"Already there used to be six of you and now there are just five. Pretty soon, Jake, it'll be four."You're a Power Trio or Five-Man Band who just got themselves a new Sixth Ranger. Things are looking pretty good right now — your team is expanding, you're making new friends. Looks like things might change permanently! Wait, changing the status quo? Gasp, heretic! Surprise! It turns out your fancy new Sixth Ranger is evil! He now knows all of your secrets, how to exploit them, and how to push all of your emotional buttons. You've got a new enemy, and the best part is — you'll have an excuse to keep your team down to a Power Trio or Five-Man Band from now on, so the status quo will remain unchanged. Just fair warning, this is a trope about betrayal. The names mentioned below may spoil the emotional drama their moment of betrayal brings. However, since Sixth Ranger Traitors tend not to stay with their adoptive teams for long, that may not exactly be much. Like the Sixth Ranger, The Sixth Ranger Traitor is its own villainous counterpart in a 5 Bad Band, instead reflecting the member of the group who betrays the others, either by pulling a Heel–Face Turn, faking one, simply for their own ends, or on rare occasions against their will. The name is derived from Sixth Ranger. Sub-Trope of The Mole.
— David, the Sixth Ranger Traitor of Animorphs
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Kaworu from Neon Genesis Evangelion, although there's enough visual and in-plots hints about people wondering about him that he was deliberately a mysterious character. His character showed up in one episode, which means the time from Introduction to The Reveal about his identity as The Last Angel was about fifteen minutes. Subsequent versions of the story reveal it even faster, likely because almost anyone watching a remake will know it anyway. Death & Rebirth reveals Kaworu's betrayal before introducing him! The fact that he's first seen in Rebuild of Evangelion hanging out with Keel Lorenz is a pretty big indication by itself that he's not on NERV's side in the latest iteration of the story, either. note
- There's also EVA-03 and its pilot, however the case of their betrayal was unintentional, as an Angel managed to hijack them before they even made a sortie.
- Corrector Yui - One of the nearest Yui's friends was the true Chosen One to be the titular Corrector, but I.R. chose Yui because an error later explained she was then infected by Grosser its Haruna, and no, its not "a hidden grudge" it was pure Mind Control like it was later demonstrated with Shun before being recruited after Inukai told everyone in the group about it, then after she tried to leave the group (cause Yui was better for the Correctors) Grosser takes her and turned her against Yui, it was fixed on the next episode but she didn't return as a Corrector until the next season. Haruna is eventually cured by Yui herself in an "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight, goes under temporal retirement (she was still remaining as Mission Control) and, in the second season, she rejoins the team as Sixth Ranger.
- In the second season opening of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, the team gets a new G-2 as a replacement for dead Lancer "Condor Joe" Asakura, much to the others' discomfiture. Surprise! He's a Galactor agent. Double surprise! Joe, Back from the Dead, kills him.
- In Death Note, Light Yagami joins the secret police taskforce in charge of finding and stopping Kira, a brilliant but crazy serial killer who's using an Artifact of Doom to anonymously murder anyone he deems evil, which can reach triple digits on a single day. Unfortunately, Light is Kira.
- It's played with, in that L, the leader of the task force, is never in any doubt that Light is Kira - inviting him to join the task force is just a ploy to attempt to prove his guilt. It works. Eventually. Not that L's around to see it.
- Genpou Saji from Ikki Tousen starts like this, manipulating both Rakuyou and Nanyou as a Man Behind the Man. After being defeated, though, he becomes a genuine Sixth Ranger. In the anime, at least. The manga's a bit more involved, but Saji was never evil.
- Fushigi Yuugi's Chiriko was really a Seiryu Seishi named Amiboshii.
- Team Trinity in Mobile Suit Gundam 00 season 1. Anew Returner (unwillingly) fills the role in season 2.
- Crona from Soul Eater is taken in after turning good, then is manipulated back to Medusa to be The Mole.
In the anime, Crona decides to stop working for Medusa and leave the DWMA out of guilt. Maka catches him/her on the way out and convinces Crona to stay and be their ally for the rest of the show.
In the manga, Crona disappears just after being discovered, turning out to have been called back by Medusa to her lair. Eventually, Crona kills Medusa, but (as Medusa planned) thought so lowly of him/herself for it that Crona decides to become a Kishin as Medusa planned and cause The End of the World as We Know It. Maka manages to talk Crona back, but by that point Crona had done so much wrong Crona ended up being a Barrier Maiden for the rest of his/her immortal life as repentance, or until Maka manages to rescue him/her, depending on your personal interpretation.
- Meowth of Team Rocket pretends to become a new ally for the heroes of Pokémon Best Wishes for one short Story Arc, but it was just to lure them into a trap in Nimbasa City.
- Played with in Sword Art Online: After losing in a duel to Heathcliff, Kirito is forced to join the Knights of the Blood. After a costly boss raid with KoB, Kirito realizes Heathcliff is actually Akihiko Kayaba, creator of SAO and the one responsible for trapping all the players in the game. His ruse exposed, Kayaba reveals that he was setting himself up to betray the KoB and set himself up as the game's Final Boss.
- Topher from Runaways. This was less about not changing the status quo, since the team constantly loses and gains members. Topher's betrayal causes the team to be initially suspicious of Sixth Ranger Victor, especially since they know he's the son of a villain (though they don't know which one for a while) and supposedly destined to turn evil. Given that every single fricken one of them is the child of at least one, and in most cases two villains, what do ya expect?
- It's also implied to have happened on purpose, because Alex knew all along that Topher was a vampire (or at least evil) and brought him to the Hostel so that the rest of the group could end up fighting him to be toughened up.
- In Grant's Morrison's run on X-Men, where the core team starts out as a Five-Man Band, Xorn isn't just a traitor, he's Magneto in disguise! (For a while, anyhow.) Change and (perhaps futile) attempts to escape the status quo were major themes in this run. The first to join the original Five-Man Band (not counting the Professor) from the sixties, Mimic, also betrayed the team.
- New X-Men: Academy X has an interesting case with this happening to both New Mutants and their rival team at the same time. Both teams were five groups of friends short of one to make full training squad. Icarus was added to Hellions, whom he barerly knew, because Julian convinced him to join, and Wither joined New Mutants after he returned to school. Once FBI tried to arrest Wither, Hellions decided to bust him out and Icarus, realizing how horrible consequences such act would have, contacted New Mutants and both groups fought. Once Wither was cleared of all charges he realized who his real friends are and asked to be re-assigned to Hellions, while Icarus jumped at opportunity to take his spot on New Mutants.
- Nemesis Kid of the Legion in Legion of Super-Heroes. He joined the Legion to spy on them for the evil Khund Empire (and later became a member of the Legion of Super-Villains).
- Marvel Star Wars does have regulars added to the cast not infrequently. Most of them work out okay - but Shira Brie, Luke Skywalker's Wing Guard and incipient Love Interest, turns out to have been hand-picked by Darth Vader.
- In an example that would have made fans of the original series cry, Sven, one of the most popular characters of the original Voltron: Defender of the Universe series became this in the 2003-4 Devil's Due Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot.
- Shun-Day was this to the Legendaries, acting as The Mole to her creator Skroa. She however become the mask and ends up saving the other Legendaries from him. Danael agreed to let her go as a gratitude, but warned her that the next time they'd meet, it'd be as enemies.
- Later subverted during the Anathos Cycle when Tenebris, Darkhell's daughter, joins the team. Her motivations for helping the heroes are selfish, she is known to love her father, and two of the Legendaries (namely Shimy and Gryf) were expecting her to betray them, to the point Shimy tried to murder her once it appeared she was of no more use. Ironically, it turned out she never betrayed the team, even when Bigger Bad Anathos gave her the opportunity to join her after he single-handed defeated the other heroes. After the Cycle, she has become a full-time member of the group.
- Wonder Man, the first Avenger to join the team after Captain America, was one of these. An industrialist driven out of business by Tony Stark, he was approached by the Masters of Evil and offered superpowers and revenge. It wasn't until after he'd gotten his powers that the Masters revealed the catch -that his powers would kill him without regular treatments that only Baron Zemo could provide - and sent him to infiltrate the Avengers. Since Good Feels Good, though, Wonder Man discovered he preferred being a hero and ended up saving the team from the Masters' trap at the cost of his own life. (Being comics, he got better. Then worse. Then better again.)
- The Swordsman, a Villain with Good Publicity, joined The Avengers under orders from Iron Man's enemy the Mandarin to sabotage the team. After gaining the trust of most of the team, he planted a bomb in their headquarters. It was after he had a change of heart and disarms the bomb that he was found out and the team sent him packing.
- After the New Teen Titans formed, their first new member was Terra, a cute teen girl with a sad backstory. One year later...well, there's a reason that Terra's grand finale is called The Judas Contract. (However, the Titans didn't return to status quo; The Judas Contract also introduced Jericho, who became a long-standing member of the team.)
- Titan's Transformers Animated Comic had a new character called Afterburn, who is one of the greatest Autobots to ever live, who cured a fatal infection and has recommendations from Ultra Magnus himself. He's really a soulless drone created by Megatron, who faked his credentials.
- In Personality Conflicts, this is Tommy's greatest fear. Also played straight with Drew and Bad Future Tasha, but subverted with Ryan.
- In 72 Hours, Bo is this to the wrestlers. When he moves to America, he falls in naturally with the sadistic group, but has no interest in slaughtering innocents with the others; he simply can't escape. During a battle with SABRE, he not only joins the enemy (pulling a complete Heel–Face Turn in the process) but does so in a way that cripples the enemy attack, saving his new friends' lives.
- Miyako in Death Note and Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne fanfic, To Kill A Thief is unknowingly playing for Light's 5 Bad Band. When she realized of what he wanted, she turns her back on him.
- Zeakros in Ace Combat: The Equestrian War.
- The Dark World arc of the Pony POV Series, Discord's sister Rancor joins him and his minions in fighting the Elements of Harmony's rebellion... only to stab him In the Back (literally) at the opportune moment, in order to steal Destruction's power for herself.
- In Devil's Advocate Takato joins the Digidestined to help them defeat the Digimon Emperor. However as soon as the Emperor dies Takato plans to turn on the others and kill them.
Films — Live-Action
- The Losers - Roque.
- The Expendables - Gunnar. They let it slide before the sequel.
- Sucker Punch: Blondie.
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Sentinel Prime.
- The Italian Job (2003) - Steve
- X-Men: First Class: Angel, Mystique and Magneto.
- Lando Calrissian acts as this at in The Empire Strikes Back but he quickly makes a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a regular Sixth Ranger.
- In The Hunger Games, Peeta Mellark is this to the Career Tributes like the novels below.
- In Grave Encounters 2 Lance appears out of nowhere, having apparently survived the first movie and shows up to aid the remaining survivors. Too bad for them he is taking orders from the hospital itself which speaks by scratching words into the walls or following him around invisible in the darkness of the hospital. To make this even worse, he kills Trevor and attempts to escape the hospital himself. too bad the demons of the hospital double crossed him too.
- Lorien Legacies has also got this trope, except it's a Fifth ranger traitor.
- Dragonlance - Eben Shatterstone.
- Animorphs - David. Note that no one really wanted him to join, and he didn't either, but he'd found the morphing cube and his parents had been taken by Yeerks. He ends up permanently trapped in rat morph, and his fate (Mercy Killed by Rachel or left to live as a rat) is left deliberately vague.
- Senna from Everworld is sort of an odd example—she technically put together the group, but keeps flitting in and out of it herself (until book #7, when she stays with them until her final betrayal). She's definitely a Token Evil Teammate, though, and after a while doesn't even try to conceal the fact that she's manipulating them, though she keeps her exact plans hidden. Unfortunately, the others have to put up with her, since she's MacGuffin Super Person and the only one who can bring them home.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe
- Jacen, though it's fairly obvious before he actually becomes a Sith.
- Kyp in the Jedi Academy Trilogy.
- In the Coruscant Nights Trilogy, Dejah Duare.
- In Harry Potter: Severus Snape is actually a Sixth Ranger Traitor for a 5 Bad Band, earning himself a (sudden) special place in the hearts of many readers who had previously hated his guts.
- In The Hunger Games, Peeta Mellark is this to the Career Tributes.
- In The Clockwork Prince, Jessamine Lovelace betrays the Institute because of her love for Nate.
- Zhane in Power Rangers in Space actually disguised himself as a "Sixth Psycho Ranger" in order to confuse The Psycho Rangers.
- To the point, despite the trope name, this really hasn't happened in Power Rangers. Sixth Rangers have started as antagonists and even villains, but it's always been due to mind control or the manipulation of the truth. The closest example would be Power Rangers Ninja Steel, where Brady's brother Aiden turns out to be Actually a Doombot sent by The Starscream.
- The Torchwood episode "Adam" had the eponymous mind-altering alien acting as the team's most trusted member. The viewers know he's the bad guy all along.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- In season 3, Faith is introduced as a second Slayer and hedonistic Shadow Archetype to Buffy. It takes a few episodes, but a fatal accident sets her on a spiral into a Face–Heel Turn. She eventually makes a Heel–Face Turn and goes back to being one of Buffy's most important allies, though.
- Rather amusingly, Spike (who now has a Restraining Bolt to keep him from killing people) plays the Sixth Ranger Traitor role in season 4 — selling out Buffy and the Scoobies to Adam — despite the fact that he makes no bones about being evil and hating the Scoobies the whole time.
Spike: Tell you what I'll do then. I'll head out, find this girl, tell her exactly where all of you are, and then watch as she kills you.*shocked silence from Xander and Giles*Spike: Can't any one of your damn little Scooby club at least try to remember that I hate you all? Just because I can't do the damage myself doesn't stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way. And here I thought the evening'd be dull.
- Chester Lake from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit eventually ends up killing a rapist cop who was found not guilty at trial. To Lake's credit, said cop had previously tried repeatedly to kill him, and in the end he made no attempt to conceal his crime. Much more fitting to the trope is The Scrappy Dale Stuckey, who turns out to have masterminded a plot to kill the lawyers and judge in a serial killer's murder trial in order to frame the killer, who he had originally accidentally set free due to screwing up the forensic evidence. He ends up killing the Mauve Shirt CSI tech, and almost ends up killing Stabler.
- Leek from Primeval. And Christine. And Philip. If the team (or Nick in series 2, and Abby in series 5) hate somebody, then that person is, guaranteed, to be evil!
- Rick Murray from Degrassi: The Next Generation. Crazy, check. Ready to explode, check. Attacks his friends, check.
- Jorge del Salto from Carrusel.
- Oddly enough, the reality show Dance Moms has an example of this, when the newest mother to the group, Cathy, defects back to her own dance studio, then decides to directly compete against her erstwhile colleagues in an upcoming competition. She even specifically states that now she's seen the Abbey Lee company from the inside, so she can use their own methods against them, going so far as to steal one of the children's music. Like most Sixth Ranger Traitors, she fails spectacularly.
- NCIS had both Chip, who inserted himself into NCIS as part of a long term scheme to get revenge on Tony for ruining his career years ago, and Agent Lee, who was an enemy double agent. For a while the team took it for granted that Ziva was one of these, being a double agent for the Israelis, but she eventually proves her loyalty to the team.
- Zoey from How I Met Your Mother became one of these, after she grew very close with the gang and even dated Ted. However when Ted said "no" to preserving an old building called the Arcadian, said person revealed to have kept the recording she made of Ted praising the Arcadian despite having promised to get rid of it.
- Revenge: If you go by Alternate Character Interpretation, Ashley Davenport, although she also isn't fully aware of her role in Emily's scheming and is at least partially loyal to the Graysons.
Myths & Religion
- Mass Effect 3 has Maya Brooks in the "Citadel" DLC.
- This is how Bass was introduced in Mega Man 7.
- Mega Man X 4 - Double. Not that that is a Meaningful Name or anything.
- Onmyōji: Yaobikuni, who suddenly turns on her friends and reveals her motives after being taken to Kuro Seimei's place. She is still a playable character after this revelation.
- Final Fantasy series
- In Final Fantasy IV, when returning to Baron, you run into Cecil's old friend Chancellor Baigan. He "joins" your party (despite the fact that your party is already full; the game doesn't allow six playable characters to be used at once) and he follows along behind you unlike all the other party members who aren't shown on screen during normal gameplay). He is revealed as a monster in disguise about five seconds later. In the DS remake, this is played as a cutscene and Baigan has a new 3D model, and he immediately reveals himself as a monster in the cutscene.
- Final Fantasy X - Maester Seymour, since he joins the party briefly before turning out to be an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Final Fantasy XII offers one for both sides: The heroes get Vossler, and the villains get Gabranth.
- Final Fantasy Tactics gives us Algus/Argath, the guest for about half of Chapter 1. Also Gafgarion, a guest for several battles during Chapter 2.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2 gives us Adelle, though she's merely Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Played with in Fire Emblem Fates. The Avatar unintentionally becomes one in the Conquest version of the game. Returning to their adopted family in Nohr after being reunited with and fighting alongside their true one in Hoshido for awhile.
- Khunag of Albion joins the party as the sixth ranger. He has little role for awhile. Then at one point, the player must infiltrate the cult he once belonged to, and he's the only guide available. He 'guides' the player into declaring war on the cult, slaughtering their best warriors and eventually killing the leader, with whom he had a score to settle.
- In Another Day, the bonus chapter of The World Ends with You, Rhyme, of all people note pulls this on Neku...er, Shuto's team of Tin Pin Slammer-playing heroes.
- In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, your starting party consists of entirely of characters from the first game... and Yoshimo. Guess who betrays you?
- Harle in Chrono Cross, twice, betraying Lynx for you because you are Lynx and then betraying you for the Dragons after you beat FATE.
- Aydana Kozlova in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars is a subversion of this trope. She seemed to betray the team and released the enemy that The Squad had just captured. It turns out that she only released him so the team would be able to track him down and lead them to the Big Bad. Then she rejoined your team and was Easily Forgiven.
- Dark Pit from Kid Icarus: Uprising was created by Pandora to be an Evil Knockoff of Pit who'll fight for the Underworld Army. 10 seconds after his creation, he defects and becomes a neutral Wild Card during most of the game until he joins with Pit near the end of the game.
- This is all due to Dark Pit being Pit's opposite. But rather than morality, Pit's core virtue is his loyalty.
- Goro Akechi in Persona 5. Subverted in that the gang already knew he was The Mole from the start and actually finds a way to counter his plan (to kill Joker and have the Phantom Thieves arrested) with a very clever Batman Gambit.
- Courtney Gears in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. At first, it looks like she agrees to assist the Q-Force in helping out with their battle against Dr. Nefarious, but soon betrays the team by kidnapping Clank and using Skidd as a test subject for the Biobliterator in her lair, the Obani Draco. She soon meets her end at the hands of Ratchet, but is later restored.
- Rusty Pete may also count, since he only allys himself with Ratchet to find the body of Angstrom Darkwater so that he can revive Captain Slag.
- Onef of The Banner Saga. Is recruited from Frostvellr, and fills out this role in the party. Invariably turns on the party later on, as pointed out by their class title "Backbiter". Ends up killing a good number of your clansmen along with Egil, and Oddleif comes scarily close to dying as well.
- Ultima V has Saduj who can join your party, but it turns out he's a spy for the Big Bad, not just that but he'll flee every battle you enter massively dropping your karma eventually making the game unwinnable. Really the only use for him (Without him having to join) is that he's the only clue to the existence of the Sandalwood Box that is one of many items you need to beat the game, and that you can make him a Hairu in a particular battle.
- Applicable to two different character routes in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
- The Republic Trooper story inverts the trope, casting the player character as the newest member but being the only one of their squad to remain loyal after everyone else defects to the Empire.
- the Imperial Agent story plays this straight and has this happen twice over; the player character themselves serves as one for a team Republic spies, acting as a double-agent to get info - only for another member of the team to be a double-agent themselves, except that they serve a third group who is inflaming the war for their own ends.
- Phantasy Star IV has "Seth" who you meet at the entrance of a dungeon. At the end of said dungeon, he turns out to be the third incarnation of Dark Force that you fight in the game.
- The Crossoverlord: The Green Avenger was this. Justified, because she was brainwashed by Smiling Man.
- Eikre from RPG World was heavily implied to be one of these when he joined the party. Subverted when it turns out he was on the level and the real mole was a flower that he bought from a random NPC to give to Cherry.
- Emily from Our Little Adventure turned out to be a Puppeteer Parasite Manchurian Agent of the Souballo Empire.
- Terra from Teen Titans. Unlike in the comics, where Terra was Evil All Along, Terra started as an ally, rejected membership over a misunderstanding, and had become The Mole by the time she took it up. If it wasn't obvious enough that Terra as a Titan wasn't going to last long, the episode following her joining the team has her suspiciously absent save a very brief non-speaking cameo in the end, and the title of the next episode when she actually appears as a member of the team? "Betrayal".
- William from Code Lyoko joins the team in the third season finale. Although he is not evil and never becomes evil, he got cocky to the point where XANA succeeded in taking him over at the start of the next season. The surprise factor was actually legitimate, because the build-up was so long.
- In G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, Firefly ends up betraying the team to Cobra.
- Longarm Prime from Transformers Animated is introduced in a flashback as Bumblebee and Bulkhead's loyal classmate in boot camp, but the end of the episode reveals him to be Shockwave in disguise.
- Foxglove from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers helped the Rangers mainly so she could steal the episode's Plot Coupons they found, and give them to the villain/goons she worked for... and also because of an affection for Dale, which lead to her Heel–Face Turn back to the Rangers.
- Also, Desiree D'Allure, Monterey Jack's old crush, does this as well... except unlike Foxglove, she stays evil, and gets away with it! (Well, not completely.)
- In ThunderCats (2011), Pumyra is actually a Dead All Along Femme Fatale who wants Lion-O dead for accidentally abandoning her to die in the rubble of Thundera.
- On Titan Maximum, Gibs used to be the team's Smart Guy and The Lancer. The series starts with his reappearance after disappearing for a few years and announcing that he's the new Big Bad in town.
- In Robotix, the Protectons eventually revive another of their frozen comrades into a robot body, but unknown to them, Nemesis switched things so the body actually houses the mind of one of his minions, Venturak.
- In the second season of The Legend of Korra Varrick is this for a while to the Krew. Even when he begins manipulating and betraying some of the members, it takes them a while to figure it out. Even after he's exposed, he still thinks they're friends. He does eventually do a Heel–Face Turn a good two books later, but he had to earn everyone's trust and forgiveness again because of said betrayal.
- Discord pulls this stunt in the Season 4 Finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic after listening to Tirek's Hannibal Lecture. Getting swiftly backstabbed, drained of his powers, and still forgiven by his former friends kicks him back to the pony's side for good... probably... hopefully.