If there’s one thing we’ve learned thus far from TV, it’s that if you want to make a dramatic exit and leave forever, the best way to do it is on a boat.
We’ve also learned that you should totally just turn around and come back immediately. Diamonds are forever; grand exits by boat are not.
Today, we learned that Sara on “Arrow” — who we thought had sailed away forever on a boat at the end of last season, bye Sara, bon voyage, etc. — will be back in the very first episode of this season. The second episode is literally called “Sara.” That’s how back she is. The Black Canary flies again, we guess.
Inspired by that revelation, we realized that, actually, most characters who are all “bye forever!” and hop onto rafts come back almost immediately. You know what they say: if you really love something, set it free, and then it’ll be like, nope, nevermind, and come right the hell back. Ahead, seven people who left on a boat forever, only to come back immediately, and one who kept his promise.
1. Seth Cohen, “The O.C.”
Remember Seth Cohen? The guy who created Christmukkuh but also ran away “like a little bitch on a sailboat, leaving nothing but a note for his girlfriend who cried over and over for him until the Fourth of July when she decided she doesn’t cry over bitches on boats.” (Those are jilted girlfriend Summer’s words, not ours.) Upon discovering that adopted bro/BFF Ryan had taken off, Seth hopped on the Summer Breeze and sailed for Tahiti…but ended up in Portland with Luke. Close enough. Of course, he then turns around and hops back to Newport when Ryan asks him to, because who can resist those
2. Pretty Much Anyone on “Lost”
At the end of the first season of “Lost,” Michael, Jin, Walt and Sawyer constructed a raft to escape the infuriating mystery island and its stupid hatch once and for all. Everyone lines up for a tearful farewell, but it’s not long before they’re accosted by the Others and their boat is seized. With the exception of Walt, who is kidnapped because he’s getting too tall (yeah, really), guess where the other three end up? Right back on that friggin’ island.
3. Gilligan, “Gilligan’s Island”
After three seasons of very nearly but not quite escaping the island, Gilligan and Co. are finally rescued in the made-for-TV movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island.” You would think that after literally dozens of episodes spent trying and failing trying to get to a dry piece of land, the castaways would steer far clear of boats. Nope! By the end of the movie, the crew has decided to assemble for a reunion cruise on the Minnow II, resulting in, you guessed it, a shipwreck on an uncharted island. Some people just never learn.
4. Jack Donaghy, “30 Rock”
In the finale of the long-running comedy, businessman/mentor/pal/”Most” Jack Donaghy realizes that despite his financial success in the world, he’s unhappy. While Liz watches, he steps over a precipice and hops on a boat, ready to sail off into the sunset. Bon voyage, Jack! Good luck finding yourself! Of course, he then immediately turns the boat around and demonstrates to Liz that he would be a fantastic model for yacht-related advertising.
5. Lucille, “Arrested Development”
The season 3 finale of Fox’s cult classic comedy series finds Bluth family matriarch Lucille hopping aboard the RMS Queen Mary, Hot Cops in tow, to flee the SEC. As one does. Watch out for loose seals, Lucille! However, as we learned in the Netflix miracle reincarnation of the show for a fourth season, Lucille fled — until hearing from Lucille 2, who called to make fun of her for being arrested. In a fit of sea rage, she turns that damn boat around. And then turns it over. As it turns out, steering a boat successfully is almost as hard as accurately imitating a chicken.
6. Sherlock, “Sherlock”
OK, so this one isn’t technically a boat, but where Benedict Cumberbatch is involved, we make exceptions. From this day forward, airplanes will be known as airboats. Remember when Sherlock was meant to be banished forever in the face of his crimes? That lasted four whole minutes. Sorry, guys, England needs him! Turn that plane around!
7. Andy, “The Office”
Andy’s impromptu Caribbean trip wasn’t meant to be a forever journey at first, but it really did start looking that way, didn’t it? Just when we thought our favorite Here Comes Treble singer was forever at sea, he came back, sunburned and still so obnoxious.
And one who did.
If we can make one assertion about hobbits, let it be this: They keep their promises. Master Frodo not only kept his word to destroy the Ring and hang out with Sam for a really long time and stuff, but when he said he was going on that elf boat to the Grey Havens, he got and he stayed gone. Good on you, Frodo. Go eat that elevensies treat. You’ve earned it.