Created By: Ardiente on February 3, 2011 Last Edited By: Elihu on June 23, 2011
Nuked

Never Saw It Coming

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Sometimes when bad stuff happens in an extremely sudden way, a character can barely react to their fate before it befalls them. Wether it be Dodge This, Death from Above, or Deer in the Headlights, or another sort of sudden or imminent threat, the essence of this trope is that the character is depicted during that split second right before the situation can even register to them, the thoughts expressed by Oh Crap! or This Is Gonna Suck not having had the time to form in the first place. Bonus points if the scene was entirely serene and relaxed until then and neither the character nor the viewer saw what was coming. In fiction, usually murder victims are depticted wearing this sort of expression, rather than any other they could have been frozen into. This is especially egregious if they died in combat, since, unless they for some reason believed themselves to be immortal, invulnerable or invincible, they are already in a fighting mindset, and while an unexpected blow might be a surprise, it wouldn't lead to the "shocked and appalled" expression usually seen in bodies then.

Examples:
  • In Billy Bat, a protagonist is enjoying night-life at New Orleaohshi-
  • The former Trope Namer is the Meme Divide by Zero ("I divided by zero OH SHI-"), which hypothesizes that in the event that someone accomplished the blatantly impossible with success, even by mistake, such as, archetypicially, dividing by zero, the universe would instantly collapse before the culprit has the time to even register the magnitude of what they've done, ending their existence and that of everything else, hence the evocative and wonderfully concise phrase. [hottip:*:It is vital that the final T is omitted, otherwise it would imply that there was some sort of pause at the end of the sentence, even without a punctuation to indicate it. The lack of a T here demonstrates that there was nothing after that, that the thought was interrupted before it could even complete]]
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • February 3, 2011
    Tiiba
  • February 3, 2011
    Ardiente
    That would be if you took the title literally. I mean the body-language/internal-thought equivalent: the Curse Cut Short is only a tool to evoke the feeling, but obviously if you have had the time to start swearing you're already in Oh Crap territory and beyond this trope, yes?
  • February 3, 2011
    RainyDayNinja
    We also have Killed Mid Sentence already.
  • February 3, 2011
    EternalSeptember
  • February 3, 2011
    TwoGunAngel
    I'd probably call this Never Saw It Coming, which is related only tangentially to Didnt See That Coming.
  • February 4, 2011
    Ardiente
    ^That's actually a very good title.

    ^^Ridiculously Similar But Not The Same is what being a Splitter is all about.

    ^^^ That has some overlap, but, again, it's not the same thing. One can be killed mid-sentence while being fully aware of one's fate and the opponent just deciding to subvert Final Speech. Being shot wile not having noticed the bullet coming at all doesn't fit either, because there's no ''horrible dawning realization Cut Short'(is this a good title BTW?]], which is what this is about.
  • May 10, 2011
    Ardiente
    bump
  • May 10, 2011
    Koveras
    Prof. Mordin Solus, member of a physically weak race of Salarians explains his hidden badassitude: "Not always been a doctor, can handle myself. Advantage of being Salarian. Turians, Krogan, Vorcha all obvious threats... *sharp inhale* Never see me coming."
  • May 10, 2011
    KyleJacobs
  • May 10, 2011
    Elihu
    Took out the egregious pothole with extreme prejudice. There's no need for that.

    I don't see a significant difference. In terms of the facts, yes, I understand a superficial difference (which is, at best, a few milliseconds), but in practice I don't see how this has a unique narrative meaning that isn't covered by Killed Mid Sentence.
  • May 11, 2011
    Ardiente
    Well, for one thing, because the character doesn't need to die fir the trope to take place? If you cared to read the very next page, you'd find out the character was saved by a Big Damn Heroes.

    Edit: I apologise, It appears the link I have linked to has been dispalced. Does anyone here know Billy Bat enough to say in which chapters the New Orleans thing happened?
  • May 11, 2011
    KyleJacobs
    As stated above, we have this. It's Didnt See That Coming.
  • May 11, 2011
    jaytee
    Yeah, this seems like a very vague trope that is better covered by at least three more precise tropes. Two of the examples we have fall cleanly in other tropes, the one example in the comments is a use of the stock phrase but otherwise not really related.

    I vote discard.
  • May 12, 2011
    Ardiente
    It's not vague at all. Dude is there. Threat appears. Dude barely has the time to percieve the fact that there is a threat, let alone do 'anything'' about it besides changing facial expressions.

    Another example: In The Matrix, when Neo gets into that lobby, and is asked by a bored guard to drop any metllic objects. The guards has barely any tie to react at all. The central one cursed, but his curse wasn't cut short and he wasn't killed mid-sentence. He wasn't elaborating a plan that got derailed because he was Out Gambitted or because of a Spanner In The Works or anything, there was no plan, he was just doing his job as usual, and the heroes' Refuge In Audacity caught him completely by surprise.

    Yet another: in Metal Gear Solid, if you sneak up behin an enemy soldier without getting noticed, and quickly and suddenly point a gun at them, you'll cause the character to shout "FREEZE". Not having had time to react at all besides spouting a blue exclamation mark, they'll remain immobile while you do whatever you wanted to do with them. However, if you lower your weapon for even one second, they'll sound the alarm AND immediatelys start shooting you. "Hands Up" indeed.
  • May 12, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Ardiente, I think in spirit, this is already covered by Oh Crap.
  • May 12, 2011
    Ardiente
    ... Ah. Yeah, to an extent... Well, it'd be a very specific subtrope with the reaction time as the defining difference...

    Oh, another example: Due to the extremely high speed at which some battles happen in Bleach, oftentimes characters won't get to curse or even react at all. Their faces simply freeze in Wide Eyes And Shrunken Irises or a non-cute version of Open The Iris to underline how riduclously small their pupils have gotten with fear.

    In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann... when Kamina has just gotten in Gurren and is ready to move, he takes one step... and gets stabbed from beneath... this scene is repeated [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSQww1GOSy8&feature=related as many as five times just to emphasize how no one had any time to react at all besides wearing a horrified expression... or screaming in atrocious pain in the case of the victim... I think they did it for the sake of the viewers, too
  • May 12, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^I understand that the concept is simple, but when it plays out in fiction it doesn't seem to do so predictably, hence why we have Oh Crap, Curse Cut Short, Killed Mid Sentence, Didnt See That Coming, etc etc etc.
  • May 12, 2011
    Ardiente
    Well, obviously this trope isn't about being predictable, it's susually a surprise both for the viewer and the victim. Mook Horror Show has instances of this, especially when Superman or The Flash are involved.
  • May 13, 2011
    Ardiente
    bump
  • May 19, 2011
    Ardiente
    bump
  • May 19, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^...Missing The Point Completely.

    I'm not talking about whether it's surprising/predictable in the context of the story, I'm talking about the trope itself. We have a vague concept (this YKTTW) that tends to play out in very specific ways that already cover this content in better detail. This doesn't work as a trope because it's actually three or four completely separate tropes (hence, "does not play out predictably").
  • May 19, 2011
    jaytee
    ^Oh god, rookie mistake. Completely Missing The Point. facepalm.
  • May 19, 2011
    Rolf
    You do know you can edit your posts anytime? :)
  • May 20, 2011
    Ardiente
    I don't get why that would mean it can't be its own trope. Look, when you play Metal Gear or Assasins Creed and you sneak up on an opponent and grab them, they won't have time to react, or curse. They may or may not die depending on whay you choose to do next. On the other hand, if a guard sees you before you see them, you get a shiny [[red:!]] with the appropriate sound that can send your joystick flying from your hands. You didn't get the time to react either before they shoot you or call reinforcements. Hence why players go to great pains never to get caught.
  • May 20, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^I do, but my workplace still runs IE 6, which is almost, but not completely incompatible with the entire internet here in 2011. Editing a post requires a lot of opening and closing YKTTW entries and a lot of scrolling through posts I just read. Apologies for anyone whose aesthetic sense is offended by my laziness :)

    ^It doesn't necessarily mean it can't be its own trope, it's just why I don't think it needs to have a page to itself. I'm big on lumping. I'll let someone else weigh in on the issue, in any case.
  • May 20, 2011
    Hadashi
    Reportedly the famous general who died mid-sentence denying that he needed to duck as "they couldn't hit an elephant at this-"
  • May 20, 2011
    Ardiente
    That's also a Killed Mid Sentence, but since not all the tropes there fit here (one can be killed mid-sentence while being fully aware of the gun pointed at their face or the sword at their throat), I guess we can include it as well.
  • May 20, 2011
    Rolf
    Ahh makes sense in context of computer. And I wasn't offended, just curious if you knew. :)
  • May 23, 2011
    Ardiente
    bump
  • June 23, 2011
    Ardiente
    bump

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=pu1cuuz8403zu65ebr4vfzle