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Taunting the Unconscious

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When a character is or becomes unconscious, comatose, or otherwise insensate, another character may stand around and taunt them, or possibly do something to them that isn't violent but still takes advantage of their inability to respond or defend themselves. If it's being done by an antagonist, it's often done to mock the character for allowing themself to fall victim to the antagonist's plan or to belittle them as being unworthy of the antagonist's attention. Another way this can happen is if a character that has been belittled and/or tormented finds their tormentor in such a state and vents their frustration at them or makes fun of them for now being unable to protect themselves.
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A lot of types of Evil Gloating can go into the taunting of the character, particularly the villain revealing their plan, going on a Motive Rant, or talking about what they're going to do to other characters.

Can lead to a Not Quite Dead or Insulted Awake encounter if the character being taunted is either faking their insensate state or recovers unexpectedly.

Face Doodling is a nonverbal way to do the same thing, especially if the doodles are obscene and/or insulting to the person being drawn on.

Sister Tropes:

Compare:

  • Bond One-Liner, for when someone makes a bad joke about someone they just killed.
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  • Desecrating the Dead, when someone's corpse is violated for the same kinds of reasons as this trope.

Spoilers ahead


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs: After defeating Lovecraft, Chuuya has Dazai promise to bring him back to the base when he faints from the strain Corruption puts on his body. However, instead of just heading back alone like in the manga, in the stage play, Dazai makes fun of Chuuya by dragging his unconscious body around while singing an insulting song and putting him in a humiliating pose before leaving the other man passed out in the woods.

    Comic Books 
  • Played with in Tintin. After Professor Calculus falls into a hole and loses his memory, Haddock attempts various means to restore his memory, none of which snap Calculus out of his catatonia. The last one is a Bedsheet Ghost which fails when Haddock trips over his costume, and he angrily calls himself a goat. Calculus' hearing being what it is, he thinks Haddock called him a goat, and is Insulted Awake (having fallen in the hole during an extended Unstoppable Rage sequence after Haddock learned Calculus' personal Berserk Button was being accused of "acting the goat"), chasing Haddock around the room.

    Films — Animation 
  • Subverted in The Land Before Time. Cera finds Sharptooth apparently either dead or unconscious after being knocked into a crevasse by Littlefoot's mother Mama Longneck. After a moment of fearful hiding, she decides to prove she's not afraid of him by sticking her tongue out right in front of him and headbutting him. Then he immediately wakes up, and the terrified Cera high-tails it out of there.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • David does this twice in Alien: Covenant:
    • He lures Oram into the room where the fully developed alien eggs are located, setting up Oram to be attacked by a facehugger. While Oram lies unconscious, David sits on a rock ledge a few feet above him and idly tosses pebbles at his head until he comes to.
    • At the end of the movie, Daniels realizes far too late that David has replaced Walter. David activates the cryosleep function of her stasis pod; as she goes unconscious, he says "Don't let the bedbugs bite", both mocking her inescapable predicament and ironically calling back to him saying that he was going to do to her what he did to Elizabeth Shaw — namely, vivisect her for his alien breeding experiments.
  • Birds of Prey: After Zsasz shoots Harley with a tranquilizer dart, he kneels by her and plays with her jaw to mimic her speaking, as well as baring his chest full of scars marked for each of his victims. Harley can do little more than glare, and as she regains movement she relishes the chance to stab Zsasz over and over with the same dart after he's shot.
  • Constantine. Constantine's apprentice Chaz Kramer tries to enter Papa Midnite's club, but is denied entry by the bouncer because he isn't psychic and can't tell that a hidden card depicts "a rat in a dress". Later in the movie, Constantine knocks out the bouncer. Chaz takes advantage of the opportunity to taunt the unconscious bouncer by saying "Who's a rat in a dress now, huh, bitch?"
  • The Death of Stalin: Every single member of the inner circle reacts with a big show of grief upon discovering that Stalin is half-dead from a stroke...except for Lavrentiy Beria. Not only does he poke fun at the fact that Stalin's clearly pissed himself, but as soon as the unconscious General Secretary is hauled into bed, Beria whispers into his ear, "You have a nice long sleep, old man. I'll take it from here." Incidentally, this is Truth in Television: Beria supposedly reacted with open mockery when Stalin was on his deathbed, and immediately fell back on toadying when it looked as if he might be recovering.
  • Get Out: Chris is subjected to a hypnotic trigger that causes him to fall into a trance. As he collapses on the ground, his fleeting consciousness is represented by him plummeting into a black void, and the last thing he hears before being swallowed by the darkness is Rose teasingly calling him one of her favourite victims.
  • The Matrix: After Morpheus has been taken prisoner by the Agents and Cypher reveals to Trinity and the others who are still in the Matrix that he's betrayed them, he sits astraddle the jacked-in Morpheus and mocks him for not seeing what was about to happen.
    Cypher: Surprise, asshole! Bet you never saw this coming, did you? God, I wish I could be there when they break you. I wish I could walk in just when it happens, so right then, you'd know it was me.
  • Thor: Laufey, king of the Frost Giants and Odin's Arch-Enemy, gains access to Odin's chambers while Odin is in the Odinsleep, basically a magical coma Odin needs to recharge himself. Laufey opens Odin's eye, remarks that Odin is supposed to be aware of what's going on around him while he's in the Odinsleep, and hopes it's true so he can see that it's Laufey that kills him. He then forms an ice dagger to kill Odin but is struck down and then killed by Loki.

    Literature 
  • Flawed: When Celestine winds up at the Guild's hospital, she discovers Pia, Colleen, Natasha, Gavin, Logan, and Mr. Berry drugged and in a frozen, unreacting state to keep them from sharing information they have. She has to pretend to be frozen, too, when two Whistleblowers come by and start to mock the incapacitated characters. They even take a picture with Celestine, thinking her too drugged to understand. She manages to scare one of them by moving during the picture.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: Gus visits Hector in the hospital, Hector being almost completely paralyzed and mute from a stroke. He tells him a story about the way he made a creature suffer beyond any reason by keeping it alive for having crossed him. As such, he's determined to keep Hector alive... since he's not done with him.
  • The Flash: In "The Trap", a flashback has Eobard Thawn taunt a comatose Barry. Thawn is disguised as Dr. Harrison Wells at this point and totally alone with Barry who is in his care, making this Nightmare Fuel as he tells his unconscious patient how easily he could kill him right now if he didn't still need him, but once that's no longer the case Barry will die.
    Thawn: You look so young. And I could kill you, right now, so easy. What I wouldn't have given... Oh, all those times before I've had you like this, so helpless, but fate... fate's tricky, isn't it? I come here to destroy you, and then to get home I have to be the one who creates you. Huh. But I will say, it's been an education, watching you grow up all these years — science fairs and soccer games — no hint, no sign, no trace of the man you will be one day — for whom I have nothing but hate. And to be clear, nothing is forgiven. There will be a reckoning, I promise you, Barry Allen, then you will die.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune: In this version, during the confrontation between Leto, Baron Harkonnen, and Piter de Vries, Leto is awake and sitting upright but paralyzed, and can only watch as Dr. Yueh is disposed of by the Baron's men. Piter tries to get the Baron to go ahead and just kill Leto, but the Baron instead gloats about how he will bring about the destruction of House Atreides. Leto releases the poison gas in his fake tooth, killing himself, Piter, and the Sardukar surrounding them, but the Baron is able to float away before the gas can reach him.
    Piter: Perhaps we should get on with it then?
    Baron Harkonnen: Get on with it? THIS-IS-KANLY, Piter! Vendetta! And I am going to savor every minute of it. My family has hated the Atreides for generations. They have been the sand in our eyes, the stink at our meals. These arrogant Atreides, always standing in our way. I want Leto to appreciate the beauty, of what I have done to him. I want him to know that I, BARON VLADIMIR HARKONNEN, am the instrument of his family's demise, the extinction of House Atreides, and the ascendance of House Harkonnen.
  • Scrubs: In "His Story", Dr. Cox performs a physical on Dr. Kelso and discovers he has high blood pressure, which could have led to his death if not for Cox. When Kelso thanks him for it, Cox resists the urge to rub it in his face. However, Cox still feels the need to be a jerk to someone, so he insults a comatose patient.
  • Star Trek:

    Video Games 
  • Mega Man Battle Network 3: White and Blue: Following the Hopeless Boss Fight against Bass, the villain taunts the unconscious hero, expressing how disappointed he is that MegaMan was unable to provide him with a proper challenge and declares that he deserves to be deleted.
  • No More Heroes: Destroyman tricks Travis into shaking hands which puts the latter in range of being electrocuted by the "Destroy Spark". As Travis lays on the ground half-conscious, Destroyman breaks into mocking laughter.
    Destroyman: Oh, this is great! Is this guy an idiot or what?! Hahaha!... You fell for the oldest trick in the book!

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: After getting his butt stomped by Aang in the finale, Ozai can only offer a feeble retort before falling unconscious, leaving himself open to ridicule by the rest of the Gaang.
    Sokka: Well, look at you, buster. Now that your firebending's gone I guess we should call you the Loser Lord.
    Ozai: [feebly] I am the Phoenix King... [falls down drooling]
    Toph: Oh, sorry. Didn't mean to offend you, Phoenix King of Getting His Butt Whooped.
  • Ben 10: In "Back with a Vengeance", the first thing Kevin says when he sees a frozen Vilgax is "You don't look so tough." Vilgax then breaks free from the ice and shows Kevin why saying that was a bad idea.
  • Justice League: In the animated adaptation of For the Man Who Has Everything, Mongul knocks out Wonder Woman, then picks her up and starts handling her body as if it was a child's toy. He calls her an "inferior specimen" and states that, if this is the best Earth has to offer, he will easily be able to conquer it.

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