The Mirror Dies First
Major characters have reflections which are much easier targets than they are


(permanent link) added: 2012-02-26 06:21:23 sponsor: MrTom (last reply: 2012-05-09 12:14:43)

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A character suffers what would have been a deadly assault, had it not been perpetrated against their reflection.

The trope can take various forms, for example:

  • During an ongoing chase scene, the reflection is shown from the point of view of the pursuer, and the audience is unaware that they are seeing a reflection before it breaks
  • A character is looking in a mirror, which then suddenly breaks. This could happen out of nowhere (and start off an action sequence), or occur in midsequence (eg a character in a car chase has their wing mirror shot off - in which case the audience sees the pursuer in the mirror just before it breaks)
  • The pursuer is in a situation where the audience know that a mistaken attack on a mirror is likely, possibly because of a trap set by their quarry. This is particularly likely to occur if a chase makes its way into a Hall of Mirrors (in which case The Hero is usually in pursuit rather than fleeing).

The Mirror Dies First serves to illustrate the severity of a threat without actually killing off a major character. Needless to say, it is unlikely to come to the aid of the Red Shirt, except inasmuch as it provides a non-lethal substitue to them (perhaps in situations where a genuine Red Shirt would not appear, or when all such available resources have already been exhausted).


Examples:

Live-Action TV

Film

  • The Man Called Flintstone (The Film Of The Series of The Flintstones). When Fred flees into a Hall of Mirrors, the Green Goose tries to run him over with a car but hits Fred's reflection in a mirror instead.

  • In Jurassic Park, Lex's reflection gets totalled by a hungry velociraptor.

  • Clash of the Titans (1981). When Perseus is fighting Medusa in her underground lair, he sets up a shield with a reflecting back on one of her petrified victims. When she sees his reflection in the shield she fires her bow at it, knocking it down.

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. While Quatermain is pursuing the fleeing Big Bad, he sees him sneaking around and fires at him. His shot hits and shatters the mirror that was reflecting the Big Bad's image.

  • The German, a short film taking place during World War II has a Royal Air Force pilot glancing in his rearview mirror to see where his German opponent is. No sooner does he see the plane than does the mirror get shot off of his plane.

  • A similar scene in Red Tails has a the same thing happening to an American pilot over Sicily.

Comic Books

Literature


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