Warning: this posts contains spoilers for Futurama, Community, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation and American Horror Story
Face it, TV writers enjoy teasing viewers as much as surprising them.
That's why they like to foreshadow plot twists in early episodes - not that their tactics are always obvious. Here is our pick of some of the best clues ever teased on TV:
In Futurama, the main character, Fry, is sent to the year 3000 in the pilot episode after accidentally falling into a cryogenic chamber on new year’s eve.
Four seasons later, it is revealed that Fry was pushed off his chair by the super-intelligent pet Nibbler, as he is the only one who can save the universe in the 31st century.
What’s remarkable is that if you watch the pilot episode, you can see Nibbler’s shadow.
Two episodes before end of season two, Shirley goes into labour in the middle of an Anthropology class.
Abed helps deliver the baby and offhandedly says:
I delivered a baby earlier this year in the back of an SUV.
When asked when and where it happened he replies:
I don’t know, somewhere in the background.
19 episodes prior to be precise, in the background behind Shirley.
3) How I Met Your Mother
Viewers of the show were hooked on finding out the identity of Ted Mosby’s children, who he was narrating the story of his mid-twenties to.
However, many missed the fact that the showrunners laid a clue to viewers in only the ninth episode.
While other characters were being talked about as possibly the mother of Mr Mosby’s children, some viewers may have missed a crucial detail.
Mr Mosby’s children were shocked in the ninth episode, when, after meeting a stripper named Tracy, narrator Ted quipped “and that was how I met your mother".
While it may have seemed like a throwaway gag at the time, the mother of the children did actually turn out to be called Tracy.
4) Breaking Bad
In Vince Gilligan has found a formula that works: develop characters, build suspense, set up plot points with a few subtle hints, subvert expectation and end episode with a twist and smash fade to white credits on black.
In the fifth season of Breaking Bad Vince Gilligan deliberately foreshadowed Walter White’s future.
A shot in the firehouse at the end of the episode depicts a game of chess between the firemen, focusing on a white king.
It’s trapped in the corner, surrounded by only a couple of pawns and a knight.
The setup was actually carefully planned by Gilligan, as he discussed on an insider podcast.
The white king is cornered, but not checkmated or even in check. The king is simply going behind another pawn, buying time, but not advancing the game – referencing Walt’s current downfall, his hiding in a cabin in New Hampshire and his eventual plan to take down Todd’s uncle.
5) Parks and Recreation
In Season 2 Episode 13, Chris takes Leslie to the hospital to give her an MRI upon hearing that she has never had one before.
He remarks that her uterus is excellent and that she "could easily have triplets right off the bat".
Four seasons later and it's revealed Leslie has given birth to triplets.
6) American Horror Story
The third season of American Horror Story primarily follows a coven of Salem witches, led by Fiona.
When Fiona is stricken with cancer, she claims that it’s a sign of the supreme, a single witch able to wield the "seven powers".
She begins to pick off her witches in her coven, hoping to kill off the supreme before being supreme.
The identity is given away in the opening credits, as actress Sarah Paulson’s name is the first to be shown next to the Santa Muerte, or the lady of the seven wonders.
To see a few more brilliant clues, see the video below: