Some people like to come to the rescue with all guns blazing. The BigDamnHeroes make their entrance as loudly as possible and TheCavalry indicate that the day is saved by their mere approach.

Then there's people who prefer this trope. Rather than simply unlocking the door to the hero's cell or taking out the guards, they slip them a lockpick or weapon. Sometimes they'll be even more subtle; for example, by making sure that the hero's allies can find him and break him out or providing a distraction.

The reason for these can vary. Sometimes it's down to the character themselves; the MysteriousBacker would probably prefer subtlety, TheMole has to maintain his cover, TheRival probably won't help them too much if they can avoid it, and [[NonActionGuy some characters]] just ''can't'' do more than provide a means of escape. Other times, it's because ItsPersonal between the character and their captor and the person helping them knows that ThisIsSomethingHesGotToDoHimself. Of course, sometimes it's a trap which has been set by their captor...

Supertrope to JailBake. See also YouAllMeetInACell, MakeItLookLikeAStruggle, and ItMayHelpYouOnYourQuest. Sometimes a VideoGame will use this to avert an EscortMission by having you free a captive who can escape on their own.

[[AC: {{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'', The Major is trapped in an operating room (unable to move because she was half way through transfering to a new body) with an assassin (who [[SickbedSlaying impersonated the doctor]] and has her at her mercy). When the assassin is distracted, [[spoiler: [[AntiVillain the Laughing Man]]]] turns up, plugs a cable in, and slips away: the Major is now in control of her body again... (he probably falls under the NonActionGuy variant, since despite being a competent hacker he's not shown to be very good at physical confrontations).

[[AC: {{Film}}]]
* In the ''Film/JamesBond'' film ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', Bond is strapped in a torture device and the BigBad is about to break his neck. The comic relief character (a Russian mobster) storms in looking for his ([[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness murdered]]) nephew and is promptly shot... he then reveals he has a cane gun and takes aim at... Bond. Or more specifically [[StabTheScorpion his restraints]] (probably because Bond being free to act would be much more helpful than a dead Russian mobster and dead BigBad with Bond still restrained and unable to put a stop to said BigBad's EvilPlan).

[[AC: {{Literature}}]]
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** In ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', when the Red Army is imprisoned, they find that not only has someone unlocked their cell, that someone has also killed all the guards, left them a pile of swords, and given them a convenient map to the Emperor's throne room. [[LovableCoward Rincewind]] notes (correctly) that this is too good to be true and that they should just quit while they're ahead: They're being framed for the Emperor's murder.
** In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', after Vimes has been locked in a cell (after being framed, sort of, for the attempted assassination of the Low King) he finds that the cell has been unlocked and the crossbow that was owned by the "assistant" Vetinari had sent to accompany him is hidden under his pillow. He realizes that whoever wanted him to escape wanted him to kill the guard to justify killing him ([[spoiler:since he's to be the prey in some werewolves' [[HuntingTheMostDangerousGame hunt]]]]) and discards it.
* Interesting example in the ''Literature/EndersShadow'' series; The character doing the rescuing knows that the (villainous) character he's been ordered to rescue will, inevitably, go out of his way to kill anyone who has put him in a state of weakness - so rather than just rescue him he opts instead to 'loan him a knife'. [[spoiler:This puts him on the escapee's good side and sets himself up as his right-hand man, so that when Achilles needs him most he can betray him - by, once again, 'loaning him a knife'.]]
* In ''Literature/MythAdventures'' Skeeve's got drunk and carelessly showed the local guns his money. When they tried to rob him, he wished the genie (or [[OurGeniesAreDifferent Djinn]]) Calvin to help him out. Being a [[NonActionGuy non-action Djinn]] Calvin couldn't do much in a fight, but he sobered Skeeve, so the latter didn't have to fight drunken.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* In ''LiveActionTV/StargateSG1'', this is pretty much the only way an ascended being can help someone on the lower planes without violating the AlienNonInterferenceClause, and even then the most they can usually do is give moral support. During the season in which Daniel Jackson was ascended, he does this twice for members of SG-1 to help them endure very bleak situations long enough for them to get rescued.
** The first of these occasions (''Abyss'') is actually a double example: when Jack is captured by Ba'al the ascended Daniel can only offer moral support, while the prison is so well guarded Stargate Command can't launch a rescue either. Eventually Sam realises they don't need to: they just pass the prison's location to another System Lord, Yu, who hates Ba'al so much he attacks the place on general principles. The resulting chaos is more than enough to allow Jack to escape.

[[AC: TabletopGames]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' module A4 ''In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords''. When the {{PC}}s awaken in the cave labyrinth they find several spell scrolls that they can use in their escape. They were left with the party by their ally who [[TheMole infiltrated the Slave Lords' organization]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' supplement ''Harlequin'', adventure "Counterstroke". The {{PC}}s have been taken prisoner and are being tortured for information. If they're nice to one of the inhabitants of the prison, he'll help them by slipping them a monofilament saw they can use to cut through the bars and escape.

[[AC: VideoGames]]
* In ''Videogame/MetalGearSolid'' [[PlayerCharacter Snake]] is captured. Otacon brings him some ketchup which can be used to escape by FakingTheDead and making the guard open the cell door to investigate (Otakon doesn't subdue the guard because he's...[[CowardlyLion Otakon]]).
* In one thieves guild quest in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' you can convince a thief who's been captured to give you some information in exchange for a lockpick he can use to escape.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Grandia}}'', Lieutenant Leen accidentally-on-purpose drops the key to Justin's cell within reach when he's imprisoned at the Garlyle Forces base.
* In the AdventureGame ''VideoGame/InnocentUntilCaught'', when Jack T. Ladd is imprisoned, a machine able to disintegrate walls is sent by the Tax Office to his jail, so that he can escape and they can use him as a pawn to fight tax evasion.
* In a preorder/DLC only bonus mission in ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'' you rescue [[spoiler: the son of a Triad boss]]. Since he doesn't like augmetics, you're given a mysterious device to give to him (which you might have found out about if you snooped on his emails) which [[spoiler: allows him to use stealth camouflage to simply walk out on his own now that you've freed him.]]
* At the end of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'', as Ada makes her escape (after the LoadBearingBoss has been defeated), she throws Leon the keys to her jetski, so he and Ashley can get off the island.