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Top 10 Shocking HBO Scenes

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Written by Q.V. Hough

These moments left viewers speechless, and coming from a channel known for pushing the boundaries… that’s saying a whole lot. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking HBO Scenes.

For this list, we’re focusing on controversial and unexpected moments from HBO’s most popular series. Beware of spoilers!

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Transcript
These moments left viewers speechless, and coming from a channel known for pushing the boundaries… that’s saying a whole lot. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking HBO Scenes.

For this list, we’re focusing on controversial and unexpected moments from HBO’s most popular series. Beware of spoilers!

#10: Bernard Lowe Reveal

“Westworld” (2016-)


For the first seven episodes, Westworld’s Head of Programming is among the show’s most sympathetic of characters. Bernard Lowe works on upgrades and investigates anything and all things weird - serving as a voice of reason and bridging the gap between the board of directors and Ford, the park’s eccentric founder. But at the conclusion of “Trompe L’Oeil,” viewers were treated to a reveal for the ages. When Theresa begins her own investigation into Westworld’s oddities, Bernard leads her right to the answers she’s looking for - but they come at a significant cost. Bernard’s true identity is revealed - he’s a human replica prototype - but Theresa doesn’t live to share that information with anyone.

#9: The Money Shot

“Girls” (2012-17)


As Marnie’s infamous sex scene in season four reiterated, this show likes to push the boundaries when it comes to sex. But in season two... nothing could’ve prepared us for a scene such as this. In episode nine, Adam’s new girlfriend Natalia decides that she’s ready to have sex - only she doesn’t know that Mr. Sackler doesn’t make love in the traditional way. At first, Adam is pleasantly surprised, but he quickly turns from endearingly awkward to demanding and degrading. Natalia attempts a course correction but to no avail. It’s a deeply uncomfortable look at Adam’s dark side, and the end result – the money shot – is something that nobody expected. Talk about an excruciating viewing experience.

#8: Gillian Seduces Jimmy

“Boardwalk Empire” (2010-14)


In this episode, while young Jimmy Darmody grieves his wife’s tragic death, we learn via flashback about his past. Starting in 1916, until he joined the war, Jimmy attended Princeton University, thanks to Nucky, who was grooming him for a life of crime. When his mother Gillian comes to visit, life becomes significantly more complicated. First, Jimmy learns from his girlfriend that he’ll be a father. Next, he defends his mother and beats up a professor. But the most shocking moment comes when Jimmy’s drunken efforts to care for his mother result in her making a move – a sexual move. Even more, she convinces her son that it’s all ok: “there’s nothing wrong with any of it.”

7: Spooning

“Oz” (1997-2003)


Everybody needs protection in prison, especially at Oswald State Correctional Facility. And when James Robson reaches out to Wolfgang Cutler, his safety comes at the cost of keeping his protector entertained. Only Cutler’s idea of sexual favors is far from the standard fare. For example, his idea of “spooning” is a lot more literal, something that’s made painfully clear when he asks James to suck a piece of silverware. That’s only the beginning, as James discovers that the spoon needed lube for his sake. It’s a difficult scene to watch, and one that set a high bar for HBO’s future shocking scenes.

#6: Kevin Chooses Death

“The Leftovers” (2014-17)


On “The Leftovers,” characters often undertake bold actions in order to prove a point. Some opt to make a statement by foregoing speaking altogether. Then there’s Kevin Garvey, our central character, who’s really willing to take terrible risks in order to achieve his goals. In the seventh episode of the second season, he’s given an unthinkable opportunity - to take his own life so that he might confront his “most powerful adversary”. With Virgil acting as his guide, he’s going to commit suicide, and then return to the world of the living. Amazingly and shockingly, Kevin actually chooses to die, and in a double shocker, so too does his supposed guide, Virgil.

#5: Christopher’s Death

“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)


In Season Six of HBO’s iconic mob series, Christopher Moltisanti receives a big promotion. He’s a “capo,” but he’s a capo with some personal issues to resolve. Of course, Tony Soprano needs a man with a clean mind to run his family, and Christopher repeatedly proves to be unreliable. The final straw comes when he drives into oncoming traffic and then informs Tony that he’d wouldn’t pass a drug test. What seems to be another Tony-Christopher clash takes a deadly turn, as The Boss finally finds a solution for his frequent problem.

#4: The Beheading of Ned Stark

“Game of Thrones” (2011-)


“Game of Thrones” has provided numerous shocking moments, many of them swift and spontaneous. But in Season 1, we had yet to learn this tough lesson that Game of Thrones would go on to hammer home throughout the series. By the ninth episode, the Lord of Winterfell, arguably the show’s central character up to that point, has been betrayed by Littlefinger and decides to grant Varys’ request by acknowledging King Joffrey. As a result, Ned will be exiled. But Joffrey has different ideas and ignores his mother’s advice. Suddenly, the public apology transforms into a public execution, and Joffrey shows no chill whatsoever by taking Ned’s head.

#3: Omar’s Death

“The Wire” (2002-08)


Omar Little is arguably the most quotable HBO character of all time. He’s a man with a code, a man that plays by his own rules. In season 5, Omar sets his sights on Marlo Stanfield, a rival drug dealer in Baltimore. He terrorizes the crew and calls out his enemy by name. For Omar, it’s not about the money – and that’s what makes him such a popular character. In the drug game, though, you live by the gun and die by the gun. One moment, Omar is a living legend, a man that can walk the streets. The next, he’s yet another murder victim – killed by young Kenard - and the finality is shocking.

#2: Adriana’s Death

“The Sopranos” (1999-2007)


Murdering beloved main characters is a relatively new phenomenon on TV – one that has roots in “The Sopranos.” Adriana La Cerva came from a Mafia family, so it wasn’t surprising she ended up with Christopher Moltisanti – Tony Soprano’s apprentice. That’s also why everyone thought Adriana could be trusted with the Soprano crime family secrets – and she could, until the FBI targeted her as an informant. Facing serious jail time, Adriana reluctantly complied. But eventually, it became too much and she came clean to Christopher – who was then forced to choose between his woman and his “family.” Next thing you know, Adriana’s going for a ride with Silvio Dante, and he made sure she never uttered another word.


#1: For the Watch

“Game of Thrones” (2011-)


By the end of season 5, Jon Snow has become Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. When Jon lets the Wildlings pass though, he truly believes that it’s for the greater good. But, some of his men are less than impressed with his leadership skills, and he’s ultimately betrayed and punished for his compromising ways. His men plot against him, and take his life, each uttering their justification as they stab him. With Jon being one of the series’ most beloved characters, many fans refused to accept his apparent death, even after Olly delivered the final blow. More shocking than even the infamous “Red Wedding,” this scene left fans to speculate for months.
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