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Logical Weakness / Live-Action TV

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Logical Weaknesses in live-action TV.

  • In Alphas it's pretty well-established that with every alpha ability comes a weakness of some sort. In early episodes, the most notable was Rachel, who has hyper, Sentinel-esque senses. She was initially shown to be able to enhance one sense at a time, but while she did so, she couldn't use her other senses (while her vision or smell was enhanced, she could not hear the other characters when they spoke to her). This is a great weakness, which makes all kinds of sense. However, the writers seemed to have forgotten about this weakness, as in later episodes, she used her abilities without shutting the rest down; her weakness these days seems to be the fact that everything is always cranked Up to Eleven for her, which is actually less fun for your dating life than you would think. She even had them permanently enhanced later, though she seemed to be handling it better than at first.
  • Angel:
    • In "I Fall to Pieces", the Monster of the Week, Ronald Meltzer, had the ability of Detachment Combat. He couldn't stay separated for too long or his parts would suffer necrosis from the lack of nutrients.
    • "Blind Date" has Vanessa Brewer, a Handicapped Badass who's Disability Superpower works by detecting energy sources, heartbeats, and breathing around her. As a vampire, Angel is faster than her, and also doesn't have a heartbeat or need to breathe, so he moves in lightning-fast spurts to attack and then holds still so she can't sense him.
  • In Babylon 5, when using telepathy to determinate what someone knows, it only reveals the subjective truth. When Lord Refa uses a telepath to mind probe Vir to find out about Londo's scheme, he didn't take into account the possibility of Londo lying to Vir. In the end, he walks into a trap and gets torn apart by angry Narn, who are understandably pissed considering he was the one who ordered the use of mass drivers on their home world, a war crime so severe it even gets condemnation from the normally distant Vorlons.
    • Also, the typical telepath can be blocked by a normal if he concentrates on something other than what they're trying to probe him for. Reciting nursery rhymes and solving math problems are common tricks. It takes both discipline and training, and powerful telepaths can break through it, but it is effective in the right circumstances.
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    • In addition, telepathy is treated like a different kind of hearing. Ambient thoughts can distract a telepath the way idle chatter can a human. One way to mask your thoughts from telepaths is to use other people to "drown out" your thinking by making them think other things or false leads again and again (Garibaldi has used this technique). That said, high-end telepaths (and especially Psi Cops) have the power, training, and discipline to work around these techniques, so it's less a clear-cut weakness as it is part of the summation of skills.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Teacher's Pet" has Buffy and the Scoobies facing off against a She-Mantis. While it may be a demon, it's still a bug. The Scoobies are able to ward it off using cans of bug spray, and Buffy plays recorded bat sonar to paralyze it, since bats pray on mantises and hearing their sonar makes their nervous system "go to hell."
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    • In "Fool for Love" Spike points out a crucial disadvantage Slayers have versus vampires. For all their Super Strength and Super Reflexes, a Slayer still needs a weapon to kill a vampire, whereas vampires always have their teeth. He gains the upper hand over the Chinese Slayer (and Buffy, while relating the event) by taking advantage of their instinctive grab for the weapon at hand.
  • Charmed (2018): Charity threatens to silence Mel's voice when she wants to cast a spell that would exorcise the demon from Angela's body rather than simply kill them both, since you can't do it without an incantation.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Shawna Baez, a.k.a. Peak-a-boo, can teleport anywhere as long as she can see the destination. Naturally, this means that putting her in a completely dark space makes her powers useless, allowing Barry to easily overpower her.
    • Barry himself is vulnerable to extreme cold (cold = slow molecules, the opposite of speed), which is used by Cisco to build the cold gun that ends up in the hands of Captain Cold as a precaution. While the cold gun isn't immediately fatal to Barry as it is to normal humans, it still hurts him and slows him down to normal speeds, allowing him to be finished off with other means (or another cold gun blast).
    • Flyers like Firestorm and Hawkman are more vulnerable to air blasts than grounded combatants, such as those generated by speedsters rapidly spinning their arms.
    • The Mist requires great concentration to control his body in gas form. Barry exploits this by leading him on a merry chase, resulting in the Mist exhausting himself in a matter of minutes. During their second encounter, Barry utilizes the above-mentioned air blast trick to keep him at bay.
    • Weather Wizard II requires an ionized atmosphere in order to control the weather. Suck all the ions out of the immediate vicinity, and he's just a normal human.
    • Grodd is smart, has superhuman strength (due to his abnormal size) and telepathy, but he's still a gorilla and gorillas don't have the physiology to speak so he's unable to. However, with his telepathy this is not a huge issue for him. Grodd is also an incredibly dangerous threat to much smaller humans who don't have his mental powers, let alone size and strength. However, when faced by someone like Solovar, a gorilla who is just as large, just as strong, cannot be mentally controlled, but who is trained in hand-to-hand combat against his peers, Grodd is woefully outclassed and suffers a curb-stomping at Solovar's hands.
  • From Heroes:
    • Elle Bishop generates electrical blasts. However, her electrical powers are usually focused outwards, and she's not insulated from her own blasts. So if she's coated in water and attempts to use her powers, she just ends up shocking herself.
    • Claude, an invisible man, still has a heat signature and is thus able to be seen with infrared goggles.
    • Matt Parkman, due to his telepathy, is somewhat more vulnerable to bright lights and loud sounds while using it. This makes sense, as he's not just hearing the sounds/seeing the flashing lights with his own senses, but also the senses of the people whose minds he is reading and thus his brain can't handle it all at once.
      • Noah Bennet shields his thoughts from Parkman's power by thinking in Japanese, a language that Matt doesn't understand. Which brings up Fridge Logic when you consider that it means that everyone else whose mind he read must have actually been thinking about the specific information he needed, in full sentences, at the specific time he was reading their mind.
      • There is at least one episode where Matt is clearly shown to manipulate a guard into thinking about an embarrassing detail that he then picks up through telepathy.
      • Parkman is also vulnerable when trying to read the mind of another telepath, who is reading his mind. This sets up a feedback loop, resulting in painful "brain noise" for both.
    • Eric Doyle can create People Puppets by miming the action he wants a particular individual to do (such as dragging something soft against his own throat to make someone holding a shard of glass do the same)—but if he stops doing the action, even for a moment, the person is freed and able to fight back. He learned this the hard way when he did a bit of Evil Gloating, which allowed Emma to stop playing her cello and attack him with a blast of energy.
    • Samuel Sullivan can manipulate earth, but the strength of his power is dependent on how many evolved humans are nearby. The heroes are eventually able to stop him by simply teleporting every nearby metahuman away from him, stripping him of his ability.
  • Introduced in The Invisible Man pilot, where Darien is unable to properly control the quicksilver gland, as it's triggered by adrenaline. He tries to spy on a soldier and a nurse getting it on, only for the arousal to cause him to be visible again, earning him a black eye from the soldier. This is solved by his brother teaching him some yoga tricks to exert a more precise control over the gland (to the point where he can selectively turn parts of his body invisible and even secrete quicksilver on small objects from his hands). It still pops up whenever the writers feel like it, such as when his leg turns invisible when he's in the presence of a naked woman, or when his dead brother Kevin is temporarily brought back in Darien's body. Kevin also has to learn the same tricks to properly control the gland. Additionally, the gland only affects the visible spectrum, meaning Darien still shows up on thermals. He's also cold while invisible, as most of the heat passes around him instead of hitting him. Finally, when his eyes are quicksilvered, he can still see since the process shifts his vision to operate on a different spectrum but since his brain cannot interpret the different frequencies, he can no longer see color.
  • In Jessica Jones (2015) the villain Kilgrave has a Compelling Voice which he can use to order someone to do anything, up to killing themselves. However, there are some ways to combat this; his power doesn't work if the intended victim can't hear him — which Jessica and Trish use to protect the latter by way of noise-cancelling headphones — and, obviously, he can't use his power if he can't actually talk; at one point Jessica shoves a napkin into his mouth to gag him.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • In Kamen Rider Double, the Utopia Dopant draws upon peoples' positive emotions, granting him incredible power and making him able to suck the life out of an opponent effortlessly. Inanimate objects, however, have no emotions to drain, meaning that protagonist Shotaro manhandles the series' Big Bad without transforming into Double simply by siccing his cute and Toyetic Robot Buddies on him. He even gets an epic moment where he blocks Utopia's powers by holding his dead mentor's Cool Hat in the way.
    • The Lovelica Bugster from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is based entirely around The Power of Love (appropriate, given that he's based off of Dating Sim games), meaning that the normal method of defeating bugsters won't work with him. He's practically able to No-Sell the heroes...that is until Taiga expresses his true feelings, and Nico outright rejects Lovelica. Emu eventually overcomes this by reprogramming Lovelica to be vulnerable to regular attacks, only for Lovelica to be used as a Sacrificial Lion for the debut of Kamen Rider Chronos.
    • The Big Bad of Kamen Rider Build, Evolt, gets a powerful item called the Evol Trigger late in the series, which makes him immensely powerful as in Planet Destroyer levels of power, but it also becomes his biggest weakness. If one disrupts the Trigger's connection to the Transformation Belt (by, for example, striking it with sufficient force) it jams, which causes the overwhelming power it usually affords to its user to overload and paralyze them.
  • In Legend of the Seeker, casting spells requires making hand gestures and sometimes incantations. Thus wizards have their hands tied and/or are gagged to prevent this.
  • On The Listener, Toby's telepathy requires the subject to be actively thinking about what he wants to find out, often requiring him (or his partner) to deliberately prompt the target with a leading question or statement. He's also limited in that he can only read what the subject thinks is true, he can't read people with some kinds of organic brain problem such as those suffering from epilepsy, and he's encountered one genius-level criminal who can simply think too fast for Toby to understand what he's thinking.
  • In Lost Girl, the Dark Fae character Vex is a Mesmer, which means he can force someone's body into doing anything he wants, up to and including murder and suicide. However, he needs to be able to move his hands and arms freely in order to do this—and given that he's into bondage, let's just say he winds up in some tight spots occasionally.
  • In The Lost Room many of the Objects have amazing abilities but also have serious weaknesses.
    • The Key can let you enter and leave the Room through any door anywhere in the world (and thus lets you travel almost everywhere) but it cannot be a sliding door and in order to open the door it needs a tumbler lock. If you're not careful, you can trap yourself.
    • If you touch the Ticket you will be teleported just outside Gallop, New Mexico no matter where in the world you are. It's very handy for quick getaways and to dispose of attackers or people who simply annoy you. However, its owner kept teleporting himself to New Mexico whenever he handled it. He finally was able to cover enough of it in duct tape that he could handle it safely.
    • The Comb allows you to stop time for ten seconds but you can't physically move anything you weren't already in contact with. Also when the effect ends you need to be perfectly still or you will suffer terrible motion sickness. The short duration of the effect means that you might have to use it repeatedly and your body will suffer the consequences.
  • Mutant X:
    • Brennan can generate bursts of electricity and hit people and things with them. However, if he does this while wet or in water, his power shorts out. He appears to be able to negate that disadvantage by grounding himself.
    • Jesse can change his density to either become hard as a rock or intangible. In the former case, he can only do so for as long as he holds his breath, which has been exploited by savvy opponents. In the latter, attempting to keep himself intangible for more than a short while can result in his molecules dispersing permanently.
    • A villain in one episode is a new mutant, who can turn himself into a signal and use any transmitting device to upload himself to the Internet, where he can wreak havoc. However, if there are no transmitting devices nearby, he's helpless (luckily for him, he lives in the modern world, where they're all over the place).
  • An episode of Power Rangers S.P.D. has an already incarcerated villain with the power to teleport through reflections. When the blue ranger comes to question him, the reflective surfaces on his uniform covered, and he's made to wear sunglasses with non-reflective lenses. He still manages to escape by emotionally manipulating him until he cries a single, reflective tear.
  • In Sanctuary, Will and Watson found Clara when she was invisible by turning on the sprinklers to get an outline.
  • The Sentinel:
    • The title character has all five senses boosted to superhuman levels. He can see someone clearly in the dark from a couple blocks away, recognize different kinds of dirt by touch, etc. Unfortunately, this power came to him in adulthood, and he doesn't know how to control them. The writers got a lot of mileage out of this, especially in earlier episodes. He is also prone to "zone outs", where he focuses on one sense so much he ignores all other sensory data, usually to his detriment (he almost gets hit by a truck in the pilot episode because he is focused on a Frisbee fluting through the air).
    • The other weakness is the inability to provide a believable explanation for his knowledge or skills to anyone who isn't in the know. For example, he is brought in as the sole witness to a shooting performed by a guy from several blocks away in the dark. The other attorney rips apart his testimony in seconds, as no normal person would be able to see the shooter under those conditions.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data, the android, has the standard weakness to electricity and electromagnetic radiation. He's also too dense to float or swim, although he can survive underwater. He's said to be able to serve as a flotation device, though it's possible that he's got some sort of damageable inflatable airbag.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, Borg nanites prove to be useless against a species whose hyper-advanced immune systems instantly destroy any foreign object entering their bodies. This also means that the Borg, who are characterized by their Creative Sterility, are unable to adequately fight Species 8472, as they are unable to learn their weaknesses without assimilating them (and their weapons are simply too powerful for Borg defenses to adapt).
  • Supernatural:
    • Ghosts in the series can be destroyed by salting and burning the remains of the ghost's corpse. Bobby realizes that since demons are created from the souls of dead humans, naturally they can be killed the same way.
    • Members of the Styne family perform extensive surgery on their bodies to make themselves stronger and tougher than ordinary humans. When one of them tries to intimidate Dean with his new upgrades he's received since their last encounter, Dean points out that it ultimately doesn't matter how much they improve their bodies because it doesn't change the fact that they can't give themselves more than one brain.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles reveals that Terminators can't swim - they're just too heavy (however they're still waterproof). It also reveals that they can be temporarily disabled by powerful electrical shocks, although they reboot themselves in a couple minutes. Also, they set off metal detectors.
  • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters: Ryuji (Blue Buster) and Yoko (Yellow Buster) both have logical weaknesses. Ryuji possesses Super Strength, but is prone to overheating and going berserk if he overexerts himself or is exposed to heat for too long. Yoko has strong and athletic legs, but requires a near-constant intake of calories via candy lest she becomes tired and sluggish. Hiromu (Red Buster) has a less logical weakness: freezing up when he is frightened, which wouldn't be an issue if not for his phobia of chickens.
  • The X-Files:
    • In one episode, a Literal Genie grants someone the power to become invisible. He has to strip naked to make any use of it, which he considers a small trade off, although it makes going outside uncomfortable. Even more uncomfortable: he promptly gets hit by a car because the driver didn't see him. A previous "beneficiary" of the genie's wishes ended up with an inhumanly large, ahem, manhood. He then keeled over from lack of blood to the brain when he got excited. And the paramedics had trouble getting him through the door while he was lying on his back.
    • In "Trevor", the titular con gains the ability to become intangible after being struck by lightning. While he has the ability to pass through conductive objects, destroying them in the process, he's powerless against non-conductive materials. He's eventually killed when struck by a car - he can phase through the hood, but not the windshield.


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