Sometimes, even Laser-Guided Karma
misses its target.
The character has done a number of things that deserve a karmic comeuppance, most importantly things that caused harm to the innocent. But when the time comes for the hammer
to fall, that's not what happens. At least, not on him. He doesn't
get what he deserves. Instead, he gets away scot-free. And he might even have reversed
the Humiliation Conga
that was being planned for him.
This is it. This is all there is to the story. The show is over. The book is finished. The author isn't going to write any more. The Word of God
has been spoken. The guy has become a Karma Houdini.
Compare Butt Monkey
, for which a character ends up having many disproportionately bad things happen to them throughout the story (and may also technically qualify for this trope, as hard as that sounds). The extreme counterpart of that trope, Cosmic Plaything
, can be considered this trope's polar opposite
. Also compare with No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
, where the good guy suffers as a result of doing the right thing.
Contrast the aforementioned Laser-Guided Karma
, for instances where the villain's comeuppance is swift and immediate. And Karma Houdini Warranty
, when it takes a while. Also see Idiot Houdini
, when a person is forever protected from the results of their stupidity.
Note that a character doesn't necessarily need to be a villain, or even evil, to qualify for this trope. They may simply end up doing unnecessarily hurtful things, yet not suffer the repercussions. Worse comes to worst, a stolen happy ending may take place at the expense of the hapless victim