Follow TV Tropes


Sleight of Tongue

Go To
Is that a plot device in your mouth Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

"Kiss the girl, get the key. They never taught me that in the Obsidian Order."

The hero has his back up against the wall. He's tied to the chair blindfolded, the firing squad is taking aim, the shark tank is sliding into position, the laser cannon/deathtrap is warming up, and his last cigarette is already half ash, you know the drill. By all accounts, his pooch is clearly about to be screwed.

And the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter or The Baroness or the Femme Fatale moves in for that last lingering sadistic Last Kiss to resolve that pesky UST...

Cue the Downer Ending, right? Not so much; as it works out, during the kiss she slipped into his mouth the key to his shackles, or a lock pick or the appropriate piece of Phlebotinum, ensuring that our intrepid hero lives on to fight (and kiss) another day.



    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Eat-Man: Rain slipping Bolt the last piece of her gynormous BFS in the pick.
  • In the manga Red River, Rusafa is framed for assaulting a nobleman's daughter and is placed out in the desert, his arms and legs all stretched out and tied with leather and is to be left there for five days. If he manages to escape or is alive when the five days are up, he can go free because 'the gods allowed him to live'. Yuri goes to him (accompanied by guards), kisses him and passes him a sharp sliver of obsidian, which he somehow manages to spit out towards his hand, pick up and cut himself free with.
  • Towards the end of 009-1, Mylene is captured by the Eastern Bloc. She manipulates the guard into kissing her. While their lips are locked, she tongues a Cyanide Pill into his mouth. After he falls over dead, she picks the locks to her restraints and escapes.
  • A variation occurs in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, wherein Jotaro frenches a possessed, rabid school nurse in order to force her mouth open, allowing Star Platinum to enter and pull out the enemy Stand controlling her with its teeth.
  • In Banana Fish, Ash uses an empty medicine capsule and a kiss to pass important information to Eiji. It's implied to be Eiji's Sacred First Kiss, but he doesn't seem to mind giving it to Ash ...
  • In the final arc of Assassination Classroom, Bitch-Sensei uses this to smuggle bomb components in to the students, who are in government custody.

     Comic Books  

  • Batman: At the conclusion of "The Saga of Ra's al Ghul", Batman is stung by a scorpion while fighting a duel against Ra's. Talia lingers by the dying Batman, saying she wishes to give him one last kiss. However, she uses the kiss to give him an antidote to the scorpion venom, allowing him to recover hours later.
  • Robin: When surrounded by Tvorakovich's heavily armed men Dava grabbed Robin and kissed him to share the Aramilla she has just sneakily taken.
  • A one-man variant in XIII: While imprisoned in a mental facility, XIII gets hauled out in front of the Mongoose, who's come to gloat. An enraged XIII grabs him by the lapel before being subdued by the guards, and remains silent until he's back in his cell. Where he reveals that he ripped off the Mongoose's visitor badge, and more importantly the safety pin on it, so as to unlock his cuffs.

     Fan Fiction  




  • In Roger Zelazny's The Changing Land, the resurrected priestess Semirama does this (with considerable... emphasis) to slip a key to Dilvish (who happens to be the spitting image of his ancestor, who was her lover) when he's chained in the dungeon of the Castle Timeless.
  • Played more or less straight in the climax of S.M. Stirling's Under the Yoke: the protagonist doesn't escape, but does manage to slip the microfilm to a supporting character who does.
  • In Burndive a (female) dealer passed drugs this way to Ryan.
  • In an example so inverted that it wraps around and makes a bizarre kind of perfect sense, in The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden, as per usual in the dregs of his psychic battery, gets Lara Raith to kiss him and uses the emotion inspired by her succubus's power to fuel one last, desperate spell.
  • A rather funny scene in Swordhunt where Nveid passes Arrhae a MacGuffin this way, and she covers it by decking him for daring to kiss a senator without her permission.

     Live Action TV  

  • Played with in Angel, when Doyle hands off his psychic whammy to Cordelia before he does the Heroic Sacrifice thing.
    • Also done later when it was retconned that Cordelia gave Angel one of those psychic whammies so that he could end the series.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Our Man Bashir" a Genre Savvy Julian Bashir gets out of a pair of handcuffs in this manner via a holographic Bond Girl (who happens to be storing the genetic pattern of Jadzia Dax due to some Techno Babble plot occurrences, and so looks just like her).
    • Complete with the actual former spy who is also tied up with him remarking that they never taught that particular trick ("kiss the girl, get the key") when he was in the service.
  • Somewhat inverted in Jekyll. Claire (apparently) swallows the key to Hyde's chains to prevent him from escaping. Hyde, ever horny and homicidal, gives her a long, slow one. Result.
  • Happens in an episode of Monk when the homicidal magician's stage assistant takes pity on the titular character. Being Monk, though, the very thought of swapping a plot device orally freaks him out enough to alert his captor.
  • In Harper's Island, Abbey slips a key to Jimmy's handcuffs when she kisses him goodbye.
  • In Lost Girl, Kenzi visits Bo in prison, pretending to be her girlfriend, then gives her a kiss that lasts a really long time before the guards get fed up and drag her out. It is then revealed that Kenzi had passed Bo a magic gem.
  • In Da Vinci's Demons Lucrezia and Zoro are chained together and about to Walk the Plank (or at least get shoved off it). Lucrezia gives him a Last Kiss, and transfers a lockpick to his mouth as does so.
  • In the Australian mini-series Janus, a prison guard catches drugs being passed this way from a visiting girlfriend to an inmate, and forces him to spit it out.
  • Used in The Last Ship where a Fake-Out Reunion Kiss allows Dr. Scott to slip information of an extraction to CDR Chandler, while aboard the RFS Vyerni.
  • Blake's 7. In "Ultraworld", Dayna and Tarrant use a Fake-Out Make-Out to remove a micro-grenade hidden in Dayna's tooth.
  • The CSI episode "Abra-Cadaver" involved a magician whose mouth contained a "skin pocket" that he used to conceal small objects like keys.


  • Kate Bush depicted Houdini's trick in her song "Houdini" and on the cover of her album The Dreaming. Take a good look in her mouth and listen to / read the lyrics some time.


  • At the end of Hitman: Blood Money Dianna slips 47 the antidote of the feign-death poison she injected into him earlier through her lipstick. Subverted in that if the player doesn't juggle the joysticks fast enough to get his heart rate up, he'll slowly be pushed into the giant crematorium oven

     Western Animation  

  • Batman: The Animated Series: This is apparently foreplay for Talia and Bruce Wayne. In "Daughter of the Demon", she gives him a dose of scorpion venom antidote (a scene borrowed from the Batman comics). In another episode, she gives him a lock pick.
  • Trevor Goodchild does this to Æon Flux, except he actually stores the microfilm into her false tooth and closes the lid. With his tongue. No wonder she's into him.
    • Happens in the movie as well. Two Monican agents walk up to each other with completely blank expressions, kiss passionately, slipping a message capsule from tongue to tongue, and then walk off again as if nothing had happened.

     Real Life  

  • Turns out this is the trick behind a good deal of stage magic. In particular, Houdini's wife is said to have aided him in this fashion on several occasions.
  • This is a favourite means of passing drugs to someone during a prison visit. Probably any prison show has depicted this at one time or another.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: