Created By: Known Unknown on October 16, 2008
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Batman Deduction

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So you have the average detective story, with a huge, widely spanning mystery that has both the detective, and the viewers stumped. You've got it going, but, now that you're in the thicket, you've run yourself into a corner. It would take more space than available to connect the pieces, and you don't want to drag the viewer along with boring step by step exposition, so what are you going to do?

Wait, your main character is a detective, isn't he? Why not just have him deduce that these things are connected, and move on. He's a genius, why not just leave it at that?

In short, when a characters makes a huge jump to reach a conclusion that has to be made in order for the plot to progress, but without any real explanation for what might have spurred the conclusion.

Often used in cases where the viewers already know that everything's connected and how they connect, but there's no in story explanation, and the plot really needs to get to the next part.
Examples
  • Named for Batman, who, given his title as the World's Greatest Detective, can easily fall into this when a writer gets into a rut. The worst example of this may be in the movie Batman Forever, where he, after discovering that Edward Nygma was the one sending him creepy riddles anonymously (which to the untrained eye, probably looked stalkerish but harmless), instantly deduced that Nygma had actually killed a co-worker who was thought to have committed suicide. With no evidence whatsoever. Of course, this might have been set up by a psychiatrist who made a similar deduction earlier in the film, looking over the riddles and concluding that the sender was "obviously homicidal" (paraphrasing).
Community Feedback Replies: 74
  • October 16, 2008
    alliterator
    How about The Facts Were These? That's the main catch phrase of the Narrator in Pushing Daisies when he explains the entire mystery...often without explaining how the characters knew the entire mystery or how everything fit together. It's just assumed that they talked about it and figured out the same thing that the narrator is now explaining to the audience, but it's the narrator is explaining it, because, well, otherwise it would be too long and boring.
  • October 16, 2008
    LordTNK
    It should be called Batman Deduction, because the Adam West series did it all the time.
  • October 17, 2008
    Blork
    Agent Mulder from The X Files. His nickname "spooky" officially comes not from his weird beliefs but from his ability to make massive leaps of deduction and come to the correct answer.
  • October 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    First: I vote Batman Deduction, my favourate is along the lines of "The henchman had a pestle on him" (why I forget but it made little sense) "apothacaries used pestles and mortars therefore the villain is in an Apothacary" (Why an apothacary exists in gotham and why Batman didn't realise that both Chefs and Chemists might use a Pestle and Mortar and work in non-extinct industries are never even so much as gestured towards.) Second: There is an episode of South Park that mocks this, the one where the planet earth truns out to be a TV show, where one word causes a chain of word assossiation leading to an uttery unrelated (but correct) deduction.
  • October 17, 2008
    Scooter007
  • October 17, 2008
    twelfth
    I suggest: Deductive Pole Vault. Batman isn't the first to do this, and many other detectives have done it. I wish I could name them, but I found these to usually be Ass Pulls by the writer who couldn't figure out how to believable resolve the plot/mystery in under the last 30 pages. It's definitely a Love The Show Hate The Trope case for me. A stock example:

    "The knife had a faint taste of sasparilla. Amazing. I felt all the pieces falling together in the wake of this one, insignificant detail. Now, if only I have time to save Meredith before the lights go out on her swan song. Forever."

    This is nearly the hallmark of a Clueless Mystery, or the sign of a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot when executed by a talentless writer. This and the Creek Moment just make me find a wall and keep hitting it until everything goes mercifully black.
  • October 17, 2008
    Known Unknown
    This occasionally uses poorly executed Creek Moments, but isn't inherently a Creek Moment in itself. In addition, this is related to Bugs Meany Is Going To Walk, as these kinds of deductions occasionally use those as well, and the two are related, but not the same.
  • October 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    This wishes it was Creek Moment.
  • October 17, 2008
    CAD
    How about... Deduction Ex Machina? Creek Ex Machina? Non Sequitur Brilliance? Author Logic Insert? Law Of Conservation Of Logic?

    A distant cousin of this is how characters could be talking to one another, but they'll both obviously and inexplicably be sharing the author's thoughts.

    "And over here... this is Joe. He's an orphan. He likes grape jelly."

    "So he likes grape jelly because it helps him take his mind off the loneliness?"

    "Yeah, exactly."
  • October 17, 2008
    random surfer
    Sherlock Holmes did this all the time.
  • October 17, 2008
    Heliomance
    Adam West was the worst offender. I sem to remember him being shown two riddles, one had the answer "an egg" and the other was "make apple sauce". At which point, the deduction went like this (paraphrased):

    An egg, a container of new life. And apple sauce, combining many things into one whole. A unification in a vessel of hope. The UN peace conference!"
  • October 17, 2008
    LordTNK
    Heliomance, that's why we should call this the proposed title.
  • October 17, 2008
    Reg Shoe
    Sherlock Holmes did NOT do this. The Sherlock Scan is very different from this because 1 it is not meant to take the place of proper exposition and 2 the justification is usually sound if strange.
  • October 17, 2008
    Nebbie
    Key feature of Case Closed (or Meitantei Conan to some of us).
  • October 17, 2008
    ROBRAM89
    UGH! I wanted to claim the egg and apple sauce one. That was the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    Also, that was from The Movie, so it's even more ridiculous.
  • October 17, 2008
    VampireBuddha
    The title character of House does this in every single episode.
  • October 17, 2008
    Kayube
    This is present more in Case Closed's English versions than in Japanese- an unfortunately large number of clues rely on Japanese puns and cultural references that can't really be translated, so non-Japanese readers/viewers can't fit the clues together.
  • October 17, 2008
    Ryusui
  • October 17, 2008
    The_Adversary
    Mello and Near, from Death Note. To be fair, everyone does a little bit of this, but they do it the most.
  • October 17, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Isn't this basically the whole premise of The Mentalist?
  • October 17, 2008
    Arivne
  • October 17, 2008
    alliterator
    How about simply Apple Sauce Moment, to coincide with Creek Moment?

    And look up the apple sauce discussion on IMDB (it's for the 1966 Batman movie). It's freaking hilarious.
  • October 17, 2008
    random surfer
    Reg, I'm not referring to the Sherlock Scan. Without all the stories in front of me I can't give specifics, but I've read all the Doyle stories and I know he does do this. I was probably exaggerating when I said he did it "all the time" though, so I withdraw that half of my comment.
  • October 18, 2008
    VampireBuddha
  • October 18, 2008
    Ryusui
    I think Right Conclusion sounds better than Correct Conclusion myself. I.e., Leaping To The Right Conclusion or Jumping To The Right Conclusion.
  • October 18, 2008
    arromdee
    There was a parody in the Adam West Batman series. "This is sure a sticky situation. Sticky... glue.. Glue gluten's glue factory!" This may or may not also been the one where the Penguin left behind an umbrella which wasn't a clue at all, but had a hidden microphone; he listened in on Batman "figuring out" what he was planning from the "clue", thus letting Batman plan his crime for him.
  • October 18, 2008
    pawsplay
    I would call this C For Catwoman. The original Batman flick starring Adam West has the truly classic version of this, complete with Batman and Robin realizing the shark attack must have been planned by the Joker because the shark was pulling on his leg, and noting that the shark was in the sea... C ... C for Catwoman!
  • October 18, 2008
    JethroQWalrustitty
    Laser Guided Logical Leaps?

    Broken alliteration for freshness.
  • October 18, 2008
    Warlock
    This all reminds me of the parody they did of Independence Day on South Park ("Cancelled"), where the scientist (Jeff, for Jeff Goldblum) would fixate ton a random element and come up with the solution. I would guess this means they did something of the same thing in the movie, but it's been too long for me to tell. (that, or they were just using it as a random-idea gag.) OTOH, considering the whole thing was a combined gaga for something else, maybe they were referencing the older use of this trope.
  • October 19, 2008
    Idler
    I didn't get the impression that in Pushing Daisies it was ever implied that the protagonists knew everything the narrator was explaining. Take the episode with the dog breeder - there's no way they could have identified the killer's motive, but they had indisputable proof of who the killer was, so the narrator filled in the blanks.

    Regarding Death Note, I don't recall Mello ever doing this, but yes, Near did it a lot. In fact, I've heard vague rumours that the creator says that Near is the most intelligent character in the series because he 'cheats', and I got the impression that the 'cheating' referred to was him doing this - he makes snap deductions, then looks for the evidence to back them up, instead of doing things the proper way.
  • October 20, 2008
    twelfth
    "Jumping to Conclusions" and "Logical Leaps" were why I was suggesting the Deductive Pole Vault. No one could possibly make the connection (or jump of logic) without a particularly "flexible" narrative crutch/prop to hurdle over the audience's Suspension Of Disbelief. Unfortunately, like most of my own performances in track and field, the effort falls short of the mark.

    Now that I'm finished blenderizing that metaphor, can I suggest an alternative: Logical Pole Vault.

    Just trying to get away from the Batman trope snowclones. I will concede that the 1960s series is definitely the Trope Codifier.
  • October 21, 2008
    Black Charizard
    House usually has Creek Moments, not this. Though I haven't seen all the episodes, so I wouldn't be surprised if one of the deductions was more farfetched than usual.

    ...Which makes me realize that this trope could easily turn into Creek Moment But More Farfetched. Then again, the difference between this trope and Creek Moment is that of Xanatos Gambit and Xanatos Roulette. So Yeah.
  • October 21, 2008
    Circeus
    Black Charizard, just look at the medical reviews of House: it's full of them.
  • October 27, 2008
    Known Unknown
    Bump
  • October 27, 2008
    pawsplay
    I'd call this a Sister Trope to Creek Moment. Sometimes, all the evidence is right in front of the detective, it's just the case conceptualization that's strikingly farfetched.
  • November 14, 2008
    Known Unknown
    Bump
  • November 15, 2008
    joeyjojo
  • November 30, 2008
    Known Unknown
    Bump
  • December 11, 2008
    Known Unknown
    Bump again
  • December 12, 2008
    Sir Lemming
    Let's get this South Park example quoted once and for all:

    Jeff: Wait a minute: butt sex! Butt sex requires a lot of lubrication, right? Lubrication. Lubruh... Chupuh... Chupacabra's the, the goat killer of Mexican folklore. Folklore is stories from the past that are often fictionalized. Fictionalized to heighten drama. Drama students! Students at colleges usually have bicycles! Bi, bian, binary. It's binary code!

    Jeff: There's a huge ship of some kind in Earth's orbit! But why? Wait a minute: chaos theory! Chaos theory, it was first thought of in the sixties. Sixty. That's the number of episodes they made of Punky Brewster before it was cancelled. Cancelled... Don't you see? The show is over! The aliens are cancelling Earth!
  • December 12, 2008
    Sir Lemming
    Second reply because it seemed to be breaking it when I put all the quotes in one:

    Jeff: Whoever they are, if they're receiving messages, they might be sending them, too. Wait a minute: candy bars. They usually come in a wrapper. Just like you... wrap a Christmas present. Christmas happens when it's cold. Cold, as in Alaska - that's... with polar bears. Polar bears... pola... polarity! I can switch the polarity to see what transmissions are coming from the location this one is being sent to!

    Jeff: Oh, their ship is massive! There's no way to stop it! Wait a minute: jackets!
    Chef: Oh no.
    Jeff: If people don't wear jackets they could get cold. A cold is caused by a virus. A viru- a computer virus! We could make a computer virus and send it to their ships to disable their computers!
    Chef: That doesn't make any God-damned sense!
  • December 12, 2008
    MasoTey
    Apple Sauce Moment (q: is apple sauce one word or two?) and Logical Pole Vault both seem like good names.
  • December 12, 2008
    Sir Lemming
    My vote, by the way, is definitely for either Batman Deduction or Jumping To The Right Conclusion. The former because it's snappy, it's relatively clear due to the word "Deduction", and the 1960s Batman is one of the most well-known examples. The latter because it's clever and very easy to understand. Apple Sauce Moment, on the other hand, is about as obscure as you can possibly get, which might be somewhat appropriate, but it would be really hard to search for.
  • December 12, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    I know how some of us feel about puncuation in the titles, but how about You Got All That From Trope? or You Got All That From Blank ?
  • December 13, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Renaming as "Bat-Deduction" might get the imagery of the Adam West series accross more. It's more like all the amazingly plot-specific gizmos (Bat-Shark-Repellant, etc) he pulled out of his... belt.
  • December 13, 2008
    Known Unknown
    Ok... tally time

    Launching tomorrow, and choosing one of these. However, since I have one veto... for each vote... I think I know which is going to win (I'd link directly to the strip that has that gag, but it'd take a while).
  • December 13, 2008
    turnerjer
    The Batgizmos from the series were examples of Crazy Prepared, not this trope.
  • December 14, 2008
    MetaFour
    I do think Bat Deduction gets the idea across better, but Batman Deduction is also good.

    In the Justice League episode "Legends", the Justice Guild of America gets notice that the bad guys are planning a crime spree themed for the four classical elements. The Green Guardsman immediately deduces that the fire-themed crime can only mean they're targeting a specific ruby.
  • April 19, 2009
    Known Unknown
    Why didn't I launch this when I said I would... it's been months.

    Here's a bump mainly to make sure no one's launched an identical trope in the meantime. If this trope now exists as something else, feel free to get rid of this, or at least say so. If not, I'll launch it as Batman Deduction like I should have months ago.
  • April 20, 2009
    Madrugada
    I don't think it's been launched, but I'd like to register my vote for Logigal Pole Vault. There's been a pretty solid move afoot in the last month or so to rename character-named tropes unless the trope is the thing the character is best known for. I can just about promise that Batman Deduction will get put up for rename as soon as it's noticed.
  • April 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    My problem with smallville was this
  • April 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I appreciate the name and I think it's good, but Batman Deduction will be recalled to the rename forum almost instantaneously. I also vote for Jumping To The Right Conclusion
  • April 20, 2009
    Sir Lemming
    Bat-Deduction was a good suggestion, because it evokes all the "Bat-stuff" names used in the Adam West series.

    Either way, launch it.
  • April 20, 2009
    arromdee
    I'd go with Bat Deduction. It's better than "Batman" because of that association. Though I wonder how many people these days would know it--is the Adam West series still being rerun?
  • April 20, 2009
    Some Guy
    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Better explanation of what makes this trope different from Creek Moment, please. Because so far all I have is "a Creek Moment that we feel like complaining about".
  • April 20, 2009
    SonTenks
    Some Guy: It's a Creek Moment without any logical connection between the trigger and the deduction. Instead of the clue triggering a logical series of thoughts to get to the answer, it triggers what, in real life, would have to be a complete and utter guess.
  • April 20, 2009
    Some Guy
    That sounds incredibly subjective. What's "logical"? The conclusions used in Batman Forever may have been roundabout and sloppy, but they can still be connected logically, albeit tenously.

    This sounds, to me, like "logical" is being used as a synonym for "clever writing". How would this page end up being anything except Creek Moment only The Same But Worse?
  • April 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    To define these - The protagonist discovers a smear of grape jelly Creek Moment - Grape.... wait a moment, we never searched the vineyard! Logical Pole Vault - Grape jelly at the crime scene... grapes were first grown by the Romans and Greeks, so therefor the suspect must work in the Ancient History Museum!

    It's a leap of logic with no real justification. It's seeing someone buy a box of tea bags and coming to the conclusion that because tea is British, they must be a carpenter.
  • April 20, 2009
    Known Unknown
    Bat Deduction it is, then. Launching soon. With hyphen as alternate title with punctuation
  • April 26, 2009
    NeeNee
    Wait, Bat Deduction only got three votes? How did it win? (And it's pretty unclear for those who don't know the series. Batman Deduction is not much better in this aspect, but at least that doesn't sound like the detective is a bat.)

    Mine's another vote for Jumping To The Right Conclusion. Makes five.
  • April 26, 2009
    Ganondorfdude11
    Bat Deduction is a good title, especially considering the aforementioned examples from the Adam West series.
  • April 26, 2009
    Madrugada
    If you really want to name it that, no one can stop you, but it will be renamed.

    You're naming after a character.

    You're naming it after some thing that never was that character's defining trait.

    You're naming it after something that isn't even really associated with the best-known versions of that character anymore. (Far more people think Dark Knight than Adam West when they hear "Batman".)
  • April 26, 2009
    DotDotDot!
  • April 27, 2009
    Sir Lemming
    This isn't a democracy. Launch it and use whatever title you want. Case closed.
  • April 28, 2009
    Known Unknown
    Problem being that the Rename part of the forum is in overdrive right now, and I want to be absolutely sure there's a consensus before I launch. It would be highly annoying to have spend 60+ posts coming up with a name only for it to be instantly pulled into debate because of the new unwritten References = The Devil trend going on. I'm relatively sure I can defend the name against criticism, but it'll be much better if I can say that conversation over the name was taken in YKTTW, and a consensus was already reached.

    Alternatively, if we come to a different consensus, we won't have to go through the intense hassle that is the rename thread at all.
  • April 29, 2009
    Sir Lemming
    An admirable goal, but consensus? On the internet? This has been in YKTTW for far too long; it really should be launched, even if not everyone absolutely loves the name.
  • May 19, 2009
    Known Unknown
    Problem being the rename forum, which will no doubt jump upon the name as soon as launch it (which would be irritating), and will probably drag this into completely new conversation about what we could work out here instead.
  • May 25, 2009
    Heliomance
    Hyphenate it and you're good. Bat-Deduction.
  • May 26, 2009
    Cosmetor
    No, Bat Deduction doesn't imply "illogical leap" at all, even if you know Batman. It only implies Batman deducing something.
  • May 26, 2009
    Heliomance
    Except only the 60s show referred to things as Bat-X with such egregious regularity, and the 60s show is the one with these leaps.
  • May 26, 2009
    Elk
    Professor Layton does this a LOT. Layton figures out just about every mystery in the game with almost no trouble at all.
  • May 27, 2009
    Sir Lemming
    Holy crap, it's still here.
  • May 27, 2009
    Dcoetzee
    I like the suggested title Deduction Ex Machina, because this trope is meant to apply specifically to situations where the seemingly-magical deduction is inserted to rescue the plot from a situation with no conceivable resolution.
  • July 17, 2009
    LeighSabio
    Launching.
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