Created By: ginsengaddict on May 9, 2011 Last Edited By: ginsengaddict on May 16, 2011
Troped

Designated Bullet

When a character has a specific bullet that they want to use on a specific target, for poetic revenge.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

Need some more indexes and page image. Will be launched soon.

"When a pirate's marooned, he's a given a pistol with a single shot. One shot. Well, that won't do much good hunting or to be rescued. But after three weeks of a starving belly and thirst, that pistol will start to look real friendly. But Jack escaped the island, and he still has that single shot. Oh, he won't use it, though, save on one man: His mutinous first mate."
Mr. Gibbs, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Indexes: Revenge Tropes

Bob has just betrayed Alice and left her for dead, or maybe Bob has killed Alice's whole family, or maybe Alice just really wants Bob to die, so much so that she'll throw in a bit of Poetic Justice and designate a special bullet to be used, just for Bob.

This trope is is about getting revenge, but it's not enough to simply get revenge. This is a special case. So special that not just any old bullet will do. No, the bullet Alice uses (or even the gun she uses) must be related to the reason Bob must die.

Bonus points if the bullet has the Bob's name inscribed. Not uncommon for Alice to craft the bullet from special materials as well.

Subtrope of It's Personal.

Examples:

Film
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, left marooned with a pistol and single shot to be used for suicide, somehow escaped that island and saved the bullet for Barbossa.
  • The Patriot: Mel Gibson melted down some lead soldiers to craft a special bullet for the bastard who killed his sons.
Live-Action TV
  • On Life, Charlie is shot, and when he recovers he asks for the remains of the bullet taken out of him. He then melts it down and molds it into another bullet, and shoots the man who shot him.
Literature
  • In the Septimus Heap series, there is a magical significance to a named bullet, and sooner or later it will always find its target. The catch, as one assassin finds out, is that this doesn't necessarily mean the target will be shot with it.
    • The way the bullet is named is important too. If the bullet was named 'I.P.', nothing stops it from killing Iona Pot (aka Alice Nettles) instead of the Infant Princess
Video Games
  • StarCraft 2: Jim kept a single round in his revolver for Mengsk. Subverted, since he ended up using the round on Tychus.
  • A lesser example, bandits in Borderlands sometimes shout "I've bin saving one for ya!" in a firefight.
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • May 9, 2011
    Koveras
    Currently covered under Marked Bullet.
  • May 10, 2011
    Arivne
    Strictly speaking Marked Bullet is only about bullets that are actually physically marked. A number of examples that are actually this trope (e.g. Pirates of the Caribbean, Lethal Weapon and Life) were shoehorned in there because it was the closest thing we had.

    This is actually a Sister Trope of Marked Bullet. Most (but not all) Marked Bullets are dedicated for use against a specific target, and not all bullets dedicated for a specific target are marked.
  • May 10, 2011
    jaytee
    Can we just expand Marked Bullet?
  • May 10, 2011
    Bisected8
    I think it's distinct enough to be its own trope.

    • Bandits in Borderlands sometimes shout "I've bin saving one for ya!" in a firefight.
  • May 10, 2011
    jaytee
    Which Marked Bullet examples don't fit this trope? And, more importantly, are they actual examples of a Marked Bullet, or are they just bullets that happen to have been marked?
  • May 10, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    I read through Marked Bullet. A great majority of the examples are not this, and the tropes are completely distinct:

    Marked Bullet is bullets with literal marking on them. This trope is bullets intended to be used on specific targets. The only way these tropes can be related is if the marking on the bullet is related to the target (like the target's name, or a relevant quote).
  • May 10, 2011
    Rolf
    Title is nice but its kinda long...

    but then I can't think of a good and shorter title. :P
  • May 10, 2011
    peccantis
  • May 11, 2011
    Rolf
    Your Bullet is short but is it clear enough?

    ^ might work too
  • May 11, 2011
    BlackDragon
    I remember a Western that used this, though I forgot the name... a bandit gets betrayed by his gang over a haul of gold, survives by a miracle, and - years later, after recovering from his injuries - begin hunting down his betrayers with custom-made golden bullets - one for each of them. Very symbolic. The viewpoint character wasn't the guy on the Roaring Rampage Of Revenge, though, but rather a lawman who was trying to track him down before he could finish the killing.
  • May 11, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Nah, Your Bullet is too vague.

    Some possible alt titles: Reserved Round, Designated Bullet
  • May 11, 2011
    Rolf
    ^I like last one
  • May 11, 2011
    elwoz
    "You see, some bullets are special for a single target, a certain stag or a certain person. And no matter where you aim, that's where the bullet'll end up. And in the moment of aiming, the gun turns into a dowser's wand, and points where the bullet wants to go." --Tom Waits' song "Crossroads" (not exactly this trope?)
  • May 11, 2011
    jaytee
    Ok, I'm convinced. Sister Trope to Marked Bullet.

    Definitely Needs A Better Title though. I've looked at this entry 239847234 times and yet every time I see the title, I think it means that a character shot the bad guy before another chracter could, therefore "saving them a bullet."

    I like Designated Bullet, if only for the parallelism with Marked Bullet.
  • May 11, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Well, I had changed it to Designated Bullet, but Silver Falcon has changed it to Backlog Bullet.

    Falcon, you are aware that changing someone else's YKTTW when it isn't marked as Up For Grabs is Bad Manners, right?

    But fair enough, the least you could do is comment and explain why you changed it.
  • May 11, 2011
    SilverFalcon
    Ohhhh, my bad! I'm mostly new to the member's side of this site, and I believed that all of these tropes were up to have their names changed. I mistakingly believed so on account of the YKTTW thing on the top.
  • May 11, 2011
    SilverFalcon
    What do you think of the new name though?
  • May 11, 2011
    ElaineRose
    Your Bullet is my favorite so far--it really brings out the personal nature of the trope, which is a real separating factor between this and Marked Bullet: the intent. Backlog Bullet makes it sound like a bit of leftover paperwork in the "emotional and physical damages" section.

    And Silver Falcon, since people here work pretty hard on these things, always err on the side of caution and politeness. Ask permission, consult, and comment before jumping in.
  • May 11, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^ I agree, Backlog Bullet is too bureaucratic-sounding; it doesn't really convey the sheer personal desire to make the target character dead.

    Designated Bullet and Your Bullet convey that more succinctly, so I'd rather go with one of them. The only problem I have with Your Bullet is that it's vague.
  • May 12, 2011
    Arivne
    Fourthing Designated Bullet.
  • May 12, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Ok, so we're good for the title.

    I'm keen to launch this, but it Needs More Examples.
  • May 12, 2011
    jaytee
  • May 12, 2011
    ElaineRose
    ^ Current title is good, but I do like the above. (No examples coming to mind, sorry!)
  • May 12, 2011
    Rolf
    ^^ I like it even if its longer.
  • May 12, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Starcraft, Pirates and Patriot cannot be the only works this was ever used in. It sounds like it'd be a staple of Film Noir, or a tired cliche' in revenge flicks. Enough about titles, lets think examples.
  • May 12, 2011
    jaytee
    ^I really hesitated to suggest a new title, since we came to a consensus, but it's just a bit snappier. Designated Bullet would be a great redirect if we change it.

    As for examples, these are pulled from Marked Bullet and can be added more or less as-is:
    • Not physically marked, but Riggs in Lethal Weapon at one point tells his new partner Murtaugh that he has a special bullet picked out in case he ever decides to kill himself (which he thinks about every day). At the end of the film, he gives Murtaugh the bullet as a symbol that he's come to terms with his inner demons and no longer suicidal.
    • On Life, Charlie is shot, and when he recovers he asks for the remains of the bullet taken out of him. He then melts it down and molds it into another bullet, and shoots the man who shot him.
  • May 12, 2011
    jaytee

    Some that may or may not be examples (either depending on interpretation or because I don't know the context well enough):
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, Ocelot has one for Snake (no, not like that). It's a blank.
    • In the Septimus Heap series, there is a magical significance to a named bullet, and sooner or later it will always find its target. The catch, as one assassin finds out, is that this doesn't necessarily mean the target will be shot with it.
      • The way the bullet is named is important too. If the bullet was named 'I.P.', nothing stops it from killing Iona Pot (aka Alice Nettles) instead of the Infant Princess

    And Blackdragon is right - this was definitely in a Western or two, but for the life of me I can't remember which.
  • May 12, 2011
    thewriter
    On Supernatural there was a colt that specifically killed all monsters and the brothers were looking for it and saving it so as to use on the Devil. Turns out "all" is a loose word these days...
  • May 14, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^ I've recently been made aware of an extremely old Western called The Golden Bullet, which is supposedly about a guy who gets betrayed after a heist, and after he gets out of jail, goes around killing the guys who betrayed him, shooting them with bullets made of gold.

    Can anyone confirm this?
  • May 14, 2011
    chronotwister
    in smallvile one episode has killer who targets meteor freaks he fashions a kryptonite bullet specificly for clark kent also though pirates of the cariberan has ben listed i fell the need to provide some quotes jack to will "please move this shot is not meant for you" and though u can trember the exact quoate mr gibbs tells will about the moment when he desided to use his one bullet against barbossa
  • May 15, 2011
    terrafox
    In the movie Man On Fire, the Denzel Washington attempts suicide about 1/3 the way through. When the bullet fails to fire, the maid comments, "Maybe it wasn't meant for you." At the end of the movie, he gives it to the father and says, "You know what they say...a bullet doesn't lie...It didn't work for me, maybe it'll work for you..."
  • May 15, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^ Not sure whether we should be including examples like that. Characters having special bullets that they want to commit suicide with may be a separate trope, as with the above mentioned Lethal Weapon example.

    ^^ ....What?
  • May 15, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
  • May 15, 2011
    neoYTPism
    Five hats now, I guess the only thing we are waiting on is the title.
  • May 15, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Nope. Already had a title debate for this and there was consensus on Designated Bullet.

    Launching Soon.
  • May 16, 2011
    TexasDex
    POTC would probably work for the page quote:

    "When a pirate's marooned, he's a given a pistol with a single shot. One shot. Well, that won't do much good hunting or to be rescued. But after three weeks of a starving belly and thirst, that pistol will start to look real friendly. But Jack escaped the island, and he still has that single shot. Oh, he won't use it, though, save on one man: His mutinous first mate." --Mr. Gibbs, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

  • May 16, 2011
    neoYTPism
    If the title is decided, you may as well launch it now. Stuff like deciding the page quotation and adding further examples can be done after it is launched.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=jyplgz9twpmmp8c8pzuj6afs