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Go Seduce My Archnemesis

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"The beast has failed. And when the beast has failed, it’s time to call in beauty."
Hedley Lamar, Blazing Saddles

So you've got this character, usually female, always sexy. She might be the Dark Mistress, she might be the hero's girlfriend, a Femme Fatale, but who she is in relation to the story isn't really that important. The point is, she's hot. And hot chicks can do one thing really well. Seduce people and ensnare them in a Honey Trap.

When a hero resorts to this kind of tactic, their situation is getting pretty desperate. After all, My Girl Is Not a Slut. Not to mention the fact that having a villain be able to gloat about how they "did your girl" is something with major potential to be obnoxious. Oftentimes the hero doesn't resort to it at all — the Love Interest does, realizing that it would be very helpful in this particular situation but that there's no way he would feel comfortable asking her to do it.

Villains aren't usually bothered by this kind of exploitation. As long as the seduction is for the sake of the greater evil, they can overlook the minor detail that this is technically adultery, because they're evil. In this case it will often backfire and cause his Dark Mistress to feel sympathy (or love!) for the hero when he's supposed to be her enemy. This rarely happens the other way around.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the manga version of Heat Guy J, Trinity designs a buxom, scantily-clad robot girl to go seduce and strangle Clair's biggest (and ugliest) rival. (This does not happen in the anime version; Trinity does not exist, and Clair sent a tanker truck full of napalm to that rival instead of a sexy girl, human or otherwise.)
  • In the backstory of Rurouni Kenshin, a villain sends a woman to seduce Kenshin and find out his weakness. She goes along with it because Kenshin killed her fiancee. She falls in love with him, and the bad guys kidnap her to lead Kenshin to them. She accidentally dies by his hand, resulting in Kenshin vowing to never kill again once the war is over. Her little brother ends up being the Big Bad of the final arc.
  • Played with, and a major plot-point in the Yellow Scarves arc in Durarara!!. Two years prior to the series, Izaya told two of his followers, Saki Mikajima and Nozomi Kotonami, to date the head of the Yellow Scarves; Masaomi Kida, and his second-in-command; Koji Yatabe. Saki dated Masaomi and repetitively suggested he rely on Izaya for information. Masaomi was suspicious but when the Blue Squares became too much of a threat he gave in, eventually leading to Saki being kidnapped, the fall of the Blue Squares and Masaomi being guilt-ridden since then. Though, he and Saki did get back together after the latter finally acted against Izaya. In Nozomi's case, since Izaya's orders were to do whatever they felt like, she briefly dated Koji before dumping him.
  • Gate: While not an archnemesis, Bozes (the leader of Princess Pina's Amazon Brigade) is ordered to go sleep with Itami after nearly reigniting the Curb-Stomp Battle between the Empire and Japan (Bozes ran into Itami, and due to the absence of radio didn't know peace had been signed, so she captured him, treating him like a prisoner of war). And when she comes into Itami's bedroom, he's having a tea party with the castle's beastmen maids, so she slaps him. It leads to Princess Pina joining the diplomats to prevent further slipups.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Steve Trevor had been acting as a Honey Trap to gain intelligence for the US Army before he ever met Wonder Woman, and on at least two occasions pulled out that skillset to help distract and get information from a villain for her.
  • A rare heroic example is present in Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy; since Louise somehow sees Kyle as her long-dead crush Simon, the heroes have him pretend to be Simon so that she gets a happy birthday and the spell on her (and the lodge) can be lifted.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Aladdin: When Aladdin tries to recover the lamp from Jafar, Jasmine sees him and promptly starts acting seductively toward Jafar, who she had only rebuffed a moment ago, as a diversion. She even gives him a "Shut Up" Kiss at a critical moment when the clanging of the lamp alerts Jafar to Aladdin's presence, but this only succeeds in causing Aladdin to stare at her in shock. This is based on the original story but there Aladdin explicitly tells the princess to pretend to be in love with the sorcerer, rather than just letting her know he's in the palace and acting as shocked as everyone else when she seduces his arch nemesis.
  • In Heavy Metal 2000, Julie herself actually goes and seduces Tyler to get close enough for the kill. She succeeds in delivering what should have been a mortal blow. Unfortunately, she doesn't know that Tyler has Resurrective Immortality.
  • In Hercules, Hades uses Meg to find out Hercules' weakness. She ends up falling in love with him... which gave Hades the leverage he was looking for in the first place.
    Hades: Perhaps I haven't been throwing the right curves at him.
  • In El Arca, Panthy is sent by Dagnino to seduce Xiro.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mission: Impossible II. A particularly agonizing example. Ethan Hunt recruits Nyah without knowing her true purpose, and promptly beds and falls in love with her, only to find that Anthony Hopkins's ultra-pragmatic mission controller wants Nyah to seduce Ethan's archenemy (and Nyah's ex-boyfriend) Ambrose. Needless to say, Ethan is not happy.
  • Batman (1989). Vicki Vale does this to the Joker while he's forcing her to dance with him. She saw Batman nearby and wanted to distract the Joker and give Batman a chance to attack him. It works (she's played by Kim Basinger, it should).
  • The Girl, the Gold Watch and Everything (1981). Bonnie Lee Beaumont acts seductively toward Wesley Reins to trick him into a situation where he can be interrogated.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Happens twice: Ivana Humpalot is sent to seduce Austin, but does a Heel–Face Turn. Later Felicity Shagwell has sex with Fat Bastard in the line of duty.
    Austin: How could you do it?
    Felicity: I was just doing my job.
    Austin: No, I mean, literally; how could you do it? The man's so fat, the sheer mechanics of it are mind-boggling.
  • Blazing Saddles: Hedley Lamarr sends Lili von Shtupp to seduce and abandon the Sheriff of Rock Ridge. She does a Heel–Face Turn too.
  • Undercover Brother. White She Devil is sent by Mr. Feather to seduce the title hero. It works for a while as she helps brainwash him. But when the good guys rescue and deprogram him, she reveals that she's fallen for him for real and performs a Heel–Face Turn to stay on the same side.
    • Strangely, she then immediately switches to Smart Brother, likely seeing that Undercover Brother is already taken.
  • Dr. Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. She seduces both Drs. Jones at the Nazis' orders.
  • Eve in North by Northwest was supposed to seduce Thornhill for the explicit purpose of leading him to his death in a cornfield. It doesn't work.
  • In another Alfred Hitchcock example, Devlin in Notorious orders Alicia Huberman to sleep with the Nazi expatriate Alexander Sebastian. Alicia complies, and he berates her for it. Interestingly, when Devlin's superiors demonstrate the same hypocrisy toward Alicia that he has, Devlin defends her.
  • The Rocketeer: Initially Jenny is seduced by Neville, but later (when she realizes he's up to something) pretends to still be more interested in him than she really is.
  • A textbook procedure against James Bond. This usually results in a Sex–Face Turn. You'd think they'd learn.
  • In Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, when the hero is captured, the lady apparently defects to the Big Bad, by saying she could be many things to him, including a word she uses in German. The hero asks him what that was, and the Big Bad says she said she could even be his "Cleaning Woman". This is the good guy's Berserk Button that when he hears it that allows him to defeat the Big Bad.
  • In The Prestige, Angier sends Olivia over to seduce Borden and steal his secrets; unfortunately for him she is so angered by this that she really does side with Borden and the two double cross Angier.
  • Sherlock Holmes (2009) (with Robert Downey Jr.) has Irene Adler, a seductive Femme Fatale and old rival to Holmes, who is paid by Professor Moriarty to try to snag, among other things, Holmes' heart. It's arguable whether she succeeds, or indeed whether she's succeeded previously; it's also strongly hinted by Moriarty himself that this is more of a case of Go Seduce My Arch Nemesis Who You're Kind Of In Love With Already, Or I'll Kill Him If You Don't.
  • In High Plains Drifter, a character resentful of the protagonist sends his wife to distract him with a romantic dinner and sex, and the plan was that afterward he and his gang would kill the protagonist while he had his guard down.
  • Den of Thieves: After a fight with his soon-to-be ex-wife, O'Brien goes to a strip-club and picks up the dancer who is Merrimen's girlfriend and has sex with her at her apartment, intending to both antagonize Merrimen and obtain information from the girl. This trope comes into play when the audience finds out that Merrimen anticipated this, let it happen and used her to feed O'Brien misinformation.
  • Baby Burlesks: In the short Polly Tix in Washington, a corrupt senator hires Polly Tix to seduce his opponent in the upcoming election and tempt him into taking a dive. This backfires when she falls for him for real, causing her to turn against the senator.
  • Ajnabee: Sonia's attempts to seduce Raj are actually just a part of her boyfriend's Vicky's Evil Plan to have Raj framed for their crimes, and she's not really attracted to Raj or unhappy with Vicky.


    Live Action TV 
  • In 30 Rock, Jack sends Kenneth to seduce his gay archnemesis, Devin, and keep him from a meeting. It almost works.
  • A gender-reversed version occurs in comedy series Campus where Vice-Chancellor de Wolfe sends womanising lecturer Matt Beer to seduce his nemesis Georgina Bryan. Unusually there's no trap at the end - the VC is just hoping she'll mellow a bit after the event and not cut his university to pieces.
  • In Gossip Girl, Blair gets Chuck to seduce Vanessa (though not sleep with her) in order to humiliate her. Later, Chuck swaps Blair to his Evil Uncle to get his hotel back - she thinks it's her decision. However, he subtly manipulated her into it, so she didn't find out until later that he'd organised the whole deal.
  • In iCarly, Freddie begs to help Sam seduce Shane, so that he has a better shot with Carly, their best friend, who is also trying to seduce Shane.
  • Mad Men:
    • Pete more or less asks his wife to do, um, whatever she would need to do with an old ex-boyfriend to get him to publish Pete's short story in a reputable magazine (Pete being jealous of a coworker who has a story in the Atlantic). She goes to see the guy, but turns him down when he asks her out (relegating Pete's story to Boy's Life, alas) and calls Pete out on it when she gets home.
    • In a later episode, Don is the only one in the office who knows Sal is gay and is grudgingly keeping it a secret. A major client, Depraved Bisexual Lee Garner, Jr., comes on to Sal and has to be rebuffed. He then refuses to work with Sal, losing him his job, and when Sal tells Don what happened, Don is unsympathetic. Sal asks if Don means he should have just done whatever Garner wanted, and Don doesn't say no. Sal stays fired.
  • Gaia tries this on behalf of Lucretia in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, saying she's aware that Lucretia would never ask. [[spoiler: Doesn't work out so well, as Tullius concludes the encounter by bashing her head in with a wig stand.
  • In Twin Peaks, Josie Packard is sent from Thomas Eckhardt to be the wife of his arch rival, Andrew Packard. Somewhat similarly, she was also playing both sides against each other when Ben Horne and Catherine Martell were rivals.
  • In the third season of The Walking Dead, Carol demands that Andrea do this with the Governor, then kill him in his sleep.
  • Attempted by the Mayor and Faith against Angel in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in an effort to make him lose his soul. When he proves resistant to Faith's blandishments, they find another plan.
    "We want to take Angel's soul away. If we can't do it by giving him happiness, well, by golly, we'll just have to do it in the most painful way imaginable."
  • The Young and the Restless. Suspecting that her husband Jack's ex Diane framed her for arson so as to get rid of her and have Jack for herself, Phyllis Abbott tells Jack to cozy up to her in order to find out for sure, and indeed sleep with her if necessary.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jackie Gayda took it upon herself to seduce the opponents of Rico Constantino and Charlie Haas, though one case was equally for her own revenge on Test for hitting her, it was usually to protect them.
  • Johnny Nitro sent Melina to seduce and sleep with Batista in order to tire him out before an MNM title defense against him and Rey Mysterio Jr.. It backfired, since Batista decided to go through with the match anyway, and he and Rey won the titles.
  • During The Premier Athlete Brand's feud with Rich Swann, they publicly "fired" their secretary Su Yung for fraternizing with him and she even cheered him on during his parallel EVOLVE feud with Johnny Gargano, all to make him more vulnerable.

    Video Games 
  • In the backstory of Far Cry 4, this ended up backfiring spectacularly on Mohan Ghale when he sent his wife Ishwari to go seduce and spy on Pagan Min because he didn't believe she should be directly involved in his rebellion despite her desire to do so. The plan not only worked, it worked too well, and she genuinely fell in love with Pagan and even had a daughter by him. When Mohan found out he killed the girl, and in retaliation Ishwari then killed him and fled to the United States with Ajay, the protagonist of the game.
  • This is pretty much the job of Escorts in Town of Salem. Escorts roleblock players via Distracted by the Sexy. It's also totally possible for the sole survivor of the town to be an Escort against one last killing role, and force a draw by roleblocking them every night, basically seducing your way to victory. It's happened to both Markiplier and Mangaminx.

  • In The Order of the Stick, Nale switches places with Elan. He takes it on himself to seduce Haley, in order to "coax her into wearing a dress with clear access to her sternum".
  • Played for laughs in Cheer! when Tamara Cass (Alpha Bitch) sends her boyfriend to seduce Genius Ditz Joanna Star.

    Web Original 
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), Light tells Takada what to do in case she's ever kidnapped:
    Light: Listen, if you're ever abducted by a mysterious and kind of hot stranger in black leather and he takes you into a truck in the middle of nowhere and he looks like this, I want you to totally seduce him and tell me everything. Because that would be so hot.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Venture Bros., the Monarch sends Doctor Girlfriend to do this against Doctor Venture as part of an elaborate scheme to turn him into some sort of caterpillar. This example explores the "don't you care about her having sex with another man?" angle rather bizarrely- The Monarch watches the seduction with a bug and starts masturbating to it until one of his henchmen walk into the room.
    • Which didn't stop him from having a Villain BSOD once Dr. Girlfriend began to sympathize with Rusty.
      • Though it's mentioned in another episode that The Monarch watching Dr. Mrs. The Monarch have sex with other men is a relatively common occurence. Apparently they're into cuckolding.
      • Even more hilarious, this apparently stopped because where the Monarch originally thought it was hot, he started to feel really pathetic.
  • In Superman: The Animated Series, Lana Lang decides to take the initiative and attempts this on Lex Luthor despite Superman's protests. It helped Lana was already dating Luthor, allaying his suspicions for a short while.