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It Was His Sled. No, really, it was.

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A Wham Episode radically alters a Story Arc. A Wham Line is a line that radically alters a scene. A Wham Shot is the purely visual version.

An unexpected move, or even a change of expression on one of the characters, can be all that's needed to alter a scene completely. It can actually be any event that doesn't need any characters commenting it for the viewer to realise an important twist is happening. In literature or any other written narratives, the Wham Line and the Wham Shot can be the same thing. In visual media however, the Wham Line tends to be a line of dialogue. The Wham Shot is anything else that can happen to alter a scene and is visible to the viewer or reader. Like its verbal or written cousin, the Wham Shot can be part of a Wham Episode or of The Reveal. It also has to be completely unexpected.

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Different from Reveal Shot as it doesn't necessarily involve moving the camera to show the surprising element, but overlapping between the two tropes can be quite frequent.

Possible special cases: Revealing Hug, Traitor Shot, Reaction Shot, The Stinger, The Gut Punch, and/or the last frame of a Staggered Zoom.

Not to be confused with Boom, Headshot!.

Warning: unmarked spoilers below


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Fan Works 
  • In the Homestuck ask blog, "Ask Slave John", humans are depicted as being enslaved by Trolls, John being one of them. We get three Wham Shots when someone asks if he's met any other humans:
    • When asked if he knew Dave Strider, he mentions that he and Dave were friends when being trained for slave labor and were sold to different masters, never seeing each other again. When John ponders where Dave is now, we see a silhouette of Dave wearing a suit with a teal Libra symbol, implying that his master is Terezi Pyrope.
    • Rose Lalonde is stated to have worked alongside John once, but later left. John mentions that he heard she became "a gift for some important jade blood", coupled with a silhouette of Rose wearing a jade-colored sash with a Virgo symbol. She's now owned by Kanaya.
    • Jade Harley's is probably the most shocking; she is mentioned to have belonged to Eridan and John states that she was likely killed, but at the same time remains optimistic that she may have been found someone who could help her survive—this is coupled with a silhouette of Jade holding a gun and wearing a silver necklace with a Cancer symbol on it. She's with Karkat now.
  • Five Years Later:
    • Chapter three has one in revealing a new player in the ongoing crososver plot of Ben 10 and Danny Phantom: GIR and the rest of the cast from Invader Zim.
    • Chapter seven reveals Technus's contribution to the villain's plan: mind controlling a group of alternate Ben's with nanites from the Generator Rex universe and making them into E.V.O aliens.
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    Literature 
  • Codex Alera
    • In Cursor's Fury, the Canim invasion force burns their ships behind them.
      Tavi: They mean to stay.
    • At the end of the same book, Tavi becomes the first Aleran ever to see a female Cane, meaning that the invasion force wasn't just an invasion, it was a desperate attempt at colonization.
      Tavi: I am not afraid of Nasaug anymore. I'm afraid of what drove him from his home.
    • In Princeps' Fury, Tavi (who's in the Canim land of Shuar) sees That all the land outside Shuar is covered with croach — the Vord have conquered it.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone provides another written one when Harry reaches the chamber where the Mirror of Erised is kept.
    "There was already someone there—but it wasn't Snape. It wasn't even Voldemort.
    [chapter break]
    It was Quirrell."
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive):
    • Despite being text only, the book still manages one at the climax.
      "Kaladin!" Syl's voice. "Stretch forth thy hand!" She zipped around him, suddenly visible as a ribbon of light.
      "I can't..." Kaladin said, drained.
      "Stretch forth thy hand!"
      He reached out a trembling hand. Moash hesitated.
      Wind blew in the opening in the wall, and Syl's ribbon of light became mist, a form she often took. Silver mist, which grew larger, coalesced before Kaladin, extending into his hand.
      Glowing, brilliant, a Shardblade emerged from the mist, vivid blue light shining from swirling patterns along its length.
    • There's another after the climax.
      The air in front of him blurred, as if heated in a ring near the ground. A streak of light spun about the ring, forming a wall five or six feet high. It faded immediately — really, it was just an afterimage, as if something glowing had spun in the circle very quickly.
      In the center of it appeared Jasnah Kholin, standing tall.

    Machinima 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • In the final episode of Season 10, the context of the last forty episodes is turned on its head when the Director finally removes his Scary Shiny Glasses to reveal his eyes are the same color as Carolina's.
    • In the final episode of Season 12, The Stinger where Control a.k.a. Malcom Hargrove demands to know whether a package he wanted was delivered to him. The computer screen then shows the Meta's helmet.

    Music 
  • This K-Pop music video ends with one. At first, it seems that a man is jealous of his best friend for marrying a girl he liked (to add insult to injury, the groom made him his best man) and at the end angrily tears up a photo of them together. Then comes the wham shot...where he pushes the pictures of the groom and himself together—he was in love with the groom. It was the bride he was jealous of.
  • Useless by Depeche Mode where the very last shot changes the whole perception of the song revealing that the vocalist was singing not into the camera but addressing a girl whose POV it assumed.
  • BTS's music video storyline (known as the BTS Universe) features several of these.
    • "Blood, Sweat and Tears" has two: While Jin leans in to kiss a winged statue, it cuts to a shot of a veil being lifted over a hunched figure with the back towards the viewer; as the camera gets closer, we see that it's Taehyung with scars were wings would be, revealing him to be the figure the statue represents. The other happens at the very end; after everything breaks and falls apart, there's a final shot of Jin sitting in front of a mirror, looking towards his reflection...and seeing his face starting to crack like marble.
    • The Highlight Reels short films have a few:
      • In Chapter 1, we see a train passing by, revealing a girl waiting across from Jin, and also the first important character who is not related to the main cast. We also see Jungkook on a wheelchair at a hospital, revealing that he survived the accident in "I NEED U". At the end of the chapter, we jump to a memory of Hoseok, which has 2 of these: we hear the voice of a woman saying "Hoseok-ah, close your eyes", fading to a shot of a mother and a child in front of a carousel, with the mother leaving while the child covers his eyes. The next shot shows the child from a bit closer, still waiting, while a Snickers candy bar (the same one seen in the "MAMA" teaser for WINGS) rests next to him. That's how we learn Hoseok's mother abandoned him.
      • In chapter 3, we get several: The sink where Jimin is desperately washing his hands is starting to fill with blood, Taehyung gets arrested, and Jungkook arrives to his new friend's hospital bed, only to find it empty.
      • Chapter 4 shows several flashbacks in reverse, ending with Jin appearing back on his room from before (with a text showing the date, even), taking off the sweater he was trying on to reveal an absolutely exhausted and sad expression, putting on a casual cap instead. This reveals Jin's ability to go back in time.
    • The end of "Fake Love (extended version)" has Jungkook join the members while wearing a mask and a black tunic, with the camera slowly pulling away from the group, and then a huge block descends from above, appearing to either lock from view or crush the boys.

    Theatre 
  • Falsettos: Coredlia and Charlotte sing a brief song about the slow rise of AIDS. Immediately afterwards, the scene goes straight to Whizzer playing tennis with Marvin and collapsing.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney, being plot-heavy and famous for its plot twists, is prone to this:
    • At the start of the fourth case of the first game, you see someone apparently being shot deadnote , at which point Edgeworth is the one shown holding the gun. No, he isn't the killer, but this shot goes to show that this case is far more personal and has higher stakes than the previous one.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies we have Athena surrounded by five black Psyche-Locks. Keep in mind that the only other person in the series to have those was beyond redemption. The original shot of Black Psyche-Locks from Apollo Justice counts too.
    • In the opening of Case 3-3 of the original trilogy has the judge apparently at the end of a trial, about to have the defendant found guilty. The prosecutor, Winston Payne, gloats about his victory...and then the camera cuts to the defense's bench, revealing Phoenix himself standing there. It quickly turns out to be an imposter, but still, that's one way to keep the player on their toes.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice:
      • In Case 2, just before the end of the investigation, we get a whammy when entering the Wright Anything Agency: the place is full of red tapes reading "REPOSSESSED"; this is because Trucy is in debt with Roger Retinz (of 3 million dollars) and the man is getting his money back by seizing and selling the office. Apollo and Athena are quite shocked, understandably.
      • Case 3 has a big one, and of the "family relationship" type. Dhurke, the leader of the rebels in Khura'in, has two sons: Nahyuta Sahdmadhi (yes, that jerk prosecutor you've faced) and Apollo Justice (though only adopted).
  • Snatcher:
    • At the start of the game, Gillian receives a Distress Call from another Junker, Jean Jack Gibson, about a probable Snatcher in an abandoned factory. Shortly after you arrive, you meet Jean Jack Gibson...after his head has been torn off by the Snatcher.
    • Three in a row in Freddy Nielsen's apartment. First, the discovery of sunscreen, used by the Snatchers to protect their artificial skin. This is followed by Lisa Nielsen without the scratches on her face covered, revealing her as a Snatcher. And when the lights of the apartment turn back on and Gillian returns to the apartment, Metal tells him to look in the mirror...revealing Freddy Nielsen standing right behind Gillian.
    • After uncovering a strange Chinese form in an abandoned hospital linked to the Snatchers, Gillian manages to decode the name on the form: Benson, revealing the possibility that either Junker engineer Harry Benson or Junker chief Benson Cunningham has been snatched.
    • When Gillian discovers four decomposed skeletons in the morgue of a Snatcher-controlled hospital, Metal Gear runs virtual facial reconstructions on them. The first two are the aforementioned Freddy and Lisa Nielsen. The third, Chin Shu Oh, confirms their suspicions of him being a Snatcher. The fourth? Benson Cunningham.
  • Virtue's Last Reward has this in spades. Primarily due to each separate timeline having differences the player wouldn't be expecting.
    • In most routes, when you enter the AB Room for voting the first time around, you find a dead body. This in itself creates its own wham shot in the Cyan set of routes, when you enter the room expecting the body to be there but it's completely empty. Unless you have played the Cyan routes first, in which case you only experience the first whammy.
    • Entering Room 2 of the Crew Quarters and finding either Alice's body, Luna's body, or in some routes Alice and Luna's bodies.
    • In Clover's route, entering the Infirmary, and finding Tenmyouji, Alice, Luna, Clover, Phi, and Dio all dead in a bloody pile.
    • In Luna's route, when Luna appears outside the AB room late in the route despite seemingly having been murdered earlier.
    • Alice's route, when the AB game results show that Alice's vote was "betray", despite her seemingly having not even voted.
    • When the results of Tenmyouji and Alice's first AB round votes are shown on your second run-through of their respective routes, and their votes have changed between the timelines.
    • K's route ending, where Sigma pulls of K's mask revealing K's face to be Sigma's face.
    • Sigma's reflection in the water, revealing that he's actually got an old man's body.
    • In Luna's route, when you access the GAULEM database and Luna's picture comes up, revealing that she's a robot.
    • In Sigma's route, when Sigma looks down at his hand and sees it's bleeding white blood.
    • Tenmyouji's photo being shown to be a photo of Akane Kurashiki.
    • K taking off his suit in Phi's route revealing that it's Akane Kurashiki inside.
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, the game hits you hard when you find Sayori having committed suicide in her room. Then it gives you a twofer when you return to the main menu and find that both her character portrait and the new game option are heavily corrupted, both foreshadowing the events to come and that the player had not reached a bad ending.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has the ending of Anghel's route: an Interface Screw revealing that the game has temporarily become a fantasy JRPG. It's often cited as one of the coolest parts of the game.
  • Super Danganronpa 2: At the end of Chapter Five, Hinata is left in a state of shock that lasts a whole day due to the outcome of the chapter's trial. The next day, he comes out of his cottage, and is greeted by Nanami, who died in the previous trial. And then the world gets seriously weird...
  • In Spirit Hunter: NG, Akira uses his Bloodmetry on his aunt's blood, to figure out how she was attacked by Kakuya. The scene shifts to Natsumi's perspective, with her getting a single glimpse of the culprit before she falls into a coma. It's cute little Ami, her daughter, and the protagonist's cousin.

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated:
    • After the camera zooms into a painting Mystery notices, showing events before the video, the one driving the van is a heretofore unseen member of the group, a human Lewis.
    • The Reveal that Lewis was killed by a possessed Arthur turns the first half of the animation from a funny Shout-Out to a complete tragedy.
    • In "Freaking Out," there's a shot of Arthur's computer showing different locations (including his uncle's auto shop). There are multiple pictures of Lewis; some of them are crossed out, while one picture (along with one of Ghost Lewis) has question marks next to it. This seems to indicate that not only did Arthur not recognize Lewis as a ghost, he doesn't even know Lewis is dead.
  • The Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom flash series starts when Mario is killed by a Bullet Bill, causing Luigi to go after Bowser to avenge his brother's death. At the end of part two, Luigi visits Mario's grave, a Bullet Bill just misses him, and Wart is revealed to be the true culprit. Unfortunately, enough viewers couldn't put the pieces together that the frustrated creator had to put up a message explaining what was going on.
  • There she is!!: The end of step 3, where a rock gets thrown through Nabi's window (setting up both the plot and tone of the next step).
  • X-Ray & Vav: At the end of "Coal & Order," the man in the mental asylum, whom our heroes must go to for help, turns around – it's the Mad King.
  • Animator vs. Animation: At the end of "The Virus", the first episode of "Animator vs. Animation Shorts", just when ViraBot is about to kill The Second Coming, a portal appears. After some time passes, The Chosen One comes out of the portal to help the animator and the stick figures to destroy the virus.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: Like with the original series above, the purple 'Immortal Object' popup (which usually indicates scenery and other things players aren't supposed to destroy) is this, twice. First, the popup appears over Yui when she easily defeats a powerful monster, and the second time it appears over Heathcliff when Kirito attacks him after connecting his Shout Outs to Kayaba's.

    Webcomics 
  • In Gifts of Wandering Ice, the scene where Rita learns what the legendary black iceberg really was.
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • In Secret of Mana Theater, during the fight with the Spiky Tiger, Faun draws the sword she claimed Elinee had stolen, revealing that she had stolen it and was manipulating him into helping her rescue Dyluck. The significance of doing so is not lost on Seth, and he becomes quite upset.
  • Narbonic: in the last comic of the arc "Professor Madblood and the Everlasting Ices of the North", Dave looks at a holographic projection of a quote from "Alice in Wonderland", and his glasses clear because he has just Gone Mad From The Revelation that he is really a mad scientist and Helen has been experimenting on him for the entire run of the comic.
  • Housepets!:
    • "Hand to Hand" (Nov. 13, 2013): Jata, the VERY MUSCULAR crown Prince of Feraga, has just laid waste to his own arranged wedding, knocked his forced-bride-to-be into the pool, and is currently beating the stuffing out of his own bodyguards (who have turned on him because of his insensitivity to the feelings of his own bride) with no sign of stopping until Uncle Deadeye, the mute bodyguard seen in two previous strips, stops Jata's fist from connecting with the back of Miles' head, SMILING as he does it! We then cut away while someone in the audience says "Wow, I didn't know cats could bend like THAT."
    • End of Year Eight (June 3rd, 2016): Keene Milton is revealed to still be alive, but regains consciousness inside his limo, which has apparently been driven off a pier, is rapidly sinking, and his chauffeur has gone AWOL.
  • In The Dragon Doctors, Chapter 21 sees Elka and Greg walk into the demons' headquarters and see Shelinda the Cyber-Shaman (whom most would have assumed was dead centuries earlier) hooked up to a hideous array of machines.
  • In Agents of the Realm, the second-to-last page of chapter 3 reveals that not only Jordan already works as an agent, but she also cooperates with The Dragon, Ruby.
  • Erfworld: The final panel of Book 3 Page 117, shows Parson in Charlescomm livery.
  • Nebula: The final panel of comic 17, showing Pluto post-transformation into a Humanoid Abomination very similar to Ceres, having grown another pair of arms and having two thumbs on each hand like Black Hole.
  • We Are The Wyrecats reveals through some surveillance footage that Lamar, one of the former members of the Wyre Cat team, is responsible for stealing military-grade enhancements and the mooks K.A. has been dealing with have been part of his forces.
  • In Beyond Bloom the story seems to be grounded in a realistic Earth setting (aside from one detail). While mid conversation, this happens. A dragon interrupts the scene, leaving protagonists to wonder what the creature even was, and completely changing the course of the story.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the sudden appearance of Nanase's change of hairstyle and wardrobe completely changes the dynamic between Nanase and Ellen which leads to their first argument as a couple.
  • In Sleepless Domain, Chapter 2 Page 28 has Tessa arrive on the scene of a battle to find Sally, Gwen, and Sylvia dead and Undine hanging on by a thread.

    Web Original 
  • In Noob, one of the characters attacks a enemy player that seems to be present near his group just by chance, only to have his guild master (that he hadn't seen in weeks) block his sword.
  • To Boldly Flee:
    Nostalgia Critic: Well, I might as well check my email.
    [he opens his laptop and looks at the open Word document]
    TO BOLDLY FLEE
    By Doug and Rob Walker
  • At the end of the Christmas 2013 episode, The Angry Video Game Nerd finds a good Spider-man game...that has LJN's logo on it.
  • Part 6 of Polo Quest has two in the same update. First we see what Penn looks like without her contacts, (accompanied with a noticeable shift in narration style), then we see her through the eyes of everyone else, discovering the database's title for her: "biological reincarnation of the Sapphire Emperor".
  • Ruby Quest has some good ones.
    • Early on, Stitches' full body is shown- and it's a mass of blood and guts, marking the quest's transition into horror.
    • Much later, Tom finds Upper Lab B's light switch- revealing that it's absolutely covered in fleshy growths connected to its prisoner, Tom Nook.
    • The second-to-last panel reveals that Tom Nook was not the extremely dangerous Subject #6. Ruby's friend Tom was Subject #6.
  • Ruby Quest's Spiritual Successor Nan Quest is no slouch in this regard either.
  • Todd in the Shadows is all set to watch the movie that One-Hit Wonderland subject "St. Elmo's Fire" originates from...then he sees who the director is.
  • Vinesauce Tomodachi Life has a view:
    • Early in episode 47, Vinny casually browses through the apartments as usual — and then comes upon HOTDOG, an islander who was removed 25 episode prior.
    • The long-awaited 50th episode begins with the news, as usual. Except the newscaster is someone we've never seen before (later revealed to be Dana Scully). Then it cuts to the islanders' thoughts, and the first one up is Fox Mulder, who had ''also never been seen before. Following him is Wario, who was assimilated and assumed dead in the previous episode.
    • Episode 54 sees Vinny choose one of two islanders to be removed by having them fight in Super Smash Bros.. Once it's over, he (obviously) returns to the character select screen. And then moves Player 1's cursor over Pit, revealing that Vlinny (the winner) isn't out of the frying pan yet.
  • Everyman HYBRID, when it starts, is a fitness series where the Slender Man keeps appearing in the background. All that changes in Episode 6 - Healthy Eating, in which the ruse is revealed. They see the actor that plays Slender Man behaving strangely through a window, and seek him out, only to find he's not playing Slender Man. And then, they hear something behind them and turn around.
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • Halfway through 5, Duck Guy wakes up in a mysterious dark room. Eventually, we see that his body had been sliced open, and his organs are being processed into canned food product.
    • After all the madness dies down, there's only one thing left in the kitchen: Yellow Guy, now obese, having eaten all of the cans containing Duck Guy.
    • In 6, Red Guy walking up to the machine and seeing Yellow Guy, still in his "lesson", on the monitor; this reveals the entire series had taken place in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • A few seconds later in "Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 6" sees the reappearance of Tony, followed by several other teachers who at this point had only appeared in one episode each.
    • A third one in the sixth episode is the appearance of a long yellow hand, belonging to the father of the Yellow Guy.
  • 17776:
    • The very beginning has a meta one. Upon first viewing, it initially looks like an ordinary SB Nation article about the future of American football (albeit with a number of discrepancies, if you can look). Shortly after loading, however, the page's text abruptly expands in size, completely blotting out the screen with black...and then the story proper begins.
    • During the first chapter, the main character (Nine) has no clue what or where they are. Not long before it ends, their friend Ten tells them to take a picture of themselves. The resulting photo is of a space probe, shortly leading into a Wham Line clarifying that Nine and Ten are actually sentient space probes.
  • Daisy Brown
    • "Artistic video" starts out as a simple video about Daisy drawing, until Alan shows up with realistic pictures of her doing so. Daisy is appropriately disturbed, since it means he's no longer blind, and he's been deceiving her about it for who knows how long.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • While the King of Worms is probing through Linkara's soul, he sees flashes of Linkara's previous encounters with villains. However, these flashes soon settle on a shot of the Plot Hole, which then transitions to Lewis in his apartment, filming a scene. Then he starts laughing...
    • From Ultimate Power #4: Linkara with The Entity's pixel eyes.
    • From Mr. T and the T-Force #4, The Stinger, which sees the tenth anniversary storyline kicked off by Linkara and Linksano seeing someone who resembles Linkara in a tattered version of his original outfit.

 
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