Follow TV Tropes

Following

Disc One Final Boss / Live-Action TV

Go To

Disc-One Final Bosses in live-action TV.


  • 24: Begins each season with henchmen taking orders from a boss, who reports to yet another boss, and so on until we meet a boss of sufficient charisma to drive the rest of the season. Played especially straight in Season 1, where the creators prepared for the possibility that they wouldn't be allowed to bring the season to its proper close and set episode 13 up to be capable of serving as a finale if need be, with Ira Gaines serving as the final boss.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
      Advertisement:
    • Season 2's faux Big Bad Daniel Whitehall...AND IS HE EVER! In the midseason finale, he has the bridge unceremoniously dropped on him when Phil Coulson simply shoots him in the back before Cal can give him a well-deserved Karmic Death.
    • Grant Ward when Season 3's midseason finale ends among other things with Coulson beating Ward down, and then using his robotic hand to crush Ward's rib cage. But this just provides an opening for the season's true Big Bad, Hive to escape his imprisonment back to Earth now in possession of Ward's body.
    • Season 4 has a whole slew of these. It spends the first several episodes building up Lucy Bauer as the main antagonist, in her quest to free herself of her ghost state no matter the cost. However, in Episode 6, she's destroyed by the Ghost Rider, paving the way for Eli Morrow to use her experiments for his own goals. He's soundly defeated several episodes later, at which point Holden Radcliffe takes over as main villain for a while, before eventually being stabbed in the back by his robotic assistant AIDA, who takes his resources for her own ends, taking over as the Final Boss of the season.
    • Advertisement:
    • Season 5's first major villain is Kasius, the leader of the Kree occupation force ruling the remains of Earth in 2091. While a major threat, he's killed midway through the season, right before Team Coulson manages to return to the present in an attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • The back half of Season 5 has General Hale, the last remaining leader of HYDRA. Determined to stop the coming of Thanos, she hunts Team Coulson to try and force them to help her in the creation of a Person of Mass Destruction powerful enough to fend off Thanos' armies. However, this culminates in giving Gravity Master powers to Glenn Talbot, who is driven mad by their new powers and kills Hale, becoming a greater threat to Earth than Thanos in the process.
  • American Horror Story: Freak Show: Many viewers did not expect for Twisty the Killer Clown to be killed off in Episode 4, after being billed as a main antagonist.
  • Advertisement:
  • Angel: The Beast appeared to be the major force of destruction that all the prophecies warned about, and it took the characters quite a while to figure out that it was working for a supernatural being more powerful than itself — and longer still to figure out the identity of this more powerful Big Bad. In fact, the Beast even manages to be a Disc One Final Boss to ITSELF. After discovering that Angelus has knowledge of the Beast that has been retconned out of all memories and records on Earth through powerful magic, they enlist the help of a mystic who creates a dream sequence in which they find a magical sword that can kill the Beast, so that Angel will experience the perfect happiness needed to bring Angelus back. So Dream Beast bites the dust... and then Angelus awakens and the Beast still needs to be dealt with. With the added fun of having Angelus around.
  • Arrow does this a few times:
    • Season 2's flashback storyline has as its main antagonist Dr. Anthony Ivo. However, about two-thirds through the season his actions trigger Slade's Start of Darkness, leading to him overthrowing Ivo and taking control of his resources.
    • In Season 3's flashbacks, we apparently have a Big-Bad Ensemble between China White and Amanda Waller. But later on, the former is arrested, while the latter turns out to be eclipsed by General Shrieve.
    • The first major villain introduced in Season 5 is gang leader Tobias Church, who unites the criminal organizations of Star City and seems set up as the main threat Team Arrow will have to face down. However, it only takes them five episodes to take him down and then he's killed by the real Big Bad, Prometheus.
    • In Season 6, the first major antagonist is crime boss Ricardo Diaz, who seems set up as a possible Big Bad, until it turns out he's part of the Legion of Doom led by the real Big Bad, Cayden James. And then, it turns out it was actually James who was the decoy — Diaz had been manipulating him as part of his own plans all along.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Avoided in the fourth season. Just six episodes into the season, the Shadows are persuaded to leave the galaxy and never come back. "Aha," the audience thinks, "we've only just started the season, so we must see them again at some point." No, we don't. They really are gone. Much of the rest of the series deals with cleaning up what they left behind.
    • Played straight with the main villains of the first season — the Raiders get taken out by the Shadows when they first show up, and the Home Guard terrorists become irrelevant once President Clark, who supports their ideology but has far superior power and resources, takes office.
  • Battlestar Galactica: During the first half of the first season, the "Skinjobs" running the Cylon force seem to be operating on an equal footing, with no hierarchy and all decisions made collectively. Then we are introduced to D'Anna, aka Cylon Model 3. The next time we see 3 interacting with other Cylons, she seems to be taking a more dominant role — the majority of aggressive decisions are made by her, and other Cylon models seem rather intimidated by her presence. Then the season 2 finale introduces Brother Cavill, aka Model 1, who, amongst other things has the entire Model 3 line 'boxed' when D'Anna sees the faces of the final five, and quickly becomes the dominant model (at least, amongst those who don't side with the humans in Season 4), firmly establishing himself as the Big Bad.
  • Blindspot: The first half of Season 1 builds up CIA Deputy Director Tom Carter as the main antagonist, as he does everything in his power to cover up his connection to Operation Daylight, including making repeated threats against Jane Doe. Come the midseason finale, and he's unceremoniously dealt with when he abducts and attempts to kill Jane, only for her handler Oscar to burst in and gun him down.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • In the third season, "The Cousins", a pair of Salamanca Cartel enforcers who sneak across the border hoping to kill Walt and Hank, are introduced in the season opener and set up as the season's biggest threat. Midway through Season 3, in "One Minute", they're both betrayed by Gus Fring — leading to their deaths, and setting Gus up as the Big Bad of Season 4 as he begins plotting Walt's demise.
    • Season 5 builds up towards what is implied to be the ultimate confrontation between Walt and Hank, only for Hank to be murdered near the start of the third-to-last episode. Walt's final opponents are actually Hank's killer Jack, his neo-Nazi crew, and Lydia.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The fandom refers to these guys as "Little Bads." They show up early on during the season and cause a great deal of trouble for Buffy and crew, but get incapacitated or killed off sometime after the season's midpoint, after which the real Big Bad of the season takes center stage.
    • Happens twice in Season 2 alone; first the Anointed One, who takes charge after the Master's defeat, who himself is killed by Spike a few episodes in. Spike and Drusilla then cause the main trouble of mid-season two. Spike reappears crippled in episode 13, and in the very next episode, Buffy and Angel have their little moment of romance, which triggers Angel's Curse Escape Clause and results in the reemergence of Angelus, who becomes the Big Bad for the rest of the season.
    • Mr. Trick in the third season is more of a fake Dragon. He joins up with The Mayor shortly after his arrival in Sunnydale, but is killed by Faith, who takes over his position with the Mayor.
    • In season 4, Dr. Walsh and the Initiative filled the early villain role, though Dr. Walsh wasn't actually out to get Buffy until she became too much of a threat to the Initiative's plans. Then episode 13 comes along, in which Walsh betrays Buffy and is subsequently killed off by the true Big Bad, Adam.
    • In the 6th season, Warren and his two cohorts appear to be the Big Bad for the season... right up until Warren shoots through a second-floor window while trying to kill Buffy, and the bullet meant for her kills Willow's girlfriend Tara instead. This proves to be a colossal mistake, as Willow snaps out, kills Warren, goes after his buddies, and then tries to destroy the world.
    • In an example that doesn't follow the formula, in the first episode of the 5th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dracula is introduced in such a way to make it appear that he'll be a major force in the season, especially with his ability to reform after being killed... then leaves Sunnydale forever at the end of the episode. The actual Big Bad, Glory, shows up in episode 5. In a particularly elegant example of misdirection, the entire ad campaign that had been running in the weeks leading up to the premiere played up Dracula as the season's Big Bad. This was really a cross-promotion with the Vlad miniseries on a neighboring station owned by the same conglomerate.
    • In Season 4, after Adam (who is the only Big Bad who is killed in an episode other than the finale) is defeated, the spirit of the first slayer acts as a threat for the final episode of the season, as she believes Buffy has too many shortcomings to do her job properly.
  • Burn Notice: The third season sets up Psycho for Hire Gilroy as the scary Big Bad for most of the season. Then, the episode right before the finale, he's killed and Simon — who was more-or-less a living MacGuffin beforehand — turns out to be the real villain.
  • Chuck: In season one and two, we have the leaders of FULCRUM, towards the end of season two we have their main boss, Ted Roark, and in season three we have his boss, The Director, while Shaw becomes the Dragon Ascendant for the last half of the season. Then in the last four episodes of the series, it's discovered that Nicholas Quinn was secretly the driving force behind FULCRUM and the Ring.
  • Defiance:
    • Nicolette is set up in the pilot as the Big Bad, being behind both the Volge attack and the conspiracy to get at whatever is buried underneath Defiance. However, near the end of the season, Doc Yewll decides she's gone too far past the Moral Event Horizon and kills her, making it look like suicide. This now leaves Datak, the corrupt Earth Republic (represented by Colonel Marsh), and possibly Yewll herself as potential Big Bads.
    • As of the season finale, Datak was reduced to being Colonel Marsh's puppet and killed him in retaliation, meaning the E-Rep will probably kill/arrest him and Stahma, while Yewll turns out to be The Atoner. So it looks like the Earth Republic as a whole will be the Big Bad after all.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The serial "The War Games" has a series of villains of increasing threat, but once the War Chief shows up, you're sure it's him... and then the Time Lords execute and exile the Doctor. (Indeed, the War Chief turns out to merely be the Dragon/Starscream to the War Lord, resulting in the last two episodes consisting of the War Lord killing the War Chief and the Time Lords killing the War Lord before they turn their attention to the Doctor.)
    • "The Invasion of Time" is a particularly effective example. The serial deals with the Doctor's fight against the Vardans, which plays out over four episodes (the most common length of a serial) and reaches a clear conclusion at the end of episode four with a typical final scene full of goodbyes, when suddenly the Sontarans show up, revealing the entire Vardan invasion to be a set-up to disable the defense system, and the serial continues for an additional two episodes.
    • In "The Long Game", the evil owners of Satellite Five are destroyed, with the implication that mankind's development will speed up after the Editor and the Mighty Jagrafess stunted it. Instead, it's revealed in "Bad Wolf" that the Daleks have been behind everything, and were deliberately keeping humanity's development stunted so they could harvest humans to grow their numbers.
    • The spinoff Class has this as well. The Big Bad of the first season is Corakinus, king of the Shadow Kin. He's killed off in the first season finale when Charlie uses the Cabinet of Souls to eradicate his species, making way for the real antagonists: the Governors and their employers — the Weeping Angels. Unfortunately, the show's cancellation after one season prevented any kind of resolution.
  • Doctor Alchemy is the main antagonist for the first half of the third season of The Flash (2014). The heroes have to track him down and stop him as he collects people, gives them the powers they had in the Flashpoint timeline with the Philosopher's Stone, and incorporating them into his army. It then turns out that he's doing this on the behalf of a villain named Savitar, and later that he actually is Savitar by way of Savitar possessing Julian Albert with the Philosopher's Stone. After the heroes take the Stone, Savitar is unable to resume playing Alchemy.
  • FlashForward (2009): D. Gibbons/Dyson Frost. Not only was he not the real Big Bad, but he was actually trying to defect to the heroes' side in order to prevent the impending apocalypse. Too bad he got shot.
  • Game of Thrones has a number of Arc Villains in its various storylines that all eventually get defeated. However, there are a few villains who are teased at having a larger impact than they ultimately do:
    • Viserys Targaryen is set up as a major threat, only to die at the end of the sixth episode of Season 1.
    • Soon after Khal Drogo declares his intention to Rape, Pillage, and Burn all of Westeros, but quickly dies due to an infected wound.
    • Season 8 has two examples. The Night King is the Greater-Scope Villain for the series, the threat of whom is built up from the very first scene. Him and the White Walkers are defeated halfway through the final season, leaving Cersei as the Big Bad for the remainder of the season. However she and her forces are killed just one episode before the finale and Daenerys is revealed to be the Final Boss of the series after finally Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • In Gen Sei Shin Justiriser, Kaiser Hadess is killed at the halfway point. His brother Majin Daruga then becomes the true Big Bad.
  • Kamen Rider Stronger has the Black Satan organization as the villains for the first half until they're defeated by Kamen Rider Stronger. After their downfall, their former top lieutenant General Shadow steps in with his Delza Army to begin menacing Stronger. And then in the final arc, Shadow gets usurped by Marshal Machine, who is revealed in the final few episodes to be working for the Great Leader.
  • Kamen Rider Super-1 has the Dogma Kingdom as the villains for the first half up until Super-1 takes them out, at which point Jin Dogma steps in and becomes the faction opposing Super-1.
  • Kyoji Murakami is the one instigating the Orphnochs' campaign to wipe out humanity for most of the series, up until the final episodes, where Murakami gives his life to help awaken the Orphnoch King. Other foes like Yuji Kiba and Kitazaki also briefly take the spot at this time, though they are eclipsed by the power of the Orphnoch King.
  • Similar to example above, Hiroshi Tennoji is the one responsible for the fake Undead fight and eventually fuses with his creation Kerberos to take the heroes head on, but he is killed in the final few episodes by the Giraffa Undead, and the Joker Undead becomes the final threat of the series.
  • The Worms are the villain for most of Kamen Rider Kabuto, but after most of their kind are wiped out, Mishima and the Native Worms step up to instigate their plans.
  • Ryubee Sonozaki is the villain for most of Kamen Rider W, [[spoiler:but he dies three episodes before the final episode, at which point Ryubee's benefactors Foundation X come onto the scene and try to complete Ryubee's plans, with Foundation X researcher Jun Kazu serving as the main threat to the heroes for the rest of the series. It's worth noting that Kazu only gets brought down in the penultimate, and the final episode focuses on a street gang as the main villains, though Kazu is still the last major villain faced by Double and the final episode serves more as an epilogue showing what happened to the heroes after the final fight.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim has Takatora Kureshima; as the head of the Yggdrasil Corporation, he rules over Zawame City with an iron fist and has open portals into the Forest of Helheim from which the Invase come, and as Armored Rider Zangetsu he's more powerful and experienced than any of the other Riders and can beat any of them without breaking a sweat. Ultimately it turns out that he's not a villain at all, but is doing everything he can to save humanity — including shouldering difficult burdens like the fact that Yggdrasil can only save about one billion people at best. When Kouta discovers a way to potentially save everyone, Takatora gladly agrees to team up with him...just in time for his traitorous lieutenants to back-stab him and seize power.
  • Kamen Rider OOO: Kazari had been the main villain most of the series, and if not him, then the Greeed as a whole. Then towards the final act, Dr. Maki takes the role by force and killed Kazari.
  • Kamen Rider Drive has the Heart Roidmude as the Big Bad for most of the series, only for Mad Scientist Tenjuro Banno]] to force Heart into an Enemy Mine with the Kamen Riders once he's revived.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: Chikara Saionji is the villain for the first part of the series, up until he's killed by the Monolith for attempting to make an evil wish with it. Alain of the Ganma then takes center stage, only to be ousted when his older brother Adel frames him for the death of their father and usurp the Ganma throne. Adel himself later gets usurped by the true Big Bads, the Gammaizers.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Kuroto Dan/Kamen Rider Genm drives the plot for the early part of the series, gathering data so he can create the "ultimate game", Kamen Rider Chronicle, as part of his raging God complex. Then, as Chronicle nears completion, his Dragon Parado kills him and takes the game for himself. The heroes end up having to revive Kuroto as a Bugster because his programming skills are indispensable, and he becomes an uneasy ally and source of humor (mostly by making fun of or deflating his God complex and egotistical ravings). However, the Another End Post-Series Movies promote him to Big Bad once more by pointing out that he was never reformed, just pulling an extended Enemy Mine, and that he can only be trusted so far.
  • Kamen Rider Build has a lot of these. Night Rogue is the one menacing the heroes initially until he's overshadowed when Hokuto invades Touto. Hokuto is then conquered by Seito, who try to take Touto immediately afterward. Seito soon gets taken over from the inside by Namba Heavy Industries, who are later wiped out by the true Big Bad Evolto, once he regains his full power.
  • Lost: At first, it looks like Tom Friendly was the show's Big Bad, only to have him be reduced to the role of The Brute in the Others' villainous group under supposed Big Bad Benjamin Linus, who in-turn was the alleged Dragon to Jacob. Jacob, it turns out, is actually the Big Good, and the real-true-honest this time Big Bad is an entity so far only known as "The Man in Black" / "The Smoke Monster". Other pretenders to the Big Bad throne include Charles Widmore, Alvar Hanso, and Richard Alpert.
  • Luke Cage: Midway through the first season, the apparent Big Bad, Cottonmouth, is killed. Enter Diamondback as the new Big Bad, who until that point had only been mentioned in passing a couple times.
  • Merlin (2008): In the first season finale, Arthur and Merlin go up against the Questing Beast. Merlin kills it before the ten minute mark, and the rest of the episode revolves around the fatal wound that it delivers to Arthur.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Regina, the Big Bad of Season 1, is ultimately forced into an Enemy Mine with Emma in the finale to help her take down the Final Boss, Dragon Maleficent to save Henry and she ends up outsmarted by Greater-Scope Villain Rumplestiltskin.
    • Cora was a major threat throughout all of Season 2 much like her daughter. However, near the end of the season, she gets killed off by said daughter accidentally and is replaced by Tamara and Greg.
    • Zelena acts as the main antagonist in Season 3b until she is defeated in the episode before the two part finale. The only role she has in the finale is opening the time portal that set the plot in motion.
    • Ingrid the original Snow Queen redeems herself and dies in the process, leaving Rumplestiltskin as the Final Boss in Season 4a.
    • Every main antagonist in Season 4 is this to the Eldritch Abomination known as the Darkness. In fact, some of the Big Bads aren't even defeated but walk away free, such as Ursula halfway through, and Maleficent in the penultimate episode.
    • In Season 5a, Dark One!Emma Swan and King Arthur end up becoming this to both Nimue and Dark One!Hook, as they end up being even more dangerous.
    • Played with in Season 5b, as despite Hades being obliterated in the penultimate episode with Rumple and Mr. Hyde acting as the replacements, it comes off as a Post-Final Boss ensemble, with neither of them being anywhere near the level of Hades - plus Hades' destruction ends the story arc of the season, the finale existing to set up the next one.
    • Mr. Hyde is played up as the Big Bad of Season 6 alongside the Evil Queen. He's killed off in episode four. And as it turns out, the Evil Queen herself is just a small fry compared to Gold and Belle's now-adult son Gideon (who defeats her in seconds) and his grandmother the Black Fairy, both who serve as the Final Boss for Emma's story as a whole, Gideon unwillingly.
    • Season 7 has two. Lady Rapunzel Tremaine (AKA Victoria Belfrey) is revealed to not be the one who cast the new curse - it was her daughter Drizella (Ivy Belfrey), using Regina's blood and being motivated out of Revenge towards her abusive mother. Drizella links Eloise Gardner's disappearance to being kidnapped by Tremaine, who is arrested. Then Drizella's partner, Mother Gothel (Eloise's actual identity), reveals that she was playing both of them and imprisons them together while using Drizella's sister Anastasia to help her locate the rest of the Coven of the Eight. Both Rapunzel and Drizella pull a Heel–Face Turn (Rapunzel dies doing so, saving the daughter she once hated), while Drizella swears to stop Gothel and save Anastasia with Henry's help.
  • Power Rangers:
    • In Power Rangers S.P.D., Emperor Gruumm is played as the main villain for the first half of the series, then starts making veiled references to a "Magnificence" which he worships. Only in the final episode is this revealed to be "Omni", a giant malevolent brain which Grumm has been secretly serving as lieutenant.
    • There's also several instances of the Big Bad not being the Big Bad, but getting taken out about 1/3 of the way through the season. Diabolico and Morticon were this way. If the main villain is defeated too early in the series, sometimes he gets better, but sometimes someone else comes along. And sometimes someone else comes along, and the disc one boss gets better later.
    • Mystic Force has three discs, each with its own boss. Of course, the player knows from the beginning that they all answer to a Greater-Scope Villain whose eye is seen at the very bottom of the lair.
    • Megaforce has Admiral Malkor as disc one, Vrak as disc two, and Prince Vekar as disc three. They all are subordinate to Emperor Mavro.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge. For the first half of the season Sledge is the Big Bad in charge of the prison ship and sending his prisoners down to earth to collect the Energems. After Tyler invades the ship and causes it to crash Sledge is seemingly destroyed and Heckyl (who was introduced the episode before) and his split personality Snide become the Big Bads for Super Dino Charge. However by episode 13 Lord Archanon, the Greater-Scope Villain of the season arrives and usurps Heckyl/Snide's authority and takes over as the seasons main threat. ... For five episodes after which Sledge, who it turns out was Faking the Dead, returns and uses the Dark Energem to destroy Lord Archanon thus becoming Big Bad again for the remainder of the season.
  • Primeval: Christine Johnson is the most prominent threat of series 3, only to be killed off in the second-last episode and replaced by Helen Cutter, who poses an even bigger threat.
  • Revolution: For most of the first season, General Sebastian "Bass" Monroe and Randall Flynn have proven to be serious threats, the former in charge of his own republic along with men and weapons, and the latter having the inside track to getting the power back on along with power pendants that he supplies Monroe with from episode 11 onward. The first season finale first has Bass running off without any power, and his Republic is taken over by his former subordinate Tom Neville. Second, it has Randall, upon the power being turned back on, using the opportunity to launch Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to wipe the Monroe Republic and Georgian Federation off the face of the earth, and then committing suicide with his own gun. Finally, it turns out that Randall had been working for the U.S. government in exile all along, and now that he has completed his mission in getting the power back on, the government intends to come back into the U.S.A. and take back what's theirs.
  • Smallville: Slade Wilson is a General Ripper who causes serious problems for the main cast in the first half of Season 10, leading the Vigilante Registration Agency in its attempts to force Superheroes to comply with the VRA's dictates. He kidnaps members of the Justice League and subjects them to Cold-Blooded Torture, nearly kills Clark with Kryptonite, and kills Hawkman in a Sword Fight right before being trapped in the Phantom Zone by Clark. Yet despite this list of achievements, he's still the Unwitting Pawn of Darkseid, and his defeat marks the foiling of only a part of the true Big Bad's plans.
    • Both Brainiac and Lex fill this role in Season 8. They're both major villains from previous seasons who return to the show after a huge plot build-up, inflicting massive damage in the process. Brainiac drives most of the plot in the first half of the season, before being defeated in episode 11. Then, just as everyone is getting their breathing back to normal, Lex re-emerges, permanently ruining Clark and Lana's relationship and nearly taking half of Metropolis with him before being uncerimoniously blown up by Oliver. It's shortly afterwards that the real Final Boss emerges: Doomsday, whom both had considered little more than a pawn.
    • Season 10 has another example right at the beginning: while Clark is hovering between life and death after his battle with Zod in the previous season finale, Jor-El warns him of a coming evil, and he has a vision of what appears to be Lex. Returning to life, he is then confronted by a demented, deformed clone of Lex, who he quickly defeats — only to find out that Jor-El didn't give a damn about the clone. He was talking about Darkseid.
    • Lionel Luthor is this in Season 4. Having gone to prison at the end of Season 3, he spends the first half of Season 4 screwing with the cast from behind bars. After his release, one would expect him to pick up where he left off. Instead, he makes an attempt at going straight, and Geneveive Teague takes over as Big Bad.
  • Sons of Anarchy: Lee Toric in season 6. After being set up as the Big Bad at the end of season 5 and driving the plot for 4 episodes of season 6, he is killed off suddenly and the focus shifts to the club's conflict with Irish and Tyne Patterson's attempt to take down the club.
  • Supernatural:
    • Crowley, having become King of Hell during the Time Skip between Seasons Five and Six, seems set up to take over the role of Big Bad. However, halfway through the season, he's killed off by the Winchesters and Castiel. Now, the role of Big Bad seems to be falling to the newly introduced being known as "The Mother of All". However, in "Mommy Dearest", just a few episodes before the season finale, not only is the Mother killed, but we discover that Crowley is still alive. So, this is a case of the apparent Disc One Final Boss turning out to be the true Big Bad after all, with the person we thought was the Big Bad turning out to actually be the Disc One Final Boss...anyone got anything for a headache? And then, in the season finale, it turns out that Crowley, the Mother, and Raphael were all Disc One Final Bosses to Castiel of all people, who ends the season by declaring himself the new God and demanding that the heroes bow down to him.
    • Bartholomew, Malachi, Abaddon, and Metatron are set up as a Big-Bad Ensemble for Season 9. Castiel kills Bartholomew in "Captives", Malachi is infamously mentioned to have been Killed Offscreen by Gadreel in "Holy Terror", and Dean kills Abaddon in "King of the Damned", leaving Metatron as sole Big Bad.
    • Season 10 sets up Rowena, Crowley, and Metatron as a Big-Bad Ensemble. Midway through the season, Metatron is Brought Down to Normal and ceases to be a threat, while Rowena and Crowley form an Enemy Mine with Sam to cure Dean of the Mark of Cain. The season also built up the occult-ish Styne family as Big Bads and, despite them killing a recurring character, they are unceremoniously wiped out, almost entirely off-screen. The true Big Bad Duumvirate of the season is Sam and Dean Winchester.
  • Super Sentai: Happens occasionally across the series:
    • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger has Young Noble Junior/Gasha Skull, prince of the Youkai Army Corps. He's killed about three-fifths of the way in, and his death provides the last bit of power needed to release the seal trapping his father Daimaou (Arch Demon), the true Big Bad.
    • In Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger, three Highness Dukes each take their turn at the top of the Org hierarchy. The finale has all three revived and later fused into the final villain, Senki.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger starts with General Branken running the show for Infershia. He dies around Episode 17, with the next leader being Meemy, the traitorous Heavenly Saint Raigel, for a Disc Two Final Boss. Then he dies, predicting the rise of the Hades Gods, and, wouldn't you know it, up they come with Dagon, swiftly making it clear that he is the leader here. However, from the first few minutes of Episode 1, it's made clear that the guy all of Infershia is ultimately answering to is Beast Emperor N'Ma, making Branken and Meemy and Dagon The Dragon.
    • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, similar to Gaoranger, there are three Disk One Final Bosses. The first is Warstar, the next is the Yuumajuu, and the final one is Matrintis. The final big bad is Buredoran, who was with all these groups all this time.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has the rather pathetic "Well Done, Son!" Guy Prince Walz Gill, son of fearsome Emperor Akudos Gill of the Space Empire Zangyack, leading the Empire's invasion of Earth. In #38, distraught over the loss of Barizorg, who he considered his only real friend despite being a subservient cyborg servant, Walz Gill decided to fight the Gokaigers himself, which resulted in his death. After Walz's death, the Emperor steps in and takes direct leadership of the invasion, becoming the true Big Bad.
    • Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters starts with the Big Bad position being held by a computer virus called Messiah, leader of the Vaglass organization. Messiah met a premature demise in #30. He survived in a sense, living on through the 13 Messiah Cards, each of which had the potential to become a Metaroid which could be possessed by Messiah. However, his holographic servant Enter ended up being the true Big Bad, making use of Messiah's powers for his own aims.
  • Survivor: A very common trope, due to the way the game can play out. Editing can sometimes mislead the viewer into thinking that a character will be important and/or unstoppable, only to be either a) taken out by a twist, b) taken out by the even bigger threat, or c) their tribe has enough of them and decides to get rid of them:
    • Silas Gaither in Africa, the leader of the Samburu, controlled the game after eliminating tribal leader Carl, and him and his "Mallrat" alliance, made up of younger and lazier kids, were the most despised group at that point on the show as they picked off the older members. Then comes the first ever Tribal Swap, sending Silas and the last two remaining elders over to Boran, where everyone hated him enough to throw the immunity challenge and vote him out.
    • Boston Rob filled this role in Marquesas. He was a fairly strong strategist before the merge, and once the merge started, he continued to strategize by trying to topple the other strategic mastermind John by planting seeds of dissent in the heads of John's alliance-mates Kathy and Zoe. His attempts backfired and got him voted out... but not for nothing: in the next episode, his remaining alliance-mates convinced Kathy, along with outsiders Paschal and Neleh, to join together and vote against John.
    • Shawn in Pearl Islands, at least for Jonny Fairplay. When Rupert, Christa, and Sandra are forced to choose between keeping Fairplay or Shawn for the merge, they chose Fairplay over Shawn since he's "more trustworthy". Fittingly, Fairplay signs his vote for Shawn with a "F#%k You!".
    • "Rocky" in Fiji. He was disliked for his bossy and rude attitude, but survived because he was strong despite being on the Can't Catch Up tribe. He even survives over the much more likable Anthony because he was strong and could possibly win them the much-needed immunity. Through a combination of twists (Lisi being sent to exile and would join the tribe that lost immunity, making them break even) and tribal switches, and with the merge just around the corner, his tribe finally decides they had enough.
    • Jaime Dugan in China. She masterminds the elimination of one of Fei Long's strongest members, but then gets the Humiliation Conga edit after mistaking a wooden tile for a hidden immunity idol and being blindsided at the merge.
    • Ace Gordon was the master strategist of Gabon... at least until Fang's last Tribal Council. Thanks to some quick thinking by the eventual villain Kenny, he and Crystal managed to flip Sugar onto their side by convincing her Ace was only using her for her hidden immunity idol. At a 5 person tribal council, Ace is sent home 3-2 over Crystal.
      • Also with Marcus Lehman from the same season. Marcus was portrayed as the master strategist and leader of the Kota Tribe Alliance... up until he was blindsided by Susie the first time he was eligible for elimination.
    • Brendan Synnott appeared to have Tocantins in hand... until the first post-merge Tribal Council. Because he mishandled allies Taj and Stephen — who he'd joined up with during the stays at Exile Island — they along with J.T. joined up with Coach's "Warrior Alliance" and blindsided Brendan, getting rid of his idol in the process. Guess what Coach's nickname for him was?
    • Boston Rob again in Heroes vs. Villains — when Coach sits on the fence when the Russell/Rob feud reaches its climax, his indecision allows Jerri to flip and gets Rob voted out 4-3-1 only one Tribal Council before the merge.
    • A Dual Boss of sorts in Nicaragua — Marty Piombo and Brenda Lowe were both the huge power players of the season, eliminated one after the other after the merge. Marty is eliminated when Jane finally convinces the majority to get rid of him after slandering her at the previous tribal council, and Brenda is voted out next Tribal Council when everyone realises how powerful she's become and don't want her to get any further.
    • One World features maybe the epitome of this trope in the context of Survivor in Colton Cumbie, a Camp Gay Smug Snake Manipulative Bastard Ascended Fanboy who, over the course of the pre-merge portion of the game, took control of his tribe, acquired a Hidden Immunity Idol, was the focal point of much of the editing, and looked poised to be one of the most loathsome villains the show has ever seen... and then he got appendicitis and had to be medivaced from the game, after which point the tribes merged.
    • Jeff Varner in Cambodia. He betrayed one of his allies at literally every single tribal council he attended. He ended up being betrayed by his own allies Savage, Tasha, and Abi in Episode 4... less than a quarter of the way through the season.
    • Figgy from Millennials vs. Gen X is generally one of the few villains that season due to her being an Alpha Bitch. However, she was voted out pre-merge thanks to Adam turning on her.
    • Natalie Cole from David vs. Goliath was a huge source of drama in the first five episodes thanks to her bossy nature. Eventually, Mike White got tired with her behavior and he voted her out in Episode 5.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Does this in season 2 when most people thought Katherine was the main villain. It was actually the top vampire Klaus.
  • Tomica Hero Rescue Force has Daaen, who dies halfway through. The true main villain is Batsu, assuming the guise of Maaen.
  • True Blood: Did this in their second season. The main plot of the season seemed to revolve around Sookie, Eric, and Bill rescuing Godric from religious fanatics in Dallas. When they finally invaded the Fellowship of the Sun's church mid-season, they had a face to face with Reverend Steve Newlin, but he is defeated rather easily and moreover, Godric manages to pull off a peaceful resolution. Returning to Bon Temps, Sookie and Jason found it to be overtaken with people acting like idiots, only to discover that Maryann Forrester, a seemingly innocent social worker who was introduced in season 1, was a bloodthirsty maenad bent on cutting out the heart of Sookie's boss and friend Sam Merlotte. Maryann's defeat didn't come until the final episode of the season, subsequently.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • The Governor is the main antagonist of the third season, and ultimately the first half of Season 4 until he's finally killed in the mid-season finale of the latter season.
    • Joe, the leader of the Claimers, becomes the closest thing to a Big Bad in the back half of Season 4, though he only menaces Rick, Daryl, Carl, and Michonne before he's killed off halfway into the fourth season finale. The remainder of the episode has Gareth and the resident's of Terminus as the Big Bads.
    • Season 5 technically has two discs. The first one is Gareth, the leader of the cannibals of Terminus who is killed off three episodes into the season. The second one is Dawn, the police officer who is killed in the mid-season finale. The last major villain is Domestic Abuser Peter.
    • The Wolves are the main villains of Season 6, but they're quickly defeated only two episodes into the season and their leader is killed in the mid-season premiere to make way for the Saviors.
    • Jeb becomes the main antagonist of the first half of Season 9, but he and the Marauders are killed two episodes before the mid-season finale, allowing the Whisperers to take the spotlight.
  • Yuma: Nels Decker seems like the Big Bad of this Made-for-TV Movie, but he gets an arrow to the back an hour or so in, and fellow businessman Mules Mc Neil is revealed to be the true mastermind.
  • Zorro: The 1950s Disney series had The Hero fighting the evil Capitan Monistario — who found himself Hoist by His Own Petard after only 13 episodes, halfway through the first season.


Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report