This occurs when someone realizes a supposedly friendly character is actually an enemy, and tries to warn others only for them to already have been captured, killed or otherwise be at the mercy of the traitor, whether a deep cover sleeper agent
, an outsider who's wearing a disguise to pass unnoticed or one of their own who has gone rogue
. In any case, he soon-to-be victims either don't receive the warning at all because it came a second too late, or they only have enough time to realize the danger they're in
Subtrope of You Are Too Late
. Similar to Alone with the Psycho
. See also Five Second Foreshadowing
- In the beginning of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, IMF agent Trevor Hanaway is meeting with an informant. He sees her walking towards him, and he moves to hand her a briefcase. As he's doing so, he gets a text on his phone from the IMF. He looks down and sees that it's a warning from the IMF, saying that she's an assassin. As he looks up in alarm, she shoots him and takes the briefcase.
- In Thor: The Dark World, Heimdall is helping Thor and his allies get to the Dark World and is meant to distract Odin. He alerts Odin to the Bifrost Bridge and tells him he wishes to report a betrayal in Asgard. When Odin asks whose betrayal, it is, he responds, "mine".
- Pearl Harbor: Despite signs of hopeful peace talks between Japan and the United States, the Empire attacks the US Navy. As Admiral Kimmel surveys the devastation, he receives a telegram warning of imminent Japanese hostilities. He sardonically remarks it's only two hours late, and tosses it into the water.
- In Intolerance, the suspicious Mountain Girl follows the high priest of Babylon when he sneaks out of town. She tracks him to the headquarters of the besieging Persian army, where she finds out that he's a traitor plotting to hand the city over to the Persians. The Mountain Girl races back to the city in a chariot to tell Prince Belshazzar of the plot, but just as she reaches him, the traitorous priests open the gates and the Persian army pours in. Babylon is destroyed.
- On Babylon 5 G'Kar was given a death threat by an old rival. While contacting his government he is informed that the courier that was supposed to deliver the message was killed. He barely had time to turn around as the fake courier shoots him.
- In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Innocence" Angel loses his soul and reverts back to his former personality, known as Angelus, a remorseless killer. Jenny Calendar rushes to tell the rest of the team what's going on, but by the time she gets there he already has Willow in a choke hold.
- Inverted in the backstory of Warhammer 40K: Magnus the Red manages to uses his sorcery to warn the God Emperor of his son Horus' treachery ahead of time. Unfortunately, not only is sorcery forbidden by the Emperor, but the spell caused grievous damage to the Imperial Palace. And to top it all off, the Emperor didn't even believe the message (think of it as God being told Jesus is coming to kill him), instead sending the Space Wolves to arrest Magnus.
- Modern Warfare 2: Ghost and Roach receive a warning not to trust General Shepherd, but it comes after he has already shot them both and is having them burned to death.
- A variation in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back: Coco tried several times to contact Crash via holographic transmission that something seems fishy about the cooperative Cortex (who was the Big Bad of the previous game), but she's cut off before she can finish, every time. The last time she did it, she finally managed to get the message across... but by then, it's too late. Right after that, Final Boss battle ensues.
- While defending a runaway train from Ophiochus Sam, Ace Bunny of the Loonatics Unleashed gets an assist from a young man named Deuce. Later, Danger Duck and Slam Tasmanian discover that Deuce and Sam are in cohoots, but cannot get off the train for some time. Meanwhile, Ophiochus Sam has Deuce under fire, and Deuce cries for Ace's help. Ace throws his Strike Sword to Deuce, and discovers the whole scene was a feint for precisely that purpose. Once the villains depart, Danger Duck appears, breathless, to warn Ace that Deuce is allied with Sam. Ace can only glare at Duck as if to say "NOW you tell me."