Follow TV Tropes


Vasquez Always Dies

Go To
If Dizzy had watched Aliens, she'd've seen this coming.

"... people can call it typecasting, but I pigeonholed myself... Saying no to the girlfriend, saying no to the girl that gets captured, and eventually, I just got left with the strong chick who's always being killed."

When two Action Girls are featured in the same film, frequently the tougher, more aggressive and less feminine character will die, despite being better equipped for the situation at hand.

One of the reasons is the belief that the femininity and sex appeal of a female character determines their usefulness as Love Interest or Fanservice or, in the most insulting cases, their reason to be in the story at all. A more charitable explanation would be that there's much more shock value in killing the tough, competent warrior; that arguably, statistics says the person who runs into danger will have a higher chance of dying; and that leaving the less warrior like one around thus increases suspense, since her survival isn't as assured, especially if Anyone Can Die. It's easier for an audience to feel fear if the Final Girl is less battle savvy and thus more vulnerable — a hardened Vasquez left alone wouldn't be as terrifying. The death of the Vasquez character is thus a form of The Worf Effect or Sacrificial Lion.

In some flicks, especially horror, this may inverted as the Vasquez lives while the Ms. Fanservice frequently suffers Sex Signals Death, or if there is a third girl in the cast, both the Vasquez (often a Brawn Hilda) and the Ms. Fanservice get axed while The Cutie and timid Final Girl makes it.

Writers will sometimes compensate by making the more attractive woman some sort of mysterious secret agent, thus relegating the Vasquez character to a Mook or Red Shirt by comparison. This may also be a byproduct of filmmakers' insistence that the female lead (who is likely to outlive her supporting cast in an action movie) be significantly more attractive than anyone else.

Compare Bury Your Gays, Gay Guy Dies First, Faux Action Girl, Final Girl (the weakest and most innocent girl is the only one to live, but the final girl might counted as androgynous in the context of she isn't usually stunningly girly beautiful), Black Dude Dies First, The Worf Effect, Death by Pragmatism. Contrast Real Women Don't Wear Dresses (in which the less feminine woman will survive for being less feminine). Also compare and contrast Girly Bruiser (the most feminine female survives because she can kick ass in addition to being feminine, depending on her role and her comparison between other girls in the team) and Lady of War (in which case elegant and graceful fighting counts as feminine). This trope overlaps with The World's Expert (on Getting Killed), where the most qualified person in the whole cast, male or female, is killed early on and often with ease, to ratchet up tension and danger.

The Trope Codifier has to be Michelle Rodriguez, as most of her roles have done it and more specifically each time.

Not to be confused with Jhonen Vasquez always dying in his works.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Aruosumente: Lamia, the more tomboyish of the female characters, dies when she tries to save Lante and Dante from the attacking Finfield army.
  • In Chainsaw Man, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, Boyish Short Hair-wearing one-eyed tomboy Himeno is killed in the Yakuza attack on the Public Safety Bureau, while the more conventionally feminine Kobeni survives.
  • In Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, Amazonian Beauty Dorio ends up being the second of the crew to die. The other muscle, Gun Nut Rebecca, doesn't make it to the end either while Final Girl Lucy does.
  • Death Note has the death of Naomi Misora, the cool Badass Biker, FBI agent, and the most badass female character on the show who was literally killed off for being too competent. The author said in an interview that if she hadn't been written out she would have solved the case and the manga would have ended after only three volumes.
  • Divergence Eve: Luxandra Frail, the tough, scarred Spicy Latina of the core cast, is the only character to die in combat in the first series, Eaten Alive by a Ghoul.
  • Jane Proudfoot (Peri Gilpin), the tough female Space Marine in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within dies; the scientist wearing the skintight jumpsuit lives.
  • Giant Robo: The Day The Earth Stood Still: out of the two female members of Experts of Justice, Yoshi, the blue-skinned, muscular one dies halfway through the series, while the very feminine Ginrei survives to the last episode — and dies too.
  • Played with in Godannar, where the rather tomboyish action girl Shadow is almost killed by The Virus BECAUSE she's not feminine.
  • Many times the Gundam protagonists fell in love with female Ace Pilots only to invoke the Love Hurts trope to Earth-shattering levels. However, this is not always the case. For example Shinn's first love is dress-wearing, dance-loving, sweet-tempered Stella. She dies and his second love is his fellow soldier Lunamaria.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, a bright female pilot is introduced as a replacement for Akito after he's unjustly blamed for a failed mission and removed from military service. Despite her having a spotless record as an experienced ace pilot, she quickly dies within the same episode during her first mission on the Nadesico.
  • In Record of Ragnarok, Amazonian Beauty Þrúðr/Thrud of the Valkyries is established to be the biggest and strongest of her sisters but ends up dying in the tournament regardless while several of her more conventionally feminine Amazon Brigade sisters survive.
  • In the original anime adaptation of Sailor Moon, the most tomboyish amongst the Inner Senshi, Sailor Jupiter, is the first to kick the bucket when they storm the Dark Kingdom towards the end of the first season. Also to be noted that all in all, the girls die out in order of usefulness. Jupiter was the strongest, so she died first. Mercury's analysis capabilities were too useful when the enemy was unknown, so she died second. Venus was the most experienced and competent so she died third. Mars was ostensibly the least suited to the situation, so she died last. And Sailor Moon was the most feminine (sort of, or at least the least competent) so she survived (again, sort of).
  • Invoked in the second season of Vandread, where Gascogne (seriously, even BC is hotter than her, what with being a guy in woman's body) rams the enemy mothership, allowing the rest of the crew to escape. She survives and returns for the Grand Finale. Another example would be how many chances the writers missed to kill off Meia.
  • Vexille has two Action Girl leads and the more badass one is the one invoking Diabolus ex Machina in the end.

    Comic Books 
  • In the comic book Aliens: Colonial Marines, we are introduced to Carmen Vasquez, sister to the character we met in the movie. Living up to her namesake, she makes it to the last issue before going down swinging.
  • "Monster Island," a story first published in Dark Horse Presents and then later Dark Horse Monsters, features a badass female soldier with a red headband named Vasquez. She gets unceremoniously eaten by a cyclops at the end.
  • In The Punisher MAX arc "Man of Stone," the ex-CIA killer O'Brien. She's hot, smart, and highly skilled at violence and mayhem, and her panties get wet whenever Frank is murdering the fuck out of people who deserve it. They have a brutal, joyless whirlwind romance. She steps on a mine at the end of the story. Then again, if you don't want dying to be on the agenda, you shouldn't be in a Punisher MAX arc.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong has the decidedly more masculine-looking survival expert of the group die long before the slightly mousier-looking MD/PhD.
  • Y: The Last Man: Agent 355, short-haired action girl dies at the end, while Dr. Allison Mann survives the comic.

    Fan Works 
  • Cupcakes (Sergeant Sprinkles), an animation based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic in which Pinkie Pie is depicted as a serial killer who mutilates her victims and bakes them into cupcakes, has Rainbow Dash, the most tomboyish pony, as the first pony victim. She presumably kills the other ponies afterward.
  • Played with in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail and Infinity Train: Voyage of Wisteria: the two major females are the Girly Bruiser Chloe Cerise and the Dark Action Girl Grace Monroe. While they both die, Chloe when she falls to her death by a giant dragon and Grace to a stab wound by a sociopathic butterfly boy, Chloe is the one who gets killed first and yet gets revived by Atticus and his Pendant whereas there is no one-up or extra life for Grace and she becomes reincarnated.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 28 Weeks Later, Scarlet is killed by Dom, and that leaves Tammy to take Doyle's rifle and become the new Action Girl.
  • Alien:
    • Inverted in the first Alien. While Ripley isn't an Action Survivor yet, she might as well be a superhero compared to Lambert. Ripley lives while Lambert... well, let's just say it still gives people nightmares.
    • The Trope Namer is from Aliens, in which the chinup-pulling, smartgun-wielding Colonial Marine Vasquez dies, as opposed to the maternal civilian, Ripley. Now you could excuse Ripley surviving since she's the star, but the film gives the impression that Vasquez is simply too badass to live. It's also an Unbuilt Trope as most of the cast dies in this film and Vasquez is one of the last women to dienote , along with "feminine girl" Ripley not being your traditional untrained civilian, as she's proven to be a sarcastic hard ass both in this and the original film. In addition, Ripley herself puts herself in the front row of the action as opposed to most examples of this trope, taking charge of the marines as the leader and planner when the officer is knocked out and the team is panicking from the catastrophe. Prior to any of the violence, Ripley is also shown doing traditionally male jobs such as piloting and dock work, thus also subverting the trope in that the "less masculine survivor" isn't necessarily a feminine preppy girl.
    • Averted in the later sequels, by which time Ripley has become significantly more determined, brave, and masculine. She's the only female cast member in Alien³, but dies in a Heroic Sacrifice. In Alien: Resurrection, both the butch and violent Ripley 8 and the feminine and fragile Call survive. In fact, Hillard, a secondary Action Girl who's somewhere in between the former two, is killed instead.
  • In Annihilation (2018), the Butch Lesbian medic gets the most gruesome death by far — on the other hand, everyone else in her all-female team also gets killed except for the main character, and even her apparent survival is cast in a dubious light by the final shot.
  • In Army of the Dead, there are five women in the Caper Crew: the action girls Chambers, Cruz, and Lilly, the butch helicopter pilot Peters... and Kate Ward, the daughter of the crew’s leader Scott, who was only brought along because Scott wanted to prevent her from getting herself killed by venturing into the walled-off Vegas Strip alone with no way to defend herself. Kate winds up as one of only two survivors, with the other one being a Zombie Infectee, making her the Final Girl.
  • The Belko Experiment: Leandra is a divorced tattooed smoker, The Cynic, and an Action Girl who proves to be good with bladed weapons, while the other women around her age are more demure and mostly die without putting up a struggle or run and hide (albeit while still helping the others in some cases). She does get shot, but she outlasts the other female characters.
  • Zig-zagged in Burning Ambition with the Chau sisters, Chau Siu-Tao and Chau Siu-Wai (played respectively by Yukari Oshima and Kara Wai). The former is a rough tomboy while the latter is more feminine and ladylike. The ladylike younger sister Siu-Wai dies barely an hour into the film, while the tomboyish elder sister Siu-Tao doesn't survive the credits either when she gets pumped full of bullets to save her father.
  • Characteristic of vintage movies which often featured two female love interests; one passive and conventional and the other an action girl. The feisty girl usually ended up giving her life to save the hero's. One rare inversion of the rule was The Buccaneer in which Yul Brynner played Jean Lafitte. The passive blond wimped out and the tough girl got Yul.
  • Carnosaur 2 features a tough female clearly modeled on Vasquez who is killed pretty gruesomely during the finale.
  • Carnosaur 3: both a female Army soldier and a Marine die, while the more feminine lady scientist survives. Notably, that makes this the first Carnosaur film that doesn't kill off all of its women.
  • In The Cave we have demure British scientist Catherine contrasted with brash rock climber Charlie. Three guesses which one dies. However, the Twist Ending reveals Catherine to be infected with the virus, meaning she'll turn into another cave-creature eventually.
  • Daylight's End: There are two female combatants in the group of survivors. Sam comes across as The Load, was studying to be a lawyer before the Zombie Apocalypse, has some UST with The Hero, and while she does help fight zombies and marauders, she's not the best shot out of the group. Earnesta is a more skilled gunfighter, and she and her husband have a blue-collar look to them. The trope is ultimately played straight when Earnesta is bitten and shoots herself, while Sam survives.
  • Holly from The Descent is a curious example. While she fits the "least feminine" part of the description, she was an impulsive and reckless amateur who obviously saw herself as an Action Girl but ended up getting herself injured through her carelessness. It was this that led to her getting killed off first.
  • In The Descent Part 2, which has four Action Girls, the trained cave diver Cath is killed first, the average outdoor enthusiasts Juno and Sarah die last, and the cop Rios is left alive.
  • The Final Girls: Subverted in the in-universe Camp Bloodbath slasher film, where Tank-Top Tomboy Paula is the Final Girl and girly girls Nancy and Tina are both murdered, but hilariously played straight after Max's friends get sucked into the film and Paula becomes the second person to die (in a fiery explosion, no less). This sets off the plot of the rest of the film to figure out who should be the Final Girl in Paula's place.
  • Fortress 2: Re-Entry: There are quite a few female inmates on Fortress 2, but one that stands out in particular is a muscular, burly woman who is executed several minutes after arriving for attacking one of the guards. Brennick's more attractive and feminine partner lives through to the end.
  • Freeway II Confessions Of A Trickbaby — There are two female leads representing Hansel and Gretel. Gretel is a more demure, confidence scheme criminal. Hansel is a brute. Guess who lives.
  • Ghosts of Mars: There are three Action Girls in a uni-sex team sent to retrieve a dangerous criminal. The toughest one, a butch middle-aged woman, is killed off first, and then followed by the boyish-looking one. The sole survivor is the drop-dead gorgeous Natasha Henstridge. All the men are killed off as well, save for the aforementioned criminal.
  • Zig-zagged in Halo: Nightfall. Macer is a pilot and scientist more than a field soldier and wears a more fanservice-y tank top when everyone is forced to strip off their gear, while Wisner is an expert markswoman who keeps her jacket on. Of course, Wisner is the one who bites it. However, their backstories invert this a bit; Macer is a Former Teen Rebel and Military Brat who is shown to be interested in full military career, while Wisner had a relatively privileged upbringing and has no intent for any further involvement in the military or law enforcement after her short contract with the Sedran Colonial Guard is over.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2'' Lieutenant Jackson only makes it to the halfway point before she is killed by mutations, while the more feminine Katniss and Cressida survive the film.
  • Inverted with Katie McGrath's role in Jurassic World. Her character, Zara, a personal assistant dies a horrible and tragic death while Meyers, a containment worker and soldier who gets even less screentime than her, gets mauled by the I. rex but lives.
  • Played absolutely straight in the Girls with Guns action film, Killer Angels. There are four female characters — Girly Bruiser Yau-lin, Meganekko Rosa, brutish and buff Amy, and Dark Action Girl Fujimi. The former two survives, the latter two dies.
  • Justified in Lake Placid 3, where Yancy Butler's character takes down two giant crocodiles with a hunting knife after being both bitten and shot. Naturally, the injuries catch up with her. Or not... she turns up alive and well in Lake Placid: The Final Chapter... and survives that film.
  • In Leprechaun 4: In Space, our protagonists are a group of Space Marines with two females among them: a tomboyish private that dies half-way into the movie and an attractive blonde scientist who is one of the few survivors.
  • Inverted in Leviathan (1989) which has two women on the team. Ditzy and more feminine Bowman dies (she kills herself when she finds out she has the parasite inside her) while the no-nonsense Olympic runner Williams is one of two survivors.
  • Inverted in Mad Max: Fury Road. The Action Girl Furiosa survives her injuries, including getting stabbed in the lungs. Meanwhile, the feminine Angharad, one of the Five Wives and heavily pregnant, is killed halfway through the film. However, the majority of the heroic casualties are the warrior Vuvalini, while the rest of the non-combatant Wives survive.
  • The Matrix:
    • In the original movie, Tank pulls a Big Damn Heroes on Cypher too late to save butch-looking, androgynous Tilda Swinton-lookalike Switch from being fatally unplugged but just in time to save the feminine Love Interest Trinity.
    • In The Matrix Revolutions, a female character named Charra with a crew-cut, a tank top, and big ol' biceps is introduced right before the battle against the machines to help out Zee, who is trying to hold the line until her husband Link shows up. Guess what happens.
  • None heroic example in New Jack City. Kesha is a tough as nails member of Nino Brown's gang and won't hesitate to kill anyone who crosses them, no matter how minor. She is also the first one in his gang to die during a shootout when an assassination attempt is made against Nino Brown by the Italian Mob during a wedding he was sponsoring.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street:
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors has Taryn, whose dream powers are having a large mohawk and a gang outfit. She doesn't fare as well as the notably more feminine Kristen.
    • In turn, in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, the weight-lifting, cockroach-battling Debbie dies before the more feminine Alice. They both outlive Kristen, though it still counts as Kristen has become battle hardened from her experiences in the last movie and has taken up smoking while Alice at this point was still a shy girly girl who got unwillingly dragged into this mess. Alice does become a legitimate Action Girl at movie's end to avenge their deaths and all of Freddy's other victims.
  • There are two leading ladies in No Retreat, No Surrender 2: Action Girl Terry, a Tomboy and Kick Chick fighter complete with Boyish Short Hair and the Damsel in Distress Sulin who spends half of her screentime as a scared hostage. No points guessing which one of the two dies in a Heroic Sacrifice moment.
  • Played straight in Operation Chromite, where the unnamed female operative who assists the protagonists on their mission in North Korea, dresses in men's clothing, and actively participates in shooting mooks is killed while the feminine nurse love interest, Chae-seon, survives to the end.
  • Japanese Action Girl icon, Yukari Oshima, often shows up alongside other action-actresses, and she often plays the Vasquez, biting it in Dreaming the Reality, Iron Angels, Fatal Chase, Angel Terminators 2, The Avenging Quartet, and several other film roles, allowing her more feminine co-stars to outlive the credits.
  • In Rambo: First Blood Part II this trope is averted. Co-Bau the machine gun Asian girl is shot dead by Captain Vinh, just after she rescues Rambo. Ironically, she was wearing a lovely red dress as part of the rescue (it was a Dirty Harriet) and looking very much like a Girly Girl.
  • Played straight (seemingly) in the Irish horror film, Red Mist. Harriet, the tough, goth-dressing Alpha Bitch (played by Katie McGrath) dies about three quarters into the film while her Nice Girl counterpart, Katherine survives... if one can call being incarcerated in the psych ward while possessed by a vengeful bodysurfer surviving.
  • Inverted in The Reef. The more feminine and hysterical Suzie dies, while the tomboyish Kate survives.
  • Michelle Rodriguez has made a career out of the trope.
    • Resident Evil (2002). The SWAT team member Rain Ocampo (Rodriguez) becomes a Zombie Infectee a third of the way through, survives almost all the way through the rest of the film, and then dies on a tram a few minutes away from a cure. Blonde, minidress-wearing Alice (Milla Jovovich) becomes the Final Girl. Much like the trope namer, however, Rain outlives nearly everyone else, and Alice's survival skills are plenty justified as an undercover security agent. The Resident Evil Film Series lasted long enough that they brought Rain back via cloning for the fifth film, only to die again...twice!
    • Subverted in Machete: we're meant to think her character dies when she's shot through the eye, but she reappears at the climax of the movie with an Eyepatch of Power.
    • Subverted again and played for laughs in Machete Kills, where her character is shot through the other eye, blinding her, but she still survives.
    • Seemingly happened off screen in Fast & Furious. Turns out she just had Laser-Guided Amnesia and shows up in the stinger of Fast Five and working for the Big Bad in Fast & Furious 6.
    • In Avatar, she is a gruff gunship pilot who dons warpaint and dies in the final battle (interestingly, she managed to live longer than the Sigourney Weaver character — who also dies). The Blue-Skinned Space Babe Nubile Savage love interest lives.
    • Zig-zagged in S.W.A.T. (2003). She gets shot in the finale but survives thanks to her Kevlar.
    • Zig-zagged yet again in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. Her character Holga is mortally wounded and killed during the final battle, but is soon resurrected by the MacGuffin of the film.
  • Zig-zagged in Sharknado, in which tough barmaid Nova is swallowed by a shark while Fin's non-action ex-wife April escapes ingestion, only to have Fin cut open the shark and pull Nova out alive.
  • Sue Shiomi has fallen victim to this no less than five times:
    • In The Streetfighter, she portrays Nachi Shikenbaru, brother of Anti-Villain Junjo. She puts up some resistance against Terry Tsurugi when he attacks her brother Gijun for welching on him, as well as the pimps who swarm her after Terry prostitutes her through Mutaguchi. Also, in the end, she winds up coming closer to killing Terry than her brother (or Miss Yang) ever did... and she dies trying!
    • In The Streetfighter's Last Revenge, she portrays Kaho Huo Feng, a defector from Owada's gang and one of three women set up as potential love interests for Terry, the other two being Femme Fatale Aya Owada and her light feminine counterpart, telephone operator Kimiko Nakayama. Guess which two die.
    • In Golgo 13: Kowloon Assignment, she portrays an undercover policewoman who comes close to busting a drug operation before being killed in a shootout.
    • In Shogun's Ninja, she's a Chinese martial artist who's killed in a confrontation against Shogun's forces.
    • In Legend of Eight Samurai, she's one of the eight dog brothers (who in this film is biologically female) who made a living as an assassin before she was discovered to be one of the eight. During the climactic final showdown, she's pitted against snake demon Yonosuke; they kill each other in combat.
  • In Shocking Dark, Koster is either forcibly mutated by the creatures or killed when Fuller sets the complex to self-destruct.
  • The Action Girl is the first contestant killed in Slashers and just after she had killed one the eponymous psychos.
  • In Smokin' Aces, there's Sharice Watters (Taraji P. Henson) the mentionably more badass and aggressive partner of Georgia Sykes (Alicia Keys), is gunned down by the FBI from behind while her more feminine counterpart is literally carried away to safety by a handsome "prince."
  • Starship Troopers:
    • Starship Troopers:
      • Dizzy Flores, the QB of the football team and tough marine, dies while the feminine starship pilot survives.
      • Applies to the Roughnecks' original Corporal, who gets her arm fried by the gigantic lava-spewing bug before Rico grenades it. However, it is implied that she lives as Rasczak orders a call for evac, and will probably just get it replaced with an Artificial Limb.
    • Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation: The only person to get off the planet alive is a pregnant woman. Must be all those maternal instincts keeping the bugs away.
    • Starship Troopers 3: Marauder: Unlike the previous movies, this one ultimately subverts it: of the entire squad crash-landed on OM-1, only the two female members survive to the final scene, and when it looks like the badass Captain Beck is about to be devoured by a giant bug, both she and Holly are rescued by the Big Damn Heroes in the film's eponymous mechs.
  • Star Wars:
    • Played with in Rogue One. Aloof, independent Action Girl Jyn Erso doesn't survive the Battle of Scarif, but the other primary female characters (Mon Mothma and Princess Leia) survive only because they're Saved by Canon. Jyn's mother doesn't last long enough for us to learn much about her, but she doesn't appear to have had much military experience. Also, a rare instance where the Vasquez in question is the main character.
    • Solo also plays with this a little. Hardened criminal Val and sarcastic, impassioned female-programmed droid L3-37 both die, while the elegant and feminine gangster's moll Qi'ra survives. On the other hand, so do does the badass, battle-hardened Lady of War Enfys Nest.
  • Inverted in Terminator 2: Judgment Day: the somewhat more feminine foster mom, Janelle, played by Jenette Goldstein (the actress who played Vasquez), dies while the ripped and gun-toting Sarah Connor does not.
  • Averted in You're Next. Erin, the Awesome Aussie daughter of a survivalist, is by far the most badass character in the film, male or female, and it's precisely this that makes her the Final Girl and turns the last third of the film into the most violent remake of Home Alone ever made.
  • Averted in World War Z, as Segen, an Israeli soldier, survives her zombie bite and becomes a critical ally with the protagonist til the end.

  • In the penultimate Animorphs book, pretty-yet-Rachel agrees to go on a suicide mission against the Yeerks and is ultimately killed. Fashion-challenged-Cassie not only survives that battle but in the last book, she stays on Earth while her male teammates are implied to die battling a Diabolus ex Nihilo.
  • Non-death example: the short story Assumption (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel. Belasco proves to be more effective in combat than the men or the unnamed female narrator and is the only one seriously injured.
  • Bazil Broketail: Inverted with the two dragonesses who serve in the 109th Dragon Squadron. Nesessitas — quite feminine, kind and a caring Nice Girlis killed in the first book, while Alsebra — a slightly tomboyish and abrasive Jerk with a Heart of Goldsurvives till the end of the series.
  • Dream Park:
    • In Dream Park, the two main Action Girl characters in the South Seas Treasure Game are the sexy Acacia and the indefatigable Mary-Martha. Both acquit themselves well, but only one of them makes it to the end of the Game, and it's not the middle-aged, 4'1" veteran with the battleax.
    • Inverted in The California Voodoo Game. Mary-Em makes it out alive and with a massive experience boost, while Acacia's character ends up dying, causing her to go through a Heroic BSoD.
  • In the Shane Schofield series of novels by Matthew Reilly, there are two women who fit the Vasquez model, one more than the other. First, there's Mother (short for motherfucker), who is over six feet tall, shaven-headed, gets a bionic leg following an incident with a killer whale, and can kill several men with her bare hands. Then there's Elizabeth 'Fox' Gant, who is slightly more ladylike but has the short hair and the ass-kicking ability. This trope is averted — but not for lack of the universe trying, as Mother apparently dying only to turn up alive is a Running Gag — up until Scarecrow, where Gant (by then Schofield's girlfriend) is beheaded by the asshole of the novel.
  • In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the surveyor is the toughest and most aggressive member of the twelfth expedition, being ex-military; however, she ends up being shot to death in a gunfight against the less intimidating, more feminine biologist.
  • Spy High. While the heroines are all Action Girls, it's Jennifer who dies in the third book, with Lori (the most stereotypically feminine) and Cally (the least focused and devoted to her training) who survive. Inverted in the final book, Agent Orange, where Jen's replacement Bex survives while the rest of the team are "killed" in a mission to defeat Prof Devereaux, although they return.
  • Dayna Jurgens in The Stand is Vasquez. Never send this character alone into a high risk infiltration; they're guaranteed to go out in a blaze of glory.
    • Not invoked with Sue Stern until the release of the extended version. In the original, Sue dies in the explosion set by Harold, along with a number of others, but she's just one of the people who joined Stu and Fran's party along the way. In the extended version, we see that Sue was one of the victims of a "rape gang" who rounded up women survivors. During the shootout that kills off the gang, Sue brains her captor with the butt of a rifle ("And if he were sitting here, I'd do it again"). The illustration shows her looking buff, t-shirted and rage-demonic, very Vasquez.
  • In The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine, tomboyish older sister Meryl is the one who becomes ill with the Gray Death, while delicate younger sister Addie survives and must carry on Meryl's mission.
  • Inverted in the Venus Prime series. Despite being the lone Ambiguously Brown Action Girl on a team otherwise populated by white people, Jo Walsh survives through the end of the series. Meanwhile, the pretty white heroine, Sparta, disappears, and may actually have died to save all of reality from Nemo's meddling.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow: Season 3's ending scene of the first episode has them kill off Sara Lance, the Canary, who was the show's most prominent Action Girl and one of the most badass of the team (going from her Badass Boast, she's at least tougher than Diggle, but its not clear if she's tougher than Oliver quite yet). What's notable is that besides the fact, its also Bury Your Gays as Sara was bisexual/pansexual, but Sara had spent the previous season believing she was irredeemable that they'd yet to resolve properly, that looked like they were probably building up to a Redemption Equals Death. Instead, Sara is executed by an off-screen villain to kick off the next season without even getting the chance to put up a fight. Then she gets brought back to life and is shoved into the spin-off series Legends of Tomorrow. Meanwhile, her sister Dinah, a lawyer and the new Black Canary, gets stabbed to death by Damien Dahrk. While Laurel is an Action Girl in her own right, she's nowhere near Sara's level.
  • Obligatory Buffy the Vampire Slayer examples:
    • Faith is the tougher Slayer compared to Buffy, and while she doesn't actually die, she does perform a Heel–Face Turn and get into a fight that puts her into a coma for months.
    • Kendra dies; she is also a foil for Buffy, being portrayed as an unemotional warrior who contrasts with Buffy's greater ability to be like a normal girl.
    • Inverted with Willow and Tara; Tara is clearly more femme than Willow, and when it comes to magical power, she has less skill and ambition. But in that couple, it's Tara who dies and Willow who survives and avenges her.
  • Inverted in Chicago P.D.. Both Detective Erin Lindsay and her former prostitute friend, Nadia Decottis, end up alone with serial killer Greg Yates at different points throughout Season 3. Decottis is murdered. Lindsay isn't — and manages to avenge Decottis.
    • A later episode, "Last Minute Resistance" from Season 4 subverts this trope on a sliding scale involving a date rapist on the loose. Burgess gets drugged and cornered by him and narrowly fights him off. Her more feminine sister and her sister's equally feminine friend aren't so lucky and the friend is the one who does the dying. Lindsay, meanwhile, isn't even touched.
  • Choudenshi Bioman: In this case Real Life Writes the Plot. Mika dies in Episode 10 because her actress quit. She is, however, eventually replaced by another Action Girl
  • Doctor Who: "Dalek" has paramilitary guard DiMaggio (complete with shaved head), who is killed trying to hold off the Dalek with a handgun so civilians Rose and Adam can escape.
  • A flashback sequence in The Handmaid's Tale has June/Offred's husband Luke get picked up by a group heading to Canada, composed of a gay man, a rescued would-be Handmaid, a Catholic nun, and a tough-as-nails female Army brat. The Military Brat is killed when the Guardians catch up to them at the Canadian border.
  • Lost: Ana Lucia (played by Michelle Rodriguez) and Juliet, Kate's only true competition for Alpha Female of the island or the affections of Jack and Sawyer.
  • Merlin: In the fourth series finale, Arthur has two women on his team: Guinevere and Isolde. Though their skill in combat varied wildly from episode to episode, Gwen was definitely the more passive and feminine of the two, whilst Isolde was tougher and had a more difficult lifestyle. Gwen makes it through the battle, Isolde is killed.
  • Inverted in Misfits. The promiscuous partygirl Alisha dies at the end of series 3 while the hard-as-nails Kelly is Put on a Bus before the next series where she is mentioned to have moved onto better things.
  • Power Rangers: Generally averts this trope; The Team will typically have a tomboy and a Girly Bruiser working together.
  • Primeval: Inverted Trope, where tomboy Abby survived the series while the more feminine Claudia Brown and Sarah Page die.
  • Revolution: By the first season finale, there were two women connected to Miles Matheson named Nora Clayton and Rachel Matheson. Nora is the tough, aggressive woman, while Rachel is the softer, more feminine woman. By the end of the episode, Nora dies and Rachel lives.
  • Robin Hood: had two action girls, one Dark Action Girl and one Faux Action Girl. One Action Girl is murdered, the second is Put on a Bus (after undergoing Chickification), the Dark Action Girl is blown up, and the Faux Action Girl is the only one who makes it to the end of the series thanks to the fact that the male cast has all but carried her through on their backs.
  • Inverted in the second season of Spartacus: Blood and Sand (Vengeance). The more traditionally feminine and dignified Mira is the first prominent Action Girl to be killed off, whilst boisterous Lad-ette Saxa survives right to the end of the final season (where almost everyone dies).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Played straight with Natasha Yar. Notably, the character was originally designed as a Vasquez Expy. In this case, it wasn't the writer's idea to kill off the character but the actor's.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • By virtue of spending every moment of their lives fighting to survive, almost every woman eventually becomes an Action Girl. However, this trope is inverted with Lori. Despite being pregnant with her second child, lacking combat experience, and spending most her time in the kitchen, she ultimately dies during childbirth.
    • Beth's death. Though capable of using a gun, she still heavily relied on the protection of others, liked to sing, babysat Judith, and was often The Load. Only after she Took a Level in Badass did she finally kick the bucket.
  • The Wheel of Time (2021): Perrin's wife Laila is a somewhat butch woman who's a blacksmith along with him, and fights the Trollocs who attack their village by his side. He kills her accidentally. Meanwhile, the feminine Moiraine, Nynaeve and Egwene fight as well, but they all live (granted, they have Plot Armor since they're main characters who don't die in the books either).
  • Snoop in The Wire, is the only high ranking member of Marlo's gang who gets killed in the series, the rest go to prison. She is a murdering street enforcer who enjoys her job and it doesn't take much to set her off, unlike her partner Michael who sees killing as part of the game and just business. There is also the fact that she is a Butch Lesbian who can easily pass for a guy when seen from a distance.

  • Cafe Nordo's Smoked! has Maddie Withers, a hard-drinking, masculinely dressed Ladette, who is gunned down in the final showdown, opposite Clara Still, the prim and proper saloon keeper.

    Video Games 
  • Alpha Protocol can play this straight or completely invert it. SIE (think a female Duke Nukem) can be killed same as the rest of your love interests, but you have to do it yourself after you select her as your handler in the penultimate mission in Russia. Otherwise, she will survive the game, whereas for Madison St. James and Mina Tang just don't have to be rescued when they get captured, and Scarlett Lake can be shot in the last decision you make in the game.
  • In the first Clock Tower game, playable character Jennifer's friends Ann and Laura have a chance of surviving to the end, depending on your actions. Her best friend, the tomboyish Lotte, has no such chance.
  • Dragon Age:
  • Final Fantasy VII plays with this. Aerith is a sweet, feminine girl who wears pink and sells flowers, whilst Tifa is a tough barmaid who likes to punch things. Tifa is physically stronger, but she's also far more emotionally insecure. Aerith is physically weak but is also an outgoing, outspoken tomboy with plenty of confidence. It's Tifa, who fears emotional vulnerability, that survives.
  • Galerians: Ash is never subtle about its references. Cas, the game's tough and tatted military woman, may as well be Vasquez. The only notable difference is that Cas is more level-headed. The outcome is the same though — a self-sacrificing last stand against monstrous creatures.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect: Played with in regards to Ashley Williams, the competent career soldier reminiscent of Vasquez in several ways, who may or may not be left to die on Virmire — unless the player saves her and leaves Kaidan instead. According to the developers, the latter option is overwhelmingly more popular.
    • Mass Effect 2: During the game's suicide run, it's far more likely for the tough, angry Jack to die than The Baroness Miranda, and in a rather ignominious fashion at that, as the time Jack is most likely to die is when she's standing in the least shielded portion of the ship while Miranda is in the most shielded portion.
  • Played straight in the Neverwinter Nights mod The Bastard of Kosigan, in which (as far as the story has been written, at least) the only female character who doesn't disappear after the Optional Sexual Encounter or die automatically is Ernie, who is much more feminine than Alex, whose Plotline Death was very frustrating.
  • The Orion Conspiracy. Brooks, who is definitely the Vasquez in this game, gets killed off trying to stop Ward after he had gone berserk. LaPaz, who is easily more feminine compared to Brooks, survives.
  • In Phantasy Star IV, Alys is built up as the best action girl. She is very popular in the game, because of her fighting ability and beauty. However, she dies off early and other action girls later reveal themselves.
  • In Red Faction 2, Tangier, the team's sexual-innuendo-dropping stealth operative in a Spy Catsuit, not only survives the game but is your main ally for the second half. Quill, the tough redhead sniper with an Amazonian build and butch haircut, is the first of The Squad to die after Molov betrays half of his squad.
  • In SAS: Zombie Assault 3 players who aren't logged in are given somewhat degrading names, one of which is Anonymous Vaskes.

  • Heavily and deliberately played with in Blood Is Mine. Michelle is confirmed by the author to be named after Michelle Rodriguez. She's a large, muscular Hispanic woman genetically engineered to fight and to be expendable, working for a company called Vasquez Law Enforcement. She not only survives, but has a relatively happy ending while the fate of the (blonde, pink-wearing, stuffed-animal-collecting) main protagonist is left up in the air.
  • The adventuring team in Our Little Adventure has three girls in it. One's a heroic bard, one's a spunky sorceress and one's a tough barbarian. Guess which one dies first?

    Western Animation 
  • Exo Squad almost does this in the episode "Martian Luck" where the tough-female-trooper Torres is believed to be KIA while the other two more feminine female members of The Squad survive.
  • Starship Troopers: Invasion: The squad has two female members: the cute Friendly Sniper Trig, and the tough One of the Guys trooper Ice Blonde. One of them ends up as Bug chow during the film. Guess which one? It's Trig.
  • Non-death example: in Total Drama Island, super-athletic but tempermental Eva is the second contestant, and the first girl, to be voted off. She is given a second chance at the season's halfway point but, having become even more angry, is voted off again in the same episode.
  • In the Young Justice episode "Failsafe", when an alien invasion attacks the earth, tough-as-nails Artemis is the first of the main cast to die. Subverted when it turns out it was only a training simulation. Also justified since while Artemis might be the least feminine of the female characters on the team, she's also the least durable. Then, in the next season, Artemis is also the first person to be killed in battle. Again, subverted, when it turns out to be a ploy so she can go undercover.

Alternative Title(s): Sacrificial Action Girl, Toughest Chick Always Dies