Friends Know Impostors YKTTW Discussion

Friends Know Impostors
Friends always know when a character is not themselves. And they're always right.
(permanent link) added: 2011-05-17 02:25:38 sponsor: pure.Wasted (last reply: 2014-08-06 17:57:54)

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Should We Have This One?, Needs a Better Title, Needs More Examples

Our merry Five-Man Band has recently picked up a new member -- the Sixth Ranger! Only there's nothing new about him. You see, he and The Lancer go way back. Cue celebrations, tales of shared adventures, and wine all around. Everyone loves him. There's only one problem: the Sixth Ranger is acting a little strange. You might even say he's not himself.

Only his friend picks up on the difference. If the hero tries to share his suspicions with anyone, they'll instantly have excuses on hand to explain away the different behavior. The guy's jet lagged. He's overcome by emotions. The two only met in the middle of a bloodbath warzone and it's no surprise he acts a little different inside an animal hospital. When the hero remains steadfast, they finally bring out the big guns: maybe he just ''changed''.

In truth, the probability of that being the case is inversely proportional to the degree the writers telegraph it as a possibility in advance. Characters suggesting it out loud almost certainly negates it, no matter how shaken the hero's resolve might be upon entertaining this dreadful thought. Probability decreases further if character development isn't routine. However, it goes up in more realistic works where fantastic explanations are harder to come by.

Spot the Imposter is a supertrope. May lead to Bluff the Impostor, if the hero's resolve holds strong enough to go through with it.

  • Supernatural season 6. After not seeing his brother for over a year, Dean suspects that Sam's odd behavior is, well, supernatural in origin.
    Bobby: There's a worst case scenario.
    Dean: What? Satan is my co-pilot? Yeah, I know.
    Bobby: No, that'd be the other worst case.
    Dean: Then what?
    Bobby: Maybe it's just Sam.
  • Transformers Prime episode Con Job plays this with a bad guy we know is bad. Bulkhead proceeds to Bluff the Impostor despite suggestions that his friend might have simply changed after centuries of time apart. Curiously enough, given such an opening for subversion, Bulkhead doesn't balk for a moment.

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