The Extremist Was Right

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I was away for a few years and I came back to a world in ruins. Death, destruction, chaos, the endless fighting--it was like the Heterodyne Boys had never existed. Things were worse than ever. So I stopped it. And I did it my way this time. No more negotiating. No more promises. No more second chances. And I did it alone. Because I had to.
And it worked.

The scale of morality swings quite a ways, from The Messiah to a Complete Monster, and it gets even more confusing when you factor in Anti Villains and Anti Heroes. But they're all easily defined. The Messiah is the ultimate Neutral Good; an Anti-Villain is a very morally ambiguous villain, and a Well-Intentioned Extremist is someone who does the wrong things for the right reasons—or at least reasons right to his mind.


Not always. Here are the people who everyone, sometimes even the viewers, thought were the Well-Intentioned Extremist or Knight Templar that always clichedly turns out to be wrong — but instead they were completely right about how to go about making the world a better place, and not only are they genuinely working toward a better world, they've actually succeeded in doing so, or else succeed during the course of the story. These are actual genuine examples of that term that so many villains falsely claim to be, necessary evils. At least, they are in the context of the story.

Note: These people succeed.

Compare/contrast Well-Intentioned Extremist, Villain with Good Publicity, Jerkass Has a Point and Necessarily Evil. Also see Poisonous Friend, when an ally of the hero does this so the hero never has to. The Omniscient Morality License is a common result of this trope being mishandled. Often a result of the ending; expect spoilers. Contrast Fascist but Inefficient when a government is both ruthless and incompetent.

No real life examples, please; people are not going to agree on your nominations for extremists who were right all along, and that'll lead to Flame Wars, and nobody will walk away happy.

Examples of The Extremist Was Right include:

Anime and Manga

  • Planetes: The Space Defense Front eventually manages to force the richer nations to the negotiating table, and get a better deal for the poorer nations.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge of Code Geass starts off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge armed with the Geass of Command; by the end, he's not only saved the world from his father's mad scheme to force Assimilation upon all humankind, but he's executed a thoroughly genius gambit to unite the world in peace by becoming the most cruel and brutal dictator of all time, and at the moment of his ultimate triumph, being publicly assassinated by his best friend in the guise of the very hero he himself created.
    • For that matter, the story as is wouldn't have existed if Suzaku hadn't killed his father in the backstory and ensured a Japanese surrender.
  • In the manga version of Death Note, Near acknowledges that Light did in fact reduce the world crime rate by 70% and bring an end to all wars, despite his... unorthodox methods of doing so.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Lordgenome became the Spiral King and killed off most of humanity so the Anti-Spirals wouldn't return and wipe them out. It was working just fine until Simon came along. Not a pleasant state of affairs, but better than extinction.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, HERO TV was started during the early days of NEXT-empowered people, and suffered due to widespread anti-NEXT prejudice. Albert Maverick formed an alliance with the criminal organization Ouroboros, trading technology and resources in exchange for flashier crimes and incidents for the heroes to resolve. The end result was HERO TV becoming massively popular, lasting for over two decades, and the positive exposure of NEXT superheroes led to greater acceptance over time. When he is finally cornered in the last episode he also mentions that Sternbild city was a run-down dump until the sense of security the Heroes provided made it prosperous.
  • If the "Freezing Alchemist" at the start of Fullmetal Alchemist had succeeded, even if it didn't totally stop Father's plan, it may have at least neutralized Wrath.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Sakai Yuji merges with the Snake of the Festival so that they can create a world where Crimson Denizens can live without consuming the Power of Existence of humans (thus killing them and erasing them from existence), thus saving numerous humans, and also ending the threat to the balance of the world, removing their point of contention with the Flame Haze, and finally ending the Forever War. Flame Haze, especially Yuji's love interest Shana, will be able to be more than just tools and walking weapons, but actual people with their own desires. Yuji will actually be able to have a future with Shana that is more than just an endless conflict. To this end, Yuji and the Snake of the Festival are incredibly ruthless. They brutally beat up Shana, seal her power, and traumatize her. They push Margery Daw, one of Yuji's friends and former allies, past the Despair Event Horizon. They prosecute a war that brutally kills off many Flame Haze opposing them. Their underlings are treated as disposable. But they succeed in every last one of their goals, and the world is a much, much better place for it.
  • In Transformers Cybertron, Scourge and his followers seized power for themselves and after a lengthy war managed to bring peace and order to Jungle Planet, whose civilian populace had long suffered at the hands of feuding groups of raiders. This peace brought through tyranny was not perfect (Scourge's old mentor Backstop observes that Scourge's method treats the symptoms but not the cause), but it was vastly preferable to how things had been.
  • Aeolia Shenberg in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 believes that the human race is inherently corrupt and warlike, and must reform itself to get rid of war... by force, if necessary. It takes him and his shadow organization Celestial Being 200 years to put their plans into motion, but it works. By AD 2500, humanity has evolved into a race of telepaths and are completely free of war... all by Celestial Being's manipulations.
    • It's rather peculiar, but this viewpoint is virtually identical to the one held by Char Aznable in Chars Counterattack, except Char's methods were far more destructive and he was portrayed as being very much in the wrong in that film.
  • After being resurrected at the end of Shaman King by Hao and living a few years in the world they were fighting to preserve, most of the heroes agree that he was right and there is nothing they can do about it. The worst part of it is that he sent them back just to show them they were wrong. Played with at the end, because while the heroes admit that the world is much harder to change that they suspected at the beginning, they are still alive and determined to find solutions and fixed it for the better.

Comic Books

  • V for Vendetta averts the trope, implying that the anarchist state V created via his terrorism may turn out to be just as bad a place as the fascist state he overthrew. The film adaptation plays it straight though, with no fear of a possibly dark future portrayed.
  • In Watchmen, also by Alan Moore, Ozymandias' plan to trick the superpowers into peace works initially, but it's Left Hanging whether it's going to last for long. In this case, the movie doesn't differ much.
    • Shortly before the finale (in the comic, anyway), its revealed that the superpowers have both decided that the current tensions are not worth mutual annihilation, and have sat down to negotiate. Ozymandias, busy with carrying out his plan and dealing with the heroes, is unaware of this. So arguably its subverted- he was wrong, because he underestimated humanity's sanity.
  • Doctor Doom. Several times it has been shown that the world might actually be a better place if he ran things, with war, famine, poverty and disease all things of the past in various alternate worlds and timeliness where he has successfully taken over. Latveria, his country, is also a well-functioning society and, despite it's tiny size, a major global power under his rule. This is true also for other comic villains like Magneto or Lex Luthor, but Doom is special because, more than the others, this is one of his core motivations. All three usually end up running an oppressive Police State, of course, to varying degrees but damn it; it's an oppressive Police State that works.
  • As above, Lex Luthor has it in him to be one of the greatest men in all human history and the capacity to solve nearly all the world's problems, most notably in Superman: Red Son where he eventually intitiates a Golden Age lasting millions of years. The hitch? He is so murderously jealous and obsessed with Superman that he won't do any of that until after he kills "the alien", and has frequently endangered the planet trying to do so. And unlike Doom, he doesn't even pretend to himself that if he did this, it would be for humanity's benefit; no, he just likes to show everyone just how much smarter than them he is.
    • After spending a year without powers and out of sight, Superman showed up again and called Luthor on all the great things he didn't do without his nemesis around to "stop" him. "Where's the cancer cure, Lex?"
    • In the older days of the Superman comics, there was an entire planet called Lexor that worshiped Luthor as the greatest hero ever, because he had saved their entire planet. The planet blew up due to Lex shooting at a control tower that kept the planet stabilized. While trying to shoot at Superman. Unwilling to accept his role in destroying his own home and killing his own family, Luthor's hatred of Superman got worse.

Fan Works

  • The Fanfiction Fandom Wars, a multi-universe crossover revolving mostly on characters from or working for the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic world and its Fandom Wars faction. Originally, they intended to stay out of the war, but communication between the Dimensional Rifts distorted messages and ruined their chain of command, allowing a small group of extremist ponies to manipulate their home world into a corner during the fighting, and forcing them to use a weapon that made their universe swallow the others. The sentient inhabitants of Earth are completely wiped out and reborn sometime later as ponies, and, as Captain Pio had said it would, strife and war were all gone because the ideologies of the world before were almost completely wiped out.


  • In Night of the Living Dead, there is a conflict between the survivors. Ben wants to leave the house they are holed up in. Meanwhile, Cooper wants to barricade everyone in the basement. In the end, Ben's plan to escape fails ( largely through the incompetence of Tom and Judy), everyone else dies, and Ben is forced to take shelter in the basement. He survives the night, but ends of getting shot by a posse organized by the local sheriff to kill the zombies.
  • Thor: The Big Bad engineers Thor's banishment to Earth because he felt he was unfit to rule. In the course of his adventures Thor drops his hot-headed Boisterous Bruiser ways, becoming humble and mature. Of course, the intention was to frame him up and rule in his place, but still!
    • Actually, if you pay attention, the original intention was to make it obvious to everyone that Thor was unfit to rule...which, in fairness, he was. After that got out of hand, it caused both a BSOD-level revelation and Odin inconveniently passing out just in time after saying just the wrong things that Loki starts to Go Mad from the Revelation. And then the plan is to set it up so he saved his adoptive father's life and is proven a worthy son. Worthier than the real thing! The determination to kill Thor just kind of slid in there while he was going crazy, and before that his exile was something that just kind of happened.
      • The whole plot 'just kind of happened.' It is the most thrown-together villainous scheme I have ever seen actually operate, probably because it is done by a brilliant prankster and politician while his mind shatters into little tiny pieces.
      • Thor was two movies: A tragedy about Loki's insanity and a combat-heavy rom-com about Thor's maturity. Then they crossed over again and there was a giant robot battle. And it was actually kind of awesome.


  • The Lord Ruler of Mistborn is a dictatorial Evil Overlord ruling as King and God over The Empire, but is also the one force for stability holding humanity together After the End, and the only thing standing between the local Omnicidal Maniac and his goals. The heroes' perspective of him changes throughout the story: During his life, he's viewed as a Complete Monster who needs to go down but after his death, this opinion is gradually revised to that of an Anti-Villain without whom the ultimate victory would not have been possible.
  • Discworld's Lord Vetinari is fond of using this defense as it relates to some of his... odder plans. Commander Vimes, however, notably believes that just because Vetinari's way of doing things may work, doesn't make them right per se.
  • In Daemon, Matthew Sobol appears to be a Complete Monster with his creation causing worldwide panic and chaos. His ultimate goal is a new, better society. Since he is dying from cancer anyway, Matthew is willing to take the fall and become the Complete Monster he believes will be necessary to make it happen. He dies before the books start, never knowing if his plans will succeed or if it will have been worth the cost.
  • The White Council (specifically, the Wardens) in The Dresden Files universe qualify as this in one of their roles. As enforcers of the Laws of Magic, they hunt down and execute any violators after, usually with only a cursory trial. They openly admit that they use execution in preference to other options, such as training or rehabilitation. Harry frequently rants about how unfair and unjust this practice is, but is ultimately forced to admit that their tactics have prevented the rise of innumerable dangerous warlocks over the centuries.
    • A big part of the reason Harry sucks it up is that he knows that black magic, even when used unintentionally, is addictive, and leads to more and more.
  • Ender's Game: Peter Wiggin is cast as a nascent serial killer in the beginning of the series. By the time the third book rolls around he is "Peter the Hegemon," the man who united humanity via Machiavellian politics, the vilification of his own brother Ender ("the Xenocide") and...Sock Puppet bloggers. Yay for sociopathy!
    • It should be noted that Ender was kind of down for the whole vilification thing.
    • The later books do a good job of explaining that. His character in Ender's Game is just what Ender could see - and Peter got some character development. Although The Extremist Was Right is still applicable.
    • Graff and Rackham also have shades of this trope.
    • At the end of Hidden Empire this seems to be the conclusion.
  • This seems to be the defining trait of successful Hands of the King in A Song of Ice and Fire. Tywin Lannister was absolutely ruthless to anyone who dared oppose him, and he successfully kept the peace under King Aerys II for twenty years. In the Tales of Dunk and Egg, Lord Bloodraven was equally ruthless - and managed to stop the Second Blackfyre Rebellion without bloodshed.
    • And the flip-side of that is, the one Hand who relied on morality and honor instead of ruthless effectiveness is also the one whose actions directly led to the death of the king, the resulting shattering of the kingdom and civil war, and indirectly to just about 90% of the deaths that occur in the series.
    • Thats a bit of a simplification of the whole affair. Tywin kept the peace as Hand for Aery's for twenty years 'without doing all that much ruthless persecution, because there wasn't much need to, and sowed the seeds of his own destruction with his behaviour towards his son Tyrion. His most extreme actions, like unleashing Gregor Clegane or orchestrating the Red Wedding ultimately destabalised the country further. Ned Stark's actions did not lead to the death of the King- he was already marked for death long before he came along, and the killer points out all they did was get him more drunk than usual and wait for him to do something stupid as always. Stark's mistake was trusting the local Manipulative Bastard who, its later revealed, murdered his predecessor, betrayed him and later murdered the new King for the express purpose of sending everything to Hell, so at worst Ned just gave him the excuse he was looking for. Ned just trusted the wrong man who, it must be said, has managed to dupe smarter and less noble men than he.
      • Including the aforementioned Tywin Lannister.
    • Tywin tried to justify the Red Wedding this way: a massacre of a few leaders meant a faster end to the war (by at least a year) and far fewer lives lost. In the short run, he was right—the War of the Five Kings was effectively over afterwards. If only that were the end of the bloodshed...
  • The rationale of the Thallonians in Star Trek: New Frontier. The Thallonian Empire brought peace to the warring races of their sector by conquering them all, forcing squabbling factions to settle on different planets, and generally ruling with an iron fist. They were a harsh and often brutal regime...but they did keep the peace. With the empire gone, Si Cwan rightly fears all the old conflicts will start up again, throwing the region into chaos.
  • David Gerrold's Yesterday's Children keeps it ambiguous whether the first officer is insanely chasing a hallucination or conducting a Batman Gambit against an unseen foe. Then it works out just fine in the span of about a page.
  • The Redeker Plan in World War Z was basically a strategy that required the world's governments to use a good chunk of their civilian population as bait to distract the zombie hordes, while the nation's military, industrial and political figures, as well as the rest of the population, regroup in a single safe zone... and it works. Oh, and the plan was originally created by apartheid South Africa to deal with a black revolution.
  • Emperor Ezar in Vorkosigan Saga who first started an unprovoked war and then lost it deliberatelty, in the process almost driving his most loyal and incorruptable supporter into suicide, killing thousands and bringing about the rape of several women as a by-product. The reason? The Emperor believed(not inplausibly) son was so absolutely insane that the only other choice would be to ruin his realm with a bloody civil war just to get rid of him. As the final result was that Barrayar in fact was able to evolve into a period of peace, prosperity, and stability, well one might say he was right. Sort of.
    • It's important to remember two things. One, Ezar was under a serious time pressure as he was terminally ill. And two, that the point was not merely to kill Prince Serg, but to destroy both the entire pro-war faction (that would have led Barrayar into an unsustainable policy of conquest that would get it killed by the galaxy within a generation) and the faction of apparatchik manipulators that would have leapt gleefully into the power vacuum caused by the destruction of the first and led Barrayar into an even worse tyranny than Ezar's. Prince Serg was just the catalyst of the problem because he was an idiot, a psychopath, and completely willing to be used by both of the above parties as a figurehead. So Ezar's solution was launch the first war of conquest that the pro-war party wanted, deliberately arrange for it to fail, make sure Prince Serg dies on the battlefield in the process... and then blame the failure of the war on the machinations and inefficiencies of the court manipulators and let the angry mob kill them. End result: the only troublemakers left for the next generation are ambitious noblemen who might want to usurp the Throne, as every other potential powerbase in Barrayaran politics has imploded. So Ezar can now hand things off to his chosen regent, who is more than up to the job of dealing with said ambitious noblemen (but couldn't hope to cope with all of the above problem sources simultaneously), and let himself die.

Live Action TV

  • Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is this, as are most of the Watchers. They will do anything to stop evil, and it beats the alternative—usually.
  • The Hawaii Five-O episode "The Box" starts off as a criminal's attempt to escape from prison by taking a bunch of hostages and demanding to be let go. However, after McGarrett exchanges himself for one of the hostages, buys more time, and generally keeps him talking, it turns out that he was pushed to this by the genuinely squalid conditions in the prison, and (with a few close calls—he is a criminal waving a gun) he eventually settles for getting the word out, which is apparently a total success.
  • In Deep Space Nine, a secret organization in Starfleet poisons the entirety of the Great Link, a species of shapeshifters who the races of the Dominions see as gods (Or at least rulers). Their reason for this is that The Dominion is the greatest threat The Federation has ever faced, and so genocide would be an acceptable solution to the problem. In a show where every cast member has engaged in highly morally questionable acts in order to do good, every one of them sees this as going too far. And yet, it is only the promise of the cure for the disease that convinces the Founder in charge of the armed forces to surrender peacefully when she is captured. Under any other circumstances, she would have ordered her soldiers to fight to the bitter end, which would have resulted in countless more casualties, in what was already the largest battle in the history of The Federation.
    • Of course Section 31 didn't want the cure to be found. They tried to stop Bashir from finding it and tried to interfere when they thought he had. The Federation Council also could have offered to give the cure to the Founders in exchange for surrender but voted not to. It's only because of Odo's decision to cure the Female Shapeshifter that the war ended, which wasn't the original plan. Also there is the fact that they used Odo as a carrier to spread the disease to the others. Odo had been a long time Federation ally who sided with them against his own people, and they not only infected him but were willing to prevent Bashir from getting the cure to save him. If Odo had died, the war would have gone on a lot longer.

Tabletop Games

  • Traveller: Cleon Zhunastu was a Magnificent Bastard who built the Third Imperium by a series of schemes worthy of the greatest of villains. And the Third Imperium became a Benevolent(sort of) Federation that brought about order and stability.
  • Mage: The Awakening sourcebook Grimorie of Grimories has the Ancient Lands Pentology, a series of popular High Fantasy novels meant to serve as a way to induce Awakening. This would normally call down a legion of Guardians of the Veil, were it not for the fact that it shows promising results, making it something of a holy grail for the Silver Ladder and the Free Council. As a result, the Guardians mainly have to make do with Moral Guardian groups, who are, of course, ignored.
  • In Mage: The Ascension, the Technocracy is generally considered the villain of the setting for imposing their outlook of science on the world, crushing belief in magic, and doing so utterly brutally. Of course, said science allowed the Muggles a "magic" of their own to use, while actual magic includes extra-dimensional and alien horrors. In a setting where belief shapes reality, there is good reason to believe that "reality deviants" could undo the laws of physics. I hope you weren't using those molecular bonds in your torso or planet.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, at the founding of the Camarilla there was concern that the insane Malkavian vampires would become a threat. Six of the most ancient Malkavian vampires sent out a telepathic summons, forcing almost all Malkavians to travel to one town in Eastern Europe. After they had gathered, the same six subjected almost every Malkavian in the world to a systematic Mind Rape to make them less likely to become threats to the Camarilla and more likely to be accepted as members of the group. Potentially, this is how Clan Malkavian became as respected as it is.
  • For all the gripes against the actions of the Bronze Faction (many of which, admittedly, push the boundaries of highly illegal into verging on atrocious), it still needs to be noted that they saved Creation.
    • The same goes for the Scarlet Empress. Sure, she did some pretty bad things to gain control of the Sword of Creation, used it to make herself the undisputed ruler of what she made the most powerful empire in the world, and created a series of oppressive vassel states and a ruling class fixated on self-aggrandizement and low-level infighting, but she also used the Sword to save Creation from the raksha, made sure they could never come back to finish the job, and spared Creation the constant intense (civil) wars that characterised the regime preceding her reign.
  • The Brotherhood from Mutant Chronicles is an oppressive religion that tortures and executes apostates, assassinates threats to its power, demands tithes from everyone, takes children that show signs of abilities the Brotherhood needs from their parents and indoctrinates them for the rest of their lives and suppresses new technology. New religions and certain technologies are invitations for the setting's Big Bad, and the money and talent the Brotherhood gathers give them a lot of power and influence, meaning that there actually is one major power that has the best of ALL humanity at heart.
  • The Imperium of Man in Warhammer 40,000. Yes, it is an unbelievably oppressive totalitarian theocracy that kills hundreds of thousands of its own people every day and exterminates an alien race every week or so, but all of its religious intolerance and fondness for burning suspected witches at the stake is absolutely necessary to give humanity a fighting chance against Chaos.
    • Unfortunately, 40000 is such a Crapsack World that being an Absolute Xenophobe is the only way for humanity to survive...but that hate is also the fuel their worst enemies live on. The only scenario that currently exists for defeating Chaos is if the Necrons wipe out sentient life first.
      • Or hoping the Rhana Dandra is right, and that the Imperium hasn't killed too many Illuminati and Sensei Knights, ensuring the failure of the Long Watch. Oh, and killing the God-Emperor of Mankind so he can be reborn as the Star Child and destroy Chaos by replacing it.

Video Games

  • Command & Conquer: Kane. Despite his genuinely horrifying crimes in the previous games, by the time Tiberian Twilight takes place, his plan is the only one that has any chance of saving the planet. Even the GDI Council bitterly recognizes this.
  • Bhelen of Dragon Age is a backstabbing, dishonourable noble who uses all kinds of underhanded tricks to try and secure the throne of Orzammar, even going so far as to backstab the player in the Dwarven Noble origin. However, if given the crown he uses his position to grant basic rights to the casteless and destroys the venomous system of Dwarven politics by dissolving the Council, becoming a benevolent dictator.
    • Bhelen is just following in his paragonic ancestor's footsteps. Aeducan did something quite similar; while the nobles were all bickering over whose thaig to save from the Darkspawn menace, Aeducan seized control, and sealed off Orzamaar, which effectively saved it at the cost of abandoning the thaigs.
    • Also, the Grey Warden, if he went down the much darker path to uniting the land against the Darkspawn. A lot of innocent people die, but in the end, the people (those who aren't killed by either the Warden or his actions) were united, the Darkspawn army is repelled, and the Archdemon is slain. What's a few thousand dead when compared to the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, who would have died if the Darkspawn had not been stopped?
      • Though that's not a necessary evil. After all, you can accomplish the same without maiming a tenth of the population.
  • City of Heroes: Emperor Marcus Cole in the universe of Praetoria can be viewed as this - he saved the world, and he took it over to keep it safe from petty wars and chaos. To some, he is a true hero, or at least a Necessary Evil... Of course, to others he is known by a different name entirely: Tyrant.
  • Sydney Losstarot of Vagrant Story. He wants to save the world by creating an heir to the power of The Dark, thus keeping it out of the hands of the people who would abuse it.
  • An example shows up in Tales of Phantasia, but it's not that game's villain who gets vindicated. It's the villain of the game's Prequel, Tales of Symphonia. Symphonia Big Bad Yggdrasil created the dual-world system, deprived both sides of mana, and stuck the worlds in a state of Medieval Stasis in order to prevent Magitek proliferation, which he believed would lead to another great war of the same type that destroyed civilization when he was a child. In Phantasia you come cross the ruins of magitek civilizations dating after the events of Symphonia. Logs show that, you guessed it, without Yggdrassil's system, civilization destroyed itself in a Magitek war and underwent a Cataclysm Backstory, sticking the world right back in Medieval Stasis.
  • In Wild ARMs 2, it turns out that the game's entire plot was part of a Genghis Gambit by Irving, all so that he'd have the opportunity to sacrifice himself and his sister to create a physical body for an encroaching parallel universe, which the heroes would then kill. He succeeds in saving the entire universe (and probably countless others), but leaves the heroes wondering whether what just happened counts as a "win".
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The very brutal empire known as Caesar's Legion successfully unified eighty-six warring tribes and turned it into a safe regime for its subjects. Safe does not mean free, except if you have a dick and don't have a slave collar.
    • The NCR has heavy taxes, often would rather shoot first and ask questions later and limits water to a point were most barely have any to drink but its one of the best places to live.
  • In his route of Yggdra Unison, Gulcasa conquers the world, becomes the first Emperor (read: dictator) of the Grand Bronquian Empire, and proceeds to rip down class barriers and save the weak and the poor. Thousands of years later, Bronquia is still going strong, and Gulcasa is a beloved historical figure. (It helps that Gulcasa is Gulcasa.)
  • The end result of the first Prototype story was chiefly due to internal forces conspiring within Blackwatch to subtly manipulate Alex into doing what they could not overcome on their own, and hence fulfilling their mandate.
  • The final DLC of Mass Effect 2 has Shepard being forced to detonate a Mass Relay and sacrifice an entire solar system of three-hundred-thousand people in order to slow down the arrival of the Reapers. While this works, the rest of the Galaxy considers the Reapers to be a myth, while the upper echelons of power discredit Shepard as delusional or worse. Mass Effect 3 will begin with Shepard discharged and going to trial for his/her actions, only to be proved right by the Reapers invading Earth... Its expected there will multiple Oh Crap moments all around, particularly from a certain air-quoting Turian Councillor.
    • Actually, by the time we get to see the Council for the first time in the third game, the invasion is well underway, so we unfortunately miss their initial shocked/horrified reactions to the fact that Shepard was right all along. And the Turian Councilor Sparatus ends up being the first of the Councilors to offer Shepard aid in the form of vital intel.
    • As a corollary to that, The Illusive Man. Indoctrinated though he may have been, his belief in controlling the reapers is one of the three ways Shepard can choose to save the galaxy. Additionally, the 'Control Reapers' Ending is the only one wherein the Citadel isn't blown to smithereens, thus saving countless lives. Well, assuming that it wasn't all a dream anyway.
      • The Illusive Man is also absolutely correct in how unfair, corrupt, and anti-human the galactic power structure is and how humanity's only hope to get an even break is to cheat like mad bastards, right up to the point where the Council explicitly abandons the Alliance to die in order to buy more time to save themselves in the opening act of Mass Effect 3. Indeed, were it not for the fact that Cerberus' goals went beyond 'Beat the cheaters and earn humanity a fair opportunity' to 'Eventually reduce all other races to humanity's vassals' and then Cerberus being Indoctrinated by the Reapers, it would have been effectively impossible for the series to actually keep Cerberus as an antagonist faction in the endgame.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Maelon, a former student of Mordin's, is revealed to be conducting brutal experiments on live test subjects in an attempt to develop a cure to the Genophage. After dealing with him, Shepard is given the choice of whether to either preserve the data or to destroy it. However, the data becomes vitally important in the third game to ensuring the survival of the last fertile female Krogan.


  • Emperor Scientist Baron Klaus Wulfenbach of Girl Genius rules over all of Europa with an iron fist (the former Trope Namer: "and it worked"), because the alternative--Sparks running around everywhere and attacking each other—is worse. Especially with the Sparks' unsettling tendency to become this trope's worse cousin...
    • A big part of the reason it worked is that his empire is not a Byzantine clusterfuck like most empires. All "The Baron's Peace" demands is "Don't Make Me Come Over There". Which covers only two things: starting wars and possessing the Lost Technology left behind by The Other. He also heavily supports and sponsors the infrastructure of his empire with his technology.
    • Tarvek shows the same tendency, though so far hasn't had an opportunity to apply it on a large scale: "I'm not proud of that, but time was running out. And I did it!". However, it's more a subversion of the trope, as though he succeeded at first, Laser-Guided Karma eventually hit him hard, and plans similar to his own plans to rule Europa are falling apart around his ears.
    • Subverted in recent editions of the comic, despite the fact that Klaus was the original Trope Namer. Now that Klaus is incapacitated and/or dead, the Long War has resumed, perhaps even more violently, as rulers squabble over pieces of Klaus' empire. How this will actually shake out remains to be seen, but the Aesop seems to be that all dictatorships, even benevolent ones, only last as long as they have a strong leader to keep everyone in line.
      • Not necessarily; the end result of the war may be a new empire under Agatha, Gilgamesh and Tarvek, who may be able to permanently stabilize Europa, which would provide the happy ending the comic may be going towards (as well as being totally awesome).
      • Also, in fairness to the Baron he was entirely aware of the above problem and had spent more time and effort on preparing his successor (and preparing him very well, as it turned out) than anything else. The only reason the Baron's precautions here were not fully successful in this regard was due to an entire series of black swan events and catastrophes that no one could be reasonably faulted for failing to anticipate unless they were the Kwisatz Haderach.
  • Petey from Schlock Mercenary: He is trying to keep organic lifeforms in the galaxy from exterminating themselves by dealing with the big threats to their existence for them (because they lack the will and power to do so), not caring a whit how many organic toes he has to step on in the process of doing it.
    • For that matter, the Gatekeepers suppressing teraport technology for millions of years and killing off several thousand times the Milky Way's population in gate clones worked in appeasing said Omnicidal Maniacs and keeping them from destroying the whole thing. It is a very fortunate thing for all involved that by the time our heroes (inadvertently) re-invent the teraport and challenge the Gatekeepers, they also prove potent enough to stave off the threats the Gatekeepers were protecting them from.

Web Original

  • Lord Doom, one of the biggest of the big bads of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe used mercenary soldiers and supervillains to drive out the British government from Bermuda and take over the island as his own kingdom. He rules it with an iron fist and its people have very little in the way of civil rights as most Americans know them. That said, twenty years after the conquest, the island has pretty much a 0% poverty rate, infant mortality rate, and illiteracy rate. The average life span of one of Doom's subjects is close to a hundred years due to medical advances made by the Super Villain, and nearly all adults have a college education. The takeover was intended to give Doom a "social laboratory" in preparation to his eventual conquest of the world, and it worked!
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall videos, Lord Vyse has been going from universe to universe to stop "the entity" by imposing dictatorial rule when many of them didn't believe him about the danger. He's been rather successful in his attempts, finally trapping it in Linkara's universe.

Western Animation

  • While Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Agent Bishop has done a lot to earn the turtles' ire, and is generally an unscrupulous bastard, there's little doubt that he's generally very good at his job of protecting Earth from alien invasion, and has managed to do it for more than two hundred years.
  • In the 10 year anniversary episode of Powerpuff Girls, Mojo-jojo finally takes over the world, and he ends world hunger, wars, and disease...with absolutely no consequences. The Powerpuff Girls apologize for stopping him all those years, but he eventually gets bored and decides to cause mayhem so he can fight them again.
  • The Justice Lords, a Knight Templar Alternate Universe equivalent to the Justice League, revoked their Thou Shalt Not Kill dogma, removed free speech, united all world governments under their rule and lobotomised all their supervillains (and, reading between the lines, possibly a few rebellious superheroes as well). Their world is bright and clean and has no crime or war, and the Justice Lords keep constant surveillance over the world to the degree that even natural disasters cause minimal casualties. The episode they appears in is even called "A Better World". The end result is the victory of the 'traditional' heroes when the Justice Lords attempt to clean up the League's Earth (out of what appears to be nothing more than the goodness of their hearts) and the message that 'sometimes Utopia Doesn't Justify The Means', but the writers professed the occasional trouble at giving the League the obvious moral high ground.
    • It's A Better World alright... as long as you don't complain too loudly about your meal at a restaurant, then the police drag you away for disturbing the peace. Not to mention there are no more free elections as shown when a blatant George Bush expy begs the Justice Lord Superman to allow them again and student protestors flee from the sight of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern. The episode skips over the actual conquering of the alternate Earth, but it probably wasn't pretty if the reactions of their constituents are any indication and the world is only safe from everything except the "heroes" themselves. For example, Justice Lord Superman keeps Lois under house arrest until she can see the "bigger picture." If he'd do that to the love of his life, what would he do to an average guy on the street that got on his nerves?
  • Parodied in a fantasy episode of The Simpsons. Bart as David looses to Goliath (Nelson) and spends years training for a rematch while Goliath sets himself up as king. When David finally returns and defeats Goliath, the locals angrily tell him that Goliath was the greatest king they had ever had, building hospitals and schools and ending hunger and unemployment. They form a mob to take revenge on David.