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Captain Obvious Reveal

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"So, are you suggesting that the Alice from Alice in Wonderland this whole time was... Alice from Alice in Wonderland? Whoa, I mean fucking whoa, this movie is pushing the envelope of cinematic twists! I mean, who could have seen that coming? Next you'll be telling me that Clark Kent all this time was...Clark Kent!"

A Captain Obvious Reveal occurs when the writer sets up a Reveal for the story... only the audience figured it out already by the time they revealed it. Obviously, this will never apply to 100% of the audience, but when it applies to the majority of an audience, you have this trope on your hands.

This can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • The most common one is that the author inserted so much Foreshadowing that the reveal becomes clear long before it was intended. (The right amount of foreshadowing, of course, is a delicate balancing act; if you have too little in an attempt to avoid this trope, audiences might accuse you of having an Ass Pull instead.)
  • The author inserted Foreshadowing for the plot twist too early; if the story has a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who acts a little shady in their very first appearance, no matter how subtle, chances are that audiences will detect an Obvious Judas before they have the time to be fully invested in their (fake) personality. In contrast, if the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing doesn't act shady until several scenes with them later, audiences are more likely to miss the signs, setting them up to be surprised or, at the very least, experience an emotional impact.
  • There were no other options for the reveal; if we're told that a character has a missing father, and there's only one character we already know who's the right age and position to have a missing child, audiences are likely to figure it out.
  • The secret is shown in an episode that gets broadcast before the one with the reveal.
  • The author inserted too many reveals. They might have been surprising at first, but they eventually become predictable.
  • A character that the twist revolves around is voiced by somebody famous for such roles. For example, trying to write a Twist Villain that is voiced by an actor known for villainous roles is all but guaranteed to be this.
  • Finally, it could be that no matter how well you plan your plot twists, there will always be someone who can figure it out.

Note once again that this will never apply to 100% of the audience. Likewise, just because one audience member foresaw it doesn't mean we have this trope — that particular audience member is just good at recognizing foreshadowing. Also worth noting that among the thousands who watch a movie/read a book, someone is bound to simply guess the plot twist ahead of time, no matter how well it is set up — it's practically a statistical certainty. In addition, what separates this YMMV trope from the more general I Knew It! is audience reaction. With I Knew It!, the audience is ecstatic (or at least satisfied) about having pieced together all the clues and having guessed the twist ahead of time. With a Captain Obvious Reveal, making the prediction took so little brain power that the audience is glancing at the closest clock and waiting for the narrative to finally catch up.

A Sister Trope to The Un-Twist, which is very similar, but not quite identical to this trope. The Un-Twist can be intentional and always comes from too much Foreshadowing to the point that the audience themselves get misdirected, because they get suspicious of all the hints (which turn out to be not Red Herrings, but legit). Here, the obviousness is never intentional, and it doesn't necessarily need to have foreshadowing in the first place. In this case, the creator genuinely thinks that they have an actual twist, instead of a double subverted one.

Compare It Was His Sled, where the twist was a surprise but has since become so well known to even those who never engaged with the work that it is no longer a twist. Contrast Tomato Surprise, Deus ex Machina, and Foregone Conclusion. The in-story version of this is Everybody Knew Already. A variation is the Obvious Judas when the most Obviously Evil character is revealed to be the villain. Related to Captain Obvious Aesop, when a moral that most people in real life believe already ("Murder is bad!" "Be Yourself!") is treated in-story as a profound revelation.

Not to be confused with Dramatic Irony that leads to an Internal Reveal; characters may be surprised by information that is new to them, without any expectation that it will be a surprise to the audience.

Approach with caution. As this trope is related to plot twists, all spoilers will be unmarked in the examples below... but considering what we're talking about, they're really obvious ones.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Mighty Little Defenders is about the goats trying to befriend the wolves. The goats and wolves become friends, but the final episode reveals that the wolves might not keep their friendship with the goats and they might go back to being enemies. Did that really surprise anyone, considering the wolves are the main villains of the franchise and even before Mighty Little Defenders came out, we already knew there were going to be more seasons and movies after it?

    Comic Books 
  • The New 52: Futures End: One of the major plot points in the comic is the approach of a powerful alien villain, whose identity the writers try to build up as a twist. Unfortunately, anyone familiar enough with the DC Universe will most likely figure out very fast said villain is Brainiac due to the villain's robotic minions all wearing his very recognizable logo on their head.
  • Subverted in The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, which pulled one over on fans by making it look like a twist they’d been predicting for years (Rewind turning out to be Not Quite Dead) was finally coming true, only for it to turn out that it was an alternate version of him; the real Rewind was not only still dead, but his killer later turned up again just to confirm his death.
  • The Ultimates 3: Black Panther was actually Cap the whole time? It'd probably be a bit more shocking if it hadn't been so blatantly telegraphed from the outset.
  • The 2020 Disney Ducks Comic Universe series Paperbridge tries to make a huge twist by revealing at the end of the third episode that the main character Quacky is actually a young John Quackett (AKA Fantomius)...except it was obvious from the get go, since he clearly shares Lord Quackett's unique eye shape.

    Fan Works 
  • In Curse of the Demon Pony, JusSonic makes it incredibly obvious that the titular Demon Pony is in fact Twilight Sparkle's old friend, Ben Mare. Within the story, it's treated like it's a huge twist, but anyone who's been reading it up until then should've known it was him, given how unsubtle it was.
  • The End of Ends:
    • Count Logan being Beast Boy would have been a huge plot twist...The only problem being that we focus on him for the first two chapters with enough information that when the slightest hint is given, it's instead a plot un-twist. For starters, Beast Boy's real name is Garfield Logan, and the story goes to great lengths to show the name. It also goes to great lengths to showcase his relation to Terra and his reason for why he became Count Logan in the first place, right down to using a clip from the show constantly, to the point where when they show it again and this time, with the names muted, it's downright obvious. Especially since one of the words that wasn't muted was Teen Titan.
    • If you catch on that this is a Whole-Plot Reference to Super Paper Mario, then it wouldn't surprise you that Dr. Beljar, an Expy of Dimentio in the Count's Quirky Miniboss Squad would backstab Beast Boy and remake the world in his image.
  • The Games We Play by AbsoluteAnonymous has The Reveal that Pinkie Pie is Mare-Do-Well. Not only did several characters figure it out in advance, but several readers were actually hoping it would not be who it was, going so far as to declare that possibility a cop-out if gone with. The real twist was that, according to Word Of God, it was intended to be an Internal Reveal, the real mystery not being WHO was under the mask, but WHY they put the mask on in the first place. AbsoluteAnonymous had placed some clues in the story that, upon re-read, makes Pinkie being Mare-Do-Well a bit more obvious, but many readers had in fact missed these beforehand.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The Antipode: Due to the character's presence in the world of Arendelle and the Organization's naming system, its not hard to figure out that Nahxs is Hans's Nobody, therefore Hans is the newest member of Organization XIII. Perhaps in anticipation of this, The Reveal takes place fairly early in the story arc, with most of the heroes unaware of Hans' true nature.
  • In Romance and the Fate of Equestria, Twilight's OC boyfriend, Snicker-Snack, being revealed as a villain. Many readers found him creepy and suspicious from the moment he appeared and felt that attempts to pass him off as Twilight's Love Interest fell flat.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series does this a lot but it's played purely for laughs.
    • In episode 23, Bandit Keith was being mind-controlled by Marik and disguised as a rare hunter. The fact that it's Keith is made very obvious to the audience (in that Keith doesn't bother to hide his normal voice and catchphrase)note  but Yugi is totally oblivious to it until Keith reveals himself, leading to this gem:
      Yugi: Oh my god, it's Bandit Keith! I had no idea! Super special awesome plot twist!
    • Parodied further in the adaptation of the Doma arc—the original treated it as a bit of a dramatic reveal that the mysterious conspiracy trying to buy up KaibaCorp and which sent a soul-stealing assassin after Kaiba was also the mysterious conspiracy that had sent soul-stealing assassins after the other members of the cast, and that said conspiracy was linked to the Atlantis story that had already been brought up multiple times during the arc. While this one was more or less an Internal Reveal, the fact that the cast hadn't connected the dots was pretty ludicrous. In the abridged version, Atem flat-out says that he's known it for a while, but pretending like it's a big reveal is more fun. Kaiba tries it himself, but overdoes it a bit, going so far as to go into a big wild pose as he slams the enter key to open the relevant file.
  • In Forged Destiny, the purpose of the "Resilience" stat is seen as a complete enigma, and no one seems to have any clue what purpose it could possibly serve. It's eventually revealed in Book 7 that it represents mental fortitude; both in regards to dealing with stress and being immune to manipulation and mind-games. Political classes are also fully aware of this fact and actively kept it a secret from the general population, for obvious reasons. Of course, most readers connected the dots as early as Book 2, when Jaune is the only one who senses something off about a blatant scam the guild falls for.
  • Eventually Jaune (and the audience) learn that the people who trashed his cafe and beat him in Service with a Smile were sent by his corporate rival Cafe Prime. Given that the robbers went out of their way to cause as much property damage as possible and didn't even check his apartment above the store for more money, it's pretty obvious they were hired to cause him financial trouble.
  • In The Flash Sentry Chronicles: The last chapter of The Forgotten Darkness reveals that the egg that held the child of Sharp Paw and Calm Paw was actually Springer. Everyone acts like this is a major development, but it can be guessed as soon as the egg first appears and Luna casts her spell on it to protect it.
  • In the final story of the Princess of the Blacks series, it's revealed that Voldemort's been sending Danny Potter false visions through his missing eye. Given that the smarter and saner Voldemort allegedly left their connection so wide open it can't be closed and both of the raids on Danny's information were traps, few readers were surprised.
  • In Danganronpa: Last Hurrah:
    • The third Chapter has the twist that Sparkling Justice is none other than Reyes, the Ultimate Fencer. Apart from being a practitioner of a sword-based martial art, like Peko(the fake Sparkling Justice), Reyes is from Spain, which is said to be the country of Sparkling Justice's origin. Reyes is also said to like justice and dislikes criminals and corruption.
    • Several participants on the Discord server easily guessed that Umeko was the fourth culprit. She took the longest to clear the maze inside the amusement park, giving her time to carry out the murder and attempted murder on the Ferris wheel. Before the trial begins, she asks Nao, the protagonist, if he sympathizes with the past culprits, likely to see if he sympathizes with her. The fact that she had just started a relationship with Nao also helps, since Danganronpa stories tend to kill off the protagonists' love interests.
  • The Masked Toon Singer:
    • The Monster being Lori Loud was found out almost as soon as they appeared due to the repeated use of the number 11 throughout their clues, as well as their first song being "Let's Get Loud".
    • Following the reveal of the Kittens, otherwise known as Dipper and Mabel, many readers quickly realized that the Rain Cloud was Wendy, due to their closeness with the Kittens (even helping them unmask) as well as their sadness that they couldn't face off in a Showdown.
    • Plenty of people also correctly predicted Otherworlder was Candace Flynn, most due to her demanding to change her name from Universe to Otherworlder because "the universe is against her" and the second Phineas and Ferb movie is titled Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brother Bear has the fate of Koda's mother: Kenai kills a bear and is punished by being turned into a bear. He then runs into a young cub who claims he got separated from his mom, but they'll meet up at the fishing grounds. Most older audiences guessed that Koda's mom was the bear that Kenai killed from that first line.
  • A humorous In-Universe example appears in Chicken Run. Fowler repeatedly makes reference to "the RAF", and the chickens get excited when they finally realize he means the Royal Air Force, inspiring a plan to build a makeshift plane to escape. Ginger wants Fowler to be the pilot, and is horrified when he tells her that he was a mascot and doesn't actually know how to fly a plane. Fowler is bemused that the others thought he could fly a plane in the first place, when the Royal Air Force doesn't let chickens behind the controls of complex aircraft. After Ginger encourages him, Fowler takes the wheel anyway, and does a pretty good job of it.
  • Coco: Pretty much everyone who isn't completely Genre Blind is going to predict the true identity of Miguel's great-great-grandfather correctly. The same people also expected that Ernesto isn't as nice as he seems.
  • The Kung Fu Panda franchise has two humorous examples:
    • In Kung Fu Panda 2 where Po's father Ping reveals a deep secret to Po: he's adopted. Given that Po is a panda and Ping is a goose, this doesn't come as a surprise to the audience, or even Po himself.
      Tigress: Your father, the goose?
      Po: (nods sheepishly)
      Tigress: That must have come as quite a shock.
    • An in-universe example occurs in Kung Fu Panda 3 when an older panda breaks Po's dumpling-eating record and reveals that he lost his son years ago. Po tells him that he lost his father when he was a baby. (Keep in mind that neither of them thinks there are any other pandas alive that they haven't met yet.) They wish each other good luck and then turn to walk away. Everyone else who hears the exchange is completely dumbstruck.
  • Played for Laughs (twice!) in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part:

  • In the sixth Alex Rider book, Ark Angel, the Big Bad of the novel is originally presented as being Kaspar, the leader of the Eco-Terrorist group Force Three. The real Big Bad is, in fact, Nikolei Drevin, a Russian oligarch who has invented the group to take the credit for his plan...but the major clues to this (the revelation that Force Three held Alex hostage in a block of flats owned by Drevin, no guards were watching Drevin's son even though Drevin knew he was a target, and it is effectively said outright that Drevin, not Force Three, ordered the murder of a minor character) are incredibly obvious.
  • Double Subverted in Cirque du Freak with The Vampaneze Lord. At first, it's incredibly obvious that Steve will be returning as the Vampaneze Lord until it turns out that Steve became a vampire hunter. Then it's revealed that he was, in fact, the Vampaneze Lord all along. It's treated as a big twist, but many readers saw through the Red Herring anyway.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses:
    • The fact that the Spring Court is under a curse and Feyre confessing her love for Tamlin will break it is kept hidden for most of the first book until Alis explains it to Feyre in the third act. While it's more understandable that Feyre herself might not have enough information to figure this out, for any readers who are remotely familiar with Beauty and the Beast (which Thorns and Roses is clearly a Whole-Plot Reference to) it's painfully obvious this is what's going on (to the point it can feel like Dramatic Irony when Tamlin sends Feyre away days before time runs out and she considers telling him she loves him before deciding against it).
    • Another one is that Amarantha is the cause of the blight, which you would've thought Feyre would be capable of figuring out herself given there are enough hints to put two-and-two together, and which most readers would certainly be capable of deducing long before the 'big reveal' (Feyre repeatedly hears about both the magical blight endangering everyone and weakening the borders, that there are rumors of faeries increasingly causing trouble in the human realm, and that there's a "she" that everyone is afraid of and who commands some of Prythian’s most malevolent creatures, with Feyre herself speculating she could be a High Lady).
  • Den of Shadows: In Midnight Predator, a lot of fans figured out that Jaguar was Turquoise and Ravyn's employer before it was revealed.
  • Discworld: In Monstrous Regiment it's fairly easy to figure out that all of the soldiers are women long before it's explicitly stated. There's quite a lot of foreshadowing for each of them, like Sgt. Jackrum saying "on my oath, I am not a violent man" while being quite violent indeed; plays like Hypocritical Humor, but she is telling at least a partial truth. Not to mention that if you know your Elizabethan history the title itself is a hint, because the title of an Author Tract against Mary Queen of Scots referred to "the Monstrous Regiment of Women".
  • In Evernight, it's obvious from the start that Evernight Academy is a school for vampires and that Lucas is hiding something, although what he’s hiding is less obvious. Prior to The Reveal that Bianca’s a vampire, it’s hinted that he himself could be a vampire, though this is goes out the window when Bianca bites him as it confirms he’s definitely human.
  • Gentleman Bastard: The second book opens with Locke and Jean, two conmen who have been True Companions since childhood, cornered by some mooks. Suddenly, Jean turns on Locke and tells the mooks that he has betrayed Locke for their master. We then flash back to show How We Got Here, leaving this shocking swerve as a cliffhanger until the end, when we find out the obvious: the conman was conning the mooks.
  • Harry Potter is a special case: since it has a very big, very...let's say detail-oriented fandom, a lot of things were obvious to it despite the clues being minimal or well-hidden.
    • When J. K. Rowling wrote that an "R.A.B." had already procured the Horcrux locket at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, fans figured out almost immediately "R.A.B." stood for Regulus Black. Though note that this was on the strength of just a couple barely memorable mentions of him until the final book, making this more a case of the fans being just that obsessive. note 
    • Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. The HBP is good at potions, and Snape got promoted to Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, which is usually a dead give away that you're going to be important in a Harry Potter book.
    • Speaking of Snape, his love for Lily Evans-Potter certainly counts, as fans had already made a connection between the two characters long before they were even mentioned together and the ship actually was called the "S.S. Cliched" for a time.
    • An example that can't just be blamed on fannish obsessiveness: The big reveal of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is that Harry is The Chosen One, with a prophecy saying that he and Voldemort are destined to battle to the death. Granted, the existence of a prophecy is new information, but it seems a bit unnecessary now that Harry and Voldemort have faced each other four or five times already. It helps somewhat that Because Destiny Says So and Prophecies Are Always Right are both Discussed and dismissed in the following book.
    • Harry Potter is the last Soul Jar. Would've been shocking if a huge deal hadn't been made out of the mysterious connection between him and Voldemort, and it hadn't already been practically spelled out that Voldemort had put "a part of himself" into Harry in the second of seven books, merely lacking the appropriate term of 'Horcrux'. It was so flagrantly obvious that the writer of My Immortal predicted it was going to happen.
    • The reveal that one of the characters in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is secretly a werewolf might have been less obvious if said character hadn't had blatant Werewolf Theme Naming. As it is, "Remus Lupin" might as well have been named "Wolfson McWolfy-Wolf."
    • Umbridge orchestrated the Dementor attack on Harry and Dudley at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Given that she was already well-established as a Sadist Teacher, and had even contemplated using the Cruciatus Curse on Harry moments before admitting this, it came as a surprise to absolutely no-one that she was capable of doing such a thing.
  • Inheritance Cycle:
    • It's extremely obvious that Brom is a former Dragon Rider and that his dead dragon's name was also Saphira. Among other things, Brom clearly knows the Varden, knows how to do magic and knows lots of detailed information about dragons and riders. Despite the mountainload of clues, Eragon never manages to put two-and-two together and is gobsmacked when he finds out. The movie adaptation actually has Eragon figure this out himself relatively early on, rather than Brom revealing it later on his deathbed.
    • Arya is the noblewoman whom Eragon is destined to have an "epic romance" with. Especially considering he never pays attention to any other woman in the series (save maybe Trianna, though that's sunk very quickly).
    • The evil dragon rider in Eldest is the Not Quite Dead Murtagh, who has been missing since the start.
    • The Reveal that the green dragon egg would hatch for Arya for many readers, especially considering Paolini stated the green rider would be someone we’d already met. It would probably have been a great deal more unexpected if it wasn't Arya.
  • In Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, "Robin of Locksley"— who lives in Nottingham, is a brilliant shot with a bow, and leads a merry band of outlaws in the forest who fight against Prince John—is revealed to be the secret identity guessed it, none other than Robin Hood! All right, maybe it wasn't originally quite as much of a Captain Obvious Reveal as it is today, because Scott invented several of the tropes that became stock parts of the Robin Hood legend. Still, any reader with even the tiniest familiarity with the genre must have seen it coming a mile away.
  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart: It's obvious right off the bat that Skip didn't really kill Suzanne, especially because it would be a very short novel otherwise, although the identity of the real murderer is much less obvious.
  • The Lost Symbol: Mal'akh is really Peter Solomon's presumed-dead son Zachary. According to the narration, Mal'akh killed Zachary Solomon before escaping prison with Solomon's money but it's not hard to figure out this is just careful wording. Dan Brown even drops a massive hint by outright mentioning Darth Vader and Luke and then having Mal'akh cut Peter's hand off but it's still treated as a big reveal.
  • The Mortal Instruments is rather infamous for these, due to its very obvious use of Foreshadowing. The most hated examples were that Valentine was Clary's father (after having revealed that he was married to Clary's mother) and Clary and Jace weren't siblings (for the meta-reason that they're the main couple and most fans aren't into incest).
  • The Savior's Series: Many readers of the first book, The Savior's Champion, have stated they predicted early on that Leila was in fact the true Savior; the twist itself isn't revealed until near the end of the first book and none of the main characters figure it out despite lots of readers finding it extremely obvious. The not-so-subtle hints include Tobias often receiving the Savior's blessing after spending time with Leila, Brontes wanting Leila dead and her revelation she's assassinated several senators who support him when she's supposedly just a lowly servant / healer, Leila getting upset when Tobias criticizes the Savior, Leila's obvious tendency to keep secrets from Tobias, and Leila's overall importance as a character (she's quickly established as the secondary protagonist next to Tobias). Some readers have mentioned that the twist was so obvious to them they actually thought it was a deliberate misdirection, only for it to be played straight.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire - Jon Snow's true parentage has not yet been revealed in the as yet unfinished book series, but the TV series (which has overtaken the books) revealed it as being pretty much the number one fan theory since the first book was written (although there are still diehard factions who insist on alternative possibilities, mostly on the grounds that the official TV reveal is "just too obvious, so it can't possibly be that"). The question of his actual legitimacy may be another matter, considering the somewhat shaky laws and precedents for divorce or annulment and remarriage in Westeros: but the question of his parentage can probably be regarded as settled - not least since, allegedly, the author only gave the go-ahead for making the show when the producers were able to give the correct answer to this exact question, and are unlikely to have changed what is evidently an important plot point.
  • The Testaments: Daisy is Baby Nicole. The reveal would be shocking to the character, since most people live an ordinary life and have no reason to think they're especially important, but the reader needs to suspect something's up when a third of the book is dedicated to this character's viewpoint.
  • Throne of Glass: It's mentioned several times that Terrasen's royal family were all massacred ten years prior to Book 1 but no one is sure what happened to the eight year old princess. Celaena is eighteen at the beginning of the series and was taken in by Arobynn after being found half-dead near the border of Terrasen a decade ago. Celaena also mentions she used to have magic and Terrasen's royal family is known for being descended from Fae. Cain mocks Celaena about her parents being dead. Oh, and she has a connection to Elena's spirit, she being a former queen of Terrasen and the princess's ancestor, who all but states outright they're related at the end of Book 1 ("Blood ties can't be broken"). Gee, I wonder if Celaena turns out to be the long-lost princess? The series does at least try to put a more unique spin on it; rather than Celaena having lost her memory or being otherwise ignorant of her heritage, she's fully aware she's the princess but insists That Woman Is Dead out of trauma.
  • In Trail of Lightning, supernatural abilities come in pairs. One of Kai's is a Healing Factor, but he's reluctant to talk about the other one, and Maggie spends most of the book trying to figure out what it is. She also spends most of the book commenting on how good Kai is at persuading people into things, and at one point even suspects him of having sold her out to an enemy to save his own skin because it's too implausible that he could have just talked his way out of trouble. When it's finally revealed that Kai's other ability is being able to make people do what he wants just by asking them, this is played as a huge surprise but for some readers, the only surprise is being reminded that we weren't supposed to already know.
  • The Twilight series features a few:
    • In Twilight, the ‘twist’ that Edward and the Cullens are vampires (to the point where the blurb states it in some editions and it’s the only thing some people even know about the plot).
    • In Eclipse, it came as a surprise to pretty much no one but the Cullens that Victoria is behind the newborn army, seeing as she spent most of the previous book actively trying to kill Bella and is virtually the only person known to the Cullens with the motivation to create one. Bella herself repeatedly states she thinks Victoria is responsible, but no one else listens. The film adaptation doesn’t even bother hiding this fact.
    • In Breaking Dawn the as-yet-unborn Nessie wanting blood is treated as some amazing revelation. She's half-vampire and explicitly sucking Bella dry; what else could she want?
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle: Coral being a girl in disguise is blatantly hinted right from her very first appearance, where she's described as androgynous in appearance and Lux inexplicably finds himself attracted to her. This may have been to distract from the more important reveal: that she's actually the second imperial princess Aeril. However, this also qualifies for the trope, what with Coral mentioning her elder and younger sisters (the imperial princesses being the only set of three sisters known to the reader).
  • Under Suspicion (Series):
    • In The Cinderella Murder, it's extremely obvious that the Dark Secret Nicole knows about Martin Collins is that he's a paedophile. In one of the first sections to focus on him he's overly-fixated on a twelve-year-old girl in his congregation and plans ways to see her at her home, and he mentions that the cops used to look at him suspiciously if he hung around playgrounds. Nicole also mentions that when they were in a relationship, she was a teenager eleven years his junior and looked younger. How Nicole found out - she literally walked in on Martin abusing a girl after vehemently defending him to Susan - is still fairly shocking though.
    • All Dressed In White: Right from the get-go, all the clues so obviously point to Jeff having killed Amanda (with Sandra even laying out in-depth why she thinks it's him in the first twenty pages) that to any mystery-savvy reader it's obvious that he's not guilty. This is may be a case where it's by design, given the eventual revelation that the actual killer was trying to frame Jeff, so naturally there would be a lot of evidence against him.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Long before it was official, people were sure Bully Ray was going to turn out to be the leader of Aces And Eights, the then-latest stable trying to takeover TNA. Many of those speculating flat-out admitted they didn't have logical reason behind the assumption besides being used to that kind of thing happening in TNA. Furthermore, Bully Ray ended up being well-received in spite of people seeing it coming, and in spite of people generally wanting the Aces And Eights angle to die.
  • Generally, when something is going in an obvious direction, resulting in this, TNA (and occasionally WWE, but mainly TNA) try to pull an Ass Pull. It happens so often that the swerves themselves become this.
  • Any time Sting would partner with "face" Ric Flair, the eventual betrayal could be seen a mile away. Actually, nearly anyone Sting partnered with in major storylines was going to turn on him, including Bully Ray above.

    Tabletop Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney is a frequent offender of this trope, especially since it banks on You Shouldn't Know This Already. There'd be enough for its own section if it didn't give up and make cases with especially obvious murderers reverse whodunnits.
    • In Justice For All, midway through the final trial, it is revealed that someone hired an assassin known as Shelly de Killer to kill Juan Corrida, and the trial focuses on finding de Killer's client. At this point, it becomes rather easy to guess that Matt Engarde, Phoenix's own client, is responsible, since he has a motive for wanting Corrida dead and puts up a rather convincing act of Obfuscating Stupidity. The fact that de Killer kidnapped Maya to force Phoenix to get an acquittal as soon as possible only makes sense if he's trying to protect his client from being convicted with murder. The reveal is so obvious that Phoenix also worries about it, but is led off when he's seemingly able to confirm Matt's innocence via the Magatama.
    • Trials and Tribulations:
      • The fourth case, a flashback, introduces one of Mia's mentors, Diego Armando. He's fond of drinking coffee, has "That's one of my rules" as a Catchphrase, and looks like a dead ringer for Godot (whose name is pronounced the same as the last syllables of each of Diego Armando's names). It's fairly obvious that they're the same person; the Theme Song Reveal at the end of the case is more formality than anything.
      • In the final case, the reveal that the person being put on trial later on is Maya Fey channeling Dahlia Hawthorne is pretty subtle at first; you likely wouldn't notice the Twin Switch part unless you're paying close attention to Iris's character and mannerisms. But once it's clear that the witness is Dahlia and not Iris, the second part becomes fairly obvious; Dahlia is dead and thus has to be channeled by someone, and there are only three spirit mediums around. Of those three, Misty Fey is the case's victim, and Pearl is with Phoenix (and has confirmed she was unable to channel Dahlia), leaving only Maya- who's been suspiciously missing in action for days at this point. And yet, Phoenix takes Dahlia's Evil Gloating about Maya's death at face value, and Dahlia herself doesn't appear to notice that the medium channeling her has long black hair, and not Pearl's brown looped hair.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the reveal that the amnesiac singer Lamiroir and the long-missing Thalassa Gramarye are the same person should not be shocking to anyone once Thalassa's picture is first shown. Lamiroir might cover her face nowadays and wear a cloak, but her hairstyle and dress are exactly the same.
    • In The Great Ace Attorney, during the third case of the second game, prosecutor Barok van Zieks introduces a mysterious masked apprentice, whom Ryunosuke finds somehow familiar, and it turns out that the person in question is the supposedly dead Kazuma Asougi, Ryunosuke's best friend. In addition to Ryunosuke's odd feeling about the person in question, the apprentice is also skilled with a sword, much like Kazuma, and when Ryunosuke meets with Susato in Case 3, she mentions that Kazuma's body went missing after his "death." The Apprentice has to be Japanese as otherwise there'd be no reason for him to hide his face from Barok (who is generally fair-minded, but distrusts Japanese people on principle), and has to be someone the audience will recognize or there'd be no point in hiding his name or face from us. It's easy to put the pieces together and figure out that Kazuma is the apprentice before Susato recognizes him.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice's third case, there are two moments that are clearly suspicious for a player when first seen, but it takes until the second day for the characters to realize: first, that the Divination Séance clearly shows Tahrust running towards what seems to be Lady Kee'ra despite the game's insistence that "she" lunged at him; second, the War'baad statue in the Inner Sanctum has dagger-sharp feathers and is coated with plenty of blood, but it takes Phoenix finding out the second murder happened there as well to consider the fact that someone was killed by it.
  • Euphoria: Nemu, not Kanae, was Keisuke's childhood friend. The former is heavily played up as the antagonist to the extent that it becomes obvious that she's a Red Herring meant to be a decoy for the true mastermind, and the latter is insistent on her and Keisuke having been friends, excessively enough that the player can easily guess that she has something to gain from doing so. Meanwhile, the girl featured in Keisuke's childhood flashbacks quite clearly has a much more lighter hair color reminiscent of Nemu's dirty-blonde rather than Kanae's black, despite the Monochrome Past attempting to obscure it.
  • In Fate/stay night, Kotomine Kirei is introduced as supposedly morally ambiguous...except his theme is a creepy organ piece, he's extremely tall and dressed in all black(admittedly, he is a priest), and he constantly says vaguely threatening things to Shirou. It's not exactly a shock when he turns out to be evil. If anything, it's played as more of a plot twist when he turns out to not be the Big Bad in other routes; he's killed without much ceremony in Unlimited Blade Works, and is an outright ally for most of Heaven's Feel, which is also the route that delves into why he's evil. It helps, of course, that said organ piece (Church on the Hill) ends up reappearing as the Big Bad theme, called All the Evils of the World.
  • In Nicole, one of the four guys Nicole interacts with is a kidnapper. This could have been an intriguing mystery to solve had Jeff not begun acting like Creepy McCreeperson just two weeks into the game.
  • It's not really so subtle in Policenauts that Tony Redwood happened to be Lorraine's killer and the villains' primary hitman.
  • Your Turn to Die:
    • Chapter Two has the Room of Lies scene, where, unbeknownst to the player, Reko gets replaced by a duplicate while the lights in the room are off. However, the game immediately draws your attention to the fact that there's something inconsistent about her outfit, and later several characters note that Reko seems to be acting different than usual. By the time the negotiation scene at the end of the chapter brings up the possibility of someone being an impostor, a lot of players will know right away where the scene is going.
    • There's also the "surprising" reveal that the duplicate is not human, but a doll...but given that by this point you've seen lifelike doll copies of the main characters, advanced AIs with the main characters' personalities, and moving dolls with AI installed in them, it's almost obvious. Least of which when an easy to find bit of dialogue not long after the switch is "Reko" questioning why her body is the way it is. Now, why would she say that unless there was something wrong with her?
  • Heart of the Woods: Evelyn Fischer, mayor of Eysenfeld, is the Big Bad. From when the protagonists first meet her, she has a cold and intimidating demeanor, and is rather unfriendly to not just Tara and Madison, but verbally abusive toward her own daughter, Morgan. She makes many thinly-veiled death threats toward the protagonists, and even Madison, who doesn't trust Morgan in the early game, is uneasy around Evelyn. As such, Evelyn is by far the most obvious candidate among the human cast to be the villain.
  • Umineko: When They Cry: Kinzo being dead at the start of each game was easily guessed by many readers before the reveal in EP4. The Kinzo seen in the episodes were only in fantasy scenes and never during the Detective's point of view and Krauss and Natsuhi constantly insist that Kinzo is still alive.

    Web Animation 
  • Discussed in Overly Sarcastic Productions. Red states that if the plot twist is too predictable compared to the weight the author has put into the twist, it can make the audience feel uncomfortable or roll their eyes. She also states that this often happens when the author thinks the twist is more clever than it actually is.
  • RWBY:
    • From the moment she was introduced in the "Black" trailer, and throughout the first season — up until The Reveal — hints and clues were dropped all over the place that Blake was secretly a Faunus. Then she accidentally reveals it, and almost no viewer was surprised. Lampshaded when a tertiary character had figured it out after meeting Blake for about a minute and pointed out one of the more obvious hints to the rest of Team RWBY.
      Yang: We're looking for our friend Blake.
      Penny: Ooooh, you mean the Faunus girl!
      Ruby: Wait, how did you know that?
      Penny: Uhh, the cat ears?
      Yang: What cat ears? She wears a...bow...
      [tumbleweed rolls by]
      Ruby: She does like tuna a lot.
    • Happens again with Penny being a robot. The audience had her pegged pretty much the second she showed up (especially when a bunch of levitating swords popped out of her back). The only question was whether she was an A.I. or some form of cyborg. In the second season, we find out it's the former. Of course, Ruby doesn't really care whether or not Penny's a robot.
      Penny: [to Ruby] You're taking this extraordinarily well.

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja the doctor teams up with a bunch of his half-baked clones against a lone villain and doesn't figure out that Conservation of Ninjutsu is holding him back until, in the words of the author's own Alt Text, a week after the readers did.
  • Lampshaded in El Goonish Shive; the title of this strip acknowledges many readers already guessed Chaos was the same Immortal that appeared to Mr. Verres and his agents two years previously.
  • Homestuck does this constantly, mainly due to how readily it invites theorizing. At one point the narrator even lampshades it:
    But the fact that he's a slob was never exactly breaking news to anyone.
    Neither is the fact that you both share a body.
    I mean come on.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Lampshaded in the strip that reveals that Nale is Elan's twin brother, referring to that fact as "semi-secret" and noting, "I mean, it's not like you couldn't have figured it out." The other characters are also completely unsurprised.
    • Much later, Tarquin dramatically reveals himself and his party to be the secret rulers of three empires. A bit after that he shows up with a legion trained in "plot-critical reveals", one of whom shouts this same information at them out of nowhere, which Tarquin brushes off with "Yes, yes, we did that one already."
  • Sluggy Freelance: In the Gofotron story arc, a parody mashup of Voltron and Star Wars, Lord Grater is apparently genuinely surprised that Secret Angel Princess-Princess is really Princess-Princess!
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Many readers correctly guessed Tuuri was going to get the Rash from her troll bite the second they saw her clutch a bloody shoulder, despite some of the characters, including Tuuri herself, acting like there was a decent chance she didn't get infected. Reynir, the only other member of the crew to not be The Immune to the Rash, had very narrowly avoided getting scratched by a troll several chapters earlier, meaning there had already been one false alarm.

As it turns out, this page was describing obvious plot twists the entire time! Admit it, you're surprised.


Video Example(s):


The Powerbroker is [Spoiler?]!


The Screenwriter reveals the identity the Power Broker on Falcon & Winter Soldier, which the Producer already figured out.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / CaptainObviousReveal

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