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Redemption Rejection

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Thanks... but no thanks.

God: Alucard... you are forgiven. And if you are brave enough to accept it-
Alucard: Didn't ask; don't need it; go fuck yourself!
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When that offer of redemption just isn't good enough. Sure, some people, after a lifetime of committing unspeakable evil, will do whatever it takes to wash away their sins and join the side of good, but not this character. No, when Old Lady Redemption offers them that Last-Second Chance, they tell her, "forget it" and steal her wallet for good measure.

This trope is the opposite of a Heel–Face Door-Slam (though the slam can be self-inflicted into this trope), where the bad guy is actively seeking redemption, but is denied of it. For this trope, another character or the universe itself goes out of its way to give someone a chance at mending their wicked ways, only for the offer to be firmly refused. Maybe the bad guy doesn't see themselves as the villain, and so doesn't think redemption is necessary. Maybe they realize their own wickedness, but think redemption is impossible and therefore pointless to pursue, at least at that point. Maybe their motives for doing evil are so powerful they think a guilty conscience is a small price to pay. Maybe they think that if people are going to treat them as the bad guy, they might as well go in with a full head of steam. Maybe they just have no morals and think that Evil Feels Good. Or rarely, they are honourable Anti-Villain with either Undying Loyalty toward their masters or possessing Villainous Valour.

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That's the signal for the heroes to take the gloves off and give the villain what he now most definitely has coming to him.

Not to be confused with Reformed, but Rejected. Compare with Ignored Epiphany.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, Tezca Tlipoca tries to convince former-colleague-went-rogue Justin Law to come back to DWMA, pointing out that Justin still has the chance to redeem himself by providing the info about Kishin's location to DWMA. Tezca also calls him out on living solely by blind faith and cutting himself away from others, and offers to fix that with his friendship. Justin refuses and kills Tezca instead.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • In Bleach, after Ichigo beats Grimmjow for the last time, Grimmjow confronts him again, battered but still conscious. Ichigo tries to get him to back down, saying there's no reason to fight now, and he'll be happy to fight him any time he wants later. Grimmjow seems to ponder this for a second...before yelling at Ichigo to quit screwing around right before Nnoitra shows up and ganks him.
  • In the last few episodes of the second season of "Bakugan", Mylene is offered a chance to join the Brawlers in their quest to defeat the Big Bad. She decides to to try and kill them.
  • In Kill la Kill, after successfully putting an end to Ragyo Kiryuin's plan to have Earth assimilated by the Life Fibers, Ryuko offers her to go back home and move on from this. Ragyo rejects the offers and kills herself by tearing out and crushing her own heart, leaving a promise the Life Fibers will eventually return.
  • From Naruto Naruto verbally beats Obito Uchiha down with one of his most epic speeches and offers him a chance to at least not go down as one of the worst monsters in the Naruto-verse's history. Obito tries to choke him out, saying he regrets nothing. In the end, he's Mind Raped by his memory of his childhood love refusing to look at him and Naruto grabbing his hand and dragging him forward. This makes all the Tailed Beast burst out of him and Obito lose entirely. Though he does eventually relent to take down The Man Behind the Man.
  • During the Sinnoh saga of Pokémon, Ash and his friends managed to convince Meowth that he would be a rising celebrity because of his skills, and made him reconsider whether or not to return to Team Rocket. In the end, Status Quo Is God, and Meowth still sticks with the Rockets, not because he likes being a villain (that comes later), but because they're his True Companions.
  • Re:CREATORS: Mamika Kirameki attempts to convince Altair to give up her plan to destroy reality by appealing to her better nature. Altair responds horribly.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Edo Phoenix is an enforcer of the Big Bad Leo Akaba and believes in his philosophy that dueling is about conquering and hurting people. Yusho Sakaki has the philosophy that dueling is about bringing smiles to people and managed to defeat Edo. Yusho offered him friendship and a copy of his favorite card Smile World. Enraged, Edo ripped it in half and dedicated his life to crushing Yusho and his philosophy. Later, Yusho's son Yuya manages to get Edo to turn around.

    Comic Books 
  • Inertia pulls one in Impulse. Max Mercury reminds him that he has completely immersed himself in his Impulse role while impersonating him and actually became a great hero. Inertia seems willing, but Max mentions Impulse, pushing Inertia's Berserk Button. He immediately backtracks and decides to kill both Impulse and Max. He nearly succeeds, only stopped by Impulse's Armor-Piercing Question.
  • The ending of The Killing Joke is along these lines. Batman reaches out to The Joker that they've got to stop before one of them kills the other. Joker seems to want to but sadly rebuffs the offer, before telling his famous joke.
    Batman: Don't you understand? I don't want to hurt you. I don't want either of us to end up killing the other. But we're both running out of alternatives... and we both know it. Maybe it all hinges on tonight. Maybe this is our last chance to sort this bloody mess out. If you don't take it, then we're both locked onto a suicide course. Both of us. To the death. It doesn't have to end like that. I don't know what it was that bent your life out of shape, but who knows? Maybe I've been there too. Maybe I can help. We could work together. I could rehabilitate you. You needn't be out there on the edge anymore. You needn't be alone. We don't have to kill each other. What do you say?
    Joker: No. I'm sorry, but... no. It's too late for that. Far too late. Hahaha. You know, it's funny. This situation. It reminds me of a joke...
  • X-Men: Colossus is prepared to sacrifice everything to save the soul of his sister Illyana, whom he still remembers as his "little Snowflake", even taking on the demonic power of the Juggernaut (losing his humanity and the love of Kitty Pryde in the process). By the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, Illyana makes it abundantly clear that "There are no snowflakes in Hell," and that she has embraced her insanity. He appears to finally get the message; he vows that he would kill her if he ever saw her again. A few years in real life would go by before Illyana would come around and Colossus would happily reunite with his dear sister.
  • Majestic: From the old WildStorm run, Majestic's final confrontation with his old archenemy Helspont, with Helspont hooked to a machine that would allow him to destroy the planet and Majestic repeatedly stopping him but slowly dying of a disease the whole while. In one last bitter conversation between the two, Majestic explains that he now understands the Daemonites' worldview as oppressed slaves who fought back against their slave masters the Kherubim (Majestic's species). Majestic pleads for Helspont not to prove himself a "monster" after all with an offer of mutual peace, but Helspont turns him down with a giant smile on his face out of a perverse sense of "duty" — now more motivated by spite towards Majestic and the entire Kherubim race.
  • Superboy-Prime: In Final Crisis - Legion of 3 Worlds, Superman tries to redeem Superboy-Prime by reminding him of his loved ones, like his girlfriend and parents. By then he has accepted they are gone and is trying to be a villain, so he rejects Superman's words.
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    Fan Works 
  • In Volume II of Spectacular Seven, Moondancer is offered several chances to open up to someone about her troubles: the Big Bad is essentially holding Moondancer and her father hostage, she has to put on different masks every time she goes outside, she desperately wants Twilight Sparkle's love and affection, and she feels like she'll never be as good as other people in her life. Moondancer's uncle Artemis dotes on her and treats her nicely with no ulterior motive, and Twilight tries to lift Moondancer's spirits even without knowing that Moondancer is in love with her. Despite multiple chances to atone, Moondancer always rejects them and keeps Slowly Slipping Into Evil.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: For the first few chapters, Luna Cii's evil sister, Falla, appears willing to clean up her act through several acts of kindness... but in chapters 10 and 11, just as Luna is convinced that Falla has changed and finishes the spell to restore her magic, Falla promptly drops the act and slices Luna in half before cruelly gloating to the others that her attempts at redemption were all just an act in order to dupe Luna into giving her her magic back. By the end of chapter 11, however, Falla is killed by a far more genuinely benevolent Alternate Timeline version of herself, who takes her place in the mainstream timeline.
  • In Bad Future Crusaders Silver Spoon is offered a second chance by Trixie but coldly shoots it down. It's made into something of a Tear Jerker since it's implied Silver Spoon wants it but knows she can't accept it since she's a wanted criminal.
  • The Bridge: When the Big Good, Harmony, is finally confronted face to face by the Big Bad, Bagan, she offers him a chance to abandon his mad plans right then and there. He flatly refuses.
  • Aftermath of the Games has Villain!Starlight refuse to change her ways in her clash with Twilight on the grounds that Twilight is just trying to get the latter to stand down so she can capture her. This forces Twilight to Ret Gone her by taking her past self back to the future and making Filly!Starlight her student.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Queen Chrysalis is offered several chances to end her plans to conquer Equestria and enslave the inhabitants. Even after it becomes clear that befriending and working with ponies is beneficial to the Changelings (as it creates much more love that does not get used up like when the Changelings drain it by force), and even after seeing alternate worlds where she accepted the chance to reform and was happy, Chrysalis still refuses out of misplaced pride and a bad case of Revenge Before Reason.
    • The Nameless Filly crafted the Concept Killing Spear and murdered Cupid with it, which Ret Goned Cupid and every creature in the universe who existed because of him. After she died, the gods confronted her with the consequences of her actions and gave her several chances to repent and atone. However, even seeing all the damage she had done and being threatened with Hell failed to invoke a shred of remorse and she refused to apologize, so into Hell she went. Inmates in Hell will be released if they genuinely want to atone for their actions, but it becomes clear that she never will.
  • Empathy: Riley uses her empathic powers in an attempt to invoke a Heel Realization on Callaghan. It almost works, but then the Gorg threatens to kill Abagail if he doesn't hold up his end of their bargain, so Yokai goes right back to fighting the heroes.
  • Loved And Lost: During King Jewelius' attack on Ponyville, Celestia flies to her rotten nephew and offers him a chance to stop and make atonements, promising even that if he wishes so, he can rule Equestria as the princesses' equal so that he won't have to feel overshadowed by them. She gets in response cruel laughter from Jewelius who doesn't want to share power with anypony before she's subdued by a magic-proof net.
  • Tchang Zu from Adopted Displaced refuses to change his ways during the parole hearing, so his soul is forcibly returned to the cycle of reincarnation.
Reincarnation:
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl promises her Evil Twin to help her find her child if she stops trying to kill her and everyone else. Her counterpart replies she can find her baby on her own and resumes her attack.
    Supergirl: You won't believe this, but I'm sorry. On my honor, I am. And if you will swear to stop this battle, I will help you search for your child. That is my promise.
    Satan Girl: (sneering) Ohhhhh, don't you wish, Lightsister. I can find my child. After our war, I will find him. Or her. There is nothing left to us now, except the fight. -You would not tolerate my existence, nor I yours. I am not capable of your empathy, of your petty virtue. You are not capable of my ruthlessness and power. Come, sister. Let us destroy each other.
  • Chat Noir from Back To Us turns his back on Ladybug during her speech under Shaming the Mob. As noted elsewhere, it doesn't last.

    Films — Animation 
  • Near the end of The Lorax during the finale musical number "Let It Grow", the townspeople are introducing themselves and talking about the benefits of bringing back real trees. Eventually the main villain joins in. "My name's O'Hare, I'm one of you!/ I live in Thneedville too./ The things you say just might be true./ It might be time to start anew/ And change my point of view... Naaaaah! I say let it die! Let it die! Let it shrivel up AND DIE! Who's with me?"
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • The first movie has a truly heartbreaking moment when Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung for helping to shape him into the monster he's become, saying that his pride blinded him to the fact that his pupil had a few darker tendencies that he should have noticed and possibly fixed. Tai Lung appears genuinely affected for a moment... and then angrily says that he didn't come here for apologies: he only wants the Dragon Scroll. It's at this point when the audience realizes that Tai Lung is truly beyond redemption.
    • This is repeated in Kung Fu Panda 2 when Lord Shen's fleet is wrecked, his weapons are destroyed, and Po offers him a chance to reject his philosophy and repent. He instead tries to kill Po one last time. It doesn't work any better for him, though unlike Tai-Lung he seemed to find peace right before the end.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Batman attempts this on Owlman, saying he must have been a good man once.
    Owlman: No. Not good. Never good. After all, I'm only human.
  • Toy Story 3: When Lotso is about to be crushed by landfill machinery, Andy's toys go out of their way to save him. He repays them by trapping them in a certain-death situation, which they're only saved from by the timely intervention of the Little Green Men. This costs him.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, upon learning that the government is about to destroy Springfield, Marge tries to convince Homer to come with them by saying "In every marriage you get one chance to say, 'I need you to do this with me.' And there's only one answer when somebody says that." Homer's response?
    Homer: That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard!
    Marge: Homer Simpson!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Godfather movies, Michael is responsible for oh so many murders, earning him quite the guilty conscience. In the third movie a priest tells Michael that he can still make amends for his sins; however, the priest realizes that Michael won't believe his crimes can be forgiven, and so won't bother changing his ways.
  • In TRON: Legacy, Kevin Flynn tries to talk sense into his creation, the Program Clu, who, in following Flynn's orders to create "the perfect system," turned the Grid into a dystopian society were Programs are oppressed. Flynn, having realized that such an order was doomed to fail, sincerely apologizes to Clu for giving said order to him (Clu, meanwhile, is bitter at his creator for breaking their promise of "[changing] the world together"). After apologizing, Kevin silently offers to give Clu a hug. Clu seems at first willing to embrace his creator... but then quickly kicks him to the ground, revealing that he will never stop in his quest for perfection.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Li Mu Bai confronted Jen after she stole his sword, the Green Destiny. After handily defeating her, he offered to make her his student, admiring her talent as a fighter and recognizing that unless that talent was nurtured, she might become corrupted by Jade Fox. Jen bitterly denounced Li Mu Bai and his teachings.
  • In Tales from the Hood, the fourth and final story focused on a gangbanger named Crazy K. After getting shot by enemies from another gang, Crazy K is saved at the last minute by police and taken to prison. There he meets a Woman in White who offers him a chance at redemption which he accepts. She begins by forcing Crazy K to witness the horrors he inflicted over his years of gangbanging. At the end, she puts him in an isolated room, where he sees visions of the many people he killed: enemies, friends, even an innocent girl who was a bystander during one of his many drive-by shootings. Ultimately, however, Crazy K rejects redemption, telling the lady (who was really an angel) that he doesn't give a fuck. The lady finally gives up and Crazy K, who really died from his gunshot wound and was given a chance to save his soul, was sent to Hell. Discussed by the Narrator who mentions that people like him are too far gone and can't be saved.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers (2012), Thor tells his brother Loki (the villain) that it's not too late to stop his plan after unleashing an army of aliens on New York. For a second it seems like Loki will back down, but then he stabs his brother in the stomach and blows off his offer as 'sentiment'. This finally pushes Thor over the edge, and he quickly curb-stomps Loki.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Nebula refuses the Last-Second Chance given by her step sister and exits the scene via High-Dive Escape.
    • Avengers: Endgame: The now-redeemed Nebula gives her past self from an alternate timeline the opportunity to join her and Gamora, and is forced to kill her when she refuses to betray Thanos out of fear.
  • The Force Awakens: Near the end, Han Solo offers his son Kylo Ren/Ben Solo a chance to reject the dark side and come home to his family who loves him. Ren appears to consider it, shedding tears and even handing Han his lightsaber, but ultimately impales Han with it and throws his body into an abyss, saying his love for Han is a weakness he has to give up.
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers: During the climax of the film, Loomis tries to reason with Michael, proposing that he fight his rage and redeem himself through a positive relationship with his niece Jamie. It initially seems to work, with Michael calmly listening to Loomis and even lowering his knife, but when Loomis tries to take the knife away, Michael promptly slashes him across the gut and tosses him through the banister in a frenzy.
  • Amon Goeth from Schindler's List has two major redemption rejections in the film. First, Schindler convinces him that pardoning people rather than killing them for minor infractions is a sign of true power. Goeth tries this for a while before shooting a young man for not cleaning his bathroom properly. Second is his relationship with his maid, Helen, who he seems to care somewhat for and who almost convinces him that Jews are more than just vermin, but he ends up beating her mercilessly.
  • At the end of Oz: The Great and Powerful, Oscar tries to sympathize with the Wicked Witch of the West (Theodora), stating her Start of Darkness was not her fault, and should she ever find a speck of light within her rotted heart, he'd welcome her back with open arms. She replies with a Big "NEVER!", and flies away on a broom while cackling, setting her eventual fate 15 years later.

    Literature 
  • Harold Lauder from The Stand uses this trope when the Boulder Free Zone not only accepts him but begins to regard him as a hero. He realizes full well he has a choice between putting his childish grudges aside forever or holding onto them, even though he knows that they're poison. In the end he decides he's carried his hate for too long to just let it go, and joins up with Flagg. As he lies dying after Flagg decides he has outlived his usefulness, Harold finally lets go of his hate and writes an apology to everyone he hurt/killed before shooting himself.
  • In The Scarlet Letter, Hester talks Chillingworth into realizing that he has hurt Dimmesdale, but he later ignores that realization.
  • Lucifer in Paradise Lost - "he would rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven".
  • Nevyn from the Deverry series urges his enemies to repent at various points in the story, because he knows that if they don't, this will have severe consequences in their next life. Most of them refuse his offer of redemption, but he notably gets through to Sarcyn.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, after seeing Voldemort's ultimate fate, urges Voldemort to feel remorse for his crimes in order to make his soul whole again. Seeing as feeling remorse had a high probability of killing Voldemort, the Dark Lord refuses and unknowingly damns himself in the process.
  • In Star Wars: Darth Bane: Rule of Two, Zannah's cousin Darovit offers her more than one chance to turn away from the dark side. She pretends to accept his final offer, then uses Sith sorcery to drive him insane and convince the Jedi Order that he is the Sith Lord they've been hunting.
  • In the last book of The Wheel of Time, Rand tries to convince his Evil Counterpart Moridin to abandon the Shadow and help him defeat the Dark One. Moridin throws it in his face-after all, the Dark One has promised him oblivion, for himself and the world, and Rand can't offer anything that would tempt Moridin more than that.
  • Grima in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Two Towers is offered the chance to redeem himself by fighting alongside Theoden, the king he has betrayed, but Grima just snarls and slinks away to Saruman.
    • Saruman himself, thrice : first at Orthanc after his army has been defeated, second, after the war when he meets Gandalf and the Hobbits on they way home, then last after the Battle of Bywater.
  • In The Dresden Files book Skin Game Michael Carpenter asks Nicodemus to abandon his service to his Fallen Angel, telling him to look at the path it's led him on. This comes shortly after Nicodemus has sacrificed his daughter, likely the only person in the world he actually cared about. For a moment Nicodemus seems tired, uncertain, and then he laughs. He declares that he's not a puppet of the Fallen, but that after two thousand years they follow him, and that he's forged his own path of war and plague through the ages. True to the second part of the trope, Michael then goes at his foe with all his might, not holding back at all.
  • In Dragons of Requiem, Dies Irae almost has a Heel Realization when Benedictus calls him by his childhood nickname, which spurs a few childhood memories. He quickly disregards them and resumes attacking Benedictus.
  • In Going Postal, the book ends with Reacher Gilt being offered a similar choice to what Moist was offered at the start. Vetinari tells Gilt he can either carry out a risky government job (in this case, sorting out the Royal Mint) or he can walk out the door and "never hear from me again." Unlike Moist, Gilt walks away. Unlike Moist, Gilt does not manage to avoid falling to his death through the hole in the corridor floor.
  • The Heartstrikers: When Julius defeats the Evil Matriarch of his clan and tries to reformat them into a more peaceful, democratic organization that doesn't kill each other on a whim, he decides to spare his mother, since killing her would be hypocritical. She hates him for this, and the only reason he is able to keep her from being Stupid Evil (much less actively trying to kill him) is to lock her in a Magically Binding Contract. While at first she has a lot of success getting her other children to try to kill him for her, it doesn't take long for her power to slip away as they all realize how crazy she really is. By the end, she's little more than a figurehead kept around because of tradition, but she's still yelling about how she's right and Virtue Is Weakness.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • Two quarters through Day 4, a traitorous fighter pilot named Mitch Anderson has stolen a jet and has set his sights on Air Force One. Jack Bauer manages to get in contact with him and tells him that he can still walk away from everything. Anderson seems to consider what Jack says for a moment, but ultimately shuts down his comm link and blows Air Force One out of the sky.
    • In the Day 7 finale as the now-rogue Tony Almeida prepares for his endgame that'll take out the man behind his wife's murder, a dying Jack attempts to appeal to whatever good is left in Tony by reasoning with him to drop his crusade. Tony responds by gagging Jack's mouth shut and arming a bomb on him that will be used to kill the man.
  • Angel: After Angel ruins Jasmine's plan to create world peace at the expense of free will (and eating people), he finds her wandering distraught through LA. She chews him out, asking if her price for ending war, disease and poverty was really too high. He insists that it was, but suggests that she can still try and make the world a better place the old-fashioned way, even if she's lost her powers.
    Jasmine: Not all of them. [punches him off a bridge]
  • Babylon 5 has Londo Mollari, who is told he'll have three opportunities to choose redemption, or suffer the consequences. In a possible subversion, these moments are never directly revealed, and it's arguable whether he's saved his people or condemned them.
  • In season 4 of Battlestar Galactica (2003), the Cylon John's mother says he isn't a mistake and offers him redemption if he could just accept himself for the boy she made. He considers it for a moment before he angrily rejects her love and prepares to pick apart her brain to extract the information he wants.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Faith expects this trope to be played out in "Choices", but Willow surprises her.
  • Though the drivers on Canada's Worst Driver and related shows aren't actually villains, there have been two contestants who fit the basic premise of this trope: Colin from Season Two and Scott from Season Six made a big joke of everything and refused to learn. Colin became the first to be expelled from any Driver Rehabilitation Center in the world, while Scott became the first (at least on the Canadian show) to be effectively expelled by his own nominator (who cancelled Scott's insurance, meaning Scott was no longer a valid driver).
  • Doctor Who: In "Evolution of the Daleks", the Doctor and the now-Half-Human Hybrid Dalek Sec try to redeem the Daleks by creating a new, non-evil race of Daleks, which would have ended their genocidal war with the rest of the universe. The other Daleks reject this idea, violently.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother uses this trope quite often. Practically Once a Season there's an episode that focuses on how shallow, selfish, and cruel his life as The Casanova is. By episode's end it looks like he's about to learn an important lesson and be more considerate of women from now on ... and then, without fail, Barney will explain that, no, seducing an endless stream of anonymous bimbos really is all he wants out of life.
    Lily: So you made a life-changing decision not to change your life at all?
    Barney: True story.
  • Jessie: Emma tells Bryn they can still be friends if she could just start being nice to people. However, Bryn refuses and throws cheesy nachos at Rosie before escaping.
  • Mr. Eko from Lost had a tragic backstory about being kidnapped and made into a child soldier, becoming a criminal, and feeling responsible for causing the death of his brother, Yemi. His main Story Arc on the Island was trying to talk to Yemi's ghost. As it so happens, Yemi was a Catholic priest, so their eventual meeting takes the form of a confession. Eko must be ready to ask for forgiveness, right? Of course, as it turns out, "Yemi" is actually the Smoke Monster/Man In Black in disguise, and he promptly kills Eko after this. So any future chance of redemption is lost right then and there.
    Mr. Eko: I ask for no forgiveness, Father, for I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive. A small boy once asked me if I was a bad man. If I could answer him now, I would tell him that, when I was a young boy, I killed a man to save my brother's life. I am not sorry for this. I am proud of this. I did not ask for the life that I was given, but it was given nonetheless. And with it, I did my best.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Rumpelstiltskin is almost de-powered by Belle's True Love's Kiss... but of course, he has a bit of a freak-out and rejects it. Quite possibly regrets that pretty hard. The same thing happened when he gave up a chance to travel to another world with his son, for the exact same reason.
    • In the flashback sequence of "The Cricket Game", Snow lets Regina out of prison and offers the chance to leave all her evil deeds behind and start fresh, and Regina takes the opportunity to attempt once again to kill Snow. She even lampshades the concept, pointing out it's never that easy. No one ever just gives up that much hatred. This is contrasted against the present scenes in Storybrooke, where Regina really does want redemption, but understandably Snow and Charming are unwilling to give her another chance.
    • Both Rumpelstiltskin and Regina do ultimately find redemption by Season 3. Regina sticks with it. Rumple...not so much.
  • Power Rangers Wild Force: In an attempt to end the conflict peacefully, Princess Shayla tells Master Org that it isn't too late to change, since Cole forgives him for killing his parents. Master Org doesn't care about this and goes on with his plans to destroy the Rangers.
  • The Walking Dead has one for The Governor in episode 8 of season 4.

    Music 
  • In "Reviewing the Situation," from the musical Oliver!, Fagin briefly considers the attractions (or lack of same) of a moral and upstanding life, but ends up deciding that a comfortable old age is much more important to him.
  • Alluded to in "The Hounds" by The Protomen:
    If there ever was a time, if there ever was a chance
    To undo the things I've done and wash these bloodstains from my hands
    It has passed and been forgotten, these are the paths that we must take
    'Cuz you and I, Tom, we are men and we can bend, and we can break

    Myths & Religion 
  • According to Christian thought, this is what causes damnation as all other sins can be forgiven if the sinner sincerely repents. This sin is called Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • After The Nation Of Intoxication destroyed the makeshift team of Drew Blood, Ron Mathis and Rory Mondo at the 2014 CZW Tangled Web, Danny Havoc was willing to apologize for trying to burn Mondo alive and put their bad blood behind him, with the crowd roaring his name in appreciation for the toughness he showed even though his team decisively lost the match...that was until Mondo cursed the name of Havoc, necessitating their feud continue.
  • The heroic return montage World Wonder Ring STARDOM put together for Act Yasukawa before the final match of the 2015 Five*Star Grand Prix, combined with a huge pop from the audience, actually brought her close to tears and had her spew a fountain of rum in appreciation... before she proceeded spit on all the audience members she could, reject Haruka Kato and Momo Watanabe welcome then had Kyoko Kimura preoccupy the referee while she destroyed them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Lord Soth of Dragonlance could be the poster child of this trope. When the deity Mishakal offered Soth a chance at redemption by stopping the Kingpriest of Istar and preventing the Cataclysm, he initially accepted the request but then put aside his mission to confront his second wife about her infidelity. As a result, he was cursed to become a death knight. While in Ravenloft, Soth was given an opportunity by the Dark Powers to put his evil past behind him; he rejected their offer and was made into the Darklord of Sithicus. After spending a long time with a magic mirror showing him all of the mistakes in his life, Soth finally accepts that all of his misery was ultimately his own fault. The Dark Powers send him back to Krynn since nothing they can do to him could be worse than his own guilt and apathy. When Takhisis comes calling again, Soth rejects her. She then restores his mortality and brings his castle down upon him.
  • In the Gehenna sourcebook for Vampire: The Masquerade, one ending has the Antediluvians forcing open a gate into Heaven so they can devour God and become the rulers of the universe. An angel appears and pleads with them one last time to accept their Creator's forgiveness. They refuse and exultantly jeer that God MUST fear them, or he wouldn't be giving them a chance to surrender. They demand to face God. Their wish is granted, and they are wiped from existence in a heartbeat.

    Theatre 
  • Both Your Houses: Incorruptible Pure Pureness congressman Alan has a heart-to-heart with Corrupt Politician congressman Sol in which Alan appeals to Sol's better nature and says that he knows Sol doesn't really want to vote for the bill. Sol in turn tells Alan that it's way too late for him, that in his early days he had a Good Angel, Bad Angel thing going but the longer he stayed, the weaker the Good Angel got until it finally gave up.
  • Heathers: Veronica pleads with J.D. to abandon his murderous desires, dismantle the bomb, and come with her before it's too late, saying she wishes things had turned out differently. He just snarls, "I wish I had more TNT." But when Veronica takes the bomb, intent on taking the blast to protect everyone else, J.D. has a genuine change of heart and rescues her.
  • Marlowe's Doctor Faustus wrings a lot of tension out of this trope as the time comes for the title character to relinquish his soul to the devil — he wants to repent, but is too afraid of the physical torture the demons will inflict on him if he does. He doesn't, and they do it anyway.

    Video Games 
  • In Suikoden IV, there are several moments where Lazlo can offer his former best friend Snowe Vingerhut the chance to join the rebellion. If the player chooses to do so, Snowe angrily rejects it. In their last encounter, this can then be inverted into a Heel–Face Door-Slam, with Lazlo deciding to execute the now thoroughly broken-down Snowe instead of offering him one last chance now that he's ready to accept it.
  • In Hyrule Warriors, after Lana, Link and Zelda have beaten Ganondorf away in the Temple Of Souls scenario and try to tell Cia to stop using magic that ultimately could kill her, Cia tells them to screw off. Needless to say, Cia continues to use magic that uses her life force and she ultimately dies shortly after.
  • A heartbreaking example in God of War: Chains of Olympus. After Persephone reveals her scheme to undo reality, Kratos was forced to put aside his redemption and ends up slaughtering the pure souls of Elysuim in order to gain his powers back that he can stop both her and Atlas. The price he ends up paying is very high; in order to save the world and the underworld, he would never see Calliope again. The quicktime event where Kratos must push away his daughter and embrace his monstrous self again is possibly the most heartbreaking use of this type of gameplay ever created.
  • During the final battle in DmC: Devil May Cry against Vergil, Dante tells him "It's not too late". Vergil responds "Yes, it is" and continues fighting.
  • In the climax of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, N comes to rescue your player character from being frozen alive by Ghetsis. He then offers Ghetsis a last chance after the latter has been beaten by the player, pleading him to overthink his doings and start anew. Instead of taking this chance, Ghetsis just continues to hurl insults at N, calling him a monster over and over again, at which point he completely loses his mind and the Shadow Triad appears and takes him away, never to be seen again. When meeting the Shadow Triad in the postgame, they imply that Ghetsis has become completely insane and non-functional.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel, many dark side-aligned enemies can be persuaded to give up and redeem themselves, either through persuasion or using a Jedi Mind Trick. However, the vast majority of force-sensitive dark side users will throw the offer right back at the player's face, either calling the player weak for not embracing the Dark Side, or more rarely saying that they are too far gone to go back now.
  • In Undertale, Asgore can be given a second chance in redemption if you choose to spare him after defeating him in battle (Flowey must be defeated in a previous playthrough to trigger the event). He entertains the idea at first and even dreams of how you, himself, and Toriel could be a family together in the underground. He then rejects the redemption because he feels that it cannot make up for the sins he had committed and the idea may not have worked out anyway. He kills himself, entrusting his soul to you so you can escape the underground.
  • World of Warcraft has the Naaru Xe'ra offering Illidan the chance to be cleansed of his demonic taint and reborn in the Light as The Chosen One. Illidan is enraged by the offer as it is a denial of everything he has endured and worked for in his life. When Xe'ra tries to force the redemption on him, Illidan kills it.
  • Mass Effect 3: At the end of the Citadel DLC, a Paragon Shepard can attempt to rescue the Shepard Clone while they are dangling off the Normandy's ramp. However, at that point, the Shepard Clone has crossed the Despair Event Horizon at realizing that while they might have Shepard's abilities and augmentations, they don't have any friends, allies, or comrades like Shepard does, and the only companion they had has betrayed them. The despair at this causes them to reject Shepard's offer and drop to their death.
  • In Sushi Striker: The Way Of Sushido: After finally beating the Emperor of the Empire, Octavias, in a sushi struggle. Musashi offer him some sushi and tells him he doesn't have to take it from others. Octavias does seem to consider it and starts to eat it until he throws it on the ground. Rejecting Musashi's philosophy that people can't be greedy (as Octavias' father was to him) and disappears to where "sushi comes from" declaring that people's greed will start up the sushi struggles once more someday.
  • In Mega Man 11, when Mega defeats Wily again, Dr. Light shows up to point out that both of their dreams had come to light in the form of Mega Man and it's not too late to turn back. However, Wily flat out refuses and all he wants is both of them kneeling in front of him. As Wily escapes, Light laments that his friend might never return.
  • Towards the end of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the gang learn of Penelope's betrayal. She was only using her boyfriend Bentley to build weapons to sell for billions of dollars, and soul her soul to LeParadox for the lives of Sly and Murray. Bentley, after recovering from his Heroic BSoD, tells his ex-girlfriend that Le Paradox is only using her for his own desires, and intends to dispose of her when she's outlived her usefulness. He still loves her, and hoped that by pointing this out, she'd reconsider her betrayal and return to the Cooper Gang. She rejects this spitefully, and attacks him, showing she's just a greedy Jerk with a Heart of Jerk who never loved him, forcing Bentley to fight back.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: In "The More the Merrier", when Team RWBY encounters Raven, the latter declines Qrow's offer to hand over the Spring Maiden and help them fight against Salem, citing that the latter is unstoppable. Ruby also tries to convince Raven to join forces with the others, reasoning that they've done impossible feats by working together. But Raven simply tells Ruby that she reminds her of Summer, and opens a portal to allow Cinder's team to attack. Seeing this, Qrow declares that Raven has crossed the line and declares they're no longer family.

    Webcomics 
  • In Earthsong, Willow offers the Mandragora the means to leave Beluosus service when she develops her stonecrafting ability, which allows her to remove his infection from their soulstones. Only one of them chooses this—the rest of them return to him with varying degrees of hesitation. Neuria and Jormand decide they want it after all once they learn that Beluosus consumed two of their comrades, but it leads to disaster.
  • Captain Estar Goes To Heaven (side-comic in Subnormality) is about a miserable, self-hating hired assassin whose latest target claims he found a shortcut to Heaven. She doesn't believe him. Soon after, she's hunted down and captured by other hitmen, who decide to go to the shortcut so they can loot whatever ambush was set up there, and then they visit the "pearly gates" for kicks. Turns out, it definitely isn't paradise and the hitmen are slaughtered by the natives - but they spare Estar. They then rewrite reality so she never screwed up her life, giving her a second chance to be a normal person. She flips them all off and goes straight back to killing, claiming that heaven and hell don't exist - you end up right where you belong, and what matters is how fast you learn to live with it.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens a lot in Gargoyles with Demona, largely because she's the queen of the Ignored Epiphany- she's several times offered a chance to change her ways, but ultimately never repents for more than about a minute. Goliath still seems to wish she'd find redemption, but no longer considers it a realistic possibility.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "F.U.N", SpongeBob tries to make friends with Plankton in the hopes that having a friend will make him stop being evil. Plankton plays along, in the hopes that it will get him to the Krabby Patty secret formula, but he appears to be reformed by The Power of Friendship. Then SpongeBob catches him with a Krabby Patty, and this tearsome confession follows:
    Plankton: All right, it's true! I tricked you to get to the Krabby Patty, but then you showed me friendship; and now I realize... that's all I ever really wanted.
    SpongeBob: Really?
    Plankton: (grabs Krabby Patty) No, not really! Being evil is too much fun!
  • In the original Ben 10 series, Ben originally offered his enemy Kevin 11 a chance to do good, but the latter refused the offer and attempted to take the Omnitrix. From then on, Kevin was treated as someone who's actions couldn't be redeemable; indeed, by the time of Kevin's second appearance, when Kevin mockingly asks Ben if he wants to help him, Ben refuses, telling Kevin point-blank that he's done trying to help him, because Kevin already had plenty of chances to get help and screwed them all up.
  • Happens near the end of the Transformers Animated episode "Predacons Rising." When Bumblebee discovered that his former comrade Wasp has been mutated during a lab experiment while vowing revenge on Bee for (accidentally) imprisoning him for being a spy, Bumblebee feeling guilty about what he did, immediately apologizes to Wasp. Wasp's response? "Wasp... ...forgive... ...Bumblebot... ...BUT WASPINATOR NEVER FORGIVE!!!"
  • In Transformers Prime, Dreadwing grows disillusioned with the Decepticons after finding out they turned his twin brother into a zombie robot. He delivers the Forge of Solus Prime to the Autobots hoping they will do some good with it. Optimus once again offers Dreadwing a place among the Autobots. Dreadwing refuses, claiming that just because he doesn't believe in the Decepticons anymore doesn't mean he's ready to believe in the Autobots. Dreadwing then tries to kill Starscream for turning his brother into a zombie and is shot in the back by Megatron when he refuses to stand down.
  • At the end of one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, after an Enemy Mine situation between Jack and the heroes that has resulted in a great victory against Wuya, Omi offers this chance to Jack; he considers it briefly, but then tells them it would never work out. (He does, however, offer to take them out for ice cream one day when they aren't fighting over Shen Gong Wu, saying he'll buy.)
  • In an episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), He-Man offers a second chance to Evil-Lyn after rescuing her from a Fate Worse than Death at Skeletor's hands (long story) telling her that he was sent by someone who thinks she deserved one. (He-Man doesn't know that it was her father, but she clearly does.) Evil-Lynn does seem to consider it for a few brief minutes, but then quickly decides against it, knocking him down and saying, "Think I'll pass." Ironically, He-Man did tell himself "I'll probably regret this later", before he rescued her.
  • In the finale of Wander over Yonder, Wander offers Lord Dominator friendship, only for her to reject this, storming off into space.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • During the episode "Viva Las Pegasus" Applejack and Fluttershy are forced to pull an Enemy Mine with recurring villians Flim and Flam in order to bring down Gladmane. After all is said and done, Fluttershy hopes that the con ponies will feel good about using their skills to help others and change their ways — but the brothers quickly state that was a one-time thing only and go back to their normal behavior.
    • In "To Where and Back Again Part 2", as shown in the page image, Starlight Glimmer encourages Queen Chrysalis to become a positive leader to the newly-reformed changelings. Chrysalis seems tempted, then slaps Starlight's hoof away and vows revenge on her.
    • In "School Raze Part 2", when Cozy Glow is defeated, she refuses to repent or apologize for her crimes, so she is sentenced to Tartarus.
  • In the Steven Universe "Earthlings", Jasper's gem becomes corrupted and Steven attempts to heal her. However, Jasper shoves him away and rejects his help out of her hatred for Rose Quartz and a desire to not be seen as weak.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: In "Scorn of the Star Sapphire!", Wonder Woman tells Baroness Paula Von Gunther that her warlike ways will bring her nothing but pain and sorrow, and asks if they can start over as friends and sisters. The Baroness says her speech made her sick and punches her in the face.
  • During the Batman Beyond episode "The Last Resort" Terry teams up with a delinquent named Sean to escape from a brutal correctional school. After exposing the director's abuses of power Sean still tries to kill him despite Batman's protests, ruining the second chance he'd earned.

    Real Life 
  • The infamous pirate Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard) was at one point pardoned and had the chance to reform himself. Blackbeard soon returned to piracy and continued to plunder the high seas, and paid for it in what may have been one of the toughest battles the British navy ever had to fight against pirates.
  • Eddie Slovik (1920-1945) was the only American soldier since the American Civil War to be executed solely for desertion. During World War II, Slovik fled his unit in October 1944. He returned to headquarters later and, after admitting what he did, was offered not one but three chances to return to frontline combat duty without any punishment. Slovik refused and was promptly arrested; he was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. The death sentence came as a shock to Slovik; he had honestly expected to be imprisoned.

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