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Sandbox / Shocking Swerve

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Shocking Swerve is now a redirect to Ass Pull per TRS:

Examples have been moved here to be sorted through.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • The Espada ranks were stated by a Fracción, Shawlong, to go from 1-10. However, it's eventually revealed that the Espada ranks actually go from 0-9. Yammy switches from 10 to 0 during his Resurrección. Word of God clarified that Espada ranks are based on the amount of power, not the ability to use it. Yammy was never portrayed as especially competent, so the idea of his raw power not translating to combat effectiveness was foreshadowed well enough. However, the author's choice to reveal his secret "0" rank as a cliffhanger, only for him to be killed basically offscreen the next chapter, is the very definition of a pointless twist.
    • In the Zanpakuto filler arc, Muramasa claims to have killed his master and that he wants to liberate all Zanpakutos from their owners. It transpires that he's using the zanpakutou rebellion to distract the shinigami so he can free his sealed master Kouga Kuchiki. The closest thing to a foreshadow is Byakuya's fake Face–Heel Turn, but that act doesn't foreshadow Kouga's existence, it only foreshadows Byakuya wanting Muramasa defeated.
  • Among the male idol community, B-Project Koudou*Ambitious is pretty well known. What starts as a normal, if eccentric, idol anime ends with the B-Project's kindly manager, Yashamaru, revealing to the heroine that her father was one of the people that ruined his life, and that in revenge he's willing to take down the company his daughter now works at, scoop up B-Project, and make it big at another company after controversy forces the former company to shut down. Absolutely none of this was foreshadowed beforehand, but the only hints that something was wrong with Yashamaru were the scenes where he makes a secret deal with an off-screen higher up, and Episodes 10 and 11, where he suddenly vanishes and has his songs distributed to another group under a different label. But even then, that leads to more of a kidnapping and blackmail arc rather than industrial sabotage, and the heroine didn't seem like she was central to the conflict at all.
  • The ending to the Bunny Drop manga is infamous for this. It turns out that Rin and Daikichi are not niece and nephew. Daikichi's grandfather isn't Rin's biological father. This isn't foreshadowed at all except for possibly how Rin is a blonde. This in itself related to the swerve of how as a teenager Rin develops feelings for Daikichi, the man who raised her since age six, which has little foreshadowing besides how Rin never considered Daikichi her adopted dad (and even that's pushing it on foreshadowing).
  • For some viewers, Code Geass R2 Turn 21, where it's revealed that Marianne (who for most of the series had been painted as practically a saint) not only fully supports her husband's Instrumentality plan, but she's committed multiple Kick the Dog moments herself, including using her Geass to possess a young girl after her death, and not particularly caring about the Mind Rape her daughter went through. And that's only one of the plot twists thrown into this episode.
  • Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time has 2 in the finale. Ryouma's Digimon partner, who had previously barely talked at all and showed no personality turns out to be the big bad in disguise, brainwashing his tamer and an even "better" one where the previous generic evil Big Bad is now a good guy, and a human with a clock Digimon (despite previously having nothing to do with time) wandering through dimensions collecting humans to beat up the new big bad he inadvertently created. WHAT A TWEEST!
    • In addition, people savvy enough to pick out symbolism relating to time will feel some ending whiplash. The vocal command to enter the Pocket Dimension is "Time Shift", the odd old guy who appears to be behind everything has a clock Digimon partner, and the whole season is called "The Young Hunters Leaping Through TIME". But it turns out, in the end, that this symbolism was all... pointless!
    • One may argue that the swerve was that this series actually had a continuous plot working up to a Big Bad...
  • Regina, Cure Ace and Cure Ace's identity in DokiDoki! Pretty Cure can be seen as this. The anime goes to great lengths to have Mana and Regina bond, Regina becoming stronger through friendship. Fans even saw the clues that seem to point that something big would happen to Regina, most likely her performing a High-Heel–Face Turn and join the team as another Cure. Come the halfway point... DENIED. Regina's father, King Jikochuu, brainwashes her even more, making her even more evil, Cure Ace shows up and ends up being a nine-year-old girl named Aguri Madoka that hadn't been alluded to at all.
    • Then it turns out that Aguri/Cure Ace, Ai-chan and Regina were originally Princess Marie-Ange all along.
  • Il Palazzo in the last episode of Excel Saga (ignoring the non-canon 26th episode) abandoning his dreams of conquest to fall down a hole with Excel. Given that it is a Gag Series, the lack of buildup works fine.
  • Fairy Tail has had more than a few, no thanks to Hiro Mashima's open lack of planning.
    • Mest Gryder is introduced in the Sirius Island arc as a member of Fairy Tail who the other members suddenly know despite never appearing beforehand, and he's later revealed to be a Magic Council spy named Doranbalt who infiltrated Fairy Tail with a memory charm to get enough dirt to disband it. Much later, it turns out that he was, in fact, a Fairy Tail member named Mest who infiltrated the Magic Council to get info, and wiped his own memories to be a more covert spy, even though said memory wiping would also make him oblivious to the fact that he's supposed to be a spy in the first place. Word of God explains that the reveal was considered some time ago and nearly scrapped, thus leaving a lack of buildup when it was finally implemented.
    • The conflict of the final arc suffers from this. The Alvarez Empire has allegedly always been a looming threat over Ishgal, yet was never mentioned at all beforehand. The Emperor, and consequently the Arc Villain, is Zeref. Before this arc, he had been characterized as The Aloner because of a curse that takes life while he values it, as well as his bad reputation as the Black Wizard leading most of humanity to view him as an evil existence that must be destroyed, with some cultists doing terrible things in his name. Apparently, Zeref can still amass a great number of people without killing them by "not thinking of them as people", behavior that is not reflected in his blatant popularity among his subjects, and his angst over being rejected by "the world" was only an issue in Ishgal.
    • Irene Belserion of the final arc's Spriggan 12 is frequently compared to Erza in appearance and magic power, and clearly has some strange interest in her, so the revelation that they are mother and daughter is hardly a surprise. The Shocking Swerve comes in when she then reveals that she is also the creator of Dragon Slayer Magic. She doesn't look like a Dragon Slayer, is never shown using the magic (her fighting style revolves around enchantment), her source dragon Belserion is suddenly thrown in as the catalyst for the Dragon King Festival (a war between human-liking and human-eating dragons in which the former side produced Dragon Slayers for backup), she passes under Acnologia's radar despite his goal of slaughtering the Dragon Slayers and ability to smell them all across the continent, and her backstory issues with being stuck in dragon form clash with the earlier revelation that Acnologia can switch back and forth when he wants. Word of God claims to have planned out the revelation, but surprisingly hadn't decided on the details of the much more obvious revelation of her being Erza's mother, and avoided bringing up her backstory in situations where it should have come up.
  • Gilgamesh's appearance and the possibility of his existence in Fate/stay night isn't foreshadowed in the slightest, at least in the anime. Yet he still manages to appear at a very crucial moment to resolve all the conflict in the arc.
  • Played for Laughs in Kaguya-sama: Love is War when it's revealed during the culture festival that Osaragi and the Cheer Team captain had been dating for the past several weeks, as the two had shared a grand total of one scene beforehand. It prompts a Big "WHAT?!" from both Miko and Ishigami.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl has a post-series OVA where Hazumu is dumped by her girlfriend Yasuna and ends up marrying Tomari (despite being high schoolers at that). It's nothing but shipping fanservice as the anime version's ending showed Hazumu and Yasuna as a happy couple and Yasuna's reasons for leaving made little sense.
  • Master of Martial Hearts: The 5th and final episode of the OVA is this or a Twist Ending. Aya finds out that every one of her friends was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who had manipulated her right from the beginning. They mentally broke all the losers of the tournament, making them into "perfect women" to be sold into sexual slavery. Aya's "friends" did this because her parents did the same thing to their parents, and they want to kill her to get back at her mother. Then Aya's mother shows up and kills them off, revealing to her that this is a Cycle of Revenge going back to their grandparents. So Kill 'Em All ensues, with Aya limping away from the blown up building. Then her so-called best friend's mother gets a visit from someone that she is very scared to see... There was next to zero Foreshadowing, like Aya finding out that her boyfriend is in charge of the tournament, and her 5th clairvoyant opponent warning her that her friends are not friends and that this is all just a game. Still, no one could have expected an ending like that!
  • Proving that even this can be made to work, Kill la Kill's second half is an insane full throttle drive down a mountain of sudden plot twists. Nui killed Ryuko's father! Nagita was Nui all along and she destroyed Senketsu! Satsuki destroyed Nudist Beach's base even as she was forced to flee! Wait, no she didn't! Life Fibers are aliens who want to eat mankind! Satsuki and Honnouji Academy were planning to oppose Ragyo all along! Ragyo is Ryuko's mother! The series' demented energy makes all these twists awesome instead of annoying.
  • Naruto:
    • The revelation that Itachi Uchiha, the man who had murdered his entire clan, joined the evil organization Akatsuki, and Mind Raped his little brother twice (using his massacre of their family), turns out to be a loving brother under orders from his village the entire time. And all his cruel treatment with Sasuke was part of some kind of delusional plan in order to die from his hand and make him the hero of the village.
    • In the same vein, the revelation that Yashamaru was lying to Gaara when he claimed that his mother hated him under orders from the Kazekage, as part of some utterly nonsensical test of Gaara's mental stability.
    • The climax of the Fourth Ninja War arc. While the previous major villains were established in prior story arcs, the reveal that Kaguya Otsutsuki was the true Big Bad the entire time with her creation Black Zetsu as her The Dragon, serving as the driving force behind almost every negative event in the entire series (including manipulating every single Uchiha who was ever evil) came completely out of nowhere and retconned a ton of backstory material that had been established for a good couple of YEARS at that point. The former was only first mentioned 30 chapters or so before their debut and the latter had previously been established to be a creation of Madara Uchiha with no indication that they were anything more than that.note 
  • Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! spoofs this concept later on, especially in Nyarko-San W. Genre Savvy Mahiro begins trying to spot the Chekhov's Gun in advance, operating on the logic that "Everything we've been through so far has had a really stupid resolution" and therefore trying to guess what would be the most nonsensical ending. So far, his batting average is pretty low... because while his logic is dead-on, the Gun is always something so minor he never even considered it, which makes the conclusion even dumber than he could have imagined.
    • In one episode the characters go to the Great Celano Library because Nyarko has an overdue book. While they're there, a pair of terrorists attack, trying to find one specific book. Naturally, Mahiro assumes it's Nyarko's overdue book, but it actually turns out to be a random book he found in the library and absent-mindedly shoved into his jacket pocket when stuff started happening. When this is revealed, Mahiro lets out a Big "NO!" and Nyarko says it's unfair for him to always blame her.
  • The ending of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, which might as well have been Studio Gainax self-parodying their usual ending tendencies, most certainly qualifies. While the angel sisters are walking back to their home after the already mind-screwing final battle with the Big Bad, Stocking casually asks if her katanas could cut an angel, Panty says she thinks so, then out of nowhere Stocking starts chopping up Panty into 666 pieces and while everyone is gasping in surprise (just like the viewers), she just says "Sorry, I am actually a demon", Corset reappears out of Brief's privates, Garterbelt's head explodes ("Oh My God!"), Corset lectures Brief on the trail of Panty's pieces he'll have to pick up to get her back and reopen the Hell's mouth, Garterbelt's head unexplodes ("God My Oh!"), and Corset and Stocking walk away, while the other characters are still visibly shocked, even the Daemon Sisters!. Cue the "To Be Continued in Next Season" sign.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion's ending is infamous for a Diabolus ex Machina of this nature that split the fanbase. Homura spends most of the movie behaving in accordance with her original series personality, but at the very end, after Madoka and her friends fought hard to save her, she decides to betray them, rip Madoka apart, separating her into human Madoka and the Law of Cycles Madoka, and keeping the former under her thumb and the latter repressed under her control. Then she traps everyone in a Lotus-Eater Machine, and makes series Big Bad Kyubey into her slave. Many felt that her flawed but heartwarming relationship with Madoka was twisted to make her an obsessive Yandere psychopath, which is the exact opposite of how the anime and other official works portrayed her- as a cold but ultimately caring girl who would go through hell for the one she loves. Many felt it was out of character at best and ruined the chance for a perfectly good ending. Not helping is the vague Foreshadowing that fails to provide a logical setup for the twist, and the fact that the explanation that was given broke previously-established canon rules.
  • School Days: (manga only) Kotonoha and Sekai abruptly going Ax-Crazy in the last chapter with virtually no foreshadowing at all, just to shock the reader at the story having one of the game's few bad endings as opposed to the majority of happy endings. Note this occurs only in the manga; the anime does a much better job of building up Kotonoha and Sekai's gradually decreasing mental stability, making it much more of a genuine Twist Ending.
  • The ending to the third Tenchi Muyo! OVA series and the reveal that Tenchi's mother, who was practically a saint in all of those flashbacks, turned out to be nothing more than a practical joker and the real saint was his father's girlfriend, Rea. What makes this even more jarring are those who watched Tenchi Universe years ago and ran with how his mother there was. In fact, many viewers still prefer Achika (the Universe version) over Kiyone (the OVA version).
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- lives for this. Basically, every plot point after Acid Tokyo qualifies. They even sneak a couple into the epilogue.
    • Because of this, its sister series ×××HOLiC, which is fine when left on its own, periodically suffers from it. One particularly notable instance is when events of Tsubasa reveal Watanuki, who was previously stated to be an orphan (which was pointed out explicitly by a skilled fortune teller), turns out to not only be the son of versions of Sakura and Syaoran that actually are still alive (said fortune teller almost too conveniently later comes back to retract her statement), but is also an alternate version of Syaoran, and technically wasn't even supposed to exist. He also apparently visited the wish shop once before to get himself mind wiped and can't remember a lot of things about himself, but didn't even notice that something was wrong with his memories until he was asked a particular question and he realized he couldn't answer. And none of this is even adequately explained in his own series.
  • Wandering Son
    • The ending to the anime came off as this to many people, especially manga readers. It ends with Nitori accepting puberty and with many implications that both Takatsuki and Nitori will grow out of their gender dysphoria. This is in sharp contrast with the manga, where the same scenes are shown in a more negative light and the dysphoria just gets worse after her voice starts cracking.
    • The manga ending too with Takatsuki not wanting to transition and deciding to continue living as a girl. While it is Truth in Television fans saw the way Shimura wrote it, essentially randomly, go against everything we had been shown prior. There is some mild foreshadowing but it's more in the vain that Takatsuki was confused period. She had thought stuff like "Why do I want to be a boy?" but never seemed to lean heavily on being female identified.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's: Word of God actually admitted that the fact that there turned out to be a sixth Dragon Birthmark was one of these; while it was stated to have been planned from the beginning of the series, the writers felt that dropping any hints at all would've ruined it.
    • The really infamous one in 5D's, meanwhile is Z-one turning out to be a random scientist who used Magic Plastic Surgery and a device which altered his mind to 'become' Yusei, instead of actually being a Future Me Scares Me situation. There had been a lot of Foreshadowing towards Z-one being Yusei from the future (a lot of flashbacks involving Z-one's clearly hint at it), but in the middle of the Final Battle, we get the notorious reveal instead.
  • Masamune-kun's Revenge: Yoshino was the one who broke Masamune's heart back when he was a child, not Aki. Not only this absolves Aki of any guilt without having to go through any meaningful Character Development, this just undoes the whole point of the story because it means Masamune was angry with the wrong person over what was clearly a misunderstanding.
  • A Manga With Too Many Premises is full of this. After two childhood friends meet by chance, they happen upon a man they recognize as their father, and he reveals that they're half-sisters. They then realize that they can read minds by touching each other, kiss... and then swap bodies. None of this has any foreshadowing whatsoever.

    Comic Books 
  • The DC Comics Crisis Crossover Armageddon 2001 (back in 1991!) had a mystery villain called Monarch, who was originally meant to be the hero Captain Atom. The problem was that the foreshadowing for this was so obvious that fans figured it out well before the story was over and posted about it on the Internet. The DC brass, desperate to preserve the shock value, changed the ending at the last minute and had a completely different character, Hawk (one of the few characters who the story up to that point had explicitly said couldn't be Monarch), Freak Out and turn evil after his future self killed his partner Dove in front of him, because his series was getting cancelled anyway.
  • When they reintroduced a "new" Monarch to be one of the villains in Countdown to Final Crisis, they didn't even bother hiding his identity anymore - Captain Atom, natch. Speaking of Countdown, Bob and Solomon suddenly being revealed to have been working together all along. Comes out of nowhere and contradicts everything Bob and Solomon have done up until that point.
  • In Star Wars: Legacy, the revelation that Morrigan Corde is Nyna Calixte. Wookiepedia even says that the authors were explicitly told not to drop any hints, so as not to ruin the "surprise".
  • One of the biggest in comic history happened when Grant Morrison's run on X-Men finished with the reveal that the wise Eastern mentor character Xorn Kuan-Yin was actually Magneto, who then proceeds to go berserk, level Manhattan, and force humans into death camps. This defies logic on a number of levels. First off, Magneto had been seen still living in Genosha shortly before the time Xorn joined the team. Secondly, Xorn used healing powers which Magneto lacks. Finally, it was complete Character Derailment; Morrison turned Magneto from a Well-Intentioned Extremist holocaust survivor with a Malcolm X-like philosophy into A Nazi by Any Other Name (though the alien mind control spores may have had something to do with that). The reason for this was apparently because of the Broad Strokes style he uses and did not see Magneto as anything other than "a mad old terrorist twat." Eventually, Marvel would Retcon this as being "Xorn's twin brother, possessed by the sentient mold Sublime, pretending to be Magneto, pretending to be Xorn." Despite some claims that Morrison was forced to make it Magneto by Marvel editorial, the unredacted version of Morrison's proposal was printed in one of the hardcover collected editions, and Xorn was pitched to Marvel as Magneto in disguise before the run even started. In many interviews after the fact, Morrison has said it was always his plan, and there were various subtle clues planted virtually from the first that Xorn was Magneto, as collated here.
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic actually manages to have a revelation that's simultaneously a Shocking Swerve and Captain Obvious Reveal. While many readers had guessed that Mad Scientist Demagol had switched places with Warrior Poet Rohlan Dyre (using the fact that as Mandalorians, both wear full body armor, to conceal the switch) as much as three years before it was explicitly revealed to have happened, no one predicted that Demagol's true identity was Antos Wyrick, Jarael's childhood mentor and the father of her nemesis Chantique; it had never even been hinted at that Demagol had ever had a previous identity.
  • Spider-Man:
    • There were more than a few Shocking Swerves in The Clone Saga. One issue, in particular, ended with the discovery of what seemed to be the corpse of the original clone, indicating that it was neither Ben nor Peter and raising the mystery of what the double's origin really was. It turned out that the writers didn't have a clue, they just thought it was a cool twist.
    • A similar situation was with the "death" of Peter and MJ's baby. The issue where that happened ended with an associate of Norman Osborn — the perpetrator of the entire Clone Saga and whose resurrection was a shocking swerve in and of itself — taking a mysterious "parcel" and heading off on a boat to parts unknown. Savvy readers would have suspected that this would be the Parkers' child, whose death was faked. Turns out this wasn't the case. Although later revealed to be just a cat, the creators revealed that there was never any intention to have the Parkers' child survive and they just planned on endlessly teasing the fans with this with no plans of resolving the issue.
  • The body-swap of Terra and the Ultra-Humanite in the Power Girl ongoing series did not feature any foreshadowing or rational explanation, and actually seems to directly contradict previous established facts (In the issue before the reveal, Satanna actually comments that her sources are still looking for Humanite, and so far have not had any luck in locating him). The conflict itself was handled well and led into one of the best issues of the series, but the actual swap came completely out of nowhere and even Terra's half-explanation after she was rescued does not clear up all the points, since she refers to lengthy torture sessions and stays in a psychiatric hospital, even though the entire affair occurred in only a single day. Good idea, good follow through, but horrible lead-in.
  • The end of WildStorm's six-issue Friday the 13th miniseries reveals Jason is powered and driven to kill by the vengeful spirits of a Native tribe massacred on the shores of Crystal Lake centuries ago. The series was still pretty good, regardless.
  • Deliberately invoked in The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers. Almost all of the deaths happen out of nowhere and in extremely avoidable manners, as part of the book's subversion/deconstruction of glory-fest war stories and Central Theme of how people die stupid, pointless deaths in war.
  • Quite a few old horror comics use this. A particularly hilarious example is "If!" (Suspense #27, 1953). A fellow falls for a pretty blonde only to find that she and her entire family are monsters... or he would have, if he weren't run over by a truck first!
  • Original Sin has the sudden revelation that Dum Dum Dugan was killed back in 1965 and his every appearance since has been a Life Model Decoy. The fact Dugan has been captured by everyone from Hydra to Skrulls without anyone discovering his true nature was a bit hard to swallow.
  • Secret Empire has this habit of having a sudden twist at the end, with issues 3-5 particularly having a random hero being revealed as a HYDRA agent of some sort.

    Comic Strips 
  • There's an In-Universe example in Peanuts. Snoopy is writing a story. The story goes like this: "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon!" With an Aside Glance and a grin after writing this last part, Snoopy thinks "This twist in the plot will baffle my readers..."

    Fan Works 
  • In the story within a story of Equestria: A History Revealed, the ending to the Hearts and Hooves Day legend certainly counts as this, in which near the end of the love potion debacle, a giant pony-eating dragon suddenly descends upon high and roasts every pony alive in the kingdom. It's Played for Laughs though.
    • By the title of the book it was pulled from, "How the Sea-Pony Wished Upon a Star and Unknowingly Started Racial Prosecution Under An Emergent Fascist Regime: A Collection of Filly's Tales and Legends That Start Off Whimsical But End in Destruction and Death", it seemed as though that was only the first of many legends that ended up in such a way.
  • The Face–Heel Turn of Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle in Inner Demons is regarded as this, given the severity with which they abandon their old lives and the high unlikelihood of such a thing happening.
  • Happens in pretty much every chapter of Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami. Past swerves include: Light's dad is trying to kill L! Light's dad works for L! Sayu stole Misa's death note! Takada is Naomi! L tried to kill Light's mom! The royal death note was fake! Dark has an everything note! Light has a twin sister! Part of the fun is trying to guess what ludicrous Ass Pull will happen next.
  • In the Death Note fic Gods of This New World out of nowhere L is piloting a harrier jet! (Wouldn't he have to sit normally?)
  • "No, John. You are the demons." Quoted is the second-to-last line of DOOM: Repercussions of Evil, spoken by Cernel Joson (presumably, as he had been speaking on the radio before) after John Stalvern insists that he has to fight the demons. This contradicts Joson sending John out to fight the demons. This is then followed by the trope-naming line And Then John Was a Zombie.
  • At the end of Latias' Journey, it turns out Mewgle had stuffed everyone, including the Physical God Big Bad and Big Good, into a giant virtual-reality simulation so he could take over the multiverse. And then Leo the Squirtle comes out of nowhere and beats the crap out of him. The Author tacked on this ending years later when they decided the original one was too pretentious, and realized that when including the Loads and Loads of Characters that Squirtle was forgotten about. Notably, the new ending's events were first discussed in the sequel, and backported later.
  • The Next Frontier is intentionally written to have absolutely no foreshadowing whatsoever for The Reveal of exactly what it's a crossover with, and waits until almost halfway through Act 2 to drop the bombshell.
  • A New Circle starts off as a Tenchi Muyo! Self-Insert Fic, before the author reveals that the voice speaking to Adam is Setsuna a.k.a. Sailor Pluto. At no point was it ever hinted that this story was a crossover of any kind.
  • My Heroes Reborn: In the climax of the Stain arc, the author randomly tried to Nerf Izuku and purposely made him forget about his powers from his past life as Sanji via a self-imposed subconscious mental block. We know it was random because in the author's note she outright admitted to writing the twist in on a whim, both to shock the audience and reintroduce some tension into Izuku's future fights. Up until that point, Izuku was as strong as Sanji would theoretically be at the end of One Piece and there was no foreshadowing whatsoever of such a mental block ever developing. Unfortunately for her, the decision was not well-recieved; Izuku being so overpowered was one of the draws of the story, and the twist itself was poorly written and seen as cheap. The backlash was bad enough that she had to backtrack and promise to end the subplot as soon as possible.
  • In Girls und Panzer: Hope Dies, it turns out that the one who killed Miho and kicked off the plot was none other than Yukari Akiyama, Miho's biggest fan. Her motive- anger over Miho rejecting her advances- is completely Out of Character, and it doesn't help that her actions end up dooming Oarai to closure (Yukari not only goes to school there, but her parents run a hair salon on the ship). It also doesn't K with the apparently genuine surprise Yukari shows upon finding Miho's body.
  • In the Fantasia Times story "Fantasia Dreamscape Adventure", it's revealed at the end that Sera's boyfriend Finn was a Love-Interest Traitor who was secretly working with the villains. Except there's nothing in any of his sparse previous appearances that even hint towards this being a possibility, and the fact that he and Sera were explicitly set up as soulmates in his first appearance is ignored completely. Add in the fact that Sera was flirting with a different character who appeared in the arc before the reveal was made, and it becomes frustratingly obvious that the author only tacked this twist on because Sera's real-life counterpart no longer had a Celebrity Crush on Finn.

    Films — Animation 
  • Titan A.E.'s big revelation in which one of the protagonists turns out to be working with the alien enemies, in order to work, required the character in question to throw out everything his character had been established as, in every scene, right up until The Reveal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dark Shadows, it is revealed that the daughter in the family is actually a werewolf. This might have been all fine and good except for the fact that there was absolutely no way to predict this happening, the movie ended 10 minutes later, and the reveal had ABSOLUTELY no effect on the movie. The cause of the reveal was explained away in half a line and questioned by no one. "Yes, I'm a werewolf. Let's not make a big deal about it" almost came across as a taunt towards the audience, challenging them to try understanding what just happened. Well, at least some people thought it was funny. There is some foreshadowing, but it's pretty minor stuff and easy to miss (or for that matter, to notice and dismiss). In all fairness, the show the movie's based on did pull stunts like this from time to time, but how well the movie did (or didn't) pull it off is debatable.
  • Throughout Dragonball Evolution we learn that Goku is not of this Earth, but The Reveal that Goku is Ozaru comes directly out of nowhere. After Piccolo's reign ended, how can Goku still be alive and who sent him into space only to send him back to Earth? And even then, there is no explanation for why Piccolo went to such lengths to have him killed if he was so critical to his plans.
  • Joy Ride:
    • The two endings that didn't make the final cut of the thriller Joy Ride (2001) both had Rusty Nail being killed, but the ending that made it to theaters had him get shot numerous times by police, only to make yet another threatening CB call to the heroes just as the movie ends. Horrors, he's Not Quite Dead! He just posed a victim in his truck to get shot in his place! It would have made for a nice twist except for the fact that he had a hostage in his passenger compartment who was A: very much alive, and B: very much not wearing a blindfold. She had to have seen the entire ruse being set up, but she not only doesn't tell the police about it, she's just as surprised as the rest of the group when Rusty calls again. Hell, with a shocking twist like that, who needs logic?
    • The direct-to-video sequel Joy Ride 3: Roadkill does it again, with Rusty Nail's truck going over a cliff with no way he could have jumped to safety. Cue the "surprise" epilogue where he's back in a new truck, picking up victims again.
  • Likewise, the ending of Perfect Stranger (with Halle Berry and Bruce Willis) has the one character who could not possibly be the killer (Halle Berry's character) be the killer. This is why you don't let test audiences pick the ending.
  • At the end of the 2007 film The Mist, convinced that they are doomed to a gruesome death, the protagonist kills the other 4 members of his party (including his own child) with the last 4 bullets he has. About a minute later the army shows up, along with thousands of survivors they have rescued. Some critics praised the director for making this bold nihilistic statement. Others thought it was a ridiculous and contrived ending which hurt the rest of the film. Stephen King, the writer of the original novella, has gone on record saying he approved it and even preferred it over his ending.
  • In the Ashley Judd/Morgan Freeman movie High Crimes, Judd's character spends the entire movie trying to clear her soldier husband of war crimes charges (with Freeman's help). Only to find at the very end after they succeed in clearing him... Yeah, he did it. And then some. And then he tries to kill Judd because she knows about it. But she only knows - and not just suspects - because he tells her so.
  • Lifeforce wanted to have a Tomato in the Mirror ending by having one of the protagonists revealed as a space vampire. It would have worked, too, if this didn't contradict the rest of the movie.
  • Monster a-Go Go, featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, is probably the worst offender out there. It featured a man who was turned into a radioactive giant. Near the end, people are going after the giant only to find out the man was found elsewhere, and the giant just disappeared like he never existed. That swerve makes the entire movie inexplicable, since there's absolutely no way anything in the movie makes sense after the twist.
  • Mark of the Vampire: The dead man was killed by a person who deliberately faked a vampire attack. The "vampires" were actors hired to trap that murderer. All the main characters (other than the killer) were in on the trap. This doesn't make any sense, as the actors often act like vampires even when the murderer isn't around to be impressed, and in one scene a vampire attacks an innocent man for absolutely no reason.
  • The independent feature Bloodletting, about a woman who tracks down a serial killer so he can show her how to kill, has one of the most Shocking Swerves of Shocking Swerves: It turns out the supposed killer the girl tracks down was not the serial killer she was looking for, but a pathetically lonely guy who pretended to be the one she was after to make her stay. They both wind up dead after the man has killed half a dozen people. He had never killed before he met her, mind you.
  • The 1974 car chase movie Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. They got away! Oh, they crash and die.
  • The revelation near the end of I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer that the killer actually is Ben Willis, the killer from the previous two films. He's become some vaguely demonic entity, apparently summoned by the actions of the protagonists in the opening.
  • The Wizard of Gore is in love with this trope. Montag's murder method seems to be mass hypnosis, but the film points out repeatedly that there are several events that contradict that. Combine that with an ending where not only do we have a scene where the two main characters lampshade how unlikely the events were before one shows themselves to be the killer in disguise, but then the other person in the conversation reveals that it was her manipulations the entire time, fooling the villain. And then the villain wakes up and realizes it was All Just a Dream.
  • The end of Pieces has the mix and match corpse, that the killer made out of body parts from his victims, randomly come to life and rip a guy's balls off.
  • The killer in High Tension turns out to be Marie's evil split personality, manifested as a filthy trucker. Watch the film with this information in mind and realize how little sense it really makes.
  • Parodied in The Man with Two Brains. The oft-mentioned Elevator Killer turns out to be none other than Merv Griffin. The only foreshadowing leading to this is a scene where a character watches his talk show on TV.
  • M. Night Shyamalan entertained audiences with genuine twist endings in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable before resorting to shocking swerves in an attempt to perpetuate this successful formula. Take The Happening: Plants have gone homicidal for no reason! Also, plants have the ability to kill people now! With, ummm... spores! Shut up!
  • The Stepford Wives (2004) remake tries for a Twist Ending, but just ends up contradicting itself on whether the wives are robots or Mind Controlled humans. In the movie's partial defense, this was a problem in the book as well.
  • Planet of the Apes (2001) ends with the hero returning to Earth in his own time, only to find that it is ruled by apes, and the Lincoln Memorial has been replaced with a statue of the movie's Big Bad (who won't even be born until 3 thousand years in the future, on a completely different planet). The filmmakers have admitted that they have no explanation for this, and that it was only done to be surprising. A possible interpretation is that he thinks he's gone back to earth, but in reality just made another hop forward, to where ape society looks a lot like the human society he came from. This might generate more and harder questions than it answers though. An alternative explanation offered by one of the film's actresses, which she had simply assumed was the official explanation, was that the Big Bad had gone back in time as well and had simply arrived at an earlier point than the protagonist. Reportedly, Tim Burton had filmed six different endings, so that no one could spoil the ending. This one was used because it was closest to the end in the original book.
  • In the 2005 Spanish horror film The Nun, it turns out there isn't a killer ghost nun, it was the main character's Split Personality all along. Under scrutiny, this makes even less sense than Haute Tension's similar twist.
  • Dead Silence: You know, it would have been nice to state that also human dolls are to be considered. Or that they exist at all.
  • The obscure Larry Cohen movie God Told Me To sets itself up as a supernatural thriller, then becomes a sci-fi movie as the outer space origin of the movie's killer is revealed. Then the movie becomes a Shocking Swerve pileup as we find out the hero is related to the Evil Space Jesus villain and has the same alien powers he possesses. Oh, Evil Space Jesus is a hermaphrodite. Who wants to mate with the hero. His own brother. Via a chest vagina. It's a weird, weird movie...
  • In the ending of Christmas Evil, the Santa Claus wannabe main character is driving a van after he knocks out his brother. Suddenly, a mob carrying Torches and Pitchforks appear before him, and he drives over a bridge... and the movie takes a sudden fantastic turn as the van keeps going, and flies into the night sky. According to the director, this is actually a Dying Dream.
  • In Cut, a group of students are being killed off while working on an unfinished slasher film rumored to be cursed. In the end, it turns out the killer is the one from the film itself. He's come to life through very poorly explained means involving "the creative energies put into the film" or some nonsense like that.
  • Parodied at the end of the first Scary Movie, where the killer is revealed to be the handicapped Doofy, who has already gotten away and is shown taking off his disguise, and is then picked up by his girlfriend and drives off into the sunset. Earlier in the film, the girlfriend had no idea that he was even the mastermind, but they're revealed to have been working together in the ending.
  • Many villains in the Spy Kids films start off posing as good guys, but one particular backstab in the second, that of Felix Gumm, comes out of pretty much nowhere and adds pretty much nothing to the plot; the role he plays post-heel turn could fairly easily have been filled by an ordinary Mook. And in the third film, he's back to the good side with just as little explanation.
  • The '70s Ten Little Murder Victims movie Sisters of Death ends with the last surviving characters, Mark and Judy, clearing the electric fence and making it back to Mark's car and freedom. Only for Judy to reveal that she was the killer after all and promptly shoots Mark. The end.
  • In the David Cronenberg Mind Screw movie eXistenZ, this trope is used in-universe. In the climax, the male protagonist is suddenly revealed as another secret agent who was sent to kill his female partner all along, even though this contradicts most of what's been shown of the character. It's soon revealed to be part of another layer of the VR game, and the programmed plot twists (extracted from the players' minds) were becoming increasingly random.
  • In Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare, a rock band moves to a farmhouse and its members are killed one by one by the devil (yes, the devil). In the climax, the devil confronts John Triton, the sole remaining character, and starts gloating about killing his friends. Triton then reveals that he has killed no-one: his entourage were actually shadow puppets all this time, and Triton himself is an arc angel who has come to banish the devil back to hell.
  • After about 40 minutes of barely audible, badly written, badly edited, horrendously paced, confusing gibberish, A Certain Sacrifice, a film only known because it stars a pre-fame Madonna, turns into a Rape and Revenge movie out of nowhere. And that's before we get to the Satanic sacrifice of the heroine's rapist.
  • Happy Birthday to Me has one of the most ridiculous endings of any slasher movie. At first, it's "revealed" that Virginia, the protagonist, was the killer all along, before, out of nowhere, her mask is pulled off, and it's revealed that Ann was the one doing the killings disguised as Virginia. Ann also reveals that she's Virginia's long lost half-sister. It only resulted in making the movie more confusing and convoluted than it already was. Indeed, Virginia was actually the killer in the original script, but the director thought it was too obvious, so he came up with the resulting ending on the spot.
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop: At the end of the movie, it turns out that Kent, the SWAT commander, was the mastermind behind the scheme with the robbery at the mall, with the previous apparent Big Bad being his partner Veck Sims. This was after he seemed to have been doing nothing but help Paul rescue the hostages in the mall with little indication that he was the one behind it, making his double-crossing of Blart come right out of nowhere.
  • The original planned ending to Stephen King's Cat's Eye was to reveal that General the cat was Evil All Along, and he suffocates Amanda by stealing her breath. This would have turned his entire arc into a nonsensical Shoot the Shaggy Dog story packed with Fridge Logic (He follows a telepathic plea for help halfway across the country and battles an evil troll to protect a little girl, just so he could kill the kid himself?). Thankfully, the ending didn't make it into the finished film.
  • Played with in Adaptation where the protagonist's twin writes a script called The Three in which it turns out the kidnapper, the victim, and the detective are all the same person. His brother points out how this doesn't make sense because — for example — there's a car chase where the detective is tailing the kidnapper who has the victim in the back seat... so if they're all one person what the hell is he doing in reality?? And yet there are still people in Hollywood who want to produce the movie. Hilariously, only a few years later Hollywood actually did make a film with that exact same twist- Identity, which even takes the trope Up to Eleven by having multiple cops, killers, victims, and bystanders be alternate personalities of one another, and even the cop turns out to be a killer in disguise having killed the actual cop personality prior to the movie!
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The film actually does a good job of setting up that Percival Graves, the magical equivalent of the Director of the FBI, is not only the film's human antagonist, but also a secret supporter of Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard who wants to subjugate Muggles for the greater good. Then the climax reveals that Graves was really Grindelwald in disguise all along! The twist was heavily criticized, mostly because Graves made an ideal nemesis for Newt and Tina, the film's heroes, whereas Grindelwald's fate has already been explained in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but also because much of the subtle foreshadowing only becomes obvious on repeated viewings.
  • Shut In:
    • The reveal that Stephen is not really paralyzed, as that would mean he was somehow able to fake catatonia for several months without being found out at all by his doctors.
    • Also, the reveal that he had been drugging Mary the whole time, which caused her odd dreams, as he was able to somehow move around the house and drug her without being noticed at all by her.
  • Flightplan (2005) has a twist that seems clever at first reveal, but progressively makes less and less sense as it goes on. The film's plot is that an aeronautics engineer named Kyle and her daughter Julia head from Berlin to New York for the father David's funeral after he dies in an accident, and the daughter goes missing on the plane... and there's no evidence she was ever on board. At the film's ending, it's revealed everything was masterminded by the air marshal, working with one of the flight attendants. David was murdered, the marshal bribed the mortuary director to let him plant explosives in the casket, the flight attendant abducted Julia and erased all record of her being on board. The plot was to use the explosives to extort $50 million from the airline, and pin it all on Julia. This works until you consider a lot of mental gymnastics need to be exercised for this to work, especially since it would have all been derailed if a single person on board had remembered seeing the girl.
  • The Rapture: Despite the title of the film, it's still a shock when the Rapture actually happens.
  • Remember Me is only ever remembered as being "the movie that uses 9/11 as a twist ending", and for this exact reason: it comes absolutely out of nowhere and is awkwardly forced into a movie that didn't warrant it to begin with, as there was nothing to indicate the movie even took place in 2001 at all. This actually hurt the film's chances at the box office, too.
  • Hilariously invoked and perhaps even inverted by The Other Guys, which spends much of its first act hitting you with every cheap, over-the-top action movie twist in existence until you actually expect something crazy and impossible to happen when Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson jump off a building... but it doesn't. They just fall, hit the concrete, and die instantly, and the movie keeps going without them.

  • David Weber's Out of the Dark ends a fairly typical alien invasion story, that humanity was already winning, with VAMPIRES coming out of the woodwork to save humanity in a totally unnecessary Deus ex Machina. This is why some stories work in some formats but not others: the original short story version didn't have most of the book where humans were gaining the upper hand, and instead started much closer to the point at the end where the aliens decide to simply wipe out the humans via a bioengineered plague instead of continuing the costly conquest.
  • Illuminatus!, being a Mind Screw of the first degree, throws out any number of shocking swerves, among the most shocking the revelations that the three main female characters are all the same Tantrically-enhanced individual and that Hagbard Celine is one of the Illuminati Primi, and the entire story was a scheme on his part to eliminate the most negatively aligned Ancient Conspiracy groups claiming the name "Illuminati", in which he had joined to either alter or destroy it from the inside. And he's actually a member of an even more esoteric group that used to be called Illuminati, but switched its name due to the copy-cats into A∴A∴, which is not Argentum Astrum despite using Thelemic passwords.
  • The ending of John Grisham's The Partner comes right out of the blue. After the main character's conspirator goes through all the effort to find and rescue him, she steals the money and disappears. She could have done that any time.
  • Kitty Takes a Holiday drops a plot twist that makes perfect sense within its own storyline, but is a huge change in direction for the series as a whole. After two books of Kitty/Cormac Ship Tease Kitty hooks up with her lawyer Ben instead, and Cormac goes to prison in an unrelated incident. Tropes Are Not Bad, though. Kitty and Cormac never really made a convincing couple, largely because Kitty isn't the type to fall for a bad boy. She has much better chemistry with her new Love Interest, despite the somewhat contrived nature of the Relationship Upgrade.
  • There is at least one in every installment of the Never Again series. In the first book: the main character's student is part of an Ancient Conspiracy! In the second: did the Moe Friend to All Living Things just get killed?! (and later in that book, the main characters die too!) In the third: there's a Time Police?! When did that happen?!.
  • MYTH Conceptions suffers from this. Skeeve and his small band have declared war on the largest army in the dimension. The army's general, after suffering from some hit-and-run attacks from Skeeve n Co., erects a large tent in a neutral location to discuss the cessation of hostilities. After a bit of a chat, the sides of the tent are dropped, revealing that the entire army is outside, poised to strike the protagonists. They are rescued by a little blue gremlin (a creature Aahz had been insisting does not exist) for no reason whatsoever.
  • In Mastiff, the third book of Beka Cooper, the group traitor in the pay of the treasonists is revealed to be Mattes Tunstall. Although defenders of the twist point out that there was foreshadowing for the character's motivation within the book, detractors say that itself involved Character Derailment from their personality in the previous two books, using Took a Level in Jerkass without it being sufficiently explained.
  • Virtually every twist in the Maximum Ride series applies, but the one that really takes the cake is Mr. Chu being some sort of... alien... thing wearing a Scooby-Doo-style mask. This was never explained, or even mentioned for the rest of the series.
  • In Handle with Care, Willow's death is completely unexpected, has no build-up, and seems to have been included just to make everything more tragic than it already was. It turned an already very Pyrrhic Victory into a sucker-punching Shoot the Shaggy Dog story.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hunters: The end of season 1 reveal that Meyer is actually Wilhelm would mean that if Ruth and the real Meyer conceived their daughter in 1945, she would be 13 when she birthed Jonah. Never mind how they would have time for sex in concentration camp conditions, or how a 1940's plastic surgeon could change Wilhem's face so well, or how only one of the Nazis recognized him...
  • Tales from the Crypt: Some of the Mandatory Twist Endings can feel like this, where there is little to no hint for how the ending scene would be like. A good example is "Split Second", where there was no hint nor foreshadowing that the lumberjacks would become insane murderers. Another lesser example would be "None but the Lonely Heart", where many people probably expected a Karmic Twist Ending but there was absolutely no foreshadowing that it would be that of the supernatural.
  • At the start of the fourth season of Our Miss Brooks, Madison High School is suddenly torn down for a freeway, Mr. Boynton starts dating another teacher, and Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin start working at a private elementary school. Oh, and somehow Miss Brooks had lived in Los Angeles all along instead of Madison.
  • In Bones, it was revealed in the third season finale that Zack was Gormogon's apprentice. The initial plan had been to slowly hint at it up until the big reveal, but the Writers' Guild strike threw a wrench in that plan.
    • The final minutes of the tenth season premiere shows Sweets dying after being brutally beaten to death off-screen.
  • Guiding Light 2003, from actual YouTube video description:
    "Reva's stalker was supposed to be Jonathan, which is why Marah felt a bond with him online. This was scuttled by incoming hack Head Writer Ellen Weston, who made Alexandra the stalker which made little to no sense whatsoever."
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm: sometimes things were thrown into shock viewers, but a lot of the angry moments while integral to the plot. One classic example was the ending of "The Grand Opening" episode, where everyone curses off at the end, just to shock.
  • Alias:
    • The later seasons suffered from this a lot. Season 4 reached an all-time low with the constant back-and-forth between both Arvin Sloane and Jack Bristow having either good intentions or hidden agendas/being untrustworthy/evil all along, so much that you just want to yell at the TV screen, "We've already been through this a few episodes ago, and the episode before that!"
    • And related stories with Sidney's mother and aunt, Lauren Reed, her mother, etc. By the end of the series, it had gotten so ridiculous you almost expect to have Sidney turn around and show that she's been a villain all along.
    • The "shocking" season 4 tacked-on epilogue. My name is not Michael Vaughn.
  • House:
    • Kutner's suicide. Before this, there's no foreshadowing of any kind in previous episodes that he was depressed or suicidal. It just happened off-screen at the beginning of an episode and the rest of the episode is one long Clueless Aesop about how sometimes emotionally stable non-suicidal people just kill themselves and nobody gets to find out why. The out of universe reason for Kutner's death is that Kal Penn abruptly left to work for the Obama presidency at the White House and his character was McLeaned.
    • In one episode the team's patient is a homeless man who, despite lying to the team repeatedly about his name, shows no signs of being anything more than a homeless ex-junkie. Until the ending, where it's revealed that he is a serial killer that eats his victims.
  • Satisfaction: Tippi being shot by loan sharks going after her former client at his house. This also left quite a few plot points, such as her one-night-stand with Chloe's boyfriend, unresolved.
  • The "Who killed Colin McIver?" storyline on One Life to Live. There was only one person in town who couldn't possibly be the murderer: Nora because she was drugged by Colin. Naturally, she did it.
  • The last 30 seconds of season 4 of Farscape, in which an alien spaceship shows up out of nowhere and shoots Crichton and Aeryn to pieces give this impression. Word of God states that the episode was scripted and filmed before the series was cancelled, and was intended to be the lead-in to the fifth season. After the cancellation, the showrunners refused to go back and change the ending. Peacekeeper Wars is essentially what was intended as the fifth season condensed into three hours.
  • In Dollhouse, the reveal that Boyd Langton was the head of the Rossum Corporation, which turns him into a lunatic with a stupidly impractical master plan and, in retrospect, makes a lot of his actions earlier in the series unnecessary at best and nonsensical at worst.
  • The revelation in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that Doctor Bashir is genetically enhanced. Bashir's parents were once brought up in a conversation, and Bashir completely dodged it, a full season before his reveal established why he would hate his parents. This was the second time that happened to the character, as the two-parter 'In Purgatory's Shadow'/'By Inferno's Light' revealed that Bashir had been replaced by a changeling several episodes before. The actor didn't learn until he got the script for the two-parter.
  • The third season of Star Trek: Enterprise ends with the showdown over the Xindi weapon, which has been the plot the entire season. With Enterprise, the Xindi he's convinced, and Shran, they destroy the weapon and try to contact Starfleet only to find... the Nazis won World War II! This was part of the "Temporal Cold War" plot that was forced into the show... except that Daniels, the Temporal Cold War guy, had referred only to the Xindi in his appearances. In no way did anything in Season 3 hint, foreshadow, or subliminally convey that space Nazis were on the horizon, and it completely undercut what was otherwise a fairly satisfying season finale. The episode was written at a time when a fourth season was very much in doubt. Connor Trinneer (Trip) personally believes the writers deliberately did this to stick the network with negative blowback in case the show actually did get cancelled.
  • In the Skins series four penultimate episode, Effy's therapist, who had been introduced in the same episode, beat Freddie to death with a baseball bat.
  • Depending on the viewer, many twists, including several Cylon identity revelations in the later episodes of Battlestar Galactica may fall under this trope.
    (from Robot Chicken)
    Seth Green: Wow! Ron Moore! Creator of Battlestar Galactica. How about letting us come aboard and help you with your whip-smart plots?
    Ron Moore: Help? Why would I need help writing plots? I just throw a dart at the cast list and boom: they're a Cylon. Rinse, repeat, cash the frakking check. Watch... (Moore throws several darts at a board with cast member photos taped to it)... (mocking) oh, please help me, this is so hard!
    • The identities of the Final Five Cylons, in particular, were pulled out of left field. One of the clearest indicators of this was that Chief Tyrol's baby had to be clumsily retconned into an adulterous offspring since there was only supposed to be one fertile Cylon in the series.
    • This pops up as early as the pilot miniseries when some poor and seemingly random schmuck is pointed out by Baltar to be a Cylon in a panicked effort to avoid being outed as a collaborator himself. At the end of the episode he... turns out to have actually been a Cylon.
  • Not nearly as shocking as most of these swerves, but Law & Order's ADA Serena Southerlyn's coming out was pretty damn surprising. The only thing that vaguely and possibly hints at this was a few episodes earlier when McCoy, in order to get around a claim of Spousal Privilege on the part of a gay couple, files suit (and wins) to prevent the state from recognizing gay marriages. Southerlyn was uncharacteristically more upset than usual about McCoy's cynical tactics (as he doesn't indicate he personally is opposed to gay marriage) and outright refuses to assist him. This episode is somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight if you watch it after having seen the reveal of Serena's sexuality since she makes quite a few references to a gay friend she had in college.
    • Over in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, we have the episode "Unstable", where the team deals with a set of rapes being done in the same manner as a guy Elliot put away a decade ago. Turns out the other guy is innocent. They catch the criminal and he confesses. Elliot apologizes to the first guy and promises to get him out ASAP... then, the guest detective of the day may or may not have pushed the guy out the bathroom window and to his death. DA shrugs her shoulders and goes "There's nothing I can do". Episode ends.
    • Perhaps the most infamous example involves a recurring character, FBI Agent Dana Lewis. The episode Secrets Exhumed is based on Stephanie Lazarus a police officer who committed a love triangle murder in 1986 and wasn't caught for over two decades. It is revealed Lewis perpetrated a similar crime and used her FBI powers to cover her tracks. She attempts to pin the death on a serial killer to protect herself once and for all, only to have it fall apart when the SVU detectives realize the murder didn't fit the killer's MO and the confession was coerced. Lewis is ultimately caught and confesses. The decision to use a popular recurring character as the murderer, in effect killing her off, was not popular with the fan base.
  • The first season of Roswell introduced a character played by Julie Benz as their new teacher. Liz becomes suspicious of her and suspects she's secretly a government agent looking for the aliens. Instead, she reveals that she's actually the school's new guidance counselor. Needless to say, this does nothing to explain why she was impersonating a teacher in the first place. She later gets involved in the plot for reasons resulting from her actual job. (A government agent looking for the aliens.)
  • "iOMG" for iCarly has Sam suddenly revealed to be 'in love' with Freddie, despite no concrete foreshadowing. Freddie himself is shocked at Sam's change during the episode itself, not to mention when she kisses him right at the end.
  • The entirety of St. Elsewhere turning out to be the daydream of an autistic child staring at a snow globe.
  • In the season finale of the first season of The Killing, not one, but TWO of them were clumsily attempted (specifically, the prime suspect is randomly shot out of nowhere and the until-then-incredibly likable Lancer is revealed to have been in all probability in on the titular murder)... during the last fifteen seconds. Fans and critics rage ensued.
  • Supernatural:
    • Eric Kripke was always adamant that angels would never appear on the show, despite the many demons who do appear. That changed because of the 2007 writers' strike and the need for a new way to get Dean out of Hell. Thus the terrifying and powerful entity that rescues Dean from Hell turns out to be an Old Testament-style angel.
    • Sam and Dean meet the mysterious mental patient Anna Milton in Season 4, who turns out to be a Fallen Angel. Anna makes a romantic connection with Dean, gets her angelic grace restored, and helps the Winchesters and Castiel defeat traitor angel Uriel. She's set up to be a major player when she's suddenly arrested by angels and disappears from the story until she shows up in Season 5 intending to kill Sam and is in turn killed. This all happened because Castiel turned out to be the more popular angel and was given Anna's role as Dean's angelic guide instead.
    • Season 6 set up Eve and/or Raphael and/or Crowley to be the season's Big Bad. Turns out it was fan-favorite Castiel, who became a Well-Intentioned Extremist in order to stop Raphael. Castiel goes power-mad, becomes God, and eventually dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. Fans did not react well, and he was resurrected and given a redemption arc.
  • Parodied in the Community episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" a Gambit Pileup causes about five in the space of two minutes.
    Annie: When you conspire with everyone you come across, you're not really conspiring with anyone. You're just doing random crap.
  • 24:
    • The show is known for its shock-inducing twists and occasionally out-of-field subplots, but during season six, when it revealed that season five villain dubbed Bluetooth was suddenly Jack's brother, Graem Bauer, it threw off the fanbase to such baffling proportions that were never seen again. Even with the show's crazy logistics and fast-paced events, this was a twist too far. And this is coming one season after an ex-President got gunned down by a sniper and another President was involved in the terrorist plot...
    • There's season seven's out-of-nowhere revelation that Tony Almeida betrayed everyone he knew on both sides to avenge the death of his unborn child. Although it could make sense for his actions in the current season, this completely contradicted the way he acted through what little he appeared in during the fifth season.
  • The seventh series of Waterloo Road ended with a literal Shocking Swerve in the form of an out-of-control lorry, which crashed into the cast because the producers didn't know who'd be returning for series eight yet.
  • Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower and rendering an entire season as things which never happened in Dallas could be regarded as one of these... or as what it actually was, an attempt to salvage the show by doing a Continuity Reboot to the last point at which it hadn't sunk on ice.
  • Newsradio played this one for laughs in their conclusion to the trial of Mr. James for being the hijacker known as "D. B. Cooper." When Mr. James is up on the stand, under questioning he comes out of nowhere with the claim that Adam West is D. B. Cooper. The prosecutor laughs this off until Adam West is revealed in the courtroom and he fesses up to it.
  • The death of Matthew in Downton Abbey. This was a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as the actor wanted to leave, and after everything Matthew and Mary had gone through to get married, there was no way the fans would accept them splitting up, so killing him was the only option. That might have still worked, had they not used the exact same set of circumstances as those used in Sybil's death earlier that season.
  • The ending of How I Met Your Mother outsmarted itself. Early in the show's run, the crew filmed the final scene of Ted's kids listening to the end of the story to avoid problems of them aging by the time the show actually ended, so the end of the story actually was planned right from the start. Unfortunately, this also meant they were inescapably locked into that ending even as each passing season made it less and less appropriate to the story. Thus, Ted runs off to be with Robin at his kids' urging, despite our having spent the past several years getting a thorough education in how wrong they are for each other. Not to mention Barney and Robin divorce with a 30-second explanation after the past 3 seasons have established them multiple times as soul mates. As well as the mother, who we've been waiting for the entire show to meet, gets insultingly killed off via Soap Opera Disease.
  • The third season of Arrow has the murder of Sara Lance in its very first episode, and a later episode revealed Thea being the one who killed her, enraging the fanbase.
  • Most of the twists in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Turn, Turn Turn" work very well, but when it turns out Ward is a HYDRA agent, it starts feeling like they're throwing out twists just for the sake of having twists, as if the episode needed any more. Even if Word of God says that there are subtle clues in previous episodes, especially concerning how Ward got everyone to trust him, note  not every viewer agreed that acting exactly like a protagonist constituted a hint. How poorly foreshadowed was the twist? Almost no-one believed it. Immediately after the reveal, the big debate between fans was whether Ward was a Fake Defector or Brainwashed and Crazy. Turns out it was genuine.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • The Reveal that Zelena (thought to have been dead) has killed and replaced Robin Hood's wife Maid Marian out of the never-ending spite for her sister Regina was a poorly received and poorly foreshadowed twist that some theorized was there for little reason other than to get Robin and Regina together again without a hitch. The convoluted-ness of the explanation for Zelena's return didn't help.
    • Season 5 revealed that Hook became a second Dark One while in Camelot. So for all of Emma's talking about how everyone betrayed her and establishing her edging close to a Moral Event Horizon to become the Dark Swan, she inexplicably never did anything wrong at all - which contradicted about half her dialogue and motivations for the season.
    • The mid-season finale threw this to ludicrous levels. Rumpelstiltskin reveals he is once again the Dark One after Hook sacrifices himself to destroy the curse for good. The explanation for this was even more convoluted - he found a potion that would somehow steal all the magic out of Excalibur around the same time Hook was destroying it. This literally undoes a whole half-season's worth of Character Development and was an Ass Pull of the highest degree.
  • Mad Dogs: As the show goes on it undergoes several. First, after escaping successfully from a gang of drug dealers the group inexplicably decide to go back against all common sense. Finally the ending of the series was widely criticised as this in addition to turning the whole show into a Shoot the Shaggy Dog story. The cast are intercepted by a drug dealer out for their blood on a beach. Instead of making any sensible attempt to escape, all of the main cast are hooded and executed. We then cut to a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment where the cast dream they are driving in a car. They see demonic doppelgangers of themselves driving alongside them before they plummet off the bridge seemingly into Hell. Not only was this bleak twist rather abrupt and unexpected, but it also makes little sense that the cast end up in Hell. The people that murdered them are almost infinitely more evil and cruel and they did relatively little wrong.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • The Season 6 finale ended with Sabrina turning to stone and shattering because her soul mates had left her. In the Season 7 premiere this is resolved by Aunt Zelda somehow giving up her adult years in exchange - essentially because Zelda's actress Beth Broderick had quit the show. Word of God is that the original way of getting around this was that both the aunts would give up their magic to save Sabrina.
    • Discussed and shot to hell in Season 3's "Sabrina the Teenage Writer", where Sabrina is trying to finish a story of hers that's come to life. Sabrina's planned ending was a Kill 'Em All situation and trying to force a twist that wouldn't work (the villain deciding not to blow up the school for no reason) just results in the characters rejecting it. Both the aunts suggest unexpected twists - the villain deciding not to go through with the scheme out of fear of legal issues, and a random Dance Party Ending - and the characters reject those too.
  • The Legends of Tomorrow showrunners did this to themselves in season 4. The original plan was for Nate's father, Hank Heywood to be the Big Bad of the season, torturing magical creatures to use as soldiers and swaying Nate to his side. However, the producers so loved the actor playing Hank that they couldn't go through with the idea of making him evil. Instead, it turned out Hank was the Unwitting Pawn for the demon Neron who had a wild plan to unleash Hell on Earth. Crazier was the revelation Hank's plan for the creatures was to create a theme park for Nate. In the span of just a few episodes, Hank went from a sinister figure on an evil plot to a goofy guy whose plan made little sense.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • 'The Prince that was promised' prophecy made by Melisandre for most of the series seems to be referring to Jon Snow for some reason. The series heavily builds towards a big connection between Jon and the Night King, but when they actually come to a confrontation, it's Arya who kills the king and saves the day. Word of God is that they decided to make it Arya purely because no one would expect it.
  • Watchmen caught a lot of flak from fans of its comic for its infamous retcon of Hooded Justice's identity, revealing him to be not just Angela Abar's grandfather, but also to be a black man who assumed the role after a brutal lynching incident from white cops. Fans noted that this seems to contradict lots of the comic's backstoryand begs the question of how the Minutemen would know it was him if he had never taken off the hood, given the would be required for the initiation. Ignoring the Unfortunate Implications created by the noose symbolism too, not helping matters is that it also directly contradicts the Mayfair Games' RPG's confirming Hooded Justice's identity to be Rolf Mueller, a supporter of the third Reich and with ties to the KKK, who was theorized in-universe to be the actual identity. Adding to this is that the RPG itself is the only adaptation of Alan Moore's work that he not only liked,but also made several creative contributions to.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • The trope namer was former WWF, WCW, and TNA writer Vince Russo, who loved to put these into his shows. He also loved to use wrestling insider lingo (in this case, "swerve" meaning "plot twist") in his shows. When this combined with WCW play-by-play commentator Tony Schiavone's irrational exuberance, it resulted in Schiavone often declaring, "This is the most shocking swerve ever!", thus resulting in a whole mess of "most shocking swerves". Russo's most notorious "shocking swerve" was making actor David Arquette (yes, the deputy from the Scream movies) the WCW World Heavyweight Champion after pinning Eric Bischoff in a match where the previous champion was Arquette's teammate.note  The Internet Wrestling Community has near-collectively decided that the shocking swerve is, in fact, more shocking when it doesn't happen. There are a number of recappers out there who can predict down to individual promos as to when the shockers happen.
  • In 1988, Barry Windham and Lex Luger, two of the most popular wrestlers in the NWA at the time, were embroiled in a feud with The Four Horsemen stemming from Lex being kicked out of the group and Barry turning down their offers to join them. The two had beaten Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the NWA Tag team Titles in March of 1988. They were defending them in a rematch a month later. During the match, the Horsemen manager, James J. Dillon, rammed Luger's head into the steel post causing him to bleed and be knocked out for a few minutes. Barry was getting beaten in the ring looking to tag out but nobody was there and the Horsemen taunted him for it. When Lex finally dragged himself to the apron, Barry forced a tag and body slammed him into the ring and gave him a vicious clothesline that let the Horsemen easily regain the belts and led to Barry joining the group. Nobody saw this turn coming and led to Barry being one of the most hated villains (and also led to what many consider the best incarnation of the Four Horsemen as well, to the point that this incarnation featuring Windham was the one inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame).
  • Probably the most infamous shocking swerve in the WWF was the "Higher Power" twist. To make a very long story short: it was 1999, and Corrupt Corporate Executive Vince McMahon had made a Heel–Face Turn. His son, Shane, had seized control of Vince's stable, The Corporation, and merged it with The Undertaker's pseudo-satanic stable The Ministry of Darkness to form the super stable The Corporate Ministry, which was slowly taking over Vince's company. This forced Vince to make peace with all the people he had pissed off over the last year, most notably his arch-nemesis "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. A couple of months into the feud, The Undertaker began to hint at a "Higher Power" which he secretly served. Rumors and Wild Mass Guessing flew all over the place. Eventually, The Undertaker brought the black-cloaked Higher Power to the ring, who revealed himself to be... Vince McMahon! His stated reason for going through with this impossibly-contrived Gambit Roulette? To piss off Austin. In fairness to the bookers: this was actually Plan B. The Higher Power was supposed to be Mick Foley, which would have made total sense and given us a good feud, but Foley didn't want to make a heel turn without any buildup to it, and also felt that he was too physically broken down at this point to do a feud with Austin justice.
    Vince: IT'S ME, AUSTIN!
    JR: Aw, sonovabitch!
    Jerry: WHAT?!
  • According to The Death of WCW, the "ultimate swerve" was received by WCW itself: just when things were looking bright again, with former executive Eric Bischoff in line to buy the company and ratings starting to creep back upward, suddenly all its programming was cancelled, by order of Jamie Kellner, an AOL Time Warner exec who had never been involved in the wrestling business in any way, shape or form, and it was forced out of business. What a tweest!
  • Most TNA Face Heel Turns have absolutely no foreshadowing, and while they're shocking, they don't make any sense, and just piss people off most of the time.
    • The Jeff Hardy heel turn is already the most notorious of these swerves.
    • Samoa Joe turned heel when he laid down in the 2009 King of the Mountain match at the last second for no reason. Despite the fact that he had been going after the Main Event Mafia for months, had fought like crazy up to that point, and was probably seconds away from becoming World Heavyweight Champion, it was all supposed to be a ruse. That sure makes sense.
    • Sting's Main Event Mafia heel turn made no sense, and fans didn't even boo him anyway, seemingly treating it as Fanon Discontinuity even as it was happening. So the whole thing was dropped, and Sting went back to being a face anyway.
    • The Tomko heel turn just about killed his career. All the momentum he'd built through Christian's Coalition and then the brief "Tomko's for Tomko" phase was completely destroyed just to job him out under Kurt Angle's thumb. It should probably also be noted that Tomko, instead of going on to do things in TNA, did this.
    • Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels teamed up to form Bad Influence in direct contradiction to all previous characterization. In this case, though, people vastly preferred them as Bad Influence even if they admit the formation of the team made no sense.
  • TNA's 2010 Victory Road PPV had a special stipulation for the Knockouts match. It was already title vs career with Madison Rayne defending against Angelina Love respectively. However, the added stipulation was that if either of Madison Rayne's teammates (Velvet Sky or Lacey Von Erich) interfered in the match, the title would go to Angelina. At the end of the match, some masked woman in a biker helmet drove into the arena and interfered, earning a disqualification. The referee tried to find out who it was briefly but then decided to award the title to Angelina. Read: without checking the identity of the masked woman. Furthermore once Madison had found out she lost her title she drove away with the mystery woman (read: the woman that just cost her the title). It was neither Velvet nor Lacey under the mask but actually, the returning Tara which raises the question of why the hell did she wear a mask to interfere in the match when she could cause a disqualification without the title changing hands? Or why, when the title was given to Angelina, did she not take off the mask to reveal who she was and therefore get Madison her title back? There was literally no reason for her to keep her identity hidden (which she did for about a month) other than to have a dramatic reveal when it was fairly obvious who it already was. And that's not even wondering why Lacey and Velvet didn't reveal themselves right away at the PPV if Tara wasn't going to unmask.
  • Another example involving The Beautiful People that was also an example of recap guys being able to call a certain someone's swerves before they even happen, Angelina Love was in an angle where she was trying to make peace between her longtime partner Velvet Sky and biggest fan Winter when the latter drugged her into a zombie-like state, leading to Love and Sky fighting. The defunctnote  Ringbelle's staff and user base noted they were only fighting because Sky treated her friend's predicament with the "compassion of a nihilist executioner" and predicted Love snapping out of the drugging on her own because it would be "the dumbest and most anticlimactic" way to resolve the angle. What they were wrong about of course is that the angle wasn't even close to resolved when that finally did happen and in fact would end up being finished in an even more underwhelming way, off screen.
  • Big Show turning heel and attacking John Cena to help John Laurinaitis keep his job came completely out of left field considering the Raw before the PPV had Laurinaitis fire Big Show for making fun of his voice. Why exactly would Big Show help someone who forced him to get down on his knees and beg for his job? Especially when it was more likely that whoever Laurinaitis's replacement was (especially if he was a face) would hire him back considering what an attraction he is to the company. The explanation for the turn didn't make much sense either though that was more to do with Laurinaitis messing up his lines (Michael Cole provided a more accurate explanation).
  • The 2011 angle in which Kevin Nash suddenly appeared after the main event of SummerSlam was decided and attacked CM Punk after he had won, allowing Alberto Del Rio to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the title. After Nash revealed someone had texted him to attack the winner, a decent mystery angle ensued for a short bit, as there was a whole host of potential suspects, including Del Rio, who won the title from the attack, Vince McMahon, who had been ousted from power a while earlier and had his own motives, and likely the most logical suspect, John Laurinaitis, who was not only a Vince McMahon loyalist and could easily have been looking to undermine the show now that Triple H was in charge, but had also been seen suspiciously sending text messages at the end of his backstage segments. At the end, who sent Kevin Nash the text? It was... Kevin Nash, who broke into Triple H's office and sent the text from Hunter's phone to his own to justify doing it. Why did he do it? "To make WWE cool again," and because he felt Triple H wasn't his friend anymore. Laurinaitis' texting apparently was not only not to anybody important, but he would continue doing it after Nash had revealed the truth.
  • In early 2012, psychotic Kane suddenly starts stalking Eve Torres and one episode of Raw ends with him implying to rape her backstage. Next week Eve passionately makes out with John Cena after he saves her from a rather conveniently staged attack from Kane, just as Cena's best friend and Eve's crush Zack Ryder happens to wander by. You're guessing Kane set this all up right? Wrong, next week Kane disappeared from the storyline and Eve suddenly revealed she'd been playing Zack all along in an attempt to get attention for herself. No mention of what Kane's master plan for her was either. Fans have suggested that the storyline was meant to play out in a different direction with Kane possibly manipulating Eve (judging from her expression when she kissed Cena - she looked like she did not want to do it, and her seemingly genuinely upset when Zack was taken away in an ambulance later in the night) but Eve ended up getting an insane amount of heat when she kissed Cena so the writers likely changed tack and turned her heel to capitalise on it.
  • Throughout 2014, the Puerto Rican version of the World Wrestling Council had been running an angle about Juan Manuel Ortega gathering together wrestlers and other industry figures for the purpose of ridding pro wrestling of the Colón family. Another angle involved a trio who called themselves La Revolución trying to eliminate the three top contenders for WWC's Universal Title, Ray González, Carlito Colón and the Juan Manuel Ortega managed Mighty Ursus. Then in mid-2015, the most unexpected thing happened. Carlito, Revolución and Ortega joined forces against Ursus and González, Revolución seemingly not caring Carlito was still a top title contender and Ortega taking so much pleasure in betraying his partner he forgot about his grudge against the family.
  • Andrade "Cien" Almas was signed to WWE in early 2016. Upon debuting, while many considered him to be an incredible talent, few would expect him to be in a feud anywhere above the mid-card. Flash-forward to summer 2017 and he had associated himself with Zelina Vega, a well-respected veteran with pretty great mic skills, who would eventually become his manager. Though Almas' character had largely improved, absolutely no one expected him to become NXT Champion at TakeOver: WarGames. Even the commentators seemed legitimately shocked that he had won.

  • The BIONICLE web serials use this as one of their main ingredients. Who knew Toa Tuyet would be alive and her "corpse" was just that of her poor Alternate Universe-self? That vile Dark Hunter Ancient was, in reality, a double agent for the good guys? That the Sisters of the Skrall all got their psychic powers because they were pawns of a Cosmic Horror character that apparently has been living beneath the earth for all this time, yet no one ever suspected? But the fact that one of the classic and relatively well-known characters was actually a disguised Great Being all along has got to be the biggest example.
    • Another kind of twist that wasn't a kind of reveal was the ending to the serial Brothers in Arms. It has been a quite straightforward tale of two Badass Normal mortal enemies with a shared past clashing again and again during their ventures and was set up to end in a spectacular final confrontation between the two. Then, literally right when they were about to hit each other, a random dimension-portal opened up between them, teleporting them to a Bizarro World, and thus ending the serial with no final fight. Instead, the villain gets trapped in that other universe, while the hero brings home an ultra-powerful warrior (the benevolent counterpart of the Big Bad, no less) in exchange to "cap up" the story.

    Video Games 
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus sets up Morpheus, the god of dreams, as the villain for most of the game, seeing as how he's putting every mortal and god to sleep. But then comes the last five minutes and, surprise! Persephone was behind everything the whole time! In fact, the entire plot thread on Morpheus gets dropped when she enters the plot and is never mentioned again.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time has a particularly infamous example. It turns out that the entire universe is a video game being played by extra-dimensional beings. The party discovers this by jumping through a portal into "4D Space" and coming out of a high tech television screen. Not only was this a shocking swerve for the game, but it was also a retroactive shocking swerve for Star Ocean and Star Ocean: The Second Story as well, and fans did not like it. This was partially retconned by The Last Hope's invoking of alternate universes, leaving an out for fans who hated the twist without completely retconning it for those who didn't.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The truth behind Liquid Snake's possession of Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots succeeded in pissing off some fans of the series. Basically, it turns out at the end that you were never fighting Liquid and that Ocelot was using a combination of drugs, nanomachines, and hypnotherapy to make himself think he was Liquid for his most complex Gambit Roulette to date. However, this not only cheapens Liquid's character but effectively and retroactively turns the final boss fight into a big pile of... meaninglessness... by destroying all the previous epicness it portrayed, turning it into something completely impersonal and rendering the victory hollow. Knowing Hideo Kojima, this was probably completely intentional, but still, annoying. It's also a waste of what could have been pure Fridge Brilliance, in that an actual possession would've made much more sense. Why? Ocelot is The Sorrow's son, a famous (and genuine) telepath. It stretches suspension of disbelief much less to think that Ocelot inherited some of his father's ability and that it unintentionally let Liquid take control.
      • Somewhat mitigated by Word of God confirmation later that Liquid was still in fact possessing Ocelot during the events of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and that Ocelot only removed the arm to replace it with a decoy before the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, confirming why Ocelot spoke with Liqui'’s voice during his possession in 2 but not 4 and why his arm was now metal when he took off his coat during the final boss fight of 4 after clearly having an organic arm replacement when rolling up his sleeve at a few points in 2. This also confirmed in the process that Ocelot inheriting his father's spiritual medium abilities and unintentionally using them to revive Liquid did still happen, just not for as long as he acted like it did, therefore avoiding a retcon (for once). The rivalry also did remain deeply personal even with Ocelot in Liquid's place, when taking Ocelot's history with Big Boss into account and Snake being Big Boss's clone. Hence why the health bars evolve from "Solid Snake vs. Liquid" to "Naked Snake vs. Ocelot" to encapsulate the two series-spanning rivalries, even if neither Big Boss nor Liquid were actually there for it. Still a shocking swerve to pull the twist at all, but the effort to make it still fit in with the established lore makes it more downplayed.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was marketed as the story about the fall of Big Boss and his descent to evilness due to his thirst for revenge and his mistrust of the establishment. Some powerful images from the trailer showed Big Boss with a bloodied and demonic face, walking through a fiery corridor with a grim expression. Except that's not Big Boss, but his right-hand man, after some Magic Plastic Surgery and memetic hypnosis to make him look like and think he was the big man. Meanwhile, the real Big Boss had been developing his own plans offscreen, making the whole game inconsequential from a plot standpoint except as one long, overly extended explanation for how Big Boss could survive the Final Boss fight in Metal Gear to show up again in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty ends with previous villain Dr. Nefarious marching onto the screen and apparently being allied with the Zoni, without him ever having been mentioned or referenced in the Future saga beyond some IRIS computer trivia and Qwark's arena narration. The fact that Nefarious and his butler Lawrence were a smash hit in regards of comedy value may have something to do with it.
  • Xenogears has this in paced orders-of-magnitude; two nations are at war and level Fei's hometown, but those are being manipulated by humans living on floating city Solaris in order to dig up and test technology from an ancient, destroyed civilization. Then it leaps up again with Fei and Elly continually reincarnating in an attempt to free God from a physical prison and destroy the wicked Demiurge who created humankind as organic components to repair his physical form. Whew! And there's more than that, those are just the main ones.
  • It's a staple for the Mega Man series to have the original Big Bad (Dr. Wily for Classic, Sigma for X, etc.) continue being the Big Bad for every game later down that line, even when it appears to be someone else at first (Wily blackmailing Dr. Cossack to kickstart Mega Man 4, the Repliforce being manipulated by Sigma in Mega Man X4, etc.). So, Mega Man X8 delivered a Shocking Swerve the fans weren't expecting: Sigma is not the Big Bad of X8, and instead he's just an Unwitting Pawn. Maybe. Given that the New Generation Reploids have Sigma's DNA in their Copy Chips, are outright called his children by Sigma himself, and basically continue from where Sigma left off, Lumine's claim about New Generation Reploids having the ability to go Maverick "at will" is very questionable, meaning Sigma having his usual Hijacked by Ganon credentials reversed on him might've actually turned him into the Greater-Scope Villain of X8.
  • Bubble Bobble: According to what little information we are told, two bubble dragons have to rescue their human girlfriends. Turns out that those two bubble dragons are humans themselves and yet, in the True Ending, out of the Final Boss come the two protagonists' parents.
  • Akane's ending in Suika is just disturbing and comes out of nowhere. She apparently stabs Yoshikazu to death and hypnotizes his girlfriend into thinking that she (Akane) is him.
  • Parodied with the ending to Earthworm Jim 2, when at the very end Jim unzips his body and reveals that he was a cow all along. And so was Psycrow. And Princess Whats-Her-Name.
  • Taken to horrifying levels in Disgaea 2 with the non-canon worst ending in which Real Overlord Zenon possesses Adell and makes him brutally kill and devour his adopted siblings. So infamous that it gets compared to Silent Hill or NICE BOAT.
  • No More Heroes plays this for laughs in the final cut-scene of the real ending, when Henry reveals he's both Travis' long lost twin and Sylvia's husband.
    Travis: What the hell? That's the craziest shit I've ever heard! Why would you bring up something like that at the very last minute of the game?
    Henry: I would have thought you and the player would have at least expected a twist of fate of some kind.
  • Mass Effect 3 has an example that quickly became infamous: The Citadel houses an incomprehensibly ancient AI that created the Reapers to save organic civilization from the synthetic war they would "inevitably" bring upon themselves. By killing all life and assimilating the remains. This was in complete and utter contrast to what little there was established of the Reapers: narcissistic, power-hungry machines with a major disdain for any sort of life that wasn't them, who certainly were not controlled by an A.I. and were not benevolent at all. It also reveals Shepard can use the Crucible to control the Reapers or pacify them by merging synthetic and organic life, which is presented as ideal compared to destroying them. That it can do this comes out of nowhere and the series has presented those options as a bad thing until this last minute as those advocating such was due to their being indoctrinated by the Reapers. This led to backlash and possibly the resignation of BioWare's founders. It is telling that one DLC was essentially dedicated to retconning in foreshadowing of the A.I.'s existence.
  • At the end of Last Case: The Disappearance of Amanda Kane, the protagonist is abducted by aliens. Up until then, the game was merely a Film Noir with no hint of any Sci-fi presence in sight.
  • Star Fox Adventures reveals right at the end that General Scales was probably unknowingly working for Andross the entire time, even though Andross was canonically dead, and had barely been mentioned in the game up until that point. Even with a Rewatch Bonus of knowing the twist beforehand, there is no concrete foreshadowing of it at all. Immediately following the reveal, the Final Boss is an Unexpected Gameplay Change to the Arwing. Up to this point, the Arwing sections consisted of flying through enough gold rings to reach your destination, each of which lasted a few minutes at most. The boss is at least as difficult as the final boss of Star Fox 64, a game built around the Arwing. All of this combined led to more than a few complaints about how the twist was pulled off.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire reveal the origins of Mr. Bonding, a man from Pokémon X and Y who went around giving people Socialization Bonus powers, but was basically an extra. It's revealed that he was a man who felt powerless after being forced to fire people from the Mauville Corporation. The five PokémonCenter men (extras from the original Ruby and Sapphire games) fuse with the man and give him their power, and he uses it to share with people around the world. To put this already bizarre plot twist in perspective: fusion between people has never been established as part of the franchise's canon at any point, nor is the fusion ever explained at any point.
    • You can do this to the Show Within a Show movies your character appears in during Pokémon Black 2 and White 2: While in the filming studio, strongly deviating from the suggested script creates the Strange ending. Some of these are fairly straightforward, but most end in something weird happening out of nowhere. For example, in Brycen-Man the titular villain just gives up, in the last Red Fog of Terror you are revealed to be Evil All Along and two of the Timegate Traveller films can end with the hero being captured and enslaved at the end.
  • In the yuri visual novel Princesses's Maid, the Tatiana ending is this. Tatiana wants to be with you, but running away from her arranged marriage to a prince would be political suicide, and endanger her kingdom. Immediately after this, her sister Martha comes in and says that they won't have to worry about it... because she set the prince's room and board on fire. She framed Tatiana so she'd have no choice but to run away with the player character and have a "happy" ending.
    • Olivia's ending is also this, and it's an intentional swerve: the protagonist (Epponnie) reveals that they are an impostor: the real Epponnie sacrificed herself to seal an evil queen inside her body. The protagonist is that evil queen. She decides to conquer the world (off-screen) and end the game with a harem ending. Olivia is rightly confused by the turn of events.
  • At the end of The Testament of Sherlock Holmes it turns out that one of the girls who are reading the story, and who's supposedly the granddaughter of Holmes, is actually the granddaughter (or possibly grand-granddaughter) of James Moriarty. Her mother was adopted by Sherlock Holmes when Moriarty died. While this isn't a bad twist per se, it still feels like a twist for the sake of a twist, quite disconnected from the rest of the story and which serves no purpose.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the reveal of Penelope's Face–Heel Turn comes out of nowhere nor fits what's been established. She wanted to eliminate Sly Cooper for holding her genius boyfriend Bentley back, it being implied she only "loved" Bentley out of using him for making billions in weapon deigns and/or world domination. The previous game portrayed Penelope as a straight-up Nice Girl even compared to the other thieves Sly teamed up with, guilt-ridden when Murray was captured due to her plan, and despite seeing Bentley's genius only showed feeling toward him after he rescued her well afterwards. Even in this game Sly had retired by this point and thus wouldn't be holing them back, in fact Penelope's actions force Sly to un-retire thus would the opposite effect of what she supposedly wanted. While there was foreshadowing such as her disappearance prior to the beginning of the game and the mouse emblem thought the level where the twist is revealed, nothing hinted she's angry and bitter at the Cooper gang instead of being held against her will and forced to assist Le Paradox.
  • Surprise!! The Dragon, the final boss of Wonder Boy in Monster Land, is actually a robot. Possibly from space.
  • In the 37th case of Criminal Case: Pacific Bay, we see Holly Hopper, the apparent Utopian leader commit suicide to escape arrest. In the next case, it was revealed that the suicide was faked after all and that Holly was alive enough to become suspect again in Case 38. Not all fans were pleased with this development.
  • At the various endings of Heavy Rain the killer is revealed to be one of the player characters, the private detective. The problem is that the game allows listening to the characters' thoughts as part of the mechanics, and the detective's thoughts make it look as though he isn't aware of things that the killer would know. Further, it renders a previous plot point (Ethan's strange visions of things only the killer would know) completely inexplicable. According to Word of God the odd nature of the twist is partly the result of story changes late in production when it was too late for complete rewrites; the game originally had supernatural elements and a psychic connection formed between Shelby and Ethan would've explained the visions.
  • The ending of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter was received as badly as it was for this reason and several others. None of the Raposa, the mannequin characters, or even the player avatar even exist. The entire game is the dream of the minor character Mike, who fell into a coma after a car accident that killed his parents and burned half of his sister Heather's face, hence why half of Raposa Heather's face is dark. Very little of this was foreshadowed beforehand, and what was foreshadowed was done so rather poorly: Mike was nowhere to be seen in the first game, and the entire reveal makes little sense given the events thereof. The whole gist of the series is that you are the Creator, and then this random kid whose existence was never even alluded to shows up out of nowhere and, by the end of the game, retroactively usurps your title.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has a few cases.
    • Chapter 25 of the Birthright route, "Traitor Revealed". It turns out there's been a traitor within your group the whole time; this fact has been foreshadowed by Iago. However, the traitor turns out to be Takumi, with Iago having been secretly controlling them this whole time. However, this makes no sense for a number of reasons:
      • Azura already "cured" Takumi of his Demonic Possession earlier in the game, and there were no hints whatsoever that this curing wasn't complete.
      • Other routes reveal that the one responsible for Takumi's Demonic Possession is definitely not Iago, nor does Iago have any connections to them. Iago has also never shown any hints of having brainwashing powers anywhere earlier in the game.
      • The brainwashed character has been playable and under your control ever since they joined the army, meaning that if the player has been making an effort to use them, they're doing the exact opposite of what a brainwashed traitor would do: they've done nothing but help you.
      • And finally, this twist doesn't make a difference to anything in the end, as said traitor is immediately de-brainwashed via The Power of Friendship without a fight, and the brainwashing plays no further role in the chapter, or indeed the rest of the game.
      • While it is mentioned that Iago had been getting new powers from Garon, whom the third route reveals does have a connection to the one responsible for Takumi's possession, this is done briefly enough that many fans were still left baffled by it.
    • The most controversial one by far is a late-game reveal on the Revelation route: it turns out Mikoto and Arete were sisters, making Corrin and Azura cousins. Not only did this annoy shippers due to pulling Surprise Incest on them out of nowhere, but this reveal has no impact on the plot and is never mentioned again. It also means Mikoto was actually from Valla, not Hoshido, despite having a Japanese-inspired name, looking somewhat Japanese, and acting like a Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Akstar's true identity as a disguised Rain from 50 years in the future. Not only is the first time that time travel is ever mentioned by the story (apart from a non-canon Story Event for Japan's 3rd anniversary and as flavor text on a Global-exclusive unit), but Akstar shares very little with Rain in terms of battle style or character quirks, sharing more in common with Lasswell. Not only that, but Rain is a Lethal Chef while Akstar is a Supreme Chef and Rain was shown to be unable to use the transformation magic that his older self eventually makes use of in order to don this disguise. The Japanese fanbase was not pleased by this twist and many fan artists deleted their Brave Exvius art off of their social media profiles as a result of this chapter.
  • Batman: The Telltale Series has one that might be one of these, depending on your choices. If you've chosen nothing but nice responses to Harvey Dent, this character's descent into Knight Templar villainy comes out of nowhere and is awkwardly hand-waved as being brought on by Lady Arkham's drugs.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location's Custom Night has plot twists with little to no foreshadowing beforehand, and these (might) affect much of the entire franchise's pre-established lore much like Metal Gear Solid V above. The only concrete one is the player being the Greater-Scope Villain's son (something not established until the very end of the game). The "might" comes in from what's implied through a vague and open-ended final cutscene; namely, the protagonist may or may not go on to become Springtrap following the game's events, and not his father as seen Five Nights at Freddy's 3.
    • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator eventually fixes this: Springtrap really was the father. The fate of the son is not explicitly revealed, but it's implied you're playing as him and he dies in the fire that was set to destroy the remaining animatronics.
  • A bizarre example happens in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. During the final chapter, it's revealed that protagonist Hajime Hinata is actually Izuru Kamukura, one of the two main antagonists in the game. The game makes zero effort to foreshadow this or even let players know that the character exists. Instead, it was foreshadowed in Danganronpa Zero, which was not released for Western audiences. The odd thing is if somebody were to read Zero, it may actually come across as a Captain Obvious Reveal.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: For some players, Kaede Akamatsu being the culprit of the first chapter counts. The twist is Foreshadowed to some extent, albeit in ways that become clearer on a second playthrough, but many players were completely caught off guard by this twist, considering that Kaede is the Player Character, and most wouldn't expect that she'd commit a murder right under their noses while they were controlling her actions and hearing her thoughts.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: In the very end, an anvil falls from the ceiling and turns Polterguy, who was briefly turned into his human form, back into his ghost form. This comes completely out of thin air and makes no sense. It's presumably made by the Sardini Company, but they just were scared out of their house for the fourth time and Vito does not seem to have any supernatural powers. Doubles up with an Ass Pull.
  • Parodied in You Were Hallucinating the Whole Time, which plays short segments of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Pong, only to "reveal" that the player was hallucinating the whole time and was actually doing something heinous. This game is a parody of Spec Ops: The Line, which is notably not this trope if you paid attention.
  • Far Cry 5: Of the three endings of the game, the "Resist" ending has proven to be quite controversial among both players and reviewers. In it, you succeed in battling the leader of the Eden's Gate cult, Joseph Seed, and place him under arrest. Then, with no warning, a nuke detonates as you're leading him away, eventually resulting in you and Joseph stuck in a bunker as he begins to brainwash you, with the nuke having presumably killed everyone else and rendered everything you did completely pointless. While there is some foreshadowing of this ending, it comes primarily in the form of brief in-game radio broadcasts, which considering all the chaos going on around you at any given moment are easy to miss, and even then a player might not connect the dots.
  • The true ending of Dead Rising 3 has the revelation that Isabela Keyes has pulled a Face–Heel Turn and is so obsessed with finding the immune Nick Ramos that she started the outbreak and killed thousands purely to flush him out. The biggest trouble is this comes in the form of a Motive Rant recorded on a laptop in a Post Credits Scene that comes right out of nowhere, adds absolutely nothing to the plot, and doesn't even remotely change the events of the game, and that it comes at the price of completely negating the genuine heroism she displayed across three prior games by turning her into a Karma Houdini who did a backflip over the Moral Event Horizon. Fans were pretty torn about it.
  • In Time Crisis 5: True Mastermind Edition, Time Crisis II protagonist and Mission Control Robert Baxter is revealed to be the VSSE traitor and the Big Bad of the game, having killed Christy, his ally and Keith's girlfriend, to keep his plans from spilling out and stealing a drug that can zombify its targets with the intent of creating a weapon that can spread the drug on a wide scale. The question is, why did this character do all of these things? At what point did they go rogue, assuming they weren't just Evil All Along? None of these questions are answered by current canon. Time Crisis 1, 3, and 4 as well as spinoffs Crisis Zone and Razing Storm have side modes in their respective console ports that add more to the series' lore, so it's possible that if there is ever a port of Time Crisis 5, these plot threads will be resolved.
  • In Thimbleweed Park, when the characters finally confront the main antagonist, he reveals that they are all just characters in a video game, and the only way to stop everyone from meaninglessly living the same scenes over and over again after a reboot is by turning off the video game in an alpha build. Then after you do that, the game is rebooted anyway, and the game restarts from the beginning.
  • The ending to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is confusing and makes the entire plot and events irrelevant: both Guybrush and Lechuck are suddenly transformed into 6-year-old brothers and appear in an amusement park, then leave with their parents. This may be a silly swerve in keeping with the game's wacky theme, but it doesn't make a lick of sense. It might have to do with Ron Gilbert not planning on another sequel. But another one was eventually made (without him) and it just handwaved this bizarre ending.
  • Parodied with the various Silent Hill joke endings. From getting abducted by aliens, to finding out a dog was controlling the town from the beginning, to teaming up with said aliens to destroy the town, to finding out the game is an elaborate set up for a surprise birthday party, they're all completely out of left field and have entered meme culture because of it.

    Web Animation 

  • For years, Maytag of Flipside would at least proposition anyone who wasn't actively trying to kill her, and a few people who were; meanwhile, her paladin Bernadette seemed more-or-less asexual, even toward her. During a Retool, it was revealed that the two of them were not only monogamous lovers, but had been all along, followed by a series of unconvincing, probably accidental "hints". Not only that, but Bernadette had, before the series started, been involved with a minor character whose only role on camera was to be killed by The Dragon, and left her for infidelity. And in a later arc, a mage uses a magical truth spell that people can't help but reply to to try and ruin their relationship, wherein Maytag admits to infidelity and Bernadette admits to being relieved to hear it.
  • In Irregular Webcomic!, the "Me" character announced he was going to permanently kill off a popular major character. The death was himself, which was particularly shocking to him, as the "Me" theme was one of the few that didn't have a character in mortal danger at the time. He then tried to get out of it by retconning the prophecied death into being Gwen Stacy from Spider-Man.
  • Mortifer has Wham Episode as its staple trope, and it usually does a good job of having The Reveal make perfect sense in retrospect (through copious use of Chekhov's Gun and Foreshadowing). However, there is one twist that's notable for coming right out of nowhere — Namely, The Reveal in chapter 29 that Zebidiah is a demon, forced to serve Vlad against his will.
  • The Keiki comic "Beefer Madness" started out with Beefer getting placed in an afterschool support group and meeting strange kids, such as a girl named Darcy who had a strong obsession with DC Comics. As Peter Paltridge continued the story, he realized Halloween was approaching, but he didn't have time to start a new, supernatural story. As a result, he decided to throw in some dramatic revelations about Darcy being a vampire and the support leader being a vampire hunter.
  • minus. spends the greater part of its run as a (relatively) light-hearted episodic series. Then, out of nowhere, in the middle of a strip, this weird guy who never shows up before or after stuffs minus in a briefcase, and after she escapes she completely loses all sense of reality. To cure her, her friend throws a rock at her head-- at which point she shatters into a million pieces. Now that minus is dead, she spends several strips as a ghost doing the same antics as at the beginning of the comic, so the reader thinks that things will get back to normal eventually. Wrong. Someone just has to ask if minus can start bringing people back to life. She does, and ''everyone on Earth suffocates from the sheer mass of bodies brought back''. Holy shit.
  • Homestuck:
    • The original comic gets this in the form of Aranea Serket, Ms. Exposition who invoked Off the Rails on the alpha session, breaking the universally agreed-upon plan for defeating the big bad in the process.
    • Homestuck^2 has the story behind Candy Timeline-Jade's secret daughter, Yiffy. While it was foreshadowed/discussed in The Homestuck Epilogues that Jade could have Rose act a surrogate mother thanks to implied complications with Jade's anatomy, what was not was that Rose helped raise the child in secret for fifteen years, behind her own wife's back. This even went to the extent that she gave the daughter her last name. The twist's explanation came off as out-there by the standards of the story, and to some readers, made Jade and Rose both come off as cheatersnote  living a double life.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Mega64:
    • What may be one of the biggest examples: the episode "What the Hell Happened to Mega64?" starts with one of Dr. Poque's college friends coming to see him. In the first five minutes, they're taken hostage by a Mafia and the friend is killed, complete with blood splattering. The rest of the episode has Rocko, Derek, and Shawn trying to rescue him. The episode ends with them learning the friend was the head of the Mafia. It's never really explained why he wants to kill Dr. Poque, why the Mafia were selling plush parrots, or how the friend is even alive. It gets even weirder when the friend is shot in the back by a guy wearing a sombrero, who then warps out. The creators said that it was a twist for the sake of a twist, and even the characters question it.
    • Not to mention the Super Mario Bros. episode in which Shigeru Miyamoto himself shows up in the video out of nowhere.
    • They pulled off a similar, but bigger one in their "The Beatles Rock Band" episode, where they run into Gabe Newell. Who admits he has nothing to do with The Beatles.
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
    • The commentary to the review of The Secret of NIMH 2 discusses this, with Doug giving as an example a reveal that the hero is a piece of broccoli.
    • Also, in his review of Devil he complains about the reveal that the old lady was the devil all along and says that sure, you weren't expecting it, but that doesn't make it a good twist. "I wouldn't be able to predict if they all turned into snowmen of George Takei, but that doesn't make it a good twist."

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: The ending of "Tree Trunks" consists of lovable old Tree Trunks, an old elephant who makes apple pies, suddenly exploding right out of nowhere at the end of the episode after taking a bite from the Crystal Gem Apple. Originally the episode was going to end with just that, but the executives said it was too dark. They were forced to put in a shot of Tree Trunks after the credits, skipping around in an alternate dimension to confirm to the audience that she was okay and that she would come back. Which she did, becoming a regular supporting character. Whether or not the changed ending increases the insanity of the moment, however, depends on the viewer.
  • One would argue that a better title for American Dad! should be Shocking Swerve: The Series since especially in the later seasons the show is really bad at having a twist occur for no real reason other than to have one, usually contracting/derailing everything the episode had going for it beforehand:
    • "Next of Pin": In fear of losing Steve who is about to win a final bowling match which will make him a pro bowler and have him move away from his family, Stan STABS him in the ankle not only costing him the match but also severely injuring him as well. Not helping is the fact that when Steve finds out he was the one to stab him and questions why, Stan's only response is "I don't know!"
    • "Death by Dinner Party": At the end of the episode, it's revealed that all the murders that happened throughout were all staged by the rest of the cast as a way to get back at Roger for acting like a childish jerk. The twist in question though is contradicted by several scenes earlier in the episode where the other characters are shown to be scared over the thought that they could be the next ones to die when they have no reason to act this way since Roger isn't present for any of them.
  • Camp Lazlo: In the series finale, Scoutmaster Lumpus is revealed to be an imposter and an escaped lunatic which contradicts many episodes and themes presented in previous episodes.
  • Revealing what actually happened in Guatemala between Abby and Heinrich in the Codename: Kids Next Door Operation: C.A.R.A.M.E.L.: Turns out Heinrich was actually Henrietta...
  • Futurama parodies this in its Show Within a Show Affectionate Parody of The Twilight Zone, "The Scary Door".
    [Clyde Smith dies in a car accident and wakes up in front of a slot machine; he wins]
    Clyde: A casino where I'm winning? That car must have killed me! I must be in heaven!
    [he pulls the lever again, and wins]
    Clyde: A casino where I always win? That's boring. I must be... in hell!
    Sebastian Cabot: No, Mr. Smith. You're not in heaven or in hell. You're on an airplane!
    [Clyde is suddenly on an airplane; he opens the window and sees a gremlin on the wing]
    Clyde: There's a gremlin destroying the plane! You gotta believe me!
    Sebastian Cabot: Why should I believe you? You're Hitler!
    [Clyde pulls out a mirror and sees Hitler staring back at him]
    Clyde: NO!
    [Clyde turns to Eva Braun, suddenly sitting next to him]
    Clyde: Eva Braun! Help me!
    [Eva Braun pulls off a mask, revealing herself to have the head of a giant fly]
    Clyde: AAH!
    [the Planet Express crew is watching this on TV]
    Bender: Eh, saw it coming.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy which ended by revealing that the villain was an earthworm. This confused Billy (and the audience) but Grim says it was obvious and Billy is just stupid.
  • The Justice League Unlimited "Epilogue", the Fully Absorbed Finale for Batman Beyond, reveals that Terry McGinnis is Bruce Wayne's son. Cadmus's leader Amanda Waller rewrote Terry's father DNA with Bruce's in order to create a successor for Batman. It wasn't hinted in any fashion in the run of the show (neither for the entire DC Animated Universe). Also Waller's plan runs on improbable coincidences since Terry was initially introduced as a random teenager who found Bruce's basement by accident. The twist was apparently meant to explain why Terry and his brother Matt have black hair while their parents are red-headed but ultimately leaves bigger questions.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Magical Mystery Cure": The Mane Six, minus Twilight, after getting their cutie marks switched, are compelled to do something they are neither good at nor enjoy, as it is their destiny. This goes against everything we know about cutie marks, which appear after a pony discovered their destiny, and reflects a particular skill/idea, often a hobby, not a vocation. For example, Rainbow Dash's cutie mark reflects her love of racing, but she spends half of the series working as a professional weather wrangler before successfully joining a racing team.
    • "Daring Don't" reveals that the fictional book series about Indiana Jones expy Daring Do is actually true and secretly written by the main character under a pseudonym. This despite the fact that there was no foreshadowing and retcons all the maps away.
    • "Crusaders of the Lost Mark" reveals that five full seasons and change of Diamond Tiara being a Rich Bitch was the fault of her Richer and Bitcher mother effectively forcing her to behave this way. The problem is that there's been no hint whatsoever of this ever and that Diamond Tiara has consistently been shown to have no real redeeming qualities and that she thoroughly enjoys acting the way she does (one episode even shows her father, a surprisingly good guy, thoroughly admonishing her for such behavior), while in the episode she pulls such a swift Heel–Face Turn and personality change that it seems to be implying it was entirely the fault of her mother. It makes it feel less like an actual reveal and change of character and more like a feeble attempt at sticking a Freudian Excuse to her so she could easily change and befriend the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
    • In "Daring Doubt", many fans felt this way about Ahuizotl being Good All Along, as it's so completely against how he's been portrayed in every other form of media and the show itself that it effectively turns Daring Do, a well-liked character among fans, into the bad guy only for the sake of a plot twist. Especially in his debut episode "Daring Don't" where he was explicitly using an Artifact of Doom to bring about 800 years of scorching heat on the Tenochtitlan Basin, while "Daring Done" states he nearly destroyed the town of Somnambula and plunged the surrounding area into eternal night, which are a completely different, Egyptian-inspired location from the place he's supposed to be guarding.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "The Wedding Squanchers", Summer's friend Tammy announces in her reception speech that she isn't a teenage human girl but a Galactic Federation undercover agent, shoots her newlywed husband Birdperson and then proceeds to arrest every guest. This has no build-up until the critical moment even though the character did appear several times through the series.
  • One Robot Chicken sketch parodies this by having M. Night Shyamalan subject to several Shocking Swerves in a row, each time lampshading it by turning to the camera and exclaiming "What a twist!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • In-universe in "The Itchy, Scratchy and Poochie Show", where, in the Show Within a Show, The Scrappy Poochie dies on the way back to his home planet.
    • Played for Laughs in "The Frying Game", as part of a Deus ex Machina. After spending most of the episode on more lighthearted plots, the final act eventually leads to Homer being sentenced to death for murder. While you were probably expecting something to save Homer from the electric chair at the last second, the revelation that the entire murder, trial and "execution" was actually part of a new reality TV show called Frame Up! was probably not your first guess. Rewatching the episode with this knowledge raises a million questions, but, of course, that's the joke.
      Chief Wiggum: So, wait a minute, wait a minute... You tied up the judicial system, costing the city millions of dollars just for a TV show?
      Carmen Electra: Yes!
  • South Park:
    • In a three-part arc the mystery of Kenny's ability to die endlessly was explained. The boys had been playing superheroes, with one of the children playing the laughable "Mint-Berry Crunch," a half-man, half-berry. Everything built up to a confrontation between Kenny and Cthulhu. Then, out of nowhere, Mint-Berry Crunch turns out to be an actual superhero sent to earth as a protector, and he literally punches out Cthulhu. Kenny is as incredulous as the audience during this reveal.
    • The Critters from "Woodland Critter Christmas" start out as a regular parody of saccharine, insipid Christmas specials... until we find out that they are devoted followers of Satan, hellbent on bringing about the advent of The Anti-Christ. One moment they are happy and cheerful, the very next they're sacrificing a disturbingly willing Rabbitty and having an orgy with his corpse (and they're still happy and cheerful). Justified because it's a story written by Cartman.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has Moon's betrayal. Previously, while she'd been distrustful of Eclipsa, she decided to mind her own business, refusing to help Mina dethrone Eclipsa, but also deciding not to warn her and leave her to deal with Mina by herself. However, it's later revealed that Moon changed her mind and sided with Mina and the Magic High Commission, and it was actually her idea to have Globgor released from his Crystal Prison during Eclipsa's coronation, making her appearance in that episode make little sense in hindsight. If Moon had briefly considered accepting Mina's offer to join her, or if her behaviour at the coronation had been slightly off, the plot twist of her betrayal would have made more sense.
  • Total Drama is notorious for its usage of Shocking Swerves, usually for the sake of justifying a character's elimination:
    • World Tour:
      • Gwen's elimination in "Picnic at Hanging Dork" is the result of her allergy to eucalyptus. Not only was her allergy never once foreshadowed (not even in this very episode), but the episode kept hinting that it'd be Courtney who'd be eliminated.
      • Both endings of the finale are one of these, what with feral Ezekiel stealing and destroying the money, and Alejandro being severely injured to the point of being forced inside the Drama Machine. In other words, the whole season was invalidated for the sake of movie references that even by 2010 (when World Tour originally aired) were already overdone and outdated. The ending where Alejandro wins actually manages to one-up this. In his ending, he ends up winning because Heather accidentally throws his dummy into the volcano, but the money is still destroyed and he still ends up severely injured and put in the Drama Machine.
  • Winx Club, season 2: One of the teachers, Professor Avalon, turns out to be an evil clone. It's a legitimate twist in the original... but not so much in the 4Kids dub, where the spell that was shot at the teacher in an earlier episode was changed to a Sphere of Truth spell, which should have revealed this.


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