Subtrope of Chekhov's Skill
: At the beginning of the story, the protagonist attempts to demonstrate a skill, and fails dismally. This is a sure sign that at the climax they're going to save the day by attempting this skill again and getting it right (usually for the first time ever).
Compare Becoming the Boast
Film -- Animated
- In Naruto, Naruto is given a week to learn Rasengan. He doesn't manage it until the last day, when Kabuto is about to kill Tsunade and the only move Naruto knows that will put Kabuto out of the fight is Rasengan.
Film -- Live Action
- In Happily Ever After, Thunderella has trouble focusing her storm-control powers. In the climax, she successfully throws a lightning bolt at the villain, which creates a distraction for Snow White to deal the final blow.
- In Willow, Willow attempts to perform a disappearing trick and it goes disastrously wrong. At the climax, he foils the evil sorceress by vanishing the MacGuffin.
- In Maverick, Maverick has a superstition about being able to draw exactly the card he needs, which fails every time he tries it except during the climactic poker game with everything riding on it.
- In the climactic game of Major League, veteran pitcher Eddie Harris is flagging at the top of the ninth inning, when Yankees power hitter Clu Haywood comes up to bat. The Indians' manager calls Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in as relief pitcher, even though Vaughn has never failed to give away a hit to Haywood in the season. The catcher protests, but the Indians' manager insists, saying, "I've got a hunch he's due." Vaughn throws three straight fastballs and strikes Haywood out.
Western Animation TV
- In Chuck season 3 when he was training to be a "real" spy, Chuck had to do an Improvised Zipline using a power line and his belt as the pulley, but failed. Then at the end of the ep in a real situation he was forced to use a power line as a zip line with his belt as the pulley. This time he succeeded.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Sonic Rainboom", Rainbow Dash struggles to pull off the title maneuver while practicing for a flight competition. Come the day of the competition, she pulls it off to save Rarity and several Thunderbolts from falling to their deaths.
- One of the comics based on Superman: The Animated Series has the scientist character flashback to his extremely unathletic youth, as an alien bomb is falling to earth, but he picks up an Anti Gravity bat and hits the falling bomb safely away (Superman was busy elsewhere).
(first attempt at title was "But That Trick Never Works")