Created By: Aminatep on May 5, 2011 Last Edited By: XFllo on August 17, 2013

Missed the Easy Way Out

There was an easy way out of troubles, but characters missed it& got tangled in something convoluted

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Oh, hey, look. There's a really quick way to end this story! Right here, right now. Without any of the bad things happening. Wait, I mean "was". Because you totally missed that opportunity. Better go work towards that happy ending now! And sometimes you won't get even that.

A variant of Yank the Dog's Chain that may even be considered harsher where the dog doesn't even get to have hope or relief - only regret. Typically, if the dog finally finds out about such a way out, it does so simultaneously with the audience.

May start a Set Right What Once Went Wrong scenario. See Hope Spot for an inversion of sorts. See also Not so Fast, Bucko! and You Can't Thwart Stage One for the reasons why this happens. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero is a variation where the easy way out in question was not doing anything in that situation. May make the plot become a Shaggy Dog Story. There Was a Door is this literally. Compare You Never Asked.

Lots of these plot twists are revealed in the very end, so expect unmarked spoilers.

Examples:

  • In Saw, the key to the shackles was on the Doomed Protagonist's neck, but when he woke up, it fell off and got flushed down the sinkhole. Subsequent movies also attempt that but to a much lesser extent.
  • In Order Of The Stick, Miko at one point drops a letter which says that Durkon Thundershield can go home again now, something he've dreamed to do, even if he had to die first to get there. And he will never know about that.
  • Tom Sawyer in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn creates an elaborate plan to "rescue" Jim, the slave. Huck points out that there was a door. And it was unlocked.
  • In the The Wizard of Oz movie adaptation Glinda explains, at the end of the movie, that the only thing that Dorothy needed to do in order to return to Kansas is click her heels together and say "There's no place like home". Glinda could have told Dorothy this at the beginning of the story.
    • Parodied and lampshaded in this video from Mad TV.
    • Note the fact that this is present only in the movie adaptation. In the book the Good Witch of the North doesn't know how to get Dorothy home, and sends her to the Wizard (as in the film). In the end Glinda, the Good Witch of the South is the one who tells Dorothy that all she had to do is click her heels. The two characters were combined for the film.
  • The Music Box: After Laurel and Hardy spend all that time and effort pushing the piano up the stairs, once they arrive at the door they are told of the ramp to the back door.
  • Popped up briefly in Flaky Pastry when Nitrine's (sorta-kinda) boyfriend climbs through a dangerous, monster-infested, trap-filled tower to seek an audience with the wizard who lives at the top. When he arrives, he finds a sign saying "The Wizard is OUT", indicating a classic Shaggy Dog Story - but then he turns around to find that the wizard JUST returned with his shopping - having taken the ELEVATOR up. Which, apparently, he'd failed to notice back on the ground floor.
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • May 5, 2011
    batgirl1
    See Also We Could Have Avoided All This? Actually, this seems to warrant that title more than that trope does.
  • May 5, 2011
    GameChainsaw
    There Was A Door for when the hard way was through a window.
  • May 8, 2011
    Aminatep
    ^
  • May 10, 2011
    neoYTPism
    ^^^ I think this is specific enough to be a subtrope. Characters take the hard way out when an easy way out actually could have worked.
  • May 10, 2011
    valbinooo
    Tom Sawyer in Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn creates an elaborate plan to "rescue" Jim, the slave. Huck points out that there was a door. And it was unlocked.
  • May 10, 2011
    spikebrennan
    Dorothy's ruby slippers (silver shoes, in the book) from The Wizard of Oz? Glinda explains, at the end of the movie, that the only thing that Dorothy needed to do in order to return to Kansas is click her heels together and say "There's no place like home". Glinda could have told Dorothy this at the beginning of the story...
  • May 10, 2011
    Damr1990
  • May 17, 2011
    TonyG
    The Music Box: After Laurel And Hardy spend all that time and effort pushing the piano up the stairs, once they arrive at the door they are told of the ramp to the back door.
  • May 17, 2011
    thewriter
  • July 10, 2011
    Aminatep
    Bumping it because people apparently constantly use We Could Have Avoided All This as this trope.
  • July 10, 2011
    StrangeDwarf
    The Wizard Of Oz example is parodied and lampshaded in this hilarious video from Mad TV.

  • July 10, 2011
    IronLion
    In Labyrinth, Sarah asks a worm for a way into the eponymous maze, with the goal of rescuing her baby from the castle at the centre. The worm directs her to the solid-looking but permeable brick wall, but cautions her not to go that way. After she walks off in the opposite direction, the worm tells the camera that if she'd carried on the way she was going, she'd have gone straight to the castle.
  • July 10, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Wizard Of Oz example is really only the film version. In the book the (unnamed) Good Witch of the North doesn't know how to get Dorothy home, and sends her to the Wizard (as in the film). In the end Glinda, the Good Witch of the South is the one who tells Dorothy that all she had to do is click her heels. The two characters were combined for the film.
  • July 12, 2011
    BlackDragon
    Popped up briefly in Flaky Pastry when Nitrine's (sorta-kinda) boyfriend climbs through a dangerous, monster-infested, trap-filled tower to seek an audience with the wizard who lives at the top. When he arrives, he finds a sign saying "The Wizard is OUT", indicating a classic Shaggy Dog Story - but then he turns around to find that the wizard JUST returned with his shopping - having taken the ELEVATOR up. Which, apparently, he'd failed to notice back on the ground floor.
  • July 12, 2011
    FastEddie
    Get a real title. This sounds like dialog.
  • July 12, 2011
    Aminatep
    Suggest a real title. This sounds like non-constructive criticism.

    In all its seriousness, will you ever learn what a dialogue even is? You don't seem to grasp that part where it's always two or more people talking. Because this sounds like a rhetorical question to me.
  • July 12, 2011
    FastEddie
    Nope. Do your own thinking. I'm just going to keep cutting and discarding things with a dialog titles until the message gets across that dialog is not to be used for tropes titles.
  • July 13, 2011
    Aminatep
    This isn't a dialogue title by the very definition of dialogue. Therefore it is very launchable and viable and does not oppose your silly little crusade in any way, shape or form.

    Glad you mentioned the fact that you don't actually do any thinking before cutlisting viable tropes.

  • July 13, 2011
    tylerdurden
    In Ultimate Elektra, Matt reveals to Elektra that she could have avoided shenanigans with Kingpin.
  • August 3, 2011
    INUH
  • September 10, 2011
    randomsurfer
    South Park, "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut." Kenny is sent to Restart The Generator [1], and has to get there through a sewer filled with sludge and avoid a pod of velociraptors. Once he gets there Dr. Doctor calls him on his walkie-talkie.
    Dr. Doctor: Team B? Come in, Team B.
    Kenny: (This is Team B.)
    Dr. Doctor: Listen, Team B. We've found another path to the generator. There's actually a nice heated walkway to it, so you don't need to walk through all that sewage.
    Kenny: (Are you fuckin' telling me that I could've fuckin' gone that way?!)
    Dr. Doctor: Oh... Well, forget I said that, then.
  • August 17, 2013
    DAN004
    Another subtrope of Rule Of Drama.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=pwfffnt4kfs1r4oc6yp92v9d