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Out of the Frying Pan

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"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.
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...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.

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


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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.
  • 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 help...by razing the entire area to the ground.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • Early in Heart of Fire, Kathryn manages to put sedatives in Smaug's food, using 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.
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    Film - Animated 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Deep Rising does this enough to justify giving the hero a Catchphrase.
    "What now?"
  • 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 he has eventually killed her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Thor: Ragnarok ends with the destruction of Asgard by a flaming monster 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.

    Jokes 
  • 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

    Literature 
  • 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.”
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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!

    Live Action TV 
  • 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) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Blake's 7. In "Bounty", Blake does the usual Just in Time Teleportation Rescue, only to find that the Liberator has been captured by Space Pirates. In the Cliffhanger ending for "Aftermath", Avon and Dayna are rescued by the Liberator after the episode's adventures only to discover it's been captured by Federation troops.
  • 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 
  • Taken literally in Afterlife, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Final Fantasy X: Tidus barely escapes being eaten by Geosgaeno the fish, 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 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.

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 
  • Zero Punctuation explored a Caffeine Bullet Time 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".
  • 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 
  • 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.
  • Said word-for-word by Rick to Morty, when they found themselves thrust into the B-plot after finishing the A-plot early.
  • 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!


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