Playing With / What Measure Is a Mook?

Basic Trope: The Big Bad is given more mercy than his/her minions.
  • Straight: The Hero Alice refuses to kill Emperor Evulz but has no qualms about the hundreds of guards she had to kill to get there.
  • Exaggerated: Alice slaughters Evulz's entire army, including those who surrendered or offered to change sides. Then when she reaches the throne room, she just turns and leaves.
  • Downplayed: Most of the mooks are taken out off screen, so the audience doesn't see Alice mowing them down in hordes. When she encounters the Big Bad, the audience doesn't really have any memory of the mooks to compare him to.
  • Justified:
    • Evulz surrendered; the mooks didn't.
    • Alice is from a culture where regicide is outlawed, even in times of war.
    • Evulz was not the one she was trying to kill. Alice was very much trying to kill the guards the whole time, but still had to face down Evulz.
    • Alice can justify killing Mooks in the heat of battle, but can't justify a more premeditated act against Evulz.
    • The mooks were non-sapient robots or undead. They were mere tools as opposed to Evulz who was actually a person.
    • "They were gonna shoot me! What was I supposed to do, let them kill me?!"
  • Inverted: Alice goes through incredible lengths to ensure that none of the guards are fatally injured, but cuts loose as soon as she starts to fight Evulz.
  • Subverted: Alice contemplates sparing Evulz, but instead decides to treat him the same way as his minions.
  • Double Subverted: ...only for Evulz to guilt-trip her into sparing him anyway.
  • Parodied: Alice proudly proclaims to Evulz that she would never kill anyone... while surrounding by the dying mooks she just cut through.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Alice's treatment varies per villain. For Awful Adam she refuses to harm his mooks even when they are hurting her. The reason she does so is because they are mind controlled innocents. However shows him no mercy when she finally reaches him. Baneful Bob and his soldiers she slays with no second thoughts. Crazy Charlie's puppets get plowed through but is shown mercy. Dark Dan she cuts through his mooks and was going to spare him until he admitted how much he enjoyed killing her little sister.
    • Alice is fine killing mooks if they attack her, but when she sees the main villain execute mooks for their failure or god forbid for the funzies, she gets enraged at his cruelty and callousness toward his underlings.
  • Averted:
    • Alice has no qualms killing either the guards or their boss.
    • She refuses to kill anyone, whether they're the villain or a mook.
  • Enforced: In a game, a quirk of the ratings system allows for killing of Faceless Mooks but killing actual characters counts.
  • Lampshaded: "So warlords are to be spared but no mercy for their levy soldiers?"
  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: Evulz breaks Alice by pointing out that she's pretty much responsible for a mass murder, and thus, she is in no position to be lecturing him on moral behavior.
    Evulz: "Hell, at this point, I might be the good guy."
  • Defied: Alice's friend Bob calls her out for giving mercy to Evulz when the guards they just slaughtered deserved it far more.
  • Discussed:
  • Conversed: Bob and Dan watch a supehero movie featuring Super Alice mowing down mooks, and comment that that kind of behavior would be terrible in real life.
  • Played For Laugh: None of this is real we're seeing Alice and Bob's gameplay, and, since Bob is in charge of Evulz's character and that those were, in a way, his mooks, he starts bickering with Alice about it.
  • Implied: Alice is shown with Evulz captured and his base exploding but his mooks are no where to be seen when she exits.
  • Deconstructed: Alice's lack of mercy towards the guards is a sign that she's starting to become more like Evulz.
  • Reconstructed: However the treatment of the mooks turns out to be not unjustified given that they commit countless war crimes for no reason other than their selfish enjoyment. Evulz, meanwhile, was a Well-Intentioned Extremist.

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