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-> '''Ozzel:''' Lord Vader. The fleet has moved out of lightspeed and we're preparing to-- (''[[PsychicStrangle Force-choke!]]'')\\
'''Vader:''' [[TropeNamers You have failed me]] ''for the last time'', Admiral. Captain Piett?\\
'''Piett:''' (''trying not to look at his choking superior'') Yes, my Lord?\\
'''Vader:''' Make ready to land our troops beyond their energy field, and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off the system. {{You are in command now}}, ''[[FieldPromotion Admiral]]'' Piett.\\
(''Ozzel collapses'')\\
'''Piett:''' Thank you, Lord Vader. (''swallows'')
-->-- ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''

Commonly in a SicEm scene, the BigBad - usually a DiabolicalMastermind - kills one of their henchmen who has failed to capture and/or kill TheHero, as motivation to all of their other (surviving) underlings not to repeat their failure. Presumably, the other underlings immediately all fall into line instead of (say) quietly updating their resumes and [[HeelRealization trying to find a less psychopathic overlord to work for]]. Some bad guys will use the BlofeldPloy to pull off the underling murder. Others will drop the offending [[EvilMinions underling]] through a TrapDoor into a SharkPool or other {{deathtrap}}, or [[FedToTheBeast feed them]] to their RightHandAttackDog.

The BigBad may eventually realize there's [[WorthyOpponent something special]] about the hero and stop summarily executing minions for their failures as they gain a healthy admiration for their skills, but don't bet on it. Evil organizations more often than not will stick to an explicit policy of "Succeed, or die."

Few stories address the question of what happens when this policy is taken to its logical conclusion. [[RealityEnsues Realistically]], such a policy causes its practitioners to kill off many of their own skilled leaders, while leaving the survivors demoralized, afraid to take initiative, more concerned with [[SycophanticServant sucking up]] and [[NeverMyFault dodging blame]] than with actually doing their jobs well, and inclined to either [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere desert]], [[HeelFaceTurn defect]] or [[UnfriendlyFire kill their boss]] before he kills them. See the unfortunate results described in the Hitler and Stalin examples under "Real Life". Sometimes, this makes it easier for the heroes to spare {{Mook}}s when they beg for mercy; if the heroes know that the minions will be killed if they try to return to the villains' service, they know they won't end up regretting letting them live, and might even do so because they believe the minions are working under duress.

Another variant on this is instead of the BigBad doing this, a high-ranking, oftentimes very loyal, and particularly ruthless official working for the BigBad, possibly TheDragon, does it instead -- perhaps [[PoisonousFriend without the boss' approval]].

Recently, some BigBads have started doing this by phone. Mook 1 phones Bigbad with bad news, while Mook 2 stands nearby. Bigbad asks Mook 1 to pass his phone to Mook 2. Mook 2 says "Ok Boss, I understand. I'll see to that rightaway. Bye Boss ... here's your phone back" and then shoots Mook 1 while he is distracted with his phone.

See also: BadBoss, ShootTheMessenger, YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness, and VillainousDemotivator. Contrast EvenEvilHasLovedOnes, IWillPunishYourFriendForYourFailure. Related to KarmicDeath.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''RosarioToVampire'', Anti-Thesis leaders execute anyone who fails to kill Aono Tsukune... and are then promptly executed by ''their'' higher-ups when ''they'' fail to kill him. Subverted at the end of the first manga season when the second in command appears to execute the leader for failure, and then heals him instead. [[spoiler:It helps that the second in command was the leader's only friend during the time he is a human and [[PetTheDog gave him some of his abilities to help survive]].]]
* Mimi and Sheshe suffer this fate at the hands of ''both'' their bosses in ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch''. They got off lucky the first time, only turning back to their original forms; the second time, depending which version you're following, either their hearts are absorbed like Seira's, or they get eaten alive.
* Subverted ''twice'' in ''YesPrettyCure5'' by Bunbee. He drops Girinma down the TrapDoor, presumably never to be seen again... only for Girinma to climb back up five episodes later, ready to fail him again. [[spoiler:Much later, Bunbee finds himself on the other end of this trope, being dropped off of a building by [[TheDragon Kawarino]]. Bunbee turns out to have grabbed a [[NotTheFallThatKillsYou convenient ledge]]... and then remembered that, you know, [[WingedHumanoid he can fly]], thus the reason why he has appeared during the sequel.]]
* The QuirkyMinibossSquad in 4 of the 5 ''Anime/SailorMoon'' seasons all fall prey to this trope at the hands of each season's BigBad. There was ''at least'' one villain per saga doing so, from Queen Beryl killing Jadeite to Galaxia eventually winding up killing all but one of her minions, including [[spoiler: the "{{brainwashed}}" [[BuryYourGays Uranus and Neptune]]]]. Rubeus gives a specially cruel twist to it in regards to Kooan from the Ayakashi Sisters, [[spoiler: whom he gives an exploding MacGuffin and sends off to fight the Senshi to force her kill herself for him, since she loved him]].
** This practice is also probably the reason that no youmas in Series 1 ever attempt to flee when outmatched. In Episode 05, Jadeite calmly informs youma Kyurene that should she fail at her task, her life is forfeit.. so when she indeed fails, she only flies a short distance away and then does not try to run away when Sailor Moon attacks her - probably knowing she is doomed to die either way.
** ''Sailor Stars'' is a particularly cruel instance of this trope. The BigBad (Sailor Galaxia) sends her four minions, the Anima-Mates to Earth to find "true star seeds" (immortal souls) inside of the living beings of Earth that would impede her chances of taking over the galaxy, and killed most of them when they failed ([[spoiler:except Sailor Lead Crow, who was too ambitious for her own good and got eaten by a black hole]]). At the end of the series, it turns out Galaxia knew that the Sailor Soldiers held the true star seeds the whole time, which makes it seem like she toyed around with the Anima-Mates for yuks and giggles.
** What's amusing, such stratospheric minion-disposing rate is the consequence of the anime being LighterAndSofter compared to the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]]. In the manga, Sailor Senshi just fry most of their opponents, while the anime tones down violence considerably, so when villains (with notable exceptions of certain {{Big Bad}}s), die, it is either through this trope or HoistByHisOwnPetard.
** The LiveActionAdaptation ''Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon'' averts this by having Queen Beryl respond to a subordinate suggesting their rival be killed for failure "....why should I kill a loyal servant?"
* Subverted in ''Manga/ExcelSaga'', in which DiabolicalMastermind Il Palazzo drops Excel down a miles-deep, alligator-filled pit almost [[OnceAnEpisode every episode and in several chapters]]. It isn't always alligators; in fact, the first time they appear in the anime, Il Palazzo refers to them as a Christmas present ("I have provided you with a knife and all suitable supplies"). The next time we see Excel, she's discussing the proper way of killing an alligator and complaining about how tough it is to skin one.
** Played straight later in the anime and the manga, though in different ways. In the anime [[spoiler: Il Palazzo shoots Excel through the chest and leaves her to die in the desert]], and in the manga [[spoiler: Il Palazzo abandons Excel on a deserted island and replaces her with a competent robotic double]].
* ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman'' plays it straight toward Leader X's commanders. For almost every episode a new commander is brought in when one of his commanders fail. There are times, however, when one of the commanders are given a second chance before failing again and getting killed.
* ''Anime/{{Mai-HiME}}'': [[spoiler:Father Joseph]] gets the "You're fired" speech from the higher-ups at Searrs for failing to eliminate the main characters in Episode 12. However, they don't actually kill him...they allow him to sit and watch as [[spoiler: Alyssa and Miyu]] enact their plan to take over Fuuka Academy. [[spoiler:He was eventually killed by Miyu after he shot little Alyssa at mission's end.]]
** [[spoiler:His shooting Alyssa]] was also an example of this trope, as he [[spoiler:was sent in to deal with Alyssa for her failing to take over the school]].
* During the Saiyan Saga of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', Vegeta kills his partner Nappa after he gets his ass kicked by Goku, considering Nappa to be no use to him as a Saiyan warrior considering how Goku made an idiot out of him.
** Frieza holds his army in line with fear of this, and promised this punishment to Zarbon if he failed to retrieve Vegeta. He does this to his henchman Orlen when he failed to question the Namek that he killed, and when facing off with Trunks he kills one of his lackeys who is scared to face Trunks after all the other {{Mooks}} are sliced up effortlessly.
** The Red Ribbon Army is known for its low tolerance for failure. For his failure to collect Dragon Balls, Commander Blue is used as a measuring stick for new baddie Tao Pai Pai. Commander Silver is likewise condemned for his inability to retrieve Dragon Balls.
*** On the topic of the Red Ribbon Army, their definition of failure is... well, just say that anything even slightly wrong is a failure, sometimes with the successes expected. For instance, Commander Red, when he is talking to Colonel Silver, mentioned that a soldier who ended up losing an eye from being unable to efficiently dodge Red sicing his pet cat at him was "no longer with them", implying that he executed him because he couldn't evade the cat efficiently.
* [= MetalSeadramon =] from ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' kills Scorpiomon after he fails to capture and incapacitate all 8 of the kids (Joe and Mimi escape). Though it must be said Scorpiomon failed ''big time'' and multiple times before [=MetalSeadramon=] did him in, and that [=MetalSeadramon=] was probably the least BadBoss out of all the ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' villains.
** Machinedramon also kills [=WaruMonzaemon=] after he's defeated by the kids, and Puppetmon shoots Blossomon and Mushroomon after they let TK slip away. And the most famous, Myotismon's killing of Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon when they fail at being evil. Myotismon did this ''a lot'' actually. Very few of his minions survived till the end of the arc and at least half of them were killed by him for this reason, and most of those that did were absorbed to fuel his OneWingedAngel form.
** In ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'' Duskmon says Arbormon (who was just defeated) has become a liability because he has lost his Beast Spirit before casually slicing him.
* In ''Anime/PrincessTutu'', when [[spoiler:[[DarkMagicalGirl Princess Kraehe]]]] continually fails to bring [[spoiler:the Raven]] a heart as a sacrifice, he attempts to [[HeartTrauma eat]] ''[[HeartTrauma her]]'' [[HeartTrauma heart]] instead. She escapes, but barely. (Ironically, he then later seems to be surprised when [[spoiler:she betrays him and tries to save Mytho from the same fate]].)
* In ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic!: [[OddlyNamedSequel The Second Raid]]'', a RunningGag sees AxCrazy PsychoForHire Gates do this to quite a lot of subordinates for any number of random reasons. It's mostly played for BlackComedy, if only because of the utterly insane ways he does it: In one case, he shoots a man who gainsaid him in the head point blank and then argues with his corpse for a good thirty seconds before noticing he is dead, ''and then starts bemoaning the man's sudden and unexpected death and wonders how it happened''.
* Marik Ishtar of ''Anime/YuGiOh'' tends to do this whenever one of his Rare Hunters loses. He controls their minds briefly and leaves them in a [[PutOnABusToHell seemingly permanent comatose state]] after delivering his messages.
** In the manga, Marik's punishment to Pandora ([[DubNameChange Arcana in the US]]) could be considered worse. Marik scans the unconscious Pandora's mind for a time he contemplated suicide and increased those fealings, stating that when Pandora comes to he's immediately be DrivenToSuicide.
* The ''OnePiece'' conspiracy group Baroque Works held this as the penalty for any agents failing their assigned mission. While none of them liked it (except insofar as it got them promoted), most of the Officer Agents treated it merely as part of the job.
** Donquixote Doflamingo does this to Bellamy after he [[CurbStompBattle loses to Luffy]] for disgracing his flag by using his [[MarionetteMaster powers]] to force Sarquiss to kill him however Bellamy surives. He later attempts it again on [[spoiler:Gecko Moria, apparently on orders of someone in the World Government who outranks Sengoku, as it would be better for the Seven Warlords of the Sea's reputation]].
*** Turns out [[spoiler:Bellamy got a second chance. Apparently if you really do your best and you aren't an arrogant jackass, Doflamingo will be a BenevolentBoss to you]].
** Nero, a [=CP9=] initiate, gets finished off and thrown in the ocean by Rob Lucci for failing to defeat Franky, as well as for losing his temper and trying to kill him instead of bringing him in alive.
* Subverted in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''. After [[spoiler:Madara]] notices that [[spoiler:Sasuke]] failed to capture the [[spoiler:eight]]-tailed beast for Akatsuki, he intercepts him and reminds him that betrayal means death, but instead of killing him, has him [[spoiler:go to kill Danzo]] instead.
** Mentioned much earlier in the Sasuke Retrieval arc, when Kimimaro stated that even if Tayuya succeeds in killing of Shikamaru (which she didn't), he was going to kill her (and probably anyone else left in the Sound Four) anyway because she failed to bring Sasuke to Orochimaru by sunset. [[spoiler:Kimimaro would never have gotten a chance to make good on his threat, though, since he died too.]]
** [[spoiler:Sasuke eventually does this to his second team, throwing Suigetsu and Jugo to the wolves just because he doesn't want to wait to fight Danzo, then [[ShootTheHostage stabbing Danzo through Karin]] rather than making an effort to save her as he decided her getting taken hostage makes her not worth keeping (he was even going to finish her off himself to keep her quiet).]]
* Used in NurarihyonNoMago. Interestingly, this isn't used just to [[KickTheDog demonstrate]] that the BigBad is a dick. One of the protangonist's [[NobleDemon youkai allies]] [[GenreSavvy uses this to infer]] that the BigBad in question is extremely confident and has legitimate reason to be so.
* In episode 42 of ''Anime/TekkamanBlade'', [[BigBad Tekkaman Omega]] imprisons Blade's [[EvilTwin twin brother]] in a sort of organic prison pod for his repeated failures. It's only when his sole other Tekkaman is slain that he is willing to release [[TheDragon him]].
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has the Varia, the Vongola crime family's elite assassination squad, who have a ''stated policy'' of killing those who fail. One of the reasons they're so tough is their tradition of "erasing the weak," meaning those who fail in a mission are swiftly put to death by one of the others. This may be closer to an InformedAbility, as we've only actually seen them carry out the policy once, and the victim survived and was even allowed to rejoin the unit.
* This is apparently the standard policy of TheSyndicate in ''DarkerThanBlack''. [[TheHandler Huang]] regularly reminds Hei of this whenever he gets insubordinate, but Hei, apparently aware of [[BullyingADragon the absurdity of the situation]] completely ignores him most of the time. [[spoiler:Huang was right, though; their bosses do try to wipe them out when they get too far out of line.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}''
** After Renji is defeated by Ichigo in the Soul Society arc, Byakuya orders him imprisoned [[KickTheDog without having his life threatening injuries healed]]. Renji's friend Momo is horrified, and attempts to call him out but he doesn't listen.
** [[spoiler:Aizen (almost) murdering Halibel, and later Tousen.]]
** Rudbone and the Exequias, whose job it is to kill any Arrancar who loses a fight, like [[spoiler:Dordonii]] and [[spoiler:Ciricci]]. In other words, [[spoiler: Aizen]] is so fond of this trope he actually created an official department of YouHaveFailedMe.
** Given his [[BadBoss harsh treatments]] to his subordinates, Yhwach also indulges in executing minions who fail at their tasks.
* [[{{Hellsing}} The Major]] ''attempts'' to pull this on a commander who questions his order to have all of the troops [[ZergRush suicidally rush Alucard's familiars]]. [[EpicFail Unfortunately for the Major's dignity]], he [[CrowningMomentOfFunny isn't]] [[ATeamFiring the best marksman in the world]] (although he just orders his troops to do it instead).
** Played straight later on with Zorin Blitz. The Major informs her, via Schroedinger, that normally he'd have an incompetent subordinate killed by activating their suicide chip, but as Millennium are currently occupied with [[spoiler:Walter]], he'll leave her execution to Seras Victoria. Who is [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge more than happy to oblige.]]
* Subverted in ''Manga/SoulEater''. After failing to prevent their plans being foiled Mosquito is offered a drink by Arachne. Giriko implies it may be poisoned, however Arachne reassures him and tells him to make up for it by doing better next time.
* ''Anime/{{Yu Gi Oh|First Anime Series}}'' season 0 had Kaiba doing this with his brother Mokuba. This was the first series based on ''Manga/YuGiOh'', and Mokuba wasn't Kaiba's MoralityPet there.
* Yes. Even ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''.
** In the anime, we don't see this out of actual villains, though Giovanni rightly chews out field grunts [[GoldfishPoopGang Jessie and James]] whenever they try to call him. On the other hand, Paul will regularly release any Pokemon that fails to live up to his standards, however ridiculous they may be. This tends to overlap with YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness, as being a long runner on his team does not provide immunity - as Chimchar came to learn firsthand. This came back to bite him big time when [[spoiler:Ash finally beat Paul using the same Chimchar he threw away.]]
** PokemonSpecial sees Ark, an Aqua Admin, ordered to stay behind and defend team headquarters while Archie, Amber, Angie, and the Magma alumni take the Kaien I to the Cave of Origin. To be fair to Archie, Ark should have known better about when and around who to indulge in EvilGloating. To be fair to Ark, however, Sapphire is harder to kill than the lot of them anticipated.
* Rapunzel in ''{{MAR}}'' has the unfortunate habit of offing any of her teammates who lose in battle, but gives them the chance to redeem themselves if they beat her in a game of rock paper scissors. It's a mark of how bad she is, considering her teammates are [[MinionWithAnFInEvil Aqua]], [[{{Jobber}} Captain]] [[PeterPan Hook]], and her equally as horrible brother. She cheats at rock paper scissors- [[spoiler: Aqua wins, and Rapunzel's brother murders Aqua anyway]]. Her cruel ways turn out to earn her a [[spoiler: well deserved death, killed off by a member of her side, [[NobleDemon Ian.]] ]]
* ''{{Jack and the Witch}}''. After being given a chance to recapture Jack and his friends, Allegra fails. As an example to all who fail, the evil queen punishes her by exiling her to the Ice Caves for eternity.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', [[spoiler:Father]] and [[spoiler:Pride]] ''consume'' the people who fail them, even [[spoiler:members of their own "family".]]
* ''StarDriver'' features a rather tame version of this one. Glittering Star pilots who lose to Takuto get their Cybody piloting privileges revoked. [[JustifiedTrope It's understandable]], as the series repeatedly mentions that Cybodies are really freaking expensive and they can't just have any incompetent buffoon step in and break their toys whenever they feel like it.
* In ''Manga/ShamanKing'', Hao does this to three random shamans by burning them alive after their failure to capture and get their revenge on Lyserg. And retains his calm, cheery attitude in doing so. Creepy.
* Averted in ''LegendOfTheGalacticHeroes'', where [[YoungConqueror Reinhard]] doesn't kill any of his admirals despite some of them having some rather spectacular failures. Especially in the case of HotBlooded Admiral Bittenfeld, who walks into an obvious trap that ends in Admiral [[spoiler:Fahrenheit]] dying in an attempt to bail him out, which would certainly get him killed by Vader, but gets to fight again and distinguishes himself in the following battle.
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', this action sets off the Greenback Jane arc. The boss of the counterfeiting ring decides to do this to motivate everyone else. Problem is: he killed the only person who could access the servers that had the patterns, wrecking the entire operation. Then, Jane manages to escape and seeks refuge within the church of Violence...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* First played straight and then later there's a subversion in the first ''Robin'' miniseries. The villain of the piece kills two of his {{Mook}}s with his bare hands for failing him, then promotes a DragonLady named Lynx to the position of head Mook. When she inevitably fails as well, he ponders over the dilemma of leaving her unpunished and [[WouldntHitAGirl having to kill a woman]]. He then hands her to his [[TheDragon Dragon]] for a "not too dire, but memorable" punishment. Which to the Dragon, meant [[EyeScream putting out her eye]].
* This is also done in ''Comicbook/WelcomeBackFrank'', Creator/GarthEnnis's opening ''Comicbook/ThePunisher'' mini-series. Ma Gnucci, after having her arms and legs torn off by a polar bear in the NY Zoo, berates her {{Mooks}} for failing to catch Castle and then orders one of them executed for asking her how she's feeling. The guy she orders to do it protests, so she orders him executed as well. She goes through about three underlings before she finds someone willing to shoot the previous executees.
* One of the better variations on this trope in recent years was the ''Tangled Web of SpiderMan'' issue(#4), [[http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/reviews/spiderman_tangled_web/004.html "Severance Package"]], in which the Kingpin deals with an underling who botches an illegal arms job. The story is especially chilling because it's told from the point of view of the underling, who knows full well that he's about to die but refuses to run away, despite having a wife and children.
* In early issues of ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'', [[BadBoss Robotnik]] often did this to robots who messed up.
* SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker has an interesting variation: You have succeeded admirably... But I'm bored. Working for Joker is like Russian Roulette. With bullets in all 6 chambers. And two guns. [[OverlyLongGag And the bullets are dipped in poison. And you don't get to spin the barrel.]]
** According to [[GailSimone one writer]], that same chaotic nature also means Joker might shower you in cash for doing something like tipping a chair over. This is presented as the only reason anyone would be stupid enough to work for the Joker: it's Russian Roulette mixed with traditional roulette.
* SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom. Mostly with his robotic henchmen, though.
** In one instance during a battle with the Fantastic 4, his head scientist had a flamethrower and the flames were getting dangerously close to a priceless painting he obtained, so he shot him with the gun the scientist built for him. He also kills that henchman's vengeful brother (also a henchman) who tried to trick Doom into a device that would kill him.
* Near the end of the first volume of ComicBook/{{Runaways}}, the Pride's main mole in the police, Lieutenant Flores, tries to capture the kids without telling the Pride in advance. The ensuing fight [[spoiler: destroys the Hostel]] and nearly gets all his men killed and, more importantly to The Pride, endangers their children. His bosses are there when his men find him.
-->"I thought I was dead."
-->"And for once, you were right." *shotgun*
* Completely subverted in {{Hourman}}. When a villain who presides over a hellish slave camp learns that one of the {{mooks}} screwed up, he finds the underling cowering in fear, certain that he's about to be killed for his failure. Instead, the villain pats him on the back, tells him to believe in himself, and gives him a couple of bucks to go buy himself a snack. It turns out their entire evil organization uses a series of self-help seminars as a front, and so they have a policy of only using positive reinforcement with the henchmen. ''And it works.''
* Subverted and played straight in Mandrake. The evil organization "8" has a strict policy to kill anyone who fails, however so many have been defeated by Mandrake that they no longer kill those that fail against him because of the enormous losses it would mean.
* In the MarvelUniverse, ComicBook/{{HYDRA}} has this as their standard policy. In fact, in the years when the organization was in disarray without the overall control of Baron Von Strucker, the various factions seemed to spend more time killing each other after each defeat than achieving anything.
* {{Darkseid}} sometimes kill people who fail him - he has to keep up appearances - but since he uses his Omega Beams, he usually just resurrects them later when he needs them again.
* From ''{{Asterix}} and the Black Gold'': Dubbelosix, a Druid spying for the Romans, has to get the secret of magic potion and stop our heroes from procuring an ingredient. Asterix, however, [[{{Outgambitted}} outgambits]] him, and Dubbelosix and his superior both end up [[spoiler:sentenced to death in the arena, ''[[EddieIzzard covered in BEES]]''!]]
* While a competent and highly skilled agent, [[Film/AttackOfTheClones Count Dooku's]] Dark Side Adept Asajj Ventress was prone to failure because she specifically targeted Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, who were out of her league. After spending months healing from a particularly brutal loss as Anakin's hands, Ventress is found by Obi-Wan and immediately attacks him, moving far from her master's side across a battlefield. With the Republic forces closing in and Ventress too far away, Dooku comments that she had failed him too many times and orders her shot. [[spoiler: She survives, though.]]
* Shockwave, as portrayed in most {{Transformers}} comics, is the ultimate aversion of this trope. Motivated by logic and reason, and utterly aware of the dwindling numbers available to the Decepticons (in a race that cannot reproduce without the Matrix), Shockwave hates to let soldiers go to waste. He can and will harshly reprimand failure (as he does with Frenzy in "Mind Games"), but doesn't ever kill them. Insomuch, that after usurping leadership from Megatron, then soundly beating the ex-leader - he leaves Megatron alive and makes him swear loyalty to him, not fearing from any retribution. Perhaps the best example, though, is in DW comics "The War Within - Ages of Wrath", where Rumble and Frenzy have seemingly caused an explosion that destroyed most of his work in his lab, Shockwave only questions the two and then sends them away to get back to work... In leaving, Rumble and Frenzy even remark that had this happened with Megatron, he would have ripped them apart in anger.
** Shockwave even gives failed minions time to explain themselves - and accepts logical reasoning. When Megatron - his subordinate at the time - led a suicidal attack on the Ark resulting in the deaths/capture of many Decepticons, Shockwave prepares to promptly execute him. But after Megatron points out that Shockwave made a bigger blunder by allowing the Autobots to steal the secrets of Combiner technology, Shockwave not only accepts his excuse, but relinquishes Decepticon leadership back to Megatron!
** In another situation, after Soundwave let Buster Witwicky, whom he was ordered to capture, go away free despite him having the upper hand, Shockwave comes to the conclusion that Soundwave is either a traitor, or defective, and has outlived his usefulness. But when Soundwave explains Buster's mind needs to re-unite with Optimus so the Decepticons can tap into its secrets, Shockwave accepts this without question.
* Cruelly double-subverted by Darkhell in ComicBook/LesLegendaires: [[OriginsEpisode Origines]], when one of his generals fails to bring him back [[MacGuffinGirl Princess Jadina]] for the second time. Darkhell grasps him and raises him above a pit of lava. The general begs him for mercy, and the following scene ensues:
-->'''Darkhell''': [[FalseReassurance I sometimes happen to give a second chance]]...\\
'''General''': T-Thanks, master...\\
'''Darkhell''': ...[[ExactWords Never a third one]] (''let him fall to his death'')
** A even more horrifying double-subversion happens in the Anathos Cycle to [[spoiler:[[DarkMistress Dark-Jadina]]]]. After [[spoiler:[[CurbStompBattle bitting the dust again the real Jadina]]]], [[spoiler:She]] go to Anathos and begs him for mercy. Anathos states he forgives [[spoiler:her]]... and then he blows [[spoiler:her]] head off.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In the Anime/YuGiOh Fanfic "Demon Duelist Legacy," [[BigBad Kilomet Sestros]] is the ALL-TIME CHAMPION of this trope. If you breathe the wrong way while working under him, you can expect to be tortured excessively before finally dying. And he may eat your corpse afterwards. [[spoiler: And he has billions of clones, so you can't kill him easily.]]
** It gets worse in the [[Anime/YuGiOhGX GX]] Sequel Fic "Legends of a Demon Duelist," in which he gains power over darkness.
* ''FanFic/TheImmortalGame'': Near the end of the story, [[spoiler: Prince Empyrean is drained of his power by the Elements of Harmony, at which point his father [[BigBad King Titan]] doesn't hesitate to kill him]].
* ''FanFic/FriendshipIsAura'': After [[spoiler: [[DiscOneFinalBoss Chrysalis]]]] ends up back in his realm following her defeat by Lucario, [[TheManBehindTheMan Tartarus]] responds by [[TheAssimilator absorbing her]] into himself.
* The evil Calvin duplicate in ''Fanfic/ThePezDispenserAndTheReignOfTerror'' shoots one of his own men for being a "coward".
* In ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', any [[ParodySue SUE]] who fails against the [[MaiHime Himes]] will be killed by the next one to step up. This happens to [[spoiler:Toki, who is the only one who remains alive after being defeated]].
* In ''Naruto Veangance Revelaitons'', the Council has somewhat inconsistent enforcement on death as being a punishment for failure. The head of the Kibusi Corporation is killed after one failed attempt at killing Ronan by bombing a theater, but Madara, who has more failures to his name, is kept around and never executed for failing.
* In the ''Fanfic/UnacceptableSitchSeries'' finale "Under the Milky Way Tonight", Gemini's habit of dropping unsuccessful agents down trapdoors, which was {{played for laughs}} in [[WesternAnimation/KimPossible the show]], is instead given [[RealityEnsues realistic consequences]]. Gemini's minions are ''terrified'' to act on their own initiative when a plan starts going off the rails, which becomes an important factor in the heroes' ultimate victory.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'', Yzma does something even worse than killing her lackey [[PunchClockVillain Kronk]]: she [[BerserkButton insults his spinach-puff recipe]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'': One of the Jokerz [[GenreBlindness mouths off to the Joker]] for not telling them his plan after they fail a heist...
-->'''Bonk:''' ''[Finishing his rant]'' I want out!\\
'''SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker:''' ''[Pulls a gun]'' If you insist...\\
'''Bonk:''' Take... Take it easy, man -- I was just kidding!\\
''[Joker pulls the trigger, the gun fires -- [[SubvertedTrope producing a 'BANG!' flag]]]'' \\
'''The Joker:''' So was I.\\
''[Bonk relaxes -- [[DoubleSubversion Joker pulls the trigger again, firing the flag into Bonk and impaling him]]]''\\
'''The Joker:''' Ooops... ''No I wasn't''.
** When the Jokerz appeared on ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited'' under the control of Chronos, he did kill one of them, but it was the portly Chucko instead.
-->'''Chronos''': Do you know what killed the dinosaurs?
-->'''Ghoul''': No... Sir.
-->'''Chronos''': Well, CHUCKO DOES!
* At the end of ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', after Dr. Facilier's plot is foiled, [[spoiler:rendering him unable to pay off his debt to his "Friends on the Other Side", said "Friends" show up to collect anyway... by dragging Facilier to his childhood trauma-inducing doom.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The trope name comes from ''Franchise/StarWars Episode V: Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'', and possibly the most famous instance: Darth Vader's "You have failed me for the last time" before choking Admiral Ozzel and promoting Captain Piett to replace him before the body hits the floor. True to form, Piett survives a number of failures, once Vader realizes the heroes may actually count as a legitimate challenge. It helps that he didn't take any foolish chances like Ozzel was punished for. Ozzel's death deserves special mention, as Vader is doing it ''over the intercom/viewscreen.'' He's not even in the same room as Ozzel.
** He does it ''again'' to the hapless Captain Needa before the film's even halfway done, even when Needa had the foresight to apologize to Vader for losing track of the ''Millenium Falcon'' (There's a reason Vader says "Apology accepted, Captain Needa"). The turnover rate for Imperial officers must be ''appalling''.
*** Needa's expression when he tells his men that he's going to apologize personally to Vader tells the whole story. Needa ''knows'' Vader will kill him - [[TakeMeInstead but if he takes the blame]], [[HeroicSacrifice none of his underlings will]].
*** Which also explains why the TIE fighters didn't hesitate chasing the ''Falcon'' into the AsteroidThicket; the pilots knew damn well simply breaking off pursuit would have been an instant death sentence from Vader.
** And ultimately subverted by the end of the film, when the ''Falcon'' escapes to lightspeed. Piett visibly soils himself as Vader strides toward him, only to brush right past, apparently too depressed about losing his [[LukeIAmYourFather son]] to kill any more underlings today.
** It's noted in one of the novels that the fastest way to promotion in the Empire was to get yourself assigned to Vader's flagship, the ''Executor''. The flip side of that coin is, as [[TheThrawnTrilogy Pellaeon]] says, that this meant the crew of the ''Executor'' was entirely staffed by people who were either hypercompetent or very lucky, since they were the only ones who survived. Which meant that when it was destroyed at Endor, the Empire lost more than a really big ship, they lost the best of the officer corps.
** Vader's tendency to do this is lampshaded in ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed'' where there is an achievement for killing a certain number of your own men while playing as Vader in the prologue. Bonus points for it being an ActorAllusion as well (Matt Sloane, the voice of Vader in that game, also voiced WebVideo/ChadVader, with the achievement being a direct reference to that series).
** Not explicitly shown in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', but Vader heavily implies that if the officer and the crew working on the second Death Star doesn't make sure that the station is fully operational by the time of the Emperor's arrival, the crew will end up suffering a punishment issued by the Emperor that is so horrific for their failure that Vader's use of the trope seems like a sympathy-enduced pat on the back in comparison. "The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
*** Proven by Bevel Lemelisk. The lead designer of the Death Star, he is executed when Sidious has him eaten alive by piranha beetles as punishment for overlooking such a massive design flaw... and then proceeds to bring Lemelisk back to life with a clone body and [[BlackMagic Sith Alchemy]], because in spite of this mistake, Lemelisk is too much of an asset to throw away. Sidious proceeded to make a point of [[AndIMustScream executing and resurrecting Lemelisk]] every time something went wrong with the Death Star II's construction, with a new and unique method of execution every time. At least Vader is business-like about killing you; Sidious will make sure you ''suffer''.
* Years before ''Star Wars'', in the HammerHorror film ''Film/DraculaHasRisenFromTheGrave'', {{Dracula}} (Creator/ChristopherLee) uses this line in a snarl to the hapless Zena (one of his pretty victims) before vampirising her to death and having her remains burnt in a baker's oven.
** It was also implemented in the [[Film/{{Dracula 1931}} 1931 Universal film]] when Renfield [[spoiler: accidentally leads Dr. Van Helsing and Jonathan to Dracula's lair]] and [[spoiler:Dracula strangles Renfield to death]]. It's worth noting that Dracula doesn't even say a thing; he just gives Renfield an evil glare before Renfield goes into hysterics and is then killed.
* Played straight in the first ''Film/AustinPowers'' movie, when Dr. Evil dumps several underlings into a fiery pit for failing to kill Austin Powers. It is then parodied when he tries to do the same thing thirty years later...and the minion survives, and is very noisy. Dr. Evil gets someone to go down there and shoot him, and that does the trick... eventually.
* In ''Film/{{Desperado}}'', after Bucho's gang repeatedly fails to find and kill the Mariachi, Bucho demonstrates what they're ''supposed'' to do by saying "Look! I don't know him! He has a gun! That must be the guy!" and shooting one of his henchmen. "How hard is that?"
* In ''Film/TheFifthElement'', Zorg apparently has all of his men (or all public phones) wired with explosives, and, in one scene, where a minion fails to impersonate the heroes, he types in the code to blow him up (with just barely contained rage) just as the heroes get away, not even knowing the mook had been there.
* The exact same scenario depicted in ''Film/TheFifthElement'', above, occurs in ''Film/CasinoRoyale1967'' in which Le Chiffre likewise detonates a minion in a phone booth, remotely.
** [[spoiler: And he was on the receiving end of this trope]] in the 2006 ''Film/CasinoRoyale''. [[spoiler: Mr. White walked in on him while he was torturing Bond. Chiffre tried saying to him, "I'll get you the money." But White replies, "Money is not as important as knowing who to trust." And he shoots him.]]
* The Rider in ''Film/TheSeeker'' '''actually said''' "You have failed me for the last time".
* Nicely subverted in ''Film/DieHard2'': when Miller, the black soldier, arrives at the church and reports his comrade's death to [[CardCarryingVillain Colonel Stuart]], Stuart says, "Well then the damage is minimal. The ''penalty'' could be severe." He then puts the barrel of his pistol to Miller's forehard and pulls the trigger. The gun clicks on an empty chamber. Miller breathes a sigh of relief as Stuart tells him, "You fail me again, and the chamber won't be empty. Dismissed."
* In ''Film/MortalKombatAnnihilation'', Shao Kahn does this ''twice''. The Outworld "ninja" Rain, who failed to sufficiently torture a pair of Earth Warriors (specifically, by making them beg for their lives before destroying them) he captured ''quickly'', offscreen, and with no chance of escape, is knocked into a lava pit with a big whacking hammer. Jade, Kahn's [[TheMole mole]] in the ranks of the heroes, suffers an even more ignominious death after she too fails to destroy them when following Kahn's plan -- she's fed to a monster carving in a wall, which lets out a great big burp after it's done with her. Sindel is threatened with this as she tries to back Jade up, despite Sindel being crucial to the plot and one of the most powerful generals.
* "Suicide, or be shot by someone else" was the option given to the losing Soviet general at the start of ''Film/EnemyAtTheGates''.
* [[Film/ManosTheHandsOfFate "No. YoU haVe FAileD yoUrsElveS."]]
* Slightly debugged for ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl'', when Captain Barbossa shoots one of his own crewman, Pintel, to see if they're all still cursed with immortality, and Pintel survives. The screenwriters Elliot and Rossio remarked in the DVD commentary that this was the only way a villain could repeatedly achieve You Have Failed Me moments without ever running out of henchmen. It also nearly leads to the crew mutinying on the spot, only averted by the heroes' escape attempt.
** In the third film, Jack Sparrow hallucinates dozens of clones of himself crewing the Black Pearl. When one of the Jacks displays sub-par performance, the main Jack stabs and kills him, then proceeds to lecture the rest of his imaginary crew about discipline.
* Non-lethal version shows up in ''Film/ShootEmUp''. After the first time Smith thwarts Hertz's men, Hertz is seen talking with one of them who was wounded in the buttocks. The guy says something to the effect of, "It won't happen again. I've got a piece of metal in my butt to remind me." At this point, Hertz pulls out his pistol, shoots him in the posterior once again, and quips, "And let that be a reminder never to fail me again," as the {{Mook}} collapses yelling "AAH! MY ASS!"
* In the film ''Film/PeterPan'', Hook shoots two of his pirates for annoying him.
* In ''Film/TheUntouchables'', Al Capone beats one of his goons to death with a [[BatterUp bat]].
** This is actually based on a real event. Capone hosted a dinner to let one of his henchmen, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Accardo Antonino "Joe Batters" Accardo]], kill two other henchmen with a baseball bat.
* Happens in ''Film/{{Eragon}}'', where [[EvilSorcerer Durza]] executes the head [[{{Mook}} Urgal]] for failing to kill the title character then immediately promotes a random Urgal, whose look implies that he is not happy with the promotion.
* ''Film/JamesBond'' has a few examples. Ernst Blofeld wasn't kidding when he said "This organization does not tolerate failure":
** SPECTRE planner Kronsteen in ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove''. Somewhat amusingly, Kronsteen's plan actually went perfectly. It was Rosa Klebb who failed, by hiring the wrong assassin. Pity no one else knew that.
** Happens twice in ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'', to Osato and Helga Brandt.
** In ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'' Blofeld electrocutes a SPECTRE member for embezzlement. Most of the other members present don't even flinch.
** Also in ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'', a {{Mook}} who failed to kill Bond was thrown into a SharkPool to be eaten.
** ''Another Film/{{Thunderball}}'' example. An assassin tries and fails to kill Bond. He is then killed himself, both for failing and because this attempt is what made Bond realize [[RevealingCoverUp something was up.]] It also introduce Fiona, who is apparently tasked with killing SPECTRE agents who fail.
** In ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'', [[spoiler: Bond leaves Dominic Greene to this fate.]]
* Happens to several mooks in ''DistrictB13''. [[spoiler:Eventually the mooks band together and kill the BigBad.]]
* Upon awakening in ''Film/{{Transformers}}'', Megatron reunites with Starscream who reveals to him that the Allspark, the very reason they are on Earth and the ultimate power source of Megatron's obsession, is in the possession of the Human soldiers who are attempting to keep it away from him. His response is quite a ticked off; ''You have failed me yet again Starscream. GET THEM!''
* In Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'', SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker immediately executes his top henchman after his master plan is foiled:
--->'''The Joker''': "My balloons. Those are my balloons. He stole my balloons! Why didn't anyone tell me he had one of those... things? Bob? Gun."
--->'''Bob the Henchman''': ''hands the Joker a gun, who promptly shoots him''
** Honestly, Joker does this ''all the time'', but it's less about failure and more about the fact that he's [[AxCrazy the Joker]].
* Drucker, the BigBad in ''Film/The6thDay'' does this to his henchman Wiley. A fairly justified version of this trope. Not only has Wiley been screwing up the most, but he also accidentally ''shot'' Drucker just before, which apparently was the last straw.
** He even tells his mooks ''not'' to clone Wiley again, so he wouldn't have another chance to fail him.
* Henry Carver, the BigBad in ''Film/{{Push}}'', {{Mind Rape}}s an agent to shoot himself for letting a girl escape, who also {{Mind Rape}}d the agent to shoot his own partner.
** Unusual for this trope, Carver is willing to let the guy go back to the States with a reprimand. Unfortunately for he agent, he decides to claim that he can't be {{Mind Rape}}d again. Carver proves him wrong. So this is more like "You have failed me and don't know when to shut up".
* [[BigBad The Jade Warlord]] in ''TheForbiddenKingdom'' kills a soldier with his own dagger for bringing bad news, while he was in the process of choosing a girl for the night.
* Framed hilariously in ''Film/SixStringSamurai'', with the BigBad starting to deliver the usual "You have failed me for the last--" then pauses, looks down, and says, "nice shoes..." Next cut shows the BigBad and his minions walking off with the failure's shoes.
* ''Film/TankGirl''. Kesslee, the BigBad of Water & Power, has a subordinate who has failed to stop the Rippers. He forces the subordinate to walk across broken glass barefooted, then drains all of the blood out of his body, converts it to water '''and drinks it'''.
** Kesslee is so fond of this trope that, by the end of the film, his entire army is under the command of a sergeant.
* ''LethalWeapon2''. After Rudd's henchman Hans loses a million dollars worth of gold Krugerrands, Rudd has his TheDragon Pieter execute him.
* In the otherwise forgettable ''Film/MastersOfTheUniverse'' movie, Skeletor TookALevelInBadass and obliterated one of his GoldfishPoopGang when they screw up their assignment. Details can be read [[http://www.x-entertainment.com/messages/490.html here]].
* Inverted in ''Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock'', where Commander Kruge kills his gunner for failing to '''not''' destroy the USS Grissom. Kruge only wanted to disable its engines so he could take prisoners, but the gunner had a "lucky shot" and destroyed the whole ship.
* Played straight in the ''Film/GreenLantern'' movie. When [[BigBad Parallax]] arrives on Earth, his first action is to kill his human minion for failing to kill Hal Jordan before Parallax arrived.
* Red Skull, after the Howling Commandos led by Captain America managed to destroy one of HYDRA's bases in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', has an officer brought to him, to which the officer stated that they fought to the last man. Red Skull, not in a forgiving mood, states "Evidentially not!" and then uses his [[MagiTek Tesseract/Cosmic Cube-powered]] handgun to vaporize the officer.
* Herod does this to Ratsy in ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead'' after Ratsy oversteps his authority and breaks Cort's hand before the big gunfight. Herod does give Ratsy a running start, however.
* Bill Cox does this in ''Firewall''. "We all make mistakes, Willy. Just not as many as you do. "
* In ''Film/LoneStarStateOfMind'', a pizza delivery guy who's secretly a drug runner reports to his mob boss that he was robbed. The boss orders him to run away... in a zig-zag pattern. The boss waits for a few seconds, then shoots him in the back.
* In ''Bollywood/{{Sholay}}'', Gabbar plays a variation of RussianRoulette with 3 of his mooks because they were defeated by the heroes. He fires away 3 bullets off a loaded six shooter and spins the cylinder. He pulls the trigger on each of the 3 mooks, and extraordinarily all 3 survive the game. After [[EvilLaugh laughing evilly]] he shoots all 3 of them
* In a deleted scene from the Film/{{Apocalypse}} film series movie ''Judgment'', Antichrist Franco Maccalusso sends AmoralAttorney Victoria Thorne and the judge from the court case in the movie to an uncertain fate after failing to give him the desired verdict.
** In ''Tribulation'', Calvin Canboro was choked to death inside the Day Of Wonders program by the Antichrist's DigitalAvatar when he failed to convert his brother.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' provides a double subversion: The scientist in charge of the Academy is terrified when the Operative comes to call, since he assumes he is going to be killed for allowing River Tam to escape. However, his bosses are surprisingly understanding about that, realizing that with the time and effort River's brother went to, there was really no way to stop him. What they ''are'' unhappy about is that key members of Parliament were brought in to personally observe [[{{Telepathy}} River]].
-->'''Operative:''' The minds behind every military, diplomatic, and covert operation in the ''galaxy'', and you put them in a room with a psychic.
* In ''Film/DeathRace'' the 2008 remake, Machine Gun Joe apparently plays this trope straight with his [[spoiler: male]] navigators.
* Non-lethal version in ''Film/FirstKnight''. Malagant sends his mooks to kidnap Guinevere, who tears strips from her dress to leave a trail for the good guys to follow. When she is delivered to him, Malagant becomes enraged at seeing the damage to her dress and beats a mook senseless, saying he gave specific orders for her to be completely unharmed.
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Dredd}}'', though not out of kindness. Ma-Ma says she ''would've'' done this to Kay after he almost got taken in for interrogation, thereby threatening to expose her entire operation. However, Dredd and Anderson have already cost her enough men that she can't afford to lose more.
* ''Film/{{Apocalypto}}'': In his rage the leader of the raider troop kills one of his underlings after Jaguar Paw escapes at the waterfall.
* In ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'', Ivan Ooze disintegrates his Tengu {{Mooks}} after they fail to stop the Power Rangers from going towards the Great Power and report back to him about this.
* ''Film/UndercoverBrother''. When Mr. Feather fails to kill Undercover Brother as he ordered, The Man flies away in his helicopter and leaves him to his fate. Mr. Feather ends up getting eaten by a shark.
* ''Film/NewJackCity''. After the police infiltrate the drug operation and the CMB are forced to destroy their production plant when they capture a police informant, Nino threatens his gang with killing them if they fail him again, stabbing one through the hand to make his point.
* In ''Film/ThreeHundred'', Xerxes orders a demonic executioner with saw blades for arms to decapitate one of his generals for failing to defeat the Spartans with a unit using primitive grenades.
* Done in ''Film/ShowdownInLittleTokyo'' by {{yakuza}} boss Yoshida more than once, the earliest by trapping someone in a car beneath a running compactor.
* In ''Film/EndOfDays'', Satan murders his minions for the slighest failure or inconvenience. Most notably, after the lead Satanist doesn't convince the chosen girl's keeper to bring her over immediately because she thinks there are militant Christians observing the house outside, Satan decapitates him with a superpowered punch because he now has to go through the trouble of walking over there.
* Subverted in the 2004 ''Film/KingArthur''. Cynric fails his mission to capture the patrician Roman family that Arthur is transporting back to the south. His father King Cerdic notes that they have lost the enemy's respect and Cynric offers his life in return. Cerdic instead demotes his son and gives him a MarkOfShame by giving him a small scar on his cheek.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gamebook]]
* The final book starring Literature/LoneWolf ''The Curse of Naar'' reveals that the [[GodOfEvil Dark God Naar]] has no tolerance for failure. Lone Wolf's travels in the Plane of Darkness lead him to the Plains of Despair, where the spirits of those who failed Naar in life are hunted and tortured for eternity by the demonic spectre Tzor and his fiery whips. Among them are old foes such as Zahda and Darklords Gnaag, Haakon, and Kraagenskul. The moment Lone Wolf defeats Naar's champion Kekataag the Avenger, Kekataag's spirit joins them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In PC Hodgell's Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath, Rawneth has a particularly nasty example. She strips the names of some twenty underlings, making the affected underlings' souls to fade away, and causing everyone else under her to mostly (but not completely -- they know they're missing something) forget them too. However, this causes a great deal of unrest among her followers, and some cases of civil disobedience.
* ''Literature/TortallUniverse'':
** In a rare heroic instance, George Cooper in ''Literature/SongOfTheLioness'' is quite a ruthless [[ThievesGuild King of Thieves]]. Fail him once, he takes your ear. Fail him twice, he takes your life.
** In ''[[Literature/DaughterOfTheLioness Trickster's Queen]]'', we learn that Ulasim has prohibited his people undercover at the prison to get promoted beyond a certain level, because: "The Rittevons were notoriously fond of executing people in charge when things went wrong." This is so reliable that Aly realises that their plans will receive a major boost upon reaching a certain point, once all of their most experienced enemies are executed for letting things get this far.
* Cluny the Scourge, the BigBad of the first ''{{Redwall}}'' book, consistently reminds his subordinates that the penalty for failure is death and/or torture. He never hesitates to follow through with his threats, either.
** Many villains from the Redwall series in general often kill subordinates for failures of varying magnitude.
* Subverted in ''TheThrawnTrilogy'', part of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, where tactical genius villain Grand Admiral Thrawn makes a point of [[PragmaticVillainy not indiscriminately killing subordinates]], and in fact quietly lampshades this when his CommanderContrarian expects him to act more like Vader. He instead has a TractorBeam operator (who was also a ContestWinnerCameo!) killed for not following procedure from his training - and for trying to pin the blame on his superior - and later actually [[CareerBuildingBlunder promotes]] a different TractorBeam operator who quickly came up with a creative solution to a sudden problem that was "no less impressive for its failure" and for accepting the blame himself.
** Here's what the [[AllThereInTheManual Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook]] has to say.
--> Thrawn used a small measure of fear, certainly: the Grand Admiral realized that fear of failure was a powerful motivating force in a military the size of the Empire. But Thrawn's ability to invoke a sense of ''pride'' in his troops was his most powerful asset. Palpatine inspired arrogance and callousness in his officers; Thrawn made his men proud to be Imperial soldiers. Thrawn's officers would have willingly died for the Grand Admiral.
** The EvilOverlord version (in which the BigBad kills a random minion as a lesson) is subverted in the ''NewJediOrder'' series. Supreme Overlord Shimrra can be a really BadBoss, but he's clever enough to recognize when he's being played. Near the end, it looks as if he's about to execute High Prefect Jakan, who's been framed as a supporter of the heretics--then turns on the High Priestess who's framing him and ''is'' a heretic.
** This trope seems to be liked by villainous Imperials and former Imperials in general. In the ComicBook/XWingSeries, Zsinj, spying on the consoles of his bridge crew, sees that one of them is playing flight simulators instead of paying attention while on duty. He has been warned about this, but he wants to be a pilot so ''much''. Zsinj has his second-in-command whisk the crewman off in the dead of night telling him it's a secret pilot test, put him through the standard set of pilot qualification simulations, praise or chastise him as necessary, and then kill him. Later on he puts a pair of scientists in a ShootYourMate Or I Kill You Both. The trope, and the fact that they're cruel about it rather than simply just shooting them, serves as [[KickTheDog a good reminder]] that while Zsinj and his [[TheDragon Dragon]] are interesting, clever, and often funny characters, they are also the bad guys, and for good reason.
** The Queen of this trope is Ysanne Isard, whose murderous punishments for failure were known to go as far as Familicide. Isard's love affair with this trope is skewered in one of Allston's ''X-Wing'' novels, where another Imperial explains that anyone working for a [[BadBoss capricious psycho]] like Isard had nothing to look forward to except either death by the Rebels, or death by ''her''.
*** When someone he's interrogating dies before giving up the information he needs, Kirtan Loor is summoned back to Imperial Center by Isard. All along the way, even while [[TheWorldIsJustAwesome marveling at the view]], he's sweating and expecting her to kill him. She doesn't - not at that point in time - but she does make her displeasure at his poor thinking clear, and wants him to perform better.
** [[Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy Moff Leona Tavira]].
--->'''Corran''': "Tavira, when she doesn't hear that you succeeded, will see you as having failed. And you know her -- failure isn't an accident, it's a conspiracy."
** Exagerated in ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce'': Caedus kills an officer who was fooled by a false ship identification, even if it was obvious that Luke's ruse was too well-prepared; there was no way she could have suspected the trap.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': The fear of hearing Voldemort say this, no doubt quickly followed by "Crucio!" and "Avada Kedavra!", hangs over the head of every Death Eater.
** However, very few times do we see him actually ''kill'' one of his minions for failing him. Lucius Malfoy, for example, fails him spectacularly a number of times; and his punishment is psychological and possibly [[FateWorseThanDeath worse than death]] in its way: his only child sent on a suicide mission.
** It is suggested in the sixth book that Voldemort would be more, uh... picky if he didn't have [[OddlySmallOrganization so few followers]].
** In book 7 he does at one point shoot everyone in sight when he is called after the Trio [[spoiler: breaks into the Lestranges' vault, stealing Hufflepuff's Cup]]. This is very much a VillainousBreakdown on his part; he now knows that [[spoiler: Potter knows his secret]].
** Played straight in book7, with [[DirtyCoward Wormtail]], [[spoiler: his silver hand, given to him by Voldemort strangles him to death after he spares Harry]]. Voldemort hinted at this in book 4, when he says "May your loyalties never waver again"
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''' takes this to the logical conclusion with the BigBad, Visser Three. It's strongly implied that his tendency to kill off anyone smarter than him is the only reason the Animorphs remain undiscovered for so long. At one point, the mooks explicitly decide not to report the Animorphs in order to avoid Visser 3's wrath. And near the end, a number of Yeerks desert as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Visser 3 does this so reliably that Marco's able to bluff his way out of a situation where three flunkies were expected by saying, "I think Visser Three killed them for doing something wrong".
* In Creator/DanAbnett's Literature/GauntsGhosts novel ''Traitor General'', Uexkull [[OffWithHisHead executes a commander]] as "an incompetent weakling" for failing to search for Gaunt and his men, and disables the second for not answering promptly enough -- and has the third-in-command [[ShootYourMate shoot him]].
** A ''heroic'' version shows up in the earlier novel ''Necropolis'', where an officer named Modile is in charge of coordinating communication between the various Imperial Guard regiments, but he shuts down the network when the plan starts to fall apart. Gaunt executes Modile for his cowardice and incompetence. Notable as the first time in the series we see Gaunt perform a summary execution.
* In JamesSwallow's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/BloodAngels'' novel ''Deus Sanguinius'', at the end, Garand receives a message from [[spoiler:Abaddon]]. He sends for his death-shroud before going.
* Mocked in the {{Emberverse}}. Mike Havel pontificates for a while on how a "You fail, you die" policy is detrimental to subordinates' willingness to tell their superiors about their mistakes, thus effectively crippling said superior's ability to do his job.
* In [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Thud!]], two trolls working for a mob boss threaten Vimes. When Vimes meets with their boss, he claims he hadn't told them to make threats, and indicates a box. The narration is quick to point out wouldn't fit an ''intact'' troll.
* In the DaleBrown novel ''Plan of Attack'', one Russian general fails to rein in trigger-happy underlings who cost them a SAM group. The BigBad has someone sneak in while the general is napping and deliver a BoomHeadshot.
* Stephen King's TheStand has a real doozy in the demise of Randall Flagg's henchman, the hapless Bobby Terry. Bobby rather overdoes the orders that he's given to simply capture the Judge, one of the good guys, ending up by accidentally blowing the top half of his head off. On a lonely road, in the middle of nowhere, a panicking Bobby suddenly hears footsteps approaching him, faster and faster, from behind...and turns to see Flagg charging at him with a huge, manic grin..."HEY, BOBBY TERRY, YOU SCREEEEEEWED UPPPPPP!!!"...'There were worse things than crucifixion. There were teeth.'
* Robespierre gives Chauvelin this ultimatum in ''The Elusive Pimpernel'', one of the sequels to ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel'', where Chauvelin epically failed to capture the eponymous vigilante SuperHero. Chauvelin keeps the Scarlet Pimpernel's SecretIdentity a secret even though he discovered it in the first book because he knows that knowledge is the only reason his superiors allow him to live despite his repeated failures.
* Recurring villain Overseer Biron in the StarfleetCorpsOfEngineers stories is quick to kill off subordinates who fail him. As an Elite Officer-caste Androssi, he is within his rights to kill a Worker at any time. Failure, even relatively minor, often results in instant vaporization and replacement - Workers are considered fully expendable. Ironically, Biron's own boss is rather forgiving on those occasions that Biron himself fails.
* The Klingons are like this throughout the StarTrekNovelVerse, though all but the most unhinged practice restraint. In StarTrekVanguard, when Captain Kutal's weapons officer Tonar responds to an order by saying "I'm endeavouring to do just that", Kutal replies: "then endeavour with greater zeal, or I shall find a new weapons officer". In StarTrekKlingonEmpire, General Kriz kills a captain under his command for failing to conquer a planet and ignoring good advice from his underlings.
* In Theodore Cogswell's short story ''Wolfie'', sorcerer Dr. Arsoldi's "colleague" will drag him off to hell if ever a murder he aids and abets fails. [[spoiler:Naturally, there's eventually an insurmountable slip-up.]]
* ''InDeath'': Max Ricker stands out as a crime boss who will ''not'' be happy with employees who fail to carry out their missions. Considering that he is an AxCrazy BadBoss, the penalty for failure is undoubtedly unpleasant.
* Judging by the reaction of the assassin in ''Literature/SeptimusHeap'' to the Supreme Custodian's demand to bring her target's body to him, YouHaveFailedMe seems to be standard for the assassins.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'':
** This is official government policy in the People's Republic of Haven under Pierre and Saint-Just. In fact, not only do they kill officers who fail to carry out their orders, but their entire families as well. This has the effect of stifling initiative, which hampers the war effort against Manticore, and has similar effects in real life. Ironically, the policy was put in place because they were afraid that the officers might try to overthrow them if they were given a free reign, but it inspired resentment among the military, which ultimately led to several coup attempts, one of which was eventually successful, becoming something of a self fulfilling prophecy.
** Subverted by [[BigBad Albrecht Detweiler]], who generally does NOT take out his anger on his subordinates. [[spoiler:In fact, one subordinate who failed (Aldona Anasimovna) actually got ''promoted'', because his analysis of the failed Monica operation suggested that if she had been better informed about the Mesan Alignment's goals, it might have succeeded. Also, the main reason that particular operation failed was nothing in particular Anasimovna did, but rather sheer coincidence and a [[AllergicToBoredom very bored midshipman]].]]
* Literature/TrappedOnDraconica: Gothon does not take kindly to Zarracka returning empty handed. [[spoiler: Downplayed. He never intended to kill her, only to ''humiliate'' her by making her think he would.]]
* In Creator/CharlesStross' ''[[TheEschatonSeries Iron Sunrise]]'', Portia Hoechst strangles a subordinate who bungled his assignment to abduct Wednesday Shadowmist as soon as she gets him back on the ship.
* The standard operating procedure of the Cetagandan Empire in VorkosiganSaga.
** Aral Vorkosigan himself once personally broke the neck of the officer who ordered the Solctice Massacre during the conquest of Komarr.
* After Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane royally screwed up the [[TheHungerGames 74th Annual Hunger Games]] so that it ended with two victors, President Snow was ''not'' happy...
* In ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', TheCaligula Taur Urgas [[FlayingAlive has his guards flayed]] after they allow Silk to be rescued from his cell -- not due to incompetence, but because Relg used his ability to slide through rock to extricate him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TwentyFour'': Season one example: One of the girls kidnapped by a sub-villain as part of a plan that's [[GambitRoulette waaay too complicated to describe here]] gets away and is hit by a car, so only [[DamselScrappy Kimberly]] is taken instead. Said sub-villain says he killed the other girl, but his boss already knew that she'd been taken to a hospital. He takes a page ''straight'' from the Darth Vader book of villainy:
-->'''Sub-villain:''' [Stammers] Well, the thing is that... maybe she [[NotQuiteDead wasn't quite dead]].\\
'''Boss:''' Well, I'll tell ya. [...] You're either dead or you're not dead. There's no such thing as "sorta dead". Here, let me show you. [Shoots him on the spot, turns to other, more sympathetic underling] You've just been promoted. Congratulations.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Used this as well. Wolfram and Hart was notorious for it, though they rarely did it onscreen. There was also the vampire Knox, who killed one of his best minions to prove a point about them getting soft.
** Played with / InvertedTrope when Linwood Murrow finds out about Lilah's [[DatingCatwoman affair with good guy]] Wesley. It seems like he might try to pull this in the middle of a board meeting...until Lilah mentions that she contacted one of the [[BiggerBad Senior Partners]], who agreed with her that Murrow himself was doing a terrible job dealing with Angel.
-->'''Murrow:''' Are you actually telling me that you went ''over my head?''
-->(''Razor blades pop out of his chair, decapitating him'')
-->'''Lilah:''' Just under it, actually.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': When [[DarkMessiah Brother Blood]] almost has his identity exposed by Team Arrow halfway through Season 2, his [[TheManBehindTheMan benefactor]] [[spoiler: [[FallenHero Slade Wilson]]]] kills several of his associates as punishment for his clumsiness, and warns him that if it happens again, [[spoiler: Slade]] will kill ''him''.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** "Offering their life in penance" was something The Master demanded. One of the worst examples was when he told the Three to kill Buffy because she was killing too many of his servants, and they almost did, easily overpowering her. Angel showed up and helped her run away. As opposed to telling them to get back out there and try again and keep an eye out for Angel this time, The Master [[DoubleSubversion double-subverted]] this trope:
-->'''[[BigBad The Master]]:''' True, they did fail, but also true, we who walk at night share a common bond. The taking of a life -- I'm not talking about humans, of course -- [[ApeShallNeverKillApe is a serious matter]].
-->'''[[EnfantTerrible Collin]]:''' So you would spare them?
-->'''Master:''' Hmm. I am weary, and their deaths will bring me little joy.
-->(''motions to [[TheDragon Darla]], who stabs each of the Three in succession'')
-->'''The Master:''' Of course, sometimes a little is enough.
** The Master kills one of his minions in episode 2. "You have something in your eye."
** SubvertedTrope when Spike showed up and after he failed and was told he should offer his life, killed the Anointed One instead.
** And, two seasons later, when faced with a BigBad he can't kill, Spike is GenreSavvy enough to start fleeing as soon as he hears the words "You have failed..."
** It looked like Spike was going to pull this on Billy Fordham in "Lie To Me" when Billy's plan to deliver several dozen people to Spike is foiled by Buffy. But not only does Spike not kill Billy, he keeps his end of the deal and sires Billy. After all, Billy kept up his part of the deal, and Spike probably knew that Buffy would be waiting at Billy's grave to stake him when he rose anyways.
** Glory does this to 2 of her minions in "Intervention".
* ''Series/{{Chuck}}'': The Ring had Nicos Vassilis executed by gun from one of their agents for failing to retrieve the mask. Before his death, he asks how they are going to deal with Chuck, to which the Ring Elders remark "The same way we'll deal with you." just before he is shot.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** SubvertedTrope in "The Pirate Planet". The villainous Captain hisses "When someone fails me, Mr. Fibuli, someone ''dies!''" -- then [[TheBlofeldPloy kills a random extra]] instead of the person who actually failed, because he's the Captain's right-hand man and is too useful to kill just out of pique. Of course, the EvilOverlordList specifically says ''not'' to do this, but the Captain is just too awesome to care.
** Played straight in another pirate story, "The Smugglers". The Doctor and Jacob Kewper have played a superstitious pirate, overpowered him, and gotten clean away. Captain Pike very calmly dispatches the pirate in question.
** An interesting variation is in "City of Death." Two of Count Scarlioni's henchmen have actually successfully recovered his wife's bracelet which the Doctor stole. "Good," he tells them. "But ''not good enough''." He then has them killed and replaced with two different guys. Considering they got the bracelet, it's anyone's guess as to why he thinks they underperformed. It certainly can't be punishment for not being discreet, considering their replacements are just as brazen.
* ''Series/DueSouth'': The episode ''Gift of the Wheelman'' has the bad guy pulling this on one of his henchmen for falling for a double cross by another henchman.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** SubvertedTrope: both [[MagnificentBastard Scorpius]] and Grayza use non-lethal methods of punishment, though they are generally quite painful.
** Played straight in the episode "Losing Time": at the urging of project leader Drillic, Scorpius sends a test pilot on a flight into an unstable wormhole - only for the pilot to melt inside the cockpit. Scorpius, who generally believes in treating subordinates with proper respect, punishes Drillic for the casual waste of life by assigning him the task of piloting the second test-flight.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Adelai Niska does this routinely. He intimidates Mal and crew by showing them a prisoner he's in the process of torturing to death. Then he attempts (and temporarily ''succeeds'') to do the same to Mal and Wash after they fail to carry out the theft he hired them for.
* ''FlashForward'': In the episode "Better Angels", merciless Somalian leader Abdi shoots two of his followers but spares the heroes, saying "They have failed me; you will not."
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Gregor Clegane's EstablishingCharacterMoment and only line in the first season: "Sword!" [[OffWithHisHead That poor horse....]]
* ''Series/GetSmart'': Siegfried tells the henchmen who have failed him, "It's time to put Plan B and Plan C into action." One of the mooks asks what "Plan C" is. Take a guess how Siegfried responds.
* ''{{Jake 20}}'': Happens in one episode with the leader of a domestic terrorist group. At the start of the episode, a teenager operative of the group ends up captured by the NSA. It turns out that he's the leader's son. The leader promptly executes the guy sent to keep an eye on his son. Subverted later on, when the guys sent to kidnap Jake to trade for the kid end up kidnaping his little brother (who stole Jake's ID to get into a bar). However, when the Mook offers his own gun to the leader to accept punishment for failure, the leader smiles and tells him that the guy didn't fail. As a matter of fact, capturing Jake's brother is a better plan than capturing Jake himself.
* ''LegendOfTheSeeker'': Darken Rahl seems to be getting in the habit of this, usually by feigning understanding, taking the other person's hand, then slicing them from the wrist to the elbow and letting them bleed out. He only did it once, in the pilot, to his general, who was supposed to kill the Seeker as the baby but failed. And the blood didn't go to waste - he used it immediately to send a message to his troops.
* In ''Series/{{Lexx}}'', [[EvilOverlord His Divine Shadow]] demonstrates a rather drawn out and chilling example when dealing with the officers who allowed the ''Lexx'' to be hijacked. Later in the episode, an admiral takes his ship into a [[NegativeSpaceWedgie Fractal Core]] in pursuit of the ''Lexx'' despite his subordinate's warning since he's more afraid of the consequences of failing His Shadow.
-->'''His Shadow''': Major? Kill [the general].
-->(she quickly disintegrates the general's head while he whispers "I worship His Shadow")
-->'''His Shadow''': Good. Now, kill yourself.
* ''MightyMorphinPowerRangers'': When Lord Zedd made his grand entrance, he punished Rita by sticking her back in her [[SealedEvilInACan dumpster]] (well, that or a ''different'' dumpster) and sending her off into space.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' has this as standard operating procedure for Control.
** Reese and his partner succeeded in their directive of killing a target but failed to acquire his latop, something they were not informed about. Control sent them to identify the laptop and mark its location, at which point they were to be killed in a targeted airstrike.
* ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': Subverted/parodied: [[FemmeFatale minion Tenaya 7]], after returning from a seemingly failed mission and beginning to be condemned by her boss [[AIIsACrapshoot Venjix]], outright mockingly asks if he's going to say the titular trope line. Venjix is not pleased.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'':
** In the episode "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E8TiesThatBind Ties That Bind]]", Corporal Lawrence had to report to Sergeant Will Strausser that he was unable to capture Miles Matheson. Strausser responds by stabbing him dead on the spot. A JustifiedTrope, because Strausser is explicitly stated to be a sociopath.
** In the episode "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E13TheSongRemainsTheSame The Song Remains The Same]]", [[spoiler: Tom Neville fails his mission for General Monroe, so he simply gets his wife Julia Neville and flees the Monroe Republic, because they both know that Monroe is unstable and has no tolerance for failures]]. That makes it a DefiedTrope in this case.
* ''Series/SleepyHollow'': This is [[BiggerBad Moloch]]'s stated reason for killing [[spoiler: [[TheMole Brooks]]]] at the end of the pilot. However, considering that he was about to tell Abbie and Ichabod everything as part of a plea bargain, there's also an element of HeKnowsTooMuch in there, too. And in any case, he gets [[BackFromTheDead resurrected]] the following episode anyway, as Moloch seems to realize that [[PragmaticVillainy he can still be useful]].
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'':
** DoubleSubversion in the episode "Irresponsible": Genii commander Kolya aims his gun at a mook who failed to capture Sheppard and pulls the trigger, only for the gun to click as if empty. The mook thanks him and Kolya lets him go, saying it's his last chance... before angrily giving away his gun for repair.
* ''Series/StargateSG1''
** Played with in "Threads". Anubis says exactly these lines to Ba'al for losing Dakara to the Jaffa, but points out that Ba'al not only failed, he did the one thing worse than failure or even cowardice. Ba'al betrayed Anubis by cooperating with his enemies to destroy the Dakara superweapon and prevent Anubis from using it to complete his omnicidal megalomania. Anubis delays Ba'al's execution only so he can witness Anubis wiping out all life in the galaxy at once, Ba'al included.
** Ra does this at one point in the ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' movie.
** This is the reason why Teal'c desired to free the Jaffa from the System Lords, coupled with YouKilledMyFather: Teal'c's father was tasked by his master, Cronus, with leading and winning a battle. Tealc's father evidentially called a retreat. Upon returning to Cronus, Cronus executed him for it by squeezing his symbiote in his hand. The kicker? [[KnowWhenToFoldEm The reason Teal'c's father ordered to retreat is because there really was no way they could reasonably win the battle.]]
** Apophis himself ordered Teal'c to kill one of his generals that had similarly underperformed, despite that general offering to lead the second wave from the front. [[spoiler:Teal'c faked his death.]]
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
** Happened to more than one Weyoun clone.
** Played with in the series finale. [[spoiler:When the Cardassians revolt against the Dominion, the nameless changeling has all of the Cardassians in the Dominion military complex executed. Her right hand man, a Cardassian, protests that he has not turned on the Dominion even as he is dragged off to be executed. The changeling replies that she is making sure he never will.]]
** A variation occurs as well in "Sacrifice of Angels" where [[TheDragon Damar]] kills Ziyal, the daughter of Gul Dukat, after learning she turned traitor and tried to help the Federation retake the station; using Dukat's [[IronicEcho own words]] on how traitors must be [[KillEmAll dealt with]] as the reason why he ''had'' to do this. Dukat suffers a complete mental breakdown as a result.
* ''StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'': A non-lethal example: in the MirrorUniverse episode ''Mirror, Mirror'', one of the first things we see after the transporter malfunction is Mirror!Spock torturing the transporter technician with the "agonizer" device simply for allowing the malfunction to happen - ''despite'' the fact that it wasn't the technician's fault. Seemingly, this is standard practice....
* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': Lonzak barely manages to avoid this fate in the [[ShowWithinAShow Captain Proton holodeck program]].
-->''CHAOTICA'': Where's Proton?
-->''[[SurroundedByIdiots LONZAK]]'': He... err... escaped.
-->''CHAOTICA'': [[YouFool FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!]] You shall PAY for your incompetence! Seize him!
-->''[[KillerRobot SATAN'S ROBOT]]'' (clanking menacingly towards Lonzak): [[RoboSpeak SUR-REND-DER!]]
-->''LONZAK'': But Majesty, I have brought prisoners!
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Famine devours one of his demon {{Mooks}} when he loses a soul that he was supposed to bring to Famine for consumption.
** The Leviathans have a standard practice for this, called "bibbing". It's called this because the failed Leviathan in question is made to wear a bib, and then forced to ''[[{{Autocannibalism}} eat themselves]]''. When their leader gets really mad, however, he decides not to "waste a perfectly good meal".
** High-ranking angel Zachariah fully expects his boss Michael to do this to him when he lost track of the Winchesters once again. Subverted, as Michael instead gives him another chance to fulfill his mission. Zachariah later remarks to Dean that for Heaven, a "firing" is very literal.
* ''Series/TinMan'': In this [=SciFi=] miniseries, Azkadellia's actual reply to the general who let [[strike:Dorothy]] DG escape is a sympathetic "You did your best", but considering she immediately followed it up with a fatal LifeEnergy drain, the meaning's the same.
* In ''Series/TheTribe'', Ram kills a Techno who completely failed his programming mission, mostly to show Ebony that he doesn’t shy away from killing people. He does it again in a later episode in front of the rest of his terrified mooks.
* ''Series/UltramanMebius'' has the target point this out -- while being shot.
-->'''[[spoiler:Mephilas]]:''' Emperor! Have I become a useless piece in this game? Alas! (''[[StuffBlowingUp explodes]]'')
* ''{{Wiseguy}}'': A Mafia boss is annoyed that an outside contract killer has messed up a hit. The killer replies that he emptied "an entire clip from an Uzi" into the victim. The boss retorts that the proper way is to shoot someone in the back of the head and stuff their body in a trunk...and then does exactly that to the hitman.
* ''Wrestling/{{WWE}}'':
** The newest Heel supergroup called TheNexus has leader Wade Barrett. On a night where each member had to fight alone, he stated that if anyone in the group lost their match, they would be kicked out of Nexus. After a series of fluke wins, there was a match between Baby{{face}} JohnCena and the weakest member of the group, Darren Young. Seeing how Darren had gotten his ass handed to him by Cena several times before, it was no surprise that he lost. So as Darren is surrounded by his former team, he tries apologizing to Wade, but then he gets mugged by all 6 of them. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SLdSXQ52Co Here's the video.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* Getting the Last Wave Bonus[[note]]clearing all the stages in one VideoMode wave[[/note]] in ''Pinball/DoctorWho'' triggers a cutscene where the Supreme Dalek reports his failure to capture the Doctor to the Emperor Dalek, who responds by vaporizing it. Getting another bonus [[InvertedTrope inverts]] this: it starts out the same, but before the Supreme Dalek says anything [[GenreSAVVY he shoots the Emperor Dalek.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Common in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' ([[CrapsackWorld naturally]]) among Chaos warlords, Ork bosses, Dark Eldar archons, and Imperial commanders alike. Some specific examples:
** Imperial Guardsmen units with an attached [[ThePoliticalOfficer Commissar]] need not fear Morale checks - or rather they do, a ''lot''. If the squad fails such a test, the Commissar will execute the squad leader for incompetence and immediately rally the unit. Thanks to this motivation, any squad leader with a Commissar breathing down his neck will actually receive a ''bonus'' to Leadership.
*** Other units react differently to Commissars, however. Special character Nork Deddog, the thick but doggedly-loyal [[OurOgresAreHungrier Ogryn bodyguard]], will [[BerserkButton retaliate]] if a Commissar executes the officer he's protecting. Meanwhile the Catachan Jungle Fighters, being a bunch of headstrong commando types, dislike Commissars to the extent that before a battle you have to check to see if the political officers have suffered an "[[UnfriendlyFire accident]]" - the "[[SarcasmMode Oops, Sorry Sir]]!" rule.
*** Lampshaded by Literature/CiaphasCain, who specifically ''avoids'' doing this because he knows that the more trigger happy Commissars have an alarming tendency to be killed by enemy fire, despite the enemy being a suspiciously long way away.
** Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos, has such an insanely violent temper that his underlings would rather commit suicide than deliver him bad news. If he's fielded in the ''TabletopGame/BattlefleetGothic'' GaidenGame, his flagship will ''open fire'' on one of your vessels if it fails a (re-rolled) command test in his presence... and if he's out of firing range, Abaddon will abandon that ship, preventing it from being able to use his rerolls for command tests for the rest of the game. The name of the rule in question? "YouHaveFailedMe For The Last Time".
* ''{{Exalted}}'': The [[EldritchAbomination Neverborn]] have this reputation with regards to their lieutenants, the Deathlords. Failure is ''not'' tolerated. The First and Forsaken Lion screwed up the whole Great Contagion thing -- which, by that point, had wiped out ''ninety percent of all life'' in Creation -- and was painfully welded into his armor. Princess Magnificent with Lips of Black Coral lost hold of her territory to three upstart gods telling a story, and was almost thrown headfirst into Oblivion.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' 3E supplement ''Corporate Download''. Runners who work for for the MegaCorp Saeder-Krupp are killed if they fail their assignments.
** It gets better in Fourth Edition. Saeder-Krupp is run by the Great Dragon Lofywr. It's heavily implied that Shadowrunners who fail the company get ''eaten''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* At the end of Mission 10 in ''1701 A.D.: The Sunken Dragon'' Diego del Torro sinks Grace Bonnet's ship after the player destroys or conquers all of her ore mines, [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness despite the fact she delivered to him the Eye of the Dragon]]. This is also an example of [[RewardedAsATraitorDeserves Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves]], since Bonnet betrayed the player at the end of Mission 7.
* Averted (amazingly enough) by Darth Malak in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', after a bounty hunter hired by Saul Karath fails to kill the heroes. "The penalty for failure is death, Admiral Karath... but the failure was Calo's, not yours. You may rise."
** By contrast, Malak's apprentice Darth Bandon [[KickTheDog blasts away a random underling]] just for ''crossing his path''.
** While taking the "test" of the insane ex-master of the Sith Academy, one of the hypothetical situations involves a loyal and capable subordinate embarrassing you in front of your superiors. The proper answer to the question is to execute the underling rather than take the chance of him screwing up again.
** ''Knights of the Old Republic II'' also has a 'You have failed me' moment directed at the player, when Kreia loses her patience with a dark-side Exile's psychopathic comments after the Exile has killed all the Jedi Masters and the party returns to Dantooine. Unusually, Kreia's not concerned with what the Exile has done, but with why they do it. When she realises that the Exile favours brute force and vengeance over manipulation or advancing an ideology, she embarks on an idiosyncratic philosophical rant, starting with the very words 'You have failed me. Completely and utterly.' [[spoiler:Marking the beginning of the endgame, she does then proceed to [[OnlyMostlyDead almost kill]] the Exile, but then the Exile mysteriously wakes up again.]]
* The Sith Empire in ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' has numerous people ''fail for the last time'' as well. Notably, in a particular flashpoint, the player character can execute a starship captain for refusing orders to attack a superior Republic ship and then assume command of his vessel.
* In ''VideoGame/DuneII'' and its sequels if you lose too many battles House Harkonnen will install a heart plug, then pull it out; House Ordos will attach your severed head to a life-support system ([[FateWorseThanDeath "Why won't they let us die?"]]); while the Atreides, being the nice guys of the game, will simply let you go... into the hands of their Fremen allies, who want your water. ''All'' of your water. (Fun fact: The human body is 60 to 65 percent water.)
* You can do this on ''VideoGame/EvilGenius'' with your minions to completely refill the loyalty, attention and endurance of everyone in the room. There's even a number of short voice-overs for each Evil Genius when you do this; Maximilian gets bonus points because one of his actually is "You have failed me... for the last time!"
* In ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'', after the first two version of their plan, which attempted to take advantage of Trent Easton's political connections, fail, [[BlondGuysAreEvil Mr. Blonde]] [[TheReveal reveals his alien nature]] and dispatches Easton in a combination of this trope and YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness. When the last, least subtle plan is thwarted as well, the Skedar imprison their other ally [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Cassandra DeVries]] for the same reasons.
* Happens to [[spoiler:Drakuru]] in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. After being deceived and nearly defeated by the player, he summons Arthas, The Lich King, and explains that you've been double-crossing them. Arthas' response--to say this, kill [[spoiler:Drakuru]], and spare the player.
** Ragnaros in Molten Core quite happily slays Majordomo Executus after he fails to stop the players reaching Ragnaros' lair. Not only that, but he also shouts "You have failed me, Executus!" before the encounter.
** Archimonde apparently has this as policy, as does most of the [[TheLegionsOfHell Burning Legion]]. Kil'jaeden stands out as being willing to give people a second chance. If you fail him, he might [[ColdBloodedTorture torture you physically]] [[MindRape and psychically]] and turn you into a monster so you can serve a different role in his fiendish plans, but he rarely actually ''kills'' anyone for mere failure, unless it was due to the minion's complete and utter incompetence.
** In the Battle for Sen'jin Village, Vol'jin decides to let the fleeing Kor'kron {{Mook}}s get away, because Garrosh will execute them for their cowardice if they return.
* In the first ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'', Queen Ophiuca is killed by Gemini Spark shortly after her defeat. Gemini then sends an ominous warning to Mega Man that the next lightning bolt will be for him.
** Similarly, Airman's operator is executed by the head of Gospel in ''VideoGame/MegaManBattleNetwork 2''. The leader claims that the execution is due to a different principle: Death to those who make lame excuses.
* In ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', Admiral Alfonso attempts to save his own reputation by placing blame on his vice-captain and chucking the poor guy overboard (even if these were regular oceans, with water, all that armor would drown him) for this reason. Refreshingly, [[BigBad Galcian]] sees right through it thanks to Alfonso's own men filing a full - and ''accurate'' - report prior to the meeting.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', the fake Ganondorf is punished by the real Ganondorf for exactly this reason.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', the price of being informed by the [[TheVoice Announcer]] that "You failed!" is having your weapons removed, your opponents getting guaranteed critical hits, and being pulled into third person to watch your character cower and flee with their hands in the air. It's not called "Humiliation" for nothing.
* ''VideoGame/{{Tenchu}} 2''. Suzaku kills Yukihotaru after she loses to Rikimaru.
* ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' has this, minus three words, after [[spoiler:the final fight with Griffon]], where Mundus appears in the sky as an ominous three points of light, declares '''"[[spoiler:Griffon]], you have failed me. You are no longer worthy"''' And [[AgonyBeam Agony Beams]] [[spoiler:Griffon]] to death while it begs for mercy.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'', during Mercenaries mode, if dying, Albert Wesker grunts. "You've... failed... me." Whether he exacts the typical post-failure execution is more a matter of player creativity.
* In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'', Petrine orders her men to carry off the minor boss Dakova to what is presumably his execution, if the player fails to kill him before the chapter ends. If you do kill him, Petrine sends his subordinate to his doom instead.
** Narshen in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Sword of Seals]]'' threatens to do this to one of his underlings named Slater. The guy is so unsettled by the death threat that he is easily defeated.
** A GenreSavvy boss named Beran [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere flees on a boat]] with a {{Mook}} to avoid this fate if the player fails to kill him. Judging from the fact that his boss is an even more psychotic {{Expy}} of Narshen, he made the right choice.
** In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Fire Emblem: Shin Monshou No Nazo]]'' Lady Eremiya leaves a heavily wounded Kleine to die after her second try at assassinating Marth. [[spoiler: Ironically, this is what happens to ''Eremiya'' herself later.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'', the BraggartBoss Gilgamesh gets banished into the Void by his boss Exdeath for being a one-man GoldfishPoopGang. This is actually an effective KickTheDog moment, because Gilgamesh is ''really'' funny. He's even a somewhat sympathetic villain - in the same battle, he gives you a moment of silence after hearing from a party member that her grandfather, someone Gilgamesh had a fond (on his side) rivalry with, recently died. It's even worse because Gilgamesh actually is a decently competent enemy (at least in comparison to anyone else who isn't [[BigBad Exdeath]]); the only reason he's doing so poorly in this fight is because his untested InfinityPlusOneSword is actually a JokeItem.
** Though, banishing Gilgamesh turns out to [[HeelFaceTurn work against Exdeath]] in the end...
* In the Hoth mission included in ''VideoGame/TheForceUnleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition'', Starkiller one-ups Vader by informing an Imperial captain "You have failed me for the last time" and Force-choking him, all over the radio.
* Varesh does this at least once in ''VideoGame/GuildWars'', to a guard who captures the players party (thus allowing the players ot escape during a mission) rather than killing them directly.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', If a [[SlaveMooks l'Cie]] fails in his or her Focus, they get turned into a Cie'th, a crystalline [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]], doomed to [[WalkingTheEarth walk the earth]] until they fall apart and turn to stone - and even then [[AndIMustScream they are still alive, and suffering.]] Apparently, there's no more incentive to succeed either, as the ones who do just get [[TakenForGranite turned into a crystal statue of themselves]]. Although in ''Final Fantasy XIII-2'', a character that was revived from crystallization after the events of the first game mentions having had happy dreams while in that state, so it's not as bad as it sounds and certainly better then the eternal suffering of a Cie'th. Still kind of a shitty "reward" though.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' has a sequence where the characters take refuge with a cardinal fleeing mercenaries working for the corrupt Bart Company. Later it's revealed the cardinal is actually the leader of the conspiracy, and shortly afterwards he executes the leader of Bart Company for failure.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', [[spoiler:the Reaper [[BigBad Harbinger]] grimly tells the Collector General, [[TheReveal whom it has been]] [[DemonicPossession possessing]] [[TheReveal the entire game]], that it has failed right before "releasing control" and leaving it to die in an exploding/ irradiated space station.]]
** In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', after you return to the ''Normandy'' from a mission against Cerberus, Garrus will wonder aloud if the Illusive Man practices this trope.
** The Illusive Man averts this trope in the novel ''[[Literature/MassEffectRetribution Retribution]]'', however, when [[TheDragon Kai Leng]] fails in his mission (despite Leng's fears to the contrary). This may not necessarily be an act of kindness on TIM's part, as Leng is a loyal operative and [[PragmaticVillainy one of Cerberus' most valuable assets, despite his failures]].
** Aria also averts this trope in the novels. Though she isn't afraid to use violence as punishment, she is also savvy enough to know that punishing loyal subordinates who are working in good faith would only foster resentment towards her.
* In ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore Last Raven'', Jack-O have absolutely no qualms about killing other Ravens off using third degree executions (Claiming that a Raven "Betrayed" Vertex for example.) to accomplish his goal of destroying the Pulverizers. Even the Corporations will not be so willing to throw Ravens away.
* In ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'', [[spoiler: Jacopo de'Pazzi]] gets stabbed a few times by [[spoiler: Rodrigo Borgia]] for failing to kill Lorenzo de'Medici and Ezio.
* In ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'', the Imperial Commissar will sometimes spout the trope name if you use his "Execute Guardsman" command. And in one of the stronghold battles:
-->'''Guardsman''': ''The Emperor has abandoned us!''
-->'''Commissar''': *BLAM* If you will not serve in combat, you will serve ''on the firing line!''
** A hapless cultist suffers this in the original campaign. According to Sindri only an idiot would personally deliver bad news to Bale, and Sindri won't abide stupidity.
** In ''Winter Assault'', Gorgutz' plane is shot down and his pilot is killed in the crash. "I don't ''care'' if da flyboy is dead, get me another so I can kill ''him'' instead!"
*** Defeating the Ork stronghold in ''Soulstorm'' has Gorgutz turn the stronghold's original owner into paste, then casually saunters off to find a new group of boyz to lead.
** Defeating the Chaos stronghold in the ''Dark Crusade'' expansion has Eliphas the Inheritor on the receiving end of this, courtesy of a Daemon Prince who psychically choke-slams Eliphas into a geyser of gore. [[UnexplainedRecovery He gets better]] in time for ''Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising'', though.
* Strangely averted in ''Videogame/CrashBandicoot3Warped''; sick of Cortex's failure, Uka Uka decides to do a plan right. He did try to fry Cortex for a couple of later failures, though has bad aim. In ''Crash Of The Titans'' he once again decides to fire Cortex, but in a business sense.
-->'''Cortex:''' You can't replace me! My name's on the stationary!!!
** In ''Crash Nitro Kart'' Velo bellows this [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Sparta-style]] at his minion Geary for losing a race. He prefers CoolAndUnusualPunishment over lethal ones however.
-->'''Velo:''' As punishment, you must clean the trophy podium...and when you're done with that you can clean...the ''entire coliseum''. *EvilLaugh*
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' has a variation that is even ''worse'' than the normal use: It mentioned that The Patriots would have killed Olga Gurlukovich's ''baby'' if she failed her part of the S3 plan, and the Patriots imply in their mind screw speech to Raiden that, if he fails to kill Solidus, not only will the Patriots execute Gurlukovich's child, but they'll also kill Rosemary the exact same way (And, oh, it gets worse: This happened ''after'' Rosemary revealed that she was pregnant with Raiden's child, so not only are they going to kill Rosemary, but they're also going to abort their child in the process)
** Also heavily implied to be one of the reasons why they deactivated Richard Ames' nanomachines besides the obvious fact that [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness he had outlived his usefulness]] in their S3 plan (If you read the in-game novel ''In the Darkness of Shadow Moses'', you'll notice that Richard Ames not only spared Nastasha Romanenko, but also supplied her with the records of the Shadow Moses Incident, as well as all the details of FOXDIE's development and the people involved (which means he might also turn himself in, since FOXDIE is his brainchild, and by extension the Patriots), which also resulted in the creation of the novel, and it is implied from the Colonel [actually an AI construct] that the Patriots did not like the book.)
** Similarly, Paz also was given a threat about this if she failed her mission. The punishment for failure was actually a FateWorseThanDeath.
** Volgin threatened the soldiers at Groznyj Grad that he'll kill them if Snake dies in his prison.
* In ''Star Wars: VideoGame/RebelAssault II'', Vader says the same line when he Force-chokes Admiral Sarn near the end of the game.
* At the end of ''VideoGame/WingCommander Secret Missions'', the leader of the task force that destroyed the Goddard Colony was executed by the Kilrathi Emperor for losing the entire task force, including it's flagship, the experimental warship ''Sivar'', to the pilots of the ''Tiger's Claw''. The leader of the task force was the Emperor's own ''son''. The commander's death causes the promotion of his son, Prince Thrakhath, who would be a major villain in the series until the end of the third game.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', Caesar's Legion's former Legate Joshua Graham was set on fire by order of Caesar as punishment for failing to capture the Hoover Dam from the NCR. Unfortunately for him, Graham turned out to be MadeOfIron, surviving said punishment.
* The real BigBad in ''VideoGame/StarTrekEliteForce II'' shoots TheMole after she fails to prevent you from beaming back to the ''Enterprise''-E.
* In the Martian intro cinematic for ''VideoGame/JeffWaynesWarofTheWorlds'', the Martian society as a whole gives a mass telepathic execution to the Senior Elder for his ineffective actions in solving the dying of Mars. If the invasion fails, his successor suffers the same fate.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' series:
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianDawn'' indicated that this was how the Brotherhood of Nod handled incompetent officers, with Seth, Kane's second in command, warning the player that if you failed you died. Seth, it is worth noting, starts seeming wary of you (noting that "you are rapidly becoming Kane's favorite") as the campaign progresses and continues sending you on difficult missions with faulty intelligence. He eventually tries to send you on an outright SuicideMission against the Pentagon (all the way across the ocean from the African theater where you're fighting). [[spoiler: Then Kane introduces himself by executing Seth in mid-sentence, pushing him out of the chair, and [[KlingonPromotion promoting you]].]]
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSun'''s GDI campaign, a Nod General has just lost to the player character GDI commander [=McNeil=] and is beseeching Kane for reinforcements. Kane's response is to nuke the General's island base.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRenegade'', Raveshaw uses this against Sakura when she fails to kill Havoc. The player can also overhear a conversation between Kane and an incompetent Nod officer who is ordered to "report to Interrogation for 'faith restructuring'."
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'', [[JosefStalin Stalin]] personally chokes a general who has failed to disable the Allied self-destruct device resulting in the loss of the Chronosphere, which you have just barely managed to capture. Stalin ''nearly'' has [[NonEntityGeneral you]] killed over the same thing, before another officer interjects by explaining that the fault wasn't yours, it was [[spoiler:Kukov's]] -- you followed your instructions ''perfectly'', but you weren't told about one of the communication centres in the area (the self-destruct could be deactivated by neutralizing the comm centres in the region -- but it had to be ''all'' the comm centres, otherwise it wouldn't work). Stalin quickly rescinds your execution order and does the above mentioned choking. Then he tells you he's giving you one chance to redeem your failure, otherwise this trope is coming into effect.
* The ending of one level of ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic V'' has Demon Sovereign Kha-Beleth killing one of his generals for failing to capture the renegade Agrael.
* Twice in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateDarkAlliance II'': Aizagora strangles her servant, the Red Queen, as punishment for fleeing from a fight. When Habdazar swears an oath to guard the Air Foundation with his life, Kharn tells him that if the Zhentarim lose control of the Foundation, his life will be forfeit; when Habdazar flees the foundation in order to beg Kharn for reinforcements, Kharn reminds him of his promise as he stabs him through the guts.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Blood}}'', the intro cinematic has dark god Tchernobog tell the Chosen Ones "You have failed me. I disavow you all". Only before the very end of the story is the reason for this explained.
* ''VideoGame/MastermindWorldConqueror'', naturally, lets you do this in order to keep your minions in line as well as to buff the others. You can also do this to your Patsys to free up space.
* In ''VideoGame/TheWitcher2AssassinsOfKings'', by the Draug after the Draugir is defeated by Geralt.
* In ''VideoGame/BaldursGate II'', [[GenreSavvy Jan Jansen]] makes fun of this trope. When you are tasked with killing the rebel sahuagin prince by the king, he finishes his sentence with "Succeed, and you shall be rewarded greatly..." To which Jan continues: "Oh, I know that song, it's the oldie-but-goodie "Fail and I shall kill you", as sung by the infamous ogre bard Chumba-Khan. In this case it is rather "Fail and I shall eat you", but still..."
* In ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'', Gao the Greater and the Lotus Assassins tend to kill minions who fail them, which [[DeconstructedTrope has some fairly adverse consequences]]. One of Gao's men can plead for mercy on the basis that he'd be killed if he returned to Gao (although it's up to the player to decide whether to spare him). Lim tries to attack the Spirit Monk despite having found the fragment of the amulet, knowing that he's failed on a few other fronts and wanting to make up for it, resulting in his death and the loss of the fragment.
* ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'': {{Downplayed}} ''hilariously''. Whenever a member of the QuirkyMinibossSquad fails to defeat Mario and the crew, Count Bleck deals them a CoolAndUnusualPunishment (eg. such as singing a motivational song repeatedly or writing gigantic reports). Against all odds, Count Bleck is a Benevolent Boss, if a bit [[EvilIsHammy eccentric]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' the Prophets seemingly do this to the entire Elite race; after the destruction of one of the Halos and the death of the Prophet of Regret, they decided to scapegoat them for their loss, and have the Brutes take over their roles as the Covenant's vanguards. The expanded universe, however, hints that the Prophet of Truth was planning to do this for a long time, and were just waiting for the right excuse; indeed, he ''intentionally'' let Regret die as part of his plans. In this case, though, it completely backfires; the Prophets end up on the losing side of the resulting civil war against the Elites, and are driven to near-extinction.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', Zevran joins up with the player after losing to them specfically because he expects his former employers, the Antivan Crows, to pull this trope on him if he comes back in defeat, or even if he tries again and succeeds, just for failing the first time, and by traveling with the player's group he gets protection from them.
* In ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'', the head of security for Jeremiah Fink is blamed for a rise in criminal activity from a dissident group. The player soon finds that he has been [[DeadlyEuphemism "sacked"]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Valis}} II'', Magus slices Gillan in half after the latter is defeated by Yuko.
* In the second [[BonusDungeon Vader mission]] of ''Star Wars Rogue Leader: VideoGame/RogueSquadron II'', if you fail the mission, Vader shoots one of his own officers while informing him, "This failure is unacceptable!" Even if the mission failure was clearly ''your'' fault.
* ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'': Near the end of the game, [[spoiler:after Airy fails to kill the party one time too many, her master Ouroboros decides [[EatenAlive to have himself a fairy snack]].]]
* In ''VideoGame/KirbyTripleDeluxe'', [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Queen Sectonia]] blasts [[TheDragon Taranza]] out of her castle after he fails to capture Kirby and captures King Dedede instead, then fails to defeat Kirby with a BrainwashedAndCrazy King Dedede. [[TheDogBitesBack He comes back during the finale]] to help Kirby defeat Sectonia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/{{Mastermind}}'', the main character does this ''every single time'' he calls a meeting, with his prompt being "Does anyone know why I called this meeting?" His minions eventually call him out on this. Later, it turns out that his GenreSavvy engineer apparently redirected his SharkPool TrapDoor to lead to the cafeteria instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Done in a particularly brutal fashion by Sarv'swati in ''{{Drowtales}}''. When she learns that one of her officers lost [[spoiler:the colony of Dariya'ko thanks to a clever Sarghress trick]], she punches him to the ground, [[KickThemWhileTheyAreDown stomps on his face]] and ''[[AnAxeToGrind brings a massive, enchanted axe down on his chest]]''. She does ''not'' take failure well.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Averted by Therkla. She fails in her mission, but is able to deflect the blame to another minion. Her master praises her for weaseling her way out of her responsibilities, but then informs her next time, he will accept no loopholes.
** Xykon refuses to allow Redcloak to regenerate his right eye, calling it an "idiot tax" for failing him. He tells him to resurrect his hobgoblin henchman because ''he'' at least shouted a warning before being cut down by a hero.
** Also practiced to extremes by General Tarquin.
---> '''Empire of Blood soldier''': We'll fight the guy with the big sword - he can only kill us. [Tarquin] can have our whole families wiped out.
* Parodied in ''WebComic/EightBitTheater'', where Kary kills her minions for no reason at all, thinking that it's [[ContractualGenreBlindness something villains just "do"]], with the eventual effect that she [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/10/09/episode-468-hey-laughing-boy/ runs out of them]].
* [[http://antiheroforhire.com/d/20071026.html This]] ''AntiheroForHire'' strip. To the Wizard's defense, he is genuinely insane and the BigBad [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corporation]] made him so.
* Parodied and lampshaded in [[http://www.bmoviecomic.com/?cid=266 this strip]] of ''Webcomic/TheBMovieComic'', titled "What henchmen are good for". See also TheRant, quite instructive.
* In ''{{Concerned}}'', Dr. Breen (in here made a CardCarryingVillain) tends to try and pull off a faux Force Chokehold when he's angry at someone, wishing for his minions to at least play along.
* Khrima, from ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'', [[MinionWithAnFInEvil doesn't normally do this]], but [[http://www.adventurers-comic.com/d/0057.html this particular minion really had it coming.]]
* Subverted in TheWotch. This villain prefers [[http://www.thewotch.com/index.php?epDate=2003-03-20 minions with initiative]].
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' Lord Horribus kills a couple of demons for not doing their part in the hunt for Torg. It's actually somewhat more understandable in this case, since it was less a case of the demons ''failing'' to capture Torg and more that they hadn't even been ''trying''.
* In ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'', two of Frans Rayner's mooks report that they were unable to capture the Doctor's father because he was on fire. Rayner insists that he could catch ''both'' of his mooks if they were on fire, and has his midget douse them with gasoline and light a match to prove it. He just sits there and watches them run around screaming.
-->'''Assistant:''' You're not trying to catch them, sir?
-->'''Rayner:''' * Sips his coffee* No. I guess they were right.
* The Speaker in {{Harkovast}} forces a Junlock minion who disrespects The Speaker's religion to drown [[http://www.drunkduck.com/Harkovast/index.php?p=537197 himself]]. He also causes the Junlock's friends to think this was perfectly [[http://www.drunkduck.com/Harkovast/index.php?p=540580 okay]].
* Krystal in ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' loves doing this. Every time one of her subordinates brings bad news, instead of executing them, she just inflicts horrific pain on them.
* In SoapboxHill, a Demon-chick gets defeated and cast back into the netherworld. Her overlord whispers in her ear "this is the third time you've failed me..." The look on her face is one of utter terror...
* Webcomic/BobAndGeorge [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/040421c Your apology is accepted]]
* ''WebComic/DarthsAndDroids''
** Parodied [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0625.html during]] [[Film/RevengeOfTheSith Obi-Wan's and Anakin's climactic duel]]:
-->'''Obi-Wan:''' Now I see I was fooling myself. You've earned a failing grade in Jedi Ethics.\\
'''Anakin:''' That's it, Obi-Wan! [[JustForPun You've failed me for the]] ''[[JustForPun last time!]]''
** When Darth Vader shows up after the time-skip, one of the first things he does is order an underling to fix his mistake and then execute himself. The "I find your lack of faith disturbing" scene then becomes Motti complaining about Vader's policies requiring them to replace ''half the Death Star workforce''. Vader doesn't [[http://darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0733.html quite]] get the point.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4300 when one fails with a message]], {{Satan}} [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4301 decides to get rid of the Enlightened drones.]]
* ''WebComic/DragonBallMultiverse'': [[spoiler:Babidi does this to Dabura]] (it gave us a couple of funny moments, though), and [[spoiler:Frieza did this to Ginyu in the U8 backstory]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'':
** After Monique St.Claire spent the duration of a fight at the small cottage hiding from the opponents and her group, Melina Frost killed her for cowardice and being useless.
** In Version 4, Danya has long time henchman Achyls shot after he fails to report Liz Polanski acting suspiciously, allowing her to successfully disable her collar.
-->'''Danya:''' That's what happens when you become a hindrance, Renee. So keep yourself out of that horrid category.
* In ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', Dr. Horrible is told that not only does he need to commit a murder to enter the Evil League of Evil, due to his previous failures Bad Horse will execute ''him'' if he screws this one up. It's put quite catchily, too:
-->'''Cowboys''': There will be blood/It might be yours/So go kill someone/Signed, Bad Horse!
* In ''StarHarborNights'', Webmistress explains she had to resort to this to cover when she accidentally killed a {{Mook}} she had meant to reward with a blissful injection, due to glitchy cybernetics.
* [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Führer Katrina]] from v2-v4 of ''Roleplay/OpenBlue'', due to her perfectionist nature, had a tendency to shoot officers who botched missions. And officers who smelled like alcohol whenever she showed up for a surprise inspection.
* ''The Adventures of Theatre/TheLeagueOfSTEAM'':
** The bald villain does this to a henchman by way of BalefulPolymorph in "Jurassic Peril!"
** And then he crushes a garden gnome under his foot for the same reason in "Bitter Gnomes and Gardens" (ItMakesSenseInContext).
** [[spoiler:The fate of said villain from his peers]] in Season 2 finale, "Dead End".
* One story on Website/NotAlwaysRight has a customer come in, whining as always about something that the store can't really do anything about. The employee then says it's Murray's fault, and has "Murray" called to the front desk. When he arrives, the employee tells him what happened, ending with "you're fired". "Murray" sags and goes out of sight so he can get back to work, while the customer, satisfied that they have successfully ruined someone else's day, finally leaves. The final line notes that customer complaints have been reduced ever since "blame it on Murray" became store policy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Phaeton, the BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad'' had a habit of summarily executing his generals whenever they really screwed up. But since he could easily [[CloningBlues clone them]], he could easily replace them... with themselves.
** Although, he does give them a few chances first. Typhonus, for example, attempted to betray Phaeton, accidentally convinced the Pirates to ally with the Exofleet, and then got his own fleet annihilated before Phaeton finally got rid of him.
* In the second episode of the ''WesternAnimation/DoubleDragon'' cartoon, the Shadow Master kills two underlings (Abobo and Willy) for failing him by trapping them in the Shadow Mural. Particularly annoying, as he never does this to his goons later. Maybe he just realized that if he killed somebody for every failure he'd run out of men fast.
** The only other time he does such a thing is in the Season 2 episode "Shadow Conned", when Countdown revolts against the Shadow Master by freeing the Shadow Khan from his shield. He does so by trapping Countdown in the Khan's shield.
* An early ''WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}'' villain in the employ of F.E.A.R., the Ringmaster, seems to be terrified of finding himself on the receiving end of this when he is captured. In "Murro the Marauder", a nameless [[{{Mooks}} mook]] gets the TrapDoor treatment after being thwarted by Birdman in his attempt to steal a secret formula.
* Phobos, the season one BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}'', punished his {{Mooks}} heavily for failure, to the point where by the end of the season, one of them [[spoiler:[[MookFaceTurn defected to the side of the heroes]] after they found him injured following a battle, knowing full well what Phobos did to those soldiers he discovered had been wounded]]. He even ''took a break from the FinalBattle'' to punish his right-hand GiantMook Cedric, transforming him from a giant snake monster into a tiny, pathetic one. This would later come back to bite Phobos in the ass in season two, after [[spoiler:he regains his power and gives Cedric one more shot. Cedric returns the favor by stealing all of Phobos' power by ''eating Phobos alive'' during the penultimate episode]].
* Prime Evil, the BigBad of ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters'', was quite fond of saying this to his ghostly minions, often exacting some kind of "humorous" punishment on them. (Example: Fangster, a werewolf ghost, gets inflicted with vampire fleas.)
* Black Mask from ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' killed his NumberOne and told a random Mook [[MookPromotion "You! You're my new Number One."]] The first just because he was pissed and he shot, the second questioned anti-gravity spray working and was made a test subject.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' movie, Drakken says this to his sidekick Shego after she failed the mission, but he's really just being dramatic. She replies "Why are you all, 'You have failed me for the last time!' Are you kidding me with that?" Then they get down to the new evil plan.
** In another episode, [=WorldWide=] Evil Empire head Gemini tells one of his underlings: "You have failed me for the last time." The underlings response? "Um, I just started last Thursday, so I haven't actually failed you bef--" Gemini cuts him off with "Silence!" then sends him down a trapdoor anyway.
* Subverted in ''Animation/CatCity''. After each failure, Mr. Teufel, TheDragon, invites his semi-competent secretary "for a few words". The latter survives, but appears in ever-increasing number of bandages.
** Teufel's boss, however, has the mounted heads of Teufel's precedessors on his wall.
* [[BigBad Lord Nebula]] of ''WesternAnimation/CaptainSimianAndTheSpaceMonkeys'' uses the phrase constantly to terrorize his toady Rhesus-2 (along with a few hard knocks). It's not an idle threat because his predecessor, Rhesus-1, was threatened constantly as well; he was eventually shot with a death ray and reduced to a ribcage in a pile of red goo.
* Robotnik does this to a Swatbot in the ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' episode "Hooked On Sonics."
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/ConanTheAdventurer'' when a snakeman fails to obtain a piece of Greywolf's magic staff, he is executed by Wrath-Amon by being thrown into a [[SharkPool pond with a tentacle-watcher thingy and being eaten alive]]. Thus, becoming probably the only snake-man being really killed on screen.
-->'''[[BumblingSidekick Dreggs]]:''' Your pet is a [[BigEater messy eater]].
* The Shredder from ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'' would always kill his {{Mooks}} when they failed him. For minions he couldn't replace, well, it varied. Stockman would lose a piece of him every time, until he was just a brain in a robot body which would be punished with electric shocks. Everybody else usually got off without so much as a slap on the wrist. Sharp contrast to the older cartoon version that would just [[HarmlessVillain berate Bebop and Rocksteady]] for their stupidity, and then send them back again.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie''. Unicron invokes the trope name, then gives Galvatron the 411 and sends him off to the Planet of Junk to try again.
** However, not so much averted in [[Franchise/TransformersGeneration1 G1,]] where Megatron said that to [[TheStarscream Starscream]] OncePerEpisode.
* When an intern pulls a CriticalResearchFailure regarding the Olympics on ''WesternAnimation/TotalDramaIsland'' Chris [=MacLean=] ejects him from the plane without a parachute.
* Dr. Zin from ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest'' does this a lot to his minions. This is taken to the extremes in ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestVersusTheCyberInsects'', in which he has three head scientists. Each time one of them fails, he kills that scientist then promotes another of them. The first one he fed to the insects, the second he throws into a pit of acid, and the third he froze in liquid nitrogen and breaks him into pieces.
** In the ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'' episode "Diamonds and Jade," the Puppet Master says the phrase verbatim to his brother/accomplice.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' this is what Count Dooku tells Ventress when [[spoiler:he "fires" her from the services of the Separatists]].
* Sometimes subverted with the Monarch and his henchmen in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers''. He frequently kills his henchmen for minor infractions, by accident, or simply because he's having a bad day.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/StrokerAndHoop'' has a ninja mook terrified of this trope after failing to kill the main characters. The head ninja points out how horrible for morale it would be to murder his henchmen every time they mess up... and then slices the mook in half.
--> "''Send in some more ninjas, please.''"
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater'' villain Bloth "rewards" failure by tossing the offending minion to the Constrictus, a mutant monster that lives in a pool on his ship. However, he seems willing to allow second chances to those who escape that fate, and the rest of his crew make bets on whether or not the victim will survive. However, escaping the Constrictus is extremely rare: the only mook to succeed against the Constrictus was Konk, but he lost a leg in the process. He made it out of there the most intact of anyone before Ren.
** In the first episode, King Primus escapes. Bloth is ''very'' unhappy and promptly takes out his anger on the guy who was supposed to be guarding the King.
-->'''Brigmaster''': I took my off of him for but a moment!\\
'''Bloth''': And a moment is all you've left to live! [''drops him into the Constrictus pit'']
* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/{{Visionaries}}: Knights of the Magical Light'', where Darkling Lord ruler Darkstorm regulary sends his loyal toadie Mortdredd down the TrapDoor - even when he succeeds in his mission, or just whenever he feels like humiliating the guy. Showing a brain-dead kind of loyalty, Mortdredd never even complains and just climbs back from the pit - often to be thrown back again.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'', Agent P avoids Doofenschmirtz's [[PianoDrop Piano (and Piano Player) Drop]] trap thanks to the maid's carelessness. Doofenschmirtz had this to say:
-->'''Doofenschmirtz''': "Oop! Ooo! Oh, I told Nancy to keep the backdoor locked! Note to self... My evil deed for tomorrow: fire the maid."
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' episode "Inside Job", Knock-Out ends up suffering a non-fatal example of this. After a fight with Smokescreen over the Phase Shifter ends with him stuck in a wall, Megatron leaves him there as an example to his other minions. He gets let out in the following episode when Megatron needs him.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'' episode "Day Of The Suds," after DM and Penfold escape Greenback's army of sentient washing machines.
-->'''Washing machine:''' Enemy escaped...mission failed...disengage.
-->'''Greenback:''' Escaped?! Failed?! Useless tin cans! (''to Stiletto'') Stiletto...pay them the wages of failure.
-->'''Stiletto:''' Si, Baroni! (''presses a button; the lead washers are detonated'')
** Inverted in a sub-plot of "Demons Aren't Dull." Greenback secretly stages a "This Is Your Life"-type testimonial show designed to magnify Danger Mouse as being a blundering fool. DM, feeling that England now thinks of him as inept, tries to resign until Colonel K tells him that the programme he was in ''was never transmitted.''
* Surprisingly averted in ''GIJoe.'' Despite the constant distrust COBRA's henchmen have for their leader and their frequent attempts to criticize or even outright ''usurp'' him, or if their plans against G.I. Joe completely fail, Cobra Commander never enacts any punishment on his troops.
* This may come as a surprise, but in ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'', Aku tends to avoid the BadBoss Trope and rarely kills his own minions (of course, most of them are mindless robots. However, he ''did'' kill Demongo after failing to defeat Jack. Having said that, Demongo's failure was ''not'' something to be taken lightly. Jack not only defeated him, he freed ''every'' imprisoned soul that Demongo had accumulated in his career, and seeing as these dozens - possibly hundreds - of Aku's enemies were all problems for him again as a result, you couldn't blame him for being angry.
* This happens to [[MookLieutenant Captain Crigg]], the original leader of the [[{{Mooks}} Urpneys]], in the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheDreamstone''. Zordrak throws him into "the pit of no return," and [[YouAreInCommandNow promotes]] Sergeant Blob into his place.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* A probable TropeNamer: played straight in the UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses by Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, during the Battle of Tewkesbury 1471. He killed his subordinate commander, Baron Wenlock, who had failed to support him, by smashing his head with warhammer ''in the midst of the battle''.
* Admiral [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Byng John Byng]] failed England at the Battle of Minorca (1756) by choosing not to bring his heavily-damaged ships into battle against an undamaged French fleet; he ended up before a firing squad. {{Creator/Voltaire}} satirized this episode in ''{{Literature/Candide}}:'' "In this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others." (You may come across the phrase from the original French, ''"pour encourager les autres"''.)
** It can be argued that it actually ''worked'': the Seven Years War marked the rise of England as the major naval power in Europe, mostly due to the freshly 'motivated' attitude of the RN.
** Byng wasn't the only one, either. At the time British naval law had a provision that an officer failing "to do his utmost" against the enemy was a capital offense.
** It also explained why British naval officers were gung ho and notoriously and successfully aggressive. However, "doing your utmost" didn't necessarily require ''success.'' A captain who fought a superior force, had his ship shot from under him, and was captured, might end up being ransomed and promoted. It was the officer who retreated from battle who had to worry.
* To probably no one's surprise at all, Hitler had this one in his [[ObviouslyEvil cartoonishly evil playbook.]] As the remnants of the Sixth Army were dying at Stalingrad, with no hope of escape or rescue, he promoted their commander, General Paulus, to Field Marshal. Because no German Field Marshal had ever surrendered, it was obvious to everyone that this was a subtle order for Paulus to [[DrivenToSuicide commit suicide]] for his failure to win the battle. Subverting the trope, he didn't.
** Men lower down on the German army totem pole also tended to suffer this a lot, particularly as war turned against Germany. For example, when the U.S. 9th Armored Division captured an intact bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, the German officers responsible for its defense were quickly court-martialed and executed. By the war's end, German soldiers had almost as much to fear from accusations of 'desertion', 'cowardice' or 'defeatism' from their own side as they did from the enemy.
** [[VillainousBreakdown Near the end]], Hitler has this UpToEleven: he thought ''the entire nation of Germany'' had failed him. Due to this, his final orders were to destroy the country in a sort of scorched-earth tactic. Fortunately, his generals [[PragmaticVillainy finally decided he was batshit insane and surrendered instead.]]
* Stalin executed many high-ranking officers who lost to significantly smaller numbers of Finnish soldiers during the Winter War. Since "failing Stalin (for the last time)" is not a charge that can be formally brought at a court-martial, one general's official offense was losing twelve battlefield kitchens to the enemy. To be sure, field kitchens were vital materiel for winter warfare, but in this case it was just a pretext for killing a loyal officer for being involved in an embarrassing defeat.
** Stalin [[ThePurge had also executed many high-ranking officers]] (read: ''4-5% of his officer corps'', including c.90% of all officers commanding more than 1000 people) ''before'' the war started as part of an ideological cleansing, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard which was a great part of why the Red Army did so badly]] during the Winter War; c.90% of all officers commanding units of 1000+ people had been in their new jobs for less than a year. One rather egregious case was that of a Captain and Batallion Commander (500 men) who was promoted to Brigade Commander (3000 men) and arrived at his new unit (a Rifle Division of 14 000 men) only to discover that the Division Commander, Division Commisar, and all the other Brigade Commanders had been arrested - making him ''de facto'' Division Commander, a post which he was two ranks too junior and ten years too inexperienced for. Ironically, as a result of the Post-WWII purges to re-politicise the army and society (after the war-time professionalisation), when Stalin had a stroke in his room one morning no guard dared to enter and check on him. By the time lunchtime had gone by and they'd found Lavrenty Beria, NKVD chief, and got him to open the door [[KarmicDeath Stalin's condition had gone untreated for too long and he died in agony soon afterward]].
** Stalin was not a forgiving man during the UsefulNotes/SecondWorldWar, either. When production of the Il-2 attack aircraft fell behind schedule, he dashed off a telegram to Ilyushin's plant managers [[http://www.vectorsite.net/avil2.html which read]] "YOU HAVE LET DOWN OUR COUNTRY AND OUR RED ARMY. YOU HAVE NOT MANUFACTURED IL-2S UNTIL NOW. THE IL-2 AIRCRAFT ARE NECESSARY FOR OUR RED ARMY NOW, LIKE AIR, LIKE BREAD. SHENKMAN ... PRODUCES ONE IL-2 A DAY AND TRETIAKOV ... ONE OR TWO MIG-3S DAILY. IT A MOCKERY OF OUR COUNTRY AND THE RED ARMY. I ASK YOU NOT TO TRY THE GOVERNMENT'S PATIENCE, AND DEMAND THAT YOU MANUFACTURE MORE ILS. I WARN YOU FOR THE LAST TIME. STALIN." Ilyushin went on to produce 36,000 Il-2s, making it one of the most heavily-produced aircraft in history.
* Some more sensationalist (read: interested in inflating death-figures to make headlines and sell books) accounts have assumed some 2% of all Soviet losses in WWII were due to executions, this figure presumably being reached by including all deaths in penal batallions, reprisals against anti-Soviet partisans and collaborators, and prisoners en-route to and in the gulags. Field Marshall Georgi Zhukov[[note]] HERO OF THE SOVIET UNION[[/note]] himself had hundreds of his subordinates shot, and his punch line was ''Act or you'll face the firing squad!''
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimation_(Roman_army) Cowardly Roman soldiers]] were punished by being divided into groups of ten and drawing lots, whereupon the unfortunate soldier in each group would be beaten to death by his comrades. And that's where we get the word "decimated".
** This practice was abolished before the Imperial era. The reason was that brutal punishments have averse effect: they will collapse the already shaky morale altogether. Ordinary soldiers, who face the enemy on the battlefield, consider killing one of their own as a murder. A decimated unit usually had to be disbanded and its soldiers assigned to other units. Decimatio does not mean only losing one tenth of an unit: it means losing the whole unit. Instead punishment of shame, like having to eat only barley instead of wheat or not being allowed to eat sitting were introduced.
* During the French Revolution, and more specifically during the Revolutionary Wars, generals who failed were executed. This is explained by the fact that i. only traitors could fail considering French "élan vital" couldn't be beat (according to the Convention) ii. most if not all generals were generals during the monarchy, and henceforth considered as traitors, except if they proved otherwise by actually winning.
* After [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhu_Tao General Zhu Tao]] of the Tang Dynasty rushed into battle against two of his rivals and was soundly defeated, he executed two advisers who had advocated [[AttackAttackAttack attacking immediately instead of allowing his soldiers to rest for a few days.]]
** Execution for failure was the standard in Ancient China. Part of why Cao Cao succeeded against Yuan Shao was that the latter kept executing capable generals for failures or for giving advice he didn't want to hear. Even Zhuge Liang (yeah, [[RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms that one]]) executed one of his most brilliant generals who lost a crucial battle. According to the book at least, it was because the general failed to take important tactical advice into consideration and Zhuge Liang was reluctant to do it because he considered the other man to be like a son to him.
** Even earlier, a Han general was captured by the Xiongnu ("Northern Barbarians," probably Turks or Mongols or some such), and landed his family in hot water for ''not'' committing suicide. The furious emperor had him and his family executed and had the one guy (Sima Qian) who spoke up for him thrown in prison and castrated. (The castration was supposed to be an encouragement to suicide, but Qian instead decided to write the massive and definitive history of China up to his time, the ''Records of the Grand Historian'').
* The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', incidentally, are also called the ''Shiji'' (史記), and also contain a variant example. Sima Qian records that [[TheArtOfWar Sun Tzu]] employed a variant of this trope to demonstrate his teachings. Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he explained and reiterated the command; again the concubines just stood and giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests. He explained that if the general's soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king objected. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly and in complete silence. Sun Tzu then announced, "The troops are now well disciplined. They may be employed as the King desires, even to the extent of going through fire and water." Despite his bitterness at losing his favorite concubines, the King recognized Sun Tzu's skill and appointed him General. In the following years Sun Tzu contributed to a number of victories that cemented the State of Wu's place as a leading power in the region.
* [[http://news.yahoo.com/north-koreas-key-olympic-medals-refrigerators-winners-labor-205742777--abc-news-topstories.html North Korea tells its Olympic athletes to bring back medals or it's off to the labor camps]]. Iraqi footballers under Uday Hussein's leadership were regularly tortured and beaten when they lost a game.
* After a 2012 season with 93 losses, Miami Marlins owner fired manager Ozzie Guillen and proceeded to trade away the three star players he had signed the previous season along with the rest of his team...except for [[TheWoobie Giancarlo Stanton]]. They promptly had 100 losses in 2013.
* In a more mild, good-guy example, the US Army in World War Two, under George Marshall's leadership, was ruthless in relieving senior officers (in comparison to the other Western Allies) when they didn't perform on the battlefield or otherwise screwed up. In a subversion, many of those officers were given second chances (and often succeeded), or found success in roles other than battlefield command.
** More then that. Marshal would relieve officers for messing up during maneuvers before hostilities began. Which may be one reason the US Army didn't do worse then it did in the first year.
* Many [[KatanasOfTheRisingSun Japanese officers]] during the SecondSinoJapaneseWar and WorldWarTwo opted to kill themselves after a defeat because the fate awaiting a supposedly failed commander at home was very unpleasant, even when the officer actually did extremely well under the circumstances. For example a reconnaissance battalion managed to delay the Soviet Encirclement forces from fulling cutting-off the main Japanese force dug-in at Nomonhan/Khalkin Ghol for nearly a day before [[HonorBeforeReason they realised that nobody in the pocket was going to try to break out]] [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere and retreated]]. But for the crime of "fleeing from the enemy"'s vastly superior forces and not attempting a suicidal counter-attack to relieve the encircled forces their commander was subject to a court martial and before the proceedings started, was "persuaded" to commit suicide. The overall commander of the Japanese forces there, who'd refused to order a break-out, was severely criticised not for his failure to salvage the situation with a break-out but instead merely for 'losing' - it's a sign of just how AxeCrazy and BloodKnight -y the Japanese were relative to the superbly innovative Soviets that they couldn't find anything wrong with his performance in their post-mortem analysis of the battle. The commander, General Komatsubara, lived to die of cancer after the war.
* In countries with "at-will" employment, getting fired is a common consequence of an employee making a major mistake.
* In the EnglishPremierLeague, Chelsea have become notorious for sacking managers for failing to win the UEFAChampionsLeague.
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