4 thoughts on “What Was the Most ‘Out of Nowhere’ Deus ex Machina Ending of a TV Episode?

  1. Twin Peaks – after three seasons of Agent Cooper, Sherrif(s) Truman, Gordon Cole, Albert Rosenblum, Deputies Andy & Hawk and various other good guys trying desperately to solve the problem of Killer BOB, (SPOILER) some random guy who’d barely been on the show strolls in with a magic glove and punches BOB and kills him.

  2. I know it’s a parody of this sort of thing, but I have to go with, “So the children learned to function as a society, and eventually, they were rescued by, ohhh, let’s say…Moe.”

  3. Not exactly the Deus appearing at the end from nowhere to solve the plot, but, I nominate Quantum Leap finale – with its Wizard of Oz ending “You’ve had the power to go home all this time. You just had to discover it for yourself” with that advice being provided by Gd? (so did the evil leaper have the same power – let’s not ask that question!)

    And, I think the second Gilligan’s Island movie had a just happened to spot the Castaways plane on radar. Of course, the series had more opposite of deus ex machina as the “out of nowhere” endings were to maintain the problem of keeping them as castaways rather than being rescued.

    And while beloved, the endings of Newhart (it was all a dream) and St. Elsewhere (it was all part of an autistic child’s dreams/imagination) kind of qualify. They don’t exactly solve the problem – they just sort of dismiss the problems – and so, are not really deus ex machina.

  4. The season (and at one time the series) finale of “ROSEANNE” at the end of season 9 (“Into That Good Night”). Midway through yet another zany episode from an already absurd season (where the Conners won the lottery, met a prince, and Roseanne knocked off Steven Seagal by taking down a train full of terrorists, for real, in continuity), suddenly Roseanne starts talking in monologue over the action and reveals it has all been a book she wrote in the basement, and the last season was her deliberately shaking things up after Dan died, even if it meant going to absurd places. For good measure certain “revelations” about which characters were gay or which ones actually wed are tacked on at the 11th hour, and then we get a remix of the theme song. It was so bizarre that over a decade later, the 10th season had to “retcon” out all of it, and even several seasons of stuff prior for good measure. Barr’s own conduct getting herself fired from the show, and then the show having to relaunch, helped people forget just how wacky that “final” episode of the 90’s had been.

    Cartoons LOVE the “Deus Ex Machina” ending out of nowhere, whether played straight or for laughs (like the Simpsons). But for a good example of one played straight, how about the finale to “Panic in the Sky,” from the second season of “JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED” from 2005? Due to manipulation by Lex Luthor (who was running for President) and Amanda Waller’s federal CADMUS program, the current President and public opinion have shifted away from the superheroes due to an incident with their orbital Watchtower base (which the government didn’t know existed until recently). The main “Leaguers” mostly surrender to the authorities as a display of good faith. Waller summons her army of artificial superhumans, including a clone of Supergirl, to take down the rest of the League at the Watchtower. Eventually it’s revealed that Luthor is playing everyone for suckers. And then when Waller and the League show up to confront him, it turns out he’s been possessed by Brainiac for years, with zero clue or build up. Yes, I know the next episode, “Divided We Fall,” attempts to connect it to, of all things, an episode of Superman from a decade prior, but c’mon, that was what Marvel used to call “a No-Prize.” And then the whole “can superheroes and the government co-exist” debate is ended to fight a giant tentacle robot. And this was once the “grown up” superhero cartoon!

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