Relocating the Explosion

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Picture this: You're one of the heroes of the story, and you and your allies find yourselves stuck between a rock and death by fiery explosion. What do you do? You can't Outrun the Fireball, Bomb Disposal isn't an option, and Jumping on a Grenade won't do much good either. Then, you remember that you're the only one who can fly (or is the only one thinking fast enough), and that there's only one real thing left for a hero to do... Relocating the Explosion far away from your friends. Be it a missile, a bomb, matter eating nanomachines, or some other form of mass death, it's up to you take it somewhere it can detonate "safely." Cue a distant explosion, and the nagging question the viewers are left concerning your ultimate fate.

This trope is often used near (or is) the climax of a story, and one of the ultimate (and easiest) methods of providing immediate suspense. Did the hero make the ultimate sacrifice, ensuring the villain's last resort would only have one casualty? Or did they get away in one piece, and are just on their way back to their friends? Often times, you'll find out within the same episode/chapter. Other times, you'll be waiting for the sequel. Occasionally, their survival isn't a question at all, and the suspense comes from whether or not the hero can make it in time.

This trope can come in many forms. If it's a missile, the hero will fly up to meet it head-on, detonating it high in the sky. If it's a Time Bomb, they'll have to move it far away before the timer expires. Sometimes the hero is the bomb themselves! Of course, flying isn't always possible in a given setting, so there'll be times when someone just runs really fast (or drives) into the distance.

A subtrope of Stuff Blowing Up. Compare Misguided Missile and the tropes mentioned above. Potentially spoilerrific.

Examples of Relocating the Explosion include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Near the end of one of Project ARMS's story arcs, Takeshi courageously decides to take a bomb and run straight to the ocean. Beyond the speed of sound.
  • In Dragonball Z Goku relocates Cell to King Kai's Planet in order to save the Earth.
  • In One Piece Pell uses his falcon transformation to take a huge bomb away from the capital city.
  • One episode of the Pokémon anime had Riley and his Lucario trap a large explosion inside a sphere of Aura and then force it into the sky to detonate harmlessly. A similar thing happened in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl Adventure, but with Hareta using Empoleon's Hydro Pump to force the (as of yet unexploded) bomb into the air and many Pokemon containing the blast with Light Screen.
  • In the third episode of Tiger and Bunny, Barnaby defuses the bomb down to the last 2 wires but can't decide which one to cut. That's when he and his partner Kotetsu decide to just kick the annoying contraption through the roof instead.
  • In Naruto, teleporting large explosions off to remote areas was one of the signature tricks of the Fourth Hokage, who was an expert in teleportation jutsus.
    • During the Kazekage Rescue arc, Kakashi teleports away Deidara's explosion.
  • In one episode of Senkou no Night Raid, the heroes have to disarm/dispose of three bombs. Two of them are taken care of this way.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The first volume of The Ultimates had Thor disposing of an alien bomb that would have destroyed the entire solar system by teleporting it to the wastes of Nastrond, where its detonation won't cause any significant damage besides some small ripples in timespace. Included a humorous scene of Black Widow moaning that they were doomed, since she disbelieved Thor's claims of godhood and thus figured that he just teleported the bomb to another location on earth.

Film[edit | hide]

  • In GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra Rip allows a warhead containing deadly nanomachines to detonate above his jet, at which point he flies off into space so that the little machines can't devour Washington DC. He survives.
  • At the end of The Iron Giant, the titular hero sacrifices himself by flying into the sky to meet an oncoming missile head-on. He manages to survive, barely.
  • Angels & Demons had the Magnificent Bastard fly an anti-matter bomb away from Rome in a helicopter. He survives, Just As Planned.
  • Superman II: Superman flies out into space with a hydrogen bomb so that when it detonates it won't harm the Earth.
    • Frank Miller's take on this maneuver ends less well for the Man of Steel, because, as Batman points out in his inner narration, Big Blue doesn't really understand how this advanced weapon works and knocking it off course didn't do much to lessen the devastation it caused across the entire hemisphere (such as blocking out the sunlight the solar-powered Superman relies on).
  • Voyage Into Space. At the end the giant robot flies out into space with Emperor Guillotine's ship to save the Earth. It's not clear whether he's destroyed or not.
  • Parodied in the Adam West incarnation of Batman. Batman finds a classic comedy bomb in a waterfront restaurant—a black sphere complete with huge, burning fuse—and runs it outside to get rid of it. Everywhere he goes, however, there's some innocent blocking his way: nuns walking slowly down an alley, a woman pushing a baby carriage, a marching band blocking a gangway, lovers in a rowboat at the pier where he intended to toss the bomb into the water, a mama duck and her ducklings at another pier! He sprints up one side of the dock and down the other, occasionally running into the same moving barricades over and over again. Exasperated, he eventually groans, "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb." Of course, the trope is spun into Bomb Disposal at the last second, but the scene was meant to make the audience think Bats was still holding the bomb when it went off.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Angels & Demons, the Camerlengo takes the antimatter bomb straight up in a helicopter to detonate at altitude.
    • Of course it was his fault to begin with.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In the Heroes season 1 finale, Nathan flies Peter up into the sky so that his brother's nuclear detonation doesn't level the city.
  • At the end of an episode of Chuck, Chuck takes a bomb into his car and drives away with it to save Sarah and John. It explodes in the distance, while a horrified Sarah looks on. Fortunately, he was never in the car to begin with, having stepped out to remote control it from a distance.
  • This results in the death of Carson Beckett in Stargate Atlantis.
  • 24 Season 2. A nuclear bomb is flown out into the Mojave Desert so its detonation won't kill civilians.
  • In Lost, Sayid picks up the recently discovered detonation device to take it away from the other Losties on board the submarine. The sub still sinks however and Jin and Sun get trapped in the process.
  • Stargate SG-1 once saw Ba'al hold earth to ransom by filling a skyscraper full of Naquada and turning it into one giant bomb. Since the Prometheus was on station, once Carter tracked down the bomb she just had them beam the whole building into orbit.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "The Doctor Dances", Jack saves the Doctor, Rose, and a whole group of other people from being blown up by a WWII German bomb by tractor beam-ing it into his own ship and flying away. The Doctor and Rose are able to save him before the bomb's stasis breaks and blows up Jack's ship.
  • In Barney Miller, one first-season episode has Fish banishing stragglers from the squadroom when he realizes that a threatened bomb is in a suitcase. However, the suspense is only with the other characters, because the camera stays with Fish. He shoves it in the safe, which limits the damage to its door.

Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]

  • Paranoia supplement Acute Paranoia, adventure "Me and My Shadow Mark IV". When some Commies park a Mega Bomb in a vehicle near the Mark IV, a PC can drive the vehicle down a tunnel far enough to save the Mark IV (and their teammates) from the resulting explosion.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • At the end of Prototype, Alex Mercer flies a nuclear bomb away from New York in a helicopter to save the city from destruction.
  • In one of the driving missions in Die Hard Trilogy 2, McClane has to ferry a time bomb out of the Hoover Dam before it detonates.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Webcomic[edit | hide]

  • In Schlock Mercenary, the Toughs' first ship, the Kitesfear, was destroyed with massive conversion bombs while docked on Luna, but fortunately the Toughs were able to cut the ship loose and teraport it away on time.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In an episode of Justice League Unlimited, Captain Atom's suit gets breached during combat, forcing him to fly into space so that his subsequent detonation doesn't kill his fellow heroes. He gets better.
    • In the episode "Wild Cards", the Flash is attempting to defuse a bomb in the middle of Las Vegas. Since there's only a few seconds left on the timer, and he can't remember which wire to cut, he simply grabs the bomb and runs into the desert with it.
  • In the Justice League: The New Frontier animated movie, Green Lantern uses his ring to take the exploding Centre out into space where it can safely explode. The Flash may have done something similar.
  • The Batman the Animated Series episode "Time Out of the Joint" has Batman use a device that slows time for him, effectively letting him move at Flash-like speeds. He uses the device to take a bomb out of Gotham city as it explodes and throw it into a nearby river.
  • In the 1964 puppet series Stingray episode "Countdown", using a voice recording of Troy and Phones entry request into Marineville, X20 manages to get his craft into Stingray's pen inside Marineville while the real Stingray was still out on patrol and primes a bomb with a 15 minute countdown with Marina tied up as hostage. When Stingray returns, they find the enemy craft, rescue Marina, and Troy tries to get the craft out of Marineville and use the ejector seat. Everyone wait with baited breath as the craft slowly makes its way through the launch tunnel. Eventually it reaches the end of the tunnel and Marineville is saved, then after a few seconds of silence inside the control tower, cut to the bomb as the countdown completes, cue nasty explosion on the ocean surface. We didn't see Troy escape but in the next scene at Marina's house-warming party, we see Troy with the rest of the main cast having apparently escaped unscathed.
  • In the climactic Teen Titans episode, "Titans Together," Herald averts disaster by teleporting a fusion bomb into space.
    • Also in an eariler episode. Red Star, whose powers were notorious for backfiring, were about to backfire bigger than they ever had before. So he flew up to the other atmosphere and self-detonated.
  • In episode one of The Tick (animation), the Tick carries a time bomb planted in a dam by the Idea Men, up onto the top of the dam where it more or less explodes safely (except for destroying the Idea Men's blimp). The Tick himself is, fortunately, nigh indestructible.
  • The early stages of the bomb scene in Wallace and Gromit A Matter of Loaf and Death follow this trope. Similarly to the Adam West Batman example, the first few places Gromit finds to dispose of the bomb have innocents he can't endanger in them, but then he sees the Yorkshire Border and tries to leave the bomb there.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Towards the end of World War II, the Germans were launching their V-1 weapons on London. Basically a medium-fast robot plane with primitive pulse-jet propulsion, with a ton of high explosive in the warhead. Shooting them down usually resulted in a ton of high explosive detonating prematurely in the air instead of on the ground. However, this created a massive explosion in the air that the pilot of the shoot down plane was flying directly into. A safer, but perhaps more nerve wracking, tactic was evolved. The fighter pilot would fly next to the V-1 and use his wing tip to lift up the tip of the V-1's wing. This would spiral the V-1 into the English Channel, moving the detonation from land to water (or at worst into an empty field rather than an urban area).
    • Ironically pioneered when the pilot of the first Gloster Meteor jet fighter to engage one had a gun-jam problem, but really only available to Meteors and to the fastest prop fighters (Hawker Tempests, Griffon-engined Spitfires, Mustangs and the like) that could catch up to the bomb in flight and stay alongside it.