Sudden, but Inevitable Betrayal YKTTW Discussion

Sudden, but Inevitable Betrayal
Participant in an Enemy Mine breaks the truce or otherwise tries to get one up on their ally.
(permanent link) added: 2011-12-08 03:54:01 sponsor: vynsane edited by: StarSword (last reply: 2015-02-28 22:47:39)

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This is the exact moment when Enemy Mine takes advantage of the uneasy truce situation. Maybe they just can't help but be bad. Maybe they think they're still working towards the mutual goal. Maybe it was the plan all along. Whatever the case, Genre Savvy viewers KNOW Enemy Mine will seize the Villain Ball with both hands - suddenly - and betray the heroes the minute they get the chance, sometimes regardless of the advantage it might bring. If they're Genre Savvy, the "good guys" aren't surprised ("We should've seen that coming"). If they're particularly Genre Savvy, the "good guys" already have a plan to deal with such a turn.

This trope accompanies Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and Reliable Traitor in the same way that My Significance Sense Is Tingling accompanies Spider-Sense. Compare to The Farmer and the Viper, wherein the farmer acts unilaterally, asking for no guarantee from the viper. May be prevented with Betrayal Insurance. Compare Inevitable Mutual Betrayal.

This trope is inherently Spoilered Rotten, so spoilers will be unmarked.


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    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four. With Reed Richards busy fighting something and the the cosmic radiation that gave the four their powers causing complications to the birth of his second child with Sue Richards, Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, turned to Doctor Doom for assistance. In repayment, Doom asked only that he be allowed to name the child, a request that was granted. He named her Valeria, after a woman he had loved in the past. Unbeknownst to the FF he also placed a spell on Valeria, making her his "familiar spirit" as part of a greater scheme to increase his mystical powers.
  • X-Men. After the two Secret Wars miniseries, Magneto, who had curiously been placed by The Beyonder with the heroes in the original conflict, begins a Heel-Face Turn that ultimately sees him take over for Charles Xavier as the headmaster of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. His tenure was marked with suffering and loss, pushing him to revert back to his more extremist views in a resultant Face-Heel Turn.
  • Played with in Runaways - considering that Xavin was a Skrull and a massive asshole, their teammates fully expected them to betray the team at some point, so when they inexplicably attacked the rest of the team during Secret Invasion, Nico and Victor were prepared to kill them, but it turned out that the apparent betrayal was an act - Xavin believed that the only hope of getting the team out of New York safely was for Xavin to abandon them, but also believed that trying to explain this to their teammates would just lead to arguments, and thus it seemed easier to just knock them all out.
  • In Justice League Elite, Menagerie had a pretty good reason to hate Vera Lynn Black - Vera's brother Manchester had permanently disabled Menagerie's sister - but Vera still recruited her for the JLE. Naturally, when the first mission turns into a complete disaster and results in an international incident, it's eventually revealed that Menagerie was responsible, and that she did it specifically to get revenge for her sister.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has the U.S. government forcing the titular group to team up with Doctor Doom in order to subdue the Surfer. Doom's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder inevitably kicks in: he takes the Surfer's board and blasts his way out.
  • X-Men:
    • X2: X-Men United presents William Stryker, who poses a common threat to the X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood. The two mutant factions put aside their differences and cooperatively storm Stryker's compound, where, once divided from his collaborators, Magneto takes advantage of the situation and attempts to use Professor X and Cerebro to kill every non-mutant on the planet.
    • X-Men: First Class, as a prequel, poses a Because Destiny Says So situation concerning the relationship between Erik and Xavier. ZERO CONTEXT EXAMPLE

  • Subverted during one battle in the Belisarius Series, where the Genre Savvy Belisarius considered the betrayal by an allied general so inevitable that he actually formulated his plan around it.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. novel The Dagger Affair. Archenemies UNCLE and THRUSH team up to fight the DAGGER organization. Each side exchanges hostages to make sure the truce between them is kept. After DAGGER is defeated, THRUSH tricks UNCLE into releasing the THRUSH hostages early and then tries to assassinate several UNCLE agents before they learn of the betrayal.
  • In Ciaphas Cain: For the Emperor, the Imperial Guard and the Tau Fire Caste join in an Enemy Mine against a genestealer infestation of the planet Gravalax, with Tau Hammerhead Hover Tanks helping Guard infantry break through enemy positions. Despite the truce, Cain conveniently neglects to explain to the tau that the missing pathfinders they rescued from the labyrinths under the city are likely genestealer hosts now, just like the Guardsmen Cain just summarily shot. (The book ends shortly after and we're never told if anything came of it.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Firefly:
    • The Trope Namer example in the pilot episode is actually a parody. A Stegosaurus and a Tyrannosaurus, i.e. a predator and its prey species (different time periods notwithstanding), have apparently allied to find a new land to inhabit, which the Stegosaurus eloquently dubs "This Land". The Tyrannosaurus immediately decides that "we should call it your grave!" The joke is that this is all being played out by Wash's toys.
      Stegosaurus: Curse your sudden, but inevitable, betrayal!
    • In "Trash" known swindler Saffron has a big heist planned and needs the Serenity crew's help. As soon as she and Mal make their getaway, she lures him into sitting down next to her and sneaks his gun out of its holster. However, Inara, proving highly Genre Savvy, hatches a plan of her own to snare Saffron after her double-cross, allowing her to believe that this was part of Mal's plan all along (it wasn't).
  • Angel's last episode "Not Fade Away".
    Angel: This may come out a little pretentious, but... one of you will betray me.
    [Spike raises his hand]
    Angel: Wes.
    Spike: [disappointed] Oh. Can I deny you three times?
Turns out it's Harmony who betrays Angel, which Angel anticipated. He fired her but left her a letter of recommendation.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Discussed, then played out, in "Scorpion", which takes its name from the parable of the scorpion and the frog. When Janeway considers allying with the Borg against Species 8472 after one of the latter injures Harry, Chakotay warns her against it, citing the parable with the Borg as the scorpion. Sure enough, not only do the Borg turn on Voyager the instant they're out of immediate danger, but it turns out, surprise surprise, that they were the aggressors and 8472 was just defending itself. Fortunately the Genre Savvy Chakotay had a countermeasure prepared and the Borg aboard are killed except for Seven of Nine.
    • In "Dragon's Teeth" Voyager rescues a cache of Human Popsicles, the Vaadwaur, from a radioactive wasteland of a world and agrees to ferry them to a new homeworld in exchange for access to subspace corridors that might shave precious years off the journey home. Turns out there's a good reason the Vaadwaur homeworld was a wasteland: 900 years ago the species that chased Voyager there in the first place was part of an Alliance that defeated the Vaadwaur, then a race of conquistadors. Their leader, Gaul, goes back on the deal and tries to take over Voyager to get its tech and take revenge.

    Video Games 
  • Dawn of War: In the Winter Assault expansion, all four factions are fighting for control of a half-buried Imperial Titan, with the Order and Disorder forces (Humans, Eldar, and Chaos and Orks respectively) having an uneasy truce that falls apart as soon as they reach the gate protecting the Titan, leaving their ally behind to be killed by the enemy (this happens in all campaigns, with the player deciding which ally to lead to victory).

Indexes: Betrayal Tropes, Spoilered Rotten

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