5 TV Characters Who Should’ve Stayed Dead

Killing off a character (only to resurrect them a few episodes later) is the new TV craze. The show gets the best of both worlds: the drama of death without the drawback of losing a valuable character. It’s tricky to pull off, though, and some shows have failed spectacularly. Here’s a countdown of five characters who should have stayed dead.


5. Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the season 2 finale, Buffy kills Angel. She mourns his death, racked with guilt… until he randomly comes back three episodes later.

The resurrection is problematic for two reasons. First, it cheapens Angel’s death, which was meaningful closure for Giles and developed Buffy’s character as she struggled with guilt. Second, the circumstances of Angel’s return were never fleshed out. We saw many dramatic, close-up shots of Buffy’s claddagh ring on the ground where he died — as if to imply a promise ring could defy the laws of nature — but no theory involving the ring was actually stated.

Eventually, the show chalked it up to the Powers That Be. I chalk it up to poor writing.


4. Sara Lance, Arrow

After Sara is murdered by a possessed Thea, she’s resurrected by the Lazarus Pit. The death is meaningful — it causes Laurel to take up the Black Canary mantle. The resurrection, on the other hand, is completely nonsensical. The timing is totally random (Sara’s been dead for over a year), and we already saw this storyline when Sara was presumed dead after the Gambit sunk.

It’s almost as if the writers killed her off, but then realized they needed her alive for a spin-off show or something. Oh, wait…


3. Prince Charming, Once Upon A Time

Several characters come back from the dead on Once Upon a Time, but Prince Charming/David Nolan takes the cake. He was killed as a necessary sacrifice for a spell, and revived a few minutes later.

Why is this one such a failure? One of the show’s rules is that “magic always comes with a price, dearie!”. Since the sacrifice was nullified, the spell should have stopped — but it didn’t. Once broke its own rule — apparently, magic doesn’t come with a price when it’s convenient for the plot.

Supernatural -- "Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire" -- Image SN1102A_0314.jpg -- Pictured: Jared Padalecki as Sam -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

2. Sam Winchester, Supernatural

Sam Winchester has already died and been resurrected several times on Supernatural. The most bothersome one, though, is his resurrection from Lucifer’s Cage.

The resurrection doesn’t make practical or narrative sense. Practically, if the cage can keep Lucifer inside, how can Castiel retrieve Sam’s body and Death retrieve his soul without problem? Narratively, Sam made an incredible sacrifice by consenting to be Lucifer’s vessel; the meaning of that sacrifice is stripped away when he is seen alive in the very next episode.


1. Clara Oswald, Doctor Who

Ah, yes, the king of resurrections: The Doctor. Actually, he’s not the problem — Clara Oswald is. Rescued right before her death in “Face the Raven”, she can live indefinitely until she returns to that moment. So, basically, she’s alive and well.

There’s no motive for her resurrection; she’s leaving the show, anyway! Why dream up a ridiculous plot to keep Clara alive, and not even get to keep her as The Doctor’s companion? Besides, her death would’ve been a great conclusion: the longest-running companion was with him ‘until death do us part’.

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