“To make a great film you need three things—the script, the script and the script,” said the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The script is the backbone to visualising and understanding the layers upon layers of context required to glue a tale intricately together that evokes so much emotion in a viewer.
Unlike a book, where a reader’s physical relationship with pages over the course of a story is intimately heightened, a movie or TV show is different. We have nothing to touch or hold on to, and the only route the story has is through our minds. It has to make us feel close without a physical touch, and this is why the script becomes so important. We dove in to gather the clever moments in film and television where scriptwriters cleverly placed moments into the tapestry of story only to be understood years later by viewers. There may be spoilers!
The callback that got us crying bucketloads. Captain America was set out to fight Thanos’s army alone when Sam tunes into his earpiece and mirrors the phrase “on your left,” which refers to the scene in The Winter Soldier when Captain America teasingly sprints past Sam in the park training.
Walter White is rolling a barrel through a hot dry desert plane at the end of season five, and as the camera follows his sweaty progress he unknowingly rolls right past the pants that he lost in the pilot. A tiny detail that goes a long way.
Arguably one of the best series of all time, with many woven details in the script. To mention one; in season eight, Arya Stark watches an incoming crowd and sees The Hound who was once on her kill list, but having spent a long time together became companions. In season one, a much younger Arya excitedly tries to see who’s coming to visit Winterfell, and she sees The Hound on his horse, then, too.
As much tension we feel around J.K Rowling right now, let’s not forget the genius of Harry Potter. In Deathly Hallows Part two, Harry, Ron and Hermione fight the same creatures that they fought throughout the series, in exactly the same order that they appeared in the movies. Another fine detail to note is that in the Room of Requirement scene, you can see the knight that Ron rides in the first movie.
Seinfeld is a show built around stand-up comedy and one of the first TV series to regularly use callbacks. In the iconic scene of George getting lashed at for double dipping his chips, it comes around again a few episodes later in the season’s finale ‘The Pilot’ where George is seen double dipping his chips. No fucks given.
In the final scene of the series Lost, Jack is flat on his back looking up through palm fronds where Walt’s dog appears next to him. The beginning and ending perfectly mirror each other, but in reverse.
Right at the beginning of the movie Airplane, a passenger enters a taxi. The driver tells him to wait saying he’ll be right back, but the driver actually winds up getting on a plane and not coming back. The story continues but at moments throughout the story when the writer assumes viewers had forgotten about the passenger in the taxi, he reappears, still waiting.
In Modern Family, just like with Lost, the first and last scenes are mirrored. In the last scene of the last episode, Mitch and Cam are on a plane with their new child, cream puffs in hand. The first scene of the series shows Jay and Gloria at their son’s football game, both struggling to get out of their chairs.
Madison Montgomery returns in the show’s eighth season titled Apocalypse, repeating her iconic ‘Surprise Bitch’ scene from the third season, Coven.
In the series Arrested Development, “I’ve made a huge mistake” is the catchphrase that pops up again and again throughout the series.