Oh, and beware: This post is full of spoilers for shows like The Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and Grey's Anatomy. Read at your own risk.
The Good-bye Doctor Who, Season 2, Ep. 13
"The last two doctors have relied on incredible chemistry with their companions, but the emotional good-bye between the previous doctor and Rose is so real and heartfelt. The man who never shows emotion stumbles through an admittance that Rose was a bit more than just a partner...before disappearing from her life forever." — Leila Brillson, global news editor
"Question: In what high-school parallel universe does this much drama happen? I mean, this is drama — D-R-A-M-A. But, before I can even comprehend why Marissa doesn't do more than timidly tug Trey off of Ryan and, you know, maybe call the cops, she goes ahead and shoots Trey. Time slows and Imogen Heap's emotional synth opus comes in to mask the soap-opera clichés by filling you up with feelings. Cue the commercial break, and you're left wallowing in the shame of losing your marbles over The O.C. And...scene." — Hayden Manders, news editorial assistant
"Leave it to Joss Whedon to kill off Fred the very moment Illyria and Wesley are finally about to consummate their long-brewing, high-cheek-boned version of happy-nerd love. Screw you, Joss Whedon. Screw you forever." — Gabe Bell, staff writer
"Whatever, Whedon. Whatever. You jerk our tears like no other, and while there are 150 moments in Buffy worth crying over, this one was my first. The man that Buffy loves loses his soul and tries to kill her, forcing them to battle, and then at the last minute, his humanity returns. But it’s too late, and David Boreanaz muttering, 'Buffy...?' as his dying breath will get any Whedon newbie." — Leila Brillson, global news editor
“Friends normally shies away from deep emotions, sticking to character humor and minor slapstick instead, but the scene in which Phoebe has to say good-bye to the triplets she carried for her brother really got to me. It’s heartwarming to see Phoebe exhibit the occasional nonwacky quality. And the idea of carrying three children for nine months, only to have to give them up minutes after they’re born, is totally heartbreaking.” — Seija Rankin, East Coast assistant editor
"Real talk. I may be the only person at Refinery29 who watched Spartacus, but I watched it passionately. The entire last episode is an incredible tribute to a phenomenal season, and the last battle is epic, gratifying, and heartbreaking. The death of Sparty got me (he finally reunites with Sura), but, after being reminded of all the great characters, I'd have to pick the last moment: When the tragically departed Andy Whitfield is calling 'I AM SPARTACUS!' from an earlier season. It's a fitting tribute to the character, and the legacy of the actor who played him." — Leila Brillson, global news editor
"This scene is flawless, in my humble opinion. Bree doesn't bat an eye at the news of her husband's death, continues to polish her silver, and makes everything pristine before the Mrs. Dalloway front cracks, and she's left alone in the pristine home she built with Rex. The symbolism of her splayed out at her end of the dining-room table, as the camera pans to Rex's empty chair, is essay-worthy." — Hayden Manders, news editorial assistant
"I think I speak for most viewers when I say I was not ready to say good-bye to this show — and certainly not prepared to watch all the characters die in the span of a few minutes. All of it was completely heart-wrenching, but what really got to me was Claire, at the end of her life, withered, on a futuristic, high-tech death bed. Clearly, she had had a happy life, but seeing her look back on it in her last moments really underlined what that show taught us so well — that while death is momentous and final and terrifying, we should do all we can to focus on the beautiful, complicated life that precedes it." — Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
“I literally can’t even think about this scene without tearing up. In fact, as I re-watched this clip at my desk I started bawling like a baby. ER is one of my most favorite shows ever, and seeing such a strong-slash-powerful character succumb to a disease as crippling as brain cancer is beyond depressing. Watching Dr. Greene struggle through his final advice to his daughter forces us to imagine our own loved ones’ eventual passings. Plus, I’m pretty sure no one in the history of time has kept a straight face during 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'" — Seija Rankin, East Coast assistant editor
"The mob is relentless, and watching Adriana slowly realize she's still a part of the mob is gut-wrenching. Once a mob member, always a mob member, die a mob member. It was one of the most unexpected whacks in the series. I'm still mixed up over it." — Hayden Manders, news editorial assistant
"I know everybody probably saves their tears for the Jim and Pam moments on The Office. But, when they stay at Dwight’s bed and breakfast and hear him crying, cradling the kitschy, little cherub Angela left behind? I was moaning right along with him. I’ve always been an advocate of their relationship as the most relatable love story on the show, not Jim and Pam's rom-com fairy tale." — Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
"What? Futurama made me cry? Heck, yeah. Fry finds a fossilized version of his 20th-century dog Seymour, and decides to clone him — until he finds out that the dog lived 12 years after Fry left the 20th century. Fry is certain that Seymour moved on, but the dog spent the rest of its life waiting anxiously for his owner to come home, in the most upsetting montage scene ever." — Leila Brillson, global news editor
"My emotions are always running pretty high during The Walking Dead, but things really hit a peak when Carl had to shoot his own mother, so she wouldn’t turn into a zombie after dying during labor while giving birth to his baby sister. I don’t need to explain why it’s sad, but it was a moment that really represented the harsh reality of the post-apocalyptic world in a way that was cruel but painfully possible." — Lexi Nisita, associate community editor
"Grey's Anatomy is basically a tear-fest, season in and season out. It's difficult to pinpoint which moment is the saddest, so I'm just going to pick the moment the show really hit me. Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars' soundtrack combined with the imagery of Izzy in a gown losing the man she loved moments after he was proposing is almost too much. Her future is seemingly in shambles, and the whole time this painfully heartfelt song is playing. You watch the lives of these surgeons come to a halt, and all you want to do is curl up with baked goods for a good hour after." — Hayden Manders, news editorial assistant
"Battlestar Galactica manages to put very real moments in a very fictional setting. Throughout most of the season, Lee and Kara are at each other’s throats, and this episode, through flashbacks, explains exactly what went wrong between two pilots who were once impossibly close. Though seeing Lee unashamed to admit his feelings for Kara (which are truly palpable) makes me feel feelings, watching the exhausted fighters stumble into a forgiving embrace — especially after seeing so much death — makes my eyes burn." — Leila Brillson, global news editor
Photo: Courtesy of Syfy.
"There I am, watching the series finale, waiting for the mystery to finally be explained. Just as it began, some logical inconsistency — something Hurley said, I think — occurred to me. Suddenly, I looked back on the entirety of what had come before, and all the intimations of things to be revealed, and realized that — for all their suggestions that there was a larger, coherent mystery — the writers had been making it up as they went all along. I realized that Lost wasn't some wonderful puzzle with an answer — it was just random stuff that the creators thought was cool enough to keep us watching for another week. I realized, to my horror, that I had spent hours being suckered into watching absolute crap. I was heartbroken." — Gabe Bell, staff writer
Illustrated by Isabelle Rancier