2023's Biggest TV Plot Twists (So Far)

The first half of 2023 isn't even over yet, and television has already given us an incomprehensible amount of great shows. These series are downright addictive due to fascinating storylines, intriguing characters, and other elements that make viewers treat them as appointment television, obsessing over every twist and turn. 

Whether it's unexpected deaths, emotional breakdowns, or other shocking events, viewers have spent 2023 with jaws firmly on the floor, faced with some of the twistiest, most clever surprises in recent television memory. Perhaps it's the result of such an overcrowded landscape, where the battle for eyeballs is more competitive than ever.

Below, a selection of big and small-scale shows that already aired this year, and a breakdown of the spoiler-heavy moments (you've been warned) still rattling around in the heads of an appreciative audience. 


Given the possible designation as HBO's most beloved, acclaimed drama series, the biggest twist in "Succession" Season 4 shouldn't have hit as hard as it did. But creator Jesse Armstrong made sure to employ Logan Roy's (Brian Cox) inevitable yet shocking death at a moment when viewers least expected it. In "Connor's Wedding" (Season 4, Episode 3) the moment simply knocked them off their feet.

In the episode, Logan is on a plane and on his way to see Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard). But he's not feeling well and having trouble breathing, so he goes to the bathroom, where he falls and loses consciousness. When the staff breaks in and begins giving him chest compressions, the audience learns all this through a phone call, as Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) explains what's happening on board to Roman (Kieran Culkin), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), and eventually Shiv (Sarah Snook), all at their brother's wedding. 

The whole sequence is incredibly impersonal (oddly fitting, knowing Logan's cold countenance) as Logan's body lies on the floor, unconscious, in the background. Yet, the scene is also devastatingly emotional; his children struggle to comprehend his demise, seeking the right words to say goodbye to their frequently cruel, Machiavellian father. Hands down, the sequence is one of the most intense and heartbreaking in the entire series. Its relatively early occurrence in the final season only helped to catch viewers off guard; it couldn't have been timed more effectively.


Pete Davidson's dramedy tells a heightened version of the comedian/actor's personal life, which at first blush doesn't exactly seem to lend itself to life-and-death type plot twists. Yet, Davidson and his writers (Dave Sirus and Judah Miller) came up with a baffling cliffhanger to conclude Season 1. It's clearly a calculated climax, one that leaves the story open for a potential follow-up season should Peacock decide to renew the series.

In Episode 8, "Show Me The Way," Davidson is in a rehab facility because he has finally realized he has a drug problem. But rehab doesn't go as expected. Thanks to the other residents, Davidson finds a way to do drugs at the place that's supposed to help him stay sober. 

After that night of downward spiraling, he feels down, ashamed, and embarrassed about multiple poor decisions he has made throughout his life. While doing some self-reflection, he realizes that the reason most things don't work out for him is his own fault. He admits all this that to his counselor Michael (John Pollon), who advises his patient to follow him into the woods. Michael then tells him to think of everything that hurts him and scream it away. It takes some convincing, but Davidson does as he's told and has a sort of epiphany. 

Leaving the facility in an attempt to make it in time for his sister's graduation, his car runs off the road, nearly killing him in a horrible accident. Although viewers see him survive, he's undoubtedly in rough shape, coughing up blood, leaving one question that could only be answered with a second season: What now?


Taylor Sheridan's second prequel series to his widely-praised "Yellowstone" has introduced many turns in its debut season. But the one that perhaps shocked viewers the most came quite early in Episode 3, "The War Has Come Home."

Due to the rapidly-escalating range feud between the Dutton family and sheepherders led by Banner Creighton (Jerome Flynn), Jacob (Harrison Ford) and his family get trapped and assaulted by Creighton and his people. As the Duttons are heading back home from the city, Creighton and his soldiers are hiding and waiting on their land to try and kill them. As a gunfight breaks out between the two groups, Jacob tries to keep his family safe and evade the attack. Unfortunately, several of his men die, and he suffers multiple gunshot wounds as well. Although most of the Duttons manage to escape the danger and retreat, Jacob ends up in severe condition, doubtful whether he will make it through the night.

Since the episode ends on that cliffhanger, Sheridan made a lot of viewers nervous. Could Ford's tenure on the series really end so quickly? Of course, viewers later learned that Jacob somehow survived; he then spent several months recovering from his near-fatal injuries.


If you've seen the entirety of Showtime's "Yellowjackets" Season 2, you already know it concludes with a devastating loss. It's a fitting twist for the finale. But earlier in the season, the writers pulled another sneaky, subtle shocker that was every bit as powerful.

In "Burial" (Season 2, Episode 7), viewers learn that the therapist advising adult Lottie (Simone Kessell) — who she sought out to help her differentiate between what's real and what's a creation of her own mind — doesn't exist. Given Lottie's history with an unnamed mental illness, it seems that the professional she thought she was talking to in all these sessions was nothing but her own brain's creation. It's a terrifying revelation, one that makes Lottie question reality and her mental well-being all at once.

As viewers watch the therapist transform into the Antler Queen, in front of Lottie's eyes for a quick moment, there's also the sinister possibility that she's having a dialogue with the wilderness itself. Since "Yellowjackets" is a show that revels in blurring the lines of reality and fiction, masterfully manipulating the viewers' awareness of what's real, it's hard to say for sure who she was talking to. Whether it was herself, or an entity embodying the wilderness in some spiritual form, this twist was a brilliant one that will lead to dozens of theories — at least, until the show hopefully gives some answers in the next season.

Lucky Hank

AMC's latest dramedy "Lucky Hank" stars Bob Odenkirk as a burned-out English professor; on the surface, it's another series  people wouldn't seemingly be watching for jaw-dropping twists — but that's perhaps what makes moments like the one in Episode 6 ("The Arrival"), so effectively jarring. A gut punch, it's one of the most memorable moments from the series thus far.

At the end of the episode, Hank finally meets his father (after avoiding him for 25 years), and expresses a still-seething hatred for the man who left him and his mother for a career and another woman. As he sits down in front of Henry Devereaux Sr. (Tom Bower), he doesn't waste much time getting to the point. Visibly distressed and emotional, Hank begins his speech by talking about how difficult it was for him to grow up without a father. But Henry doesn't seem to register what caused his son's anger for all these years. 

It was a tough time for him, too, says dad; he was offered a job opportunity in the city, and he couldn't refuse. Then Hank goes right to his heart, asking, "How exactly was it difficult for you when you saw a child on the floor with a rope around his neck? Your son. How did that impact you?" This is in reference to a painful incident when he tried to kill himself as a child, after which his father severed all contact with the family. 

As the conversation continues, viewers realize at the same time as Hank, that Henry doesn't recognize his son. As Hank asks more questions, he realizes his dad has dementia, which almost breaks him. After seething inside for over two decades, he has lost the opportunity to confront his father with all his resentment and wrath; this man can't even remember him. It's the most poignant, heart-rending, and shocking scene in the series.


One of the most celebrated shows in 2023, Lee Sung Jin's dark dramedy had multiple tricks up in the proverbial sleeve throughout its 10-episode-long debut season. But none so surprising, perhaps, as following all those episodes of vitriolic, life-destroying hate between two people with... them falling in love?

After watching all the perplexing acts and events that went down between protagonists Danny (Steven Yeun) and Amy (Ali Wong), who swore to destroy each other's lives after a road rage incident, the ending of the series brought with it an unlikely but welcome bond.

In the moments leading up to the show's finale, Amy and Danny have another road rage incident, this one on the heels of a fatal evening that involved a robbery, kidnapping and an unfortunate encounter with an escape room. Fleeing for their lives and still blinded by rage, they both end up driving off a cliff, totaling their cars and hurting themselves badly. 

Injured, lost in the woods with no cell reception, and far from civilization, you'd think they would finally come to their senses and help each other survive. At times, this is true (piggybacks and some joking around ensues); but when they accidentally poison themselves by eating toxic elderberries, the fruit's psychedelic effects cause them to open up, almost becoming one as they come to realize how similar they are in their brokenness.  

Eventually, they recover enough to make it back to civilization. When they do, Amy's husband, going full "Straw Dogs," finally does what he thinks is standing up for his family by shooting Danny — but he has misread the situation. 

The final moments of "Beef" depict Danny in the hospital, unconscious and non-responsive, with Amy sitting by his side. By most accounts, the two have angered, betrayed and alienated everyone in their lives. Battered and bruised, she reflects on their "feud" as Smashing Pumpkins' "Mayonaise" kicks in. She climbs into the bed, resting her head on Danny's chest and clinging to him as the music crests and the closing credits prepare to roll. Look closely and you'll see the sentiment is reciprocated — Danny's right hand flickers to life, reaching for her.

In a year of memorable twists, few 2023 shows have come close to delivering an ending this emotionally resonant.

The Big Door Prize

One of the most underrated series of 2023, this quirky Apple TV+ dramedy has delivered one cliffhanger after another as it has revealed different twists regarding a life-predicting machine, all from the various stories of those who've received these seemingly-predestined vocation declarations. Like many good shows, each twist makes viewers re-evaluate much of what they've seen before.

A small-town comedy with a slight sci-fi angle, "Door Prize" is ably anchored by "Bridesmaids" breakout Chris O'Dowd and thrives on a high-concept plot that features a stylish machine called Morpho, which helps people realize their true life potential. The positive and negative effects of town residents being given cards that say things like "hero" and "liar" have powerful impact, but the origins of the Morpho machine (which appeared mysteriously one night in the local convenience store) remain unknown until the very last episode. In essence, the question hangs: Who's pulling these strings, and why?

In Episode 10, the writers drop a bombshell: Hana (Ally Maki), the local bartender, encountered this strange apparatus once before, in a previous town. This time, she resolves not to run away, but instead to face her past and help the locals figure out more about Morpho.

Returning to the store, she finds a group of wary neighbors surrounding the machine, glowing with a blue light as it gives out an unsettling, high-pitched noise. Ominously, she says "It's never done that before." 

With that final line, Hana is not only outing her prior awareness of the machine to O'Dowd's skeptical schoolteacher and the other residents of Deerfield, but she's also sending viewers off to speculate about the device's potential supernatural powers. Thankfully, Apple TV+ has already renewed the series for Season 2, so more twists lie ahead.

The Last of Us

Perhaps the biggest hit in television this year, HBO's "The Last of Us" delivered a near-perfect video game adaptation and quickly won over hardcore fans of the game as well as viewers new to its post-apocalyptic story. For those unfamiliar with the source material, however, the events in the finale came as a shock.

In Episode 9, "Look for the Light," heroes Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) finally reach their destination as they get to a Firefly hospital in Salt Lake City. But what none of them expect is that in order to find the cure, which is rooted in Ellie's immunity to the virus, the doctors have to remove her brain and study it to possibly create a vaccine. 

Joel doesn't take this news well (to say the least); he goes on a killing spree, murdering everyone in the hospital who stands between him and Ellie. His decision is morally conflicted, as he is potentially sacrificing the future of humanity for one person. But after seeing what they've been through and how important they've become to each other, it's easy to understand why he made the choice, even if it was selfish. In the last scene, he lies to Ellie to protect their relationship, because he simply can't lose another loved one. is that the first crack in their bond? Tune in for Season 2.

The Power

Amazon Prime's sci-fi drama based on Naomi Alderman's novel of the same name introduced plenty of electrifying (pun fully intended) twists throughout its gripping first season. The one that the fewest saw coming, perhaps, happened in its finale during a political debate between Margot (Toni Collette) and Governor Daniel Dandon (Josh Charles).

As the two are having a back-and-forth about whether or not EOD (Electric Organ Discharge) should be outlawed and controlled, Margot is visibly becoming rattled; when Daniel brings up points that involve her family, things escalate. 

As a female audience member speaks up against EOD, Daniel announces that his team is putting together a bill to outlaw the transfer of the power. Still, Margot keeps her calm and comes up with a counterargument for women having the freedom to choose whether they want EOD. But then Daniel brings up Margot's daughter's boyfriend, who was sent away by her own team to for experimentation. This is when she loses her cool and shocks the governor, who collapses on stage.

As Margot is escorted away, it's hard to imagine if there's a comeback from this for her political career. Nevertheless, it's hard to not be on her side.

Tulsa King

Taylor Sheridan delivered another banger with Paramount+'s "Tulsa King," which stars Sylvester Stallone as New York Mafia capo Dwight Manfredi. In the pilot episode, Dwight is released from prison after a 25-year-long sentence. As the show progresses, he slowly builds his own crime empire after being sent from NYC to Tulsa by his boss. After eliminating seemingly every threat throughout the nine episodes, though, the season finale brings a big hiccup.

The situation gains complexity when Dwight once again finds himself up against FBI agent Stacy Beale (Andrea Savage), whom he previously not only had feelings for but also saved her life.

Left with no choice by her department, Stacy had to give up Dwight if she wanted to keep her job and be reinstated to full duty with a probationary period of six months. So, in the finale, as Dwight is having a party in his bar, surrounded by family and friends, the FBI turns up and arrests him for attempted bribery of a federal agent. 

It's a betrayal that might be understandable, yet is also baffling. It's a somewhat surprising ending that leaves the story open for a potential Season 2, which has already been ordered at Paramount+ and should continue the storyline soon.