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Wounded Hero, Weaker Helper

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Well, he's weaker now until he gets his armor on.
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The hero or main character is physically wounded or suffers from a Power-Strain Blackout or Heroic BSoD such that they require assistance from a much weaker or less capable character (often a woman, Red Shirt, or kid, sometimes a combination thereof).

There is no safe way for the hero to get out of this situation by themselves. Either the wounds would leave the hero vulnerable to discovery/attack/losing to the villain or at the extreme the hero would die without the assistance. This is never a case of toughing it out. In fact, if the hero is still able to plan and direct their assistant significantly, they don't qualify for this trope. The injury (whether physical, mental, or otherwise) should be severe enough that the hero is out of the game with the possible exception of cooperating with the assistant in their attempts to help.

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This can be done for a number of reasons. Making the hero more vulnerable makes them more accessible to the viewer. It can also be used to show that the person assisting is in fact more capable (at least slightly) than they've been allowed to show previously. It is usually an occasion for the relationship between the hero and the rescuer to become closer. If appropriate to gender preferences of the participating characters, this will often lead to a Rescue Romance (or advance a nascent romance quickly). If a Mook is assisting, this can lead to a Mook–Face Turn. It can also be used as a way to slow down the plot and/or let the villain catch up (putting the hero's plans on hold until they're rescued/fully recovered).

A Sub-Trope of Badass in Distress, where the help always comes from a less powerful character and they can't recover on their own note . This version, however, does not generally lead immediately into an action sequence.

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Compare: Heroic BSoD, where time or a stiff talking to is usually is all that's needed to recover. Heroic RRoD, which is sometimes fatal (Wounded Hero isn't) and can be recovered from on their own. The After-Action Patch-Up is similar as it's a quiet moment of healing between the hero and assistant, except Wounded Hero is absolutely needed and not just minor or cosmetic. Compare also: Distressed Dude, Hurting Hero.

The Single-Episode Handicap has similarities, but that is escaped by the hero relying on other abilities. Here, he doesn't have that option. He must have someone else's help or he dies (or at least runs a heavy risk of making things worse).

The trope is also very similar to Now, Let Me Carry You. However, that is more of a variant of positive Laser-Guided Karma. In this one, the helper need not be previously helped by the hero.

See also After-Action Healing Drama, Protected by a Child, and Rescue Reversal.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of The Punisher, a group of mobsters' wives (recently widowed by Frank) lay an ambush for him. He escapes and is patched up by a woman, who turns out to be the sister of one of the widows, married to a Domestic Abuser (also killed by Frank) and looking for revenge. She handcuffs a wounded Frank to the bed, kills most of the widows, and drags her sister back to her apartment before beating her to death with a baseball bat. Then she shoots herself.
  • Superman in the comics has been known to need help from his human loved ones (like Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, or Batman) when he encounters too much Kryptonite.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Peter is badly wounded by the Prowler and his attempts to limit collateral to the surrounding area. When Prowler takes a hostage to keep the Pro Heroes from intervening, the cowardly and insecure Izuku, who had only just gotten his spider powers that same day, is the only one to rush in to help Peter.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Tenya's great-grandfather, Tenka Iida, had just acquired his Quirk during the Lantern War when he saw Jay Garrick pinned by a Red Lantern using Still Force energy. He immediately rushed in to help and was pummeled senseless by the furious Red Lantern. But this bought enough time for Garrick to recover and fight back, prompting a generations-long friendship between their households.

    Film 
  • Aaron Cross in The Bourne Legacy. While sick from the retrovirus, he can't hide himself (let alone Dr. Marta Shearing) from Treadstone/Blackbriar/Outcome so she had to be the brains for a while.
  • Tony in Iron Man 3. While suffering from a panic attack, he needs help from a young boy to work his way out of it.
  • In Maleficent, there's a scene close to the end where Maleficent is wounded and defeated, and Aurora provides some crucial help.
  • Superman: The Movie. When Superman is dumped in a pool by Lex Luthor while wearing a kryptonite necklace, he needs Miss Tessmacher's help to get out in time to stop Luthor's plan.
  • In the climax of Mission: Impossible III, Ethan Hunt is incapacitated after he uses a makeshift defibrillator to shock himself in order to disable the mini-bomb planted inside his head, leaving his wife Julia to hold out against the bad guys coming after them. Fortunately, there weren't many and Julia is able to hold her own just fine, even managing to kill The Mole in the process.

    Literature 
  • In A Brother's Price, Princess Odelia is hit over the head by bandits and left to die in a creek. She is found by a child, Heria, and is carried to safety by Heria's older brother Jerin, who, while not exactly ^weak^ is arguably somewhat less badass than she and her sisters. She does not get to have a Rescue Romance due to being unconscious most of the time. Her sister Ren, however, takes advantage of the situation.
  • In Hurog, at one point in the story, Tisala kills several bandits with a tiny knife when she is already badly wounded beforehand. A farmer family finds her unconscious body, figure out what happened and carry her into their house, then inform Ward.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superman. In "The Magic Secret", Superman is trapped at the bottom of a concrete bunker where The Walls Are Closing In and there is a Kryptonite ray pointed down to keep Superman drained of powers. Jimmy crawls up the bunker to the top and changes the direction the ray is pointing so it won't affect Superman any more, leading to his quick recovery.
  • Daredevil (2015): In the second episode of season 1, Matt is badly wounded during a failed attempt to rescue a kid. Claire Temple takes care of him for most of the episode while he's convalescing. Later, in episode 10, Foggy has to look after Matt when he's injured in a fight with Fisk and Nobu, spending the time berating Matt for keeping this big secret from him.
  • Doctor Who: In his introduction episode, "The Christmas Invasion", the Tenth Doctor needs to be cared for by Rose (and to a lesser extent Mickey and Jackie), and they have to try to deal with the alien invasion for him while he recuperates.
  • MacGyver (1985). In the episode "To Be a Man," MacGyver, who can always work his way out of anything on his own, is bedridden and helped by a lady and her son.
  • Murdoch Mysteries. In the episode "The Murdoch Identity", the title character stumbles into a closed pub clutching an arm wound and suffering from amnesia. He begs for help from the female proprietor, who cleans and bandages his wound, gives him food and ale, and spends much of the rest of the episode helping him evade his pursuers and figure out who he is and why he's an ocean away from his home.
  • Supernatural. Throughout the series, pretty much all of the heroes have their turn, especially Castiel having fairly regular Power-Strain Blackout and other injuries (mostly relying on Sam and/or Dean who are mere humans), as well as Sam and Dean (relying on non-hunter civilians).

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Greek Mythology: One of Aesop's fables has a rat beg to be spared by a lion, the lion lets him go. Later the lion is ensnared in a net, and is only freed when the rat comes and gnaws him free.

    Web Comics 
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Lalli experiences a Power-Strain Blackout after killing a giant that was going after him and Emil. After that, Emil is the one transporting Lalli's unconscious body, while being the one of the two with the less field experience by a margin of several years.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series. The episode "I've Got Batman in my Basement" has Batman convalescing from being exposed to toxic gas in the basement of some kids, and he needs them to pick up some counter-agent capsules from a first-aid kit on the Batmobile (and while he's still recovering, the Penguin and some goons arrive to the house, forcing the kids to improvise some "Home Alone" Antics with the contents of the Bat-Belt).
  • Exploited by the Red Guy of David Feiss' Cow and Chicken as a ruse to expose Cow's Secret Identity. He rings the doorbell, and Cow responds to see a Superman expy lying prone on her doorstep with a huge green rock embedded in his spine. The expy pleads for Cow's help to remove the kryptonite, but Cow defers, saying, "I'm just a widdle cow." She may have seen through Red Guy's hammy acting, or Cow may be Too Dumb to Fool.
  • In "Beware of Mexicans Delivering Milk," Danger Mouse has his strength sapped after drinking spiked milk, so Penfold has to take the initiative to help stop El Loco (who delivered the milk) from robbing the Bank of England. As the videophone alarms:
    DM: (weakly to Penfold) All right, I'll get it...if you'll carry me.


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