Follow TV Tropes

Following

Season Finale

Go To

The last episode or episodes of a season, consisting of a story which ties up most of that season's loose ends and aims to be as dramatic as possible. They may be The Climax of an ongoing Story Arc, or simply a new story, the most dramatic yet. They may kill off main characters, bring back villains from earlier in the series, and set up the next season. Cliffhanger endings are common.

Season finales are pretty much guaranteed to draw in large audience figures.

Advertisement:

While this is by no means universal, it's still very common.

Of course, when the show is ending for good, they really pull out all the stops.

See "What Now?" Ending, Series Fauxnale, Cliffhanger and Dénouement Episode for specific varieties of Season Finale.

Obviously, this is about endings, so expect unmarked spoilers.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Fanfiction 

    Video Games 
  • Both seasons of Telltale Games' episodic Sam & Max games have ended with a big reveal of the mastermind behind the season's events.
Advertisement:

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck always ends an Act spectacularly.
    • Act 1: The main character's neighborhood is hit by a meteor, with him escaping just in the nick of time.
    • Act 2: It's revealed that the desert a secondary character is wandering around on is post-apocalypse Earth. Meanwhile, Rose's mother opens a secret doorway that leads to a nearby laboratory, and Dave prepares to fight his brother.
    • Act 3: Rose finally enters the Medium. Jade gets her hands on the SBURB discs, which turn out to somehow be Dave's copy, hidden in a time capsule, and John finally goes through his first gate.
    • Intermission: The Midnight Crew Intermission is canon, and it turns out Slick is Karkat's exile.
    • Act 4: Jack slaughters WV's army and starts the Reckoning weeks ahead of schedule. He then wrecks Prospit, sending its moon plummeting to the Battlefield below. Dream Jade throws Dream John out of the way, but is too late to escape the blast radius herself and is killed, causing her dreambot to explode and the real Jade to fall from her bedroom. The resulting chaos wakes Dream John up. Finally, Rose decides she's had enough of destiny and blows up her first gate. And that's not even getting into what happens in between acts 4 and 5.
    • Act 5 Act 1: The kids activated a rift called the Scratch, which somehow sent an unstoppable demon into the troll's universe. This meant that they were unable to claim their ultimate reward for completing SGRUB: entry into the kid's universe, which they had CREATED.
    • Act 5: The big one.
      • John starts the Scratch. As a number of huge enemies approach him, he takes them out with lava tornadoes and a single, well-placed hit of his now very-powerful hammer.
      • Courtyard Droll kills Jade, sending Jack into a furious rage. He kills CD, then takes Jade's body to her Quest Bed before hiding in the Frog Temple's time capsule. He's finally released 413 million years later on post-apocalyptic Earth, ten seconds after the White King is. He murders WK, WQ, and AR, and mortally wounds WV in order to get the uranium from his stomach. He then uses the uranium to power a transportalizer in WV's station, which sends him to the trolls' universe and allows him to destroy their Prospit, Derse and Lands, as well as kill all of the Trolls' dream selves. Finally, Jack uses Red Miles to attack the Genesis Frog representing Earth's universe.
      • Piloting Derse's moon through the Furthest Ring using a map Dave drew, Rose and Dave are surprised to find that the Green Sun isn't where it should be. Undaunted, they take the Tumor to a crypt in the center of the moon, where their Quest Beds await. They set up the Tumor, and it opens up to reveal ectobiological equipment, with Earth's universe on one side and Alternia's on the other. As Jack's Red Miles ravage Earth's universe, Spades Slick finally kills Snowman, ending Alternia's universe as well.
      • Jadesprite and Davesprite are about to be obliterated on the Battlefield when Jade and Jadesprite merge to become God Tier Jade, with Witch of Space powers, Bec's reality-warping powers, and a sprite's knowledge of the game. She then shrinks the meteor to the size of a baseball, and using her new-found powers, enlarges a battleship, and shrinks the Battlefield, LOWAS, LOLAR, LOHAC, and LOFAF, picking up John along the way. On Earth, PM witnesses the approaching Red Miles. She finds the White Queen's Ring, which WV had had the whole time. Jade enlarges a Fourth Wall, which she had had on standby ever since she created Jadesprite. Finally, as the Critical Moment approaches, a dying Doc Scratch takes a moment to send a final message to Gamzee, informing them that they are all suckers.
      • The Tumor detonates, creating the Green Sun, rather than destroying it. The light finally arrives in the troll session, and Sollux expends the last of his energy to hurl their meteor towards the Sun. Rose and Dave ascend from the Sun as freshly minted God Tiers, and meet God Tier Aradia and half-ghost Sollux. A prototyping PM arrives in the Trolls' session, visibly shocking Jack for the second time in the whole series. Finally, Jade finishes enlarging the Fourth Wall, and hurls her battleship through it right before the Scratch resets the universe.
    • Act 6 Act 1: Jane Crocker, Nanna's post-Scratch incarnation, goes to her mailbox to get the Sburb alpha...and it explodes. Andrew Hussie (who is now a robot for some reason) muses about dead characters, and in lieu of messing with John and Jade (who are passing through his study at light speed at the moment), he levels them up, then introduces Act 6 Intermission 1.
    • Act 6 Intermission 1: Prototyped PM heads for the Green Sun at top speed, in pursuit of Jack, who is in turn pursuing the trolls, Rose and Dave. Dreaming on Prospit, Jane sees visions of things to come in the Skaian clouds, including Imperial Drones bearing the Condesce's sigil, Roxy Lalonde (Rose's Mom's post-Scratch incarnation) hurling a cat through a Fourth Wall, and Jake English (Grandpa's post-Scratch version) on his island as the volcano there erupts. Jane witnesses the miracle of a new beginning, but is stabgreeted by post-scratch Jack Noir, who absconds just as Jane is about to do a "lifey thing".
    • Act 6 Act 2: As a meteor quickly approaches her house on Earth, Jane does all the setup she needs to enter the Medium, but is confused when her Cruxite Artifact never appears. The countdown ends, and she enters anyway, but as she does, she gets a glimpse of what the "meteor" really is — Her Imperious Condescension's flagship. Years in the future — but not many — we see a flooded Earth where Troll society has been rebuilt under the Condesce's rule, with humans and Dersites apparently reduced to struggling minorities. It is further revealed that Roxy and Dirk have been living in this time all along, as they prepare to fight hordes of Imperial Drones. Meanwhile, back in the past, Jake has descended into the Frog Temple for reasons that aren't further elaborated on.
    • Act 6 Act 3: Dirk and Jake are knocked out and Jane and Roxy are both killed. Dirk enacts a plan to save them which involves decapitating himself and sending his head to Jake for him to kiss so his dreamself is awoken which travels around on his hoverboard collecting Jane and Roxy and kissing them alive, too. The three of them travel back to where Jake is and, after ordering Sawtooth and Squarewave to enter Roxy and Dirk's mediums, enter Jake's. Then, Caliborn awakens, chews his leg off to free himself from the chain, and releases his kernelsprite, which turns into a black hole, sucking in everything around it. Also, Lord English appears and destroys a dreambubble, vaporising all of the dead characters inside it.
  • The author of Rain has described several chapters as "season finales", and they usually live up to the hype:
    • "No More Fake Smiles": Emily joins Rain's friend group and reveals that she's pregnant, while Rain meets Aiken's ex-girlfriend who reveals that she wants to help her go through transition.
    • "Cut": Kellen cuts Rain's hair while she's sleeping, causing a huge rift in the family. In addition, Heather finally reveals her big secret.
    • "Weather The Storm": This is the big one. Marie gets expelled from high school, so she runs away from her parents and attends a Kylie's school. Collete tells Rudy that she's transgender. Father Quenton resigns after having been the antagonist for the entire comic.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court ends most of its books with a Wham Episode.
    • Book 1: "The Fangs Of Summertime". Annie gets called to a meeting between the court and the forest, and meets Ysengrin and Coyote for the first time. In the process, she learns a ton of secrets about the court's relations with the forest.
    • Book 3: "Fire Spike". Annie gets into a brutal fight with Reynard, revealing more of the characters' backstories, and she decides to runs away to stay at the forest with Ysengrin.
    • Book 4: "Changes". Andrew suddenly gets chosen as the new medium, instead of Annie.
    • Book 6: "Jeanne". Annie and her friends finally go on their mission to free Jeanne so she can move onto the afterlife.
  • Housepets! ends almost all of its years, with the exception of Years 2 and 10 on a big plot twist or cliffhanger.
    • Year 1: A PETA employee, later revealed to be King, tries to take Fox away.
    • Year 3: Pete is caught trying to mess with the cosmic game.
    • Year 4: Pete wins the Trial of Heaven.
    • Year 5: King and Bailey get married.
    • Year 6: Pete takes Bailey away to fight in the cosmic game, and King is turned back into his human form.
    • Year 7: Bailey reveals to King that she is pregnant.
    • Year 8: Keene Milton dies and goes to heaven, before he's unceremoniously brought back to life.
    • Year 9: Breel is suddenly brought back to life as well.
  • Kirby Adventure ends most of its chapters with a Wham Episode.
    • To The Tower: The first major mission for the KAS, and we learn about the orbs.
    • Jetting Across The Ice: The KAS goes on another mission only to learn that it was a trap set by Talzo's gang.
    • Master Of Puppets: The KAS are forced by Master Green to fight their dopplegangers, some of which survive the chapter and stick around for the rest of the series.
    • Infiltration: Talzo's gang infiltrates the KAS base, as NAVO joins the good guys, and Zykan kills Keito.

    Web Original 
  • lonelygirl15 has so far ended two series with multiple episode dramatic stories. The first ended with the 12 episode epic "lonelygirl15 Season Finale", the second with the four-part story "Bloodlines".

    Western Animation 
  • After the epic "Siege of the North" and the Wham Episode that was "Crossroads of Destiny", the incredible Grand Finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender managed to blow both out of the water completely.
  • The season 2 finale of Danny Phantom ends one of the biggest ongoing Story Arc in the show: Vlad's quest to obtain Danny as his protege and son. It ends with him throwing off a HUGE Villainous Breakdown and the next season has the two in completely different circles.
  • Beast Wars:
    • "Other Voices" - the Vok decide that the Maximals and Predacons have contaminated their experiment, and activate their Planet Buster, which will destroy the entire planet by detonating every energon deposit. Primal stops it, but at the cost of his life...apparently.
    • "The Agenda" - Megatron delivers one of the biggest TF cliffhangers of all time by shooting the stasis-locked Optimus Prime in the face, creating a massive time storm.
    • "The Nemesis" - Grand Finale.
  • Transformers Animated:
    • "Megatron Rising" - after eleven episodes as a scheming head, Megatron regains his body and makes his move for the Allspark, eventually forcing Optimus to shatter it, scattering fragments of it everywhere.
    • "A Bridge Too Close" - Megatron's space bridge plot comes to a head, and two big reveals set up since the first season are made: that beat-up repair ship is really Omega Supreme, and Sari is part-robot.
    • "Endgame" - the Grand Finale.
  • Teen Titans ended every season with an epic two (or in one case, three) parter:
    • Season One: "Apprentice" I and II - Slade blackmails Robin into being his apprentice by threatening to kill the other Titans. They eventually break Robin free and curbstomp Slade's ass.
    • Season Two: "Aftershock" I and II - Terra fully becomes Slade's Dragon, and they take over the city by nearly killing the Titans. Terra pulls a Heel–Face Turn and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to stop Slade.
    • Season Three: "Titans East" I and II - Cyborg starts his own team, which Brother Blood then brainwashes. Cyborg defeats Brother Blood and goes back to the main Titans.
    • Season Four: "The End" I, II, and III - Raven becomes the portal for her father Trigon to enter the world and destroy it. The Titans are forced to ally with Slade to stop him.
    • Season Five: "Calling All Titans"/"Titans Together" (with one more episode, "Things Change", as a sort of epilogue) - The Brotherhood of Evil gathers every villain from throughout the series (except the other Big Bads) and use them to capture most of the Titans and other young heroes from around the world. Beast Boy leads the remaining heroes in a rescue attempt that leads to an epic Final Battle.
  • Episode 26 of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is the season finale and it ends in a cliffhanger. The gang has been fragmented by the revelation that Fred's dad, the Mayor of Crystal Cove was the Big Bad all along and isn't his real dad, so he's broken the gang up to find who he really is. Meanwhile, his engagement to Daphne is now in indefinite abeyance, Shaggy is being sent to military school, Scooby is being sent to a farm, Daphne is taken home to wallow in misery and Velma is taken home to stew about not coming clean to her friends about who Angel Dynamite really is.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The first season finale, "The Best Night Ever", features the main characters attending the Grand Galloping Gala, which has been built up in several previous episodes as the biggest social event in Equestria, only to be disappointed in various ways.
    • The second season finale, "A Canterlot Wedding", blows the first season finale out of the water in terms of excitement. It's a two-parter that revolves around central character Twilight Sparkle's brother getting married to royalty, and features an evil shape-shifting Emotion Eater impersonating the bride and hypnotizing the groom, a huge fight between the Mane Six and an army of mooks, and a climax that involves a force-field bolstered by The Power of Love.
    • The third season finale, "Magical Mystery Cure", is a Musical Episode revolving around Twilight accidentally switching the cutie marks and destinies of her friends, ruining their lives. This gets resolved by the end of the second act, but sets up a stunning third act, wherein Twilight fulfills her own destiny by becoming an alicorn, and is then crowned as Equestria's newest princess.
    • The fourth season finale, "Twilight's Kingdom", like the season 2 finale is a two-parter. They deal with the escape of Lord Tirek — possibly the most terrifying villain in the franchise — and the attempts to defeat him. Which involves, among other things, Twilight being granted the power of all the other Princesses and engaging in the single most impressive fight sequence in the show's history, the Golden Oaks Library being completely destroyed, Tirek ultimately only being defeated when the Mane Six unlock the box they got from the Tree of Harmony and gaining Rainbow Power, and finally, Twilight gaining her own castle and being declared the Princess of Friendship.
    • The fifth season finale, "The Cutie Remark", is another two-parter. Starlight Glimmer, the villain of the season's two-part opener, returns and enacts a plot to go back in time and prevent Rainbow Dash from having her first Sonic Rainboom, thus keeping the Mane Six from earning the specific cutie marks that led to them coming together as the heroes we know and love, and Twilight trying to stop her from doing so. After this results in a series of increasingly dark Bad Future Alternate Timelines, Twilight ends the conflict by prompting a Heel Realization and subsequent Heel–Face Turn in Starlight, who undoes the damage to history and restores things to normal.
    • The sixth season finale, "To Where And Back Again", is yet another two-parter. Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings return and kidnap the Mane Six, the Princesses, and Shining Armor as part of a plan of taking over all of Equestria. To stop them, a group of secondary characters — Starlight, Trixie, Discord, and Thorax — team up to infiltrate the Changeling hive and rescue the heroes. It ends with Thorax becoming the new King of the Changelings, sharing love to bring about a Heel–Race Turn among his kind, forcing Chrysalis to flee, swearing revenge.
    • The seventh season finale, "Shadow Play", is once more a two-parter. Twilight and her friends succeed in releasing the Pillars of Harmony from their imprisonment in limbo, but in the process also unleash the Pony of Shadows. The Mane Six then have to work with the Pillars to defeat the Pony of Shadows until Starlight realizes that it's actually the Pillars' friend Stygian, who was consumed by darkness from trying to help his friends. Realizing this, they work together to return him to normal. Also, the Sirens from the second Equestria Girls movie make an appearance.
    • The eighth season finale, "School Raze" is, yet again, a two-parter. Cozy Glow, working with the assistance of Tirek, sets in motion a plan to imprison the Mane Six and take over the School of Friendship. It is then up to the six main students to work together to stop her.
  • The Legend of Korra has BIG two-parters for the end of each Season, featuring things like Korra's Bending being taken by Amon, who turned out to be Tarrlok's brother, before getting it restored by Aang; a massive Kaiju-esque battle against Unalaq the Dark Avatar; the near-end of the Avatar cycle at the hands of Zaheer, and most spectacularly the Grand Finale, Day of the Colossus/The Last Stand, in which Team Avatar battles against Kuvira's giant robot in a no-holds-barred showdown that leaves Republic City leveled, Hiroshi sacrifices himself and Mako nearly does the same, Korra creates a new Spirit Portal in the process of saving Kuvira from her own out-of-control weapon, and Korra and Asami get a Relationship Upgrade. Wow.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has four:
    • Season 1, Operation GROW-UP: The Delightful Children from Down the Lane destroy the treehouse and turn Nigel into an adult, forcing the rest of the kids to take on the Delightful Children and Father without their leader or technology. Notably, this was the first episode to span the full half hour as opposed to the Two Shorts format used up to then.
    • Season 2, Operation END: Sector V are falsely scheduled for decommissioning, and Hoagie, Kuki, Wally, and Abby have their memories erased. Nigel and Chad attempt to find out what's really going on, and Nigel is forced to bring in Tommy for help. This one brought Tommy into the KND, concluded a plot thread about Cree accessing the moonbase, and ended with Chad defecting to the teenagers.
    • Season 5, Operation IT: Rachel resigns as supreme commander, launching an epic game of tag to decide the new leader. It's won by Father, who attempts to subvert the KND toward forcing all children everywhere to eat nothing by broccoli.
    • Season 6, Operation TREATY: The teenagers propose a treaty with the kids, but there are mysterious forces operating behind the scenes. There is a major revelation about Chad's true motives, and some tantalising hints about the splinter cell and their interest in Nigel, which sets up Operation INTERVIEWS.
  • Gravity Falls has three:
    • The first season has "Gideon Rises" in which, following the events of the previous episode, Gideon has taken control of the Shack, and with the family being forced to live with Soos. The episode ultimately ends with the family reclaiming the building and the cliffhanger reveal that Grunkle Stan has been aware of the journals and the mysteries of Gravity Falls the entire time, and that he intends to use all three journals to activate a mysterious inter-dimensional portal.
    • The second season has a mid-season cliffhanger "Not What He Seems" where the portal arc comes to its climax when the agents arrest Grunkle Stan, forcing the twins to investigate to clear his name. They discover the portal and try to stop it from opening after reading warnings about it written in the journal. After a brief confrontation, the portal opens to reveal a man resembling Grunkle Stan: the author of the journals, Grunkle Stan's identical twin brother.
    • The second season has a four-parter series finale "Weirdmageddon", which manages to completely outdo the first season finale as Bill Cipher takes over Gravity Falls using his new powers and friends from his home dimension. In the climax, the cornered Stan twins trick Bill into going into Grunkle Stan's mindscape. He is then finished off by a left hook by Grunkle Stan after some pleading from Bill.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! Season One ended with a three-part episode in which the Avengers thwart Loki's efforts to conquer the universe-and in the process, discover that he instigated the breakout of 74 criminals back in episode #6, which motivated the founding Avengers to team up in the first place. Season Two (also the last season of the show) officially ended with an episode in which the Avengers team up with 15 other crimefighters to save the Earth from becoming devoured by Galactus.

Advertisement:
Top