TERRIBLE EVENT: Sydney comes back from being “dead” for two years and finds Vaughn married to another woman in “The Telling,” Season 2
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Syd’s life definitely gets worse before it gets better: Her dad is in jail, Sloane is a philanthropist (?!), she can’t remember jack about her two-year absence, and she keeps getting thrown into missions that force her to work with Vaughn. When sharing a kiss with your ex while you wait to be executed by a firing squad is a highlight of your month? Yeah, things are bleak.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Vaughn’s new wife is a bad guy! And he’s still in love with Sydney, anyway! Once Lauren is out of the picture, Syd and Vaughn pledge to take things slowly. But all it takes is one close call while on a mission to obliterate their restraint. If this train car’s a-rockin’…
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Authorized Personnel Only (Part I)” (Season 4, Episode 1) — Hulu
TERRIBLE EVENT: Booth confesses his love for Brennan (yes!) in Season 5’s “The Parts in the Sum of the Whole,” only to have her push him away (noooooo!)
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Life at the Jeffersonian is awkward for the forensic anthropologist and the FBI agent as they navigate this new terrain in their partnership, and it doesn’t get any easier when Booth starts dating journalist Hannah, who quickly moves in with him. And when a rain-soaked Brennan tearfully confesses that she’s ready to love Booth, it becomes clear that he’s moved on. “I missed my chance,” she sobs.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Hannah turns down Booth’s proposal. Booth and Brennan have a newfound closeness in the wake of Vincent’s death. And by the end of the season, they’re happily expecting their first child. (Seriously, the look on Booth’s face when he hears the news could light the darkest night.)
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “The Change in the Game” (Season 6, Episode 23), “The Prisoner in the Pipe” (Season 7, Episode 7), “The Woman in White” (Season 9, Episode 6) — Netflix
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
TERRIBLE EVENT: Buffy dies in “The Gift,” Season 5
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? The Chosen One’s grieving friends band together to keep the town safe from vampires and other forms of evil. The Buffy Bot is employed to throw baddies off the scent. Willow performs a spell that brings her pal back to life, though there’s definitely an adjustment period afterward. (Spike? Really?)
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: The stellar musical episode “Once More With Feeling” grew out of Buffy’s pain. And she eventually rallies to lead a new generation of slayers and save the world. A lot. Again.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Once More With Feeling” (Season 6, Episode 7), “Chosen” (Season 7, Episode 2) — Netflix
TERRIBLE EVENT: Beckett gets shot in “Knockout,” Season 3
THEN WHAT HAPPENS?: After being felled by a sniper at Captain Montgomery’s funeral, Beckett is cradled by Rick, who lets loose with those three not-so-little words — “I love you.” In the Season 4 premiere, Kate survives surgery yet has no recollection of her partner’s declaration. (Or does she?)
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Kate in fact suffered no memory loss, so she spends much of Season 4 juggling her feelings for Rick. Ultimately, after spending a day handcuffed to each other (and then visiting the 1940s)… consummation!
WATCH THIS TO FEEL BETTER: Castle and Hulu recently went Splitsville, but Season 4’s (ahem) climactic “Always” sequence can be found here.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
TERRIBLE EVENT: Coach Taylor gets fired in “Tomorrow Blues,” Season 3
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Coach heads to crosstown rival East Dillon and patiently sets about bringing their rundown football program back to respectability. Meanwhile, his old squad West Dillon is handed over to arrogant quarterback J.D. McCoy and his detestable dad Joe.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: The move to East Dillon introduces us to a new cast of characters, including talented quarterback Vince Howard, played by future superstar Michael B. Jordan. And East Dillon edges out West Dillon in Season 4 to keep them out of the playoffs, and goes on to win State in Season 5. Go Lions!
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Thanksgiving” (Season 4, Episode 13), “Always” (Season 5, Episode 13) — Netflix
TERRIBLE EVENT: Luke and Lorelai break up after she issues a marriage ultimatum and then sleeps with Christopher in “The Long Morrow,” Season 7
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Lorelai has some emotional breakthroughs about her relationship with her parents (good!), elopes with Christopher during a trip to Paris (quelle horreur!). They divorce. Lorelai sings “I Will Always Love You” at karaoke, and Luke just happens to be there when she does.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: In order to make sure Rory’s Yale graduation party goes smoothly despite some rain, Luke works overtime to sew together a tent that covers Stars Hollow’s entire central square. He later confesses that he did so because he wanted to see Lorelai happy, and they kiss.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Bon Voyage” (Season 7, Episode 22) — Netflix
TERRIBLE EVENT: Callie’s decision to move to New York with girlfriend Penny — and daughter Sofia — sends Mom No. 2 Arizona to a lawyer’s office in “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” Season 12
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? After the divorcées put their friends and colleagues in the impossible position of picking sides and testifying during a nasty custody battle, Callie is shattered when the judge rules in Arizona’s favor.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Only two episodes later, Robbins shocks Torres by dropping on her a pair of plane tickets and a revelation: She’s decided that “Sofia deserves to have two happy moms,” so she is giving her former wife her blessing to move East with their little girl. “Let’s all be happy,” Arizona says.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Family Affair” (Season 12, Episode 24) — Netflix
LAW & ORDER: SVU
TERRIBLE EVENT: Stabler leaves the unit — and Benson — for good in “Scorched Earth,” Season 13
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? We’re not gonna lie: Watching Liv sob after hearing about the departure of her longtime partner (and, some would argue, secret love) is agonizing. And she has a few really bad days at work (cough William Lewis cough) not too long after.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: But Olivia eventually gets a promotion and becomes a mom to Noah, her adopted son. “I have a family,” she proudly tells Det. Amaro on the eve of his own goodbye.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Surrendering Noah” (Season 16, Episode 23) — Hulu
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
TERRIBLE EVENT: Simmons gets sucked into the Kree stone in “S.O.S.,” Season 2
THEN WHAT HAPPENS?: FitzSimmons ‘shippers would have to sweat out several episodes to finally lay witness to Simmons’ new existence, stranded on the far-off planet Maveth, in the episode “4,722 Hours.” But even that was cold comfort, as we learned she eventually rocked the cot with (possessed) spaceman Will.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Things were tepid ‘tween Leo and Jemma even after he bravely retrieved her through a portal, but a heated quarrel ignited into something more when he finally pulled his longtime colleague into a clinch.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Many Heads, One Tale” (Season 3, Episode 8) features the aforementioned impetuous liplock. — Netflix
TERRIBLE EVENT: The X-Files is shut down, and Mulder and Scully’s office is set on fire— destroying all of their work — in “The End,” Season 5
THEN WHAT HAPPENS? Ugh, so much bad stuff. Spender and Fowley and Black Oil Marita Covarrubias and poor little Gibson Praise and Mulder’s abduction and Scully’s pregnancy.
TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD: Well, at least the work eventually continues. And by the time Scully gives birth, Mulder is alive and back on Earth in time to witness his kid’s entrance into the world.
STREAM THIS TO FEEL BETTER: “Triangle” (Season 6, Episode 3); “Dreamland (Parts I and II)” (Season 6, Episodes 4 and 5), “Existence” (Season 8, Episode 21) — Netflix