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 Cheerios 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. It eventually returned to him as a Musharna though.
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 Pokémon abandoned him. This shows just how vile a villain he was — it is almost unheard of for Pokémon 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. This turns out to be a smart move.
It's strongly hinted in the backstory of Turn A 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 for the Jupiter colonies to leave the madness behind and start a new life.
A Mobile Suit Victory Gundam side manga expands on this: since Jupiter got itself involved in the Earth Sphere's wars, even this was not enough for him. So Judau got together a large group of like-minded people, converted a couple of space colonies into a spaceship, put everyone in stasis, and launched for Alpha Centauri. The manga ends on a note that, 400 years later, the ship successfully arrived and humanity's first interstellar colony was established.
Both Amuro and Kai bail from White Base in Mobile Suit Gundam due to having enough of fighting in the war. They do end up coming back, though.
Rain Mikamura does this twice in the same story arc in Mobile Fighter G Gundam, the first time because she got tired of Domon's bullheadishness (not helped by how she couldn't do anything to keep Allenby from being abducted, which she took as not being worthy of staying around), the second time because she found out her father was responsible for Domon's troubles, which totally crushes her mindset and makes her the thing she's to blame too.
Holyland: Some of the thugs in chapter 162 chose to flee than try taking on Yuu.
One of the happiest and more awesome moments in Revolutionary Girl Utena revolves around this trope. It happens in the Grand Finale when Anthy, finally released from her older brother and Big Bad Akio's influence by the apparently ret goned Utena, calmly goes to his office all dolled up for a travel and tells him that she no longer will be the Rose Bride and that she's bailing out of Ohtori Academy, much to Akio's sudden distress as this completely derails his plans from then on. She then leaves the Ohtori campus only in Chu-Chu's company, determined to find Utena againand finally have her own life.
Attempted by a bunch of soldiers in Attack on Titan during the Battle of Trost. Commander Pixis announces an insanely risky plan to halt the Titan advance, and a large number of soldiers simply give up and decide to leave, despite desertion being punishable by execution. Pixis stops this by telling them that "Fighting the Titans is a terrifying thing. Some who have experienced it cannot continue. Therefore, those who wish to leave will not be punished. Go ahead and leave... if you are willing to allow your loved ones to witness the terror of the Titans." That stops the deserters in their tracks, and convinces them to fight.
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.
Fiona pulled one earlier during the Brave New Mobius arc when the Freedom Fighters and the Suppression Squad started fighting one another.
The Four Houses do this to the Iron Queen after Ken informs them their leaders have broken ties with the Iron Dominion. Likewise, the Dark Egg Legion that was working under her flee when Lein-Da is quickly taken out during her attempted on-the-spot coup. Heck, even Snively hits the bricks back to Eggman when he realizes how bad things are getting for his side.
In the Team Tango arc in the Universe series, Wave of the Babylon Rouges forces her team to quit the battle for the Sol Emerald after they get caught in the blast of one of Bean's bombs and she has had enough of the scramble.
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.
Naugus pulls this in the first post-Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide comic: haunted by visions of the past universe, Naugus throws himself out of a window of Castle Acorn and run past Sonic and Tails, saying they can have the castle back.
In the "Sky-Raker" story arc that Disney did in their TaleSpin 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.
Mooks tend to do this a lot when they realize they're up against the Punisher. However, they usually find out the hard way that he's already anticipated this and placed Claymores on all the escape routes. Not for nothing is Frank known for being crazy-prepared.
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 respond 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 surrender 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.
The Pony POV Series has an example in the Dark World: Discord's sister Rancor, upon completing her mission to steal Destruction's power from Discord, immediately leaves to return to the Draconequus dimension, walking out on what should be the Final Battle because she's just not interested in it.
This has since become the focus of a side-story, Day Of The Broken Fang.
In Blood Is Thicker Than Bone, Dosu, Zaku, and Kin do this when they've learned from Haku that Orochimaru plans on using them for Edo Tensei (which means that he's planning on sacrificing them for his fight against Sarutobi).
Queen Of All Oni: After Jade fires them, the Enforcers decide to skip town (with plans to flee the country altogether) in order to finally get away from the magic business and the Humiliation Conga they've been suffering ever since they got involved in it. They get arrested before they get too far.
In Harry Potter and the Shell of the God-King, Narcissa announces her plans to divorce Lucius the moment she hears that Harry has become Qwa'ha Xahn of an Old One. In her words, "This was a marriage of convenience for both of us and, well, you're no longer convenient."
At the climax of Families, Twilight Sparkle is captured by several of Olive Branch's conspirators, who restrain her with a Power Nullifier. However, after they threaten Spike, she overpowers it and quickly renders one of the goons unconscious, at which point the others all run away.
Where Hivefled's title comes from; it starts with the troll gang fleeing the empire.
The Rise Of Darth Vulcan: When Discord realizes that his and Vulcan's powers cancel each other, and that unlike Vulcan this puts his health and life at risk, he abandons the fight, leaving the Mane Six to deal with him themselves.
Equestrylvania has an example in Book 2, Cradle of Ruin: when the captive Wharg gets loose in their base, many of Rose Blade's minions run away, fearing it more than they do him.
Films — Animation
In The Iron Giant, Agent Mansley tries to do this when he realized that his attempt to destroy the Giant was going to get himself killed as well. This 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)
He later tries to escape from Plankton's bucket helmet army, but they close in on him and force a bucket on his head, turning him into one of the slaves.
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 with 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.
In Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket is more than a little pissed off to see Pinocchio smoking and playing pool on Pleasure Island with Lampwick, who then starts laughing at the cricket's expense:
Jiminy: Go on, laugh, make a jackass of yourself! I'm through! This is the end! (storms off in a huff) Pinocchio: But Jiminy, Lampwick says a guy only lives once. Jiminy: Lampwick, hmph! Lampwick: Come on, come on! Let him go.
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle enters a forbidden part of the castle, and Beast rages at her, making Belle realize the castle would be too dangerous to stay. She broke her promise and fled the castle, only coming back because of a pack of wild wolves that Beast saves her from.
Lincoln: A house divided against itself would be better than this! (Flies away on his rocket chair)
Disney's The Return of Jafar, the sequel to Aladdin, turns this into a whole musical number, "I'm Looking Out For Me", when Iago finally gets fed up with Jafar bossing him around.
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.
''"Where shall I go? What shall I do?""
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
Hero example: Han Solo famously does this after delivering Luke and Leia to the Rebel base in Star Wars. Naturally, he returns to save the day. He also says he's going to do this at the beginning of Empire, saying he'd had enough of running into bounty hunters and wanted to get back to Jabba to pay him, but the Imperials attack the base before he's able to leave, forcing him to get involved with the film's conflict instead.
A whole lot of the minor characters in the Terminator films wisely did this whenever they had the chance, including an entire factory full of workers when a truck full of liquid nitrogen crashed in through the door to their loading dock. Their survival rate tended to be a lot higher than that of most of the other characters.
One really extreme example: a guy in a police helicopter saw the T-1000 in liquid metal form come flowing into the seat next to him and tell him to Get Out. He got out. They were at least 40 feet up in the air. Even probable death was preferable to staying in the chopper with that metallic guy.
The Reverend in Blazing Saddles tries to prevent Bart from getting lynched, but the townspeople quickly respond by blasting the Bible right out of his hand.
Reverend: Son... you're on your own.
In Riki-Oh: 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 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 quits the Cowboys. This echoes earlier in the film, when another mook, 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 led 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.
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 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, 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, cries "DUDES, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!", 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 its 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 so weird", drops his gun, and scrams.
In North, this is North's reaction towards the Amish.
North: Floor it! *cue plane leaving*
Meet The Browns: Joe pretends to be a fragile man so the police would leave him alone, as he's the passenger and they were after the driver... you got it after the car chase. Once he's out of the range, Joe drops the oxygen tank and cane before making a run for it while Madea is left dealing with the cop.
In Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat has this reaction when the card soldiers break up the mad tea party.
Cheshire Cat: Goodbye! (disappears)
Into The Storm: When Churchill proudly declares (to an uproar of applause) that Britain will fight no matter the cost, Halifax gets up and leaves the room quietly. Incidentally, this is his last scene in the movie.
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 Halo: The Flood, 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.
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?" Igors will also sometimes suggest to other servants that it might be time to take a vacation.
In Making Money, Cosmo's secretary Heretofore gets the hell out once Cosmo's madness reaches its peak.
Lovable Coward Rincewind has an entire philosophy based around running away from the plot. It never works.
Rincewind: I know what's going to happen. I'm going to be dragged into things that shouldn't concern me. And you're just a hallucination caused by rich food on an empty stomach, so don't try to stop me!
Scrappy': Stop you? When you're heading in the right direction?
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 Moon Over Soho, Peter tells an ambulance driver that a patient has been wired to a bomb, then is thrown into the dashboard as the driver slams on the brakes before legging it out the door before Peter even has a chance to recover from the sudden stop.
In Star Carrier: Deep Space, the Slan decide that the Sh'daar deliberately lied to them both about the nature of their current enemy (humanity), and about the nature of the universe. Lying is a big no-no in Slan culture, and their CO basically tells the Sh'daar equivalent of a Political Officer to STFU. They jump out to present their findings to their government, with the implication that the Slan may be reconsidering their allegiance.
Near the end of Murderess, Hallwad tries to tell Déaspor he's had enough of her attitude and wants out, expecting her to say that if he wants to go so bad, so be it. Instead, she reacts violently and tells him that his mission is far too important for him to be in any position to do anything like that.
Angel: After being told his part in Angel's take-down-the-Black-Thorns plan, Lorne tells Angel that he would do it for the sake of their friendship, but after that, he was done and they would most likely never see him again.
In Auction Kings, Paul asks his sports memorabilia expert to appraise a pallet of baseball cards. The expert flat out refuses.
The episode "Alice Quits" of Workaholics has two. First obviously, is Alice, who storms out in a rage, telling her superior in the company to 'eat a dick!'. Then later, after the new boss has altered the office extensively, and forced Jet Set to wash his hair gel out, Jet Set has had enough.
Travis: Jessie, calm down.
Jet Set: Bitch! My name is Jet motha-fuckin Set! But you can call me Patrick Swayze cause guess what? I'm ghost. Give my goddamn cactus...Have a good day.
In the Season 2 finale, 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 "Faith, Hope and Trick", Mr. Trick watches his master Kakistos getting a beatdown from Buffy, knowing that Faith (the other slayer) is there and that Buffy has already taken down many of the henchmen. Before exiting, he says to a female vampire next to him that the Master "could get killed... Well, our prayers are with them. This is why these vengeance crusades are out of style. You see the modern vampire? We get the big picture."
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.
One of the cold openings sees Buffy and Willow at a graveyard of a recently deceased student knowing from the way he was killed that it was from a vampire. The two get so distracted in their talk that they don't see him rise from the grave. He creeps toward them to attack them, but notices the stakes next to Buffy and deduces she's the slayer. He wisely decides to leave them be and sneaks away with Buffy and Willow unaware of the vampire the whole time.
During the battle in Sunnydale during the Twilight crisis, Warren and Amy escape Spike's airship and run away. Amy considers going back to help and see if they can fake a Heel-Face Turn, but Warren shoots down the idea since he knew Willow would never allow them to join.
Clem leaves Sunnydale along with most of its population as the power of the The First grows.
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.
The Monster of the Week usually fights to the death... Usually. The Terror Toad was an early one in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers that tended to give viewers nightmares; he had swallowed every member of the team whole except Kimberly, who managed to plant an arrow in its gullet and make him cough up the others. At that point, he decided to make a run for it, but he didn't get far. In what was truly a Moment Of Awesome for the Pink Ranger, she fired again, the arrow flying around the forest like a guided missile after the escaping Terror Toad, dodging around trees before striking him and blowing him to pieces.
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 Limits (1995) 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 bad 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. Steven tried, but changed his mind five minutes later (after allowing the Doctor time to have a Soliloquy about how lonely he was).
Rose's AU Dad pulls this on the whole dimension when a Dalek army appears.
The whole of London pulls this off during "Voyage of the Damned". After several Christmases with alien attacks and invasions, the city packs up and heads for the country until Christmas is over. Ironically, it wouldn't have done any good, as the bad guy of the episode was going to destroy the entire planet.
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.
Vicki Lawrence did this on an episode of The $100,000 Pyramid after a particularly rough round. She did it again here on an episode of The $25,000 Pyramid after host Dick Clark and opponent Nipsey Russell made less than flattering comments on her outfit.
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 the Season 4 finale, after Varys helps sneak Tyrion out of the capital and onto a ship heading for the Free Cities, he starts to head back, only to hear the bells announcing that Tywin's murder has been discovered. He promptly turns around and gets onto the ship himself, fleeing Westeros.
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. Get 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 Motorhead 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.
In "Rumors, Bargains, and Lies" we find out that President Clark's entire cabinet resigned in protest of his bombing of civilian targets.
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 (which is blatantly illegal), and Gordon learning from two former employees how horribly they were treated (one had her waitress duties cut back so far — she was literally reduced to just serving water — that she literally begged to be put into the kitchen, and another had to wash Samy's car midway through a dinner service), that Ramsay realized they were beyond hope and walked out. Incidentally, 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.
And just for good measure, the show took a second look at the company the following season. Ramsey opted not to come along, and it was for the best. They're still as misanthropic as ever.
In Greys 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.
This was more or less the Catch Phrase of Doug, one of Michael Showalter's characters on the MTVSketch Comedy series The State. Doug would repeat it whenever he got exasperated with his father, meaning at the end of every. Flipping. Sentence.
Doug: Forget it, I'm outta here...
Saturday Night Live did a literal version of this, in a skit that parodied the various Time Life infomercials, featuring family arguments. Each vignette features the family patriarch getting fed up with all the bickering and angrily declaring, "F*** this! I'm leaving!". One especially funny bit has him getting annoyed at all the happy chit-chat that's going on and promptly delivering the line.
In Hannibal, Bedelia Du Maurier does this just in time, as Hannibal breaks into her house to murder her only to find it empty.
In Rome, Vorenus decided to desert the 13th Legion after he helped Caesar march on Rome. Of course, Vorenus had always seen Caesar's actions as illegal and only went along with his orders because he was doing his duty.
Vorenus: I'm a traitor and a rebel, why not a deserter also?
"T.A.H.I.T.I." reveals that since Coulson's little visit in "The Magical Place", Dr. Streiten has gone into hiding.
In "Providence", Coulson immediately realizes that Colonel Talbot's "peacekeeping" forces are actually on their way to shut down S.H.I.E.L.D. and arrest or kill them all, so orders an evacuation of the Hub.
In "Ragtag", Coulson sneaks aboard the hijacked Bus to rescue Skye and retake the plane from Ward... but the second he finds out that Deathlok is onboard, he decides to cut losses, simply grabbing Skye and jumping out in Lola.
In the Season 2 premiere, "Shadows", the mission to the military holding facility goes to Hell when Isabelle grabs the Obelisk only for it to start killing her. Her team proceeds to abandon the rest of the mission and drags her out of there.
In The Wire season 5, episode 3. McNulty and Freamon decide to connect a string of unrelated deaths to convince the police department a serial killer is at large in Baltimore. Horrified at their plan, Bunk leaves the room, saying "I'm out. I'm outta here!"
Hungry Investors: Taffer manages to one up Ramsay, by not only walking out on yet another location, but doing so during the first initial meeting with the owner of Elements, during the episode Diva Las Vegas. He makes it clear throughout the rest of the episode to the other two investors, John Besh and Tiffany Derry, that he is NOT going to invest in Elements, and then walks out on the investment discussion meeting with Besh and Tiffany when Besh expresses interest in trying to give Elements one more shot.
Red Dwarf: In "Emohawk: Polymorph II", in exchange for parts for Starbug, Lister must marry one of the GELF's daughters. Initially intending to flee into the night while the GELF bride is asleep, it turns out that the GELF bride wants to consumate their marriage that night... and won't take no for an answer.
"Just gotta slip into something a little bit more comfortable. It's called Starbug."
(As the rest of the crew head back to the shuttle, Lister runs to them.)
"CHANGE OF PLAN! LEG IT!"
(They follow suit)
In Are You Being Served?, this is the reaction to the "second part of the prize" of the Holiday Girl contest in "Front Page Story."
In a Cold Open of The Millers, Nathan, at a particularly awkward dinner with his mother, sister and brother-in-law, gets up, walks to the door and says, "Let's see what's behind Door Number One. Why, it's an exit! I win!" and leaves.
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak has pretended to pull this a few times when a contestant made a funny remark. Examples include:
February 2001: Pat asks a Hawaiian contestant, "What was that noise you made earlier?", prompting the contestant to look behind himself curiously as Pat shouts "Good night, everybody" and pretends to walk offstage
January 2011: A contestant loses the Bonus Round and, before Pat can reveal what prize he lost, the contestant blurts out "show me something small". The contestant takes the envelope after Pat drops it, and reveals that he lost $100,000.
November 2014: one team thought the answer to the puzzle was RIDING A BROWN HORSE, and the next thought it was RIDING A WHITE HORSE early in the round; Pat pretended to walk off-set and shouted, "Who said anything about a horse?!" (the actual answer was SEEING A BUDDY MOVIE).
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 Coe. Not to mention another cover by Dead Kennedys.)
"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."
There's a humorous — and vulgar — version of Jingle Bells where Santa's elves quit, citing that "they do all the fucking work/while he stars in the show"
Another humorous song parody, this one of "The Twelve Days of Christmas", has the second thing they hate, rigging up the lights, finally blow up and tell a person that if they're so smart, they do it.
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John is one. Lyricist Bernie Taupin, born in the English countryside mentioned the song was about Bernie having difficulty in relating to upper-crust city life (and in particular, Elton's pre-fame pickle-heiress girlfriend immortalized in "Someone Saved My Life Tonight") and Bernie's desire to revert to the simplicity of small-town life.
The obscure 1973 B-side "Screw You", bowlderized as "Young Man's Blues" in America, is a more humorous take on the trope.
"The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd may not have been the first wrestler to do this, but he was the first one to make an art form of it. If he was in a match he didn't consider important and it started to go poorly for him, he'd just leave the ring and walk to the back. He did it so often that for a time the whole act was called 'pulling an Ernie Ladd.'
EMLL ditched the NWA rather than help them deal with the WWF, although CMLL would return to help the NWA later. Disgruntled talent packing up and leaving CMLL lead to the birth of both Lucha Libre Internacional (which became Mexican UWA) and AAA.
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 declaring losing this match in this manner would count as a forfeit (which does allow the title changing hands). 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.
Bobby Lashley tried to do this himself, wanting to leave TNA. The official reason in real life was to focus on Mixed Martial Arts, but in-story, he was really frustrated with TNA's failure to protect his wife from Scott Steiner and she wanted him to ditch wrestling for MMA.
At The Main Event in 1989, Hulk Hogan abandoned Randy Savage during their tag team match against the Twin Towers (Akeem and the Big Bossman) to take Elizabeth to the locker room for medical attention. When Hogan returned to the ring, Savage smacked him in the face and left him alone to face them, returning only briefly to get his WWF World title belt.
In 1988, the Powers Of Pain did this to WCW. They were slated to be in a series of scaffold matches (wrestlers fight on a scaffold several feet above the ring, the object being to knock their opponent off the scaffold down to the ring below) against the Road Warriors, and they were booked to lose. Not wanting to risk their careers on this, they walked and went to the WWF.
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 WrestleMania 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. Although, to be fair, Jackie didn't know about the "wrestling in underwear" stipulation until just a few minutes before the match; she thought that the winners would strip the losers, like in a traditional Evening Gown Match. Oddly, the match happened because Stacy and Jackie wanted to pose in Playboy instead of Sable and Torrie. The match originally was to be a traditional bra & panties match, but one of Sable's breast implants burst a few days before the match, meaning she couldn't get as physical as they had planned.
In a behind-the-scenes example, Molly Holly asked the WWE management in 2005 to let her do a Heel Face Turn. When they denied her request on the grounds that it would never work, she asked for her release and retired from wrestling.
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.
Fandango used to be known for refusing to wrestle until someone pronounced his name correctly, which didn't happened until he was introduced by Jerry Lawler.
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. In early-2014, Punk had another one. After being passed over to be in the main event of WrestleMania for the third year in a row, he walked out and has not been heard from since.
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.
At Survivor Series it's not uncommon for a Heel to decide to do this, whether it's being outnumbered or an argument with his teammates he walks out on them and heads to the back. Bad News Brown did this two years in a row because he accidently got hit by his teammates, and was named the worst teammate ever in Survivor Series history.
The night after WWE Payback 2014, Batista had had enough of being denied a match for the WWE championship since Triple H and Randy Orton were focused on ending the Shield. He then left the ring, leaving Triple H screaming at him.
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!
Most of Jesus' apostles resorted to this when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (which wasn't even necessary, because Jesus had insisted that the mob let his followers go). They eventually made up for their disloyalty — and then some — after the Resurrection.
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 helps others reach enlightenment from time to time.
According to 60 Minutes: One of the possible reasons for Pope Benedict XVI resigning — in addition to his official reasons, poor health due to advancing age — was learning how corrupt the Vatican was (pedophilia and financial cover-ups, plus hard-partying, promiscuous priests).
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."
In the backstory of BattleTech, this was essentially General Aleksandr Kerensky's reaction to the Succession Wars starting up: he took his massive fleet and army and flew out into uncharted space, and vanished. The descendants of that fleet reappear hundreds of years later as the Clans, one of the only threats large enough to make the Successor States (who are stillfighting each other) team up to fight back.
When Ice Hellion saKhan Connor Rood discovered that their supply lines have been intercepted by Clan Jade Falcon, he knows that his Clan is doomed by the combined wrath of the Falcons and Hell's Horses (which their Clan just ticked off). So he immediately set about saving as much of his Clan as he could and escaped the Inner Sphere. Meanwhile, his Khan continues to lead her forces in a hopeless war against the two Clans.
Warhammer 40,000: Certain circumstances such as losing more than 25% of the unit in one phase, losing in close combat, tank shocking or getting hit with some kinds of special weaponry or psychic powers, will cause a unit to have to take a Morale check. If they fail the check, they will pull this trope. Certain units are more vulnerable to Morale hits than others: generally, rank and file grunts such as Conscripts and Gretchen will run away the moment things start going badly, but some units are just so fearless, psychotic and/or fanatical that they will only retreat in the most dire of circumstances... and even then only maybe.
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.
Occurs in the 'Weapon Raid' FMV where the Weapon is attacking Junon. After the initial barrage by the Shinra fails and the monster keeps on getting closer, troops on the waterfront are seen hightailing it out of there as the Weapon closes in.
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 faster 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.
Something similar happens on Noveria, where, if you take the optional mission to investigate a closed-off office for incriminating data, you can "convince" a few ERCS goons to leave, after the guard realizes Shepard is a Spectre, essentially the elite mooks of the Citadel).
ERCS Guard: He ain't paying me enough to take on Spectres, or Alliance troops, or whatever. (Begins to leave) How about this: you pretend you didn't see us, we pretend we didn't see you.
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, he was just about to accept the job, when he saw the Player Character's name next on the list of available Couriers. When he confirmed that the name was genuine, he bailed out of the job, saying "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 StarCraft 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.
When confronting Hikawa at the Diet Building in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, Aradia, her plans pretty much ruined, tries to convince Yuko to leave for whatever world comes out of the Conception. Yuko refuses the invitation, leaving Aradia to high-tail out of the Vortex World alone.
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.
This is the M.O. of Kishuna in Blazing Sword. On his first two appearances, he will bail out if you attack him or unlock the room he's hiding in, respectively. Justified on account of him being a frail Non-Action Guy who requires Mooks to defend himself and that you're technically not supposed to kill him until the last gaiden chapter.
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 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.
A side chapter in Awakening features a Dangerously Genre Savvy bandit who impersonates Prince Chrom to con villages out of their valuables and decieve Sumia's very naive daughter Cynthia, so either Chrom or Sumia will have to talk to her to recruit her. He spends the battle convincing neutral mercenaries at the top of the map to protect him, then turns around and flees as you close in. He'll even get away with it if you fail to catch up!
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, who does this after you've defeated Mother. Once again, you catch up to him.
Upon realising how strong the team has become in 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 the same game, a lot of Mooks in Bowser's castle will flee from your party instead of fighting you if Bowser is currently one of the three fighting members. (Seeing as they turned coat on him, it makes sense.) This is actually a good way to avoid fights that would otherwise cost you health and resources.
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 [[spoiler 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.
Some of the Pigmasks in Mother 3 do this randomly during a battle. "The Pigmask Major ran away while tossing DP!" "The Navy SQUEAL decided it's time to go on a paid vacation!" They're also rather prone to it outside of battle as well, usually because you just got through with totaling one of their creations.
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.
Dragon Quest III remakes have one of the personality riddles where you have to convince a king that his wife has manipulated him into sending soldiers into a war. You can, however, jump out of the nearby window and leave without doing anything - resulting in the game calling you out as a "happy" and indifferent kind of person.
In Case 1, after the culprit threatens to detonate a bomb in the courtroom, Gaspen Payne panics and flees. Even after Phoenix calls the suspect's bluff and the trial ends, Payne is still gone.
In Case 3, after Hugh O'Conner makes a completely unbelievable false confession in order to protect his friend Juniper Woods, prosecutor Simon Blackquill is revealed to have found the whole thing so ridiculous he went for a walk with his handler, Bobby Fulbright. Blackquill returns just after Athena manages to pick apart Hugh's testimony.
Vector Thrust's AI won't hesitate to leg it for a variety of reasons ranging from being a wimp, running out of missiles and shells, facing a technologically or numerically superior foe, or the situation turning awry. On the other hand, they become more aggressive when they think they have the upper hand.
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.
In "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."
In "The Penny and Clyde Show", Pinkie Pie breaks the fourth wall and tries to walk out of the series after Discord makes his introduction. "Ultra Fast Pony, season two, everybody! I hope you all enjoyed it. I'm going home."
In "Reading to Rainbow", Twilight is the only pony willing to visit Rainbow Dash in the hospital. Until Dash cracks a racist joke, at which point Twi replies, "Okay, that's it, I'm out! I'm done. You have fun by yourself."
In the 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.
Blake's finally decided to abandon the White Fang during a mission to steal Dust off a train. Her partner was willing to detonate the train, killing humans in the process. Blake decouples the train, leaving her partner with the Dust while she departs on the rest of the train that's carrying the humans. She later confirms that White Fang's change in path from peaceful protesters to violent and aggressive terrorists was something she couldn't stomach.
Bookstore owner Tukson defects from the White Fang for unknown reasons. He has plans to sneak away to Vacuo in the hopes of putting as much distance between himself and White Fang as possible. Unfortunately, Cinder's people catch up to him before he can escape. When Mercury and Emerald report back to Cinder, they state they've killed him and that he's no longer a problem.
Neo completely curb-stomps Yang without taking a single hit and with a smile on her face. When she is about to finish Yang off, a mysterious masked female samurai appears and stops her attack. Completely terrified, Neo runs away.
8-Bit Theater's Black Mage has attempted to, on multiple occasions, opt out of the quest to save the world Fighter 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, 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.
In the afterlife, Tavros attempts to do this when Vriska declares her desire to start fucking shit up so that they'll be relevant to the narrative again. Unfortunately, Vriska brainwashes him into obeying.
Vriska:I'm sick of this shit. I'm sick of being dead and useless and bored, and I'm not going to take it anymore. You're with me, right?
Tavros: No way.
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 DeceasedCrab video, this one of Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu and The Legend of Sweatnote It was a Let's Play of The Legend Of Zelda Minish Cap that quickly gets derailed when the LPer reveals that his cat's version of catnip is human 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.
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.
"See you later, fuckers!" is one of Matt's catchphrases on Two Best Friends Play, usually uttered when running away from a group of enemies.
Subverted in Smashtasm Episode 5, during 1337f0x's flashback of his battle with Greg. While the present 1337f0x says "So I decided the only way to defeat Greg was to stop him on my own". However the past 1337f0x is less than willing.
In Brad Jones Demo Reel, Gretchen, and later Henrietta, bluntly bow out of being in Braddie's remake of E.T. The Porno.
Michael Moorer pulls one of these on his trainer in an episode of What If when fighting Mike Tyson.
In the "10 weirdest foods" video by Matt Santoro, after having barely gotten past balut (developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell), he realizes that the next food is deep-fried tarantulas, which immediately makes Matt jump out of his chair and leave the room, trying to end the video right then and there.
Wowcrendor has an installment of the "Orc vs. Wild" video where his gnome character wanders through World of Warcraft's infamous Moonguard RP server. He quickly runs away after spying two guys and a gnome on a bed, again after finding a strange danceoff in the basement and one last time after meeting a girl with a man's voice.
Noggin the Nog has the following memorable exchange between series villain Nogbad and a Sultan of his acquaintance:
Sultan: "There comes a time when presence of mind is shown by absence of body."
Disney had an earlier go at this at the end of their anthology episode "On Vacation". When Jiminy Cricket realizes that Mickey, Donald, and Goofy plan to rewrite his script to take place in Hawaii, he decides to go on vacation himself and leave all responsibilities to the trio. Before he leaves, Jiminy reminds them, "Have a good show... and watch the budget."
Cartman does this so much that one of his Catch Phrases is, "Screw you guys, I'm going home." He actually does this in the middle of the rainforest (after beating the shit out of two separate endangered species), but 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, who are dressed up as the Avengers, attempt to stop a burglary in progress, but quickly flee when they discover that the thieves are dangerous killers:
Cartman/Hulk: RAWWR- Oh crap, there's a bunch of them. Never mind. [sees dead clerk] Holy shit! They shot this guy!
Kyle/Thor: Oh my god!
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 ReBoot, 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 Bros. — 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.
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 so 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 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.
It was more like anyone who was an active member rather than anyone with a dragon birth mark, as when Jake wished Rose had never been taken from her parents by the huntsclan to begin with, she survives despite still being born with the mark.
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.
"Treehouse of Horror XVII" 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 saying "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 "Treehouse of Horror XIV", 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 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.
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 Mickey Mouse short Potatoland, Donald tries to do this when Goofy tells him and Mickey about a theme park made out of potatoes, but Mickey stops him and ropes him into making it a reality.
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. Afterwards he ended up going AWOL; that's right, he wasn't offically eliminated.
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 it's 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: I never expected this from you. (Beat) The thing I don't understand is why. Why would you do it? You know the consequences.
Mai: I guess you just don't know people as well as you say you do. You miscalculated: I love Zuko more than I fear you.
Azula: No, you miscalculated! You should have feared me more!
Terra tries pulling this on Slade after he demonstrates that, when you work for him, failing at a task earns you a savage beating. Unfortunately, Slade anticipated this and turns her into a People Puppet instead.
Another example: In the finale of the Brotherhood of Evil arc in the fifth season, the Brain and Monsieur Mallah tried to make a run for it and abandon the rest of the villains when the battle was turning against them. They didn't get far.
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 Transformers Generation One, the third season introduces a whole planet of neutral Transformers, Paradron, who all either ran away from Cybertron and the Forever War or are descended from those who did. By the episode's end, Rodimus Prime has blown the planet up to prevent the Decepticons from harvesting its energon reserves, and they instead sign back up with the Autobots.
Ironically, years later, Transformers Energon would have Rodimus Prime as the leader of a group of ex-Autobots who also decided the Forever War was pointless and vanished into deep space to get away from it.
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 the damage has been done and storms the air base.
Professor: Let's get the hell out of here already! Screw history!
Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants 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 the classic short "Water, Water Every Hare," the Evil Scientist's monster, after getting outsmarted by Bugs several times, decides enough is enough. At the time, he had been reduced to the size of a mouse, so he storms into a mouse hole, throws out the mouse, and slams the door with the words "I QUIT!" Said spectacle is enough for the mouse to go No More for Me.
And in "Ali Baba Bunny", Bugs high-tails it out of the cave using his burrowing when Daffy makes the genie angry. (The next scene shows he finally made it to Pismo Beach.)
In the SWAT Kats episode "Dark Side of the SWAT Kats" when alternate!Callie sees that Dark Kat's plan to blow up Enforcer Headquarters has failed, declares "All my plans are ruined! I'm out of here!" She is immediately intercepted by Felina Feral and the Enforcers, however.
Gargoyles: Dingo does it twice. After their first encounter with the Manhattan clan, Fox and Wolf end up in jail, Hyena and Jackal seek revenge on Xanatos, but Dingo opts to flee to Europe. He's convinced to come back and help break his comrades out of jail eventually. The second time, his comrades have all disfigured themselves in the pursuit of power, and in the end, Dingo opts to run away from the fight because he's disgusted with his colleagues' choices as well as their failure to actually win despite their enhancements, though he's arrested before he can get away. His next appearance shows he's severed ties with most of the Pack.
Ultimate Spider-Man: When Spidey gets hounded by everyone in New York when Jameson offered 10 million to anyone who can unmask him, Spidey then learns that Boston offered to make him the city's premier hero; he quickly took the next bus to Boston.
In "Three's a Crowd", a sick Discord shows up on the train platform, requesting that they help nurse him back to health. This trope is Rainbow Dash's reaction, and she flies away, not showing up again until the end of the episode.
Rainbow Dash has a history of this, actually: In the middle of the "Find a Pet" song, she quotes this trope nearly verbatim because Fluttershy just doesn't listen to her requests.
Done with Mr. Butlertron in the series finale of Clone High when the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures comes to collect the clones and terminate Scudworth.
Animaniacs: In one Buttons and Mindy sketch set in the future, after enduring his usual punishment, Buttons sees Mindy stumble into a cloning machine and multiply. His reaction is to quit on the spot.
Russia as a whole did this during World War I 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.
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."
On one memorable occasion, the entire Iraqi garrison of Failaka Island surrendered to the USS Wisconsin's RQ-2 Pioneer spotting drone, an aircraft powered by a moped engine and carrying nothing but a television camera. The nearest US forces were more than 20 miles away. Then again, said forces probably included the USS Wisconsin, and the troops were Genre Savvy enough to know the purpose of spotting drones being to call down fire on enemy forces they find.
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 (which was hosting the match), 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.note The KNVB (Dutch federation) soon ruled the match void, and rescinded the red card. It also ordered the match replayed behind closed doors (i.e., with no paying fans present), and imposed several other penalties on Ajax, noting that the fan was supposed to have been banned from Ajax's stadium. AZ won the replayed match.
In mid-December 2011, many users of LiveJournal 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), hence the prevalence of The Runaway trope.
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.
War of the Triple Alliance featured Duke Of Caxias, the military genius who pretty much won the war, but his health started to decline at a frightening pace, so he simply grabbed a horse and left the war without warning his superiors.
Whenever there is a war, there will be hordes of refugees invoking this trope.
The second Sugar Ray Leonard - Roberto Durán fight, infamously known as the "No Más Fight," ended this way.
LeBron James has been accused of doing this after his horrendous performance in games five and six of the 2010 Eastern Conference finals, which turned out to be his final games with the Cleveland Cavaliers. For four years.
The Grateful Dead left the Altamont Free Concert minutes after arriving when they heard the news that the Hells Angels knocked Jefferson Airplane lead singer Marty Balin unconscious.
Needless to say, many relationships of the romantic and friendly kind have ended this way.
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 1, 2013, leaving and taking the Big East name with themnote 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, became the American Athletic Conference. Funny enough, subverted hard by Connecticut. UConn tried extremely hard to jump into the ACC in what basically amounted to open begging, but were politely turned down every time. The result? Stuck in a conference they have no desire to be in.
On May 19, 2013, a Wichita, Kansas, news station was reporting on a possible tornado near where they were. As they were, the wind started to really pick up and could be heard from the studio. Ultimately, the meteorologist reporting starts to pull away from the green screen as another says that he's "never had to say this in 20 years, but it's our time to go." Everyone in the studio bails for the basement and the two men brave it enough to stay in the stairwell to keep trying to report on it.
This tended to be what representatives for the United States and most of its allies did at the UN whenever the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was given the floor. (After all, he rarely ever said anything they hadn't heard before.)
Malaysia and Singapore did this to each other when they both realised the political and racial-religious tensions between the two bodies were too volatile for the two to continue existing as one country.
The grandmother of a future member of ABBA knew what would happen if they stayed in their native Norway, knowing full well she was the result of the 'Lebensborn' project. Realizing fighting back was going to end badly for those who took part, regardless of whether it was choice or not, fleeing to Sweden saved her life. As it turns out, many others had the same idea.
Pretty much John Lydon's reaction when he left the Sex Pistols, due to a combination of an increasingly unstable Sid Vicious and Malcolm McLaren's increasing control of the group.
Pretty much Italy in most wars. Napoleon once remarked that the only way to ensure Italy was on your side at the end of a war was to be against them at the beginning of it.
Surprisingly subverted in World War I. After Caporetto, half the Italian army (that didn't even want to start the war, much less fight it) started walking to return home, but when they noticed the civilians running from the Austro-Hungarian advance, they changed their mind and fought like demons.
After two orcas from the L.A. Pod killed and ate a white shark in the area, the entire Farallon Island white shark population fled. One shark's tag recorded that he dropped depth and swam to Hawaii.
In the middle of 1993, Matthew Bannister was promoted as controller at BBC Radio 1. He decided to essentially gut the station's Adult Contemporary playlist and heritage DJ's (who were perceived as bland and egotistical) and relaunch it as a Top 40 station with more laddish DJs to gain more teen and youth listeners. Dave Lee Travis, one of those heritage DJs (recently in the news after being found guilty of a sex offence), got wind that he would be thrown out by year's end, and ultimately decided to quit at the tail end of one of his programmes... announcing his resignation on air.
"I want to put the record straight at this point... changes are being made here which go against my principles and I just can not agree with them."
Said resignation made the papers. Within weeks, most of the "old guard" either quit as well (Simon Bates) or were axed (Alan Freeman), and the changes in playlist (going for a deeper sound with a limited timeframe instead of the adult contemporary sound) were put into motion.
Likewise, two Radio 1 Breakfast Show DJs would quit in the 90s back to back. The first, Steve Wright, was one of the few "old guard" DJs remaining. He was put on breakfast to maintain a few older listeners. However, he himself grew critical of the changes, and quit in February 1995. In came Chris Evans, whose laddish behaviour shot the morning show's ratings up in the key demographics. However, his behaviour shocked the heads of the BBC. In early 1997, when he did not receive Fridays off to concentrate on his television programme, he simply told Bannister off and stormed out of Radio 1.
Many people in Mexico (and abroad) thinks this is what is happening right now with Mexican soccer player Carlos Vela, who refused (and refuses to play) for the Mexican soccer team for the Brazil 2014 World Cup: Since the Mexican team had a rough elimination round who force them to play a play-off match against New Zealand, and after the team received lots of criticism, including insults from everyone, it's heavily implied Vela decided not playing for his country, in the case the Mexican team ended eliminated from the World Cup or being eliminated in the Group Phase, and killing or crippling his career as a international soccer player afterwards, since he plays in Spain for Real Sociedad.note And avoid the fate his fellow countryman Javier Hernandez is suffering right now with both the Mexican team and in his actual team, Manchester United..
However, after much hesitation, Vela returned to the Mexican national team in November 2014 for a friendly match against the Netherlands, scoring two goals that resulted in Mexico winning the match, in a sweet revenge after being eliminated in the World Cup by the Dutch. Let's just say the criticisms against him have gone down a lot after this.
Zelda Williams quit Instagram and Twitter after Trolls harassed her and her family after the suicide of her father, Robin Williams.
Conrad Schumann, an East German soldier, jumped over a low barbed-wire fence into West Berlin in 1961, during the construction of the Berlin Wall. His defection was captured in an iconic photograph◊.
The NFL Thanksgiving Game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets in 2012 had the latter team make embarrassing move after embarrassing move, such as QB Mark Sanchez fumbling after running into the backside of one of his blockers (said fumble was ran in for a touchdown by Pats safety Steve Gregory.) Fireman Ed, probably the Jets most visible fan and the one that led the infamous "J-E-T-S" chant since 1986, left Met Life stadium after halftime (the second quarter had 35 points scored by the Pats), deleted his Twitter account, and retired the "Fireman Ed" persona the next day.