When the heroes consciously recognize a trap when they see one, but elect to walk into it anyway.
The reasons for this vary. Sometimes, it's because one of the hero's True Companions or a Love Interest is being held hostage, and the hero can't turn his back on them. Sometimes it's because the heroes need a lead to the villain's plot and taking the bait is the only way. Proceeding may literally be the only option, e.g. it's the only way out of the maze they're in. Perhaps the heroes have an idea of what's in store for them, and the makings of a plan. Or maybe it's just because the hero enjoys a challenge. In any case, the choice is made: trap or no trap, it's their only chance.
It doesn't always work. Sometimes it turns out there's little discernible difference between having sprung the trap on purpose than in having walked into it accidentally. Heroes have walked into their doom in the invocation of this trope. But it can pay off. Two types of heroes have been especially known to succeed: The kind that can think like a Chessmaster and use some critical piece of knowledge of the plan to foil the villain's aims while apparently "falling" into their trap, and the kind that is a master of thinking on their feet and making things up as they go along.
Video Games may sidestep any logical rationale at all for walking into a trap, leaving Stupidity as the Only Option. The characters are controlled by you, and YOU are electing to walk into the trap because it's the only way to progress the game. But the in-story reason for this happening is as likely to be that the characters simply are dumb enough to fall for obvious Schmuck Bait, rather than having consciously realized the nature of the trap. If no rationale is given, the trap-springing falls under Stupidity Is the Only Option rather than this trope. Only if the characters in the game itself recognize that it is a trap, and supply a reason for tripping it deliberately, is this trope being invoked as well.
Compare Schmuck Bait. See also Kansas City Shuffle which is built upon this trope: The con relies on the mark knowing there's a con but underestimating it. Contrast Lured into a Trap, where the heroes never realized it was a trap until it was too late.
- In the Read or Die OAV, one clear path into the I-Jin fortress suddenly becomes apparent. Joker instructs his team to take that path, stating that while it is obviously a trap, he has a few tricks of his own to play. (See the From Russia With Love quote below)
- In episode 7 of Code Geass, Cornelia tries to lure out Zero by attacking the Saitama Ghetto; Lelouch immediately recognizes it's a trap since it's an almost perfect recreation of Clovis' attack on Shinjuku Ghetto in the first couple of episodes. He still goes anyway because of his overconfidence, but Cornelia is a much better commander than Clovis, and the Saitama rebels are quick to surrender and less competent than the ones he led in Shinjuku, so he's almost captured and only escapes when C.C. lets him pull off an unsolicited Decoy Getaway.
- In an early chapter/episode of Ranma ½, a student who's madly in love with Akane finds out about Ranma's phobia of cats and decides to lure him into a cat-filled room to humiliate him. He does this by sending Ranma a letter telling him to show up at a particular location if he ever wants to see Akane again...while Akane's standing right next to Ranma and reading the letter too. He then does a hilariously poor impersonation of being the kidnapped Akane (once again, while Akane's right next to Ranma) when Ranma shows up at the designated location. Ranma still goes along with it because he just wants to know what the hell this weirdo is up to. Bad choice.
- In an aptly named episode of Digimon Adventure 02 "The Insect Master's Trap", the chosen children enter into Arukenimon's trap to find out what she is up to. Unfortunately, they underestimated just how good of a trap it was.
- The heroes of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS are invited to a Nasty Party at the Big Bad's house...which they elect to attend, despite the danger. They want to take the fight to him.
- Sometimes happens in Yu-Gi-Oh! when a duelist will intentionally set off an opponent's trap card because he has a strategy to deal with it, such as a counter-trap. A perfect example occurs during Yugi's duel with Pegasus at Duelist Kingdom. Pegasus has his Ryu-Ran attack Yugi's Summoned Skull, causing Ryu-Ran to get caught in Yugi's Spellbinding Circle. Pegasus, however, saw this coming thanks to his Millennium Eye and has a Trap Displacement ready to go, which frees Ryu-Ran and traps Summoned Skull in the circle.
- Happened in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL outside of a duel. Kite had a feeling that Vector was luring Yuma and Astral (and by association, Shark) into a trap but Yuma didn't care because he had to rescue Ray, plus Shark was looking for revenge on the Barian indirectly responsible for putting Rio in the hospital.
- The villain Black Mask's pathetic first appearance in Batman is marked by him walking into an obvious trap. He is obsessed with masks, and is killing people that had "wronged" him with them. Then one of the people he wants dead, Bruce Wayne, holds a Masquerade.
Batman: Good job, Alfred — Black Mask won't be able to resist an invitation like this.
Robin: But what makes you so sure, Batman? It's the most obvious trap imaginable.
Batman: Which is why he'll come.
Narrator: The Crypt...
Tupeng: It's obviously a trap, Black Mask.
Black Mask: Of course, Tupeng — and moreover, it's obviously an obvious trap.
Thespis: But you still plan to go?
Black Mask: Of course, Thespis. How could I resist?
- In the ElfQuest Shards story line, Two-Edge has both kinds of traps, hidden and obvious. Two-Edge had a long time to make sure that the traps covered the only hidden way into the Citadel -and the elves need to go there.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW), it's obvious that the deadline is part of some greater plot, but the Mane Six decide they have to meet it anyway.
- In The Transformers: Robots in Disguise Orion Pax and his crew travel to Gorlam Prime and give the villain everything he needs to begin their evil plan, however Orion Pax is finally able to figure out what the villains were up to in the first place and begin effectively working to stop them.
Orion Pax: It's not a trap if you know it's a trap.
- Red Robin: "Promise" gets Tim Drake to come to her location with false information about the assassination game he's investigating in order to knock him out with her hidden meta-human abilities and kidnap him for her "sister". Luckily Tim was aware that something was off about the situation so he made a plan with Batgirl and triggered a tracking device on himself.
- In Superman storyline Reign Of Doomsday, Superman must rescue Supergirl, Superboy, Steel... from a pocket dimension hidden inside a spaceship drifting on the far side of the Sun. Superman realizes Luthor meant for him to find and walk into the trap, but he must go into it to rescue his family.
Superman: There's an event horizon inside. A private universe. Luthor was betting on me following them, trapping myself in there. So I have to make a leap of faith. To simply gamble that I'll discover something Luthor doesn't know. I'll take that bet!
- In Brother and Sister, when the titular siblings run away from the Wicked Stepmother, she uses her Wicked Witch powers to enchant all the water sources of the nearby forest. The siblings realize this but at some point the Brother cannot resist his thirst any longer and drinks from a stream anyway, so he's transformed into a stag. The Sister manages to hold on and remains a human.
- In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, Envy successfully abducts all of the townsponies of Neighton and is holding them hostage in the Everfree Vaults, a building with only one way in or out. Nova and Twilight know it's a trap, but they have no choice but to spring it because they know Envy will kill all of the townsponies if they don't.
- A Brief History of Histories has its own spin on an instance from Sailor Moon, when Jadiete challenges Moon, Mercury and Mars to meet him for a final showdown. In the anime, they answer the challenge because he threatens to burn down the city. Here, however, they have extra motivation: Jadiete discovered Mars' Secret Identity and will expose it to the rest of the world if they don't come.
- Loved and Lost: The disgraced heroes hatch a plan to return to Canterlot when they hear rumors about some escaped Changelings seeking revenge on Twilight, but Princess Luna (correctly) suspects that it might be a trap. The other heroes acknowledge this point, but decide to carry on with their original plan, seeing it as their only chance to clear their names and earn Twilight's forgiveness.
- Justified in the Senju Twins Retrieval Arc of Son of the Sannin. Orochimaru kidnaps Naruto's little brother and sister, knowing that his Big Brother Instinct would force him to go and rescue them despite it obviously being a trap to capture his tailed beast for Akatsuki (and with all this going on during the Sound Invasion, he'd be severely limited on who he could get for backup before it'd be too late to save them).
- From Russia with Love, the classic James Bond movie.
Number One: What makes you think the head of the British secret service will oblige you by falling in with your plan?
Kronsteen: For the simple reason that this is so obviously a trap. My reading of the British mentality is that they always treat a trap as a challenge.
- Serenity, after Inara sends a message inviting Mal to come see her at the Companion training house, Mal and Zoe recognize it instantly as a trap, but because the bait's a friend of theirs (and Mal's Love Interest besides), Mal decides to go in anyway.
Zoe: So, trap?
Zoe: We goin'?
Mal: Ain't but a few hours out.
Wash: Yeah, but... remember the part where it's a trap?
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
Anakin: I sense Count Dooku.
Obi-Wan: I sense a trap.
Anakin: Next move?
Obi-Wan: [grins] Spring the trap.
- Expanded on in the novelization — this is Anakin and Obi-Wan's standard procedure whenever they encounter a trap during the war.
- Leia's actions in A New Hope can be interpreted as this. She suspects that the villains have intentionally let them go and bugged their ship to track them to the Rebel Base, but she still opts to go straight there. However, this has an advantage of bringing the Death Star to where they can attack it, preventing the imperials from blowing up any more innocent planets and/or modifying the station to remedy its weakness.
- In Starship Troopers, the Roughnecks end up falling right into a Bug ambush, but as we later find out, command knew the Bugs had set a trap and sent in the Roughnecks as bait so they could confirm that there is a Brain Bug on the planet.
- We Were Soldiers: Colonel Moore's Airborne Cav battalion is ordered into LZ X-Ray to find an NVA force that attacked another base and then retreated. Moore and Sergeant Major Plumley have both been around long enough to know an obvious ambush when they see one, but their entire mission is to force an engagement with the NVA in force, thus making the trap an ideal situation for them. As in Real Life, they end up taking on several North Vietnamese battalions, and succeed largely because the North Vietnamese never manage to cut off their air bridge of helicopters which bring in reinforcesments and resupply, and evacuate the wounded.
- In The Wolverine, a picture of where the bad guys have taken Mariko is impaled in the chest of a dead mook, with COME AND GET HER written in blood on it. He does, but is at least smart enough to have Yukio infiltrate by a less obvious route.
- Se7en. After surrendering to police, Serial Killer John Doe promises to lead Detective Mills and Somerset (and only these two) to where he's left the bodies of his last victims; if so he will plead guilty to all crimes instead of an Insanity Defence. Suspecting John Doe has something more dramatic planned than retrieving a couple of bodies, he's manacled hand and foot, their car is followed by a SWAT team in a helicopter, and Mills and Somerset are determined to be ready for anything. They're not.
- In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Radagast and Gandalf are outside the Necromancer's fortress, and Gandalf is about to go inside.
Radagast: But what if it's a trap?
Gandalf: It's undoubtedly a trap.
- In Braveheart, William Wallace is warned that the meeting with Robert the Bruce would be a trap and he kind of senses it himself, but he feels it is worth trying because the chance to reunite the Scottish forces is their only hope.
- Averted in 300. When Xerxes invites Leonidas to meet after the first battle, one of his men warns him that it could be a trap. Leonidas responds that he hopes it's a trap, because that would incite all of Greece to join the war against the Persians. Walking into a trap would be the best-case scenario for him.
- In Us, when Adelaide goes back into the Tyler house to get the keyfob so she and her family can escape in the Tylers' car, it's not in the bowl where she knows it goes, it's sitting in the kitchen out on the previously bare counter, and the doppelganger who fell onto the coffee table is missing. Adelaide clearly knows something's up, but traveling on foot is too dangerous, so she grips her poker and just tries to grab the fob as fast as possible. Sure enough, the doppelganger is alive and was using the fob as bait.
- In Shooter, the villains leak the location of the real sniper who shot the archbishop to Bob Lee Swagger, who's been framed for the shooting. He only needs to take one look at the isolated ranch to know it's a trap, but decides he needs answers anyways. As predicted, a small army of fully-kitted mercenaries come for him, but Swagger in turn shows he's ready for them, with the copious amounts of homemade teargas, pipe bombs, and napalm he left dropped along the way.
- Animorphs often used this.
- Used in one instance by the Yeerks to try and trick the free Hork-Bajir. The Hork-Bajir manage to turn the trap back on them. Actually that's the secondary plot of that book, and the primary plot has an even more central role for the idea that Trap Is The Only Option. That primary plot is all about a mysterious letter left by Tobias's unknown father; it looks like an incredibly obvious trap for Tobias, but Tobias would only make the Yeerks much more suspicious if he were to blow off an appointment with his father's estate lawyer.
- At the end of the Black Jewels trilogy, the villains capture Lucivar's wife and child. He takes the bait, and then subsequently becomes new bait for his father. Who takes the bait, and subsequently becomes new bait for his other son. Who takes the bait. Unfortunately for the villains, he doesn't walk so much as saunter into the trap.
- When Paul Atreides tells his father Leto that their being given Arrakis was possibly a trap, Leto replies with the classic line "knowing there is a trap is the first step in evading it." Leto got killed before the book was half-over. Nice Job Evading It Hero.
- His successors weren't much better at evading obvious traps. That line should be changed to "Knowing there's a trap is the first step in looking really stupid when you get caught by it."
- Leto and Thufir's mistake, aside from being tricked by a Red Herring, was underestimating the scale of the trap. When the trap was sprung, their enemies sent ten legions of soldiers supported by an entire legion of the Emperor's elite Sardaukar. Thufir was completely blindsided by how badly the Atreides' enemies wanted them dead, and how much expense they were willing to endure to make that happen. They had presumed that House Atreides' popularity in the Landsraad (many of the smaller houses were rallied behind Atreides) would make the Emperor hesitate to move against them. Instead, the great deal of support enjoyed by House Atreides and the Duke in particular made them entirely too dangerous for the Emperor to ignore.
- In Agatha Christie's Partners In Crime stories, Tommy and Tuppence are posing as private detectives, because the detective agency is suspected of dealing with a supercriminal known as No. 16, and Tommy's government boss wants them to flush him out. When Tommy arranges a meeting with someone who is quite obviously an agent of No. 16 who suspects he isn't really Mr Blunt, Tuppence complains that he's walking into a trap with his eyes closed. Tommy replies that, on the contrary, he's walking into a trap with his eyes open.
- The Wheel of Time protagonists practically live this trope, especially Rand. From Isam's summary:
- In the Magic Legends II Cycle, the villain Nicol Bolas walks knowingly into Tetsuo Umezawa's trap. And is utterly defeated.
- Robert E. Howard's "The Hour of the Dragon'':
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, pilot Voort SaBinring notices the enemy attack pattern indicates they're going to spring a trap on their squadron. Squadron leader Jaina Solo decides to weather the trap out; they couldn't run every time they were targeted by a seeming Obvious Trap. It nearly proves fatal to her, and her Love Interest Jagged Fel.
- Sinfjotli in Saga of the Volsungs declines a poisoned cup offered to him by his stepmother Borghild two times. The third time, he drinks it, even though he knows it is poisoned.
- Towards the end of The Fate of Paul Twister, Paul and Aylwyn come across a clue that looks suspiciously like a Treasure Map designed specifically to lure Paul in, most likely a trap set by a manipulative dragon. Paul asks Aylwyn to come along as backup, and when she points out that it's almost certainly a trap, he says he knows, but the dragon is persistent and it's better to walk into a trap he sees coming than to possibly get blindsided by the next one.
- Mordant's Need: The Big Good allies realize that the valley where they'd face off against the enemy is an obvious trap. Some state they'd rather retreat to Orison for a Last Stand. The heroes realize that that is the real trap. Fortunately, the Congery invents the aforementioned Boring, but Practical mirrors, which allow the Orison and Alend armies to intentionally spring the trap long before the Cadwal forces are ready for, and being stronger than Festten epxects to them to be.
- In The Bible, Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane. Being Jesus, he naturally knows what's going to happen if he goes there, but since it is part of God's plan, he goes anyway.
- In Night Broken, Mercy is captured and taken to Europe by a powerful vampire lord. She spots an apparent means of escape from his fortress that's so obvious it's instantly recognizable as a trap but decides to take it anyway because she's held against her will by powerful and dangerous monsters far too often for her taste and when she was growing up her mentor told her that she should always try to escape at the first opportunity, because that's when she'll be her strongest. Waiting just gives them opportunities to torture, starve, and weaken you. She succeeds since the vampire really had no idea how tricky and elusive a coyote can be. And wasn't expecting her to lure his pet werewolf into the path of an oncoming bus.
- In The Bands of Mourning, the titular treasure is hidden inside a Temple of Doom that consists of one long hallway filled to the brim with traps. The villains consider blowing up the walls with dynamite, but decide to not risk destroying the Bands. After confirming that the traps don't reset after being triggered, the heroes walk in... but they send the immortal kandra MeLaan in first, to safely trigger every trap in the hallway. This turns out to be Invoked; the Bands are disguised as part of a statue next to the entrance, and the temple is there to trick explorers into thinking the only way is through the traps.
- In Calibans War, Avasarala suspects that the invitation aboard Jules-Pierre Mao's luxurious spaceship headed to Ganymede was supposed to keep her out of the political game for months, but accepts it anyway since declining would completely ruin her political career and leave her powerless.
- In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Only Light in the Darkness", Skye discovers Grant Ward is The Mole just before he tries to trick her into leaving the base with him. Since she has no allies nearby, she lets him believe his cover is intact and plays along.
- The A-Team, "Showdown". B.A. asks if the fake A-Team might be an army trap to lure them out. Hannibal says he doesn't know if it is, but he knows that the army will attempt to use it. Whatever it is, the team has to go anyway.
- In Babylon 5, Sheridan goes to Z'ha'dum with Anna, knowing it's a trap. He plans to make it a very costly trap.
- Parodied in the Batman (1966) TV series where in one of the episodes Robin trips on death bee beehive trip wire which is clearly marked.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are both pretty fond of playing with this.
- Season 2 is bookended with Buffy walking into two different traps for two different reasons, only to discover that both of them were just red herrings to distract her. From the first instance:
Willow: What about the other part of the note?
Buffy: What other part of the note?
Willow: The part that says "PS, this is a trap!"
- And the second:
Angelus: And you fall for it every single time!
- Apparently she never learns the lesson. In the final season, Caleb rolls into town, brutally injures a potential, and gives her a message for Buffy: "I have something of yours." Everyone else concludes it's a trap, but Buffy is convinced a full on attack will be more than Caleb and forces can handle. She's very wrong, and Caleb proceeds to effortlessly defeat her, Faith, and Spike, kill two potentials, and gouge out Xander's eye.
- Season 2 is bookended with Buffy walking into two different traps for two different reasons, only to discover that both of them were just red herrings to distract her. From the first instance:
- Doctor Who: Over the years, the Doctor's walked into a few of these.
- It gets fitted with a lampshade in "The Androids of Tara":
The Doctor: I shall have to go alone of course. It's funny. They always want you to go alone when you're walking into a trap. Have you noticed that?
- Naturally, the enemy was no different. Count Grendel considered the fact that the Doctor would know it's a trap and take every precaution he could think of as a reason why it would be even more fun.
- In "The Pyramid at the End of the World", the Doctor and the local military commanders are invited inside said pyramid to negotiate terms. The Doctor and his companion have a discussion about this trope, though as it turns out it's not a trap (the aliens are too powerful and confident of their plan to need one).
The Doctor: Well, every trap you walk into is a chance to learn about your enemies. Impossible to set a trap without making a self-portrait of your own weaknesses.Bill: Great. Unless it kills us.The Doctor: Well, you could say that about anything.
- It gets fitted with a lampshade in "The Androids of Tara":
- On Lost, Jack and co. know that Michael is leading them straight into a trap by taking them to the Others' camp. Jack's plan is to go along with it and pretend they don't know it's a trap, believing they'll have the advantage since Michael doesn't know that they have another party led by Sayid preparing to attack the Others' camp from sea. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that Michael has lied about the camp's location, and Sayid's party ends up at an abandoned decoy camp miles away from the real trap, where Jack and co. are easily caught.
- Thanks to a chronic case of Honor Before Reason, Arthur from Merlin has made a habit out of this trope. The title character gets his fair share, too.
- In Power Rangers S.P.D.
- The villains have captured the Rangers' friend and ally Kat Manx, and as they dare the Rangers to come get her Kat warns them not to as it's a trap - Emperor Gruumm then confirms that yes it's a trap, but they're not going to abandon her, are they?
- Late in the series, a team of evil Rangers appear and challenge the heroes. The Rangers discuss that accepting the challenge may be a trap, but ignoring it may also be a trap. They decide to accept.
- In QI, when there's a really obvious answer that no-one wants to say because it's one of Stephen's "heffalump traps", but nobody can think of any other answers, a contestant will sometimes say the obvious answer knowing it'll set off the klaxon and lose them points, just to break the tension.
- Too many times to list on Stargate SG-1 (and Atlantis, too.) Usually occurs after a thorough Lampshade Hanging, taking the form of "You know this is a trap, right?" "Yep." "Okay, just checking."
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- In "The Defector", the Enterprise finds a Romulan defector who says he has information about a top-secret Romulan base on Nelvana III within the Neutral Zone. Picard and his crew know that they're likely being Lured into a Trap, but they go in anyway - with some Klingon backup for when things go south.
- In the two part-episode "Unification", Ambassador Spock is invited by the Romulan Proconsul to discuss Vulcan/Romulan reunification. The Proconsul comes across as too eager, leading to some suspicion that it's part of a Romulan ploy. Spock decides to go through with the meeting, saying that if there is a ploy afoot, he needs to play along to find out what's going on. He turns out to be right—the Proconsul is working with Commander Sela on a plot to conquer Vulcan.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- Sisko's old friend, Cal Hudson, defects to the Maquis, and Sisko sets a trap at a Cardassian supply depot. When it's pointed out that it's an obvious trap, Sisko acknowledges this, but says Hudson can't afford not to attack, lest the depot be moved.
- "Rocks and Shoals": A Vorta field officer deliberately sends his Jem'Hadar soldiers walking into a death trap, so that he can safely surrender once they are out of the way. They know it's a trap, but they go anyway simply because obeying the Vorta "is the order of things."
- "Sacrifice of Angels": Sisko leads a large Federation fleet to retake DS9 from the Dominion, but encounter twice as many Cardassian and Jem'Hadar ships. Sisko attempts to lure Cardassian ships out of formation, but Gul Dukat recognizes Sisko's plan and carefully withdraws a few ships to draw him in so Dukat can crush Sisko with superior numbers. Sisko sees through the trap, but realizes they've been delayed long enough they may not be able to reach their objective in time and so orders the fleet forward anyway. They're nearly wiped out, but The Cavalry in the form of a Klingon fleet hits the Dominion flank just in time and Sisko is able to break through.
- The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Basics" starts with Voyager receiving a Distress Call from traitorous ex-crewmate Seska, who had earlier stolen Chakotay's DNA to impregnate herself; her call says that Kazon Maje Culluh (whom she left Voyager for) is furious that Seska's newborn baby is half-human and not half-Kazon. Our heroes are reluctant to embark on a rescue mission, especially Chakotay, until a Vision Quest with his deceased father convinces him otherwise. Fully aware that this may be a trap, Voyager goes in with a battle plan that almost succeeds—except that Seska has an even better plan that leads to the Kazon capturing the ship and marooning the crew on an alien planet. And just to drive the knife farther in, it turns out that the baby really isn't Chakotay's.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Sam and Dean go to rescue two hunters even though they know it is a trap.
- And in "Unforgiven" Sam is sent a mysterious text message about a town where women have been disappearing. Turns out it's a town where Sam hunted while he was soulless, and all the women were people he'd slept with (Sam can no longer remember this). When Dean discovers this, he wants to get the hell out of town, but Sam believes he did something terrible and wants to make amends. Turns out a sheriff Sam used as The Bait for the demon, then Mercy Killed instead of taking to a hospital, is actually alive (having been turned into a demon himself) and wants revenge.
- Pretty much anytime Crowley or Abaddon contact the boys in any way, Dean and Sam know it's a trap but usually innocents' or friends' lives are at stakes so...
- In Legends of Tomorrow "Turncoat"; the Legends detect a massive Time Quake which they trace back to George Washington being assassinated shortly before the Battle of Trenton. They immediately conclude that this a trap set by the Legion of Doom (having fallen for a similar trap in an earlier episode), but point out this is too large a change to the timeline to ignore.
- Voyagers!: Despite earlier saying that three men didn't have a chance against the Sheriff and his forces, Robin decides to go through with an attack to keep Maid Marian from being married to the Sheriff.
- Robin Hood:
- A common element in these stories is an archery contest that is actually a trap set by the Sheriff of Nottingham to ensnare Robin, widely recognized as the greatest archer in all the land. Robin is fully aware the contest is a trap, but goes anyway, because he has to prove he's the best.
- Subverted with another contest where the sheriff deliberately offers a prize he knows is useless to Robin — a pair of cows — because he doesn't want Robin to attend. (What he doesn't expect is for Little John, who'd listened to the townsfolk and knew full well why the sheriff chose that prize, to decide to take part instead, winning the prize and donating it to the fair for immediate use.)
- A supplement for West End Game's Star Wars d6 system detailed some of the Rebellion's special forces culture, and one of the things was "Bursting", defined as going into an obvious trap with far more firepower than the trap was ever ready for.
- Various card games allow for counterplay, like counterspells in Magic: The Gathering or Trap Cards in Yu-Gi-Oh!. If a counter is suspected, and there is no means of defusing it (e.g. countering the counterspell, or destroying the Trap Card), then the next best option is to play a decoy, hoping the counter is wasted on the smaller threat before making the actual intended play.
- The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 are quite fine with walking into traps, whether spotted in advance or not, since by Orkish logic it just means they'll get to the fight sooner. A similar, though not exactly the same, sentiment occasionally arises amongst the Space Marines: "When you're surrounded you don't even have to aim."
- Advance Wars: Kanbei believes Sonja's warnings in one mission of Black Hole Rising that Black Hole's holding several strategically insignificant Yellow Comet cities hostage is a trap. He goes anyway, because as far as he's concerned, ignoring the trap and letting the cities be occupied by Black Hole would be unacceptable. He is a CO, and COs protect their people no matter what.
- Early on in Batman: Arkham Asylum, after Joker lets Batman out of the holding cells.
Gordon: You know it's a trap.
Batman: Of course it is.
- In The Darkness II, Jackie has to go to the amusement park where he and Jenny would sneak in so that he can obtain the Siphon, knowing that the Brotherhood is waiting for him to storm the place. Johnny remarks that the whole thing sounds like a trap. Jackie responds that he knows it's a trap, but he doesn't have a choice; he needs the Siphon or else the Darkness will never release Jenny's soul to the afterlife.
- Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords:
- Subject to sarcastic Lampshade Hanging after a crime boss invites the Jedi Exile to a meeting and insists that she come alone:
- It gets even funnier when the Exile encounters Mira on the way to the obvious trap, who tells right away that she's a bounty hunter (there's a huge price on the Exile's head) and tells the Exile to follow her... Into a trap. Then Mira walks into the same trap she just prevented the Exile from falling into. And the Exile follows her afterwards, without any protection despite knowing that the place is full of extremely poisonous gas. To make it especially ridiculous you can travel freely there at all other times with a readily available gas mask.
- Mass Effect: One mission has Shepard informed about an old human probe that has just conviniently turned up after twenty years, one armed with a nuke to stop aliens tampering with it. On arrival at the probe's landing sight, all the party members point out how blatantly this is a trap of some kind. And it is.
- In Mass Effect 2, the Illusive Man knows that the "derelict" Collector ship is a trap, but sends Shepard and crew to investigate anyway, not wishing to lose the chance to gain intel on the Collectors. He does neglect to tell Shepard it's a trap, so you have no idea until it's is sprung.
Shepard: That son of a bitch sent us right into Collector hands!
Garrus: And here I thought I'd had my betrayal and attempted murder for this year.
- In Portal 2, at one point, the Big Bad crashes an entire room into a walkway that you're using to escape from him, with a convenient opening inside. GLaDOS goes so far as to Lampshade the fact.
GLaDOS: Okay, yes, it's a trap. But it's the only way through, so let's just do it.
- In Trials of Mana, the party elect to take the Sword of Mana into the villain's lair, knowing full well that it's a trap but also feeling it's their only chance to save their kidnapped friend.
- In Battlefield 3, at one point Misfit 1-3 is detached to Haymaker company, and come to a stop in front of a fuel truck that's blocking the road, that's obviously a trap. Haymaker's CO decides to spring it, much to Misfit 1-3's dismay.
- The Jar of Souls event in Diablo III has a response line from all of the player characters worthy of the Admiral himself, but the Witch Doctors suggest that they willingly spring the trap in order to free the souls contained in the jar from their torment.
- In The Sacrifice campaign in Left 4 Dead, the survivors come across a wrecked train blocking their path and the only way through is to open the car door and open the other door on the other side. The car contains a Tank and the survivors can clearly hear it grunting and roaring inside, but they know they have to free it in order to move on and releasing the Tank also summons a horde of zombies on you. Don't think you can try to outrun the Tank and then open the other door to escape. The dev team is onto you.
- In Final Fantasy VI, the party suspects that Gestahl's peace is a trap, but goes along with it anyway presumably precisely because they don't trust the Empire. It would have better if they'd just ignored the Espers and kept fighting the Empire. They might have been able to kill the Emperor and Kefka before they'd gotten that far in their plan. Alternatively they could have tried looking into the Espers on their own. Either way working with the Empire, even while assuming they'd be betrayed in the end and preparing for it, ended up being the worse possible course of action.
- In Tears to Tiara 2, everyone can see that the attack on Tamar is an attempt by Izebel to lure the main Hispanic forces out of the heavily fortified city of Tartetos for battle. As the undefended village is where the families of many of the party members live, they sally forth anyway.
- In Bravely Default, around Chapter 6 your party starts to suspect Airy the Fairy of being evil, but play along with the plan so they can kill the main villain as opposed to sealing them away.
- Towards the end of Fairy Fencer F, Paiga leads the party into a trap, claiming that where they're going has something that the party can use to bring down the big bad company Dorfa. There's nothing there, but Fang doesn't care much anyway. He knew there was a good chance it was probably a trap and so he's made sure the party is ready.
- In one of the last Russian Mafia missions in Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, the player is assigned to help Josef, the Mafia leader's assistant, with a negotiation. The player character says "You do realize this is a trap, right?" and Josef responds with the page quote. Sure enough, Sergei (said leader, who's become increasingly paranoid) has completely lost it and is trying to kill Josef and the mercenary before either of them can become a danger to him. This leads to Josef, who was actually completely loyal, deposing Sergei and hiring the merc to kill him.
- Deconstructed in Spec Ops: The Line, showing the repercussions such a mindset would bring. In a period of downtime after discovering that the 33rd Infantry has gone rogue, Captain Walker has the option to radio for evac to complete the original recon mission he entered sandstorm-ruined Dubai for. Instead, he leads his Delta Force unit further into the city, in order to contact the CIA and thereby find his personal hero, Colonel John Konrad. Delta team picks up a broadcast of Agent Daniels being tortured and, because they're able to trace the signal's origin, conclude that the broadcast must be a trap. Walker decides to lead Delta into the trap anyway; this decision is followed shortly thereafter by Walker literally falling off of a skyscraper, symbolizing his eventual downfall. The team can't safely leave Dubai beyond this point, triggering all of the negative consequences of the rest of the game.
Lt. Adams: You know this is a trap.
Cpt. Walker: Absolutely. But the whole city's gone crazy. Daniels might be our only hope of sortin' this mess out.
- A weird case in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, where the ending of Chapter 5 is a case of It Was His Sled. Players who know what will happen at the end are still required to trigger it to proceed with the story line. Said trap? Arvis inviting Sigurd to clear his name only to execute him with Valflame while ordering your entire army to be wiped with Meteors.
- Fire Emblem:
- In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, one chapter has the Begnion army bring civilians to a swamp to be executed en masse. Everyone, from Smug Snake Izuka to Cool Old Guy Tauroneo, tells The Hero Micaiah that it's a trap, but she elects to go in anyway. When she inevitably emerges victorious, the knowledge that she willingly walked into a trap to protect the innocent is a major morale boost for the liberation army.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, after the Valm arc, the protagonists have only one gemstone left to obtain before the Fire Emblem is complete. At that point, Validar invites the protagonists to meet with him, and Chrom and the Avatar know he's up to no good, but also know he has the last gemstone (or at least knows where it is), so they don't have any choice, with the Avatar scoping out escape routes on the way in. The trap springs, and the protagonists escape, but Validar activates his control over the Avatar, forcing him/her to hand over the Fire Emblem.
- Secrets in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft trigger the moment a condition is fulfilled, e.g. attacking with a minion. As long as the condition is right, the Secret will not discriminate what gets affected; i.e. a Noble Sacrifice will still trigger when a 1/1 is attacking, wasting the Secret on an expendable minion. Thus, when confronted with them, the trick not only becomes successfully guessing what Secret is used, but also being able to trigger the Secret with minimal loss.
- In the final boss fight of Splatoon, everyone recognizes that approaching the Great Zapfish is a trap, but they dont have a choice but to do it. Sure enough, DJ Octavio sucks the Zapfish into his Octobot King and fights the player.
- Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins: The Perception skill allows the user to detect traps and ambushes. However, some of these bad events have to be dealt with in order to make story progress. Even optional traps can grant additional EXP if they player survives, making it inevitable for such traps to be triggered.
- A Hat in Time: The first time you arrive in Subcon Forest, you inevitably get caught in a trap by the Snatcher before he forces you to sign a contract to do work for him. But in order to access later levels, you need to find more Snatcher traps in the forest and deliberately spring them. And while Snatcher lets you sign more contracts to do more work, he berates you for preventing other people from getting caught (especially since his usual Large Ham routine is rough on the throat).
- Psychonauts 2: In Dr. Loboto's mind, there's a sign labeled 'Trap' with an arrow pointing to the left. That is, of course, the direction you have to go in, whereupon you hit the trap.
- Last Res0rt delivers, with a door bearing something apparently written in blood.
- Bob and George: Mega Man walks into what he thinks is a trap. He's wrong.
- Sluggy Freelance: In "Dangerous Days Ahead", Riff and others go Storming the Castle at the AyleeOrgNet.Com/HeretiCorp offices in spite of the extremely Suspiciously Specific Denial on a memo that indicates that the place is armed like a fortress and it's a trap. They don't have any other choice with their friends being held there, and they have a few surprises up their own sleeves.
- The Order of the Stick:
- A very odd version crops up during the "Don't Split the Party" arc. Elan insists that they stay caught in a net trap, stating that even if they easily escape there will be something that captures them anyway or else the first trap wouldn't have even been shown and it's probably the least painful way of going about it to just be captured by the simple net. Daigo and Durkon ignore him, press on while Elan stays under the net, and are beaten bloody and captured by orcs while Elan stays unharmed under the net. Elan admits he's having to seriously resist an I Told You So as they're all being dragged off.
- In "No Strings", Elan is lured away from the party by his lute moved through telekinesis, and while no longer fool enough to fall for it, is charmed into following anyway. The rest of the Order are perfectly aware this is an obvious trap, but refuse to let the party be split again, since they had very bad experiences about it, so they rush alongside to rescue Elan.
- Tower of God
- In "Hell Train: The Name Hunt Station", when Bam is fighting Kaiser, he sees that she's deliberately leaving him only one open path to attack and recognises it must be a trap. Eventually, he goes for it anyway since there's really no other option. She promptly uses her special teleportation ability to catch him from behind.
- In "Hell Train: Wangnan", in an inverse of the usual case, Hoaqin (who is a villain and has the upper hand, hence the reversal) chooses to accept Prince and Miseng's offer to serve him because he thinks that, trap or no, he can use them to play against his own "allies". And it turns out his real plan is to reverse the trap to catch all his enemies on the train at once.
- In "Hell Train: The Floor of Death," Hell Joe makes a false announcement that the has the McGuffin the protagonists are looking for and tells them to come attack his castle to get it. Someone pretty much immediately says it's probably a trap, but that it's better to go anyway.
- Laboriously averted in "Hell Train: The Hidden Floor" when Khun is sure that the Boss Fightnote that's too easy is really a trick; he stops the others from starting it and just stands there arguing for a long time. He's right in that, first, winning the fight would send some of his other friends to their doom, and second, that there is a more difficult boss monster waiting hidden with the easy one, although it's not clear that one was going to be used if they'd just gone ahead and fought.
- In the Adventure Time episode "Morituri Te Salutamus", Finn and Jake stumble across an arena where they meet a creepy looking zombie known as the "Fight King" who promises them glory if they step through the arena's seal. They immediately realize it's a trap and start walking away, commenting on how if they did step through, they'd probably be sealed inside and forced to fight gladiator ghosts for the Fight King's amusement...and they think this is "flipping AWESOME" and thus they run back in.
- Beast Wars: During one season 3 episode, when the Predacons pull off another assault on the Maximal base, they blow open the front door, and Megatron lets Quickstrike lead the way. Inferno asks why he wasn't sent in instead.
Megatron: Because, Inferno, when expecting booby traps...
[Quickstrike gets flattened on a booby trap]
Megatron: ...always send the boob in first.
- In one episode of Code Monkeys, Mr. Larrity leads the other characters on a rescue mission to save Benny, who's been captured by their Japanese rival Protendo (in revenge for Larrity having caused the head of Protendo's brother to have committed seppuku); over the course of the episode, the other employees get separated from him and he has to enter a room in Protendo HQ marked "NOT A TRAP"; he easily beats the trap and rushes to the roof for the final showdown.
- In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Solar Power", Dr. Hamilton points out that the Villain of the Week is trying to catch the Man of Steel at one of his weak points. Superman knows, but because the rogue has Lois and Jimmy, he doesn't feel he has a choice.
- Invoked in the Batman Beyond episode "Babel", which begins with Bruce in the middle of telling Terry a story about one of his missions back in his days as Batman:
Terry: How did you know Robin would get there in time to save you?
Bruce: I didn't.
Terry: Then for all you knew, you were walking into a trap with no way out.
Bruce: Sometimes you have to.
- Gargoyles: In the episode "Long Way to Morning", Demona poisons Elisa and taunts her with the antidote, but Elisa's badge blocked the poison dart so she's actually fine. Goliath and Hudson chase after the antidote anyway, knowing full well it's a trap, because if they don't it will tip Demona off that her plan failed, and she'll come after Elisa again.
- Kim Possible: In one episode, Shego leaves a blatantly obvious clue that she stole the MacGuffin. Ron figures that it's a trap... but it's such an obvious trap that Drakken won't expect them to fall for it, so the thing to do is surprise him by falling for it anyway. That turned out to be just what Drakken was expecting.
- Looney Tunes — Elmer Fudd, become a Mad Scientist in one cartoon, set a Box-and-Stick Trap for Bugs Bunny. Bugs notes that he had never actually seen one in real life but recognized it from what his grandfather described to him. He decided to go along with it merely because he concluded Elmer must have gone through a lot of trouble to set it up.
- Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons:
- The plot of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Sonic Breakout" is based around Robotnik imprisoning a cartoonist who drew a less-than-flattering strip of the Eggman. In order to break into the prison and save him, Sonic willingly lets himself get captured by Scratch and Grounder... but not before putting them through the usual hijinx.
- In the episode, "Zoobotnik" from the same series, Robotnik teams up with Katella the Intergalactic Huntress, who has captured everyone on Mobius, in order to catch Sonic. They lure him using an obvious doll of Tails, whom Katella captured earlier. Even though Sonic knows it's a trap (he even informs the viewers of it)), he willingly falls for it in the hope of finding Tails.
- In Sonic Underground, in the episode, "Wedding Bell Blues," the hedgehogs know Robotnik's wedding to Queen Aleena is a trap, but fall into it anyway on the off-chance Aleena is actually there.
- In another episode of the same series, in a call back to a Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) plot, Robotnik challenges Sonic to a race. Sonia and Manic, figuring Sonic couldn't resist, show up to try and rescue him... except he knew it was a trap and didn't show, and they have to be rescued.
- Played straight with a bit of humor in The Spectacular Spider-Man, in which the Green Goblin invites his two greatest enemies, Spider-Man and Tombstone, to come alone to an incredibly dangerous abandoned foundry - which both of them quickly peg as a trap but which he baits with incriminating evidence on Tombstone, which neither of them can afford to ignore. Nobody is fooled, and not even the Goblin takes it seriously, as he reveals that he never had incriminating evidence in the first place:
"Yes yes, I'm a big fat liar. Like we didn't all know this was a trap."
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
- "Lair of Grievous": Kit Fisto, Nahdar Vebb and the clone troopers know they're walking into a trap, but have just enough information to realize they're bait for the trap without being positive they're also the prey. The fact that if they leave without anything their mission is a complete failure means they continue anyway, which turns out poorly for them.
- In "The Lost One", the Jedi Council discovers that the Sith were involved in the creation of the Republic's Clone Army. However, given that they are now in a full-scale war, and knowing that anything the Sith have done with the clones is not their fault, they have no choice but to continue using the clones and hope that they can win the war before the Sith enact their endgame.
- Star Wars Rebels:
- "The Siege of Lothal": Played With. The rebels are contacted by Minister Tua, who wants to defect, and promises them secret intel if they help her escape. They don't trust her, believing it to be a trap, but accept the risk anyways because it could get them more allies. It turns out it was a trap, all right, but not the obvious one: it was set for her, not by her, in an attempt to ensnare both parties.
- "Hera's Heroes": Hera and Ezra are captured by Imperials during an attempt to retrieve a family heirloom from the Syndulla home. The rebels are contacted and told that if Hera's father Cham gives himself up, Hera and Ezra will be released. Everyone realizes that this is a trap, but Cham sees his daughter's life as worth the sacrifice and trusts the Ghost crew to work the situation to get her out. Fortunately, Hera's already formulated her own escape plan.
- "Iron Squadron": After Commander Sato's stubborn nephew Mart is left stranded in orbit above Mykapo in his disabled ship as the rebels are forced to leave, they promise to come back. When they do, it's obvious to them all that Admiral Konstantine has set a trap involving planting a mine on Mart's ship and letting him transmit a partial distress signal. Ezra points out that knowing it's a trap makes them more prepared.
- Comes up fairly often in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), almost to the of being a Running Gag. Usually, it comes in the form of either Donnie or Raph pointing out the obviousness of the trap, with Leo agreeing, but immediately following with the simple fact that they're not being given a choice but to jump right into it.
- Happens in the animated X-Men series in the season 2 finale, when Sinister brainwashes a captive Professor X to order the X-men to come meet him. Since Xavier is blatantly being mind controlled in his message and unknown to Sinister they've already found out Sinister has him it's an obvious trap. But since they've been trying to find Xavier all season they've got no choice but to go and hope they can save him.