Playing With / Unspoken Plan Guarantee

Basic Trope: The plans the audience knows the least about are the most likely to work.
  • Straight:
    • Alice starts to explain her plan to Bob, the show cuts to the commercial break, and when it comes back we see the plan put into action and succeeding.
    • Alice doesn't tell Bob (or the audience) her plan. It ends up succeeding.
    • We hear Alice give Bob the details about her plan, and see it fail miserably.
  • Exaggerated: The audience isn't even told there is a plan until after it's already succeeded.
  • Downplayed: We hear some details of Alice's plan (but not all) and it still works more-or-less as planned.
  • Justified:
    • The hero doesn't tell his allies the details of his plan because he knows the villain has him under surveillance and will be able to stop him if he knows what he's going to do.
    • The heroes are mostly winging it.
    • The hero doesn't tell his allies what the plan is because it involves doing something that they think is wrong, and therefore won't go along with it if they know about it beforehand.
    • The hero doesn't have time to explain his plan before setting it in motion.
    • The hero is on his own and has nobody to share his plan with.
    • Someone on the team is The Mole; for obvious reasons, the hero doesn't want to share crucial information in front of said mole.
  • Inverted:
    • The plans we hear nothing about fail spectacularly.
    • The author spends half a chapter on the details of what the plan will involve, but only a paragraph on the successful execution of it.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice starts explaining her plan to Bob before the commercial break, when we come back it's being carried out, only for it to go wrong halfway through.
    • Alice explains her plan in full detail to Bob and the audience, and it goes off as she planned without a hitch.
  • Double Subverted: But it turns out that failure was part of Alice's plan all along as it lures the villain into a false sense of security.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig Zagged:
    • There are unexpected complications which cause parts of the plan to fail and make improvisation necessary, but in the end everything works out mostly as explained beforehand.
    • Alice tells Bob (and, by extension, the audience) her plan, and it seems to go smoothly...until General Evulz reveals that he heard their plan and set up a trap to catch them. Then Alice reveals that she knew Evulz was listening and the plan she just explained to Bob was a distraction; she kept her real plan secret, and it works perfectly.
  • Averted:
    • We hear all the details of what the plan will involve, and see all details of it playing out successfully.
    • No plans are made.
  • Enforced: The author doesn't want to spoil the audience by revealing what's going to happen before it happens.
  • Lampshaded: "If anyone else had known what you were up to, there's no way that plan would have worked."
  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: The Big Bad tricks Alice into saying the plan to an empty room, while the camera watches. Come the next day, when Alice tries executing the plan, only for it to fail.
  • Defied:
  • Discussed: "So you're telling me that you think your plan will fail if you tell me what I'm supposed to do before I actually need to do it?"
  • Conversed: "It would be nice to actually hear the heroes planning instead of having them do it during the ads all the time."
  • Deconstructed: Alice, Insufferable Genius that she is, leaves during the (on-screen) meeting with Bob and the rest of her allies while they're discussing strategy because she has a plan and believes these guys will only mess it up. It turns out that their plan was sound after all and her plans tangle with theirs, bringing victory at a terrible price that everyone could've avoided if Alice had known what the other characters (and audience) already knew.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: Whenever the heroes plan, it's shown from the same series of camera angles each time, and the plan fails each time. Eventually, Alice points out that the Big Bad is countering things he can't possibly have predicted ahead of time. When we then get a reveal of the room from a new angle, we see all the old camera angles were from the various bugs and cameras the BigBad had placed in the room, and that he learnt about the hero's plans the same way we did. Cue the final shot of he big bad staring at the scene on his monitor as Alice and Bob discuss.

Back to Unspoken Plan Guarantee
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