A famous UK advert for Weetabix breakfast cereal had the Lone Ranger and Tonto finding themselves surrounded by Indians. The Lone Ranger is unconcerned until they find evidence that the Indians have eaten Weetabix for breakfast, at which point the following exchange occurs:
Lone Ranger:(gulps)Now we're in trouble... Tonto: What's all this "we", paleface? (and gallops away)
This is, in turn, based on an old MAD cartoon; American readers know the joke more commonly as "What you mean 'we', kemosabe?"
One Honey Nut Cheerio's commercial has Buzz the honeybee do this when he realizes the woman he's giving his product to is an entomologist. She kills and puts insects on display.
Anime & Manga
Subverted in Cowboy Bebop episode "Black Dog Serenade"; one of the convicts that took part in hijacking a prison ship tries to flee through an airlock when things go bad. Unfortunately the section he escapes to is open to space, and though there's no Explosive Decompression he's still as good as dead.
In YuYu Hakusho, during the Dark Tournament Arc, tournament commentator Juri barely manages to escape the section of the ring where Shishiwakamaru strikes with his cursed sword and puts a huge crater into the ground. In addition to that, the same attack sends spirits out from the sword, which attack and kill numerous spectators. When Shishi goes to use the same attack again, spectators start trying to flee the arena in terror. Koto, reporting from ringside, mentions that as commentators, she and Juri have to stay out of professionalism (credit to Koto; as a fox demon, the last attack hurt her ears). When she turns to get Juri to confirm this, we see that Juri is already standing by the exit saying, "Screw this, they don't pay me enough!"
In Ranma ˝, Principal Kuno hires three champions to subdue a rebellious Miss Hinako (and Ranma, natch): Happosai, Tatewaki Kuno... and Nabiki. While the two others actually try to engage in battle and are easily routed, Nabiki just takes the money and runs.
In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Manjyome tries to do this right before Judai is about to duel Kagemaru. (Seeing as Kagemaru plans to use all three Sacred Beasts, it's hard to blame him.) He changes his mind after Asuka scolds him, however.
Black's Munna abandoned him once it didn't like its trainer's dreams anymore.
In Pokémon, if Paul is watching Ash or another trainer having a battle, often he will get bored and leave before it is finished, calling them pathetic. This was especially problematic when his Chimchar's fear of Zangoose led to him pulling this trope in the middle of a Double Battle.
In Pokémon 4Ever ALL of the Iron-Masked Marauder's Pokemon abandoned him. This shows just how vile a villain he was — it is almost unheard of for Pokemon to abandon their trainers, even ones who are evil or abusive. And true, he was a monster compared to most other members of Team Rocket.
One of the omakes in Black Lagoon features younger versions of all the main characters... all except Dutch, that is. He simply left a note saying "Don't bother looking for me" before running off. Apparently there's things in his youth he'd rather keep secret.
May or may not tie into his unknown past.
In One Piece, Usopp has one of these when he hears that they need to get a new ship.
In the Marineford Arc, Mihawk leaves as soon as Shanks and his crew appears, stating that fighting Shanks wasn't part of the deal.
Aokiji was strongly opposed to Akainu becoming Fleet Admiral, so much so that they ended up having a fight to the death for the position. Ultimately, Akainu won, but spared Aokiji's life. Aokiji was so adverse to serving under Akainu that he ended up ditching the Marines and giving up his position as an admiral.
In the anime of the Red Ribbon arc in Dragon Ball, Colonel Violet pretty much does this once Goku starts his invasion of the base. But not before raiding the army's vault and grabbing as much cash as she can.
It's strongly hinted in the backstory of ∀ Gundam that at some point during the Dark History before the Moonlight Butterfly apocalypse, the Spacenoids simply packed up and left the Earth Sphere for the stars, the Colonies turning into impromptu Generation Ships. This in turn explains why there aren't any left. Except for the Moonrace.
For a more direct example, Colonel Michael decides to ditch Guin Sard Lineford during the final battle, finding it insane that Guin is still trying to play the long game rather than deal with the fact that the ship is going down in flames.
In Gundam ZZ, our hero Judau—fed up with the politics and other bullcrap about Earth and the space around it—quits after ending the threats to the Earth. He packs up and leaves to Jupiter colonies to leave the madness behind and start a new life.
Holyland: Some of the thugs in chapter 162 chose to flee than try taking on Yuu.
Helps Hellboy just crashed through the roof because his jetpack was out of gas.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Count Dooku's pupil Asajj Ventress was severely injured, then disavowed the Dark Side just before her apparent death. She was placed aboard a medical freighter, where she regained consciousness and ordered the pilot to fly as far away from the Clone Wars as possible. She was never seen again.
The Earth-2 Catwoman recovered from Amnesia, was horrified by her own crimes, and gave herself up. However, this was later explained as a story she made up to make her reformation plausible; in reality, she had just wanted to give up a life of crime.
The Midnighter: I've been there, man. I know what's it's like in one of those black ops units where you can't even remember your name. I didn't have a conversation in years. Nobody cares if you live or die. If anything happens to you, they'll just make another one. Nobody's interested in what you've got to say. You're just a weapon with a larynx. God, you're probably between thirty-five and forty years old and you've never even been held, have you?
This is the backstory of Manhunter from Power Company; he's one of the army of brainwashed clones from the '70s Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter storyline. Apparently he decided that he didn't care which side won (and that taking on the hero would not be good for his personal life expectancy) and lit out on his own.
In the Marvel UK Transformers Generation 1 comic, one massive time travel epic involved groups of both Autobots and Decepticons from both Earth and Cybertron teaming up to destroy Galvatron, whose presence on Earth in 1989 was screwing up the timeline and threatening to destroy the entire universe. Adding to the temporal mayhem was that Galvatron had recruited his former self, Megatron, to help him out. However, after several issues of non-stop utter carnage and having dispatched half a dozen or so named characters (including a fusion cannon blast to Topspin's face), Megatron just got bored with the fight and wandered off with only an interior monologue to explain why he was leaving when they were winning. This seemed to be down to the writer trying to find a way of killing off Galvatron for good without having to kill off Megatron, whom he needed for future storylines.
And in the main comic, when the Destructix starts falling apart, Sleuth Dawg hands control over to Fiona and retires.
In the Universe storyline "Scrambled", Snively finally bails on Dr. Eggman after he decides to leave a broken and devastated Freedom Fighters instead of finishing them on the spot. Though it should be noted that Snively had been plotting against Eggman for a while, and this was just the final straw for him before putting his plan into action.
Rotor pulls this after the rest of the Mobian Council decides to banish NICOLE to Freedom HQ, even though Ixis Naugus is now on the throne and this is all part of his plan.
In the "Sky-Raker" story arc that Disney did in their Tale Spin comic some years back, Baloo and his allies are trying to keep a futuristic airplane prototype (one that can fly on automatic pilot in response to someone's voice) out of the hands of both Don Karnage's pirate gang and the evil industrialist Shere Khan. (Karnage wants the Sky-Raker as his own personal pleasure craft; Khan, apparently, simply wants it for its monetary value.) While trying to escape from the Iron Vulture (Karnage's flying prison fortress), Baloo and his people find themselves caught between Karnage's crew and a squadron of gangland fighter pilots led by Khan's hired goon, Captain Quarry. Cleverly exploiting the Sky-Raker's vocal mimicry program, Baloo first tricks Quarry into thinking he is hearing Khan ordering him to call off the attack. Then, to get Karnage off their backs, Baloo impersonates Karnage over the radio traffic (into which every pilot in the vicinity is tuned) and goads an angry Quarry into a dogfight to the death. ("Let's have it out, man to man!") The other pirates, seeing that their leader has effectively committed suicide, immediately flee, with Karnage fruitlessly trying to persuade them that he hadn't actually said that and screaming "DON'T LEAVE ME!" Humorously, the pirates don't seem to care much anymore, and act as if their boss is already dead. ("I get his bedroom!") Fortunately for Karnage, he managed to escape the scene, Dirty Coward that he is, before Quarry could take his revenge.
Captain Boomerang would frequently respond to Suicide Squad missions like this. Subverted, in that the team rarely let him get away with it (they'd usually get him blackout drunk and he'd wake up on the plane.)
Daredevil #86: This was Hammerhead's response to encountering Bullseye during a prison riot.
In Transmetropolitan's climax, Callahan's last secret service bodyguards walk out on him when he orders them to kill Spider, noting that if he wanted Spider killed, he could go ahead and do it himself. The prospect of having to kill someone with his own hands causes Callahan to have a minor breakdown.
Spider: Well, that was interesting.
In the climax of "Welcome Back Frank," after The Punisher defeats The Russian and brings his sawed-off head to the Big Bad's lair, it's enough to convince all of Ma Gnucci's remaining mooks to put down their guns and go home, leaving their boss at Frank's mercy.
One For Better Or For Worse comic had Michael stand up to a bully by saying "At least I've got friends who'll stand up for me!" Both his friends walk off with a "See ya, Mike."
Used twice in the Duke Nukem Forever comic book story "Another Hole in the Wall," included with the "Balls of Steel" edition of the game. First attempted by the leader of the S.M.A.R.T. Sharks with a cry of "All is lost! Retreat!" He fails, as Duke (who claims not to know what "retreat" means) uses a fishing rod to hook and reel him in, and thereafter he's cooked and eaten by Duke and his babes. Later, at the bar, two Pig Cops appear through a portal. They take one look at Duke and realized they're doomed. Duke kills the first one. The second one invokes this trope with a cry of "Screw this!" He drops his gun and escapes through the portal.
In The Walking Dead, Andrea, Dale, Maggie, Glenn and Sophia flee the prison after the Governor's first attack for fear of losing their lives.
In Green Lantern: The New Guardians, All of the Lanterns (Save Kyle) do this once Sayd is revealed to be the one responsible for the theft of rings from different Corps (which brought the team together). Even Saint Walker states that the team was built on lies and deception.
In an Empowered flashback, Thugboy has this reaction when his current employer reveals his intention to cause city-wide carnage with his freeze weapon, instead of sensibly holding the city for ransom. Of course, he and his friends responds by killing the boss and stealing his stuff, as is their modus operandi instead of just walking away, but the same attitude is present.
Death Of The Family: Catwoman. Penguin, Harley, and Ivy all try and fail for different reasons.
In An Entry With A Bang!, after learning that C-Earth has nukes and is willing to use them, one pirate crew tries to bug out, but runs into another nuke launcher in the process...
In Through A Diamond Sky, Melodia throws down her gun and tells The Baron she's through after Flynn barges in the room. Justified as she was already starting to think it was a bad idea to try and challenge a User.
In Yu-Gi-Oh GX The Abridged Series Jaden tries to quit being the hero and surrendering his Winged Kuriboh card; by trying to do this he accidentally reforms the villains of the week. He eventually gives up on trying to leave.
Earth And Sky: In chapter 37, Professor Destiny and Doctor Insanity's Beleaguered Assistant Otto finally has enough of working for them when Destiny convinces his brother to continue racing the Pegalathon even after they've been disqualified and nearly arrested. He ditches them in the desert with their supplies, then takes his balloon and heads for Mexicolt. And ends up as an unwilling decoy for the pursuing Royal Guard.
In The Iron Giant, Agent Mansley tries to do this, but was stopped by the eponymous Giant. Is a borderline example of this, as, though this particular attempt to leave was against his superiors' orders and fit the trope, most of the villainous actions in the movie (including the nuke he just fired at the Giant) were caused by him without his superiors' knowledge. Gave us this hilariously great exchange:
Mansley: You mean we're all going...? General: To die, Mansley. For our country. Mansley: Screw our country! I wanna live!
Bartok the Bat in Anastasia, Rasputin's Minion with an F in Evil, decides to get the Hell out of Dodge before the Final Battle. Prior to this, he vainly tried to convince Rasputin to forget revenge and Anastasia and get a life. (Of course, being undead, that might not have been feasible for Rasputin.) In the end Bartok just leaves because he's savvy enough to realize that this can't end well for Rasputin. This proves to be a wise decision that allows Bartok to star in his own spinoff movie as the hero.
Lord Everglot: Fetch my musket! The Butler: Fetch your own musket. I'm off!
In The Emperor's New Groove, Yzma's potions turn the soldiers chasing Kuzco and Pacha into various animals. As Yzma yells at them to chase the duo, one soldier states "Uh, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?" Uncharacteristically, Yzma politely allows him to, asking if anyone else wants to opt out as well. They choose not to.
Ramon pulls this in Happy Feet 2. While trying to console mumble's son Erik, Ramon remarks "For two wild mavericks like us who cannot be tamed.....THIS! PLACE! SUCKS!!!" and then immediately declares he's going home.
Sarge and the two other remaining green army men pull one of these in Toy Story 3 since they think they'll be the first of Andy's toys to be thrown away. Granted, Sarge justifies it by reminding the other toys that Andy has already outgrown them, but still...
It also doubles as a Brick Joke, since they end up at Sunnyside Daycare.
During Ratatouille, when Linguini reveals to his kitchen staff that he hasn't been really cooking, but controlled by Remy, they all wordlessly toss their aprons down, and quit on the spot.
SpongeBob: Don't worry, Mr. Krabs. Squidward, Patrick and I... Squidward: Pass. (leaves)
During the climactic fight in Peter Pan, Mr. Smee is seen loading his bags into a lifeboat, knowing that Hook is just going to lose again, and is also fed up with his obsession with Peter. The other pirates join him, but only because they have fallen overboard and landed on the lifeboat.
In Shrek 2, after Shrek and Fiona get off the carriage and the townspeople get shocked:
Donkey: Uh... Why don’t you guys go ahead. I’ll park the car.
Done twice in The Rugrats Movie. After Tommy's preoccupation in trying to protect his baby brother Dil pushes their buttons one too many times, Phil and Lil decide to leave Tommy and Dil in the woods, Chuckie coming along for the same reasons. Granted, it was Phil and Lil's fault in the first place they were stuck out there and karma does bite them back. The second time is Tommy's Heroic Breakdown where he decides to just leave Dil with the monkeys after his buttons are pushed. Thankfully, he reconsiders.
Films — Live-Action
Rhett Butler's last line in Gone With The Wind has at times been called the greatest movie line ever. At the end, he realizes that Scarlet is a horrible woman and he doesn't want anything to do with her and her messed up life.
In The Story Of Ricky, the villain deploys a bunch of mooks in riot gear to stop the title character. He casually punches through the shield, through the armor, and out the back of the leader mook. The others quickly reconsider their line of work and retreat.
Tank Girl. While the Rippers are taking apart the guards inside Water and Power, Sergeant Small says, "Screw this, man," and takes off. He's later killed by Jet Girl in revenge for the sexual harassment he put her through when she was a prisoner.
In Austin Powers in Goldmember, Nigel Powers intimidates a nameless Mook by pointing out what happens to nameless Mooks in this kind of story. The Mook decides to lie down and play dead as the final confrontation looms.
In Tombstone when the stage coach rolls up with the recently-killed actor the actress in the coach Shames the Mob by pointing out that he only wanted to make their lives better by performing on stage. One of the Mooks, Jason Priestley as Deputy Billy Breckinridge, decides that this has gone too far, saying "We have to have some law and order" and quit the Cowboys. This echoes earlier in the film, when another mook, and McMasters is disgusted by how the Cowboys had targeted the Earp brothers' wives, even going so far as to inform Wyatt Earp that he'll join him for whatever he needs. He joins Creek Johnson and Texas Jack Vermillion to form the posse lead by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday that kills many of his former comrades.
Transformers: Starscream, toward the end of the second movie, reminds Megatron that "sometimes, cowards do survive," just before they Exit Stage Left.
He also says something to this effect in Transformers: War for Cybertron.
He also does this wordlessly in the first movie, when the credits cut to a scene of him fleeing the battle. He wasn't even there for the second half of it.
This happens in The Running Man. Evil TV show host Damien's huge bodyguard, Sven, is supposed to fight a final battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Damien's been verbally abusing Sven the entire movie, so Sven decides to just walk away, leaving Arnold to crush the helpless Damien.
Zangief in Street Fighter. He doesn't quite walk away but decides to help the good guys, largely because he realized that everyone else on Bison's team (specifically Dee Jay) was getting paid besides him.
Not to mention that he had just then realized that everybody else on Bison's team was a bad guy.
In the same film, Bison and Dee Jay are watching the former's plans collapse on a screen. When Bison makes a speech about facing the possibility of defeat together "with the stoicism of the true warrior," Dee Jay quietly gets the hell out of dodge in the background.
Pirate: Ain't you... Peter Pan: Peter Pan? Pirate:(immediately drops his sword and jumps out the window)
Also, "What about Smee? Smee's me... WHAT ABOUT ME?!"
Well, Smee was ordered to "do something intelligent..."
In The Mummy at the battle over Hamunaptra, Rick O'Connell's superior officer drops his sword and rides away when an angry horde of Tuareg horsemen are charging his company. Beni turns to Rick and says, "You just got promoted."
About a minute later, Beni follows suit, screaming "WAIT FOR ME!"
Towards the end, Rick faces off against a mummy and gives a loud scream. The mummy screams even louder. Rick promptly goes "Uh uh!" and runs away.
Agents Brown and Jones after Neo takes out Smith in The Matrix.
ˇThree Amigos!. During the battle at the climax of the movie, most of El Guapo's men take off and desert him, leaving him to be killed by the villagers.
Tim Burton's Batman. Batman has just finished wiping out several of the Joker's mooks. Bob, The Dragon to the Joker, appears holding a knife. When Batman makes a Bring It gesture to him (beckoning with his index finger), Bob drops the knife and runs away.
Towards the end of Batman Returns, as plan after plan is foiled by Batman and everything is collapsing around him, the Penguin looks around to realize that he doesn't have many mooks left, and the ones that are still there all seem to be quietly sneaking towards the exits. Moments later he tries to get out of there himself, but Batman intercepts him.
Non-battle version in Barefoot In The Park. After Paul and Corie find Corie's mother in bed with their neighbor Victor, Corie reacts with horror. Instead of trying to comfort his wife, Paul decides that he has had enough craziness and leaves.
Kick-Ass subverts this. A Mook facing the four foot tall whirlwind of destruction named Hit-Girl shouts a stronger version of the first two words. *beat* "I'm getting the bazooka!"
Zatoichi (in at least one of his many adventures) is attacked by three mooks and kills two of them. The one in the rear plays dead and Ichi is briefly puzzled; he knows how many feet he heard, and how many bodies he sliced. Ichi then gestures impatiently for the surviving mook to get up, and he duly runs away.
In the final Harry Potter movie the Malfoys flee the instant Harry reveals himself to be alive. Since they've been prominent supporters of Voldemort and Narcissa had lied to Voldemort about Harry being dead, it's pretty obvious why they didn't want to stick around to see who won.
Hell, half of the assembled Death Eaters teleport away when Harry "comes back to life". It's actually kind of impressive.
After being shot in the leg the first time he dealt with Machete, a mook who sees him coming back hands him his gun, yells, "I quit!", and walks away. Machete allows him to leave peacefully.
The Turkish entrenched riflemen in The Lighthorsemen decide on this when they realise the charging Horsemen aren't going to stop.
Another non-battle example: in Nothing But Trouble, This is Chris' reaction upon seeing, in a news segment, that JP Alvin not only survived the destruction of Valkenvania, but also he announces that he and his family are planning to visit his "grandson-in-law". Chris literally runs out of the apartment, complete with a cartoonish hole in the wall, along with footsteps being heard.
In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie, both Mordant and Goldar bail on Ivan Ooze at different points, Mordant isn't present after the activation of the Ecto-Morphicon Titans and Goldar flies off, saying "I'm out of here!", when Ivan fuses with Hornitor to battle the Ninja Megazord.
In one of the outtakes of The Avengers, the scene is Bruce Banner regarding the Leviathan, calmly Hulking out, and pounding its face into the pavement. Instead, Mark Ruffalo turns to the other Avengers, utters the trope name, and girly-runs off into the distance, while everyone else cracks up.
In Dogma, Loki and Bartleby have spent the entire movie to a certain point attempting to get to a church so they can get back to Heaven. However, as they do, Bartleby comes to realize that God's always favored the humans over the Angels and that they'll never be able to be fully forgiven for their menial transgressions. So, he decides tokill humanity to get back home. Loki recognizes the talk and doesn't want any part of it, attempting to get back to Wisconsin, only for Bartleby to strongarm him into staying with him.
Sir Robin's minstrel: Brave Sir Robin ran away./Bravely ran away away./When danger reared it's ugly head,/He bravely turned his tail and fled./Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about/And gallantly he chickened out./Bravely taking to his feet,/He beat a very brave retreat.
In Iron Man 3 a random Mook, realizing he's the last one that Tony Stark has yet to shoot or incapacitate, says "I don't even like this job, these people are weird", drops his gun, and scrams.
Also, Mundungus Fletcher pulls this on Mad-Eye Moody during the escape from Privet Drive in the same book. Moody ends up taking an Avada Kedavra to the face as a result.
The Malfoys' defection from the battle of Hogwarts in the film has shades of this trope.
In the Halonovelization, a grunt named Yayap goes AWOL just before the final battle. He knows that someone's going to destroy the Halo and kill everyone on it, so continuing the fight would be pointless. He is, of course, right. Halo blows up, and kills everyone on it, including him.
Both Marco and Cassie do this in Animorphs. Of course, both return, either because It's Personal now or because their conscience won't let them go off the hook so easily.
Elfangor does it too, in The Andalite Chronicles. He doesn't go back until the Ellimist makes him, several years later.
And David in The Threat.
In Discworld, part of being an Igor is "getting out before the angry mob arrived." Igors often have long resumes, with all previous employers deceased. As one clan elder said to his soon-to-be-former boss, "We belong dead? Excuthe me, where doeth it thay we?"
Also in Discworld, in Making Money, Cosmo's secretary Heretofore gets the hell out once Cosmo's madness reaches its peak.
They will also sometimes suggest to other servants that it might be time to take a vacation.
Kelven Solanki is a major POV character in Peter F. Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction, but vanishes without a trace after leading the evacuation of the planet Lalonde and fails to reappear in the two sequels, whilst a friend of his who had a smaller role in the first book, Ralph Hiltch, goes on to have a major role in the later books. According to Hamilton he had far too many characters running and literally just forgot about him.
After Nellie Dean finishes telling Mr. Lockwood the horrifying story of Wuthering Heights, the tenant loses no time finding accommodations elsewhere and getting as far away from Heathcliff as he can.
A mercenary captain's reaction upon learning that a Bolo is active. Though he can't leave as he's already taken delivery of his payment, and his employers would be... unhappy.
The French soldier Nicholas in Seven Men Of Gascony does this, on the reasonable ground that it is more important to support his wife and child than to prolong the glory of a Corsican mobster for another year. He ends up caught and executed.
Opera co-managers Poligny and Debienne at the very start of The Phantom of the Opera. Once a Phantom starts skulking around their opera and delivering blackmail demands, they waste no time passing the buck and getting out of the opera business as fast as they can.
In World War Z, the mercenary protecting the celebrities in their fortress decides to sneak out the back door when desperate survivors storm the place, on the grounds that he was hired to kill zombies, not people. And while he's leaving on a stolen jewel-encrusted surfboard, he runs into one of the celebrities' miniature dogs, who evidently had the same idea.
T. Shawn Collins: I like to imagine that if he could talk, the conversation would have gone, "What about your master?" "What about yours?" "Fuck 'em."
In Macbeth, the doctor tending to Lady Macbeth contemplates this while realizing that both of the Macbeths are stark raving insane (and that armies from England and Ireland are about to invade Scotland).
Doctor: Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here.
Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: In the book Final Justice, Stu Franklin ends up pulling this. On his way out, he warns Isabelle Flanders that they're going to get caught and that they should flee. This may qualify as a Heel Face Turn. Then, again, maybe not, if the book Cross Roads is anything to go by.
In The Book Of The Dun Cow, Scrape the Otter attempts to get the other animals to desert Chauntecleer's army because he is afraid of fighting Cockatrice. Chauntecleer defies the trope by dealing with Scrape immediately, picking him up and dropping him in with the Weasels, persuading him to abandon the plan.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: A Stitch in Time, which presents the life story of Elim Garak. By the end of the novel, Garak no longer cares for the manipulative politics of his people, and chooses to walk out on a meeting between reactionary officers and would-be-politicians, declaring that he has no place among them.
Flashman mentions running away is his default plan B in Flashman's Lady. He mentions in another story that almost all his wounds are on his back, inflicted while escaping, and supposes elsewhere that he's had more fast exits than hot meals.
…suddenly I saw that there was only one way, and a slender hope at that, but it was that or unspeakable death. The Flashman Gambit – when in doubt, run.
In the Season 2 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike decides to bug out of Angelus' plan to destroy the world because he likes the world (because it has things like dog racing, Manchester United and millions of people running around like Happy Meals for him). He quickly teams up with Buffy so he can grab his lover, Drusilla, and ditches out the second he has her. He comes back later.
There's a hilarious instance of this trope in "Crush" (S5x14), when Spike and Buffy bust into a vampire lair. The vamps get up, get ready to fight, and say "Slayer!" Then they run away.
Spike does it again in the fourth season, volunteering to help Xander get Buffy and Riley out of a haunted house, but realizes he doesn't like any of them and walks off.
Then there was Angelus and Drusilla, two vampires working for the Judge, a demon who thought he was invincible because "no weapon forged" could kill him. He didn't take into account several centuries of improvement in weapon technology, however. When Buffy pointed a rocket launcher at him (which was not forged) he didn't even know what it was. However, Angelus and Drusilla certainly did, and they couldn't run the other way fast enough.
Lampshaded again by him at the end of "Once More, With Feeling", when all of the Scoobies are sequence-dancing their "victory cheer" after Sweet's departure, Spike breaks off exclaiming "Bugger this!" and leaves.
Anya also decides that leaving town is her best option before the big fight with the Mayor at the end of season 3.
In the episode "Bad Girls", Faith does this after meeting Wesley
Faith: New Watcher? Buffy and Giles: New Watcher. Faith: Screw that! (walks out) Buffy: Now why didn't I just say that?
A newly turned schoolmate named Sheila in the third episode of the second season, "School Hard" wisely does this after seeing Buffy dust a fellow vampire and she turns her gaze to Sheila.
In Scrubs, this is what Ted does after everyone is punching him all day because of his orange tie.
This is pretty much what Face tries to do in the fifth season of The A-Team. He gets fed up with Stockwell continually using the team and eventually walks out. Twice. And ends up coming back both times. Because as much as he hates Stockwell, he just can't bring himself to leave the team.
In the Tales from the Crypt episode "Yellow", a prominent general's son tries to do this during a war. Desertion is a death-by-firing-squad offense. Once he is caught, his father promises him he will load all of the firing squad's rifles with blanks and hide supplies so his son can get away, if his son "dies" bravely. The son agrees. The next morning, he is marched in front of the firing squad. He sees the supply cache in a small ditch. He gives brave last words and stands proudly. But, when his father looks away, he knows he's going to die. He does.
In Farscape John Crichton tends to do this on occasions when he's agreed to help Scorpius. It never works:
Crichton surrenders to Scorpius in "Liars Guns And Money" and tolerates the situation up until one of his Happy Places is invaded, whereupon he mutters "screw this," and walks away... only to get a knife to the back of his neck.
"Into The Lion's Den" has him working for Scorpius to ensure the success of his wormhole project: a few hours later, Crichton attempts to back out, whereupon Scorpius hammers his head against a desk and threatens to destroy Earth.
A minor and non-Scorpius-related variation occurs in "Jeremiah Crichton" when John decides he's had enough of life on Moya and runs off in his module. He is promptly left (though accidentally) and is understandably upset when they finally return for him, since he never intended to leave for real.
Played with in Stargate SG-1. Jack and Teal'c are attempting to disable an Asgard ship infested with Replicators, and naturally gravitate to the main deck. Said deck is crawling with Replicators. Jack takes just one look and says, "Well, screw that!"
Spencer on iCarly trying to give a brotherly advice talk to Carly.
Spencer:: Okay. There's two roads in front of you. Road A, and... the-the... one on the left. (Pauses, then runs out of the room).
Finn: Screw this. I'm done with you. I'm done with all of you! *kicks chair*
A raptor pilot in Battlestar Galactica episode "The Hub" does this during battle. As he tries to jump out, a Raider shoots him. He does manage to perform a jump but by the time his Raptor reaches the Fleet, he is already dead.
This is what Adama, Roslin and the whole Fleet did when they made the decision to run. The Colonies were being nuked to hell and what was left of the Fleet was fighting a losing battle by the time Galactica could even arm itself. As all communication from the Colonies quieted, the surviving Colonials realised they were better off fleeing.
In Solitary, this is the only way to lose. When you've had enough of a treatment, you push the red buzzer. If you're first, you go home. If you're not, then you stay. But of course, you have no idea if anyone else has quit, so you can be stuck doing a painful treatment for a long time until VAL says otherwise.
Master Vile does this near the end of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, being Genre Savvy enough to realize that his plans weren't going to go anywhere, and he'd be better off sticking to the galaxy where he always wins, instead of that one weird planet where good somehow triumphs. Notably, he was the Big Bad at the time.
In Power Rangers Zeo, Prince Gasket tried to take over the Machine Empire when Mondo was believed to be dead, but unfortunately for him, Mondo was not. When he came back, Gasket fled rather than face his very angry father.
In Power Rangers Wild Force,Toxica and Jindrax, caught between two leaders who couldn't care less about sacrificing them as pawns and sought only personal gain instead of the good of the Org race, walk off into the sunset together just before the series' final battle. One of the series' arcs was about the Orgs' blind loyalty to any higher-ranked Org, and in the end, these two finally realized it wasn't worth it. (It may also be a case of Shoo Out the Clowns, as the next episode was part one of the dead-serious season finale.)
In The Outer Limitsrevival episode "Mind Over Matter", a doctor hooks a comatose woman to a VR machine so they can communicate with her. He enters the VR world several times and they start getting intimate. One of his colleagues is disgusted, and protests the unethical nature of what he is doing. He refuses to listen, and she gets fed up and leaves, and in doing so, escapes being involved in the Cruel Twist Ending.
One Attack of the Show! sketch has a Dumb Blonde TV host who can't pronounce "Cataclysm" ("Cuh-TACK-a-lism!"), and is handed a speech therapy computer program. After spending several minutes with her completely failing to catch on, the program says "to hell with this" and deletes itself.
A plot arc in Season 5 of LOST involves some characters trying to reunite everyone in order to get back to the island, but when everyone shows up and sees that Ben was involved, they change their minds and go home for a few episodes.
As well as quite a few companions' decision to leave the group, although they usually wait until the fighting's died down. Tegan in particular was increasingly getting fed up with being hunted and captured and dragged around the universe and having to see people getting killed all the time, and ran off. Dodo left without even saying goodbye properly.
Rose's AU Dad pulls this on the whole dimension when a Dalek army appears.
Pete Campbell attempted to do this at the end of the third season of Mad Men. Only Roger and Don recruiting him for the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce prevented it.
Cooper does it as well in Season 4 when Don's ad about SCDP no longer doing cigarette ads goes public.
During the Battle of Blackwater, the Hound has a Freak Out after seeing people burning alive (triggering his phobia of fire) and flees both the battle and the city, despite his position as a member of the Kingsguard.
When surrounded by Winterfell's army, Theon Greyjoy gives an awesome Rousing Speech... then his men knock him out and escape, leaving him to his fate.
Black Lorren: Thought he'd never shut up.
Dagmer Cleftjaw: It was a good speech. Didn't want to interrupt.
In Muppets Tonight episode "The Cameo Show" (The one that starts with Arsenio Hall dying) technician Nigel finally cracks from all of the usual craziness;
Nigel: All right. That's it, I've had enough. There's nothing on stage, this happens every week. I can't take this anymore! You hear what I'm saying I can't take it anymore I mean it this time! I'm quitting! I quit, I quit, I quit! Do you hear me I said I quit! Good riddance and good bye I quit!(Leaves)
Zipity: ...Okay, I'll take over. Ge ready to cue the Real World Muppets. And get me a double-chug with a zig-zag.
Nigel:(Comes back) Hey, what are you doing, this is my job.
This happened twice on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, although only the second one was broadcast. Lemmy from Motörhead walked out on an early episode when they were filming retakes, and Preston from The Ordinary Boys walked out after Simon Amstell read extracts from then wife Chantelle's biography.
Played for laughs on Rock Profile, where Elton John frequently says "Right, I'm leaving" during the interview.
Of all people, you'd never think Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation would do this, but... After questioning a planet's treatment of the super-soldiers they'd created when the war ended he was told by government leaders to butt out since it wasn't his problem and the Prime Directive forbade him from interfering. At the end of the episode, he's in the middle of an armed standoff between said government leaders and the soldiers. When the leaders ask him to do something, he cheerfully invokes the Prime Directive since it forbade him from interfering, and it wasn't his problem. He transports out and leaves them to settle their dispute. One way or the other.
In the first season of Ice Road Truckers, Drew and Rick, plagued by mechanical problems and an unsympathetic boss, bow out mid-season.
Gordon Ramsay pulled this off in the "Amy's Baking Company" episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Between being insulted by owners Amy and Samy, watching as said owners blasted both customers and employees, Amy becoming a major Drama Queen, firing a waitress for making sure the order was going to the right customer, stealing people's tips'' and learning from two former employees how horrible they were treated (one was stuck serving just water that she literally begged to be put into the kitchen and another had to wash Samy's car), that Ramsay realized they were beyond hope and walked out. Incidently, Ramsay was quite upset about it, mostly because he wanted to help and there was no way to break through their Small Name, Big Ego.
In Grey's Anatomy, when Alex laments his streak of troubled relationships:
Alex: I get crazy, I get cancer, and now I got a psychopathic maniac! Screw it, I give up, I'm walking away.
Whenever I was challenged, I'd collapse like a souffle, But I'm still alive to sing this song 'cause I ran away!
The second verse of Lupe Fiasco's song "Hello, Goodbye" is about a general who deserted a war because he didn't believe in the cause. In the end, "He stands, to find himself surrounded by thousands of soldiers, who he once trained to never miss their targets."
A more humorous example can be found at the end of Liam Lynch's "Happy Song". The singer, disgusted by all the Tastes Like Diabetes he's been forced to sing about, says "I'm outta here! Screw you!"
Take This Job And Shove It!, I ain't workin' here no more/ Don't you try to stand in my way as I go walkin' out the door! Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and a case of Covered Up (by Johnny Paycheck, it was written and first performed by David Allan Cole.)
"Art" by DJ Damien, a song made for a StepMania competition, consists of a heartbeat-like drum beat for one minute with just three steps held for the duration. "A2 (Art 2)" is a more conventional angry rap song about people who misunderstood the message intended in "Art". The trilogy ends with "The legend of ART", where DJ Damien raps over trance instead in an attempt to please StepMania players until three-fourths of the way through, when after a short Daft Punk sample, it goes back to angry rap. The first lyrics of the coda: "Screw this shit, I'm done / Making trance ain't fun."
It's not uncommon for the Heels to fall back on this if they're losing the match, especially if they're defending championships (since you can't lose a title by being counted out). Often this plan will be foiled by 1) the Face grabbing the Heel and dragging him back into the ring; 2) an authority figure intercepting the Heel and telling him to get back in the ring; or 3) the authority figure making a new rule that if the Heel gets counted out, he'll lose the title anyway.
Occasionally the reverse will happen, with a Heel trying to win a title from a defending Face just giving up and walking away, like Test did in his ECW title match with Bobby Lashley.
A rare non-villainous, purely comedic example had Jackie Gayda attempting to ditch Stacy Keibler just before their Evening Gown Tag Team Match against Torrie Wilson and Sable at Wrestle Mania XX. All four Divas had to strip down to their bras and panties before the match began, and Miss Jackie decided at the last minute that she didn't want everyone to see her in her underwear. She tried to leave - but Torrie and Sable would have none of it, grabbing Jackie and ripping off her gown so that she'd have to wrestle in her underwear.
In a behind-the-scenes example, Molly Holly asked the WWE management in 2005 to let her do a Heel Face Turn. When WWE management denied her request on the grounds that it wouldn't work, she asked for her release.
Subverted when Triple H apparently abandoned Shawn Michaels in the middle of a "weapons" match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Turns out, he was just running to fetch his trusty sledgehammer. (One wonders why he didn't bring it to the ring to begin with, or just stash it under the ring before the match.)
The 10/3/11 episode of Monday Night Raw ended with this - by about half of the WWE Roster, as well as the announcers, the refs, the cameramen...and the guy that rings the bell.
The 6/18/12 edition of Raw featured a 3-on-1 Handicap Match of John Cena versus the team of The Big Show, David Otunga, and (former) General Manager of both Raw & SmackDown John Laurinaitis, which essentially dwindled down to a mere one-on-one match. This came thanks to both Big Show and Otunga ditching Laurinaitis during the match, leaving the People Power proponent to have to fight Cena alone. It went about as well as you might expect for him.
On the Labor Day 2012 edition, CM Punk decided to take a "personal day" instead of facing Sheamus. Subverted at the end of the show when he came back to cost John Cena his match with Alberto Del Rio. On the same show, Jack Swagger decided to go on leave.
Subverted again a week later when Punk tried this again with Randy Orton, only for Orton to chase him and bring him back to the ring.
Tyler Reks was already tired of being a rarely utilized jobber-to-the-stars when he and tag partner Curt Hawkins got assigned a male stripper gimmick. One week later he quit pro wrestling. To be fair, he had already been battling with the decision for a while, as he had a newborn at home, and decided to leave wrestling before the gimmick went any further.
In a battle royal, Santino Marella sees that he doesn't have a prayer of eliminating Triple H and John Cena, and decides to eliminate the one guy he knows he can: himself!
Gail Kim did this at her last appearance in WWE. Upset with the way she had been booked and realizing she wasn't going to be doing anything there, Gail gave her notice that she quit when at a Battle Royal she eliminated herself as soon as the match began. Apparently she was told to be eliminated from it in under a minute they just didn't expect her to eliminate herself. A few months later she had made her return to TNA.
The British Tolkien Radio parody Hordes of the Things begins with the Crown Prince Veganin giving the mighty hordes of Albion a rousing speech about how they will stand fast though Albion is surrounded by the hordes of evil. His speech is interrupted by the wizard Radox, who informs him that the mighty hordes of Albion can't make it today, but have left a sick note.
Veganin: Well, then, old Radox, but you and I... Radox: Umm... (horse gallops away) Veganin: So. Farewell, thou cowards. Know you I would scorn to die in your company. To horse unto the King, to raise another force of men who would rejoice to die!
Some (definitely not all) schools of Buddhism has leaving the cycle of reincarnation without turning back as the ultimate goal. Others simply seek to become an enlightened being, free from the sorrows of the world, that help others reach enlightenment from time to time.
The opening fiction to Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead has a recurring character rooming with an up-and-coming supermodel, trying to see if she'd be a good candidate for initiation into a cult. She comes home a bit early one night, and finds some hideously bloated thing sucking what looks like the supermodel's life out from her thigh... and the supermodel enjoying it. Her reaction? "Yeah, I'll just... see myself out."
At the start of Another Code R, Ashley decides she's had enough of her father's crap and decides to go home. However, she spent all her money on a new guitar beforehand and couldn't afford the bus fare, so she's stuck going through the game.
Near the end of Final Fantasy VIII, Biggs and Wedge — who've been playing mid-boss to you for most of the game — decide to drop their current assignment (guarding the door leading to the Boss) and just walk away to look for gainful employment elsewhere.
Likewise, near the end of Final Fantasy VII, you can talk the Turks out of fighting you and into just walking away, seeing as how the Shinra Corporation has just been blown to pieces. Only works if you've established the rudiments of an Odd Friendship with them by playing the Wutai sideplot earlier, though.
Done yet again in Final Fantasy X, where Maester Mika decides to send himself (effectively committing suicide) rather than face a world where Sin cannot be defeated.
In Pokémon Platinum, Mars and Jupiter decide to drop out of Team Galactic and live normal lives once you defeat them for the final time.
In Pokémon XD, after a rearmed Michael takes him to school (and likely Snags his Zangoose in the process), Zook decides to eff everything and leave Cipher - the reason being that he's "had enough of you to last a lifetime".
In the RPG Shadow Madness, at one point, your characters tell some Mooks they'd better run away because they've killed so many already. Amazingly enough, they actually do. In the next room, your characters try it again, but it doesn't work. "So much for sensible enemies..."
In Def Jam: Fight for NY, Big Bad Crow has been a dishonorable backstabber whose methods disgust even his own men. Just before the final fight, Crow's bodyguard refuses to kill the hero, and instead gives him his gun and leaves. The hero does an Ironic Echo of an earlier Crow quote and notes that Crow has "a little morale problem". Also played straight a bit earlier when one of Crow's bodyguards sees the "army" the protagonist had gathered for storming their lair and just walks away while saying "Screw this, man, he's your problem". He even joins your character in a "2 vs 2" tournament after the end of the game.
During the fight to reach Fist, you can convince a couple of Mooks in Chora's Den to depart instead of killing them (you've pretty much massacred all the other Mooks in the bar at this point). Wrex mentions that it would've been easier to just shoot them.
Shepard:(Renegade option) I just killed my way through 50 bodyguards back there. What do you think I'm going to do to you? Warehouse Worker: Aw, screw this. Fist doesn't pay us enough for this.
A LOKI Mech in the Project Overlord DLC tries this after you shoot both its arms off. It doesn't get very far.
If you talk to Wrex enough in ME1, you learn that he worked for Saren as a mercenary in a mission, but had second thoughts after completing it when he saw him and felt something was very wrong about that. He promptly got outta there, not even waiting for the promised payment (which was a lot of money, actually). Then he explains that his hunch was right; a week after the mission was completed, every mercenary that participated was found dead.
In Fallout 2, when you reach Vault 15, the woman guarding the back door will let you past if you explain that you are trying to rescue a young girl; she leaves the area (although she turns up later in Vault 13). Much later, a squad of Enclave soldiers decides to desert after you engineer the oil rig's destruction. You can talk them into taking on Frank Horrigan for you, but they're likely to die horribly without some help.
You can skip the final battle by convincing The Dragon and his men that his goals are illegitimate and he should just walk away. If you have neutral karma, your companion remarks that the retreating enemies are likely to simply be gunned down by allied forces as soon as they step outside. If you have good karma, your companion remarks that they're probably just going to pop up a few years later to cause more trouble.
Also, hurting ordinary enemies enough without actually killing them has a decent chance of causing them to shout something along the lines of the trope title and run away. Unfortunately, they have a high chance of changing their minds and attacking you some more after fleeing for a minute or so.
Skyrim enemies may panic, flee and/or beg for mercy if their health drops low enough. (If you do show mercy, they'll regain their courage shortly and attack you again.)
In Fallout New Vegas, There was another Courier who was going to carry the Platinum Chip. However, Just as he was about to accept the job, he saw the Player Character's name on the list of available Couriers. He asked if the name was genuine, and when the local branch-head confirmed it, he bailed out of the job. "Let Courier Six carry the package", then left without another word. The reasons for this are not explained until the final DLC, Lonesome Road.
While the Hero is escaping from the dungeon and kicking every ass in sight along the way, he's attacked by a mean-looking Omnicrone. Rather than die after the battle like everyone else, the Omnicrone stops, exclaims, "They don't pay me enough for this!", and leaves.
Later on when you encounter Dalton in the Ocean Palace he feels the palace shake and believes Lavos is waking up so he decides to escape rather than fight you.
It's possible (if you don't kill them) for three of the Tasen to just up and leave. They're probably the only survivors.
This is what Ansaksie and a bunch of other Assassins do when Asha loses it.
In Neverwinter Nights 2, just before the final battle, your Token Evil Teammate refuses to help you fight the Big Bad on principle. He normally then sides with the Big Bad against you, but you can instead convince him to simply not take any side at all and just walk away.
In Yggdra Union, Mizer is one of the few enemies to survive clashing with your army because he eventually does this.
In Operation Darkness, German tank ace Michael Wittmann voluntarily leaves a battle with the Wolf Pack in disgust over the SS's use of reanimated German soldiers which in his opinion is defiling the corpses of brave men.
An attacking force of kobolds advanced on the settlement of Boatmurdered, took a good look at it, and promptly left. "Come on guys, we have a nice settlement, why didn't you stick around? Was it the ashen wasteland? The bloodstained gates? Was it the screams of madmen or the stench of death? We've got awful nice engravings of some fucking cheese here, come the fuck on in!"
Played 100% straight by Brennan Risling, who wisely decides not to continue indulging his Jerk Ass boss' violent tendencies the instant the fight starts going badly for him. Of course, you can still kill him if you're quick enough.
At the resolution of her quest, the silver dragon Adalon states that she is sick and tired of "guarding a peace that does not exist" and leaves after taking vengeance on the drow who pissed her off.
In No One Lives Forever, an Indian henchman of H.A.R.M. does this near the end of the game, about the fifth time UNITY agent Cate Archer gets knocked out. Interestingly, this becomes a minor plot point in the sequel, as he helps Archer get into the Calcutta branch of H.A.R.M..
In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, if you leave the controller alone for three minutes with the game unpaused, Sonic gets bored enough to shout "I'm outta here!" and jump off the screen, ending the game.
In Cave Story, the player is given the option to do this. At a point when all but a handful of your allies are either dead or captured by the Big Bad, one of those allies tells you that the fight is probably hopeless, and it would be better for the two of you to just run away. Agreeing to leave results in the game's bad ending.
Atton Rand's backstory pulls this trope out twice. He first tells the Republic "screw it" and joins those who were only loyal to Revan, then after a rather impressive career as a Sith torturer and Jedi-killer, a female Jedi he tortured and brought to the brink of death showed him he was Force Sensitive, and a prime candidate for ending up on the other side of the torture rack. Whether you interpret this as a Heel Face Turn, or just saving his own ass depends on your own (and your Exile's) interpretation.
In the game proper, there is a deeply satisfying moment on Onderon where, after waves of suicidal morons have thrown their lives away in a vain attempt to stop you, one group will run for their freaking lives. Your character can even say what every player is surely thinking.
In the fantasy/sci-fi RPG Albion you can convince the spaceship's security chief and his men that the ship's goals are illegitimate; he and his men then retreat, allowing you to skip a very tough battle and go straight to the final fight against the Master Computer.
In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, after you beat Dodongo's Cavern, the Gorons are about to give Link a group hug, but Link automatically runs away. Considering that Gorons are super strong, you can't blame him for not wanting to get crushed.
In Brotherhood, upon hearing Ezio spared Rodrigo Borgia, Templar Grandmaster's life, Machiavelli bitches out on Ezio, storming out of Monterrigioni.
In Star Craft I, the final mission involves Raynor and the player character Magistrate breaking away from the Sons of Korhal after the fall of New Gettysberg.
In Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey, after defeating the angelic Zelenin in the Neutral path, Mastema appears. The player expects another boss battle, but he instead leaves the player with a warning before disappearing for the rest of the game.
In Devil Survivor, at two points, the player can decide to simply break the Tokyo blockade and run away rather than fight the Bels. It leads to one of two Downer Endings; either the PC is killed by angels who proceed to remove humanity's free will, or the PC defeats the angels who are policing the Yamanote Loop, and demons escape to overrun the world. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
During the School Festival in Persona 4, the MC, his friends and his classmates are stuck putting together a date cafe, which bombs completely. When Rise walks in to see how it's going, she quickly says, "Well, bye!" before hightailing it out of there.
In ''Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]], Reyson can be used to convince Naesala to abandon his support for Daein, thus avoiding an impossibly strenuous boss battle.
In the sequel, the first boss in Part III becomes overwhelmed by fear of the Laguz and flees his post, leaving his less-than-well-equipped subordinate to inevitably get curb stomped. When said boss is encountered again later, he will try to do this again on the map when you get close, but the poor sap's got nowhere to run.
In Thracia 776, Salem did this in his backstory. He was a member of the Lopto Church, but at some point he got so sick of their atrocities that he pulled a Heel Face Turn and left the group. The Loptos almost killed him on his way out, too.
Aveline Vallen in Dragon Age II does this to Hawke near the end of the game if she's opposed to him. Instead of fighting him, she gives him a Reason You Suck Speech, throws down her sword, and leaves. So do her guards.
Agent Cross does this after you get his health low enough. You catch up to him though.
Same with Coronal Taggart does this after defeating Mother. Once again you catch up to him.
Upon realising how strong the team has become, Xenoblade Chronicles' Dickson promptly announces that he has no desire to be a martyr for his cause, and promptly turns to leave. Subverted in that he's actually mortally wounded, and doesn't want to let the party see him die.
After the party defeats Exor in Super Mario RPG, Bowser tries to pull this trope on Mario, saying that because he has his castle back now, there's no reason for him to keep helping the heroes. Geno coolly reminds Bowser that if they don't stop the source of the evil, more monsters will come and attack Bowser's castle again. Bowser begrudgingly returns to the party.
In Centurion Defender Of Rome panicked units make a 180 degree turn and leave the battlefield. A lot of units panic when their leader is killed so massive routs are common.
In Evil Genius, minions actually say this in their status box when their loyalty drops to zero and they defect. Of course this can be quickly remedied by beating up the guy and throwing him into a cell. They'll be quick to reconsider.
In Star Control II, the Melnorme will abandon the local region of space once the Death March begins. More of an aversion, since they tell the date when they leave right from the start, and they've been running from both branches of Ur-Quan for millennia. And after leaving they can still be summoned with a hyperwave caster.
At one point in Earthbound, Ness faces off against Captain Strong and five of his fellow police officers. After taking out the first four cops, the fifth freaks out and high tails it out of there, leaving Strong to deal with you.
Is a status effect in The Elder Scrolls series, typically as a magic spell, an enchantment effect, or as a poison. The status effect is usually titled "Fear", and induces fleeing behavior in the target.
In Red vs. Blue, Simmons and Grif plan to flee from the tank that's threatening to attack them and try to make it to the Warthog, agreeing to start running together on the count of three. Although they spend a fairly ludicrous amount of time staring down the tank making sure they are on the same page with regard to "on the count of three", Grif deliberately sneaks away from him and starts running early while Simmons is still counting.
"Oh, you backstabbing cockbite!"
Happens later with Donut and Grif. They are hiding behind the warthog as Tucker approaches in an out of control tank.
This time Donut sneaks off while Grif is counting.
At the end of the Bowsers Kingdom movie, Jeff and Hal are seen squashed and defeated:
Hal: That's it, I quit.
Jeff: Yeah, screw this!
Ultra Fast Pony, "Hippocratic Oafs". After seeing how poorly Ponyville is treating Blue Twilight, Purple Twilight decides she wants nothing more to do with them. "That's it. I'm out. I hope a bear eats you all."
The reason Richard starts to pull this (a single line quickly changes his mind so he doesn't quite do this trope) is that he did not want to be killed (or whatever the term is for turning the undead to merely dead) as most previous plans had nearly killed him, and he was starting to feel like settling down.
8-Bit Theater's Black Mage has attempted to, on multiple occasions, opt out of the quest to save the world Fight signed him up for. However, numerous elements keep forcing him back into the game, such as Thief's blackmail or Sarda's reality-warping power.
Chip from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes completely abandons his ally after discovering his Guardian Band, wanting nothing to do with the conflict, despite the fact that he's involved whether he wants to be or not.
"Hello and welcome to Atop The Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn! Say... *Pulls out his pocket watch* It's Mill- [makes a break for it]
During the conclusion of the Mechakara Arc, Harvey Finevoice, The 90's Kid and Ninja Style Dancer comes to aid Linkara against the villain. They get some good hits in at first, but then Mechakara starts adapting to their weapons and can't be harmed. They all promptly flee to leave Linkara to fend for himself.
When Equius is first introduced in Homestuck, the narrator doesn't want to spend too long on him.
also at one point an enemy absconds off John's roof with an umbrella. Because that's what weak enemies do when they are vastly outclassed.
The Abandon Thread meme, also known as 'Fuck This Thread, I'm Outta Here'.
There have been a number of Retsupuraes that have the Retsupuraers throw their hands up and bail for different reasons. Two of the more notable ones were Let's Play This!note It was another Deceased Crab video, this one of Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu and The Legend of Sweat*
Sips, completely cornered in a game of Worms Reloaded just gives up and has his last worm jump into the water.
Sips: You know what? Fuck you guys. Fuck this game. Fuck you. *jumps*
In Everyman HYBRID, when coming face to face with the Rake in the episode "Jessie", Jeff's only response is to announce "Fuck this shit," and run like hell. Granted, he was running to find something to chase it off with, but still.
In Suburban Knights, the last surviving Black Cloak aka The Last Angry Geek says "Oh, screw this!" and flees for his life when Malachite kills his allies.
Likewise when Brad (a.k.a The Cinema Snob) tries to attack Malachite and fails. He runs for the hills.
In Yahtzee's review of Alone In The Dark 2008, he finally reaches his breaking point when, after an hour slaying monsters, the game spawns thirty more and tells him he has to kill them too.
Yahtzee: "No." I replied, "No, I do not. I reject your stupid, fucking, arbitrary, gameplay-lengthening World of Warcraft grind quests, and I'm sick of putting up with your bullshit!"
In the Bravest Warriors episode "Time Slime", the team is trying to help a space station where time is overlapping on itself, meaning that there are actually three versions of the team performing different stages of the mission. BW #2 find the source of the problem, as well as the corpses of BW #1. They try to keep the same events from playing out again—and fail, winding on the ground right next to their "past" selves. Then BW #3 show up, see a pair of each of their bodies on the ground and realize that it's probably better to let the people on the station figure this out for themselves.
In "Memory Donk", the guy driving the rocket bus can't remember how to fly and bails out... into the vacuum of space. Later, as the bus is flying over Neo-Mars City, Chris asks Jelly Kid for help fighting the rampaging Memory Donk, only for Jelly Kid to make himself a parachute and bail out as well.
Minerelle gets hit with a -2 to Int. checks and skills in the Tomb of Horrors at which point she's had enough and tries to leave. This works out pretty well since she's the only one not cloned for a Mirror Match but returns in time to help with it.
At Paragon tier, Minerelle bursts through a window, advises everyone to take a nap soon, blasts an illithid with massive psionic damage, is almost instantly killed by the backlash, is healed from the brink of perma-death by Kodrinscheiner, and immediately flees screaming into another dimension. All in one turn. Leaving everyone else in the room completely bewildered.
Occurs in Worm when the remaining Travelers that aren't dead or in jail get a chance to return to their home dimension. Also an option allowed for the teenaged Wards when the Slaughterhouse Nine show up.
One episode of Rooster Teeth's Podcasts, and animated in Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures, tells the story of how Gus, fed up with Bernie constantly mentioning Las Vegas note
Gus apparently had a bad experience in Vegas and didn't actively tell the others
, that he hopped out of the van, headed back to their hotel, packed up and wrote a note, declaring "See you in Austin, assholes!"
One of the most memorable moments of Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers is Mickey saying that Donald can't give up because they're Musketeers. Donald promptly tears off his Musketeer uniform to reveal his standard sailor suit (in Renaissance France!) and pulling some suitcases from hammerspace to escape with.
He actually does this in the middle of the rainforest (after beating the shit out of two separate endangered species) he walks all of twenty feet and ends up immediately running into a logging crew... And he even gets chicken wings!
When Randy Marsh is trying to figure out why Kenny spontaneously combusted, he simulated what happened by having four adult men dressed as Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. The guy "playing" Cartman gets frustrated, says this, and leaves.
Chef, along with all the black soldiers pull this off in The Movie when they are put on a suicide mission by their blatantly racist commander.
In "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers", the boys accidentally get hold of a hardcore porn movie while role-playing The Lord of the Rings. They send Token off to watch it and report back on what it is. Some time later, he returns, having changed out of his costume.
Clyde: What vice did you see on the videotape, Talangar? Is it the work of Sauron's magic?
Token: ...I'm not playing anymore. [walks off]
Stan: Uh, well...wait, what'd you see?
Token: I don't know, I don't wanna know. I'm out.
"A Nightmare on Face Time" in which the boys, dressed up as the Avengers, attempt to stop a burglary, but discover the thieves are heavily armed and have already killed the store's clerk:
Kenny/Ironman: Dude! Fuck this! Let's bail!
The Chew Toy of Beast Wars: Waspinator. The long rant where he finally had more than he could take and quit was the funniest moment of the entire series, and possibly his Crowning Moment of Awesome. Of course, he did get immediately blasted by his own former teammates... but it wasn't really a subversion, since (as always) he got better.
Waspinator: I said NO! Dragonbot command YOU, Sub-Commander Kiss-Butt! Dragonbot not command Waspinator...NOT ANYMORE! Waspinator sick of being evil! SICK of being Predacon!! Aaaand...Waspinator especially sick of GETTING BLOWN TO SCRAP ALL THE TIME!!! So, Waspinator QUITS! As of now! Which means Antbot and Two-Heads can just pucker their mandibles, and plant biiiig wet JUICY one right here on Waspinator's BIG...FAT...STRIPY—
Mouse pulls a form of this in season 1 of Re Boot, after being hired by Megabyte to hack into Bob's brain and find the password to the Supercomputer. When she finds out she got stuck in Enzo's brain by accident, she sternly informs Megabyte that she won't mess with children, and declares her intention to quit then and there. Being the Magnificent Bastard that he is, Megabyte tries to sabotage her ("Nobody double-crosses the Mouse!" "I double-cross whomever I please!") but is naturally thwarted when Bob shows up to help Mouse out.
Mandalay — the colossal, mute bodyguard of Mr Brisby in The Venture Brothers — is a threatening presence throughout the episode in which he appears. However, when faced with a duel to the death with Brock Samson towards the end of the episode, he breaks his silence to state that he doesn't really need this job and walks away.
If I remember correctly, this happens again in "Love Bheits" when Brock finds a lump on the testicle of a henchman he is fighting. That henchman loses his urge to fight, and Brock lets him go.
Brock himself does this in the Season 3 finale... before he was nearly killed by a car explosion.
Henchman 21/Gary announces he's quitting right to the Monarch's face in "Operation: P.R.O.M", even giving The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. both middle fingers as he's walking out.
Some Kim Possible episodes had Shego getting fed up with the plans of Dr.Drakken that she just walked away in the middle of the ongoing caper.
In an early FleischerSuperman cartoon, "Jungle Drums", a primitive African tribe has been fooled into worshiping Nazis. Everything is going smoothly to the rhythm of a faux-tribal drum beat, when Superman suddenly shows up to foil their plans and save Lois. Exit entire tribe, stage right!
In the Phineas And Ferb episode "Day of the Living Gelatin", Baljeet's reaction to the gelatin monster is to walk off with the casual remark "O-kay, I'm going home."
"Make Play" has Buford doing this the moment he meets the princess who has swapped places with Candace for the day.
Ferb attempts this in "The Curse of Candace", when Candace runs up claiming that she's a vampire; Phineas pulls him back into view so they can help solve her problem, as is their way.
In the Justice League episode "Wild Cards", as King and Ten are trying to stop Superman from disarming a bomb...
Superman: Are you as crazy as Joker? We have less than a minute! If you beat me, you'll die in the explosion! Ten: So? I'll win. King:(checking the timer) I'm out of here! (runs)
The DVD Commentary for "This Little Piggy" mentions a deleted scene where The Joker and his minions are plotting something when Batman walks by cradling a pignote Wonder Woman, transformed by Circe in his arms and talking to it. Seeing this, Joker throws up his arms in defeat and walks off.
In "Fury" when Aresia's plane is about to explode.
Aresia: Wait! You can't leave!
Tsukuri: I like you, but not that much.
In one of the last episodes of American Dragon Jake Long, and the climax of the last season's main story arc, Huntsgirl evokes a spell to kill every Huntsclan member on the planet (as the Huntsman was about to use the spell to kill every supernatural creature on the planet). Those Two Bad Guys, a pair of obnoxious teenage Huntsclan trainees, are smart enough to loudly announce that they quit the Huntsclan before running away as fast as possible once they realize what's going on. The Kill-Everything-Spell, being a rather Literal Genie, thus ignores them while proceeding to Killed Off for Real every single Huntsclan member, including Huntsgirl. It helped that the spell apparently identified Huntsclan members by their tattoos, which the trainees didn't have.
Frylock has been known to do this when the stupidity reaches levels even he can't stand. Some examples being an episode where he gets fed up when Master Shake ruins his room. He moves out and leaves Shake and Meatwad to fend for themselves. Without his guidance, it goes about as well as expected. Another is when Shake continues to cut up Meatwad into smaller and smaller pieces despite being told to just stop. Eventually he packs his bags and leaves but not before starting off an endless song (3 Million Bottles of Beer on the wall) just to annoy Shake.
In one of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, The Simpsons has a variation of Orson Welles' reading of The War Of The Worlds. As Welles' character reads, you see a sound effect guy working with him. Welles' descriptions get increasingly detailed, until the sound guy holds up a sign "Screw You" and leaves.
Homer's brain has also been known to do this when Homer ignores its sensible suggestions (as seen in season four's "Brother From Another Planet," when Homer foolishly answers "Revenge" as the reason why he's joining the Bigger Brothers Club after his brain advised him not to) or out of boredom (in the season eight episode "Burns Baby Burns" Homer unexpectedly meets up with Ned Flanders and his family at an apple orchard and Flanders begins blabbing about the differences between apple juice and apple cider. While Flanders is talking, Homer's brain says, "You can stay, but I'm gettin' outta here," and departs Homer's body as a spirit. Just as Flanders finishes talking, Homer collapses).
In yet another example of Homer being Homer in the episode "Flamin' Moes", he does this after seeing his youngest daughter Maggie excessively dolled up by Lisa and her friends. He simply looks at her then says "That's it, I'm outta here" and goes to Moe's.
In another 'Treehouse of Horror' episode, Homer becomesThe Grim Reaper. When he has to kill Marge, he kills Patti instead. God in a rage starts chasing him but at the end He says: "Ah forget it. I'm too old, and too rich for this".
In "Bart After Dark", Bart gets a job in a burlesque house. Cue this◊ memetastic scene.
In an episode of Batman The Animated Series, Maxie Zeus orders his henchman Alex to attack Batman. Being Genre Savvy, Alex declares that there's no way he can possibly win and tries to leave. Zeus angrily tries to gun him down for his defiance, but he outruns the gunfire and escapes into the swimming pool. Although he disappears for the rest of the episode, he was presumably arrested after the battle.
Pinky And The Brain. The Brain's fatal flaw is that he often doesn't know when to fold 'em. Just one example: he would have gotten away scot free, plan intact, in "Pinkasso" if he didn't try to make a production out of the last painting he auctioned.
Or made Pinky stay at home.
Family Guy's Peter Griffin was apparently present at Tiananmen Square until he decided it just wasn't worth it.
Peter:Aw, screw this! I just came over to buy some fireworks!
In the Captain Planet episode "Scorched Earth", after Captain Planet rips the roof from a building.
Mook: First the weather goes crazy and now this? Let me out of here! (runs)
In the Danny Phantom episode "Pirate Radio", Ember McLain and Youngblood team up. When the good guys board Youngblood's ship and attack, Ember joins the battle for a while, but after accidentally setting the sail on fire, she jumps overboard and escapes.
In the first episode of Total Drama World Tour, Duncan is tied to Courtney and Gwen. After putting up with three hours of them fighting, the hot Egyptian sun, and having to sing, he quits, telling Chris off.
Also subverted between 'Island' and 'Action.' The campers' first reaction when Chris tells them about season 2 is "No way!" However, Chris then brings up that its in their contracts, and they really should Read The Fine Print next time.
Avatar The Last Airbender. Finally, finally, after two and a half seasons of flip-flopping, Zuko says "screw this!" to the Fire Nation and heads off to help the good guys.
Same with Jeong Jeong, after he saw how hateful and rash the Fire Nation had become.
Mai and Ty Lee follow suit near the end of "The Boiling Rock." Specifically, when Azula threatens to kill Zuko as he escapes the titular landmark with Sokka, Mai tells her that she loves Zuko more than she fears her. Love Redeems indeed.
Azula: No, you miscalculated! You should have feared me more!
In the "banned" Ren and Stimpy episode "Man's Best Friend" George Liquor brings Ren and Stimpy home as pets, although George soon realizes he does not have enough room for two pets. So he takes his current pet fish out of his fishbowl, and flings him out the window. The fish lands in the car, puts a fedora on, turns on the usual BGM, says "I'm outta here, man" and drives away.
Greedy was like this in one episode of The Smurfs when he decided to go on strike from being the village cook and leave the village to offer his service for someone who really cares about his craft. Poet and Painter were also like this in another episode, and so was Smurfette and the Smurflings when hardly any of the Smurfs were paying attention to them.
Transformers Animated had a great example in the pilot episode. After Starscream disables Megatron and takes command of the Decepticons' ship, he manages to trigger this reaction in every other Decepticon by piloting the ship into Earth's moon. Blitzwing and Lugnut eventually rejoin Megatron; Blackarachnia deserts for the duration of the series.
A somewhat greyish example occurs later on: Jazz eventually defects from the somewhat-corrupt Elite Guard and goes off and joins Optimus' crew, having become fed up with the way the way Sentinel is running things as temporary-Magnus.
In The Tick episode "The Tick Vs. Chairface Chippendale," the blue defender of good has cornered the villain before he can complete his plan to write his name on the moon (He gets as far as "CHA" and it remains there when the moon is seen in later episodes.).
The Tick: "Give up!"
In the Futurama episode "Roswell That Ends Well", the Planet Express crew end up going back in time to 1947. The nearby Roswell Air Base has the machinery they need to get home, but the Professor is adamant that they mustn't steal it, as they have to preserve history the way it was. However, after Fry accidentally kills his grandfather and sleeps with his grandmother, thus becoming his own grandfather, the Professor decides that history is already screwed and storms the air base.
Professor: Let's get the hell out of here already! Screw history!
Squidward from Sponge Bob Square Pants will always opt out of whatever caper SpongeBob sets out on, as seen in the example on the Film-Animation folder from The Movie. If he goes anyway, it's only because circumstances against his control (usually Mr. Krabs threatening to fire him if he doesn't) force him to.
In an episode of the The Real Ghostbusters, the team flees from Lupisburg (a town belonging to a clan of werewolves that was stolen by a clan of vampires) after the two clans start fighting, leadng to the following exchange:
Venkman: Don't you want to stick around and see who wins?
Everyone else: NO!
In the (unfinished) Invader Zim episode "Nubs of Doom," Dib walks away while Zim is trying to activate Minimoose's death cannons, declaring that this plan isn't even worth foiling.
Slater got on the plane’s public address system and yelled: "To the passenger who called me a motherfucker, fuck you. I’ve been in the business 28 years. I’ve had it. That’s it." Sources said Slater then grabbed some beer from the plane, deployed the inflatable emergency slide, and took off in his car parked in an employee lot.
Russia as a whole did this during World War One when the Bolsheviks took power and opened peace talks with Imperial Germany. The Western Allies were extremely unhappy to hear about the resulting Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, since it freed up all of Germany's resources to be focused on them. Luckily for them, the United States had then joined the war because Wilson wasn't willing to fight alongside the Soviets, and the Russians leaving en masse gave him the perfect opportunity to join.
Sometimes, the lowest-ranked member of a group of pack animals will go off on its own in hopes of starting its own pack. Being the "lone wolf" is less awesome than it sounds - it's less "I'm so Badass I don't need anybody" and more "life sucked so much back there I'll risk starvation and bigger/more numerous animals and roll the dice."
However, recent zoological research has confirmed that this rarely happens among actual wolves, since the weakest member of the pack, although persecuted, usually remains because he will be protected by the pack leader if the other wolves try to kill him.
Usually the wolf who breaks off and becomes a lone wolf is second-in-command. He may try and take power from the alpha dog, but fail. Because of this he is ostracized.
None of the above is true! Wolves in the wild live in families; not street gangs. The 'alphas' of a pack of wolves are almost always a mated mother and father wolf, and the rest of the wolves in the pack are the mated pair's pups from the previous two years. When a young wolf becomes strong enough to make due (usually about 3 years old) it strikes out on its own to find a mate and a form a new family. Lone Wolves are just young-adult wolves looking for a mate. The so-called phenomenon of 'Omega wolves' that are beaten up by other wolves in a pack only occur among unrelated wolves kept in captivity (like Humans in prison) and almost never occur in the wild. The so-called 'second in command' is usually just the oldest strongest pup still living with the parents, who is most likely to leave anyway; and weaker members of any litter of pups are, like all members of the pack, protected by the parents whenever natural sibling rivalry gets out of hand.
This was the mentality of virtually everyone who left Adolf Hitler's bunker and inner circle in the days before he committed suicide, including (but not limited to): Goering, Himmler, Himmler's adjutant Fegelein, Keitel, and Jodl.
And it wasn't just the commanders. There are stories of German civilians in the Volkssturm who would fire their anti-tank weapon at tanks well out of range so they could claim to have done their duty and go home.
Happened quite a bit with Saddam Hussein's army in both of the Persian Gulf Wars. During Operation Desert Storm, one Iraqi unit came across an American tank stuck in a pit, helped haul the tank out, and surrendered to its crew. Then, in the second war, reports trickled in about Iraqi soldiers surrendering to anyone even vaguely connected to the American and British military forces and their allies.
A reporter had an entire unit surrender to him and his camera crew. He tried to tell them they weren't military, and they replied 'We don't care!'. They'd had no food or water for days.
"Their AK47s were no match for our cookies and bottled water."
Diplomats, politicians, officers, and soldiers in Colonel Gaddafi's Libyan government bailed out en masse in one of the best recent examples of this trope.
One of the reasons the Egyptian military didn't try to crack down on protests was they were afraid young officers and soldiers would invoke this trope. And despite this some of the Cairo police did invoke it, while others did a Heel Face Turn, ripping off their insignia and joining the protesters.
After the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation in 2010, a large number of top-level executives resigned, and entire design divisions transferred to other companies as whole groups. Most notably, James Gosling, creator of the Java programming language, moved over to Google where he has been free to openly criticize Oracle. To say that Oracle Corporation is not well-regarded by the rest of the tech community would be the height of understatement (their first act after acquiring Sun was to stomp on Google for infringement of their newly-purchased patents).
Pretty much every bomb squad member, military or civilian, has a gag T-shirt that says "I'm a bomb tech: if you see me running away, try and keep up." Often this advice is in large print on the back of the shirt.
This progressively happened to Netflix after announcing that streaming and DVD rentals would be charged separately. The first blow was the price increase and the MASSIVE drop in stock that followed only made it worse.
In 2011, a major Digg redesign caused many of their users to leave.
In a cup match in December 2011, the manager of the Dutch football club AZ Alkmaar basically pulled one of these after his goalkeeper was first attacked by a fan of the opposing team, Ajax, and then shown a red card by the ref for responding to the attack. He gathered his players and took them off the field after only 38 minutes of play, refusing to return to finish the match.
In mid-December 2011, many users of Live Journal bailed from the blog site after they changed the commenting scheme, rendering it unusable for some and making role-playing, one of LJ's biggest draws for English speakers, harder or even next-to-impossible. It also doesn't help that everyone who saw it, both American and Russian, said that it looked horrible and not to change it. And they did it anyway, with the man who designed it being openly dismissive towards the userbase all the while.
Steve Jobs was a master of doing this, and may have been single-handedly responsible for Adobe killing off Mobile Flash by banning it from the iOS platform. This was also the origin of Final Cut Pro; when Avid threatened to drop the Mac platform, Apple brought out FCP and forced them to reconsider in a big hurry. (Although Final Cut X is arguably a case where this failed miserably.)
Happens very, very often with children from dysfunctional and/or abusive families when they become old enough to realize that they've been living in utter chaos and try to find a way out of it (the success rate of which varies greatly).
A sadder example would be the people who defect from the Westboro Baptist Church. According to America's Most Hated Family in Crisis, more of the younger family members than ever have been leaving to live their own lives. Nate Phelps described in detail how he and his older brother Mark escaped the family.
Any of the numerous people who have routed and run from battle when all hope seems lost throughout history fall under this trope.
Once upon a time, the Big East was just a college basketball conference (and a damn good one). It then added football because it was (and is still) an extremely lucrative sport, but only about half of the schools actually played football in the conference (the other half didn't have the money to invest in a Division I-A/FBS team or its attendant infrastructure). The conference kept trying to add up-and-coming football programs to compete with big boys like the Big Ten and ACC, who kept taking schools away from them, while the basketball schools kept complaining that they were being ignored. When it got to the point where the Big East was inviting schools like San Diego State to try to stay alive (and couldn't keep them because of how unstable the conference had become), the Catholic 7 (the basketball-first schools that were complaining all happened to be Catholic in origin) pulled this effective July 1st, 2013, leaving and taking the Big East name with them*
as well as $10 million and the right to have their basketball tournament be held in Madison Square Garden
. The remnants, of which only one (Connecticut) was part of the original conference's founding, will become the American Athletic Conference.