19 Times TV Shows Brought Back Old Storylines


The Umbrella Academy finally remembered that Diego used to be a vigilante, but it took them two years.

TV shows tend to forget things from past seasons, leading to dropped storylines and unanswered questions that can be really frustrating.

But every once in a while, they randomly pick back up a storyline from seasons before, or make a nod to a disappeared character that tells us they didn’t actually forget. Sometimes, it’s just a little reference to the storyline, and sometimes, they fully pick it back up.

Here are 19 times TV shows finally seemed to remember old storylines, and either picked them back up, gave them some resolution, or just provided a cute nod to them:


Remember how Diego started out The Umbrella Academy as a vigilante? He was a much more serious character, and it seemed like this would be a major plot point, but then it was just sort of…dropped.

But not to worry! Because the show finally remembered the moment in the middle of Season 3, when Diego briefly mentions his past to Allison.


You probably want to forget, but I’m sure we all remember El’s sister Kali from that one Stranger Things episode everyone hates.

The writers smartly chose not to revisit the plot-line, but Kali did get a blink-and-you-miss-it reference two seasons after she appeared, when Henry briefly mentions a time when El and Eight (Kali) were growing up together:


Another character that essentially vanished into thin air was Seven from Married… with Children. He was introduced in Season 7, but then a few episodes later, it was like he’d never even existed.

Until a brief moment in Season 8, when you can see his face on the back of a milk carton. To me, this example is less cute than wildly creepy. It’s truly one of the weirdest TV mysteries ever.


Another character to essentially disappear was Rachel on One Tree Hill. After becoming a series regular in Season 4, it was weird not to have her in Season 5. She did come back for a few episodes, during which Brooke vowed to help her with her drug addiction. But then she stole money from Brooke for drugs and left.

And that was all we saw of her for two seasons!!! This was super frustrating because not only was she a main character, but it seemed extremely unlikely Brooke wouldn’t try harder to look for her after fighting so hard for her. She literally isn’t even mentioned for years. When she does come back, she apologizes to Brooke, but then that’s basically all we see of the Brooke/Rachel friendship that was so huge in Season 4.


Sometimes, it’s relationships that disappear. Like Cordelia and Wes, who had a thing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But when Wes showed up on Angel, becoming a series regular with Cordy, there was basically no reference to this fact. For seasons.

Until finally, Cordy and Wes are talking about his feelings for Fred, and Cordy finally brings up the fact that they once almost had a relationship. In Season 3, four years after their relationship first aired.


Another relationship that seemed to disappear was Caroline and Nick’s relationship on New Girl. They get back together at the end of Season 1 and plan to move in together.

Jess doesn’t think Nick should go, and tries to stop him, but Nick decides to do it anyways…until he shows up at the end of the episode, making it clear he’s changed his mind. Except there’s literally no mention of what happened between him and Caroline.

Until two seasons later, when Caroline randomly shows back up and asks Nick why he left. As the show liked to bring back exes, I suppose this wasn’t surprising, but it was weird Caroline went so long before being mentioned.


This one was more of a fun reference to an old storyline, but I always thought it was weird that after Shelby and Winston broke up on New Girl, she was literally never mentioned again — especially since the show did bring back a lot of other exes.

But in rewatching the show, I noticed she actually did get a quick reference in the same “Exes” episode when Caroline comes back.


Remember how Elena started out The Vampire Diaries always writing in her diary? Hence the name of the show? And then that just sort of…stopped?

Six years later, the writers seemed to remember their show was called The Vampire Diaries. In Season 7, they finally decided to bring diaries back, and have Caroline keep a journal so Elena knew what she’d missed when she woke up.

And Caroline did! For an episode. Then…it was quickly dropped again.


Another TVD storyline that was quickly glossed over was Damon compelling Caroline into a sexual relationship with him/basically being his blood bag. Which is pretty unforgivable.

But except for Caroline telling Damon he “sucks” when she remembers this upon becoming a vampire in Season 2, and a series-long coldness toward him, it’s never mentioned again. For years.

It’s finally brought it up in the show’s final season, when Caroline enters Damon’s mind and forgives him for what he did to her. Even then, it’s not mentioned explicitly.


That’s not the only time a show seemed primed to tackle a serious issue…before forgetting about it completely. In Gossip Girl, Blair’s bulimia was featured in one episode. It wasn’t even named. And then the show entirely forgot about it.

Until Season 4 — three years later — when Blair brings it up to Serena after Juliet drugs her. Still, she calls it her “problem.”

There’s also a Season 5 reference where Dan (and then Beatrice) thinks Blair is bulimic, but it’s played for humor.


Gossip Girl actually dropped quite a few storylines. Like that time Serena’s dad pretended her mom had cancer.

He literally flees from the police over this. Then he returns a year later, and A) Rufus is the only one who seems to remember what he did to Lily, and B) the fact that he should be on the run from the police is completely ignored.


One last Gossip Girl one — Poppy, Gabriel, and the Ponzi scheme. The whole plot goes pretty unresolved at the end of Season 2, when it’s interrupted by some Serena/Lily drama.

We do have an extremely brief reference to Georgina getting Dan’s money back and deporting Poppy, but it’s a pretty unsatisfying conclusion to the arc. Until it’s mentioned again four years/seasons later, when Poppy has a fashion line, and no one besides Blair seems to care that, like Serena’s dad, Poppy should be on the run from the law.

To give credit to the writers, both these storylines were mentioned extremely briefly by Eric in the Season 4 finale, in one of my favorite GG lines ever that clearly pokes fun at these wild storylines that we all forgot about.


One character who literally disappeared on a show was Marcie in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I’m less concerned with the fact that we didn’t see Marcie again than with the fact that an FBI unit using invisible people to commit assassinations was clearly introduced, then never mentioned again. Like, it’s established that this whole invisibility thing is a common occurrence that is exploited by the government. Then it’s forgotten…

…for six whole years. In Season 7, we do finally have it happen again, though it’s very brief and unresolved, as Buffy gets distracted with other resurfacing issues from earlier seasons.


Back to another big character who kind of disappeared on a show — Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy. While her character did leave town in her last episode (Season 6, Episode 12), it wasn’t expected that she’d never come back on the show. She was still a big part of numerous characters’ lives when she left.


Not only was the character dropped, but so was the storyline where she froze her eggs using Alex’s sperm. This was brought up in a Season 12 episode (seven seasons after it was last brought up) when Jo finds out about it.

The storyline is once again dropped…until Season 16, when both Izzie’s departure and the fate of her frozen eggs are resolved in a controversial storyline where Alex left to be with Izzie.


Sometimes, shows actually reference the fact that they completely forgot about a character. Boy Meets World did this a few times. One involved Morgan, Cory, and Eric’s joke-cracking little sister who disappeared after the Season 2 finale.

However, midway through Season 3, the show remembers her. Cory makes a funny reference to her, and she shows up again — played by a different actress.

Joking that she’s been in her room this whole time, she then becomes an important character on the show again.


The whole Mrs. Grunwald storyline on Pretty Little Liars was ridiculous, especially because PLL...wasn’t a supernatural show. And Mrs. Grunwald was a creepy psychic.

Luckily, they mostly dropped it after the supernatural spin-off Ravenswood failed…though they didn’t exactly give the storyline much closure. Then, randomly, three seasons later, Mrs. Grunwald shows up again to be creepy and leave town again.

Most notably, she gets a bloody nose when looking at Noel, which is pretty explicitly supernatural. Did this mean the show was embracing the supernatural again? Nope! It’s once again dropped for the rest of the show’s run.


A big focus of Ugly Betty Season 2 was Amanda’s search for her biological father, and her belief that it was Gene Simmons. However, it turns out he’s not her father, and the whole Amanda-looking-for-her-dad storyline kind of disappears.

Until the last moments of the second-to-last episode of the entire series two years later, when a quick moment reveals her dad to be Spencer Cannon. The storyline is hurriedly wrapped up in the series finale.


And finally, much like the infamous dropped storyline of Gendry sailing away on a boat, Game of Thrones Season 3 featured a prominent storyline that completely disappeared after that season: that of Osha and Rickon Stark.

After their story diverged from Bran’s, the two characters completely disappeared until Season 6. It was like there wasn’t even a youngest Stark. Until he’s captured by Ramsay and killed. Which is kind of underwhelming, since most of us had forgotten he existed and/or assumed he was already dead.

What other random storylines were dropped then picked back up again? Let us know in the comments!

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