"It was Beauty that killed the Beast."
Whenever the powerful and dangerous but misunderstood monster
is being calmed down by their best (usually small human
) friend, Love Interest
, or Morality Chain
with a Cooldown Hug
, some idiot
will rush in and attack
Candidates include: a twitchy Red Shirt
, the "real" love interest to the hugger who is scared/jealous
, or an angry General Ripper
who can't stomach a non-violent resolution. Just as often it's the heroes'
plan to calm down the beast only to attack it. If this doesn't end in tears with the monster's death, then he'll just rampage some more and jump away
. Expect the attacker to be berated, possibly demoted, but just as often left in power and unrepentant with his tactics
. The hugger may or may not lose their calming ability afterwards, especially if they agreed to it as a plan to attack the monster.
Usually followed by the hugger suicidally running towards the massed array of guys with guns shouting "No! He's not a danger anymore!
" Heaven help the ill advised ambushers if they harm the hugger in the crossfire, because there is now no one
standing between them and a literal Unstoppable Rage
. Bonus points if the attack is a large explosion which would hurt the hugger, forcing the beast to shield them and abscond with them to safety. More generally, this can sometimes apply to efforts made to stop Let's You and Him Fight
or Right Hand Versus Left Hand
, and as such is a form of Poor Communication Kills
If the huggee does not, in fact, respond to the attempted hug and hurts the hugger, or does so accidentally trying to hurt those that interrupted the hug, expect an immediate reaction at having kicked the Morality Pet.
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- A non-superpowered example can be found in Trigun. During the Whole Episode Flashback, a crazed member of the starship crew (who had just killed someone with a gun and wanted to shoot Knives next) was being calmed down by Rem, but was killed by another crew member who hadn't seen the whole ordeal and made a split-second decision to protect Rem.
- This is also echoed when Wolfwood kills Zazie The Beast just when it seems like Vash might be on the verge of talking him down.
- If you stretch it a little, what triggered Majin Buu's transformation can be seen as such a scene. Mr. Satan (Hercule in the dub) has, over a period of time (and a number of miserably failed assassination attempts), befriended Buu and, in the process, essentially defused a threat that had proved capable of beating anyone's ass it so chose. And then some douchebag shoots Buu's puppy, followed by shooting Mr. Satan himself. Healing Hands applied to both cases, but what was the rule about what not to do again when someone is much more powerful than you?
- Played with in volume 15 of the Violinist of Hameln manga. The berserking monster Hamel was calming down until a bunch of well-intentioned red shirts pelted his back with arrows; in his subsequent fury he stabbed through the first person he saw - the hugger Flutein front of him. This was The Plan by the Monster Clown designed to get rid of what the baddies perceived as the party's most dangerous member which would be Flute and her amazing ability to make people feel better about themselves, but it backfired spectacularly when the hugger staggered back up and kept on hugging, eventually cooling Hamel down. The Red Shirts even apologized for screwing things up when the battle was over.
- In the Alabasta Arc of One Piece, every time it looks like the Rebel and Royal Armies are calming down and just might be able to talk things out, someone from each side starts firing again, starting up the fighting again. Justified in that these people were planted in both armies by Crocodile specifically to do this.
- In Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn manages to talk Stella down from her Destroy-assisted rampage, and there is a momentary scene where they psychically hug each other... and then Stella spots the Freedom approaching, flashbacks to it shooting down Neo and goes right back to destroying everything in sight.
- In episode 4 of Darker Than Black, Mai is going into a fiery freakout due to Power Incontinence and a very bad day, when her dad hugs her and tells her he loves her. However, we then see from another angle that he was holding a knife; he was planning to kill her to stop the destruction. Things really go downhill when the bad guys attack him.
- He was planning to kill her as the only alternative to her ongoing degradation into a drooling superpowered zombie he could give. Though the shock worked just as well.
- Subverted in the Fruits Basket manga, where Kureno hugged Akito and gave him or rather, her a Start Over Again Speech. Akito responded by getting pissed at Kureno's half-assed attempts to save him and stabbed him in the back with a knife.
- In volume 15 of A Certain Magical Index Accelerator's prevented from landing the killing blow on the story's Big Bad by one of the few people he respects. It's right when Accelerator hesitates that said Big Bad attacks the other person. This was a very bad move on his part.
- In Date A Live, Shido can seal a Spirit's powers by making her fall in love with him and then kissing her, turning her into a normal girl. His dates always get interrupted by the AST, who believe the only way to deal with Spirits is to kill them. This always results in the Spirit going berserk and kicking the AST's collective asses, while Shido has to run in and calm her down.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, when Vivio finally managed to talk down the villain of the library Story Arc, Fabia, the Hot-Blooded and very pissed-off Harry launched a massive fire blast at the True Witch, which naturally soured said Witch's mood by a lot. Then subverted when Vivio's continued insistence to not only want to hear her out, but also protect her from the anger of Vivio's own allies, successfully stopped Fabia from continuing her attacks, giving Einhart and Lutecia enough time to stealthily arrest her and put a seal on her magic, ending things peacefully.
- The former Trope Namer is The Incredible Hulk. Every time Rick Jones, She-Hulk or any other friend or loved one is close to calming him down, someone attacks him or the person calming him down, thus making him angry again. It's usually General Ross.
- Subverted in Ultimate Avengers. Betty is calming down the Hulk after he pretty much beats up all of the Avengers. Captain America sees the Hulk going towards Betty and is about to attack the Hulk before Nick Fury explains the situation to Captain America. The Hulk manages to turn back into Bruce without any problems... aside from the superheroes he's already beaten up.
- A variation occurred in one issue of Grant Morrison's JLA run. The General had just transferred his mind into the body of the utterly invulnerable "Shaggy Man". Batman attempted to subdue him using hypnosis, which nearly worked against the Shaggy Man's diminutive processing capability - but then Superman and a bunch of other heavy hitters plowed into the monster.
- Also, in the introductory arc for Weapon X in Exiles, John Proudstar and John Proudstar (it's an Alternate History thing; one of them is in his home reality as Alpha Flight's Shaman and the other hopping around as the Exiles' Thunderbird) had nearly calmed down the Hulk, when Weapon X's Deadpool shot him in the head just to deliberately tick him off again and start a fight.
- And at one point in normal Marvel continuity, Deadpool required some of the Hulk's blood after a gamma reactor messed up DP's Healing Factor. The Hulk had cleared off a small area of Manhattan because he was dying, and had resigned himself to the fact. Deadpool goes in, riles him up, and impales him on a signpost. Got the blood, though.
- One of the most terrifying What If? 's ever involved Bruce and Rick not making it to the trench, producing a mindlink between the Hulk and Rick, with the latter terribly ill from radiation exposure. Rick repeatedly tries to warn the Hulk away— until General Ross decides to torture Rick to draw the Hulk back into the line of fire, and he dies. Prompt a Hulk rampage rarely equaled prior to World War Hulk, killing off a good third of the (admittedly very small at the time) hero population of the Marvel Universe.
- At one point in The Avengers, the Avengers were fighting a villain. Just as she was giving up, Yellowjacket blasted her, renewing the fight. This led to Yellowjacket's court-martial, which indirectly led to Hank Pym (Yellowjacket's secret identity) hitting his wife, Janet van Dyne-Pym, aka the Wasp. This has become a defining moment for both heroes.
- Interestingly, this did actually happen somewhat by accident — Pym genuinely hadn't been paying attention for a few crucial moments because his weapon was malfunctioning and he was busy trying to fix it.
- Funny thing is that Cap kicked him off for "recklessness". Seems like a real Double Standard for a team with Iron Man on it.
- Also in The Avengers, this happened frequently to arch-villain Ultron due to his twisted "family tree" among the Avengers. Kurt Busiek's 'Ultron Unlimited' storyline subverted this by having the Vision offer Ultron a hand of friendship in one panel, the rescue team Avengers charging into Ultron's lair in the next panel... then, after the page turn, Ultron blasts the Vision in the face before the rescue team arrives.
- Happened once in Spider-Man when the Molten Man went after his step-sister, Liz Osborn (wife of Harry Osborn). Spider-Man showed up to stop him, enraging Molten Man and greatly annoying Harry, who had almost managed to talk the guy down before Spider-Man came blundering in and ruining things.
- Happened in the penultimate chapter of the X-Men's (in)famous Dark Phoenix Saga. Jean Grey had gone completely Dark Phoenix, destroyed a solar system, and trashed her entire team. Twice. Cue Cyclops, the last X-Man standing, and a truly touching I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight speech, fueled by The Power of Love. She almost seems to be willing to come around... when she gets brain-blasted from behind by Professor X. Nice job breaking it, Mentor.
- To be fair, it actually worked. The Professor had a psionic battle with the Dark Phoenix in the center of Jean's mind and won, with Jean's help, bringing her back to normal. Then the Shi'ar Majestrix appear, mighty pissed off that Jean destroyed a solar system, and decide she has to die. The Professor at least calls for a trial by battle between the X-Men and the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. The X-Men are getting owned and Cyclops and Jean are the only ones left, until the Imperial Guard attacks them at once and one manages to hit Cyclops. That's when Jean has a massive Freak Out and completely flips the script, bringing back the Dark Phoenix. At this point, Jean could've wiped out Imperial Guard with literally nothing more than a passing thought, but she realizes that if she unleashed that power she wouldn't stop with them. (Official What If? stories have shown that she would've destroyed the entire universe.) So before she completely reverts to Dark Phoenix...she kills herself.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man Harry Osborn is giving a verbal cooldown hug to Norman Osborn (whose powers are related to the Hulk's). Then Tony Stark shoots him. Unusually this does take him down rather than just making him mad, but it set up a lot of trouble for later on.
- In Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi Jedi turned Sith Ulic Qel-Droma reunites with his old friend Nomi Sunrider, genuinely repentant for his Face-Heel Turn, and in the process convinces an angry Jedi out for his blood of his Heel-Face Turn and that killing him would not bring her satisfaction. And then he's shot in the back by a random spacer. To make matters worse, he gloats about it and complains about the horrified Nomi not giving him any credit for his accomplishment. This would have been a Shaggy Dog Story with a Heel Face Door Slam for Ulic if he hadn't been shown becoming a force ghost. The angry Jedi who'd been out to kill Ulic before notes that if he hadn't turned her away from The Dark Side, she would've killed said spacer very painfully for what he'd just done.
- The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) could be considered the trope maker if not the Ur Example.
- After Hogarth calmed The Iron Giant, the communist-fearing Agent Mansley called in a nuclear strike on a town full of people. The very second after it's no longer needed. Cue Heroic Sacrifice on the Giant's part to save the town.
- Happens to David and Alex at the end of An American Werewolf in London, although it's debatable whether or not she was actually getting through to him.
- An amusing part of Independence Day was where a news report was specifically warning citizens not to do this. Not that it helped...
- X-Men: The Last Stand. Just when Logan managed to calm down the Phoenix (Jean Grey), the military's reinforcements arrive and despite his "NO!" start firing anti-mutant needles at her. Cue Dark Phoenix blasting everyone to shreds.
- It's worth noting that in that scene, Jean had been in a majorly unstable state thanks to the Phoenix but hadn't actually fought during the Alcatraz battle... until the military's attack, which made her snap.
- A non-superpowered example occurs in the 1996 movie Set It Off, a drama movie about four minority women who become bank robbers for various reasons. At the climax of the movie, the four end up cornered after their last robbery goes wrong. A group Mexican Standoff between the robbers and the police occurs as a result. A sympathetic officer tries to talk them down so that things can end with no one getting hurt, and though they seem to be going for it, a Red Shirt cop decides that it would be smarter to open fire on the heavily-armed and quite agitated group, fatally shooting one of the girls. At the end of the day, several cops (including the idiotic Red Shirt) are dead, as well as 2 other members of the group, with the only living member of the four escaping to Mexico.
- In The Incredible Hulk: After forcing Bruce to Hulk out at the university, General Ross hits him with everything the soldiers have at their disposal. The Hulk is neither amused nor stopped. In a moment of relative quiet, during which the remaining soldiers are running for their lives and the Hulk is standing still (though still furious), Betty gets close to him and her presence calms him a bit. She reaches out to him, and he's appeared to have calmed right down... and then an air strike starts tearing up the field.
- Though to be fair to Ross, he actually tried to call this one off. Mainly to save his daughter from being blown up.
- In Children of Men, the British infantry and the Uprising stop fighting once they hear the cry of the first baby born after the global calamity that rendered the humanity infertile. True to this trope, some idiot restarts the carnage.
- With a rocket launcher, no less.
- In the 2005 King Kong, Kong's rampage through New York is stopped only when Ann comes to him voluntarily. He takes her gently and absconds to Central Park where they have a happy, peaceful moment playing in the snow... cue military attack. Happens again a few minutes later, when a quiet moment is interrupted by attacking biplanes.
- In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man almost manages to talk down Electro and convince him to come with him and get help. Despite the police telling everyone to stand down, a sniper shoots Electro anyway (Electro had stepped into water and accidentaly discharged. The sniper thought he was making a move). Electro goes completely berserk and he thinks Spider-Man was setting him up, causing him to hate the hero.
- In The Wolfman (2010), Gwen gives Lawrence a Cooldown Hug in the end, but that angry mob just had to come by and ruin everything.
- In Small Gods Brutha goes out to speak to the united army invading Omnia and convince them that while they'll freely surrender and disarm, pillaging and conquering the kingdom will only continue a cycle of violence. At which point an impromptu Omnian defense force shows up, making it look like he was just keeping them talking.
- Used in Professor Branestawn's Treasure Hunt, with the Diddituptite Islanders. The Professor had realized both that the Diddituptites were renowned for both being cannibals and having a Feast dance - which the Professor happened to know. Then Colonel Dedshott arrived with the sailors on the ship (long story) and a massive fight broke out. However, it was all happily resolved in the end.
- Odd example in Galaxy of Fear. Tash found a Tykebomb, Eppon and befriended it, only to have it leave her when its creator the Big Bad showed up. Later it attacked her at his order, but she appealed to their friendship and it started backing down and showing signs of turning on the Big Bad. But he had an Explosive Leash for just this occasion.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who ("Robot"). Sarah Jane Smith just had the Killer Robot calmed down when Sergeant Benton appeared in the doorway and, naturally thinking his friend was about to be attacked, opened fire with his submachine gun. Benton was rather miffed at Sarah's lack of gratitude.
- In the series episode The Doctor's Daughter, just after the Doctor and his companions convince the two sides of a war that they can be friends, and share the thing they've been fighting for, the leader of the humans shoots the title character, although she ultimately survives.
- Happens in Cold War when the Doctor and Clara encounter a frozen Ice Warrior on a russian submarine. As Ice Warriors have a reputation for being honorable warriors (and this in particular is their greatest war hero, and also possibly the last survivor of his people) he proceeds to very, very gently talk sense into him, avoiding any hostile action... when a russian sailor steps in and tries to take down the alien with an electric shocker. Predictably, the Ice Warrior regards this as a declaration of war and vows to annihilate all of humanity in response.
- At the end of the Stargate SG-1 episode Menace Daniel has just calmed down a mostly-innocent but unfortunately powerful girl who is also incidentally the creator of the Replicators, possibly convincing her to call off her "toys" when Jack bursts in and shoots her. Subverted in that it's debatable how likely a good resolution would have been no matter what Daniel did. Also, the Replicators are all destroyed after this. It is unclear whether she had them self-destruct, or if they did so because Jack shot her.
- One episode of Criminal Minds features a paranoid schizophrenic taking hostages on a train because of his delusions. Agent Reid, whose mother is mentally ill, makes a connection with him and seems to be about to talk him down...when one of the other hostages non-fatally shoots him.
- "A Real Rain" is a possible example. Gideon is talking down the Vigilante Man, who has taken a hostage. The guy actually does let go of the hostage, and starts to slowly get up, when Hotch shoots and kills him (he was still holding a gun, and its left ambiguous about whether or not he was actually going to use it).
- "Distress" is an inversion: the team uses the suspect's army buddy to make him think the arresting SWAT team is the cavalry coming to his rescue (he was having a psychotic break and thought he was in a war zone) until a kid rolls up on his bike out of nowhere; the suspect goes for the kid (trying to save him from the gunfire in his hallucination) and the SWAT team is forced to take the kill shot.
- In the Haven episode "Stay", a naked "wild-man" breaks into a store and raids the food supply. Audrey calmly talks to the man, offers him a sweater, and is well on the path of getting him to come with her to the police station. The store's owner loses patience, barges up to the man and orders Audrey to quit fooling around and arrest him already. The wild-man goes berserk, tears the store owner's throat out with his teeth, then runs out.
- Deliberately invoked by Aurum in the Bad End of Disgaea 3; realizing that Raspberyl's attempting a Cooldown Hug to stop Mao's Superpowered Evil Side he immediately attacks them and kills her, thus sending Mao completely over the edge.
- In Dead Space, the Marker serves to suppress the Necromorphs and calm them down, but only when on the Pedestal that originally held it. When Issac finally returns the Marker to the pedestal, the Hive Mind immediately calms down and the Marker thanks him for doing so. At which point The Mole comes in and tries to steal it again. Karmic Death ensues.
- An early scene in Dead to Rights: Retribution has Jack Slate and his dad attempting to calm down a couple of Union thugs and "just talk." Cue Redwater and his team suddenly shooting the thugs down and provoking a huge firefight.
- Near the end of Final Fantasy IV The After Years, the party must fight several Eidolons to free them from the villain's control. If the party continues attacking once they come to their senses, the Eidolons will be Lost Forever. (Particularly frustrating if you've already put in a command prior to the Cooldown Hug speech popping up...)
- Ashley Williams in Mass Effect gets accused of doing this a lot - if you take too long to talk Wrex down on Virmire, she will kill him. However, if you have enough points in Charm or Intimidate or have done Wrex's family armor quest, it's easy to talk him down - Ashley only steps in if you tell her to or there's no other solution.
- Ashley (or if she died on Virmire, Kaidan) in turn goes through the exact same situation in Mass Effect 3. Once again, the lethal option only comes up once it's clear neither side will back down.
- In Corpse Party if...: PAST END, it's the Tragic Monster who initiates the hug in the first place, followed by Yoshiki taking advantage of this to run them both through.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends movie "Destination: Imagination", Frankie succeeds in calming and befriending World, the god-like imaginary friend that lives in the toy box who's emotionally unstable from years of being left alone, only to have Mr. Herriman show up and say exactly the wrong things to anger it, leading to the end of the toy-box world and World going One-Winged Angel on the group.
- In South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, Kyle has just convinced the armies of Canada and the U.S. to stop killing each other, so naturally his mom screams "Noooo!" and shoots Terrence and Phillip — thus allowing Satan to bring a thousand years of darkness upon the Earth.
- A variation from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: in "Over a Barrel," the buffalo and the Apple-loosan settlers are caught up in a land dispute, with the buffalo chief Thunder Hooves promising to trample the entire town at high noon. Just as the clock strikes twelve, Little Strongheart convinces the chief not to go through with it, and the ponies heave a sigh of relief...only for Chief Thunder Hooves to be riled up again by Pinkie Pie reprising a song from earlier in the episode that he disliked.
- A song that, ironically enough, was trying to convince him not to attack the town in spite of the fact that it wasn't even necessary anymore.
- Rainbow Dash interrupts peacemaking between Pinkie Pie and Princess Luna with a lightning bolt (a prank), in "Luna Eclipsed".
- Legion Of Superheroes Timber Wolf reverted to his bestial state when he discovered that it was him that killed his father, Chameleon Boy and Phantom Girl were with him at the time. Phantom Girl discovered that the changes are linked to his emotional state and nearly succeeds in calming him. Before he could revert back to normal however, the noise alerted the Science Police to their location and rush to bring Timber Wolf down. This caused him to have another (albeit smaller) freak out and knocks them aside to flee the planet thinking he's too dangerous to be around anyone.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes,, in the episode "Everything is Wonderful," Hank Pym is trying to talk down Simon Williams (who let himself be turned into an energy being to get revenge on Tony Stark). He just about gets Simon to stand down when Stark busts in, repulsors blazing. Made doubly tragic in that had Tony simply told Simon why he bought out Williamstech in the first place, none of it would have happened.
- In Tony's defense, he tried to tell Simon earlier. A few times. Simon just wouldn't listen.
- Ron Artest, who was well known for his tough attitude on the court, got into an altercation at the end of a game, and rather than letting it escalate, he lay down on the scorer's table. A fan took this opportunity to throw a drink on Artest, which led to him going berserk and charging into the stands.
- And pounding on the wrong guy.
- And setting the Pacers back nearly a decade.
- At the Battle at Waxhaw Creek during The American Revolution, the Continentals tried to surrender to the British forces after sustaining high casualties. Then some prat shot the horse that Banastre Tarleton was sitting on. The British, believing that the surrender was a ruse and that their commander had just been killed, massacred the retreating Continentals. This, in return, encouraged the Continentals to give no quarter to British soldiers either in the remainder of the war.