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"If [the reavers] take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And, if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
Zoe Washburn, Firefly

A common tag on to threats of sexual violence, mutilation and death, the phrase "in that order" works by implication of bizarre forms of punishment achievable by switching the order around. It can be used in a serious context to raise a scary threat to levels of Squick or in a comedic context to just make the acts seem ridiculous.

Can be combined with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, if the "final" punishment would be pretty inconsequential following the others.

It is also very common to simply imply the trope by stressing the word of ordering. God bless italics. Note to future editors: Description then examples.

Examples of In That Order include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the oft-forgotten manga version of Excel Saga, Excel at one point tells Hyatt, "You were in a tight spot back there, Ha-Chan! If I hadn't jumped in, you would a' been buried... then murdered... then defiled!" to which Hyatt can only respond, "In exactly that order?"


  • The old Mad magazine sendup of "Conquering the Planet of the Apes", as the intelligent ape addresses his army:

 All right! If we're going to win against the humans you need to listen up and stop embarrassing me! For example, when I tell you to put on your shoes and socks, I don't mean in that order!



  • In Dead Man the character Cole Wilson was known to have killed, fucked, and ate his parents. In that order.
  • From the original Planet of the Apes: "If they catch you, they will dissect you. And kill you. In that order."
    • "Vivisection" is the standard word for doing that to a still-living thing.
  • The first movie of Brazilian comedy group Casseta & Planeta: "Go out with your hands up and suicide! Not necessarily in that order!" (two character react with "They got us! We're FUBAR!" "Not necessarily in that order!")
  • In Money Train, Wesley Snipes' and Woody Harrelson's characters get chewed out by their unhealthily aggressive supervisor for misconduct. Patterson (the supervisor) claims that if they screw up again, he's going to "fuck them dead". W & W then discuss and try to figure out if he meant fucking them before, or after they're dead. They come to the conclusion that "Either way it's a pain in the ass". Later in the film, Wesley makes a point that they need to stay one step ahead of "That necrophiliac Patterson".
  • In Hannibal this is referenced in the following exchange regarding Hannibal's interest in Special Agent Clarice Starling:

 Mason Verger: "So what do ya think, Cordell? Does Lecter want to fuck her or kill her or eat her alive?"

Cordell: "Probably all three, though I wouldn't want to predict in what order."


Live Action Television

  • Firefly gives us the Trope Namer, which is used in the "scary threat" sense and underscores how dreaded and utterly terrifying the Reavers are in the verse.
  • House: Dr. House says to a female patient he dislikes, "If you're gonna kill me and rape me, please do it in that order."
  • In Coupling, Susan invites Steve over for dinner. When she's ready to go home and start cooking, she says to him, "You can come and watch ... in that order."
  • From the British run of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, whilst doing a scene in the style of Greek tragedy:

 Julian Clary: I have come to sleep with your mother and then kill her ... in that order.

Paul Merton: I'm afraid I've done that already.

  • Jekyll - Benjamin, about to walk into a meeting with Hyde, warns his men "Don't kill him. Or me. In that order."
  • Jeremy Clarkson once had this gem during their US Special:

  Jeremy: "We've insulted three of the most holy things in this place: God, George W. Bush, and Country Music. In That Order. Ascending order."




 Anything that happens, happens.

Anything that, in happening, causes comething else to happen, causes something else to happen.

Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.

It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.

  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the sadistic Ramsay Snow likes to hunt women with dogs. If they are "lucky", and he thinks they put up a good fight, he'll kill them and then flay their skin and will name a dog after them. If they aren't lucky, he'll rape them and then flay them alive.

Video Games


  Max: "Call him! Raise him! Tear his kneecaps out! Not in that order!"

  • A play on the Schlock Mercenary example specifically, rather than a general example in and of itself: Warhammer Online has a powerful (for its level) health potion with the description "Next time, pillage before you burn".
  • F.E.A.R.'s industrial first level features the following sign on the walls: "Remember it's Quantity, Quality, Safety, in that order."

Web Comics

Western Animation


 King Gripullon: We will destroy the earth and get our son back! Not necessarily in that order.


 100: Can I rape her and behead her? And not necessarily in that order.


Studio Exec: Can I rape her and behead her? And not necessarily in that order? This is a family show!

Dana Synder: Um, yes, I will speak to him about that, yes.