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Kind Restraints

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In many works, a character can end up being Not Himself. He or she could even hurt someone, or admit to someone that they are worried that they might hurt someone. Sometimes, they're just acting oddly enough to give people reason to think that they're crazy and/or dangerous to themselves and others. Often, their freedom is taken away by their own friends or allies to keep them safe and unable to harm themselves or other people. This could be by restraint, sedation, or confinement.

This will often happen in a safe location, such as their base or a hospital (or whatever serves as one), and will often result in some fight between the captive and the captor(s). This can result in Breaking the Bonds, or if they gain superpowers it could become a Cardboard Prison. Those keeping them captive may employ some sort of Kryptonite Factor to keep them under control. This could also result in an Unwanted Rescue. If they ask to be restrained, it can overlap with No Matter How Much I Beg.

The character being confined does not need to be willing, and the characters to whom they lose their freedom don't need to be benevolent. However, their confinement has to be for safety, and not for malice or punishment, in order to actually fit this trope.

Subtrope of Cruel to Be Kind. See Percussive Prevention for a more extreme version of this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Played for laughs in Daphne in the Brilliant Blue. Gloria is so aggressive and impulsive that her co-workers at Nereids often have to knock her out and/or tie her up to keep her from hurting them, damaging their office, or jeopardizing their missions.
  • Ulysses 31: Like in the mythological version of the story, upon sailing toward the sirens, Ulysses orders Nono to tie him up to the mast of their boat before disabling the robot's hearing. Unlike in The Odyssey, though, Ulysses manages to break the ropes and jump overboard to be captured by the sirens.

    Comic Books 
  • The Incredible Hulk: This happens to the Hulk from time to time. In early stories, Bruce Banner had a bunker under the sea which he had Rick Jones lock him into at night for when he turned into the Hulk.
  • Spirou & Fantasio: In the album La Valllée des Bannis, a venomous mosquito bites Fantasio and causes him to go insane; the insanity makes Fantasio become very violent and reckless and Spirou is eventually forced to tie him up to keep them both safe.
  • A similar situation happens in the Achille Talon album Viva Papa! To escape from a prison cell while tied up, Talon has sidekick Lefuneste gnaws on their bonds. Except, as they find out, the rope is made of Tapasambalian hemp, a dangerous psychotropic plant. Thus Lefuneste has to be kept tied during the escape. Later, the bad guys capture them again and, seeing one of them still in ropes, conclude that he's no longer their friend and have him freed — and Lefuneste goes berserk on them.
  • On full moon nights, Werewolf by Night is regularly tied down or locked up by family (his sister Lissa), friends (Buck or Morbius) allies (Moon Knight), or even people he's just met but feels he can trust (Bruce Banner). Often it's to little avail as the werewolf is strong enough to break out. Morbius eventually prescribes him drugs that knock him out cold.
  • All-Star Comics: The Justice Society of America and their allies restrain the victims of Professor Elba's Insanity Serum to prevent them from harming themselves and others until Dr. Mid-Nite synthesizes Solution K to cure them of the effects.

    Fan Works 
  • Tom gets tied up in many All Assorted Animorphs AUs chapters in order to get him to the Hork-Bajir valley without his Yeerk escaping with his body. Eva also ties Marco to a chair in "What if the yeerks all suddenly died?" (because she thinks he's a controller) and "What if they were all from different AUs á la Into the Spider-Verse?" (because he is a controller).
  • John Gage gets it a few times when he's feverish and delirious in this Emergency! fic series. The problem is, it backfires MAJORLY. As a child, John was abused and sometimes had his hands tied by his uncle, and still suffers a type of PTSD from it. Even under normal circumstances, the idea of being restrained frightens him. But when he's sick or injured, confused and not thinking clearly, the restraints trigger flashbacks and the result is sheer terror and blind panic. He'll scream and cry and fight with everything he has to free himself, usually only responding and calming down when he hears Roy's voice. Brackett sees this the first time he treats him and later stipulates no restraints, ever. But, twice, nurses ignore orders and do it anyway, outraging the doctor, nurse Dixie, and the rest of John's friends.
  • In Deserted Distractions, to stop Yami Bakura from causing trouble, Tea ties Ryou to a chair.
  • Astral Journey: It's Complicated has Melanie locked up in a wheelchair and gurney thanks to her escape attempts. The second of which ended in disaster, following being admitted against her will due to her eating disorder that was putting her health in danger.
  • In What Tomorrow Brings, the Animorphs knock Tom unconscious and tie him to a chair in the woods so they can kill his Yeerk.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: In The Wind in the Willows, when Toad develops yet another reckless obsession, this one being motorcars, Rat and Mole try to keep him from causing any more damage by locking him in his chambers and standing guard at the door. This plan fails, however, as Toad later escapes out the window via a Bedsheet Ladder.
    Narrator: Now, of course, playing jailer to one's dearest friend wasn't exactly a pleasant situation. In fact, Moley weakened right at the start and wanted to call it quits. But Ratty said, "No! Definitely not!" This time, they must be firm. After all, it wasn't just a matter of saving Toad from himself. There was MacBadger to consider, and Toad Hall, and all that it stood for.
  • In Zootopia, Mayor Lionheart was keeping the savage mammals imprisoned and hidden in order to prevent a panic while he attempted to cure them, also protecting the public from these dangerous savage mammals.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • City War have Dick purposely handcuffing his bestie, Ken, who's about to go on a Suicide Mission against the mob who killed his family, with Dick deciding to go alone because he's got "nothing to lose". Ken managed to break those cuffs anyways and arrives in a Big Damn Heroes moment to reinforce Dick using a shotgun.
  • Grandmother's Farm: At the end of the movie, Saeed and Mr. Murshid tie up Yasser after he starts convulsint.
  • The Invisible Man Returns (1940) has Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) ask a friend and lab colleague to restrain him if he shows signs of insanity (a known side effect of the invisibility formula). After a tense dinner scene with said friend and his love interest, Radcliffe is subdued and chained to a chair and does indeed attack the friend.
  • The Wolf Man (1941): Lawrence Talbot is tied up so he can't get out in his wolf form.
  • Tropic Thunder: the other guys tie up Jeff Portnoy when he starts to freak out over not having any "jelly beans."
  • The Dead Center takes place in a very realistic and unglamorous emergency psych ward. The restraints are used at a few points, as some of the patients are dangerous to themselves and others.

  • Sato in the 13th Reality series asks for this when he's infected with the Dark Infinity plague, which transforms him into a raving madman and unwilling host for Reginald Chu's consciousness. He's left tied down in a cell for several days, and by the time the nanobots controlling the plague have been deactivated he's badly injured from struggling against the restraints.
  • Animorphs
    • The team has to tie up Jake when he's accidentally infested, to starve out the Yeerk in his head, and they have to constantly watch him on top of it because they know the Yeerk will try to morph to free him from the restraints. They know for sure the Yeerk's in his head when he refuses to wait out the three days, which he would have done normally (it's not a question of trust, Yeerks being Puppeteer Parasites), also when he calls Ax "Andalite filth".
    • Jake returns the favor to Marco later, preventing Marco from doing anything as Visser One using Marco's mother as a host, falls to her Disney Death by holding him down while in tiger morph.
  • In A Brother's Price, Cira holds Jerin in a way that makes him unable to move and puts her hand over his mouth, as they're just beside the road on which the women who kidnapped Jerin are riding, and she plans to trick them into riding past. Jerin thinks she's one of them, so he struggles a lot.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia novel The Silver Chair. The Green Lady's protege asks the protagonists to tie him to the title device and not let him go No Matter How Much I Beg, so that he won't change into a green serpent and kill them. Actually a subversion since he has not yet been revealed to be Prince Rilian and the real reason he is being kept in the Silver Chair is because, rather than being in danger of turning into a snake and killing everyone, those nightly spells are the only times he realizes that he is Prince Rilian and the Green Lady wants to ensure that he doesn't escape from her while he still knows who he is.
  • Cut is about a fifteen-year-old cutter whose family placed her in a mental health facility once they found out that she'd been engaging in Self-Harm. As well as providing therapy, the facility also has a policy against "sharps," which they call anything that can be used for Self-Harm. This even extends to pencils and glass. However, Callie does find ways to engage in Self-Harm despite this...
  • The Dresden Files has examples for both werewolves (with the circle in Fool Moon) and (semi) vampires who have trouble controlling their bloodlust (in Death Masks).
  • In Harry Potter, Remus Lupin is a werewolf who, each full moon, would be overcome by the wolf and attack any humans in sight. To keep him from hurting anybody, once he enrolled in Hogwarts he was sent to the Shrieking Shack each month where he would be kept until sunrise.
  • The Hunger Games: In Mockingjay, Peeta is Brainwashed and Crazy in such a way that the usage of Insane Equals Violent is justified and is restrained to ensure that he doesn't harm anyone, especially Katniss.
  • In The Parasol Protectorate, werewolves have servants called "clavigers", whose job description includes locking their werewolf in a cell when the moon is full.
  • In The Shining by Stephen King, Jack Torrance starts going violently insane to the point where his wife Wendy has started carrying a knife around in the event that she has to use it on Jack in self-defense. When she manages to get him unconscious after he tries to hurt her, she locks him in the pantry of the Overlook to protect herself and their son Danny and so that he won't starve in the time it takes for help to arrive. He does manage to escape, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Lincoln from The 100 is restrained by the Ark survivors while detoxing from the drug that turned him into a Reaper, and he insists they keep him tied up for a while even after the drug's out of his system because he doesn't trust himself after the things he did while Reaperfied.
  • Angel:
    • In "Somnambulist", Angel fears he may be committing vampire murders while sleepwalking, so has Wesley and Cordelia tie him up while he's asleep. That night there's another murder, proving Angel didn't do it, but by then Angel has worked out that it's a vampire he sired while he was Angelus.
    • Played for laughs in "Eternity" when his evil Angelus persona resurfaces. At the end of the episode, Angel wakes up Chained to a Bed by Wesley and Cordelia, who inform Angel they don't hold anything Angelus said or did against him. They are in fact willing to move on. And they walking off and leaving him there.
    • The werewolf Nina comes to Wolfram & Hart monthly to be locked up. Given that she dresses up nicely to do so, Wesley suggests to Angel that she might have another reason.
  • Played generally for laughs in The A-Team with B.A.'s fear of flying that makes it necessary for the others to sedate him or knock him out in order to be able to bring him along aboard any sort of aircraft.
  • Being Human:
    • In early episodes, Mitchell does this for George, the resident werewolf. Later, George finds ways to get the job done on his own.
    • In a flashback, Mitchel's vampire sponsor ties him to a chair during his blood-detox.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Oz is confined on full moons. At first in a cage locked with a key, later however in a cage locked with a combination keypad which he can only operate when he is human.
    • In the episode "Living Conditions" Buffy starts rooming with a new girl her own age, then starts to get annoyed about those kinds of little things that roomies do to annoy each other. Then she starts to get delusional and claims that the girl is 'evil', and that she's going to have to 'slay' her, which prompts the rest of the Scoobies to tie her up to stop her while trying to find out why she's suddenly gone crazy. The restraints are less than effective at holding her, though Buffy is proven right.
    • Buffy chains Angel up to keep him from hurting himself or attacking others after his return from hell when he's still feral and wild. In Season 7 she does the same to Spike.
  • In Farscape, at the end of season 2, Crichton is restrained in order to keep the Neurochip inside his brain in check. It doesn't work too well, given that Scorpius' Neural Clone allows him to talk his way out on one occasion.
  • In Firefly, after one of River's bouts of madness (where she attacks Jayne with a knife) Mal has her confined to her quarters and only allowed out if accompanied by himself or Simon. Unlike most cases, River seems to willingly accept this limitation, as while confined to her room there's no lock or other restraint used. Later in Serenity, after a much more destructive round of violence, River is chained up in a locked storeroom, but subsequent events show that she only remained restrained because she knew the rest of the crew were terrified of her and could escape at any time.
  • Jekyll features a heavy restraint chair in Jekyll's office, set aside for Hyde's scheduled "out time".
  • LazyTown: When Sportacus's feet go cuckoo in the episode "Defeeted", the kids do everything they can to keep him still, including grabbing ahold of his boots and even tying up his leg with rope. Neither seems to end up working though.
  • Once Upon a Time: In "Queen of Hearts", Aurora knows full well that she cannot be trusted so long as Cora has her heart. So she forces Emma, Snow, and Mulan to tie her to Rumpelstiltskin's cell until Cora has been defeated. Mulan promises to get Aurora's heart back, and eventually succeeds.
  • Sanctuary:
    • Conversed after Henry's HAP powers first manifest. He tells Magnus to chain him up in the SHU if she doesn't have a way to stop it because he can't account for himself when he's "that thing".
    • In the same episode, it turns out Glen Meyers restrained himself in a basement whenever his Eye Beams surfaced.
  • In She-Wolf of London, Randy has a cell in her house into which she has her boyfriend lock her when the full moon rises.
  • Stargate:
    • Stargate SG-1: In "The Broca Divide", most of the characters in the SGC end up locked up after being affected by a disease SG-1 brought back from the planet.
    • In Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard is confined to his room while turning into an Iratus-bug hybrid. He asked for it, he warned everyone, yet no one seemed to take him seriously.
    • Stargate Universe:
      • Chloe being locked in her room while turning into one of the aliens.
      • Colonel Young is tied to a chair before swapping minds with one of the aliens to make sure the alien can't do anything to Destiny.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Tholian Web". When Chekov goes violently insane due to the effect of area of space the Enterprise is in, he's shown strapped down to a table in Sick Bay screaming.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Seven of Nine once is affected by a Borg core causing other personalities to come forth.
    • Tuvok in a last season episode dealing with Maquis brainwashing.
  • Supernatural:
    • Bobby and Dean lock Sam in Bobby's panic room to keep him away from the demon blood so he can "detox".
    • Castiel, Bobby, and Sam later lock Dean in there to stop him getting to Michael.
    • Castiel of all people gets these in season 11, when he's under Rowena's curse and can only partially control his outbreaks of violence. Sam and Dean set him up with some fairly long chains inscribed with anti-angel sigils attached to a ring on the floor, so he can at least move around a little and help them research during his periods of lucidity.
  • In The Walking Dead (2010), Jim goes a little nuts and starts digging graves in the blazing hot Atlanta sun, and has to be restrained by being tied to a tree until he comes to his senses.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In The Odyssey, Odysseus has his crew tying him up to the mast of their boat so that he could hear the song of the sirens and survive. His men have their ears plugged with wax, and under strict orders to not untie him until well away from the sirens, no matter how much he begs them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Call of Cthulhu supplement Masks of Nyarlathotep, adventure "The Derbyshire Murders". Eloise Vane suffers from the Curse of the Vanes, which causes her to turn into a werewolf on nights with a full moon. On those nights Eloise's father and brother lock her away in the castle dungeons to prevent her from wandering around killing people.

    Video Games 
  • In GHOST Squad, several segments have you detaining hostages with handcuffs, something that civilians often associate with arresting a criminal suspect. But you don't want panicked civilians ("I'm not a terrorist!") just running around potentially disrupting a precision anti-terrorist operation (even if they don't mean to do so), and some of those civilians could actually be enemies in disguise, which is why you have to detain them.

    Web Comics 
  • In Girl Genius, the scene in the basement of Castle Heterodyne where Agatha has her minions strap her to an operating table during an experiment which required her to allow an earlier quasi-Demonic Possession to reassert itself. Unfortunately, some other helpers show up during the experiment and don't understand why their dear friend is restrained, so they "help" her...
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Roy has to bind and gag Durkon in the Wooden Forest to keep him from freaking out about trees and alerting the bandits.
      Durkon: [gagged] Mmph mrph mmmph mmf mrf mrrrph mrph!
      Roy: I'm going to choose to attribute that comment to stress and not hold it against you in the future.
    • The team also keeps Belkar bound and gagged after Nale uses a Charm Person on him... and for an extra few hours in the morning after the spell wears off since the halfling is better company this way.
    • An odd preemptive example: when laying an ambush for the Linear Guild, one of the elements is Durkon's Holy Word, a spell that deafens (and paralyzes, if they aren't strong enough) Evil creatures nearby, and banishes outsiders. Naturally this includes Belkar — but this just serves to make him immune to Nale's Suggestion, which he would have to hear to be affected by.
  • In Freefall, when Florence has to give several fully sapient robots information that their programming would force them to detain her over, she asks them to disable their motor control for a set length of time beforehand.

    Web Original 
  • Paige in the Whateley Universe is a new Were-cat who can't control herself when she changes, and can't even control her changes (it can happen anytime, not just on full moons), so she has a nice room to herself in the basement of Hawthorne Cottage, only she is locked in most of the day. She does have Internet access, which is a rather important consideration given that she is the only known cyberpath in the world.

    Web Videos 
  • At the end of the SuperMarioLogan movie "Chef Pee Pee's Mistake!", Chef PeePee goes into this after noticing the dog everywhere he goes and hides. To the point where he gets Driven to Suicide and Officer Goodman has to take him to an insane asylum.

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", Twilight Sparkle has to find her friends and cast a spell to make them themselves again. Once she finds them, they have to be tied up in order for her to cast the spell because they won't stay still.
    • It happens again in "Hearts and Hooves Day", where the Cutie Mark Crusaders brew up a love potion in order to get Cheerilee and Big Macintosh together: it backfires dramatically as the two become obsessed with one another, and the only cure is to keep them apart for a whole hour. Sweetie Belle manages to barricade Cheerilee in the dressing room while she picks out her wedding dress; keeping Big Macintosh at bay, however, takes a bit more effort (and a hastily-dug pit trap).
    • Angel Bunny ties up Fluttershy, probably at her own specific request, and certainly with her consent in "Putting Your Hoof Down" when Fluttershy believes that she is a danger to society.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Honking", Bender, who is turning into a "were-car", is bolted to the wall while Fry and Leela find a cure.
  • In the Teen Titans (2003) episode "Haunted", the team start to think Robin is insane when he continuously claims to see his arch-enemy Slade when they can't. He threatens to hurt them if they get in the way of his hunt for Slade, so they knock them out and strap him down until they can find out what's wrong with him. As it turns out he'd inhaled a drug that affected his nervous system, meaning only he could see Slade and his body reacted to Slade's attacks as if they were real.
    Starfire: But must we keep him restrained?
    Cyborg: He threatened us, Star. He's dangerous.
    Beast Boy: Dangerous?! Try totally flipped-out cuckoo labonza!
  • Happens twice to Batman in Batman: The Animated Series, both as a result of the Scarecrow's toxins. The first time Bruce inhales a fear-inducing hallucinogen and is confined in Arkham Asylum while suffering various paranoid delusions, unable to convince his caretakers that the Scarecrow's plan is actually real. The second time, a fear-eliminating toxin turns him into a psychopath, and Robin ties him up against his will to protect his enemies. Briefly shown in an issue of the tie-in comic as part of standard treatment for hysterical victims of Jokerization.
  • On American Dad!, Steve asks his friends to do this to him when he thinks he is becoming a werewolf.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "Birds Anonymous", Sylvester, who is trying to go on a bird-free diet, handcuffs himself to a radiator so he won't harm Tweety. However, his appetite soon overpowers him and he rushes for the bird, tearing the radiator out of the wall as he does.
  • In Turbo F.A.S.T., drinking from an expired can of tomato juice causes most of the snails to start worshipping the can as a deity. White Shadow ends up plugging a leak with his mouth to prevent it from affecting the remaining snails.
    White Shadow: Oh, no! Am I gonna go crazy?
    Turbo: Well, do you feel crazy?
    White Shadow: Uh, no... not really.
    Turbo: Do you wanna tell Chet that we're here?
    White Shadow: A little bit. Also, I love the can.
    Turbo: Right. We're gonna tie you up now, okay?
    White Shadow: Okay.