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TV Tropes Monday: Sealed Evil in a Can

Tweet of the Day: Talents and Skill Thesaurus Entry: Throwing One’s Voice


It’s a trope as old as time, according to several mythologies including the Greeks. Person is walking along, minding their business when they stumble upon a box, door, or other closed object or area. Curiosity gets the better of them and they pry the lock open and all goes to hell in a hand basket.

Congratulations jackass, you just unleaded a Sealed Evil in a Can.

This trope sets up one of three plots:

  • Stop the villain from unsealing the evil.
  • Re-seal the evil.
  • Find a means to destroy/neutralize the evil once and for all.

The last one is a bit tricky to pull of, on account that if it were easy to kill said evil, someone would have tried by now, and if they tried and failed, then probably the evil is no longer sealed. Of course, the imprisonment might have weaken it, or bought enough time for the heroes to assemble the McGuffin to kill it. Either way, it is powerful and therefore hard to kill. Although if I remember my Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she did kill one with a rocket launcher. It turns out that humanity had come along way from bronze weapons and wooden arrows.


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