troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Mook-Face Turn
"Henchmen. Evil, obedient, brightpick any two."

Well, the heroes just got themselves captured in a spectacular case of Cutscene Incompetence. Sadly, the guards are competent and won't let them leave. What are the heroes to do?

Talk to the guard.

No, seriously. Half the time they're part of a Weird Trade Union or are Punch Clock Villains and otherwise normal people. If somebody is Only in It for the Money, their loyalty can quickly change to whoever offers more money. Ask them if they know what their boss did to Bob, or plans to do to their family. Do they know the scar behind their left ear contains a mind control device? How about that their boss can remote activate a Cyanide Pill he had installed during their last trip to the dentist if things go south?

If that doesn't Scare 'Em Straight, then ask them about their wife and kids, hobbies, or sports team. An ounce of Character Development will make them a Mauve Shirt and get them to do a Heel-Face Turn faster than you can say "No Dental".

If that doesn't work, just bribe them. Filthy lucre can work remarkably well on the morally flexible, and just because you're heroes doesn't mean you can't exploit the inherent flaws of evil. If the villain keeps The Paid-For Harem nearby, seducing the concubines or appealing to their good nature usually works. Or just tricking them into getting the key; they aren't usually very bright.

Mooks turned allies this way might never graduate to the main cast, but even if they don't do a full Heel-Face Turn, the heroes will have made an important ally for the episode and the mook in question will get all the attendant perks and dangers of being a Mauve Shirt. This can be especially beneficial to some heroes, as these Mook Face Turners can be Defecting for Love.

See also Not Always Evil, and Talking Your Way Out.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Sylvia seems to be doing this with a pair of Mecha-Mooks in the Viewtiful Joe anime.
  • Sonic X: Decoe and Bocoe do this right after their Robot Disney Death in Episode 48. After the following episode where they are seen hanging out at the Thorndyke Mansion, this plot development was seemingly dropped with no explanation.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the Elric brothers are able to recruit four Chimera soldiers from Central out from under Kimblee. Al does it by making them remember that they are still humans and can try to get their bodies back; the ones Ed gets don't mind being chimeras as much, but join him because he saved their lives after Kimblee blew them all up.
    • In a later chapter, a platoon of soldiers sent to kill Olivia Armstrong on orders of their superiors, quickly join her side when attacked by Sloth and the alchemic zombies. Their greatest moment comes when they selflessly and at great risk try to slow down the superfast Sloth with a chain.
    "General, this is... our answer."
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: When it's revealed that Dekim Barton only cared about himself, while manipulating his entire army by invoking the name of the late Treize Khushrenada, and topping it all off with shooting Mariemeia Kushrenada when she was doing a Heel-Face Turn, nearby mook draws his gun, shoots Dekim dead, and then apologizes for betraying Treize's ideals.
    • Similarly, in Gundam SEED, Patrick Zala is killed by his aide Ray Yuuki after he objects to Zala's genocidal plans. Well, he shot Ray first, but he got him back later.
  • In One Piece, one of the Enforcers accidentally gets hit by Gedatsu's Swamp Cloud, and Chopper saves him. When Gedatsu denounces him for being weak, the Enforcer decides to help Chopper against him, but is quickly defeated.

    Comic Books 
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, when Sonic and Sally are attacked by a large group of mercenaries, Sally manages to bribe two of them into temporarily working on her side.
  • Bob of HYDRA in Cable & Deadpool was originally...well, of HYDRA. After Deadpool took him prisoner he slowly slid from being a terrified hostage to outright adoring the merc with a mouth. It's unclear how much Stockholm Syndrome is involved.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Incredibles, Mr Incredible has been captured and believes his family has been murdered by Syndrome. He is able to snatch Syndrome's right hand lady, Mirage, and threatens to crush her if not released. Syndrome tells him to do it. Mr. Incredible can't bring himself to kill her and lets her go. Although Syndrome claims he knew Incredible was bluffing, Mirage is furious that he gambled with her life, and later aids the Incredible family in escaping the island.
  • This is how Fievel makes friends with Tiger the cat in An American Tail as Tiger is guarding the cage Fievel was locked into by the cat gang, garnering his sympathy by crying.
  • Scar manages to make the hyenas angry in The Lion King by blaming them for Mufasa's death while they were in earshot. Not a good time to subvert the Disney Villain Death.
    • In the sequel, Zira's lionesses abandon her and join the Pridelanders after she threatens to kill her own daughter for not fighting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Get Smart Movie had this be the main advantage of Maxwell Smart's analysis skills. He was able to reason with the henchmen about his love life and when the Big Bad threatened her...
  • The climax of Four Brothers, in which the brothers bribe Victor Sweet's abused henchmen with the $400,000 they planned on trading with.
  • This was actually a power of the titular child messiah in The Golden Child.
    • In the opening sequence where the villain kidnaps him with the help of Mongol mooks, one accidentally touches the child's hand, looks up with a contrite expression, and charges at the head baddy.
    • Later on he touches a mook on the hand, and the mook eventually helps Chandler Jarrell rescue him.
  • In Moonraker, James Bond tricks Hugo Drax into talking about his plan to exterminate everybody who doesn't fit into his genetically perfect "master race" in front of Jaws, who then turns against the villains. Seeing his bespectacled, short, and somewhat plain looking girlfriend standing beside the supermodel-level women that make up the female half of Drax's group didn't hurt, either.
    • In A View to a Kill, the villain Max Zorin goes ahead and floods the mines fully aware that the workers and his Dragon Mayday are down there. Mayday and Bond survive, on discovering her betrayal and seeing her dead friends, she helps Bond remove the bomb and sacrifices herself taking it out when it explodes.
  • In Iron Monkey, the crooked Governor's chief of police, Chief Fox, starts growing disaffected with his work after seeing the Governor order an innocent boy imprisoned just to force his father, martial arts master Wong Kaye-Ying, to stay in town and battle the Iron Monkey. After Wong Kaye-Ying decides to ally with the Iron Monkey, the monstrously evil Imperial Minister orders Wong's son to be publicly tortured to draw both his father and the Iron Monkey into an immediate rescue attempt. At this, Chief Fox just plain flips out and tries to both single-handedly rescue the boy, and then kill his way through the Imperial Minister's Dragon and accompanying mooks. Being just a mook, he obviously fails, but he most certainly did try.
  • At the end of Battleship Potemkin, the mutineers manage to convince the government's battleships not only to not fire on them, but to join them in escaping Russia. It's based on true events, too.
  • In The Wind That Shakes the Barley, an Irish-Scots soldier defects to the IRA, freeing a number of captured rebels in the process, after becoming disenchanted with the British occupation.
  • Toad from Rockand Rule betrays and kills his boss Mok when the monster Mok summoned killed his brother Zip.
  • Wheelie in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen.
  • Eddie Valentine and his gang in The Rocketeer enjoy working with Neville Sinclair - until they learn he is a Nazi spy, after which they each betray the other.
    Eddie: Hey... I may not make an honest buck but I'm a hundred percent American!

    Literature 
  • The end of Animorphs #48. Rachel promises to get the goons more money than David's paying them, then double-crosses them.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Tumnus was supposed to kidnap Humans for Jadis if he ever met them. He was already very displeased with Jadis when he met Lucy, and they became fast friends. He let her return. Jadis found out and executed him. He was with the Narnian envoy to Calormen in The Horse and his Boy.
  • Blaggut in the Redwall book The Bellmaker is eventually pushed too far by Captain Slipp after Slipp kills Mellus. Blaggut snaps and strangles Slipp, then goes back to the Abbey to confess.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy In Flames, Sindermann escapes the deck he's confined to by pleading to go to the medical deck to say goodbye to an old friend.
  • Subverted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where Ford Prefect gets a Vogon mook interested in art and music... but the Vogon throws Ford and Arthur Dent into the airlock as instructed anyway.
  • In the World of Warcraft novel The Shattering Prelude to Cataclysm, Stormsong leads a band of Grimtotem sent in to assassinate Baine Bloodhoof, but instead slips out and warns Baine about the plot, having believed that his leader Magatha went too far by killing Baine's father, the High Chieftain Cairne, whom Stormsong had respected despite sometimes disagreeing with. Stormsong then helps Baine escape and assists him in his quest to oust Magatha. After Baine succeeds, he exiles the Grimtotem except for those who swear loyalty to him, knowing that some of them did so for self-serving reasons and deciding to watch over them.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King, Meghan appeals to Tertius, pleading that she just wants to rescue her brother. It perturbs him, but he must serve his king.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Timetravelling Black Adder episode with Robin Hood's men - a subversion in that case since the Blackadder convinces them to defect on the basis of Robin Hood's honorable thieving not benefiting them.
  • Farscape had the Defecting for Love variation with Aeryn Sun. Later done again in "PK Tech Girl" with Gilina. In her case she returned again to save John's hiney when he got captured, but their budding romance was cut short. What? Being a Mauve Shirt on an Anyone Can Die show is risky business! (Sad business, too)
  • Happens with Jayne in Firefly, who Mal bribes into his team with better pay and his own bunk. Mal was so persuasive that Jayne shot his former employer!
    • Jayne is more likely a Jerk Ass with a later developed hidden heart of gold. Although he did switch sides, it had nothing to do with good or evil, as neither side was obviously good or evil in that scene. Or the entire show - morality and gray areas were a major theme of that show.
  • Damar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wasn't a mook by the time of his Face-Heel Turn (though he started out as one), but the fact that the Dominion treated him like one even though he was nominally the Cardassian head of state was a major factor in his change of side.
    • A straighter example from the series finale comes after the Dominion glasses a Cardassian city, pour encourager les autres, which backfires. Colonel Kira and some members of La Résistance are caught up in a firefight that abruptly ends when two Cardassian soldiers gun down the Jem'Hadar in vengeance, and shortly thereafter the Cardassian element of the system defence fleet follows suit in the middle of fighting off the joint Federation/Klingon taskforce that had been attempting to invade them. Nice Job Breaking It Big Bad!
  • Subverted on Get Smart, where Maxwell Smart and 99 attempt to persuade a submarine crew to do a Mook Face Turn with the captain present and able to make counteroffers. First, Agent 99 pleads, "Think of your wives! Your children!" This gets the mooks to point their guns at the captain, for about two seconds, until the captain reminds his crew that they aren't married. The agents and the captain then get into a debate with offers and counteroffers.
  • Stargate Verse: Most of an entire race of mooks did this over the course of the series. The Jaffa started out worshipping the Goa'uld as literal gods and served them as foot soldiers. In the pilot episode, a Jaffa leader defected from his people to help the main characters. Over the course of the series, it's revealed that he was long skeptical of the Goa'uld's purported godhood. He is a member of the team while contributing to a seditious rebel movement among the Jaffa at the same time. Eventually that movement grows and, with the help of the Tau'ri and other factions, defeats the Goa'uld. A democratic government of Jaffa is founded.
    • The re-edited "final cut" version of the pilot two-parter "Children of the Gods" makes Teal'c's defection look less like a sudden spur of the moment decision. It is made especially clear there there that Teal'c was horrified by Apophis' atrocities (and the ones he himself committed in the name of his "god") and was planning to betray him all along, but only carried out his wish when he found potential allies with technology rivaling those of the Goa'uld: the Tau'ri.
    • A much later example in the series has a captive SG1 and Bre'Tac (and a few of their Jaffa fifth column agents) released by a guard after they convince him he's serving a charlatan who would have willingly thrown said guard to the wolves.
    • In the show's final moments (namely, the movie Ark of Truth), former Ori worshipper Tomin turns against them and helps SG-1 defeat Adria. It had previously been shown that Tomin was a decent, moral man who happened to be following evil aliens, and he had begun questioning their orders as of late, especially when so many orders consisted of the genocide of unbelievers.
  • Nikita: When Sara, an underperforming Division candidate, is sent on a suicide mission, Nikita intervenes and kidnaps her. When she finally gets Sara to accept that Division planned to have her killed, she is able to convince Sara to go into hiding after deliviring one final blow to her former employers.

    Video Games 
  • Occasionally in Fire Emblem, if you can get close, you can talk to one of the enemy units and get them to join you for various reasons, or you can kill them and just keep moving.
    • These units always have names and unique portraits, though, so they may not count as mooks.
    • A better example is half-way through Fire Emblem Awakening where after Emmeryn's Heroic Sacrifice, the Plegian Army deserts their king enmasse.
  • During one of the battles midway through Shining Force II, One of the Pegasus Knights in the enemy force inexplicably has an actual name. Sure enough, a few rounds into the battle, he decides to switch sides.
  • Happens with alarming regularity in the Metal Slug series. Anytime a threat other/greater than General Morden's army appears, said army that you were just shooting to pieces last level is fighting alongside you. Not effectively, of course, but enough to partially excuse the final levels' preposterous volumes of enemies and add to the hectic/epic feel of those stages.
    • Could be justified. Usually bigger bad kidnaps their leader and rebels are, well, humans. They actually fight for Morden's ideals, not because they like killing people. So, bigger bad comes in and tries to wipeout humans and/or them, what do you do?
  • Happens surprisingly often in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation games, although the enemy is usually in the protagonists' captivity. Most of the examples wear a Mauve Shirt if not an Ace Pilot badge, but Ryoto gets a special mention for being such a low-level grunt that the bad guys decide to blow him up to kill you.
    • Happens often in the main Super Robot Wars games as well, naturally, since they incorporate many Anime plots that use this trope.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 3, Mega Man must at one point rise in the "ranks" of the Undernet in order to find a program capable of defeating Bass. He does this by finding certain Navis and challenging them to a battle. One of them however, just gives you his rank, claiming he's tired of the whole thing, and even gives you a hint to find the program you're looking for.
  • Commander Saturn, along with the rest of Team Galactic in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl actually pulls one of these after you defeat their boss, Cyrus. He says that all they wanted was a better world, but realized that Cyrus went too far to achieve it. You can also see the beginnings of this if you talk to defeated grunts after battling them, where they wonder if they're really fighting on the right side.
  • Kyle Katarn is a more classic Mook Face Turn, starting as a mook, and becoming a FUCKING god!
  • Kasan Moor of Rogue Squadron starts out as an elite TIE Interceptor pilot for the Empire, but defects to Rogue Squadron.
  • In Killzone 3, Sev and Rico pull this off in the intro tutorial and at the actual point in the game where they dress up as Helghast soldiers and reveal themselves to the Big Bad during a planet-wide broadcast to the entire Helghan nation.
  • Toward the end of Fallout 2, the player can convince two Enclave soldiers to help fight Frank Horrigan.
    • Its possible to make raiders and other enemies friendly in Fallout 3 through clever use of the slave collar.
  • In Scarface: The World is Yours, after the Final Boss, Tony finds that one of the mooks had survived. Instead of blasting him, he hires the man as his butler. It works out nice. Daaaw. Mirrors the film quite nicely.
  • In Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries, the player is actually given this option on one mission. When hired to wipe out a group of insurgents, as you head to the insurgent base, you receive a radio transmission "Attention mercenary: whatever the Snakes are paying you, we'll double it. Just turn around and go back to your dropship."
  • Johnny in the original Metal Gear Solid, was just one of the many faceless Genome Soldiers that Solid Snake encountered in Shadow Moses. For some reason, he fell in love with Meryl, the woman who took his clothes and left him naked, and then became one of her subordinates in Metal Gear Solid 4.
    • It runs in the family. Naked Snake encounters Johnny's grandfather in Metal Gear Solid 3 and can befriend him in an Easter Egg. While he's too scared of his boss to actually let you out of the cell, he'll tell you about his family and inadvertently give you the password to escape along with a weapon. It's eventually played straight in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, where Snake can recruit Johnny as a member of his unit.
  • In a World of Warcraft short story, one Forsaken priest named Trevor who has doubts about the morality of his faction, allows an Argent Dawn member to free some prisoners in exchange for speaking with Leonid Barthalomew the Revered, an undead Argent Dawn member, about giving him admittance to the organization.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, you can use the Mediator ability "Invite" to cause a hostile unit to join your side, and Mediators also have the support ability Train that allows you to automatically invite a monster if you bring them to critical HP using certain attacks.
  • Subverted in Jade Empire: after you close or destroy the mechanism for the Two Rivers dam, a Lotus Assassin arrives with a squad of Imperial soldiers. You can try to talk the sergeant out of fighting, but he will say that he doesn't care for the lives of the citizens, only for serving the Emperor. Played straight with one of Gao's men and a soldier who was pressganged into the army to replace one the Lotus Assassin killed.
  • One rather memorable occasion happens halfway through {{Divinity 2: Ego Draconis}}, after you've taken out the commanding Black Ring Battle Couple in an outpost. A Black Ring mook who saw the whole fight immediately says "We surrender!" and his friend replies "What? No we don't, traitor!" The first mook points out that the protagonist just singlehandedly slaughtered their commanders, so the two of them (the only ones left) would stand no chance. The second mook admits that it's true, and immediately offers to sell you stuff so he can be useful.
  • In No One Lives Forever, the player character Cate Archer has to goad Magnus Armstrong into a fight and have him promise to let her go if she wins. When she wins, Armstrong keeps his word and says he doesn't plan to stick around and see how the Big Bad feels about his betrayal. A Noble Demon, Armstrong struggles with the morality of some of his mook duties earlier in the game.

    Web Comics 
  • Minions at Work: a valiant attempt at least, and failure.
  • Subverted in this strip and following of General Protection Fault: The Sharon twin from the alternate universe is a low-level flunky on the dark side turned informant for the resistance. However, as soon as the infiltrating heroes present her with the opportunity for betrayal, she immediately rats them out to her superiors hoping for a promotion. Her reward follows swiftly.
  • Evil Soldier #347 in RPG World who becomes one of the lead characters despite the fact that he does not even get a name.
    • He does get heart-wrenching character development. Sniff.
  • Bob and George
  • Kirk from Suppression happens to be the first mook shown, and knocked out and left for dead in a flashback. The next time he's seen he's caught the plague and picked up a demon pet. He offhandedly changes sides when almost hit by stray fire by his former allies.
  • Played with in The Order of the Stick: One of the common Hobgoblins is found by an Elven Black Ops Team (yes, this is as heartless as it sounds) on the wrong side of the whip in an Azure City slave camp because he was racist towards one of the normal goblin immigrants. He pleads to defect sides. The elves proceed to lead him to the edge of the rooftop and throw him off.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe has the protagonist try and befriend the attacking giant bird monsters. At least the giant sparrow becomes "intrigued by the prospect of identity, of a purpose beyond destruction, of not being shot by that badass purple dog." The protagonist needs to use his powers to elevate it to something more than a mindless mook, though, but then it becomes his loyal sidekick and gets a badass name.

    Western Animation 
  • Mr. Beastly, the Minion with an F in Evil from Care Bears does this in one episode, but ends up running back to his boss after the good guys go a little too far in welcoming him.
  • My Little Pony: In the climax of "The Return Of Tambelon", the ponies and their human ally Megan, after MacGyvering their way out of the dungeon, get most of Grogar's army to ditch him while they go and defeat the old goat.
  • Hack and Slash, the Terrible Trio of ReBoot, abandon their master Megabyte in Season 3 for being incompetent. They are then rebuilt by Phong, the Obi Wan, and from then on treat him as their new master.
    • Even before Megabyte gets rid of them they tend to help Bob whenever Megabyte isn't available to give orders, like when he turned into the mindless Megatruck or became Gigabyte.
  • Similarly to the above example, the Nerdlucks in Space Jam. It only occurs to them, however, after a long while.
  • She's not exactly a mook, but Jinx of Teen Titans has one of these thanks to the surprisingly sweet attention Kid Flash keeps giving her.
    • It's completely in line with the comics, too. The Flash has an odd relationship with his Rogues Gallery.
    • Atlas' assistant abandons his former master after Robin points out that the robot is mistreating him.
  • This works especially well on bad guys who keep their minions in line through fear. In an episode of Transformers Animated, a villain with metal-melting acid powers coerced the Dinobots into doing his dirty work, then ordered them to his aid when he was incapacitated. When Prowl pointed out that he couldn't harm them in his current position, they swiftly turned on their former master.
  • The Guardians manage to recruit a few of Phobos' minions in W.I.T.C.H., starting with a castle guard in the episode "The Rebel Rescue". They tend to his wounds, take him to Earth (where he learns that Earth isn't nearly as bad as Phobos told him it was), and he helps them break into the castle dungeons and rescue dozens of captured rebels.
  • This is Mike's origin story in Motorcity. In "Vendetta", a flashback from one year prior to the show's present day revealed that Mike was a promising cadet under Abraham Kane; however, when Mike realized he was putting innocent lives at risk while following Kane's order, he defected from Kane's cause and joined the Burners.
  • TRON: Uprising: When a bunch of innconts are captured and shipped off in a train to be killed, Beck breaks aboard and fights off one of the guards. He doesn't kill the guy, and when the train crashes, the Guard helps him find the prisoners out of gratitude and take them to safety. Tessler kills him on the spot.
    • In Tron's back story, he was pretty badly tortured, and then taken away in a Recognizer. One of the guards, Cyrus, witnessed the torture and commented with respect that Tron was one of the few who didn't scream. He later releases Tron, and seemingly sabotages the Recognizer, carrying Tron off, telling him that they can't let the revolution end before it has a chance to start. Though offscreen, he did a Face-Heel Turn and became even more evil.
  • This is Plastic Man's adapted backstory in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • In the first half of the Looney Tunes cartoon "Prince Violence", Yosemite Sam has a pink elephant helping him try to break into Bugs' fortress; however, with each failed plan, Sam yells at the elephant and occasionally clubs him, eventually telling him to get lost so he can do it himself. After a few more failures, Sam finally manages to get in, only to find that the elephant is working for Bugs now (both because Bugs is nicer and pays him with peanuts) and chases Sam away with a club.


Minion with an F in EvilHeel Face IndexMistreatment-Induced Betrayal
Mood-SwingerCharacterization TropesThe Movie Buff
Middle Management MookVillainsMook Promotion
Mook Debut CutsceneMooksMook Horror Show

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
63917
1