Created By: DrakeClawfang on August 1, 2013 Last Edited By: DrakeClawfang on August 9, 2013
Nuked

Face Heel Swerve

when a Face Heel Turn is done with little or poor build-up (possibly a YMMV trope)

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It's by no means uncommon in fiction for a good and benevolent person to turn to darkness and evil. Sometimes they're corrupted, they're brainwashed, they're misguided, there could be many reasons. This is the Face–Heel Turn.

Then there is this trope. A good character turns to evil, but their turn is sudden and poorly handled. The character is shown to have little reason, if any, to change sides, and if they are given a reason it's a weak one. This can also come about if their character changes so drastically after the turn that you wonder how they were ever good. It's one thing for the edgy Anti-Hero to fall to evil, but if a character has previously shown to be friendly, heroic and selfless, and then is suddenly laughing evilly and eagerly killing their former friends, it can be a bit off-putting to viewers.

Note this trope is not to be used any time a character suddenly goes from a paragon of righteousness to a patron of wickedness. Brainwashing and mind-control automatically make this trope not applicable. This trope is when a character willingly turns from good to evil, but their reasons for doing so are poorly explained or are just poor reasons, or the shift of personality from good to evil is so severe that the change in personality is difficult to take seriously.

Compare Shocking Swerve, when a plot twist is poorly foreshadowed, and Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome, when a heroic character in the original product turns evil in a sequel.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • August 1, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    I didn't add any examples, though I do have a couple, because I'd like some feedback on this trope. I recognize this is easy to misunderstand and is probably best suited to be classified a YMMV trope, but I think it has some merit to existing.
  • August 1, 2013
    StarSword
    I'm honestly not sure, but here's my analysis.

    • We don't seem to have any problems with the Face Heel X snowclones so Everythings Worse With Snowclones isn't an issue. Still, I'm fairly sure we can describe it better.
    • Careful this doesn't become a complaining magnet. This is likely the biggest obstacle to putting the trope out there.
  • August 1, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Point 2 is my concern as well. Point 1, I am open to a better name, but in this case it is specifically a subtrope of Face Heel Turn, so I don't think it would be a Snowclone.
  • August 1, 2013
    StarSword
    ^It would be a snowclone (trope title based on another trope title), but it's not necessarily a bad one, is what I'm saying.
  • August 1, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    I agree that this is a huge complaining magnet. Besides, we already got Easily Forgiven.
  • August 1, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Easily Forgiven is entirely different, though it would mostly be the reverse of this trope.
  • August 1, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I think the thing really being snowcloned here is Shocking Swerve, of which this would also be a subtrope. And there is a bit of an issue, current title could be interpreted as someone Swerving to avoid a Face Heel Turn.

    If you guys think we need a Face Heel Turn-specific version of Shocking Swerve, then that's fine. Just keep in mind this is defintiely covered by that trope already.
  • August 1, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    I actually was not thinking of Shocking Swerve when I made and named this trope. I named it Face Heel "Swerve" to convey the suddenness of the act compared to a simple "Turn".
  • August 1, 2013
    DAN004
    Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome would be related.
  • August 1, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    Example would be Shark Night. The sheriff character played by Donal Logue, Sabin, very much out of nowhere reveals to be one of the masterminds behind the Threatening Shark rampage-slash-Snuff Film which the main characters are stuck in the middle of. He says it's because he's sick of rick kids belittling him, but even if he's right, why try to kill the one group of teens that *isn't* treating him badly during his (rather brief) screen time? Or, you know, showing him a mite more acting Affably Evil (emphasis on 'showing him more')?
  • August 2, 2013
    MorganWick
    My concern is that this is just Face Heel Turn Done Badly. Even if it's not, it needs to avoid becoming Complaining About Heel Turns You Don't Like.
  • August 2, 2013
    DAN004
    I kinda think making a Heel Face Swerve would be good too. Or otherwise merging that to this one.
  • August 2, 2013
    Madrugada
    This like a purely subjective thing, not a trope at all. It's Face Heel Turn Done Badly

    To me the clue is in the way you had to define it: "This trope is when a character willingly turns from good to evil, but their reasons for doing so are poorly explained or are just poor reasons, or the shift of personality from good to evil is so severe that the change in personality is difficult to take seriously.

    It's also going to serve as a magnet for complaining, with editors adding any Face Heel Turn that they didn't like or didn't like how it was done; natter, as other editors add all the reasons they didn't like it either; and Justifying Edits and edit warring as still other editors add why they think it wasn't badly done, or simply remove examples that they don't think are bad. All of the things I italicised are purely subjective,
  • August 2, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Simple: Character Derailment. That trope listed Face Heel Turn and added a blurb "when poorly executed".
  • August 2, 2013
    Catbert
    Character Derailment already covers this. Making this page would be a Same But More Specific of Character Derailment. I do not think it would be a constructive addition to our tropes, not to mention previous concerns expressed about creating yet another page for people to gripe.
  • August 3, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    No, I think we already have a number of non-Your Mileage May Vary tropes covering this concept, such as Face Heel Revolving Door.

    I'm making a Motion To Discard.
  • August 3, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ How could the revolving door be related to this one?

    BTW I'm still certain there's some examples to be held here, so that it can stand as a subtrope of Character Derailment. Thoughts?
  • August 3, 2013
    marcoasalazarm
    First thing, we need examples. The Trope as it looks like right now (title and all) sounds like 'Face Heel Turn which literally comes out of nowhere (most probably as a Shocking Swerve))'

    With some examples, things may run a mite smoother.
  • August 3, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    Well, hopefully some examples can make this a worthwhile YKTTW:

    • Dragon Ball: In the Buu Saga, Vegeta actually lets himself be turned into Babidi's slave, but only as a means to bring out the evil in himself and face Goku. When Goku asks why, Vegeta claims that he had to free himself from petty attachments. The fact that Goku doubts that Vegeta believes what he's saying makes that reasoning seem weak.

    • Revolution: Jim Hudson in "Clue" goes from Face to Heel in a way that just seemed to come out of nowhere. He caused 270 men out of 300 to die in a drone strike, because his wife is being held hostage by Monroe, because he feels the war against Monroe is hopeless, and because he is still bitter at Miles Matheson for ruining his life. These reasons are actually a bit weak.

    • Diablo: In the second game, the three protagonists from the first game end up turning into villains to fight. Prince Aiden went bad because he had Diablo inside him, and the demon was too much for him to handle. The Summoner apparently has a frayed mind from the events of the first game and there's speculation that he got possessed by Horazon. Blood Raven, however, went bad for no real reason.
  • August 4, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    • Fate Of The Jedi: This series tries to Retcon Jacen's turn to the Dark Side by revealing that Jacen had a vision of his beloved daughter Allana becoming a Sith serving Darth Krayt, and that he went bad to try to prevent that scenario from ever happening. This reason makes little sense, because Jacen should know that Force visions are notoriously unreliable, and it begs the question of why he thought going bad would prevent this scenario from happening to begin with.
    • Legacy Of The Force: Jacen Solo goes to Dark Side, because a vision shows him ultimately killing Luke Skywalker if lets Sith Lady Lumiya be arrested and put on trial. This line of reasoning makes little sense, because Jacen ought to know that Force visions are very unreliable and there's no logical link between Jacen killing Luke and arresting Lumiya.
  • August 4, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    I'm gonna leave this one alone, there are a lot of concerns it's either not needed or will be misused, which was my fear as well.
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Well, we're debating on that. Tagging it Up For Grabs would be good for you. :)
  • August 5, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    • Revenge Of The Sith: The way Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side so completely qualifies as this. Now, this is part of the prequel trilogy, so this development is a Foregone Conclusion. Also, Attack Of The Clones did show him killing off an entire Tusken Raider tribe in revenge for his mother's death, and that established a precedence for his Dark Side tendencies. Despite this, the fact that he turns on his fellow Jedi and systematically murders every one he can find without a qualm just because he chopped off Mace Windu's hand and decided to take Palpatine's side just seems so sudden. Then again, he did sound like he lost his sanity and probably stopped thinking logically some time ago.
  • August 5, 2013
    Telcontar
    "It's a bit weak", "it just seems so sudden", "it makes little sense"... the examples coming in are just complaining about Face Heel Turns.

    "Trope Done Badly" is not distinct from "Trope", as several people have said above. I'm another discarding vote.
  • August 6, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    • Emerald Twilight: In this story, Hal Jordan's home city Coast City gets destroyed by Mongul and Cyborg Superman. Hal, in a moment of weakness, uses his ring to recreate Coast City. The Guardians of the Universe then contact him and tell him that he violated the rule that forbids Green Lanterns from using their rings for personal gain. In response, Hal snaps and goes on a killing spree against the entire Green Lantern Corps. That begs the question of why being told he broke a rule would prompt him to go on a mass murdering spree. Indeed, even the writers must have seen the Fridge Logic, because Green Lantern: Rebirth retcons it by revealing that Parallax, a cosmic entity representing fear, possessed Hal Jordan.

    How many Motions To Discard does it take before a YKTTW gets discarded?
  • August 7, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    • Fist Of The North Star: Souther was once a good boy who was going to become a hero...until he had to kill his Sensei to become the successor to his martial arts style. While it is sad, it does not explain why he thinks that making a pyramid for his fallen Sensei using child slave labour and being a monster is an appropriate response to such a loss.
  • August 7, 2013
    captainpat
    ^^ Dunno but you're getting more than one then it's a good sign that this YKTTW should be discard. I agree with the offer posters. We don't need a page that's just "face heel turns I didn't like".
  • August 9, 2013
    TiggersAreGreat
    Oh, and don't we have a trope called Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, which goes into Face Heel Turns that happen suddenly without whittling it down to "face heel turns I didn't like"?
  • August 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Alright then... By all means, discard plz.
  • August 9, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Yeah... six MT Ds... I think this is safe to chuck.
  • August 9, 2013
    Telcontar
    Discarding. Good discussion, guys.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=kt834dkvbpasqlc0uikj6q63&trope=DiscardedYKTTW