One of the best sequence finales of all time, from 'Mad Males' to 'Six Ft Underneath'

Images from the series finales of "Six Feet Under," "Mad Men," and "The Americans."
Insider workers chooses the perfect sequence finales, from "Six Ft Underneath" and "Mad Males" to "The Individuals."

  • Ending a beloved TV sequence isn't straightforward, however these reveals delivered satisfying conclusions.
  • "Six Ft Underneath" depicted the deaths of every of its foremost characters, providing the last word type of closure.
  • "Mad Males" gave its antihero skilled redemption with an iconic "aha" second.
"Higher Name Saul"

Better Call Saul Jimmy and Kim in 613
The ultimate episode of "Higher Name Saul" succinctly served as each a conclusion to Jimmy McGill's story and a coda to "Breaking Unhealthy."

Creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould delivered 69 minutes of excellent tv within the stunning conclusion to their "Breaking Unhealthy" prequel, ensuing within the undoing of everybody's favourite "felony" lawyer, Saul Goodman (Bob Odenkirk).

For six seasons, we watched Jimmy McGill's fall from grace from a promising legal professional to a egocentric, sleazy "felony" lawyer named Saul Goodman. Many suspected the present would finish with the demise of Kim (Rhea Seehorn), the love of Jimmy's life, or of Jimmy himself, after refusing to pay for his crimes in jail. 

Neither occurred.

The sequence finale, which aired on August 15, 2022, began off with a heart-pounding foot race from the cops and culminated in a stunning trial confession. Simply once we thought Saul miraculously sweet-talked his method one final time into what a choose known as "essentially the most beneficiant sentencing advice," he did the unthinkable. 

In one of many present's best moments, Odenkirk delivered one closing show-stopping courtroom efficiency, very similar to the one which kicked off the sequence, tossing away a seven-year jail sentence and implicating himself for 86. In doing so, not solely did he sacrifice himself to save lots of the love of his life from a authorized mess he dragged her into, however he additionally cleansed his soul, exhibiting it's by no means too late to alter your path in life.

"Higher Name Saul" was higher than "Breaking Unhealthy." — Kirsten Acuna, leisure correspondent

"Orange Is the New Black"

Taylor Schilling and Laura Prepon in "Orange Is the New Black"
The "Orange Is the New Black" finale despatched the present's sprawling forged in several instructions.

From stunning deaths to heart-wrenching storylines, what "Orange is the New Black" did greatest was make viewers fall in love with a motley crew of feminine prisoners in middle-of-nowhere New York. 

However the motive the finale, which dropped on Netflix on July 26, 2019, succeeds is it provides us closure, and in some instances, hope, for each single a type of characters. 

For some, it's a cheerful ending: Getting out of jail, reconnecting with household, and beginning a brand new life. For others, it's much less hopeful: Transferring to a brand new jail as theirs is shut down, or going through demise as a closing cease on their journey.

Whatever the plot, the whole episode is reassuring. In some twisted method, viewers perceive that every one of those girls are going to be okay, even when the highway to getting there may be treacherous. — Rebecca Cohen, breaking information reporter

"The Individuals"

the americans finale
Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth (Keri Russell) find yourself alone however alive in "The Individuals" finale.

As is becoming for a present about Russian spies, "The Individuals" sequence finale, which aired Might 30, 2018, was its personal covert operation. In lastly giving us the long-awaited confrontation between KGB officers Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) and their FBI agent neighbor Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich), it managed to subvert our expectations of how a dialog this explosive would really finish: not with Stan killing or arresting his buddies upon studying their true id, however along with his quietly heartbreaking determination to allow them to and their daughter Paige (Holly Taylor) escape unscathed, due to this fact ruining his life and profession. 

Bodily unscathed, that’s — not emotionally. Although "The Individuals" had its justifiable share of ugly scenes, the sequence was at all times extra within the emotional injury the Jenningses inflicted on everybody round them by their espionage. And after six seasons of Philip and Elizabeth shedding buddies and killing property, there was just one comrade left whose determination to go away the KGB might actually rattle them: Paige.  

When Philip and Elizabeth uncover their very own daughter has left the prepare they have been fleeing the nation on and is staring mournfully at them from the platform within the US as they cross the border, these two sometimes steely spies come as shut as they're able to to breaking down. It's the present's closing, most devastating betrayal in a sequence constructed on them — and a scene so gut-wrenching that I'll by no means hear U2's "With or With out You" the identical once more. — Samantha Rollins, deputy editor of leisure

"Mad Males"

mad men series finale ratings
Don Draper (Jon Hamm) contemplates his life on the "Mad Males" sequence finale.

"I'd like to purchase the world a Coke." 

For those who don't acknowledge the long-lasting 1971 commerical from being alive in 1971, you positively understand it from the "Mad Males" finale, which aired Might 17, 2015.

On this model of actuality, promoting mogul Don Draper (Jon Hamm) finally ends up at a religious retreat in California whereas his coworkers panic to finish work for certainly one of their largest purchasers: Coca-Cola. 

Mid-meditation, Don, after an episode-long breakdown about his self-worth and objective, smiles. Lower to: The 1971 Coke commerical. Don Draper got here up with that concept. 

It's good. It manufacturers our foremost character a hero — regardless that he’s most positively not — however in the end solidifies to each Don and the viewer that every one of it meant one thing. Each late night time, each failed advert marketing campaign, each combat, each demise, was price it, as a result of Don Draper simply did the factor. He created the best industrial of all time, and there's no coming down from that. 

After practically spiraling uncontrolled, the sequence leaves viewers hopeful and glad that our foremost character lastly obtained it proper. On the verge of crashing and burning, Don, ever the genius, surprises us once more, and really comes out on high by some act of destiny. 

This finale doubtless isn't in any respect what viewers anticipated to see, and that's why it simply works. — R.C. 

"Parks and Recreation"

Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Adam Scott in the "Parks and Recreation" finale.
"Parks and Recreation" gave viewers a glimpse into Pawnee's future.

We love a sequence finale that outlines the place every of the primary characters' lives goes and the way their storyline wraps up. And that's precisely what the last-ever episode of &#03
4;Parks and Recreation" does. 

Everything of the ultimate season is about three years sooner or later, giving viewers a have a look at the place our beloved characters are headed. However within the hour-long finale, which aired February 24, 2015, every of these characters will get a particular second as Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) says goodbye to her buddies and coworkers earlier than her huge transfer from Pawnee, Indiana, to Washington, D.C. 

We additionally get an ideal goodbye to every member of the primary forged. Tom (Aziz Ansari) writes a guide that blows up. Donna (Retta) begins a nonprofit. Andy (Chris Pratt) and April (Aubrey Plaza) have youngsters!

The finale ties the whole sequence up properly in a reasonably field with a giant bow. There aren’t any questions left to be answered and also you're crammed with pleasure at how a lot this little group really obtained completed. It's a comforting sendoff that doesn't go away you wanting extra, although it does encourage a near-immediate rewatch of the whole sequence — particularly the Snake Juice episode. — Rebecca Cohen, breaking information reporter, and Chris Panella, breaking information fellow

"Friday Night time Lights"

Kyle Chandler and Michael B. Jordan in "Friday Night Lights."
The dialog between Coach Taylor and Vince on the "Friday Night time Lights" finale is a full-circle second.

"Friday Night time Lights" was not a present depending on plot twists, thriller containers, or deep lore (season two homicide plot apart). It was a few small city in Texas, the obsession surrounding their highschool soccer groups, and the folks affected by this obsession. The sequence finale, "At all times," which aired February 9, 2011, follows Coach Taylor (an Emmy-winning Kyle Chandler) as he takes his group by one final try on the Texas State Championship, whereas he additionally tries to deal with his spouse Tami (Connie Britton) asking him to go away Texas behind so she might chase her dream for as soon as in Philadelphia. 

Spoiler alert: the Taylors reside fortunately ever after, strolling off the soccer area arm-in-arm, proving as soon as and for all that profitable marriages aren't boring marriages on TV.

However the second (and line) that's caught with me within the years since I completed the present is when Coach Taylor talks to his star quarterback Vince (a really younger Michael B. Jordan) and easily tells him, "It’s possible you’ll by no means know the way proud I’m of you." Vince responds, "You modified my life, coach."

This was at all times a present about Coach Taylor molding the younger males on his group in one of the simplest ways he knew how, and it was full circle that these two, who didn’t at all times get alongside, had this second collectively.

what to do: cue up Explosions within the Sky and repeat, "clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" as wanted. — Gabbi Shaw, life-style and leisure reporter



lost finale
The sequence finale of "Misplaced" was controversial — however hear us out.

"Misplaced" concluded on Might 23, 2010 with one of the crucial controversial — and profoundly misunderstood — sequence finales in tv historical past. To at the present time, folks malign the present as "disappointing" as a result of "they have been useless the whole time."

In actuality, the ultimate season of "Misplaced" is good as a result of it subverts that very expectation. The characters have been emphatically not useless the whole time.

The sequence culminates with the precise demise of our hero, Jack, who sacrifices himself to save lots of the island. Within the closing scene, he's reunited within the afterlife with the folks he met — and grew to cherish — after their fateful aircraft crash.

The finale places ahead the concept your soul will relaxation alongside a very powerful folks out of your life, with whom you shared your most transformative moments. Very like the present itself, this idea is good and melodramatic and deeply shifting. Sure, the island is actual (no, it isn't purgatory), simply as anyplace turns into mysterious and magical when it holds the proper mixture of individuals — the yard the place your siblings performed make-believe, the native bar the place your pals assembled each Friday, the restaurant the place you first mentioned "I like you." 

On the island, the yard grew to become a seashore and the native bar grew to become a metal hatch. Characters exchanged "I like yous" over bonfires and aircraft particles, not appetizers and wine. 

That is the stuff that makes survival worthwhile. Like Jack says within the very first season, "If we will't reside collectively, we're gonna die alone." — Callie Ahlgrim, senior music reporter


Zach Braff in the "Scrubs" season eight finale.
Zach Braff's exit within the season eight finale of "Scrubs" was the true ending of the sequence.

"Scrubs" was particular for therefore many causes: Its quirky, dream-scene comedy skits, its lovely soundtrack, and its skill to make viewers fall in love with characters outdoors of the primary forged.

The season eight finale (the actual Scrubs finale earlier than it was renewed for its much-maligned ninth season sans many key members of the forged) mixed all of these distinctive parts for an unforgettable, tear-jerking ending.

The 40-minute episode "My Finale (Half 2)," which aired on Might 6, 2009, closes with John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) strolling by the halls of Sacred Coronary heart as visions of the whole forged, each useless and alive, see him out the door for one final time. Within the background, Peter Gabriel's lovely but haunting, "The E book of Love" is enjoying.

I'm not crying, you might be. — Barnaby Lane, leisure reporter

"Avatar: The Final Airbender"

A screenshot from the Avatar: The Last Airbender series finale.
The "Avatar: The Final Airbender" sequence finale is a real coming-of-age second.

Within the 2000s, "Avatar: The Final Airbender" set a precedent: cartoon sequence geared in the direction of kids might comprise huge, uncontainable universes; they might inform resonant, mature tales; and so they may very well be foolish and goofy with out compromising the thoughtfulness of their writing. That legacy stands as a result of "Avatar" caught its touchdown exceptionally nicely, concluding with a four-part spectacle on July 19, 2008 that metes out justice with empathy. 

Aang spent everything of "Avatar" coaching to defeat the Fireplace Lord — and make no mistake, he does. His victory is all of the extra distinctive as a result of he does so with out taking the person's life, selecting as an alternative to take away the supply of his energy and violence: his firebending. However as a full bundle, the
finale isn't nearly defeating the Fireplace Lord. It's concerning the younger ensemble of "Avatar" lastly coming of age, making choices that finish the battle of their youth and set the tone for the long run they govern. — Palmer Haasch, leisure reporter


Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and Kaley Cuoco in season eight of "Charmed."
Rose McGowan, Shannen Doherty, Alyssa Milano, and Kaley Cuoco in season eight of "Charmed."

"Charmed" might have misplaced its method in its closing few seasons, however it nonetheless ended on a magical word on Might 21, 2006 with Piper, Phoebe, and Paige getting their glad endings after eight seasons of demon-slaying and potion-brewing.

The ultimate scene, through which an aged Piper and Leo walks up the staircase on the iconic Halliwell Manor one final time, was so shifting in any case we'd seen them undergo within the sequence. And that little door flick, echoing the ending of the very first episode, was the proper symmetry. — Tufayel Ahmed, leisure editor

"The West Wing"

The cast of "The West Wing."
The forged of "The West Wing."

Sigh, President Jed Bartlett's two-term administration lastly got here to an in depth after eight blissful years main the nation.

What makes the sequence finale of "The West Wing," which aired on Might 14, 2006, stand out is that it managed to carry onto its documentary-style pacing and format whereas laying out what comes subsequent for all its characters. There have been no bells and whistles wanted to make this episode a fantastical occasion — "The West Wing" merely did what it did nicely for seven seasons to shut out its run.

Despite the fact that the administration — and the present — have ended, viewers have been left with the sensation that the likes of Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) would nonetheless be working within the White Home for years to come back.

It's wistful. It's hopeful. It's coronary heart wrenching. And it made me sob. — R.C.

"Six Ft Underneath"

Lauren Ambrose in the series finale of "Six Feet Under."
In "Six Ft Underneath," the last word destiny of each main character is revealed.

If you wish to really feel alive, you must watch the sequence finale of a present about demise. "Six Ft Underneath" opened the present with the demise of the household patriarch and closed it on August 21, 2005 with the demise of the remainder of the Fisher household.

Within the final minutes of the finale, "Six Ft Underneath" provides us definitive endings for every of its foremost characters — exhibiting us how they die subsequent to their title and years of life, very similar to a gravestone. They die many years aside: Among the fates are violent, some are quiet and tragic, and in a single specific occasion, a personality sees his long-dead husband moments earlier than he dies from a presumed coronary heart assault. The present closes in 2085 with the 102-year-old eyes of Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose) earlier than rapidly chopping to a close-up of her eyes as a 21-year-old as she leaves the life she knew behind.

Certain, the episode may very well be thought-about somewhat maudlin. However for a present that's concerning the poignancy of life, how are you going to not be dropped at tears? — Rachel Bernstein, editorial partnerships and awards fellow


Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, and David Schwimmer on the series finale of "Friends."
Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, and David Schwimmer on the sequence finale of "Associates."

"Lets get some espresso?"

"Certain, the place?"

That scene from the "Associates" sequence finale, which aired Might 6, 2004, nonetheless makes me emotional. The friendship between the six foremost forged members was at all times so particular on display screen and off, so watching what felt just like the actors' real feelings and tears pour out within the closing moments of the sitcom's sequence finale was heartbreaking. Extra heartbreaking was the ultimate shot of Monica's now-empty residence, the place it felt like we, the viewers, had shared so many recollections over 10 seasons because the seventh companion to Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey. — T.A.

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer"

Sarah Michelle Gellar in the series finale of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

For seven seasons, Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her buddies (dubbed the "Scooby Gang") fought all method of monsters as they concurrently battled their method by the trials of rising up. Viewers adopted the characters from their teenage years by their early 20s, watching them lose lovers and members of the family alongside the best way. We even noticed Buffy herself die (and are available again) twice.

It was becoming for the sequence to finish on Might 20, 2003 with an epic battle, seeing Buffy, her buddies, and their crew of "Potentials" (potential slayers ready to be activated within the occasion of a present slayer's demise) face off in opposition to the shape-shifting First Evil, who'd been teased all the best way again in season three, and the Turok-Han (aka "ubervamps") on the gate of the Hellmouth. It was additionally a full-circle second, as a result of the battle passed off beneath the rebuilt Sunnydale Excessive Faculty, the place all of it started.

The stakes (pun supposed) have been excessive, and main characters did die — the present by no means shied away from killing off sequence regulars. It was gut-wrenching and exhilarating. I've watched the finale in all probability 100 instances, and I'll by no means not get chills watching a badly-beaten Buffy stand up from the bottom to inform The First, showing as her double, to "get out of my face." It was a superbly crafted ending, proper all the way down to the whole collapse of Sunnydale into the bottom (good riddance) and Buffy's burgeoning smile within the closing moments. – Caralynn Matassa, senior leisure editor

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