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Montage Out

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Important characters are serially visited without dialogue. Music is played over the sequence, usually a slow, indie/folk/alt-rock song. The intention is for the actors to show where the preceding action has left them emotionally. A more theatrical than cinematic variation is done with dialogue, replaying clips of each major character saying a meaningful line.

Those dramatic TV shows (or movie franchises) that relay on cliffhangers and use this technique tend to throw the ending twist just in time for a intensity change that is already in the song that is being played and then fade to credits.


See also "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, when this is set in the distant future. Not to be confused with Really Dead Montage. Compare Sentimental Music Cue.


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  • All six Star Wars movies end with a scene like this, showing the protagonists wherever they may be, with John Williams' music playing.
  • The ending of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is like this with showing the aftermath of everything that happened at the Triskellion. Agent 13 is now in the CIA. Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones, managed to survive the Triskellion falling on top of him. Many political allies of HYDRA are also picked up and arrested.
  • Donnie Darko ends with a montage of all major characters lying awake at night while Gary Jules' "Mad World" is playing.
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ends this way, climaxing with Smiley taking over as the new head of the Circus.

     Live Action TV  
  • The ending of every episode of Cold Case uses this, with a song from the year the episode's murder took place.
  • CSI has been known to do this on occasion.
  • ER is also quite famous for this.
  • Third Watch used a lot of these in the later seasons.
  • House has done this to the point of absurdity.
  • Desperate Housewives does this with added Fauxlosophic Narration.
  • Most episodes in the first season of Lost did this, as well as a handful of season two and three episodes.
  • Ugly Betty does this on a few episodes. They pulled it off especially well with the season finale of Justin performing in West Side Story.
  • Expect a Tear Jerker when Buffy the Vampire Slayer does this.
    • Subverted gloriously in one instance, where the final shot of the montage is of Spike driving off while rocking out to the Sex Pistols.
  • The ending of Part 1 of The 60's did this with Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone".
  • Occurs on the more emotional episodes of Scrubs.
  • The Wire does this at the end of each season finale. The final season's is particularly heartbreaking as you see the younger generation taking the places of the adults who have taken the whole series to break out of them.
  • The Sopranos does this a few times.
  • Dexter had a prototypical version of this in the early seasons, focusing almost exclusively on Dexter. Once the Wham Episode happened at the end of Season 6, these montages became more industry-standard — always including Dexter and Deb, with reminders of who else from Dexter's office had significant development that episode.
  • Any episode of Smallville which significantly changes the status quo ends with one of these.
  • It would be easier to list all the episodes of Arrow, The Flash (2014), or Supergirl (2015) that don't play such a montage, give us a cliffhanger, and roll the credits. Averted in Legends of Tomorrow, as it lacks the fairly domestic setting of the other three.
  • Sonsof Anarchy rides this trope like a hog. Virtually every episode ends with a night-time musical montage, and begins with one in the morning-time as well.
  • Stargate Universe has done it on occasion (and at least one Montage Entrance)
  • Frequently on Supernatural except it's usually 70s-era metal music.
  • Subverted in Fringe, in the episode "Northwest Passage." After catching a serial killer, Peter lies back on his bed to listen to the mix CD the victim had burned him right before she died. As the song plays " there a ghost in my house...," Peter's eyes pop open, and he discovers Newton standing over him.
  • Every episode of Grey's Anatomy does this, accompanied by Meredith's (or occasionally another character's) voiceover.
  • Holby City has started doing this in recent years, as part of an ongoing series of ideas borrowed from House.
  • Subverted in Spaced, in the final episode of the second series - an upbeat Lemon Jelly tune called 'The Staunton Lick' plays over closing scenes of each character moving on from their life in the series thus far.
  • You're the Worst does this a few times
  • Community has this to an Irish band and Somewhere Out There in the episode Environmental Science

     Tabletop Games 
  • This is how the players are advised to narrate each character's Epilogue in the final phase of Fiasco, after determining their ultimate fate based on what colour-combination of dice they ended up with. One suggestion is that for each white die, you describe a positive scene, and a negative one for each black die.

     Video Games  

  • Chrono Trigger had one of these during its end credits, but for the updated re-releases they added another one helping to bridge the gap into Chrono Cross.
  • The first two episodes of Life Is Strange end with a montage of major characters going about their daily work while indie folk music is playing in the background.

     Western Animation  
  • When Futurama does this, expect to cry.
    • Jurassic Bark is the quintessential Tear Jerker moment for Futurama, where the ending is set to the tune of "I Will Wait for You". In the episode, Fry's dog Seymour, from the 20th century, was discovered fossilized at a museum. After spending the entire episode trying to get him back so he can be de-fossilized, an age check reveals he died at fifteen, well at the end of his life. Fry decides Seymour must have lived a full, happy life after him, and chooses not to resurrect him. Cut to the past, and the music starts playing, with Seymour waiting patiently at the spot Fry told him to stay at...for twelve years.
    • In Leela's Homeworld, Leela starts hunting two sewer mutants who have been collecting a Stalker Shrine of her discarded trash and who she suspects of murdering her parents. She ultimately discovers they are her parents, and took her to the surface so she could live a normal life, writing a note in an alien language so she could pass as an alien instead of a mutant. Instead of being disgusted, Leela is overjoyed, and embraces them. The song "Baby Love Child" plays, and shows a montage of moments in her life when her parents were looking out for her, without ever revealing their presence.
    • Lethal Inspections has Bender finding out he has no back-up drive, and is mortal if he dies. Normally this would make him a defective robot, but for some reason Inspector #5, who he considers somewhat like a father, let him pass. Feeling betrayed, he resolves to seek out Inspector #5 at the Central Bureaucracy with the help of Hermes, and kill him. Although they don't find the Inspector, they become friends, and eventually give up and return to Planet Express. At the end, to the tune of "Little Bird, Little Bird", it's revealed to the viewer that Hermes was the Inspector, and spared the defective baby robot Bender from termination at the cost of his job. Doubles as Once More, with Clarity!, as it includes some scenes of Hermes covering his tracks during the events of the episode.
  • South Park
    • At the end of the 15th mid-season finale, "You're Getting Old". As "Landslide" plays, Sharon and Randy separate and sell their house, with Stan, Sharon and Shelly moving into a new home. The police arrest the farmers and recover Randy's underwear. A new friendship appears to develop between Kyle and Cartman. And Stan, now completely alienated from his friends, shows no signs of his cynicism ending.
    • In the following episode "Ass Burgers", all of the changes are reverted, and Obama replaces a duck as president. All to the same song as the previous episode.

Alternative Title(s): Medley Exit


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