Temporarily a Villain

When a strange alien symbiote turns Spider-Man's suit black, his darkest demons come to light - changing Spider-Man inside as well as out.
Spider-Man 3 DVD back cover

This is for when a character who is normally neutral, good, or at least on the overall side of good, temporarily switches sides and/or has a noticeable temporary drop in morality. May be caused by a character being Not Himself. The character will go back to being his or her old self by either the end of the episode or the next episode.

Compare Face-Heel Turn & Heel-Face Turn, when a character either turns evil or good permanently or for a few episodes or seasons.

Contrast with Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and/or Moral Event Horizon, which are more permanent. See also Compressed Vice for problems other than villainy (though they may be cause for it) that last an episode.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Black Rose duelist arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena, some of the people Utena has to fight are her brainwashed friends.

  • During the late nineties, Iron Man went insane and became a villain, only to be replaced briefly by a younger version of himself from a different time. He also Took a Level in Jerkass and acted like a villain in the Marvel Universe for about a year after Civil War.
    • The Civil War thing was solved by a Heroic Sacrifice, that knocked his mind back to a 'him' made before the Civil War.

  • While he doesn't quite become a full-blown villain so to speak, Spider-Man shows a semi-evil side in Spider-Man 3 when the symbiote he has on his suit results in a major increase in vengefulness and aggressiveness. He doesn't switch sides; he's fighting against the same enemies as he was immediately before; but his "influenced" side has him doing things he severely regrets and that the series portrays as very clearly wrong.
  • Indiana Jones temporarily becomes a Thuggee cult member in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and nearly sacrifices Short Round and Willie in the process, but he manages to snap out of Mola Ram's mind-warping in time.

    Live Action TV 
  • The EMH on Star Trek: Voyager was reprogrammed to perform unethical-at-best medicine by the Equinox crew.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer briefly toys with the dark side a few times. At the opening of season two (induced by trauma) and in a brief arc in season three.
    • Done again in the Angel episode "Sanctuary" where Buffy is the villain because she wants to kill Faith out of revenge.
    • Willow at the end of season 6 when she becomes Dark Willow and eventually tries to destroy the world. She gets better.
  • Charmed
    • In many episodes one of the Halliwell sisters will go to the dark side for a day before switching back by the end of the episode. A particularly notable one early on has all three sisters turn evil by the end of the episode, only for Leo to save them.
    • Also, the episode where Paige does a spell to conjure up a 'Mr. Right' for 24 hrs which inadvertently also produces a 'Mr. Wrong' who she allows to seduce her with his seductive naughtiness.
  • Duncan Macleod on Highlander when he has the Dark Quickening.
  • Clark on Smallville when affected by Red Kryptonite.
  • The Time Lord Victorious from "The Waters of Mars." He comes to his senses very quickly, though.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Shawn Michaels was basically always a face after his comeback in 2002, but he turned evil for about a month to beat up Hulk Hogan. Literally the night after the match he was back to being a good guy.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was always an Anti-Hero Villain Protagonist, since he was a face who did heel stuff, but in the InVasion angle he temporarily joined the invading WCW side, which was by definition the "bad" side of the angle. As soon as the angle was over he was back to his old self again.
    • Actually, he was a villain even before the inVasion, forming an alliance with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He just went along with the rest of WWE against WCW/ECW as part of an Enemy Mine scenario, and (because he was WWE Champion), everyone in WWE assumed he'd stand with them.

    Video Games 
  • In the iOS game Highborn, in Chapter 2, Enzo becomes part of the Decay side for a while after marrying Jessica.
  • A slight subversion in Art of Fighting, in which King and Takuma were originally cast as villains who worked for series antagonist, Mr. Big. The former was forcibly conscripted after being beaten by Jack and his gang, while the latter was blackmailed, by Mr. Big, who had kidnapped Takuma's daughter, Yuri.
    • Shortly after the conclusion of the first game's events, King cut ties with Big and befriended the Sakazakis, while also becoming Ryo's Love Interest. And Takuma returned to his family, where he resumed his position as head of the Kyokuugen Dojo.


    Western Animation 
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Jimmy was an antagonist in the episode "If It Smells Like An Ed."
    • Ed himself is this in "Little Ed Blue" and "The Day the Ed Stood Still".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this every now and then, typically with mild examples.
    • Spike the dragon is normally good, but his envy in Owl's Well That Ends Well, at the attention Owlowicious is getting, drives him to do some very morally objectionable things, such as planting a fake mouse corpse to try to make it look like Owlowicious killed the mouse. note 
      • A more threatening temporary villainy occurs during Secret Of My Excess, when his greedy dragon nature gets out of control. When Rarity, not knowing he is the same Spike, talks about how generous Spike was, he feels ashamed of what he has become and immediately reverts back to his old self.
    • Twilight Sparkle has this in "Lesson Zero", when Twilight is driven insane in her rush to find a friendship problem, to the point where she deviously creates one herself. Her Apple of Discord plan, however, goes horribly right.
    • Trixie goes from a Jerk Ass and arrogant but hardly evil stage performer to a rather sadistic villain who takes over Ponyville in Magic Duel thanks to the influence of the Alicorn Amulet.
    • Rarity becomes this in "Inspiration Manifestation" after learning a spell that allows her to alter anything with her imagination, wanting to make Equestria a more beautiful place. By which she means transforming everything into a golden, gem-encrusted, or otherwise impractically gaudy version of itself.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Buttercup was an antagonist in "Moral Decay."
    • Blossom's golf club-stealing incident in "A Very Special Blossom."
    • The Mayor becomes one in "Hot Air Buffon" when he tries to fight crime without the girls by using a hot air balloon with a boxing glove, but he ends up injuring innocent people, so the girls have to stop him.
  • In Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends, this happens to Sh'lainn twice;
    • Once when she suffers from an affliction called "the iron death", which causes a banshee to go insane and merge with all the machinery around her after staying away from nature for too long.
    • In another episode she's nicked by a vampire, who uses her blood to turn them both into vampire/banshee hybrids she resists when she's asked to drain Nick dry, giving The Alliance time to turn up, knock them out and reverse the process.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Barnacle Boy switching sides over not getting enough food and respect.
    • Mrs. Puff has one in "Demolition Doofus" which gets her dangerously close to crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Just about almost every main character have their moments of temporary villainy. Patrick Star, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward Tentacles in particular.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Jorgen Von Strangle in the episode "Action Packed!". While he's normally merely a Jerk Ass (albeit with a Hidden Heart of Gold), Timmy's wish that his life was an action movie turns Jorgen into an action movie villain, who kidnaps fairies and uses a machine to suck the magic energy out of them and transfer it to himself, making him even more powerful and gigantically muscle-bound. Luckily, he's returned to normal when the wish is unwished.
  • Rocko in "Power Trip" after ignoring Mr. Smitty who told him, "Don't push the green button!"