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"Well, yeah! No, wait... uh, yeah. Yeah, it all was a lie. Toodles!"

One of the goodies has just been betrayed by The Mole, whom they let get very close. They ask The Mole, "Was it all a lie? Everything?" Two responses are common:

  1. A cold blooded "Yes, you fool, and you took it hook, line and sinker."
  2. "It was real, and in another world, we could have been happy together".

Of course, either of these responses can be a disguise for the other (either keeping one's options open just in case, or burning bridges to let their victim get over the betrayal.)

"I'm sorry it had to end like this" is a common additional Stock Phrase, particularly with the second response.

A more extreme form of the second case is Becoming the Mask. Related to Et Tu, Brute?

Examples of Was It All a Lie? include:

Anime and Manga

  • A great many number of times in Angel Sanctuary. Volume 1, when Setsuna finds out that Kira isn't human, asks him if their friendship was all a lie, and gets a resounding cold-hearted 'yes'. Subverted in that he looked like he was gonna cry after saying that.
  • In Mai-Otome Tomoe "takes care" of a captured Shizuru, who pretends to love her (in what one blogger compared to acting lobotomized). It later turns out that it really was all a lie, and Tomoe loses what little sanity she had left at that point.
  • Gankutsuou
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, as they fight each other in their mobile suits, Lyle asks Anew if her feelings for him were a lie. She answered that they were living in a false world, even though earlier, out of his earshot, she had admitted that she really loved him.
  • "Solaris" in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga is probably type #1, but that doesn't stop her from taunting Havoc with a good, old-fashion "It thought we had something," before she attacks.
  • The bulk of Kannazuki no Miko's ending was set off with Himeko asking this to Chikane, apparently not sure if telling Himeko she loved her was part of her plan or actually true.
  • Inverted in StrikerS Sound Stage X of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, where it's The Mole doing the asking. It turned out that the dupe had a hunch about The Mole's true nature for some time already, so while she was being arrested, The Mole wondered about an earlier offer made in kindness.

Runessa: When you asked me to become your partner, was it an act to shake my confidence and change my mind? Was it fake?
Teana: No, I was serious. If this hadn't had happened, I would still...
Runessa: ... Thank you.

  • In the Code Geass Alternate Continuity manga, Nightmare of Nunnally, Nunnally asks this of her friend, Alice, when the latter was revealed to be an agent of Britannia. It wasn't.
    • Let's not forget the Anime's second season, after the Black Knights betray Lelouch and Kallen is left believing Lelouch's 1) response. It was a lie, of course.
      • Kallen didn't completely believe it, either, because as she walked away, she heard Lelouch say "Kallen, you have to live." It was later on, when she kisses Lelouch to see what he really feels, and his face remains expressionless, that she decides to believe it and sever ties with him. "Then, goodbye, Lelouch." "Then, it is goodbye, Kallen." (Kallen didn't hear him say that, and the viewers don't get to see Lelouch's face when he says that.)
      • However, she still had enough belief in Lelouch to understand the Zero Requiem, and what Lelouch was trying to achieve with it. In the end, she realises it wasn't a lie.
  • In Immortal Rain, it's not romantic, but Rain does ask Yuca this about their childhood in the orphanage before Yuca handed over their entire orphan family (including the girl Rain loved) to military science and made Rain immortal. He hasn't yet answered.
    • It probably was all a lie for Freya.
  • Shuuhei Hisagi from Bleach asks his former captain and mentor Tousen if everything he taught him and all his talk of justice was just a lie. Tousen responds by stabbing him.
    • Aizen Sousuke probably takes the cake for stabbing Hinamori while hugging and praising her, as well as betraying everyone in Soul Society (who adored him) after revealing the fact that he has always been against them.
  • This happens early on in Game X Rush, when Memori demands this of Yuuki in the platonic/friendship vein, after discovering that Yuuki is the assassin Memori's supposed to protect against, and that Yuuki actually engineered the whole 'assignment' to get at Memori. The answer is a distinct Type One, with bite, that enrages Memori.
  • End of Evangelion has a reverse one... maybe. Gendo is about to shoot Ritsuko, when he says something to her which the audience doesn't hear. She calls him a Type 1, and then he shoots her.
  • Katanagatari uses a type two. When Shichika asks her this, Togame confesses that even though she genuinely loved Shichika, she planned to kill him anyway once she had no need for him, since she could not let her father's death go unavenged. She's rather relieved when the choice is taken away from her.
  • Never explicitly stated by the titular assassin in Golgo13, but in one particular episode, when he's hired to kill a female assassin he was with intimately, they share a few genuinely touching moments, until he reveals that he knows more about her than he let on. She immediately knows what that means, and gets a final happy day before Togo kills her. It wasn't a lie, but it wasn't anything that would stop him from completing a job.
  • In Gintama, Katsura asked this in the first episode of the Renho arc, when he first discovered Elizabeth's identity.
  • In second generation of Gundam AGE, Asem asks this to his friend Zeheart when the latter reveals himself to be a spy.
  • A variation occurs between Shion and Nezumi in No. 6. After Nezumi forces Shion to leave behind a captured Safu, Shion is so shaken that he questions if Nezumi was actually ever on his side. Nezumi feigns type 1 in order to get him to leave.
  • During the Eclipse in Berserk, Casca wonders if everything they've gone through was merely a prelude to Griffith throwing them all to the wolves (and by wolves I mean hideous demonic abominations), and if this was always the plan. This is an unusual example because she's both right and wrong; in terms of destiny, and the God Hand's manipulation of causality, she's right, and this was inevitable from the start. As far as Griffith himself is concerned, she's wrong, because he genuinely had no idea this was going to happen until the Eclipse started.

Comic Books

  • In the Teen Titans arc The Judas Contract, after Terra reveals herself as a traitor, the rest of the True Companions has reactions along this spectrum. Changeling tries an I Know You're In There Somewhere with her, only to get cruelly laughed off. Terra digs the knife in further by sneering that kissing him made her "want to puke." Despite this, poor Gar was still devastated by her death, and blamed himself for it to an extent.
    • Top it off with the fact she was SHAGGING Deathstroke, who was actually a bit afraid of her. When Nightwing and Jericho show up, Terra believes she was betrayed and literally brings the house down on herself!
    • Just to prove what True Companions they really are? They bury Terra as one of their own, memorialize her with a statue in their hall of fallen comrades, and keep as quiet as possible about her betrayal.


  • Used in the play/movie The Shape of Things.
  • A variant is used in The Truman Show—when Truman finally gets to speak to the director of the reality show Truman had been inhabiting, he asks, "Was nothing real?" The response he gets is "You were. That's what made you so good to watch."
  • In the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the titular couple have recently discovered that they are both professional assassins - who work for opposite sides. So Mr. Smith asks this question of Mrs. Smith over the phone, as they're both driving towards a mutually-agreed upon location wherein they'll try to kill each other. Mrs. Smith calmly assures her husband that it was indeed 'strictly business, nothing personal' - and as soon as he hangs up, breaks down crying at herself, as she was lying the entire time.
  • Jack Sparrow's modus operandi, only he somehow manages to keep betraying the same people over and over.

Elizabeth: Everything you said to me, every word, was a lie!
Jack: Pretty much.

    • Jack hides an Idiot Ball on his person which he just palms off to anyone he happens to be speaking to.
      • Would explain a lot, really.
  • Subverted a bit in Chocolat, when Josephine learns Vianne is leaving after taking much of the tiny French town by storm:

Josephine: Did you really think that I could get better? Was it all a joke?
Vianne: It's time, that's all.
Josephine: If you leave, everything will go back to the way things always were.
Vianne: It is the way things always were.
Josephine: ...Not to me.



  • Deconstructed to a certain extent in the Noughts and Crosses series. Second book, woman gets letter from dead man she slept with. Letter essentially says the first variant up above. Letter sends woman into depression, neglect for her child and changes her personality. Next book, turns out he couldn't decide whether to put in his actual feelings or (as per above) burn bridges to make her move on. Second letter ends up being delivered, about 16 years after the first. By this time, child has found first letter and, believing every word, joins the terrorist group her father was in. The whole thing balances between heart-wrenching and a posthumous What an Idiot! moment.
  • Non-romantic example, and also a deconstruction: In 1984, after being caught by O'Brian, Winston at one point asks if there really is an underground movement against Big Brother, since the one O'Brian led him into was a trap laid by the thought police. Being Dangerously Genre Savvy, the villain gives the reply: "You will never know."
  • Amy wonders this in The 39 Clues after Ian pretends to love her so he and his sister can run off with her and her brother's clue. As it turns out, it wasn't.
  • In the Dresden Files novel Turncoat, we find an unusual twist for poor Harry. He began a serious romantic relationship in the previous book. In the climax, Harry finds The Mole has mind controlled her into loving Harry.
  • In a romantic example, Anne Shirley's love interest Roy Gardner asks this of her when she shoots down his proposal, saying she could never love him. Given they'd been dating two years, Roy was understandably upset.
  • Nick Succurso goes berserk when he finds out Morn had been not only lied to him about who Davies real father was, but she'd been using a zone implant to pretend she enjoyed sex with him in Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap Series.
  • Peeta, at the end of The Hunger Games, when Katniss explains that she had been acting her half of the romance in order to win the Games.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: The book Deja Vu has both Countess Anne de Silva and Isabelle Flanders having a short dialogue about their ex-boyfriends Little Fish and Stu Franklin. The two men were revealed to be cold-blooded murderers in the previous book. Naturally, the two women had to be wondering if they meant anything to those two men or not really.

Live Action TV

  • Airwolf after Caitlin discovers that she's just been dating a baddie (who proceeds to strap a bomb to her chest).
  • In Prison Break, Michael used his masculine wiles to get Dr. Sara to leave the infirmary door unlocked, a step vital to... fulfilling the series title. She doesn't ask the question, but he whisper-tells her over the phone that "It was real."
  • Seska and Chakotay, in Star Trek: Voyager.
    • Spock and the nameless Romulan commander (Charvanek being the Expanded Universe name that seems to have stuck, though there are others) from The Enterprise Incident. Spock wasn't supposed to have any real feelings for her, but it's implied that he did.
      • And again in the Next Generation episode where dead Crewmember Tasha's younger sister Ishara comes on board, befriends everyone but in particular Data, and then betrays them for her allies. Upon leaving she has the following to say.

Ishara: You know Data, I wasn't always lying to you. The times I spent with you... those were the closest thing to friendship I've ever had. if that means anything to you.

      • Another Next Generation example occurs when the time-traveling conman Berlinghoff Rasmussen is exposed, and as he is dragged off to the brig, sadly volunteers that he was genuinely attracted to Dr. Crusher.
  • At the end of the Babylon 5 episode "Divided Loyalties", Ivanova confronts Talia about her betrayal. She coldly declares that the original Talia is completely gone, replaced by the Psi Corps sleeper personality that has been brought to the surface.
    • Apparently, this was the 'out' for Talia's actor. If the actor had returned, this would have been a lie. Since the actor did not, it was true, and Talia vanishes, possibly dead. Alternately, a rather strange scene between her and Kosh would have been used, in which a copy is made of Talia's mind.
      • In a later scene, Bester "accidentally" taps Ivanova's Berserk Button by mentioning that Talia was dissected. Ivanova doesn't bite; she's too well-versed in Psi Corps techniques to fall for being baited once. Garibaldi almost does, until Ivanova warns him. It's unknown whether or not Bester was lying...but Talia never returned, thanks to issues with the actress.
  • In NCIS, Jeanne Benoit asks Tony this after learning that their year-long relationship was part of an undercover operation assigned to him by the director of NCIS. He lies, telling her that none of it was real in order to allow both of them to move on.
    • Which is big of him, considering her woman scorned response was to FRAME HIM FOR MURDER.
  • In the Lost episode "The Economist," Sayid romances Elsa to get to her boss, whom he intends to kill. She indignantly asks, "Was it all a lie?" and then shoots Sayid, because she was just trying to find out who his boss was. Which he apparently knew all along. Or not.
    • And you can imagine Kevin, Kate's husband from "I do," would have invoked this trope when she told him, "my name's not Monica," if she hadn't already drugged him half-way to unconsciousness.
  • Averted many, many times on Battlestar Galactica Reimagined. Although the premise of sleeper-agent Cylons hiding out in the fleet seems to make this inevitable, every major Reveal has instead had characters immediately assume it was all a lie first, then shoot, and ask questions later. In the Season 1 finale this happens with the Sharon on Caprica; Helo runs away, but Sharon convinces him she's undergone a Sex Face Turn. Early in Season 2, Chief Tyrol ignores Boomer's pleading, and only realizes that he believes her/doesn't care once she's been shot. In Season 4, a big deal is made out of Starbuck's identity, but no one seems to concern themselves with what she did before her death in Maelstrom or take the likely betrayal personally. Directly contrasted with the discovery of the Final Four in Season 4, one of which Adama takes very personally... once again, assuming immediately that it was all a lie and having to be convinced otherwise.
  • Happens every now and then on Matlock.
  • Pretty much any episode of Deep Space Nine featuring Garak.

Bashir: Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?
Garak: My dear Doctor, they're all true.
Bashir: Even the lies?
Garak: Especially the lies.

  • A variant appears in Castle, when a con-man who has fallen in love with his mark is murdered by his partner in the con; it ends up being Beckett, who is investigating the con-man's death, who has to reassure the woman that while the con-man's identity was initially a hoax, his feelings for her were genuine and that "you made him want to be a better man." Ironically, this is after Beckett has spent the entire episode cynically rejecting the idea that the con-man could have felt anything for the woman, convinced it was all just part of his con.
  • In a The Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode the trained from the cradle mook of the Big Bad holds a girl hostage throughout the episode. At the end, mortally wounded, he tells her he loves her. Weeping the girl asks Napoleon if he thinks he meant it. Honey, when a man expires at your feet and uses his last strength to declare his love to you it is safe to assume he is sincere!
  • The second variety is used on Blakes Seven.

Anna: It wasn't all lies. I let you love.
Avon: Oh, no, you never let me go. You never did.

  • Happens in a big way on Fringe with Olivia. Twice. The first time used the trope normally with John. Then, in the third season, Olivia has been replaced by her alternate universe version, and Peter has no idea. They even weirdly had feelings for each other at the end of it. Oh, and Peter got her pregnant.
  • In the fifth and six seasons of Monk, Leland Stottlemeyer meets a real estate dealer named Linda Fusco whom he begins dating, but their personal lives eventually force them to only see each other via Webcam. Linda eventually uses one of the times she was talking with him on webcam as an alibi for murdering her former partner, but Monk exposes the truth. Stottlemeyer wonders if she truly felt anything for him or intentionally started dating him to begin setting up her crime, even as he throws away the engagement ring he was planning on proposing to her with.

Video Games

  • Raiden and Rose have a conversation along these lines in Metal Gear Solid 2. She insists that she really did love him; he doesn't believe her. Also, by this point, he's not even sure she really exists. Yeah, it's a bit confusing.
  • Shiki and Ciel's relationship in Tsukihime goes through this during Ciel's path, specifically with Ciel trying (unsuccessfully) to hide that it's the second answer.
    • The end of Hisui's route when Shiki is questioning Kohaku about how she really feels. Kohaku more or less admits that yes, she really was Akiha's friend... which means she just betrayed her best friend and has no reason to live anymore and attempts suicide. Actually, Kohaku asks herself this during her own route. Gives a little hint to her emotional state, no?
  • Dahlia to Phoenix in Ace Attorney? Yes. But for Iris, who he was really dating? Nope.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, Carth has alternate lines to a female Revan after the big reveal along these lines. (Raphael Sbarge does a GREAT job of sounding genuinely choked up, too.) Per your character's inclinations, you can answer with either option. A programming bug made these lines inaccessible unless you mod the game.
    • For a male PC, you can ask Bastila if she ever really felt anything for you after you discover that's she's joined the Sith. She says she didn't, but her hesitation in doing so and later events make it obvious she's lying.
  • Subverted in Skies of Arcadia with Belleza. The only lie she made was that she was from Nasr. She is a Valuan. She did have a tragic past as she stated.
  • In Dragon Age Origins, if you are romancing Morrigan, you can ask this when she reveals her true agenda. Morrigan claims that her feelings are real, and that she never planned on actually falling in love.
  • In Klonoa: Door to Phantomille, the protagonist discovers at the end that his entire life has been just a colossal string of fake memories, fake relatives and fake feelings created and implanted on his mind by his best friend Huepow as part of a Batman Gambit to save the world. To make it worse, he discovers this just seconds after of saying he would be forever together with his friend, AND seconds before of being completely erased from Phantomille. Ouch.
  • In Heavy Rain, Lauren Winter has one of these moments, standing over the Origami Killer's grave, once it is revealed that Scott Shelby, the man she had been helping and slowly falling for, was the man who killed her son all along.


  • In YU+ME: dream, thankfully Lia get to tell Fiona that while she is not real, her feelings for Fiona are.
  • In Order of the Stick, this is part of Miko's reaction to discovering that Lord Shojo, her liege and commander, had been faking his senility and manipulating her and the other paladins the whole time. (Benevolently, in truth, but Miko draws different conclusions.)

Western Animation

  • The Emperors New Groove had a non-romantic version of this trope, which was played for laughs. Kuzco is about to leave Pacha to die, tangled up in the ropes of a rickety old bridge, and Pacha asks him if his apparent Aesop moment from earlier was all a lie. Kuzco replies with the page quote.
  • There was a softened-up version of this in Teen Titans, when it was revealed Terra was working for Slade. Beast Boy was the one asking the question.
    • As noted above, in the original comic's storyline, when Changeling asks Terra this, she harshly gives him the first answer, mocking him for his naivete.
      • The Terra of the cartoon was lost, confused, and relatively innocent. The Terra of the comics? See above...
    • Sort of asked by Jinx when Cyborg betrayed the Hive Five. His answer probably contributed to her eventual Heel Face Turn.
  • The question is asked at the very end of Justice League (but before the transition into Unlimited), after Hawkgirl has betrayed the team and, having decided to help the League in the last minute, opts for leaving the team.

John Stewart: So, where will you go?
Hawkgirl: I don't know. Somewhere where the fate of the world isn't in my hands. A place where there are no more secrets. No more lies.
John Stewart: Was it all a lie?
Hawkgirl: I love you, John. I never lied about that. (she flies away)
John Stewart: ...I love you, too...