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Escort Gambit (formerly Escort Distraction)

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Person A takes Person B to any location, so Person C can do their own plans without Person B knowing

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Arend on Jul 11th 2018 at 8:48:38 AM
Last Edited By:
Arend on yesterday
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

May need more examples. Has a crowner page for alternate titles. Details down below at 43th comment.


An Escort Gambit is a type of Room Shuffle that involves one character inviting another to go out of town as a ploy for a third character to set their own plans in motion in the absence of the other character, for whatever reason. Perhaps that third character wanted to do a Zany Scheme that the other one doesn't approve of, such as playing matchmaker with a crush, or something against the law, or anything really if that character is a stick in the mud that doesn't approve of anything zany. Perhaps the third character is actually setting up a Surprise Party for the other character, or is setting up anything to surprise Bob with.

Whatever the case is, the goal is for the first character to distract the second one by escorting them to any place they like, and keep them away from the third character's scheme as long as possible.

Of course, while the Escort Gambit can be a pretty serious ploy in certain cases, when it's a zany scheme in itself, expect a variety of potential things that can go wrong to pop up. Perhaps the third character has to go out of town because he forgot something crucial for his plan to work. Perhaps the second character forgot to bring his wallet and has to go back home. Perhaps the third character reveals later that he needs a little more time for his scheme to finish. Whatever the case is, the other character comes incredibly close to finding out about the third character's plans, and the first character has to distract or stall the second one before it's too late.

It is possible that neither escorter nor escortee are aware of what the third character is planning, meaning that the escorter has no idea he was meant as a distraction for the escortee until later. It is also possible for the audience to be unaware of that an Escort Gambit is in play until it is revealed so in the end.

Compare and contrast Go Look at the Distraction, in which a character gets sent away without an escort.

This is not about a gambit using that kind of "escort", Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter!


Examples:

Comic Books
  • In the opening of Identity Crisis, Sue Dibney sends Ralph off on patrol with Firehawk so that she can wrap up his anniversary present without him seeing.

Film -- Animated

  • My Little Pony: The Movie: A slight variation occurs when Twilight, believing friendship won't save the day this time, tasks her friends with taking Queen Novo out and showing her "the best time ever" so she can steal her pearl without either party knowing. Ironically, the gang's friendly actions were about to convince the Queen to help them save Equestria until she caught Twilight in the act.

Literature

  • Sherlock Holmes: In "The Retired Colorman", Holmes takes on a retired painter's case, who wants to know where his wife has gone. A telegram comes from a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, so Holmes dispatches Watson and the painter there. However, when they arrive it turns out the message was faked, forcing them to stay the night before returning to London. At the denouement it turns out Holmes was the one who sent the telegram, so as to ensure the painter wouldn't be at home for a full day, allowing Holmes to discover the painter had murdered his wife and her lover by locking them inside a gas chamber.

Live-Action TV

  • The Big Bang Theory: In "The Peanut Reaction", Howard has to take Leonard out so the others can plan a birthday party for him. To do this, Howard fakes an allergic reaction so they have to go to the hospital, and when he can't hold Leonard away any longer, he incurs an actual allergic reaction by eating a candy bar with peanuts.

Western Animation

  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: When her friends learn that Twilight doesn't like living at her castle because she misses the treehouse, they decide to spend a day decorating it so she can be happy. Spike gets the job of taking Twilight around Ponyville while the others work.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "Dude, We're Getting The Band Back Together" has Phineas and Ferb attempt to recreate the First Kiss between Linda and Lawrence at a Love Handel concert. To do this they have to get the band to reunite, so as they're running around Danville and the Fireside Girls are building the stage, Candace is taking her mother around town to keep her distracted. Hilarity Ensues when they both end up at a hair salon owned by a former band member.

Feedback: 44 replies

Jul 11th 2018 at 9:11:28 AM

Sword Art Online Abridged: Heathcliff sends the recently-married Kirito and Asuna off to an isolated floor while he's conducting negotiations with the King of Ashes for safe passage to the final boss, out of fear that Kirito will pull an Ass In Ambassador and rekindle hostilities, a sentiment Asuna agrees with (he tells them to think of it as a honeymoon). It's all for naught anyway, as Kirito manages to piss off the King offscreen.

Kirito: Ohhh, I see, so you need me at the table, cracking jokes and breaking the ice. I gotcha.
Heathcliff: Ha Ha Ha No!! God no! I need to hide you under the biggest rock I can find!
Kirito: Excuse me?
Heathcliff: Hmm, how do I put this delicately... [smacks lips] Ah. I'm afraid you'll piss someone off and kill thousands.
Asuna: Yeah, I could see that.
Kirito: Asuna?!
Asuna: I'm sorry, honey. If it means avoiding the deaths of innocent players, I think the least you can do is sit this one out.
Heathcliff: I'm also going to need you to stay behind and guard him, Asuna.
Asuna: Oh, screw that noise! I'm coming too!

Jul 11th 2018 at 9:35:09 AM

Films -- Animated

  • My Little Pony: The Movie]]: A slight variation occurs when Twilight, believing friendship won't save the day this time, tasks her friends with taking Queen Novo out and showing her "the best time ever" so she can steal her pearl without either party knowing. Ironically, the gang's friendly actions were about to convince the Queen to help them save Equestria until she caught Twilight in the act.

Jul 11th 2018 at 10:25:20 AM

Another My Little Pony one.

  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: When her friends learn that Twilight doesn't like living at her castle because she misses the treehouse, they decide to spend a day decorating it so she can be happy. Spike gets the job of taking Twilight around Ponyville while the others work.

Also

  • Phineas And Ferb: "Dude, We're Getting The Band Back Together" has Phineas and Ferb attempt to recreate the First Kiss between Linda and Lawrence at a Love Handel concert. To do this they have to get the band to reunite, so as they're running around Danville and the Fireside Girls are building the stage, Candace is taking her mother around town to keep her distracted. Hilarity Ensues when they both end up at a hair salon owned by a former band member.

Jul 11th 2018 at 1:52:30 PM

The Big Bang Theory: In "The Peanut Reaction", Howard has to take Leonard out so the others can plan a birthday party for him. To do this, Howard fakes an allergic reaction so they have to go to the hospital, and when he can't hold Leonard away any longer, he incurs an actual allergic reaction by eating a candy bar with peanuts.

Jul 11th 2018 at 3:05:13 PM

If you're planning on keeping the title "Escort Distraction" then this draft will end up indexed on Its Not Porn Its An Index. (Not that kind of "escort", Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter!)

Jul 11th 2018 at 5:42:04 PM

In Cure the Texas Fever by JT Edson, Waxahachie Smith is offered a pardon if he agrees to escort a brilliant young vet who is close to a cure to Texas. At the end of the novel it is revealed that Wax's escort mission was decoy to draw the fire of those who want the Texas cattle industry to fail, while the real vet travelled anonymously and alone.

Jul 11th 2018 at 5:58:09 PM

@4tell0life4: I'm honestly not sure that trope is comparable to Escort Distraction, since Leave Him To Me is when a villain declares to his minions to, well, leave The Hero to him. It doesn't necessarily have to be a distraction from the hero and his companions at all.

Jul 11th 2018 at 6:51:36 PM

^^ Nobody wants to get to the place the person is escorted away from. Sounds closer to Body Double.

Jul 11th 2018 at 7:01:24 PM

Comic Books

  • In the opening of Identity Crisis, Sue Dibney sends Ralph off on patrol with Firehawk so that she can wrap up his anniversary present without him seeing.

Jul 11th 2018 at 8:17:54 PM

Leave Him To Me does say:

At times, it's the Hero who's determined to be one to take down the villain. This is often because the villain had hurt someone very close to him. The hero wants to make the villain know why he is dying."

The "someone very close to the hero" is the "person C" that the hero tries to protect by "escorting" (well, fighting) the villain.

Jul 12th 2018 at 2:44:17 AM

I still feel like it's not really comparable, as that is just a variation of the Leave Him To Me trope, which also just so happens to be a variation on Esctort Distraction. Note how it begins with "at times". That means it doesn't always have to happen in a Leave Him To Me scenario.

I feel like a trope is best comparable to another when its most laconic form is also comparable to that other trope. Same with contrast.

Jul 12th 2018 at 5:14:52 PM

By the way, I think we're refraining from Alice And Bob-styled descriptions?

Jul 13th 2018 at 5:04:06 AM

Not sure. Couldn't find anything about that in the TLP Guidelines.

Jul 14th 2018 at 6:25:37 AM

I rewrote a little of the thesis so it doesn't include the Alice And Bob scenario. Not sure I did an extremely good job, but I think it's alright.

Jul 15th 2018 at 5:21:34 PM

This TLP has almost enough hats to be launch-worthy, but I still think we're a little low on befitting examples, hence why I appended the draft with a link to Needs More Examples.

I also decided to remove the Cure of the Texas Fever example from the draft.

Jul 15th 2018 at 7:40:43 PM

Literature:

  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Red-Headed League", the pawnshop owner Jabez Wilson answers a job ad and gets a position doing nominal clerical work for a lucrative salary. When the company offering that job suddenly disappears, Wilson goes to Sherlock Holmes find out what happened. The whole thing was a ruse to keep Wilson out of his pawn shop for a few hours each day. While he was away, a pair of bank robbers dug a tunnel from his shop into the bank vault next door.

Jul 16th 2018 at 3:32:47 PM

  • In the Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex Pu239, Kazundo Ghoda tasks Section 9 with escorting a case of plutonium through a refugee zone, acting as security in case the refugees try to get their hands on it. At the end of the episode, Ghoda reveals that there was no plutonium inside the case, and the Japanese Self-Defense Army relocated the actual plutonium without incident.

Jul 16th 2018 at 6:19:24 PM

^ & ^^ I don't feel like these are the examples I'm looking for.

In the Sherlock Holmes example, Jabez isn't being escorted to his new job by someone, he's being lured there and travels to it alone. If someone does repeatedly take him to his job, then the example isn't being clear about that.

The Ghost in the Shell example is similar to the Cure of the Texas Fever example that I have removed from the draft, in which a person is being tasked to escort someone (or in this case something) through a location, but are unknowingly a distraction for raiders they might encounter on the way, while the actual one/thing is escorted safely via a detour. I feel like that's a different trope entirely.

In examples that I'm looking for, the one that is tasked to escort the person should know that they're a distraction for the person they're escorting, not the other way around.

Jul 16th 2018 at 7:15:01 PM

By your own logic:

Person A = Kazundo Ghoda, directly accompanies person B - Section 9, to a location so Person C - the actual army, can do their mission without person B - Section 9, knowing.

After Section 9 finds out that they were being used the whole time, Ghoda even asks them an Armor Peircing Question that eventually makes Section 9 reevaluate who they are as an organization.

There is a trope here, but from what I gather from your initial draft, you're trying to make the criteria too specific, especially with the Zany Scheme trope thrown about like that. You're (almost) making it sound this trope can't exist without some form of mischief or humor being the end result.

Jul 16th 2018 at 7:51:05 PM

While it does sound like I'm putting zaniness in the front for this trope, I don't want to exclude more dramatic and serious examples either. I just don't want the examples straying away too much from the core (being afraid it would turn into a Square Peg Round Trope situation), and your example made it initially sound that Person A is Section 9, Person B is the (empty) case and Person C is Kazundo Ghoda and the army, to me at least. Nowhere in your example could I gather that Ghoda actually accompanied Section 9 during the escort.

Jul 17th 2018 at 12:15:02 AM

If I understand the example correctly, I'd come to the conclusion that DRCEQ definitely misses the idea of this trope. In this draft, as defined, Person B has to be a person, not a thing (like the empty case). Said example does mention the escort of the empty case as a distraction so that the Person C can secure the real thing. (I've seen a case like this in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, I wonder if we have a trope like this...)

Tl;dr the trope's name confuses him.

Jul 17th 2018 at 3:43:07 AM

^ It's true, the name did confuse me, which is a reason to clarify the name itself better.

Jul 17th 2018 at 5:32:30 AM

Hm, I thought the name was clear enough, especially in conjunction with the laconic. But I can understand how one can confuse this trope for something else.

Does this mean that I need to pick a better trope name? I actually like the simplicity and conciseness of the current one and am not sure if I could come up with something better.

I could try to explain the trope name a little better in the draft, at least.

Jul 17th 2018 at 8:18:14 AM

"Distracting by Escorting"?

Jul 17th 2018 at 8:29:53 AM

This seems more like a... "Distraction Gambit".

Looking at The Big Bang Theory example, it seems that person A must act as a distraction for person C to carry out a goal without person B finding out. I remember that episode and it gives me an idea of what you're going for.

Perhaps look into the Gambit Tropes to see if this could be worked into one.

Jul 17th 2018 at 9:39:58 AM

Adding Gambit to the trope name could work to make it more clear. Although calling it a Distraction Gambit would be confusing since any variant of We Need A Distraction could apply as a Distraction Gambit. It could alternatively be called Escort Distraction Gambit, or simply Escort Gambit, or even Escort Away Gambit. What do you think?

As far as I'm aware of, this trope isn't in the Gambit Index yet, either, so I think it could be worked into one.

Jul 17th 2018 at 11:07:18 AM

Of the names you mentioned, Escort Gambit sounds best to me.

Jul 17th 2018 at 3:09:49 PM

Escort Gambit sounds great!

Jul 17th 2018 at 7:43:30 PM

No, Escort Gambit may still be confused with DRCEQ's example.

Jul 18th 2018 at 4:15:53 AM

Hm, then what would you suggest?

Jul 18th 2018 at 11:20:39 PM

I suggest to take out the Zany Scheme in the laconic.

And for the title... no idea. Can't put it concisely...

Jul 19th 2018 at 12:23:22 AM

Yeah. All I can think of are things like "Escorting Someone As Distraction" which is clear but wordy. Of course, being clear comes first, so I guess this is an option.

Perhaps a synonym of escort if that's the word throwing people off? Chaperone Gambit?

Jul 19th 2018 at 2:00:23 AM

^ if all else fails, "Escorting Someone as Distraction" could work.

Jul 19th 2018 at 2:23:05 AM

Yeah, it's wordy, but it's clear at the very least.

Don't really like Chaperone Gambit, though. From what I can tell from most definitions of "chaperone", it implies the escorter should be an older person and the escortee a younger one, especially if either (or both) of them are female.

Jul 19th 2018 at 3:54:37 AM

Sherlock Holmes: In "The Retired Colorman", Holmes takes on a retired painter's case, who wants to know where his wife has gone. A telegram comes from a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, so Holmes dispatches Watson and the painter there. However, when they arrive it turns out the message was faked, forcing them to stay the night before returning to London. At the denouement it turns out Holmes was the one who sent the telegram, so as to ensure the painter wouldn't be at home for a full day, allowing Holmes to discover the painter had murdered his wife and her lover by locking them inside a gas chamber.

Jul 19th 2018 at 9:45:32 AM

^^ Yeah, was just the best synonym I could find, which tells you how good the options are.

yesterday

Considering the trope requires two characters toleave a place, it would definitely count as a variation of a Room Shuffle.

yesterday

Okay, there's two things at hand here:

First, we need to determine how many more examples we need before we launch this trope. As of this comment, the current amount of examples in the draft is 6.

Second is which trope name we should use. For convenience sake, I made a crowner page, in which you can vote for some of the names, and even add your own suggestions.

yesterday

^ 10 is a good minimum.

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