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...In That Order

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"If [the Reavers] take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And, if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
Zoe Washburn, Firefly

A common tag on to threats of sexual violence, mutilation and death, the phrase "in that order" (or alternatively "not necessarily in that order") works by implication of bizarre forms of punishment achievable by switching the order around. It can be used in a serious context to raise a scary threat to levels of Squick or in a comedic context to just make the acts seem ridiculous.

Can be combined with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, if the "final" punishment would be pretty inconsequential following the others.

It is also very common to simply imply the trope by stressing the word of ordering. God bless italics.


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    Anime and Manga  
  • In the oft-forgotten manga version of Excel♡Saga, Excel at one point tells Hyatt, "You were in a tight spot back there, Ha-Chan! If I hadn't jumped in, you would a' been buried... then murdered... then defiled!" to which Hyatt can only respond, "In exactly that order?"
  • Implied in My Hero Academia. Towards the end of their rematch, All For One admits to still having nightmares of the sight of All Might coming at him with his guts hanging out. A bit of logic tells the audience that All Might was Gutted Like a Fish...and then beat All For One into years of recovery and permanent blindness.

  • The old MAD magazine sendup of "Conquering the Planet of the Apes", as the intelligent ape addresses his army:
    All right! If we're going to win against the humans you need to listen up and stop embarrassing me! For example, when I tell you to put on your shoes and socks, I don't mean in that order!
  • Darkwing Duck: A Played for Laughs example from the "Campaign Carnage" arc. After Suff-Rage has hypnotized the city against Darkwing and Launchpad, to the point where they're ready to burn them both alive, Doofus Drake (visiting from Duckburg) says that, "We've got to save Launchpad and Darkwing! You know, maybe, in that order..."note 
  • An old Dragon had a comic with a sad-faced Eastern dragon standing in a karate pose looking at a burned foot, with his tiny ancient elder trainer saying "No, no. Spin then flame then kick."
  • "Die Zumutungen der Moderne" by Nicolas Mahler (about his life as cartoonist) has a somewhat unconvincing example, as the order is not that relevant. While the comic boheme does smalltalk, one member shocks them by claiming he will reduce his life to the absolutely necessary, "television and masturbation — not necessarily in that order".

  • In Dead Man the character Cole Wilson was known to have killed, raped, and eaten his parents. In that order.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the mermaids will take you to the bottom of the sea, drown you, then eat you. Sometimes, however, they will do it the other way around.
  • From the original Planet of the Apes (1968): "If they catch you, they will dissect you. And kill you. In that order." note 
  • The first movie of Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta: "Go out with your hands up and suicide! Not necessarily in that order!" (two character react with "They got us! We're FUBAR!" "Not necessarily in that order!")
  • In Money Train, Wesley Snipes' and Woody Harrelson's characters get chewed out by their unhealthily aggressive supervisor for misconduct. Patterson (the supervisor) claims that if they screw up again, he's going to "fuck them dead". W & W then discuss and try to figure out if he meant fucking them before or after they're dead. They come to the conclusion that "Either way it's a pain in the ass". Later in the film, Wesley makes a point that they need to stay one step ahead of "That necrophiliac Patterson".
  • In Hannibal this is referenced in the following exchange regarding Hannibal's interest in Special Agent Clarice Starling:
    Mason Verger: So what do ya think, Cordell? Does Lecter want to fuck her or kill her or eat her alive?
    Cordell: Probably all three, though I wouldn't want to predict in what order.
  • In The Running Man, Amber Mendez's friend tells her she was lucky to survive an encounter with Ben Richards: "You're lucky he didn't kill you, too. Or rape you, then kill you. Or kill you, then rape you."
  • The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, the young Jeanne d'Arc is traumatized when her village is attacked by English soldiers, and she is forced to hide and watch as her older sister is murdered and raped - in that order.

    Live Action Television  
  • Firefly gives us the page quote, which is used in the "scary threat" sense and underscores how dreaded and utterly insane the Reavers are in the 'verse.
  • Married... with Children: in the episode "Peggy and the Pirates", the dreaded pirate Rubio the Cruel (David Garrison) captures the Princess Scarlett (Katey Segall), and gloats, "Now nothing will stop me from marrying you, collecting your dowry, having my way with you, and killing you...! Not necessarily in that order."
  • Game of Thrones
    • In their duel, Oberyn demands that the Mountain makes a confession for his crimes against the Martells. When the Mountain is accused with, "You raped her! You murdered her! You killed her children!", although less clearly shown than in the books, the Mountain's problem is not the accusation itself, but that Oberyn got the events in the wrong order. His response is, "I killed her children. Then I raped her. Then I smashed her head in LIKE THIS..."
    • Before attending a dangerous peace parley with her enemies, Queen Cersei instructs the Mountain that if things get bloody he's to kill first Queen Daenerys (as the greatest threat), then her brother Tyrion, then King Jon Snow (commanding the other major Houses opposing her). As for the others, he can clear out the Mountain in whatever order he wants.
  • House: Dr. House says to a female patient he dislikes, "If you're gonna kill me and rape me, please do it in that order."
  • In Coupling, Susan invites Steve over for dinner. When she's ready to go home and start cooking, she says to him, "You can come and watch ... in that order."
  • From the British run of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, whilst doing a scene in the style of Greek tragedy:
    Julian Clary: I have come to sleep with your mother and then kill her ... in that order.
    Paul Merton: I'm afraid I've done that already.
  • Jekyll — Benjamin, about to walk into a meeting with Hyde, warns his men "Don't kill him. Or me. In that order."
  • Jeremy Clarkson once had this gem during his US Special:
    Jeremy: "Three religions down here: George Bush, God, Country and Western. ...In That Order. Ascending order."
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Snowmen", Strax, a Sontaran who's been assisting the Doctor (and really, really just wants to kill something), gives his recommendation for dealing with an intruder:
    Strax: Suggest we melt his brain using projectile acid fish, then interrogate him.
    (Everyone stares at him)
    Strax: Other way 'round.
    • The Doctor's line from the Tom Baker storyline "Meglos": "First thing's first, but not necessarily in that order."
  • Blake's 7. In "Moloch", a brutal Federation soldier is said to enjoy; "women, food, and inflicting pain — in no particular order."
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ditzy vampire Harmony kidnaps Dawn in a plot to lure Buffy into an ambush. However her vampire minions quickly lose patience and decide to drink Dawn's blood and kill Harmony, "maybe not in that order."
  • On an episode of Aquí no hay quien viva, the boy Mauri and Fernando have adopted as their son turns out to be an Enfant Terrible who steals the radio from Juan Cuesta's car. The neighbors are not too pleased:
    Concha: I'm going to call the social services before this kid kills and rapes us all!
    Emilio: Well, as long as it's in that order...
  • Altered Carbon. Lizzy has become transhuman enough to predict the future (in a Mad Oracle manner) which she sees as "Salvation...death...retribution." Poe quips, "Perhaps you could tell me in what particular order?"
  • Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell of Prison Break is initially introduced as a creepy and thoroughly despicable sex criminal who was sent to Fox River for raping and murdering numerous children—"not necessarily in that order".

  • This quote from The War Against the Chtorr: "Life is short. Then you die. Then the worms eat you. Be grateful it happens in that order." Chtorran gastropedes are giant worms that eat people alive.
  • Used a lot with "barbarian raider" types. "Remember, it's rape, pillage then burn."
    • In Interesting Times, the bordering-on-senile Silver Horde have to be reminded of the proper order and that it's rape the women, burn the houses (though given their age, it's unlikely they'd have managed to rape either).
  • Used for parody in The Horse and His Boy, when Lasaraleen says that any servants disobeying an order will "first be flogged to death and then be burned alive and after that be kept on bread and water for six weeks."
  • The beginning of Mostly Harmless claims the following:
    Anything that happens, happens.
    Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
    Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
    It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the sadistic Ramsay Snow likes to hunt women with dogs. If they are "lucky", and he thinks they put up a good fight, he'll kill them and then flay their skin and will name a dog after them. If they aren't lucky, he'll rape them and then flay them alive.
    • According to Oberyn Martell, Ser Gregor Clegane raped his sister, murdered her, then killed her children. He's wrong. As Gregor informs him: first he killed her children. Then he raped her. Then he "smashed her fucking head in, like this."
  • In The Dresden Files, at one point, they run into Sigrun Gard, who had recently been disemboweled during a fight. Thomas comes to the conclusion that Gard had beaten up the opponents, and then gotten her wounds. Harry corrects him; she beat up a fallen angel while her guts were hanging out of her side.
  • In "Valerie: A True Memoir", author Harlan Ellison recounts how someone had a habit of spreading rumors about him, then returns the favor by remarking, "What a nasty thing to say, particularly from a man who lures six-year-old boys into the basements of churches and then defiles, kills and eats them, not necessarily in that order."
  • A less-lethal version in Air Force One Is Down by John Denis. The criminal mastermind is busted out of prison by his organisation, and as they're escaping in a convoy of vehicles he lists several things he wants to be done ASAP, ending with him being provided with a woman. " that order." The Number Two replies that if he wants to change that order, the last car in the convoy is carrying a woman for him.
  • In Hannibal by Thomas Harris, a psychologist attempts to explain Hannibal Lecter's attachment to Clarice Starling; his patron, Mason Verger, impatiently asks, "does Lecter want to fuck her, kill her or eat her?" The psychologist replies, "probably all three, although I wouldn't want to predict in what order he wants to perform those acts." This quip is reproduced, more or less faithfully, in the film version.


  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Fitton", Arthur tells his mother Carolyn that his father asked after her and the plane, but not in that order.

  • In The Abduction from the Seraglio, Osmin has a highly detailed plan concerning his rival Pedrillo: "First beheaded, then hanged, then impaled on red-hot spikes, then burned, then manacled and drowned; finally flayed". At least one production (the Zürich Opera video recording with Malin Hartelius and Piotr Beczala) plays up the comedic effect in full: Osmin meticulously stresses the "first", "then", and "finally" (while Pedrillo, amused, counts the threats on his fingers).

    Video Games  
  • Inverted in the trailer for Poker Night at the Inventory
    Max: "Call him! Raise him! Tear his kneecaps out! Not in that order!"
  • A play on the Schlock Mercenary example specifically, rather than a general example in and of itself: Warhammer Online has a powerful (for its level) health potion with the description "Next time, pillage before you burn".
  • FEAR's industrial first level features the following sign on the walls: "Remember it's Quantity, Quality, Safety, in that order."
  • In the Xel'lotath path of Eternal Darkness, she instructs her Dragon to deal with Charlemagne as follows: "Make sure he is dead... or... insane... Or perhaps first the one, then the other?" Given the nature of the game, doing it in the order given is actually not impossible, as one of the player's characters will find out first hand...
  • Borderlands 2 - Mr. Torgue's Campaign of Carnage: When Mr. Torgue tells you to find Pyro Pete to secure a sponsor that he kidnapped:

    Web Comics  

    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged gives one to Goku in the Cooler special. It helps to highlight his... unique mindset.
    Goku: Hey! You get away from my food, my friend, my two emergency foods, and my son. ...In That Order.
  • CollegeHumor features a variation where Batman, circa The Dark Knight Rises, spends his dying breaths relating how he had sex with Talia, going in detail on how he explored her orifices... and "in an order that'd surprise you", cueing Squick from Bane.
  • Averted, maybe, at the end of Sword Art Online Abridged:
    Kirito: [watching as Aincrad slowly falls apart] What's going on down there?
    Kayaba: I'm keeping up my end of the bargain, Kirito: As we speak, SAO is being wiped from the servers and all remaining players will be logged out of the game.
    Kirito: But, not ...In That Order, right?
    Kayaba: ... I'm gonna to have to get back to you on that one.
  • Hellsing Ultimate Abridged has the two criminals that murdered Seras' parents arguing about this trope.
    Sigmund: Now look what you gone and done, you skipped the process!
    Freud: What process?!
    Sigmund: The standard process of breakin' and enterin'. Yer supposed to shoot the husband, rape the wife, then shoot the wife. You gone and shot the husband, then shot the wife!
    Freud: Don't mean nothin'!
    Sigmund: Course it does! Now we can't rape her!
    Freud: I beg to differ; body's still warm!
    Sigmund: C'mon now, mate, gotta have standards! I know we're shootin' and rapin', but necrophilia's a step too far!

    Western Animation  

    Real Life 
  • In England, up until the late 19th century, particularly egregious crimes were punishable by the offender being hanged, drawn and quartered, a method of execution typically involving beheading, castration and disembowelment; and if the offender was lucky, in that order.
  • One Chinese officer from the early 20th century was so treacherous that his Wikipedia page begins with "Shi Yousan (1891 – December 1940) was a KMT general who defected to, and subsequently betrayed, Feng Yuxiang, Chiang Kai-shek, Wang Jingwei, Zhang Xueliang, the Chinese Communist Party, and Japan, in that order."