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Playing With / Godzilla Threshold

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Basic Trope: A situation has gone so far downhill that the people combating it are willing to use extremely destructive, powerful, risky, and morally dubious tactics to defeat it, because anything is better than allowing the current problem to continue.

  • Straight: In response to Emperor Evulz going Omnicidal Maniac and presenting a very credible threat to the world, the nation of Troperia decides to start using tactics that they'd never consider for anything less, because it's not like the world can get any more destroyed than if Evulz wins.
    • A monster or otherwise ludicrously destructive force is running rampant in the setting, and the only way to stop it is to use something just as awful or even worse to fight it.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Emperor Evulz is such a threat that the people of Troperia don't hesitate to use a tactic that may defeat him- but will definitely kill 99% of the world's population and reduce the remaining 1% to Stone Age technology.
    • Emperor Evulz is a threat to the entire universe, and his opponents do stuff like create new black holes in order to fight him.
  • Downplayed:
    • While the nation of Troperia is doing more extreme things in the war against Emperor Evulz, there are some lines they still feel they don't have to cross.
    • The solution will result in a lot of property damage and maybe a few lives but otherwise, it is not as deadly as other alternatives.
  • Justified:
    • Hero Insurance and Violence Is the Only Option - usually, when these are being invoked, the situation has reached the threshold to some degree.
    • Can be Truth in Television in Real Life, at least in its more individual variants (extreme medical treatments, self-defense, the attempt to stop/mitigate a major disaster)
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    • The consequences of the action taken may be bad, but the results of not acting really would be that much worse. Would you rather sacrifice two cities to end a problem, or lose three and still have it out there?
    • There is literally no other option left — all of the weapons, equipment, theories, champions and resources that were important parts of other options are destroyed, dead, or missing and presumed dead/destroyed.
  • Inverted:
    • There are quick, reliable, and safe methods to solve the problem, and they are happily resorted to first. Anyone trying to use the Godzilla Threshold solution when these other solutions haven't yet been considered has crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Can be Truth in Television in Real Life as well. Part of the point of many investigations and lawsuits is to determine if such an inversion happened — if someone didn't stop to think of less dangerous or violent solutions to a situation.
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    • The situation really is that bad... but the solution is even worse, so it's better to let it continue than attempt to stop it.
    • A few techniques are only used if things are absolutely peaceful and stable because of the sheer havok that could be caused if they were sabotaged. For instance a reactor and Deflector Shield combo that can protect from any sort of accidental harm but a deliberate focus of a sufficiently powerful energy weapon or sabotage could blow up a solar system.
    • The proper thing to do in the circumstances is judged to let Emperor Evulz win as opposed to using power that may risk destroying the universe.
  • Subverted:
    • At first it looks like Troperia will need to use extreme methods to defeat Emperor Evulz, but then Alice and her Ragtag Bunch of Misfits show up and are able to take him down.
    • Often Truth in Television, thankfully: not all problems reach this point.
  • Double Subverted: Godzilla Threshold-crossing tactics are argued against because Emperor Evulz just wants to rule the world, but then Alice discovers that Evulz really is an Omnicidal Maniac, and once he's taken over he'll use his power to destroy everything.
  • Parodied:
    • Someone actually calls in Godzilla to handle the problem.
    • Everything is seen as the threshold, in a Black Comedy.
    • The characters are (deliberately or not) drama queens and act like whatever proposed solution is a crossing of the Threshold.
    • The solution ends up with a ridiculous consequence, such as everyone turning purple.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • The severe solution solves the problem but spins into unintended consequences such as more wars, the Cycle of Revenge, or the like, which themselves cross the threshold demanding equally severe solutions.
    • The problem seems to cross the threshold briefly but then goes back to being less severe.
  • Averted:
    • Troperia is able to defeat Emperor Evulz without resorting to risky last resort tactics.
    • Can be and often, thankfully, is Truth in Television in Real Life: the reason for safety measures including failsafes where needed, regulations requiring preparedness or safety measures, and similar is to prevent problems such as this, and in at least one Real Life case, global thermonuclear war itself was prevented by someone staying calm and verifying a false alarm as such.
  • Enforced:
    • "The only way that this spectacular and dramatic sequence would ever come to be is if whoever authorized it was really desperate- so you need to find something to make them that desperate."
    • In Real Life, any use of a nuclear weapon (and to a slightly lesser degree, the use of biological or chemical weapons), and the overt commission of genocide by an identified nation/state all are the threshold codified into international law and policy: any nation/state found to be currently engaging in such conduct can expect a declaration of war as the response.
    • In Real Life on a more individual level, pulling a gun on someone in many places is the threshold enforced: by doing so, you have given them the legal right to kill you in self-defense, even if you don't fire.
    • In Real Life in general, any situation where the inevitable or near-inevitable outcome of not dealing with the situation or of using less severe solutions is the loss of human life (especially if it's the loss of multiple lives) is usually this to some degree: almost any amount of property damage, injury, or even death is considered worth it to prevent someone from dying or to prevent someone or something from killing more people than it already has. For example, amputating someone's legs or putting them through chemotherapy or giving them an ongoing drug addiction to save their life, or demolishing a neighborhood to create a firebreak against a superfire or dumping seawater on nuclear reactors — because the alternative is far worse.
    • "We need a reason to use Godzilla, or an equivalently destructive force, in our work, but to do so we need to bring up something just as bad if not worse in the story to justify his return. Any ideas?"
  • Lampshaded:
    • "You are telling me we should drop a nuclear bomb on the oil well? What next, summoning Godzilla?"
    • What Have I Done in some instances.
    • "Look, we have an asteroid headed for Earth. I say all options are on the table, up to and including Godzilla himself."
    • "The only thing worse than taking this course of action would be not taking it."
  • Invoked:
    • Someone notes the severity of the situation and suggests a solution that would seem to cross the threshold.
    • The situation itself is shown to be something beyond any lesser solution. Scenery Gorn and Storyboarding the Apocalypse may be involved.
  • Exploited: The Big Bad intentionally set up the situation in the first place, because the effects of the Godzilla option is what he wanted in order to implement his real plans.
  • Defied: The heroes Take a Third Option and find a less-dangerous solution. And if the third option as proposed looks like it will cross this, they will search for a fourth.
  • Discussed: "I hate to do this, but it is the only option we have."
  • Conversed: Bob and Alice watch a show and mention how desperate the heroes must be to come up with such a plan.
  • Implied: Upon seeing whatever is happening this episode, The Lancer will suggest "Plan G", which will be slapped down by The Leader and all others with likes like "that plan is only for emergencies!" (even if a house being on fire/a flood coming in/somebody being trapped in a crashed car/an Alien Invasion about to start would fall under any normal person's definition of an "emergency").
  • Deconstructed:
    • The heroes find a solution that results in many deaths and are considered international criminals despite defeating the Big Bad.
    • The heroes find a solution that works, but now they're stuck with finding a way to deal with the aftermath of said solution, which is just as bad as (if not worse than) the previous problem.
    • There will always be some damn impulsive fool that believes that either whatever the hell is going on is the "Godzilla" that the Threshold must deal with or that once the Threshold has been crossed at some point before that there is absolutely no way de-escalation will ever be possible, and if he's left to his own devices he will bring untold amounts of chaos and will defend himself with "I Did What I Had to Do".
  • Reconstructed:
    • They turn themselves in, the jury looks over the evidence, and find them innocent of charges since the alternative would have been far worse.
    • The heroes may well know that their actions to stop the Big Bad would get them imprisoned. The loss of their reputation is just part of the cost - at least they have a world with a functioning justice system to imprison them.
    • The second problem cause by their first Godzilla Threshold-exceeding solution gets them to consider a second one to solve that problem.
    • That damn impulsive fool is part of the fail safe. The Threshold will be officially declared as passed if the heroes all unanimously agree with this fool and then say that none of them can think of any other options to offer at all, not even for the sake of spite.
  • Played For Laughs: Their solution will result in the destruction of one of the heroes' favorite restaurants. The Hero finds the act horrible and almost decides against it until the other heroes give him a Dope Slap.
  • Played For Drama: The Big Bad is defeated but at grave cost. The heroes are despondent. One is Driven to Suicide, another becomes The Alcoholic, and the others go their separate ways.
  • Played For Horror: Congratulations, you unleashed Godzilla. Now enjoy the montage of people being eaten, fatally irradiated, set on fire, panicking, rioting, stampeding and stepped on by man and monster alike, and consider that this is supposed to be the "lesser evil".

There's nothing else that will save us at this point! We MUST return to Godzilla Threshold! It's our last hope!

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