A Script Speak
You've got Four Lines, All Waiting
, a Gambit Pileup
and a Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
. Too much is happening for a single Reveal
to solve. You might dread being Left Hanging
or for a Kudzu Plot
to descend into Sequelitis
, but for once, the writer has actually thought of everything
and manages to conclude all Plot Threads
in rapid succession.
That's a Plot Avalanche
: It resolves the majority of plot points. Any Sequel Hooks
are clearly distinct from the main plot. Once the dust settles, there's nothing left for the audience to wonder
It's a Wham Episode
or third act
at breakneck speed, or The Climax
on steroids. Expect multiple Reveals
. Chekhov's Armoury
alone doesn't constitute a Plot Avalanche
unless revelations occur in rapid succession.
Doesn't apply to a Grand Finale
unless ALL Myth Arcs
are resolved. Only applies to a Final Season
if it clearly was planned from the very beginning.
Can apply to the climax of a single episode with a complex plot structure.
The polar opposite of Arc Fatigue
and Gainax Endings
. Also contrast: The Chris Carter Effect
, Kudzu Plot
Sister trope to Cosmic Deadline
Named for Brandon Sanderson
, whose ability to bring myriad gambits
to generally satisfying conclusions in a very small space became known as the "Sanderson Avalanche."
WARNING: Because this is an Ending Trope
, expect many spoilers
- In the penultimate chapter of Watchmen, many minor characters return, and whatever storylines they had come to a head, only to get massacred by the beginning of the final chapter.
- Memento, which shows the main plot chronologically backwards and a subplot/backstory chronologically moving forwards. As the pace of revelation increases, both lines meet at the film's conclusion.
- Fight Club deals for a long time with mundane (but increasing) problems of the protagonist: Insomnia, depression, isolation. Just before The Reveal, tension and pace reach new heights.
- Brandon Sanderson, the trope namer, has several. Most notably:
- Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. Multiple mysteries and gambits are introduced throughout; all are solved in the span of a few chapters.
- In the Michael Slade novel Ghoul, it seems like there couldn't possibly be time to resolve the simultaneous manhunts for the three killers -- a psycho, a bomber, and a hitman -- who've been plaguing Vancouver and London, not to mention the interwoven thread of the mysterious Saxon Hyde. Then a Plot Avalanche is unleashed that brings all these subplots to a head with The Reveal that they're all different personalities of the same very sick man.
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