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The Saddest TV Kisses Of All Time

Iconic kisses can make or break a scene, but sometimes they also break the people watching them. Fandom is powerful, and sometimes a kiss of death is taken quite literally — whether it marks the end of a character's life or the series itself. The need to endlessly torture fans of TV shows seems to be more of a modern concept, as the well of tragic kisses dries up a bit earlier than the '90s. Supernatural shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer embraced this movement, but medical and detective series are also likely candidates for kiss and cry content (except instead of a gold medal, they're striving for an Emmy).

Whether fans of TV series prefer a happy ending for their favorite couples and platonic loves or enjoy basking in the pain, everyone has that one TV kiss that never fails to make them sob. Spoilers abound for every show listed because most sad kisses aren't complete without a death. Book those therapy sessions ahead of time, because if you can get through this list of the saddest TV kisses without falling apart, you may want to double-check to make sure you're not a Bad Place demon in a human zip-up suit.

Elenore and Chidi: The Good Place

Few shows manage to create more tragic obstacles between a couple than The Good Place's Eleanor (Kristen Bell) and Chidi (William Jackson Harper). The fact that their relationship survived past that horrifying clown bed to begin with is a testament to their deep bond. But through reboot after reboot, the pair continually finds their way back to each other, giving fans some hope that love does, in fact, exist. But all good things must come to an end — at least for a while. Eleanor and Chidi aren't the martyrs we know and love unless they're sacrificing their happiness to save not only the world, but also the fate of the afterlife. It only fits that the season 3 finale sees the pair wipe Chidi's memory to save the Good Place, and the souls of all humanity, for good. No pressure.

As if that weren't enough to make fans weep, demon-turned-good-guy Michael (Ted Danson) sets up a "greatest hits" montage of Chidi and Eleanore's moments throughout their hundreds of reboots — some scenes being new even to them. Of course, Eleanor has to lighten the mood, declaring herself a "legit snack," but there are tears all around when she kisses Chidi, and the season, goodbye. The scene is almost like The Notebook in reverse, and everyone knows Nicholas Sparks has a penchant for making the whole theater cry. As fans know now, this kiss wasn't their true ending, but the pair's ultimate fate was just as melancholy.

Jo and Dean: Supernatural

Supernatural's Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Jo (Alona Tal) had a will they/won't they vibe from the moment she showed up in season 2, but Dean was careful not to cross the line, as his status as a playboy wouldn't bode well for the young hunter. However, Dean's self-restraint gets thrown out the window in "Abandon All Hope" when it's the apocalypse (again). For the first time ever, Dean tries unsuccessfully to pick someone up. Jo says, "Sweetheart, if this is our last night on Earth, I'm gonna spend it with a little thing I call self-respect."

Clearly surprised at being rebuffed, Dean has a glint of pride in his eye — finally seeing Jo as an equal and a real potential match. Sadly, hell hath no fury like a Hellhound scorned. While the hunter's brigade attempts to kill Lucifer, Jo's guts end up as puppy chow. Knowing she's on death's door, she (and her heartbroken mom Ellen) sacrifice themselves in a supernaturally charged blast to give the Winchesters an open shot at Lucifer.

With regret and grief in his eyes, Dean kisses Jo on the forehead — but it isn't enough. Teasing what their relationship could have been, he passionately kisses her before tearing himself away to have a few words with the devil. The kicker? All that sacrifice is for naught. Not even Samuel Colt's gun can take out the root of all evil, and Jo and Ellen die in vain. That's not a tear, we got rock salt in our eyes. 

Hotch and Haley: Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds isn't known for killing its main characters too often, but the death of Hotch's (Thomas Gibson) wife Haley (Meredith Monroe) was one of the most shocking moments in recent TV history. While fans love to hate the episode (because no one wants to see a character's wife brutally murdered while their kid is in the house), it's hard to argue that the episode isn't one of the most brilliant of the series. Chilling and gut-wrenching, sure. But brilliant.

Most sad kisses happen before a character dies, but Criminal Minds found a way to stand apart yet again. While Hotch fights for his life in the hospital, he meets up with Hailey and her killer in a trance-like vision. They watch her son's home videos at a theater — an apparent homage to watching over someone after death.

During the season 9 scene, Haley convinces him to fully move on and be happy because it just isn't his time to die. After years of tormenting himself with blame, still full of love and light, Haley tells him that it's okay. She lets him go with a kiss and her ring, promising to always love him. Whether the vision was real or Hotch's coma-addled imagination, the scene provides beautiful closure for her tragic yet somehow hopeful arc in the show.

Eric and Aaron: The Walking Dead

LGBTQ+ relationships that meet a tragic end aren't uncommon on TV, but the one thing going for The Walking Dead, in this case, is the show's general propensity to kill off everyone. It's hard enough navigating your sexuality when it's not the apocalypse, but zombies swarming everywhere make things just a bit more complicated.

Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) were already dating when the walkers began taking over — and barely even death could tear them apart. Surprisingly, Eric's death blow isn't a result of the undead, but a group of survivors called the Saviors. Aaron pleads for him to keep going, making it all that much more painful to watch. Finally, realizing that his boyfriend's death is inevitable, Aaron kisses Eric goodbye — and fans are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered hearts.

The series isn't exactly flush with LGBTQ characters, making the season 8 scene an extra rough blow to TV representation as a whole. Individuals on the spectrum have so few characters to look up to, and losing Eric wasn't an ideal move. After killing off lesbian couple Tara and Denise, Magna and Yumiko were left as the only LGBTQ+ couple left standing. Even worse, Aaron leaves Eric to die without a headshot, allowing his boyfriend to become a member of the undead.

Nine and Rose: Doctor Who

Most Doctor Who fans are on Team Rose and Ten far more than Rose (Billie Piper) and Nine (Christopher Eccleston), but the fateful kiss that causes Nine's regeneration is the spark that lights their love story — and changes the course of the series forever. The writers made the bold move to kill off Nine, who was the first iteration of the Doctor since 2003 when Paul McGann reprised his role as the eighth Doctor for the animated series Doctor Who: Shada.

But between creative differences with Eccleston and a save-the-world story, the minute Rose and Nine lock lips marks the end of Nine's existence. Everything Christopher Eccleston could have brought into the usually vivacious Doctor, who the actor turned into a dark and compelling grief-stricken character, was lost after just one season.

The drama and melancholy permeate the whole episode, and fans can't help but shed a tear when Nine goes away forever. The drama between Eccleston and the series continued years after the writers wrote him out. The actor refused to appear in the 50th-anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor," further highlighting the drama behind the scenes that prompted the casting change. According to Radio Times, during a Rose City Comic-Con panel, Eccleston said: "I didn't feel that what they were asking me to do did justice to the Ninth Doctor. So I said no."

Buffy and Angel: Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer features a significant number of heartbreaking kisses: some with a kiss on the lips, and some with a fatal kiss to the neck. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Angel (David Boreanaz) are the poster children (even though one of them is more than 200 years old) for tragic first love. Giles calls their relationship "rather poetic in a maudlin sort of way"; in less nerdy terms, they're doomed as all hell. They know it, Giles knows it, and the dude at the Magic Box probably knows it. But "passion rules us all," so "what other choice do we have?"

The series sees Buffy and Angel break up, make up, die, come back to life, make up, break up, and angst more times than anyone can count — but none of their goodbyes are as cruel as the season 2 finale. Buffy finally gets Angel's soul back after their participation in a few minutes of "bad touch" gives Angel one moment of happiness too many for the Romani people who cursed him with a soul. After going on a psychological torture spree on Buffy, it's too late. He opens a portal to Hell, and the only way to close it is to chuck him right in.

Buffy stabs him while sobbing and kisses her vampire one more time before the portal sucks him in and she loses her first love forever. And by forever, the show actually means months... because vampires.

Shaun and Lea: The Good Doctor

The Good Doctor is all too familiar with making audiences cry, but sadness tinges the somewhat triumphant kiss between Shaun (Freddie Highmore) and Lea (Paige Spara) in the season 3 finale. If it had happened episodes earlier, the kiss wouldn't have been haunted by the knowledge of the dead bodies, hidden just feet away — or placed directly after the series' most shocking death. While risking his life to save a trapped woman in the brewery following an earthquake, Shaun promises to move on from Lea if he makes it out and Vera doesn't. 

Yet Lea kisses Shaun after escaping the brewery alive, and he questions her intentions, given her frequent changes of heart. She tells him it's "an 'I love you with all my heart' kiss," admitting that he makes her "more." Eventually giving in, Shaun says that his promise to Vera doesn't count because she survived. Given that the kiss happens in the middle of so much death and destruction, fans almost want him to turn Lea away — or at least make her work for it — after everything she put him through. It's a sad, tear-jerking kiss that's slightly unsatisfying. But then again, life is messy.

Describing what would have been an even sadder kiss, Spara told TV Line that there was supposed to be a kiss on the cheek in the season 3 episode "Autopsy." When Shaun asks Lea if she doesn't want to date him because of his autism, the original plan was to have her kiss his cheek and say, "Sorry." Instead, she simply walks away, crying. At least the writers saved us from what would have been an even more heartbreaking kiss.

Allison and Scott: Teen Wolf

Teen Wolf's idea of romance often included shirtless werewolves, even if the scene didn't call for half-naked shapeshifters. Some of the best chemistry in the series was between characters who never got together at all. Yet one ship hit the nail on the head (or the silver bullet to the heart) as early as the first episode: Scott (Tyler Posey) and Allison (Crystal Reed). Falling into another forbidden first love trope, the pair carry on their illicit relationship as the daughter of a werewolf hunter and, you guessed it, a werewolf. But while their relationship was steamy at times, it was pure and heartfelt to the core.

During season 3's "Insatiable," Allison dies in Scott's arms. It's beautiful, tragic, and, best of all, not sexualized at all. Instead of having an intense makeout session, Scott holds the fallen huntress as she dies, while Allison admits she'll always love him. His simple kiss on her forehead after taking her last breath is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the show, only cheapened by the fact that the characters never got to say goodbye with a funeral. None of Scott's future loves ever felt as satisfying as his first dalliance with Allison. Nothing can beat a pencil-assisted meet-cute scene, after all.

Leaving was Reed's choice, not wanting to play a high schooler in her 30s, and she requested a clean death to avoid temptations to fall back into the character. However, she did come back as Allison's ancestor in a flashback episode.

Michael and Sara: Prison Break

Michael (Wentworth Miller) and Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) just can't catch a (prison) break, as something consistently tears them apart right after their happy ending moments. Given that the show is called Prison Break, no one expected innocent fugitive brothers Michael and Lincon (Dominic Purcell) to get exonerated for their crimes in season 2. So where did they go from there? Michael obviously ended up in prison... again — forced to break out... again. (This is what happens when you fulfill a show's title at the end of the debut season.)

When Michael's girlfriend Sara kills a rogue FBI agent in Panama, she has a breakdown. Michael makes the impulsive decision to feign taking her hostage at gunpoint when they get caught. They both exchange verbal "I love you"s for the first time, sealing the declaration with a desperate kiss. Michael declares that she risked everything for him, and now it's time to return the favor. While she frantically protests, crushed fans mourn their happiness. After Sara's drug overdose and Michael's prison escape, the scene was almost worse than a death kiss.

The next season, the writers wrote out a pregnant Sarah by shipping her character's decapitated head to Lincoln. They later retconned the arc when fans demanded her return with e-mails and boycotts. Callies always credits her revival to her fans, thanking them for getting her job back. After the series finale produced a happy ending, they killed Michael offscreen and cut to his grave in a "five years later" sequence. Such a cheap shot.

Izzy and Denny: Grey's Anatomy

Dealing with loss is hard enough when it only happens once, but Grey's Anatomy likes to doll out death blows like candy. (Christiana Yang doesn't playfully refer to the hospital as Seattle Grace Mercy Death for nothing.) In Izzie's case, after losing her love once, she loses Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) all over again when she's on the brink of death. Given that Grey's Anatomy centers around Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital, it's only fitting that the series features a host of main characters dealing with their own ailments.

Izzie (Katherine Heigl) initially watches Denny die when he faces a stroke after a heart transplant surgery. Still, he lives on to haunt her in her mind — which makes sense, as she cut his LVAD against his will to move him up the transplant list, risking losing her medical license.

When Izzie suffers from cancer symptoms, she hallucinates Denny for a while — believing he's a ghost. As she kisses him one last time, he disappears into thin air, ripping them apart yet again, and leaving her more lost and confused than ever. Fans will never quite know whether Denny was spiritually there, or if Izzie completely hallucinated him. It's hard not to cry for Izzie, given all she's been through, but the true tragedy lies with Denny and her refusal to let him go — which may be the real reason she lost him in the first place. But she'll always have the clinic named after him.

Myrcella and her uncle... er, dad

Game of Thrones wins the award for family members with more... connections than a family should have. Is someone's uncle also their father? Definitely, at least in the case of Princess Myrcella's complicated family tree. Fans meet most deaths in the dramatic fantasy series with ambivalence or even celebration, but Princess Myrcella's (Nell Tiger Free) demise was one for the tearjerking books. The princess' mother, Cersei (Lena Headey), is no stranger to revenge, and in Myrcella's case, her kiss of death happens twice.

To avenge Prince Oberyn, Ellaria (Indira Varma) dons a fierce shade of poison when she kisses Myrcella before the young princess leaves Dorne to go back to King's Landing after fleeing from threats — because her mother is kind of the worst. As only Ellaria has the antidote, Myrcella begins deteriorating on the ship. As she withers away, her "uncle" reveals that he's also her father. She admits she's always had a hunch, accepting him anyway.

Her father-uncle kisses his daughter-niece on the forehead after she dies, and not even the incestuous reveal is enough to take away the ironic Shakesperian tragedy of it all. As one of the only genuinely innocent characters in the series, her murder brutally stands out. Myrcella's death doesn't go unavenged, however. Ellaria also gets her just desserts — in the form of a poisonous kiss to her daughter, courtesy of Cersei. She may be an awful person, but mama Cersei would die for her kids (or, you know, murder someone else to avenge them).