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Kill Him Already!

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"Commander, at times like this, my people had an ancient saying. Kill him."

The battle is over. The Hero stands victorious over the very clearly defeated but still very-much-alive villain, their weapon, be it a sword or a gun, held threateningly over his head. There's the Dramatic Pause.

This trope is a Stock Phrase, usually spoken by one (or more) of The Team when they believe that he is going to let the villain go — they burst out in cries of, "What are you waiting for? Shoot him! Finish him off!" This is especially likely if the villain has taken advantage of such hesitation in the past as a means to defeat enemies who have weapons drawn on them.

It doesn't have to be bystanders telling the hero to Kill Him Already. It could be a particularly noble hostage telling him to Go Through Me if he has to but not let the bad guy get away with it. It could be the villain himself, realizing that if this is the end, at least he can get a satisfying "Not So Different" Remark out of it. It's usually the speaker that determines whether the point of the situation is about the courage to do the right thing under pressure or the courage to do something unpleasant but absolutely necessary.

When The Hero objects to the situation, it's Get It Over With. Sometimes the villain will attempt to goad him into it by daring him to Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!. It might serve to Wring Every Last Drop Out of the Villain by making their death take ages.

Compare Finish Him!, where a superior orders it without it being necessary, or unpleasant to the superior at least, Kill Us Both, where one good guy is just barely restraining the villain and tells his teammates to kill them both rather than let the villain escape, Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?, where it's the villains that don't take the direct approach in offing the hero when the opportunity arises. Opposite of If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • When Soichiro Yagami finally catches Mello in Death Note, he threatens to write his name in the Death Note because he knows his real name is Mihael Keehl through the Shinigami Eyes. Mello then asks him if he's ever killed a person, causing him to hesitate to kill him, and he already wrote his first name. Light Yagami proceeds to tell him to kill him already, but it's no use. He even tells his dad to write down the last name on his deathbed.
  • Digimon Tamers: After defeating Beelzemon, Gallantmon is poised to deliver the final blow, and Beelzemon openly urges him to "Do it!" Gallantmon very nearly does so, but is stopped from doing so by Jeri; despite the fact that Beelzemon murdered her partner Leomon in cold blood, Jeri can't bear for anyone else to die because of her.
  • Dragon Ball: Son Goku is often shown as willing to spare his enemies, even against all reason and the pleas of his friends to finish them off. For example, he convinced Kuririn not to kill Vegeta when he was defeated. However, Goku had no such reluctance to kill when he was a child in the original Dragon Ball. He killed Demon King Piccolo without hesitation, and single-handedly wiped out the Red Ribbon Army. But for whatever reason he changed his ways as an adult, Goku benefitted from letting his enemies live, because several of them became his allies afterward.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: After Edward defeats the Slicer Brothers, he refuses to kill them even when they tell him it would be better if they were dead. The Slicer Brothers are then killed by the Homunculi Lust and Envy.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes: At the battle of Vermillion, Yang finally manages to break through Reinhart's defenses and scatter his fleet, bringing Reinhart's flagship within range of his guns. The battle looks won... And at that moment, orders come from The Federation's government for Yang to stand down and lay down arms. While Yang considers what to do with these orders, Schenkopf utters that they should just Kill Him Already!. Yang does not listen.
  • Monster has a rather interesting example: Johan is actively trying to get Tenma to shoot him, and to really warm him up to the idea, he points his gun at a small boy to demonstrate what will happen if he is not shot. This is actually very much like the Trigun example below, since both are cases of the villain trying to push our hero to commit an act that shatters their pacifistic idealism. Except Tenma doesn't shoot Johan. The boy's drunk, loser father does, and Tenma repudiates Johan's philosophy by saving Johan's life again.
  • Happens in the end of the battle with Garou in One-Punch Man. All of the heroes are urging Saitama to kill Garou, but he ends up sparing him.
  • In Sailor Moon R, Berthier, one of the creepiest and most sadistic villains in the series, told the heroes to "Just finish her off" after she had been defeated. When they didn't, she reformed.
  • This is Legato's ultimate goal in Trigun, and in the end he succeeds in getting Vash to pull the trigger. He really, really deserved it by that point, though.
    • There are MANY examples of this trope over the course of the show, due to Vash's strict humanitarian pacifism compared to the morally questionable natures of most of the side characters.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Seto Kaiba threatens to commit suicide if Yugi Mutou wins their duel, and Yami Yugi presses Yugi to go through with his move. (The English dub attempts to make this less clear.)

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City, during the "Dark Ages" story arc, a mortally wounded Black Velvet is uncontrollably releasing a Hate Plague across the city. She begs the Silver Agent to stop it by killing her.
    Silver Agent: "I can ease your pain. Take it away. Do you want me to do that?"
    Black Velvet: "W-will I... live through it?"
    Silver Agent: "I'm sorry. That, I can't do."
    Black Velvet: "G-good... Do it. Please. Now."
  • Invincible:
    • When the protagonist gets the villain that caused the global invasion of his Alternate Universe Evil Twins, that destroyed most of the world's big metropolises and killed many people, his younger brother started yelling to kill the guy, saying that if Mark did it before, nothing of this would ever happen.
    • Mark soon decides that his brother is right, though the most important of the villains that he thought he killed turned out to still be alive.
  • Superman:
    • In Public Enemies, rather than try to talk an enraged Superman out of killing Luthor, Batman instead describes the number of ways to get rid of the body he's already thought of. Superman relents.
    • In Supergirl story The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), two Female Furies capture Big Barda and threaten to kill her unless Wonder Woman surrenders. Barda urges Diana to fight on.
      Gilotina: Surrender. Now. Or Barda dies...
      Barda: Let them kill me, Diana. Never surrender!

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Transformers: The Movie, when Optimus Prime appears to have Megatron at his mercy, Kup shouts "Finish him off, Prime! Do it now!" Of course, Prime doesn't. Though not because he doesn't want to...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Italian dud Ator The Blade Master ("Cave Dwellers" on Mystery Science Theater 3000) featured this trope at the end of the climactic duel, complete with long preening speech about not being "barbarians". Of course, the kicker is that the hero almost gets knifed in the back as soon as he turns it.
  • Played straight in the first Darkman movie: When Darkman is holding Strack (the evil exec) over the edge of the building, looking like he will drop him to his death, the following exchange occurs, made even better because Strack is acting all genre savvy, assuming the hero will never do something so straightforward:
    Strack: Go ahead. Do it. Do it, Westlake. But think of this... you let me die, and you become as bad as me. Worse. You can't. I know you too well. Dropping me is not really an option for you. It's not something you could live with.
    Westlake (Darkman):(drops him and looks down as Strack falls) I'm learning to live with a lot of things.
  • In Full Metal Jacket, the female Viet Cong sniper has killed three members of the protagonist's squad when they finally manage to mortally wound her. The general consensus headed by the "tough guy" and second-in-command of the squad is to leave her for the rats. The protagonist insists on finishing her off.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has Voldemort do this during Harry's confrontation with Bellatrix after she kills Sirius, to up the drama.
  • John Ryder, the villain from The Hitcher bases all of his gruesome actions in the film on getting the protagonist to kill him. Or at least to try. Ryder is a bitch to kill.
  • Parodied in Loaded Weapon 1 when Mr. Jigsaw takes Wes Luger hostage. With Luger screaming "Shoot him!", Colt suddenly starts to convulse. The scene then flashes back several years when Colt is frozen with terror while his old partner screams "Shoot him!" while being held hostage by...a mime pointing his fingers like a gun.
  • In Prince Caspian, Edmund shouts "Now's not the time for chivalry, Peter!" after Peter defeats Miraz in a duel and hesitates to kill him. Peter and later Caspian let Miraz live. Lord Sopespian, on the other hand...
  • Played both ways in Rush Hour 2 (in the same scene, no less), with Inspector Lee holding Ricky Tan at gunpoint, with Inspector Carter looking on.
    Ricky Tan: Would you like me to tell you how your father died?
    Lee cocks gun
    Carter: Whoa, now, Lee. He ain't worth it, man. He tryin' to mess with you. Don't do it.
    Ricky Tan: He never begged for his life, or tried to make a deal.
    Carter: Put the gun down, Lee.
    Ricky Tan: All he asked for, seconds before I pulled the trigger, was that I promised not to kill you. Oh, it was so pathetic.
    Carter: Aw, hell no, he done gone too far. You better shoot his ass, Lee, shoot his ass!
  • In Self/Less, Anton jumps pretty quickly from trying to convince Damien to just go along with everything to screaming at one of the Mooks to torch the house and kill everyone inside.
  • Jon Doe of Se7en incites one of the cops to kill him and thus complete his scheme: "Become vengeance, David. Become Wrath."
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: Kirk yells this to Spock about killing Sybok. While the villain Sybok is beating up Kirk, Spock picks up a rifle and says, "You must surrender." The implication is that Spock will shoot Sybok if he doesn't surrender, except Sybok refuses and challenges Spock, so Kirk exhorts Spock to shoot. Of course, Spock was never going to shoot Sybok, since Sybok is his half-brother. Kirk was wasting his breath.
    Spock: You must surrender.
    Sybok: No. You must kill me.
    Kirk: SHOOT HIM!
    Spock hesitates and Sybok takes the rifle away from him.
    Sybok: ... For a moment, I thought you might actually do it.
  • Star Wars:
  • Anna in Van Helsing pulls this on Aleera after staking her, calling her out on her stupidity of gloating rather than quickly killing her prey.

  • This is Older Than Dirt, dating back to The Epic of Gilgamesh: After Gilgamesh defeats the cedar forest guardian Humbaba and has him at the proverbial knife-point, Humbaba begs for mercy. Gilgamesh seems ready to grant it, but his best friend and Worthy Opponent Enkidu convinces him (eventually) to finish what he started.

  • In The Bible, David has this moment with Saul twice in the book of First Samuel. It is a testament to how much David trusted God to wait until Saul died to be crowned king of Israel, and how badly Saul acted after God left him.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman is defeated by Frodo, and all the hobbits tell Frodo "Kill him!" because Saruman is a murderer... but Frodo refuses to allow it, and so Saruman uses the opportunity to try to kill Frodo... and so Sam tries to kill Saruman, but Frodo refuses to allow it — again. Saruman is eventually killed by Wormtongue, who has enough after getting kicked one time too many — and because Wormtongue has also murdered hobbits, the hobbits have no mercy on him, arrowing him to death when he tries to escape.
  • In the first book of Greg Egan's Orthogonal trilogy, this is the opinion of most of the crew of the Generation Ship Peerless' towards Yalda's humane treatment of Nino, the would-be saboteur during the launch.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: In "The Tale of Cutter's Treasure," after Russ Keegan saves his little brother from the ghost of pirate Jonas Cutter, Dr. Vink instructs to complete the prophecy and stab Cutter with the magic dagger. Cutter encourages the hesitant Russ to do the same. At the last minute, he remembers the riddle from the ghost of his grandfather and realizes this is all an Evil Plan because if he completes the prophecy, Cutter's spirit will be released from an eternity of guarding his now-useless treasure.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Eli says this about his brother Nucky—he doesn't mean literally at that moment, though; he is impatient about the others' squabbling over what to do about him (politically speaking) and exasperatedly exclaims "Just kill him!" It's ice-cold.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Throughout Season 2, after Angelus enters the picture, Spike repeatedly criticizes him for torturing Buffy and the Scoobies psychologically and urges him to just kill Buffy and be done with it, pointing out that Angelus' mind games are going to piss her off and give her real cause to come after them.
  • Michael got a lot of this during Season 3 of Burn Notice, mostly with regards to Larry and Gilroy.
    • This is Fiona's suggested solution to basically everything. Ironically, she and Sam are both genuinely surprised when Michael agrees they should do this to Gilroy's boss once he shows himself.
      Sam: It's that kinda thing?
      Michael:'s definitely that kinda thing.
    • Amusingly she does actually do this against "Dead" Larry but it backfires horribly due to Anson's involvement in Season 5.
  • On Farscape, after they enact a daring rescue of the bad guy to make sure he hasn't told the even-worse-guys wormhole secrets, Crichton tells Aeryn to kill him so they can go. She reacts badly. "Oh, you want me to kill him?!" "Well, I'm not the assassin, am I?" Scorpius watches with interest as they quarrel completely pointlessly.
  • Plenty of duels in Highlander: The Series end with the defeated Immortal telling Duncan "Just do it, Highlander." And Duncan does it.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit uses the Hostage Situation scenario in the episode "Fault," when the perp uses Elliot as a Human Shield in a stand-off against Olivia. Having realized earlier this episode that he and Olivia care more about each other than their duty, Elliot repeatedly tells Olivia, "Shoot him! Don't make the same mistake I made. Pull the trigger. Olivia, pull it!"
  • Smallville: At the end of Season 8, Oliver Queen and the rest of the Justice League repeatedly demand that Clark kill Doomsday. However, Clark doesn't want to kill Davis, Doomsday's human alter ego, as well, and thus decides to use black Kryptonite to split Davis and Doomsday into two and then seal Doomsday miles underground. This decision backfires when Davis, having been driven insane by the things he had to do to keep Doomsday in check, subsequently kills Chloe's Love Interest Jimmy and is killed by him in turn.
  • In Stargate SG-1, this is Daniel Jackson's immediate advice when the team captures Khalek, the genetically engineered "son" of Anubis. The fact that it's Doctor Jackson of all people making the suggestion shows how serious this is. Not following his advice turns out to be a huge mistake, and when Khalek demonstrates he really is as big a threat as Jackson said, they have a very hard time dealing with him.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla herself delivers almost this exact line to the clone of Carson Beckett trying to convince him to shoot Michael. Unfortunately, as Michael had created this clone, he had made sure he was capable of controlling his creation, and Beckett couldn't actually shoot him.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Omega Glory", Kirk gains the upper hand in the Duel to the Death with Tracy. Cloud William tells him "Kill him. It is written. Good must destroy evil." Kirk declines.

  • Gratiano does this in The Merchant of Venice after the tables are turned and Antonio has Shylock at his mercy: "A halter gratis! Nothing else, for God's sake!"

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, after you (or any of your allies save Alistair, if you decided to pick a champion) beat Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir in a duel at the landsmeet, you have him at your mercy and need to decide if you're going to kill him for his crimes against Ferelden or let him live to potentially redeem himself as a Grey Warden. Alistair demands his head, for somewhat understandable reasons. If you choose to disregard his advice and keep Loghain as a party member, Alistair will leave the party, either to be executed by Queen Anora, to become a drunken hobo, or to become king, depending on how you handled things.
    • In Dragon Age II, after Anders blows up the Chantry, Sebastian demands that he be killed — though in this case, the Anti-Villain has surrendered without a fight, accepting death as deserved and expected.
  • Played with in House of the Dead: Overkill where Isaac urges G to put Jasper out of his misery, until he decides to do it himself... and is interrupted by G, who intended to do the same in the first place, and eventually finally kills him after Isaac invokes this trope again.
  • Mass Effect:
    • 1: In one mission you defeat the leader of a gang in his own saloon. If your party includes the Krogan mercenary Wrex, he will insist on just killing the leader, before interrogation. You will interrogate him, but if you choose to spare his life, Wrex will just go ahead and shoot him anyway (though it's more of a "BOOMSHOTGUNNED" than a single shot to the head), explaining he doesn't leave his jobs unfinished (he was hired by another to kill the leader).
    • 1: Garrus is also an advocate of killing enemies rather than giving them a chance to escape justice; the game's Dialogue Trees and Karma Meter allow the player to either agree with him or gradually talk him around to a different point of view.
    • 1: If you agreed to make a cure for Dr. Cohen and were allowed to enter the quarantined lab, you will be confronted by Alestia Ialis (the asari scientist you met earlier) who is actually an asari commando working for Benezia. Choosing the bottom dialogue option will cause the Commander to shout: "She's pointing a gun at us and surrounded by geth! Shoot her!"
    • In the first game's mission on Virmire, you meet asari scientist Rana Thanoptis. After hearing her talk, you can either kill her or her actions or tell her run before you set a nuke off. If you spared her, you'll encounter her again in Mass Effect 2 "Dossier: The Warlord", once again involved in some bad stuff. She unlocks the door for you and aware of how you work, promptly flees. One of your teammates tells you that sparing people like her will come back to bite you. They are proven right in Mass Effect 3 where a news blurb reveals she murdered several asari military officials before committing suicide in custody. She was indoctrinated all along.
    • At the end of the combat portion Mass Effect 3 Citadel DLC, you can choose to kill or arrest Brooks. If you do the latter, Javik will suggest you just kill her anyway and Wrex will lament that "in the old days" you would have shot her.
  • Metal Gear:
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Otacon wants Snake to bring Vamp down and will insist almost every time you call him during their boss fight... but Vamp's already survived 'perfectly' aimed headshots.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, after taking down Quiet in her boss fight you get the choice of sparing her (Ocelot's suggestion) or killing her (Miller's demand). Killing her permanently removes her from the game.
  • Delivered several times in Star Wars: Jedi Knight, always by villains. The first Dark Jedi that Kyle defeats, Yun, demands this, but Kyle realizes he doesn't want to become like him and lets him go. The second time, Maw taunts Kyle and placing his father's head on a spike, and Kyle cuts him down in a fit of rage. The third time, Jerec tries the same thing, but Kyle has chosen his path as a Jedi and gives Jerec the opportunity to surrender.
  • Clementine can say this a few times in The Walking Dead:
    • She can urge Luke to do this. Namely, shooting Carver when he's at the group's mercy. Luke reacts as you'd expect, but Kenny doesn't, and bashes Carver's head in.
    • Clementine's mentality in the confrontation between her, Javier, Tripp, and Conrad versus the goons from The New Frontier.
    • On the player's choice, she can urge AJ to kill Lilly in Season 4 Episode 3.

    Web Animation 


    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • During Zuko's Sword over Head moment with Zhao in the third episode, Zhao tells Zuko to, "Do it!" and then calls him a coward when he doesn't.
    • And then makes a Hypocrite out of himself when Zuko turns away after telling him that he won't kill him yet. Zhao tries to attack him and is stopped (and insulted) by Iroh.
    • A taunt repeated by his father after Zuko refuses to use the perfect opportunity of the eclipse to kill him (he respects the Avatar's right as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You). Naturally, because of Ozai's voice actor... well, Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • In between those two examples, there was a fanatical Earth Kingdom general who tried to convince Aang to just go into the Avatar State and lead an invasion of the Fire Nation already instead of taking the time to learn all four elements. Aang points out that he doesn't even know how to get into the Avatar State, and can't even control his actions once he's there. When the general forces him into it by threatening Katara, he utterly devastates the fortress out of rage. Roku comes along and explains that the Avatar State is a defense mechanism that combines the power and experience of all his past incarnations. Because of this, if he is killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle will be broken, and the Avatar entity itself will cease to exist. Aang decides at the end of the episode that it's too big of a risk to try and use the Avatar State, and resolves to stick to their original plan.
  • This is what Daffy Duck urges Elmer Fudd to do to Bugs Bunny in the Looney Tunes cartoon "Rabbit Seasoning." All Bugs has to do is manipulate Daffy's syntax and he'll have Daffy asking to be shot himself.
  • Batman pulls off an inversion in Justice League after Lex Luthor seemingly kills the Flash. Superman grabs him by the throat and prepares to incinerate him with heat vision, just like it happened in the Justice Lord dimension. Wonder Woman tries to intervene, but Batman holds out his arm and lets the scene play out since he knew it was Superman's decision. Superman just barely stops himself.
    Superman: I'm not the man who killed President Luthor. Right now, I wish to Heaven that I were, but I'm not.
    • It's a wonderfully ambiguous scene. On the one hand, in the other world, Justice Lord Batman was quite quick to say " had to be done"; on the other, he does have quite a bit of faith in Superman's better nature. The question is how much of that faith remains after everything that happened that season.
      Superman: Come on, Bruce, you know me.
      Batman: Yeah...I do.
  • In Beast Wars, the ultra-pragmatic Rattrap gets impatient when Optimus Primal is giving Megatron attitude:
    Rattrap: Oh, for bootin' up cold, will you just shoot him?


Video Example(s):


"Kill him now!"

Palpatine tempts Anakin into killing Dooku. Anakin is conflicted with his actions but Palpatine tries to justify that it is normal to do such things.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCorrupter

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