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Badass in Distress

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A genuine badass looking genuinely distressed.
"This is my entire career in one scene: Look, she's helpless! No, she's kicking their asses!"

So, your mighty Action Hero is becoming just a bit too powerful and invincible. Sure, it's really cool to watch, but nobody likes a God-Mode Sue. What can you do to make them seem more human?

Why not do an episode where your badass finds themselves in the role usually reserved for a Damsel in Distress? Kidnap them, make them desperately ill or injured, or otherwise put them in a situation where they cannot single-handedly resolve the plot, and your audience can enjoy watching them wait for the kind of rescue they usually provide for the rest of the cast. See? Your other characters can get A Day in the Limelight, and fans of your hero will recognize that they're Not So Invincible After All...

There is one major drawback in using this trope, however. When your badass looks... bad, the audience may worry that the hero is losing their touch or the Action Girl is undergoing her long-dreaded descent from ass-kicking heroine to Faux Action Girl. Fortunately, most viewers will agree to forgive a brief lapse in badassery — anyone can have an off-day, and no one wins all the time. Beyond that, a Badass in Distress isn't your average helpless victim. If they haven't been quietly planting the seeds for their own escape this whole time, they're certainly waiting at the door, ready to leap out and kick some ass the instant it opens.

Additionally, it might also polish up the character's 'badass' credentials, as counter-productive as that might sound — the villains might have put the badass in distress either because they knew that they would be a threat to their plans if left be, or because they planned to use their badassery to further their own plans. The latter scenario tend to pop up when the bad guys needed some badass data, and it wouldn't make sense if they just kidnapped an easily captured wimp for that. And the more badass the hero is, the result of the plan would be greater, turning the hero's badass qualities against themselves.

In most cases the badass really can't get out of the situation without help, but occasionally their allies fail to save them despite their best efforts. When that happens (especially if the badass sees their friends in trouble), expect them to call up an extraordinary amount of Heroic Resolve, break free on their own, and save their would-be saviors. If the badass is a villain or even debatable antihero, there's generally no rescue attempt at all; instead of escaping, the character simply survives the execution and immediately murders everyone.

In other words, Tropes Are Tools, and this is a good one for adding depth and humanity to a potentially Invincible Hero. Done well, it makes viewers appreciate the hero's customary badassery all the more. Done badly, it may leave the audience wondering if they just caught the Distress Ball today. Done too often, the hero will start to lose the audience's sympathy, and their reputation as a mighty hero will seem exaggerated and undeserved. One way to avoid this is using the Worf Had the Flu trope, in which the plot provides a specific valid reason for why the hero was captured. Perhaps they were injured, ill, emotionally traumatized, or was defeated as a result of taking on overwhelming odds in an attempt to protect others. Or they might even have allowed themselves to be Captured on Purpose, either to protect their allies and give them time to escape, rescue a previously captured ally, try to persuade the more redeemable villains to do a Heel–Face Turn, or simply get close enough to the villains to catch them off-guard.

The Ineffectual Loner is often subject to this as a way of teaching An Aesop about working as a team and trusting The Power of Friendship. Having butted heads with their allies once too often and stormed off to work on their own, they usually fail spectacularly and have to be rescued, after which the Aesop has been taught and they can resume kicking ass. Compare Defiant Captive, for captives that may or may not be badass but still have the spirit to fight back.

"Badass In Distress" is a major genre of Fan Fiction, even — or perhaps especially — when the Badass is so Bad that it requires a lot of Applied Phlebotinum to keep them under wraps.


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  • Quaker Oats turned this into a sweepstakes called "Save the Cap'n" by putting Cap'n Crunch in trouble during a series of commercials, where he was captured by the Soggies. Over the course of the advertising campaign, viewers had to use clues provided by a hotline to identify which door and which key was needed, then send in an entry form with the correct answers to be eligible to win prizes. Meanwhile, the storyline was being shown in the commercials themselves, concluding with the Cap'n escaping in an epic battle. (Well, epic cartoonish battle.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • Casca is normally a pretty competent Action Girl. However she's made to be this during the Eclipse when she's captured and raped to insanity by Femto, AKA Griffith, her former commander while Guts is pinned down, relieved of one of his eyes, down an arm and Forced to Watch, making this a twofer case. Both end up being rescued by Skull Knight.
    • Guts himself has already been in these situations more than once. There's the Eclipse, as noted above, and then against the Baron of Koka and when Farnese has him captured, jailed and standing helpless in front of him. Both of those times, he gets rescued by Puck. Yes.
    • And of course, the ultimate example would be Griffith. He's rescued alright... just not by the right team at all.
  • In Black Lagoon, Revy spends the greater part of an episode knocked out (I think it took a large grenade) by the series' Implacable Ninja Maid. When she regained consciousness, a Moment of Awesome ensued.
  • Manji from Blade of the Immortal becomes one of these during the Prison Arc. It is up to Rin, probably the weakest character in the entire manga, to save him. (Though she did get help from others.)
  • Bleach: In the Fullbring Arc, the Badass in Distress was Ichigo. Yamamoto even says it's time for Soul Society to repay its debt to Ichigo and band together to save him.
  • Kallen Stadtfeld from Code Geass was captured at one point in the second season and her time in captivity was used for some Character Development. But once she got out of captivity... she killed Luciano Bradley and made it clear who the motherfucking Action Girl of the series is. Even when she was a prisoner she punched the fuck outta Suzaku while wearing a Pimped-Out Dress.
  • Meow from Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran may be a skilled fighter but she does get hit with the Distress Ball more than a few times, requiring Ran to come to her aid. Once Meow gets free, though, she joins Ran with beating up the bad guys.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, every member of Team Touden is a bona fide badass and they've all needed rescuing from the perils of the dungeon at some point. Such as when Marcille was caught by a Man-Eating Plant or when all of them, bar Senshi, where possessed by spirits.
    • There's also Shuro's Amazon Brigade party of retainers, most of who were killed or badly injured by Falin's chimera form.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Done three times to Goku. The first time, Gohan and Krillin had to saved him when he was being crushed to death by Great Ape Vegeta. The second time, Goku had falling ill to the heart virus and lost his Super Saiyan form. Android 19 pinned him and began to suck his energy, slowly killing him. All of Goku's friends rushed to save him, with Vegeta being the one to do it. Finally near the end of the Cell Games, Goku was getting his butt beat by a Cell Jr, he was exhausted from his battle with Cell and was doing worst than the human fighters. Yamcha and Tien had to protect him.
    • Vegeta gets this a few times himself. He was saved by Krillin and Gohan when Recoome was ready to kill him with his Eraser Gun. He wasn't happy for the rescue. Later in the Cell Games, Gohan lost the use of his arm protecting Vegeta from a fatal blast from Cell. And at the tail end of the Kid Buu fight, he was pinned down by Buu to keep Goku from throwing the Spirit Bomb. It was the combine effects of Fat Buu and Mr. Satan that saved him.
    • In the Buu Saga, Vegeta and Goku fought their way through Buu's body to rescue Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Erza in the Tower of Heaven arc.
    • The entire guild including such powerful guys as Makarov, Mirajane, and Gildarts, when they're sucked into Edolas and turned into an immobile magic source. Only the three Dragon Slayers (who were immune to the teleportation spell) and Lucy (who was protected by her spirits) managed to stay free. Gray and Erza were later freed halfway through the arc, but the rest of the guild spent the entire arc helpless.
    • During the same arc, Natsu and Wendy were captured by the king of Edolas and drained of their magic; having been unable to use it in Edolas, they couldn't use their powers to escape and had to be rescued by Lucy, Erza and Gray.
    • And now again during the Tartaros Arc. The entire guild minus Lucy is trapped as the Cube transforms into some kind of creature and starts digesting them
  • Flame of Recca's Mikagami Tokiya is at first noted as not only the smartest of the Hokage, he's also the cruelest and most ruthless. However, he suffers two cases of being captured, first being defeated by Aoi and is used as a hostage to lower Recca's morale and stays unconscious until rescued, but he later makes it up by forcing Hiruko, who was on the same level of Aoi, into a draw. Then he gets hit AGAIN when Big Bad Wannabe Marie managed to drug him by luck and strap him into a contrapment, waiting for Domon and Recca to rescue him and rained with taunts and ridicule. Just so they make sure they didn't think of him decayed, he is pitted against his master Meguri Kyouza, who even on deathbed instills fear on both Aoi and Hiruko and could've beaten Kurei if it wasn't for the deathbed tidbits... and Mikagami outsmarts and comes out victorious against him.
  • In Hunter × Hunter during the Chimera Ant arc, Kite is kidnapped by Pitou—one of the Royal Guards. It's very quickly revealed to the audience that the former was killed during their battle and it was only a matter of time before Gon and Killua find out.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Sesshoumaru is one of the most powerful characters in the series, but he has been in mortal situations a few times requiring to be saved by his sword's barrier a couple of times and by his younger brother Inuyasha in others. One of the worst happens towards the end when Naraku sends Magatsuhi, the dark will of the Shikon no Tama, for the last shard of the Shikon Jewel, that is being protected by Sesshoumaru, taking advantage of his "weaponless" state. Magatsuhi immediately exploits Sesshoumaru's one-armed status and succeeds. Inuyasha rescues him but not before his remaining arm is ripped to shreds. That doesn't stop Magatsuhi, rendering Inuyasha's sword useless, stabbing Sesshoumaru through the chest, and capturing both. Not only does Sesshoumaru not die, but he comes back even stronger than before.
    • Inuyasha himself needs to rely on friends sometimes for help. It's part of his learning curve that, for him, he does need to have friends he can trust. It's also part of Sesshoumaru's learning curve that he has to learn his father's plan for him all along was to understand that it doesn't matter how powerful Inuyasha is, he's still a halfbreed and therefore needs his big brother's help from time to time. This lesson culminates in a Die or Fly test of character where Sesshoumaru promises Inuyasha he'll abandon both Tessaiga and Tenseiga if Inuyasha proves once and for all that Tessaiga belongs to him. Sesshoumaru finally gets the proof he needs causing Naraku to interfere and use his poison to ensure Inuyasha gets trapped unconscious in Sesshoumaru's meidou. Sesshoumaru dives into the meidou to save Inuyasha, voluntarily sacrifices his meidou power and entire sword so it can become Inuyasha's power, and then has to rely on Inuyasha to save them both in return.
    • Also in the Inuyasha series, Sango, a professional demon slayer, is rescued by Miroku on a few occasions. The most notable involves a fight between the two of them in which Miroku is nearly killed by her while freeing her from demon control. Later in the series, she returns the favor by destroying her own weapon to rescue him from demon attackers, resulting in a story arc to get it fixed.
  • Jotaro winds up in this position in Part 6 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure after White Snake steals both his Stand and memories.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Silcardo decides to take Miu as HIS new Disciple and as a result she got hit with the Distress Ball HARD. Not only that, but then she was Brainwashed and Crazy and pit against fighting Kenichi: Silcardo hoped to have Miu mentally broken via killing Kenichi, and thus complete a Face–Heel Turn. How does this end? In failure: Kenichi gets to Miu in the end, she returns to her senses, and they take on their enemies together. It wasn't a complete failure though as Silcardo brought up successful traces of a Blood Knight on her.
    • Happen to Shigure in the last arc.
  • Kimba the White Lion had some cases where Kimba needed to be rescued by either Roger Ranger or one of his subjects that he helped before.
  • Kouji Kabuto from Mazinger Z undoubtedly is a Hotblooded badass, an excellent Humongous Mecha pilot, a great sharpshooter and a competent fighter can take care of himself even when he is outside of his giant robot. However he often needed being rescued either because he had fallen into a trap or because the odds were brutally against him. It happened several times in Great Mazinger, UFO Robo Grendizer and Mazinkaiser, but it was specially glaring in UFO Robo Grendizer, where he was demoted from The Leader to The Lancer, and instead of a Humongous Mecha he piloted a support unit. However usually he was saved by a Big Damn Heroes moment from Sayaka, Boss, Tetsuya or Duke, so even when he was in danger, usually it ended up in a Moment of Awesome.
    • His adoptive brother, Tetsuya Tsurugi also found in that position at least once and he had to be saved by his father's Heroic Sacrifice. Duke Fleed also was captured sometimes.
    • Tetsuya goes for another in the original series' Distant Sequel Mazinger Z: Infinity where after an impressive display of One-Man Army battle against a massive horde of improved Battle Beasts while being forbidden to use one of his most destructive tools out of concern of civilian casualities, Tetsuya finally went down and found himself and his Great Mazinger grafted into the titular Mazinger Infinity which was stolen by Dr. Hell and had his battle data copied to Infinity to empower it. It took the majority of the movie for Kouji and his now grown-up little brother Shiro, who used to be powerless and more likely to be rescued by Tetsuya himself or Kouji back in the days, to bail him out and even after rescue, Tetsuya launched one Thunder Break (along with Shiro) against Dr. Hell for good measure.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • In the movie My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, criminals take control of the I-Island security system and use it to incapacitate All Might and numerous other pro heroes, who are then unable to even try to free themselves for fear of what the villains will do to the civilian hostages nearby. As a result, much of the plot revolves around Izuku and his friends (who avoided getting taken hostage by being late to the party) trying to re-take the security room so that the pros can fight back. Additionally, it forces All Might to stay in his muscle form the entire time to keep his waning power a secret from the public. As a result, at the end of the movie he isn't able to take on the Big Bad at full strength.
    • The Hideout Raid Arc (which chronologically takes place after the movie) is based around the need to rescue Katsuki Bakugo, who was abducted by villains at the end of the previous story arc. Bakugo is blessed with the ability to create explosions from his hands and incredible combat instincts, but is restrained and constantly surrounded by experienced villains so he never has the opportunity to free himself before the heroes arrive.
    • Happens twice to poor Aizawa aka Eraser Head. The first time is in Season 1 during the attack on the USJ. To be fair, he manages to hold his own for a fairly long time but ultimately gets overpowered by Nomu. The second time is during the raid on the Shie Hassakai base. This time Aizawa gets taken out of the fight pretty quickly via a villain's ability to, essentially, put people in slow motion. This seems to be the author's favored way of getting Aizawa out of the fight so he doesn't one-shot everyone and also show just how dangerous a villain is.
  • Naruto:
    • A couple times Naruto, while undeniably badass as the series wore on, would get himself in trouble and need the help of his friends to break him out and let him go Kyuubi.
    • The very first arc of Part II features Gaara, now the Kazekage, in a spectacular fight against Deidara which he arguably loses due to his need to protect the village of Suna. The rest of the arc, aptly named the "Kazekage Rescue Arc", is about Naruto and his team rescuing him.
  • Happens to all of the Children in Neon Genesis Evangelion, with the most glaring example being Rei in Rebuild.
  • In Ninja Scroll, Jubei is pinned down by Benisato's legion of poisonous snakes and is rescued by Kagero.
  • One Piece:
    • Portgas D. Ace, during the Impel Down and Whitebeard War arcs. It ends in tragedy, since he dies several minutes after being liberated by his brother Luffy. Can be seen as a Deconstructed Trope, as being a badass released from captivity is not a guarantee that you'll survive the experience in the end.
    • Nico Robin during Enies Lobby also qualifies; having previously established her badass credentials several times over. Her inner darkness catches up with her, and becomes a Deliberately Distressed Damsel until she regains the will to live.
      • Lampshaded after Fukurou reveals that Robin has Sea Prism Stone handcuffs on and is thus unable to use her powers, despite having resolved the personal issues that led her to surrender to CP9 for the Straw Hats' safety.
      Chopper: So that's why Robin has let you push her around, even though she's so strong! She must feel awful!
    • Trafalgar Law goes through this during the Dressrosa arc where he gets forced into a fight with a Warlord and an Admiral, then captured, interrogated, and chained with sea prism stone. Luffy manages to rescue him... but doesn't get the key for the sea prism handcuffs, which coupled with exhaustion means Law essentially gets carried all over the island until they finally get the key and he can participate again.
    • Following the events of Dressrosa, Sanji was taken captive by Capone Gang Bege, who is working for Big Mom. Who wants Sanji to marry one of her daughters in order to unite the Big Mom Pirates with the assassins of Sanji's family.
  • Subverted in Overlord (2012) where Ainz fakes his defeat against the demons attacking the Holy Kingdom. They actually work for him, and he later comes back to appear as a savior. It works to the point where one of the survivors against the demons starts a cult based on him.
  • The Yellow arc of Pokémon Adventures features Red captured by the Elite Four.
    • Mewtwo in Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns. He spends the first movie being a total badass villain, and never being defeated. He has a few badass moments in the sequel, where he fends off Team Rocket. Even when he's captured due to some Pokémon being held hostage, he never gives in, resisting the pain of the device being used at him nearly at the expense of his life. Naturally, Ash and co. are there to save him using the Phlebotinum of the week. What does he do after being rescued? He wipes the memory of at least 50 people simultaneously and moves part of a mountain, evacuates his Pokemon telekinetically to various places, and then produces hot air balloons to get the Rocket Trio and Ash and his friends to their destinations. He handles the whole thing with a fair amount of angst as per his character, but no pleading, no crying, and no caving in.
    • In the series proper, Team Rocket tries to target badasses most of the time, and sometimes they succeed (for Act I, at least). Pikachu in particular, badass enough to hold his own against nearly any opponent, frequently gets locked up in electricity-proof balls so the rest of the team has to save him. The instant he's not inhibited, he sends Team Rocket flying.
  • This happens to Kyoya Hibari from Reborn! (2004). He's pretty much one of the most badass characters in the entire series, and remained largely undefeated. Until the first serious arc with Rokudo Mukuro began. He goes over to fight Mukuro, only to be defeated (due to his weakness being exploited), and held captive. With some help from Tsuna and Gokudera, he manages to break out and wreak havoc. His badassness didn't decay any from it at all.
  • Moka got hit with this in Rosario + Vampire. That only applies to Inner Moka, whereas Outer Moka is a Damsel in Distress.
  • Genjo Sanzo from Saiyuki. Being the counterpart of Distressed Dude extraordinary from the original source, it is expected that he'll be kidnapped a lot. But instead of wailing for help or just being silent, he stays vigilant and badmouths his captors without even mentioning, "My followers will rescue me." When help does arrive, his response is... "I don't need your help anyway." And it's quite often that once he's freed, he'll either shoot or exorcise his captors dead, and his faith (as rude as it may be) unshaken.
  • Soul Eater
    • Death The Kid is this for a while, although now he is out of the Book of Eibon and is ready to start kicking ass again.
    • Also Maka Albarn, during the Envy and Sloth chapters of the same book.
  • Tenchi Muyo! has both Ryoko and Ayeka in the OAVs. When Kagato arrived, his first action was to make Ryoko go Brainwashed and Crazy and then take her hostage; Tenchi, Mihoshi, Ryo-ohki and Ayeka go to rescue her. Then, after he almost kills Tenchi and Ryoko gets free as a result, Kagato captures Ayeka and tries to brainwash her into revealing the Jurai Family secrets, but is refused at the last moment. Meanwhile, Mihoshi finds and releases another Badass in Distress... Washu, whom Kagato has kept prisioner in a Crystal Prison hidden inside a Pocket Dimension.
  • Asuna from Sword Art Online is put in this role in the Fairy Dance arc. Her then-fiance Sugou intercepted her and 300 other SAO players after the game was cleared and trapped them within ALO, and kept her in particular locked in a giant bird at the top of the World Tree. However, she manages to figure out the code to the lock on her cage, times her escape so that Sugou wouldn't notice her escaping and managed to make it to a terminal where she could log out before she got caught, and even after she got locked back in her cage, she still managed to grab the admin keycard at the terminal.
  • Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is The Ace, a big-ass Determinator, and Leeroy Jenkins in a mech. Problem is he can never win a fight on his own, and is constantly getting saved by Simon.
    • He'd have died in episode 1 if Simon hadn't dug up from below to save him. He's not The Ace at anything but talking big. Which ultimately makes him come off as MORE BADASS than The Ace ever does. He is, at least, competent in hand to hand fighting. The one time he goes into battle solo against anything tougher than basic Mooks he dies. And he STILL manages to cure the Heroic BSoD that his death inflicts on Simon with a story he conveniently told Yoko mere hours before his death.
      • Actually, Word Of God says he would have won that fight.
      • He was also taken by surprise by Thymilph after snapping Simon out of his Heroic BSoD. Thymilph burst out from under him and mortally wounded him. He still manages to be badass even when dying.
      • Word of God also says that he actually did die there for a second and essentially WILLED himself back to life.
  • Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu: One of Team Drive Head, Taiga, ends up in the spot of victim-of-the-week in one early episode, when he's trapped in a volcanic crater. He was doing rescue work at the time and had put himself in danger to ensure Gou's safety.
  • This happens a fair number of times in Yu-Gi-Oh! and its sequel series, usually as part of The Worf Effect.
    • If Kaiba counts (an Anti-Hero, probably, but still Badass) it happens to him in the first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! when his attempt to rescue Mokuba fails, requiring Yugi to bail him out.
    • And again during Legendary Heroes Arc, and again during the Virtual Nightmare Arc. (Clearly, Kaiba's constant refusal to accept help attributed to him getting in trouble each times. Fortunately, Mokuba had more sense in that regard.)
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Kaiser Ryo, one of the few opponents Judai could never truly defeat, was held hostage by Camilla and hos soul trapped in a doll for two episodes; he only lost because he surrendered to save Sho, but it still counts.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority: It happened to the entire team once.
  • Batman:
    • In Death of the Family, Batman gets captured by the Joker and tied up. He manages to free himself.
    • In Batgirl Year One, Commissioner James Gordon is kidnapped by Killer Moth's henchmen; Batgirl and Black Canary are captured by his kidnappers while attempting to release him.
  • During Dark Reign, Hawkeye (in costume as Ronin) did The Lancer's version of this, storming off on his own to assault the Dark Avengers and assassinate Norman Osborn. He failed and was held prisoner for a while until rescued.
  • The end of Empowered vol. 3 puts Ninjette firmly in this category. Six ninja ambush her in a park and tag her with a "sleeping poison"-laced blade. Four of them were dead or mortally wounded before she was blindsided with some Instant Sedation, and the only reason the last two were on their feet was a secret clan technique rendering them immune to pain (she thought they were solidly out of the fight, or at least too hurt to sneak up on her).
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992): Link ends up getting thrashed by a Wizzrobe, requiring Zora to rescue him.
  • Any heroes in Marvel Comics who got captured in the Skrull Invasion during the Secret Invasion storyline, including Elektra, Spider-Woman, or even the highly-dangerous Black Bolt. After rescue, they resume their life as superheroes, some of them are also bitter against any remaining Skrulls and should they cross their path again, they will kick butt.
  • Happens to Nightwing in his own title among other places. (Plus when he was Robin it was so frequent it became a case of Never Live It Down) One time Black Canary came to his rescue. Though he then had to rescue her.
  • The Star Wars: The Clone Wars comics have Anakin, Obi-Wan, Ahsoka and Captain Rex trying to infiltrate a slave ring and find a captured group of Togruta, Ahsoka's people. Anakin ends up forced into submission with five electro-whips and told by the queen that he'll be her servant. Obi-Wan and Rex are captured and sold to work in the mines. Ahsoka ends up in a cage in the palace, and the whole group is pretty banged up by the time they manage to escape.
  • Street Fighter Unlimited: The very first issue ends with a splash page of a Bound and Gagged Chun-Li, who has been captured by Vega.
  • Superman:
    • In Krypton No More, Superman, Supergirl and Krypto are defeated and thrown in a cell by an alien army of genocidal, planet-conquering warriors called the J'ai (though they managed to free themselves).
    • Many Happy Returns, Kara Zor-El is trapped and chained to a wall by Xenon, and Linda Danvers has to free her before Xenon murders her.
    • In Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade, Superman is captured and shackled by Lex Luthor. Supergirl -an alternate universe Supergirl- tries to rescue him but she's captured, too. They were freed by Comet.
    • In Death & the Family: Gangbuster breaks into Insect Queen's hive to rescue Supergirl, who was taken by surprise and imprisoned when the villainess launched her initial strike.
    • In Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, Supergirl was seized by the kryptonite-doped Joker when she was about to kill Luthor. The Joker nearly killed her due to the kryptonite pumped into his blood, but Batgirl showed up and diverted his attention. Then Supergirl wrenched herself from his grip and knocked him out.
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: After managing to leave Supergirl blind and stunned for long enough to chain her to a chair, Amalak holds her hostage to force Superman to back off. However, Superman warns Amalak his cousin cannot be restrained by mere chains...
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • The Ultimates:
      • Hulk is gaining the upper hand on Captain America, just in time for Thor to make his entrance.
      • Hawkeye manages to escape the blast of the Chitauri bomb at the office building, but now he's clinging from debris, with another soldier in his other hand, and four Chitauri about to shoot him. Black Widow made a super window jump, got the gun thrown from a helicopter above, and shot down the Chitauri, saving Hawkeye.
      • The Wasp, under medical care after Pym's wifebeating incident, did not join the Ultimates in Micronesia and stayed at the base. She was captured by the Chitauri when they made their move, so Black Widow had to rescue her when the team got back.
    • Ultimate FF: Sue can not defend herself from the alternate dimension cyclop monsters while she is giving birth, for obvious reasons. So everybody is out there to protect her.
    • Ultimate X-Men
      • Nick Fury was captured in India. SHIELD had to ask Weapon X to send their agents to rescue him.
      • Also in the flashback in Kuwait during the Gulf War. Wolverine took Fury back to the base instead of killing him or leaving him to be killed by the arabs.
  • In Underworld Unleashed, the collective heroes believe Superman had been captured by Neron so he could obtain his soul. Turns out Supes wasn't even on the planet — he was completely off-world in a different storyline. (Neron was, in fact, after Captain Marvel's soul - arguably the only superhero more pure and innocent than Supes.)
  • Venom was held hostage by Carnage during the Maximum Carnage storyline, in what was likely the stupidest case of Bond Villain Stupidity exhibited for a Spider-Man villain; Carnage specifically expressed a desire to keep him alive for months if he had to, just to torture him; Venom actually managed to escape on his own, but he spent quite a lot of his energy to do so, and was recovering for the rest of the story... until the finale.
  • Wolverine and Jubilee's mentor-sidekick relationship started when she rescued him from the Reavers (a bunch of heavily armed killer cyborgs) in a late 80s/early 90s comic. He'd been tortured to within an inch of his life. (It was clearly Bond Villain Stupidity on the part of the Reavers, who were keeping him alive just to make him suffer.)

    Fan Works 
  • Happens to Don in NUMB3RS fanfic Anxiety, when he is kidnapped by the story's serial killer, Shelly Arbury. He is eventually rescued with the intervention of his brother, though he nearly dies in the process.
  • Maybe the Last Archie Story: Sabrina, a powerful witch in an universe of absolutely ordinary humans, gets kidnapped by a mad scientist, and she has to be rescued by her highschool friends.
  • Crunch accidentally finds himself being chased by Dr. Neo Cortex in Outcast Bandicoot. He and his friend Tani destroy numerous lab assistants and defeat the Potoroo Gang, but are eventually taken hostage. Tani escapes, but the lab assistants electrocute Crunch, knocking him out. He is then taken to Cortex's space station, where he remains for several years.
  • Rin gets hit with this twice in the Fate/Stay Night fanfic Path of the King. It's subverted both times:
    • The first is during an encounter with a pack of thugs in a dark alley. Rin isn't even vaguely intimidated by them but she's with several muggle friends who might get hurt unless she breaks The Masquerade and uses her magecraft in front of them. Shirou makes a Dynamic Entry before her hand is forced.
    • The second time comes at the end of the first arc when Rin is kidnapped by the original master of Caster for a brainwashing ritual. While the villain is distracted fighting Shirou, Rin coughs up a handful of gems she swallowed earlier (having anticipated the trap that caught her) and blasts her way out on her own.
  • Batman in the fan film The Death of Batman is kidnapped by a junkie who fakes an overdose and uses a stun gun on Batman's balls.
  • Riza has to go through this in the Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Brilliancy, when she's kidnapped. She gives her abductors plenty of trouble; she breaks loose from her bonds at one point and later kills the one who was supposed to shoot her, but she's still kidnapped and stuck in the desert with no way to get home.
  • In Here There Be Monsters, Shazam! attempts to assault Sivana's Venusian base single-handedly and ends up defeated and captured by the Monster Society of Evil.
  • In Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Orion of the New Gods is kidnapped by Darkseid during the War between Apokolips and the rest of the universe.
  • Rick and Jonathan get kidnapped in Fairy Tales and Hokum, and it's up to Badass Bookworm Evelyn to save them.
  • Gaz is without a doubt the biggest badass in the My Hostage, Not Yours trilogy, yet at least once in each story she ends up being held prisoner and needing to be saved:
    • My Hostage Not Yours: She lets the Valkians capture her, both in order to get rid of the LEECHY, and to protect Dib and Zim. It's shown that she was fully capable of escaping her cell on her own, but that still would have left her on her own on a ship full of dangerous warriors, and it seems highly unlikely she would have been able to fight them all. So it's probably for the best that Zim concocted a plan to save her.
    • The Revenge of Player 2: Iggins captures her with a Mind-Control Device, so Zim and Dib have to save her again. This time, though, she breaks free through force of will, save's Zim's life, and then proceeds to give Iggins a Fate Worse than Death.
    • The Inevitable Takeover: During the early days of Zim's conquest of the planet, she gets kidnapped by a group of hired thugs. However, this is a subversion, as Zim himself had her kidnapped, to keep her away from the government officials who were going to use her as leverage against him, so she was never really in any danger.
  • In Prince of the Dark Kingdom Harry plays this part at least once a schoolyear. Most of the time it's either Snape or Voldemort that has to safe the day.
  • Valvatorez gets this in The Curse of Blood.
  • In Tales of the Emperasque Vulkan, Corvus and Leman all find themselves in various distresses before Emperor rescues them: Vulkan is stuck on a planet full of Everything Trying to Kill You, Corvus is trapped in ever-changing, sanity-breaking maze and Leman is about to be overrun by Chaos armies.
  • In the climax of With Strings Attached, both Paul and John have been kidnapped and rendered helpless (Paul via mind control, John via sleep spell). George, himself depowered, figures out how to rescue John, who then proceeds to kick ass. However, with Paul, the mind control didn't take; he was just faking it so he could both make sure the others were okay and delay the Big Bad's plans.
    “Wasn't much else I could do at that point, since I didn't know where you lads were, and I didn't wanna go off sort of half cocked.”
  • In Through a Diamond Sky, The Baron is smart enough to realize that the only chance he had to strong-arm Flynn was to make sure both Tron and Clu were in no shape to fight. He just hadn't factored in the pair of Iso scouts and Jordan.
  • During the climax of the first story arc of Jewel of Darkness, Robin is captured by Midnight, who intends to torture him into insanity. He's eventually rescued by the other Titans and, despite the pain, proceeds to join them in taking her down.
  • In The Tainted Grimoire, there is Cid, who got captured by Khamja.
  • Queen of All Oni: Viper gets kidnapped by the Shadow Hand in chapter 12 and gets taken hostage again after being beaten by Right in the fight that breaks out during the exchange.
  • The main story of book two of A Growing Affection is about how Naruto gets captured by the Akatsuki, and what happens to him and his friends as they try to rescue him.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Mega Man has been captured twice so far. Once is by Glyde and his Birdbots, and he breaks free on his own after being locked up. The other is by the Neo Emerald Spears, and Rush and Bon Bonne save him.
  • In Skippers Log, poor Kowalski gets trapped when a tunnel caves in while he's digging it in one chapter; Rico managed to save him only just in time.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Ami might not be invincible - she needs her minions to break her out of the Dark God's realm - but the second time, it was because three had teamed up on her. She regularly leads her troops from the front, and fights on par with the worst deamons of the Dungeon Keeper world. The Guile Hero approach to problemsolving means even things she can't handle head-on can be overcome.... even if it means she needs a little help from her hordes of minions.
    • There's also Jadeite, who has been portrayed as a very efficient sorceror, fighter and mastermind. Until he gets tricked and captured by a couple of fairies he was supposed to capture.
  • Nightingale is about a powerful elite ninja being captured and psychologically, mentally and emotionally tortured.
  • Sesshoumaru is captured and helplessly imprisoned in the Inuyasha fic Darkness (ankh-ascendant), only eventually rescued by Inuyasha.
  • Children of an Elder God: Misato is a very competent soldier and an excellent strategist and leader, but in chapter 21 she was captured by terrorists and had to be rescued by Rei.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Even though he regards himself as a cowardly wimp, Shinji is a mecha pilot that has killed a bunch of alien monsters and may be pretty badass when he gets serious. Nonetheless, he was captured by a terrorist group in chapter 19 and Asuka had to rescue him.
  • During the climax of The Elements of Harmony and the Savior of Worlds, Megan is taken captive by Tirac's forces. She immediately goes Die Hard on them, breaking free and proceeding to fight her way to an escape.
  • The Lord Inquisitor is taken captive in the latter third of All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird, mostly to use as live bait for the Lady Inquisitor.
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four Wonder Woman and her daughter Fury are captured by Badra and later freed by Power Girl.
  • Forum of Thrones: Leonard, who is a supreme swordsman, able to hold his own against Samuel Harrington, finds himself in distress in the early Chapter 5, when he is wounded and tied up by the corrupt city guard of Oldtown. Luckily for him, Samantha and Sasha come to the rescue not long afterwards.
  • Bakuda ends up as this several times in How To Drill Your Way Through Your Problems, despite being an inventive, clever, and somewhat egotistical Mad Bomber. Lagann first meets her rescuing her from a burning building, then after she's just been badly burned by Lung, and then a third time when Lung escalates enough to begin dismantling the Bakuda Bomber.
  • In Juxtapose, Izuku, who had just spent most of the night curb-stomping every Mook sent his way, is kidnapped and taken hostage by Kurogiri during the League's raid on all of Musutafu in hopes of drawing All Might into a deadly trap.
  • The Flower Princess and the Alchemist: Edward has been kidnapped or defeated by a few villains on occasions. To his credit, most of the villains he has no clue about.
  • Megami no Hanabira: Mai is hit by this twice: once when a Tenong Cut paralyzes her with its Race Skill forcing Reo and Sara to defend her while she recovers and again when she's captured by the Flock and her friends need to break her out. Yuuna also goes through this during her 'recruitment mission': she's exhausted after fighting for her life all night at the beginning of the outbreak, and she's barely consious when the girls find her.
  • Son of the Sannin: Hanabi (who at this point has been promoted to chunin and has the Tenseigan) ends up being sedated and captured by Root agents as part of Operation: Rising Phoenix while she was running some errends. Hinata notes after rescuing her that the kidnappers never would have been able to capture her had they not caught her completely off guard, even with them having a 3 to 1 advantage.
  • Patterns of the Past: Old Missie, Olesya's boss when she was an Investigation agent, gets kidnapped by the Patternista, a known villainess, who holds her for ransom and threatens to kill her by gun if Odd Squad doesn't pay up. Although the Director puts up a fight prior to her kidnapping and is a Defiant Captive, the rescue team doesn't gain the upper hand until Olesya shows off her mathematical prowess to the Patternista in a pattern duel.
  • Passion on Display: Kirishima is attacked by two homophobic students and rendered unable to defend himself by his Quirk being deactivated.
  • Meloetta: Melody of Discord: Kyogre. The almighty master of the seas is forced to flee before a whaling ship.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible is caught infiltrating Syndrome's headquarters and placed in an energy prison where he receives intense electrical shocks. As Helen's plane approaches the island and Bob recognizes her voice, Syndrome gleefully launches a series of missiles at it while letting Bob hear the frantic cries from Helen that there are children on board as the plane is shot down. When Mirage reports a confirmed hit with no survivors, Bob is left to face the agony that his family is dead and Syndrome leaves him to suffer in his grief. As the movie is a Deconstruction of the standard superhero story, Bob does not immediately bounce back after facing his Darkest Hour. When Mirage has her Heel–Face Turn and releases Bob from his restraints, he immediately lashes out in his anguish and despair, grabbing her by the throat and willing to choke the life out of her. Only her revelation that his family is still alive saves her.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Lucy, Batman, Unikitty, Benny and Metal Beard, who are all badasses in their own way, get kidnapped by General Mayhem and Emmet ends up being the one who has to save them.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph has to save Vanellope and Felix from King Candy's Fungeon and then Vanellope saves Ralph from going through with his Heroic Sacrifice.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): Joseph Lynch, member of the Assassin's Brotherhood, is arrested in the film's prologue for the murder of his wife, and Abstergo presumably got their hands on him quickly after that.
  • Double Impact: Frank is an accomplished fighter who kills several Triads in the Action Prologue and the first strike against Zhang and Nigel. But he spends most of the movie as a prisoner of the bad guys who needs to be saved from them by the twins.
  • The hostage in the opening sequence of The Expendables 2 turns out to be Trench, who is embarrassed to have found himself in that situation.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Gleahan, the resident badass, gets captured. This kicks the third act into gear.
  • Gretel in Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, briefly, as part of Muriel's ceremony.
  • Iron Man. Tony Stark is ambushed by Obidiah Stane, which literally leaves him crawling around with a hole in his chest. Cue Col. Rhodes coming to his aid (with a removed assist from Pepper). After he pops in a spare reactor, he promptly leaves to kick Stane's ass.
    • Both Tony and Rhodes are captured at different parts of Iron Man 3.
  • James Bond spends a good chunk of Goldfinger as this, held prisoner by the title villain. He still manages to keep his wits and succeeds in getting Pussy Galore to betray Goldfinger.
  • Happens to both of the leading men in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) at different points. Illya nearly drowns so Napoleon goes back to save him. Illya later returns the favor when Napoleon is captured and saves him from Electric Torture.
  • MonsterVerse: Godzilla ends up in this position once at the climax of every film. In Godzilla (2014), he's visibly losing the fight against the two MUTOs once they start tag-teaming against him, until the HALO team blowing up the MUTOs' nest causes the female to abandon fighting Godzilla, enabling Godzilla to solely face down the male MUTO with a regained advantage. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the tide of the Final Battle gradually turns against him due to an implicit combination of Ghidorah empowering itself using the Boston power grid and Godzilla's Phlebotinum Overdose beginning to weaken him. It leads to Ghidorah killing Mothra and Ghidorahquickly wearing Godzilla down to the point that Godzilla is helpless when Ghidorah begins inflicting Vampiric Draining him. This forces the Russell family to use the ORCA's alpha frequency to distract Ghidorah and make it abandon Godzilla to pursue the signal, giving Godzilla ample time to reach his Super Mode before Ghidorah could have fully drained him. And in Godzilla vs. Kong, he ends up faring poorly during the Final Battle against Mechagodzilla, due to his previous battle against Kong and him blasting a tunnel halfway through the planet to the Hollow Earth both severely weakening him. Mechagodzilla more or less beats Godzilla, and Godzilla is saved at the last second from execution by Kong's intervention.
  • Basically the premise of Rambo III. Rambo gets Trautmann out of a Soviet prison in Afghanistan, and the two of them proceed to destroy half the Red Army.
  • In the Clint Eastwood film The Rookie (1990), Pulovski (Eastwood) is kidnapped and the titular rookie Ackerman (Charlie Sheen) has to take a level in badass to rescue him.
  • In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Holmes is captured and brutally tortured by Moriarty, and has to be rescued by Watson. Afterwards, it seems that a combination of adrenaline and sheer willpower are the only things keeping him standing and conscious, but he still manages to help fight their way out. Later, it turns out that he allowed himself to be captured, knowing that he would probably be tortured, in order to get close enough to pickpocket the notebook containing all the financial details of Moriarty's criminal empire.
  • In a German movie Stahlnetz PSI there are two girls who are best friends: Plucky Girl Micha, who also has supernatural powers (titular "PSI") and sweet girl Sandra. Micha get kidnapped, and even though she does try, she just cannot escape on her own - even her psychic powers backfire at first. Then Sandra, thanks to the connection they share, gets a clue on where Micha is held, and with this hint, police finds and rescues Micha.
  • Star Trek. In the 2009 movie, Captain Pike is captured by Romulans, heinously tortured, and, when rescued, still manages to kill a few of his tormentors — one literally seconds after being rescued.
  • Star Wars:
    • Leia in A New Hope certainly qualifies. She's captured by the Empire in the opening and held prisoner until freed by Han and Luke.
    • Luke Skywalker needs to be rescued at least once in every movie of the original trilogy. In A New Hope, he's saved from the sand people by Obi-Wan, and later by Han during the X-Wing attack on the Death Star. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han finds him in the Hoth Tundra and manages to save him from freezing to death. In Return of the Jedi, only Vader's intervention stops him from being killed by the Emperor.
    • At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo is imprisoned/embedded in a chunk of carbonite. And, in Return of the Jedi, what does he do mere hours after getting out? Kills Boba Fett. While he's still blind (Fett got better).
    • In Attack of the Clones, Count Dooku and the Trade Federation manage to hold Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé hostage for a while; fortunately, Anakin is able to get a message to the Jedi Council first, and a strike team is able to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment to save them from a Public Execution on Geonosis. (But things only get worse from there, especially for Anakin.)
    • Happens twice in The Force Awakens, first to Poe Dameron at the very beginning and then to Rey, who actually becomes more badass while in distress as Kylo Ren keeps accidentally teaching her about the Force by example.
  • Raphael in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, especially the second movie thanks to his stint working alone had him getting captured by Shredder, Tokka and Rahzar and had to be saved by his brothers before he can kick ass again. He's The Lancer, so that explains. TMNT, however, reverses it; even though Raphael is still The Lancer, his stint caused Leonardo to get caught instead.
    • After spending most of the first film in captivity by Shredder, Splinter is able to eliminate him with a flick of the wrist.

  • Adventure Hunters: Regina is a veteran adventurer but, due to the plot, her badass moments are after she is kidnapped and coerced into aiding the bad guys. After which point, she escapes on her own and kills her captor.
  • In Animorphs book 33: The Illusion, Tobias, the team's resident reconnaissance man, eye in the sky, and bird of prey extraordinaire, gets Captured on Purpose as part of a plan to locate and destroy the Anti-Morphing Ray, unfortunately, the plan goes awry when his captor turns out to be the sadistic and unhinged Sub-Visser 51, AKA Taylor, who brutally tortures Tobias to the edge of sanity after the Anti-Morphing Ray fails to demorph him back to Andalite.
  • In The Barbarian and the Sorceress, Barbarian Hero Rom gets captured by an Evil Sorcerer, who intends to sacrifice him to an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Bazil Broketail: In book six, Eilsa is abducted by agents of Aubinas and taken to Wexenne's residence. It's not due to any helplessness on her part, though — she is just taken by surprise by numerically superior enemies and while she manages to kill one, the rest of them still overwhelm her. Later she manages to set herself and Lagdalen free on their own and while she still ends up a hostage, the one taking her as such is Waakzaam, so there is no shame in that.
  • Beachwalker's highly dangerous costar makes his debut tied up, half dead, and with his latest victim lifeless at his feet.
  • Cira's captured along with Jerin near the end of A Brother's Price. He, being a properly Spirited Young Gentleman, picked locks and undid gags to free them, but the more violent parts of the escape mostly fell to her.
  • Inverted by the title character in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. He possesses magic that can literally break time itself, but can't consciously control it (and spends most of his travels being saved by the powerful characters he travels with until his moments of uber-distress when his Badass kicks in).
  • Happens quite often in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. The first book, Three Parts Dead, offers these examples:
    • Exploited by Elayne Kevarian when Alexander Denovo robs her of her will — once again. Knowing his modus operandi she walks into their dinner prepared and allows it to happen in order to entice him into telling her his plans and underestimating her and plants the seed that eventually destroys him for good.
    • Played straight when Tara discovers that the old and powerful vampire Raz Pelham's will has been overpowered and his mind is being wiped clean of the memories she needs from him. It takes a lot of determination on Tara's part to catch up and stop the process.
  • In Discworld, despite Vetinari being a trained assassin and Magnificent Bastard, things are always happening to him. In order: turned into a lizard, thrown in the dungeon, shot, poisoned, framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Although two of those (thrown into the dungeon and poisoned) he saw coming and had plans to get out of, but let Vimes think he was rescuing him.
  • In Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths, particularly in the first book Melusine, Mildmay is the resident badass, but at one point he gets locked in a farm cellar and has to get rescued by the guy he's rescuing. His brother, Felix, is usually a pretty badass wizard himself, but when his skills are counteracted in Melusine and later in Corambis, he variously gets mind raped, really raped, magic-robbed, driven temporarily insane, half-drowned by vigilantes, dragged through a gauntlet, charged with treason, locked in prison and later a madhouse, threatened with death by burning, and, to top it all off, given a Traumatic Haircut. Some more than once.
  • All four men in A Dollar To Die For over the course of the novella. First the Count de Cabronet, who was badly hurt in a botched murder by Mexican soldiers, and is rescued by the Man With No Name; then Tuco is abducted by Apaches, re-abducted by fellow outlaw Pinky Roebuck and eventually saves himself; and the Man With No Name is saved by the Count de Cabronet, who then goes and finds Pinky Roebuck, who had been tied to a tree by an escaping Tuco.
  • Dragon Blood begins with a character who has been established as badass in Dragon Bones in severe distress. It doesn't last long. After escaping the torturer, walking miles in ill-fitting shoes, and fighting some bandits while she's at it, Tisala breaks down and needs some healing. So it is badass->in distress-being badass->needing more help.
  • In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Spring Dawning, the Golden General, Laurana, is captured by her Arch-Enemy, the Dragon Highlord Kitiara, and put on display at the Council of Highlords as Kitiara's gift to the evil goddess, Tahkisis. But even after being manhandled by Kitiara and with Takhisis, in her five headed dragon form, towering over her, Laurana stays defiant and, when the chance presents itself, breaks free, steals Kitiara's weapon, and single handedly fights her way out of the chamber, setting off an Enemy Civil War in the process.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Ehiru is the best Gatherer around and a very capable fighter with remarkable self-control, but because of his unwavering devotion to Hananja's law he is easily manipulated by the Prince and finds himself completely out of his waters outside the Hetawa, the temple district. While Ehiru is plagued by visions due to a lack of dreamblood it falls to his apprentice Nijiri to make sure his mentor keeps a grasp on reality, as well as to free the two of them from the prison when Ehiru eventually gives in and becomes a Reaper.
  • The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden gets tied up/manacled/whatever on a regular basis and often needs to be rescued, but gets himself out of the situation just as often and kicks so much ass that no one really holds it against him.
    • Likewise, woe betide anybody who tries to put Karrin Murphy in distress. You will suffer horribly. The few times that she is held in distress successfully, it's never a result of her being weak or feminine, just being a Muggle in a world where Muggles and even supernatural humans are Made of Plasticine.
  • In Sukhinov's Emerald City decalogy, Corine, who was a powerful player in the first half, is depowerde and turned into a mouse , until she is rescued in the final book.
  • Happens to Aileana a couple of times in The Falconer. In most cases she manages to save herself.
  • The Heroes of Olympus: Percy in The Lost Hero. Nico takes up the position from him by the end of Son of Neptune. Flips back to Percy and adds Annabeth by the end of The Mark of Athena.
  • In Robert E. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon and Shadows In The Moonlight, Conan the Barbarian needs to be rescued. Then he kicks butt.
  • In Death series: Eve Dallas has gotten into trouble a few times. Sometimes Roarke saves her life. Sometimes she just saves herself.
  • Happens to Kane in "Raven's Eyrie". He's badly wounded (even for his immense healing skills), carried by his few faithful men into an inn run by his victim bent on revenge, he is pursued by a ruthless bounty hunter, not to mention the Demon Lord himself. And the only person that seems to want to help him is his daughter Klesst.
  • Michael, who does most of the fighting in the Knight and Rogue Series is, as a result, the one who's most likely to get captured, leaving Fisk to try and rescue him.
  • Mistborn has Vin get captured twice: Once by Steel Inquisitors, and once by Yomen, when he slams the door to what is more-or-less a bomb shelter behind her
  • Mrs Smiths Spy School For Girls Power Play: Late in the book, Abby finds she can't contact Veronica anymore. She eventually finds Veronica Bound and Gagged in a room in the derelict mansion Zachary's using as his base.
  • In Outlander, Jamie] is taken prisoner by the villain, and his wife Claire has to rescue him from being tortured and hung. He does not suffer Badass Decay in this, mostly because Claire's first attempt to save him is botched, and he has to save HER by offering himself to the villain to torture and rape as he pleases without crying out.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan's Curse begins with Annabeth being captured by a manticore. Artemis, goddess of the hunt, promises to save her, but gets captured by Atlas and chooses to hold up the sky in Annabeth's place. After the heroes confront Atlas, Percy, realizing Artemis is the only one who stands a chance against Atlas, holds up the sky to free her, and she promptly kicks Atlas's butt.
  • The Riddle Master Trilogy Morgon spends a year being subjected to Mind Rape in the darkness of Erlenstar Mountain before breaking out, and then is later driven back to the mountain and imprisoned there again.
  • In Septimus Heap, it happens once a book.
    • In Magyk Marcia is captured by DomDaniel's supporters and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Septimus .
    • In Flyte Jenna is taken to DomDaniel's Observatory by Simon in order to kill her but escapes on her own before Septimus and Nicko can rescue her:
    • In Physik Septimus is taken to Etheldredda's and Marcellus's time and rescued by Jenna, Nicko, and Snorri.
    • In Queste Nicko and Snorri, who didn't make it back in the last book, have escaped to the House of Foryx and are rescued from there by Septimus, Jenna, and Beetle.
  • Shakugan no Shana: After Shana was defeated by Yuuji/Snake of the Festival, she has joined this trope too.
  • Beren in The Silmarillion is captured by Sauron; his extraordinarily empowered lover frees him, and he resumes kicking ass with her help.
    • Heck, that whole story mainly consists of a long series of "Beren gets himself in a mess and Lúthien gets him out of it."
    • And then there is the story where Lúthien, who can be considered a badass at this point, gets into a mess and needs the help of a dog to escape.
  • DuQuesne in E. E. "Doc" Smith's Skylark Series. Twice he gets into serious trouble and calls on the hero, Dick Seaton, to team up to handle the situation.
  • Happens a couple of times in The Stormlight Archive, usually as a result of a Shardbearer getting swamped by shear weight of numbers.
  • Toward the end of the Time Scout series, Malcolm Moore gets shot by a bad guy and sent on his way in a hansom cab. He barely survives.
  • Trapped on Draconica: It happens to Daniar and Kalak occasionally but the true example is the former's father, Alister. He's captured early on defending his capital and spends a long time imprisoned. Immediately after Daniar busts him out in the final act he goes back to kicking ass.
  • In Warrior Cats, Action Girl Leafstar gets captured by a Crazy Cat Lady and has to be rescued by her Clanmates.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, almost every major hero gets captured at some point by Seanchan, Shaido, Darkfriends, Forsaken, or even Rand by the Red Ajah.
  • Paul Kidd's trilogy White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, and Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Sure, Escalla is captured a couple of times in the first book (once by the HERO), and gets her ass handed to her at one point in the last book, but she's still somebody you don't want to mess with. She's the one who kills Lolth, the goddess of the Drow, permanently. That's right kiddies, she's a GODSLAYER. She finishes the last book by running The Plan against a GOD to get her best girlfriend back from the afterlife.
    Just because something's short doesn't mean it can't splay your lungs all over the grass.
  • In The Wonderful Adventures of Nils', Gorgo, a mighty eagle, is held captive in a zoo in Stockholm, until Nils releases him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The 100, almost all the Main Characters are taken prisoner or trapped in a dangerous situation at some point, no matter how badass they are, and they usually need at least a little outside help in order to escape.
  • Batman (1966) often had the titular hero and Robin get captured in the first part of episodes, just so in the next week we'd see how they escape at the beginning of the next part.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow toward the end of season 3, when she's starting to get her witchiness on. She's captured by the Mayor's people. She lures a vampire into attacking her so she can kill him. With a pencil. She risks her life further when she goes after the Mayor's dark books and learns what the gang needs to know about the Ascension. She faces down Faith. When she gets rescued, it turns out she has crucial pages about the Ascension hidden in her boot.
    • Other lesser examples include "Helpless" and "Halloween," although the circumstances are extenuating: in "Helpless", Buffy is de-powered by the Watcher's Council and is forced to play the helpless victim; she's rescued from a vampire mook by Giles in the end. Of course Buffy is still Buffy and holds her own against the deadlier foe. In "Halloween", Buffy is transformed into an 18th century damsel and needs constant rescuing and reassurance, but it's not really Buffy who's helpless.
    • There was also the time Faith and "Angelus" captured her. Had Angel actually been Angelus, she would have been in serious trouble.
    • In "Crush", Spike and Drusilla taser Buffy, who is then chained up along with Drusilla as part of Spike's plan to choose a love interest (and which one gets to live). It goes wrong and Buffy fights off Drusilla while in chains, until Spike helps.
  • The Cape: Orwell in "The Lich Part 2". She's drugged by The Lich and held captive, with him intending to marry her.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • At the end of "The Longest Night", Derek Morgan is blindsided by the UnSub and bound with duct tape, allowing the UnSub to kidnap Ellie Spicer. The team, thus, must rescue Morgan from the Spicer house before they can continue with the investigation.
    • It may not be the conventional way to do it, but "Profiler, Profiled" saw Morgan being sent to jail on a tip by the episode's UnSub, forcing the team to investigate in order to secure his release.
    • Hotch was also beaten in a fight by Foyet in "Nameless, Faceless" and tortured with multiple non-fatal stabbings.
  • Pops up frequently on Chuck:
    • Chuck, Casey and Sarah all take turns in distress throughout the series, needing to be rescued by one or more or the others. In the Season 3 finale, all three are taken by Shaw, leaving Ellie, Morgan and Devon to save them.
    • Frequently happens with guest stars as well, since many play other spies working with the team and manage to get in trouble either on their own, or with another member of the team.
  • One of the latter episodes of Dai Sentai Goggle Five puts Miki Momozono/Goggle Pink into this situation when she's trapped inside a book, tied up and the book containing her is about to be burned. She broke from her bonds on her own, then gets put into a cage, but finally destroyed the source of the book's illusion source, destroying the book and getting out on her own. To some, that episode became quite the fan favorite (for a show at the age) and her Moment of Awesome.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor in "Last of the Time Lords". Released from bondage and within five minutes has completely owned the Master and undone the events of the previous year.
    • This happens to the Doctor again in "The End of Time":
      "Worst. Rescue. Ever!"
    • In "The Pandorica Opens", the Doctor is trapped in the ultimate prison — the titular Pandorica. It takes Rory (with, admittedly, some help from a future Doctor) to break him out.
    • In "Let's Kill Hitler", the Doctor is dying slowly and painfully after being poisoned by River Song. She then has to rescue Amy and Rory, as the Doctor is too weak to do it himself. After he dies, she brings him back by sacrificing all her remaining regenerations.
    • The Doctor is again incapacitated in "The Name of the Doctor" when the Great Intelligence enters his tomb and scatters himself throughout the Doctor's timeline. It is now Clara's turn to save him by jumping into the Doctor's timestream herself.
    • River Song's codename for the Doctor is "Damsel". Because he always gets into trouble. Considering the Doctor is the most badass character in the Whoniverse, when Twelve finds his out, he is most put out.
    • "Twice Upon a Time" ends with the freshly-regenerated Doctor getting thrown out of the TARDIS high above Earth and seemingly falling to her death.
  • Farscape:
    • Aeryn gets kidnapped in the last season. She's tied up, tortured, and almost has her baby forcibly transplanted into another woman (Chiana, actually.) The team finally pulls a Big Damn Heroes rescue and next episode she's back to kicking butt and taking names.
    • Happens to all of Moya's Bad Ass Crew at some point. Everyone gets a turn to be kidnapped and tortured, and everyone gets the chance to be Big Damn Heroes.
  • Firefly:
    • Mal, poster man of Big Damn Heroes, has to get rescued from Niska. He was cracking jokes while getting metal pushed under his skin (not to mention all the dying and resuscitation).
    • Inverted with River, who started off as a Damsel in Distress being protected by the rest of the crew. We know how that turns out.
  • Fringe: Midway through the first season Olivia Dunham is kidnapped by members of ZFT as a cliffhanger to one episode. The next episode opens with her beating up her captors and stealing a bunch of medical samples to use as evidence before escaping in one of their vehicles.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jaime Lannister spends a large portion of the first three seasons as a prisoner.
    • Brienne when she's tossed into the bear pit in Season 3.
    • At some point after Jon leaves him with the rest of the Watch for the fake defection, Ghost was captured by Karl and Rast and is caged. How he was moved from a trap to the cage is never explained.
    • Yara ends up captured by Euron after he raids her fleet.
  • Himmelsdalen: Helena, though trained in martial arts and highly capable, is still put in tight spots more than once (including getting captured). It's mostly due to being overwhelmed by brute force or surprises.
  • House of Anubis- when Patricia gets kidnapped by the villian, she still manages to keep being the strong character she is and does everything she can to escape, from leaving a clue behind when she was taken to trying to knockout the villian. Despite this, it is her friends who end up rescuing her. (After two of them have to be saved themselves after a first failed rescue attempt). Immediately following her rescue Patricia goes on to furiously blackmail one of the teachers into telling the secret about her missing friend.
  • JAG: Happens to Harm in the climax of "Déjà Vu" when he's attacked in his apartment.
  • La Brea: Despite being an ex-Navy SEAL who shows the requisite skills, Sam gets injured early on, with the swelling caused by the wound disabling him as he's left with his legs temporarily paralyzed from it.
  • LazyTown: Happens too many times to count to the town hero, Sportacus. Whether he's being put out of commission and into a deep slumber by a candy apple-induced Sugar Meltdown, getting tricked by Robbie into wearing a pair of boots that take complete control of his feet, or just ending up captured in general, some plots usually culminate in leaving it to the kids to save him in some way.
  • Merlin (2008):
    • Arthur is constantly needing to be saved by Merlin, despite being one of the greatest swordsmen in the series and capable of holding off two lesser swordsmen blindfolded. It's pretty well justified by the fact that most of the threats are magical but the way Merlin got his job as Arthur's manservant was by saving his life, and after 52 episodes of this, Merlin's extremely jaded by it.
    Merlin: Oh, I saved Arthur's life, someone else got the credit, just the usual.
    • As this show is a World of Badass and everyone has been in distress and needed to be saved at least once, you could call it a World of Badass In Distress. Even Merlin had to be rescued in "Tears of Uther Pendragon" and "Servant of Two Masters".
  • NUMB3RS:
    • Colby in "Trust Metric" as he is being tortured by Lance for information about his undercover work.
    • Don is briefly this in "Graphic" after being hit in the head with a gun by a suspect before being rescued by David.
  • This tends to happen in the Power Rangers franchise a lot. Usually it's the Sixth Ranger who ends up saving the others when this happens, but not always. Every Ranger gets A Day in the Limelight (usually several) and this sort of situation is usually how it occurs.
    • In the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode "Foul Play in the Sky", Kimberly is going for a flight with her uncle Steve. Rita sees this as an opportunity to kill Kimberly, and has Squatt and Baboo spike Steve's soda with a delayed-effect sleeping potion. Kimberly spends several minutes stuck on the plane, but with Alpha's help makes a Crash Course Landing and then saves her friends and single-handedly kills the Monster of the Week. In "Power Ranger Punks" she and Billy are confined to cages for most of the episode after Baboo spiked their fruit juice with a personality-deforming potion. Eventually they're cured, but Billy gets swallowed by the Terror Toad just like the others. Kimberly proceeds to free them and then kill the monster.
  • This is the only trope that can explain why Lady Emily Merchant of Primeval can kick all kinds of dinosaur and terror bird ass yet can also get kidnapped/put in mortal danger about four times within seven episodes.
    • Happens to Abby in 2x04, when she is taken by the mers. After Cutter gets her out of her "cell" she proceeds to kick a mer in the face.
  • From Robin Hood: the titular character has been captured and is dangling over a snake pit, getting beaten around the abdomen by Guy of Gisborne, who is alternatively mocking him and demanding to know who the mysterious Night Watchman is. Robin just smiles, knowing full well what's going to happen, and answers Guy's question by saying: "I don't know who the Night Watchman is. But when I see him, I'll give him a kiss." Two seconds later, the Night Watchman turns up to save his ass. And yeah, in case you haven't guessed the obvious, the Night Watchman is Maid Marian.
  • It's a rare episode of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World when one of the explorers isn't kidnapped or held hostage or horribly injured in some fashion.
  • In Smallville, because Kryptonite Is Everywhere and it has an even stronger effect on young Clark (in the early seasons he couldn't even crawl away from it), he ends up needing to be rescued, by his parents, Pete, Lana, Lois, but mostly Chloe. In a particularly heartwarming/tear jerking scene, Clark admits this to an unconscious Chloe.
    Clark: You're the best friend and ally I could have had, Chloe. The truth is, you saved me more than I could have ever saved you.
  • Basically every character in Stargate SG-1 has this happen to them at some point or another:
    • Samantha Carter is kidnapped by a dying millionaire, who found out about her time as host to an alien symbiote and hopes to dissect her in order to learn how it affected her physiology. She spends much of the episode trying to rescue herself (with escalating badassery), but is eventually saved by the rest of the team. This, however, doesn't diminish her badassness one bit.
    • Jack O'Neill gets his turn at this when he's captured by Ba'al and repeatedly tortured to death over the course of the episode. He continues to wisecrack at Ba'al during the process, though he was clearly starting to run out of endurance near the end. The rest of the team manages to persuade a mutual enemy to assist in attacking Ba'al's base, allowing Jack to escape.
    • Teal'c gets captured by Heru'ur's forces and is continuously tortured by one of his underlings. Despite this, Teal'c refuses to acknowledge the Goa'uld as gods. This causes the man who betrayed him in the first place to make a Heel–Face Turn and assist him in escape. (The same character shows up later as a determined La Résistance fighter, clearly inspired by Teal'c's defiance.)
    • Daniel Jackson is captured and tortured by Honduran rebels while on a mission to find an important alien device that, as it turns out, had been left on Earth. Because Daniel has gone through a lot and and Taken A Level In Badass by this time, he handles the treatment spectacularly and manages to make an escape, but not before his more sheltered colleague breaks down and tells everything. Fortunately Jack had already been sent to rescue them and gets there as they are running from the crazed rebels (and a zombie).
    • Moving on to Stargate Atlantis, John Sheppard, as badass as O'Neill, seems to be the go-to guy for getting into distress. On one notable occassion he gets captured by his arch-nemesis Acastus Kolya and tortured by having a captive Wraith continuously drain his life force. Eventually, Sheppard makes a deal with the Wraith, and they break out. The Wraith shows himself to be honorable by returning Sheppard's life force (and more). Also, this Wraith? It's Todd, himself a badass, so this trope works for him too. Other episodes have John crippled by alien bugs, trapped in a time-locked planet, held prisoner by space travellers and held hostage and/or tortured by the Genii a few more times, while his co-leader Elizabeth makes several sadistic choices with his life on the line. To his credit he suffers through all of them with snark and escape attempts aplenty.
  • Supernatural runs on this trope. Nearly every episode has Dean, Sam, Castiel or sometimes Bobby in some kind of terrible distress. Notable examples include:
    • Dean being sent to hell to be tortured.
    • Sam suffering from demon blood withdrawal while locked in the panic room.
    • Castiel being tortured (offscreen) into submission by the angels in Season 4.
    • Bobby being possessed and stabbing himself.
  • On The Walking Dead (2010), this happens too many times to even begin to document. Almost every main character gets knocked out, captured, detained, or restrained in some way by some faction or individual and ends up requiring outside intervention to escape. Season 4 actually ended with over 90% of the main cast being captured. Thankfully one exception was Carol, who managed to save them all at the start of season 5.
  • The entire cast of White Collar, really. Especially with their propensity for being kidnapped (as El and Peter thoughtfully lampshade in "Shoot the Moon").
    • Really, they all take turns being in distress and being badass about it. Neal and Peter both in too many episodes to count {Neal alone is kidnapped in Bottlenecked, Under the Radar, and Checkmate while Peter is kidnapped in Payback, Under the Radar, and Shoot the Moon. Then there's El being kidnapped in Checkmate and Shoot the Moon, Sara being taken hostage in Pulling Strings, Jones being taken hostage in On Guard...} And all of them play a large role in their own escape. Not to mention Diana, who doesn't even get to the point of distress in her hero shots.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Wonder Woman was gassed or rendered powerless by taking her belt of strength several times in World War II, but it was Diana Prince who was the frequent target in The '70s.
    • In "The Bushwackers", Wonder Woman had her belt removed and was locked in the jail of a ghost town. The pack of war orphans figured it out, broke in and returned her belt to her. cue iron bars bending... she did the rest.
    • In "The Man Who Could Not Die", Diana is unconscious and tied up in a garage with a running car in order to kill her with the fumes. She wakes up, spins, but passes out! Bryce Candle — the aforementioned Man Who Could Not Die - arrives in the nick of time!
  • World on Fire: Kasia, who's slowly become a hardened Polish resistance fighter, nonetheless, gets captured when the Germans ambush her during another honey trap operation. She's captured and then sentenced to death. However, while being marched off to the gallows resistance fighters rescue her.
  • In The X-Files, Mulder and Scully tended to pass the Distress Ball between them. They occasionally managed to get themselves out of it, but far more often had to save each other.

  • Angus McSix: In the video for "Master of the Universe", the Amazon Queen Thalestris (played by guitarist Thalìa Bellazecca) is imprisoned by Seebulon when Angus first finds her. Once freed, she joins him as an archer.

    Video Games 
  • In Batman: Arkham City the entire game revolves around this as Batman is injected with a sample of blood from a Titan-poisoned Joker in the beginning of the game and over time gets sicker and sicker, even coming close to death, and only surviving because of his determination.
  • Caldarius from Battleborn is a badass in a mech-like Powered Armor. In "The Renegade" level however, you have to protect Caldarius from waves of enemy minions while he is recharging his power cells. During this time he is immobile and unable to defend himself.
  • In Bayonetta, Bayonetta, who has proven plenty of times that she was a force to be reckoned with, ends up unconscious and trapped into Jubileus' statue form, courtesy of Balder. Hopefully, she is saved by Jeanne and manages to fight off the revived Jubileus and punch her soul into the sun .
    • Also, in Bayonetta 2, it is Jeanne who fills this role: she gets killed while protecting Bayonetta from a surprise attack from Gomorrah and her soul is dragged to Inferno. She stays there for a good portion of the game until Bayonetta beats the living daylights out of the demon that was holding her captive.
  • Super Joe in the NES version of Bionic Commando and its XBLA remake.
  • Jin and Makoto of BlazBlue take turns in this trope - the badass doing the saving is the other one.
    • In Slight Hope, Jin is in far too bad a shape to fight back against Hazama, who had come along with the intention of killing him. Rather than sit back and watch it happen, Makoto parries the hit and fights Hazama in Jin's place. Hazama "wins" (then again, Hazama), but Jin bails her out, having recovered enough strength to freeze Hazama in his tracks.
    • In Decision, Hazama catches Jin and Makoto chatting - oddly enough, he came down to deal with Jin personally (having commented that Phantom buggered up, as Jin "smells like cat"), but he changes his mind and tries to kill Makoto, only for Jin to block the hit instead. Again, Hazama "wins", but Jin freezes him again and both bail shortly thereafter. Makoto was the "damsel" as she was playing under radar and knew Jin was not fond of Intel due to events in Slight Hope; thus she had to lower her guard to prevent a reprisal.
  • In the early parts of Borderlands 2, Roland is captured by bandits. According to him, they knocked him out while he was taking a piss. Near the end of the game, Lilith ends up captured by Jack and used to power the Vault Key.
  • Bullet Storm : Trishka. In her first appearance, she viciously beats her much larger, monstrous captor to death, all while spouting venomous profanities.
  • Richter Belmont from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood/The Dracula X Chronicles was a Knight in Shining Armor in his debut, rescuing a grand total of 4 girls from Dracula's captivity. However, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night had him being captured and Brainwashed, motivating Maria Renard (whom he rescued previously) and Alucard to rescue him. After rescued, even though he didn't come back into action again, he is later marked as the strongest Belmont, so much that even memories of him from the whip could give Jonathan Morris a good dose of schooling.
  • Coco Bandicoot from Crash Bandicoot was captured in some badass ways even though she is still badass as she assist Crash's help for her savvy excuse, she was one of the positions in Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Twinsanity, Crash Nitro Kart, Crash Tag Team Racing, Crash of the Titans, and Crash Mutant Island.
  • Gunther Hermann in Deus Ex, although this is closer to the whole Badass getting the Distress Ball.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Devil May Cry 2 has Lucia, who is perfectly capable in-game, but has to be rescued by Dante from explosions in cinematics twice. She also doesn't accomplish much without Dante, being captured by Arius and staying behind while he enters the portal to Hell. She does, however, kill Arius when he returns as a demon.
    • In Devil May Cry 4, Nero is absorbed into the Savior midway through the game. It takes Dante jamming Yamato into the giant statue's crystal to rescue and wake Nero up inside.
    • In DmC: Devil May Cry, Vergil is powerful enough to be the final boss but gets in trouble a few times throughout the game. In the first instance, he's cornered by a demon and has to be saved by Dante (mainly because Vergil can't use his powers without outing himself as a Nephilim - which would give away their trump card to Mundus). The second time is during the fight with Mundus, where Mundus sucks him into the vortex and keeps him there until Dante busts him out.
    • Much to Morrison and Nero's surprise, Dante, Trish and Lady are actually defeated by Urizen in the prologue of Devil May Cry 5, with both girls getting captured by Urizen via the Qliphoth's roots, and Dante being MIA and assumed dead by most characters until he was found by V, albeit in a coma. Nero is almost captured after being beaten by Urizen during their second encounter. Luckily, Dante arrives just in time to free him and have Griffon carry him somewhere safe. More than halfway through the story, V is also cornered by Malphas before he is rescued by Nero.
  • Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Jr, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. After defeating Kaptain K Rool in DKC2, he stands up again, seemingly Nigh-Invulnerable. Donkey Kong decides he's had enough, bursts from his ropes and uppercuts K Rool out of the air ship, bouncing him off of each stage of Crocodile Isle before getting chomped by a school of sharks.
  • In the Dragon Age series:
    • Can happen to the player character in Dragon Age: Origins. You don't have to wait around to be rescued, but some of the funniest cutscenes in the game occur if you do. Of course, the more stubborn, proud, or simply skilled players will likely never go to that point unless they intentionally lose (or surrender) to That One Boss.
      • It happens again in the DLC Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, when the Warden-Commander and their entire party are captured by the Architect. Although he means them no harm, his lackeys are another story, and the Commander has to run around to find the other three and help them escape from the silverite mines where they're all being held. Unlike the situation in the base game, this particular incident cannot be avoided.
    • In Dragon Age II, this happens to Hawke and Tallis, both powerful fighters in their own right, during one of the DLC missions. They get captured by Duke Prosper and decide to wait for Hawke's companions to rescue them. Tallis finally gets fed up with waiting and opens the doors herself.
    • This doesn't happen to the Inquisitor in Dragon Age: Inquisition, but it does happen to an entire unit of Inquisition soldiers. Word comes from a soggy location called the Fallow Mire that an Avvar chieftain's son has taken the soldiers hostage because he wants to fight the Inquisitor. One of the other Avvar, a friendly one who wants no quarrel with the Inquisition, observes that the soldiers put up an extremely skillful fight before they were taken.
  • In the Hearthfire DLC of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, your spouse might have been abducted when you were away. But potential spouses include an experienced archer with lycanthropy, a woman expelled by the companions for being "too hot-blooded" and a vampire lord so old she asked "Empire? What... what empire?"
  • Fate/stay night. Saber in the Unlimited Blade Works route got her contract removed by Caster and was caught, and was given a sexy outfit while being restrained by magic and is being coaxed to be Caster's servant, with only her high magic resistance to avoid being completely dominated, and it takes Rin's plan and Lancer's sudden offer for help (stalling Archer who turned coat) for Shiro to eventually save Saber... and Rin formed a new contract on Saber, amping her skills up, technically making her even more badass than she was in Shiro's contract.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VI Celes can be one of your team's most elite warriors if you put enough investment into her. But in order to get her to join your party, Locke first needs to bust her out of an Imperial prison. Later in the game, there is also an incident where you have to stop a bad guy from dropping a large weight on her head while she's performing at an opera.
    • In Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Vincent spends much of the game grappling with his literal inner demon, Chaos, because the protomateria, the thing used to control Chaos, gets ripped out of him by Rosso. Several cutscenes depict him falling to his knees and clutching his chest in pain as he fights for control of his body. Twice he winds up being rescued as well, once when he accidentally turns into Chaos and collapses from the exertion and has to be rescued by Shalua, and another time when Rosso rips the protomateria out of his chest and he has to be rescued by Yuffie.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes have the local Lady of War, Mathilda. Due to everyone in that game automatically having a weapon regardless of what's in their inventory, the battle starts off with her killing the archers who are supposed to execute her, as the player begins advancing towards the fort she's captured in. If she survives the stage, she will be one of the best Paladins in the whole game.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Eliwood's father Elbert is the most powerful Paladin in Pherae, but has been missing from before Eliwood and Hector entered the plot. It turns out to be this, as he's been captured by Nergal who has sacrificing him to get his Life Energy among his plans. While Elbert is rescued by Eliwood and Co., he soon dies from his injuries - but not before almost killing Nergal.
    • In Fire Emblem Fates, during Xander and Charlotte's supports, the Warrior Prince Xander can be caught off-guard by a Faceless when he doesn't have his Cool Sword handy. If this happens, the Cute Bruiser Charlotte takes action and kills the Faceless with her bare hands, much to Xander's awe.
  • Sora of the Kingdom Hearts series may have slain a lot of Heartless and rescued a lot of women, but even he's been captured at some points: once by Hook, once by Barbossa, twice by Sark, once by Flotsam and Jetsam, and once by Master Xehanort.
  • Kirby:
    • Meta Knight, three times, in Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Kirby: Planet Robobot. In the first, he was trapped in a mirror world while his evil doppelganger ran around causing trouble. In the second he was possessed by Yin-Yarn. In the third, he was apparently converted into a robotic servant of the Haltmann Works Company (dubbed "Mecha Knight"), and Kirby has to fight him, twice. The second time he is fought, Meta Knight was eventually restored to his former self (with his mask breaking as a result), fleeing the scene.
    • Even Kirby's former arch-enemy, King Dedede, was kidnapped in Kirby: Triple Deluxe. In the intro, an insect-like creature named Taranza wipes out all of King Dedede's soldiers and took the king high up into the floating islands of Floralia, prompting Kirby to rescue him from the clutches of the spider-like mage. When the pink puffball caught up with him in Royal Road, Taranza possesses King Dedede with his magic, turning him into Masked Dedede and forcing Kirby to snap him out of it. Later on, Kirby himself was caught up in the Big Bad's vines, only to be rescued by King Dedede and Taranza afterwards.
  • In The Last of Us:
    • Joel, the game's main protagonist, is severely injured and must rely on his 14-year old companion Ellie to protect and take care of him until he recovers. Later on, Ellie is incapacitated at the Firefly hospital and Joel must rescue her.
    • By the time Ellie gets captured by the cannibals, she's become a right Little Miss Badass. Before promptly managing to escape and kill a good number of them, the first thing she does to the group's leader is lure him within range, break his finger, try to steal his keys, and drop this Badass Boast when he manages to fight her off:
      Ellie: Tell them "Ellie" is the little girl who BROKE YOUR FUCKING FINGER!!!
  • The Legend of Spyro: The four Guardians of the elements are established as being powerful fighters and the greatest living masters of their respective elemental arts. However, by the time the game starts, Cynder's forces have managed to capture and imprison three of their number, while Ignitus is reduced to hiding from the armies of the Apes. Most of the game revolves around missions to find and rescue them so that Spyro can actually learn from them.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II: Rean is "offered" to go with the bad guys' headquarters in a battleship in exchange for his friends' safety. He ends up being their "guest" throughout the Intermission chapter. And then it happens to him again in Cold Steel IV where he's captured by the bad guys and is taken to their hideout, the Black Workshop, and the goal of his friends and students throughout Act 1 is to find and break him out. Of course by the Intermission stage, he ends up breaking out of his captivity by himself, although he's given in to his Superpowered Evil Side.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance: Nick Fury and Maria Hill go missing in Chapter 7, and rescuing Mockingbird was the plot of the first Special Operations mission.
  • Marvel Super Heroes: Thor, She Hulk, Nova, Drax, and the Scarlet Witch have all been turned to stone somehow by Thanos. (Or maybe Mephisto, or maybe both), and are present in the Final Boss stage as statues. They are restored to life in the Heroes' endings after Thanos is defeated.
  • Mass Effect: At the beginning, two of the teammates you have to recruit, Tali and Liara, are in trouble and you have to save them from some attackers. In Tali's case it's a few thugs, and in Liara's case it's a Krogan Battlemaster and several Geth troopers. After they get on your squad however, they start pulling their own weight and generally kicking ass. In the sequel, to recruit Garrus and Tali again, you have to save them again, this time from much bigger threats. With Tali, it's several hundred Geth Troopers and a Colossus (basically a giant sentient robotic spider tank), and with Garrus it's wave after wave of mercenaries from three different criminal groups. Similar to the last game, they go back to being badass after the rescue. Indeed, Garrus never stopped being badass, popping off headshot after headshot, killing dozens of mercenaries over the course of three days. He was simply in danger of being overrun. While not anywhere near to the same extent as Garrus, Tali didn't appear to be going down without a fight either, as in the room you find her in, she's alone with several dead geth troopers on the floor and a shotgun on her desk.
  • The first proper mission in Max Payne 2 involves coming to mobster Vladimir Lem's rescue when his mansion is invaded by rival Vinnie Gognitti and his mooks.
  • Zero from Mega Man X is captured by Vile in the first of the fortress levels, and X has to fight the latter to set him free. It's still a Hopeless Boss Fight, and Zero had to break out of his electric cage to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save X again.
  • Minecraft: Story Mode: In the first episode, both Petra and Gabriel get caught in a tractor beam and you are given the option to save one of them. Whoever you saved will later rejoin the group with an Incurable Cough of Death.
  • Mortal Kombat examples:
    • Mortal Kombat II: Sonya and Kano are chained up in Kahn's arena and Forced to Watch as the tournament takes place; the biggest reason, in Sonya's case, is because Jax is there. One comic book adaptation claims that Shao Kahn plans to brainwash Sonya into becoming his queen; in any case, she's rescued between this game and the next.
    • Three important parts of the Story Mode of Mortal Kombat 9 involve the hero who's the focus of the chapter rescuing one of the other heroes from Shao Kahn's forces. The first time is in Sonya's chapter, where she has to rescue Jax from Shang-Tsung's dungeons. Later, in Jax's chapter, the roles are reversed, and he has to rescue her after she is taken prisoner after the conclusion of the first tournament. The third occasion spans two chapters: After Kitana is sentenced to death after Mileena is "born", Jade's chapter involves Jade trying to rescue her; she is unable to so, resulting in the crisis continuing into Kung Lao's chapter, where the Earthrealm warriors interrupt her execution, and she is rescued by Liu Kang.
    • In Mortal Kombat X, Johnny Cage is captured by D'Vora about halfway through the game and spends the rest of it wrapped up in a cocoon (with her grubs chewing on his face) before being rescued by his daughter at the climax.
  • Pikmin 3: Olimar was able to take on several monsters and other things when he got stuck on PNF-404 in the first two games. Here, he needs to be saved by the Koppai crew.
  • In both Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 3 (Remake), Jill proves her worth as a complete and absolute tough cookie in how she manages to not only survive the outbreak that ate the entire population of Raccoon City alive, but also manages to out-think, outrun, and ultimately outfight The Nemesis. Inevitably the Nemesis gets one good shot in on her and she's left a Zombie Infectee, and it's up to Carlos to save the day.
  • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell: The Third Street Saints leader, now God-Emperor of the Universe, is kidnapped by Satan. Now it's up to Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington to save them.
  • Shantae:
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
    • Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) involves Tails getting kidnapped by Dr. Eggman. The game's about Sonic trying to rescue him. Whether or not he succeeds depends on whether or not he managed to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Sonic Adventure 2: Sonic escapes from GUN once, but is captured again partly due to Shadow. He gets rescued by Tails and Amy, and proceeds to kick ass. The game culminates in Shadow calling him the Ultimate Lifeform, a title Shadow once claimed for himself, if you take long enough against the final boss. Guess which one of three characters survives that final battle with their memory intact? It sure isn't Shadow, and we know it wasn't the FinalHazard.
    • In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, the first part of the game revolves around the kidnapping of Knuckles. Subverted in that when the party reach where he was being held hostage, he has just finished escaping by himself.
    • In Sonic Lost World, Tails gets captured by the Deadly Six about halfway through the game. Like Knuckles, he saved himself, but also managed to fool his captors into thinking they'd won.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Rouge was captured early on in Shadow's story. Subverted as she managed to get out before Shadow could rescue her, (though she sounds as if she wanted to be rescued when Shadow does find her.). In the same game, one of the trials for Silver involve him rescuing Blaze from some enemies within a time frame.
    • In Sonic Forces, Sonic himself gets taken away into the Death Egg for six months, after being defeated at the hands of returning villains and new face Infinite. The Resistance comes up with a plan to break Sonic out of custody with the help of the Avatar.
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, Victor "Vic" Coste is captured by Black Arrow and is interrogated and he recounts the tale of how Sam kicked their asses. In the final cutscene he tells them that Sam is taking care of his family and that he said that he loved him like a brother when the alarms sound signaling Sam breaching the premises. And we have a cut of Vic trough a camera saying "Thought so" in the most badass way possible.
  • Star Wars Legends:
  • Chun-Li has had to be rescued a lot in the history of the Street Fighter franchise, usually by Guile.
  • Adam, one of the playable characters in Streets of Rage, is captured by Mr. X in Streets of Rage 2. He's not playable in the third game, but shows up in a Big Damn Heroes cutscene near the beginning of the final stage. The fangame Streets of Rage Remake puts him back into full throttle action.
  • Subverted in Suikoden Tierkreis. Chrodechild gets captured by the Mage Lord, and Asad rushes in to Save the Princess... only to discover that she knocked her captor out once he dismissed his guards, then ran for it.
  • The Super Mario Bros. series:
  • Lamia Loveless in Super Robot Wars: Original Generation at first is well known for her serious and analytical personality. The fact that she has some of the better Super Robot, has a high position and is the most senior of the new Aggressors (only Kai is more senior than her) all points out that she is one of the more badass characters. Yet, in OG Gaiden, she is captured by the ODE while having no way to enter her mech, spurred the rest of the EFA to rescue her, ends up getting shot down near dead by an Big Bad Wannabe, Came Back Wrong by another enemy and even spurring an ex-enemy of hers to rescue her, making it look like she got hit by Chickification. Fortunately for her, once she recovered, it doesn't take another game for her to be active in battlefield again and her skills did not deteriorate, she's still the same effective soldier she was in the previous titles.
    • Touya Shiun in The Moon Dwellers gets kidnapped quite a bit in the game because the Fury want to recover his mech that badly. Though he does have an excuse as why to he gets kidnapped: the Fury resort to stopping time just to kidnap the guy and the Granteed can't stop time because it doesn't have any Larselium inside it.
  • Played straight AND subverted in the storyline for Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Multiple times, characters are defeated and captured, (including more than two dozen of them at one point) and proceed to kick ass after being freed. Subverted in that the Master Hand was Tabuu's prisoner, but when it attacks Tabuu after being freed, Tabuu defeats and possibly kills the Master Hand effortlessly.
  • In Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, Nathan Drake is captured by pirates and is only able to escape when his companion, Elena Fisher, breaks him out of prison by using a truck to rip out the bars on a cell window. In his defense, he was captured in the process of protecting Elena.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, the DLC mission featuring Selvaria puts her into this situation, though she's not captured, just on the very verge of being captured. Considering that she's pretty much the only one capable in her squad, she struck on an advance force... only to fall into Damon's trap whereas she's gassed and her body becomes numb. Rescuing her becomes the mission objective whereas the only one who can rescue her is the meeky engineer Johann. Once he got near her, Selvaria can resume kicking ass.
  • In Warframe, one of the mission types is "rescue", where you have to rescue a captive from an enemy prison complex and escort them to the evac point. Sounds like your typical hair pulling Escort Mission right? Nope! Give the captive your pistol, and they use it with very good accuracy on anything that comes close. Despite presumably getting tortured, they still are able to tank a few bullets, and if they lose all their HP? They still hang on for 20 seconds during which you can apply first aid to get them back to their feet.
  • World of Warcraft's Legion expansion featured the rogue PC discovering that Mathias Shaw, the spymaster of Stormwind and the closest thing the universe has to James Bond, had been kidnapped and replaced by a shapeshifted demon. The amount of time Shaw spent in presumably-torturous captivity is unclear, but it's least a few months; nonetheless, upon being rescued he immediately (like, starting the same day) planned and participated in an operation to remove the double.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! Reshef of Destruction, because the Millennium Puzzle is taken, Yami Yugi ends up captured, and the plot centers on getting it back to call him out. He drops the Distress Ball fast when he's rescued.

    Web Animation 
  • Agent Tex from Red vs. Blue, easily the most badass character in the series (especially in Revelation), regularly gets captured and requires the assistance of the far less competent Reds and Blues.
  • Ruby from RWBY got herself captured by White Fang near the end of vol.2. To her credit, she tried to fight off the attackers, and made a few attempts at escape, and when her kidnappers were distracted by her backup she used the opportunity to become badass out of distress.
  • Anon: Season 4 gives us the hostage situation that involves Hunter tied down on the floor, Tucker bound to a chair, and eventually Kyle being captured too when he stumbles on the scene.
  • Underverse
    • Ink when restrained by Nightmare in 0.3 part 1.
    • X-Tale Chara during the entirety of 0.4.

  • Tarvek finds himself to be chronically kidnapped due to the political climate after the time skip in Girl Genius. He hasn't lost his guile or fighting abilities however, he's just often outnumbered or facing characters who outclass all of the protagonists and he manages to turn the situation around to his benefit in the end.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: At the end of Chapter 67, 'Evac', Jones is flung into Earth orbit by Loup/Coyotegrin. She's left drifting there with no way to get down without help. In 'Neither', Loup says this isn't the first time this has happened.
  • The most badass character of Marooned is easily Lian. There is an entire story arc devoted to her captivity and rescue.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces: Small and temporary example when Flash Man tries to kidnap Dr. Light. Being a squishy human, Dr. Light still needs help, but is still able to contribute to his escape.
  • Princess Princess: Amira, when she's kidnapped by Claire. Usually she's quite able to handle herself, but is swept away with magic.
  • In Ronin Galaxy, Leona Gallant is Arrested for Heroism and attempts to escape by using her sex appeal on Cecil.

    Web Original 
  • In Girls on Film, Hardestadt Delac is kidnapped and held prisoner by Rich Jacobs for a large portion of the story. If it hadn't been for his partner Erin, it's unlikely he ever would've escaped.
  • In Dead West The Porcelain Doctor was kidnapped once, by a Scottish ex-soldier, in Porcelain. He lost his glasses in the process, and got hit several times. He was otherwise assaulted, too, and judging from a few words, the soldier molested him. So by the time Gervas and the Merry Company arrives, the good doctor has already burned through his binds, ignited a few idiots with an offered brandy, scared off most of them, but not before he made one to hand him his cane, then put a sword through his kidnapper's stomach.
  • I Love Bees (a Halo 2 ARG): Action Girl Jan James becomes one when gangster Thin Kinkle kidnaps her.
  • Whateley Universe example: In "Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy", the team is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine and every one of them has to be rescued, except the one generally regarded as the weakest member of the team. Since they take turns rescuing each other, there's a lot of Badassery to go around. The only one who doesn't get a turn is Tennyo (she was otherwise occupied having a Heroic BSoD).
  • Kravitz, AKA The Grim Reaper from The Adventure Zone reaps the souls of necromancers, people who've escaped from the Astral Plane, and people who violate the laws of life and death in other ways. When the Hunger attacks, it corrupts the Astral Plane, trapping Kravitz in an ocean of a black, tar-like substance, leaving him perpetually drowning. He eventually fights his way out, but discovers that the Astral Plane has been cut off from the rest of the Planar System, leaving him trapped and alone in the Eternal Stockade, the only safe place left in the Astral Plane.

    Western Animation 
  • There were a few odd times in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog where Sonic was outsmarted or put in genuine danger by Dr. Robotnik and needed to be rescued by someone else, namely Tails whenever the show gave him his moment as the hero.
  • In one episode of American Dragon: Jake Long, Jake is jealous of Haley getting an interview with a prominent magical TV show and so spikes her water with a powder that makes her powers go mildly haywire, meant to culminate with her powers failing completely. However during filming, she ends up attacked and because of the power failure, is unable to fight off her attacker, resulting in her kidnapping. A guilt-stricken Jake goes after the kidnapper. After she's rescued, Haley reveals that the prank powder wore off around the time of her kidnapping and it was her own fear that locked up her powers. She's sincerely grateful that Jake came after her.
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Boiling Rock rescue is a big example of this. It started off when Sokka wanted to rescue Hakoda, who is indisputably a badass. He rescues not only Hakoda but Suki as well, who is also a badass. It takes the combined badassitude of Sokka, Zuko, Hakoda, Suki, Chit Sang, and Mai and Ty Lee for the rescue to be successful.
    • Then there is the entire "The Blue Spirit" episode where Aang is being held hostage. Until he's rescued by Zuko.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has Captain America get captured by Skrulls so they could replace him with a duplicate. Cap refuses to let the Skrulls' treatment of him in prison break his spirit, and he eventually leads the other prisoners in a riot and escape.
  • One Cartoon Network promotional commercial has The Powerpuff Girls break into the Legion of Doom's headquarters to rescue Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
  • Code Lyoko:
    • The episode "Image Problem", Yumi - likely the most badass of the heroes at the time - is held captive by a Guardian while XANA sends a duplicate of her to cause trouble. (Possible the first time he used what would later be called a polymophic clone.) Eventually, Aelita and the others managed to find her, at which point she went back to the real world to deal with the impostor. (As she herself said, "This is between me and myself.")
    • Happens again in "Ultimatum", with Odd along for the ride this time. The two of them are kidnapped by their XANA-possessed principal, who is literally able to manhandle them into submission, and end up Locked in a Freezer long enough that they can't fight back.
    • The entire Season 4 is also an example : William, who recently joined the team and has shown enormous potential, was brainwashed by XANA in the Season 3 finale and a major plot point of Season 4 is about rescuing him from XANA's clutches.
  • DC Animated Universe:
    • In one Batman: The Animated Series episode Harley Quinn had kidnapped Batman, with the intent to kill him in a vat of piranhas, to woo the Joker. Batman convinces Harley to show the Joker just how well she's done, because the piranhas would leave no evidence. She does so, but much to her surprise, he flies into a tizzy about Batman being HIS to defeat, and, after punishing Harley for her insubordination (by tossing her out a window), frees Batman to finish the job himself. Batman planned for this exact reaction - he explains on the page image for Batman Gambit.
    • Two episodes of Batman Beyond has Terry get kidnapped by the Villain of the Week. The first one has Inque use him as a hostage to lure Bruce into a trap so she can kill them both. And the second one was when his False Friend, Charlie, arranged his goons to capture him so he can convince him to join him in the criminal underworld.
    • In an episode of Static Shock, Static is sent forty years into the future, where he helps Batman's successor rescue another superhero his future self.
    • Justice League
      • Batman is captured by Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang, and held captive for the majority of the episode while the rest of the league tries to find Luthor. He spends the whole time playing the gang's members against each other and undermining their trust. When the League does show up and everything's going to hell, Joker tries to take the opportunity to finally off Batman... who is no longer restrained, and reveals he could've gotten out whenever he wanted, but stuck around to keep an eye on things.
      • Brainiac's assault on Apokolips, in which Darkseid requests the League's help is revealed to be a trap for Superman, and he is captured at Brainiac's asteroid base. Brainiac intends to use Superman to become a living being...while Darkseid is revealed to have to his own designs for Brainiac in the search for the Anti-Life Equation. Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman and Batman in tow with Orion work to free Superman and escape the asteroid base.
      • It happens to the entire League in "Secret Society" - apparently - courtesy of Grodd's team of villains. Their escape (leading to the epic battle at the end) was the result of J'onn J'onzz disguising himself as Clayface during the initial fight; the villains had actually grabbed the real Clayface, and didn't realize that the one they were dealing with was an imposter until it was too late.
  • Flash Gordon: This happens surprisingly often to Flash, although he always escapes before too much time has elapsed, usually inspiring a slave revolt against the bad guys on the way out.
  • Happens to Duke in both of the first two Five Episode Miniseries of G.I. Joe. The second time, Snake Eyes is captured along with him.
  • In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Memetic Badass Race Bannon does wind up captured or otherwise in trouble quite a few times. This is because the creative team meant to empower the kids a bit more than they were in classic Jonny Quest.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra gets kidnapped by Tarrlok and locked up in a metal box. Long story short, Amon and his minions showed up, Amon took care of Tarrlok, and sent Lieutenant to electrocute the box to knock her out so they could take her with them. What did she do? Used her wrist wraps to hang on to the bars on the top of the box to avoid electrocution, pretended that he knocked her out, and utterly kicked their arses in the moment they opened the box, then escaped Amon himself. This is after she spent roughly a night and a day in that box, without anything to eat or drink.
    • She also gets kidnapped by Zaheer and his gang in "The Terror Within" after she and Naga were tranqulized with shirshu darts. If it weren't for Pabu, they would have gotten away. And for the rest of the fight scene, Korra stays mostly unconscious until she gets rescued.
  • Mike Chilton in the two-part finale of Motorcity. Particularly when he beats up Red to free himself.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Twilight Sparkle is the main cast's Badass Bookworm who is also one of the most powerful magic users in the show, but in The Stare Master, she was turned to stone by a cockatrice which left Fluttershy to protect the kids she was babysitting and save Twilight.
    • Princess Celestia is this in both the series pilot and the Season 2 finale. She's generally acknowledged to be the Big Good of the series, but is missing during Nightmare Moon's attack and defeated by the queen of the changelings (shown on screen), respectively, leaving it to Twilight and friends to deal with the threat. (Not counting Discord here as he's less a personal threat and more a global disaster with a sick sense of humor; everypony is equally helpless against him until the plot coupons finally come together at the end of "The Return of Harmony".)
      • Also in the season 2 finale, inverted with Princess Cadance: she needed rescuing first, then establishes herself as badass.
  • Recess: TJ is prone to this. Notably in 'Prince Randall' when he is 'arrested' and beaten until he collapses. (Offscreen). The moment he's released, the guy is leading the gang and putting the rightful king on the throne...while covered in bruises and unable to walk. And this is a nine year old kid!
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • Many of the more recent animated Scooby Doo features have upgraded Daphne from the standard Damsel in Distress of the original and earlier works, following the first live-action movie's portrayal by Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.
    • Believe it or not, in one of the original episodes of that show where Batman and Robin guest stared, they had to be rescued, after being tricked into falling into a deep pit with glass-like smooth walls that were impossible to climb on their own. (Of course, given that two real villains, the Joker and the Penguin were the culprits this time, rather than some crook in a monster suit, it's understandable.)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • "Overlords": Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are captured by Physical Gods the Daughter and the Son, as part of a test the Father has for Anakin. Anakin manages to use the Force to rescue both of them, passing the Father's test.
    • "Shadow Warrior": General Grievous is captured by the Gungan army, and Anakin is captured by Count Dooku, roughly simultaneously. A prisoner swap is subsequently arranged where both of them are returned to their respective sides.
    • At the end of "Slaves of the Republic", Anakin, Ahsoka, Obi-Wan and Rex have all been captured while on an undercover mission to Zygerria in search of enslaved Togruta colonists from Kiros. They've also been split up, Anakin made to serve Queen Miraj, Ahsoka kept in a cage outside the queen's palace, and Obi-Wan and Rex sent to the Kadavo system for a round of Break the Badass. In the next episode, "Escape from Kadavo", Anakin manages to escape with R2's help, then he gets Ahsoka and they go to Kadavo to rescue Obi-Wan, Rex and the colonists, with backup, of course.
    • "A Distant Echo": Not long after arriving on Skako Minor, Anakin gets abducted by a native Poletec warrior riding a giant flying lizard called a keeradak, dropping his lightsaber in the process while being carried away too quickly to telekinetically retrieve it. It's thus up to Rex and the Bad Batch to rescue him.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • At the end of "Call to Action", Kanan is captured by the Empire. He spends the next episode being tortured by Tarkin and the Inquisitor. In the season finale, "Fire Across the Galaxy", the rest of the Ghost crew stage a rescue mission, and Kanan winds up defeating the Inquisitor in a duel, resulting in the destruction of the Star Destroyer he was being held on.
    • "The Holocrons of Fate": Maul ends up capturing Hera, Sabine, Zeb and Chopper and holding them hostage to force Kanan and Ezra to give him the Sith holocron. They attempt to escape, but are foiled. Ultimately, Kanan rescues them from being executed by the perpetrator's droids.
    • "Hera's Heroes": Hera and Ezra are captured by Thrawn during an attempt to retrieve a family heirloom from the Syndulla house. They don't break out themselves, but Hera does arrange their escape by taking advantage of the Imperials ignoring Chopper.
    • "The Last Battle": Zeb is forced to play the role of the hostage in a war game set up by the droid general Kalani, leader of a Separatist holdout. He spends the time snarking at him.
    • "Zero Hour": Kallus gets unmasked as the The Mole and held captive on the bridge of the Chimaera, Forced to Watch Thrawn's attack on the rebels. He manages to arrange his escape by taunting Governor Pryce until she orders him Thrown Out the Airlock, giving him an opportunity to overpower his guards and make for an escape pod.
    • At the end of "Rebel Assault", Hera is captured by the Empire after the failed attack on Lothal's factories. She's rescued in the next episode, "Jedi Night", but at a cost.
  • Super Friends. Wonder Woman tended to be kidnapped, brainwashed etc. more frequently than the rest of the Super Friends.
    • 1973/74 season.
      • In "The Baffles Puzzle" she was trapped at the bottom of a pit by a Surprise Slide Staircase and had to be rescued by Superman.
      • In "The Menace of the White Dwarf" she was pursuing Raven in her invisible jet when he used the extreme gravity of the white dwarf fragment to render her unconscious. When she plummeted out of control, Superman caught her jet and saved her.
    • In later seasons she was often subject to the Legion of Doom's machinations.
  • In the first episode of Young Justice (2010), all three of the main heroes at the time (Kid Flash, Aqualad and Robin) get captured by Cadmus; it takes Robin approximately two minutes to break them out, while getting shocked the entire time.
    "Luckily Batman isn't here - he'd have my head for taking so long."
  • Zorro: The Chronicles: In "The Desirable Heiress," Diego suffers a fall down a canyon and ends up with his foot stuck between two rocks. The bulk of the plot centers on the search party that is formed to find him.
  • "Kim Possible" has Kim Possible that was fonding to be in numerous bondage moments especially her graduation and her missout performances.


Video Example(s):


Carmelita Fox

Carmelita is being held hostage by Toothpick under Le Paradox's orders.

How well does it match the trope?

4.4 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BadassInDistress

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