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, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

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

Examples of The Dog Bites Back include:

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted, averted and inverted in the span of only a few seconds in Death Note. After Light is revealed to be just a human with a note and a bunch of bullets in his chest, Mikami Goes Mad From The Revelation, but instead of turning on him, (some say) stabs his arm with a pen (and kills himself in the process) to allow Light to run. Also Light takes good care to subvert this as much as possible with his other "doggies": he "writes in stone" everything Takada will do, leaving no chance for her to retaliate in any way and positively reinforces Misa to do anything he wants (otherwise he'd just kill her as fast as he could) and ultimately makes sure she won't bother him in his part of his life as Kira by forcing her to renounce her Note.
    • It's also played straight when Matsuda shoots Light after an entire series of being useless after Light says he was manipulating Matsuda's trust the entire time. Light himself is shocked by that, having figured that Matsuda would be the one most loyal to him...
  • Subverted in Monster. Johann didn't need help to be a Complete Monster and he didn't care enough about his creators to take revenge. He kills them anyway.
  • Baccano! has this moment with Czeslaw devouring his guardian, Fermet after 200 years of endless torture. This trope is beyond justified in this case.
    • Siri eventually gets to give Bride, a man who forced her into a cult "marriage" and tortured her constantly for several months, his comeuppance by holding him over the edge of a cruise liner by his arms as its sister ship slams up against it. Severed limbs ensue.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Solf J. Kimblee gets his throat torn out by his ex-bodyguard Heinkel, who Kimblee almost killed twice during his battle with Ed and another with his brother Al.
    • Kimblee himself does this to Pride, who had absorbed his soul following his "death".
    • Dr. Marcoh also stuck it to Envy by laying out a trap with his travel partners, after Marcoh had been held captive with his home village as hostage. Envy went from One-Winged Angel to Clipped-Wing Angel once Marcoh was done with him.
    • In the end of the 2003 anime version, Dante was killed by Gluttony after she erased his memory to turn him into a mindless monster.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Nena Trinity undergoes the transition from spoiled little sister princess to servant for Wang Lieu Mei because she attacked Louise's family for no reason, and her brothers were killed by Ali Al-Saachez. Wang Liu Mei decides to work for the people who killed Nena's brothers, so Nena betrays her and later kills her. This is all rendered pointless though, because Louise shows up with karma on her side to beat the living shit out of her.
  • In Crows, Hideomi Kunou gets Yamazaki to sell out his friend Bandou, who gets his ass kicked before getting run over by a motorcycle. When everything falls apart for Kunou, Yamazaki returns to pay him back in kind.
  • Subverted in Toward the Terra. Keith Anyan is repeatedly abusive towards his subordinate Jonah Matsuka and informs him that once the war against the Mu is over, he'll be disposed of; he asks if Matsuka will kill him before that happens, apparently deliberately trying to needle Matsuka into doing just that. Instead, Matsuka sacrifices his own life to save Keith's - to Keith's considerable surprise and dismay.
  • In Pokémon Special, Blue really didn't appreciate being kidnapped and being forced to become someone's underling, so she swiped the Applied Phlebotinum on her way out escaping, setting back the Big Bad's (named the Mask of Ice) evil plot for several years, and actively looked for ways to take him down. Granted, she didn't deliver the finishing blow, but she was a big part of it nevertheless.
  • Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Plus: Shadow Link breaks the Dark Mirror, killing Vaati, but also sacrificing his own life, to save Zelda and the other Links.

Shadow: "I came out of the Dark Mirror, and with it's power woke you. How fitting that I use it to destroy us both!

  • In Digimon Adventure, Myotismon raised Gatomon as a minion but abused her on a regular basis. While she has some loyalty to him, it's ultimately destroyed when she discovered she had a choice in the matter and be good, maybe if he'd treated her better this wouldn't have happened. Then he goes and kicks one dog too many and kills Wizardmon, resulting in Gatomon digivolving and killing Myotismon.
    • Wizardmon himself might count too as by the time he attacks Myotismon (from behind) drawing first blood it should addeded. Myotismon has abused his best friend as mentioned above, tried to drown him and presumably subjected him to the same abuse as all the other people who work for him.
  • In Sakura Gari, this is Tomohiko Katsuragi's perdition. The three persons whom he abused the most ( Masataka, Souma, and his own wife Asayo) are the ones who orchestrate the spectacular Humiliation Conga that he suffers and which finishes in a fiery Karmic Death.
  • Sakon Daimaru from Gamaran had his life and mental sanity ruined by his elder brother Ryuugo, who even yell at him for losing his battle against Gama. This prompt Sakon to go insane and snap Ryuugo's spine as soon as he turns around.
  • In Soul Eater, Chrona stabs their Complete Monster mother, Medusa to death after all the nightmare-inducing experiments she ran on them. Actually, that's a bit misleading. They doesn't kill her because of how horrible she is, they did it because Medusa was suddenly acting like a real mother, such as cooking their favorite meal for them and apologizing for all the things she did, even hugging them. But Chrona is so insane from the experiments and so shocked by this that they assume that this is an impostor. And in the end? The last thing Medusa says in the chapter confirms that this was all part of her plan...
  • In Jack to Mame no Ki throughout the movie the witch Hecuba insulted and abused her son the giant Tulip, eventually he has had enough when she tells him to finish Jack and Margaret he chooses to kill her instead by stepping on her.
  • In the final episodes of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (Brought to the US as a DVD movie Fright To the Finish), when Dedede meets the Holy Nightmare salesguy, the first thing he does (Besides comment on Salesguy's height) is force-feed him a spoonful of Kawasaki's awful cooking.

Salesguy: (Washing his mouth out) That was completely disgusting!
Escargo(o)n: Now you know how we feel about you!

  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the Commander Red Saga, after narrowly surviving being knocked out of a window and being flattened (It Makes Sense in Context), Black overheard Commander Red's plan of wishing to Shenron to become taller. Black then confronts him on this - he and the rest of the Red Ribbon Army were earlier been led to believe that the wish was meant to be for world domination. Red not only protests Black's accusations, but also Kicks The Dog one time too many by implying that the reason why Black's upset is that he's jealous that he isn't commander, and lets slip that he deliberately made Black an expendable lackey while also claiming that Black is pathetic even for that; Black decided that was the final straw and proceeded to execute him by shooting him in the head.
    • In Movie 8 of Dragon Ball Z, Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan, the titular bad guy finds his dad Paragus (who is pretty much the true main antagonist throughout the film, even with Broly being the central main antagonist), planning to abandon him to the soon-to-be-destroyed planet in an escape pod. Broly noticed it was only built for one person, and promptly returned the favor by crushing the pod with Paragus inside, and then throwing it like a discus into the comet. The fact that Paragus had earlier fitted him with a Hypno Trinket, and presumably used his powers to destroy a galaxy against his will, was probably a large contributing factor to Broly's decision to kill Paragus as well.
    • While he ultimately doesn't go through with it, Dende could have simply let Vegeta die when he was badly injured. Indeed, he had a justified reason for doing so: Vegeta was responsible for the death of at least one Namekian village. However, he eventually realizes that whie Vegeta is not a saint, they both share a common enemy in Frieza, who was more than willing to commit genocide against the entire Namekian race. So he decides to put his fear of Vegeta aside to patch him up, allowing Vegeta to use his zenkai to get stronger.

Comic Books

  • When Spider-Man faces Morlun, an enemy who has been sustaining his near-immortality for centuries by feeding on the life energy of people who have totemistic relationships with animals, and when he finally has him on the ropes, it's unclear whether he's about to cross the killing line, but the issue is quickly resolved when Dex, Morlun's Renfield-style cowardly, put-upon assistant, puts a bullet in him and singing "ding dong, the witch is dead."
  • In the climax of the original twelve-issue maxi-series Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, the series' Big Bad Dark Opal is literally stabbed in the back by his adopted son Carnelian, whom he had abused in the previous chapters.
  • Although he survived the attacks, half of Baron Zemo's career was summed up by this trope. You'd think he would've learned after the first few times. He was even attacked by the same abused henchman TWICE.
  • X-23 does this to the Facility which cloned her from Wolverine to be an assassin. Somewhat subverted that it's actually her biological mother who tells her to rebel and destroy the Facility.
  • In the original V for Vendetta (not The Movie), Mr. Almond's wife, Rose, originally securely within the party, but royally screwed over by them after Almond's death, actually kills the fascist despot Big Bad.
    • V implies that he had somehow planned this since the beginning, stating in the third act that he already had "a special rose" picked out for the head of state.
    • The film version also had a The Dog Bites Back moment as well. Namely, Creedy, after Adam Sutler made the big mistake of chewing him out, agreed to deliver Sutler to V. In the ending, Sutler is pretty much soiling his pants, so to speak, upon being delivered to V, and Creedy shoots Sutler, only remarking disgust at his fear. Creedy and his men soon join him courtesy of V, who broke his end of the deal.
  • In the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Anti-Monitor destroyed Earth-Prime, homeworld of Superboy-Prime. In the Sinestro Corps War, Superboy-Prime joined Sinestro's Five-Bad Band alongside the Anti-Monitor, but only as a means of getting revenge by acting out this trope when the opportunity arose.
  • Subverted near the end of Preacher (Comic Book); Herr Starr's two henchmen try this trope on him after they realize how far gone he is, but he gets the drop on them first.
  • In G.I. Joe comics, Destro remarks that the Inuit mercenary Kwinn once told him something along these lines: "A man who whips his dogs will one day pull his own sled."
    • One issue covered a dogfight between Cobra and GI Joe pilots, starting from how they treated their respective ground crews before take-off. Unsurprisingly, the GI Joe pilot (Slipstream) treats his enlisted subordinates with professionalism and respect, while the Cobra pilot (Star-Viper) acts like a complete asshole. When both men end up being shot down in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico during the same aerial battle and both relying on their support teams for search-and-rescue, three guesses who the only survivor is. It turns out that you really don't want to alienate the guy whose job it is to make sure your very complicated war-plane is in perfect working order, or the enlisted rescue specialists whose job it is to come fetch you if you're shot down. You might end up drowning in a plane you can't get out of because your mechanic "forgot" to replace the emergency wrench you're intended to bash open the canopy with if it gets stuck, and you might end up sinking to the bottom of the ocean before help arrives because the search-and-rescue helicopter coming to pick you up isn't flying quite as fast as it could be.
  • The players in Knights of the Dinner Table constantly abuse and exploit the NPC's with whom their characters deal. The inevitable backstab never seems to teach them a lesson.
  • When Deaths Head was hired by a group of rebels to assassinate an oppressive king, he discovers he was actually set up by the King and expected to die in an ambush. Instead, Death's Head proceeds to kill the palace guards and the King—completing the original contract.
  • The very second Greyshirt story in Tomorrow Stories concerns Sonny, the put-upon caretaker of infamous mob boss "Spats" Katz' apartment building. Forced to turn a blind eye to Spats' actions and weather his constant browbeating and abuse for sixty years, ever since he was a boy in 1939, Sonny finally ended it by pushing the wheelchair-bound Spats out of the top floor window, in the process, saving Greyshirt's life - and fulfilling a promise he'd made to himself when he first met Spats.
  • "Nature," an issue of Gotham Central, opens with Officers Munroe and Decarlo beating up Trigger, a corner drug dealer, when he is late with their regular cut. At the end of the issue, Trigger confirms who they are to Poison Ivy right before she kills them.
  • Sam Lesser attempts this with Dodge in Locke and Key. Key word: attempts.
  • In Grant Morrison's final issue of X-Men, this trope is used tragically. Jean Grey has triumphantly returned and purged the Big Bad of the sentient bacteria that was making him evil. Just as the former Big Bad appears to be coming to his senses... his abused Igor decapitates him.


  • In The Rescuers, Brutus and Nero, Medusa's pet crocodiles, end up turning on her near the end of the film, and are snapping at her as she's clinging for dear life on the sinking steamship.
  • In The Lion King Scar is ripped apart by his starving hyena henchmen at the end. Apparently they weren't amused by Scar trying to blame Mufasa's murder and Scar's subsequent coup on them.[1]
    • Something similar happens to Scar in the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. He, after being revived by Hades, tricks the Hyenas into believing that he is invulnerable. When he's exposed to not be the case by the guests, the Hyenas decide to abandon him.
  • At the end of Disney's |Hercules, after Hades was punched into the River Styx by Hercules, the spirits that he had trapped in the river (a few of which he had blasted earlier in the movie) dragged him down into the dark abyss of it forever.
    • Even Pain and Panic managed to get a last laugh over their boss:

Panic: He's not gonna be happy when he gets out of there.
Pain: You mean if he gets out of there.
Panic: If. "If" is good.

  • South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut has an interesting variation with Satan and Saddam Hussein. Guess which one is the Dog?
  • The Secret of NIMH: Jenner's co-conspirator, after being mortally wounded by him, redeems himself by throwing his dagger straight into Jenner's back.
  • Space Jam: After the 'Toons finally win the big game, Swackhammer starts berating and humiliating the Monstars all the way back to the ship. Michael Jordan asks why they're putting up with him like that. They answer that it's because he's bigger... "bigger than we used to be." Righteous payback ensues.
  • At the end of Rock-a-Doodle after the Grand Duke of Owls is defeated and stripped of his powers, he shrinks down to the size of a squab, even smaller than his abused nephew Hunch who takes the opportunity to get revenge and chases his diminutive uncle with a flyswatter over the horizon and away from the farm forever.
  • Very literal example in The Simpsons Movie. Homer continuously whips his sled dogs, for the most banal reasons, until they get fed up with it and maul him.

Homer: Why does everything I whip leave me?


Killian: [laughs] Sven, do you wanna talk to Mr. Richards?
Sven: I've got to score some steroids.

  • Happens to the Big Bad at the hands of his Mooks in Banlieue 13.
  • Roger Corman incorporated the aforementioned "Hop-Frog" as a subplot in The Masque of the Red Death.
  • Happens at the end of Four Brothers.
  • At the beginning of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Wormtongue kills Saruman during the confrontation with Gandalf and the Fellowship. In the book version, this occurs near the very end during the Scouring of the Shire.
  • In the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Davy Jones is forced to work for Complete Monster Lord Beckett. He isn't happy about this. During the confusion of a sea battle he finally retakes the Flying Dutchman and dispatches the acting captain assigned to the ship in a rather horrifying manner.
  • At the end of Return Of The Jedi, Darth Vader turns on his master in a Heel Face Turn after Palpatine lays on the Force Lightning against his son, and the redeemed/reborn Anakin proceeds to hurl the Evil Sorcerer down the shaft into the reactor core.
  • In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the reason why Kylo Ren had a hand in killing his master is because he was getting tired of Snoke lecturing him on needlessly clinging to the past and how ridiculous his mask looked.
  • In Hannibal, Verger's unappreciated physician Cordell is spurred to Bite Back against his employer, dumping Verger out of his wheelchair and into a sty of man-eating swine, when Lecter points out that Cordell can tell the cops that Lecter's the one who did it.
  • At the end of New Jack City, crime lord Nino Brown - fresh from cutting a ludicrously sweet plea deal, gets gunned down by a old man he'd dissed and abused early in the movie as almost an afterthought.
  • Biff Tannen in Back to The Future has something like this happen to him with regards to George McFly. Although George isn't exactly his underling, Biff takes a great deal of pleasure in bullying him and making him act as his dogsbody. Then Biff gets it in his head to sexually assault Lorraine, the girl George is in love with, inspiring George to show Biff how much he appreciates this and all the other poor treatment he's been subject to with a surprisingly strong right hook. Thirty years later, the roles have reversed somewhat.
  • In Scrooged, Elliot Loudermilk is fired on Christmas Eve for questioning his boss, his wife leaves him and The Ghost Of Christmas Past swipes the booze he sold blood for. He comes back with a shotgun. Frank gets saved by The Ghost of Christmas Future and a near-trip into an oven.
  • At the end of Training Day, Manipulative Bastard Alonzo has been thwarted, beaten, and humiliated in front of the neighborhood he terrorized and kept under his thumb. Desperate to stop Jake from taking the money he needs to pay off The Mafiya, (who are a bit upset with Alonzo) Alonzo offers to pay anyone who has been watching the fight to kill Jake. They refuse, and one of the local gangsters even pulls a gun on Alonzo and covers Jake's back while Jake walks away. As a result Alonzo doesn't make his payoff and gets killed Sonny Corleone style.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron, thanks to his injuries in the previous film, is now but a shadow of his former self. When Sentinel Prime turns against the Autobots, he practically makes Megatron his bitch. When Carly points this out to Megs, he decides to prove he's not by shooting Sentinel in the back, just as the latter is about to finish off Optimus. This proves to be both his and Sentinel's undoing, when Optimus kills both of them in the space of 30 seconds, while missing an arm.
  • This trope is more or less the driving force of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and it happens no fewer than four times. Todd's motivation is getting back at Judge Turpin, who imprisoned him for life on a trumped-up charge and raped his wife. Todd returns to London specifically to kill Turpin and his Dragon, Beadle Bamford. And by the end of the movie, he is successful. Meanwhile, abusive asylum-keeper Jonas Fogg is done in by Johanna (in the stage show) or his inmates (in the film). Finally, Tobias, driven insane after witnessing Todd's brutality firsthand, does this to Todd.
  • In Singin' in the Rain, Lina forcing the studio to drop Kathy's name from the credits of the new musical winds up becoming her undoing; the producer she forced to do it then serves as an accomplice to exposing her "lip-synching" scheme.
  • Gladiator:

Commodus: A sword! Give me a sword!
Praetorian Commander: Sheathe your swords! Sheathe! Your! Swords!

  • Jurassic Park: While trying to escape the titular park with his ill-gotten embryos, Dennis Nedry encounters a Dilophasaurus. Initially, she does not wish to hurt him (at least, it’s implied she doesn’t wish to hurt him), and is instead curious. But when Nedry decides to mistreat her, she decides he is his enemy, and that he would make for a good snack. And unfortunately for Nedry, she outwits him, right before eating him alive,


  • Grima Wormtongue of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings turned on Saruman after one taunt and demand too many—and after Frodo had deliberately spared his life and ordered the other hobbits to do the same.
    • The aforementioned hobbits stuck him full of arrows as soon as he finished his attack and started his escape, most likely as payback for Wormtongue's murder of Lotho Sackville-Baggins, Frodo's kinsman and fellow accomplice.
    • Note that this karmic death was apparently so appealing that even though the entire section leading up to it was left out of the movie, the back-stab was transplanted onto Saruman's Tower. Grima is similarly killed by the heroes, possibly to keep him from killing Saruman, just a second too late.
  • At the end of Tigana, one wizard Evil Overlord is killed by his own court jester, an old enemy kept idiotic by spells, which had failed.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's "If This Goes On—" the Prophet dies in the gap between when the women at his headquarters realize he will lose and the actual arrival of enemy forces.
  • The Belisarius Series. The good guys are triumphant, but the evil Malwa emperor and the real Big Bad have escaped with the Big Bad plotting how to try again...only for the emperor to be recognized and the pair captured by a team of Malwa assassins who've spent the entire book helplessly trying to catch their target, the Roman Emperor, had given up and were trying to find somewhere to hide from the new regime. Until they recognize an opportunity to make a nice payday for capturing a wanted man.
  • Subverted in Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy: Cornered by the Mule, an agent of the Second Foundation frees a Brainwashed victim and points out there is no way he can both stop the agent and keep his victim from killing him. When the Mule agrees to his terms, the agent allows him to Brainwash the victim again.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Prince Caspian, Miraz is baited into fighting a duel with Peter by the noblemen Glozelle and Sopesian, and he calls them cowards for trying to get him to refuse. When Miraz falls in the duel, Glozelle stabs him where he lies, supposedly for the insult (though he and Sopesian had been hoping Miraz would die from the beginning).
  • Grand Admiral Thrawn dies in this way in the Star Wars Expanded Universe - his Noghri bodyguard Rukh, finally realizing that the Empire has been poisoning his homeworld instead of helping the clean-up process as they say, stabs him in the back.
  • Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: In Vortex, Lord Taalon beats Vestara twice. Later, when it becomes apparent that he's turning into an Eldritch Abomination, she cuts him open from behind.
  • At the end of the Redwall book Lord Brocktree, Ungatt Trunn, his back broken, lies helpless on the shore, the tide about to pull him out to sea. As another animal comes up to him, he begs for help... but then realizes it's his former fortune-teller, the fox Groddil, whom Trunn had crippled and routinely mocked. Groddil shoves him into the sea and gives one last mocking proclamation as Trunn drifts hopelessly away.
    • Redwall example #2: In Mattimeo, Malkariss is killed by the slaves he had forced to build his kingdom.
    • Redwall example #3: Triss ends with the titular squirrel to free all of the others she was enslaved with. Just for effect, she does it in the ship of the girl who was chasing her... and tosses said hunter's dead body off said ship before charging the guards.
    • Redwall example #4: Captain Slipp kills the badger mother Mellus, steals a silver cup, and flees. Blaggut, his ex-bosun, follows him, but cries his eyes out all night because he liked Mellus and he wanted to settle in the Abbey. Slipp physically and verbally assaults Blaggut, as he had done repeatedly throughout the book, but this time Blaggut gets up and strangles Slipp with an impressive "fuck you" speech:

""Fool! Aye, I was a fool, an oaf, an idiot, an' all those things you said I was. That's because I took up with you, cap'n, you're bad all through, you'll never change, that's why I gotta do this. Sorry, Cap'n!"

    • Redwall example #5 (get the idea that Brian Jacques likes this trope?): Ublaz's pet coral snake which he controls through hypnosis bites him when he treads on it while swordfighting Martin the Second.
    • Redwall Example # 6: Gabool the Wild is killed by the scorpion he captured a long while ago and constantly taunted.
  • In Jack Chalker's Four Lords of the Diamond series, the antagonist had captured one of the four mental clones (mind-wiped criminals with the agent's personality and memory imprinted on them) of the agent sent to stop him and had changed him into a female sex-slave. He brings her to a face to face meeting with the agent in order to gloat...only for the agent to utter a trigger phrase that causes her to assassinate the villain.
  • After having his work sabotaged, his wife desert him, his friends vanished without a trace, his great attempt seemingly ruined, and having been forced to burn down his own house, all while his enemy gloats at him and tells him how they're Not So Different, it is immensely satisfying to see Montag in Fahrenheit 451 turn his fire-spraying hose on Captain Beatty, especially for the look on his face in The Movie.

Beatty: M-Montag! Like you w-would really...aaaaaiiiiiggghhh!

    • In the play, Beatty is reading in his secret library and the Hound appears. It is strongly hinted that he called it on himself.
  • Edgar Allan Poe used this one with his characteristic flair in "Hop-Frog"
  • In Flash for Freedom! the evil slaver captain John Charity Spring is shot in the back by a half-addled crew member he'd previously viciously whipped. Admittedly, the captain had good reasons to be angry with the fool, but still...
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 novel Storm of Iron, a daemon decides to possess Larana Utorian, instead of the Berserker holding her captive. It lures her in with promises of Revenge—which she does get.
  • Early in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Lu Bu betrays and kills the warlord Dong Zhuo, his adoptive father-figure who had, up until that point, been increasingly short-fused and abusive to him. It helps that Dong Zhuo was the hypotenuse in an unfolding Love Triangle that involved the two men and the pretty concubine with whom Lu Bu was in love.
    • Lu Bu does not learn from his own experience. Mistreating his generals causes many of them to defect during the siege of Xia Pi. One steals his famous horse Red Hare, while two others steal his weapon and bind him while he's sleeping.
  • David Weber does this for a exceedingly well earned Karmic Death for Saint-Just, when Thomas Theisman ends his regime of terror. Last line of the book when he breaks into his office and Saint-Just mocks him:

Thomas Theisman: "I think we've had quite enough of those kinds of trials. Goodbye, Citizen Chairman."

  • In Vivian Vande Velde's The Changeling Prince, the Big Bad releases The Dragon from his which time the audience discovers that he was a literal dragon and not happy about his forced servitude.
  • At the end of Harry Potter, seemingly loyal Death Eater Narcissa Malfoy seizes the opportunity to help Harry fake his own death, thereby almost single-handedly ruining Lord Voldemort's final attempt to return to power. This is a bit of Laser-Guided Karma, as Voldemort had alienated Narcissa by sending her son Draco on a suicide mission.
    • The end of that series pretty much served as a "bit 'em if you want 'em" moment for put upon characters, especially in the huge battle at the end. A notable example is when the House Elves join in, lead by Kreacher. It has been established that Death Eaters basically consider House Elves to be silly inferior servants and make them do all sorts of horrible things. It was also revealed earlier that Voldemort used Kreacher to test a terrible potion to hide the horcrux locket. Another House-Elf example would be Dobby, who goes back to the Malfoy Manor (where it was established that he lived in fear and pain as a servant) to save Harry and his friends. While there, he drops a chandelier on Bellatrix and disarms Narcissa before angrily telling them that he's not under the Malfoy family's control and will save Harry if he pleases.
    • A darker example would be Kreacher who after constant abuse by Sirius Black, eventually starts working for someone else and finally deceives Harry into going to the Department of Mysteries room. Indirectly Kreacher got Sirius killed at the hands of Bellatrix.
  • God bless Emilia of Othello fame, exposing her husband Iago for the scum he is. True, it doesn't turn out well for her, but considering she knew how he would react, she's as close as Shakespeare came to writing a female Badass.
    • She even has a smaller one before that, when she tells Iago off for thinking that she'd cheat on him with Othello. Keep in mind that Iago is a paranoid bugger who spends most of the play suspecting everyone of sleeping with his wife. Emilia is the only person who actually realizes and confronts him on this.
  • Lady Aquitaine manages a two-for-one in Captain's Fury: in disguise and unrecognized, she's first taken hostage by her former ally she'd discarded as useless as he tries to flee from Tavi's forces, and then is killed by her (former) spy Fidelis as collateral damage when he assassinates said ally.
    • Unfortunately averted, actually - Lady Aquitaine was dying, not dead. She was found by the Big Bad, who saved her life in exchange for her services as The Dragon.
      • Less ambiguous example in Furies of Calderon-Isana, in a final and desperately one-sided showdown with Kord (who has basically spent the entire book being an utter bastard to everything with a pulse), actually manages to cripple him. Kord demands that she finish the job, but she opts not to; she'd rather he be forced to face justice with an outside that reflects his personality. Or to put it another way, helpless and covered in feces. She enjoys telling him so perhaps a little too much.
  • Katsa from Graceling has the Grace (enhanced ability) of death, and is used by her uncle, King Randa, as an enforcer- he sends her to kill criminals and torture those who defy his orders. Katsa founded the Council, an organization who help civilians who are persecuted by others, and grows a sense of morality through her actions as the founder... meaning that when Randa sends her to force a disobedient lord to send him one of his daughters (another lord asked Randa for help in finding a wife, and Randa asked the first lord, who had two daughters each with a large dowry (the understanding was that Randa would get the dowry and the second lord would get the bride) to choose a daughter to send him, the lord refused) Katsa realises that this is probably one of the worst things that Randa has ever asked her to do (in fact, she says that had someone else been sent to torture the lord into giving up one of his daughters, the Council would have sent someone to stop them), so she refuses to do so and when Randa attempts to have her thrown in his dungeon, she gives him a Shut UP, Hannibal speech and leaves the country.
  • Subverted in The Adventurers where death knight Gorath killed his supervisor and ally after that guy abused the authority over him. Subverted because, being Lawful Evil, Gorath had warned him twice before the actual attack.
  • Seen in A Song of Ice and Fire when Sandor Clegane finally gets sick of working for the Lannisters, who've treated him with no lack of disdain and disrespect, and deserts. This particular instance is also humorously in keeping with the Trope name, given that Sandor is better known as "the Hound" / "Joffrey's dog" and even cites his reason for leaving as, "Even a dog gets tired of being kicked." Might edge into Bodyguard Betrayal but that he doesn't take any action against Joff specifically and instead starts opposing the Lannisters in general.
    • Possibly also seen with Lancel Lannister, who King Robert treats as a general dogsbody, humiliating and insulting him wherever possible. This doesn't end well for Robert.
  • In Fevre Dream, an early novel by the author of the above, Vampire Vannabe Sour Billy Tipton spends the whole book playing The Dragon and The Renfield to Damon Julian, convinced that he's to be rewarded with immortality. Mortally wounded at the end, he begs Julian to save him by completing the change, and Julian just laughs at him and admits that the whole deal was a lie. Billy's rebuttal is a knife through Julian's eye.
  • Azhdeen the dragon in Melanie Rawn's Sunrunner's Fire is being controlled by Big Bad Ruval. Pol releases Azhdeen and things go badly for Ruval.
  • While he isn't exactly a villain, the second version happens to Albert in Mort. He is far too powerful a wizard for the faculty of Unseen University to defy him - but when Death has him by the throat and he orders them to throw him his staff, they are all struck with a mysterious case of deafness...
  • Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: In Morgawr, Elven Prince Ahren Elessedil, who'd already gone through a serious case of Break the Cutie, goes through shattering psychological and mental torture at the hands of The Morgawr's Dragon, Mwellret leader Cree Bega. By the end Ahren has almost no self-respect left, and is alone on a ship when Cree Bega comes on board, murders his one companion, tells him about the Mwellrets' torture of his crush, demands the books of magic from him and then attacks. Ahren just barely manages to man up and skewer the slippery bastard, who's had it coming for almost three books now. Easily Ahren's Crowning Moment of Awesome, and one of the most affirming moments in an otherwise Shoot the Shaggy Dog story.
  • In one of the Animorphs books, The Council of Thirteen sends a warrior known as The Inspector to evaluate Visser Three's progress in trying to Take Over the World. The Inspector spends the whole book mocking and belittling the Visser. Eventually, Marco turns into a cobra and bites him. The dying Inspector begs for help, only for Visser Three to mock him and leave.
  • The very first Conan story, "The Phoenix on the Sword," has Ascalante, a scheming rogue who wants to get his hands on Conan's throne in Aquilonia. His chiefest slave and chew-toy is Thoth-Amon, once a powerful sorcerer of Stygia, who was robbed of the ring that he used to work his sorcery by a Shemite thief, and who Ascalante has blackmailed into doing his will by means of leaving a sealed note with someone with instructions to inform his enemies in Stygia of Thoth-Amon's whereabouts if Ascalante should die by Thoth-Amon's hand. But then Thoth-Amon reclaims his ring from Dion, one of the nobles involved in Ascalante's conspiracy to kill Conan, and proceeds to take terrible vengeance upon Ascalante by summoning a demon of Set to kill him and everyone with him, royally fucking up Ascalante's plans in the process.
  • Hanno is avenged in Buddenbrooks by Kai biting Hagenström Jr.
  • Maurice from Malevil is an unwilling recruit in Vilmain's bandit army. He defects to Malevil the night before the battle and he's the one who kills Vilmain in the end.
  • In Tithe, after Kaye poisons Nephamael with iron nails from her boots, Corny, who he'd been keeping like a pet for the past few chapters, grabbed a nearby knife and stabbed him over and over again.
  • This trope is pretty much the entire plot of Stephen King's Carrie. That is one dog that bites back hard.
  • The Extinctionists, a group of minor villains in Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, enjoy capturing endangered animals and subjecting them to executions. In fact the Big Bad of the book stages the executions and keeps the animals sedated in a laboratory beneath the Extinctionists' compound. When Artemis sabotages their annual conference, the animals break out of the lab, and many Extinctionists are mauled and trampled in the ensuing stampede.
  • In Kraken, Paul, the unwillingly host of the magical mob boss known as the Tattoo (who is a literal talking tattoo inked onto Paul's back), finally tires of being forced to participate in crimes and murders and repeatedly being threatened, and stabs the Tattoo's chief enforcer to death, escapes his men, and has Tattoo's mouth sewn up.
  • Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess to both her husband and her majordomo. Her husband, impotent, has the majordomo impregnate her against her will in order to produce an heir. After snapping, she kills the both of them in gruesome but satisfying ways.
  • Two related examples in the Sister Mary Helen novel Death of an Angel. First, Angelica Bowers means to murder her domineering, often abusive mother. Her plan is to go on vacation for a week or two after smothering Mama, and in the days leading up to this she makes sure the dogs get just enough food to survive but not enough that they won't still be hungry. Then, when Mama is dead, she will set them loose on the corpse. It doesn't work out that way; she is injured in the fracas with Mama, the criminal the A plot is concerned with pays a very hostile call, and then Sisters Mary Helen and Eileen show up (saving her from him in the process) followed by the police--about that time the dogs emerge from the basement and smell the blood from Angelica's face wound. They also have to know that she's the one been keeping them hungry all this time. She dies of the resulting injuries the next morning.

Live Action TV

  • In the Doctor Who episode "Last of the Time Lords", after the Doctor has talked down Francine Jones from killing the Master, the Master's wife shoots him after being driven insane by his abuse. She gets another chance to kill him (or at least try) during "End of Time, Part One" when she actually sacrifices her life to try and disrupt a resurrection ritual for him.
    • In "End of Time, Part Two," the Master decides to trap himself, Rassilon and the rest of the Time Lords in the Time War for them implanting the sound of drums in his head.
  • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, Scissors (known in America as Incisor) has a slightly different ending than the one in Dragon Knight: when one's Transformation Trinket is broken, the contract with his Contract Monster (Advent Beast) is broken as well... and the second Volcancer is free of Scissors, he promptly eats him.
  • In 24, Jacob Rossler, terrorist engineer, keeps Inessa Kovalesky, a fifteen-year-old Russian girl, as a sex slave; when found, she is clearly in shock, has been severely abused, and wants nothing more than to go home. When told that she has to go with Rossler (the U.S. government required Rossler's help to deal with a greater terrorist threat, and he demanded full immunity along with being allowed to bring Inessa with him), Inessa smuggles a pistol into her jacket and kills Rossler at first chance.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Cardassian officer Damar, who has been driven to drink by his helplessness under Dominion rule and the abuse Weyoun heaps upon him ends up turning around, breaking two Federation officers out of prison, and starting a full-blown revolution against the Dominion.
  • In a flashback on Lost, Eko and two henchmen are about to fly a plane full of heroin out of Nigeria. Eko's brother and the military show up, everything goes awry, and the surviving henchman takes the opportunity to push Eko out of the plane and fly off with the heroin by himself. Of course, he crashes on the island and dies.
    • In season 3, Ben held Jack captive with the intention of having him perform spinal surgery on Ben. Ben sent Juliet to convince Jack to do it, and she brought along a VHS of what she said was To Kill a Mockingbird. But the video ended up being of Juliet holding cue cards telling Jack that Ben is dangerous, should not be trusted, and that Jack should kill him on the operating table. Viewers were originally led to believe that she was attempting a Klingon Promotion, but she had completely different reasons for wanting him dead...
  • Subverted in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: when Jadeite came to Beryl when their base was being destroyed, and requested her to exit, Beryl said that she's tired of being a fake queen, and ordered Jadeite to leave, but he wouldn't leave her. So Beryl removed the brainwashing from him, and was surprised to see that even with free will, he chose to stay with her.
  • Attempted in the fourth season of The Wire, wherein Rawls reveals Burrell's manipulation of the stats to the newly elected Carcetti. Backfires when Carcetti lacks sufficient political clout to have Burrell fired.
  • In the second season premiere of Stargate Universe, Dannic, one of the Lucian Alliance soldiers, takes over for Kiva and establishes his character immediately by choking one of his subordinates when she doesn't give the answer he wants. Later on, as he becomes irrational and refuses to surrender, she shoots him in the back.
  • On Weeds, U-Turn was killed when he suffered a heart-attack while trying hiking. Instead of getting help, his remarkably fat lieutenant just smothered him as he lay on the ground. A few too many fat jokes pushed the guy over the edge when he saw his chance for revenge and a Klingon Promotion.
  • In the episode "And They Are Us" from Airwolf, the leader of the badguy's mercenary force does this in a couple of ways, including knocking out the badguy so the heroes can escape.
  • At the beginning of season 4 of Babylon 5, Lyta Alexander is treated as a slave by the second Vorlon ambassador. She is the one who lures him into an ambush.
  • In one episode of The Muppet Show, Beaker, Butt Monkey assistant of Dr. Bunsun Honeydew, gets put in a duplicator. The army of Beakers, once assembled, proceed to chase and harrass Bunsun throughout the episode, eventually supplanting the rest of the cast by the end, even Statler and Waldorf.
  • Lancel Lannister to King Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones.


  • "I Remember Larry," by "Weird Al" Yankovic, is about a Complete Monster prankster whom the narrator eventually murders. (More specifically, whom he kidnaps, drags into the middle of a forest, and is stuffed inside a plastic bag, where he is either already dead or left to die)
  • On "The Opheliac Companion", Emilie Autumn says that the song "Liar" could also be called "What The Fucking Dog Did." See the quotes page for her explanation of this trope.
  • "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks is about a woman who kills her abusive husband.
  • "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith is about a girl who kills her father after years of abuse.
  • "Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts" by Bob Dylan.

Tabletop Games

  • At the end of the Magic: The Gathering novel Agents of Artifice, the Nezumi tribe that the Consortium slaughtered comes back right in time to bite Tezzeret, weakened by his battle with Jace, thanks to Jace's timely Summon Bigger Fish.
  • Warhammer 40,000 thousands of planets revolted against a crazed Cardinal named Bucharis who was ruthless tyrant who conquered entire systems from the Imperium. When his empire started to fall apart billions of people began to revolt against him, eventually he was cornered and the rebels tore him to pieces with their bare hands.

Video Games

  • Knights of the Old Republic: Near the end of the game, after crossing the point of no return, you can decide once and for all if you are good or evil. Pick evil, and your fourteen-year-old Playful Hacker ally Mission will try to fight you. Her Wookiee pal Zaalbar will normally side with her, but you can call on the life debt he owes to you and force him to kill her. If you bring him along when you storm the Star Forge, he will turn on you, but by that point you're probably powerful enough to dispatch him easily.
  • Lisa Garland in Silent Hill 1. In the Good endings, she kills Kaufmann, who turned her into a drug addict and killed her before. It's likely that she took more offense on the latter one. Though the Lisa in the game isn't the real Lisa, just a construct controlled by Alessa, and Kaufman helped the cult do far, far worse things to her.
  • Once Ovelia realizes how much of a Manipulative Bastard Delita in Final Fantasy Tactics was, all these years, she proceeds to stab him.
  • Subverted in Jagged Alliance 2. You'd think Eliot, the poor bastard that's been beaten up by the Queen the entire game, would be more sympathetic to the mercenaries that are about to kill the sadistic bitch. Not so much. In fact, if you take too long to get to the palace, you can't even bypass him: you have to kill him.
    • Played straight with the Warden's husband though; although thinking about it, his dialogue suggests he's pissed off from having to look after the kids all day while his spouse works...and so he'll happily HELP THE HEAVILY-ARMED SOCIOPATHS, WHO JUST BROKE INTO HIS HOUSE, KILL THE SOLE BREAD-WINNER. Unfortunate Implications, indeed. (But then, she is a prison warden, so fuck knows which end of this ass-backwards relationship is more to blame here)
  • In Clive Barker's Jericho, the Firstborn is attacked and killed (presumably, it is never made clear) by Arnold Leach after the latter realizes that he was nothing more than the Firstborn's pawn.
  • There's a difficult-to-properly-understand scene in the end of Twilight Princess that implies that Ganondorf was betrayed by the new villain, Zant, who he had been using as a conduit. As Ganondorf struggles to maintain his willpower, and reaches deep within himself for new strength, we see a shot of Zant. Zant snaps his head to the side, as if cracking his neck, and Ganondorf dies. Maybe for the last time.
    • Except that by all appearances Ganondorf didn't abuse Zant, and kept both the letter and spirit of his promise, as Zant was indeed made the Twilight King (and worshiped Ganon as a god). A better example might be Midna going medieval on Zant after his defeat; this might also explain the above scheme seeing how Ganon's power was the only thing keeping Zant alive at that point.
  • Foreshadowed in Def Jam: Fight for NY when the player's boss notes that "A beaten dog may fear you, but the moment you turn your back, he's gonna strike." Indeed, at the climax the Manipulative Bastard villain dies because his minions abandon him.
  • World of Warcraft
    • This is the reason Death Knights are a playable class. Was it really a good idea to play the We Have Reserves game on your elite, free-willed forces?
      • They were brainwashed, actually. Darion Morgraine, commander of the Ebon forces, snapped out of it when the ghost of his father rose from the chapel they had just failed at assaulting. While it's not shown in the game, the Death Knight graphic novel implies that all of the Ebon Knights (or at least the ones that didn't return to the Scourge) had a similiar encounter with their own dead parents. So a better question would actually be: Was it really a good idea to play the We Have Reserves game on your elite forces on the holy ground where their ancestors rest?
  • Do NOT attack followers, or any friendlies in Fallout 3. Even Dogmeat bites back.
    • So does the Player Character's dad. He even references Bill Cosby while doing it.

Dad: I brought you into this world... you know the rest.

    • In an NPC example, Ahzrukhal forgot this, as Charon makes very clear to him if you buy the contract.
  • One could say that Helghast's main motivation in both games is this, part of why they get so large a fanbase.
  • Viking: Battle for Asgard: Done literally when Skarin unleashes Fenrir because Freya broke her promise to let Skarin seek entry to Valhalla after killing Hel.
  • During the climax of Final Fantasy XII, Vayne boasts his own power and makes not-so-veiled threats against his brother, Larsa. Just as the heroes confront him, who would chance to overhear but Judge Magister Gabranth, charged with Larsa's well-being by the late Emperor Gramis, and whom Vayne had treated as nothing more than a hound and a blade to further his own political ascent.
    • Arguably, this was part of Vayne's plan, Magnificent Bastard that he is. The threat on Larsa at least; earlier cut scenes strongly implied that even with his fratricidal and patricidal history, Larsa was the key to his plan in the end (forge an empire with a bloody war and underhanded tactics, cross the Moral Event Horizon a few times, and leave everything to his young idealist brother who would emerge with clean hands from it all). Vayne's treatment of Gabranth was likely just the way he was, an arrogant jerk.
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, the player can find several half-ogres magically bound to a cruel master in the Dark Elf village. Killing this master will release them, and they immediately turn on their tormentors. The elves never stand a chance.
  • During Iji's departure from Sector 3 during a Pacifist Run, she will mention the truce between her and the Tasen to Elite Krotera, who goes apeshit and screams about "worthless Vateilika" before announcing his intent to kill her - after Iji herself bites the big one. Krotera, you may Talk to Vateilika's MPFB now.

Vateilika: I've heard enough of that, thank you.

  • In Odin Sphere, the dragon Belial kills one of the Wise Men that had enslaved him with the last bit of energy he had left.
  • Karma War. Enough said.
  • In Darksiders, Uriel refuses to save Abaddon from War while he begs for her help. Given everything he's done up to that point, Uriel telling him to "f*** off and die" despite her past feelings for him makes perfect sense.
  • Starting with Crash Bandicoot 3, Dr. Neo Cortex, the Big Bad of the first two games, ends up The Dragon for Uka Uka, an evil spirit inhabiting a tiki mask, and spends several games fearfully trying to keep the mask pacified. By Mind Over Mutant, Cortex has teamed up with his old partner N. Brio and captured Uka Uka as the power source for the latest world domination plot.

Cortex: I used to run this show, and it's time I did so again!

  • In Dragon Age (specifically 'The Stone Prisoner' DLC), part of Shale's backstory is that, after years of ill-treatment by Wilhelm, Shale ended up killing him. There is some ambiguity over possible outside influence however, and Shale claims not to be able to remember the incident. Whether it was intentional or not, Shale's vindicated satisfaction makes it this trope.
    • Then let's not forgot the great pigeon massacre that is unleashed by Shale after years of being pooped on by birds.
  • You can make these happen in Fire Emblem if you so desire, by having the right unit take out the right boss.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Vivian pulls a Heel Face Turn because Mario was kind to her in helping her find something that Beldam dropped and forced her to look for as punishment. The next time you face the Shadow Sirens, she can be used as a partner.

Vivian: I'm with Mario all the way! Today, Sis, I am going to punish YOU, do you hear me?

  • In Skyrim, the Dragonborn can choose to help the king of the Forsworn escape and take his revenge on the man who imprisoned him and used him to make the Forsworn kill for him under the guise of terrorism.
    • Another Skyrim example is Arondil, a necromancer who uses the undead spirits of young women as sex slaves. Stealing the soul gem from the pedestal behind Arondil's throne will result in two of his ghostly servants turning against him and murdering him.
    • This is essentially the plan for The Empire against the Thalmor; bide their time, pretending to be a Vichy France like state until the time is right to invoke this trope.
  • Star Wars:The Old Republic
    • Imperial Agent: You get brainwashed so that you can't refuse a command by an SIS agent (and being that SIS thinks you're actually on their side, they order you to do things you probably don't like if you're faithful to the Empire). When an SIS agent is badly injured and cannot utter the keyword required to make you fulfill orders involuntarily, you have the option to let him bleed to death and remark spitefully about his condition, thus letting you indirectly bite him back. Later you can free yourself of the brainwashing and kill all of the SIS agents you were in contact with while being a double agent.
  • Subverted in Mass Effect with the geth. In the third game, after witnessing atrocities committed by the quarians during the Morning War, including attacking geth sympathisers, you have the opportunity to let the geth destroy the quarian fleet when the quarians attack them. However, the geth actually have no ill-will towards their creators, and later a geth prime shows genuine regret for being forced to destroy them.
  • In Metal Gear Acid 2, Vince was the leader of the security forces at SaintLogic, and attempted to quell the situation at the island and take care of the intruders (Snake and Venus). When he learns that his boss, Rodzinski, is planning to ditch the security forces to take the blame for the Praulia Massacre after the ICC reneigned on the deal, he orders his men to shoot his chopper down.
  • In Alpha Protocol, there is a sequence in the Grand Finale when you have a dual boss battle with Alan Parker and Conrad Marburg as part of a Timed Mission. However, depending on your actions previously in the game, you may have learned of something terrible that they did to each other, which you can then reveal to one to get him to turn on the other. If you discovered that Madison was Parker's daughter and Marburg killed her in Rome, you can tell Parker and he will attack Marburg, getting himself killed in the process and wounding Marburg just ahead of your fight with him. If, on the other hand, you got 100% of Marburg's dossier and 80% of Parker's before embarking on the mission, you can tell Marburg that Parker was the analyst who hung him out to dry, ruined his career, and nearly got him killed on his last mission for the government years ago. Marburg will knife Parker in the back, and you will face him alone.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps: After being brainwashed by the Stink Spirit and forced in a fight to the death against Ori, Kwolok eventually breaks the mind control after suffering enough damage and uses his last bit of strength to crush the Stink Spirit to pieces.
  • Zoe Taylor from Bully gets revenge on Mr. Burton (for sexually harassing her) after she discovers that she and Jimmy share a common sending him on a port-o-potty ride.

Visual Novels

  • Sakura Matou in Fate/stay night. Her target is awesome, she's the love interest here and a good guy. But she seems to enjoy beheading Shinji Matou (who was basically a Complete Monster to her) with pure magic or ripping Zouken Matou out of her heart, gloating and then crushing him a little too much for it to be 'heroic'. Plus the whole 'stealing the show and becoming an apocalypse in the form of a teenage girl' thing.
    • By that point, she's clearly not heroic (the 'killing Shinji' bit is where she ceases to be, even if he deserved it). She's also clearly not herself, and the rest of the route consists of Shirou and (eventually) Rin trying to save her from the darkness that is consuming her.
  • The first victim in Shion's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters of Higurashi is Onryu, her grandmother. Given the cruel treatment she suffered for much of her life, quite deserved.

Web Comics

  • The Fat Guard who tortured poor Fluffles in Goblins.
    • Because of the other participants' refusal to Kick Them While They Are Down, Kin ends up finishing off Dellyn Goblinslayer. Thaco gets some of this as well, though he refuses to kill Dellyn on the basis that it' what it wants.
    • An orc who has spent 600 years being constantly tortured by demons beheads one of his former captors when the demon who owns his soul loses control of him.
  • In Coming Up Violet Abby pays back Racquel for the Abuse hefted upon her by making sure the latter's plan bit her in the ass instead.
  • In Seventy Seas, Grin's two samurai minions are kept in control by the threat of their families being murdered. Because of this, they plot to help Nikol kill Grin and later push Grin off of a roof top. Unfortunately for our protagonists, for Grin Death Is Cheap, and he recovers in about half a second.
  • Geilen in Garanos attempts this after finding out that Gharsena created the disease she's dying from, and the only reason Geilen had been working with her was in the hope for a cure. Unfortunately Geilen falls into Redemption Equals Death since the attack fails.
  • Sene'kha in Drowtales winds up captured by the Sarghress and is about to be handed over to the Kyorl'solenurn, with the only one who can save her being Kiel'ndia, whose mother Sene'kha is heavily implied to have set up for death. Sene'kha tells Kiel that if she can help her escape they can Take Over the World and save her friend Naal'suul, who could die any day now, but after a chat with Naal'suul Kiel has a one word answer: "No" and leaves Sene'kha to be executed.
  • Trevoricus in Our Little Adventure. After 120 comics or so of getting treated like crap by Umbria/Zaedalkaah, and after finding out what really happened to his friend and former group leader, he eagerly takes the opportunity to shoot Umbria/Zaedalkaah with a lightning bolt.

Web Original

  • In Survival of the Fittest, Melina Frost rapes Beth Vandelinder and press-gangs her into the Poison Angels. True to the description, Beth later happens upon Melina trapped in quicksand and promptly stabs her to death. However, Melina then puts the trope in play again when she drags Beth down with her.
    • One year later, Dorian Pello shoots Danya dead and joins STAR.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has freely abused her best friend Nella. Cue Dark Nella's payback. To the Fridge!
    • It also leads to Dr. Tease's Sex Bot getting its revenge for Tease programming it with an intelligent and poetic mind when all she wanted it to do was menial tasks.
  • The Nostalgia Critic has managed this a few times, most noticeably by sticking a grenade up Douchey's ass for being such an abusive dick to him the entire episode.
  • The Freakonomics blog features a story about negotiation showing how setting the initial point of a negotiation can have a large influence on the final outcome. Specifically, the writer gives an example where he was served spoiled food at a restaurant, and the manager offered only waive the charge for drinks rather than the price of the whole meal. She gambled that the writer wouldn't make a public scene to demand further concessions. Sure enough, the manager won that round -- until the NY Times bestselling writer went on to publish the restaurant's name and address on his blog.

Western Animation

  • On many Looney Tunes and Tex Avery cartoons, a silly little character will come out of nowhere as a Running Gag. Eventually, the villain would get fed up and ask him who he is. The response: "Why, don't you know? I'm the hero in this picture", followed by a Hyperspace Mallet to the head.
  • In the Porky Pig cartoon "The Case of the Stuttering Pig", the villain brags to the audience that there is nothing they can do to stop him. "Especially you! You in the third row! You big softie!" In the end, the villain is dispatched by a theater seat hurled into the screen...

Pigs: Who did that?
Guy: Me!
Villain: Who are you?
Guy: I'm the guy in the third row, ya big sour-puss!

  • Wallace and Gromit have a literal example in A Matter Of Loaf And Death, when Fluffles, the mistreated poodle belonging to the 'cereal killer', not only bites back but then proceeds to take them on with a fork lift truck (a reference to the end of Aliens).
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "Dragons of Ashida" has an island ruled by a mad Yellow Peril scientist experimenting with genetically modified lizards and his Yellow Peril bodyguard, a hulking brute who is the only one able to train the savage beasts. Dr. Ashida bullies, abuses and slaps Sumi several times throughout the episode, until Sumi decides he's not going to take it any more, hoists his "master" off of his feet and throws him to the lizards, which kill and eat him. Unlike most examples of this trope, Sumi did not take advantage of Dr. Ashida's weakness, nor did he die while exacting revenge (though Fridge Logic suggests that when the authorities arrive, they drop down on Sumi's head as they would have originally done Ashida).
  • In an episode of Ben 10 Alien Force, Gwen tricks Charmcaster by summoning a mystical vortex that pulls her and her rock minions inside. One of the rock minions manages to hold on to a nearby pole with Charmcaster clinging on. But her one too many contemptuous insults results in an angry glare from the rock monster, who lets go of the pole, pulling it and Charmcaster into the portal as she screams in angry disbelief: "YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!"
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Aftershock Part II", Terra's last words to Slade, who had previously beaten and abused her, are: "You can't control me anymore!"
    • Spike, the dutiful mechanic of Atlas, turned on his master after having enough of his abuse. Unable to maintain himself, Atlas was soon defeated.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor", one of The Joker's victims, a regular Joe Normal, apparently goes crazy and tries to blow both of them up with a bomb. His acting is so good that even Joker buys it and covers in fear behind Batman. And the best part? The bomb was fake.
    • The same trope ultimately causes the death of the Animated Series Joker. As revealed in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker kidnapped Tim Drake, the second Robin, and subjected him to torture and a steady stream of mind-altering drugs. He molded him into a "Joker Junior" in order to hurt Batman, and, after gaining the upper hand on the Dark Knight, tossed a lethal trick gun to Robin. Instead of shooting Batman, Robin turned the gun on the Joker and killed him.
      • He really did this two-fold. Batman is obviously not one of the Joker's underlings, but Batman did spend an entire series enduring the latter's verbal and physical assaults and crazy plots while maintaining as calm of a facade as he could. But when the Joker kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake, this sent Batman over the edge. Bruce would've likely had no qualms killing him if Drake hadn't done it first.
    • Harley Quinn also attempted to do this regarding the Joker twice: First was in the episode where he tried to destroy Gotham City with a nuclear device (since he was perfectly willing to abandon the other inmates and their pet hyenas), shooting down his plane with a rocket launcher (which wasn't fake). The second time was when she met Poison Ivy and attempted to kill The Joker for his earlier abuse towards her when it went too far. It's subverted twice: First, when she had the perfect opportunity to kill him when they meet again face to face, it turns out she was using a bang flag gun, and the second time, she ends up just forgiving him when he apologizes, to Poison Ivy's disgust.
    • In Justice League, Superman ends up defeating Darkseid in his final battle, then bringing his battered body to his home planet and then telling the natives to "do as they please" with him. It's subverted, however, in that, despite Darkseid frequently abusing his followers, they end up picking him up and helping him to his castle, much to Superman's shock and horror.
  • At the end of Tokyo Mater, as a result of Kabuto losing to Mater in a drift race, is actually stripped of his modifications and is laughed at by his own ninjas.
  • In WITCH, Cedric gets tired of Phobos' manipulations and swallows him whole. Problem? Phobos had the power of two Hearts, thus Cedric gained a few extra powers, forcing the girls to fight him at the end.
  • The Disney's Aladdin sequel The Return Of Jafar begins and ends with Iago turning his back on Jafar after one insult too many.

"I was a fool to let you run the show/I'm cuttin' ya loose pal, look out below!"

  • A milder example than most occurs in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it has far-reaching consequences and is set up interestingly; Mai's betrayal of Azula to save Zuko catches everyone by surprise, but what nobody sees coming is that Ty Lee takes out Azula with a paralyzing attack from behind and tries to escape with Mai before the guards catch them. This seems a surprising testament to Ty Lee's friendship with Mai, given how cheerfully Ty Lee seemed to go along with Azula's plans, but taken in the context of all the flashbacks of Azula belittling Ty Lee, being extremely jealous of her every success, and not thinking twice to put Ty Lee's life in jeopardy to get what she wants from her, the sudden betrayal may not so much be an impulsive decision to betray one friend to save another as Ty Lee finally overcoming the unholy terror she has of getting on Azula's bad side and attacking her both to save Mai and deliver retribution for what was probably years of abuse at Azula's hands. Ty Lee turning on her leaves Azula so incoherently furious she can't even speak properly for a moment, and shortly after this event, her mind snaps like a twig.
    • Zuko's entire role in the second half of third season is basically this, albeit indirectly.
  • In Young Justice, Sportsmaster aka Lawrence Crock was an abusive dad to his two daughters, Jade and Artemis, and gets a double dose of this in the episode "Usual Suspects." First Artemis fights him and with the help of her teammates traps him, and then Jade, who he'd had an uneasy alliance with, refuses to help him escape and leaves him to be captured.
  • In The Simpsons, when Homer has to take over Smithers' duties to Mr. Burns while Smithers goes on vacation, Homer was frequently met with a large amount of abuse by Mr. Burns. Eventually, he reached his breaking point and ended up punching Mr. Burns in the eye, initially fearing he killed him when he actually survived, but was also deeply traumatized by the event. Smithers chose Homer so Mr. Burns would want Smithers back, but it backfired.
  1. Although the hyenas being responsible for Mufasa's murder was technically true, as the movie implies that Scar didn't consider murdering Mufasa until after Banzai asked sardonically whether Scar should kill Mufasa to become king, and initially only targeted Simba for death.