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
- 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.