History Main / ShootTheMessenger

19th Mar '17 11:49:52 AM Lopiny
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* ''Webcomic/GenocideMan'': At one point, the head of the Genocide Project, Kevin (who is also [[SuperSoldier a Genocide Man himself]]), killed a scientist with his bare hands for bringing him bad news before tea, with Lola only finding out when she asks why exactly they're taking vital strategic information to her instead. [[spoiler:This is the last straw for her, and she decided Kevin had [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness outlived his usefulness]], taking him out immediately afterwards]].
15th Mar '17 10:15:44 AM dmcreif
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* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Russian gang, Anatoly and Vladimir Ranskahov decide to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off by this intrusion of his privacy that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.

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* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen Matt Murdock causing problems for the Russian gang, Anatoly and Vladimir Ranskahov decide to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off by this intrusion of his privacy that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.
25th Feb '17 8:37:17 PM FurryKef
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* With the Extended DLC for ''Videogame/MassEffect3'', if you shoot [[spoiler:the Catalyst]], it answers back in a booming voice "SO BE IT" and decides that you have rejected it's choices, thus causing what is functionally an "ending" that is functionally a NonStandardGameOver.

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* With the Extended DLC for ''Videogame/MassEffect3'', if you shoot [[spoiler:the Catalyst]], it answers back in a booming voice "SO BE IT" and decides that you have rejected it's its choices, thus causing what is functionally an "ending" that is functionally a NonStandardGameOver.
25th Feb '17 8:12:34 PM FurryKef
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* Vlad III of Wallachia (better known as {{Dracula}}) once recieved some Ottoman emmisaries, who due to their religion, refused to remove their turbans. He made certain they could never take them off; nailing them to their heads.

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* Vlad III of Wallachia (better known as {{Dracula}}) once recieved received some Ottoman emmisaries, who due to their religion, refused to remove their turbans. He made certain they could never take them off; nailing them to their heads.
11th Jan '17 6:19:48 AM dmcreif
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* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Russian gang, Anatoly and Vladimir Ranskahov decide to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.

to:

* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Russian gang, Anatoly and Vladimir Ranskahov decide to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off by this intrusion of his privacy that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.
6th Jan '17 9:28:20 AM ChronoLegion
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* In ''Film/ThreeHundred'', King Leonidas and the Spartans execute a Persian messenger and his armed escort for insulting their kingdom while bringing Xerxes' demand for "earth and water" as a token of submission to the empire, telling him that he'll find plenty of both down in the well, where they then proceed to throw them down. Which is kicked off (literally) by [[MemeticMutation Leonidas yelling "This! Is! SPARTA!"]] The best part? The real Leonidas ''actually did this''.

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* In ''Film/ThreeHundred'', King Leonidas and the Spartans execute a Persian messenger and his armed escort for insulting their kingdom while bringing Xerxes' demand for "earth and water" as a token of submission to the empire, telling him that he'll find plenty of both down in the well, where they then proceed to throw them down. Which is kicked off (literally) by [[MemeticMutation Leonidas yelling "This! Is! SPARTA!"]] The best part? The real Leonidas ''actually did this''. Leonidas did give him a fair warning, though, pointing out that he may be a messenger, but, in Sparta, each man is responsible for his own words.
2nd Jan '17 6:44:30 AM dmcreif
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* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Ranskahovs, Anatoly decides to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.

to:

* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Ranskahovs, Russian gang, Anatoly decides and Vladimir Ranskahov decide to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.
19th Dec '16 10:53:55 AM Luigifan
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By the way, remember when we told the worst part was bringing your master some bad news? [[ILied We lied]]. ''The'' worst is bringing ''someone else'' a message from your master. Such as an ultimatum. The recipient is guaranteed to reply "ScrewYourUltimatum" in a non-ambiguous way, and by "non-ambiguous", we mean by [[DecapitationPresentation sending your head back]]. [[CaptainObvious Without the rest of your body]]. Also note that even the "good guys" might do this, especially {{Anti Hero}}es. Its depressing regularity in the ancient world led to the first rule of international law: Diplomatic Immunity. In the end, everyone (even UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan, who destroyed ''multiple empires'') thought it was just a little unfair to the messengers. In fact, Genghis Khan wiped out one of those empires ''because'' they killed some of his messengers.

When villains do this, it is generally done as a subtrope of YouHaveFailedMe and BearerOfBadNews, and is a way to KickTheDog by [[OffingTheAnnoyance killing the person who annoys you despite their innocence]]. When heroes do this (to enemy diplomats, NEVER their own servants), it's because [[WhatMeasureIsAMook the messenger was a bad guy anyway]], so why not [[ValuesDissonance murder him]]? Some shows make the messenger look and act particularly [[AssholeVictim evil]] and threaten the characters with death or worse, to avoid the negative aspects of this trope. He may even psychologically torment and provoke them by showing them what happened to those who said no.

And because of what we said earlier about how even anti-heroes may get in on the act, if you're in a story featuring BlackAndGreyMorality do whatever it takes to get out of delivering a message. If you do wind up having to deliver some bad news or an ultimatum in such a work, your life expectancy is probably slightly shorter than that of a guy standing on top of skyscraper in a thunderstorm who's also saying "[[TemptingFate What's the worst that could happen]]?" Guys, the messengers are coming in ''peace.''

to:

By the way, remember when we told the worst part was bringing your master some bad news? [[ILied We lied]]. ''The'' worst is bringing ''someone else'' a message from your master. Such as an ultimatum. The recipient is guaranteed to reply "ScrewYourUltimatum" in a non-ambiguous way, and by "non-ambiguous", we mean by [[DecapitationPresentation sending your head back]]. [[CaptainObvious Without the rest of your body]]. Also note that even the "good guys" might do this, especially {{Anti Hero}}es. Its depressing regularity in the ancient world led to the first rule of international law: Diplomatic Immunity. In the end, everyone (even UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan, who destroyed ''multiple empires'') thought it was just a little unfair to the messengers. In fact, Genghis Khan wiped out one of those empires ''because'' ''[[RoaringRampageOfRevenge because]]'' they killed some of his messengers.

When villains do this, it is generally done as a subtrope of YouHaveFailedMe and BearerOfBadNews, and is a way to KickTheDog by [[OffingTheAnnoyance killing the person who annoys you despite their innocence]]. When heroes do this (to enemy diplomats, NEVER their own servants), it's because [[WhatMeasureIsAMook the messenger was a bad guy anyway]], so why not [[ValuesDissonance murder him]]? Some shows make the messenger look and act particularly [[AssholeVictim evil]] and threaten the characters with death or worse, to avoid the negative aspects of this trope. He may even psychologically torment and provoke them by showing them [[MakeAnExampleOfThem what happened to those who said no.

no]].

And because of what we said earlier about how even anti-heroes may get in on the act, if you're in a story featuring BlackAndGreyMorality BlackAndGreyMorality, do whatever it takes to get out of delivering a message. If you do wind up having to deliver some bad news or an ultimatum in such a work, your life expectancy is probably slightly shorter than that of a guy standing on top of skyscraper in a thunderstorm who's also saying "[[TemptingFate What's the worst that could happen]]?" Guys, the messengers are coming in ''peace.''



Not to be confused with PleaseShootTheMessenger, where the recipient is actively instructed by the message to kill the person who delivered it. AggressiveNegotiations may well include this trope as part of said "negotiations". Overlap with OffingTheAnnoyance is likely. Compare OffingTheMouth, which would be something like "Shoot the DeadpanSnarker". Contrast MookDepletion where the villain can only afford to have one messenger.

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Not to be confused with PleaseShootTheMessenger, where the recipient is actively instructed by the message to kill the person who delivered it. AggressiveNegotiations may well include this trope as part of said "negotiations". Overlap with OffingTheAnnoyance is likely. Compare OffingTheMouth, which would be something like "Shoot the DeadpanSnarker". Contrast MookDepletion MookDepletion, where the villain can only afford to have one messenger.



* A running theme for years was goons working for ComicBook/TheKingpin were in mortal fear of having to deliver bad news to their boss as Wilson Fisk was infamous for killing anyone at the slightest provocation.

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* A running theme for years was goons working for ComicBook/TheKingpin were in mortal fear of having to deliver bad news to their boss boss, as Wilson Fisk was infamous for killing anyone at the slightest provocation.



* In issue 10 of the IDW ''ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}'' series, Wimpy goes to tell Popeye that Olive Oyl and Toar may be having an affair, but before he can do so, Popeye, who was earlier blown off by Toar and Olive, says, "Lissen-- I ain't got no '''pals''' an' I ain't got no '''sweetie!''' An' th' next swab what brings me '''bad news''' is goner get a '''punch in the kisser!'''" Wimpy wisely chooses not to say anything.

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* In issue 10 of the IDW ''ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}'' series, Wimpy goes to tell Popeye that Olive Oyl and Toar may be having an affair, but before he can do so, Popeye, who was earlier blown off by Toar and Olive, says, "Lissen-- "Lissen -- I ain't got no '''pals''' an' I ain't got no '''sweetie!''' An' th' next swab what brings me '''bad news''' is goner get a '''punch in the kisser!'''" Wimpy wisely chooses not to say anything.



** Parodied in an early strip. Prior to giving his presentation, one of Dilbert's superiors assures him that they "don't shoot the messenger". Dilbert then proceeds to tell them the bad news that their idea is doomed to failure with BrutalHonesty, adding that they will probably be mocked for their stupidity and fired. One of them actually ''pulls out a machinegun'' begging to be allowed to wing Dilbert, but is reminded that they [[ExactWords "don't shoot the messenger"]]. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Instead, they tar and feather him.]]

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** Parodied in an early strip. Prior to giving his presentation, one of Dilbert's superiors assures him that they "don't shoot the messenger". Dilbert then proceeds to tell them the bad news that their idea is doomed to failure with BrutalHonesty, adding that they will probably be mocked for their stupidity and fired. One of them actually ''pulls out a machinegun'' machine gun'' begging to be allowed to wing Dilbert, but is reminded that they [[ExactWords "don't shoot the messenger"]]. [[CrowningMomentOfFunny Instead, they tar and feather him.]]



** King Vegeta, meanwhile, kills his messenger out of annoyance when he feels the messenger gave a smart mouth, MathematiciansAnswer to a question King Vegeta asked.

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** King Vegeta, meanwhile, kills his messenger out of annoyance when he feels the messenger gave a smart mouth, smart-mouth, MathematiciansAnswer to a question King Vegeta asked.



'''Butarega:''' ...[[KillEmAll Yes]].\\

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'''Butarega:''' ...[[KillEmAll Yes]].\\Yes.]]\\



* ''Fanfic/TheSunSoul'': [[spoiler:In chapter 22, during the Celadon Civil War, Mayor Vicar sends a messenger to Princess Erika's side, telling them to surrender. If Erika's side loses, there will be no mercy for them - so they had better surrender now while they still can. Brock, on Erika's side, steps forward, yells 'IF!', and signals his army to attack. The messenger ends up with two big ugly arrows protruding through his chest, promptly falls off his Rapidash, and dies.]] Quite literally a case of Shoot the Messenger.

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* ''Fanfic/TheSunSoul'': [[spoiler:In chapter 22, during the Celadon Civil War, Mayor Vicar sends a messenger to Princess Erika's side, telling them to surrender. If Erika's side loses, there will be no mercy for them - -- so they had better surrender now while they still can. Brock, on Erika's side, steps forward, yells 'IF!', and signals his army to attack. The messenger ends up with two big ugly arrows protruding through his chest, promptly falls off his Rapidash, and dies.]] Quite literally a case of Shoot the Messenger.



** In this case not only was there no actual shooting, but also the messenger was more of an informant who got punished for breaking the same rules he snitched about.

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** In this case case, not only was there no actual shooting, but also the messenger was more of [[TheStoolPigeon an informant informant]] who got punished for breaking the same rules he snitched about.



* Although, movie-wise, they're both WhatCouldHaveBeen scenarios, ''Film/BatmanReturns'' had two opportunities for the Penguin (Danny [=DeVito=]) to apply this trope - first as a double subversion, then as an aversion - in a pair of deleted scenes. [[AllThereInTheManual Both scenes did manage to make their way into the official DC Comics adaptation of the movie.]] First, when the Organ Grinder's monkey brings him a note as he's wondering why all the firstborn children he's had his gang kidnap haven't shown up:

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* Although, movie-wise, they're both WhatCouldHaveBeen scenarios, ''Film/BatmanReturns'' had two opportunities for the Penguin (Danny [=DeVito=]) to apply this trope - -- first as a double subversion, then as an aversion - -- in a pair of deleted scenes. [[AllThereInTheManual Both scenes did manage to make their way into the official DC Comics adaptation of the movie.]] First, when the Organ Grinder's monkey brings him a note as he's wondering why all the firstborn children he's had his gang kidnap haven't shown up:



-->'''Thin Clown:''' ''[pointing to the monkey]'' Boss - I think he's got a note!

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-->'''Thin Clown:''' ''[pointing to the monkey]'' Boss - -- I think he's got a note!



-->'''Penguin:''' " 'Dear Penguin: The children regret they're unable to attend. Have a disappointing day.' - Batman"

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-->'''Penguin:''' " 'Dear "'Dear Penguin: The children regret they're unable to attend. Have a disappointing day.' - -- Batman"



-->'''Poodle Lady:''' Um, funny thing. Your penguins - they're not responding to the launch command. 'Fact, they're kind of turned around now, like someone jammed our signal.

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-->'''Poodle Lady:''' Um, funny thing. Your penguins - -- they're not responding to the launch command. 'Fact, they're kind of turned around now, like someone jammed our signal.



* Justified in the 1997 adaptation of ''Film/{{Ivanhoe}}'' when the recipient realises that it's politically expedient to pretend he never received the message in the first place. The messenger tries to avert his fate by [[HaveYouToldAnyoneElse asserting that his master awaits his safe return.]] He dies anyway.

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* Justified in the 1997 adaptation of ''Film/{{Ivanhoe}}'' when the recipient realises realizes that it's politically expedient to pretend he never received the message in the first place. The messenger tries to avert his fate by [[HaveYouToldAnyoneElse asserting that his master awaits his safe return.]] return]]. He dies anyway.



* This is an old trope, that appears in medieval literature. For example, in the ''Beatrix'' version of the old french chanson de geste ''La Naissance du chevalier au cygne'' (12th century), the evil crone Matabrune, infuriated by the bad news brought to her by a spy, merely a young boy, kills him with her knife in front of her disapproving court.

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* This is an old trope, trope that appears in medieval literature. For example, in the ''Beatrix'' version of the old french French chanson de geste ''La Naissance du chevalier au cygne'' (12th century), the evil crone Matabrune, infuriated by the bad news brought to her by a spy, merely a young boy, kills him with her knife in front of her disapproving court.



** And in Stirling's ''Literature/{{In The Courts of the Crimson Kings}}'' an OrganicTechnology InstantMessengerPigeon buries its head under its wing in fear after noticing the Emperor's displeasure, having retained genetic memories of what can happen to the bearer of bad tidings.

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** And in Stirling's ''Literature/{{In The Courts of the Crimson Kings}}'' Kings}}'', an OrganicTechnology InstantMessengerPigeon buries its head under its wing in fear after noticing the Emperor's displeasure, having retained genetic memories of what can happen to the bearer of bad tidings.



* This is taken to the next level in the backstory of ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion''; a crazy enemy general tells the messengers that one of them will have to kill the other. [[TheHero Cazaril]] refuses to take part, denying the villain his fun, but the other messenger, Dondo, tries to go through with it. The general stops it, and releases them both, knowing that Dondo's frantic attempts to hide the truth of his cowardice will do more to Cazaril than he could.

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* This is taken to the next level in the backstory of ''Literature/TheCurseOfChalion''; a crazy enemy general tells the messengers that one of them will have to kill the other. [[TheHero Cazaril]] refuses to take part, denying the villain his fun, but the other messenger, Dondo, [[DirtyCoward Dondo]], tries to go through with it. The general stops it, and releases them both, knowing that Dondo's frantic attempts to hide the truth of his cowardice will do more to Cazaril than he could.



** Towards the end of ''Literature/RiseOfTheHorde'', one of Thrall's human spies arrives to Orgrimmar to bring news of the arrival of the draenei. While pondering the (terrible) news, Thrall notices that the man is shaking in fear and realises he is afraid of getting killed. He orders his guards to get him food and water while musing about how unwise killing messengers is for it only causes people to hide the bad news until too late. Granted Thrall isn't a villain but most orcs [[FantasticRacism are seen as such]] by humans.

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** Towards the end of ''Literature/RiseOfTheHorde'', one of Thrall's human spies arrives to Orgrimmar to bring news of the arrival of the draenei. While pondering the (terrible) news, Thrall notices that the man is shaking in fear and realises he is afraid of getting killed. He orders his guards to get him food and water while musing about how unwise killing messengers is is, for it only causes people to hide the bad news until too late. Granted Granted, Thrall isn't a villain villain, but most orcs [[FantasticRacism are seen as such]] by humans.



* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''

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* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'':



* Chevette Washington, a bicycle messenger in Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/BridgeTrilogy'', mentions this trope frequently. She's never shot, but she clarifies that the basic idea--blaming a messenger for her message--is true.
* In ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'' Prince Harold is killed for delivering the message that his sister the queen intended her country remain neutral. By the [[MoralDissonance good guys]], of course. And his half-sister thanked her allies for doing it, because they can't show mercy to their "enemies".
* In one of Creator/StephenKing's more down-to-earth short stories, a rival gang leader sends a messenger to insult another's gang leader by taunting his sister (who's obese) so they can draw him out. The messenger is obviously scared to the point of tears while saying 'yo mama' jokes right in the man's face, but luckily is not killed. The gang leader still got himself killed rushing recklessly into the open to kill the sender (which prompts his sister to go on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge. Subverting the trope further, said obese sister later gets revenge on the message sender himself by killing him slowly with a [[EyeScream metal wire through the eye.]]

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* Chevette Washington, a bicycle messenger in Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/BridgeTrilogy'', mentions this trope frequently. She's never shot, but she clarifies that the basic idea--blaming idea -- blaming a messenger for her message--is message -- is true.
* In ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'' ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'', Prince Harold is killed for delivering the message that his sister the queen intended her for country remain neutral. By the [[MoralDissonance good guys]], of course. And his half-sister thanked her allies for doing it, because they can't show mercy to their "enemies".
* In one of Creator/StephenKing's more down-to-earth short stories, a rival gang leader sends a messenger to insult another's gang leader by taunting his sister (who's obese) so they can draw him out. The messenger is obviously scared to the point of tears while saying 'yo mama' jokes right in the man's face, but luckily is not killed. The gang leader still got himself killed rushing recklessly into the open to kill the sender (which prompts his sister to go on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.RoaringRampageOfRevenge). Subverting the trope further, said obese sister later gets revenge on the message sender himself by killing him slowly with a [[EyeScream metal wire through the eye.]]
16th Dec '16 7:23:08 AM nighttrainfm
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-->'''Mal:''' Now... here's all the money [[StarterVillain Niska]] gave us.\\
'''Second, Smarter Goon:''' Yes -- best thing for both of us -- I got it!

to:

-->'''Mal:''' Now... here's this is all the money [[StarterVillain Niska]] gave us.\\
us in advance --\\
'''Second, Smarter Goon:''' Yes -- best Oh, I get it! I'm good. Best thing for both of us -- I got it!everyone. I'm right there with you!
10th Dec '16 12:09:13 PM dmcreif
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': With the masked Devil of Hell's Kitchen causing problems for the Ranskahovs, Anatoly decides to accept Wilson Fisk's offer of support to their criminal venture. After seeing that Matt has made short work of the guys who had kidnapped Claire, Anatoly personally goes to Fisk to tell him that he accepts the deal....and ends up interrupting Fisk's date with Vanessa. Fisk is so pissed off that he proceeds to beat Anatoly unconscious, then decapitate him with a car door. Then Fisk sets in motion the machinations to eliminate the rest of the Russians, including Vladimir.
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