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Bring the Anchor Along

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Sometimes the heroes (or the villains) need to restrain someone, but are in a hurry and do not have the time to properly imprison them. A temporary solution is to handcuff (or otherwise shackle them) to a heavy or immovable object, which should ensure that they are still there when the hero returns to retrieve them. But this underestimates the determination of the prisoner, and they turn up later, still handcuffed to the object and dragging it with them (and often looking for revenge). One popular depiction of this is a heavy iron ball tied to the wrists or ankle that the guy drags around.

Compare Chained Heat (when you're chained onto someone else), Steal the Surroundings, Bench Breaker (when you break the anchor).

See also Epic Flail and Chain Pain when this is weaponized. Don't confuse it with Anchors Away (wielding a nautical anchor as a weapon).



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  • A print ad for a brand of Scotch whiskey has the slogan "Some things are just worth it." The photo shows a Dalmatian's leash tied to one corner of a hay shed on a farm. The dog has dragged the foundationless structure all the way to his master's back porch, because... dog.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Skypeia arc of One Piece, Luffy's first fight with God Eneru ends with Eneru throwing Luffy off his airship with a giant gold ball attached to his arm. That ball stays on Luffy's am for nearly the entire rest of the arc. It's broken off of Luffy's arm and smashed to pieces in the course of the final attack against Eneru.
  • Patlabor 2. Detective Matsui is caught snooping around the disguised base of the conspirators, so they knock him out and leave him handcuffed to a pipe while they carry out their plan. He wakes up to see their airships taking off; desperate to get to a phone, Matsui just detaches the pipe and carries it with him. The pipe comes in handy for forcibly stopping a passing car so he can use its carphone.

    Comic Books 
  • The Mighty Thor: the Absorbing Man is iconic with his ball and chain that was used to restrain him when he was in jail before he acquired his material absorption powers; the ball can also change its material along with him.
  • When Stephanie is "kidnapped" and handcuffed to a bed to make it look as though her father is being coerced into working with his newest accomplices, she and Robin pick up and use the bed to plow through her captors and he only gets the cuffs and by extension bed off of her when they're out of the room she was being held in.

    Comic Strips 
  • Footrot Flats: When Jess the bitch is in heat, the Dog will often take off while still chained to his water tank/kennel; taking the water tank with him.

    Film – Animation 

    Film – Live-Action 
  • In Jumanji, Allan handcuffs Carl to the door of his police car, then drives to store where Van Pelt has the others trapped. He leaves the car (and Carl) in the parking lot. Shortly after, Carl shows up in the store, still handcuffed to the now detached car door and looking for a hacksaw to cut the cuffs off.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: Max is held prisoner by the Warboys, and tied to Nux (who's leukemic) to administer blood. When Nux crashes his car with Max aboard, Max is unable to break the chain tying them (and a car door) together, and settles for carrying them with him.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Jack Sparrow is lashed to a roasting-spit by cannibals. He manages to jounce the spit off its props to escape being cooked, but has to run away with it still tied to his back.
  • The Predator: Casey is handcuffed to chair while being interrogated in the barn. When she escapes, she takes the chair along with her, only have it get wrapped around a rail when she vaults off a balcony.
  • At the start of The Quick and the Dead, the Lady knocks out Dog Kelly and shackles him to the wheel of an old wagon buried in the desert. Later Dog turns up in town, dragging the wagon wheel with him, and challenges the Lady to a duel.

  • Discworld: In Unseen Academicals, Nutt describes his early childhood labouring in a dark forge, where he built up his strength by working with larger and larger equipment until he could even carry the anvil. When his friend asks why that was so important to him, he clarifies that he was chained to the anvil.
  • Joe Pickett: In Winterkill, Joe gets handcuffed to the wheel of his truck by an escaping prisoner. Without his handcuff keys, Joe undoes the steering wheel and pursues his prisoner with the steering wheel handcuffed to his wrist.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agent Carter: In the second episode, Peggy defeats an accomplice of a Leviathan agent but knocks him out cold before he can be interrogated. She ties him to a chair and leaves, and he's found later by the SSR fleeing out in the road with the chair still tied to him. Chief Dooley, after arresting him, snarks at the guy trying to play it casual.
    Dooley: Yeah, I know. I used to go for walks at night with a chair strapped to my ass too.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In "Cinco De Mayo", Jake handcuffs Terry to a railing, but he didn't count on Terry tearing out the cage wall the railing was attached to and bringing it with him.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Partners in Crime": Reporter Penny Carter gets tied to a chair twice by Miss Foster's thugs, the second time after ignoring the Doctor's advice to leave. At the end, she emerges from the building still tied to the chair to express her opinion that the Doctor and Donna are "mad" and that she's going to report them for "madness".
    • "Robot of Sherwood": The Doctor and Robin are shackled together in the dungeon of Nottingham Castle with chains that run through a bolt in the floor. When the Doctor and Robin escape, they are still chained to each other and carrying the large stone the chains are attached to between them.
  • The Goodies: In "Goodies in the Nick", the Goodies escape from prison with iron balls still shackled to their ankles. The proceed to disguise the balls in a series of increasingly unlikely fashions; including as a balloon.
  • School of Rock: In "Come Together", Lawrence chains the kids' bikes together with a titanium chain and then forgets the lock combination, forcing them to ride their bikes chained together in a row. They are also dragging the bike rack behind them.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): In one episode, Jacquelyn is tied to a small tree. She escapes by uprooting the tree and carrying it on her back, which she does for almost the entire episode.

  • In the climax of The Play That Goes Wrong, Dennis - who is playing Perkins - is handcuffed to the chaise-lounge. He is supposed to be released when Perkins's innocence is established, but this being the play that goes wrong, they have lost the handcuff keys. Dennis struggles through the rest of the scene carrying the chaise-lounge.

    Video Games 
  • The trial of Thievery in The Secret of Monkey Island ends with Fester Shinetop tying the stolen item, the Idol of Many Hands, to Guybrush Threepwood and dropping him in the bay. How does our hero get out of this? Just pick up the Idol. You know, the one he was just carrying a few seconds ago. It should be noted this is the only part of the game in which Guybrush can die.
  • Sengoku Basara: One of the playable characters, Kuroda Kanbei, has his hands tied and chained to a huge ball as he's a prisoner of war. Nevertheless, he's strong enough to carry it around and weaponize it.

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "The Wolf of Wharf Street", Bob handcuffs Teddy to the coffee table in a fit of painkiller-induced delirium. Teddy carries the table over his back while chasing Bob.
  • In Dragons: Race to the Edge, Hiccup teaches the dragon hunters that dragon-proof chains are useless without dragon-proof winches... but dragon-proof winches are just as useless when anchored to a wooden deck, as Hiccup simply blasts the deck, allowing Meatlug and Fishlegs to fly away with the winch still chained to her leg.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: After all the destruction Ed causes in "Rent A Ed", Eddy and Double D tie him to a beam and use him as a towel rack for the Seiz La Sweat scam. Unfortunately, when Eddy tells Rolf to put a towel on, Ed busts through the wall, still tied to the beam, to offer towel rack services. Even worse, it was the support beam for the house.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: In "Has-Been Hero", Crane is captured and tied to a rotating wooden pillar. He escapes still tied to the pillar and uses it as a battering ram to smash his way out of the villain's hideout. Later Monkey uses the pillar as a weapon, with Crane still tied to it.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester handcuffs himself to a radiator to keep himself from getting Tweety. But when he can't restrain his urges any longer, he just charges at Tweety, yanking the radiator off the wall.
    • In "Mouse and Garden", Sylvester ties Sam to his bed, but Sam manages to get up and catch him trying to get the mouse while still tied to the bed, carrying it over his back.
    • "Mutiny On The Bunny" has Bugs Bunny hornswoggled into rowing Shanghai Sam's ship across the sea, with the rabbit affixed to his post with an ankle shackle attached to a heavy iron ball. Nonetheless, Bugs is able to carry it to the Captain, demanding that he rid the rabbit of this device. Shanghai Sam complies by throwing the ball overboard ... taking the rabbit with it.
    • In "Tire Trouble", Porky Pig's dog Flat Foot Flookie follows him to the tire factory where he works. Since dogs are not allowed inside, Porky ties Flookie to the bumper of a car. Flookie then burrows his way inside, dragging the entire car along with him.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", Apple Bloom ties Big Mac first to an ox-drawn cart full of anvils, then to a house. Both get dragged along with him, much to the dismay of Apple Bloom, the oxen pulling the cart, and the house's occupant.
  • Samurai Jack in the episode where he trains to 'jump good'; he unknowingly volunteers to have a boulder tied to him. This trope is played with, as it's for training, but he carries the rock around until he can bear its weight.
  • The Simpsons: In "Homer the Great", Homer is punished for ruining the Stonecutters' sacred parchment by being stripped naked and forced to pull the "stone of shame" all the way home. When the Stonecutters' notice a birthmark identifying Homer as The Chosen One, they release him and instead make him pull the even larger "stone of triumph".
  • Slugterra: In "Inheritance", Dana Por breaks into the Shane Gang's hideout, and webs Eli's arm to chair during a shootout. The chair is a rolling chair, and Eli spends the the rest of the fight scooting around on it with his arm still stuck to it.


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