Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cliffhanger Bonanza

I just finished watching the Season 3 finale of Smallville, which ended on a cliffhanger that completely blew my mind. So it got me thinking about all of the other great times in pop culture history when we've been left with our jaws hanging open in a crude manner.
First, there was Dallas. That one season (damned if I could tell you which) ended with a literal bang, and the subsequent summer was spent with everyone asking (and wearing t-shirts to the effect of) "Who Shot J.R.?" The Simpsons ended their seventh season with their own twisted version, "Who Shot Mr. Burns?"
In 1980, "The Empire Strikes Back" ended with Han Solo frozen in carbonite, Leia worried sick, Luke with a missing hand, Lando & Chewie sailing off into god knows where, and the lingering question of whether or not that happy chap Darth Vader is really Luke's father. And we have to wait 3 years to get the answers. Ouch!
When "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince" came out, everyone knew that there would only be one more book in the series to follow it. But what a way to prep us for that one last book! Aside from the obvious tragedy of Dumbledore getting his old ass murdered, murderer Severus Snape ran off into the night, war had begun and Harry announced he was going to leave school and search for the 3 or 4 items that were key to defeating hideously evil (but totally fabulous!) villain, Lord Voldemort.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" ended with a surprise cliffhanger that caught everybody off guard. Fan-favorite hero Jack Sparrow was swallowed by a kraken, Norrington sold himself out to the villains and handed them the power of Davy Jones' heart, and the good guys swore an oath to save Jack, with the help of one man...the villain of the first Pirates flick, back from the dead. The ten-month, pirate-free gap that followed until the conclusion was, shall I say, "arrrrr-duous" (teehee).
Lost, the most addictive show on television, ends pretty much every one of its episodes with a nail-biting cliffhanger. but after 4 stellar seasons, the finale of Season 3 still resonates the most. First, we learn that there is a freighter waiting off shore, with possible rescue. Next, we watch as Charlie, the lovable British VH1 has-been, drowns himself to save everyone else. Finally, we see Jack, our scruffy hero, looking twice as scruffy. After visitng a mysterious closed-casket wake (which leaves little to no clues as to the identity of the dearly departed), Jack meets up with Kate, revealing that this is all the future, they've gotten off the island, and apparently Jack really, really wants to go back.
These cliffhangers are all great, but there is one that, in my opinion, is the best of them all. One that is definitely my absolute favorite. And I'm going to tell you exactly what it is.

Sorry to keep you hanging

No comments: