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Redemption Rejection
Comm. Braden: Your soul is poison, Mr. Vogler. Why not seek redemption?
Gunter: Because I'm not a coupon.

When that offer of redemption just isn't good enough. Sure, some people, after a lifetime of committing unspeakable evil, will do whatever it takes to wash away their sins and join the side of good, but not you. No, when Old Lady Redemption offers you that Last-Second Chance, you tell her, "Thanks, but no thanks." Then you steal her wallet for good measure.

The reverse of a Heel Face Door Slam (though the slam can be self-inflicted into this trope). There the bad guy is actively seeking redemption, but is denied it. Here another character or even the universe itself goes out of its way to give someone a chance at mending their ways, only for the offer to be firmly refused. Maybe the bad guy doesn't see themselves as the villain, and so doesn't think redemption is necessary. Maybe they realize their own wickedness, but think redemption is impossible and therefore pointless to pursue. Maybe their motives for doing evil are so powerful they think a guilty conscience is a small price to pay. Or maybe they just have no morals whatsoever and think that Evil Feels Good.

At that point, that's the signal for the heroes to take the gloves off and give the villain what he now most definitely has coming to him.

Essentially a subversion of a Heel-Face Turn. Not to be confused with Reformed, but Rejected.Compare with Ignored Epiphany.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime/Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, Tezca Tlipoca tries to convince former-colleague-went-rogue Justin Law to come back to DWMA, pointing out that Justin still has chance to redeem himself by providing the info about Kishin's location to DWMA. Tezca also calls him out on living solely by blind faith and cutting himself away from others, and offers to fix that with his friendship. Justin refuses and kills Tezca instead.
  • Happens to Frieza in Dragon Ball Z. Goku gives Frieza some energy so that Frieza might survive Namek's explosion. Goku tells Frieza that he might use the energy to wander the cosmos and consider what he's done to everyone. Frieza considers for a moment, then launches the energy right back. Then Frieza's bad karma catches up with him.
  • In Bleach, after Ichigo beats Grimmjow for the last time, Grimmjow confronts him again, battered but still conscious. Ichigo tries to get him to back down, saying there's no reason to fight now, and he'll be happy to fight him any time he wants later. Grimmjow seems to ponder this for a second...before yelling at Ichigo to quit screwing around right before Nnoitra shows up and ganks him.
  • From Naruto Naruto verbally beats Obito down with one of his most epic speeches and offers Obito a chance to at least not go down as one of the worst monsters in the Narutoverse's history. Obito tries to choke him out, saying he regrets nothing. In the end, he's nearly mind-raped by his memory of Rin refusing to look at him and Naruto grabbing his hand and dragging him forward. Which makes all the Tailed Beast burst out and Obito loses entirely.
    • It also makes Naruto possibly the first person to ever reject a redemption rejection.

    Comic Books 
  • The ending of The Killing Joke is along these lines. Batman reaches out to Joker that they've got to stop before one of them kills the other. Joker seems to want to but sadly rebuffs the offer, before telling his famous joke.
    Batman: Don't you understand? I don't want to hurt you. I don't want either of us to end up killing the other. But we're both running out of alternatives... and we both know it. Maybe it all hinges on tonight. Maybe this is our last chance to sort this bloody mess out. If you don't take it, then we're both locked onto a suicide course. Both of us. To the death. It doesn't have to end like that. I don't know what it was that bent your life out of shape, but who knows? Maybe I've been there too. Maybe I can help. We could work together. I could rehabilitate you. You needn't be out there on the edge anymore. You needn't be alone. We don't have to kill each other. What do you say?
    Joker: No. I'm sorry, but... no. It's too late for that. Far too late. Hahaha. You know, it's funny. This situation. It reminds me of a joke...
  • In The X-Men, Colossus was prepared to sacrifice everything to save the soul of his sister Illyana, whom he still remembered as his "little Snowflake", even taking on the demonic power of the Juggernaut (losing his humanity and the love of Kitty Pryde in the process). By the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, Illyana made it abundantly clear that "There are no snowflakes in Hell," and that she has embraced her insanity. He appeared to finally get the message; he vowed that he would kill her if he ever saw her again.

     Film — Animated 
  • Near the end of The Lorax during the finale musical number "Let It Grow", the townspeople are introducing themselves and talking about the benefits of bringing back real trees. Eventually the main villain joins in. "My name's O'Hare, I'm one of you!/ I live in Thneedville too./ The things you say just might be true./ It might be time to start anew/ And change my point of view... Naaaaah! I say let it die! Let it die! Let it shrivel up AND DIE! Who's with me?"
  • A truly heartbreaking moment in Kung Fu Panda occurs when Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung for helping to shape him into the monster he's become, saying that his pride blinded him to the fact that his pupil had a few darker tendencies that he should have noticed and possibly fixed. Tai Lung appears genuinely affected for a moment... and then angrily says that he didn't come here for apologies: he only wants the Dragon Scroll. It's at this point when the audience realizes that Tai Lung is truly beyond redemption.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Batman attempts this on Owlman, saying he must have been a good man once.
    Owlman: No. Not good. Never good. After all, I'm only human.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the Godfather movies, Michael is responsible for oh so many murders, earning him quite the guilty conscience. In the third movie a priest tells Michael that he can still make amends for his sins; however, the priest is Genre Savvy enough to realize that Michael won't believe his crimes can be forgiven, and so won't bother changing his ways.
  • In The Avengers, Thor tells his brother Loki (the villain) that it's not too late to stop his plan after unleashing an army of aliens on New York. For a second it seems like Loki will back down, but then he stabs his brother in the stomach and blows off his offer as 'sentiment'. This finally pushed Thor over the edge, and he quickly curb-stomps Loki.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Kevin Flynn tries to talk sense into his creation, the Program Clu, who, in following Flynn's orders to create "the perfect system," turned the Grid into a dystopian society were Programs are oppressed. Flynn, having realized that such an order was doomed to fail, sincerely apologizes to Clu for giving said order to him (Clu, meanwhile, is bitter at his creator for breaking their promise of "[changing] the world together"). After apologizing, Kevin silently offers to give Clu a hug. Clu seems at first willing to embrace his creator... but then quickly kicks him to the ground, revealing that he will never stop in his quest for perfection.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Li Mu Bai confronted Jen after she stole his sword the Green Destiny. After handily defeating her, he offered to make her his student, admiring her talent as a fighter and recognizing that if unless that talent was nurtured, she might become corrupted by Jade Fox. Jen bitterly denounced Li Mu Bai and his teachings.
  • In Tales from the Hood, the fourth and final story focused on a gangbanger named Crazy K. After getting shot by enemies from another gang, Crazy K is saved at the last minute by police and taken to prison. There he meets a Woman in White whom offers him a chance at redemption which he accepts. She begins byforcing Crazy K to see the horrors he inflicted over the years gangbanging. At the end, she puts him in an isolated room. There he sees visions of the many people he killed: enemies, friends, even an innocent girl whom was a bystander during one of his many drive-by shootings. Ultimately, however, Crazy K rejects redemption, telling the lady (whom was really an Angel) that he doesn't give a fuck. The lady finally gives up and Crazy K, whom really died from his gunshot wound and was given a chance to save this soul, was sent to hell. Lampshaded by the Narrator who mentions that people like him are too far gone and can't be saved.

    Literature 
  • Harold Lauder from The Stand uses this trope when the Boulder Free Zone not only accepts him but begins to regard him as a hero. He realizes full well he has a choice between putting his childish grudges aside forever or holding onto them, even though he knows that they're poison. In the end he decides he's carried his hate for too long to just let it go, and joins up with Flagg. As he lies dying after Flagg decides he has outlived his usefulness, Harold finally lets go of his hate and writes an apology to everyone he hurt/killed before shooting himself.
  • In The Scarlet Letter, Hester talks Chillingworth into realizing that he has hurt Dimmesdale, but he later ignores that realization.
  • Lucifer in Paradise Lost - "he would rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven".
  • Nevyn from the Deverry series urges his enemies to repent at various points in the story, because he knows that if they don't, this will have severe consequences in their next life. Most of them refuse his offer of redemption, but he notably gets through to Sarcyn.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, after seeing Voldemort's ultimate fate, urges Voldemort to feel remorse for his crimes in order to make his soul whole again. Seeing as feeling remorse had a high probability of killing Voldemort, the Dark Lord refuses and unknowingly damns himself in the process.
  • In Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Zannah's cousin Darovit offers her more than one chance to turn away from the dark side. She pretends to accept his final offer, then use Sith sorcery to drive him insane and convince the Jedi Order that he is the Sith Lord they've been hunting.
  • In the last book of The Wheel of Time, Rand tries to convince his Evil Counterpart Moridin to abandon the Shadow and help him defeat the Dark One. Moridin throws it in his face- after all, the Dark One has promised him oblivion, for himself and the world, and Rand can't offer anything that would tempt Moridin more than that.
  • Grima in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers is offered the chance to redeem himself by fighting alongside Theoden, the king he has betrayed, but Grima just snarls and slinks away to Saruman.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith expects this trope to be played out in "Choices," but Willow surprises her.
    Faith: Give me the speech again, please. Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late.
  • After Angel ruins Jasmine's plan to create world peace at the expense of free will (and eating people), he finds her wandering distraught through LA. She chews him out, asking if her price for ending war, disease and poverty was really too high. He insists that it was, but suggests that she can still try and make the world a better place the old-fashioned way, even if she's lost her powers.
    Jasmine: Not all of them. (punches him off a bridge)
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother uses this trope quite often. Practically Once a Season there's an episode that focuses on how shallow, selfish, and cruel his life as The Casanova is. By episode's end it looks like he's about to learn an important lesson and be more considerate of women from now on ... and then, without fail, Barney will explain that, no, seducing an endless stream of anonymous bimbos really is all he wants out of life.
    Lily: So you made a life changing decision not to change your life at all?
    Barney: True story.
  • Mr. Eko from LOST had a tragic backstory about being kidnapped and made into a child soldier, becoming a criminal, and feeling responsible for causing the death of his brother, Yemi. His main Story Arc on the Island was trying to talk to Yemi's ghost. As it so happens, Yemi was a Catholic priest, so their eventual meeting takes the form of a confession. Eko must be ready to ask for forgiveness, right?
    Mr. Eko: I ask for no forgiveness, Father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive. A small boy once asked me if I was a bad man. If I could answer him now, I would tell him that, when I was a young boy, I killed a man to save my brother's life. I am not sorry for this. I am proud of this. I did not ask for the life that I was given, but it was given none the less. And with it, I did my best.
    • Of course, as it turns out, "Yemi" is actually the Smoke Monster/Man In Black in disguise, and he promptly kills Eko after this. So any future chance of redemption is lost right then and there.
  • Though the drivers on Canada's Worst Driver and related shows aren't actually villains, there have been two contestants who fit the basic premise of this trope: Colin from Season Two and Scott from Season Six made a big joke of everything and refused to learn. Colin became the first to be expelled from any Driver Rehabilitation Center in the world, while Scott became the first (at least on the Canadian show) to be effectively expelled by his own nominator (who cancelled Scott's insurance, meaning Scott was no longer a valid driver).
  • Babylon 5 has Londo Mollari, who is told he'll have three opportunities to choose redemption, or suffer the consequences. In a possible subversion, these moments are never directly revealed, and it's arguable whether he's saved his people or condemned them.
  • Once Upon a Time sees Rumpelstiltskin almost de-powered by Belle's True Love's Kiss... but of course, he has a bit of a freak-out and rejects it. Quite possibly regrets that pretty hard. The same thing happened when he gave up a his chance to travel to another world with son, for the exact same reason.
    • In the flashback sequence of The Cricket Game, Snow lets Regina out of prison and offers the chance to leave all her evil deeds behind and start fresh, and Regina takes the opportunity to attempt once again to kill Snow. She even lampshades the concept, pointing out it's never that easy. No one ever just gives up that much hatred. This is contrasted against the present scenes in Storybrooke, where Regina really does want redemption, but understandably Snow and Charming are unwilling to give her another chance.
    • Both Rumpelstiltskin and Regina do ultimately find redemption by the end of Season 2.
  • The Walking Dead has one for The Governor in episode 8 of season 4.
  • In season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), the Cylon John's mother says he isn't a mistake and offers him redemption if he could just accept himself for the boy she made. He considers it for a moment before he angrily rejects her love and prepares to pick apart her brain to extract the information he wants.

    Music 
  • In "Reviewing the Situation," from the musical Oliver!, Fagin briefly considers the attractions (or lack of same) of a moral and upstanding life, but ends up deciding that a comfortable old age is much more important to him.
  • Alluded to in "The Hounds" by The Protomen:
    If there ever was a time, if there ever was a chance
    To undo the things I've done and wash these bloodstains from my hands
    It has passed and been forgotten, these are the paths that we must take
    'Cuz you and I, Tom, we are men and we can bend, and we can break

    Tabletop Games 
  • Lord Soth of Dragonlance could be the poster child of this trope. When the deity Mishakal offered Soth a chance at redemption by stopping the Kingpriest of Istar and preventing the Catacylsm, he initially accepted the request but then put aside his mission to confront his second wife about her infidelity. As a result, he was cursed to become a death knight. While in Ravenloft, Soth was given an opportunity by the Dark Powers to put his evil past behind him; he rejected their offer and was made into the Darklord of Sithicus.

    Video Games 
  • In Suikoden IV, there are several moments where Lazlo can offer his former best friend Snowe Vingerhut the chance to join the rebellion. If the player chooses to do so, Snowe angrily rejects it. In their last encounter, this can then be inverted into a Heel Face Door Slam, with Lazlo deciding to execute the now throughly broken-down Snowe instead of offering him one last chance now that he's ready to accept it.
  • A heartbreaking example in God of War: Chains of Olympus. After Persephone reveals her scheme to undo reality, Kratos was forced to put aside his redemption and ends up slaughtering the pure souls of Elysuim in order to gain his powers back that he can stop both her and Atlas. The price he ends up paying is very high; in order to save the world and the underworld, he would never see Calliope again.
    • The quicktime event where Kratos must push away his daughter and embrace his monstrous self again is possibly the most heartbreaking use of this type of gameplay ever created.
  • During the final battle in DMC Devil May Cry against Vergil, Dante tells him "It's not too late". Vergil responds "Yes, it is" and continues fighting.
  • In the climax of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, N comes to rescue your player character from being frozen alive by Ghetsis. He then offers Ghetsis a last chance after the latter has been beaten by the player, pleading him to overthink his doings and start anew. Instead of taking this chance, Ghetsis just continues to hurl insults at N, calling him a monster over and over again, at which point he completely loses his mind and the Shadow Triad appears and takes him away, never to be seen again. When meeting the Shadow Triad in the postgame, they imply that Ghetsis has become completely insane and non-functional.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens a lot in Gargoyles with Demona, largely because she's the queen of the Ignored Epiphany- she's several times offered a chance to change her ways, but ultimately never repents for more than about a minute. Goliath still seems to wish she'd find redemption, but no longer considers it a realistic possibility.
  • On the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "F.U.N", SpongeBob tries to make friends with Plankton in the hopes that having a friend will make him stop being evil. Plankton plays along, in the hopes that it will get him to the Krabby Patty secret formula, but he appears to be reformed by The Power of Friendship. Then SpongeBob catches him with a Krabby Patty, and this tearsome confession follows:
    Plankton: All right, it's true! I tricked you to get to the Krabby Patty, but then you showed me friendship; and now I realize... that's all I ever really wanted.
    SpongeBob: Really?
    Plankton: (grabs Krabby Patty) No, not really! Being evil is too much fun!
  • In the original Ben 10 series, Ben originally offered his enemy Kevin 11 a chance to do good, but the latter refused the offer and attempted to take the Omnitrix. From then on, Kevin was treated as someone who's actions couldn't be redeemable.
  • Happens at the end of The Lion King II where Kiara and Zira are both knocked over a ledge during a fight, and are now both dangling over the edge of a waterfall. Zira is gradually slipping off the ledge she is hanging onto, and as a result Kiara tells her to grab onto her paw so she can pull Zira to safety. However, when Zira finally comes up to Kiara she tells her "NEVER!!!" and immediately lets go and falls to her doom in the river below.
  • Happens near the end of the Transformers Animated episode "Predacons Rising." When Bumblebee discovered that his former comrade Wasp has been mutated during a lab experiment while vowing revenge on Bee for (accidentally) imprisoning him for being a spy, Bumblebee feeling guilty about what he did, immediately apologizes to Wasp. Wasp's response? "Wasp... ...forgive... ...Bumblebot... ...BUT WASPINATOR NEVER FORGIVE!!!"
  • Toy Story 3: When Lotso is about to be crushed by landfill machinery, Andy's toys go out of their way to save him. He repays them by trapping them in a certain-death situation, which they're only saved from by the timely intervention of the Little Green Men. Needless to say, this costs him.
  • In Transformers Prime, Dreadwing grows disillusioned with the Decepticons after finding out they turned his twin brother into a zombie robot. He delivers the Forge of Solus Prime to the Autobots hoping they will do some good with it. Optimus once again offers Dreadwing a place among the Autobots. Dreadwing refuses, claiming that just because he doesn't believe in the Decepticons anymore doesn't mean he's ready to believe in the Autobots. Dreadwing then tries to kill Starscream for turning his brother into a zombie and is shot in the back by Megatron when he refuses to stand down.
  • At the end of one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, after an Enemy Mine situation between Jack and the heroes that has resulted in a great victory against Wuya, Omi offers this chance to Jack; he considers it briefly, but then tells them it would never work out. (He does, however, offer to take them out for ice cream one day when they aren't fighting over Shen Gong Wu, saying he'll buy.)
  • In an episode of the remake of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), He-Man offers a second chance to Evil-Lyn after rescuing her from a Fate Worse than Death at Skeletor's hands (long story) telling her that he was sent by someone who thinks she deserved one. (He-Man doesn't know that it was her father, but she clearly does.) Evil-Lynn does seem to consider it for a few brief minutes, but then quickly decides against it, knocking him down and saying, "Think I'll pass." (Ironically, He-Man did tell himself "I'll probably regret this later", before he rescued her.)

    Real Life 
  • The infamous pirate Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard) was at one point pardoned and had the chance to reform himself. Blackbeard soon returned to piracy and continued to plunder the high seas, and paid for it in what may have been one of the toughest battles the navy ever had to fight against pirates.


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