Soap Opera Cliffhangers That Surprised Fans

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Television cliffhangers can be incredible and are one of the major reasons audiences keep tuning into their favorite shows week after week. Lucky for soap opera fans, Friday cliffhangers are almost a guaranteed weekly treat. At times they can get pretty outrageous despite how entertaining they may be. Below is a list of soap opera cliffhangers that surprised fans:

20. B&B: Maya Is Transgender

The big Maya cliffhanger on B&B occurred on March 18, 2015. After years of wondering why her sister had abandoned their family, Nicole finally figured it out. “You’re not my sister Maya. You’re not Maya at all,” Nicole said. “You’re Myron, my brother.” Not only did this heart-stopper surprise viewers, but it also made headlines all over the world.

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19. GH: Tracy Refuses To Give Edward His Meds

Tracy has always been a spoiled little brat only interested in her own well-being, but she was far worse when she was younger. So, no one was surprised when Tracy threw a massive hissy fit after Alan Quartermaine Jr. was born (a.k.a. A.J.). The reason for her animosity was that she felt that the inheritance of her own son, Ned, would be in jeopardy thanks to the newly born Quartermaine. Frustrated with his daughter, Edward looked at drawing up a new will to name A.J. his heir, and disinherit Tracy. Right before he was about to sign this, Edward fell to the ground, begging his daughter for his medicine. Tracy said no, leaving Edward suffering and GH fans were taken aback. Turns out, the cliffhanger was a cruel joke on Tracy. While Edward lay there lifeless for a bit, he eventually jumped up to sign his will as the entire situation had been a test.

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18. Days: Sami And Austin *Almost* Say “I Do”

In the late ‘90s, the ever-manipulative Sami Brady was obsessed with her sister’s boyfriend, Austin Reed. She tried everything to snag Reed, and Austin was gullible enough to believe a lot of what she spewed. One big lie (at that time) was that her first son Will was Austin’s son’s (and not Lucas’). At one point, Austin even proposed and almost married Sami (for the second time, but that’s another story). The wedding day had arrived and during this same time, Carrie had just found out who Will’s real father was. Would she make it in time to stop the wedding? Just as Sami and Austin were about to say their ‘I dos’ Carrie burst into the church – shocking guests and audiences alike. She eventually would reveal that Lucas was Will’s real father. The wedding was stopped; Carrie punched Sami out; and then stepped right her place and would end up marrying Austin herself.

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17. Y&R: What Happen to Brad Carlton?

There wasn’t a dry eye in any Y&R fan’s home the day everyone realized what happened to Brad Carlton that winter in 2009. The storyline was a heated one at the time: Brad followed a confused Sharon to the Abbott cabin to state his love for her only to be rejected. There was a terrible snowstorm in Genoa City (and surrounding areas) that night and, as he headed home, he stopped due to car issues and heard Sharon’s son Noah in need of help. Noah was drowning, and Brad saved him, but the aftermath would create shock waves throughout the Y&R. Noah was saved, but where was Brad Carlton and why was he not around? Carlton’s body was found shortly after, frozen under the ice. He had saved Noah from drowning but passed away as a hero suffering the very same fate the boy almost had.

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16. B&B: Who Shot Bill?

Fans were stunned when Dollar Bill was shot in the back in 2018. During the weeks leading up to the shooting, Bill had turned everyone against him. But fans didn’t expect such a white knuckle ending to the episode. As the shooter made his or her getaway, Bill lay on his balcony, unconscious and bleeding.

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15. GH: Brenda’s Limo Explodes

Brenda and Sonny would finally tie the knot in 2011 after a love affair that was on and off for years. They had a lovely wedding and reception, and as Brenda stepped into the limo first, the vehicle exploded. GH fans were out of their minds; however, it turned out she was kidnapped by the evil Balkan at the time! The cliffhanger sure did keep GH audiences on their toes, and the good news is that Brenda was eventually found safe, and very much alive.

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14. Days: Zack Brady Passes Away

Tragedy always seems to strike Salem during the holidays, and the passing of young Zack Brady in early 2006 was heart-wrenching. Sadly, his half-sister Chelsea wasn’t paying attention to the road when she was driving that fateful New Year’s Eve night in 2005. Zack’s attention had shifted outside to a cat, and Chelsea’s car hit him. No one likes the idea of a small child getting hurt, let alone passing away, so when the incident occurred, many DOOL fans were left reeling. Did she really hit him? Would Zack survive? Sadly, the boy passed on a couple of weeks later, and the storyline left fans mourning the loss of the sweet Brady boy.


13. Y&R: Halloween 2015

It seems that the Y&R does love its explosions! An incident that occurred during a Halloween Party dedicated to Delia Abbott and the Delia Project foundation in 2015 showed just that, and created a huge cliffhanger for viewers. A good chunk of Y&R‘s characters (and their kids) were at the party, so it left fans wondering if any other Genoa City kiddos would fall victim to any horrible accidents. The building caught fire, which resulted in an explosion with many heroes emerging from the episode. Thankfully, the incident caused a lot of drama, but all the children at the party made it out to safety.

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12. B&B: Ridge Plummets Into The Persian Gulf

Just as Bill and Brooke’s 2014 wedding ceremony began, Ridge came running down the beach toward them. He grabbed Brooke’s arm and pulled her into a nearby helicopter. The chopper was piloted by Dollar Bill’s right-hand man Justin. In a cliffhanger ending to the episode, Ridge fell out of the helicopter and plummeted into the Persian Gulf.

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11. GH: Lily’s Car Explosion

GH loves more than a good old-fashioned car explosion cliffhanger! Digging through the soap opera’s past, there’s a big one that occurred in 1996. A newly married Sonny would watch his beautiful (and pregnant) wife (in slow motion of course) waltz her way up to his car, wave to him, smile, and then BAM! The car exploded! Scary, saddening, and a dramatic cliffhanger that had GH audiences wondering what would happen next with this mobster and his lifestyle.

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10. Days: Marlena’s Plane Explodes

Many characters have passed away on Days over the years, only to come back again. In 1986, Marlena was reunited with her husband Roman, who as it turned out had not passed, but simply had plastic surgery (as the years have gone by, he turned out to be John Black). Regardless, at that point in time, Marlena believed that she was finally back with Roman and the two got remarried. Sadly, a bomb exploded in their house and Marlena passed away … or so fans thought! She was actually taken, and as Roman finally found her location on a remote island, he sadly watched the plane she was in explode into nothingness. Sad news at the time, but five years later, Marlena would return to Salem, alive and well, picking up where she left off.

9. Y&R: Colleen Carlton Passes Away

In the fall of 2009, insane Patty Williams went on a rampage and kidnapped Colleen Carlton. Desperate to get away, and stranded in the middle of a lake on a canoe, Colleen was able to break free from Patty. Sadly, she bumped her head on the canoe as she tried to swim away and fell underwater in (what seemed like) the same lake her dad (Brad Carlton) drowned in years ago. What proceeded after that was a dream-like sequence of eerie segments where Colleen was visited by those she was close to, including her late grandfather and father. While Jack did ‘save’ Colleen at the lake, Y&R viewers sat at the edge of their seats during this cliffhanger to see if Colleen would live or if her life would end in a similar fashion to the way her dad’s did. In the end, Colleen was pronounced deceased when she arrived at the hospital, which devastated family, friends, and Y&R fans.

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8. B&B: Emma’s Car Accident

One of B&B’s most chilling cliffhangers was when Thomas followed Emma down a highway in Los Angeles. She was on the way to Hope’s house to tell her friend her daughter Beth was still alive. But Thomas didn’t want Hope to know. Emma’s car careened off the road and into a ditch. Emma passed away in the vehicle and Thomas looked satisfied as he gazed down at the wreckage of her smashed car.

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7. GH: Metro Court Hostage Crisis

When Jerry Jax took over the hotel in early 2007, taunting major characters and holding them hostage, no GH fan could anticipate what would happen next. It was a storyline that is still talked about today, and unfolded into some terrible circumstances. Alan Quartermaine would eventually pass away due to Jerry’s deadly games, and the hotel’s lobby ended up exploding when all was said and done.

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6. Days: Sami Shoots E.J.

These two have had a crazy roller coaster relationship, and in 2010 things got a lot more complicated. Freshly broken up from her *almost* wedding to E.J., only to learn that he had faked their child’s kidnapping just to upset her, Sami snuck into the DiMera mansion and did the unthinkable: she shot E.J. in the head. Think she may have learned something from being in jail (see above), but clearly she hadn’t. Needless to say, fans were shocked and wondering … was this the end of E.J.? If it wasn’t, would he survive and send Sami to jail once and for all? How can anyone survive a gunshot to the head? Well, he did, and oddly enough they would move on to share a roller coaster of a relationship!

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5. Y&R: Delia’s Death

Genoa City mourned the death of little DeeDee Abbott in 2013, as there were hopes that the little girl would or could potentially pull through after Adam Newman accidentally hit the child one night in October. After all, hadn’t she just survived cancer a year earlier? This cliffhanger – as parents, stepparents, and family prayed for Delia’s recovery – had a sad conclusion and perhaps a bone-chilling scene when Delia’s mom Chloe relayed the news in the hospital to dad Billy Abbott, essentially blaming her for Delia’s passing.

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4. B&B: Baby Beth Is Alive

The baby Beth storyline was an exercise in bait and switch for fans. It seemed like every week there was a cliffhanger conversation Lope was going to overhear, and viewers thought they were going to find out their daughter was alive. But instead of the plot being resolved, it dragged on for months. However, thanks to Douglas, the truth finally hit Liam like a gut punch – Phoebe is Beth. And fans finally got the payoff they were waiting for when he ran into Steffy’s nursery and picked up his daughter out of her crib. “Da Da,” Beth said to him. “Yeah, I’m your Da Da,” Liam replied, tears streaming down his face.

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3. GH: Jason Is Shot By Faison

While he looked like Duke Lavery, Cesar Faison was behind the shooting of Jason; a day no GH fan will ever forget! Picture it: October 2012, after months of instability, the couple of JaSam would finally reunite with baby Danny by their side. Jason gets called out to run a mob errand and sees Duke/Faison. Faison shoots Jason and he falls into the harbor … and the show closes after his body hits the waters. A Friday cliffhanger that will forever be etched in the minds of GH and JaSam fans everywhere. Thankfully, it turned out (two years later) that he was okay, and five years later to reveal the “real” Jason Morgan was alive; however, that Friday cliffhanger was devastating for many who loved the Jason Morgan character.

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2. Days: Hope Shoots Stefano DiMera

As it turns out, Stefano DiMera was not shot in early January 2016, but with rumors of actor Joseph Mascolo’s pending retirement, the shooting of Salem’s number one enemy was unexpected and seemed like the end of an era. While DOOL fans knew Mascolo was ready to take a well-deserved break from acting, no one was quite sure how his iconic character would exit the show. The shooting of DiMera by Hope would spiral into an incredible storyline. Not only did she shoot him three times, where fans and Salem alike thought the villain was gone for good, but the cliffhanger left everyone wondering if Hope would face any repercussions for her act. She did, but the greater testimony to Stefano was that he duped Salemites again by faking his passing and even escaped jail for one final hurrah (at that point in time). A great way to say farewell to the incredible work of Mascolo and the iconic role of Stefano DiMera in the land of Salem. Too bad writers had to ruin it all by having DiMera return in Steve’s body circa 2019.

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1. Y&R: Skye Lockhart And The Volcano

In 2010, Skye Lockhart was involved in an over-the-top storyline where everyone thought she had passed, but she ended up alive, only to fall into a volcano! At that point in time, Shadam ruled Genoa City and Sharon was desperate to prove the innocence of her boyfriend, Adam. He was locked up in jail for supposedly killing his then-wife, Skye. Sharon would parade off to Hawaii in search of Lockhart to help get Adam off the hook and she found her — but not before Skye tried to steal Sharon’s proof that she was alive, and then accidentally fell into a steamy hot lava volcano. Meanwhile, Adam was cleared of all charges, as footage revealed that Sharon might have murdered Skye. This cliffhanger left fans wondering for months (and months … and months) if Sharon would ever be cleared. She eventually was, but in typical soap fashion, there were many twists and turns on the way!

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Fame 10 Staff

Fame 10 Staff