Television is one of our most popular forms of entertainment, with huge shows gathering followings that result in conversations around the water cooler every week after the episode airs. We love dissecting each part of our favorite shows, from the characters to the plot to the script. We even speculate on what will happen next, sometimes with a degree of accuracy.
But sometimes, our favorite shows can let us down. After all, they are produced on a rapid turnaround, with seasons being filmed in a manner of weeks and in as much secrecy as possible. Whether they are based on source material like books or not, these shows have to constantly surprise us, coming up with new twists and keeping the biggest surprises under wraps until they air. This pressure often builds up and leaves writers missing out important details – or making mistakes.
These ten plot holes were found in some of the most popular television shows from the last year – showing that even the big hitters are not exempt from making a few errors. These plots should have been run through a bit more scrutiny before being aired, as it’s easy for viewers like us to pick them apart and point out areas where they are illogical or impossible. Ranging from stupid decisions by characters, to impossible situations, to whole casts having to suspend disbelief, you won’t believe you missed these plot holes when you were watching the shows. But now you know all about them, you won’t be able to unsee them!
10. Game of Thrones: Shireen’s Hair
Shireen Baratheon, as you can verify yourself with a quick search, is blonde. Now, this doesn’t seem on the surface as if it should be anything but a minor and insignificant detail. But really, it’s a bit of a plot hole – and one that should have left Ned Stark’s theory dead in the water.
He was ultimately killed after he realized that the dominant Baratheon genes always left Robert’s children with jet black hair – meaning that the blonde-haired offspring of his wife Circe could not possible have been his. But what about Shireen, then? As a Baratheon, you would have thought those dominant hair genes would affect her too (after all, her father is also naturally dark-haired). If he had noticed that, Ned might have gone back to the drawing board – and avoided his own death.
9. The Big Bang Theory: Howard in Space
Let’s take a look at the season 5 storyline about Howard going into space, shall we? NASA chose him as a payload specialist, in a move which possibly suggests NASA doesn’t have a clue what they are doing. There is no way Howard would be allowed into space – he wouldn’t even pass the rigorous health tests that are in place for would-be astronauts. He has asthma, is allergic to lots of types of nuts (which are a staple of Russian space food), gets sea-sickness, has a genetic risk of heart disease, and suffers from transient idiopathic arrhythmia.0
Actually, the show even highlights this – he doesn’t make it through the training schedule, and has to call on his mother and fiancée for help. So basically, NASA must have been pretty desperate to look the other way after all of these failures which would have effectively ruled him out of space travel.
8. Vikings: Jarl Borg
In Vikings, we first meet Jarl Borg in season one. He is shown to be a tough and unbending man who will not give up his claim on his land even when offered money to stop fighting. He corrupts Rollo and ends up taking part in a bloody battle which is only settled when Ragnar and King Horik offer to take Jarl Borg on their next raids.
Of course, Horik then decides he doesn’t want Borg along, and Ragnar has to be the one to deliver the bad news. Then the two of them merrily sail away, leaving Ragnar’s lands in Kattegat utterly undefended except for his brother Rollo – yes, the traitor who turned against him last time Borg was around. Great plan, Ragnar! Unsurprisingly, Jarl Borg lands and slaughters just about everyone, nearly killing Ragnar’s young family.
Ragnar has been shown to be a bit of an evil genius when it comes to matters of war and diplomacy, so why on earth would he make this choice? It’s a plot hole created simply so that the story can move along, allowing Borg to eventually be blood eagled by Ragnar.
7. American Horror Story: The Missing Langdon
Constance and Hugo Langdon had four children, we are told in the Murder House season of American Horror Story. We already know Tate, the murderous ghost who is trapped in the house for all time. Adelaide still lives with her mother, and then there was Beauregard, the unfortunate brother who ended up chained in the attic for most of his life. But who was the fourth?
Endless speculation on this dropped loose string was finally brought to an end with the DVD commentary. It was officially revealed then that the fourth child was an albino character who was cut from the show, with all of their scenes being removed. That doesn’t explain why they would be careless enough to leave the reference in, creating a big plot hole that is never answered in the show.
6. Pretty Little Liars: The CeCe Reveal
The Summer of Answers promised us the big reveal on who A was, and boy did PLL deliver. However, it wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, since Charles DiLaurentis turned out to be transgender CeCe Drake. The storyline makes very little sense when you start to look back over previous episodes, particularly those which tried to make us think other characters might be A.
Wren is one of the characters who has the most problems. Perhaps the biggest single plot hole was the “clue” the girls discovered of a visitor’s pass into Radley which CeCe used, issued by Wren. But we now know that CeCe was actually a RESIDENT of Radley, known already to all of the members of the staff. So why on earth would anyone authorize the issue of a visitor’s pass in her name? So much for that one helping us figure out who A was! It also opens up a lot of questions about Lesli, Mona, A’s actions towards Ali, the horse, and of course why Mrs DiLaurentis would be worried about CeCe checking herself into Radley by pretending to be Ali.
Not only could she not check herself in as she was already a patient, but Mrs D was clearly shocked when she found out her “daughter” was in Radley – a fact she already knew. The logical assumption at that point would not be that Ali was in Radley, but that Ali had found out about CeCe. And the plot holes go on…
5. The Walking Dead: Sophia in the Barn
Fans of The Walking Dead know that the show often deviates hugely from the comic book source material, bringing in new characters and storylines. Perhaps that’s why a few errors creep in here and there. One of the storylines that raised a few eyebrows was the discovery of Sophia in the barn, and the fact that Herschel had no idea she was there.
Those who defend this show will say that the season 2 storyline noted that only Otis and the others who went near the barn knew, not Herschel. But that still means that all of those people had to sit quiet on the information that there was a zombie girl in the barn, knowing that Rick and his group were looking for one. Pretty odd if you ask us.
4. Parks and Recreation: Recognizing Duke Silver
You can judge for yourself whether this one reflects more on the stupidity of the character or the writers. April tells Ron straight out in season 2 that she knew he was Duke Silver from the start, because her mother has all of his albums and is a big fan. So realistically, her mother should recognize him too, right? Except she didn’t notice at all when he showed up on her doorstep – not even commenting on the resemblance, much less freaking out at seeing someone she really likes. If April recognizes him from the albums alone, then her mother should be able to as well.
3. Homeland: CIA Screening
There are a number of plot holes in Homeland, many of which have been dissected in great detail by viewers of the show. Perhaps the largest and most obvious, however, is the fact that at least one of the characters is simply ludicrous.
It’s all to do with the screening policies of the CIA. First of all, they allowed someone who is bipolar to both join and continue working within the agency, despite the fact that mental illnesses should be screened out. She had to pass drug and polygraph tests and so forth, but the illness was apparently not detected (or it was ignored). Carrie also goes on to have a physical relationship with a suspected terrorist, something that is definitely known by other CIA agents, but this does not get her thrown out of the agency. We could go on, but these details are damning enough.
2. Doctor Who: Regeneration Energy
This is a classic case of writers backing themselves into a corner by not keeping the continuity straight. The Time Lord has a cycle of thirteen reincarnations, but when the 11th Doctor was hanging around, he had actually used them all up. When the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) refused to return for the 50th Anniversary Special, they brought in the War Doctor instead. Add the Meta-Crisis Doctor, and that makes thirteen.
The writers got around this problem by granting him another cycle, but not before a couple of plot holes sprang up. In the episode “Let’s Kill Hitler”, the Doctor tries to regenerate – which would not have been possible at that stage, a fact which he should have known. It is the TARDIS which stops him from regenerating anyway, thus negating the problem, but why would he have tried?
Then in “The Angels Take Manhattan”, he uses regeneration energy to heal River Song. But… where did that regeneration energy come from? His incarnation at that point was the 13th, so it should not have been possible before his extra cycle was granted. Whoops!
1. Game of Thrones: Will’s Escape
The epic Game of Thrones is hugely popular, but it may all be based on a bit of an impossibility. Right at the start in the very first episode we saw a Night’s Watchman called Will who faced off a bunch of white walkers, then escaped back to Winterfell before being executed.
That seems fairly simple, but not when you consider the mechanics involved. Will needed to be spared by the white walkers, who have no reason to do so, then travel back to the Wall. After arriving there he would need to get over this towering ice wall without being detected by his brothers, who also would not notice him sneaking away (presumably with food, water, and other supplies, since he would need a lot of them for the journey). Then around a month of travel on foot would see him finally arrive at Winterfell – wearing black robes and yet not being noticed by anyone along the way. Hmm. Remind us again why it’s so dangerous to desert the Watch?