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Playing With / Chekhov's Gun

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Basic Trope: An element is introduced early in the story whose significance does not become clear until later on.

  • Straight:
    • Bob passes a statue on the way to the Big Bad's throne room before the climatic battle in The Movie. When the statue is broken open later, it reveals the Big Bad's power source.
    • There's a gun hanging on the wall and nobody says much about it, but thirteen minutes into the episode someone is shot with it.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob passes a snail on the way to the throne room. The Big Bad later trips over this snail and dies.
    • The gun appears for a split second at the beginning, but helps the hero beat the bad guys, gets him the girl, and has the secret of his parentage etched down the barrel.
    • Chekhov's Armoury
  • Downplayed:
    • Bob passes a statue on the way to the throne room. After the Big Bad is defeated, Bob holds a party, but he needs an extra wine cup... which the statue happens to have.
    • Bob passes by an antique bust in a hallway on the way to The War Room. The fight with the Big Bad spills out of The War Room and out into the hallway, and Bob briefly uses the bust as a weapon against the Big Bad.
  • Justified:
    • It's his one weakness.
    • Nobody cares that there's a gun on the wall because the owner of the house is an arms dealer. The unexpected shooting occurs because a deal goes bad.
    • Advertisement:
    • There's a gun hanging on the wall and nobody says much about it. In the third act, it is taken down when someone needs something to pound a nail with.
    • The item is something the character normally has around even if they don't use it, such as a small gun for self defense. It comes in use later to help save the owner.
  • Inverted:
    • We hear all about the incredible things the Giant Orb of Awesomeness is doing, but it's not actually introduced until fairly late in the plot.
    • Or, the Great Orb of Awesomeness is only explained well after it comes out of nowhere to save the plot.
    • Perhaps the Great Orb of Awesomeness plays a crucial role in its debut, but is unnecessary after its crucial role.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted:
    • Brick Joke
    • ...Until Bob is nearly defeated and the pendant fires a beam of Pure Energy, destroying the Big Bad.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Bob's father's pendant fires the beam, then it appears that it was just Bob getting an 11th-Hour Superpower in a Die or Fly moment. But the pendant was still important in that thinking of his father gave Bob the Heroic Resolve to manifest the power.
    • There is a gun on the wall and it's shot thirteen minutes into the episode, but it misfires. The hero pulls a heretofore ignored knife from his ankle sheathe, but he is quickly disarmed. Seeing a lever on the floor that he previously tripped over, he pulls it, dropping the villain into a pit of acid.
  • Averted:
    • All plot points are laid out in an obvious manner, and there are no plot twists.
    • There is a gun on the wall in the first chapter. It has no significance and is never mentioned again.
  • Enforced:
    • "We want to sell toys based on The Movie, so have one of (shows object) turn out to be important".
    • The gun from a previous episode becomes important later because the producer noticed a pronounced fan response to the gun.
    • "Welcome to Q-Branch, 007."
  • Lampshaded: "I knew this thing would come in handy!"
  • Invoked:
  • Exploited: The villain sees Bob looking at a gun on a wall thirteen minutes into the episode. Aware that this means that Bob may well end up needing it later, he removes the bullets from it while Bob isn't looking.
  • Defied: The hero sees the gun in the middle of the climatic fight scene thirteen minutes into the episode, but ignores it because he thinks Chekhov's Gun is trite.
  • Discussed: The hero notes out loud that the gun on the wall ought not go unnoticed.
  • Conversed: Characters in a room with no hidden significance are waiting for their tea. They talk about the use of Chekhov's Gun in a play they saw.
  • Deconstructed:
    • The gun doesn't quite cover all of the heroes' needs when it's used.
    • Bob figures out the medallion he bought at the beginning of the episode is the key to victory...pity it seemed so insignificant he left it in its glass case before heading out to face the Big Bad.
    • While Bob is given every item he needs to succeed on his mission, he also ends up with a lot of clutter he did need or want, and is visibly weighed down by all his trinkets.
  • Reconstructed:
  • Played For Laughs: Everything in the room has incredible significance, to the increasing shock of the hero in act three.
  • Played For Drama: The gun kills the hero.

Back to Chekhov's Gun... And don't lose it! You'll need it in Act Three.

Example of: