As "Gotham" proved in a recent episode, eye gougings are never going out of style. Putting a thumb/pencil/screwdriver/etc. through a human being's eyeball is pretty much the number one way to gross out your audience (and make them irrationally cup their own eye as a strange means of protection), and with television content ratings as lax as ever -- thanks, "Walking Dead!" -- you can probably count on seeing them with your still-functioning peepers for years to come.
Below, our 9 favorite instances of televised eye removal. Thank you God for this wonderful opportunity.
Xander, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"
As my colleague says, Xander's (Nicholas Brendan) was a relatively straightforward eye gouging. Not a whole lot of flair. However, the giddy look on Nathan Fillion's face and the tragedy of the situation -- Xander was the only guy on "Buffy" with no powers, and you're going to take away his sight?! -- made it a moment to remember.
Jane Doe Nurse, "Hannibal"
"Hannibal" is so consistently disgusting -- and I mean that in the best possible way, because I love "Hannibal" -- that sometimes, the brutality of the deaths of non-major characters barely even registers. This was not the case with the murder of Dr. Gideon Abel's poor, innocent nurse, whose body was hideously desecrated before (and after) her untimely demise.
Rachel, "Orphan Black"BBC America
No one has ever deserved to lose an eye more than Rachel. Up yours, pro-clone.
Random Walker, "The Walking Dead"
This one didn't hurt as much because the eyes belonged to a poor soul that was already dead, but given Greg Nicotero's expert skill at making the gross seem awesome, it was a Daryl Dixon zombie kill for the ages.
Cordelia, "American Horror Story: Coven"
In a season relatively light on scares, Cordelia's recurring eye traumas were a gore-lover's highlight. After she had acid thrown in them -- which led to her being able to "see" in like, the third-eye type of way -- she got a new pair (via witchcraft), then stabbed those herself once her third-eye sight was lost. Sob.
Captain Turner, "Deadwood"HBO
Nicotero does it again -- only the master of gross prosthetics could pull off Dan Dority gouging Captain Turner's eye out, then Turner grabbing his cheek in horror as said eye dangled from his face in an old-school, Wild Wild West-style standoff. You know, just minus the guns.
The Governor, "The Walking Dead"
When I said no one deserved to get their eye gouged out more than Rachel, I meant "no one deserved to get their eye gouged out more than Rachel, besides for the Governor, of course." This was a well-earned, glorious moment for Michonne, who spent several episodes watching her best friend be slowly brainwashed by a man she knew to be evil right freaking away. Guess that's why she's still alive, while Andrea...
Fish Mooney, "Gotham"
Fish Mooney's eye situation was so over-the-top it was comical, but that didn't make it any less effective. Jada Pinkett-Smith sold the crap out of gouging her own eye out with a spoon and then stomping on it, which is a whole lot more than most actors can say.
Oberyn Martell, "Game of Thrones"
No disrespect to Jory Cassel, but Oberyn Martell had the best eye-gouging scene in "Game of Thrones" -- and TV -- history. Basically, if your heart doesn't hurt every time you see this, think about this, or read about this, then you are probably Cersei Lannister. The brutality of both of Oberyn's eyes being squished like grapes as the Mountain's thumbs pierced his brain was surely not lost on any viewers, especially since he had victory in the bag mere seconds before -- it was pride and vengeance that led to his (and his eyes') downfall.