Hope Spot

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
You can leave through that door......As if. I Lied.
You can leave through that door......As if. I Lied.

Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel
Was just a freight train coming your way.

Metallica"No Leaf Clover"

The protagonist is about to face utter defeat. Suddenly, he finds a glimmer of hope, a reservoir for strength, a possible way out, a ray of light, a Forgotten Superweapon, what have you... only to be crushed cruelly by the bad guys returning in force. Think of it as the opposite of Eucatastrophe.

A Hope Spot can also be used to add drama to an extended encounter with a villain and will often culminate with the hero getting up after a seemingly decisive blow. However, if handled poorly, as it can also detract from a story.

Subtropes include Diabolus Ex Machina. In extreme versions, may presage a Cruel Twist Ending. The Kaizo Trap is a subtrope exclusive to Video Games.

Any visible sigh of relief? After escaping imminent peril? Well, Take a Moment to Catch Your Death.

Direct opposite of Darkest Hour.

Examples of Hope Spot include:

Anime and Manga

  • End of Evangelion, the alternate Grand Finale of Neon Genesis Evangelion; Asuka comes out of her coma, seems to successfully defeat the Mass Production EVA's, but is then suddenly skewered by a Lance of Longinus replica, right in her EVA's eye, just as her power runs out. The Mass Pro EVAs come back to life and proceed to rip EVA-02 to shreds. Subversion as Asuka tries to put her EVA in berserk mode, but is quickly and cruelly double subverted as we see her arm visibly split in two as the Mass Pro EVAs finish her off.
    • And her death here is much, much, worse than what stated here.
    • Then there's the ending of that film where Shinji ultimately decides against human instrumentality and sends all of humanity's dead souls back to Earth where they can come back to life if they choose to. Except...we then see that the world is a ruined mess covered by an ocean of LCL and that the only human beings who have been restored thusfar are Shinji and Asuka, both of whom are traumatized psychological wrecks. Appropriatley enough, the film ends with Shinji crying and Asuka murmmering "disgusting".
    • The entire Episode 24. Amidst a dark world where everyone is succumbing to their own issues and everything is falling apart, Shinji befriends a nice, understanding boy who immediately seems to like and understand him... Too bad he's the final Angel, so Shinji has to kill him.
    • The whole series in general could be considered one big Hope Spot. We get an utterly depressed Anti-Hero, who, little by little, befriends some classmate and earns himself the love and respect of a bunch of cute girls. Over the course of the Story, he finally gets praised by his distant father for once and opens up significantly - until he is forced to destroy Eva 03 with his best friend still inside. And from then, everything goes downhill. Asuka, who had come to respect Shinji a little gets Mind Raped and ends up catatonic; Rei, who had become aware of her own emotions and gradually learned how to express them, sacrifices herself just after she realizes that she wishes to "become one" with Shinji and is replaced by an identical clone, which looks the same but acts like some sort of vengeful spirit, undoing almost all of her previous character development; Misato, who had fixed her relationship with her ex-boyfriend spends the remainder of the series crying after said boyfriend is assassinated; and Shinji himself, who came to show some genuine bravery in episode 19 ends up deadly depressed, masturbating to the sight of his comatose comrade and dooming the whole population of earth to turn into tang.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS two-part episode "That day, Riot Force Six" is filled with Hope Spot after Hope Spot as the characters unleash their power and teamwork like they're supposed to... but Shamal and Zafila still get shot, the TSAB headquarters still gets destroyed, and Ginga and Vivio still get "confiscated".
  • Subverted (along with one of the usual episode formulas) in Yes! Precure 5. Cure Aqua is fighting Hadeenya and the Monster of the Week alone and losing badly. Suddenly, the other four Cures arrive! And it takes the bad guys about thirty seconds to kick their asses thoroughly. Well, that didn't help. ...Except that they bought Aqua the time she needed to recover and figure out how to even the odds.
  • Dispensing Hope Spots is part of the fighting style of Alucard of Hellsing. Often a group of enemies has dismembered him, if not worse, and thinks he's down and out... And then his superb Healing Factor kicks in, he's up again, and the would-be victors have little time to gawk in fear before they die. Of course, let's not forget that he almost always lets the enemy shoot first.
  • In Shonen Manga and the Anime based on them, fights tend to run pretty long, with one side revealing a skill/power/strategy that gives them the edge, only to be trumped by a better skill/power/strategy from the other side, and so on until someone runs out of trump cards. Because of this, almost any fight where a good guy loses is going to feature at least one Hope Spot.
  • Bleach
    • When Ichigo tries to stop Renji and Byakuya from taking Rukia back to Soul Society, he gets pummeled by Renji for a while, but as just as his Super-Powered Evil Side is hinted at and he starts to turn it around, Byakuya comes from literally nowhere using flash-step and cuts him down.
    • In the Soul Society arc, Gin intentionally does this to Rukia, making an offer to rescue her and her friends, then admitting he was only joking. He did this as a cruel mind game to break her resignation to her fate, and as a result Rukia has a momentary, not to mention loud Heroic BSOD.
    • Renji's fight against Byakuya was essentially a series of Hope Spots. First he uses his new Bankai to supposedly defeat Byakuya. Then, when Byakuya tears it apart with his flowers, Renji reveals he can animate the seperate parts of his flail and fires them at Byakuya. Byakuya then uses his Bankai to utterly shred Renji. Then, despite bleeding all over, Renji reforms his sword and charges at Byakuya, but gets impaled in the arms and legs by Byakuya's swords, pinning him to the ground. He then gets up again, breaking Byakuya's swords with his will alone, and actually manages to strike Byakuya with his sword... only for his sword to break, and for him to collapse on the ground, nearly dead.
    • The united front of Ichigo and Renji fighting against Aizen. Just as Renji pulls off his last-ditch technique and Ichigo uses the opening to charge in, theme music playing, Aizen blocks Ichigo's Bankai with one finger (and cuts off the theme music in the process), nearly cuts Ichigo in half, and does the same to Renji. This clip comprises the essence of said scene in about ten seconds.
    • Ichigo defeats Grimmjow after a lengthy battle. Just as things are looking good for him, Nnoitra appears and proceeds to beat the crap out of him.
    • Mayuri's fight with Szayel Aporro-Granz is actually an inversion, as the... er... "good guy" is the one deliberately invoking this trope on the villain. Mayuri gives Szayel several hope spots, before killing him in an absolutely horrific fashion.
    • Ichigo and Ulquiorra fight. Ichigo goes all Super-Powered Evil Side on Ulquiorra and kills him. It seems like they're finally done in Hueco Mundo, when...Yammy shows up and turns out to be the 0 Espada. This is then subverted when Kenpachi and Byakuya show up to take care of Yammy.
    • The villain Abirama Redder is fighting Izuru Kira, who uses his special ability and multiplies Abirama's weight, pinning him to the ground. Izuru declares that fighting only leads to despair and prepares to finish him off, but Abirama laughs and powers up, allowing him to stand again. Izuru simply multiplies his weight again, and finishes him off.
    • During the fight with Allon in the Fake Karakura Arc, Hisagi believes that he's found Allon's weakness to be Kido, but Allon manages to get back up, break the chains of his zanpakuto, and grab him. Tetsuzaimon Iba tries to attack from a blind spot, but one of Allon's eyes opens and shoots a Cero at him, defeating him in 20 seconds.
    • The Fake Karakura arc: Yamamoto has imprisoned Aizen and his fellow defectors, allowing the participating captains to handle the Espada and their subordinates. As the battle drags on, all but the last and most powerful Espada are defeated and even Starrk is looking hard pressed as he finds himself up against two of the oldest and most experienced captains in Soul Society. Then, Wonderweiss shows up out of nowhere, accompanied by a gigantic uh...thing? Wonderweiss promptly one-shots Ukitake and then proceeds to apparently revive the previously defeated Espada as the big "thing" blows away the fire-prison containing Aizen and the others. With several characters worn out or otherwise out of commission, it looks as though the good-guys are set up to be wiped out. Fortunately, who should show up at that moment but Shinji and the other Vaizard.
    • In chapter 391, Aizen apparently gets pwned and Hitsugaya stabs him in the back. Then, in chapter 392, it turns out Aizen was using his Complete Hypnosis ability and had switched places with Hinamori. Worst of all, Ichigo may well have been screaming the truth at the top of his lungs the whole time; they wouldn't have been able to hear him if Aizen didn't want them to.
    • Near the end of the Deicide arc, a villain gets a Hope Spot. Aizen manages to regenerate from Ichigo's Mugetsu. Aizen sees his Zanpakutou vanishing and thinks this means that he's about to attain the same level of power Ichigo just lost thanks to Mugetsu. He has the hero dead to rights and is about to become a true Physical God -- then the Hogyouku depowers him and he gets sealed by Kisuke Urahara's hidden kidou.
  • In Naruto, when Rock Lee goes all out, removes his power limiters, and hits Gaara with his final attack, only for Gaara to barely survive it and respond by crippling and nearly killing the weakened Rock Lee.
    • When the Third Hokage, Sarutobi Hiruzen, fights Orochimaru, he seems to have gained the upper hand, only for Orochimaru's Kusanagi Sword (which he can mentally control without having to touch it) flies at Sarutobi from behind. Sarutobi's summoned partner, the Monkey King Enma, desperately reaches out to catch the sword while being restrained by Orochimaru's snakes. There's a splash of blood, seeming to indicate that Enma failed, but then the Hope Spot comes: the scene pans up to show that Enma caught the sword by the blade. It was his blood, not Sarutobi's, that we saw. Or so it seems, until the scene pans up even further, showing that Enma got to the sword too late, and didn't catch it until after it had stabbed into Sarutobi's back.
    • Later, Asuma is saved from a killing blow only for his opponent to come at him again and succeed with the exact same attack.
    • In the manga, after infiltrating the Akatsuki home base, Jiraiya pulls out all the stops and manages to kill off the three bodies of Akatsuki leader Pain... only for Pain to reveal that he has six bodies, and that he can resurrect the ones that die.
    • In the manga Pain shoots a nail into Kakashi's eye only for Kakashi to use his Sharingan to teleport the nail away. However, he then has to use it again to save Choji from one of Pain's attacks and (apparently) dies of exhaustion.
    • Pain does a few of these. After kicking the crap out of the entire village of Konoha for several straight chapters, Pain has finally found Naruto's location and seems like he's getting ready to withdraw, giving the village some much-needed time to regroup and recover. However, right before leaving, he has a talk with Tsunade and decides they 'haven't experienced enough pain', and decides to show off his Shinra Tensei technique... which is the equivalent of a chakra nuke, letting him wipe out of most of the city in one shot.
    • Fukasaku and Shima's plan to use Genjutsu to defeat the Deva Path also fails because Pain has seen the technique used on him before, and manages to use gravity to draw Fukasaku to him and then impale him.
    • After bringing Naruto to heel and when no one appears able to help Naruto, Pain is confronted by Hinata, who has finally overcome her crippling shyness and confesses her love to Naruto, and prepares to show us once and for all what she can really do, and save the man she loves! She then gets defeated and nearly killed (she was quite aware that she wasn't going to win), prompting Naruto's fox mode to progress further than ever before..
    • When Konan faced off against Madara, she released her ultimate attack, billions of explosive notes capable of exploding continuously for ten minutes. Madara takes some damage but survives and gives her a Hannibal Lecture. The rain overhead breaks and a rainbow shines through, giving Konan the will to shout out her defiance and prepare a- Madara grabs her, finishes his lecture, and tears the vital information out of her mind.
    • Sasuke vs Itachi, at least in the anime, Sasuke hits Itachi with his best attack and thinks he is finally dead, cue Itachi getting to his feet and reactivating his armour.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni is full of these, particularly in the later arcs.
    • During Kanon's epic battle with Lucifer, he finally manages to defeat even her stake form by blocking the blow and sacrificing his hand, pulling the stake out and seeming triumphantly victorious...until Beatrice's Literal Genie moment of saying she promised to spare him if he defeated all SEVEN Stakes of Purgatory. Cue appearance of the other 6 sisters.
      • Subverted when Genji steps in to give both Shannon and Kanon a Mercy Kill and spoil Beatrice's fun of torturing them.
    • EP 3: Rudolf and Kyrie manage to spectacularly defeat Belphegor and Leviathan in their respective Crowning Moment of Awesome ...until Eva-Beatrice decides she's tired of using her predecessor's "second-hand furniture" and proceeds to summon the deadly Siesta Corps., which even Beato can't summon. Insert "oh fuck" moment here as their attempt to run away is beyond futile.
      • Then there's the Meta-Battle between Battler and Eva-Beatrice...
    • EP 4's fights between Jessica vs. Ronove and George vs. Gaap are pretty much nothing but hope spots in clear parody of the typical Shounen Manga format.
      • There's the escape of Kyrie's group from Kuwadorian. When they escaped, the Siestas have already rebooted and they start shooting them all down.
    • In Episode 6, Battler manages to outwit Erika's closed rooms by having the other five victims of the first twilight pretend their deaths. Then it turns out Erika severed all of their heads beforehand, thus making it impossible for any of them to save Battler, and trapping him in a logic error. Eventually subverted.
  • In Soul Eater's anime finale, Kid is in the midst of charging up a seemingly impressive Death Cannon attack when the Kishin proceeds to pierce him right through the chest. This is quickly subverted, however, because a little while after that Kid embarks on a Crowning Moment of Awesome and is revived, with one of his Lines of Sanzu connected, and fires a super Death Cannon at the Kishin.
    • ... and then this trope comes into play one more time in the same fight, where it revealed that the Kishin wasn't finished off after all and has simply resumed his human-esque form, ready to kick their asses.
  • Gash Bell has a lot of these near the end of the series, when the last ten books are being burned, most of them belonging to good guys. Arth and Elly's fight with Gomu and Mir is a prime example; just as is seems that Arth is a goner, Elly calls forth his ultimate spell and summons thousands of flying swords. Without breaking a sweat, Gomu and Mir use a dimensional spell to destroy the swords, then finish off Arth with one blow.
  • When Guts leaves Griffith in Berserk, he hopes that Griffith will get over his leaving. He doesn't.
    • The people of Albion in the Conviction arc think that Mozgus is an angel sent from God. They can only watch him fight Guts who they perceive as evil during a demonic sacrifice and are absolutely convinced that Mozgus will deliver them from evil. Guts then brutally kills him and they all have a few moments of absolute horror before the demons consume them. And ironically, as monstrous as he might have been, Mozgus was doing a decent job of that. He and his disciples were fighting off the demons pretty well, and even after his death, Mozgus' body is consumed in the flames he was able to breathe, and those keep back the demons from killing the few people who huddle around his body thinking him a fallen angel/saint.
    • At the end of the non-canon Dreamcast game, Casca briefly regains her sanity before she reverts to her child-like post-Eclipse state.
    • The nuanced and sympathetic way the buildup is presented for Griffith's inevitable Face Heel Turn makes us somehow believe he will not do it after all (Bullshit! He would NEVER do such a thing!), even though we just know better already.
    • And speaking of the Eclipse, the Hope Spots that especially stand out in that part happen when Guts sees Casca in the clutches of a tentacled Apostle and surrounded by monsters after he's just gone to town on a good number of others. Guts shows every sign of launching into a Foe-Tossing Charge to get to her, but before he can even get started, a demon snaps its massive jaws around his left arm and nips any hope of pulling that off in the bud. And then, as Griffith, in his new form of Femto, flies down and starts having his way with Casca, Guts first tries to kill the demon that's got his arm, but when the sword breaks, he's forced to chisel off the arm with what's left of it in a serious Badass moment to get free so that he can save Casca and kill Femto. But just seconds into his charge, he's shut down again, this time when a bunch of demons dogpile him and hold him down, forcing him to watch as Femto rapes Casca to insanity right in front of him before clawing out his right eye.
  • Kaiji is built on Hope Spots. Every time it looks like Kaiji's finally gotten the advantage and is about to turn his luck around, life beats him right back down again.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth is way too fond of these:
    • Pulled twice the end of the first season: Zagato's spell, Lightning Summon, blasts even the Rune God-wearing Power Trio nearly into oblivion... but they regroup on sheer will and recover well enough to push him back. Zagato himself summons his overwhelming willpower and blasts them with Lightning Surge (several dozen bolts as powerful as the single one from before, hard enough to turn the screen black for several seconds.) That, in itself, constitutes a Hope Spot for Zagato, as the Knights then obliterate him with a combined spell. Then, after the Knights believe they've won and are happy about saving the Princess and going home, Princess Emeraude goes evil and proceeds to beat seven kinds of hell out of them.
    • At the end of the second season: the Knights and Eagle have freed Lantis from Nova's Rune God, and have returned to Cephiro. Although Eagle's FTO is heavily damaged, and Eagle himself is injured, it's a great victory all around. Then Debonair shows up and one-shots FTO.
    • The OVA is absolutely riddled with these.
  • The entirety of episode 46 of GaoGaiGar is one giant Hope Spot. After a quick pep talk from Cain and Leo, GaoGaiGar itself blasts out of Jupiter boosted with The Power, which quickly spreads to the rest of the Braves who promptly beat down and purify the remaining Primevals. Until the last one merges with Jupiter, takes The Power for itself, re-absorbs the rest of the Primeval cores, and becomes the biggest, baddest monster yet seen in the series.
    • In FINAL, one line can be identified as the concentrated essence of Hope Spot: "I will show you... THE POWER OF TRUE COURAGE!!"
      • Subverted, then subverts the subversion and then subverted back again in the final episode of FINAL when each of the Yuushabots are fighting their respective Evil Counterpart. Initially, it seems as though the heroes have won, blasting straight through their enemies with the power of awesome without breaking a sweat... Then the bad guys regenerate and proceed to beat the stuffing out of our heroes, seemingly killing each one. THEN Mamoru kicks Cain's ass, prompting the Yuushabots into unleashing their true ultimate attacks and blow the 11 Planetary Masters of Sol into oblivion. Then resubverted when Pisa Sol resurrects the Planetary Masters...And duplicates them, forming armies of clones, each more powerful than the original. This is all the worse since the good guys are practically dead from the effort of defeating a single original. Finally re-resubverted when it's revealed that this situation is EXACTLY what the heroes wanted, since Pisa Sol, and thus by extension everything made by Pisa Sol, is now vulnerable since it has to re-charge. LET'S BREAK STUFF!
    • Episode 31, anyone? GaoGaiGar's attempt to defeat the first 3 Primevals.
  • Gundam 0080 features the battle between the new Gundam model, the NT-01 Alex piloted by Christina, and Bernard's non-customized Zaku. Thanks to a great deal of preparation, cunning, ingenuity and sheer Heroic Resolve, Bernard manages to put the Gundam on the ropes and even seems about to score the killing blow... when Christina rams a beam saber into his cockpit, and all that remains of poor Bernie is a pile of hamburger. Remember, kids, war sucks.
  • Gundam Seed may contain the shortest one ever near the end of the series: Rau le Creuset nearly destroys Flay's escape pod, but the shot is conveniently blocked by the Freedom's free-floating shield, saving her...until Rau destroys the escape pod with his DRAGOONS instead, leading to her fiery death.
  • Fafner in the Azure has an extremely striking version of this near the end. After Michio Hino, already fairly high on the Sorting Algorithm of Mortality from the start thanks to being the older vet who started off on the wrong team, racks up a few more points by resuming his relationship with and getting engaged to his ex, insisting that he remain in the fight despite being over the age to pilot a Fafner, and promising that he'll always return alive. Sure enough, an extremely powerful Festum arrives soon after he makes this promise, completely sweeps the entire team, and starts devastating the entire island. Michio grapples the Festum as they separate the section of the island he and the Festum are on, activates his Fenrir system, loses his always-worn Hachimaki to reveal a photo of his ex that he had been carrying all of these years, and generally appears ready for a grand Heroic Sacrifice dramatic even for this Anyone Can Die series. He then appears to subvert it by ejecting his cockpit, shooting free with seconds to spare...right until the Festum grabs his pod out of midair and smash it to pieces against his own Fafner. The Fenrir system then blows both units to nothing, just for good measure. And the episode still has a post-credits scene to make it even worse.
  • A great one in Monster: a match is lit and then dropped onto some gasoline to commit a heinous act of arson. The match extinguishes on hitting the gas and then bounces away. Just when you think that the fuel wasn't ignited, the flame pops up and spreads down the stream. The timing is great: it's long enough to give the hope spot, but not too long that it looks ridiculous when the flame does pop up.
  • 20th Century Boys has entire arcs made of of this. Kenji thwarting the Evil Plan of Friend? He figures out the plot, but dies in an explosion, loses several of his posse (they get better) and Friend becomes a national hero. Kanna stopping the Pope assassination? Well, yes, but the event is just another Evil Plan to turn Friend into a God. Also, a virus is released and world-wide pandemic gets created.
  • Also happens several times in Pluto. The most heart wrenching one may be when the sun rises during the second Epsilon/Pluto fight. It's still not enough to save the solar-powered pacifist, Epsilon.
  • In Code Geass, Euphemia and Lelouch/Zero agree to work together to create a special zone of equality for Japanese and Brittanians. Too bad they didn't realize there were 3 episodes left in the season.
    • R2 has another one: In desperation, Lelouch asks Suzaku, who has been his enemy all season, to help him. After a bit of raging and confrontation, Suzaku begins to see through Lelouch's lies, and realise what he's been doing. Suzaku and Lelouch are about to agree to work together... and along comes Schneizel and his minions to interrupt in the worst possible way. It Gets Worse.
    • R2 even has a world-wide one: Lelouch declares himself the Emperor of Justice and seems to be undoing all the evil of Brittania... only to start systematically crushing all opposition and generally being worse than his predecessor. Of course, this is partially subverted since he is actually setting himself up as a Heroic Sacrifice... sorta.
  • The Battle Royale manga has a lot of these. Three notable examples:
    • The "that was a close one!"/SPLAT type of Hope Spot occurs when, after being dumped down a well by another student, Hirono manages to escape and is found by several classmates who tell her that they have beaten the Program and can go home. She then drowns in the well, the previous events revealed to be a hallucination.
    • And Hiroki Sugimura's battle with Kazuo Kiriyama is one big string of "I can do this!" Hope Spots.
    • Whenever somebody turns their back after a supposed 'victory' over Kiriyama, something bad's bound to happen. Or they'll just sit and talk a while when they should be running away like kids from homework.
  • This appears to be the entire strategy of the Anti-Spirals in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Seeing as how Spiral Power is genuinely derived from hope and courage, their plans generally revolve around dangling victory in front of the protagonists, then snatching it away in the cheapest, most unfair manner possible.
  • Sailor Moon Stars, the final season of Sailor Moon has one of these. Of course it turns out that it's all a dream, and nothing has changed.
  • Used in Death Note in that the Villain Protagonist Light Yagami gets one of these. Even after it appears Near's completely beaten him, he pulls a hidden notebook piece, and even after the pen he was holding is shot away he attempts to at the very least take out Near.
  • In Zoids Chaotic Century, in Raven's introductory episode, he goes on a rampage—destroying countless Zoids (and aiming for the cockpits of said Zoids, assumedly killing the pilots)... cue the appearance of Van's Shield Liger and the Leitmotif of the anime playing in the background as Van challenges Raven to stop his rampage... Van horribly loses that fight. (Raven leaves due to imperial orders afterward, however)
  • Quite a few of the fights in Violinist of Hameln manga feature one or several Hope Spots, sometimes because villains dispense them intentionally. Vocal once pretends to be killed for quite a few panels, when in reality the only thing that took damage was the weapon that struck him. Chestra seems to be blown away by Oboe's barrage of blows before revealing that he is unscratched and smugly commenting that he doesn't even need to close his eyes to not be hurt by punches of such level. A bit later, it seems like Hamel drained Chestra's power and killed him for real, but no, just as the main cast reunites and is full of relief and joy, Chestra regenerates - from being blown to dust - and starts slaughtering them. In a few cases this also happens when a villain is seemingly overpowered, but then reveals his One-Winged Angel form.
  • Episode 19 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was a giant series of hope spots which made the fight between Mustang and Lust all the more better choreographed. Mustang shoots Lust? Healing kicks in and she slashes the gun in half and catches Mustang. Mustang pulls out his glove? She strikes the pipes to flood the room and take out his ability to use flames and forces them to run. Mustang pulls out a spare glove and decomposes the room the water into hydrogen and oxygen while using Havoc's lighter to create a giant explosion, burning her alive? Healing factor again AND sneak attack from behind, taking down Havoc. Mustang hits her with a shotgun to the chest, reaches into her, and rips the Philosopher's Stone inside her out? It's her core and she revives from there, stabs him through the side, and rips up his glove, then leaves both of them to die. After ALL of that, Mustang finally does overcome her by returning, having carved his flame alchemy sigil on his hand and using said lighter to help him repeatedly burn her alive until she stayed dead.
  • One of the mooks (Chess) gets one in the Shin Hokuto No Ken OAV. The Big Bad hit one of his Pressure Points to kill him later on, but temporarily undoes it before gaining Chess' servitude. When Chess begs him to undo it permanently, he actually does so, and Chess does a Happy Dance that lasts all the way until Ken punches through the door, incidentally hitting the same Pressure Point. You Are Already Dead ensues.
  • One Piece: Luffy finally after failing to get his brother out of Impel Down, a long drawn-out battle between the Whitebeard Pirates and the Marines, and beating his way past foe after foe, rescued his big brother Ace from and got him out of the seastone cuffs so he can fight! Ace dies.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima: Negi, though injured, has defeated Dynamis, Kotarou and the others have rescued Asuna, Nodoka has the Great Grand Master Key, and Chachamaru has just blasted Fate Averruncus with her Satellite Cannon artifact. Things are looking up! ... And then the Averruncus' of Wind, Water, and Fire show up. One of them blows Chachamaru in half, another erases Johnny, and Kaede sacrifices herself to get the Great Grand Master Key they had just stolen back. Then Fate shows up and takes it back anyway.
    • Topped horrifically by what follows. After a totally epic climactic battle between Fate and Negi, Negi finally succeeds in defeating Fate and convincing Fate to side with Negi's plan. Cue the series' real Big Bad showing up and blasting the hell out of Fate and Negi in one shot, followed by reviving Every. Single. One of the previous members of Cosmo Entelechia and setting them against the two utterly exhausted fighters.
    • Subverted: Evangeline, Eishun, Konoemon, Albireo, Takamichi, Kurt and RAKAN all return to kick some ass.
  • Seirei no Moribito: after the elite soldiers attack the La Lunga and make it sink underwater, one of them asks, "Did we get it?" At that moment the creature surges back up from below the ice, ready to attack again.
  • In the third episode of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, following a heartwarming conversation with Madoka, Mami goes into battle with the episode's witch feeling light on her feet and full of confidence. She effortlessly dispatches the witch only for it to reveal a new form and bite her head off.
  • The Planetes anime has a hum dinger. All at once in the finale, it looks as though Goro will restart the engine thanks to having held off the boarders, Fee (who has just managed to regain control of the Toy Box) and Kho will push the Von Braun out of the way, Hachi will beat Hakim, and Ai will make the final 11th mile of her carrying Claire before running out of oxygen… But ALL of them fail, only saved by a last second compromise and two astounding coincidences.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni Kai The Massacre Chapter it seems like Rika and her friends will win against Takano, but no, they all get snuffed. Fortunately they get to try again.
  • Fairy Tail has been throwing out Hope Spot after Hope Spot in the S-Class arc. Probably the best is Natsu getting his standard 'unexpected' powerup from an outside source and going apeshit on the Big Bad, only for Hades to emerge unharmed and promising to actually go all out now while Natsu is so spent he can't even move.
    • No, the best one would be now that Hades has been defeated, the real Acnologia is coming!
    • Elfman and Evergreen are facing Rustyrose, who wears glasses that protect him from Evergreen's petrifying gaze. Elfman manages to trick Rustyrose and get close enough to steal his glasses and destroy them. Rustyrose panics as Evergreen looks into his eyes... then Rustyrose gives them a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and his glasses are back on his face. Rustyrose reveals that he just pretended to panic to toy with them and he's a Reality Warper.
    • Cana arrives to save her friends from Bluenote, armed with the legendary Fairy Glitter spell. Before she can fire it, Bluenote casually knocks her out of the air. Natsu manages to distract Bluenote enough for Cana to power up and fire the spell, complete with epic Theme Music Power-Up, the storm clouds splitting to let in the heaven's light, and Bluenote going Oh Crap... then Bluenote is unharmed. Fortunately, it was enough to allow Gildarts to arrive and save them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX season 4, Fubiki gets the upper hand in his duel with Yusuke, with Yusuke having a pitiful Villainous Breakdown and begging Fubiki not to finish him off... until Yusuke reveals he was joking and most of the duel was an illusion, winning with ease.
  • Windaria Zigzagged. Alan fears his wife is dead because of the war but doesn't see any signs of battle and thinks that the war didn't reach The Valley, then he noticies his neighor's houses in ruins and thinks his own is the same. Then he gets home and sees it is in ruins, but his wife is alive. Then she turns out to be a ghost.
  • In Claymore, Teresa is fighting Priscilla in order to preserve her own life as well as to protect Clare. While Priscilla is absurdly powerful - and was promoted to #2 in the organization - she is still inexperienced and a bit naive, much to Teresa's advantage. Teresa, who is #1 at the time, isn't even using most of her yoki to beat her, and she eventually gets Priscilla on her knees. At this point, Priscilla is on the verge of becoming an awakened being and is begging Teresa to end her life before she becomes so, to which Teresa complies. However, it only took ONE MOMENT of hesitation from Teresa for Priscilla to take advantage and disarm Teresa by chopping off her hands and then decapitating her, right in front of little Clare.
  • Aporia suffers from this in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, in his duel against Z-ONE. After being torn apart for almost the entire duel, facing what he believes is his opponent's trump card, and suffering from an enormous life point disadvantage, he succeeds in emptying his entire deck and activating a card that is shuffled in his deck and will one turn kill his opponent should he draw it. Z-ONE counters by revealing his supposed 'ace' is just one of ten cards, and proceeds to summon the next, with the effect of shuffling Aporia's entire graveyard into his deck, and inflicting enough damage to defeat him the next time he draws a card. After the usual huge buildup, Aporia draws...Machine Emperor Granel, the embodiment of his first despair.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, When Yusuke plans to be killed by sensui to motivate his team. Kuwabara tries to tap into his new power and break out of the uraotoko. He succeeds and frees himself and his allies before sensui deals the finishing blow. Surely that means they can save Yusuke and defeat sensui as a team right?.. no... This makes the Tear Jerker moment even more so.
  • In Saint Beast, after unwillingly betraying their friends during the rebellion the remaining Saint Beasts get one when they think they will succeed in rescuing Judas and Luca from hell with the help of the Goddess. She betrays them and they are separated and turned to stone instead.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragonball Z have numerous ones scattered throughout, but one particularly cruel one happens in DBZ during the Frieza fight. Finally realizing his limits against Frieza, Vegeta is helplessly and slowly beaten by the tyrant. A rejuvenated Goku then comes in and exchanges a few initial blows with Frieza, proving to be even with him while everyone else has been outmatched. Despite his weakened condition, Vegeta takes consolation in the fact that he'll at least be able to watch Frieza finally get his comeuppance. Frieza then proceeds to shoot an energy blast right through Vegeta's heart.
    • The entire (long) fight against Frieza is filled with one Hope Spot after another, right up until Goku finally becomes a Super Saiyan and is actually strong enough to overpower him.

Comic Books

  • At the end of Watchmen, after Ozymandias explains his plan in detail, Nite Owl is glad they made it in time to stop him from starting its final phase, which would result in the death of everyone in and near New York. But then Ozymandias says this:
  • In War of Kings the first Hope Spot occurred when the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Gladiator helped Lilandra regain her position as the Empress of the Shi-Ar, so she could take command from Vulcan and end the destructive war with the Kree. And then she was shot to death by Razor. This was a Despair Event Horizon for Black Bolt, which lead to second one – with him defeating Vulcan and Crystal convincing him not to detonate a bomb that would turn all life in the Universe into Inhumans – after she destroyed the Terrigen Crystals and they were going to leave, Vulcan attacked again, separating Black Bolt from Crystal and Lockjaw, right as they were teleporting themselves. The bomb exploded, killing both monarchs.
  • Black Lanterns were invoking this trope by making their victims feel hope, among other emotions, before killing them, so they can feed upon said hope.
  • Sin City has a brutal one in the first act of That Yellow Bastard. John Hartigan has been stabbed in the back by his partner, is being framed for a crime he didn't commit, and is getting beaten to a pulp while handcuffed to a chair. Suddenly, he finds the strength to snap the cuffs and pulverize his torturer... only for the readers to discover that it was just a fantasy.

Fan Works

  • In Aeon Natum Engel, after being severely bombed by NEG, the cultists spot three giant silhouettes rising from the waters, mistaking them as the eldest children of Dagon or Cthulhu who came to punish the insulent NEG. And then the closest one, EVA-02, starts firing its flamethrower on the cultists.
  • Late into Carnage Necropolis, Misty discovers that the L-Ject she got has a chance of curing Ash of his infection. When she reaches him, though, he's too far gone to be healed, and the only thing she can do is kill him.
  • Winter War. After many of the cast have already been killed or suffered even worse fates, Grimmjow, Hanatarou, and Hisagi or rather, Kazeshini controlling his body discover the original Kurotsuchi Nemu alive in Mayuri's lab. She's in bad shape, but they hope Orihime can heal her. She explains otherwise: her zanpakutou has been severed and her soul is being drained into her clones... which would remain even if Orihime tried to reject the damage. She asks them to kill her, and after some hesitation, they do.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan fic Discorded Ponies (the first part of the Pony POV Series), the Alternate Universe Bad Future epilogue has Twilight Tragedy turn back into Twilight Sparkle after Traitor Dash couldn't bring herself to kill her best friend. Twilight was then about to embark on fixing everything, but then Discord appears and turns her into Twilight Tragedy again. Turns out she only becomes herself again when and if he feels like it...


  • Toy Story 3. This film actually manages a two-in-one hope spot. After getting past the shredder, Rex sees a light at the end of the conveyor belt tunnel. For a moment, the crew thinks it's sunlight--then they realize that the conveyor belt is taking them to an incinerator. Then Woody and Buzz spot a button to shut off the machine, and lift Lotso up to push it. However, he betrays them, and they go tumbling into the inferno.
  • The Lion King:
    • In a villainous example, Evil Uncle Scar survives dramatically falling off a cliff after the Final Battle with the hero with relatively no injury, and then relaxes in relief at seeing his usually comedic henchmen approach him ("Ahh, my friends..."), only to be begging for his life moments later as they proceed to rip him apart for denouncing them in a cowardly episode that he thought that no one had heard or witnessed.
    • The stampede scene is a sequence of multiple Hope Spots. The stampede catches up to Simba.. but then Mufasa arrives, grabs Simba and drops him off on a safe ledge. Then he's dragged away by the stampede, vanishing out of Simba's sight. He jumps back and grabs a ledge.. which is a cue for Scar to show himself to Mufasa. Mufasa thinks that Scar's there to help him, only for Scar to commit his supreme act of evil by sinking his claws into Mufasa's paws and throwing him back in. After the stampede, as Simba is looking for Mufasa, you hear movement. Simba looks up saying "Dad?" and for half a second, you the viewer think that maybe it's not that bad. Then a wildebeest runs by. Then you see what it just jumped over.
  • In Buried when the protagonist gets the phone call that an insurgent revealed the location of a buried hostage, he calls his wife on the phone to give her the miraculous news, only to find out a few minutes later that his rescuers were informed of an entirely different hostage burial site. And all this is happening as The protagonist's coffin is quickly filling up with sand. The film ends when the coffin fills up completely, and the screen goes black.
  • A couple in the The Lord of the Rings series. First in 'The Two Towers', when the Helm's Deep siege is, while bloody for both sides, still going in favor of the defenders despite the odds against them. Theoden even asks, "Is this all you can conjure, Saruman?" Of course, a short time later, a gunpowder explosive blows a massive hole in the wall, and things begin to proceed as well as you'd expect.
    • Then there are a few in Return of the King. After the counter-charge by the horsemen under King Theoden successfully routs the much-larger orc army, and the king gives a shout of victory, we can hear the distant rumble of thunder, followed closely by a bizarre bellowing sound. The thunder continues, almost as if it's footsteps...cue entrance of two dozen Mumakil, aka several story tall war elephants, or, more simply, Sauron's answer to heavy cavalry.
    • Shortly afterward, Theoden organizes a charge against the Mumakil, the triumphant orchestra music reaches its crescendo as the two lines meet...and then suddenly ends as the first cluster of riders are smashed into the air by the lead Mumak's tusks. Several more are stomped to death or simply swept aside. It's as though the orchestra fled the battlefield when they realized what an immensely bad idea charging the Mumakil was.
    • Later in that battle, the tide is turning as the Mumakil begin to fall. Then...the Witch King shows up.
  • The Battle Royale movie has Shinji Mimura's team succeed in hacking into the government's computers, temporarily deactivate the collars, and load up a truck with enough home-made explosives to blow up the school that serves as the government headquarters. They're about to start their attack when Kiriyama shows up and kills them all. However, Mimura is able to set off the explosives, blinding Kiriyama just as the other main characters show up.
  • Carlitos Way has a cruel one at the ending. It looks like Carlito has gotten away from his enemies and he'll finally escape to a peaceful life with his girlfriend, but right before he makes it into the departing train he is shot by Benny Blanco.
  • The Descent, where in the end, one of the ladies makes it alive out of the cave, getting out through a narrow gap, runs to her car, drives away. Then it turns out she was hallucinating, and is still sitting in the cave, crazy and catatonic. As the camera pulls away, we hear the crawlers screeching.
    • This ending is only in the original British version. The American ending cuts The Reveal that Sarah was hallucinating her escape, making it so that she gets out of the cave alive. This is the ending that the sequel follows.
  • Black Water is full of this. Every time they make some attempt at escape, it either turns out to be fruitless, or they have to get in the water and the croc attacks someone. Then in the third act, Lee leaves the injured Grace in the relative safety of the tree so she can have another go at getting the boat. She actually ends up taking a gun off a previous victim and shooting the crocodile dead. She then makes her way back to the tree, calling out to her sister that she "did it," and she's coming and they can go home... Then she gets back to the tree to discover Grace died from her wounds while Lee was away. Ouch.
  • The entire plot of the Final Destination series revolves around the main characters narrowly avoiding death and being killed off as fate "catches up with them". Five films of splat as plot...
  • Fist of Legend, arguably Jet Li's best movie, has a pretty cool one. At one point, the Big Bad has a cut above his eye, and Li waits till a drop of blood is about to drip into his eye, then attacks... but... ouch.
  • The Perfect Storm, where right near the end, the main characters see the calm with sunlight shining towards them. They pass through the eye and then... cue more strong waves that capsize the boat.
  • During the Normandy Landing sequence of Saving Private Ryan, a bullet hits the edge of a soldier's helmet, narrowly missing his skull. Astonished, he removes his helmet and gapes wonderingly at the holes ... and then he gets shot in the head.
    • Somewhere in the same battle, a team of medics manages to stabilize a wounded soldier's condition in the middle of the fighting. As soon as they finish and it looks like he'll live, a bullet goes through his helmet and into his brain. The medics, not surprisingly, are pissed off at the Germans.
  • GoldenEye: Boris Grishenko has somehow survived a massive gunfight, complete with explosions, that has killed everyone around him. He takes a moment to celebrate his good fortune with his Catch Phrase ("I am INVINCIBLE!")... and a vat of liquid nitrogen bursts right behind him, covering him and freezing him to death instantly.
  • Cloverfield includes what could be called a double Hope Spot. The protagonists are in a military helicopter, being evacuated. They look out the window and watch as the giant monster is bombed repeatedly. When the monster doesn't seem to be moving in the cloud of smoke, everybody cheers... and then, not only does it survive, it reveals it presence by leaping out of the dust and smoke, grabbing the helicopter, and dragging everybody down to the ground where they are all killed as Manhattan is bombed off the map.
  • The final fight in Scarface has Tony holding out against the swarm of Mooks invading his mansion, and it seems that he might make it...then he gets riddled with bullets by the Mooks and a shotgun gets fired into his back by the only named assassin of the bunch (the Skull) and he topples over the parapet into the pool underneath, dead.
  • The subway fight between Neo and Agent Smith in The Matrix has no less than three Hope Spots. The first when Neo smashes Smith's sunglasses with a kick—then gets kicked across the room. But he gets up, does an Asskicking Pose—and ends up on the receiving end of Smith's Spam Attack. Finally, he sets Smith up to get run over by the train ("My name... is NEO!") -- and Smith walks out of it with his sunglasses back on, as when an Agent is taken out, it's only a simple matter to possess a new body and continue coming after you.
    • The Matrix Reloaded shows that The One is the last hope spot and the final system of control in the endless cycle of the matrix.
    • In their final fight in The Matrix Revolutions, after Neo is pounded into a crater, he gets up and punches Smith in ultra-super-slow-motion. The punch makes no difference in the outcome of the fight and is there solely as a Hope Spot.
  • The shotgun-toting mob bank manager from The Dark Knight looks like he might be able to drive off the robbers, but fails. Then again, can't have The Joker get killed so early, right?
    • And then Joker and his gang got imprisoned, Gordon is actually alive, and Harvey and Rachel are set to ride off into the sunset... Or so you think.
    • Harvey has an In-Universe one shortly afterwards... As he's lying in a hospital bed recovering from a bomb blast, he's convinced that Rachel is dead. Then he finds the lucky coin he gave to her the last time he saw her alive, left on his bedside. He turns it over... and sees it's charred on the back.
  • Used in the film Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack. At first, it looks like King Ghidorah (Who is ironically the good guy in the movie while Godzilla is the Big Bad) has the upper hand against Godzilla. However, it turns out that Godzilla has simply been absorbing all of his attacks and then fires a super-charged Thermonuclear Breath attack at Ghidorah causing him to explode.
  • Parodied in Groundhog Day, when Phil—driven to despair by the Groundhog Day Loop he's trapped in—kidnaps the titular groundhog and drives with it over the edge of a quarry in front of his cameraman and producer;

[The truck smashes into the bottom of the quarry and lies still]
Larry: [Weakly] He... might be okay.
[The truck explodes]
Larry: Well... no. Probably not now.

    • A curious inversion is also presented at the end; after a day in which Phil has proved himself to be a new man and has finally won over Rita, the scene cuts to the same shot of Phil, lying in bed at 6:00AM with Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" playing, suggesting that he still hasn't managed to break the loop. Then, after the song, the DJs begin a different conversation, and Rita leans over him and turns the radio off...
      • "I got you babe" does start at a differant part in the song on Feb 3. it's done much more straight in the "Christmas Every Day" version, in which the kid wakes up on Dec 26, to the EXACT same rendition of "Jingle Bells", at the EXACT same point in the song, and hears his little sister exclaim "Santa came! Santa Came!" which turns out to be the rest of the family watching a tape of the day before.
  • Drag Me to Hell. Oh Lord. Christina digs up the Gypsy lady's corpse and passes the curse back to her by shoving an envelope containing the cursed button into her mouth. It's over, right? Well, it turns out that the envelope that Christina buried the Gypsy woman with didn't contain the button at all, but rather, her boyfriend's rare coin. She still technically owned the button, which meant that, since three days have passed, she has to go to Hell. Got to love Sam Raimi's sense of humor.
  • Léon in Léon: The Professional, almost makes it out of a standoff between himself and EVERYONE in the NYPD, but gets killed in a tunnel a few yards from freedom by the Big Bad. Though not before taking the Big Bad with him. "This is from...Mathilda..." BOOM!
  • Funny Games has three examples. In the first, the wife manages to grab the killers' gun and shoot one of them. It looks like the other killer loses his mind when he tries to undo the event with a remote control, but it actually works. The scene rewinds and this time the killers hang onto the gun. After the killers shoot the family's son, they make a second hope spot by promptly leaving. The mourning husband and wife tearfully embrace and vow to survive, but the killers soon return, smugly Lampshading the fact that they needed to force a Hope Spot to keep things interesting. Lastly, when the wife is tied up in the boat and they are about to push her into the lake, she spots the knife her son had left there earlier and for a few moments it looks like she might actually be able to get away. However, one of the killers notices it too and grabs it before she has a chance to take it.
  • The Ring has this at the ending of the film. Right after Samara Morgan's body is found you think everything is done and all is safe. However, the Creepy Child informs his mother, the main character, that "she never sleeps." The main character's male companion soon ends up dead because of Samara and they figure out that the only way to stay alive is if they make a copy of the video tape and spread it around. Talk about a cheerful flick.
    • This also happens in the Japanese film and the original novel, except without the handy Foreshadowing. You're completely blindsided by things not turning out well.
  • Freddy Krueger loves giving his enemies hope spots in the Nightmare On Elm Street movies: his usual method is to let the heroes think they're actually hurting him, and then shrugs off his injuries with a laugh as soon as they let their guard down. Among others there's Will, whose dream-powers as a wizard seem to be working against Freddy until he gets within striking range, Kincaid, whose superstrength sends Freddy flying until he simply adjusts his own strength to match, Kristen, who seems to take control of her dreams via lucid dreaming and change it into a pleasant summer beach before Freddy turns it back into a nightmare, and Alice, who suffers two of them in two different movies as her attempts to fight Freddy seem to be intimidating him, until he smiles, waves his hand and undoes all the damage.
    • He even does it to fellow horror villain Jason Vorhees in their dream-world fight in Freddy vs. Jason. When Jason manages to hack off Freddy's arm with a machete, Freddy gives an exaggerated "oh no, not my arm!" And then, after a beat, he simply conjures up a new arm.
    • The Reveal in the original Friday the 13 th is preceded by one. An old friend of the Christys (the family of the guy opening the camp) arrives at the scene to find a terrified Final Girl and all seems to go well. Unfortunately, that family friend is Pamela Voorhees, Jason's mother and the real killer of the film.
  • Saw. Zep is about to shoot Dr. Gordon when Adam suddenly wakes up, trips him, then crushes his head with a toilet tank lid. Good job! Jigsaw's dead, Gordon's family is safe and Adam survived his gunshot wound. Now all that's left is for Adam to get the key to his chains off of Zep's body. But, what's this? A tape recorder? "Hello, Zep." and suddenly the dead guy in the middle of the room starts to rise...
  • There's an absolutely brutal one at the end of Night of the Living Dead. Ben is the only character who has lived through to the end of the night, by being calmer, smarter and all-around more badass than the other survivors. It's morning, and the police and military are systematically killing the zombies. They reach the house where he's staying, Ben looks out of the window, and they shoot him in the head and move on without even a word of dialogue.
  • At the end of Brazil, Sam Lowry is restrained to a chair in a large, empty cylindrical room in the Ministry, to be tortured. However, before his torture begins, members of the resistance break into the Ministry. The resistance rescues Sam and blows up the Ministry building as they flee. Sam and Jill drive away from the city together, and they are pictured living in a trailer in the countryside. However, It is then revealed that Sam has gone completely insane and is catatonic in the torture chair, humming a happy tune. Cheerful!
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West locks Dorothy in a castle chamber, planning to return and kill her. Dorothy begins to cry and calls out for her Auntie Em, who miraculously appears in the witch's crystal ball. Unfortunately, Auntie Em cannot hear her and fades away after a few seconds, only to be replaced by the witch herself, who mocks Dorothy's cries while laughing hysterically. One suspects the Genre Savvy witch conjured up Auntie Em's comforting image deliberately to create a Hope Spot and then laugh at Dorothy as she destroys it.
  • Sharkey's Machine. Sharkey (Burt Reynolds) is being tortured by a corrupt police officer when he suddenly realises he's still wearing his ankle holster—the bad guys wouldn't be that stupid, would they? Music swells as he slowly inches up his trouser leg...only to find the holster empty. The corrupt cop just smirks and says, "We searched your every orifice."
  • In Pitch Black, the crash survivors are stranded on a desert world with three suns. Searching for water, they eventually find some trees on a hill on the horizon. Yay, right? Sadly, the 'trees' are the skeletal fins of a giant space beastie... and beyond the hill, there's a canyon full of such skeletons. Imam gasps "What could have killed so many great beasts?"
  • In Serenity, "I'm a leaf on the wind."
  • Resident Evil. After the survivors obtain the T-virus antidote, it looks like they'll be able to save Rain Ocampo and themselves and get away. Then the Licker attacks and kills Kaplan, Rain turns into a zombie and has to be killed, and Matt's wound starts to fester and it becomes clear he's infected with the T-virus. As Alice is about to inject Matt with the antidote, Umbrella personnel break in and separate them before she can do so. Then it gets worse.
  • The Naked Gun 2 1/2. The main villain falls from a tall building, but miraculously bounces off an awning and lands completely unharmed. He smiles, straightens his clothes, and as he starts to walk away is mauled to death by a lion.
  • Le Pull-over rouge [The Red Sweater]: Twenty-one-year-old Christian Ranucci is sentenced to death for murder on very, very circumstantial evidence. After exhausting his appeals, his only hope of escaping the guillotine is a pardon from the president of France. Cut to the radio issuing the news of Ranucci's pardon, his mother and lawyers celebrating with champagne, and a prison guard rushing in and saying, "Hey, little one! There it is, you're pardoned!" causing Ranucci to smile joyfully. Only, it's a hoax—and Ranucci is dragged from his cell at four in the morning the next day to be executed. Also Truth in Television.
  • Planet of the Apes - What was the jungle in the end of the original movie? It turns out to be ruins of the Statue of Liberty and it WAS Earth All Along.
  • It looks like the party in PCU has raised enough money, but it was a trap, where the student body would file complaints over the party.
  • In The Vanishing On 7 th Street, after having already swallowed up almost everyone in the city, the eldritch darkness antagonizing the few remaining survivors begins weaponizing this in order to drive them past the Despair Event Horizon. With the exception of two children, it works.
  • The Mystery Team thinks they have the case all wrapped up.... then they find Leroy and Destiny dead at the lumberyard, and suddenly none of their theories make sense.
  • Towards the end of Sunshine, Corazon finds a small plant growing in her burnt-out oxygen garden. They don't have to kill themselves! They can return home and have air! Whoops, got stabbed.
  • The Hope Spot given in Fourteen Oh Eight to both Mike and the viewer subverts a couple other tropes. Fairly late into the movie, we're inclined to believe that it was All Just a Dream. He starts to turn his life around, and starts confronting and repairing all of his life's problems that the room threw in his face. All in all a happy ending, right? Nope. Still in the room.
  • In 100 Feet, after another day of the protagonist being terrorized by the ghost of her abusive husband, another character comes over to "comfort" her. While they're having sex, she sees the ghost hovering above them, but it fades away harmlessly. She figures this is the last she's seen of the ghost, seeing as how by this point, she's gotten rid of seemingly all of his possessions. But when she and the other character awaken the next morning and she goes to look out the window at the beautiful day outside, the camera pans to the wedding ring she's still wearing, and character she just slept with is suddenly knocked across the room and given a lengthy and fatal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by the ghost as she's forced to watch.
  • About two-thirds of the way through Collateral, Detective Fanning pulls Max away from a nightclub firefight to safety. He believes his story, looks like he's going to help solve all of Max's woes...then is gunned down by Vincent without a pause.


Ford: Wait a minute... what's this switch?
Arthur: What? Where?
Ford: No. I was only fooling. We're going to die after all.

    • In the TV version the first part of this scene is accompanied by swelling music, just to heighten the effect.
  • In Dan Brown's Angels & Demons the third of the Preferiti is burning over a large fire but still alive when Langdon and the police get to where he is. They attempt to bring him down, but then The Dragon interferes.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini has so many Hope Spots that you begin to dread something good happening, because it will most likely lead to the book, once again, getting worse.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the fight between the Red Viper and the evil, evil Gregor Clegane, the Mountain that Rides, includes not merely a hope spot but a giant hope searchlight. At first the Viper looks rather outclassed by the Mountain. Then the Viper turns it around and puts the Mountain on his back, badly wounded by a poisoned spear. He steps on the Mountain's chest to finish him off -- and the Mountain grabs his foot, yanks him down, and taunts him horribly before smashing his skull with one enormous fist.
    • A Song of Ice and Fire also treats us to a Hope Spot in A Storm of Swords. After breaking his word to marry the daughter of his ally Walder Frey, King of the North Robb Stark tries to salvage the alliance by suggesting a marriage between his uncle and a Frey daughter in his place. Frey's alliance is desperately important to Robb's campaign. After sulking and rubbing Robb's face in the fact of his broken promise, Frey appears to acquiesce and mend the fences. Then comes the Red Wedding, where Robb and a good number of the Starks and their supporters are massacred by the Freys and the Boltons, including many characters we had come to like.
    • Also from A Storm of Swords, Sansa looks like she's about to escape King's Landing and Cersei with Ser Dontos, who gets her off the grounds, through a forest, and to a ship, where she finds out the one behind her rescue was none other than Littlefinger, the closest thing the series has to a Big Bad who's already given off some creepy vibes for her. It Got Worse from there.
    • ASOIAF gets started on this early, actually—when Cersei arranges Robert's death, she decides that Ned Stark must be silenced. Eventually she decides to let him live and have him sent to the Night Watch instead, in exchange for a public false confession. Ned Stark agrees, but then her son decides to go off-script at a pivotal moment...

Joffrey: "My mother bids me let Lord Eddard take the black, and Lady Sansa has begged mercy for her father. But they have the soft hearts of women. So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Ser Ilyn, bring me his head!”

    • An inversion occurs in A Dance With Dragons when a hero does this to a villain. Jon Snow is fed up with Janos Slynt after he refuses a direct order, and Jon orders Janos hanged. Watching his men prepare this while Janos is pleading, Jon thinks that this is wrong and tells his men to stop. Janos, shaking, thanks Jon Snow for his mercy. To which Jon famously responds:

Jon Snow: Edd, fetch me a block.

  • Near the end of 1984, after being worn down by months of torture and brainwashing, Winston Smith finds one last reserve of strength and devotion to Julia... which gives his captors the excuse to introduce him to Room 101, and kill even that source of hope forever. The end. Unless you read the Newspeak glossary and notice it's in the past tense...
  • Done purposely in Terry Pratchett's Going Postal:
    • Moist von Lipwig, imprisoned, attempts the old trick of digging his way out of prison with a spoon. Having worn his spoon down to the hilt to loosen one stone in the wall he takes it out only to discover... Another wall. With fresh mortar, implying it had been made while he was digging his way through the last one. Vetinari, of course, knew and had it put in intentionally, to give the prisoners something to focus on and increase their morale while still making sure they wouldn't get out. He also provided a new spoon, placed in a small hollow between the two walls.
    • Hope Spot becomes a Running Gag in this book. Moist gets another spot when he's about to be hanged and Vetinari's clerk shows up... not to tell them there's been a reprieve, but to hurry up.
    • Vetinari gives Moist and Reacher Gilt the option to work for him... or, if they don't want to, just walk out the door and he won't bother them again. Mind you, there's a loooooong drop on the other side of that door.
  • The visit to Godric's Hollow in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, seemingly a turning point because the readers and characters are just that desperate for one, brings nothing but a broken wand, a threefold close brush with death (Nagini, Voldemort, and the locket), the profound doubts that come of Harry experiencing Voldemort's memories, and, just to bring the utter despair to a climax, Harry's faith in Dumbledore is shaken to the core. Moral of the story: When grasping at straws, beware of snakes in the grass.
    • Or in the corpses of little old ladies.
  • Star Wars: Sacrifice
    • Chapter 20 closes with Mara about to shoot Jacen in the face. He uses the Force to save himself, and proceeds to murder her in the next chapter.
    • After Mara's death Luke goes after Lumiya, mistakenly blaming her. He out-fights Lumiya, and then saves her from falling off a cliff saying "I would never let you fall," giving the audience the momentary impression that he's going to spare her and then he decapitates her. Then again, her death was all part of the plan.
    • Outside of Legacy, there are a few other examples in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. How about Dark Force Rising? Luke, a crew, and Rogue Squadron find the Katana Fleet and board one of the long-abandoned ships. Fey'lya, with Leia in tow, shows up to arrest them. A Star Destroyer comes out of hyperspace. Fey'lya overrides Leia and flees while the Rogues fly a Delaying Action, but Leia tricks Fey'lya into an Engineered Public Confession, causing his forces to return and help the Rogues. This isn't enough. Then Talon Karrde's smuggler fleet comes out of hyperspace to attack the Star Destroyer. Still not enough. Then Bel Iblis shows up with his six heavy Dreadnaughts, and this is enough to start beating the Imperials... until a second Star Destroyer comes out of hyperspace. They actually manage to take it out eventually with two counts of Ramming Always Works, and after chasing off the first one they find that they are too late, most of the abandoned fleet's already been salvaged by the Empire. They tell themselves that it won't matter for years since the Empire is undermanned, but then they find that Thrawn has found a cache of Spaarti cloning cylinders. Interestingly, the end of that book contains both a Hope Spot and Darkest Hour, since it's a Zahn book and things do work out in the end.
    • Outbound Flight. There are so many times when characters come close to averting the disaster that's a Foregone Conclusion. Lorana Jinzler even talks to Thrawn, who encourages her to do something about C'baoth. And even after it happens, there are several spots where the reader can believe that she, at least, will survive. But she doesn't.
    • In the middle of Fate of the Jedi: Ascension Luke is back on Coruscant and is leading the Jedi Order once again; the Moff/Senatorial conspiracy is falling apart; all three villains (Abeloth, Daala and the Lost Tribe of the Sith) are on the run with few resources left; Vestara chooses to become a Jedi and Wynn Dorvan is about to be elected Chief of State. And then all goes to Hell.
  • In For The Emperor, two guardsmen presumed dead are found alive, before being promptly shot as they had already been infected by genestealers.
  • The Silmarillion has a Hope Spot on a grand scale: Beren and Lúthien steal a Silmaril from Morgoth, which inspires Elf-prince Maedhros to form a great alliance of Elves and Men and attack Morgoth. This battle is known by Elves as Nirnaeth Arnoediad - the battle of Unnumbered Tears. Then it gets worse.
  • The short story La torture par l'esperance (The Torture by Hope), by Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, is Hope Spot writ large.
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, the hope spot comes as Miriamele, Binabik, and Cadrach burst into Green Angel Tower to see Evil Sorcerer Pryrates completing his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of several minor characters. Miriamele happens to have a Norn arrow nocked in her bow, and fires it reflexively, hitting Pryrates right through the neck and apparently killing him. There's just enough time for the good guys to exult over the victory before he staggers back to his feet, pulls the arrow out, and indulges in some serious Evil Gloating. This display of invincibility serves to utterly destroy what little hope the heroes had left.

Pryrates: "You hurt me. For that I shall keep you alive a long time, girl."

  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Black Tide, Fabius Bile frequently sets up apparent chances to escape for his prisoners. It's a marvel that Rafen manages to convince half the prisoners they have a real chance this time.
  • The Imperial Guard novel Desert Raiders has one after the regiment has managed to destroy the tyranid swarm in a series of HeroicSacrifices and LastStands. There are only a few survivors and they are without supplies in the middle of the desert. Still they are hopeful that they can last till the fleet returns. Then they found out that the defeated swarm was just a scout force and the main swarm is arriving.
  • Gilles de Rais of Fate/Zero basically has giving his victims a Hope Spot as his fetish. His Establishing Character Moment was kindly freeing an orphan only to have one of his pet monsters devour the child as he ran for the door.
    • Shown in loving detail in episode 2 of the anime. And is now the trope page picture.

Bluebeard: Some forms of terror are fresher than others. People go numb inside when they're afraid. Terror, in its truest essense, is not a static state, but a dynamic one. It is the moment when hope turns into despair. Did you enjoy that? The freshness of terror and death?

  • In Henri Barbusse's World War I novel Under Fire, set in 1915, the narrator goes with a fellow soldier, Poterloo, to view the village where Poterloo used to live, now an unrecognizable heap of ruins. After being briefly stupefied, Poterloo begins talking about how he and his wife and their neighbors will rebuild everything after the war is over (soon!) and becomes quite cheerful. At the same time, the sun comes out and the first bird of the spring begins to sing, which to the narrator seems like a sign of the end of the war being near. A few hours later, Poterloo, still cheerful, is killed by a shell.

Live-Action TV

  • In NCIS Kate's death. She's shot in the chest, but was wearing a bulletproof vest. She gets up, and is killed mid-sentence. Sentence being? "I never thought I'd live-" She's shot in the head, by the way. No way she's surviving that.
    • Its LA counterpart with Dom. Kidnapped by terrorists and missing several months, the team discovers he's in LA and launch a rescue mission. Sam finds him on the roof (Dom admitting he always knew they'd find him), only for Dom to get gunned down moments later.
  • Also, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Help", where Cassie (teenage girl who has had a premonition of her own untimely death) is saved by Buffy from being killed by a demon... but then a lethal trap goes off... and Buffy saves her just in time for a heart attack to kill Cassie.
  • Wesley's final battle in the Angel finale might be another example; the demon has him beaten with magic, so Wes resorts to a knife. The demon then blocks him, grabs a bigger knife, and proceeds to fatally wound Wes.
    • There's a great subversion when the demon tries it again. Unfortunately for him Illyria is quite able to kill him with the one free punch he offers her.
    • And let's not forgot Wesley's hilarious "I think we're winning!" in Over the Rainbow. Cut to shot of the good guys tied up.
    • The second fight with The Beast has two. The first is when Wesley's shotgun blasts bring it to its knees, with him advancing on it firing from closer and closer - until he gets within range, at which point it grabs him, hurls him into a wall, and stands up as though its apparent injury was a just an act. The second is when Angel puts his Game Face on and goes in for a rematch. He also manages to knock The Beast to its knees, produces a stake, and stabs it towards The Beast's eyes, the only seemingly vulnerable part of it. He stops an inch away, and the camera reveals The Beast had caught his wrist. Then it stabs him in the neck with his stake and hurls him off the skyscraper.
  • Early Edition: Gary enters a hospital where some beat-up teen is being treated. Gary's newspaper tells him that the teen is slated to die. He tells the reception at the hospital about the teen who's about to die, but the reception insists that he's making a recovery. Suddenly, the teen indeed kicks the bucket, and the next scene is his funeral.
  • Stargate Infinity's villains, on these: "It's very gratifying to give people hope, and then snatch it away."
    • Speaking of Stargate, just about every time the tide seems to be turning during the Ori arc... it turns out it's not, something happens to make it all worse, and now we're really screwed.
  • The opening sequence to the first Firefly premiere. Mal charges out of the bunker to shoot down a flyer that was keeping away the reinforcements. He returns triumphant... and the reinforcements don't come anyway, as Command has surrendered the battle—and to make things worse, the reinforcements that do arrive proceed to rain fire upon Serenity Valley, killing everyone except Mal and Zoe.
  • In the Heroes episode "Six Months Earlier", Hiro travels back in time to rescue Charlie from Sylar. It turns out she would have died of a blood clot in her brain anyway. Then Hiro accidentally teleports to Japan and can't get back until she's already dead.
    • Subverted somewhat when in season 4 Hiro goes back again, and this time convinces Sylar to remove the brain defect from Charlie then unsubverted when later that episode, after being cured, Charlie is kidnapped by the new big bad, Samuel, before Hiro and her can run off for their happy ending
  • In the final episode of The Young Ones contains a two-fer; the boys have escaped their confining, limited lifestyles and have their whole lives ahead of them, full of freedom and hope... only for them to accidentally drive through a billboard of Cliff Richard and over a massive cliff. Then, at the very bottom of the cliff, from within the battered, smashed-up bus we hear them say "Phew! That was close!"... and the bus explodes in a massive fireball from which nothing could survive.
  • Supernatural:
    • The first half of the finale of Season Two has Sam and Dean separated and when they finally meet each other, Sam's rival stabs him in the back and he dies in his brother's arms.
    • Mystery Spot also had one of these. It's a Wednesday, Sam thinks they've beaten the trickster but Dean gets shot by a mugger, is dead before Sam even gets there and Sam can't even wake up this time.
    • As Sam pretty much says in Devil's Trap, they're still alive (although Dean just barely), they've still got the Colt and we would love to believe him if it weren't for the fact that, in a second, a giant truck will smash into their car on purpose, leaving all three of them bloody and unconscious. What a fun way to end the season!
    • Every season finale. No Rest for the Wicked has them just about to murder Lilith—the entire episode is one giant Hope Spot—and Lilith turns out to be possessing Ruby, and Dean goes to Hell anyways. And then Lucifer Rising: Dean gets to Sam with some help from Castiel, Sam hears him calling out and puppyfaces "Dean?", and then Lilith hits his Berserk Button and he kills her, destroying the final seal and releasing Lucifer from his prison.
  • We spend most of the Lost episode "Greatest Hits" expecting Charlie to drown in a flooded underwater station at the end. When he gets down to the station, it's not so much flooded, and Charlie doesn't die. Then in the next episode, Mikhail does flood the station, and Charlie dies in a poignant Heroic Sacrifice.
    • There's also the bizarre double case in which Locke, after causing Boone's death, goes to the hatch and begins banging on the door and screaming. This causes Desmond, who was in the hatch, to abandon his suicide attempt because he thought Locke was his new button pressing partner. Desmond shines a light up through the hatch door just as Locke is screaming at the island to give him a sign. Of course, Locke turns out to not be Desmond's new partner and, when he finally gets into the hatch, the computer winds up getting shot, which causes Desmond to both panic and go into a deeper depression than before. Locke goes on to destroy the computer that gave him so much hope and purpose after he loses faith it. Later on, Locke is killed, taking away his "special" status and making his moment of hope meaningless.
      • Not to mention Locke's apparent resurrection by the Island after the Ajira crash. Instead of rematerializing as Ben's personal chew toy, he shows some backbone and bosses Ben around, seemingly living up to the "special" status he'd hoped for. Unfortunately, New and Improved Locke is just the Man in Black in disguise, meaning the real, unspecial John Locke really did die tragically a half-season earlier.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The series 4 finale, the Daleks are defeated yet again, and the Doctor finds himself surrounded by all of his companions and friends from the start of the new series including Rose, who he thought he would never see again. Everything is shiny and full of laughs for the next few minutes until half of them go home, Rose is left in a parallel dimension with the Doctor's clone, and Donna gets brain-wiped. The last few scenes show the Doctor cold and wet, staring ahead blankly in the TARDIS, completely alone again.
    • "Voyage of the Damned" has another powerful one. Astrid has driven herself off a precipice into the ship's reactor in order to off the Big Bad. As the Doctor returns to the other survivors, he is reminded that she was wearing a teleport bracelet with a system for rescuing passengers who run into trouble with it on. So he attempts to recall her... only to find that the system does not have enough power, and all that's left of her is constituent particles in her image, which he has to disperse. Hell of a Tear Jerker.
    • The End of Time is very mean about its Hope Spots. The Doctor has just saved the Earth and possibly the universe from the opening of the sealed time bubble and the return of Gallifrey, and he's still alive, despite thinking that The Master's return was what was supposed to have killed him. Then he hears a sound...four knocks, from Wilfred, on the inside of the flood chamber for the radiation, which The Doctor will activate if he lets Wilfred out, spilling the radiation on him...the entire rest of the special is a class one Tear Jerker through and through.
    • In Fear Her, all the drawings have returned to life - except the Doctor. Then the other drawing comes to life, and it's an Oh Crap moment.
  • In The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures we see present day London in ruins and Sarah Jane and Luke stuck in the past with no idea how to defeat the Trickster without...bad things happening to Sarah Jane's parents. Cut to the image of a Blue Police Box as the Doctor's music plays. It turns out to be just a policeman.
  • In the Blackadder Goes Forth finale, there's a Hope Spot when they're in the trench ready to go over the top and the guns go silent. Then:

Darling: Thank God -- we lived through it -- the Great War, 1914 to 1917...

  • The midseason finale of Season Four of Battlestar Galactica. The humans and Cylons have put aside their differences and found Earth together. Cue exulting music. Oh wait, Earth is a nuclear wasteland and has been for two thousand years.
  • Rare example of a villain getting this from the pilot episode of New Tricks; a vicious, psychotic gangster has been released from jail following an appeal of his conviction for the murder of a barmaid two decades beforehand. He and his friends are celebrating in a posh restaurant when the main characters enter the restaurant to officially and publicly announce that DNA evidence has cleared him of the murder he was convicted for. The entire room begins to celebrate... moments before more police officers flood in to arrest him for another murder two decades ago that same DNA evidence can now conclusively prove he did do. Oh, and turned out his wife murdered the barmaid under the mistaken impression she was having an affair with her husband.
  • Veronica Mars has one. Logan's mother dies, and he is convinced that she is still alive. He asks Veronica to find her for him, and she tries to do so ( encouraged by the knowledge that the woman who supposedly witnessed the suicide was a liar) until Weevil finds a freshman with a tape that shows, amongst other pointless things, something dropping off the bridge at around the time that his mother jumped. Logan then gives up until Veronica gets a hit on one of his mother's credit cards- someone used one. They go to where it was used and find a woman there. Logan tentatively asks 'Mom?' only to have the woman turn around to be revealed as... his sister, Trina. Makes you want to cry.
    • Supposedly her death was purposefully left ambiguous in case the writers wanted to bring her back, so does that count as only a half-futile hope spot?
  • The episode of FlashForward after Al Gough screws destiny begins with a montage of the world and the main characters being optimistic after learning that the future can be changed.
  • Robin Hood:
    • The series two finale is just one Hope Spot after another, culminating in Robin and the outlaws tied up to die of exposure in the desert. Marian arrives on the horizon to the joy of everyone, only for her to be accompanied by the Sheriff and tied up with them. A second miracle arrives in the form of Carter, who frees everyone, only for the Sheriff to kill Carter and Guy to murder Marian at the climax of the episode.
    • The two-part Grand Finale of same show can be summed up as "Every time things seem to be going right, somebody dies". The Sheriff's army make their presence known by dumping Allan a Dale's body at the castle gates just when it seems like the battle's over; when it seems like the blocked escape tunnel might be cleared allowing everyone to escape, Gisborne gets killed and Robin is lethally poisoned. The other outlaws don't find out about this last part until the castle and the Sheriff's entire army has been killed.
  • 24 has too many to count, but a particularly cruel one happens to Tony Almeida on Day 3. After an agonizing 4 or 5 hours of knowing his wife Michelle is trapped in the hotel where a fatal virus has been released, he learnes she's immune and breaks down crying in relief. As Michelle is on her way out of the quarantine zone she's taken hostage by the Big Bad, who immediately forces Tony into a Sadistic Choice between betraying all of his colleagues or letting his wife die after all.
  • The 2000 Dune miniseries has a beautifully dark and very justified one near the end of the final chapter, where Rabban, a brutal and savage oppresor of the people of Arrakis, find himself surrounded by the very people he had been oppresing. The Hope Spot kicks in when he sees Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen rebellion, bearing a rifle, and seeming to offer Rabban the hope of a quick clean death by gunshot... only for him to walk away, leaving him to the knives of a few hundred people who have no interest whatsoever in giving him a quick clean death.
  • The entire final episode of Blakes Seven. After two seasons of searching, the loss of virtually all the original crew, the Liberator, and most everything else, the crew finally locate Blake on Gauda Prime. But put Blake and Avon in the same room, and all goes to hell in short order.
  • During the multi-part episode of Crime Scene Investigation Grave Danger, there's a really cruel and clever one of these. At one point, the CSI's think they've found where Nick has been Buried Alive. They start digging, and at exactly the same time, Nick can hear a scraping sound from outside the box. The team get really excited when they realise that the thing they're digging up a plexiglass box, and Nick starts banging on the box and calling out to them, clearly ecstatic that he's about to be rescued. The box the CSI's dig up contains a dead dog, and the scraping sound Nick was hearing was actually the box cracking, as he'd weakened it by shooting out the light. It Got Worse.
  • Lampshaded in Boy Meets World's first season.

Cory: You just love dangling that little string of hope in front of us and yanking it away, don't you?
Mr. Feeny: I had a cat.

  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: "Master Vile and the Metallic Armor part 2". Tommy and Kat have nabbed the Zeo Crystal and recovered the Falconzord. They blast Globbor, then combine with the Ninja Megazord to pound him. They seem to have won... then Globbor gets up and turns out to be just fine. And worse still, Master Vile reveals that Ninjor is absorbing the damage. Globbor defeats both the Ninja and Shogun Megazords, which are then teleported to a distant planet with the Zeo Crystal now linked to Master Vile. Globbor also drains the Rangers' energy, weakening them severely.
  • Beecher of Oz tries to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge following seeing Keller, the guy he fell in love with, working with Schillinger his enemy but in a tragic Hope Spot fails and ultimately gets his arms and legs broken by Schillinger and Keller.
  • Being based on A Song of Ice and Fire, it is no surprise that Game of Thrones does this a lot too. An altered scene that adds an additional Hope Spot on top of those already in the books occurs early in season 2: Catelyn Stark manages to secure an alliance for her son Robb with Renly Baratheorn, the sanest and most powerful claimant to the iron throne of the seven kingdoms and an enemy of the Lannisters, in return for a token show of submission to Renly once the war is over. No sooner has Renly agreed to this before he is slain by a shadow created by Melissandre, shattering his coalition and leaving half his army to ally with Stannis and the other half with the Lannisters.

Professional Wrestling

  • As noted above every wrestling match featuring Ricky Morton ever.
  • Tend to be more prominent in matches where the good guy actually loses to the monster heel - with one of the best examples ever being the famous Sting vs. Vader series. Sting didn't win a match against Vader for eight months, but managed to convince the audience each time that MAYBE he'd beat Vader, simply because he was seemingly the only person in the promotion who could even stay on the offence for more than a minute against Vader. The best of these occured at the Great American Bash, where Sting gave Vader a fallaway slam... only for the fans, after exploding, to realise that the mere effort involved in lifting Vader was too much for Sting.
  • A classic ladder match between Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker (then a heel with a LOT of heel heat, mostly for his Kick the Dog moment of making Jim Ross kiss Vince McMahon's ass a few months earlier) for the WWE Championship in 2002 featured several moments where even though everyone knew that Jeff Hardy had no chance to beat The Undertaker and get the title, he was so close to grabbing the belt that Willing Suspension of Disbelief kicked in and we all got ready to cheer our lungs out anyway.
    • A similar motif was used in a match featuring Triple H and Kai En Tai member TAKA Michinoku, who would face off for the former's WWF Championship. Despite nearly all the fans knowing that Triple H had all but zero chance of losing his belt on free television to a jobber, several near falls in TAKA's favor drove the crowd into a frenzy until Triple H was finally victorious with a Pedigree.
      • Also used in a Sunday Night Heat match, pitting then WWF Champion Kurt Angle against Crash Holly, the two made it look like Crash may get the upset victory about 6 times before Angle uncorked an Angle Slam and retained.
    • Used again in the classic Triple H vs Kane, "Mask vs Title" match, in which Kane would be forced to either defeat the champion and become champion himself, or unmask. All three of Triple H's Evolution stablemates attempted to interfere on his behalf, and Triple H even branded a sledgehammer to use to his advantage against Kane, but Kane fought off all the odds—commentator Jim Ross even stated that "Ain't nothin gonna stop Kane tonight!" Too bad he was wrong and Kane lost the match.
    • In a similar vein, ROH had Naomichi Marufuji vs. Nigel McGuinness for the GHC Heavyweight Championship, which Marufuji had only won a week before. Yes, it was obvious who was winning at the end... up until McGuinness rebounded off the ropes, sent his forearm into Marufuji's neck, and brought him down for a thisclosealmostthreecount.
  • Essentially all of Takeshi Morishima vs. Bryan Danielson II, as the latter went into the match with an eyepatch, Morishima having fractured his left eye socket and detached the retina in their encounter mere weeks before.
  • Tommy Dreamer built his career in ECW on this trope, especially his two-year long feud with Raven in the mid-90s: he lost every single match except their last one, but every time he'd come oh-so-close only for Raven to pull some kind of dirty trick and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
  • The Miz vs. Randy Orton on the 11/22/10 edition of Raw. Orton had just suffered a brutal beatdown by The Nexus that injured his knee, and barely survived a title match with Wade Barrett thanks to John Cena's interference, only for The Miz to show up and cash in his Money in the Bank. Unlike most times the Money in the Bank is cashed in, Orton actually fought off The Miz pretty well, and many points in the match it looked like Orton would overcome the odds, and the fans cheered when it seemed he would actually pull off the win when he went for the RKO...only for The Miz to counter it into the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin and the title.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

You'd be alone in the kitchen, the twilight would be dwindling and you could hear the far-off cries of the other children playing nearby, and you knew that you'd be alone in the kitchen because it was your special treat time where the jelly would come out just for you. And your mother would appear at your side, this vision of Laura-Ashley-print dress smelling of magnolias and biscuits, and she'd put the jelly in front of you; you would pull your chair in, and then the old-fashioned bar of ice-cream would come down, the one that had to be cut with a bread knife before the two sides were flanked with wafers. You would lift your little spoon up excitedly, to press it in and winkle out that first divot of black jelly...
The cage with the Japanese Fighting Spiders inside.
She would strike a match off her forearm and tell you to go and dance in the front room for money.


  • Tennessee Williams, to a T. Whenever a character is about to achieve the desire that would redeem them and improve the Humiliation Conga they have called their lives thus far, it comes crashing down beautifully. Just ask Blanche (her white knight calls her too dirty to take to his mama!) or Laura (the Gentleman Caller even broke her favorite glass animal, the one thing that gave her joy.)
  • Cyrano De Bergerac:
    • Cyrano has two in his hope for winning Roxane’s love. His first Hope Spot last a night (between Act I and II) until he hears Roxane describe the guy he loves as “fair” at Act II scene VI, and the other lasts only mere seconds (At Act IV Scene X, when he hears that Christian has been mortally wounded).
    • Christian has a mere seconds of hope between Cyrano tells her Roxane probably loves him and announces that she is waiting for a love letter that Christian is incapable to write at Act II Scene X. His second hope spot will be at Act IV scene X, when he forces Cyrano to tell Roxane the truth about them Playing Cyrano, (notice that he still had hope, and his Hope Spot endures for all his life).


  • A Hope Spot takes up much of the plot of Richard Wagner's The Valkyrie, with Siegmund first seeing the sword Nothung as literally a gleaming spot on an ash tree. (Of course, Wagner used a Leitmotif for this; interestingly, it first appears in the final scene of Das Rheingold with no connection to the sword, just a sudden surge of hope.)
    • In later productions of Rheingold, Wagner himself instructed his Wotan to salute Walhall with a sword left over from the Nibelung hoard: this almost certainly symbolizes Wotan's resolve to create a race of free heroes who will be able to regain the Ring and (he thinks!) prevent the fall of the gods.
  • Act 2 of Puccini's Tosca ends with the eponymous heroine successfully extricating herself and her lover from the Scarpia Ultimatum. In Act 3, however, Scarpia turns out to have gone back on his word like the utter scumbag he is and Mario is executed with live ammo by the firing squad, and Tosca has to throw herself off a tower to escape arrest by the police for Scarpia's murder.

Video Games

  • Deus Ex Human Revolution: Adam's remarks in the Taggart ending. Adam mentions that if the Illuminati are as effective as they say they are, the world will be better off for it. The original game says hello...
  • The Interactive Fiction Shade, after causing almost everything in the PC's apartment to turn to sand and strongly implying that the PC is actually dying in the desert, reveals that all this horror was just a nightmare and everything is actually fine and normal. Then the apartment room itself vanishes, and it's made clear that it was a near-death hallucination all along.
  • The ending of Mass Effect 2 could be considered this: The collectors have been exterminated, the Human-Reaper destroyed, the Collectors' advanced technology has been captured for humanity (if Renegade), and Shepard looks out of the window with an expression of quiet determination...and then the camera shows us dark space, where hundreds of Reapers are approaching...
    • Mass Effect 3 has a few, but the biggest is the mission on Thessia, the asari home-world. Even as the Reapers and their forces tear the place apart, Shepard and the team close in on a temple that apparently holds the key to finishing their super-weapon. The good news: it does. The bad news: Cerberus is already there, waiting for them to uncover it. Kai Leng gets away with the info and Shepard has to abandon the planet, well and truly defeated for maybe the only time in the entire trilogy.
    • And again in the final charge to the Citadel: after a series of gruelling battles, Shepard and the Hammer ground forces make a final unopposed dash to the Citadel Conduit, ready to storm the Citadel and seize a victorious ending...until Harbinger decides direct intervention is necessary and obliterates the entire force (save for Shepard and Anderson) with his Wave Motion Gun.
  • Ace Attorney, all the time. When you think you've bested the prosecutor, he/she will smile smugly and pull a new witness out of his/her ass. Also subverted, though, in that eventually you strike a successful blow.
    • Probably the ultimate Hope Spot is one that goes so far as to become an inversion of Fission Mailed: in the second case of the third game, you've just proven your client innocent of a theft, caught the real thief, and even established (to satisfy his deluded insistence that he did it) that your client was somewhere else at the time. The judge has declared Not Guilty and you're in the customary post-case celebration scene, when the prosecutor comes in to arrest your client for a murder which took place at the same time as the theft- and you've just proven in court that he was at the scene of the crime when it happened. Oops.
  • In EarthBound, after praying six times in the final fight against Giygas, praying again just gives you "Paula's prayer was absorbed by the darkness." Subverted in that you just have to pray one more time.
  • Eternal Darkness. You defeat Pious just as the Ancient you summoned finishes ripping the Big Bad apart, when you suddenly see into the mind of the winner and see that it's just as evil as the one that you spent all game trying to defeat, and that now that you've summoned it it plans to enslave/slaughter every living thing it can. Partially subverted as Edward's spirit manages to reverse the summoning spell and banish it, but leaving Alex with the knowledge that these horrors are out there, just waiting for a chance to break through and destroy everything.
  • Lots in Final Fantasy II, given the sheer militaristic and magical might of the Palamecian Empire as compared to...well, everything else, especially La Résistance. The most striking example, though, is probably the whole affair with the Cyclone. As You Know, the game's story starts with the core of the party fleeing their hometown of Fynn as it is taken and occupied by the Empire. Near the end, though, La Résistance, headed by the Fynn princess Hilda, marches on Fynn and actually succeeds in ousting the garrison and freeing the city, managing to subvert Doomed Hometown Syndrome with a vengeance. This is, of course, the Emperor's cue to unveil his latest weapon of war, the Cyclone, and use it to pulverize the rest of the civilized world. And there is nothing the player can do about it.
  • Final Fantasy VI
    • There was a false ending where General Leo defeats Kefka and peace between humans and ESPERS is restored. But it turns out that Kefka was Not Quite Dead. He kills Leo, then the emperor, and destroys the world.
    • The whole first part of the game could be considered something of a slowly progressing hope spot that, with the small interlude for the Darkest Hour, is exchanged for a slowly progressing recovery from the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Played straight in a truly brutal manner in Crisis Core: Zack is within sight of the city in which Aerith is waiting for hm. However, in between the two is the massive army of Shinra Corp. Zack puts up a good fight, but in the end is overwhelmed no matter what you do.
  • Freespace 2:
    • The Shivan Juggernaut Sathanas is destroyed but it turns out it was just one of many. Also, the final Escort Mission where the player scraps an impressive number of Shivan ships while defending the refugee convoy. Unfortunately, the entire mission turns out to be a Red Herring because the Shivans were preparing to blow up the sun.
    • The fanmade campaign Blue Planet is one long, continuous stream of Hope Spots, each one crushed more brutally than the last as you and your allies hurtle headlong towards the Despair Event Horizon.
  • God of War 2 has one early on when Zeus betrays you. As Zeus comes in for the finishing blow, you get a Press X to Not Die. Surprise, you die no matter what you press.
  • Guild Wars Nightfall has one towards the end of the campaign. The player characters have spent most of the game trying to chase down Varesh, and prevent her from corrupting the world. They finally succeed in killing her during a ritual, but the ritual has been completed enough to unleash the corruption anyway, and pulls players into the Realm of Torment. The next goal becomes defeating the real Big Bad
  • Happens relatively early in Half Life, not long after Gordon learns that a distress signal has been sent out. The exact interval is between the arrival of the military and discovering that they're on a coverup mission, fully intending to kill everyone at Black Mesa. Including you..
    • This trope occurs so frequently throughout Half-Life 2 and its Episodes that it borders on Paranoia Fuel. You are never safe, ever, and the more one thinks so the more one will be proved dead wrong. Well, except during cutscenes, or the Half-Life equivalent thereof. But even then, something incredibly bad will happen at the end of each of them. Without exception.
  • In Half Life 2: Episode 2, it seems like everything is finally OK - you as Gordon Freeman have saved the day, Alyx survived, and you've stopped the Combine from completely overwhelming Earth. Then as you're about to board a helicopter to head onto a new mission, Advisors crash through the ceiling, immobilize you and Alyx, grab her father Eli (who you've known since Black Mesa and the original game) and kill him via brain probe. Alyx is sobbing over her dead father's body and the game fades to black.
  • Since everyone in Halo: Reach is Doomed by Canon, there's not much hope at all. But still things seem to lighten up when the super-carrier transporting the Covenant strike force is destroyed. But moments later, while the fireball is still dissipating, the actual invasion fleet jumps from hyperspace with hundreds of ships and millions of soldiers.
    • There are several of these in the game, including the destruction of a Covenant tower by a UNSC frigate, only for the frigate to be blasted two seconds later from orbit. The ending involves a race to get to the Pillar of Autumn before it takes off. You get there, and it seems as if you may make it off the planet alive, and then you have to stay behind to cover the ship's escape. Of course, this is pre-determined, as Halo: CE only has one active Spartan.
  • In Dead Space 2, shooting out the viewscreens of certain rooms on the ship will cause you to be quickly sucked out into space unless you shoot the safety switch (because apparently the doors aren't built to seal automatically). Fail to do so, and you are treated to a short scene where poor Isaac attempts to lift and seal the door manually. It appears to be working, only to have the door seal with Isaac's arms still in the doorway, dismembering him.
  • Very well done in Modern Warfare 2: After defending a house in the wilderness against dozens of attackers for what feels like an eternity, most of your team is dead and you have to run over lots of open space to your extraction point, with a horde of Mooks in pursuit. 30 meters from the extraction point, there's still no rescue in sight and you get clipped by a mortar. You're barely conscious as your last surviving ally drags you away from the following Russians, as a gunships flies over your head and mowes them down with its miniguns. You get dragged back up on your feet and stumble towards the waiting transport helicopter where your commander is allready waiting for you. And after he takes the stolen data from you, he pulls his gun and shoots you and your comrade in the chest. You're still alive and somewhat conscious as your bodies get thrown into a ditch and another soldier empties a can of kerosene over you. You know what's going to happen as the General slowly approaches you with a cigar in his mouth. By the way, you get to watch yourself burn for awhile as well.
    • Happens again in the final mission twice. After taking down the Pave Low that was transporting Shepherd and falling down a waterfall, you wake up after the fall, dazed and barely conscious. You slowly walk towards the crashed and burning Pave Low and suddenly, you see Shepherd stumbling out of the helicopter, appearing to be exhausted and hurt from the crash. As he leans up against a car to catch his breath, you rush over to him and thrust your knife at him, thinking you're about to kill him and end the game. Nope. It turns out he was only pretending to be tired and hurt to lure you near him, as he grabs your arm, slams your head into the car, and stabs you with the knife
      • The second time in the mission is, when Shepherd and Price are duking it out, you see Shepherd's gun lying on the floor next to you. You slowly crawl over to the gun as fast as you can, hoping to reach the gun and kill Shepherd with it. Nope. Shepherd notices this and kicks the gun away, right before kicking you in the face. He then starts to beat Price to death. Fortunately, Soap is so bad-ass that he rips the knife out of his chest and throws it into Shepherd's eye.
    • Ditto for Shock and Awe in the first Modern Warfare. As Jackson and the others are escaping in the chopper, the nuke gets detonated early, knocking it out of the sky. In the next scene, he stumbles out of the wrecked chopper (surrounded by the dead bodies of his squad), making you think he might live; but it's just moment of Controllable Helplessness before dying.
      • The final mission, Game Over You stopped the nukes from reaching the U.S and you and your squad are chased by the Russians through the mountain road with a assault chopper constantly dogging you. After a lengthy on road fire fight, the chopper seems to have backed off and given up the chase and you have no more pursuers after you...then the chopper appears ahead of you and blows up a bridge , over-tipping your truck.
  • Done at least once in Modern Warfare 3:
    • When playing as FSO agent Andrei Harkov, Harkov is part of the Russian President's security team; the President is traveling to a peace conference in Berlin to end the war between USA and Russia, but the plane is hijacked by Ultranationalist terrorists, and crashes. Harkov, his CO and others barely survive the crash and fight their way to the President's location. When they get to him, an extraction helicopter arrives, but when Harkov opens the heli's door, they realize it wasn't their extraction helicopter: it brought terrorist leader Vladimir Makarov (the game's main antagonist) and henchmen, who promptly kill Harkov and his colleagues, and kidnap the President.
  • In Persona 4, after reducing the true final boss Izanami Okami to zero HP, she does not, in fact, go down, but instead starts using an attack that seems to drag you down to Hell. She targets the Protagonist, but his party members push him out of the way to take the attack instead, one by one. Their sacrifices seem to mean nothing, as when the Protagonist is left alone, Izanami simply laughs at the futility of their actions and hits him with the attack anyway, as the Mission Control desperately pleads for them to return. Later subverted, when the Protagonist obtains the power to defeat Izanami from the bonds he has forged.
  • In Princess Waltz, the fight between Liliana and Angela is essentially a series of Hope Spots for the former, that becomes all the more painful when Angela emerges victorious in the end.
  • Cruelly played straight for Cliff Hanger purpose in Super Robot Wars Original Generations, bonus section. When all things looked hopeless and it seems that the heroes cannot beat some sense to the Brainwashed and Crazy Lamia Loveless, she goes on to defy her brainwasher, giving her whole minions a Superpower Meltdown, thus gives Kyosuke an opening to eventually plug her out into safety. Unfortunately, instead of hurrying to store her into safety, Kyosuke proceeds to have a cozy chat with her, and thus comes the unexpected cheap shot from Juergen that made people think he killed Lamia. But as OG Gaiden reveals, turns out she's Not Quite Dead.
    • And OG Gaiden reverses this trope to 'Good condition-Bad condition-Good condition'. The first phase deals with how Lamia was still alive, but the second phase was how she was Brainwashed and Crazy again, and there's almost no way they could bring her back to her senses. And the third phase finally involves Axel screwing all those bad conditions and still rescue her, thus finally making a successful, happy conclusion for the EFA.
  • The trailer for Warhammer Fantasy Battle Online: Age of Reckoning gave one in the final battle between a Priest of Sigmar and a Chaos Chosen.
  • An almost-hope spot in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. When you use the Oath to Order on the clock tower at the end of the third day before saving all the giants, the giants you HAVE saved will come to stop the moon, and for a moment, it looks like they may do it, but soon will tell you they aren't strong enough.
    • They aren't strong enough to completely stop the moon even if they are all there. The only difference is that if they are, then the moon will open up and absorb Majora's Mask before continuing to fall, giving you one last chance to finish them both off.
  • At the end of Resistance 2, you kill Daedalus and set the fleet up the bomb, but it don't mean a thing to the Chimera. Worse, it apparently teleported Earth into an alternate dimension, and now Hale is a Chimera.
  • Done excellently in Portal 2. After a battle with the final boss, you gain access to the room containing the button to remove him from control and to stop the place going up in flames,only to, brutally, discover that he booby-trapped it.
  • Often times in Left 4 Dead it will get really calm right before a horde, Tank or Witch (or any combination of the three) appear.
  • In League of Legends Karthus is built for creating these. His ultimate creates red light over the head of every enemy champion which deals damage after a short period. This red light appearing over their head signals doom to any champion who, protective resources exhausted, has just managed to limp to apparent safety.
  • So, so many in Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Thought you could stop everything by killing off Geldoblame? Think again, Melodia was working with Kalas to gather the End Magnus. Think you can stop Melodia and Kalas with the Ocean Mirror? It works on Kalas, but Melodia revives Malpercio and shatters the mirror. Thought you could get the Sword of the Heavens, the last of the three artifacts that sealed Malpercio away? Krumly pulls a Face Heel Turn, steals the sword, and offers it up to Malpercio, which leads to the sword being shattered. It's ultimately a happy ending, but you go through hell to get there.
    • In Baten Kaitos Origins: So Baelheit is defeated, and he seems to realize how wrong he was. Think this is the end? Verus has other ideas...
  • Eversion, World 7. As you progress through the level, you can start everting backwards and eventually end up back at the bright, happy Layer 1. But if you haven't collected all the gems...
    • Similarly, the same thing happens in the bonus World 8. You go up from Layer 8 to Layer 1, finally find the exit... and then a GODDAMN HAND, that normally never appear below Layer 5, emerges from the ground!
  • Scarface the World Is Yours subverts this; by having the just-mentioned mansion gunfight as the first stage, it is inevitable that Tony detects and kills his would-be murderer, then fights through the Mooks and escapes to return another day. If the player deliberately takes too long to move and lets the assassin kill Tony, it becomes a Double Subversion.

Web Comics

  • Order of the Stick plays with Infinite Canvas here, when Roy takes a huge fall after fighting Big Bad Xykon in the sky. Roy tries one thing after another, desperately trying to stop the fall or at least reduce fall damage, only to run out of options. Then he realizes he has a talisman that can summon an ally who can fly. Only his realization comes just a little too late. Alas... it was too strong to be easily broken anyways, because mundane humans can't inherently cast lightning.
    • Soon after that, there is another Hope Spot, when it appears that Soon is almost victorious against Xykon. Soon even figures out that Redcloak is carrying Xykon's phylactery and plans to have it destroyed. However, the fallen Paladin Miko Miyazaki does exactly the wrong thing and destroys the gate that allows Soon's soul to stay in this world. Xykon and Redcloak are able to escape, Soon is unable to pursue, and Miko herself pays the ultimate price.
    • The Resistance manage to get Xykon's phylactery and return to their base, only to find Redcloak got there and killed everyone. The Resistance then tries to hold Redcloak off while two of their number escape with the phylactery, only for one of them to turn out to be a polymorphed spy, who leads the other into a trap and takes the phylactery himself.
    • Redcloak and Right-Eye get one in Start of Darkness. They'd just had a fun adventure together which finally convinced Redcloak to settle down with his brother and his family. And then Xykon returns after three years of absence with An Offer You Can't Refuse.

Xykon: I was pretty sure there were only two types of goblins within a 20 mile radius. Those that worked for me and those who's internal organs are distressingly... external. [Showing Right-Eye's wife and children in the background] Which type are you Right-Eye?

  • Nana's Everyday Life has a lot of these in its short, heartbreaking run. One of them lasts a very long time.
  • Repeatedly during the Sturmhalten arc in Girl Genius. Wishing to avoid the notice of a prince who previously stole one of two valuable machines from them, the circus Agatha's traveling with uses Jägers as an excuse to bypass his city? This irregularity is enough to warrant a report to the nefarious prince, who requests a command performance. The circus is unmolested, and the show goes smoothly? It turns out that the prince is part of a secret society bent on using a particular girl to resurrect a Sealed Evil in a Can, a device in the theater surprises the prince by showing that Agatha IS that girl, and Agatha ends up being carted off. The prince is killed by his own daughter Anevka at the last second? Anevka killed him only so that she could do something else nefarious with Agatha. Agatha is saved from being tortured to death by Anevka's brother Tarvek? Agatha happens to run into some other prisoners of Anevka's just as she's about to escape? Who reveal that Agatha is the daughter of The Other and overwrite Agatha's mind. After managing to temporarily overcome The Other, Agatha and Tarvek are about to use a signal device they built to spoil the villains' plans and call for rescue? Tarvek betrays Agatha and reactivates her Enemy Within.
  • In Looking for Group, Cale is leading an army to reinforce the Northlands allaince, several comics show them getting closer an closer ending in a dramatic pose complete with ralying battle cry as they are about to swarm over the last hill and reach the ensieged Bloodrage camp. Next page they come over the hill only to find out they were to late and the entire area has been destoryed and the attacking Legarna forces are long gone, leaving only the charred bones of the fallen behind.
  • Last Res0rt does this with a series of spots during the assault on the White Diamond Crisis—after being lured deep enough into the ship that Gabriel is able to Tone the majority of the players into stupefied submission, it's up to the remaining unaffected players to save the day. Jigsaw and Daisy manage to recover most of the others, but Daisy's 'snapbacks' backfire, first on Cypress (who dives into a pool full of aggressive nanotech), and then after that problem gets solved, it happens again on Jason, who mortally wounds her! After all of this, GEISHA figures out a way to save them... but Gabriel's forces arrive just in time to capture the remaining vulnerable players before they can be ferried back. OUCH.
  • Homestuck: Jack Noir loves giving these moments.
    • The trolls were this close to claiming the ultimate reward for beating SGRUB before he emerged from the other side, set on killing them.
    • Earlier, Davesprite and Bro join forces in battle and seem to have an upper hand against him. And then the fourth prototyping happens and they get curbstomped.
    • Similarly Grimdark Rose and Godtier John face him... John gets instantly killed, Rose lasts longer but goes down too.
    • Vriska flies off to fight him too, but he takes a detour and kills everybody else instead. Subverted in being the alternate timeline.
    • The Handmaid gets a particularly brutal one. After years of imprisonment, she finally manages to escape from her foster father - only to run into the demon he was grooming her to serve.
    • Doc Scratch gets one too, in a remote Magnificent Bastard manner: with his help, Dave and Rose accomplish their plan to destroy the Green Sun... Except the whole plan was built on a Half Truth from him and instead they create it.
  • Sluggy Freelance: Riff learns Zoë is on life support; he's not too hopeful, but the audience is. After two years, he finds her - braindead, alongside a recording of his alternate self explaining that he's been here before, and he needs to let go. Then he poisons all his comrades to go back in time to save her, only to be told by the same alternate Riff that the rules of time travel are such that he'll just go back to the timeline in which she's dead. Then subverted when it turns out he was aware of that, and his story of preventing her death was cover for his method of really saving her. He went back to that time to infect her with 4U City medical nanites before she came to the city, so they'd have a mental template to restore her to and she wouldn't be a vegetable. It works.
  • In Our Little Adventure Julie refuses to accept Pauline's death and tries to get her Raised at a temple believing that the deceased's earlier refusal of Raising was due to blood loss addling the deceased's thinking. Everyone else in the party knows it's not going to work, and indeed it doesn't.
  • The Meek gives two in rapid succession. First, General Ripper Luca is talked out of possibly setting off a new round of hostilities between his country and the nation of Caris by his wife Phe. As Luca says "Only for you would I do this thing." 10 comics Later Phe is assassinated and Luca's Treacherous Spirit Advisor pushes him towards war. Second, Luca goes to the two Carisi ambassadors and tells them he will not presume them guilty until he does a full investigation. One of them, who has been highly distraught, runs over and hugs him, and Luca promptly melts her face off with flame powers that had only been subtly hinted at.

Web Original

  • Survival of the Fittest:
    • The Bobby Jacks vs. Ric Chee fight, in which the wire thin misfit Ric manages to hold off Scary Black Man Bobby, a professional boxer with little more than a stick for a significant length of time, even managing to pick himself up from a seemingly decisive blow. Bobby proceeds to violate the conditions he put on the fight by pulling out a concealed weapon and stabbing Ric, serving as something of a Kick the Dog moment. Not long afterwards, Bobby put Ric down for keeps.
    • John "the Riz" Rizzolo versus Emma Babineaux, who had a crush on him during high school. After a brief fight, Emma gets a hold of John's gun, but is unable to bring herself to kill him. John appears to have a change of heart when she tells him there may be a way to escape the game, and as the two of them embrace and kiss, John impales her with a sword before shooting her in the head.
    • Riz goes on to instigate ANOTHER hope spot when he tortures Laeil Burbank, cutting out her eye before setting the building they're in on fire and leaving her to die. She's soon after rescued by a couple of passers-by, including a former ally, who pull her from the burning building and patch her up. Just when it seems like she's going to make it, she goes into cardiac arrest from all the blood she lost and dies. This was even a Hope Spot in real life with many handlers wondering whether Laeil is going to die, she gets rescued, and with a ton of research on one handler's part into how to properly treat her injury, she gets bandaged up just in time to make a tearful Heel Face Turn. Then she gets rolled.
  • John J. Reilly's half-serious future history Spenglers Future suggests, in its chapter on the present period, that Western civilization itself is passing through a Hope Spot on its way to a messy devolution, through wars and persecutions, into The Empire.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible stands up satisfied. He survived his broken death ray's explosion and his archnemesis Captain Hammer has fled, utterly defeated, humiliated and broken. His victory is complete. Now Penny, the girl of his dreams, will be his. And then he turns around...and finds that Penny was caught in the explosion and is dying. Cue the truly Joss-level angst.
  • Caretaker: Reborn. At the end of chapter 3, everybody but the psi-immune title character have been knocked unconscious by a mental command, and even Caretaker has been rather thoroughly injured by a super-strong enemy. Said villains are just leaving when Caretaker takes a stand... and gets horribly, painfully demolished for his trouble.
  • Every time things start looking up for the defenders of Horizon City, something happens that gives the Brutes the upper hand again. Suffice to say, there are more Hope Spots in this story than can be counted on one hand.
  • Red vs. Blue: The evil A.I. O'Malley is driven out of Cabooses Mind, everyone has their Radio turned of so he can´t take over anyone else, leaving him to 'die'. The Camera hangs over the scenery for a while, with O'Malleys transmission/Bodysurf signal getting slower and weaker and finally fading completely. Then Doc (whom everyone forgot) calls command and O'Malley gets him.
    • At the end of Recreation, Simmons, Donut, and Lopez are cornered by the Meta when suddenly Agent Washington shows up. Simmons, knowing that Agent Washington fought the Meta during the previous season, thinks they're safe. Then Washington calmly orders the Meta to stand down instead of attacking it. Then he starts asking what the Red Team did to the Epsilon unit. Then he shoots Donut and Lopez.
  • A meta example, coming from a group of That Guy With The Glasses: In a review of Dragonball Evolution, they will were in despair until the final fight scene come. Paw almost say that the film makers were leaving the best to last, come close to say Crowning Moment of Awesome, and then, the Kamehameha. That destroyed every last bit of hope they had.
    • The Nostalgia Chick had really hoped that a Meat Loaf Actor Allusion joke had meant that Spice World had redeemed itself. But what did the next scene involve? ...aliens.
    • Kickassia has Santa Christ accidentally get shot and killed, horrifying all present. Then N. Bison realizes that since he is made up of the hopes and dreams of everyone, maybe, just maybe, if they believe hard enough he will return. Cue everyone putting aside their conflict to clasp hands and chant "We believe in Santa Christ!", along with a huge parade of the site's other contributors joining in. It would be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming...if it had worked. They end up dumping the body in a dumpster. Subverted in that he does return, just not right away.
  • The Horribly Slow Murderer With the Extremely Inefficient Weapon gives us a hope spot at the climax where, after thousands and thousands of beatings from a spoon-wielding demon, the poor victim finally finds the spoon breaking against his flesh. The demon unzips his hoodie to reveal dozens more spoons.
    • In the sequel, "Save Jack: The Interactive Adventure", the Giant Magnet option. It is the only method that seems to work -- until the demon pulls out a wooden spoon.

Western Animation

  • Kids Next Door, "Operation Turnip": Numbuh 3 calls in a Humongous Mecha she used during training, to combat a huge turnip. Except that the turnip's much huger than "Hippity Hop", and the turnip takes a pre-emptive first strike against it. Result: Two minutes or so of wasted screentime.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In the second season finale, Aang intentionally enters the Avatar State for the first time to fight an army of Dai Li and save the capital city from takeover, seemingly a reflection of the outcome of previous season finale, only to be electrocuted by Azula—and right in the middle of the Transformation Sequence.
    • The episode immediately prior to the second season finale is essentially one big Hope Spot. In summary the heroes have finally won an audience with the Earth King and in the process have succeeded in exposing the Evil Chancellor Long Feng, which leads to him being arrested. They successfully deliver news about the Day of Black Sun and begin the process of preparing the invasion of the Fire Nation. In addition to that, they get the opportunity to reunite with family members, meet with mentors and help prepare for future successes. However the end of the episode shows that Long Feng's minions, the Dai Li, remain loyal to him in spite of his disgrace, Azula and her friends have succeeded in infiltrating Ba Sing Se by pretending to be allies of the Earth Kingdom, and in Toph's case, her opportunity to meet with her mother is a trap set up by the two men hired by her father to bring her back.
  • Bender's fight against Destructor in Futurama, right about when he says "It's Bendering time!".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Several of the main characters are trapped on an out-of-control solar powered monorail train. Suddenly, there's an eclipse of the sun, the town is plunged into darkness, and the train comes to a gentle halt. Unfortunately, the eclipse lasts only a few seconds, exactly long enough for the characters to realize that they're safe, before the sun returns—and as soon as it does, the train's out of control again.
    • A future episode did this where Bart pretended to be nice so he could date a charitable girl, the only drawback being that Milhouse got jealous of them together and told the girl about Bart's true nature. Bart begged the girl to stay with him, despite his nature, since he changed it for her. She's first seen angrily frowning, then smiles, thinking she'll be with him for the rest of the episode (like the other girls Bart dated for periods of time). But then, it goes back to the angry frown, and the next shot is of Bart crying, lamenting about how the girl broke up with him.
  • Gargoyles gives Goliath the chance to prevent Demona from becoming evil by using the Phoenix Gate to go back in time and give her a moving speech to warn her against betraying the clan. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Gate can't be used to change history and she reveals at the end that she never forgot Goliath's "little speech". His speech may have in fact made her more bitter.
  • In the last episode of Wakfu , Yugo and Adamai travel back in time through Nox's spell and believe they went back to a point where Sadlygrove was still alive, only to find out they were still a few minutes short.
  • Near the ending of Winx Club S4 episode 24 Nabu manages to close the dark abyss that the Fairy Hunters had created to seal away the Earth fairies, but dies in the process. Bloom reminds Layla that they still have the Black Gift, which can be used to bring Nabu back to life. However, as soon as Layla takes out the Black Gift, Ogron steals it and wastes it on a dead flower.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Omens Part Two" the invasion of Thundera is nearly foiled by Jaga's Clerics and King Claudus wielding the Sword of Omens. Then Mumm-Ra (disguised as Panthro) murders Claudus, and slays nearly all of the Clerics with a wave of dark magic.
  • Happens in the Final Battle of the two part pilot of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Twilight Sparkle is facing off against Nightmare Moon alone after having been dragged away from her friends. She manages to trick her way past Nightmare Moon to the Elements Of Harmony and tries to activate them, and seemingly manages to do so. Only for their power to fizzle out and Nightmare Moon to shatter them to pieces right in front of her. The truly devastated look on Twilight's face when this happens only serves to make the Hope Spot being crushed even more of a Tear Jerker. It doesn't last that long, but still!
    • There's another one in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1". It looks like Twilight and Cadence are going to make up when Cadence pats her on the head, But then "Cadence" pulls out a Slasher Smile and drops Twilight Sparkle into the caverns below Canterlot.