From Walter White to Skeletor to Tony Soprano, the TV villain is the dark character we either love to hate or, for the more demented, just love. They are the antagonist (or in some cases the tragic hero) who enjoys spilling blood and causing mayhem whenever possible. Their actions are what define them. And damn it, seeing those insane, villainous moments on TV are a joy to watch. But who’s the baddest? What moment of villainy has topped the charts and gone to volume eleven? Our staff weighed in and remembered some explosive moments…
This one wasn’t close. It’s President Frank Underwood on Netflix’s House of Cards. He literally fits the job description of the devil.
Still to this day the explosion scene between Salamanca and Gus sends chills up my spine. Gus is, well, Gus. And that is terrifying within itself. Watching Salamanca take Gus down in such an epic way is something I YouTube pretty regularly. As Gus slowly walks out and straightens his tie as his skull shines through, I sit in amazement at one of the best season finales ever.
Grant Ward of Agents of SHIELD. My running joke with Ward is that he’s not just evil, he’s also a dick, and he has consistently proven me right. He’s shot people’s dates just to hurt their feelings, he’s mocked the people he’s had sex with about how he fooled them, he’s tortured people just to mess with the heads of somebody else… man, this guy is like a fractal a-hole. Everything you look at, if you zoom in, there’s even more a-holery inside of it.
Every Breaking Bad fan had that moment when they realized, “Hey, maybe rooting for Walter White isn’t the best way to use my emotional bandwidth!” For me, this turning point came when he let Jane die in Jesse’s bed, a moment even Bryan Cranston can hardly talk about without tearing up.
What’s the most you’ve ever been surprised by a TV character’s villainy?