"You know, if I Alice and Bob
was Iron Man, I'd have this girlfriend who knows my Secret Identity and is always worried that something bad is going to happen to me—but at the same time is so proud that I'm out there saving the world. She's conflicted and that only makes her crazier about me."
are talking, and Bob has decided that it's time to come clean. He's going to tell her his dark and terrible secret. This secret could be one or more of any number of unpleasant or shocking or dumbfounding things. Maybe Bob is secretly a crime fighting vigilante
, or a spy
, or some kind of superbeing in disguise
, or The Mole
, or maybe he really likes reggae music.
Whatever the secret is, it's going to be something that causes Alice to see Bob in an entirely new light, and totally reinterpret much of Bob's behavior.
Bob spills his guts. Alice is surprised, initially, but her surprise does not turn into shock, horror, fear, disbelief, or hatred. Instead, Alice... glomps Bob
and commences chewing on his face. The Reveal
is apparently a massive turn on for Alice.
People can react in all sorts of odd ways to unexpected news, but The Reveal Prompts Romance stands out as the most positive. Instead of feeling alienated from the person who made The Reveal
, they feel closer instead. The reason for this is most likely that such a disclosure immediately creates a sense of intimacy between the two people. The person receiving the disclosure may also feel special and connected to the one disclosing for having been chosen. The more UST
Alice and Bob have before The Reveal the more this makes sense, and visa versa.
Most often the set up is the male hero
(who is doing the reveal) and female (who is responding with romance) lead
of a story, right before or right after the climax. Who initiates the "romance" after the reveal varies, but it's never non-consensual.
Sex is not always involved
, nor even necessarily a make-out session, but there's always some sort of "They Do
" moment. This trope is one means by which writers may achieve red-string strangulation,
or a Last Minute Hookup
. A reveal that involves displaying a physiological abnormality may prompt a Freakiness Shame
This trope may overlap with Gender Reveal
, which involves revealing a character's true gender.
Compare Secret Keeper
which is what Bob is trusting Alice to be with The Reveal. Contrast You Make Me Sick
, My God, You Are Serious
, and I'll Kill You!
for less friendly reactions to The Reveal
- There are numerous superheroes who have unmasked themselves to a boyfriend or girlfriend and then immediately made out. Sometimes they do this several times with different people. Heroes on this list include:
- Spider-Man is actually kind of a subversion. When the reveal happened with Mary Jane, it was MJ revealing she actually knew already, not Peter telling her, and it wasn't what sparked them getting together (they had already dated in the past). Being able to open about it did bring them closer and they did get back together shortly after that, but it wasn't like Peter being Spider-Man was the thing she loved most (if anything she'd rather just had Peter without having to worry about him getting killed).
- Dragaera: This is essentially how Vlad Taltos got to know Cawti. After learning who she was on their second meeting (their first meeting being an attempt on his life by Cawti), he climbed directly into her bed.
- Smallville: Lois was already attracted to Clark (and also already knew of his Secret Identity), but when he finally tells her he's the Blur she runs up to him and lays a big slobbering kiss on him.
- Knights of the Old Republic has a variant for the Gay Option. Play female, and Juhani may become attracted to you. Then, it's revealed that Revan (you) were her rescuer and inspiration for picking up a lightsaber in the first place, as well as an infamous Sith Lord who very nearly toppled the Republic. Her quiet crush becomes much more obvious.
- You can do this in Jade Empire if you want to romance Silk Fox. You can start flirting with her immediately after she tacitly reveals that she's the Emperor's daughter in addition to being a kunoichi-esque vigilante. Bear in mind that she tried to kill you during your first meeting.
- Tokimeki Memorial 2 has an inversion: when Kaori Yae finally confess her Dark And Troubled Backstory to the main protagonist (i.e. the player) in her storyline's mandatory Event, it unlocks her full Tokimeki Mode, along with an enormous boost in Love Points, enough to easily get her Love Confession at the end of the game.
- Played straight and then inverted by the final strips of Bite Me! when Claire finally reveals her full backstory to Lucien. Claire has been flirting with him for the entire comic, but Lucien doesn't really reciprocate until after she's done explaining herself. He starts to indicate a hesitant attraction to her... and then she jumps on him.
- In The Descendants, Warrick is forced to reveal is identity as Alloy to his girlfriend by an attacking villain. She instantly kisses him passionately. Later explained as her being greatly relieved that she doesn't have to explain to Warrick how his apparent idol, Alloy has been hitting on her.
- In X-Men: Evolution, the demon-looking mutant Kurt (during this time in the show, the existence of mutants is still a secret and Kurt hides his appearance with a hologram) is asked to a school dance by normal student Amanda. During the dance, she reveals to him that she knows how he really looks, and seeing him without the disguise made her intrigued. They become a couple.