12 TV Episodes That Will Make You Cry Harder Than You Ever Thought You Could

Lost John Locke Walkabout foot


I’m a crier. I’ll cry at anything, from a One Direction music video to a Cheerios commercial. I can usually tell from the first second of a movie whether there will be tears on my cheeks later on, and series finales are my downfall, whether it’s a comedy or a drama.

In terms of television, it’s not only the series finales that make me sob. It’s also often the season finales and sometimes just random episodes in the middle of a season. If a major character dies or friends say goodbye to each other or a couple I love gets together or someone makes a particularly inspiring speech, you can bet I’ll be sitting on my couch wiping away tears. And probably some snot.

Because I want you to share in my anguish, I’ve put together a list of twelve television episodes that stand out to me as the most tearjerky, in no particular order. Sometimes it’s just one moment that gets you, other times it’s pretty much a non-stop cryfest from beginning to end. Bask in the tears, and then let me know what you’d add to the list.

Also, because I don’t want anyone to yell at me in the comments, I’ll warn you this list contains a few big SPOILERS. But they’re the kinds of widely known spoilers that are very likely to have been spoiled for you already if you’re a citizen of Pop Culture Land. Still, if you see a show here you’ve never watched but would like to enjoy spoiler-free, you can scroll past it. It won’t hurt my feelings.

1. LOST - “Walkabout” (Season 1, Episode 4)

Oh LOST, you were so good in the beginning. Some TV episodes leave such impression on you that you remember their titles. Whenever I talk to anyone about LOST, I inevitably say, “Ohmygod ‘Walkabout’ it so perfect.” The gist is that we spend the whole episode seeing flashbacks to John Locke’s life before the plane crash, only to learn at the very end that he actually used to be paralyzed and in a wheelchair, but the island has made him able to walk again.

2. The O.C. – “The Ties That Bind” (Season 1, Episode 27)

It’s become kind of a cliche to put “Hallelujah” into a dramatic movie or TV scene, but it doesn’t bother me here one bit. Ryan leaves Newport Beach to be with Theresa, and Seth sets out on a sailing trip without saying goodbye. When Kirsten breaks down on the bed, I feel her pain.

3. Parks and Recreation – “Leslie and Ben” (Season 5, Episode 14)

I rarely cry about romantic things unless I really love the characters involved. Case in point, Ben and Leslie’s wedding on Parks and Rec. The whole “I love you and I like you” thing is just perfect.

4. Gossip Girl – “The Wrong Goodbye” (Season 4, Episode 22)

Another rare romantic plot. Don’t even try to tell me Blair and Chuck belonged with anyone else but each other. There were a lot of Chair moments that got me choked up during this series, but the one that sticks out to me is when they have one last hurrah by crashing a bar mitzvah before Blair chooses to be with Louis. I will forever associate “Rolling in the Deep” with this scene, and I’m not too upset about that.

5. Game of Thrones – “Baelor” (Season 1, Episode 9)

Even though I knew what would happen to Ned Stark before I binge-watched the first two seasons of this show, the build-up to his beheading still gave me chills, as well as quite a few tears. I think what mostly upsets me is Arya’s reaction. Oh, and Sansa too. But mostly Arya.

6. Friends – “The Last One: Part 2″ (Season 10, Episode 18)

I am the queen of Friends reruns. If a Friends rerun is on and I’m in front of my TV, odds are I’m watching it, or at least listening to it while I do something else. But no matter how many times I’ve seen this last scene of the series, it still gets me. When the camera closes in on the frame around the peephole… excuse me while I go get something out of my eye.

You can reach this post's author, Jill O’Rourke, on twitter.
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    • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

      Another: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Body.”

      • Jill O’Rourke

        I never watched Buffy but I bet it would make me cry. I really need to get more well-versed in the Whedonverse.

      • Jennifer Arthur

        What makes it wonderful is that it is always balanced with such wit and strong characters.

      • http://maitribathbody.com/ Maitri

        There’s never a bad time for a Buffy-a-thon.

      • Jennifer Arthur

        Sooo many eps of Buffy.

        Joyce lights birthday candle for Buffy.

        “Well, aren’t you going to make a wish?”

        Buffy: “I think I’ll just let it burn.”


        Then there is Jenny/Angelus, Oz/Willow, Angel/Buffy, Willow/Tara, Joyce….we recently re-watched the entire series and man oh man, Oz and Willow really ripped me apart this time.

    • Ash

      The Scrubs episode where Brendan Fraser’s character dies always gets to me. Also, the Downtown Abbey episode after Sibyl’s death is heart wrenching. As for FRIENDS, besides the last episode, when Ross and Rachel break up (you can seriously feel their pain) and when Monica and Chandler get engaged both episodes get the waterworks started every time.

      • Jill O’Rourke

        Monica and Chandler’s engagement gets me choked up too.

    • Hillary Steinberg

      Excuse me have you never watched Veronica Mars? A Trip to the Dentist is like onions.

    • Emily

      You forgot the episode of Grey’s where Denny dies… That may have been the last actually good episode of Grey’s, too.

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    • cmichelle

      I can’t help but throw out the double episodes from How I Met Your Mother of “Bad News” and “Last Words” when Marshall’s dad dies and the gang deals with his funeral. Jason Segel’s performance gets me every time.

    • Katie

      What about literally every time Dean gets beat up on Supernatural, whether by Devil Sam, or Possessed Castiel? Or EVERY EPISODE OF PARENTHOOD EVER.

      Oh man… or the super intense episode of Private Practice when Amelia is addicted to cocaine and heroine and the group holds an intervention and shes screaming and screaming. oh my goodness.

      tv makes me feel too many feelings.

    • MeghanM

      Also every episode of Parenthood ever.

    • StephC12

      More Friends, when Ross and Rachel break up. HIMYM: Bad News, when Marshall’s father dies.

    • d

      What about the episodes where Keith, Payton’s mom, Quentin, and Dan died on One Tree Hill?!

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    • M0llyM0M0

      Glee, “The Quarterback” (Season 5 Episode 3)

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Oof, yeah I bet.