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Worst endings in fiction.

  • Dec 17, 2012
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WARNING! SPOILERS. DON'T READ IF YOU DON'T WANT THESE ENDINGS SPOILED! This is a list of bad endings, so there will be spoilers. Keep in mind also these are just endings I've seen that I personally think were terrible so don't get too mad. We've all seen them, movies, TV shows, games, with a story as near flawless as we can ask ruined by a terrible ending. This is a list dedicated to what I believe the worst endings in fiction that I've ever seen. I hope you enjoy
The Dark Tower Series
For many decades Stephen King worked on his epic series set in the world of Gilead where Roland the Gunslinger and his Ka Tet consisting of a junky, a cripple, a child, and a badger must make their way through the ruins of Roland's world to reach the Dark Tower and save the world. It is a wonderful series, full of amazing imagery, great characters, memorable villains, talking trains, and disk throwing women. There is also the bit of nonsense King passes off as his ending. He even warns us ahead of time that we'll hate it, as if they'll blunt the sting of reading through seven books and getting one of the worst endings of all time. There are more then one reason this is so. First we have the way the "Man in Black" AKA Randal Flagg from The Stand (Rolands main enemy the entire series) killed by a punk Spider Baby. But that Spider Baby is supposed to be the son of the Crimson King and a demon, so he's pretty powerful right? Nope, as we find out, when he's killed by a pet badger. Then when Roland finally reaches the Tower, the Crimson King (who is supposed to be the ultimate bad guy in the series) is reduced to being nothing more then a senile old man throwing grenades who is simply erased from existence by a character introduced mere pages before. But non of this compares to the treatment Roland gets when he reaches the top of the Tower. Instead of ending the series, King decides to give us a bad, bad twist, and simply throw Roland RIGHT BACK TO THE BEGINNING where he has to do the whole thing all over again. Unbelievable.
Mass Effect 3
Everyone who loves great RPG's loves the Mass Effect series. Its deep, its thoughtful, and it has probably the best cast of characters for any video game out there. The story can put Star Wars to shame, and the moral implications of its plots make Star Trek blush. Its not just a great game, its great fiction, to rival any other great work of Sci Fi. But man oh man did it have a bad ending? After fighting off armies of Reapers, God like sentient machines who wipe out all life in the galaxy every fifty thousand years, Commander Shepard reaches the top of the Catylist only to find a glowing dead boy from the beginning of the game. What does this glowing dead boy tell him? Well, he tells Sheppard that HE created the reapers, that they are his solution to chaos, that machines will always fight to destroy organics. To fix this problem, he created a race of machines to kill organics before the organics can create machines that kill them. This, after three whole games who's message we thought was the exact opposite of this. Shepard is then given three choices, destroy the Reapers and all machines (including your allied Geth), control the Reapers and die in the process, or meld the two together. Unfortunately the only difference is the color of the explosion you get. Not cool Bioware, not cool.
Relentless: A Novel
I have a love hate relationship with Dean Koontz. On one hand he's a great write with an excellent style. On the other hand he is brain dead when it comes to story structure. In Relentless a writer who writes upbeats novels with happy endings finds himself under attack from a dark, shadowy group. Who is this group you ask? I'll tell you. Apparently they are a group of book reviewers who are so in love with dark story telling that whenever they see anything happy in the world of literature, they make it their goal in life to destroy the writer, his family, and everything he loves. All for writing an upbeat story. Huh. Oh, but it gets better. Turns out the leader of this shadowy group, a group that's sanctioned by the government, is some badly deformed Neo Nazi, who through an illicit relationship with his sister has a son who's also terrible deformed. Confused? Wait, there's more. The son of our upbeat writer also happens to be a guineas. This is a common thread in Koontz books where the kids are all wicked smart, and the wives are all perfect and bubbly. But this kid is so smart, that using only common electronics, not only manages to invent a teleporter, but also invents a time machine that brings his dad back to life after the Neo Nazi's kill him. So we have Neo Nazi book reviewers with an unlimited budget working for the government, a deformed son who's the result of incest, a teleporting dog, a kid who invents a time machine with parts from his computer, and a dad being brought back to life. And all of this is revealed in the last two pages of the book. What. The. Hell.
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Every anime fan worth their salt knows about this doozy. Though EVA is a pretty good series overall (except that Shingi needs to die) the ending is just baffling. The entire series is a philosophical action thriller about "angels" that invade the earth and need to be driven off by giant robots called EVA's. Its actually way more complicated then that, but that's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about that baffling ending. The show moves forward at a good pace until the last few episodes which take place entirely in Shingi's head. He's insufferable enough as it was during the rest of the series, but putting us in his head was unbearable. For the final two or three episodes we get to see just how messed up and pathetic this character is in a series of bizarre, nonsensical dream sequences. By the end we have no idea what happened to any of the main characters, we still hate Shingi, the world is apparently destroyed, but at least Shingi found his inner peace.
Unlike most of the others on this list, this show was bad the whole way through. You can read my review on it if you wish to know why. The ending though, is terrible for the same reasons EVA's is. Its like they ripped a page from EVA and decided to do the exact same ending, but worse.
See the full review, "Is this supposed to be sad?".
Knowing Movie Poster
Another snooze fest from beginning to end, but this one with a baffling ending. The entire story is about a man who finds some piece of paper with which he can predict the future. Through a few hours of idiotic boredom we finally get to the end, where he finds out the world is going to be destroyed by the sun mere hours before it actually happens. This might not be so terrible if it were done right. After all, the novel On The Beach is essentially about a whole country just waiting to die, and its a great read. Knowing on the other hand, has its main character running around trying to stop small disasters like plane crashes (you know, standard thriller stuff) but then throws in the death of the entire world at the very end of the movie. Not to mention it has aliens as well.
Theatrical poster
Aliens do not belong in an Indiana Jones movie., Ever. End of story.
See the full review, "A little different for Indiana Jones, but still a solid entry".
Fallout 3 Box Art
Its not so much that the ending is terrible, its just that it ends. In the open world RPG world, there is no reason that after the main mission is completed that the player shouldn't be able to go back and keep playing. Fallout Three, at least at first, punished players for finishing the main quest by then forcing them restart the entire game if they wished to keep playing. Not cool.
Gears of War 2 [Xbox360]
When the ending of a game involves you destroying the city you've been fighting the whole game to protect, the only city left for human kind, there's something wrong.
Another great series, but gives us the SAME exact ending Stephen Kings "The Dark Tower" did. I've already explained why that was a terrible ending, so I won't go into more detail.
Stephen King's It
Talking about the mini series as I've never read the book. Turns out the creepy God like clown who's been haunting everyone all these years is a giant spider who lives in the sewer who can be killed with slingshots and shovels.

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December 26, 2012
This is a great idea for a list! The only ones I read were It and I saw the movie version of Knowing. I was always upset about the story The Lady or the Tiger. I think we read it in Middle School. For a TV series two of the most disappointing endings were The Sopranos and Seinfeld.
December 27, 2012
Yeah I heard those had pretty bad endings, those and Lost, though I've never seen them.
December 30, 2012
It's tough to really discuss this further because we create spoilers for those who have seen them.
December 25, 2012
I hated the ending of Match Point, the Woody Allen movie.
About the list creator
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #118
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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