Characters often recall things when it would be just too late to actually use that information.
It could be an important code to use on a spy mission, or what not to say to a king when on a diplomatic mission, or what a guy is allergic to when making him dinner.
And those things can all be either Played for Laughs
or Played for Drama
. Also, the audience might be let in on this bit of information, or we might not. The former helps create suspense, while the latter comes as a form of The Reveal
Heck, even a Crazy-Prepared
person or The Chessmaster
isn't immune to this. A Cloud Cuckoolander
is very prone to this.
This can overlap with Now You Tell Me
if someone forgot information they need to tell someone else.
This kind of thing isn't that implausible in Real Life
, as anyone who tried to recall memories or information, and couldn't remember it until minutes or hours later, can attest.
Remember that this is forgetting something, not being given information one didn't know before.
A Super Trope
to Forgot I Couldn't Swim
Compare Spanner in the Works
, Something We Forgot
, You Are Too Late
, Repressed Memories
, Remembered I Could Fly
Contrast Just in Time
, Photographic Memory
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Anime and Manga
- According to the first Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Compilation Movie, this is the Tragic Flaw of the Big Bad Evil Matriarch Precia Testarossa (this bit of her characterization differs from the original anime). As she plummets to her death, she suddenly remembers that her beloved late daughter Alicia wished for a little sister—in other words, she wished for Fate, whom Precia treated like crap and rejected earlier. She then muses to herself on how she never notices things until it is too late.
- Played for Laughs in the third episode of Servant × Service, where Hasebe trying to, but keeps on forgetting to ask Yamagami for her email address— he gave several favours to Yamagami which would be opportunities to do that, but he only remembered that after Yamagami left.
- A few gags on Millie the Model involve this. One was her getting ready to model for a huge cigarette campaign, and then remembers that she doesn't smoke.
- The second arms dealer in Diamonds Cut forgets to turn up to the final meeting. Apparently, he only survives because of that.
- Chit Sang in The Stalking Zuko Series forgot to tell Zuko about cooler fever until Zuko already got extremely sick to Katara's annoyance.
- From Gensokyo 20XXV, we have a rather heartbreaking scenario with Renko, who, due to illness, suffers from a degree of blindness memory loss, and didn't remember that Ren, the "puppy", had passed away, and neither did she remember him too much before his passing, due to said memory loss. When she does remember, she scrambles about the apartment building trying to find him and asks about where he is and when he'll come back, Reimu had to sit her down and explain, as only she could, that he's passed on. Wren is justifiably upset.
- In Under the Dome by Stephen King: As police chief Randolph and a detachment of officers are heading towards a meth lab in order to assault it and take the valuable propane stored there, Randolph realizes that they had forgot to grab body armor (i.e. bullet proof vests) before driving to the lab. He doesn't worry too much about it, since he figures the assault will be easy; he assumes the two men there will be too stoned out of their minds to fight back. How wrong he turns out to be.
- In The Princess Bride Miracle Max promised that the miracle pill he made for Westley would last for a full hour. It's only after our heroes have left that he realizes that he messed up the proportions of ingredients and if it lasts for forty minutes it'll be a miracle. This is what causes Westley to collapse during the confrontation with Humperdinck. This was altered in the movie because to do it the grandfather would have to give timestamps.
- Early in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius gives Harry a Christmas gift, telling him it can be used to contact him in an emergency (or if Snape gives him a hard time in Occlumency lessons). Harry, knowing Sirius is going stir-crazy and not wanting him to charge off, hides it away. He then forgets about it until well after misinformation from Voldemort gets Sirius killed, something which could have been easily prevented with the use of that gift.
- In Anne of Green Gables, Anne serves Diana what she thinks is Raspberry Cordial (at least that's what Marilla told her was in the pantry). After Anne's barred from seeing Diana again after getting her best friend Unsuspectingly Soused, Marilla storms to the pantry, grabs the bottle—and discovers it's currant wine, and the cordial is in the cellar. Anne herself never drank any of it, so she couldn't tell.
Live Action TV
- An episode of M*A*S*H has Charles using this as a ploy to yank Col. Flagg's chain. Hawkeye is accused to be a traitor by an infirmed colonel for giving priority to a wounded North Korean soldier. Col. Flagg arrives and retrieves a notice which Charles happens to notice first. The notice tells of a meeting in the Swamp with Hawkeye, Col. Potter and two Korean officials. Col. Flagg bursts through the meeting, thinking a plan is afoot for North Korea to overtake South Korea and that Hawkeye and Potter are in cahoots ("Caramba! The fish stinks from the head down!"). It turns out to be a poker game, and the two Koreans happen to be the Mayor and Chief of Police of Panmunjam. Charles conveniently now recalls who the two Koreans are and embarrasses Flagg.