Created By: duralict on January 21, 2010

Organ Dodge

Name Space:
Page Type:
You know, where a character gets stabbed or shot - usually in the kidney - and it should be fatal. Only it isn't, because they donated that kidney. Or they have dextrocardia. Or that limb was actually prosthetic. Usually given as justification for Its Only A Flesh Wound, but sometimes the central conceit around which a climax - or entire plot - is built. Usually used as an ironic counterpoint to the original injury. This is all but guaranteed to happen to people cheated out of organs earlier in the plot, because it's a good way of suggesting ambiguity - after all, if you still had that kidney I tricked you into donating, you'd be dead now.

If a character is shown to have donated an organ and the genre isn't Medical Drama, they're extremely likely to suffer injury to that area later in the work. Anyone with dextrocardia - where the heart is on the right side of the body instead of the left - is virtually guaranteed to be shot or stabbed where the heart "should be" at some point.

The inverse (Reverse Organ Dodge?), where a character who's learned to cope with a handicap or life-altering injury is injured in a way making the handicap worse, is fairly common in Darker and Edgier works. This is where, for example, a character who's just undergone extensive cosmetic surgery to repair fire scarring gets caught in another disfiguring fire. Sometimes applies to wheelchairs, canes, and other forms of assistive technology as well, where the short-term consequences can be dire without automatically leading to Nightmare Fuel. A popular version in the Police Procedural is to have a gunshot victim with dextrocardia who would have survived if they didn't have the condition, usually played for some combination of tragedy and irony.

  • John Locke from LOST
  • a major running theme in Ninja Assassin
  • Serenity
  • A running gag in an episode of Arrested Development
  • The glass eye in Water World
  • Happens occasionally with Professor X's wheelchair/hoverchair in X-Men
  • At least two episodes of CSI
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • January 17, 2010
    random surfer
    Jasper (the old guy with the long beard) on The Simpsons was shot by Waylon Smithers (offscreen) in "Who Shot Mr. Burns Part 1." It was revealed in Part 2 that he was shot in his heretofor unrevealed wooden leg, and didn't even know it. (Didn't know that he was shot that is; he knew he had a wooden leg.)
  • January 17, 2010
    In Serenity, Mal had some nerve cluster moved or some contrived shit like that.
  • January 17, 2010
    Mystique once managed to move her organs around in order to survive an attack that should have been lethal.
  • January 17, 2010
    In the novel Dr No, the eponymous doctor explains how he survived being shot through the heart by his former Tong masters because of his dextrocardia.
  • January 17, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    During the Unification War, Mal Reynolds of Firefly had a certain cluster of nerves moved during his first tour due to getting torn up by a piece of shrapnel. As a result, during the Big Damn Movie Serenity, the nerve strike that the Operative uses to paralyze people and set them up for being killed with his sword doesn't work on him.
  • January 17, 2010
    In the endgame of Metal Gear Solid 2, Ocelot disables the electromagnetic force field that protects Fortune from gunfire, and shoots her straight through the heart...which doesn't seem to phase her at all, because as Ocelot remembers afterwards, her heart is on the right.
  • January 18, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    wow a dig on Firefly, time to rise the flame shields...

    does Disability Immunity cover this?
  • January 18, 2010
    Sounds like there's some overlap, but this trope is more meant to cover how, whenever anyone mentions having a missing or unusually placed organ, it will inevitably save their life later. Maybe calling it Chekov's Kidney would be more apropos?
  • January 18, 2010
    What about Chekhovs Disability, considering it appears to be Disability Immunity meets Chekhovs Skill?
  • January 18, 2010
    Live Action TV
    • Star Trek The Original Series has a couple of these due to Mr. Spock's half-Vulcan ancestry.
      • "A Private Little War". Spock is shot but survives because his heart is where is liver would be if he were fully human.
      • "Operation: Annihilate!". Spock is hit with a brilliant light and is apparently blinded. Later it's revealed that he has an extra eyelid that protected him and made the effect only temporary.
  • January 21, 2010
    YKTTW bump
  • January 22, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    • Star Wars characters with artifical limbs frequently lose them again.
  • January 22, 2010
    Use of "Chekhov" in a title can be problematic.
  • January 22, 2010
    This is covered by Disability Immunity but there is no reason why it couzldn't exist as a subtrope.
  • January 22, 2010
    The Parasyte "Jaws" can reach into his host's upper torso and move, say, the heart to avoid an otherwise fatal stab.
  • January 22, 2010
    In Ninja Assassin, the titular ninjas favor heart strikes for instant kills. The opening scene features an old man who survived a ninja attack because he was born with his heart on the right side of his body, leaving him with a nasty but nonlethal puncture wound where the ninja expected his heart to be on the left. It becomes a running theme.
  • January 22, 2010
    Sylar from Heroes can avoid mortal harm by using his shapeshifting powers to move his organs around.
  • January 22, 2010
    Is this launchable? Should Reverse Organ Dodge be its own trope?