Created By: Mozgwsloiku on October 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Mozgwsloiku on June 20, 2014

Rescued too late

A character is rescued from captivity but perishes from his wounds.

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Trope

There are multiple risks associated with being captured by the enemy. Even if they don't plan to simply execute you, you can still be tortured, get sick from infected wounds or malnutrition, and whatever health problems you have already had will likely be aggreviated by the conditions you are in. Sometimes these can prove lethal even if your friends rescue you, causing you to die in their arms just as they are about to give a sigh of relief at having gotten out. Note that this isn't always seen as a complete failure on the part of the rescuers - they still spare their friend from further torture, possibly A Fate Worse Than Death or at the very least let him die among friends.


  • In The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents -Hamnpork
  • In The Knights of the Cross, Danuska is kidnapped and held hostage to keep her father in line. Although she is finally rescued, it turns out she has been broken into an Empty Shell and she dies just as she is being taken home.
  • During World War 2, Operation Arsenal - an operation by the Polish resistance which freed 25 prisoners from a nazi prison convoy. While it was considered a success, the man they wanted to free the most, Rudy ("Readhead", one of their officers) died after several days from the torture he had been subjected to by the nazis.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • October 26, 2012
    Damr1990
    this may cause the savior to consider this His/Her Greatest Failure
  • October 26, 2012
    KTera
    Early in episode 2 of The Walking Dead, you have to choose between cutting off a man's leg to save him from a bear trap and leaving him behind to get eaten by zombies. If you do cut his leg off, the shock and blood loss eventually kill him anyway.
  • October 26, 2012
    DracMonster
    The Late Rescuee is punnier, if it passes the clarity test.
  • October 26, 2012
    StarSword
    Live Action TV

  • October 27, 2012
    polarbear2217
    In The Hunger Games, Katniss rescues Rue from the net, but she dies dies from the spear through her body.
  • October 27, 2012
    Koveras
    • Subverted in Mass Effect 1: if you Take Your Time and complete the Therum mission after all other story missions, it will seem that Liara (whom you have to rescue there) was driven mad by her involuntary solitary confinement. However, she gets better later.
  • October 27, 2012
    Astaroth
    • The second mission of Thief requires you to infiltrate a prison complex in order to free a fence who owes you some money. You arrive at his cell just in time to watch him succumb to a disease he contracted due to the squalid conditions, though he does give you a tip about a valuable artifact you can steal before he dies.
  • October 27, 2012
    acrobox
    • Star Wars: Not from captivity per se, but after Luke rescues Vader from his dark side, Vader dies in his arms from Palapatines Force Lightning inflicted wounds, while they try to escape the exploding Death Star. He still rescues the body, and gives his father a proper Jedi cremation ceremony.
  • October 27, 2012
    StarSword
    @Koveras: As long as we're talking Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2 pulls a similar trick after your crew is kidnapped by the Collectors. The amount of time you spend doing other missions is directly proportional to the number of crew who are liquefied and combined into the Human Reaper. Take too long, and only Doctor Chakwas survives.
  • October 27, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    This one does not match the description - you simply fail to save them. Also the Star Wars examlpe is straight Redemption Equals Death.
  • June 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • June 20, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 20, 2014
    Koveras
    Yup, seems we've got this one in the meantime.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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