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Locked Up And Left Behind
Sometimes, when someone is locked in a closet or Bound and Gagged, it's not for ransom or use as a hostage or some other practical concern, but instead merely as a mean prank, or to get someone out of the way. The poor victim is left behind and... what's going to happen to them? Are they being left behind to die, or are they left out in a public place where they'll clearly be rescued? Are they knowingly being left where no-one will rescue them, or did the captor take that into account? For that matter, did the captor just leave them somewhere and then forget about them?

This trope is sometimes the result of bullying or a prank. It's often Played for Laughs when it's done by the heroes or to an annoying or intentionally dislikeable character. It can also lead to What the Hell, Hero? on the part of viewers during such cases. Other times, it's Played for Drama, with tragic consequences. And sometimes it's done for dark humor.

To put it another way: if this invokes Fridge Horror or What the Hell, Hero?, it's probably this trope.

Examples:

Comics
  • Happens fairly regularly in Empowered, whose lead character gets absolutely no respect from her peers. One time, she even manages to single-handedly rescue the entire team by driving an SUV into the baddie while all tied up, and the team still wanders off, leaving her trapped behind the wheel.

Film
  • In A Bug's Life, there's a scene where the boss of the bugs is seen wrapped up in a cocoon and hanging from the ceiling, begging to be let out, "I promise I'll start paying you!"
  • In Casper: A Spirited Beginning, a kid who's often picked on by bullies is left locked in the closet of a building that's condemned and about to be blown up.
  • MouseHunt plays this for dark humor. It's stated early in the movie that the previous owner of the house with a mouse in it was found dead, locked in a trunk in the attic. Later, an exterminator is hired, and he is later rescued by people who heard his screams and called 911. It's stated he was found locked in a trunk in the attic.
  • In the Saw movies, any trap that doesn't kill you outright will do this to you instead.
    • In particular, this is done to Hoffman in the final movie - Dr. Gordon chains him to the pipe he was chained to in the first film, but doesn't leave him a saw, condeming Hoffman to a slow death. Word of God confirms Hoffman doesn't escape.
  • A Running Gag in Rookie of the Year has doors close of their own accord behind Brickma. This has resulted in him being trapped between the two doors connecting his hotel room to Henry's, and later in his clubhouse locker for the final league championship game.

Literature
  • In The Silmarillion, Maedhros is Chained to a Rock by his right wrist. He is just left there for many years by Morgoth. When his cousin shows up he begs for death, but is freed when his cousin cuts off his hand. Referenced in the Blind Guardian song "Blood Tears".
  • In Reaper's Gale, Rhulad Sengar (who, it should be noted, is being driven insane by his Artifact of Doom sword) orders his parents chained up in the dungeons after they dared speak against him in open court. When he remembers later to let them out, he's told that they drowned when the dungeons flooded, days earlier.

Live-Action TV
  • For most of Scrubs episode "His Story III", JD is locked up by the Janitor in a water tower.
    • The Janitor enlists Ted and Todd to duct tape JD to the cafeteria ceiling.
    • The Janitor has the rest of the custodial staff duct tape Dr. Cox in the morgue drawer after he lightly pushes The Janitor.
      Duct-taped two hours in a morgue drawer; don't piss off the Janitor; end of story.
  • One episode of CSI: New York, "Boo", had a fraternity initiation prank gone horribly wrong. One of the pledges was locked in a coffin in a crypt and the others had to find him. However, the pledge master who run the initiation was murdered and he was the only one who knew where the crypt was.
    • Another episode of CSI featured a former Jerk Jock, who turned out to have been killed by another student he once left duct taped up in a locker (the result being that he was left with scars from removing the duct tape and ended up in hospital for so long he had to drop out of high school, essentially ruining his life).
  • The Dukes of Hazzard had an episode where Bo and Luke escaped from the Hazzard Jail by handcuffing Enos' hands to a chair (arms crossed) and gagged, then hung the chair on a coat rack mounted to the wall. Several times during the episode, Roscoe or Boss Hogg is just outside the room he's trapped in, wondering where he is. At the end of the episode, Bo and Luke remember they left him there, by which time he has fallen asleep.
  • In an episode of The Mentalist the victim was tricked into letting himself be tied up and locked up in a locker in an abandoned factory. He thought it was just a game he and a co-worker were playing but the co-worker just left him there to die.
  • An episode of Cold Case featured a villain who would abduct women and imprison them in a windowless cell for months in order to break their spirit. Once this was achieved, he would leave them there to starve to death.
  • The third-season The X-Files episode "Apocrypha" ends with villainous double (triple?) agent Alex Krycek locked in a missile silo eight stories underground, pounding on the door and screaming to be let out.

Video Games
  • Played for mean-spirited humor in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Tetra and her band of pirates rob a rude bomb store owner and steal all his bombs, leaving him Bound and Gagged, which you the player witness before the pirates leave. He struggles infinitely as long as the player is still there, and it's impossible for the player to free him. However, when you eventually visit him again, not only is he free, but he is much more well mannered and his prices become reasonable.

Visual Novel
  • Before a drinking game in the iPhone app "Roommates Visual Novel", the character Dominic is tied to a chair so he can't interfere with the partying. After getting horribly drunk, the other characters stumble upstairs and leave him there for the whole night. Understandably, they are horrified when they walk downstairs the next morning and find him still there. Luckily, Rakesh loses the rock-paper-scissors game and has to untie him.

Webcomics
  • When Bruno considers a kidnap-and-ransom scheme in Bruno the Bandit he remembers the last time he tried it. Several years ago. And forgot about the kidnap victim.

Western Animation
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph escapes from a metal box by spontaneously metalbending, then traps her captors inside. There is no indication that the captors are ever found or rescued, and they are never seen again for the rest of the series.
  • In an episode of Family Guy Stewie falls for his teenage babysitter and gets rid of her boyfriend by tying him up and locking him in Brian's car boot. At the end credits, he realises mid sentence that he forgot to let him out.
    Stewie: Oh damn! Jeremy is still in the trunk! How long has it been, erm two weeks? Yeah, he's dead. — Definitely dead.
  • The Simpsons: Bart and a few other low-acheiving Springfield Elementary students are locked in a basement utility room to keep them out of the way during a "surprise" visit from Superintendent Chalmers. Bart escapes and causes havoc. At the end of the episode - several days (if not weeks) later - Principal Skinner realizes the others are still locked up down there.
  • In the King of the Hill episode "Soldier Of Misfortune" Hank, Bill, and Boomhauer have been captured by Dale's rival Mad Dog and he leaves them tied up in a back room, after Dale convinces Mad Dog that he hired some mercenaries to kill him (actually flower delivery men), he unties them but Mad Dog rigged the building to explode, they then realize that they forgot that Bill is still tied up inside the building, Bill manages to escape but he falls into a trap he had fallen into earlier.
  • Archer - in "Honeypot", two Cuban agents tie up Archer's elderly butler Woodhouse, and at the end of the episode Archer suddenly remembers it, and that he'd probably been tied up for hours...and finds it hilarious.
Knotty TentaclesBound and GaggedMummy Wrap

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