Created By: jewelleddragon on June 3, 2009
Troped

Door Jam

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Perhaps the hero has just gone through the portal when it suddenly breaks, leaving him with no way back. Perhaps everyone is fleeing but the hero, probably because he is More Hero Than Thou, insisted on everyone else going ahead of him and thus didn't make it in time. Either way, he's trapped with the big boss or in some other dangerous situation, and there's no way for anyone else to come help.

Usually this is caused by a Phlebotinum Breakdown at the worst possible moment, but occasionally the situation in question could be designed to only let one person through. The plot does not usually revolve around finding a way back; it's usually a simple excuse to isolate the hero with the villain or monster.


Examples:

Film:
  • In Star Trek IV: The Final Frontier, the transporter has just enough power to beam up Spock and Mc Coy, leaving Kirk stranded on the planet with the vengeful god.
  • In The Matrix, Agent Smith shoots the phone just after Trinity gets out, leaving Neo with no exit and no choice but to fight him.
  • In the first Terminator movie, Reece explains that the time machine got blown up just after he followed the Terminator through, so "It's just him and me." The subsequent movies also featured just two Terminators going back in time, but didn't bother explaining why either side didn't send more.
  • Han Solo riding out to save Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, even though he knows that he won't be able to get back before the doors close.

TV:
  • That one Star Trek TOS episode where aliens force Kirk to duel the lizard creature alone on the planet's surface. This is a case where the hero being stranded was actually the plan.
  • In Doctor Who episode Dalek, Rose is not quite fast enough to make it through the security doors and ends up trapped with the dalek.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • May 29, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    There was an episode of Jackie Chan Adventures where a portal between the demon and human worlds could specifically only let one being through. Jade was trapped in the demon world and a managed to escape because all the demons were fighting over who should get to go through.
  • May 29, 2009
    CoyoticEvil
    • Done with Ramza in Final Fantasy Tactics, for one-on-one battles. The entire party is isolated in the end as well.
  • May 29, 2009
    jewelleddragon
    In video games, it's Point Of No Return, but I didn't see a trope for this in general.
  • May 29, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Maybe we should merge Point Of No Return into this. It doesn't make sense to have separate tropes for different mediums, so why don't we just add general examples to Point?
  • May 29, 2009
    sgamer82
  • May 29, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    Point Of No Return seems a bit different - it's a point at which prior areas, which you could access at will before, become inaccessible. In particular it has nothing to do with battles per se. This is more like Trapped With The Enemy.
  • May 30, 2009
    Arivne
    The Star Trek The Original Series episode mentioned in the OP was "Arena".
  • June 1, 2009
    jewelleddragon
    Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone (the book) has Harry and Hermione reach a wall of flame and only have one potion that will take them through the flames; thus, Harry has to confront Voldemort alone.
  • June 1, 2009
    Darkblade
    Nemoy!Spock in the new Star Trek
  • June 2, 2009
    Heliomance
    Another Doctor Who one: when the Doctor jumps through the mirror on the horse in the episode about the clockwork people
  • June 2, 2009
    jewelleddragon
    That Doctor Who episode is called "The Woman in the Fireplace."
  • June 2, 2009
    lord Gacek
    Real Life: Cortez set his ships on fire after landing in Mexico, thereby making the conquest of Aztec empire somewhat of an only way to go.
  • June 2, 2009
    HarmsWay2
    I'm liking Door Jam for a title but that would apply toward actual portals.
  • June 2, 2009
    TheAimz
    This happens towards the end of Quake 4 - Matthew Kane is the only person able to go through the Strogg teleporter to face the final boss, as he has been partially "Stroggified" himself and the teleporter is fatal to humans (as one unlucky soldier discovered the hard way). His squad mates are still able to communicate with him, though.
  • June 9, 2009
    jewelleddragon
    Any more additions before I launch this?
  • June 9, 2009
    marjojo
    In Lord of the Rings Gandalf does this with the Balrog, sort of.
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