Trope Workshop:Rebellious Prisoner

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A captor checks on their prisoner. A few nights in jail, a cell or solitary ought to break their spirit. But they remain willful, spirited, and resistant. The captor cannot comprehend this. Why won't their prisoner break?

The Rebellious Prisoner is a common trope in stories where battle of wills ensue. While translating into multiple genres and media, it can contribute to psychological thrillers or angsty stories.

If Played for Laughs, Pity the Kidnapper may ensue. If Played for Drama, the prisoner may be putting on a tough front about the trauma.

The Badass in Distress is likely to be this. Compare Defiant to the End, where the possibility of outright death still doesn't break the captive.

Note: The TV Tropes name for this is "Defiant Captive". Changing it proactively to avoid delays over discussion of a name change.

Examples of Rebellious Prisoner include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Inuyasha, long before she Took A Level In Badass, Kagome frequently gets taken prisoner by enemies hunting her and her motley crew. She doesn't make it easy for them.
  • In Paprika, the Big Bad and The Dragon the chairman and Osanai respectively succeed in trapping Paprika in Dr. Chiba's dreams before she can wake up. Osanai makes it clear he wants his way with Paprika, who has butterfly wings and strapped to a table. While she can't do much rather than sass him, and Detective Konokawa has to rescue her by taking her into his own dream loops, Paprika remains Defiant to the End as Osanai starts ripping off her skin to reveal an unconscious Chiba underneath. Paprika gets better, fortunately.

Comic Books

  • If Batman gets caught by his Rogues Gallery, expect this trope. Batman does not beg for mercy, and will be thinking how to escape The same goes for anyone in the Bat-family.
    • One mainstream story written by Paul Dini had Joker kidnap Tim Drake when he was Robin after "rescuing" him from a gang fight because it was Christmas, strapping him in the front seat of a stolen car while Bound and Gagged with appropriate ornaments as he goes around using the vehicle to cause havoc in Gotham. And he does this while leaving the car temperature at 92 degrees. Tim is horrified to realize he murdered two parents and left their smiling bodies in the backseat, but tries to think outside the box, digging into the front seat with his bound hands for any stray toys or broken CDs as a family would have. Joker then casually pulls the toy car from Tim, saying he left it there to entertain him. He removes Tim's gag, expecting him to beg for the lives of passerby he's about to run over; Tim responds by defiantly quoting the Marx brothers, entertaining Joker so much that he actually spares the shoppers. Tim proceeds to use an argument about which movie the line came from to stall, because the hot temperature made his hands sweaty enough to slip out of his bound Robin gloves. Then he, in his own words, "Goes Batman on [Joker's] ass" after punching him in the face.
    • The Batman Adventures
      • One comic in has DCAU Tim Drake asking Batman why every supervillain has a Death Trap, and where do they get the money? Batman answers as they're trying to escape the latest death trap in question.
      • Mad Love has an awesome version of this. Batman later admits that Harley had covered every contingency when trapping him, and preparing to feed him to piranhas while hanging him upside down so he couldn't think clearly while drugged and the blood rushing to his head. At the time, however, he has the sense to not give any of this away; he laughs in her face about her presumptions that killing him will make the Joker love her. Batman attempts to reason with her, saying that Joker's "secrets" that he told her were sob stories he told to anyone who could help him. When that fails, he goads her to call the Joker to "prove" that she did it, knowing Joker would not let anyone but Joker kill Batman.
  • In The Sandman, Dream is a silent and brooding prisoner for the Burgesses. He gives them nothing, no information, and waits for them to die to secure his freedom. This also works against him; he sent no Distress Calls to beings that could have helped him like his sister Death, the real target; she calls him out for this in "The Sound of Her Wings".

Fan Works

  • Discussed in the fanfiction Harry Potter and the Mirror's Gift about Jeanne Graham the shapeshifter. (Long story short, Harry accidentally takes a detour to Kamchatka, Russia, with Lupin and Dumbledore and helps free Jeanne from a Dark Lord named Deorg that uses her to wreak havoc via Mind Control). When she relates her story within the safety of Hogwarts, Dumbledore said that she shouldn't blame herself for failing to resist Deorg's mind control; she was only a child when he kidnapped her and killed her adoptive parents Charles and Maria Graham, and the fact that she's not broken in mind and spirit shows that she was able to rebel against him. The sequel story confirms this; Deorg subjected her biological father to the same mental torture, which broke him so that he spent his last days wandering the mountains and calling for "Shan," that is Chen-When Shan, her real name. Nevertheless, Jeanne resolves to never be that vulnerable again; since she's too old for formal magical training at Hogwarts, she starts learning how to use a Devil's Curse amulet to defend herself if Deorg ever appears again.

Film

  • Aladdin shows the title character, Jasmine, and various characters reacting this way when they are held captive at different points in the film.
    • Aladdin uses his wits for Casual Danger Dialog around the palace guards if Razoul finds him and has an Angry Collar Grab on his shirt. When Jafar in snake form grabs Aladdin and forces him to watch Jasmine being Buried Alive by sand in an hourglass, Aladdin realizes they have one last trump card-- Jafar's ego and the genie-- and goads him that the genie is more powerful than Jafar will ever be because genie isn't human, all the while struggling to breathe. It works, because Jafar uses his last wish to become a genie and forgets one thing: genies are prisoners in their lamps.
    • When Jafar takes over Agrabah using his witches, chains up Jasmine and lets Iago torment the sultan with dry crackers, he offers to free her if she agrees to marry him. Jasmine's response is to splash a drink in his face and give a definite refusal. She only pretends to agree when seeing Aladdin and Abu sneak into the throne room and signal her to cause a distraction. When the ruse fails, her next response is to try and grapple with him so Aladdin can grab the lamp.
    • Genie is unable to disobey Jafar's wishes when the sorcerer utters them. He is still a Nice Guy but does what he can to rebel. For example, when Jafar tries to use his last wish to make Jasmine fall in love with him, Genie refuses and cites that it's against the rule for wishes; this distraction allows Aladdin and Abu to signal Jasmine, as mentioned above. He also knocks out Iago at a convenient time, and becomes a cheerleading squad when Aladdin manages to whack Jafar in snake form with a sword. When Jafar tells him to stay out of it, Genie grudgingly says, "Jafar, Jafar, he's our man, if he can't do it, GREAT!"
  • The Aladdin reboot also has this with Will Smith's genie, who is much snarkier and more cynical than the Robin Williams interpretation. He is nice enough to warn Aladdin, when the latter is asking about if he can make Aladdin a prince, that wishes have grey areas that genies can deliberately misinterpret. Jafar forces him to grant his first two wishes while banishing Aladdin and Abu to an icy tundra using new powers, but Genie surreptitiously teleports Carpet to the same area to rescue his former master. He's also not happy that his Love Interest lady-in-waiting Dalia is also a hostage for Jafar to use against him and Jasmine. Later, Aladdin while being tortured telegraphs his plan as he tells Jafar that he will always be second to the Genie, remembering what Genie said about "grey area". While at first horrified, Genie catches on and gains a very angry smile, turning Jafar into a genie when the latter asks to become "the most powerful being in the world, more powerful than you". Basically, do not hurt the people that Genie cares about if you want wishes from him.
  • In Beauty and The Beast, Belle willingly trades places with her father in the Beast's castle, but she's not happy about it. She refuses to dine with the Beast, saying she's not hungry, and outright calls him a bully in the stage musical. When the Beast seems to threaten her life after she enters the West Wing, she decides a promise isn't worth her safety and leaves. While she comes back to the castle to help the Beast after he gets injured rescuing her and Philippe from wolves, she still asserts that while she made mistakes by breaking the rule about the West Wing, he should learn to control his temper. It's not until she sincerely thanks the Beast for saving her life that they call truce, and their bond truly starts. Later, when Gaston locks her and her father in their cellar when he gets it in his mind to kill the Beast, Belle is fighting the whole time he's got a grip on her arm, and tries to break a cellar window to escape.
  • Indiana Jones shows this with the main character and the friends that he makes along the way:
    • Indy himself does not comply with his captors, or make it easy for them. He'll snark and resist, and improvise means to escape. The only way to get him to cave is if one of his loved ones is threatened, like Marion.
    • Marion is not a fun prisoner. She'll always think of how to escape, like outdrinking a captor that lets her change into a beautiful dress, or knowing when to steal a gun. This didn't change when she had Mutt a short while after Indy left her at the wedding aisle; while being threatened with death, she was more worried about the fact that Mutt came to rescue her and got captured in turn.
    • Henry Jones, Sr., endured captivity at Nazi hands for months for his knowledge on the Holy Grail. He refused to cough up any information, and was willing to hit any guards with a vase, as long as it's not Ming. Later, he makes great use of a fountain pen to blind a soldier maneuvering a tank; "The pen is mightier than the sword," indeed.
    • Mutt has this reaction when Irina Spalko threatens him at swordpoint to get Indiana to cooperate. He takes time to comb his hair, showing that it's not a weapon, and looks her straight in the eye while telling Indiana to not "Give these pigs anything".
  • In The Lego Movie, the Man Upstairs helps Lord Business capture all the Master Builders, including the Justice League. They're all fighting the whole time while strapped to a battery that will execute them all. When Emmett's team is captured, he realizes that it has to be him to save them all despite not being the figure of the Prophecy, by pulling a Heroic Sacrifice, and a plug out of the batteries. Emmett tells Lucy that she needs to be the "Special" before jumping into the Abyss.
  • In The Mummy series, both Evie and her son demonstrate this in the first film and sequel. Evie may just appear as a clumsy librarian on the surface, but she's tougher than she looks, as Imhotep found out the hard way when trying to sacrifice her to bring back his beloved. Likewise, Imhotep and his men kidnap Alex after he gets a MacGuffin bracelet attached to his arm in the sequel, and Alex sasses them. They can only shut him up by showing that the bracelet will kill him if they don't get it off before sunrise in a few days.
  • Both films in The Rescuers show this with the kid captives:
    • Penny in The Rescuers is revealed to be a Plucky Girl. She talks back to Snoops, the mook put in charge of watching her when Big Bad Medusa is in New York, and tries to run away regularly. She also shows no fear of the alligators Brutus and Nero that are sent to fetch her. While she does cry in the privacy of her "bedroom," she keeps maintaining hope that someone will come help her. When Bernard and Bianca appear and says they got her Message in a Bottle, she gains her spirit and helps brainstorm a plan of escape.
    • Likewise, Cody in The Rescuers Down Under may be lacking in a few survival skills, due to outright accusing a man with a gun of being a poacher after falling into his traps instead of pretending to thank him and then running off to find the Australian rangers, but he is tough. He refuses to give up the location of Marahute or her eggs, even when threatened with a knife, and tries to rally the other captive animals in Macleach's compound that they need to escape.
  • This is a common trope in Star Wars
    • In the first film A New Hope, Leia has a contemptuous expression for both Vader and Commander Tarkin when they board her ship and take her prisoner. She sasses them and refuses to give them the information they desire. The only time the mask slips is when Tarkin threatens her home Alderaan with the Death Star. Later in Return of the Jedi, she takes the first opportunity to strangle Jabba after he "hires" her as a new servant girl and Luke's melee distracts him.
    • Han Solo does not make captivity easy for the prisoners. In The Empire Strikes Back when he realizes that Vader invaded Cloud City and blackmailed Lando into betraying them, his first reaction is to shoot Vader. (Doesn't work, but points for trying and it's implied Vader respects him for the sheer audacity.) Return of the Jedi has his snark return if not his sight completely when Leia frees him, only for them to get captured by Jabba's men and Jabba sentences him as well as Luke to death.
    • Lando has the same reaction when he at least tries to keep Leia safe since she wasn't the target of Vader's machinations this time, as well as his people. On a rewatch it's clear that he was told comply or the citizens of Cloud City would suffer, so as he tells the heroes, he didn't have a choice but to lead them into a trap. When Vader refuses to free the citizens however, and plans to take Leia captive again because she's useful to his plans to capture Luke, Lando quickly machinates an opportunity to free Leia, C3PO, R2D2 and Chewbacca, getting a strangling for his trouble. He also orders all the citizens to evacuate so they can no longer be used as leverage against him.
    • Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens takes after Leia. When realizing that he can't leave Jakku to the mercy of Kylo Ren, he gives BB8 the message about Luke's location and tells the droid to run, while he fires on the Stormtroopers to distract them. It goes about as well as you expect, especially since Kylo Ren can stop laser blasts in mid-air, but he snarks how Kylo Ren seems to enjoy being the dark and broody type. Kylo Ren manages to get BB8's location out of him with a mind probe, but Poe fights it with all his willpower.
    • Rey does the same thing when Kylo Ren recognizes her as the scavenger girl that helped the droid, knocks her out, and takes her to his ship for interrogation. She manages to resist the mind probe fully, and then improvises a Jedi Mind trick to convince a Stormtrooper to free her, leave the cell door unattended, and drop his weapon for her.

Literature

  • The Count of Monte Cristo zigzags this with Edmond Dantes when he is framed for treason and sentenced to life in prison in Chateau d'Ilf, the French equivalent of The Alcatraz. He maintains his innocence, but becomes hardened as the years pass. A Cool Old Guy prisoner who's dying helps lead Edmond to a great treasure, piece together who framed him, and crafts a plan of escape. When Edmond becomes the Count with the treasure, however, he cannot forget his trauma, and does not feel his enemies deserve forgiveness. He uses his wealth to ruin Danglars, Villefort, and Fernand. Danglars ends up subverted his trope, begging for his life, when the Count pays bandits to kidnap him and make him pay for food, planning for him to starve. The Count changes the plan to merely bankrupting him and leaving him with 50,000 francs to start anew somewhere.
  • In Nineteen Eighty-Four, this is a plot point. The Party members arrested are always docile, quiet, and generally compliant with authority, but the proles, who are not required to be indoctrinated into Ingsoc, they make a point to be rebellious, and to some extent, this is even tolerated by the guards.
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians:
    • Percy's mother acts like this when Hades takes her hostage, mistakenly believing that Percy stole his helm. She tells her son not to worry about her. To his credit, Hades is revealed to be a Reasonable Authority Figure; when Percy proves he was framed by Ares, and Luke while returning the helm, Hades returns her to the mortal world unharmed.
    • It runs in the family; Percy also reacts this way whenever he is captured or incapacitated. When Luke corners him, Annabeth and Tyson about the Golden Fleece, Percy honestly says that he doesn't have it because he gave it to Claire to deliver, since this was her quest in the first place and so she can win her father's approval, and proceeds to do an Engineered Public Confession that Luke poisoned Thalia's tree, clearing counselor Chiron's name for the deed. Later, when Hades as a Cruel Mercy imprisons Percy to spare him from the final battle and have his son Nico take Percy's place in the Prophecy, Percy is fighting the whole time and nearly strangles Nico when the latter comes to free him. Nico did betray him to his father, but under the condition that Percy wouldn't be hurt. He also admits he should have known Hades would use Exact Words. In the sequel series, when Hera wipes his memories and uses him for a pawn in a new scheme, Percy during a dream tosses her into a river after getting his memories back.

Live-Action TV

  • Angel:
    • Wesley's Character Development from his brief stint in Angel shows him growing into this. When Faith kidnaps him and tortures him to lure Angel out of hiding and as "punishment" for failing her as his watcher, he tells her Cool Motive, Still A Crime because he agrees he failed her but that's no excuse for her current crimes. Wesley calls her a "little shi-" before she gags him. Later, when eye demons stop him and Gunn from rescuing Cordelia, he engages in Casual Danger Dialog with her about them monitoring the back door unlike other demons.
    • Angel reveals that when Angelus takes over, he's trapped in his mind Forced to Watch his soulless side's evil deeds. When Faith poisons herself and lets Angelus bite her so as to enter his mind and stall him, she sees that Angel is torturing Angelus as much as he can with memories of puppies.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Capturing a Slayer means you either have a death wish, a spell brainwashing you like the spell in "Gingerbread", ignorance about their true nature, or a lot of confidence that you can kill them. Slayers are not mortal, but they are tough. And pretty snarky.
      • Faith tends to think that people putting her in cuffs or ropes means they want to have fun with her, rather than trying to keep her from attacking them randomly. Angel had to convince her that he just wanted to talk, and the shackles were because she tried strangling and raping Xander for trying to reason with her. Her Character Development in Angel involves shedding this tendency, surrendering herself to the police for killing the sheriff's deputy.
      • Buffy makes it clear that she does not break. Getting kidnapped by a fraternity that wanted to sacrifice her and Cordelia to a giant snake? She breaks free and kicks their asses, all the while snarking. Being impressed into a dimension where demons use human girls as servants and convinces them they are nothing with physical abuse? She says when asked who she is, "I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and you are?" When the demon attempts to beat her into submission, she turns the tables on him as well as the other captors.
    • The mayor's retinue with a Face Heel Turn Faith manage to kidnap Willow during the Scoobies' attempt to interfere with a deal for a box he needs for his Ascension. Willow uses a pencil and telekinesis to stake a vampire, smuggles some notes about the ritual into her boots to give to her friends later, and straight-up tells Faith that she threw away her chances of redemption with her choices and is nothing now. She takes Faith punching her in the face with grace, snarking that Faith must have lacked a witty comeback.
  • The Sandman
    • Dream himself refuses to cave into Roderick Burgess's demands to give him his son back, or Alex's later pleas to not hurt him or his lover if they free him. He remains silent, determined to wait them out until an opportunity to escape appears.
    • Unlike in the source material, where Calliope was a Broken Bird after decades in captivity, this Calliope remains willful despite Erasmus Fry and later Richard Madoc raping her for ideas to finish their books. She tells Richard outright that muses reward worshippers, and don't respond to bribes of flowers or perfume when he attempts that. When the Fates tell her that only Dream can free her, and Dream is in captivity she figures out Plan B: play The Long Game by waiting until Dream gets free a few years later and sending a Distress Call to him. Richard sees her writing Morpheus on a piece of paper and says the name aloud before burning it, not knowing that saying Morpheus summons him, and so does the smoke from his chimney. When Dream comes to help Calliope, he says he will if she lets him, and not because they used to be married but because Richard hurt her. Calliope specifies she doesn't want Richard hurt, just persuaded to free her because technically he broke no pre-established law and he has to free her of his volition. Dream curses Richard with an abundance of ideas, when Richard refuses to release Calliope, saying he needs her inspiration, until he agrees to release the muse. When Richard feels the onset of the curse and confronts Calliope, asking what that strange man in a nightmare did to him, she gives a defiant smile before revealing he met The King of Dreams and the father of her son Orpheus. She said she didn't want Richard hurt, and technically Dream does not hurt him. View the scene in its gloriousness.
  • Squid Game has an awesome one-shot character demonstrate this. The games in general scare the players who decide to return after the group vote to end the games. When they come back for round two, they face the constant threat of death from the guards or their competitors, and gradually break. Player 66, however, is one of 14 that doesn't return. When the Guards clarify after round one that everyone has to compete for the great prize, he outright says he doesn't care about the money and wants to see his family. Player 66 insists the Guards can't keep them prisoner because the law will track them down via their cellphones. During the group vote, he calls out those that are voting to continue the games, asking how they can live with themselves; only the Guards separating him and an obnoxious fellow player 322 at gunpoint can shut this guy up.
  • Umbrella Academy has instances of this:
    • Reginald locked up Klaus and pre-transitional Viktor on a regular basis when they were kids. While this gave Klaus immense trauma, driving him to drugs to block the ghosts, Viktor apparently reacted so terribly that Reginald used Allison to Rumor Viktor into thinking he was ordinary. In the present day, Luther locking up Viktor in the same room after he slashed Allison's throat mid nervous-breakdown causes Viktor to snap, use his heartbeat to break out of the room, crucify Pogo for hiding this important secret and bring down the entire mansion.
    • When Hazel and Cha-Cha kidnap Klaus, to interrogate him about "the boy" Five and not the old man they thought Five still was, he mocks them for thinking that choking him would phase him; he loves kinky sex. Also, he doesn't know what Five's plans were. It's not until they eat his laced chocolate that he tells them what little he knows. Ben's ghost convinces Klaus, who starts undergoing withdrawal, to use the pairs' victims who start appearing in ghost form so as to psych them.
    • In season three, the Sparrow Academy kidnaps Luther when they think that the Umbrellas did something to Marcus. Alternate Jerkass Ben expects Luther to be scared. Instead, Luther while eating breakfast in their kitchen smiles and says in Sincerity Mode that it's nice to see Ben, since he's been dead for more than a decade. Alternate Ben struggles for the rest of the arc about the fact that these new "assholes" are comparing him to a nicer Ben that once existed. 
  • While James West is taken prisoner Once Per Episode in the TV version of The Wild Wild West, it usually isn't for long. This trope comes into play during the second season episode "The Night of the Bottomless Pit" when he's tossed into the titular pit in the prison on Devil's Island.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Puppet Shows

  • In Muppet Treasure Island, this happens a few times:
    • Gonzo is this in general. Clueless Morgan, Polly Lobster, and Mad Monty try to torture Rizzo and Gonzo for information about Billy Bones's treasure map. Gonzo refuses to give up anything for Jim's safety, while Rizzo suggests maybe they will ask nicely. They proceed to stretch Gonzo on the rack, only for him to enjoy it.
    • Jim refuses to cooperate or join Silver when the latter takes him hostage and starts his mutiny. The only thing he agrees to do is cede his father's compass willingly, as Long John says he'll be taking it anyway.
    • After the natives (lead by Benjamina), capture Smollett, Gonzo and Rizzo, Gonzo is the only one looking forward to whatever "fun" torture is coming next.
    • While dangling from a cliff in a Death Trap, to make Benjamina Gunn (Miss Piggy) give up the treasure's location, Captain Smollett (Kermit) shouts at her not to tell them anything. He says if she does, Silver will kill her when she's no longer useful. And he's proven right, when Benjamina says that the treasure is in her place and orders them to free Smollett; Silver strings her up right next to him.

Video Games

  • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade's Clarine is introduced flat out laughing at her captor's lack of grace and fashion sense, seemingly unconcerned with her imprisonment. She's only saved from a horrendous fate because the arrival of Roy's army delays her captor's retaliation and a mercenary in her captor's service opens her cell due to rejecting his employer's plan to side with Bern.
    • If the Ilia route is played (which almost everyone does given the nature of the Sacae route) Niime is first seen taken prisoner by Bern and ordered to use a spell tome for them. She repeatedly warns her captor she can't guarantee what it will do, and when he insists the spell she's forced to cast winds up backfiring, freezing the rivers that were slowing the advance of Roy's army instead of causing a rainstorm that would slow their advance even further. When threatened over this, she notes that she did warn him this could happen. When Roy's forces slay her captor, it's implied she did this on purpose.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, expect this to happen quite a bit:
    • Aang is a pretty Nice Guy and Cheerful Child, but he will not make it easy for anyone who tries to capture him. In the pilot, he casually tells the guards watching him that he can escape with his hands tied, and proves it.
    • Katara is not impressed when her jealousy that Aang masters a waterbending scroll causes Zuko and the pirates that originally had the scroll to capture her; Zuko attempts to coerce her into revealing Aang's location by offering back her mother's necklace, which she lost on the earthbending prison barge. She tells him to jump in the river. For a long time, even after Zuko switches sides, she holds a grudge with him about this.
    • Don't take Sokka prisoner. If you do take Sokka prisoner, make sure he can't talk his way out of it. He convinces the pirates allied with Zuko that they would earn more if they handed over the Avatar to the Firelord, starting a melee between the two parties that allow him, Aang and Katara to escape. Later, when Azula and her friends stage a coup against the Earth King, only taking the king hostage makes Sokka surrender.
  • Justice League had this once or twice:
    • During the "A Better World" two-parter, the Justice Lords capture the League and attempt to "reform" their world. They're all fighting back while in captivity with heart monitors and motion sensors strapped to them, with Flash outright sassing Justice Lord Batman who looks at him with uncharacteristic fondness while apologizing for Hawk-Girl being in the hospital. Justice League Batman and Flash respectively figured out that alternate Flash's death was what caused the League to become the Justice Lords; Batman says he can't free them because his parallel self would have thought of everything, but Flash gets an idea. They don't have an alternate Flash to outthink him. He fakes a heart attack using his Super Speed and feigns unconsciousness; when Justice Lord Batman checks on him, Flash takes the opportunity to reset his heart rate, punch Justice Lord Batman in the face, and strap him in the same cell. Justice League Batman reveals that was his plan; no can ever predict what Flash will do, not even him.
    • While Batman surrenders to Justice Lord Batman when the latter is hunting him in the parallel universe Batcave, he takes time to point out that their parents didn't want a world where a man could get arrested for arguing about an unfair receipt. Justice Lord Batman thinks about this and realizes that Justice League Batman is right, pulling a Heel Face Turn.
    • When Question attempts to kill Lex Luthor, having found out that Justice Lord Superman killing Lex is what caused the Bad Future for the Justice Lords, he fails, gets captured and tortured by Dr. Moon. During the whole time, Question, being Question, trolls him by telling him what aglets are.
  • The Legend of Korra follows this up with the new blood; ironically, Korra is the most likely to not be this when captured, usually trying to reason with the people holding her hostage. It's only when they won't listen to reason that she'll use her fists.
    • If Asami gets captured, she's usually the first one to try to escape her bonds and find an escape route. She doesn't need powers to be a threat. It's why Korra trusted her to watch her body when the Red Lotus and Earth Queen's goons were after Korra and the latter entered the Spirit World for a truce talk with Zaheer, knowing in the worst-case scenario, Asami would get them out of captivity.
    • Lin sacrificed herself to fend off Amon's Equalists and give her ex Tenzin as well as his family time to flee to the South Pole on their sky bison. She knows this means Amon will take away her bending, and spends the last moments up to that point refusing to give up any information about Tenzin or Korra. Fortunately, Korra with Aang's help is able to give her powers back in the season one finale.
    • In the season three finale, though Korra surrendered to the Red Lotus, she fights back with everything she has after Zaheer refuses to spare the new Air Nation per their hostage agreement. When Zaheer gives the order to poison her with mercury to bring out the Avatar State and destroy her, and the Avatar Cycle completely, Korra spends a long time fighting the urge to enter the Avatar State. She also lasts much longer than Zaheer expected, considering how much mercury Aiwei made her body absorb, and uses the last of her strength to kick his ass when the freed Air Nation provides backup support.
    • Villainous zigzagged example with Zaheer, both before and after season three. He was never repentant for trying to kidnap a child, the young Korra, and bid his time while waiting for an escape opportunity. Season four shows him slightly more broken, having lost all his friends in a senseless quest of anarchy which led to a greater dictatorship. The White Lotus also has him chained in a more secure prison, in the middle of a mountain with several doors. If he somehow managed to learn water, fire or earthbending, he's too far out of range to hit a guard and would be more likely to bury himself alive as Toph warned Aang when he was learning to earthbend. With that said, when Korra confronts him three years later, in an attempt to face her fear of him and her block, Zaheer jumpscares her and laughs on seeing she's still terrified. While he doesn't feel guilty for traumatizing her, saying she's using him as a crutch to avoid her problems, he does offer to help her fight her block. Korra points out with their past and his attitude, he's not trustworthy. Zaheer agrees. He also points out, however, that if she had other options, she wouldn't have come to visit the man who tried killing her. She admits she doesn't have anything to lose, and accepts his help. Surprisingly, he keeps his word and helps her reenter the Spirit World.
    • The Beifong family refuses to recognize Kuvira or Baatar Jr.'s authority when they invade Zaofu, complete with Baatar Sr. saying he is disappointed in his oldest son and refuses to bow to them. When the roles reverse at the end of the season and followed up in Ruins of the Empire, this attitude has not changed; while Suyin has forgiven Baatar Jr. for following Kuvira, no one else has while he's under house arrest in Zaofu. His siblings are hostile towards him, with Opal becoming a Deadpan Snarker about his and Kuvira's ambitions, and his father refuses to speak to him. While Baatar Jr. started as this trope when first captured, he has since abandoned it after Kuvira opted to kill him rather than negotiate a truce or surrender for his life. He's spending most of his house arrest as The Atoner and accepting that he has irreparably damaged ties with his family.
  • Teen Titans
    • "Only Human" has Atlas imprison the Titans as "trophies" within impenetrable orbs, to incentivize Cyborg to fight him in-person. They spend most of their screentime trying to break the orbs, with Beast Boy experimenting by transforming into different strong animals. When Atlas's sidekick tells them to deal with permanent captivity, Robin asks why work for someone that demeans and doesn't respect you. He convinces Mechanic to free them, and stop helping Atlas.
    • In "The Prophecy," Slade lures the Titans into a trap and succeeds in capturing them when Raven flees to Azarath. Despite realizing they are under-equipped to handle his Super Strength and fire powers, they keep fighting, even when bound in fiery ropes. There's a shot of Robin realizing that his friends are going to die, which motivates him to try and get up.
    • "The End, Part One" has Trigon mindraping Raven via psychic link when he sends Slade and his army to storm Titans Tower, saying that unless she surrenders to become his Apocalypse Maiden, he will make her watch the Titans die. Her friends told her to stay in the safe room they made because if they Hold the Line long enough, Trigon's window of opportunity will pass. She surrenders for their sake, while using the last of her power to protect them from the oncoming apocalypse; they later use it to fight Trigon and track her down in the wasteland. Yet while being escorted to the sacrificial altar, she tells Slade that he may think he's powerful, but Trigon will dispose of him when he's no longer useful. He tries to attack her, only for the army to turn on him. Raven snarks that he's become useless to Trigon already.

Real Life

  • Pretty common trope for every military on Earth. Soldiers are expected to attempt escape whenever possible and refuse to divulge any more than the bare essentials required by the Geneva Convention to their captors.