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I've Come Too Far

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"If I apologize or feel regret, everything will be over. I'll never... be able to reach this place."
Griffith, Berserk

In a moment of crisis, a hero or a villain might look back and declare: "I've come too far..." to stop now. This is a desperate kind of determination. A common variant on the phrase is, "We haven't come this far just to give up now!"

A frequent reason for why a villain may not do a Heel–Face Turn and have an Ignored Epiphany instead. They may cross the Moral Event Horizon as a result. It may also be a case where the villain realizes that he's evil but feels he's come too far to deserve redemption. This is occasionally a case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy, in which you reason that everything you sacrificed was for nothing unless you sacrifice even more to reach your goal. If you've come so far that reaching your goal requires only a tiny push, it's "more economical", so to speak, to go through with it.

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Compare Tiger by the Tail, where they can't turn back without terrible consequences.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, this is at least part of what drives Reiner and Bertolt to continue their mission regardless of personal feelings or growing doubts. After everything they've already done, the only thing they believe is left for them to do is complete their mission or die trying.
  • Griffith of Berserk decides to sacrifice his friends so he can become a demon. Even when shown with a semi-idyllic future where he lives peacefully with Casca, he finds he cannot abandon his dream when the Godhand show him a vision in which he steps over the corpses of those who have already died following him: "If I apologize or feel regret, everything will be over. I'll never… be able to reach this place."
  • In Chrono Crusade, Aion reflects on how only six of the Sinners survived the first battle of their rebellion, and as the survivors, they were obliged to honor the sacrifice of the fallen by continuing to fight.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch justifies his uncertainty about the Zero Requiem plan by claiming that too many people have been sacrificed for them to stop. This would ordinarily not fit the trope, except that he was responsible for many of those sacrifices.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar is a Warrior Monk turned Vigilante Man who hunts the State Alchemists in his quest to avenge the genocide of the Ishvalans. He rejects his master's plea for him to stop his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, saying that he's gone too far to turn back. Subverted when he has a Heel–Face Turn and later is there to stop Mustang from passing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • In Future Diary, Yukiteru begins wholesale slaughter of bystanders and eventually killing his closest friends in their quest to become Deus' successor. His justification for Jumping Off the Slippery Slope is that once they become God, they can resurrect all the people they killed. Unfortunately, Death isn't Cheap, and while he may be able to restore their bodies, he cannot bring back their souls, and at best he would only have lifeless shells - a fact Yuno knows only too well, since she won the game in an Alternate Universe and traveled to the current one after failing to resurrect Yuki.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Zeheart Galette has seen many comrades die, often at his command, for the sake of Lord Ezelcant's Project Eden. When he later finds out that Project Eden is not a cause he agrees with, he pushes on trying to fulfill it regardless, because if he didn't, then all the lives he sacrificed would be for nothing. He repeatedly tells himself that he's come too far to stop now as he orders more and more people to their deaths, which of course only compounds the problem.
  • In Naruto, Hashirama tries to reason with Madara one last time before their final battle. Madara replies with this trope.
  • In Gundam Build Divers, this is Ayame's reasoning for trying to stick with the Break Decal mastermind's plans as she's ruined so many people's fun in GBN for the mastermind's drive to destroy GBN just so she can try to get back a beloved Gunpla that she feels she can't accept a Heel–Face Turn. Thankfully for Ayame, Riku and Sarah are stubborn and kind-hearted enough to help her through and make the turn.

    Comic Books 
  • In Disney Ducks Comic Universe, the second time Flintheart Glomgold tries to beat Scrooge McDuck in a contest of wealth, Glomgold resorts to trickery to win: "I've betrayed my dear old mother's fondest hopes! I've turned myself into a scoundrel — all to win the title of world's richest duck! I've got to win!"
  • In World War Hulk, the Earth-based heroes and the Warbound start swapping "too far!"s like trading cards.

    Fan Works 

Crossover

  • The reason Spike doesn't reveal that he accidentally killed Prince Blueblood in the first chapter of The Dragon's Notebook is that he believes that he's already done too much.
  • In A New World A New Conflict, this is what Sev feels about his hatred of humans and why he can't let it go: "I want the hatred to stop, but my heart still holds it close. If I forget it, then I will forget my friends who’ve…died helping me fight them. What would they have thought of me if I renounce everything right now? Weak, that is what."
  • When they activate in The Winx Club Loops, the Trix reveal they had realized how bad they had become in baseline, but felt they had done far too much evil to be ever accepted back. This leads to them trying to atone the very moment they start Looping.

Highschool of the Dead

  • World of the Dead: In chapter 3, Takashi rejects Saya's suggestion that they eventually end it all, stating they've come too far to give up now.

The Legend of Spyro

Lilo & Stitch

  • In Starlight Series, Experiment 628 argues that it's too late for him, that he's 'chosen his path' and there can only be destruction upon it after Lilo offers him forgiveness and a new life.

Love Hina

  • One of Keitaro's biggest problems in The Beast That I Am is that he can't even consider changing the status quo by say evicting the troublesome tenants or applying to a different school, because he feels that doing so would invalidate the years of effort he's already invested. It doesn't occur to him that the status quo is him getting beaten for any slight mistake, including others (the story starts with Naru entering Pervert Revenge Mode because she walked in on him changing in his own room), and that since Shinobu can now become She-Hulk, things will change regardless of what he wants.

Temeraire

  • In Black Wings, Black Sails, William Laurence has become a dangerous pirate with a penchant for attacking the slave trade, with an ever-growing bounty on his head, and knows full well that the moment he's captured, he's going to be executed. The events of this story's premise have so soured him to the concept of duty to his country that he figures he'll just have to do as much as he can before his time runs out.

Umineko: When They Cry

  • Following the first murder in Redaction of the Golden Witch, the one responsible decides that since they've already got blood on their hands, they might as well kill somebody else so they can make the human sacrifice.
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    Films — Animated 
  • In Finding Nemo, Marlin and Dory have finally made their way to Sydney from the Barrier Reef... only to get scooped up by a hungry pelican. Unfortunately for the pelican, Marlin declares "NO! I DIDN'T COME THIS FAR TO BE BREAKFAST!!".
  • Lord Shen in Kung Fu Panda 2 rejects the Soothsayer's constant plea for him to stop his quest for conquest. With the only people whose love he craved having died from grief due to his own paranoid actions, he feels he has nothing left to live for anyway.
    Lord Shen: You were wrong, Soothsayer! We sail to victory tonight… your magic panda is clearly a fool!
    Soothsayer: Are you certain it is the panda who is the fool? You just destroyed your ancestral home, Shen!
    Lord Shen: A trivial sacrifice… when all of China is my reward!
    Soothsayer: Then will you finally be satisfied? Will the subjugation of the whole world finally make you feel better?
    Lord Shen: Hmmm, it's a start. I might also convert the basement into a dungeon.
    Soothsayer: The cup you choose to fill has no bottom. It is time to stop this madness.
    Lord Shen: And why on earth would I do that?
    Soothsayer: So your parents can rest in peace.
    Lord Shen: My parents… hated me. Do you understand? They wronged me. I… will make it right.
    Soothsayer: They loved you! They loved you so much, that having to send you away killed them.
    Lord Shen: (solemnly) The dead exist in the past, and I must tend to the future.
  • In Joseph: King of Dreams, Judah is clearly heartbroken as he sees Joseph being dragged away by slave traders, but one of the others dejectedly states that they've gone too far to renege on the deal.
  • The Pebble and the Penguin: "I didn't come three thousand miles and lose my best friend to lose to the likes of you!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers (2012), Loki says this almost word for word to Fury when Fury tries to convince him not to declare war on Earth.
    Nick Fury: This doesn't have to get any messier.
    Loki: Of course it does. I've come too far for anything else!
  • In Captain Phillips, the lead pirate says "I go too far, Irish", when Captain Phillips (whom the pirates call "Irish"), suggests that they need to surrender because the U.S. Navy will never let them get away.
  • The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday
    Sam Longwood: I've survived two avalanches, three blizzards, five Indian uprisings and seven presidential elections, but I've never been owned by no woman nor dog...and I've come too far down the road to let it happen to me now.
  • In The Goonies, Mikey in his Rousing Speech mentions that together they managed to come further than the professional Adventurer Archaeologist, Chester Copperpot, which should be enough incentive to keep going searching for the Pirate Booty of One-Eyed Willy.
    Mikey: Don't you see? Don't you realize? [Chester Copperpot] was a pro! He never made it this far. Look how far we've come. We've got a chance.
  • Played for Laughs in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The two leave their apartment and head to the elevator, stoned, on their titular quest. Kumar notices he forgot his cellphone. When Harold offers to run back and get it, he quickly declares, "No...we've gone too far already." It is literally right down the hall.
  • In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Chance admonishes Shadow (who was admitting defeat after seeming to have broken one of his legs, saying he was too old to keep going after such an injury and survive).
    Chance: [to Shadow] You pushed me this far, now I'm pushing you the rest of the way! You know, back in the woods, even when things looked really bad, I always thought we'd make it because I thought you were too stubborn to quit! Well, you're not going to quit, not now, not when we're this close! Now, try again!
  • Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade comes too far in her quest to possess the Holy Grail to leave it behind. Despite Indiana's warnings not to take it, Elsa says, "But it's all our Indy, yours and mine" as she triggers a Cataclysm Climax. During the subsequent Literal Cliffhanger, Elsa reaches for the grail, but her hand comes up inches short. Meanwhile, Indiana tells her to stop because her glove is slipping off. But Elsa, seeing how close her hand is, desperately repeats, "I can reach it." Unwilling to give up the grail after coming so far, Elsa ultimately loses her life when the glove slips off and she falls. In the PC adventure game, Elsa replies to Indiana's continued warnings about the seal with "No! I don't believe it! I won't lose it now!"
  • In Labyrinth, Sarah declares "I'm not giving up now, I've come too far!" when she is in the oubliette.
  • The Lone Ranger: The Captain joins the villains because, by the time he finds out what's going on, he's already killed too many innocent Native Americans and would be held responsible for their deaths.
  • In The Mad Magician, Don Gallico acknowledges that he's beyond all saving as he prepares to murder Bruce and that when the time comes for the legal system to come down hard on him, he'd rather be electrocuted since he'll be going to hell anyway.
    Don Gallico: No thank you, I'll take the chair!
  • The Matrix Revolutions:
    Morpheus: Can we make it?
    Niobe: We ain't come this far...
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker tries to convince his father, Darth Vader, to make a Heel–Face Turn. Vader says "It is...too late for me, son." He's already realized that what he's doing is wrong, but believes he's so far beyond the possibility of redemption that it would be pointless to try. Later in the movie, he changes his mind when Luke is about to be murdered by the Emperor. Redemption Equals Death ensues.
  • Played for Laughs in Tromeo and Juliet. Upon discovering that they are brother and sister, Tromeo and Juliet declare "Fuck it, we've come this far," and move to the suburbs and raise a family of deformed children.

    Literature 
  • Towards the end of A Christmas Carol, Ebeneezer Scrooge has a Heel Realization, but still desperately clings onto the idea that he's come too far to become a good person, saying that he's both too old and has done things that are unforgivable. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come still makes it Scrooge's task to at least try to become better, no matter how impossible or hopeless it might seem.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alias episode "All the Time in the World"
    Irina Derevko: I've come too far to let anything get in my way.
  • Angel: The main villain of Season 3, Daniel Holtz, is a vampire hunter whose life was utterly destroyed by Angelus; his entire motive throughout the season is getting revenge on Angel for doing so, soul or not, and making him suffer by any means possible, up to kidnapping Angel's newborn son Connor, taking him to a hell dimension, and raising him as a Tyke-Bomb to make him hate Angel and eventually kill him. In the penultimate episode, Holtz and Connor return to Earth, and he convinces his Dragon Justine to help kill him in a manner that frames Angel for the deed as part of his final revenge. Holtz's final words make it clear he realizes how far he's fallen and that he's most likely going to Hell for what he's done, but he sees no reason to stop anymore.
    Holtz: You promised. You said you'd do anything for me. Come on, Justine. I'm not asking you to follow me into hell. Just help send me there. Do it!
  • In Babylon 5 despite expressing doubts about the political games that he’s been playing for years, Londo Mollari continues to carry on with his co-conspirators on Centari Prime, and the alliance with the Shadows, as he feels that there’s too much blood on his hands.
    Londo: I have made many choices lately, Vir. And today, for the first time I am not sure those choices were right.
    Vir: Perhaps some good has come out of this tragedy. It's not too late to make some new choices.
    Londo: No. The blood is already on my hands. Right or wrong, I must follow the path to its end.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 4, the villainous Maggie Walsh says "I've come too far to let some little blonde stop me." She then activates her supersoldier prototype ADAM, which promptly kills her.
    • After releasing a magic plague over London, causing people to painfully mutate into monsters, Angel forces Whistler to look at what he's done to innocents in an attempt to get through to him. While he is briefly swayed and appears unsure, Whistler brushes it off, telling Angel that no matter what, he's come too far in his plans to stop now.
  • In the infamous ER episode "Love's Labor Lost", as Mark struggles with a complicated delivery, Susan urges him to wait for OB. Mark name-drops this trope, adding on "…and I'm going to see it through!" Unfortunately, what's meant to be a rallying cry for him ends up being completely averted—the woman dies and the baby barely survives.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • After Theon Greyjoy spends a whole season kicking dogs to better fit in with his brutal family, and the payoff is finally inevitable:
      Maester Luwin: "I've known you many years, Theon Greyjoy. You're not the man you're pretending to be."
      Theon: "You may be right... but I've gone too far to pretend to be anything else."
    • In season 3, Theon acknowledges that the Starks were his real family, not the Greyjoys, but by that point, he's done so much to hurt them that he knows they will never accept him again.
      Theon: "My real father lost his head at King's Landing. I made a choice, and I chose wrong. And now I've burned everything down."
  • Kamen Rider Build: Gentoku Himuro spent a decade as a power-hungry tyrant because of the Sky Wall incident. When the effects were removed, he had a Heel Realization but decided that he was so deep he might just as well keep on digging until he came out on the other side.
  • Supernatural:
    • Invoked by Lilith on Sam, daring him to use his demon-fueled powers to kill her since it would be a waste for him to turn himself into a monster for the purpose of killing her and then get cold feet at the last second. This successfully goads Sam into killing her, therefore releasing Lucifer. All according to plan.
    • Lilith herself seems to begin having second thoughts about freeing Lucifer as she gets closer to breaking the required amount of seals, though this is mostly because she herself must die in order for him to be free rather than due to any remorse. Unfortunately, she soon resigns herself to her fate once everything's in order.

    Religion 
  • Defied by Orthodox Christianity: the idea of being beyond redemption is a lie, and such thoughts are sent by demons to drive sinners to despair and suicide. As long as he or she at least repents and tries to avoid sinning in such a way, God will forgive. Only after death is their fate truly sealed... and even then, until The Last Judgement, there's a chance for such people to be saved by the God, if someone will pray to Him, even for those who committed suicide. Though to truly repent regarding sin is to never make commit it again.
    • There's a story about a Christian who was constantly (or even every day) defeated by the demon of lust, but who constantly repented. This continued for more than ten years... Once he committed it again and fell on his knees in the temple, begging God for mercy. Satan himself appeared and raged against God, proclaiming that he committed only one sin of pride, and He didn't pardon him, but He constantly forgave that fornicator, even though he committed many more sins (of course, constantly tempting people to evil doesn't count!). The God rebuked him for hypocrisy: Satan constantly takes a person as his when he or she sins, so why can't God, being an All-Loving Hero, do the same if a man repents? He adds that He will forgive this man if he falls a thousand times, and repents after that. The God then reminded Satan that He judges people by the state of their soul at the moment of their death, and now He will take this man as His, as this person didn't despair and had faith in God's mercy. After that, this man died, and the angels brought his soul to God.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • In Poker, this is the basic idea behind being "pot committed." Basically, it's when a player has already bet so much of their available stack (of money, chips, or what have you) versus how much is already in the pot that folding is no longer a sound strategy no matter how low the odds of success are. The challenge is knowing when that point arrives; many players have busted out of tournaments for behaving as if they're pot committed (i.e. rather aggressive) when they should have played more conservatively.

    Theatre 
  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, just as Judge Turpin enters his establishment, allowing him to bring his revenge scheme to fruition, Sweeney is pestered again by the Beggar Woman. Declaring "I have no time!", he slits her throat and goes to meet with the judge. It's not that this was really more evil than his usual actions (he had been killing his customers for some time), but it still shows him being willing to sacrifice others to achieve his goals and it comes back to bite him, as the Beggar Woman turns out to be Sweeney's wife- the entire reason for his revenge plan.
  • William Shakespeare:
    • Macbeth: "I am in blood / Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er."
  • Richard III when he announces his plan to kill his nephews and marry his niece to secure his claim: "But I am in / So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin / Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye."

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, Dr. Schroeder spends most of the game collecting flight data from each sortie that Mihaly takes in order to improve Erusea's drone army. However, at Anchorhead Bay, he witnesses first hand the chaos and destruction that the drone army has caused, and he also sees that the AIs controlling the drones are smarter than he had originally realized. Despite this, he uploads the data into the drone factory underneath the Lighthouse, because the project was nearing completion. He relents when Ionela destroys the chip containing the data and calls him out on his motivations to avenge his homeland of Belka.
  • A phrase often said by Litchi Faye-Ling in BlazBlue, she's done too much in trying to save Arakune, including corrupting herself to the same corruption that turned him to the creature he is, and later on, joining the NOL main branch that she personally is uneasy with. If she would stop like how everyone told her to, then all the things she has done to herself would be in vain and she would be doomed with the fate of dying earlier than everyone else or at worst, becoming the next Arakune. That being said, unlike most examples, she's capable of feeling remorse of what she must do (and does show it), but treated it like it was the only path available for her. Interestingly, both the second and third game show that she hasn't gone to far. While the example in the second game can be chalked up to it being non-canon, the third game Retcons it in the middle of the game because the main characters were Trapped by Mountain Lions in what was otherwise the climax, sending her back to the villain's side and having her not attempt her previous (and effective) plan that she did hours before for no reason.
  • Leliana of Dragon Age: Inquisition has gone from a sweet, funny bard to something of a Sociopathic Hero spymaster who will do anything to protect those fighting the forces of evil. If one early conversation with her does not go the right way (ordering her to spare the life of a traitor) later pleas for reason invoke this trope.
  • By the latter part of the third disc of Final Fantasy VIII, it's clear to everyone including Seifer himself that there's no longer anything he could possibly stand to gain from continuing to oppose Squall and company. When confronted for the third and final boss fight against him, however, he refuses to back down, declaring that he's come too far to turn back now.
  • The Last Spartan in God of War 2 says, "I have come too far to fail," right before you fight him.
  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
    I just find out that I'm this special dragon, and you tell me all is lost? That I have no home or family left? I've come way too far to give up now. I wanna see where I come from.
  • Left 4 Dead 2: The intro video has "I have not...come this far...to die now!" from Nick. He will also say it randomly while critically wounded and limping around in the game.
  • Trying and failing to redeem Aribeth in Neverwinter Nights will result in her spouting this trope at you.
  • General Azimuth pulls this in Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, right before the final boss fight.
    Azimuth: I'm sorry, Ratchet! I've come too far to fail now!
  • Spider-Man (PS4): Martin Li/Mister Negative has a vendetta against Norman Osborn, but it's hinted at several times throughout the game that he isn't as fully committed to it as he'd like to be. When snooping around his office, Peter finds a journal entry written on the day of Fisk's arrest, as well as an audio recording, where he openly questions if he can actually go through with his plan, knowing full well that if he succeeds, all the good he has done with the F.E.A.S.T. Foundation will be ruined. He even contemplates turning back and acknowledges his actions are he's becoming a monster, but ultimately concludes it's too late.
Li: Wilson Fisk has been arrested. I can barely believe it. The day I've planned for — dreamed of — is finally here... but for some reason, I hesitate. Can I really go through with this? Things will happen quickly if I give the word. My men will claim Fisk's arms, his explosives... his secrets. We'll use that knowledge to teach Norman true pain. He'll know what it is to see the things he loves most destroyed by his own hands... But achieving that end will mean giving up so much. Everything I've built here at F.E.A.S.T. — all the good I've done — could be wiped out if my plan succeeds. My chance is finally here yet still I hesitate... should I turn back? A part of me wants to... but the Demon is hungry... and I don't think I'm strong enough to hold it back...

    Visual Novels 
  • In one of the endings of Saya no Uta, where Kouji says that he's gone too far and all that he can see now in front of him is his own demise, since he has finally crossed that line of no return.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Redcloak forces himself to believe that every goblin (including his brother) that died in service to The Plan has been necessary, unlike his brother, who felt that years after they brought Xykon in they should have eliminated him and tried something else. The advantage of this is that he can go on denying any responsibility for the horrific things he has done in the name of the plan, and both Xykon and Right-Eye have pointed this out to him.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Fire Lord Sozin is implied to have felt at the end of his life that his life was a waste. Even though he regretted beginning the Hundred Year War, causing genocides, and betraying his best friend to his death, he had simply grown too old to change anything or try to make amends for what he has done.
  • Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, after Gwen had just been supposedly eaten by a Florouna (Wildvine) and Azmuth refuses to turn off the Omnitrix, which is about to self-destruct...
    Ben as Cannonbolt: I've come too far! I've lost too much to be stopped now!
  • In Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems", this is Stan's reasoning to activate the portal's full power to save his brother Ford despite the journal's warnings about using it in extreme manners.
    Stan: Can it, Poindexter! I've come this far. I'm not giving up now!

Alternative Title(s): I Have Come Too Far

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