Playing With / Please Shoot the Messenger

Basic Trope: A sealed message includes instructions to kill the person who brought it.
  • Straight: Alexi delivers a letter to Bjorn, who reads it over twice, looks up at Alexi poker-faced as she waits for his reply, and shoots her.
  • Exaggerated: After reading the letter, Bjorn sends Hired Guns after every employee of Alexi's courier business to rub out the trail.
  • Downplayed: The letter instructs Bjorn that while they prefer that he didn't he still has permission to drain Alexi if necessary to prepare for a threat that could kill billions.
  • Justified:
    • Alexi and Bjorn work for rival gangs. Alexi's boss Carlos knew there was a danger of the messenger getting killed anyway, so he sent someone he wanted dead.
    • The letter contains sensitive information which is too important to risk Alexi knowing about lest she fall into enemy hands and have the secret extracted by torture. The killing is deemed an unfortunate but necessary precaution.
  • Inverted:
    • "It says you're here to kill me." "Seemed polite to warn you." *BLAM*
    • "P.S. I've poisoned Alexi without her knowing, as I suspect she might be misdirecting my messages. Please give her this antidote should she deliver this letter in a timely fashion."
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: As she walks out, Bjorn mutters to The Dragon "See she meets with an... accident."
  • Parodied:
    • Mercury Couriers demand a Messenger Execution Deposit up front.
    • The letter ends "P.S., shoot the woman who delivers this", and Bjorn immediately does so. Then he reads further; "P.P.S., change of plan, that woman's been taken care of. This one's my niece, I think you two would really hit it off!"
  • Zig Zagged: Bjorn reads the letter, and pulls a gun. Alexi, suspecting betrayal, is too quick for him, and they end up in a Mexican Standoff. Alexi kills him and reads the note... but it specifically says "Kindly let my messenger leave unharmed to deliver your reply, old friend." When Alexi reports back to Carlos, he tells her that "old friend" has long been the Friendly Enemies' code phrase for "do the opposite of what I'm asking"...
  • Averted: There's nothing in the note about Alexi, and she returns with Bjorn's reply.
  • Enforced: The writers want to reinforce the bleak Anyone Can Die tone and Carlos' ruthlessness, so they give minor recurring messenger Alexi A Death in the Limelight.
  • Lampshaded:
    Alexi: You wouldn't shoot me... Carlos will kill you!
    Bjorn: [laughs] Carlos? [waves letter] Carlos just told me to.
  • Invoked: Alexi knows too much about something Carlos is doing, but she doesn't realize that. Carlos does, but he gets Bjorn to do it by Uriah Gambit in order to keep his hands clean.
  • Exploited:
    • This is used as a Secret Test of Character. "Alexi" is really a robot decoy that would detonate when shot.
    • Bjorn reads the letter, tells Alexi what's going on, and then uses the death threat as leverage to recruit him.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "Let me guess, it ends 'P.S., kill the messenger'?"
  • Conversed: "Wouldn't it make more sense to get somebody else to deliver that message?"
  • Implied: Alexi has recently pissed Carlos off, but doesn't think he knows about it. She's sent to deliver a letter to Bjorn, who the viewers know (but Alexi doesn't) is Carlos' wet work guy, and the last shot of the episode is her entering Bjorn's office and shutting the door behind her. Neither Alexi, nor the contents of that letter, are ever discussed again.
  • Deconstructed: Alexi is suspicious of Carlos' intentions and reads the letter before delivering it. After reading 'P.S. Please, kill the messenger' Alexi decides to bring the letter to Dave, Carlos' enemy.
  • Reconstructed: Dave takes the letter and Alexi is Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves.
  • Played For Laughs: Carlos requests in the letter that Alexi be killed in a very specific, over-the-top fashion.

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