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Darkest Hour

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They are coming...

"You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: 'Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more.'"
Frodo, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, Book IV

This is it. Things can't get any worse.

During the course of a Story Arc, your characters can go places, have adventures, fight bad guys, and right wrongs. They've loved and lost and learned...and then something happens. Something that they never expected. The bad guys win. The people turn against them. The mentor is dead. The team falls apart. The Hero Dies.

And they don't have time to mourn or plan or get over their losses, because more bad things are happening. This is the point in a narrative when there's no hope, when the characters are at the edge of the Despair Event Horizon. It is frequently invoked for the strongest testing of The Hero's character: What You Are in the Dark.

Older Than Dirt, going back to The Epic of Gilgamesh. As an ancient and ubiquitous plot device, this scenario has received quite a bit of attention in literary circles; it's cognate to the "death" stage (preceding the "descent into the underworld", but not always clearly distinguished from it) in certain formulations of The Hero's Journey monomyth, and shows up elsewhere as well. At least one creative writing course views such bleak moments as essential to effective plotting.


This usually precedes a Day of Reckoning climax where only a few things can happen:

Compare Can't Refuse the Call Anymore, the first of the dark hours. May overlap with Near-Villain Victory. The Cornered Rattle Snake is someone who begins to fight back despite appearing to have no chance of survival. Hope Springs Eternal is the natural conclusion of such a moment... unless, of course, the story features a Downer Ending.

The Trope Namer is a proverb that claims that "The darkest hour is just before the dawn," but its exact origins are uncertain. Most likely, English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller was the first one to say something like it in his 1650 religious travelogue A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof, where it is quoted, "It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth."


It should go without saying, but "Here there be spoilers!"


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball: Piccolo Daimaou had killed Goku's best friend Krillin, with him failing to avenge him, now his Old Master Muten Roshi is also dead along with Chiaotzu, Piccolo got his wish for eternal youth, and worst of all, he killed Shenron himself so that he is no longer challenged.
  • Dragon Ball Z
    • Just prior to the climax of the Namek saga: Frieza has survived everything Goku has thrown at him, including the 20x Kaio Ken and the Spirit Bomb, Vegeta, Dende and the Namekians are dead, and Piccolo is mortally wounded, and were he to die, the entire purpose of the journey to Namek would be moot. On top of that, Frieza decides to kill Krillin next...
    • There's an episode devoted to this in the Cell Saga where Cell powers up a massive Kamehameha blast to destroy the Earth, as a badly injured Gohan and the rest of Z warriors look on helplessly.
    • In the Saiyan saga, almost all of the Z warriors have been killed fighting Vegeta and Nappa, Gohan and Krillin are the only ones still standing, and Goku still hasn't made it back to Earth yet.
    • Occurs on a galactic scale in the Majin saga, when Kid Buu destroys the earth, then proceeds to zip from one planet to the next, destroying them as he goes. When Kid Buu arrives in the Other World, Goku and Vegeta try to fight him, but find themselves horribly outmatched.
  • Dragon Ball Super
    • In Resurrection of F Saga, Vegeta was about to finally finish off Frieza which Goku couldn't do because he let his guard down thanks to Sorbet's ring laser. Frieza then decides to use this time to destroy Earth in to take Vegeta and everyone out. With the Earth destroyed, only Goku and fellow survivors remain alive thanks to Whis and Beerus while they look on in despair for everyone killed. Whis however, gives Goku one last chance to make things right but rewinding to before Frieza can destroy Earth.
    • In Future Trunks Saga, Merged Zamasu's body was destroyed but he ends up becoming Infinite Zamasu by fusing with the whole multiverse to the point that he takes over the timeline and trying to take over the original timeline. Then as the heroes aren't strong enough to hurt him, Zamasu ends up blasting the entire world to kill the remaining survivors and only the heroes including Future Mai, Supreme Kais Shin and Gowasu, and Future Trunks were the only survivors left. Goku summons Future Zeno to destroy Zamasu... at the cost of Future Trunks' timeline being destroyed.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • During the Chapter Black where the whole objective is to prevent a portal to the Demon Word from opening potentially letting in A and S Class Demons that can potentially wipe out the Earth. Also the Black and White Morality the heroes are so used to gets thrown out the window. Made even worse that even the protagonist of the series could not catch up.
    • Sensui's power far exceeded Yusuke's, being an S class while Yusuke was a B+ at best. Knowing he had no chance of ever beating Sensui, Yusuke opted for a Heroic Sacrifice, letting Sensui kill him, thus boosting the the power levels of Kuwabara, Kurama, and Hiei up to A class. 3 A Class fighters against an S Class was still a very one sided Curb-Stomp Battle in favor of Sensui. It took two Deus ex Machina just to beat him.
  • Sakura Wars: The Movie: Commander Yoneda is missing, Orihime Soletta has been ambushed and brainwashed by Patrick Hamilton, Maria is missing after attempting to investigate Douglas-Stewart, and the Imperial Flower Combat division has been placed on indefinite standby and isn't allowed back at the Imperial Theater.
  • Mazinger Z: Its Darkest Hour happened in episode 92, but the Mazinger vs Great General of Darkness expanded upon it and turned it even more tragic: The army of Mykene Empire struck, easily razing several big cities (London, New York, Moscow...) to ruins. When they raided Tokyo, Kouji flew to fight them... and got the crap beaten out of him. When he returned to the Institute, he found out several Mykene Beasts had smashed the place, destroying Sayaka and Boss's Humongous Mecha. And Shiro, his little brother, had been hurt when a ceiling collapsed, and he urgently needed a blood transfusion. In spite of he was weak -and he was underage- Kouji DID demand they used his blood. Later, at the night, he was sitting in what was left of his bedroom, observing a picture of his father and his grandfather and crying Manly Tears as he muttered the Mykene Beasts would return, and he could not win, but he would fight even though he knew he was going to die (unbeknownst to him, Sayaka was observing him, shedding tears as she heard him talking).
    • Great Mazinger: In the anime it happened in the last episode: the Mykene bombarded the Fortress of Science, Kouji and Tetsuya were forced to fight separately, Tetsuya was defeated and nearly got killed and Prof. Kenzo Kabuto died. And in the Gosaku Ota episodes it was worse.
      • Nevertheless, in that same manga the Darkest Hour happened in one of the last arcs: Great Marshall of Hell blackmailed the Government into destroying the Fortress of Science, Great Mazinger and Venus A. The Fortress was blown up to bits and crumbled into the ocean, the heroes were forced to flee and hiding, and while they were seeking a shelter and lying low, the Mykene army conquered Japan.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: In the finale of the first season, The Hero was defeated and forced into hiding with his Humongous Mecha, his lancer was shot down, his Love Interest was dying, the base was taken by one of the Co-Dragons of Big Bad, and the Professor was tortured.
  • Most of the Rossiu arc of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, where the heroes are discredited, stripped of power, and seemingly impotent in the face of the apocalypse. The Darkest Hour for the first two arcs is Simon's Heroic BSoD. Due to Kamina's death.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers, the episode "That Day, Riot Force Six". It ends with most of their forces injured, both the Ground Forces HQ and Riot Force Six HQ destroyed, and Ginga and Vivio captured.
  • By the last episode of Scrapped Princess, Pacifica has sustained a mortal wound, Prince Forsythe has given himself a mortal wound, Shannon and Zefiris have been dragged off by the surviving Peacemakers, and for good measure, the Royal Forces start blasting the place. It ends well.
  • Macross Frontier's Darkest Hour begins around episode 20, with the president being assassinated, a Vajra infestation on the main ship causing wholesale civilian slaughter, the death of Michel as he defended his love, and the departure of Ranka Lee. Things go From Bad to Worse ... but eventually end well.
  • The Darkest Hour in Digimon Tamers is when the children realize they can't beat the D-Reaper even with All Your Powers Combined, Juri is in a suicidal, catatonic state, they learn that the D-Reaper obliterated the Digital World, making it a Barren Wasteland, and they realize its plan is to cause a Class 6 Apocalypse.
  • In Code Geass, the Darkest Hour comes in R2 episode 19. Suzaku uses a nuke-equivalent in Tokyo because Lelouch's geass command from season 1 compelled him to. This leads to terrific and terrifying destruction, much civilian death, and Nunally's demise. Lelouch, Suzuka and Nina all go into shock, thinking My God, What Have I Done? while a new weapon that fires these on command is in development. This leads to The Zero Requiem. And then Schneizel takes advantage of the whole situation to reveal Lelouch's identity to the Black Knights, and manipulates them all into turning against him.
  • This takes place in Chrono Crusade after a disastrous battle with Aion leaves the True Companions broken.
    • In the manga, Rosette is nearly killed when Chrono goes into an Unstoppable Rage. Chrono realizes what he's doing in time to save her life, but Aion uses it as his chance to incapacitate him. Azmaria is then kidnapped, Aion leaves the rest badly injured, and Chrono is so distraught that he forces himself into an Angst Coma so he won't take any more of Rosette's lifespan. It ends once Rosette and Chrono decide to follow Aion to his base of operations.
    • In the anime, Rosette is kidnapped by Aion and brainwashed to take part in his plans. Chrono manages to free Joshua from the horns, but they've damaged his mind so much he barely remembers anyone, and in the process Chrono is frozen in time. Thing spiral out of control from there, and don't get better until Chrono's final fight with Aion, and the rest of the series is grim up until the ending.
  • In Princess Tutu, the Darkest Hour is when the Raven turns the townspeople into crows and captures Mytho when Princess Tutu can't remove her pendant from her neck (which is Mytho's last heart shard). Ahiru becomes so depressed that she believes the only way she can help everyone is by killing herself. Fakir stops her by convincing her that he will always be with her and they can save Mytho together. The Darkest Hour comes to an end when Ahiru finds the courage to give Mytho the pendant and return to being a duck.
  • Naruto:
    • During the Invasion of Pain arc. The village has been leveled, with several important characters and hundreds of nameless villagers killed. Naruto's new sage power has failed and he is pinned to the ground helpless. Worse still, he can find no response to Pain's nihilistic Breaking Speech. Then Hinata tries to come to his aid, makes an Anguished Declaration of Love and attacks Pain, only to get stabbed. Naruto's shock and anger overcome his protective seals and the power of the Nine-Tailed Fox bursts free like it has never done before. As Kyuubi-Naruto is fighting Pain, the scene switches to Yamato (the only person who can rein in the Nine-Tailed Fox when Naruto loses control), who's miles away. He looks down to his tattoo that shows how many tails Naruto has unleashed (if all of them are released, the Nine-Tailed Fox can break free completely), and sees the number changing from 8 to 9...
    • The battle against Madara Uchiha manages to top this. Madara effortlessly absorbs all nine tailed beasts at once, killing Bee and knocking out Naruto, and then he stabs Sasuke in the heart. Naruto's condition rapidly deteriorates into cardiac arrest and is utterly unresponsive to any of Sakura's medical jutsu, forcing her to resort to CPR. The alliance has already been devastated by several attacks from the Ten Tails and the Zetsus. Sasuke is bleeding out with no one able to help him, and he may already be dead.
      • Then it got worse. Minato tries to transplant his half of Kurama into Naruto, but Black Zetsu interferes and Madara shows up. Sakura is still performing CPR, but who knows how much longer she can hold out. Gai wants to help, but he can barely stand. An unknown figure is approaching Sasuke.
      • Then it gets even worse. Madara became Ten Tails' jinchuriki and finally activated Infinite Tsukiyomi; after this, the Sage of Six Path's mother is revived and has Black Zetsu take out Madara, becoming the true final villain.
  • There's one at the end of each Slayers season.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: The result of a plan orchestrated by the main villain, Tamaki's Evil Matriarch grandmother, in an attempt to separate him and Haruhi: disolve the host club and force Tamaki away to France.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, the main one comes when Sakura believes she's lost to Yue; she has a lucid dream in which the catastrophe takes place, and friendships no longer exist for the people Sakura was close to.
    • In the second movie The Sealed Card, she has lost the whole city, including her closest friends, father and apparently love interest to the negating power of the card with no way to stop her. And when she finds a way to stop her under the condition that she will bring a Heroic Sacrifice, said love interest appears and takes her spot.
  • In Pluto, when all of the seven great robots of the world have been destroyed. Except for Atom, who may be insane at that point.
  • 20th Century Boys's darkest hour is at the end of the second arc, which sees an even crueller person donning the Friend mask, killing several million people, and molding the world in his own image, making all the protagonists work up till then all for nothing.]] After that, things start to eventually look up, starting with the return of the supposedly dead hero from the first third of the story.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Father's just activated his transmutation circle and absorbed the entirety of Amestris. Then he absorbed the Truth.
    • The Elric brothers' first meeting with Father and the aftermath. They've found out the horrible secret of their country and they're led to believe there's nothing they can do to stop it. One of the chapters in this arc is even called "Inside the Belly."
    • 2003 anime: Dante and the Homunculi kidnap and immobilize Alphonse, place him in a giant transmutation circle, and plan to use him as a Philosophers Stone, so Dante can pull a Grand Theft Me on Rose. Then Edward gets killed by Envy while trying to save them.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Episode 45. The girls finally decide to take on the Dark Kingdom at its source, because Metallia will soon break free of her imprisonment and destroy the world if not stopped. The episode ends with all but Sailor Moon dead. Even though she's encouraged by the spirits of her friends to keep going, it still wasn't looking good for Usagi at that point.
    • The climax of Sailor Moon Stars. Sailor Moon and the Starlights are the only Sailor Soldiers left. This is on top of the dark shadow of Tuxedo Mask's disappearance that's been hanging around for half the season. The Hope Spot is a dream as well, and really not that close to the end.
    • The manga has one that's worse: Galaxia destroys all the Sailor Crystals, leaving herself, Sailor Moon, and Sailor Chibi Chibi the only ones left.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima!'s Darkest Hour is everything that happens after the Governor's ball, most of it to Negi. The Governor tries to kill him after Negi uncovers his real objective, all while his Superpowered Evil Side is threatening to consume him. His mentor is erased in front of him. The secret organisation headed by his nemesis is activating the plan to destroy the Magical World, which erased a lot of his students' new friends in the crossfire as they watched. Oh yeah, Mahora Academy might not survive either. His childhood friend Anya and Asuna are being held hostage, and he's just found out that the Asuna he's been with for all this time is a sleeper agent that he has to unmask. On top of this, he has to beat the evil side into submission, otherwise he'll turn into a feral, homicidal demon the next time he uses Magia Erebea. He feels personally responsible for most of these... and he's just ten. Most overwhelmed little boy since Ender Wiggin.
    • As if that wasn't enough, the final showdown between Ala Alba and Kosmo Entelechia has gone wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. Negi is incapacitated (bad), so the rest of the team pull off a daring rescue (good). Half the attacking group is turned to stone in the clusterfuck (bad), but at least they've stopped the world-ending ritual and stolen the artifact, rescued the princess and saved the world, right? Uh, no.
  • One for every JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part:
    • Part 1 - The seemingly dead Dio attacks Jonathan on his honeymoon.
    • Part 2 - Kars achieves his goal of becoming an ultimate being and is now immune to Hamon, and Joseph's out of ideas.
    • Part 3 - Kakyoin, Iggy, Avdol, and Joseph are dead and just Jotaro remains to take on Dio and his almost invincible time stopping power.
    • Part 4 - Kira has gained a new Stand ability that allows him to easily pick off the only people who can stop him, and the only person who knows Kira's real identity has no way of telling them directly.
    • Part 5 - Polnareff's Requiem Stand has gone berserk, and thanks to some body-switching, Big Bad Diavolo is in Buccarati's body, Narancia is dead, and the Requiem Arrow is almost in Diavolo's hands.
    • Part 6 - Pucci upgrades his Stand to one that can reset the universe, and he plans to make a world where everyone knows their fate. The only one stopping him is a kid with no offensive abilities whatsoever.
    • Part 7 - Valentine has all the corpse parts and merges them with Lucy, giving him complete immunity to Johnny's attacks, Gyro's strongest attack doesn't work and gets him killed, and then Diego shows up...
  • Wolf's Rain: The last couple episodes are a never-ending barrage of this. As in, all the main characters die. And not just die, but die horribly. One by one. Finally, it's just Kiba left standing against the Big Bad. He wins, but he's dying. But wait! Cheza exploding into a pile of seeds! Yes, there is hope and joy at- wait, never mind. The universe really does die. All the characters you had some attachment to did face horrible, gruesome deaths. And the last thing you see is Kiba dying. Except not. Only not really. See a whole other existence is apparently made because of this. An existence where only four of the main characters are shown being in, or at least convincing doppelgangers of them. You never really get to find out if the ResetButton was real, or just Kiba's dying dream. If it is real, it's never hinted at in any way that any of the characters shown alive still know each other at all, or where the rest of the gang is. If the rest of the gang is there to begin with. One possible explanation is that it really is a reset, but only the wolves are reincarnated in it (Darcia did say that it was "a paradise only for wolves").
  • Out of 50 episodes in Eureka Seven, episode 44 arguably takes the spot for this trope. The entire episode is a depression.
  • The last part of the manga Hellsing develops with the city of London being attacked and destroyed by Nazi Vampires, with Alucard far away in a ship, and the Hellsing manor almost destroyed and under attack by more Nazi Vampires. The Vatican organizes the Ninth Crusade to deal with this threat, but Maxwell, who is Drunk with Power at this point, is not interested in helping the people of London and orders his crusaders to kill them all for being Protestants. The situation doesn't get better until Alucard arrives (which actually makes things worse).
    • It gets much, much worse. Anderson becomes a thorn-monster-thing. Walter pulls a Face–Heel Turn. Alucard DIES and does not come back before the end of the war.
  • Episode 12 of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Stocking's ascended to Heaven, Panty's lost her powers, and the Big Bad abducted Brief to unlock the Ghost sealed away. Then it gets...weird.
  • The Water Seven and Sabaody arcs in One Piece, both storylines in which the Straw Hat Pirates have come close to annihilation.
    • Those are tame compared with The Marineford arc. The marines succeed in executing Ace, Blackbeard kills Whitebeard and steals his powers, Luffy has sustained a massive amount of damage and sacrificed part of his lifespan in vain, and several villains from previous arcs have now been freed from prison (by Luffy himself, no less), and as the cherry on top, Luffy lost his brother despite all the sacrifices he made.
    • Perhaps one of the darkest as a whole for the Myth Arc was during the Dressrosa arc. There was a fruit user in Doflamingo's crew who had the ability to turn anyone she touched into a toy. And everyone who is turned is completely forgotten, by everyone, and they have no means to tell people. During an assault, Nico Robin, the only person in the world capable of reading the Poneglyphs, gets turned into a toy. Keep in mind, the Poneglyphs being deciphered is serious enough for the World Government to practically glass an island, and it is heavily implied reading them is necessary to reach Raftel. If not for Usopp, the bad guys would probably have won.
    • The Totta Land arc is yet another, especially for Sanji. Sanji is in an Arranged Marriage with one of Big Mom's daughters, and his own family is blackmailing him by threatening to kill his adoptive father Zeff if he doesn't go along with it. Luffy and Nami have gotten captured and are on death row in the dungeon, Pedro is locked in a battle against Tamago, Brook is trapped in the treasure room with Big Mom herself, Carrot and Chopper are trapped and lost in a mirror world, and on top of that, his would-be wife Pudding turns out to be a manipulative sociopath who fully intends to kill Sanji during the wedding ceremony while her family kills the rest of the Vinsmokes as well for their cloning technology. The kicker is that the name of the chapter this is revealed in is called Hope, and ends with the solemn narrative words "Not a single ray of hope, left in this world."
  • The end of Hong Gildong arc in Shin Angyo Onshi. The main character willingly traps himself in a Lotus-Eater Machine which he considered a Fate Worse than Death betting on One In A Million Chance of breaking free versus certain death otherwise. His main companion is deceived into working for the Big Bad. Anti-Villain antagonists of the arc are mostly dead. The main character's former old friend remains undead in the thrall to the Big Bad, and is revealed to be unable to die or to break free unless his body is completely obliterated. The city that the protagonists protected in the arc is taken over by the Big Bad. The Big Bad decides to stop fooling around and get to the businness of taking over the world, revealing his vast true power and his array of superhuman henchmen. Few good guys still standing are being manipulated by him.
    • It gets So.Much.Worse in the final battle. After a gruesome battle where Munsu loses his right arm just to redeem Sando, Aji Tae appears, and decides to make a little show of power... obliterating his stronghold and most of the battlefield in one go, killing most of the characters in there, including his henchmen. Then, almost dead from blood loss and the cost of using the mandrake getting to him, Munsu still doesn't have any other idea against Aji Tae rather than claiming that he is Aji Tae's origin (And thus, his death could affect Aji Tae). Aji Tae thus decides to make a point blowing up Munsu's eye and other arm, and showing he considered that option, and that's why he used another Eldritch Abomination as insurance to avoid the worst case scenario. Desperation Attack only mean getting instakilled, and it looks like Munsu just succumbed...
      • And then Munsu decides to have the very best death ever and show the bastard who's boss.
  • By episode 11 of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura is the only magical girl left alive and is fighting a losing battle against Walpurgisnacht even after unloading a small army's worth of firepower on it. After repeating the same six weeks who knows how many times, she finally gives up hope... cue Wishplosion courtesy of her beloved Madoka.
  • The End of Evangelion carries this trope to its logical extreme. It's pretty dark.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion gets quite dire in the climaxes of each film:
    • 2.0: The 10th Angel has overpowered Unit-02 (even after Mari releases its inhibitors) and devoured Rei. Shinji joins the fray in Unit-01, only to run out of power, leaving him at the Angel's mercy. As it seems he is doomed, however, Shinji and Unit-01 go berserk, overpower Zeruel, and extract Rei's soul from its core, in so doing inadvertently starting Third Impact, which is only stopped by Kaworu and the Lance of Longinus.
    • 3.0: In a misguided attempt to undo the devastation he wrought at the end of the previous movie, Shinji nearly kickstarts a Fourth Impact. While he is stopped, the gravity of his acts, combined with the death of Kaworu, the one person who treated him with kindness in over a decade, render him catatonic.
  • SD Gundam Force: Most of Neotopia's population is turned to stone, Commander Sazabi has stolen Captain's soul drive, and is preparing to rule over the world with it.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh! near the end of season two; the Sealed Evil in a Can turns out to be the demon kingdom's Crystal Dragon Jesus and possesses the protagonist, The Smart Guy performed a Face–Heel Turn prior to that and has been planning it for centuries, and the practically invincible army is not only invading the rest of the world but also starting to come over to Earth.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo's lowest personal moment occurs during the Lost Agent arc. Thanks to More Than Mind Control, Ichigo's friends and family have united with the Big Bad against him or are critically injured. The guy he thought was a friend turns out to be a villain instead and the powers he worked so hard to regain are stolen from him. He's abandoned on his knees, a sword through his chest, crying in the rain. He gets better.
    • Soul Society suffers a crushing defeat at the beginning of the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc. The city is laid waste by the Vandenreich and Urahara, Sado and Orihime are defeated at a second front in Hueco Mundo. Within fifteen minutes, fully half the Gotei 13 is dead or critically injured, five bankais have been stolen and Ichigo himself is imprisoned between worlds, forced to listen helplessly to the screams of the dying. Significant characters that are brutually defeated include Byakuya, Kenpachi, Renji, Rukia and Kira. Yamamoto and Choujirou die.
    • Yhwach and his Praetorian Guard defeat Squad Zero, considered the ultimate shinigami force, with ease. Afterwards, he manipulates Ichigo(through his Quincy blood) into finishing the Soul King off, which starts the collapse of the three worlds. Ukitake releases the minor god who kept him alive since he was a child in an attempt to slowdown the crisis, but it proves to be a vain sacrifice when Yhwach absorbs said god. A good measure of how bad the situation is, is the fact that Kyouraku has to release Aizen from his prison, seeking aid, and that the lower level SternRitter join forces with the shinigami against Yhwach.
    • Ichigo pretty much experienced the worst of his life just as he showed off his Bankai against Yhwach, who immediately snapped it in two before Ichigo can use it with his "The Almighty". Then Yhwach bypassed Orihime's shield with his powers easily to lay waste on Ichigo in order to break him further before he finally absorbed his Hollow and Quincy powers... reducing Ichigo as both physically and mentally powerless while Yhwach got what he wanted as he leaves into a portal.
  • InuYasha:
    • Sango and Miroku waiting for the Wind Tunnel to absorb them while their despair consumes the light within the Shikon no Tama leaving it in darkness.
    • When Sesshoumaru finally learns the truth about Tenseiga's origins and Meidou Zangetsuha's purpose, he concludes his father has groomed Inuyasha to kill him. He's so shaken that he abandons his group, Inuyasha's group having to save them from Naraku. Nothing - not even Kagura's death or Rin's second death - has ever made him despair the way thinking his father hated him did.
    • Inuyasha is tricked into thinking he murdered Kagome in his blood rage. This breaks him down so completely that he gives into his despair and demon blood.
  • High School DXD's Darkest Hour occurs in the 11th volume when Opfus had 75% of her powers drained from her. Then they're trapped in an alternate dimension surrounded by grim reapers. They were able to destroy the statues and were already about to get out of that place when Opfus gets kidnapped by a newly-rebuilt Shalba Beelzebub, and Ise has to rescue her. The volume ends with Ise getting hit with a dragon-eater Samael blood coated on an arrow, leaving him to die in that place. That's not all however; Hades starts a war on the Underworld, Azazel's been accused of cooperating with terrorists even though he's the one who wanted peace in the first place, and every single member of the Occult Research Club suffering a Heroic BSoD.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, the Darkest Hour is when the nuclear armed Blue Cosmos is ready to nuke the PLANTs with over a hundred nukes, and ZAFT is ready to use their Wave Motion Gun on Blue Cosmos and Earth, and the Three Ship Alliance in between trying to prevent both sides from wiping each other out.
  • While Popotan isn't exactly a dark series to begin with, it does reach a very bleak point in episode 11. The main characters have been told that they can either continue time travelling with all the impediments that would put on their social lives, or live away from each other in three separate time periods; after Mai leaves, Ai and Mii find going on to be pointless and eventually abandon their journey too. The next episode reveals that none of them are very happy about the situation.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing happens three times, the pilot's homes are targeted for retaliation, then the colonies decide to join their oppressors, and finally Quatre goes on a colony destroying spree nearly killing his best friend.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya! has the Grand Finale, "Fright to the Finish." Fire Kirby has used up all of his energy and reverted back to normal after tiring himself out trying to attack Nightmare physically. Nightmare then decides to enter his sleep and give him a nightmare by torturing him before moving on to crush him. Tiff tries calling for the Warp Star, but it's nowhere to be found in Kirby's dream. Just when all hope seems lost, Kirby summons it in his dreams and eats it, becoming Star Rod Kirby and beating Nightmare in one hit.
  • In Berserk the Band of the Hawk's darkest hour comes after the completion of their Griffith rescue operation, which was the first victory for the Hawks since their downfall upon Griffith's imprisonment, but a Pyrrhic Victory at that, since Griffith now disfigured and crippled beyond repair after a year of torture can never wield a sword again and the Hawks can never return to their status without his leadership. Most of the Hawks are confused and emotionally distraught, especially Guts, Casca, and most of all Griffith himself. He goes through a Despair Event Horizon as a result, but during it, he finds a glimmer of hope for himself; unfortunately, it's a VERY BAD ONE for everyone else involved. It's made that much worse for watchers of the anime, where all of the above happens... and then the series ends.
  • In Heartcatch Pretty Cure, the girls end up confronting Big Bad Dune for the first time... and he easily hands them all their asses, kidnaps Tsubomi's grandmother, regains his full power, then proceeds to turn the Earth into a desert and it seems that, for a little while, those four are the only people alive...
  • In Shakugan no Shana, the final series has a freaking god invade the mortal realm. This from a series where The World Is Always Doomed, it happens in the anime a full ten episodes before the show ends.
  • Kill la Kill: By the end of episode 13, Satsuki sets off to raid the last few schools not under her control, and Mako is forced to take part in it. The Elite Four return and are on the verge of getting even stronger. Nui completely defeats Ryuko, destroying Senketsu, and its shredded pieces are scattered across Satsuki's forces and used for combat data. All of this presumably makes Ryuko's depression go from bad to worse.
    • And then things get even worse during the course of episodes 18-20. Satsuki is defeated by her monster of a mother Ragyo, who steals Junketsu for herself. Ryuko fares little better, getting her heart ripped out by Ragyo and revealing that she is a Life Fiber hybrid. Ragyo's COVERS have taken over Japan, imprisoning many people, including Mako and her family. Satsuki is rescued by the Elite Four and Ryuko ultimately awakens, but doesn't want anything to do with Senketsu anymore because she is still bugged out over being a Life Fiber hybrid. Then Ragyo and Nui lure Ryuko to Honnouji Academy, where they capture her and force her to wear Junketsu, turning her Brainwashed and Crazy — and worse, they've stitched the thing to her Life Fibers, meaning that if it's forcibly removed, it will kill her.
  • Umi Monogatari has the end of episode 11. Marin and Urin try to fight Sedna, but have their powers drained from them. The episode closes with them sprawled on the ocean floor, near death, as Sedna's darkness flows into their bodies.
  • Attack on Titan: Many times, the first one seven episodes in, with the 104th Trainees trapped in Trost with Titans all around them, Eren seemingly killed, and everybody ready to give up (some to the point of suicide) except Mikasa, who gets waylaid by a Titan without any gas to power her vertical maneuvering gear. Even then, she was contemplating on just giving up.
  • In Fairy Tail, Gray Fullbuster dies a gruesome death, a crying Jet holds a lifeless Droy in his arms, Bacchus is stabbed by the enemy and Macao Conbolt is seen being pilled up by dragons before the tearful eyes of his son. Then Ultear sacrifices her life to rewind time but it only turns back ONE MINUTE! We then find out that minute saved the lives of the aforementioned people together with countless others, however, bear in mind the battle with dragons is only in the beginning and humanity still haven't defeated a single one of them so this trope still counts.]]
  • Partway through School-Live!, a series of horrible events causes the girls to have to evacuate their school. Kurumi is bit by a zombie and it seems like she is a goner until Miki finds an experimental antidote and it works. Not too soon afterwards, Kurumi and Miki become surrounded by zombies however make it out fine. Moments later a rescue helicopter crashes when the pilot becomes a zombie and this sets the school on fire, making it uninhabitable. The anime toned everything down a bit by the helicopter crash and decreasing Miki's injuries]].
  • In anime adaptation of Brave10, by the end of episode 11, the bad guys have won, or at least they been successful at Bullying a Dragon. In the sequel, Brave10 S, the darkest hour is the breaking up of the Braves post-Battle of Ueda.
  • In Sword Art Online, Episode 24, Kirito reaches makes his way to the top of the World Tree to save Asuna, but unfortunately, Sugou, playing as Oberon spams his Game Master status and confines Kirtio and Asuna into an area outside the game and he uses a gravity spell that was still in development and, at present, is overpowered. He then chains up Asuna and as Kirito tries to stand up to Sugou/Oberon, Oberon kicks Kirito back onto the ground and stabs him with Kirito's own sword. Sugou then starts to turn down Kirito's pain inhibitors, planning to continue lowering it until it affected his Kirito's body in the real world (which starts when it drops bellow level 3). Sugou then proceeds to rip Asuna's top off, and sexually assault her in front of Kirito with the latter unable to stop him. In his near-death experience, Kirito begins to give in to despair as he is left powerless to stop Sugou, and is ready to give up and face reality. Fortunately, Akihiko Kayaba's digital spirit approaches Kirito and gives him a Heroic Second Wind, and lends him his system administrator status, which helps Kirito turn the situation around and take down Sugou.
  • Your Name: Sayaka and Tessie have been caught for their parts in the plan, with the former's capture being heard live over the broadcast system, meaning the evacuation is off, while Mitsuha has tripped, fallen and rolled several times to a painful halt after seeing the comet split, still a ways from being able to try talking her father into forcing the evacuation. Itomori looks doomed.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Gensei has managed to knock out Misaki and read her mind, gaining the code that he needs to unlock his full power. Mitori manages to kill Kuroko and can devote her attention to controlling Mikoto again. Touma and Gunha are losing against Mikoto, who is only growing more powerful with time.
  • Kemono Friends: By the end of episode 11, Kaban has sacrificed herself against the Black Cerulean to protect Serval, which is unconscious on the ground and certainly not completely safe, with the Black Cerulean still roaming and being an enormous threat to the other Friends.
  • Towards the end of the Nepal arc of Saike Matashitemo, Saike only had one day left to live, his condition painfully worse and as it turned out, the oracle holder his friends seek out to heal him had a dangerous price and he only had one more use before becoming a fetus. To make matters worse, Johann storms in and take the healing god for himself then after a long chase, kills Hizu and Ana.
  • The end of the second act of The Castle of Cagliostro has our heroes riding high - it looks like they're about to rescue Clarisse from Count Cagliostro's clutches, when in a heartbeat everything goes south. Lupin takes a bullet, the autogyro they were using to escape is shot down, Fujiko ditches the group, and the Count now has Clarisse and her family's ring. The third act opens with Lupin gravely wounded, his gang in hiding, Zenigata, who was grudgingly helping them expose the Count's counterfeiting operation, taken off the case, and a drugged Clarisse being forced to marry the Count.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen has Chapter 27 which is one of the most darkest chapters in the manga. When Yuuji tries to persuade Junpei to join the Jujutsu Specialty High School of Tokyo, suddenly Mahito appears and contorts Junpei's body for shits and giggles. When Yuuji tries to ask Sukuna to revive Junpei, Sukuna's response to the incident is mocking Yuuji and laughing sadistically with Mahito, which results in Yuuji having his Heroic B So D and making his priority to kill Mahito his raison d'etre.

    Comic Books 
  • Among other incidents, unprecedented amounts of crap hit the fan at the end of chapter 100 of Ultimate Spider-Man - right in the middle of the Ultimate Clone Saga. To whit: Peter has already found at least one violently insane clone of himself and has tangled with a mysterious Spider Woman; Mary Jane has been kidnapped by another warped and insane clone of Peter who intends to transform her to make her "just like him" (and as of the last page of the chapter has apparently succeeded); Nick Fury has shown up outside Peter's house to arrest him with an army of "Spider Slayers"; Gwen Stacy has mysteriously returned from the dead, but panics and transforms into Carnage (the monster that killed her in the first place) when Fury shows up; Peter was forced to tell Aunt May his secret when she discovered him with Gwen, driving her lash out at him for lying to her all along and telling him she doesn't want to have anything more to do with him, before the repeated shocks (Gwen transforming into Carnage being the straw that broke the camel's back) cause her to have a heart attack; and Peter's supposedly long-dead father Richard Parker has apparently shown up, with Peter shocked to realize that May had known about him for a while and had kept Richard's return a secret. That's a LOT of crap to be going down at once and it still has to get worse before it gets any better.
  • Final Crisis for entire DCU.
  • Dark Reign for the Marvel Universe.
  • Jesse falling out of an airplane and being left for dead in Preacher.
  • The nuke exploding, severely weakening Superman, and Gotham rioting in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Captain Marvel destroying the Gulag and freeing the prisoners in Kingdom Come.
  • The heroes pondering how to handle a Beyonder-powered Doctor Doom in Secret Wars.
  • Nite-Owl and Rorschach discovering Ozymandias' scheme as the world stands on the brink of war in Watchmen.
  • Ragnarok happening in The Mighty Thor, led by Loki with Thor's hammer being destroyed.
  • ElfQuest:
    • In the "Kings of the Broken Wheel" arc, Cutter watches helplessly as Rayek abducts Leetah, Skywise, Suntop and Ember 10,000 years into the future.
    • When Leetah and the rest arrive in the future and Ekuar tells them how long it's been, there's every reason to believe the Wolfriders of their time are dead. Then Leetah is captured by humans.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog comics have had a few points over the years that qualify:
    • The climax of the Endgame arc — Princess Sally is seemingly dead, Sonic's been framed for it and is a fugitive, and Robotnik is posed to destroy Knothole Village and the Freedom Fighters for good.
    • The destruction of Knothole in issue 175, which includes the first time Eggman's ever managed to outright defeat Sonic in a fight.
    • About midway through the Iron Dominion Saga, the Iron Queen hacks NICOLE, allowing the Dominion forces to seize control of New Mobotropolis and send the Freedom Fighters running.
    • The series seems to be heading into a new one, in the aftermath of the Genesis arc — not only has Eggman succeeded in roboticizing Sally and nearly killing Antoine, but rival villain Ixis Naugus has successfully manipulated the fear of the citizens of New Mobotropolis following the Iron Dominion occupation and subsequent events, allowing him to install himself as King.
  • The second issue of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) ends with the Mane Six parting ways and continuing their journey separately.
    • Issue #15 ends with all the ponies being consumed by a white void. #16 opens with the ponies questioning whether they've died.
  • Halfway through Knightfall Bane heads for Gotham City with the broken Batman and launches him into the ground below, crowds of people in total shock (except for one sleezehead who just sneers at him).
  • In White Sand, this comes for Kenton after he's successfully crossed the entire desert after a rumour of more Sand Masters having survived, only to reach the diem and find it completely and utterly empty. Realizing that the Kerztians have succeeded, Kenton - a Determinator par excellence - curles up under the wall and actually gives up. Thankfully, it then turns out that some Sand Masters did, in fact, make it.

    Fan Works 
  • In the roleplay game In the Beginning, There Was Man, all of Mankind faces its Darkest Hour as the Legions of Chaos Undivided sets out to destroy the God Emperor of Mankind and enslave all of Humanity for the Dark Gods of Chaos. Throughout the Galaxy the Imperium is buckling under the pressure of 14000 years of War as Orks, Necrons, Tyranids and Chaos destroy four of the five Secmentums in their unending appetite for destruction. All that's left is Terra and the God Emperor.
  • In With Strings Attached, the four return triumphantly with the third piece of the Vasyn, only to find the first two pieces missing and almost everything taken from the house. Tracking down their stuff, they end up in the ruined city of Ehndris, where they learn that Brox found a spell to restore monsters to Baravada—something they did not want to have happen. They're betrayed by their best Baravadan friend; John and Paul are kidnapped and put under the control of the baddies, while George and Ringo are neutralized and can do nothing to help. The Fans are nowhere to be found. And the topper is that Ringo is startled into teleporting hundreds of miles away, leaving George alone, surrounded by bloodthirsty revolutionaries, and utterly powerless.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, the four find themselves rudderless and on the run, having been rejected and nearly depowered and imprisoned for no apparent reason by the Circle. They have absolutely no good option to pursue, and it's looking like they'll never get home. And Paul, having had to go to high strength and badly injure someone, is experiencing a Heroic BSoD and is all set to give up his magic to the Taxman in a few days.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series' Season 3 finale "Thunderstorm" was already a Wham Episode in itself by introducing a competent villain, but the end of Part 5 takes the cake. The Earth is conquered by Thunderstorm, those Calvin knows are all captured, his clever Batman Gambit failed, and the MTM is dead.
  • Clash of the Elements: The end of Chapter 49 of Part 1. All the heroes are down for the count, Rosalina has fallen after proving unable to deal with Joe Dark after he went into his Griffon Form, the Genesis Samurais are all dead, the Dark King managed to set up a widespread wave of destruction across the planet during his brief moment of possession, Alex Whiter has had his subconsciousness destroyed, and Joe Dark is just about ready to destroy the Origin Temple, unaware that his attack will actually annihilate the rest of the planet too...
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, in the Battle of Canterlot, upon realizing that their initial retaking of the city was simply a Defensive Feint Trap by the enemy, and that they had returned in numbers three times their own, and are currently charging as the exhausted Equestrian army it seems as though all hope is lost. Princess Celestia makes a Rousing Speech and then they all fight valiantly in their apparent Last Stand. Luckily, they are able to overcome the enemy by some miracle, while most historians agree that this battle was a Near-Villain Victory.
  • Silent Sorrow, the final story in the Tamers Forever series. As it opens, Takato is already dying thanks to his Superpowered Evil Side overloading his body. Then, Shinjuku is invaded by a Digimon army led by Daemon, who is after the power of said evil side and is so insanely powerful that the only way anyone can even think to foil him is to let Takato escape to the digital world — so he can die before Daemon gets him.
  • Each story in the My Hostage Not Yours series has one:
    • My Hostage, Not Yours: Gaz is captured by the Valkians, who intend to use the LEECHY to conquer the Irkens.
    • The Revenge of Player 2: Iggins manages to brainwash Gaz into being his slave, and intends to use her to kill Zim and Dib.
    • The Inevitable Takeover: Zim and Gaz take control of the Earth; interesting variation, in that it's actually a high point for them, and a Darkest Hour for the other protagonists.
  • The Powers of Harmony: The story's Darkest Hour starts in Chapter 21, continues in Chapter 22, and is firmly cemented in Chapter 23. Cetus manages to seal Celestia in the sun and steal her body, while allowing Eclipse to possess Rarity. Between the two of them, they then curbstomp the rest of the Mane Six and their allies, even managing to kill Grovi, Strauss, and Elo in the process. In order to keep the heroes alive long enough to become strong enough to defeat them, Luna is forced to scatter them around the world.
  • In Fractured, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands crossover and its sequel Origins, this trope appears several times.
    • In Fractured, the Citadel Council falls into fascism in attempts to fight the Reapers. Lilith's Heroic Sacrifice destroys the Reapers and also kills anyone who became what the Council sought to fight, bringing the darkness to an end.
    • In Origins, the entire Council galaxy falls rapidly against the Flood. Every plan to thwart the Alien Invasion fails. However, it does bring allies from unexpected places.
  • My Little Avengers: Chapter 14 and roughly the first third of chapter 15 — Loki's Dark Avengers have managed to defeat the Avengers, and a threat on Pinkie Pie's life gets Big Macintosh to surrender Mjolnir and Thor's power to Loki, who proceeds to pervert the Power of Friendship to strip the other Avengers of their powers as well. The Dark Avengers then assault the royal palace, banishing Luna to the moon and taking a depowered Celestia prisoner, with Loki proclaiming himself the new ruler of Equestria. Fortunately, Big Mac gets a Rousing Speech from a ponified Stan Lee, and he proceeds to do the same to his teammates, using the real Power of Friendship to restore their powers. They then take the fight to Loki, setting the stage for the Final Battle.
  • The 15th chapter of a different Crossover fanfic, Ace Combat: The Equestrian War certainly fits. The griffins manage to seize Canterlot and the castle becomes the only save area. Many ponies were injured during their raid, some died. Tornado Swirl and Overdrive lost every one of their wingmates, the Stingray squadron was wiped out completely, Blueberry died a Cruel and Unusual Death and Carrot Top dies in Derpy's arms, much to her despair. The situation is so crushing that even Cloud Kicker bursts into tears!
  • Inner Demons: The prophecy refers to the Queen of Darkness' reign as "Equestria's darkest hour". That said, there are two moments that possibly qualify:
    • Relatively early on, when Twilight succumbs to the Darkness, crosses the Moral Event Horizon, and declares herself ruler of Equestria, before beginning a campaign to crush the rest of the Mane Six and any of their potential allies. It takes a long time for things to start to get better after this.
    • Closer to the end of the story, the setup for the Final Battle — Queen!Twilight has a Villainous Breakdown as a result of Trixie's death, ascends to alicorn-hood, and declares her intention to unleash the hordes of Tartarus and destroy Equestria.
  • The Darkest Hour of the Chaos Verse comes during the latter end of Discord: Complete Existence, as the Big Bad Nightmare Phobia transforms into an Eldritch Abomination by absorbing the Shadows of Oblivion, overpowers Discord and the Princesses, and begins emerging into the real world, causing every living thing to feel extreme, crippling pain.
  • In Turnabout Storm there are two major dark hours:
    • In Part 2, without enough time to prepare prior and while both mentally and physically exhausted, Phoenix struggles to keep standing against Trixie's firepower. This gets especially worse when in order to prevent the Judge from handing down an early guilty verdict on Rainbow Dash, he is forced to accuse Fluttershy of all ponies as a potential suspect, just to buy him more time. Not only is Phoenix visibly killing himself inside, he also alienates Twilight, risks losing his place as Rainbow's defense attorney, and Trixie continues to taunt him as she's winning all the same.
    • Part 4 takes it one step further. When Phoenix and Twilight believed they had proven Rainbow Dash's innocence, Trixie questions the likelyhood of the scenario. With every other piece of evidence being shot down with little to no effort on Trixie's part, and the blackmailing issue being both indecisive and too dangerous, things have never looked bleaker. And then who should save the day, but Fluttershy!
  • Queen of All Oni seems to have hit the Darkest Hour as of Chapter 14. Not only has Jade gone completely off the deep end and cut what few ties she had left to her humanity, but she's also forcibly transformed and brainwashed Viper into her new General, gaining control of the Samurai Khan and regaining control of the Ninja Khan at the same time. Uncle and Tohru, sensing all this, admit that the balance has shifted in evil's favor.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has has a few of these.
    • Episode 11, chapter 8, is one, as is most of Episode 11, chapter 9.
    • Episode 11, chapter 12, is this as Mega Man is critically injured. The entire chapter is everyone reacting to it and trying to help.
  • Fairy Without Wings delivers a particularly chilling one during its survival horroresque arc Unistrad. At the end of chapter 42, we have a lycan Kallen, an evil Mirajane, suspicious vampires, eternal night, cursed artifacts, and worst of all...a hairy Lucy.
    • The quote at the end of that chapter said it all
    The dreams are gone. Midnight has come. Darkness is our new kingdom.
    • The trope comes into effect yet again for the 100th chapter. Margaret corrupts the Tenrou Tree—she makes it work for Grimoire Heart as opposed to Fairy Tail—and Erza is the only one within spitting distance of stopping her and is the only one with the power to do so that isn't preoccupied or unconscious.
    • Not to be outdone by previous examples, chapter 191, appropriately titled Ultimate Despair, has the closest the series has come thus far to a Near-Villain Victory and really brings about a sense of hopelessness and dread with even main characters looking like they're about to bite it until Natsu comes from the future and punches Mordred in the face, once again sparking the light of hope in everyone. The narration even lampshades this example saying how just when things are at their darkest, light will eventually seep through.
  • Episode 75 of Sonic X: Dark Chaos is even titled "Resurrection of Darkness". The final battle between the Angels and Demons begins, with both Maledict and Jesus Christ battling each other. The entire Milky Way Galaxy is in ruins, Sonic's allies have been wiped out, the Blue Typhoon has been wrecked, and the Galaxy Crusher is about to wipe out the remnants of Milky Way in an instant. And just to top it all off, Dark Tails appears and uses the Chaos Emeralds to become a god - putting the fate of the entire universe on the line.
  • The Darkest hour is met in Besides the Will of Evil (A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic with some LoTR lore added), when the big bad has destroyed Canterlot; two of the mares that are supposed to help defeat him (Rarity and Rainbow Dash) are on his side; Applejack is out to get more allies; while Twilight abandons her friends and mentor, Princess Celestia; Pinkie Pie is clinically depressed because the dark lord bit her, and is infecting her with black goo. The only elements of harmony that are still thinking straight are Fluttershy and Applejack.
  • In Zero 2 A Revision Chapter 50 is the peak of this moment as the Digidestined are trapped in the Digital World, unable to return to the Real World no thanks to Darkheart's constant attacks on the Digidestined, being absorbed into him every time they confronted. At this point, only Kari, TK, Shaun, Angewomon, and Paildramon are not absorbed by him. Meanwhile, Odaiba is entrapped in a massive four-way war between the forces of Umbradevimon, Demon, Gravemon, and the survivors of Odaiba with thousands of people being either killed or possessed by the Spores.
  • The aversion of this is actually a plot point in Belated Battleships. It is eventually revealed that the reason why no American warship came back before Jersey was because it was not yet the US's darkest hour. For Britain and Japan, both island nations dependent on the sea for their continued survival, the Abyssals cutting off sea trade was an existential threat that their ships of old returned to stave off. In contrast, as a continent-spanning nation with vast hinterlands to call on, the USA losing access to the sea would not be the same kind of deathblow. As a result, the old fleet had no such impetus to return.
  • Towards the end of Princess Trixie Sparkle, all the heroes have been captured, Astelle has The Alicorn Amulet that gives back her full power, she has convinced Trixie to join her and used her magic to give them both more powerful forms, and their seems to be nothing stopping Astelle from destroying magic as they know it and pretty much everypony is heading towards the Despair Event Horizon. Things seem just a little bleak..
  • By the end of Chapter 13 of Ultrasonic, there are an army of Ultrasonic clones, all powered up by the Black Cat Miraculous, all ready to raze Zootopia to the ground if the Butterfly doesn't get what he wants, and the only people in position to stand in their way are Ladybug and Nick Wilde.
  • Child of the Storm has Chapter 74, which is fittingly titled "Darkest Hour". Following up on their worldwide attacks in the preceding chapters which crippled most of the agencies that could oppose them (and caused the deaths of King T'Chaka, Arthur Weasley, and Luna Lovegood), HYDRA launch another attack that results in Thor being rendered comatose, Steve, Tony and Bruce being captured, and Avengers Tower being destroyed. This thus leaves Lucius Malfoy in the position of effective ruler of the world.
  • Bring Me To Life hits its bleakest point in chapter 38 (fittingly titled "Exit Light, Enter The Night"). By the time the chapter is done, the First Evil and its Legion of Doom have inflicted horrible losses on the combined forces of the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations — Buffy and Angel suffer vicious No Holds Barred Beatdowns, the Hyperion is wrecked, over 60 Potentials are killed, and Willow has her magic drained — and stolen the Keystone, which is needed to complete the First's endgame goal of destroying all of reality. And this is all with Caleb waiting in the wings, ready to join the fight.
  • Discussed in the epilogue of Eugenesis; after the absolute hell the Autobots and Decepticons go through, Hosehead wonders if the events of the story were the “Darkest Hour” prophecies always seem to foresee and things are looking up from here. Red Alert wearily remarks that the Darkest Hour will be the next one. “It’s always the next one”.
  • Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Holy shit, the end of season 2 (comprising of "Insert Epic Space Opera Here" and "Insert Descent Into Hell Here"). We're introduced to the newest Sovereign, Divinity—none other than an Immaculated Phoenixia. She insta-kills the Star Wars fandom's most recent Sue along with his ship's entire crew because he got irritating, then proceeds to start flaying the present Society members alive. All the while, even more agents are fighting a losing dogfight outside, and the Society barely escapes alive when the Counter Guardians intervene, actually getting wounded in the process. And then it turns out that all the Star Wars fandom events were a distraction for Runoa to sneak into the Library! While nigh upon the entire Society is hospitalized, however, Divinity decides that she wants to follow her own plans, and sends the entire Library into stasis. Harriet and Emily barely escape the event with Adrian in tow, and spend TWO YEARS on the run trying to find a way to free the Library.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: At the climax of The Apokolips Agenda arc, Darkseid speaks the Anti-Life Equation, effectively wiping out Free Will across the universe. He would have enslaved literally everyone forever if Supergirl hadn't hypnotized D'reema into speaking the Life Equation before the mind-control took hold of everybody.
  • It happens in Entities Of Emotion when Spike is manipulated into becoming Ophidian's host and abducting Rarity and Applebloom, and the Negative Entities have captured their Positive counterparts and occupied Canterlot.

    Film - Animated 
  • During the animated The Transformers: The Movie. They even call it by name.
    Ultra Magnus: "But Prime, I'm just a soldier... I'm not worthy."
    Optimus Prime [mortally wounded]: "Nor was I. But one day... an Autobot shall rise from our ranks... and use the power of the Matrix... to light... our darkest hour."
    • Gets a Meaningful Echo towards the end of the movie, when all hope appears lost: Unicron is savaging Cybertron, the Decepticon attacks on him prove futile, and almost all the surviving Autobots have been trapped inside him. Hot Rod duels Galvatron, recaptures the Matrix, and fulfills Optimus Prime's prophecy, much to Unicron's chagrin.
      Rodimus Prime: Now... light our darkest hour!
    • Other, non-film parts of the canon, such as Beast Wars, would make the phrase and concept a recurring, pseudo-religious motif.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (1986): Dream Valley is already buried, and the Smooze is advancing on Paradise Estate, the little ponies' last refuge. The adults don't know for sure if Megan and the others made it to Flutter Valley, and that this could be the end. They tell the children to close their eyes, so that if it is indeed the end they at least won't have to see it.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has its time when Hiccup, disowned by his father after his forbidden friendship with Toothless the Dragon is discovered, watches the horizon helplessly after seeing his father's fleet proceed to the Dragon island with Toothless -and to certain doom when they are bound to arouse the Red Death Dragon.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 one-ups the previous film. Not only is Valka's Bewilderbeast, the current Alpha, killed by Drago's own Bewilderbeast, Stoick is killed after taking a blast meant for Hiccup from a Brainwashed and Crazy Toothless! Afterwards, all of the dragons are taken by Drago, who is on his way to destroy Berk in his bid to rule the world, with the heroes at a complete loss at what to do.
  • Disney has a lot of these. Commonly they happen soon after the Award-Bait Song or the runner up.
    • In Aladdin, Jafar gets the genie, becomes the most powerful sorcerer in the world, takes over Agrabah, turns Aladdin back into a street rat and blasts him to a far away snowy place.
    • In The Lion King, after Mufasa dies, Pride Rock falls under Scar's rule and Simba becomes too troubled over the guilt of his father's death.
    • In its sequel, Kovu gets banished from both Pride Rock and the outlanders. And just when Kiara goes out to look for him, the outlanders are about to start a war with Simba's entire pride.
    • In Hercules, Hades takes away Herc's power, unleashes the Titans, and takes over Olympus.
    • Toy Story 3 has Woody and his friends about to be incinerated after Lotso refuses to stop the conveyor belt.
    • Tangled: After being convinced that Flynn/Eugene has betrayed her for the crown, Rapunzel willingly goes back to the tower to be with Gothel. It gets worse when Rapunzel realises the truth about Gothel, and herself, and Flynn/Eugene is stabbed by Gothel when he arrives to save her. Rapunzel then promises to stay with Gothel forever if she allows her to heal him. The earlier establishment that Rapunzel never ever breaks her promises makes the whole thing incredibly intense.
    • Wreck-It Ralph has two:
      • The first has Ralph returning to his game after breaking Vanellope's cart and heart to save her, and he finds out his game is about to be unplugged due to Felix not returning.
      • The second one happens toward the end, when the Cy-bug horde has destroyed the entirety of Sugar Rush and are heading toward the tunnel to Game Central Station, Vanellope can't pass the gate due to her being a glitch, Calhoun runs out of ammo to fight the Cy-bugs, and Cy-bug!Turbo has captured Ralph when Ralph tries to activate Diet Cola Mountain.
    • Frozen: Elsa has accidentally frozen Anna's heart and only an act of true love can save her. Kristoff takes her back to the castle to be kissed by Prince Hans, who turns out to have been playing Anna for a sucker so he can kill Elsa, who had been captured and imprisoned, and take over Arendelle, leaving Anna to freeze to death.
    • Zootopia: The missing mammals have been found, but the larger mystery of why they have gone savage is unresolved. Judy then makes everything worse by proposing that going "savage" is just inherent in predator biology. The result: she hurts Nick, who calls her out on this and angrily storms out of her life; anti-predator sentiments in the city skyrocket, and heated protests erupt; savage predator attacks occur with increasing frequency; the ZPD hides away its predator officers, like Clawhauser, and wants to use Judy as the face of the ZPD. The weight of this causes Judy to feel like she's broken the city, and turns in her badge to return to her parents' carrot farm depressed and broken.
    • Moana: Moana gets a little too full of herself as she and Maui approach the barrier islands of Te Fiti where they must return the Heart, and, despite Maui telling her that they need to double back, guns it for an opening in the islands. The result is that they wind up blasted far away from the islands and Maui's magic fish hook is damaged. Maui is bitterly disappointed in Moana for not listening and leaves. All alone, Moana loses all hope and gives the Heart back to the ocean, telling it to choose someone else to take the Heart back. Before the spirit of her grandmother intervenes, Moana is fully prepared turn her back on her mission to return the Heart and return home.
    • Cars 3: Lightning McQueen is devastated that he still isn't faster than Jackson Storm, Cruz Ramirez has revealed her tragic backstory and resigned as his trainer, and Lightning hears from Natalie Certain's predictions that his suspected retirement could be imminent.
    • Pooh's Grand Adventure: By the end of the second act of the film, Pooh and friends' journey to find Christopher Robin has taken some rather bad turns. The map given to them by Owl is useless, Rabbit admits they have been lost for hours and has a meltdown, they feel that they can't find Christopher Robin without Christopher Robin's help, and poor Pooh is teetering on the edge of the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • All the heroes have a soul crushingly heartrending night where Master Oogway, the only one who stopped Tai Lung before and the only one who has faith in Po as the Dragon Warrior, dies, leaving Master Shifu with a seemingly impossible promise to train the fat panda, while Po now fully realizes how hopeless he truly is, on top of his profound self-loathing that even Shifu cannot alleviate. Meanwhile, Tigress feels she has no other choice but to defy her master; and with of the Furious Five in tow, they set out to stop Tai Lung by themselves despite his prohibition.
    • In Kung Fu Panda 2, when Po is seemingly dead (with his doubts about his real parents keeping him from fighting as well as he should be), Master Croc and Master Storming Ox have both given up, and the Furious Five are captured by Lord Shen, who plans to use his cannon to kill them for the whole world to see and bring an end to Kung Fu.
  • Both the first two Shrek films with both examples involving misunderstandings and Fiona hooking up with someone else.
  • In The Boxtrolls, Eggs and the last of the boxtrolls have all been rounded up, and it looks like all the boxtrolls have been killed, and Snatcher is about to kill off Eggs and get what he wants: a spot on the council and a Nice Hat. Then Winnie convinces Trout and Pickles to make a Heel–Face Turn, and the boxtrolls return for a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • The LEGO Movie: All the Master Builders are captured and are put in the Think Tanks, Vitruvius is dead, and Lord Business escapes and unleashes Kragle everywhere with no one able to stop him.
  • Trolls: Because of a betrayal by Creek, all the trolls in the village end up captured and thrown into a pot. Poppy decides that Branch was right, life isn't all cupcakes and rainbows, and falls into despair and turns completely gray, losing all her colors. The rest of the trolls also lose all their colors, and everything looks hopeless. But then Branch finally sings...

    Film - Live Action 
  • Independence Day: by the night of July 3rd, half of the world's cities have been destroyed, the first lady has died, and Nuclear Missiles have been proven ineffective against the alien ships.
  • In The Dark Knight, the Darkest Hour is when Rachel lies dead, Harvey's been disfigured and is out for revenge, and the Joker is holding two boats hostage, trying to prove that Humans Are Bastards and everyone is in despair.
    • Ironically, just before, Harvey had stated that "The night is darkest just before the dawn". If he only knew...
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, the Darkest Hour for both the movie and arguably the whole trilogy is when Batman lies broken and defeated and is imprisoned halfway around the world from Gotham City...which has been taken over by Bane. To make matters worse, Bane has made the city devolve into crime and chaos and is planning to nuke the entire city.
  • Serenity: The title ship is grounded on Mr. Universe's moon. Book is dead. Wash was killed by the Reavers. They've got one seriously ticked off Operative on their tail and the Reavers are descending upon the ship. Zoe even states outright that they're not getting out alive.
  • George Lucas admitted that he is fond of this trope, and it shows on the Star Wars films:
    • The Phantom Menace: Anakin's fighter gets stranded with no power in the heart of an enemy battleship, meanwhile Amidala's strike team is ambushed and captured, the Gungan army has been defeated and rounded up, and for the record: Qui Gon Jinn is killed by Darth Maul.
    • Attack of the Clones: The Jedi strike team sent to rescue Anakin and Obi Wan from Count Dooku is being overwhelmed by thousands of battle droids, Dooku then offers them a chance to surrender, which Mace Windu declines, so Dooku orders the attack to continue.
      • Could be considered an Exploited Trope, since this is also when the Clones are first introduced.
    • Revenge of the Sith: The Empire is born, Padme dies, Anakin becomes Darth Vader and most of the Jedi Order are exterminated (which sets up the conflict for the next 3 films).
    • A New Hope: When the Death Star gets a clear shot of the moon of Yavin, meanwhile R2 gets shot by Darth Vader, and next Vader calmly locks his targeting device on Luke's fighter. 'This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope.'
    • The Empire Strikes Back: Han's frozen in carbonite, Luke's lost a hand (and gained some knowledge), and the Empire wins (at least until the next movie).
    • Return of the Jedi: The Rebel fleet is being annihilated by the Death Star while their Ewok allies are being stomped by the Empire, R2 gets shot (again) and Luke has a brief lapse to the Dark Side and attempts to strike down both his father and the Emperor in anger.
    • Between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens: The New Republic is getting bogged down by attempts to negotiate with the remnants of the Empire. They don't want to recognize the real threat that exists. General Leia and the Resistance aren't getting the backing they need. Luke has disappeared after his new crop of Padawans was slaughtered, and Leia and Han have been traumatized to a split by their son falling to the Dark Side and wanting to be just like his grandfather.
    • The Force Awakens: Several moments could be counted as this. The First Order using Starkiller Base to destroy the Hosnian Prime system and annihilating the New Republic Senate and its main fleet with it can be this for the Resistance. And during the final battle at Starkiller Base, TIE fighters are preventing the Resistance's X-Wings from destroying the main power source of the base, and the weapon is nearly charged to be able to annihilate the Resistance's base planet, and also, Kylo Ren kills Han Solo so that he would not get brought back to the light side of the Force.
    • The Last Jedi could be seen as a prolonged darkest hour for the Resistance, as they spend most of the movie barely staying ahead of the numerically and logistically superior First Order forces pursuing them. Then comes the final act of the film, wherein the few dozen Resistance fighters left are holed up in an old Rebel Alliance base on an abandoned planet, with their distress call being ignored by their supposed allies and with the First Order beating down their walls.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Indiana Jones is possessed by Mola Ram after being forced to drink the Blood of Kali, Willie Scott is about be sacrificed to Kali, and Short Round is enslaved by the Thugee Cult and is toiling in the mines being forced with the other children to find the Sankra Stones.
  • The Movie version of The Odyssey has one where all of Odysseus' men drown in a shipwreck and he washes ashore to Calypso's island where she makes him her sex slave for seven years. Homer's original is told Anachronic Order, so it's harder to pinpoint there.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth, when the Faun has forsaken Ofelia and her mother has died, leaving her all alone with her supremely evil stepfather.
  • Shows up in both Ghostbusters movies:
    • First round in the first is when the Busters are eating Chinese takeout and Ray mentions that the business has just run out of money with that meal. That is exactly when the Sedgewick Hotel calls, desperate for their services; Janine at the front desk calls, "We got one!" as the enterprise is saved.
    • Second round in the first movie kicks off when Obstructive Bureaucrat Walter Peck ignores his expert's advice and has the containment unit shut down, causing the firehouse to explode and releasing all the ghosts that the title characters had caught to wreak havoc upon the city. Meanwhile Peck arrests the Ghostbusters for the explosion, taking them out of circulation and preventing them from rounding up the ghosts again.
    • The second film has the part when the river of slime comes up to the surface, covering the museum and generally causing havoc while the Ghostbusters are committed to an insane asylum. Also counts as a literal Darkest Hour, as the influence of the slime causes an eclipse which plunges the city into darkness.
  • This occurs during the original Godzilla when Dr. Serizawa is torn between using the Oxygen Destroyer or keeping it a secret. It's not until he's shown the tragedy caused by Godzilla's rampage that he finally decides to use it...but only once.
  • The gay romance Latter Days, where we're led to believe closetted Mormon Aaron commits suicide after breaking up with Christian and getting excommunicated from his church for being gay.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions, Agent Smith escapes the Matrix and enters the real world in disguise and attacks the last of the human rebellion. He blinds a defenseless Neo who is really powerless outside of the Matrix, and becomes the biggest threat.
  • The Darkest Hour looks pretty bleak, what with cities crumbling and weird energy tentacles turning humans into ash. The perfect Christmas film!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers has two: one for the film as a whole, and one for the Final Battle (which was so big, Joss Whedon had to plot it out like a film in its own right).
      • The first time comes when the Helicarrier is barely functioning after the Brainwashed and Crazy Hawkeye's attack and the Hulk's rampage; Thor is gone, Banner is gone, Iron Man's armor is a hair's breath from completely crapping out, Black Widow is inches from a Heroic BSoD, Agent Coulson is dead, Loki has escaped, and S.H.I.E.L.D. still has no idea where the Tesseract is.
      • The Darkest Hour of the Final Battle is when the Avengers, despite having assembled, have been ridiculously outnumbered and outgunned by the Chitauri. Iron Man and Hawkeye are running low on ammo, Thor and Cap are surrounded, the Hulk is being pummelled by laser-fire, and to top it all off, the WSC declare "Screw it" and fire a nuke at Manhattan.
    • Avengers: Infinity War might as well be called Darkest Hour: The Movie. The Avengers are still divided after Captain America: Civil War, Asgard's survivors are refugees after Thor: Ragnarok, and Wakanda is still weakened from Killmonger's coup attempt in Black Panther (2018) at the start—and it only gets worse from there. Thor and Hulk are the only survivors of Thanos's assault on the Asgardian refugees, and by the end of the movie, half of the universe's population died. As a result, the only heroes known to still be standing are Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Rocket, Okoye, M'Baku, War Machine, and Nebula. Meanwhile, heroes Heimdall, Loki, Gamora, Vision, Bucky Barnes, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Groot, Mantis, Drax, Star-Lord, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury all died onscreen. And just to top it all off, the whole thing is even a Pyrrhic Victory for Thanos.
  • Frostbite: The police are surrounded by the growing horde of vampires and Annika has been turned into a vampire; the night is indeed darkest just before the dawn. The problem is that Frostbite takes place in the northern part of Sweden where the sun is absent for an entire month. Dawn is still several weeks away.
  • In Oz: The Great and Powerful, Oz, instead of leading the attack, tries to make a getaway, with gold — and Theodora shoots him down, leaving his balloon in flames.
  • In Pacific Rim, the Kaiju have been increasing in strength and regularity. The Jaeger program, which was really the only effective way of dealing with the Kaiju, has been shut down in light of diminishing success. The Pacific Wall—the "viable alternative"—is quickly shown to be totally ineffective against the stronger Kaiju. There are only four operational Jaegers left in existence.
  • In Tremors, the Gummers are the best armed and equipped people in Perfection, but a graboid has headed for their house, attracted to the vibrations of a brass cleaner and the couple moving around in their basement. Val tries to warn them over the radio, but Burt doesn't understand the threat until the graboid is almost upon them. The last thing Val hears on the radio is Burt's scream of surprise as the graboid breaks through the wall. A few seconds later, the sound of gunfire makes it to town. Cue the Gummers unleashing More Dakka on the graboid.
  • The Crossing starts at the The American Revolution's darkest hour, namely winter 1776. The Continental Army has been completely thrashed, forced to retreat from every encounter, out of money, and if Washington can't come up with a winning battle plan before enlistments expire on December 31, the army will dissolve and the Revolution will be over. The end titles state that while the Revolution had many other low points, it never got this bad again.
  • In The Shawshank Redemption, it's hinted that Andy commits suicide, until...
  • In Aliens, Ripley and Newt briefly embrace this, believing Bishop has abandoned them. Both are on the brink of a Despair Event Horizon while the atmosphere processor around them is on the verge of total destruction. The raging alien queen is also upon them. They're out of ammo and out of time. All hope is lost, until Bishop arrives in the second drop-ship.
  • Space Jam, the TuneSquad's pummeling near the end of the second half and their final back up player, Stan, is taken out by the Monstars and without a fifth, the TuneSquad is on the verge of being forced to forfeit.
  • In Shaun of the Dead, Ed's been bitten, the zombies have overrun the Winchester, Shaun and Liz are the only survivors and are pinned down in the basement, and the rifle only has two shells left.
  • Britain's darkest hour against Nazi Germany is prominently displayed in the first third of Into the Storm (2009).
  • The Inbetweeners 2 has the lads Stranded in the Outback with no apparent chance of survival. After a touching moment involving them accepting death, they're rescued
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug ends on a cliffhanger at one of the story's most dramatic moments; Smaug is about to descend on Laketown and raze it to the ground out of petty vengeance, the Company is split up and unable to stand against him, the Master has had Bard locked up in prison, Kili has been severely poisoned, Gandalf has been captured by the Necromancer, and Azog's army is preparing to march on the Lonely Mountain.
  • The Lord of the Rings: during the battle of Helm's Deep, the Uruk-Hai have taken the walls, pushed the defenders all the way back to the keep, and start breaking down the last door with a battering ram. Ends with Aragorn and Théoden leading a Big Damn Heroes charge directly into the attackers, and Gandalf arriving with The Cavalry.
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: By the end of the movie, Jeff has been framed for corruption, betrayed by his former idol, the Senate is on the verge of expelling him, his newspaper has been shut down Taylor's thugs, he's barely conscious and dehydrated, and political opinion has largely been turned against him.
  • Draft Day: For the Browns, at a certain point in the draft they traded away their first and second round picks for the next three years for Vontae Mack, a player who they could have grabbed without the trades, and the number 6 overall pick. This effectively destroyed their chances to build their team over the years that followed. At that moment, the general manager responsible for this all but lost his job.
  • Cloud Atlas features a darkest hour montage for three of its six separate storylines: Zachry hurries home to find that the Kona have massacred his village; Robert Frobisher struggles to complete the Cloud Atlas Sextet in what little time he has left before his bribe money runs out, finding himself unable to eat or sleep as his sanity crumbles; finally, Sonmi-451 is faced with the awful truth of what really happens to Fabricants who have been rewarded with Exaltation — they're killed at the very moment they believe they'll be allowed to retire, before being recycled into cheap protein for other Fabricants. In other words, Sonmi's been eating her retired sisters for the entire film.
  • At one point during the final battle in Mad Max: Fury Road all hope seems lost. The truck is slowing down due to engine failure, the enemy forces are converging. Toast has been snatched from the group, Max is hanging from the truck, held only by Furiosa who has just received a severe stab wound to her side. Then suddenly Nux manages to fix the engine problems, kicking off the badly needed Heroic Resolve.
  • In Whip It, Bliss' parents have discovered that she was sneaking out to play roller derby, her skates are confiscated, Pash has yelled at her about all the wrong things she's done over the last few months, she's run away from home and was forced to admit to her team that she lied about her age, losing her skating status... and then she discovers that Oliver's been cheating on her. When next we see her, Bliss is curled up on the floor at home in front of her fridge, stress-eating a bowl of leftover casserole.
  • In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the Darkest Hour is when Superman and Batman face off. Bruce is consumed by Unstoppable Rage, his rage and feeling of helplessness in the face of alien "gods" like Superman and Zod turning him, as Alfred warned, having consumed him. Believing that Superman is a potential threat to humanity, he's ready to kill him. Superman is fighting as Lex Luthor, having learnt his Secret Identity, is holding Martha Kent hostage and Lex is off Playing God with Kryptonian technology creating Doomsday. The fight ends with Superman beaten and Batman ready to kill him in cold blood... but Lois' revelation that the "Martha" Clark wants Bruce to save is Clark's mother breaks through Bruce's Unstoppable Rage. Bruce realises how far he's fallen and agrees to team up with Clark to stop Lex.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Happens towards the end, when both Eggsy and Merlin are cornered by a large number of mooks with no way out and Eggsy outright asks a last request from Roxy to call his mum.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom might as well be called Darkest Hour: The Movie also. The movie's first half has Isla Nublar destroyed in a volcanic eruption, taking with it the remains of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. On top of that, the mercenaries steal many of the remaining dinosaurs, while others like Brachiosaurus die in the destruction of Isla Nublar. In addition, Blue, Owen Grady's remaining Velociraptor companion was among many of the dinosaurs kidnapped. She was losing blood until Claire and Owen use the Tyrannosaurus rex blood to save her. The second half is where things go from bad to worse. Mills murders Lockwood, and holds Maisie prisoner in the mansion. Illegal bidding causes some of the dinosaurs like an Ankylosaurus, a juvenile Allosaurus and a Baryonyx to be sold off to criminals. After many of them are chased off by an escaped Stygimoloch, the Indoraptor kills several people and breaks free from his cage. After Blue kills the Indoraptor by causing him to be impaled on a Triceratops skull, the remaining dinosaurs that Mills kept prisoner have been released by Maisie, and some like the Pteranodons and the Tyrannosaurus rex are seen in populated areas, and it's likely that some people are going to be killed by many of the freed dinosaurs. If there is at least one positive besides the Indoraptor's death, it's that Mills was killed by the Tyrannosaurus rex and a Carnotaurus after a stampede of freed dinosaurs nearly trample him.
  • Interstellar: Things get pretty bleak when the traitorous Dr. Mann finally snaps, tries to murder Cooper, and attempts to hijack the Endurance for a return trip home (which would doom humanity as a consequence of his cowardice and/or Sanity Slippage). In the process of hijacking it, possibly out of desperation Dr. Mann failed to obey a key safety measure while docking his own craft and ordered an emergency override to open the hatch between the two vessels... which led to explosive decompression aboard the Endurance, fatal head trauma to Dr. Mann and the high-speed venting of onboard gasses into space, causing the Endurance to whirl like a giant Beyblade. As such it's up to Cooper to try and dock the short-range planetary landing craft with the now-wildly careening out of control mothership. Cue the Theme Music Power-Up.
  • An Angel For Christmas: Angela is on the verge of giving up entirely when she's forcibly removed from Ironville. It's Wilfred reminding her about meaning of Christmas that snaps her out of it.

  • Fortune has one in Dragoncharm when the Maze spits him out. He wakes up on a mountainside, separated from Cumber and with no idea where he is.
  • The Gauntlet 2017: Farrah, Essie, and Alex lost the final challenge by running out of time before they could rearrange the last two words, meaning they're now stuck in the game for good. Then the clockwork monkey shows up and tells them that The Architect had so much fun watching them overcome his challenges that he's giving them a fourth one to do.
  • The Langoliers: The plane has just flown back through the time rip, but the world is still lifeless. The plane barely has enough fuel to make it to LAX, but without reverse thrusters, it crashes into a terminal, not fatal for the survivors, but that likely means it's no longer suitable for flying.
  • In The Princess Bride (both the book and the movie), the boy gets a little upset at the part where Westley is dead and Buttercup supposedly marries Humperdinck. What's the point of reading this story? That's not how it's supposed to end! It takes him years to realize just how deeply that moment affected him.
  • Most of J. R. R. Tolkien's work has at least one of these. But the The Silmarillion stands out specifically:
    • Toward the End of the War of the Jewels came the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, or Battle of Unnummbered Tears, which was inspired by the success of Beren and Luthien's quest for a Silmaril. The full power of the Noldor under High King Fingon, and his cousin Prince Maedhros, their human allies led by Hurin Thalion, The Dwarves out of Belegost and Nogrod led by their king, planned to clean out the orcs in the western part of the country. They lost, badly. Primarily due to treachery among some of their human allies. This defeat essentially annihilated Elven and Human morale for decades, and more or less ensured that Angband would never be defeat without help from the Valar. Things only got worse due to infighting over Oaths and one of the Silmaril before ultimately the Valar finally did send help.
  • Given the press of events (many of them bad news), these crop up fairly frequently in the Deryni works. A partial list:
    • Soon after King Brion's death, as he's troubled by vile rumours and worried about the Shadowed One, and having just been acquitted of treason and heresy, Alaric Morgan stands contemplating Brion's new tomb in Deryni Rsiing:
    ...That the good and gentle Brion should end this way was not fitting. Life had been too short; the good done well, but not enough done, for lack of tiem. Why? Why had it been necessary for him to end this way?
    You were father and brother to me, Morgan thought dully. If only I had been at your side that day, I might have spared you this indignity, this useless gasping out of your life's breath! Now, with you gone...
    • Morgan again, late in Deryni Checkmate. He's barely escaped from men who wanted to burn him at the stake, his people are in revolt against him, the Church Militant has excommunicated him and his cousin (who's radiating his own misery over his threatened priestly vocation), his king and country are facing immenent invasion, his beloved sister Bronwyn and her fiance have died from a badly set love charm. He withdraws to the grotto on his castle grounds and overhears his bard weeping and composing a lament in honour of Bronwyn.
    • Duncan has one that begins in Dhassa, once he learns his father's army is missing; he stares out the window wracked by guilt over his duty to his father (Duncan is now the elder Duke Jared's only heir) and troubled by conflict between his priestly vocation ("at once held and not held") and his Deryni powers. Then one of his father's pages arrives on a foundering horse and collapses, and Morgan Reads the boy's memories to learn of Jared's betrayal at the hands of Bran Coris. Duncan doesn't entirely snap out of his funk until Richenda asks him to hear her confession two or three days later.
    • When Derry realizes the extent of Wencit's control over his mind in High Deryni, he tries to kill himself to avoid betraying Morgan and Kelson. His failure (caused by Wencit's implanted psychic compulsion) reduces him to weeping bitterly and stabbing the dirt floor of his cell with the dagger he cannot bring himself to use on himself.
    • Morgan has another one in The Quest for Saint Camber. Kelson and Dhugal are thought to be dead, Nigel is wasting away before his eyes, and Royal Brat Conall looks set to be the next king. As Morgan meditiates in preparation for a ritual, he has a vision of himself in the Haldanes' royal crypt looking down on Nigel's body on his funeral bier.
  • Dragons of Requiem:
    • By the end of Tears of Requiem, Benedictus is dead, and Dies Irae is still alive and ready to kill the last Vir Requis.
    • A Dawn of Dragonfire ends with Nova Vita and Requiem in ruins (again) and most of its population killed. Adia and Lord Deramon are killed during the invasion, Solina's wyverns still control Requiem's skies, and Princess Mori is kidnapped and taken to Tiranor.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Philosopher's Stone, Harry throws away for his House any realistic competition in the House Cup and resolves to give up saving the Stone.
    • In Chamber of Secrets, the school is under intense lockdown, devoid of hope, and Cornelius Fudge and Lucius Malfoy have banished the people who would be of most help. And then Ginny is abducted.
    • In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry has failed in his rescue, a vile man has escaped into the ether, and everyone believes he has been magically confused into believing utter lies.
    • Goblet of Fire's Darkest Hour, oddly enough, is fairly early in, when Harry, in becoming a champion, is shunned by most of the school, including one of his best friends.
      • A secondary one occurs when Harry and Cedric Diggory are transported to a graveyard filled with Death Eaters, Voldemort is resurrected and can touch Harry without being hurt by Lily's counter-charm, Cedric is killed, and Voldemort challenges Harry to a Duel to the Death.
    • In Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge is swiftly taking over and souring everything great and good about Hogwarts. This ends when the trio find a way to fight back.
      • There's a secondary one during the climactic fight at the Ministry. Voldemort's inner circle is there in force, at least half the party is wounded, and there's no sign of escape or support. Then the Order of the Phoenix shows up.
    • In Half-Blood Prince, The Cave. Dumbledore is in so much physical and emotional pain he can hardly stand, and theres literally an army of Inferi rising out of the water to attack him and Harry. Even worse, the Horcrux they came there for was a fake.
    • In Deathly Hallows, beginning with Ron walking out and ending with the Silver Doe.
      • From Scrimgeor's death onwards, the entire wizarding community faces its darkest hour.
      • To say nothing of the final battle against Voldemort and the revelation of Harry's destiny.
  • Older Than Dirt: The death of The Hero's best friend, Enkidu, in The Epic of Gilgamesh triggers the first Heroic BSoD.
  • "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream": the ending to the short story functions as this. On the other hand, most of the videogame functions as a Darkest Hour until the endgame.
  • Katie MacAlister's Aisling Gray series ends book three, "Light My Fire", at an incredibly low point.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, Rafen first, under psychic attacks, nearly commits suicide. Fighting against the attacks, and a vision, free him from the compulsion but make his duty clear to him: he tries to blow up the city where his fellow Blood Angels are breaking with their Chapter. It fails, they pursue him. It ends only when they catch him in a factory, and it explodes.
  • The Star Trek: Destiny trilogy by David Mack has its Darkest Hour (and arguably, the Darkest Hour of the entire Star Trek franchise) at the end of the second novel, when enough Borg ships to lay waste to every planet in known space come screaming into the alpha quadrant and tear through the combined forces of Starfleet, the Klingons, the Cardassians, Romulans, Ferengi and Talarians as if they were made of tissue paper.
  • The ending of Soul of the Fire sees Kahlan hanging to life by a fragile thread and having lost the child she was carrying, Richard believing that the Imperial Order is impossible to defeat, and a general lack of anything good having come from the events of the book, with Richard, Kahlan, and Cara quietly leaving in utter defeat.
  • In Andre Norton's Witch World novel The Jargoon Pard, Kethan is Switched at Birth for a woman's daughter, because only a son can inherit. At the climax, this is revealed to the woman and his parents; they reveal that actually, they knew it for a long time, practically from infancy, and still consider her their daughter. Kethan nearly despairs, because his purported mother no longer wants him, because she can no longer use him. After the fight, however, his parents eagerly lay claim both to their biological son and the daughter they raised.
  • In Chapter 21 of The Pilo Family Circus, Shalice the fortune teller has gotten her crystal ball back, ending the Freedom Movement's attempt to destroy the circus and curtailing any future bids for freedom. For good measure, Kurt Pilo has had Winston tortured as negative reenforcement.
  • The Alienist: Dr. Kreitzler leaves the team after the shooting at his home. This almost derails the investigation.
  • In Warrior Cats, the darkest hour comes when Scourge kills Tigerstar, who had been the Big Bad up until then and declares that he and his clan are taking over the forest. Points for the book actually being called The Darkest Hour.
  • In Septimus Heap:
    • Queste: When Septimus is taken away from Jenna and Beetle in the House of Foryx.
    • Darke: After Jenna has told Septimus about Sarah being trapped in the Darke Domaine, he is completely broken.
  • Someone Else's War: Matteo and his friends have come up with a clever plan to arrest the ranking officials of the LRA without any violence. And then half his friends are wiped out in a single move when the LRA decides they've got too many mouths to feed.
  • Trapped on Draconica: After Yusef betrays the Eastern Alliance this trope occurs. The only remaining military threat to Baalaria is gone, Daniar is lethaly poisoned, Ben and Kalak captured, and all their possible allies refused or tapped. Then Rana shows up.
  • In The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist, the most prominent one of these is the ending to A Crown Imperiled, with Pug, Magnus, Miranda and Nakor supposedly being dead, Drakin-Korin has returned, an angel has been killed by a strange creature and the Kingdom of the Isles is seconds away from civil war.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In Changes, Harry gets beaten so badly that his spine is broken. He finally decides to give in and accept Mab's offer to become the Unseelie Court's Winter Knight.
    • In Ghost Story, when his apprentice is having her darkest hour, we learn that what Harry actually did in the previous book was ten times worse. She realizes that Harry's choice was a mistake, and decides to scrap her original plan and do the right thing.
  • In The Dagger and the Coin, the fall of Porte Oliva to the Antean army is this. Porte Oliva was supposed to be the place of safety where the refugees who had escaped Antea's earlier conquests would be safe. And the heroes even get a Hope Spot with the arrival of Barriath Kalliam's fleet to break the Antean blockade, and the dragon Inys to help defend them from the Antean land forces. Then Inys is defeated and nearly killed, the city falls quickly, the heroes have to flee for their lives, again, and Cithrin falls into despair. It is after this that the tide begins to turn.
  • The Age of Fire series has its Darkest Hour start near the end of the penultimate book, Dragon Rule, and run through nearly the entire final book, Dragon Fate. RuGaard is ousted as Tyr by NiVom and Imfamnia and sent into exile with his siblings, while their loved ones are held hostage to enforce their compliance. And while NiVom plots to Take Over the World, he's manipulated by Imfamnia, who it turns out is actually possessed by the Red Queen, who is working with Rayg in order to decimate and enslave the dragon race, which nearly succeeds.
  • A Mage's Power: Eric and Kasile have been arrested on charges of sedition and locked in the castle dungeon. The Dragon's Lair is about to be raided so its members can join them. Power Nullifiers make Dengel's magical knowledge worthless. At this point Eric gives up and shouts for Tasio to send him back to Threa. Tasio doesn't arrive, and Eric realizes the Awful Truth-Tasio planned this outcome. Not only will he not helped Eric, he's laughing his ass off at his expense. Then Siron arrives with a proposition.
  • In The Fault in Our Stars, once Gus reveals to Hazel that his cancer has returned, you have a saddening feeling that it's going to be a downward spiral from that point. And it is.
  • In The Witling, everyone but Pelio comes very close to death just before the climax of the book: The three witlings are in the descending ablation skiff (basically a reentry vehicle with a parachute) with Bre'en, a Defiant Captive who would kill them all given the chance, and Samadhom, the Team Pet whose Psychic Powers are the only thing protecting them. And then Samadhom—who, by the way, has been Pelio's treasured companion and only friend for his entire life—passes out from blood loss due to an earlier injury. And then Bre'en kengs Yoninne, scrambling her brain. Oh, and Ajão is already slowly dying of heavy metal poisoning.
  • The Witchlands: Merik is abandoned by Cam, who tells him that he's an self-absorbed jerkass fighting windmills before he leaves, sending the man beyond his Despair Event Horizon and leaving him with no allies. As he ponders abandoning his humanity completely, the strange connection he has with the villain is compelling him into a trap, and before he regains his senses, he's pulled into a tavern filled with bad guys out to kill him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Doctor Who...
    • In The Daleks Master Plan the Daleks have got back the last component of the weapon with which they hope to conquer the star system and the Doctor doesn't even know if he can get back to their base to stop them.
    • In The War Games, the Doctor pragmatically summons his people, the Time Lords, knowing that he will then have to face their judgement and even the ever-optimistic Second Doctor knows he cannot run from them any more. By the end of the story, the Time Lords have separated the Doctor from his companions and he faces trial by his own people. This ended the Second Doctor's tenure and finished off the black and white era of the program.
    • Logopolis, the final story of the Fourth Doctor (the longest running Doctor on television to date). Most of the universe One tenth of the universe, to be specific (which is still a hell of a lot), has already gotten destroyed, the situation has gotten so dire that the Doctor's future self had to bail him out, and the Master finally decides to take the remaining universe hostage.
    • The Trial of a Time Lord has the Doctor's trial suddenly have introduced a charge of genocide.
    • "The Sound of Drums" (which again features the Master) counts as a Darkest Hour, for the Doctor and for the Earth.
    • Possibly the darkest hour in not just the show's history, but in the whole of fiction occurs in The Pandorica Opens when it is revealed that the apparently Back from the Dead Rory is actually an Auton duplicate with the original's memories created as part of a huge trap for the Doctor by an alliance of all his enemies, who kills Amy just as she remembers him. The Doctor is shut in the Pandorica, an inescapable prison, despite his pleas for them to listen to his warnings of the impending destruction of space and time. It's in vain, because the TARDIS explodes with River inside of it, creating the cracks that set the season in motion in the first place and causing every star in every universe to explode at every moment in history, making it as if reality never existed in the first place. It all gets better in the finale though.
      • Before that, we had The Stolen Earth. Rose's presence in Donna's alternate reality in the previous episode means the walls of reality are breaking down. And then, the Earth (and 27 planets) is snatched from its current location right in the middle of the Medusa Cascade, and we have a Dalek fleet closing in. Every military outpost falls, humans are being taken away and UNIT hands Martha the Osterhagen key. The end of the episode has the Doctor shot by a Dalek and regenerating, Sarah Jane Smith driving into a group of Daleks (vehicles are forbidden) and a Dalek entering Torchwood. In the following episode, we find out that Davros (back from the dead because of course he is) is going to detonate a reality bomb powered by the stolen planets, the Dalek's Zed Nutrino energy and and every ounce of ham he produces. Also, we find that the Osterhagen key is a Godzilla Threshold for if humanity lost so much hope that death is better. Sarah also has a crystalized nova explosion that could be used to blow up the crucible. Before they can use their respective plot devices, they get transported Vault. Then the TARDIS appears and a meta-crisis Doctor and Donna run in, guns blazing. They get zapped back and imprisoned.
    • "A Good Man Goes To War", where the Doctor rose so high, and saw everything taken away, when Melody is taken away from under his nose, so she can be raised to kill him. Doubles as a You Can't Fight Fate.
    • The Day of the Doctor, while actually being what is possibly the Doctor's finest hour, contrasts this by showing what is undoubtedly the darkest moment in the Doctor's history: the Time War, when the War Doctor is forced to use The Moment to destroy Gallifrey and the Daleks all at once. This is subverted when the Eleventh Doctor proposes the idea to simply seal Gallifrey away rather than destroy it, using all of the previous (and future) Doctors to aid with the calculations and the logistics of it.
    • Death in Heaven is supposedly the Earth's darkest hour, and the Doctor's, according to him. Considering all the other darkest hours he's had, this pronouncement may not be taken entirely seriously.
    • Heaven Sent, where the Doctor is trapped in an And I Must Scream situation following the death of his companion, and must spend 4.5 billion years punching his way through a thick wall made of a crystalline solid stronger than diamond.
    • World Enough and Time, where the Doctor fails ( for the time being) to get Missy to perform a Heel–Face Turn, sees Missy/The Master reunite with her previous incarnation, Harold Saxon, discovers that he failed to save Bill from being cyber-converted into a Cyberman, and that Bill's cyber-conversion is supposedly the "Genesis of the Cybermen".
  • Breaking Bad: By the end of the episode "Ozymandias" Hank's investigation has gone up in smoke with him and Gomez dead in the desert, Jack and his crew have taken almost all of Walt's money and kidnapped Jesse to force him to cook for them, Skyler and Walt Jr. have turned on Walt and exposed him, forcing Walt to go on the run.
  • The end of the Chuck episode "Chuck Versus Sarah" is arguably the most depressing moment of the series. Not only has Sarah lost her memory, but after seeing her video logs, she starts to realize just how crucial the last five years of her life were and how different she became after falling in love. She sets out for Quinn with the knowledge that killing him won't actually make that any better, and Chuck watches the love of his life walk away from him knowing that she remembers almost nothing of their time together.
    Sarah: I just wanted to tell you that I believe you. I believe everything that you told me about us. But the truth is, Chuck, I don't feel it. Everything that you told me about us and our story, I just... I don't feel it.
    • For some viewers, depending on how you interpret the last few moments of the series, that doesn't actually get better.
    • The end of the first half of the third season finale, "Chuck Vs. the Subway," isn't much better: Chuck's father has just been murdered by Shaw, Chuck suffers a Heroic BSoD because of his father's death which leaves him unable to access the Intersect 2.0, and Chuck's mind is slowly dying because of faults in the Intersect, while the only thing that can prevent its effects on him has been stolen by Shaw. Chuck, Sarah, Casey, and Beckman are falsely arrested as traitors in the CIA, and Chuck, Sarah, and Casey are all taken away by Shaw to be executed.
  • The end of the episode "Spiral" in season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hellgod Glory has kidnapped Buffy's little sister/cosmic MacGuffin Dawn/The Key, and is going to use her to end the world. Plus, Giles is badly injured and the gang are stranded in the middle of nowhere.
  • In Angel, argubly one of the darkest moments is the end of season three where Wesley has betrayed the team and been abandoned, Cordelia has Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, and Angel's been trapped at the bottom of the sea by his own son.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Battle of Blackwater for House Lannister. The Hound and Joffrey flee, Lancel and Tyrion are grievously wounded, and Cersei is about to poison herself and Tommen as Stannis' men are on the brink of taking the walls. Then The Cavalry arrives to drive the attackers into the sea and win the battle.
    • The aftermath of Blackwater for Stannis Baratheon. The crushing defeat has left him once more severely short on men, money, and supplies and deeply disheartened by his first ever defeat. He spends the next two seasons trying to rebuild his strength for another attempt.
    • The Red Wedding for House Stark. Robb, Catelyn, and Talisa are murdered; their supporters are slain, captured, or dispersed; their castle remains in ruins; Bran, Rickon, and Arya are presumed dead; and Sansa remains a captive of her enemies. However, things soon begin to turn when their enemies turn on each other, Sansa and Arya break free of their captors, and Bran's power is increasing with every passing day.
    • The season 5 finale takes this trope Up to Eleven, becoming the darkest hour for nearly the entire surviving cast: Jon Snow is dead, as are Stannis and his wife and child (marking the extinction of the last true Baratheons); what remained of Stannis's army is destroyed by the Boltons in a Curb-Stomp Battle; Sansa and Theon are on the run, left to fend for themselves in the wilderness of the North; Daenerys is alone in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a horde of Dothraki; her followers back in Meereen have to deal with a civil war brewing; Arya is being punished by her sole remaining ally for straying from his teachings; Jaime fails his mission by letting Myrcella die; and Cersei is stripped of all real power and subjected to a Humiliation Conga. The characters spend season 6 recovering from their losses and preparing to strike back, which arguably makes their eventual victories all the more satisfying to watch.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode "Best of Both Worlds" marks a "darkest hour" for the crew and for the series which was facing cancellation. At the end of Season Three, Enterprise is damaged, the Borg have decimated the forces massed at Wolf 359, and they have captured Captain Picard assimilating his knowledge and their one trick shot with the main deflector dish fails and damages the ship. Riker is forced to take command of the ship and appoint his rival Lt Commander Shelby to be his first officer, as the Borg move to assimilate Earth. That's about as bad as it gets on TNG.
    • The cliffhanger at the "Best of Both Worlds, Part 1" (the season finale) has Riker order their hastily-assembled Wave Motion Gun fired at the Borg ship, with the assimilated Picard onboard. Part 2, the 4th season premier, has it get even darker in the opening scene, as said Wave Motion Gun, the most powerful weapon the Federation has ever created, hits the Borg ship and does absolutely no damage.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has quite a few involving the Dominion. The two most likely candidates occur when the station is abandoned at the end of season 5, and is not recaptured until 6 episodes into the next season, and "In The Pale Moonlight", when it appears that Senator Vreenak has discovered the falsified evidence Sisko and Garak had made to get the Romulans to join the war.
    • In the Season 3 finale, after Sisko is promoted to Captain, he and the Defiant crew are manipulated by a Changeling posing as an ambassador. He is discovered and killed, but before dying he tells Sisko something. When asked, Sisko reveals that the Changeling last words were "It is too late: we are EVERYWHERE:"
  • Perhaps the darkest hour of Star Trek: Enterprise is the episode "Azati Prime"—Archer is captured in a failed attempt to destroy the Xindi Death Star (which is to be used to nuke Earth) and the Xindi launch an attack that cripples Enterprise.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Season 4 ended with such. Teal'c last seen being taken by The Dragon to Apophis. Then, because of the effects of the sun blowing up on hyperspace windows, the ship belonging to SG-1 is flung galaxies away, with zillions of years at maximum hyperspace between them and home. Just after that sank in Apophis comes through the same window and is right on top of them, his command ship docking with theirs the way theirs would dock with a pyramid.
    • Season 5 leads up to this: despite defeating Apophis once and for all at the start of the season, one by one, Earth and its allies are targeted for destruction by Anubis; the Tollan are destroyed, the rebel Jaffa and Tok'ra are scattered, and Earth escapes a Colony Drop unscathed (barely). Anubis turns out to have Ancient technology that can rival the Asgard, and Thor gets his brain sucked out. Oh, and Daniel Jackson is dead. They're screwed, and the next season doesn't give them much more hope.
      • It starts with Anubis attacking the Earth by using a device that will pump the Earth Stargate with so much energy it will explode, destroying all life on Earth. They manage to defeat his plan by strapping the active gate onto a recently-invented starfighter and blasting it into space, but that still doesn't stop the gate from exploding. Luckily, they have a spare. But Anubis is still out to get them, creating a weapon that blows up planets, and trashes other Goa'uld warships by the dozen without breaking a sweat, and uses it to blow up Abydos. The whole of Seasons 5 and 6 play out like a huge Darkest Hour. Things don't get better until the Season 7 premiere.
  • Happens frequently in Power Rangers, especially in the post-Zordon era where each season is self-contained. However, the Zordon era had several memorable ones;
    • First is part 4 of the Green With Evil saga. The Power Rangers suffer their worst defeat at the hands of Goldar, Scorpina and the Green Ranger, the Megazord is catastrophically damaged and Zordon is still missing with barely any chance of returning.
    • Second is the third season finale (during the Alien Rangers episodes). The Command Center has been destroyed, and seemingly both Zordon and Alpha 5 with it, and the rangers no longer have their powers, and this is just as a new enemy (that even Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd are afraid of) is coming to Earth. Fortunately, the rangers get better.
    • Third is the finale of Power Rangers Turbo. The Megazords, the Rangers' weapons and soon the Turbo powers are completely destroyed. Zordon has been captured by evil forces and the Power Chamber is leveled by a full-scale invasion from Divatox's army with no chance of Dimitria returning. It ends with the now-powerless Rangers blasting off into space with barely any direction,and unsure of what to do.
    • Fourth is the final episode of Power Rangers in Space, Countdown to Destruction. The evil forces have a grip on the whole universe and the Rangers are outnumbered with most of their Megazords destroyed.
  • Things rarely go well in Battlestar Galactica (2003). That said, two points in the series count as Darkest Hours:
    • In the first episodes of season 3, the New Caprica arc. Most of the insurgency's leaders are held prisoner on the planet. The free ones, Saul, Anders and Galen are increasingly desperate, with Galen getting careless after Cally is arrested and Saul unhinged after being tortured. Starbuck is missing, held prisoner by Leoben and subjected to Mind Rape with no way to reach her husband or allies. On the Fleet, the two Battlestars are undermanned and have no viable means of penetrating the planetary defence. William and Lee are in increasing disagreement on what to do, feeling hopeless and unable to help the people they love.
    • Starting at the middle of season 4, the Fleet finds Earth after years of searching, but the whole planet is a radioactive wasteland. The friendly Cylons have been all but decimated, with only one sheep surviving. Galactica herself is wounded and falls apart with old age. People fall prey to suicidal and auto-destructive behaviors, a situation that culminates in a bloody mutiny. The one child that symbolizes humanity's future is kidnapped by the bad Cylons... and it keeps getting worse until the beginning of the Series Finale.
    • Let us not forget that the ENTIRE SERIES takes place immediately following the deaths of all but 50,000 humans, and the decimation of 12 worlds, each comparable in population to modern Earth.
  • Lost, season 6, episode 14. The ep is called 'The Candidate', but could very well have been called "Darkest Hour" instead. The Man in Black is in full-on Kill 'em All mode, 4 main characters are dead—including the only person capable of piloting the Ajira plane—and the submarine has been destroyed, meaning there's no way of getting off the Island.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid:
    • First one occurred as early as #10. Emu has epidemy of Game Disease on his hands, can't get others to stop arguing and is pretty much helpless.
    • The story took a nosedive pretty early after #10 so this comes again in #13. Kuroto is immortal, has murdered Kiriya with his new upgrade, tries really hard to murder the current patient and no one can do much against that.
    • Gamedeus Cronus' endgame in #44. He started Zombie Apocalypse, proclaimed himself to be god, managed to back it up and turned into giant monster. It takes two Heroic Sacrifices to slow him down enough to be beatable.
  • Babylon 5 has the episode Hour of the Wolf, where The Hero is dead after his Heroic Sacrifice, but didn't even manage to kill Morden. Garibaldi has been captured by someone, the Vorlons are done with what little diplomacy they did before, Londo sees his premonition of Shadow ships over Centauri Prime become true and Emperor Cartagia is planning on turning the Centauri homeworld into a giant funeral pyre to light his way to godhood. The Vorlons and the Shadows haven't started shooting yet, but they've thrown out the rules of engagement so it's only a matter of time.
    • Prior to the main series, the Battle of the Line (the final battle in the Earth-Minbari war) was most definitely one of these. The all-but-defeated remnants of the Human fleet have been pushed back to Earth by the numerically and technologically superior Minbari. The Humans know that there is no hope of victory, and the president of Earth tells the defenders to fight hard because every minute they hold out means a few hundred more humans might be able to escape to neutral planets to carry on the species. The Minbari unexpectedly surrender to the Humans when they discover that Minbari souls are being reincarnated in human bodies, and that the captured Captain Sinclair carries the soul of their greatest leader Valen.
  • Merlin:
    • The two-part opener of series four is called "The Darkest Hour". Furthermore, the tagline for the season as displayed on the posters is: "The darkest hour is just before the dawn." It's also a line of dialogue in the first episode, as said by Prince Arthur.
    • Camlann in the Series 5 finale. If you know the myths, you can guess. Only this time, Merlin breaks out of the cave and performs a Big Damn Heroes, although not in time to save Arthur.
  • All of the Supernatural season finales feature Darkest Hours, but the fifth season takes the cake. Sam is possessed by Lucifer, their last chance at stopping the Apocalypse failed, and it seems inevitable that Lucifer and Michael will have their showdown and tear the world apart. Even Castiel, a freaking angel, says it's hopeless.
    • The penultimate episode of season eight comes close. Crowley has a list of everyone the Winchesters have saved, and he's going to kill one every twelve hours unless they agree to his terms. He even gives them a head start on the third victim just so they can watch her die. Faced with every scrap of good they've managed to do in eight years being erased, Sam seriously considers giving up.
  • The Darkest Hour for the Super Sentai franchise was shown in the crossover movie with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger and Tensou Sentai Goseiger as Earth is invaded by the Zangyack for the first time. They're beaten back, but the Sentai are left powerless. Near the end of the series, the Gokaigers are dealt their own moment when the Zangyack invade again and their Greater Powers are useless against them.
  • Arrow: "Streets of Fire," the penultimate episode of season 2 reaches the darkest hour when Oliver decides that he cannot beat Slade and that the only way to prevent more suffering is for him to surrender himself to Slade to be killed. Felicity manages to talk him out of it with a You Are Not Alone speech.
    Felicity: You are not done fighting!
    • Season 3's darkest hour comes in the mid-season episode "Left Behind". In the aftermath of Ra's al Ghul killing Oliver at the end of the previous episode, Team Arrow is falling apart, and criminals are taking back the streets of Starling City. Things do start look up at the end of the episode, however, as Oliver is revived by Tatsu, and Laurel takes up the Black Canary mantle.
      • The season's true darkest hour doesn't start until the episode "Public Enemy", wherein not only does the League of Assassins successfully frame the Arrow for multiple murders, but Ra's personally tells Captain Lance that Oliver is the Arrow, which leaves Oliver on the run and out of resources and options. And then Roy takes the fall for him.
  • The episode "Too Far Gone" from The Walking Dead, ends with the prison completely uninhabitable, Herschel murdered, the group separated, Judith presumed dead and the team's spirit utterly, utterly broken.
    • Negan's arrival marks the darkest hour the gang have ever faced. The Saviours capture Rick, Carl, Aaron, Sasha, Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, Michonne, Glenn, Maggie and Daryl. The group are finally introduced to Negan, who proceeds to viciously beat Abraham to death as punishment for all the Saviours Rick killed. Then things get even worse when Daryl inadvertently causes Glenn's death by lashing out at Negan. Then Negan forces Rick to cut off Carl's arm, causing Rick to beg and plead until he finally accepts defeat. The last thing we see is the group collecting the bodies of their fallen friends, having lost the will to even fight.
    • The Season 7 finale has The Scavengers pull their guns on Rick and the Alexandria survivors, having disarmed the explosives they planned to use for their surprise attack against Negan and his Saviors. While a few Spanner in the Works moments occur and the Alexandrians try in vain to kick away the Scavengers and Saviors, Rick and Carl, alongside many others, are captured. Negan gives a Breaking Speech to Rick, declaring he's going to Lucille Carl. Cue Shiva, the Kingdom's resident Bengal tiger, pouncing on Negan and mauling several Saviors as the The Kingdom and Hilltop survivors begin mowing down Scavengers and Saviors alike.
  • The Flash (2014) episode "Killer Frost". The episode starts with Barry getting his ass kicked by new Big Bad Savitar, a seemingly unstoppable evil speedster who appears to be as faster than Barry than Barry is to normal people, and things get worse from there - Caitlin is taken over by her Super-Powered Evil Side Killer Frost and reveals to Cisco that one of the consequences of Barry changing the timeline was Cisco's brother's death, shattering the friendship between Cisco and Barry. Ultimately, Barry is forced to quit his job as a CSI to prevent Caitlin going to jail for her actions as Killer Frost, leaving Julian in charge of the Central City Police Department Crime Lab and Julian is secretly working for Savitar as Dr. Alchemy.
  • The two-part finale of the fifth season of Malcolm in the Middle, "Reese Joins the Army", was the point where the family was at its closest of being ruined forever, with Hal going to prison for a crime he didn't commit, Lois becoming mentally unstable due to stress and anguish and Reese fleeing from home after Malcolm steals his girlfriend. It really seemed like the series was coming to a very sudden Downer Ending.

  • The climax of Interstitial Actual Play episode 15. The Organization has captured and restrained our heroes, Larxene has seemingly rejoined them, and DiZ is readying his weapon that will return everyone to their own worlds forever.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • During 1934, professional wrestling was almost killed off in New York when Jack Pfefer, an ostracized promoter whom few liked, decided to get revenge on his rivals by exposing their business as fake and then promoting his own brand of "theater" style pro wrestling. Thus one of the few affordable forms of entertainment during the depression became a laughingstock in the state, with gates plummeting and news sources refusing to continue covering it. The New York territories would recover in 1942, largely thanks to the athletics of Antonino Rocca.
  • Ring of Honor's darkest hour was May 22nd 2004, in the wake of the Rob Feinstein scandal, said co founder was fired, ROH lost its distribution company, it was unable to host Maryland Championship Wrestling's Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup also because of said scandal, several of their best talents including champions were barred from returning by TNA and their Generation Next event was held in a tent due to them being kicked out of an armory on account of the US Army needing it to fight a war against Iraq. During the event, the fan votes to determine who were the best of the new wrestlers ROH had managed to bring in were trashed by Austin Aries, Roderick Strong, Jack Evans and Alex Shelley, on the basis they were the best the company had to offer... the interest they generated may have ironically ended being one of the things that saved the company.
  • TNA has faced near-death so many times since the end of the Hogan/Bischoff era that many believe the company will never die. That being said, late 2016 was undoubtedly its most dire period. TNA went through another major exodus of talent (prior exoduses had destroyed its previously stacked roster to the point that only two of the TNA Originals, Abyss and James Storm, were left in the company), had gotten kicked out of their original headquarters and forced to move into their merchandise warehouse, and then in October, information was released on the internet detailing its many legal woes, including multiple lawsuits from multiple parties, one of them being from its own President, Billy Corgan, and a tax lien from the state of Tennessee. Dixie Carter, TNA's owner, resisted Billy's attempts to buy the company, and her constant lying and screwing over Corgan (who was well-liked by the talent) eventually caused the entire roster to sour on her. The company was saved (yet again) by Anthem, who would buy out Corgan and TNA and leave Dixie with a 5% stake, before kicking her upstairs.

  • For the Boston Red Sox, the 2004 ALCS can be considered this. The Yankees had just beaten them in three straight games, having beaten them at Fenway in a tramautic blowout 19-8. There they were, top of the 9th, Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yanks were three outs away from clinching the series and heading to the World Series yet again. For the Sox, things got better from there. They managed to score a run and tie the game, forcing extra innings, and then secured a 6-4 win with a walk-off home run in the 12th. Close wins in Games 5 (a 14-inning marathon that lasted nearly 6 hours) and 6 forced a Game 7, something no team had ever done before or since after facing an 0-3 deficit. From that point the postseason was almost anticlimactic, with the Sox winning Game 7 in a 10-3 blowout and winning the 2004 World Series in a 4-0 sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • For the Chicago Cubs, Game 4 of the 2016 World Series can be considered this, as they were close to losing the Series to the Cleveland Indians. After losing one game to the Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, and winning the next game there the day after, the Cubs ended up losing two more games to the Indians at Wrigley Field (The Cubs' home field), with Game 4 having the Indians basically destroying the Cubs 7-2, resulting in Indians being one game away from defeating the Cubs and clinching the Series. Fortunately for the Cubs, things got better at Game 5 and they went on to beat the Indians at Cleveland to clinch the series.
  • During Chelsea FC's 2011-12 Champions League campaign, they found themselves 2-0 down, down to ten men, and without a natural centre-back on the pitch away to Barcelona in the second leg of the semifinal. At that point, everyone thought that Barcelona would put paid to any chance of progression Chelsea might have had. However, just before half time, Chelsea reduced the score to 2-1 (a scoreline which actually gave them the lead on away goals), and they survived a barrage of Barcelona pressure in the second half (including a missed penalty and a disallowed goal) before misfiring striker Fernando Torres broke away in stoppage time to bring the score to 2-2 and eliminate Barcelona completely. And then Chelsea went on to win the final on penalties.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dark Age Era in Battletech, the Exarch of the Republic of the Sphere Devlin Stone disappears, and the HPG network collapses from an unknown attacker, this riles every faction to turn on each other.
  • Magic: The Gathering graces us with Darkest Hour.
    • As far as the storyline is concerned, this point is reached when Yawgmoth personally manifests himself on Dominaria.
    • New Phyrexia. If you haven't gleaned how that's a Darkest Hour from the title, the Phyrexians have invaded another plane. This time, they've won. From what's been spoiled so far, it seems as if they've been able to infect mana itself. The multiverse is screwed.
    • The current page image takes place on the plane of Innistrad. The only thing keeping the humans of Innistrad from becoming lunch for the resident zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and demons is faith in the archangel Avacyn. Avacyn has gone MIA and the wards and holy weapons are starting to fail, leaving them all but defenseless.
    • Done again in the interim between Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. Avacyn has now gone mad, driving the whole plane insane with her, and Sorin saw it fit to erase her to bring an end to the madness. All this accomplished, however, is that it's removed the last line of defense for Innistrad and allowed Emrakul to encroach on the plane, twisting everything around her. And Sorin is no longer around to defend the plane after Nahiri trapped him in the Helavault out of spite.
    • Hour of Devastation serves as one for the entire Gatewatch arc. After spending the last few blocks solving crises, like defeating Ulamog and Kozilek on Zendikar, repelling Emrakul in Innistrad, and leading the rebellion to victory against the Consulate in Kaladesh, here in Amonkhet, the God-Pharaoh Nicol Bolas descends, and the Gatewatch are utterly powerless against him. All its members are defeated and forced to scatter; Jace is separated from the group as he gets trapped on Ixalan, while the first chapters of Dominaria involve the rest of the Gatewatch dealing with the fallout.
  • This pops up a couple of times in Traveller:
    • After the collapse of the First Imperium, the relatively short reign of the Second Imperium (the Rule of Man) only postponed the decline of civilisation. Advanced technology was lost and interstellar trade broke down, leaving thousands of worlds isolated at best and, at worst, unable to support life without technology. This lasted nearly 2,000 years before the Sylean Federation, one of the few groups to retain interstellar travel, became the Third Imperium and set about restoring civilisation.
    • The New Era: After the Third Imperium was torn apart by Civil War over the course of the previous edition (MegaTraveller), The Virus (literally a sentient computer virus) was released, destroying life across known space. According to sourcebooks published after GDW went under, Virus was eventually defeated and a Fourth Imperium rising from the ashes.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Horus Hersey. Horus has besieged Terra, and the traitor legions have ravaged the entire planet, and the Emperor and only 3 of his Space Marine legions are all that stand against Horus and his 8 traitor legions.
    • Long Night, War of the Beast, The Beheading, Reign of Blood, Three Tyranical Wars, Black Crusades, they all qualify. Imperium (and pre-Imperium) accumulated quite a lot of those over 15,000 years. Yes, humanity survived by the skin of their teeth, but it suffered crucial irrecoverable losses each time. The current period in lore is called Time of Ending and, let's say, the name works.
  • The entire Yu-gi-oh franchise hits this with the release of Pe Pe. In the lore this represents the end of the world and Sophia's awakening. In the metagame this was an invincible Tier 0 deck only beatable by Monarchs and Kozmo. In the anime this was the darkest arc yet introducing a truly terrible Fantastic Caste System.

  • Arguably, Rock and Roll circa 1960. Elvis had turned to Frank Sinatra-style pop after his Army hitch, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly were dead, Carl Perkins had never really recovered from his car accident (and was playing mostly country), Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis were reeling from sex scandals, and Little Richard had quit to become a minister. It got better.
  • "Our Solemn Hour" by Within Temptation.
    In my darkest hours I could not foresee that the tide could turn so fast to this degree
    Can't believe my eyes
    How could you be so blind?
    Is the heart of stone, no empathy inside?
  • "In My Darkest Hour" by Megadeth
  • "End of All Hope" by Nightwish
  • Explicitly invoked in "The Devil Came Back to Georgia"
    Johnny did you ever know that time keeps marching on
    The coldest hour is the one comes just before the dawn
    The Devil's Back in Georgia will you stand up to the test
    Oh will you let the Devil be the best.
  • In choral settings of the Christian Mass, the music often lands in a minor key and slows down in the section of the Credo when Christ is crucified. When, in the next sentence, he is resurrected, the music perks right up into a major key and the tempo moves briskly along.
  • Without question the absolute darkest hour in Ludo's rock opera The Broken Bride is when the Time Traveller is at the apocalypse and decides to destroy his Time Machine, marooning himself there and severing himself from his beloved wife forever, to release the only things that may have a chance at destroying the zombie-making, soul-devouring Dragon: Pterodactyls.
  • Shinedown references this in their song, "The Sound of Madness." Potentially subverted, though, as the following line gives a potential Hope Spot:
    The darkest hour never comes in the night; When ya gonna wake up and fight?!
  • The album Rain of a Thousand Flames from Rhapsody of Fire.
  • The Manual (the Timelords' guide to creating a #1 hit single, no money or talent necessary) tells its user to schedule a week in the recording studio actually creating the single, and warns that Tuesday will be wrecked by depression and self-doubt. The only solution is to press on: by Wednesday, everything should start to make sense again.
  • The point of Wednesday 13's song, "We All Die:"
    No matter what, you always put a smile upon my face
    Just know that I love more than anything, just in case
    We all die...
  • The movie version of the Transformers theme describes this trope quite well and name drops it:
    Something evil's watching over you
    Comin' from the sky above
    And there's nothing you can do
    Prepare to strike
    There'll be no place to run
    When your caught within the grip
    Of the evil Unicron
    Strong enough to break the bravest heart
    So we have to pull together
    We can't stay worlds apart
    To stand divided we will surely fall
    Until our darkest hour
    When the light will save us all
  • Imagine Dragons has quite a few songs with this kind of vibe, such as "Demons," "Lost Cause," and "Nothing Left to Say."
  • The phone call at the end of "Young Lust" from The Wall: Pink finally gets through to his wife, only to learn that another man is answering the phone. What's more, he has to learn this through the dispatcher. At that point, he well and truly disconnects from the world around him.
    • "Run Like Hell" and "Waiting For The Worms" act as another one, with Pink in full-bore fascist mode, inciting his fans to violence. It is only when Pink realizes just what the hell he is doing in "Stop" that things take a turn for the better.
  • REO Speedwagon's "One Lonely Night": "They say it's darkest just before the dawn."
  • Tom Waits, an earlier version of "More Than Rain" (and some live versions) contains, among other similarly depressing lines, "We're on the darkest stretch of the road."
  • Referenced in The Mountain Goats song "No Children"
    Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises
    We're pretty sure they're all wrong
  • Florence and the Machine's song "Shake it Out".
    I like to keep my issues strong
    It's always darkest before the dawn
  • The final verse of Bob Seger's "Night Moves" (according to Word of God):
    Strange how the night moves, with autumn closing in

  • Joseph being thrown into prison in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: "Poor, poor Joseph, whatcha gonna do?/ Things look bad for you!/ Hey, whatcha gonna do?"
  • Wicked: "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished! All helpful urges should be circumvented - no good deed goes unpunished! Sure, I meant well, well look at what well-meant did!" Dead little sister, Villain with Good Publicity as powerful as ever, Beloved teacher reduced to bleating, love interest in chains and torment, and best friend is accomplice to all this.
  • Two in Man of La Mancha: One is for Aldonza, after being gang-raped by the muleteers. Then Don Quixote himself suffers this after the Knight of the Mirrors breaks his spirit.
  • Spring Awakening: Melchior comes home to find his love interest and their unborn child have been killed by a failed abortion, making it all his fault, and he's reminded that best friend committed suicide, and it's also his fault, indirectly. And this is not helped in the original German play, when the ghosts of his friends actually appear to try to make him commit suicide and join them. Some friends.
  • Les Misérables has a Darkest Hour for each of its main characters, it seems. For instance, Fantine's beg: "I never did no wrong / My daughter's close to dying / If there's a God above / He'd let me die instead." The first act concludes with the Dark Reprise medley "One Day More", which is the story's overall darkest hour.
  • 1776:
    • "Gentlemen, we are about to brave the storm in a skiff made of paper." While history teachers forevermore would trumpet the signing of the Declaration as the birth of the United States of America, at the time the Founding Fathers knew that that "skiff made of paper" would have been a far safer bet - they faced another decade of war with a third of the Colonies on their side in a ragtag militia facing the might of the British Imperial Navy and knew they faced years of hardship and a charge of treason should they fail. John Adams might have been able to "see the rays of ravishing light and glory... through the gloom," but he also knew what they faced. There was very little joy in Independence Hall that day.
    • The Darkest Hour was yet to come: the Continental Army was soundly thrashed in the initial engagements at New York, and the broken remnants fled across New Jersey desperately attempting to escape the British. It was this that prompted Tom Paine to write "These are the times that try men's souls...."
  • The third act of Vanities, where the characters' friendship is strained to the breaking point. Worse, this was the original non-musical play's finale.
  • In The Magic Flute, when the Queen of the Night asks Tamino to rescue Pamina, she asks him to help in "a mother's darkest hour."

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3: Your father is dead, the Enclave is back, Project Purity has been taken, and your only recourse is to seek refuge with the Brotherhood, who you may or may not trust. Depending on how you've played, your dog might even be dead.
  • The ending of Dreamfall: The Longest Journey: April Ryan was hit with a spear and tumbled into the water, never to emerge; Kian Alvane, the 'apostle' of a religion that converts by killing, had a crisis of faith and was promptly imprisoned; Zoe Castillo, the main protagonist, was sent into a permanent coma.
  • Neverwinter Nights
    • The beginning of the third chapter of Hordes of the Underdark, at least until you talk to the Reaper. You've just been imprisoned in Hell, your companions are gone, and Mephistopheles is loose on the Material Plane, currently heading towards the surface world with his undead army.
    • For that matter, the beginning of the second chapter of Shadows of Undrentide.
    • The final sequence of the most recent translated module of the Bastard of Kosigan saga, at least for players who chose to ally themselves with Mordred: Modred and Alex are dead, the French are overrunning your city, the Burgundians are too far away to arrive to help in time, and depending on some other choices you made there could be many other things going wrong.
    • The Original Campaign. At the beginning of chapter four, the Alliance of the North has failed to stop the cult from besieging Neverwinter. People still haven't recovered from the Wailing Death, the city is in ruins and part of it is under Maugrim's control. Haedraline says that Morag has become so powerful, she may not even need the Words of Power to break free.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: The party has been imprisoned by Admiral Karath, the Ebon Hawk locked up in the docking bay, Darth Malak is on his way to take possession of the party, and depending on your choices you may be forced to rely on the skills of a snot-nosed teenaged Twi'lek to survive. Karath uses his last breath to screw with Carth's head, and Malak has a Tomato Surprise. Alternately, if you play Dark Side, you can turn the ending into one of these.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: The Ferelden army has been routed, the king slain, the senior Grey Wardens killed, the Darkspawn horde is moving unopposed into Ferelden, and a xenophobic treacherous bastard is seizing power in a heavy-handed manner that may provoke civil war. You are one of two Grey Wardens left in the country. Good luck. It's worth noting that this is how the game starts.
  • The ending of Dragon Age II: the underlying tension between mage and Templar has finally exploded into open conflict, the Chantry is working on a major schism, and just to put the icing on the cake Orlais is eyeing Ferelden again. There are also hints of Tevinter regaining its power and the Qunari gearing up for another invasion attempt.
  • Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect: You've just discovered that the Reapers are real and are planning to invade the galaxy. Saren has possibly found the key to bringing them back and is on his way to Ilos to do so. How does the Council and the human ambassador react? By ignoring your warnings, locking your ship in port, and refusing to act in case doing so starts a war with the lawless Terminus Systems. Shepard comes close to a breakdown as they sit around the Normandy, feeling powerless to do anything as Shepard knows the end of the galaxy is so close.
    • Mass Effect 2 opens with The Hero dying, along with the Normandy. You're then brought back to life by a terrorist organization, because another group of advanced enemies is working for the Reapers, and the Council has spent two years convincing themselves that the Reapers aren't real. Oh, and you're on a suicide mission to bring down said group.
      • Beyond that, the worst moment Shepard has while working for Cerberus is when the Collectors invade the Normandy while Shepard and their squad mates are away, taking the rest of the crew, except Joker. Whether you can pull through and save your crew while still getting your squad out alive depends entirely on how prepared you are for the suicide mission at that point.
    • The Mass Effect 3 has Reapers finally invading the Milky Way. "2 million dead in the first day. 7 million more by the end of the week." It's implied that that figure is just the number of casualties in London. According to Vigil, it took the Reapers 500 years to exterminate the entire galaxy in the last cycle. Several million dead a day for 500 years will really add up if Shepard can't find a way to stop them...
      • Mass Effect 3 is a game-long example, but the loss of the VI on and subsquent Fall of Thessia in particular is handled as an in-story Darkest Hour. Everyone aboard the Normandy, especially Liara, who was born and raised on Thessia and also realized on that mission that the entirety of her species' history was a lie, is really devastated after the mission. During the debriefing and talking with crew members after the mission, you see Shepard is just inches from a Heroic BSoD. And while all this is going on, the turians, the most powerful military in the galaxy, have gone into a full-blown retreat from their homeworld Palaven.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda starts in the Andromeda Initiative's darkest hour; the Scourge have crippled and destroyed several ships, the so-called "Golden Worlds" are uninhabitable, the kett kill anyone who tries to establish settlements, and infighting and subsequent exiling of rebels in the Nexus has left the Initiative severely undermanned. People begin to wonder if they had left their homes and families in vain until the humans' ark ship and their Pathfinder arrive.
  • BioWare liked this one: Jade Empire drops a whopper. You battle your way to the Emperor and kill him. your "kindly" master smiles, congratulates you on your strength and skill, then casually kills you, using the flaws that he deliberately built into your fighting style!
  • Most of the Final Fantasy series has one, or more:
    • Final Fantasy II is constantly one-upping itself in this regard. The most prominent examples are the fall of Fynn at the beginning of the story, the Dreadnought's completion and the destruction it brings, the Emperor's Cyclone which completely destroys the previously-bombed towns, and the Emperor's resurrection from Hell.
    • Final Fantasy IV has two:
      • The last of the 8 Crystals has fallen into the hands of Golbez, due to Kain's betrayal. Golbez declares his intention to go to the moon and gain ultimate power, and now there's a force field around his tower so you can't go in and stop him from doing so. The only option remaining is to go back to the Dwarf King and admit you failed.
      • The party has been joined by FuSoYa, who can break the force field around the Tower of Bab-Il, allowing you to foil Zemus' plot. But when you land the Big Whale just outside, FuSoYa declares that it's too late, and the force field flashes and turns into the world-destroying Giant of Bab-Il, who begins to nuke the countryside. It appears all is lost. Cue the entrance of the entire armed forces of Planet Earth to fight back against this world destroying menace.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, an insane megalomaniac has massacred the Espers, destroyed the balance between the Warring Triad, ravaged the world irreparably, attained godlike power, obliterated the heroes' airship, and scattered said heroes to the four winds. As a direct result of his actions, magical beasts run rampant over what's left of the world, what little vegetation is left is dying, humankind is dwindling, and, once the player resumes control of Celes, she's told that she (and Cid) is probably the last survivor anyway, with everyone else on the island having thrown themselves off a cliff in sheer despair... while she was in a year-long coma. In a desperate bid for any sort of hope, Cid and Celes adopt each other as grandfather and granddaughter, but he falls ill and is bedridden. Then, if Celes fails to keep him healthy by feeding him strong, quick-moving fish, he dies, at which point Celes loses all will to live and takes a flying leap off the cliff herself, leaving a Sparkling Stream of Tears in her wake.
    • In Final Fantasy VII it occurs when Cloud hands over the Black Materia to Sephiroth who proceeds to summon down Meteor to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. In addition to that, the WEAPONs are rampaging all over the planet and Cloud and Tifa decide it is a convenient time to have their respective mental breakdowns.
      • The one ray of hope that might save the planet can't work because Sephiroth is blocking it, so the heroes have to lay siege to a series of caves in the middle of a frozen wasteland protected by an energy shield to fight a godlike superbeing just for the planet to have a chance at survival.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII Rinoa is drifting out of control through space in a spacesuit that has 25 minutes of air tops, the powerful tyrant Adel has been reawakened, the Lunar Cry which causes monsters to migrate in massive numbers has started and is aimed at a major populated city where Squall's friends are, and Squall is stuck in a life support pod, powerless.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, On Terra, at one point Zidane goes through an Heroic BSoD. Before the You Are Not Alone Power of Friendship saving throw, it looks really dire.
    • Two in Final Fantasy X. First, at Bikanel and immediately thereafter in Bevelle: Tidus (and the player) has finally learned just what will happen to Yuna when she performs the Final Summoning while Home has fallen to the Guado; Yuna is kidnapped and forced to marry Seymour, and when the others try to rescue her, not only are they thrown into a subterranean maze to die, but Yuna is put on trial for standing up to the maesters and discovers the truth at the heart of Yevon. The second comes near the end of the game where, after nearly all the Ronso are killed by Seymour and the party has vanquished Yunalesca, Mika passes on to the Farplane and abandons Spira and the party is left not knowing how they will stop Sin without the Final Aeon.
    • Final Fantasy XIII:
      • Several times, but probably the most notable one is in Chapter 11. The party escapes Cocoon and lands on Gran Pulse, but can't find any answers or survivors, only ruins and wild beasts. Then, Hope's brand advances another stage, reminding them of just what they face. The last hope lies in Oerba, Vanille and Fang's old village - and when they actually reach Oerba, all they find is ruins and Cie'th.
      • Another big one occurs during Chapter 13; Lightning, Hope, Snow and Sazh have been transformed into Cie'th and Fang has willingly become Ragnarok after being Forced to Watch Vanille undergo Electric Torture at the hands of Orphan, leaving Vanille weeping quietly in the backdrop while her best friend is continuously killed and revived by Orphan because she can't transform fully.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Chapter 5 as a whole; it begins with The Reveal that Alyssa is a traitor, then Serah, Noel and Mog get separated in the Historia Crux, Noel is seemingly killed, and then Serah is forced to face Caius alone (with her summon monsters as the only backup) and loses.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has three instances:
      • Towards the end of the game's v1.0 run, the moon of Dalamud begins to fall towards Eorzea. Eventually, in spite of the heroes' efforts to stop it, the moon breaks open, releasing the elder primal Bahamut, who ravages the entire realm. The Circle of Learning attempts to invoke the Twelve to re-seal Bahamut, but to no avail. With the realm on the verge of total annihilation, Louisoux uses one last magic spell to fling some adventurers into the future, in the hopes of sparing them from certain death as the fate of Eorzea hangs in the balance.
      • After saving Limsa Lominsa from the wrath of Titan, The Adventurer returns to the Waking Sands to find all of the Scions who were present are either dead or captured by [1]. Thanks to a half-dead sylph and The Echo, they get to witness this before being told to seek sanctuary at a church.
      • The entirety of Patch 2.5. Everything seems to be going well for the Scions of the Seventh Dawn, however we get our first hints that something isn't right with several members of the Crystal Braves since the previous patch. Moenbryda dies in an attempt to slay the Ascian who inflicted a mortal wound on her. Wilred dies off screen. You get a front row seat to the Sultana's death, and in the chaos that ensues, you and the Scions are accused of conspiring to aid in regicide and all of them potentially sacrifice themselves so that you may escape to Ishgard and clear your names.
    • Final Fantasy XV has one of the most dire scenarios to date; your beloved is dead, so there's nothing to cull the Daemons in the world and as it turns out, Daemons are humans infected by the Starscourge/Plague of the Stars; the killing of Daemons leaves ashes that inhabit the atmosphere and blot out the sun and your character has woken up from a ten-year sleep to see the world shrouded in eternal night and a byproduct is that most of the planet's population killed or transformed into Daemons.
    • Final Fantasy Type-0 opens to the Dominion of Rubrum being invaded by the Milites Empire, which has crippled Rubrum's military might with a weapon that robs them of their magic. The streets soon become lined with the bodies of Rubrum's Child Soldiers.
  • Lufia & The Fortress of Doom has this right before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, when Lufia pulls a Face–Heel Turn and takes the Sword of Plot Advancement from The Hero.
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Dr. Otto Octavius dives off the deep end and becomes Doctor Octopus, staging mass outbreaks from Rikers and the Raft and gathering Spidey's most dangerous arch-nemeses. Then Doc Ock unleashed the Devil's Breath bioweapon upon Manhattan, kickstarting a plague that threatens to kill all of New York, if not the whole world. To make matters worse, Silver Sable and her mercenaries become increasingly heavy-handed in their efforts to maintain order in Manhattan, to the point of detaining civilians without cause as the Sinister Six run rampant and other criminals overwhelm the police and throw the city into total chaos.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War hits the player with this at the end of chapter 5. Sigurd thinks he's managed to clear his name and returns to the capital, where his ally Arvis greets him... with his wife Dierdre, now brainwashed into becoming Arvis' wife. He then orders Sigurd executed, leading to a Total Party Kill and Sigurd being personally murdered by Arvis' Valflame.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has its one early on with the death of Greil. While everyone in the Greil Mercenaries grieve for his death, nearly all of them express uncertainty in Greil's inexperienced son Ike being able to lead in his stead, and 2 party members unceremoniously leave because of this.
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
    • During the second arc with Queen Elincia. Ludvec kidnaps Lucia, the Greil Mercenaries and Bastian are nowhere to be found, your main army with the most competent warriors are sidetracked and delayed by an enemy ploy and Ludveck surrounds your last stronghold with a massive army of traitors and usurpers.
    • In the third chapter, thanks to Skrimir's idiocy, Naesala's treachery and Begnion's bastardry, the Gallian forces are trapped in enemy territory with the world's superpower on one side and Daein, which holds quite a few old friends, closing in on the other. They are forced to stage a full scale retreat losing the territory they gained and some of what they started with.
    • The entire game counts as one for Daein. It opens with them under a positively brutal occupation in which Begnion commits multiple atrocities including labor camps and murdering the citizenry. When that's over, Lord of the Incompetent, Pelleas, gets looped into a Deal with the Devil to serve Begnion which, in short, will kill every single Daein citizen with a magical incurable plague if he disobeys. Then they get wrapped in the Gallian-Begnion war in which the Greil Mercenaries proceed to beat the crap out of them. THEN an alliance of Crimea, Gallia and the bird tribes proceed to march through Daein to Begnion with Daein losing every battle. Their bad luck doesn't end until the event that, strangely, is the world's Darkest Hour yet manages to be Daein's Hope Spot.
    • The last and biggest one occurs when members of the dragon tribe side with Micaiah and Daein. This means that the world is at war and that Yune, Goddess of Chaos is going to awaken. By sheer luck, the heroes manage to find out the secret to awakening her peacefully just in time. Unfortunately, this also awakens Ashera, the Goddess of Order who proceeds to turn every single person, warrior, peasant, or little child into stone.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening
    • The foremost one is when Chrom and the Shepherds are attempting to rescue Emmeryn. Just when victory seems near, a squadron of Risen archers suddenly appear and proceed to wipe out the entire squadron of Pegasus Knight Reinforcements, and worst of all, the person they're trying to save chooses to leap to her death instead of forcing Chrom to make a Sadistic Choice.
    • Another happens later on, when The Avatar's future evil self takes the power of Grima for him/herself, resulting in Grima's resurrection and the impending End of the World as We Know It. This is a short-lived one, however, because it turns out the Avatar of the present managed to steal back the Fire Emblem, so there's still hope.
    • This also applies to the DLC Missions of The Future Past. In what seems to be an alternate timeline, the children of the Shepherds are trying to reunite the stones of the Fire Emblem in a last-ditch effort to perform the Awakening and stop Grima. However, in every mission, the children are in bad positions thanks to the Risen, as well as the Avatar's children, and will fail and die without your direct intervention.
  • Chrono Trigger has this just after you confront Queen Zeal in the Ocean Palace. Lavos woke up, knocked out the entire party with one attack, obliterated Crono, and destroyed Zeal. Schala teleported the party out with her magic, but she was caught in the Ocean Palace as it collapsed. The time gate out of 12,000 BC is on a separate island and Dalton and his troops are declaring sovereignty over what's left of the world, with Dalton personally claimig the Epoch for himself. Even after Dalton is deposed, the closest thing the party has to a guiding light is the person they've spent the first part of the game trying to kill, and then the Black Omen appears.
  • Occurs near the end of games in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series.
    • Persona 3: Nyx begins her descent on the planet, in spite of SEES's efforts to destroy her Avatar, and people begin to die as it makes its approach. Alternatively, after finding out that you've been manipulated into bringing about The End of the World as We Know It instead of stopping it, one of your friends reveals himself to be the avatar of Nyx and drives home how futile your efforts are, even catching the protagonist in his room and offering him a chance to kill him. Not to stop the Fall, but to erase everyone's memories so they can live out the rest of their short lives in blissful ignorance.
    • Persona 4: The protagonist confronts Izanami, the source of the supernatural fog. Izanami absorbs the hero's friends one by one...
    • Persona 5: Yaldabaoth fuses Mementos with the real world. With this fusion, human perception affects reality. As a result, because humanity collectively does not believe in the Phantom Thieves' existence anymore, the protagonist and his friends begin to disappear from reality.
  • In Chrono Cross, after the visit to Fort Dragonia. Lynx pulls a Grand Theft Me on Serge, turns his party against him, stabs Kid when she figures out what's going on, and throws Serge into a dimensional void. Even after Harle helps Serge out, he's still stuck in Home World, separated from all his friends, stuck in Lynx's body, while Dark Serge is doing god-knows-what in Another World.
  • Twilight Princess Example: Zant steals the fused shadows, Link gets trapped in his wolf form, and Midna is dying, but you can save her! And Zelda dies instead.
  • Cave Story, after the Iron Head fight. You've failed to stop The Doctor from acquiring the red flowers, and your last-ditch effort to take him down with the entire island also failed. Mimiga Village is completely empty, all its citizens taken by the Doctor (and its theme music switches to something appropriately creepy), and the Egg Chamber was ravaged by an explosion. King and Toroko are dead, and Curly Brace is either dead in the Core Chamber or damaged and God-knows-where. Your only ally (or allies) who hasn't been killed or taken prisoner says there's nothing left to do but flee, and it's possible to take him up on the offer.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has the microwave tunnel scene. As you continue to hammer the triangle button, the screen is split between Snake moving down the hallway, falling to his knees as his equipment explodes, having to crawl to the end, while the top portion shows his allies about to lose their respective battles. Raiden gets surrounded and stabbed by FROGs, Johnny and Meryl run out of ammo as an endless wave of enemies continues to charge them, and Metal Gear RAY mounts the battleship and prepares to fire on the bridge. This continues into the next scene and gets even worse, with Snake being overwhelmed by Mini-GEKKO and screaming Otacon's name as Otacon practically has a breakdown when it looks like he's not going to be able to upload the virus in time. All played to an absolutely heartrending soundtrack. Things looked pretty bleak before, but that sequence has players nearly breaking the controller from bashing the button so hard, praying that everything will turn out okay.
    • The programmers even made it more tense for the player. As Snake progressed through the tunnel, the speed at which the button had to be pressed slowly increases, to the point of using both hands for rapid fire button annihilation.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has a late game mission: "Shining Lights, Even In Death", AKA: The quarantine mission. A massive vocal cord parasite outbreak at Snake's base has forced him to quarantine the facility by killing everyone infected.
  • MediEvil 2 has this at the end of the Whitechapel level, where Sir Daniel witnesses the death of Kia at the hands of the Ripper.
  • In the Spyro the Dragon game Dawn of the Dragon, the climax has a type three one of these. Ignitus performs a Heroic Sacrifice, Malefor takes over Cynder's mind and turns her on Spyro, this causes Spyro to go over the Despair Event Horizon. A Hope Spot occurs when Spyro saves Cynder with the Power of Love, but is quickly crushed when, while battling Malefor, the Great Destroyer finishes its path, beginning the planet's destruction and forcing the two heroes to battle Malefor as they plummet to the planet's core. They after a long brutal battle they overcome Malefor, causing him to be sealed away and Spyro saves the planet, almost killing them both in the process.
  • The submarine in Ghost Trick. After saving so many lives so many times, Sissel and his friends are left in a leaking metal coffin slowly falling to the bottom of the cold sea. They are utterly alone, without so much as a telephone line as a way out, and those of them that can't die will be left alone in the dark ocean forever.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Sammer's Kingdom gets destroyed by the Void, you're forced to fight your own Brainwashed and Crazy brother, then find that the Pure Heart that was located in the world that just got obliterated has been stripped of its power, no one has any idea of how to fix it... and then The Dragon shows up in between chapters to off your entire party in one go.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl's The Subspace Emissary has the reveal of Tabuu summarize the trope in an entire single cutscene. After revealing himself to be controlling Master Hand, Tabuu takes out Ganondorf and a weakened Master Hand with relatively minimal effort. What appears to be a Big Damn Heroes moment arrives, when the entire party of heroes that have come together arrive at the scene...only for Tabuu to revert everyone into trophies with one flap of his wings. Had it not been for King Dedede's badges, there would had been absolutely NOBODY inside or outside Subspace left to save the day (with the possible exception of Sonic, who only appears out of nowhere near the end of the story to ensure Tabuu can't wave his wings again). This is also invoked by the game itself-after the following cutscene, you return to the menu to find that you not only can't replay to any the previous stages you've already cleared, but also everyone is gone from your save file when you save your game.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's "World of Light" Adventure Mode starts as this. The 74 heroes confront Galeem and an army of Master Hands. Then, the Master Hands unravel, is absorbed inside Galeem and fire at everyone, with only Shulk getting a split second warning. No one is spared. Zelda and Mewtwo cannot deflect it. Sonic and Captain Falcon cannot outrun it. Bayonetta, Lucario, and Greninja can't evade it. The Inklings and Solid Snake cannot hide from it. Bowser and the Pokemon Trainer cannot overpower it. Kirby is the only one to survive, his Warp Star literally blinking him away from the attack. The light spreads from the battleground across the world, then the solar system, then the galaxy. Then, Kirby, the Sole Survivor, crash lands in the new world and finds himself the only one left to save the universe...
  • The Darkest Hour in the last GDI mission of Command & Conquer - Tiberian Sun - Kane's World Altering Missile is set to launch in 3 hours. And ICBM launchers will destroy the GDI orbital command center Philidelphia to boot.
  • Homeworld has a Darkest Hour of its own. It's not during the third level, but the last, where you have finally found your Homeworld. Unfortunately you've got several enemy fleets between you and it, out for your blood and Fleet Command is not responding...
  • Super Metroid. A giant Metroid appears. You can't kill it with any of your weapons. It latches onto you, and drains your health faster than you being submerged in the acid in Ridley's lair with the Power Suit and nothing more. No weapons can repel that monster. When you're in your very last HP point, it stops, gets off and starts vocalizing. Do you recognize those squeaks? It's Baby! It then flies off, leaving a clear way to a recharge station.
    • Another comes in the battle against Mother Brain. It uses a beam that not only presses Samus to the wall, it disintegrates her ammo as well. No matter how much you fight, it'll keep doing it until you can't stand anymore, then it batters you up with a few more shots and charges the death beam again. And then Baby latches onto its face.
  • Tales of Monkey Island has one: In Chapter 4, Guybrush watches Morgan die from a stab wound (which had been inflicted by LeChuck). As if that wasn't enough, he and Elaine get caught in clamshell traps set up by De Singe just as the former is finishing the Feast for the Senses for La Esponja Grande; and after he destroys De Singe and cures everyone of the Pox of LeChuck, the villain himself breaks free, creates a bit of a Hope Spot for Guybrush and Elaine by temporarily freeing them, and then erases it by killing the former and capturing both the latter and the sponge. While Guybrush is thinking up some means of escape in the Crossroads of the afterlife, LeChuck knocks Winslow off the Screaming Narwhal and sets it adrift at sea, damages Flotsam Island, by destroying many of its inhabitants, destroys Spinner Cay and its many Vaycaylians, damages the entire Gulf of Melange and makes it his own Villain World. Right after Guybrush creates another Hope Spot and opens the rips in the Crossroads, the villain gets his chance to erase it again by tossing the sponge into the rip and drawing voodoo power from the Crossroads. And to make matters worse, Elaine agrees to be turned into his demon bride who then sprays Guybrush with voodoo root beer, zapping him back to the Crossroads! A truly dark hour indeed!
  • Chapter 6 of The Reconstruction. The Watchers are dead, the world is in ruins, and an all-powerful "Lord-God" is sweeping up what little remains. The main characters are the only remaining hope for reconstruction.
  • After the Lava Caves in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Geldoblame is dead, the five End Magnus are in the hands of The Chessmaster, and Kalas has gone to The Dark Side. The party is scattered, with Xelha being locked up in the Imperial Fortress, the others are who-knows-where, and Kalas has disowned the Guardian Spirit. It's ultimately an example of the third type of this trope, as there's several hope spots before the happy ending.
  • A bit early into Dawn of War II, you have been facing an Ork invasion and have only recently found the Eldar mucking around the Blood Ravens' recruiting worlds. Then, Tyranids arrive and Captain Thule, who was in command of the whole affair, is mostly killed by a Tyranid Warrior that gets away. So at that point, you've got an Ork Waaagh!, an Eldar strike force and a Tyranid tendril creeping on your recruiting worlds and only two Space Marine Companies (IV and X), bereft of a leader to fight them back with. Sergeant Tarkus even uses the exact words of the trope to describe the situation.
    • And the Chapter is terribly, terribly understrength after a botched campaign in Kauvara, in Dawn of War: Soulstorm.
  • Battlefield 3. Campo and Matkovich are dead. You killed Cole. Dima failed to stop the destruction of Paris via suitcase nuke. The OGA refuses to believe that Solomon is the Big Bad, and moves to lock Blackburn away in Leavenworth for a long time. And there's still one missing nuke.
  • H.A.W.X. 2, at the end. Most of the squad is dead, the Russian general has access to the laser satellites, and nukes are launching all over the place.
  • The beginning of the final day of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, case 2-4. Maya's been kidnapped by a professional assassin, who wants him to get an acquittal for the client-of-the-week in exchange for Maya's life. Phoenix then has to spend the first day breaking one of the biggest woobies in the series to achieve his goal, only to find out that his client is guilty. On top of that, just when the player thinks they found out where Maya is being kept, the assassin slipped right out of the police's grasp, leaving them back to square one on where to find her, the player is given a You Bastard! moment by said woobie, and now Phoenix has to decide between proving his client guilty or saving Maya's life. All while the client is standing there and mocking you.
  • In Dark Souls before the player character escapes the northern undead prison. The First Flame is dying, and when it does all light and fire shall go out with it. As a result much of the world is suffering through endless nights. The world has also be devastated by a curse of undeath called the Dark Sign and many, many civilizations have collapsed as a result. In a twist, there is some doubt (in-universe and out) over just how bad this Darkest Hour really is. Darkstalker Kaathe believes the Age of Dark is not only inevitable, but that it could be a good thing in the long run. Kingseeker Frampt believes the Age of Fire is worth preserving at any cost. Ultimately it's the player character's choice who to believe.
  • During the final battle of EarthBound, the Power of Friendship is used to do heavy damage to Giygas, but eventually;
    Paula: I can't think of anyone else... someone... anyone... please help us.
    Paula's call was absorbed by the darkness.
  • X Rebirth combines this with After the End. One year after the events of Albion Prelude, the Argons' attempts at creating AGI ships caused the Xenon to become so powerful that the Ancients are forced to shut down the portal network just to keep them from overrunning the galaxy. Fast forward a thousand years, and the Community of United Planets has collapsed into complete anarchy, everyone is forced to scavenge old tech for resources, conflict is omnipresent, and all the while, both the Xenon and the Kha'ak have been biding their time and strengthening their forces, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike...
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops near the end Dragovich was almost ready to signal hundreds of sleeper agents in the USA to release Nova 6, and President Johnson will launch a nuclear strike should things get worse.
  • Resistance 3 opens in this manner. The Chimera have wiped out all organized opposition. All human governments have collapsed. 90% of humanity is either dead or converted. The remainder has been forced into small enclaves relying on Hit-and-Run Tactics to survive. And the Chimera are working on terraforming Earth to make it more suited to their physiology, which would render the planet inhospitable for the surviving humans.
  • This tends to happen in Kingdom Hearts due to the practice of bringing the protagonist close to death (or the metaphysical equivalent thereof) between games to create in-universe justification for his being reset to level one. Naturally, while the hero is thus incapacitated, the villain has near-free reign to accomplish his goals as the hero's allies try and fail to cover for his absence.
  • Baldurs Gate 2 has this when the party finally arrives at Spellhold. It doesn't take long before both people who can bring you to the island betray you: Saemon Havarian turns out to be working with the vampires, and the vampire's leader, Bodhi, turns out to be working for Big Bad Irenicus. And then party member Yoshimo (again, if you brought him with you) betrays you as well, and the entire party is captured by Irenicus, who's taken control of Spellhold. He then proceeds to rip out your soul and leave you for dead. If there's any consolation, the party is finally reunited with Imoen, and Bodhi disobeys her orders to execute you because she wants to toy with you a bit more.
  • Even Rosenkreuzstilette gets one of these awful moments. To start things off, while Tia's pleading for Count Michael Zeppelin to stop doing the wrong thing and return to the path of righteousness, he gets suddenly and deliberately obliterated into a burst of flames from behind by a lightning bolt. Then his daughter Iris appears calling him a useless old man without remorse and then proceeds to kick off Tia's Heroic BSoD by attacking and fatally injuring her with another attack. When Tia desperately wants to know what the hell is going on, she gives off a lecture revealing the Awful Truth to both her and Lilli to both of their horrors, throwing Tia even further into her Blue Screen of Death mode; the fact that she started RKS's coup against the empire for kicks, and that she killed her own father to make his adoptive daughter Zorne suffer without regret. And after that, she decides she doesn't need Tia any further so she's about to finish her off and kill her with one last attack. Had it not been for Freu coming in with her Big Damn Heroes moment, her attack would've done so and Iris would've been free to continue doing as she pleased with no one to stop her and therefore made it all result in a Downer Ending for everyone else.
  • The start of Act IV of Diablo III is one of these in spades. To recap: Diablo is back courtesy of Adria pulling the mother of all betrayals. Leah is no more thanks to Adria using her as the vessel of said rebirth. Diablo has become the Prime Evil, the sum total of all Seven Great Evils in one being, thanks to the Black Soulstone that you so helpfully put the Evils into for Adria. And Diablo and all his forces are now running roughshod over the High Heavens themselves, with extra despair points due to Auriel, the Archangel of Hope, being taken prisoner by Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair. Only when you free her do things begin to look up, though you still have a lot of demonslaying to do!
    • Reaper of Souls has its own Darkest Hour near the end of Act V when Malthael releases the Black Soulstone, which he has altered to absorb the demonic essences of all beings of the plane that he sends it into, into Sanctuary, with the intent of annihilating all humanity. As people die in droves all across the world, it's a race against time to find and stop Malthael before humanity is rendered extinct.
  • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire: You tried to stop Team Magma/Aqua, but Kyogre/Groudon woke up anyway and is trying to flood/bake the entire Hoenn region. And in Emerald, they're going at it with each other and the sun and rain are both going on. Better go wake up Rayquaza before they destroy everything...
  • The final chapter of Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher begins this way. Socrates accidentally gives a badly-thought-out answer to the question of the nature of morality— and he only had the one chance to do so. His only remaining hope is to convince the Arbiter that his accidental answer is correct...
  • In Secret of Mana, after the Empire succeeds in resurrecting the Mana Fortress, the hero and his party make their way to the Mana Tree to finish the process of fully repowering the Mana Sword. After a grueling battle to test them they finally reach it, only to watch the Empire utterly obliterate the tree with the Mana Fortress, undoing all of the hero's hard work at powering the sword, and destroying the last barrier between the Empire and conquering the world.
  • If you play the three campaigns of Saints Row 2 all at the same time, each of their fourth missions line up to make this. Carlos is put down by the Boss after the Brotherhood takes him for a "ride", Aisha is murdered and Johnny hospitalized by Jyunichi, and Shaundi is kidnapped by Veteran Child. Shaundi is brought back in that same mission and Johnny gets better, but the way it all lines up makes it quite dark.
  • Haunting Ground: In Chaos Forest, Fiona is separated from her Canine Companion Hewie, Hewie is shot, and Fiona is captured after The Reveal that Riccardo is a clone of her late father... who he murdered. Needless to say, things are looking bleak. And depending on your previous actions, Hewie may or may not recover, and consequently, you may or may not be locked into the worst ending.
  • The Crooked Man: David manages to help out Fluffy, but immediately afterwards, the Crooked Man appears to him in the form of his mentally-ill mother, who triggers the memory of when her mind first started to go - and David nearly killed her in a massive Freak Out. Then Paul and Marion, David's best friends, get a call from him. When Paul and Marion arrive, they find David (possessed by the Crooked Man) holding a gun to his head.
  • Rule of Rose: The Lying Princess chapter, which comes immediately after The Reveal that Wendy is the true princess, and successfully ordered Brown's death. The chapter is basically just a boss fight, where every character, aside from Jennifer, dies messily at the hands of a Tragic Monster created by Wendy - who even ends up relenting when she realises the true extent of her actions. To top it all off, said Tragic Monster almost immediately commits suicide... and that's if you want the good ending.
  • Elite Beat Agents features this after the penultimate song, "Without A Fight." Humanity had been subjugated by alien invaders, and there was no hope for anyone until the EBA arrive to fight the aliens. Right when it looks like they might beat the aliens back, the aliens turn the Agents into stone. The assembled crowd shouts "AGENTS!" and falls silent. That's when the girl helped out in the Tear Jerker level starts the chant that breaks them free. The second Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan game also pulled this off, except the threat was the sun going out (and the Asahi Ouendan are trapped in ice from a frozen meteorite).
  • Happens right before the final dungeon in the remakes of Lunar: Silver Star Story. After supposedly killing Ghaleon and finally rescuing Luna, the real Ghaleon shows up, reveals you only fought an imposter, proceeds to absolutely mop the floor with you in a Hopeless Boss Fight, and Luna awakens as Althena before the two of them abscond to the Fortress of Althena and begin draining all life from the Silver Star. You eventually wind up in Meribia, and discover that Kyle has drunk himself into a stupor, Nash has fallen into a deep depression reflecting on the fact that his earlier Heel–Face Turn has probably earned him a particularly painful death from the Big Bad, and nearly every NPC thinks you're all completely screwed.
  • Depending on the interpretation, the BlazBlue story could be at this phase during BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma. Despite the defeat of Yuki Terumi (killed by Hakumen) and Relius Clover (fell into utter depression thanks to his plan failing), the heroes now have to contend with the Goddess of Death Izanami, who turned out to be far above the two in terms of Invincible Villainy, and with her plans, every human is smelted into goo for the Takemikazuchi Embryo. She is also in possession of Phantom, whose magic was previously vital to most of Terumi's successes and proved it by dismissing Hakumen easily, and then she turned Ragna into a new rampaging beast that heavily wounds Jin and not even Noel in her controlled Mu-12 form can dent him, to the point that Rachel thought that Ragna might have to be killed (or she'll sacrifice herself) to save the 'world beyond hope'. NOL might have become a force of good thanks to Kagura managing to raise Homura as the new Imperator, but it's severely lacking manpower to oppose Izanami (which was exactly her plan!), and others (such as Bang) are M.I.A. after wrecking Relius' plans, and while Relius was now under the leash of Carl and Litchi, both of them were still pursuing personal problems rather than realizing the greater threat above. And apparently, not even the trio of Noel, Tsubaki and Makoto were that tightly-knit—while Noel and Makoto would readily throw their lives away for Ragna's safety, Tsubaki still hates Ragna and might have other ideas. Fittingly, on this part of the story, a lot of fans have been crying Shoot the Shaggy Dog, Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy and Torch the Franchise and Run on this... something like closing the book because they couldn't withstand the trope, when Word of God say that there will be one final game to conclude the story so far.
    • As it turned out, it becomes the truth, as in Central Fiction, the main heroes managed to get things done together, Ragna finally managed to avoid being The Chew Toy and accomplishes something meaningful and good, even if at the cost of something great, the absolute bad guys defeated and the world finally recovering and harmony returning.
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, the Nazis have won World War II and conquered the world, and the remnants of La Résistance is fighting a losing battle against the fascists. The game even starts with Deathshead cutting out the eyes of one of your comrades.
  • Occurs quite frequently in the Sonic the Hedgehog games, usually during the final story arc.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Chaos has lost control and absorbed the energy from the chaos emeralds, incapacitated both Eggman and Knuckles, and destroyed most of Station Square in the process.
    • In Sonic Adventure 2, Gerald Robotnik's plan to comes to fruition, with the Space Colony ARK plummeting towards Earth. Shadow is refusing to help the heroes, and it's a desperate race against time to stop the Biolizard from annihilating the planet.
    • In Shadow the Hedgehog, Black Doom incapacitates Shadow and the other heroes (and Eggman) with nerve gas on the Black Comet, then takes the Chaos Emeralds Shadow had gathered and uses Chaos Control to teleport the Comet to the Earth's surface, then begins the process of harvesting the planet and its inhabitants.
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Mephiles succeeds in killing Sonic, which subsequently causes Elise to cry, releasing Iblis and allowing the two to become one. The entire universe begins to fall apart as Solaris eats away at time and space, black holes are spawning everywhere, and Blaze has been erased from the timeline.
    • In Sonic Lost World, the Deadly Six have sucked all of the life out of Sonic's planet (which also results in Sonic losing contact with Knuckles and Amy, who are back on Sonic's world), kidnapped Tails, and launched an ambush that caused Eggman to fall to his doom when saving Sonic, taking Orbot and Cubot with him. The result has left Sonic alone by himself and having even crossed the Despair Event Horizon, though he still continues on to defeat the Deadly Six. It doesn't get any better when he later confronts the remaining Deadly Six members (after having taken care of three of them), only for them to bring out a robotizied Tails and then order him to shoot Sonic. Luckily for Sonic, Tails took some precautionary steps to ensure he still had free will and was faking being under the Deadly Six's control. Eggman also survived, but is revealed to have faked his death to pick up where he left off after Sonic gets rid of the Deadly Six, thus serving as the game's final boss.
    • Sonic Forces effectively starts out as this, with Eggman and his assembled team of former antagonists (spearheaded by the powerful newcomer Infinite) effortlessly defeating Sonic and subsequently taking over the entire planet. With Sonic believed to be dead, Tails giving up in grief and fleeing in obscurity as a result to Sonic's defeat, and the Resistance group formed to counter Eggman's advance dwindling in numbers, it's anything but a good look.
  • Stage 5 of Freedom Planet: The government you confront doesn't believe your plea; the team gets chased for jailbreaking; the villains get ahead and kidnap Torque; heavy rain falls and the heroines run out of ideas on what to do; Carol gets upset and leaves; Milla breaks down crying. In the end, Lilac decides to go after the Big Bad alone to avoid more casualties, only to fail spectacularly at the end of Stage 6. It all gets better afterward, nevertheless.
  • The final trial in any given Danganronpa typically becomes this, with the Big Bad's Despair Gambit reaching its final stage and forcing the player to make a Sadistic Choice or otherwise putting them through some kind of Trauma Conga Line. A common theme is to have the students believing they're solving mysteries throughout in a way that brings them closer to bringing down the mastermind, only for some Shocking Swerve to reveal the truth they were all working towards being horrific and full of despair.
  • There are a few especially notable ones in Undertale:
    • In the Neutral path, you fight Asgore, the King of all Monsters, when suddenly Flowey appears, kills Asgore, destroys Asgore's soul and steals the six human souls... and then the game crashes... When it's booted up the next time, it appears to glitch out, the player's savefile has been replaced with Flowey's savefile, the location of the save is "My World" and the title of the game itself changes to "Floweytale"... Then Flowey reveals his new form, informs you that, for all intents and purposes, he's God now, and as for you? He's going to save over your death so that you can watch as he kills you. Over, and over, and over...
    • In the True Pacifist path, the fight with Asgore is interrupted by Toriel who comes to your rescure. And then Undyne, Alphys, Papyrus and Sans also come to your aid and everything seems to get a peaceful resolution... When Alphys suddenly asks Papyrus how he knew to call everyone and Papyrus reveals that "a tiny flower" told him to... Cue Flowey attacking at that exact moment when everyone's guards are down, capturing all of your friends and then absorbing the souls of every single being in the entire Underground, causing him to transform into his true form: Asriel Dreemurr, the Absolute God of Hyperdeath.
    • If you kill every boss and more than 10 mooks for a Neutral ending, the phone call from Sans at the end describes the Underground as going through this; the Souls are gone, Asgore and everyone who could succeed him is dead, and all hope of escape has been lost. As a result, the Underground has fallen into despair and anarchy.
  • Batman: Arkham Knight is this for the whole Batman: Arkham Series as Gotham is taken over by the Scarecrow and an army under his and the titular Arkham Knight's command, all of the villains are working with Scarecrow to finally take down Batman, the city is evacuated of all but a few cops and several thugs, and said thugs are rioting throughout the city. Within the game, it's the climax, as Batman surrenders to Scarecrow, who exposes his identity and injects him with fear toxin. However, all the latter finally allows Batman to rid himself to the infection caused by the Joker blood from Arkham City.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has two of these that pop up at the end of each game.
    • The first one ends with the assassination of Chancellor Giliath Osborne by the terrorist C, who happens to be Crow, one of Class VII's closest friends. Things go to hell when the Noble Faction not only reveal their flagship, the Pantagruel, but also reveal their own mechs, the Panzer Soldats, who make mincemeat of the Imperial Army's tanks. It also gets revealed that Vita Clotilde is also the Second Anguis of Ouroboros. The Noble Faction then invade Trista, with the teachers defending the west side of the city while Class VII takes the east side. They just barely put down a basic Drakhen on foot while Scarlet's Spiegel curbstomps them. Even with Rean summoning the Divine Knight Valimar and curbstomping Scarlet, Crow has his own Divine Knight, Ordine. Even after Rean wins, it turns out Crow was just holding back and casually backhands Valimar. Class VII comes to Rean's aid while Valimar flies Rean away, despite his protests of wanting to stay.
    • The second game has this just for a Disc-One Final Dungeon of all things. The Infernal Palace appears in place of Valflame Palace, turning all of Heimdallr into a hellish landscape. Even after fighting their way through Ouroboros and with Rean finally winning over Crow, Duke Cayenne is pissed. He forcibly puts Prince Cedric into the cockpit of the Vermilion Apocalypse, needing Class VII along with Rean and Crow to defeat it. Crow ends up getting impaled by the Vermilion Apocalypse giving Rean the opportunity to pull Cedric out of it. Just as Crow dies, several big whammies are revealed: Jusis's brother, Rufus, is one of the Ironbloods and that Chancellor Osborne is very much alive! The final whammy is that Rean learns that Osborne is his father.
    • The third game takes things up to eleven. Angelica is killed by George, who is revealed to be Evil All Along, The Courageous is blown up along with Victor, Toval and Olivert, Millium dies, and Rean loses control of his Super Mode and his resulting actions spreads the red plumora flowers all over Erebonia and Crossbell, causing Crossbell to stop resisting Osborne and gang up with Erebonia to go to war against the Calvard Republic. And then Osborne's Divine Knight delivers a Neck Lift to Valimar with Rean still inside.
    • And the recently released teaser image for IV? It manages to leave the impression that things are going to go way past 11...
  • Nocturne: Rebirth has at least two crushing moments even for the long-lived protagonist.
    • Reviel's inner conflict over his views on humanity lead him to attempt Suicide by Cop via Ristill, only for Luna to take the killing blow for him. He attempts to bite her and bring her back as a sentient vampire, but fails when she turns into a mindless Dark Disciple instead. At this point, he crosses the Despair Event Horizon and is resigned to finishing his deathmatch with Ristill.
    • Luna manages to regain her mind and convince Reviel to spare Ristill, thus completing his Heel–Face Turn. Unfortunately, Khaos attacks the village of Algiz and forces the two to reveal their vampirism, making it so they can't return to the village for the rest of the game out of fear of ostracism and shame for lying to them. Fortunately, the villagers accept Luna in the ending, though they're split on trusting Reviel because of his bloody past.
  • Dynasty Warriors 8 has one battle in each faction that ends in a crushing unavoidable defeat that they never fully recover from: The Battle of Chibi for Wei, the Battle of Hefei for Shu, the Battle of Fan Castle for Shu, the Battle of Xuchang for Jin, and the Battle of Dingtao for Lu Bu. This is the exact moment the game splits off into the Historical and Hypothetical routes, with the latter only obtainable by going back to previous missions and fulfilling special conditions to ensure that nobody on your side dies before the split. Shu also has a second one of these in the Battle of Wu Zhang Plains (which is also the final battle of most Dynasty Warriors games,) where Shu wins a Pyrrhic Victory against Wei that costs them Zhuge Liang, their greatest tactician, who's death spells the beginning of the end for Shu.
  • The entirety of Route C/D (aka the entire second half of the game) in NieR: Automata is a cavalcade of tragedy of misery. YoRHa is destroyed, with your in-game ability to come back from death without reloading a save being lost forever, 2B is infected with the Logic Virus and Mercy Killed by A2, 9S witnesses this Mercy Kill and goes off the deep-end, which isn't helped by him spending the rest of the game learning Awful Truth after Awful Truth until he becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, and Pascal's village is completely wiped out, the survivors (all of them children) ending up committing mass suicide out of fear, and Pascal begging A2 to either erase his memories or kill him. Fortunately, if the player toughs it out and gets both the C and D endings, the far more uplifting Ending E becomes available.
  • The entire Mega Man Zero series is this for the main timeline. The devastating Elf Wars killed off 60% of the human population and 90% of Reploids and ravaged the environment to the point that the only habitable place left on Earth (until Area Zero is discovered) is the city of Neo Arcadia. With both X and Zero having sealed themselves away for good, a copy of X is created, who goes mad with power and decides that preserving humanity at the expense of reploidkind is of the utmost importance, creating a hellish dystopia for reploids, who are now labelled Maverick for the slightest threat to the status quo. And then Dr. Weil, the instigator of the Elf Wars, returns with his superweapon Omega, and things get even worse.
    • Failing to destroy the Eurasia colony in Mega Man X5 results in this. The Earth is nearly destroyed, and Sigma succeeds in overloading Zero with the Maverick virus, awakening his original, murderous self. Future games in the X series decided to keep part of this as canon, as even after destroying Eurasia, the leftover debris still devastated the Earth.

  • Sluggy Freelance, as might be expected from such a plot-heavy series of its length, has at least three examples.
    • The first is at the end of Chapter 12, when Gwynn is in an apparently irreversible coma, and Torg and Zoë are trapped in pre-Norman Britain in an Army of Darkness parody.
    • The second, a pastiche of such moments in horror films, in chapter 32, after a group consisting of the majority of the storyline's surviving cast, including Torg and Bert, are ambushed and apparently killed in the space of a single strip. It would be just a one-strip fake-out like the one two chapters later, except that only Torg and Flaky - and not Bert - actually did survive.
    • The third, and certainly most grim, is at the end of chapter 59: Oasis having crossed the Moral Event Horizon by apparently incinerating Riff and Zoë, Torg's optimistic certainty that they'd escaped to another dimension is defeated by his revelation that his memory of events was wrong, and that what seemed to be pessimistic babble by Gwynn was actually her presenting proof that Zoë, at least, was dead; cut to the alternate dimension Riff and Zoë had in fact escaped to to see Riff apparently be gunned down over Zoë's charred corpse, followed by a Filler arc of Kiki explaining to ZHOAS why you should accept when a likable character's been killed off. And just as Sasha was reintroduced.
  • The Order of the Stick: Azure City, a major bastion of Good, is overrun by an army of hobgoblins. The goblin cleric and evil lich that command them thus get access to a gate holding a universe-devouring monstrosity. Most of the paladins are wiped out, and the strongest is taken prisoner. The survivors from the city are leaving on boats while trying to find a new place to settle. The leader of the heroes has been killed during the battle. The surviving team is separated and unable to contact each other. Oh, and that Gate? It gets destroyed during the battle. And while that may mean that the villains can't harness its powers, it now means that there's a gaping hole in reality and the seal containing the Snarl has been significantly weakened. On the bright side, O-Chul's capture allowed him to befriend the Monster in the Darkness, and seems to have started it down the path to a Heel–Face Turn, so some good came of this mess.
    • Another Darkest Hour happens when Girard's Gate is is destroyed. Vaarsuvius may have come to his/her senses, but he/she still owes his/her soul to the IFCC, who still seem interested in using him/her as a pawn. Durkon has been turned into a vampire, Belkar is a sneeze away from death, and there is only one more Gate protecting the world from a huge God-destroying Eldritch Abomination. Oh, yes, and the Big Bad knows exactly where that last gate is and has just teleported there, while the heroes have no method of transportation faster than walking.
  • Homestuck Act Five Act Two: Vriska kills Tavros. Eridan has a Face–Heel Turn, blinds Sollux, murders Feferi and Kanaya (she gets better), and dooms the troll species to extinction by destroying the Matriorb. Then Gamzee runs out of sopor pie, sobers up and goes Ax-Crazy, killing Equius and Nepeta. There is also that little matter of Jack Noir, who has so far killed Bro, John (also gets better), Rose (also gets better), the actual Dave (also gets better), an alternate Dave (does not get better), the dreamselves of every troll, Mom and Dad, wiped out the populations of three entire planets, and destroyed all fourteen planets of the trolls' Medium.
    • The trolls are first introduced right in the middle of their Darkest Hour. They finally beat the game, and are going to claim their reward...when Jack shows up and starts killing everything, forcing the trolls to hide out on an asteroid and wait for death.
    • Another one happens towards the end of Act Six Act Three. Three of the characters are on Derse, which initially seems fine... untile Draconian Dignitary activates the Red Miles, which end up killing Jane (who was doomed to be stuck on the moon anyway) and Roxy (who was seconds away from starting a new session). Lil' Sebastian manages to get Jake back to his island and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, leaving the boy unconscious. Dirk's dreamself loses consciousness in the process of saving Jake, and was scant seconds away from corpsesmooching Jane. Luckily, Dirk manages to activate Jane and Roxy's dreamselves while permanently becoming his own dreamself, and he and his robots ender the Medium. Seems fine, right? Too bad Caliborn wakes up, frees himself, and starts up his session while Lord English destroys an entire dreambubble full of dead Trolls and Humans.
    • Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 4 tops all the previous examples. Nearly all the protagonists are dead, the entire incipisphere is wrecked, the few people who are alive have either crossed or are very close to crossing the Despair Event Horizon, the universe itself is suffering from glitch corruption due to Caliborn messing with the Act 6 cartridge.
  • El Goonish Shive: In the ninth part of the Sister II arc Nanase futilely tries to talk to Abraham to convince him to spare Ellen's life but he cuts her fairy doll avatar down. This hurts her unimaginably as she can feel everything but she creates another avatar and tries again. Abraham thinks he is fighting puppets controlled by the elf he defeated earlier and refuses to even acknowledge what she is trying to tell him believing it to be trickery. Instead, he cuts the avatars down as fast as Nanase can create them each time causing her physical pain but she keeps trying over and over again. All this while every mortal being in the area who could possibly help her has either been put into a deep sleep by Abraham or is unaware of her plight.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has December, when Mike tells Lucy just how he feels about her. Or does he? At the same time, Paulo is worried he is going to hurt his girlfriend due to his longtime crush on the now-free Lucy and Abbey finds out that his mother died years ago, after a brutal beating she received from his father. And then hid that she had died from her children, making Abbey feel like she had abandoned them instead.
  • Romantically Apocalyptic: There’s a pretty long period of time that functions as this, with many events making it worse. The biomass integrates Snippy, so now he’s mentally trapped in his past, and physically trapped in this monstrosity. The biomass then finds Pilot, who Captain tells to rescue Snippy. He tries, and fails, and is integrated into the biomass too. So he’s also trapped in his mind. Then, a Hope Spot as the being known as the lifealope forms… but nope, it looks like the biomass is going to integrate or destroy it. And ANNET found Engineer and is going to kill him. For a comic that was previously just wacky humor, it takes a pretty dark turn.
  • At the end of season one of Tower of God, this happens for both Baam and his team in different ways. Baam is betrayed by Rachel, debasing everything he worked for until now, because all he wanted was to be with her, which also destroyed a large part of his trusting nature, and for the team… well, the one that held it together died. Rak and Androssi didn't even bother to show up for the announcement of death, but they all decided to help Rachel achieving her goals to cherish Baam's memory.
  • Schlock Mercenary has the aftermath of the Battle of Oisri. The Toughs' ship is destroyed with no prospect of another, a high-powered member has betrayed the company's trust, the UNS is angrier at them than ever, and Petey has decided that they aren't a force for good anymore and won't help them do anything but retire. All that's left of Tagon's Toughs is some bug hunt that Schlock wants to go on...
  • The end of Chapter 10 of The Sanity Circus. Attley is revealed to be a Scarecrow, and has taken mortal damage. Posey has abducted her. Steven has been beheaded. Dr. King is almost certainly dead. Fletch collapses to his knees, and Mrs. F crawls tragically out of Attley's abandoned hat.
  • Near the end of Blue Moon Blossom, the bunny protagonist finds their parent turned to stone and touches them, themself turning to stone as they cry.

    Web Original 
  • RWBY: Volume 3 ends with this, made darker by how light the show was up until now. it starts with the brutal death of Penny in Chapter 9 and only gets worse from their. First her death was broadcast across the world, and the resulting panic causes a massive influx of Grimm. Next the White Fang arrive on Cinder's orders with even more Grimm, and begin their own attack on Beacon Academy, led by Blake's former mentor Adam Taurus, who gives Blake a painful Curb-Stomp Battle, and then cuts of Yang's arm when she tries to save Blake. Meanwhile Cinder finally obtains the Fall Maiden power by murdering Amber, and uses that power to murder Pyrrha, and destroy the CCT tower, shutting down the world's communication network. By Chapter 12, Vale is wrecked, Beacon has been closed down and in ruins and crawling with Grimm, Ozpin is missing, and to top it all off, Team RWBY is scattered across Remnant, currently without any convenient means contacting each other, with Ruby (who is so far, the only member who has not completely given up) tracking Cinder with help from the surviving members of JNPR (Jaunne, Nora and Ren), Yang stuck in bed, still in Heroic BSoD mode, possibly having crossed the Despair Event Horizon, Weiss has been forced to return home by her father, and Blake has run away again in shame.
  • There Will Be Brawl - the butchers are still on the loose, Princess Peach is still missing, and to make matters worse, Kirby has escaped from jail.
  • Whateley Universe example: the story "Christmas Elves". One chapter ends with Fey trapped and powerless in a magical circle so she can be mindslaved, Shroud gone, and Generator locked to a table and stabbed through the heart so hard that the athame goes through her and is stuck in the table.
  • The 9/11 attacks in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. While rescuing people from the World Trade Center, four Guardians members were seriously injured (one to the point of being permanently paralyzed) and another killed when the towers collapsed.
  • In Chrono Hustle #10, the main characters start out in the custody of the TRD, before being transferred to the TDD for mind-wipes. They manage to escape to 1942, but in the process, one of the characters is killed, one is gravely injured and, before he is able to receive proper medical attention, they are immediately arrested by Nazis, thus ending the first volume.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Episode 47 in its entirety. Cecil is nowhere to be seen. Carlos is now trapped in the house that does not exist since his scientists have been arrested. Tamika has been captured. Lauren and Kevin have taken over the radio station and re-decorated it to make it "more like home." And to add insult to injury, the citizens of Night Vale have now been herded into an "eternal picnic" (or rather, internment camp) where they are to stay and work, and never leave. Night Vale has also become a part of the Greater Desert Bluffs Metropolitan Area.
    • Topped with the two-part season 4 finale. The Good Boy has taken over the town, along with his army of Strangers, and confirms that he is Satan, and that the Strangers are former humans, twisted beyond recognition by torture in the caverns of Hell. His only desire is to destroy everything. He cannot be reasoned with, for reasons are among the things he seeks to destroy. The Community Calendar says simply that the entire week has been cancelled, and the horoscopes say only that "the stars have gone silent" — either to protect us from the knowledge of what will happen, or because even they don't know. Even after The Good Boy retreats and the Strangers are restored to human form, nobody is sure how they were defeated, and it's heavily implied that there isn't a reason, and they could return just as suddenly and without reason at any moment.
    • And even that is topped by episode 110. The collapse of reality, initiated by Huntokar altering time to save Night Vale from nuclear war in 1983, is completing itself. The sky has been replaced by a giant hole. The five-headed dragons are rampaging and setting the city on fire. Most of the few people left in Night Vale have given up on the town, and are retreating into visions from more pleasant alternate realities. The situation gets so dire that, for the first time in the series, Cecil almost doesn't bother with the Weather report and simply signs off "good''bye'', Night Vale" rather than his usual "good night". Fortunately, he comes up with an idea immediately after.

    Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls - The Movie: The city's being destroyed by mutated monkeys, the entire city of Townsville hates them, and Mojo Jojo is holding their father hostage.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Being Star Wars, several Episodes have Darkest Hour moments, some resulting in a Downer Ending in the middle of an arc.
    • Weapons Factory: Outside the factory, Ray-Shielded Separatist super tanks are tearing through Anakin and Luminara's troops and blowing them to kingdom come, and inside the factory, Ahsoka is knocked out (again), and the Geonosians steal the explosives that were going to be used to blow the reactor, throwing a monkey wrench into Ahsoka and Barriss's operation.
    • Wookie Attack: During the final fight on the Trandoshans' floating fortress, they shoot down the hijacked speeder drivven by O-Mer, and our heroes our downed on the floor with the Trandos pointing their weapons at Ahsoka, the teenaged younglings, and Chewbacca, and Garnac gloats that Ahsoka will make a prize trophy (her skin at least) to his "hunting collection". Thankfully, the bounty hunter, Sugi arrives to save the day with a squad of Wookies who got the transmission from the at first not working transmitter built by Chewbacca!
    • At the end of Gungan Attack, Riff Tamson and his Sepratist forces have defeated and captured the Republic/Mon Calamari/Gungan Army and stands victorious on Mon Calamari, with only Ahsoka and Prince Lee-Char uncaptured.
    • At the end of the first half of Season Four, Slaves of the Republic, our heroes are all captured and enslaved by the Zygerrians and have no hope of escape, with Anakin as the Zygerrian queen's personal servant, Ahsoka caged above the queen's palace and being tortured without pity or mercy by the prime minister of Zygerria, and Obi-Wan and Rex broken by the keeper of the Zygerrian slave hub on Kadavo. It carries over to the next episode, Escape from Kadavo.
    • In Escape From Kadavo, during the rescue mission, Keeper Arguss activates the floor trap to the Togruta slaves' cell and breaks the controls to prevent Obi-Wan and Rex from turning it off, and Plo Koon can't move his ship for the rescue mission until the ray-shielded enemy cannons are destroyed, which are shooting at Plo Koon's fighter and gunship squadron.
  • Naturally, Star Wars Rebels continues the trend.
    • In the season 2 premier, The Siege of Lothal, the defecting Minister Tua is killed as the Rebels try to bring her to safety and they are framed by the Empire for her murder. Darth Vader effortlessly dominates the entire group, then lets them escape in order to find the Rebel fleet. He proceeds to single-handedly decimate the fleet. Suring the battle, Ahsoka senses the horrible truth that Vader is her mentor and friend Anakin Skywalker, while Vader likewise senses that Ahoska is still alive. And while the surviving Rebels (including the main cast) escape, the effort to liberate Lothal that had been the focus of the entire first season is rendered a complete failure, with the Imperial presence on Ezra's homeworld being larger and more oppressive than ever.
    • In the season 2 finale, Twilight of the Apprentice, on the ancient Sith world Malachor, the group encounters Darth Maul, who subtly tempts Ezra toward the Dark Side and then blinds Kanan. And the Sith Temple that Maul tricked Ezra into unlocking via a Sith Holocron turns out to be a planet-killing superweapon. Ezra pleads with the Holocron's AI to shut down the weapon, saying he doesn't want it, but the Holocron responds that if Ezra doesn't want the power, maybe the one outside the door will. Ezra looks out and discovers that it's not Maul as might be expected. It's worse. It's Darth Vader. Kanan and Ezra manage to shut down the weapon by removing the Holocron, but barely escape with their lives. Ahsoka, however, doesn't escape at all, with it being ambiguous whether she died or is "merely" trapped forever in the Sith Temple.
  • In X-Men: Evolution we have "The Day of Reckoning", when an Enemy Mine between the X-Men and Brotherhood against Magneto's newly formed Acolytes, turns out to be a trap (more so for the former) as they come face-to-face with a Sentinel. Magneto uses the situation to expose mutants to the world at large even as they fight for their lives against the Killer Robot. Even after the Sentinel is destroyed, the X-Men discover that the Xavier Mansion is destroyed, Wolverine is captured and the Professor is missing, while the authorities are hunting down mutants as hysteria ensues across the country.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has two potential candidates.
    • One is the "Crossroads of Destiny" where Zuko does not complete his Heel–Face Turn, Azula backshoots Aang with lightning, nearly killing him, and the previously impenetrable Earth Kingdom Capital Ba Sing Se falls to the Fire Nation.
    • Another is the "Day of the Black Sun" where Sokka tries to lead an invasion of the Fire Nation during a solar eclipse. Instead, we learn that Azula knew about the invasion all along and the Fire Nation was ready. The end result was that the invasion failed, virtually all the troops were sent to prison, and the few remaining children had to hide out in the Western Air Temple. But it wasn't all bad—the thing keeping it from being a total downer (as opposed to the fall of Ba Sing Se) was Zuko's long-awaited real Heel–Face Turn, heralded by an epic Calling the Old Man Out scene and badass lightning redirection.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra has one in Book 1 when Amon and his Equalists have taken over Republic City, and benders are having their bending taken away. Korra and her friends have to hide from the invasion, and the help they receive from General Iroh II goes haywire.
    • Book 2 is even more heartwrenching. Unalaq has managed to fuse with the ultimate dark spirit Vaatu, becoming a Dark Avatar, and he and Korra duke it out. But then...Vaatu pulls Raava out of Korra and brutally kills her, shattering Korra's connection with her past lives. As if that wasn't enough, Unalaq then grows to enormous size and starts wreaking havoc on Republic City.
  • Every season of Teen Titans has one of these occur during the season finale.
    • Season 1: The Teen Titans are infected with nanobots that will kill them upon Slade's command. To save their lives, Robin swears to serve Slade as his apprentice.
    • Season 2: Terra casts aside all compassion she once felt for the Teen Titans, ruthlessly attacks and attempts to kill them, and helps Slade conquer the city.
    • Season 3: Cyborg quits the Teen Titans so he can be leader of Titans East. Titans East, however, are under Brother Blood's psychic control.
    • Season 4: Trigon arises and kills everyone on the face of the Earth except for Slade and the Teen Titans.
    • Season 5: Though not technically the season finale, the culmination of the story arc involved the Brotherhood of Evil kidnapping every teenage superhero on the planet (with only five or six exceptions). The actual season finale also fulfilled this trope, at least if you were a Beast Boy/Terra shipper.
  • The last episode(s) of Danny Phantom where an asteroid is about to come hurtling towards Earth. Several attempts to create a Hope Spot occurs when the world sends missiles towards it, but they ultimately fail and the planet is left to bide their time till their doom. The protagonist and titular character has gotten rid of his ghost powers and the villain offers everyone another hope return for being named ruler of the world.
  • The concept of the "Darkest Hour" is a major part of Transformers philosophy, signifying a threat that seems to blot out all hope in the universe. The way to avert it is to bring all Transformers together against whatever threatens them - thus the phrase "Till All Are One". The animated movie listed above is the example of this, but it recurs throughout different continuities:
    • Beast Wars (and its sequel series, Beast Machines) is more or less the completion of the original continuity that includes the G1 the movie, and has several believable "darkest hours" in season finales, namely the potential re-writing of the space/time continuum, and the complete fall of Cybertron to Megatron. However, the series finale of Beast Wars in particular reveals the importance of the phrasing "Darkest Hour" and its historical and mythical weight, in phrasing from the pseudo-religious text the "Covenant of Primus", Primus being the Transformers' creator god. Such phrases include "the stone of their protection shall rise upward forever and ever, as they who live and war as beasts confront their final cycle" and "In the spark of an enemy, there will be salvation, and in the darkest hour, there will be a light."
    • The season 2 finale of Transformers Prime, a show in another continuity but which also has a Covenant of Primus, actually has "Darkest Hour'' as its title. And it is.
  • ReBoot: The city is completely ruined, only the principal office has any power, and it's impossible to repair the city. The remaining population is holed up in the principal office and doesn't have the supplies to last very long. And to make matters worse a game has landed which will crash the entire system when the User wins. The only way out of this mess is to invoke a Deus ex Machina and pray for the User to intervene as the system crashes and everything fades to black. A couple of key strokes from the User and everything is fixed, including bringing back the dead.
  • Kim Possible has had two of these moments, both in the original and second Grand Finales.
    • In the first, Kim is devastated from being played by Drakken, who is about to unleash an army of powerful robots all across the world.
    • In the second, Kim has been captured by Alien Invaders while the planet is overwhelmed by alien walkers. The second is probably the closest the world has ever been to being taken over.
  • At the end of the first episode of season two of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Discord has won, most of the heroes have been broken and brainwashed, the Elements of Harmony, the only thing that can possibly stop him, are in his grasp, and he's ready to unleash a storm of chaos upon Equestria.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: The Rainbooms and Sunset Shimmer are Locked in a Room, Twilight is huddled in a Troubled Fetal Position, having failed to come up with a musical counterspell, and the other five are arguing amongst each other, fully restoring the Dazzlings' dark power.
  • The Doomsday Project from Sonic Sat Am.
  • Justice League Unlimited season finales:
    • The season 3 series finale: Darkseid has been resurrected and leads his armies in an all out attack on Earth, forcing all the superheroes and supervillains to join forces to save Earth.
    • The Season 2 finale is even more bleak: Braniac and Luthor are merged together, and the reserve League is occupied, dealing with the aftermath of Cadmus' attack on the Watchtower, leaving just the original seven to fight him. Near the end, Braniac!Luthor is about to destroy Earth and has knocked out everyone but the Flash, who gets scared and runs away -or so the evil duo thought.
  • Happens a lot in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
    • The first season premier has the massive breakout of the 4 super villain prisons, forcing all of the superheroes to unite against them.
    • Then Kang's massive invasion forces has swarmed all over the Earth, which forces Ant-Man to use his Ultron army.
    • After that Ultron nearly succeeds in a global nuclear apocalypse. Whew!
  • Happens to the titular Motorcity in the first part of the finale "Vega": Mike Chilton has been arrested and is to be executed, KaneCo bots are running amok and the Genesis Pod has been planted, the latter of which is set to wipe out the entire city and its people.
  • In the Futurama movie "Bender's Big Score", the Darkest Hour comes when the scammer aliens manage to buy out the Earth and exile its inhabitants to the moons of Neptune. The Earthicans end up teaming up with Robot Santa to take back their home.
  • The season one finale of Gravity Falls, "Gideon Rises". Gideon Gleeful takes over the Mystery Shack and plots to turn it into an amusement park dedicated to himself, Dipper and Mabel not only fail to get it back but lose Journal 3 in the process, and Grunkle Stan is prepared to send the twins home because he won't be able to take care of them over the summer.
    • "Dipper and Mabel vs the Future" takes it Up to Eleven, with Bill Cipher starting the apocalypse by tricking an emotionally compromised Mabel into giving him the Rift.
    • "Weirdmaggedon" takes it even further. Bill has turned Gravity Falls into a weird apocalyptic wasteland, captured a large number of people, including Ford, the only one who knew of Bill's weakness, and destroyed the Journals, the only other source of information on Bill, before sicking his lackeys on Dipper.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Season Four Finale "The Disaster" involved Rob using the reality-warping Universal Remote to systematically ruin Gumball's life by tearing his family apart with Darwin running away, Richard and Nicole arguing into a divorce, making Gumball lose track of Anais, and then breaks his girlfriend Penny's heart before pushing her from the upper floor into her likely death just as Rob paused the moment to rub it into Gumball. Then he drops the bombshell to Gumball on the world they are in not being real for it is a TV show and uses the remote to try to send him into the Void. After their fight, Rob throws his thought-to-be-dead remote to the Void to get rid of Gumball... with the latter able to reach it and rewind to the beginning to prevent the disaster from happening.
    • Season Five Premiere and Part 2 "The Rerun" has the Darkest Hour of the series gets even darker! Gumball travels back to the beginning with the knowledge of the last episode to stop Rob by successfully warning Darwin and Anais of him. However, things go From Bad to Worse when Rob uses the Universal Remote to rewind Nicole and Richard into babies. This leads to a time paradox that causes the Watterson kids to cease existence from youngest to oldest as they wouldn't be able to raise them as children. Anais ceases to exist despite fighting Rob, Darwin who was adopted by Richard in "The Origins" and evolved because of his bond with Gumball turns back into a normal fish and because he is out of water when it happens... he dies out of suffocation in front of a horrified Gumball who teared up. When Rob taunts him about it, Gumball goes Berserker Tears on him... only for Rob to dodge and use the remote to Fast Forward crashing into Penny and pushing her into her death before Rob pauses into that moment. Even Gumball admits this is worse than the last time he tried to stop Rob.
  • Samurai Jack Episode C; Just when it looks like Jack is going to make headway in his mission to destroy Aku, with his Love Interest Ashi at his side, the demon himself shows up and discovers that Ashi is his biological daughter, a fact he gleefully exploits to get Jack and Ashi to fight. Then, he forcefully transforms Ashi into a demonic female replica of himself, Ashi trying and failing to fight the corruption before begging Jack for a Mercy Kill. Jack cannot go through with it and surrenders, with the last shot of the episode being Aku holding the sword in triumph while the samurai sits slumped over in defeat.
  • Disenchantment Oh boy. By the end of season 1, everyone in Dreamland has been turned to stone, Bean is kidnapped by her mother, Luci is also captured, and poor poor Elfo is dead.

    Real Life 
  • The Black Death, so far the most horrific plague Eurasia ever had to face. In a span of three to four years, the population of the Eurasian landmass was reduced by one third. The general perception was that the Apocalypse had truly come, and that God himself had finally forsaken man.
  • The Other Wiki attributes Winston Churchill as the Trope Namer for this phrase, having used it in speeches for the period of World War II where France had just surrendered to the Nazis, the Germans seemed to be making great progress against the Soviet Union to the east, and the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine were executing The Blitz against Britain.
    • December 1941 and early 1942 (January to March) was this for the Allies in the Pacific Theater. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Imperial Japan was on its way to Australia, the Dutch East Indies, the British colonies and Burma. First, the British colony of Hong Kong fell on Christmas Day after a desperate defense by Commonwealth troops finally collapsed. Then, January 1942 saw the invasion of the Dutch East Indies by Japan, with the colony in their hands by March 1942. Meanwhile, Singapore, the key British stronghold in Asia, capitulated in a week-long battle in February 1942. Although the Japanese never took Australia, they seized many of the islands surrounding it, including Guadalcanal. As for Burma, it contained Nationalist China's main supply route, the Burma road. Despite a valiant defense from British and Chinese troops, the Allies were overrun and retreated into Northern India, leaving China effectively landlocked. Although the Chinese scored a victory in the Third Battle of Changsha, the damage was done and Imperial Japan looked stronger than ever.
    • The second week of the Eastern Theatre of World War II was this for the Allies at the Eastern Front. In the first fortnight of Operation Barbarossa, the Germans (mistakenly) boasted that half of the entire Red Army had been destroyed and the Soviet state was on the verge of collapse. This view was shared by the USA and Britain, though China and Japan had quiet confidence in the Soviets and reserved their judgement. This was understandable; in the first care-free fortnight of the Soviet-German war the Germans had seemed to breeze through the Red Army almost effortlessly, taking millions of unarmed Soviet troops on a peace-time footing prisoner. But in the third week, at Smolensk, this illusion was shattered by the two-month More Dakka trench-warfare battle of attrition there that had the Germans clawing for every inch and even being forced to retreat from the salient made by Guderian's insubordinate and overconfident capture of Yel'nya.
      • After that was another Darkest Hour. The two-month battle of Kiev and the first two weeks of Operation Typhoon, which were colossal defeats for the Red Army with hundreds of thousands being taken prisoner, renewed people's fears (and hopes) that perhaps the Soviet Union would fall after all... only for the failure of the rest of Typhoon, the mixed success of the Soviet Winter Counter-Offensive of 1941-2, and the entry of the USA into the war to give them totally justified and utterly unshakable faith that the Allies would prevail after all - however long that took.
  • The Cold War, for humanity as a whole. In a reversal of all indications from history, two powerful nations in an arms race, itching to defeat the other, did not go to war for a period of 40 years. With enough nuclear weapons to render the Earth uninhabitable many times over, and events like the Cuban Missile Crisis bringing tensions to alarming levels, where the public kept track of something called The Doomsday Clock, the Cold War ended peacefully. Meanwhile, countless bloody wars, political killings and revolutions for and against communism, tore the world apart until the end of the Cold War.
    • The Cuban Missile Crisis deserves further special mention here. It's one of the closest instances of nuclear war to date. Kennedy himself estimated the odds of nuclear war at somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2. The solution that prevented nuclear war was not even possible at first, and was a longshot from the beginning, relying on military and political leaders, as well as the personnel up and down the line on both sides, to put their faith in the hope that the other side (and their own) would avoid nuclear war at all costs. Leaders on both sides, especially at the worst parts of the crisis, were well aware that The End of the World as We Know It was likely if they didn't pull through.
      • Further, two out of the three Russian leaders whose approval was needed to launch their nuclear weapons had already given the OK. The only one who did not approve of opening fire was the captain of the submarine from where the missile was to be fired. Thankfully, that was enough.
  • If all of Earth's history of life can be considered a story, the Permian-Triassic extinction needs to be mentioned here. 70% of land creatures died, and in the water, it may have been as high as 95%. The freaking trilobytes, survivors that they were, all went extinct. It took something that severe for the ancestors of dinosaurs to step up.
  • During the Libyan Civil War, Gaddafi's assault on Benghazi was this for the rebels. He had the superior forces, the rebel capital was certain to fall, and the promised Western support was nowhere to be seen. Cue the French air force, followed by 120+ Tomahawk missiles.
  • In late 2012, this began for The BBC — one of the world's most respected broadcasters — when an ITV documentary claimed that their legendary youth/children's show presenter Jimmy Savile, who had died the previous year to nationwide mourning, was actually a serial sexual offender who used his showbusiness clout and charity work to sexually assault children and young women while avoiding scrutiny from everyone from fellow BBC employees to authorities to the National Health Service. Worse, the initial testimonials from victims had been made for a BBC documentary that was quashed by higher-ups. After the documentary aired, hundreds of additional claims of wrongdoing by Savile were made, resulting in a Scotland Yard investigation and criticism from Parliament. (Between this and a separate report that falsely accused a British politician of pedophilia, the just-elected Director-General of the BBC resigned after less than three months at his post.) How The BBC can live this disaster down remains to be seen, especially when Savile himself can never be brought to justice.
  • For Norway, The Napoleonic Wars was regarded as the darkest hour because of the sheer amount of need and starvation the country was exposed to (Naval Blockade being a case in point). Even worse when crops failed and the weather got bad, leading to even worse starvation - no grain import, and the homegrown crops just didn`t deliver. 1812 is the only year after the The Black Death when demographics dropped in Norway, and the number of deaths were higher than the number of births. But then, cue the Norwegian Constituent Assembly. Commented on in the National Anthem:
    "We endured harsh times, and in the end we were outcasts. But in direst need, freedom was born to us..."
  • Also, The Napoleonic Wars was this for the Coalition. Napoleon had torn through the whole continent -quite literally almost all of Europe had seen action at some point- and was now pushing into Russia. The only other people left after Prussia and Austria fell was Britain, and even then they were kind of tied up fighting the Americans overseas.
  • The Roman Empire had one that it never recovered from. Arguably the time the Hunnic Invasion began heralded its coming, and it was all a downhill spiral from there. Germans invaded to escape the marauders from the East. The Legions, already in a state of disrepair and mostly staffed by German levies and mercenaries, failed to stop them. All this after the Roman Empire had endured numerous civil wars and was split into two after the reign of Theodosius I. Having been weakened by internal strife, the Empire eventually crumbled and Europe disintegrated into many small kingdoms.
    • To add to this, the following Early Middle Ages could be seen as this. While not as bad as the popular Dark Age Europe portrayal would have us believe, there is no denying progress, commerce, and science all slowed down a lot in this time. Thus, one could consider it a Darkest Hour for all of Europe.
  • Jewish history, it has been joked, is just one of these after another. The first would be the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians and the end of the first Jewish commonwealth. The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Assyrians a little over a century earlier, and the inhabitants had been sent into exile, where they had disappeared, assimilated among the other peoples of The Empire. Now the people of the southern kingdom were also being scattered and exiled, and it was not at all clear that Judaism or the Jewish people would survive in any recognizable form. It then happened again when the Romans destroyed the second commonwealth and again exiled and scattered the Jews throughout The Empire, an exile that would last much longer than the first. In modern times, the Holocaust was this, although unlike the previous two, this one was followed shortly by the dawn with the establishment of the third commonwealth.
    • Defied and subverted with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. What was then the largest, best-educated, most influential, and wealthiest Jewish community in the world, resident in Spain since Roman times if not earlier, was given a few months to pack up and leave the country forever. Many Spanish Jews were inclined to despair. The leaders of Spanish Jewry, however, insisted that the people sing in joy on their way out of Spain, because this was not exile; they were already in exile. Rather, this was just one more step on their long journey home.
  • The Battle of Brooklyn Heights and its aftermath was this for The American Revolution. After driving the British out of Boston in March, the United States had declared independence in July, and the Continental Army had the bulk of its strength to New York to await the British attack on the City. Then the British attack came and the Continental Army was badly beaten and forced to retreat across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. So many men deserted during the retreat that by the time Washington was across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, his army was at about ten percent of its strength prior to the Battle of Brooklyn Heights. It seemed a sure thing that, once the Delaware froze over, the British, who had occupied New York and New Jersey, would march across and finish off the Continental Army. Even if they didn't, since Washington's men's enlistments were due to expire at the end of the year, it began to look in December that the Continental Army was about to dissolve on its own, ending the Revolution. It was at this time that Thomas Paine wrote "The Crisis," with its famous line "These are the times that try men's souls." Then Washington decided to do what political scientists call "gambling for resurrection"; on the night of December 26, he recrossed the Delaware back into New Jersey to attack the Hessiansnote  occupying Trenton and crushed them completely before escaping back into Pennsylvania. That one victory restored hope in American prospects; the War would go on until 1783, and there were some pretty dark moments, but things would never again look quite so bad for the American cause.
  • During World War I, the Ludendorff offensives were this for the Allies: Russia had fallen out of the War, the Americans had not yet arrived in significant numbers, the French Army had barely recovered from the mutinies of 1917, the British Expeditionary Force was scarcely in better shape, the Italians had been crushed at Caporetto and needed to be bailed out by British, French, and American reinforcements, and it looked as though Germany was about to win the War with one last big push. In the end, however, the German offensives failed, and the American Expeditionary Force arrived in sufficient numbers to enable the Allies to counterattack, winning the War.
    • It's worth noting that the costliest year of the war for both the Allies and the Central Powers wasn't 1916, the year of the Somme, or 1917, the year of Passchendaele, but 1918, which didn't even see a full year of conflict. And then the Spanish Flu hit...
  • The early 90s were a very trying time for South Africa, in which the country was on the brink of civil war. Negotiations to end The Apartheid Era were stalling out, the government of FW De Klerk was funding anti-ANC militants, and rioting was common. The boiling point was the assassination of Chris Hani, the head of the South African Communist Party. Many people thought Hani's murder would be breaking point. Instead, it galvanized the negotiations, and led to the democratic election of 1994.
  • The Bronze Age Collapse of circa 13th century BCE was this for antiquity. In a short span of decades, what was once an intricate international network of trade between various thriving civilizations around the Mediterranean disappeared. Cities were abandoned, scholarship all but disappeared, societal collapse was near total in some of these civilizations and the population plummeted. To this day no one alive knows the root causes of this sudden decline in civilization but for the contemporary peoples it would certainly look like the end of human civilization had come. Many modern scholars posit that it had an even larger impact than the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
  • The Islamic State offensive in Iraq saw several atrocities across their territories: the expulsion of Christians from Mosul, the Yazidi Genocide in Mount Sinjar where thousands of its people (mostly women and children) were enslaved, and the destruction of many Shia shrines and mosques with the capital Baghdad seemed ripe for the taking and some outsiders going as far as writing the country off as "finished". By December 2017, the Iraqi forces assisted by independent Shia, Yazidi and Christian militias have retaken their lands and driven out most ISIS forces, preserving the territorial integrity of their country.

Remember, dear tropers; the darkest hour is always before the dawn.

Alternative Title(s): Despair Spot, Black Moment