Bait the Dog

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"You enjoyed his dance. It's your fault."
Quentin Tarantino (paraphrased) on Mr. Blonde's Moral Event Horizon, from the "Making Of" feature in Reservoir Dogs

You're watching a movie or something, and there's some character who may or may not be rumoured to be kind of evil, but you don't know for sure. All you know is what he's doing right this minute is kind of endearing from an audience perspective. He's fun, he's cool. Quirky, maybe, but in a good way. At this rate, he'll be a runaway favourite with the fans. Yeah, he's fun. We like him. He's...

Wait, what's he doing now? Oh God, not the dog! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! That bastard, he's no longer a favorite from now on!

Kind of a cross between Pet the Dog and Kick the Dog, but the Pet the Dog action needn't be nice - any combination of cool, Badass and funny works too, as long as it's all calculated by the writer to get you on this character's side. Kind of a bait-and-switch technique for viewer sympathy. Distinct from Face Heel Turn because the character was always this much of a psycho, but the audience just hadn't seen it yet, though they may have heard that they did something bad offscreen. It's generally always done purely to accentuate a Kick the Dog moment - you see a bit of personal quirkiness or interesting Backstory that has you liking this character, that has you 'on their side', and then they do something really really nasty, and as a viewer you feel worse because you're guilty by association. This is anything that makes you squeal, 'But we liked him!'

Compare/contrast the other Tropey the Wonder Dog tropes, especially Pet the Dog and Kick the Dog. If it's the series itself that seems relatively harmless until it happens, there may be a Dead Star Walking indicating that Anyone Can Die. Can induce Mood Whiplash. Also compare and contrast with Villainy Discretion Shot; oftentimes the only line separating this trope from that one is that we see the dog kicking moment in gory detail. A Bait the Dog moment can subvert an Establishing Character Moment, or it might show that the character is more complex than first apparent. Often a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, ironically, or perhaps fittingly enough.

Examples of Bait the Dog include:

Anime and Manga

  • Nena Trinity from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. She was introduced as cute, quirky (she kissed the protagonist upon first meeting him) and seemed like a Genki Girl caught in a bad situation but trying to smile to her two older brothers and herself (and further supported that she has the voice of Rie Kugimiya, a popular voice actress known for heroic Tsundere loli roles, which also makes people think she's going to be great). Then, in the very next episode when flying over a civilian wedding, says, "How dare you have fun while I'm working! You should just die." and then promptly sends a missile their way. Twice. All the attendants but a young girl are killed, and even that poor kid loses one of her hands and her mind. And then, when asked by her teammates (and brothers) why she did it, laughs and says, "Oops! I guess I pushed the wrong button!". She's a Cute and Psycho Tyke Bomb, if you don't get what this scene totally says. Of course, there's that karmic retribution for her in Episode 22....
    • Second season counts too. She became more subdued while serving Wang Liu Mei and even helped out the Celestial Being against Wang Liu Mei's orders to destroy a Kill Sat threatening many innocents. Cue a smaller-scale Time Skip, she's suddenly back being a raving lunatic Cute and Psycho who successfully killed Liu Mei and Hong Long, having learnt no lessons at all from the above karmic retribution. And shortly after, karma came back to her like a bitch and she got killed by the above surviving young girl.
  • Johan Liebert of Monster indulges in this trope on more than one occasion. He's hardly ever shown as anything other than an awful psychopath who enjoys murdering people for little more than shits and giggles. However, during the university arc, we see him lovingly playing with children, and helping an old man and his illegitimate son reunite for the first time. However, this is quickly subverted when we see that he manipulated said children into playing a game by which they would attempt to balance themselves on the sides of rooftops, whereby many children fell to their deaths, and that he merely brought the father and son together so that it would be easier to kill them both (he fails on the second part, but still).
  • Occurs at least twice in the Elfen Lied manga. The first one involves a man who is first introduced as a Chivalrous Pervert with an odd sense of humor, then turns out to be a rapist assassin with a gun that fires spiked balls dosed in extremely painful toxins. A chapter ending introduces a few techs at the Diclonius research facility, along with their boss, a quirky, joking Bishonen with a fondness for candy sticks. All is well and good... until a Reveal Shot reveals that they're working, joking and laughing in an office with a window showing an endless train of mutilated and uncensored Diclonii torsos for that radar system rattling past.
  • In the first episode of Code Geass, Prince Clovis is introduced giving a powerful speech condemning an act of terrorism by the Japanese resistance which seems pretty conciliatory, as he underscores how loyal Japanese are equal citizens of Britannia. Then a moment later, he is shown going back to socialize at a party, demonstrating that all of that pathos was a put-on. By the end of the episode, he shows his True Colors as a neurotic nutjob, by despairing due to C.C's escape to the point of ordering a murderous pogrom on the Japanese ghetto to cover it up. Unlike many of these examples though, Karma catches up with him quickly so he doesn't make it very long in the series.
    • Clovis's older brother, Prince Schneizel, was kind of the same. He was introduced as a seemingly nice guy who many fans speculated was a heroic Anti-Villain in contrast to Lelouch, a ruthless Anti-Hero. Then, he starts manipulating the mentally unbalanced TV Genius Nina into building a nuclear weapon, uses a critical momentary absence of Lelouch to turn the Black Knights against said leader, and eventually reveals his plan to nuke millions of people and declare himself God. And using his half-sister Nunnally, also very unstable at the moment, to such an end. Of course, there was at least one sign prior to this: his smile as the Avalon prepared to nuke both Suzaku and a pinned-down Zero in the first season.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist: While we see fairly early on that the Amestrian military is a fairly ruthless and potentially dodgy organization, its leader, Fuhrer President Bradley, presents himself (despite his title and kickass fighting skills) as a more-or-less benign individual who does what he thinks is best for his country and his beloved family. He even offers to help our heroes fight the conspiracy inside the military. Then it's revealed that he's a homunculus and part of the aforementioned conspiracy, not to mention the one who ordered the Ishbal civil war and subsequent genocide campaign. Despite this, he's among the most human (not necessarily sympathetic) of the homunculi and it seems that his love for his wife, in the manga at any rate, is genuine.
    • In the manga and the Brotherhood animation, Bradley is shown to be shaking during Hughes' funeral, one of the major Tear Jerkers of the series. When Mustang brings this event up, it is revealed that he was in fact shaking with anger at the noise that Hughes' daughter Elicia was causing, as she cried over her father being buried.
    • Amazingly, the manga manages to one-up this. Selim Bradley is a cute little kid who looks up to his father, studies hard so he help the country when he grows up and fanboys other characters with big sparkly eyes. Which makes it all the more horrifying when the reader learns that not only is he a homunculus, but the oldest of the homunculi and arguably the most powerful and evil. His power is a living shadow that tore a group of Briggs soldiers to pieces and left the survivors so traumatized that they were almost insane. Worst of all, his poor mother has no idea that her family are evil homonculi (although they both seem to care about her in their own ways).
  • In One Piece, Marshall D. Teach aka Blackbeard, our story's likely true Big Bad first started out as a rather jolly Boisterous Bruiser and at least Affably Evil type, always encouraging Luffy to get stronger, caring for his crewmates, etc. Then fast-forward to the Maineford Arc, where he mocks Whitebeard, feigns sympathy with him, then gleefully and brutally murders the old man who he once called father for well over 20 years plus with his crewmates, then steals his Devil's Fruit, revealing himself to be always just a power-hungry megalomaniac. And it's likely this won't be the first thing he does like this, before and after either.
    • See also, Eustace Kid, at first presented as being disgusted with the World Government Slave Auctions and setting himself up as a worthy opponent to Luffy and Trafalgar Law. Roughly a hundred chapters later he's seen crucifying pirates attempting to flee the ludicrously dangerous sea of the New World.
      • Word of God is that the only reason Kid's bounty was higher than Luffy's is that Kid leaves a trail of corpses wherever he goes. When he said that he kills anybody who laughs at his dreams, he's not joking.
      • While all of his acts of horrific violence have been off screen, it's becoming more and more obvious that Trafalgar Law himself isn't the mellow pretty boy he acts. This trope hasn't been played straight as of yet, but as of chapter 659 he sent the hearts of 100 pirates to the world government to become a shichibukai. It's also worth noting that in his first appearance, the other supernovas were as wary of him as they were of Kidd.
  • Darker than Black does this in the new season with the team of Japanese agents. While immediately established as antagonists to Hei, this isn't really a strike against them for sympathy points, given the Grey and Gray Morality of the series. Mina is a Badass fighter and provides lesbianism, and Genma is highly affable and funny and seems to be a Lovable Sex Maniac. Then, in the third episode, you have them ambushing a squad of Russian soldiers. Genma hijacks a train and as he uses it to kill, you see the mangled body of the conductor next to him. Then, after Mina shows up and slaughters several more soldiers, Gemna creates a gas explosion to kill the remainder and during this whole time, finds this carnage absolutely hilarious. This is shockingly violent, even for Contractors, and conveys total lack of empathy for human life. Finally, while Genma initially seems to be a Lovable Sex Maniac, he's really more like a pedophile.
    • There's also the token human, Yoko. "Look at me, I'm all shy and glasses-y and Moe Moe! A girl kissed me and I liked it!" Then boom. She DePowers Hei PAINFULLY and seems absolutely thrilled by it, like he's a guinea pig as opposed to a person. Not to mention Episode 6, when she starts pulling Scary Shiny Glasses and generally looking like Gendo Ikari was reincarnated as an early twenty-something year old girl.
  • Izaya Orihara in Durarara!! is introduced acting like a nice guy and seems to be comforting a troubled girl named Rio Kamichika. Then, it turns out that he had persuaded Rio into a Suicide Pact, and he tells her that all the nice things he said was just him screwing with her, which pushes poor Rio to really attempt suicide (she survives unharmed, but no thanks to him). After this scene, he is generally more comically evil, but the show has moments once in a while to remind you what a creepy, sociopathic person Izaya is.
  • Aizen's a pretty nice guy right up until he stabs Hinamori.
  • Kyubey. He looked innocent and overall the typical mascot pet, though with something sinister about him, until Episode 6 reveals really nasty things about him.
  • Yukiteru's dad from Mirai Nikki. At first, he looked like a genuinely nice person who was just trying to help his son. Then it is revealed that he is trying to find and destroy Yukiteru's cellphone--therefore killing him--to erase his debt.
    • Though in his defense, he was not aware that destroying his son's phone would kill him.
  • Sabertooth as a whole gets this in Fairy Tail. Initially just the strongest guild that Fairy Tail must compete with, full of members who have all sorts of cool powers. Then we see exactly how they deal with failure. Special mention goes to Sting, who was introduced as a new dragon slayer who was once a fan of the main character, and is far more interactive than his companion Rogue. After Sabertooth's collective bait the dog moment Sting is seen laughing at the misfortune of the girl they booted out (this despite his having failed worse than her and gotten off with a warning) and claiming she deserved it for being weak while Rogue insists that as a guild they ought to look out for their members.

Comic Books

  • The Joker does this a lot. As one comic writer said, "The Joker's job is to make the audience laugh, then feel ashamed about it afterwards."
  • In a Captain America (comics) 2006 What If story, Steve Rogers is a soldier during the Civil War era, part of a group ordered to attack Native Americans. When he expresses doubt about this, his superior officer Colonel "Bucky" Barnes appears to understand. Later, it's shown that the Colonel not only allows the attack to happen, but in fact has his men surrender the loot to him as well.


  • Quentin Tarantino admits to doing this with Mr Blond in Reservoir Dogs, whose Moral Event Horizon moment involved cutting off a cop's ear and slicing his face while he was gagged and duct-taped to a chair, then dousing him with gasoline and preparing to set him on fire before he was stopped. All of this is done after we get introduced via a little How We Got Here flashback and get to see him do the twist to some funky 70's music on the radio. This also applies to a lesser extent to characters like Mr. White and Mr. Pink, who seem quite sympathetic and ineffectual, until in flashbacks we see them shooting up cops. However, they remain sympathetic characters, so they don't really fit this trope.
  • And again in Jackie Brown, we assume we're on Samuel L. Jackson's side, because he seems pretty much like his character in Pulp Fiction, with some funny lines about AK-47's and a stoner girlfriend, etc. He goes on to shoot or threaten to shoot most of the characters in the movie. Robert De Niro's character is pretty much the same, except we don't find out until much later on when he shoots his/Ardell's girlfriend dead because she wouldn't stop talking.
  • Maman in Slumdog Millionaire. A viewer might be slightly suspicious when this man is offering homeless children soda and giving them a home in an orphanage. You may think he's a little shady, but not too terrible when he has the children panhandle in exchange for food and board. Then when he really likes you, you get to sing for him. However, he has a way to make every singing orphan worth double.
  • Barton Fink. Charlie seems like a lovable oaf and becomes Barton's only real friend. Then it turns out he's a homicidal maniac who probably killed his girlfriend and gave her head to him in box.
  • The 1945 American Propaganda film My Japan, whose message is pretty much "Holy shit Japan is Badass" bookends scenes of Japanese brutality with tranquil koi ponds.
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus brings us Tony. He's introduced as a likeable chap who has a gift for bringing people in to be enlightened in the titular imaginarium. It's shown that he was involved in some sort of scandal about a children's charity, but he still comes off as a Loveable Rogue. Then it's revealed that he was selling the children's organs on the black market. The man triggers an Even Evil Has Standards reaction in the Devil himself.
  • Done deliberately with the film version of Secret Window - according to the director, by the time our protagonist finally snaps completely and kills his ex-wife and her boyfriend, we were meant to be too involved with him to stop cheering him on.
  • Any horror film where they don't show who the killer is before the big reveal. Especially in the Scream film series where Ghostface turns out to be someone you wouldn't expect to be a homicidal mass murderer.
  • A subtle example in Watchmen. There's a Male Gaze shot of Silk Spectre in her form-fitting costume, then a cut to the Comedian leering at her. He's a cool superhero type, and he's also just a guy like us! Then, moments later, he tries to rape her.
  • In X 2 X Men United, Magneto and the Brotherhood team up with the X-Men in an Enemy Mine battle against a racist, genocidal military colonel. Magneto's more or less leading a rescue mission to save Professor Xavier, and the two teams fight together so well (the movie's even subtitled "X-Men United") that you can't help but cheer him on and start to wonder if, all things considered, he's really such a bad guy. And then he proceeds to remind the audience that yes, he really is a villain, when instead rescuing him, he tries to use the captive, brainwashed Xavier to kill every non-mutant on Earth.
  • In Dragonheart we first see Einon as though he is like any other fantasy hero, who was given Draco's heart and the audience assumes it would be about a A Boy and His X. But in a few minutes, he is in fact a spoiled prince who is becoming more oppressive and cruel when he force the rebels into building his new castle, had their leader blinded.


  • Mr. Teatime in Hogfather is introduced with a Badass sequence in which he sneaks into the head assassin's office, then turns out to be a total psycho.
    • Of course, we only get a couple paragraphs of "what a badass" before "Oh my Om, what a psycho" sets in, because we first see him playing with some dogs; the character speaking to him expresses surprise, because on his last job he nailed one to the ceiling.
  • Zakalwe from Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. Initially he comes off being a cool, badass secret agent with a rather dark sense of humour, and though his handlers seem to think he's a dangerous psycho, they seem totally off base. It's not until the very end of the story that we find out that he's an ex Evil Overlord, with a penchant for flaying who was involved in a civil war with his brother. He ended that civil war by murdering their sister and his ex-girlfriend, making a chair out of her corpse, and then having it sent to his brother, who kills himself. He then steals his brother's identity, and uses it to escape his past.
  • Wilkie Collins did this in his novel The Woman in White with Enigmatic Minion Count Fosco. Fosco is so friendly and charming that the heroines turn to him for help against the seemingly main villain, Sir Percival Glyde, who is a Dastardly Whiplash type. Turns out that Fosco is actually a master villain who is aiding Glyde. It's also shown that Fosco has cowed and abused his wife into becoming a Stepford Smiler and it has been argued by British critic John Sutherland that the discrepancies in time between what Fosco says it took for Anne Catherick's death and what another character reports is meant to suggest that Fosco killed her after a prolonged period of torture and rape.
  • In the Warhammer Fantasy Battle novel Inheritance, the character of Vlad von Carstein is introduced like a non-annoying version of an Anne Rice vampire, who practically sweats pure liquid awesome. He's philosophically inclined, a good fighter, looks cool, enters like a true badass, and ohmigod did he just slaughter hundreds of people in extremely sadistic manners and resurrect them as zombies?
  • In George P. Pelecanos' novel King Suckerman, ex-con Wilton Cooper appears to be a cool Badass but is gradually revealed to be a rather frightening sociopath.
  • When introduced in the first Gormenghast novel, Titus Groan, Steerpike is not only the most dynamic character in the entire cast, with a clear and sympathetic goal (escape), but is the viewpoint character for most of the book, not to mention showing extreme skill at what he does. By the time he reveals himself to be a deceitful serial killer, the reader has been well and truly disposed to view him as the hero.
  • In R.L. Stein's Fear Games trilogy (Part of The Nightmare Room), the sorceress who is the trilogy's Big Bad lures a seagull to her hand, pets it while she tells it her evil plot, then snaps the seagull's neck and throws it to the ground.
  • In the Dale Brown book Air Battle Force, General Gryzlov first appears as A Father to His Men, chatting with the aircrew of the bomber he's on. Then it turns out that he's there to oversee firebombing the shit out of Chechens.
  • Ventrue can only drink from a certain type of person. Jan Pieterzoon is a decent guy who happens to be a vampire, thrust into a bad position and doing the best he can. We even see him mourn for his aides when they die, which lasts until he decides that he needs a new source of blood: Jan can only feed on rape victims, so he Dominates the night manager into raping the check-in girl so Jan can feed. But Jan feels bad about it, so it's okay... ?
    • Not that it excuses it at all, but Jan was so badly damaged, he needed to feed right off or he wouldn't have lasted the night.
  • Ah, Littlefinger. We all know you're evil, but heping Sansa build a snow castle? That's just cute. Cute and paternal. Wait a . . . Holy shit, what do you think you're doing?!

Live Action TV

  • Captain John from Torchwood, who is So. Cool.... and kills people for no particular reason. This is done on his first appearance in the show.
  • Actually invoked in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when the writers thought that the recurring villain Dukat who, despite his charming demeanor and the fact that he somewhat cared for his illegitimate daugther was a hypocritical, crazed, sexually voracious dictator who sent millions of people to die in labor camps and didn't hesitate to sell his own people to the Dominion which directly lead to his home planet winding up thoroughly demolished by the end of the show, was getting too popular with the audience - the episode "Waltz" pretty much exists for the sake of showing the audience that, charm or no charm, this man is a monster.
  • Firefly had a good example with Bounty Hunter Jubal Early. It's clear that Whedon assumed that viewers would react to him with similar good will as was shown towards Boba Fett in Star Wars, and when he first appears, he is an erudite and funny Badass. Then he starts threatening to rape Kaylee and admitting to his love of torturing animals as a child.
  • General Melchett in the fourth series of Blackadder initially seems like a comically eccentric Pointy-Haired Boss, but his behavior in the second episode, in which Blackadder is court marshaled suggests that he is seriously mentally unstable. Although Melchett is at first a comic parody of the We Have Reserves habit of World War I generals, it's ultimately pretty clear that Melchett's not just incompetent- he's a sociopath who couldn't give a damn about his troops.
  • Lost has Locke's father, Anthony Cooper. At first, he seems happy to finally meet Locke and starts giving him the family life he never had. Then it turns out all that was a con to steal Locke's kidney, after which he wants nothing more to do with his son. Later, he tries to kill Locke by pushing him out a window, which led to Locke ending up in a wheelchair.
  • Happens a few times on the new Battlestar Galactica. First there's Cavil/#1, who's introduced as a Deadpan Snarker type and even seems to be one of the more sympathetic Cylons. As the story develops, we get to know Cavil for what he really is. Then there's Tory, who learns she's a Cylon, but manages to keep it together at first. When Cally has a breakdown upon realizing her husband Tyrol is a Cylon, she takes her infant son and prepares to toss herself and him out of an airlock. Tory shows up, talks Cally down-and then takes Cally's son before ejecting her into space anyway.
  • In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, there's Fuwa Juzou, who is a half-Gedoushuu and sets himself up as Takeru's Worthy Opponent, constantly seeking to fight him. With him not really getting along with the head honcho of Gedoushuu, Chimatsuri Doukokuu, plus building up some 'friendship' with Usukawa Dayuu and the fact that he's half-human makes people think that since this is Super Sentai, he'd at least be shown as either a Noble Demon, or pull a Heel Face Turn later. Then, he foils Akumaro's plan... by revealing that he revels on his Gedoushuu lineage, preferring to be a full-blooded Gedoushuu (which he did), and his sword Uramasa turned out to be his parents begging him to stop killing, but he doesn't care one bit, liking his profession as a Blood Knight to the max and wants nothing more than kill and more killing. At that point, any hopes of him as mentioned above are dashed forever and he places himself as one of Super Sentai's Complete Monsters.


  • Shakespeare likes these:
    • Chiron and Demetrius in Titus Andronicus. They're introduced as a couple of thick comedic teenagers fighting over some girl; ten minutes with The Chessmaster Aaron and they go on to rape and mutilate her.
    • Edmund in King Lear. He starts off as somewhere between a Loveable Rogue and a Magnificent Bastard (literally), then, just as the audience is rooting for him and his Xanatos Gambit and wondering if he's shaping up to be an Anti-Hero, they're hit with a real Kick the Dog moment, and confronted with their Misaimed Fandom, when his scheming leads to the Duke of Cornwall gouging out the eyes of Edmund's own aged father, on-stage.
  • Though this was far from M. Hugo's original intent, the musical of Les Misérables gives its most upbeat, funniest, and catchiest musical number to Monsieur Thenardier and his wife, as they swindle, cheat, and serve questionable food to the patrons at their inn, and abuse and starve the little girl they're supposed to be taking care of. Watch and see if you can keep your feet from tapping.
    • Not even the rest of the cast is able to sit still!

Video Games

  • Kazuya Mishima of the Tekken franchise (and his evil 'alter ego' Devil) qualifies. Starting out the series with white clothing and somehow 'stoic' attitude, you'd think he's like The Hero, trying to topple his evil father Heihachi's company. Upon victorious, it is widely thought that he'd strive to steer his father's company to the righteous way. Cue the sequel, it turns out he does things far worse than Heihachi ever did, turning into a full-blown villain (with some minor things like being attracted to Jun Kazama, and having Angel), and has remained that way until now. You could actually get a hint of Kazuya's evil side since Tekken 1 if you buy the Playstation port, whereas he got Devil as his alternate costume.
    • Tekken 6 seemingly repeated this on Kazuya's son Jin. However, his Face Heel Turn turns out to be his Batman Gambit to awaken Azazel and destroy it with his cursed bloodline, subverting the trope ultimately.
  • A brief example is in the opening cinema of Blizzard's World of Warcraft Burning Crusade expansion. You see a rather beautiful Blood Elf woman playing with a creature made primarily of mana in a graceful, Disney-Princess kind of way... and after about 8 seconds of this she forcibly drains the things essence out, killing it.
    • To be fair, mana wyrms are considered pests, but she does look rather sinister.
  • (Aside from his flashback appearance) Kefka from Final Fantasy VI is introduced in the story as a quirky and colorful Villainous Harlequin like character, humorously demanding that his shoes be emptied of sand in the middle of a desert and generally acting like a goofy manchild. He later reveals himself as a sociopathic Complete Monster whose idea of fun generally revolves around mass genocide.
  • Subverted with Slayer in Guilty Gear XX. One of his intro sequences features him with an attractive woman clinging to him... who he then drains of blood until she's nothing but an empty husk. This seems like a straight application of the trope... until you get into the series story. The woman in question is his wife, who has the special ability that she simply can't die, period. She kills parasites and disease-causing organisms just by being near them—to the point Eddie (a body-stealing bioweapon) tries to possess her in one of his endings and melts—and being drained like this is, at worst, a minor inconvenience for her. Slayer is a villain by some readings (he's not just an assassin, he's the founder and former head of the guild), but his relationship with his wife is one of his better aspects.
  • Carl Clover in BlazBlue is a cheerful, polite and idealistic child as long as one nods politely when he mentions his sister. Running is advised if she starts to make suggestions to him.
    • However, he isn't a Complete Monster as the trope would imply, and even aspires to become like Litchi in his story mode ending in Continuum Shift.
    • Which is, kind of subverted later, when people are introduced to Litchi, she displayed herself as a kind hearted woman who cared about everyone and would even sacrifice herself to save someone unknown as Carl at that time. Time by time, we are also told that she was trying to save her lover. Come Continuum Shift, however, said emotion became a catalyst for her to do a Face Heel Turn, joining in Carl's Complete Monster of a father for a chance to save her lover, maybe to establish that she is not meant to be the sensible Love You and Everybody Messianic Archetype, but a desperate lover to the level of near-obsession. No, she's not a Complete Monster level yet and somehow she still retained her kind self, but it was probably a type of baiting provided by Arc System Works.
    • And even in the first game, there's that mild-mannered informant Hazama who merrily helped Noel... until suddenly in the True End, he reveals his true card, that being Complete Monster Troll extraordinary Terumi Yuuki, who's pretty much responsible for nearly every single depravity done to the world.
  • GlaDOS in Portal. At first, you don't think much of the A.I. telling you how to use that handy little portal gun, outside of her advice and sense of humor. Then, she sends you into a testchamber full of murderous turrets and you notice the Room Full of Crazy. Then she makes you murder your (non-sentient) friend. Then you reach the end of Test Chamber 19...
  • Dimitri Rascalov in Grand Theft Auto IV. At first, he seems like a decent guy, especially when compared to his boss, Mikhail Faustin. When he orders Niko to kill Mikhail, most players would think he's doing it for the right reasons. However, he then betrays Niko to Ray Bulgarin, a human trafficker he ows money to, and becomes one half of the game's Big Bad Duumvirate. And he later tries to make Niko's life hell with a series of progressively escalating Kick the Dog moments.
  • While he's first seen, Arthas Menethil may seem to be a genuinely good person given a lot of shits to the point his desire to save his country makes him do a Face Heel Turn and eventually gets promoted into the Big Bad. It wasn't later that supplemental materials reveal that he's not as goody-goody as his debut game pre-insanity showed him to be.
  • Eva Beatrice in Umineko no Naku Koro ni is introduced with a happy, innocent sounding tune and just seems so thrilled about her recent 'promotion' that even Battler applauds her. However, she turns out to be far worse than even Beatrice and disgusts an actual demon with her antics.

Web Comics

  • At the start of Order of the Stick, Xykon seems like a crazy but slightly loveable and harmless Evil Overlord and Harmless Villain cliche whose only option is failure. But if you thought that you were oh so wrong.
    • An even further baiting: Order of the Stick author Rich Burlew has occasionally written little essays on how D&D is played and storylines are formed on his website. In particular he talks about things like how evil people can have friends, Even Evil Has Loved Ones, and two villains working together aren't always just looking to turn on each other at the first opportunity. Combine that with scenes of Xykon and Redcloak joking together, snarking each other, and commiserating when their cause seemed to be lost, and it seemed like might be such friends. Then Start of Darkness came out and kicked that theory right in the nuts. Well played, Mr. Burlew, well played.
    • When General Tarquin was introduced he got a lot of fans for affability, savvy, and style. And of course he's Elan's father. It's since become apparent that he uses his position as de facto ruler of the Empire of Blood to force any woman he takes a fancy to to marry him, then kills them when he gets tired of them. Which makes him rather less likable. Not to mention burning 30 slaves (possibly alive) to spell Elan's name out in lights- even Elan finally realizes it at that point.
  • Skippy the Demon from Sluggy Freelance was originally introduced as just a kind of dopey guy for the real Big Bad, K'Z'K, to explain his plan to. But when he shows up again later, he's scarily devoted to reviving K'Z'K, bringing about the end of the world, and seeing that Zoe burns.
  • The Jagermonsters in Girl Genius often come across as goofy eccentrics who like drinking and fighting a bit more than normal sometimes it's easy to forget that they're hyperefficient killing machines who are only as moral as their master (so it's okay to root for them now, but you'd better hope Agatha's kids are more like their grandparents than their great grandparents).
    • Jagerkin are borderline example, as they're still likeable—extremely dangerous, but honorable Blood Knight bunch. Loud, love fighting, but not malicious at all—they readily admire foes who bested them and tend to ignore non-combatants altogether. And are loyal above all else.
  • Homestuck pulls one with Jack Noir, who we are first introduced to as a Comedic Sociopath Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Hah, it looks like we're going to have a lot of laughs watching him freak out about his paperwork, right? ...wait, did he just kill the Black Queen? Looks like he's going to be the Big Bad, but at least he's pretty cool...what did he just do to Prospit!?!?
    • Hussie pulls an interesting case with Vriska. She's introduced as a evil bitch right off the bat - the first thing she does (crippling Tavros) is her Moral Event Horizon. But post-Time Skip, she seems to be nicer, even helpful in some cases. Not to mention falling in love with Nicholas Cage. All of this makes her seem like The Atoner and that she was really a Jerk with a Heart of Gold all along, right? WRONG. She offs Tavros for no real reason. However, she later says that she feels guilty about that in a conversation where she pours her heart out to John. Conclusion? With Vriska, it's always hard to tell where you stand.
    • And again with Eridan. The entire comic builds him up as a worthless Butt Monkey whose attempts at world domination are overly ambitious and doomed to failure, leading everyone to believe that he's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain (even having a quote from his introductory exposition on that trope page). Then he announces he plans to betray his friends and join Jack Noir, we learn that he committed genocide on the inhabitants of his planet after he murdered a few for no reason, and he proceeds to beat up Sollux for being in his way and slaughters his love interest.
    • Doc Scratch is presented as a fairly polite villian who wants to help the protagonists (to further his own ambitions), and is even kind to Spades Slick, who spent his time at Scratch's pad trying to light it on fire and attack the host. Towards the end of his narrative, we discover an Awful Truth: he's kidnapped and abused Aradia's ancestor to the point where she becomes a Brainwashed Death Seeker. This is best exemplified when he temporarily takes away her ability to breathe. Damn.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In The Movie of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy this is mildly applied. Eddy's Brother is initially portrayed upon his introduction as cool older brother willing to help out Eddy and his friends. It almost seems heartwarming the way Eddy hugs his brother for promising to help them out. One minute later he's beating the hell out of his little brother, his brother's best friend, and has the rest of the cast watching in horror..