Created By: Bisected8 on December 31, 2011 Last Edited By: Bisected8 on January 7, 2012
Troped

Passive Rescue (title crowner open)

Someone rescues another by giving them the means to escape on their own rather than just saving them

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Trope
No Launching Please - Launching as soon as a name can be agreed on. You can find a crowner to vote for the title Here

Some people like to come to the rescue with all guns blazing. The Big Damn Heroes make their entrance as loudly as possible and The Cavalry indicate that the day is saved by their mere approach. Then there's people who prefer this trope. Rather than simply unlocking the door to the hero's cell or taking out the guards, they slip them a lockpick or weapon. Sometimes they'll be even more subtle; for example, by making sure that the hero's allies can find him and break him out or providing a distraction.

The reason for these can vary. Sometimes it's down to the character themselves; the Mysterious Backer would probably prefer subtly, The Mole has to maintain his cover, The Rival probably won't help them too much if they can avoid it and some characters just can't do more than provide a means of escape. Other times it's because It's Personal between the character and their captor and the person helping them knows that This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. Of course, some times it's a trap which has been set by their captor...

Supertrope to Jail Bake. See also You All Meet in a Cell and It May Help You on Your Quest.
Examples;

  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, The Major is trapped in an operating room (unable to move because she was half way through transfering to a new body) with an assassin (who impersonated the doctor and has her at her mercy). The Laughing Man turns up and helps her by giving her control of her body again (he probably falls under the Non-Action Guy varient, since despite being a competant hacker he's not shown to be very good at physical confrontations).
  • In Metal Gear Solid Snake is captured. Otacon brings him some ketchup which can be used to escape by Faking the Dead and making the guard open the cell door to investigate (Otakon doesn't subdue the guard because he's...Otakon).
  • In the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough, Bond is strapped in a torture device and the Big Bad is about to break his neck. The comic relief character (a Russian mobster) storms in looking for his (murdered) nephew and is promptly shot...he then reveals he has a cane gun and takes aim at...Bond. Or more specifically his restraints (probably because Bond being free to act would be much more helpful than a dead Russian mobster and dead Big Bad with Bond still restrained and unable to put a stop to said Big Bad's Evil Plan).
  • In one thieves guild quest in Oblivion you can convince a thief who's been captured to give you some information in exchange for a lockpick he can use to escape.
  • Dungeons & Dragons module A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. When the PCs awaken in the cave labyrinth they find several spell scrolls that they can use in their escape. They were left with the party by their ally who infiltrated the Slave Lords' organization.
  • Shadowrun supplement Harlequin, adventure "Counterstroke". The PCs have been taken prisoner and are being tortured for information. If they're nice to one of the inhabitants of the prison, he'll help them by slipping them a monofilament saw they can use to cut through the bars and escape.
  • In Grandia, Lieutenant Leen accidentally-on-purpose drops the key to Justin's cell within reach when he's imprisoned at the Garlyle Forces base.
  • In Interesting Times, when the Red Army is imprisoned, they find that not only has someone unlocked their cell, that someone has also killed all the guards, left them a pile of swords, and given them a convenient map to the Emperor's throne room. Rincewind notes (correctly) that this is too good to be true and that they should just quit while they're ahead.
    • Also in Discworld, in The Fifth Elephant, after Vimes has been locked in a cell (after being framed, sort of, for the attempted assassination of the Low King) he finds that the cell has been unlocked and the crossbow that was owned by the "assistant" Vetrinani had accompany him under his pillow. He realises that whoever wanted him to escape wanted him to kill the guard to justify killing him ( since he's to be the prey in some werewolves' hunt) and discards it.
  • In the Adventure Game Innocent Until Caught, when Jack T. Ladd is imprisoned, a machine able to disintegrate walls is sent by the Tax Office to his jail, so that he can escape and they can use him as a pawn to fight tax evasion.
  • Interesting example in the Ender's Game series; The character doing the rescuing knows that the (villainous) character he's been ordered to rescue will, inevitably, go out of his way to kill anyone who has put him in a state of weakness - so rather than just rescue him he opts instead to 'loan him a knife'. This puts him on the escapee's good side and sets himself up as his right-hand man, so that when Achilles needs him most he can betray him - by, once again, 'loaning him a knife'.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • December 31, 2011
    dalek955
    A specific subtrope would be Jail Bake.
  • January 1, 2012
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons module A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. When the PCs awaken in the cave labyrinth they find several spell scrolls that they can use in their escape. They were left with the party by their ally who infiltrated the Slave Lords' organization.
    • Shadowrun supplement Harlequin, adventure "Counterstroke". The PCs have been taken prisoner and are being tortured for information. If they're nice to one of the inhabitants of the prison, he'll help them by slipping them a monofilament saw they can use to cut through the bars and escape.
  • January 1, 2012
    Desertopa
    In Grandia, Lieutenant Leen accidentally-on-purpose drops the key to Justin's cell within reach when he's imprisoned at the Garlyle Forces base.
  • January 1, 2012
    dalek955
    • In Interesting Times, when the Red Army is imprisoned, they find that not only has someone unlocked their cell, that someone has also killed all the guards, left them a pile of swords, and given them a convenient map to the Emperor's throne room. Rincewind notes (correctly) that this is too good to be true and that they should just quit while they're ahead.
  • January 1, 2012
    morenohijazo
    In Innocent Until Caught, when Jack T. Ladd is imprisoned, an machine able to disintegrate walls is sent by the Tax Institution (I can't remember how it was called, sorry) to his jail, so that he breaks from a jail and they can use him as a pawn to fight tax evasion.
  • January 1, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Interesting example in the Enders Game series. The character doing the rescuing knows that the (villainous) character he's been ordered to rescue will, inevitably, eventually and patiently find a way to kill anyone who puts him in a state of weakness - so rather than just rescue him he opts instead to 'loan him a knife'. This puts him on the escapee's good side and sets himself up as his right-hand man, so that when Achilles needs him most he can betray him - by, once again, 'loaning him a knife'.
  • January 3, 2012
    Bisected8
    Hmm, no more examples? Thoughts on the title or the writeup? Hats, perhaps?
  • January 3, 2012
    nman
    I'll give you a hat anyway, but this should really be broken up into different mediums.
  • January 3, 2012
    Bisected8
    I usually do that when I launch it. It helps me go through the examples and spot mistakes.
  • January 3, 2012
    DracMonster
    I'm wondering if "Here, Rescue Yourself" might communicate the trope a little better? Hatting this at any rate.
  • January 3, 2012
    dalek955
  • January 3, 2012
    Bisected8
    @Drac Monster: That'll probably run afoul of the "No dialogue title" rule".
  • January 3, 2012
    DracMonster
    I think the clarity rule takes precedence, but I could be wrong.
  • January 3, 2012
    Bisected8
  • January 4, 2012
    Arivne
    ^^ @Drac Monster: Fast Eddie has made it clear that the "no dialog" rule supersedes all other trope naming rules. If you violate it your trope will be Cut Listed immediately.
  • January 4, 2012
    Bisected8
    So, has anyone got any preferences for the title?
  • January 4, 2012
    whereismytea
    Rescue Assist/Escape Assist?
  • January 4, 2012
    Bisected8
    Hmm, that could be mistaken for actually breaking someone out.
  • January 4, 2012
    Bisected8
    I've created a crowner for the title; Here
  • January 6, 2012
    Bisected8
    I'll launch this with whatever title has the most votes either tommorow or on Sunday if there are no objections?
  • January 7, 2012
    Bisected8
    OK, Passive Rescue has five ^ and no v while everything else is at -1 or lower, so I'll launch this with that title later this afternoon.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kzfbiaqv7mu2o15bx7wcfcvl