If you saw my post about which movie scenes always make me cry, then it’s no surprise to you that I cry over certain TV shows on a regular basis. It could be a character’s death, an emotional monologue or, in the case of the usual suspect Call the Midwife, a particularly devastating medical twist. I seem to be ridiculously sensitive to TV trauma, and because I’m such an emotional sop, I wanted to share 6 of the TV episodes that made me cry the hardest.
There are definitely spoilers ahead (mostly with a theme of dead characters), and I’ve reserved the most spoiler-y episodes for the last two slots on the list. If you’ve yet to finish the most recent season of This Is Us, watch out for No. 1 in the post. As for the rest of them…well, it’s been quite awhile since they aired!
1) “The Car” (This Is Us, Season 2, Episode 15)
The post-“Super Bowl Sunday” episode of This Is Us was a little kitschy when it came to Jack buying the family car, but the funeral storyline hit me so hard. I think the actors playing the younger versions of the Big Three are absolutely incredible, and the teen actors’ work in “The Car” just solidified how they’ve each created a scarily accurate representation of the adults’ present-day characters. Plus, I have a soft spot for Dr. K after seeing the Season 1 episode about him, and his conversation with Rebecca destroyed me.
2) “Episode Five” (Call the Midwife, Season 3, Episode 5)
Call the Midwife has since introduced a recurring character with Down syndrome, but it first explored the 1960s pregnancy experience for someone with Down syndrome in Season 3. In it, a young woman with Down syndrome has become pregnant as a result of a sweet relationship with a man with cerebral palsy who lives at her residential home. The episode also includes an emotional subplot about Sister Evangelina, but the end of this couple’s story had me sobbing. It’s just a key example of just how dedicated Call the Midwife is to sharing underrepresented experiences in mid-20th century medicine and society.
3) “The Last One” (Friends, Season 10, Episode 17/18)
Call me a cliche, but whenever I catch the Friends finale in reruns, I tear up a bit, and if I’m already in an emotional mood, things can get ugly. Friends is the ultimate comfort watch for me. I’ve even played it in the background when I’m sick and trying to nap – I know most episodes so well that the familiar dialogue alone can lull me to sleep. And as far as series finales go, Friends has a perfect one in my eyes, which is no small feat to accomplish.
4) “In Excelsis Deo” (The West Wing, Season 1, Episode 10)
There are certain episodes of TV that I associate as things I watched in the vulnerable year following my grandfather’s sudden death in 2011. Included among this group are usually storylines revolving around death or loss, and “In Excelsis Deo” particularly affected me back then because of it ending with a veteran’s funeral. Of course, the entire premise – a homeless Korean War vet dies alone right around Christmas and Toby searches for any survivors – is enough to make you weepy, but I was a mess watching the military funeral.
My grandpa served in the Navy during World War II, and his funeral included the playing of “Taps” and a flag on the casket. The resurgence of my memories plus the funeral montage playing to “Little Drummer Boy” will always make this West Wing episode stick out to me.
5) “The Candidate” (Lost, Season 6, Episode 14)
I’m one of those people who doesn’t understand the hate toward the Lost finale. Hate for the rest of Season 6 – yes, I get that, but I found the series finale to be a strong take on the show’s main message. Maybe it’s because I watched the show a few years after it aired in real time?
That being said, this episode leading up to the finale destroyed me. Sun and Jin finally reunite only to die a very dramatic, heartbreaking death together soon after. I remember watching this episode alone and my mom walking into the room to find me sobbing over my computer screen. Hurley’s reaction to their deaths broke me even more. I’m severely overdue for a Lost rewatch, and you can bet that I’d cry all the way through it.
6) “Episode Five” (Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 5)
Ugh, I miss the days of having an uncomplicated relationship with Downton Abbey. Season 3 was probably the last one I kept up with faithfully, and I think the show’s quality definitely decreased after it. Looking back at this pivotal movement from that season, it’s almost laughably overdramatic, but at the time, it was pretty devastating! I still feel a little weepy watching Tom and Cora’s reactions to Sybil literally dying in front of them. Plus, whenever a new romance for Tom was teased afterwards, I always had a feeling of “No, you belong with Sybil!” Always reacting that way definitely speaks to the actors’ success in portraying this relationship and the characters’ connection.