deus ex machina

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deus ex machina

1. A god in an ancient Greek or Roman play that suddenly appears in the storyline in order to solve a problem or decide an outcome. The Latin phrase translates to "god from a machine," referring to the machinery that lowered it onto the stage. The ancient Greek play makes use of a deus ex machina in which Apollo arrives on stage to restore order among the other characters.
2. By extension, some narrative element that concludes the story or resolves a conflict in a way that seems too contrived and convenient to be believable. Suddenly, when all hope seems lost for the main characters, an alien sets down and gives them everything they need to survive. Talk about deus ex machina! Modern critics tend to pan 1980s-era television shows for the typical deus ex machina that writers often used to neatly wrap up episodes.
See also: ex
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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