'll put it on once Clark is kicked out of office but it'll be the last time. Outside of a heart attack induced dream that Londo would have, this indeed becomes the case as after the funeral for those who died in the battle against Clark's forces Sheridan wore his uniform one last time when announcing his resignation after Clark is kicked out of office.
    • Pretty much all of the numerous visions in the show. Even if some aren't exactly what they appear to be...
    • An official tells a joke to Vir about "What's more dangerous than a locked room full of angry Narns?" Vir does walk into a room full of Narns shortly afterward, but that's only a Red Herring, as this actually foreshadows Refa's death, wherein Londo traps him in a cave with a bunch of angry Narns.
  • In Babylon Berlin, has one for those who are particularly 20th-century-politics-savvy: The first hint that Greta's Communist friends are not who they say they are is when one of them refers to Dr. Benda, Chief of the Political Police, as "the jew". While there was certainly no love lost between Jews and Communists, it didn't hold a candle to the virulent antisemitism of the Nazi movement, which is later revealed to be their actual allegiance.
  • The Barrier:
    • Daniela is shown to be much more aware of how life is outside of the enclave for the elites than the rest of her family before she's shown to have a definite social activist side to her. When her well-intentioned, but sheltered brother asks their new house employees Hugo and Julia what they would need to be happy, Daniela jumps in and tells them they don't have to answer if the don't want to. Later, when she realizes she gave Hugo the wrong work papers, she leaves the enclave before her family sits down for breakfast to bring the right papers to Hugo's brother Álex, who's bringing the papers to an administrative office for him while he's at work. When Álex doesn't asnwer the summons of the heavily armed guards, Daniela makes an announcement so Álex knows why he's being called.
    • The nature of the subcutaneous chips that Julia and Sara were implanted with as children gets a few hints. In the present day, Sara's chip has been passed down to her daughter Marta. It's stated that Sara saved Marta's life at the price of her own and that Marta's health is perfectly fine. This comes with the fact that Sara died specifically of the deadly virus with no known vaccine that's going around. Later, another hint comes in the form of Julia believing that this same virus actually isn't that easy to catch.
    • An alleged member of La Résistance that Álex meets early in the series has "pretending to be loyal to the government" act that has a little too much resemblance to the manner of speech of the professional The Stool Pigeon from the building in which Álex lives. This is a hint that the woman is actually a government informer, not a La Résistance member hiding her true allegiance.
    • When telling the rest of Julia's family that she should give herself up to the authorities, Begoña includes a platitude about how it's never too late to find the proper path. She follows that by a statement that Emilia should be the first to know that. Guess which member of the cast has actual ties to La Resistance.
    • When Hugo and Julia decide to bring Marta at work, their employer Alma decides to take Marta to her young nephew Segio's room to keep both children occupied. Upon doing so, she calls Sergio "[Marta's] new friend". When Alma brings new children into the dorm room in which she keeps her experimental subjects, she introduces them as "new friends" to the existing residents. Sergio actually isn't Alma's nephew, but one of the very first children she abducted to use as an experimental subject.
    • When a woman is being smuggled out of Madrid with the help of the father and daughter pair leading La Résistance, the daughter is not seen returning to the truck used to smuggle the woman out. It turns that she was the person in face-concealing clothing a couple of the protagonists were escorting to the truck and being used to distract the police while the woman who needed to be smulggled out was in another vehicle entirely.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210, third season as well: Dylan seems oddly concerned about Kelly dating a guy he thinks is not good enough for her. Then, when Brenda leaves to Paris, Dylan is seen walking with Kelly. Then guess what happens...
  • In a late Season 8 episode of The Big Bang Theory, Amy makes a snarky comment about how Sheldon gets flowers for his mother, but all she gets is a mushroom plant. Given the events of the next episode, which is the finale, where she gets fed up and dumps him just when he was going to propose to her, that scene takes on a whole new light.
    • In the penultimate episode of Season 11, the fact that Leonard is able to give a reasonable suggestion as to why George Jr is using a stethoscope on a tire- checking for small leaks?- foreshadows the later revelation that George Jr is a lot smarter and caring than Sheldon had described him and him and Leonard bonding over the shared experience of looking out for Sheldon.
  • In The Boys they cleverly foreshadow the kind of person Stormfront is simply with her name. It's certainly a fitting name for a heroine who can fly and shoot lightning, but it's also the name of a heavily antisemitic racist hate site. She's soon revealed to be a sadist racist serial killer, and not long after that, a literal Nazi.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • In the Season 1 episode "The Witch Is Back," Phoebe unexpectedly gains the ability to see the past in addition to the future. Prue comments that they always knew their powers would grow, and Phoebe replies "But somehow I thought I was gonna get to fly." She'd gain levitation in Season 3.
    • The Season 3 finale gives Prue Halliwell the line, "This has to end now or our lives are over!" At the end of the episode, she dies. Permanently. Six episodes prior, the Angel of Death informs her "Don't worry it's not your time, well not just yet anyway".
    • From the Season 2 episode "Morality Bites" when future Phoebe receives a premonition of how she killed a man, she is seen floating up into the air. In Season 3, she gains the power of levitation. And in Season 6, she gains the power of Empathy, the power she harnesses to kill said man.
    • In "Heartbreak City", Phoebe reunites two ex-lovers with the power of her words. Almost three years later, Phoebe becomes a successful love advice columnist.
  • Cobra Kai has a great one when John Kreese and Terry Silver show up together at the Miyagi-Do Dojo, and all the kids see Silver for the first time. Bert and Nathaniel describe Silver as "the guy from Highlander; there can be only one" which smartly foreshadows that Silver will eventually betray Kreese, take him down, and become the sole owner of the Cobra Kai Dojo.
  • In Cold Case, there are a number of episodes where an early flashback contains a moment or mention that, in retrospect, suggests the identity of the killer.
  • In Community episode "Football, Feminism and You" Troy tells Jeff that he needs to accept where he is and stop fighting it. He recommends taking a pottery class. Later in the season, Jeff does just that.
  • In the Criminal Minds episode "Omnivore", George Foyet describes the murder of his girlfriend by the serial killer the Reaper. "He stabbed her 67 times. Do you know how long it takes to stab someone 67 times?" George certainly does, because he is the Reaper. He's acting the part of the grieved boyfriend, but is actually getting sadistic pleasure out of taunting the FBI with veiled references to his own guilt.
  • In Season 1 of CSI: NY, Mac and Danny are at the scene of a wedding ceremony:
    Mac: It could happen to you, you know.
    Danny: What, marriage?
    Mac: Love.
    Danny: Don't even say stuff like that, Mac. That's not funny.
    • Lindsay is hired the next season and quotes football statistics at one point. Danny tells her to stop doing that because if she keeps it up, he might have to ask her to marry him. Guess what happens in Season 5?
  • Strangely, the much maligned decision to turn an entire season of Dallas into a dream seems to have had plenty of accidental Foreshadowing. The 'Dream Year' has a strange, slightly surreal air completely at odds with the rest of the show as noted in this article.
  • In the revival of Dallas several were made to Rebecca being Cliff's daughter.
    • Starts with Rebecca and Christopher go to meet Cliff in "The Price You Pay", and Rebecca acknowledges Cliff with a long look and stilted greeting to each other when they first meet. This later gets picked up on when it's revealed that Rebecca is Cliff's daughter, and she was in on the plan all along to take Christopher's drilling technology.
    • Also in the final episode Rebecca is happy when Christopher brings Chinese food which in the original Cliff was noted for having a fondness.
  • Dani's House: In "Pen Pal", Jack's pen pal talks in a very fake Japanese accent. He's faking it - he's Cornish.
  • Dawson's Creek, especially in the third season and regarding the Pacey/Joey/Dawson love triangle. It's mainly foreshadowed in dialogue between Pacey and Jen, with lines such as "the sidekick never gets the girl" or "what does (Joey) have that all men seek her?" (or something to that effect).
  • Desperate Housewives had one example in the first season: Martha Huber learned that Susan burned down Edie's house, and blackmailed her over it. Seeing as how Mary Alice got a blackmail note and committed suicide over her secret, Martha's behavior toward Susan was a clue about the culprit. Eventually, Paul found out it was her who sent Mary Alice the letter and he killed her over it.

  • Firefly has several foreshadowing moments. It is possible that some of them never were fulfilled, because of the cancellation.
    • In the pilot there are two. 1) Jayne tells Mal that Dobson tried to bribe him, but didn't accept because "the pay wasn't good enough". In Ariel, it was. 2) Kaylee asks for a new compression coil for the engine, warning that they'll be adrift in space if it breaks. That happens in Out of Gas.
    • River sometimes repeats "Two by two, hands of blue". The two agents who hunt River have blue gloves.
      • And in Ariel, though it looks like River's attack on Jayne is just regular River craziness, he IS wearing a Blue Sun t-shirt at the time...
    • When Simon mentions Early knocking out Book, Early says "that ain't no Shepherd" in Objects in Space. Book also seems to be come kind of Alliance VIP, as shown by their willingness to give him medical aid.
    • When coupled with the subtle hints in 'Serenity' that Book had at some point been an Alliance Operative like the one in the film (explaining their eagerness in the above point), this could have been a foreshadow of plot points Joss Whedon wished to expand on later in the series. The comic 'Serenity: A Shepherd's Tale' provides another possible version, this time as an Independent mole in the Alliance navy who killed the real Book and took his identity, later becoming a Shepherd out of guilt over his crimes.
    • In the first episode "Serenity", when the ship is about to be boarded by Reavers, the camera cuts to a scene of Inara taking out a syringe of some description. Later in "Out of Gas", Inara utters the line "I never want to die at all", and in the flashback is noticeably cryptic as to why she wants to work on Serenity rather than a luxury liner. All foreshadowed the fact that Inara had a terminal illness, and was aboard Serenity as a means to see more of the world before her demise. The payoff was never revealed though, due to premature cancellation. Confirmed by Word of God.
    • A good one in "Trash" when Simon confronts Jayne about his betrayal on Ariel. After Simon leaves, River, in a seemingly funny and Cloud Cuckoo Lander statement, says "Also, I can kill you with my brain". The significance of this statement is revealed in "Objects in Space" where River's intelligence, creativity and strategising comes together to defeat Jubal.
  • In Forbrydelsen, when Theis comes to work after everyone's learned that his daughter has been killed, his right-hand man and best mate Vagn enters his office and the only thing he says is "Theis, I don't know what to say." After an awkward moment, Theis starts talking about business and Vagn goes back to work. What's significant about this is that Vagn, who is practically a member of Theis's family, doesn't offer Theis a single sympathetic word or gesture. The reason he doesn't, and why he can't think of anything to say, is that he's the killer.
    • In the same show, before anyone has discovered that Theis' daughter is dead, Theis and Vagn are standing outside the house Theis is renovating for his family and Theis jokes "There's a room for you, too, in the basement." The basement of the house is where Vagn raped Theis' daughter the previous night, before taking her away to kill her.
  • Forever:
    • In the first episode Jo says the person who bought Henry a 300-year-old pocket watch as a gift must have cared a lot about him. Henry supposes she did, "but then she came to her senses and left me." Near the end of the season, we learn that Abigail seemingly ran out on Henry because she had aged and felt too old for him, and Henry fell apart for over a year.
    • Adam knows about the Jack the Ripoff murder in "The Frustrating Thing About Psychopaths" before word has gotten out to the press. But someone working closely with the police, who has clearance to hear about cases in progress, would have a chance to hear about a case that a lot of cops were talking about.
    • In "Diamonds Are Forever", during a shootout Detective Dunn is heard telling the suspect to freeze and the suspect is heard exclaiming, "What the hell, man!" We learn at the end that the two were working together. The suspect is shocked because his partner in crime is turning on him.
  • Freaks and Geeks:
    • In the pilot, Nick declares, "Disco sucks! I hate disco!" The show's final episode sees him wholeheartedly embracing disco culture.
    • In the Halloween episode, the geeks go trick or treating and receive circus peanuts from one house. Bill asks the woman "Do these peanuts actually contain peanuts? Because if they do, I could die." Later in the season, Bill ends up in the hospital and almost dies after a bully tricks him into eating peanuts.
  • Friends: Some may be a bit far-fetched in retrospect but:
    • Chandler and Monica's relationship beginning in the Season 4 finale: Several previous episodes hint at the possibility, and often near the end of a season. In the Season 1 finale Chandler offers Monica a Fallback Marriage Pact and she laughs, in the Season 3 finale Chandler offers to be her boyfriend and she laughs... cue the Season 4 finale they're having sex, Season 6 finale he's proposing and Season 7 finale they're getting married.
    • There are other occasions separate from these that foreshadow their relationship like Chandler calling Monica the most beautiful woman he's ever known [in real life] in a flashback when they almost sleep together. (When they actually sleep together he say's she's the most beautiful woman in most rooms). He also shows a preference to take off her bra over the other girls in Season 3, she gives him sex advice in Season 4 (when they get together he's 'the best she's ever had') and their No Sense of Personal Space habits throughout the first half of the series. As the writers claim they had no plans for Chandler/Monica its tricky to tell if it's Heartwarming in Hindsight or actual foreshadowing.
    • Ross and Rachel: From the very first episode, although that's pretty obvious as the show (especially during its beginning) is basically about them.
    • In a second season episode, Ross mentions he likes that name. Two years later, he meets an English girl called Emily, who then becomes his second wife.
    • Rachel's baby's father: It's a bit suspicious that there's no major interaction between Ross and Rachel during the seventh season's last episodes (i.e. after they slept together and when she realizes she's pregnant) and the eighth season's premiere. Then, on the eighth season's second episode, she mentions the best sex she ever had with him. Guess what's revealed at the end of that same episode?
      • Even better, especially on rewatch: in "TOW Joey's New Brain", Joey mentions that Ross hasn't had sex in three and a a half months, to which Rachel reacts with a wink. In the same episode there is an interaction about not sharing secrets. This must have been shortly after the conception.
    • In Season 2, the gang start contemplating which of them will get married first, and all agree that Chandler will be the last to get married. As it turns out, Chandler was actually the first in the group—along with Monica— to enter a lasting marriage.
  • Gilmore Girls has one in Season 4 after Luke comes back from the cruise, during which he married his girlfriend Nicole:
    Luke: There's more.
    Lorelai: Oh my God, she's pregnant! You finally reproduced!
    • Cue Season 6...
  • Good Omens:
    • Episode 3 has a little arc about Crowley's attempts to procure holy water as "insurance." In episode 4, the holy water plays a major part in Crowley winning enough time to escape Hastur and Ligur.
    • Water doesn't tend to bode well for Crowley: he shelters from the first storm under Aziraphale's wing, he makes no secret of the fact that he considers the Great Flood an atrocity, and he gets knocked down by a water jet as the firefighters try to put out the fire at the bookshop. We learn in Episode 3 that holy water kills a demon Deader than Dead — and in the final episode, Crowley is sentenced to death by immersion in holy water.
    • In his first appearance, Adam is acknowledged as the leader of the Them and inventor of the best games, and is shown climbing on to a structure that looks like a throne. When his Antichrist abilities kick in, these traits take a darker turn: he turns his friends into puppets, the world into his plaything, and rewrites reality to suit himself (before his friends manage to snap him out of it).
  • In Season 1 of Gossip Girl, Blair breaks off her apparently casual relationship with Chuck because he manipulated everyone and didn't care if he hurt her in the process of those manipulations. She even says the line "This is why you and I can never work." Two and a half seasons later, when they're in a long-term serious relationship, he manipulates her into prostituting herself for his benefit, causing the most heart-breaking break-up of the series.
  • Gotham Knights (2023): Stephanie kisses Turner, but then says she felt nothing, thinking this would be different from her boyfriend (whom kissing also did nothing for her). This precedes her realization she's a lesbian, then kissing Harper, which does make her feel something.
  • The Great British Bake Off: In the biscuit episode in series 3, James notes after the first round that everyone relies on luck to some degree, him more than most. In the episode's showstopper challenge, he miraculously turns a gingerbread barn that has fallen apart into a gingerbread derelict barn. It isn't clear if Paul has even noticed it was a patch-up job (he said that it was perfect if intended, and great even if it wasn't), and it wins James Star Baker.
  • In Season 5 of Grey's Anatomy, one story arch involves Derek treating a serial killer on death row, who suggests to Derek that he is no better than a murder, "deciding who lives and dies all the time". He retorts quite vehemently. Just four episodes later, after a pregnant woman died of complications resulting partly from a mistake he made during her initial surgery, once again Derek is accused of being a murderer, by the grieving husband. This time, he has nothing to say in return except for "I'm sorry" repeatedly. Combine the two events, plus his own childhood memory of his father being murdered, it's no wonder he took the accusation so hard.

  • Happy!: The title of Episode 6 is "The Scrapyard of Childish Things". It's a partial quote from a line spoken by Smoothie in the same episode, but it's also stealth foreshadowing for The Reveal when Happy finds the makeshift mausoleum of all the Not So Imaginary Friends that Raspberry and Mr. Blue's son have kidnapped, tortured, and killed.
  • "Ua Hala", the second-season finale of the reimagined Hawaii Five-0, begins with a cop being set up for his murder by being lured to what he thinks is a dead body but is actually revealed to be a mannequin. This seems to be a subtle foreshadowing of the end of the episode, where we learn that McGarrett's mother, whom we had been led to believe died before the series, is actually alive.
  • Highlander foreshadowed Richie's immortality in the first ep, after the defeat of Slan.
    Connor: He will need watching.
    • We did find out later that immortals can sense pre-immortality faintly, so it's probably justified.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street:
    • In "Fallen Heroes" part one, Pembleton has the chance to shoot Junior Bunk during his killing spree in the police station, but he hesitates. In part two, he freezes in front of an armed suspect and Bayliss takes a bullet for him. In general, Frank being a Non-Action Guy prone to making mistakes in dangerous situations had been foreshadowed several times (see also: first episode of season four).
    • The "Justice" two-parter centers around a detective who snaps after his father's murderer is pronounced not guilty despite having clearly done it, and kills him in cold blood. This ultimately destroys his life when it's discovered and he's arrested. This foreshadows Kellerman and Bayliss's fates, particularly the latter. Both of them snap and kill a criminal they know to be guilty in cold blood, and it destroys their careers and mental health.
    • Similarly, Jimmy Tyron, the Arc Villain of Season 2, is a police officer who shot an unarmed suspect in cold blood, which ultimately ruins his life. It foreshadows Kellerman's killing of Luther Mahoney, which has a similar effect on him.
  • House: In Season 3, Wilson's reasoning - he was afraid that House might think he was God and take an even bigger fall later on if he made a mistake - for his ill-advised, badly timed attempt at teaching House humility turns out to be well-founded when House pisses Tritter off in "Fools For Love" and utter disaster ensues.
    • In one of the many Season 4 examples foreshadowing the finale, when the Hospital Inspector tells House that he's heard his name before, House replies that most people have because his name is also a noun. In the season finale, the noun-as-name situation comes into play when House's subconscious places an amber necklace on the mystery woman to suggest her true identity.
    • Each season finale foreshadowed the Season 5 finale, with increasing obviousness.
    • In "Finding Judas", when House Kicks The Dog hard and makes Cuddy cry, she tells Wilson that as much as he can be awful, he does have an inner censor to not actually destroy everyone he meets. The Amber hallucination/sub-conscious proves how right she was, as without that censor, he/she/it tries to murder Chase, is even more racist and actively tries to keep House himself a self loathing, isolated junkie.
  • How I Met Your Mother does a lot of subtle ones. Ted and his fiance Stella have a Nonverbal Miscommunication when Stella's sister informs them that her fiance ran off and she can't get a refund. Ted thinks their conversation is about the lunch. Stella thinks it's about taking the wedding. It's been noted that Lily and Marshall have perfect "couple telepathy", so when Ted and Stella have this miscommunication, it's an indication that they are not meant for each other and Stella ran off with her ex-boyfriend the day of the wedding.
    • Not to mention that earlier Future!Ted stated that his and Stella's relationship would end badly. He did the same when Present!Ted and Victoria decided to make their long distance relationship work, with Future!Ted commenting that it didn't.
    • Ted's favourite movie is Annie Hall where the titular character and the protagonist get in a relationship, have it end and decide they are Better as Friends. Sound familiar?
    • In Season 4, Marshall says in 3-5 years, he'll be carving the Thanksgiving turkey with a lightsaber. The stinger for that episode shows him doing that 3-5 years in the future, talking to Lily and his mother. But not his father, who dies two years later before this scene would take place.
    • The "Bad News" is done in a Fridge Brilliance way. Most of the episode leads the viewers to believe that the "bad news" is that Marshall can't get Lily pregnant. It's all a ruse.
    • In the pilot episode in the first scene with Ted, Robin and Barney, Ted describes it in his head "like something from an old movie, where the sailor sees the girl across the crowded dance floor, turns to his buddy and says 'See that girl? I'm gonna marry her some day...'" Except he never finishes the sentence in real life because Barney interrupts him. This is clever foreshadowing because Ted doesn't marry Robin. Barney does.
    • One episode has Robin deciding to forsake dating and focus on her career, to which Future!Ted says "Ironically, that was the day that she met Don." They naturally get together but the real foreshadowing comes when Robin was offered her dream career but turned it down to stay with Don. Ironically, when Don was offered the same job, he chose his career over Robin.
    • A surprisingly unsubtle one happens surprisingly early in the series, where a Season 1 episode ends with Ted introducing himself to a stripper named Tracy, to which Future Ted remarks "that is how I met your mother" to the absolute shock of his children until he remarks that he's only joking. It doesn't take much logic to conclude that the children know their mother's name and wouldn't react like that if the woman didn't have the same name, taking all the suspense out of the potential mothers as none of them are named Tracy. And the mother's name does in fact turn out to be Tracy.
    • In the Season 2 episode "Single Stamina", Future Ted says that you can always tell the difference between singles and couples at parties because single people are always active and on their feet, while couples are tired, bored, and just want to go home. Thus, Lily and Marshall along with Robin and Ted spend the whole evening exhausted and bored. In the same episode, a Flashforward to a year in the future shows the gang at Barney's brother's wedding, with a tired Marshall and Lily deciding to leave early while Ted and Robin, still energized, decide to stay longer, foreshadowing their breakup in the Season 2 finale. However, since the audience already knew Robin wasn't the Mother, the breakup was already something of a Foregone Conclusion.
  • How to Get Away with Murder does this in Season 6. In its usual "show something shocking then spend half the season in 'How We Got Here' mode", the season opener seems to show Annalise's funeral, both at the beginning of the episode (where it's quickly revealed to be All Just a Dream) and at the end. Further into the season, a Chekhovs Lesson sets up the possibility, seemingly confirmed at the end of the episode, that Annalise is going to fake her death. The end of the midseason finale instead shows Wes Gibbins, thought to have died three seasons ago, about to speak at Annalise's funeral.
  • In I, Claudius, an eagle drops an injured wolf cub into the disabled child Claudius's arms. A wise man who happens to be nearby interprets the wolf as being The Roman Empire, which Claudius will nurture back to health, thus implying he'll one day be Emperor. However, the real foreshadowing comes when Claudius's sister Livilla laughs at the prophecy and says she hopes she'll be dead by the time it comes to be. Her mother gets angry with her and tells her to go to her room without any food for the rest of the day. Livilla is eventually starved to death by her mother as punishment for her involvment with Sejanus, before Claudius comes to power as Emperor.note 
    • While cleaning each other in the bath, Drusus tells his brother Tiberius that a man should never rely on a slave to bathe him—he should get his brother, his son, or a friend, and that if he doesn't have any of those, he should just give up because he has nothing to live for. By the end of his life, Tiberius has lost his brother and his son, was betrayed by his only friend Sejanus, and is loathed as a ruler. He becomes a cruel old man secluded away on Capri with no real meaning left in his life and his death is widely celebrated.
  • JAG: In the pilot episode when Harm first arrives on the USS Seahawk both the Skipper and the CAG notices this from the tower and speaks on the phone where they hint at Harm's backstory.
    Skipper: Damn, CAG. He looks like Hammer.
    CAG: Yeah. Too bad he couldn't fly like him.
    Skipper: I thought it was a night vision problem.
    CAG: So they say, Skipper.
  • Jejak Suara Adzan: Putra is initially introduced as just a random, very-helpful person that happens to know someone who might be Dimas' brother. Then, Putra seems to notice something about Dimas' motorcycle, foreshadowing that he was Kyai Leman's student too and recognized Kyai Leman's bike that Dimas borrowed.
  • Jeremiah: In "Voices in the Dark", Karl, a defector from the Army of Daniel, describes himself as a former political advisor and says that he helped make Daniel into the leader he is, although he is reluctant to be more specific. A later episode reveals that Daniel is an Invented Individual who his supposed inner circle literally made up as as a perfect leader.
  • Joe Pickett: Vern blackmailing Barnum over how he impregnated a Native American minor in season 1 makes it a little less surprising when season 2 reveals Barnum is part of a group of Serial Rapists whose victims include Native American teenagers.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, Eijiro is ironing something, red on one side and black on the other, and makes the comment about another character that we all have a side of ourselves we keep hidden. The scene ends with him tapping Kivala with the hot iron (something that won't be really painful, and something she probably had coming, but a bit harsh for the warm, fatherly figure he's been until now and will be for the rest of the series). But come The Movie All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, Eijiro is revealed as the old-school Big Bad who wore a cape that was black on the outside and red on the inside: Dr. Shinigami.
  • The Kicks:
    • In "Head Games", Devin tells her teammates about the time she hurt her ankle in Connecticut. She hurts her ankle again at the end of the first season.
    • In "Go Big or Go Home", Devin's mother worries about Devin going away for a short while because she's heard about earthquakes and other disasters on the news. An actual earthquake hits near the end of the episode.
  • The infamous Amy's Baking Company episode of Kitchen Nightmares. You know things are going to get bad when a stagehand has to intervene in a fight between Samy and an angry customer.
  • The episode Elsewhen of Land of the Lost (1974) may have foreshadowed this in the fact that Rani a future version of Holly who judging by appearances looks like she eventually got back home due to the absence of rough edges of any she's gorgeous! departs giving Holly some wisdom to "Cherish her loved ones...they won't always be there." This could be simply interpreted An Aesop about the death of loved ones being part of life. With the abrupt and clumsy writing out of Rick Marshall in the first three minutes of the first episode of the third season, it could be interpreted as foreshadowing if you didn't know the circumstances regarding actor Spencer Milligan's decision to leave the show and that Rick was actually Put on a Bus to Hell, making his return pointless now that Uncle Jack showed up.
  • In Law & Order, just before the season finale where Serena Southerlyn is fired and outs herself as a lesbian, there was an episode where McCoy successfully argues to have gay marriages in the state ruled invalid to remove a claim of Spousal Privilege. Southerlyn's disgusted reaction to homophobic comments in the episode and refusal to even consider helping McCoy could be seen in a new light. Additionally, in the Season 12 episode "Girl Most Likely", when the DA's have realized that the dead girl was murdered by her lesbian lover so as to avoid being outed by her, Serena talks about a "friend" who didn't come out until college, in a tone that makes it pretty clear, in hindsight, that the "friend" in question was herself. Plus, in the Season 13 episode "Seer," it's Serena who figures out that their key witness is a lesbian, and actually the killer, who murdered the victim because she rejected her advances. Why was Serena able to see something that everyone else missed? In retrospect, that Serena was a lesbian was actually foreshadowed pretty heavily.
    • Detective Stabler's exit from the show was heavily foreshadowed for many seasons: This being his angry and violent temper, and his rush to judgement. It got him in trouble in past episodes, but because of his popularity in the department and his faithful partner, Olivia Benson, he was able to keep his job. That is until the Season 12 finale episode "Smoked", where Stabler is forced to shoot a teenage girl who was armed and already shot two other people. Because of his past actions in previous seasons, it was easy for the higher-ups to believe that Stabler once again rushed to judgement and let his violent side get the best of him. He's placed on administrative leave until a full investigation was done, but Stabler decides to turn in his badge to avoid a major scandal.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In "The Healer", a voodoo priestess who had implied spirits had put a curse on Detective Logan (she had tricked him into picking up a candle covered with poison ivy oil) says to him after he later arrests her for murder: "You think before was bad, Detective? Just you wait." In Logan's next episode, "To the Bone", he shoots an undercover cop, which leads to Captain Deakins, who had burned several favors to get Logan transferred to Major Case from exile in Staten Island, being accused of recommending a promotion for a cop in exchange for backing Logan's account of the incident (in fact, Deakins was set up by Frank Adair, a former friend & ex-cop, whom Goren and Eames arrested for murder in the previous season's "My Good Name".) As a result, Deakins resigns.
  • Legion: In "Chapter 22", most of the clips that are shown when Charles Xavier detects Amahl Farouk with Cerebro are from "Chapter 26", so somehow Charles is able to see glimpses of his future meeting with Farouk.
  • Lost has many examples, but the most prominent is in the pilot: Locke and Walt play backgammon and Locke mentions that it's the oldest game in the world and there's two players: one light, one dark. The final season reveals that the series' events revolved around two people, one "light" and one "dark", each having a goal that's part of what's essentially a game they invented in their childhood, and they've been at it for two thousand years.
    • The first time we see Juliet's face, it's her reflection in a mirror. In Season 5, she sacrifices herself believing it will create a Mirror Universe.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan:
    • Early in episode 5, Alan calls his DVD sales "as quiet as a graveyard", foreshadowing his job as a gravedigger later in the same episode.
    • Topan reminding Bambang (and the audience) that they don't have a TV in the dorm in episode 31, which foreshadows that they will get a new one around two episodes later.
    • A good number of scenes in episode 33 discuss about names and whether Prima should change his to improve his luck. By the end of the episode, it doesn't lead to anything for Prima, but it turns out to be foreshadowing for Juna's Given Name Reveal and his desire to change his real name.
    • In episode 35, Pipin tells Mami Bibir and Melani that they should bring an umbrella because it's rainy season now, foreshadowing the plot-important rain scene of the next episode.
    • In episode 41, Alexi cleans up his room from boxes. One might think it's Wawan's unopened boxes from when he moved in to Alexi's room, but later event in the episode makes it clear that he was moving out.
    • In episode 42, Bobby confronts Alan for still patrolling even though he is already fired by the RW leader. Alan finds it weird that Bobby already knows and thinks the news must have spread fast. The next episode reveals that Bobby has been trying to get Alan fired the whole time. He knew because he reported Alan to RW leader.
    • The reveal in episode 56 that Alan and Topan mispell "Project" as "Projek" in the sign is foreshadowed twice in the episode. First is Topan feeling there's something wrong with the sign after it's done, but Alan shrughs it off. The second one foreshadows a closely-related twist. Three interviewees arrive, but they don't look like video editor. Not long after that, they reveal that they thought the interview is for an ojek (motorcycle taxi) company.
    • About midway through episode 62, Bambang tells Nando that their boss is watching so they should be careful or else they will get fired. At the end, the boss watches Bambang's arguing with Melani and fires him for arguing with a customer.
  • In Misfits, Nathan's power is first hinted at by his mother's insistence that "nothing anyone says ever hurts [him]". A later episode presents an alternate timeline in which Curtis wasn't around to help the rest of the Misfits escape their first probation worker. The only survivor of the incident is Nathan, who reveals that the police found him half-dead at the scene.
  • Murdoch Mysteries:
    • In "Murdoch at the Opera", the opera company's manager observes that while the dead singer was the understudy to the star, the younger woman was unlikely to go on in the lead role of La Bohème because the diva would sing on her deathbed. At the end of the episode, the diva, who was also the culprit, took poison and sang her final scene in the opera on a bed as she was actually dying.
    • In "Murdoch on the Corner", a seemingly crazy beggar talks to himself incessantly, and one of his early phrases is "She's the one!" It turns out the culprit is a woman, an apparently kindly pastor's widow.
  • Rewatch all the Tony elements of NCIS's fourth season in light of the context of the Season 5 premiere. Then kick yourself for not spotting the gradual setup for The Reveal that his relationship with Jeanne Benoit is actually an undercover operation to get at her father, La Grenouille. In particular, the scene early in the season when Tony asks Director Shepard for relationship advice takes on an entirely different and kind of creepy subtext that is not evident the first time around.
    • Also, Gibbs' furious reaction at the end of the second season premiere takes on a whole new meaning given the third season finale.
    • When Kate is held hostage by Ari in the first season finale, Gibbs suddenly imagines her dead via headshot for a moment. Exactly one season later in the second season finale, Ari snipes Kate dead, and she falls to the ground in an identical scene to the one Gibbs imagined. This however, actually wasn't preplanned as Kate was only killed because the actress decided to leave, which wasn't known until the second season was already underway, making this an aftershadow of sorts.
    • In the fourth-season episode "Grace Period", two colleagues of a supposed suicide bomber are present when Ziva accidentally drops the man's head from the rafters (It Makes Sense in Context). One reacts in perfectly understandable horror, while the other remains composed. In the end, the man who kept his cool is revealed to be one of a pair of terrorists that killed and framed the dead man.
  • In the fourth season of Narcos, Kiki recounts a story at a party about how he tried to bust some guys for smoking pot in a bathroom, but didn't realize he was outnumbered and ended up getting beaten up. When asked if it was worth it, he replies that yes, as he was then able to charge them with not just possession, but assaulting a federal agent, which made it much more serious. At the end of the series, Kiki's torturous murder by drug traffickers is what prompts the United States, who hadn't previously shown much care about drug traffickers in Mexico, to take action, as weed is one thing, but killing a federal agent is in another category entirely.
  • In Night and Day, this often takes the form of spooky or otherwise supernatural episodes. Premonitive consultations with psychics abound, as do individual character visions – for example, while in the catacombs, Josh has a vision of a man with a gloved hand passing a black chrysanthemum to a girl. "The Black Chrysanthemum" later turns out to be the name of the club where Jane is alive and working as a geisha. (Holly also appears to have an unexplained vision of Jane as a geisha.) Also, an ‘alternative reality’ episode around halfway through the series explores what might have happened if Sam Armstrong and Jane had married – and many of the events that occur in this episode eventually come to pass in the show’s real timeline.
  • At the start of an episode of Noah's Arc, Chance is giving Noah advice that there's always a time when a man has to choose between his principles and his paycheck. During the next episode, Chance has to choose between helping a lesbian couple and allowing Eddie to keep his career (one of the lesbians is Eddie's boss's wife).
  • NUMB3RS: "Money for Nothing", the penultimate episode of Season 3, revolves around a charity whose truck is hijacked, leading them to suspect an inside job. The project director vouches for her staff, but Don is still skeptical, commenting, "How well does anyone know who they're working with?" Colby replies, "The way I see it, you got a team, you got to trust 'em. That's just the way it works." Both comments quickly turn out to be prophetic; in the Season 3 finale, Don finds out that Colby is not who Don thinks he is, and in the Season 4 premiere, Colby has to both ask Don to trust him and place his own trust completely on Don when his mission goes sideways.
    • While Don's comment is coincidental, Colby's is likely deliberate in-universe. Colby tells Don later that everything up to and including his "exposure" and arrest was planned, meaning he knew what was coming. Whether he suspected he might need Don's help or he just felt guilty about pretending to betray the team is unclear, but either way, he was trying to hint to Don that he could trust him.
    • More generally, in the same episode, the staff members are suspected of betraying the cause they purport to serve, but they are later proven innocent. The details are different, but in the broad strokes, this is pretty much exactly what happens to Colby in the subsequent arc.
  • Sometimes happens in One Foot in the Grave and is both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama, sometimes both at the same time.
    • One example is in the special 'The Man Who Blew Away'. Mr. Foskett mentions his collection of false teeth to Victor, who tries to feign enthusiasm. Later on, Patrick and Pippa receive a large package for the Meldrews. Annoyed at Victor's antics, Patrick jokes that he thought the box contained a new consignment of human organs. In the next scene, it is revealed that Mr. Foskett committed suicide, and the box contains his collection of false teeth (which might be considered 'human organs'), which he has bequeathed to Victor.
  • One Piece (2023):
    • In the first episode, Nami rejects a marine's advances at the bar and goes to flirt with another Marine because he is shorter. It's later revealed that she needed a Marine clothes to steal for infiltration and that Marine's clothes matched her smaller frame better.
    • Zoro becomes particularly angry when Helmeppo steals the Wado Ichimonji. It's later revealed the sword is a Tragic Keepsake.
    • Buggy says he has "eyes and ears" everywhere when he was able to find out that Luffy hid the map. He had tracked the Straw Hats by literally putting his ear on Luffy's straw hat.
    • When Mihawk first meets Luffy, he comments on Luffy's hat, an early hint about his association with Shanks.
    • Buggy accuses Shanks of overshadowing him despite being in the same crew when they were younger and when Mihawk visits Shanks, he quips how "a man of [his] status" was slumming it, an early hint that Shanks is one of the Four Emperors.
    • Sanji sheds some tears upon hearing Nami and Nojiko's traumatic past where their adopted mother was killed to protect them, compared to Luffy, Zoro and Usopp who simply are horrified. Manga and anime fans would know why Sanji reacted the way he did since his mother took a gene-reversing drug to protect her children and would later die from it.
  • Person of Interest:
    • In a flashback in the third episode, "Mission Creep", Reese has a chance encounter with his former lover Jessica in an airport. In the course of the conversation, he tells her, "In the end, we're all alone and no one is coming to save you." Later in the season, in "Matsa Nyaya" and "Many Happy Returns", we learn that Jessica ended up in an abusive marriage. She made a desperate call to Reese for help, but he was on a mission and couldn't get there, and her husband beat her to death. She died all alone, because no one came to save her.
    • Also foreshadowed by Reese's opening narration from "Pilot", which he repeats in "Many Happy Returns" as he confronts Jessica's husband Peter.
    • Subtly reinforced in the second episode, "Ghosts", when Jessica's picture appears on one of the screens showing the people on the Machine's "irrelevant" list (people about to be involved in a violent crime, but not relevant to national security).
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: Many episodes contain subtle hints that Mack is an android, starting from day 1.
      • When talking with Mack, Spencer tells him to not see himself as "one of his father's possessions".
      • When Tyzonn tells the group that his Mercurian physiology will pass through their organic bodies and allow them to enter a forcefield as long as they hold hands, it stops when Mack tries to get in.
      • After Mack's cursed by a mystical compass, Andrew and Spencer question how Mack could be affected in the first place.
      • The Rangers dress in costume for Halloween. Mack's is a robot. Hartford and Spencer pause and look a bit worried when they see...
    • In an early episode of Power Rangers RPM, Tenaya 7 gets through security because she looks completely human even though she sets off the alarms when scanned. How? Well, they’ve gotten a ton of false positives when scanning people for Venjix tech. Also, one of the Rangers is a super-strong cyborg, able to use the upgrades he’s gotten from the villains’ experimenting on him instead of the tech using him... for now. A big part of the storyline of the series is the fact that “for now” are the operative words. In the final two episodes, we find out that everyone in the city’s been infected by nanites and was being assimilated from the inside out from day one. The villains’ work with Dillon - at the time, seeming to be this random one-off thing - had paid off, and those “false positives” from so long ago were people whose transformations were progressing faster than the others. One of the FIRST people to suddenly go Terminator was the one who’d given the line about the false positives back then.
    • In Power Rangers Megaforce, a discussion in the first episode about who might inherit the earth from humans, insects, mutants, and robots get mentioned. Guess what the three villain factions of the series turn out to be, in that order.
    • In Power Rangers Dino Fury, The reveal that the small zord they have been trying to wrangle in for most of the episode is not the Paca smash zord but it’s daughter Was foreshadowed five years earlier in a line of dialogue from Power Rangers (2017) in the scene where the megazord first appears, the first thing says;
    Billy: It’s a mama zord
  • In the first episode of the second series of Primeval, Cutter says to Stephen: "You think I would have just stood by and watch you get torn to pieces?" which is exactly what happens at the end of the series, except Stephen was behind a door only he could open.
  • In the Private Eyes episode "The Hills Have Eyes" the detectives question a cop who admits he has been expanding his basement despite knowing it is illegal. Late in the episode it's revealed he's a dirty cop who has been stealing drugs from evidence and selling them to anyone who buys, even kids.

  • Quantum Leap:
    • In "Double Identity", upon learning he's in 1965, Sam remarks that Vietnam is going on, to which Al glumly remarks "Don't remind me...". Fast forward to Season 2 with the episode "M.I.A.", where we learn Al served in Vietnam... and was captured by the Vietcong until being repatriated in the 1970s.
    • Similarly, in "Sea Bride," Al casually mentions his one true love. The very next episode is "M.I.A.", which greatly expands on this.
  • Roseanne had got sillier and more unbelievable. Then came the Downer Ending that revealed that the entire season, and a lot of the series, was Roseanne's fictionalized (with a heavy dose of Wish-Fulfillment) autobiography that she started writing after Dan died of his heart attack. The real foreshadowing, however, is that VERY early on in the series it was shown that Roseanne had wanted to be a writer, but that her plans had been derailed by marrying Dan and having kids.
  • Sadakatsiz: Asya's white rose garden gets destroyed by Derin at Volkan's welcome-back party. If we couple this with Asya's mother's advice about how plants need to be repotted to healthier environments, it's a clear warning about how Tekirdağ will become a very toxic environment for Asya and her son Ali as a result of her self-centered, immature ex-husband's return.
  • The Sandman (2022):
    • When Alex shoots Jessamy dead in front of Dream, his father scolds him for shooting so close to the glass prison containing Dream. Decades later, when the binding circle is weakened, the guard falls asleep during his watch and is tricked by Dream into shooting it.
    • Johanna asks Dream if he has any ex-girlfriends and he looks upset while not answering her question. Later episodes show some of his ex-girlfriends, one who is in Hell for "defying" him.
    • When Dream encounters Nada, she tells him she will never give up hope in escaping from Hell, foreshadowing Dream's final answer in the Wizard Duel between him and Lucifer.
  • Servant of the People: One of Vasiliy's favorite phrases that he uses to get attention in crowded and noisy places is "Putin has been overthrown!" Come the first season finale, he receives a phone call from the newly elected President of Russia, and is shocked to learn who they are.
  • Sherlock foreshadowed the Season 2 finale way back in the very first episode of the series.
    Jefferson Hope: I'm not going to kill you, Mr. Holmes. I'm going to talk to you... And you're going to kill yourself.
    • Which, for all intents and purposes, is basically what Moriarty does to Sherlock, though the latter didn't actually commit suicide.
      Sally: One day we're going to be standing around a body, and Sherlock Holmes will be the one who put it there.
      • In "His Last Vow", she's right.
    • This belief — which is espoused by almost all of Scotland Yard regarding Sherlock's "psychopathic" tendencies — is what allows Moriarty to pull off his Xanatos Gambit against Sherlock so successfully in the Season 2 finale.
    • Sherlock finding John sitting gloomily in a graveyard in Hound of Baskerville also foreshadows the season finale.
    • Sherlock is seen standing on a large, tall rock in the same episode several times, foreshadowing how he's going to commit suicide in the next episode.
  • Smallville has allusions to the classic Superman almost as often as spoken dialogue, many of which may count as foreshadowing, although it is more or less a Foregone Conclusion. The Smallville wiki has a list of how many times they do this. Right here.
  • Stargate SG-1: In Season 8's "Threads", Daniel's in an Ascension "half-way house" that looks like an American diner. He's reading an Ascended newspaper that headlines his limbo status, focussing on an article about Anubis' future plans. On the same page, a barely visible article headlines "Wraith on the way to Atlantis" and indicates a fleet of more than 9 hive ships are involved. "Threads" aired one week after the Season 1 finale of Stargate Atlantis where three hive ships are already besieging Atlantis. A month later, Season 2 opens with Atlantis defeating the three ships only to discover a second wave of 12 ships heading straight for them.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In retrospect, there are more than a few moments throughout the series that suggest Bashir's genetically-engineered status.
      • In "Rivals", Bashir says he won the sector championship in racquetball by beating out, among others, a Vulcan, something that would be very difficult for an ordinary human. The same episode has O'Brien repeatedly complaining that Bashir has more stamina than he does.
      • In "Armageddon Game", Bashir is able to effectively repair a broken-down transmitter, albeit with verbal guidance from O'Brien, after O'Brien is incapacitated. O'Brien might have been right that Engineering Extension courses in medical school wouldn't cut it for most people, but for a man with vastly improved memory and intelligence, it just might.
      • In "Distant Voices", Bashir admits that he deliberately knocked himself out of the running for valedictorian. This makes a lot more sense when you realize that he was afraid of being too perfect and thereby being exposed.
      • Long before the above episode, he mentions the mistake that cost him the valedictorian spot. What was it? He mistook a preganglionic fiber for a postganglionic nerve. If you had no idea what either of those words mean, you might think that's an easy mistake to make, because, well, one "ganglionic"-related medical... thing... must be a lot like the next, right? Well, if you do know what they mean, you'd instantly know there's absolutely no way in hell to make that mistake. It'd be akin to seeing a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records and mistaking it for an actual juke box: Yes, the terms "record player" and "record book" both have the word "record" in them; no, the two objects are not even a little bit similar in appearance or function. Similarly, Bashir's mistake would be utterly, ridiculously impossible even a first-year medical student in this century, let alone a medical expert in the Star Trek universe.
      • Also in "Distant Voices", the fact that he survives the Lethian's attack (which he later states is "almost always fatal"). Garak was more right than he knew when he suggested that Bashir "survived because [he was] strong".
      • Speaking of Garak, Julian is awfully enthralled with him pretty much from the first time he lays eyes on him. What is Garak known for? Having secrets. Something Julian can relate to quite a bit more than he lets on.
      • He looks awkward when Quark says, "Welcome to the zone!" after Bashir gets a bullseye while playing darts.
      • These are particularly noteworthy because not one of them was intentional. The idea of Bashir being genetically engineered was something that was thought up so much at the last minute that they filmed the immediately preceding episode without the slightest idea of what was to come; the fact that the twist was so perfectly foreshadowed was complete happenstance. (Oh, that "preganglionic nerve" thing? Bashir made an impossible mistake because the writer didn't know anything about medicine; Most Writers Are Writers, after all. When his wife, who did know, complained once too many times, he had Bashir admit it had been on purpose. The reason he, at the time, seemed to have no reason to sabotage himself like that was because, at the time, the character didn't — the writer was just making a nod to the missus.)
    • In "The Sound of Her Voice", the penultimate episode of Season 6, O'Brien makes mention of how they've all grown apart and how he dislikes it because "someday we're going to wake up and we're going to find that someone is missing from this circle, and on that day we're going to mourn, and we shouldn't have to mourn alone." Just as he says they're going to "find someone missing", the camera cuts over to Jadzia. The shot then begins cutting between the other characters in the room, but if you watch carefully, it's not until O'Brien begins talking about how the people left behind are going to mourn that this happens, and the first person it cuts to is Bashir. In the Season 6 finale, Jadzia is killed, and Bashir is particularly hard-hit because he had her in his infirmary but couldn't save her.
  • The Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Vanishing Point" has several hints that the episode is All Just a Dream:
    • At the beginning, the planet the crew was looking at was unpopulated, but then later, it appeared to suddenly develop a population, with no one finding it odd.
    • T'Pol claims that the relics the crew were looking at were sacred, even though she had no way of knowing that because she doesn't speak the aliens' language. Hoshi even points this out.
    • Said language is then deciphered by a crewman with no expertise on linguistics, even though Hoshi couldn't do it.
    • No one makes a big deal out of Trip and Travis being abducted.
    • Throughout the episode, Hoshi can hear disembodied voices. These turn out to be the voices of the rest of the crew talking to her from the real world.
    • Hoshi is the only one who doesn't know the Ghost Story about "Cyrus Ramsey", even though Phlox, an alien, knows.
    • Her father is oddly nonchalant about the possibility of his daughter being dead.
  • If an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has its cold open on the holodeck (and it's not a Holodeck Malfunction), the program will indicate the theme for that episode. In "Devil's Due", for example, Data is playing the scene with Scrooge and Marley's ghost — the power of fear and sensory illusion are a big part of the episode's plot. In "Clues", Picard plays one of his Dixon Hill stories with Guinan, and (if the title wasn't a... you know) the rest of the episode is about a shipwide mystery that human nature compels them to solve.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series pilot episode "The Cage", while talking with Doctor Boyce, Captain Pike talks about the battle on Rigel Seven and two activities he might partake in after retiring: going on a picnic on Earth or becoming an Orion trader. Each of these is used as the basis for one of the telepathic illusions the Talosians use on him later.
  • St. Elsewhere: In "Attack", Cathy Martin tells Shirley Daniels and Jackie Wade that the serial rapist will not come after her as she does not have a victim aura. At the end of the episode, however, Cathy is the latest victim of the rapist, who turns out to be Peter White.
  • Stranger Things:
    • The tabletop game the boys are playing at the start of Season 1 foreshadows what's going to happen later. Mike intones, "Something is coming, something hungry for blood – the Demogorgon!" In both the game and in real, Will tries to attack the Demogorgon, but "it gets him."
    • In an early episode, Hopper tells his deputies that a fall from the quarry cliff would be fatal, despite there being a lake on the bottom, due to sheer height. Mike later goes over the edge.
    • In the first episode, the boys get excited about how far the signal on Mr. Clarke's ham radio can reach. The radio is later used by Eleven to reach a place farther away than they ever thought.
    • After a big fight in the group, Dustin recalls a D&D session where the party split up and they were picked off by trolls one by one. Sure enough, both Lucas and Dustin and Mike end up in trouble in two separate situations.
    • In the last episode of Season 1, the D&D Monster of the Week is a Thessalhydra. Guess what Season 2's Big Bad resembles.
    • The boys are playing Dragon's Lair in the first episode of Season 2. Dustin loses, and Lucas smugly says that Princess Daphne is still his. Guess who gets together with Max.
    • At the start of Season 2, Will has a discussion with his mother where he mentions that wizards can't always outwit their enemies, and have to resort to spells such as Fireball to defeat them. At the end of Season 2, Joyce ends up using fire to drive the Mind Flayer out of Will after previous attempts to outsmart it went horribly wrong.
    • In the 1st episode of season 2, Murray theorizes that there will be a Russian invasion in Hawkins. In season 3, Russian soldiers try to open the gate underneath the Starcourt mall.
    • Dr. Sam Owens reveals to Nancy and Jonathan that he doesn't want the truth of the lab to be discovered because he thinks Russians will try to use the creatures from the Upside Down for themselves. At the end of season 3, it's revealed that Russian soldiers have obtained a demogorgan and feed prisoners to it.
    • In the lab underneath Starcourt Mall, Erica briefly ponders about the size of the original demogorgon after she catches sight of a large metal cage. In The Stinger, it's revealed that the Russian scientists running the lab have managed to either breed or capture a full-grown demogorgon.
  • Season 2 of Superstore has a few leading up to its season finale. In episode 3, Louise quickly jumps from telling the others about a missing severed thumb to suggesting that to the safest thing to do in a tornado is to drive into its eye. In episode 8, Manager Glenn proves that no one reads things by quizzing Millie and Jonah about tornado preparedness, that the building is built on a house of cards. In episode 18, Glenn points out they haven't had a tornado drill in 8 years. The season finale shows that all of these are true.
  • Taken:
    • In "Beyond the Sky", Owen Crawford says to his lover Sue, "You're the sun and the moon to me. The sun and the moon." Later that night, Owen beats Sue to death in order to keep the artifact that she found at the Roswell crashsite a secret. At his wedding to Anne Campbell two months later on September 13, 1947, he tells her father Colonel Thomas Campbell that he would never do anything to hurt her as she is the sun and the moon to him. In "High Hopes", Owen murders Anne on October 28, 1962 as he is concerned that her alcoholism and resulting erratic behavior will lead her to reveal what she knows about the artifact and the UFO project in general to anyone who will listen.
    • In "Jacob and Jesse", Becky Clarke suggests that it might be a good idea to leave Jacob at home instead of taking him to the spacecraft convention in Tucumcari, New Mexico because of how tired he gets. In "High Hopes", it becomes clear that Jacob is physically weak because of the stress that his abilities put on his body. In "Charlie and Lisa", his body's inability to handle his Psychic Powers leads to his early death.
    • In "High Hopes", Anne hopes that being Owen's favorite doesn't ruin her son Sam's life. In "Acid Tests", Owen tells Sam the truth about the UFO project and being MindRaped by Jacob. This leads Sam to travel to Hyder, Alaska to investigate the writing found on the burial chamber as it matched that on the artifact. He is killed in a fire two days later along with the Half-Human Hybrid Lester.
    • Also in "High Hopes", Lt. Wiley asks Jesse Keys whether he will follow in his father Russell's footsteps and join the service. Jesse says that he might. In "Acid Tests", Jesse has recently returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam.
    • In "Charlie and Lisa", Dr. Wakeman assigns Charlie Keys and Lisa Clarke to Pair 55 in relation to simultaneous abductions. When Eric asks why 55, he says that it is a numbers thing. In "God's Equation", Wakeman and Mary Crawford identify the importance of the Fibonacci Sequence, the titular equation, to the aliens' biology, technology and everything that they do. 55 is the tenth Fibonacci number. The Fibonacci Sequence is also the reason that the aliens have three fingers and one thumb and why their ships require five of them to operate.
    • Also in "Charlie and Lisa", Mary is looking through the Crawford family photo album and asks her mother Julie what her grandfather Owen was like, clearly regretting that she never knew him as he died when she was a baby. In "John", Mary sees an image of Owen when she enters the alien ship, which itself turns out to have been created by Allie using her Psychic Powers.
    • In "Dropping the Dishes", several technicians who work for the UFO project listen to the conspiracy theorist Bill Jeffries' radio show. In the final episode "Taken", Tom Clarke has Bill ask his listeners to come to Sally's old house in Lubbock, Texas en masse in order to prevent the government from capturing Allie.
  • Day One of Torchwood: Children of Earth had an incredibly blatant and yet easy to miss piece of foreshadowing in this bit of banter by Jack and Ianto:
    Ianto: You are going to get us all killed.
    Jack: No, you get killed, not me. You die like a dog, like an ugly dog.
  • Trigonometry:
    • Gemma speculates Ray is a lesbian on first meeting her. While she's not, it turns out Ray's attracted to Gemma, with it being mutual, while they both like Kieran as well.
    • Some drag queens in the club peg Ray as the "unicorn" of Gemma and Kieran, explaining that this means the third partner within a relationship. While at the time Ray isn't with them, the three do get into a triad like this.
  • In a Season 1 episode of Tru Calling, Jack quips that Davis' books about death would be a turn-on if one was dating a serial killer. Had the show not been cancelled, Tru's Season 2 boyfriend would have become a Serial Killer.
  • Truth Seekers:
    • Elton John's ability to find hidden rooms foreshadows his mysterious powers.
    • Astrid's occasional lapses regarding dates, and her habit of referring to things from the 90s as if they are still current, foreshadow that she is actually a ghost who died in 1997. For example, she says he favorite show is Friends and that she saw Princess Mononoke twice in the theatre (which came out in 1997) - but everyone assumes she just likes classic TV and goes to film festivals. There are also running points throughout the series where she seems unfamiliar with current events and technology (she doesn't know what "Wikipedia" is), but the others just assume she isn't tech-savvy.
  • True Blood has many examples; some apparently innocent and casual statements pronounced by usually secondary characters foreshadow lots of future events. Basically if somebody says something that "could" happen, it will.
    • One night, Hoyt tells Sookie that he likes her relationship with Bill and even asks if he has a friend of his age he could date. Turns out that Bill does; Jessica. Guess what happens between them.
    • In Season 1's last episode the cast is watching the news where it's announced that vampires marrying humans is now legal in Vermont. Arlene, a secondary character back then, innocently teases Sookie about the fact that she can marry Bill now. Sookie tells her that she wouldn't know what to say if Bill proposed to her. And that's exactly what happens in Season 3 when Bill finally does ask Sookie to marry him.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "Where is Everybody?", when he finds himself in a diner, the man accidentally knocks over a clock and the glass breaks. Later, he breaks the clock inside the small box where he's confined.
    • In "I Shot an Arrow into the Air", two of the surviving crewmembers stranded on the asteroid notices that the Sun appears to be the same size as on Earth, meaning that the asteroid has the same orbit as Earth. Their rocket crash-landed on Earth instead of on a unknown asteroid.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "A Little Peace and Quiet", while on the phone to her friend Fran, Penny says that it is World War III in her house as her children are bickering and making a lot of noise. She later ignores the radio and television reports of the deteriorating arms talks between the United States and the Soviet Union. A nuclear war breaks out shortly afterwards.
    • In "The Once and Future King", the Elvis Impersonator Gary Pitkin tells his manager Sandra that he may look like Elvis Presley, but that doesn't mean that he has to make all of the same mistakes that Elvis did. She says that Elvis once pulled her up on stage and invited her to his dressing room, where he told her that he wasn't the King. Gary is later sent back in time and assumes Elvis' identity after accidentally killing him. He proceeds to live out Elvis' life and does everything the same way as he remembers. Gary reveals that he isn't the real Elvis to a younger Sandra in the 1970s but she does not believe him.
    • In "Nightsong", Andrea Fields reminds her ex-boyfriend Simon Locke that he planned to sell his van for more studio recording time but that he crashed it because of his reckless driving. It turns out that Simon is a ghost and that he died five years earlier when he was driving his motorcycle too fast on a dirt road and drove over the edge of a cliff.
    • In "The After Hours", Marsha Cole is dressed very similarly to the mannequins in the department store Satler's. She later describes her landlord as "a real doll." It turns out that Marsha is an animate mannequin who had forgotten her true nature after spending a month in the real world.
  • The theme song of Ultraman Ace name drops Seiji Hokuto and Yuuko Minami, Ace's two hosts, in the first verse, but the second verse only mentions Seiji. Yuuko is eventually one of the Lunarians and has to leave TAC and Ace, passing her Ultra Ring to Seiji.
  • The Untamed: When the Wens capture Wei Wuxian, he's dramatically thrown into the inn, and then Wen Zhuliu, the Core-Melting Hand, walks in, giving his own hand a curious look. He tried melting Wei Wuxian's core, but it failed because Wei Wuxian has secretly had it removed and transferred to Jiang Cheng.
  • The West Wing:
    • An episode opens on a newspaper story about how Josh, the president's deputy chief of staff and main liaison to Congress, is effectively his "101st senator". By the end of the day, he has actually lost his party a senator (a Dixiecrat defects to the Republicans).
    • Considering that John Spencer's death during the filming of Season 7 was sudden and unexpected, it's remarkable how well, in retrospect, Leo's death from a heart attack on election night appears to have been foreshadowed in the last two seasons. He had even had a heart attack once before.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021):
    • In the very first scene — Moiraine's introductory Lock-and-Load Montage — she packs an obviously important small statue. Book fans quickly recognized it as an angreal (magic amplifier) and wondered why didn't she ever use it. It was meant for the Dragon Reborn to be used at the Eye of the World. Also it's a sa'angreal — a more powerful class.
    • Mat is introduced as a shit gambler.
    • Perrin encounters wolves multiple times, and they are shown to not be a threat to him.
    • When the Trollocs attack Emond's Field, Padan Fain watches with mild interest and then strolls away, indicating he's not surprised to see them, nor afraid of being attacked.
    • A little girl has a doll called Birgitte that she claims protects people in their dreams.
    • Loghain starts laughing manically when he notices Mat and Rand in Tar Valon. In the books Logain says that he could see Rand as a 'ta'veren' that would change the world and laughed after realizing he himself is not the Dragon Reborn.
    • When Rand sees the huge volcano Dragonmount for the first time, he remarks that it seems familiar.
    • Stepin tells Lan "first you lose Moiraine and then tell me how easy it is to jump from one woman to the next."
    • Ships disappearing to the west are mentioned as early as season 1 episode 6. Seanchan only appear in the second book. In the very last scene of Season 1 a Seanchan armada arrives off the "Far Western Shore" and its damane (slave-channelers) unleash a tidal wave.
    • Moiraine blackmails Liandrin with information of the man she met in secret, thinking he's her lover. In the books Liandrin secretly met with other Darkfriends.
    • Episode 8 has a quicker example. Min gets more visions — of soldiers with horrible neck and face wounds and of Nynaeve collapsing with her face disfigured and with a sound subtitles describe as "skin burning". Next second trumpets announce a Trolloc attack, during which Nynaeve almost gets immolated by Super-Power Meltdown.
    • At the Eye of the World there's a large Aes Sedai symbol on the floor. Moiraine later says it's made of supposedly indestructible cuendillar. This looks a lot like the seals holding the Dark One, as described in the books, only much larger. Ba'alzamon taunts Moiraine that she doesn't know if the Dragon Reborn is going to break his chains or strengthen them. Then the Dragon Reborn hits him so hard, the symbol breaks.
    • When a Darkfriend says that some or all of ta'veren may turn to the Shadow, the camera shows the obviously unhappy Mat returning to Tar Valon.
  • In When I'm Sixty-Four, Jim makes a list of all the things he wants to do with the rest of his life: to see the world and to fall in love. He does.
  • The Wilds:
    • Four words: "Shark week for Rachel."
    • In episode 4, Shelby performs a monologue from Death of a Salesman, which she initially interprets as Biff calling out his boss. Then Nora points out the monologue is actually about him not wanting to live for his father anymore and wanting to live his own life. This foreshadows Shelby’s own internal conflict with being the perfect daughter to her father, at the expense of living freely and authentically as an out lesbian.
    • "Blame me, for fuck’s sake! I’m the reason we’re here!" said by Nora, who in fact is the reason they’re there, as she is The Mole.
    • Even prior to the Belligerent Sexual Tension becoming obvious, Shelby can be seen to flirt with Toni sometimes (albeit not consciously as she's still very repressed) acting more touchy-feely than she does with any other girl. In retrospect, it's clear that she found Toni attractive to begin with.
  • The Wire has many cases of foreshadowing, but the two best examples are:
    • A conversation between three drug dealers in the first season about chess, and how the pawns get "capped quick", while the queen is the best because it's stable and "makes all the moves". By the end of the fourth season, all three of the participants in that conversation had died, because they were, like many of the low-level drug traffickers, simply pawns themselves.
    • In the third season, detective Bunk Moreland witnesses a group of children pretending to be stick-up artist Omar Little and his group of robbers, with one small boy constantly asking to play as Omar. Two seasons later, that same child, Kenard, would be the one to shoot Omar dead in a convenience store, the result of a surprise attack that was the calling card of the victim.
  • When the TV special The Wiz Live! opens by showing Aunt Em's farmhands at work, the dialogue foreshadows which characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz their respective actors will play when Dorothy goes to Oz: Robert (David Alan Grier, the Cowardly Lion) cowers in fear at Toto, prompting John (Ne-Yo, the Tin Man) to call him a "big, ol' scaredy-cat", to which Robert retorts, "You go ahead and laugh, he can't bite through that brace on your leg." Sticks' (Elijah Kelley, the Scarecrow) lines make him sound like the brains among the farmhands, as he becomes the first to question Dorothy's plans to run away back to her birthplace.
  • Wolf Hall
    • Going out for the day, Thomas Cromwell sees his wife at the top of the stairs and turns to speak to her, but she's gone. The night before, his youngest daughter wears her costume angel wings to bed, and he seems both amused and troubled by the sight. It's the last time he sees them alive—they die of the Sweating Sickness while he's gone.
    • Catherine of Aragon is aghast that Henry believes their daughter Mary would rebel against him, especially when Cromwell says she's been conversing with the ambassador for the Holy Roman ambassador—"What does Henry imagine? Mary, returning with an army, turning him out of his Kingdom?" After Henry VIII and then his son Edward VI die, Mary would return and depose Edward's successor.
    • At the end of Episode 5, while Cromwell is considering how to get rid of Anne, Wolsey appears as an hallucination and states that it was his failure to give Henry a new wife that killed him. Four years later, Cromwell would be executed for arranging the failed marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves.note 
  • In The X-Files, there are several obvious moments foreshadowing Scully's cancer in Season 4. But one quite subtle one is in the episode "Unruhe" where a crazy guy tries to lobotomize her to remove what he calls 'The Howlers' that are causing her 'unrest'. When he points to where the Howlers are, it's the exact spot where her cancer is.
    • In "Talitha Cumi", the Cigarette Smoking Man implies during an argument with Teena Mulder that they once had an affair. He also mentions to her son Fox that he'd known Teena before Fox was even born. Sure enough, it's later revealed that Fox Mulder was the product of that affair.
  • In Young Sheldon the portrayal of several members of Sheldon's family, especially his father, is at variance with what was described in the original show. This sets up the reveal in the Season 1 finale that the shows narrator Sheldon is not the one from The Big Bang Theory, but an older Sheldon from afterwards, one who had already had had children and who now had a better understanding of his childhood family dynamics.


Video Example(s):


Thingamajig's 1st Clue Package

Can you spot all the clues?

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