We've switched servers and will be updating the old code over the next couple months, meaning that several things might break. Please report issues here
Sark: FINISH THE GAME!!
Kevin Flynn: NOOOO!!
Kill him! [derezzes Crom]
Two characters meet to do battle on the field of honor, watched by someone in a position of authority over them. Maybe they are gladiators, fighting for the amusement of the King and his people
. Maybe they are two students fighting for the right to learn from a master
. In any case, they fight tooth and nail to defeat each other, and eventually one comes out on top, tasting victory while the opponent lies helpless and defeated.
As he enjoys his hard fought victory, he is congratulated by the onlooker, who then coldly orders him to finish the job and finish off his opponent
, killing them and taking the rightful place as the most brutal and powerful fighter in the land
If the winner is The Hero
(especially if he is an All-Loving Hero
), he will more often than not refuse to kill his opponent, and attempt to leave without any more blood on his hands, earning the ire of the onlooker (unless it was a Secret Test of Character
all along). If the heroic fighter is more aggressive, he may instead kill the captive to establish his character as being more inclined to brutality, to the amusement and satisfaction of the watcher
(who may not know that he is next).
Related to Coup de Grâce
and Mercy Kill
, where a character does this of their own free will, instead of being ordered to. Compare Kick Them While They Are Down
, Get It Over With
. Contrast Shoot Your Mate
, Kill Him Already
The title for this trope may be a Mortal Kombat meme
, but it's not
about that. Or the Finnish band HIM.
open/close all folders
- In Deadman Wonderland, when Ganta wins Minatsuki in the Carnival Corpse battle, the crowd demands that he finish her off. He flips them off in a lampshaded Out-of-Character Moment.
- Kinos Journey. Kino is fighting another Action Girl in a coliseum watched by The Caligula, who demands Kino kill her opponent after she gets the drop on her. The crowd quickly joins in the chant. Kino accepts her surrender instead, only for the mad king to shoot her opponent dead with a rifle as Kino walks away.
- Near the end of the "Superman In Exile" storyline, Superman is forced to fight in gladiatorial games on the distant planet known as Warworld. After a hard fought battle against the champion, Superman comes out victorious, and is ordered to Finish Him by the Big Bad Warlord Mongul, who is watching the fight. When Supes refuses, it angers Mongul, demoralizes and humiliates the champion (who had hoped for an honorable death in battle), and astonishes the hordes of spectators watching the fight. This part of the storyline was adapted into a Justice League episode titled "War World".
- Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan has a case where the main character actually goes along, after a page of agonizing. This incidentally marks his Moral Event Horizon.
- In E. E. “Doc” Smith's Triplanetary, the end of Patrocles's fight in the Gladiator Games; he stabs his foe, unnecessarily. Which means he lives long enough for a futile Gladiator Revolt.
- In Starfighters of Adumar, Cartanese culture calls for the winner of a ground duel to offer this choice to someone in the crowd (usually either the perator or their Love Interest), who can choose either mercy or death. Part of Cheriss's plan to commit honorable suicide involves her giving the perator the choice and then refusing, knowing that after that, no one would offer her mercy.
- Battle of the Labyrinth: Percy refusing to kill Ethan after defeating him in a gladiator-style duel and being ordered to kill him.
Live Action TV
- Bonanza: Averted in the climatic scene of the 14th-season opener, "Forever." Little Joe has finally beaten the villain's muscle-man, Hanley, and contemplates dropping a huge boulder on his head to crush his skull … but relents. The villain, Sloan (a ruthless gambler who had earlier ordered the killing of Joe's pregnant wife), scoffs and taunts Joe for his show of mercy … and it ultimately proves fatal for Sloan, who finds he all of a sudden has to deal with his now-former very angry stooge – who does Finish Him!
- Little House on the Prairie: "For the Love of Blanche," from the final season. Humorously played, however, as Blanche – an orangutan – had played dead when the sheriff (on Mrs. Oleson's orders) had appeared to kill the simian, but she avoided getting shot and was uninjured. When Blanche is revealed to be alive later, Mrs. Oleson orders the sheriff back to make sure that Blanche is dead this time.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sisko rescues Dukat from the Maquis. While holding a phaser on Maquis members to give them a message, he's told by an increasingly irritated Dukat, "What are you waiting for? Shoot them!"
- In "By Inferno's Light," the Vorta running the prison camp tells Ika'tika to do this to Worf during their fight when it's clear the latter can barely stand. Ika'tika, however, is impressed by Worf's Determinator spirit and chooses not to kill him.
- Firefly In the episode "Shindig", Mal ends up in a sword duel with a local aristocrat. Predicably (since, well, one of these guys is a main character and one of these guys is not), Mal wins, with the aristocrat lying wounded on the ground. He is informed that to leave his opponent defeated and wounded would leave the man with the stigma of living as a coward. Mal responds that "Mercy is the mark of a great man." note
- Prison Break: In Sona, a chicken-foot fight means only one of them can leave the fight alive. The first time Michael refuses and when the other guy comes at him with a knife Mahone kills him. The second time Whistler is about to kill Michael when their failed escape plan is found and the guards come storming in.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The King's Demons", the king orders the Doctor to do this after defeating his champion.
- Averted, subverted, and played horrifically straight in the various seasons of Spartacus: Blood and Sand
- Subverted in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. The first episode has Batiatus commanding Gannicus not to kill his opponent until the magistrate arrives to witness the games. Gannicus apparently can't hear Batiatus over the crowd, and finishes his opponent moments before the magistrate arrives.
- Averted in Blood and Sand, when Spartacus first fights Crixus in the arena. Defeated, he gives the missio, a symbol of defeat and a plea to the editor of the games to allow him to live. The whole episode leads up to that moment, establishing that Spartacus is too proud to beg for his life, but realizes he must if he is to survive to be reunited with his wife.
- Played heartrendingly straight in the episode Party Favors, when Spartacus and Varro fight an exhibition match for a boy's coming-of-age party. The boy in question orders the defeated Varro killed. Spartacus must follow through with the deed or they will both die, and no one will be left to look after Varro's wife and child.
- The climax of season 2 of Ripper Street has Reid screaming at a boxing match for Drake to kill Shine. That's literally kill him. From Drake's response, it's clear he isn't going to do it, but it's a sign that Reid has gone dangerously down the Well-Intentioned Extremist route. The season ends at that point, but we can expect season three to begin with Reid having an enormous My God, What Have I Done? moment.
- In The Protomen's song "The Sons Of Fate", the fight between Megaman and Protoman is watched by the people of the City. Shortly after Megaman realizes they will never fight for themselves, the people shout "Destroy him!/You can save us!/You are our hope!/Kill Protoman!" Megaman does so, and leaves them to die.
- Especially during the Kayfabe era, where heel managers accompanied their wrestlers to the ring, the manager — upon sensing that their bloodied jobber of an opponent was finished and ripe for the kill — would signal in some manner to his wrestler to finish him off with their finishing move. Indeed, sometimes it would be a simple demand, "Finish him!"
- Trope Namer is Mortal Kombat, where Shang Tsung (and, subsequently, Shao Kahn) orders the winning fighter to do this after every match. However, this only rarely comes up in the storyline, as most characters are killed in battle rather than after it.
- Does come up in the storyline for Mortal Kombat 9, however. Early in the story Johnny Cage, who believes this is a mundane fighting tournament where a lot of fighters are just in strange costumes, defeats Baraka and is subsequently ordered to "Finish him!" by Shang Tsung. He refuses.
- At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, the main character is standing over his mentor's broken body aiming his Patriot at her face. The game won't continue until you fire.
- In the first Fable, you fight alongside Whisper in the Arena. Since two people can't be the Arena Champion, you're ordered to fight eachother to the death. The two of you make a deal to "just give them a good show," with the winner just leaving after nearly killing the other, but it's up to the player whether or not to honor it.
- Guitar Hero III. After defeating Lou in the final boss battle in Hell, you get an opportunity to play the final section in the song and Finish Him to regain your soul. Why does he come back in GH:WT? He got sent back to hell.
- The devil always comes back. He came back to Georgia, after all.
- In World of Warcraft, the conclusion to the Final Boss battle vs. the Lich King is a form of this. After all appears lost, Tirion Fordring shatters the dread runeblade Frostmourne, breaking the Lich King's power and releasing all the souls he's stolen. As he floats there helpless, Terenas Menethil resurrects the raid group, and orders the players to finish off Arthas.
- The conclusion to the Archimonde battle at Mount Hyjal (Caverns of Time version) is this. When you get him down to 10% health, he Turns Red and unleashes far more powerful attacks...but the raid is buffed with Blessing of Elune, rendering all raid members immune to his attacks. While there is a limited duration to that buff, the wisps around Mount Hyjal are also attacking, pretty much guaranteeing that he dies before the buff expires.
- The Mech Commander intro video.
- In Mass Effect 2, Commander Sheppard can, if his/her Renegade points are high enough, force Jack to kill one of her childhood inmates to prevent him from reopening the facility. If you let him go, then you get a message in Mass Effect 3 that he has gone straight and thanks you for your mercy.
- Parodied in the episodic Sam & Max games. At the climax of "They Stole Max's Brain!" Sam duels General Skun'kape in a gladitorial arena. After stunning him in traditional adventure game fashion, the only options given are "Finish Him." Instead of killing the General, however, Sam just slaps him senseless for his finisher.
- In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, when you defeat Nohman in the final battle after the following cutscene in which Nohman gloats to Dingo that he had indeed killed his comrades, Dingo calmly tells him that they're waiting for him now and you're left to do the finishing move on Nohman by either obliterating him or by slashing him to pieces.
- The battle between Zoidberg and Fry in the Futurama episode, "Why Must I Be a Crustacean In Love?" Fry refuses, and goes into a dramatic speech about the importance of friendship. At which point Zoidberg chops off his arm, causing Fry to go into an Unstoppable Rage while chasing a terrified Zoidberg and beating him with said arm.
- In Avatar The Last Airbender, Zuko kicks Zhao's butt in a duel in the third episode. Zhao, probably knowing full well that Zuko wouldn't be able to finish him off, says "do it!" when Zuko has him defeated. Zuko doesn't finish him—our first clue that he's not truly evil. When Zuko turns his back to leave, Zhao dishonorably tries to strike from behind despite having already lost—confirming that he really is truly evil.
- There is an interesting variation in episode 2 of Beast Wars. Optimus and Dinobot are fighting on the terms, established by Dinobot, that the winner will lead the Maximals and the loser will be cast into the river below. Dinobot had been disarmed and knocked down by Optimus and tells Optimus to finish him, but he refuses. Dinobot takes this opportunity to retaliate and the whole thing just goes downhill from there.
- In Exo Squad, Lt. Marsh refuses to kill a pirate warrior he previously defeated in a ritual fight to the death, in spite of Simbacca encouraging. him to do so.
- In Adventure Time, the Fight King says this as the main character and Hero, Finn, is about to kill his best friend Jake. He doesn't go through with it.
- Parodied in an episode of King of the Hill, when Bobby and Peggy get in a fight on their front lawn, egged on by their neighbor Kahn: "She bluffing! Finish her!"
- In the Justice League episode "War World", after Superman defeats Gladiator Draega, Mongul orders Superman to do this. Being who he is, he refuses, even when Draega himself asks him to do so.