Torture. That word should evoke all kinds of horrible images of pain and suffering and humiliation. Even when it is merely described
, it has the effect of reducing many to wailing shivers. It takes a special kind of person to withstand brutal torture
. No surprise, those characters make excellent heroes.
An episode about reinforcing how Bad Ass
the hero is... by showing them completely helpless and at the mercy of someone who doesn't have their best interests in mind. Expect a lot of defiant comebacks
. The torturer will almost always be Affably Evil
. A Battle of Wits
is commonplace also. Permanent psychological damage
is a possibility.
Subtrope of Bottle Episode
- Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero spends much of episode 8 being brutally whipped and beaten in a torture chamber in Castle Cruhteo.
- The Stargate SG-1 episode "Abyss" is about Jack being tortured for information by Ba'al — mostly information he doesn't actually know.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Chain of Command, Part II", Picard, after being captured by Cardassians, is tortured for information. When the torturer is failing to make any progress in breaking Picard, he attempts to get Picard to tell him that there are five lights when there are only four. Picard defiantly insists there are four lights, despite being put through a full-body pain experience every time. In the end, Picard doesn't break, and when he is set free after after Star Fleet demands his release, he loudly proclaims that "THERE! ARE! FOUR LIGHTS!" He later tells his counsellor that, in fact, his release happened just in the nick of time, because at that moment he was so broken that not only was he ready to say that there were five lights, he could actually see five lights.
- Babylon 5:
- After being captured by the Clark Administration, Sheridan was sent to an interrogation center on Mars, where he underwent brutal psychological torture and attempts to subvert his hold on reality. To further portray his isolation, the episode had no B plot, being set entirely within the center. Sheridan fails to crack and prepares himself for death, only for the execution to be a fake and a new cycle of torture begins under a different interrogator.
- Another B5 example: G'Kar, after captured by the Centauri under Emperor Cartagia. As part of his scheme with Londo, he needed to stay alive, and this involved giving up his pride to preserve his life, giving Cartagia his scream.
"I must have my scream."
- Farscape: Happened to Crichton at least once per season, starting with that Aurora Chair.
- The Firefly episode "War Stories," where Wash and Mal are captured by Niska and have to endure his worst while waiting for the rest of the crew to bail them out.
- The writers of Prison Break wanted to add one of these in the second season, but the Moral Guardians didn't approve.
- The Question spends most of the Justice League Unlimited episode "Flashpoint" being either tortured or carried out of the torture facility.
- Recess somewhat parodies this with "The Box". The episode deals with Miss Finster's new punishment for the kids, "the box", which is just a square drawn on the blacktop. After T.J. ends up in there, it ends up breaking him and sends him into a Madness Mantra.
- "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted". Though it was All Just a Dream.
- Adventure Time has "Power Animal", in which Finn is abducted by gnomes and forced to power their doomsday machine by various sadistic means.