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Converse with the Unconscious

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"I'm going to keep talking, even if you can't hear me."
Fry, Futurama

Bob is unconscious, for a prolonged time.

Alice goes into the hospital room to talk with him. Possibly to say "How Dare You Die on Me!". Often prompts deep confessions of things she regrets never having said to him while conscious.

But watch out! The curative power of these confessions is mindboggling, although not absolutely perfect. Needless to say, the more embarrassing it was, the more they actually heard.

(A certain amount of Truth in Television, though not much; apparently unconscious people, whether in a coma or just asleep, may hear things, and talking to them is often encouraged.)

Sister Trope to Dude, She's Like in a Coma, Taunting the Unconscious, and Unbroken Vigil. Compare Talking to the Dead and Surrogate Soliloquy.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mazinger Z:
    • Done twice (and subverted in one of them) in episode 52. After Kouji and Sayaka have a serious fight (they fight the whole time, but this time was worse than usual), Sayaka refuses to help Kouji to fight, and he gets badly injured. A grief-stricken Sayaka takes care of him in the hospital, talking to him while he is comatose. Later Kouji gets badly injured again and he falls unconscious in the battlefield. Sayaka is cradling his body, crying, begging him not dying and doing an Anguished Declaration of Love... when he opens his eyes and he calmly states he is not getting married to a tomboy.
    • Played straight in a chapter of the Gosaku Ota manga. Sayaka is unconscious and Boss by her talks to her, before finally leaving for battle, stating that dying like a hero is all that he can do for her.
    • Also played straight in the Mazinger-Z versus Great General of Darkness movie. Shiro gets hurt cause a ceiling collapsing onto him, and falls into a coma. He needs a blood transfusion and Kouji insists on them using his blood. As the medics are performing the transfusion, Kouji talks to his comatose little brother, reassuring him everything will work fine.
  • Ranma ½:
    • Famously done in the climax: As Ranma cradles Akane's body, thinking her dead, he finally admits his love for her. Of course, that's when she finally recovers and wakes up, having heard the whole thing (though the word bubbles are ambiguous enough that the reader can interpret them as a silent soliloquy or an outspoken shout.)
    • Ranma also speaks with an unconscious Ryouga after discovering the secret of the Hiryuu Shouten Ha special technique. Ranma thanks his rival for all his help learning the technique, then wishes him a happy afterlife. Cue Ryouga reaching up to strangle him in annoyance.
    • The OAV "The One To Carry On" performs a similar scene where Ryouga, conflicted between his need to help Akane and his desire for her to lose the Dojo (and thus break up with Ranma,) watches her sleep and speaks to her in his mind, trying to figure out his feelings. He decides that staying with her would only end up hurting both of them, and leaves, only to find her again the next day.
  • In I"s, Iori talks through a phone to an unconscious Ichitaka, telling him how she'll give up becoming an actress because of the stress and strain it's put on their relationship and asking him to wake up. Ultimately, the unconscious one wakes up from hearing the other's voice.
  • At the start of Episode 19 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Alto does this with Vice who had slipped into a coma due to recent events, telling him to rest as she takes over helicopter pilot duties as his Junior.
    • Taken literally in the third StrikerS Sound Stage when Shamal used telepathy to talk to Zafira while he was in a coma.
    • In the original series, Arf, before going to help Nanoha, Yuuno and Chrono in the final battle, tells Fate, who is catatonic from a Heroic BSoD caused by learning about her true origins as a clone of Alicia and that her mother hated her, that after everything is over, she'll help her return to her old self and she can use her time however she wishes. After Arf leaves the infirmary, Fate wakes up and after thinking about how Arf has always been there for her and Nanoha's constantly reaching out to her, teleports into the Garden of Time to help them.
    • In the last episode of the second season, Vita tells an unconscious Hayate that as her happiness is the Wolkenritter's happiness, Reinforce promised to leave smiling.
    • In ViVid, Vivio is shown to routinely talk to a sleeping Ixpellia.
    • Also in ViVid, Nanoha tells an unconscious Vivio how proud of her she is after she lost her tournament fight against Miura.
  • Monster: Tenma talks to Johann in the hospital twice in this manner. The first time he happens to be conscious, and takes it upon himself to help the doctor out. The second time he remains unconscious. Or does he?
  • In End Of Evangelion Shinji took Asuka's descent into a coma badly (and that is a massive understatement). He talked to her to tell her that everything was going to Hell, everyone frightened him and she was the only one that could help him and he needed her, and he desperately pleaded her waking up... Up to that point the scene was touching and angsty, but then it took a very disturbing turn with him masturbating over her comatose body. It's shown during Instrumentality that somehow she knew what he did, and she was not happy.
  • Invoked and subverted in the Excel♡Saga manga, where Iwata and Misaki are stuck in a snowstorm, and Iwata who is now a cyborg has his power source shut down. Assuming that he's out cold, Misaki first time talks to him affectionately, confessing that she appreciates his company, and may even love him. As it turns out, even though his external functions are offline, he's still perfectly conscious and heard the whole thing. Cue Misaki bribing Dr. Shiouji to delete Iwata's memory of the incident.
  • In SHUFFLE!, the male lead brought his childhood friend out of a coma by falsely claiming to have been responsible for the death of her mother.
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit manages to turn this one around on itself in episode eleven after Tanda performs the "soul call" and gets his spirit stranded out of his body. With no idea of how to return, Tanda talks to Balsa while she watches over his body, admitting that when he'd called her out two years prior about the people she was killing, it wasn't really what he'd wanted to say. Before he gets around to what he did want to say, however, Balsa begins talking to his unconscious body, telling him that she'd let her pride get the better of her back then, and thanking him for what he'd said at the time. Tanda and Balsa being the sorts that they are, neither of them mentions it after Tanda manages to return to his body.
  • In Bleach, Inoue Orihime is forced to go into Hueco Mundo but given a chance to say goodbye to one person. She sneaks into Ichigo's room while he's out cold, and is perhaps able to confess because she knows he is not knowledgeable of the event. He does later realizes that she was there, since when awake he says that he can sense/feel her reiatsu on him.
    • Also, after Momo Hinamori is put in a coma by Sosuke Aizen, Unohana tells Hitsugaya that if he talks to her it would help, because she needs to hear the voice of someone who cares for her. He doesn't, and probably regrets it later when she wakes up and, still utterly traumatised and in denial by what happened, starts proclaiming Aizen's innocence.
  • In Lamune, Nanami does this a number of times to Kenji, who was in a coma due to a motorcycle accident. In a twist, Nanami confesses her love to Kenji way before he wakes up a year after the accident.
  • In the Pokémon Adventures manga, this happens in the Emerald arc between Gold and Silver, the latter of which is petrified at the moment. Hilariously, the only reason Gold did so was that he assumed that Silver wouldn't be able to hear him, when in fact Silver was indeed conscious during the petrification.
  • In Spirited Away, Chihiro tells the unconscious Haku that she was going to be leaving for some time (to return the golden seal to Zeniba) and that he had to get better. Later when Haku wakes up, he reveals to Kamaji that he heard Chihiro's voice calling him and he followed her voice back to consciousness.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, while Wolfram is technically dead, Yuuri doesn't have any doubt that he'll get better and promises to save him.
  • A nigh-screaming variant happens in Fullmetal Alchemist when Riza's throat is slashed. She loses so much blood she slips into unconsciousness, and Roy basically demands that she not die and leave him. This does bring her back, albeit in an indirect fashion. May Chang overhears the anguished Colonel, and interrupts her own agenda to perform the alkahestry ritual that will close Riza's wound and save her life.
  • In Fruits Basket, after Tohru hits her head and is unconscious after falling down a collapsed hillside, Kyo cries and pleads for her to get better. She wakes up just long enough to comfort him, before passing out again.
  • In AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei, Minoru disregarded his masquerade completely and poured his heart out to his crush Hiroko during the time when she had collapsed due to fatigue.
  • Angelic Layer does this in the final episode. Hikaru has just been hit with Athena's Astral Emission attack, which has been shown to instantly defeat any Angel. Cue Misaki crying out for Hikaru to get up, to keep fighting; then Hatoko starts, then Tamayo and Kotaro...followed by every single person in the audience (even Ogata in the control room) shouting Hikaru's name and calling for her to get back up. Hikaru not only gets back up but continues fighting with just a tiny bit of her "life bar", sprouts a pair of wings and counters a second Astral Emission to win the fight.
  • In Horimiya, Miyamura confesses he'd liked Hori for quite a while now when he thinks she's passed out due to a fever.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Elizabeth tells a comatose Meliodas that everyone is waiting for him to wake up. She also confesses that he better wake up because she can't bear to live in a world without him.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, during the Battle City Finals, after Odion is knocked out, Marik's Superpowered Evil Side takes over, and during the last climactic duel between the Pharaoh and Yami Marik, the spirit of Marik's "good" side manifests in Odion's room to apologize for the way he has treated him up to this point and to say goodbye. In the very next episode Odion awakens and staggers up to the battle platform to help Marik overcome his evil side, and Yugi wins the duel shortly afterward.

    Comic Books 
  • During the One Year Later timeskip, Cyborg was deactivated while repairs were underway. During that time, the other Teen Titans used him as a sounding board, even ones who'd never met him in person.
  • Parodied in Dylan Dog: when Bloch had been shot and was comatose and not expected to survive the night, Groucho went to his bed... To unleash a long series of his awful jokes and puns. It's made clear that Bloch could hear him when he wakes up (and survives) just to scream that someone stops Groucho and takes him away (just as expected).
  • Exiles: Mimic to Blink in the V-Lock arc, when she's been infected and might well be turned. He gets all the angst he's been sitting on for the last several issues, which has thrown a wrench in their relationship, and admitting he does love her.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel): The one time Snake-Eyes ever speaks is whispering Scarlett's codename to her while she's in a coma. Naturally, this is enough to wake her up. This happened when he wasn't completely mute, but his vocal cords were so damaged that he could only speak in a very low whisper, and it was implied that is was painful to do so.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special: While Supergirl is lying unconscious on the med bed, her lover Brainiac holds her hand, asking her to hang on and promising to save her.
  • The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg has an unconscious character to whom the main character talks and (after moving away) sends letters.
  • Rising Stars: Not only does the muscle superhero guy talk to the special cop guy for like ten years, when he recovers he remembers every single word of it. Yeah, it's a superhero comic.
  • Robin (1993): While his father was in a coma during the early part of Tim Drake's stint as Robin Tim would sit by his bedside and talk to him about his worries and plans, and note that they never really got to talk openly while his father was awake.
  • Spider-Girl: In issue #50, Mayday (Spider-Girl) sits at the bedside of her comatose friend Courtney Duran, even bringing up things she did as Spider-Girl earlier in the issue. Their mutual friend Moose arrives at the point, and Mayday and Moose are telling each other not to blame themselves for the accident that put Courtney in the coma when Courtney awakes. It's not clear just how much of the conversation Courtney heard, though if her behavior in subsequent issues is any indication, she doesn't know that Mayday is Spider-Girl.
  • Geordi spends a lot of time talking to Data after he's damaged in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Fifth Annual.

    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in Doonesbury, where Mike talks to JJ about their relationship problems while she's in a coma, only to find that she was faking it. Furthermore, she was filming him talking to put in a movie.
  • Subverted in Foxtrot, after Peter tells his brother Jason to get up on the roof to retrieve their football- then Jason falls down the ladder, getting knocked unconscious. Out of guilt, Peter stays by Jason's hospital bedside all night;
    Peter: Jason?.... Jason, I'm really, really, really sorry.
    Jason: ... I heard that.
    Peter: You're supposed to be asleep!.
  • Mary Worth's storyline from September-November 2009 featured Scott (new fiance of Adrian) participating in a drug bust, getting shot, then being comatose in the hospital with non-specified injuries. While unconscious he is spoken to by Adrian's father Jeff, then Adrian herself. Concluded, of course, with him waking up just after Adrian has just concluded her speech about agreeing to marry him (he had proposed to her before the bust) and loving him no matter what.
  • Played with in Peanuts. Lucy fell asleep on Schroeder's piano, and Schroeder began to confess his love to her. Of course, she was only pretending to be asleep—and he was just trying to make her blow her cover.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 2 Shinji talks to Asuka while she is unconscious and staying in bed to tell her she makes him happy and he will never leave her.
  • In the cornice in the ground, after Eggsy falls into a coma after resurrecting Harry from the dead, Harry sits by his bedside and begs him to come back.
  • A Crown of Stars: After Daniel rescues Kyoko she spends several weeks sleeping unconsciously. Her daughter Asuka watches over her whenever she can, and often talks to Kyoko, telling her how she is feeling or what she has done lately (as in chapter 25 when she told her mother Shinji said he loved her.
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 10 while Shinji is keeping watch over a comatose Asuka, her doctor advised him to try and talk to her to give her some direction to go in.
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: In an experimental "emergency petrifaction" hospital wing, terminally ill ponies are deliberately turned to stone so that they can survive until a cure is invented. Since some of them can still hear and see in this state, they are treated similarly to comatose patients, with the nurses reading books and newspapers to them, and sometimes talking to them.
  • In Human Curiosity, after the kidnapped nations are recovered from the HCS, their friends and family sit with them while they sleep. It's noted that South Korea sits and reads to North Korea. At the end of the fic, Liechtenstein plans on doing this for the still-frozen Switzerland, but arrives to find that the frozen nations were melted and vanished.
  • At the start of the KanColle fic Eternity there are two shipgirls that still haven't answered the call to fight the Abyssals, Enterprise and Yamato, who in this story had Gone Native after the WWII and became JDS Yonaga and USS Montana. Many tried to wake them up by talking to them, both from their old and new navies, but failed. Hiryuu, in particular, tried to get at least some kind of reaction from Enterprise by arranging that all Kidou Butai (that attacked Pearl Harbor) carrier shipgirls would have their shore leave time together on her museum ship, but no luck.
  • Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox: Sai and Ino do this to each other at different points. During the Uchiha Zaibatsu Invitational, when Ino is unconscious following her No-Holds-Barred Beatdown at Aoi's hands, Sai sits by her bedside and admits he likes her as more than a friend. Much later, Ino gets to return the favor when she talks to an unconscious Sai following his having been force-fed Gold Sand pills by Aoi and Arashi's gang.
  • In this Dusty's Trail fic, Lulu does this to pass the time while keeping vigil over Mr. Callahan.
  • During her interview with Buried Lede in Manehattan's Lone Guardian, Leviathan tells him that the meeting she had with X just prior to rushing to Zero's rescue took place while she was comatose.
  • In the first chapter of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, Shinji talks to Asuka while she is in a coma, trying to help her to wake up.
  • The One I Love Is...: When Asuka was in a coma after attempting to kill herself, Shinji remained by her side the whole time, talking to her every so often, hoping his voice reached her somehow.
    Shinji:Physically, she was now fine. She had suffered from a bit of malnutrition, but nothing severe. However, she wouldn't wake up. The doctors had said it was all up to her. She didn't wake up because she didn't want to.
    So I waited for her to come back.
    Most of the time, I simply waited in silence. It wasn't easy. In fact, it was exhausting. It reminded me much of my experience inside the Twelfth Angel. There wasn't really anything else I could do but stay put and wait. When I got too bored, I would talk to her, hoping that the sound of my voice could reach her somehow... wherever she was. I spoke of the past, of what I thought when I first saw her on that aircraft carrier, looking so pretty in her yellow dress and how impressed I had been by her air of confidence.
  • Of Mice and Mayhem: Chip is lying before Gadget, out cold caught a big poisoned dart aimed at Gadget with his body. With tears in her eyes, fearing that he might be dying like she was supposed to, she confesses her love to him.
  • In the final scene of The Second Try, the Ikari family visits a comatose Gendo, and Shinji spends a while talking to him, telling what they’d been doing since the final battle, and finally confessing that maybe he can understand him a little better now.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Mind Sifter has Spock delirious after being subjected to the titular Mind Rape device by Klingons. Jim holds him in his arms and talks to him, trying to comfort him. It seems to work, probably thanks to the Vulcan's Touch Telepathy.
    You didn’t betray me. Us. You didn’t let them find out a single thing. And, even if you had let something slip, even if they had made you say something, that’s no betrayal. Not when they’re… Not with the Mind Sifter.
  • In Thousand Shinji, Shinji did this to Asuka to wake her up when she was in a coma after being Mind Raped.
  • Zenith: Spike regularly reads to the comatose Twilight from her favorite book. However, he also has entire normal conversations with her where he tells her what he's been up to, and pleads her to wake up; he is afraid of being overheard doing that, lest someone think that he's going insane.
  • In Mistake Sherlock Holmes, Watson ends up in a coma after a case goes wrong. The doctor tells Holmes that it's possible Watson can hear him, so he takes up a habit of talking about cases and reading to him while waiting for him to wake up. After Watson awakens, he tells Holmes he heard it.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Wolfwalkers, Mebh talks to her mother Moll's unconscious human body about how she's become friends with Robyn, but this soon gives way to Mebh wondering why Moll still hasn't come back to her body yet (as Wolfwalkers, their spirits leave their bodies as wolves whenever they sleep). This reveals that for all of Mebh's boisterous and confident nature, she still greatly misses her mother and desperately wants her to come back.
  • In Turning Red, after Mei knocks Ming out, Mei runs to her and tells her she needs to get in the ritual circle, that she needs to wake up and apologizes to her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted in Big Fish: Will is sitting quietly with his unconscious father in the hospital, and the doctor tells him how annoying it is when people talk to unconscious patients since they can't hear you anyway.
  • Death Sentence: When Lucas is lying in a coma in the hospital after being shot in the head in retaliation for Nick's vigilante activities, Nick stands by his bed and tells him all of the things he probably should have told him while he was awake; especially that Lucas was not really The Unfavorite, but that Nick just did not know how to relate to him like he did with his elder son.
  • In the 2011 dark comedy The Descendants multiple characters talk to the main character's wife while she's in a coma. Justified in that she is a driving character of the film and spends the entire film in a coma.
  • Invoked in The Force Awakens, as Rey departs for the mysterious planet where Luke Skywalker is hiding, she bids a heartfelt farewell to Finn, hoping they will meet again when her Jedi training is complete. In a deleted scene in The Last Jedi, the droid BB-8 plays a recording of this to Finn, who finds it odd that he recorded it.
  • In Groundhog Day, Phil invites Rita back to his room and they try to stay awake all night. Rita eventually falls asleep next to him, and in her sleepy state he expresses his feelings.
    Phil: I think you're the kindest, sweetest, prettiest person I've ever met in my life. I've never seen anyone that's nicer to people than you are. The first time I saw you something happened to me. I never told you, but I knew that I wanted to hold you as hard as I could. I don't deserve someone like you. But if I ever could I swear I would love you for the rest of my life.
    Rita: (stirring awake) Did you say something?
  • This trope forms much of the basis of the Spanish-language film Hable con Ella (Talk to Her) by Pedro Almodóvar.
  • Played with hilariously in the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. When Ron is unconscious from a poisoning, Lavender Brown (who he had been dating) rushes to his bedside. She starts to call his name, which causes him to stir...and croak out Hermione's name. Cue Lavender running away in tears, while Hermione takes her place sitting by Ron. After Ron recovers, he thinks that this was just a dream and has no idea why Lavender is angry with him.
  • In Imagine Me & You, after Heck falls asleep Rachel confesses that she fell in love with someone else, but is going to stay with him anyway. Subverted in that he was faking it.
  • Happened in K-9. Yup, he's talking to a dog. Except the dog was perfectly fine, which leads to Belushi's deadpan delivery of "I hate you."
  • In Kill Bill, Buck, a hospital orderly frequently visits the Bride during her coma. He openly taunts her about making money by letting customers raping her while inconscious. When waking up, the Bride perfectly remember, and considering that she is a profesionnal assassin...
  • In Maleficent, Maleficent talks to an unconscious Aurora when Prince Phillip's kiss fails to wake her up. However, when she kisses Aurora on the forehead, that's the True Love's Kiss needed to break the spell.
  • The Matrix: After Smith kills Neo, Trinity is talking to his dead body in the real world.
    Trinity: The Oracle told me I'd fall in love, and that the man I loved would be the One. So you see, you can't be dead. You can't be, because I love you. You hear me? I love you. Now, get up!
    [Neo does. And proceeds to own Smith that proves that, yes, he is The One]
  • Marvin's Room: When Lee receives the news of Bessie's leukemia, she visits the mental hospital to talk to Hank... who is, inconveniently for her, sedated. When she sees that he's been drugged, she talks to him anyway.
  • In Ocean's Thirteen, since Basher is stuck monitoring the tunnel-digger that the crew is using to set up their caper, he writes a series of letters which he asks Linus to read to the catatonic Reuben. Linus only manages to read a few lines before the unbearable sappiness makes him give up and leave the letters on Reuben's nightstand. Reuben, however, is very appreciative once he recovers enough to read them.
  • Perfect Pie: In the film version, before leaving town Marie says her goodbyes and apologies at Patsy's bedside while Patsy is still in her coma after being hit by a train. She nearly breaks down in tears while telling Patsy that she'll never come back and bother her again, as she was indirectly the cause of Patsy's injuries.
  • Subverted in Robocop 2014. After his partner is shot during a failed arrest, Alex Murphy starts pouring out his guilt at his hospital bed over not waiting for backup, only to realize his partner is only pretending to be unconscious.
  • In Rocky II. Rocky was talking to Adrian after she spent time in a coma following a complicated childbirth. Fortunately, she got better, but not well enough soon enough to be present for his rematch with Apollo Creed.
  • Snow White & the Huntsman. After Snow White falls into the coma after biting the poisoned apple, Prince William fails to wake her up with a kiss as per the fairy tale. She's lying in state alone in a chapel when Eric the Huntsman enters, and talks of how Snow White reminds him of his wife, how he crossed the Despair Event Horizon after her death, only for Snow White to bring him back to the man he once was. Eric then kisses her, and it works this time.
  • In Star Trek III, McCoy pours his heart out to a comatose Spock whose soul has been protected from death by being kept in McCoy's body:
    McCoy: Spock. For God's sake talk to me! You stuck this damn thing in my head, remember? Remember? Now tell me what to do with it. Help me. I'm gonna tell you something that... I never thought I'd hear myself say. But it seems that I've missed you. I don't think I could stand to lose you again.
  • Also subverted in Steel Magnolias. M'Lynn talks to her daughter trying to get her to wake up from her diabetic coma. She ultimately dies.
  • Superman Returns: Lois brings her son to the hospital to see a comatose Superman and reveals certain information to him.
  • Parodied in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, with various characters saying increasing...strange...things to their comatose comrade.
  • Painfully subverted in the movie Uptown Girls, when Molly tells Ray to talk to her comatose dad because she heard it works. She spends the whole day talking to him and it seems to work alright, but he dies the next morning.

  • By Any Other Name (2013): After the trial, Holly visits Katya, who was pistol-whipped by her kidnappers, resulting in severe brain damage, in hospital. She tells Katya that the men who hurt her are all either dead or in prison, and asks her to try to wake up. It doesn't work - Katya remains in her vegetative state.
  • Dan Abnett has a few examples:
    • In the Gaunt's Ghosts short story In Remembrance, both Corbec and Rawne talk to the severely wounded and unconscious Gaunt: Corbec saying that he thinks that Gaunt did the right thing on Tanith, and Rawne saying How Dare You Die on Me!, he was The Only One Allowed to Defeat You. Gaunt woke during the second.
    • In Only In Death, Dalin Criid does this to his adoptive mother, pointing out he has lost his adoptive father. She does not wake. (Though she does get better later.)
    • In the Eisenhorn novels, Eisenhorn never confessed to his love to Bequin while she was conscious — "I was a psyker, she an Untouchable. That way pain and madness lay." — but when she is rendered comatose, he confesses to her before leaving her under medical treatment. (She does not recover, not then, not even years afterward, in the Ravenor novels.)
    • In the first chapter of Ravenor Rogue, the titular Ravenor holds a one-sided telepathic conversation with the comatose Zael. He brings Zael up to speed on everything he missed since he went into a coma, though Zael doesn’t regain consciousness until close to the end.
  • Titus, the protagonist of M.T. Anderson's dystopian novel Feed (2002), does this at the end of the book, to his girlfriend Violet, whose mental state has deteriorated to comatose and will never improve. Talk about Downer Ending.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; McGonagall catches Ron and Harry sneaking about while the school is on lockdown, and the best excuse they can come up with is they want to tell a petrified Hermione that the mandrakes are almost mature and a cure for her can be made soon. McGonagall actually buys this and lets them into the infirmary. Subverted in that they don't actually tell her anything: Harry at least is well aware it's pointless to talk to a petrified victim and that they're wasting their time - at least until they spot the piece of paper in Hermione's hand.
  • Lt. Eve Dallas tends to do this once every few books throughout J.D. Robb's In Death series.
  • A version of this happens in The Clockwork Princess. Will and Magnus have a conversation over a dying, unconscious Jem, in which Will mentions his love for Tessa. When Magnus leaves and Will is about to say his final goodbyes, Jem wakes up.
    "I am not dead yet, Will. What did Magnus mean by asking you if I knew you were in love with Tessa?"
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer: Korede, a nurse, spends several afternoons confiding about having to deal with her sister, who is, well, a serial killer to her comatose patient. To everyone’s surprise, he wakes up, remembering everything she told him.
  • In Rubbernecker, people are constantly coming into the neurological ward to talk to coma patients in the hopes of waking them up. It rarely works.
  • The events of the novel SeaFire left James Bond's then-girlfriend Fredericka von Grüsse in very bad shape, and the next book COLD has him visiting her daily, and talking to her despite her comatose condition.
  • Septimus Heap is a very good example of this. He spends much time every day to talk to the unconscious Syrah.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch novel Enigma Tales, Dr. Bashir is comatose and being cared for by Garak's personal physicians. Dr. Parmak urges Garak to talk to him, but Garak says that it's pointless and that there's nobody there to hear. By the end of the novel, he changes his mind and is reading Bashir an enigma tale when Bashir's fingers twitch for the first time.
  • Tempest (2011): Attempted in Tempest Unleashed after Moku is attacked while surfing by Tiamat. He hits his head on a rock and ends up in a coma. Tempest, Rio, and their dad all spend hours talking to him, but he doesn't respond until Kona brings in a selkie with Healing Hands.
  • Attempted in Tornado Brain. Colette is found days after a bike accident and ends up in the hospital with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 5, meaning she's probably doomed. Her mother brings Tess and Frankie in to talk to her to see if hearing their voices helps, but Colette dies anyway.
  • Warrior Cats has a rather poignant one, after the dog attack that killed Swiftpaw and put Brightpaw in a coma, Cloudtail, a Flat-Earth Atheist madly in love with Brightpaw, refuses to leave her side and tells her, "Come back to us. I don't know where you are now, but please come back."
  • In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, Mikal feels heavily burdened by the role that fell on him when Berek was gravely wounded. He sees the unconscious leader and asks why him — and is enraged when he realizes that the skald, Morgrim, listened to him. Morgrim is able to reassure him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 4400:
    • In "Pilot", Tom talks to his comatose son Kyle on a regular basis. He tells him about the unusually close comet that he is heading toward Earth, which turns out to be the ball of the light containing the 4400. Kyle's mother Linda also talks to him briefly.
    • In "The Wrath of Graham", Kyle talks to Shawn while he is in a coma, recalling that Tom told him that he often did the same thing for him.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Airwolf where the Firm tries a Faked Rip Van Winkle ploy to convince Stringfellow Hawke to reveal the location of Airwolf. The nurse tells Hawke that his best friend (supposedly dead now) would sit by his bedside and talk to him for hours, convinced that he could somehow hear him.
  • Angel
    • Near the end of season 4, Connor tracks down the hidden and comatose Cordelia to explain his motives for the first time.
    • In "Birthday" Angel appears to be going to make an Anguished Declaration of Love to the unconscious Cordelia, only to start railing on her for not telling him that the visions were slowly killing her.
    • In "Orpheus" Lorne sings to an unconscious Faith, who hears the song in a dream she's having, playing on a jukebox.
  • Arrow. In "Thanksgiving", Oliver Queen has a falling out with his longtime friend John Diggle. They're in the hospital at the time, so Oliver then goes to the bedside of his little sister Thea, who has been in a coma since last year's season finale, and begs her to wake up. She might have heard him since she wakes up at the end of the episode, though Felicity Smoak just puts this down to having found the right drug.
  • It happened in Babylon 5 when Lennier was knocked out while saving Londo from a bomb. Londo sat by his side and spoke to him, and later Lennier woke up by finishing a joke Londo told earlier.
    • Also, Neroon does this for Marcus Cole, after having beat him into the coma due to Marcus invoking You Shall Not Pass! to stop Neroon from interfering with Delenn's appointment as leader of the Rangers.
  • Battlestar Galactica. Starbuck goes in to see a brain-damaged and comatose Anders, admits that she doesn't care whether he's a human or a Cylon, and then pulls out her gun to give him the Mercy Kill, which is only averted by Anders suddenly grabbing her arm and babbling like a Mad Oracle.
  • A particularly tear-jerking example happens in the Boy Meets World "Cult Fiction", where a broken Shawn pleads with a badly injured, comatose Mr. Turner not to die on him before begging God not to let him die.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming", Willow is left comatose after a skirmish and Xander tries to talk her out of it. The expected result of this trope is subverted, in that when he says "I love you", she hears him and wakes up... thinking she'd been talked around by her boyfriend Oz.
  • At the end of the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca is at a pie contest with her friend Paula but passes out just as the prizes are being awarded and is rushed to the hospital. It's cleared up pretty quickly that Rebecca's going to be fine — she passed out due to an untreated UTI, but it gets taken care of at the hospital — but before the doctor informs Paula (and us), we're treated to a scene where Paula sits next to Rebecca's bed, holding her hand and talking to her, telling her that they won the contest and begging her to be okay, before tearfully asking the doctor what's wrong with "my Cookie". In a dark comedy where Paula's tendency to act like she's Rebecca's mother is Played for Laughs, it's surprisingly touching.
  • Criminal Minds: A tear-jerking one between Reid and an unconscious JJ in a hospital. While he isn't sure about the future, Spencer breaks down and begs for more time with her - because he can't live without her.
  • The Crown (2016): Played for Drama in "Olding" when Queen Elizabeth tells an ailing Winston Churchill with quiet intensity just how much his service as Prime Minister meant to her, then freezes in dismay to realize that he's already fallen unconscious Behind the Black. He dies before she sees him again.
  • In "Blink", the first episode of CSI: NY, Mac shares memories of his wife, Claire, who had been killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with an unconscious victim in the hospital...all the while hoping the woman will recover enough to help solve her own case.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Battlefield", the Doctor cradles the apparently-killed-by-exploding-daemon body of Brigadier, and later Sir Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart bemoaning the pointlessness with the comment "you should have died in bed." Obviously, he got better, gave the Doctor a tart retort "Really Doctor. Do you think I'd have been so stupid as to have stayed inside?" and went back to his gardening. As for his eventual fate (according to the expanded universe) - yeah, the Doctor was right. In bed. Aged roughly 125 (after being rejuvenated by accident, and becoming a lord in the Human Dreaming (kind of like Avalon in the Marvel Universe).
    • Happens again in New Who episode The Christmas Invasion where the newly regenerated Tenth Doctor has a bad case of regeneration sickness and Jackie Tyler is sitting with him, trying to get him to tell her what's wrong.
    • Whenever the Doctor does this with a sleeping/unconscious Amy, she somehow manages to hear every word. It was a Time Lord mind meld once, but only once. It's unknown at this point if it's a side-effect of the time cracks thing that makes her able to remember parts of altered timelines.
  • In Dollhouse, Echo talks to Paul even though he's brain-dead. Seeing Paul, even like that, is implied to be necessary for her mental state and she freaks out when he's moved.
  • Aeryn speaks to John while he's unconscious during Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. When he wakes up he gives no sign that he heard her, though in fairness she wasn't saying anything particularly surprising considering they were already married with a child at the time.
    Aeryn: You did it, John. All the fighting has stopped. There's no more dying. And all of a sudden, three is not such a scary number. But no matter how wonderful this is, I will not accept it as a trade-off for losing you.
  • In Freaks and Geeks, Alan puts peanuts in Bill's sandwich as a prank, not believing he is actually allergic to them, and as a result, Bill winds up in a coma in the hospital. Alan makes a heartfelt apology to him while he is unconscious because he believes Bill won't be able to hear. (Of course, Bill hears everything.)
  • Lightly invoked in Episode 2x03 of Glee ("Grilled Cheesus"), in which it's not Finn's grilled cheesus, the prayer circle or Rachel's soulless rendition of "Papa, Can You Year Me?" at his bedside that brings Burt Hummel out of a week-long coma, but (by implication) the moment when - harking back to their conversation/argument in the episode - his son Kurt says, "I don't believe in god, Dad, but I believe in you. I believe in us. That's what's sacred to me."
  • In Hannah Montana, Oliver tells Miley, "I love you" while she's unconscious in the hospital, although she could hear him. Subverted in that he was practicing to say it to Lily.
  • Invoked by Magnificent Bastard House in a fifth season episode. The team is taking care of a man who is conscious but has lost all motor function. Each team member spends time by his bedside, monitoring him, and when he finally regains function, House reveals that he had planted a recorder under the patient's pillow. He now has his team's private thoughts on tape!
  • In a first season episode of JAG, a Marine is lying unconscious in a hospital bed after being beaten severely by the gang he used to run with in Los Angeles. The Marine's CO comes into the room and proceeds to berate him for being a lousy Marine, a coward, and orders him to wake up. Just as the medical staff are pulling the CO away, the Private wakes up.
  • Used seriously in Kingdom Hospital, where the comatose artist could overhear what was being said around his body while his consciousness wandered in the spirit world.
  • Interestingly subverted in Life On Mars, which shows this going on from the perspective of the guy in the coma.
  • In Limitless Ike ends up in a coma after being shot and Brian tries talking with him, promising to treat him better. Cut to Ike's dreams which, due to Ike's growing stress from having to deal with Brian, cause Brian's words to terrify him.
  • During season 2 of Lost, Kate, believing that the spirit of the man she killed is somehow inhabiting an unconscious Sawyer's body, confesses her crime and says that every time she feels something for Sawyer, she thinks about him. Sawyer comes to, however, and says, "That's about the sweetest thing I've ever heard."
  • In Merlin, Gwen speaks to Arthur while he's unconscious after having been bitten by the Questing Beast, telling him she knows he's going to be alright because he's going to be king. A few scenes later it turns out he heard everything she said (though admittedly his memory seems a little hazy).
  • Monk once spent an entire episode talking to a comatose brother in a family that is being targeted by mail bombs (His regular psychiatrist was vacationing in Costa Rica, so he needed to commence a therapy session with someone). He turns out to be the perp.
  • On NewsRadio, the staff take turns talking to a comatose Jimmy. He wakes up just in time to hear Lisa want a baby with Dave, and relapse from the shock. He finally revives after Bill plays Foghat's "Slow Ride" in a recreation of his college radio DJ gig.
    • His 'conversation' with Dave is especially interesting, as it's a rare time that the person talking to the unconscious person starts filling in the other end of the conversation. Dave is actually laughing at something Jimmy 'said' when Lisa walks in.
  • Conversed/Lampshaded in Nurse Jackie, where Akalitus told an unconscious movie critic how she hated movies where people talked to coma patients.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "The Inheritors", Daria Michaels has been in a coma since she was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver. Her husband Ian sits at her hospital bed and talks to her on a daily basis.
    • In "Replica", Zach Griffiths talks to his wife Nora, who has been in a coma for a year, every time that he visits her in hospital.
  • Not longterm unconsciousness, but in Scrubs the Janitor's conversation with Dr. Kelso bears mentioning:
    Janitor: [After Kelso slips on a wet floor] I liked the way blond-haired-doctor looked. She brightened my day. But you don't care, do you? 'Cause you're unconscious.
  • In Smallville, Fever, Chloe visits Clark when he is unconscious due to a kryptonite-induced fever. She confesses that she is in love with him and while he is still in love with Lana Lang, she hopes he will one day come back to her because she thinks he is worth the wait. Becomes a huge Tear Jerker when he mutters Lana's name. Clark is unconscious throughout and doesn't know that Chloe came by to visit.
  • Not surprisingly, this is a time-honored trope that happens a lot in Soap Opera.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Nurse Chapel holds an unconscious Spock's hand. She is surprised by Dr. M'Benga, a specialist in Vulcan physiology, who informs her that Spock is in a healing trance and "knows you were holding his hand." Chapel recovers herself and tells Spock that a good nurse always holds her patients' hands because "it makes them feel she cares."
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In the Two-Part Episode "Scorpion", Captain Janeway makes an Enemy Mine alliance with the Borg over the objections of her Number One, Chakotay. She is later injured and has to be put in an induced coma to treat her injuries. Her last orders are to keep the alliance going, but Chakotay quickly finds a pretext to end it. Afterwards, he goes to Sickbay to apologize to an unconscious Janeway, not only for disobeying her orders, but for betraying a friend.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • In "Maps and Legends", while the "Nameless" patient is still under anesthesia, Soji whispers to him in an alien language, "You're free now, my friend."
    • In "Broken Pieces", Narissa talks to a comatose Ramdha. She's hoping that the sound of her voice will awake her aunt so that the latter can join the Romulan fleet. Otherwise, Narissa will have to leave Ramdha behind on the Artifact.
  • In Starsky & Hutch, in series finale Sweet Revenge, Hutch gives a disjointed, despairing speech to a comatose Starsky about not knowing what to do to get to the guy who organised Starsky's shooting - and Starsky wakes up.
  • In The Strain, episode 3x04, Eph has a one of these with, of all people, Quinlan. This being a Guillermo del Toro show, we get close-ups of Eph picking bullets out of Quinlan instead of a mushy declaration of affection. And it's still kind of touching.
  • In Supernatural, just a few examples include:
    • In My Time of Dying: A variation: Sam and Dean have an actual conversation while Dean is in a coma, because Dean is astrally projecting and can communicate via Ouija board.
    • The Man Who Knew Too Much: Sam is dreaming that he's driving down a road at night, unaware that he's actually in a coma. In the real world, Dean shines a penlight in his eye, freaking out Dream!Sam when he's suddenly driving in broad daylight. The song playing on Dean's radio is also playing on his car radio.
  • There is a touching scene from The X-Files episode "One Breath" that invokes this trope. Scully is dying after being returned from her abduction, and Mulder spends much of the episode trying to save her. Her family decides to honor her living will and take her off life support. As she is slowly fading away, Mulder is at his home waiting for people from the Syndicate to break in and steal important files. Scully's sister Melissa arrives and encourages him (loudly and angrily) to stop wallowing and tell Dana how he feels. Mulder does, and he has a lovely conversation with the unconscious Scully:
    Mulder: I feel, Scully... that you believe... you're not ready to go. And you've always had the strength of your beliefs. I don't know if my being here... will help bring you back. But I'm here.
    • Scully wakes up shortly thereafter and tells Mulder that she had the strength of his beliefs.
  • Under the Dome: After Julia went comatose, Barbie has several one-sided conversations with her. Mostly, it's him keeping her up-to-date on the town's situation, but also includes an "I Love You".

  • Given that Ayreon's The Human Equation is about a man in a coma except that it's really a computer program, it's not surprising that this trope shows up with Wife and Best Friend and their affair.

  • Ianto gives a heart-melting speech to an unconscious Jack in the Torchwood radio play "The Dead Line". (Link contains spoilers)
    • He does so after telling Jack never to bring up what he said. Later, when Jack is awake, Ianto asks him whether he remembers anything; Jack answers he doesn't...and then proceeds to (very laconically) answer Ianto's concerns anyway.
  • In the Adventures in Odyssey episode "The Mortal Coil" Whit is rendered comatose after having a heart attack in the Imagination Station while in a program that explored the concept of the afterlife. Tom Riley pays Whit a visit in the hospital and begs him to "come back", correctly guessing that the program worked so well that Whit wanted to stay in the idyllic heaven he'd seen.

  • In Jasper in Deadland, Agnes sings "Saving Jasper" while Jasper is still unconscious from falling into the Wasteland.

    Video Games 
  • In Beyond: Two Souls, some accessible memories reveal that Stan and Tuesday visit Jodie several times in the hospital after she was put in a coma.
  • In Crying Suns, Idaho can pour his heart out to the frozen form of his wife Rebecca if he manages to find (and visit) the Cryo-Prison complex on Lazarus-IX.
  • Squall in Final Fantasy VIII has a fairly extensive one-sided conversation with Rinoa while she is in a coma. Of course, Squall is used to having extensive one-sided conversations. The irony is that he actually wants a conversation now and can't have it - and he even makes the observation that "this is like talking to a wall", which is a callback to his blow-off of Quistis early in the game (when he says that if Quistis wants someone to listen to her but not say anything, she should talk to a wall).
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • Commander Shepard can do this in Mass Effect 3 after Ashley/Kaidan is severely injured.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda has the player character talk to their opposite-sex twin while they are in a coma following an accident during their cryo revival process at the beginning of the game. Because of the AI implant the twins share, this is a justified case in which the unconscious sibling can talk back.
  • During the ending of Mega Man Zero, X's Cyberelf ghost form appears after Zero falls in to the desert unconscious, explaining to Zero a brief summary of the short period before the game started, ending with X asking Zero to take care of the world and let him rest in peace for a little while. Just as X vanishes, Zero wakes up, revealing that he not only heard X, but he remembers him:
    Zero: So be it... but that's why we are the best partners.
  • Only in the Female Protagonist's story for Persona 3 Portable, if she maxes out Shinjiro's Moon Social Link before October 4th, he won't die on that day and instead falls into a coma until the end of the game. Akihiko visits his hospital ward on the day for his resolution and Persona evolution.
  • In Police Quest 3: The Kindred, the main character does this on a daily basis after the villain puts his wife in a coma. It's Personal, of course.
  • Resident Evil 6: During one boss fight against a mutated Derek Simmons, Ada is knocked unconscious and Leon rushes over to protect her. While trying to keep Simmons at bay, Leon speaks to Ada, begging her to wake up and finish the fight. She eventually comes to, making a quip about "just resting her eyes" before rejoining the fight.

  • In Archipelago Riley does this a lot whenever Alice is unconscious. The first time is a Love Confession (and Alice actually can hear it perfectly). Later, when she's unconscious again, he chats to her about where he'd like to live when they get married and similar lovey things. They do settle there and get married in the epilogue.
  • In The Dreamland Chronicles, Alex to Felicity — miracle cure!
  • In El Goonish Shive, Abraham to Ellen. The context is different, though; this is because he's talking to someone - anyone - to justify the murder he's about to commit.
  • In Ennui GO!, the main reason why Izzy wanted to take over Florida; her mother was in a hospital there and she felt like she had to conquer the entire state just to have the emotional strength to visit her.
  • In Fite!, Cub to Lucco.
  • In Penny and Aggie, Penny visits her ex-boyfriend Rich, who's comatose after being stabbed. Encouraged to talk to him, Penny initially lets out her anger over his risky lifestyle, ending with, "Just hurry up and die!" After getting that off her chest, on a subsequent visit she whispers something presumably more gentle into his ear. Of course, when Rich regains consciousness and returns to school, he reveals what he actually heard: "'Hurry up and die'? You know I never do what you tell me."
  • In The Phoenix Requiem, Anya. Enough to be commented on.

    Western Animation 
  • Aaron Herbst in the Batman Beyond episode "Disappearing Inque" has spent months talking to the frozen Inque as if she were his confidant; he's fired when it gets to the point of kissing her ice block. Inque, who was conscious the whole time, is not happy about it after she gets out. He'd later be on the other end of this at the end of the episode.
  • Family Guy: When Glenn Quagmire was in an auto-erotic asphyxiation-induced coma, his sister came into the city to sing a song from his childhood, hoping it would wake him up. The lyrics were "Glenn Quagmire, please don't die of auto-erotic asphyxiation/Your friends want to go fishing with you."
    Brian: This is from childhood?
  • In the Futurama episode "The Sting", when Leela falls into a coma, Fry stays at her bedside for at least two weeks straight, constantly pleading her to wake up. It works.
  • In the film Once Upon a Forest, an adorable little badger girl named Michelle is put into a coma by toxic fumes leaking into the forest, which killed her parents. Her Uncle Cornelius sings a song called "Please Wake Up" to Michelle as she's lying unconscious in bed. It's quite the Tear Jerker.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer is sent to the hospital in a coma after a failed April Fools prank by Bart (he put one of his beer cans in a paint pot shaker, and when Homer opened it, it caused a massive explosion). Late into the episode (which was a Clip Show episode, by the way), Bart comes into the room to confess the prank he pulled on Homer. As he tells it all, Homer's condition improves, until he gets up... and starts strangling Bart.
    • It's not like Bart did it for malice, though: ever since he woke up for April Fools, Homer had been tormenting the living hell out of the boy. He just didn't think his act of revenge would be such a Disproportionate Retribution.
    • In the episode "Separate Vocations", Wiggum gives a pre-arrest one-liner to an unconscious thug named Snake.
      Chief Wiggum: Ah, looks like you just bought yourself a lottery ticket... to jail.
      Officer Lou: He's unconscious, Sir.
      Chief Wiggum: Ah, they can still hear things.
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Storm Over Ryloth", Admiral Yularen is knocked out during the initial attack on the blockade, and while he's unconscious in the medbay, Ahsoka apologizes to him for her recklessness that caused his injury. He turns out to have been awake and heard her.
  • This is the thrust of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "Tales of Leo". After a severe smackdown by The Foot two episodes ago, Leonardo is unconscious and dying. The A-plot of the episode consists of his family's conversations with him about his childhood, told in the form of flashbacks.
  • In an episode of Transformers: Prime, Raf tells Bumblebee a story while playing a racing game while the latter is powered down. Ratchet brings up that Bumblebee can't hear him in this state.
  • Cody speaks to the Rescue Bots in Transformers: Rescue Bots while they're paralyzed from radioactive space dust. They appreciate it once they're all better.

    Real Life 
  • Mr. T talked a young boy out of a coma.
  • Mel Blanc was nearly killed in a car accident and was left in a coma. The doctor tried to talk to him to see if he would come to, but he was unresponsive. The doctor finally gets an idea, and asks Mel, "Bugs Bunny, can you hear me?" and Mel replies, "What's up, doc?"


Video Example(s):


Rayla Talks To Callum

After spending two years on a fruitless quest, Rayla returns to see Callum, who's naturally uncertain about how he feels about her and isn't ready to talk yet. After a night of sitting beside each other, Rayla speaks to her sleeping mage.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConverseWithTheUnconscious

Media sources: