Trap Is the Only Option

"There is a Russian proverb: The bear who sees the trap cannot be caught."
Josef Yurinov, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

When the heroes consciously recognize a trap when they see one, but elect to walk into it anyway.

The reasons for this vary. Sometimes, it's because one of the hero's True Companions or a Love Interest is being held hostage, and the hero can't turn his back on them. Sometimes it's because the heroes need a lead to the villain's plot and taking the bait is the only way. Proceeding may literally be the only option, e.g. it's the only way out of the maze they're in. Perhaps the heroes have an idea of what's in store for them, and the makings of a plan. Or maybe it's just because the hero enjoys a challenge. In any case, the choice is made: trap or no trap, it's their only chance.

It doesn't always work. Sometimes it turns out there's little discernible difference between having sprung the trap on purpose than in having walked into it accidentally. Heroes have walked into their doom in the invocation of this trope. But it can pay off. Two types of heroes have been especially known to succeed: The kind that can think like a Chessmaster and use some critical piece of knowledge of the plan to foil the villain's aims while apparently "falling" into their trap, and the kind that is a master of thinking on their feet and making things up as they go along.

Video Games may sidestep any logical rationale at all for walking into a trap, leaving Stupidity as the Only Option. The characters are controlled by you, and YOU are electing to walk into the trap because it's the only way to progress the game. But the in-story reason for this happening is as likely to be that the characters simply are dumb enough to fall for obvious Schmuck Bait, rather than having consciously realized the nature of the trap. If no rationale is given, the trap-springing falls under Stupidity Is the Only Option rather than this trope. Only if the characters in the game itself recognize that it is a trap, and supply a reason for tripping it deliberately, is this trope being invoked as well.

Compare Schmuck Bait. See also Kansas City Shuffle which is built upon this trope: The con relies on the mark knowing there's a con but underestimating it. Contract Lured into a Trap, where the heroes never realized it was a trap until it was too late.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Read or Die OAV, one clear path into the I-Jin fortress suddenly becomes apparent. Joker instructs his team to take that path, stating that while it is obviously a trap, he has a few tricks of his own to play. (See the From Russia With Love quote below)
  • In episode 7 of Code Geass, Cornelia tries to lure out Zero by attacking the Saitama Ghetto; Lelouch immediately recognizes it's a trap since it's an almost perfect recreation of Clovis' attack on Shinjuku Ghetto in the first couple of episodes. He still goes anyway because of his overconfidence, but Cornelia is a much better commander than Clovis, and the Saitama rebels are quick to surrender and less competent than the ones he lead in Shinjuku, so he's almost captured and only escapes when C.C. lets him pull off an unsolicited Decoy Getaway.
  • In an early chapter/episode of Ranma , a student who's madly in love with Akane finds out about Ranma's phobia of cats and decides to lure him into a cat-filled room to humiliate him. He does this by sending Ranma a letter telling him to show up at a particular location if he ever wants to see Akane again...while Akane's standing right next to Ranma and reading the letter too. He then does a hilariously poor impersonation of being the kidnapped Akane (once again, while Akane's right next to Ranma) when Ranma shows up at the designated location. Ranma still goes along with it because he just wants to know what the hell this weirdo is up to. Bad choice.
  • In an aptly named episode of Digimon Adventure 02 "The Insect Master's Trap", the chosen children enter into Arukenimon's trap to find out what she is up to. Unfortunately, they underestimated just how good of a trap it was.
  • The heroes of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS are invited to a Nasty Party at the Big Bad's house...which they elect to attend, despite the danger. They want to take the fight to him.
  • Sometimes happens in Yu-Gi-Oh! when a duelist will intentionally set off an opponent's trap card because he has a strategy to deal with it, such as a counter-trap. A perfect example occurs during Yugi's duel with Pegasus at Duelist Kingdom. Pegasus has his Ryu-Ran attack Yugi's Summoned Skull, causing Ryu-Ran to get caught in Yugi's Spellbinding Circle. Pegasus, however, saw this coming thanks to his Millennium Eye and has a Trap Displacement ready to go, which frees Ryu-Ran and traps Summoned Skull in the circle.

    Comic Books 
  • The villain Black Mask's pathetic first appearance in Batman is marked by him walking into an obvious trap. He is obsessed with masks, and is killing people that had "wronged" him with them. Then one of the people he wants dead, Bruce Wayne, holds a Masquerade.
    Batman: Good job, Alfred — Black Mask won't be able to resist an invitation like this.
    Robin: But what makes you so sure, Batman? It's the most obvious trap imaginable.
    Batman: Which is why he'll come.
    Narrator: The Crypt...''
    Tupeng: It's obviously a trap, Black Mask.
    Black Mask: Of course, Tupeng — and moreover, it's obviously an obvious trap.
    Thespis: But you still plan to go?
    Black Mask: Of course, Thespis. How could I resist?
  • In the ElfQuest Shards story line, Two-Edge has both kinds of traps, hidden and obvious. Two-Edge had a long time to make sure that the traps covered the only hidden way into the Citadel -and the elves need to go there.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), it's obvious that the deadline is part of some greater plot, but the Mane Six decide they have to meet it anyway.
  • In The Transformers: Robots in Disguise Orion Pax and his crew travel to Gorlam Prime and give the villain everything he needs to begin their evil plan, however Orion Pax is finally able to figure out what the villains were up to in the first place and begin effectively working to stop them.
    Orion Pax: It's not a trap if you know it's a trap.

    Fan Works 
  • A Brief History of Histories has its own spin on an instance from Sailor Moon, when Jadiete challenges Moon, Mercury and Mars to meet him for a final showdown. In the anime, they answer the challenge because he threatens to burn down the city. Here, however, they have extra motivation: Jadiete discovered Mars' Secret Identity and will expose it to the rest of the world if they don't come.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Russia with Love, the classic James Bond movie.
    Number One: What makes you think the head of the British secret service will oblige you by falling in with your plan?
    Kronsteen: For the simple reason that this is so obviously a trap. My reading of the British mentality is that they always treat a trap as a challenge.
  • Serenity, after Inara sends a message inviting Mal to come see her at the Companion training house, Mal and Zoe recognize it instantly as a trap, but because the bait's a friend of theirs (and Mal's Love Interest besides), Mal decides to go in anyway.
    Zoe: So, trap?
    Mal: Trap.
    Zoe: We goin'?
    Mal: Ain't but a few hours out.
    Wash: Yeah, but... remember the part where it's a trap?
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
    Anakin: I sense Count Dooku.
    Obi-Wan: I sense a trap.
    Anakin: Next move?
    Obi-Wan: [grins] Spring the trap.
    • Expanded on in the novelization — this is Anakin and Obi-Wan's standard procedure whenever they encounter a trap during the war.
  • In Starship Troopers, the Roughnecks end up falling right into a Bug ambush, but as we later find out, command knew the Bugs had set a trap and sent in the Roughnecks as bait so they could confirm that there is a Brain Bug on the planet.
  • We Were Soldiers: Colonel Moore's Airborne Cav battalion is ordered into LZ X-Ray to find an NVA force that attacked another base and then retreated. Moore and Sergeant Major Plumley have both been around long enough to know an obvious ambush when they see one, but their entire mission is to force an engagement with the NVA in force.
  • In The Wolverine, a picture of where the bad guys have taken Mariko is impaled in the chest of a dead mook, with COME AND GET HER written in blood on it. He does, but is at least smart enough to have Yukio infiltrate by a less obvious route.
  • Se7en. After surrendering to police, Serial Killer John Doe promises to lead Detective Mills and Somerset (and only these two) to where he's left the bodies of his last victims; if so he will plead guilty to all crimes instead of an Insanity Defence. Suspecting John Doe has something more dramatic planned than retrieving a couple of bodies, he's manacled hand and foot, their car is followed by a SWAT team in a helicopter, and Mills and Somerset are determined to be ready for anything. They're not.
  • In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Radagast and Gandalf are outside the Necromancer's fortress, and Gandalf is about to go inside.
    Radagast: But what if it's a trap?
    Gandalf: It's undoubtedly a trap.
  • In Braveheart, William Wallace is warned that the meeting with Robert the Bruce would be a trap and he kind of senses it himself, but he feels it is worth trying because the chance to reunite the Scottish forces is their only hope.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs often used this.
    • Used in one instance by the Yeerks to try and trick the free Hork-Bajir. The Hork-Bajir manage to turn the trap back on them.
  • At the end of the Black Jewels trilogy, the villains capture Lucivar's wife and child. He takes the bait, and then subsequently becomes new bait for his father. Who takes the bait, and subsequently becomes new bait for his other son. Who takes the bait. Unfortunately for the villains, he doesn't walk so much as saunter into the trap.
  • Dune:
    • When Paul Atreides tells his father Leto that their being given Arrakis was possibly a trap, Leto replies with the classic line "knowing there is a trap is the first step in evading it." Leto got killed before the book was half-over. Nice Job Evading It Hero.
    • His successors weren't much better at evading obvious traps. That line should be changed to "Knowing there's a trap is the first step in looking really stupid when you get caught by it."
    • Leto and Thufir's mistake, aside from being tricked by a Red Herring, was underestimating the scale of the trap. When the trap was sprung, their enemies sent ten legions of soldiers supported by an entire legion of the Emperor's elite Sardaukar. Thufir was completely blindsided by how badly the Atreides' enemies wanted them dead, and how much expense they were willing to endure to make that happen. They had presumed that House Atreides' popularity in the Landsraad (many of the smaller houses were rallied behind Atreides) would make the Emperor hesitate to move against them. Instead, the great deal of support enjoyed by House Atreides and the Duke in particular made them entirely too dangerous for the Emperor to ignore.
  • In Agatha Christie's Partners In Crime stories, Tommy and Tuppence are posing as private detectives, because the detective agency is suspected of dealing with a supercriminal known as No. 16, and Tommy's government boss wants them to flush him out. When Tommy arranges a meeting with someone who is quite obviously an agent of No. 16 who suspects he isn't really Mr Blunt, Tuppence complains that he's walking into a trap with his eyes closed. Tommy replies that, on the contrary, he's walking into a trap with his eyes open.
  • The Wheel of Time protagonists practically live this trope, especially Rand. From Isam's summary:
    Rand: A trap's not a trap, if you know it's a trap.
    Min: Like a chair's not a chair, if you know it's a chair?
    Rand: Exactly.
    Min: So what are you sitting on right now?
    Rand: Not a chair.
    Min: Then you're not an idiot.
  • In the Magic Legends II Cycle, the villain Nicol Bolas walks knowingly into Tetsuo Umezawa's trap. And is utterly defeated.
  • Robert E. Howard's "The Hour of the Dragon'':
    • Conan the Barbarian speculates that he's about to walk into this, but it's better than sitting around.
    • Kull is told, in "The Shadow Kingdom" to come to the feast alone.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, pilot Voort SaBinring notices the enemy attack pattern indicates they're going to spring a trap on their squadron. Squadron leader Jaina Solo decides to weather the trap out; they couldn't run every time they were targeted by a seeming Obvious Trap. It nearly proves fatal to her, and her Love Interest Jagged Fel.
  • Sinfjotli in Saga of the Volsungs declines a poisoned cup offered to him by his stepmother Borghild two times. The third time, he drinks it, even though he knows it is poisoned.
  • Towards the end of The Fate of Paul Twister, Paul and Aylwyn come across a clue that looks suspiciously like a Treasure Map designed specifically to lure Paul in, most likely a trap set by a manipulative dragon. Paul asks Aylwyn to come along as backup, and when she points out that it's almost certainly a trap, he says he knows, but the dragon is persistent and it's better to walk into a trap he sees coming than to possibly get blindsided by the next one.
  • Mordant's Need: The Big Good allies realize that the valley where they'd face off against the enemy is an obvious trap. Some state they'd rather retreat to Orison for a Last Stand. The heroes realize that that is the real trap. Fortunately, the Congery invents the aforementioned Boring, but Practical mirrors, which allow the Orison and Alend armies to intentionally spring the trap long before the Cadwal forces are ready for, and being stronger than Festten epxects to them to be.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Only Light in the Darkness", Skye discovers Grant Ward is The Mole just before he tries to trick her into leaving the base with him. Since she has no allies nearby, she lets him believe his cover is intact and plays along.
  • The A-Team, "Showdown". B.A. asks if the fake A-Team might be an army trap to lure them out. Hannibal says he doesn't know if it is, but he knows that the army will attempt to use it. Whatever it is, the team has to go anyway.
  • In Babylon 5, Sheridan goes to Z'ha'dum with Anna, knowing it's a trap. He plans to make it a very costly trap.
  • Parodied in the Batman TV series where in one of the episodes Robin trips on death bee beehive trip wire which is clearly marked.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are both pretty fond of playing with this.
    • One season is bookended with Buffy walking into two different traps for two different reasons, only to discover that both of them were just red herrings to distract her. From the first instance:
      Willow: What about the other part of the note?
      Buffy: What other part of the note?
      Willow: The part that says "PS, this is a trap!"
    • And the second:
      Angelus: And you fall for it every single time!
  • Doctor Who: Over the years, the Doctor's walked into a few of these.
    • It gets fitted with a lampshade in "The Androids of Tara":
      The Doctor: I shall have to go alone of course. It's funny. They always want you to go alone when you're walking into a trap. Have you noticed that?
      • Naturally, the enemy was no different. Count Grendel considered the fact that the Doctor would know it's a trap and take every precaution he could think of as a reason why it would be even more fun.
    • In "The Pyramid at the End of the World", the Doctor and the local military commanders are invited inside said pyramid to negotiate terms. The Doctor and his companion have a discussion about this trope, though as it turns out it's not a trap (the aliens are too powerful and confident of their plan to need one).
      The Doctor: Well, every trap you walk into is a chance to learn about your enemies. Impossible to set a trap without making a self-portrait of your own weaknesses.
      Bill: Great. Unless it kills us.
  • On Lost, Jack and co. know that Michael is leading them straight into a trap by taking them to the Others' camp. Jack's plan is to go along with it and pretend they don't know it's a trap, believing they'll have the advantage since Michael doesn't know that they have another party led by Sayid preparing to attack the Others' camp from sea. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that Michael has lied about the camp's location, and Sayid's party ends up at an abandoned decoy camp miles away from the real trap, where Jack and co. are easily caught.
  • Thanks to a chronic case of Honor Before Reason, Arthur from Merlin has made a habit out of this trope. The title character gets his fair share, too.
  • In Power Rangers S.P.D.
    • The villains have captured the Rangers' friend and ally Kat Manx, and as they dare the Rangers to come get her Kat warns them not to as it's a trap - Emperor Gruumm then confirms that yes it's a trap, but they're not going to abandon her, are they?
    • Late in the series, a team of evil Rangers appear and challenge the heroes. The Rangers discuss that accepting the challenge may be a trap, but ignoring it may also be a trap. They decide to accept.
  • In QI, when there's a really obvious answer that no-one wants to say because it's one of Stephen's "heffalump traps", but nobody can think of any other answers, a contestant will sometimes say the obvious answer knowing it'll set off the klaxon and lose them points, just to break the tension.
  • Too many times to list on Stargate SG-1 (and Atlantis, too.) Usually occurs after a thorough Lampshade Hanging, taking the form of "You know this is a trap, right?" "Yep." "Okay, just checking."
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Unification", Ambassador Spock is invited by the Romulan Proconsul to discuss Vulcan/Romulan reunification. The Proconsul comes across as too eager, leading to some suspicion that it's part of a Romulan ploy. Spock decides to go through with the meeting, saying that if there is a ploy afoot, he needs to play along to find out what's going on. He turns out to be right—the Proconsul is working with Commander Sela on a plot to conquer Vulcan.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "Rocks and Shoals": A Vorta field officer deliberately sends his Jem'Hadar soldiers walking into a death trap, so that he can safely surrender once they are out of the way. They know it's a trap, but they go anyway simply because obeying the Vorta "is the order of things."
    • "Sacrifice of Angels": Sisko leads a large Federation fleet to retake DS9 from the Dominion, but encounter twice as many Cardassian and Jem'Hadar ships. Sisko attempts to lure Cardassian ships out of formation, but Gul Dukat recognizes Sisko's plan and carefully withdraws a few ships to draw him in so Dukat can crush Sisko with superior numbers. Sisko sees through the trap, but realizes they've been delayed long enough they may not be able to reach their objective in time and so orders the fleet forward anyway. They're nearly wiped out, but The Cavalry in the form of a Klingon fleet hits the Dominion flank just in time and Sisko is able to break through.
  • The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Basics" starts with Voyager receiving a Distress Call from traitorous ex-crewmate Seska, who had earlier stolen Chakotay's DNA to impregnate herself; her call says that Kazon Maje Culluh (whom she left Voyager for) is furious that Seska's newborn baby is half-human and not half-Kazon. Our heroes are reluctant to embark on a rescue mission, especially Chakotay, until a Vision Quest with his deceased father convinces him otherwise. Fully aware that this may be a trap, Voyager goes in with a battle plan that almost succeeds—except that Seska has an even better plan that leads to the Kazon capturing the ship and marooning the crew on an alien planet. And just to drive the knife farther in, it turns out that the baby really isn't Chakotay's.
  • Supernatural:
    • "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Sam and Dean go to rescue two hunters even though they know it is a trap.
    • And in "Unforgiven" Sam is sent a mysterious text message about a town where women have been disappearing. Turns out it's a town where Sam hunted while he was soulless, and all the women were people he'd slept with (Sam can no longer remember this). When Dean discovers this, he wants to get the hell out of town, but Sam believes he did something terrible and wants to make amends. Turns out a sheriff Sam used as The Bait for the demon, then Mercy Killed instead of taking to a hospital, is actually alive (having been turned into a demon himself) and wants revenge.
    • Pretty much anytime Crowley or Abaddon contact the boys in any way, Dean and Sam know it's a trap but usually innocents' or friends' lives are at stakes so...
  • In Legends of Tomorrow "Turncoat"; the Legends detect a massive Time Quake which they trace back to George Washington being assassinated shortly before the Battle of Trenton. They immediately conclude that this a trap set by the Legion of Doom (having fallen for a similar trap in an earlier episode), but point out this is too large a change to the timeline to ignore.
  • Voyagers!: Despite earlier saying that three men didn't have a chance against the Sheriff and his forces, Robin decides to go through with an attack to keep Maid Marian from being married to the Sheriff.

     Mythology 

  • A common element in Robin Hood stories is an archery contest that is actually a trap set by the Sheriff of Nottingham to ensnare Robin, widely recognized as the greatest archer in all the land. Robin is fully aware the contest is trap, but goes anyway, because he has to prove he's the best.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A supplement for West End Game's Star Wars d6 system detailed some of the Rebellion's special forces culture, and one of the things was "Bursting", defined as going into an obvious trap with far more firepower than the trap was ever ready for.

    Video Games 
  • Several City of Heroes missions play out like this; you know that no matter what your contact tells you, your mission's going to involve beating up some bad guys. Lampshaded in at least one mission description text.
  • If you happened to see a person named Patches in any RPG created by FromSoftware, be sure to trigger all the traps set by him, because by doing so, you can befriend him and have him as a merchant, just don't say you're a cleric.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
    Atton: Well, good thing it's not a trap.
    Mical: No, Atton, I think it may be a trap!
    Handmaiden: What are you talking about? It's obviously a trap.
    Atton: Could you lighten up for just one second?
    Kreia: It may be a trap - but traps work both ways.
    • It gets even funnier when the Exile encounters Mira on the way to the obvious trap, who tells right away that she's a bounty hunter (there's a huge price on the Exile's head) and tells the Exile to follow her... Into a trap. Then Mira walks into the same trap she just prevented the Exile from falling into. And the Exile follows her afterwards, without any protection despite knowing that the place is full of extremely poisonous gas. To make it especially ridiculous you can travel freely there at all other times with a readily available gas mask.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the Illusive Man knows that the "derelict" Collector ship is a trap, but sends Shepard and crew to investigate anyway, not wishing to lose the chance to gain intel on the Collectors. He does neglect to tell Shepard it's a trap, so you have no idea until it's is sprung.
    Shepard: That son of a bitch sent us right into Collector hands!
    Garrus: And here I thought I'd had my betrayal and attempted murder for this year.
  • In Portal 2, at one point, the Big Bad crashes an entire room into a walkway that you're using to escape from him, with a convenient opening inside. GLaDOS goes so far as to Lampshade the fact.
    GLaDOS: Okay, yes, it's a trap. But it's the only way through, so let's just do it.
  • Omega-Xis takes this trope as a rule of thumb, always.
  • In Seiken Densetsu 3, the party elect to take the Sword of Mana into the villain's lair, knowing full well that it's a trap but also feeling it's their only chance to save their kidnapped friend.
  • In Battlefield 3, at one point Misfit 1-3 is detached to Haymaker company, and come to a stop in front of a fuel truck that's blocking the road, that's obviously a trap. Haymaker's CO decides to spring it, much to Misfit 1-3's dismay.
  • The Jar of Souls event in Diablo III has a response line from all of the player characters worthy of the Admiral himself, but the Witch Doctors suggest that they willingly spring the trap in order to free the souls contained in the jar from their torment.
  • In The Sacrifice campaign in Left 4 Dead, the survivors come across a wrecked train blocking their path and the only way through is to open the car door and open the other door on the other side. The car contains a Tank and the survivors can clearly hear it grunting and roaring inside, but they know they have to free it in order to move on and releasing the Tank also summons a horde of zombies on you. Don't think you can try to outrun the Tank and then open the other door to escape. The dev team is onto you.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, the party suspects that Gestahl's peace is a trap, but goes along with it anyway presumably precisely because they don't trust the Empire. It would have better if they'd just ignored the Espers and kept fighting the Empire. They might have been able to kill the Emperor and Kefka before they'd gotten that far in their plan. Alternatively they could have tried looking into the Espers on their own. Either way working with the Empire, even while assuming they'd be betrayed in the end and preparing for it, ended up being the worse possible course of action.
  • In Tears to Tiara 2, everyone can see that the attack on Tamar is an attempt by Izebel to lure the main Hispanic forces out of the heavily fortified city of Tartetos for battle. As the undefended village is where the families of many of the party members live, they sally forth anyway.
  • In Bravely Default, around Chapter 6 your party starts to suspect Airy the Fairy of being evil, but play along with the plan so they can kill the main villain as opposed to sealing them away.
  • This is how the final fight in the True Pacifist route in Undertale takes shape. While you and the bosses all make friends after Toriel stops your fight with Asgore, Flowey takes the human souls Asgore had collected, and also takes the bosses hostage. When all the other friends you made come to help, he takes all their souls too, and transforms into Asriel Dreemurr.
  • Towards the end of Fairy Fencer F, Paiga leads the party into a trap, claiming that where they're going has something that the party can use to bring down the big bad company Dorfa. There's nothing there, but Fang doesn't care much anyway. He knew there was a good chance it was probably a trap and so he's made sure the party is ready.
  • In one of the last Russian Mafia missions in Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, the player is assigned to help Josef, the Mafia leader's assistant, with a negotiation. The player character says "You do realize this is a trap, right?" and Josef responds with the page quote. Sure enough, Sergei (said leader) is trying to tie up loose ends by killing his overly-ambitious assistant and the mercenary before either of them can become a danger to him. This leads to Josef deposing Sergei and hiring the merc to kill him.
  • Deconstructed in Spec Ops: The Line, showing the repercussions such a mindset would bring. In a period of downtime after discovering that the 33rd Infantry has gone rogue, Captain Walker has the option to radio for evac to complete the original recon mission he entered sandstorm-ruined Dubai for. Instead, he leads his Delta Force unit further into the city, in order to contact the CIA and thereby find his personal hero, Colonel John Konrad. Delta team picks up a broadcast of Agent Daniels being tortured and, because they're able to trace the signal's origin, conclude that the broadcast must be a trap. Walker decides to lead Delta into the trap anyway; this decision is followed shortly thereafter by Walker literally falling off of a skyscraper, symbolizing his eventual downfall. The team can't safely leave Dubai beyond this point, triggering all of the negative consequences of the rest of the game.
    Lt. Adams: You know this is a trap.
    Cpt. Walker: Absolutely. But the whole city's gone crazy. Daniels might be our only hope of sortin' this mess out.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "Morituri Te Salutamus", Finn and Jake stumble across an arena where they meet a creepy looking zombie known as the "Fight King" who promises them glory if they step through the arena's seal. They immediately realize it's a trap and start walking away, commenting on how if they did step through, they'd probably be sealed inside and forced to fight gladiator ghosts for the Fight King's amusement...and they think this is "flipping AWESOME" and thus they run back in.
  • Beast Wars: During one season 3 episode, when the Predacons pull off another assault on the Maximal base, they blow open the front door, and Megatron lets Quickstrike lead the way. Inferno asks why he wasn't sent in instead.
    Megatron: Because, Inferno, when expecting booby traps...
    [Quickstrike gets flattened on a booby trap]
    Megatron: ...always send the boob in first.
  • In one episode of Code Monkeys, Mr. Larrity leads the other characters on a rescue mission to save Benny, who's been captured by their Japanese rival Protendo (in revenge for Larrity having caused the head of Protendo's brother to have committed seppuku); over the course of the episode, the other employees get separated from him and he has to enter a room in Protendo HQ marked "NOT A TRAP"; he easily beats the trap and rushes to the roof for the final showdown.
  • DCAU:
  • Gargoyles: In the episode "Long Way to Morning", Demona poisons Elisa and taunts her with the antidote, but Elisa's badge blocked the poison dart so she's actually fine. Goliath and Hudson chase after the antidote anyway, knowing full well it's a trap, because if they don't it will tip Demona off that her plan failed, and she'll come after Elisa again.
  • Kim Possible: In one episode, Shego leaves a blatantly obvious clue that she stole the MacGuffin. Ron figures that it's a trap... but it's such an obvious trap that Drakken won't expect them to fall for it, so the thing to do is surprise him by falling for it anyway. That turned out to be just what Drakken was expecting.
  • Looney Tunes — Elmer Fudd, become a Mad Scientist in one cartoon, set a rabbit box trap for Bugs Bunny. Bugs notes that he had never actually seen one in real life but recognized it from what his grandfather described to him. He decided to go along with it merely because he concluded Elmer must have gone through a lot of trouble to set it up.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons:
    • The plot of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Sonic Breakout" is based around Robotnik imprisoning a cartoonist who drew a less-than-flattering strip of the Eggman. In order to break into the prison and save him, Sonic willingly lets himself get captured by Scratch and Grounder... but not before putting them through the usual hijinx.
    • In the episode, "Zoobotnik" from the same series, Robotnik teams up with Katella the Intergalactic Huntress, who has captured everyone on Mobius, in order to catch Sonic. They lure him using an obvious doll of Tails, whom Katella captured earlier. Even though Sonic knows it's a trap (he even informs the viewers of it)), he willingly falls for it in the hope of finding Tails.
    • In Sonic Underground, in the episode, "Wedding Bell Blues," the hedgehogs know Robotnik's wedding to Queen Aleena is a trap, but fall into it anyway on the off-chance Aleena is actually there.
    • In another episode of the same series, in a call back to a Sonic SatAM plot, Robotnik challenges Sonic to a race. Sonia and Manic, figuring Sonic couldn't resist, show up to try and rescue him... except he knew it was a trap and didn't show, and they have to be rescued.
  • Played straight with a bit of humor in The Spectacular Spider-Man, in which the Green Goblin invites his two greatest enemies, Spider-Man and Tombstone, to come alone to an incredibly dangerous abandoned foundry - which both of them quickly peg as a trap but which he baits with incriminating evidence on Tombstone, which neither of them can afford to ignore. Nobody is fooled, and not even the Goblin takes it seriously, as he reveals that he never had incriminating evidence in the first place:
    "Yes yes, I'm a big fat liar. Like we didn't all know this was a trap."
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "The Siege of Lothal": Played With. The rebels are contacted by Minister Tua, who wants to defect, and promises them secret intel if they help her escape. They don't trust her, believing it to be a trap, but accept the risk anyways because it could get them more allies. It turns out it was a trap, all right, but not the obvious one: it was set for her, not by her, in an attempt to ensnare both parties.
    • "Hera's Heroes": Hera and Ezra are captured by Imperials during an attempt to retrieve a family heirloom from the Syndulla home. The rebels are contacted and told that if Hera's father Cham gives himself up, Hera and Ezra will be released. Everyone realizes that this is a trap, but Cham sees his daughter's life as worth the sacrifice and trusts the Ghost crew to work the situation to get her out. Fortunately, Hera's already formulated her own escape plan.
    • "Iron Squadron": After Commander Sato's stubborn nephew Mart is left stranded in orbit above Mykapo in his disabled ship as the rebels are forced to leave, they promise to come back. When they do, it's obvious to them all that Admiral Konstantine has set a trap involving planting a mine on Mart's ship and letting him transmit a partial distress signal. Ezra points out that knowing it's a trap makes them more prepared.
  • Happens in the animated X-Men series in the season 2 finale, when Sinister brainwashes a captive Professor X to order the X-men to come meet him. Since Xavier is blatantly being mind controlled in his message and unknown to Sinister they've already found out Sinister has him it's an obvious trap. But since they've been trying to find Xavier all season they've got no choice but to go and hope they can save him.


Alternative Title(s): Deliberately Triggering The Trap

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TrapIsTheOnlyOption