Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fanfic / Halloween Unspectacular

Go To

Halloween Unspectacular is a series of fanfics by E350, each containing thirty-one one-shots, one for each day of October. While each is an anthology, Story Arcs run through each, and Myth Arcs have grown out of those. It's been a yearly tradition on his FanFiction.Net account since 2010, excluding 2015, as he had tried to wrap up the series with the fifth edition only to come back to it in 2016.

    open/close all folders 
Advertisement:

    List of Halloween Unspectaculars 

This series contains examples of:

    Tropes over multiple collections 
  • Adaptational Villainy: In several AU stories, normally heroic or at least decent characters are put in less-than-moral roles; for example, Mr. Lancer is a cult leader in one story, and Arnold Shortman is a Capone hitman in another.
  • Arc Words: For the first Myth Arc, "It always rains". First spoken by the Governor, after he looks in the box in El Dorado, before popping up several times afterwards, lampshading how major conflicts always seem to end with a Battle in the Rain as part of the cyclical nature of things. These get brought back in HU9, when the Stranger invokes another Battle in the Rain to lure E350's friends into a trap.
    • A sort of inverse of these arc words was used in the second Myth Arc; every thirty-first chapter, Kamala will observe/say something to the effect of "That's odd, it's not raining...", which reflects how this arc is more continuous and streamlined than the first. The rain finally comes at the start of HU8's climax, indicating that it is the true Final Battle.
  • Author Avatar: E350 is often a character in these stories.
  • Big Bad: Shifted several times with the first Myth Arc. The second Myth Arc firmly plants General Rausseman in the role.
  • Butt-Monkey: Squidward and Dib are the most frequent victims of having a lot of random bad stuff happen to them. Characters that E350 genuinely dislikes, like Gaz and Paulina, are close behind.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The endings of HU1 and HU2 are considered noncanon by the author due to the deaths of major characters.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: Each collection alternates between comedic entries (on even numbered days) and darker action/drama/horror pieces (on odd numbered days). This pattern was apparently unintentional early on in HU1, but once it was pointed out to him, E350 codified it.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Fiddley Thing. It was an important MacGuffin in the second Halloween Unspectacular, but over the years its importance waned to the point that it's now only used for the occasional humor one-shot. Justified due to its Story-Breaker Power.
  • Elseworld: A few stories throughout various collections put fictional characters in different time periods than their respective canons.
  • Every Episode Ending: Every collection ends with a parody of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire". Except for HU9, where E350 has been left miserable and broken by the Bus Driver.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When it's not being outright broken.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Happens quite a bit, most commonly between various Nicktoons.
  • Myth Arc: Three major ones so far:
    • The first, officially referred to as the Fiddley Canon, covers just about everything plot-related from HU1 to HU5. It involves the Fiddley Thing, magic, sorcery, dragons, figures from European myth, and various other things.
    • The second one, going from HU6 to HU8, revolves around a Nazi remnant group that the heroes must defeat.
    • The third one, started in HU9, has a mysterious figure who blames E350 for ruining his life going on a vendetta against him.
  • Mythology Gag: Some of the earlier stories contain references to E350's Happy Fluffy Reviews of Really Bad Fanfics, a now-dead MST written by the author. These were eventually phased out after the second collection, only to return in the ninth.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: The unfortunate bastard who shows up repeatedly throughout the first Myth Arc only to get caught up by all the insanity following the main characters around — In HU1, he's a bus driver in the Outback whose bus gets used as a testing ground for the Fiddley Thing; in HU2, he's now a conductor on the Ghan, which Insano decides to use to test the upgraded Fiddley Thing; in HU3, he's now a security guard at JFK International, and gets mind-wiped after seeing some of Madame Athena's actual magic; in HU4, he's renting river boats on the Orinoco, which the heroes need to chase the villains to El Dorado; and in HU5, he shows up at the Fiddley Thing's funeral, where he reveals that he's now unemployed and in therapy. He shows up again in HU9 as the Big Bad, blaming E350 for all his troubles.
  • Official Couple: Mabel and Pacifica in some one-shots, Spongebob and Sandy in others.
  • Only Sane Man: Vlad Masters usually ends up being this for the villains.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Many entries are meant to be, or can serve as, jumping off points for stories of their own. In the case of "Time to Send in the Troops" from HU1, it actually paid off.
  • Reality Warper: The Fiddley Thing.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Fiddley Thing showing up at some point.
    • The opening of each edition in the second Myth Arc makes it clear that E350 is only continuing the series because some internet-obsessed trolls are bribing him with fan memorabilia.
    • E350 opening the later collections with song parodies, with various fictional characters as backup singers/dancers. Then, once they're done, he tells them all to get out of his house.
  • Self-Deprecation: E350 does this a lot.
  • Ship Tease: Timmy and Dani get a lot of this throughout various stories.
  • Story Arc: All of the fanfics have this to some extent:
    • In the first one, there's a three-chapter arc about E350 and his friends trying to defeat a witch version of Ember McLain, and an arc concerning the creation — and rampage — of a creature only known as ReGenesis.
    • In the second one, there's Spongebob's attempts to stop the Underworld King, as well as a separate story arc in which a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits try to keep the Fiddley Thing away from a German scientist working for Dan Phantom.
    • In the third one, E350 retells the story of the ship Batavia with fictional characters. The first Myth Arc also officially begins with this collection.
    • In the fourth one, there's an arc centered on a prison only referred to as "the Gaol" (an alternate spelling for jail), and another involving several villains coming together to destroy the heroes. It turns out both are connected to the Myth Arc.
    • The fifth one has a three-part "Freaky Friday" Flip story. And the Myth Arc comes to a conclusion as the previous Big Bads ally under Galahad's banner.
    • The sixth one had a two-part story about Ford and Wirt getting trapped in a strange land. The new Myth Arc begins, as PURITY prepares to make its move.
    • The seventh one has PURITY preparing a new plan.
    • The eight one has various heroes rebelling and waging war against PURITY, which now controls America. Meanwhile, the Phoenix wages its own, more aggressive war against PURITY.
    • The ninth one has a villain only known as the Stranger plot to attack E350 and his friends, while E350 tries to keep from getting evicted.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A threat in most of the major story arcs, and a few of the individual stories.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: PURITY.
  • Weapon of Choice: E350 has his Anti-Magic Tommy Gun.

    Halloween Unspectacular 1 
  • Abusive Parents: Membrane, not satisfied with how Dib turned out, experimented on him and turned him into a Physical God. Needless to say, this backfired.
  • After-Action Report: This is actually the name of the third story, which features a version of Danny who is a SWAT officer being debriefed by a superior about a raid he led on a lab where Doombringer is turning people into Fish People.
  • After the End: "Masters of War" follows a nuclear war which devastates America and much of the rest of the world, and the aftermath.
  • Alternate History: "Legendaries", where the Allies use legenedary Pokemon to win WWII well ahead of schedule.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • "Dead Gods" is a final journal entry by AJ, who recounts how he was part of an expedition to explore a Reaper discovered buried beneath London, only for most members to either be killed or Indoctrinated into husks. AJ ends with a promise to shoot himself before he can be taken, and a plea to destroy the Reaper (even if it means nuking London) to prevent this happening again.
    • "Project ReGenesis" is a collection of project reports and transcripts of security footage detailing the creation of the titular Physical God Super Soldier, and how it all goes horribly right.
  • Arc Welding: During the climax, ReGenesis' destruction of the world somehow causes the main timeline and the "Legendaries" one to start bleeding into each other. This leads to WWII generals armed with Pokemon joining the established heroes in the fight to save the world.
    • Also during the climax, the storyline about Squidward and Insano's misadventures in the Outback and the Witch Ember arc are also tied in, as the former's bus ends up at Vlad's villa, and the latter supplies Linkara with the flying van he and his friends use to flee ReGenesis.
  • Big Bad: Witch Ember for her arc, and ReGenesis aka Dib for their arc.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the last story. The world is saved, but not everyone made it out alive.
  • Body Horror: "With Great Power..." features, among other things, Tad and Chad getting melted and Francis looking like he'd been put through a blender.
  • Brain Uploading: Sandy does this in "A Terrible Thing to Lose" in order to escape Terminus' influence.
  • The Cameo: Linkara makes one at the end of the first part of the Witch Ember story, before getting a bigger role for the rest of the arc.
  • Canon Character All Along: ReGenesis is actually an empowered Dib.
  • Cassandra Truth: E350 ends up getting humored by emergency services when he tries to call about the giant witch on his front lawn.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The finale does this, which is especially notable in the Doctor's speech.
  • Darker and Edgier: "Masters of War" is probably the darkest, bleakest one-shot in the collection, dealing with the event and aftermath of America getting nuked.
  • Deconstruction: A minor example. Over the course of the collection, E350's bad luck and Butt-Monkey status are played for comedy. However, in the finale, it leads to him failing during the crucial part of a plan to at least slow down ReGenesis, leading to more people dying.
  • Deus ex Machina: When it looks like ReGenesis is going to kill Zim and finish destroying the world, the Doctor comes in and talks him down. Lampshaded in The Stinger.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After Insano transforms everyone on the bus for giggles, it's trying to smoke which gets him kicked off. And Squidward gets thrown off too, just for sitting next to him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Really, after everything he's gone through, is it really a surprise that Dib wants to use his newfound power to destroy the world?
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • In "Demon's Land", Lancer performs a ritual of Human Sacrifice in order to summon the "Great Orb" slumbering in the waters off the shore of Van Diemen's Land (modern day Tasmania). He succeeds, only for Vicky to absorb its power before he can.
    • ReGenesis could arguably be considered this, given how it's able to destroy entire states in hours, and the penultimate entry of the story is even a Public Service Announcement warning about Eldritch Abominations. Really more of a Humanoid Abomination Physical God, since it's an empowered Dib.
  • Enemy Without: Timmy's inner darkness made manifest, the main villain of "With Great Power..."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Vlad walks out of the Syndicate due to their deal with Terminus in "A Terrible Thing to Lose".
    • He also refused to have anything to do with the creation of ReGenesis, seeing it as madness.
  • Face Palm: Vlad does this during the ReGenesis arc as more and more people find their way to his private villa in Australia.
  • Fictional Political Party: "Countdown" has the Prosperity Party, which runs on a platform of national richness, increased employment, and "a healthy dose of electoral fraud". Once in power, their main goal is the increased mining of blue ectoplasm as a fuel source, despite the hazards involved in the substance.
  • Filler: "The Unspectacular Filler", of course.
  • Fish People: Mrs. Doombringer's plan in "After Action Report" seems to revolve around turning people into these. She manages to do it to Timmy, Sam, and who knows how many others.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The goal of Project ReGenesis was to create a Physical God. They succeed, and it promptly goes on a rampage to destroy the whole world.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Lancer in "Demon's Land", when Vicky absorbs the Great Orb and scares him off the same cliff he'd been tossing people off of in order to summon the Orb in the first place.
    • Everyone involved in Project ReGenesis being slaughtered by it once it gets free. Especially Professor Membrane, who kept going with the program even after repeated warnings. Doubly so since he used his own son as the test subject.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: During the climax of the Witch Ember arc, after the titular antagonist turns Sandy into a stuffed animal, E350 makes a joke about the group being "stuffed". Linkara only barely manages to keep Zim from throwing him out of the Rocket Van.
  • Large Ham: Zim, as usual.
  • Magnificent Bastard: In-Universe, E350 calls Witch Ember one after she "scams his scam".
  • MST: Done by Squidward twice.
  • Physical God: ReGenesis.
  • Please Wake Up: Zim begs ReGenesis to wake up after he sacrifices his life to reset time, it doesn't work.
  • Poke the Poodle: Dr. Insano's attempts to "destroy lives" with the Fiddley Thing only end with the victims being neutral or happy about their transformations.
  • Public Service Announcement: A parody one is used for the October 30 one-shot, giving instructions on what you should do if an Eldritch Abomination is attacking.
  • Reset Button: The Doctor convinces ReGenesis to use his powers to undo the damage he's done to Earth.
  • Side Bet: Mr Krabs and Squidward had one in the Oregon Trail chapter on who's going to die first. Patrick died first, allowing Squidward to win the bet.
  • Shout-Out: Witch Ember turns Danny, Sam, Tucker, and Timmy into keychains.
    • E350 is looking after an Andalite morphing cube for a friend.
    • Reapers appear in a couple of stories.
    • Bender and a Cyberman pop up in the filler chapter to complain about E350's liberal use of "organics-turning-into-machines" plots.
    • Witch Ember pulls a page from the Master's playbook at one point and turns everyone in the city into duplicates of herself.
    • "War Never Changes" references Highlander.
  • Superhero Episode: "Heroics", sort of.
  • Take That!: When told that the bus he's boarding is heading for Sydney, Insano happily declares it "the most hellish place imaginable".
  • Talking the Monster to Death: How the Doctor defeats ReGenesis.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: ReGenesis starts destroying the world almost immediately after being created. He almost totally finishes the process before the Doctor convinces him to use his powers to hit the Reset Button (at the cost of his own life).
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Sandy says this word-for-word in the second part of the "Witch Ember" storyline.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: A team of villains manage to do this to a good chunk of the Earth's population in the first story.
  • Wham Line: Zim gets his first full look at ReGenesis, and utters only one word: "Dib?"
  • Whole Plot Reference: The entirety of "You Have Died of Dysentery" is Oregon Trail with Spongebob Squarepants characters.
  • Wicked Witch: Witch Ember.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: ReGenesis, aka Dib Membrane.

    Do the Gasmask Shuffle 
  • Adaptational Villainy: Roy Earle was merely a jerkass and corrupt cop in the game he originates from. Here, he's willingly assisting a madman in his quest to become a god.
  • A God Am I: Dan Phantom's ultimate goal.
  • Alternate History:
    • "Come the Revolution" takes place in a version of 1940s Los Angeles where robots known as Mechans are a sizable minority of the population. Oh, and Thomas Dewey is President.
    • "Lady Liberty", set in a world based on a game of Civilization, features the Mongols as Britain's great enemy in Asia. And the Statue of Liberty in this world is in Edinburgh, and is actually a transformed Dani.
  • And I Must Scream: Sandy's fate at the end of "Black Sun".
  • Apocalyptic Log: "Cairo to the Cape" is a series of journal entries by Jimmy, AJ, and Jazz, detailing their expedition to traverse Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, which goes wrong as they find themselves lost after crossing Lake Victoria. Tensions rise as provisions grow low while Sanity Slippage and disease set in, and the last journal entry is by Mr Krabs, who reveals he and Eliza misled and killed the others as Human Sacrifices.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Almost every hero involved in the Fiddley Thing war in the end.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Everyone that the Underworld King turns into his minions gets subject to this.
    • Dani is turned into the Statue of Liberty by Alden Bitterroot.
  • Berserk Button: For Lancer, it's butchering Shakespeare. He demands that his class bring him the head of whoever wrote the parody from "Parody", and, to prove he's serious, pulls out a machine gun.
    "Hell hath no fury like an English teacher scorned."
  • Big Bad: The Underworld King for his own arc, and Dan Phantom for the Fiddley Thing arc.
  • Car Fu: Unintentionally utilised by the police and two members of the Nicktoons' apartment's private security force against the Underworld King, who then name-drops it: "Only I may utilise the Car Fu!"
  • Cloning Gambit: Richtofen kills Insano to get the Fiddley Thing, only for it to turn out to have been a clone decoy.
  • Continuity Lockout: In order to get the most of this year's Story Arc, one needs to be familiar with L.A. Noire.
  • Disney Villain Death: Zim sends Vicky falling to her doom during the climax.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Some of the things the Hunters "punish" Dib for are as simple as annoying people and wasting their time.
  • Drives Like Crazy: After the above instance of Car Fu, Harrison and David (who drove the police car and jeep, respectively) are banned from ever driving again by their respective partners.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The copy of Halloween Spectacular in the beginning. It also apparently smells like Cthulhu.
  • Evil Mask: The mask that Sam purchases in "The Peddler" that turns her into a demon.
  • Genre Mashup: "Come the Revolution" is described as "Tucker + L.A. Noire + Robots".
  • Hard-Work Montage: Happens when Spongebob gathers everything he needs in order to seal away the Underworld King. Invoked, as Spongebob figures a montage will save him time on getting everything.
  • Human Sacrifice: What Eliza does to the rest of her traveling companions in "Cairo to the Cape".
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Insano apparently feels this way about whatever the Fiddley Thing puts him, Sandy, and Spongebob through in "The Fiddley Thing Returns".
  • The Man Behind the Man: Dan Phantom, for Richtofen.
  • MST:
    • E350 forces a group of characters to read the tropes page for Deadly Mistakes, due to the winner of last year's contest requesting it.
    • Squidward does two more for the 23rd and second-to-last stories (the latter targeting Thirty Hs).
  • Mythology Gag: In "London Underground", one of the many travelers on the titular train is John, the Mountain Dew-obsessed Stu protagonist of a fanfic E350 covered in his MST series, E350's Happy Fluffy Reviews of Really Bad Fanfiction.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: What slaughters the village in "Bitter Memories".
  • Parental Neglect: Professor Membrane comes to regret practicing this in "The Hunters" after Dib becomes an invalid.
  • Public Service Announcement: Another parody one, regarding the Fiddley Thing.
  • The Purge: In "The Hit List", Dan Phantom's minions hunt down and kill anyone who poses a threat to their plans.
  • Rage Against the Author: Done in response to the above tropes page MST.
  • Reset Button:
    • The Underworld King's defeat rewinds time to before he was released.
    • The fight over control of the Fiddley Things collapses the multiverse, but once Sandy defeats Dan and Insano and takes all three Things, it's restored.
  • The Reveal: Dan Phantom is the one that wants Richtofen to get him the Fiddley Thing.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Parodied with the "Parody" chapter.
  • Russian Roulette: Done in "Potions" with...well, potions.
  • Sanity Slippage: Happens to both Jimmy and Jazz in "Cairo to the Cape".
  • Shout-Out: After Sam turns into a wax statue at the end of the second story, the author's notes say "NO SAM YOU ARE THE DEMONS".
  • Skewed Priorities: All over the place in the first story.
  • Take That!:
    • When the copy of the first Halloween Unspectacular E350 receives in the beginning of the story unleashes eldritch horror on Sydney, it's noted that it has no visible effect on the train service (implying that it couldn't possibly get worse than it already is).
    • When Timmy gets turned into a vampire in the first story, the narrator notes that "Much to Spongebob's misfortune, he was not of the weak sparkling kind."
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The fight for control of the Fiddley Things causes the multiverse to collapse. The Reset Button gets hit when the heroes win.
  • Wax Museum Morgue: The setting of "The Wax Museum", naturally enough.
Advertisement:

    Terror Australis Incognita 
  • After the End: "South Point" is set years after an Alien Invasion resulted in humanity being enslaved and taken off planet. The only people known to have escaped this fate are Danny, Dani, and Jazz.
  • Agent Scully: Sandy towards Madame Athena when they first meet.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: Invoked with "Thomas Something Something".
  • Anti-Magical Faction: The Witchfinders seek to eradicate every witch and wizard on the planet.
  • The Apprentice: Jazz is learning magic under Athena.
  • Back from the Dead: Jones the dragon, thanks to Excalibur's magic.
  • Badass Normal: A French cafe owner manages to get the Eldritch Abomination print version of last year's Halloween Unspectacular out of Paris by yelling at it for disturbing his customers.
  • Big Bad: Dan in the Batavia arc, Zombie King James I in the main one.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Doctor Insano rescues everyone who came to help Jazz from armed forces. In a flying house. It is awesome.
  • Brain Bleach: In "Bizarre Nonsequitors", Timmy goes to scrub his brain after learning that Cosmo and Wanda dressed up as each other for a convention.
  • Brain Uploading: Done to various characters in "New Horizons".
  • Bullying a Dragon: As said by E350 when talking about the ending to "Collection": "Well, someone's doomed here, and it ain't the Doctor."
  • Cliffhanger: "Purpose" ends with the Doctor and his team facing a bunch of Daleks.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Zombie King James I versus King Arthur. To quote E350, "PLACE YOUR BETS!"
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: What is Calamitous' ultimate plan for turning people into robots? Selling them for profit.
  • Dragon Rider: Danny does this in "Down the Mine" in order to free a dragon using his intangibility powers.
  • Faux-To Guide: The first story is a very sarcastic (and potentially hypocritical, if Timmy's comment at the end is to be believed) guide on how to write a Danny Phantom fanfic.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: After the Earth is depopulated by alien invasion in "South Point", Danny, Dani, and Jazz record as much of the remains of human civilization as they can, for whatever eventually inherits the Earth.
  • Gilligan Cut: In "Fiddling Away" Spongebob and Sandy realize that the Fiddley Thing is officially theirs (Dr Insano gave it to them, long story). Cut to Squidward walking in on a line of square-dancing Sandy duplicates, with Spongebob acting as a disco ball.
  • Inside a Computer System: Sandy in "Computer Problems", thanks to the Fiddley Thing.
  • Knight Templar: The Witchfinders.
  • Last of His Kind: Jazz is the last human alive in "South Point".note  She dies by the end of the story.
  • Mad Artist: The art collector that turns people into paintings, statues, etc. in "Collection".
  • Magicians Are Wizards: Madame Athena, a full-fledged witch, is perfectly happy performing in front of large audiences.
  • MST: Happens once again for the ninth one-shot, this time with E350 doing the riffing (since Squidward locked him in his room and ran for Tobago).
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Jones the dragon spends two hundred years trapped in a collapsed mine before Danny frees him.
  • Shout-Out: "Enemy Unknown" references XCOM.
    • "My Brother Will Kill Me" is one long pastiche of the Power Rangers franchise. Calamitous' method of creating a Monster of the Week is also similar to how Vendetta makes her monsters in Making Fiends.
  • Take That!: The center of the universe, according to Doctor Insano, is in Milton Keynes; "Even I'm [not] crazy enough to go through there."
  • Taking You with Me: King Arthur does this to King James I in order to end the battle.
  • Talking to Themself: In "Bizarre Nonsequitors", Ember for some reason has two heads, which are arguing about music.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: It's stated that if the Witchfinders destroy Britain's magic, the island itself will be destroyed, with horrible consequences for most of the world.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: In "But Then There Were Robots", a group of villains start turning people into robots For the Evulz.
  • Wham Line: What Dani finds after reading the warning in the book left by Witchfinders:
    "This message was [written] two years ago."
  • Whole Plot Reference: E350 apparently intended to write "Unidentified Flying Object" as an Independence Day clone.
  • Witch Hunter: There was once an entire society of people seeking to stamp out magic users. As Dani finds out, they're still around.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: "Monsters in the Darkness".

    Mess Effect 
  • Alternate Universe: "The Catalyst" is centered around these, giving different fictional characters the final choice the player has to make in Mass Effect 3.
  • Antagonistic Governor: The unnamed Governor of the Gaol serves as the Big Bad of that arc and is the leader of the villain alliance in the main arc.
  • Arc Welding: The Governor of the Gaol turns out to be the leader of the present day Villain Team-Up.
  • Auction of Evil: "Terror of the Police Auction", which centers around the police auctioning off things that belonged to an evil sorcerer. Among these items are a camera that sends you back in time, a pair of "Binoculars of Fear", and the sorcerer's spellbook, which Sam purchases and uses to send Paulina into space.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A number of people have been turned into figurines by the time "Figurines" happens.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In "Wolf", Timmy thinks it would be cool to be a werewolf. He probably should have phrased this desire better, considering what happens...
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Vlad Masters, Mr. Cromwell, Morgan le Fay, and a mysterious cloaked person (the Governor from the Gaol story) for the overarching plot.
    • The cliffhanger gives us a team-up between every Big Bad up to this point. Yes, even the retconned ReGenesis.
  • Big Good: Guinevere.
  • Call-Back: Jazz is still learning magic from Athena.
  • The Cameo: Torchwood makes an appearance in "Report".
    • Zoidberg makes an appearance in "The Inspection", volunteering to be dissected for a high school biology class.
    • Kang and Kodos appear in the convention center, trying to find a bathroom.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Remember the Auction of Evil oneshot that ended with Sam launching Paulina into space? She still has the spellbook, allowing her to aid the heroes in finding El Dorado.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Governor, after seeing...whatever was in the box in El Dorado.
  • Enthralling Siren: The monster that kills the shore party in "Report".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Governor is never named.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: The only reason Roy Cohn is included in the group of historical bad guys in "Lunchtime at the Tyrant's Arms". He even admits as such.
  • Fusion Dance: Sandy and Ember get hit with this at the convention thanks to a teleporter mishap.
  • Gilligan Cut: At their hotel, Dani mentions that there's an incident going on in the lobby and that it's nothing serious. Cut to a bunch of peasants in the lobby dragging Paulina away, having misinterpreted E350 calling her a Witch with a Capital B.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Governor uses them to power his black magic.
  • Insult Backfire: The Governor calls Dani "worse than my convicts". She promptly thanks him for the compliment.
  • Knowledge Broker: Grim serves as this, providing information to heroes and villains alike for a tidy sum.
  • Mind Screw: A mild version happens in "Writing"; in the end, we don't know what's "real" and what's fictional.
  • Mr. Exposition: Jimmy explains some of the events from the last Halloween Unspectacular to Carl in one chapter.
  • MST: More of this from Squidward in story 13.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: A couple of times in "A Regal Intermission" — first, when mentioning how William III died due to his horse tripping over a mole, and then bringing up the sex chair invented by Edward VII — E350 pauses long enough to reaffirm that these things really happened.
  • No Sense of Direction: Timmy's Dad proves as much when trying to drive to Comic-Con in San Diego — along the way, he somehow ends up in Canada, and then Mexico.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The story "Wolf" obviously involves this.
  • Sequel Hook: The cliffhanger that ends the story has a new villainous alliance being formed that the heroes will clearly have to deal with.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Mr. Cromwell thinks that the whole trip to El Dorado was this. He's wrong.
  • Shout-Out: Plankton tries to get E350 to reenact the ending of Mass Effect 3 with him, Danny, and Cosmo in the beginning.
  • Take That!:
    • "So Your Government Has Shut Down" is an interview between Sam and Lionel Hutz about government shutdowns, mocking everything about the politics involved in them, written in response to an actual US government shutdown happening that October.
    • Many towards the infamously derided ending of Mass Effect 3.
    • When Spongebob and Sandy explore the abandoned arcade in "Little Shop of Parodies", it's noted that all of the games have been cleared out, except for the 1982 ET one, which "no sane man would want".
    • At Comic-Con, it's shown that the Valve panel is deserted.
  • Tempting Fate: Done to hell and back by the group that's going to Comic-Con. Which is why it's no surprise when the cloaked figure kidnaps them.
  • Universe Chronology: "The Fiddley Canon Recap" is a summary of the entire Myth Arc as it exists at this point, including backstory and notes about how the endings of HU1 and HU2 are non-canon.

    The Final Push 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Gaz has this among the ship's crew in "The Sea of Switching". Which is why it's enormously satisfying to them once karma hits her hard.
  • Adaptational Wimp: ReGenesis is weaker than he was in HU1, though he's still powerful enough to take on a skilled mage.
  • Affectionate Parody: E350 sings a parody of "One Day More" from Les Misérables in the beginning.
  • Alternate Continuity: For the Gravity Falls stuff, this story was written some time before "Not What He Seems" aired; therefore, E350's explanation as to who wrote the journals has long been disproved.
  • Ascended Extra: Ovard Grim, who only appeared twice in the last Unspectacular, becomes a member of the Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Big Bad: Galahad.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: ReGenesis, Dan Phantom, King James I, Ovard Grim, and the Governor all team up. Except they're all being played by Galahad.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jones saves the Mystery Shack crew from the GiW in "Dragons of Oregon".
  • Big Good: As it turns out, E350 is this for the entire Fiddley Canon, being the caretaker of its branch of the multiverse.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Grim does this at the end of the story, talking to the reader to address the dangling plot threads.
  • Broken Pedestal: While Jazz can logically understand why Athena had to manipulate her, she can't forgive it.
  • Call-Back: Both "Wolf" and "The Inspection" from HU4 get followups here.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Turns out, Athena has been grooming Jazz for a Heroic Sacrifice since first taking her under her wing.
  • The Chosen One: As E350 explains to her personally during the climax, Sandy has always been the lynchpin to saving the world.
  • Clear My Name: Jazz and Athena end up having to clear Dr Insano's name when he's accused of murder in "The Piccadilly Caper". As it turns out, it wasn't even murder to begin with.
  • Civil War: One of these has erupted in Avalon about a year after the Battle of El Dorado, primarily between factions loyal to Galahad and Gawaine, who are trying to take the throne for themselves, while a smaller loyalist faction led by Guinevere and Lancelot having to flee elsewhere.
  • Conspiracy Theories: E350 comes up with one in order to explain the animated universe. Among other things, he claims that Frankie Foster and Vicky are clones and the government has ninjas.
  • Deal with the Devil: Vlad makes one with Bill Cipher in "The Infernal Machine". By the time they're stopped, most of Amity Park and Oregon are destroyed, and several heroes are heavily injured or dead.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Gus, the apparently innocent magic performer, was behind the businessman's transmogrification. Oh, and he's actually the Governor.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Spongebob, much to the detriment of Mrs Puff and her go-kart track in chapter 16.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Grim is an unpleasant sociopath, but at least he's honest about it, as he points out to Athena while criticizing her plans.
  • Evil Chef: The Muffin Man from chapter 2, overlapping with I Ate WHAT?!
  • Famous Ancestor: The Fentons are descended from King Arthur himself. And so are either Dipper and Mabel or Wendy, by way of Morgan le Fay.
  • Flipping the Bird: Implied with Athena in "The Middleman", who shoots Ovard a "lewd finger gesture" as she leaves his office.
  • Foreshadowing: As it turns out, the "Wild Mass Guessing" chapter was only E350 setting up for some major reveals in the next chapter, with at least one involving — you guessed it — Wild Mass Guessing.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Dipper ends up in one with Wendy at the end of chapter 8, thanks to a pair of socks.
  • Grand Finale: For the Fiddley Canon Myth Arc.
  • Groin Attack: A guard offers to do this to Robbie in "The Other Sock Drops".
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Galahad is done in by the very event he tried to control.
  • Human Sacrifice: Galahad's ritual requires one.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Athena, after hearing Cochrane's "demolition team" plan, grabs a glass of wine and drains it.
  • Karma Houdini: Grim escapes any sort of retribution for his crimes, which he points out gleefully to the readers.
  • Kid from the Future: Tammy Turner.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Fiddley Thing. It gets a funeral on the moon...and then shows up again in the next ''Unspectacular''.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "The Sea of Switching", a sea spirit turns Gaz into a member of the crew she's been tormenting, leaving her at their mercy.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When told about the apparent murder in "The Piccadilly Caper", Jazz states that it's pretty dark for a humor episode... of their lives.
  • Mind-Control Device: The titular ring in "Remy's Ring".
  • Mirror Universe: Where "The Other Side of the Mirror" takes place. Starring Aang as a tyrannical dictator and Azula as a heroic freedom fighter, to boot!
  • MST: Squidward gets one last one in chapter 18
  • Never My Fault: Robbie blames Dipper for Wendy breaking up with him, despite the fact that the breakup was mostly his own fault.
  • Only Sane Man: Timmy in "For Want of a Bit".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In "Hey Fiddle Fiddle", Spongebob becomes worried when Mr Krabs doesn't open the Krusty Krab for the first time in 25 years.
    • In previous stories, Vlad would normally be the one villain to balk at the idea of making a Deal with the Devil. In "The Infernal Machine", however, he makes such a deal with Bill Cipher, showing how desperate (and insane) he's become.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Timmy breaks some out when listening to E350's conspiracy theories.
  • The Reveal: See Famous Ancestor above. Also, Jeremiah Fenton wrote the journals, and took on the alias Fiddleford McGucket in order to escape detection from the government.
  • Sanity Slippage: Jimmy suffers from this big time in "The Infernal Machine".
  • Series Fauxnale: Meant to be the Grand Finale for the series until E350 changed his mind.
  • Ship Tease: Tammy Turner's mother is Dani, as a corporal figures out.
  • Shout-Out: "The Piccadilly Caper" starts off with a parody of Star Wars' famous opening crawl.
  • Skewed Priorities: When facing The End of the World as We Know It and learning that no one's running the Mystery Shack in his absence, Stan complains about all the money he's going to lose.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: The author's notes in "Missing Midnight" pokes fun at the spirit's plan to turn everyone into chess pieces:
    "Dude, couldn't you just, like, buy a chess set?"
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Galahad's plan to collapse the multiverse. Tammy comes from a Bad Future where it backfired and unleashed a horde of Eldritch Abominations which destroyed the world.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Danny, Jimmy, Timmy, Cosmo, and Wanda at the end of "For Want of a Bit".
  • Unmanly Secret: According to Mr Turner, Timmy liking Enya music is one of these.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Grim slips away just before the climax kicks off.
  • Wham Episode: "The Middleman". Athena's plans and allegiances are thrown into doubt, and we learn that A) Danny's paternal grandmother is the director of the Guys in White, and B) that Dipper and Mabel's parents are working for the villain Ovard Grim.
    • "Eureka". We learn that Athena was grooming Jazz for her apparent "destiny", where she either has to let ReGenesis send the world into a new Dark Age, or die. Except maybe not, if the appearance of Tammy Turner says anything...
  • Wham Line: Chapter 12: "They had killed the Fiddley Thing."
    • Timmy (to Tammy): "Good luck. And just a heads-up — mess with time again and I'm grounding you."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The final fate of Dipper and Mabel's parents isn't explained.
    • Lampshaded with Doctor Insano, who's still stuck in jail.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Athena gets subject to this several times regarding her plans for Jazz. Even Grim gets in on this.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Galahad intended to end his partnership with Grim by sacrificing him for the ritual, but was preempted by Grim fleeing. He pulled this on his own Number Two instead.

    Lair of the Hack Writer 
  • Alternate Universe:
    • The setting of "Hanging Tree" is a universe where the American Civil War wasn't fought over slavery, so it's still an active thing in the present.
    • "The Great White Fleet" is set in America in 1902, but airship technology is advanced enough to make them flying fortresses used as standard by the military. Also, William McKinley is still alive and President, and Teddy Roosevelt is Secretary of the Navy.
  • Anvilicious: In-Universe, the author admits that the aesop of "The Fable of the Two Castles" is this.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Percival Northwest is stated by family legend to have kidnapped the Princes in the Tower and sacrificed them to power his longevity, framing Richard III for killing them in the process.
  • Big Bad: General Rausseman
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ant-Man rescues Soos when a PURITY soldier is about to shoot him.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Well, more violent at the very least, but "Hanging Tree" is this.
  • Brick Joke: "It's Back" is kicked off by Insano, back in the Fiddley Canon universe, accidentally dropping the Fiddley Thing into a hole that leads to the new canon universe. The Stinger at the end of this whole edition shows him trying to reach into the hole to get it back.
  • Continuity Reboot: E350 explicitly states that the new Myth Arc started in this edition is a separate continuity from the Fiddley Canon of the first five HUs.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One of the universes that Amethyst and Peridot visit in "It's Back" is one where everyone is disproportionately punished for bad behavior — Gaz is forced to Walk the Earth for being mean to Dib, and a meteor is dropped on the Gems when they find her situation humorous.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: General Rausseman takes over the airwaves to order the surrender of the remaining "abnormals" to him.
  • Easy Amnesia: Mabel and Pacifica lose their memories once Percivale turns them into a painting in "The Picture".
  • Evil Is Petty: In "Alien!", it turns out that Zim is the one who convinced the government agents that Gaz was an alien. He was apparently hoping they'd dissect her, for no other reason than it'd upset Dib.
  • Fantastic Racism: PURITY hates anyone who either has powers or isn't human.
  • Foreshadowing: When he has a gun to the President's head, Rausseman idly wishes that said president's successor will be more "malleable". Come the next two installments, and the President's successor is indeed far more willing to work with PURITY.
  • For Science!: Professor Membrane will take home renovation and use it as an excuse for this.
  • Gamebooks: Parodied in two chapters by just presenting us with the endings.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: The mandatory pill that everyone takes in "An Average Day" suppresses all negative emotions.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In "A Living", Vicky turns poor, homeless people into meat for her soup kitchens. She gets the Chair for it.
  • Jackass Genie: Desiree (as per the norm for her) in "Genies are Jerks". The narrator makes the argument that all genies are like this.
  • Jump Scare: Attempted by Zoidberg in "The Interview". It doesn't really work in text format.
  • Life Drain: In "The Picture", Percivale Northwest keeps himself alive by turning his victims into paintings and doing this.
  • Loophole Abuse: In "Genies are Jerks", Desiree says that the Crystal Gems may have one wish each. Lapis gets around this by using a run-on sentence to voice multiple wishes.
  • Mind Screw: "The Cafe".
  • Mistaken for Aliens: In "Alien!", government agents become convinced Gaz is an alien and bring her in for interrogation. They almost dissect her before they realize their mistake.
  • Monster Clown: Several in "Send in the Clowns".
  • Noodle Incident: Exactly what lead to some of the endings in the "Choose Your Own Ending" chapters.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: The unnamed President is the President Target variant, with a few Personable and Iron traits mixed in (the latter especially in regards to PURITY's attempts at "negotiation"). This largely sets him up as a foil to his successor in later installments, who falls squarely into the Corrupt and Puppet King variants.
  • Oppressive States of America: In "An Average Day", America has become a corporate state, where low and mid level employees are given mandatory drugs which render them near-mindless drones. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Precision F-Strike: E350 isn't normally one to use swearing in his stories, making the Vice President calling General Rausseman a "sanctimonious jackass" in "Of Presidents and Purity" this trope.
  • Psychic Link: Mabel and Pacifica get one between them in "The Picture".
  • Red Herring: The Alaskan PURITY base is this, distracting the military while the organization goes for the president. Only Garnet saw it coming.
  • The Remnant: PURITY arose from a group of Nazis who escaped the war to hide out in Alaska.
  • Rule 63: Occurs in the first "Choose Your Own Ending" chapter.
  • Seen It All: After breaking into the White House in order to stop PURITY, Kamala meets Spongebob, Sandy, Peridot, Amethyst, Stevonnie, and Mabel. She considers it pretty normal.
  • Sequel Hook: An arrested Rausseman is offered an alliance by people within the US government.
  • Shout-Out: The first chapter features a parody of "Make a Man out of You" from Mulan.
    • In "It's Back", Peridot, in her boredom, briefly watches a Jacksepticeye video and the music video for "Never Gonna Give You Up".
    • Also from "It's Back", Amethyst and Peridot briefly travel to "The Universe That Is Currently Being Sued By George Miller".
    • "The Most Patient Man On Radio" is based on the "Most Patient Man On Television" skit from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
  • Sneeze Cut: In "Genies are Jerks", Desiree says that, once she's free, she'll wipe "that annoying ghost boy" from existence. Cut to:
    Far away, Danny Fenton had a sudden feeling of deep foreboding.
  • Start of Darkness: "Department Seventeen" explores the origins of General Rausseman and PURITY.
  • Take That!:
  • Tempting Fate: In the finale, when the Crystal Gems realize that they'll need a portal in order to get into the White House, Peridot complains that one isn't just going to pop up out of nowhere. Cue portal, which Jimmy comes through.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: "An Average Day".
  • Wham Line: "Alien!", for the most part, is pretty lighthearted. Then comes this exchange:
    Trigger: Just a question. How'd you know about this Zim thing?
    Agent: Oh, some other government agency just grabbed him. Nothing to worry about.
    Powers: What agency? There's nobody else operating in the area!
    Agent: Um...PURITY. Why?
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Department Seventeen" serves as Rausseman's Origins Episode, showing how he went from being a random German soldier in WWI to being chosen to become a Nazi Super Soldier to turning The Remnant that fled to Alaska into the beginnings of PURITY.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When PURITY abducts Vlad, they kill the patsy they had spying on him, because He Knows Too Much.

    Watchmeh 
  • Affably Evil: Floyd from "Roommate" is rather nice for an evil wizard.
  • Affectionate Parody: "Trailers" is one to, well, film trailers — specifically summer action blockbusters.
    • Chapter 30 is one to classic Saturday morning superhero shows, specifically the Adam West Batman series.
  • All Part of the Show: Danny and Sam assume that the battle between the Crystal Gems and the Ruby Squad was a really elaborate Disneyland show.
  • Alternate Universe: "The Trans-European Express" is set in a universe where the Bonaparte dynasty, the Kaiser, and the Tsar are all still in power. And transhumanism is common, if repressed, social group.
  • Asshole Victim: The mob in "Angry Fandom Shelter".
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Mabel and Pacifica, at the end of "The Gift".
  • Back from the Dead: Stan, thanks to the Phoenix Force.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: PURITY takes over America and kills many heroes. Fortunately, more manage to take refuge in Wakanda, which along with other nations make clear their intent to fight back.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Adapt or Perish", two MPs come to the Pines family's house because they might be harboring a fugitive from another dimension. While they technically are, it turns out that the MPs were looking for the Diaz family instead.
  • Baleful Polymorph: E350's roommate Floyd has a nasty habit of turning people into furniture and collectibles.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Timmy wishes that he could meet the ghost of a historical person to help with a history report in the eighth chapter. He wasn't specific, so Cosmo summoned Lizzie Borden. Oops.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, and J. Edgar Hoover were all agents of PURITY. And they engineered the entire Watergate scandal in order to ruin Richard Nixon when he wouldn't play ball.
  • Big Bad: Rausseman again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: PURITY has control of the USA, many heroes are dead, Ruby's fate is unknown, and Galactus is coming. The only thing that keeps the story from having a complete Downer Ending is the hope that the heroes gathered in Wakanda will be enough to save the world. And that's not even getting into what might happen with the Phoenix Force, who seems to have allied itself with Lapis, Timmy, and Stan.
  • Black Comedy: "E350 Presents: Bluebeard", a more comedic and sarcastic take on the titular fairy tale.
  • Brick Joke: "Karma Punishment" ends with Dib and Timmy playing a video game. The Stinger of the collection shows them still playing it.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Averted in "Robot Wars"; despite the fact that he was effective in getting rid of the monster, Admiral Stereotype was fired for his obvious mental problems. And for destroying Sydney.
  • The Caper: Stan and Ford's subplot in the whole PURITY mess involves breaking into Allsworthy's corporate building in order to figure out what he's keeping in a secret room.
  • Corrupt Politician: President Fulton. He starts as a Donald Trump parody, then sells out to PURITY out of both Fantastic Racism and a desire for more power.
  • Destructive Saviour: In chapter 10, the Crystal Gems save Disneyland from the Rubies...and end up banned from the park for destroying the place.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Bill Cipher complains about this in "Angry Fandom Shelter". After he started Weirdmageddon, he was expecting to get all the credit for it...only to find out that the Gravity Falls fandom was blaming everyone except him.
    "...heck, I saw one guy trying to say it was Manly Dan. Manly Dan! That guy couldn't plan a fishing trip, never mind a total galactic apocalypse!"
  • Eldritch Location: Timmy's house becomes one in "Timmy Turner's House of Terror".
  • Fan Dumb: Happens In-Universe, which is why the Angry Fandom Shelter exists.
  • Foreshadowing: Garnet's fate in chapter 14 is a hint towards her... unfortunate fate later in the PURITY arc.
  • Godzilla Threshold: For the Order of the Thirteen, PURITY winning is this. When they succeed, the Order responds by summoning Galactus in order to spare the universe the threat of a PURITY-controlled Earth.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Thanks to an alien, the crew at Wright-Patterson Airbase is stuck in one.
  • Hell Hotel: The titular resort in "Guests of the Marblehead", which may also be an Eldritch Location.
  • Hero Killer: PURITY kills off Hawkeye, War Machine, Black Widow, a good chunk of the people at Xavier's School for Gifted Children, a number of Inhumans, Garnetnote , and who knows how many others.
  • The Illuminati: The secret society known as the Order of the Thirteen is compared to the Illuminati by Stan. Known members are Ford, Reed Richards, Professor Xavier, Black Bolt and Vlad (though he abandons his seat when he goes into hiding from PURITY).
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Smoky Quartz gets heckled for this by Cosmo in chapter 10.
  • The Infiltration: PURITY succeeds at infiltrating the United States government.
  • Killed Off for Real: Vlad in "House of Cards".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Karma Punishment". Gaz used mind control on people, and she ends up under the control of the protagonists in the end.
  • Mind-Control Device: Gaz uses one of these in "Karma Punishment".
    • In the PURITY story, the brain implants that were ordered for the US military are these.
  • New Era Speech: Fulton gives one on behalf of PURITY after they win.
  • Not Me This Time: After Gaz has her mind-controlled victims rob the Krusty Krab, including stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula, Spongebob immediately assumes that Plankton is responsible. Plankton, who's randomly walking by, clarifies that for once he's not involved.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: How the Rubies get into Disneyland in "Scenes from the Gems at Disney".
  • Oh, Crap!: A PURITY platoon's reaction to facing the Hulk in the climax.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: "Trailers" features E350's take on a generic, stereotypically over the top action movie trailer featuring his favorite characters as the heroes. Among other things there's lampshaded Product Placement, subplots which the characters admit are just there to pad out the runtime, and a scene of a character being accused of being The Mole that's only included to psych out the audience.
  • Reality Warper: Mabel at the end of "Dipper Goes to Tir na Nog".
  • Reference Overdosed: Allsworthy in a freaking nutshell.
  • Rule of Cool: Pretty much everything about "Robot Wars".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • When Vlad learns of PURITY's master plan, he goes into hiding in a cabin in Alaska. It's not enough to save him.
    • In "Karma Punishment", after Gaz robs the Krusty Krab, Spongebob immediately volunteers himself, Sandy, and Squidward to get everything back. In response, Squidward just as quickly refuses to get involved, heading home instead.
  • Sequel Hook: The impending resistance against PURITY. And Galactus has been summoned to Earth.
  • Ship Tease: Between Timmy and Dani in chapter 29.
  • Shout-Out: The first chapter features a parody of "The Candy Man" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
  • Soviet Super Science: In "Cold War", Vlad is a Soviet politician put in charge of a secret base in Siberia where an attempt at creating a weapon to match the American nuclear arsenal instead opened a portal to Another Dimension full of monsters.
  • Take That!: In "Robot Wars" Peridot and Lapis accidentally destroy Cleveland. No one notices for years.
    • In the above C.O.P.S. reference, E350 calls it a "pretty awful show".
    • In chapter 10, Doc the Ruby, Dipper and Wendy all hate the "It's a Small World" ride — the latter two so much that they proceed to destroy the place.
    • In "A Sunday Drive Down Fury Road", E350 listens to OutKast's "Hey Ya!" in the car before Sandy grabs the CD and chucks it out the window. Also, he compares the Hume Highway to a barren, hellish landscape.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In chapter 28, E350 categorizes the types of Nazis that he's used in his stories over the years. For him, they tend to fall into three types: A (the breathtakingly incompetent ones), B (the moustache-twirlingly evil ones), and/or C (the gratuitous back-story ones).
  • Understatement: Pearl admits that they may have caused some minor damage to the Sleeping Beauty Castle and Main Street at Disneyland in chapter 10. "Minor" meaning "collasped much of the front of the castle" and "turned into a smoking ruin, with many things on fire", respectively.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Legacies" depicts how PURITY slowly infiltrated the US government, eliminating enemies along the way.
  • Written by the Winners: Rausseman brags about this when PURITY's plan is put into motion, claiming that future generations will remember him as a hero and the actual heroes as terrorists he put down.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The mob in "Angry Fandom Shelter" are perfectly happy with lynching children. Which E350 uses as an excuse to open fire on them with his Tommy gun, and why the police don't prosecute him for it.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Rausseman guns down Allsworthy after they activate the brain implants which only the latter can deactivate.
Advertisement:

    Blue Alert 
  • After-Action Report: "Incident Report X7" is series of reports and communications by and between X-COM officers as they combat an outbreak of The Virus with the help of the Crystal Gems.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Thoroughly mocked in "There's An App For That", where E350 has to pay a fortune for any kind of advancement in an app game, otherwise he has to slog through it in a way that'd take thousands of years to beat. He ultimately decides to just rob a bank for the cash he needs.
  • Alternate Universe: "Sea to Shining Sea" expands on the one created in "The Trans-European Express" from the previous collection. White Star line is still around, China is split between the Qing and the Nationalists, transcontinental train lines are still the main form of long distance mass transit in America, and John F Kennedy was an anti-liberal authoritarian (who wasn't assassinated but lost reelection) while Richard Nixon is beloved for being a champion of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Anti-Climax: The Phoenix gets restrained by PURITY, which backfires on them while their plans are exposed to the public (bringing down Fulton in the process), destroying their power base and convincing Galactus to leave Earth practically as soon as he arrives. Rausseman is then denied an epic Final Battle, being quickly taken down by Ford instead.
  • Anti-Magic: The anti-nonhuman rounds invented by PURITY end up being capable of breaking the Phoenix's control of its hosts.
  • Apocalypse How: Planet-level societal collapse or species extinction in “Come And See”, thanks to Gaz.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Colonel Wendell tries to defend himself by saying he was Just Following Orders, T'Challa counters by coldly asking how many people have died and how many lives have been ruined because of men like him "just following orders". Wendell is left practically catatonic, and he ends up fleeing the battlefield.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Long List of crimes Freakshow's gang is charged with contains numerous felonies, and literally ends with jaywalking.
  • Asshole Victim: The series of people killed by vampire Garnet in "Where They Feast", including Preston Northwest and Mr. Burns, are all slaveholders and supporters of the Confederate States.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The ending narration of "The Dictator" states that the titular tyrant has always existed and will always exist as long as people are led by fear, hate, distrust and division.
  • Bad Future: Sapphire has foreseen hundreds of possible futures wherein PURITY succeeds in conquering all of Earth, slowly purging it of every non-human, and then going to war with the rest of the universe, all in constant pursuit of new groups to be labeled "other" and wiped out as an excuse to justify their regime.
  • Balance of Power: The reason Jean's powers as the Phoenix are experimented on by the American government in the first place is the belief that she'll be capable of acting as a counterpart to the silver man should the Soviets ever manage to weaponize him.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Just like in his last appearance, Floyd turns people into things. This time around, it's living Legos.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In “Come And See”, Gaz gets a watch that grants her seven wishes. There are two catches; one, if she uses up all seven, she loses her soul to the Devil. Two, each wish she makes brings a great catastrophe upon the world.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Horrible Headcase is presumably responsible for Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance, considering the man's head is in his collection.
  • The Bet: The Devil and Dib make a bet on whether or not Gaz’s soul can be saved. The Devil wins and claims her soul, much to Dib’s horror.
  • Big Bad: President Fulton, due to Rausseman's lack of appearances. That said, once Rausseman does finally show up in chapter 27, he makes it clear that Fulton is just his puppet and he's the one really in charge.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: As it turns out, PURITY is not the only threat that needs to be taken out -– there's also the Phoenix Force (which plans on killing everyone even remotely involved with PURITY, even those who did something as simple as vote for Fulton in the election) and Galactus (who was summoned by the Order of Thirteen in the last collection to destroy Earth as a last resort). None of these forces are directly involved with each other, though Phoenix and Galactus have similar motives.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Everyone that Phoenix takes under her wing becomes this.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Another Brick In The Wall" ultimately turns out to be a sequel to "Roommate" from the previous year's collection.
    • "Sea to Shining Sea" is a sequel to the previous year's "The Trans-European Express".
    • The last chapter reveals that Dani has been hiding out with Spongebob and Sandy, something established back in the climax of last year's story.
  • Camping Episode: "The Camping Episode", of course.
  • The Cavalry: M'Baku and the Jabari serve as this during the Final Battle, arriving just in time to help turn the tide against PURITY's forces.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: The lesson Ford gives Dipper at the end of "Before Breakfast".
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "House Call", Tambry manages to retrieve a flash drive during the chaos at the White House. The last chapter reveals that it contained all of Fulton's private correspondence with PURITY, exposing their crimes and leading to his arrest and their downfall.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Lyndon Johnson briefly appears in "The Silver Man and the Burning Flame", and gives a few examples of his famous foul mouth.
  • Courtroom Episode: "The People vs. Frederick Showenhower".
  • Cruel Mercy: Ford ultimately chooses not to kill Rausseman, condemning him to a slow death from his illness and denying him his final blaze of glory.
  • Crossover:
    • "Incident Report X7" crosses over Steven Universe and X-COM.
    • "The Beast In Me" combines Steven Universe with Venom (2018), along with a cameo by Bruce Banner.
  • Day of the Jackboot: We got a taste of this in the previous year's ending scenes, but here it's shown how horrible PURITY's reign is. Mutants and Inhumans rounded up "for their protection", the President given increased emergency powers, disagreeing news outlets being forcibly shut down, critics arrested and killed, etc.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Phoenix Force's ultimate plan is to kill everyone involved with PURITY -– even the innocents who might not even have a say in the matter, or people who did something as simple as vote for Fulton in the last election (thus enabling their rise to power).
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Mr. Monopoly turns out to be the one behind the cursed app in "There's An App For That".
  • Dramatic Thunder: There's some outside of the Headcase's office building, despite the fact, as Wendy points out, it's completely sunny out.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Presumably happened In-Universe in "The Horrible Headcase"; one of the Horrible Headcase's skills was doing William McKinley impressions, but he started his act on the day McKinley was shot.
  • Dynamic Entry: As Danny and Timmy are wondering what song E350 is going to open the collection with this year, he suddenly drives a 1920's car through the wall.
  • Empty Shell: Gaz is rendered as this after the Devil takes her soul.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Dictator, from the story of the same name, is only ever referred to as such.
  • Expanded States of America: After the Canadian Prime Minister offers to mediate between Fulton and T'Challa, the US military takes the "preventative measure" of invading and occupying Canada.
  • Fictional Political Party: "Feeling Presidential" shows that several new parties emerge in response to Americans getting fed up with the two-party system. There's a new Progressive Party, which runs on liberal platforms (the party of Presidents Dipper Pines, Stevonnie, and Dani Phantom), the Justice Party, originally the Trap Construction Party, which is a strong law-and-order group (the party of Presidents Fred Jones and Bruce Wayne), and the Truth Party, which is dedicated to investigations of the supernatural (the party of Presidents Denzel Crocker and Dib Membrane).
  • Final Solution: Rausseman's ultimate plan is to use the Phoenix to hijack Galactus's power and use it in turn to wipe out every nonhuman in the universe.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Lampshaded in "E350 Presents: Rapunzel", when Mabel (the prince) and Pacifica (Rapunzel) decide to get married after knowing each other three days.
  • Gamebooks: Like with the two entries in Lair of the Hack Writer, this is parodied in chapter 18 by only showing the endings, with no context.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • At the end of "The People vs. Frederick Showenhower", Sandy says there's no way she'll let the rest of the jury take the easiest path towards reaching a verdict. Cut to her grumpily reading out a not guilty verdict.
    • Near the beginning of "The Camping Episode", Sam questions whether she and Danny should be leaving Amity Park unprotected while they go on vacation. Danny says it'll be fine, since they left Tucker on the case, and then the scene cuts to Tucker completely oblivious to a ghost attack as he reads fanfiction.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Rausseman is this, since everything Fulton does is a result of the deal the two of them made in the last collection. He finally steps down into the main Big Bad role in chapter 27.
  • Karma Houdini: Freakshow in “The People Vs Frederick Showenhower”, thanks to an incompetent jury.
  • Knight Templar: The Phoenix Force is against PURITY like the other heroes. However, it has no qualms about mind-controlling or killing innocents in the process. In fact, it wants to wipe out anyone even remotely connected to them, even those who just voted for Fulton.
  • La Résistance: Ford is revealed to be leading one, composed of other heroes, against PURITY and their collaborators.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Iron Horses", Gaz rides hard and brutally on the workers at her father's railway line. This eventually leads to a group of them breaking into her mansion to try and rob her, but accidentally start a fire, which due to the expensive construction methods Gaz wanted spreads too fast for her to escape, leaving her to burn to death. And, it's implied, leading to her soul (rejected by Heaven and Hell) becoming trapped inside a train engine employed by the rail workers.
  • The Last Dance: The climax reveals that Rausseman's superpowered biology is breaking down, condemning him to a slow and painful death. So he sets up the Final Battle in the hopes of going out in a blaze of glory instead.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "When The Going Gets Tough", President Fulton claims that the war with Wakanda will be over by Halloween. Since that's the day the last entry of this year's collection will be published, he's right either way.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Devil manifests as a woman with pale skin in a white dress with an angelic glow around her.
  • Military Coup:
    • In "Come And See", General Ross eventually stages one against Vlad's government after America is devastated by WWIII, natural disaster-induced famine, and the Bubonic plague.
    • "Feeling Presidential" mentions that General Chaos spear-headed one to remove President Fred Jones from power, briefly ruling the country afterwards (though he ends up stepping down in time for the next scheduled election).
  • Mind-Control Device: The ERI chips from last year's collection are still being used by PURITY to control the American military. The heroes manage to find an Override Command and shut them down in the last chapter.
  • Monumental Damage: In "House Call", the Phoenix hosts destroy the Washington Monument and the White House in order to send a message to Fulton and PURITY.
  • MST: "Troped" is E350 providing some commentary on this very page.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Gideon is apparently intending to do this in "Before Breakfast", eliminating Pacifica to get to Mabel. Pacifica specifically name drops the trope.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Ford in "Before Breakfast" just wants to get his coffee. Too bad he keeps getting interrupted.
  • Never My Fault: Petrov in "The Silver Man and the Burning Flame". Even as his experiments with Jean's Phoenix powers go wrong and leads to his death, he's blaming every superior he's ever had.
  • Nice Hat: The hatted man in "Puttin' on the Fics". It is lampshaded.
  • Noodle Incident: Ford claims to have chanted an incantation in his sleep and woken up to Millard Fillmore. He also stole something from the Fortunate Son dimension.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: In "E350 Presents: Rapunzel", when Priscilla Northwest (who's playing Rapunzel's mother) states that she wants to eat nothing but Rapunzel flowers, the narration pauses for a moment to clarify that this is something that actually happens in the original fairy tale.
  • Not So Different: In "The Beast In Me", Bruce compares his situation with the Hulk with the one Pearl is now in with the Venom symbiote. That allows him to help Pearl learn to control it.
  • Off with His Head!: The specialty of the Horrible Headcase.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: As an indicator of how bad things have gotten in America since PURITY took over last year, J. Jonah Jameson gives Spider-Man a public apology.
  • Oppressive States of America:
    • What the US becomes under PURITY's control.
    • A standalone, non-Story Arc related version appears in "The Dictator", where the eponymous tyrant has taken control of America, with many heroes detained by his "Freedom Brigades", either being prisoners or outright executed.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: "Feeling Presidential" features a list of fictional characters who become President, to varying levels of effective leadership.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Where They Feast" features vampires as holy warriors who only feast on the wicked.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: "Feeling Presidential" mentions that during Dipper's presidency, America briefly enters a conflict with the "Free People's Democratic Utopian Republic of Quebec". Nothing much is said about this country, except that it apparently eventually collapses under the extreme weight of its totalitarian regime.
  • President Evil:
    • Fulton in the main Story Arc, turning America into a totalitarian dictatorship on behalf of PURITY.
    • Vlad borders on this in "Come and See", making Danny a fugitive and taking the country into two wars (and conscripting whole towns in the process). General Ross, who overthrows him and establishes a military dictatorship, is worse.
    • The Dictator, in the story of the same name, has his Secret Police round up anyone "abnormal" or who disagrees with his regime.
    • Fred Jones, of all people, is this in "Feeling Presidential", becoming a law-and-order autocrat who among other things has anyone who dresses up as a monster (and that includes trick-or-treaters) arrested and held without trial.
  • Race Against the Clock: "The Eve of Battle" sets up the Final Battle with PURITY, establishing that Galactus is coming to destroy Earth rather than let PURITY control it and use its resources against the rest of the universe. The Surfer states that they have a mere eight hours before he arrives to beat PURITY and thereby change his mind.
  • Reincarnation: Stanford goes through this in "The Great Chain", with Word of God clarifying that the new being he became was White Diamond.
  • Robotic Reveal: "Before Breakfast" goes with the fan theory that Tambry is a robot, but that she doesn't know it.
  • Satan: Appears in "Come and See", in the form of an angelic-looking woman.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After taking one look at the head-swapped Mystery Shack gang, Pacifica immediately turns on her heel and leaves the building.
  • Self-Deprecation: In "The Camping Episode", Tucker gripes about a fanfic with an unclear ending. The story posted the day before ("The Great Chain") had an ending which confused readers.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Multiple characters try to do this in "Cause and Defect".
  • Sequel Hook: Although the PURITY Myth Arc is wrapped up here, there's still a stinger setting up an entirely new story next year, with a mysterious figure calling E350 a monster and planning revenge on him.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Ship Tease: During the epilogue, it's mentioned that Timmy asked Dani out on a date.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Timmy tells him that a bunch of their friends have been transported into an app game, E350 is more concerned with finishing the current chapter of a book he's reading first.
  • Sticky Situation: Soos and Waddles end up in one in "Before Breakfast".
  • Take That!:
    • The hatted man treats Children of Earth as non-canon.
    • One of the main things that PURITY does to maintain control of America? Declare all their critics as being "fake news".
    • "There's An App For That" is one long jab at the Allegedly Free Game.
    • One of the endings presented in "Choose Your Own Ending III" has the reader being forced to read Chicken, Chicken (one of the most universally despised Goosebumps books), which is treated as a Fate Worse than Death.
    • The bridge troll who appears in "E350 Presents: Billy Goats" is an admitted parody of Internet trolls, especially right-wing ones.
    • "Love and Mishaps" is a prolonged parody of the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters", which E350 views as one of the worst in the show's history.
  • Tank Goodness: The PURITY forces invading Wakanda are spearheaded by the Ratte II, a tank the size of a house and big enough it has its own command bridge.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Tambry didn't know she was a robot, and when Ford (assuming she did) reveals it, the shock causes her to have a hard drive crash.
  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: What Floyd seems to be trying to go for in the Lego scenario he sticks the characters in in "Another Brick In The Wall".
  • The Virus: "Incident Report X7" features X-COM and the Crystal Gems combating a virus which changes people into psychically-linked mutants.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Galactus sees a PURITY-controlled Earth as a threat to the rest of the universe, and is prepared to wipe out the whole planet to stop them.
  • Wham Line: In "First They Came...", we don't figure out the identity of the narrator until he says this:
    "Spider-Man, I am sorry."
    • From "The Silver Man and the Burning Flame":
    Bucky: You too, huh? Well, let's get you out...
    • Fulton's line at the end of "House Call" raises the stakes considerably:
    "If the offensive fails, we're nuking them."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ford gets this from several people after yelling at Peridot in "Before Breakfast".
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The final portion of the last chapter (excluding E350's annual closing song and the Sequel Hook) covers what happened to everyone after the Final Battle.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "The Silver Man and the Burning Flame" reveals the origins of both the Phoenix Force and the silver man (heavily implied to be the Silver Surfer) seen at the end of the last Unspectacular. It ends with us seeing what the current bearers of the Phoenix Force are doing in the present, as well as Bucky apparently about to free the silver man.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Cause and Defect" is one to TomSka's "PIZZA TIME" skit...which leads to E350 getting sued by him in the end.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Played with with Ford in "The Great Chain". He doesn't regret living so long, even with having to outlive all his loved ones, but by the time the universe completely ends, awaiting a new Big Bang, he admits that he's simply tired of living. And since his immortality can't be undone, he accepts the next best thing in being reincarnated into a new form.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: The Devil to Gaz, at the end of “Come And See”.

    This is fine 
  • '80s Hair: Mocked in "Ten Decades", where in the 1980s section Dib treats 80s fashion choices (hair and otherwise) as The Virus infecting people.
  • Adult Fear: E350 begs the Bus Driver not to kill the ten-year-old Timmy. His pleas are ignored.
  • Alien Invasion:
    • Ultimately turns out to be the cause of the titular outbreak in "The Plague".
    • "Reds" features an alien race invading Earth in 1960 (focus is on the US, but mention is also made of Europe being overrun).
  • Alternate Universe:
    • "A Phantom Died Tonight" takes place in a world where Superman is a bloodthirsty Galactic Conqueror.
    • "A Sunburnt Country" is set in the same universe that was begun in "The Trans-European Express" in HU7 and continued in "Sea to Shining Sea" in HU8. This time it focuses on Australia, which never unified politically and is composed of several nations, the largest of which is a reactionary apartheid state which represses aboriginals and women. Also, all space exploration efforts ceased after the first manned mission to the moon ended with the spacecraft crashing and all but one crew member dying (with the sole survivor being stranded).
  • And I Must Scream: In "The Statuary Car", Tulip is turned into a statue. Her POV shows that she's still fully aware and desperate to escape.
  • Asshole Victim: The Northwests in "Bewarb the Blob", who are consumed by the Mabel blob right after forcing their daughter to dump incriminating files for them.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Backslide Tavern from "Run For A Long Time" is a hangout for villains.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Stranger/the Bus Driver gets everything he wants, leaving E350 miserable and alone.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • "Reds", at first, seems to be about the military fighting off highly advanced Soviet weaponry. It isn't revealed until the end that they're actually fighting off an alien invasion.
    • We're initially led to believe that the Bus Driver will pin E350 as the mastermind behind his attack on Melbourne (and Danny and Jenny's "help", which caused far more damage). Instead, the whole thing is blamed on Sandy.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Lisa is turned into a coffee table in "Welcome To Your New Job!".
  • Battle in the Rain: Invoked; the Stranger uses the series' tendency to do this to lure E350's friends into a trap, before going after E350 himself.
  • Big Bad: The Stranger (the mystery figure introduced in last year's stinger), who wants revenge on E350 for something that happened to him. He's actually the unfortunate bus driver from the Fiddley Canon arc.
  • Blob Monster: Mabel turns into one in "Bewarb the Blob".
  • Breaking Old Trends: This is the first collection not to end with a parody of "We Didn't Start The Fire" and a writing stat check; instead, we simply get a message saying that Halloween Unspectacular X will come in 2020.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Soos notes that people actually dying in Mabel's blob rampage is rather dark for a comedy entry.
    • In "Oh No, Zombies!", the Stranger hijacks the story to tell the readers that this is part of why E350 is a terrible person.
  • Buried Alive: Stan's fate at the end of "The Deepest Mine in Ballarat", though legend claims that he's still digging.
  • Bystander Syndrome: The Stranger's biggest beef against E350 is this — even with all the power he has, the man stood by and let disaster after disaster happen, which eventually led to something bad happening to the figure.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the opening, the Stranger remembers an old conversation about the Fiddley Thing, and mentions the Witchfinders, Galahad, and PURITY.
    • In the seventh story, the Stranger robs Axiom Labs and leaves behind several items featuring nods towards previous collections — a ticket for the Australian bus Insano experimented on, an old musket ball, a pass to meet President Fulton, and a map of the Governor's jail.
    • In "Evil", the Stranger meets with Grim (not seen since HU5) and Insano (not seen since a cameo in HU6) and pays off the former with various items from the previous collections.
    • "A Sunburnt Country" is a followup to the previous year's "Sea to Shining Sea", which was in turn a continuation of "The Trans-European Express" from the year before that.
    • "Party at E3's" repeatedly mentions the time that E350 was attacked by Yobbo pirates, which occurred in "A Sunday Drive Down Fury Road" in HU7.
    • Even the Stranger's identity is ultimately a callback — he's the Bus Driver, the poor unfortunate bastard from the first Myth Arc who kept losing his jobs because of the plot.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Previously, the Bus Driver's many, many misfortunes were played for comedy. Here, it's revealed that these misfortunes ruined his life in the long run, leading to him seeking revenge on E350 for causing them.
  • Continuity Lockout: The current story arc makes constant references to the previous collections, requiring one to read them all to get the most out of the references.
  • Continuity Reboot: Is in a separate canon from the previous PURITY arc, though it does contain references to said arc, as well as the Myth Arc before it.
  • Cruel Mercy: The Stranger ultimately refuses to kill E350, instead wishing him to live a long time with his misery.
  • Deal with the Devil: At the end of "Brother Can You Spare A Soul?", it's revealed that Mr. Krabs has sold his soul to so many people that, after his death, they're all going to court to determine who has legal ownership of it.
  • Deconstruction: The main arc deconstructs the Author Avatar trope, which E350 uses extensively in the series. The Stranger is pissed off at him because he's able to interact with multiple worlds; however, he only uses this ability to view what happens in each, write those events down, and make them stories for the collections, while the Stranger believes that he should have used this ability to help the denizens of these worlds. They also believe that E350 should have helped when they were in trouble, pinning all their problems on his negligence.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "The Curse of the Cursed Curse".
  • Disney Death: The Stranger/Bus Driver seemingly kills most of E350's friends, but it's later shown he's keeping them prisoner.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Bus Driver, a one-note comic relief character from the original Myth Arc, is the Big Bad.
  • Downer Ending: Most of E350's friends are captured by the Bus Driver (with everyone thinking they're dead), Sandy is in jail after being framed for being the mastermind behind the Bus Driver's attack on the city, and E350 himself is left homeless, miserable, and alone.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Homeworld is destroyed in "Downfall", as a weapons demonstration.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke:
    • In the Star Wars parody in "The Reject Shop", the stormtrooper stand-ins are lawyers.
    • In "Welcome To Your New Job!", lawyers are included on the list of creatures that the DPC is authorized to eliminate.
  • Evil Overlord: "Downfall" features Emperor Octavian Valerian of the Velutarian Empire, who is conquering the universe by force and who destroys Homeworld, killing billions of innocent Gems, just to make a point.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: In "Iron Monger", Peridot makes a big show out of how she's going to use her powers to lift a downed helicopter out of a river... only for nothing to happen when she tries. Because the helicopter is a hologram the Stranger is using as part of his ploy.
  • Fate Worse than Death: What the Bus Driver does to E350 — he gets to watch all his friends (apparently) die and Sandy get captured by the police, and is kept alive so he can remember the day for the rest of his miserable life.
  • Flat "What": E350's reaction to being told he's got an eviction notice in his mail.
  • Frame-Up: Sandy gets framed as the mastermind behind the attack on Melbourne.
  • Godwin's Law: In the 1940s section of "Ten Decades", the Nazis are described as "the evilest", and that's the only reason needed to fight them.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: "Welcome To Your New Job!" features the Department for Paranormal Containment, which hunts paranormal creatures.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Jimmy uses "gay" in its original context in the 1900s segment of "Ten Decades".
  • The Hero Dies:
    • "A Phantom Died Tonight" focuses on the death of Danny Fenton/Phantom at the hands of either General Zod or an evil Superman.
    • In "Iron Monger", The Stranger manages to trap and blow up Danny and Jenny. Later subverted when it turns out that they're still alive; see below.
    • In "error-titlecorrupted", the Stranger apparently kills the rest of E350's friends, excluding Stevonnie, Soos, Dipper, Mabel and Wendy (all not at E350's party for various reasons), Amethyst and Peridot (who both get poofed by the police), and Sandy (who gets arrested). Later subverted when it's revealed that he's keeping them alive for an as-yet-unknown reason.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Invoked by the Stranger in "Iron Monger", as he fakes an attack on Melbourne, counting on the heroes' attempts to stop him causing more collateral damage than he did, turning public opinion against them. And later, he frames Sandy for being the mastermind of the attack, leading to her being arrested.
  • Implausible Deniability: In "Welcome To Your New Job!", we see that the DPC deals with Dib investigating their operations by spouting out blatantly false and contradictory cover stories about their base of operations (such as claiming it's both a teriyaki chicken stand and an Arby's, and that the Bigfoot he saw being escorted inside was swamp gas reflected off a weather balloon and/or a V-2 rocket test).
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After escaping justice in the Fiddley Canon arc, Ovard Grim gets killed by the Stranger as a part of his revenge plot.
  • Kill 'Em All: In "Downfall", almost every gem on Homeworld is destroyed, including the Diamonds.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: In "Welcome To Your New Job!", the DPC authorizes its agents to do this if necessary.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Emperor Valerian commands this of the Diamonds in "Downfall", forcing them to surrender Homeworld to his forces. Then he destroys the planet anyway, having only made his demands to humiliate them.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In "Brother Can You Spare A Soul?", Mr. Krabs uses the fact that Sandy sold him her soul to prove a point in order to enslave her ghost after her death. When she subsequently frees herself by buying her soul back from him, he dies of a heart attack from the shock of the lost opportunity... at which point it's revealed that he'd previously sold his own soul to numerous people as a scam, leading to them fighting in court over ownership of him.
    • In the fairytale parody "The Curse of the Cursed Curse", Gaz is a medieval noblewoman who loves tormenting peasants, including Mabel. One day, Mabel takes too much and makes a deal with the fairies to switch their lives. As such, Mabel becomes a noblewoman who lives a wonderful life, while Gaz becomes a peasant (and later mercenary) who lives a life of misery; it's also specifically noted that she could have fixed her situation if she just learned to be a better person, but she refuses.
  • Long List: In "Party at E3's", Dani lists all of E350's enemies, including the various foes he's faced over this series, but also including such notable mentions as the Sicilian Mafia, Henry Cavill, and the Teamsters Union.
  • Lured into a Trap: In "Iron Monger", the Stranger fakes an attack on Melbourne to lure out E350's friends, whom he can then blow up, after first staging things so that they cause more damage than he did, tainting their reputations and leading to Sandy getting arrested.
  • Made a Slave: Mr. Krabs intends to do this with Sandy's ghost in "Brother Can You Spare A Soul?", as she had previously sold him her soul to make a point, and he wants an unpaid employee he can work forever; since he owns her soul, she has to obey him. She gets out of it by offering him twenty dollars for her soul back, counting on his greed overriding everything else.
  • Manchurian Agent: The Stranger gets ahold of the sword of Joan of Arc, which allows him to compel the souls of people stabbed with it and turn them into sleeper agents. He uses it on Jimmy as a part of his plan.
  • Manipulative Editing: The fourth story is an interview Amethyst has with a reporter about the Crystal Gems' activities. The first part is the unedited interview, which is fairly normal, but the second is the aired version, where Amethyst's responses are cherry-picked to make the Gems sound like perverted criminals.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Oh No, Zombies!" starts out as a fairly standard Black Comedy 'shot, where Dib wakes up the undead. It quickly switches to a monologue by the Stranger, criticizing E350 for turning this into a comedy story instead of doing anything to help.
  • MST: SquidRiffs is brought back in the 26th chapter; this time around, Squidward reads the first-ever story written for the series.
  • Mythology Gag: The opening contains references to not only past collections in the series, but also to E350's Happy Fluffy Reviews of Really Bad Fanfic, an old MST series by the same author.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • According to Amethyst, Pearl was once chased by the police, but it wasn't a big deal. This might be a reference to "Last One out Of Beach City", though.
    • Apparently, E350's Long List of enemies includes the Sicilian Mafia, Henry Cavill, and the Teamsters Union.
  • Pet the Dog: A meta example: Word of God says that the Pearls were the only survivors of Homeworld's destruction in "Downfall", because he can't bring himself to kill them.
  • The Purge: "Run On For A Long Time" has the Stranger start his endgame by killing Grim, then luring all the other villains to one location and blowing them up.
  • Rage Against the Author: Played for Drama; this is the Stranger's plan in a nutshell.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Every year since HU5, E350 has opened up these collections with an elaborate song-and-dance routine. However, it turns out his neighbors aren't as thrilled about this as the readers — "The Stranger" reveals that he's getting evicted from his house due to constant noise complaints.
    • The Stranger turns out to be the Bus Driver, who kept losing his job in each of his appearances in the first Myth Arc. This ruined his prospects of continued employment, which made him lose his wife and home.
  • Ret-Gone: Lars accidentally does this to himself in "Welcome To Your New Job!"
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In "Evil", the Stranger convinces Dr. Insano to sell him information on E350, and then instead of paying, kills him.
  • Role Swap Plot: In the fairytale parody "The Curse of the Cursed Curse", Mabel makes a deal with the fairies that makes her and Gaz switch lives, making Mabel a noblewoman and Gaz a peasant.
  • The Scottish Trope: In "Letters To The Author", Pinecest is referred to as "The Forbidden Pairing".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • In the 1910s section of "Ten Decades", Lance ultimately quits the British army and walks away when he learns that they're only in World War I because of a ridiculously complicated series of alliance treaties. And in the 1970s section, Stan is trying to ditch the instability of the Western world, only for his efforts to leave for Iran be ruined by the revolution.
    • Discussed for laughs in "Bewarb the Blob", where Ford notes that if their plan for stopping Mabel's blob rampage fails, they may have to make like Rick and skip dimensions.
  • Seen It All: Wendy's reaction to seeing Mabel turned into a blob is to shrug it off as "a Mystery Shack thing".
  • Sequel Hook: In the final scene, it's shown that all of the "dead" heroes are actually being kept prisoner by the Bus Driver. Following this is a message stating that Halloween Unspectacular X will be coming in 2020.
  • Ship Tease: There's a bit of Timmy/Dani in the last chapter, where Timmy shows great concern for Dani as she's holding off the Stranger's attack and is heartbroken when she's seemingly killed.
  • Shout-Out: The opening musical number this year is a number of Disney song parodies strung together. The songs used include "Arabian Nights", "Under The Sea", "Let It Go", and "Beauty and the Beast".
  • Sole Survivor:
    • According to the author's note, the Pearls survive Homeworld's destruction in "Downfall" as he can't really bring himself to kill them.
    • Plankton survives the explosion that kills every other villain in "Run On For A Long Time" by sheer luck.
  • Spoof Aesop: Invoked at the end of "The Curse of the Cursed Curse", when Rick ignores Morty's more relevant suggestions for an aesop and goes with "Christopher Columbus was a jerk".
  • Story-Breaker Power: "Letters to the Author" explains that this is why Cosmo and Wanda don't show up too much in HU stories, and why the Fiddley Thing isn't used as much anymore.
  • Taken for Granite: Happens to Tulip in "The Statuary Car".
  • Take Me Instead: E350 begs the Bus Driver to kill him instead of Timmy, which sadly doesn't work.
  • Take That!:
    • In the first chapter, when Stan tries to sing "Let It Go", E350 immediately shuts him down.
    • In "Ten Decades", 80s fashion is treated like The Virus.
    • "The Full Picture with Rush Carlson" is one long jab at Manipulative Editing.
    • One of the stories in "The Reject Shop" is a parody of Star Wars: A New Hope, which opens with an apology to George Lucas... until E350 notes that as Lucas made the Star Wars Holiday Special, he's the one who should be apologizing to the fans.
    • In "The Plague", one of the symptoms of the plague's Beta strain is attempting to cause mass panic on social media.
    • "Letters To The Author" takes a shot at Butch Hartman and his...questionable actions as of late.
      • It also takes a shot at The Loud House fandom and their penchance for incestual ships.
    • "They Blocked Dipper's Game" is one long mockery of Blizzard's, shall we say, poor handling of Hearthstone users' casual commentary on political events.
  • Technically Living Zombie: In "The Plague", those infected with the Omega, Beta, and Alpha strains of the virus become these, attempting to infect or kill others.
  • Tempting Fate: When Sandy dies and becomes a ghost in "Brother Can You Spare A Soul?", she figures that, as long as they get her body to the hospital, she can come back. Cue both a Krabby Patty monster and a brain monster bursting out of it.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: In "Welcome To Your New Job!", it's noted that the DPC captures and locks away all paranormal creatures, regardless of if they're a genuine threat or not.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The villains apparently gather regularly to play UNO.
  • The Virus: The titular infection in "The Plague".
  • W.A.F.F.: "Future Family Picnic" breaks the usual pattern, being neither comedy nor drama, instead being simply about older versions of the Crystal Gems getting together for a picnic.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: As the story arc goes on, it becomes clearer that the Stranger is one of these. They go after villains for the most part, and they seem to have some legitimate issues with E350 (namely, that he watches horrible things happen to others, yet simply records these events instead of helping); however, they're perfectly willing to endanger innocent lives and commit murder in order to further their goals.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Evil". Not only do we get to see Mr. Grim and Dr. Insano for the first time since the 5th and 6th collections, respectively, but more of the Stranger's plan comes to light — including the fact that he's turned one of E350's friends into a Manchurian Agent.
    • "Run On For A Long Time". The Stranger finally enacts their plan, starting with the murder of Ovard Grim and every villain sans Plankton.
    • "Iron Monger". The Stranger lures Danny and Jenny into a fight that ends with the two of them being seemingly killed in an explosion. Worse, the Stranger has manipulated events so that they caused more damage than he did, and are being posthumously branded as criminals.
    • "error-titlecorrupted", the final chapter, fittingly goes out with a series of bangs. The Stranger attacks E350's house party, seemingly killing most of his friends, before revealing himself to be the Bus Driver. He then leaves, sparing E350 to live a life of misery, and having framed Sandy for his attack on Melbourne, letting her be arrested and Amethyst and Pearl being poofed by the police when they try to defend. And in the final scene, it's revealed that all the "killed" heroes (including Danny and Jenny) have actually been transported to the Bus Driver's lair, where he's keeping them prisoner and brainwashing them.
  • Wham Line:
    • At first, "Reds" seems to be about the US military fighting off advanced Soviet tech. Then we get to this line at the end:
    "We've lost control of West Germany and they're heading towards France and the Low Countries; plus the Soviets are getting their asses kicked in Poland, which isn't something I ever expected to be upset about."
    • "Oh No, Zombies!" looks like it's going to be a typical comedy story. Then...
    "He thinks this is funny. Walking corpses devouring people. Coming after children. He's watching over this, and instead of doing anything, he writes it down and packages it as a 'comedy.' He thinks this is funny. He thought what happened to me was funny. So. Very. Funny."
    • "error-titlecorrupted" finally gives us the Stranger's true identity, which is coupled with a change in story titles:
      "...hail to the Bus Driver... Bus Driver man."
      31/10/19: Hail to the Bus Driver
      • From the same chapter: we're initially led to believe that the blame for the Melbourne attack will fall on E350's shoulders. But then...
    The Commissioner: As I was saying, we have been told that the culprit is being taken into custody as we speak, and that she will face her day in court very soon...
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Stranger calls E350 out for writing a story where zombies attack and devour children.
    • The Stranger himself is not above hurting E350's younger friends in his quest for revenge.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: E350 is dumbfounded when the Stranger's true identity is revealed as he didn't expect a joke character to be the Big Bad.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • "The Plague" is about a viral plague which turns people into violent, infectious savages, and which soon spreads across the world. It turns out to be a Depopulation Bomb created by aliens intending to colonize Earth.
    • Likely would've been the focus of "Oh No, Zombies!" had the Stranger not interrupted.

We didn't start October,
It's some science thing,
And we don't have degrees,
We didn't start October,
But one thing can be told,
Because it's all E3's fault.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report