The Dog Bites Back

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge."

Evil Overlord List, Rule #48

It's all gone to hell. The base is collapsing about your ears, your Evil Plan is in ruins, the heroes are lining up for the Humiliation Conga—what more could go wrong?

Well, remember that Mook? Or that victim you had cowed, or enchanted? Doesn't matter who it was specifically, but what does matter is that he's the one you've been abusing since you, and he, showed up.

He's got a knife. And no shame about stabbing you In the Back.

Unlike the Bastard Understudy and The Starscream, this character attacks as a crime of opportunity. There is no danger that he will take over the villain's place in the grand scheme of things. The backstabber often ends up dead—but this is not often a case of Redemption Equals Death, because the motive is often not heroic; even victims are generally motivated by Revenge. The villain's only control was fear, and when he's no longer afraid...

May shade into Give Me a Sword when the character fails to act rather than actively attacks him; a wounded and powerless Big Bad may be helpless unless his Mook throws him something, so he demands it, and the Mook—just doesn't. This can sometimes tie into an Ironic Echo if the Mook uses the Big Bad's own Villainous Demotivator lines as a reason he can't help.

Especially likely for the villain who holds It's All About Me. Can result from a backfired attempt at Being Tortured Makes You Evil.

The Reverse Mole and the Fake Defector may launch similar attacks, for similar motives, but in their case, the attack was planned, or else the plan was to look for such openings. Losing control of a Tyke Bomb or a Psycho for Hire may result in this as well.

May be used to preserve If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him in the same way as a Disney Villain Death.

Often occurs in the form of Bodyguard Betrayal. Subtrope of Hoist by His Own Petard and Karmic Death. See also Nice to the Waiter. Not to be confused with The Dog Shot First. If the dog biting back does some puppy-kicking of its own, it's The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized. If the hero deliberately sets this situation up, it's Do with Him as You Will.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

As an Ending Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of The Dog Bites Back are listed on these subpages: