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Hazy-Feel Turn

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"There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides."
Patrician Havelock Vetinari, Guards! Guards!

In a series with more than one Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain, it can be hard to tell who's good and who's bad. Things can become even more mucked up when someone clearly switches sides.

If this is the case, it's a Hazy Feel Turn.

This is when someone doesn't waver from black to white and back, but from gray to grey. We know the position's changed, but how so? Is he good or evil? Gone from good to a different kind of good? It's hard to tell because everyone in the piece wavers.

To be clear, the characters and readers know which side the turner is on (or at least which party he joined). It's about the readers not knowing if his turn was towards good or towards bad because they don't know if the party he joined is good or bad. The other characters in the show will usually describe it as a Heel–Face Turn if he joined their group and as a Face–Heel Turn if he joined their enemies because most people will consider their own group the good side and the other side(s) as bad. In such cases, a character's true moral compass alignment is generally revealed more by the motive and means of their defection than by the act of defecting itself.

Keep in mind that this trope is about a change of sides, not about characters. It's not enough for a character to have an ambiguous alignment, he must also actively change sides from one ambiguous group to another (or from one good/bad group to another, as long as you can't tell which one of the two is better).

Often revealed to be a Face–Heel Turn or a Heel–Face Turn as people's motivations become better revealed. Often done by an Enigmatic Minion, Ensemble Dark Horse, or a Wild Card.

Not to be confused with Heel–Face Revolving Door, where a character frequently switches sides in a Black-and-White Morality setting.

Unmarked Spoilers Ahead, for obvious reasons.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • The nature of One Piece allows this trope to occur aplenty:
    • X. Drake was formerly a rear-admiral of the Marines before he turned pirate. While there is no doubt that pirates are generally considered menaces by most of the populace, the corrupted World Government and the Marines have been shown to be just as cruel, making the nature of this change quite hazy indeed. And things get even more hazy when it turns out that he's actually still working for the Marines since he is part of a secret spy unit and the whole 'becoming a pirate' thing is just a deep cover for him to be able to infiltrate a dangerous pirate crew.
    • Pirate Jango went from pirate to marine. Unlike the X. Drake example, this is probably closer to a Heel–Face Turn considering it was The Power of Friendship (and that pretty marine lady he saw, who was later on revealed to be Captain Hina) that motivated this choice. Both of these characters are still antagonists to the Straw Hat Crew, no matter what side of the law they're on.
    • Head Jailer Shiryu was one of the more ruthless arms of the Government, then they locked him away for his treatment of prisoners. He was then freed and joined the Blackbeard Pirate crew.
  • Airu Inuzuka is one of the first serious antagonists in Boarding School Juliet, Romio's Big Brother Bully and vehemently opposed to his Secret Relationship with Juliet (or the idea of a Westian and Touwan getting together in general). After Romio beats him in a fistfight and tells Airu that he doesn't have to shoulder the responsibilities of being their family's head alone anymore, he loosens up and doesn't antagonize the couple from that point onward. However, that doesn't mean Airu has accepted their relationship just yet.
  • Dragon Ball: While it eventually morphed into a full blown Heel–Face Turn after the course of many years, Vegeta "joining" the Z-Fighters was initially this trope more than anything else. He initially sided with them in an Enemy Mine against Frieza, and was undeniably still his evil, ruthless self throughout that battle. Once Frieza was dead he remained on Earth essentially because he had nowhere else to go at that point; then the Android threat arrived and he decided that was as good a way to sate his Blood Knight tendencies as any, and even then it was extremely charitable to say he and the heroes were "allies." At no point during either of these did he have the slightest interest in saving anyone. This changed into a full Heel–Face Turn in the Buu saga, more than a decade after he initially "joined" the side of good and it wouldn't be until the Moro Arc of Super that he would finally show remorse for his past ruthless actions on Namek and other worlds.

    Comic Books 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift: With the war over, the elite Fire Nation squad, the Rough Rhinos, have become mercenaries and now guard a joint Earth Kingdom/Fire Nation-run factory, but they're still hostile towards the main characters and their employer Loban is revealed as corrupt. After the conclusion, it's unknown what happened to them but Vachir at least was seen marching in the Spirits' Friendship Festival with the reformed Loban.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow: Azula's entire Evil Plan amounts to destroying the New Ozai Society that wishes to overthrow Zuko from the inside, and while she claims that she wants to make him a more ruthless Fire Lord who rules through fear, this makes him go the opposite route and she is shown looking pleased about this in the end, making one wonder if she was playing a reverse psychology ploy. Thus, it is unknown if she wants to help him in her own twisted way or if she is still his evil little sister. All that is known for sure is that: a) She doesn't wish him dead anymore and b) She has developed a degree of Big Sister Instinct for her new half-sister.
  • Fables has many characters whose past histories range from morally ambiguous to outright villainous, and while they are the good guys now many don't express any regret for their past crimes, and have simply switched their loyalties (often out of self-interest) to their new community, which was formed more out of pragmatism and self-preservation than a desire for any sort of atonement.
    • Possibly the most pronounced example of this is Bigby Wolf who has simply taken the wolfish instincts of protecting family, pack, and his territory and transferred them to Fabletown rather than solely himself, and is totally unrepentant for the thousands of sentient creatures he devoured for sport in his previous life.
    • Another example is Frau Totenkinder (if there's a mysterious unnamed witch in any fairy tale, it was her,) whose magic is explicitly drawn from murdering children, and undertakes Fabletown's protection with the same amorality she's always had.
  • Thunderbolts: Most villains-as-heroes in the book's run either become the mask or don't, but Baron Zemo is more complicated, going from a Nazi "Well Done, Son" Guy to a Well-Intentioned Extremist who thinks his father was a racist lunatic ... but still wants to Take Over the World.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): After Diana shows Ares the true final outcome of his plans he swears off trying to destroy and subjugate humanity and becomes more in line with the rest of the Olympians,... who are a bunch of backstabbing adulterous incestuous self-righteous jerks even if some of them are generally working towards good goals they at the very least are proponents of Well-Intentioned Extremist. The only one who is unequivocally and constantly painted as a good guy is Aphrodite, and she cheats on her husband and other significant others constantly.

    Fan Works 
  • In Game Theory, Nanoha joins Precia — in canon, this would have been an unambiguous Face–Heel Turn, but the premise of this particular fic is that Precia is an Adaptational Nice Guy and her goal of reviving Alicia is portrayed more sympathetically, making it a Good Versus Good story.
  • In A Gun to Love's Head L and Light don't really change that much after they've become allied with each other. They work together, they solve cases together, and sometimes they write in the notebook and kill together.

    Films — Animation 
  • Maximus in Tangled turned from chasing Flynn Rider for stealing the crown to helping him escape the guards. However, neither Flynn nor the guards are the villains of the story.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film of Watchmen, Dr. Manhattan does this at the end, defecting to Ozymandias' side from Rorschach's. The latter two had unreconcilable heroic ideals so he came down on one side.
  • By the third Pirates of the Caribbean everybody drops all and any pretense of decency and contracts Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. In other words, they basically become pirates. The one character who makes an unambiguously moral choice is stabbed through the chest for it.
  • The Legend of Frenchie King: Louise and Maria are the Villain Protagonists, and they fight each other for a ranch with oil. At the end, Maria and her brothers become part of Louise's gang because the two come to respect and befriend each other after a Cat Fight, and also because her brothers have married Louise's sisters.

  • In the Warchild Series, the main character changes his allegiance three, arguably four times. Each time is subtle and we're not quite sure if he's sided with the "good guys" (if there are any) or not. He's not even sure, half the time.
  • The Chathrand Voyages features a ton of this. It's set on a ship populated by a full Morality Kitchen Sink, with a mind-boggling Gambit Pileup between many characters. This means the three Main Characters are constantly switching allegiances depending on who's the most likely to help them stop whatever Evil Plan is the most pressing at the moment.
  • Alex of A Clockwork Orange pulls a few of these, but his most notable was at the very end when, furious at the revolutionaries' manipulation of his condition (intentionally driving him to a suicide attempt, hoping to garner public fervor against the government), he accepts the help of the government that brainwashed him in the first place. Of course, this is more Evil Versus Evil than Grey-and-Gray Morality but the haziness is still present.
  • Archvillain: Kyle joins forces with Mike after he learns that Mike is actually a Living Weapon created by Kyle's future self. The morality of the turn is unclear since both sides were more-or-less gray to begin with.
  • The Witchlands: By the end of the second book, Aeduen is no longer Iseult's enemy and has apparently decided to abandon Corlant's orders, but whose side he's on now — and whether he's even on any side — is hard to pinpoint.
  • Lorien Legacies: In the sequel series, Lorien Legacies Reborn, Isabela Silva becomes a Hazy Feel Turn example in the second book, The Fugitive Six. Choosing to leave the so-called Fugitive Six (a Shrouded in Myth group), she joins Five (The Creon and Sidekick Ex Machina) and Ein (Well-Intentioned Extremist and Utopia Justifies the Means) implying a shift from Neutral Good to True Neutral. This seems to not even be a shift as Isabela was likely a True Neutral all along but was working with Neutral Goods out of convenience and is willing to act for those people and also implies Utopia Justifies the Means.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Wesley stealing Angel's baby, then going solo for a while.
  • Game of Thrones: The Tyrells join with the Lannisters to defeat Stannis Baratheon and keep King Joffrey on the throne, but also work on ways to undermine the Lannisters and kill Joffrey.
  • The second season of Boardwalk Empire has the Commodore, Eli, and Jimmy conspiring against Nucky. All of these characters used to be on the same side, but Jimmy and Nucky are portrayed as sympathetic Villain Protagonists before and after the sides changed. The only hint that the conspirators are supposed to be the "bad guys" is that the Commodore and Eli have gotten much less sympathetic treatment lately.
  • The X-Files:
    • Assistant Director Skinner. In the early seasons, you weren't sure if you could trust him or not. Later on, when private scenes with Skinner revealed him to be an unwilling patsy for bigger forces, the adversarial relationship with his agents became somewhat redundant.
      Doc Oho: It's very nice to have Skinner involved in a regular investigation for once rather than having the light of suspicion thrown on him in the mythology episodes. Sometimes I wonder what he gets up to when he isn't having guns pointed at him by Mulder and Scully in their annual vendetta against him.
    • Alex Krycek makes even less sense. He has a terrible case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, but it can be hard to tell just who he's backstabbing at any given time. Starts out as The Mole, until his bosses try to blow him up, and winds up in a few Enemy Mine situations with Mulder. He'll also try to play all his enemies off one another at the same time until it's impossible to tell if he's working for anyone but himself. This tends to lead to him being The Chew Toy whenever he gets caught.
  • Jack Bauer crosses the line of Face–Heel Turn sometime late in the final season of 24 when he goes on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, but it's a little unclear whether he does it the second he initially goes rogue or originally had the more noble purposes he claimed he was carrying out and only went over it after executing Dana Walsh. In other words, it's unclear if she's become a darker Anti-Hero with a new target or if he's become an outright Villain Protagonist.
  • The Vampire Diaries has Stefan in the third season. Made so much murkier because vampires can turn their conscience on and off. For much of the season, he goes off the rails and it's hard to tell what his actual motives are.
  • At the end of the fourth season of Elementary, Morland Holmes becomes the new leader of Moriarty's organization, which means he'll now be involved in outright villainy, but he says that his motive for doing so is to ultimately destroy the group from within since it's impenetrable from the outside.
  • Farscape:
    • After the first season, when Crais, who is driven out of the Peacekeepers and takes command of Moya's Living Weapon offspring, Talyn. Moya's crew is never sure if they can trust him, despite his insistence that he's a changed man.
    • After Grayza takes over as the Big Bad in Season 4, Scorpius pleads with Moya's crew for asylum. While his ambitions haven't changed, he shows that he's not actively trying to harm the others until he arranges for Aeryn's kidnapping to coerce Crichton into helping him. The finale miniseries places them in a similar situation.
  • After a tenure as The Flash's second nemesis, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (as well as his partner-in-crime Mick Rory/Heatwave) get Transplanted to be part of the cast of Legends of Tomorrow. Throughout the first season, although Snart may still have criminal ambitions in mind, he also grows more and more heroic and even dies a hero. As for Rory, he's an Ax-Crazy Pyromaniac but he eventually displays loyalty to his team and has even helped save the world several times by now; frankly, he has spent more time as a "Legend" (longer than even Snart himself) than as an enemy of the Flash. Regarding his brief Face–Heel Turn near the end of Season 2, that was a result of him being a victim of Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal from his fellow Legends, and Mick immediately tried to set things right after realizing his mistake.
  • Lost: Several characters pull this in Season 4, with the heroes having divided loyalties between Jack, who wants to get off the Island, and Locke, who wants to hole up at the Barracks and prepare for a war with Widmore's men. Most notably, Hurley, Sawyer, Claire, and Kate switch from Jack's team to Locke's near the start of the season but have all abandoned him by the finale.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Humans in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 who recede from the Imperium in favour of the Tau Empire are this due to both factions being one shade of grey or another. Although one could probably make an argument that Tau are so much better than the imperials that it constitutes a genuine Heel–Face Turn. Heck, the Imperium had so many Kick the Dog moments that it wouldn't be much of a stretch to consider turning to Chaos as a form of Hazy Feel Turn.
    • The Tau, to note, are even more authoritarian than the Imperium and leave even fewer personal liberties, but otherwise offer generally higher living standards. When they "convert" planets, there is some level of social mobility, but it is entirely phased out by the end of the process, leaving everyone who didn't join up as permanent and hereditary members of an untouchable-like class. Chaos is also often described in terms of being quite hazy, where a common theme among those that turn to chaos is that they did so for sympathetic and well-meant reasons, but will often end up falling deeper into the worse vices of Chaos as time wears on until you become a monster of the kind that the Imperium sees as a perfectly valid justification of its horrific actions on non-compliant humans and almost all aliens.


    Video Games 
  • Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear switches sides so often in a confusing world that it's impossible to tell if he's on the right side. He's never on your side, even in Metal Gear Solid V when he's one of your most trusted advisors. But eventually, you end up on his side. Once you figure out what that side is, you'll be glad for it.
  • The Praetorian Morality missions in City of Heroes are like this. It basically amounts to picking which side you like more.
    • Ms. Liberty launched a plan to try to redeem her great-uncle, Lord Recluse by reviving his lost love/Morality Pet, Red Widow as a Valentines Day even. Amazingly it actually works, in a way — Red Widow reminds Lord Recluse of his original mindset, it is not about fighting the forces of good or killing his enemies, it’s about WORLD DOMINATION! And in all following story arcs Lord Recluse is up for a lot more Enemy Mines. He still is a Card-Carrying Villain but he has forsaken sadism for solid pragmatism.
    • Marauder of Praetoria is recruited by the player for the end game story arc to try to rebuild Praetoria without the shades of grey. Marauder was always the Token Good Teammate in the extremist government. He always placed the safety of the people of Praetoria first. With his recruiting in the reconstruction he firmly shifts from good guy on the bad guys’ team to good guy with other good guys there to help him at long last.
  • Unlike in the original Deus Ex, where the player was forced-allied with the conditionally good Illuminati against the unconditionally evil Majestic-12, in the sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War everybody is a different kind of asshole and the player is free to switch allegiances like gloves.
  • Fallout: New Vegas allows you to switch it up as you want, and while say the Legion is evil, they also made peace out of the chaos of Arizona. It's up to the player to make a heavy choice between the Good-but-ineffective-and-corrupt NCR, the Limited-freedom-but-still-free Dictator, or the Evil-but-keeps-shit-in-order Legion. Alternatively, you can seize power for yourself, which turns into Objectivist Anarchy.
  • Fallout 4: The Sole Survivor can pull this off too, by going full-on raider overboss in the Nuka World DLC, then switching sides to the Institute or the Brotherhood, or even being allied with the Children of Atom in Far Harbor. Becoming raider overboss means the Minutemen become hostile to you, while progressing too far along the Brotherhood or Institute quest line turns the Railroad against you. On the other hand, the Minutemen and Railroad are the only factions that cooperate, so you can remain allied with both those factions till the end, without having to switch any sides.
    • The Far Harbor DLC gives us Grand Zealot Richter, who was previously Lt Brian Richter of the Enclave. While the Enclave are evil, the Children of Atom in this game are far from good.
  • The Arcade Ladder endings for Liu Kang and Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat 9: Liu Kang replaces Raiden as the Thunder God and Protector of Earthrealm, and becomes Drunk with Power. Bo'Rai Cho takes on Shang Tsung as a student and teaches him techniques that will allow him to defeat the power-mad Liu Kang.
  • Ingress features the Resistance and Enlightened factions, both of which are chock full of Gray-and-Grey Morality and one of which the player decides on when starting the game. If the player changes their mind, they may request a faction change, but it can be done once and only once, and comes with the penalty of losing all claimed portals and resetting to Level 1.
  • In Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, after Crash allies himself with Cortex to save the world, Nitrus Brio, formerly Cortex's Number Two, assigns minions old and new to stop Crash from delivering the crystals to Cortex. When the plot turns out to be a trick by Cortex to obtain the world's power crystals, Brio gladly allies with Crash to dispose of him. While Ripper Roo and the Komodo Brothers' alignment remains ambiguous throughout the series after (they attack both sides on different occasions but never officially join Crash or Cortex), N Brio and Tiny Tiger revert to bad guys, even allying with Cortex again later on. This is particularly odd for Tiny, who despite first appearing as one of Brio's cohorts, is retooled as Cortex's Undyingly Loyal creation.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has a bit of this, as while the party are always the clear-cut heroes, they face multiple villainous factions caught up in a giant Gambit Pileup, and most factions' goals aren't clearly known until later in the series. And many antagonists switch between factions as the saga goes on.
    • Xeno and Leonidas switch from the Noble Alliance/Ouroboros to Chancellor Osborne's faction between Cold Steel II and Cold Steel III, due to their boss coming Back from the Dead and joining Osborne's side. In either case, they oppose the heroes, including their surrogate sister Fie. Justified in that they're mercenaries, so they work for whoever pays them. They later pull a real Heel–Face Turn at the end of the 4th game.
    • Come the third game, Osborne "hijacks" Ouroboros' Phantasmal Blaze Plan, and its Enforcers are split between those continuing the plan under him and those trying to take the plan back. Vita and Bleublanc's alignments are even harder to place, as they are so opposed to Osborne, they assist the heroes... but remain aligned with Ouroboros and fully intend to return after Osborne's defeat. Bleublanc even helps save Olivert's life, but more out of Blue-and-Orange Morality and The Only One Allowed to Defeat You than genuine goodness.
  • A pretty noticeable trope in the Kirby series. Whether the brooding Meta Knight and troublemaking King Dedede are Kirby's allies or adversaries often changes at the drop of a hat. And just as confusing as their alignment in regards to Kirby is how their position changes within each game.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses's story is very much centered around Gray-and-Gray Morality in regards to the second act conflict. This, combined with the recruitment system, means the game is absolutely full of Hazy Feel Turns;
    • If Ferdinand, Linhardt, Caspar, Bernadetta, Dorothea, and/or Petra are poached to the Blue Lions or Golden Deer, or the player chooses the Black Eagles but sides with the Church of Seiros after the Holy Tomb incident, they fall under this, as while the Empire is the most grey faction, the Kingdom, Alliance, and Church all have flaws.
    • If Felix, Ashe, Sylvain, Mercedes, Annette, Ingrid, Lorenz, Raphael, Ignatz, Lysithea, Marianne, Leonie, Yuri, Balthus, Constance, and/or Hapi are poached to the Black Eagles and the player sides with Edelgard after the Holy Tomb incident, they also fall under this, as while the Empire launches a war of aggression, Edelgard is at her best on this route and seeks to abolish the Crest system.
  • At the start of Mega Man Zero 4, Craft had pledged allegiance to Dr. Weil because he saw this as the Lesser of Two Evils in a post-apocalyptic world where civilization struggled to survive. After Neige gave him a little pep-talk, he tried to kill Weil in the most over-the-top manner imaginable: by firing a Kill Sat straight at Neo Arcadia, killing 20 million Reploids and Humans as collateral damage. His contempt and disregard towards humans during the whole ordeal helped cement the grayness of his moral compass.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Black Mage leaves the Light Warriors to join the Dark Warriors. Drizz'l, the leader of the Dark Warriors, is voted out with Black Mage being the new leader. Drizz'l joins the Light Warriors. Then the other group of adventurers shows up and is confused about who they should and should not be fighting, due to Black Mage switching sides. Then they hold another election. Then things get complicated, and Black Mage starts stabbing people.
  • The Order of the Stick: invoked Belkar Bitterleaf is still Chaotic Evil beyond any shred of doubt along with being the Token Evil Teammate of the titular Order, but his Vision Quest during the Don't Split The Party arc inspires him to start engaging more in Pragmatic Villainy and Cruel Mercy in lieu of Stupid Evil. Complicating matters is how he's also actually starting to develop his own sense of empathy for his fellow sapients.
  • Pretty much any time someone changes sides in Erfworld. Especially Charlie, a mercenary who's officially in the business of solving problems for clients, but has no problem letting clients get in deeper trouble so he can get paid more in the long run.
    Charlie's Rules: 3: We are in the business of solving problems for our clients.
    Corollary: Creating problems for our clients creates business.
  • Girl Genius has a lot of shades of gray in its characters, which can lead to a lot of this going on.
    • Tarvek switching from the Storm King Conspiracy to Agatha's side and his own plan (which still ends with him as the Storm King) is a good example.
    • Brother Ulm of the Corbettites seems to suddenly turn on Agatha, but he's not a bad guy, he honestly thinks (and given her family's history has every reason to think) that she is a danger to his fellow monks and will unleash some monster they have chained up. He becomes agreeable again when someone else unleashes the beast and Agatha insists on helping stop it.
  • Vegan Artbook contains a seemingly accidental example: The comic being what it is, Dolly going vegan is framed as a grand moral epiphany. But considering how Unintentionally Unsympathetic Yerdian's vegan mouthpieces (and how Unintentionally Sympathetic her straw-omnivore chew toys) are, it reads as a Hazy Feel Turn (at best) to anyone who doesn't already agree with her premise.

    Web Original 
  • In the Prolecto series, a few of the succubi end up undergoing this. They decide to change things because the world sucks... but then behave with remarkable control.
  • Worm:
    • Skitter does this by joining the Protectorate...after it's been exposed as essentially a front for Cauldron and the leaders have been exposed as being guilty of crimes against humanity.
    • Similarly, Flechette leaves the Protectorate to become Parian's lieutenant and lover at about the same time.
  • Gays in Capes: Lia went from working with thugs, to working with some shady figures for 10 years, to working with the party trying to save the world, to marrying or rather, scamming, a rich noble from Quarmar before performing an apparent final Heel-Face Turn and running off with Jojo. Needless to say, nobody's quite sure whose side she's on anymore.
  • Noob can have this happen due to the MMORPG in which it's set eventually having three mutually hostile factions, but all the main characters at least starting out as a member of the same one, which is the Empire. A webseries-only arc had Master Zen using his Empire avatar, but otherwise playing Knight of Cerebus to the protagonists before switching to the Order after it gets introduced in the game. The introduction of the Order also pushed Spectre, the Coalition's former top player, out of his retirement to join the new faction.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Nappa, post-revival, is no longer genocidal and killing people...but he is now a Hollywood producer, so it's more a wash. He's also not still above doing evil things, like screwing Krillin out of royalties he's entitled to or pitting Hercule against someone who completely outclasses him...but at least it's not murder.
  • Jreg, Libertarian decides he’s neutral no longer by joining the Centrists but the Centrists aren’t that much nicer than the extremists are and Radical Centrist murdered Dead Centrist and started the war in the first place and when Libertarian joins Ancap to start his privately owned society in Ancapistan it’s clear he’s changed sides but not clear if it were from good to evil, evil to good or neither. Likewise, Ancap leaves the extremists and doesn’t have a Heel–Face Turn any more than Ancom does. And after Nazi leaves the extremists to join the Nationalists, it’s still not obviously a Heel–Face Turn. In fact every defection in Centricide can count as this.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Sister initially ends up on the Red Team due to screwing up her orders, then later switches to the Blue Team when the other characters figure the matter out. Considering both teams are pretty much the same as the other, and the apathetic nature of the teams' conflict by that point, it doesn't really matter all that much.
    • Professional Butt-Kisser Simmons makes a similar change, and nobody but Sarge takes it seriously, and even then, Sarge is only upset because Simmons painted himself Blue.
    • In a more serious example, Aiden Price, former counselor of Project Freelancer joins Charon Industries, the organisation behind the Insurrection (the Freelancers' greatest enemies), in Season 13 when offered the chance to escape from imprisonment. However, it's not quite a Face–Heel Turn, as Project Freelancer wasn't exactly great either.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender the Dai Li are supposed to be working for the good-hearted Earth King, but in practice are clearly serving only themselves; they gladly help Evil Chancellor Long Feng undermine their ruler, and then willingly start serving the Fire Nation invaders after Ba Sing Se's fall. By the time of Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, they've finally been reformed to be unquestionably loyal to the Earth Queen... who happens to be an evil tyrant.
  • Ben 10:
    • Charmcaster at the end of both Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Ben 10: Omniverse ends up not really being on the side of good but no longer up to anything evil either.
    • Argit flip-flops between friend and foe often, with the only consistency being that he does whatever is best for his own selfish interests.
  • At the end of the second season of Gargoyles, David Xanatos lets the clan move back into their castle. He never actually repented for his misdeeds; he was just appreciative when the clan saved his son and redirected his energies away from screwing with them. Giving them the right to live in their castle didn't really require any sacrifice on his part anyways. The short-lived comic confirms that Xanatos is still plotting, he just tries to keep the Gargoyles out of it and he still has backup plans in case they interfere.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: For three of these villains who "turn good" (Double Trouble, Shadow Weaver, and Hordak), it's left more ambiguous whether they had an actual change in morality or if their abandonment of the villains was purely out of convenience.
    • Double Trouble joined the villains in the first place because they were Only in It for the Money, and it's the same reason they leave the villains later. Seeing as they later tried to join Horde Prime and only left because it wasn't entertaining enough, it's pretty obvious that they will still jump on opportunities to side with evil if the money and the thrills are there. Despite this, they did look concerned for Scorpia later on when she put her life in danger and did contribute to the fight against Horde Prime. So they may have developed a little more empathy, but this is unconfirmed.
    • Shadow Weaver continues to be manipulative and power-hungry even after deserting the villains, and she only left in the first place because they kicked her out. Even her Heroic Sacrifice can be interpreted as her forcing Catra and Adora to forgive her in the easiest way possible, sparing her from going through the work to actually become a better person the way that characters like Catra, Glimmer, and Entrapta had to do it. Still, her making the sacrifice at all and definitely mellowing out to some degree after losing her position indicate she may have truly developed some positive qualities, but also demonstrates she's not without honor and bravery.
    • Hordak may have turned on Horde Prime in the finale, but his turn was much more motivated by a fight for his own independence than actually caring about other people. That is, excluding Entrapta, who he did clearly grow to care for, considering his first act of outright defiance was to save her. Still, he and Adora seem to forgive each other once the finale is over, and with both his Freudian Excuse of trying to impress his brother being gone as well as having Entrapta as a true Morality Pet going forward, he probably did grow into a better person.
    • Similarly, Lonnie, Kyle, and Rogelio leaving the Horde isn't really about them wanting to be good so much as just wanting to survive. Yet, they don't seem to be bad people either. They've seen the deteriorating state of both the Horde as a whole and the stability of its command structure, and they're getting out while they still have their skins and sanity intact.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Peridot has absolutely no remorse for the Gem Homeworld experiments she participated in that are going to destroy Earth, neither does she have any remorse for trying to kill the protagonists... but the moment she realizes she's trapped on the soon-to-be-destroyed Earth, she immediately reverses course and starts trying to help save it, mission be damned, even reluctantly accepting help from those she was until recently trying to kill. And when she completely burns her bridges back to Homeworld, the Crystal Gems effectively become her only allies. Over time, however, it becomes a true Heel–Face Turn as she does end up genuinely accepting Earth as her new home and wanting to make up for her past sins.
    • The Diamonds are the same. They do agree in the end to heal the Corrupted Gems, but Yellow and Blue were going to do that in the first place. Also, their main reason for fighting alongside the heroes is that Steven is Pink Diamond's son, and while they were talked into confronting White Diamond and are implied to grow as people, it's hazy as to just how they grew and how they didn't, especially since they're okay people around each other and Steven.
  • Total Drama:
    • Heather. She was the Big Bad of Island, and was considered a hero because she was up against the new Big Bad Alejandro during World Tour. She goes right back to her old ways during All-Stars and doesn't achieve her previous success.
    • Courtney was never a Big Bad again after Action, but she’s also never exactly a hero again. Where she falls when it comes to morality leans more to the villainous side like Heather, but the degree of villainy clearly changes.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Asajj Ventress is The Dragon to Count Dooku in the first few seasons; then Dooku tries to have her killed as a loyalty test to Sidious, and (after a brief stint of Evil vs. Evil where she tries to kill him in revenge) she eventually becomes a bounty hunter. From then on, she's something like Wild Card and even helps the main heroes on a few occasions, saving Obi-Wan and Ahsoka at various points. She does become a kinder person, but still, it'd be a stretch to say she ever really makes a full Heel–Face Turn in the series, partly due to it being Cut Short. The novel Dark Disciple finishes her story arc but without a Happy Ending.


Video Example(s):


Dr. Loboto

Raz returns Loboto's moral compass in his mind and offers a chance to make up for his actions, and Loboto seems to take it, telling his minions to release the prisoners and bring them to his location... only to immediately activate the self-destruct and abandon ship.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / HazyFeelTurn

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