‘True Detective’ & 7 Other Depressing Season Finales
True Detective Finale
Credit: Lacey Terrell/HBO © 2014 Home Box Office    

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‘True Detective’ & 7 Other Depressing Season Finales

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After a critically-skewered and generally mocked sophomore season, True Detective rewarded fans that hung on through Season 2's convoluted, semi-incomprehensible mystery with a violent, depressing finale. There was no light winning this year — only one of the four core characters made it out in one piece, and she wasn't exactly living her dream life.

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True Detective's bloodbath finale was such an obvious choice it bordered on parody, evoking more eye-rolls than tears. Still, it's very possible to end a season on a depressing note and have it mean something. Here are 7 of the most effectively horrifying finales from the last 10 years of TV.

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 Mid-Season Finale ("Revelations")

Battlestar Galactica could qualify many times over, but nothing beat "Revelations" in which, after years of harrowing searching, the last remnants of humanity finally arrive at the promised land of Earth, only to discover their last hope of survival is a burnt out, radioactive wasteland.

Game of Thrones: Season 5 Finale ("Mother's Mercy")

While Game of Thrones has offered up more tragic episodes (hello, Red Wedding), this season was the first time it ended on a down note. Stannis (Stephen Dillane) is dead, and even if you hate him, that's bad news for the North. Arya (Maisie Williams) is blind. Innocent Myrcella Baratheon (Nell Tiger Free) is poisoned. And, oh yeah, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is stabbed to death by the Night's Watch. See you next year!

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Grey's Anatomy: Season 8 Finale ("Flight")

Like BSG, Grey's Anatomy has many contenders for this list, but the honor of most heartbreaking finale has to go to Season 8's "Flight," which saw much of the core cast struggling (and sometimes failing) to survive after a horrific plane crash. Just thinking about Lexie's final moments still brings us to tears.

The 100: Season 2 Finale ("Lay Down Your Burdens")

Let's just put it this way: any finale where your teenaged hero commits genocide automatically makes this list.

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The Walking Dead: Season 4 Finale ("A")

The Walking Dead Season 4 finale started with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) taking a bite out of another man's neck to save his son, and ended with Rick and the others trapped in a train car by a group of cannibals with no foreseeable way out.  

The Vampire Diaries: Season 6 Finale ("I'm Thinking of You All the While")

In The Vampire Diaries Season 6 finale, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) was put under a sleeping spell that linked her lifeline with that of her best friend, Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham), which means these two BFFs will never be able to reunite, ever. To top it off, a flash-forward showed a post-apocalyptic look at Mystic Falls that has us worried about Season 7.