A character that is thought to be one of the bad guys turns out to have always been on the side of good.

TheHero has had a rough encounter with the BigBad's mooks. It looks like our hero's done for, but wait! Why is TheDragon [[BigDamnHeroes suddenly saving the hero]]? Did he just kick the villain away from pressing the button that'll allow him to TakeOverTheWorld? Wasn't he helping the villain out? Wasn't he a bad guy? Well, apparently not. It turns out, this guy was a good guy the whole time. We just didn't know it.

This trope occurs whenever a character seems to be a bad guy, but is later revealed to have been secretly good the entire time, but for whatever reason, the audience was unaware of this fact. This is similar to HeelFaceTurn, with the difference being that this character was never truly a bad guy to begin with.

Compare ReverseMole. Contrast EvilAllAlong. This trope should not be confused with NotAlwaysEvil, which used to be called GoodAllAlong. NotAlwaysEvil is when mooks or a race thought to be AlwaysChaoticEvil turn out to have a few good apples or were never truly bad to begin with. The biggest difference between these tropes is that GoodAllAlong applies to characters, while AlwaysChaoticEvil applies to entire races. Not to be confused with a HeelFaceTurn, in which the previously evil character decides to become good - here, the character was pretending to be evil but was, as the name implies, good all along.

Expect to see spoilers ahead.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' has an interesting example of this. [[spoiler: Itachi]] is by no means fooled into thinking he's working for the greater good or threatened into fighting for the [[BigBad big bads]]. He just wants to [[spoiler: keep his baby brother safe and the best place to do that would be by [[ReverseMole infiltrating the Akatsuki and watching Konoha]]]]. He also prevented [[WarIsHell another ninja war]] by [[spoiler: putting down the Uchiha rebellion,]] but by the time of the series he's almost certainly realized how much of that was Danzo manipulating him. [[spoiler: It's very likely, though not explicit, that he was informed that if he preserved secrecy by following the script, he'd be allowed to leave Sasuke alive, but if he forced them to assign it to some other Anbu, they'd kill him, too.]]
* ''Manga/MagicKnightRayearth'''s first BigBad Zagato, who has kidnapped the princess and is destroying the world? Turns out the princess kidnapped herself so she could try to stop loving Zagato, and the destruction that's going on is the result of her inner turmoil. This is more of a case of "not wholly evil" than "good," however.. He may have been motivated by love and disgust for the corrupt system his world ran on, but he still did some things that are hard to describe as anything but evil, including trying to kill the Magic Knights (who are the only true innocents in the entire story and likely would have at least been sympathetic if he even ''tried'' to explain things), manipulating and lying to Ascot so he would be a loyal minion, allowing Alcyone to die from her battle wounds for her failures in the manga, etc.
* Dr. Franken von Vogler in ''GiantRobo''. Made out to be a mad scientist responsible for a giant catastrophe 10 years ago by ignoring all risks and his fellow scientists in the experiment with the Shizuma Drive, it eventually turns out that he was the ''only'' one who opposed the project and the seemingly "good professor" was among the people who wanted to go through with it. All 5 of the inventors survived, but Vogler was believed to be dead, so the remaining 4 decided to cover the whole incident in lies and put all the blame on Vogler. Really no wonder why the BigBad wants revenge.
* Laxus Dreyar in ''Manga/FairyTail''. His attempt to take over the guild is nothing more than a teenage temper tantrum fueled by fear that he wasn't getting the proper credit for his accomplishments, always being compared to his grandfather (who is also the guildmaster). [[spoiler: He tries to kill everyone in Magnolia Town with Fairy Law, a spell designed to target those the caster sees as enemies, and it doesn't hit a single person.]]
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' has an exceptionally sad example with [[spoiler: Homura Akemi. It turns out she's a time traveler who knows all about Kyubey's ulterior motives for empowering teenage girls, and her sole reason for living is to try to keep Madoka safe. Unfortunately, circumstances conspire to make this a seemingly impossible task, no matter how many times Homura goes back to try to fix things. Her stoic (and at times, callous) demeanor hides the fact that she's rapidly approaching her DespairEventHorizon after watching her best friend die ([[FateWorseThanDeath or worse]]) dozens of times.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}, Ichigo's SuperpoweredEvilSide turned out to not be evil at all, merely overprotective. It turns out the "Inner Hollow" was Ichigo's true Zanpakuto spirit all along, one that was formed with the remnants of a Hollow as its base. "Inner Hollow" only ever wanted to make Ichigo stronger and keep him safe.
* ''Anime/KillLaKill'' gives us [[spoiler:Satsuki Kiryuin]], who was introduced as a dictator who antagonized Ryuko at every turn. Everything she did was just to make Ryuko stronger and more prepared for what was to come.
* ''Manga/KenichiTheMightiestDisciple'': [[spoiler:Saiga Furinji]], previously touted as a major antagonist in the story, is revealed near the end of the manga to have been this, or at least Yami's greatest TokenGoodTeammate, especially considering the revelation that [[spoiler:his wife's/Miu's mother's murder, which he'd previously been thought to be responsible for, was in fact carried out by an EvilFormerFriend disguised as him]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* ''IKillGiants'' has the [[spoiler: Titan. Initially believed to be the most powerful and most evil of giants, it turns out that the Titan is a being of near pure benevolence that only wants to help the main character deal with the trauma of her mother's impending death.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''FanFic/ClashOfTheElements'': Gemini discusses this trope with Mallow in Part 2, more specifically referring to [[spoiler: Domino]] when he does so.
** Some more straight up examples though are [[spoiler: Tabuu [[WellIntentionedExtremist (Sort of)]]]] and [[spoiler: [[TheMole Fawful]]]]
* ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' has a rather ambiguous example: the final story has two distinct plots, one involving [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos Slender Man]] and the other concerning the return of [[KnightOfCerebus Thunderstorm and Shadow]]. [[spoiler:The climax involves the Slender Man causing the latter two to disappear (it's never stated as to whether they were killed, but the final line of that chapter shows him waving to the heroes as they leave, his mission complete.]]
* Dean of [[CoDragons the X-Trio]] in ''FanFic/{{Pokeumans}}'' revealed himself to be one of Mew's agents, having worked his way into the heart of the Pokextintion organisation. It's a shame he had to do all sorts of terrible things to get there though.
* ''Fanfic/MaylusRevenge'': [[spoiler:Empress Roll]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/HocusPocus'', Winifred raises her former lover Billy (who she had murdered long ago) from the dead as a zombie, and orders him to chase the protagonists. Billy spends most of the film doing so, unable to talk because his mouth is sewn shut. When he finally cuts the stitches holding his mouth shut and manages to speak, he curses Winifred and starts helping the heroes, which was apparently what he intended to do from the start.
* In ''[[Film/TheMightyDucks D3: The Mighty Ducks]]'' new coach Ted Orion rejects the Ducks' view of having fun, changes them from the Ducks to the freshman Warriors, strips Charlie Conway of his rank as team captain, and even goes as far as saying "The Ducks are dead!" The truth is he was trying to teach them "two-way hockey," master the art of defense, and mature their hockey playing. Then, he would give back their Duck jerseys. Charlie, combined with adolescence pains and resentment for Bombay "abandoning" them, misunderstood greatly and alienated himself from his friends. Then, Bombay revealed that Orion was on their side all along and that he told Orion how great Charlie really was. Orion proved all this when he accepted Charlie's return, and refused to let the Eden Hall Academy board withdraw their scholarships for poor performance, threatening to resign if they are expelled. Good thing Bombay was there to help. And not only did Orion return the team the Duck jerseys, but he also reinstated Charlie as team captain in the J.V.-Varsity Showdown.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''Eternal Champion'' series, Ekrose (an incarnation of Elric) goes to war against the Eldren. He finds this trope applies to them, is torn by his loyalties but in the end [[spoiler:kills the entire human race when they won't retreat.]]
* [[spoiler:Aleister Crowley]] in [[RobertAntonWilson R.A. Wilson's]] ''The Masks of Illuminati''. He is made out to be the BigBad of the novel, but all his crimes happen off-screen, and it turns out they didn't happen at all; either him in disguise, or his lackeys simply lied to the protagonist about them. His aim is to illuminate the protagonist by blowing his mind, as well as a benevolent equivalent of ForTheEvulz-thinking.
* [[spoiler:Severus Snape]] from the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series. Turns out everything he did in the books, he did while working for Dumbledore and following his orders, which includes [[spoiler:''killing'' Dumbledore]], and all in the name of [[spoiler: his unrequited love for Harry's mother, Lily, and the [[TheAtoner guilt]] he feels over his role in her death.]]
* When she is introduced in the ninth ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' novel, [[spoiler: Sasaki]] is set up to appear as the title character's EvilCounterpart. However, it turns out that she really had no idea what was actually going on, and had no idea that [[spoiler: her new friends were the real villains]], and when the {{Masquerade}} gets [[BrokenMasquerade broken]] for her, [[spoiler: Sasaki]] secretly allies with Kyon to oppose those who wish to cause Haruhi harm.
* [[spoiler: Jeremiah Paulson]] from the DaleBrown book ''A Time for Patriots'' seemed to be the leader of a RightWingMilitiaFanatic group. Eventually, it turns out that he wasn't responsible.
* [[spoiler: Mab]] is one of the most terrifying entities in the FantasyKitchenSink world of ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', never failing to freak Harry out whenever she appears. Sometime around the seventh book, the heros start to suspect she may have gone off the deep end. They are, understandably, '''very''' nervous about this, as she's a NighInvulnerable PhysicalGod who the author confirms could [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp]] the entire White Council. Come ''Cold Days'', however, and it's [[TheReveal revealed]] that [[spoiler: she protects our entire reality from being destroyed by [[EldritchAbomination Outsiders]]]]. She's still an [[GoodIsNotNice extremely scary being, however.]]
* Thrawn and his Empire from the Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy were the antagonists that the heroes had to deal with in the first EU novels. The book Outbound Flight reveals that [[spoiler: Thrawn was uniting the galaxy through an Imperial conquest to build up a strong enough galaxy in order to repel the extragalactic invading aliens known as the Vong.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E19FolsomPrisonBlues "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19)]] of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', the warden of the prison turns out to be John Winchester's friend and helps Sam and Dean escape.
* Played for laughs in the first episode of ''Series/{{Sherlock}}''. John is summoned (read: almost kidnapped) by an ominous, well-connected man who offers him money for updates on Sherlock's movements. "I worry about him ''constantly''...we have what you might call a "difficult relationship." John assumes he's a criminal mastermind, and the viewer could be forgiven for thinking he's Moriarty. It turns out he's just Sherlock's equally-strange older brother.
* Takatora Kureshima in Series/KamenRiderGaim is thought to be the series BigBad early on, However it's later revealed he's been manipulated by his inner circle who have convinced him that most of the earth's population is un-savable, which is true, from an invasive plant species threatening earth and that killing the ones that can't be saved is the best course of action. He's not happy about this plan but has been convinced it's the only way They conveniently keep from him the existence of The Overlords who may have power to stop the invasion. something they wish to take for themselves. Once he finds out about it he enlists the help of the hero Kouta to help him discover this power to save earth without so much bloodshed.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Role-Playing Games]]
* Played with in ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG''. It comes as no surprise that Frank Einstein is a good guy. However, the surprise was when [[spoiler:the villainous Wallace Bishop turned out to be Frank Einstein [[ReverseMole in disguise]].]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* One might argue that [[spoiler:Vivian]] fit the bill in ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor''. At the very least, she was never more than a PunchClockVillain.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBrothers Brawl's'' Subspace Emissary mode, [[VideoGame/{{Kirby}} King Dedede]] spends most of the story trying to take fighters that have been turned into trophies. [[spoiler: Then after everybody except the three that he did manage to get face down Tabuu and get trophified, the badges he placed on those three turn them back to normal.]]
** Of course, the fact that a major cutscene revealing why he did this (in which he's present while Meta Knight's ship gets stolen) got removed in the final cut does complicate this. With that said, Dedede acting like a dick for no reason would still be quite in character for him.
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Kirby}}'' series of video games, King Dedede's almost always portrayed as the BigBad in the beginning of a given game, but usually turns out to be either this or just an innocent jerk. The most blatant case is probably [[spoiler:''Kirby's Adventure''/''Nightmare in Dream Land'', where he destroys the Star Rod and prevents everyone in Dream Land from dreaming. It turns out he was just trying to stop [[BigBad Night]][[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere mare]] from taking over the Fountain of Dreams]].
** [[spoiler: Landia]] in ''VideoGame/KirbysReturnToDreamland''. [[spoiler: Though Magolor claims that it's threatening Halcandra, in reality, it's the planet's guardian and lives to prevent its treasures from falling into the wrong hands; the Lor Starcutter and Master Crown being two of them. After Kirby and friends beat it up as a result of the misinformation, it immediately aids them in stopping Magolor once his true intentions come to light.]]
* [[spoiler: Angela Cross]], the true identity of the Masked Thief in ''RatchetAndClankGoingCommando''. [[spoiler: Angela]] has been working against Megacorp to prevent the release of the Protopet, [[spoiler: as it is a violent carnivorous creature that also repeatedly reproduces offspring at the drop of a hat, and if it got out could very well threaten everything in the galaxy.]]
* Depending on [[MultipleEndings what ending]] the player gets, [[spoiler:Anne]] of ''VideoGame/SilentHillDownpour'' was in the right all along. [[spoiler:In all but the best ending, Murphy killed her father as part of a prison deal, and in the worst ending, he also killed his own son, making his reasons for revenge entirely moot.]]
* Cynder, the BigBad of the first game in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' trilogy turned out to be BrainwashedAndCrazy. After Spyro defeated her, [[BeatTheCurseOutOfHim she returned to her normal self]] and eventually [[spoiler:fell in love with Spyro]].
* [[spoiler:The Boss]] from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater''. [[spoiler:Even before TheReveal that she's a FakeDefector, it's made quite clear that she's a good woman.]]
** And in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots'', [[spoiler:Revolver Ocelot]] is revealed to have been noble in his goals from the very start, working to [[spoiler:destroy the Patriots for good and also working save Big Boss, who he admired deeply. All while being seen as a terrorist the whole time.]]
* [[spoiler: Grovyle]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'' is initially presented as a villain who's trying to throw off the world's balance by swiping the Time Gears. [[spoiler: However, it turns out that he's actually trying to save the world, as any ill effects caused by the removal of the gears are temporary, and they're needed to stop what's really going to doom the world. [[PoorCommunicationKills If only he had bothered trying to explain this before you get captured by the real villain along with him...]]]]
** ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonGatesToInfinity'' has [[spoiler: Hydreigon]], who looks pure evil, is seen attacking [[RidiculouslyCuteCritter Munna]] in the opening, and is later stated to be the cause of the world's impending destruction. [[spoiler: However, everything but his appearance turns out to be a lie, and he's actually the one who called the player into the Pokemon world to act as its savior. He proves to be one of the kindest and most heroic characters in the series and a shining example of DarkIsNotEvil.]]
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsUX'' Arnie and Saya get to have a conversation with Jin and Ayul where Arnie fully realizes that Jin truly has no ill intent. Jin just really, really wants to stop the apocalypse from coming about and will do anything to defeat you to make that happen.
* Applies to an entire species: [[spoiler:the Geth]], as of ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. [[spoiler:Turns out the ones you've been fighting are a sort of rebel faction who worship the Reapers. Normal Geth refer to these as "Heretic" Geth, you learn this after meeting one]]. More a case of TrueNeutral All Along: Most of their species have no beef with anyone else in the galaxy and just want to be left alone.
* ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' has the RecurringBoss [[spoiler: Izebel]]. Played up as traitor and DeceptiveDisciple [[spoiler: She has in fact the entire time been subtly helping LaResistance behind the scenes. Her fight with Hamil were to both train him and test his abilities to make sure he's good enough to take on TheEmpire. [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning And the entire thing, including her "betrayal" was ordered by the superior whom she supposedly betrayed before he took his own life.]]]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Grace's brothers are of the "coerced/threatened" variety, since they are ruled by the iron fist of their powerful and abusive guardian, Damien. When Hedge kidnaps Elliot, he reveals that he's only doing it because he can't find Grace, and because Damien said he would kill him if he didn't bring someone back. He also gets hit by Damien for lying to him and disobeying orders. When Elliot's friends arrive to save him, Hedge tries to make them to leave before Damien finds out they're there. The worst thing Guineas does is guard Elliot, and his way of participating in the fight with Elliot's friends is by ''having a thumb war'' with one of them. Vlad initially appears to be at least somewhat sympathetic to Damien's mindset: He is confrontational towards Hedge, he willingly goes after Grace when he sees her arrive, and when Damien subdues her, he says, "I never like to see her hurt, but she brought it upon herself." He also is the one who alert's Damien to the presence of Elliot's friends, and ends up being the most vicious fighter against them. However, this all turns out to be a combination of lip-service to Damien and resentment for being unable to transform into a human.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In TribeTwelve [[spoiler: we got Firebrand who at first was just a member of the slendy elite team AKA the Collective,but we soon learn that not only does he care about Noah but he is none other then Sir swear alot himself. according to his own words he's always been there for Noah.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Hack & Slash of ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'' only followed Megabyte's orders because they knew Bob would always stop them. [[PutOnABus When Bob is gone]] Slash can't bring himself to kill a Bi-Nome on Megabyte's orders, and says that he misses Bob. Then the two switch sides.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' showed that Jon had a {{pirate}} ancestor who seemed to be evil, but was in reality [[BeenThereShapedHistory a spy for George Washington]].
* Colossus in ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' was a member of Magneto's Acolytes. In his second appearance, it was revealed during a confrontation between him and Wolverine that he was a reluctant member of the group and Magneto had blackmailed him into joining. In subsequent appearances, Colossus was consistently portrayed as the most sympathetic member of the Acolytes and was the first to abandon the group after Magneto was seemingly killed by Apocalypse. He later helped the X-Men in their final battle against Apocalypse and was shown in the DistantFinale to become a full-fledged member of the X-Men following Apocalypse's defeat.
[[/folder]]
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