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[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/CaptainAmerica http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/badassindistressbyseptimusheap_1470.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Yup, he looks pretty distressed...]]

->''"[[Film/TheAvengers This]] is my [[SignatureStyle entire career]] in one scene: Look, [[DamselInDistress she’s helpless]]! [[SubvertedTrope No]], [[ActionGirl she’s kicking their asses]]!"''
-->-- '''JossWhedon'''

So, your {{Badass}} ActionHero is becoming just a bit [[InvincibleHero too powerful and invincible]]. Sure, it's [[RuleOfCool really cool]], but nobody likes a GodModeSue. What can you do to make him seem more human?

Why not do an episode where your badass [[AllUpToYou finds himself in the role]] usually reserved for the DamselInDistress? Kidnap him, make him desperately ill or injured, or otherwise put him in a situation where he cannot single-handedly resolve the plot and your audience can enjoy watching him wait for the kind of rescue he usually provides for the rest of the cast. See? He's NotSoInvincibleAfterAll...

The danger in using this trope is that it can make a badass look... bad. Is our hero [[BadassDecay losing his touch]]? Is our ActionGirl undergoing that long-dreaded {{Chickification}}, turning her into a FauxActionGirl? But in most cases the audience usually forgives a brief lapse in badassery: everyone can have an off-day and one loss can happen to even the strongest hero. Beyond that, a Badass in Distress is more than your ordinary DistressedDude. If he hasn't been quietly planting the seeds for his own escape this whole time, he is certainly waiting at the prison door, ready to leap out and kick some ass the instant it opens.

Sometimes his allies try but fail to reach him, so the Badass says, "LetsGetDangerous", breaks free on his own and [[RescueReversal saves his would-be saviors.]] Turns out that he wasn't all that helpless: he just needed more time or the surge of adrenaline that he felt when he saw his friends in trouble, etc. If the badass is a villain or even debatable antihero, there's generally no rescue team, and instead of escaping the character simply survives the execution and immediately murders everyone.

In other words, TropesAreTools, and this is a good one for adding depth and humanity to a potential BoringInvincibleHero. Done well, it makes viewers appreciate the hero's customary badassery all the more. Done badly, it may leave the audience wondering if he just caught the DistressBall today.

The IneffectualLoner is often subject to this, because they're often hit with AnAesop about working as a team and relying on ThePowerOfFriendship. Having butted heads with their allies once too often and [[RageQuit stormed off to work on their own]], they usually fail spectacularly and have to be rescued, after which the Aesop has been taught and they can resume kicking ass. Compare DefiantCaptive, for captives that may or may not be badass but still have the spirit to fight back.
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Advertising]]
* Quaker Oats turned this into a sweepstakes called "Save the Cap'n" by putting Cap'n Crunch in trouble during a series of commercials, where he was captured by the Soggies. Over the course of the advertising campaign, viewers had to use clues provided by a hotline to identify which door and which key was needed, then send in an entry form with the correct answers to be eligible to win prizes. And meanwhile, the storyline was being shown in the commercials themselves, concluding with the Cap'n escaping in an epic battle. (Well, epic [[RuleOfFunny cartoonish battle.]])
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Kouji Kabuto from ''MazingerZ'' undoubtedly is a {{Hotblooded}} {{Badass}}, an excellent HumongousMecha pilot, a great sharpshooter and a competent fighter can take care of himself even when he is outside of his giant robot. However he often needed being rescued either because he had fallen into a trap or because the odds were brutally against him. It happened several times in ''GreatMazinger'', ''UFORoboGrendizer'' and ''{{Mazinkaiser}}'', but it was specially glaring in ''UFORoboGrendizer'', where he was demoted from TheLeader to TheLancer, and instead of a HumongousMecha he piloted a support unit. However usually he was saved by a BigDamnHeroes moment from Sayaka, Boss, Tetsuya or Duke, so even when he was in danger, usually it ended up in a CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
** [[spoiler:His adoptive brother]], Tetsuya Tsurugi also found in that position at least once [[spoiler:and he had to be saved by his father's HeroicSacrifice]]. Duke Fleed also was captured sometimes.
* ''FlameOfRecca'''s Mikagami Tokiya is at first noted as not only the smartest of the Hokage, he's also the cruelest and most ruthless. However, he suffers two cases of being captured, first being defeated by Aoi and is used as a hostage to lower Recca's morale and stays unconscious until rescued, but he later makes it up by forcing Hiruko, who was on the same level of Aoi, into a draw. Then he gets hit AGAIN when BigBadWannabe Marie managed to drug him by luck and strap him into a contrapment, waiting for Domon and Recca to rescue him and rained with taunts and ridicule. Just so they make sure they didn't think of him [[BadassDecay decayed]], he is pitted against his master Meguri Kyouza, who [[BadassGrandpa even on deathbed instills fear on both Aoi and Hiruko and could've beaten Kurei if it wasn't for the deathbed tidbits]]... and Mikagami outsmarts and comes out victorious against him.
* Genjo Sanzo from ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}''. Being the counterpart of DistressedDude extraordinary from the [[Literature/JourneyToTheWest original source]], it is expected that he'll be kidnapped a lot. But instead of wailing for help or just being silent, he stays vigilant and badmouths his captors without even mentioning, "My followers will rescue me." When help does arrive, his response is... "I don't need your help anyway." And it's quite often that once he's freed, he'll either shoot or exorcise his captors dead, and his faith (as rude as it may be) unshaken.
* Kamina from ''GurrenLagann'' is TheAce, a big-ass {{Determinator}}, and LeeroyJenkins in a mech. Problem is he can never win a fight on his own, and is constantly getting saved by Simon.
** He'd have died in episode 1 if Simon hadn't dug up from below to save him. He's not TheAce at anything but talking big. Which ultimately makes him come off as MORE BADASS than TheAce ever does. He is, at least, competent in hand to hand fighting. [[spoiler: The one time he goes into battle solo against anything tougher than basic Mooks he dies. And he STILL manages to cure the HeroicBSOD that his death inflicts on Simon with a story he conveniently told Yoko mere hours before his death.]]
*** Actually, ''WordOfGod'' says he would have won that fight.
*** [[spoiler:He was also taken by surprise by [[BadassGeneral Thymilphof]] after snapping Simon out of his HeroicBSOD. Thymilphof burst out from under him and mortally wounded him. He still manages to be badass even when dying.]]
*** [[spoiler: Word of God also says that he actually did die there for a second and essentially WILLED himself back to life.]]
* This happens to Kyoya Hibari from ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn''. He's pretty much one of the most {{Badass}} characters in the entire series, and remained largely undefeated. Until the [[GenreShift first serious arc]] with Rokudo Mukuro began. He goes over to fight Mukuro, only to be defeated (due to his [[FlawExploitation weakness being exploited]]), and held captive. With some help from Tsuna and Gokudera, he manages to break out and wreak havoc. His {{Badass}}ness didn't decay ''any'' from it at all.
* [[spoiler:Death The Kid]] from ''Manga/SoulEater'' is this for a while, although now he is out of the Book of Eibon and is ready to start kicking ass again.
** Also [[spoiler:Maka Albarn]], during the Envy and Sloth chapters of the same book.
* Kallen Stadtfeld from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' was captured at one point in the second season and her time in captivity was used for some CharacterDevelopment. But once she got out of captivity... she killed [[PsychoForHire Luciano Bradley]] and made it clear who the motherfucking ActionGirl of the series is. Even when she was a prisoner she [[http://img4.gelbooru.com//images/303/bfb846d8031980aa03628950d7d804331ca8d635.gif punched the fuck outta Suzaku]] while wearing a PimpedOutDress.
* Mewtwo in ''PokemonMewtwoReturns.'' He spent the first movie being a total badass villain, and never being defeated. He has a few badass moments in the sequel, where he fends off Team Rocket. Even when he's captured [[spoiler: due to some Pokemon being held hostage]], he never gives in, [[spoiler: resisting the pain of the device being used at him nearly at the expense of his life]]. Naturally, Ash and co. are there to save him using the {{Phlebotinum}} of the week. What does he do after being rescued? [[spoiler: He wipes the memory of at least 50 people simultaneously and moves part of a ''mountain'', evacuates his Pokemon telekinetically to various places, and then produces hot air balloons to get the Rocket Trio and Ash and his friends to their destinations]]. He handles the whole thing with a fair amount of angst as per his character, but no pleading, no crying, and no caving in.
* Meow from ''KazemakaseTsukikageRan'' may be a skilled fighter but she does get hit with the DistressBall more than a few times, requiring Ran to come to her aid. Once Meow gets free, though, she joins Ran with beating up the bad guys.
* This happens a fair number of times in ''Anime/YuGiOh'' and its [[Anime/YuGiOhGX sequel]] [[Anime/YuGiOh5Ds series]], usually as part of TheWorfEffect.
** If Kaiba counts (an AntiHero, probably, but still Badass) it happens to him in the first season of ''Anime/YuGiOh'' when his attempt to rescue Mokuba fails, requiring Yugi to bail him out.
*** And ''again'' during Legendary Heroes Arc, and ''again'' during the Virtual Nightmare Arc. (Clearly, Kaiba's constant [[IWorkAlone refusal to accept help]] attributed to him getting in trouble each times. Fortunately, Mokuba had more sense in that regard.)
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', {{Badass}} Revy spends the greater part of an episode knocked out (I think it took a large grenade) by the series' [[ImplacableMan Implacable]] NinjaMaid. When she regained consciousness, a MomentOfAwesome ensued.
* [[spoiler:Manji]] from ''BladeOfTheImmortal'' becomes one of these during the Prison Arc. It is up to [[PluckyGirl Rin]], probably the weakest character in the entire manga, to save [[spoiler:him]]. (Though she did get help from others.)
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': In the Fullbring Arc, the BadassInDistress was [[spoiler: Ichigo. Yamamoto even says it's time for Soul Society to repay its debt to Ichigo and band together to save him.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece''. Portgas D. Ace, during the Impel Down and Whitebeard War arcs. [[spoiler:It ends in tragedy, since he dies several minutes after being liberated by his brother Luffy. Can be seen as a DeconstructedTrope, as being a badass released from captivity is '''not''' a guarantee that you'll survive the experience in the end.]]
** Nico Robin during Enies Lobby also qualifies; having previously established her badass credentials several times over. Her inner darkness catches up with her, and becomes a DeliberatelyDistressedDamsel until she regains the will to live.
*** Lampshaded after Fukurou reveals that Robin has Sea Prism Stone handcuffs on and is thus unable to use her powers, despite having resolved the personal issues that led her to surrender to [=CP9=] for the Straw Hats' safety.
-->'''Chopper''': So that's why Robin has let you push her around, even though she's so strong! She must feel awful!
* Asuna and Negi get hit more than once with this in ''MahouSenseiNegima''.
* ''Manga/FairyTail'':
** Erza in the Tower of Heaven arc.
** The entire guild including such powerful guys as Makarov, Mirajane, and Gildarts, when they're sucked into Edolas and turned into an immobile magic source. Only the three Dragon Slayers (who were immune to the teleportation spell) and Lucy (who was protected by her spirits) managed to stay free. Gray and Erza were later freed halfway through the arc, but the rest of the guild spent the entire arc helpless.
** During the same arc, [[{{Badass}} Natsu]] and Wendy were captured by the king of Edolas and drained of their magic; having been unable to use it in Edolas, they couldn't use their powers to escape and had to be rescued by Lucy, Erza and Gray.
** And now again during the Tartaros Arc. The entire guild minus Lucy is trapped [[spoiler: as the Cube transforms into some kind of creature and starts digesting them]]
* Ran, Kazuha, Heiji and Kogoro (though in his case it's more like CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass) have caught quite the {{Distress Ball}}s in ''Manga/DetectiveConan''.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'':
** Sesshoumaru is one of the most powerful characters in the series, but he has been in mortal situations a few times requiring to be saved by his sword's barrier a couple of times and by his younger brother Inuyasha in others. One of the worst happens towards the end when [[BigBad Naraku]] sends Magatsuhi, [[spoiler: the dark will of the [[UltimateEvil Shikon no Tama]]]], for the last shard of the [[DismantledMacGuffin Shikon Jewel]], that is being protected by Sesshoumaru, taking advantage of his "weaponless" state. [[TheChessmaster Magatsuhi]] immediately exploits Sesshoumaru's [[HandicappedBadass one-armed status]] and succeeds. Inuyasha rescues him but not before his remaining arm is ripped to [[HealingFactor shreds]]. That doesn't stop Magatsuhi, rendering Inuyasha's [[{{BFS}} sword]] useless, [[spoiler: stabbing Sesshoumaru through the chest, and capturing both. Not only does [[{{Determinator}} Sesshoumaru]] not die, but he comes back even stronger than before]]. NiceJobFixingItVillain.
** Inuyasha himself needs to rely on friends sometimes for help. It's part of his learning curve that, for him, he does need to have friends he can trust. It's also part of Sesshoumaru's learning curve [[spoiler: that he has to learn his father's plan for him all along was to understand that it doesn't matter how powerful Inuyasha is, he's still a halfbreed and therefore needs his big brother's help from time to time]]. This lesson culminates in a DieOrFly test of character where Sesshoumaru promises Inuyasha he'll abandon both Tessaiga and Tenseiga if Inuyasha proves once and for all that Tessaiga belongs to him. [[spoiler: Sesshoumaru finally gets the proof he needs causing Naraku to interfere and use his poison to ensure Inuyasha gets trapped unconscious in Sesshoumaru's meidou. Sesshoumaru dives into the meidou to save Inuyasha, voluntarily sacrifices his meidou power and entire sword so it can become Inuyasha's power, and then has to rely on Inuyasha to save them both in return.]]
* [[ActionGirl Moka]] recently got hit with this in ''RosarioToVampire''. That only applies to [[SplitPersonality Inner Moka]], whereas Outer Moka is a DistressedDamsel.
* In ''KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'', [[spoiler:Silcardo decides to take [[CuteBruiser Miu]] as HIS new Disciple and as a result she got hit with the DistressBall HARD. Not only that, but then she was BrainwashedAndCrazy and pit against fighting Kenichi: Silcardo hoped to have Miu mentally broken via killing Kenichi, and thus complete a FaceHeelTurn.]] How does this end? [[spoiler: In failure: Kenichi gets to Miu in the end, she returns to her senses, and they take on their enemies together. It wasn't a complete failure though as Silcardo brought up successful traces of a BloodKnight on her.]]
* ''ShakuganNoShana'': After Shana was defeated by [[spoiler:Yuuji/Snake of the Festival]], she has joined this trope too.
* ''Manga/KimbaTheWhiteLion'' had some cases where [[KillerRabbit Kimba]] needed to be rescued by either [[TheLancer Roger Ranger]] or [[KarmicJackpot one of his subjects that he helped before]].
* Happens to all of the Children in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', with the most glaring example being [[spoiler: Rei in ''Rebuild'']].
* ''TenchiMuyo'' has both Ryoko and Ayeka in the [=OAVs=]. When Kagato arrived, his first action was to make Ryoko go BrainwashedAndCrazy and then take her hostage; Tenchi, Mihoshi, Ryo-ohki and Ayeka go to rescue her. Then, after [[spoiler: he almost kills Tenchi and Ryoko gets free as a result]], Kagato captures Ayeka and [[spoiler: tries to brainwash her into revealing the Jurai Family secrets]], but is refused at the last moment. Meanwhile, [[spoiler:Mihoshi finds and releases ''another'' BadassInDistress... Washu, whom Kagato has kept prisioner in a PocketDimension.]]
** Happened to Ryoko again later, when she was captured by Dr. Clay and replaced by a doppleganger. [[BecomingTheMask Too bad that same doppleganger fell for Tenchi too]].
** Ayeka also gets put in this position in ''TenchiUniverse'', when [[spoiler: she's kidnapped by that continuity's Kagato]].
* Casca of ''{{Berserk}}'' is normally a pretty competent ActionGirl. However she's made to be this during the Eclipse when [[spoiler:she's captured and raped to insanity by Femto, AKA Griffith, her former commander]] while Guts is ForcedToWatch.
** Guts himself has already been in these situations more than once. But noticeably against the Baron of Koka and when [[KnightTemplar Farnese]] has him captured, jailed and standing helpless in front of him. Both times, he gets rescued by [[spoiler: Puck]]. Yes.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}:
** A couple times Naruto, while undeniably BadAss as the series wore on, would get himself in trouble and need the help of his friends to break him out and let him go Kyuubi.
** The very first arc of Part II features [[BadassLongrobe Gaara]], now [[AChildShallLeadThem the]] [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Kazekage]] in a spectacular fight against [[MadBomber Deidara]] which he arguably loses due to protecting Sunagakure. The rest of the arc, named the "Kazekage Rescue Arc" is about Naruto and his team [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin rescuing him.]]
* Jotaro winds up in this position in Part 6 of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' after White Snake [[spoiler:steals both his Stand and memories]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comics]]
* Happens in ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'' a few times. [[spoiler: for instance, to the entire Authority.]]
* The end of ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' vol. 3 puts Ninjette firmly in this category. [[spoiler:Six ninja ambush her in a park and tag her with a "sleeping poison"-laced blade. Four of them were dead or mortally wounded before she was blindsided with some InstantSedation, and the only reason the last two were on their feet was a secret clan technique rendering them immune to pain (she thought they were solidly out of the fight, or at least too hurt to sneak up on her).]]
* Any heroes in ''MarvelComics'' who got captured in the Skrull Invasion during the ''Secret Invasion'' storyline, including [[spoiler:Elektra, Spider-Woman, or even the highly-dangerous Black Bolt]]. After rescue, they resume their life as superheroes, some of them are also ''bitter'' against any remaining Skrulls and should they cross their path again, they ''will'' kick butt.
** During ''ComicBook/DarkReign'', Hawkeye (in costume as Ronin) did TheLancer's version of this, storming off on his own to assault the Dark Avengers and assassinate Norman Osborn. He failed and was held prisoner for a while until rescued.
* {{Wolverine}} and Jubilee's mentor-sidekick relationship started when ''she'' rescued him from the Reavers (a bunch of heavily armed killer cyborgs). He'd been tortured to within an inch of his life. (It was clearly BondVillainStupidity on the part of the Reavers, who were keeping him alive just to make him suffer.)
* Happens to {{Nightwing}} in his own title among other places. (Plus when he was [[SidekickGraduationsStick Robin]] it bordered on NeverLiveItDown) One time his girlfriend’s [[LesYay girlfriend]], ComicBook/BlackCanary came to his rescue. Though he then had to rescue her.
* In ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'', [[spoiler: Batman gets captured by Joker and tied up. He manages to free himself]].
* In ''ComicBook/UnderworldUnleashed'', the collective heroes believe ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' had been captured by Neron so he could obtain his soul. [[spoiler:Turns out Supes wasn't even on the ''planet'' -- he was completely off-world in a different storyline.]]
* {{Venom}} was held hostage by Carnage during the ''ComicBook/MaximumCarnage'' storyline, in what was likely the ''stupidest'' case of BondVillainStupidity exhibited for a SpiderMan villain; Carnage specifically expressed a desire to keep him alive for ''months'' if he had to, just to torture him; Venom actually managed to escape on his own, but he spent quite a lot of his energy to do so, and was recovering for the rest of the story... until the finale.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Rin gets hit with this twice in the Fate/Stay Night fanfic Path of the King. It's subverted both times:
** The first is during an encounter with a pack of thugs in a dark alley. Rin isn't even vaguely intimidated by them but she's with several {{muggle}} friends who might get hurt unless she breaks TheMasquerade and uses her magecraft in front of them. Shirou makes a DynamicEntry before her hand is forced.
** The second time comes at the end of the first arc [[spoiler: when Rin is kidnapped by the original master of Caster for a brainwashing ritual.]] While the villain is distracted fighting Shirou, [[spoiler: Rin coughs up a handful of gems she swallowed earlier (having anticipated the trap that caught her) and blasts her way out on her own.]]
* Batman in the fan film ''The Death of Batman'' is kidnapped by a junkie who fakes an overdose and uses a stun gun on Batman's balls.
* [[BadassNormal Riza]] has to go through this in the ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' {{fanfic}} "[[FanFic/ElementalChessTrilogy Brilliancy]]," when she's kidnapped. She gives her abductors plenty of trouble; she breaks loose from her bonds at one point and later [[spoiler:kills the one who was supposed to shoot her]], but she's still kidnapped and stuck in the desert with no way to get home.
* [[SociopathicHero Gaz]] is without a doubt the biggest badass in the ''FanFic/MyHostageNotYours'' trilogy, yet at least once in each story she ends up being held prisoner and needing to be saved:
** ''My Hostage Not Yours'': She lets the Valkians capture her, both in order to get rid of the [[ClingyMacguffin LEE]][[DeadlyUpgrade CHY]], and to protect Dib and Zim. It's shown that she was fully capable of escaping her cell on her own, but that still would have left her on her own on a ship full of dangerous warriors, and it seems highly unlikely she would have been able to fight them all. So it's probably for the best that Zim concocted a plan to save her.
** ''The Revenge of Player 2'': [[spoiler: Iggins]] captures her with [[spoiler: a MindControlDevice]], so Zim and Dib have to save her again. This time, though, she breaks free [[spoiler: through [[HeroicWillpower force of will]]]], save's ''Zim's'' life, and then proceeds to give [[spoiler: Iggins]] a FateWorseThanDeath.
*** This incident also changes Gaz from a BadassNormal to an EmpoweredBadassNormal.
** ''The Inevitable Takeover'': During the early days of Zim's conquest of the planet, she gets kidnapped by a group of hired thugs. However, this is a subversion, as [[spoiler: Zim himself had her kidnapped, to keep her away from the government officials who were going to use her as leverage against him]], so she was never really in any danger.
* In ''Fanfic/PrinceOfTheDarkKingdom'' Harry plays this part at least once a schoolyear. Most of the time it's either Snape or Voldemort that has to safe the day.
* [[VideoGame/Disgaea4APromiseUnforgotten Valvatorez]] gets this in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7947702/1/The-Curse-of-Blood The Curse of Blood]].
* In the climax of ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', both Paul and John have been kidnapped and rendered helpless (Paul via mind control, John via sleep spell). George, himself depowered, figures out how to rescue John, who then proceeds to kick ass. However, with Paul, [[spoiler: the mind control didn't take; he was just faking it so he could both make sure the others were okay and delay the BigBad's plans.]]
-->“Wasn't much else I could do at that point, since I didn't know where you lads were, and I didn't wanna go off sort of half cocked.”
* In ''Fanfic/ThroughADiamondSky,'' The Baron is GenreSavvy enough to realize that the only chance he had to strong-arm Flynn was to make sure both Tron and Clu were in no shape to fight. He [[SpannerInTheWorks just hadn't factored in]] the pair of Iso scouts and Jordan.
* During the climax of the first story arc of ''FanFic/JewelOfDarkness'', [[spoiler: Robin]] is captured by Midnight, who [[spoiler: intends to torture him into insanity]]. He's eventually rescued by the other Titans and, despite the pain, proceeds to join them in taking her down.
* In FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire, there is Cid, who got captured by [[spoiler: Khamja]].
* ''FanFic/QueenOfAllOni'': Viper gets kidnapped by the Shadow Hand in chapter 12 [[spoiler: and gets taken hostage again after being beaten by [[CoDragons Right]] in the fight that breaks out during the [[HostageForMacGuffin exchange]]]].
* The main story of book two of FanFic/AGrowingAffection is about how Naruto gets captured by the Akatsuki, and what happens to him and his friends as they try to rescue him.
* In ''FanFic/MegaManReawakened'', Mega Man has been captured twice so far. Once is by Glyde and his Birdbots, and he breaks free on his own after being locked up. The other is by the Neo Emerald Spears, and Rush and Bon Bonne save him.
* In ''FanFic/SkippersLog'', poor Kowalski gets trapped when a tunnel caves in while he's digging it in one chapter; Rico managed to save him only just in time.
* FanFic/DungeonKeeperAmi: Ami might not be invincible- she needs her minions to break her out of the Dark God's realm- but the second time, it was because ''three'' had teamed up on her. She regularly leads her troops from the front, and fights on par with the worst deamons of the ''VideoGame/DungeonKeeper'' world. The hero GuileHero approach to problemsolveing means even things she can't handle head-on can be overcome.... even if it means she needs a little help from her [[EliteArmy hordes of minions]].
* ''FanFic/{{Nightingale}}'' is about a powerful elite ninja being captured and psychologically, mentally and emotionally tortured.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Raphael in the ''Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' movies, especially the second movie thanks to his stint working alone had him getting captured by Shredder, Tokka and Rahzar and had to be saved by his brothers before he can kick ass again. He's TheLancer, so that explains. ''WesternAnimation/{{TMNT}}'', however, subverts it; even though Raphael is still TheLancer, his stint caused [[TheLeader Leonardo]] to get caught instead.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek''. In [[Film/StarTrek the 2009 movie]], Captain Pike is captured by Romulans, heinously tortured, and, when rescued, ''still'' manages to kill a few of his tormentors -- one literally seconds after being rescued.
* ''Franchise/StarWars''. At the end of Episode V, [[TheLancer Han Solo]] is imprisoned/embedded in a chunk of carbonite. And what does he do mere hours after getting out? Kills Boba Fett. ''While he's still blind'' (Fett got better).
** And in the prequel episode II, Count Dooku and the Trade Federation manages to hold Obi-Wan, Anakin, ''and'' Padme hostage for a while; fortunately, Anakin is able to get a message to the Jedi Council first, and a strike team is able to pull a BigDamnHeroes moment to save them from a PublicExecution on Geonosis. (But things only get worse from there, [[StartOfDarkness especially for Anakin.]])
* Basically the premise of ''{{Rambo}} III''. Rambo gets Trautmann out of a Soviet prison in Afghanistan, and the two of them proceed to destroy half the Red Army.
* Morphius had one moment of this in the first [[Film/TheMatrix Matrix]] movie
* ''Film/IronMan''. Tony Stark is ambushed by Obidiah Stane, which literally leaves him crawling around with a hole in his chest. Cue his [[BlackBestFriend buddy]] [[ColonelBadass Col. Rhodes]] coming to his aid (with a removed assist from Pepper). After he pops in a spare reactor, he promptly leaves to kick Stane's ass.
** Both Tony and Rhodes are captured at different parts of ''Film/IronMan3''.
* In a German movie ''Stahlnetz: PSI'' there are two girls who are best friends: PluckyGirl Micha, who also has supernatural powers (titular "PSI") and sweet girl Sandra. Micha get kidnapped, and even though she does try, she just cannot escape on her own - even her psychic powers backfire at first. Then [[spoiler: Sandra, thanks to the connection they share, gets a clue on where Micha is held, and with this hint, police finds and rescues Micha.]]
* In ''[[Film/SherlockHolmes Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows]]'', Holmes is captured and ''brutally'' tortured by Moriarty, and has to be rescued by Watson. Afterwards, it seems that a combination of adrenaline and sheer willpower are the only things keeping him standing and conscious, but he still manages to help fight their way out. [[spoiler: Later, it turns out that he allowed himself to be captured, knowing that he would probably be tortured, in order to get close enough to pickpocket the notebook containing all the financial details of Moriarty's criminal empire.]]
* Film/JamesBond spends a good chunk of ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'' as this, held prisoner by the title villain. He still manages to keep his wits and succeeds in [[spoiler: getting Pussy Galore to betray Goldfinger]].
* Gretel in ''Film/HanselAndGretelWitchHunters'', briefly, as part of Muriel's ceremony.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In Sarah Monette's ''Literature/DoctrineOfLabyrinths'', particularly in the first book ''Melusine'', Mildmay is the resident badass, but at one point he gets locked in a farm cellar and [[spoiler: has to get rescued by the guy he's rescuing]]. His brother, Felix, is usually a pretty badass wizard himself, but when his skills are counteracted in ''Melusine'' and later in ''Corambis'', he variously gets mind-raped, really raped, magic-robbed, driven temporarily insane, half-drowned by vigilantes, dragged through a gauntlet, charged with treason, locked in prison and later a madhouse, threatened with death by burning, and, to top it all off, given a TraumaticHaircut. Some more than once.
* [=DuQuesne=] in Creator/EEDocSmith's ''Literature/SkylarkSeries''. Twice he gets into serious trouble and calls on the hero, Dick Seaton, to team up to handle the situation.
* In ''Literature/{{Outlander}}'', [[{{Badass}} Jamie]] is taken prisoner by the villain, and his wife Claire has to rescue him from being tortured and hung. He does not suffer BadassDecay in this, mostly because Claire's first attempt to save him is botched, and he has to save HER by offering himself to the villain to torture and rape as he pleases without crying out.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. Harry Dresden gets tied up/manacled/[[DistressedDude whatever]] on a regular basis and often needs to be rescued, but gets himself out of the situation just as often and [[{{Badass}} kicks]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome so much]] [[CrazyAwesome ass]] that no one really holds it against him.
** Likewise, woe betide anybody who tries to put Karrin Murphy [[DamselInDistress in distress.]] [[ActionGirl You]] [[CuteBruiser will]] [[BadassNormal suffer]] [[BerserkButton horribly.]] The few times that she is held in distress successfully, it's never a result of her being weak or feminine, just being a {{Muggle}} in a world where Muggles and even supernatural humans are MadeOfPlasticine.
* ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'': Percy in ''The Lost Hero''. Nico takes up the position from him by the end of ''Son of Neptune''. Flips back to Percy and adds Annabeth by the end of ''The Mark of Athena''.
* Beren in ''TheSilmarillion'' is captured by Sauron; his [[ExtraordinarilyEmpoweredGirl extraordinary empowered lover]] frees him, and he resumes kicking ass with her help.
** Heck, that whole story mainly consists of a long series of "Beren gets himself in a mess and Lúthien gets him out of it."
* Inverted by the title character in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfThomasCovenant''. He possesses magic that can literally break time itself, but can't consciously control it (and spends most of his travels being saved by the powerful characters he travels with until his moments of uber-distress when his Badass kicks in).
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Literature/TheHourOfTheDragon'' and ''Literature/ShadowsInTheMoonlight'', ConanTheBarbarian needs to be rescued. Then he kicks butt.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' series, almost [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters every major hero]] gets captured at some point by Seanchan, Shaido, Darkfriends, Forsaken, or even Rand by the Red Ajah.
* In the ''{{Dragonlance}}'' novel Dragons of Spring Dawning, [[FourStarBadass the Golden General, Laurana,]] is captured by her ArchEnemy, [[DarkActionGirl the Dragon Highlord Kitiara]], and [[ComeToGawk put on display at the Council of Highlords as Kitiara's gift to the [[BigBad evil goddess, Tahkisis.]] But even after being manhandled by Kitiara and with Takhisis, in her five headed dragon form, towering over her, Laurana stays defiant and, when the chance presents itself, breaks free, steals Kitiara's weapon, and single handedly fights her way out of the chamber, setting off an EnemyCivilWar in the process.
* Michael, who does most of the fighting in the ''Literature/KnightAndRogueSeries'' is, as a result, the one who's most likely to get captured, leaving Fisk to try and rescue him.
* Toward the end of the Literature/TimeScout series, Malcolm Moore gets shot by a bad guy and sent on his way in a hansom cab. He barely survives.
* Literature/InDeath series: Eve Dallas has gotten into trouble a few times. Sometimes Roarke saves her life. Sometimes she just saves herself.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', ActionGirl Leafstar gets captured by a CrazyCatLady and has to be rescued by her Clanmates.
* ''Literature/{{Beachwalker}}'''s highly dangerous costar makes his debut tied up, half dead, and with his latest victim lifeless at his feet.
* ''{{Mistborn}}'' has Vin get captured twice: Once by Steel Inquisitors, and once by [[spoiler: Yomen, when he slams the door to what is more-or-less a bomb shelter behind her]]
* In Literature/SeptimusHeap it happens [[OnceAnEpisode once a book]].
** In ''Magyk'' Marcia is captured by [=DomDaniel=]'s supporters and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Septimus .
** In ''Flyte'' Jenna is taken to [=DomDaniel=]'s Observatory by Simon in order to kill her [[SubvertedTrope but escapes on her own before Septimus and Nicko can rescue her]]:
** In ''Physik'' Septimus is taken to Etheldredda's and Marcellus's [[TimeTravel time]] and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Snorri.
** In ''Queste'' Nicko and Snorri, who didn't make it back in the last book, have escaped to the House of Foryx and are rescued from there by Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle.
* Cira's captured along with [[NonActionGuy Jerin]] near the end of ''Literature/ABrothersPrice''. He, being a properly [[SpiritedYoungLady Spirited Young Gentleman]], picked locks and undid gags to free them, but the more violent parts of the escape [[BleedEmAndWeep mostly]] fell to her.
* Literature/TrappedOnDraconica: It happens to Daniar and Kalak occasionally but the true example is the former's father, Alister. He's captured early on defending his capital and spends a long time imprisoned. [[spoiler: Immediately after Daniar busts him out in the final act]] he goes back to kicking ass.
* In Sukhinov's ''Emerald City'' decalogy, Corine, who was a powerful player in the first half, is depowerde and turned into a mouse , until she is rescued in the final book.
* ''Literature/AdventureHunters'': Regina is a veteran adventurer but, due to the plot, her badass moments are after [[spoiler: she is kidnapped and coerced into aiding the bad guys. After which point, she escapes on her own and kills her captor.]]
* Paul Kidd's trilogy ''White Plume Mountain'', ''Descent into the Depths of the Earth'', and ''Queen of the Demonweb Pits''. Sure, Escalla is captured a couple of times in the first book (once by the HERO), and gets her ass handed to her at one point in the last book, but she's still somebody you don't want to mess with. She's the one who [[spoiler:kills Lolth, the goddess of the Drow, permanently. That's right kiddies, she's a [[KillTheGod GODSLAYER]].]] She finishes the last book by running ThePlan against a GOD to get her best girlfriend back from the afterlife.
--> Just because something's short doesn't mean it can't splay your lungs all over the grass.
* Happens a couple of times in Literature/TheStormlightArchive, usually as a result of a Shardbearer getting swamped by shear weight of numbers.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''{{Smallville}}'', because KryptoniteIsEverywhere and it has an even stronger effect on young Clark (in the early seasons he couldn't even crawl away from it), he ends up needing to be rescued, by his parents, [[BlackBestFriend Pete]], Lana, [[ForegoneConclusion Lois]], but mostly [[PlatonicLifePartners Chloe]]. In a particularly heartwarming/tear jerking scene, Clark admits this to an unconscious Chloe.
-->'''Clark''': You're the best friend and ally I could have had, Chloe. The truth is, you saved me more than I could have ever saved you.
** He then proceeds to [[spoiler:[[TooDumbToLive wipe all her]] [[MoralDissonance memories of his secret]].]]
* Mal, poster man of BigDamnHeroes, has to get rescued from Niska in ''{{Firefly}}''. He was cracking jokes while getting metal pushed under his skin (not to mention all the dying and resuscitation).
** Inverted with River, who started off as a DistressedDamsel being protected by the rest of the crew. [[WaifFu We]] [[AxeCrazy know]] [[BadassAdorable how]] [[OneManArmy that]] [[LadyOfWar turns]] [[YouShallNotPass out.]].
* Basically every character in ''Series/StargateSG1'' has this happen to them at some point or another:
** [[MajorlyAwesome Samantha Carter]] is kidnapped by a dying millionaire, who found out about her time as host to an alien symbiote and hopes to dissect her in order to learn how it affected her physiology. She spends much of the episode trying to rescue herself (with escalating badassery), but is eventually saved by the rest of the team. This, however, doesn't diminish her badassness one bit.
** [[ColonelBadass Jack O'Neill]] gets his turn at this when he's captured by Ba'al and repeatedly tortured to death over the course of the episode. He continues to wisecrack at Ba'al during the process, though he was clearly starting to run out of endurance near the end. The rest of the team manages to [[EnemyMine persuade a mutual enemy]] to assist in attacking Ba'al's base, allowing Jack to escape.
** [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Teal'c]] gets captured by Heru'ur's forces and is continuously tortured by one of his underlings. Despite this, Teal'c refuses to acknowledge the Goa'uld as gods. This causes the man who betrayed him in the first place to make a HeelFaceTurn and assist him in escape. (The same character shows up later as a determined LaResistance fighter, clearly inspired by Teal'c's defiance.)
** [[AdventurerArchaeologist Daniel Jackson]] is captured and tortured by Honduran rebels while on a mission to find an important alien device that, as it turns out, had been left on Earth. Because Daniel has gone through a lot and and TakenALevelInBadass by this time, he handles the treatment spectacularly and manages to make an escape, but not before his more sheltered colleague breaks down and tells everything. Fortunately Jack had already been sent to rescue them and gets there as they are running from the crazed rebels ([[ItMakesSenseInContext and a zombie]]).
** Moving on to ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', John Sheppard (as badass as O'Neill) also gets captured by his arch-nemesis Acastus Kolya and tortured by having a captive [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Wraith]] continuously drain his life force. Eventually, Sheppard makes a deal with the Wraith, and they break out. The Wraith shows himself to be honorable by returning Sheppard's life force (and more). Also, this Wraith? It's Todd, himself a badass, so this trope works for him too.
* One of the latter episodes of ''Series/DaiSentaiGoggleFive'' puts [[TheChick Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink]] into this situation when she's trapped inside a book, tied up and the book containing her is about to be burned. She broke from her bonds on her own, then gets put into a cage, but finally destroyed the source of the book's illusion source, destroying the book and getting out on her own. To some, that episode became quite the fan favorite (for a show at the age) and her CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''. Willow toward the end of season 3, when she's starting to get her witchiness on. She's captured by [[BigBad the Mayor's]] people. She lures a vampire into attacking her so she can kill him. With a ''pencil''. She risks her life further when she goes after the Mayor's dark books and learns what the gang needs to know about [[OneWingedAngel the Ascension]]. She ''faces down Faith''. When she gets rescued, it turns out she has crucial pages about the Ascension hidden in her boot.
** Other lesser example's include "Helpless" and "Halloween," although the circumstances are extenuating: In Helpless, Buffy is de-powered by the Watcher's Council is forced to play the helpless victim; she's rescued from a vampire mook by Giles in the end. Of course Buffy is still Buffy and holds her own against the deadlier foe. In Halloween, Buffy is transformed into an 18th century damsel and needs constant rescuing and reassurance, but it's not ''really'' Buffy who's helpless.
** There was also the time Faith and "Angelus" captured her. Had Angel actually been Angelus, she would have been five kinds of fucked. [[FoeYay Quite]] [[LesYay literally.]]
** In "Crush," Spike and Drusilla taser Buffy, who is then chained up along with Drusilla as part of Spike's plan to choose a love interest (and which one gets to live). It goes wrong and Buffy fights off Drusilla while in chains, until Spike helps.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. The Doctor in "The Last of the Time Lords". Released from bondage and within five minutes has completely owned the Master and undone the events of the previous year.
** This happens again in "The End Of Time":
--> "Worst. Rescue. ''Ever.''"
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Happens to Harm in the climax of "Déjà Vu" when he's attacked in his apartment.
* From ''Series/RobinHood'': the titular character has been captured and is dangling over a snake pit, getting beaten around the abdomen by Guy of Gisborne, who is alternatively mocking him and demanding to know who the mysterious Night Watchman is. Robin just smiles, knowing full well what's going to happen, and answers Guy's question by saying: "I don't know who the Night Watchman is. But when I see him, I'll give him a kiss." Two seconds later, the Night Watchman turns up to save his ass. And yeah, in case you haven't guessed the obvious, the Night Watchman is [[spoiler:Maid Marian]].
* Aeryn gets kidnapped in the last season of ''Series/{{Farscape}}''. She's tied up, tortured, and almost has her baby forcibly transplanted into another woman ([[ItMakesSenseInContext Chiana, actually.]]) The team finally pulls a BigDamnHeroes rescue and next episode she's back to kicking butt and taking names.
** Happens to all of Moya's BadAssCrew at some point. Everyone gets a turn to be kidnapped and tortured, and everyone gets the chance to be BigDamnHeroes.
* This is the only trope that can explain why Lady Emily Merchant of ''{{Primeval}}'' can kick all kinds of dinosaur and terror bird ass yet can also get kidnapped/put in mortal danger about four times within seven episodes.
** Happens to Abby in 2x04, when she is taken by the mers. After Cutter gets her out of her "cell" she proceeds to kick a mer in the face.
* In the ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' episode "Foul Play in the Sky", Kimberly is going for a flight with her uncle Steve. Rita sees this as an opportunity to kill Kimberly, and has Squatt and Baboo spike Steve's soda with a delayed-effect sleeping potion. Kimberly spends several minutes stuck on the plane, but with Alpha's help makes a CrashCourseLanding and then saves her friends and ''single-handedly kills the MonsterOfTheWeek''. In "Power Ranger Punks" she and Billy are confined to cages for most of the episode after Baboo spiked their fruit juice with a personality-deforming potion. Eventually they're cured, but Billy gets swallowed by the Terror Toad just like the others. Kimberly proceeds to free them and then kill the monster.
** Come to think of it, this tends to happen in the ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' franchise ''a lot''. Usually it's the SixthRanger who ends up saving the others when this happens, but ''not always''. Every Ranger gets ADayInTheLimelight (usually several) and this sort of situation is usually how it occurs.
* [[BadassNormal Arthur]] from Series/{{Merlin}} is constantly needing to be saved by Merlin, despite being one of the greatest swordsmen in the series and capable of holding off two lesser swordsmen blindfolded. It's pretty well justified by the fact that most of the threats are magical but the way Merlin got his job as Arthur's manservant was by saving his life, and after 52 episodes of this, Merlin's extremely jaded by it.
-->'''Merlin''': Oh, I saved Arthur's life, someone else got the credit, just the usual.
** As this show is a WorldOfBadass and everyone has been in distress and needed to be saved at least once, you could call {{Series/Merlin}} a WorldOfBadass [[BadassInDistress In Distress]]. Even Merlin had to be rescued in ''Tears of Uther Pendragon'' and ''Servant of Two Masters''.
*** Don't forget that this happened as early as the fourth episode in ''The Poisoned Chalice''.
* ''Series/HouseOfAnubis''- when Patricia gets kidnapped by the villian, she still manages to keep being the strong character she is and does everything she can to escape, from leaving a clue behind when she was taken to trying to knockout the villian. Despite this, it is her friends who end up rescuing her. (After two of them have to be saved themselves after a first failed rescue attempt). Immediately following her rescue Patricia goes on to furiously blackmail one of the teachers into telling the secret about her missing friend.
* ''{{Series/Batman}}'' often had the titular hero and Robin get captured in the first part of episodes, just so in the next week we'd see how they escape at the beginning of the next part.
* ''Series/CriminalMinds'':
** At the end of "The Longest Night", Derek Morgan is blindsided by the [=UnSub=] and bound with duct tape, allowing the [=UnSub=] to kidnap Ellie Spicer. The team, thus, must rescue Morgan from the Spicer house before they can continue with the investigation.
** It may not be the conventional way to do it, but "Profiler, Profiled" saw Morgan being sent to jail on a tip by the episode's [=UnSub=], forcing the team to investigate in order to secure his release.
** Hotch was also beaten in a fight by Foyet in "Nameless, Faceless" and tortured with multiple non-fatal stabbings.
* Pops up frequently on ''{{Chuck}}''. Chuck, Casey and Sarah all take turns in distress throughout the series, needing to be rescued by one or more or the others. In the season 3 finale, ''all three'' are taken by [[spoiler: Shaw]], leaving [[spoiler: Ellie, Morgan and Devon]] to save them.
** Frequently happens with guest stars as well, since many play other spies working with the team and manage to get in trouble either on their own, or with another member of the team.
* The entire cast of ''Series/WhiteCollar'', really. Especially with their propensity for being kidnapped (as El and Peter thoughtfully lampshade in [[spoiler: Shoot the Moon.]]
--> Really, they all take turns being in distress and being badass about it. [[spoiler: Neal and Peter both in too many episodes to count {Neal alone is kidnapped in Bottlenecked, Under the Radar, and Checkmate while Peter is kidnapped in Payback, Under the Radar, and Shoot the Moon. Then there's El being kidnapped in Checkmate and Shoot the Moon, Sara being taken hostage in Pulling Strings, Jones being taken hostage in On Guard...} And all of them play a large role in their own escape. Not to mention Diana, who doesn't even get to the point of distress in her hero shots.]]
* It's a rare episode of ''Series/SirArthurConanDoylesTheLostWorld'' when one of the explorers isn't kidnapped or held hostage or horribly injured in some fashion.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* VideoGame/BulletStorm : Trishka. In her first appearance, she viciously beats her much larger, monstrous captor to death, all while spouting venomous profanities.
* VideoGame/DonkeyKong in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong Junior'', ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry 2'', and ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry 3''. After defeating [[BigBad Kaptain K Rool]] in [=DKC2=], he stands up again, seemingly NighInvulnerable. Donkey Kong decides he's had enough, bursts from his ropes and [[{{Shoryuken}} uppercuts]] K Rool [[MegatonPunch out of the air ship,]] [[HumiliationConga bouncing him off of each stage of Crocodile Isle before getting chomped by a school of sharks.]]
* Gunther Hermann in ''VideoGame/DeusEx'', although this is closer to the whole Badass getting the DistressBall.
* Lamia Loveless in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' at first is well known for her serious and analytical personality. The fact that she has some of the better SuperRobot, has a high position and is the most senior of the new Aggressors (only [[BadassNormal Kai]] is more senior than her) all points out that she is one of the more {{Badass}} characters. Yet, in OG Gaiden, she is captured by the ODE [[WorfHadTheFlu while having no way to enter her mech]], spurred the rest of the EFA to rescue her, ends up getting shot down near dead by an BigBadWannabe, CameBackWrong by another enemy and even spurring an ex-enemy of hers to rescue her, making it look like she got hit by {{Chickification}}. Fortunately for her, once she recovered, it doesn't take another game for her to be active in battlefield again and her skills did not deteriorate, she's still the same effective soldier she was in the previous titles.
* Richter Belmont from ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}: [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaRondoOfBlood Rondo of Blood]]''/''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaTheDraculaXChronicles The Dracula X Chronicles]]'' was a KnightInShiningArmor in his debut, rescuing a grand total of 4 girls from Dracula's captivity. However, ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' had him being captured and {{Brainwashed}}, motivating Maria Renard (whom he rescued previously) and Alucard to rescue him. After rescued, even though he didn't come back into action again, he is later marked as the strongest Belmont, so much that even ''memories'' of him from the whip could give Jonathan Morris a good dose of schooling.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'', Sonic escapes from GUN once, but is captured again partly due to Shadow. He gets rescued by Tails and Amy, and proceeds to kick ass. [[spoiler: The game culminates in Shadow calling him the Ultimate Lifeform, a title Shadow once claimed for himself, if you take long enough against the final boss. Guess which one of three characters survives that final battle with their memory intact? It sure isn't Shadow, and we know it wasn't the [=FinalHazard=].]]
** In ''[[SonicChronicles Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood]]'', the first part of the game revolves around the kidnapping of Knuckles. Subverted in that when the party reach where he was being held hostage, [[spoiler: he has just finished escaping by himself]].
** In SonicLostWorld, Tails gets captured by the Deadly Six about halfway through the game. [[spoiler: Like Knuckles, he saved himself, but also managed to fool his captors into thinking they'd won]].
* In ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', the DLC mission featuring Selvaria puts her into this situation, though she's not captured, just on the very verge of being captured. Considering that she's pretty much the only one capable in her squad, she struck on an advance force... only to fall into Damon's trap whereas she's gassed and her body becomes numb. Rescuing her becomes the mission objective whereas the only one who can rescue her is the meeky engineer Johann. Once he got near her, Selvaria can resume kicking ass.
* Toon Link has a history of this. He may be very badass, but if he acts without thinking or gets hit by a surprise-attack, he's quite easy to take down. Ganondorf gets him almost killed twice in the game [[spoiler:[[LittleMissBadass Tetra]] saved him both times.]] and later, in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaPhantomHourglass'', he loses his sword and gets caught by [[spoiler:Bellum's tentacles.]] Surprisingly, [[spoiler:Linebeck]] saves him.
* Three important parts of the Story Mode of ''VideoGame/MortalKombat9'' involve the hero who's the focus of the chapter rescuing one of the other heroes from Shao Kahn's forces. The first time is in Sonya's chapter, where she has to rescue Jax from Shang-Tsung's dungeons. Later, in Jax's chapter, the roles are reversed, and he has to rescue ''her'' after she is taken prisoner after the conclusion of the first tournament. The third occasion spans two chapters: After Kitana is sentenced to death after Mileena is "born", Jade's chapter involves Jade trying to rescue her; she is unable to so, resulting in the crisis continuing into Kung Lao's chapter, where the Earthrealm warriors interrupt her execution, and she is rescued by Liu Kang.
* Played straight AND subverted in the storyline for ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl'': Multiple times, characters are defeated and captured, ([[spoiler: including more than two dozen of them at one point]]) and proceed to kick ass after being freed. Subverted in that [[spoiler: the Master Hand was Tabuu's prisoner, but when it attacks Tabuu after being freed, Tabuu defeats and possibly kills the Master Hand effortlessly]].
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. Saber in the [[RoadCone Unlimited Blade Works route]] got her contract removed by Caster and was caught, and [[GoGoEnslavement was given a sexy outfit]] while being restrained by magic and is being coaxed to be Caster's servant, with only her high magic resistance to avoid being completely dominated, and it takes Rin's {{plan}} and Lancer's sudden offer for help (stalling Archer who turned coat) for Shiro to eventually save Saber... and Rin formed a new contract on Saber, amping her skills UpToEleven, technically making her even ''more'' {{Badass}} than she was in Shiro's contract.
* ''VideoGame/SuperPrincessPeach'' is this trope turned into a game. The premise is after all is for the local, daily DistressedDamsel Princess Peach to save the day, saving the local, daily hero Mario, now turned DistressedDude. It only lasts for one game.
** In ''VideoGame/SuperMario64'' DS, Mario actually starts out kidnapped by Bowser (along with Luigi and Wario). You start off as Yoshi, who was LateToTheTragedy.
** On that note, let's not forget VideoGame/LuigisMansion, where Mario is kidnapped by King Boo. Or the first time our favourite plumber was kindapped, ''VideoGame/MarioIsMissing''...[[FanonDiscontinuity okay, maybe we can forget that one.]]
*** [[spoiler:Mario gets hit with this again in ''VideoGame/LuigisMansionDarkMoon''.]]
* Super Joe in the NES version of ''VideoGame/BionicCommando'' and its XBLA remake.
* Adam, one of the playable characters in ''StreetsOfRage'', is captured by Mr. X in ''Streets of Rage 2''. He's not playable in the third game, but shows up in a BigDamnHeroes cutscene near the beginning of the final stage. The fangame ''StreetsOfRage Remake'' puts him back into full throttle action.
* In the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series:
** Can happen to the player character in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''. You don't ''have'' to wait around to be rescued, but some of the funniest cutscenes in the game occur if you do. Of course, the more stubborn, proud or simply skilled players will likely never go to that point unless they intentionally lose to ThatOneBoss.
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', this happens to Hawke and Tallis, both powerful fighters in their own right, during one of the DLC missions. They get captured [[spoiler:by Duke Prosper]] and decide to wait for Hawke's companions to rescue them. [[spoiler:Tallis finally gets fed up with waiting and opens the doors herself.]]
* In ''SplinterCell Conviction'', [[WhereDoesHeGetAllThoseWonderfulToys Victor]] [[FireForgedFriends "Vic"]] [[BashBrothers Coste]] is captured by [[PrivateMilitaryContractors Black]] [[EvilArmy Arrow]] and is interrogated and he [[FramingDevice recounts the tale of]] [[BadassBoast how Sam kicked their asses.]] In the final cutscene he tells them that Sam is [[PapaWolf taking care of his family]] and that he said that he [[TrueCompanions loved him like a brother]] when the alarms [[OhCrap sound]] [[TheCavalry signaling Sam breaching the premises.]] And we have a cut of Vic trough a camera saying [[BondOneLiner "Thought so"]] in the most badass way possible.
* Zero from ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' is captured by Vile in the first of the fortress levels, and X has to fight the latter to set him free. [[spoiler:It's still a HopelessBossFight, and Zero had to break out of his electric cage to pull a HeroicSacrifice to save X again.]]
* Bastila starts off ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' captured by a street gang on Taris. She ends up saving the PlayerCharacter when he tries to rescue her. [[ComplainingAboutRescuesTheyDontLike The fact that said rescue goes badly is a major point of contention for her.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublicII'' the player character at one point gets captured and put on Goto's yacht, requiring the rest of the team to go and save him/her.
* At the beginning of ''Franchise/MassEffect'', three of the teammates you have to recruit, [[CowboyCop Garrus,]] [[WrenchWench Tali,]] and Liara are in trouble and you have to save them from some attackers: In Tali's and Garrus' case, it's a few thugs, and in Liara's case it's a Krogan Battlemaster and several Geth troopers. After they get on your squad however, they start pulling their own weight and generally kicking ass. In the sequel, to recruit Garrus and Tali again, you have to save them again, this time from much bigger threats. With Tali, it's several hundred Geth Troopers and a Colossus (basically a giant sentient robotic [[SpiderTank spider tank]]), and with Garrus it's wave after wave of mercenaries from three different criminal groups. Similar to the last game, they go back to being badass after the rescue. Indeed, Garrus never ''stopped'' being badass, [[ColdSniper popping off headshot after headshot]], killing dozens of mercenaries over the course of three days. He was simply in danger of being overrun. While not anywhere near to the same extent as Garrus, Tali didn't appear to be going down without a fight either, as in the room you find her in, she's alone with several dead geth troopers on the floor and a shotgun on her desk.
** Applies to almost every squadmate actually. For example, Thane admits that he would've been killed by Nassana's guards had Shepard not been there, [[spoiler: Legion]] is taken down by husks and has to be physically carried back to the ship, and Jack is rescued from a Blue Suns prison ship, where she's in cryo-stasis. Garrus however is unique in that he's the only squadmate who will actively fight with you in gameplay during the mission itself.
** In The Arrival DLC for ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', Shepard is incapacitated and captured by those under Reaper indoctrination, [[OneManArmy after potentially wiping out a few hundred of them first.]] They proceed to underestimate Shepard's {{Determinator}} status and the sedatives stop working eventually. With the Normandy unable to reach him/her, not knowing where s/he is, [[CurbStompBattle s/he proceeds to bust him/herself out and tear the entire facility apart without any backup, going through elite assault troops, heavy mechs, etc.]] before calling in the Normandy and then speaking to [[EldritchAbomination Harbinger]] himself, [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu giving him a final FU before leaving.]]
** Played with during Liara's reintroduction in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': We first see her being [[AirventEscape chased through the air vents]] by two Cerberus troopers, before she drops out of the vent, traps both bad guys with a Singularity and cooly finishes them off with her pistol.
* Meta Knight, twice, in ''VideoGame/KirbyAndTheAmazingMirror'' and [[spoiler: ''VideoGame/KirbysEpicYarn'']]. In the former he was trapped in a mirror world while his evil doppelganger ran around causing trouble, and in the latter he was [[spoiler: possessed by Yin-Yarn]].
* Jin and Makoto of ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' take turns in this trope - the badass doing the saving is the other one.
** In ''Slight Hope'', Jin is in far too bad a shape to fight back against Hazama, who had come along with the intention of killing him. Rather than sit back and watch it happen, Makoto parries the hit and fights Hazama in Jin's place. [[spoiler:Hazama "wins" (then again, [[InvincibleVillain Hazama]]), but Jin bails her out, having recovered enough strength to freeze Hazama in his tracks.]]
** In ''Decision'', Hazama catches Jin and Makoto chatting - oddly enough, he came down to deal with Jin personally (having commented that Phantom buggered up, as Jin "smells like cat"), but he changes his mind and tries to kill Makoto, only for Jin to block the hit instead. [[spoiler:Again, Hazama "wins", but Jin freezes him again and both bail shortly thereafter. Makoto was the "damsel" as she was playing under radar and knew Jin was not fond of Intel due to events in ''Slight Hope''; thus she had to lower her guard to prevent a reprisal.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MarvelAvengersAlliance'', [[spoiler:Nick Fury and Maria Hill]] go missing in Chapter 7, and rescuing Mockingbird was the plot of the first Special Operations mission.
* Subverted in ''SuikodenTierkreis''. [[LadyOfWar Chrodechild]] gets captured by [[spoiler:the Mage Lord]], and Asad rushes in to SaveThePrincess... only to discover that she knocked her captor out once he dismissed his guards, then ran for it.
* In the early parts of ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'', Roland is captured by bandits. According to him, they knocked him out while he was taking a piss. Near the end of the game, [[spoiler:Lilith ends up captured by Jack and used to power the Vault Key]].
* Nero in ''VideoGame/{{Devil May Cry}}'' 4 ends up in distress along with Kyrie, prompting the switch to Dante as the playable protagonist until he is rescued.
* Sora of the ''KingdomHearts'' series may have slain a lot of Heartless and rescued a lot of women, but even he's been captured at some points: [[LockedInARoom once]] by [[Disney/PeterPan Hook]], [[BoundAndGagged once]] by [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean Barbossa]], [[PrisonEpisode twi]][[DeathCourse ce]] by [[{{Film/Tron}} Sark]], [[TentacleRope once]] by [[Disney/TheLittleMermaid Flotsam and Jetsam]], and [[GrandTheftMe once]] by [[spoiler: [[BigBad Master Xehanort]]]].
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowGatOutOfHell'': The Third Street Saints leader, now GodEmperor of the Universe, is kidnapped by {{Satan}}. Now it's up to Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington to save them.
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[[folder: Web Animation]]
* Agent Tex from ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'', easily the most {{Badass}} character in the series (especially in ''Revelation''), regularly gets captured and requires the assistance of the far less competent Reds and Blues.
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[[folder: Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/RoninGalaxy'', Leona Gallant is {{Arrested For Heroism}} and attempts to escape by using her sex appeal on Cecil.
* ''Webcomic/MSPaintMasterpieces'': Small and temporary example when [[spoiler: Flash Man tries to kidnap Dr. Light. Being a squishy human, Dr. Light still needs help, but is still able to contribute to his escape.]]
* Deconstructed in Webcomics/RiverPassage, as [[spoiler: Irish]] dies while in distress.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''ILoveBees'': ActionGirl Jan James becomes one when gangster Thin Kinkle kidnaps her.
* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'' example: In "Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy", the team is trapped in a LotusEaterMachine and every one of them has to be rescued, except the one generally regarded as the weakest member of the team. Since they take turns rescuing each other, there's a lot of Badassery to go around. The only one who doesn't get a turn is [[PersonOfMassDestruction Tennyo]] (she was otherwise occupied having a HeroicBSOD).
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one WesterAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries episode Harley Quinn had kidnapped Batman, with the intent to kill him in a vat of piranhas, to woo the Joker. Batman convinces Harley to show the Joker just how well she's done, because the piranhas would leave no evidence. She does so, but much to her surprise, he flies into a tizzy about [[TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou Batman being HIS to defeat]], and, after punishing Harley for her insubordination (by ''[[DestinationDefenestration tossing her out a window]]''), frees Batman to finish the job himself. Batman ''planned for this exact reaction'' - he explains on the page image for BatmanGambit.
* In an episode of ''StaticShock'', Static is sent forty years into the future, where he helps [[WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond Batman's successor]] rescue another superhero [[spoiler: his future self.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague''
** Batman is captured by LexLuthor's Injustice Gang, and held captive for the majority of the episode while the rest of the league tries to find Luthor. He spends the whole time playing the gang's members against each other and undermining their trust. When the League does show up and everything's going to hell, Joker tries to take the opportunity to finally off Batman... who is no longer restrained, and reveals he could've gotten out whenever he wanted, but stuck around to keep an eye on things.
** It happens to the entire League in "Secret Society" - apparently - courtesy of Grood's team of villains. Their escape (leading to the epic battle at the end) was the result of [[spoiler: J'onn J'onzz disguising himself as Clayface during the initial fight; the villains had actually grabbed the ''real'' Clayface, and didn't realize that the one they were dealing with was an imposter until it was too late.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'': TJ is prone to this. Notably in 'Prince Randall' when he is 'arrested' and beaten until he collapses. (Offscreen). The moment he's released, the guy is leading the gang and putting the rightful king on the throne...''while covered in bruises and unable to walk''. And this is a nine year old kid!
* From ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', the Boiling Rock rescue is a big example of this. It started off when Sokka wanted to rescue [[spoiler: Hakoda,]] who is indisputably a badass. He rescues not only [[spoiler: Hakoda]] but [[spoiler: Suki]] as well, who is also a badass. It takes the combined badassitude of Sokka, [[spoiler: Zuko, Hakoda, Suki, Chit Sang, and ''Mai and Ty Lee'']] for the rescue to be successful.
** [[WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra Avatar Korra]] [[spoiler: gets [[PeoplePuppets kidnapped]] by Tarrlok and locked up in a metal box. Long story short, Amon and his minions showed up, Amon [[CurbStompBattle took care]] of Tarrlok, and sent Lieutenant to electrocute the box to knock her out so they could take her with them. What did she do? Used her wrist wraps to hang on to the bars on the top of the box to avoid electrocution, pretended that he knocked her out, and utterly kicked their arses in the moment they opened the box, then escaped Amon himself. This is after she spent roughly a night and a day in that box, without anything to eat or drink.]]
** She also gets kidnapped by Zaheer and his gang in "The Terror Within" after she and Naga were tranqulized with shirshu darts. If it weren't for [[EvilDetectingDog Pabu]], they would have gotten away. And for the rest of the fight scene, Korra stays mostly unconscious until she gets rescued.
* Many of the more recent animated ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'' features have upgraded Daphne from the standard DistressedDamsel of the original and earlier works, following the first live-action movie's portrayal by Creator/SarahMichelleGellar of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' fame.
** Believe it or not, in one of the ''original'' episodes of that show where {{Batman}} and Robin guest stared, ''they'' had to be rescued, after being tricked into falling into a deep pit with glass-like smooth walls that were impossible to climb on their own. (Of course, given that two ''real'' villains, the Joker and the Penguin were the culprits this time, rather than some crook in a monster suit, it's understandable.)
* In ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'', MemeticBadass Race Bannon does wind up captured or otherwise in trouble quite a few times. This is because the creative team meant to empower the kids a bit more [[TagalongKid than they were in]] classic ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest''.
* Twilight Sparkle from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is the main cast's BadassBookworm who is also one of the most powerful magic users in the show, but in ''The Stare Master'', she was [[TakenForGranite turned to stone]] by a [[FeatheredFiend cockatrice]] which left [[ShrinkingViolet Fluttershy]] to protect the kids she was babysitting and save Twilight.
** Princess Celestia is this in both the series pilot and the Season 2 finale. She's generally acknowledged to be the BigGood of the series, but is missing during Nightmare Moon's attack and [[spoiler:the queen of the changelings]] (shown on screen), respectively, leaving it to Twilight and friends to deal with the threat. (Not counting Discord here as he's less a personal threat and more a global disaster with a sick sense of humor; everypony is ''equally'' helpless against him until the {{plot coupon}}s finally come together at the end of "The Return of Harmony".)
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'' episode "Image Problem", Yumi - likely the most badass of the heroes at the time - is held captive by a Guardian while XANA sends a duplicate of her to cause trouble. (Possible the first time he used what would later be called a polymophic clone.) Eventually, Aelita and the others managed to find her, at which point she went back to the real world to deal with the imposter. (As she herself said, "This is between me and myself.")
* In the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', all three of the main heroes at the time (Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin) get captured by Cadmus; it takes Robin approximately two minutes to break them out, [[{{Determinator}} while getting shocked the entire time]].
--> ''"Luckily Batman isn't here - he'd have my head for taking so long."''
* Ardeth Bay in TheMummyTheAnimatedSeries episode 'The Dark Medjai'.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' had [[spoiler: Captain America]] get captured by Skrulls so they could replace him with a duplicate. [[spoiler: Cap]] refused to let the Skrulls' treatment of him in prison break his spirit, and he eventually led the other prisoners in a riot and escape.
* [[spoiler:Mike Chilton]] in the two-part finale of ''{{WesternAnimation/Motorcity}}''. Particularly when he [[spoiler:beats up Red to free himself]].
* ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends''. Wonder Woman tended to be kidnapped, brainwashed etc. more frequently than the rest of the Super Friends.
** 1973/74 season.
*** In "The Baffles Puzzle" she was trapped at the bottom of a pit by a SurpriseSlideStaircase and had to be rescued by Superman.
*** In "The Menace of the White Dwarf" she was pursuing Raven in her invisible jet when he used the extreme gravity of the white dwarf fragment to render her unconscious. When she plummeted out of control, Superman caught her jet and saved her.
** In later seasons she was often subject to the Legion of Doom's machinations.
* Happens to Duke in ''both'' of the first two [[FiveEpisodePilot Five Episode Miniseries]] of ''WesternAnimation/GIJoe.'' The second time, Snake Eyes is captured along with him.
* This happens surprisingly often to WesternAnimation/FlashGordon, although he always escapes before too much time has elapsed, usually inspiring a SlaveRevolt against the bad guys on the way out.
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