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Beyond Redemption

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"Some lives aren't worth saving."

The Hero has been trying to make the villain see the light for a while now. Perhaps the hero's said that Good Feels Good, but the villain has thrown it back in his face and said that Evil Feels Good. Maybe the hero has appealed to what they hope is the villain's true self inside, only to find they were acting of their own free will.

Perhaps the villain has Kicked the Dog and rejected any chance at changing his wicked ways one too many times. Maybe the villain has realized the error of his ways, so he wants to change his ways and become good; however, the villain has done something so bad, there's no becoming good now.

At that point, the hero comes to a sad realization: the villain is beyond redemption.

This is when a hero has been making a consistent effort to have a villain turn away from evil and become The Atoner but eventually stops trying. This is often a bad sign for the villain; whereas the hero might have not gone into a fight at full power before, now The Gloves Come Off and they stop holding back. Often occurs towards the climax of a story (especially before the Final Battle, so the hero can really cut loose). Note it's still possible for the villain to pull a Heel–Face Turn for some other reason after a hero decides they're Beyond Redemption. What matters for this trope is that a hero had been trying to turn the villain good, but has given up.

Usually seen in media aimed at young adults and older, or on the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Long-running series often go about this as a way of raising the stakes; if the audience knows that the hero won't go the merciful route anymore, there's sure to be some escalation of tension. If the villain himself thinks he's not worth redeeming, he might say "I've Come Too Far."

This is In-Universe Examples Only, i.e., when a character in the work has the opinion that someone is beyond redemption. The Out-of-Universe variant is Moral Event Horizon.

See also This Is Unforgivable!. Compare Complete Monster, who never had any redeeming qualities to begin with but could also easily become this anyway. Contrast Even Evil Can Be Loved and Good Cannot Comprehend Evil. Not to be confused with It Is Beyond Saving, which is about a place that can't be rebuilt.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: Tatsumi hoped Love Redeems would work on General Esdeath despite his own fear of her. But when she divulges her origins, he's confronted not with a tragic backstory, but the makings of a monster. Esdeath's village and father were destroyed, but due to her father's teachings sticking to her stronger than they should, she did not mourn his death because it meant he was weak. The teigu she used, despite the dangers, did not drive her insane — she embraced its power. Realizing she was a sadistic killer long before she joined the Empire, Tatsumi realizes redemption is impossible for Esdeath and she must be brought down.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z: Despite Cell being a monster who drank 600,000 innocent people, murdered thousands of others on his quest for perfection, killed an alternative version of Future Trunks, and nearly killed Piccolo, Gohan is still unwilling to kill him and begs Cell to repent for his crimes. It's not until Cell crushes 16's head underfoot that he finally crosses the line with Gohan; reaching his Rage Breaking Point, Gohan goes Super Saiyan 2 and does everything he can to make Cell suffer as much as possible for what he's done.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Zamasu is initially a well-meaning Supreme Kai, but soon ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, becoming an Ax-Crazy Knight Templar who's willing to commit genocide and mass murder in the name of his idea of justice. Gowasu still tries to reach out to him, even after finding out about the atrocities Zamasu has committed in Future Trunks' timeline and seeing the results with his own eyes, pleading with him to use the Super Dragon Balls to fix the damage he's done. In response, Zamasu smugly reveals that he and Goku Black destroyed the Super Dragon Balls to prevent anyone from using them against them and tries to kill Gowasu on the spot; it's this that finally forces Gowasu to acknowledge that Zamasu is beyond reason and has to be stopped.
  • In Fist of the North Star, Toki uses his humanity to save quite a few people, and the few people he does kill are presented with painless deaths. It is said that Toki is The Heart, and the only reason he wasn't the successor to Hokuto Shinken was coming down with radiation poisoning. However Raoh's ambitions caused his Start of Darkness to the point that Raoh himself told Toki if he went the wrong path, Toki would be the one to seal his fists. Indeed, Toki eventually decides that Raoh has to be stopped one way or the other after seeing his path of devastation as Ken-Oh, using a Dangerous Forbidden Technique to battle against Raoh. Even then, Toki tries talking Raoh down a few times first, and when it's clear that Raoh won't listen, Toki goes all out.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: This almost happens to Roy Mustang once he finds out that Envy was responsible for the death of Maes Hughes. Roy roasts Envy to hell and back, until it's reduced to its true form. Edward stops Roy before he can kill Envy, and warns him that he has the face of a man who would not be worthy to lead Amestris. With the help of Hawkeye, and Scar of all people, Roy is able to come to his senses and stops himself from killing Envy. Envy cannot understand why they stopped Roy from killing them, and when Edward tells them that he pities them, Envy kills themselves as they couldn’t bear the fact that their enemy pitied them, and Ed doesn’t bother to stop them because he felt that Envy didn’t deserve to live for causing the Ishvalen War of Extermination.
  • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure: Daruizen may be the Starter Villain of the series, but he's also the most dangerous, lacking any comical attributes his other allies have. He was responsible for the sickness that physically crippled Nodoka/Cure Grace for most of her childhood, has major bouts of apathy, and likes to experiment with his Byo-gen Mega Part powers on innocent animals and other humans, one of which he forced injected into Nodoka to briefly create his own partner Kedary. When threatened with death by the Big Bad via assimilation, Daruizen pleaded to Nodoka to let him return to her body so he can recover and escape persecution. Nodoka, knowing full well Daruizen would harm again afterwards, rejects his cries and leaves him to his fate.
  • In Inuyasha, Naraku was created when Onigumo, a human, had merged with a swarm of yokai. Because of this, Kikyo believed that there was a possibility that Naraku could be redeemed. When he nearly kills her at Mt. Hakurei and Kagome saves her, Kikyo realizes she was wrong and Naraku is beyond any hope of redemption.
  • Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has a weird history with this trope. At first, the Joestar family attempts to look past his Card-Carrying Villain status and accept him as one of their own, but once he rejects his humanity and becomes a vampire, he's ultimately seen as no longer worth saving. However, once Jonathan finds out that Dio wasn't actually killed by him, the trope gets subverted, as Jonathan makes one final effort to reform Dio by embracing his disembodied head as he's about to die. The result of this is Jonathan dying, and Dio surviving to steal Jonathan's body. Once Dio returns two parts later, this trope gets double subverted by the greater Joestar bloodline viewing Dio as the worst person alive and the biggest threat to their lineage, whom they must kill at all costs.
  • In Monster Rancher, The Searchers are looking for the Phoenix so that he may turn all the evil monsters into good monsters. Some of the Searchers firmly believe even Big Bad Moo will be redeemed by the Phoenix and state this multiple times, while the others aren't convinced. Later on, when the Searchers first encounter Moo, they find out through a Curb-Stomp Battle that Moo is legitimately pure evil. After this, those who thought Moo could be redeemed now agree he's beyond any sort of redemption. Even after the Phoenix turns all bad monsters into good monsters, Moo is still a heartless villain. One of the main goals of the last season is killing him for good because the heroes know that Moo can't be redeemed.
  • Naruto:
    • In the past, Jiraiya tried to convince his former friend and teammate Orochimaru not to leave the Hidden Leaf Village behind for more power, but Orochimaru rejected Jiraiya's pleas. Since then, Jiraiya has given up on trying to redeem Orochimaru since he chose to defect of his own free will. Jiraiya even tries to convince Naruto not to chase after Sasuke when he followed a similar path, but Naruto has none of it.
      Naruto: If abandoning a friend is what it means to be smarter, I'd rather be a fool for my entire life!
    • After Sasuke turned to the dark side, Naruto kept trying his best to change him. But Sasuke repeatedly rejects the offer. While Naruto remained optimistic that Sasuke would eventually turn back to the light, everyone in the Hidden Leaf Village thinks Sasuke is no longer worth redeeming when his vendetta for his clan's massacre is focused on the village itself. Even Sakura and Kakashi think it's impossible after Sakura was almost killed by Sasuke during his rampage, and Kakashi was appalled by Sasuke showing no hesitation in attacking Sakura.
      • Naruto tries to defy this with his Rival Turned Evil, Sasuke. However, Naruto faces quite a bit of resistance from his allies on the matter, who truly believe that Sasuke is beyond redemption. Eventually, it was Sasuke who chose to redeem himself through a combination of Itachi's will and Naruto defeating him in their final fight at the Valley of the End, deciding to let go of all of his anger.
    • Obito Uchiha believed himself to be this. He was on the side of good by this point but believed his actions in the past made him this trope. Despite this, he does his best to try to do whatever good he can before he dies. How much he redeemed himself is perhaps a matter of perception.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman Vampire: In Crimson Mist, Batman has fully succumbed to his vampire nature and feeds on his Rogues Gallery before beheading them; he's fully aware of what a monster he's become, but is no longer capable of fighting it and is convinced he's taken in too much evil from his victims to be redeemed, reflecting he may very well destroy the world if he isn't stopped. Commissioner Gordon even insists to Alfred that they have to put him down, making the point that Batman killing anyone is proof that the good man he was no longer exists.
    Batman: I have lost all life, so I steal it. I am death, so I bring it. I am damned, and the world may be doomed, its sheep without shepherd, ready for its slaughter. And worst of all, the lost shepherd was me.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader and its prequel, Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith revealed its lead character as this through his various exploits. Though viewed as The Dreaded to the galaxy at large, he feels that his various actions have made him unfit to be redeemed, and serving the Emperor is the only way he can aptly punish himself.
  • A variation in The Killing Joke. Batman tries to extend a last chance at redemption to The Joker. For a moment, Joker actually thinks about it but decides that it's much too late for him, a conclusion Batman appears to accept.
    Batman: We could work together. I could rehabilitate you. You don't need to be out there on the edge anymore. You needn't be alone. We don't have to kill each other. What do you say?
    (Beat Panel, as Joker seriously considers it)
    Joker: No. I'm sorry, but… no. It's too late for that. Far too late.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Mirage): In the short story "Swan Song," taking place in the future, Radical, who had become Leonardo's Love Interest by that time, is attacked by her Arch-Enemy Complete Carnage, who snaps her neck right in front of Leo. Many years later, Leo, having become a Buddhist monk, tracks Carnage down to Hong Kong, where he has kidnapped several people, intending to forgive him for Radical's murder and free the hostages. During the ensuing fight, Leo tries to persuade Carnage to give up his evil ways and learn to understand the true value of life... but when Carnage gleefully kills one of his hostages and mocks Radical's death to Leo's face, Leo snaps, declares that Carnage is irredeemable, and slices him clean in two; that being said, Leo's killing Carnage in a rage is depicted as a Moment of Weakness on his part.
    Leo: You killed her... Like it was nothing... Like you did Radical. I really did come here to forgive you. But you... You're not worthy of forgiveness!
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Aphrodite may be behind the Amazon culture of love and redemption of their criminals, but she's still an Olympian. On a couple of occasions, most notably with Atomia, she decides people are beyond redemption and traps them in And I Must Scream situations.
  • X-Men: For a while following her Heel–Face Turn, Rogue believed that she was Beyond Redemption for what she had done to Carol Danvers as well as for her actions in general as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. It took roughly a year in real publishing time for her to finally realize that redemption was indeed possible for her. Even after that, though, she was still reluctant to be faced with reminders of her past.

    Fan Works 
  • In All That Glitters (Othellia), Elsa believes this about Hans, seeing him as somebody filled with so much hatred that it's impossible for him to redeem himself.
  • Invoked in The Amazing Spider Man True Purpose when Spider-Man is killed by Magik during the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, with several characters making it clear that they won't forgive the X-Men for the wall-crawler's death, to the extent that Valerie Richards is shown contemplating making weapons to go after the team even after the crisis is over; only the fact that various higher powers brought Spider-Man back to life guarantees that they won't outright condemn the X-Men for what happened.
  • Apotheosis (MHA) makes this a matter of opinion. While some, like All Might and Mirio, see Izuku as a Tragic Villain who needs to face justice for his crimes, but is still capable of redeeming himself, others see him as completely past the point of no return, such as Gran Torino and Katsuki. Note that All Might and Katsuki are both especially biased on this front, as both played a part in Izuku becoming a Villain Protagonist in the first place; All Might blames himself for this, while Katsuki refuses to admit any fault beyond thinking that he should have bullied Izuku HARDER.
  • Better Bones AU: Part of Gray Wing's Character Development involves xem realizing that xeir brother will never change for the better.
  • In Code Geass: Paladins of Voltron, when Lelouch came back to Earth with Voltron, while he was certain that his father, Charles, would not surrender right away, he had hoped that after seeing the power that Voltron wielded would convince him to stand down and negotiate. But in the chapter "The Bloodstained Alliance", right as Euphenia had set up the SAZ, along with having five of the seven paladins reveal their identities, Charles announces that he has allied with the Galra Empire, and orders the SAZ to be destroyed, as well declaring the Paladins as traitors to Britannia. This not only comes as a shock to Lelouch, but also makes him realize that there can be no negotiating with Charles, and the Voltron Coalition begins to move against Britannia.
  • A Diplomatic Visit:
    • In the fourth story, The Diplomat's Life, chapter 7 has Starswirl reveal that he firmly believes in this after finding out Aria and Sonata have been welcomed back to Equestria, much to Twilight's annoyance. While she admits that it's true for some villains (like Tirek, the Storm King, and Sombra), she and her friends point out that they've already redeemed Luna, Discord, Trixie, Tempest, and Starlight (and the aforementioned siren pair), and she isn't willing to believe that the Pony of Shadows can't be saved. Starswirl reluctantly admits she may have a point, but still thinks he's right in this case.
    • The epilogue reveals that of the two villains who remained alive and not mentally broken, one of them was confirmed as this - Cozy Glow, even after her body was aged up, remained a sociopath and was ultimately sentenced to permanent petrification.
  • Down And Out: Simon defines himself as this. Part of the reason he wants to die is that he knows no matter how hard he works, his number is so impossibly high that he'll never get off the train. Amelia later reveals that the train itself has come to the same conclusion, which is why the Ghom lurks outside the Mall Car. It's there solely to kill Simon.
    Simon: Look at me, Grace. Even if this 'self-help train' decided I was worth helping, I'd be dead before my number cleared my forehead! What life is there for me beyond this!?
  • Ennea Series: In For Our Sakes, the Voices accepted that all of the members of the League from the Bad Future they came from were irredeemable, as they rejected every attempt to offer them help and understanding. As a result, the Voices are less than enthusiastic about trying to help the modern-day League.
  • In The Faith Chronicles, Quentin Travers, head of the Watchers' Council, has this opinion about Faith in. On the flip side, the Scoobies come to regard Kennedy this way after the battle with Glory. By contrast, someone realizing Faith isn't this is a good indication of Character Development.
  • In The Flash Sentry Chronicles, Grand Hoof had spent years trying to get his son, Doom Raizer, to accept responsibility for his actions. However, due to his neglect after Live Wire, Grand’s wife, and Doom’s mother, had passed away, Doom refuses to take responsibility for his actions, and blames it all on Grand. Not helping matters was that Grand didn’t try to comfort him after his wife Daisy had died, which led Doom to try and build a weapon of mass destruction that he insisted could have been used to protect Equestria. When Grand took Flash Sentry as his apprentice instead of his grandson, Lightning Blitz, and gave the celestic gear Lightbringer to him, Doom saw this as the final straw and sought out an artifact that would grant him extraordinary power to get revenge. During their battle in season three, Grand tried to reason with Doom, but Doom refused to hear him out, saying that it was too late to make amends now. After Flash, along with Lightning Blitz defeat him, Grand tells Doom he’s done trying to reach out to him, and that he’s proud to have his friends and his grandson, even if he has to leave him behind.
  • The Negotiations-verse: Fallen has Multiple Endings; two of them make clear that Princess Celestia's actions have pushed her far beyond this point:
    • In the "Divine Justice" route, Harmony makes no effort to make Celestia realize the error of her ways; so far as they are concerned, if she was capable of recognizing that, she would have done so on her own long before now. As a result, they turn her to stone and seal her statue into the center of the Earth, still fully aware and unable to die until the Earth itself does.
    • In "Harmony's Chosen", Harmony ascends Fluttershy into an alicorn, working through her to strip Celestia and Twilight of their powers. While Twilight survives this process, the much older Celestia goes through No Immortal Inertia as a result.
  • or did it eat the little girl?: Played with in let's go out with a bang!. Kokichi firmly believes that Miu is irredeemable, and is more than happy to remind her of this at every available turn, even cheerfully telling her that she should kill herself. His harassment convinces Miu that there's a blatant Double Standard at play — that he's been forgiven for the crap he pulled inside the simulation, including orchestrating her murder, which feeds her refusal to admit fault. This creates a deadly feedback cycle that continues until Miu has Kokichi at gunpoint, but can't bring herself to pull the trigger, even with him goading her to prove that he was right all along Instead, her breakdown forces him to have a Heel Realization.
  • Pokémon: Harmony and Chaos: Grand Hoof tries to help his grandson Lightning Blitz change for the better since Lightning became bitter and obsessed with power after watching Grand lose his championship title to Shining Armor. But every time Grand has reached out to Lightning, Grand has been rejected and insulted, with Lightning only seeming to get worse with each attempt. The final straw for Grand is seeing Lighting put his Pokémon through Training from Hell before the semi-finals of the Equestria League. This finally convinces Grand that he can't change Lightning, and he's done torturing himself by offering the olive branch. Once Lightning loses to Flash Sentry in the finals of the League though, he has his entire worldview shattered, and when he sees his grandfather again he acknowledges he still has a lot to learn and humbly asks if he would be willing to help teach him. Grand accepts, if Lightning can keep up with him, starting Lightning down the path of redemption.
    Grand: Fine. I understand. I've tried to reach out to you and help, but you reject me every time. I... I can't keep doing this to myself. When you wanna put what happened in the past, you know where to find me. But until then, I wash my hands of you.
  • In the Pony POV Series, a nameless pegasus filly who is implied by Word of God to be Cozy Glow, had created the Concept Killing Spear, a weapon that can kill the Alicorns and the Dragonequase, and used this Spear to kill Cupid. However, it not only killed Cupid, it erased him from history, including millions of people whom he was responsible for their births. When the filly was put on trial, the Father of the Alicorns showed her what would have happened if she used it on any other Alicorn or Dragonequause, but no matter what she was shown, the filly refused to see the error of her ways and threatened to use it again once she was freed. This made the Father of the Alicorns tell Cupid's mother, Venus, to Do with Him as You Will, and as she banished the filly to Tartarus, the filly didn't even bother to try to feign remorse or regret for her actions.
  • Recommencer (Miraculous Ladybug): According to Gabriel's former mentor Cecily, he reached the point of no return long ago. Something they regularly remind him of whenever he visits the Mental World inside the Butterfly Brooch, which has been corrupted by how he's abused its powers.
  • Spectacular Seven:
    • During the fight scene at prom in Volume II, Twilight ultimately concedes this about The Dragon she's most familiar with after what's happened. As a result, Twilight says that she hopes The Dragon will turn over a new leaf but admits that such a thing is a long shot at best. Moondancer not only pulls a Face–Heel Turn but tries to kill the Spectacular Seven. This is due to Moondancer's jealousy of Sunset Shimmer and the desire to be special. Even then, Moondancer is special, since she has powers over moonlight. But she Can't Catch Up to Sunset and has become a yandere who is willing to kill for Twilight's affection. Moondancer even admits she's Driven by Envy during a Villainous Breakdown. On top of that, Big Bad Tempest Shadow shows up after Moondancer has been defeated to put all doubt to rest that Moondancer is working for the bad guys. While Artemis hopes that Moondancer will see the light, Twilight tacitly admits that she's not holding her breath on it.
    • During the fight scene at the wedding in Volume III, some of the Co-Dragons feel this way about the others. Sonata Dusk and Aria Blaze both turn their backs on Tempest Shadow's plan. Sonata turns because she likes how things have been progressing with Pinkie Pie, and Aria turns because Adagio orders Aria to attack Sonata, which Aria refuses to do since while she may be a bad girl, she's not going to attack her sister. Then, Tempest says "Screw This, I'm Outta Here" and leaves Adagio to take the fall for the villains. Even though Adagio lapses into Stunned Silence for a moment, she flees rather than turn good. Both Aria and Sonata then admit that Adagio has always been like this, adding that they don't believe that Adagio will ever see the light. This lack of a Heel–Face Turn for Adagio was set up before, with Sonata and Aria finding things to like about the Spectacular Seven, but Adagio refused to see things eye-to-eye with Applejack.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Belle repeatedly makes it clear she's not interested in Gaston, with everything from gentle rebukes to throwing him out of her house, all while hoping Gaston gets the hint and backs off. When Gaston rallies the villagers and prepares for an assault on the Beast's castle, Belle tells Gaston that he's the real monster, not the Beast. During the Final Battle, when Beast has Gaston at his mercy, Beast tells Gaston to Get Out!. Unfortunately, Gaston doesn’t take the hint and still tries to kill the Beast, leading Belle to only try and save the Beast, not even bothered by Gaston falling to his death.
  • Subverted in Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show. When the Eds’ latest scam forces them to go seek shelter at Eddy’s Brother’s place, Double D tries to get Eddy and Ed to take the situation that they’re in seriously. When Ed and Eddy pretend to sink in some quicksand, Double D begins walking away, but Eddy catches up to him, and the two get into an argument where Double D says that it's Eddy’s fault that they were on the run, while Eddy called Double D out about how his complacency in Eddy’s scams was to blame. After they get into a fight that Double D wins, he declares his intention to return home, and when Ed tries to stop him because of what the kids will do to him, Double D says that he’d rather face his consequences than wander aimlessly with a so-called friend. This causes Eddy to drop his Never My Fault attitude, and admit that he was to blame for their predicament. This convinces Double D that Eddy is not irredeemable, and he immediately rejoins their journey to seek out Eddy’s Brother.
  • Mentioned briefly in Frozen II. Elsa calls Prince Hans an irredeemable monster during the charades game, due to his nefarious plot of taking over the throne of Arendalle by attempting to murder Elsa and Anna. Elsa would later shatter a snow memory of Hans out of spite.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon 2, when Hiccup learns about Drago, he searches him out to try to talk to him. Hiccup’s father, Stoic, repeatedly tells him that Drago is beyond all reason, but Hiccup doesn’t listen. When Hiccup does finally meet Drago, he proves Stoic’s point, by having his own Alpha Dragon kill Velka’s Alpha, then has him Mind Rape Toothless into attacking Hiccup, forcing Stoic into Taking the Bullet, killing him. This makes Hiccup realize that Drago truly is beyond reason, and sets out to stop him for good.
  • Throughout The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Frollo tells Quasimodo that there are people in the world who cannot be granted salvation. After Frollo tries to wipe out the gypsies Quasimodo has become friends with, Quasimodo agrees with Frollo but tells him that he is the one who cannot be granted salvation, not the gypsies. Quasimodo was initially hesitant about this thanks to Frollo raising him but changed his mind.
    Quasimodo: All my life, you've told me that the world is a dark, cruel place. But now I see that the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like you!
    • Later on, the gargoyle statue that Frollo clings on to before his doom comes to life and snarls at him with a demonic grin before breaking off from Notre Dame to cast him down to a fiery sea of molten metal. It's done to show that God declared him to be the "wicked one" who must be "plunged into the fiery pit" for his sins despite being offered chance after chance to repent.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • In the first movie, when Tai Lung defeats Master Shifu, he tries to say that he’s sorry for failing him as a father. But Tai rejects his apology, as he’s not interested in his forgiveness and only wants the Dragon Scroll. When Po arrives and sees Shifu near death, he decides that Tai Lung has to go, and uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on him during their battle.
    • In the second movie, when Shen’s fleet has been destroyed, Po tries to convince him to give up his evil ways. Shen responds by trying to kill Po, and Po dodges out of the way of a piece of debris, which falls on Shen, killing him, with Po showing a look of resignation on his face as he does.
    • In the third film, Po never offers Kai the Conqueror a Last-Second Chance. Considering the atrocities he carried out after escaping the Spirit Realm (destroying the Jade Palace, draining the chi of every Kung Fu master in China, including Shifu and four of the Furious Five then trying to take the Chi of the Panda villagers), it makes sense. Instead, Po flat-out destroys him by overloading him with chi.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, after Egypt has been ravaged by nine plagues, Moses tries one last time to plead for his brother Rameses to let the Hebrews go. Rameses refuses and declares that he will finish what his father started, and wipe out the Hebrews. Moses can only walk away in anguish, deciding that, as horrible as what's about to come is, Rameses simply isn't going to listen to reason. Only after all of the firstborn sons of Egypt, including Rameses' own son, have been taken by the Angel of Death does he let Moses and the Hebrews leave Egypt. However, the grieving Rameses then decides that the final plague will not be stood for and leads his army after the Hebrews determined to slaughter the lot of them, fully cementing that there will be no redemption for the Pharaoh. The Hebrew God Himself, in regards to how Rameses treated His people in order to benefit his own, gives a non-verbal scathing to the man when He spares him alone as if to say, "You ignored my warnings and ignored my command. You want your kingdom so bad, it's yours."
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: Unlike the film's other two antagonists, "Big" Jack Horner has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and relishes in it. He's a Psychopathic Manchild who abuses magical animals, does not respect anyone but himself, has no qualms about killing his henchmen via Friendly Fire and his ultimate goal is to gain control of all of the world's magic. Even the Ethical Bug, who takes it upon himself to be Jack's conscience, gives up and calls him an "irredeemable monster", to which Jack responds with "What took you so long, idiot?" Fittingly, he's the only antagonist to die.
  • Rio has a more Played for Laughs example with Nigel, who brags about being "unwashable", "unrinsible" and having zero principle in his Villain Song.
  • Recess: School's Out: Dr. Phillium Benedict is this to everyone for his pathetic beliefs towards recess as he stubbornly refuses to accept responsibility for his mistakes in the past and instead blames his former friend Principal Prickly for it; even a disgusted Miss Finster pointed this out as the main reason why she rightfully dumped Benedict in the first place. Even when some of the students tried to reason with Benedict before he was told by T.J. about the major flaws and serious consequences that Benedict's plot will bring to the world, Benedict doesn't give a damn by stating that he still wants to try accomplishing it, simply just to spite all the students and teachers.
    T.J.: You got it all wrong, old man, your plan will never work! Sure, maybe your crazy laser beam can move the moon, maybe it can make it snow all summer. Maybe you can get rid of long afternoons playing baseball, or sunny days down by the lake or warm nights camping out under the stars. But that won't stop us: we'll ride our bikes through the snow, we'll play kickball in the slush, we'll camp out in igloos. You may take away summer, but you'll never take away summer vacation!
    Benedict: Well, I can try. (to his scientists) DO IT! NOW!!
  • In Toy Story 3 when Woody and his gang ended up in the dump, Woody and Buzz save Lotso from being shredded, even though he had previously ruled Sunnyside Daycare with an iron fist and subjected Woody’s friends to torture at the hands of toddlers, but then Lotso leaves them all to die in the incinerator. That’s when Woody realizes that Lotso truly is beyond saving. After the toys are saved by the toy aliens with "The Claw", Hamm and Slinky want to get back at Losto for almost getting them killed, but Woody talks them out of it, telling them he’s not worth the trouble. Sure enough, karma bites Lotso hard when he is found by a garbage truck driver and strapped to the grill of the truck with decaying toys.
  • Wish: To Queen Amaya's dismay, once King Magnifico dabbles into forbidden magic, its grip on him is permanent. She mourns for the good he used to have, and only has contempt for the monster he has become.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Aquaman (2018), when Arthur Curry defeats David Kane and his father Jesse Kane while rescuing Russian Submariners, he at first decides to just let them go. But when Jesse fires a grenade launcher at Arthur, which causes a leak and traps him under some debris, David begs Arthur to help him, but Arthur tells him to ‘ask the sea for mercy’. Arthur later comes to regret this, as his decision to abandon Jesse leads David to become Black Manta when Orm/Ocean Master gives him Atlantean technology to even the odds against him.
  • In Brightburn, Tori watches as her son gets superpowers and does all kinds of horrible things with them. Eventually, she decides to exploit his Kryptonite Factor and kill her own son after all of her honest attempts to show him The Power of Love don't work. Too bad for Tori that Brandon catches her before she can do it, and drops her from the upper atmosphere.
  • GoldenEye: James Bond once considered fellow 00-agent Alec Trevelyan his best friend and comrade-in-arms, and even mourned his death. But when Trevelyan reveals that he not only survived the Arkhangelsk explosion, but is also the true villain, Bond's reaction changes to one of shock, and even tries reasoning with him. Trevelyan even laces his Breaking Speech to 007 with derision, mocking his outdated loyalties to England, his constant womanizingnote  and whether he has any qualms killing people. Near the end, Bond makes it clear It's Personal and pays Trevelyan's treachery back by deliberately dumping him down to his death.
    Janus: For England, James?
    James Bond: No. For me.
  • In the climax of The Good Son, Susan is holding her son and veritable Creepy Child Henry as well as her nephew Mark over a cliff, after Henry tackles Mark over it. Despite trying to reform her son, this attempt at murder-suicide by Henry is enough to convince Susan that Henry won't be helped. As a result, Susan lets go of Henry, letting him fall down the cliff to his death while she pulls Mark to safety.
  • In the backstory of Halloween (1978), Dr. Samuel Loomis had tried to reach Michael Myers through psychotherapy and reform him. After more than fifteen years of attempts to reach Michael, Loomis decides that Michael simply has to be stopped, one way or another. In the eyes of the good doctor, Michael's caused way too much harm to be allowed to keep his killing spree going.
    Dr. Loomis: I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply... evil.
  • In the climax of The Long Kiss Goodnight, Charly attempts to reason with Timothy not to hurt her daughter Caitlin by revealing to him that she is not only her daughter but also his daughter. Despite easily accepting the revelation, he still considers locking both women in a freezer. At that point, Charly realized trying to get through to Timothy that they're family is out of the question, so she threatens him that he'll die screaming when she and Caitlin got out of the freezer.
  • Doc Hopper spends most of The Muppet Movie following Kermit to try and convince him to be his spokesman. Kermit refuses, leading Doc to resort to increasingly desperate methods and eventually hiring a gang of criminals to hunt down and kill him. Kermit eventually gives himself up and pleads Doc to give up his pursuit and let him follow his dream, but this only angers Doc into ordering the entire group killed. Animal’s intervention is the only thing that saves them.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Loki's friends and family initially tried to reason with him in Thor, but his tactics in trying to take over the Earth in The Avengers make him a hopeless case in their eyes. In Thor: The Dark World, Odin has him doing porridge for life (and would've had him executed if Frigga hadn't intervened); Thor, Sif, and Volstagg threaten to kill him if he betrays them as he's broken out; and Jane slaps him in the face. Ironically, after they've given up on him, Loki turns a new leaf in Thor: Ragnarok.
    Thor: You should know that when we fought each other in the past, I did so with a glimmer of hope that my brother was still in there somewhere. That hope no longer exists to protect you.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: Philip Swift is a Good Shepherd who believes that everyone has some good in them and can be saved by God's grace, even the likes of Blackbeard himself. Over the course of the film, Blackbeard commits several atrocities that ultimately convince Philip he was wrong and Blackheard can't be saved.
  • Saw: The original Jigsaw killer John Kramer did not believe in this trope, and so he designed his Death Traps to give his victims one last chance to redeem themselves in order to stay alive. His apprentices, however, were not so merciful, and designed their death traps to be inescapable because they believed that their victims were irredeemably awful people who deserved to die. This becomes a source of tension between Kramer and one of his apprentices, Amanda, in the third film.
  • Spirited (2022): The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are part of an organization that haunts nasty, detestable human beings in order to convince them to turn over a new leaf. However, every once in a while the team will come across a human who is “unredeemable” - so dogmatically despicable and resistant to change, any attempt to haunt them will fail and waste resources. Clint Briggs, a man who stirs up controversy for a living, is considered unredeemable, however Present is able to convince management to give him a chance anyway. It is eventually revealed that Present is so invested in Briggs because he himself was an unredeemable - Ebenezer Scrooge himself - and he has insecurities over whether or not he is truly redeemed or not.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Nemesis, when Picard learns that Shinzon is a clone of himself, he tries to invert the "Not So Different" Remark on him to prevent Shinzon from carrying out his plan to destroy the Federation. Shinzon refuses to hear it and tries to acquire Picard’s blood to save his own life because his body is degrading. While en route to Star Fleet reinforcements, Shinzon has his ship, the Scimitar, ambush the Enterprise, and when the two ships are heavily damaged, Shinzon decides to just kill everyone on the Enterprise and then do the same to Earth with the Scimitar’s Thaleron Weapon. This causes Picard to realize that they are Not So Similar, and he personally teleports to the Scimitar to stop Shinzon.
    • In Star Trek Beyond, when Kirk finds out that Krall is Captain Balthazar Edison, he tries to tell him that the Federation views him as a hero for his actions in the Xindi War. Edison, however, rejects his words, because of how he perceives that the Federation abandoned him and his crew when they crash-landed on an uncharted planet. During their final duel, as Kirk works to prevent Edison’s weapon from killing everyone on Starbase Yorktown, a piece of glass flies in front of Edison’s face showing his human face in its reflection. However, Edison ignores his former humanity and uses the glass shard to try to kill Kirk, forcing him to kick Edison into the airlock, along with his weapon, killing Edison.
  • Star Wars:
    • Obi-Wan witnessed Anakin's fall to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith. The two met again a decade later in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, where Vader tells Obi-Wan that Anakin Skywalker is dead and that Vader killed him. At that point, he realizes that Vader can't be redeemed. It's to the extent that in A New Hope, Obi-Wan tells Luke that Vader killed Anakin Skywalker. Luke disagrees, however, and come Return of the Jedi, he ultimately proves to be right.
    • In A New Hope, after Leia gives Tarkin false information on where to find the Rebel Base, he destroys Alderaan, despite telling her that he would spare it if she gave him information. In the radio drama, Leia tells him that if he had a shred of humanity left in him, then it's dead now, and he is at war with life itself.
    • In The Last Jedi, Rey spends the movie learning that Kylo Ren had his Face–Heel Turn because it appeared that Luke was going to put him down. After chewing out Luke for it, Rey tries to reach out to Kylo Ren, and they even kill Snoke and his guards together. But when he makes a "We Can Rule Together" offer to her, Rey rejects it and realizes he's too far gone. They go back to being enemies. In The Rise of Skywalker, it took his mother's death and Rey using Force Heal on him to finally make him turn away from the dark side.
  • In Bloodlust: Subspecies III Michelle pleads with her vampire sire, Radu, to let her see her sister one last time and allow her to live. She says that she will forgive him for all that he's done to her (murdering her two friends, turning her into a vampire in a way that really mirrors rape, killing her newly found lover). Radu, who had just murdered his mother (and earlier his father, and brother (the aforementioned lover), stares into the fireplace where his mother's head is still burning and muses that there isn't enough forgiveness in the universe for all that he has done.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Optimus executes both Megatron and Sentinel Prime because of this. Megatron had committed many atrocities in his bid to conquer Cybertron, including nearly destroying Earth twice, so he couldn't be permitted to live. Sentinel was Optimus' mentor figure who taught him that freedom was the right of all sentient beings, beliefs that Optimus still holds true to his spark. Sentinel betrayed those beliefs when he sided with the Decepticons and tried to enslave humanity to rebuild Cybertron.

  • The Bad Guys: Mr. Snake believes himself to be this; having spent so much of his life being seen and behaving as an unsympathetic monster, he has a hard time believing Mr. Wolf when he insists Snake can be a hero. Even with Wolf's Positive Friend Influence, Snake has a hard time accepting his own reformation, and this is what allows the Overlord to corrupt him, turning him into one of his servants.
  • The Emperor's Gift: The Space Wolves believe the Inquisitor Kysnaros and his forces went beyond the pale when they invited the Space Wolves to a parley to negotiate a ceasefire, then opened fire on the Space Wolf vessels when they arrived, destroying four with all hands and crippling Grimnar's flagship. Before this incident, the Space Wolves had refrained from trading fire with Inquisitorial ships while protecting Armageddon refugee ships, not wanting to give the Inquisition an excuse to brand them traitors. Afterwards, the Wolves no longer hold fire or show mercy when confronting Inquisition and Grey Knight forces.
  • Discussed in Book 3 of The Expanse. The book poses the question of redemption throughout and in particular the question of if a line can be drawn to define when someone is beyond redemption and if so, where to draw that line. Multiple characters have different stances on the matter, ranging from “every human life has value, no matter how tainted or corrupted” to “it is entirely possible for someone to go so far into the red that they can never balance the books.“ Melba Koh/Clarissa Mao in particular seems to constantly zig-zag where she draws that line with respect to herself and others, depending on her mental state and self-awareness.
  • Harry Potter: The sixth book reveals that Voldemort broke his soul into pieces and hid the fragments in various Soul Jars in an attempt to achieve immortality; the only way to repair a soul once it has been ripped apart in such a way is for the person to feel genuine remorse for their actions. In book seven, Harry finds out that once Voldemort dies, the last remaining piece of his soul will be left a shriveled husk, stuck in the limbo between life and death and unable to pass on into the afterlife, so in their final battle, Harry offers Voldemort one last chance to save himself. However, Voldemort seems unable to even comprehend the concept of remorse, and Harry gives up after a moment.
    "But before you try to kill me, I’d advise you to think about what you’ve done... Think, and try for some remorse, Riddle..."
    "What is this?"
    Of all the things that Harry had said to him, beyond any revelation or taunt, nothing had shocked Voldemort like this. Harry saw his pupils contract to thin slits, saw the skin around his eyes whiten.
    "It's your one last chance," said Harry, "and it's all you've got left... I've seen what you'll be otherwise... Be a man... try... Try for some remorse..."
  • Into The Broken Lands: Lord Ryan decides he needs to execute his cousin Lyelee, not specifically because they murdered their own friend in cold blood for knowing too much, but because they didn't care at all about committing the murder.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer: The Villain Protagonist's brother Horst helps him collect 100 souls for his Deal with the Devil on the condition that the targets are probably already damned on their own merits. When Johannes entraps an innocent woman in a cruel Leonine Contract, Horst decides there's no hope for Johannes, sabotages the deal to lead to his death, and commits Suicide by Sunlight. Ironically, Johannes starts to change for the better immediately afterwards.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror
    • The Daybreak Massacre is seen as Dayless the Conqueror proving himself irredeemable by most of the world. The city had rebelled against the Dawn Empire, disrupting the supply chain and causing a serious defeat. Dayless responded by flying to the city with his annihilators and reducing it to a smoking ruin, killing over a million innocent people in one stroke. This was the action that prompted the Archknights to finally set aside their political neutrality and enter the fray against the Dawn Empire.
    • This trope is one of the main focuses of the novel; after the fall of his Empire (the establishment of which he considered at the time to be an act of good), Dayless spent many decades in hiding as a harmless civilian and came to regret his actions, and during the book performs a great many heroic actions (albeit frequently in a ruthless and bloodthirsty manner). It is left as an open question for both characters and readers as to whether the new Dayless should be considered a completely different person from the old one, or still an impulsive and violent fighter who has gained a different perspective on morality, or whether he should still be punished for his crimes and what form that punishment should take. The solution they settle on putting him in service to the Archknights under strict supervision is taken as much out of pragmatism as out of anyone honestly believing there is a truly "right" answer.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boston Public: After one of her students makes a racist remark, Woods decides to arrange an after-school session with him to help overcome his mindset, rather than to suspend him immediately. Principal Harper warns her that people like him rarely change but then decides that he will be suspended if he does not cooperate. Needless to say, he doesn't, even as she pleads how hard it must be to carry such hatred around, and even cites some of the other teachers as "niggers and Jews" that the school is run by. She gets the hint, and the rest is history.
  • Discussed in the final season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. With increased awareness of the Inherent in the System problems with American policing following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, the nine-nine is split in regards to whether the system can be reformed, or if it's pointless to even try. Holt believes reform is possible, while Rosa resigns, refusing to work for a system that mistreats minorities like herself.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In Season 2, when Angel loses his soul and becomes Angelus, Buffy and the Scoobies are initially focused on finding a way to restore said soul. Then comes "Passion", when Angelus kills Jenny Calendar; Xander cites this as evidence that Angelus is a monster who needs to be staked, and Buffy agrees, remarking that she's finally ready to slay him after the fact.
      Buffy: I can't hold onto the past anymore. Angel is gone. Nothing's ever gonna bring him back.
    • In Buffy Season 3, Faith begins to go rogue after accidentally killing the Deputy Mayor. Willow of all people asks the other Scoobies why they should help Faith. Since Faith had taken a human life and tried to pin it on Buffy and had also tried to strangle Xander to death, Willow believes that the smartest thing to do would be to turn Faith over to the police or the Watchers' Council and be done with it. In "Choices", when Faith and Willow confront one another, Faith expects Willow to give her a speech that it wasn't too late to turn back, only to be caught off-guard when Willow gives Faith a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and declares it is too late. Buffy herself eventually comes to agree with Willow after Faith swaps bodies with her and uses it to her advantage to have sex with Riley; when they confront one another in L.A., Buffy is determined to have Faith either killed or locked up, not caring that Faith is remorseful of her crimes and firmly believing that she can't be saved and Angel is wasting his time trying to help her.
      Faith: Angel told me there was no way you were gonna give me a chance.
      Buffy: I gave you every chance! I tried so hard to help you, and you spat on me!
    • Angel: As of Season 5, Angel and his crew believe this of Lindsey McDonald, considering his ambitions and constant trips through the Heel–Face Revolving Door. It's to the extent that in "Not Fade Away", when they team up against the Circle of the Black Thorn, Lorne shoots him dead on Angel's orders; having previously heard Lindsey sing and read his future, Lorne states outright that Lindsey isn't part of "the solution" and never will be.
      Lindsey: There's always time for redemption. Isn't that your whole bit?
      Angel: You had your chance. I guess some people, they just never change.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • A driving question throughout the first five seasons is whether or not Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, is really capable of turning over a new leaf and caring about others. Season Five concludes that while he can build emotional bonds with others, it'll never be enough to get him to change; as shown when he readily plans to sacrifice his pupil Nora West-Allen/XS to save himself from being executed for his crimes. It's at this point that XS and her mother Iris finally give up on him along with the rest of Team Flash.
    • In Season 5, there is also the case of Grace Gibbons, the second Cicada. A victim of a deadly metahuman attack, Grace grew up hating superpowered individuals, and the shrapnel in her head certainly wasn't helping her mental state. She goes back to the past in order to wipe out metahumans altogether, and despite several reasons to get to her, team Flash realizes she has to be given up in order for her past self to be saved. Thanks to the mental assistance of Nora, future Grace is held back long enough for Barry to blast her dagger back into the future, causing Cicada to evaporate and die.
    • Clifford DeVoe becomes increasingly violent and coldblooded over the course of Season 4, but his wife Marlize still banks her final plan to save the world on Barry going into his mind and appealing to his good side. When he reports that DeVoe has no good side to appeal to, she finally realizes that he has to be stopped by any means and ends up literally pulling the plug on him herself.
  • Power Rangers
    • Dr. Viktor Adler from Power Rangers Wild Force. Formerly a friend to Cole's birth parents, Adler fell in love with Cole's mother, but got the wrong idea she loved him. Adler also learned Cole's father had proposed to her on the day Adler was planning to do the same thing, without her knowing. Becoming increasingly hateful to them for thinking Cole's father stole his life's work and a chance at a family, Adler swallowed the seeds of the original Master Org and sought their deaths, then decided to destroy nature and humanity out of spite. When Cole chooses to forgive Adler in hopes of changing his ways, Adler rejects them wholeheartedly. Princess Shayla later tries the same thing, but Adler's soul has long since corrupted even before the original Master Org started using his body, making it clear his I've Come Too Far moment isn't out of regret, but a reminder he doesn't want to redeem himself. Thus, Cole and Shayla, both valuing life, realize Adler has no good in him and must be destroyed.
    • Lothor, formerly known as Kiya Watanabe, from Power Rangers Ninja Storm is banished from the Ninja Academy for trying to use dark magic to unlock the green amulet. Years later in the first episode, he returns from outer space (where he was sent after his banishment) to get revenge on his twin brother, Kanoi for his part in the banishment. Kanoi (now Sensei Watanabe) tries to reason with him in his plans, but Lothor refuses to hear his pleas even going so far as turning him into a guinea pig during their fight. Since then, Kanoi is convinced that Lothor is not worth redeeming going so far as to disown their family relationship whenever it's being talked about.
    • Subverted with Ransik in Power Rangers Time Force. In the final battle, he was actually winning, but when he discovered that he attacked Nadira, his own child, he was horrified. Using a baby she rescued, a little boy, as an example, Nadira got Ransik to realize that what he had become that he felt guilt for his crimes and surrendered. In Wld Force's "Reinforcements from the future", Ransik and Nadira travel back to the year 2002 with Lucas, Katie, and Trip to help all 12 rangers defeat the Mut-Orgs, who Ransik created and feels great remorse for doing so. In a near-suicidal attack, Ransik destroys the Mut-Orgs' mutant halves, allowing the Rangers to destroy them. Ransik's near suicidal attack almost killed him, but it also healed him of his mutation, making him fully human and fully redeeming himself. In Power Rangers Hyper Force, Ransik started a Mutant Rehabilitation Program to further atone for his past and to help make mutants into functioning citizens in society.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko believed that the universe was all different shades of gray, and assumed that Gul Dukat was not as evil as the Bajorans said that he was. However, in the season 6 episode "Waltz", Sisko and Dukat get trapped on a desolated planet while en route to Dukat’s trial, and when Dukat goes completely insane from the hallucinations that he had been seeing throughout the episode, it causes Sisko to realize that there really are people like Dukat who are completely evil. After that, Sisko vows to eliminate Dukat the next time he sees him.
  • The finale of Ultraman Geed ends with a battle between Father and Son, Ultraman Belial and Ultraman Geed. During which, Geed peers into Belial's past and realizes just how insane his thirst for power has corrupted him: Having Frozen over the Land of Light and stealing its Sun to power himself and his army, invaded another universe and blown up countless worlds to harvest extremely powerful emeralds to destroy the Land of Light and conquer all universes, possessed Ultraman Zero himself and murdered his friends out of spite and to control Zero's own body as his own, blown up Riku's universe (which had to be rebuilt by Ultraman King sacrificing his body in order to rebuild it, and even creating Riku only so that he could harness King's power so Belial could use it as his own without any regard for Riku/Geed's own life. Even after all this, Geed still attempts to reach out to his father to try and persuade him to let go of his quest for vengeance and power, and surprisingly comes closer than anyone has (not for a lack of trying) when Belial briefly regains his original form prior to being possessed by Alien Reiblood (something that has never been attempted in the 8 years Belial has been a part of the franchise). However, his efforts are fruitless, and Belial brushes him off, forcing Geed to go through with the task of killing him to save his universe.
  • Alien Nowar in Ultraman Cosmos gets a nonverbal example. After several Kick the Dog moments make it clear that the whole species has a complete Lack of Empathy, Cosmos, who has dedicated his existence to preserving life whenever possible, slices the ship in half in a Tranquil Fury, completely exterminating the race.

  • Some sects of Christianity believe that there are some sins that are so severe, that God will not accept them into Heaven even if they repent their sins. Other sects of Christianity defy this, as they believe that as long as one repents their sins, no matter how severe it is, then God will forgive them and welcome them into Heaven. The Puritans in particular believed that if one were to sin just once, then not only was the person doomed to eternal damnation, but it would also spell doom for the entire community. Relatedly, apocryphal texts claim that Demons (as Fallen Angels) are this; not because they're just that evil, mind, but because an angel does everything in full knowledge of all consequences of its actions, so an angel that Falls will never change its mind and repent, and thus can't be forgiven.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the Oath of Redemption is one of the Paladin's subclasses, which centers around redeeming evildoers. One of the four tenets of the oath is to have the wisdom to acknowledge that there eventually comes a point where someone can't seek forgiveness for their evil actions, and to make the careful and grim final judgement that there is no hope of redeeming the subject in question. At that point, the Oath of Redemption Paladin needs to follow through with ending that evildoer's life for the safety of the world.
  • Warhammer 40,000: At the end of the Horus Heresy, the Emperor of Man did battle with his favored son Horus. Despite the atrocities that he committed, the Emperor held back because he couldn’t fully bring himself to kill Horus. When Horus had critically injured the Emperor, forcing him to pull back, a lone Imperial Guardsman, Ollanius Pius, stood between Horus and the Emperor. After witnessing Horus ruthlessly kill Ollanius, the Emperor stopped holding back and killed Horus.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere:
      • In the UPEO-Neucom route, when Cynthia learns about the Ouroboros organization and their ideals of Brain Uploading, she defects to them because she hopes to use it For Science!. Fiona, Cynthia’s younger sister, tried to convince her not to go because Ouroboros was a terrorist organization. When Cynthia ignores her sister and joins Ouroboros, the next time they meet, Fiona is all too eager to dogfight against her sister.
      • If Nemo defects with Cynthia to Ouroboros, she learns that Abyssal Dision, the leader of Ouroboros, and a Brain Upload himself, hates what he has become, is only out for revenge. Cynthia tries to convince Dision of the possibilities for human evolution through Brain Uploading, but Dision refuses to hear her out, causing Cynthia to realize too late that she should have listened to her sister, and defects from Ouroboros with Nemo to stop Dision.
    • In the Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown SP Mission ‘Ten Million Relief Plan’, when Matias Torres gets backed into a corner he fakes a surrender so that he could line up a shot towards the Osean capital of Oured to try to end the war. However, David North, the intelligence analyst who had been assisting the LRSSG hunt down Torres, sees through his ruse and tries and fails to stop Torres from going through with his plan, forcing Trigger to disobey orders, and fire on the Alicorn right before it can shoot, throwing off its trajectory. After that, the LRSSG decide that they’re done trying to negotiate with Torres, and sink him along with the Alicorn to the bottom of the ocean.
  • In Baldur's Gate, Jon Irenicus's speech to Ellesime at the Tree of Life showed the latter that the former was a man who, up until that point, had been unrepentant and sadistic. Ellesime tries to reason with Irenicus about the love they used to share, but Irencius is so consumed by hatred that he won't back down from his Evil Plan to shed his mortal form and become a god, through any means necessary. Ellesime sadly concludes that there's nothing left of Jon to save, and that she has to stop him.
    Irenicus: I... I do not remember your love, Ellesime. I have tried to. I have tried to recreate it, to spark it anew in my memory. But it is gone... a hollow, dead thing. For years, I clung to the memory of it. Then the memory of the memory. And then nothing. The Seldarine took that from me, too. I look upon you and I feel nothing. I remember nothing but you turning your back on me, along with all the others. Once my thirst for power was everything. And now I hunger only for revenge. And I will have it!
    Ellesime: Then I pity you. Would that you had used your stolen mortal years to earn your return to this sacred place... I could have you anew as I loved the man you once were. But I see nothing of him here. You are Irenicus. And all that awaits you now... is death.
  • In the backstory of Destiny, a Guardian whose name had been lost to historynote  had been corrupted by the forces of darkness and went by the name of Dredgen Yor. His Ghost had tried to get him to come back by calling him his original name, but when he threatened to kill her for calling him by that name, it made her realize that the Guardian she once knew was gone.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: When Barbados throws away Akira's mercy and destroys Pon Pon Village, the latter decides they can no longer spare the former and kills him. They state that Barbados had the potential to be a good person, but they also recognize that the person he has become will never live up to that potential. Although Kael holds a grudge against Akira for doing so, he also admits that he has conflicting feelings because even he believes his brother committed an unforgivable atrocity.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Final Boss of the Pandaemonium raid series of Endwalker ends up being painted in this light as time goes on. Towards the end of the raid series, the heroes declare that they're done trying to save the Big Bad, as it's revealed through their battles in Pandaemonium that the Big Bad's Godhood Seeker experiments might cause The End of the World as We Know It, or at least put a tyrant in charge of the world. And upon the villain rejecting the chance to turn back, the heroes decide that their words would be wasted if they kept trying. Erichthonios wonders if Athena could have been a truly loving mother to him and wife to Lahabrea if she'd never discovered the Heart of Sabik. But as the raid series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear that she was always a monster manipulating people for her own ends, and that the Heart of Sabik simply stripped away any inhibitions she had left. Themis declares that he will cast judgment on her as Elidibus the Emissary, and Athena treated with complete contempt from the penultimate fight of the raid onward.
  • In the final mission of the Crimson Flower route in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Edelgard tries to get Rhea to surrender when she retreats to Fhirdiad with the remaining Knights of Seiros and Kingdom of Faerghus soldiers. But when Rhea orders her forces to set fire to the city, Edelgard calls for the Black Eagle Strike Force to assault the city and finish off Rhea, as she has gone completely insane at this point.
  • By the time Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator begins, Cassette Man has come to firmly believe that his old business partner, the inventor William Afton and the murderer of the children, has to be stopped by any means necessary. After making sure he and the remaining animatronics are trapped in a burning building with no way out, Cassette Man firmly says that the only place William is going to is Hell.
    Cassette Man: The darkest pit of Hell has opened to swallow you whole, so don't keep the Devil waiting, old friend.
  • God of War:
    • God of War (PS4): Kratos is convinced this applies to himself for most of the game, after all the chaos and atrocities he committed in the original series against the Greek pantheon and the mortals of Greece. At one point, he's confronted by the spirit of Athena, who tells him point-blank that no matter how much he tries to be a better person, he can't change and will always be a monster, to which Kratos concurs. However, while Kratos is convinced he can't be redeemed, he still makes an effort to ensure Atreus doesn't walk down the same path as he did, and by the end of the game, he seems to have realized that he can at least keep trying. During the Final Boss fight, Kratos offers a chance for the antagonist to walk away. It's rejected. Kratos opts to spare Baldur's life, warning him to not lay a hand on him, his son, or his mother Freya. Kratos even warns Baldur, repeatedly, that Vengeance Feels Empty and that he should just walk away. Immediately afterwards, Baldur turns on Freya, refusing to forgive her for placing the curse on him that robbed him of his senses and attempting to choke her to death. Realizing he's too far gone to be reasoned with, Kratos steps in and snaps Baldur's neck.
      Kratos: The cycle ends here. We must be better than this.
    • God of War Ragnarök: The Arc Words of the game are "be better"; the Central Theme is breaking your own patterns of destructive behaviour and choosing to be a better person than you were. As such, the heroes decide that they're not beyond redemption, whereas the villains have decided that they've come too far to turn back, and actively reject the idea of being better.
      • Kratos exemplifies this in the end. This trope is firmly defied when he sees a mural of his prophesized future depicting him as a god that is beloved and worshiped rather than hated or feared. The sight of it renders him speechless and he very nearly weeps.
        Mimir: What did you see in there, brother?
        Kratos: A path. One I had... never imagined.
      • Played straight with the final boss. While Freya forgives Kratos for Baldur's death in the previous game and Thor decides to turn over a new leaf before Odin kills him, Odin firmly rejects any attempt to be better after Atreus pleads with him that he can choose to be better - resulting in Atreus putting him down for good.
        Atreus: You have to stop. You can choose to be better.
        The Final Boss: No... I can't. I have to know what happens next. I will never stop.
        Atreus: Why'd you have to say that?
  • Played with in Halo 2. Thel'Vadam is put on trial for his failure to protect Halo, and the Covenant Council declares him a heretic, with the Prophet of Truth telling him that he will be left behind for his heresy when the "Great Journey" begins. After being branded with the Mark of Shame, and brought before the prophets in the Mausoleum of the Arbiter, the Prophet of Truth tells Thel'Vadam that the prophets don’t see him as a heretic, as he rightfully bore the blame for Halo’s destruction, and name him the Arbiter so that he can repent for his failure. However, near the end of the game, Tartarus reveals to Thel'Vadam that the prophets only saw him as a means to an end, and they order Tartarus to kill him as they no longer had any use for him. In a twist of irony, come Halo 3, Thel'Vadam declares the Prophet of Truth to be beyond redemption, personally killing him before he can activate the Halo Array.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Dream Drop Distance, when Esmerelda tells Riku about Frollo and his prejudice against gypsies, Riku asks her if Frollo was always like this, implying that Riku wants to speak with Frollo so he can try to win him over to the light. However, after seeing Frollo attempt to burn down someone's house because he suspected they were holding gypsies, Riku declares that Frollo is beyond saving and will ultimately have to be subdued with force.
      Riku: He won't listen. Once you've fallen that far, there's almost no turning back.
    • In III, no character aside from Eraqus sees in Xehanort anything salvageable or good, particularly Sora and Kairi as evidenced in both Re𝄌Mind and Melody of Memory. It's likely that Xehanort even saw himself as this in the end, adding an extra layer to him telling Eraqus "It is too late!" when asked to do the right thing by handing over the χ-blade.
  • Mortal Kombat 11: The Aftermath DLC shows Sindel joining forces with Shao Kahn into launching an assault against the heroes in Kronika's keep under Shang Tsung's orders. Kitana believes that her mother has fallen into Shao Kahn's brainwashing as an explanation for her actions. However, Sindel reveals that she committed the actions of her own free will, not from being brainwashed by Shao Kahn. Also, she is truly responsible for the murder of her first husband and Kitana's father, Jerrod for being perceived as a weak ruler. With this, she found true love with Shao Kahn. From this revelation, Kitana angrily lamented to Sindel that she should have stayed dead.
  • Octopath Traveler:
    • Wide-Eyed Idealist Alfyn saves the life of a man named Miguel by healing an infected wound. Through his travels, Alfyn learns that Miguel is a noted thief and murderer. Alfyn is warned about this by Ogen, another apothecary, saying "some lives aren't worth saving". Alfyn insists on healing Miguel anyway, especially once Miguel swears that he'll give up the criminal life. Later, Miguel goes back on his word. He kidnaps a young child, flees into the forest, and reveals that he'd been lying the whole time about turning over a new leaf. Enraged, Alfyn defeats Miguel in a fight (re-opening Miguel's wound in the process), rescues Miguel's hostage, and leaves Miguel to die in the forest.
    • Speaking of Ogen (see the quote at the top), he holds this attitude towards not only Miguel (about whom he turns out to be right), but himself as well. This is due to Ogen murdering the man who killed Ogen's wife after receiving life-saving medical treatment from him, which caused him to become a cynic and intentionally not treat his own sicknesses. Late in Alfyn's story arc, Alfyn has to save Ogen from dying of the disease while giving Ogen a "No More Holding Back" Speech.
  • In Oxenfree, the entire cast will consider you to be this if you are willing to give Clarissa's soul to the Sunken, even if you ultimately save her later.
  • In Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves steal the hearts of corrupt adults who are actively causing harm to others and are too far gone to be reasoned with. When redemption is actively refused, the Thieves force the issue with Heel–Face Brainwashing.
    • The first target, Suguru Kamoshida, had a variation of this. Kamoshida is meant to be as unlikable as possible; he leaks Joker's criminal record to make him an instant social pariah, abuses his students, and openly lusts for teenagers half his age. Kamoshida gets away with all of it thanks to the school protecting him because he coaches the school's star volleyball team. Several characters openly hate Kamoshida's guts, especially Ryuji and Ann, who are both victims of his abuse. Despite this, when Ryuji learns that stealing Kamoshida's twisted desires may kill him if done incorrectly, Ryuji and Joker are both hesitant to go through with it. However, Kamoshida then makes Ann's best friend Shiho attempt suicide by jumping off of the school's roof to escape the physical and sexual abuse that Kamoshida was putting Shiho through. The game also heavily implies that Kamoshida raped Shiho after she was told to come to his office (with the anime version making this more explicit). After that, Joker, Ryuji, and Ann decide they don't care if Kamoshida dies anymore; they just want him gone.
      Morgana: Can I assume that you've made up your minds about this—about how [Kamoshida] might suffer a mental shutdown?
      Ryuji: ...I have. Someone almost died because of him! I don't give a rat's ass what happens to him anymore!
    • Yusuke was long in denial about his teacher Madarame exploiting his students by stealing the credit for their work, despite having seen some evidence of it. Yusuke repeatedly insists that Madarame is innocent of the accusations, though it eventually becomes clear that Yusuke is desperately denying the man who saved his life and took him in could possibly be that bad. After facing Madarame's Shadow and seeing Madarame's true character, Yusuke summons his Persona for the first time and resolves to change his now-former mentor by force. Then, after learning that Madarame let Yusuke's mother die when she had a seizure by not calling for help, all so he could exploit her most personal work for the sake of profit, Yusuke declares that he has no more reason to forgive Madarame.
    • Haru reaches this conclusion about her father when his Shadow makes it clear that he sees her as a bargaining chip for him to achieve political power, that he knowingly exploits his workers and he ultimately sees his company as a stepping stone. She then fully commits to the plan to steal her father's heart. But Haru still grieves his death after Okumura is murdered by Black Mask, and she has to watch him die on TV.
    • Averted by a late-game antagonist. While the Thieves don't necessarily forgive one particular criminal for their actions, the Thieves believe redemption is still possible for them. As Black Mask, Goro Akechi reveals that he's got big-time Bastard Angst over his father, Masayoshi Shido, not acknowledging him. When the Thieves unintentionally throw a wrench into this plan, Akechi has a Villainous Breakdown, goes psychotic, and reveals that he's The Dragon for Shido who caused the mental shutdown epidemic throughout Tokyo. However, after defeating him, Akechi believes the Thieves are going to kill him, but is baffled when the Thieves try to accept him back into their ranks anyway. Even then, the Thieves admit that while they don't really forgive him for his actions, they understand why he did what he did, and want him to help them take down Shido. However, Akechi ends up holding the line for the Phantom Thieves when a cognitive version of himself shows up, and his ultimate fate is left up in the air.
  • Prayer of the Faithless: When Mia declares that "It's become abundantly clear to me now that we are beyond the point of reconciliation." in the cutscene after Gauron speaks in a non-flashback for the first time.
  • The whole world comes to this conclusion with the Federation in Project Wingman. In mission 20, Sicario and the Cascadians successfully recapture the capital city of Presidia, and delegates from both sides come to the table to arrange for a ceasefire. Unfortunately, Crimson 1 arrives and nukes Presidia to oblivion with cordium bombs just as soon as negotiations were about to begin. As a result, the whole world has come to see Crimson 1’s actions as one last act of cowardly spite from the Federation, with it being heavily implied that the Federation will soon collapse.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002):
    • In the original game, during the final battle with Chairmen Drek, Clank tries to talk him out of destroying Veldin, Ratchet's homeworld, to make room for the Blarg's new homeworld. However, Drek reveals that he was the one who polluted the Blarg homeworld and that he gets paid millions of bolts for every square inch of the new planet that he built. Drek also reveals that once colonization begins, he's going to repeat the process, by polluting the new world and building another planet to nab him a lot more money. Realizing that Drek was never a Well-Intentioned Extremist, Clank carries on with Ratchet to stop Drek, even blowing up the very planet that he had built.
    • Subverted with Captain Qwark in Up Your Arsenal. In the first game, Qwark was revealed to have been working with Drek for money. In the second game, Going Commando, he tried to frame Ratchet and Clank for the Protopet. In Up Your Arsenal, he goes missing after the second game, and Ratchet and Clank need to find him in order to stop his old nemesis Doctor Nefarious. But two-thirds of the way through the game, Qwark fakes his death and goes into hiding again. When Ratchet and Clank find him again, he refuses to help them, and Ratchet can only walk away in disgust, saying that he had hoped that he could be a hero again. Then during the final battle with Doctor Nefarious, Qwark pulls a Big Damn Heroes moment and helps Ratchet and Clank stop Nefarious, proving that he wasn't irredeemable.
  • In Skies of Arcadia, Enrique is an Anti-Villain who tries to convince his mother, Empress Teodora of Valua, that her desire for conquest is misguided. However, she not only won't be swayed, but the atrocities that Valua commits keep ramping up. Eventually, Enrique sees he can't talk his mother out of her madness and becomes a Defector from Decadence (pulling a Heel–Face Turn at the same time) by joining Vyse's crew and helping him steal the Delphinus. Upon going back to Valua after Teodora plans to summon each Gigas, Enrique tries one last time to talk Teodora into not following through with it, but she still refuses to listen. Finally fed up, Enrique draws his sword and prepares to kill his own mother to stop Valua's madness. Too bad for Enrique that Belleza knocks him out before he can, but the intent was still there.
  • In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, after Bentley discovers that Penelope is working for Le Paradox out of greed and jealousy, he confronts her in the remnants of her Moat Monster with the intent of reasoning with her. He at first asks why she betrayed himnote , before telling her he won't be a villainnote  and asking if she loves money more than himnote . When Penelope refuses to listen to Bentley and babbles on of her evil plans, he has enough and calls her an idiot, before making one more plead to her by stating Le Paradox will dispose of her when she outlives her usefulness. This triggers Penelope's Villainous Breakdown and she attacks him. As a result, Bentley is convinced that Penelope is an irredeemable sociopath, and he abandons her, looking away in shame and regret.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Initially, Peter is determined to save Otto from himself and repeatedly reminds him of the good man he once was... but then Otto reveals that he knew Peter was Spider-Man all along, meaning he had planned the Sinister Six formation and release of Devil's Breath (which is killing Aunt May and countless other citizens as they speak) behind Peter's back and exploited the knowledge of their borderline father-son-esque relationship to best lure him into traps and danger. Hearing this, Peter stops holding back and beats Otto down, sadly acknowledging his hero is beyond saving.
  • Tales Series
    • At the end of Tales of Symphonia, when Mithos has been reduced to his soul residing in his Cruxis Crystal, he insists that the party destroy the Cruxis Crystal, stating that if Lloyd doesn't, Mithos will be trapped in the crystal forever as a Fate Worse than Death, and Lloyd will be unable to save the world. He tells the party that he has no regrets for what he’s done in the past four thousand years: splitting the world in two, having the two worlds compete for mana, have the Desians terrorize the world losing mana, and having young humans make a Senseless Sacrifice to bring back mana, all so that he could find/create a vessel for his sister’s soul, and says that he would do it all again just to see his sister again. This causes Lloyd to decide to destroy Mithos’ Cruxis Crystal, as it shows that Mithos will never move on from his sister’s death, and will never let go of his hatred for humans. That being said, Genis sees this as a Mercy Kill for his former friend, and Lloyd still feels some sorrow for how Mithos turned out.
    • In Tales of the Abyss, when Van is revealed to be a traitor, Luke and Tear are in denial at first, the former because Van is his teacher and the latter because Van is her brother. After the events of Akzeriuth, in which Van manipulates Luke into destroying a town, both Luke and Tear come to accept that Van has to be stopped, one way or another. Near the end, when Van is in the final stages of carrying out his plan to replace the world with replicas, the party tries to present Van with an alternative and show how his plan to Screw Destiny is ultimately flawed. Van rejects the party because he's come too far to back down now. With all other options now gone, the party is forced to kill Van to stop him from going through with it.
    • Tales of Vesperia:
      • When Commandant Alexei is revealed to be a traitor, Flynn tries multiple times to get him to stop. Even after he Mind Rapes Estelle and floods Zaphias with tainted aer, Flynn still tries to get Alexei to go back to his old ways. It's not until Zaude, when Alexei tries to kill Yuri, that Flynn gives up on Alexei.
      • Yuri inverts this on himself, believing that he'll never be a good guy anymore. He flat out tells Flynn that he's already dirtied his hands, and later tells Sodia that he admits that he's a criminal, and that he's willing to do whatever it takes to bring about justice. Estelle disagrees, as she insists that he would only turn his blade on someone who deserved it and that as long as Yuri has her and his friends, then he's not truly beyond redemption.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • With the exception of Jaina Proudmoore, this is everyone's opinion on Arthas, the former paladin turned Lich King. A quest in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion has the Champion discover that Arthas had removed his own heart and discarded it into the depths below the Icecrown Citadel. When Tirion Fordring is informed of this, he and the Champion infiltrate the Icecrown Citadel to find the heart and see if there is a chance that Arthas could be redeemed. When Arthas sees through their disguise, Arthas dares Fordring to look into his heart to see if he truly is redeemable. When Fordring does, he destroys the heart with the Ash Bringer and escapes the Citadel with the Champion before Arthas can kill them. Fordring informs the Champion that he destroyed the heart because when he looked into it, he saw that there was nothing left of Arthas to save.
    • This is most of the Red Dragonflight's opinion on the Black Dragonflight, as expressed by Lirastraza in the "Blackout" quest description, in which she says "We are past all hope of peace. Past hope for their redemption." The only exception is Rheastraza, who manages to purify a black dragon egg, the hatchling of which grows up to be Wrathion.
    • Ever since Sylvannas Windrunner's Came Back Wrong, she has become a Card-Carrying Villain, but one who was sympathized for being persecuted as an undead and assisting the Horde, even becoming their Warchief. It's not until the Burning of Teldarassil, an act that killed thousands of elven families and was less productive than simply enslaving the city, that most of Azeroth agree that Sylvanas has gone from revenge to outright megalomania and that she needs to be stopped at any costs.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night, Heaven's Feel route: Sparing Saber Alter because Shirou can't bring himself to kill his friend results in a Bad End. Shirou has to kill Saber in order to progress the story, regardless of what this means for Saber (other than that she's okay with it).
  • In the Game Mod Monika Before Story, the Club President/MC undergoes a case of Adaptational Villainy and is the only character who is presented as being completely beyond any chance of redemption.
  • Pumpkin Eater: The Girl endures her parents' abuse out of the hope that they will eventually accept that her brother died and let them all move on with their lives. Then the Mother murders another little boy as a replacement for her brother's rotted corpse, forcing the Girl to recognize that things will never get better.

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel stars the heiress of Hell, Charlie, who seeks to defy this trope. Charlie desires to rehabilitate demons and sinners so they can reach Heaven with her hotel project. She's ridiculed by the other denizens of Hell who believe that no damned soul has any interest in bettering themselves. As Alastor the Radio Demon puts it, everyone had their chance to be a good person in the life they lived before, but failed and are beyond redemption. Alastor backs the hotel project anyway because he thinks the guests' futile attempts to redeem themselves will be amusing.
  • Helluva Boss features a ridiculously petty example — after C.H.E.R.U.B accidentally causes the death of a human they were trying to save while fighting I.M.P, their boss Deerie informs them that not only are they barred from returning to Heaven, but there is nothing they can do that will ever reverse this decision. This also paints a dim picture of Charlie's plans in the above-mentioned Hazbin Hotel, as the two shows are set in a Shared Universe.
  • In RWBY, when Salem starts her invasion in Atlas, the heroes have come to the conclusion that Ironwood can’t be reasoned with by the end of Volume 7 and throughout Volume 8. When Oscar tries to warn Ironwood that he’s becoming as dangerous as Salem, Ironwood’s response was to shoot him. Winter, who stayed by Ironwood’s side until she learns that he wasn’t bluffing about blowing up Mantle, decides he needs to be stopped. She pretends to still be on the General’s side and Ironwood tells her that he hopes she won’t try to talk him out of this. When Winter prepares to fight him, she calls the General "an enemy of Atlas".

  • Joe's parents in Joe vs. Elan School become a Hate Sink after Joe returns home from the titular Juvenile Hell, revealing themselves to be emotional and financial abusers who bait Joe into shouting matches, who casually reveal that they left him in the titular abusive school for three years even though his drug charge was dropped three months into his stay, refuse to believe him about the school's abuses, and refuse to acknowledge that anything they did contributed to his issues. Eventually, in a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue taking place during a Time Skip, Joe's narration bluntly states that after he moves away from home for good, his parents divorce each other, adding that, "They have no redemption arc in this story."
  • The Order of the Stick: After Roy tries so hard for so long demanding that his father Eugene be a better man, culminating in a request to help him scry the living, Roy decides he just wants nothing more to do with Eugene. Even after dealing with the literal forces of the universe, Eugene is too arrogant and selfish to ever want to be a better man, which Roy comes to sadly acknowledge. This judgment proves accurate when Eugene tries to convince Roy to not stop the High Priest of Hel, on the basis of wanting his Blood Oath of Vengeance to be fulfilled. Eugene not caring who has been or will be killed in the process of getting this vengeance pushes Roy over the line for good.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In the episode "The Wicked", Darwin tries to prove that Margaret Robinson has a good side, only to learn the hard way that she is "evil to the core" when she watches him choke with a sinister grin on her face. From there, he and Gumball resort to catching her committing a crime and sending her to prison.
  • Arcane subverts it. Ekko believes that Jinx is this since she's gone full into her Ax-Crazy identity. Jinx used to be a sweet girl named Powder until one of her explosives worked a little too well, killing most of Powder and Vi's Family of Choice by accident. As such, Ekko argues that the girl who used to be known as "Powder" is long gone. Even so, Vi refuses to listen out of her love for Jinx/Powder, and won't quit on her. By the end of season 1, Jinx accepts her new identity and uses her rocket to destroy up the Council building much to Vi and Caitlyn's horror.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • In "The Crossroads of Destiny", Katara and Zuko (who has been unjustly hunting her for months) bond over their shared grief and Katara offers to heal his scar. Then they're interrupted by their respective factions, and in the ensuing battle Zuko attacks her. After that, Katara became the most adamant of any on her side that Prince Zuko will never change. He does eventually, but not because of anything done or not done by the heroes. The decision is one Zuko had to make for himself. After this, Katara takes by far the longest to accept that Zuko has truly changed for the better.
    • Zuko assumes Iroh will give him some sort of speech about family and redemption before he goes to confront Princess Azula, but Iroh surprises him by saying that Azula is nuts and needs to go down. Even Azula shows several redeeming traits such as her friendship with Mai and Ty Lee and was genuinely hurt when they rejected her, and showed some care for Zuko.
    • After learning of Fire Lord Ozai's plan to wipe out the Earth Kingdom with Sozin's Comet, Zuko effectively disowns his father in front of his face and then pushes Aang to kill the Fire Lord in spite of Aang's reluctance to kill someone even as evil as Ozai. He even mocks the idea of turning Ozai good by suggesting they should send him baby pictures to make him remember happier times. After Zuko meets his father in prison at the end of the series, he does tell Ozai that Aang's mercy means he now has a chance of redemption... but the tone of his voice suggests he knows Ozai wouldn't take the chance out of his wounded pride.
  • Avengers Assemble: Thor admits several times his belief Loki is too evil and insane for him to hold out any hope of redemption, and yet in season 4 he still strikes up a reluctant alliance in the hope that this time Loki might change. However, Loki's evil, greed and insanity cause him to betray everyone and try to wipe out the entire universe, ending with his being consumed by the very weapon he unleashed.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Near the end of season 1, Kevin, in desperation, absorbs energy from the Ultimatrix to get the power to defeat Aggregor. The result: Kevin is remutated and becomes an Ax-Crazy Power Parasite who goes on a rampage absorbing the powers of everyone he comes across. After trying to reason with him and failing, Ben eventually becomes convinced that Kevin's too far gone and they have to put him down. When Gwen approaches Grandpa Max for help on the subject, she's shocked when Max agrees with Ben's approach, despite admitting that he never thought Ben would go that far.
    Ben: He's never gonna stop- unless I stop him. For good.
  • In Castlevania (2017), after Lisa was burned at the stake, Alucard tried to talk his father Dracula out of the plan to wipe out humanity. In Alucard's own words, "I grieve with you, but I won't let you commit genocide." By the time Alucard is found by Trevor and Sypha at the end of Season 1, Alucard has decided that Dracula has to die after learning about the extent of his vengeance was not only to wipe humanity out but to sentence humans to be subjected to unrelenting hunts by vampires.
  • The ultimate fate of The Nowhere King and the General (who are two parts of the same person) from Centaurworld. While ultimately a Tragic Villain, a lovelorn fool who split himself into two beings to be with his love and ended up going to war with himself, the acts of brutality and violence committed by both of his two sides are ultimately deemed too heinous for any form of forgiveness. He doesn't seem to object when he reforms into his original Elktaur form and is put down by the princess he did it all for.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Subverted in the episode "Operation: F.O.U.N.T.A.I.N.". When the Kids Next Door save Leaky Leona from the Delightful Children from Down the Lane, she tells them about how she discovered the Fountain of Youth three hundred years ago. After that, she tries to kill them because of how they also now know of the Fountain. After the Delightful Children accidentally save the Kids Next Door, as Leona is hanging from a piece of stone, Numbah Five decides to just leave her behind despite Leona begging her to save her. Numbah Four convinces Numbah Five to change her mind when he reminds her about how she told him "We save kids. That's our job", and together they save Leona from the Fountain collapsing.
  • In the Danny Phantom Grand Finale Phantom Planet, Jack finds out that his college friend Vlad has become a half-ghost bent on killing him and stealing Jack's wife Maddie. Despite all that Vlad had done, including the numerous previous attempts at murder, Jack attempted to reason with Vlad not to go through with his world domination plot, even apologizing to Vlad for being responsible for his bitterness that started from the moment he inadvertently activated the prototype ghost portal in front of his face and that he voted for him to become mayor in the first place. Vlad refuses to hear Jack's pleas. Thanks to that, Jack finally concludes that Vlad is not worth redeeming, so when Vlad asked him for help, Jack leaves him behind in outer space.
    Vlad: Jack, you have to help me! You wouldn't turn your back on an old friend, would you?
    Jack: An old friend? No. You? YES!
  • In Elena of Avalor Season 3, Esteban is kicked out of his family and Avalor, stripped of his title as Chancellor, and charged with treason after they learn he is partly responsible for the deaths of King Raul and Queen Lucia as well as the terrible regime that ruled over Avalor for several decades. Though his grandfather forgives him after hearing why he did it, nobody else does (especially his grandmother and Elena) and they vote to exile him to a far-off remote island for the rest of his days (which was considered more merciful than letting him rot in the castle dungeons). He then digs himself deeper by escaping his jail cell before he can be shipped off and frees the Delgados so that they can defend him, which leads to a whole set of problems as the season goes on. Despite his good actions throughout the show, everyone focuses more on the fact that he's directly responsible for at least three murders and probably a lot more crimes, a reality that he refuses to properly own up to. It's only when he takes the initiative to accept blame and do something unselfishly good that Elena is willing to accept him again.
  • Kaeloo: After over a season of trying to convince Pretty, the local Alpha Bitch, to become a better person, Kaeloo finally gives up in Episode 118, stating that Pretty will never change. The trope is eventually subverted as Pretty undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, but her change of attitude came from her own heart, not because of anything Kaeloo did.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts averts this with Hugo, who comes to truly realize the error of his ways and works to make amends for what they did, even if he isn't forgiven. However, it's played straight with Dr. Emilia, who absolutely refuses to change her ways, even trying to murder Kipo immediately after the teenager saves her from being trapped in her own mind. She fails and is taken away by Fun Gus to play with forever (much to Kipo's dismay).
  • In Miraculous Ladybug Marinette still tried to reach out to Chloé Bourgeois despite her massive and repeated Aesop Amnesia, but the events of the Season 3 finale convince her that Chloé isn't worth it. Chloé willingly allies herself with Hawk Moth to keep being Queen Bee, which results in basically every supporting hero so far having their identities revealed across all of Paris, and almost gives Hawk Moth exactly what he wants. Once the ruckus is over, Marinette says that Chloé can't be trusted with the Bee Miraculous anymore.
  • In the Grand Finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, and Cozy Glow are defeated by the combined help of every good-aligned character in the series. In spite of how many times they've lost — including coming dangerously close to winning the last time — Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow refuse to ever give up or change their wicked ways, announcing that they'll be back to try again. This is in spite of the fact that the three found out that Good Feels Good, then actively rejected the idea. Celestia, Luna, and Discord use their powers to have the three villains turned to stone together at the end of the series, with Celestia saying that no punishment can really fit all of the evil that they've done.
  • The Owl House: As Dana Terrace once stated, not everyone deserves redemption.
    • In "Follies at the Coven Day Parade", Luz tries to help Kikimora get back to her family for the holiday in a manner that would allow her to still keep her position in the Emperor's Coven. But Kikimora ends up betraying Luz upon hearing a promotion offered to her, and this act proves to be the last straw for Luz and Kikimora's mother. Kikimora's family permanently disowns her and Luz later dismisses Kikimora as a Belos-wannabe and an annoying nuisance at best.
    • The Blight family have a lot of dysfunctional issues thanks to their corporation and Odalia's desire for higher status, but Amity hopes that with her father Aldor seeing the error of his ways, they can mend the bridges and be a true family once again. This hope is ruined when Odalia reveals that she knew about Belos' real plan with the Day of Unity, but still continues to help him for the empty promise of her family being spared and made into royalty, showing no remorse for the other witches. This act proves to be so heinous and inexcusable that the Blight family disowns for Odalia on spot, which she brushes off and states her intention to find herself a new business partner instead.
    • Emperor Belos has a tragic backstory that led to his Freudian Excuse. But Belos has done everything he could to ensure that nobody knows the exact truth of what made him the way he is, from ruining his memory portraits in his mindscape to outright pretending his actions aren't motivated by the trauma he suffered in his childhood. Because of his refusal to open up, the Collector is unable to redeem him with kindness and forgiveness at the series finale, leaving Luz and the Titan no choice but to destroy Belos so that he can't hurt anyone else.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Adora tried numerous times to convince Catra to leave the Horde, all of which Catra threw back in Adora's face. At the end of season 3, Catra has thrown a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, tried to destroy Etheria, and made Queen Angella perform a Heroic Sacrifice to stop it. And all of this was because Catra was so desperate to beat Adora at something that even The End of the World as We Know It was on the table, even if it meant that Catra would also die. Adora gives Catra a Death Glare, with Catra's face showing an appropriate reaction. It didn't help that Catra put the blame for all of her problems and actions on Adora, only for Adora to snap back and call Catra out on refusing to own up to her own mistakes. It's only when Catra takes the initiative to accept blame and do something unselfishly good that Adora is willing to help her again.
    Adora: Can we skip the speech? I'm done playing your games, Catra. Too many people got hurt when you set off that portal. I hope it was worth it. Because I won't let you hurt my friends, or anyone else, ever again!
  • South Park: Many people deem Eric Cartman to be irredeemable, especially Kyle, because Cartman kept committing appalling actions and refuses to ever learn from his mistakes. This leads to Heidi Turner breaking up with Cartman at the end of season 21 when it's made clear that Cartman will never change from his horrible self and staying with him has only brought her down to his level. At the end of Post Covid: The Return of Covid everyone thinks Cartman is irredeemable, including Butters who tells Stan and Kyle not to feel sorry for Cartman being a homeless, lonely, and miserable drunk saying that nothing could have saved Cartman from himself before cursing right back at him. The Irony of Butters' statement however is that in a previous timeline Cartman finally did redeem himself where he sacrificed his happy life to make the future better for his peers.
  • Star Wars Resistance: After Tam joins the First Order at the end of Season 1, everyone except Kaz accepts that there's nothing more they can do for Tam, because as far as they know, they'll never see her again. Kaz attempts to reach out to Tam and apologize for his actions, but it proves impractical as doing so allows the First Order to track the Colossus, and also distracts him from helping keep the Colossus together, soon leading to Kaz giving up on Tam. Synara makes it clear she will never accept Tam back, and Neeku, while seemingly neutral about the effects of Tam's betrayal, has disowned her as one of his friends. In the meantime, Tam's perspective shows that there's still hope for her, from her various heroic/decent acts to what Magnetic Hero Venisa has to say about redemption.
    • In the Grand Finale, Tam did get her redemption and she tries to convince Rucklin to defect from the First Order with her. With his jerkassery and caring only about himself, he rebuffs her offer. If that wasn't enough, he still supports the First Order despite being declared a traitor alongside her. As a result, Tam gives up on Rucklin, punches him in the face, and left him to die at the explosion of Star Destroyer.
  • Steven Universe:
    "I love how you believe in everyone. You stuck to your principles, and I'm proud of you. I mean, everyone can change, but not everyone wants to."
  • Zig-zagged with Cassandra in the final season of Tangled: The Series. Since her Face–Heel Turn upon grabbing the moonstone and being infused with it, Cassandra starts going through a Sanity Slippage upon finding out that she is Mother Gothel's biological daughter but abandoned her for Rapunzel and this causes the insecurities of her self-worth that she's been developing in the second season to reach their peak. While she does have moments here and there where she still has some morality, her ego and need for validation keep overshadowing it. While a lot of the characters believe that she is no longer the friend she once was, Rapunzel utterly refuses to believe in this trope and repeatedly tries to see the good that once was in Cassandra. Ultimately, Cassandra does reform in the Grand Finale upon being Out-Gambitted by the Greater-Scope Villain Zhan Tiri, who kept manipulating Cassandra into being evil for her plan to destroy Corona to succeed.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Splinter has been trying to end his feud with Shredder through reason, appealing for their happier times as brothers, and pointing out how Shredder's life has been wasted on revenge and turned him into a literal monster. Shredder rejects Splinter's offers and eventually, he manages to kill Splinter in the penultimate episode of Season 4. This heinous act is enough for the Turtles and their allies to deem Shredder as truly irredeemable and the final episode of Season 4 is them laying siege on Shredder's hideout to kill their Arch-Enemy for good.
  • In the Teen Titans (2003) season 2 finale "Aftershock (Part 1)", the Titans try to get Terra to stop working for Slade, but she refuses. After she defeats them and goes on to wreak untold destruction and death upon the entire city off-screen, in the next episode "Aftershock (Part 2)", the Titans decide that they’re done trying to talk to her and effortlessly wipe the floor with her, forcing Terra to retreat back to Slade. However, they try one last time to get her to turn against Slade, as he’s controlling her body to kill Beast Boy, and their pleas allow Terra to successfully break free from Slade’s control, but her thrashing of Slade accidentally triggers a volcano that threatened to destroy the city. Terra performs a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the volcano, which grants her a Taken for Granite Redemption Equals Death... At least until the Grand Finale, where she, through unknown means (though it's speculated to be due to Trigon's defeat), came back to life, with seemingly no memory of her time with the Titans.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Optimus had hoped that he could find a way to end the war with the Decepticons through diplomacy. But when Megatron, souped-up with Dark Energon, attacks Bumblebee while he was taking Raf home, and nearly killing them both, Optimus realizes that there can be no diplomatic solution to the Autobots and Decepticon’s perpetual conflict, and declares that Megatron must be destroyed.
  • Wander over Yonder: The titular Wander is an All-Loving Hero who believes in the best of people and tries to befriend every villain he meets. However, Lord Dominator proves herself to be utterly incapable of being a good person, even having a Villain Song called "I'm the Bad Guy" in which she revels in being a Card-Carrying Villain who does evil things because it's evil. Towards the end of the series, Wander has a Heroic BSoD when he finally admits that Lord Dominator is a truly awful person who doesn't want to improve and will never accept his help. Though even after this, Wander still decides to Save the Villain.


Video Example(s):


You Chose to Be a Monster

After Ivo spends an entire season blaming Superman for ruining his life, Superman finally has enough and retorts that Ivo's downfall is his own fault. He also ignores Ivo's taunts about him not being human, having finally come to terms with who he is.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShutUpHannibal

Media sources: