Things are bad. In fact, it's all going to hell. Your family's been murdered. Your Humongous Mecha
ran out of juice at the worst possible moment. An army of flesh-eating orcs is about to storm your castle. People are dying left and right. We're talking May Sweeps
stuff, series finale
situations. It's as bad as you've ever seen and just when you'd thought the shit had gone down, just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse
It gets worse. Much worse
To qualify for this trope, a terrible situation
must have some final perfect push over the edge. Sometimes characters within a story, usually when recounting dramatic events to others will, when asked "And then?" say, "It got worse," right before the narrative cuts to the events in question.
Very often the result of a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
. Usually gives that final push that crosses the Godzilla Threshold
From Bad to Worse usually results in Downer Ending
. If the characters somehow prevail, the result will be (if well done) Earn Your Happy Ending
, or (if badly done) Only the Author Can Save Them Now
Cue the Rain
is a subtrope
for when this comes in the form of a sudden downpour
. See also Rock Bottom
, where it's the characters
who are Tempting Fate
by thinking things can't get worse just before they do. Darkest Hour
is the logical conclusion of such a chain of events. Hope Spot
is a common double subversion
; after things get really bad, they seem to get better before suddenly getting even worse. No relation with It Gets Better
, which is not about events in the story, so much as the quality thereof.
Compare Out of the Frying Pan
: that trope involves the solution of one problem causing a worse one, while From Bad To Worse doesn't even require any causal link between the initial problem and the getting worse. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and then someone releases sharks into the water, that's From Bad To Worse. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and in the act of climbing out you fall into a different pool with a bunch of sharks, that's Out of the Frying Pan.
Warning: spoilers ahead.