Split Personality Takeover
"I'm saying... I'm saying I'm an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it... but now the dream is over, and the insect is awake."
After months or years of suffering a Split Personality
, Enemy Within
, or Super-Powered Evil Side
, the character is cured! ... by having the weaker, "sane" personality lose all control over the body to their inner evil. Like the slow erosion of a mountain, Jekyll
has succumbed to Hyde
's implacable id-like force
, leaving nothing but the shell of who they were.
This isn't just an identity crisis
or something that can be wished away with good intentions
, at least not easily.
This is the permanent and literal death of a person
— or at least a personality.
This is especially common if one personality is more dominant than the other
, or the "good" personality is subject to Mind Rape
or a Heroic BSOD
. Occasionally, a truly strong willed "good" personality can do the takeover— although it's likelier that they'll choose to "merge" or reintegrate
with their evil side into a "whole" personality because Good Is Impotent
If the takeover is incomplete, expect to see signs that the original is Fighting from the Inside
. Antonym to Split Personality Merge
. When this is induced by outside brainwashing, it may be Brainwashing for the Greater Good
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- In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Harvey Dent has received surgery to repair his face's damaged half, but it has the opposite effect on his mind - Two-Face is now entirely in control.
- They were right about each half of his face representing one of his personalities... they were just wrong about which side represented which. Oops.
- Michael Moran does this to himself in Alan Moore's run of Miracleman.
- There's a Spider-Man arc involving Symbiote knockoffs. Venom, of course, always refers to himself as 'We' (as in, Eddie Brock and his Symbiote), so when one of the symbiotes stops talking in plural, Spidey knows that she's all gone - the Symbiote has taken over her mind.
- An interesting conclusion of this is that the very thing that makes Venom sound like a raving lunatic is actually an indication of his remaining sanity - or even a psychic crutch necessary for him to retain his identity.
- Carnage called himself "I" as well, although in that case it was Cletus Kasady, who was already a psychotic killer, who took over the symbiote's mind. The explanation that was recently given is that this was because the symbiote was just a baby when it first bonded with Kasady. Or, Kasady was just SO CRAZY, that he and the symbiote both wanted the same thing.
- While it wasn't made as big a deal of as the animated version, it used to be that the Goblin Serum gave Norman Osborn a Split Personality, and would periodically forget he had a Superpowered Evil Side and go back to being an industrialist. Since he came Back from the Dead, it seems to be accepted that he's the Goblin all the time. Though during his time on Thunderbolts and Dark Reign, it seems the split personality explanation is back. Subverted in that Osborn is still an evil jerk, the Goblin is just his darker side.
- Arguably what caused Brainwave's initial Face-Heel Turn after the end of Infinity, Inc. About fifteen years later, the new personality got possessed by a ''third'', also villainous, personality. Eventually, when the third personality was defeated, it was heavily implied that the third personality ate the second one. In any case, he got better.
- A horribly tragic case occurred to Dan Turpin during Final Crisis. To be fair it skirts between this and Demonic Possession, but after visiting Bludhaven in search for missing children, Danny starts getting blackouts and finds he can't control himself after a certain point. He then discovers with horror that he is being possessed and/or erased by Darkseid. After he is completely possessed, he is poisoned by Batman, nearly killed by the Black Racer, and finally and utterly destroyed by Superman.
- The final issue implies, but never outright states, that it was only Darkseid who got destroyed and Turpin was ultimately freed. It's probably a moot point now that DC has reset the universe again.
- Inverted, to some extent, with the Hulk's son Skaar, where the weaker, more vulnerable personality ('puny' Skaar) has recently managed to escape Skaar's suppression of him in their shared mind.
- Betty Ross was in constant risk of this when she was Red She-Hulk.
- During the Spider-Man storyline The Gauntlet, Curt Connors' worst fears are realized when he loses a battle of wills with the Lizard part of his psyche. The Lizard kills and eats Curt's son Billy, and "Curt" essentially dies due to the trauma, leaving only The Lizard.
- This was Bloody Mary/Typhoid Mary's (a villainess most often found in Daredevil) entire schtick. She had rather impressive psychic and telekinetic powers, but she also had a horrible case of multiple personality disorder; namely, at least nine of them. Two of them (the aforementioned Bloody/Typhoid Marys) tended to take over more often than not, and there have been at least two instances where one or both have "permanently" taken over only for later events to unlock her original (non-powered) personality once more.
- Happened to Ultimate Moon Knight. Doubles as a case of Becoming the Mask, since the personality that took over was created specifically to be more evil and violent.
- This has happened to Jason Blood from time to time, depending on who's writing the Demon.
- In Golden Age DC comics, Priscilla Rich's jealousy and envy of Wonder Woman caused her to spawn a second personality. As the Cheetah, she became a recurrent foe in the Sensation Comics and Wonder Woman series.
- The ending of the movie Identity.
- Psycho. "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly..."
- In the remake The Fly (1986) Scientist Seth Brundle slowly transforms into a pathetic and diseased human-fly hybrid after accidentally fusing with said-insect in a teleporting experiment. At first, the deformities were purely physical, as his human flesh warped and decayed into a "cocoon" under which the monster grew. Sadly, he also transformed on a mental level into an instinct based animal, unbound by compassion and morality. The love of Veronica, our heroine, was sadly not enough to stop his predictions from coming true...
- Averted in the sequel The Fly II with Brundle and Veronica's son Martin. The murderous rampage against his oppressors is all him. They are bad enough that this isn't a Moral Event Horizon for Martin.
- Similar to Hide and Seek where Charlie completely takes over David.
- Fight Club. Claimed by Tyler Durden to be the evil plan all along.
- The VERY heavily fictionalised film of "The Boston Strangler" implies something like this at the end. The killer, Albert De Salvo, has been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder (the real life De Salvo was never even suspected of having this condition,) and the film ends with him apparently having gone permanently catatonic after re-enacting one of the murders under the influence of his murderous side, and with no sign of the gentle family man left.
- This happened to Dr. Jekyll at the end of his strange case. Luckily for Victorian England, Jekyll saw this coming, locked himself up before changing completely, and ultimately committing suicide.
- He locked himself up because by this time, all of London was out for Hyde's head, after all the atrocities he had committed. Hyde never tries to escape after this point; he just weeps in a corner, because both he and Jekyll know the end is near.
- Happens to some of the Clayborn in David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series.
- In the Skulduggery Pleasant books, Anton Shudder/his gist, Valkyrie/Darquesse and Skulduggery/Lord Vile. All of them double as Superpowered Evil Side.
- In a rare case of the good side taking over (with a little help), from Gene Wolfe's story "The Death of Doctor Island", the psychotic teenager William, whose brain has been surgically divided between the left and right hemispheres, is deliberately subjected to a devastating trauma which leaves him catatonic. This allows his previously helpless right-brain personality, the calm and placid "Kenneth", to take control of his body.
- Happens to Arnie Cunningham in Christine.
- Happens in Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony, when after Artemis and Co. escape from the Time Crash that's about to happen on Hybras, Qweffor (assisted by N°1) does it to the Big Bad Abbot.
- And again in The Atlantis Complex. Artemis, having the titular disease, is taken over by his alter, Orion, multiple times.
- Happens to one of the bad guys in Shade's Children: When the titular Knight Templar Virtual Ghost uploads himself into a supercomputer, his conscience becomes personified in Robert Ingman, who is, coincidentally, Shade's original identity. As with the trope, Robert eventually destroys his dark side and helps the protagonists banish the local Dimension Lords. Too bad the other rule about redemption is played quite straight.
- In The Lord of the Rings, the character Gollum's darker side of his personality ultimately ends up taking control over his kinder side.
- Came this close to happening to Tahiri/Riina from the Star Wars: New Jedi Order series. Riina was not "evil", per se- though extremely messed up, she had a Pet the Dog in one of the few times she actually did manage to seize control of their body, and the merge helped Tahiri regain her sanity largely because each compensated for the other's issues (Riina's acceptence of pain and death helped Tahiri get past her emotional fragility following her boyfriend's death, while Tahiri's moral center held back Riina's more violent urges).
- In The Pilo Family Circus, this happens to every single clown employed by the circus, due to prolonged use of the magical facepaint they wear: it takes around two years of usage for the new personality to completely merge with the clown's brain, but since the facepaint also grants the user superhuman strength, a newly-recruited clown has to wear it just to survive the early months at the circus, and by then, the clown's addicted. Jamie, the novel's protagonist, only just manages to avoid this fate.
- This happened to a teenager named Saxon Hyde at the beginning of Michael Slade's Ghoul. That's especially unfortunate, because Saxon was the only one of this young man's personalities that wasn't a serial killer.
- The first half of the Dragonlance: The New Adventures series consists of an evil wizard trying to engineer one of these. He implanted the preserved spirit of a powerful evil sorceress in one of his mindwiped servants to try to access her magical knowledge once she took over the servant. Needless to say, the sorceress is rather pissed when she does take over.
- In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance the Narrator first tells us that Phaedrus has been killed by several thousand volts to the head. However, throughout the Chautauquas, it becomes clear that Phaedrus is alive and kicking and trying to gain control. Slightly different from the others, as it's the narrator's personality, the sane personality, that is the real takeover.
- In Stephen King's short story Secret Window, Secret Garden, Mort Rainey's alter ego John Shooter claims Rainey "took the coward's way out". He briefly reverts to Rainey, but only after being shot.
Live Action TV
- BIONICLE: In one of the alternate universe Takanuva stumbles through, the alternate Makuta Teridax absorbs Matoro, who failed in his mission to save Mata Nui in this universe. When Makuta absorb other beings, they normally absorb their bodies and minds, but Matoro fights back, killing himself and Teridax, becoming the hero he was destined to be.
- The video for Foo Fighters' "Breakout" has a meek Dave Grohl becoming the rock star Dave Grohl after losing both his medication and his shit (inspired by Me, Myself and Irene, on which the song was included).
- In the world of Professional Wrestling, there's no other better example than Mick Foley himself. Along with wrestling as himself, he also wrestled under the personas known as "The Three Faces of Foley", which consisting of Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love. No one ever knew when he switch personas, resulting in one hell of a Wham Episode when he let Catcus Jack take over to fight Triple H in 2000.
- The dark side of Socrates attempts this in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, as his transmitter chip has fused with his mind, allowing the dark version to try and take over the land inside his head. The protagonists stop him, of course.
- In Twisted Metal: Head-On, Marcus Kane gives into Needles Kane, aka Sweet Tooth. Interestingly, however, it's not a complete takeover, but rather they seem to be working together, thereby making Dark Tooth and Tower Tooth (the two cars they drive together) the strongest in the game.
- The bad ending of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters involve this, with Gig using your greed to destroy the main character's soul and taking over his/her body. The 'bad' ending of the Demon Path reverses the roles, with the main character destroying Gig instead.
- Both the good and the evil ending of The Suffering: Ties That Bind results in either Torque or Blackmore wiping the other personality out completely.
- The bad ending of Manhunt 2- achieved by killing people as gruesomely as you can - has Leo killing off Daniel's personality and becoming the sole resident of his body.
- Near the end of Planescape: Torment you get trapped in a place where you encounter three of your previous "incarnations". One wants to take you over so and another simply wants to destroy you. If you manage to forcibly take over the other two or get them to merge with you, you will gain their memories (and a ton of XP). If you fail, you have to destroy them and their memories are lost forever. The third takes no convincing to get him to merge with you and is more than happy to.
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines has a scene where, after being led along by the two, you finally confront Jeanette and Therese Voermann — wait, make that Tourette Voermann. One half of her face is done up in Therese's professional businesswoman style, while the other half is done up in Jeanette's slutty schoolgirl style, and the two sides speak in turns about wanting to kill the other. Depending on the dialogue you choose, either Jeanette kills Therese, Therese kills Jeanette, or the two personalities decide to put aside their differences and coexist.
- Done very strangely in the Warcraft series; Arthas was a paladin who is corrupted by the Lich King, becomes his champion, then later merges with him, but then Arthas takes over the Lich King, an entity of godlike mental power. A dark lord taken over by another dark lord who is later revealed to be slightly less evil than everyone thought him to be when they became one dark lord.
- One of the main plot points of Riku's story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and its remake is that Riku is fighting off the last of Ansem's darkness within his Heart. Several times he almost falls to it, and once he actually does, however how it happens depends on the version. In the original, after completely dominating Lexaeus in their fight, the latter blows himself up in an attempt to drag the latter down into the Darkness. However, in the nick of time, he is able to resist. In the remake, after a stalemate battle, Riku lunges at Lexaeus to finish him off, only to be backhanded into the ceiling and passing out. Unconscious Riku's body is possessed by Ansem who then kills Lexaeus in one hit before Mickey appears and frees Riku.
- Inazuma Eleven: Fubuki Shiro, who is taken over by Atsuya, his inner mind's high ego little brother.
- A positive example can be found in Deadly Premonition, where upon being traumatized and locked in the White Room by Forrest Kaysen, Francis Zach Morgan develops the personality of Francis York Morgan, who takes dominant control in order to protect Zach. At the endgame, Zach is given back control for the final confrontation with Kaysen.
- In Mortal Kombat 9 a positive example appears in Ermac's Arcade Ladder ending. The soul of King Jerrod, Kitana's father and Sindel's husband, eventually becomes dominant in Ermac and becomes Edenia's protector again.
- Super Robot Wars Alpha 3: Subverted When Cobray Gordon was formed from the fusion of Ayin and Ingram, Ingram tries to take over Ayin's body but ultimately realizes that he himself is being absorbed by Ayin
- In The Elder Scrolls verse, the Daedric Prince of Order Jyggalag was cursed by the other Princes with this becoming the Prince of Madness Sheogorath. He can only briefly become himself again every few thousand years, and never long enough to permanently restore his realm. "Killing" and replacing him in Shivering Isles frees him to wander Oblivion again.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, Lily's aggressive alternate personality, Leo, completely takes over her if she goes off her meds, or you can convince her to take the recommended dose to completely suppress him. Similarly, Dog/God in Dead Money may have one of his personalities destroy the other, or merge the two.
- In Counterfeit Monkey, this doesn't happen all the way but there are still Fridge Horror implications of it after Alex and Andra (who started out as separate people, but voluntarily fused together as one person to make escaping the authorities easier) are forced to decide whether to betray Alex's father or Andra's boyfriend. Immediately after they make their decision, the personality who got the upper hand in the decision suffers a brief bout of dizziness and from then on becomes the semi-dominant personality. It's done subtly enough that the player might not notice until the very end of the game (when it's revealed that they no longer have equal control of their body and hence cannot be separated), but examining the PC at any point afterwards will reveal that either Alex or Andra feel as if their body has become more the other personality's than their own and that they're more of a hanger-on than a co-partner now, and there's also a subtle increase in pronoun usage for the dominant personality (a greater number of "I"s from Alex, or a greater number of "you"s from Andra).
- Averted in American McGee's Alice. Alice's Battle in the Center of the Mind with The Red Queen would have determined which of her personalities would be dominant and which would be cast down and forgotten.
- In Mystery Trackers: The Void Marius Void's criminally-inclined Sirius personality took over his body after killing his psychiatrist, who'd been supplying drugs to suppress the transformation.
- This is the major twist in the freeware Visual Novel Ori Ochi Onoe. The protagonist used to be in love with the sweet and gentle Ori, but Ori turned out to be a split personality of the more violent and temperamental Ochi with the two personalities referring to each other as "sisters" and leading separate lives. Unfortunately, a later eye operation destroyed the Ori personality and left just the Ochi personality who the protagonist subsequently entered a very complicated and twisted relationship with. One of the game's endings has Ori regain control after the protagonist makes it clear that he loves only her, and another ending has the two personalities merge to create a more complete Ochi.
- A curious example in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction - when an AI is implanted in a character, the effect is described as being "of the same mind", where the two entities share thoughts. Though the host is usually able to maintain his or her identity (even if free will is lost), Agent Maine (better known as the Meta) degenerated into a mindless husk after playing host to 7 different AIs at once and stayed that way even when the AIs were removed. Of particular note is the fact that all 7 AIs were Literal Split Personalities of another AI, the Alpha.
- Whateley Universe example: Sara Waite is really a Great Old One who is supposed to evolve into The Kellith, a being who will wipe the earth of humanity and re-populate it with her spawn. She ends up having a fight to the death with The Kellith in a Journey to the Center of the Mind.
- Done in a masterfully nightmarish way in Marble Hornets. In Entry #61, we're treated to a video of the hooded masked man stealing Tim's medication while Tim is in the bathroom during a coughing fit. After Hoody hides, Tim stumbles into the room and undergoes a disturbingly realistic seizure, then jerkily climbs to his feet and absconds, all with the heavy implication that his other personality, the original masked man, is back in the driver's seat. Amongst the evidence that Masky is in control is his pronounced limp- after his leg was previously broken, he'd been limping up to his last chronological appearance in the series.
- Homestuck: Calliope, a sweet and genuinely kind girl, shares a body with Caliborn, a barely restrained sociopath. At the end of Act 6 Act 3, Caliborn becomes not so restrained, escapes from his confines, and starts a session on his own, taking over their body completely and burying Calliope in the process. However, some characters believe that she may not be entirely dead and that in fact finding her might be the key to defeating Lord English once and for all. The author mocks Caliborn for doing this, since he stunted his own Character Development by averting the Split Personality Merge that Cherubs normally go through.
- Norman Osborn undergoes this in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.
- He undergoes this before being sent into another dimension.
- X-Men: Evolution, episode Sins of the Son. Charles Xavier discovers he has a son in Scotland, David Haller, and goes to meet him, only for two other boys to enter the fray as well. These three boys (David, Ian, and the evil Lucas) are all parts of the same being. Xavier tries to help expunge Lucas, but ends up locking away David, forever losing his son as Lucas goes off, never to be seen again (as the series was cancelled before this story could continue).
- In South Park, at the end of "City Sushi", the police allow Dr. Janus to keep on thinking he's Lu Kim, since Lu Kim owns the only Asian restaurant in town after City Sushi was destroyed.
- In Total Drama All-Stars Mike was in the previous season was established as having several different personalities. In the episode "Evil Dread" the previously unknown personality Mal is set free when Mike is hit in the head with a shovel, albiet slightly, as he switches in and out at random. Some episodes later Mike attempts to seal him away again by hitting his head on a large rock, but it only serves to imprison Mike in his own mind and give Mal free reign.
- In the Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Max's Monster", Max's Evil Former Friend Phil comes back after a long stint in the Negative Zone mutated and insane after he was used as a test subject for the Nemetrix. He frequently transforms into a savage energy eating monster with a mind of its own and begs the heroes to help him. Ben is suspicious but Max and Rook are willing to try. Ben is Properly Paranoid, since "Phil" soon admits that "there hasn't been a Phil in this body for years". The monster personality has been in control the entire time, and Phil is long gone.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Name", when Gumball's discovery of his first name being Zach results in "Zach" becoming his own person, the latter tries to alter the former's memories to erase him from existence.
- Adventure Time has this happen to Simon Petrikov, as documented by his tapes. Although the moment in which he fully became the Ice King has yet to be shown onscreen, the tapes show him increasingly slipping in and out of his current persona's mannerisms; while the later episode "Simon and Marcy" shows him initially resisting this, but the end of the episode makes it clear that he's losing himself and that this trope will soon occur.
- A variation occurs in Steven Universe. Gems can "fuse" together into an individual but if they're fused for too long eventually they start to lose their sense of individuality and only the fused version exists. Sugulite, fusion of Amethyst and Garnet, refused to split until Pearl knocked her out. Garnet herself is two Gems fused together, however it's consensual and they are in a romantic relationship.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has a rare consensual example - Bruce Banner lets the Hulk take over his body as long as the Hulk works alongside the Avengers as a hero. Eventually, Bruce is allowed to have control for one day a month.
- An episode of the dramatized court-case anthology series The Judge dealt with a female dissociative identity disorder patient who, in the episode's surprise twist, turned out to be the victim of her psychiatrist, who was having an affair with her Femme Fatale persona and plotting to destroy her original personality so the two of them could be together. While the script might've involved some dramatic exaggeration, there are real-life cases of secondary personalities in DID cases plotting to kill their primary selves, without recognizing that if they're successful, they'll die too.