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Quotes / Take a Third Option

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    Anime & Manga 
Kimblee: You would have no trouble escaping this situation with the stone at your beck and call. And once you were in a safe place, you could both have your old bodies back. That's how your whole journey was supposed to end, wasn't it?
Alphonse: ...But then we wouldn't save everyone else.
Kimblee: "The greater good." You can't gain something without sacrificing something else.
Alphonse: I wonder... Why are there only two choices? "Save yourself and abandon everyone else." "Give up on returning to normal and save the world." Why are those the only options? Why can't I choose "Save the world and get our original bodies back?"
Kimblee: I see. Experiment thoroughly enough, and you may discover new laws that the world must then abide by. That would mean there is a fourth option... "You lose your chance to return to normal, and you fail to save the world."

Hunter Exam Proctee: Your mom and your beloved are dying. You have time to save one. Who will you save?
Gon: [silent and glaring furiously at the lady]
Proctee: You pass. Go through the left door to the next stage.note 

    Comic Books 
"There's always another way."

Chaos: Your coming of age is the death knell of man.
Hellboy: NO!
Chaos: You know this is true. You have always known.
Hellboy: Ah, no...
Chaos: And knowing what you know, still you might deny this truth one last time, and that will be your instant death... Or become yourself, take that key you hold in your right hand and open the pit... You have only these two choices.
Hellboy: Oh yeah? Screw you! I choose door number three! It's my God damn life, I'll do what I want with it! You don't like that, kill me if you can!
Hellboy, "Wake The Devil"

"None of this works for me. Give me a third option."

    Fan Works 
"Uh," Rise says, looking past the Shadow at the two of them with an expression that can best be described as confusion. "...Akira?"
"Please don't ask," Akira says.
THE CHOICE BEFORE YOU, the voice continues, before Rise can ask any of the questions that it looks like she still really wants to ask (despite Akira's words). IS WHETHER TO MOVE FORWARD WITH A LIFE OF RICHES AND LUXURY, OR MERELY CHOOSE TRUE LOVE. WILL YOU CHOOSE CORRECTLY, OR WILL YOU CHOOSE INCORRECTLY?
Rise looks like she has even more questions now, but Akechi is absolutely done with all of this, and his temper snaps.
"Your premise is extremely flawed," he says, raising his voice on the (not unlikely) chance that the voice is going to start talking again. "You're asking me to choose between someone I have never met, and someone that I do not like."
The voice doesn't say anything. Somehow, in this silence, it nevertheless manages to sound taken aback.
"This whole experience," Akechi says, pouring every ounce of derision he can muster into the words. "Has been extremely inconvenient. You're expecting me to fit into your narrative just because I happened to walk into it and answer some questions. I refuse to buy into the idea that just because you think that this is an optimal outcome, that this is actually what I want."
He raises the hand still attached to Akira's, and points to it with the other. "Do you honestly think that this is anyone's idea of a happy ending?"
"It's not mine," Akira adds quickly.
"So," Akechi says, letting their hands drop again. "In conclusion, this is my life, my decision, and in my opinion you can fuck off and leave us alone."
Forewarned is Forearmed, Chapter 49.

    Film — Animated 
King Triton: I'm giving you a most precious gift: A choice. You can come to Atlantica with me, or you can return to your home on land. It's up to you.
Melody: I have a better idea.
[She destroys the castle sea wall with the trident, reuniting land and sea]
Melody: Now we can all be together!

Andy (as "Dr. Porkchop"): You must choose, Sheriff Woody. How shall she die!? Shark!? Or death by monkeys!? CHOOSE.
Andy (as Woody): I choose... BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!
Andy (as "Dr. Porkchop"): WHAT!? That's not a choice!

    Film — Live-Action 
Dr. Rumack: What was it we had for dinner tonight?
Elaine Dickinson: Well, we had a choice of steak or fish.
Dr. Rumack: Yes, yes, I remember. I had the lasagna.

Steve: You're not the guy to make a sacrifice play. To lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you.
Tony: I think I would just cut the wire.

"There is a third option. It involves... murder."
The Cat, The Cat in the Hat

"Then I will execute the Law. I have no tribe... and no one is offended."
T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia

Trinity: Neo... nobody has ever done anything like this before.
Neo: That's why it's going to work.

Buttercup: And to think... all this time it was your cup that was poisoned.
The Man in Black: They were both poisoned. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder.

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."
Joshua, WarGames

Asian Thug: You've got two choices: give us the disk and jump off...
European Thug: Or number two: we take the disk and throw you off.
"Who Am I?": I like the third choice: I keep the disk and throw you both off!

David: What? There's a third option? Crazy and daring?
Fatebane: Daring, definitely daring... possibly fatal...
David: So what else is new?

VII. And Grimma said, We have two choices.
VIII. We can run, or we hide.
IX. And they said, Which shall we do?
X. She said, We shall Fight.
The Book of Nome, Quarries, Chap. 3, v. VII-X, Nomes Trilogy book 2, Diggers

It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it's better still to be a live lion. And often easier.

Robin: Well, we can tell the board everything, and accept that it's going to ruin a few lives... or we can let them terminate our contract without telling them what's going on, and accept that Shifty's going to keep blackmailing [his boss]... or...
Strike: Yeah, that's the question, isn't it? Where's the third option, where Shifty gets his comeuppance and [his boss] doesn't end up in the Thames?

I have three obvious targets of opportunity, Millar thought in that instant with cold logic, but there is only time for a single aimed shot at one of them before the congregation pulls me down from behind. I can shoot Judas and maybe end his religion. Or I can shoot Lowe and end her suffering. Or I can shoot myself and ensure that these bastards will never be able to torture me.
Judas looked into his eyes and smiled for he know Millar had chosen a fourth way, and that was to spin around and kill those lunging to grab at him from behind, then make a break for the side door and freedom. There was no escape from Purgatory. Millar saw it in the preacher's black eyes.
So Millar chose a fifth way. He raised the gun and shot the hanging shard of black glass.
— "The Organ of Chaos" by Donald Tyson

    Live-Action TV 
"Well, either one or the other is going to happen. There's no weird third thing."
Liz, 30 Rock

"Doakes said I had two choices — kill him or let him go. But he neglected to look behind door number three..."
Dexter Morgan, Dexter

Varys: You have a choice, my friend. You can stay here at Illyrio's palace and drink yourself to death, or you can ride with me to Meereen, meet Daenerys Targaryen, and decide if the world is worth fighting for.
Tyrion: ...Can I drink myself to death on the road to Meereen?

Freddie: Sam, the number of iCarly viewers who think you're right: 693.
Sam: I got 693 votes.
Carly: And how many votes did I get?
Freddie: 705.
Carly: Ha! looks like y—
Freddie: Wait! I put up a third option for them to vote for.
Carly: Huh?
Sam: What?
Freddie: The first button says Carly's right. The second button said Sam's right. The third button said: "Carly and Sam are both acting dumb, and they should just make up and be friends again."
Carly: How many people voted for that one?
Freddie: 253,719.
[Carly and Sam are shocked]
Freddie: Our fans don't like it when best friends fight... neither do I.

Roy: Hello, Judy. What can I do for you?
Judy: Computer's broken.
Roy: Is it a PC or a Mac?
Judy: ...Yes.

"Since we can't do the one thing and we can't do the other thing, then all we have to do is think of a third thing that makes everyone happy."
Fozzie, The Muppets (2015)

O'Brien: The way I see it, we only have two choices, both of them bad. If we stand by and do nothing, we run the risk of being the Klingons' next target... but if we disobey Starfleet orders and warn the Cardassians, we may end up starting a war with the Klingons.
Sisko: Which means... we need a third option.

"There's an old Talaxian expression. 'When the road before you splits in two... take the third path.'"

Harvey: What are your choices when someone puts a gun to your head?
Mike: What are you talking about!? You do what they say or they shoot you!
Harvey: Wrong. You take the gun. Or you pull out a bigger one. Or you call their bluff. Or you do any one of 146 other things!

We can walk our road together if our goals are all the same
We can run alone and free if we pursue a different aim
Let the truth of love be lighted; let the love of truth shine clear
Sensibility, armed with sense and liberty
With the heart and mind united in a single perfect sphere
Rush's answer to Romanticism Versus Enlightenmentnote , "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres"

    Newspaper Comics 
Water Inspector: Stop! If you drink a glass of water, you have to use two more glasses to rinse and wash it. That wastes water. Use paper cups.
Norman: No, dad! If you use paper cups, that means they'll have to cut down more trees to make more.
June: For goodness sakes, Ralph! Don't drink right from the faucet!

Jon: Which would you rather do, Garfield, go to the farm or go camping?
Garfield: Would having something amputated be a choice?

    Stand-Up Comedy 
"Cake or death?"
"Um... cake, please."
"Well, we're
out of cake! We only had three bits, and we didn't expect such a rush. So what do you want?"
"So my choice is 'or death?' Well, I'll have the chicken then, please."

    Video Games 
Bard: All right... I've made my choice.
Fionnaoch: Well it's about bloody time.
Bard: Don't get too excited. I didn't choose you.
Fionnaoch: You choose Caleigh?
Bard: I didn't say that either.
Caleigh: Tell us my champion, whom do you choose?
Bard: A very logical choice... me.
The Bard's Tale, neutral ending

"I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question: is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?
'No!' says the man in Washington, 'it belongs to the poor!'
'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'it belongs to God!'
'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'it belongs to everyone!'
I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... RAPTURE! A city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."
Andrew Ryan, BioShock

???: Tough choice ahead of you, bratan. The prisoners... or whistleblower. You can't save both.
Jensen: Wha— the hacker, from the ship. You've been listening this whole time?
???: Like detka said, "Everything's connected." Right now, the gas is set to disperse evenly between the prison and the lab. All you can do in here is redirect flow out of one area, into the other. Do nothing, everybody dies. Do something...
Jensen: Someone dies faster.
???: Precisely. But if you want to bring down Belltower, the choice is clear.
[Instead, Jensen crawls into the air ducts and destroys the device pumping the gas]
???: Obaldet! The toxicity level is dropping! You found a way to save everyone, bratan!
Achievement Unlocked: All of the Above

Brother One: Does that make us good or evil?
One: We don't get to answer that question.

"Hey, my bad, homie. I picked 'C'. Ain't that a bitch?"
Franklin Clinton, Grand Theft Auto V

"Choosing isn't always right! Sometimes, not choosing is the correct answer! It may be referred to as the 'harem' option!
Red, Hyperdimension Neptunia (optional skit)

Joker: Your pick: Dynamite or crowbar?
Brainiac: You will die by other means.

Doctor Fate: Choose between order and chaos.
Catwoman: I choose my way.

"With the invasion over, Bruce and Superman started fighting again. I wasn't down with either of them. On the one hand, the Regime's right; scumbag murderers and rapists deserve to die. But on the other hand, I'm no fan of government authority, especially the dictatorial variety. So while the World's Finest fight each other, I fight for the people. The weak, the innocent, anyone who can't protect themselves. When they cry out for a saviour, I'll answer. As for the criminals who threaten them? They need to know that their actions have consequences. That the Red Hood is coming for them."
Red Hood narrating his arcade ending in Injustice 2

Riku: What are you making me choose now?
DiZ: Between the road to light — and the road to darkness.
Riku: Neither suits me. I'm taking the middle road.
DiZ: Do you mean the twilight road to nightfall?
Riku: No. It's the road to dawn.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (technically taking the fourth option)

Kain: Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma. Let's call it a two-sided coin. If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself, and thus restore the Pillars. But as the last surviving Vampire in Nosgoth, this would be the annihilation of our species. Moebius made sure of that. If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice, and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse. Either way, the game is rigged.
Raziel: We agree, then, that the Pillars are crucial, and must be restored.
Kain: Yes, Raziel. That's why we've come full-circle to this place.
Raziel: So after all this, you make my case for me? To end this stalemate, you must die so that new Guardians can be born.
Kain: The Pillars don't belong to them, Raziel. They belong to us.
Raziel: [sighs] Your arrogance is boundless, Kain.
Kain: [chuckles] There's a third option. A monumental secret, hidden in your very presence here. But it's a secret you have to discover for yourself. Unearth your destiny, Raziel. It's all laid out for you here.
Raziel: You said it yourself, Kain. There are only two sides to your coin.
Kain: Apparently so. But suppose you throw a coin enough times. Suppose one day... it lands on its edge.

Liu Kang: Ermac...
Ermac: Retreat, or be destroyed.
Liu Kang: There is a third option: your demise!

Manikin Kid: What Reason are you here to cheer on?
Demi-Fiend: None of them.
Manikin Kid: That's an option too.
Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, conversation on level 162 of Kagutsuchi

Alt Text: Remember that discussion on whether the comic should be digitally shaded or pure black and white? I thought of a third option...

There are epics in this world about heroes who won the day by refusing the terms of the fight. Who found a path more subtle than "hit it harder", and in doing so changed the course of destiny. [As Integra just decides to 'hit it harder' and stabs the Major] This is not one of those stories.

"There's a funny thing that happens when you know the correct answer. It throws you when you get a different answer that's not wrong."
Doctor Bowman, Freefall

"If someone can't handle an unpleasant truth? Lie to them. If somone won't listen to reason? Make them. If people don't choose to live peaceably — don't give them a choice. If you don't like the rules — change the game."
Tarvek Sturmvoraus, Girl Genius

"Russia, Japan, must you kill each other so? We can negotiate! Or, if you want to, we can safari. FUCK IT LET'S DO BOTH."

    Web Original 
Thomas: You're holding court and a peasant approaches the throne. "Your majesty, I've defended my village from raiders for the past five years, and I've come to pledge myself to you as your knight." What do you do?
Kyle: Sure. He seems like a cool guy.
Thomas: Nope! Now you've insulted your whole court by knighting a commoner. They question your leadership, poison your drink, aaaand you're assassinated. Try again.
Kyle: Fine. I tell him to go back where he came from.
Thomas: Well, now you've insulted the folk hero and the other commoners. They train their entire lives for revenge, and before you know it... Assassinated!
Kyle: Assassinated. Yeah.
Thomas: The correct answer is to make him your court jester.
Kyle: Yeah, I was never gonna get that.
Door Monster, "CKIII: Holding Court"

When forced to choose between the universe and the woman you love, choose both and have the courage to back it up.
The Laws of Super Robot Anime

The story is never as simple as one or the other. Never as simple as choosing an option and knowing that it is good because the text is blue. Because while there are two dead mistresses, one White and one Scarlet, there is a third which still lives as the game goes on, unsure of what kind of mistress she is meant to be.
There are three healers. One represents one side and one represents another and one represents how we have run out of sides. Wait, that's not right. Huh.
Reno Evangelista, Pathologic 2: Who Inherits the Earth?

Serenity: Okay, Nesbitt! Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
Nesbitt: The rocket-powered fist!
Serenity: But that wasn't one of the— [WHAM]
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Episode 51: "The Death of Tristan Taylor"

    Western Animation 
King of Omashu: Your final test is a duel. And, as a special treat, you may choose your opponent. [two muscular warriors enter] Point and choose.
Aang: So you're saying whoever I point to... that's the person I get to fight?
King of Omashu: Choose wisely...
Aang: I... choose... you! [points at the king]
King of Omashu: Hmhm... WRONG CHOICE! [removes his cloak to reveal a muscular body, then sends Aang flying 50 feet into the air]

Harley Quinn: Gee, Batman, what are you gonna do? Kick me around or save your kitty? You've only got time for one.
[Without letting go of her, Batman silently opens a nearby electrical panel and flips the master switch, shutting down the machine Catwoman is tied to]
Harley Quinn: Heh-heh... Good call. Help!

Batman: I've made my choice... none of the above!
D.A.V.E.: How very predictable. I anticipated you would try to create a third, more favourable option.

Optimus Primal: What is it you want?
Megatron: Your allegiance in exchange for this antivirus. Yesss.
Optimus: And... if I refuse?
Megatron: You cannot refuse. No, not if you want to survive. Join me or perish.
(Optimus groans for a few seconds, then turns angry again.)
Optimus: Oh, yes! Then why not end this here and now, Megatron?! (rips the Cyberbee off his chest)
Megatron: (gasps) You fool! You'll destroy us all! (runs away)
Optimus: Just a little trick I learned from a flower, Megatron!
(Optimus throws the Cyberbee towards Megatron. It attaches to his beast mode's back.)
Beast Wars, "Gorilla Warfare"

"Hahaha, if you don't think there is no Option C, you don't know Iqbal."
Iqbal, Bromwell High ("No More Teachers")

"My vengeance will be neither swift nor entertaining! I will mete it out over decades, so that you will wonder if the misery in your life is manifest or the machinations of Leonardo Leonardo! Or... some third thing. Good day!"
Leonardo Leonardo, Clerks: The Animated Series

    Real Life 
"There's always a third way, and it's not a combination of the other two ways. It's a different way."

"One day, someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, 'Is it half full or half empty?' So I drank the water. No more problem."
Alexander Jodorowsky