Knockout Ambush

The heroes of a story are suddenly ambushed but are shot with Tranquilizer Darts, Knockout Gas, Stun Guns or something with a similar effect, and not lethal weapons, because the ambushers want them alive.

Usually, the scene will involve the darts coming out of nowhere before those being shot at even see their attackers. The heroes are walking along, when all the sudden - zip!, Alice goes down. Followed by Bob and Charlie, and the screen fades out.

Sub-Trope of I Want Them Alive. Often involves Instant Sedation.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Happens to Vanessa and Madlax in Madlax, when they are captured by Enfant.

Comic Books
  • Happened in an old issue of The Bionic Woman comic. Thugs shot Jamie Sommers, apparently killing her. Then the thugs mention that she was shot with "medicated wax pellets", drugging her into unconsciousness.

Films — Animated

Films — Live-Action
  • In Hudson Hawk, Almond Joy takes out Eddie, Tommy Five-Tone and Anna using curare-tipped blowgun darts.
  • In A New Hope, the Jawas ambush R2-D2 and C-3PO with ionization blasters designed specifically to disable droids.
  • In Hannibal, Hannibal is ambushed and captured by mooks wielding some sort of stun gun.
  • In the Stargate movie, soldiers are knocked out by the blunt ends of staff weapons one by one.
  • A scene in Daybreakers has a convoy of humans being ambushed by the vampire military. They stop to change a tire, only to have an Oh, Crap moment when a dart is found sticking out of it. Then crossbow bolts, arrows and tranquilizer darts start flying between the two sides, until all the humans are captured for use in the blood banks.

Literature
  • In Firestarter, agents of The Shop capture Andy and Charlie McGee by shooting them with tranq darts from long range. Which was smart considering Andy can control minds and Charlie is pyrokinetic.

Live-Action TV
  • Happened to Sheridan on Mars in an episode of Babylon 5. Subverted in that rather than just go down for the count, Sheridan is able to fight his attackers for a short time before succumbing to the tranquilizer patch that had been slapped on him by Garibaldi.
  • Frequently used in Heroes when taking down superhumans.
  • Happened on Lost when Michael leads Sawyer, Kate, Jack, and Hurley to the Others' camp. The Others ambush them from the trees using tranq darts, then gag them and put bags over their heads.
  • In My Name Is Earl, after Darnell is identified as a former secret agent, Earl and Randy keep being shot at with tranquilizer darts as a Running Gag.
  • Merlin had Merlin and Arthur hit by tranquilizer darts by a band of slave-traders.
  • In Supernatural 'Swap Meat' this happens to Sam.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons, module A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. If the PCs will be playing in module A4, at the end of A3 the entire PC party will rendered unconscious by a green gas and captured by the Slave Lords.
  • Marvel Super Heroes supplement Uncanny X-Men boxed set "Adventure Book"
    • In chapter 4 "Time Out" the PCs are at a charity basketball game when the supervillain Arcade floods the gymnasium with Knockout Gas in order to capture them.
    • Chapter 5 "Nightmare in New Guinea".
      • The PCs are at an audience with the Mandrill when he decides to capture them. He and his soldiers open fire on them with neurostunner pistols that cause unconsciousness.
      • While the PCs are escaping from Mandrill's base, one his soldiers wearing Powered Armor attacks them. She uses a neurostunner built into her armor to knock them out.
    • At the end of Chapter 8 "Terror in the Amazon" the PCs are knocked out by Arcade's Knockout Gas again the same way they were in Chapter 4.

Video Games
  • At one point in Half-Life you're knocked out from behind by a couple of soldiers.
  • In Fallout 3 you are knocked out by a stun grenade from nowhere after recovering the G.E.C.K.

Western Animation