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Hollywood Healing

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No matter how badly they were injured — be it from gunshot, blade, burning, acid, you name it — an action-adventure hero never ends up with permanent scars anywhere that is normally visible to the audience. (Although he may have one or two hidden under a shirt so he can take it off and reveal just how tough he really is.) You'd expect at least one missing tooth or broken nose in a lifetime of fighting crime. Yet Bruce Wayne's corporate headshots are perfect time and time again, and James Bond never shows up at an embassy dinner with two shiners and a wad of gauze over his nose, even if he's just been hit in the face by an iron bar.

This gift for complete and utter regeneration of wounds no doubt contributes the hero's ability to get up and beat the villain to a paste after suffering a concussion, third-degree burns, and a compound fracture of both legs in the previous scene. (See Made of Iron, Heroic Second Wind.)

The Big Bad may also be similarly indestructible on screen, but their badness can result in hideous scars or mechanical limbs if they were injured in previous encounters.

Either way, the damage suffered is often shrugged off as Only a Flesh Wound.

Between them, Made of Iron and Hollywood Healing cover the two extremes of the Action Hero — the Terminator-type that can walk unscathed through a bomb blast, and the hero who gets hurt badly but somehow always manages to come back and triumph in the end.

Compare Bottled Heroic Resolve. Supertrope to Improbably Quick Coma Recovery.

Also known as The Cinematographic Law of Heroic Injury. For video game examples, compare with Heal Thyself, Walk It Off, and Trauma Inn. Contrast Healing Factor and Healing Hands, two cases where fast, easy healing is justified better. See Scars are Forever for the most common aversion of this trope. Not to be confused with Worst Aid.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Battle Club, fights get more brutal in the latter half of the story, but there are no lasting injuries.
  • Berserk Abridged parodies this:
    Doctor: I'm afraid you've suffered some very serious injuries. You'll need several weeks of bed rest, followed by months of intense physical therapy, and even then, there's a very real possibility that you may never make a full recovery.
    Casca: Are you sure?
    Doctor: Of course I'm sure! I'm a doctor! I've got my doctor hat on! I'm always sure!
    Casca: Well, you know, he is the main character of an action anime.
    Doctor: Oh! Well hell, that's different then. I'm sure he'll be up and about very soon.
  • Black Lagoon is absolutely full of this. Revy gets a few gunshot wounds and several stab wounds that are wrapped up and never mentioned again. The most blatant example, however, is her bare fist fight with Roberta, which lasts for hours, resulting in only some bruising, black eyes and bloody noses. By the next episode, she's fine. Then again, there is no indication of how much time has passed between the episodes.
  • Priss from the original Bubblegum Crisis OVAs was bad for this, especially in Episode 6: "Red Eyes". She is nearly hit by an orbital strike, thrown from her bike, stabbed in the gut, has her own railgun spike driven through her shoulder, is thrown through a window to fall several stories, is beaten by three large cyberdroids, hit by a multi-spectrum laser that strips most of her armour off, and still wins the fight. She was supposed to die in that episode.
  • Spike from Cowboy Bebop was constantly suffering gunshot wounds or severe beatings that would have him wrapped up head-to-toe in gauze, but he'd be perfectly fine in the next episode. This might be realistic because there is no actual definition of time between episodes. With the exception of two-parters, Spike may have had more than enough time to heal. Still doesn't explain how his gunfighting or Kung-Fu abilities don't suffer for all the damage beyond his natural status as a badass.
    • It is suggested, however, that the doctors can easily replace damaged body parts, such as when Spike suggested Jet get a normal arm instead of the metal one. We, of course, never see him doing anything to heal other than sleeping covered in bandages, so it very well may apply.
  • Death Note Mello gets caught in an explosion that gives him burns, but they're gone within a week.
  • In Dragon Ball GT, during the fight against Omega Shenron, the dragon extends the spikes on his back to impale Vegeta in multiple places and throw him far away. When Vegeta gets up, he looks exactly like he did before he got stabbed with no signs of any gaping wounds.
  • Shizuo from Durarara!! spent most of his childhood utterly destroying his body via habitual overexertion — everything from ripping apart muscle and ligaments to shattering his pelvis and spinal column. Most people who receive such injuries understandably never walk again. Shizuo, on the other hand, slowly developed Charles Atlas Superpowers.
  • Very heavily used in Hellsing, mainly by Seras Victoria. This is somewhat justified by the fact that she's a lesser vampire, though, and it's only Hollywood Healing for her because the horrible injuries she receives look like paper cuts next to what Alucard and Father Anderson suffer on a regular basis (in their case, they benefit from a natural Healing Factor). Subverted when she loses her left arm to Zorin; although the shadows that she gained afterward can be shaped into a new arm, the arm itself does not actually regrow.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure does this constantly. It's made even worse by the heavy amount of damage characters take to the face during fights. One particularly notable example is Doppio during his fight with Metallica, had SCISSORS COME OUT OF HIS FACE and COUGHED UP RAZOR BLADES, yet walked away with little more than some blood trailing from his mouth.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, a few characters receive critical injuries during fights and are fine by their next appearance.
  • All over the place in One Piece. Only scars significant to the story are kept. With everything that the Straw Hats by themselves have suffered, they should have some permanent, horribly swollen scars everywhere on their bodies. Some notable examples include:
    • Zoro and Luffy being stabbed clear through their bodies several times over, not to mention caught in explosions quite a few times.
    • Usopp being beaten with a 4 ton bat and dragged along the ground at 30 miles an hour.
    • Nami being stabbed clear through the foot (and then walking right on it shortly afterwards).
    • Sanji having his leg fractured by Vergo, and then having it never bother him again for the rest of the arc.
    • And of course, all of the Straw Hats have been caught in explosions at various points that should have left them with burn scars. Yet, there are none.
    • One of the most ridicolous examples even by the manga's standards is at the end of the Alabasta arc, where supporting character Pell flies up into the sky holding a bomb that can wipe out a city intending to sacrifice himself - taking the explosion point-blank in mid-air. Every character assumes he's dead after the fact - except he's not, as the end of the arc shows him recovering with no permanent wounds at all. Even as a Zoan fruit user with enhanced durability and some form of healing factor, the fact he wasn't incinerated into dust immediately is completely absurd.
  • Ranma ½:
    • It's a subtle Running Gag that no matter how badly beat-up the characters get, all they ever need to recover after regaining consciousness is a small first-aid kit that has some cotton wads, disinfectant, band-aids, and very little else.
    • At one point, early in the series, Ranma was sent flying into a wall hard enough to leave a sizable crater; the foes claimed he had broken every bone in his body, and, indeed, his bones and joints kept popping and snapping audibly. However, he recovered from these injuries (even after being turned into a girl) only a few minutes later, and was still in perfect condition to punch through ice boulders, take Ryouga's kicks and suplexes, and have a skating rink's worth of ice collapse on top of him with no ill effects.
  • In Samurai Champloo, this gets taken to an extreme in the final episode: Mugen winds up suffering multiple lacerations, a broken arm, and is gut shot. Jin gets gut stabbed. Before the invention of the I.V., gut injuries like this were usually fatal. Even with IV feeding, these injuries would take weeks if not months to recover from, especially considering that they had been going all out and not really resting for months previous to this. At the end, it's mentioned that Jin and Mugen have been out for about a week, and they get up and go about their business.
  • Subverted in the anime version of Sengoku Basara where Masamune obtains a gunshot wound that leaves him bedridden for two episodes and serves a major handicap during the final battle with Nobunaga.
    • Played straight where Yukimura had bandages on his arm in a sling after his defeat by Masamune but it takes a punch from Takeda to provide instantaneous healing.
  • The Senran Kagura manga shows injuries for comedic effect, with no lasting injuries aside from some temporary bandages.
  • Trigun:
    • Subverted in Trigun where, underneath his Badass Longcoat, Vash the Stampede's body is absolutely riddled with scars. Badly. Some patches are actually held in place by metal implants. Plus you know, he's missing his freaking left arm! The only odd thing is that his face stays suitably Bishōnen. Until Hang Fire, that is, where he does suffer from repeated punches to the face. He gets better, though.
    • Vash's brother suffered severe injuries from being blasted by the Angel Arm cannon from Vash, injuries which he doesn't fully regenerate from until 23 years after the fact. This implies that all of those injuries could be healed if Vash tried.
  • A case of this occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh!. In a few days, Bakura seems to heal entirely from having his hand impaled on a miniature tower, even though based on the size and location of the injury you wouldn't expect his hand to ever work right again.
    • During the Battle City finals, Jonouchi dies after being magically attacked by Yami Malik's Egyptian God Card. After what is clearly a decent chunk of time elapses (enough time for Kaiba and Yami Yugi to play multiple rounds of Duel Monsters), Jonouchi's heart restarts because he really really wants to watch Kaiba and Yami Yugi duel. Later that day, he gets out of bed and is quickly feeling fine again.

    Comic Books 
  • Several speedsters have a Healing Factor as a side effect of their speed, by the reckoning that their body's metabolism works fast enough that they heal faster (questions about why they don't, say, age faster tend to get Handwaved). However, this explanation still invokes Hollywood Healing, since they recover from injuries that would /never/ heal as an extension of natural healing processes, no matter how sped up. One especially blatant instance, from Ultimate Marvel, is Magneto blasting Quicksilver point-blank in the kneecaps with a shotgun, which puts him out of action for the rest of the miniseries but doesn't leave any permanent damage at all.
  • Batman:
    • Batman's continued ability to move without agony, do incredible gymnastics, and avoid of brain damage can all be attributed to this. How many times has he been hit over the head or crudely stitched up a bloody wound and kept using the injured portion because he didn't have time to see to it properly? One of his most famous storylines was about his back being broken. This seems to have had no real lasting effect.
    • Joker is still pretty agile for a guy who's had his kneecap blown off and most of his teeth knocked out. By all account he should be dead with all the ribs broken and concussions he got over the years.
  • Invoked in ElfQuest, where elves like the Wolfriders take advantage of what tribe members with magical healing abilities they have to present themselves as this to their magic-less human adversaries as a subtle intimidation tactic.
  • Hitman: Hacken's hand (which he chainsawed off after it was bitten by a zombie seal) would sometimes be drawn as a stump/prosthetic and sometimes drawn in as if it were healed.
  • More of an editorial oversight than true Hollywood Healing, but in the first volume of The Invisibles, Dane MacGowan gets the tip of his little finger cut off and devoured. Subsequent artists forgot this and would draw it in from time to time.
  • Parodied in French comic strip Rubrique à Brac (by Gotlib): it says that even after a horrifying car crash or similar accident, the hero will only ever need a Band-aid on his upper left arm (or right arm if he's left-handed!)
  • The protagonists in Runaways appear to be pretty healthy considering that they are virtually the only crime fighters in LA to stop various supervillains while living in various underground bunkers which probably lacks resources to deal with serious medical emergencies. On the other hand, the series subverts this when Chase is shown with his arm in a sling an unspecified amount of time after having his arm pulled out of his socket by a Doombot and Klara Prast is shown to be rather black and blue from her husband's various abuses. There's also the fact that most of the hideouts were designated and stocked by their parents who were filthy rich and geniuses, so it's not too much of a stretch that they included some stuff to deal with serious injuries.
  • In Sin City, people can be grazed by machine gunfire, fall out of buildings, and get hit by cars and get up once they caught their second wind and slapped a band-aid on the wound.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Wraith shoot three bullets at gunpoint to Xavier's chest. Cornelious is removing the bullets later, to save his life.

    Fan Works 
  • In Origin Story, Louise gets knocked through a glass table by Typhoid Mary, and is hurt to the point that they need to put towels down to keep her from bleeding into the upholstery of the BMW. Alex spends about an hour pulling glass out of Louise's back, closing the cuts with various steri-strips and band-aids and gauze. The entire thing takes about five paragraphs in one chapter. Despite the fact that the events of the next chapter come immediately after the one in which she is injured, Louise's back and how badly cut up it was is never mentioned again. Band-aids really do heal anything.

    Film - Animation 
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phoebus is shot in the shoulder with an arrow, falls from his horse into the River Seine, almost drowns, is still unconscious when Esmeralda brings him to the safety of Notre Dame, and seems to be very weak throughout their subsequent scene together and as Quasimodo hides him from Frollo. But after Frollo leaves, he's able to get up and set out to find the Court of Miracles with seemingly only minor pain, and by the next day he's in full condition to fight again.
  • Hua Mulan takes a sword-slash to the side from Shan Yu. It's implied that the adrenaline of escaping the avalanche she triggered to bury the Huns powered her through, and she falls unconscious almost as soon as it's over. However, a few hours in the doctor's tent seems enough to completely fix it — not only does she run, ride, and leap around palace roofs without pain the next day, she shows no sign of fatigue from the blood loss that resulted in her fainting.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • In Black Caesar, Tommy dies from a gunshot wound. He magically returns for the sequel, Hell Up In Harlem, which offers a Retcon that he's able to get patched up via Hollywood Healing and seek revenge.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle has at least a couple examples of this, with Seamus O'Grady walking through a wall of fire, and with Natalie looking all prettied-up for the red carpet even after we saw her pull a hand-sized chunk of glass out of her abdomen mere minutes before.
  • The Nicholas Sparks movie The Choice. The heroine is left in a coma following a car accident (in the book, it's for a year, in the movie, it's uncertain for how long). When she finally wakes up... she's perfectly fine. No extensive speech therapy for her to rebuild her throat muscles (which would be severely atrophied after months of disuse and the presence of a breathing tube). No extensive physical therapy for her to rebuild and regain the use of her arms and legs (which would also be weakened after months of inactivity). No sickly pallor despite months without any sun exposure. No indication of any brain damage — memory loss, slurred speech, etc. It's as if she just took a long nap.
  • In Cloverfield, the protagonists locate Beth who is impaled by a length of rebar. The protagonists simply heave her off this spike, a process which would almost certainly kill her IRL. She is able to limp out of the wrecked building with minimal assistance. Once they reach the street and the monster threatens, she is able to run along with the others.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce has no cartilage left in his knee and requires a motorized brace to walk around. Later, he gets his vertebrae dislocated. His spine is popped back into place and his knee heals while in the pit prison. He also gets over a severe stab wound in pretty short order.
  • The Darkman movies have a particularly blatant example of this. The character Durant appears to have been killed in a helicopter explosion during the first movie. He returns in the second movie with a limp, but no scarring or disfigurement whatsoever. Durant's survival may have been a retcon, but it's still very jarring when you consider that the title character got the way he is also because of an explosion.
  • In Eraser, Arnold uses a fridge door as a shield to protect against a grenade that apparently fires straight shards of metal. One pierces his right hand between the knuckles of the index and middle finger, which forces him to drag his hand off the spike. This in no way affects his accuracy for the rest of the film.
  • In G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra Scarlett's face, badly battered by a brutal beating from the Baroness, is magically all better in time for the next big action set-piece.
  • In the Home Alone films, Harry and Marv survive all manner of injuries that should be crippling or fatal, especially in the second film, with only minor lumps and bruises.
    • Screen Junkies did an Honest Action video about the injuries Harry and Marv sustain in the two films. Turns out it would take nine Harrys and fourteen Marvs to complete the two films. The five extra Marvs are from a series of bricks he takes to the head, thrown from several stories up, in the second movie.
    • The third film is almost worse about this — one of the foreign spies suffers a lawnmower falling on his face, blades spinning, and another survives a stick of dynamite going off barely an arm's length away from him.
  • While Ivanhoe is bedridden for the better part of the novel after his tourney wounds, in the 1952 adaptation, he’s wounded and half-delirious, Rebecca and Rowena fear he’ll die, he’s carried into the Sherwood Forest to avoid capture... and arrives at Torquilstone bright and early on the next morning, perfectly healthy, to do serious badass fighting till the end of the film. Bois-Guilbert does mention that Ivanhoe’s shoulder was still bandaged when he appeared, but apart from that, nobody ever remembers these wounds.
  • James Bond:
    • In Dr. No, Quarrel is slashed on the face with a broken flashbulb, drawing blood. The injury disappears in subsequent scenes.
    • In Thunderball Bond gets shot in the leg and has unusually quick reflexes on the dance floor. In underwater scenes taking place shortly afterward, no wound is visible on his bare leg.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond takes several punches to the face from Carver's henchman and none of it affects his fighting ability.
    • In The World Is Not Enough Bond lands on his shoulder on a tent from a hot air balloon. He later makes do in several action scenes despite not really being cleared by the doctor.
  • Averted in Knight and Day as Tom Cruise's character is such a good shot, he tells his victim that he shot him in the exact location where he'd heal.
  • A Knight's Tale: William is stabbed in the shoulder with a lance, and the tip breaks off inside, causing sufficient injury that he can no longer grip his own lance unaided. As soon as he wins the competition, he is able to dismount without difficulty and fiercely hug his love interest. No further mention of the wound is made.
  • Parodied in Last Action Hero when the titular hero gets shot in the Real World... and rapidly goes into shock from massive blood loss. The Genre Savvy sidekick manages to save him by bringing him back into the world of movies, where he gets right up and shrugs it off since it's only a slight flesh wound according to action movie tropes.
  • Miller's Crossing: Tom is beaten repeatedly by almost every other character in the film, even taking a hard kick to the face at one point, but doesn't have so much as a black eye to show for it.
  • The Perfect Weapon (1991): Jeff cops a battering of kicks and punches to the face during the gym fight which, at a minimum, should've resulted in a concussion or severe bruising and bleeding. Likewise, when fighting Tanaka, his only visible injury is a bleeding lip.
  • Rocky Balboa is one of the biggest examples of this trope, especially since in nearly every Rocky film there is some sort of major concern about his health and ability to continue fighting as a boxer.note  Each time, these individual health concerns and the overall physical toll taken on him mysteriously vanish by the next movie.
  • Lampshaded in the DVD commentary on Serenity by Joss Whedon when asked by Baldwin about how long after the big battle the final scene happened.
    Let's see, the ship is all fixed up and you are completely healed... about 3 days.
  • In the original Shaft, the title character gets shot once in the shoulder at close range by a machine gun and hits the floor, apparently unconscious. After minimal medical attention, it doesn't seem to take long for him to get back in action.
  • In Taxi Driver, Travis gets shot in the neck and lives. The epilogue may not have really happened. Word of God says the epilogue really happened, but next time Travis won't be a hero.
  • The major plot point in Unbreakable, where David Dunn is found by Elijah Price precisely because he walks away from a major accident that should have killed him.
  • Given a handwave in Wanted. As part of his Training from Hell, Wesley is regularly stabbed and beaten to a bloody pulp, but the Fraternity has these special baths that allow for rapid healing, and so after a good soak, he's barely worse for wear.

  • Handwaved in the Alex Rider series, in which being young and very physically fit counts as a Healing Factor. It's mentioned that an adult would not have survived his injuries. In the later books, there are references to all the scars he has, but they never seem to show up in visible areas or hamper his physically improbable stunts. A lot of the books do end with extended hospital says, however.
  • Justified in The Dresden Files. While wizards don't heal notably faster than vanilla mortals, they do apparently heal more thoroughly, so even wounds that would result in permanent disfigurement or debilitation can be recovered from in time. This is speculated to be one of the main reasons Wizards are able to live hundreds of years, as unlike normal humans, who slowly accumulate scars and lasting injuries over their lives, Wizards have no such chronic health issues. For example, in Blood Rites, Harry's left hand gets severely burned by a flamethrower, leaving it a useless lump of flesh. Harry's Muggle doctor advises that it will probably never recover any degree of functionality after burns that severe, but over the next several books (and several in-universe years), the burn scars fade and Harry gradually regains use of the hand.
  • During Galaxy of Fear, Tash Arranda's brain is removed and jarred while someone else's brain is put in her body. When this is resolved, it's noted that the monks did such a good job that there aren't even scars or shaved patches, even though other characters put through the same procedures had scars. It might be because this was done by a team of monks practiced in these techniques, while the others were worked on by a lone one who was motivated by Greed.
  • Justified in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, where the demigods carry around ambrosia, the food of the gods. It kills mortals, but even a small piece (and it has to be a small piece, or it will kill them too) can heal any injury a demigod has, and stop pain and exhaustion.
  • Lieutenant Kerensky in Redshirts gets nearly fatally injured every few weeks, yet is always back on his feet within days. Lampshaded by the other characters.
  • Treasure Island: Jim Hawkins doesn't seem to suffer any long-term effects from being wounded and pinned to the mast by Israel Hands's dirk (which had previously been used to kill another pirate), or having to tear a bit of skin off of his shoulder to escape the pinning. It isn't even mentioned when Doctor Livesey sees him again.
  • Averted in The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. Midway through the five-book children's fantasy series, the 12-year-old hero Gregor realizes to his shock that he's acquired enough scars as "the warrior" that he can no longer wear a swimsuit or light summer clothing without a really good cover story. By the final book, he's simply given up... it would take a car accident or falling through a plate glass window to explain everything.

    Live Action TV 
  • On Bones, Booth was shot in the chest; a couple of weeks later he was completely fine with only a tiny bandage to show for it.
    • In the Season 5 premiere Bones gets stabbed in the arm by a scalpel and bleeds heavily — two scenes later she wears a dress and doesn't even have a bandage.
  • The Brady Bunch: In the famous episode "The Subject Was Noses," Marcia's nose is swollen and purple-ish for about a day and a half after it gets hit by a football, but then she wakes up on the morning of the third day to find it fully healed, without even a hint of bruising left.
  • Zigzagged on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The title character plays it straight by taking major injuries that usually disappear by the next episode, but it's justified by the fact that the Slayer has accelerated healing powers. The rest of the cast avert the trope, often sporting bandages for several episodes after they get hurt.
  • CSI: NY:
    • Happens to a point with Danny when he's shot. He does walk with a cane for a few eps after ditching his wheelchair, but still seems to have learned to walk again a bit fast.
    • Perhaps a more mild form with Mac. It is possible to recover from aphasia over a couple of months, but it still moved somewhat quickly. Not so fast as to make it impossible to believe, especially with the six-month time cut, but a little bit. And, in real life, it can still re-surface when the person is angry or afraid... and Mac seemed fine the whole time he was worried about Christine in the crossover near the end of that season.

  • Game of Thrones:
    • The early seasons mostly avert this. Even relatively minor injuries (by modern standards) are treated as severe, and if someone is injured they're likely going to stay injured for at least a few episodes if not permanently. However as the series goes on characters shrugging off wounds between episodes becomes more and more common.
    • Jon Snow is just a little stiff after nearly dying of three arrow wounds in the previous episode (albeit a season finale). He also receives a nasty leg wound in "First of His Name" that disappears by the next episode and shrugs off a head vs. anvil confrontation in "The Watchers on the Wall" that should have shattered his skull.
    • By the Seasons 6-7, all bets are off. Sandor Clegane heals multiple open fractures after falling from a cliff, which, mind you, rendered him unable to stand up or even kill himself, and being left to die in the middle of nowhere. Arya Stark recovers from multiple stab wounds to the gut, followed by a swim in a dirty river, within a few days at most. To top them all off, it takes Jorah Mormont a day to recover from having large sections of his skin flayed off after contracting a deadly disease that, judging by his external condition, should've already affected all his innards.
  • Towards the end of the sixth season of Gilmore Girls, Rory's boyfriend Logan gets injured base jumping off a cliff and getting a punctured lung, some broken ribs, and bruises over most of his body, but he's able to magically heal within an episode with only a limp by the season finale when he has to go to London.
  • The third season of Gossip Girl ends with Chuck Bass being shot. When the fourth season begins we find out that he's recovered from his gunshot wound thanks to a hooker pouring alcohol over the wound. Impressive.
  • Similar to The West Wing example below, Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy has her chest opened in order to be placed on heart and lung bypass, and not only does she not get a scar from this, she's fully healed and back to working in the very next episode, taking place one week after the procedure. Especially egregious considering it is a medical show.
  • House
    • In Season 2, Foreman got infected with Naegleria — the brain-eating amoeba — and spent the greater part of a two-part episode progressing through the disease symptoms until he could be diagnosed and treated. They completely overlooked the fact that his symptoms were being caused by the amoebic infection actually eating his brain, which was conveniently all healed up by the next episode.]]
    • Similar occurrence when Thirteen was back to doctoring a couple of days after surgery to remove a brain tumour.
  • Subverted on JAG. If a main character is injured, they will remain so for a few episodes. Then there's Lieutenant Bud Roberts who never gets his leg back after stepping on a landmine in Afghanistan and we see him using a prosthetic for the rest of the series.
  • Many straight examples occur in Killing Eve:
    • After being stabbed by Eve in the Season 1 finale, Villanelle spends half a day being stitched up in the hospital after spending days wandering around Paris. Her wound is clearly giving her serious trouble, plus she jumped on a guy's car to disguise her injuries. Apparently she can still sneak into a passerby's car and be driven across to England, in a trunk. Then, when she gets to England, she spends another few days wandering around until being taken in by Julian, without collapsing or even arousing suspicion.
    • By this point, it's implied that her wound is infected, but Julian won't get any medicine for her. She spends days in his house getting sicker and sicker...but is still able to overpower and kill him when necessary. Then Raymond comes to pick her up, and he got her medical assistance in the time skip, but she manages to kill a guy by breaking his neck with his own tie merely a couple of days later.
    • Although a Non-Action Guy in Season 2, Konstanin appears to have suffered no ill effects of Villanelle shooting him, despite the fact that she aimed for his heart, despite the fact that he reappears to Eve mere days after the shooting, according to the show's chronology.
  • Characters on Lost get shot, have appendectomies, and have blast doors crush their legs, but are traipsing around the jungle the next episode. This is sometimes addressed in the dialogue and attributed to the island's proven healing powers. At other times, it's Hand Waved with a throwaway "You can't go running off into the jungle! You just had surgery!"
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • In "Cut Man", Claire gives Matt Murdock a needle chest decompression for the pneumothorax his three broken ribs gave him (after being lured by the Russians into a trap). He gets on pretty well with beating people up afterwards. He would actually need a lot more hospital treatment before he could go back to bruising baddies.
      • After the injuries from his fight with Nobu plus the beatdown from Wilson Fisk, Matt definitely would need a lot of surgery and blood transfusions for all his wounds instead of stitches and the meditation that Stick had taught. Stick's meditation must be that magical.
      • Early in Season 3, Wilson Fisk pays Jasper Evans to shank him as part of a gambit to manipulate the FBI into moving him to the Presidential Hotel. There's a few points in later episodes where Fisk clutches his hand to his chest in the approximate location of the stab wound, implying that he still feels some lingering pain from the wound.
    • Luke Cage (2016):
      • Misty's arm heals surprisingly fast from getting shot by Diamondback. She seems to have ditched the sling within a day or two of the shooting at best. In reality, she would've probably had to wear the sling for a couple of weeks before any doctor would allow her to remove it. Somewhat lampshaded when Inspector Ridley tells Misty that she really ought to be in the hospital lest she want to make her arm injury worse.
      • Discussed in regards to Luke. Much is made over the fact that he's able to walk away without a scratch from things that would kill a normal person. Claire mentions when she first meets him that when Jessica shot him point-blank in the head with a shotgun to break Kilgrave's control over him, that should've turned his brain into mush, but didn't because of Luke's durable skin. Furthermore, he recovered from that within a span of hours, not days like most people would. His quick recovery is thanks to the fact that the experiment that Luke was subject to in Seagate was meant to accelerate his healing, but due to Rackham's last-minute sabotage, ended up giving Luke his durable skin.
      • Turk Barrett's second appearance in Luke Cage appears to take place after the Season 2 finale of Daredevil (2015)note  where he nearly got his foot cut off by the Hand ninjas trying to get his tracking bracelet off. When Turk appears in "Soliloquy of Chaos", he doesn't even have so much as a limp when he's interacting with Zip and Diamondback, or later when Luke interrogates him for information on Diamondback's base. And the whole thing with the Hand happened fairly recently, as dialogue establishes that Claire came to Harlem not too long after the Hand attacked Metro-General.
  • Melrose Place: Jake falls from a roof and gets a few bruises and cracked ribs, but is back up and at it in the next episode.
  • The Mick: At the end of the first episode, Mick is slashed up pretty bad by an owl. By the start of the second, she's fine without a single scar.
  • In Misfits Nikki is able to leave the hospital almost instantly upon receiving a heart transplant, and the scar from the operation disappears after that episode. Given the short time frame the episodes take place in, it also seems very unlikely that the rest of the cast's injuries would have healed completely from episode to episode.
  • In Mr. Robot, Elliot was shot in the stomach; after being in a coma for a week, he wakes up with only a bandage on his stomach and is able to walk through a Def Con without any difficulties. In a later episode, when he strips down on a drug dealer's orders, he doesn't have any scar on his stomach.
  • An early episode of Neighbours had Shane Ramsay receiving spinal damage from a car crash, and the prognosis was that he might walk again but his diving career was over. Two episodes later — and remember, this is a daily, half-hour Soap Opera — he was out of bed and on a camping trip with his younger brother.
  • Peacemaker (2022): Vigilante is injured multiple times throughout the series, from relatively minor bruising to nearly getting his toe cut off to getting shot badly enough that his friends thought he was dead. Every time, he walks it off and is better an episode later at worst. Funnily enough, he's the only character that has this advantage. Peacemaker himself starts the series coming off serious physical therapy from his injuries in The Suicide Squad, Judomaster is out cold for multiple episodes due to a head injury, and Harcourt ends the series doing physical therapy for getting shot less than Vigilante. This has led to fans semi-jokingly suggesting that Vigilante has a minor Healing Factor, but is too stupid to notice.
  • Stargate SG-1: Characters frequently recover from staff blasts and the like with no scars or long-term side-effects, which SGC Chief Medical Officer Janet Fraiser lampshades to documentarian Emmett Bregman in "Heroes, Part 1". The same episode also introduces staff blast-resistant inserts for flak vests, which save Jack O'Neill's life in the second half.
    Dr. Fraiser: (reading Jack O'Neill's medical file) Okay, three gunshot wounds. Four staff weapon burns. Severe hypothermia. And I'm quite surprised he's actually authorized me to discuss all this. It's just... Nanite technology artificially aged him... He had his shoulder punctured by an alien time capsule device. Um, three knee operations. (quickly puts another folder aside) Oh, that's the whole Hathor incident which he's asked me never to discuss. And, oh yeah, this was a good one. Last year, he was exposed to an Ancient incurable disease.
  • In Supernatural, Dean claims that after having been brought back from Hell all of his scars have vanished. Dean never had any visible scars in any of the earlier episodes.
    • A particularly glaring example in Season 1's Shadow, where Sam gets deep, bleeding claw marks down his face. Come the next episode (apparently a couple of days later by the way they're talking), he doesn't have a scratch.
  • Torchwood's particularly bad at this. In one episode half the characters were shot at and beaten up by cannibals, and in the next they were scratch-free. While Owen's death-related injuries were consistent in the second season, in a scene where he was shirtless he showed no signs of the gunshot wounds he received at the end of the first season and the start of the second.
  • Josh on The West Wing has some impressive healing skills. He gets shot and the bullet damages his pulmonary artery, requiring extensive surgery. After surgery, he spends one two-part episode in the hospital and one at home and then goes back to work 100% even though he would have needed months to heal (the chest bone, for instance, would take at least three months). (In fairness, those three episodes span from May to November, so there is some recovery time, but probably not enough.) In one episode the surgeon general compliments him on how nice his scar looked while he was still under sedation from the surgery and in Season 7 the scar has completely vanished.
    • Donna's surgical scar are also mysteriously absent in Season 7. She does spend several episodes in a wheelchair after an open femur fracture but once she's out of the wheelchair she walks around like normal with no need for physical therapy or any signs of pain.
  • Wonder Woman: In Season 1, Steve Trevor was gassed, punched, and bashed over the head enough to require his own personal trauma ward, but never showed any worse for the wear.
  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder, Scully and Skinner get shot and beaten up very badly many times but don't worry, neither of them has any nasty permanent scars whatsoever.
    • The most horrible and intentionally exaggerated example is from the episode "Fight Club". Their faces are badly battered, bruised, sewed; Mulder's jaw is even wired, and his arm is broken. They are a sorry sight indeed, and they've beaten up one another! Because of some half-sister doppelgängerish encounter. Or something. Fortunately, next episode they are fine.
  • Yellowjackets: Van is attacked by wolves who leave her with horrible gashes on her face. The teammates work together to stitch her wounds. By the time episode 1.9 "Doomcoming" rolls around, her scars, while visible, are nowhere near what you'd expect.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Stone Cold was run over by a car and was put out of action for nine months (he had an injury in real life). Triple H was revealed to be the culprit and so Stone Cold retaliated by dropping the car he was in out of a forklift. How long did it take for Trips to come back? Two weeks. It was somewhat Lampshaded by his wife who said he was "incredibly lucky" not to have been killed and was coughing up blood and suffering from internal injuries whenever he was not on TV.
  • Sometimes this can be justified when the Heel is lying about their supposed injury. They are overstating it to avoid competing in matches and the Face is out to expose them for their deceit. There's also plenty of instances of heels using their crutches etc as weapons as part of a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • In the run-up to the 2001 Royal Rumble, Chyna had a neck injury angle where she discussed having spinal fusion surgery. She was able to wrestle Ivory but "reinjured" her neck following a botched handspring elbow. The whole injury angle lasted about three weeks.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Surprisingly, played straight in the 4th edition. In order to avoid forcing one of the players to play the "Cleric" "with a blunt weapon", the designers decided to embrace this trope and give every player character the ability to spend "Healing Surges" at will when they have a five minute rest. This is one of the most controversial changes in the game.
    • They can also do it once in the middle of a fight, plus the Leader classes (Warlords, Clerics, Bards, etc.) have powers that allow other people to use a healing surge. This absurdity is somewhat justified by the abstract nature of D&D's hit points.
    • And to top it off, they have full Trauma Inn action going on, except that you don't even need an inn. One night's rest will restore you to full HP and full Healing Surges.
    • Fifth Edition thankfully dials this back, but it still allows you to recover an amount of damage rolled on one or more of your hit dice during a short rest (which can only be done with the DM's approval at safe points). You can't recharge your hit dice until you get a long rest, but by then you'll probably have accomplished a goal and be healed already.
    • In First Edition, losing HP was explained as a combination of fatigue and actual damage. Removing fatigue from a night's rest makes perfect sense. Damage ... not so much, but it was implied that it took approximately the same amount of actual damage to kill a 1 HP commoner and a 90 HP high-level fighter. The fighter just had more experience avoiding that damage ... until he was too worn out to do so anymore. And in First Edition, you didn't automatically heal to full from a night's rest anyway; some of the HP loss apparently represented minor sprains and bruises that took longer to heal.
  • In GURPS the Advantage Very Rapid Healing not only does exactly what it says on the tin but allows total recovery from essentially anything but death or dismemberment.
    • Some GURPS supplements for running cinematic games recommend flat-out ignoring some of the harsher injury rules. Also, Monster Hunters allows humans who officially have no special powers to buy Regeneration (Slow), which is even better than Very Rapid Healing and costs fewer points.
  • Rocket Age's story point system gives the players and the game master the ability to invoke this trope. It's called being Grazed and allows the character to collect themselves in a quiet moment and recover half their lost attribute points before continuing on with the adventure.
  • Downplayed in Savage Worlds. It is possible for a character to patch up serious wounds if they receive proper medical attention and not suffer any long-term effects of getting shot or hit with a sword. That said, natural healing takes longer than in most RPG games and you can wind up with permanent injury if you are unlucky.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3 has the odd system of 'health' and 'limb health' being somewhat separate. It is quite possible to be at full health but not full limb health as some methods heal regular health but not limb health (e.g drinking water). Other things heal limb health but not overall health. Healing a limb with a stimpak restores some overall health, but mostly limb health.
  • Particularly noticeable in the first and second God of War games: Kratos gets stabbed, cut, and slammed into walls numerous times, and he bleeds, but he never seems to sustain an injury for very long. He fought Zeus after being stabbed in the gut with a giant sword! There is a reason for this, however: he's Zeus's son. Being a demigod helps with this sort of thing.
    • He climbs out of Hades through sheer determination and anger.
  • Done in Mass Effect 2. Even though Shepard was basically dead (and we do see some small clips of Cerberus patching them up), Shepard walks away from the Lazarus Project with only some fairly minor facial scars. Subverted in that it is stressed repeatedly that this was an incredible undertaking of medical science that had never been done before, cost billions upon billions of credits, and took a full two years with some of the best minds in the galaxy working on it. It was revealed in DLC for the next game that they also made use of cloned tissue, including at least one full-grown clone which escaped.
    • Healing is apparently also affected by morality. A Renegade Shepard will have increasingly visible glowing red scars, while a Paragon will have even the minor scars visible immediately after Lazarus fade away entirely.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Snake gets his arm broken in the animated intro sequence and has to be airlifted to hospital, but is back in the field two weeks later. During the game, Snake can set broken bones and sew up injuries without any problems.
  • Subverted in the Outlast games. Any major injuries your characters suffer (being thrown out a window by an explosion or a crazed inmate, being stabbed) cause your character to writhe around screaming in pain for a bit, and will even hamper your movement. Injuries taken in the course of gameplay, however, play the trope straight; as long as you keep from getting injured too much you'll heal up again.
  • In The Punisher (Capcom), like most arcade Beat Em Ups, you will get a game over after losing enough "lives". During the countdown (the time left to insert another quarter), you will actually see a medic performing CPR on your character. Insert a coin before the time runs out and you are back to full health. Amazing how pushing on someone's chest for ten seconds can magically make the hundred bullets lodged in their flesh disappear...
  • Stunt Island was a flight simulator by Disney Interactive Studios set on a fictional island where movie aircraft stunts are filmed. If you crashed while attempting a stunt, the island's Herr Doktor would rattle off a random list of injuries: "You haf a crushed spleen, a pierced kidney, and three broken ribs. Ve'll haf you patched up and flying again tomorrow."
  • Justified for the Medic in Team Fortress 2. If in-game healing took even a tenth of the length of Real Life battlefield surgery, nobody would play the class.

  • Subverted in Johnny Saturn. When he was shown with no shirt on, he is horribly scarred with cuts, bullet wounds, and burns. He is also addicted to painkillers just so he can fight. In fact, one of his spinal disks is herniated, so he needs morphine just to move.
  • In Terra characters rapidly recover from everything from gunshot grazes and knife wounds to (in one case) being impaled through the gut by a chunk of conduit. Justified on one page by the use of a Star Trek-like handheld device that heals such injuries.

    Western Animation 
  • Likewise to Family Guy, American Dad!, and to a far more absurd degree. Gunshot wounds, arrows stuck in the shoulder, and stabbings are all just part of the territory. The only exception is the episode where Jesus returns and Stan has to battle demons to survive — he's decked with battle scars and lost a hand, replaced with a robotic clamp.
  • Archer typically averts this with side characters and Ray, but plays it entirely straight with the rest of the main cast.
    Archer: Since I started working at ISIS, I've been shot, stabbed, set on fire, poisoned, shot, sexually assaulted, partially chewed, shot, and declared legally dead -- twice on the same day!
  • The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series consistently loses teeth when he's punched. They all grow back. Then again, those are very white teeth. They could be fakes. Earlier portrayals show diseased yellow teeth, which could also be fake (this is The Joker, after all).
  • In Beavis And Butthead the duo have suffered many injuries throughout the series including knocked out teeth, severed fingers, eye trauma, broken limbs, gaping wounds, etc, but they heal quickly, completely, and sometimes within the same episode.
  • Family Guy loves this one. Anything from cuts and bruises to broken bones or Evil Stewie cutting off Brian's tail will be gone by the next scene, unless it's a plot point.
  • In 'the Texas Skilsaw Massacre on King of the Hill, Dale Gribble accidentally got his finger sliced off by Hank's circular saw. His finger is re-attached and bandaged, but by the next episode, the bandages are off and the stitches are removed. It would take weeks or months on end for that finger to completely heal in reality- though given the episodic nature of the show, it's understandable.
  • Every Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Classic Disney Short and Tex Avery cartoon ever. It's what puts the "amusing" in Amusing Injuries.
  • Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic seems to be constantly injuring herself, yet never shows any long-term effects of all this damage. In "Read It and Weep" she explicitly suffers a compound fracture to her wing, which leaves her incapacitated for a few days. She can't fly on it afterwards, but it's still mentioned to be a problem that should clear up in another week.
  • Homer's many injuries from The Simpsons including breaking nearly every bone in his body, horrific gaping wounds, knocked out teeth, eye trauma, multiple shots to the groin, etc. But what the audience didn't see was the unfunny aftermath. Somehow, Homer became addicted to painkillers. It was the only way he could perform the bonecracking physical comedy that had made him a star.
    Homer: Attention was like a drug to me. But was even more like drugs was the drugs.
  • Most of the characters in South Park (unless it's Kenny or a minor character) will shrug off major injuries pretty quickly unless it becomes a plot point, one of the most notable examples is in "Poor and Stupid" in which after being in a race car accident Cartman is diagnosed with two fractured ribs, a broken femur, torn ligaments in both knees, and a level 2 concussion, he just gets up and recovers quickly.


Video Example(s):


RRR Pitch Meeting

The video points out that (a) Raju shouldn't be getting that buff in prison if he's on a shoestring diet (b) carrying someone on your shoulders should make you bigger and slower (c) healing a busted leg doesn't work like that. But Rule of Cool perseveres.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

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