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Heel–Face Mole

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"Once a rabbit wanted to get to the other side of the lake. A crocodile told him, "You can ride on my back."
"But you will eat me", responded rabbit.
"I will not, I've changed," said crocodile. So rabbit sat on the crocodile's back. But when they were in the middle of the lake, crocodile started to eat rabbit.
"You lied to me!" screamed rabbit.
"I'm a crocodile. What were you expecting?"
Don Diego de la Vega, Zorro

A villain has finally seen the error of their ways and converts to the side of good... but surprise! They were actually The Mole after all, suckers!

Compare Fake Defector (the equivalent for the other side), Heel–Face Revolving Door, Falsely Reformed Villain, The Farmer and the Viper, and Double Reverse Quadruple Agent. Contrast Reformed, but Rejected and Redemption Rejection. See also Becoming the Mask. There's also Reverse Mole, the inversion.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In one episode of Inuyasha, Sango's brother Kohaku appears to be free from being brain-controlled, Identity Amnesia included. However, at the end of the episode, we see that he's still controlled by Naraku, since it was all part of his insidious plan.
  • In Pokémon Best Wishes, Meowth pulled this, joining Ash's group for several episodes in order to lure them into a trap set by Team Rocket at Nimbasa City. Ash's Pikachu didn't buy it for a second, glaring at him constantly. There are several episodic cases he tries this again in XY whenever he gets separated from Jessie and James, though by this point the twerps are much more skeptical, even preemptively betraying him first in the final instance when it became blindingly obviously what his intentions were.
  • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, the Decepticon subgroup claims that they want to defect from the Predacons and join the Autobots. (Since the Decepticons, in this continuity, are actually reprogrammed Autobots, this isn't as unlikely as it sounds.) Optimus Prime welcomes them happily, but their leader's acting abilities aren't quite up to the job, and he reveals that it's a scam just before the Decepticons can find out where the Autobots' secret base is.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has this in the form of Bernkastel, who has, up to the point of The Reveal, made it appear that she is on the protagonist's side.
    • Beatrice plays it straighter in EP 3.
  • Schreient of Weiß Kreuz uses this ploy on Weiss by having Neu pose as Yoji's dead partner Asuka, revived by a Mad Scientist and amnesiac, in order to lure Weiss into a trap. Nastily enough, the series hints that Neu is in fact a fully amnesiac Asuka, but she dies for real without ever realizing that fact.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman: The pre-Crisis Luthor did this repeatedly. Because they were friends in their youth, Superman would usually give him a fair chance, even though he knew he could never fully trust him. In one famous "Imaginary Story" by Jerry Seigel, this led to Luthor actually killing him.
  • Martinez turns out to be a mole for the Governor of Woodbury in The Walking Dead after he helps them escape the town safely. And gets run over for it.
  • Played with in Villains United, the prequel to the current volume of Secret Six. Knockout is recruited to the Society, and reveals herself to be both The Mole and Scandal's lover. As it happens, though, both teams are working for a Lex Luthor without knowing it (one's an imposter).

    Fan Fic 
  • Eas in the Pretty Cure fanfiction Utopia Unmade pretends to defect from Labyrinth in order to find Infinity inside the Precure Kingdom. Love trusts her, though Tarte is more suspicious.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Snake Man pretends he's good to catch Robert off-guard.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan is forced to be this in Episode 5.
  • A Piece of Rebellion: Bad Cop/Good Cop decides to trick the Master Builders by pretending that Good Cop wants to defect.
  • In Mortal Kombat, Jenny Calendar helps two soldiers escape from Outworld to warn Earth of Xander's impending invasion, but afterwards it's shown that it was simply to allow Xander's forces to easily find the right Earth. Said soldiers had the strongest ties back to their Earth, making them the easiest to send, and with a couple of tracking spells Outworld's forces can follow.

  • The wife of the terrorist in Collateral Damage betrays him, only to reveal she was just doing it to infiltrate the CIA.
  • In Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, the Four are assisted in the Silver Surfer's capture by Victor von Doom, their arch-nemesis. They were reluctant at first, understandably.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Mack was a good guy turned bad turned good... but the last turn was a lie.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki pretends to betray the Grandmaster after falling from his grace. He leads Thor, Bruce Banner and Valkyrie to the Grandmaster's ships only to activate the alarms so as to get the reward for Thor's capture. Thor sees through it early enough to thwart his attempt.
  • Implied with Mad Maddy of Descendants. To clarify, she is the granddaughter of Madam Mim. She was pretending to be a member of the Anti-Heroes Club, when in reality she was simply a spy for the villains.

  • In one of the earliest Babysitters Club books, the girls are losing clients to the Baby-Sitters Agency (mainly because their members are older than twelve), so Kristy tries to find some new members. The two she gets are Janet and Leslie (?), who apparently quit the Agency because they didn't like how it was being run. So they're promptly booked for jobs with two new clients who saw the club's advertising for new, older sitters who could stay out later. Imagine the girls' shock at the Monday evening meeting, when their "defectors" don't show up, and the new clients call to complain that they were stood up. Kristy was absolutely devastated when she confronted them and learned that they did it deliberately to sabotage the BSC's reputation.
  • In The Bible, it is unclear but reasonably deduced that King Saul, after two incidents, would only continue abusing his position as king whether David should succeed him or not.
    • Also, the reason Saul's terroristic relative Shimei repented of his curses and stone-throwing at David was possibly due only to Absalom's defeat and David's return to power. Unlike the dishonest but shrewd manager in Jesus' parable, Shimei may have been just an opportunist, as suspected from his retrieval of his escaped slaves.
    • David's son Adonijah. Boy oh boy, Adonijah!!
  • Happens in the classic Uncle Remus tale Brer Possum's Dilemma.
  • Also subverted in Flashman and the Angel of the Lord. Joe Simmons was supposed to sabotage John Brown, but ended up following him for real.
  • In the Modesty Blaise short story "The Giggle-Wrecker", a Soviet defector turns out to be actually a Soviet agent pretending to defect as a way of flushing out and identifying the West's undercover assets as they helped him on his way.

    Live Action TV 
  • Season 6 of 24 opens with a terrorist apparently turning traitor on the leader of his organization, offering his location to CTU so he can be assassinated. In fact, the "leader" has forsaken terrorism, and the traitor, the new mastermind of his organization, is trying to have him eliminated to further consolidate his power.
    • In Season 8, the traitorous Chief of Security to Omar Hassan has his daughter held hostage, but ultimately, his feelings for her turn out to be genuine and he dies saving her life. Or not, since it was all an act to help her escape and deliver a bomb wired with an EMP to the offices of CTU.
  • Irina Derevko in Alias.
  • Angel: Harmony joins, betrays, and rejoins Angel's team, against his strong oppositions. And then she betrays him again. All those resisted urges to stake her, to no good end!
    Gunn: (irritated) Don't we kill 'em anymore?
  • Boomer does this in Battlestar Galactica in order to kidnap Hera.
  • A version of this is present in Farscape. He's not necessarily the antagonist, but in the fourth season, the main reason Scorpius came on Moya was so that he could wrest the secrets of wormhole control from John's mind.
  • This happened in an episode of Get Smart, where Siegfried attempts to "defect" to CONTROL, going so far as to turn in several KAOS agents, including his own sister. Eventually, he gives them fake data to divert security away from the CONTROL Chief's Banquet so he can use sleeping gas to kidnap all of CONTROL's leadership in one fell swoop, only to be foiled by Max's lapel flower. note 
  • From Glee: Jesse St. James, who seemingly gave up his UCLA scholarship and position as lead male of Vocal Adrenaline for Rachel. Yeah, we'll give you a second to get over that shocking revelation. Subverted, though, as it's revealed he was never a spy or a saboteur and reuniting Rachel and her mother was definitely not the motive anybody expected.
  • On an episode of Law & Order, a Mafia boss arranges for two of his underlings to turn stoolie and feed false information about a murder he ordered to the police, so his attorney can reveal the deception at trial and get the case thrown out of court. As a result, when the cops find real evidence linking him to the crime, they can't do anything about it because of double jeopardy.
  • Subverted in Lost: Juliet was set up to do this but, unknown to Ben, she had turned for real.
  • Kashyk, the charming Devore inspector from Star Trek: Voyager's "Counterpoint", defects from his species and seeks asylum aboard Voyager, romancing Janeway to get her to trust him. She doesn't.
  • Averted in three consecutive episodes of Stargate SG-1: Between the finale of Season 4 and the first episode of season 5, Apophis brainwashed Teal'c into believing he was one of these all along. He consequently behaved as though he were still militantly loyal to Apophis — until he was deprogrammed in "Threshold". To nobody's great surprise, his defection at the beginning was genuine after all — although it took a lot more than logic to convince him of that.
    • Another case happens with the Goa'uld Tanith, who defects to the Tok'ra. They have apparently had the rare Goa'uld defector before, so they accept him, but SG-1, and most especially Teal'c, do not trust him. It soon comes to light that he's a spy for Apophis, but the Tok'ra at the same time reveal that they were well aware of this from the start: they're planning to Feed the Mole.
  • Almost all of Mulder's informants in The X-Files are in fact loyal agents of The Consortium, engaged in a disinformation campaign to keep him distracted from what they don't want him to find out.
  • Season 2 of Warehouse 13: H.G. Wells rejoined the Warehouse just so she could get ahold of the world's first weapon of mass destruction and use it to trigger another ice age. She does a Heel–Face Turn for real after the incident, though, to the point where at the end of Season 3, she sacrifices herself to save the protagonists from a bomb with the force of the entire German Luftwaffe. Let me say that again: THE ENTIRE. GERMAN. LUFTWAFFE.
  • Seasons 3 and 4 of Supernatural had Ruby, a demon who appeared to be fighting alongside the Winchesters (or, more specifically, Sam) whilst on the run from her own kind. Except in the S4 season finale, she turned out to have been the linchpin of Lilith's plan to break Lucifer out of Hell, and as she described herself, "the best of [the demons], the most loyal!"
    • The Season 10 episode "About a Boy" has the Winchesters discovering that the witch they're after is the same one from Hansel and Gretel, and the large man who they thought was the witch is Hansel himself. He claims he hates the witch for making him and Gretel her servants, and when they tried to escape, she tortured Hansel and then forced him to eat Gretel's heart. Then he offers to help the Winchesters kill her. It's a trick. He works for the witch willingly. Also, he didn't make up that part about him eating his sister's heart. What he did make up was the part where he was forced to do it.
  • Resurrection Ertugrul:
    • Marya from the fourth season counts as this. While she did hate living with Ares, she only associates herself with Ertugrul in order to gain information that could help Tekfur Kritos gain the upper hand and later reveals she never even liked being around Muslims, period.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At WCW 1994 Clash of the Champions XXVII, Sherri Martel showed up for a title unification match between Sting and Ric Flair with face paint similar to Sting. Since Sting was the biggest baby face in WCW, it was assumed Sherri had turned face since leaving Shawn Michaels... nope, she helped Ric Flair win.
  • Black Boy, a heel jobber who was fired from the IWA and told to go back to WWC, where he was a baby face. He should have at least been a suspected mole, but was received as a babyface again, before he revealed himself to be a mole. But not a mole for the IWA, but for the Dominican Republic! See, he hated himself for being Puerto Rican, but he found a solution: be a Dominican Boy instead. So he aligned with the evil foreigner Broncos and Eli Rodriguez.
  • WWC also teased the evil La Tigresa returning to her previous long run as a baby face, but it turned out her good girl act was just set up by El Bronco #1 to get one over on Pablo Marquez.
  • In Future Of Wrestling, Fabulous Frank has frequently taken the side of baby face wrestlers such as the Vandalz and Santana Garrett. The fans have never bought it, but wrestlers keep falling for it.
  • Vince McMahon did this in the months leading to being revealed as the "Higher Power" as part of an evil plan to cost Steve Austin his championship.
  • Rhaka Khan was a heel but not necessarily a known member of the Kongtorage, mostly because no one, not even Awesome Kong herself, knew she had any TNA associates besides Raisha Saeed. Still, Rhaka Khan initially appeared to undergo a Heel–Face Turn in order to help Taylor Wilde and Roxxi Laveaux against the mysterious Saeed/Sojo Bolt/Kong team. Wilde, despite having fallen for a similar ploy with Madison Rayne and The Beautiful People, accepted Khan's "help".
  • Subverted when DJ Hyde entered WSU under the guise of a Reasonable Authority Figure. No one believed him, and Jessicka Havok was universally cheered for giving him a demon drop.
  • After failing to beat The Global Green Gangsters, SHIMMER's Tag Team Champions, with both Taylor Made and Ivelisse Vélez, Allysin Kay abandoned Valkyrie to reform Be Jealous with Jessicka Havok on SHINE 14, only to jump Havok during her rematch with Valkyrie's unofficial associate Sweet Saraya and hold her still for the rest of the group.
  • At EVOLVE 33 the Premier Athlete Brand announced they had fired their secretary for fraternizing with Rich Swann. Later, she came out to cheer Swann against his nemesis Johnny Gargano during their "End Of Evolution" and gave Swann a kiss for winning, then gave him a shot to the nuts as The Premier Athlete Brand ran out to beat him down. Their trickery did lead to a real face turn from Gargano, though, as like Swann or not, he thought he'd be betraying himself if he just watched that happen.

    Video Games 
  • Constable Neyla from Sly 2: Band of Thieves is an interesting case. She pretends to be a double-agent who is slipping hints to the Cooper Gang behind Interpol's back, only to betray the Cooper Gang to Interpol. However, she later betrays Interpol, so she's really just looking out for herself.
  • Appears in several Squaresoft/Square Enix games:
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Kain is kidnapped by The Dragon early in the game and brainwashed into serving him. Partway through the game, he is "freed" from his control and rejoins the party. Later, it is revealed that he had been under control the whole time when he absconds with the crystal he had been aiding the party in recovering.
    • However, in the GBA and DS versions, when the crystal is retrieved, the new "Inner thought" feature reveals that The Dragon was in the process of taking his mind. In other words, he was genuinely released from the brainwashing, only to be brainwashed again. Not sure if it's a subversion, but either way, he does betray you twice. This is probably due to better translation teams.
    • A lesser example is Beigan, who meets Cecil in Baron Castle and voluntarily joins the party out of loyalty to Baron... its current management, as Palom and Porom quickly expose him as an infiltrator. A savvy gamer would be right to be suspicious of him, as your party is already full when he offers to join. Cue boss battle!
    • Emperor Gestahl in Final Fantasy VI, who carries the farce to such an extent that his top lieutenant, General Leo, earnestly involves himself in the heroes' cause and refuses to turn on them when the truth is revealed.
    • Kefka claims that Celes is one when the heroes encounter him in the Magitek Factory. However, this is an outright lie, as Celes' Heel–Face Turn was genuine.
    • Emperor Vondole of Secret of Mana pulls a similar stunt, but doesn't drag it out as long — as soon as the heroes arrive at the planned conference with him, he throws them in the dungeon.
    • Front Mission: Driscoll, except in the case of the lingering question raised by Commander Lloyd/custom name expressing his grudge and distrust toward him.
  • Kerrigan in Starcraft: Brood War, who successfully pulls this scheme on several rival organizations simultaneously, ultimately playing them off each other to consolidate her control over the Zerg Swarm. "Pretty much the Queen Bitch of the Universe," indeed.
    • Duran does that too. Twice.
  • In Persona 5, Akechi drops his opposition to the Phantom Thieves in the face of intense public pressure, and when the public turns on them after Kunikazu's death, he joins them in their attempt to change Sae's heart, halt the rigged police investigation, and prove they're being set up by a conspiracy. It turns out Akechi is part of said conspiracy... but in a subversion, it also turns out that the protagonists knew that the whole time, and have just Out-Gambitted him.
  • Wild ARMs 3's first minor antagonist, Janus Cascade, does this fairly early on in the game by supposedly wanting to help Virginia find the Eternal Sparkle in hopes of redeeming himself for the scuffle on the train, but it turns out he just wanted one of the 3 masks that's the key to getting the Eternal Sparkle for himself. Well, more like the Prophets, but still...
  • The second act of the Imperial Agent storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic has you do this. You fake your defection from Imperial Intelligence in order to infiltrate Republic SIS. However, things get complicated when spymaster Ardun Kothe uses a Trigger Phrase to brainwash you to ensure your loyalty. While you do eventually break your brainwashing, depending on your actions, it's possible to actually defect to the Republic as a double-agent in the ending.
  • In Rocket Knight (2010), Axel Gear and the Devotindos Empire fight alongside Sparkster to defeat the Wolf Army. Midway through the game, it is revealed that this was part of Axel's plan to turn against Sparkster so that he and the Devotindos Empire can rule the Kingdom of Zephyrus.

    Web Original 
  • Terrence in KateModern, despite having secretly become a much nastier villain than before.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ferron defects to the Alliance's side after the Yamatian Invasion because his superiors in the dark clergy betrayed him and he wants revenge. Although he helps the heroes deal with his former colleagues and befriends many people in the Alliance, he has a far more sinister agenda in mind. He almost switches sides for real because of all the friends he has gained, but eventually decides to subvert his character development and betrays the heroes at a crucial moment because his lust for power overshadows his growing friendship with the heroes.
    • Xerathas, Varalia, and the Shadow also join the Alliance's heroes during the Vanna arc and claim they'll help the Alliance so that they can atone for their actions as well as prevent a greater threat from rising. Knowing what they're dealing with, the heroes don't buy the excuse, but decide to let them tag along while keeping an eye on them. To the heroes' surprise, the trio are surprisingly helpful during many encounters, which makes many Alliance members question whether the trio have finally seen the light. Everything changes during the battle of Vanna, however, when the three antagonists reveal the extent of their plan and betray the heroes at the Alliance's most vulnerable moment while the Alliance is busy dealing with another threat.
  • Jeffy from SuperMarioLogan. Despite promising to behave like a good boy at the end of "Jeffy's Parents!", later videos still have him misbehaving, unlike Bowser Junior, who genuinely became a lot less bratty and selfish after the "Bowser Junior Goes To Military School!" duology episodes.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Action League Now epsiode, "Turkey Of Terror", The Mayor invites the Action League to his mansion for Thanksgiving dinner to form a truce with them. Stinky Diver believes that this is a trap, and quits the Action League so he doesn't have to go. It is later revealed that Stinky was right, and comes to rescue the Action League from being cooked in the Mayor's turkey when Justice, who has witnessed the event, brings him his badge.
  • Archer: Subverted with Katya Kasanova at the end of season two. Katya attempts to defect from the KGB to be with Archer. Malory and Lana immediately assume this trope is in play and insist on checking her files which appear to confirm that she's a double agent but Katya swears she isn't. One failed shoot-out later Archer points out that it's more likely that the KGB faked Katya's file to discredit her, which is exactly what happened.
  • Chip Whistler becomes one in the Big City Greens episode "Reckoning Ball".
  • Codename: Kids Next Door had one of these in Op. U.N.D.E.R.C.O.V.E.R., where one of the Delightful Children joins the KND. Of course, in this case, all the good guys except Numbuh Four knew he was lying.
  • A U.S. Acres segment from Garfield and Friends had Gort pulling this on Orson and the gang.
  • In the Ruby-Spears Mega Man cartoon, the evil Proto Man temporarily switched sides in order to cover up a plot of Dr. Wily's. (In the games, Protoman was never evil but only framed by Dr. Wily, but the writers either never beat Mega Man 5 — or Mega Man 3, where he first showed up and seemed to be a villain, but was later revealed to be a good guy — or ignored it for the sake of having a Evil Counterpart and rival for Mega.)
    • Most likely it was the latter. If 7 had been released before the cartoon, Bass would have been Dr. Wily's offsider and Proto Man would have kept his canonical role of mysterious loner big brother. Probably. With that cartoon, you never know.
    • In 3, Dr. Wily repents and works with Dr. Light. It ends predictably.
  • The Superfriends fell flat for this when the entire Legion of Doom suddenly did a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ursula from The Little Mermaid, according to her Villain Song.
  • In the The New Adventures of Superman episode "Can a Luthor Change His Spots?", Luthor convinces Perry White that he's gone straight and is given a laboratory in the Daily Planet building. Jimmy Olson correctly believes that Luthor is lying and tries to catch him committing a crime.
  • Lotso becomes one at the end of Toy Story 3.
  • In the The New Batman Adventures episode "Mad Love", Harley Quinn sends a message saying that she's turned against the Joker because he's gone too far and plans to kill everyone in Gotham City. It's actually a trap intended to kill Batman so that Mistah J will give up his obsession and start paying attention to her.
  • In Steven Universe, "Navy" Ruby claims to want to join up with the Crystal Gems. It's really just a ruse to steal their spaceship, while also getting to see the looks on their faces as they're betrayed.
  • In an episode of Skunk Fu!, one of the Ninja Monkeys is "ousted" from the tribe. Skunk befriends him and brings him to the Valley. Of course, everyone else was suspicious about his true colors from the start.
  • King Zarkon did this as the Shocking Swerve for the Voltron revival, Voltron: The Third Dimension.

    Real Life 
  • Before the mass suicide at Jonestown, under pressure from a visiting U.S. congressman, Jim Jones allowed a group of people to leave the camp. Just as their vehicle was ready to leave, Jones loyalist Larry Layton demanded to join the group. He was allowed after a cursory patdown, over the protests of several defectors. They were right to be skeptical, as he later pulled a gun and shot two of them.
  • It is said (4.12.2) that during the First Messenian War, the Spartans sent a hundred soldiers to their enemies under the guise of deserters. They were all sent back after basically being told "please, Spartans, no Dead Horse Tropes."
  • Greg Withrow is a White Supremacist who, for over a decade, claimed to see the error of his ways and appeared on the talk show circuit as a "former-racist" who spoke out against White Supremacy and bigotry in general, even getting involved with a few Civil Rights organizations and marrying a Mexican woman. He was one of the few key givers of testimony in favor of Hate Crime Laws in California. However, the whole thing was a hoax, and he claims that the entire scheme was a means to subvert the efforts of Civil Rights groups. He never loved his wife and saw her as a mere slave. The crucifixion-based hate-crime he allegedly experienced was self-inflicted. He claims that his testimony in favor of Hate Crime laws in California should be moot since he committed perjury and is even filing a lawsuit (which isn't being considered by the State, fortunately, since he was just one out of several people and has a lot of hubris).


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