He'd stand there amid the carnage, blood on his hands and stolen jewelry in his pocket, and with an expression of injured innocence declare, "Me? What did I do?"
And it was believable right up until you looked hard into those cheeky, smiling eyes, and saw, deep down, the demons looking back.Most of the time, evil characters will have a stereotypical "evil" look to them. Not these guys. These villains have the looks that are generally associated with absolute innocence. Of course, don't be surprised if they use that to their advantage. Not to be confused with Beauty Is Bad or Evil Is Sexy, as looking attractive and looking innocent/virtuous are not necessarily associated with each other. (If anything, they are sometimes contrasted.) Also not to be confused with the Killer Rabbit, who looks weaker than they are, but not necessarily more innocent. (And definitely not to be confused with Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, since they're not necessarily jerkasses.) Parent trope to Enfant Terrible if applied to children. Compare Divinely Appearing Demons. Contrast with Face of a Thug. Very frequently overlaps with Light Is Not Good, since light and innocence are almost synonymous in aesthetics.
—Description of Carcer Dunn, Night Watch
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Anime and Manga
- Ieyasu from Sengoku Otome may look sweet and nice but she is much more malicious on the inside.
- Father from Fullmetal Alchemist: After he swallows God he gains a more angelic looking face.
- Similarly, the homunculus Pride takes the appearance of a young child... well, except for the fact that his true self, puppeteering that child's form is the giant, sentient shadow.
- Johan Liebert from Monster has a pleasant, almost angelic face. He is evil incarnate.
- El-Hazard 2: While Kalia may look sweet and innocent, don't be fooled. In truth, she's an instrument of revenge, created by the lost tribes and civilizations who felt wronged by the Eye of God. Thus, she exists to wipe out all existence, and we mean ALL OF IT.
- Dietrich Von Lohengrin from Trinity Blood. In-universe, he's described as having the face of an angel but the heart of a devil.
- In Gankutsuou, this is done with Andrea, as is the case in the original The Count of Monte Cristo (see Literature below). While Generic Cuteness is in play, Andrea is still the most bishonen cast member, and has blond Ojou Ringlets. The only hint of his true nature as a depraved psychopath is the fact that he has rather slitted eyes which reveal themselves as Hellish Pupils when his affable mask drops.
- Glemmy Toto of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is a charming 17-year old with a goofy personality and the face of the bishiest pretty boy you ever did meet, complete with big Innocent Blue Eyes and light blond hair. He's a clone of Gihren Zabi, the UC version of Adolf Hitler and is in the running for the title of "most evil person in the show".
- This is said, nearly word-for-word about the recently-deceased daughter of a couple who buy a rabbit from Count D in Pet Shop of Horrors. It turned out that said daughter had been absolutely adorable, but grew up to be a shoplifter, a drug addict, and generally a horrible person thanks to being spoiled throughout childhood. This comes up when the parents spoil the rabbit (who magically looks exactly like their daughter) and it promptly begins to act the same way, manipulating them into feeding it things that lets it rapidly reproduce.
- Count D himself arguably qualifies as well. He's a very beautiful man who has been mistaken for a woman by more than one person and has a disturbing tendency to show little to no concern over customers who get mauled, killed, or otherwise destroyed by the pets he sells them. Given that he's implied to be sort of a Fair Folk breed, he really suffers from a case of Blue and Orange Morality. The end of the series shows that his father is exactly the same, but is considered depraved even by D's standards.
- Misa and Light of Death Note are both attractive and insane murderers.
- Averted when their memories were temporarily erased.
- Inverted with Kitano from Angel Densetsu who has a face of a demon but mind of an angel.
- Krad of D.N.Angel embodies this more than most. Long blond hair? Check. Flowing white robes? Check. Associated with light? Check, to the point of always manifesting in a soft glow in the anime. Magnificent white wings, symbolic of good? Check. Regularly torments his host by forcing a full transformation from human, complete with sprouting said wings from a human body, and making a really good try at killing his sort-of twin whenever they're anywhere near each-other, trading should be letha injuries with disturbing regularity.
- Griffith of Berserk is a very beautiful man with long white hair and wears shiny armor that even evokes an angelic appearance. He's also a Manipulative Bastard, a rapist, and a member of the Godhand who got to where he was by taking a Deal with the Devil and sacrificing his most loyal soldiers.
- Interestingly, the Godhand are called the Five Angels, which would make Griffith an Angel with the Mind of a Demon.
- Gyokuen Ren from Magi – Labyrinth of Magic is a kind and loving mother to her children and has very polite mannerisms. Actually, she's a Evil Matriarch who usurped the throne, is a member of an evil organization, and in the past her actions lead to her first husband and two older sons's deaths.
- In Project ARMS, Keith White is an attractive, charismatic man who has no compunctions over performing painful experiments on children. Or mowing large numbers of them down with machine guns. Or using a nuclear weapon to destroy all life on the planet, leaving him to rule as a god.
- Huey Laforet of Baccano! is an angelically beautiful Man in White who's unfailingly polite and never so much as raises his voice. He's also a Manipulative Bastard, Card-Carrying Villain, Mad Scientist, terrorist, emotionally abusive father, troll and unrepentant all-around asshole.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Russia, the resident Psychopathic Manchild, looks very cute and sweet despite his size.
- Kill la Kill: Nui Harime wears an all-pink dress, tons of bows, and an everlasting cute smile.She's also the murderer of the protagonist's father and later episodes show that she is completely psychotic underneath her bubbly exterior.
- Toyed with/Zig-Zagged with Furuichi Teraoka from Xam'd: Lost Memories. Although he's a villain, in every respect he looks, acts, and talks like a good guy in his early appearances, and while he's physically no more attractive than any other major character he has an appealing, innocent-sounding voice (particularly in the English dub, where it's almost hauntingly beautiful). However, in the early part of the story he is a good person, and it's the events of the series that cause him to become a villain. He still looks, acts, and talks the same as he ever did even after becoming a borderline-abusive Crazy Jealous Guy for his friend Haru—at least until he goes into One-Winged Angel mode.
- Ash Lynx in Banana Fish isn't a villain, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. He's a 17-year-old blonde-haired Pretty Boy who also happens to be a genius tactician and ruthless killer. Many, many characters make the mistake of underestimating him. Most of them end up dead.
- Shyamalan from the first season of Birdy the Mighty: Decode is fairly sweet-looking and friendly, but is also the main villain of the season and plotted to unleash a super weapon that had been shown to destroy whole planets.
- Juuzou Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul. His strange fashion sense and body stitching aside, he's noted to be incredibly beautiful and more than one character actually describes him as "angelic". He's also a Psychopathic Manchild prone to extreme acts of violence and was raised by a sadistic Ghoul as her personal executioner.
- Akoya from Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!. He's beauty! He's grace! He's a complete narcissist and by far the most likely of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council to stab you in the back.
- Todomatsu, the youngest and most effeminate of the Osomatsu-san sextuplets, speaks softly and wears a constant cat smile but is even more conniving than his older siblings. When the brothers manage to obtain a telepathic cat, it reveals the self-serving nature hidden behind a few of Todomatsu's seemingly compassionate comments.
Todomatsu: Someone could use him for evil. Let's keep him here.
Cat: "The cat's gotta be worth some money!"
- Sugar from One Piece looks like an adorable little girl; looks deceive on both counts. A special officer in Doflamingo's army, she's actually 22 years old when seen, kept eternally a child by her Hobi Hobi no Mi Devils Fruit, and is shown to be cruel and merciless, enjoying using her power to citizens into toys and subjugating them into slavery, deleting memories of them from their families and friends. (This comes back to bite her and Doflamingo in the end, of course due to the No Ontological Inertia nature of Devils Fruit; when finally bested, and every single victim over ten years is cured, the mass panic it causes results in Doflamingo's criminal empire crumbling, almost overnight.)
- One such character named "Angelface" (guess what he looks like) appears in a Blueberry story, as part of a plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. He ends up getting his face shoved into a locomotive's furnace.
- Word of God says that Kroenen from Hellboy was a choir boy before he became a self-mutilating psychopathic Nazi ninja zombie.
- The Thessalian from The Sandman is a witch born in the Stone Age, who's managed to spend the past few decades disguised as a harmless little Meganekko. A variant; she's not needlessly evil, but seems to live in a perpetual state of I Did What I Had to Do.
Thessaly: [after snapping the neck of a cute little dodo-creature] Nothing is too cute or sweet to be dangerous.
- An inversion appears in the Legion of Super-Heroes story The Computer Conqueror. When one of Triplicate Girl's three "selves" is killed, the Legionnaires think that she is dead and send a memorial rocket to a certain planet. We see the rocket landing among many other memorial rockets. One of them is dedicated to "Hate-Face", who is described in the memorial as having had "the face of a demon but the mind of an angel".
- Steve Ditko used this trope with the teenage criminal Angel in his objectivist crimefighter comic book Mr. A. Fittingly enough, Angel uses his innocent good looks and young age to get people to sympathize with him and ignore his true violent nature and sociopathic personality.
- Comes up in a few ways during The Movement with Burden and his brother. Burden has the power to transform into different types of demonic beings, while his brother was capable of growing angel-like wings and had powers his family thought were divine in nature. It's still not clear if Burden really is demonic or if he only manifested abilities like that because everyone believed he was a demon. Why? His brother, who was very young when Burden was born, told his parents "God" said his brother was pure evil. In reality, Burden's brother is a complete sociopath who purposefully let everyone believe he was evil in an effort to make his brother's life hell, later on framing him for killing their dad. Like with Burden, it's likely his brother's powers only manifested as they did because everyone kept saying how "Angelic" he was.
- Marvel 1602 has Count Otto "the Handsome" von Doom, ancestor of the modern era's Doctor Doom and a complete ass in his own right.
- Machi in Dirty Sympathy is an unrepentant smuggler and murderer. Lampshaded by Apollo, who admits that he pictured the latter looking like a rat based on the description of his crimes and personality.
- Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Case 5: Turnabout Substitution has Rhea Wits, a brutal, psychotic Serial Killer with the outward appearance of a cute female assistant for Apollo in a similar vein to Maya, Ema and Athena.
- Cats Don't Dance: Golden-haired, cherubic Darla Dimple is considered the most adorable thing in Hollywood, which helps her get away with hiding her sociopathic, sadistic nature.
- Frozen has Prince Hans, who only pretended to love Anna so he could take over the kingdom.
- InToy Story 3, Lotso Bear has an adorable appearance and seems plushable and hugabble, but he is a complete tyrant, and arguably the vilest character of the Toy Story franchise.
- The Hidden Villain of Zootopia fits this trope to a T. Assistant Mayor Bellwether is a cute and innocent looking sheep, and has a kind, helpful and somewhat goofy personality....on the surface. Deep down inside, she is a ruthless and scheming manipulator who has ordered her minions to turn innocent people savage just to further her plans, and she's willing to kill both Nick and Judy in order to prevent them from spilling the truth once they discover that she was the evil mastermind responsible for everything.
- In Halloween (1978), when Michael Myers appears onscreen as a child, we see that he looks completely innocent. It may seem hard to believe he's pure evil, a psychopathic Ax-Crazy Serial Killer.
- Jack Merridew from Lord of the Flies, at least as represented physically in the two films. With his blond hair and physical appearance, as well as being a child, he looks very innocent. What can we say about his personality? Dear God...
- The actor chosen to play the Scorpio Killer from Dirty Harry was chosen because he had a "face like a choir boy." Scorpio is a murdering psychopath.
- Macaulay Culkin plays a Creepy Child with murderous tendencies in The Good Son. South America even lampshaded it in their Market-Based Title: The Evil Angel.
- Sightseers: Tina looks harmless, but turns out to be even more callous than Chris, who kills a man for littering.
- Jacob Goodnight's mother in See No Evil. At first, she seems to be completely oblivious to her son's crimes. Then we learn that she's the one who forced him to commit them.
- The title character in Mikey he may look cute and innocent most of the time, but he is a psychotic murderous child.
- Trance: Don't be fooled by Simon Newton's very pretty, innocent visage; he's a hideous Green-Eyed Monster underneath—more specifically, a homicidal Domestic Abuser.
- X-Men: Apocalypse:
- Archangel's face may look cherubic, but his personality is anything but that. He's Apocalypse's "angel of death," and he assists his leader in bringing about the worldwide extinction of humans and mutants alike.
- It lasts for only a couple of minutes, but when Professor X is briefly "seduced" by Apocalypse's immense power while connected to Cerebro, Charles makes no attempt to oppose the invader inside his mind at first, and Xavier's Black Eyes of Evil signify that he has surrendered to the dark side. Although his eyes are eerie in this state, he remains a Pretty Boy, and because the character's looks are closely tied with his personality throughout the First Class trilogy (i.e. youthfulness = naïve), Professor X at his most evil would still be beautiful because he was such a good person to begin with (he is the Christ figure of the franchise), and this evokes the image of a Fallen Angel.
- A Brother's Price has blue-eyed, blond-haired Keifer Porter. He looks so innocent that he got away with torturing a thirteen-year-old girl, even though he was caught doing it by her eldest sister. Apparently he managed to convince the eldest sister that the kid was mean to him and it all was her fault, really. He's repeatedly described as acting childlike, too.
- Played (sort of) straight in Discworld with Mr. Teatime from Hogfather, since his eyes serve as a Red Right Hand.
- Played even straighter with Carcer in Night Watch, as seen in the page quote.
- Ferahgo the Assassin from Salamandastron has baby blue eyes which make him look completely innocent. In case the latter part of his name wasn't enough of a hint, he's not. His son Klitch shares his looks and villainy.
- Done by Alexandre Dumas in at least two of his novels.
- In The Three Musketeers, there's an inversion of the good blonde and bad brunette, as the heroine, Constance, has dark hair, and Milady, the villain, is angelic looking.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, the villain Bendetto AKA Andrea has strawberry blond hair, and there's a comment in the text to the effect that he looked like an angel; unfortunately, that angel was Lucifer.
- In the original Battle Royale, Femme Fatale Mitsuko was repeatedly described as an "angelic beauty". She convinced several of her classmates that she was in fact completely innocent and vulnerable. The movie upgraded her to Evil Is Sexy, while the manga turned her into an improbably buxom, demonic Broken Bird.
- From A Song of Ice and Fire
- Joffrey Baratheon is repeatedly described as being beautiful, with gold curls, emerald-green eyes and full lips. He's also The Caligula, the alternate Trope Namer for Royal Brat, and an all around sadistic Stupid Evil psychopath.
- Tyene Sand has golden blond hair and blue eyes and an innocent appearance and manner befitting the daughter of a Septa, but she takes after her father in personality, being a cruel, calculating Master Poisoner.
- The dandyfied young criminal Mountparnasse in Les Misérables is described by Hugo as being one of these: "scarcely more than a child, a youth of under twenty with a pretty face, cherry-lips, glossy dark hair and the brightness of Springtime in his eyes... The gamin turned vagabond and the vagabond become an assassin... A fashion plate living in squalor and committing murder."
- Harry Potter
- Lord Voldemort during his Hogwarts days. His charisma and the looks he got from his father allow him to trick almost everyone. This ends after his dangerous transformations.
- Also, in the first book, Quirrell is an example of this. Throughout the book he is nervous, polite and shy, when in fact he is the Big Bad and has Voldemort in the back of his head
- Dorian Gray of The Picture of Dorian Gray starts the novel with a beautifully innocent appearance that matches his good/naive personality, and thanks to his Soul Jar painting, maintains that look even as he embraces a life of depravity and continually betrays those who love him. Thanks to an in-universe belief that Beauty Equals Goodness, other characters tend to disbelieve all of the terrible (and true) rumors they hear about him.
- In Rebecca, the title character is described by everyone as being incredibly beautiful, intelligent, cultured, loving, and basically the perfect wife. The end has Maxim reveal that she was actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, who was excellent at getting people to adore her, and delighted in emotionally tormenting him.
- Done with an entire nationality in K. J. Parker's Sharps. The Aram Chantat are a Barbarian Tribe who serve as mercenaries with a well-earned reputation for brutality and a skewed morality that means they are only loyal as long as they are paid and inclined to fight each other when not paid to fight someone else. They are described as angelic looking (one character compares them to saints on an icon), and are rather short and have high pitched, melodious voices, which gives them the manner of children playing around during the moments where they aren't slaughtering people.
- Agatha Christie references this trope in At Bertram's Hotel when it comes to identifying the killer. As Miss Marple muses:
"The children of Lucifer are often beautiful—and, as we know, they flourish like the green bay tree."
- Peter Hayes from Divergent looks naturally kind and innocent, but is actually a bully and Ax-Crazy.
- The Bible: In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul mentions that Satan himself would often appear as an angel of light to deceive people and lead them astray.
- Bright Yilling introduced in the third book of The Shattered Sea series is so-called because of his shinning, silver armor. He's a handsome man with a boyish face and charming manner... who is a death worshiping Psycho for Hire who loves combat against a worthy opponent, but is equally happy to massacre civilians and kill his own men when bored.
- The Silmarillion: Have you met Annatar? No? Good. Annatar is an angelic being and known as the Bringer of Gifts. He gives also guidance and always has something brilliant to add. His more famous name is Sauron also known as the abomination who wants to control everything in the world. So in short Face of a Maiar, mind of an Umaiar.
- One of the UnSubs in Criminal Minds was a 13-year-old boy who used his innocent looks to get closer to people and then kill them.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel: One of the titles/nicknames given to Angelus, "The One with the Angelic Face", sounds pretty nice. Then you find out just how incredibly cruel, manipulative, and vicious Angelus was.
- CSI: The episode "Las Vegas" had Justin Bieber star as a psychotic teenage murderer.
- Fringe does this in the episode where it appears that two men are forcing people to harm or even kill themselves, but it actually turns out to be the boy that is in the car with them. He is assumed to be the victim until it is revealed that he is the one perpetrating these crimes.
- There's the lyrics to the Elvis Presley song "(You're the) Devil in Disguise":
You look like an angelWalk like an angelTalk like an angelBut I got wiseYou're the devil in disguise
- There is also "The Ballad of Cat Ballou":
She has the eyes of an angelShe fights like the Devil!The smile of an angelShe bites like the Devil!The face of an angelI say she's the Devil!She's mean and evil through and through!
- The G.R.I song "Ugly Heart" is centered around the joy the singer feels upon leaving someone who was this trope.
- Ace Attorney:
- Dahlia Hawthorne exploits this for all its worth in every one of her appearances.
- Matt Engarde is a decent male example. Seemingly-nice Bishōnen who has been known to attract plenty of ladies. Yet he drove his ex-girlfriend to suicide, caused her protégé to try to kill herself, killed his rival with an assassin, and even attempted to blackmail said assassin.
- Apollo Justice gives two. The first is Alita Talia, a seemingly sweet girl who hires Apollo to defend her fiance. It turns out she was only marrying said fiance to get a hold of his money, and was hiding that he had a life-threatening injury that was due to kill him any day at that point. Oh, and she hired Apollo in the hopes of him bungling the defense and getting her fiance thrown in jail (though that doesn't work out) The other is Kristoph Gavin, a blond-haired, peaceful man who, as it turns out, got Phoenix humiliated and debarred, murdered a man, and tried to poison a little girl to hide that he paid her to make forged evidence.
- And Dual Destinies gave us one of the most hard hitting: Detective Bobby Fulbright, the friendly, goofy, justice-centered police detective focused of rehabilitating murder convict Prosecutor Simon Blackquill, is actually the phantom—the sociopathic spy responsible for murdering Athena's mother, killing Clay Terran, ushering in the Dark Age of Law and almost becoming responsible for the highest death count of the Ace Attorney universe yet.
- In Darkstalkers, Baby Bonnie Hood looks like a sweet, happy-go-lucky version of Little Red Riding Hood, but is actually an Ax-Crazy Psycho for Hire who is out to slaughter all of the monster characters. Word of God is that she is meant to show that humans can be monsters too.
- With the Shin Megami Tensei series, we get Alice, an undead human girl raised by two greater entities of chaos, who acts cute and adorable while frequently using the most powerful instant-kill curse in the series.
- Alexia Ashford in Resident Evil: Code: Veronica. Beneath her facade as a young, beautiful, elegant princess lies a monster.
- She's even worse in The Darkside Chronicles, where she loses any redeeming qualities and her evil is cranked up even higher, though she still has the same sweet appearance.
- RosenkreuzStilette gives us the two-faced Iris Zeppelin. She may look sweet and innocent, but underneath her cheerful demeanor lies a gleefully-sadistic Manipulative Bitch who isn't above lying to and/or murdering others for her own personal, selfish gain.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim we have Babette, an over 300 year old vampire in the body of a 10 year old who uses her innocent appearance as a way of lowering her prey's guard.
- In Undertale, the player themselves can choose to be this by going down the Genocide Route, which culminates in completely wiping out the monster race and all of humanity. Moreso, the end of the run ends with the player character being possessed by the Fallen Child. How does this manifest? The neutral expressioned player character's features are replaced with the Fallen's facial features; a wide, innocent smile and rosy dimples.
- Ellen from The Witch's House was a cute young girl who changed bodies with another cute girl named Viola. She was also an absolute psychopath who murdered both of her parents, killed many people as sacrifice to a demon, and maimed her own body before switching with Viola.
- Dan Barrows after being reborn as Edward from Clock Tower. He may look like a harmless and charming ten year old boy but he's every bit the murderous monster he was when he looked like a giant purple baby. He's also the second Scissorman.
- The Greatest Gift has Venus for the fifth story arc, "What Happens In Haygas". She is a white-furred, beautiful (civilian, meaning she's not a Physical Goddess) Alicorn who maintains a calm, soothing smile most of the time, but is quite possibly the most evil character in the entire comic thus far. This was intentional on the part of the author:
Dekomaru: I named Venus after ancient astronomers' perception of the planet Venus in their time, which they thought was a sister planet to Earth and was beautiful like the Roman goddess. But modern studies show underneath its clouds is a chaotic, unlivable wasteland. Much like how I tried to portray Venus in my comic, as under her beautiful goddess looking exterior is a monster.
- In Misguided Light, Albert Speer returns from the dead looking like an angel, and nobody recognizes him as that guy who enslaved 5 million people during World War Two unless it's explained to them.
- In Satan And Me, Satan can change forms to seem more innocent.
- Girl Genius has both Bangladesh Dupree and Zola. Both are attractive young women, but their beauty conceals minds as dark and twisted as can be.
- Jessica Lovejoy from The Simpsons is seen like this for Bart Simpson.
"She's like a Milk Dud. Sweet on the outside but poison on the inside."
- Penelope from Family Guy.
- Maryann from The Fairly OddParents fits very well to this trope, proving to be one of the most evil character in the series. She apparently wished for Archduke Ferdinand to be assassinated and started World War I, despite looking cute and innocent.
- Batman: The Animated Series has two examples, both Canon Foreigners:
- In the episode "Critters", Farmer Brown's daughter Emmylou could almost pass for an Expy of Daisy Duke, and seems just as sweet. (Heck, Farmer Brown himself could pass for a friendly old Quaker if his expression wasn't so grim.) But not only was she a willing accomplice to her father's terrorist schemes, she was much stronger than her almost petite frame would appear, being more than a match for Batgirl. (She claimed it was due to beef steroids, clearly another of her dad's experiments.)
- Baby Doll, who appeared in two episodes, was an actress born with systemic hypoplasia, a rare condition which kept her from ever growing, meaning that she spent all of her life looking like a young toddler. Though she looked like Shirley Temple, she grew bitter because of her condition, quickly becoming sociopathic. (And, even worse, more than willing to use her cute appearance to fool a potential victim.)
- Gravity Falls:
- Gideon Gleeful sure can pull off some adorable faces for a guy bent on world domination.
- Giffany from "Soos and the Real Girl" looks as sweet as can be, but don't let it fool you. She's actually an insane Yandere who's not above murder to keep her boyfriend.
- Jeremy's little sister Suzy is this to Candace in Phineas and Ferb. Sweet, cute, has her big brother wrapped around her ringer... but leave her alone with Candace, and—Cue the Psycho Strings!
- This was how Lilo & Stitch: The Series introduced Experiment 624, an experiment designed to charm reformed experiments to turn them back to evil with a siren song. She was actually working for Gantu and Hämsterviel at first. Lilo even named her "Angel" as sarcasm and a likely reference to the aforementioned (in the Music folder) Elvis song, "(You're the) Devil in Disguise". However, she drops the demon side of her at the end of her episode.