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Mercy Kill

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Au revoir, Needle Man.
"I'm going to kill you, then myself. It's my only choice. This is the only way to free you from Naraku! Forgive me, Kohaku!"
Sango, Inuyasha

Something horrible has happened or is happening to Alice. Her pain is unbearable. Even her loved ones look away and cover their ears as she screams. There is nothing they can do to save her. But at least they can make the pain stop.

Whatever Alice is suffering is usually a protracted, horrible death or something even worse (thus making a quick death a kindness). There may be a hideous mutation in progress that nobody knows how to stop. Cold-Blooded Torture has destroyed her body and mind. She's being Eaten Alive. She's about to succumb to The Virus or The Corruption, and is begging you to let her die as herself. Medical treatment that might save her life won't arrive in time. Whatever the scenario, death by your hand is the only merciful option; you know Alice would want you to kill her even if she's in no condition to say so.

Instant Death Bullet is likely, and justified in this situation: whoever fires the fatal shot has all the means and motive to ensure that Alice goes quickly. Even so, there is usually time for a glimmer of self-awareness that allows Alice to show her gratitude through a tearful smile or the like. This is usually easier when the shooter is Cradling Their Kill.

When several people could do it, it is likely that her closest friend will insist on being the one to give the fatal blow; compare Dying Alone.

The Medic, even if holding to Thou Shalt Not Kill, may make an exception for these.

Note that in Real Life, euthanasia is extremely controversial. Whereas some jurisdictions allow for the killing of a person with the killed person's consent (arguing that a person's free will is legally paramount), other jurisdictions penalise the killing of another person even in such cases (arguing that the sanctity of human life is legally paramount). In either case, it is usually an incredible Tear Jerker.

Not to be confused with Put Them All Out of My Misery. Very common in zombie stories, for obvious reasons.

Contrast Cruel Mercy, which aims to do the exact opposite. Compare the combat-ending Coup de Grāce, the villainous Thwarted Coup de Grāce, and the assisted-suicide I Cannot Self-Terminate. See also Staking the Loved One, where this is usually the motive, and Painless Death for a Price, where someone is promised a quick, clean death in exchange for something. A subtrope of Shoot the Dog, whose trope namer was a Mercy Kill. A Mercy Kill Arrangement is when a character has made a prior agreement with another character to perform their Mercy Kill.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.

Example subpages:

Other examples

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    Audio Plays 
  • Big Finish Doctor Who: In Son of the Dragon, Radu performs one of the soldier the Doctor is attempting to save When the Doctor objects, Radu points out that even if the Doctor saves him from blood loss, the wound is poisoned and the man will die a few days hence, and that they have not the resources to care for him in any case.

    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in Knights of the Dinner Table. After Windel the hireling is wounded by a dragon, Bob thinks he's begging him for this, and kills him.
    Sara: "Actually, I think Windel was pleading for us not to kill him, Bob. His wounds weren't really that serious."
  • Played for rather dark laughs in one Willie and Joe panel: a Cavalry sergeant standing over a Jeep with a broken axle, about to shoot it like a horse with a broken leg.

  • Tears for Fears: In "Last Days on Earth", the narrator's loved one has terrible chronic pain, and the patient wants to undergo euthanasia to end their suffering.
    Tired of this elegant life
    With the best will in the world
    It's a thorn in your side

    Dazed, not a little confused
    Let the patient do the work
    They got nothing to lose

    Talk away the pain for the very last time
    Like an echo in a cave
    Let it die in your mind
  • "Bobby" by Reba McEntire tells the story of a man who kills his wife after she suffers an accident that leaves her severely disabled.
  • "Pull the Plug" by Starz tells the story of a man who disconnects his comatose wife's life support.
    They left the room for a minute or two
    Now I know exactly what I'm going to do
    It's been so long since your vital signs went
    And you don't look the same in that oxygen tent

    Now if I get caught
    I don't care if I get hung
    I can't let my baby linger on in an iron lung
    Good-bye my sweet
    Understand what I've done
    You can't suffer no more if the motor won't run

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible records that King Saul requested a quick death from his armour-bearer, to avoid being captured by the Philistines. Upon his refusal, Saul took matters into his own hands and fell on a sword.

  • Subverted on Sick Sad World. One killer framed his murder of his daughter Tracy Latimer with cerebal palsy (among other things) as this. Guest host Andrew Gurza said he had most of the same disabilities as the victim and found it scary that killing her was so easy for her dad. All the hosts found it disturbing that a lot of people agreed it was an act of compassion rather than something selfish and cruel.

  • In the BBC Radio Four Afternoon Play "Countrysides", about a fox hunt saboteur, he is captured by two of the more sadistic hunters (contrasted with a nicer "It needs doing" one he met earlier), who deliberately torture a fox to near death in front of him and then leave him to put it out of its misery, gloating that he's the one who's actually killing the fox.
  • Dimension X's "Dwellers in Silence": Evans plans to kill the robot family so that they will not be lonely, but he ends up being unable to do so. Captain Parsons tells them that he will return with more fuel to bring them to Mars, instead.

  • On this less permanent level, many sports leagues and organizations have mercy rules in place where a game ends early if one team attains a presumably insurmountable lead after a defined point in the game. Usually, these are recreation and youth leagues, and to a somewhat lesser extent, high school and other sub-professional levels. Examples:
    • Baseball and softball: From youth leagues through semi-professional, a common standard for mercy rule is for the winning team to have a 10-run lead after the end of the fifth inning, although some leagues end games before that (usually, the earliest is the third inning) if the winning team has an even larger lead, such as 15 runs after four innings, with the home team, if they are trailing, having a final at-bat. Youth baseball games like Little League have it after the fourth inning, since those games usually last six innings rather than nine. This is a rare aversion to post-secondary teams having a mercy rule in place, as the college level and many semi-pro leagues often have some sort of mercy rule in these sports (although professional does not have this rule).
    • Basketball and football: Many state high school athletic associations use a "continuous clock" after a score differential is achieved after halftime. In this instance, the clock doesn't stop for things that it would normally be stopped for, such as going out of bounds or moving the down markers in football, or fouling in basketball, although the clock would stop for such things as time outs. States with continuous clock rules still often have the discretion to end a game early, provided that it is halftime or later.
    • Combat sports: technical knock-out, by which the referee can end the fight early if he deems one of the combatants cannot continue without risking permanent damage or worse. The act of throwing the towel and forfeiting a match is based on the same principle, only done by a fighter's cornermen even against his wishes.
    • Taekwondo: if neither combatant KO's the other within three two-minute rounds, the winner is determined by whoever scored more points throughout the match. However, if one combatant accrues a 20 point lead at any time after the second round ends, they are declared the winner there. For reference, the most points that can be scored in taekwondo at any time is 4 points for a spinning kick to the head, so trying to do that five times in a row within two minutes without conceding even a punch to the torso is presumed impossible.
    • Soccer: Most youth leagues and a number of state high school athletic associations have rules ending games at halftime or later if a certain goal difference is reached; usually, this is the leading team ahead by 10 goals.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anathema: Technically every murder is this. Either you murder your victims or they, and everyone else, will suffer a slow, horrible, death as the planet becomes uninhabitable.
  • F.A.T.A.L.: It's a common joke that the spell of the same name, which kills absolutely everything in the world, is this. Oh, and it's possible to cast it by accident when you miscast an entirely different spell.
  • Forgotten Realms: The priesthood of Kelemvor, divine Judge of the Dead, hold this as part of their - and only their - sacred duty, when presented with someone in an And I Must Scream situation.
  • Mage: The Ascension has the Euthanatos, an entire splat of mages (player character mages, no less) who use this as their hat.
  • In Nomine: The Archangel Dominic deeply and genuinely believes that Falling is the worst thing that can happen to an angel — more than merely switching sides, it is a fundamental perversion of one's nature, dooming the former angel to ages of service to evil and to working against everything that they stood for and believed. As such, he considers sentencing Discord-riddled angels to death to be an act of mercy, since it gives a clean end to those who would otherwise Fall — die they may, but at least they die as angels and with their suffering cut short.
  • Ravenloft: Lycanthropy is even more virulent and dangerous than in most D&D settings, and this is the standard and expected outcome if an attempt to cure the affliction fails. As such a failure generally indicates an afflicted person is coming to like their condition, it's as much mercy for everyone else as for them.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has Salubri antitribu with their special Discipline Valeren. One of the abilities of that Discipline is to give instant and painless death to any person actively willing it. It's an extremely peaceful death as well - the body cannot be Embraced as a vampire, and no one known to have received it has ever appeared as a Wraith.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Humans refer to mercy kills as "the Emperor's Peace".
    • Space Marine Apothecaries carry a special pistol for just this purpose...and then they chainsaw open the chest of the fallen to get at his genetic material. With the utmost respect, of course; without those "gene-seeds", the many chapters of Space Marines wouldn't be able to replace their losses.
    • Similarly, but without the chainsaw, psykers carry what they call "Mercy Blades". When the Warp is trying to get into your head, a quick stab through the heart is vastly preferable.
    • The Commissar's (and formerly the Sanctioning Officer's) special rule "It's For Your Own Good" evokes this on psykers when their own hands cannot be trusted.
    • This is the standard Imperial response to any human infected by Genestealers. Since the infection is incurable by normal Imperial medicine, and causes the infectees and their children to be subordinated to the Tyranid Hive Mind, it's considered better for everyone to end it quickly.
    • Exterminatus could be considered this. When a world has been overrun by xenos or chaos forces and is beyond saving, Imperial forces will order the planet's biosphere wiped clean through orbital bombardment, cyclonic torpedoes, virus bombs or other methods of destruction, sparing the inhabitants of the planet from further suffering.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Amethyst wizards have a spell for Mercy Kills. It can be used on any enemy who has taken Critical Damage. This makes it very handy for dispatching that one beastman who has Tzeentch's own luck on the Critical Hit table and goes 3+ rounds without actually taking a Critical Hit that will kill him.


    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Gonta is tricked into killing Miu when Kokichi tells him (after showing Gonta something that made him Go Mad from the Revelation about what was really outside the arena) that, if everyone guessed wrong on whodunnit, it would end with all the students being snuffed out (Kokichi included, but Gonta and the mastermind excluded) on the receiving end—sparing them the horror of realizing the same truth.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • In Heaven's Feel route, Shirou is forced to do this to Saber after she is hit by The Corruption and turned into Saber Alter. Especially bad, as Saber had been a symbol of purity throughout the game, and had been primary love interest in the first route.
    • In one bad ending Shirou is reduced to a torso and head suspended in a liquid that has left him drugged into insensibility. When Rin finds him she shatters the container, letting Shirou die.
  • Kerkan from Sekien no Inganock is a serial killer who believes everyone is eligible for a mercy kill, but tends to only pick the truly hopeless.
  • While all spirits in Spirit Hunter: NG are essentially being put to rest rather than forced to continue their tumultuous existence, this is explicitly the case with the Screaming Author, who outright asks Akira to set it on fire so that she can escape the monstrosity that her body has been turned into.
  • In one of the routes in Tsukihime, Akiha is succumbing to her demon blood and begs Shiki to kill her if she loses control. When she does, if you don't keep your promise and keep her alive, you get a depressing "Normal Ending" where she's basically become a mindless, bloodsucking doll under Shiki's care for the rest of her "life". If you do kill her, you get a Bad End. No, to get a decent ending you have to Take a Third Option. Also, Shiki killing Satsuki after she became a murderous vampire, earlier on.
  • In Crimson Gray, in the route for the good ending the protagonist is kidnapped by Dr.Smythe and injected with a drug designed to keep him in a state of agony. If the player made the choice to keep taking the medicine Dr.Smythe had been giving him, the drug's effect is irreversible, keeping him in a state of constant pain until Lizzie kills his captors and she puts him out of his misery.

  • In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage mentions that he killed his own brother, who was blind. When questioned about it, he responds that it was an act of mercy, and it would've been far more cruel to let his brother live after what BM had done to his eyes. Black Mage gets points for the most sadistic and needlessly elaborate "mercy kill" of all time; he trapped his blind brother in an uneven room filled with sharp corners and tiger pits. Then pushed him into one of the tiger pits when it looked like he was going to make it across.
  • And Shine Heaven Now:
    • It's revealed that Walter and Alucard did this to Jeeves when he was mortally wounded in World War II, since he could not fall into the hands of the Nazis and Jeeves refused to be turned into a vampire. Officially, he's listed as MIA, presumed dead.
    • Walter himself ended up mercy killed when he was brainwashed by the I-Jin of Jeeves to work for Millennium. His brainwashing could be broken only temporarily, his choices were death or being forever binded to Integra. He chose death. To make it even sadder, his own daughter had to do the deed.
  • In chapter 8 of Aurora (2019), Alinua puts a feral chimera out of its misery by magically draining the life from it.
  • In The Beast Legion , upon defeat Gorgorath pleads to Xeus to free him from his cursed existence.
  • The Sovereign of Sorrow, from Captain SNES: The Game Masta, apparently wants to do this to everyone.
  • In Cuanta Vida, BLU Medic does this to BLU Sniper after Sniper is Driven to Suicide after losing his lover and then his eyes. He claims to have done this at the Sniper's request, but a little while after that he tries to do it again when the BLU Scout gets a crippling injury on his leg; "a Scout that can't run is a dead weight". The Scout was not consulted about this beforehand, and fortunately the BLU Spy is able to intervene.
  • Deep Rise: In a civilization of immortals, this is more often than not the way to go.
  • Parodied in Exterminatus Now, Alien Shout Out ahoy.
  • Mr. Rovainen from Girl Genius does it preemptively.
  • Goblins:
    • When an owlbear savages several prison guards working for Dellyn, he orders his men to capture it alive, intending to subject it to several months of torture as punishment. When none of the guards are looking, one of the prisoners reaches out of his cell and Neck Snaps the beast.
    • Done unintentionally by Saves-A-Fox. In an attempt to Screw Destiny, she killed the fox she was supposed to save, and later found out it was actually suffering from a disease that sounds suspiciously similar to rabies.
  • Homestuck:
    • After her lusus is left crushed and dying under a landslide, Vriska puts her out of her misery by beheading her.
    • In in the trolls' session, this situation comes up between Tavros and Vriska. Vriska is beaten within an inch of her life by Aradia, and Tavros manages to get her to her Quest Bed, which will ensure her resurrection and ascension to higher power. She then asks Tavros to kill her himself, doing it quickly so that she doesn't have to die a slow, agonizing death of bleeding out. Tavros, however, is unable to bring himself to do it, and runs away crying. Vriska never really forgives him for this "moment of weakness".
  • Subverted in The Last Halloween. It turns out that Robert is a monster who killed his human only after being asked to do so to end his human's suffering. The problem is, the aforementioned suffering was Robert's fault in the first place.
  • In Men in Hats, Aram uses this as an analogy to justify shredding Beriah's report:
    Aram: See me shredding the papers? This is the only humane way to deal with them. Like putting a dog to sleep instead of letting it run around with a tumour in its brain.
    Beriah: ...Is that why Scruffy's gone?
    Aram: No, that dog was just ugly.
  • In the finale of Narbonic, as Dave is at the most incoherent, babbling, falling apart stage of his mental breakdown, Madblood attempts this via a headshot. The shooter being a hopeless melodrama queen, he gives a speech. Having been through exactly the same thing, he makes it short.
    Madblood: He would do the same for me.
  • This strip of The Order of the Stick.
  • Spoofed in Paranatural. When Mr. Spender is attacked by a bat monster, it digs its teeth into his shoulder. A teary-eyed Isabel attempts to put him out of his misery, prompting Spender to scream "ISABEL NO MERCY KILLS!"
  • Penny Arcade"A Ring And A Prayer".
  • Ruby Quest:
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • After hearing that Zoe is supposedly spending her days with torturous wounds that will never heal, Riff states that he is going to do this to Zoe.
    • Gwynn gets revenge against a cruel zombie named Jane, and Jane is eventually reduced to nothing but a disembodied head. Torg eventually recovers her head and uses it for his usual pranks, causing Jane to beg for death. After a Heel Realization, realizing that zombies are tormented souls and not playthings, he finally decides to give her one.
  • In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn's horse Ember has been gutted and had its back broken by a dragon, and cannot be saved, only spared.
  • Thunderstruck offers a straight example, with a good ol' Neck Snap being the method used.
  • Trevor (2020): Some of the Medical team suspect Dr. Maddison did this to Trevor to end the project and their military contracts.
  • Unsounded: Cutter's victims who were cut open to smuggle the first silver and then warped to create a body for the thing, using their suffering as fuel, are killed by Toma and Duane as there is no saving them but they can be freed of their suffering and they hope it will break the first silver weapon.
  • Wilde Life At the end of Chapter 10, Eliza Proctor, a powerful witch and guardian of the area, and Oscar, a normal guy, discuss Eliza's actions in the previous chapter with an animal person who is infected with an incurable illness called "The Madness" which slowly corrupts and destroys the person from within. After killing the corrupted person, she turned to Clifford, a teenage animal person the corrupted one had been stalking, demanding to know if he was bitten and only dropping her sword when he assures her he wasn't. Oscar now seriously wonders if she would ever kill their friend if he too was corrupted. Eliza gives a blunt "Yes."
    Eliza: How I felt about it didn't matter. Sometimes mercy takes the shape of a knife. To save him from that, I would have done it. And I would have carried it with me for the rest of my life.
  • In The Zombie Hunters, the "Mercy" zombies perform arguably the creepiest Mercy Kill ever. They only approach sick, wounded or dying humans, and follow them, protecting them from other more violent breeds, until they collapse. Mercies then deliver a single bite to a vital artery, and hold the dying victim, gently stroking their hair and cooing softly. They'll even remain with their victim for hours after they turn. Website materials state that some traumatized survivors seek them out as a form of suicide, hence the name. These same supplementary materials recommend that human rescuers euthanize many survivors of Berserker zombies, who love to torture and beat their victims before biting them.

    Web Original 
  • AFK: Q euthanizes a gamer who's been stabbed, robbed and left for dead in the woods.
  • Ask Serious Rainbow: Initially, Serious thought the Pinkie of her past life (aka Green Eyes) had killed her a la Cupcakes (Sergeant Sprinkles) Pinkie. The more time passed and the more memories she got back, she began to realize that Green Eyes had actually done this after their Twilight went insane and mutilated past-life Serious, in order to spare Serious from a slow and painful death. Serious and Green Eyes do break the fourth wall to note the first sentence had been the initial plan but the person drawing the blog changed their mind.
    Green Eyes: I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
    Serious: Goodbye, I love you guys.
  • Critical Role: The death of Cognouza is framed this way. An Eldritch Abomination made of thousands of forcibly fused splintered souls in the form of a mutated, eternally hungry city made of flesh, the Mighty Nein can't think of anything to do except end their suffering. When they finally kill Lucien and destroy the last thing keeping the city together, they hear a chorus of "Thank you"s from the people of Cognouza as the souls leave towards the afterlife.
  • The main page picture, "Last order" is from DeviantArt and revolves around this trope.
  • In the Hitman (2016) Patient Zero campaign, there's a level where you need to eliminate people infected by a terrible virus in order to prevent it from spreading. When Outside Xbox had a go, Jane Douglas dubbed the resultant instances of mass murder as "mercy sprees".
  • The Nostalgia Critic is on the ground, sobbing and begging for the Devil to kill him in Son of the Mask. Nothing painful is happening to him, mind you, he just wants out of life again.
  • Petscop: Toneth's description has a story about a person whose dog gets hit by a car and survives, and they end up being the only person who still wants to put it down. This story ends up going off the text box because of how long it is.
    It makes me think about the dog actually. Because when the car hit him I thought "at least it will be over soon." He survived it, and I was the only one who still wanted to put him down.
  • In RWBY, this happens to the now-human Penny at the end of Volume 8. Despite having the power of the Winter Maiden, Cinder's Grimm Arm is able to mortally wound her. Jaune tries to use his Semblance to heal her, but she tells him there's no time and subtly requests him to kill her with his sword so she can transfer the Maiden Powers to Winter. Jaune goes through with it, screaming in despair as he performs the dreaded action.
  • Sailor Nothing combines this with Enemy Without. It doesn't work, however — Himei has come to believe that there's hope for her to have a life that ISN'T poor, nasty, brutish, and short after all, and manages to muster the Heroic Resolve necessary to activate her Unstoppable Rage and kill her Yamiko.
  • Serina:
    • The pastoralist daydreamers will kill their nops before eating them rather than just eating them alive like their seastriker ancestors would've, despite the fact that they barely feel or respond to pain.
    • Blaze, a family trunko, chooses to put the last scissortooth out of its misery quickly rather than just leave it to starve to death over hours due to developing empathy for "biters" through all her years hunting them, and despite the fact that it was her idea to systematically exterminate "biters" for the sake of the family in the first place.
    • The reapers (a species of sapient aukvulture) are culturally opposed to killing for survival; the main exception to this is killing the already dying to ease suffering.
  • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: The main antagonist of the Genesis Arc is Zero note , who has possessed their friend and former celebrity Axol. Zero manages to mutate his body with his features. Their method of slaying Zero was to have someone travel inside the beast and attempt to free him. Melony, Axol's girlfriend, takes to the mission and tries to free him, with no luck. Axol tells her that the only way to save the world is by sacrificing him, but not before a tearful montage of their time together.
  • In Survival of the Fittest version one, after having gotten separated from the Intrepid Six and tortured by Cody Jenson, Marcus Roddy finally stumbles across his group again at the river, and after some of his wounds have been treated he goes to rest while everyone else continues their business. However, unknown to them, he had been given a severe concussion, and eventually fell into a coma. After they notice that he had somehow slept through everything that had happened since his arrival, including a few gunfights, they check up on him and discover what has happened. This leads to some debate, but eventually Adam shoots him instead of leaving him to be eaten alive by animals.
    • Another instance happens in version three, between Will and Christian. Christian had been severely wounded by Bobby Jacks earlier, and even though they escaped his injury became steadily worse over the time they spent traveling, and eventually a large rat-like creature appeared when they stopped to rest and attacked him, viciously tearing into the wound before Will kills it. Unable to take the pain any longer and knowing he's lost too much blood to survive even if the wound were treated, Christian asks Will to shoot him. He does.
    • Further examples include Serenity Halos, who suffered a grievous gunshot wound at the hands of Blood Boy, which eventually got worse and worse until, when she finally was reunited with her boyfriend Steve Digaetano, she begged for him to kill her. And Jimmy Trejo, who was fatally wounded in a fight with Harry Tsai and asked for one of his traveling companions, Laeil Burbank, to kill him rather than let him die slowly and painfully. In V4, Adrian Staib begs Samantha Ridley to finish him off after he falls down a hill and paralyzes his arms and legs.
  • Void Domain: Eva comes across a woman who has been tortured constantly for potentially centuries. She puts her out of her misery. However, her motivations were less pure. She needed the woman as Human Resources and had previously passed by a number of other torture victims, leaving them alone.
  • Worm:
    • When Skitter sees what Bonesaw did to Grue, Ballistic offers to kill him, but Skitter refuses, wanting to find some way to avoid it.
    • At the end of Noelle's rampage, after Noelle has almost completely given in to her Superpowered Evil Side, the last thing Sundancer does before returning to Earth Aleph is burn her to death with her sun.
    • The protagonist herself shoots Aster Anders, a toddler, to prevent her from suffering a Fate Worse than Death at the hands of the Slaughterhouse Nine. This is debatable however as her paranoia and fear about the coming end of the world could just as easily be the reason why she killed her, as it was a possibility Aster might end up being the cause. She's not.
    • Later, Contessa does this to Khepri, after her mind has degraded to the point that she can no longer think in terms that don't imply her planned conquest of all possible Earths, and she is briefly able to signal her approval through refusing Contessa's offer of help. Subverted in the epilog, which reveals that Taylor survived and was somehow restored to sanity, albeit with her powers seemingly lost forever.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "Trouble in Lumpy Space", there's a conversation where Finn thinks Jake (in the throes of the Lumps) is about to request this of Finn, should he go completely Lumpy. Yes. They actually got away with referencing this. It's never actually stated, and it turns out that Jake just wanted Finn to still be friends with a Lumpy Jake. "What did you think I was saying?"
  • American Dad!: In "Francine's Flashback", Stan tells the story of how he met Francine: he found her as a transient on the side of a road and after picking her up accidentally hit a raccoon. Seeing it in pain, he shot it in the eye and she fell in love with him after seeing his selfless act. When Stan accidentally erases her memory of the past 20 years, he tries to jog it by doing the same with another raccoon who's clearly still healthy, which ends up just looking like attempted murder, and Francine leaves after deciding that he's insane.
  • Animaniacs: Parodied when Yakko, Wakko, and Dot have lassoed a Jerry Lewis-style comedian into filming their movie Old Screamer, with the comedian playing the dog. When Yakko sadly explains that they have to put the dog out of his misery, Wakko seems sad for a moment, and then (Once Wakko has been given a puppy to replace Old Screamer), to the comedian's horror, cheerfully pulls out a Hyperspace Mallet to do the job...
  • Family Guy: In "New Kidney in Town", when Peter damages his kidney attempting to make homemade Red Bull using kerosene, Lois asks if there's an alternative to him taking dialysis. Dr. Hartman says that there is and holds a revolver up to Peter's temple before Lois stops him.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • Shayera does this for the resurrected (but now an Empty Shell) Solomon Grundy in what is one of the most tear jerking scenes in the series.
      Doctor Fate: The beast knows only rage and seeks only Oblivion. Your mace may be the one object on Earth that can grant him peace.
      John Stewart: What are you saying?
      Shayera: Your favorite movie's Old Yeller, you know exactly what he's saying.
    • Darkseid, being the embodiment of unfiltered, brutal tyranny for the sake of it, views these as a reward.
      Darkseid: It seems I have you to thank for my resurrection. Though your world will suffer slowly, I grant you a quick death.
  • Robot Chicken:
  • Samurai Jack:
    • In "Jack and the Lava Monster", a Viking chieftain has his family and village destroyed by Aku and is imprisoned in a jewel and cast into a mountain. Now turned into a monster of stone and lava, he requests this from Jack after he eludes the traps he put forth to achieve a warrior's death to enter Valhalla and greet his comrades and loved ones. Jack is able to achieve this, giving the Viking a happy ending to his tale.
    • The penultimate episode has Ashi begging Jack to kill her as Aku's evil begins to overwhelm her. Jack can't bring himself to do it and surrenders, Aku taking his sword in triumph.
  • Sealab 2021: "Moby Sick" centers around a whale named Abelard asking Quinn to kill him because he has a terminal case of whale cancer. Quinn spends the episode wondering if he could really kill a whale while others debate on the morality of giving Abelard his Mercy Kill. In the end, Quinn does decide to go through with it, but before he can, Marco reveals that he'd killed Abelard in his desire to eat the whale cancer (long story).
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied when a flashback shows grade school-age Homer and Chief Wiggum playing Cops and Robbers; Homer, the robber, is wounded, and begs Wiggum for a Mercy Kill.
    • Parodied again in one episode, where Homer — after a surgery — turns down the drink that Moe wanted to give to him. Barney immediately shouts "I can't stand to see him like that." and proceeds to (try to) smother Homer with a pillow. (A Shout-Out to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: "Yesteryear" has this trope as the critical decision Spock as a child had to make concerning his mortally wounded pet, I-Chaya. When Spock decided that putting him down was the most humane and logical choice, that was the moment he embraces the traditional teachings of Surak of logic and emotional control.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Landing at Point Rain", when Ki-Adi and the clones exit the caves after clearing off a Geonosian blockade with flamethrowers, some troopers are seen using their blasters to put a number of burning, still-living Geonosians out of their misery.
  • Transformers: Prime: When Silas was almost killed by Nemesis Prime, he turned the corpse of Breakdown into his new body and tried to join the Decepticons...who, due to anger/utter horror at what had happened to Breakdown, instead turn him into Knockout's personal science experiment, subjecting him to what appear to be painful experiments. When he's finally killed by Airachnid, it's portrayed as this trope.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • In "Dia de los Dangerous!", the latest Monarch henchman Speedy is caught in a chokehold by Brock Sampson as he is put into a temporary coma, since they can't get him to let go and that Speedy is suffering badly one of them performs a mercy kill on him by shooting him in the neck.
    • Discussed in another episode when Hank drinks Goliath serum and believes he will eventually explode. Hank asks Brock to kill him before that happens, and Brock assures that it won't be necessary since they'll find a cure. Hank is comforted, but he can't help but ask Brock how he would kill him if it ever became necessary. Brock immediately tells Hank he'd snap his neck and that it'd be a quick and painless death. Hank is a little unnerved by how quickly he got an answer, since it means Brock's thought about it before.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mercy Killing


Purple Wobble

Clancy and Captain Bryce find a looter who's been suspended in purple Wobble so long that his mind has snapped. Bryce then pushes the looter into the gray Wobble, which causes him to age backwards until he ceases to exist, as it was the only humane thing to do.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

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Main / MercyKill

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