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He was trying to kill them at the time, but this happened instead.

Basically, the heroes have a problem. It could range from personal, to being vital in their quests. Then a villian does something that unintentionally fixes this problem.

Sometimes it can be a single act. Sometimes it can be just one too many moves The Chessmaster makes, and the villain becomes his/her/its very own Spanner in the Works.

Say the Evil Overlord decides to smash the hero's Orphan's Plot Trinket just For the Evulz, and then it turns out that trinket was a Power Limiter that the hero wasn't able to break himself, and how The Hero lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the overlord.

Or say, it's a failed Kick the Dog; the villain intends to do evil but accidentally causes good, as if one kicked the dog in a way that fixed that dog's misaligned backbone. This is usually Played for Laughs. Sometimes the Minion with an F In Evil is responsible for this version.

This trope on its own just has the villain do this independently of the heroes. If the heroes trick the villain into fixing their problem, then this trope combines with either Briar Patching or a Batman Gambit.

Compare Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, Hoist by His Own Petard, Two Rights Make a Wrong (those two when the villain's defeat is directly caused by self), Villain Ball, Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, Poke the Poodle, Phlebotinum Rebel (when the villain creates the hero).


  • Pokémon's Team Rocket has had a few moments of this, such as when Delibird accidentally healed a critically wounded Pikachu.
  • In Digimon, BlackWarGreymon is nearly destroyed when he slams Angemon into a holy artifact, causing Angemon to evolve/Digivolve into the stronger Holy Angemon/MagnaAngemon and nearly suck him into his Gate Of Destiny. Vamdemon/Myotismon was strong enough to beat all seven of the Chosen Children/DigiDestined and could have done so, if he hadn't spent so much time searching for the eighth, and allowing her to find her Digimon. Devimon accidentally triggers the one Digimon that could beat him into evolving/Digivolving by threatening its partner's life.
    • It gets even more ironic considering Vamdemon/Myotismon that he trained Tailmon/Gatomon to begin with and brought her to the human world, allowing her to meet her partner. He then kills Wizardmon directly in front of her, allowing her to evolve into the one Digimon predestined to kill him. If he's just left her wondering the Digital World, he'd have won.
    • Piemon/Piedmon of the Dark Masters falls here. In taking his sadistic pleasure in dealing with the Chosen Children/DigiDestined, he causes Angemon to finally evolve into MagnaAngemon who proceeds to undo his magic, allowing the DigiDestined to kick his butt, ending with him being sucked into the Gate of Destiny...which, considering Digimon live forever unless they're killed, was a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, part of the Big Bad's plan is to get Sakura (and friends) to walk the multiverse and collect physical memories by scattering Sakura's own memory-feathers, so she'd have to find them all again. This eventually proves somewhat counterproductive to his own plan, when the two Sakuras use their immense power of the magical feathers themselves, which makes them now practically invincible- Oh Crap.
  • In Dragon Ball Z , Freeza had survived a Spirit Bomb, the heroes were out of battle power, and Piccolo had just been given a near-fatal injury. Just for fun, Freeza decides to implode Kuririn. Unfortunately for him, this triggered Goku's rage enough that he was able to turn into a Super Saiyan. Freeza then gets his ass handed to him. Oops.
    • And again when Cell tries pressing Gohan's Berserk Button. He uses his Cell Juniors to pound the Z-Warriors to hell. This, along with him crushing Android #16's head right in front of him causes Gohan to reach Super Saiyan 2. Big mistake, Cell.
      • Although he wanted to see his ultimate form, so is this more of invoked?
        • Since Cell wanted to see Gohan's ultimate form, it overlaps with Be Careful What You Wish For. Which makes Cell even more idiotic because at least Frieza and the audience at the time didn't know that it would lead to the Super Saiyan transformation; with Cell, it's like adding fuel to a fire that could engulf you.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Brron. He thought by killing Juudai's friends, he would be able to defeat Juudai. Instead, it unleashes Juudai's Unstoppable Rage and the secret powers of darkness within him and Brron gets stomped flat. Then Juudai goes on to be an even bigger villain himself. Thanks, Brron! Couldn't have saved the world without you!
  • Note to V.V. from Code Geass. When you send out an assassin, make sure he has no unrequited loyalties to the matriarch of the target. You just might have a Heel Face Turn in the works.
    • Had V. V. not murdered Marianne, Lelouch may have never stumbled upon his parents' Ragnarok Connection plan.
      • Hell, had V.V. not murdered Marianne, the entire plot would never have come to pass.
    • And when assigning a loyal assassin to act as a safeguard against possibly rebellious people that you're using in some diabolical plot under the cover of being their sibling... Don't make their cover so good that even they forget that they aren't a loyal, loving brother.
  • In Space Pirate Mito, Aoi wears a bracelet that he believes is a good luck charm and the audience is lead to believe is the key to a powerful weapon. He also starts having random bursts of powerful energy when the bad guys attack. Near the end of the series, Ranban removes this bracelet and tells Aoi it was an enhancer that brought out his powers, making him helpless without it. Cue Aoi causing an explosion with power even greater than he used before, and Mito telling Ranban that the enhancer was actually a limiter to keep Aoi's powers in check.
  • Sesshomaru from Inuyasha has a tendency to inadvertently help Inuyasha almost every time he fights him. He attempt at obtaining Tessaiga for himself led to Inuyasha getting it (and Sesshomaru losing an arm), and his subsequent attempts to take or later destroy it led Inuyasha learning how to use the Wind Scar.
    • Admittedly, after the first few instances it becomes increasingly difficult to tell how much of what Sesshoumaru does with regards to Inuyasha is this trope and how much of it is actually I Was Just Passing Through.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Shinobu Sensui kills Yusuke toward the end of the Chapter Black saga, causing him to come back from the dead as a super-demon and kick ass on a nearly-cosmic level. Especially funny since it follows directly after a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, when said hero insisted on fighting Sensui at his full, Shinobu strength, so he could have a good fight, rather than wiping the floor with 'I Do The Sick Work' Kazuya and saving the world.
    • In the Dark Tournament arc Toguro "kills" Kuwabara so Yusuke will be able to fight at 100%, somewhat subverted because he knew exactly what he was doing and would probably end up losing.
    • Ironically, Sensui wanted to die at the hands of a demon, so his actions worked out perfectly.
    • Yeah, one of the big themes from the moment Younger Toguro appears is the concept of what is more important: Victory or the fight itself. Pretty much everyone does this to some degree, and about 75% of them were intentional.
  • In Naruto, Pain has Naruto utterly beaten, pinned to the ground and paralyzed. When Hinata jumps in to try and save Naruto, Pain blows her away, knocking her out. Then, just to make a point about suffering (or possibly just to be a dick), he stabs her, apparently fatally. This triggers Naruto's Unstoppable Rage, going straight to 6-tailed form for the first time, Do Not Pass Go-style, then eventually to 8-tails, and tempted to go fully to 9. Presumably Pain thought he could win, since his ability was keeping Naruto paralyzed and with disrupted chakra. He would have been dead wrong if the 4th Hokage's safeguard hadn't brought Naruto back from the brink but even so it directly brought about his own defeat by freeing and reempowering Naruto.
    • Mizuki's attempt to get Naruto to steal the scroll for him by promising to let him graduate if he learned a technique off of it ended up helping Naruto learn the Shadow Clone Jutsu, which comes into play in most of his other techniques, and enabled him to graduate from the academy despite the fact that his promise was insincere.
  • The anime of Soul Eater has this happen at least twice during the Gecko Ending: Mifune causes Black Star to get an Eleventh-Hour Superpower and a round of Heroic Resolve after killing him in a Single-Stroke Battle (though in that case said sequence part was lifted from a part of the manga that took place under some different circumstances); later Asura does this to Death the Kid by stabbing him to death in the middle of his Transformation Sequence.
    • The equivalent moment in the manga for Kid fits the trope - Mosquito Curb Stomping him triggers his questionable Super Mode, but Black Star's final fight with Mifune does not. Black Star had already been 'fixed' by his negotiation with Nakatsukasa/Masamune and the Single Stroke Battle sequence which ends his fight specifically, IIRC, does not involve an Super Mode.
  • In Mirai Nikki, the sixth diary holder, Tsubaki plants a "Take That!" Kiss upon protagonist Yukiteru right in front of his Yandere partner, Yuno. Cue Death Glare. Thinking everything's gravy, Tsubaki checks her diary and sees that it predicts her imminent death. Oh Crap.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Major Armstrong is injured in his fight against Sloth, until Sloth delivers a blow accidentally popping his shoulder back into place, giving Armstrong his second wind.
    • Though Armstrong probably deliberately placed him so that Sloth would attack in such a spot that his shoulder popped back.
    • During Roy Mustang's raid on Central City, he takes Mrs. Bradley hostage. The soldiers sent after him are told to kill everyone except him, since the villains need him for their plans. The fact that the military is willing to kill Mrs. Bradley makes it easier for Mustang's group to win the support of the populace, and suggest that the Central city soldiers they're opposing are fighting against the current regime.
    • Envy decides to gloat about killing Hughes. To Roy, the victim's best friend. Who can throw fire around. That was a really bad idea.
    • Pride would've assimilated Ed's body, if he hadn't made a point about Homunculi superiority at the wrong moment, causing Kimblee to stop him because he really doesn't like hypocrites. Speaking of which, eating Kimblee was also a bad idea in hindsight, since he proved to be crazy enough to retain his identity after being absorbed into Pride's Philosopher's Stone.
    • But bigger and longer in the making than all of the above would have to be Hoenheim himself. It was because of the series Big Bad, Dwarf in the Flask (AKA: Father) saving him from becoming human sacrifices along with the rest of Xerxes and splitting the philosopher's stone created from the people of Xerces, subsequently extending Hoenheim's lifespan well beyond its natural end, as thanks for being the reason he even exists, as Hoenheim's blood was used by an alchemist to create Dwarf in the Flask, Hoenheim never would have had the opportunity to set up the giant reverse transmutation circle that gave the heroes the chance they needed to fight back in the end or to eventually father Al and, more to the point, Ed, who would be the ones to ultimately foil his plot.
  • In Pokémon Special, there seriously should've been no way for Sapphire to come out on top when in an airtight Drowning Pit. The bad guy there with her (who provided himself a means to breathe) could have simply waited a couple minutes until she ran out of air. But no, he provided her with the means and time to escape by bringing out his Sharpedo, letting her break its teeth off, and not noticing her using said teeth to cut open a hole in the wall. Needless to say, he got owned pretty damn badly.
  • In Sonic X's third series the Metarex kidnap Sonic's friends in order to blackmail him into revealing all his abilities to them. Given that Sonic was on a superpowered crazy kick thanks to Dark Chaos Emeralds littering the building at the time, this turned out to be an even worse idea for them than threatening Sonic's friends usually is. Whether the good guys or the bad guys won, it looked bad for everyone. It's Eggman and his allies who burst in, destroy the attacking Metarex, save Sonic's friends while nobody's looking and ends with Eggman of all people reprimanding Sonic for losing his temper.
  • The witch hunter Sastre in Witch Hunter Robin beats Robin to the fragment of wisdom, which increases a Craft user's power beyond what is controllable (she had this object previously, but it was lost because she couldn't use it safely). He and Robin have a confrontation and he's winning... until he destroys the object, at which time the wisdom within it gives Robin the power they feared her getting all along.
  • Kyubey in Puella Magi Madoka Magica pushes Madoka to make a contract with him, and make a wish, because he knows she will make an extremely powerful magical girl. In the process of trying to break her, he reveals the existence of magical girls throughout humanity's history, and that they all died in despair. When she finally agrees to the contract, her awareness of the suffering that has happened in the past drives her to force through a Cosmic Retcon - which Kyubey has no choice but to grant. On top of that, the only reason she's so powerful in the first place is because he granted Homura's wish to save Madoka in such a fashion as to send Homura off on her quest through alternate universes, each of which adds a bit more to Madoka's power...
  • In Shakugan no Shana, during Season 2, Hecate, one of the villains, infiltrates the school that Yuji is going to through a sort of poorly disguised covert agent named Konoe. Konoe then tries to get close to Yuji, much to the consternation of Shana and Yoshida. While gathering feelings and emotions, one thing that Konoe discovers is that birds seem attracted to her, and she often reaches out with her hand to let them land, making her happy. Later on, this comes back to bite Hecate in the behind when said memory inside the Statue of Pride triggers when it sees Shana flying towards it, looking like a little bird. Instead of attacking her like it had been, the statue instead reached out with its hand, allowing Shana and Yuji the opening they needed to reclaim the Reiji Maigo from it, as well as defeating said statue. Cue Hecate looking on in shock and wondering exactly what just happened.
  • Muhyo and Roji, after their time apart, are faced with the task of getting their office back from Goryo's group. Luckily, around this time, Ark kidnaps Goryo, and after Muhyo and Roji save him from Ark, Goryo returns their office in return.
  • In episode 19 of Magical Project S, Ramia has transformed Misao into Misa in the day where her father comes to visit her. Her plan not only fails, but also leads Sasami and Misao to have angst of discovering their magical girl identities.
  • In the "Deicide" arc of Bleach, Big Bad Aizen destroys the cleaner that patrols the Precipice World between the living world and the Soul Society. Because the Precipice World has heavily dilated time, this gives Ichigo the chance to train and develop his ultimate technique. Aizen later reveals that he did this on purpose, in the hopes of creating someone who could match him. It works.
    • Just before during The Lust chapters, you have Ulquiorra beating Uryu within an inch of his life. In front of Orihime. And Ichigo's corpse. Knowing full well of Ichigo's hollow side. Granted, he didn't think he would come back to life, but hey. Even more, when Orihime tries to heal / revive Ichigo, he mocks her, which causes the poor girl a screaming Heroic BSOD. . . which is what actually brings him back to life because he promised to protect Orihime on Rukia's behest and he will do it no matter what...
  • In episode 4 of Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!, a thief breaks into the school where Hakone and Iono attend. He steals both the student council's funds, along with Iono's gift to Sento, Hakone's brother. Plug and Sento decide to help Iono out of her depression by trying to find the thief, but have no luck whatsoever. Arresta, a coworker/rival of Plug, meanwhile watches them a little bit, then decides that while its noble of him to help her out, she's got a job to do. She decides to continue her job of zapping people, and one of the people she zaps suddenly decides he's going to turn himself in. Although she's wondering what the heck she just did, she inadvertently caught the thief and helped recovered the stolen money and Iono's gift.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, Mr Maverick pats Kaede on the head when he meets her, unwittingly transferring his memory-altering power to her. This later allows her to restore the memories that Maverick had scrubbed from the heroes as part of his plot to frame Kaede's father for murder. Thanks, Mr. Villain!
  • This trope becomes Ren Sohma's perdition in Fruits Basket. The point of Ren's bet with Akito to not erase Tohru's memories was to allow the Zodiac to gravitate towards a stranger and away from Akito (aka "God"), proving to Akito that the bond between the Zodiac and God was false and that no one truly loved her, thereby pushing her into the Despair Event Horizon. The end result was the breaking of the Zodiac curse... but also Akito pulling a Heel Face Turn thanks to Tohru... and Ren being left with nothing but her rage.

Comic Books

  • In the first story arc of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, the villain gets hold of the amulet containing the hero's power, and during the climactic battle (which he was winning anyway) he decides to destroy it, figuring that will leave the hero powerless and easy to defeat. Instead, destroying the amulet merely releases the power, which flows back into the hero, making him more powerful than he was before...
  • In the Tournament Arc of Knights of the Dinner Table, the knights get a bunch of "Doomsday" dice by rubbing their dice against the dead body of the guy who made the game. Only they end up cursing their dice, every dice in their possession and every dice of every friend they lent dice to, meaning the dice now produce the worst results possible, making just about anything a critical fumble. Everyone on the Knight's team was given this and they seemed to be in a hopeless position as they face their Smug Snake rival team... except she reveals she learn of their "advantage" and EBay'd some of the dice, believing they were blessed and very ironically leveling the playing field.
  • The Hulk's raison d'etre: if you're going to kill him, at least try to make him happy about it. This makes Ultimate Nick Fury Dangerously Genre Savvy since he did JUST THAT. Pity Loki intervened.
    • The Onslaught saga springs to mind... "And Hulk is ANGRY!!!!"
  • The XXXenophile short Wish fulfillment starts with the heroine being defeated by a usurping general who declares that "henceforth you shall be my captive flower". This gives the Literal Genie who granted her three wishes before the option to grant "my captive flower" 3 wishes as well.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Soapy Slick would have managed to steal Scrooge's mine, but he decided to humiliate him, read his mail aloud and joke about his mother's death. No one knows exactly what happened after that, except that somehow a piano flew through the window, the steamboat exploded, and Soapy Slick ended up in jail.

Fan Works

  • In the Deva Series, the Al Hantheans were an unknown factor. Only the Yagami Academy and the Circles were unambiguously aware of the threat they posed to Earth; other nations and parties might have considered trying for non-aggression or even collusion. Then they tried to kill off Noriko and the Japanese Imperial family, hoping to take one of Earth's nations and one of Hayate's fighters out of the picture. However, the attempt did not completely succeed, and with their villainy exposed, the survivor gave a speech that will probably rally the nations of Earth into properly uniting against them. One of the higher-up villains even does some Lampshade Hanging on this.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, assuming that Dark is the hero, L does this when he shoots and kills Light, but accidentally revives him with the Life Note. Light then seeks out L for revenge, enabling Dark to trick them into killing each other.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Discord's Mind Rape of the Mane Cast before his downfall leads to the entire Mane Cast becoming better off than before hand, with such things happening as Applejack becoming a Living Lie Detector and Pinkie Pie becoming much more Crazy Awesome than normal by performing a Split Personality Merge and healing herself of a serious mental condition, which wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it. Not only that, but thanks to him the Mane Cast gets two Sixth Rangers and new Elements of Harmony, one of which he made himself.
  • Ponies Make War: Near the latter end of the story, Titan captures Twilight Sparkle during an attack on the Loyalists' base and proceeds to torture her. But in the process of doing so, he causes her split personalities to fuse back together and restore her full power. This proceeds to really, really, backfire on him.
  • In the Mai-HiME fic Stain, Nao tells Shizuru that her killing her mother enabled the Reset Button that happened in the last episode to bring her out of her coma in addition to resurrecting her.


  • In Captain America: Civil War, Baron Zemo used Bucky to kill the conflict revolving around the Sokovia Accords, replacing it with a Bucky-centric conflict. While most argue that this is a case of Debate and Switch, he actually did the Marvel Cinematic Universe a huge favor. If the comics are any indication (especially What If?: Annihilation and Secret Invasion), having the Accords be at the center of the conflict would've left the MCU even less prepared for Thanos, and the consequences would have been even more catastrophic. 
  • Superman II. In an overlap with Batman Gambit, Supes confides in Lex a means to De-Power the escaped Kryptonians and save Earth. Something that is in Luthor's interests since they've repeatedly shown they care nothing for him or honoring their deals. Of course, Lex betrays Supes and tells them the plan... but instead, he's actually been tricked by Superman and helped him depower them! It seems Lex is so predictably evil, Supes could count on him always being his own Starscream.
  • In The Incredibles, the Omnidroid trying to rip Mr. Incredible apart actually fixes the crick in his back, getting him back in the fight.
    • Syndrome does this when he first meets Mr. Incredible. He has the hero captured and helpless in his "zero point energy" field. But he can't resist tossing him around and gesturing dramatically during his "I win" speech and accidentally flings him away. Although he is captured again later, it is this that allows Mr. Incredible to discover Syndrome's evil plan.
    • Syndrome programmed the Omnidroid to adapt to any situation. Then he arrogantly stopped during his fight with it to boast to the bystanders, giving the robot the time to figure out it was being controlled by Syndrome's bracelet. It then removed it from him, and the heroes used it to destroy the robot.
  • UHF: In an earlier scene, R.J. Fletcher gives a penny to a panhandler, who thanks him sincerely. It turns out that the penny was extremely rare and valuable, so the panhandler was able to sell it for enough money to buy several shares in the station Fletcher was trying to close down.
    • The panhandler was also able to buy a really neat watch. It's a Rolex™!
    • Brick Joke: When George gave the filthy-looking man some change, the fellow thanked him and gave George a dollar bill back. He wasn't a panhandler at all, just a very dedicated coin collector.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the protagonist, Sing, is rewarded for his Heel Face Turn... by getting his face beaten into a pulp by The Beast. This however, clears up his chi flow, turning him into a true Kung Fu master, and he soundly defeats the Axe Gang and The Beast.
  • In the Ghost Rider movie, Ghost Rider is unable to use his penance stare on Blackheart because Blackheart doesn't have a soul. Then Blackheart absorbs a thousand damned souls into himself. The Rider proceeds to render him catatonic.

Ghost Rider: "A thousand souls to burn! Look into my eyes!"
Blackheart: *realizing his mistake far too late* "NOOOOOO!"

    • In another example, in both comics and the movie, the demon Mephisto convinces Johnny Blaze to sell his soul, turning him into the Ghost Rider. Of course, Ghost Rider ends up rebelling and fighting evil. Like a Badass Out of Hell.
  • Scar has Simba utterly on the ropes in The Lion King and is about to knock him off the edge of a cliff, when he insists on making a But Before You Die speech... freeing Simba from the guilt he had been carrying around and giving him the heroic resolve needed to stop Scar. D'oh!
    • Later, when trying to bargain with Simba for his life, some hyenas are about to help him. Then he goes and ruins it by trying to scapegoat the hyenas, making them back away in anger. Not only does this mean that he has to fight Simba without any backup, but it also gets him torn to ribbons by a pack of justly angry hyenas.
  • In the first Back to The Future film, Marty and George's plan to make Lorraine fall for George goes awry when Biff shows up and tries to have his way with Lorraine. Although intimidated, George stands his ground against Biff. He tries to throw a punch, but Biff intercepts it, then begins twisting his arm. Lorraine tries to intervene, but Biff forcefully pushes her aside. After he does so, he laughs. This gives George the resolve he needs to punch Biff out and later, win Lorraine's heart.
    • For that matter, Marty's original plan- pretending to have his way with Lorraine, only for George to jump in and play Superman - was failing hard because Lorraine wanted to jump him. Biff's intervention unwittingly set things back on course.
  • In the live-action Popeye movie, the eponymous sailor-man hates spinach, so Bluto force feeds him an entire can, just to be mean. You can probably guess what happens next.
  • In Disney's Hercules, Hades had succeeded in rendering Hercules unable to stop him from taking over the universe, not because he robbed him of his strength, but because he revealed that his Love Interest Meg was working for him, thus breaking his spirit. Then he had to go and send a cyclops to destroy him before his strength came back. By doing this, Meg went after Phil, who convinced Herc not to give up. Then the icing on the cake was that Meg got fatally injured, which broke the deal, causing the hero to get his strength back, allowing him to stop Hades.
    • Not to mention when Meg died, Hades offered to trade her soul in exchange for Herc's, if he could get her out of the fatal river Styx. Unfortunately, this was just the deed Herc needed to reclaim his godhood, thus allowing him to save Meg and send Hades flying into the river Styx. Major ouch.
      • Actually, none of this could've happened if Hades hadn't sent Meg to discover what Hercules weakness was, thus resulting in the two falling in love. The icing on the cake was that he released Meg from her Deal with the Devil with him, thus enabling her to help the good guys stop him.
    • Also, there was the fact that Hercules was considered a zero to everyone in Thebes and didn't have a chance at starting his path to become a true hero, until Hades started sending his monsters to kill Herc. With each monster Herc defeated, he became more famous. Man, Hades did more fixing than breaking throughout the whole movie!
    • Actually, when you think about it, none of this would've happened if Hades hadn't tried to kill Herc when he was a baby in the first place. Everything he did was to prevent the coming of a prophecy which said that Hercules would ruin his plans to rule the universe. However, instead of letting things play out on their own and waiting to see if Hercules would indeed grow up to be the threat he is said to be destined to be, Hades tries to get rid of him immediately, which sets off a chain of events which makes the dude exactly what Hades was afraid of. Basically, Hades had created a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.[1]
  • At the musical finale in ~Cats Don't Dance~, Spoiled Brat Darla Dimple attempted to sabotage the performance of the animals who could threaten her career. However, each of her sabotage attempts only made the performance a bigger hit, thus ensuring the animals careers.
    • Then she went and screamed at the animals about the accident she caused and framed them for, thus clearing their names and resulting in her and her career literally going through the floor.
  • In the non-existent Highlander II the Quickening, General Katana, for no good reason, sends his mooks to try and kill Connor MacLeod decades after he becomes mortal because he's worried Connor would return to try and kill him. During the altercation with the mooks, Connor beheads one of them and as a result, regains his immortality, and becomes young again. Katana then comes to Earth to face Connor directly, only for Connor to tell him he was looking forward to growing old and dying, and that this asshole has now given him a reason to try and kill him.
    • Hell, one of his Mooks even points out how pointless this is:

Katana: You leave for the planet Earth immediately. Find MacLeod and kill him.
Mook: But I thought you said MacLeod was mortal and could never return.
Katana: [smacks Mook] Find MacLeod. Kill him.


 Spoony: General Katana is a fucking idiot! Of course, MacLeod's not gonna go back to Zeist, who the fuck would want to go back to that shithole alone, with all his enemies waiting there for him? Even if he was going back, he would have gone back immediately after winning the Prize when he could still fight, not forty years later as an old man. And even if he did do that, you could easily just kill him! He's the one guy you easily defeated the first time you fought! Even nimrod here figured this out, and you hit him in the face for it. We wouldn't even have a movie if you'd just stayed at home, played some Nintendo, and let the poor bastard drink himself to death in two years. But no, you had to go to Earth and shake his fucking tree! Now you done pissed him off, and yeah, now he wants to kill you! Exiling him from Zeist was the nicest thing you could've done for the guy, and literally the only reason he wants to kill you now is you fucked up his retirement!

  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town features this trope at the climax. Deeds is lethargic and disinterested in his own defense because of the constant betrayals he's suffered throughout the film, including from Love Interest reporter Babe. When it looks like he's finished, Babe desperately takes the stand to offer up the defense he won't. The prosecutor, frustrated by her emotional pleas, requests that he be allowed to treat her as a hostile witness since "she's obviously in love with the defendant". This breaks Deeds out of his depressed stupor, and the next time he's prompted to speak in his own defense, he does so- and lays out an epic verbal smackdown on the prosecutor's entire argument.
  • In Face Off, Castor Troy has a bit of a Pet the Dog moment when he saves Archer's daughter from being assaulted and gives her a butterfly knife so she can defend herself against future attackers. She uses it on Castor himself at the end of the film.
  • For a bit of Fridge Horror in Despicable Me, that little kid in the beginning would've died had Vector not stolen the real pyramid and replaced it with an inflatable.
  • In the movie Ultraman Zearth, Zearth is stricken with an overwhelming fear of dirt and germs. Benzene Seijin, in a bid to conquer Earth, decides this is the perfect way to beat him, and torments him with tar the entire film. However, he puts the final nail in his own coffin by forcing Zearth to cross a lake of tar to save his friends. This gives Zearth the motivation he needed to overcome his fears, kill Benzene's pet monster, and kick Benzene himself into orbit.
    • In the sequel, his wife, Lady Benzene, has Zearth's spirit crushed after her robotic copy, Ultraman Shadow defeats him with ease, making him unwilling to transform. Then, she has to go call him out to try and stop her so she can destroy him. Her taunting causes Zearth to train, take another level in badass, and overpower Shadow. Then, she goes and broadcasts the fight around the world to try to crush humanity's spirit, this backfires when Shadow finally has the upperhand, the people of Earth all chant Zearth's name, giving him to strength to destroy Shadow once and for all.
  • Luke is struggling with the dark side in Return of the Jedi, but the Emperor's constant taunting keeps Luke from going over. Even Irregular Webcomic spoofed this, with Vader complaining he could get Luke to turn if the Emperor would just stop butting in.
    • During their duel Luke's heart wasn't entirely in it due to his desire to save his father from the dark side. But then after probing Luke's mind Vader learns of Luke's twin sister. Vader then taunts Luke by telling him that if he won't turn to the dark side then Leia will. This enrages Luke and gives him the motive to finally go all out and defeat Vader.
    • This is made explicit, when a Sith tries to turn Luke's son Ben to the Dark Side, in the Expanded Universe (specifically Fate of the Jedi: Allies):

*Ben catches the Sith by surprise with a roundhouse-kick*
Sith: Better, let the anger flow. Hate me all you like. It is what feeds the dark side within you.
Narration: It was the wrong thing to say. Ben had heard this song before, and he wasn't having any of it. The words had the opposite effect, calming the young Knight and clearing his head.

  • During the scene with the Oracle in The Matrix, she explains that Neo technically isn't the One, but he will probably be one in a later life. Later in the film, Agent Smith kills Neo. However, Trinity manages to revive him and Neo awakens as the One. Nice job fixing it, Smith.
    • In Revolutions, Smith has created a copy of Neo when he surrenders to him. It turns out Neo is connected to Deus Ex Machina, and thanks to that, he is deleted.
  • In The French Connection, narcotics cop Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle is tenaciously chasing down a major heroin deal. At one point, with one officer dead and little in the way of results, his superiors order him back to his regular work and close the case, effectively leaving the deal to go ahead as planned. Unaware of this, and concerned that he’s giving their US clients cold feet, the French traffickers authorize a hit on him. The hit goes badly wrong and Doyle runs the hitman down. He gets the case reopened on the strength of that, ultimately intercepting the heroin and most of the traffickers.
  • In Batman Begins, when Bruce Wayne goes to confront mob boss Carmine Falcone at his favorite hangout, Falcone gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. It's intended to break his will, but Bruce actually agrees with everything Falcone says about him. He immediately leaves the restaurant and embarks upon his journey to become Batman.
  • Monsters, Inc.: "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!"
  • Toy Story 3: The moment Lotso smashes Big Baby's locket. Cue Big Baby becoming extremely pissed and throwing Lotso into the dumpster.
  • Yet another Pixar example: In Cars 2, had Miles Axlerod not spilled oil onto the carpet, Mater wouldn't have become a spy and foiled his evil plan!
  • Lord Farquaad, the Big Bad of the first Shrek movie, did this on a series-spanning level. He sent Shrek to rescue Fiona, which messes up his own plan by allowing Fiona to meet her true love that would break the curse and allow Donkey to meet Dragon, who would help Shrek and Donkey stop his wedding and eats Farquaad. In the second movie, Prince Charming's goal to rescue Fiona and thus Fairy Godmother's intention to rule Far Far Away through him are foiled because Farquaad sent Shrek to rescue her already. Most importantly, it foiled Rumpelstiltskin's attempt to get Fiona's parents to sign a Deal with the Devil with him, letting him erase them from existence and conquer Far Far Away because Shrek rescued Fiona and rendered the deal pointless. Even further back, the only reason Shrek interfered at all in any of this was because Farquaad's deporting all the fairy tale creatures to his swamp ticked him off. Really Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
  • In Thor, if Loki hadn't ruined Thor's big day and incidentally gotten Thor banished, Thor wouldn't have learned humility and would have remained the same reckless and arrogant god that he was, instead of maturing like he did. In fact, Loki visiting Thor in his cell was what changed Thor into a better man.
    • Again near the end of the movie. Loki was in charge, Thor was trapped on Earth and mortal. But Loki had to send the Destroyer to finish Thor. That gave Thor the chance to make the Heroic Sacrifice that restores his powers.
      • And after that he does it again. During the fight on the Bifrost Loki has the edge, since he's quite willing to do what it takes to win while Thor is hesitant to fight him. And then Loki makes a purely gratuitous threat against Jane Foster...
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Lord Shen attempting genocide on the pandas not only enabled Po to complete the prophecy, but also provided the Valley of Peace with a way to stop Tai Lung in the original film.
  • The Devil in the Scare'Em Straight flick Escape from hell, when the protagonist Eric arrives after inducing a near-death experience. Rather than attack him outright, the devil just tells him exactly who has gone to hell and why, and that his recently converted father didn't go there. He only attacks him just as Eric is brought back to life, then chases him into a church for good measure in case Eric needed any more help converting to Christianity. The Devil Is a Loser indeed.
  • In the film Immortals, the villain is on the verge of victory, and possesses a magical Energy Bow that can fire infinite shots, which destroy men and rocky walls alike. So when it comes time for the final battle, he fires said bow exactly one time at the giant wall the Greek soldiers are hiding behind. Which creates exactly one small opening for his massive army to use, giving the Greeks plenty of time to defend such a small area.


  • This is Spenser and Baldwin Furnshill's chief method to solving crimes without evidence. Annoy people until they try to kill you, then find out who they worked for. Though Baldwin doesn't actually try to annoy people; usually the bad guy who falls into this trap hates him for his rank and title, or his loyalties and suspected beliefs, said series taking place in a particularly hectic time of English history. Spenser, on the other hand, is actively trying to invite this trope a lot of the time. A lot of his cases would have been a lot shorter (and unsolved) if the villains had been smart enough to just shut up and leave him alone.
  • The Draka: after the Final War nearly destroys the eco-system the Draka respond by invoking strict environmental standards to ensure stablity. Nature preserves are created from entire continents and the population levels are kept low.
  • The Swallows and Amazons book Great Northern? has a textbook example of this. The protagonists, while sailing through the Hebrides, encounter what they're pretty sure is a rare bird, but have to leave before they can verify it, and accidentally let its existence--but not location--slip to an egg-collector, Mr. Jemmerling. Captain Flint, their designated adult supervision, is going to make them leave before they can go back, leaving Jemmerling free rein to find the birds. Instead, Jemmerling tries to convince and then bribe Captain Flint to tell him where the birds are, and succeeds only in convincing him that they're worth going back to find.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Plan of Attack, the Russians conduct nuclear sneak attacks on the US, supposedly to create nuclear parity. Our Military Maverick protagonist Patrick McLanahan for once obeys an explicit order of the POTUS to hold on a retaliatory strike against the Russians. When the Russians prove their continued hostile intentions by attempting a nuclear bombing of the base Pat had forward-deployed to, one that had no nuclear weapons, it shows them for the liars they are and gives him a casus belli.
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, one character describes how gangs putting out hits on suspected rats leads to cons ratting out for real.
  • In Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South, Afrikaaners use Time Travel to help the Confederates win the American Civil War, hoping to build a strong white supremacist nation that they can ally with in the future. Though their plans are impeded by Robert E. Lee, who wins the presidency of the Confederacy on a platform of gradual slave emancipation, there are still enough Pro-Slavery Confederate citizens and congressmen to defeat any sort of government action to actually end slavery, and there is even talk amongst some states of seceding from the Confederacy and starting their own nation (again) to preserve slavery indefinitely. However, the AWB then launches an assassination attempt against Lee on his inauguration day, which slaughters dozens of civilians and many ranking members of the government, which unites the entire country behind Lee and gives him the political clout to ram through his gradual emancipation bill.
  • In A Crown of Swords, Moghedien freaks out upon catching sight of Nynaeve in Ebou Dar and loses character long enough to balefire the boat she had just gotten on, trapping Nynaeve in the rapidly sinking wreckage — at which point the resulting despair causes Nyaneve to permanently break free of the mental block that had been preventing her from channeling at-will since the beginning of the series.
    • Moghedien's mission actually was to balefire Nynaeve while she was on the boat. The award for Nice Job Fixing It, Villain actually goes to Moridin, who decided to stroke Moghedien's Soul Jar at that moment, causing her to involuntarily convulse and nearly miss.
  • In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Evil Sorcerer Pryrates' attempt to pull a Faustian Rebellion on the freshly summoned Storm King at the climax of the story fails spectacularly, as one might expect. However, his attack and subsequent Karmic Death have the side-effects of weakening the Storm King at a critical moment and freeing two of the heroes from paralysis, leading directly to the Storm King's defeat.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the heroes spend most of the story in vain searches for the Big Bad's Soul Jars. At one point they are captured by the villains and, long story short, one of the villains suspects that they might've sneaked into her bank vault. She freaks out so much that that her dreadful master might find out about it, and spends so much effort torturing the heroes just to find out whether they did or did not, it gives Harry an inspiration for a leap of logic, and he correctly deduces that the Soul Jar must be in the vault.
  • The original Count Dracula forced Mina Harker to drink his blood to form a Psychic Link between them that he could use for Mind Control and to spy on the rest of the heroes through her so he could see whatever they were planning against him next. Unfortunately for him, the link worked both ways, allowing Mina to warn the others when he was coming their way and figure out where he was hiding or heading during the climactic Stern Chase. He gives the heroes a ticket to his mind that he can't revoke even when he eventually tries to do so.
    • Ironically, many later versions of this story have picked up the weird trope that Mina and Dracula had some kind of love between them; in the original Mina loathed the monster and was probably second only to van Helsing in importance in bringing about his downfall.
  • A minor version in Lin Carter's The Quest of Kadji: the Big Bad has captured one of the two young people who've independently sworn to destroy him, and taunts her that her sweetheart won't be able to act while she's his hostage. She gloomily says the boy is not in love with her. The villain can't resist sneering that, just like her, young Kadji is under a "no-fooling-around-until-you've-killed-the-bad-guy" vow, which is the only reason neither has made serious advances to the other. Yes, in an attempt to mock her, the villain has actually raised the girl's morale.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga book Falling Free, the heroes at one point want to rescue someone from the villain. Since they're in outer space, they need the help of a spaceship pilot, and the only one they've got is not one of the heroes; he's helping them for pay, and is unwilling to risk himself on some harebrained rescue scheme. One nasty phone call from the villain later, and he's on the heroes' side. This is not the last time someone helps the heroes due to the villain's Jerkass tendencies.
  • In "Death Masks," book five of The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden is in a Duel to the Death with Paolo Ortega, Warlord of the Red Court of Vampires who has already killed half a dozen wizards. The duel is going solidly against Harry, and likely would have fairly resulted in his death in honest combat, but then Ortega attempted to threaten him into submission and allowing himself to be killed. Ortega did this by explaining that, should he (Ortega) die in the duel, his feudal retainers had been sworn to hunt down Harry and kill not just him, but also all his friends and loved ones. This statement, which went directly against their agreement to not seek retribution in the aftermath of the duel, gave Harry the rage and motivation to turn the tide of the duel against Ortega.
  • Vicar Zahspahr Clyntahn's actions throughout the Safehold series tend to do as much as help the Empire of Charis as it does to hurt it. A specific example occurs in How Firm a Foundation. The island Empire of Charis needs an ally in the mainland, the Republic of Siddarmark would be perfect, but they're right next to the Temple Lands, which are content to leave them be, and even let them get away with ignoring a Church-imposed trade embargo against Charis, so long as they don't act outright against the Temple Lands. Cue Clyntahn going behind his fellow Church Leaders' backs creating riots in Siddarmark forcing them to go independent and opening the door for Charis and Siddarmark to ally at the earliest opportunity.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Saruman ordering his Uruk-hai to take Merry and Pippin to Isengard, instead of Mordor as the Morgul orcs wanted, practically saved the entire quest. If Merry and Pippin were taken to Mordor there would have been no chance of rescue on the way, and Sauron would have soon found out that Frodo and Sam were heading straight for him with the Ring. They would have been intercepted and Sauron would have got the Ring. Instead, on the way to Isengard the Rohirrim unknowningly saved Merry and Pippin, and Sauron didn't find out about the 'destroy the Ring' quest until it was too late.
    • It bites Saruman in the backside in a more personal way, too. Taking them towards Isengard meant Merry and Pippin ended up in Fangorn Forest, met up with Treebeard and helped convince him and the Ents to join the war against Saruman, resulting in the Huorns wiping our Saruman's armies at Helm's Deep and the Ents themselves storming and capturing Isengard, effectivly ending Saruman's involvment in the War of the Ring.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine is so affronted by the idea of Mr. Darcy marrying Elizabeth Bennet that she confronts Elizabeth and tries to extract a promise from her not to accept Darcy's proposal; when Elizabeth refuses to promise any such thing, Lady Catherine has a similar confrontation with Mr. Darcy... which gives him reason to hope that he still has a chance with Elizabeth even though she rejected his previous proposal in very emphatic terms. Had Lady Catherine not seen fit to get involved, each of them could have gone on indefinitely believing that any chance they had with the other was long gone.
  • In The Night of Wishes, an evil sorceror and his witch aunt brew a potion on New Year's Eve which grants the opposite of any wish spoken aloud after a drink, gleefully intending to make a grant show of fixing the world in front of their unassuming pets, while actually wreaking havok. Only those are onto them, find a loophole in the spell, and with a little outside supernatural help manage to destroy the reversing part of the potion without the villains noticing. The world's people are not gonna believe how much luck and prosperity they are going to have next year.

Live Action TV

  • Power Rangers Zeo did this once, when King Mondo used a teleportation portal to beam away rival villains Rita and Zedd's Monster of the Week, one that reflected the Ultrazord's Beam Spam back at it and sent the Rangers into retreat. Usually an immediate one-hit kill when assembled, this is the only time in franchise history that the Ultrazord was defeated in battle, and the moment was lost thanks to a bunch of villain arguing about who gets to rule the world. Granted, had they fired two consecutive blasts from the Ultrazord, it would have killed the monster, something they were capable of doing as was proven in another episode, however, they still retreated because they hadn't thought of causing the monster to explode from too much energy absorption.
    • Rita was the one who made Tommy into the Green Ranger and after he Heel Face Turned, he pretty much doubled the strength of the Rangers and was key in defeating a large amount of the monsters that came after. Lord Zedd tried to fix this by removing his Green Ranger powers... which allowed him to become the more powerful White Ranger and defeat the otherwise unbeatable monster of the week. Without either Rita or Lord Zedd, the Rangers would have been unable to do anything against Master Vile's monsters which were considerably more powerful and dangerous.
        • Better example would be the pilot. The original five Rangers have no interest in fighting Rita, but she doesn't know that and assumes they Jumped At the Call and sends her Mooks down to kill them. So the bumbling witch basically created her own worst enemies.
        • To the comment about Master Vile and future groups being too powerful for the Rangers to stop... it's been theorized that Zordon, having some level of control over at least America's space program NASADA as seen in Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers in Space, allowed Rita to be freed or possibly even ordered it through levels of influence, as part of a master plan, to get around the restrictions of escalation that the Morphing Grid inherently placed on use of Ranger powers. According to the rules, he couldn't just train up an army of Rangers with no direct threat present, but once Rita started attacking, he was free to pull out some powers and get to stomping. Thus it's possible that Rita's actions happened just as planned.
      • The fact that fans were getting tired of seeing him get his powers stolen almost literally every other episode may have had a hand in this...
    • In Power Rangers in Space, Darkonda stabs Big Bad Dark Spector in the back with a planetbuster missile and expires himself soon after, thus saving the universe. If he'd been a bit less self-serving a villain, he'd be ruling most of the known universe.
    • In almost every Power Rangers series, the villains only lose because in-fighting and backstabbing destroy their strongest monsters and generals. If villain teams worked together consistently the world would have been conquered ten times over.
  • In a similar series, VR Troopers, Grimlord does this with Dream Master, growing impatient at how long it was taking him to defeat Ryan Steele. At this point, Dream Master had weakened Ryan with mind games about his father and he had connected him to an electrocution chain. Had the gunbots and tankbots not interfered, Dream Master would have beaten Ryan Steele, since JB was occupied with another monster and Kaitlin was too weakened by Dream Master's nightmares. But after the gunbots interfered and the two of them escaped fire, Dream Master continued with his shock chain only for Ryan to find a chain in this new location to redirect the current before delivering a beatdown on what was supposed to be a Monster of the Week.
    • Similarly, different times, a Monster of the Week has a trooper on the ropes, then the air force comes in for a distraction, apparently hitting both the monster and the trooper, giving the Trooper time to think of a new battle plan while bazookaing down the airforce.
    • Another time, Arachnobot nearly had the Troopers beaten, but Doom Master himself killed Arachnobot out of jealousy. Thanksfully for his sake, he thought it was the Trooper that did it, not Doom Master.
  • At the end of Angel's "permanent midnight" mini-arc, Angelus, being Chaotic Evil and all, decides to double-cross the Lawful Evil villain who'd blotted out the Sun over Los Angeles. The Beast is nigh unvulnerable, until Angelus uses a bone dagger made from its body to kill it. Unfortunately, as foreshadowed by a mystical dream Angel had earlier, that undoes the spell and brings the Sun back. Hundreds of rampaging vampires die instantly, and Angelus is sent scrambling for the nearest safe shadow.

 Angelus: Aw crap! You mean killing the Beast really does bring back the Sun? I thought that was Angel's retarded fantasy!

    • Then there's the series finale, where Hamilton, newly favored by the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart, beats the crap out of Angel... until his boasting reveals the source of his power, to a vampire.

 Hamilton: Let me make this as clear as I can. You cannot defeat me. I am part of them, the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. Their strength flows through my veins! My blood is filled with their ancient power!

Angel: (grins and pops his fangs) Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?

  • In the Doctor Who special "The End of Time", things look bleak when the Doctor has just crashed through the skylight of the Naismiths' mansion and is badly hurt, and the Master has just copied himself onto every person on earth, then brought Rassilon and the Time Lords through the Time Lock and caused Gallifrey to come crashing down through the Earth's atmosphere. The Master is all ready to join the Time Lords on their plan to bring about "THE END OF TIME ITSELF!!", but Rassilon, the Lord President of the Time Lords, tells the Master he's outlived his usefulness. Not what you want to tell the Master, who isn't quite sane at the best of times and has just won the Superpower Lottery. Then Rassilon lets slip that he is responsible for the drumbeat that the Master's heard all his life and that has driven him steadily more crazy. The Master tells the Doctor to "get out of the way" and uses his life force to electrocute Rassilon, protecting the Doctor from him until they all disappeared back to the Time War.


    • Again in the Weeping Angels two-parter. The army of Weeping Angels are having their power drained by the crack in time, so they start draining power from the crashed ship they're currently on, the Byzantium, in order to survive. This has the side-effect of deactivating the ship's artificial gravity, causing the unprepared Angels to fall into the crack and be erased from existence.
  • Gossip Girl has Blair, who seems to create this and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero in other people (depending on whether she's the good guy at that point or one of the bad ones). Chuck gets her latest boyfriend's mother to come break them up? In one party Blair gets her approval. Chuck tries to seduce her only to be caught by said boyfriend? Blair finally gets laid by new boyfriend. Jenny tries to beat Blair and become Queen B? Within a few weeks, she's back and dangerous. Vanessa tries to blackmail Blair? Humiliated by episode's end. Vanessa tries to break up her and Nate? They're closer than ever by episode's end. And most of this is just the first two seasons! She's still going - at the end of Season 4 Serena's attempt to hurt her actually leads to her relationship with the prince becoming public, her being approved by his mother, and finally her getting engaged to him. Lampshaded by Dan - "Only Chuck and Blair could go to war and end up happier than when they started." Also, his attempt to attack them that episode? Ended up with Chuck and Blair having fantastic sex on a piano. Let's face it, no one can hurt Blair without helping her.
  • Dollhouse: Alpha's entire goal in "Briar Rose" and "Omega" was to turn Echo into a composite like himself. Composite!Echo's first act was to hit Alpha with a pipe.
  • In the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Big Bad The First, who's basically pure, unconcentrated evil, is taunting Buffy during a battle. The First starts quoting Slayer lore about "one girl to stand alone against evil." "There's that word again. Alone," says The First. The First goes on to mock Buffy for always being alone as the Slayer and never being able to fully connect with anyone. This gives Buffy an idea. Sick of being the lone Slayer, she cooks up a plan with Willow. Before the final battle, Willow uses her magic to turn all of the potential Slayers in the WORLD into full Slayers, complete with all of Buffy's powers. Needless to say, this newly formed army of Slayers makes quick work of the First's army of prehistoric vamps in the final battle. Man, Joss Whedon seems to really love this trope!
    • Don't forget that the First also dug up the Scythe that allowed Buffy to execute this plan in an attempt to use it for itself, and then revealed the location of said Scythe by luring Buffy into an ambush where it was held (rather than, say, * any other location in Sunnydale* ). The First basically spent the last 5 episodes of the series juggling multiple Idiot Balls in order to make its eventual defeat remotely plausible.
      • Chalk it up to Caleb being enough of a Card-Carrying Villain to lure Buffy into an ambush with "I have something of yours" so that he can get in extra Evil Gloating about this being true and her being unable to recover it.

 Caleb: ...Darn.

    • Also used in season 3, where the Mayor's attempt to clean up loose ends by having a volcanologist who could give the Scoobies useful information killed backfires by leading them right to that information. Being a Joss Whedon show, this is Lampshaded, with said lampshade hanging immediately mocked as such.

 Wesley: Ah. By attempting to keep a valuable clue from us, the Mayor may have inadvertently led us right to it.

Buffy: What page are you on, Wes? 'Cause we already got there.

    • Later in the same episode, Faith poisons Angel to keep him out of the fight and keep Buffy distracted looking for a cure. Ends up backfiring as the cure turns out to be Faith's blood.
      • Considering how they kill the mayor, if Faith hadn't poisoned Angel Buffy wouldn't have been able to lure the mayor into the trap. Joss really, really, really, really, loves this trope.
    • Another season 3 example. Faith (before Face Heel Turn) lures an ancient vampire and his gang to Summerdale. Buffy fights and stakes the vampire twice, to no avail. The vampire taunts her, saying that she'll need a bigger stake. This gives Faith the idea of picking up a wooden pillar and using it as a bigger stake, successfully dusting the vampire
  • In the Lost Season Six Finale, it turns out that the Big Bad's centuries-long Gambit Roulette worked exactly as planned except it also completely stripped him of all his powers and enabled Jack to beat him to death and toss him off a cliff. Also, his murder of Sayid, Jin, and Sun gives the others the Heroic Resolve to kill him instead of simply leaving him on the island like they had planned, leading to the above success of his plan.
  • In Once Upon a Time, if Regina had not have been completely hellbent on running Emma out of town, she would have left completely of her own volition.


Puppet Show

  • In the Captain Scarlet episode, "Spectrum Strikes Back," the Mysterons try to kill a committee taking a look at some anti-Mysteron prototype equipment that could be useful. In the end, all the Mysterons essentially achieve is provide a spectacularly successful field test for the stuff that proves its worth.


  • In the comedy fantasy series Elven Quest, Lord Darkness, the Big Bad, frequently ends up unintentionally saving the protagonists from the consequences of their own mistakes.

Tabletop Games

  • In the the world of Innistrad in [Magic:TheGathering\], the angel Avacyn used to lock demons away in an artifact called the Helvault, until she was tricked by the demon Griselband and the two were sealed together. Losing its guardian angel, lots of bad things happened in Innistrad, until the necromancer Liliana Vess decided to break the Helvault to kill Griselband without knowing that it would also release Avacyn.

Tabletop RPG

  • In Exalted, when the Great Contagion was killing the majority of Creation, The First and Forsaken Lion got The Fair Folk to invade, destroying fully half the territory and killing many of the Contagion's survivors. The problem? The Balorian Crusade was repulsed, and the infusion of Wyld energies may very well have helped Creation fight off the effects of the Contagion, thereby allowing it to survive. Falafel's Neverborn master was quite angry, to the point where it bound him into his armor. Painfully.
    • And exiled him to a fortress that was essentially in the middle of nowhere.
      • Which of course delayed and inconvenienced any number of his extremely effective war plans to destroy Creation more thoroughly this time. So... nice job fixing it...Cthulhu
    • The Neverborn seem to have a history of sabotaging their own plans to further the cause of Oblivion. Between the First and Forsaken Lion getting spot-welded into his own armor for not destroying enough of creation, and Princess Magnificent almost getting thrown headfirst into Oblivion for losing to the gods behind the city of Great Forks, there's a reason most of the other Deathlords have been twiddling their thumbs for millennia. They don't want to see what the Neverborn will do to the next guy who fucks up.
      • Alternative Character Interpretation: We're told, explicitly, that most of the Deathlords only agreed to kill the world so they could enjoy using the power they were given to rule over its dying husk. Is it really a surprise that most of them drag their heels? You can't rule the world if you kill it.
    • We also have the Ebon Dragon, the literal inventor of the concept of Card-Carrying Villain, existing to screw people over. Due to certain psychological problems this brings, this goes equally for the Ebon Dragon himself.
      • Here's a short list of the ways the Ebon Dragon bollocksed up the Reclamation. First off, he included rules that make the Infernals have to act like B-movie villains every so often, but said nothing about who they have to do it to. Instead of granting the Infernals their own innate Charms, he and the other Yozis decided to make it so they share Charms with their patrons... which means not only do the Infernals get access to the high-level Charms that make the Yozis worlds/gods, they could conceivably make their own Charms and infect their own patrons with their particular mindset. Oh, and then there's the Heresy Charm Set... So basically, what you've got is a Hell-forged superpowered being who needs to act like a bastard to someone, has access to god-like power, and can sever the ties with their demonic masters. That sound you just heard was the Shadow of All Things realizing he just invented his Bastard Understudy.
    • And, of course, the big one that sets the whole setting off. Creation has been in a precarious position for centuries, with the overworked Sidereals, the Lunars driven to the edge of the world, the heavily corrupt (or absent) gods, the almost equally corrupt Realm, the forces of the Underworld massing, and the Fair Folk being just barely kept in check. Into this comes the person controlling the Realm (and its big superweapon that keeps most of the other big enemies at bay) mysteriously disappearing, bringing it to the verge of a civil war that could tip Creation over the edge. And then... the Neverborn and the Yozis conspire to break open the Jade Prison, and use its captives to make their own Exalted. Half of those captives escape them. They become the Solar Exalted.

Video Games

  • The heroes of Legend of Dragoon agonize about possibly having to kill Shana because she's an Apocalypse Maiden. In most stories, they would Take a Third Option. But here, the Big Bad takes Shana's power onto himself. This leaves the heroes free to punch him out.
  • In Super Robot Wars the villains have brainwashed one person's girlfriend to forget they fought together, and make her think he was an enemy. By reminding her of a memory of when they were together, she gets paralyzed and stands their indecisive. Then a group of said villains minions show up and threatens the guy's life, accidentally triggering the girl's memories of her relationship, immediately snapping her out of the brainwashing and rushing to protect the guy. Whoops. Gets Lampshaded.
  • Happens a few times in Ace Attorney. Notably where Damon Gant accidentally makes a piece of incriminating evidence legal and incriminates himself, instead of Ema.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix falsely presents a bottle of ear medication as the poison Furio Tigre used to kill the victim. Tigre calls him on it, and in his rage, describes the real vial that he used. Of course, Tigre only had one way of knowing that information...
    • A few times? It's the basis of nearly every case. If the culprits didn't take the witness stand and kept their mouths shut they might not have been caught.
  • Releasing the Cornstalker in the final chapter of Touch Detective 2 1/2 would seem to fall under Stupidity Is the Only Option... except that this is all he manages to pull off — his efforts to steal the treasure only succeed at helping Mackenzie safeguard it and escape the aliens who have abducted them.
  • In one of the endings of Mega Man X 2, Sigma leaves the protagonist (X) at a total dead end, leaving him alone with his Brainwashed and Crazy old friend, Zero. However, after he leaves Zero to fight X, Zero is able to break out of his crazyness and actually opens an otherwise unreachable path to the final boss.
    • In X5, Sigma may or may not have done so again, as Zero is severely injured and possibly killed offscreen. He miraculously recovers, possibly with Sigma's intervention, but his Super-Powered Evil Side has been reawakened (definitely Sigma's work), which gives him only one objective: to kill X. However, as with X2, he eventually ends up turning good again and actually saves X from Sigma after X is weakened from a fight, something he probably wouldn't have been able to do if he was still stuck in the wreckage of a spacecraft and/or dead.
  • In Left 4 Dead, many an eager-to-help Tank user has freed a Survivor from the clutches of a Hunter or Smoker, or the Charger in 2, by going to attack said Survivor.
  • In Half-Life 2, toward the end of the game, Gordon Freeman (the player character) goes through a weapon confiscator created by the Combine (the enemy faction.) It destroys all his weapons except for the Gravity Gun, which the confiscator is unable to destroy. Instead, the confiscator malfunctions and actually ends up making it more powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it completely outclasses over other weapon in the game.
  • Wheatley in Portal 2 - very briefly. He only actually creates one test chamber for you, and it merely consists of pressing a button to directly drop a weighted cube onto a button. According to him, it was supposed to be quite a challenge. Had he made the rest of them himself, it would have been easy making your way to his lair. Unfortunately, he ran out of original ideas and resorted to using G La DOS's old test chambers instead.
    • Later in the game, when suffering from test withdrawal, he decides a good way to fix it is to move the test chamber Chell and GLaDOS are in as close as possible to his lair.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Lezard Valeth in the best ending. Most of his appearances and villainous actions actually are required for the best ending to even occur. Lezard Valeth kills Mystina, who becomes very loyal to Lenneth, which is why she refuses to serve Hrist and helps transfer Lenneth's soul temporarily to a homunculus. Lezard kills and mutilates the body of elves to create a homunculus for himself and Lenneth, which is needed to store Lenneth's soul when Hrist takes her body. Lezard transfers his soul to a homunculus and sacrifices the Philosopher's Stone to survive Ragnarok and grant himself immortality, which allows him to be present to fight Hrist. He is one of the four people willing and able to fight Hrist to retake Lenneth's body due to his obsession with her. The only villainous thing Lezard that does not contribute to getting the best ending is killing Lorenta and her husband (it is required to see this event to get the best ending, but Lorenta is a basic einherjar that never gets mentioned in the plot after she is recruited).
  • In The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx have been frozen in crystal for three years, allowing Big Bad, former Sealed Evil in a Can Malefor to run rampant over the world with an iron claw and is days away from succeeding in his ultimate plan to destroy the world. Then some mooks decide to break them out of the crystal to sacrifice to a giant monster, they escape, allowing them to turn the tide against Malefor and save the world. They also tethered the two together with a pair of magic necklaces, but this allows the two to work together much more effectively and ultimately makes them realize their love for one another.
    • Also, in a way, Malefor is guilty of it for what he did to Cynder, as it gave Spyro something important to fight for, something Spyro himself even makes mention of when Cynder is corrupted again.
  • In Chrono Trigger, when Dalton steals the Epoch, he converts it into a flying vehicle. Without this modification, the party would never be able to reach most of the sidequests.
    • This is even lampshaded, probably unintentionally, with multiple party members having lines such as "I guess we are actually in his debt." after the fight.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest: The Dark King makes up a prophecy foretelling his defeat as a gag. The side of Good decides to fulfill it. Nice move, Dark King.
  • Jade Empire. Master Li, that We Can Rule Together offer probably would have been better accepted had you not aptly played your prized pupil for a fool and killed them! (Doesn't stop a Nonstandard Game Over if you're dumb enough.)
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky: Had Dusknoir not taken you and your partner into the Bad Future, neither of you would actually realize that the entire world was in danger.
    • This actually happens again at the end of the game when Darkrai (disguised as Cresselia) actually tries to kill you because to him, it's the only way the world will be saved, and that Darkrai was actually behind everything all along. Fortunately, the real Cresselia shows up and exposes Darkrai's true identity. Had he not done this, you wouldn't have known about his backup plan in the first place.
  • In Halo, mankind is right on the cusp of extinction in its war against the technologically and numerically superior Covenant, and then the Prophet of Truth makes the decision to betray the Elites, which results in a huge portion of the Covenant allying with the humans; during the last large space battle in Halo 3, it's the Elites who are largely responsible for wiping out Truth's fleet.
  • In Mother 3, Porky introduces the world to the evils of materialism and money. This seems to just be a distraction from his true plan to destroy the world. If he didn't indulge in this, the protagonists may have very well stayed at home, allowing his masked assistant to pull the Cosmic Keystone and destroy the world without any interference.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, this turns out to be the result of Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. It turns out that the "Princess Peach" the brothers rescued from beneath the Koopaseum was actually Princess Shroob in disguise, and was planning on assuming her guise. Bowser, however, thwarts this plan by taking her away.
  • Cave Story. After you defeat the Core[2], Misery and the Doctor pop in to (sort of) save the Core because it's the only thing keeping the island afloat. Misery then tries to kill you by flooding the chamber... which opens the way out of the Labyrinth, ultimately allowing you defeat the Doctor for good.
  • LA Noire has Cole demoted to Arson due to his affair with Elsa being exposed. But the good news is that he could get close to the Suburban Redevelopment Fund. The best news is that Roy Earle, the one who exposed his affair, is not happy about this.
  • World of Warcraft (as opposed to what it usually does) has this when Fandral Staghelm is revealed as Raganaros' new majordomo: He overloads Thrall's connection to the elements, causing his mind to be broken into four separate pieces embodying each respective element-which allows him to examine his inner conflicts from an objective prospective. When you help him put himself back together, he's found his old Heroic Willpower, no longer divided against himself.
    • Also happened in Wrath Of The Lich King in the Death Knight intro sequence. The titular Big Bad has just thrown the entire order of The Knights Of The Ebon Blade at a small church in the western plaguelands as a Batman Gambit to lure out one Paladin, Tirion Fordring. Not only does this succeed in bringing Fordring back out into the world from Exile, but it causes the merging of two paladin orders to focus on killing The Lich King. Much worse is that in the process of causing this, a long time cursed sword that was in the hands of the commander of the Ebon Blade is purified by the mere touch of Fordring. The Sword? Ashbringer. It ends up shattering Frostmourne into pieces and ultimately causes the BigBad's defeat at the top of Icecrown Citadel.
  • The beginning of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The main character is about to be executed, along with all hope of stopping the dragons, by the Imperials when a dragon swoops in to kill you itself and burn the town to the ground. It does only the latter successfully.
    • Of course, what makes this all the better is that this isn't just some mook dragon who serves the Big Bad. No. It was the main villain himself who ended up saving you.
  • The F-Con trio in Tron 2.0 make some really foolish mistakes. Yes, they kidnap Alan and successfully intimidate him into forking over the information needed to make the digitizer run...but then they lock the man who programed Tron and Ma3a in a room full of old computer parts, giving him the ability to at least make contact with his son and upload Mercury to help. Then, they decide to dispose of him by shooting him into Cyberspace, reuniting him with his son and Ma3a and giving him access to crash the datawraith server from the inside.
  • On a low level every time you come to a dead end in Doom3 some minion will burst through the wall / locked door or knock over something you can use as a bridge. In a more serious example the bad guy's plan to lure you to hell has the minor flaw that hell contains the only weapon that gives you the possibility to thwart his evil scheme.
  • Devil May Cry has Trish revealing herself to be working for Mundus. By doing this, Dante severs his ties with her until they finally made up in the end.
  • The villain in Max Payne 3 is Victor Branco. One of the major facets of his plan involves getting his entire extended family killed by local extremist groups, which means he'll inherit direct control of his family's money from his late brother Rodrigo. As such, he needs a security guard who's good enough to protect his family from casual threats, but not good enough to protect them from Victor's conspirators. His solution is to hire Max Payne, a drunken slob with a history of violence. Unfortunately for Victor, Max is very bad at keeping people alive, but he's very, very good at making people pay for their crimes. If Victor had hired almost anyone else on the planet to be his fall guy, his entire plan would've worked out just fine.
  • In Blaz Blue:Continnum Shift, Hazama/Terumi sends his subordinate Makoto to the far-flung NOL branch in Ibukido to keep her away from feuding friends Noel and Tsubaki, furthering his plans to Mind Rape them both into serving him - the former as Omnicidal Maniac super-weapon Mu-12, and the latter as a Brainwashed and Crazy Yandere. In the end, he ends up regretting this decision badly, as young Makoto ends up causing more damage to his plans than pretty much anyone else in the cast - and given everything she learned, she stands in a position to do so again.

Web Comics

  • The main character of Girl Genius, an orphaned young lady named Agatha, wears a locket-type amulet with pictures of her parents in it. The locket is her most prized possession, given to her by her paternal uncle Barry shortly before he mysteriously departed, leaving Agatha in the care of her adoptive parents, the Clays. She never removes the amulet for very long and is never far away from it. Agatha struggles to be an engineer and inventor, like her beloved uncle, but fails constantly due to the severe and sudden migraine headaches she suffers whenever she tries to concentrate. Near the beginning of the story, a pair of drunken soldiers accost Agatha on the street. One snatches her locket, planning to sell it for a little quick cash. It turns out Barry designed the locket to suppresses Agatha's "spark", her innate intelligence and engineering talent. With the amulet gone, Agatha becomes a super-genius. She converts a steam-powered tractor into a complex robot programmed to seek out the amulet and return it to her, an impressive feat in and of itself made even moreso by the fact SHE LITERALLY DOES THIS IN HER SLEEP!
    • It also turns out the waves emanating from the amulet are extremely dangerous to anyone other than Agatha, as the loutish soldier who stole it soon finds out. The amulet ends up killing him by slowly destroying his brain. His fellow soldier, actually his younger brother, realizes the amulet is the source of his brother's demise when it is accidentally broken open, revealing the mechanism within. The young soldier uses the address engraved on the back of the locket to track Agatha down, looking for vengeance. Normally, the amulet would dampen Agatha's genius ability when brought in close proximity to her, but the young soldier was nice enough to switch the thing off. The now brilliant, clear-headed and more confident Agatha easily out-smarts and overpowers her would-be attacker and turns the tables on him, tying him up and reclaiming her beloved keepsake.
    • Later in the story, an evil entity known as "The Other" possesses Agatha and gloats over an incapacitated Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, sworn enemy of The Other who is also hunting down Agatha so he can lobotomize her and permanently destroy her spark. The Other notices Klaus is carrying Agatha's amulet, which has a trilobite design on it, the symbol of Agatha's real family, the Heterodynes. The Other decides to use the amulet to pass itself off as a legitimate Heterodyne heir and lay claim to their family castle, stuffed full of amazing and highly dangerous technology & research. As soon as The Other slips the amulet around Agatha's neck, however, she is able to regain control. That's TWO villains each cancelling the other out.
  • One Order of the Stick arc concluded with Xykon's attempt to Hannibal Lecture the recently defeated Vaarsuvius not only failing, but actually lifting V out of a pre-existing case of Heroic BSOD, and giving V advice that's made him/her more effective than s/he'd been even before the Heroic BSOD.
    • Earlier, Xykon breaking Roy's beloved sword both filled the fighter with a vengeful resolve, and forced him to grapple the lich bare-handed. He promptly hurled Xykon into a trap-warded gateway, which blew the undead sorcerer's body to pieces: something Roy certainly wasn't powerful enough (yet) to accomplish with sword strikes.
      • Also, Xykon is an epic-level sorceror, the Order has no chance of defeating him. Except, Xykon broke Roy's sword, and Nale sent Roy on a dangerous sidequest to get it fixed, which has resulted in Roy's sword being made of a material that is very effective against undead.
  • In the backstory of Megatokyo, Tohya Miho used a hidden statistic in the End Games servers to enslave large portions of the in-game populace, even doing so to a certain extent with the in-game identity of one of the protagonists of Megatokyo, Piro. Only she made the mistake of manipulating Piro by founding a real life relationship with him, trying to take control of his in-game character while breaking his heart in the process. The result? Piro broke the in-game emotional control she used, ultimately whipped her ass in-game, destroyed the character she used, and got her completely and totally banned from the game in which she tried to take control. Nice job, Miho.
  • In Darths and Droids, Pete gets egotistical and gives everyone a + 1 morale boost just by watching R2-D2 fly. This gives Annie enough of a stat boost to dodge a quintuple guillotine.
  • In an early story arc in Dominic Deegan, Greg, a white mage, is infected with the "Blight of the Undead", a curse that would essentially turn him into an undead abomination. It was kept in check by his devout use of White Magic. Later on, in a confrontation with his eldest brother Jacob (a Necromancer), he rips the blight out of his body through his un-blighted parts. Jacob then learns the hard way that the Blight was acting as a magical Restraining Bolt, and with it gone, Gregory's magical power increased exponentially. And since white magic is incredibly powerful against necromancy, Greg is able to strike Jacob down with one (albeit titanic) magic blast.
    • During the battle between Dominic and Celesto in the Storm of Souls arc, Celesto uses his powers as the Champion of Chaos to trap Dominic and try to use him as fuel for the Weapon of Mass Destruction. Cue Dominic gaining a level in badass when it turns out he's actually the Champion of Balance and chaos was the last force he needed to experience in order to gain full power, beat Celesto, stop the Storm, and save the world.
  • Homestuck: Jack Noir can't bring himself to kill Jade Harley because the prototyping of her dog Becquerel caused Jack to inherit his Undying Loyalty to her. Instead, with no other options open to him, he orders the Courtyard Droll to kill her. Much later, during which time Jack has started following Jade around like a lost, harmless dog, the Droll actually succeeds... right in front of Jack, who promptly flips his shit and kills the Droll. Visibly saddened and enraged by Jade's death, he takes her body to her Quest Bed, causing her to ascend to the God Tiers, gain power well beyond Jack's, and use it to escape their dying session.
  • Casey and Andy: "No! Wait! My inventions must not be used for peace!"
  • Slightly Damned: All that was needed to remove Kieri's magic restraining cuffs & collar was for her name to be spoken. Guess what the villain shouts out between swears at the top of her lungs.
  • Freefall: According to the author on the Nice forum, if Mr. Kornada hadn't interfered with Florence's scheduled meeting with Mr. Raibert, she would have been present to hear Mr. Raibert ordering the release of Gardener in the Dark to be delayed, and thus have no need to take further action, while not knowing of Kornada's plan to violate the order to have it released anyway.

Web Original

  • You can sometimes trick trolls into admitting what they’re doing if you get them to brag. This leads to their credibility being destroyed or the moderater's banning their asses, and will then make the board harder to be trolled by anyone. Nice job, idiots.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang has his final chakra blocked after getting blasted by Azula's lightning whilst in the Avatar state. He can't go into that state anymore, and he's not skilled enough in the bending he's learned to take on Phoenix King Ozai. In the middle of the fight, Ozai smashes Aang against a jagged rock, right onto the scar caused by Azula's lightning attack. This unblocks the chakra, allowing Aang to finally regain the Avatar State and for an epic asskicking to ensue.
    • Combustion Man manages to intercept a messenger hawk headed for the Fire Nation with the information that Aang is still alive, as Prince Zuko wanted to eliminate Aang discreetly. This prevents the rest of the Fire Nation from learning about Aang's survival until the Day of the Black Sun.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, the villain traps Springfield in a nearly indestructible dome, then decides it isn't sturdy enough and tries to blow up the town by dropping a nuclear bomb in through a hole at the top of the dome. Homer gets back into Springfield through the hole and manages to throw the bomb through the hole to the other side of the dome. The dome absorbs the bomb's blast, but is destroyed as a result, freeing Springfield.
  • Happens a few times in Xiaolin Showdown. Notably, Jack Spicer had come up with a brilliant, and for once, successful plan, convincing Omi that he was destined to turn evil and had to stay away from his teammates at all costs. This was going perfectly, until his idiot henchmen blabbed the entire plan, snapping Omi out of his despair and allowing him to win the day.
  • In the original Transformers cartoon, Starscream "helps" the Autobots win all the time. Sure, sometimes he's trying to sabotage Megatron... but sometimes, he's just that stupid.
    • And the biggest example of this: in the very first episode, when Starscream is "just saying goodbye!" to the unconscious Autobots on Earth, he actually revives them. Remind me again why Megatron keeps him around?
      • A list on put the action firing at the ship, and that awakened the Autobots, as two of the five reasons Megatron should have fired Starscream years ago. To drive the point home even more on how bad a henchman he was, all five reasons came from the first episode.
        • Then again, if the other Decepticons followed his lead, they might have won the war right there what with the Autobots being in stasis lock.
    • And in the movie, Starscream is the one who tosses a badly-wounded Megatron out of an airlock to drift helplessly in space. Had he not done that, Megatron would never have encountered Unicron, never gotten reformatted into the much more powerful Galvatron, who never would have returned to reclaim leadership of the Decepticons and Starscream would never have ended up reduced to ashes.
    • Even Megatron has had his moments. In "War Dawn", he shoots innocent Autobot Orion Pax, an act that enrages the time-displaced Aerialbots and firmly cements their commitment to fighting the Decepticons. The Aerialbots then take Orion to Alpha Trion, who rebuilds him into Optimus Prime. Thus, if it weren't for Megatron's direct actions, the Autobots would never have seen the rise of the greatest leader they've ever known and the Decepticons would surely have won the war long ago. And double points go to Megs, because he was the one who'd sent the Aerialbots back in time to begin with!
    • Probably the best example of Starscream's treachery helping the Autobots is in Transformers Animated. Megatron probably would've killed the Autobot repair crew and gotten his hands on the Allspark if Starscream hadn't put that explosive on his back.
  • Same with the original G.I. Joe cartoon; the Joes are beaten a number of times, but Cobra Commander has to drive it in (often at the objections of Destro), somehow giving the Joes the chance to overcome their predicament. Strangely enough, Cobra's high-rankers prefer Serpentor to him because of this attitude, and yet Serpentor occasionally falls into this trope as well.
  • In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Shredder is revealed to have one weakness: the Technodrome's Death Ray. Just as the Turtles manage to push him into it, Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally unplug the thing. As Shredder gloats over his apparent victory, they plug it back in, annihilating him in the process. Bebop and Rocksteady saved the TMNT multiverse this way.
  • In the older Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 cartoon, Krang had made Super Rocksteady and Bebop robots, which were incredibly strong and intelligent, and could effortlessly defeat the turtles... until the regular Rocksteady and Bebop accidentally exposed them to lightning.
  • In the 1971 Rankin/Bass stop-motion animation special Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Peter Cottontail and the villain January Q. Irontail are competing for the job of Chief Easter Bunny. Whoever delivers the most eggs wins. After missing delivering the eggs on Easter thanks to Irontail's scheming, Peter tries to deliver the eggs on other holidays, but to no avail. In one final attempt to ensure that Peter never becomes the Chief Easter Bunny, Irontail casts a spell on the eggs that turns them a sickly shade of green. Irontail believes he's won and that Peter's reputation will be ruined forever. Unfortunately for Irontail, the next holiday Peter tries to deliver the eggs on turns out to be St. Patrick's Day. As a result, he successfully gives away all the green eggs and becomes the Chief Easter Bunny. Irontail, meanwhile, has his crimes exposed and is forced to clean up the Easter parade trail as punishment.
  • In an odd twist, Nox, the Big Bad from Wakfu, actually purposefully attempts to invoke this trope. He's a time mage who kills and drains people of their energy (the titular wakfu) in order to power an attempt to travel back in time to save his dead family. He is able to happily commit countless atrocities, draining entire nations over the years, because he believes that, once he successfully travels back in time, it will all be undone. He even manages to kill The Hero and wipe out an entire race in the finale. Unfortunately, his plan fails, and the wakfu that it took him 200 years to collect is barely able to send him back 20 minutes.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Forced Kin", an alien force defeats the girls using every single idea Mojo Jojo had ever come up with. Jojo gets so upset at the alien stealing his ideas ("You've. Ruined. My. DREAM!!!") that he goes primal and physically forces the alien leader to submit, driving away the attack and becoming the hero.
    • Mojo Jojo is really a major victim of this trope. In fact, the most major thing is the fact that he ended up inspiring the Professor to make the Powerpuff Girls, caused the Freak Lab Accident that created them, and gave them the drive to fight crime and making them accepted by the city, which was a crime-infested rathole beforehand, pretty much making everything good in the series his fault to begin with.
      • Mojo Jojo did this again when he used the Professor's time machine to go back to the day when he was inspired to create the girls and prevent it from happening. As it turned out, his kidnapping of the Professor leading to the girls having to rescue him inspired him to try and create three perfect girls of his own. It wasn't until they returned to the present that the Professor realized that the girls that rescued him were his own girls. In other words, if Mojo Jojo had never tried to change the past, Professor Utonium would never have been inspired to create the Powerpuff Girls.

Mojo Jojo: "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"
Narrator: "Yes!"

  • In The Venture Brothers episode "Handsome Ransom", Monarch corners Captain Sunshine in his sanctum solarium at night, powerless from lack of sunlight and emotionally crippled from seeing him wear Wonderboy's uniform. Rather than just shooting him, Monarch makes a drawn out gloating speech and pulls out a solar beam gun intended to burn him off. It backfires horribly, recharging Captain Sunshine and allowing him to burn all of Monarch's mooks alive, winning the day.
  • The beginning of season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures has Valmont kicking the titular character off a cliff, which results in Shendu possessing him and making them both less effective.
  • The Teen Titans season 2 finale shows Terra as The Mole, who promptly defeats all the Titans individually. She failed to finish the job, though, so five very angry Titans came back to teach her the error of her ways.
    • Another example, though not as big: When the Titans East had to watch over Jump City while the core team was away fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, they have a very hard time getting the public to accept them (being newcomers and all, no-one recognizes them or, even worse, mistakes them for the core team). When Control Freak shows up gunning for revenge against the Titans, he's even worse; he doesn't accept them as "real Titans", and to prove it, sets up a series of attacks on the city designed to "test" them, which push them to their limits (for example, Bumblebee has to stop a subway from reaching a certain station, as a bomb is mounted on the underside of the train which is timed to detonate upon arrival. The catch? She has to do it at miniature size). However, the Titans East members avert all five disasters and pass with flying colors, and all of a sudden, they become heroes. You can't deny that they owed this to Control Freak (They still arrested him, of course).
    • Another major example: One big reason why the Brotherhood of Evil was ultimately defeated at the end of season 5 was because Madame Rouge, whom Jinx had worshipped greatly, treated her like crap and called her "pathetic". This ended up being one of two things (the other being a Dating Catwoman situation with Kid Flash) that not only prompted Jinx's Heel Face Turn, but convinced her to act as a Double Agent for the Titans during the Final Battle.
  • In Transformers Prime, a pair of Vehicon Mooks decide to Kick the Dog with an amnesic Optimus/Orion who is beginning to doubt Megatron's plans and protests against them. The beatdown causes Optimus's arm cannons to appear, the ones he had forgotten he had. He then uses them to easily defeat the Vehicons and head after Megatron.

Optimus: "I'm... armed?"
(Vehicons freeze up in panic)


Real Life

  • In World War II, the USA entered the war when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, but President Franklin D Roosevelt felt defeating Nazi Germany had to take top priority. So, he had the problem of how to sell to Congress and the public that they have first fight an ally of Japan who didn't directly attack them first. Then eleven days after Pearl Harbor, Adolf Hitler declared war on the United States of America, and FDR suddenly had an iron clad self-defense rationale no isolationist could argue against.
  1. For how Sadly Mythtaken the movie is otherwise, this is an unexpected moment of accuracy to the source: Classical Mythology is full of prophecies coming to pass specifically because people tried to prevent them.
  2. depending on which ending you're going for, you're either defending yourself after the Core attacked you without provocation, or you were already planning to destroy the Core anyway as a last-ditch effort to defeat the Doctor