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Damsel Fight-and-Flight Response

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A girl got cornered by the villain, he is about to kill her, and there is no escape. Suddenly she catches him off-guard and smacks him in the head with a heavy object. He will collapse to the ground and she will run to the door. Somehow, despite the fact that realistically he should have at least a minor concussion, he will recover quickly enough to catch her just before she reaches the door.

Of course it would never occur to her to continue hitting him while he is down to make sure he would not recover.


Similar to Once Is Not Enough except that the villain is only unstoppable to women. To men he might be just a Mook.


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    Comic Books 
  • Mary Jane does this to the Chameleon in a Spider-Man comic, but subverted in that she does keep hitting him.
  • Calie Liddell, in Return to Wonderland #3, does much the same thing to the Mad Hatter, though her beating goes much farther. She even lampshades it.

    Comic Strips 
  • When Olive Oyl is held captive by a gang of cowboys, she manages to hit the leader on the head...and keeps hitting him while hysterically crying for Popeye. When Popeye finishes beating up the rest of the gang and comes for her, he has to tell Olive to calm down or she'll end up killing the boss.

  • In the Daria fanfic 'Emancipation', Daria defies this trope when she goes to buy her sister a chicken dinner, and a guy attempts to mug her right in front of the restaurant. Before anyone inside can do anything - not to mention the mugger - Daria goes momentarily Ax-Crazy as she takes her Doc Martens to each of his knees and then kicks him in the face... leaving a perfect print of her boot's sole on his forehead.

  • In the movie House of 9, the Final Girl, a good Christian girl, stabs the villain in the leg....and runs away instead of stabbing him repeatedly. Despite the fact that the villain had already killed several others and showed no hesitation. Of course he comes after her.
  • Runaway Jury: Marlee hit the guy twice and, when he still catches her before she manages to escape, she stabbed his leg with a piece of wood.
  • Best subversion ever: the kidnapping scene from Rush Hour in which the girl manages to frustrate and bruise much of the abduction team before they finally subdue her and stuff her into a van.
  • Another severe subversion occurs in the ending of Death Proof. The girls go back to finish the job.
  • A Gender Flip happens in the movie Misery.
  • In the movie The Watcher, the only person who bothered to fight back against David Allen Griffin (the Serial Killer and Keanu Reeves' character) was the homeless girl, who smacked him hard in the head with her boombox and runs. Unfortunately, just as according to this trope, it hardly fazes him much, and he's after her, managing to chase her down and kill her.
  • Subverted in the remake House of Wax (2005). The heroine gets a hold of a baseball bat and smacks one of the killers down. It's set up to look like she'll run off like pretty much every other horror movie. But after a pause she continues to hit him until he dies. And then some.
  • Turned on its head and spit-roasted in Last Action Hero: while invading Jack Slater's house, one of the bad guys takes Slater's daughter Whitney into another room to rough her up. Unfortunately for them, she's daddy's little ass-kicker, and proceeds to brutalize the poor Mook all while still screaming at the top of her lungs to fool the others into thinking she was on the receiving end of the sounds of violence.
  • A staple of the Scream series. Ghostface is regularly knocked down by the female victims he is chasing, but they never capitalize on it and he almost always ends up catching/killing them.

     Live Action Television  

  • Happened to Lex's girlfriend in season 2 of Smallville.
  • There's a Criminal Minds episode where a Distressed Damsel, in the last third or quarter, decides to fight back against a pair of Siblings in Crime when she gets ahold of a knife. She manages to stab one repeatedly, then after a little baiting, waits for the other one in a tree, pouncing on him when he gets close, stabbing him twice in the back... then getting off of him and running away, with his bow and already pissed off, no less. Lucky for her the FBI arrived Just in Time.
  • True Blood: Sookie does this to Rene in the first season. She tries to shoot him with a shotgun, only to find he's preemptively removed the ammo. She clubs him once, then runs away instead of loading, tossing her only weapon into the bushes as she runs.

     Manga and Anime  

  • An especially egregious instance is the first time Miaka gets cornered alone in Fushigi Yuugi. When it dawns on her that she's in another world, away from any legal consequences for hooliganism, she proceeds to singlehandedly mop the floor with an entire street gang and nearly run away. Unfortunately, reality catches up with her when she's nabbed and needs an assist from Tamahome.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation