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The Reveal
The pivot in many plotlines is the Reveal. A character is revealed as another character's father, a god, or secret suitor or arch nemesis in disguise. More broadly, the audience is given new information which had been withheld to create suspense. The Reveal changes the nature of the plot, often pushing it from suspense towards action. A good reveal will also create a new set of questions and further suspense. On some occasions, The Reveal Prompts Romance.

A key moment in most Gambit Pileup plots, when the heroes or the audience discover how the villains have been manipulating everyone. Can also be used to make a cliffhanger more dramatic. Myth Arc and Mind Screw series love springing these; Jigsaw Puzzle Plots pretty much require them. Eventually necessary for a Mysterious Employer.

The Reveal is in fact a rather easily explained trope. A lot of mystery stories wouldn't work without either the criminal or the detective explaining how the crime was committed, and a lot of other plots would leave people with more questions than answers if they never bothered to explain the plot to other characters... and by extension, the viewers. It's easy to explain it off-screen, but doing so would confuse the viewer and make them think they missed something.

A Super Trope to Emerging from the Shadows, Identity Concealment Disposal, Really Royalty Reveal, Liar Revealed, Narrator All Along and The Summation.

If you're set up for this but it's then subverted by not revealing it, it's The Unreveal. When made too obvious ahead of time, it's The Untwist or a Captain Obvious Reveal (depending on how it happens). If it comes out of nowhere and serves no purpose other than to be a twist, it's a Shocking Swerve and/or a case of The Dog Was the Mastermind. If the thing revealed is named in the title, then its The Namesake. If a Driving Question is involved, this is where it's finally put to rest. If it happens in the first episode of a series, it's probably a First Episode Spoiler. Can overlap with Remembered Too Late.

Aristotle referred to it as anagnorisis (generally translated as "discovery" or "recognition") in his Poetics, making this one Older Than Feudalism.
Warning: Expect every example to be a spoiler for something. Since the title alone can be a spoiler, proceed at your own risk.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pretty Sammy, Magical Project S: The whole show being a parody of the magical girl genre, you wouldn't expect much in the way of plot twists. Cue Episode 19- Sammy's Shrinking Violet best friend, Misao is really the sadistic Dark Magical Girl, Pixy Misa. More so, Pixy Misa is her default form; the shy and demure Misa was only a result of repressing her negative traits.
  • 20th Century Boys: Friend iiiiiiiiissssssss *drum roll* Fukubei! Then comes along second Friend who is implied to be Katsumata.
  • Episodes 14 and 21 of Code Geass R2 are Infodumps on the nature of Geass and everything involved.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi combines this with The Rashomon, with Yuki, Mikuru, and Itsuki each explaining Haruhi's true nature and their own.
  • Naruto has been rather reveal-happy in recent years: we've gotten the true identity of both Akatsuki's leader and its Man Behind the Man, Kisame and Itachi's true motivations (including the real reason the Uchiha Massacre happened), the identities of Naruto's parents (everyone (and by everyone: the audience) knew about the father-it's the mother and her baggage that shocks everyone), the fact that Naruto is not the first host of the Nine-Tailed Fox, Madara really IS dead and Tobi's impersonating him, Tobi's current Sharingan sharing the same dimension as Kakashi's Kamui due to it being the right eye of Obito Uchiha, etc. And Tobi himself is later revealed to be Obito Uchiha. And now that There is a Man Behind the Man Behind the Man in the form of Black Zetsu, who finally succeeds to revive Kaguya Ootsutsuki, the mother of the Rikudo Sennin.
  • Ergo Proxy:
    • Vincent is the near invincible monster that was constantly tailing him and slaughtering everything in its way, the titular Ergo Proxy.
    • In the beginning Vincent was a Proxy, the near invincible monster tailing him was his clone-father's girlfriend.
  • Usagi/Sailor Moon is Princess Serenity. Although it could be made obvious over time—we begin to see glimpses of the princess and she has the same voice actor—the original Japanese manga and anime didn't truly reveal this until well into the first season. The North American DiC dub, on the other hand, revealed this in the very first episode (or figured no one would put two and two together with the identical princess in a bubble and Serena).
  • Hagino's obsession with Mari in Blue Drop gets explained by revealing that Hagino saved Mari from drowning during the catastrophe caused by her space ship.
  • Hellsing: Dok was actually using the remains of Mina Harker as a template for all of Millennium's vampire soldiers. Turns out that since Alucard wasn't destroyed when he lost to Abraham Van Helsing, Mina wasn't completely purified of Alucard's curse. Thus all of Millenium's soldiers are poor copies of Alucard's power.
  • A big dose is revealed near the end of Spider Riders when the series Big Bad admits that he's a human. Not only that, he reveals that like Hunter, he was a hero chosen to protect the Inner World before he went nuts after his wife was killed.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle lives for this.
    • First we find out that Syaoran is a clone created by the Big Bad, and meet the real one.
    • Then we find out Fai/Fay has a depressing backstory, he's faking his personality, is working for the villain, and he killed his brother.
      • Then we find out that his memories were false, he didn't kill his brother, and he switches sides.
    • Then we find out that the whole goal up till that point, collecting the princess' feathers, was the Big Bad's Evil Plan to have her develop "physical memories".
    • Then we find out that the princess is a clone.
    • Then we find out that the original Syaoran is actually the son of an alternate version of the protagonist and love interest of Cardcaptor Sakura, and is using his father's name as a psuedonym.
      • Then we learn that the protagonist of Xxx HO Li C is a time-travel duplicate of "Syaoran".
      • And that the creation of said duplicate f*** d up the entire space-time continuum.
    • Then that "the country of Clow" is really Acid Tokyo in the far future.
    • Then that Yuko was Dead All Along, and her revival was the whole purpose of the Big Bad's Gambit Roulette.
      • Then that she was preserved from going to the other side by an inadvertent reality warp from Clow, giving a Reveal as to why he was so desperate to get rid of his powers and set off the plot of Cardcaptor Sakura.
    • And then we find out that Syaoran is the clone of his biological son, who is the "real Syaoran" mentioned above!
    • Then, finally, we learn that the feathers were actually soul fragments of the clones!
    • Both the Syaoran and Sakura's real names are Tsubasa!
  • Baccano! — The Rail Tracer is Claire Stanfield/Vino, AKA the young conductor supposedly killed in the second episode.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is loaded with these. The Eva's are alive and cloned from Angels. Rei is a clone of Shinji's mother and there's a whole aquarium full of clones. The Eva's have human souls (specifically, Shinji, Asuka and Ritsuko's mothers). Ritsuko is not a natural blonde. Kaworu is an angel. And so on and so forth.
    • Eva 00's soul is probably Rei 1, not Ritsuko's mother.
      • Eva 00 does not have a soul. Rei 1 shares the same soul with Rei 2 and 3 which just happens to be Lilith.
  • One Piece has a number of them, many relating to the legendary Gold Roger. However, one of the most incredible was during the Jaya arc. Luffy gets into an eating contest with a random Boisterous Bruiser type guy at a bar, who later gives Luffy a pep speech in which he toasts to their shared ideals. Turns out that guy is Blackbeard, the evil pirate that Luffy's brother has been searching for.
    • Chapter 550 made another reveal. A reveal that's doesn't make the plot take a new direction, but explained everything that has happened since chapter 1.
    • The reveal of who really attacked Iceburg in the Water Seven arc.
    • The reveal of what the ancient weapon mentioned in the Jaya Arc truly is in Chapter 649.
    • Chapter 731: Sabo is alive. It was only confirmed in Chapter 744.
  • Several in Ojamajo Doremi:
    • The Witch Queen is The Faceless until the penultimate episode of the series (and only one or two hints are given to her true identity in the final season). She was watching the girls the entire time as Yuki-sensei, the school nurse.
    • Akatsuki is the prince of the Wizard World. This was so secret that even his best friends didn't know.
    • Ojamajo Doremi 16/17 reveals that Hana has a twin sibling. On top of that, Majo Rika and Majo Ruka are also twins, which makes their rivalry Sibling Rivalry.
  • Monster has a number of them, the biggest one probably being the reveal that the woman in Prague is really Johan.
  • Bleach:
    • Aizen didn't die. He faked his death, was the Big Bad behind the Soul Society arc and Tousen and Gin were his accomplices.
    • The Quincies still exist and have created a fully-functional society living in the shadow of Seireitei. Literally. The two cities share the same space by virtue of a dimensional trick using Seireitei's shadows.
    • Masaki being a Quincy had been guessed by the fandom years ago, but she also turned out to be one of Aizen's Hollowfication victims. Ichigo inherited his inner hollow from her.
    • The name Yachiru means 'master of all known sword styles' and was taken by the monstrous First Kenpachi, creator of the 11th division, who is these days better known as Retsu Unohana, Captain of the Fourth Division Medical Squad.
    • The Quincies in the living world were wiped out in The Purge, The Emperor's attempt to destroy every "impure" Quincy. Ichigo and Uryuu's mothers were both victims of this purge and Yhwach's power flows through every Quincy alive, making all of them vulnerable to his whim.
    • Uryuu joins the Vandenreich, and is given the rank of Prince. Yhwach also tried to purge him but failed, making Uryuu the only impure Quincy alive and the only Purge survivor in history. Yhwach makes him his Unexpected Successor because he wants that power, knows Uryuu is capable of surpassing his strength, and suspects Uryuu wants to avenge his mother's death.
    • Old Man Zangetsu was only pretending to be Ichigo's zanpakutou. He's Ichigo's Quincy power, has been suppressing Ichigo's real Shinigami power, and is the image of Yhwach from a thousand years ago.
  • Pokémon does this with Pokemon's genders. For example, Pikachu, after ten years of debating, is proven to be male.
    • In Pokémon Special, Yellow is revealed to be a girl at the end of the Yellow Chapter (though Red doesn't find out until the Gold/Silver Chapter).
  • In Umi Monogatari it is revealed that Sedna is formed from the combined sorrow that the inhabitants of the island committed to the sea.
  • In Shaman King (at least the anime) the main antagonist is revealed to be the main protagonists Evil Twin. Not that we knew that from the beginning, cause they look the same...
  • In Tona Gura, Kazuki remembered that, even as a little boy, Yuuji was playful, and his 'perverted nature' is mainly him still acting like a little boy around his best friend. When he realizes that she * seriously* does not like it, and she stops romanticizing their childhood, things finally begin to move for them.
  • Negima! has Setsuna's wing pull.
    • Once the Magic World Arc starts, reveals are dropped left and right, especially once Kurt Godel shows up. The most important one is probably that Negi's mother is Queen Arika of Vesperina, making Negi a Warrior Prince.
      • This is subverted when the girls discover that the Magic World is Mars and get excited, only to realize that it's just a useless bit of trivia. Then it becomes a double subversion when it turns out to be important after all.
  • In Soul Eater the killer of BJ was Justin Law. While not affecting the entire plot, it's still a major deal for certain characters, with potentially serious implications (if that one, who else has been overlooked?) in the series.
    • In chapter 72; Kid is said to be a fragment of Shinigami, who turns out to be one of a group of entities called the Great Old Ones. Making the Super OCD boy a Humanoid Abomination (currently) minus the evil and his 'illness' impliedly the result of the fact he/his father is an anthropomorphic personification of the 'madness of the rule of law'.
      • Then in Chapter 108, it's revealed that Asura is also a fragment of Shinigami, effectively making him Kid's older brother.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, the Jovians are exiled humans victimized by Earth's government and who use the Super Robot series loved by the protagonists to justify destroying Earth. Also, the little girl the protagonist is shown with at the beginning is Inez Fressange, who is older than the protagonist due to a time paradox.
  • In Game X Rush, Yuuki's Mom/Yuki-san is Memori's presumed-dead birth-mother, who murdered Memori's father and supposedly died in the fire that Memori accidentally started (hence explaining both Memori's adopted status), but Miyuki did NOT die, instead wandering off with semi-amnesia to save a young Yuuki who was then raised as Memori (explaining how he knows so much about the REAL Memori). Bizarrely enough, due to the compressed storytelling and the changes forced by the same, it's possible for this to be not much of a Reveal after all.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The identity of Pride was revealed to be Selim Bradley.
    • Edward's automail arm isn't revealed until he foils an attack that would have destroyed a flesh-and-blood arm.
    • The Fuhrer is a Homunculus.
    • It's impossible to bring someone back to life. For anyone who sees the 2003 anime version first and then either reads the manga or watches Brotherhood, the shock is increased several-fold; in the 2003 anime, they're transformed into homunculi.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. Protagonist Subaru, who has been a regular narrator ever since episode 1 (where as a little girl she is rescued by Nanoha and decides to become a hero too), finally battles the combat cyborgs but fails to rescue her sister and is seriously injured. Then we see her arm. Along with the blood, we see metal and cables. Subaru is a combat cyborg, too.
  • In Kirby of the Stars, we get a relatively minor one, compared to what's going on all around, but a reveal nonetheless. For 99% of the series, the Holy Nightmare Salesmen always appeared on the big screens in King Dedede's palace from the waist up. When Dedede and Escargo(o)n meet the Salesman face to face in Nightmare's fortress, we see the awful truth- All that's at the bottom are just kirby-like feet, no legs, nothing else.
  • In Code Geass, the secret behind Geass, as well as numerous other examples of this trope that pop up from time to time.
  • The Distant Finale of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann reveals that the narrator speaking at the beginning of every episode is actually Simon in his forties.
    • In the second movie, during the fight between the TTGL and the Granzeboma, the Anti-Spiral drops the obvious (to the fans who've watched the anime) bombshell that if the Anti-Spiral is defeated, Nia will disappear. This shocks the Dai-Gurren Brigade and then the Anti-Spiral proceeds to tear the TTGL into many pieces, causes robot blood to spill all over the galaxy they were standing on. They got better.
  • In the last episodes of Tenshi Ni Narumon it was revealed that the Big Bad Silky who hates angels, is a 1/3 angel herself and has her fallen halo hidden in the drawer.
    • Similarly, it was revealed that Mikael who was supposed to be an angel-in-training, lost his qualifications to become one and also hid his fallen halo in the boxes.
      • In the last episode, it was revealed that the whole plot of the show revolved around Mikael and not Noelle.
  • Tons of information revealed in Eureka Seven. Eureka's identity as a human Coralian, what really happened to Renton's father and sister, the origin of the 3 kids, the history of the Scab Coral which reveal that all along the planet was Earth which got covered up by a living planet-size alien. Gonzy was another hidden human Coralian. What we need is to pray for BONES to reveal WHO those 2 teenagers are in the final DVD cover of the series, since their face is never shown.
  • The true identity of the Red Man being Shiro all along in Deadman Wonderland is going to setup a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Digimon has several. Hikari being the 8th Child and Tailmon being her partner, the fact that BelialVamdemon was behind everything in 02, Juri, after returning to the Real World, being an ADR, Duskmon being Kouichi, Kouji's long-lost twin brother, Kurata being a jackass and a Magnificent Bastard and that old guy being the head of DATS.
  • Master of Martial Hearts's ending brings this trope to utter madness:
    • According to the Platonic Hearts rulebook, unknown and unmentioned until the very end, all losing contestants have their vocal cords removed and Mind Raped into idiocy before they get sold into slavery. Even the sympathetic ones. And you're shown the whole supporting cast in that pitiful state.
    • The almost unseen Cute Mute mom of Natsume? She's actually a Stepford Smiler, and a past contestant in the Platonic Heart martial arts tournament who managed to escape slavery and rebuild a semblance of normalcy before she hatched a complex Revenge by Proxy plan involving her offspring organizing the current edition of the Platonic Heart tournament to lure the daughter of the (still living) past winner and the (now dead) past promoter of the contest so Aya can relive every bit of her experience, including the defeat, maiming and slavery. She's also the daughter of the original organizer.
    • Natsume herself, and Miko, Aya's Heterosexual Life Partner and resident friend in need are actually cousins, in league together with Aya's love interest to get Aya defeated and enslaved in the current tournament.
    • Aya's caring mom and her dead loving father? According to Miko and Natsume a sadistic Dark Action Girl and a sadistic rapist who had his way with the Action Girls defeated by his wife..
  • Although spoiled for U.S. audiences thanks to the fact that Dragon Ball Z almost entirely aired first barring a few episodes, in Japan Dragon Ball dropped a big one. In the manga, after Goku's big defeat of Piccolo, the following chapter features a mysterious character crashing to earth looking for someone named "Kakarott" And in the very last page of the chapter, Kakarott is revealed to be Goku. Then 2 chapters later it turns out that armored man is Goku's brother and Goku is revealed to be an alien. Piccolo and Kami get this same revelation not long after when they're revealed to be Nameks, which was foreshadowed as early as the 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai when the two spoke to each other in a strange language.
    • Done with Trunks as well. After his first appearance he's revealed to not just be another Saiyan, but a Super Saiyan as well, and just a few chapters later it's discovered that he's Bulma and Vegeta's son from the future.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica becomes very reveal-heavy (combining them with a Wham Line, usually) from about the 4th-8th episode onvard.
  • Attack on Titan has many of these. Some of these examples are Eren being the Rogue Titan, the walls containing Titans, Annie being the Female Titan, Ymir being the Dancing Titan, Historia/"Krista" being related to a secret cult that knows about the walls, Reiner being the Armored Titan, and Bertolt being the Colossal Titan.
  • Black Butler: There are several regarding the character Angela Blanc. Firstly, they are not human, instead they are a Angel incognito, and a very evil one to boot. Also, a character that at first appears to be separate turns out to also be them, just in another form. Finally, they are responsible for the Phantomhive manor's destruction in the anime, and the deaths of Ceil's parents.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Emeraude didn't summon the Magic Knights to save her...she summoned them to kill her.
  • Kill la Kill has enough reveals to turn the fandom over its head and then back again.
    • Satsuki didn't kill Ryuko's father and played absolutely no role in his death. The real perpetrator is Nui Harime, who not only works for Satsuki's mom, Ragyo, but also killed Ryuko's father with the other half of the scissor blade, which she uses as her own weapon.
    • Life Fibers are actually sentient beings from somewhere in the universe and are the reason for why humanity has evolved from typical primates. And while the Life Fibers provide great intelligence and power, it turns out that inserting Life Fibers into a host would kill them painfully. However, the fibers can be worn, leading to the creation of clothing. Now, they are currently at rest under Revocs HQ, waiting for the time they can fully take over humanity and Ragyo has always been working toward that goal.
    • Satsuki and the Elite Four are actually working against Ragyo and her plans, meaning that they have been on Ryuko and Nudist Beach's side all along and simply kept to their own agenda.
    • Ryuko is actually Ragyo's daughter and Satsuki's younger sister. They both thought she was killed in Ragyo's failed attempt to fuse her with Life Fibers and was literally thrown away as a result. However, it turns out that the experiment did work and Ryuko's heart is completely made of Life Fibers. Not only that, but the reason that Ryuko survived being thrown away was because her and Satsuki's father managed to find her and escape from Ragyo. Ragyo tried to kill him, but he tricked her into thinking he was dead before changing his name and his appearance into the old man that Ryuko and the audience recognize as the father she's been fighting for.
    • Nui is also a human who was successfully fused with Life Fibers and her heart is shown to look just like Ryuko's. However, unlike Ryuko, Nui wasn't born in a mother's womb like a regular human but instead came directly from an artificial womb made of Life Fibers. So the reason she doesn't need to wear Life Fibers to be as powerful as she is is because she is entirely made of them.
  • Happiness Charge Pretty Cure had episode 20 and the reveal that Hime was the one who opened up the Axia Box, releasing the Phantom Empire. Two episodes later, we learn that Iona's motive for revenge against Phantom was horribly skewed: her sister, a Precure before Iona, had been captured by Phantom only because Iona followed her into battle. And her capture was something she also blamed Hime on!
  • Each installment of Bee Train's Girls with Guns trilogy is built around a series of reveals concerning the Dark and Troubled Past of its (anti-)heroines, spread across its mid-to-late episodes:
    • Noir: "Noir" is the legacy codename passed down by various pairs of female assassins trained from birth by an Ancient Conspiracy to become perfect killers. Kirika was a member of the current generation's Noir before her amnesia. Mireille is a failed Noir candidate, whose parents refused to give her up for training and were murdered for it—by none other than Kirika herself.
    • Madlax: "Madlax" was the codename of Margaret's father, whom she murdered in self-defense after he was driven insane by his arch-nemesis. However, Margaret possesses Reality Warping powers, which she instinctively used just before her patricide to create a Literal Split Personality—another seven year-old girl who pulled the trigger for her, so her primary self would remain "innocent". This other girl grew up to become the Madlax we see in the series, although neither she, nor Margaret retained any memories of these events.
    • El Cazador de la Bruja: Ellis is the only successful result of a CIA-funded program to artificially recreate a dying Witch Species. She did not kill her handler and father figure with her powers (as she believes), but was framed for it by the real murderer—the director of said program, who wanted to use her powers for his own goals.
  • Magi - Labyrinth of Magic:
    • There were several reveals in regards to Ugo. He was actually Solomon's djinn, not Aladdin's and his head wasn't missing like he had told Aladdin. He was unable to leave the "Room of Solitude". And as the flashback of Alma Torran revealed, Ugo wasn't a djinn at all but a genius magician, Solomon's closest friend and later became one of Solomon's three Magi.
    • Ren Gyokuen was the magi that betrayed Solomon. And she was Arba, Solomon's beloved friend and closest thing he and his lover Sheba had to a mother.
    • Aladdin is Solomon and Sheba's son.

    Comics 
  • Although old news now, the identity of the Green Goblin in the original Spider-Man comics was a well-kept secret for years before it was finally revealed to both Spidey and the readers.
    • Stormin' Norman did double time on this trope when he was revealed to be the true mastermind of The Clone Saga all along.
    • His successor, the Hobgoblin, is the king of this. His true identity was the single biggest plot point of the Spider-Man books in the eighties, and thanks to editorial interference, a really lame reveal, several more fake-out reveals, and judicious retconning, his real, this-is-it, honest-to-God-this-time identity wasn't revealed until fourteen years after he first took up the pumpkin bombs.
    • Roderick Kingsley, the true Hobgoblin all along, in fact first appeared in 1980, many years before the retcon and three years before he ever donned the Hobgoblin's hood, which actually brought his ID back to what his creating writer had intended. It was still one of the most convoluted rides in Marvel history, possibly only exceeded by the Fantastic Four's Hyperstorm.
  • The Hush storyline in the Batman comics does this a few times, eventually becoming somewhat incomprehensible as to who was doing what. It first appears that Jason Todd was responsible, then Tommy Elliot, and then apparently the Riddler was responsible all along.
    • Hush is Tommy Elliott and has been Elliott in all appearances after this storyline. He simply enlisted Jason Todd and the Riddler to help him with an Unreveal and an unmasking respectively. The only real problem was having the real Jason Todd unmask as Hush then immediately switching him with Clayface when Batman wasn't looking so that Batman would think it was Clayface posing as Jason Todd all along (the original story has it as Clayface all along, it was a later writer who added the detail about the real Jason Todd having been there as well.)
    • Similarly, The Long Halloween storyline suffers from this, with about three or four people claiming responsibility for the murders which could only have been committed by two at most. Perhaps not uncoincidentally, they were written by the same person. This actually makes sense in the story. The original culprit created an identity to throw suspicion off and the others took advantage of the situation using the identity and established details of the MO to kill people they wanted dead. One of the copycats wants everyone to think it was all him out of spite for his father whose organization is targeted by the killer. Alternately, that guy was the only killer and the other person claiming to have done it was just crazy. It's deliberately left ambiguous.
    • This actually seems to be a good way to throw the "World's Greatest Detective" a curveball, by having a masked villain turn out to be multiple people. It was used again in the animated Mystery of the Batwoman where Batwoman turned out to be a wealthy socialite, a cop and an engineer working together. Batman seems to have less difficulty with the idea here than he did in the other two stories.
  • One of the most effective and shocking reveals mainly thanks to Jim Steranko's vivid two page spread artwork, was in Marvel's Nick Fury, Agent of Shield. The hitherto always hidden leader/creator of HYDRA turns out to be Fury's missing WW2 archenemy, Baron Wolfgang Strucker.
  • Joss Whedon pulls off several during his run on Astonishing X-Men. First he brings back Colossus, in such a way as to leave no doubt that he's the real deal. Later, he has the revelation that Colossus was actually the one prophesied to destroy the Breakworld all along, since the molecules making up his organic steel body are capable of causing a destructive chain reaction with the planet's core. Then there's the revelation that the "prophesy" (which is actually just one possible future) was deliberately leaked by the peace-loving prophet Aghanne, who actually wants Colossus to destroy the Breakworld because she believes that living under Powerlord Kruun's barbaric rule is a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Perhaps the best executed twist in comics is the end of Thunderbolts #1, in which the titular team is revealed to actually be The Masters of Evil. What's really impressive is how far they went to keep secret the fact that there even was a secret. Peter David, as a favor to Kurt Busiek, even had the solicitations changed for the Hulk issue in which the Thunderbolts first appeared in order to keep the secret under the rug.
  • Gotham City Sirens began with a life-or-death arc struggling against the Joker (The frikkin' Joker), with the evil clown wreaking horrible vengeance on the three stars, only for it to be revealed that it is not the Joker at all, but instead it is...Gaggy? Gaggy the ex-sidekick from the Silver Age? The dwarf clown who actually ran away from the circus? The ex-sidekick who has spent decades living in an old abandoned hideout, waiting with bated breath for the return of the Joker in extremely disturbing stalker fashion? Seriously? Yes, seriously, it is Gaggy the whole time, and it actually comes off as pretty creepy and unsettling, and he gives the women a good run for their money. He loses, but it is their series, did you really expect the first villain to bump them off?
  • Dark Avengers 13 reveals that the Void is actually Galactus. Or thinks he is. Or is lying. Maybe.
  • Due to a tragic miscommunication between the authors of the series and its artists, Batwoman's reveal in 52 actually became an accidental Unreveal. The original intent had been for Batwoman to make her first ever appearance during a Dynamic Entry while being a Big Damn Hero, following several small hints intended to make both the readers and the characters think that it was actually Batman. However, two issues prior to this reveal, she had actually been drawn in full detail on the final page of the issue, already establishing not just her existence, but that she was involved in the current story. Commentary released in the Fifty Two trade-paperbacks reveals that the first drawing was supposed to be a silhouette that would again make the readers think it was Batman, but that artists were unaware of this and instead drew her in full detail. The characters of the story are still unaware of her existence, but it is no longer a surprise to the readers.
  • In the Marvel UK Transformers Generation 1 story "Target: 2006", Galvatron decides to gloat over Jazz by revealing his shocking secret: he's actually Megatron from the future! This may possibly have partially spoiled The Movie.
  • Frank Miller usually writes straight forward stories but when he wants to, he can pack a reveal. Such was the case with Ronin The ancient Japanese characters don't exist, including the hero himself. It was all a part of the TV show an autistic, telekinetic youngman watched in the distant future. A supercomputer was using his powers and a little biotech to make him turn his fantasy into a reality, essentially turning himself into a hero. That way, she could easily manipulate him into doing her bidding. This would eventually lead to the destruction of mankind and the emergence of biotechnology as the dominant lifeform.
  • The final issue of Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool reveals the tool (and the technalchemy that drives it) were developed by Steelgrip's partner Flynn, on a mission from a group of Cosmic Entities.
  • The mystery of the Red Hulk's identity. It is far too convuluted to explain here but involved opening a can of LMDs.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
    • The first volume has the revelation that "M", the League's mysterious benefactor, is actually Professor James Moriarty, who became the director of British Military Intelligence soon after surviving his confrontation with Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls. The League's mission to steal back the cavorite from The Doctor was just an attempt by Moriarty to weed out his rivals in the London underworld and get his hands on fuel for his armed airship.
    • The final volume has the revelation that The Moonchild is actually a deranged Harry Potter, who was groomed by Oliver Haddo (inhabiting Thomas "Voldemort" Riddle's body) to become a raging psychopath.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man issues 698 and 699, the first two parts to the final ASM storyline "Dying Wish", hits readers with two big ones.
    • #698: In the final pages, we find out that, somehow, Doctor Octopus and Spider-Man have switched bodies, with Ock!Spidey intending on leaving Spidey!Ock for dead!
    • #699: We find out that Doc Ock pulled this off thanks to the events of issue 600, Spider-Island and Ends of the Earth and pulled it off during the storyline prior to this when Spidey was forced to dull his Spider-Sense when the Kingpin had been able to amplify it to painful levels.
  • The Superior Spider-Man #1 ends with a startling surprise: Peter Parker isn't dead, but, mostly trapped within his own psyche, he's unable to do anything but stop Octavius from crossing certain moral lines!
  • Rat Catcher is the story of an FBI agent who is hunting the eponymous Rat Catcher, a legendary assassin who hunts down and kills mob informants, even ones who go into the Federal Witness Protection program, and who turns out to be a corrupt FBI agent himself. That isn't the twist. The twist, and the big reveal, mid-way or so through the comic, is that the FBI agent whom the story had heretofore led us to believe was the Rat Catcher is actually the one hunting the Rat Catcher, and the other agent, whom we had been led to believe was hunting the Rat Catcher, is himself the killer. He is hunting the other agent to avoid being exposed himself.
  • Wolverine vol. 2 issue 75 made the reveal that, hidden underneath Wolverine's adamantium claws were actual bone claws. This is pretty significant as, up until that point, all flashbacks with Logan had him without his claws. There was even an issue of What If? that ran with it.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Kyon's aunt Rika Fuurude tells him about the events of Higurashi: When They Cry, hoping he'll reveal his story after that. Understanding that she'll believe him and keep his secret, Kyon tells his aunt afterwards about the SOS Brigade and the supernatural events he had lived though.
  • In the Back to the Future fanfic Homecoming, the reason Doc is acting so strangely is leftover guilt and angst from thinking Marty had been hit by a train because he gave the incorrect time to set. When he saw that Marty was all right, he "wanted to forget the whole thing."
  • In Hunting The Unicorn's eleventh chapter, the readers are subject to a reveal that does triple time as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment and a Wham Line:
    Blaine: I'm not a virgin.
    • And then in the thirteenth chapter, David tells a counselor that Blaine has a stalker.
    • In "The Cat," it turns out "Jerry" from the fourth chapter is Blaine's father-figure, Greg.
  • There are several huge ones in With Strings Attached:
    • The first comes when Jeft reveals to Shag and Varx that he, not the Dalns gods, was the force behind the Vasyn quest. He set the whole thing up just to see the four in action and ultimately to have them go up against his favorite gaming character, Jim Hunter.
    • The second comes when everyone learns there is no curse on Ketafa—even Jeft believed it—and the gods could see the continent all along, but told everyone there was a curse on it so they didn't have to spend money “godding” it. The actual effect of the Vasyn is to end the reign of the Dalns gods and turn the planet over to the Pyar gods. Whether this is a Good Thing will be explored in the sequel.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: Calvin's return after the previous season's cliffhanger that ended up killing Holographic Retro. Socrates faints!
  • Ace Combat The Equestrian War: Chapter 16 (and, by extension, chapter 19) reveals that the entire conflict was orchestrated by Red Cyclone.
  • Pink Personal Hell And Altering Fate It becomes rather obvious later on that Nickel Steel is Dominic.
  • The Writing On The Wall features this when the eponymous writing is finally deciphered at the end of the story, revealing the true nature of the Ancient Tomb that Daring Do and the other archaeologists had been excavating. It isn't a tomb at all; it is a nuclear waste storage facility built by humans. Daring Do isn't suffering from a disease - she is suffering from radiation sickness. The reveal changes the story from one about an Adventurer Archaeologist to a Science Fiction Horror story
    This is not a place of honor. No great deed is commemorated here. Nothing of value is here.
  • Pony POV Series has a few major ones in the Dark World Arc. For starters Fluttercruel was born Discorded and remained such until Sparkler's memories (when she Body Surfed into her) undid it, explaining why, unlike the rest of the mane six, she's essentially not matured in the last thousand years. Another is that Discord has spent the last several hundred million years trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, always ending with his and Fluttercruel's demise. And finally, the Nameless Passenger's identity: Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox, Twilight's potential future self and the true Big Bad who trapped Discord in his Ironic Hell as punishment for what he did, and has sense become even worse than he ever was.
  • In the Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, Lavinia Gilden is revealed to be from District Twelve. She stowed away to the Capitol after her older sister Violet died in the Hunger Games, and she eventually became an escort for her home district. This reveal actually comes even before the main characters are sent into the arena, but nonetheless, it may be the biggest Reveal of the story.
  • The pro wrestling story Taking It Back features a masked ninja wrestler who becomes Divas Champion and pulls off her mask to reveal she's really Lita.
  • The climax of Vinyl and Octavia Fight Ten Thousand Ninjas has the identities of the leaders of the ninja clan, who sent the ninjas to capture Vinyl and Octavia, revealed: Bass Drop and Octavius, their male counterparts from another dimension.
  • Mega Man Reawakened has the reveal that Wily rigged the explosion that killed Robert's father, and it was intended to kill Dr. Light.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has quite a few.
    • Mr. Black's real name is Jonathan Barton.
    • Project G-2 is the Mad Grinder.
    • Proto Man's weakness post episode 10 was partly due to Wily literally removing his positive traits.
    • Mr. Black's target is Dr. Wily.
    • Project G-2 is powered by Bassinium.
    • Episode 12 has the reveal of the Conduit's master plan, which involves a virus to destroy all robots' memory cores.
  • "The Hardest Part About Being a King" is an Alternate Universe fic set up to be just a simple Alternate Character Interpretation of King Candy. The first few chapters give him a Sympathetic Pov behind him persecuting Vanellope, painting his actions as a Necessary Evil that he regrets having to do. Chapters one and two set up The Reveal as if it's going to be about King Candy's motivations for being so empathetic. Instead, we get an unexpected revelation about Vanellope as she crosses the finish line...
    Because, standing where Vanellope used to be, is a grey-skinned, yellow-toothed maniac in a white and red racing uniform.
  • Anthropology: Lyra spends much of the story trying to prove humanity's existance in Equestria. At the end of chapter 9, she learns two things that change the tone of the story. humanity went extinct and she herself is human. According to the author however, everything up to this point was the prologue.

    Film — Animation 
  • Frozen:
    • Hans never really did love Anna and only wanted to marry her so he can marry into Arendelle, stage a "little accident" for Elsa, make himself look like a hero for bringing back summer and seize the throne.
    • It never had to be a True Love's Kiss that would rescue Anna. It was just any act of true love, such as sacrificing yourself for your sister.
  • Wreck-It Ralph:
    • King Candy is Turbo in disguise.
    • Vanellope is on her game's arcade machine, showing that while she is glitched, she is part of the official roster of her game and not just The Missingno.. This somewhat subtle distinction is important, and affects the plot greatly.
  • The Lego Movie: The entire movie has taken place in the mind of an imaginative boy named Finn, who snuck down into his basement to play with his father's LEGO collection. Lord Business is actually based on Finn's image of his overly strict father (aka "The Man Upstairs"), who insists on building a perfectly ordered LEGO world with no room for playing or experimentation.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Citizen Kane. It Was His Sled.
  • The all-time most famous is "Luke, I Am Your Father" from The Empire Strikes Back, as well as the revelation that Leia is his sister in the next movie. Vader's status as Luke's father was actually a reveal to near everyone, even those involved in the production, considering only a very select few knew about it up until near the film's release. Even David Prowse, the actor within the suit, did not know the truth. The line he spoke while filming, believing it would be the final line, was "Obi-Wan killed your father." That would have been pretty screwy, too and in fact, is in a way also true, From a Certain Point of View...
    • A sign of the pre-Internet times the movie was released in: "Luke, I Am Your Father" was actually revealed first in the novelization of the movie... which was released two months prior to the movie itself.
  • The big reveal that Captain Barbossa has returned to life at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
  • Every single Scream contains a scene where the masked Ghostface killer reveals his/her true identity and motives. It usually changes the way you see the entire movie.
  • The hidden setup of So I Married an Axe Murderer. Harriet isn't Mrs. X, her sister Rose is. Harriet has trouble maintaining serious relationships because Rose is a Clingy Jealous Girl who murders all of Harriet's lovers so she can have her to herself.
  • When the central protagonist in Memento finally does...Remember Sammy Jankis.
  • One of the creepiest reveals ever is when Morpheus explains the true nature of The Matrix.
  • In Unbreakable, the reveal that "Mr. Glass" deliberately arranged disasters to try and find a superhero who could survive them, and that he's actually the supervillain to David Dunn's superhero (not his mentor figure, as we were led to believe).
  • In the film The Illusionist, it's where it turns out that Sophie was alive all along, that Eisenheim successfully fooled the Police Inspector, causing the Prince to kill himself, and that he got away with all of this scot-free. And Eisenheim's the protagonist.
  • In Tootsie, the big reveal for the fictional soap is when the main character - who had been masquerading as a woman to land a part on a soap opera - takes off his wig and many of his feminine touches and reveals himself to be a man during a live taping.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gandalf the Grey is believed to be dead, having died in the previous film, and his death being recapped at the beginning of this film. Director Peter Jackson utilized various film techniques (distorted voice, blinding light covering his face) to hide that the mysterious White Wizard was actually Gandalf brought back, alive and well, as Gandalf the White. Although Jackson presents this in the film as a surprise, even tricking the audience to believe it may be the evil wizard Saruman, the reveal is completely ruined by all of the trailers and TV spots for the film, which included this pivotal moment to advertise the film.
  • Similar to the previous entry, the advertising killed this trope for Terminator 2. If one watches it back-to-back with the original you notice that, cleverly, it is left completely ambiguous why the T-800 has returned until the point where he rescues John Connor in the hallway.
  • Chinatown. She's her sister. And her daughter.
  • The Rocketeer: Neville Sinclair is in fact a Nazi agent working to steal the McGuffin jetpack.
  • The Usual Suspects: Keyzer Soze is Verbal Kint.
  • Reservoir Dogs: The rat is Mr Orange.
  • One of the funniest ones ever comes from Down with Love, when Renee Zellweger's character explains her Gambit Pileup in a breathless three-minute single-take monologue which, when it's all finished, leaves Ewan McGregor with a truly priceless expression of bemused confusion on his face.
  • In the French film He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (which stars Audrey Tautou), the first half is a whimsical unrequited love story, getting a bit creepy, and then as the Love Interest is being taken away to prison, the film rewinds and you see it from his point of view—he's met this strange woman once or twice in passing and doesn't know who all the love notes are coming from. It turns out she's mentally ill with "erotomania," and is ultimately institutionalised.
  • Not every Reveal has to be serious. In the 1982 comedy Jimmy the Kid, some low-grade crooks use a crime novel about a kidnapping to plan a genuine abduction for ransom. The chosen target, a kid genius, leads them on until he can slip away with the ransom money. At the end, he reveals why he's so successful at manipulating his abductors: because he wrote the book they based their crime on.
  • Again, lack of complete sincerity, in the movie Just One Of the Guys, Terry reveals her true gender to Rick who responds with the line, "Where d'you get off having tits?"
  • In A Beautiful Mind, the Reveal is that John Nash has schizophrenia and has been imagining all the spy work he was been doing for the government - along with several of the other characters.
  • There are not one but two major reveals in the first Mission: Impossible movie - that Phelps is alive after being presumed KIA on a mission, and later that he and Claire are working together against Ethan.
  • Mission Impossible III starts with a very tense scene in which Ethan Hunt's wife is tied to a chair, whilst Big Bad Philip Seymour Hoffman threatens to kill her. At the end of the movie it's revealed that it was a woman who worked for the bad guy. She is wearing a mask of Ethan Hunt's wife's face.
  • One of the most famous is from Planet of the Apes, in which the eponymous planet turns out to be an Earth devastated by nuclear war. And George Taylor, The Hero of the film, only finds this out upon seeing the ruins of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Parodied in A Shot In The Dark, where it's revealed that all but one supporting character introduced in the film is either a murderer or a blackmailer. In addition, the killer of those four bystanders was Dreyfus, who was attempting to kill Clouseau, having been driven to insanity by Clouseau's incompetence. He tries to car-bomb Clouseau in the climax, but the Ballons and their staff inadvertently take it instead... Of course, due to a certain franchise policy, it wouldn't have killed Clouseau either anyway.
  • Laura has a twist middle. She's actually alive.
  • Saw 3D ends with Lawrence Gordon, the sole surviving protagonist of the first film, being revealed to be the one confirmed good egg out of Jigsaw's apprentices, as the only two apprentices that appeared before then, Amanda and Hoffman, were both cold-blooded killers who greatly exaggerated (and sometimes even flouted) Jigsaw's legacy. Both Amanda and Hoffman were executed in their last films: Amanda is killed by one of Jigsaw's victims after she threatened the life of the nurse that was treating Jigsaw, and Hoffman was left to die without even the faintest hope in the same room Gordon had previously been imprisoned in by Jigsaw, with Gordon himself acting on Jigsaw's orders (Jigsaw put a contract out on anyone who harms his loved ones--especially Jill Tuck, his wife). "Game over."
  • "Take a chill pill" in Mystery Team.
  • Fish Story has several, owing to its Anachronic Order: The missing minute of the song is the lead singer breaking down and asking if this will ever be heard by anyone. The Word Salad Lyrics are the result of a poor translation job on an english-language novel. The record store employee is the son of Gekirin's manager. The college student failed to save the girl, but bought her the opportunity to save them both. The champion of justice was their son, who takes back the ship from the terrorist cult. The student on board the ship is a mathematical genius who calculates the trajectory of the missiles to blow up the comet.
  • Lesser example in The Grey. Ottway states early in the film to the memory of a woman, "you left me." A picture of them in her room shows her in a wedding dress. Ottway occasionally flashes back to her, always in a white bed. Ottway also seems to know what the body experiences during death. This all lines up toward the end of the film, when the camera pans in the flashback, showing the IV drip that Ottway's late wife is connected to.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit has a disturbing one as the callous Judge Doom whose glasses often lighted up to cover his stare is revealed to be the Toon who killed Eddie's brother, complete with an insanely high pitched voice and cartoonish eyes that could be best described as coming straight from a mentally disturbed animator or Hell itself. Eddie was likely not the only one who was terrified of this scene.
  • In The Big Lebowski, there was never any kidnapping or ransom money at all. Bunny left to visit friends without telling anyone, and Lebowski gave Walter and The Dude a suitcase full of worthless junk, fully intending for them to screw up the "negotiations" so that he could use the fake kidnapping to cover up an embezzlement scheme (he wanted to get his hands on the money in his family's charity, since he never actually made any money of his own, and only inherited his mansion from his wealthy wife). The various other characters in the film either had nothing to do with the fake kidnapping threat, or were just trying to profit from the resultant confusion for their own ends.
  • In Moon, neither of the two men claiming to be Sam Bell is the real deal—they're just two clones out of countless hundreds of them that are kept stockpiled at the mining station with implanted memories so that they can be used as slave labor. Each clone is designed with a three-year lifespan (hence, Sam's three-year contract with the mining company) and each one is killed at the end of his tenure so that the next clone can be awoken.
    • Also, that creepy HAL-esque robot with the smiley face and Kevin Spacey's voice? It's totally not evil.
  • All of the movies in The Dark Knight Saga have one, in some form or another:
    • Batman Begins: Henri Ducard was the leader of the League of Shadows all along; "Ra's al-Ghul" is just a title passed down by leaders of the League. He's also The Man Behind the Man to Dr. Crane and the Falcone family, and he's planning to use Crane's fear gas to drive Gotham into anarchy.
    • The Dark Knight: Officers Wuertz and Ramirez are crooked cops in the Joker's employ. They were the ones responsible for Harvey and Rachel's capture.
    • The Dark Knight Rises: "Miranda Tate" is actually Ra's al-Ghul's daughter Talia, the new leader of the League of Shadows. She was the one who escaped from the Middle Eastern prison as a child, not Bane.
  • In La Piel Que Habito (The Skin I Live In), half way through it's revealed that Vera is actually Vicente, the man who ended up being unfortunate enough to mistake Robert's daughter's insanity for weed buzz and stupid enough to try and have sex with her. As a part of his Roaring Rampage of Revenge he has been turned surgically into a woman.
  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: "The time has come for the Cobra to rise. You will call me... ''Commander."'
    • "It's good to be back everyone!" Then he sits back down at the President's desk and whistles Zartan's "Jolly Good Fellow"..
    • The Doctor has a lot of these.
  • Oblivion (2013) : The war with the Scavs never happened. Rather, the Tet kidnapped the real Jack and Victoria, cloned them a billion times and used them to Kill All Humans and Take Over the World to use as a fuel source for itself.
  • Fast And Furious 6 has one in its stinger as Han's death scene from Tokyo Drift, which takes place after this one, is shown again, but what's different is that you find out his death wasn't an accident, it was the beginning of a revenge plan against Dom's crew by Owen Shaw's older brother, Ian, who's played by Jason Statham
    Ian Shaw (Calling Dom): You don't know me, but you're about to.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness:
  • Now You See Me: This being a movie about magic tricks, there are several Reveals, mainly pertaining to said magic tricks but including the tricks of Wilder's "death" and Rhodes's fake identity.
    • Also the reveal that the Four Horsemen's heists are not about money. They ended up with zero money from the heists since they gave away all their money. The real intention behind these heists is to get revenge on the people who wronged Dylan's father.
  • Midway through Gravity, a character who had quite obviously very much died earlier in the movie, mysteriously comes back - something you don't expect from what had been until then fairly realistic fiction. Dr. Stone has a long and important conversation with the character, who refuses to say how he came back. Because he never did - she's imagining the whole conversation, you only learn after the conversation is over.
  • Two in succesion in Impostor. Dr. Olham's innocence is proven when Hathaway reveals that his wife has been replaced with the real biorobot sent to assassinate the chancellor. Shortly afterwards they discover the real Olham's body, as it turns out that both the Olhams had been killed and replaced with copies.
  • There are two big ones in Monsoon Wedding:
    • Aditi has been having an affair with a married man. She finally tells her groom to be before the wedding and he thanks her for her honesty. This reveal is part of what triggers them to open up and fall in love.
    • Ria's uncle has been sexually abusing her and then moves on to her younger cousin. When she finally confronts him in front of his brother it triggers drama resulting ultimately in Lalit banning his brother from his house to protect his family.
  • Tell No One: the entire plot comes about because Margot murdered Phillipe in self-defense, and her father, knowing the Big Bad would come after her and her family, not only covered it up, but faked her death.
  • Tequila Sunrise: Escalante, a Mexican cop, and Carlos, the drug dealer everyone's chasing, are one and the same.
  • Calvary: Jack the butcher is the parishioner who shows up on the beach to kill Father James, as stated in the opening scene. An interesting version of this trope because for the character it's The Unreveal: James knew all along who it was and wasn't really interested in turning him in or stopping it.
  • In Robot Holocaust, Valeria turns out to be a robot. Jorn is eaten by The Dark One, who's apparently a triffid-like thing, giving the appearance of Jorn becoming an avocado-man.

    Literature 
  • In Adaptation by Malinda Lo, its revealed that aliens have been visiting earth, Reese's operation was performed by aliens and Amber, Doctor Brand and Agent Todd are all aliens.
  • The Alterien series. The Sisters of Orion reveal things to Oberon and the other Alteriens that forever change the way they look at themselves.
  • Much is revealed to Caspian throughout the Astral Dawn series. He learns he is a Destined One and eventually comes to understand the truth of that destiny.
  • Halfway through Gone Girl, we learn that Amy Dunne is not only not dead, but has in fact masterminded the entire thing in order to get revenge on her husband for cheating on her.
  • In The Hand of Oberon, 4th book of The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, Ganelon is revealed to be the long-vanished Oberon.
  • The penultimate chapter of Isaac Asimov's original Foundation Trilogy had three characters giving three different solutions to the mysterious location of the Second Foundation. In the last chapter, yet another character reveals the true location, and the narration tells us his Secret Identity in the very last sentence.
  • The first four Harry Potter books have climaxes like this, all having to do with the villain's identity and true nature. As Cerebus Syndrome set in, the series gradually moved away from this format, instead climaxing with the death of a major character in every installment. Notably, Goblet of Fire—as the turning point of the series—has both.
    • Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone: Quirrell is the traitor at Hogwarts trying to steal the Stone, and Voldemort has been possessing his body all along.
    • Chamber of Secrets: The Heir of Slytherin is Tom Riddle—better known as Lord Voldemort. Ginny Weasley has been his Unwitting Pawn, as she opened the Chamber while possessed by the spirit of Riddle's old diary.
    • Prisoner of Azkaban:
      • Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs are Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter, respectively.
      • Sirius Black is innocent, and he was loyal to the Potters until the end. The one who actually betrayed the Potters to Voldemort and commited the murders that got Black sent to Azkaban was Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail.
      • Pettigrew is still alive, and he has spent the last 12 years posing as the Weasley family's pet rat, Scabbers. Black has been trying to break into Hogwarts to kill Pettigrew the whole time, not Harry.
      • Professor Lupin is secretly a werewolf, and he has been working with Black to help him get into the school to kill Pettigrew. Snape has been trying to expose Lupin as a werewolf to get him fired from his teaching post at Hogwarts.
      • The Shrieking Shack is actually a sanctuary that Dumbledore built for Lupin when he was a student at Hogwarts, and still trying to cope with his lycanthropy. The Whomping Willow was planted to hide the entrance to the secret tunnel that leads into the Shack.
      • The mysterious Black Dog was Sirius Black the whole time, as he's been looking after Harry while in his Animagus disguise.
      • Hermione has been keeping up with her class schedule with the help of a Time-Turner, a powerful magical device that lets her make short trips back in time.
    • Goblet of Fire: Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody is really Barty Crouch Jr., who has been hiding his identity with Polyjuice Potion ever since escaping from Azkaban. Also, the Triwizard Tournament is secretly a trap designed to deliver Harry into Voldemort's hands; Crouch/Moody arranged for Harry to enter the Tournament so that he could help him win, ensuring that Voldemort could use his blood in his resurrection ritual.
  • Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner where Amir discovers that Hasaan is his half-brother.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy in Flames, when Tarvitz realizes that Horus intends to virusbomb the Space Marines on the planet.
  • In James Swallow's The Flight of the Eisenstein, when Garro insists on hailing a Thunderbird he has been ordered to shoot down, and learns that it's Tarvitz, trying to warn the Space Marines on the planet of Horus's treacherous attack. Sendek, who prided himself on being The Stoic, has a Not So Stoic moment of pure surprise.
    "Saul Tarvitz," whispered Sendek. "First Captain of the Emperor's Children. Impossible! He's a man of honour! If he's turned traitor, then the galaxy has gone insane!"
    Decius found he couldn't look away from Garro's shocked expression. "Perhaps it has." It was a long moment before Decius realized that the words has been his.
  • In An Abundance of Katherines, Colin has dated 19 different girls named Katherine, all of whom have dumped him, and communicates these relationships to the reader through flashbacks. Katherine Carter, aka Katherine XIX, was with him for almost a year and broke his heart. When he was 8, a little girl named Katherine asked him to be her boyfriend; he said yes, fell in love, and got dumped 2½ minutes later. Then Colin is asked out by the most popular girl in school, who is named Marie, not Katherine, and is finally going to break his streak... but then he sees Katherine I, Katherine the Great, and ends up ditching the date. "And so it was Colin and Katherine Carter snuck out of the house to have a cup of coffee at Cafe Sel Marie."
    • Then the book does it again — Colin is determined to figure out why Katherines keep dumping him, and he works out a theorem of relationship graphs, and it works for eighteen of the Katherines. But the graph says that he dumped Katherine III. So finally he calls her back and tries to figure out what happened... guess who did the dumping after all.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessman of Mars, when Turan reveals that A-Kor is a prisoner, U-Thor demands to know the meaning of it, and reveals that after O-Tar gave him the slave woman who was A-Kor's mother, he had freed and married her, and so he regards A-Kor as his son.
  • The short story "Cop Killer" tells of an eager new police recruit, Max, who moves in with his veteran-cop partner and becomes a part of the family, only to be shot in the line of duty by a cheap crook. The grieving partner hunts down and kills the shooter, whose last words reveal that Max was a police dog.
  • Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Esmeralda is Gudule's long-lost daughter.
  • Neil Gaiman's American Gods: "It's a two-man con." Mr Wednesday (Odin) and Loki, gods of death and chaos, have been manipulating the Old Gods and the New Gods into a war so that they can feed on the resulting carnage. Wednesday is quite really a Magnificent Bastard.
  • The Dresden Files book Changes has a big reveal for the series up to that point, but also for that book, in the first sentence.
  • In the third book of Codex Alera, it's revealed Tavi is Gaius Octavian, son of Isana and Septimus, and heir to the throne. Needless to say, this is a tricky spoiler to hide when discussing the rest of the series.
  • At the end of Thief, when Gen and company are brought into Eddis' throne room, and the Queen recognizes him, sighs in exasperation at his appearance, and holds out her hand for the missing artifact he's had hidden in his hair for half the book
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Shadows In Zamboula", near the end, Zabibi reveals that her lover is the ruler of the city, and she is his mistress. At the very end, Conan muses on how he realized that up front and has stolen the ring she wanted him to retrieve.
  • Subverted in Les Misérables. Jean Valjean is an ex-convict who had almost returned to a life of crime after being released but had been redeemed by a kind bishop. Mr Madeleine is a good, philanthropic mayor who always helps the poor and feeds puppies. The two are introduced to us as completely separate people, though it is clear to the reader that they are the same person. After a while the author mentions that his readers will certainly have worked out by now that they are one and the same. There is a rather dramatic reveal of this identity to a courtroom though:
  • Great Expectations is pretty straightforward, up until you get to the end of Part II, in which Pip's benefactor turns out to be none other than Abel Magwitch, the convict he helped early in the first chapter, who just so happens to be a very rich felon. From there, almost every chapter in the book contains its own plot twist (which makes sense, as the book was orignally released as a serial).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire, Gambit Pileup that it is, has a bunch of these, ranging from Arstan Whitebeard actually being Ser Barristan Selmy, to Jon Arryn's murderer being his wife, Lysa, at the behest of Littlefinger, and probably culminating with Doran Martell's twenty-year-long revenge gambit to return the Targaryens to power. There's also the as-yet-unrevealed promise Ned made to Lyanna, which has been set up as a particularly whammy reveal since the first book.
  • Spock's World: the identity of the Big Bad.
  • The second and third novels of the Star Trek series Terok Nor take advantage of the medium to set up a reveal they couldn't pull off onscreen. Specifically, two apparently different characters turn out to be the same man. The security chief on Terok Nor station, Thrax, is revealed mid-way through the third book to be the same character as Sa'kat, the loyal second to outlaw priestess Astraea.
    • In another Star Trek novel, Sarek, the Freelans turn out to be Vulcans.
  • In Daddy-Long-Legs, the revelation that Daddy Long Legs is Jervis Pendleton, though it is somewhat spoiled by the fact the letter that reveals this is addressed to "My very dearest Master-Jervie-Daddy-Long-Legs-Pendleton-Smith".
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea:
  • Despite being incomplete, The Pale King has plenty:
    • The owner of the Doberman Hand Puppet is Dr. Lehrl.
    • The identity of drifter girl and the fate of her mother.
    • The identity of Mr. X. It makes the Uncomfortable Elevator Moment chapter read completely different the second time through.
    • The fate of Lane Dean's girlfriend and their unborn child.
    • The true purpose of Claude's investigation.
    • Chris Fogle's role at the IRS.
    • Dr. Lehrl's intentions for Post 047.
  • In Magyk, the first book of Septimus Heap, it's revealed that Boy 412 is Septimus Heap.
  • Ranger's Apprentice: Halt has a twin brother. And he's a prince.
  • In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol story "Delenda Est", the jump forward in time reveals tampering with history has created an Alternate History.
  • Generally used in the Agent Pendergast novels for whoever the true identity of the Big Bad is in each book. Varies in Dance of Death: Since Diogenes is known as the antagonist of the book from the beginning, it instead reveals that Hugo Menzies is really Diogenes in disguise the entire time.
  • Trapped on Draconica: The final chapter changes everything:
    • Gothon's wife is Dead All Along and he accidentally killed her in a squabble and deluded himself into thinking otherwise.
    • Lucia has been possessed by Kazebar for the entire story and manipulated Gothon to get his hands on Ben who was thrown into another world by Dronor to keep the power to travel between worlds from being abused.
    • Ben and Erowin are twins and their father is the Man Behind the Man, Kazebar.
  • The Power of Six reveals that there were not nine, but ten, Loric Garde children sent to Earth, each being meant to take over the roles of the original ten Elders of Lorien (including Pittacus Lore, the purported author of the books.) This also makes a throwaway comment about the "ten Elders" in the first book a Chekhov's Gun.
  • The Dark Tower ends with the revelation that the eponymous Tower is a kind of "cosmic museum" filled with relics from the protagonist's life, and that its top floor houses a vortex that erases said protagonist's memory and takes him back to the beginning of his quest in the first book. He has actually spent the entire series trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, destined to reach the Tower and start over again... just as he has already done numerous times before.
  • Cassandra Clare loves Reveals. Almost every book she writes has more than one:
    • City of Bones:
      • Clary is a Shadowhunter.
      • Jocelyn was married to Valentine.
      • Alec is gay.
      • The Mortal Cup was hidden in a playing card in Dorothy's apartment.
      • Alec is in love with Jace.
      • Hodge was a traitor to the Clave.
      • Luke is a werewolf.
      • Valentine is Clary's father.
      • Valentine is Jace's father, making Clary and Jace siblings.
    • City of Ashes:
      • Alec and Magnus are in a relationship.
      • The Inquisitor had hid a tracking device in Jace's shard of the mirror.
    • City of Glass:
      • Sebastian Verlac was someone else in disguise.
      • Sam was actually Hodge.
      • The Mortal Glass was actually Lake Lyn.
      • Clary and Jace are part angel.
      • A bunch of reveals come all at once: Jace isn't Clary's brother, Sebastian/Jonathan is, Jace is part of the Herondale family, Valentine is Sebastian/Jonathan's father, not Jace's, and Jonathan was disguising as Sebastian.
      • Simon can walk in daylight because he drank angel blood.
      • One of the high-ranking clave members was a traitor to Valentine.
    • Clockwork Angel:
    • City of Fallen Angels:
      • Kyle is actually Jordan, and he's a werewolf.
      • Camille was working for Lilith the entire time.
    • Clockwork Prince:
      • Will has a curse on him that kills everyone who loves him.
      • Jessamine was meeting Nathaniel at night and is a spy for the Magister.
      • Will doesn't have a curse on him that kills everyone who loves him.
  • Neil Gaiman's short story "A Study in Emerald" (a crossover that incorporates the Cthulhu Mythos into a Sherlock Holmes mystery) has a major one at the end, where the narrator and his detective friend are actually Sebastian Moran and James Moriarty, and that the murderers that they're chasing are John Watson and Sherlock Holmes. As is gradually revealed, the story takes place in a particularly nasty Crapsack World after the Great Old Ones have subjugated much of humanity and set their hybrid offspring up as the monarchs of Europe—leaving Moriarty to become a crusader for law and order while Holmes devotes himself to bringing down Europe's demonic rulers.
  • Within Ruin turns everything on its head halfway through when it's revealed:
    • Virgil is really Kalthused, and centuries old.
    • Descarta is a homonculus, created to host the soul of Ankaa, explaining her lack of memories.
    • The Bethel was all invented and spread by Virgil so that large populations would erect statues of the maiden.
    • The statues of the maiden are actually soul harvesters, absorbing the souls of all who have died within it's proximity.
    • The plague and on-going wars were created by Virgil to kill as many people as possible so as to collect the most souls.
    • Basically Virgil is the king of lies.
  • Brandon Sanderson is almost guaranteed to drop a Reveal late in the book that turns the plot on its head, dramatically reinterprets some aspect of the magic system, or both (usually some secret of magic that knocks the plot sideways). "Almost" because while the first Mistborn novel does not have a huge twist that knocks it completely ass over teakettle, the subsequent books Well of Ascension and Hero of Ages more than make up for it:
    • In Well of Ascension the big twists apply largely to plot threads picked up only in that book, and can make the reader feel like Sanderson has been playing with them from the first page. These include the nature of the Well itself, Zane's psychosis, and the identity of The Mole.
    • Then in Hero of Ages, the reader eventually learns they've been played with from page one of the very first book. Almost everything from the nature of the mists, about Vin's mysterious power to pierce copperclouds, that Ruin has been manipulating Vin from before the first book, the big secrets of the Lord Ruler, his identity, and his creations, the origin of the prophecy about the Hero of Ages (and how it was twisted over the millennia by Ruin), the true identity of the Hero of Ages... Damn near everything that's happened has been in service to one act of deception and manipulation or another, finally pulled apart for the reader and the characters.
    • In short, Sanderson will blindside you with something.
  • The Sword of Shannara has an important reveal in the denouement that completely changes the way the reader will see the whole story. At the beginning of the story, Allanon tells Shea Ohmsford, the last living direct descendant of the great Elven hero-king Jerle Shannara, that he, Shea, must go on a quest to regain the legendary Sword of Shannara, which only he can wield against the Warlock Lord, the evil wizard whom King Jerle defeated with the Sword centuries earlier. After Shea has killed the Warlock Lord with the Sword, thereby saving the world, Allanon reveals to Shea that Jerle failed, which, in retrospect, was completely obvious, for, as Allanon points out, had Jerle succeeded, he would have killed the Warlock Lord, as Shea did. In fact, however, Jerle did not really understand the magic of the Sword, or accept how it worked, and so he was only able to weaken the Warlock Lord, not kill him. It's a great moment, again, because it both makes perfect sense in retrospect, even though most readers will not see it coming, and explains just why Allanon was so secretive all along.
  • Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder has a Nested Story Reveal, where the protagonist, Sophie Amundsen, is actually a fictional character in a book that a Norwegian military officer named Albert Knag wrote for his daughter Hilde as a birthday present. Alberto Knox, Sophie's philosophy teacher, is actually Knag's Author Avatar, and his lectures on philosophy were actually meant for Hilde. This is why various characters in the book keep randomly saying "Happy Birthday Hilde!", and why Hilde doesn't seem to exist (even though Sophie was told to deliver a message to her).
  • Airframe involves the investigation of a strange incident during a flight by one of their passenger planes. The pilot was one of the best in the industry, and the question that keeps coming up is how could he have screwed up a simple, routine issue that he had handled properly before? The answer: He didn't. He wasn't even in the pilot's seat when it happened. He'd let his son, who was also a pilot, but wasn't qualified for that aircraft type, take over, and he caused the problem through lack of experience.
  • Phillip Roth's The Human Stain has the revelation that the protagonist Coleman Silk, who loses his job in the first chapter after he's accused of being a racist, is African-American himself. He rejected his African-American heritage after his father disowned him as a teenager, and decided to live his life passing himself off as a White man—which he could do, because of his partial White ancestry.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, there are a couple relating to Jack Frost.
    • The last Night Fairy book reveals that he's afraid of the dark.
    • Belle the Birthday Fairy's book reveals his birthday is the same as Rachel's mom's.
  • Devin And The Teacher has the title teacher explain at the end that he knew all along that Devin had been presenting other peoples' reports to get out of writing his own.
  • There are a couple in Blonde Bombshell, such as the location of the Mk. I Bomb, and Lucy Pavlov's true identity. That is to say, she IS the Mk. I Bomb, or at least a probe of it, and she had cannibalized the original weapon into the central servers for PavSoft.
  • There are a series of reveals throughout the The Maze Runner Trilogy that, when strung together, give a coherent version of the backstory. Sometime in the past, a solar flare intense enough to make it through our atmosphere caught the earth, frying it between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. The resulting rampant destitution made relief attempts almost impossible, so to lessen the burden some genius came up with the incredibly smart plan to release a population control disease so there would be less people to deal with. The virus, soon to be known as the Flare, mutated into a Hate Plague that almost the entire Earth’s population caught. In order to combat it, the world's governments formed WICKED, tasked with finding a cure. WICKED’s approach was to brain-map the immune and try to transfer that immunity to the public. Unfortunately, the brain-mapping required would be ridiculously detailed and ultimately impossible. The first two novels in their entirety were stress tests used to remotely map the protagonist’s brain patterns. The Maze, the grievers, and the Scorch were all governed by WICKED’s ridiculously advanced structural- and bio-engineering.
  • At the end of Gifts, the first book in Annals Of The Western Shore, Orrec figures out that he really does not have any gift. Every incident where he "unmade" something through his Power Incontinence, his father Canoc (who is very strongly gifted) was just behind him—knowing that his son was powerless, Canoc decided to invoke a family legend to give him a fearsome reputation among the Uplands instead. When Orrec confronts him on this, Canoc seems to have convinced himself that it was actually true.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Angel is a vampire.
    • Buffy's temporary death created another Slayer.
    • Sleeping with Buffy turns Angel evil.
    • Jenny is a gypsy from a family Angel slaughtered, and was sent to Sunnydale to watch him.
    • Oz is a werewolf.
    • Angel's Face-Heel Turn in "Enemies" was a fake.
    • Riley and Professor Walsh are part of The Initiative.
    • Glory's not a demon. She's a god.
    • In Season 8, after the previous subversion, Twlight is revealed to be Angel.
  • Angel:
    • Possessed Cordelia is behind the rise of the Beast.
    • As well as the return of Lindsey.
    • In the season three premiere Darla is pregnant.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • The Changelings are the head of the Dominion.
    • Also when Gul Dukat is revealed to be working with the Dominion.
    • And a few episodes later, when it is revealed that Bashir is in a Dominion prison and has been replaced by a Changeling for most of the season.
  • Famous early example in LOST is the nature of Locke's "miracle," revealed at the end of episode 4. There are plenty more from the series.
    • The two biggest reveals come at the third and fifth season finales: what we've thought is a pretty standard despondent-alcoholic-Jack flashback is actually a flashforward, with Jack and Kate off the island and Jack wanting to go back, and the man we've thought is Locke this whole time is actually the series' Big Bad, who has taken the form of John Locke, who was not miraculously brought back to life by the island but has been dead since season three (technically), respectively.
    • The series finale has the Sideways timeline reveal that their "alternate lives" are actually their afterlife and the entire cast will eventually be Together in Death.
  • Heroes is not only fond of this trope but loves to do it multiple times on the same subject. A specific case would be the bomb that will/might/did destroy New York City, which is "revealed" to be caused by one person, then re-revealed to be actually caused by someone else, then...
    • Nothing about Nathan being Claire's father?
    • The episode "Five Years Gone" contains perhaps the best reveal of the series: President Nathan Petrelli is actually Sylar, using the illusion power he obtained from Candice Wilmer. We discover this as Sylar is cutting open Claire's skull.
    • The fact that this actually comes partly true, Sylar replaces Nathan, is more than slightly disturbing.
  • In The Secret Circle episode "Balcoin", Isaac tells us that not only is Cassie the child of John Blackwell, but someone else in the Circle is as well. This is just one of many during the series, though...
    • "Crystal" reveals the child to be Diana.
  • The X-Files:
    • In the episode "Sleepless", it's revealed that Mulder's new partner Krycek is working for the Cigarette Smoking Man.
    • CSM is Mulder's biological father. Probably. Ambiguously for several seasons, but somewhat confirmed in the final season.
  • In the Season 2 (and series) finale of Carnivàle, we learn that Sofie is destined to become a sinister figure called "The Omega", and that she possesses supernatural powers very similar to those of her father...Brother Justin Crowe.
    • Earlier than that, there's the revelation that "Management", the mysterious unseen figure that owns the carnival, is actually Lucius Belyakov, the Russian soldier who tried to kill Henry Scudder during World War I. As we later learn, he's also the father of Brother Justin (who was born "Alexei Belyakov"), and the previous generation's Avatar of Light]].
  • Alias does this a LOT. Including the very first episode in which Sydney learns that she's actually working for The Alliance, an evil organization that she thought they were fighting, and not the real CIA. Some of the major ones:
    • Season One: Laura Bristow was not a lit professor, but actually a KGB spy by the name of Irina Derevo, and is actually alive and is The Man.
    • Season Two: Sloane assisted in taking down the Alliance for his own means (arranging for the information that Sydney & co. at Oops Central to be available).
    • Season Three: Sydney actually erased her own memories of the two years she spent "working" for the Covenant.
    • Season Four: Jack Bristow actually killed a double of Irina Derevko. The real Irina was being held by her sister Elena in captivity. Elena turned out to be Sofia, the woman running the orphanage that Nadia grew up in.
    • Season Four/Five: Six words: "My name is not Michael Vaughn." Sloane's flip-flopping between being good and evil does not count because, honestly, who didn't see it coming?
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show — The Crowning Moment of Funny in "That's My Boy??" is a classic. The episode is a Flashback to when baby Richie came home from the hospital. Over the course of the episode, Rob (Dick Van Dyke) convinces himself that Richie has been Switched at Birth with the baby from the Peters family. He invites Mr. & Mrs. Peters over to reclaim their baby, only to learn when he opens the door that that they are an African-American couple. Rob asks, "Why didn't you—?" and Mr. Peters (Greg Morris) replies, "And miss the look on your face?"
  • Harper's Island has three.
    • John Wakefield is alive and the killer.
    • Henry is his son and accomplice, making him the killer out of the main group.
    • Although Henry is just as psychotic as his dad, he has different plans than him; turns out that unlike Wakefield, who simply wanted to wipe out everybody, Henry wanted to kill everybody except for Abbey, and then keep her with him for the rest of their lives to live out his deranged childhood fantasy.
  • Battlestar Galactica (the new series) Has an on-going mystery about the identity of the twelve Cylon models. The first of many reveals is in the Miniseries, where it is revealed that Sharon must be one of them in the final scene. There are also a few other puzzles:
    • Season 2: Another Battlestar survived the Cylon Holocaust.
    • Season 3: Tyrol, Tigh, Tory and Anders are four of the missing five Cylon models.
    • Season 4.5: The Thirteenth Tribe that colonized Earth were all human Cylon models.
    • Season 4.5: Ellen Tigh was a Cylon.
    • Season 4.5: The 'original programmers' were Tyrol, Tigh, Tory, Anders, Ellen and Cavil.
  • By Season 4, Supernatural seems to be doing an average of one an episode. From off the top of my head, we've had the Reveals that: Dean was rescued from Hell by an angel! Big Bad Lilith plans to raise Lucifer! Dean tortured souls in Hell! By torturing souls, Dean allowed the first seal to be broken, making Lilith's plan possible! Sam can now kill demons with his mind! There are some angels working to help release Lucifer! There are plenty more. To give you some idea, the last 3 reveals were in just one episode.
    • The Trickster is the archangel Gabriel who, when it comes down to it, is just a bitter, jaded kid who didn't want to see him family fight.
    • Lilith was not working to break the final seal, she WAS the final seal, and Ruby was manipulating Sam to get him to kill her. "The first demon shall be the final seal."
    • The colt doesn't work on Lucifer.
    • Season 6: Sam is soulless! The Campbells are working for Crowley! And up to eleven in the last 4 episodes of that season: Crowley isn't dead! Castiel is working with Crowley to open Purgatory! Cas raised Sam from the pit! Cas is the Big Bad!
  • Doctor Who:
    • The two-parter "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" climaxes with the revelation that Jamie is Nancy's illegitimate son, not her younger brother.
    • In "Utopia", there's the revelation that Professor Yana is The Master (who survived the Time War and hid as a human with a Chameleon Arch), and the Face of Boe's message was a secret acronym hinting at this (You Are Not Alone). Then, when The Master is shot and regenerates, it's revealed that Prime Minister Harold Saxon (an unseen figure frequently alluded to in Season 3) has been The Master all along.
    • "It's us!", if you hadn't guessed it an episode earlier.
    • Who is the Pandorica's intended occupant, the "nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies", the "most feared being in all the cosmos"? It's the Doctor. His enemies constructed the Pandorica to trap him.
    • River Song's true identity. She's really Melody Pond, Amy and Rory's daughter from the future. And she's the one destined to kill The Doctor, at the behest of the Silence.
    • Technically, Jack's immortality, though it was revealed in episode 1 of Torchwood.
    • Jack being the Face of Boe.
    • The truth behind the multiple incarnations of Clara Oswin. The one from the 21st century is the "real" one; the others exist because Clara was forced to enter the Doctor's timeline to stop the Great Intelligence from changing it, creating duplicate versions of herself without her memories.
    • The War Doctor actually ended the Time War by trapping Gallifrey in a pocket dimension to save it from the Daleks' onslaught. The Doctor's home planet is still out there!
  • Bones:
    • When Dr. Brennan finds out that her parents were actually notorious bank robbers.
    • Used when the team discovers that Zack is Gormogon's apprentice.
  • In the Season 3 ER episode "Night Shift," a patient who is badly mangled after jumping (or falling) onto the tracks in front of an elevated train is rolled into a trauma room. Dr. Benton tells a nurse to page Benton's favorite medical student Dennis Gant, and everyone is horrified when the patient's beeper goes off—it's Gant on the table!
  • Dollhouse:
    • Daniel Perrin is a Doll and Cindy Perrin is his handler.
    • Boyd is Rossum's founder.
    • That quirky engineer guy played by Alan Tudyk is Alpha.
  • Dexter:
    • Rudy Cooper, a guy working in the hospital who is dating Debra, is The Ice Truck Killer; the Serial Killer who the PD hunt and who plays friendly games with Dexter.
    • The Ice Truck Killer is Dexter's biological brother.
    • From the third season premiere: Rita is pregnant.
    • From the 4th season finale: Rita was the Trinity killer's last victim.
    • Late 6th season: Professor Gellar is shown to have been dead for some time and only alive in Travis' imagination.
  • In the Season 8 episode of Stargate SG-1 "Prometheus Unbound," Daniel is the only person left aboard the Prometheus with one of Anubis's Super Soldiers. After Daniel is captured and tied to a chair, the Super Soldier hits on Daniel, who is understandably disturbed. Then the Super Soldier removes its helmet to reveal Vala Maldoran.
  • Jack & Bobby pulled this off in the pilot episode, waiting until the very end to reveal which of the show's two brothers would grow up to become President.
  • In season 4 of NCIS, Tony's relationship with Dr. Jeanne Benoit was allowed to progress for many weeks, and to get quite serious for both of them, before it was revealed that he'd engineered the relationship to investigate her arms-dealer father, and hadn't even told her his real name.
  • JAG: In "Boot", Private Schuler's killer was Private Whitley, who appeared to be the nicest character in the episode.
  • Noah's Arc has plenty, but a major one that stands out is Junito's HIV status.
  • Season 7 of How I Met Your Mother begins and ends with Ted at a friends wedding. A Red Herring appears, but Robin is revealed to be the bride.
    • Season 8 concludes with, at long last, the Mother's first appearance (though, with all the clever twists and turns that happen on this show, we're never quite sure of anything).
    • So far, Season 9 is just Reveal after Reveal about how Ted's relationship with the Mother will go.
  • Many episodes in the second season of Breaking Bad begin with enigmatic Call Forwards showing heaps of debris being pulled out of Walt's pool by men in Hazmat suits, including many repeated close-ups of a battered pink teddy bear. Taken out of context, they make no sense. Then in the Season 2 finale, we learn that the debris is actually from a plane collision over Albuquerque that Walt inadvertently caused when he allowed Jane Margolis to die of a heroin overdose, thus leaving her father David (an air traffic controller in his day job) so distracted by grief that he let two planes collide in mid-air. Out of context the scenes were probably meant to trick the audience into thinking that Walt relocated his meth lab to his house, and then it exploded catastrophically, possibly killing him or his family.
  • Given that the premise of Ashes to Ashes is that the main character - Alex - has no idea where she is, the show has many big reveals which change the course of Alex's investigation.
    • Gene Hunt is present in Alex's memories, implying that she has experienced time travel and is not in a coma.
    • Martin Summers is sharing this world with Alex, which implies that the world is infact real and not a hallucination.
    • The world is finally revealed to be a Purgatory for dead coppers, and Gene Hunt has known all along. Chris, Ray and Shaz are also real but have forgotten about their previous lives.
    • Each of the main characters (including Gene) gets their own revelation of their demise and are shaken by the experience, especially Shaz.
  • True Blood
    • René Lenier is actually Drew Marshall, a man who killed his fangbanger sister and then fled his hometown, and was the perpetrator of all the murders during season 1.
    • Maryann is a Physical God hellbent on sacrifice. Tara accidentally summoned her in season 1.
    • Bill was working for Sophie-Anne, having been specifically sent to procure Sookie. He then constructed a gambit in which two psycho's beat Sookie within an inch of her life so he could feed her his blood and build a connection with her.
    • Russell Edgington murdered Eric's family.
    • It was Marnie who was controlling Antonia, not the other way around.
  • The very last scene of season four of The Good Wife: It's Carey at the door, not Will.
  • 24 pulls these on a regular basis, generally to show which side a character is now on or reveal their true motives. There's too many to list, but the most famous ones are the reveals of Nina Meyers and Charles Logan as villains. Occasionally a character the protagonists were attempting to save is discovered to already be long dead (namely Teri Bauer in season 1 and Omar Hassan in season 8).
  • So far, every episode of Sherlock has had one of some kind.
    • "A Study in Pink": The killer is the taxicab driver, and he got the victims to commit suicide by forcing them to choose between two pills at gunpoint (one harmless, one poison).
    • "The Blind Banker": The spray-painted symbols are ancient Chinese numeric symbols—each referring to a page in a London street atlas that leads to the smugglers' hideout.
    • "The Great Game": Molly's new boyfriend "Jim" is actually James "Jim" Moriarty, who was using her to keep an eye on Sherlock.
    • "A Scandal in Belgravia": Irene's cellphone contains evidence of a secret Ministry of Defence ploy to save a group of plane passengers from a terrorist attack. Mycroft wants to replace the passengers with stolen corpses so that the terrorists don't realize that Military Intelligence has cracked their codes.
    • "The Hounds of Baskerville": The "monster dog" that killed Henry's father was really Dr. Frankland, seen through the eyes of a hallucinating Henry. Frankland and Henry's father previously developed a hallucinogenic chemical agent while working together on a CIA project called "H.O.U.N.D."; the chemical caused Henry to see Frankland as a monstrous dog because he was wearing a sweatshirt with "H.O.U.N.D." written on it.
    • "The Reichenbach Fall": Moriarty has been living a double life as a television actor named "Richard Brook". His ultimate plan is to discredit Sherlock by convincing the world that he staged the two's rivalry as part of a publicity stunt.
    • "The Empty Hearse": Lord Moran arranged his "disappearance" by detaching a subway car in the London Underground and using it to hide his explosives. Also, Sherlock faked his death by falling on a hidden inflatable mattress, temporarily stopping his pulse with a squash ball, and paying members of his homeless network to pose as paramedics.
    • "The Sign of Three": The Mayfly Man was plotting to kill Major Sholto all along, and he infiltrated John's wedding by posing as the wedding photographer. He kills his victims by stabbing them with a blade so fine that they don't feel it, and positioning the stab wound so that the victim's belt puts enough pressure on the wound to hold it closed—allowing him to escape before his victims realize that they've been killed.
    • "His Last Vow": There's no vault in Appledore. Magnussen stores his blackmail information in his mind, because he's able to use the same "mind palace" technique that Sherlock uses.
  • Boardwalk Empire. In Season Four's second-to-last episode, Roy Phillips, who has presented himself to Gillian as an innocuous businessman and has been romancing her all season, reveals himself to be a Pinkerton agent who's really there to investigate the death of Roger, the Jimmy lookalike whom Gillian murdered so she could have Jimmy declared legally dead. His Batman Gambit (apparently shooting and killing someone who lost his job because of Roy) was a ruse to get Gillian to confess to murder.
  • In State of Play:
    • Sonia Baker was pregnant by Stephen Collins, and was going to quit working for the company who hired her to spy on him.
    • Stephen knew who Sonia was working for, and hired the guy who killed her.

    Pinball 
  • In Cirqus Voltaire, completing "Unmask Voltaire" reveals that Ringmaster Voltaire is actually Madame Voltaire, who was also the Announcer throughout the game.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The shocking revelation of the identity of the Outsiders' Third Man in WCW's 1996 Bash at the Beach: Hulk Hogan.
  • The very long awaited reveal of the identity of The Undertaker's "higher power". It was revealed to be Vince McMahon himself all along.
  • Or the true horrific reveal about Pro-Wrestling itself? It's scripted. Dun Dun Dun. GASP!
  • In WWE, the man who drove a car and ran over Stone Cold Steve Austin at 1999 Survivor Series was revealed to be Rikishi, as well as the mastermind HHH.
  • Can't wait to find out who the mystery RAW GM is in the WWE. Unfortunately, the Mystery GM was Put on a Bus and never mentioned again when Triple H took over as COO. Turns out it was Hornswoggle.
  • Leading up to the 1990 Survivor Series, a giant egg was displayed at WWF shows and it was implied that the egg would hatch around the time of the card. During the show, Mean Gene Okerlund listened to the egg, said it was about to hatch and out came ... The Gobbledy Gooker, credited as one of Vince McMahon's stupidest ideas. He and Mean Gene danced for a little bit while fans booed.
    • That same night, Ted DiBiase's team had a mystery member. After the rest of his team was introduced, DiBiase brought out his fourth man, a new WWF wrestler managed by Brother Love named ... The Undertaker.
  • Back in the 1980's, Paul Orndorff was slated to face Don Muraco and Mr Fuji in a tag team match at Madison Square Garden with a mystery partner. For a few weeks, Orndorff would do promos with a large cardboard box jostling around, saying his partner was inside. The week before the match, Orndorff used a power saw to cut the box open and reveal the Junkyard Dog.
  • At the end of the Black Scorpion storyline in WCW, Sting defeated him at Starrcade 1990 and removed his mask to reveal Ric Flair.

    Theatre 
  • In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Oedipus searches for the man who assassinated King Laius, only to find that he himself killed the king. As the seer Tiresias tells him, "You are the murderer you seek." This is one of Aristotle's examples of anagnorisis in the Poetics.
  • A trope-worthy twist on the source novel turns up at the very end of the 2013 stage adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Remember the tramp at the junkyard, who met and conversed with Charlie at the start of the show and later encouraged the boy to buy that Wonka Bar that turned out to have the last Golden Ticket? He was Willy Wonka in disguise.

    Video Games 
  • Brothers in Arms: Whoo, boy. Despite the Reveals (That's right, there's two) being in the third game, it not only uncovers events that happened, but completely shatters a major plot point that played a role in the first two games, and at the same time brings to light just how much stress Baker and his squad was going through. The first is that Baker ordered Leggett to tell no one how Allen and Garnett died, and the stress of keeping the secret (which ironically made the rest of the squad hate him because they assumed he hid in the bushes like a coward while Allen and Garnet died) coupled with a critical injury on the battlefield led Leggett to effectively commit suicide by shooting at an enemy tank with a pistol. The second reveal is that Leggett was partly responsible for Allen's and Garnett's deaths, because he started a fight with Allen that attracted a German patrol, which is why Baker wanted Leggett to keep the circumstances of the death's a secret in the first place, for fear that the rest of the squad would kill Leggett.
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic You know that Darth Revan everyone's been talking about? The one who disappeared mysteriously and is presumed dead? The one who would have every reason to hate the Jedi AND the Sith for what they did if he were still alive? That's you.
    • The sequel makes a point of having no reveal, even though everything that happens in the game is one surprise after another in a kind of "I've always known" sort of way. The one true revelation is that the whole game was a test. Except anyone who paid attention already knew that. This is just speculation, but it might be in response to the Revan issue, considering how obvious it was to - again - to anyone paying attention, like the writers of the sequel would be.
  • Grandia II has a killer - Granas, the god of good you've supposedly been serving, was actually the loser of the ancient struggle between good and evil and has been dead all along. The supposed 'Seals' that were binding the parts of the sealed dark god Valmar were actually devices created to prepare a human's body for possession by a part of Valmar's damaged body, and the Pope of the Church of Granas has actually been manipulating you into reassembling Valmar's body from the very beginning. EVERY SINGLE THING you've done so far in the game so far has been a lie.
  • Final Fantasy VII takes until late in the second disc to reveal what really happened in Nibelheim five years ago, especially Cloud's involvement.
    • The game actually turns this situation into two reveals for the price of one. The first being where he's told that he is just a clone of Sephiroth, and all his memories of Nibelheim were taken from Tifa. The second being him discovering that he is in fact, not a clone, at least not in a traditional sense. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase Un-Reveal.
  • Final Fantasy X brings 'em until the final dungeon.
    • First and foremost is the can of worms that is Sin. *deep breath*
      • Jecht IS Sin.
      • Sin brought Tidus to Spira, and Sin is the only thing that can take him back to Zanarkand. So by completing the pilgrimage, Tidus will be forever stuck in Spira.
      • Indirectly related: You know the Final Aeon, the only thing that has ever beaten Sin? It will kill Yuna once it's summoned. This is never explored, but the fact alone agonizes EVERYONE, regardless of how long they've known.
      • Sin will never go away. The Final Aeon is possessed by Yu Yevon upon Sin's defeat, and the Calm, the short period of years between Sin's appearances, is its incubation/growing period.
      • Sin is, in fact, a summoned monster by Yu Yevon, who was a summoner from Zanarkand a thousand years ago, who sacrificed what was left of the devastated Zanarkand (from a war with Bevelle) to use as Fayth for the summoning.
      • Not quite. Sin is the armor that Yu Yevon creates for himself by possessing the Final Aeon. What he is really summoning is "The dream of the Fayth", a dream version of a Zanarkand that never lost the war; the Zanarkand that Jecht and Tidus came from. Yu Yevon's defeat means that Sin will finally disappear, along with the dream Zanarkand and Tidus.
    • Auron's confession that he's an unsent (solid ghost). It was his devotion to his previous summoner and Tidus' father that allowed him to retain his human form (and not become a fiend), so he could Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy is chalked full of revelations.
    • The Warrior of Light, the hero of the original Final Fantasy and the series very first protagonist is a clone. To top it off he's not just any clone, he's a clone of the very first (due to Retcon) Cid.
    • The narrator of the game is Cid of the Lufaine.
    • Cosmos is a clone of Cid of the Lufiane's wife. She's also shown to be Back from the Dead post game.
    • Chaos is an innocent victim of others machinations (mainly Cid and Shinryu).
  • System Shock 2: You spend roughly the first half of the game being assisted by Dr. Polito, who is your only companion, her only real flaw being she at times is a bit cold and short with you, what with the stress of all comrades dying and all. You finally enter her offices to find her slumped dead in her chair, having been Driven to Suicide long before ago...then the same voice you've been hearing mocks you for a minute, before announcing..."I am SHODAN".
  • At the very end of Episode Aegis/The Answer in Persona 3: FES, Metis reveals to the party that she and Aigis are one and the same. Metis was the "human" side of Aigis, cast out due to Aigis' wishes to be a mere machine again. If Aegis remains that way, she won't have to mourn/grieve over the loss of the protagonist, nor will she have to bear the penalties of being human. But after seeing what became of the protagonist and learning of the true nature of Shadows and Persona, she wishes for Metis to return to her. Aigis absorbs Metis and decides to stay with the SEES team, as a complete being.
    • Before that, in Episode Yourself/The Journey, Ikutsuki, the well-mannered chairman of the board with a terrible taste in puns is actually an Axe Crazy former researcher that manipulated what was effectively the last will of Eiichiro Takeba to trick SEES into bringing about the Fall.
  • Mass Effect 1 Your initial impression of the Reapers is correct. The Reveal is when you discover that Sovereign is a Reaper.
    • And the second reveal - That all the precursor technology was actually left behind by the Reapers. They did this on purpose to steer galactic civilisation down a path that makes it easier to be harvested.
    • And the final reveal - the Citadel is actually an enormous Mass Relay, used by the Reapers to travel from extragalactic space back to the Milky Way. The Conduit, the weapon Saren has been searching for, is actually a minature Mass Relay that will allow him to get aboard the Citadel, kill his way to the station's Master Control Unit, and give control to Sovereign.
    • Mass Effect 2, meanwhile, has three major ones. Firstly, the Collectors are actually the Protheans, repurposed and horifically modified by the Reapers to serve them. Secondly, the abducted humans are being used by the Collectors to build a human Reaper, revealing the reason the Reapers commit galactic xenocide every 50,000 years: it's their version of reproduction. Finally, Harbinger is a Reaper, and the Collector-General is just another Mook.
      • Turns out Cerberus and the Illusive Man actually are evil. Who knew?
  • BioShock: "Would you kindly..."
    • Shortly after: "It's time to end this little masquerade. There ain't no Atlas, kid. Never was. Fella in my line of work takes on a variety of aliases. Hell, once I was even a chinaman for six months. But you've been a sport, so I guess I owe you a little honesty. The name's Frank Fontaine."
    • Then comes BioShock 2, where you find out that Eleanor brought you back with the help of the new Little Sisters, and has been watching your every move.
    • Minerva's Den - Sigma is Porter.
    • Of course, BioShock Infinite, you find out that Comstock is an alternate version of Booker, and Elizabeth is Booker's daughter, Anna.
  • At the End of Red's Story in SaGa Frontier Red's Mentor from when he was aboard the Cygnus is the one who gave him the superpowers he used throughout the story.
  • Planescape: Torment, built as it is upon a well-crafted Laser-Guided Amnesia plot, is made of these, and doesn't stop until the very end - expect reveals about enemies, allies, old flames, rivals... even the main character. In fact, every attainable companion in the game has one of these, if you talk to them and dig deep enough.
  • Subverted in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, in which the Black Knight's true identity is spoiled to you by Ranulf rather casually a few chapters before your final showdown with him.
    • Justified when you consider that Ranulf is the resident Genre Savvy character and he didn't want Ike to become emotional or be caught off guard when he and the Black Knight finally face off.
  • The Legacy of Kain series loves this trope:
    • The ending of Soul Reaver 2, which, after the game spends a lot of time foreshadowing it, reveals that Raziel is the Reaver.
      • And... future Raziel killed past Raziel.
    • In Defiance, when it is revealed that not only did Mortanius use the powers of the Heart of Darkness, previously belonging to Janos Audron, to make Kain into a vampire, but the Heart is also inside Kain.
      • This is also a brilliant subversion of Gameplay and Story Segregation; in the first game, made by different developers, no less, where you play as Kain, the Heart of Darkness is a collectible item that does exactly what Mortanius is revealed to have used it for, but strictly in game mechanics. As long as Kain has at least one in his inventory, it's impossible to die.
    • In the original Blood Omen, the reveal was that Kain had been the Balance Guardian all along.
  • Pokémon Colosseum has a surprisingly effective Reveal: not only is Nascour not the Big Bad, as everything in the game beforehand had seemed to state, but his boss was Evice. Who's Evice? The incompetent mayor of Phenac City, who did nothing helpful through the entire game. This was very surprising, considering how Pokemon games usually made no secret of the villain and the only foreshadowing of it was Nascour casually leaving the mayor's house earlier in the game. This is done less effectively in the sequel, where it's pretty obvious Mr. Verich is the bad guy the minute you meet him.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, you'll have to wait until the 16th statue crumbles to find that yes, Dormin will resurrect your girlfriend/sister/who-knows-who-she-is. They just want to make you into an unstoppable force of darkness in return. Although, you were warned, by Dormin Themselves, no less, that the consequences would be dire, and that you're signing a waiver.
  • The biggest reveal for the Mega Man X series is that its resident Ensemble Dark Horse hero is built by Dr. Wily for the sole purpose of destroying the world, and his best friend.
  • Ghost Trick is basically a PILE of these, many of them actually subverting other reveals!. By the time the endgame rolls around, it becomes incredibly difficult to remember exactly who is who and where everybody stands. Just to name a few...
    • Sissel is NOT the main character you play as through 90% of the game. He is in fact, the main character(Yomiel)'s cat, who happened to die only seconds before Yomiel did.
    • The painter man you see in the prison is 1. Kamila's dad, 2. A former detective, 3. completely innocent.
    • Cabanela is revealed to be just a ladder-climbing apathetic perfectionist, until you find reveal that he is in fact the exact opposite of that: A man who used his high-up connections to put massive amounts of resources into the manipulator case, and that he purposefully captured Jowd and brought him to the justice minster just to stall for time. Turns out, he really does care about Jowd after all.
    • Lynne killed Sissel, except that man wasn't really Sissel at all.
    • Ray is Missile in an alternate timeline. This, combined with the fact that he can reach THREE times farther than Sissel in the Ghost World, seals his place as Badass Adorable.
  • And the Mega Man Zero series also has a big reveal: that The Hero is using a clone body, since the Big Bad stole his original body to create The Dragon.
    • Another loosely-guarded reveal that occurred at the climax of Zero 4: Dr. Weil is immortal, meaning that no matter what happens to him, he will keep coming back to menace the world.
  • Mega Man ZX, taking a page out of the Classic series, makes the villains in each game obvious right from the start (although, in the case of Advent's Master Albert, was not too obvious at first). No, the real reveal would occur in The Stinger of the latter game, where Master Thomas, previously thought to be an ally to the heroes, orchestrated Albert's defeat so that he can further his own plans.
  • Braid slowly foreshadows this, then hits you in the gut with it. The final level has Tim and the Princess, each helping the other as the Princess runs away from a knight. Then, at the end, the Princess reaches her home. Tim is suddenly locked out. All that you can do is rewind... where it turns out that the Princess is running away from Tim, each trying to stop and hinder the other as she escapes into the knight's arms. Unexpected... but logical if you think about it.
  • Neverwinter Nights is full of these. When the creepy Helmite cleric pretending to be helping is actually working to spread the plague, the scene at the top of the Host Tower where Aribeth turns to the Dark Side, Haedraline explaining the history of the Old Ones out to destroy the world of mammal-descended sentient species, the incredibly powerful ancient artifact inside the supposedly barely magical tower statue in Shadows of Undrentide, Heurodis' being a medusa at the end of the Interlude, the intended function of the Relic of the Reaper and Mephistopheles' plot in Hordes of the Underdark, etc, etc, etc.
    • Neverwinter Nights 2 has them also. Original Campaign: You have a silver shard embedded in your chest. The mysterious warlock you thought was the King of Shadows is Ammon Jerro. Mask of the Betrayer: You've become a spirit-eater. The spirit-eater is the tormented soul of Akachi the Betrayer.
  • Jak and Daxter
    • Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy: The villain introduced in the opening cutscene is Gol Acheron, the sage the duo is looking for to change Daxter back.
    • Jak II: Renegade: Haven City is Sandover Village in the future. Samos is the Shadow. Kor is the Metal Head leader. The Kid is Jak. Both Samos and Jak are from the future.
    • Jak 3: Wastelander: Damas is Jak's father; Veger separated the two. Jak's birth name is Mar. The Dark Makers were once Precursors but were corrupted by Dark Eco. The Precursors are ottsels.
    • Jak X: Combat Racing: G.T. Blitz is Mizo. Rayn was never poisoned and used the racing team to get in control of Kras City's crime empire.
    • Daxter: Kaeden is a Metal Head. The entire game is a story told by Daxter at the end of Jak II: Renegade.
  • Couple of them in the Wing Commander games, revolving around revelations of The Mole.
  • In Professor Layton and the Curious Village, near the end... Luke: "What do you MEAN 'the villagers are all robots'?!"
    • There're major reveals at the endings of the second and third games, too. In the second it's that Folsense isn't real, and the Elysian Box doesn't actually kill people. In the third, it's quite a bit more startling. You're not really in the future, and the so-called Older!Luke is, in truth, the Big Bad. Oh, and Celeste was really Claire all along. Too bad she dies anyway about two minutes after you find out. (More accurately, she died ten years earlier, just as everyone thought- it just so happened that just before she died she was thrown into the future where she got to help save the day before being forcefully pulled back to the time of the accident. Curse you, temporal mechanics!)
  • The games in the Metal Gear series have tons from beginning to end:
  • A really big one in Homeworld 2. You remember Sajuuk, worshipped by half the galaxy as the god of creation and destiny? Remember the prophecy that whoever unites the Trinity of Great Hyperspace Cores unlocks his power and becomes Sajuuk-Khar, Manipulator of He Whose Hands Shape What Is? Turns out Sajuuk is a brutally powerful Progenitor warship which only needs the cores and an Unbound controller to become flight-worthy again. Once active, it unlocks a galaxy-wide network of hyperspace gates, pushing the galaxy into a new golden age of prosperity. Also, it crossed 30 parsecs in a matter of minutes which is a staggering record for hyperdrives.
  • They're RAMPANT in Mitsumete Knight. This game thrives for a rich storyline, and a lot of events are built around and triggered by those. The game's TV Tropes Character Sheet is a testament of this, with a lot of info masked due to spoilers.
  • Jewelry Master Twinkle, a Puzzle Game with Dating Sim elements, surprisingly has one. On the third date with Kaori, the girl for Hard mode, she reveals that she's actually Nozomi, the girl for Another mode, and has been disguising herself because the real her is not very good with the opposite sex.
  • The end of inFamous reveals that the game's Big Bad, Kessler, and it's protagonist, Cole MacGrath, are actually the same person. Kessler is a disillusioned version of Cole from a possible Bad Future where humanity was nearly wiped out by the arrival of a mysterious Eldritch Abomination called "The Beast". After his family was killed, he used his powers to travel back in time in a last-ditch effort to prevent The Beast's rise to power...by making his past self's life hell so that he would be ready to fight it when the time came.
  • Played very well in the Overlord games. There are just enough hints throughout the story for the player to look back and realize it was all leading up to this without actually preparing the player for the actual reveal.
    • In the first game, the player spends the entire story killing off the heroes who killed his predecessor and claiming his new kingdom. Just as he kills the second-to-last hero, it is revealed that the previous Overlord has been using you all along to eliminate his enemies. On top of that, he's been turning all the former heroes into corrupt shadows of themselves and you are in fact one of them, who was left behind.
    • In the second game, the player battles the Glorious Empire to take a new kingdom after your father's land was destroyed by a magical explosion. Just as you move in to kill the Emperor, the useless elf that has been a minor annoyance the entire game is revealed to not only be the cause of the explosion, but also the Emperor himself who has been using you to gather the energy he needed for his final magic transfusion.
  • In Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure, the reveal is saved up for the last level of the game. The Prince actually turns out to be Puku in disguise. He reveals that Parin's entire adventure was all just a part of his plan, to meet the monsters, obtain the drill, and go to the Eggplant Caverns. He tricked the phantoms into fighting her so she would be strong enough to reach Great Fang and release Tokaron on the world.
  • In the original Ratchet & Clank, Captain Qwark is revealed to be working for Drek in an attempt to make enough money to fuel his "comeback as a hero". Which would, in turn, get him more money as per heroic deeds and sponsorships. Another reveal, which is doesn't come until the end of the game, is that Chairman Drek is NOT looking for a home for his people. He turns out to be the one who polluted Orxon from the beginning, and the building of a new planet was actually a great real estate scheme as he was being paid for "every square inch" of his new planet.
    • ''Going Commando piles on even more: the masked thief is really a she, is a Lombax like Ratchet, isn't really the Big Bad but a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and the true villain is Captain Qwark, who has taken the place of the Megacorp CEO the entire game and was manipulating Ratchet the whole time.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has many
    • Rose in particular holds a number of them.
      • She's immortal
      • She's the Black Monster.
      • She killed Dart's parents.
      • And Shana's twin sister.
    • It is implied, though never confirmed, that Haschel is Dart's grandfather.
    • That's No Moon: It's a monster whose soul is reincarnated in human form every 108 years.
    • Shana is the reincarnated soul.
      • Rose killed Shana's twin under the belief that the twin was the soul.
    • The Big Bad is Dart's father, Zieg. And Rose's ex. From before she became immortal.
    • Melbu Frahma, the Big Bad, transferred his spirit into Zieg's Dragoon Spirit, and has been possessing him ever since he tried to turn into a dragoon while Rose was wiping out the town he lived in at the time.
  • Each Sly Cooper game has one.
    • The original had Clockwerk reveal the reason he killed Sly's parents, steal the Thievius Racoonus and leave Sly alive was to show the the world that without the book, the Cooper family would be nothing.
    • The second game had a big one in that the Klaww gang members you had fought were all part of one big plan that was orchestrated by the leader of the gang, Arpeggio. What was the plan? To bring Clockwerk back to life, have Arpeggio become Clockwerk and become immortal. Also, Neyla was working for Arpeggio the whole time. But, once again, she backstabs him at the last second and becomes Clock-la.
    • And in the third game, the Big Bad Dr. M reveals that he was a part of Sly's father's gang. Apparently, Sly's father was a bit of a douche to Dr. M.
    • In Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time, one big reveal is that Penelope is working for Le Paradox, and that she stole the blueprints to Bentley's time machine, all because she resented Sly himself (despite the fact that he saved her life in the third game). Bentley did NOT take the reveal very well.
  • In Dragon Quest V the main character isn't The Chosen One prophesied to save the world. His son is. Thus it makes sense why you never ran into the legendary hero on your travels until you're far into the game: He hadn't been born yet.
  • Pick a Tales game. ANY Tales Game. There will be at least one major plotline revelation, and a good handful of revelations about your party members as well.
    • In Tales of Symphonia: The world religion is a lie. Kratos is an immortal being working for the Big Bad...and he's Lloyd's father. Sylvarant is actually only half of the world; the other half is Tethe'alla, which is locked in an alternate dimension, and competes with Sylvarant for mana. Said Big Bad is a hero from an ancient war who is using the false religion to resurrect his sister. Colette's angel transformation is a slow process of dehumanizing her so she can become a vessel for said sister. Zelos is working for Mithos and also possibly the Renegades, a rogue faction that opposes both you and Mithos's group. Regal murdered his lover, who was also Presea's sister. And Exspheres are people. Whew!
    • In Tales of the Abyss: The entire world is suspended on pillars over the Qliphoth, a lake of poisonous mud. There is one city floating in the Qliphoth, which is where Tear is from. Van was the one who kidnapped Luke, and then replicated him - meaning that Luke is a clone, and Asch the Bloody, one of Van's subordinates, is the original Luke. Van was Evil All Along. Ion and Sync are both replicas of the previous Fon Master. Replicas are created through fomicry, a forbidden art which Jade Curtiss, then Jade Balfour, invented when he was nine, and which he later tried to perfect with the help of his friend Saphir, who is now working for the enemy as Dist the Rose. He abused fomicry to try and resurrect his professor, and ended up creating an ultra-powered and ultra-crazy replica that serves as the Bonus Boss. There is a Closed Score - a segment of the world prophecy that only high-level church officials know about - that predicted the downfall of Akzeriuth and did nothing to stop it. Van apparently dies two-thirds of the way through the story, but it's revealed later that he's still alive. Natalia is not a real Princess, and her father is the enemy God-General, Largo the Black Lion. Guy is not a real servant - he's a Malkuth nobleman who joined the Fabre household with the intent to kill Luke and the rest of Duke Fabre's family, and he was originally working with Van. This is because Luke's father killed his whole family. Guy survived this event because a group of maids and his own older sister threw themselves at him as they were struck down, meaning his gynophobia stems from the trauma of spending several days buried under a pile of female corpses. Also, near the end they reveal that Luke has to die to save the world. He seemingly survives his sacrifice, but the game takes that back when it's revealed he is dying, only slowly, and so is Asch for entirely different reasons. Anybody keeping score here? Because I think we might have a record.
    • Tales of Vesperia tones that down a little, but there are still a good few to go around. Estelle can work magic without a blastia, because she's the Child of the Full Moon. Blastia - and Estelle - are causing an imbalance of aer, which will eventually cause some kind of cataclysm. The cataclysm is later revealed to be the Adephagos, a rather poorly-explained giant death octopus thing that comes out of the sky. Also, Raven and Schwann are the same person, meaning Raven has been working for Alexei all along. Oh, right, and Alexei's evil. Raven's also technically dead, and his heart was replaced with a Hermes blastia. If you do a little digging you'll discover that Hermes was Judith's father, which is why Judith feels obligated to go around destroying blastia (and because Hermes blastia use an above average amount of aer). Oh yeah, and the owner of the Nordopolica Coliseum is an Entelexeia, and some Entelexeia can take human shape.
    • In Tales of Graces: Sophie is a robot from a different planet (seriously) who was sent to kill the Big Bad Lambda, who is busy posssessing the main character's childhood friend, Richard. Richard was poisoned by his uncle and was dying by the time Lambda possessed him. Pascal is a member of an ancient and supposedly lost race called the Amarcians, who are actually just a group of engineers from Sophie's planet. Malik is originally a revolutionary from Fendel.
    • Tales of Xillia maintains the tradition. Teepo is not a conscious being. It's a booster, which is a type of technology that, among other things, empathizes with its user - so everything Teepo says is just a reaction from Elize's subconscious. Wingul also has a booster, and overusing it could kill him. Rowen was a war hero and a personal friend of King Nachtigal. The Lance of Kresnik is not a weapon - it's a key. It opens the schism, which reveals a second world, Elympios, that was sealed off from Rieze Maxia by Maxwell in order to preserve the spirits. People in Elympios have all but destroyed the spirits because they are dependent on spyrix technology, which kills spirits. Milla has a sister. Kind of. She's also not the real Maxwell, and she's also not dead, although you think she is for a while. Alvin is not from Rieze Maxia - he's from Elympios, and as such he doesn't have a mana lobe and can't cast spirit artes. Jude is also at least half Elympian, as that's where his father is from. Also Alvin is working for so many people it's impossible to keep track, but he betrays you to each of them multiple times and he's doing it all for his dying mother, who actually dies eventually because the woman taking care of her was slowly poisoning her to death. Also, Karla, that one woman everybody seems to want to hang out with in the sidequests, is Gaius's sister.
    • In Tales Of Symphonia 2 Dawn Of The New World, it is revealed in the end that the hero is actually the summon spirit Ratatosk that wanted to destroy the world as well as the clone of the scientist that was killed by Ratatosk and his personality was fabricated to protect Ratatosk's identity.
  • Hotel Dusk: Room 215 has one in the final chapter. You learn that Osterzone is actually Dunning Smith, who resolves every mystery that was brought up in the previous chapters (what happened to Bradley, where Mila's father is, how Iris' sister got the money to settle the lawsuit, etc.). Dunning himself doesn't come out and reveal his identity; you figure it out by using a coding machine while sealed inside of an airtight basement chamber that Dunning locked you in.
  • Kingdom Hearts loves this trope, especially in regards to the Big Bad.
    • KH: Maleficent was actually being manipulated by the heartless of Ansem, a researcher and the ruler of Hollow Bastion. He turned himself into a heartless in order to claim the heart of all worlds, and has been manipulating Riku as well, even possessing him.
    • Chain of Memories: Namine is a witch who controls memories, and she's been messing with Sora's memories ever since he set foot in Castle Oblivion to replace all his memories of Kairi with memories of her. The two of them had never met before.
    • KHII: Roxas is Sora's nobody. Namine is Kairi's nobody. The villian from the first game was actually the real Ansem's assistant, Xehanort, who took on his identity. DiZ and his assistant, Ansem, are actually the real Ansem and Riku.
    • 358/2 Days: Xion is an imperfect clone of Roxas.
    • Birth By Sleep: Takes the cake. Vanitas is the personification of Ventus' darkness. Aqua created Castle Oblivion from the ruins of her home world so she could hide Ventus. Xehanort is actually an old Keyblade Master who's been possessing Terra's body for the past eleven years. Ventus' heart has been living in Sora, which is why Sora can use the Keyblade. Terra passed his keyblade on to Riku, and Aqua accidentally did the same to Kairi. Finally, the reason Kairi ended up in the Destiny Islands when Radiant Garden was destroyed was because Aqua cast a spell on her to lead her towards light.
    • Re:coded: Master Xehanort will return since his Heartless and Nobody were destroyed.
    • Dream Drop Distance: Master Xehanort's master plan was to create 13 versions of himself (the true Organization XIII, made up of Master Xehanort, Young Xehanort (who is the Mysterious Figure from Birth By Sleep), Ansem SoD, Xemnas, Braig, Isa, and 7 other unknown people), all to create another Keyblade War. He planned to make Sora number 13 by weakening his heart, but that failed. Meanwhile, 7 lights (keyblade wielders, reasoned to be Ventus, Aqua, Terra, Mickey, Riku, Sora, and Kairi) are to appear. When these two sides clash, the x-Blade will be reborn, and the Keyblade War will begin once more.
  • Mother 3: The Big Bad only makes an appearance when the party's going for the final Needle... and by then you know full well who he is. Porky Minch. And he's all grown up...
    Porky: Who knows? I may be 100 years old, or even 1000 years old. But I'm still the same kid at heart!
    • And a reveal that should really shock Lucas: the Masked Man is his brother Claus.
      • Did you have to say shock?
  • Fatal Frame IV: Choushiro is a ghost, and has been dead for eight years.
  • In No One Lives Forever, in the very end of the game, there are four reveals. First: Tom Goodman is alive, and is the traitor. Second: Tom Goodman is in fact the real traitor's dragon, and is simply an impostor who was placed in after real Tom Goodman was killed. The true traitor is Mr. Smith. Third: Bruno Lawrie is alive as well. Fourth: After the end credits... we discover that the Director of H.A.R.M. is a drunk guy we've seen throughout the game.
  • The Morolians were being used by Blank all along.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky: The villainous Grovyle has finally been captured and the heroic Dusknoir is taking him away...and then he snatches you away too, because it turns out that he's the real villain and the "villain" you just helped capture was your amnesiac hero's old partner. Also you're from the future.
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 had every mission begin with text on screen telling you the name of the mission and where it was taking place. Late in the game, one of the Ranger missions starts with you in a bunker, with no text telling you where you are. You navigate through the bunker, filled with wounded soldiers, shaking violently from nearby explosions that are causing debris to fall from the ceiling, until you finally exit, go around a corner and see a war-torn Washington D.C. in flames. Only then does the title text come on screen.
    • The game wastes no time in topping this with the end of "Loose Ends". Shepherd's the Big Bad, not Makarov.
  • Call of Duty Black Ops had: My name is Viktor Reznov, and I will have my revenge!
  • The flash game "Alice is Dead" does this quite well. In the first game, you see Alice's decomposing skeleton, and it is later revealed that you are the one that killed her (although, you developed some nasty amnesia and forgot most of it.) In the third game, you go after the Queen of Hearts and get killed just as soon as you meet him. He slyly goes into his limo, only to find that there is another passenger: Alice. She was still alive the whole time, and only faked her death to make it easier to kill the Queen.
  • Big Daddy in the original Gungrave is depicted as dead throughout the game. Not quite. He was actually used as a guinea pig for Harry's undead soldier program and lives on in the form of a twisted monster—he's really the final boss of the game.
  • Team Fortress 2: "Oh my god, you're a SPY!"
  • The main character of Prototype, Alex Mercer, is trying to find out how he became the mutant with Bad Ass powers that he is. When he finally does, it turns out that he's not really Alex Mercer at all. He is the Blacklight virus that infected the corpse of the real Mercer and copied his body when he was shot after releasing the Virus on the city. The protagonist only thought itself to be Mercer because it retained some of his memories as it does with all the people it infects and consumes.
  • In Fallout 3, you get a Reveal early on: You're not a Vault baby. Which leads to the conclusion that the "no one ever enters, no one ever leaves" creed of Vault 101 is a lie.
  • In the second half of Portal 2, after listening to several recordings of late Aperture Science CEO Cave Johnson talking to a cheerful secretary by the name of Caroline, it's revealed that GLaDOS was built as an attempt by the terminally ill Johnson to cheat death by uploading his mind into an immortal AI network...and while Johnson seems to have died before the project was ready, he left instructions that Caroline should be uploaded, against her will if necessary, in his place.
  • The Orion Conspiracy has a number of reveals. The first one is that Gates is an undercover agent who has been trying to dig up dirt on the space station and gave Devlin the note about his son's death being murder. The second one is that there are xenomorphs (aliens) running loose, killing off crew members and impersonating them. The third one is that Captain Shannon murdered both Danny and Kaufmann. Why? He killed Danny as revenge for his wife's death, and he killed Kaufmann to frame Devlin. He was also going to kill Devlin. The fourth one is that Mogami-Hudson discovered the xenomorphs in statis in the asteroid and released some of them, hoping to get their technology in return. The fifth one is that Doctor Chu, Waterman, and Lowe are dead and that you were interacting with xenomorphs disguised as them.
  • Vagrant Story: Lea Monde is the Gran Grimoire. And Sydney had the key to inheriting its powers all along—the tattoo on his back.
  • In The 3rd Birthday, you are not really playing as Aya Brea throughout the game. Hint: Overdive.
  • Near the end of Dragon Age: Origins, you find out a Grey Warden must sacrifice their life to permanently kill the Archdemon. Not long after, you find out the real reason one of your companions was sent with you was to have a child with either you-if you're male-or your other Warden companion to hold the Archdemon's essence; this would also mean no Wardens would have to die.
  • At the end of Metroid: Other M, it turns out that Madeline Bergman is actually Melissa Bergman, daughter of the real Madeline Bergman, who is not actually her daughter, but an AI who took the form of a human and saw Madeline as a surrogate mother. When Madeline gave up Melissa to some scientists, she goes berserk, destroying most of the station and its occupants. You learn all of this during a seven minute long expositional monologue shared between Samus and Madeline.
  • The flash game QWOP seems so simple. Run the 100 meter dash. But about halfway through you find out you're actually running the hurdle jump.
    • And at the end you find out that it was the long jump the whole time.
  • Xenogears: OH JESUS. From the top:
    • Elly was a member of the raiding party responsible for stealing Weltall from Kislev, indirectly resulting in the destruction of Fei's home village, Lahan.
    • Grahf arranged for the raiding party to engage in battle directly over Lahan, so as to involve Fei in the conflict and begin unlocking his latent abilities.
    • Bart is actually an exiled member of Aveh royalty.
    • Citan and Sigurd are both former citizens of Solaris, the shady technocratic civilisation in the sky controlling Aveh from the shadows.
    • Chu-Chu isn't a stuffed toy, it's ALIVE!
    • Rico, a demihuman, is the sole heir to Kislev royalty.
    • The Ethos, the not-quite-Catholic religion responsible for excavating ancient weapons of war, is actually a front for Solaris' operations and their entire theology is a lie.
    • Solaris has, in fact, been running the entire surface world as a puppet show by means of kidnap, genetic conditioning and political machinations for the past several centuries. The other civilisation in the sky, Shevat, is the only force that is both aware of this and actively combating it.
    • Those Reaper enemies you've been fighting? Genetically altered people bred by Solaris as a means of merging man with machine and creating superior weapons of war.
    • Bishop Stone was directly responsible for the death of Billy Lee Black's mother.
    • Maria's father, Sergei, had his consciousness transplanted into one of Solaris' mechs.
    • Elly's mother isn't her real mother - she was born from an illicit affair her father had with a surface-dweller, meaning she's not a pure Solarian.
    • The food produced in the Soylent system is actually the reconstituted remains of human beings - that's right, Soylent Green is PEOPLE!
    • Citan was an agent of Emperor Cain, the figurehead leader of Solaris, planted to watch over Fei and lead him to Solaris.
    • Humans are not from this planet; the goal of the disembodied Gazel Ministry who rule Solaris is to inhabit the bodies of those with a high Animus factor and journey back to the stars.
    • Fei is Id - specifically, Fei has dissociative identity disorder, and the Fei we've been playing as until now is a mental construct that's only been around since he was brought to Lahan three years ago.
    • Miang is the Executioner.
    • Grahf is Lacan, an artist and warrior who suspiciously resembles Fei from the conflict 500 years ago.
    • Ramsus was created by Krelian to destroy Emperor Cain, freeing the Gazel Ministry to activate the Gaetia Key and reawaken Deus.
    • The humans on the planet of Xenogears were actually born from Deus, an interplanetary bio-weapon that crash landed there 10,000 years ago, and are actually intended as spare parts for the man-made God.
    • Miang is Deus' avatar; the "Miang-factor" exists within all women on the planet, allowing Miang to effectively possess any woman she chooses when her current host dies.
    • Miang at one point occupied the body of Fei's mother and performed horrific experiments on him when she became aware of his special status. This is what caused the personality of Id to form.
    • Fei/Id inadvertantly killed his mother when Grahf arrived at their family's house.
    • Fei and Elly are both reincarnations of passengers on the Eldridge, the ship which originaly bore Deus to the planet, who came into contact with the Wave Existence, the higher-dimensional entity which powers Deus. They've also reincarnated several times over the course of the intervening centuries...
    • ...and one of these reincarnations was Lacan, who upon losing his current incarnation of Elly, swore vengeance upon the world and became Grahf.
    • Grahf has body-hopped his way across five centuries, and the body he currently resides in is that of Fei's father, Kahn. He seeks to merge with Fei, the current incarnation of the Contact, in order to bring about the apocalypse.
    • In his moments of control, Kahn has appeared to aid Fei over the course of the game in the guise of the mysterious figure Wiseman.
    • *deep breath* And finally, Krelian's true intentions in reviving Deus were to return humanity to the higher plane of existence from which all things originate, where they would be one with the Wave Existence and all individuality would dissipate.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, the high-level offices in the abandoned databanks answer a lot of major plot questions, often taking this form. The Big Bad's motivations and the origins of the Shine are discussed and explained, among other things.
    • A few of the crew members' final interaction scenes can take this form as well, usually answering lingering questions about their character arcs. It's even lampshaded in the case of Tezkhra, where the reveal is so obvious that everyone admits they already knew it.
  • A major one near the end of The Bard's Tale. That nice princess you're supposed to be saving? She's the Big Bad. You can save her anyway.
  • Rayman Origins has the aptly named level "The Reveal", where The Magician is... well, revealed to be the Big Bad.
  • In .hack//G.U. Reminisce, Ovan finally unlocks the brace obscuring his left arm. The fans who had been expecting Corbenik found TriEdge.
  • A pair of pretty big ones happen near the end of Vay. Two of the five Sages, the ones that created the Orbs that power the Vay armor are still alive. One of them is Princess Elin (f.k.a. Elynthia, the Sage of Light), the one who was captured during the raid on Lorath at the very beginning of the game, and the other is Sadoul (f.k.a. Ardor, the Sage of Fire), the scheming Danek prince-turned-murderer-turned-Big Bad.
  • In Assassin's Creed III, for the first 3 sequences you play as Haytham Kenway, an assassin who is sent to Colonial America on behalf of his order. After spending the first act recruiting allies and assassinating a few ponces, it's revealed that Haytham is actually an Assassin who defected to the Templars, and you've just built the entire Templar Order you'll spend the rest of the game dismantling as his son, Connor.
  • Baten Kaitos I: You know how the characters have been Breaking the Fourth Wall to address you, the player, who is supposedly their "guardian spirit" and helps them in battle? It's not just for silliness: it also helps disguise the fact that The Hero is The Mole. (Yeah, the game's more than ten years old, but seriously, it's a big moment.)
  • Action Doom 2: Urban Brawl: Your kidnapped daughter is not actually yours. Your wife had an affair with the villain and it is he, in fact, who is the girl's biological father.
  • Tomb Raider 3 has one when you enter the final area, Antartica. The scientist who first tasked Lara with finding the artifacts was in fact using her the entire time so he could use the artifacts to attain godhood.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl: You begin the game recently rescued by another stalker from a lightning strike that destroyed the death truck that you were in, then transported to a bunker. You are called The Marked One by a black market trader known as Sidorovich. You then have a PDA that gives you the focused objective to "find and kill Strelok". At first, this objective is obscure and there is no mention of a particular Stalker who goes by the name yet. However, slowly you uncover the secrets of that particular Stalker while at the same time assisting the various factions of their troubles. But the revelation comes when you go to Strelok's secret hideout a second time (you must have gone there the first time and collected his important PDA, which will lead you to a specially important but minor NPC later in the game). As you climb up the ladder, you trigger an explosive tripmine and get knocked unconscious. Once you wake up from the blast, an old acquaintance known as Doctor appears and tells you that you are Strelok all along and warns you that the Wish Granter is nothing but a lie. He then tells you to find Fang's grave, another associate of Strelok's, and grab his PDA which contains a decoder that will allow you to unlock the real path to the NPP.
  • In Silent Hill 2, it's revealed that not only did the protagonist, James Sunderland, was the one responsible for his wife's death instead of her disease, she also died only a week prior to the game instead of 3 years before.
  • It turns out in The Witch's House, the Legless Girl is really Viola in Ellen's body and vice versa. It turns out that Ellen used Viola to switch out of her body in order to be loved as Viola and escape the pain she endured. To make it worse, Viola was trying to get her body back, but in the end, was killed by her own father.
  • Mario & Luigi series:
  • BlazBlue is made of this trope. The first game, Calamity Trigger, is just about figuring out the truth behind a "Groundhog Day" Loop and learning about the characters involved's motives. The reveals are as follow:
    • Ragna and Nu-13 are The Black Beast and they are also the cause of the time-loops; one time-loop's iteration of Jin Kisaragi fell through a rift in time, ended up in the past and became Hakumen; Noel Vermilion and Nu-13 are clones of Saya, Ragna and Jin's missing little sister; Rachel Alucard has Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory, works for The Powers That Be and has the Tsukuyomi Unit; Taokaka is a clone of [[WorldsStrongestMan Jubei suffering Clone Degeneration; Iron Tager is smack-dab in the middle of the plot but cannot do much as it goes against his programming; Litchi Faye-Ling used to work alongside Tager but defected because something happened with her lover, Lotte Roy Carmine; Arakune was once Lotte Roy Carmine and knows far more about what's actually going on than what his Ax-Crazy mind can comprehend; the son of Bang Shishigami's master is still alive; Carl Clover's puppet, Nirvana, is actually his sister, Ada, and Carl is borderline psychopathic; Hakumen is the Susano'o Unit, Jin from a different timeline, the leader of The Six Heroes and the man who slew The Black Beast; Nu-13 is the Calamity Trigger, and Hazama is the primary moving force behind everything bad that has happened in the BlazBlue-verse and you've just played straight into his hands.
    • In Continuum Shift we have these reveals to drop our jaws at: Ragna's BlazBlue is a fake; the world has designated Jin Kisaragi its own anti-body and considers Ragna its illness; Noel Vermilion is the inheritor of the True BlazBlue; Rachel Alucard's superiors are bad news (luckily she defects from them); Iron Tager's superior is sitting on top of a vast arsenal of nukes, is a hairsbreadth's away from fiering them, just so she can frag Terumi, and he still cannot question her; Litchi Faye-Ling has caught a bad case of The Corruption and is heading towards turning into another Arakune, out of desparation she joins the bad buys... speaking of which; Arakune manages to form a coherent sentence. He screams at Litchi to abandon her attempts of saving him and just save herself instead... Bang Shishigami has a Nox Nyctores capable of solving all problems/putting an end to the world as we know it by causing a The Magic Goes Away scenario, but he doesn't know how to use it; Carl Clover's father was the one who transformed Ada Clover into an automaton... and he has done the same to his wife... For Science! ...Hakumen named his "Tsubaki" technique after his girlfriend who died Taking the Bullet for him when he was still Jin Kisaragi; Lambda-11 harbours Nu-13's soul; Tsubaki Yayoi is wielding a prototype Murakumo; Makoto Nanaya is, or was in a previous timeline, a massive Spanner in the Works for Hazama; Platinum the Trinity is the remains of one of The Six Heroes, as is Valkenhayn R. Hellsing; Mu-12, the Sword of the Godslayer: Kusanagi, is Noel's Super-Powered Evil Side; Hazama cheated his way into winning the game again; Relius Clover is the best dad evvuhr and Carl makes him disappoint; Saya is the Bigger Bad of the series and Nu-13 is resurrecting all on her own.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Ace Attorney series, being all about very dramatic trials, has some major reveals. Perhaps the most epic is in the second game's final case, where your client, Matt Engarde, turns out to be not the killer, but the man who ordered the killing. The reveal is so awesome because he smoothes back his hair to reveal some nasty scars on his eye, changing his appearance and expression extensively, and then he pulls a glass of brandy out of Hammerspace. In a holding cell.
    • The homepage says "a buttload more informal than Wikipedia", so let's go with some more. The ending to the third game: even after Big Bad Dahlia Hawthorne has been defeated for good, there still isn't an actual suspect for the murder. After some further testimony and debate, Phoenix accuses Prosecutor Godot. What makes this a surprise is that so far there's been absolutely nothing to even suggest that person was anywhere NEAR the murder as it happened. But it's not out of nowhere; because the player has to prove they've actually been paying attention by answering "Who do you think the witness saw?" just before the Reveal.
      • Or right before that, the fact that Dahlia Hawthorne is even involved. Spirit channeling had been a sidenote until that case, so the executed Dahlia was thought to be out of the picture completely.
    • The first game's final case has two of them, in sequence. Lana Skye has already admitted guilt as your defendant, leading to a lot of suspicion as to: Why would you do that? When investigating a very obviously-related incident referred to as SL-9, you must go through the testimony of her younger sister, Ema Skye, to find out what happened. Many players here expect this murder gives the proof and motive to put the real culprit behind bars. The result? You accidentally find proof positive to the real killer in that incident: Ema. This sets up for a bigger reveal later on.
    • Throughout Ace Attorney Investigations the question we've been building up to is whether the Yatagarasu is Kay's father Byrne Faraday, as Kay claims, or Calisto Yew, as Yew claims. In the penultimate challenge of the game we find out that the answer is neither option. The Yatagarasu was actually three people—Faraday, Yew, and Faraday's partner Detective Badd, putting their respective skills together to commit the thefts. Compared to that the reveal of the Big Bad is almost minor.
  • Fate/stay night. In the Fate route Saber is revealed to be King Arthur (or Arturia), the Holy Grail is actually an Artifact of Doom Jackass Genie and that random priest at the very start is the Big Bad. In Unlimited Blade Works route Archer is actually a Future Badass version of Shirou. In Heaven's Feel route Sakura is Rin's younger sister who was given to the evil Matou family and was subjected to horrendous domestic abuse and Training from Hell for eleven years in order to become a vessel of the Holy Grail.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has its first major reveal during the Safe Ending, where you find out that Ace is Gentarou Hongou, the CEO of Cradle Pharmaceuticals and the perpetrator of the first Nonary Game. Except he isn't Zero. Zero, as revealed by the True Ending, is June, and that you've actually been playing as her, not Junpei, the whole time. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Dangan Ronpa: The corpse found in Chapter 5 is Mukuro Ikusaba's... except she's been dead for weeks now. She and Junko switched places for reasons unknown, and it was Mukuro who attacked Monobear in Chapter 1 and was killed for it. Her corpse was re-used to make it seem as though she has been recently murdered. And the person behind Monobear? The real Junko. Making this even funnier is the fact that the followers of the Something Awful Let's Play had been joking about Junko being the mastermind since the end of Chapter 3.
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has Miyo Takano being the Big Bad, and the reason why we have so many arcs. There are other reveals though, but most are in the sound novels.
    • The reason everyone goes crazy.
    • Also for the viewer/reader (and Keiichi during Atonement chapter) the big reveal of unreliable narration during the question arcs. Go watch Onikakushi-hen knowing Keiichi is delusional and the girls really are just trying to help. So many little things suddenly make sense. Plus Rika's dimension-jumping and Hanyuu's existence.
  • EP7 of Umineko: When They Cry has the series' most important reveal. Basically, Lion is an alternate universe counterpart of Beatrice, who is also Shannon and Kanon. The person who all three of these personalities belong to is in fact known as Yasu, and their gender is unknown, which unlike most examples of that trope is actually a plot point brought up in the series itself. The game facts don't seem to apply, until you consider the fact that 17 people isn't clarified by multiple identities, allowing for a murderer to exist among a population of 17 fully recognized people.
  • Sekien No Inganock: Your name is 《Kikai》Porshion, one of forty-one unborn lives.

    Webcomics 
  • There are several big ones related to the backstory in Avalon.
    • At the beginning of the second year, Ceilidh finds out from Ryan that Joe, Alan and Phoebe were all friends until Helène arrived and took Alan away from Joe, then Phoebe started dating an abusive douche named Todd, who eventually dumped her and started spreading rumours that she was a lesbian, pushing her to the breaking point and causing her to beat him up. In the end, Joe never spoke to Phoebe again and while Alan came back to him after having had enough of Helène, their friendship was already damaged.
    • Later in the same year, Joe eventually reveals that it was actually Alan who took Helène away from him, as Joe immediately fell in love with her but was too timid to ask her out, and Alan took advantage of that to make a conquest of her, reeling back when she wanted an actual relationship. He also reveals that it was him who caused Todd's injuries, pushing him down a set of stairs out of frustration and anger at hurting Phoebe, who he was also originally in love with. Afterwards, he simply never had the courage to go up to Phoebe and start their friendship up again.
    • Even later, Phoebe tells Ryan that Joe actually asked her out, but she got scared and broke his heart, then got together with Todd because Joe going after Helène made her feel like he was lying to her before. She knew what he was like all along, he even physically abused her, but she couldn't bear to admit that she was wrong, and the whole experience just convinced her that nobody could care about her. This eventually lead to her lashing out at Ryan at the start of the actual comic, when he tried to help her.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl revealed why Jessica and Rachel held so much animosity towards Tess. Lucy's confession to Mike is an in-universe example.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Antimony and Renard's first real argument quickly devolved into them throwing extremely painful revelations at each other. Specifically Surma never loved him, and Antimony was the cause of Surma's illness.
  • Sarda was Onion Kid!!!
  • Parodied in this strip from Dominic Deegan.
  • At the climax of an earlier plotline of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, it's revealed that every detail of the plotline was all part of an elaborate publicity stunt orchestrated by FOX News, or an attempt by a disgruntled weatherman attempting to keep his own report from being upstaged.
  • YU+ME: dream - when the reader finds out that everything in Part 1 has been a dream.
  • Mortifer, being more or less a Wham Series in later chapters, has plenty of these. The most notable, however, is chapter 18. William Aussek, Sam's Ensemble Dark Horse new CO, is actually Joey Von Krause in disguise. And Joey is actually a demon, with flame powers. And his eyepatch hides a gaping wound with a small light deep inside instead of an eye. And then he kills Sam, who's a viewpoint character. There are several other examples, such as the reveal that Vlademyre Hynner, Joey's old boss who was introduced in the first chapter, then forgotten, is the new leader of the southern black market, or the reveal that Badass Preacher Zebidiah is actually a demon under Vlad's control, or the reveal that Joey's hallucinations are actually Rashnu trying to get him to redeem himself, or the reveal that Joey's plan thee whole time has been to use his William Aussek identity to eliminate Sintec and the black market for good — more or less the opposite of what the audience thought he was planning, etc. etc. And what's better, all of them manage to make perfect sense in retrospect — well, except for the whole Zebidiah = demon bit.
  • The Phoenix Requiem: The spirits are the bad guys.
  • Homestuck: The most important character in Homestuck is... Gamzee Makara. Though, Lil' Cal may be more likely at this point.
    • Also, Sburb's purpose is creating universes. And the trolls created ours.
    • " YOU MADE AN UNBEATABLE BOSS IS WHAT YOU DID."
    • The Tumor is what created the Green Sun. And Doc Scratch planned it all.
    • The reveal of Lord English.
    • The 06/17/12 update. UU's real name is Calliope. She will fall asleep and her brother will wake up if she hears her brother's name, and vice-versa. She is a Cherub, a species of sociopathic loners by nature, to the point that UU pretends to be a troll because she finds them preferable to her own species in every way possible. And finally, we get to see her face. She looks like a young female version of Lord English.
    • Reveals happen pretty often in Homestuck (see the Wham Episode page for more details), to the point where Hussie has a tendency to do it pretty anticlimactically whenever the twist was guessed by too many in advance. For example, in relation to part of the above-spoilered reveal:
      But the fact that he's a slob was never exactly breaking news to anyone.
      Neither is the fact that you both share a body.
  • In Impure Blood, Dara drops her knowledge on Caspian.
  • Why is Yehuda Moon hated so much by Sister Sprocket? How did he get involved in the Kickstand in the first place? It's because he's a Soapbox Sadie, right? Actually, his work on a housing development inadvertently destroyed the forest, taking with it the Shakers' way of life with it. Selling their bikes is his way of paying penance.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del had a Running Gag involving Ethan trying to get into Scott's bedroom to see what was such a big secret that he spent most of his time there & refused to explain what he was doing, yet failing every time. And then, when he finally got inside by tricking Scott into leaving, he was stunned to find... a perfectly normal room, and got bitched at by Scott for the inasion of privacy, before Ethan accidentally knocked a lamp which opened a hidden panel in the wall hiding several computer monitors, with Scott's pet penguin, Ted, sat at them. Scott then explains they're going to release a virus that destroys all Microsoft software, because they experimented on Ted & Scott rescued him from the lab. Oh, and that made Ted super smart, and he developed a way to give himself telepathic control over Scott, with Ted being the dominant one of the two.
    • Even better though - Microsoft probably wasn't responsible for the experiments. The only reason Ted thinks they are is because he saw the Windows logo on a nearby computer screen - and HOW many people use Windows OS?
  • In Sinfest,
  • morphE starts with two people in a cavern escaping from a madwoman with a knife and a second person. 115 pages later we get a dream sequence which shows the cavern and one of the two escapees. Dead. The camera pans up and reveals Tyler, holding a bloody knife.

    Web Original 

  • In TOME, Zetto is really Kirbopher. And the leader of the hackers (alongside Kizuna), which would make Kirb the Big Bad if not for the double reveal that the hackers are not evil.
  • Broken Saints has quite a few, but the most memorable comes in at the end of the penultimate chapter. Palmer is found dead, and in a storm of Mind Rape we see the face of the real Big Bad. The hobo Raimi encountered by the alley, AKA, Lear Dunham.
  • Ruby Quest has several moments that would qualify, but the biggest is probably "Today is october 31st".
  • In Red vs. Blue's Reconstruction series, the fact that Church is the Alpha AI would definitely qualify.
    • Another reveal in Revelation: Tex is destined to fail at every single thing she tries - no matter what she does - because that's what she's based on.
    • Season 10 reveals that the AI Sigma used to belong to Carolina, and it was her decision to give him to Maine that set off the entire Recollection trilogy.
    • The very end of Season 10 ups the ante by revealing that several major characters are in fact family, which dramatically changes the events of the previous 40 or so episodes.
    • Season 12 has two for the price of one! First, Locus is working for a third party to kill everyone on Chorus. Second, Felix is revealed to be Evil All Along and working with Locus.
  • The biggest reveal in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was the fact that Stone's mother was a supervillain, and that his father abandoned him at an orphanage in order to hide him from her.
  • In the Whateley Universe, "Christmas Elves" has Fey and Generator in a trap, and they then find out that Don Sebastiano did not make Cavalier and Skybolt into his mind-slaves with his psychic powers but instead, Hekate did it with black magic.
  • In Wormtooth Nation, it's revealed that wormtooth gas, an invisible, odorless gas that causes permanent Easy Amnesia and has caused numerous problems for the protagonists, actually causes people to live forever in small doses. The entire population of the City moved down to the subterranean world in order to gain immortality, but after an unknown but presumably very long period of time everyone had been "nixed" so often that no one remembers this fact, nor the way back to the surface.
  • Andria was really Magnum of Encyclopedia Dramatica the whole time.
  • In Doom House, Officer Cop, who was initially thought to be a kind civil servant who is regarding Reginald's safety and well being as a top priority, reveals himself to be a terrorist who was only pretending to be a cop to try to get Reginald to leave the house so he could take it back from him.
  • Marble Hornets Entry #35 reveals that the Masked Man who has been stalking Jay is Tim, one of the actors from Alex's film Marble Hornets.
  • In Worm, Chapter 19.7 reveals that for the first sixteen entire story arcs, the main motivation for Tattletale's actions was to save Taylor from committing suicide.
    • A much bigger one occurs in the Interlude to Chapter 26, where it is revealed that Scion is an alien, the source of parahuman powers, and the cause of The End of the World as We Know It.
  • A recent arc on Cerberus Daily News involved a strange quarian signing up on the boards, causing everyone to suspect that she is actually one of the many psychopaths that used to frequent the website before the Reaper Invasion. But it's actually a volus trying to lure that quarian out.
  • In Strange Aeons, Nick and Arron have been friends for at least a decade.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! loves spoofing this. One example, from "The Phantom of the Telethon":
    Stan: Give it up, Roger!
    Roger: I'm not Roger, I'm the Phantom!
    (Stan pulls off his mask and gasps.)
    Stan: Roger!
    Roger: Well, yeah, I... what?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The 2-part second season finale, specifically the point where Cadence, who at this point has seemed to grow from a sweet, kindly foalsitter to a grade-A Alpha Bitch, is an evil fake in disguise.
  • The Gargoyles episode "Future Tense" ends with the revelation that the Bad Future seen in the episode was an illusion created by Puck to trick Goliath into giving him the Phoenix Gate. He knew that Oberon was about to call the Children back to Avalon, so he wanted to get his hands on something valuable that he could use to trade for his continued freedom on Earth. To get it, he tried to convince Goliath that the worst possible future had come to pass, hoping that he would be scared into using the Phoenix Gate to travel back in time to reverse it.
    • And in the "Avalon" story arc, there's the revelation that the gargoyle hatchlings saved from Castle Wyvern are still alive, as are the humans that raised them.
    • "The Gathering" story arc has a two-fold one, where we learn that Titania is Fox's biological mother, and Owen Burnett is actually Puck disguised as a human.
  • Adventure Time has a page for it. The biggest one so far is generally agreed to be Lady's revelation that she's pregnant.
  • In Kim Possible: So The Drama, Eric is a synthodrone sent by Drakken to distract Kim from thwarting his plan to Take Over the World.
  • In the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score, the reveal is that Lars is Fry's time paradox duplicate.
  • Three in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
    • First one: Zuko and Azula's maternal great-grandfather is Avatar Roku.
    • Second one: Azula for once, wasn't lying about something important. Ozai was going to kill Zuko to get the throne. However, their mother intervened and killed her father-in-law, somehow making the death look natural, and was banished because of it.
    • Third one: the reason why Katara and Sokka's mother was killed was she claimed she was the last Waterbender of the South Pole, thus protecting her daughter.
    • The comics are no slouch in this department. In The Search, at the end of the first novel, it is revealed that Zuko is not Ozai's son, but in fact Ikem's. But then Ursa reveals in the third that everything in that letter was a lie meant to mislead Ozai. Zuko really is his son.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated has a ton, relating to the show's overarching story arc about "The Curse of Crystal Cove".
    • The biggest one, set up in the very first episode, is Mr. E's true identity. As we find out late in Season 1, he's really Ricky Owens.
    • Fred's true parentage. Fred Jones Sr. took him away from his real parents when he was a baby. His real parents are Brad Chiles and Judy Reeves.
    • Angel Dynamite's true identity. She's really Cassidy Williams.
  • Operation: Z.E.R.O.. has several, all within the same period of time; Numbuh 1's Bumbling Dad Monty Uno is in fact the fabled Numbuh 0, who founded the current Kids Next Door organization. Father, the series' Big Bad, is Monty's brother, Benedict Uno, Numbuh 1's uncle (Also making Grandfather, the special's Big Bad, Numbuh 1's grandfather). The Delightful Children From Down the Lane are Brainwashed and Crazy KND operatives, Sector Z, who were permanently 'delightfulized' by Father.

    Real Life 


Releasing from the PromiseScenesScenery Porn
Released to ElsewherePlot TwistInternal Reveal
Ragtag Bunch of MisfitsMore than Meets the EyeReverse Relationship Reveal
Miracle RallyClimactic TropesStuff Blowing Up
Live-Action TelevisionScript SpeakRotating Arcs
Realistic Diction Is UnrealisticAcceptable Breaks from RealityReward from Nowhere
Rerouted From HeavenSpoilered RottenReverse Relationship Reveal
Plot ParallelUniversal TropesRing... Ring... CRUNCH
Well-Intentioned ExtremistOverdosed TropesMind Screw
Heroic MimeAwesome/Video GamesVagrant Story

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