Created By: TwilightLord on April 4, 2013 Last Edited By: willthiswork on April 12, 2013

Did Cthulhu Just Agree To Help Us?

The heroes ask the villain for help with something... and the villain obliges.

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Trope
Imagine the situation: Our heroes have run into a problem that none of them have the abilities or equipment necessary to solve. With nothing left to do, one of them makes a throwaway comment that one of the bad guys has just the right ability/tool needed for this job. Another hero then makes the unthinkable suggestion: Why not ask the bad guy for help?

Naturally, the heroes are a little reluctant to try this, since usually every time they meet the villain they end up trying to kill each other. But seeing no alternative, they decide to throw caution to the wind and try it. They march into the villain's lair, possibly unarmed to show they mean no harm, walk straight up to the villain and ask him for help, fully expecting at least a "No" and at worst an attempt on their lives.

But, to the heroes' (and the audience's) surprise, the villain actually agrees to help them! This could be for one of several reasons: Maybe the villain is Affably Evil or a Villain with Good Publicity and wants to keep up the image of being a trustworthy and dependable guy (or girl). Maybe they're just a Punch Clock Villain and don't actually have anything against the heroes personally. Or maybe they're just bored. But either way, they help out and the day is saved, thanks to... the bad guy!

Expect this, in many cases, NOT to result in a Heel–Face Turn. In almost all cases of this, the heroes and villains will go back to happily trying to kill each other once the task is complete.

This can overlap with Enemy Mine, but it's not necessarily the same thing. For this trope to be in effect, the hero (or one of the good guys) has to actually ASK the villain (or one of the bad guys) for help, whether it be fighting an enemy or solving a puzzle. Villainous Rescue does not count as this trope either.

Also note that it doesn't have to be strictly heroes and villains, it could be just two characters who usually don't get along very well, or consider the other their rival.

Examples:
  • Happens in Naruto a few times.
    • In the Zabuza arc of the first series, Naruto and Sasuke (who at that time are rather bitter rivals) are competing against each other fiercely in chakra control training. Until one day, at practice, Sasuke remarks that he heard Naruto asked Sakura for advice... and, embarrassed, asks him what she told him.
    • A more traditional example occurs after the timeskip, during the "Search for Pain" arc. Naruto and Might Guy are travelling through the Forest of Death, when they come across Series 1 Big Bad Orochimaru. Not wanting to waste time fighting Orochimaru, Might Guy asks him if he wouldn't mind helping them hunt the Akatsuki. Orochimaru, who hates the Akatsuki just as much as they do (having been killed by one of its members, Itachi, previously), is all too happy to lend a hand.
  • Kingdom Hearts II:
    • In the data simulation of Twilight Town during the Longest Prologue Ever, during the search for the Seven Wonders of Twilight Town, Roxas leaves the group to check out Wonder Number Six, the Haunted Mansion, on his own. When Pence catches up with him, he tells him that they were all going to check it out together the next day, and that Seifer (the resident jerk who usually ends up fighting with Roxas and his gang every time they meet) had agreed to help out after Hayner asked him. Due to plot events happening as they do, though, we never see Seifer and Roxas's gang actually exploring the mansion together.
    • Played with and subverted when Sora meets Saix for the first time. Saix mentions that they have taken Kairi hostage, and Sora asks to be taken to her. Saix tells him to show how much she means to him, and Sora gets down on his hands and knees and begs in a pose of ultimate submission. Saix remarks that Sora really does care for Kairi, and seems for a moment to be about to take Sora to her - until he firmly tells him that the answer is no and leaves.
    • Also played with on the first visit to Olympus Coliseum. Hercules is being run ragged from repeated fights at the Coliseum against monsters sent from Hades himself, so Sora suggests going to ask Hades to give Herc a break for a bit. Once they finally reach Hades, however, they find him already busy dealing with Auron, and in no mood to do anyone any favours.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has the episode "Forced Kin", in which the girls are defeated by a giant robot from outer space. Blossom remarks that since this robot is the most evil thing they have faced thus far, they should fight fire with fire and get someone who thinks like it does to take it down - namely, someone evil. They decide to ask Mojo Jojo, who at first irritably refuses to help, but gives in after the girls blackmail him. His reluctance to help soon turns into enthusiasm, however, as he becomes enraged at seeing that the robot stole all of his ideas, eventually going into a primal frenzy and beating the giant robot single-handed in physical combat.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • April 4, 2013
    StarSword
    EDIT: Wait, I reread the description; never mind.
  • April 4, 2013
    Koveras
    Bad Snowclone title is bad, and it doesn't really explain what the intended trope meaning is. Example As Thesis is questionable, as well. If I understood this correctly, this is about heroes teaming up with their regular villains to combat an even bigger threat. If the threat poses danger to both of them, it already falls under Enemy Mine. Otherwise, it probably falls under The Only One Allowed To Defeat You.
  • April 4, 2013
    willthiswork
    Agree that the snowclone is bad, Cthulhu implies some sort of major evil/ cosmic horror type, not just a standard villian. Maybe something like Fight Evil With Evil?
  • April 4, 2013
    xanderiskander
    How about Asking Evil A Favor?

    Also this is very much the opposite of An Offer You Cant Refuse where the villain gets the heroes to help him (usually unwillingly). It also overlaps with You Owe Me, when the villain uses his help as the basis to ask the heroes a favor in the future.

  • April 4, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Comic Books
    • During Jack Kirby's run on Marvel's Fantastic Four, the Four faced the Overmind, a cosmic barbarian with awesome telekinesis. When Reed Richards lost his mind in a battle of wills with the Overmind, Susan Richards appeals to Doctor Doom to aid them. Doom agrees, because Latveria is also jeopardized by the Overmind, and it must be Doom that vanquishes the Four.

    Alternative title suggestion: Enlisting The Villain.
  • April 4, 2013
    Larkmarn
  • April 4, 2013
    Desertopa
    Enlisting The Villain gets my vote.
  • April 5, 2013
    spacemarine50
    What's different between this and Gondor Calls For Aid?
  • April 5, 2013
    Koveras
    Gondor Calls For Aid is more general, as it concerns any unlikely allies, not specifically the Rogues Gallery.
  • April 5, 2013
    DunDun
    Enlisting The Villain sounds like Conscription (since people enlist into military service). What about Contracting With The Villain?
  • April 5, 2013
    Psi001
    • Played For Laughs in Tom And Jerry cartoon "The Little School Mouse". Jerry attempts to teach Nibbles how to steal food behind Tom's back, and fails miserably. Nibbles attempts, going up to Tom and politely asking for a piece of cheese. Tom, seemingly too sleepy to be bothered, simply complies, much to Jerry's chagrin.
  • April 5, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
  • April 8, 2013
    TwilightLord
    As for the title, I agree that it sucks, but I was having real trouble thinking of one. From what's been suggested, Asking Evil A Favour is the best in my mind, but I wanted the title to reflect that this is about the hero(es) asking the villain(s) for help and GETTING IT, rather than just asking the villains for help in general. Maybe something like Evil Lends A Hand? What do you guys think?
  • April 8, 2013
    willthiswork
  • April 9, 2013
    DunDun
    Evil Agrees To Help sounds great. Even for a Black And Grey Morality work, "Evil Agrees To Help" is obviously when the more evil decides to help the less evil of the two.
  • April 11, 2013
    TwilightLord
    Yeah, that sounds fine. So can we go ahead and launch this now?
  • April 11, 2013
    AmyGdala
    Surely you want some more examples first?
  • April 11, 2013
    Astaroth
    General Tarquin in The Order Of The Stick is willing to offer information and support to the Order, because he's Genre Savvy enough to know that he's not the only villain in the story and correctly guesses that Xykon, the villain they're fighting against, could become a threat to his plans of conquest in the long-term. Also, one of the members of the Order, Elan, is his long-lost son.
  • April 11, 2013
    DRCEQ
    Assisted By Cthulhu sounds good. Keeping with the Theme Naming of the other tropes by making it obvious that it falls in with the "do something to/with the Eldritch Abomination" tropes.
  • April 11, 2013
    xanderiskander
    The examples need to be organized and alphabetized. Don't launch it like this.

    ^ I get the feeling from the first comment that we don't want to theme it like that because Everythings Worse With Snowclones. Also the obviousness isn't needed. They're not excluded, and it's more common for the evil to be a villain or a minion than an Eldritch Abomination.
  • April 11, 2013
    KingZeal
    Question: this says it USUALLY doesn't result in a Heel Face Turn. Does that mean ones that do are disqualified?

    If not, here are more Naruto examples:
    • During the climactic battle against Madara and Tobi, all of the Tailed Beasts and their previous jinchuuriki pull Naruto into some sort of astral space and when he agrees to save them all, they offer to help him as best they can.
    • Eventually, Naruto secures the allegiance of Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. While the fox had been willing to aid Naruto here and there, it was usually to save himself (if Naruto died, he died too) or to make Naruto addicted to its power and thus easier to control), it was at this moment that the fox and Naruto officially became allies.
  • April 12, 2013
    TwilightLord
    It doesn't disqualify it, but keep in mind the main point of this trope is the heroes specifically asking the villain(s) to help them, and the villains agreeing. The villains just offering to help out of nowhere doesn't count.
  • April 12, 2013
    KingZeal
    In that case, the second Naruto example above qualifies.
  • April 12, 2013
    ickick3
    Isn't this sort of like enemy mine?
  • April 12, 2013
    DunDun
    Enemy Mine: Hero and villain help each other to get rid of a threat to both of them (or both their causes).

    This trope: Hero asks the villain to help (with something or someone) and the villain agrees to help (for a price or for a favor later or some other payment).

    That's my understanding of the two, anyways. Enemy Mine is definitely related, but there's no necessary overlap.
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