I've Come Too Far

"If I apologize or feel regret, everything will be over. I'll never... be able to reach this place."
Griffith, Berserk

In a moment of crisis, a hero or a villain might look back and declare: "I've come too far..." to stop now. This is a desperate kind of determination. A common variant on the phrase is, "We haven't come this far just to give up now!"

A frequent reason for why a villain may not do a Heel–Face Turn and have an Ignored Epiphany instead. They may cross the Moral Event Horizon as a result. It may also be a case where the villain realizes that he's evil but feels he's come too far to deserve redemption. This is occasionally a case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, in which you reason that everything you sacrificed will be in vain unless you sacrifice even more to reach your goal. If you've come so far that reaching your goal requires only a tiny push, it's "more economical", so to speak, to go through with it.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch justifies his uncertainty about the Zero Requiem plan by claiming that too many people have been sacrificed for them to stop. This would ordinarily not fit the trope, except that he was responsible for many of those sacrifices.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar does one of these when his old teacher tries to get him to give up his alchemist-murdering ways. Interestingly, he later does have a Heel–Face Turn of sorts and later is there to stop Mustang from passing the Moral Event Horizon and then having to do one of these himself.
  • Griffith of Berserk provides the page quote. It's his motivation for sacrificing his friends so he can become a demon. Even when shown with an semi-idyllic future where he lives peacefully with Casca, he finds he cannot abandon his dream when the Godhand show him a vision in which he steps over the corpses of those who have already died following him.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Aion reflects on how only six of the Sinners survived the first battle of their rebellion, and as the survivors, they were obliged to honor the sacrifice of the fallen by continuing to fight.
  • This is Johan's response to being forgiven by his sister in Monster.
  • Light Yagami of Death Note feels this way, especially when considering his options in the second arc.
    • When L suggests a course of action that Soichiro refuses to brook, he argues, "It's just a bit further." Which might figure into the Tarot Motifs in the anime.
  • In Future Diary, this is Yukiteru's justification for jumping off the slippery slope, starting wholesale slaughter of bystanders and eventually killing his closest friends in their quest to become Deus' successor, justifying it that once they become God, they can resurrect all the people they killed. Unfortunately, Death isn't Cheap in the Mirai Nikki universe, and while he may be able to restore their bodies, he cannot bring back their souls, and at best he would only have lifeless shells - a fact Yuno knows only too well, since she won the game in an alternate universe and travelled to the current one after failing to resurrect Yuki.
  • In Attack on Titan, this is at least part of what drives Reiner and Bertolt to continue their mission regardless of personal feelings or growing doubts. After everything they've already done, the only thing they believe is left for them to do is complete their mission or die trying.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, this is the core of Zeheart Gallette's motivation. He has seen many comrades die, often at his command, for the sake of Lord Ezelcant's "Project Eden". When he later finds out that Project Eden is not a cause he agrees with, he pushes on trying to fulfill it regardless, because if he didn't, then all the lives he sacrificed would be for nothing. He repeatedly tells himself that he's come too far to stop now as he orders more and more people to their deaths, which of course only compounds the problem.
  • In Naruto, Hashirama tries to reason with Madara one last time before their final battle. Madara replies with this trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Flintheart Glomgold expresses this sentiment the second time he tries to beat Scrooge McDuck in a contest of wealth, and resorts to trickery to win: "I've betrayed my dear old mother's fondest hopes! I've turned myself into a scoundrel — all to win the title of world's richest duck! I've got to win!"
  • In World War Hulk, the Earth-based heroes and the Warbound start swapping "too far!"s like trading cards.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/Pokémon fanfic A New World, A New Conflict, this is what Sev feels about his hatred of humans and why he can't let it go.
    Sev: I want the hatred to stop, but my heart still holds it close. If I forget it, then I will forget my friends who’ve…died helping me fight them. What would they have thought of me if I renounce everything right now? Weak, that is what.
  • Following the first murder in the Umineko: When They Cry fanfic Redaction Of The Golden Witch, the one responsible decides that since they've already got blood on their hands, they might as well kill somebody else so they can make the human sacrifice.
  • In the Lilo & Stitch fanfic Starlight, Experiment 628 argues that it's too late for him, that he's 'chosen his path' and there can only be destruction upon it after Lilo offers him forgiveness and a new life.
  • The reason Spike doesn't reveal that he accidentally killed Prince Blueblood in the first chapter of the Death Note/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fusion Fic The Dragon's Notebook is that he believes that he's already done too much.
  • In the The Legend of Spyro fanfic The Legend of Spyro: A New Dawn, Deadlock turns Pyrus' plea for her to stop down because she believes she can't turn back any more.
  • When they activate in The Winx Club Loops, the Trix reveal they had realized how bad they had become in baseline, but felt they had done far too much evil to be ever accepted back. This leads to them trying to atone the very moment they start Looping.
  • One of Keitaro's biggest problems in The Beast That I Am is that he can't even consider changing the status quo by say evicting the troublesome tenants or applying to a different school, because he feels that doing so would invalidate the years of effort he's already invested. It doesn't occur to him that the status quo is him getting beaten for any slight mistake, including others (the story starts with Naru entering Pervert Revenge Mode because she walked in on him changing in his own room), and that since Shinobu can now become She-Hulk, things will change regardless of what he wants.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Pebble and the Penguin: "I didn't come three thousand miles and lose my best friend to lose to the likes of you!"
  • Finding Nemo: Marlin and Dory have finally made their way to Sydney from the Barrier Reef... only to get scooped up by a hungry pelican. Unfortunately for the pelican, this trope kicks in for Marlin:
  • Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2 gives off this feeling as the Soothsayer continuously tries to talk him out of his desire for conquest. But with the only people whose love he craved having died from grief due to his own paranoid actions, he feels he has nothing left to live for anyway.
    Shen: (solemnly) The dead exist in the past, and I must tend to the future.
  • In Joseph: King of Dreams, the lead brother, Judah, is clearly heartbroken as he sees Joseph being dragged away by slave traders, but one of the others dejectedly states that they've gone too far to renege on the deal.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Chance admonishes Shadow (who was admitting defeat after seeming to have broken one of his legs, saying he was too old to keep going after such an injury and survive).
    Chance: [to Shadow] You pushed me this far, now I'm pushing you the rest of the way! You know, back in the woods, even when things looked really bad, I always thought we'd make it because I thought you were too stubborn to quit! Well, you're not going to quit, not now, not when we're this close! Now, try again!
  • The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday
    Sam Longwood: I've survived two avalanches, three blizzards, five Indian uprisings and seven presidential elections, but I've never been owned by no woman nor dog...and I've come too far down the road to let it happen to me now.
  • In Downfall, Adolf Hitler uses these very words (or rather, the German equivalent) during his infamous rant. Also an example from Real Life.
  • Played for Laughs in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The two leave their apartment and head to the elevator, stoned, on their titular quest. Kumar notices he forgot his cellphone. When Harold offers to run back and get it, he quickly declares, "No...we've gone too far already." It is literally right down the hall.
  • The Matrix Revolutions:
    Morpheus: Can we make it?
    Niobe: We ain't come this far...
  • Played for Laughs in Tromeo and Juliet. Upon discovering that they are brother and sister, Tromeo and Juliet declare "Fuck it, we've come this far," and move to the suburbs and raise a family of deformed children.
  • Sarah uses the phrase almost word for word in Labyrinth when she is in the Oubliette.
    I'm not giving up now, I've come too far!
  • In Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, this is Danny's reasoning for summoning Pumpkinhead, even though (as Spoony pointed out in his review) there was nothing stopping them from just walking away.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, as Picard loses his temper with Lily when she suggests destroying the Enterprise rather than continue trying to fight the Borg.
    Picard: I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds, and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they've done!
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker tries to convince his father Darth Vader to make a Heel–Face Turn. Vader says "It is...too late for me, son." He's already realized that what he's doing is wrong, but believes he's so far beyond the possibility of redemption that it would be pointless to try. Later in the movie, he changes his mind when Luke is about to be murdered by the Emperor. Redemption Equals Death ensues.
  • The Lone Ranger: The reason the captain leading the American forces joins the villains; by the time he finds out what's going on, he's already killed too many innocent Native Americans and would be held responsible for their deaths.
  • In Captain Phillips, the lead pirate says "I go too far, Irish", when Captain Phillips (whom the pirates call "Irish"), suggests that they need to surrender because the U.S. Navy will never let them get away.
  • In The Mad Magician, Don Gallico acknowledges that he's beyond all saving as he prepares to murder Bruce and that when the time comes for the legal system to come down hard on him, he'd rather be electrocuted, since he'll be going to hell anyway.
    Lieutenant Bruce: Gallico, you don't know what you're doing!
    Don Gallico: Yes, I know! They'll say I'm mad, quite mad! They'll lock me in jail for life, put me in a padded cell with a straitjacket! No thank you, I'll take the chair!
  • In the The Avengers (2012), Loki says this almost word for word to Fury when Fury tries to convince him not to declare war on Earth.
    Fury: This doesn't have to get any messier.
    Loki: Of course it does. I've come too far for anything else.
  • In The Goonies, Mikey in his Rousing Speech mentions that together they managed to come further than the professional Adventurer Archaeologist Chester Copperpot which should be enough incentive to keep going searching for the Pirate Booty of One-Eyed Willy.
    Mikey: Don't you see? Don't you realize? [Chester Copperpot] was a pro! He never made it this far. Look how far we've come. We've got a chance.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Elsa Schneider comes too far in her quest to possess the Holy Grail to leave it behind. Despite Indiana's warnings not to take it, Elsa says, “But it’s all ours Indy, yours and mine” as she triggers a Cataclysm Climax. During the subsequent Literal Cliffhanger, Elsa reaches for the grail, but her hand comes up inches short. Meanwhile, Indiana tells her to stop because her glove is slipping off. But Elsa, seeing how close her hand is, desperately repeats, “I can reach it." Unwilling to give up the grail after coming so far, Elsa ultimately loses her life when the glove slips off and she falls.
    • In the PC adventure game, Elsa replies to Indiana’s continued warnings about the seal with "No! I don't believe it! I won't lose it now!"

  • Towards the end of A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge has a Heel Realization, but still desperately clings onto the idea that he's come too far to become a good person, saying that he's both too old and has done things that are unforgivable. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come still makes it Scrooge's task to at least try to become better, no matter how impossible or hopeless it might seem.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Alias episode "All the Time in the World"
    Irina Derevko: I've come too far to let anything get in my way.
  • In Game of Thrones, after Theon Greyjoy spends a whole season kicking dogs to better fit in with his brutal family, and the payoff is finally inevitable:
    Maester Luwin: "I've known you many years, Theon Greyjoy. You're not the man you're pretending to be."
    Theon: "You may be right... but I've gone too far to pretend to be anything else."
    • In season 3, he acknowledges that the Starks were his real family, not the Greyjoys, but by that point he's done so much to hurt them that he knows they will never accept him again.
    Theon: " My real father lost his head at King’s Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong. And now I’ve burned everything down."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 4, the Villainous Maggie Walsh says 'I've come too far to let some little blonde stop me.' She then activates her supersoldier prototype ADAM, which promptly kills her.
    • After releasing a magic plague over London, causing people to painfully mutate into monsters, Angel forces Whistler to look at what he's done to innocents in an attempt to get through to him. While he is briefly swayed and appears unsure, Whistler brushes it off, telling Angel that no matter what, he's come too far in his plans to stop now.
  • Lilith invokes this trope on Sam in Supernatural, daring him to use his demon-fueled powers to kill her since it would be a waste for him to turn himself into a monster for the purpose of killing her and then get cold feet at the last second. This successfully goads Sam into killing her, therefore releasing Lucifer. All according to plan.
    • Lilith herself seems to begin having second thoughts about freeing Lucifer as she gets closer to breaking the required amount of seals, though this is mostly because she herself must die in order for him to be free rather than due to any remorse. Unfortunately she soon resigns herself to her fate once everything's in order.
  • In the infamous ER episode "Love's Labor Lost", as Mark struggles with a complicated delivery, Susan urges him to wait for OB. Mark name-drops this trope, adding on ". . .and I'm going to see it through!" Unfortunately, what's meant to be a rallying cry for him ends up being completely averted—the woman dies and the baby barely survives.

  • Averted according to Orthodox Christianity: it's a lie, and such thoughts are sent by demons to drive sinners to despair and suicide. As long as he or she AT LEAST repents and tries to avoid sinning in such a way, God will forgive. Only after death is their fate truly sealed... and even then, until The Last Judgement, there's a chance for such people to be saved by the God, if someone will pray to Him, even for those who committed suicide. Though to truly repent regarding sin is to never commit it again.
    • There's a story about a Christian who was constantly (or even every day) defeated by the demon of lust, but who constantly repented. This continued for more than ten years... Once he committed it again and fell on his knees in the temple, begging God for mercy. Satan himself appeared and raged against God, proclaiming that he committed only one sin of pride, and He didn't pardon him, but He constantly forgave that fornicator, even though he committed many more sins (of course, constantly tempting people to evil doesn't count!). The Lord rebuked him for hypocrisy: Satan constantly takes a person as his when he or she sins, so why can't God, being an All-Loving Hero, do the same if a man repents? He adds that He will forgive this man if he falls a thousand times, and repents after that. The Lord then reminded Satan that He judges people by the state of their soul at the moment of their death, and now He will take this man as His, as this person didn't despair and had faith in God's mercy. After that, this man died, and angels brought his soul to God.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Poker, this is the basic idea behind being "pot committed." Basically, it's when a player has already bet so much of their available stack (of money, chips, or what have you) versus how much is already in the pot that folding is no longer a sound strategy no matter how low the odds of success are. The challenge is knowing when that point arrives; many players have busted out of tournaments for behaving as if they're pot committed (i.e. rather aggressive) when they should have played more conservatively.

  • Macbeth gets a speech about this: "I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, just as Judge Turpin enters his establishment, allowing him to bring his revenge scheme to fruition, Sweeney is pestered again by the Beggar Woman. Declaring "I have no time!", he slits her throat and goes to meet with the judge. It's not that this was really more evil than his usual actions (he had been killing his customers for some time), but it still shows him being willing to sacrifice others to achieve his goals and it comes back to bite him, as the Beggar Woman turns out to be Sweeney's wife- the entire reason for his revenge plan.

    Video Games 
  • Chester Stoddart in Ys: The Oath in Felghana. He feels like he's committed too many sins to turn back in his quest for revenge, and keeps going down further and further until Adol and his sister snap him out of it.
  • Trying and failing to redeem Aribeth in Neverwinter Nights will result in her spouting this trope at you.
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
    I just find out that I'm this special dragon, and you tell me all is lost? That I have no home or family left? I've come way too far to give up now. I wanna see where I come from.
  • By the latter part of the third disc of Final Fantasy VIII, it's clear to everyone including Seifer himself that there's no longer anything he could possibly stand to gain from continuing to oppose Squall and company. When confronted for the third and final boss fight against him, however, he refuses to back down, declaring that he's come too far to turn back now.
  • General Azimuth pulls this in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, right before the final boss fight.
    Azimuth: I'm sorry, Ratchet! I've come too far to fail now!
  • The intro video to Left 4 Dead 2 has "I have not...come this far...to die now!" from Nick.
    • He will also say it randomly while critically wounded and limping around in game.
  • The Last Spartan in God of War 2 says, "I have come too far to fail," right before you fight him.
  • A phrase often said by Litchi Faye-Ling in BlazBlue, she's done too much in trying to save Arakune, including corrupting herself to the same corruption that turned him to the creature he is, and later on, joining the NOL main branch that she personally is uneasy with. If she would stop like how everyone told her to, then all the things she has done to herself would be in vain and she would be doomed with the fate of dying earlier than everyone else or at worst, becoming the next Arakune. That being said, unlike most examples, she's capable of feeling remorse of what she must do (and does show it), but treated it like it was the only path available for her.
  • This is one of two reasons the Abraxas the Big Bad of Tears to Tiara 2 decided to cause The End of the World as We Know It even after realizing he's wrong and his master Simon was right. The other is Demonic Possession.
  • Leliana of Dragon Age: Inquisition has gone from a sweet, funny bard to something of a Sociopathic Hero spymaster who will do anything to protect those fighting the forces of evil. If one early conversation with her does not go the right way (ordering her to spare the life of a traitor) later pleas for reason invoke this trope.

    Visual Novels 
  • In one of the endings of Saya no Uta, where Kouji says that he's gone too far and all that he can see now in front of him is his own demise, since he has finally crossed that line of no return.

  • In The Order of the Stick, Redcloak forces himself to believe that every goblin (including his brother) that died in service to The Plan has been necessary, unlike his brother, who felt that years after they brought Xykon in they should have eliminated him and tried something else. The advantage of this is that he can go on denying any responsibility for the horrific things he has done in the name of the plan, and both Xykon and Righteye have pointed this out to him.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, after Gwen had just been eaten by a Florouna (Wildvine) and Azmuth refuses to turn off the Omnitrix, which is about to self-destruct...
    Ben as Cannonbolt: I've come too far! I've lost too much to be stopped now!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is highly implied that Sozin, the Fire Lord who began the Hundred Year War, felt at the end of his life that his life was a waste. But after causing genocides and betraying his best friend to his death, Sozin was far too proud to turn back and try to make amends to what he has done.
  • In Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems", this is Stan's reasoning to activate the portal's full power to save his brother Ford despite the journal's warnings about using it in extreme manners.
    Stan: Can it, Poindexter! I've come this far. I'm not giving up now!

Alternative Title(s): I Have Come Too Far