17 Times TV Shows Brought Up A Past Thing They Forgot

One Tree Hill really forgot about the Burning Boat Festival then tried to bring in back in Season 9 like it’d been there all along.

Some TV shows go on for many, many seasons, and it’s understandable that once-important plotlines or characters just get kind of…forgotten. Still, it can be really annoying for the viewer.

But every once in a while, a show picks an old plotline back up and gives us a little hint about it, or some closure. I love when shows do this, even though it’s pretty obvious they forgot about that plotline for entire seasons.

Here are 17 forgotten characters and storylines that ended up coming back longggg after they had clearly been forgotten.


First, I gotta go with one of my favorites, because it was just so meme-able. Remember when Gendry sailed off in the Season 3 finale of Game of Thrones?

It seemed like Gendry had just disappeared off the face of the planet (along with the storyline that he was a Baratheon), but then he popped up again in Season 7 — and the show even made a reference to fans who joked Gendry was in the boat that whole time!

Gendry works with the characters and survives right up until the end, and is even legitimized as head of House Baratheon. He’s even there when Bran’s voted king. And he has a brief romance with Arya, though she turns down his marriage proposal. After years of being forgotten, we finally got some closure.


Another character that was forgotten about was Minkus in Boy Meets World. He was a pretty significant character in Season 1, but then he just…wasn’t in the show anymore when Season 2 began.

ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

But in the Season 5 finale, when our main characters were graduating, Minkus made his return — he runs into Shawn and Corey, who are talking about how this is a chance to say goodbye to people they’ve lost touch with.

Minkus says that it’s like they haven’t been in the same school for the past four years, a fun in-joke for everyone who noticed his blatant absence from the show.


This scene also makes a reference to Mr. Turner, who was Corey and Shawn’s teacher but also sort of disappeared…

Craig Sjodin / TV Guide / ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection

…by having Minkus call out for Mr. Turner offscreen then run off to talk to him.


One Tree Hill has a lottt of these — which makes sense for a nine-season show. Probably the most egregious is the Burning Boat festival, which was introduced as a yearly thing that would probably show up every season…then was promptly forgotten about until eight seasons later, when it was brought up like it’d been happening and our characters had been attending yearly the whole time.

Haley also mentions a Season 1 scene in which she lied to Lucas about tutoring Nathan while at the Burning Boat Festival.

It’s a cute throwback to one of the first episodes of the show (during one of the last episodes of the show), but I still think it’s funny that it was literally not mentioned for eight seasons.


Another One Tree Hill example is a character disappearance — Jimmy Edwards. Edwards had appeared in the show’s pilot as one of the river court guys and Mouth’s best friend, but a few episodes later, he disappeared completely…

…until the time capsules were released to everyone in Season 3, and Jimmy’s was basically a rant against the whole school.

This character disappearance was actually addressed and became a plot point, driving the school shooting storyline. Turns out Lucas and Mouth had actually kind of forgotten about him, too (though as Mouth later says, it was actually Jimmy who didn’t want to hang out).


Onto a more positive OTH one — Tim disappeared after Season 3, and Bevin disappeared after Season 4. Their existence seemed totally forgotten…until they both appeared briefly and separately in Season 5, and we discovered that they were married with a son.

And then Bevin randomly showed up again in Season 9, and was even in the time jump scene at the end at Jamie’s game!

The CW

Poor Tim ended up completely forgotten again, though.


Similarly, the character of Ty Collins completely disappeared after the first season of 90210, despite being a kind of big part of the season and the father of Adrianna’s baby.

He didn’t even show up when Ade was trying to get custody of their kid. But then the show remembered him exclusively for a dream episode, in which Annie imagined a life where she’d stayed in Kansas, and Ty was still in everyone’s life.

The CW

This was very weird to me — of all people, why bring back Ty? The writers had clearly forgotten about him then randomly remembered him one day, so they just threw him in for kicks.


Probably the most satisfying example of this trope comes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. All the way back in Season 2, Buffy memorably had to kill her boyfriend Angel after he spent half a season as his evil, soulless alter ego, Angelus. Moments before she killed him, his soul was restored, but it was too late, and Buffy had to go through with it anyways.

Angel’s soul was restored by budding witch, Willow — in fact, Willow asked Xander to go tell Buffy she was going to do a spell to restore his soul so that Buffy might be able to stall and hold off on killing Angelus until the spell worked. Except Xander, who hated Angel, decided not to tell Buffy after all.

It was a pretty major mistake on Xander’s part, considering Willow’s spell works and Buffy never got the message. And yet…no one ever finds out about his lie! It seemed like the show forgot about it. UNTIL the final season (five seasons later), when it comes up in an argument, and Buffy reminds Xander of what he said. It’s a bit hard to tell, but it seems Buffy knows by now that Xander kept it from her — though Willow didn’t.

The WB

I still feel like Xander should’ve gotten more shit for doing this. They pretty immediately move on.


One more Buffy one — Amy. She turns herself into a rat in Season 3, Episode 11. Buffy and Willow can’t turn her back at the end of the episode, and that’s all we see/hear of her for a long, long time.

Besides a few appearances of Willow having a pet rat, it seems like the show forgot about her. But then in Season 4, Willow briefly, accidentally turns Amy human again for a second, but then she turns her back.

Then she’s basically forgotten again until Season 6 when Willow all of a sudden decides to try turning her human again. But at this point…she’s been a powerful witch for a long time. And she only thought of doing this? Definitely feels like it should’ve happened earlier.


Another character disappearance: Marnò played Roxanne Majidi, Elizabeth’s stylist and image consultant in the pilot of Madam Secretary. But despite having an office in the state department building, she promptly disappeared…for five seasons.

Then she’s randomly back in Season 6 as if she’s been there the whole time — though Elizabeth does acknowledge that Ali usually helps dress her.


Another character to appear in the pilot and then disappear was Raisa on Arrow. She was the queen’s housekeeper and seemed pretty close to Oliver when he returned home, but she was promptly gone by the next episode.

Five seasons later, in the Season 6 premiere, she was back, taking care of Oliver’s son, William. But then…she disappeared for another seventeen episodes, even though she was clearly William’s main caretaker besides Oliver.

The CW

When she comes back, Oliver thanks her for coming on short notice, and she says she’s used to it…but why wasn’t she there for all the episodes in between? The show would just randomly remember her then forget her again.


One more character who appeared in the pilot only to disappear…Josh Wilson on Weeds. There’s a whole storyline about him dealing weed to children and having an affair with an older man, but then he disappears. Even though he’s Doug’s son!!!

Doug seems to remember he exists in Season 4 and mentions him a few times. He’s also briefly mentioned in Season 6 when it’s explained he moved to Chicago…five seasons after he first disappeared.

He finally returns in the series finale, and is even in the final scene. Still…that doesn’t really excuse his absence.

Michael Desmond / Showtime / Courtesy Everett Collection


One episode in The Vampire Diaries Season 1 that sticks out is the one containing the Miss Mystic Falls pageant, which is established as an annual thing.

It happens again the next year — with Caroline, as the reigning Miss Mystic Falls, returning to help out — but then it’s forgotten about for the remainder of the show, despite multiple years passing. It’s not until the last season, Season 8, that Caroline suddenly seems to describe Miss Mystic Falls as an annual duty that she helps out with.

The episode also throws it back to Damon and Elena’s dance from Season 1, which has only been mentioned once since. The writers were getting realllll nostalgic in Season 8.


Coach was introduced as a main character and roommate when New Girl began, but the next episode he was gone, with very little explanation.


He was replaced by Winston, and while it was established that Winston and Coach knew each other (and the show explained why Winston was moving back in), it was never explained why Coach left.

He isn’t mentioned for multiple seasons, then all of a sudden in Season 3, the characters mention him as if he’s their friend the whole time, and he comes back. Winston does make a flimsy excuse for his seasons-long absence, but it’s still a little jarring. “Coach, our old roommate?” also felt like a line inserted to make the viewers go, “Ohhhhh, yeah, I remember that guy!”


Another New Girl example comes in Season 2, when Russel runs into Nick and Jess on their first date and asks them both to write down what they think their situation-ship is on the back of valet cards. He then refuses to show them, takes them, and walks off — and we never find out what they say.

Until the show randomly remembered this happening in the final season (five seasons later). Russel shows up on Jess and Nick’s wedding day, and somehow still has the valet cards in his pocket. And we finally got to see what they said (though it was a bit disappointing).


In Skins Series 1 and 2, Tony and Effy’s relationship was a huge part of the show. But when Effy became a main character in Series 3 and 4, Tony was basically forgotten.

As was the fact that he’d been hit by a bus in Season 1 and got brain damage — which Effie had to witness.

Until Series 4, when Effy walks by the place Tony was hit, and it contributes to her breakdown — and served as Gen 2’s first and only, to my memory, mention of Tony, Effy having a brother, or Tony’s accident. It was like the show just remembered it for that one episode.


I always thought Tony should’ve come back during Effy’s breakdown. The Tony I knew 100% would’ve.


And finally, one of the most memorable moments of Breaking Bad was when Walt let Jane overdose.

It was a huge moment for Walt, and a big secret from Jesse, and we keep expecting it to come up and be revealed. But…it doesn’t. Not until the final episodes, when Jesse is about to be taken away and Walt decides at the last minute to bring it up. While I love the drama of this scene, it does feel very random and just kind of forced in, because the writers wanted to bring it back at some point.

That’s all I got for ya today! What other characters and storylines were clearly forgotten about in a show, but then ended up being brought back seasons later? Let us know in the comments!

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