"The greatest thing the Devil ever did was make you people believe he didn't exist—and you're looking at him right now. I am the devil himself and all of you stupid, mindless people fell for it. You all believed in the same make-believe superhero that the legendary Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat saw some year ago today. No, you see, you didn't know anything. You followed me, hook, line and sinker—all of you did and I'm not mad at you. I just feel sorry for you. "
A character that is thought to be one of the good guys turns out to have always been evil.
For example, the hero is searching for a very special treasure. Too bad he doesn't know his way around. He meets a very nice person who offers to help the hero find the treasure. But wait, wasn't the temple supposed to be toward the south? Then why are you walking north? And why won't his guide answer his questions? And oh drat, there's the Big Bad
. That "guide" was his minion, and thus evil all along.
Compare Big Bad Friend
and Bait the Dog
. Contrast Good All Along
See Hidden Evil
No Real Life Examples, Please!
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Anime & Manga
- Jack Vessalius of Pandora Hearts.
- This trope is used all the times in the anime, with Team Rocket always disguising themselves.
- Other examples exist, like in the movie Pokémon: Jirachi Wishmaker, where Butler seems like a good guy, but is actually evil and tries to abuse Jirachi. He does make a Heel-Face Turn, however.
- And Domino from Pokemon Mewtwo Returns, who seems like a good-natured ditzy teenage girl but actually a mean, hyper-efficient Team Rocket operative who is working directly under Giovanni.
- In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken was the evil Digimon emperor all along. This is made glaringly obvious from his first appearance onwards.
- Kabuto from Naruto actually did manage to pull off the "helpful, harmless stranger" routine pretty well. From his personality, to his appearance there's very little to tip you off to his being a threat. He was trained from childhood specifically for this, having worked as a spy on behalf of the Hidden Leaf Village from within all of the other major ninja villages.
- Blackbeard from One Piece encourages Luffy to continue to pursue his dreams after he is mocked by another pirate crew. This guy would go on to defeat Luffy's elder brother Ace, and hand him over to the World Government. Once his and Luffy's goals crossed over in Impel Down, he gloated about his in his face, provoking a small fight.
- The anime version of Blue Dragon has one of these in the form of Zola near the end of the series. Though it appears at first that it's just a simple Face-Heel Turn, the characters try to fool themselves into thinking that. Evidence in the last episodes proves otherwise.
- In chapter 50 of Mirai Nikki, Akise claims that Yuno is the actual villain, who used Yukiteru, and plans to drive him to the brink of despair and kill him in order for her to become God. It seems that Akise was right and wrong at the same time. Yuno wants to kill him, but only so they can be together forever via an endless cycle of Peggy Sues. Maybe.
- In the last minutes of the final episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt we find out that Stocking is actually a demon.
- Walter from Hellsing (only in the manga).
- And Ginjo, who, with the help of his accomplice Tsukishima's ability, manages to make it seem as though he and Tsukishima are enemies, enabling him to get close to Ichigo and use him in his plan until it involves Tsukishima using his power on him again, reverting him to normal.
- Rasati and Lillia's guardian in Elemental Gelade. He broadcasts it from a mile away, but Rasati doesn't seem to notice.
- Fuuma Kotarou from Nabari No Ou.
- In Yu Gi Oh Zexal There was Rei. Dear God, Rei. At first, he called himself a "Barian Guardian", and while it was clear he was a native of the Barian World, he seemed to a decent guy who opposed the evil plans of the others, befriending Yuma and offering to help him. As it turned out, this was cruel deception. His true identity was Vector, who was not only evil, but likely the most evil and sadistic member of the Barians (or any villain of the current series) to date. (To make this worse, it is very likely that he was actually subordinate to an even stronger Barian.)
- Attack on Titan zigzags this all over the place, due to the Grey and Gray Morality of the series. Most notably, the case of the Titan Shifter trio, who turn out to be mass murdering spies...but also complex, deeply conflicted Child Soldiers that came to care about their comrades and are traumatized by the horrible things they've had to do. It is also hinted that they may not have much choice in their actions, complicating the situation ever further.
- Infamously Terra from The Judas Contract arc of Teen Titans. She's arguably the first character who was The Mole all along, and she didn't even reform. Her goal the entire time was to take down the Titans because she hated how goody-goody they were.
- Every time Mystique seems like she is going through a Heel-Face Turn, it will end like this. In one alternate future her name becomes the equivalent of Judas.
- In Avengers vs. X-Men Magik was revealed to be this, and a Magnificent Bitch to boot.
Films — Animation
- In Disney's Aladdin, Jafar was the bad guy all along. This is fairly obvious to the audience; the characters themselves find out the hard way when Jafar tries to have Aladdin murdered, then steals the lamp and takes over.
- In Disney's Tarzan, in turns out Clayton was planning all along to capture and sell Tarzan's gorilla family.
- Obviously, Ursula was it in Disney's version of The Little Mermaid, but that one was very much expected.
- Scar in The Lion King was evil all along, he even killed his brother when he had the chance.
- In the movie Ice Age, Diego is Evil All Along. He makes a Heel-Face Turn however, and becomes a member of the crew in the sequels.
- In the Kim Possible movie So The Drama, the boy for whom Kim falls turns out to be working for Drakken.
- In Atlantis The Lost Empire, Rourke and the other mercenaries (everyone on the expedition but Milo) were Evil All Along. Fortunately a Downer Ending is averted when everyone but Rourke and Helga do a Heel-Face Turn.
- Mr. Sykes, Ernie & Bernie from Shark Tale.
- The Mayor of Dirt from Rango.
- Stinky Pete from Toy Story 2 seemed nice enough at first but was obsessed with staying in mint condition for exhibition in a museum that he'll stop at nothing to keep Woody from having second thoughts, even if it meant manipulation and threats, and especially harbored resentment against space toys such as Buzz Lightyear.
- Dr. Glickenstein from Igor. After being fed-up with Igor's failure and disapointment, he turned evil.
- Prince Hans from Frozen, he only pretended to love Anna so he can take over the kingdom.
Films — Live-Action
- Indiana Jones
- In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine turns out to be Darth Sidious, the head of the Sith. And he's been playing both the Republic and the Separatists, along with the Jedi, for complete schmucks. This was hardly a surprise to the viewers, who had already seen Palpatine as the Emperor in Return of the Jedi.
- Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. Not too surprising if you catch a certain Chekhov's Gun, but it's a blink-and-you-miss-it shot and easily overlooked.
- Alien. Ash is revealed to be a robot, working for The Company to bring an alien back, at the expense of the other crew members if necessary.
- Ferriman in Ghost Ship poses as a meek weather service pilot to lure the crew of the Arctic Warrior to the Graza. He proves himself useful throughout the film and even seemingly saves Epps from an insane Murphy, but it's all an act. He's actually working for Hell and started the massacre on the Graza. It's implied he's done this many times over, with the fresh bodies in the laundry room being from a previous crew he led into the trap.
- Star Trek: Into Darkness: Admiral Marcus gives off the impression that he's a Reasonable Authority Figure. He's actually an Insane Admiral who worked with and tortured former Evil Overlord Khan Noonien Singh. Marcus also wanted to sacrifice the crew of the Enterprise just so he could jump start a war with the Klingons.
- Dragonheart: Though it is initially assumed that Prince Einon being revived by a portion of Draco's heart to have turned him bad, he eventually reveals that he was evil before that, and in fact played Bowen for a fool to learn how to fight.
- Harry Potter
- Subverted: it appears that Snape was evil all along after he kills Dumbledore. But then it turns out that it was all part of Dumbledore's Gambit Roulette and Snape really was good.
- A more straight example: Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Ron's pet rat Scabbers, who turns out to be the one who betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort and concealed himself as a rat for 12 years, leaving his friend Sirus Black to receive the blame.
- There's also the matter of Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Even though it's not really Mad-Eye, but Ax-Crazy Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating him, it's still an Evil All Along situation.
- Professor Quirrell in the first book seemed to be just an ordinary teacher who wore a turban just because. Turns out,he's really a minion of Voldemort who wears a turban to hide the fact that Voldemort is on the back of his head.
- Nicolae Carpathia in the Left Behind books, though nobody but the Tribulation Force and those who have once been in Nicolae's close circle of friends really know just how evil Nicolae is under the public persona he projected up to the midpoint of the Tribulation. After he is indwelt by Satan, Nicolae's façade slowly cracks and the public gets to see the true person underneath. Strangely, though, Jesus berated Nicolae in his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, saying to him that You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which became a point of contention for some readers.
- In Jack Vance's The Gray Prince, the eponymous Prince was a childhood friend to heroine Schaine; and for most of the book she firmly keeps in mind that, whatever his present political views, he once saved her brother's life. And then it turns out he in fact hated their family to the point of deliberately allowing her brother to be horribly injured and only claimed credit for the deed later.
- Played with, though not exactly subverted, in Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker, as Denth the mercenary, who has been leading princess Vivenna in her quest to overthrow the government of T'Telir (under the pretense of following her orders), betrays her, murders her best friend, and tries to steal her Breath. She is surprised, but since he had been warning her the entire time that he could not be trusted, she felt kinda stupid, too. Best line: "Do you know what I hate most about being a mercenary, Princess? Fulfilling the stereotypes. Everyone assumes they can't trust you. The thing is, they really can't."
- In the same book, Bluefingers, the God King's benevolent, fatherly, somewhat timid chief scribe, is the Big Bad and Denth's employer. He's not terribly evil as Big Bads go- the book casts him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and Word of God describes him as a good man who got carried away- but he's still the ultimate mastermind behind the threats facing the protagonists, and the kingdoms of Hallandren and Idris more generally.
- Brandon Sanderson seems to like this one. In The Stormlight Archive King Taravangian is presented as a kindly, if somewhat scatterbrained, authority figure who is famous for sponsoring hospitals in his city-state. He's actually The Chessmaster behind at least one of the major conspiracies active in Roshar and his hospitals are a cover to allow him to study the prophetic statements people have sometimes started making immediately before death.
- The Dresden Files: Martin in Changes turns out to be a Red Court infiltrator. Subverted in the end, as it turns out he performed a Heel-Face Turn long ago and his apparent betrayal of the heroes was actually part of a Batman Gambit to wipe out the entire freaking Red Court with their own curse. Only Harry knows the truth.
- A Brother's Price has Kij Porter, who Ren considered a close friend.
- ForceFlow, Tash's Internet-friend in Galaxy of Fear. Turns out he was the Big Bad all along and giving lots of people information about the Jedi in the hopes of luring them to touch his Essence Stealer, hoping one of them would be Force Sensitive so he could study their essence and what made it different.
- Abarat Book 3: BOA . YES, HER OF ALL PEOPLE. Wham Episode UP TO THIRTEEN.
- Zalasta in The Tamuli is revealed as the Big Bad after he has befriended 90% of the cast, and after he saved their lives in a pitched battle.
- Neferet from The House of Night.
- The Secret Circle does this with John Blackwell, though this was fairly obvious to some people.
- True Blood tends to do this a lot, especially with their Big Bad of the season. As it turned out, Rene Lenier was just hiding behind his nice exterior while being a bloodthirsty sexist murderer, and in a more extreme example, Maryann Forrester who turned out to be a freaking homicidal Maenad. Season three followed suit with the Faux Affably Evil King Russel Edgington who quickly turns into a genocidal maniac, and season four arguably averts it by giving it's Big Bad Marnie a bit of a Face-Heel Turn. Or rather, it shows her Start of Darkness.
- Played somewhat straight with Rev. Newlin (Jr.); although it was clear from the beginning on he was more than just another bigot, few viewers were expecting him to turn into a full-fledged villain who imprisons the protagonists and wants to burn another character to death. Given, no-one was expecting him to become a vampire!
- What about the fairies?
- Boyd Langdon in Dollhouse. Turns out he was secretly the Big Bad all along and running a ridiculously complex Evil Plan with Echo and co. at the center. And he seemed like such a nice guy. Although he wasn't completely evil. He was more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist in the end.
- Cassidy in Veronica Mars: He starts by raping Veronica lying about it but he becomes truly evil in Season 2. He kills a bus full of his classmates, a witness could turn him in, and 3 people on a plane. This wasn't revealed until the finale but yes he was evil.
- Ruby was the only demon who had so far actually helped the Winchesters, yet the season four finale showed us that she was working for Lucifer all along and she helped Sam specifically for him to kill Lilith, and so bring back Lucifer to the Earth.
- Also in the episode "Repo Man". Back when they were hunting Lilith, Sam and Dean exorcised a demon out of a man names Jeffrey. Now in season seven, women were dying in the same way the demon killed them back then, so the brothers return to town. It turns out Jeffrey and the demon were working together and had a relationship.
- In the finale of season eight, it turns out that the angel Metatron, who advised the brothers on the last trial to seal Hell and was guiding Castiel in another set of trials to seal off the now corrupt Heaven, was not as harmless as he appeared — he didn't warn the Winchesters that completing their trials would kill Sam, and the trials he was helping Castiel with were actually components of a spell to banish all angels from Heaven as petty revenge for being cast out himself.
- 24 has Nina Meyers in Day 1, Charles Logan in Day 5, and Tony Almeida (sort of, it kind of gets complicated) in Day 7.
- As well as Dana Walsh during Day 8.
- Jack (somewhat) during his Rogue Agent period in Day 8 is debatable. He definitely undergoes a Face-Heel Turn during that point, though it's left unclear if he did so immediately after the double whammy of Renee's death and President Taylor's betrayal of him and his claims that he was just trying to expose the Russian conspiracy were outright lies, which if so would loosely follow this trope, or if he did genuinely mean to follow this out and only abandoned it for the notion of killing everyone involved after murdering Dana. There are some hints that lean toward the former, including a "I was perfectly fine settling with justice, but that was taken from me!," rant near the end of the series.
- Scandal: Billy Chambers and Cyrus.
- Haven had William, who at first seemed to be a kind, mysterious stranger who helps Audrey recover her memories and get back to her friends. Then he turns out to be a cruel, remorseless man who enjoys giving people out of control powers to cause untold destruction.
- Several times in Dickensian parody Bleak Expectations, the person helping Pip Bin with his latest scheme, such as the engineer who Pip employed to build a sewage system under London, is blatantly his evil nemesis Mr Gently Benevolent (in that case planning to dig out the capital, float it across the Channel with hot air balloons and sell it to the French).
- In Dead or Alive: Dimensions Genra is revealed to be a manipulative and power-hungry man, willing to do anything to get revenge for playing second-fiddle to the main branch of the clan, and that his loyalty and honor are just a facade to hide it.
- As shown in the Legacy of Kain series, Moebius the Time-Streamer was the devious manipulator he is waaaay before being driven insane by the corruption of the Pillars.
- In the part in Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time where Princess Peach gets a purple mushroom on her face — it's not Peach. It was Princess Shroob the whole time, trying to take over the future castle.
- Fire Emblem
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, this happens to Lyon. Everyone knows he's being devoured by the demon king, but that doesn't stop the main characters from believing he's still good.
- Lyon is an interesting case where he actually invokes this trope to get Ephraim motivated to kill him so that he could die before the Demon King brings about the end of the world. He claims that all of their time they spent together as children he was pumping the siblings for information for the invasion of their kingdom just to make Ephraim angry enough to actually kill him.
- Also, Orson appears to be evil all along too, but unlike Lyon, you can actually play him as a character. Later he appears as a boss.
- In Another Code for the DS, Ashley's father's old coworker was evil all along, having killed Ashley's mother and stuff.
- Eternal Darkness: At the start of Lindsey's chapter, a friendly patron by the name of Paul Augustine leads him to the Cambodian temple where Mantorok is entombed. Then it turns out that Augustine was actually Pious using an illusion spell.
- In the Nintendo DS version of Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter, you get a new Raposa to join the gang, named Sock. You find him in a town where he doesn't live, and he goes with you to find his real home. Well, you're supposed to believe that. Near the end of the game Sock asks for a valuable item, gets it from Jowee, and throws it away. He then appears to be Wilfre all along. It also goes for Mari a bit, although she just thought she would help everyone by it (she worked with Wilfre).
- In Pokémon Colosseum, the mayor of Phenac city is actually the head of Cipher. In Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, the same goes for Mr. Verich.
- In Pokémon Ranger an old man you help, named Gordor, is actually the head if the Go-Rock squad. In Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, a teacher in the ranger school, Mr. Kincaid, actually works for an evil organisation Team Dim Sun. Also The organisation Altru and their leader Blake Hall are evil, while you don't know that till the end of the game.
- Dusknoir from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2. In the Explorers of sky remake, you learn that he's extremely skilled at pulling this off.
- In the main series, there's Colress in Black and White 2 and Lysandre in X and Y.
- In the first two Professor Layton games, the antagonist Don Paolo disguises himself as other people. He's disguised as Inspector Chelmey in The Curious Village and as Flora in The Diabolical Box, though the real Flora does appear earlier in the game. Jean Descole does the same thing in the prequels.
- The mysterious wizard who occasionally helps you out in Final Fantasy Adventure is eventually revealed as Julius, who's been using you the entire time to get his hands on the girl and her Mana Pendant. Retconned out in the Sword of Mana remake.
- In her BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger story mode, Noel is accompanied by a mild-mannered pacifist intelligence officer named "Hazama." If you've seen trailers for ''Continuum Shift'', you'll recognize him as Terumi, the one behind the events of ''Calamity Trigger''. What did he want from Noel? To Mind Rape her to take Nu-13's place as a living weapon of mass destruction.
- Played with in Knights of the Old Republic, when it turns out that YOU, THE PLAYER are Darth Revan, former Big Bad of the setting, bud didn't know it thanks to Laser-Guided Amnesia from the Jedi Council, leading to an Inverse of Criminal Amnesiac if you decide to return to The Dark Side.
- Maria in Silent Hill 2. To add insult to injury, you spend a lot of her "good guy" time trying to keep her alive.
- In Paladins Quest, the student who goes with you to the forbidden tower on the academy grounds and goads you into accidentally freeing Dal Gren at the very beginning of the game is revealed at the end of it to be the Big Bad Evil Overlord Zaygos in disguise.
- Though it doesn't really matter in that case, since the student isn't anyone important. A much more shocking example is Gabnid, legendary hero and founder of the Wizarding School where the game started.
- Kingdom Hearts: Ansem, the researcher who was studying The Heartless whose reports the player has been running all across the worlds to find. Turns out, he's the Big Bad and The Man Behind the Man. And both directly and indirectly responsible for everything that's been going wrong in the worlds for the past ten years or so! In a subversion, it turns out that the guy we were calling "Ansem" was actually the Heartless of the guy who stole Ansem's name. The real Ansem is more of an Anti-Hero.
- In Bomberman 64, Sirius presents himself as Bomberman's ally and aids him in reaching Altair's fortress and battling its guardians only so that he could steal the Omni Cube from Altair and use its power to conquer the universe. When his plan succeeds, he thanks Bomberman by putting "Destroy Planet Bomber" first on his list of things to do.
- We also have Marx from Kirby Super Star & Ultra.
- The Soda Poppers from Sam & Max: Freelance Police want revenge in season 2 of the game series.
- In OFF, The Batter intended to destroy the world all along.
- LeChuck in Tales of Monkey Island. From the moment that Guybrush Threepwood inadvertently turns him into a human who acts like a Harmless Villain and helps out on Guybrush and Elaine from Chapter 2 up to Chapter 4 (all the while wearing his charming belt buckle), then kills Guybrush in a clever ambush as soon as our hero cures everyone of the Pox of LeChuck; Elaine sees that "with or without all that voodoo, [LeChuck is] still nothing but an evil sack of scumm".
- In the alternate timeline of Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, it's revealed that Stacey was the Big Bad all along. As soon as the reveal occurs her personality jumps straight from Girl Next Door to cruel and sadistic Baroness.
- Baten Kaitos
- Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean does a very unusual form of this. You know Kalas, the main character? He's actually been working for The Man Behind the Man this whole time.
- Origins does a more standard version: Quaestor Verus is far worse than Lord Baelheit could ever be...
- The Assassin's Creed II "Lost Archives" DLC reveals that Lucy had switched to the Templar's side before the first game's beginning. She even allowed Subject 16 to die from the bleeding effect when he discovered her betrayal. Everything she did throughout the games was a ploy she and Vidic devised to use Desmond to obtain the Apple of Eden. It would have worked too, if Juno hadn't programmed the Apple to force Desmond to kill Lucy. She's a particularly unusual example in that she gets killed before getting a chance to reveal her evil side.
- At the end of Assassin's Creed III, Juno herself reveals her true nature. Even worse, Desmond has no choice but to do what she wants since the alternative would be letting civilization be destroyed again and having the whole Assassin vs. Templar war repeat itself.
- In BioShock, this is part of the main plot twist that occurs about 2/3rds of the way through the game. ( Turns out Atlas, your main ally and Mission Control, was criminal mastermind Frank Fontaine all along.)
- Happens practically Once per Episode in the Dead Space series. Kendra in Dead Space, Diana and Marker-Nicole in Dead Space 2, Tyler in Dead Space Mobile, and Colonel Bartlett in Dead Space 2: Severed are all revealed to be secretly evil bastards after spending a large amount of time as your primary ally/Mission Control.
- Ys Seven plays around with a lot of JRPG tropes. One of the major plot twists is that the Big Bad of the game is actually, of all people, Tia, the flower girl who you meet early on and who seemingly takes the role of potential main love interest. Unlike, say Luna or Lufia, Tia was secretly evil from the start instead of being forced into a Face-Heel Turn midway through the game.
- In Dead Island, Colonel Ryder White, the Mission Control that leads you through most of the game, turns out to be secretly evil (although this actually doesn't come as much of a surprise to most of the characters, due to their strong anti-authority attitude). He betrays your group near the end, steals the experimental cure for the zombie virus, and ends up being the final boss of the game. This is complicated even further in the single-player DLC where you actually play as Ryder White, and it's revealed he was never the Mission Control at all, and it was really Kevin (another supposed ally) who was impersonating Ryder the whole time over the radio, and who manipulated Ryder and the original 4 heroes into fighting each other.
- In Bookworm Adventures, Professor Codex reveals that he was the cloaked individual that kidnapped Cassandra and that he sent you on the long quest because every enemy you defeat is placed under his control. Then you fight him.
- In the original Splatterhouse series, the third game revealed that the Terror Mask had ultimately planned to conquer Hell, and was using Rick to destroy those demons that were in its way. The entire series amounted to its Batman Gambit.
- Jean-Francois from Rhythm Thief And The Emperors Treasure. Made worse by him being Marie's guardian in the first place, conspiring against her with Napoleon.
- The Qbot from Massmouth 2. When first encountered, he offers to be your guide on the strange planet you've crashed on. As it turns out, the oddly numerous accidents and threats that befall you on the way are not coincidental, as he was working for the Big Bad the entire time and deliberately led you into danger.
- In Asura's Wrath, the true cause of most of the games events is revealed to be The Golden Spider, AKA Chakravartin.
- Captain Qwark is revealed to be The Dragon to Drek in the first Ratchet & Clank game. Of course, at the end of Up Your Arsenal, he finally pulls an official Heel-Face Turn and remains that way since.
- Persona 4 has two examples:
- Firstly, Detective Adachi, the true culprit who murdered the first two victims, framed a copycat killer and was indirectly responsible for the rest of the incidents by manipulating Namatame into kidnapping potential victims and throwing them into the Midnight Channel.
- Secondly, the True Ending has the gas station attendant from the very start of the game, who is actually the deity Izanami and the mastermind behind the entire plot.
- Clive Barker's Undying: Jeremiah Covenant.