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Cartesian Karma are consequences a character has to face for actions they technically committed despite not being in full control of their body at the time.

So your characters were previously {{brainwashed|AndCrazy}}, betrayed the heroes, went on their own sort of rampage and needed saving to return to their ideals. Luckily, the good guys manage to accomplish this through laborious amounts of screaming, fighting them, and [[ThePowerOfLove friendship power.]] And now that character is back to normal, yay! Everything should be all strawberries and hotcakes, right? I mean, they've clearly come to their senses and are back on the right of things.

Well unfortunately not always. There are some possible problems with characters regaining their focus that, should they occur, need to be faced.

Simple problems might be that [[ThisIsUnforgivable relationships are strained]], as other people might not be quite so eager to forget the character's actions off the bat. A brainwashed character who commits actions that would have crossed the MoralEventHorizon had they been freely chosen obviously won't be as easily redeemed, even with [[EasilyForgiven the all-forgiving]] [[ThePowerofFriendship power of friendship.]]
More problematic is that the characters aren't [[BrainwashResidue completely back to normal]], and traits from their former self may still linger on even after they've overcome their vices. Can this get any worse? It can.

The most problematic issue becomes when a character essentially has to live up to their actions and face the music, thus being dealt Cartesian Karma. After all, sure it's great that they're [[BrainWashedAndCrazy not trying to eat your soul]], kick puppies, or burn down that orphanage any more, so what's the deal?

Tragically in failing that, they still managed to [[KickTheDog kick a few kittens]], and rob the local grocery market. And law enforcement isn't exactly ready to take 'I was brainwashed by a [[BigBad Super-villain]]/[[TheVirus mind-virus]]' as a valid legal alibi. Also anybody 'normal' seeing you in your altered state might be [[ItsALongStory equally hard to work out]], especially if it's not something you could [[TheMasquerade explain without telling too much]]. The consequences of one's actions simply don't vanish when the mentality causing them does, so even mind-controlled characters have to face some sort of retribution, like it or not. [[KarmaHoudiniWarranty Except when]] [[KarmaHoudini they don't.]]

What's more, who's to say you were just eating children and playing hopscotch during your brainwashed-existence, and won't have to face any serious danger or genetic experiments? Any damage sustained, bodily changes or physical alterations aren't going to go away just because you've come to your senses. Those are going to have to be faced as well. If the your brainwashed self ate a few too many donuts in the [[SupervillainLair baddies hideout]], back-to-normal you is simply going to have to live with his/her sustained diabetes.

In cases where the dealt karma is so major the character can't persist, it often leads to death, [[RedemptionEqualsDeath heroically]] or [[DrivenToSuicide tragically]].

Can lead to MyGodWhatHaveIDone moments, even OutDamnedSpot if the character feels perpetually guilty by their previous actions upon being dealt Karma. A heroic or moral enough character, if determined and truly guilty, will probably [[MustMakeAmends try to reconcile]] with their past actions in order to fix their record and deal with the situation.

May result in ValuesDissonance when the narrative sees fit to affix responsibility on the character, when the party responsible for the brainwashing should be called out instead.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Tacitly averted in ''Manga/ZatchBell'' with Koko who was sadistically brainwashed, but is later rescued by Sherry and restored back to her original, kind innocent state. It's a good thing she's not a wanted criminal now or anything and can happily go to college too, especially after (publicly) razing [[DoomedHometown most of her town]] and kidnapping dozens of people. It would have to be inferred that her savior Sherry has some [[HandWave pretty good connections]].
** In the final chapters where the final battle for King is had, it's mentioned that damage to the land and possibly the people is undone (the one communicating would be the book). Considering how the battle for Mamodo King is called the God's Trial, this would explain why alot of calamities and such were undone.
* ''Manga/HunterXHunter'':
** Possibly subverted when one of the side characters gets kidnapped by the ants, brainwashed and altered to be one of them. She's eventually comes to her senses, and as Killua points out, her entrusted one Gon is not one to judge, and it helps the Hunter organization itself isn't one to persecute her just because she's now a chimera ant.
** It's a pivotal point played straight with Gon. Blinded by his rage he, activates a technique that allows him to rapidly age/grow and defeat an enemy vastly superior to himself. Unfortunately after calming down, he's still mutated and puts himself on the brink of death.
** Also, his teacher and role-model Kaito, who is made into a living rag doll for the ants to manipulate that Gon desperately wishes to bring back. The realization that [[spoiler:he can't do so, and Kaito truly is 'dead' is what pushes Gon into the transformation alluded to above.]]
* ''Manga/FairyTail'':
** Jellal is back on the side of the angels after his stint trying to resurrect Zeref with the Tower of Heaven (which he was brainwashed into by Ultear pretending to be Zeref), but the Magic Council (as well as several others he wronged during this time) are not buying it.
* Constantly in ''Anime/ValvraveTheLiberator''.
** Particularly with Haruto. As the pilot of Unit 1, he sometimes gets possessed by a sort of monster impulse that makes him attack his friends. What happens can range from ''biting'' someone and inadvertently body-jacking them, to, well, the incident that the series is infamous for towards the end of season 1. Notable/played with in that most of the retribution for these things comes from his own guilt and fear that he's a monster.
** This is also the case with L-elf, who was body-jacked by Haruto in the beginning - Haruto in his body shot L-elf's friend in the eye and betrayed L-elf's team. Since his teammates don't know about the body-jacking until the end, they blame L-elf for it and wonder what could have made such a loyal soldier turn traitor. He manages to use the situation to his advantage, helping the OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent [=JIORans=] form a decent enough military to defend their town, but you can see the sadness in his eyes throughout...
* In ''Anime/TalesFromEarthsea'', Arren murders his father, the king of Enlad, at the start of the film and steals his MagicSword. Later, it is revealed that [[BigBad Lord Cob]] has been controlling him. Even though he is freed from Cob's influence, Arren decides to go home to answer for the murder.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/XMen'':
** After Jean Gray has been brought back from the TheDarkSide in ''ComicBook/TheDarkPhoenixSaga'', she's found guilty of genocide and sentenced to death by the Shi'ar empire, despite the empress' romantic relationship with Charles Xavier. Unfortunately for everyone, fighting for her life reawakens Marvel Girl's Dark Phoenix side.
** Her beau ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} faces similar problems being imprisoned after he [[spoiler:took over the world and killed Charles Xavier]] while under the Phoenix's influence.
* In ''ComicBook/TheTransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'', Cyclonus is infamous among the crew of the Lost Light for having fought for Galvatron during the war, and was involved in several atrocities. Most Autobots consider him basically a Decepticon, despite the fact that he is technically unaligned (the [[ColorCodedForYourConvenience purple paint job]] can't help). In fact, Cyclonus was under the influence of The Darkness when this occurred, and thus unable to resist Galvatron's commands. He seems to not make too much of issue of it however, not caring about the Autobots' approval.
* ''ComicBook/{{Thorgal}}'': Thorgal is imprisoned by his wife Aaricia, who refuses to acknowledge him as her husband after he returns from his amnesiac stint as the pirate lord Shaigan the Merciless (which was pushed by Kriss de Valnor, who wants Thorgal all to herself), during which she and her children were branded and exiled. She only forgives him after he singlehandedly takes out a pirate invasion.
* Unfortunately for Franchise/SpiderMan, after he gets his body back following the ''ComicBook/SuperiorSpiderMan'' arc, in which Doctor Octopus controlled his body, many of his prior relationships are strained, especially that with his former lover, ComicBook/BlackCat, who has made a FaceHeelTurn and doesn't believe or care that it was Octavius in Peter's body when she was attacked.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the end of the ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', this is played intentionally by the Joker in order to manipulate Dent and get him to commit enough crimes that he "falls" and has all the blame shifted toward him, thus destroying Gotham City's hope in their law enforcement. Batman is able to avert this only by taking the blame for Two-Face's murders himself.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaCivilWar'': Sure, Bucky was under mind-control from HYDRA for all of his villainous[[note]]Bucky Barnes is a victim, not a villain[[/note]] career as the Winter Soldier. That hardly means he's off the hook for decades of terrorism and assassinations, forcing him to stay in hiding from the authorities at the start of the movie. Despite his reassurance to Steve that he's no longer doing these kind of things, [[spoiler:it's easy for Zemo to cast blame for bombing the U.N. building on Bucky just by wearing a scarf and a prosthetic mask]]. Only Captain America (and his followers) believe he's innocent, and it's more for emotional than rational reasons. T'Challa doesn't accept the brainwashing argument as an excuse [[spoiler:for the death of his father]], and pursues Bucky as Black Panther to kill him. Neither does Tony Stark when he finally learns [[spoiler:the Winter Soldier is responsible for the murder of his parents. He goes ballistic, and none of Cap's words are enough to calm Iron Man in his attempt to vaporize Bucky]].
* ''Film/TheHangover'' is about a non-supernatural version of this. The protagonists are a group of guys who throw a monster of a bachelor party in Vegas that [[WhatDidIDoLastNight they can't remember any of the following morning due to how intoxicated they were]], forcing them to figure out what happened and come face-to-face with all the outrageous things that they did in order to find the missing bachelor and bring him to his wedding.
* The horror-comedy ''Film/AvasPossessions'' is similar, with its protagonist being a young woman who recently endured a DemonicPossession and now has to answer for all the things that the demon made her do, which cost her her job and her friends and may well get her thrown in jail.

* In ''Literature/TheRedVixenAdventures'', Ali is arrested for the crimes she committed as a slave, [[spoiler: but is acquitted of most, though not all of them.]]
* Inverted in ''Literature/HarryPotter''. Many of Voldemort's followers claimed that they were brainwashed to avoid prison time.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* This sort of thing appears to happen a lot in ''Series/StarTrek''. A character is temporarily possessed by a more powerful force or otherwose suborned against their will to perform actions contrary to their own interests or inclinations. But they then carry on in post afterwards with no sanctions once they're free of possession, or can demonstrate that they were not in control of themselves at the time. [[note]]This appears to be a "Get Out of Jail Free" card in the ST continuum.[[/note]] The only time this issue appears to have been addressed is when Captain Picard was assimilated into the Borg Collective and is used to co-ordinate their strategy against the Federation. ''StarTrek/DeepSpaceNine'' opens with a freed Picard ferrying Captain Sisko to his new command. Sisko is one of the very few survivors of the Borg attack that used Picard to plot and lead its strategy. Sisko's command, and his wife, were killed in that offensive. Therefore his attitude to Picard is one of very thinly disguised hostility, loathing and hatred. Picard understands this, realises this is part of his Cartesian Karma, and allows Sisko to express his deep hostility and bitter resentment.
* This is the defining characteristic for Angel on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and later on [[Series/{{Angel}} his own show.]] As someone who was a [[AlwaysChaoticEvil soulless]] vampire for over a hundred years before having his conscience restored by a curse, he suffers from terrible guilt for the things he remembers doing (which started with [[SelfMadeOrphan killing his entire family]] and escalated from there). Exactly how culpable he is for them is left vague - some characters seem to regard Angel and his evil persona Angelus as two different people, while others see him as a mass murderer who shouldn't be left off the hook just because he's started feeling bad for his crimes - but Angel himself at least accepts enough of the guilt to have dedicated the rest of his immortal existence to [[TheAtoner doing good in repentance.]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': When [[spoiler: Michael Garibaldi]] was brainwashed into betraying [[spoiler: Captain Sheridan]] so he could be turned over to the authorities on Earth, he is declared ''persona non grata'' aboard Babylon 5. [[spoiler: He ultimately averts this trope by planning and leading Sheridan's rescue himself, with the help of Franklin, Marcus, and the Mars Resistance.]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' will sometimes require characters to receive an Atonement from a cleric even for actions that were performed under magical mind-control, due to trickery, or otherwise involuntarily or unwittingly.
* The TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms have a lot of this.
** Including Laeral Silverhand donning a relic of the local evil death-god and catching a bad case of artifact possession. Of course, as a {{semidivine}} being herself, she recovered after the crown was destroyed, but people threw suspicious glances for some time. Eventually this died down to lame taunts about bad luck with headgear from a political opponent, though.
** ''Elminster Ecologies'' [[http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=13961 appendix II]] is [[FictionalDocument narrated by]] a rather grumpy druid, so the approach is rather simple, and not quite unreasonable:
--->'''Bara:''' ...moldering ancient spells and magical items of great and obnoxious power. More than once have I come upon some mess caused by adventurers only to have them tell me that they couldn't prevent an incident's occurrence because their mage was "under the control of an ancient and malevolent artifact of evil". If you ''must'' come to the High Moor and you ''must'' hunt treasure there, be ''careful''. Check things for curses ''before'' you pick them up and play with them. Being mind-controlled doesn't give you free rein to come in and muck up the region I protect.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A subtle one in ''VideoGame/StarcraftI'': the main reason Mengsk abandons Kerrigan to the Zerg is that when she was still under Confederate control, she was the Ghost responsible for the murder of his father, mother and sister. That she has no memory of it or that she hates the Confederacy for their experiments doesn't matter to him, and ends up causing the plot of Brood War and the next two games when she finally gets her revenge on him.
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'', [[TheHero Nanashi]] can refuse to unseal the SealedEvilInACan, but then the being he made a DealWithTheDevil with can [[PeoplePuppets force him to do it]]. Many deaths later, he's called to a hearing for his execution. The ReasonableAuthorityFigure notes that if he's not always under full control over his body, even if his heart's in the right place, he can't be trusted.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Done so in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', to a more general sense.
** Vriska is controlled essentially by her civilization's violent culture and expectations, her own insecurities/ego, self-destructive actions, and the rules of paradox space itself. She 'over-comes' it eventually, but by then it's rather to late for her to change. She even acknowledges she can't change what she's done by any means, but accepts it and any karma facing her because she believes she needs to do the right thing.
** After being brainwashed by [[spoiler:the Condesce]] into turning evil, [[spoiler:Jade is eventually killed by Aranea, and Paradox Space declares her death just, nullifying her God Tier immortality. It must be noted that Aranea has a hand in that decision, using her abilities as a Sylph of Light.]]
* In ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'', Jayden renounced her faith by reciting a Heresy while under mind control and lost her white magic as a result. It takes a while for her magic to return.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* {{Discussed}} in ''Blog/LawAndTheMultiverse'''s post on [[http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2010/12/30/mind-control-made-me-do-it/ mind control]]. It turns out that a person under mind control would [[AvertedTrope probably get off easily]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** Although more just a product of Peter's usual shenanigans than direct mind control, he has been "changed" temporarily an untold amount of times for the period of single episodes. Despite this, it's subverted as the rest of the cast usually don't see anything periodic about it and never reprimand him beyond the individual change. To date, he has been "brainwashed" into becoming feminine, "rich", Jewish, a bully, Mexican, African-American, a redneck, and a homosexual, all of which is forgotten about by the next episode.
** Also the fact that both Mayor Adam West and Meg are apparently unwilling sleeper-agent Russian spies, the former of which has been outed. No consequences of this have come up so far, but it's hard to question it when one ponders how someone as suspicious and incompetent as Mayor Adam [[RuleOfFunny could have become Mayor in the first place.]]
* One-shot villain Mr. Mime in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' is a clown who was turned evil by [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum being covered in bleach.]] The girls eventually manage to change him back to normal... and then beat him up and send him to jail anyway.
* In ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice,'' [[LegionOfDoom the Light]] manages to take control of the Justice League, and sends some of their strongest members through a [[{{Teleportation}} Boom Tube]] to an alien planet called Rimbor to wreak havoc for [[ArcNumber sixteen]] hours. As a result, Earth suddenly stops being an InsignificantLittleBluePlanet and gets a lot of hostile alien attention, especially in light of [[DifferentlyPoweredIndividuals this whole "superpower" thing]]. Furthermore, the League members involved feel obligated to go to Rimbor and try to clear their name, which puts the League at a disadvantage against the Light's new plans.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', the sole truly evil things Trixie has ever done were while she was under the influence of the [[ArtifactOfDoom Alicorn Amulet]], which turned her into a megalomaniac. Otherwise, she's just a rather harmless braggart. Nonetheless, the inhabitants of Ponyville (including Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship herself) are still distrustful of her despite the regrets she expressed. Granted, she did go to depths to find the artifact and explicitly use it for revenge, which provides some reason. There's also the fact that she is just plainly not a nice pony. Her magic shows consists of bragging and inviting ponies up for contests, only to humiliate them through trickery and not actual skill. Starlight calls Twilight out on this when she is unsupportive of her befriending Trixie, though as Twilight points out, forgiving her brainwashed antics doesn't excuse Trixie being a {{Jerkass}} in her own right.