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Heel Face Mole
''Once a rabbit wanted to get to the other side of the lake. A crocodile told him, "You can ride on my back."
"But you will eat me", responded rabbit.
"I will not, I've changed," said crocodile. So rabbit sat on the crocodile's back. But when they were in the middle of the lake, crocodile started to eat rabbit.
"You lied to me!" screamed rabbit.

A villain has finally seen the error of their ways and converts to the side of good... but surprise! They were actually The Mole after all, suckers!

Compare Fake Defector, Civilian Villain, Reliable Traitor and Double Reverse Quadruple Agent. Contrast Reformed, but Rejected. See also Becoming the Mask. There's also Reverse Mole, the inversion.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In one episode of InuYasha, Sango's brother Kohaku appears to be free from being brain-controlled, Identity Amnesia included. However, at the end of the episode we see that he's still controlled by Naraku, since it was all part of his insidious plan.
  • In PokÚmon Best Wishes Meowth pulled this, joining Ash's group for several episodes in order to lure them into a trap set by Team Rocket at Nimbasa City.
    • Ash's Pikachu didn't buy it for a second, glaring at him constantly.
  • In Transformers: Robots In Disguise, the Decepticon subgroup claims that they want to defect from the Predacons and join the Autobots. (Since the Decepticons, in this continuity, are actually reprogrammed Autobots, this isn't as unlikely as it sounds.) Optimus Prime welcomes them happily, but their leader's acting abilities aren't quite up to the job, and he reveals that it's a scam just before the Decepticons can find out where the Autobots' secret base is.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has this in the form of Bernkastel, who has, up to the point of The Reveal, made it appear that she is on the protagonist's side.
    • Beatrice plays it straighter in EP 3.
  • King Zarkon did this as the Shocking Swerve for the Voltron revival, Voltron: The Third Dimension.
  • Schreient of Wei▀ Kreuz use this ploy on Weiss by having Neu pose as Yoji's dead partner Asuka, revived by a Mad Scientist and amnesiac, in order to lure Weiss into a trap. Nastily enough, the series hints that Neu is in fact Asuka, but she dies for real without ever realizing that fact.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman: The Pre Crisis Luthor did this repeatedly. Because they were friends in their youth, Superman would usually give him a fair chance, even though he knew he could never fully trust him. In one famous "Imaginary Story" by Jerry Seigel, this led to Luthor actually killing him.
  • Martinez turns out to be a mole for the Governor of Woodbury in The Walking Dead after he helps them escape the town safely. And gets run over for it.
  • Played with in Villains United, the prequel to the current volume of Secret Six. Knockout is recruited to the Society, and reveals herself to be both The Mole and Scandal's lover. As it happens, though, both teams are working for Lex Luthor without knowing it, just different versions of him.

    Fan Fic 

    Film 
  • The wife of the terrorist in Collateral Damage betrays him only to reveal she was just doing it to infiltrate the CIA.
  • In the second (or third) Fantastic Four movie, the Four are assisted in the Silver Surfer's capture by Victor von Doom. They were reluctant at first, understandably.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Mack was a good guy turned bad turned good... but the last turn was a lie.

    Literature 
  • In one of the earliest Babysitters Club books, the girls are losing clients to the Baby-Sitters Agency (mainly because their members are older than twelve), so Kristy tries to find some new members. The two she gets are Janet and Leslie (?), who apparently quit the Agency because they didn't like how it was being run. So they're promptly booked for jobs with two new clients who saw the club's advertising for new, older sitters who could stay out later. Imagine the girls' shock at the Monday evening meeting, when their "defectors" don't show up, and the new clients call to complain that they were stood up. Kristy was absolutely devastated when she confronted them and learned that they did it deliberately to sabotage the BSC's reputation.
  • In The Bible it is unclear but reasonably deduced that King Saul, after two incidents, would only continue abusing his position as king whether David should succeed him or not.
    • Also, the reason Saul's terroristic relative Shimei repented of his curses and stone-throwing at David was possibly due only to Absalom's defeat and David's return to power. Unlike the dishonest but shrewd manager in Jesus' parable, Shimei may have been just an opportunist, as suspected from his retrieval of his escaped slaves.
    • David's son Adonijah. Boy oh boy, Adonijah!!
  • Happens in the classic Uncle Remus tale Brer Possum's Dilemma.
  • Also subverted in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord. Joe Simmons was supposed to sabotage John Brown, but ended up following him for real.

    Live Action TV 
  • Season 6 of 24 opens with a terrorist apparently turning traitor on the leader of his organization, offering his location to CTU so he can be assassinated. In fact, the "leader" has forsaken terrorism, and the traitor, the new mastermind of his organization, is trying to have him eliminated to further consolidate his power.
    • In Season 8, the traitorous Chief of Security to Omar Hassan has his daughter held hostage, but ultimately his feelings for her turn out to be genuine and he dies saving her life. Or not, since it was all an act to help her escape and deliver a bomb wired with an EMP to the offices of CTU.
  • Irina Derevko in Alias.
  • Angel: Harmony joins, betrays and rejoins Angel's team, against his strong oppositions. And then she betrays him again. All those resisted urges to stake her, to no good end!
    Gunn: (irritated) Don't we kill 'em anymore?
  • Boomer does this in Battlestar Galactica in order to kidnap Hera.
  • A version of this is present in Farscape. He's not necessarily the antagonist, but in the fourth season, the main reason Scorpius came on Moya was so that he could wrest the secrets of wormhole control from John's mind.
  • This happened in an episode of Get Smart, where Siegfried attempts to "defect" to CONTROL, going so far as to turn in several KAOS agents, including his own sister. Eventually he gives them fake data to divert security away from the CONTROL Chief's Banquet so he can use sleeping gas to kidnap all of CONTROL's leadership in one fell swoop only to be foiled by Max's lapel flower. note 
  • From Glee: Jesse St. James, who seemingly gave up his UCLA scholarship and position as lead male of Vocal Adrenaline for Rachel. Yeah, we'll give you a second to get over that shocking revelation. Subverted, though, as it's revealed he was never a spy or a saboteur and reuniting Rachel and her mother was definitely not the motive anybody expected.
  • On an episode of Law & Order, a Mafia boss arranges for two of his underlings to turn stoolie and feed false information about a murder he ordered to the police, so his attorney can reveal the deception at trial and get the case thrown out of court. As a result, when the cops find real evidence linking him to the crime, they can't do anything about it because of double jeopardy.
  • Subverted in LOST: Juliet was set up to do this but, unknown to Ben, she had turned for real.
  • Kashyk, the charming Devore inspector from Star Trek: Voyager's "Counterpoint", defects from his species and seeks asylum aboard Voyager, romancing Janeway to get her to trust him. She doesn't.
  • Averted in three consecutive episodes of Stargate SG-1: Between the finale of Season 4 and the first episode of season 5, Apophis brainwashed Teal'c into believing he was one of these all along. He consequently behaved as though he were still militantly loyal to Apophis—until he was deprogrammed in "Threshold". To nobody's great surprise, his defection at the beginning was genuine after all—although it took a lot more than logic to convince him of that.
    • Another case happens with the Goa'uld Tanith, who defects to the Tok'ra. They have apparently had the rare Goa'uld defector before, so they accept him, but SG-1, and most especially Teal'c, do not trust him. It soon comes to light that he's a spy for Apophis, but the Tok'ra at the same time reveal that they were well aware of this from the start: they're planning to Feed the Mole.
  • Almost all of Mulder's informants in The X-Files are in fact loyal agents of The Consortium, engaged in a disinformation campaign to keep him distracted from what they don't want him to find out.
  • Season 2 of Warehouse 13: H.G. Wells rejoined the Warehouse just so she could get ahold of the world's first weapon of mass destruction and use it to trigger another ice age. She does a Heel-Face Turn for real after the incident though, to the point where at the end of Season 3, she sacrifices herself to save the protagonists from a bomb with the force of the entire German Luftwaffe. Let me say that again: THE ENTIRE. GERMAN. LUFTWAFFE.
  • Seasons 3 and 4 of Supernatural had Ruby, a demon who appeared to be fighting alongside the Winchesters (or, more specifically, Sam) whilst on the run from her own kind. Except in the S4 season finale, she turned out to have been the linchpin of Lilith's plan to break Lucifer out of Hell, and as she described herself, "the best of [the demons], the most loyal!"

    Video Games 
  • Constable Neyla from Sly 2: Band Of Thieves is an interesting case. She pretends to be a double-agent who is slipping hints to the Cooper Gang behind Interpol's back, only to betray the Cooper Gang to Interpol. However, she later betrays Interpol, so she's really just looking out for herself.
  • Appears in several Squaresoft/Square Enix games:
    • Kain in Final Fantasy IV, is kidnapped by The Dragon early in the game and brainwashed into serving him. Partway through the game, he is "freed" from his control and rejoins the party. Later, it is revealed that he had been under control the whole time when he absconds with the crystal he had been aiding the party in recovering.
    • However, in the GBA and DS versions, when the crystal is retrieved, the new "Inner thought" feature reveals that The Dragon was in the process of taking his mind. Not sure if it's a subversion, but either way, he does betray you twice. This is probably due to better translation teams.
    • A lesser example is Beigan, who meets Cecil in Baron Castle and voluntarily joins the party out of loyalty to Baron... its current management, as Palom and Porom quickly expose him as an infiltrator. A savvy gamer would be right to be suspicious of him, as your party is already full when he offers to join. Cue boss battle!
    • Emperor Gestahl in Final Fantasy VI, who carries the farce to such an extent that his top lieutenant, General Leo, earnestly involves himself in the heroes' cause and refuses to turn on them when the truth is revealed.
    • Kefka claims that Celes is one when the heroes encounter him in the Magitek Factory. However, this is an outright lie, as Celes' Heel-Face Turn was genuine.
    • Emperor Vondole of Secret of Mana pulls a similar stunt, but doesn't drag it out as long — as soon as the heroes arrive at the planned conference with him, he throws them in the dungeon.
    • Front Mission: Driscoll, except in the case of the lingering question raised by Commander Lloyd/custom name expressing his grudge and distrust toward him.
  • Kerrigan in Starcraft: Brood War, who successfully pulls this scheme on several rival organizations simultaneously, ultimately playing them off each other to consolidate her control over the Zerg Swarm. "Pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe," indeed.
    • Duran does that too. Twice.
  • Wild ARMs 3's first minor antagonist, Janus Cascade, does this fairly early on in the game by supposedly wanting to help Virginia find the Eternal Sparkle in hopes of redeeming himself for the scuffle on the train, but it turns out he just wanted one of the 3 masks that's the key to getting the Eternal Sparkle for himself. Well more like the Prophets, but still...

    Web Original 
  • Terrence in KateModern, despite having secretly become a much nastier villain than before.
  • In The Gamers Alliance, Ferron defects to the Alliance's side after the Yamatian Invasion because his superiors in the dark clergy betrayed him and he wants revenge. Although he helps the heroes deal with his former colleagues and befriends many people in the Alliance, he has a far more sinister agenda in mind. He almost switches sides for real because of all the friends he has gained but eventually decides to subvert his character development and betrays the heroes at a crucial moment because his lust for power overshadows his growing friendship with the heroes.
    • Xerathas, Varalia and the Shadow also join the Alliance's heroes during the Vanna arc and claim they'll help the Alliance so that they can atone for their actions as well as prevent a greater threat from rising. Knowing what they're dealing with, the heroes don't buy the excuse but decide to let them tag along while keeping an eye on them. To the heroes' surprise the trio are surprisingly helpful during many encounters, which makes many Alliance members question whether the trio have finally seen the light. Everything changes during the battle of Vanna, however, when the three antagonists reveal the extent of their plan and betray the heroes at the Alliance's most vulnerable moment while the Alliance is busy dealing with another threat.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Captain N: The Game Master episode based on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, Alucard turned out to be one of these. This is not even close to the worst thing they did to his character.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door had one of these in Op. U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R., where one of the Delightful Children joins the KND. Of course, in this case, all the good guys except Numbuh Four knew he was lying.
  • A U.S. Acres segment from Garfield and Friends had Gort pulling this on Orson and the gang.
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, the evil Proto Man temporarily switched sides in order to cover up a plot of Dr. Wily's. (In the games, Protoman was never evil but only framed by Dr. Wily, but the writers either never beat Mega Man 5—Or Mega Man 3, where he first showed up and seemed to be a villain, but was later revealed to be a good guy—or ignored it for the sake of having a Evil Counterpart and rival for Mega.)
    • Most likely it was the latter. If 7 had been released before the cartoon, Bass would have been Dr. Wily's offsider and Proto Man would have kept his canonical role of mysterious loner big brother. Probably. With that cartoon, you never know.
    • In 3, Dr. Wily repents and works with Dr. Light. It ends predictably.
  • The Superfriends fell flat for this when the entire Legion of Doom suddenly did a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid, according to her Villain Song.
  • The New Adventures of Superman episode "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?" Luthor convinces Perry White that he's gone straight and is given a laboratory in the Daily Planet building. Jimmy Olson correctly believes that Luthor is lying and tries to catch him committing a crime.
  • Lotso becomes one at the end of Toy Story 3.
  • In the The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", Harley Quinn sends a message saying that she's turned against the Joker because he's gone too far and plans to kill everyone in Gotham City. It's actually a trap intended to kill Batman so that Mistah J will give up his obsession and start paying attention to her.

    Real Life 
  • Before the mass suicide at Jonestown, under pressure from a visiting U.S. congressman, Jim Jones allowed a group of people to leave the camp. Just as their vehicle was ready to leave, Jones loyalist Larry Layton demanded to join the group. He was allowed after a cursory patdown, over the protests of several defectors. They were right to be skeptical, as he later pulled a gun and shot two of them.
  • It is said (4.12.2) that during the First Messenian War, the Spartans sent a hundred soldiers to their enemies under the guise of deserters. They were all sent back after basically being told "please, Spartans, no Dead Horse Tropes."

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