Created By: Shadowen on January 16, 2008
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Arc Welding

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So, it turns out, everything, every single villain, doomsday scenario, evil AI, and alien genocide the protagonists have come across is all the work of a single foe--perhaps one they thought they'd defeated long ago, or one they've never even met before but they still have a connection to. But it's all been one big plot--perhaps worst of all, it might have all been a Xanatos Gambit, and all their hard-fought victories have in fact strengthened their ultimate adversary.

This is the method that does one of two things:

1) Turns parts of what has happened in an episodic series is in fact part of an Arc. 2) Takes Arcs, usually important Arcs, that have occured in a more serial series and reveals that they were all part of a Myth Arc.

I.e.: it welds Arcs.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • January 16, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    The X-Files does this with dormant alien DNA supposedly accounting for much of the apparently Earthbound paranormal activity Mulder and Scully investigate.
  • January 16, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Isn't this just Myth Arc?
  • January 16, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    It seems to be more about when a show makes the transition from episodic Monster Of The Week stuff to being arc-based...then slaps some hasty exposition in to tie the previous episodes into the newly 'revealed' (read: created) Arc.
  • January 16, 2008
    JustinCognito
    Angel did this at some point in Season 4, where it was revealed that all the "ascension" stuff Cordelia had been going through since Season 3 had been organized to bring the Big Bad into the world.
  • January 16, 2008
    Shadowen
    Sydney Bristow, at the edge of breakdown, reacts to a call from her boss at SD 6 by tossing her cell phone. Vaughn notes, "You just threw your cell phone into the Pacific." They both have a good chuckle.
  • January 16, 2008
    Shadowen
    Yeah. Skip also mentioned that Lorne's escape from Keritas and Fred's transportation there was also engineered by the Big Bad. i.e. The entirety of Angel's existence since Angelus met the Beast was apparently part of the Big Bad's Xanatos Roulette.

    Since these storylines were at first only interconnected on the basis of who experienced them, this is an arc welding.

    And it's not just, as on of the Unknown Tropers above mentioned, about going from Monster Of The Week to An Arc. It's about turning past instances of Monster Of The Week to An Arc. Or, more rarely, turning several separate and apparently unrelated arcs into Myth Arc.
  • January 16, 2008
    Native Jovian
    I like the trope, but I think we need some more examples before launching and (sadly) I can think of none. But it would be a crime not to use a name this clever.
  • January 16, 2008
    Ninjacrat
    Tenjho Tenge did it something crazy. Every bad thing that ever happened to anyone turned out to be the work of the protagonist's dad. Even the stuff that happened hundreds of years ago.
  • January 16, 2008
    Sikon
    The Sailor Moon manga revealed in its final arc (corresponding to the fifth season) that all villains that the Sailor Team had previously faced were different aspects of Chaos, the final enemy.

    Not the anime, however.
  • January 17, 2008
    JustinCognito
    Veronica Mars did a form of Arc Patching (if not full-on wielding) by the end of Season 2 when they revealed that not only had Cassidy engineered the bus crash, but that he'd been the one behind Veronica's rape... a storyline that had seemingly been wrapped up in Season 1.
  • January 17, 2008
    Insanity Prelude
    I'm loving the punny title here.

    Kingdom Hearts 2 did something sort of like this. The first game's Big Bad turned out to just be half of KH 2's Big Bad, who was actually the one who orchestrated the Heartless appearing, and what you were told was Kingdom Hearts actually wasn't, and... ... or is that just expanding the existing arc?
  • January 18, 2008
    Shadowen
    Deep Space Nine starts hinting at this in the second season--and then heads into full-fledged, long-form arcs and even myth arcs at the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3, getting more and more interrelated, to the point where the last nine episodes of the show are one long arc.

    An excellent example of arc welding, IMHO.
  • January 21, 2008
    foxley
    In The DCU, the character Zatanna was introduced in an arc that ran through several different titles and culminated in a story in "Justice League of America" where she teamed with all the heroes she had met over the course of the arc. However, due to a need to have a big name in the JLA story, they suddenly revealed that a character Batman had fought in one of his titles had been Zatanna in disguise (despite there being no evidence of this) so they could include Batman.
  • January 26, 2008
    Unknown Troper
    Most of the middle part of Gargoyles season 2 was already An Arc, but then, during the two-part season finale, where you see Oberon's children filing into his castle to be recognized by him back on Avalon--and you realize they're familiar to you. Odin, Anansi, Banshee, Coyote, even Anubis are all his children...and by implication, his subjects.

    How powerful, then, must Oberon be?

    It was already An Arc of sorts--though Angela's, Goliath's, and Elisa's adventures were episodic, they were already linked by their method of travel--but now you see it was all part of a second arc as well.
  • January 27, 2008
    Ununnilium
    Related to The Moorcock Effect.

    This can be really annoying when it wasn't planned out in advance, and the writers are just retconning together unrelated stuff. On the other hand, it can be good if it, for instance, introduces a Meta Origin that makes sense.
  • January 27, 2008
    FastEddie
    Launch or die. We'd prefer launch, but Hey!, these decisions are very personal.
  • January 27, 2008
    RealSlimShadowen
    Will launch soon.

    Please note I am the same person as Shadowen; I just changed my name into something easily Wiki-worded. And also possibly the worst pun imaginable.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cy77y98m