Top 10 Shocking Betrayals on Teen Dramas
VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb
WRITTEN BY: Catherine Neal
These teen drama betrayals still sting. For this list, we'll be looking at the most dramatic and unforgivable betrayals from some of our favorite teen shows. Our countdown includes "Reign," "Euphoria," "Th O.C.," and more!
Top 10 Shocking Betrayals on Teen Dramas
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Shocking Betrayals on Teen Dramas.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most dramatic and unforgivable betrayals from some of our favorite teen shows. Caution: this list is one spoiler after another!
Could you forgive and forget? Let us know in the comments!
#10: Lola’s Fling With Francis
Is it ever okay to sleep with your best friend’s true love? Even if she dumped him for his brother? “Reign” follows a teenaged Mary Queen of Scots at the French court. In the first season, Mary believes that if she marries Prince Francis, he’ll die. (Nostradamus made a prophecy, you just have to go with it.) In a misguided attempt to save her betrothed’s life, Mary manages to have the prince declared illegitimate and arranges to marry his brother, Bash, instead. Angry and in exile, Francis falls into the arms of Lola, Mary’s favorite lady-in-waiting. The girls work through the betrayal and Mary and Francis reunite. But with a royal bastard on the way, it’s not so easy to forget as to forgive.
#9: Emma Dates Peter
“Degrassi: The Next Generation” (2001-15)
“Degrassi: The Next Generation” took on the subject of intimate image sharing - which sounds ahead of its time. But the handling of this storyline feels more dated than Peter’s recording equipment. Manny is drunk and in a bad place, when she lets the new boy, Peter, film her topless at a party. When she later rejects his advances, Peter takes it badly and sends the tape to the entire student body. He gets no real punishment while she has to do some apologizing. To make things worse, her best friend Emma starts sneaking around with the guy. Emma knows exactly what he did to Manny, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. This feels like a huge betrayal.
#8: Pacey & Joey’s Secret Relationship
“Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003)
Sneaking around was the order of the day in “Dawson’s Creek” Season 3 when Dawson’s two best friends began a secret liaison behind his back. Dawson and Joey had been set up from the beginning as the show’s star-crossed lovers. When she dumped him to go and find herself, Dawson asked Pacey to look out for her. But he wasn’t expecting true love to blossom. Although we can’t get enough of Joey and Pacey, it has to be said that they went about this totally the wrong way. They couldn’t tell Dawson the truth and he eventually found out through a third party. Although they all made up eventually, the friendship between the two boys was never quite the same again.
#7: Cassie Hooks Up With Nate
As you can tell from this list so far, the best friend and the boyfriend (or girlfriend) is an overused trope in teen dramas. But it shows no signs of disappearing. In Season Two of “Euphoria,” we saw another friendship destroyed when Cassie Howard had sex with Nate Jacobs. It was just three weeks and three days since her best friend’s break-up. Maddy’s relationship with Nate had been toxic, bordering on emotionally abusive. But Cassie went there anyway. Of course, the secret soon got out. The final confrontation between the girls got a bit physical but the worst part came afterward. Where they’d once been close as sisters, they were left estranged. And for what? Is Maddy’s parting shot a threat, or a warning?
#6: Mona Is Revealed as A
“Pretty Little Liars” (2010-17)
As “Pretty Little Liars”’ original “A,” Mona got the classic villain arc. Rejected by the popular crowd and mistreated by Allison, the Queen Bee, the nice girl turned to the dark side. Allison mysteriously disappeared, while Mona re-established herself with her old best friend, Hanna, and got popular. Then the threatening texts began to appear, signed simply “A.” Mona wasn’t always the Liars’ favorite person, but they never suspected her of stalking, kidnap and concocting evil plans. Hanna genuinely believed that Mona was in her corner, but all the time she was acting as her arch-nemesis.
#5: Julie Sleeps With Her Daughter’s Ex
“The O.C.” (2003-07)
Sleeping with your best friend’s ex is one thing. But starting an affair with your teenage daughter’s first love? Surely that’s a step too far. In time, Marissa and Luke’s relationship evolved into a friendship. But when he took up with her mother, he was definitely still the ex. Not only that, he was Marissa’s first long-term boyfriend and the person she lost her virginity to. It was a recent break-up, which ended when Luke cheated with Marissa’s friend. Clearly, Luke was also in the wrong. But he was still in school and Julie was a grown woman. Basically, everything about this was problematic.
#4: Damon Kills Lexi
“The Vampire Diaries” (2009-17)
He might be most people’s favorite Salvatore brother, but Damon has done a lot of bad things. Remember when he was abusing Caroline? Or that time he snapped Jeremy’s neck? Luckily for Damon, his friends are very liberal with their forgiveness and his brother Stefan is usually there to pick up the pieces. You’d think he’d have some boundaries when it came to Stefan. But no. And we’re not talking about the whole Elena thing. Lexi was Stefan’s best friend of many centuries, but her death proved useful in one of Damon’s evil plans, so he put a stake through her heart. It wasn’t very nice of him, but it shouldn’t be surprising, either.
#3: Chuck Trades Blair For A Hotel
“Gossip Girl” (2007-12)
Chuck and Blair were everybody’s favorite “Gossip Girl” couple. The mean girl and the bad boy seemed like a perfect match. But there was more to Blair than we first thought and as the series progressed we started wondering whether Chuck really deserved her. Blair had already been the victim of the show’s first big betrayal - when Serena slept with Nate, back at the very beginning. But this was worse. Chuck and Blair were in a long-term, committed and loving relationship, when he was forced to choose between his girlfriend and his hotel. And he chose the hotel. To save it, Chuck attempted to manipulate Blair into sleeping with his uncle, knowing that she’d do anything to help him out. It was pretty unforgivable.
#2: Dan Shoots Keith
“One Tree Hill” (2003-12)
Sibling bonds can be fraught with jealousy, but when Dan shot Keith in the hallway of Tree Hill High School, nobody saw it coming. Dan’s resentment towards his older brother had been building for years. Keith was married to Dan’s ex and raising Dan’s son, Lucas. When Dan’s own marriage fell apart and the son he raised himself filed for emancipation, his jealousy only increased. When a troubled student brings a gun to school, Keith tries to talk him out of killing himself. When he fails to save the boy, Dan approaches. He shoots his own brother in cold blood and lets the student take the fall. Although he later turns himself in to the police and is forgiven by Keith on his deathbed.
#1: Justin Does Nothing
“13 Reasons Why” (2017-20)
Justin Foley is the only person in the first season of “13 Reasons Why” to get two tapes. That’s because he doesn’t just betray Hannah, he also betrays Jessica. When Justin leaves Jessica alone and drunk at a party, Bryce goes in after him. Although Justin makes an attempt to stop the assault, he doesn’t try to get help. Afterward, when she’s struggling with flashbacks, he lies to Jess until it becomes too much to bear. Justin isn’t an evil person. But he’s part of a toxic high school culture, where the objectification of girls and young women is still rife and sexualized mistreatment is an increasingly prescient issue. “13 Reasons Why” shined a light on this, and the Hannah/Justin storyline was painfully effective.