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Thwarted Escape
"Keep going, just a few minutes more and we'll be safe."
(Bad guy steps out from behind a tree)
"That's what you think."

Any escape attempt — be it from from a kidnapper, unjust imprisonment, or the like — that is shown getting within sight of a point beyond which the escapees will be undeniably and irrefutably safe will always be interrupted, sometimes fatally. Commenting on how close you are to safety is just Tempting Fate and provides a cue for the interruption. A Sub-Trope of the Hope Spot.

Examples

Film:
  • Happens in Pixar's Toy Story, when Woody and Buzz attempt to escape Sid, to the point of being a Overly-Long Gag.
  • Used to Heartbreaking effect in The Great Escape. Hilts was inches away from safety when he got caught, and out of 76 escapees only 3 make it out of German-controlled territory - and 50 out of the other 73 are murdered in cold blood after being recaptured. Worse, this actually happened, and the Nazis had a knack for deliberately setting up this trope (see Real Life below).

Literature:
  • In The Bible, Jonah wants to go anywhere that isn't Nineveh. His escape is thwarted by God himself.
  • Moist Von Lipwig digs himself out of prison in Going Postal only to find his tunnel blocked by a rock. Vetinari placed that rock there on purpose, to give the prisoners something to focus on without letting them escape, and even left Lipwig a new spoon to try to remove the well-mortared stone with (Lipwig having destroyed the old one removing the old mortar from the stone he had removed to start the tunnel).
  • The short story "A Torture by Hope" by Villiers de L'Isle-Adam is this trope meets Yank the Dog's Chain.

Live-Action TV:
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Magical Place," Coulson manages to pick the locks on his handcuffs, take down the guards he encounters, and make it outside... where The Dragon calmly informs him that his captors have set up shop at an unused and abandoned nuclear testing site from the '40s, and that there's nothing but empty desert for miles around. Coulson is given a few moments to let it sink in before he's knocked unconscious and dragged back inside.

Real Life:
  • This was a common strategy of the Nazis; when they found out that the prisoners were attempting to escape, they would show no signs of this knowledge while secretly stationing guards at the escape point, thus luring the escapees into a false sense of security right at the most dangerous part of the escape.


Throwing the DistractionEscape TropesTime Travel Escape
Thrown Down a WellNarrative DevicesTime Travel

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