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I Surrender, Suckers

This trope is used by both villains and Badass heroes or Anti-heroes, particularly the loner action-hero kind.

They're cornered. They know it. They surrender.

Except, when the offer is accepted — surprise! They launch an attack when the opposition drops their guard. This move may let them completely blow away the opposition, or it may only provide enough confusion to allow a timely escape, depending on just how badly taken in the opposition was.

One variation involves the one surrendering intentionally allowing himself to be captured in order to undermine the enemy from within. Often he must rely on The Mole to break him out of his prison, though sometimes he can manage this on his own.

This is the exact opposite of the Graceful Loser.

Note that in Real Life, this is a genuine war crime since the Hague Convention (signed before World War One); fake surrenders are "perfidy" because they discourage the opposition from accepting genuine surrenders. The flag of truce is a protected symbol and its misuse in war is against international law. This, however, isn't absolute: after someone surrenders and is taken into custody, attempts to escape and generally cause problems are expected and not illegal, the understanding being that if the captors can't keep control of their prisoners, that's their own damn fault.

Compare Defensive Feint Trap, Aggressive Negotiations, and I Lied. Wounded Gazelle Gambit is similar, but even more cowardly. See also Playing Possum and Dirty Coward.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted with Matt from Death Note. Everyone knows who he is, and that's probably why.
    • Except in the manga, where the point was that nobody there knows who he is... or really cares what he's done... or thinks he might try to escape. He's simply trying bluffing or reason (it's ambiguous) on the wrong people.
  • In the Full Metal Panic! "Into the Blue" arc, Big Bad Gauron surrenders and intentionally allows himself to be captured as part of a plan to infiltrate and take control of the Tuatha De Danaan. Notably, the De Danaan's captain and crew are aware of the risk and take precautions, but even in spite of that Gauron manages to cause a whole lot of trouble with his ploy.
  • In the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, the Lior plot has Ed willingly surrender to Cornello, knowing that Cornello was clueless enough to underestimate him and Al, leaving open many opportunities to escape and defeat the false prophet.
    • Also, in the second version of the anime, the Ice-Alchemist surrenders to the military - and then he transmutes steam and escapes.
  • Kuradeel in Sword Art Online after Asuna kicks his ass, begging for mercy to buy enough time to disarm her.
  • Taikoubou from Houshin Engi does exactly this when fighting Oukijn. TWICE. In the same battle. The first time, he pretends to give up fighting, saying that she's too strong for him, and laments about how he should have been loyal to Dakki. He then requests that Oukijn allow him to do a wood fortune reading for Dakki's future, which turns out to be a trick so that he can set fire to her Hagoromo. The second time is when she tries to do the same trick to him, "surrendering" - to which he pretends to "accept", only to once again suckerpunch her.
  • In Dragon Ball, Tao Pai Pai (Mercenary/General Tao) does this when he's losing his rematch against Goku - following up his "surrender" by throwing a grenade. Unfortunately for Tao, Goku deflects it right back at him...
    • Raditz pulls this off at the very beginning of Dragon Ball Z (and, conversely, in Dragon Ball Kai as well), when Goku gets a hold of his tail. Since doing this weakens a Saiyan, Raditz tries to convince Goku to let go by saying that, if he does, he'll leave Earth without causing any damage to it. Despite Piccolo's warning, Goku believes him... and just as soon as he lets Raditz go, he is struck in the stomach.
    • Frieza tries the same after losing to Goku. Goku gives him enough energy to get away from the soon-to-be-exploding planet (since he can survive in space), but Frieza uses it to attack as soon as Goku's back is turned. Subverted as this time Goku just turns around and blows him away.
    • Even the Z-Fighters, or at least Piccolo, aren't innocent of this. When Cell managed to drain Piccolo's arm, Piccolo apparently seemed resigned to his fate of being absorbed by Cell and instead asks that Cell at least explain to him what he is, what his plans are, and how he came to be. Turns out, this was a gambit thought up by Piccolo (or rather, the Kami half of him) to not only get Cell to tell him everything, but also buy enough time to recharge his Ki energy so he could remove his arm and regenerate without weakening himself even further.
    • Eis Shenron pulled this off when defeated by Nova Shenron and Goku, successfully blinding Goku as well. Unfortunately, he didn't dull Goku's other senses.
  • Number 96 uses this trick in Yu Gi Oh Zexal. It purposely lets the duelist using its card lose to Yuma so that Astral will absorb its card, so that it can later take control of Astral. Fortunately for all involved, the plan fails, and Astral reabsorbs Number 96, making it, in effect, a real prisoner.
  • Rokudo Mukuro from Katekyo Hitman Reborn! does this during his fight with Tsuna. He pretends that he has given up and been defeated, asking Tsuna to kill him. After Tsuna refuses and turns his back on him, Mukuro attacks him.
  • Also done in one of the final episodes of D.N.Angel, when Dark surrenders himself to the army in the snow so he can get captured, thus getting closer to the painting..
  • And in Fantastic Children; Tohma makes it look like he is allowing Dumas to go into the 'spirit world' to save Helga by simply walking away...then punches him in the face to knock him unconscious so that he (Tohma) can go instead.
  • In Gundam 00 Ali Al Saachez is cornered by Lyle in episode 24 and briefly releases his weapon. Being in zero gravity, it floats right next to him. When Lyle hesitates, Ali grabs the gun and spins around only to get nailed. Nice try though.
  • Sailors Uranus and Neptune in Sailor Moon Stars pretended to do a Face-Heel Turn, submitting to Galaxia's will and even killing Saturn and Pluto, and then, when the going got good and they did enough damage, made an attempt on her life. Subverted in that Galaxia is seemingly immortal, and both Sailor Senshi are instantly destroyed upon the revelation of her immortality.
  • In an episode of Outlaw Star, Suzuka fights a foe who prostrates himself before her...then opens fire with two automatic weapons. She calmly deflects every shot.
  • Gunslinger Girl: In a rather clever move, Henrietta pretends to be a little girl who is running away from "the scary men downstairs". The two Mooks, who had her pinned behind a corner, figure they can take her hostage. Once she's next to them she kills both of them. Justified because she is a little girl and one wouldn't expect a little girl to be a killing machine. Too Dumb to Live because their organization knew that little girls were being used as assassins.
  • Done by Poland in Axis Powers Hetalia. He's cornered by Prussia in the Battle Of Tannenburg, so it looks like he's just gonna let himself die... but it was all an act to allow his partner, Lithuania, pull a Diving Save and pwn Prussia.
  • In One Piece, one of the many things "Foul Play" Don Krieg has been said to do is to fly a Navy flag, or a white flag of surrender, and then open fire without warning.
    • Played with during the Crocodile arc: Vivi attempted to quell a rebellion by having the Royal Army surrender. Crocodile turned this against her by having his agents open fire, leading the rebellion to think that the army's surrender was a trap, which in turn lead to an even fiercer battle.
  • Serial killer Benoit "Lady Killer" Depardieu in Tiger & Bunny tries pulling this one on Lunatic. Unfortunately for Depardieu, it seems he didn't get the memo on Lunatic's standard operating procedure.
  • The first episode of Tenchi Universe has Ryoko pull this stunt. After being confronted by Tenchi, she decides to hand herself over to Mihoshi of the Galaxy Police, only for Ryoko to torch the portable computer Mihoshi was using to read her (Ryoko) the Intergalactic equivalent of the Miranda Rights. Since Mihoshi isn't exactly the brightest bulb on the tree, she can't remember the rest, thus making any attempts to take Ryoko prisoner risks violating her rights, leaving Ryoko free to crash at Tenchi's place without fear of arrest.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first Firefly sequel comic, Mal is held up and told to drop his gun. He does, but before it hits the ground he kicks it into the face of his attacker, and it turns into a shoot-out.
  • Just when Green Lantern is about to pummel the living daylights out of Sinestro, Sinestro surrenders and even gives Green Lantern his ring. He poofs away a second later, along with his ring, which Green Lantern can't even remember if he really held.
    • Something similar happened in Kyle Rayner's guest spot on Superman: The Animated Series, only in reverse. Kyle surrenders, apparently depowering and giving Sinestro his ring... which promptly explodes in his face, as it was a fake.
  • Used to glorious effect by The Foreigner in an issue of Spider-Man. Forced into an Enemy Mine, The Foreigner promises Spidey that he'll hand himself in if Spidey helps him out. Spidey does, Foreigner survives... and then really does hand himself in. Of course, since he's not on any records anywhere and there's zero evidence to link him to any of his assassinations, the cops assume he's a lunatic and promptly turn him loose.
  • The honorable version of this trope was perhaps the Golden Age Wonder Woman's favorite stratagem. Typically, she would intentionally allow herself to be captured by foes she could easily defeat, in order to learn the villains' plans and/or be led to their hideout. After being Bound and Gagged and taken to the appropriate location, she would get free and kick everyone's ass. (Unless she messed up and let herself get tied up with her own lasso, or have her bracelets welded together by a man, in which case complications would ensue.)
  • In Marvel Comics, Belasco pulls something like this a couple of times. Trying to kill a surrendered enemy puts a black mark on your soul that puts you in his power. Stopping when he surrenders lets him get you again. Being good enough to boot him elsewhere lacks something in the way of permanence. (Of course, given the nature of Limbo, killing him might too.)
  • The Thunderbolts arc "Caged Angels" had four psychics intentionally surrender themselves to the Thunderbolts so that they could get locked up in Thunderbolts Mountain. Once there, they used their psychic abilities to cause havoc (read: Green Goblin crucifying Swordsman).
  • Played with in the opening sequence of DC Comics' famous 1971 Sgt. Rock story "Head Count", which follows Easy Company as they're fighting the Nazis from town to town in rural France. As the story begins they are charging a German pillbox, which quickly gets taken out with the help of a grenade. Two wounded German soldiers then emerge from the pillbox, staggering about aimlessly and holding up their arms. Sgt. Rock orders his men to take them captive, but just then someone opens fire and kills the two would-be prisoners in cold blood. Sarge angrily demands to know who fired, and is confronted with the same soldier who had hurled the grenade: Private "Johnny Doe", an orphaned child who had been drafted into the Army when he turned 18 and soon discovered he had a talent for ruthlessly butchering Nazis. Sarge accuses Johnny of murdering surrendering men, but Johnny points out that they never threw down their guns, so they didn't officially surrender. He further argues that the Germans could have just been faking surrender and that if he hadn't cut them down, they could have wiped out all of Easy Company. Sarge lets the matter drop after that, but things get worse as Johnny Doe grows bolder and bolder in his vigilantism.
  • A "deliberately allowed oneself to be caught" variation occurred in the Batman short story "Cracks." The Penguin kidnaps Commissioner Gordon's wife Sarah and locks her in a gas chamber, into which he will release poisonous gas at midnight. He then has himself deliberately arrested so that he will be taken to Gotham Police Headquarters and can taunt James Gordon about his inability to save his wife and generally gloat about how inferior Gordon is. (The Penguin has recently been all but ignored by Batman and the police, and he's desperate to prove to the city how much of a "tough guy" he thinks he still is.) The scheme backfires: Gordon becomes so enraged by the Penguin's taunts and his refusal to reveal Sarah's location that he delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the bird-man, even scorching his face with his own trademark cigarette holder. He then drags the Penguin by the collar up to the roof of the police building and threatens to throw him to his death, while the Penguin begs and blubbers. But before anything else can happen, Batman shows up with the rescued Sarah and persuades James to get a hold of himself.
  • Played for Laughs in Astérix; according to the comics, Vercingetorix surrendered to Gaius Julius Caesar by dropping his weaponry on Caesar's toes.
  • Averted in the "Valley Forge" arc of The Punisher MAX: Frank is surrounded by a bunch of Special Ops guys, and is tased over and over again by a guy who knows you do not take chances with him.
  • Gambit occasionally does this to lure his opponent closer to him, within grabbing range—-said opponents always forget he can turn anything he touches into a high explosive...

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 
  • Po and the Furious Five get surrounded by Lord Shen's guards in Kung Fu Panda 2, at which point they surrender instead of fighting them off, allowing them to infiltrate Shen's tower and destroy his ultimate weapon (a cannon). It comes to naught when Shen reveals he has way more cannons than they first thought.
  • Frozone uses this during a scene in The Incredibles: he and Mr. Incredible are rescuing civilians from a burning building, and they escape by crashing through a wall... into an adjacent jewelry store. Cornered by an extremely nervous and trigger-happy cop, Frozone fires a blast of ice that freezes the officer (and the bullet he just fired) in his tracks.
    Cop: Freeze!
    Lucius: I'm thirsty.
    Cop: I said freeze!
    Lucius: I'm just getting a drink.
    [takes the cup to his lips and drinks]
    Cop: Okay, you had your drink. Now, I want you to...
    Lucius: I know, I know. Freeze.
    [freezes the cop]
  • At the end of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the Beast spares Gaston after Gaston begged for his life and Belle showed up. As Belle and Beast are about to embrace, Gaston stabs Beast in the back, all wearing a very nasty Slasher Smile on his face, leading immediately to Gaston's Karmic Death. Probably justified, however, as while Gaston knows that Belle loves the Beast and tries to kill him for it, seeing them actually embrace is more than Gaston can stand.
  • Scar, in the climax of The Lion King, begs Simba for mercy, calls himself family, and promises to do anything to make it up to him (run away), only to fling hot ashes in his face. It fails just as badly since Simba manages to throw Scar off the edge and leave him to face the hyenas, whom he had made the foolish mistake of betraying.
  • In Peter Pan after Peter spares Captain Hook's life, with Hook attempting to using his hook since Peter threw his sword aside — conveniently forgetting that Peter can fly, which he does... and it's down into the mouth of the crocodile Hook goes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Double subversion in The Chronicles of Riddick. Riddick surrenders to the mercs and allows them to take him to the prison although he could easily slip from his bonds and gut the whole crew. But he doesn't need to as his capture is just a part of his plan.
  • In the original Die Hard, John McClane pretends to surrender to the thieves, but the audience can see that he has a gun taped between his shoulder blades. Sure enough, as soon as the thieves relax because McClane has his hands up and empty, McClane grabs the gun and opens fire.
  • The Fifth Element. In his role as Korben Dallas, Bruce Willis enters a room full of Proud Warrior Race Guys claiming he's going to negotiate, and shooting the leader on the spot.
  • In Blazing Saddles, main villain Hedley Lamarr refuses to duel hero Bart, claiming, "But I'm unarmed!" Then when Bart throws down his gun and puts up his fists, Hedley says "Sorry, I just remembered— I am armed!" and goes for his Derringer.
  • In Above the Law, Steven Seagal "surrenders" to a CIA torture specialist, who has Seagal strapped to a chair and injects some horrible brain-destroying drug directly into Seagal's corroded carotid artery— then has him released. But naturally, Seagal is too high on his own ego to be affected by any puny drug; and so Seagal is able to take out the whole army just by girly-fighting them.
  • Examples from the James Bond series:
    • In Casino Royale, Bond is surrounded by embassy guards. After the ambassador tells him to drop his gun, Bond drops the gun he'd taken earlier from the hostage, throws his hostage (and target) at them, then pulls out his own gun from behind his back, shoots the hostage and then some convenient fuel tanks. He escapes in the confusion.
    • In Die Another Day, when Bond Girl Jinx is cornered on top of an embankment, she raises her hands in surrender... and executes a perfect backwards swan dive into the water below, then escapes on a waiting speedboat.
    • Done again in Skyfall. In fact, the film was called out because it was already done by other two films in the same year.
  • In 3 Ninjas Kick Back, the old mentor kneels before his enemy before striking him low. This editor can't remember if it was a Groin Attack, though.
  • Similarly in The Karate Kid Part II, Daniel lets Big Bad take his money, then throw Daniel's wallet down on the ground; Daniel picks up the wallet, and then nails Bigbad with a Groin Attack (a trick which, coincidentally, Mr. Miyagi had taught him earlier that day), causing Bigbad to drop the money so Daniel can grab it and run.
  • Leonidas at the end of 300.
  • Early in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, when the Soviets (with thanks to their mole Mac) point their guns at Indy after his first attempt to escape, during his surrender and "last words", Indy simply says "I like Ike!" note  and proceeds to drop his rifle, the impact shooting a mook in the process and allowing Indy to escape. Though this may have been entirely by accident.
  • This happens to Danny in Hot Fuzz.
  • In the first Spider-Man movie, the Green Goblin "surrenders" to a few cops. They lower their guns and approach him, and he immediately beats them up. Spidey himself isn't fooled for an instant, but is too far away to do anything.
  • In the Stardust movie, Lamia pulls a variant off. After seeing her sisters dead, she pretends to let Tristan and Yvaine go... then catches them just as they're about to leave, and explains that she was just giving them space for a joyful reunion because if she'd killed Tristan outright while Yvaine was still broken-hearted, Yvaine would have been no use for the ritual. (And her sisters? Eh. More for me!)
  • In Braveheart, William Wallace begins his Roaring Rampage of Revenge by doing this to the local English garrison.
  • Played straight and then subverted in Last Man Standing. Midway through the film, Hickey asks another gangster if they'd kill an unarmed man, then pulls a hidden gun and shoots the other guy. He does the exact same thing again at the end of the movie, but protagonist Smith draws faster and kills Hickey.
  • In Private Benjamin, the Red and the Blue side are holding simulated war games. So Judy and her teammates in the Blue team go over in a truck to the Red team and tells them that the Blue team has surrendered, and they can get in the truck to go back to base. Amidst the cheering and applause, they get in, at which point they are disarmed at gunpoint; they've been tricked into allowing themselves to be captured!
  • Megatron resorts to this in Transformers: The Movie when, facing imminent death at the hands of Optimus Prime. Optimus doesn't buy it, but another Autobot tries to intervene, which gives Megatron an opening anyway.
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Obi-Wan does this in the first battle scene in the pilot movie. Strictly speaking he avoids it by prolonging the meeting to set surrender terms until his allies launch their sneak attack, but the principle is the same.
  • American Flyers offers a rare example of this trope that doesn't involve fighting. Near the end of the final stage of the Hell of the West bicycle race, hero David Summers and antagonist Barry Muzzin are the two leading riders when they see that Sergei Bellov, their only serious threat, can't keep up with them because of the thin Rocky Mountain air. Muzzin says to Summers, "Okay, we got him. Just sit back, and you've got second place locked up, okay?" Summers agrees, but when Muzzin is busy drinking from his water bottle a few seconds later, Summers charges ahead, providing the dramatic tension necessary for the race's ending.
  • The second The Omega Code movie has this trick being pulled against (against, mind you) the Antichrist, Alexander Stone. The final battle starts off as a fight between the forces Stone has on hand and those of the United States (who were supposedly there to finally give in and join the One World Order), backed by China (who have been waiting for the right moment to strike back after being forced under) and Italy (uh, Vatican power?).
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the Beast, a villainous Retired Badass employed this tactic twice in the film. The first time worked pretty well. The second time... well, he was trying to use it on Sing...
  • Used by Magneto to terrifying effect in X-Men.
  • Undercover Brother. Undercover Brother puts his hands up and pretends to surrender to the golf course guards, then throws metal hair combs to pin them to the wall.
  • Used twice in The Bourne Series - in Bourne Supremacy, when Bourne intentionally lets himself be caught in USA consulate in Naples, and in Bourne Ultimatum, surrendering to the NY police in order to hijack their car.
  • The title character of Hook attempts this on Peter Pan after Peter simply doesn't bother to kill him after their battle.
  • In Green Lantern, Hal Jordan gives his ring to Hector Hammond in exchange for Carol Ferris' life. After playing around with the ring for a bit, this happens:
    Hector: Hal, I Lied! (tries to blast him, but the blast stops inches from Hal's face)
    Hal: I Lied, too. (sends the blast back at Hector)
  • A variation occurs at the climax of Se7en. John Doe turns himself in, but only to ensure that his master plan of completing his Seven Sins goes off without a hitch.
  • In Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, Capt. Sherrypie surrenders to lure Emperor Pirk onto the space station Babel 13 where he intends to kill him. Pirk falls for it. He escapes, but now the two sides are evenly matched, and everyone dies.
  • This happens three frickin' times in The Outlaw Josey Wales. It's played straight twice by The Hero and inverted by the Union troops at the beginning of the film, who accept the Border Ruffians' surrender and promptly begin to gun them all down.
  • In End of Days, Jericho is dangling from a window. Satan offers to save him in exchange for his soul. Jericho appears to agree, but when Satan reaches over to pull him up, Jericho screams, "Fuck you!" and yanks Satan out the window, where he falls into the street.
  • Loki in The Avengers to sow discord among the good guys. They even notice he doesn't seem particularly bothered about being captured but are pretty much stuck with him, since the alternative is leaving him on the loose to continue a rampage that, according to Black Widow, has already killed eighty people in two days.
    Thor: Loki is a prisoner.
    Nick Fury: Then why do I feel like he's the only person on this boat who wants to be here?
    • Black Widow does this in her establishing moment in the movie, combining this trope with Wounded Gazelle Gambit. She is tied to a chair, being interrogated by thugs...and then her cell phone rings.
      Black Widow: I'm working. I'm in the middle of an interrogation here, these morons are telling me everything. You can't just pull me out...
      Coulson: Natasha. Barton's been compromised.
      Black Widow: Let me put you on hold. (Cue curbstomp)
  • The Town: One of the robbers does this when committing Suicide by Cop. Surrounded by a firing squad of cops, he announces that he's giving himself up, then leaps from cover with guns cocked. The police don't fall for it and riddle him with bullets before he gets a shot off.
  • In G.I. Joe: Retaliation Storm Shadow willingly gets himself caught as Snake Eyes, and even after being revealed to be Storm Shadow, he pretends his heart rate has gone down so that he can get out of the capsule and free Cobra Commander.
  • A form of this in Man of Steel: Superman voluntarily turns himself over to the US Army, but then demonstrates he can break free whenever he wants to. He doesn't attack them, but does demonstrate he could.
  • In The Dark Knight, this is part of Harvey Dent's Batman Gambit against The Joker, which hinges on Batman doing the right thing (saving Dent's ass).
  • In Sergeant York, when York captures several German soldiers, one of them manages to keep hold of one of his grenades and throws it after giving up, killing York's best friend Pusher.

    Literature 
  • The novel version of The Man with the Golden Gun has a wounded Scaramanga do this. He pleads with Bond to let him have his last prayers, which Bond does. Once he finishes, he pulls out a Derringer and shoots Bond with it. Bond wastes Scaramanga with his shot, but has to be hospitalized.
  • In the book-in-a-book in the novel The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, the Outlaw surrenders to Rangergirl so that (under her own code), she couldn't gun him down. The next day, he busts out of jail, slaughtering the many Texas Rangers assigned to keep him under wraps. (This is double-subverted when the fictional Outlaw tries it on his book's author.)
  • One of the Khaavren Romances in the Dragaera series has an occasion of this. "Paarfi" tells of a battle wherein the fearsome Sethra Lavode surrendered a crown to the opposing army without any effort to fight them. She then ordered her now puzzled and angry troops to fight until they had gotten the crown back, and they proceeded to completely wipe out their opponents.
  • In the Dirk Pitt novel Flood Tide, our hero Pitt and his sidekick face the enemy with their hands up... then pull out machine pistols from under their coats, revealing that the arms up in the air were fake.
  • Brian Jacques enjoys using this trope to show just how dastardly a character is, and as such it's a favourite tactic for the Big Bad characters in the Redwall series. They're nearly always successful, too - but usually against other baddies or their own disobedient Mooks rather than on the good guys. Here's a list:
    • Kurda with Slitfang in Triss; it works.
    • Sawney with Gruven the Elder in Taggerung; it works.
    • Mokkan with Lantur in Marlfox; it works.
  • After Sauron had been running around causing trouble for the elves for a while, the mighty Númenóreans get wind of this and gather up an enormous force to utterly annihilate him. When they form up to attack, Sauron's forces are so overwhelmed by the mere sight that they break ranks and desert him. Sauron, being both a shapeshifter and a silver-tongued snake, surrenders and persuades them to take him prisoner. Taken back to Númenor in chains, he eventually ingratiates himself to the point where Númenor is converted to Melkorism and convinced to mount a conquest of Valinor. Which leads to the Valar destroying Númenor and most everybody who lived there.
    • This follows an incident in which Sauron was captured by the Valar and almost capitulated for real- but ultimately his pride wouldn't let him.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, Cain uses this on the Warmaster. Well, technically, he suggested they meet to discuss surrender terms, and only at the meeting said it was for the Warmaster's surrender, but given the relative condition of their forces. . . .
  • Another Warhammer40000 example comes in the novel The Emperor's Gift, when Logan Grimnar surrenders himself to the Grey Knights, only to kill the Grand Master in charge and immediately teleport away. Granted, the Grey Knights opened fire on outnumbered and outgunned Space Wolves' fleet during the middle of parley in order to exact his surrender, so the Space Wolves didn't consider it a true offer of surrender in the first place.
  • This is one of Firestar's favorite tactics in Warrior Cats. Even he is surprised that his enemies keep falling for it after a while. Other warriors throughout the series use it on occasion, though it's usually subverted when their opponent doesn't fall for it and dodges the surprise attack.
  • In The Dresden Files, one of the Denarians removes his coin and surrenders right before the righteous heroes were going to kill him, knowing that the good guys won't kill him if he's no longer being demonically possessed. Harry, good Anti-Hero that he is, asks the Knights of the Cross to leave the room and then proceeds to take a baseball bat to the guy's kneecaps. Of course, even Michael didn't exactly object. The bastard deserved it.
    • This act of "mercy" backfires when this particular Denarian returns in Dead Beat and begins to extract revenge with a dull linoleum knife. He would have tortured Harry to death if Butters and Mouse hadn't pulled a Big Damn Heroes.
  • Happens a couple of times in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
  • The Lost Fleet, The Syndics are fond of this tactic.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls, the protagonist Ista surrenders to a besieging army of sorcerers. Once they bring her before their leader, Ista proceeds to send the demons possessing her captors back to the Bastard's Hell, removing her captors' sorcerous powers.
    • And also killing her, but that was more or less incidental.
  • In the first Kingdom Keepers book, the plan for defeating Maleficent was essentially saying "We give up," then stabbing her with Disney's Pen.
  • In Dirge by Alan Dean Foster, when describing the final events of the Humanx-Pitar War, the narration notes that the Pitar resisted to the last- many, when confronted by attackers, pretended to surrender, then attacked their 'captors' or committed suicide.
  • In the Wilbur Smith novel Warlock, the villain Lord Naja pulls this on the hero Prince Nefer after being defeated in battle. Nefer evades the attack, comments that he admires Naja for staying true to his nature, and kills him.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In Dark Rendezvous, Scout sort of pulls this to win a match in an apprentice competition. "Sort of" because she didn't give the actual surrender signal, which would of course have automatically ended the match. Her opponent, being a friend and a gracious type, took this as a useful lesson in paying attention.
    • Shortly after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader is lured to Kessel by rumors of Obi-Wan's presence. Instead, he finds nine Jedi Knights and Masters. He kills three of them before being disarmed (literally as well as figuratively), and while the others are closing in for the finishing blow he pulls this trick. Naturally, because they're Jedi, they fall for it.
    • In Iron Fist, Lara meets up with some Imperials to discuss continuing her role as The Mole for them. But she's also Becoming the Mask, so when they discover that her wingman Donos is close enough to be observing and plan to kill him, she tries to get them to surrender. When that doesn't work, she raises her hands - then closes them into fists, the signal for Donos to take the shot.
  • In Malevil, an Evil Poacher attacks the heroes from hiding, forces his son to surrender to them as their "lone" attacker, and lead them into an ambush. His son is too afraid to lie effectively and is quickly revealed to be too incompetent to have been the unseen archer. He gives up his father's plans.
  • Animorphs: in book 18 Ax is surrounded by Controllers and asks to surrender. When he's taken to a smaller room he immediately attacks the Controllers, pushing them back in order to dive out a window.
  • T. H. White's The Once and Future King has a comical jousting match between Sir Pellinore and Sir Grummore early in the novel. Grummore quickly knocks Pellinore from his horse and strikes his armored head repeatedly with his sword until Pellinore agrees to cry "Pax!" ("Peace!"); Pellinore finally realizes he's beaten and says "Pax"...but then quickly adds "Non!" ("Not!") under his breath and overpowers the unsuspecting Grummore. He soon has Grummore lying helplessly on his back and is trying to decide whether he should slay him. Grummore angrily orders Pellinore to kill him, since he refuses to live with the shame of having been bested by a cheater. Pellinore considers it, but then spares Grummore's life.
    • Pellinore and Grummore are both fairly old to be running around wearing several dozen pounds of hardware, and the description of the fight repeatedly stresses how hard it is to fight in armor, particularly since you're looking through what amounts to a keyhole and the sweat tends to run into your eyes and trying to wipe it away with your mail-clad fist risks giving you a concussion. By the point that Pellinore is knocked down, they're both extremely cranky despite both being fairly decent men. Like most things in the early part of the book, there's a moral here: if you put somebody in armor and make him fight, he's going to be pretty angry by the end even if he wasn't to start with.
  • In the Wing Commander novel Fleet Action, the Kilrathi propose a peace treaty in order to buy time for them to finish building their Hakaga fleet and to lure the Terran Confederation into a false sense of security. The treaty is granted, and would have worked if not for a supposedly disgraced Admiral Tolwyn actually being sent as part of a reconnaissance mission deep behind enemy lines that exposes the fleet, forcing the Kilrathi to launch their campaign early.
  • In This Rough Magic, Chernobog/Caesare pulls this on Giuliano. However, the ordinary soldiers he brought with him are also fooled, and drop their weapons. Once Caesare breaks his word, the enemy massacres his now unarmed soldiers.
  • A Brother's Price has Jerin captured by women who want to forcibly marry him in order to take the throne of Queensland. They aren't going to kill him if they can at all help it, but they could definitely do some unpleasant things to him, and they will kill his friend. So... he thinks quickly and claims total surrender, that he will be a good lover and husband, if they just don't kill his friend. Said friend is very surprised to find he was lying to get their guard down.
  • Halo: Evolutions - The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston J. Cole: A nasty space battle with a clever rebel ship resulted in Cole receiving command of the crippled Las Vegas. Cole signaled the rebel ship Callisto, declaring the crews' surrender. However, he then ordered his crew to place their last missile in the docking bay. When the Callisto docked with the Las Vegas the missile was fired directly into the corvette.

    Cole's faked distress signal was both a stroke of genius and breach of protocol so severe that UNSC CENTCOM dithered over whether to award him the Legion of Honor or to have him court martialed. Ultimately they did neither, to avoid setting precedent. However, from that point on Cole resolved to never again send a distress signal in enemy territory; no one would believe it. As he stated in his personal log: "Surrender, quite literally, is no longer an option for me.”
  • Even though most of the fights in the Honor Harrington series are among military personnel with every reason to avoid the trope, it does come up a couple times:
    • At Blackbird Base in The Honor of the Queen, the Royal Manticoran Marines lose several troopers to Masadan soldiers who concealed grenades. Some even do it to the RMMC field medics attempting to treat their wounds.
    • In Storm From the Shadows, the trope is ZigZagged: When, at the end of the Battle of Solon, Henke's HMS Ajax has been badly damaged, unable to flee and unable to abandon ship, she sets up a sneak attack hoping to take out some of the pursuing ships before she is destroyed. Then, unexpectedly, her engineering crew manages to clear one of the boat bays and the remaining crew starts evacuating using its small craft ... just minutes before the trap is sprung. Sadly, Henke realizes the problem too late, and loses two-thirds of her crew to their pursuers' counterattack.
  • A heroic exampled occurs in The Malloreon during a tense confrontation between two groups of sorcerers. Liselle, nascent assassin, suddenly breaks down and collapses in front of the head villain, begging him not to kill them. While everyone is reeling from this uncharacteristic show of cowardice, she pulls a venomous snake out of her bodice (having trained it to live there in preparation for just such an occasion) and hurls it in his face.
  • A similar example to the above happens in The Wheel of Time. In a confrontation within the World of Dreams, where anything you imagine can become real, one of The Dreaded is kicking all kinds of good-guy ass. One of the heroes gives up and starts begging for mercy, which is really just a way to get close enough that she can imagine an unbreakable Power Limiter collar around the enemy's neck.
  • The climax of Tyrannosaur Canyon has one of the protagonists pull this against the final villain. It's a truly desperate gambit since it relies on a) choking key information out of the target and b) hoping said information is enough to change the allegiance of the villain's Knight Templar backup.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Murdoch Mysteries: When Inspector Brackenreid and Constable Crabtree find James Gillies' hiding place in "The Murdoch Trap," the criminal extends his hands out as if allowing himself to be handcuffed, but it turns out that he has a small gun concealed beneath his right sleeve. Before he can use it, though, Crabtree shoots him in the shoulder with his rifle.
  • The alternate version of Carter in the Stargate SG-1 episode "There But For The Grace of God" surrendered to a squad of Goa'uld Jaffa so she could get close to them to suicide-bomb them.
  • Used by the good side in the Series 3 finale of Doctor Who, in which Martha is apparently forced to surrender to the Master after her location is betrayed. Once she is taken back to the Master's base, she briefly submits to his order to kneel before telling him that it was part of the plan all along and just a way of distracting him while the plan was being put into motion.
    • Subverted previously in the second series: the Doctor surrenders to the Cybermen, under the pretence of being willing to undergo cyber-conversion. However, these Cybermen aren't the ones he's used to, and are programmed to 'delete' anyone who didn't immediately surrender.
    • Used against the Family in "The Family of Blood". The Doctor surrenders the fob-watch that had previously contained his Time Lord form while he lay disguised as a human, and while surrendering it, trips and switches a whole bunch of switches, which cause the ship to explode soon afterwards.
  • In the Babylon 5 prequel "In the Beginning", Sheridan uses a false distress signal to lure a Minbari ship into a mined killzone. Subverted in that the Minbari were not accepting surrenders in any case, and the "distress signal" was simply a lure to come and destroy a supposedly defenseless enemy. However, Sheridan's ship was in fact in distress, having suffered severe damage and lost its Hyperspace capability, so it wasn't the more traditional "fake injuries to sucker the other guy" version of this trope.
  • One episode of Cheers has Diane pulling this on Sam in a game of ping pong. Sam is not amused.
  • In one episode of Frasier, Frasier and Niles' Sibling Rivalry has finally spilled over into physical violence, and Niles has Frasier in a headlock:
    Frasier: Niles, stop! What are we doing? We're psychiatrists, not pugilists!
    [Niles lets up]
    Frasier: I can't believe you fell for that! [Frasier gets Niles in a headlock]
    • Made even funnier when Niles immediately tries the same trick on Frasier, who is not fooled.
  • Dylan does this in an episode of Andromeda. He even throws away his weapon. Towards the enemy. Set on overload...
  • In Power Rangers Zeo, the power draining robot Main Drain is battling the Power Rangers after draining all the electricity in the city. During the zord battle, he vastly overpowers the Zeo Megazord, even being mostly unfazed by getting hit a few times with the sabre. After the Rangers finally get in a punch and push him back, rather than immediately resume attacking like most monsters of the week would do, he gets on his knees and begs for mercy, King Mondo is also seen begging for his robot to be spared. The Rangers fall for it even though the monster was winning and would have no reason to surrender when monsters who were actually losing would continue fighting. Of course, Main Drain takes care of their stupidity and burrows his tentacles underground to attach to the Zeo Megazord, suck out all its power and temporarily break the sabre in half. Later, Main Drain tries the same thing with the new Red Battlezord but Tommy doesn't fall for it and finishes him off.
  • Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan The heroes use this in the finale to finally destroy Black Magma.
  • In the series finale of Star Trek: Enterprise, the Villains of the Week board Enterprise and manage to get Trip Tucker and Capt. Archer at gunpoint. Trip tells them he'll help them disable Enterprise and decks Archer, then opens a wall panel in the next hallway and starts fiddling with the plasma relays. He then delivers an epic Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    Trip: I gotta tell you one more thing. (beat) You can all go straight to Hell. KABOOM!
    • This example raises a bit of Fridge Logic, unfortunately. Why did Trip do this when Enterprise had troops aboard that were searching for the pirate boarding party? Was he trying to avoid a hostage situation or something?
  • In the series premiere of Copper a bank robber tries to pull this on the detectives. With his accomplices dead or dying, he throws away his gun to show he is surrendering. He then pulls out a second revolver and tries to kill the coppers but they are Genre Savvy to anticipate this and shoot him dead as soon as he stands up.
    • A variation is used by Corcoran in the second episode. He lets his enemies think that he has given up protecting Annie after Haverford's thugs break his leg but when Haverford tries to rape Annie Corcoran is waiting behind the curtain and kills him and the Contessa
  • In Criminal Minds: Part of Gideon's backstory is a bomber taking out six of his agents this way.
    • It nearly happens a separate time in the episode that reveals this. Two agents have cornered the supposed UnSub in a storage room. He throws his gun to them and is about to come out, but then Gideon, in another building, puts all the pieces to the puzzle together, and realizes that the cornered guy is strapped with bombs. He tells the agents to get out, and they do so, right before the bombs strapped to the guy detonate and he becomes paint on the walls.
    • One of the UnSubs from "Identity" also pulls this.
    • The Reaper makes an attempt at this at the climax of "100," but Hotch doesn't buy it and beats him to death. With his bare hands.
  • In The Pacific, a Japanese soldier surrenders to the US forces. As the Marines frisk him, he pulls the pin on the grenade he had hidden behind his back.
  • In Smallville, Clark surrenders and kneels before Zod (who was possessing Lex). When Zod holds out his hand to be kissed, Clark grabs it with the phantom-absorbing crystal.
  • Castle: In the episode "Hunt", Castle is captured by Volkov, the Russian crime boss who had kidnapped his daughter Alexis. Turns out it was all part of the plan; Volkov confiscates a two-way radio from Castle and demands that CIA agent (and Castle's father) Jackson Hunt surrender himself or he will shoot Castle. Hunt replies via the radio, "You won't kill my son, Volkov. Because you'll be dead!", before the radio explodes in Volkov's hand. Cut to a flashback scene where Hunt outlines his plan; when the radio explodes, Castle uses a smaller explosive he smuggled in a watch to blow the lock off Alexis' cell, then grabs her. The two then head for the back exit and run like hell until they get to the US Embassy.
  • In the Person of Interest episode "Aletheia" a mook from the anti-government surveillance group Vigilance is held at gunpoint by mooks from the No Such Agency that runs the Machine. He quotes Thomas Jefferson's line, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," as a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner and pulls the pin on a frag grenade he had behind his back.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Champions adventure The Great Super Villain Contest. Villains in the Contest may use the "Oh My I'm Caught" scenario. They allow themselves to be captured by the authorities so they can engineer a massive breakout from jail, freeing other prisoners and scoring a large number of points.

    Theme Parks 
  • One alien in Men In Black: Alien Attack at first begs the riders not to shoot, only to reveal to them that they just walked right into an ambush.

    Videogames 
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, after ending up in the Alternate Universe and beating the Joker, Batman finds himself surrounded by police. He slowly raises his hands...then presses a button, emitting a loud screech that disorients the entire force long enough for him to escape
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas "falls on his knees and begs", at a foe's request, getting him within reach of a weapon. The leisurely "pick a weapon" phase after it, however, defeats the point.
  • In Resident Evil: Code: Veronica, Claire is confronted by Umbrella troops standing in front of a wall full of Exploding Barrels. So she drops her gun in "surrender"... then sweeps down, grabs it, and opens up on the barrels, blowing the troops away. She ends up being captured, though.
    • Notable not only for this reason, but because Claire shows Neo-like speed— she ducks so fast she catches the gun before it hits the ground.
      • The same maneuver is pulled by Alice in Resident Evil: Apocalypse but without the barrels.
  • One boss in Star Fox 64 says he "admits defeat" halfway through the battle... then promptly turns his Humongous Mecha around, revealing that the back of it is a Wave Motion Gun.
    Falco: Are you gonna listen to that monkey?
    Boss: Haah! You're not as stupid as you look!
    • Alternatively, if Falco's not there:
  • Emperor Gestahl pulls one of these with his entire empire in Final Fantasy VI.Or so he planned to do until Kefka promptly turns the tables to his favor.
  • One quest in World of Warcraft has you do this with a group of murlocs so you can more easily get at their leader to kill him.
    • Another quest in Cataclysm asks you to subdue rather than kill an ogre mage, who pretends to surrender but then suddenly grabs you and dangles you from a high place until he's surprised in turn from behind.
    • Speaking of Warcraft, in Warcraft II Ogrim Doomhammer pretended to surrender to Anduin Lothar. When Lothar arrived to talk terms, Doomhammer and his Orcs ambushed and killed him. Doomhammer believed this would break the Alliance's will to fight, but its effect was exactly the opposite: After Lothar's death, his most trusted general, Turalyon, took up his shield and sword and led the armies of the Alliance to victory over Doomhammer and his Orcs. In Warcraft III, this was retconned to Doomhammer defeating Lothar in single combat in order to make the former seem more honorable and sympathetic.
    • Continuing on Warcraft, one of the Pandaren male's jokes can be interepreted as this:
    Pandaren male It is said: If you cannot beat them, join them. I say, if you cannot beat them, beat them. Because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise.
  • In the penultimate level of Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Face-Heel Turn Doug Shetland lowers his weapon after delivering a Motive Rant, claiming that "I know you wouldn't shoot an old friend." At this point, you're meant to prove him wrong; if, however, you lower your own gun in turn, he pulls a gun on you and meets his Karmic Death. The protagonist then says: "You're right Doug. I wouldn't shoot an old friend." Which either means he doesn't consider him as a friend anymore or he doesn't literally shoot him (he knifes him).
    • At the end of Splinter Cell: Conviction, to rescue the president, Sam allows Grim to take him prisoner, you are to Mark the quintet of Splinter Cells holding the president hostage. Once the Big Bad, Tom Reed, gives their Motive Rant, you get to steal his gun, and you and Grim take out the Cells before Sam beats some information out of Reed.
  • Used in the first quarter of the final battle against Dr Nefarious in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal:
    Dr. Nefarious: (melodramatically) * gasp* I am defeated! I have no choice but to throw myself at your mercy!
    Ratchet: (surprised) Really? I mean... (sternly) That's right, Dr. Nefarious! Your evildoing is finally—
    Dr. Nefarious: (running away) SUCKER! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Ratchet: (furious) Grrrrrrr...
  • Jon Irenicus' "surrender" to the Cowled Wizards in Baldur's Gate 2—though he waited much longer than the standard I Surrender, Suckers; specifically, until he was brought into prison. Then he broke out and slaughtered every Cowled Wizard he could find.
  • Heroic examples in Knights of the Old Republic on the Leviathan mission. the Hawk and crew are captured. Player Character, Bastila, and Carth are busy being "interrogated" by Carth's treasonous former boss. You pick one of your party members to escape and bust you all out. Mission and Jolee are particularly funny options.
  • Used in God of War 2 by, you guessed it, Kratos. It starts with Zeus' attempt to deliver a Coup de Grâce on him, leads into an Action Commands sequence and ends with him pinned against a rock with Kratos' blades and being repeatedly stabbed through the stomach with Blade of Olympus. Kratos had fully intended to allow himself to be killed, but Zeus made the mistake of vocally refusing Kratos's "surrender terms" before striking.
  • Used in Gunstar Heroes, after defeating Black. The first power gem he throws you is a fake which explodes in your face when you try to pick it up, possibly making for nasty Kaizo Trap if you're low on health after the bossfight, and getting him to cough up the real one involves shooting him some more. It's caught at least one newbie totally off-guard.
  • The Punisher for the Xbox system. Various enemies, beaten into submission or just scared silly by overwhelming firepower, will surrender or even seemingly turn against their own side. Don't be fooled. About half of these will grab a weapon as soon as the Punisher's back is turned. Canon-wise, this makes sense as the Punisher is rarely willing to leave a mook alive.
    • A better example from the same game: all but the final mission is a flashback of Frank's rampage through New York City (and an island in the South Pacific). At the end of the second last mission, after killing a lot of Yakuza, he uncharacteristically unloads his guns and walks out to face the police, who arrest him. This is, of course, his gambit. The goon behind all the chaos in the city that Frank isn't directly causing is Jigsaw, who's incarcerated at Riker's Island. Frank gets arrested so that, when Jigsaw's escape plan hits the prison like a ton of bricks, Frank can also escape and kill Jigsaw.
  • One of the missions in Guild Wars: Nightfall has you surrendering to an enemy force in order to pull off a rescue/jailbreak.
  • The fight against Destroyman in No More Heroes ends this way: after Travis stabs him through the chest, he weakly cries for help, causing Travis to pull out his sword and turn away in disgust. Destroyman promptly whirls around and opens fire with dual chest-mounted machine guns, only to get sliced in half.
    • In the cutscene that plays after defeating Bad Girl, she throws a tantrum and has Travis Pinned, bashing him with her bat in the same way she does in her Non-Standard Game Over. Travis tells her he admits defeat and that she won, which causes her to stop beating him long enough to die of bloodloss. Travis admits after that it was close.
  • Gilgamesh crosses this with NOT! in Final Fantasy V after getting badly beaten:
    "I suppose I misjudged!"
    Casts Haste on self
    "Fighting all four of you..."
    Casts Protect on self
    "...is just too tough for me..."
    Casts Shell on self
    "NOT! Ha, I lied! Like a rug! Oh, I kill myself!"
    Attacks heroes with Jump
    • If you're playing the heroes as Dangerously Genre Savvy, you can derail this by casting Reflect on Gilgamesh before he starts buffing himself, which will give your team the buffs instead.
  • A legitimate and rather useful if dangerous tactics in Desperados (Think Commandos on the Wild West). Unlike it's predecessor here enemies who spot an unarmed and motionless PC sometimes will not shoot right away but will instead draw a bead on him and slowly approach in order to knock the hero down. Naturally their approach route will just happen to pass an ambush with your knife-thrower at the ready. Can be played even straighter with your Action Girl as a bait as she is fast enough to kick an approaching croon right in the forbidden zone.
  • Many of the mooks will do this in the game God Hand. The men will kneel and beg for mercy, and the girls will sit down and cry. This is a variant though, since Gene can't actually arrest them or anything, his only option in this scenario is either ignore them until they stand up again, use the opportunity to perform a running attack on them, or somehow approach them and perform Gene's finishing move (suplex or spanking). Beware that getting too close to them will cause them to sucker punch Gene.
  • The Joker, master of this trope in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Joker lets Batman capture him after a failed hostage scenario with the Mayor, just so he can get back into the Asylum. When he gets to where he needs to be, Joker easily defeats his armed guards and releases his minions from prisons. The only character who wasn't carrying an Idiot Ball in letting Joker get that far was Batman, of course.
    • The final scene where he claims his plans were for naught and shoots himself under the chin....with a syringe full of Titan
    • Batman: Arkham City invokes the trope a few times as well: First is when Penguin begs for Batman to not hurt him, but then detonates the iceberg monument while Batman was still on it (although in this case, given that Batman implies that he might end up hurting him, its probably more closer to responding in kind), and the Joker/Clayface also arranges for his mooks to arrive after claiming that Batman won.
  • Also a useful but dangerous tactic in Army Of Two: The 40th Day. One player pretends to surrender, while the other gets into position. When they're ready, either the surrendering player quickdraws, or the other player opens fire. Or both players surrender at once, and the team gets a few seconds of Bullet Time to kill all the forces approaching them.
  • The first boss in Tenchu 2 will sometimes pretend to beg for mercy before attacking.
  • The Japanese do this in Call of Duty: World at War near the end of the campaign, resulting in the deaths of either Polonsky or Roebuck. You can save only one of them.
    "[The Nazis] have tried (to surrender) before. Do not let them."
  • In Donkey Kong Country, King K. Rool pulls this. Just after you defeat him, fake credits start to roll across the screen. They're pretty obviously fake, but seconds after they finish, K. Rool gets back up and continues to fight. Subsequent tries have him just fall over and then get back up, though the first time it happens is likely to catch a player off-guard.
  • In Jet Force Gemini, there were Yellow Drones, who, immediately after seeing you, would surrender. Usually, they would just stand there, being an open invitation to the Video Game Cruelty Potential, but on occasion, when you turned your back, they'd lob a grenade at you... which would then blow up in their face because you were right next to them, damaging you, but blowing them to Ludicrous Gibs. Regular Blue Drones would do this too if caught completely off-guard.
  • In the classic Mega Man games, Dr. Wily used to do this a lot. By the 7th game, Mega Man gets so tired of it that he stops Wily's "I surrender" routine and prepares himself to blast his head off.
    • A possible subversion occurred in Mega Man 8, where Mega Man tells Wily that he's pulled this trick on him multiple times beforehand before Mega Man ends up infected by the Evil Energy. Its unknown what exactly Wily intended to do, but his reaction when Mega Man was being infected with Evil Energy implies that his surrender was genuine, or at the very least that if he was planning to pull off the trope, he certainly didn't intend for it to happen that way. Also averted outright in regards to 10, where after Wily was beaten by Mega Man, he ends up genuinely needing to surrender in such a way that even Mega Man seems to see it as genuine now (Wily caught a cold).
    • And at the end of 9, this is actually lampshaded in one of the most humorous moments in the game.
    • Dr. Wily also does this in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity In this case, he even tricks Mega Man into looking in another direction before making his getaway.
  • In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, after the first battle with Hammerhead, he says that he "gives" when Noir Spidey has him pinned. However, the moment he lets his guard down Hammerhead shows us one of three reasons why he got his name.
  • A very common tactic in Civilization, regardless of whether you're on the winning or losing side of a war, is to declare peace for between 10-30 turns (depending on the game) and then re-declaring war the moment the peace treaty expires. If you're winning, it lets you extort resources from your opponent that would be lost if you annihilated them right away, and it gives you time to scout out any key cities that you haven't located already. If you're losing, it gives you time to build a tech advantage and retaliate with a stronger army, or set up a diplomatic alliance against your opponent that will bog them down with other wars while you prepare to attack them yourself.
    • In later games, the AI-controlled civilizations will remember your actions and be more wary in their dealings with you.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog games Eggman does this quite a few times, pleading that he'll reform provided Sonic doesn't beat him to a bloody pulp, just before activating a new machine. Most notable is that in Sonic Unleashed he does this at the end of the Cold Opening, right at the beginning of the game. Sonic doesn't really buy it but he's willing to stand around joking about it because he's currently high on God Mode as Super Sonic and theoretically nothing can hurt him. Sadly, that was an important requirement of the trap.
  • Hostile NPCs in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will occasionally beg for mercy when they're down to their last bit of health, but even if you stop attacking them, it usually doesn't take more than ten seconds before they're back on their feet trying to kill you again. Naturally, the Genre Savvy course of action is to always go for the kill.
    • This is sometimes averted in outdoors fights. A bandit or what-have-you that begs for mercy might just keep on running.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, this is an actual Ability of the 'Smuggler' class — they can use a 'Fake Surrender' to greatly reduce their Aggro, essentially drawing fire away from them and onto their (presumably more robust) teammates. With the right skills, it can also free them from any movement-restricting effects. Combine it with their 'Dirty Kick' and another skill that lets them move much faster for a short while after using THAT, and you've got the recipy for the picture-perfect 'I Surrender, Suckers'.
  • In Touhou, Yuyuko Saigyouji appears defeated(during the sixth stage of Touhou 7 - PCB) and suddenly, lines appear on the screen and she comes back with a survival spellcard at one last attempt to take you down.
  • In one of the Campaign scenarios from Age of Mythology, the opposing army gives Arkantos the option of surrendering in exchange of a quick death. Ajax responds by shooting one of their soldiers with a ballista and then saying "We surrender, move a little closer!".
  • In Hitman Absolution, 47 can do this when detected by enemies, feigning surrender by holding his hands in the air before disarming and knocking unconscious whoever is holding him at gunpoint when they approach him. If other enemies are nearby, 47 will instead take them hostage as a human shield, giving the player an advantage in the gunfight to follow.
  • Some perps in SWAT 4 are prone to doing this. After telling them to drop the weapon and get down, the perp will slowly do this... and then suddenly open fire on you.
  • The Pokémon move Feint Attack is based on this. The user approaches the target, gets it to drop its guard, then throws a punch.

    Webcomics 
  • The Bloodrage family inside Looking for Group do something like this—they surrender...to their bloodlust.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Pulled in the prequel book Start of Darkness, when Eugene Greenhilt tells his son Roy about why he seeks to destroy the Big Bad of the series, Xykon. He meets Xykon when he walks in on a confrontation between him and Eugene's master, the archmage Fyron, over a crown Xykon stole from Fyron's collection of artifacts. Xykon and Fyron engage in battle, and Xykon ends up being overpowered by the wiser and more experienced Fyron. Xykon, realizing he's beat, surrenders and offers to return the crown. Fyron makes the mistake of dropping his guard, and Xykon responds by grabbing an award from Fyron's desk and beating him to death with it.
      • Subverted in that he really was willing to call it off (the crown is virtually worthless, he just thinks it looks cool) until Fyron repeatedly insulted him in an extremely patronizing manner.
    • Kubota does this when cornered by Elan. He lets himself be captured, then starts ranting about how he would subvert the legal system and come out as a winner. Eventually subverted as Vaarsuvius kills him anyway, just to avoid another side-plot.
  • In Erfworld, Parson uses a fake surrender to lure Ansom into a trap.

    Web Original 
  • Associated Space has Fatebane pull this trick on the Volsian battlecruiser IVS Measured Amount of Vengeance.
  • The Evil Overlord list has a particularly thoughtful one: pretending to morally reform so the hero will leave him alone for a few months.
  • In Mr. Welch's list:
    18. When surrendering I am to hand the sword over HILT first.
  • In Worm, Skitter lures Echidna/Noelle into a trap this way in Chapter 19.6.
    • Later, the PRT is convinced that she is attempting something similar when she abruptly turns herself in after wiping out or assimilating every other gang in the city. she isn't.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender , Azula's "surrender" is immediately followed by her attacking one of her opponents and making a successful getaway in the ensuing confusion. All she needed was for Iroh to glance at Toph, and she takes advantage of it.
    • Also, the Gaang thinks Zuko's doing this when he tries to let them take him prisoner if they won't let him join.
      • Humorously inverted in the same episode: After Zuko (accidentally) burns Toph, the rest of the Gaang decides it would probably be safer to take Zuko prisoner. Sokka, however, thinks that this is some sort of trap... for Zuko.
        Sokka: First, we get him to offer himself as our prisoner... And then we jump him, and then we really make him our prisoner!
    • Aang did it himself in the second episode, allowing himself to be briefly captured by Zuko just to take the fight away from noncombatants.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Bronze Tiger does this to turn the tables on a trio of mystically empowered martial artists in command of an undead army.
    Bronze Tiger: You remember Wong Fei's most important lesson? What to do when you're outmatched? Cheat.
  • Employed ingeniously on an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch by model and actress Rebecca Romijn, not that it did her much good in the long run. (Oddly, she was playing the good guy at the outset of the feud, but in the course of the match underwent a Face-Heel Turn, cheating early and often even as her villainous opponent fought fairly.) She and fellow model Naomi Campbell were scheduled to settle a grudge match in the ring, but had to fight in their underwear after commentator Nick Diamond accidentally splattered their clothes with Cheez Whiz. During the fight, someone threw a riding crop and a pair of handcuffs into the ring, which Naomi used to cuff Rebecca and whip her on her upper thighs as she lay prone on the mat. Rebecca begged for mercy, promising Naomi that she would get a gift if she let her go. Naomi liked this idea and uncuffed Rebecca, who kept her word by giving Naomi a wrapped package; Naomi opened it and pulled out a beautiful new fur coat. Rebecca urged Naomi to try on the coat, which she did - and then, just as Rebecca had predicted, a gang of deranged anti-fur protesters appeared out of nowhere to beat Naomi to a bloody pulp. Rebecca then stepped forward to kill the gravely injured Naomi, but Naomi managed to work up enough strength to vomit up her own stomach and squeeze it in her foe's direction, spraying Rebecca with lethal gastric acid that caused her to melt down into a puddle of flesh-colored liquid with her blue bra and panties floating on the top. No question about it: Celebrity Deathmatch is a weird show.
  • In the first episode of DuckTales, the lead Beagle Boy takes Huey hostage and demands Scrooge hand over the map they're trying to steal. Scrooge does so, but once Huey's safe, he has Louie and Dewey let loose a vat of hot chocolate on the Beagles.
  • Futurama: A bit oblique, but:
    Zapp Brannigan: Fly the white flag of war!
  • Hudson pulls one of these off in the Gargoyles animated series, when he needs to get into an underground base to get the MacGuffin.
  • The Herculoids episode "The Mutoids". After the Herculoids defeat a number of the title creatures, the Mutoid leader Mutak pretends to surrender to lure Zandor into a trap.
  • Pulled off, much to Valmont's dread, in the second season of Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Terror Island". Race Bannon holds up his hands and pretends to surrender to a jeep full of Mook guards. He then tosses a grenade into the jeep and dodges behind a building as the grenade explodes, killing them.
  • Transformers Animated:
    • Megatron does this to Omega Supreme (who he was inside of); who had disarmed him, restrained him and identified him as justifiable to use lethal force on. Megatron then pretends to surrender in order to trick Omega Supreme to take him back to Cybertron. He then manages to take almost complete control of him.
    • Used by Blitzwing in "Velocity".
    Bumblebee: Okay, Blitzwing. Put up your hands!
    (Icy) Blitzwing: My pleasure.
    *shoots the overpass above Bumblebee*
    • The Liar Starscream clone (aka Ramjet), who had seemingly been captured by Lockdown to be handed over to Sentinel Prime, deliberately let slip that he wasn't really restrained by saying; "And here I am. Completely disarmed and helpless"- which Prowl caught on to, based on the fact that every word out of his mouth is a lie.
    • Also used in Transformers: The Movie, where Megatron begs for mercy from Optimus as a ruse. Optimus isn't falling for it and shows every sign of being about to finish it, but Hod Rod doesn't realize this, and attempts to save Optimus. Megatron promptly takes Hot Rod as a hostage, and the battle ends up killing Optimus.
    • Beast Wars brings this up before the first season finale. Megatron finds an alien artifact and needs time to plan for an alien invasion, so he seeks a truce with the Maximals so that he isn't wasting time and resources fighting them. Optimus Primal calls him out on it, saying that when a Predacon wants a truce, it means he needs time to reload. Megatron admits that is normally true.
  • The Wizards of the Black Circle pull one of these near the end of the fourth season of Winx Club. They claim that they no longer want to fight the Earth fairies and that they would even like to give up their powers, however, they are actually planning creating a dark abyss which will eventually destroy all the Earth fairies. Nabu is able to stop this, but dies shortly afterwards as the black magic from the abyss drained him of all his energy.
  • In a similar manner to the Roald Dahl example listed below, Abe Simpson, when held at gunpoint by a journalist trying to kill him, raises his hands in the air as if to surrender, only to suddenly grab the brake cord of the train car above him, forcing it to stop unexpectedly as well as burying the journalist with several hat packages.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Skeletor pulled this off so often it's a wonder why the heroes ever believe him in the first place. In the pilot of the 2002 series he does it twice in the same fight!
  • Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Con of Rath" had a part where Ben, Gwen and Kevin, while carrying a peace offering in their current mission, are attacked by the Inkursians. Ben, at this point stuck in the form of Rath, just gets on the enemy ship and beats up all the Inkursian soldiers on it before asking to their leader, Commander Sangfroid, to either fight him or leave. Aware he doesn't stand a chance against Rath, Sangfroid agrees to leave... and then start shooting at them again once Rath is back on his own ship.
  • X-Men Done by Cyclops in the very first episode ("Night of the Sentinels")
    Sentinel: Surrender, mutant.
    Cyclops: Of course. *puts hands up* Not! *takes off glasses*
  • In one episode of Sonic Sat AM, Sonic pretends to give up so he'll be taken to Robotnik and the roboticizer. When Robotnik demands to know why he's there, Sonic hams it up, saying he can't take the stress anymore and his nerves are shot. Robotnik is unconvinced, and after a little banter, orders the SWATBots that brought Sonic in to put him in the roboticizer anyway. They grab Sonic, but he quickly trashes them and takes Robotnik for a spin in his own command chair as a diversion before getting to the true purpose of his mission: stealing parts from the roboticizer to fix the deroboticizer the Freedom Fighters have been working on.
  • In the ThunderCats episode "The Ghost Warrior", after Jaga disarms Grune the Destroyer, Grune surrenders and offers him a handshake, then snatches the Sword of Omens from him when he accepts. It turns out Jaga saw it coming and let it happen, because Only the Chosen May Wield, leading to the Sword banishing Grune back to the afterlife.
    Lion-O: You knew Grune was lying, didn't you?
    Jaga: Better to be an honest enemy than a false friend.
  • Young Justice uses this trope when the Runaways accidentally boom-tube into the middle of Reach guards. Static starts surrendering, the others go along with it, and as soon as the enemy is distracted they ambush them.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, Twilight surrenders "all the alicorn magic in Equestria" in exchange for her friends, knowing that she is about to get the final Key to the mysterious chest, which would give the Mane Six the power they needed to defeat Tirek.
  • One of the Nightcrawlers in the Storm Hawks pulls this before he and his allies invade Terra Klockstoppia. He lets them torture him so he can glean some information and, when he learns they have crystals but don't use them, he busts free and attacks.
    Nightcrawler: So you have crystals... you just don't use them. That is... unfortunate. It means your city... is defenseless.

    Real Life 
  • Borderline "historical" example: The Trojan Horse ploy is a variation, in that the Greeks didn't actually "surrender" (i.e. give up their weapons and put themselves in their enemies' power). The Trojans turned out to be Made of Plasticine.
  • This trope led into one of the nastiest incidents in the Finnish Civil War - the Huruslahti Lottery, aftermath of the Battle of Varkaus, Finnish Civil War 1918. The Reds pretended to surrender, and while the victorious Whites advanced over the Huruslahti bay ice, the Reds opened machine gun fire. Naturally the Whites were not amused at all. The Whites then made an all-out charge, crushing the Reds. Immediately after the battle, all captured Reds were ordered on line on the ice, and after the Whites had killed all the wounded Reds, they shot every fifth man, "the lottery", on the line as vengeance.
  • A rare real life example is to be found in the animal world. Apparently, one species of ants uses a similar trick to gain slaves for their colony. After an attack on a neighbour anthill, a young queen remains on the battlefield, playing dead. Once the enemy carry her into their hive's food storage chambers, she 'gets better', kills and eats their queen and copies her pheromone makeup, causing the entire hive to treat her as the queen. The ants are doomed to die out (for lack of a genuine queen) but until they do, they work in the fake queen's home colony as if it was their own.
  • A variant occurs in Roald Dahl's autobiography, Going Solo. When confronting a group of German colonists intent on returning to Germany (to fight in World War II against Britain), Dahl raises his hands... as the signal for every gun under his command to fire a single shot over the Germans' heads.
  • One of the interviewees in Studs Terkel's "The Good War" relates that this was a common SS tactic. They eventually stopped accepting surrender of SS troops (which in turn may have had bearing on the Malmedy massacre.)
  • A standard ploy by Heel Professonal Wrestlers, so much so that it has become a Discredited Trope.
  • During the invasion of Iraq, there were reported instances of Iraqi soldiers who pretended to surrender and attacked the American soldiers when they came close.
  • In Rush's song "The Necromancer" a group is on an adventure to find and stop said necromancer. When they find him they immediately surrender in awe of his power only for By-Tor to attack while he isn't paying attention.
  • At the battle of Kilmichael during the Irish war of Independence, a group of British soldiers fake surrendered before commencing fire again, causing the deaths of three IRA men. The IRA commander then ordered that they be wiped out to the last man.
  • The Battle of The Waxhaws in The American Revolution. Usually seen as a brutal slaughter of helpless Americans by the nasty British, a recent theory suggests that the British thought they were victims of this trope -their leader's (Banastre Tarleton) horse was shot down, just as a flag of truce was going up, a flag not all the Americans noticed at first. It got ugly.
  • It is not known with 100% certainty that the Japanese were pulling this trope when they practically wiped out the Goettge Patrol during the Battle of Guadalcanal, but to the few surviving Americans, it sure seemed like it.
    • Considering that it's Imperial Japan, it's not all that surprising nowadays. Although, isn't lying dishonorable too?
      • They probably believed that dishonoring themselves by lying is not as bad as dishonoring themselves by being taken prisoner, humiliating their empire.
      • Mostly a mistake that comes from Common Knowledge understanding of Bushido. Lying was seen as, at worst, a demonstration of weakness. The Honor Before Reason view of Bushido is a similar situation. The reason the Japanese soldiers fought so hard was because they were threatened with execution if they lost, and most were convinced the United States would execute them if they were captured.
  • During the American Civil War, Nathan Bedford Forrest did this a lot.
  • This is actually against the Hague Convention because it makes acceptance of genuine surrender impossible, thus ensuring a perpetual state of warfare.
  • A Nerf gun called the "Secret Shot" had a second barrel in the handle, so you could shoot your opponent as you pretended to surrender.
  • Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict accuse one another of this, especially when the Oslo Treaties are brought up: Israelis point out ‘Arafát’s speeches claiming the agreements were just an ‘I surrender, suckers’ stage in a plan that will eventually kick out Israel and establish the State of Palestine, while the Palestinians mention that Israel ignored its obligations to take down the Israeli-based settlements past the Green Line. But of course, this is the Arab-Israeli conflict we’re discussing, so please adhere to the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.
  • This is why cops are taught to have one officer cover a captured suspect while the other secures him. For the suspect, even twitching funny is a good way to get shot.
  • In Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens were at 4th down and 7 yards to go, deep in their own territory with 12 seconds remaining and only a 5 point lead. If the San Francisco 49ers scored a touchdown, the Ravens would lose the game. Instead of a straight punt out of their own endzone, Sam Koch, the punter, held the ball and ran sideways out of the endzone, scoring a safety, giving 2 points to the 49ers. This allowed the Ravens to punt (or "free kick") from their own 20 yard line with only 4 seconds left in the game. On the ensuring runback, the 49ers receiver was tackled after game time expired, winning the game for the Ravens.
  • Audie Murphy's army buddy, Lattie Tipton (fictionalized as "Brandon" in To Hell and Back) was killed this way by a German machine gun in Southern France. Murphy's Roaring Rampage of Revenge ended up earning him the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor (he would famously earn that later anyway).


Back StabTrying to Catch Me Fighting DirtyKick Them While They Are Down
Insignia Rip-Off RitualA Dishonorable IndexKick Them While They Are Down
Invulnerable KnucklesFight SceneJackpot Knockout
I Can Rule AloneBetrayal TropesI Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure
I Didnt Mean to Turn You OnExample as a ThesisI Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure
Is Nothing Sacred?Stock PhrasesIs That a Threat?
Irrevocable OrderMilitary and Warfare TropesIt's Raining Men

alternative title(s): White Frag; Heel Faux Turn
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