Follow TV Tropes


Let No Crisis Go to Waste

Go To

Prof. Harold Hill: Now, Marcellus, I need some ideas if I'm gonna get your town out of the serious trouble it's in.
Marcellus: River City ain't in any trouble.
Hill: We're gonna have to create some.

When one turns an unfortunate and unexpected set of events into a positive and/or fortuitous outcome.

A crisis occurs. It might be quite serious or be a relatively minor event, and it might even be deliberately manufactured by a character in order to bring about this trope. Either way, the crisis makes things harder, scarier or tougher for everyone except one or more characters or groups of characters to whom it's not necessarily a bad thing, and who seem to not only persevere in the face of the adversity, but outright triumph. Sure, they may have to make sacrifices too, but that's an acceptable loss. Because now they finally have the chance they've been waiting for. Rather than respond appropriately to the crisis and nothing more, the character or group decides to use the situation to their advantage in some way.

While this tactic is commonly used by the Big Bad, Magnificent Bastard, and The Conspiracy to grab power and become dictators and by The Chessmaster to further their own goals, it can also be played positively. The idea that meeting and overcoming a crisis can pave the way to greatness is a pretty common one.

Compare Xanatos Speed Chess.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Code Geass: Lelouch accidentally orders Euphemia to commit genocide, and mere minutes later, grabs the opportunity to use the incident to start a war. He did not, however, particularly like it.
  • In episode 2 of Gate, the Empire attacks the JSDF forces with an army of over three hundred thousand troops. Unfortunately they suffer heavy losses in Curb-Stomp Battle after battle, within a matter of days. The Emperor however, sent none of their troops into battle; instead they had tributary nations send their troops to their deaths. Turns out the Emperor purposely did this to whittle his allied nation's military strength, lest they decide to turn on the Empire itself. He later orders a Salt the Earth policy in the surrounding regions to further quell any attempts at rebellion under the guise of denying the enemy JSDF forces resources.
  • Gundam:
    • Garma Zabi's death in the One Year War in Mobile Suit Gundam leads to massive funeral with thousands of people mourning him. Cue his brother Gihren turning the funeral into a massive political rally to drum up support for the war, and giving his famous "Sieg Zeon!" speech.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory: Operation Stardust is revealed to be a plan for the Zeon remnants to unleash a Colony Drop. Several less ethical members of the Federation (Jamitov Hymen and Gene Coliny) broker a deal with the Cima Marines in an attempt to utilize the attack for their own ends. Jamitov and Coliny obstruct the heroes' attempts to stop the tragedy and formulate their own plan to destroy the colony with a superweapon (and having Cima's forces betray the Zeon faction). Their plan to stop the colony is thwarted and it still hits the Earth, but they're able to use the atrocity to drum up anti-Spacenoid sentiment and launch the Titans, setting them up as the villains for Zeta Gundam. In the manga retelling, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Rebellion, the future Titans also use the fighting as a means to wipe out the Cima Marines they'd allied with; eliminating another loose end.
  • As they present themselves as the strongest martial arts dojo, the Ryozanpaku from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is often challenged by groups that want to put this reputation to test... So, being perpetually short on money, they charge a 10,000 yen fee per challenger, plus an additional thousand yen per challenger if they want to attack as a group, and once they horribly beat the challengers up they bring them to the clinics of two of their members to be healed for a large fee.
  • One Piece: The Sun Pirates are forced to reunite as a crew and leave Fish-Man Island after their captain Jimbei renounces his position as a Warlord during the Paramount War to fight on the side of the Whitebeard Pirates, the long-time protectors of Fish-Man Island. Unfortunately, Whitebeard dies during the war, causing Fish-Man Island to lose his protection. So, over the Time Skip, the Sun Pirates take advantage of their new circumstances to broker a deal with Big Mom to get Fish-Man Island her protection to replace Whitebeard's, by offering to become her newest subordinates in addition to their people giving her a monthly tribute of candy. Ultimately it works out, with the deal sealed with a marriage between Aladdin (first-mate of the Sun Pirates) and one of Big Mom's daughters, Charlotte Praline.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, the town of Vaizel, which was famous for its wrestling competitions, was crushed under a giant boulder. A few citizens survived the disaster and decided to carve the boulder into a vast colosseum, so that the rebuilt town's matches will be even better.

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City, the time-traveling villain Infidel used to go to various historical crises and ask which of the victims were willing to survive impending doom as his slaves. As it turns out: a lot of them.
  • Batman: No Man's Land:
    • The Penguin's Iceberg Lounge is the only place in Gotham that still accepts cash and jewels as payment for goods (albeit heavily marked up), as he is fully aware that there was no way the No Man's Land law was legal and would last for long. So once it was revoked he would be extremely wealthy.
    • On two fronts with Lex Luthor. First, he gives massive aid to Gotham near the coming end to the No Man's Land article, despite being against the law, to majorly boost his poll numbers in the upcoming presidential race. He even flat out admits it to the press. The other reason is he had Bane destroy all of the legal permits and created fake ones where he pretty much owned all of the land in Gotham. Batman was able to figure it out in time and saved copies of the legit ones, foiling Lex's plan.
  • One storyline in Exiles shows an Earth that suffers disaster after disaster, a superhuman war, a horrific plague, Doctor Doom trying to wipe out the government, and a series of natural disasters, all deliberately engineered by Tony Stark so he could become the uncontested ruler of the world.
  • The Flash (Rebirth): Eobard Thawne, despite having nothing to do with the Sanctuary massacre committed by Savitar, decides to use the opportunity to manipulate the Flash Family - including but not limited to having Wally West incriminate himself.
  • A two-parter in Rat-Man is set in Euthanesia, a country in the middle of a genocidal civil war. What remains of the government is using the civil war and its atrocities as a tourist attraction to bring in money.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW):
    • During the "Test Run" arc, Sonic and his friends stumble upon a tower where Eggman is conducting some experiments. Rather than be angry that the heroes stumbled on the place when he wasn't expecting them to, Eggman decides to take the opportunity to try and kill them all.
    • During the "Zeti Hunt" arc, the Deadly Six attack Restoration HQ to destroy it, unknowingly at the same time that Starline is breaking in to kidnap Belle. While terrified by their presence, he decides to take advantage of the chaos they're creating to cover his own actions.
  • Superman:
    • In Reign of Doomsday, Lex Luthor finds an abandoned wreck of an alien ship drifting near from the Sun and retrofits it into an inescapable death trap for Superman and his allies.
    • The Super-Revenge of Lex Luthor: The titular villain finds himself serving time in an asteroid prison where attempts to escape are punished by turning the perpetrator into a glass statue. As gathering fruit, Luthor finds a small crashed spacecraft. Even though the ship has been smashed by the guards and its fuel removed, Luthor stealthily salvages the wrecked ship for parts, builds one machine which turns the glassified inmates into rocket fuel and a space suit capable of interplanetary travel, and escapes from prison.
  • The Ultimates: Gregory Stark sees the events of Ultimatum as an opportunity to usurp Tony's position as chief supplier of tech to S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention his plan to create super soldiers for a democratic revolution in oppressed dictatorships.
  • This is the basis for a major plot (and major spoilers) in Watchmen. Specifically, ending the Cold War by arranging for something so terrible to happen to one of the opposing sides that both would come together in sympathy.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Vultures in The Phantom are a criminal organisation devoted to doing this trope in the most cynical way possible: they watch for other people's crises and show up to rob everyone when they're vulnerable.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha/Naruto crossover Tome of the Orange Sky, the titular tome, heavily damaged, bonds with Naruto, in the process absorbing the consciousness of Kurama, as well as the chakra constructs of Minato and Kushina. Sarutobi, after learning that the nine-tailed fox is effectively dead, uses the chance to inform all three councils that Naruto being the jinchuuriki was a ruse, and that the real jinchuuriki's identity is a secret known only to him and a select few others.


  • The Cutting Edge: While Laurel is no longer physically an alcoholic, she still has the mentality of one. To prevent herself from relapsing, she starts attending AA meetings, convincing Quentin to come along... ostensibly for emotional support, but in reality in hopes of convincing him to start treating his own alcoholism.

Code Geass

  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, Reuben Ashford offers Princess Cornelia to build and operate the first Knightmare factory in Area 11. The business proposal comes in at just the right time when the Viceroy was wondering how to keep her troops supplied after Homeland sent her crappy Spider Tanks instead of proper Knightmare Frames. Despite realizing that Reuben had self-serving reasons to help her with her problems, Cornelia had nothing but praise for his impeccable Magnificent Bastardy.
    Strengthening the family's position, gathering a powerful backer for his chosen heir, and entering what could be a profitable business operation all while expressing a properly patriotic attitude by offering to go above and beyond in providing the service. A well-played bit of strategy indeed, Cornelia had always thought Reuben would make an excellent tactician if he'd developed a taste for combat rather than business and politicking.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • In Jerk in Sheep's Clothing, the OC villain Henri LeRoi had nothing to do with the events of Chameleon, but he's very quick to swoop in and take advantage of Marinette's vulnerable emotional state and her disconnect from her friends.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • Upon learning that Hawkmoth has activated multiple akuma and is sending them after Ladybug and the other heroes, Lila decides this is the perfect opportunity to latch onto Adrien's arm and wail about how terrified she is, forcing him to stay with and comfort her and pushing forward her claims of the two of them being a couple.
    • After Gabriel is unmasked as Hawkmoth during the Final Battle, Audrey swoops in to buy out the majority share in Agreste Fashion, exploiting how its stocks have plummeted with the intent of reclaiming the brand as her own.
  • The One to Make It Stay: This mentality bites Hawkmoth on the butt during The Radio Still Plays, as he can't resist striking during the Summer Sesh in Prado Beach. Problem is, Fu knows that the Butterfly doesn't have nearly enough range to effectively control an akuma from that great a distance... unless, of course, Hawkmoth is in the area. Especially since he creates two akumas during the event. On top of that, Gabriel personally appears during the event, putting him back on Ladybug's radar as somebody potentially involved with Hawkmoth.

My Hero Academia

  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: Principal Nedzu is all about this mentality:
    • He decides that Uraraka is a perfect candidate to become the next Symbol of Peace, becoming The Svengali towards her by exploiting her Survivor Guilt and encouraging her mounting obsession with training and patrolling.
    • When Bakugou starts sneaking out to become a Vigilante Man, Nedzu is fully aware of it... and lets it continue in order to play them as an Unwitting Pawn, engineering things so that Uraraka encounters them as an opponent.
    • When Tartarus is assaulted, Nedzu naturally wants to send Class 1-A to the front lines as a publicity stunt.
  • Midoriya, Plus Three-Sixty-Five: When Izuku is mistakenly Arrested for Heroism three days after earning his license, Nedzu steers the narrative in order to elevate his student to a household name, getting all of Japan buzzing about the Miscarriage of Justice due to the Hero Commission's neglect.
  • In My Iron Giant, when Izuku ends up severely injured and comatose after All Might tears him out of his robot, Sir Nighteye tries to use the situation as an excuse for Izuku to pass on One for All to Mirio.
  • Think Before You Speak:
    • After Katsuki's reckless usage of his gauntlets results in Tenya being seriously injured during their first training exercise, Aizawa attempts to twist the tragedy to his own ends by telling Tensei that Izuku was responsible instead, in hopes of getting the kid Convicted by Public Opinion and forcing Nedzu to let him boot Izuku out of his class. This doesn't go the way he hoped.
    • The HSPC exploits the resulting scandal, taking the opportunity to investigate Aizawa's teaching methods and push into U.A., hoping to dig their hooks deeper into the school.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic


  • Service with a Smile:
    • Weiss once comforted a dying ten-year-old girl by singing for her. Her father had pictures of it published everywhere to illustrate "how caring the Schnee family was". Weiss never forgave him for taking such a personal and private moment and spinning it into propaganda.
    • After the Breach, Jaune is given so many bouquets by well-wishers that there's simply no space for them all, so Velvet and Russel start giving them away to others who were injured in the attack. Unlike Jacques, this wasn't an intentional attempt to exploit the situation.

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • A Wolf Amongst Lions:
    • When Joffery is murdered, Tywin manipulates things in order to implicate Tyrion, resulting in their exile. He also uses this as an excuse to send Cersei back to Casterly Rock, and to arrange an engagement for Arya and Jaime.
    • Since Arya, Tyrion and Tywin know how Littlefinger regularly turns war and conflict to their advantage, they bait him into an Engineered Public Confession by having Arya suggest that she's interested in another Stark-Lannister war, getting them to brag about the part they played in attempting to assassinate Tommen and Tywin while others are listening in.

Steven Universe

  • Steven Universe: Alternate Future: During the events of "I Am My Monster", Black Rutile exploits the heroes being distracted to turn humanity against the Crystal Gems.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Frozen (2013), Prince Hans's original plan was to seduce Princess Anna, and then arrange an accident to eliminate Queen Elsa, so Anna would become Queen of Arendelle (implying that he would then have Anna eliminated so he would become king). When Elsa's ice powers were revealed to the public and Elsa accidentally froze Anna's heart, he chose to leave her to die, tell the cabinet that he and Anna said their vows before her untimely death, and have Elsa condemned for killing her sister.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lasseter escapes execution for treason at the end of American Ultra by pointing out that, however disastrous the events of the film were, they were also the ultimate field test for Mike. He's proven to be an incredibly skilled operative, so attempting to eliminate all loose ends (like her) and pretending like the night never happened would be a huge waste. When he agrees to join the CIA, she's set up as his Mission Control.
  • Army of Thieves: With the rest of the world's attention focused on the zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas, a group of thieves decide to carry out a string of robberies that would otherwise be so high profile it'd be impossible to safely perform them. Unfortunately for them, one Interpol agent has a personal vendetta against them, and quickly catches onto what they're doing.
  • Occurs in The Death of Stalin, after the titular dictator's debilitating stroke. As he's still alive but comatose, his cabinet initially freak out over the necessity of summoning a doctor, as most of the good ones have already been arrested and purged and if Stalin recovers and learns that they summoned a bad doctor to treat him, they risk facing his wrath. It doesn't take very long for them to realise the opportunity within the crisis, however; any doctor capable of reversing Stalin's not-quite-brain-dead-but-might-as-well-be condition is by definition a good doctor (if not a literal miracle worker), and if the doctor is incapable of doing so Stalin will never know anyway, meaning his cabinet can get on with the business of getting ready to replace him.
  • Dr. Strangelove, General Turgidson suggest to capitalize on an underway unilateral first strike ordered by General Ripper -who anticipated Turgidson's response- and commit to a surprise full scale nuclear attack, but he is overruled by President Muffley.
  • In Iron Sky, the President is squealing with delight upon hearing the news of the Moon Nazi invasion, claiming that every wartime President gets re-elected. Of course, it's a ruse. She's actually a lizard-person, who helped orchestrate humanity's demise.
  • In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Big Bad Poppy kidnapped Elton John during Valentine's spree of kidnappings in the previous film, reasoning that the sheer volume of famous missing persons meant she could almost certainly get away with it. Which she did.
  • In Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Kirk uses the oncoming threat to get back command of the Enterprise.
  • In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Senator/Chancellor Palpatine uses fear of the Separatist movement to gain emergency powers a la Julius Caesar. Although he more or less created the Separatist movement in the first place.
  • In Super 8, the kids take advantage of a train crash and the soldiers in town in order to increase the "production values" of their film.
  • In Oliver Stone's W., Cheney and Rumsfeld view the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent War on Terror as a unique chance to end business left unfinished by Bush Sr.'s administration and start a policy of Empire-building in the Middle East.
  • Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit became the Judge of Toontown in order to prevent Toon-on-Human Crimes like the tragic death of Detective Teddy Valiant when a Toon robbed a Bank. As it turned out it was Judge Doom that robbed the bank and killed Teddy in the first place, using the money he stole to buy out the election for the position.

  • Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart is set in a former Soviet republic whose two major ethnic groups are long-divided by a rather unimportant issue. It turns out the ethnic leaders, actually quite good friends, stir the ethnic hatred in order to profit from oil.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm:
    • When Myne gets a job usually given only to children from noble families, the harassments she gets include someone ransacking the book room she considers the job's biggest perk. She spends some time being furious, then realizes that whoever will be cleaning up the mess gets to choose where things are put back. The book room didn't have any sort of classification system before being ransacked, and Myne decided this was good time to introduce one.
    • During the Interduchy Tournament of Rozemyne's second year at the Royal Academy, a student from another duchy with a resentment towards Rozemyne's retainer Hartmut launches an attack that accidentally hurts Rozemyne instead. Later, the fallout of an even worse event results in some of the country's higher-ups wanting Rozemyne to officiate the Royal Academy's coming-of-age ceremony. Rozemyne's Delicate and Sickly nature combined with the fact that she had to use a lot of mana to protect and heal the people from Ehrenfest during said even worse event falls short of convincing the higher-ups to let her sit things out. Ehrenfest's archduke convinces them by mentioning the fact that she was personally attacked before the even worse event and the ceremony would leave her unprotected.
  • The Exiled fleet from Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky plans to play this straight but with good intentions, but then Manipulative Bastard Tomas Nau exaggerates it even further, with terrible intentions. A large part of the book is dedicated to exploring the inevitable patterns that always arise in intelligent civilizations; namely, that they self-destruct, especially when they develop nuclear weaponry for the first time. So when the Exiled fleet in secret orbit around the Spider planet almost annihilate themselves in space warfare, they decide that they'll need to conserve their remaining resources until the Spiders inevitably start a nuclear war amongst themselves. Then they can Save the World and use that act to foster positive relations with the Spiders, to trade, and to rebuild their own technology as well as improve that of the Spiders. Things get complicated, and much darker, when it is revealed that Nau's actual plan is to wait for the war to start, then black out communications across the planet, hijack and redirect the nukes to cause as much damage as possible to population centers and seats of government, nearly annihilate the Spiders and blast their technology back to the Stone Age, then enslave the survivors.
  • The Godzilla vs. Kong movie's novelization reveals that the Apex Cybernetics corporation indirectly helped the military try to kill the Titans by helping them build the Oxygen Destroyer before the events of the previous movie, which Bernie regards as Apex capitalizing on the threat the Titans posed. The novel also reveals that Mechagodzilla's signal instigating Godzilla to attack Apex's Pensacola facility was a genuine accident on Apex's part, but afterwards, with the whole world misinterpreting Godzilla's attack and believing he's gone bad; Apex are all too happy to intentionally repeat the results in a more densely-populated city, so that Godzilla's name will be smeared even further before they set Mechagodzilla on him.
  • In Leviathan Wakes, tensions between Earth, Mars and the colonized asteroid Belt eventually erupt into open war across the Solar System. Later it is revealed that the events that set the war in motion were provoked and incited by the Protogen Corporation, to provide a smokescreen for large-scale human experiments with the Protomolecule .
  • The Antichrist comes to power in Lord Of The World after negotiating to prevent the pagan, theocratic Asian Empire from invading the rest of the world. Since none of the other countries had any chance to stand against them, the world leaders name him their king in gratitude, which was all part of his plan to Take Over the World.
  • Rhythm of War has a rare heroic example. After being crowned Queen of Alethkar at the end of Oathbringer, Jasnah takes advantage of the societal upheaval from the Desolations to ram through some long-overdue societal reforms, including the abolition of legalized slavery and some relaxation of the Vorin lighteye/darkeye division.
  • A core problem in Myke Cole's Shadow Ops; After The Magic Comes Back, the chaos of humans unused to possessing Magic and Powers enables every government in the world to remove many civil liberties - especially those of "Latents". The catch is of course that their goal is merely to control the crisis, and in fact take every step they can to extend and even exacerbate it - When a Fantastic Drug is developed to help Latents control their abilities, they nationalize it and use it to enhance their Mage Killers and imprison/kill every Latent who won't submit to being enslaved.
    Grace Lyons: That's what's so tricky about these systems. You're right, of course, but that doesn't change the fact that you use being right to seize and hoard power. And when you concentrate that power in the hands of a few bureaucrats, they get stingy with it.
  • This is the primary tactic Petyr Baelish uses in A Song of Ice and Fire, by his own admission. He creates crises to upset the status quo and to take advantage of whatever opportunities then present themselves in the resulting chaos. The scale of this is hard to grasp in the earlier books, but it soon becomes apparent that his destabilising actions could very well be said to be responsible for the entire war, at least in aggregate; just to name three of his numerous plots, he had Jon Arryn poisoned, he framed Tyrion Lannister for the attempted assassination of Bran Stark, and - perhaps most catastrophically - he put the Iron Throne over twenty million gold dragons in debt to the Iron Bank before getting himself reassigned to the Vale and, "incidentally", well clear of the immediate blast radius that is likely to result through the flailings of his successors as Master of Coin when they either fail to understand the scope of it or fail to get the Crown to take the situation as seriously as it should.
    Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.
  • Michael Crichton's State of Fear is about an attempt by ecoterrorists to engineer a "crisis" for the purposes of this - and Crichton's opinion is that environmentalism in and of itself is no different.
  • Victoria has a heroic example in the death struggles of the dystopian future United States. Protagonist John Rumford and his fellow secessionists consider the downfall of their country a profound tragedy; but at the same time, the disasters that ultimately lead to the collapse are the very reason their bid for secession from the corrupt and increasingly totalitarian Federal Government can succeed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Billions Bobby Axelrod is renowned for being the sole survivor of a hedge fund whose offices were destroyed on 9/11 who managed to build the firm back up after the tragedy. It's later revealed that the reason he wasn't in the office was because he was in the process of being fired from the firm for insider trading and he was at his lawyer's office finalizing the severance package paperwork. When the first plane hit, he took advantage of the fact he still had access to the firm's resources and made his fortune short selling stocks before the market closed.
  • What started as, as Tom Bergeron put it, "Mother Nature and Uncle Sam [undergoing] family counseling" on July 4, 2016 ended with one of the most patriotic broadcasts of A Capitol Fourth yet.
    PBS: We showed a combination of the best fireworks from this year and previous years. It was the patriotic thing to do.
  • In The Flash (2014), the Earth-2 version of Harrison Wells is a particularly blatant example considering that he caused said crisis. After an experiment of his accidentally unleashes a bunch of villainous metahumans on his earth, he decides he might as well make some money off of it and starts selling anti-metahuman technology to scared civilians. This enrages his earth's Flash, but Wells just denies responsibility when that Flash attempts to call him out on it. When one of the metahumans kidnaps his daughter, he finally gets serious about helping to stop them. Later it's revealed that the said metahuman is the Flash of his world, and was using Wells's resulting infamy as a recruiting pitch, making him an example of this trope as well.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish gives a great Motive Rant on the subject: "Chaos is a ladder..." Seriously, this is basically his life philosophy. Take a drink every time he uses a crisis to acquire more power, and make sure an ambulance is on hand for your alcohol poisoning.
    • Tyrion sarcastically remarks on this trope re: his own Magnificent Bastard father, Lord Tywin. Tyrion has been thrown into prison for regicide, and Tywin convinces a Dornish prince who hates him to stand as an 'objective' judge, thus forming an alliance of convenience with a potentially troublesome House.
  • In Kamen Rider Wizard, the secondary Rider, Beast, completely believes in this trope to the point where it has become a Catchphrase for him.
  • Marvel's Netflix universe:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Wilson Fisk cements his position as an organized crime boss in Hell's Kitchen by engaging in bid-rigging on government reconstruction contracts in light of the Incident.
      Matt Murdock: Yeah, the world watched half of New York get destroyed. That's a lot of sympathy.
      Karen Page: And Union Allied benefited from every dollar of it.
      • In "Into the Ring", Wesley admonishes Vladimir and Anatoly for letting one individual in a mask make short work of the men working their human trafficking operation at the docks. To which Leland Owlsley scoffs, "Again, I have to ask, why do we care! Every time one of these guys punches someone through a building, our margins go up 3%. We should be celebrating."
      • In "Condemned", Matt Murdock is holed up with Vladimir in an abandoned building, and overpowers a police officer who stumbles upon them, but not before the officer is able to call for help. Ben Urich, who'd just published a piece on Karen's leak of Fisk's corruption at Union Allied, is among the reporters at the scene, trying to get a statement from Detective Blake and Detective Hoffman. Wesley, tipped off by Blake and Hoffman, tells Fisk that if Ben gets suspicious, they might have a problem. Fisk replies, "Problems are just opportunities that haven't presented themselves."
      • In a positive example, Jeri Hogarth benefits from the fallout of Wilson Fisk's arrest by hiring on Marci Stahl and other Landman & Zack personnel.
    • Luke Cage (2016):
      • It's implied that Councilwoman Mariah Dillard embezzled Incident reconstruction grants money to fund the renovation of her cousin Cottonmouth's club.
      • Hammer Industries created the Judas bullet by reverse-engineering alien metal.
    • Iron Fist (2017): Among those that Bakuto's faction of the Hand have helped are kids who got orphaned by the Incident.
  • If anything happens in Star Trek, the Ferengi will attempt to carry out this trope.
    Rule of Acquisition #34: War is good for business.note 
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation this is a recurring theme with Starfleet Politics where more than once Picard clashes with ranking officers who are taking advantage of a current crisis to get away with their misdeeds. In the aftermath of Admiral Sati demonizing Simon Tarsis for being part human and part Romulan, Picard points out that people like her will be waiting for the right time to flourish, spreading fear and ignorance to keep themselves in power.
  • In the "Stress Relief" two-parter from The Office (US), Dwight's ill-advised fire drill causes chaos at Dunder Mifflin. Kevin decides to take the opportunity to smash the glass in the break room vending machine and raid the snacks within.

    Video Games 
  • Circus Electrique: Randolph "Ringmaster" Masters refuses to let the Maddening get in the way of his circus' grand reopening. When his niece sets out to investigate what caused the Vicious outbreak, he insists that she take several of his performance stars along with her for protection. He then uses this as leverage to take the credit for the problems they solve along the way.
  • As it turns out in the Soviet victory scenario in Command & Conquer: Red Alert, the entire Russian war effort was a plan by Kane to expand the USSR, then topple it, and use the ensuing chaos to strengthen the Brotherhood of Nod. Many fans take the stance that the primary C&C games are set in the timeline where Kane's plan succeeded (i.e. the Allies lost the war), while the subsequent Red Alert games are set in the timeline where he failed (i.e. the Allies won).
  • In the "Weird Route" of Deltarune's second chapter, Spamton helps you in slaughter across the Cyber City, counting your kills and eventually selling you the Thorn Ring that you will use to force Noelle to kill Berdly. When Queen is busy looking for Berdly and taking care of Noelle, Spamton will invade her mansion and take over it. By the time the player and their team will enter Queen's Mansion, Spamton has complete control over the place, using Pipis (a Proj-egg-tile / Action Bomb full of Word-Salad Humor) to guard it while he goes into the basement to hijack the machine hidden in it and become Spamton NEO. When you try to seal the Dark Fountain, Spamton stops you and becomes the Final Boss.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the 4th Era incarnation of the Aldmeri Dominion pull this off. After ruling the Sumerset Isles (as well as Valenwood and Elsweyr at various points) for thousands of years, the Dominion was on the receiving end of a nasty Curb-Stomp Battle from Tiber Septim and Numidium, bringing them into an empire of Men by force for the first time in history. The Dominion laid dormant during the reign of the Septim Empire, but found new life following the Oblivion Crisis which saw the end of the Septim dynasty. The Thalmor, a facistic elven-supremacist group of Altmeri religious extremists, took credit within their homeland for ending the Oblivion Crisis, winning them massive populist support. In short order, they reformed the Dominion, forcefully annexed Valenwood, and convinced to Khajiit to join as vassals with more Blatant Lies. They waged war on what was left of the Third Empire, and though the Empire would survive the war, they at least managed to force unfavorable terms onto the Vestigial Empire of Cyrodiil which set the stage for it to further fall apart. The Thalmor are motivated by an old Altmeri religious belief that the mortal world was a cruel trick on their divine ancestors which forced them to experience mortal suffering, loss, and death, and they believe that if the mortal world is unmade, it will return their spirits to a state of pre-creation divinity. One stage in this plan involves the destruction of Talos, the ascended god form of Tiber Septim (and possibly others), who may be the last thing keeping the mortal world extant. (And there is evidence that they may be right about this.) Obviously, this would paint them as Omnicidal Maniacs in the eyes of just about every other race (including among other Altmer who do not share this belief), so they have had to be crafty in implementing this plan.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: This is why Fei Huang Rong has become disenfranchized with the Kinreikan. This globe-spanning ancient conspiracy of kung fu mystics and exorcists take every opportunity to advance their wealth, even enriching themselves off disasters and conflict. He fully expects that any help they give against the Dark Force invasion will be more to gain some tangible benefit rather than simply aiding the Earth's defense. However, this also means he knows that their coffers are overflowing, and insists that the team squeeze the Kinreikan for as much as they can when Platinum worries about becoming indebted to them over their help.
  • In Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, this is a big part of Canada's strategy: waiting until the Internationale and the Reichspakt are at war to make invading them easier, using the chaos of the Second American Civil War to seize large parts of the United States including New England, and seizing the Legation Cities in China if the Triads take control of them.
    • Prior to the events of the game, the United States established a Banana Republic on much of Central America, but thanks to poor management and The Great Depression, Nicaragua managed to liberate itself from American hegemony - or rather, half of it did; Americans begrudgingly conceded the western half of Nicaragua (including its capital) to the socialist rebels due to them being too busy dealing with the Great Depression to be able to properly intervene, but retained the eastern half to continue their economic exploitation there, and warned the rebels that any further action from them would see a very swift American intervention. As soon as the United States falls into civil war, the Nicaraguan rebels can immediately take advantage of the power vacuum to finally liberate the eastern half of the country and weed out the remaining US Marines while Uncle Sam is too busy to do anything about it.
    • If the Commune of France elects the Jacobins or the Sorelians, it can very quickly plunge itself into chaos and civil war as the Travailleurs and Anarchistes revolt over the former's policies betraying the working class and the revolution. National France and the German Empire can then use this opportunity to declare war and quickly stackwipe the divided and weakened Communards.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III has Giliath Osborne willing to get shot in the head so that they can cure Ash's curse. However, the emperor decided to step in and receive the gunshot to the chest instead to cure his curse and resume what is noted in the Black Records. Osborne clearly didn't want the emperor to get harmed but decided to capitalize on it to fulfill the Black Records to spread the curse all over Erebonia.
  • Phantasy Star IV: Reipard La Shiec may not have been responsible for the Black Energy Wave rendering the inhabitants of Dezolis ill, but he at least was likely aware of it when he ordered three of his cronies to steal the one item that can help stop it, just to get revenge for his defeat in the first game.
  • In Starcraft I Terran campaign, Mengsk uses the zerg invasion to help himself gain power.
  • The Initiative in Terra Invicta is a Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy of corrupt corporate executives seeking to exploit the Alien Invasion for power and profit. They will help fight the aliens as a matter of necessity, but will use alien technology to secure their power on Earth whenever the opportunity prevents itself. Especially in their endgame, where they reverse engineer alien Mind Control and use it to take over both Earth and the alien's world.

  • In Girl Genius, the incapacitation of Baron Wulfenbach (and ensuing chaos throughout his empire) and emergence of a Heterodyne were entirely unexpected, but several factions lept on the opportunity to take advantage of them (including one group who'd been planning a rebellion for years, and were just forced to accelerate their schedule). Interestingly, just about everyone KNOWS this will happen.
  • An Oglaf strip has a king receive the news of the ongoing destruction of his kingdom by the "Dark Marauder" with utter glee: he was a terrible king and had left the kingdom at the brink of ruin but now "ruin has arrived" and it's not his fault. The strip ends with the king thanking the Dark Marauder just as the latter is about to chop off the king's head.
  • In Tower of God, White, a Slayer of FUG, had made a Deal with the Devil that allowed him to gain power by consuming the souls of others. He set himself up a system to do this on an industrial scale by appearing as a different messianic figure for two different kingdoms and getting them to wage war with each other indefinitely. He got about a billion souls out of it before he was stopped by a Princess of Jahad.

    Web Original 
  • In The Fate of Paul Twister, Paul mentions the Chinese word for "crisis" to Aylwyn. She has a slightly different take on it:
    She gave a short laugh and glowered at me. "That sounds right. Itís usually some fool trying to turn a dangerous situation into an opportunity for personal gain that causes things to degenerate into a crisis."
  • Internet Historian: The end of the "Pool's Closed" episode documents 4chan users reuniting and orchestrating another large-scale raid on Habbo after the game loses major investors in the wake of being accused by Channel 4 News of harboring pedophiles.
  • Twig takes a different path. The Lambsbridge Gang have a small tendency to deliberately make things significantly worse before they can get a handle on making it sort-of better. Justified because they're usually thrown into badly chaotic situations and crises in order to do their jobs to start with, and directing part of the can of crazy gives them a way to control some of it... And, because Sylvester.
  • In Worm, this is for the most part averted in relations between supervillains and superheroes. In the event of an S-class threat, it's common practice to band together and take it down, to the point that it's standard procedure for when the Endbringers-massive Kaiju-like creatures that have destroyed entire nations-attack. When Armsmaster sabotages this truce for a shot at personal glory, therefore, it is both a perfect example of this trope and a Moral Event Horizon.
    • Hookwolf pulls this off when the Slaughterhouse Nine attack by accusing the Undersiders and Travelers of this; they've been encroaching on his territory, and he declares his intention to exclude them from the alliance he's forming unless they stop developing the territory they've just seized.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: The final season has Barry the candy guy, previously revealed to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, forming a gang of roving marauders to take advantage of the recent chaos in Amphibia following Andrias regaining the calamity box.
  • One episode of Beavis and Butt-Head had everyone in their neighborhood being evacuated, and naturally having ignored the warnings, the duo conclude the Apocalypse happened and they proceed to steal stuff and generally do whatever they want.
  • The Dragon Prince: After the death of the king and disappearance of the two princes, Lord Viren is quick to declare himself regent so that he can start enacting his own agenda. He also makes sure to send his children Soren and Claudia to to track down the princes — officially, to bring them home, but with Soren having secret orders to kill them so that Viren never has to give up his power.
  • The Legend of Korra: This is revealed to be the reason as to why Tarrlok is taking such extreme actions against the Equalists and unaffiliated non-benders. He's only using the Equalist crisis to further his own goals of cementing his power over Republic City, which is why he shoots down any other more reasonable actions to take against them.
    • Varrick essentially tried to do this while opposing Unalaq. Once Unalaq's arrival angered the Southerners, it gave him the opportunity to start a war to make a lot of money from. After the war starts in the Southern Water Tribe, he wanted to magnify it on a global scale by instigating false flag terrorist attacks in Republic City that would implicate the North. However, since the Water Tribe crisis involved Vaatu's return, it wouldn't have benefitted Varrick in the long run.
  • The Owl House: With The Collector taking over the isles, the remaining students of Hexside are hiding out in the school, while Boscha of course steps up to lead them through the crisis. With the aid of a disguised Kikimora, who is making her own grab for power in this situation.
  • South Park: Several characters are seen using the COVID-19 Pandemic to their advantage during the pandemic special episode:
    • Cartman uses the lockdown order to stay home and do nothing all day, not even bothering to shower or attend virtual classes.
    • Randy's weed business is one of the few doing well during the pandemic, he even releases a "Pandemic Special" strain of weed for the occasion.
    • President Garrison is doing nothing to stop the pandemic, because he believes it will kill off all the Mexicans in America.
    • When the students at South Park Elementary break quarantine, triggering a panic-induced riot throughout the town, Yates convinces Mayor McDaniels to refund the police department. They use the money to buy everything from assault rifles to tanks to heavy artillery, then go on a murder spree killing kids all over South Park.
    • An earlier example was in "About Last Night", when the rowdy, drunken Obama supporters are causing chaos in South Park (tipping over Officer Barbrady's car when he attempted to put an end to the drunken revelry); Cartman rolls up on his Big Wheel, with a cart strapped to the back filled with stolen TVs, asking Stan and Kyle if they want to buy one. This becomes a Brick Joke when Randy wakes up the next morning, hungover and wondering where his TV is (and where his pants are, for that matter).
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), when the Triceracons invaded Earth, the Shredder decided to stand by and watch, believing it would present some "opportunities". After the invasion was over, he used his persona as Oroko Saki as a kind benefactor and started cleaning up the damage caused to New York. Not only does this net his organization a lot of good PR, but he was able to collect the remains of Triceraton technology and use it to build himself a starship with which he could return to space and enact his revenge on the Utroms.
  • Wander over Yonder: During Lord Dominatorís invasion of the galaxy, a mysterious new hero appears who can seemingly beat Dominatorís robot minions with ease, and provide a glimmer of hope to the people in need. Turns out itís just Brad Starlight only pretending to be a hero with a salvaged robot, using the invasion as a pretext to fuel his own ego without actually helping anyone one bit.

    Real Life 
  • Both Hitler and Mussolini rose because their respective countries were in shambles following WW1. The infamous Reichstag Fire is the most famous individual example, as well as the Trope Codifier for Day of the Jackboot.
  • This is how the revolution of 1917 came to pass. If not for World War I's devastating effects on the country, it would've been much harder — if not impossible — to pull off.
  • The British government got a lot of flack for "burying" the release of some bad news about the economy in the aftermath of a train crash.
  • Infamously paraphrased by Rahm Emanuel around the time Barack Obama was elected.
  • Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a non-fiction doorstopper of a book about people doing precisely this. A sample quote:
    Hurricane Katrina has just hit New Orleans, what do you do? If you said "privatize public schools", you might just be a conservative.
  • Honestly, this happens a lot in politics. Any sort of disaster, tragedy or public outrage will inevitably prompt opportunistic lawmakers to use it as a springboard for their pet legislation, regardless of whether or not it would, or even could, actually help fix the problem.
    • Political advocacy organizations frequently capitalize on related tragedies or news, because they tend to prompt an increase in donation spending.
  • According to both myth and historical record, Cao Cao — the King of Wei most known for his starring role in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms — was assessed by a renowned sage, who was famous for always being able to tell someone's true potential. He stated that Cao Cao would be 'A decent administrator in peaceful times, or a blood-stained hero in chaotic times.' A few years later, the long period of civil war known as the Three Kingdoms Period got started, and Cao Cao lived up to the prediction by turning the crisis into his opportunity - eventually outmaneuvering both Wu and Shu, and seizing control of all China with the formation of a new Dynasty (it didn't last more than three generations before his trusted strategist, Sima Yi, pulled an Evil Chancellor and seized power for himself — but by then, Cao Cao was several years in the grave, so you can hardly blame him for that).
  • After the Fire of London, that effectively destroyed the center of London, Christopher Wren (and scores of others) proposed new plans with wide streets making up simplistic shapes to create a bold looking city. In the end, however, it was decided that London should be rebuilt the way it was with winding small streets.
  • Tony Blair's Labour administration in the UK was infamously busted for an email that was allegedly sent on September 12, 2001 to various departments, encouraging them to get any press releases they didn't want to be front page news out and that the 9/11 terrorist outrage was the perfect opportunity to "bury bad news". It backfired spectacularly when this email came to light, and "bury bad news" became a popular turn of phrase for a while in the UK for the act of using some big news event to hide some other news you don't want to be so big.
  • Large charities such as the Red Cross often put out new advertising campaigns when a major disaster strikes - in response to sudden increase in need, but also because donations skyrocket in the aftermath of disasters.
  • When the Southern Methodist University Mustangs football team was hit with what remains known as the harshest punishment ever inflicted by the NCAA in 1986, it wasn't long before many recuiters from different football programs across the country were flocking to Dallas, where SMU is based, to recruit practically displaced football players.
  • In the 6th Century BC, Apollo's Temple in Delphi (the most important Greek Oracle) was burnt down. The Athenian noble family of Alcmaeonidae, exiled by the tyrant Peisistratos, rebuilt it at their own expense, thus gaining sufficient favor with the priests for them to manipulate Sparta into evicting Peisistratos' son out of Athens, allowing the Alcmaeonidae to return.
  • The Conservative Party making up the British Government during the COVID-19 Pandemic has been widely criticised and gained a reputation for enormous corruption for this, using the Covid crisis as an excuse to hand out large contracts to people connected to the Party, such as Party donors or relatives. One of the most prominent Conservatives, Jacob Rees-Mogg, had his investment firm Somerset Capital Management tell investors that they could make "super normal returns" during this period due to the dive in the stock market.
  • This is effectively how slavery was ended in the USA. Abraham Lincoln detested slavery (but still held views that would be considered incredibly racist today) but as president he didn't have the authority or the political influence to outright ban it (and an outright ban would have several issues in practice, most abolitionists including Lincoln favored a more gradual phasing out of slavery). Still, when the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina in 1861 they triggered The American Civil War. Lincoln was able to spin the war's narrative from a "war to save the Union" into a "war to end slavery" (and to be fair, the Confederates were seceding over the issue of slavery, not "states rights", their declarations of secession mention it).


Video Example(s):


"Pool's Closed"

Channel 4 accusing ''Habbo Hotel'' of being overrun with pedophiles encourage trolls to reunite and raid it once more.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / LetNoCrisisGoToWaste

Media sources: