You Shall Not Pass

Horatius suggesting to the Etruscans that bridge-crossing and Rome-sacking isn't happening.

"You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udűn. Go back to the Shadow! YOU! SHALL NOT! PASS!"

Things are looking real bad for Our Heroes; an endless army of monsters is hot on their heels, with the Hero Killer leading the charge. Death is certain, then one character (sometimes two) falls behind and insists that the others go on. In order to allow the other heroes to escape/reach their destination/Bring News Back, this character single-handedly holds back the enemy horde, often losing their life in the process.

Just as often they get a Disney Death and are resurrected through Applied Phlebotinum / Functional Magic or they show up much later, having miraculously survived when No One Could Survive That. If shown on-screen, it could be used to improve the odds, thanks to the Law of Conservation of Ninjutsu. In cases where the person does succeed and stops the enemy forces and survive then they qualify as a One-Man Army.

In extreme cases, where they must Bring News Back, one character is sent on and everyone else stays to give him time to escape.

May overlap with Last Stand, where the characters want to make the opposing forces pay. On the other hand, in Last Stand, if they can maximize their damage by a suicidal action, they will do so; in You Shall Not Pass, the characters try to maximize the time even if they inflict fewer casualties that way. (When the aims don't conflict, a character can do both.)

Characters likely to do this involve The Obi-Wan so they can have an Obi-Wan Moment or The Big Guy because they can make maximize the move's effect. If the character is wounded, they may say I Will Only Slow You Down and Go On Without Me. This may allow an exception to the rule No One Gets Left Behind, but often, the other characters are driven on only when it is impossible to return, or the character is dead.

The character, if Not Quite Dead, may suffer a Face-Heel Turn on recovery and turn on his companions for abandoning him. Logic and facts about the impossibility of their saving him seldom make an impression, the character having been deranged by his suffering. Worse, he may face Reforged into a Minion.

The phrase was originally used in World War I by the French at Verdun: "On ne passe pas!" (Although, technically, that's "None shall pass!" but who's keeping track?) Later used during the Spanish Civil War: "ˇNo pasarán!" (In this case, "They won't pass!") In response to which General Franco later said "Hemos pasado," meaning "We have passed." The Spanish phrase became an international anti-fascist slogan. Hey, don't refuse free education!

Tip-offs when the character is wounded, and stays behind to allow others to escape, include:

This is a specific kind of Heroic Sacrifice.

See Self-Destructive Charge, which is a similar situation but from the view of the one not allowed to pass.

Frequently a Crowning Moment of Awesome (especially Dying Moment of Awesome.) Contrast with The Rest Shall Pass. If enough of the cast get in on this, it results in a Dwindling Party. See also Stand Your Ground.


Alternative Title(s):

None Shall Pass