"Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel …The Protagonist is about to face utter defeat. Suddenly, he finds a glimmer of hope, a reservoir for strength, a possible way out, a ray of light, a Forgotten Superweapon, what have you... only to be crushed cruelly by the bad guys returning in force. Think of it as the opposite of Near Villain Victory. Hope spots can be used to add drama to an extended encounter with a villain and will often culminate with the hero getting up after a seemingly decisive blow. However, if handled poorly, it can detract from a story. Subtropes include Diabolus ex Machina. In extreme versions, may presage a Cruel Twist Ending. The Kaizo Trap is a subtrope exclusive to video games. Your Princess Is in Another Castle also counts as this when the heroes thinks that everything is over for them, but the villains escape and the heroes have to take them down again. Note that this trope can be shaded by Values Dissonance: villains obviously wish to triumph (or at least come through in one piece) just as much as heroes do, so a Hope Spot for a villain also counts, no matter how much despair it would cause heroic characters. Any visible sigh of relief? After escaping imminent peril? Take a Moment to Catch Your Death. Direct opposite of Darkest Hour. One reason why Hope Is Scary and the Hope Bringer is not always welcome. See also Yank the Dog's Chain. Due to the bait-and-switch nature of this trope and how heavily it relies on the audience going in blind, expect spoilers.
… was just a freight train coming your way."
… was just a freight train coming your way."
— Metallica, "No Leaf Clover"
open/close all folders
- At the end of Watchmen, after Ozymandias explains their plan in detail, Nite Owl is glad they made it in time to stop the final phase, which would result in the death of everyone in and near New York. But then Ozymandias says this:
- In War of Kings the first Hope Spot occurred when the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Gladiator helped Lilandra regain her position as the Empress of the Shi-Ar, so she could take command from Vulcan and end the destructive war with the Kree. And then she was shot to death by Razor. This was a Despair Event Horizon for Black Bolt, which lead to second one – with him defeating Vulcan and Crystal convincing him not to detonate a bomb that would turn all life in the Universe into Inhumans – after she destroyed the Terrigen Crystals and they were going to leave, Vulcan attacked again, separating Black Bolt from Crystal and Lockjaw, right as they were teleporting themselves. The bomb exploded, killing both monarchs.
- Black Lanterns were exploiting this trope by making their victims feel hope, among other emotions, before killing them, so they can feed upon said hope.
- Sin City has a brutal one in the first act of That Yellow Bastard. John Hartigan has been stabbed in the back by his partner, is being framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is getting beaten to a pulp while handcuffed to a chair. Suddenly, he finds the strength to snap the cuffs and pulverize his torturer... only for the readers to discover that it was just a fantasy.
- The "Everything Burns" crossover between The Mighty Thor and Journey into Mystery features a particularly cruel one. They've managed to save the Nine Realms from Surtur, Loki's got his BFF back (sort of), and Thor and Loki finally, finally can properly trust one another. Just in time for old Loki to force kid Loki into completely annihilating himself and allowing old Loki to take over his body.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: The Decepticon Justice Division, five of the most violent and powerful Knight Templar agents in the army go up against six of the least competent Decepticons, the fight doesn't go well. At first the Scavengers trick the leader, Tarn, into releasing Grimlock, who starts the fight out strong... and is beaten into submission (later circumstances attributing his failure to brain damaged). Flywheels is dragged into the Chest of Tesarus, who has a massive shredding machine on him, Flywheels manages to stop his death by bracing himself with his feet (made fun of last issue), Tesarus acknowledges this, and flips him around, shredding him headfirst. Finally, Crankcase finds a Cybernought and brings the pain to the DJD, they electrocute him, and blow a hole through the Cybernought. The only reason the 6, now 5 survive is because the one targeted accidentally fakes his death, and the DJD have more important things to get to.
- In the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) Rainbow Dash uses a Sonic Rainboom to try and catch up to Rarity, who has been kidnapped by the Nightmare Forces. They vanish in a puff of smoke just before Rainbow can save her.
- In #7, Spike seems to briefly get through to Nightmare Rarity, but she shakes it off and sics her Nightmare forces on the group.
- Poor X-23: Sarah Kinney gets fed up with the abuse heaped on her and decides to break her out and destroy the Facility? Turns out Rice contaminated her with the Trigger Scent and Laura kills her in mindless rage. Laura finds her aunt and cousin, and begins to establish a happy family with them? Her aunt's boyfriend was a Facility plant who calls in Kimura. After finally being so beaten down by these experiences, Laura seeks out Logan to kill him and herself to end her pain, but Logan manages to talk her down and offer to help her put her life back together. And then Captain America shows up and arrests her. Just as she's beginning to really heal from all the trauma of her life, she gets kidnapped by Arcade and forced to fight other teenagers to the death for his amusement. And after escaping that and being taken to a hospital by Wolverine to recover from the ordeal, she somehow ends up tortured by Purifiers and wandering Miami in a temporary amnesiac state. Poor Laura cannot seem to catch a break.
- Runaways pulls this a few times:
- After the Runaways encounter Cloak and Dagger and convince them that they're not the criminals that everyone is claiming them to be, Cloak and Dagger promise that they'll reach out to their friends in the superhero community to help clear the Runaways' names. At the end of the issue, the two are captured by the Pride and brainwashed into forgetting that they ever encountered the Runaways.
- At the end of Brian K. Vaughan's last arc, the Runaways have successfully talked Chase out of a Face-Heel Turn and head back to the Hostel... only to find it's been taken over by Iron Man.
- At the end of the very last issue, Chase is finally reunited with Gert, who inexplicably has Old Lace with her. Almost immediately after, he's hit by a car. Meanwhile, the other Runaways have no idea where the hell he is.
Film — Animated
- Toy Story 3. This film actually manages a two-in-one hope spot. After getting past the shredder, Rex sees a light at the end of the conveyor belt tunnel. For a moment, the crew thinks it's sunlight—then they realize that the conveyor belt is taking them to an incinerator. Then Woody and Buzz spot a button to shut off the machine, and lift Lotso up to push it. However, he betrays them, and they go tumbling towards the inferno. Fortunatly, the Aliens, who were thought to have died moments earlier, rescue them with a junkyard claw.
- The Lion King:
- In a villainous example, Evil Uncle Scar survives dramatically falling off a cliff after the Final Battle with the hero with relatively no injury, and then relaxes in relief at seeing his usually comedic henchmen approach him ("Ahh, my friends..."), only to be begging for his life moments later as they proceed to rip him apart for denouncing them in a cowardly episode that he thought that no one had heard or witnessed.
- The stampede scene is a sequence of multiple Hope Spots. The stampede catches up to Simba.. but then Mufasa arrives, grabs Simba and drops him off on a safe ledge. Then he's dragged away by the stampede, vanishing out of Simba's sight. He jumps back and grabs a ledge.. which is a cue for Scar to show himself to Mufasa. Mufasa thinks that Scar's there to help him, only for Scar to commit his supreme act of evil by sinking his claws into Mufasa's paws and throwing him back in. After the stampede, as Simba is looking for Mufasa, you hear movement. Simba looks up saying "Dad?" and for half a second, you the viewer think that maybe it's not that bad. Then a wildebeest runs by. Then you see what it just jumped over.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. After Kenny's surgery, it briefly seems like everything is fine and he'll live through it, as the doctors calmly wake him up. Then they inform him that they accidentally replaced his heart with a baked potato and he's gonna die in roughly three seconds - which he does, just as the potato explodes in his chest. Then it gets worse as Kenny's soul is seemingly ascending to Heaven as harp music plays, but then Heavy Metal kicks in on the soundtrack and he plunges to Hell. Sure, Kenny is ultimately allowed into Heaven after all for helping to defeat Saddam Hussein, but that still can't quite erase all the psychological anguish he was put through.
- Another example is where it appears that Sheila has come to her senses after Kyle reasons with her, but decides to ignore it, and guns down Terrence and Phillip.
- Frozen has a meta example in the song Do You Want to Build a Snowman. Anna once again tries to connect with her sister after the deaths of their parents with the titular question and the meter of the song has room for Elsa to reply, but no such response comes.
- The movie has more hope spots than you can shake a stick at. Right as Anna is about to convince Elsa to come back to the castle, the moment where Elsa is stunned by Hans telling her she isn't a monster and you think she'll accept things, the moment before Hans' single sentence of soulcrushing...
- The LEGO Movie has a crushing hope spot whereby after the destruction of Cloud Cuckooland, Emmet has figured out a great plan by using his knowledge to help the others infiltrate Lord Business' tower. Everything is going according to plan right up until the last second where Emmet is about to put the Piece of Resistance on the Kragle, whereby the alarm bells ring, the entire group is arrested and sent to the Think Tank.
- An even worse hope spot that is ultimately soulcrushing is the point where Vitruvius happens to be hanging around the Think Tank after his friends have all just been captured. After Lord Business sets his robots on him, he immediately destroys them swiftly afterwards. The moment doesn't last however. Vitruvius turns to Emmet to say a few wise words, before being decapitated by a penny thrown by Lord Business. Just when you thought it could not get any worse, Vitruvius confesses he actually MADE UP the entire prophecy. The ensuing reactions by the group are heartbreaking, but the moment where Emmet is on the verge of crying and in a state of utter distress, his friends are being led away, and the camera cuts to Lord Business just gloating above him as he forces himself to look up at his twisted face of sadistic pleasure who responds with "Not so special now, huh?", will rip your heart to pieces. The swell in music that plays at the point of Vitruvius' death doesn't help to reflect both the hopelessness and helplessness of the situation. It's so soulcrushing, that even anticipating this will never fail to leave you in shock as you try to fathom what just happened.
- When GCBC has a meeting with Lord Business after he narrowly misses capturing the Special, Lord Business reveals his masterplan of gluing the universe together with the fated Kragle. GCBC is reassured it won't be used on him, to his relief. However, due the significance of his failure at his job and Lord Business' infamous hatred of imperfection, it barely lasts a few seconds just as Lord Business snarls (his face sells it really well) "I'll use it on your PARENTS!". It's difficult to forget the horror convincingly plastered across GCBC's face, especially considering he's so shocked he can barely react.
- A spoiler heavy one- After Wyldstyle rallies the people to fight back against Lord Business' army, in the real world The Man Upstairs comes home and sees the creations his son Finn made, taking issue with them before reassembling them "properly". In the LEGO world, this is shown by the people being overwhelmed by Lord Business' forces.
- ISMBOF's "Friendship in Tartarus: the Escape" lives up to its name, starting with some very heavy riffs that give the feeling of being in Hell, but around 3:15, the song switches to a more positive and happy riff (representing the "Escape" part of the song's title) before going back to the heavy riffs and ending.
- "No Leaf Clover" by Metallica, providing the page quote.
- A Hope Spot takes up much of the plot of Richard Wagner's The Valkyrie, with Siegmund first seeing the sword Nothung as literally a gleaming spot on an ash tree. (Of course, Wagner used a Leitmotif for this; interestingly, it first appears in the final scene of Das Rheingold with no connection to the sword, just a sudden surge of hope.)
- In later productions of Rheingold, Wagner himself instructed his Wotan to salute Walhall with a sword left over from the Nibelung hoard: this almost certainly symbolizes Wotan's resolve to create a race of free heroes who will be able to regain the Ring and (he thinks!) prevent the fall of the gods.
- Act 2 of Puccini's Tosca ends with the eponymous heroine successfully extricating herself and her lover from the Scarpia Ultimatum. In Act 3, however, Scarpia turns out to have gone back on his word like the utter scumbag he is and Mario is executed with live ammo by the firing squad, and Tosca has to throw herself off a tower to escape arrest by the police for Scarpia's murder.
- "Il Prigionero," a 20th-century twelve-tone opera by Luigi Dallapiccola, uses this as its main plot device.
- Probably the Trope Namer, as it is part of the vernacular of the business itself. Almost mandatory for every match as part of the storytelling aspect.
- Every wrestling match featuring Ricky Morton ever.
- Tend to be more prominent in matches where the good guy actually loses to the monster heel - with one of the best examples ever being the famous Sting vs. Vader series. Sting didn't win a match against Vader for eight months, but managed to convince the audience each time that MAYBE he'd beat Vader, simply because he was seemingly the only person in the promotion who could even stay on the offence for more than a minute against Vader. The best of these occured at the Great American Bash, where Sting gave Vader a fallaway slam... only for the fans, after exploding, to realise that the mere effort involved in lifting Vader was too much for Sting.
- A classic ladder match between Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker (then a heel with a LOT of heel heat, mostly for his Kick the Dog moment of making Jim Ross kiss Vince McMahon's ass a few months earlier) for the WWE Championship in 2002 featured several moments where even though everyone knew that Jeff Hardy had no chance to beat The Undertaker and get the title, he was so close to grabbing the belt that Willing Suspension of Disbelief kicked in and we all got ready to cheer our lungs out anyway.
- A similar motif was used in a match featuring Triple H and Kaientai member Taka Michinoku, who would face off for the former's WWF Championship. Despite nearly all the fans knowing that Triple H had all but zero chance of losing his belt on free television to a jobber, several near falls in Taka's favor drove the crowd into a frenzy until Triple H was finally victorious with a Pedigree.
- Used again in the classic Triple H vs Kane, "Mask vs Title" match, in which Kane would be forced to either defeat the champion and become champion himself, or unmask. All three of Triple H's Evolution stablemates attempted to interfere on his behalf, and Triple H even branded a sledgehammer to use to his advantage against Kane, but Kane fought off all the odds— commentator Jim Ross even stated that "Ain't nothin gonna stop Kane tonight!" Too bad he was wrong and Kane lost the match.
- In a similar vein, Ring of Honor had Naomichi Marufuji vs. Nigel McGuinness for the Pro Wrestling NOAH GHC Heavyweight Championship, which Marufuji had only won a week before. Yes, it was obvious who was winning at the end... up until McGuinness rebounded off the ropes, sent his forearm into Marufuji's neck, and brought him down for a thisclosealmostthreecount.
- Essentially all of Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson II, as the latter went into the match with an eyepatch, Morishima having fractured his left eye socket and detached the retina in their encounter mere weeks before.
- Tommy Dreamer built his career in ECW on this trope, especially his two-year long feud with Raven in the mid-90s: he lost every single match except their last one, but every time he'd come oh-so-close only for Raven to pull some kind of dirty trick and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
- The Miz vs. Randy Orton on the 11/22/10 edition of Raw. Orton had just suffered a brutal beatdown by The Nexus that injured his knee, and barely survived a title match with Wade Barrett thanks to John Cena's interference, only for The Miz to show up and cash in his Money in the Bank. Unlike most times the Money in the Bank is cashed in, Orton actually fought off The Miz pretty well, and many points in the match it looked like Orton would overcome the odds, and the fans cheered when it seemed he would actually pull off the win when he went for the RKO...only for The Miz to counter it into the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin and the title.
- Related to the above Alberto Del Rio's match against Dolph Ziggler for the WHC, Del Rio had just beaten Jack Swagger twice in 2 days and the second match around only for Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on a weakened Del Rio, Del Rio managed to hit his Enzuigiri and lock in his Cross Arm-Breaker to give hope that against all odds that Del Rio would retain, seconds before tapping out, Ziggler grabs Del Rio's injured foot causing Del Rio to stop the hold then Dolph Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for the 1-2-3 and the WHC.
- Eric Bischoff once ordered Maria Kanellis to face Kurt Angle. When the match begins, Angle declares that he doesn't care what Bischoff says, he's not going to hurt her. She's relieved and hugs him, then starts to leave...only for Angle to blindside her and give her a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that doesn't stop until John Cena comes to the rescue.
Stand Up Comedy
- In Like Totally, Dylan Moran goes into exquisite detail about one particular Hope Spot from a Hilariously Abusive Childhood:
You'd be alone in the kitchen, the twilight would be dwindling and you could hear the far-off cries of the other children playing nearby, and you knew that you'd be alone in the kitchen because it was your special treat time where the jelly would come out just for you. And your mother would appear at your side, this vision of Laura-Ashley-print dress smelling of magnolias and biscuits, and she'd put the jelly in front of you; you would pull your chair in, and then the old-fashioned bar of ice-cream would come down, the one that had to be cut with a bread knife before the two sides were flanked with wafers. You would lift your little spoon up excitedly, to press it in and winkle out that first divot of black jelly...AND THEN THE CAGE WOULD COME DOWN!The cage with the Japanese Fighting Spiders inside.She would strike a match off her forearm and tell you to go and dance in the front room for money.
- John Mulaney's The Salt and Pepper Diner is about how John and his friend bought 21 plays of What's New Pussycat in a row off s jukebox, but put It's Not Unusual in slot 8 (of 21) in order to invoke said trope.
- Tennessee Williams, to a T. Whenever a character is about to achieve the desire that would redeem them and improve the Humiliation Conga they have called their lives thus far, it comes crashing down beautifully. Just ask Blanche (her white knight calls her too dirty to take to his mama!) or Laura (the Gentleman Caller even broke her favorite glass animal, the one thing that gave her joy.)
- In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye has acquiesced to his two oldest daughters' unconventional marriages during inner monologues that follow a pattern: Reason why not, on the other hand reason why, on the other hand reason why not, on the other hand—ok, you can get married. So when the third daughter shows up with a Christian husband and the same inner monologue starts again, we have hope. But instead, this happens:
Tevye: On the other hand . . . No, there is no other hand!
- However, at the end when everyone is leaving Anatekva, there is brief scene showing he may eventually forgive her.
- Cyrano de Bergerac:
- Cyrano has two in his hope for winning Roxane’s love. His first Hope Spot last a night (between Act I and II) until he hears Roxane describe the guy he loves as “fair” at Act II scene VI, and the other lasts only mere seconds (At Act IV Scene X, when he hears that Christian has been mortally wounded).
- Christian has a mere seconds of hope between Cyrano tells her Roxane probably loves him and announces that she is waiting for a love letter that Christian is incapable to write at Act II Scene X. His second hope spot will be at Act IV scene X, when he forces Cyrano to tell Roxane the truth about them Playing Cyrano, (notice that he still had hope, and his Hope Spot endures for all his life).
- William Shakespeare:
- In King Lear, Edgar returns in Act V to confront and defeat his scheming half-brother Edmund. Edmund, in an act of Villain's Dying Grace, confesses he signed the order for Cordelia's murder and the good guys rush off to save her. They are too late.
- In Othello, the title character schemes together with Iago to murder Cassio, whom Iago asserts has had an affair with Othello's wife Desdemona. Othello meanwhile smothers his wife. Moments later, her handmaiden Emilia arrives, announces that Cassio has survived, and Desdemona revives for a moment to announce her innocence once more. She then dies before Emilia can reveal Iago's lies to Othello.
- After just narrowly surviving attacks by Bellatrix and security trolls in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, the riders are directed by a goblin into a room where it's said that they'll be safe. Voldemort and Bellatrix just so happen to blast their way into this room.
- In the JAWS ride, the boat's skipper attempts to evade the shark by going into a dark boathouse. Turns out the shark is able to get into the boathouse...
- Eclipse has one at the very end of chapter seven. The Humanoid Abomination calms down from its Unstoppable Rage, the Governor of Cessair (who provoked that Unstoppable Rage) is forced to resign in disgrace, the Team Mom gets set to become the next head of state for Cessair, and the House of Dreyvor seems to have resolved its Overprotective Dad issues. At the end of the chapter, Cessair gets attacked by an invading fleet of warships.
- Survival of the Fittest:
- The Bobby Jacks vs. Ric Chee fight, in which the wire thin misfit Ric manages to hold off Scary Black Man Bobby, a professional boxer with little more than a stick for a significant length of time, even managing to pick himself up from a seemingly decisive blow. Bobby proceeds to violate the conditions he put on the fight by pulling out a concealed weapon and stabbing Ric, serving as something of a Kick the Dog moment. Not long afterwards, Bobby put Ric down for keeps.
- John "the Riz" Rizzolo versus Emma Babineaux, who had a crush on him during high school. After a brief fight, Emma gets a hold of John's gun, but is unable to bring herself to kill him. John appears to have a change of heart when she tells him there may be a way to escape the game, and as the two of them embrace and kiss, John impales her with a sword before shooting her in the head.
- Riz goes on to instigate ANOTHER hope spot when he tortures Laeil Burbank, cutting out her eye before setting the building they're in on fire and leaving her to die. She's soon after rescued by a couple of passers-by, including a former ally, who pull her from the burning building and patch her up. Just when it seems like she's going to make it, she goes into cardiac arrest from all the blood she lost and dies. This was even a Hope Spot in real life with many handlers wondering whether Laeil is going to die, she gets rescued, and with a ton of research on one handler's part into how to properly treat her injury, she gets bandaged up just in time to make a tearful Heel-Face Turn. Then she gets rolled.
- John J. Reilly's half-serious future history Spenglers Future suggests, in its chapter on the present period, that Western civilization itself is passing through a Hope Spot on its way to a messy devolution, through wars and persecutions, into The Empire.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible stands up satisfied. He survived his broken death ray's explosion and his archnemesis Captain Hammer has fled, utterly defeated, humiliated and broken. His victory is complete. Now Penny, the girl of his dreams, will be his. And then he turns around...and finds that Penny was caught in the explosion and is dying. Cue the truly Joss-level angst.
- Caretaker: Reborn. At the end of chapter 3, everybody but the psi-immune title character have been knocked unconscious by a mental command, and even Caretaker has been rather thoroughly injured by a super-strong enemy. Said villains are just leaving when Caretaker takes a stand... and gets horribly, painfully demolished for his trouble.
- Every time things start looking up for the defenders of Horizon City, something happens that gives the Brutes the upper hand again. Suffice to say, there are more Hope Spots in this story than can be counted on one hand.
- Red vs. Blue: The evil A.I. O'Malley is driven out of Caboose's Mind, everyone has their Radio turned of so he can't take over anyone else, leaving him to 'die'. The Camera hangs over the scenery for a while, with O'Malley's transmission/Bodysurf signal getting slower and weaker and finally fading completely. Then Doc (whom everyone forgot) calls command and O'Malley gets him.
- At the end of Recreation, Simmons, Donut, and Lopez are cornered by the Meta when suddenly Agent Washington shows up. Simmons, knowing that Agent Washington fought the Meta during the previous season, thinks they're safe. Then Washington calmly orders the Meta to stand down instead of attacking it. Then he starts asking what the Red Team did to the Epsilon unit. Then he shoots Donut and Lopez.
- A meta example, coming from a group of That Guy with the Glasses: In a review of Dragonball Evolution, they will were in despair until the final fight scene come. Paw almost say that the film makers were leaving the best to last, come close to say Crowning Moment of Awesome, and then, the Kamehameha. That destroyed every last bit of hope they had.
- The Nostalgia Chick had really hoped that a Meatloaf Actor Allusion joke had meant that Spice World had redeemed itself. But what did the next scene involve? ...aliens.
- Kickassia has Santa Christ accidentally get shot and killed, horrifying all present. Then N. Bison realizes that since he is made up of the hopes and dreams of everyone, maybe, just maybe, if they believe hard enough he will return. Cue everyone putting aside their conflict to clasp hands and chant "We believe in Santa Christ!", along with a huge parade of the site's other contributors joining in. It would be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming...if it had worked. They end up dumping the body in a dumpster. Subverted in that he does return, just not right away.
- Another meta example. Fans were concerned that the Critic really would be given up for good in To Boldly Flee, until it was announced that Doug Walker had signed on for more work with Blip, thus proving that he wasn't done making reviews just yet. The Critic was killed off/fused with the universe anyway, and Walker announced that he was finished doing Nostalgia Critic episodes (though he did have more reviews planned, just not with the character).
- Demo Reel. "Blue Patches" ends with Donnie reassuring his new family that he's going to stop obsessing over his past (which includes a mom dead from suicide, a horrible acting career and lots of abuse) and be excited for the future. "The Review Must Go On" takes everybody away from him one by one, and it only gets worse from there.
- The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon gives us a hope spot at the climax where, after thousands and thousands of beatings from a spoon-wielding demon, the poor victim finally finds the spoon breaking against his flesh. The demon unzips his hoodie to reveal dozens more spoons.
- In the sequel, "Save Jack: The Interactive Adventure", the Giant Magnet option. It is the only method that seems to work — until the demon pulls out a wooden spoon.
- In the Heta Oni, it looks for a moment as if everyone really will make it out alive. Everyone, Italy included, has survived, and they've found the hidden staircase to where the key to the front door has been found in every other timeline. And even better, the monster guarding it is very slow, so Italy should be able to steal the key easily! And...the key is not there. Naturally.
- In the Eddsworld episode "Moving Targets", after the group botches their air drop from a helicopter, Tord lands on one side of a plank resting centrally on a steel drum. Edd, Matt, and Tom land on the other side. Tord eyes them nervously, fearing he'll be see-sawed into the air. Instead, the board obeys realistic physics and snaps, and he breathes a sigh of relief. Only to look up and scream as a completely gratuitous hippopotamus falls out of the sky on him.
- Worm has an incredibly cruel one. The protagonists manage to defeat the Slaughterhouse Nine and trap Jack in an inescapable time loop, seemingly saving the world... but in the next chapter, Scion, the most powerful being in the world, pulls a Face-Heel Turn thanks to Jack's "The Reason You Suck" Speech and annihilates Britain. And concludes that he likes the feeling.
- And at the climax of the story Taylor invokes the trope against Scion, giving him the illusion of being reunited with his counterpart before dashing his hopes to drive him to despair so that he would let himself be killed.
- Marble Hornets Entry #76: Jessica has just been resuced from certain death by Hoody's Dynamic Entrance and makes a run for it...but she runs the wrong way and is taken by The Operator .
- In Mario Brothers, against all odds, Mario finds the 1-Up Mushroom to bring Luigi back to life. However, Luigi was dead too long for it to have any effect, and remains dead.
- Already trapped on an island and forced to kill their fellow students in Pyrrhic, Joshua and Hanako have joined forces, waiting on allying with Mary Jane, and ready to find a way to strike back against the experiment, but before this can really happen a grieving Marie shows up. Joshua, knowing what he did to Chase, tries to reason with her beforehand, but his attempts fail and she shoots at them, causing them to lose whatever advantage they had.
- In episode 46 of Welcome to Night Vale, the rebellion against StrexCorp was finally happening. But then no one else joined Tamika and her group of revolutionaries, so they were quickly captured and dealt with while the weather played.
- Codename: Kids Next Door, "Operation Turnip": Numbuh 3 calls in a Humongous Mecha she used during training, to combat a huge turnip. Except that the turnip's much huger than "Hippity Hop", and the turnip takes a pre-emptive first strike against it. Result: Two minutes or so of wasted screentime.
- Avatar The Last Airbender:
- In the second season finale, Aang intentionally enters the Avatar State for the first time to fight an army of Dai Li and save the capital city from takeover, seemingly a reflection of the outcome of previous season finale, only to be electrocuted by Azula — and right in the middle of the Transformation Sequence.
- The episode immediately prior to the second season finale is essentially one big Hope Spot. In summary the heroes have finally won an audience with the Earth King and in the process have succeeded in exposing the Evil Chancellor Long Feng, which leads to him being arrested. They successfully deliver news about the Day of Black Sun and begin the process of preparing the invasion of the Fire Nation. In addition to that, they get the opportunity to reunite with family members, meet with mentors and help prepare for future successes. However the end of the episode shows that Long Feng's minions, the Dai Li, remain loyal to him in spite of his disgrace, Azula and her friends have succeeded in infiltrating Ba Sing Se by pretending to be allies of the Earth Kingdom, and in Toph's case, her opportunity to meet with her mother is a trap set up by the two men hired by her father to bring her back.
- Bender's fight against Destructor in Futurama, right about when he says "It's Bendering time!".
- The Simpsons:
- Several of the main characters are trapped on an out-of-control solar powered monorail train. Suddenly, there's an eclipse of the sun, the town is plunged into darkness, and the train comes to a gentle halt. Unfortunately, the eclipse lasts only a few seconds, exactly long enough for the characters to realize that they're safe, before the sun returns — and as soon as it does, the train's out of control again.
- A future episode did this where Bart pretended to be nice so he could date a charitable girl, the only drawback being that Milhouse got jealous of them together and told the girl about Bart's true nature. Bart begged the girl to stay with him, despite his nature, since he changed it for her. She's first seen angrily frowning, then smiles, thinking she'll be with him for the rest of the episode (like the other girls Bart dated for periods of time). But then, it goes back to the angry frown, and the next shot is of Bart crying, lamenting about how the girl broke up with him.
- Gargoyles gives Goliath the chance to prevent Demona from becoming evil by using the Phoenix Gate to go back in time and give her a moving speech to warn her against betraying the clan. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Gate can't be used to change history and she reveals at the end that she let their castle get swarmed because of his warning. She'd interpreted his warning about betrayal as being a warning that the humans they guarded would betray them and that had always been the reason why she let them get killed. She became a villain after that when she realised that it had been Goliath's "little speech", and her response to it, was the reason she became an outcast from the clan.
- In the last episode of Wakfu , Yugo and Adamai travel back in time through Nox's spell and believe they went back to a point where Sadlygrove was still alive, only to find out they were still a few minutes short.
- Near the ending of Winx Club S4 episode 24 Nabu manages to close the dark abyss that the Fairy Hunters had created to seal away the Earth fairies, but dies in the process. Bloom reminds Layla that they still have the Black Gift, which can be used to bring Nabu back to life. However, as soon as Layla takes out the Black Gift, Ogron steals it and wastes it on a dead flower.
- In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Omens Part Two" the invasion of Thundera is nearly foiled by Jaga's Clerics and King Claudus wielding the Sword of Omens. Then Mumm-Ra (disguised as Panthro) murders Claudus, and slays nearly all of the Clerics with a wave of dark magic.
- Happens in the Final Battle of the two part pilot of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Twilight Sparkle is facing off against Nightmare Moon alone after having been dragged away from her friends. She manages to trick her way past Nightmare Moon to the Elements Of Harmony and tries to activate them, and seemingly manages to do so. Only for their power to fizzle out and Nightmare Moon to shatter them to pieces right in front of her. The truly devastated look on Twilight's face when this happens only serves to make the Hope Spot being crushed even more of a Tear Jerker. It doesn't last that long, but still!
- There's another one in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1". It looks like Twilight and Cadence are going to make up when Cadence pats her on the head, But then "Cadence" pulls out a Slasher Smile and drops Twilight Sparkle into the caverns below Canterlot.
- Don't forget "The Return of Harmony pt. 2" Twilight is finally able to locate the Elements of Harmony. Unfortunately, with the rest of her friends corrupted, it has absolutely no effect, and in turn this causes her to lose all hope and become corrupted as well.
- And again in "The Crystal Empire, Part 2", where Twilight runs through a doorway that she thinks leads to the crystal heart and instead finds herself in a world where she has failed her test and is being sent away by Princess Celestia.
- TRON: Uprising: Two episodes deal with Dr. Keller, a Reluctant Mad Scientist who at first helps the Occupation, but then runs after helping Beck stop her virus. The second Episode has her trying to run from the Occupation forces bearing down on her as she's stuck in a train, which soon spins out of control. After trying and failing to escape, she reluctantly goes back to the Occupation with Paige telling her she'll be pardoned, and she can help them once again. Tessler simply kills her when she gets back.
- On a meta level - the whole series counts as this. We see Beck rise from low-grade (but gutsy) saboteur to a very impressive fighter and he seems to be succeeding in getting the citizens of Argon to revolt...but then Clu decides they're messing with his idea of perfection, and rolls in with a whole army of tanks, Recognizers, light-jets, and system guards to steamroll the city. And of course, Tron goes from badly wounded to healed and kicking butt... if you've seen TronLegacy, you know where that is going to lead.
- A literal example in Moral Orel: While in the best of spirits himself, Reverend Putty has to do a sermon on—you guessed it—"Hope." He looks all over the church and sees everyone looking upset.note He remembers Orel Puppington—the town's residential religious Cheerful Child . . . only to see that Orel's just as glum as the rest of the room, with his leg in a cast. Putty alters his script so it reads "Hopeless".
- Played for Laughs in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Idiot Box": Squidward, in an attempt to drown out SpongeBob and Patrick playing pretend games with an empty cardboard box outside, turns on the TV. Unfortunately, every single channel is airing something involving boxes, bringing his mind back to the two friends' obnoxious playing. He finally thinks he's getting a break when he gets to a channel airing "championship boxing" ("I mean, it's not really about boxes...") ...only for the boxing match to be between two boxes ("...I give up.").
- Before understandings of meteorology became more widespread, the eye of a Hurricane could be this for people who had endured the first onslaught of the storm.
- In sports, especially basketball or American football, there are matches where a team who is behind on points makes a rally and catches up with the opposing team only to fail because the other team wises up and improves their offense or defense. This gets more dramatic during championships, when the team who has rallied fail to win because of missing a perfectly executed shot at the last second.
- Friends and loved ones of alcoholics and other addicts - "I'm totally sober! I quit! I promise!" - get treated to this. Over. And over. And over. And over.
- Friends and loved ones of someone with a severe mental illness endure a very similar experience.
- Adolf Hitler had one in the final days of World War II when Franklin D. Roosevelt died. Hitler was ecstatic, convinced that the US war effort would be derailed as like what happened to Frederick The Great when an enemy ruler died. However, reality soon reasserted itself with the Allies' advances not stopping for one second and the new US President, Harry Truman, no less determined to have the final victory.
- Shortly after the Allied Landings on June 6th, 1944, French partisans and maquisards went out in the open to liberate cities and towns. Partisans fought a guerilla war for two days after June 6th in Tulle, central France, and actually drove the Germans out of the town. Then tanks rolled in, and people celebrated, thinking the newly-landed Americans had come to help them and finish the job... Except it was actually the "Das Reich" SS Panzer Division, who rounded up all men between 16 and 60, and hanged 120 of them (including 99 who were tortured first). They sent 149 others to concentration camps, where 101 died.
- The Warsaw Uprising, not to be confused with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of the previous year, saw this. By late-summer 1944, the Soviets had annihilated Army Group Center and pushed all the way to the gates of Warsaw. The Polish resistance believed that the liberation of their city was at hand and so began their long-await uprising to cast out their German occupiers. Unfortunately, they did not realize that by then, the Soviets had exhausted their offensive capabilities and had to replenish. On top of that, Stalin had no interest in seeing a free Poland which would have close ties to the Western Allies, and also deprived them of use of Soviet airfields to resupply the Poles, who held out for two months before finally surrendering to the Germans. By the time the Soviets entered the following year, Warsaw had been flattened.
- The Mongols were very fond of this trope, and often employed tactics like feigned retreats in the midst of a full scale battle. At the Battle of Mohi, the Mongols left an obvious gap in their encirclement to encourage the beaten Hungarian army to flee for safety, rather than grimly accept fate and fight to the death. In the end, the Mongols ended up herding the Hungarian army into a swamp and picked them off at will over the course of two days.
- Dreams can be this (e.g. if you've had a falling out with someone but dream about reconciling with them, only to wake up and realize nothing's changed).
- Attempting to outrun any form of torrential sort of disaster. For example, as a huge wave approaches (most likely that of a tsunami) you see people sprinting for their lives. In the end, most of their efforts are in vain as the water just engulfs them completely. The last thing that they were probably saying to themselves was "I'm gonna make it... Not gonna make it...".