Created By: StevenT on September 23, 2011 Last Edited By: CaveCat on May 10, 2013
Troped

Ignorant Minion

A minion who is unaware that he or she is working for the villain.

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Trope
"So...do you think we're working for the bad guy?"
--Bobo, The Muppets

Not all minions are evil. Some simply don't know better, either due to stupidity or just naivety.

If the reveal results in a Heel–Face Turn, it leads to Conspiracy Redemption.

A subtrope of Minion with an F in Evil. Compare with Dumb Is Good.

Compare Punch Clock Villain.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Film

Live-Action TV
  • Alias: Most of the people working for SD-6 don't know it's a terrorist organization, they think they're working for the CIA.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), Boomer didn't consciously know she was a Cylon at first, and was a sleeper agent within the fleet (who was triggered to do a couple acts of sabotage by Cavil using a sort of hypnotic suggestion involving a carved trinket, then "re-sleepered", as revealed in the movie The Plan). After she was fully conscious of what she was, she ended up in a Heel–Face Revolving Door throughout the show, as her human experiences and Cylon nature conflicted.
  • In the B movie and Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode I Accuse My Parents, young Jimmy starts working for local gangster Charlie Blake without realizing Charlie is a gangster. He thinks he's just delivering legitimate messages and packages. Considering the fact that Charlie looks, talks and acts like a gangster, this plot point is not too believable.
  • For much of the fourth season of Babylon 5, Garibaldi, having gone through a More Than Mind Control experience, is unaware that he is essentially working for Bester, in an operation to infiltrate tycoon William Edgars' organization which is developing a biological weapon against telepaths. When he finds out in a Just Between You and Me speech by Bester, there's a Big "NO!", and from there he works for the day he can get revenge on him for using him, probably especially because it caused him to betray a good friend along the way.

Video Games

Web Animation
  • The Freelancers in Red vs. Blue think for the longest time that they're fighting the good fight, their boss the Director is a good guy, and the Insurrection are the bad guys. Not quite. Some of the Freelancers do eventually experience a Conspiracy Redemption.
    York: I felt it since Texas showed up. And when cops and military started shooting at us, yeah, I find I just keep coming back to the same question in my head over and over again.
    North: And what question is that?
    York: We're the good guys... right?
    North: Yeah, of course we are.
    York: You don't sound so sure of yourself.
    North: No. No, I suppose I don't.

Western Animation
  • Penny from The Mighty B! whenever she's hanging out with Portia and Gwen instead of Bessie.
  • Da Bears from The Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog were this in their first appearance when Scratch and Grounder tricked them into thinking that they were Sonic and Tails and that Sonic and Tails were Scratch and Grounder.
  • Stegmutt from Darkwing Duck was this to Dr. Fossil at first. He had no idea about his master's true intentions, until near the end of the episode.
  • Valerie from Danny Phantom, who doesn't realise Vlad is a villain until season 3.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Homer takes a job with an affable new boss completely unaware he's a Bondian supervillain trying to Take Over the World (and partially succeeds), not even noticing when he quits in the middle of a firefight.
    Homer: Say, what's going on?
    Hank: I'm having a little trouble with the government.
    Homer: Oh, those jerks always walking over the small businessman.

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • September 23, 2011
    CaveCat
    • Stegmutt from Darkwing Duck was this to Dr. Fossil at first. He had no idea about his master's true intentions, until near the end of the episode.
  • September 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Alias: Most of the people working for SD-6 don't know it's a terrorist organization, they think they're working for the CIA.
  • September 23, 2011
    Koveras
    If the reveal results in a Heel Face Turn, it leads to Conspiracy Redemption.
  • September 23, 2011
    Premonition45
    Every human law enforcement officer in The Matrix, uncomfortably overlapping with What Measure Is A Mook
  • September 23, 2011
    JesusSaves
    In Neon Genesis Evangelion, the entire staff of NERV, a Mildly Military multibillion international governmental organization, are, unwittingly, the minions of a Mad Scientist who plans The End Of The World As We Know It while they are told they are preventing that.
  • September 23, 2011
    MiinU

    Anime and Manga

  • September 25, 2011
    TheChainMan
    They might get a Heel Realization at some point.
  • September 25, 2011
    TBeholder
  • September 25, 2011
    Hadashi
  • October 13, 2011
    surgoshan
  • February 15, 2013
    LordGro
    Is there a fundamental difference to Unwitting Pawn?
  • February 15, 2013
    MaxWest
    In StreetFighterIIV, Cammy is sent to assassinate Chun-Li's father. However, she's not doing it out of malice. She is informed by Shadowloo agents that her target is actually a high-ranking criminal that needs to be dealt with.
  • February 15, 2013
    Met
    I had an example, but it seems to fit just as well under Unwitting Pawn. Is there a difference between the two?
  • February 15, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Technically, Mikami of Death Note is this. When he sees Light crawling on the ground, helpless from gunshot wounds he finally realizes he's actually not a god.
  • February 15, 2013
    MiinU
    @Met - The fundamental difference is an Unwitting Pawn doesn't necessarily work for the bad guy, they're simply being used by them. For example:

    That's an example of an unwitting pawn, since Callista's unaware that Cerise is both toying with her affections, and using Callista's popularity with the intent of becoming the school's queen bee. But, Callista does not work for her.

    Whereas this trope requires an actual minion or (an employee), who's either unaware that they're on the wrong side, or that they've failed to realize their boss is evil.
  • February 15, 2013
    StarSword
  • February 15, 2013
    Karalora
    Bobo and Uncle Deadly in The Muppets, at least initially. Bobo could even provide the page quote:

    "So...do you think we're working for the bad guy?"
  • February 16, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    In Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Boomer didn't consciously know she was a Cylon at first, and was a sleeper agent within the fleet (who was triggered to do a couple acts of sabotage by Cavil using a sort of hypnotic suggestion involving a carved trinket, then "re-sleepered", as revealed in the movie The Plan). After she was fully conscious of what she was, she ended up in a Heel Face Revolving Door throughout the show, as her human experiences and Cylon nature conflicted.
  • February 16, 2013
    OmarKarindu
    Film
    • Becomes a Conversed Trope in Chasing Amy, where the characters have a spirited debate about whether the contractors building the Death Star were Ignorant Minions whom the Rebel Alliance murders or knowing parts of the villainous Empire.
  • February 16, 2013
    SKJAM
    For Zangief, you might want to include his quotes, so it's not a Zero Context Example. "Wait...we're the bad guys?" and "You get paid!?"
  • February 16, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    If the villain is the heroes' boss, may lead to Nice Job Breaking It Hero. I think this isn't a Sub Trope of Minion With An F In Evil, but related.
  • February 16, 2013
    MiinU
    Might wanna add the following dialogue to the Slayers example:
    Naga : (surprised) "What? They're bad?"
    Linna: (exasperated) "Naga, LOOK at them!!"
    Naga: (shrugs) "But, don't they say you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover?"
  • February 16, 2013
    Met
    In the B movie and Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode I Accuse My Parents, young Jimmy starts working for local gangster Charlie Blake without realizing Charlie is a gangster. He thinks he's just delivering legitimate messages and packages. Considering the fact that Charlie looks, talks and acts like a gangster, this plot point is not too believable.
  • February 17, 2013
    MiinU
    to flesh out the Street Fighter film example:

    Film

  • February 17, 2013
    ArkadyDarell
    Web Animation
    • The Freelancers in Red Vs Blue think for the longest time that they're fighting the good fight, their boss the Director is a good guy, and the Insurrection are the bad guys. Not quite. Some of the Freelancers do eventually experience a Conspiracy Redemption.
      York: I felt it since Texas showed up. And when cops and military started shooting at us, yeah, I find I just keep coming back to the same question in my head over and over again.
      North: And what question is that?
      York: We're the good guys... right?
      North: Yeah, of course we are.
      York: You don't sound so sure of yourself.
      North: No. No, I suppose I don't.

  • February 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of The Simpsons Homer takes a job with an affable new boss completely unaware he's a Bondian supervillain trying to Take Over The World (and partially succeeds), not even noticing when he quits in the middle of a firefight.
    Homer: Say, what's going on?
    Hank: I'm having a little trouble with the government.
    Homer: Oh, those jerks always walking over the small businessman.
  • February 20, 2013
    MokonaZero
    Kyoko from Black Cat. She's a ditz that doesn't even know what the Apostle of The Stars (the organization that plans to take over the world, by the way) is. Nevertheless, she still follows them. [[spoiler: She pulls a Heel Face Turn after falling for Train.
  • May 5, 2013
    MiinU
    bump.
  • May 5, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    • For much of the fourth season of Babylon 5, Garibaldi, having gone through a More Than Mind Control experience, is unaware that he is essentially working for Bester, in an operation to infiltrate tycoon William Edgars' organization which is developing a biological weapon against telepaths. When he finds out in a Just Between You And Me speech by Bester, there's a Big No, and from there he works for the day he can get revenge on him for using him, probably especially because it caused him to betray a good friend along the way.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qzgjmmp873oqfoz299c47vbd&trope=IgnorantMinion