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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • "Ye Who Enter Here": Both Bobbi and Fitz try this on a Brainwashed and Crazy Mack. It doesn't work, and Bobbi is forced to use her sticks to electrocute him into unconsciousness.
    • Fitz tries this with Daisy when she was under Hive's influence toward the end of Season Three. It doesn't work, largely because Daisy's core personality is still there, just corrupted by Hive.
    • Mack attempts something similar to the Captain America: The Winter Soldier example with Daisy in "Failed Experiments". It doesn't work, and he ends up getting nearly beaten to death until May shoots Daisy so that he can be extracted from the scene.
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    • Subverted when Fitz stops Giyera from attacking a now-cured Daisy in "Ascension":
      "People that are under Hive's sway, they're not in control of their actions. They're not bad people. Well... except you. You were a murderous wank before all this."
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow. In the Season 4 finale, Malcolm Merlyn gives a Hive brainwashing drug to his daughter Thea to make her attack the Arrow (her brother Oliver Queen). However the Hive drones are willing recipients of the drug which is only meant to reinforce their compliance, so Oliver is able to talk Thea into resisting it.
    • Happens near the end of the first season of Legends of Tomorrow, where Kendra tries to awaken the Past-Life Memories of the reincarnated Carter. Unfortunately, he has already been brainwashed by Savage and turned into his Praetorian Guard. When Kendra gets close to Carter, he nearly chokes her to death, smirking when Ray manages to pull her away. As far as Carter is concerned, Kendra is Lord Savage's enemy and is just trying to trick him. The attempt also puts an end to Kendra's relationship with Ray, who realizes that he can't compete with 4000 years' worth of romantic memories. Eventually, it's not Kendra's words that awaken Carter's real personality but Savage threatening her. Only then does the memory of Prince Khufu awaken, he spreads his wings and attacks Savage. Savage stabs him but not fatally.
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    • The Flash (2014):
      • Roy G. Bivolo "whammies" Barry into acting on his baser instincts. He assaults Iris's boyfriend Eddie until Oliver intervenes and tries to get Barry to calm down. Oliver is savvy enough to know talking won't work and tries to survive long enough for Wells and Joe to arrive with a "cure".
      • In the episode "Killer Frost", Cisco fights Killer Frost, aka Caitlin, who has been taken over by her Superpowered Evil Side, all the while pleading with her that this isn't her. It fails, and Killer Frost escapes after almost killing The Flash. Barry is finally able to bring her back to normal by refusing to fight her, just telling her that if she's so evil, she'll have no problem just simply murdering him in cold blood.
    • In Supergirl, the mother of Kara and Alex was able to stop a brainwashed Alex from killing Kara.
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  • Attempted in an episode of Babylon 5, and subverted with particular cruelty. The reply is simply for the Manchurian Agent to take particular glee in twisting the knife and taunting the hero about how their friend is gone, and how every nice thing they had said to them, the agent had whispered in their mind to tell them in order to get closer. A sequel-hook of sorts had been set up a season earlier that would have allowed them to bring the character back,note  but it was never used.
  • Best Friends Whenever: Shelby successfully pulls this on Cyd when the latter was transformed into a werewolf due to accidentally being infected by Barry's wolf serum.
  • Blake's 7. In "Sarcophagus", Avon does a different take when he urges an alien possessing Cally to kill him. The alien is using More Than Mind Control, so the Conflicting Loyalties breaks its hold over Cally, who is implied to be attracted to Avon.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Grave", Xander manages to talk the real Willow out of her black magic-induced big badness. Subverted earlier when Buffy tries it, only for her to remind Buffy that 'real Willow' was a Shrinking Violet nerd that everyone used to mock before she gained her powers.
    • Subverted when Angelus first emerges in "Innocence": he taunts Buffy with it, insinuating that Angel is still a part of him, and she denies it and attacks. She can't bring herself to kill him yet, though.
    • Also subverted by Vamp Jesse in "The Harvest". Indeed, Giles had earlier warned the characters against trying this tactic against a vampire, but Jesse's former best friend Xander still gives it a try.
    • In a more varied subversion, this exchange between Faith and Willow in the episode "Choices":
      Faith: Give me the speech again, please. "Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late."
      Willow: It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you! You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no-one. You were a slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big, selfish, worthless waste.
      • It's particularly interesting since Faith's expression and reaction suggests that she wanted to be told that it wasn't too late. (Even if she did deck Willow immediately after this exchange.) It is Faith, though, so it's not that surprising.
    • Lampshaded and subverted in "Enemies". Angelus has (seemingly) re-emerged, and this exchange takes place between him and Buffy:
      Angelus: Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Maybe there's still some good deep down inside of me that remembers and loves you. If only you could reach me. Then again, we have reality.
      Buffy: I will kill you before I let you touch me.
  • In Children of Dune, Ghanima tries to convince Alia to fight, and also tells Alia's possession to give her a chance.
  • In Chuck, this is exactly what Chuck has to do in order to restore Sarah back to normal in "Chuck Versus Sarah". However, Chuck himself doesn't do any fighting, instead, trying his darndest to convince Sarah that she loves him. It doesn't quite work in the end, but Sarah does resolve to go after the Big Bad for revenge.
  • A rare non-magical version pops up in Criminal Minds. Reid begs the kinder personality to take control of the UnSub with multiple personalities who's about to kill Reid. This fails, and he ends up killing the UnSub. Then, as the guy lies dying...
    Tobias: [after Reid shot him, regarding his evil personality] You killed him.
    Reid: [sorrowfully] Tobias.
    Tobias: Do you think I'll get to see my mom again?
    Reid: I'm sorry.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Subverted in "Pyramids of Mars" where Laurence Scarman tries to get through to his brother Marcus, who is under the control of Sutekh. Despite being told point blank that his real brother was dead, Lawrence refuses to believe the Doctor and ends up paying the ultimate price for it.
    • Lots of new series episodes have this. The only one who manages to play it straight is the Doctor himself in "42" when a friggin' sun possesses him. All others who come in contact with it though don't end too good, despite the ship's captain hoping her lover is still in there somewhere. Oh, and that Pig Man in "Daleks in Manhattan".
    • Double subverted in "Silence in the Library", where the Sexy Secretary isn't expected to fight or "survive", well, death, but in the next episode, she did exactly that, turning into a Cyber Ghost.
    • Played almost straight in the episode "The Pandorica Opens": when Rory begins to be taken over by the Autons, Amy remembers who he is and insists that he will not go under their control. He doesn't, but the mental battle's only won after he fatally shoots her.
    • The Doctor tries this with Melody Pond in "Let's Kill Hitler", only she doesn't understand why he's calling her River.
    • Averted with a Dalek-convert in "Asylum of the Daleks". The Doctor tries to appeal to her to remember the human she once was, reminding her she has a daughter. She calmly replies "Yes, I know. I read my file."
    • In "The Time of the Doctor", he does this to a Dalek-converted Tasha Lem. Though rather than an emotional appeal, he does it by insulting her and the cause she's devoted her life to until she seizes control partially so that she can slap him in the face.
    • "The Witchfinders": The Doctor tries to invoke this with Becka Savage, after she's taken over by the Morax Queen. The Queen responds that there's nothing left of Becka, and since we never see a response from her again, the queen could have been telling the truth.
  • Completely fails in the Dollhouse episode "A Love Supreme" when the Dollhouse staff tries to get the psychopathic rogue doll Alpha to not blow up one of Echo's romantic clients:
    Boyd: Alpha, do not do this. There's a part of you that knows this is wrong.
    Alpha: There are many parts of me that know this is wrong... none that care... and six (chuckles) that just find it funny!
    • Given that Alpha's original self was a serial killer-in-training anyway, there was no chance that negotiation would work.
    • Played straight and subverted again in the episode "The Hollow Men". When Echo and Whiskey imprinted with an evil version of Rossum co-founder Clyde Randolph fight, it doesn't work; however, when Paul and sleeper-activated Mellie fight, Mellie is able to hold onto "herself" long enough to blow her brains out rather than shoot at her boyfriend.
  • The Equalizer. In "Splinters", Robert McCall's trusty sidekick Mickey Kostmayer is kidnapped by the KGB in order to test their evil brainwashing technology. They make Kostmayer think that his long-time friend has accused him of murder and treason, making Kostmayer kill an image of McCall in blind rage. When the Real McCall is sent into the room as a test, he gets through to Kostmayer by saying he forgives him, and that he hopes Kostmayer does the same.
  • In Season 5 of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Iolaus is possessed by the evil god Dahak and Hercules pretty much tells him the aforementioned quote.
  • Angela and Peter Petrelli (Heroes) successfully use this on Nathlar. Arguably an inversion, since they're trying to convince the brainwashed personality to take control back from the real one.
  • Happens between Eddie and Patricia in House of Anubis when Patricia is turned into a sinner. He begs her to try and remember how she felt about him, because she still had all of her memories, but none of the feelings. They ended up kissing, but it was unknown if the real Patricia actually slipped out, or if it was all part of the plan to get Eddie and KT to accidentally unleash Ammit.
  • Jekyll:
  • Variant in Kamen Rider Decade: Tsukasa tries to talk not to the brainwashed Ultimate Kuuga, but to his sister Sayo, who was controlling the latter.
  • Kamen Rider OOO: Eiji's effort to save Ankh after he was absorbed by Lost Ankh late into the story is, besides other things, fueled by seeing Ankh struggle to regain control.
  • Kamen Rider Wizard: Several characters tried to invoke this with individual Phantoms, because they saw the likeness of someone close to them. It always ended horribly. Being Always Chaotic Evil, the Phantoms naturally took it as an oppurtunity to manipulate and/or maim the person attempting.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: Takeru, Akari, Onari and Kanon manage to break Makoto free of Necrom Specter's control with Power of Friendship. It comes in stark contrast to the reason why Alain put that thing on him in the first place. He wanted Makoto to be his friend again and well... his definition of friendship is faulty to say the least.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: This is Hiiro's treatment of Emu's Split-Personality Takeover. He tries to remind him of who he is as Emu, not M. It doesn't directly work, which pushes Hiiro into trying to live up to Emu's ideals. Seeing that brings the intern back.
  • Kamen Rider Build: Evolt deals a lowblow to Sento when he pretends that his attempts to break through to Ryuga worked.
  • Kamen Rider Zero-One: Fuwa breaks through mind control to challenge the similarly coerced Yua to stop being a corporate lapdog and find her own dream. He doesn't pull his punches when fighting her though, telling her that he'll crush her as many times as is needed in order for her to be herself.
  • In the Lexx universe, this never works.
  • Merlin:
    • In episode 3x01, Merlin tries this on resident Heel–Face Mole and Broken Bird Morgana when she allies herself with the villainous Morgause and Cenred in an attempt to conquer Camelot out of her resentment towards Uther. She seems to listen to Merlin for a brief second, but it doesn't work. In the end, Merlin defeats Morgana and Morgause's plot fails, but Morgana takes the credit — cue them giving each other Death Glares and fueling the Foe Yay. Subverted in that Morgana isn't brainwashed and is well aware of the evil deeds she seeks to accomplish.
    • Actually works later when Gwen is brainwashed and Arthur has to convince her to willingly go along with the magic that will break the enchantment. He does so by reminding her what she said when he proposed.
  • A variation occurs in Misfits, where most of the main characters - who are notably dysfunctional, self-destructive and rebellious - get brainwashed into becoming eerie, do-gooding Stepford Smilers with no hint of their former personalities. Horrified by what is happening, Nathan tries to get through to his brainwashed tsundere love interest Kelly by swallowing his pride and confessing how much he liked her old personality (a big step for the guy as he's usually a snarky, sarcastic brat who refuses to appear vulnerable in any way). Unfortunately, the attempt fails miserably - even though Kelly does actually return his feelings, in her brainwashed state she's forced to turn against him. It's quite sad actually. Particularly considering Nathan's imminent "death", which totally devastates Kelly when she is returned to her natural state. And the fact that she can't even remember their final conversation.
  • In the second part of the Power Rangers Zeo story "King For A Day", The Zeo Rangers confront Tommy, who's been brainwashed (again) and made into the Machine Empire's king. When talking to him doesn't work and they refuse to fight him, Kat ends up demorphing and throwing her arms around him, it being enough to help Tommy snap out of it.
  • In Primeval, Connor's best friend Tom is infected by a parasite that makes him want to attack other people. Connor talks him into controlling it for just long enough to allow him to die a hero...* sniff*
  • An early television example of this trope, at the climax of the 1953 six-part British sci-fi series The Quatermass Experiment, has Professor Quatermass defeat the menace, an alien plant which has absorbed three astronauts, by use of this technique. It's a pity we can't actually watch it.
    • Subverted in Quatermass II, where the apparent success of this trope on an alien-controlled human is actually the aliens changing his orders, and instructing him to go along with Quatermass' plan (to launch a nuclear-armed rocket at their asteroid base) because they intend seizing the rocket so as to bring the rest of their race to Earth.
    • But marvellously re-affirmed in Quatermass and the Pit, wherein Quatermass himself (along with most of the human race) falls prey to possession by ancient Martian psychic energy, and his friend Doctor Roney (one of the comparatively few people immune) has to shake and talk him desperately (Quatermass is at the same time doing his best to kill Roney) - but ultimately successfully - out of it. Unfortunately that scene got cut from The Movie adaptation.
  • In one of its most heartbreaking scenes, Revolution has Charlie try this tactic on a Brainwashed and Crazy Jason by begging and repeating "this isn't you!" as he advances on her with a knife. It doesn't work, and she has to shoot him, leading to a Cradling Your Kill moment and her subsequent Heroic BSoD in the next episode.
  • Sanctuary:
    • This setup happens repeatedly between Helen and her brainwashed daughter Ashley as they keep facing each other in battle but Helen can't bring herself to fight back. The appeals do work, eventually, leading to a heartbreaking Dying as Yourself moment.
    • Will tries this on Helen after she's possessed by a parasite in "Requiem." She responds by beating him up.
    • Will also tries this on a Brainwashed and Crazy, transformed Henry. It doesn't work, and eventually it's up to another HAP to beat him out of it.
  • In Smallville, possession and other influence causing a main character to temporary become an opponent is very common; the phrase is often spoken but it is usually not much of a fight.
    • Subverted in "Bloodline" when Faora has possessed Lois and is attacking Clark:
      Clark: Lois, stop!
      Faora: Lois can't hear you.
    • In "Legion", there isn't much of a fight between Clark and Chloe (possessed by Brainiac) because Brainiac knows Clark can't bring himself to hit Chloe. He even taunts Clark about it.
    • In "Booster", Booster Gold successfully talks down Jaime Reyes when he is taken over by the Blue Beetle scarab, proving to Clark that he is a true hero after all.
    • Played straight in "Finale" when Oliver attacks Clark at his wedding while being controlled by Darkseid and Clark successfully talks him down.
  • There have been several such appeals to hosts of the Goa'uld in Stargate SG-1 (e.g.: Skaara) and Stargate Atlantis (e.g.: Colonel Caldwell). This almost never works completely, but a non-fatal attack (tasers or zats) is sufficient to buy time or to retrieve an important code. Occasionally, someone has to Shoot the Dog when such an appeal doesn't work, such as Teal'c having to kill Daniel's wife to prevent her Goa'uld Amonet from killing him.
    • Played with in one episode where Teal'c restrains Jack and several other characters because one of them may be a Goa'uld. Although they don't actually fight, it has all the elements of this trope up until:
      Teal'c: Trust in me, O'Neill.
      Jack: What if I'm not O'Neill?
      Teal'c: Then I was not talking to you.
    • Also happens between Daniel and Vala when the latter has lost her memories. She holds Daniel at gunpoint when he blocks her exit, trying to get her to remember her past life rather than shoot him and disappear forever.
    • In the Stargate Atlantis episode, ''Instinct," a young Wraith, Ella, who desperately trying to stop her feeding urges, takes an experimental retrovirus from the Atlantis team to help despite being warned that it is far from ready. Sure enough, it backfires and she becomes a rampaging beast attacking everyone around her. Everyone tries to invoke this trope to calm her down, but she is far beyond rescue at this point and Ronon is forced to shoot her dead.
    • However Stargate Atlantis also has a particularly heartwarming example when Elizabeth is infected with nanites and John breaks quarantine to grab her hand, risking his own life in the process and invokes the trope word for word. Also counts as a Moment of Awesome, as Elizabeth, through sheer force of will, proceeds to drive the nanites from her mind.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "The Best Of Both Worlds", Jean-Luc Picard is (temporarily) assimilated by the Borg and given the name Locutus. In an unusual variation, the crew doesn't try reaching out to Picard, but Picard himself manages to momentarily break through the mind control to deliver a critical hint.
    • Subverted in the episode "The Schizoid Man". Picard, realizing that Data is "possessed" by the soul of Ira Graves, doesn't try to communicate with Data — he gives Ira an earful instead.
  • Star Trek: Voyager also used this in relation to the Borg:
    • In "Scorpion", Chakotay interfaces with a formerly human Borg drone. Subverted in that they're not actually trying to reach her — they're trying to distract her so they can sever her link to the Borg before she realizes what they're doing.
      • Played straight in the subsequent episode with the same drone, as Janeway works to convince her to accept her separation from the collective. She ultimately agrees to try life as an individual, although she retains certain characteristics from her time with the Borg.
    • In another episode, Janeway, Torres, and Tuvok intentionally get themselves assimilated while under the influence of a neural suppressant that lets them retain their own minds in order to carry out a sabotage operation. When the suppressant starts to wear off, Tuvok attempts to do this to himself, recalling facts from his life in an attempt to fight back the full effects of assimilation. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for long.
  • The Suite Life on Deck: A brief moment of this occurs in "Can You Dig It?" when Bailey finds herself possessed by the demonic spirit of the late Princess Zarnanote .
  • Supernatural
    • Zig-zagged in "Devil's Trap". Possessed!John is making Dean bleed from the inside and Dean is begging for his life. When he says "Dad, please…", John manages to come back up for a few seconds and tries to hold the Demon in his body so that Sam can shoot him. But then the Demon escapes, of course.
    • Dean also ends up giving Sam this speech twice, once when he is possessed and once when he gets addicted to demon blood.
    • And again, when Sam is possessed by Lucifer in the Season 5 Finale, except Dean doesn't fight back.
    • Played straight when Possessed!Bobby manages to fight the demon and not kill Dean.
    • Dean does it again with Castiel, who is being controlled by Naomi in season 8, and it works.
    • And again in season 11, when Castiel is under a spell that makes the victim incredibly violent, although Cas had been able to resist the spell on and off previously, so Dean has pretty good reason to believe it'll work. Ironically, it works long enough to allow an innocent victim to escape, and then Cas starts attacking Dean.
  • UFO ("The Man Who Came Back"). Commander Straker tries this when his friend Collins turns out to be a Manchurian Agent sent by the aliens, but to no avail.
  • Warehouse 13 play this trope in the Season 2 finale when Myka delivers the below speech to HG when she is trying to destroy the world.
    Myka: You are so filled with grief and anger but there is a part of you, I know it, there is some small part of your soul that knows that this is wrong. And that part is still alive and it’s just pushing to get through. Yes…that’s the part that refuses to kill the very people who can stop you.
    Helena: No! Stay away from me!
    Myka: Alright. If I am wrong, then kill me. Do it! Kill me now! I mean, we’re all gonna die anyway right, so what’s the difference? So shoot me! Shoot me now. Kill me. But not like that. Not like a coward. I want you to look me in the eyes and take my life.
  • Subverted in The X-Files episode Schizogeny when Mulder tries to talk down the villain. It doesn't work and the Orchard Man fixes it.
    • Played straight in "Pusher", when Mulder is being mind controlled and plays Russian Roullette with the killer. When he puts the gun to his own head, Scully tries to convince him that he's stronger than this. She's right, since Mulder begs her to run as soon as the killer makes him turn the gun on her...
    • Also done in "Wetwired" when Scully is suffering the effects of mass brainwashing. She is convinced Mulder was one of the men who abducted her and holds him at gunpoint while hiding out at her mother's. In that case, however, it isn't Mulder who talks her down—it's Maggie Scully who steps between Mulder and her daughter and convinces her to put the gun down.


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