I’m a big fan of origin stories, but sometimes a story’s ending will just make me go “Wha-huh?” Here are some of my favorite examples. Little to no spoilers, believe it or not.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
Douglas Adams turns almost every science fiction trope on its head in this series, creating a pretty pessimistic view of, well, the entire universe. The ending of the last book either makes you go “Wha-huh?” or “Well, that was bound to happen, wasn’t it?” Or both.
Although it’s the only feature-length flick I know of that stars comedian Red Skelton, this movie is a surprisingly gritty look at the offstage life of a performer. The ending is particularly grim. My brother even yelled: No! What? They can’t end it there. No!
It’s like X-Men or Heroes, but very intelligently done, which is why it was so sad to see it go. I don’t know if they were hoping for a third season, but the cliffhanger at the end of Season 2…well, Sheldon Cooper had a minor existential crisis when he learned that it would not be resolved. And I agree. Wha-huh?
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Years before Phil Coulson was shanked by an Asgardian Mussolini, there was this movie. Joss Whedon did that thing he does. And since it’s a musical, the ending is both a visual and auditory punch to the gut. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
Again, I don’t know if the brains behind this Doctor Who spinoff were hoping for another season. But they left us on quite the cliffhanger. Gwen Cooper summed it up, and kept it PG for American audiences: “What the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks?”
Heroes: The Pilot, Specifically.
Anything I say about this ending will spoil it. I’ll just recount my reaction to it.
“Oh cool, he’s actually going to…oh wait, he’s not going to…but he has to, otherwise he’ll…why isn’t he…WHAT IS THAT? Okay, okay, I can deal with this…wait, what is he doing now…what?” Cut to black. I find myself at the edge of my seat, my heart pounding.
Unfortunately, the endings that leave lasting impressions like this tend to be tragic. That says something about human nature in our fallen world. I prefer the way the Bible ends.
What’s your favorite story ending that is both memorable and happy? Let’s Connect.