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Out of the Frying Pan

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Perhaps that sentence was best left unfinished note .
"What shall we do, what shall we do!" [Bilbo] cried. "Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!" he said, and it became a proverb, though we now say "out of the frying-pan into the fire" in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.

"...and into the fire."

A trick for maintaining dramatic tension (and sometimes irony): place the heroes in great danger, and then have their escape land them squarely in even greater danger.

Bob escapes from a sword-wielding maniac by hiding in a river — only to find out the river is full of hungry piranhas. Alice defeats a monster with fire — and now she has to escape from a burning building. The band of heroes scares away the opposing army by summoning a dragon — which turns around and begins attacking them. The permutations are endless.

A subtrope of From Bad to Worse: this trope involves the solution of one problem causing a worse one, while From Bad To Worse doesn't even require any causal link between the initial problem and the getting worse. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and then someone releases sharks into the water, that's From Bad to Worse. If you're in a pool of water with a bunch of jellyfish, and in the act of climbing out you fall into a different pool with a bunch of sharks, that's Out Of The Frying Pan.

Can overlap with Don't Celebrate Just Yet, Villainous Rescue, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, or Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Cedar Pollen Allergy episode of Cells at Work! has things precipitate catastrophically as the episode goes on. First, annoying but relatively harmless Cedar Pollen Allergens invade the body. The B-Cell responds by exterminating them with liberal amounts of Immunoglobulines, flooding the streets. Mast Cell tries washing it away with histamines, but ends up pouring an excessive amount which makes the flood worse. When she releases even more to fight off the Allergens, it ends up causing a catastrophical allergic reaction. And finally, when everything has relatively calmed down (save for Mast Cell and B-Cell bickering about responsibility) a Steroid appears to have come to razing the entire area to the ground.
  • In the first episode of K, Shiro is being chased by the Red Clan, and he's saved by Kuroh, who carries him up to a nearby rooftop — only to have Kuroh draw his sword and declare that he will now slay Shiro himself.
  • One Piece: When Luffy's Super Mode runs out while fighting Katakuri, he is forced to retreat while it recharges. He manages to escape the Mirror World they were fighting in (leaving Katakuri trapped inside), only to end up on the same island Big Mom is currently rampaging on!
  • In Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead chapter "Hero of the Dead", Akira and Kencho escort a group of survivors attempting to flee the zombies on the bus into the safety of an aquarium. Unfortunately, that's when the zombie shark in the tank sprouts the legs of the divers it ate and starts running at them.

    Comic Books 
  • All-New Ultimates: Many Skull serpents escaped from the Ultimates in the church, only to be found by Scourge. And, unlike the Ultimates, Scourge kills criminals.
  • In Requiem Vampire Knight, Rebecca is sent to King Dracula's harem to be his concubine, but she is rescued before he can molest her. Unfortunately, her "rescuer" is none other than her Arch-Enemy Otto, who intends to torture and kill her as painfully as possible.

    Fan Works 
  • Early in Heart of Fire, Kathryn manages to put sedatives in Smaug's food and use her chance to escape while the dragon sleeps. Unfortunately, she's soon caught by a band of mercenaries who also wish to remain hidden from Smaug who's searching for Kathryn. When she aggravates the mercenary leader too much, he attempts to rape her, prompting her to scream and alert Smaug to her location. After the dragon has killed the mercenaries, he threatens to kill Kathryn as well until she manages to make a truce with him as he continues keeping her imprisoned in the Lonely Mountain.
  • In My Huntsman Academia, Izuku begins pushing his limits with One For All by creating "Go Beyond", which doubles his current limit at the cost of straining his muscles, bones, and organs to the breaking point. He says this is at least better than breaking his limbs, since he can heal them up quickly with his Aura. Weiss points out how absurd it is for him to avoid breaking his fingers by breaking his everything.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Fievel's best friend Tiger (a cat) is chased by a street dog and escapes it by jumping into a tunnel down a building. Then he finds out dozens of similar street dogs are sleeping inside. After outrunning them, he briefly hangs on an antenna before a big dog causes it to collapse. Tiger then falls into a dog pound full of dobermann-like dogs, and all cages open at the same time after he bounced on them like a pinball.
  • Asterix Versus Caesar: After being captured by the Romans, Tragicomix and Panacea are initially taken to a Roman camp in the Sahara, where they are put to work as slaves. They escape the camp, but get stranded in a sandstorm and are taken captive again; this time by slave traders who take them to Rome, where they are bought by Caius Fatuous to be thrown for the lions during the upcoming games in the circus.
  • The Great Mouse Detective: Ratigan's Right-Hand Cat Felicia is being chased by Toby, Sherlock Holmes's dog who is helping Basil. She hops atop a high wall and smugly taunts her pursuer before jumping to the other side... where the Royal guard dogs are kept.
  • Near the end in Toy Story 3, the toys wind up in a landfill and onto a conveyor leading towards a shredder. They escape by grabbing onto metal objects as an overhead magnetic strip separates them, only to discover that this conveyor leads to an incinerator.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Chaplin's The Circus, the Tramp tries to escape a lion cage only to find himself faced by a tiger in the next cage.
  • Deep Rising does this enough to justify giving the hero a catchphrase.
    "What now?"
  • In Hellboy, after Hellboy resists temptation and avoids triggering the apocalypse, he kills his tempter, Rasputin. A tentacle-y monster slithers out of Rasputin's body and rapidly grows to a massive size...
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has a similar scene to the original novel: the party escapes from the caverns of the Misty Mountains, only to be cornered by a worse band of warg-riding orcs. Thorin even says "Out of the frying pan", while Gandalf finishes with "and into the fire."
  • Zara in Jurassic World manages to get free of the pteranodon carrying her... only to fall into the mosasaurus's pool.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Thor: Ragnarok ends with the destruction of Asgard by a flaming monster(which is the only way to defeat Hela, the film's main villain) while Thor, Loki, Hulk and the rest of the Asgardians escape on a spaceship. However, the mid-credits scene shows the ship being intercepted by Thanos. Cut to Avengers: Infinity War half the surviving Asgardians are massacred, and Thanos personally kills both Heimdall and Loki before leaving Thor floating n space, where he gets rescued by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope. First, the heroes escape from a shootout with stormtroopers by diving into a chute, realizing too late that it leads to the interior of a garbage compactor. Later, Luke shoots a control panel to lock a door between him and some stormtroopers, then realizes immediately afterwards that this same panel controlled the extendable bridge. Thus, he's traded death by stormtrooper for death by bottomless chasm.
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo is pursued by the Imperial fleet, and flies into an Asteroid Thicket to lose them. He then realizes that the odds in the asteroid field aren't much better than his odds against the Imperials, so he hides in a cave on a larger asteroid — and ends up flying down the mouth of a giant space slug.
    • Solo:
      • The crew of the Millennium Falcon successfully escapes a squadron of Imperial TIE fighters in the Akkadese Maelstrom after pulling off a heist on Kessel… and bump into the Summa-verminoth, a gigantic space cephalopod that tries to eat them. Then they end up in the Maw, a cluster of black holes.
      • Qi'ra eventually betrays Dryden Vos to take over Crimson Dawn and become the representative of the true leader — Darth Maul. It's strongly implied that he has eventually killed her.

  • A common Vietnamese proverb: "Tránh vỏ dưa gặp vỏ dừa" (Away from the watermelon rind, into the coconut shell).
  • A Dutch proverb; "Van de wal in de sloot" / "From the shore into the ditch" note .

  • A programmer parody of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall runs thus:
    99 little bugs in the code
    99 bugs in the code
    Fix one bug, compile it again
    101 little bugs in the code

  • In The Legacy of Heorot, colonists attempt to exterminate a local monster that usually eats fishlike things and lemurlike things but prefers people in its diet. It hits the fan when they find that the fishlike things are baby monsters; their only predators — the adults — are gone; and they're all about to grow up at once.
  • It is lampshaded in the Alcatraz Series
    Alcatraz: It seems that no matter what I did, I ended up in even more danger than I was before. One might even say I was "out of the frying pan and into the fire"... Personally I say "Out of the frying pan and into the deadly pit filled with sharks who are wielding chainsaws with killer kittens stapled to them." However that one's having a rough time catching on.
  • God invokes it in The Bible (so this is Older Than Feudalism): "It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear." (Amos 5:19)
  • City of Bones by Martha Wells: Lampshaded when Khat and Sagai escape Lushan's thugs, only to be arrested by Warders:
    Sagai: Out of the pot and into the coals!
  • In The Dreamside Road, Orson and Enoa manage a close escape from the Liberty Corps team that assembles an angry mob at Fort Mayhill, but flying away in the Aesir initiates their dogfight with the Liberty Corps’ salvaged Sun Talon fighters.
  • Very common in The Dresden Files. Harry Dresden tends to make enemies from a lot of different factions. Many of the books climax with Harry confronting the primary suspect, realizing he's in trouble, and running away—only to run into enemies from some other faction.
  • In The Hobbit, the adventure party escapes from the goblins of the Misty Mountains, only to find themselves surrounded by wolves as night falls: "'Escaping goblins to be caught by wolves!' [Bilbo] said, and it became a proverb, though we now say ‘out of the frying-pan into the fire' in the same sort of uncomfortable situations.”
  • Jedi Academy Trilogy: When Moruth Doole is cornered by his enemies, he flees into the spice mines rather than be captured — and is promptly caught and eaten by giant spiders.
  • Sinbad the Sailor does this in Sinbad's third adventure. Having escaped an Isle of Giant Horrors with only a couple of his companions, Sinbad flees to a nearby, smaller island... which is home to a gigantic man-eating snake.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The A-Team episode "The Taxicab Wars", this happens from the perspective of the British passengers in B.A.'s cab. Terrified of the Scary Black Man, they change to a different cab, saying "that man is quite mad!" The cab they get into happens to belong to Murdock, who immediately starts talking to his Hand Puppet Socky. They immediately get out of that cab too, and remark that next time they're just going to stay in London.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "The Fall of Night", Sheridan has to jump out of the station's core tram to escape a bomb. Doing so takes Sheridan out of the blast radius of the bomb, but it's only a temporary reprieve, as he's now floating toward the station's outer wall, which is moving around 60 MPH for Centrifugal Gravity. So, he moves from one lethal situation straight into another. Kosh has to exit his suit and rescue him.
  • Blake's 7:
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Summit", Jacob Carter complains to Jack O'Neill that Stargate Command's series of killings of major Goa'uld (at this time, Ra, Sokar, Heru'ur, Cronus, and finally Apophis) keeps creating power vacuums that even worse Goa'uld invariably step in to fill. This culminates in the rise of Anubis, a partially ascended Goa'uld who was banished by the others millennia before. Jack retorts that "at least we're doing something", pointing to the fact that Earth has made more progress in actually taking down the System Lords than the Tok'ra had in two thousand years.
  • Given how much hell the show likes to put the characters though, this happens on lot on Supernatural, often with the characters' actions in the season finales leading to some fresh horror for the next season's premiere.
    • Season Two: The plan to stop the YED actually goes rather well, and they even manage to kill him. But one his underlings manages to open a Hell Gate, releasing a bunch of new demons they have to contend with — and since said demons are now leaderless, they just immediately start in with the mayhem.
    • Season Five: Another plan actually works! Lucifer is locked back in the Cage, and bonus, Michael's trapped in there with him. This prompts Raphael to declare himself the new boss of Heaven, and now Castiel's stuck fighting a civil war against him to prevent he Apocalypse that they just averted happening again.
    • Season Six: Castiel conceives an incredibly desperate plan to stop Raphael, but it looks like it might actually work. It does, but now Castiel's gone mad with Soul Power and is rampaging around the planet. Oh, and there's a bunch of Leviathan.
    • Season Seven: The plan to take down the Leviathan requires some emergency alliances. This allows them to kill 'Dick Roman', then immediately shoves a bunch of power into Crowley's hands. And since Dean and Cas are now trapped in Puragatory, Bobby's dead, and Meg and Kevin are both abducted by Crowley, Sam is the only one in any position to do anything about it, and he's emotionally destroyed and has zero resources.
    • Season Ten: Turns out the Mark of Cain is actually a sort of lock and key God created to imprison his destructive sister, and the Winchesters are now directly responsible for unleashing someone who could destroy the entire universe. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
  • As their producers were all too happy to point out, during Top Gear's Middle East Special, the hosts escaped from a country where there is no war (Iraq) to a country where there is one (Turkey).
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In the episode "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich", a loser sells his soul to a demon in exchange for winning at the horse races, only to get cheated, of course. He goes to the mobster he borrowed his betting money from, begging for protection and the mobster does — because he's an arch-demon in human form, and now the loser owes his soul to a worse demon.
  • Inverted (sort of) in The Young Ones where, as they are being chased by an axe-wielding homicidal maniac (who is also their landlord), Neil exclaims:
    Neil: Oh well, out of the frying pan and into another frying pan...

  • Meat Loaf has a song called "Out of the Frying Pan (and into the Fire)".

    Puppet Shows 
  • Dinosaurs has this in the finale, "Changing Nature". B.P. Richfield has the earth sprayed with poison to remove cider poppies, but this works too well — all plant life is killed as well, resulting in the global food chain being destroyed. So, he then has bombs thrown into volcanos to try and get it to rain — but that just causes the sun to be blotted out and the Earth to enter an Ice Age.

    Video Games 
  • Afterlife:
    • Taken literally: where one of Hell's punishments places the damned on a giant frying pan over a fire. They occasionally jump, in the desperate and vain hope that the fire will be less hot this time. The more metaphorical elements of the trope are seen in many Envy punishments, in that many of the Envious are given just enough leeway to screw themselves over thinking they're getting out of their current predicament only to land into a worse one. The Escher Pits are the epitome: The tortures are all normal-looking, but the damned are tormented right next to each other, the neighbor always seems to be better off, but when the demons allow you to swap tortures it's somehow always worse.
    • The "always worse" part is a common theme among Envy punishments, where the demons make sure part of the torment is the Envious SOULs keep screwing each other over and making their fellow dead's afterlives miserable fighting for their spot in the car lane, or queue, or elevator, or personalized torture less gruesome than their current one, or what have you, while also making sure the spots they eventually obtain are always worse.
  • Cave Story: You and Curly Brace get attacked by the Core. Since the Core is a Load-Bearing Boss, its defeat alerts the Doctor and Misery to your presence in that chamber. They teleport in, take the Core so it can be repaired, and then flood the chamber as they leave—leaving you to drown in a locked room.
  • The Curse of Monkey Island: Midway through the second chapter, Guybrush gets swallowed by a snake, and has to collect a wide variety of items inside the snake's belly before finding one that'll help him escape... after which the snake vomits Guybrush into a quicksand pit.
  • Fate/Grand Order heavily employs this trope with "Beasts", manifestations of Evils of Humanity. Humanity is incinerated by Goetia, Beast I, and to restore it the protagonists have to repair seven singularities. Things go well, singularities are repaired with Tiamat, Beast II, defeated along the way. Through a lot of effort and sacrifices, Goetia is defeated, everything seems well and as a bonus, the most dangerous Beast, Primate Murder, Beast IV defeats itself to resurrect one of the protagonists. What seems to be a happy ending is anything but. Several Demon Gods of Ars Goetia escape and create their own singularities. One of them ends up possessing Kiara Sessyoin, who transforms into Beast III/R. Meanwhile, as a consequence of Goetia's actions, Alien God, Beast VII starts an invasion of Earth, wiping out almost every human on the planet, bleaching its surface, and reviving 7 dead-end timelines pruned away by the Universe. As if that wasn't bad enough, the impact caused by one of those timelines allows Beast III/L to manifest after Beast III/R is defeated. Additionally, one of the Alien God's apostles attempts to intentionally transform into an entirely new Beast. And as a cherry on top, it's heavily implied that in the final timeline ORT, the Ultimate One of Mercury has been awakened.
  • Final Fantasy X: Tidus barely escapes being eaten by Geosgaeno the fishnote , but ends up being trapped in a freezing cold temple.
    Tidus: [narrating] I had gone out of the frying pan... and into the freezer.
  • Final Fantasy XV has a lampshaded case. The penultimate boss fight (for those who don't have the Royal Edition/Royal Pack) is Ifrit, the Infernian. He spends the first half of the boss fight on a throne, and after the party takes out his first HP bar, Noctis summons Bahamut to perform Ultima Sword. End result? Ifrit loses a horn, and gets off his throne in the process. Cue round two.
    Prompto: Out of the frying pan... dot dot dot?
  • At the end of Half-Life, Gordon finally defeats the Nihilanth, thus closing the portal and stopping the alien invasion; and in Opposing Force Adrian witnesses the whole facility get nuked, putting an end to the horrific Black Mesa Incident once and for all. One can imagine the survivors' collective sigh of relief that it was finally over. Then in Half-Life 2, you find out that it was for naught — all the activity of the incident attracted the attention of the Combine Empire, who invaded, took over the world within 7 hours, and have been ruling Earth with an iron fist in the twenty years since then. Yay.
  • Late in Chapter 1 of Jade Empire, Dawn Star, whom Gao the Lesser had kidnapped, escapes her kidnappers while they are camped in a swamp, only to run into a cave full of ogres and toad demons. Sagacious Zu, who assists the Spirit Monk with the rescue, compares this to running from the claws to the fangs.
  • At the end of Case 2 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, or rather what appears to be the end of the case, Phoenix gets his client declared not guilty of larceny. Unfortunately, by doing so, this erases the client's alibi for a murder that took place at the same time as the theft, putting the client back in police custody. The second half of the case is spent trying to get the client acquitted of murder as well.
  • In Star Fox 64, Immediately following Katina's dangerous melee with an alien mothership, Solar has the trope name as its tagline, since the planet is question is too hot for the arwing to withstand.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has the reveal trailer for the third character of the second Fighter Pass. It opens with the various heroes of the roster getting curb-stomped by Galeem, the Big Bad of the story mode "World of Light". But just as he prepares to unleash his ultimate attack, just as he did in the story's opening, he suddenly gets sliced in half! As the other fighters gaze in awe of their enemy defeated, it's eventually revealed that they just exchanged one angel of death for another, more dangerous one; Sephiroth has arrived, ready to bring despair to Super Smash Bros.

    Web Animation 
  • Zero Punctuation explored a Klatchian Coffee mechanic used for the stealth sections of Velvet Assassin, pointing out that the mechanic would backfire on Violet if there was more than one conveniently-alerted Nazi around, or if more were alerted.
    Yahtzee: ...then the "f**kup remedy" has instead resulted in what we experts call "boomerang f**kup".

  • Invoked in Darths & Droids, when Vader give Luke a We Can Rule Together offer and Luke refuses.
    Vader: You're in no position to choose anything.
    Luke: Oh, I'm positioned perfectly to choose. Between the frying pan and the fire. I choose... fire. (jumps into a massive hole)
  • In Jupiter-Men, Jackie's suffers from Cuteness Proximity to a rabbit-shaped starstruck monster bringing it home against her better judgement. It then multiplies out of control, filling the entirety of the Avalons' house with bunnies. Arrio comes up with the idea of trying to use Fuerza de Fuego to contain them in a bubble of fire. But he messes up the incantation, setting the bunnies on fire instead. Worse still, this fire won't go out even when water is splashed on them. Then the rabbits escape into the rest of Jupiter City and start igniting everything they touch. Arrio tries to blow them out with another spell, but this just sends them spiraling throughout the area, setting even more fires in the process. The Jupiter-Men don't get a handle on the situation until Nathan arrives and starts directing them.
  • Discussed in Schlock Mercenary, when a squad of 'Toughs grab some bystanders after a fire is started in Haven Hive. After being asked "Are they hostages?":
    Bunnigus: What? No. We're saving them from the fire.
    Legs: We're chasing an indoor plasma rocket, sir. We're probably only saving those two from the frying pan.

    Web Videos 
  • Freeman's Mind did it once, with Gordon saying "Out of the frying pan, into another frying pan" while advancing under machine gun fire. Amusing because, indeed, the 'new' situation was exactly the same as the old one.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender, the finale of Season 2. The Gaang has managed to undo Long Feng's manipulations and allowed the Earth King to finally grow a spine, making Ba Sing Se better for a bit. Unfortunately for them, that caused Long Feng to turn traitor, just as Azula decides to invade by using subterfuge. She fools the Earth King with her disguise, takes over the city, and, as proven by how she handles Long Feng, she always was even more dangerous than him.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: At the end of "Dexter Detention", Dexter and some fellow students escape from detention by digging a tunnel underground, only to emerge from the ground inside the state prison.
  • Infinity Train: Book 2's protagonists manage to escape a wind person trying to trap them in the Map Car by finishing the car's puzzle, which turns him in to air. Unfortunately for them, this also turns the once-paper water in the car in to reflective real water, and the Mirror Police hunting M.T. can travel through reflective surfaces. They emerge from the sea shortly after.
  • Said word-for-word by Rick to Morty, when they found themselves thrust into the B-plot after finishing the A-plot early.
  • South Park: In "Coon and Friends", after BP’s second drilling accident opens a dimensional portal unleashing a horde of monsters they get the bright idea of fixing it by drilling on the moon, which awakens Cthulhu.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "No Small Parts", the crew manages to blow up the Pakled ship at the cost of Shaxs's life, only for three equally powerful Pakled ships to warp in and fire grapplers onto the primary hull, nearly ripping the ship in half. Thankfully, the Titan shows up right after that.
  • Yogi Bear: In "Yogi Bear's Big Break", Yogi tries to break out of Jellystone Park so he won't have to put up with annoying tourists. When he finally escapes via Human Cannonball, he finds out that hunting season just opened, and the episode ends with Yogi trying to reenter while dodging bullets.
    Yogi: I've only been gone two minutes and I'm homesick for the park already!

    Real Life 
  • Flying Fish have the ability to leap out of the water and use their fins to glide through the air in order to escape underwater predators... and become easy prey for airborne ones, such as in this video.
  • In 2021, three Brazilian men fleeing from a swarm of bees jumped into a lake, only to discover that it was full of piranhas. Two of them got away, but the third wasn't so lucky. His partially-eaten body was subsequently fished out of the water by the authorities.note 
  • During the Pacific War, the Japanese Cruiser Chōkai was sunk after being damaged in a violent battle with the US Fleet during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Her surviving crew were then rescued by the destroyer Fujinami. But just two days later, the Fujinami herself was attacked by American Carrier Aircraft and sank with the loss of all hands, including the surviving men of the Chōkai.


Video Example(s):


Up River

Billy Shoepack successfully frees Sunshine from the log jam by using a dynamite explosion to break up the logs. However, this causes the logs to float uncontrollably down river, destroying everything in their path.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / OutOfTheFryingPan

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