Misfit Mobilization Moment

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In almost any movie or novel with a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits or an Odd Couple, there will come a time (usually during the Darkest Hour) when they transform from a dysfunctional group of losers into a well-oiled machine. Perhaps The Hero or the Leader makes a Rousing Speech that rallies the troops, or the Big Bad Evil Guy has sufficiently scared everyone to stop bickering and finally come together. Despite their past differences and overall ineptitude, when the Misfit Mobilization Moment is reached, the members will immediately become an unstoppable Badass Crew.

Will often lead to a Big Damn Heroes moment. If done properly, this will go down in fandom history as a Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Visual works will usually pair this with a Theme Music Power-Up or crowd-pleasing Fanfare, along with an A-Team Montage or similar Harbinger of Asskicking.

For identification purposes, the Misfit Mobilization Moment is the point when the protagonists stop hindering each other and begin working as a cohesive unit.

Miracle Rally and Down to the Last Play are similar tropes for sports-based works.

Contrast with Let's Get Dangerous, where characters who were already skilled finally get to demonstrate their expertise. Also see Gondor Calls for Aid, Improvised Training and Teeth-Clenched Teamwork.

Examples of Misfit Mobilization Moment include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]


Comic Books[edit | hide]

"You people will by God act like a team, or at least like people who know each other, or I'll incinerate the bunch of you here and now."


Film - Animated[edit | hide]

  • Pixar loves this trope:
    • In Toy Story, it's when Woody and Buzz work together to escape Syd's yard and chase the moving van.
      • Alternatively, Woody rallying Syd's misfit toys to rebel and freak him out.
    • In A Bugs Life, Flick's defiance of Hopper's beating emboldens the ant colony to fight off the grasshopper gang.
      • Which, incidentally, Hopper predicted would happen.
    • In Toy Story 2, it begins when the toys hijack the Pizza Planet truck to chase Al and Woody.
    • In Finding Nemo, it's when Marlin, Dory, and Nemo organize the school of grouper fish to escape the net.
    • In The Incredibles, it's when the Parrs band together against Syndrome's Mooks on the island base. Doubly impressive when you remember the kids have started being super-heroes just ten minutes ago.
    • In Ratatouille, it's when Remy's dad rallies the rat colony to replace the kitchen staff, who then proceed to cook dinner for a restaurant full of patrons and incapacitate two nosy humans.
    • In WALL-E (pictured above), it's when WALL-E, EVE, the defective robots, and the Captain all pull together to defeat AUTO's machinations and place the plant in the Holo-detector, as seen in the page image.
  • Happens in Mulan when Mulan and her squad infiltrate the Imperial Palace... in drag.
    • Earlier, a smaller version of this happens as part of the Training Montage set to "I'll Make a Man Out of You".
  • DreamWorks also loves this trope, it turns out.
  • Happens in Tangled when Maximus the stallion recruits the Pub Thugs to bust out Flynn from prison.


Film - Live Action[edit | hide]

  • In The Devil's Brigade, it's when the American hard cases (who have been baiting the Canadian elites from the very beginning) and the Canadians (who have been looking down their noses at the Americans as roughneck clods) join together to trounce the lumberjacks in the bar brawl.
  • The tournament montage when Team Shaolin defeats all of their opponents in Shaolin Soccer.
  • Happens in Mystery Men during the team's attack on Casanova Frankenstein's mansion.
  • In The Dirty Dozen, it's when Col. Breed tries to have one of the Dozen dry-shaved.
  • In the movie Major League, it happens when the players discover that the team owner is counting on them losing so that she can move the ball club from Cleveland to Miami.
  • Happens in Rush Hour when Carter goes to the airport and convinces Lee to return to the kidnapping case.
  • In Galaxy Quest, this occurs when the actors of the show-within-a-show escape from Sarris' guards and then stop his effort to destroy the Thermians, even recruiting Brandon and his friends in the process.
  • Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story: Patch's Training from Hell sequence.
  • Happens in Sky High when Will, Layla, Warren, and the sidekicks fight Royal Pain's invasion during Homecoming.
  • The Fish That Saved Pittsburg. Which is an astrology basketball movie, believe it or not
  • Stripes has Bill Murray give a rousing speech to his platoon that drags them out of their depression to the point where, out-of-uniform, dirty, and unshaven, they still impress the brass enough to get a plum assignment.
  • In Serenity it's the "No more running. I aim to misbehave" speech. Simon and Jayne even share a drink during it. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome
  • Red Cliff pulls off a spectacular moment when Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang are convinced they're hopelessly outnumbered. Sun Quan reveals their allies from Shu had only pretended to defect to lull the enemy into a false sense of security. Cue the Big Damn Heroes reappearance of Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Guan Yu and Zhao Yun fully prepared to kick ass and take names. From there, every major character proceeds to contribute a necessary element of the staggeringly epic battle that follows, including Zhou Yu's wife and Sun Quan's sister. It's worth noting that while most of these characters are traditionally seen as heroes, the movie has up until this point presented them as either too old and feeble, too young and inexperienced, and/or too suspicious of each other's motives to succeed (in comparison to the well-oiled machine of the opposing force), so "misfit" mobilization would apply to this particular interpretation of the story.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean had an awesome moment in At World's End, after Elizabeth's Rousing Speech, drives all the pirate crews to truly fight for their way of life. They raise their banners and prepare for the fight.
  • Occurs in both Deuce Bigalow movies at the climax, involving all the Abhorrent Admirers (less so in the second).
  • Any Given Sunday has the pre-game before the playoff game in Dallas. The Miami Sharks football team up to that point, has been a bunch of egotistical, arrogant, and flat-out psychotic douchebags. But before the game, Coach D'Amato delivers a Rousing Speech (he is played by Al Pacino, after all) where-in he simply reminds these players of their shared commitment to being the better team.
  • Done twice in Machete by The Network.
  • Subverted in Animal House, when Bluto gives a speech with numerous historical inaccuracies, and fails to rouse his fraternity brothers, who have given up. Finally, though, they do listen to him and create an incredibly funny end sequence.

"Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!"


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Happens in Men-At-Arms during the attack on Lord Vetinari, as the ethnically-diverse-by-decree Watch put aside their differences to catch the assassin.
    • Similarly, this happens in Night Watch after John Keel who's actually Sam Vimes mobilizes the Watch against the growing riots in the city.
      • And yet again in Discworld/Thud with the marshalling of the specials, who in this case include Vimes' own butler, the head of the thieves guild (and two body-guards), the Unseen University librarian and a (to Vimes' mind) slightly-too-keen clacks operator. This is on top of the virtually all-inclusive Watch.
    • And twice in Reaper Man, once when Windle Poons organises the the undead to investigate the "shop", and once when Ridcully organises the Wizards to rescue Windle Poons, although any time the wizards work together couple be seen as an example.
  • In Robert Asprin's Phule's Company, it's the first time the company beats the "confidence course" (read that "obstacle course").
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Kreacher leads the house-elves employed at Hogwarts into battle against the Death Eaters.
    • There's an earlier one in Order of the Phoenix. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are already-mobilized misfits, but they're joined by Neville (who Took a Level in Badass); Ginny, who up to that point was nearly an extra and only Ron's little sister; and Luna, Hogwarts' own Cloudcuckoolander.
    • The whole final battle is this for the good-guys: Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore's Army, teachers and staff of Hogwarts, Grawp-the-giant, thestrals and hippogriffs, centaurs, house-elves, and probably others.
  • In Wraith Squadron, this happens to the Wraiths when Trigit's forces find Folor Base, and is cinched by how they get out of the trap in the Doldrums system.
  • In The Traitor Game, it occurs when Michael and Francis finally get around to get their revenge against Shipley.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Subverted, parodied, and generally dismantled in Misfits, particularly in the season 1 finale when it looks like the three remaining members of the highly dysfunctional Five-Man Band are finally putting aside their differences and doing something pro-active to save the others - the scene even features a Lock and Load Montage, Crowning Music of Awesome and a slow-motion Power Walk. Unfortunately, things start falling apart after about a minute and a half. Their plan is stupid and poorly executed and it fails miserably. Two members of the group are forced to leave the third behind, and then start squabbling amongst themselves until one storms off in rage, leaving the other in mortal danger. The last remaining group member does actually save the day, but only really through dumb luck, and at great personal cost.
    • Also averted with Nathan's ultimate Patrick Stewart Speech, which - while being an undisputed Crowning Moment of Awesome from the audience's perspective - has no effect whatsoever.
    • Finally put into action in season 3 episode 4 when the timeline had been changed so that the Nazis won. They were forcing Seth, the power dealer to take powers from other people and put them into soldiers from their ranks. Curtis, Kelly, and the two Rudys save Seth by ambushing the jeep that was transporting Seth by wearing Hitler masks and shooting while unseen from the trees. When Seth gets recaptured and Curtis and Rudy captured along with him, Kelly goes to save them by herself. She takes Shaun, a Nazi officer hostage and runs into Alisha and Simon. Their reaction? "You need a hand?" Granted, it didn't go as smoothly as planned, but hey... they still did pretty well considering who they were up against and technically they still managed to save the day.
  • In one episode of Farscape, the crew of Moya rob a bank to buy Dargo's son out of slavery. The main villain Scorpius has beaten them to it and is holding D'Argo's son hostage and will only release him if they give him Crichton. What do they do? They take the money from the depository and hire all the mercenaries, bounty-hunters and pirates which had been the villains of previous episodes to help them rescue him. Unfortunately, the mercenaries are either under new management, suffering debilitating health problems, on the run, or have found religion in the intervening months; even after clearing these difficulties up, it's discovered that the stolen money has been booby-trapped, leaving Moya badly burned and her crew poor all over again. At that point, Crichton gives up and surrenders to Scorpius, leaving the his friends with D'Argo's son but not much else. The mercenaries are on the point of leaving when Aeryn finally performs the Misfit Mobilization Moment by pointing out that Scorpius is using the bank as a base of operations, and offering them whatever they can find there as payment. Unfortunately, though the crew manages to escape relatively unharmed, all but one of the mercenaries are killed in the attack.
  • Glee in the pilot as they sing "Don't Stop Believing."
    • However as the club expands and the group becomes more detatched through their cliques, a major moment happens in the penultimate season 1 episode. Rachel is devastated and humiliated by being egged by their rivals, particularly as they're led by her ex-boyfriend. Jerk Jock Puck of all people rallies to her aid and gathers all the strong men in the group to help him. To add to the awesome, Camp Gay Kurt and the disabled Artie also try to help. Later the whole club bands together to do the one thing their rivals can't: perform a funk dancer number (it makes sense in context). It really signified them as True Companions.
  • Happens in Doctor Who during the finale episode Stolen Earth when just about every companion of the last five years comes together in a united plan to contact him.
  • Shows up in Chuck: in "Chuck Versus the Tooth", there's a scene involving former CIA agents in an insane asylum showing that they still got the stuff. Subverted as the enemy agent simply tranqs them all.
    • "Chuck Versus the Subway/Chuck Versus the Ring, Part II" has Ellie, shaken from witnessing her father's murder and Chuck's abduction, getting Awesome and Morgan to help her run a Pincer movement on the van holding Team Bartowski captive and succeeding.
  • Dream High does this with the fake showcase.
  • In the Community episode "For a Few Paintballs More" (part two of the paintball finale), the study group and the rest of the Greendale students mobilise into a badass paintball army in order to beat City College


Theater[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The goal of Mass Effect 2 is for Shepard to organize a group consisting of a Well-Intentioned Extremist Deadly Doctor, a Dark Action Girl/borderline Person of Mass Destruction, a Super Prototype Berserker, a dying Hitman with a Heart, an Ill Girl Wrench Wench, a Knight Templar, and several others with the help of a pro-human terrorist organization for a suicide mission in order to save humanity. In this case, there's no single Moment. You do specific missions helping each member of your team to earn their loyalty. Once they're all loyal, then you've got Mobilized Misfits, but no specific Moment.
    • There are also several instances where Shepard has to get two people to resolve their differences.
    • Possibly a minor one in the first game, while listening to Shepard's speech upon taking command of the Normandy Garrus, Wrex, and Ashley are standing together. Keep in mind that those three have the most reasons to hate each other out of your entire team.
  • For the final mission of Ace Combat 5, Wardog squadron prepares to attack the stronghold of the true enemy - alone. Hundreds of fighters from both warring countries converge on them, and they prepare to go down fighting. The fighters weren't there to attack them, but to join them.
  • Performed offscreen in Fallout: New Vegas. If you assist the Misfits in their sidequest, the effects of them banding together are summarized in the ending montage. Of course, the effects vary depending on how you helped them (giving them all a good pep talk/training session will make them successful. Giving them all Psycho/helping them cheat on their test... Not so much).
  • In the original Akiba's Trip the various crazy characters you helped during the sidequests will all show up to protect Akiba once the masquerade breaks and the opposing sides start waring in the streets.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • "POSE AS A TEAM, 'CAUSE SHIT JUST GOT REAL"
  • Gunnerkrigg Court, in "Residential", when the Queslett students band together to find out where their classmates have been disappearing to—and to get some payback on the ones kidnapping them—following a plan devised by the normally-asocial Antimony.
  • Electric Wonderland has one in "Inevitable Christmas Adventure," as NJ, Shroomy, Aerynn, and Beatrice all head to the Cyber Middle East to rescue Trawn, and two in "LuLo," as the entire NFP staff rushes to investigate the bombing of the mall and later reports on the discovered suspect.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl" of the Whateley Universe, when the Vindicators, in a hostage crisis simulation, fail miserably, lose their leader, and then have to band together to stop the villain.
  • In the conclusion of Red vs. Blue: Revelation, the two titular teams finally come together and willingly work together as a cohesive unit to take down the Big Bad. They still fight about as well as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits would, but manage to make it work because they know each other so well.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The final battle against the Brotherhood of Evil in Teen Titans. With everyone else captured, Beast Boy leads a bunch of D-listers to rescue them.
    • Prior to that, after the Titans East suffered a rocky start in their very first fight together (as they spent more time fighting each other), Cyborg took charge and helped them stop quarreling and start gelling as a team.
  • In the Futurama OVA, this happens in the climactic battle against the scammers when Hermes' head is plugged directly into the battlegrid. Cue Theme Music Power-Up and much ass-kicking.
  • In The Substitute Autobots in Transformers Animated, consisting of Scrapper, Snarl, Wreck-Gar, and Sari. They're not hugely effective and none of them are technically Autobots, but dangit they try.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants - Band Geeks: Spongebob rallies Squidward's marching band. He does so by getting the band to pretend that Squidward has helped each of them individually.
  • The plot of the TDA special of Total Drama Island. It's oddly satisfying to see all of the show's contestants overcome their differences and come together... To bring down another show's contestants.
  • All of the non-powered Leaguers against the unstoppable, invulnerable, General Eiling in "Patriot Act" (the "Seven Soldiers of Victory" episode) on Justice League Unlimited.
  • A Real Life example occurred for Daria—the web petition for the fandom's quest for DVDs of the series. It eventually reached over 30,000 signatures.