Created By: GreatHylianKing on October 3, 2011 Last Edited By: GreatHylianKing on February 19, 2012

Bait And Twist

You expect a certain Plot Twist, but instead get a totally different one.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Do We Have This, Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples, Up for Grabs.

Let's say you're reading a book in which Alice and Bob are part of an organization. Suddenly, you notice a few things seem to be... off... about Bob. Naturally, the audience will start suspecting that Bob is actually The Mole. But, come time for The Reveal, the author shows that Bob was really a good guy, and sweet, innocent Alice was actually Evil All Along. *Jaws hit floor*.

This is the sweet essence of the Bait And Twist. Sometimes, a writer deliberately drops hints that their work will have a twist ending, and leaves it up to Genre Savvy viewers to figure out their intent. However, rather than settle for an intentional Untwist, they will instead either add another, massive twist on top of the obvious one or treat the obvious clues as Red Herrings and throw in a completely different twist.

When this is done well, a second viewing will likely show that the author was setting this up the whole time, with far more subtlety than the Red Herring clues. Done poorly, it can result in the fans giving up on the work entirely.

SPOILERS AHOY!!!


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • In Death Note's Grand Finale, The team makes plans to meet Near and his anti-Kira gang in a dockside warehouse "With one entrance, and one exit". Then, Light (In his first person flashforwards) tells the audience he is planning on taking all of the group (Including his own "partners") down at the same time with the use of 3rd Kiras Shinigami eyes, but fails and exposes himself as Kira, because Near stole the actual Deathnote and put a very convincing replica in its place.
  • Code Geass does this practically Once an Episode starting around halfway through R2, but the worst offender by far has to be this: We've been set up to believe that Emperor Charles was behind Lady Marianne's assassination, but as it turns out, not only was V.V. responsible for the whole thing, but Lady Marianne is actually still alive and possessing Anya. And to top it off, she's actually a Lady Macbeth who's been conniving with her husband to bring about an Assimilation Plot. The fandom was not amused.
  • Bleach has several during the Fake Karakura Town arc.
    • First, there's Hitsugaya's attempt to take out Aizen. Aizen being Aizen, just about everyone correctly predicted that this would fail miserably. What nobody saw coming was the fact that the one Hitsugaya had just stabbed wasn't an apparition, but was Momo Hinamori. AGAIN.
    • Second, and even more shocking, we all knew that Aizen would have no problems killing Ichigo's friends once he got to the real Karakura Town. The switch comes when Gin , rather than going after the kids, stabs Aizen through the back and reveals that all of his actions in the series up to that point were a Xanatos Gambit to recover a part of his Morality Pet's soul. That sound you hear is the sound of the fan's jaws hitting the floor.
  • Tsubasa is a great example of this. For example, Syaoran seems like a nice guy for most of Tsubasa, risking his life to save Sakura. Then, once the Acid Tokyo arc begins, we discover that the Syaoran we know and love is really an emotionless clone created by the antagonist, who while appearing to do nothing, actually had all the cards in his hand from the beginning. He then ends up eating Fai's eye....

Film
  • In Sky High, there are hints that the villain, Royal Pain, is Gwen's mother. However, it turns out that the villain is actually Gwen herself. Doubled up too, in that you think she's avenging her mothers defeat by becoming the new Royal Pain, but then it turns out that she's the same Royal Pain who was de-aged.
  • Oldboy hits the audience hard with this one. We already know that Woo-Jin and his sister had sex, Dae-Su saw it and told one guy, who told everyone else, which resulted in said sister committing suicide, and have been led to believe that his elaborate revenge plan simply involved locking Oh Dae-Su up for 15 years. Then we get one of the biggest Wham Lines of the last decade:
    Woo-Jin: The question you should be asking yourself isn't, "Why did Woo-Jin imprison me?" It's, "Why did Woo-Jin Release me?"
  • In Righteous Kill, the audience is led to believe that Turk is the murderer, when it is really his partner, Rooster.
  • The second season of Dollhouse features a senator campaigning against the titular organization. The protagonists begin to suspect that the senator's wife is an Active, placed to undermine the senator's efforts. The senator is the actual Active, running a Batman Gambit against the protagonists. His wife turns out to be his handler.

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • October 3, 2011
    Nocturna
    I think this is probably sufficiently covered by Wham Episode.
  • October 3, 2011
    MorganWick
    Lolwut?
  • October 4, 2011
    Ryuuma
    Needs tons of work. Especially when you notice that the "Laconic" is actually longer than the article itself. Also, no examples, and the feeling that we already have something of this effect. Sorry, but in his current state this article is a mess.
  • October 4, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    This might be a valid trope, though. But what will need to be done first is to figure out how this is different from a Wham Episode or All Just A Dream.

    What if:
  • October 4, 2011
    Ryuuma
  • October 8, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    "Plot Twist Barrage" is a little too "On the tin"-ny. I like Plot tornado, but if anyone recommends better, I'll take it.

    I think it's somewhere along the lines of 'Frodo Goofball Co TV''s first example; Basically, the idea is that the creator of the game/movie/T Vshow sets up the situation to look as though event "A" is going to end a certain way (Lets say "A" is a well-planned sword fight, [I like swords, but that is neither here nor there] between a particularly important character, say, the Mentor in the story, and the Big Bad who FINALLY is in the same room long enough with M, Mentor, to exchange blows and settle differences), but then the first plot twist happens. I'll symbolize it with "a", Little A. In this case it would be something like M getting drastically close to winning the epic sword fight that takes place in the episode (I guess that makes it relative to "Wham Episode" too), but pulling a "Thou shalt not kill/If you kill him you'll be just like him" moment and dropping his sword. The bad guy is VERY wounded. The good guy is refusing him the honor of death. -Element B comes into play- Bad guy lifts his sword. We all know what happens nex- Hold on, what's he... WHAT? He's turned it on HIMSELF!!! -Element C- He says if M is too good to kill him, he'll kill himself in M's name! He doesn't want the pity M is giving him, so-!!! He does it!!! Big Bad is DEAD!!! HE KILLED HIMSELF!!!

    ...This is a flimsy example, but that is beside the point.

    Put simply, the equation for this trope is "A" (Event 1) times "a" (Rising action)= B (Twist 1, leading to what you think will happen), + "M" (Motive, not Mentor) = "C" (Twist 2, the OMGIHADNOIDEATHATWASGUNNAHAPPEN element).

    "(A x a) = B + M = C" in math terms.

    I hope I made this a little clearer. I was REALLY tired when I wrote the rubber backbone for this YKTTW. :P
  • October 8, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    ...Wow, I just realized how long that was.

  • October 9, 2011
    NoirGrimoir
    So this is a 'what is presumed to be a set up for plot twist A turns out to be Plot twist B?' Like Plot Twist Bait And Switch?
  • October 12, 2011
    gneissisnice
    The description is really confusing, I'm not even at all sure what you mean.

    It seems like you're saying it's set up so the audience expects a plot twist, but ends up giving a different plot twist. So you have subtle Red Herring hints that the villain is really the main characters father, and the audience is expecting that, but then it's revealed that the villain is the main character from the future? Am I understanding that right?

    That seems kind of subjective, I think, but it does seem interesting.

    Only example I can actually think of at the moment is this:

    In Sky High, there are hints that the villain, Royal Pain, is Gwen's mother (the yearbook picture and the reference to her vanishing), and even Will thinks so, but it turns out that the villain is actually Gwen herself. Doubled up too, in that you think she's avenging her mothers defeat by becoming the new Royal Pain, but then it turns out that she's the same Royal Pain who was de-aged.
  • October 13, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    @Noir Grimoir How bout Bait and Twist?

    @Gneiss Is Nice You're about right. I'm probably over explaining this. Also, if the expected plot twist happens resulting in ANOTHER plot twist, this one totally unexpected, that falls under this trope too (Unless you think it doesn't?) That is also a great example.
  • October 13, 2011
    Wntermute
    Isn't this akin to Gainax Ending?
  • October 13, 2011
    SolidSamurai
    What about another example (this trope unfortunately demands long ones)?

    Hero A is fighting Bad Guy M in the obligatory sword duel. Bad Guy M withdraws, Hero A says 'Ha Coward!', but then is surprised when BGM begins laughing. BGM says 'None have yet to survive my ultimate attack!' and then uses the secret forbidden maneuver that had originally been established to the audience that Hero A was going to use in a moment of weakness (presumably, the audience must now assume that the villain is in a moment of weakness). The hero counters this with the power of love and the villain is seemingly destroyed. Only then, when the hero's guard is dropped, does the villain rise up (from whatever black pit he was thrown into) and stab the hero, slaying him.

    The villain laughs again, only to be engulfed by a monster from the same black pit which he rose out of. The audience learns from the investigator supporting character that the villain had taught the Hero the forbidden maneuver in the event that he could instill dark phlebotinum on him and lure him over to the dark side. We also learn that the villain was originally a knight sent to hell to free a captive love interest, only to fall pray to demons in hell where he was corrupted by brain spiders and turned evil.

    After an intermission - the investigator ressurects Hero A from death with applied phlebotinum, only to learn that the ressurection has pulled Hero A's spirit away from hell before he could learn the invasion plans of the real big bad demon lord, thus dooming earth.

    And then a character that nobody cares about wakes up, discovering it's all a dream. And then a demon eats him in a horrifying manner. Genre twist?!
  • October 13, 2011
    SolidSamurai
    The term 'twist tornado' seems to imply many randomly tiny and big twists. I recall reading the trope 'red herring of one expected outcome but instead another occurs' somewhere before - but can't remember name.
  • October 13, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    @Solid Samurai Your example is, like, a Super Mutation of the original. That's not bad, its actually a more common example. Besides the Demon part at the end; it tends to decrease in likelihood as it continues. But you're really right.
  • October 13, 2011
    KyleJacobs
    So... many... problems... must... fix...

    I definitely like Bait And Twist as a name. I'll also be taking the liberty of reformatting this, since it does say Up For Grabs.
  • October 13, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    @Kyle Jacobs Hey, thanks. I'm still not an expert at formatting, so all help available is much appreciated. :D
  • October 13, 2011
    KyleJacobs
    Go back and look at the new source for the article, that ought to give you some idea.

    I ended up doing a bit more than just reformatting. I hope that's OK. It's just that I found the old version nearly incomprehensible.

    I also think that Solid Samurai's version doesn't fit with my understanding of this one. Maybe another trope for an endless barrage of plot twists? I can see that under a title like Gordian Plot.
  • October 14, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    Wow, you fixed a lot. Thanks.

    I think this trope is getting rapidly more mature, and that is awesome. Thank you all.
  • October 26, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    Bump?
  • October 28, 2011
    Higurashiblood98
    [Anime/Manga] Tsubasa is a great example of this. For example, (spoiler alert) Syaoran seems like a nice guy for most of Tsubasa, risking his life to save Sakura. Then, once the Acid Tokyo arc begins, we discover that the Syaoran we know and love is really an emotionless clone created by the antagonist, who while appearing to do nothing, actually had all the cards in his hand from the beginning. He then ends up eating Fai's eye....
  • November 3, 2011
    GuyIncog
    Two possible examples:
    • Righteous Kill, where the audience is led to believe that Turk is the murderer, when it is really his partner, Rooster.
    • The second season of Dollhouse features a senator campaigning against the titular organization. The protagonists begin to suspect that the senator's wife is an Active, placed to undermine the senator's efforts. The senator is the actual Active, running a Batman Gambit against the protagonists. His wife turns out to be his handler.

    My only question is one of subtlety. If the fake twist is too subtle, fans may miss it and you end up with a YMMV example. If it's too obvious (possible example: Righteous Kill uses an out of context flash forward to set up the fake twist) then the lines between this trope and a simple Plot Twist become blurred.
  • November 3, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    @Guy Incog Hmmm, you're right... About the subtlety, I mean.

    ...Alright, got L's theme from Death Note playing, lets deduce this puppy.

    Lets see. I think the "Too Subtle Fake Twist" may lead to the Fridge. I mean, if you realize it after and go "Oh, so THATS why that random scene was in there!!!", then it is Fridge-Worthy, right? At least, that's how I read the trope's definition.

    As for the "Not Subtle Enough Fake Twist", that is a case of dramatic irony, and, depending on the circumstance may or may not be a Bait and Twist. For instance, your example with Righteous Kill may or may not be, since I haven't seen it: If the person who is murdered is important and it doesn't make sense why the FF scene is there, but then the show eventually gets to a deja-vuey sort of thing where you realizes why and are screaming at the victim to get out before it happens, and THEN Rooster comes in and kills the guy, THAT would be an example.

    But, if the story revolves around the fact that Turk is gunna kill this guy, and you are expecting it to happen at any time they are alone, and THEN Rooster goes and kills him, That is a plot twist. And a pretty big one too.

    I hope this helps?
  • November 4, 2011
    originalhobbit
    Ok, if half the page is going to be spoilers (or at least a large portion of it anyway) why not just leave the spoilers blank in the final draft and have a warning? since this is a plot twist trope, it would make sense.
  • November 4, 2011
    ladygem
  • November 6, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    ^^Okay, I guess that makes sense. It would improve topical beauty too...

    ^That is an excellent example.
  • November 14, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    BUMP?
  • November 17, 2011
    DeusExBiotica
    No offense, but... is this not, in fact, just a page for Subversion as a plot element?
  • November 17, 2011
    Rytex
    Inheritance Cycle. Eragon has premonitions of someone getting on a boat with a girl while two dragons fly overhead. Most people (if not all) assumed it meant Eragon and Arya as they left Alagaesia with their two dragons. However, Eragon leaves, but Arya stays with him until the first bend of the river.
  • November 18, 2011
    Abodos
    Compare with Not His Sled, where an adaptation changes up a previous, well-known plot twist to fit this trope.
  • December 6, 2011
    ladygem
    bump
  • December 30, 2011
    GreatHylianKing
    Eeh, how bout a BUMP?
  • December 31, 2011
    Nndaia
    In Young Justice, Aqualad suspects there may be a mole on the team. Artemis is set up as the obvious mole and a lot of drama derived from her keeping her true loyalties a secret. Then it just turns out that she wasn't a mole at all, but merely had some embarrassing family ties; the mole turned out to be Red Tornado, which came completely out of left field! A standard plot twist... until it turned out that he wasn't a mole either, but merely trying to protect the team. Young Justice currently has no leads for their mole, and aren't sure if one even exists.
  • February 1, 2012
    GreatHylianKing
    Uh, BUMP?

    Good example, @Nndaia
  • February 4, 2012
    SpiritOfSahara
    Bump.
  • February 7, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    Spoilers off: can't read anything with them on.
  • February 8, 2012
    KeithTyler
    So it's just a subverted Plot Twist.
  • February 8, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    Huh? The description I'm reading only qualifies if there was a plot twist.
  • February 8, 2012
    captainpat
    The examples for this is thing are all over the place. Some of these read like Wham Episode, other's read like Plot Twist and some like Red Herring but downplayed.
  • February 18, 2012
    TBeholder
    1) if you expect a twist, it's not really a twist. 2) if a trope is expected but doesn't really go off, it's "Subverted Trope"

  • February 19, 2012
    Sackett
    Uhhh... I'm pretty sure this is Red Herring.

    The description even says it's Red Herring only more subtle. That doesn't seem like a good trope distinction.

    Maybe something along the lines of creating a Red Herring that depends on the viewers being Genre Savvy would be a notable subtrope.
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