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Henchman Bob is beginning to have second thoughts about his career with the Evil Overlord. Maybe he's dissatisfied with the lack of advancement opportunities, what with the Big Bad's tendency to kill subordinates for no reason. Maybe he's smart enough to realize that the next visit from the good guys won't end well for Team Evil. Or maybe Bob's just sick and tired of kicking puppies for a living.
Allies of the Good Guys can pull this as well, but they're much more likely to return and save the day in the nick of time. If not, then they'll be branded cowards and deserters. Granted, this happens to deserters from Team Evil in a lot of cases, but since the audience will probably side with the good guys anyways...
Not to be confused with Line in the Sand, where a general gives his troops the opportunity to leave before a suicidal battle. Nor Opt Out, in which such an opportunity or decision is taken for more justifiable reasons than cowardice. This trope is only for characters who cut and run without their superiors' knowledge, permission, or both. Also not to be confused with Heel Face Turn or Mook Face Turn, where someone on the bad guys' side decides not just to walk away, but to actively join the forces of good. If they resort to a violent solo career (or in company with other deserters), they're a Dangerous Deserter.
Inverse of Attack! Attack! Attack! Contrast with Villain Exit Stage Left, which is when the Big Bad or other high-profile villain pulls this stunt, rather than a simple insignificant Mook. Compare with Opt Out, when the character isn't given a Line In The Sand but still makes the willing choice to leave of their own volition. If a character (especially a minor one) is going to drop a Precision F-Strike, this is one of the most likely places. Related to Know When to Fold'Em, though this trope might be seen as less honorable. Refusal of the Call occurs when the consequences of doing this are especially dire. When players of a video game do this, it often doubles as a Rage Quit.
- 1 Advertising
- 2 Anime & Manga
- 3 Comics
- 4 Fan Works
- 5 Films -- Animation
- 6 Films -- Live-Action
- 7 Literature
- 8 Live-Action TV
- 9 Music
- 10 Mythology and Religion
- 11 Professional Wrestling
- 12 Radio
- 13 Tabletop Games
- 14 Video Games
- 15 Web Animation
- 16 Web Comics
- 17 Web Original
- 18 Western Animation
- 19 Real Life
- A famous UK advert for Weetabix breakfast cereal had the Lone Ranger and Tonto finding themselves surrounded by Indians. The Lone Ranger is unconcerned until they find evidence that the Indians have eaten Weetabix for breakfast, at which point the following exchange occurs:
Lone Ranger: (gulps) Now we're in trouble...
- This is, in turn, based on an old Mad cartoon; American readers know the joke more commonly as "What you mean 'we', kemosabe?"
Anime & Manga
- Subverted in Cowboy Bebop episode Black Dog Serenade; one of the convicts that took part in hijacking a prison ship tries to flee through an airlock when things go bad. Unfortunately the section he escapes to is open to space, and though there's no Explosive Decompression he's still as good as dead.
- In Yu Yu Hakusho, during the Dark Tournament Arc, tournament commentator Juri barely manages to escape the section of the ring where Shishiwakamaru strikes with his cursed sword and puts a huge crater into the ground. In addition to that, the same attack sends spirits out from the sword, which attack and kill numerous spectators. When Shishi goes to use the same attack again, spectators start trying to flee the arena is terror. A different commentator mentions that as commentators, she and Juri have to stay out of professionalism. When she turns to get Juri to confirm this, we see that Juri is already standing by the exit saying "Screw this, they don't pay me enough!"
- In Ranma One Half, Principal Kuno hires three champions to subdue a rebellious Miss Hinako (and Ranma, natch): Happosai, Tatewaki Kuno... and Nabiki. While the two others actually try to engage in battle and are easily routed, Nabiki just takes the money and runs.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds, Jack, Crow, and Yusei said this when Kiryu tried to get Team Satisfaction to make a last stand against Sector Security.
- In Afro Samurai Ressurection, Ninja-Ninja pulls this on Afro as he heads off to the final fight.
- Brother Three does the same in both the original series and the video game, making him the only character other than Afro to appear in all Afro Samurai media and survive.
- The titular character of Kino's Journey practically embodies this trope, especially when a country she's visiting becomes too dangerous, too unpredictable, or too downright weird.
- In Pokémon Special, Karen and Will bail out on the Masked Man once a huge army of Pokemon come charging in. They do not appear remotely being sorry for trying to kill Blue and Silver, and the two later show up as part of the Indigo Plateau Elite Four with nothing to show that they got punished for willingly being part of a criminal group.
- One of the omakes in Black Lagoon features younger versions of all the main characters... all except Dutch, that is. He simply left a note saying "Don't bother looking for me" before running off. Apparently there's things in his youth he'd rather keep secret.
- May or may not tie into his unknown past.
- In One Piece, Usopp has one of these when he hears that they need to get a new ship.
- In the Marineford Arc, Mihawk leaves as soon as Shanks and his crew appears, stating that fighting Shanks wasn't part of the deal.
- In the anime of the Red Ribbon arc in Dragon Ball, Colonel Violet pretty much does this once Goku starts his invasion of the base. But not before raiding the army's vault and grabbing as much cash as she can.
- Pulled by Kuzzey Buzzkirk in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Realising he's The Load he does the sensible thing and leaves the ship.
- During the 1999 Bat Family Crossover Batman No Mans Land, the Riddler was the only one of Batman's various rogues to flee the city (everyone else stayed. 'Course, then poor Eddie got his ass handed to him when he decided to fight Green Arrow.
- In Hellboy: Wake the Devil, Hellboy runs into Ilsa Haupstein and two of her mooks. Ilsa orders them to attack; one of them instead shouts "No no no no!" as he runs away and jumps out a window. We never see him again.
- Helps Hellboy just crashed through the roof because his jetpack was out of gas.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Count Dooku's pupil Asajj Ventress was severely injured, then disavowed the Dark Side just before her apparent death. She was placed aboard a medical freighter, where she regained consciousness and ordered the pilot to fly as far away from the Clone Wars as possible. She was never seen again.
- The Earth-2 Catwoman recovered from Amnesia, was horrified by her own crimes, and gave herself up. However, this was later explained as a story she made up to make her reformation plausible; in reality, she had just wanted to give up a life of crime.
- The Midnighter convinces a guy to do this in The Authority #14.
The Midnighter: I've been there, man. I know what's it's like in one of those black ops units where you can't even remember your name. I didn't have a conversation in years. Nobody cares if you live or die. If anything happens to you, they'll just make another one. Nobody's interested in what you've got to say. You're just a weapon with a larynx. God, you're probably between thirty-five and forty years old and you've never even been held, have you?
- This is the backstory of Manhunter from Power Company; he's one of the army of brainwashed clones from the '70s Goodwin/Simonson Manhunter storyline. Apparently he decided that he didn't care which side won (and that taking on the hero would not be good for his personal life expectancy) and lit out on his own.
- In the Marvel UK Transformers Generation 1 comic, one massive time travel epic involved groups of both Autobots and Decepticons from both Earth and Cybertron teaming up to destroy Galvatron, whose presence on Earth in 1989 was screwing up the timeline and threatening to destroy the entire universe. Adding to the temporal mayhem was that Galvatron had recruited his former self, Megatron, to help him out. However, after several issues of non-stop utter carnage and having dispatched half a dozen or so named characters (including a fusion cannon blast to Topspin's face), Megatron just got bored with the fight and wandered off with only an interior monologue to explain why he was leaving when they were winning. This seemed to be down to the writer trying to find a way of killing off Galvatron for good without having to kill off Megatron, whom he needed for future storylines.
- In One Hundred Bullets, Loop, Victor Ray, and Mr. Slaughter pull this and walk away from the climactic battle in the finale. They live. Nobody else does.
Broccoli Man: No no no not doing this this is my special run away song so I do not get killed by scary girl.
- In a recent issue of Wonder Woman, Diana finally tracks down The Society's base and starts destroying their various giant security robots. As the Society members watch her tear apart their various "ultimate weapons", Felix Faust turns to them and says: "I'm out... I'm not fighting that." And magic-teleports away. Some of his aversion to fighting Wonder Woman may be due to the fact that the last mythically powered woman he fought ripped his nuts off.
- In Sonic Universe's "30 Years Later" storyline, the Dark Presence decides to abandon their plans after King Shadow unleashes Tikhaos.
- And in the main comic, when the Destructix starts falling apart, Sleuth Dawg hands control over to Fiona and retires.
- In the Universe storyline "Scrambled", Snively finally bails on Dr. Eggman after he decides to leave a broken and devastated Freedom Fighters instead of finishing them on the spot. Though it should be noted that Snively had been plotting against Eggman for a while, and this was just the final straw for him before putting his plan into action.
- Rotor pulls this after the rest of the Mobian Council decides to banish NICOLE to Freedom HQ, even though Ixis Naugus is now on the throne and this is all part of his plan.
- In the "Sky-Raker" story arc that Disney did in their Tale Spin comic some years back, Baloo and his allies are trying to keep a futuristic airplane prototype (one that can fly on automatic pilot in response to someone's voice) out of the hands of both Don Karnage's pirate gang and the evil industrialist Shere Khan. (Karnage wants the Sky-Raker as his own personal pleasure craft; Khan, apparently, simply wants it for its monetary value.) While trying to escape from the Iron Vulture (Karnage's flying prison fortress), Baloo and his people find themselves caught between Karnage's crew and a squadron of gangland fighter pilots led by Khan's hired goon, Captain Quarry. Cleverly exploiting the Sky-Raker's vocal mimicry program, Baloo first tricks Quarry into thinking he is hearing Khan ordering him to call off the attack. Then, to get Karnage off their backs, Baloo impersonates Karnage over the radio traffic (into which every pilot in the vicinity is tuned) and goads an angry Quarry into a dogfight to the death. ("Let's have it out, man to man!") The other pirates, seeing that their leader has effectively committed suicide, immediately flee, with Karnage fruitlessly trying to persuade them that he hadn't actually said that and screaming "DON'T LEAVE ME!" Humorously, the pirates don't seem to care much anymore, and act as if their boss is already dead. ("I get his bedroom!") Fortunately for Karnage, he managed to escape the scene, Dirty Coward that he is, before Quarry could take his revenge.
- Captain Boomerang would frequently respond to Suicide Squad missions like this. Subverted, in that the team rarely let him get away with it (they'd usually get him blackout drunk and he'd wake up on the plane.)
- Daredevil #86: This was Hammerhead's response to encountering Bullseye during a prison riot.
- In Transmetropolitan's climax, Callahan's last secret service bodyguards walk out on him when he orders them to kill Spider, noting that if he wanted Spider killed, he could go ahead and do it himself. The prospect of having to kill someone with his own hands causes Callahan to have a minor breakdown.
Spider: Well, that was interesting.
- In the climax of "Welcome Back Frank," after The Punisher defeats The Russian and brings his sawed-off head to the Big Bad's lair, it's enough to convince all of Ma Gnucci's remaining mooks to put down their guns and go home, leaving their boss at Frank's mercy.
- Batman is really not in the mood for a cookout.
- Even though they'd been servants of the Zombie Priest for decades due to their curses, the elder Grave and his two sons believed a line had been crossed when the Zombie Priest turned a pregnant zombie into Mother Corpse. They packed up and hauled out before things got a lot worse.
- One For Better or For Worse comic had Michael stand up to a bully by saying "At least I've got friends who'll stand up for me!" Both his friends walk off with a "See ya, Mike."
- In An Entry With a Bang!, after learning that C-Earth has nukes and is willing to use them, one pirate crew tries to bug out, but runs into another nuke launcher in the process...
- In this spoof of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros 3 cartoon episode "The Ugly Mermaid", Mario decides on this when he sees that the anthropomorphic fish-people of Mertropolis are somehow afraid of the water Bowser is flooding their city with.
- In episode 45 of Pretty Cure Perfume Preppy, a boy named Tsumuji, who is performing a magician act, becomes annoyed when he realizes that the audience isn't even paying attention to him.
- In Uninvited Guests, Gin gets sick of Aizen claiming to be responsible for everything and defects back to Soul Society.
- In Through a Diamond Sky, Melodia throws down her gun and tells The Baron she's through after Flynn barges in the room. Justified as she was already starting to think it was a bad idea to try and challenge a User.
- This is a Running Gag with Hobbes in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh GX the Abridged Series Jaden tries to quit being the hero and surrendering his Winged Kuriboh card; by trying to do this he accidentally reforms the villains of the week. He eventually gives up on trying to leave.
Films -- Animation
- In The Iron Giant, Agent Mansley tries to do this, but was stopped by the eponymous Giant. Is a borderline example of this, as, though this particular attempt to leave was against his superiors' orders and fit the trope, most of the villainous actions in the movie (including the nuke he just fired at the Giant) were caused by him without his superiors' knowledge. Gave us this hilariously great exchange:
Mansley: You mean we're all going...?
- Bartok the Bat in Anastasia, Rasputin's Minion with an F In Evil, decides to get the Hell out of Dodge before the Final Battle. Prior to this, he vainly tried to convince Rasputin to forget revenge and Anastasia and get a life. (Of course, being undead, that might not have been feasible for Rasputin.) In the end Bartok just leaves because he's savvy enough to realize that this can't end well for Rasputin. This proves to be a wise decision that allows Bartok to star in his own spinoff movie as the hero.
- Corpse Bride (also an Ironic Echo):
Lord Everglot: Fetch my musket!
- In The Emperors New Groove, Yzma's potions turn the soldiers chasing Kuzco and Pacha into various animals. As Yzma yells at them to chase the duo, one soldier states "Uh, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?" Uncharacteristically, Yzma politely allows him to, asking if anyone else wants to opt out as well. They choose not to.
- Operation: Z.E.R.O.: When Numbuh One exits Father's mansion via a rocket to head to the Moon Base, Grandfather assumes that it was his son Benedict (AKA Father) who is leaving, knowing that his son did not have a spine. (He actually didn't leave, surprisingly enough.)
- Sarge and the two other remaining green army men pull one of these in Toy Story 3 since they think they'll be the first of Andy's toys to be thrown away. Granted, Sarge justifies it by reminding the other toys that Andy has already outgrown them, but still...
- It also doubles as a Brick Joke, since they end up at Sunnyside Daycare.
Films -- Live-Action
- Hero example: Han Solo famously does this after delivering Luke and Leia to the Rebel base in Star Wars. Naturally, he returns to save the day.
- In The Story of Ricky, the villain deploys a bunch of mooks in riot gear to stop the title character. He casually punches through the shield, through the armor, and out the back of the leader mook. The others quickly reconsider their line of work and retreat.
- Tank Girl. While the Rippers are taking apart the guards inside Water and Power, Sergeant Small says, "Screw this, man," and takes off. He's later killed by Jet Girl in revenge for the sexual harassment he put her through when she was a prisoner.
- In Austin Powers in Goldmember, Nigel Powers intimidates a nameless Mook by pointing out what happens to nameless Mooks in this kind of story. The Mook decides to lie down and play dead as the final confrontation looms.
- In Tombstone when the stage coach rolls up with the recently-killed actor the actress in the coach Shames the Mob by pointing out that he only wanted to make their lives better by performing on stage. One of the Mooks, Jason Priestley as Deputy Billy Breckinridge, decides that this has gone too far, saying "We have to have some law and order" and quit the Cowboys. This echoes earlier in the film, when another mook, and McMasters is disgusted by how the Cowboys had targeted the Earp brothers' wives, even going so far as to inform Wyatt Earp that he'll join him for whatever he needs. He joins Creek Johnson and Texas Jack Vermillion to form the posse lead by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday that kills many of his former comrades.
- Transformers: Starscream, toward the end of the second movie, reminds Megatron that "sometimes, cowards do survive," just before they Exit Stage Left.
- He also says something to this effect in Transformers: War for Cybertron.
- He also does this wordlessly in the first movie, when the credits cut to a scene of him fleeing the battle. He wasn't even there for the second half of it.
- This happens in The Running Man. Evil TV show host Damien's huge bodyguard, Sven, is supposed to fight a final battle against Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Damien's been verbally abusing Sven the entire movie, so Sven decides to just walk away, leaving Arnold to crush the helpless Damien.
- Zangief in Street Fighter. He doesn't quite walk away but decides to help the good guys, largely because he realized that everyone else on Bison's team (specifically Dee Jay) was getting paid besides him.
- Not to mention that he had just then realized that everybody else on Bison's team was a bad guy.
- In the same film, Bison and Dee Jay are watching the former's plans collapse on a screen. When Bison makes a speech about facing the possibility of defeat together "with the stoicism of the true warrior," Dee Jay quietly gets the hell out of dodge in the background.
- The Outlaw Josey Wales contains a classic subversion, when a bounty hunter comes looking for the title character (played by Clint Eastwood).
Bounty Hunter: "You're wanted, Wales."
Bounty Hunter: "I had to come back."
- In Hook:
Pirate: Ain't you...
- Also, "What about Smee? Smee's me... WHAT ABOUT ME?!"
- Well, Smee was ordered to "do something intelligent..."
- Also, "What about Smee? Smee's me... WHAT ABOUT ME?!"
- In The Mummy Trilogy at the battle over Hamunaptra, Rick O'Connell's superior officer drops his sword and rides away when an angry horde of Tuareg horsemen are charging his company. Beni turns to Rick and says, "You just got promoted."
- About a minute later, Beni follows suit, screaming "WAIT FOR ME!"
- Towards the end, Rick faces off against a mummy and gives a loud scream. The mummy screams even louder. Rick promptly goes "Uh uh!" and runs away.
- Agents Brown and Jones after Neo takes out Smith in The Matrix.
- Three Amigos. During the battle at the climax of the movie, most of El Guapo's men take off and desert him, leaving him to be killed by the villagers.
- This is the reaction of the Bird-warriors from the Underworld in Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian, when they see how easily the statue of Abraham Lincoln wipes the floor with them.
- Tim Burton's Batman. Batman has just finished wiping out several of the Joker's Mooks. Bob, The Dragon to the Joker, appears holding a knife. When Batman makes a Bring It gesture to him (beckoning with his index finger), Bob drops the knife and runs away.
- Towards the end of Batman Returns, as plan after plan is foiled by Batman and everything is collapsing around him, the Penguin looks around to realize that he doesn't have many mooks left, and the ones that are still there all seem to be quietly sneaking towards the exits.
- Moments later he tries to get out of there himself, but Batman intercepts him.
- Non-battle version in Barefoot in the Park. After Paul and Corie find Corie's mother in bed with their neighbor Victor, Corie reacts with horror. Instead of trying to comfort his wife, Paul decides that he has had enough craziness and leaves.
- Kick-Ass subverts this. A Mook facing the four foot tall whirlwind of destruction named Hit-Girl shouts a stronger version of the first two words. *beat* "I'm getting the bazooka!"
- Zatoichi (in at least one of his many adventures) is attacked by three mooks and kills two of them. The one in the rear plays dead and Ichi is briefly puzzled; he knows how many feet he heard, and how many bodies he sliced. Ichi then gestures impatiently for the surviving mook to get up, and he duly runs away.
- Near the end of Masters of the Universe, when He-Man's allies have broken into Skeletor's fortress and He-Man and Skeletor are having their Final Battle, Evil-Lynn and what's left of the Quirky Miniboss Squad sneak out the back. May also count as Evil-Lynn being The Starscream.
- Wiesler in The Lives of Others is opening letters in a basement of Stasi headquarters when the radio news announces the Berlin Wall has opened. Everyone in the room drops tools, gets up and files out.
- In Avatar, Trudy turned around and headed off after seeing the massacre of the Na'vi village at Hometree, including the children. She later made a Heel Face Turn and rescued Jake.
- Duncan in Mystery Team.
- In Dungeons and Dragons: Wrath of The Dragon God the lich Klaxx flies off the moment Damodar's plan starts to go wrong. Of course he only involved himself with it in the first place For the Evulz.
- In the final Harry Potter movie the Malfoys flee the instant Harry reveals himself to be alive. Since they've been prominent supporters of Voldemort and Narcissa had lied to Voldemort about Harry being dead, it's pretty obvious why they didn't want to stick around to see who won.
- Hell, half of the assembled Death Eaters teleport away when Harry "comes back to life". It's actually kind of impressive.
- After being shot in the leg the first time he dealt with Machete, a mook who sees him coming back hands him his gun, yells, "I quit!", and walks away. He's the only one who survives.
- The Turkish entrenched riflemen in The Lighthorsemen decide on this when they realise the charging Horsemen aren't going to stop.
- Another non-battle example: in Nothing but Trouble, This is Chris' reaction upon seeing, in a news segment, that JP Alvin not only survived the destruction of Valkenvania, but also he announces that he and his family are planning to visit his "grandson-in-law". Chris literally runs out of the apartment, complete with a cartoonish hole in the wall, along with footsteps being heard.
Chris: No you won't! *slams the door*
- At the climax of Dracula: Dead and Loving It, the Count's Living Shadow clearly shouts "Uh Oh!" and runs away when Van Helsing and the others show up to kill Dracula.
- In Cape Fear, Diane Taylor opts to leave town rather than testify against Cady.
- In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Both Mordant and Goldar bail on Ivan Ooze at different points, Mordant isn't present after the activation of the Ecto-Morphicon Titans and Goldar flies off, saying "I'm out of here!", when Ivan fuses with Hornitor to battle the Ninja Megazord.
- Event Horizon: Miller simply says, "We're leaving" after seeing the Apocalyptic Log of the titular ship's crew gorily killing each other under the influence of hyperspace (which is a Scary Place heavily implied to be Hell). Too bad the ship's also a Genius Loci (again, influenced by hyperspace)... and it doesn't want them to leave.
- In The Ashes Series, this becomes more and more common as the Rebel army (not those Rebels) goes from a guerrilla force to an unstoppable international army. Eventually most minor-league baddies will run away or surrender without firing a shot.
- The author also makes it a point to show this at a personal level; often with the deserter(s) giving a short speech to their companions about expecting to live longer.
- The white-faced women do this in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- In Harry Potter, best mate Ron walks out on Harry and Hermione after an argument about the safety of his family (with a little help of the locket-Horcrux that was influencing his behavior). He comes back, though, and just in time to save Harry's life.
- Also, Mundungus Fletcher pulls this on Mad-Eye Moody during the escape from Privet Drive in the same book. Moody ends up taking an Avada Kedavra to the face as a result.
- The Malfoys' defection from the battle of Hogwarts in the film has shades of this trope.
- In the Halo Novelization, a grunt named Yayap goes AWOL just before the final battle. He knows that someone's going to destroy the Halo and kill everyone on it, so continuing the fight would be pointless. He is, of course, right. Halo blows up, and kills everyone on it, including him.
- Both Marco and Cassie do this in Animorphs. Of course, both return, either because It's Personal now or because their conscience won't let them go off the hook so easily.
- Elfangor does it too, in The Andalite Chronicles. He doesn't go back until the Ellimist makes him, several years later.
- In Discworld, part of being an Igor is "getting out before the angry mob arrived." Igors often have long resumes, with all previous employers deceased.
- "We belong dead? Where doeth it thay we?"
- Also in Discworld, in Making Money, Cosmo's secretary Heretofore gets the hell out once Cosmo's madness reaches its peak.
- This is your best chance if you're vermin in a Redwall book. Many books see two rank-and-file vermin given names and personalities decide their boss is screwed and take off. It doesn't necessarily work, though; sometimes the boss finds and kills them for being cowards. As for the two in Salamandastron who ran away at the beginning of the book instead of the end, they would probably have had a higher chance of survival if they'd stayed.
- Kelven Solanki is a major POV character in Peter F. Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction, but vanishes without a trace after leading the evacuation of the planet Lalonde and fails to reappear in the two sequels, whilst a friend of his who had a smaller role in the first book, Ralph Hiltch, goes on to have a major role in the later books. According to Hamilton he had far too many characters running and literally just forgot about him.
- After Nellie Dean finishes telling Mr. Lockwood the horrifying story of Wuthering Heights, the tenant loses no time finding accommodations elsewhere and getting as far away from Heathcliff as he can.
- A mercenary captain's reaction upon learning that a Bolo is active. Though he can't leave as he's already taken delivery of his payment, and his employers would be... unhappy.
- In John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming, a minor character realizes that a) there are weird things happening, and b) where weird things are concerned, she is completely helpless. As soon as she's rescued, she gets in her car and floors it.
- The French soldier, Nicholas in Seven Men of Gascony does this, on the reasonable ground that it is more important to support his wife and child, then to prolong the glory of a Corsican mobster for another year. He ends up caught and executed.
- Opera co-managers Poligny and Debienne at the very start of The Phantom of the Opera. Once a Phantom starts skulking around their opera and delivering Blackmail demands, they waste no time passing the buck and getting out of the opera business as fast as they can.
- Matilda: After being informed by a friend that the police are investigating him, Harry Wormwood (a car salesman who scams his clients and has stolen cars), realizes that he's in danger of being sued (if not outright thrown in jail) and he decides to leave along with his wife and son. It's left ambigous as to whether he resumed his crimes elsewhere, but either way, Buckinghamshire is better off without him.
- In World War Z, the mercenary protecting the celebrities in their fortress decides to sneak out the back door when desperate survivors storm the place, on the grounds that he was hired to kill zombies, not people.
- And while he's leaving, he runs into one of the celebrities' bodyguards, who apparently shared his opinion.
- No, that was a dog.
- Smart dog then.
- And while he's leaving, he runs into one of the celebrities' bodyguards, who apparently shared his opinion.
- Punch Clock Villain Washington Reed do this at the end of Boris Akunin's Dream Valley.
- Atlas Shrugged: The job deserters after Directive 10-289.
- Subverted in Deathlands Homeward Bound. When their mad leader, Baron Harvey Cawdor, comes back without his Elite Mooks from Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, his Sec Men realise that his successor will soon be turning up and quietly slip away. They should have stayed and fought it out, as the Baron's men are so hated by the locals they're all tracked down and killed by the end of the day.
- In Macbeth, the doctor tending to Lady Macbeth contemplates this while realizing that both of the Macbeths are stark raving insane (and that armies from England and Ireland are about to invade Scotland).
Doctor: Were I from Dunsinane away and clear, Profit again should hardly draw me here.
- Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: In the book Final Justice, Stu Franklin ends up pulling this. On his way out, he warns Isabelle Flanders that they're going to get caught and that they should flee. This may qualify as a Heel Face Turn. Then, again, maybe not, if the book Cross Roads is anything to go by.
- "I don't have to take this. I'm going home."
- In the Season 2 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Spike decides to bug out of Angelus' plan to destroy the world because he likes the world (because it has things like dog racing, Manchester United and millions of people running around like Happy Meals for him). He quickly teams up with Buffy so he can grab his lover, Drusilla, and ditches out the second he has her. He comes back later.
- There's a hilarious instance of this trope in "Crush" (S5x14), when Spike and Buffy bust into a vampire lair. The vamps get up, get ready to fight, and say "Slayer!" Then they run away.
- Spike does it again in the fourth season, volunteering to help Xander get Buffy and Riley out of a haunted house, but realizes he doesn't like any of them and walks off.
- Lampshaded again by him at the end of "Once More, With Feeling", when all of the Scoobies are sequence-dancing their "victory cheer" after Sweet's departure, Spike breaks off exclaiming "Bugger this!" and leaves.
- Anya also decides that leaving town is her best option before the big fight with the Mayor at the end of season 3.
- In the episode "Bad Girls", Faith does this after meeting Wesley
Faith: New Watcher?
- A newly turned schoolmate named Sheila in third episode of the second season, "School Hard" wisely does this after seeing Buffy dust a fellow vampire and she turns her gaze to Sheila.
- This is pretty much what Face tries to do in the fifth season of The A-Team. He gets fed up with Stockwell continually using the team and eventually walks out. Twice. And ends up coming back both times. Because as much as he hates Stockwell, he just can't bring himself to leave the team.
- In Farscape John Crichton tends to do this on occasions when he's agreed to help Scorpius. It never works:
- Crichton surrenders to Scorpius in "Liars Guns And Money" and tolerates the situation up until one of his Happy Places is invaded, whereupon he mutters "screw this," and walks away... only to get a knife to the back of his neck.
- "Into The Lion's Den" has him working for Scorpius to ensure the success of his wormhole project: a few hours later, Crichton attempts to back out, whereupon Scorpius hammers his head against a desk and threatens to destroy Earth.
- Finally, Crichton teams up with Scorpius to rescue Aeryn, only to abandon him on Katratzi in the getaway. Unfortunately, Scorpius was expecting something like this to happen sooner or later, and installed a failsafe to ensure that Crichton would return to rescue him.
- A minor and non-Scorpius-related variation occurs in "Jeremiah Crichton" when John decides he's had enough of life on Moya and runs off in his module. He is promptly left (though accidentally) and is understandably upset when they finally return for him, since he never intended to leave for real.
- Played with in Stargate SG-1. Jack and Teal'c are attempting to disable an Asgard ship infested with Replicators, and naturally gravitate to the main deck. Said deck is crawling with Replicators. Jack takes just one look and says, "Well, screw that!"
- Spencer on ICarly trying to give a brotherly advice talk to Carly.
Spencer:: Okay. There's two roads in front of you. Road A, and... the-the... one on the left. (Pauses, then runs out of the room).
- Rachel from Glee is constantly storming out of glee club. Almost Once an Episode, really.
- A raptor pilot in Battlestar Galactica Reimagined episode "The Hub" does this during battle. As he tries to jump out, a Raider shoots him. He does manage to perform a jump but by the time his Raptor reaches the Fleet, he is already dead.
- This is what Adama, Roslin and the whole Fleet did when they made the decision to run. The Colonies were being nuked to hell and what was left of the Fleet was fighting a losing battle by the time Galactica could even arm itself. As all communication from the Colonies quieted, the surviving Colonials realised they were better off fleeing.
- In Solitary, this is the only way to lose. When you've had enough of a treatment, you push the red buzzer. If you're first, you go home. If you're not, then you stay. But of course, you have no idea if anyone else has quit, so you can be stuck doing a painful treatment for a long time until VAL says otherwise.
- Master Vile does this near the end of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, being Genre Savvy enough to realize that his plans weren't going to go anywhere, and he'd be better off sticking to the galaxy where he always wins, instead of that one weird planet where good somehow triumphs. Notably, he was the Big Bad at the time. And before that moment, the monsters led by his field general Professor Longnose decided to teleport away after Professor Longnose gets destroyed by the Alien Rangers.
- In Power Rangers Wild Force, Toxica and Jindrax, caught between two leaders who couldn't care less about sacrificing them as pawns and sought only personal gain instead of the good of the Org race, walk off into the sunset together just before the series' final battle. One of the series' arcs was about the Orgs' blind loyalty to any higher-ranked Org, and in the end, these two finally realized it wasn't worth it. (It may also be a case of Shoo Out the Clowns, as the next episode was part one of the dead-serious season finale.)
- In Power Rangers Mystic Force, an underling, after getting utterly pummeled by the Rangers' Mid-Season Upgrade, tries to do this, but his boss is displeased, and winds up absorbing him into his new mech to power it up.
- In The Outer Limits Revival episode "Mind Over Matter", a doctor hooks a comatose woman to a VR machine so they can communicate with her. He enters the VR world several times and they start getting intimate. One of his colleagues is disgusted, and protests the unethical nature of what he is doing. He refuses to listen, and she gets fed up and leaves, and in doing so, escapes being involved in the Cruel Twist Ending.
- One Attack of the Show sketch has a Dumb Blond TV host who can't pronounce "Cataclysm" ("Cuh-TACK-a-lism!"), and is handed a speech therapy computer program. After spending several minutes with her completely failing to catch on, the program says "to hell with this" and deletes itself.
- A plot arc in Season 5 of Lost involves some characters trying to reunite everyone in order to get back to the island, but when everyone shows up and sees that Ben was involved, they change their minds and go home for a few episodes.
- Essentially the psychic paper's reaction to the Doctor claiming to be universally recognized as a mature and responsible adult.
- Pete Campbell attempted to do this at the end of the third season of Mad Men. Only Roger and Don recruiting him for the new Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce prevented it.
- Cooper does it as well in Season 4 when Don's ad about SCDP no longer doing cigarette ads goes public.
- Vicki Lawrence did this on an episode of The $100,000 Pyramid after a particularly rough round.
- The second verse of Lupe Fiasco's song "Hello, Goodbye" is about a general who deserted a war because he didn't believe in the cause. In the end, "He stands, to find himself surrounded by thousands of soldiers, who he once trained to never miss their targets."
- A more humorous example can be found at the end of Liam Lynch's "Happy Song". The singer, disgusted by all the Tastes Like Diabetes he's been forced to sing about, says "I'm outta here! Screw you!"
- Take This Job And Shove It!, I ain't workin' here no more/ Don't you try to stand in my way as I go walkin' out the door! Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and a case of Covered Up (by Johnny Paycheck, it was written and first performed by David Allan Cole.)
- "Art" by DJ Damien, a song made for a Step Mania competition, consists of a heartbeat-like drum beat for one minute with just three steps held for the duration. "A2 (Art 2)" is a more conventional angry rap song about people who misunderstood the message intended in "Art". The trilogy ends with "The legend of ART", where DJ Damien raps over trance instead in an attempt to please StepMania players until three-fourths of the way through, when after a short Daft Punk sample, it goes back to angry rap. The first lyrics of the coda: "Screw this shit, I'm done / Making trance ain't fun."
Mythology and Religion
- The Rapture.
- Some (definitely not all) schools of Buddhism has leaving the cycle of Reincarnation without turning back as the ultimate goal. Others simply seek to become an enlightened being, free from the sorrows of the world, that help others reach enlightenment from time to time.
- It's not uncommon for the Heels to fall back on this if they're losing the match, especially if they're defending championships (since you can't lose a title by being counted out). Often this plan will be foiled by 1) the Face grabbing the Heel and dragging him back into the ring; 2) an authority figure intercepting the Heel and telling him to get back in the ring; or 3) the authority figure making a new rule that if the Heel gets counted out, he'll lose the title anyway.
- Occasionally the reverse will happen, with a Heel trying to win a title from a defending Face just giving up and walking away, like Test did in his ECW title match with Bobby Lashley.
- Also common amongst tag-team partners turned enemies, such as when Edge had his Start of Darkness by abandoning Chris Benoit to be pinned by La Resistance.
- A rare non-villainous, purely comedic example had Jackie Gayda attempting to ditch Stacy Keibler just before their Evening Gown Tag Team Match against Torrie Wilson and Sable at Wrestlemania XX. All four Divas had to strip down to their bras and panties before the match began, and Miss Jackie decided at the last minute that she didn't want everyone to see her in her underwear. She tried to leave - but Torrie and Sable would have none of it, grabbing Jackie and ripping off her gown so that she'd have to wrestle in her underwear.
- Although, to be fair, Jackie didn't know about the "wrestling in underwear" stipulation until just a few minutes before the match; she thought that the winners would strip the losers, like in a traditional Evening Gown Match. Oddly, the match happened because Stacy and Jackie wanted to pose in Playboy instead of Sable and Torrie.
- Subverted when Triple H apparently abandoned Shawn Michaels in the middle of a "weapons" match against Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Turns out, he was just running to fetch his trusty sledgehammer. (One wonders why he didn't bring it to the ring to begin with, or just stash it under the ring before the match.)
- The 10/3/11 episode of Monday Night Raw ended with this - by about half of the WWE Roster, as well as the announcers, the refs, the cameramen...and the guy that rings the bell.
- The British Tolkien Radio parody Hordes of the Things begins with the Crown Prince Veganin giving the mighty hordes of Albion a rousing speech about how they will stand fast though Albion is surrounded by the hordes of evil. His speech is interrupted by the wizard Radox, who informs him that the mighty hordes of Albion can't make it today, but have left a sick note.
Veganin: Well, then, old Radox, but you and I...
- The opening fiction to Night Horrors: The Wicked Dead has a recurring character rooming with an up-and-coming supermodel, trying to see if she'd be a good candidate for initiation into a cult. She comes home a bit early one night, and finds some hideously bloated thing sucking what looks like the supermodel's life out from her thigh... and the supermodel enjoying it. Her reaction? "Yeah, I'll just... see myself out."
- At the start of Another Code R, Ashley decides she's had enough of her father's crap and decides to go home. However, she spent all her money on a new guitar beforehand and couldn't afford the bus fare, so she's stuck going through the game.
- Near the end of Final Fantasy VIII, Biggs and Wedge—who've been playing mid-boss to you for most of the game—decide to drop their current assignment (guarding the door leading to the Boss) and just walk away to look for gainful employment elsewhere.
- Likewise, near the end of Final Fantasy VII, you can talk the Turks out of fighting you and into just walking away, seeing as how the Shinra Corporation has just been blown to pieces. Only works if you've established the rudiments of an Odd Friendship with them by playing the Wutai sideplot earlier, though.
- Done yet again in Final Fantasy X, where Maester Mika decides to send himself (effectively committing suicide) rather than face a world where Sin cannot be defeated.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, all of the secret characters will do this in a Jagd if left unconscious (you can recruit them again). Unfortunately, the main character doesn't have such immunity
- In The Bards Tale, you can do this right before the final battle instead of taking a side, resulting in the Neutral Ending.
- In Banjo-Tooie, after being beaten by the two main characters the third time, Klungo chooses this option, fearing retaliation from Grunty and decides to be a game designer, befriending the good guys. He makes good on this in Nuts N' Bolts, where he makes the (intentionally) So Bad It's Good buggy as all hell "Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh World" minigame.
- Arguably the Ensemble Darkhorse of the game, when DLC was announced, the fans demanded the teased sequel, "Hero Klungo Sssavess Teh Universe". Rare delivered.
- In Pokémon Platinum, Mars and Jupiter decide to drop out of Team Galactic and live normal lives once you defeat them for the final time.
- In Pokémon XD, after a rearmed Michael takes him to school (and likely Snags his Zangoose in the process), Zook decides to eff everything and leave Cipher - the reason being that he's "had enough of you to last a lifetime".
- In the RPG Shadow Madness, at one point, your characters tell some Mooks they'd better run away because they've killed so many already. Amazingly enough, they actually do. In the next room, your characters try it again, but it doesn't work. "So much for sensible enemies..."
- Luigi's Mansion 3: Unfortunately for Luigi, the ghosts actually thought of this. When Luigi goes to the entrance again after he discovers that the hotel was secretly haunted the entire time, he discovers that the ghosts have barricaded his way out. Granted, it wasn't likely he would leave anyway as he had discovered his friends had been captured, but it was good thinking.
- In Def Jam: Fight for NY, Big Bad Crow has been a dishonorable backstabber whose methods disgust even his own men. Just before the final fight, Crow's bodyguard refuses to kill the hero, and instead gives him his gun and leaves. The hero does an Ironic Echo of an earlier Crow quote and notes that Crow has "a little morale problem".
- Also played straight a bit earlier when one of Crow's bodyguards sees the "army" the protagonist had gathered for storming their lair and just walks away while saying "Screw this, man, he's your problem". He even joins your character in a "2 vs 2" tournament after the end of the game.
- During the fight to reach Fist in Mass Effect, you can convince a couple of Mooks in Chora's Den to depart instead of killing them (you've pretty much massacred all the other Mooks in the bar at this point). Wrex mentions that it would've been easier to just shoot them.
Shepard: (Renegade option) I just killed my way through 50 bodyguards back there. What do you think I'm going to do to you?
- A LOKI Mech in the Project Overlord DLC tries this after you shoot both its arms off. It doesn't get very far.
- If you talk to Wrex enough in ME1, you learn that he worked for Saren as a mercenary in a mission, but had second thoughts after completing it when he saw him and felt something was very wrong about that. He promptly got outta there, not even waiting for the promised payment (which was a lot of money, actually). Then he explains that his hunch was right; a week after the mission was completed, every mercenary that participated was found dead.
- In Fallout 2, when you reach Vault 15, the woman guarding the back door will let you past if you explain that you are trying to rescue a young girl; she leaves the area (although she turns up later in Vault 13). Much later, a squad of Enclave soldiers decides to desert after you engineer the oil rig's destruction. You can talk them into taking on Frank Horrigan for you, but they're likely to die horribly without some help.
- You can skip the final battle of Fallout 3 by convincing The Dragon and his men that his goals are illegitimate and he should just walk away. If you have neutral karma, your companion remarks that the retreating enemies are likely to simply be gunned down by allied forces as soon as they step outside. If you have good karma, your companion remarks that they're probably just going to pop up a few years later to cause more trouble.
- Also, hurting ordinary enemies enough without actually killing them has a decent chance of causing them to shout something along the lines of the trope title and run away. Unfortunately, they have a high chance of changing their minds and attacking you some more after fleeing for a minute or so.
- Chrono Trigger: While the Hero is escaping from the dungeon and kicking every ass in sight along the way, he's attacked by a mean-looking Omnicrone. Rather than die after the battle like everyone else, the Omnicrone stops, exclaims, "They don't pay me enough for this!", and leaves.
- It's possible (if you don't kill them) for three of the Tasen in Iji to just up and leave. They're probably the only survivors.
- This is what Ansaksie and a bunch of other Assassins do when Asha loses it.
- In Neverwinter Nights 2, just before the final battle, your Token Evil Teammate refuses to help you fight the Big Bad on principle. He normally then sides with the Big Bad against you, but you can instead convince him to simply not take any side at all and just walk away.
- Although the expansion pack sequel reveals that he still died off screen, along with almost everyone else.
- Geneforge 3 has a heroic example act similarly to a Non-Lethal KO if your sidekicks reach 0 HP. Sadly, every other party member in the series just gets a Final Death.
- In Yggdra Union, Mizer is one of the few enemies to survive clashing with your army because he eventually does this.
- In Operation Darkness, German tank ace Michael Wittmann voluntarily leaves a battle with the Wolf Pack in disgust over the SS's use of reanimated German soldiers which in his opinion is defiling the corpses of brave men.
- Goblins in Dwarf Fortress tend to be all Attack! Attack! Attack!... until most of them have marched into the meat grinder of serrated metal disc traps in the entry to the base, at which point the survivors look at the gore dripping off the ceiling and decide "Screw that fortress, I'm going home."
- Through the aforementioned meat grinder of serrated metal disc traps... yeah... they usually don't get very far.
- An attacking force of kobolds advanced on the settlement of Boatmurdered, took a good look at it, and promptly left. "Come on guys, we have a nice settlement, why didn't you stick around? Was it the ashen wasteland? The bloodstained gates? Was it the screams of madmen or the stench of death? We've got awful nice engravings of some fucking cheese here, come the fuck on in!"
- If something happens to Imoen in the first dungeon of Baldurs Gate II that would normally result in her death, she will instead get back up, declare that she is "not going to die in this forsaken pit," and run away to the surface.
- Played 100% straight by Brennan Risling, who wisely decides not to continue indulging his Jerkass boss' violent tendencies the instant the fight starts going badly for him. Of course, you can still kill him if you're quick enough.
- An Indian henchman of H.A.R.M. in No One Lives Forever does this near the end of the game, about the fifth time UNITY agent Cate Archer gets knocked out. Interestingly, this becomes a minor plot point in the sequel, as he helps Archer get into the Calcutta branch of H.A.R.M..
- In Mega Man X 7, after the Red Alert Syndicate jumped the slope, one of its key members, Axl, defected from them and was captured by the Maverick Hunters (later becoming a legitimate member of the latter group).
- In Sonic the Hedgehog CD, if you leave the controller alone for three minutes with the game unpaused, Sonic gets bored enough to shout "I'm outta here!" and jump off the screen, ending the game.
- In Cave Story, the player is given the option to do this. At a point when all but a handful of your allies are either dead or captured by the Big Bad, one of those allies tells you that the fight is probably hopeless, and it would be better for the two of you to just run away. Agreeing to leave results in the game's bad ending.
- It's not really bad as such, since you live out your days in quiet obscurity with the guy, but it's a quiet obscurity where you have to live with never knowing if any of your friends, some of whom are your companion's family, ever made it out alive, so it kind of guilt trips you for not being a war hero.
- Atton Rand's backstory in Knights of the Old Republic 2 pulls this trope out twice. He first tells the Republic "screw it" and joins those who were only loyal to Revan, then after a rather impressive career as a Sith torturer and Jedi-killer, a female Jedi he tortured and brought to the brink of death showed him he was Force Sensitive, and a prime candidate for ending up on the other side of the torture rack. Whether you interpret this as a Heel Face Turn, or just saving his own ass depends on your own (and your Exile's) interpretation.
- In Valkyria Chronicles, Jaeger walks out after being defeated, as he believes that Gallia will not be easily conquered. Partially redeeming since he's serving under a Deal with the Devil in exchange for his homeland's independence.
- Similar to the Fallout 3 example, in the fantasy/sci-fi RPG Albion you can convince the spaceship's security chief and his men that the ship's goals are illegitimate; he and his men then retreat, allowing you to skip a very tough battle and go straight to the final fight against the Master Computer.
- In No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, Henry leaves you to take on the final boss alone because the Big Bad is too stupid for him to be associated with.
Henry: I mean, I've got standards, for fuck's sake.
- Said word for word in Tales of Vesperia by a commentator in the colliseum.
- The miniboss of the fifth dungeon of The Legend of Zelda Links Awakening will, after you have laid down a considerable beat-down to him, exclaim, "Argh! I can't defeat you! I'm outta here!" He then immediately flees the Boss Room. Which sucks for Link, because he has fled with the dungeon's item, and has even left a note in the treasure chest where he stole it from that taunts Link, telling him to come and get it from him. Link has to find him again, defeat him again, then... he flees at the last minute again. Link has to find him AGAIN, defeat him AGAIN, then... he flees at the last minute. AGAIN. Finally, after finding him for the fourth time, he'll exclaim that he'll never be able to escape Link, and decides to hopelessly duke it out with Link one last time. This time, he stays dead.
- In Assassin's Creed games, if you slaughter enough guards without taking a hit and there are no Elite Mooks around to rally them, the survivors will break and run. Sometimes, they will do so even with Elite Mooks around. For all the good that does them.
- In the original Starcraft, the final mission involves Raynor and the player character Magistrate breaking away from the Sons of Korhal after the fall of New Gettysberg.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, after defeating the angelic Zelenin in the Neutral path, Mastema appears. The player expects another boss battle, but he instead leaves the player with a warning before disappearing for the rest of the game.
- In Devil Survivor, at two points, the player can decide to simply break the Tokyo blockade and run away rather than fight the Bels. It leads to one of two Downer Endings; either the PC is killed by angels who proceed to remove humanity's free will, or the PC defeats the angels who are policing the Yamanote Loop, and demons escape to overrun the world. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- During the School Festival in Persona 4, the MC, his friends and his classmates are stuck putting together a date cafe, which bombs completely. When Rise walks in to see how it's going, she quickly says, "Well, bye!" before hightailing it out of there.
- Conrad Marburg can be convinced to do this in the ending of Alpha Protocol if your approval with him is trusted or friendly. The look on Leland's face if you pull it off is hilarious.
- If you kill Leland instead, Marburg is completely cool about it, and asks how it felt. He even asks Thorton if he needs any help!
- Fire Emblem:
- In Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones, the boss of an early chapter in Ephraim's path will get the Hell away of the battlefield at the tenth turn. Considering that he has rather high stats, it's best to ignore him and just focus on recruiting Duessel and Cormag.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Reyson can be used to convince Naesala to abandon his support for Daein, thus avoiding an impossibly strenuous boss battle.
- In the sequel, the first boss in Part III becomes overwhelmed by fear of the Laguz and flees his post, leaving his less-than-well-equipped subordinate to inevitably get curb stomped.
- When said boss is encountered again later, he will try to do this again on the map when you get close, but the poor sap's got nowhere to run.
- In Thracia 776, Salem did this in his backstory. He was a member of the Lopto Church, but at some point he got so sick of their atrocities that he pulled a Heel Face Turn and left the group. The Loptos almost killed him on his way out, too.
- Fire Emblem Fates has a whole path that is kickstarted by the Avatar basically pulling this trope on the troops of both Hoshido and Nohr, rather than choosing between either Kingdom.
- Roxas in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days ends his second to last diary entry with "I am DONE WITH THIS!"
- Aveline Vallen in Dragon Age II does this to Hawke near the end of the game if she's opposed to him. Instead of fighting him, she gives him a Reason You Suck Speech, throws down her sword, and leaves. So do her guards.
- Agent Cross in Prototype does this after you get his health low enough. You catch up to him though.
- Same with Coronal Taggart does this after defeating Mother. Once again you catch up to him.
- Upon realising how strong the team has become, Xenoblade Chronicles' Dickson promptly announces that he has no desire to be a martyr for his cause, and promptly turns to leave. Subverted in that he's actually mortally wounded, and doesn't want to let the party see him die.
- After the party defeats Exor in Super Mario RPG, Bowser tries to pull this trope on Mario, saying that because he has his castle back now, there's no reason for him to keep helping the heroes. Geno cooly reminds Bowser that if they don't stop the source of the evil, more monsters will come and attack Bowser's castle again. Bowser begrudgingly returns to the party.
- In Centurion Defender of Rome panicked units make a 180 degree turn and leave the battlefield. A lot of units panick when their leader is killed so massive routs are common.
- In Red vs. Blue, Simmons and Grif plan to flee from the tank that's threatening to attack them and try to make it to the Warthog, agreeing to start running together on the count of three. Although they spend a fairly ludicrous amount of time staring down the tank making sure they are on the same page with regard to "on the count of three", Grif deliberately sneaks away from him and starts running early while Simmons is still counting.
- "Oh, you backstabbing cockbite!"
- Happens later with Donut and Grif. They are hiding behind the warthog as Tucker approaches in an out of control tank.
- This time Donut sneaks off while Grif is counting.
- Looking for Group: Richard pulls one of these (for no particular reason) in this strip.
- The reason Richard starts to pull this (a single line quickly changes his mind so he doesn't quite do this trope) is that he was not wanting to be killed (or whatever the term is for turning the undead to merely dead) as most previous plans had nearly killed him, and he was starting to feel like settling down.
- This strip of Irregular Webcomic speculates about the fate of one character from Star Wars.
- The Order of the Stick proves that there's a limit to how far minions are willing to take Attack! Attack! Attack! here. It holds true for Red Shirts as well, as in this strip.
- And for a raven in this one.
Blackwing: Caw CAW! Caw caw caw caw, caw! (POP!)
- In Sluggy Freelance Oasis inspires this in several Hereti Corp henchmen, prompting Torg to remark, "Well, that was too easy!"
- Leo, the genetically enhanced lion in Skin Horse: "I guess he wanted me to rush 'em or something, but I was all, screw that, Master, they've got guns, man!"
- Tycho's brain does it when confronted with Live Free or Die Hard's interpretation of the Internet.
- A literal meaning of "one's senses taking leave".
- In Sonichu, Jason Kendrick Howell and Beel pull this when Chris goes to bring down the 4-cent Garbage building, leaving Clyde Cash and Jack Thaddeus to die.
- Last Res0rt—Xanatos peels off after Cypress panics from coming out of her hypnotic Tone and dives into a pool of nanotech. He escapes during the collective Freak-Out that ensues.
- Given everything that went wrong after that point, it's hard to imagine him staying could've made the situation any WORSE, at least...
- Eight Bit Theater's Black Mage has attempted to, on multiple occasions, opt out of the quest to save the world Fight signed him up for. However, numerous elements keep forcing him back into the game, such as Thief's blackmail or Sarda's reality-warping power.
- Rusty and Co introduced the mook Sir Malevolus, likely a mini-boss in his own right. As he begins to make his Badass Boast, he suddenly realizes that between Rusty and Cube, he doesn't stand a chance. After giving them directions to the boss, he books it.
- In Our Little Adventure, the drow duck out of the fight.
- Chip from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes completely abandons his ally after discovering his Guardian Band, wanting nothing to do with the conflict, despite the fact that he's involved whether he wants to be or not.
- "Hello and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn! Say... *Pulls out his pocket watch* It's Mill- [makes a break for it]
- The Shredder, during the TMNT parody by My Way Entertainment: "Man, fuck this shit; you're gonna kick me in the nuts! I'm off this motherfucker! Sheeeeeit... fuck you!"
- Becomes something of a running gag for Brad of 4 Player Podcast when he plays Just Cause 2, using gas canisters as miniature escape rockets.
- Bum Reviews: "Change?! Ya got cha-- Oh my God, they're filming a Shaq movie! I'm out of here!"
- The Nostalgia Critic during his review of Rock-a-Doodle: "Screw this movie, I'm going home." [...] "No, no, no. Screw this movie. Home."
- When Equius is first introduced in Homestuck, the narrator doesn't want to spend too long on him.
- The Abandon Thread meme, also known as 'Fuck This Thread, I'm Outta Here'.
- There have been a number of Retsupuraes that have the Retsupuraers throw their hands up and bail for different reasons. Two of the more notable ones were Let's Play This! and The Legend of Sweat.
- In an episode of The Ricky Gervais Show podcast, Karl is trying to explain his latest bizarre train of thought; that the world is better if you're a midget because there's more of it to see. Halfway through, Ricky leaves to make a cup of tea, asking Stephen to call him when Karl's finished.
- Sips, completely cornered in a game of Worms Reloaded just gives up and has his last worm jump into the water.
Sips: You know what? Fuck you guys. Fuck this game. Fuck you. *jumps*
- One of the most memorable moments of Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers is Mickey saying that Donald can't give up because they're Musketeers. Donald promptly tears off his Musketeer uniform to reveal his standard sailor suit (in Renaissance France!) and pulling some suitcases from hammerspace to escape with.
- Cartman from South Park does this so much that one of his Catch Phrases is, "Screw you guys, I'm going home."
- He actually does this in the middle of the rainforest (after beating the shit out of two separate endangered species) he walks all of twenty feet and ends up immediately running into a logging crew... And he even gets chicken wings!
- Mercilessly parodied in the Startling two-parter (the ones with the guinea pigs). Craig hates the plot. All he wants to do is pull this trope and go home... and every time he walks away, he walks straight into more plot.
- Chef, along with all the black soldiers pull this off in The Movie when they are put on a suicide mission by their blatantly racist commander.
- In "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers", the boys accidentally get hold of a hardcore porn movie while role-playing The Lord of the Rings. They send Token off to watch it and report back on what it is. Some time later, he returns, having changed out of his costume.
Clyde: What vice did you see on the videotape, Talangar? Is it the work of Sauron's magic?
- The Beast Wars Chew Toy Waspinator. The long rant where he finally had more than he could take and quit was the funniest moment of the entire series, and possibly his Crowning Moment of Awesome. Of course, he did get immediately blasted by his own former teammates... but it wasn't really a subversion, since (as always) he got better.
Waspinator: I said NO! Dragonbot command YOU, Sub-Commander Kiss-Butt! Dragonbot not command Waspinator...NOT ANYMORE! Waspinator sick of being evil! SICK of being Predacon!! Aaaand...Waspinator especially sick of GETTING BLOWN TO SCRAP ALL THE TIME!!! So, Waspinator QUITS! As of now! Which means Antbot and Two-Heads can just pucker their mandibles, and plant biiiig wet JUICY one right here on Waspinator's BIG...FAT...STRIPY--
- Mouse pulls a form of this in season 1 of Re Boot, after being hired by Megabyte to hack into Bob's brain and find the password to the Supercomputer. When she finds out she got stuck in Enzo's brain by accident, she sternly informs Megabyte that she won't mess with children, and declares her intention to quit then and there. Being the Magnificent Bastard that he is, Megabyte tries to sabotage her ("Nobody double-crosses the Mouse!" "I double-cross whomever I please!") but is naturally thwarted when Bob shows up to help Mouse out.
- Mandalay—the colossal, mute bodyguard of Mr Brisby in The Venture Brothers—is a threatening presence throughout the episode in which he appears. However, when faced with a duel to the death with Brock Samson towards the end of the episode, he breaks his silence to state that he doesn't really need this job and walks away.
- If I remember correctly, this happens again in "Love Bheits" when Brock finds a lump on the testicle of a henchman he is fighting. That henchman loses his urge to fight, and Brock lets him go.
- Brock himself does this in the Season 3 finale... before he was nearly killed by a car explosion.
- Henchman 21/Gary announces he's quitting right to the Monarch's face in "Operation: P.R.O.M", even giving The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. both middle fingers as he's walking out.
- Some Kim Possible episodes had Shego getting fed up with the plans of Dr. Drakken that she just walked away in the middle of the ongoing caper.
- In an early Fleischer Superman Theatrical Cartoons cartoon, "Jungle Drums", a primitive African tribe has been fooled into worshiping Nazis. Everything is going smoothly to the rhythm of a faux-tribal drum beat, when Superman suddenly shows up to foil their plans and save Lois. Exit entire tribe, stage right!
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Day of the Living Gelatin", Baljeet's reaction to the gelatin monster is to walk off with the casual remark "O-kay, I'm going home."
- "Make Play" has Buford doing this the moment he meets the princess who has swapped places with Candace for the day.
- Ferb attempts this in "The Curse of Candace", when Candace runs up claiming that she's a vampire; Phineas pulls him back into view so they can help solve her problem, as is their way.
- In "Perry Lays an Egg", when Perry sees that Dr. Doofenshmirtz's scheme involves heckling whales, he decides it's not even worth thwarting and tries to leave.
- In the Justice League episode "Wild Cards", as King and Ten are trying to stop Superman from disarming a bomb...
Superman: Are you as crazy as Joker? We have less than a minute! If you beat me, you'll die in the explosion!
- The DVD Commentary for "This Little Piggy" mentions a deleted scene where The Joker and his minions are plotting something when Batman walks by cradling a pig in his arms and talking to it. Seeing this, Joker throws up his arms in defeat and walks off.
- In "Fury" when Aresia's plane is about to explode.
Aresia: Wait! You can't leave!
- In one of the last episodes of American Dragon Jake Long, and the climax of the last season's main story arc, Huntsgirl invokes a spell to kill every Huntsclan member on the planet (as the Huntsman was midway through using the spell to kill every supernatural creature on the planet). Those Two Bad Guys, a pair of obnoxious teenage Huntsclan trainees, are smart enough to loudly announce that they quit the Huntsclan before running away as fast as possible once they realize what's going on. The Kill-Everything-Spell, being a rather Literal Genie, thus ignores them while proceeding to kill off, for real, every single Huntsclan member, including Huntsgirl, who is only saved when Jake adds a wish that she never have been a member of the Huntsclan. It helped that the spell apparently identified Huntsclan members by their tattoos, which the trainees didn't have.
- One The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode had Mandy walk out of the cartoon itself simply because she was tired of episodes based around pets.
- "'Await further instructions from talking hole in neck.' ... Eh, screw that."
- Frylock has been known to do this when the stupidity reaches levels even he can't stand. Some examples being an episode where he gets fed up when Master Shake ruins his room. He moves out and leaves Shake and Meatwad to fend for themselves. Without his guidance, it goes about as well as expected. Another is when Shake continues to cut up Meatwad into smaller and smaller pieces despite being told to just stop. Eventually he packs his bags and leaves but not before starting off an endless song (3 Million Bottles of Beer on the wall) just to annoy Shake.
- In one of the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, The Simpsons has a variation of Orson Welles' reading of The War of the Worlds. As Welles' character reads, you see a sound effect guy working with him. Welles' descriptions get increasingly detailed, until the sound guy holds up a sign "Screw You" and leaves.
- Homer's brain has also been known to do this when Homer ignores its sensible suggestions (as seen in season four's "Brother From Another Planet," when Homer foolishly answers "Revenge" as the reason why he's joining the Bigger Brothers Club after his brain advised him not to) or out of boredom (on the season eight episode in which Rodney Dangerfield played Mr. Burns's long-lost son, Homer unexpectedly meets up with Ned Flanders and his family at an apple orchard and Flanders begins blabbing about the differences between apple juice and apple cider. While Flanders is talking, Homer's brain says, "You can stay, but I'm gettin' outta here," and departs Homer's body as a spirit. Just as Flanders finishes talking, Homer collapses).
- In yet another example of Homer being Homer in the episode Flamin' Moes, he does this after seeing his youngest daughter Maggie excessively dolled up by Lisa and her friends. He simply looks at her then says "That's it, I'm outta here" and goes to Moe's.
- In another 'Treehouse of Horror' episode, Homer becomes The Grim Reaper. When he has to kill Marge, he kills Patti instead. God in a rage starts chasing him but at the end He says: "Ah forget this. Im too old, and too rich for this".
- In an episode of Batman the Animated Series, Maxie Zeus orders his henchman Alex to attack Batman. Being Genre Savvy, Alex declares that there's no way he can possibly win and tries to leave. Zeus angrily tries to gun him down for his defiance, but he outruns the gunfire and escapes into the swimming pool. Although he disappears for the rest of the episode, he was presumably arrested after the battle.
- In the movie Mystery of the Batwoman a mook, hearing Batman rummaging around in a room, checks inside. On seeing a rather displeased Batman, he quietly leaves the room and tells his buddy he saw nothing.
- Pinky and The Brain. The Brain's fatal flaw is that he often doesn't know when to fold 'em. Just one example: he would have gotten away scot free, plan intact, in "Pinkasso" if he didn't try to make a production out of the last painting he auctioned.
- Or made Pinky stay at home.
- Family Guy's Peter Griffin was apparently present at Tiananmen Square until he decided it just wasn't worth it.
Peter: Aw, screw this! I just came over to buy some fireworks!
- In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode "Scorched Earth", after Captain Planet rips the roof from a building.
Mook: First the weather goes crazy and now this? Let me out of here! (runs)
- In the Danny Phantom episode "Pirate Radio", Ember McLain and Youngblood team up. When the good guys board Youngblood's ship and attack, Ember joins the battle for a while, but after accidentally setting the sail on fire, she jumps overboard and escapes.
- In the first episode of Total Drama World Tour, Duncan is tied to Courtney and Gwen. After putting up with three hours of them fighting, the hot Egyptian sun, and having to sing, he quits, telling Chris off.
- Also subverted between 'Island' and 'Action.' The campers' first reaction when Chris tells them about season 2 is "No way!" However, Chris then brings up that its in their contracts, and they really should Read the Fine Print next time.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender. Finally, finally, after two and a half seasons of flip-flopping, Zuko says "screw this!" to the Fire Nation and heads off to help the good guys.
- Same with Jeong Jeong, after he saw how hateful and rash the Fire Nation had become.
- Mai and Ty Lee follow suit near the end of "The Boiling Rock." Specifically, when Azula threatens to kill Zuko as he escapes the titular landmark with Sokka, Mai tells her that she loves Zuko more than she fears her. Love Redeems indeed.
- In Teen Titans Terra tries pulling this on Slade after he demonstrates that, when you work for him, failing at a task earns you a savage beating. Unfortunately, Slade anticipated this and turns her into a People Puppet instead.
- In the "banned" Ren and Stimpy episode "Man's Best Friend" George Liquor brings Ren and Stimpy home as pets, although George soon realizes he does not have enough room for two pets. So he takes his current pet fish out of his fishbowl, and flings him out the window. The fish lands in the car, puts a fedora on, turns on the usual BGM, says "I'm outta here, man" and drives away.
- Greedy was like this in one episode of The Smurfs when he decided to go on strike from being the village cook and leave the village to offer his service for someone who really cares about his craft. Poet and Painter were also like this in another episode, and so was Smurfette and the Smurflings when hardly any of the Smurfs were paying attention to them.
- A somewhat greyish example occurs in Transformers Animated: Jazz eventually defects from the somewhat-corrupt Elite Guard and goes off and joins Optimus' crew, having become fed up with the way the way Sentinel is running things as temporary-Magnus.
- In The Ticks "The Tick Vs. Chairface Chippendale," the blue defender of good has cornered the villain before he can complete his plan to write his name on the moon (He gets as far as "CHA" and it remains there when the moon is seen in later episodes.).
The Tick: "Give up!"
- In the Futurama episode "Roswell That Ends Well", the Planet Express crew end up going back in time to 1947. The nearby Roswell Air Base has the machinery they need to get home, but the Professor is adamant that they mustn't steal it, as they have to preserve history the way it was. However, after Fry accidentally kills his grandfather and sleeps with his grandmother, thus becoming his own grandfather, the Professor decides that history is already screwed and storms the air base.
Professor: Let's get the hell out of here already! Screw history!
- When one flight attendant had had enough, he didn't just quit his job -- he did it with style.
Slater got on the plane’s public address system and yelled:
- Russia as a whole did this during World War One when the Bolsheviks took power and opened peace talks with Imperial Germany. The Western Allies were extremely unhappy to hear about the resulting Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, since it freed up all of Germany's resources to be focused on them. Luckily for them, the United States had joined the war on their because Wilson wasn't willing to fight alongside the Soviets, and the Russians leaving en masse gave him the perfect opportunity to join.
- Sometimes, the lowest-ranked member of a group of pack animals will go off on its own in hopes of starting its own pack. Being the "lone wolf" is less awesome than it sounds - it's less "I'm so Badass I don't need anybody" and more "life sucked so much back there I'll risk starvation and bigger/more numerous animals and roll the dice."
- However, recent zoological research has confirmed that this rarely happens among actual wolves, since the weakest member of the pack, although persecuted, usually remains because he will be protected by the pack leader if the other wolves try to kill him.
- This was the mentality of virtually everyone who left Adolf Hitler's bunker and inner circle in the days before he committed suicide, including (but not limited to): Goering, Himmler, Himmler's adjuntant Fegelein, Keitel, and Jodl.
- And it wasn't just the commanders. There are stories of German civilians in the Volkssturm who would fire their anti-tank weapon at tanks well out of range so they could claim to have done their duty and go home.
- Diplomats, politicians, officers, and soldiers in Colonel Gaddafi's Libyan government bailed out en masse in one of the best recent examples of this trope.
- One of the reasons the Egyptian military didn't try to crack down on protests was they were afraid young officers and soldiers would invoke this trope. And despite this some of the Cairo police did invoke it, while others did a Heel Face Turn, ripping off their insignia and joining the protesters.
- After the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle Corporation in 2010, a large number of top-level executives resigned, and entire design divisions transferred to other companies as whole groups. Most notably, James Gosling, creator of the Java programming language, moved over to Google where he has been free to openly criticize Oracle. To say that Oracle Corporation is not well-regarded by the rest of the tech community would be the height of understatement (their first act after acquiring Sun was to stomp on Google for infringement of their newly-purchased patents).
- Pontius Pilate famously tried to do this a couple of millennia ago, but history has not let him off the hook.
- Pretty much every bomb squad member, military or civilian, has a gag T-shirt that says "I'm a bomb tech: if you see me running away, try and keep up."
- Pro boxer Jerry Hackney tried to do this once in a bout he was losing, attempting to jump over the ring ropes and out of the ring. It didn't work out very well for him. Just watch.
- This progressively happened to to Netflix after announcing that streaming and DVD rentals would be charged separately. The first blow was the price increase and the MASSIVE drop in stock that followed only made it worse.
- In 2011, a major Digg redesign caused many of their users to leave.
- In a cup match in December 2011, the manager of the Dutch football club AZ Alkmaar basically pulled one of these after his goalkeeper was first attacked by a fan of the opposing team, Ajax, and then shown a red card by the ref for responding to the attack. He gathered his players and took them off the field after only 38 minutes of play, refusing to return to finish the match.
- In mid-December 2011, many users of Live Journal bailed from the blog site after they changed the commenting scheme, rendering it unusable for some and making role-playing, one of LJ's biggest draws for English speakers, harder or even next-to-impossible. It also doesn't help that everyone who saw it, both American and Russian, said that it looked horrible and not to change it. And they did it anyway, with the man who designed it being openly dismissive towards the userbase all the while.
- Steve Jobs was a master of doing this, and may have been single-handedly responsible for Adobe killing off Mobile Flash by banning it from the iOS platform. This was also the origin of Final Cut Pro; when Avid threatened to drop the Mac platform, Apple brought out FCP and forced them to reconsider in a big hurry. (Although Final Cut X is arguably a case where this failed miserably.)
- As evidenced by the Live Journal and Digg examples above, Internet users are all too happy to do this when a site makes changes they really don't like if there are viable competitors.
- Happens very, very often with children from dysfunctional and/or abusive families when they become old enough to realize that they've been living in utter chaos and try to find a way out of it (the success rate of which varies greatly).
- Being who he is, Doug Walker quit his hated day job in style.
- A sadder example would be the people who defect from the Westboro Baptist Church. According to America's Most Hated Family in Crisis, more of the younger family members than ever have been leaving to live their own lives. Nate Phelps described in detail how he and his older brother Mark escaped the family.