Please Shoot the Messenger/Playing With

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Basic Trope: A sealed message includes instructions to kill the person who brought it.

  • Straight: Alexi delivers a letter to Bjorn, who reads it over twice, looks up at Alexi poker-faced as she waits for his reply, and shoots her.
  • Exaggerated: After reading the letter, Bjorn sends Hired Guns after every employee of Alexi's courier business to rub out the trail.
  • Justified: Alexi and Bjorn work for rival gangs. Alexi's boss Carlos knew there was a danger of the messenger getting killed anyway, so he sent someone he wanted dead.
  • Inverted: "It says you're here to kill me." "Seemed polite to warn you." *BLAM*
  • Subverted: Bjorn looks up a Alexi and hesitates, his hand hovering over his gun. Then he says "I'd run far away if I were you. Seems your boss wants you dead."
  • Double Subverted: As she walks out, Bjorn mutters to The Dragon "See she meets with an... accident."
  • Parodied: Mercury Couriers demand a Messenger Execution Deposit up front.
  • Zig Zagged: Bjorn reads the letter, and pulls a gun. Alexi, suspecting betrayal, is too quick for him, and they end up in a Mexican Standoff. Alexi kills him and reads the note... but it specifically says "Kindly let my messenger leave unharmed to deliver your reply, old friend." When Alexi reports back to Carlos, he tells her that "old friend" has long been the Friendly Enemies' code phrase for "do the opposite of what I'm asking"...
  • Averted: There's nothing in the note about Alexi, and she returns with Bjorn's reply.
  • Enforced: The writers want to reinforce the bleak Anyone Can Die tone and Carlos' ruthlessness, so they give minor recurring messenger Alexi A Death in the Limelight.
  • Lampshaded:

Alexi: You wouldn't shoot me... Carlos will kill you!
Bjorn: [laughs] Carlos? [waves letter] Carlos just told me to.

  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: Alexi slides the letter under the door. "If there's anything in there about killing me, just know I've got a Sawn Off Shotgun pointing at your office door right now. You can send your own reply to Carlos; I'm getting out of this cutthroat business while I can."
  • Discussed: "Let me guess, it ends 'P.S., kill the messenger'?"
  • Conversed: ???

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