Follow TV Tropes


No Help Is Coming

Go To

Captain Tagon: Welcome to Andromeda. Petey wanted to send a full fleet on this mission, but for now it's just us.
Captain Andreyasn: "Us," meaning...?
Captain Tagon: This ship. This crew. Us.

When on a dangerous assignment, The Team is hoping for backup. Maybe they were promised support from the start, maybe they're calling about an emergency, or maybe circumstances have changed. No matter what, they think they can get help—but instead, they get nothing.

If they're lucky, they just need to do something to let the cavalry arrive. Disable the Anti-Air guns, remove the Immortality Inducer, or even find legal evidence so that the cops can get involved. More likely, they'll have to finish everything themselves.

Outside of the military, common situations include stranded survivors. Sometimes, the characters could call for help but are prevented by a communications problem, such as Cut Phone Lines, Cell Phones Are Useless, or The Radio Dies First.

The character may realize they've been caught in a Uriah Gambit.

See also The Cavalry Arrives Late.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Highschool of the Dead: When the protagonists get to a shopping mall, they find patrol officer Asami Nakaoka, who tells them that her superior officer had left the mall in order to go find help for the survivors holed up there. Unfortunately, the zombies got to her first, as her zombified self is seen shambling around with the rest of them. Because of this, all the survivors have to get out of there themselves, with no help of any kind coming to save them.

    Comic Books 
  • In the French comic 666, Father Carmody is visiting a top-secret weapons testing facility when it comes under attack by a demonic horde. Despite the call for help being sent out, reinforcements come only after the demons are pushed back, but it's clear they didn't waste any time, tipping off Carmody that there's a mole somewhere who deliberately delayed the order. That mole being the President of the United States, who's actually a demon in human form.

    Film - Live Action 

  • Animorphs: For most of the series, the Animorphs are waging a guerilla war against the Yeerks to buy time until the Andalites arrive. When they get in touch with the Andalites, they are informed that Earth is a low priority, and they'll have to finish the war by themselves. When the war is over, the Animorphs call again for some minor last-minute help. The Andalite military again denies them, until Marco points out that the conversation is being broadcast live to the Andalite civilians, and they're not going to appreciate hearing that the war is going to continue because the military was too stubborn to take an excellent deal. Jake then passive-aggressively "thanks" the Andalites for all their help in such a way that the military is basically forced to help them, or else admit that they've been ignoring them this entire time.
  • August 1914: This happens a lot in the latter stages of the Battle of Tannenberg, as Second Army falls apart, mainly due to the sheer cowardice of most of the Russian generals. Late in the story, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are trapped in a German encirclement. General Nechvolodov, one of the few competent Russian generals, enters the outskirts of Willenberg. There are hardly any Germans in his way and all he needs is some support from divisional headquarters to push on another mile or so, open up a link to the Russians inside the encirclement, and allow thousands to escape. But instead he gets a telegram from his gutless commanders telling him to withdraw.
  • In Les Misérables, the student revolutionaries know they can't prevail by themselves, but are counting on their actions inspiring others to join the fight. As the siege on their barricade drags on, it becomes increasingly apparent that they're on their own. They refuse to surrender, and are eventually overwhelmed.
  • The Lord of the Rings: A factor that adds despair to the defence of Minas Tirith is when the heads of the dispatch riders sent to beg help from Rohan are among those catapulted back into the city: the messengers were intercepted and killed and therefore did not - apparently - carry the message to King Theoden. note 
  • Subverted in The Martian. Marooned astronaut Mark Watney has every reason to think this trope is in effect, as his colleagues believe him to be dead and the outpost's radio dish is under a foot of sand somewhere within a radius of several kilometres, and the first act of the story is concerned with finding some way to call for help. Unbeknown to him, however, Mission Control sent a survey satellite to find out what state the outpost was in a few days after the accident and immediately realised what had happened.
  • The Illustrated Star Wars Universe: In the Dagobah chapter, Halka Four-Den's survey team was deposited on the planet by drop-ship and told to conduct as much research as possible until the Republic sent a shop to retrieve them, with the promise that a rescue ship would be ready if an emergency broadcast was sent. Unfortunately, Halka Four-Den had the rotten luck of setting out on this mission at the exact time the Republic's corruption started spiraling out of control, so her mission was completely forgotten about in the Vast Bureaucracy and her emergency broadcast went unanswered - leaving Halka and her surviving team-members struggling to contend with the increasingly aggressive swamp while they try to reach literally anyone for help.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Firefly: In the prologue, Mal has a newly-minted lieutenant call for help, and they seemingly arrive. He soon realizes that the descending ships are actually the enemy, and his high command has surrendered.
  • The Witcher (2019): In the first episode, Queen Calanthe asks where their ships from Skellige are. She is informed that a storm delayed them, and they're going to be far too late to help with the battle they're about to lose. In a later episode, it's revealed that Nilfgaard's head mage summoned the storm on purpose, and the fleet was destroyed.

    Video Games 
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3: The final Allied mission against the Empire involves weathering Imperial assaults while waiting for the Soviet navy to arrive. The Soviets keep sending messages that they're on the way, but once the timer runs out say they can't come after all. Allied command is only half surprised at the betrayal.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun: A villainous example in the GDI campaign, when General Vega's base is being stormed by GDI forces and he pleads with Kane for reinforcements. Kane instead has both excommunicated him from the Brotherhood and ordered a nuclear missile strike on Vega's base to show his displeasure.
  • Far Cry 5: The memorable opening scene has the main antagonist utter a similar phrase.
    Joseph Seed: No one is coming to save you.
  • Quake IV: During the mission to destroy the Tetranode, a couple of soldiers talk about how deep in enemy territory they are, and when Private Strauss asks if it means reinforcements will take several minutes to arrive, Morris clarifies that it means the will get no backup at all. It goes without saying that everything eventually goes pear-shaped!
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: One achievement is called "Ain't No Cavalry Comin'". You get it for having at least one soldier participate in every single combat engagement against the aliens for the entire campaign. In other words, those who started the fight against the aliens have to finish it, without anyone relieving them.
  • In Undertale, a big recurring theme is characters crying out for help only to be met with the same message...
    "...but nobody came."
  • In Metal Gear Solid, when Snake has been captured and is about to face some Cold-Blooded Torture, he gets this as a threat from Revolver Ocelot:
    You're a tough guy, Snake. But I got some bad news for you. You're no POW. You're a hostage. There's no Geneva Convention. No one is coming to save you. Startin' to feel a little scared? Good... you should be.

  • Schlock Mercenary: In the final book, Petey sends the Toughs to Andromeda in one small ship to disable the weapon that is preventing him from sending more. Captain Andreyasn points out (after he is already stranded in Andromeda with everyone else) that it is extremely unlikely that they can kill a planet-sized superweapon with one little ship.
    Captain Andreyasn: So... we're headed into a fleet-sized fight, but we don't get a fleet to help us unless we win.
    Captain Tagon: When you say it that way you make it sound impossible.
    Captain Andreyasn: You're the one making it sound impossible. I'm just making sure I heard you correctly.

    Western Animation 
  • In Star Wars Rebels Season Four, Rebel high command makes it very clear to Ezra and the crew of the 'Ghost' that if they return to Lothal to fight the Imperial occupation there, they're going to be on their own. It takes an impassioned speech from Hera to get them to agree to one sortie on the TIE defender factories and after that fails there are no repeat attempts.

    Real Life 
  • The German Army trapped in Stalingrad in 1942-43 had to face up to the Russian offensives around them which not only cut them off from the main German front line, but drove that front line back so far that there was no realistic chance of being relieved. The defending Germans also had to face Hitler's flat refusal to let them attempt to pull out and fight a retreat, as well as the order to stand fast and fight to the last man and the last bullet.