The 3 Episodes of TV that Made Me Cry the Hardest

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

We watch TV for all kinds of reasons: to laugh, to feel connected, to get sucked into drama the likes of which doesn't exist in real life... & also to cry. Wait, is that just me?

I know, real life can be difficult enough. Why do we want to watch TV that will make us cry, too? To that I say: I don't want to cry, necessarily. I don't invest myself in super-heavy shows. But I do like dramas (think soap opera-style, like Law & Order: SVU How to Get Away with Murder & Chicago Med), & with dramas comes the occasional, well, drama - the sad kind. The sobbing kind. The body-wracked-with-emotion kind.

Below, I'm recapping the top three episodes of television - ever - that have broken me into a million emotional little pieces.


3. Criminal Minds

Episode: "Nelson's Sparrow," S10 E13
Air Date: January 28, 2015

I was living with my mom when I watched this episode, which aired on a Wednesday night, while she was at work. She arrived home shortly after 9pm to find me, just a few minutes into this episode, standing in front of the TV & sobbing as though a beloved friend had died. In a way, one had: This is the episode in which Mandy Patinkin's character, Jason Gideon, is found murdered & his former BAU teammates have to put aside their own grief to solve the case.

Though Gideon hadn't been on the show for more than half a decade (& Patinkin has since called his time on the show his "biggest public mistake"), this death felt personal, somehow, to those of us who have been watching since the beginning.


2. Dawson's Creek

Episode: "All Good Things...Must Come to An End," S6 E23/24
Air Date: May 14, 2003

The Internet says this counted as two episodes, but for my purposes, it's just one. They aired back to back on the same night, the series finale of my long-time favorite show, & I watched them while sitting in a bean bag chair on the floor of my freshman dorm room in the days before DVR. My roommate, Kiko, didn't watch the show, & so she kindly offered to be away from our home base that evening so I could watch in peace.

As Jen's fate was revealed - not to mention Jack's relationship, Gail's marriage, & Joey's final choice between Dawson & Pacey - I openly wept. I cried myself into such a state of dehydration that I woke the next day with a headache to rival any college hangover. I still mourn the fact that there can never be a full-cast reunion show.


1. Grey's Anatomy

Episode: "Now or Never," S5 E24
Air Date: May 14, 2009

Ohhhh, this episode. Hardest I've ever cried at any episode of TV. This was the season five finale, which I watched with friends who weren't regular Grey's watchers - & boy, were they shocked to catch me heaving with silent sobs in the back of the room. I gave myself away when I snort-sobbed loudly during the scene when a gravely injured John Doe writes "007" in Meredith's hand, revealing himself to be her dear friend & colleague, George O'Malley.

The dream sequence scene when the elevator doors open on Izzy to show an army-outfitted George on the other side, confirming his unexpected death... oh, God. No episode of TV has ever done me so dirty. I still watch it sometimes when I'm feeling down & need a little bit of help crying it out.

What episode of TV made you cry the hardest? Do you have any specific memories of where you were when you watched them, the way I do? 

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