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"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight

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Pummelling the Body Snatcher also helps.

"I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn't driven it from you fully. That was why you couldn't destroy me. That's why you won't bring me to your Emperor now."
Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
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Egad!! Your best friend, loyal comrade, or long standing love interest has been taken over by The Virus, Brainwashed, mind controlled, possessed or subjected to Red Kryptonite, Green Rocks, some sort of MacGuffin or mind-bending Applied Phlebotinum or turned to the dark side willingly. This often follows The Reveal that the mysterious foe whose paths have crossed your own time and again is actually a former close friend or that certain relative who unaccountably disappeared many years ago.

You're the hero and your friend is now evil - a fight has to happen. But the obviously weaker opponent is winning! The hero can't bring himself to fight at full power against someone he loves. They know that the loved one is still there somewhere. The hero will win this fight by talking the friend out of the evil influence, usually because of The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love.

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Often accompanied by the phrase "I know you are in there somewhere." The hero stalls the fight, trying to snap the friend out of it. Sometimes the effect is less than total salvation, only giving the friend the willpower to off themself or let the hero off them. This can be especially tragic if they've been Fighting from the Inside just to give them the opportunity.

Only the Ideal Hero can pull this baby off. It's usually saved as a Moment of Awesome for them, to show just how amazingly, totally, completely awesome they are. It's also a pretty big deal for whoever manages to snap them out of it.

Heroes beware, for it does not always work. They could discover, to their horror, that the friend was Not Brainwashed or they could be Wrong Genre Savvy, use the line, and then discover that it really is too late to save them. In some of the more tragic cases, something remains of their friend, but it is only a faint echo, who can barely muster to come through long enough to beg the hero to either run away and save themselves, or kill them and put them out of their misery. An inversion of this trope is Heroic Willpower, reversing the hero and sidekick's roles.

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See also Battle in the Center of the Mind, Cooldown Hug, Fighting Your Friend, and Defusing The Tykebomb. Contrast Sheathe Your Sword, where the hero wins without fighting, but usually there isn't a relationship between the protagonist and antagonist. See "They Still Belong to Us" Lecture for the villain version. Compare Deprogramming, a far more drawn out process. See also Resist the Beast.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who drama "The Skull of Sobek", Lucie and the Eighth Doctor are chosen as the champions of the two big bads, who have been feuding for centuries. The Doctor won't have anything to do with it, but Lucie falls prey to her big bad's mind control and becomes hell-bent on killing him. During the ensuing fight (though it's probably more accurately described as a chase because the Doctor won't hurt Lucie and in the end she didn't land any blows anyway), he never actually uses the phrase "I know you're in there somewhere", but he says just about everything else you might expect.

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: In chapter 8 Rei gets doped to the gills due to Ritsuko's "medication" and is completely emotionless, unresponsive and unfeeling. Shinji and Asuka spend a good while trying to draw her out. When Rei finally -and laboriously- shows some emotion, Asuka asks her if she is still in there. When she says "yes", both teenagers feel relieved.
    Asuka: Wondergirl, are you still in there?
  • Evangelion 303: After a plane crash Asuka spends a long time in coma and when she wakes up she is completely changed, behaves like a different person and goes through a severe break-down as Shinji tries to help her. At one point she attempts to commit suicide but is unable to go through with it, and Shinji tells her that is because her old self is still somewhere in there, fighting.
  • Zig-Zagged in Ridyr's TRON: Legacy fanfic Survivor's Tale. Yori was captured and Clu decided to have Rinzler execute her, as much for dramatic irony as to get her out of the way. Yori figured out who was under that mask and started trying to talk him out of it, more for his sake than hers. With Clu shouting orders from one end and Yori arguing from the other, he becomes paralyzed by confusion. Later, after Yori's been rectified, Rinzler was still too confused by her presence to dismiss her as just another drone, and inverts the trope by freeing her, despite being unable to either free himself or completely understand his reasons for doing so.
  • Winter War When it is revealed that Ichigo has lost control of his Hollow side, Ikkaku envisages pulling off something like this, during/followed by a massive fight which would end in Ichigo regaining control and running off to kill Aizen. Much later on, Ikkaku's angry speech has no effect on Hollow!Ichigo.
  • Inner Demons: Several characters try this on Twilight Sparkle after she's consumed by her Queen of Darkness persona, with the biggest Tear Jerker of them all being Spike's attempt during the Battle of Fillydelphia. None of them work.
  • Attempted and failed in Naruto:Asunder. Hinata makes it clear that unless she and Naruto talk about WHY he kissed her and what's up with their relationship... HEADS. WILL. ROLL.
  • In The Prayer Warriors The Threat Of Satanic Commonism, Jerry is forced to fight against a "demon processed" Grover. Unlike most cases of this, Jerry is entirely willing to kill Grover if necessary, and ends up doing so (not that this is the first or last time Grover dies).
  • Happens towards the end of the Star Trek (2009) fic Writtenin The Stars; Spock, suffering from the effects of Pon Farr, becomes crazed and violent, and can't even remember the rest of the crew...except for Fem!Kirk. She takes it upon herself to try and pull this trope on him. It doesn't work, so she brings him back to himself by...relieving him of his pain.
  • In The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, Marcus tried this on Stalwart Heart to bring his pre-ponified human self, Jacob (Marcus' little brother) back. Sadly, it doesn't work.
  • In the Slender Man fic By the Fire's Light, Mira Grolinsky tries to get Jared Holloway to turn on the Slender Man and join her and Detective Carl Rourke in their quest against it. Jared ends up killing himself instead.
  • in Moonlight, Scootaloo (and later the other two Crusaders) must do this for those stuck in their worst nightmares, either by making them face their fears or realize their true selves aren't who they're portrayed as in the nightmare.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Sam does this whenever Danny goes berserk in his dangerous Super Mode.
  • In The Bridge, Monster X gets taken over by his Kaizer Ghidorah side and goes berserk. Gigan tries to calm him down by recounting the happy memories they shared with their teammates. It almost works, but then King Ghidorah, whom Monster X and Kaizer Ghidorah equally hate, attacks them, undoing all of Gigan's efforts.
  • In chapter 19 of Children of an Elder God, Rei involuntairly possesses Hikari, and Asuka and Touji try talk to her to free her.
    Touji approached Hikari slowly. "Um... Hikari?"
    Rei's voice replied to him, "I am not Hikari."
    The Children felt a chill run through them. "Let go of her!" screamed Asuka. "Get out!"
    Touji grabbed Hikari's shoulder. "Whadaya mean you ain't Hikari!" he said desperately. "Of course you're Hikari! Stop playin' around!"
  • The One I Love Is: In chapter 11 Shinji tried to help a brainwashed Rei to remember him. It didn't work.
  • In The Rise of Starborn Thor convinces Loki to fight the Goa'uld's mind control.
  • Basically goes without saying in the Stargate SG-1 fic Remnant; while Zipacna takes Daniel as a host and falls back on his usual rant about how nothing of the host survives, Sam immediately realises that's a lie as he tried to trick her into revealing SG-1's IDC- something he should have known immediately if he had full control of Daniel- and Daniel is even able to take enough control to stop Zipacna raping Sam in his body, even if he can't stop Zipacna committing 'lesser' tortures.
  • In Captain America: Ghosts of HYDRA, Steve Rogers/Captain America gets into one with James "Bucky" Barnes/The Winter Soldier after the latter is brainwashed by Brock Rumlow/Crossbones. Steve manages to snap Bucky out of it by reminding him of his life before becoming the Winter Soldier.
  • Ultimate Video Rumble: Thanks to Morrigan's brainwashing, we have Yuri Sakazaki vs. Mai Shiranui in the second Rumble, and Athena Asamiya vs. Sie Kensou in the third.
  • In Maim de Maim, Satsuki does this with Nui and it works.
    "The Nui Harime me, my dad, your partner Tsumugu Kinagase and nearly everybody else knew was that girl that talked to my father that day. The Nui Harime I'm staring at is just a tool that does everyone Ragyo Kiryuin tells her to. That...is not the Nui Harime. Please, Nui...please find a way to snap yourself out of this and be the person I played with as a child. Whatever it takes to get rid of that monster me and Ryuko's mother has brought out of hibernation, Nui, whatever it takes."
    "Just...please listen to us, Ryuko. You must snap out of it."
    "Yes, Ryuko. Snap out of this state of delusion you're in for your own good. You can do it, Ryuko Kiryuin! I trust you!"

    Literature 
  • The Legend of Drizzt:
    • Drizzt has one in R.A. Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy against a zombified Zaknafein, his father. The zombie has all his father's amazing sword skills but is impervious to wounds. Finally, Drizzt attacks him with a maneuver that triggers his memory of one of their fondest moments, which allows Zaknafein's spirit to break his controller's hold just long enough to leap into the pool of acid they are fighting over, thus saving Drizzt and his own soul.
    • In The Neverwinter Saga Drizzt tries this with Entreri during the Fight against Herzgo Alegni during wich Entreri is under the control of the a magical sword. He succeeds, but only after almost being killed, because he had to stop fighting break the enchantment.
  • Animorphs:
    • In the series, controllers often experience this. It is possible for hosts to briefly regain control at a crucial moment, although usually not long enough to do anything lasting.
    • Also in the second Megamorphs book, Rachel talks Tobias into regaining control of his dinosaur morph by first telling him about all the human stuff from his life; this promptly fails and she resorts to bird things, which does work. He is after all, trapped with a red-tailed hawk as his "normal" form, and therefore spends a lot of time flying around. A bit strange though, because hawks are basically just weird-looking dinosaurs. Not to mention that the dinosaur morph Tobias is in is a raptor, which does a lot of things birds do anyway. They hunt prey with their talons, have flight feathers and wings, and a few species can even fly somewhat.
  • In the Grand Finale of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Annabeth pep-talks Luke into fighting Kronos, and Luke eventually establishes enough control of the shared body to reveal his 'achille's heel' and sacrifice himself with Annabeth's knife. Cue Moment of Awesome..
  • Zigzagged in Gav Thorpe's Warhammer 40,000 Last Chancer novel Annihilation Squad. When Kage is possessed by a daemon who goes to taunt Colonel Schaeffer, Schaeffer does not appeal to Kage but bitterly attacks the daemon, "He is one of mine! I want him back!"
  • Subverted in World War Z, where millions die after trying this on their zombified relatives. Later leads to a Heartwarming Moment when it works on orphaned, feral, non-zombified children during the fight to reclaim America, children the army was planning to shoot on sight as lost causes.
  • In A Wrinkle in Time, Charles Wallace has been taken over by the evil IT; Meg saves him with The Power of Love, quite literally.
  • Subverted in Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and ThornRebellious Princess Miriamele travels all the way back to the Hayholt in an attempt to use The Power of Love to pull her father, King Elias, back from the brink of the war he's started at Evil Sorcerer Pryrates' urging. Of course, she's far, far too late to prevent the evil plan from being completed, but in an ironic twist, Elias does repent for a split second after being temporarily released from the Storm King's power, just long enough for Miriamele to kill him.
  • Near the end of Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer, the end of the Skulduggery/Lord Vile and Valkyrie/Darquesse battle is something of one of these.
  • Creel has one of these with Velika in Dragon Slippers when the slippers take over her mind.
  • Said word-for-word in Divergent when Tris confronts Tobias while he's under the effects of a mind-controlling serum.
  • In The Shining, Danny uses his "shining" to reawaken his father's spirit long enough for him to say how much he loves him before the Overlook Hotel obliterate what's left of his soul.
  • In the New Jedi Order novel Conquest, Anakin Solo does one of these for his friend (later girlfriend) Tahiri, who is under the control of her implanted Yuuzhan Vong personality. It's very successful, thanks to their link through the Force at first. Turns out that Riina, aforementioned Yuuzhan Vong personality, wasn't subsumed but merely banished into Tahiri's subconsciousness — she ends up forced to go through a Battle in the Center of the Mind and Split-Personality Merge to finally end the problem.
    • In Galaxy of Fear: Spore, Tash Arranda faces her Spore-controlled brother and uncle and appeals to them while calling on The Force and the bonds between them and her. It works for a moment, but Spore is too strong. Fortunately, she was doing this as a distraction so she could knock them out.
  • Mockingjay features a version of this after Peeta has been hijacked and tries to kill Katniss.
    Katniss: Don't let him take you from me.
  • Lorelei and Malachi engage in one in Eludoran
  • Zigzagged in The Power of Five - Scott was brainwashed into working for Nightrise during the book of the same name, but his brother Jamie was able to snap him out of it at the last minute before he could kill Senator Trelawney. However, he never fully regained his old personality, and the Old Ones were able to use this to their advantage to turn him against the Five in Oblivion. He then managed to snap himself out of it after Matt died, sacrificing himself so that the Five could be reunited once more.
  • The villain in Eden Green sometimes falls into a psychotic, murderous fugue state, and blames it on the needle virus keeping him alive. The title character repeatedly tries to reason him back to sanity, with mixed results.
  • Ancillary Justice. Strigan doesn't understand why Breq wants to kill Anaander Mianaai, so assumes the original personality of her Meat Puppet is re-surfacing, and offers to help restore it. Breq is not impressed, saying Strigan just wants to replace her personality with one more to the doctor's taste.
  • In the last book of Robin Jarvis' Deptford Mice trilogy, The Final Reckoning, Audrey finds herself fighting for her life against the ghost of her love interest, Piccadilly, who is being controlled by the evil magic of Big Bad Jupiter. Audrey begs him to remember who he was in life, and after an inner struggle, he does. They have a tearful farewell as he finds peace and crosses over to the other side.

    Music 
  • Mega Man tries to pull this off with his brother in The Protomen's Act I. To say it doesn't work is putting it lightly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Kamahl somehow manages to get into these fights regularly. First, in Chainers Torment, he has one with Chainer. He's briefly on the receiving end in Judgment when his sister Jeska tries to snap him out of his Mirari obsession, and then later has one against his newly-zombified friend Balthor. Then in Onslaught, he is once again pitted against Jeska after she's transformed into Phage the Untouchable.
  • On One Life to Live, having finally realized that ex-wife Viki isn't Viki at all, but one of her many personalities (she suffers from DID), Clint proceeds to do and say everything he can to get Viki to come back. And when she finally does, he says and does everything he can to prevent the other personalities from taking over again—when she mentions that her vision is going blurry and that she can't focus, he realizes that Jean (who needs glasses to see) is trying to resurface and basically shakes her to keep her from passing out.
  • Mentioned by the villain in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2: Chaos Rising. If the traitor is Jonah Orion, he turns out possessed by a demon, who promptly tells the protagonists:
    Demon: Jonah is right here, infant. I can hear him screaming.
    • He still fights. While he can't stop the demon from attacking you or drive it out, he does prevent it from using it's powers to regenerate itself once its been mortally wounded.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, "Marauding Captain", recalling his and the past cooperation of "Gogiga Gagagigo", appears to be trying to reason with "Gogiga Gagagigo" in Memory of an Adversary. The circumstances could have been the cause of the transformation of "Gogiga Gagagigo" into "Gagagigo the Risen", through the purification of his soul.

    Toys 
  • Happened not once, but TWICE with Lewa in BIONICLE. First his mask got replaced with an infected, mind-controlling one. Onua had to knock it off his face. Later, a Bohrok (which are machines controlled by an organic face-brain) places its Krana (face-brain) at Lewa, making him more than willing to join "the swarm" and "cleanse the island". Onua showed up again, but this time it was a "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight, as he refused to hit his friend. (Never mind that he gave Lewa a pretty good beating last time...) Lewa ripped the Krana of his face himself this time.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dracu-Riot! plays with this in a hilarious manner:
    • In one chapter, Kouya hypnotizes Azusa and Naoto before Yuuto could arrest him. Yuuto counters this by telling Azusa that he's actually a lolicon and Naoto that he's also gay for him, the most outrageous things he could think of at the moment in order to break them free of the control. After he was successfully arrested, Azusa was convinced that Yuuto was indeed a lolicon, while Naoto actually serious considered about it.
      • It didn't help either that a few scenes prior to what has happened above, Yuuto was actually working undercover as a lolicon while being paired with a partner who has the appearance of a child. His acting was so convincing that even his colleagues started to doubt whether he secretly might be a lolicon.
  • Subverted in the Ciel Story Arc in Tsukihime where the protagonist is the reincarnation of the Big Bad and is only a matter of time before he would be completely possessed. Ciel his friend, sempai and current Love Interest who is secretly an immortal exorcist sent by the Church asks him to get to the school by night to help him. But her true intention is to fight him and kill him because she knows there is no cure and bears personal hatred against the Big Bad. It is only because the protagonist refuses to fight her to the death and to hate her for being deceived that she realizes she cannot do it.
  • In Sunrider Liberation Day, Chigara is suddenly taken over by the Big Bad and begins massacring the delegates attending the Liberation Day ceremony. Kayto tries to talk her down, reminding her of who she really is and how she isn’t the type of person who would do these things. Thanks to the Power of Love, Chigara is able to regain control and kick the BigBad out of her bodyonly to be shot by a third party and die in Kayto’s arms.

    Web Animation 
  • DC Super Hero Girls: In "Out of the Bottle", Art Teacher Miss Moone has been taken over by her evil split personality, and Harley Quinn tries to reach her out:
    Harley Quinn: Ms. Moone, I know you're in there. So listen up!
    Enchantress: (wheezing) June Moone is no more. I consumed her!
    Harley Quinn: Yeah, right! That's exactly what someone who didn't actually consume Ms. Moone, but was scared that my maneuvers might work, would say!
  • Dreamscape: Dylan pulls this off on Melissa when she gets brainwashed by the Overlord of Evil in "The Mystery of Melinda".

    Webcomics 
  • Subverted in Legio Arcana. Just as Thalia gets the upper hand on the demonically possessed Nolan and is prepared to stab him with a sword, Nolan regains his normal appearance and calls out to her to stop. The demon takes advantage of her hesitance to attack and nearly kills her.
  • Inverted in an early arc of It's Walky!: Sal shoots and kills her mind-controlled lover (and boss's son) without hesitation. Within a few minutes, somebody figures out how to break the control.
  • A character in Paradigm Shift actually says "I know you're still in there" when his partner changes into a werewolf and attacks him.
  • In the "Dangerous Days Ahead" Story Arc from Sluggy Freelance, Torg tries this a little bit on Aylee. Turns out it wasn't the real Aylee.
  • Ivitho and Emojueel in Juathuur.
  • In Fake News Rumble Jon says this almost verbatim to Stephen.
  • In Endstone, Lord Quandal makes the appeal to Cole, but it doesn't work.
  • Used successfully by Valjean on Javert (who was under a Character Rerailment spell) in this page of Roommates. Also used by Shadow!Erik on Mortal!Jareth (whose magic and memory got taken) with some mixed results.
  • Web Game Demon Thesis has a bout where one of the four main characters is the victim of a Baleful Polymorph which turns her into one of the more powerful recurring enemies. The other heroes attempt to talk to her, but unfortunately only knocking her senseless works in undoing the polymorph.
  • Zebra Girl: Crystal attempts one with Sandra, trying to talk to her out of her evilness. Sandra is fully aware of what Crystal is trying to do, and it fails miserably.
  • Snarlbear has this twice. Once when Prince Narcissico must confront his possessed and corrupted sister, and then Daisy has one with Flint after he turns into a dragon
  • Girl Genius: Subverted with Lucrezia (in Agatha's body) calling forth a copy of her own mind to take over Zola — because the expected possession isn't working.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • Tsukiko tries to persuade some undead wights that she made but that are under another's magical control that they don't have to obey him. It doesn't remotely work, but then, she's always had an unrealistic idea of how much the undead are people or care about her.
    • Parodied and Inverted when a number of the members of the Order are under a Dominationnote  effect, and Elan tries to talk Roy into joining them — first as if Roy is the one who's turned traitor, and then by talking about how great it's to be Dominated.
    Elan: Join us, Roy. We have free massages, and pizza every Thursday.
    Roy: That can't possibly be true, you've been dominated less than a minute!
    Elan: Also, we can lie as much as we want.

    Web Original 


Alternative Title(s): I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight

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