Follow TV Tropes


It Can Think

Go To
"GRAAAHHH- *cough* My apologies, I had something in my throat."
[Operations deck is plunged into darkness]
Ripley: They cut the power...
Hudson: What do you mean they cut the power? How can they cut the power, man? They're animals!

Our heroes are battling the fearsome Monster of the Week. Maybe it's got acid for blood, or More Teeth than the Osmond Family, or can violate the laws of physics with ease. But gradually our heroes realize something even more terrifying. This creature isn't just some mindless predator. In fact, it could be just as smart as they are...

During discussions of this trope, the building and agricultural activities of ants may come up.

It can evoke What Measure Is a Non-Human? to the viewers, often involuntarily, whenever the monster turns out to be as intelligent as a human being (i.e. pretty likely sapient). Nevertheless, the existence of this trope can mean that the antagonist had a motivation or goal simple enough to be mistaken for the behavior of a mere animal, so that many of its scenes could be acted by a Non-Malicious Monster without much difference. Until it does something unexpected.

Smarter Than You Look and Obfuscating Stupidity are the human equivalents. Not Even Human is this trope's inverse (a thing that seemed to have intelligence at first is revealed not to). See also dehumanization for when non-human creatures’ ability to think intelligently is dismissed because they are not human. The Non-Malicious Monster is an aversion, a creature that is led by instinct and not any advanced thought.

Compare Monster Is a Mommy, similar in terms of humans underestimating the motives of "monsters", and Underestimating Intelligence, which this trope can overlap with if someone tries to trick a seemingly mindless creature. See also Super-Persistent Predator and Suspiciously Stealthy Predator.

Example subpages

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bakugan Battle Brawlers, the Bakugan (actually aliens from another world turned Card Game) are sentient beings who had their self-awareness suppressed due to negative energy. When they regain their sanity, the forces of darkness try to crush them... In the New Vestroia season, there is a government conspiracy led by the King of the Vestals to keep the fact that Bakugan are self-aware a secret from the rest of the population.
  • Daltanious: While Atlaus and Gunper have no minds of their own, Beralios does. He once disengaged with Daltanious in battle so he could reunite with Meralion. This is because it unlike them, it Was Once a Lion, until he was experimented on by the Heliosians.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Typically, Saiyans are reduced to mindless, destructive animals when they become Great Apes. When Vegeta becomes one during his fight with Goku in the Saiyan Saga, however, he retains all of his higher reasoning and intelligence, and can even speak. It isn't clear why this is the case; theories range from Goku's brain-damage and Gohan's half-breed nature interfering with the transformation, to Vegeta simply having been properly trained growing up in how to use the Great Ape transformation.
    • Kid Buu, the most primal of the forms of Majin Buu displays a degree of cunning you wouldn't expect. While he's incapable of speech like Fat and Super Buu and only hollers like a wild animal he is a lot smarter than you'd think. If his arm gets cut off he can use the appendage to attack an opponent when they least expect it, if he is hit by a barrage of blasts and pinned down, he'll break his body apart and reform himself elsewhere. And as shown when he fought The South Kaioshin, if an enemy manages to be strong enough to actually defeat him, he'll absorb him into his body.
  • Dragon Ball GT: When Baby transforms into the Golden Great Ape, he initially goes on a rampage, but soon we find out that he's merely faking it. Since Baby is a parasitic lifeform, he's the one who is in control of Vegeta's body, and therefore Baby's mind is not affected by the transformation because it only affects Vegeta's body, not Baby himself.
  • During the Ruby and Sapphire arc of Pokémon Adventures, Wattson and Flannery are fighting Kyogre, thinking that it's just running amok and causing random destruction. Wattson hits it with Shock Wave (a move super-effective against Water-types like Kyogre)... only for it to be revealed that Kyogre had used Calm Mind, buffing its defenses because it knew they would attack its weaknesses.
  • The ELS in Gundam 00: A Wakening of the Trailblazer are at first somewhat single-minded and simplistic in action, and some of the characters in the series remain unconvinced that they are truly sentient until, near the end, the ELS are observed adapting their tactics and countering the humans' strategies in battle. One character even exclaims "They're learning!"
  • Macross:
    • The Vajra encountered in Macross Frontier come off as a bit of a scientific dilemma: they're spacefaring critters with apparently eusocial behavior that can overpower starships, but they themselves have little centralization in their nervous systems (i.e. "no brains"). At first it isn't clear if they even communicate with each other. Only later, when they started using complex military tactics and began reacting to Ranka's and Sheryl's singing, was it made clear that they have some sort of guiding intellect. In the end, it was obvious: the Vajra aren't individuals per-se, they're more like individual cells. The "Vajra" organism is, in fact, the entire species, spread throughout the Galaxy, and communicating with itself via cellular-level Subspace Ansibles.
    • The Space Whales from Macross Dynamite 7 are initially thought to just be animals. Very big, very powerful animals, but nonetheless just animals. The poachers trying to kill them are the first to notice that the Whales can identify who is a threat and choose their targets according (they do not harm the good guys, who are trying to protect them), while everyone else seems to realize they're smarter than they look when Basara sings to them and they start singing back.
  • Mazinger Z: In the Mazinger-Z vs Great General of Darkness, when Kouji faces Mykene's War Beasts for first time, he -accostumed to the mindless, silent drones that Dr. Hell used- gets utterly shocked when they begin talking to him. Quickly learns that that is not the only difference with the Mechanical Beasts. They are intelligent, capable to think on their own, devise complex strategies, fight coordinatedly and even lay traps. Oh, and they are pretty cunning, too (they dragged and dunked Mazinger in the ocean, knowing that his robot's mobility is crap underwater, unlike the aquatic Beast that was waiting for him).
    Kouji: It talks!
  • In Attack on Titan, several unique Titans show signs of having intelligence, in contrast to most that are little more than mindless animals. This makes sense, since they are actually people capable of transforming into a Titan form and therefore maintain their human intelligence.
    • During the battle of Trost, Eren realizes that the Colossal Titan is moving strategically by kicking the door in (to let the smaller Titans in) and then smashing the defensive cannons on the wall (to decrease resistance).
    • The Rogue Titan, which kills other Titans instead of humans, puts up its fists in a boxer's stance and knows to crush the nape of a foe's neck to kill it for good. The Rogue Titan is Eren.
    • Armin realizes that the Female Titan is trying to capture a certain member of the Survey Corps, after it lifts up his hood to examine his face instead of killing him straight away. It is revealed that Eren is the target, and later that Annie is the Female Titan.
    • Hange realized that some Titans must be intelligent after discovering a notebook left behind by a dead soldier in which the soldier reported that a Titan tried to talk to her.
  • School-Live! has a zombie, Megu-nee, who was the only adult and the Sensei-chan Cool Big Sis, that regains its humanity for a time period. While she's scratching at the door trying to get to the students her adult instincts kick in and she tries to hide herself in order to avoid attacking them. She locks herself in the basement but eventually turns full-zombie and ends up Killed Off for Real. It's heartbreaking. Although it's implied that even when she's fully turned, the fact that she can pull off a very disconcerting Slasher Smile upon attacking the group implies that there is still some form of thinking going on inside her necrotic brain.
  • If you only watched the first few episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion you might be forgiven for thinking the Angels are just brainless gigantic monsters. As the series goes on however, more and more Angels attempt new strategies (usually ones that would let them counter or bypass the Evangelion units), with some even seemingly being capable of communication with humans. This culminates with Kaworu, an angel who's essentially identical to a human.
  • Akakabuto, the Big Bad of Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin, is shown to be a very intelligent bear. He knows how to ambush hunters without giving them a chance to fire at him, or stands at a distance that negates clear shots, uses other bears as territory guards, builds himself a fortress of rocks and can predict certain attacks the dogs attempt towards him. In the manga, he can even talk, though in a language different from the dogs'.
  • Tae in Zombieland Saga starts out as a typical Romero-style zombie, but over time she learns through imitating her bandmates. By the end of Season One, she's capable of learning synchronized dancing, can follow simple instructions, has tried lying (badly), and is capable of basic problem solving. She's still prone to chewing whatever she can get her hands on, though.
  • The title beasts of Goblin Slayer. Much like their counterparts from Dungeons & Dragons and similar fantasy materials, Goblins are downright deadly to underestimate. Though far from tactical geniuses, Goblins have a surprising deviousness and evil cunning that not many experienced adventures believe, and not many new adventures (Who often take killing them as an easy early quest) are aware of. Complete with traps, poisoned weapons, large Hobgoblins when things get hairy and so on. Their cunning nature frequently spells doom for new adventures who see them as an easy starting foe. Goblins can also develop into more specialized and intelligent breeds whether through natural development or through being empowered by other beings:
    • Goblin Shamans are capable of using magic after being temporarily possessed by a minor demon.
    • Goblin Lords are heralded as the kings of the Goblin race. These Goblins are capable of long-term planning and strategy and can organize goblins into an army. They tend not to be slouches in physical combat either.
    • Volume 5 introduces the Goblin Paladin, a goblin blessed by the God of Wisdom. Not only is he a powerful warrior, he's even smarter than a Goblin Lord.
    • Volume 8 introduces a Goblin Priest who has been similarly divinely empowered.
  • Inuyasha: Kagura initially mistakes her brother Goshinki to be a large and mindless demon who only cares about eating humans and cattle, but he immediately proves her wrong by revealing that he can read her mind. When Kagome and her friends fight him, Goshinki's nature as a Genius Bruiser and Lightning Bruiser becomes too much for them to handle by normal means, as he's too cunning and knows exactly how to counter them with his mind reading. Ironically, he's killed by Inuyasha who awakened into his full demon form whose only thought process is killing, which makes Goshinki's mind reading ability useless because he can't predict what an enemy is going to do who can't even think straight.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stands typically don't demonstrate their own will since they're visual manifestations of their user's Psychic Powers. However some of them like Echoes ACT 3, Sex Pistols, Spice Girl and Gold Experience Requiem demonstrate their own will, although in many cases they are still completely obedient to their user, and their independent actions are to help them. If they demonstrate any personality, it typically reflects their user in some way, such as Purple Haze's viciousness and animalistic behavior being reflective of Fugo's pent up anger.
    • Anubis, Cheap Trick, and Milagro Man go one step further, and are parasitic, causing negative effects to the User.
    • In Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable, there are a pair of stand-using rats, one of which Jotaro names "Bug-Eaten". Over the course of the battle, Bug-Eaten learns to hide its tracks, lures Josuke and Jotaro into a valley so it can take advantage of the high ground, repurposes rat traps to startle Josuke out of cover, and even ricochet shots so that they can hit Jotaro even after he dodges in stopped time.
    • Part 6's Foo Fighters is on another level entirely, where the Stand and the user are one. At one point, it even waxes philosophical about Fred Hoyle's theories about the origins of life, in explaining how it came to be.
    • This reaches a new level in Part 8 with Wonder of U, a Stand which, while subordinate to its user, has a mind of its own so complete that when it takes human form it's mistakenly believed to be its own user for much of the story, and even survives his death, going on to act on its own accord.
  • My Hero Academia: When first introduced in the story, the Nomu are basically zombies made from people who have had multiple Quirks implanted in them, and any semblance of personality or rational thought they once had being completely removed save for doing whatever anyone in the League of Villains tell them to do. The first Nomu is able to be easily contained after its defeat, despite nearly being a match for All Might, since it's more or less catatonic without anyone around to give it orders. Then comes the first High-End Nomu which not only possesses multiple powerful Quirks but is also capable of rational thought and strategic thinking to the point where it took everything the top two heroes in Japan could muster just to bring it down.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings implies this with the Giant Spider in chapter 43. When it captures most of the group and strings them up in its webbing, it goes out of its way to blindfold Amber and pin Saphir against her chest, meaning that Amber can't fire her Chest Blaster without hitting—and likely vaporizing—Saphir.

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City the Living Nightmare has long been a being fueled by rage and fear, a mindless creature who goes on rampages. In one storyline, the Nightmare is controlled by Dr. Dominax into attacking the Honor Guard. In the middle of the battle, however, the Nightmare suddenly screams out No More! and stalks off. And after all these years of living among minds and absorbing fear, the Nightmare has finally achieved a level of self-awareness. It ends up capturing Dominax and accepts Honor Guard's offer to work with them to understand more of this new found intelligence.
    Hummingbird: talks now?
  • Avengers: No Surrender: Initially, with the just-revived Hulk, the characters (and audience) are led to assume this one's stuck in a permanent state of Unstoppable Rage. Which, in fairness, he is. But then, during a fight with Vision, he powers through his attacks and crushes Vision's head.
    Immortal Hulk: Hh. "Mindless."
  • Doomsday, the only one to ever canonically kill Superman, is a deconstruction whenever it comes to pass. Normally, he's barely an animal, just striking at all life it can see and aiming to murder everything that isn't himself, because of a deep-seated primal fear that everything out there is trying to kill him; utterly impossible to reason with and Too Dumb to Fool. Whenever he gets actual intellect, he quickly becomes easy to trick, and even easier to drive away because he actually develops doubt and a crippling fear of death, when he doesn't just stop to think about why he's killing everything in sight; he's come to much less dangerous conclusions that way.
  • Inverted in Robert Kirkman's Destroyer miniseries, where Keane battles a giant monster and brutally rends it limb from limb with his inhuman strength. Later he reveals that only after he'd torn its tongue out did he realize it was only about as intelligent as a dolphin (as opposed to the terrorists and supervillains he's much more sanguine about killing) and meant no actual harm, guiltily likening the experience to beating a dog.
  • Within the Spider-Man myhtos, Spider-man comes across a black costume. Over a period of time, he learns that it is a living creature, and has a mind of its own. This basic plotline is one of the more popular ones to show up in adaptations of the wall-crawler's adventures.
  • Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: The Nightmare Warriors: After Jason is healed of his injuries, the heroes attempt to lure him into a trap. Jason almost falls for it... but then wags his finger at the heroes, as if to say "not this time".
  • Atomic Robo: Not only can The Shadow From Beyond Time call Robo by name, but every time it appears, it comes up with smarter and smarter tactics. The first time, it shows up over a secluded stretch of land and gets blasted out of the sky. The second time, it hides in H.P. Lovecraft and reveals itself in a populated area, but gets blown up by Robo driving a car into it with overclocked lightning guns. The third time, it goes airborne so Robo can't drive a car into it, and possesses an entire town while leaving them just enough sentience that Robo can't fight them in good conscience. The fourth time, Robo predicts where it's going to be through a mathematical formula and traps it in a cage, but it escapes by possessing the insects in the surrounding area. The fifth and (possibly) final time, it shows up six years ahead of the formula's projections by manifesting itself in Louis and Martin's quantum decomputer.
  • Though the titular Technically Living Zombies of Crossed initially seem incapable of any tactic more complex than "rush in screaming and savage whatever can be reached", they actually retain their skills, knowledge, and intellect and will make use of them. Many times in the series, characters try to handle them in the same fashion as classical zombies, only to end up blindsided when the Crossed drive through their barricades in vehicles or shoot them with infected bullets. This is taken even further with "super-Crossed", which possess the impulse control to strategize and prioritize survival—one super-Crossed was considered a terrifying threat because he could read a book.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The Many. The formerly-human monstrous humanoids created by Alan Jonah's experiments with Ghidorah's DNA, which start roaming the Elaborate Underground Base looking for humans to slaughter and drag off, at first appear to be nothing more than mindless, feral artificial zombies. Then one of the military teams sent to exterminate them discovers various coherent scrawlings of phrases and images in the outpost's walls that weren't there before, and a helmet-mounted camera is found in an area that the team previously passed which wasn't there before, with the word "watch" carved into the helmet. This shows that the monsters are a lot more intelligent and not nearly as mindless as they first appeared to be.
  • Black As Night makes this clear for Toothless, who not only seems to understand the implications of Hiccup’s blindfold, but later learns to make specific sounds when in flight so that Hiccup can adjust the fin and avoid crashing into anything, to the point that he even seems to repeat Astrid's name at least once.
  • Honoka's Bizarre Adventure: The girls of µ have seen Stands as extensions of their users, like with Honoka's [All Star] and Hanayo's [Momoiro Clover]. So they are all caught off guard in chapter 8 when they meet Nico Yazawa's Stand [Circus], which is not only sentient but can manifest herself outside of Nico's control.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: In chapter 10, the main characters fight a shape-shifting Eldritch Abomination. When Misato realizes that it baited them, Ritsuko tries to argue that it's impossible because Angels don't think like humans do. Of course the creature is not really an Angel.:
    Misato: The bastard knew we would try to intercept it. It baited us.
    Ritsuko: Impossible. It doesn't think like that. It is not a predator. It doesn't--
  • Shadows over Meridian: Though mute and unquestionably loyal to Jade, the Shadowkhan turn out to be capable of wordlessly conversing with each other and internal disagreements. When the fight over Cavigor is at its end and Vathek is surrounded by the Razor Khan, he asks them to tell Jade that Elyon wants to bury the hatchet and make amends with her. The Shadowkhan actually take the time to hear him out and silently debate on whether to just follow the orders of Frost, who's able to summon them only because Jade allows it, or take Vathek to their Queen and let her decide if his words are worth her time; they choose the latter option when it becomes clear that Frost having his way with the rebels would clash with Jade's desires. When the Razor Khan bring Vathek to Snowpoint, the Ninja Khan angrily demand to know their reasoning and suspect Vathek's surrender could be a ploy to lure their queen into a trap. The two Shadowkhan tribes nearly come to blows before Jade arrives to hear Vathek out.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos: The Shroud are a Non-Malicious Monster Necromorph-esque parasite race. That changes in Episode 60 which reveals that the Shroud are led by hyper-intelligent Shroud Primes. And then in Episode 69, Dark Tails evolves them to the point that they start using military tactics and language and religion; they begin worshiping Dark Tails as their god.
  • Stars Above: The Nine are revealed as Demons that can think, plan, and work together, making them far more human than the animalistic Demons that Homura has faced before.
  • This Bites!:
    • Perona freaks out when she realizes it wasn't Baron Omatsuri's crew inviting everyone to the island, but Lily Carnation.
    • Chopper had used a formula to increase his intelligence, creating a mad doctor personality eager to dissect and experiment. This persona rests within his subconsiousness, so when Cross suggests using a flat empty island to train his Monster Point, Chopper brings up the possibility that the raw instincts of that form will have access to greater intelligence. When Chopper is forced to use his Monster Point against Kumadori, the out-of-control form, while not as intelligent as his mad doctor self, is still capable of adaptating to situations, meaning any tactic that Franky uses to push him into the sea will not work twice.
  • Vow of the King: Ichigo's Hollow form acts like The Berserker but it's still capable of tactics when it needs to. After getting fed up with Shinji's shikai, it intentionally causes its own Cero to misfire and detonate, blasting the entire area at once.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Discussed. While the Creatures of Grimm are described as "mindless," even the youngest Grimm demonstrate basic instincts such as pack behavior; as Professor Oobleck notes, if they were truly mindless they would operate completely randomly. Not to mention that Grimm get smarter with age, and eventually even become intelligent enough to understand human speech. Oobleck says that this started out as propaganda, a myth spread to convince young Huntsmen that they could easily best the Grimm with their superior intelligence and training. At some point, even the people in charge forgot that the Grimm were anything more than mindless beasts.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Ghouls are stated to be nothing but mindless animals who can only think of what to kill next. When Tsukune manifests a ghoul as a Superpowered Evil Side in Acts II and III, the others are shocked to discover that Tsukune's ghoul form, though completely Ax-Crazy, has its own personality and conscious mind, and not only can it think and plan, but it can talk.
  • During the Kyuubi "attack" on Konoha in The Empty Cage, Sarutobi gets his first inkling that the bijuu aren't mindless animals when Kyuubi fires a Bijudama, not at the village he was allegedly attacking, but at the ninja who were gathering their chakra to attack him.
  • In "Upon the North", not only have the dragons apparently been reincarnated along with their human partners, but Toothless is able to telepathically communicate with Hiccup- referring to his returned rider as ‘Half of Me’- and Hiccup notes that Toothless is now Alpha through the choice of the other dragons rather than his old ability to command them.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters: The Samurai Khan, unlike their cousins, are intelligent enough to adapt to the pace and fighting style of the enemies that they fight. And when Ikazuki takes full control of his host Aldarn, they hoist their katana up in the air and appear to cheer, freaking Cornelia out with how human their behavior is.
  • A Possible Encounter for a Phantom: Vlad Plasmius resurrected an ancient dragon beast called a Terakon that both Danny Phantom and Kim Possible both have to contend with. However, despite all evidence to the contrary, only Danny seems to recognize the Terakon appears smarter than it leads on, with its expressions, behavior and the implication it can talk.
  • In The Heart Bind Saga, Hiccup, after years of treating them as pet, is shocked to learn dragons are just as intellegent as humans after Toothless accidentally discovered a way that makes it possible for Hiccup to communicate with dragons.
  • In A Thing of Vikings, after living and working with dragons for more than a year, it becomes impossible for the Hooligan tribe to deny that dragons are a lot more intellegent than other animals, capible of understanding abstract concepts and deserving of at least the same rights as children. By the end of Book 4, the Romans are comming to the same conclusion after Toothless shows he can write in the dirt during a visit.
  • In My Hero Academia: Unchained Predator, upon finding out Volcano managed to snag the blueprints for the QAH, Curator mockingly implies Volcano has a brain. In Curator's defense, he was not happy that Volcano fired magma at the group holding the VX rocket.

    Films — Animation 
  • Fantastic Planet: Draags notice that humans (whom they call Oms) can speak and imitate their speech, but they doubt that Oms are actually intelligent. They treat Oms as pets and pests, but they learn the hard way to treat humans with respect.
  • Ice Age:
    • Cretaceous and Maelstrom of Ice Age: The Meltdown are prehistoric monsters who, despite not being able to talk, show they are capable of thinking and express either joy or anger at the heroes when trying to eat them.
    • Rudy the albino baryonyx in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is smart enough to hold a grudge against an individual weasel, named Buck. While the characters in the movie are all animals, the dinosaurs are depicted with more or less animalistic intelligence, unlike the more anthropomorphized protagonists.
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish: The giant from the opening utilizes a bell from a nearby tower as a makeshift flail once it sees Puss racing towards it from the other end of town, and even launches him off of the rope by cracking it to make it ripple.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: During the climax, Bowser orders his minions to launch the Bomber Bill and destroy the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario's attempts to stop it are futile until he smacks it in the eye with his Tanooki tail, stopping it right before it crashes into Peach's castle. The thing then turns its eye towards Mario, gives one hell of a Death Glare and proceeds to pursue Mario around for revenge.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Andromeda Strain: The eponymous Andromeda strain is a contagion that has at least some form of rudimentary intelligence as it can manipulate its carriers to get into locations that will spread the virus much faster, such as having infected birds suicide into a river it can spread itself further via the water.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Waters of Mars": When various crewmembers of Bowie Base One become infected by waterborne parasites that turn them into liquid-spewing bloated zombies, the hive mind-controlling them proves to not be stupid. They even manage to short out the systems of an airlock to bust it open.
    • "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone": In their first appearance, the Weeping Angels were merely predators who sneak up on you when you're not looking and displace you in time. Here, they work together to break necks, lay traps and steal voices as bait. And that's just the beginning...
    • "Oxygen": The personnel of mining station Chasm Forge wear "smartsuits", spacesuits with a basic problem-solving AI. When the suits turn against the crew, the AI turns out to be quite up to the task of solving the problems presented by jury-rigged locked doors and missing maps.
    • The Dregs in "Orphan 55" initially appear to be animalistic predators, but when the Doctor manages to trap one of them in a Mexican Standoff, it's smart enough to figure out the nature of the stand-off, and recognise that temporarily co-operating with the Doctor gives it the best chance of survival.
    • "Praxeus": Suki warns that Praxeus is capable of sensing efforts to cure it, and she's proven right when the infected crows attack the lab moments later.
  • Dollhouse: This is Topher's non-verbal reaction to Echo when she (in her blank, wiped state) outright requests that he give her a "treatment" so she can help him better.
    • In the Bad Future, a large portion of the human race has been turned into hyper-aggressive "butchers" by mass mindwiping and imprinting. While most of them simply rush their targets and attack with their fists and teeth or grab nearby objects to use as melee weapons, an increasing number are demonstrating more complex behavior like climbing ropes and using guns.
  • Firefly: The Reavers might be utterly insane and indiscriminately violent, but that doesn't mean that the're stupid. What little is seen of their methods hints at them having excellent hunting skills, with them typically relying on stealth, patience, and subtlety. Furthermore, when they aren't relying on traps or surprise, they can use high-tech (and non-lethal) methods for disabling and capturing fleeing ships. And in the end, they can always fall back to strength in numbers.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • If his reaction to Jaime calling him an idiot even before is any indication, there is still a somewhat of sentience in Gregor Clegane after Qyburn turns him into an Undead Abomination. He can also be seen smiling when he is about to torture/rape Unella. And ultimately, he stops obeying Cersei's orders — killing Qyburn when he tries to put him back in line — when given an opportunity to finally face off with his brother.
    • Tyrion suggests that the dragons are more intelligent than simple beasts, and goes down to talk to them. It's not clear if they understand what Tyrion says but they don't hurt him, and Rhaegal calmly offers his neck to Tyrion after he removes Viserion's collar. They also don't hurt Missandei, as she's a friend of their mother. Drogon also proves Tyrion right. After witnessing his brother Viserion being shot down by the Night's King via a well-aimed ice spear, when Drogon takes off and the Night's King throws a spear at him, Drogon quickly jerks to the left to avoid being hit and the lance sails harmlessly past his shoulder. Note, he did this after the Night's King already threw the spear at him, showing Drogon was intelligent enough to guess where the projectile would go and moving quickly enough to avoid it.
  • The Legends of Tomorrow episode "I Am Legends" plays with this trope. When a Zombie Apocalypse occurs, the Legends are (for unrelated reasons) temporarily immortal. Some soldiers see Ava survive a bullet to the head, and conclude the Legends are "super-zombies" who can survive headshots. When the Legends point out that they're obviously not zombies since they can talk, one of the soldiers declares, "The super-zombies have become sentient!"
  • In the Star Trek episode "The Devil in the Dark", Spock deduces that not only is the monster intelligent, it has a valid reason for killing the miners. It turns out that the "crystals" the miners are collecting are actually the monster's eggs. Fortunately, the creature, called a Horta, is able to bargain with the humans to arrive at a mutually agreeable compromise.
  • Star Trek: Voyager ("Bliss"). Voyager encounters a huge space-dwelling alien that can create illusions in the minds of starship crews so they fly right into its maw.
    Emh: Judging by these bio-scans the organism's been devouring life forms for a bit longer than thirty-nine years. I'd estimate it's at least 200,000 years old.
    Qatai: The intelligent always survive.
    Emh: I wouldn't go that far. It appears to operate on highly-evolved instinct. I haven't detected any signs of sentience.
    Qatai: Oh, he's intelligent, all right. Smart enough to fool your crew into taking you offline.
  • Supernatural: In the episode “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”, Dean and Bobby, having locked themselves in a room, learn that the zombies pursuing them have not lost all of their mental faculties as one might assume.
    [Zombies pound at the door]
    Dean: (confident) It’s all right. They’re idiots. They can’t pick a lock.
    [The pounding immediately stops and the zombies are heard fiddling with the lock]
    Bobby: Don’t you ever get tired of being wrong?
    Dean: I’m making this stuff up as I go. Sue me!
    [The door bursts open]
  • The Walking Dead Television Universe:
    • The Walking Dead (2010):
      • Although most walkers are pretty much your average run-of-the-mill zombie when it comes to intelligence, several walkers stand out when it comes to this. Morgan Jones' wife, who tries to open a door by twisting the doorknob and even gazes into the peephole, certain members of the walker horde can manage to climb ladders and one particular walker that showed tool use, namely grabbing a big rock and using it to smash in the windows holding them back from potential prey.
      • Milton tries an experiment with an elderly cancer patient to test whether this trope comes into effect, but when said elderly patient simply attacks him upon reanimation instead, he calls it off.
      • The protagonists think that this trope is going into effect in Season 9 when they encounter walkers that appear able to talk and use knives, leading to a discussion about whether the virus that created them could have evolved to this point. However, it's subverted when it turns out that they've actually just met the Whisperers, living humans who wear skin masks and act like walkers to blend in with them.
      • The walkers shown in early Season 1 episodes to have rudimentary human intellect (such as Morgan's wife or the one who used a rock) were initially written off as Early-Installment Weirdness, with the show writers admitting that they were making up the rules as they went at the time. However, they were re-canonized when a group of the protagonists encountered a small horde of walkers capable of climbing over walls and opening doors in the Season 11 episode "Variant", the episode title making it clear that these are another variant breed like the below World Beyond example (which chronologically aired first). These intelligent walkers later prove just how dangerous they are in "Family", when several scale the Commonwealth's walls and open the gates for the rest of the horde to swarm in.
    • The Walking Dead: World Beyond: In The Stinger for the final episode, we're introduced to a "variant" zombie quite different from the walkers. And while the most obvious differences are that these reanimate much quicker, are capable of running and appear to be much stronger, it's also evident that they're at least somewhat intelligent — the woman that we see become one was watching a video beforehand, which is still playing in the background only to be ignored by the new zombie, who instead turns around and rushes off in the direction of the person who just shot her.

    Multiple Media 
  • The unnamed xenomorphs in the Alien series.
    • In Alien, the alien drone pretends to block Ripley's path to the shuttle, causing her to go and try to disable the Nostromo's self-destruct, while the Alien hides in the shuttle and he waits until Ripley returns and enters with him to escape in the shuttle. The Alien manages to hide in the shuttle, unseen by Ripley by blending his biomechanical body with the pipes and wall of the ship. When Ripley discovers that the Alien is on board the ship with her, the Alien does not attack or chase Ripley and he uses his second jaw and seems to determine that Ripley has nowhere to go. The Alien believes that Ripley poses no threat to him (until Ripley pisses him off with the steam vents).
    • In Aliens, the power is cut off moments before the aliens attack. In a later scene, Ripley engages in some nonverbal negotiation with the Queen Alien, threatening the Queen's eggs. The Queen clearly comprehends Ripley's threat and calls for her warriors to back off to prevent it. She's also able to operate the lift to pursue Ripley. The only thing they didn't understand was that overloading atmospheric processor...
    • In Alien: Resurrection, the captive xenomorph immediately realises the connection between the blasts of cold-gas that hit it and the Big Red Button, backing off the instant the scientist moves to hit it a second time. This later serves to bite the ass of a security mook. Likewise the aliens wait till communications are cut off (during security's fight with the mercenaries) before implementing their escape. They also notice that the Big Red Button was locked up at the time. They later lay a trap by herding the humans towards their egg room. Plus, the xenomorphs seem to be aware of the acidity of their blood as two xenomorphs kill another, with the blood corroding a hold in the floor for the rest to escape.
    • Alien vs. Predator shows the Xenomorphs can work around predator setups just as well as human rigs. When the queen realized she couldn't get out of the shackles, she called back all of her offspring and ordered them to attack her so that her blood would corrode the shackles and free her.
    • In Aliens vs. Predator 2, when playing as the alien you overhear a human commander explaining their plan to defeat the aliens, who he says are just stupid animals. Your next task is to relay this plan to the Queen, who promptly develops a successful counterattack.
    • As in the movies that inspired it, Alien: Isolation shows the xenomorph to be very adaptive, as it learns your patterns, and even uses your own behaviour against you to lure you into traps. Excessively use noisemakers? It'll start ignoring them, and start trying to pinpoint where the noisemaker was thrown from. Like the flamethrower? It will hang around just outside of the flamethrower's effective range, waiting for you to turn your back or lower your guard for a split second to make that Deadly Lunge. Use lockers to hide? It will start searching them more thoroughly, and then it will adopt a tactic of pretending to leave the room and then dropping back in when you emerge. Overuse molotovs and pipebombs? It will avoid trying to catch you in open areas and try to get you in tight corridors and vents instead, where the splash damage prevents you from using them. Most terrifyingly of all though, it develops a personal vendetta against the player character: if it catches her in a wide area or a corridor, it will run after you (and probably kill you as it is a Lightning Bruiser); if it corners her in a room or other place with no visible means of escape, it will opt for the Ominous Walk, as if to say "Uh oh, looks like you've got nowhere to go this time, you poor thing."
  • MonsterVerse:
    • This is especially played up with King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and his reincarnation, Mechagodzilla, in Godzilla vs. Kong. Ghidorah quickly establishes that he's genuinely evil and not only aware of humanity, but actively wants to see us killed. When Madison unplugs the Kaiju-attracting ORCA from the speakers in Boston, Ghidorah not only zeroes in on her in seconds, but Ichi's (Ghidorah's middle head) eyes narrowing as it looks through the window at her heavily imply that he's worked out he's being tricked by this tiny human - something reinforced by his preparing to obliterate her with all three of his heads' gravity beams even after the ORCA is smashed.
    • Godzilla (2014): Godzilla gives the distinct impression of regarding the protagonist at one point when it eyeballs him close up. The MUTOs hint at it as well, such as when the female figures out that Brody is what killed her eggs.
      • Another notable moment is the female MUTO seems to actively wait for the train carrying the nuclear weapons and ambush them, making use of her natural camouflage. Also, it appears by the point of the San Francisco fight, the Mutos have learned to weaponize their EMP abilities (before primarily using the shockwave accompanying it to throw shoulders).
      • At the tail end of the fight with the male MUTO, Big G is clearly watching, waiting and planning. He doesn't turn to face the threat, as you'd expect an animal under attack to do, but keeps his back toward the approaching MUTO and thus lures him into position to slam him into a skyscraper with an unexpected tail attack. Similarly, Godzilla has clearly learned that the female MUTO is resistant to his atomic breath, and so he forces her mouth open to direct the blast straight down her throat.
    • In the prequel graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening, when a piece of the Shinomura colony escapes its tank in Monarch's HQ, it forms a tendril, which has the intelligence to pull the lever on the other side of the glass which the Monarch staff had previously thrown to feed the captive Shinomura radiation; enabling the creature to regrow its massive form.
    • Kong: Skull Island: The Big One, as shown when it tail-whips Cole into a wall instead of eating him when he's clearly about to pull a Heroic Sacrifice. Also Kong, when he sees the ship propeller attached to the chain he's holding and figures that he can use it as a weapon.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019):
    • Godzilla vs. Kong: As is the norm, both titular monsters come across as far more intelligent than their appearances suggest, with both showing adaptive and reasoning skills — the Monarch crew express incredulity when they witness Kong communicating with Jia using sign language.
    • Skull Island (2023): The Big Bad, the Kraken, is clearly intelligent and malicious, its Combat Tentacles toying with the humans that they attack, before fatally maiming them or hurling them into the sea to certain death. The Kraken is also tactical enough that it refuses to leave the water in order to fight Kong, because it knows that it has the Homefield Advantage against Kong in the sea, while the opposite will be true if it comes after Kong on the island's dry land — instead, it tries to goad Kong into fighting it in the water in blind rage, by killing innocent whales and throwing their bodies across the sky at Kong's temple.

    Tabletop Games 
  • All Flesh Must Be Eaten: The vast majority of zombies are mindless; the default Intelligence is "Dumb as Dead Wood", a -2 on a scale of 1 to 6. But the Zombie Master is given a full palette of intelligence options, from Tool Use (at 1, they can break windows with rocks; at 3, they can drive cars) to Long-Term Memory (they know you went behind that wall, and they know you have to come out sometime) to Problem-Solving (sure, you locked the door, but they can figure out how to move boxes and get into the window). A clever Zombie Master can shock the players with just how much the zombies can learn.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Oozes are typically mindless creatures that work purely through ingrained stimulus and response. Mustard jellies stand out for having human-level intelligence, enough to recognize the value of treasure as bait to lure in more victims. They are thought to have come about when a young wizard attempted to polymorph herself into an ochre jelly.
  • GURPS: This is quoted in GURPS: Magic 4th Edition, where it's played for horror. The funny thing is that it's mentioned again in Chapter 17 (Meta-Spells) on page 121, where the actual enchantments are explained as well as how they work, and again in Chapter 24 (Technological spells), where the reaction in Chapter 14 is played for laughs.
    Chapter 14: "This abomination thinks, somehow. It perceives, it decides, and it acts. Yet it does not live..."
    Chapter 24: "My cell phone does that." "Well, yeah, but this doesn't have any mana chips in it or anything. It's all spells and analog enchantments." "Oh. So?" "I dunno. I guess that used to be a big deal..."
  • Promethean: The Created has Pandorans, mindless miscarriages of the process of creating a new Promethean who hunger endlessly for the vitriol of Prometheans. However, in rare occasions, a number of Pandorans can pull themselves together and form a Sublimatus, a fully-intelligent, nearly-human monstrosity that uses its new wits and cunning in an attempt to feast on Prometheans.
  • Rocket Age: Many creatures are scarily intelligent, often to the surprise and despair of the Earthlings that first encountered them. The trip line spider of Venus sets up complicated booby traps, the Yetis of Callisto are intelligent, able to slip out of captivity and evade pursuit in the mountains of Germany and then there are creatures that may well be sentient.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Back before the Horus Heresy, the few times the Emperor acknowledged that there were entities in the Warp, he denied this trope. Unfortunately for everyone, he was lying, and the Chaos Gods were not just intelligent, but actively scheming to ruin the galaxy.
    • Most followers of Khorne are Axe-Crazy berserkers, but many of his top champions, such as Kharn the Betrayer, are full-on Genius Bruisers... and still Axe-Crazy berserkers.
    • The is frequently cited as the greatest danger of fighting the Orks. While the average Ork Boy is a Dumb Muscle Blood Knight, they possess a bestial cunning that can surprise an overconfident foe. The Warboss who leads a warband is the largest Ork in it, but is oftentimes also the smartest Ork in it, especially those from the Blood Axes clan, who appreciate turning an enemy's tactics against them.
      • The overwhelming majority of Orks are so impetuous, rowdy and unsophisticated that some Imperial commanders flat-out refuse to believe that Ork "Kommandos" exist, but there are indeed Orks who revel in slithering through the underbrush to slit sentries' throats and perform acts of sabotage to support their warband. And then there's Boss Snikrot of the Red Skull Kommandos, an utter genius at guerilla warfare even by human standards.
      • This gets topped by the Beast's Orks in The Beast Arises, who possess Eldar-tier technology, professionally-manufactured weaponry, and a solid grasp of strategy and tactics at all levels of military operation as well as formal military organisation. One of the Orks gives a Wham Line when he offers terms of surrender in fluent Gothic: "Don't need an interpreter. We tell you how to surrender, you surrender. Easy."
    • This pops up a lot when the Tyranids are involved. Individually, Tyranids are hyper-evolved killing animals, but the Hive Mind directing them has proven to be frighteningly intelligent, staging ambushes and feigning attacks to probe enemy defences. The Hive Mind has fooled Imperial Guard generals, Space Marine captains, Chaos warlords, even Eldar farseers have been confounded by its tactical prowess.
      • The Swarmlord is the most advanced, most intelligent Hive Tyrant to ever exist. Its tactical and strategic genius is such that, during the Tyranid's assault on the Ultramarines homeworld, the monster consistently outfoxed the Ultramarines, who are known to be the best Space Marines in terms of adaptability, tactics, and strategy. The Swarmlord is functionally immortal, for each time its body dies, its mind is reabsorbed into the Hive Mind so it can be respawned into a new body wherever it is needed anywhere in the galaxy. In this way, it has accumulated eons of combat experience, quite possibly making it the most experienced military leader in the galaxy.
      • Deathleaper is a particularly cunning Lictor that, during the Tyranid invasion of St. Caspalen, realized that simply killing the Imperials' leader would galvanize morale. Instead, Deathleaper repeatedly stalked and attacked Cardinal Salem's bodyguard, killing everyone around him and soaking him in their blood, but never laid a talon on the Cardinal. After a few rounds of this, Cardinal Salem went quite insane, and with his suicide the defense of the planet all but collapsed.
    • Officially, Razorwings are animals. However, they often display worryingly intelligent behavior, such as complex coordination and tactics during hunts, usually paired with what are clearly verbal and visual signals, and a tendency to elaborately parade the fruits of their kills to each other. One incident in the Liber Xenologis suggests that they may be smart enough to deliberately play human factions against each other for their own benefit.
  • In Warhammer, trolls are just barely tool-using and capable of speech to some degree, but mostly considered little more than humanoid beasts. Many troll slayers who sought out the infamous chaos troll Throgg have failed to realize in time that amongst his obvious mutations is a subtle one and he's not just hideously strong and tough but probably smarter than they are.

  • The witch in Into the Woods acknowledges this trope upon realizing a giant has entered the kingdom.
    "With a giant, we'll all have to battle. A giant's the worst. A giant has a brain. Hard to outwit a giant."

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied and taken to extremes in the How It Should Have Ended video "How Jurassic Park Should Have Ended". The Velociraptor figures out how to speak, finds a weapons closet, sends an email to the protagonists, and tries to attack them with guns.
  • The Northern Incident: Whatever's stalking the fisherman is clearly not mindless, as it deliberately creates a Closed Circle via stealing his truck and cutting the phone lines.
  • RWBY: The creatures of Grimm are generally mindless, but grow more powerful and intelligent as they age. The most powerful Grimm are smart enough to avoid humans rather than attack outright and will employ simplistic tactics in battle. This increases their survivability and threat level with time. Subverted by one type of Grimm that is introduced in Volume 8. The Hound displays human-level intelligence, battle tactics, and the ability to talk. However, this intelligence is not connected to the aging process, it's because Salem has started transforming people into Grimm.

  • DICE: The Cube That Changes Everything: The Final Die turns out to be sentient. Dongtae asks if the embodiment of all human Desire has a wish of its own. It decides it can act independently, and while it still obeys X, it revives everyone who've died in the arena and makes X play fair for the last time.
  • Showed up with the Diamondshell Beetles in Schlock Mercenary — we, and the mercenaries, perceive them as just big, ugly monsters, but they're actually fairly intelligent, communicate amongst themselves, figure out how to use human weaponry in a surprisingly short amount of time, and see the humans (and, in particular, Sergeant Schlock) as frightening monsters…
    • To be fair, even Schlock's friends think of him as some sort of monster.
    • Another example with some rather chilling implications are the planet sized Dark Matter Entities. Just one of them could manhandle a battleplatenote  and they're not just fully sapient but completely xenophobic; they are convinced that the only way to survive a universe full of civilizations that run on teleportation which is inadvertently killing them off is to kill them all first. They conquered the entire Andromeda galaxy, wiped it clean of non-dark matter life forms, and turned their galactic core into a thermonuclear sniper rifle that can pinpoint anything in the Milky Way.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: This seems to be the case with the Plague Zombie monsters and their spirits, especially their Body of Bodies variants that are likely combining the mental power of their components. The bodies composing one giant are seen going for the weapons of humans defending against it, while the Merger of Souls that is shaping up to be the prime antagonist is able to lead coordinated attack with a large number of trolls and ghosts.
  • Trevor (2020): While Trevor seems to have completely lost his mind and is acting purely on instinct, he retains enough cunning to figure out how to maneuver himself closer to his victims.

    Web Original 
  • The First Contact between the iliu and ktuvok species in The Count of Years (part of Mark Rosenfelder’s world of Almea) is disastrous. The ktuvoks, having been created by the Satanic Archetype and his Dragon, delight in cruelty, so when they see a young girl of the ilii playing alone, they stalk her, ambush her, kill her, and eat her—and worse, they do so in front of her parents, who are too far away to stop them. Never having seen a ktuvok before, the parents conclude from their brutality that they must be wild beasts and particularly vicious predators, so they send out a hunting party. But when the hunters get close, they overhear the ktuvoks talking among themselves, and suddenly realize they are dealing with a sentient race. So the ilii demand restitution, but the ktuvoks laugh and refuse. Realizing that the ktuvoks are a worse evil than any other they have known on account of being sapient, the ilii declare war.
  • Thanks to a quirk in the game's physics, this hilariously, accidentally happens to the Game Grumps when attempting the "Green Demon Challenge" on Super Mario 64. The challenge involves triggering a green mushroom that relentlessly homes in on the player, and then attempting to get 8 red coins before it touches Mario. At several points it gets caught on level architecture, making it at one point seem like it was smart enough to take a shortcut to head them off, and at another point like it was smart enough to realize they were running laps of a mountain and to wait in ambush until they came around again.
    Arin: It duped me dude!
  • Averted in Goodbye Strangers. Even though strangers display human-like emotions, often in very unsettling ways, and some strains even have social behaviors, they seem to have little to no capacity for thought at all. They are effectively mindless and do not have a thoughtform, which is equivalent to a soul. All of their behavior is instinctual. Even though several kinds of strangers can use human language, there are no known strangers that can actually have conversations.
  • Subverted in The Magnus Archives. The monsters on the Earth are often sapient, but they constantly have to remind the institute staff that the Eldritch Abominations they serve barely think at all. At least, not like us. And then one of them learns how to.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in The Critic. In a clip from a fictional Jurassic Park 2 (this episode was made before the actual release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park obviously), Ian Malcolm, John Hammond and Alexa Murphy trap a velociraptor in a closet. After Ian remarks that raptors are too intelligent to be held in a closet, the raptor slips a newspaper under the door, rattles the door until the key falls out, retrieves the key, and unlocks the door before continuing to attack. While comforting Alexa, Hammond angrily states to the raptor that while it may devour him and the others, he will never escape the island. However, rather than killing the three characters, the raptor reveals that he can talk with a British accent while producing a calabash pipe and disagreeing with Hammond's statement. The raptor then tells Hammond about his true plan for himself and the other raptors to escape the island by "building a crude suspension bridge to Venezuela, where I shall lie low and assume odd jobs under the name 'Mr. Pilkington.' But perhaps I've said too much."
  • The fifth episode of Generator Rex deals with a Hidden Elf Village of engineers and scientists trying to build a transmitter/receiver to communicate with the nanites. Then in the next episode, Rex tries to shut down a really, really big EVO created using nanites siphoned from his body, and the nanites try to talk to him.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Zillo Beast is suggested to be sentient, demonstrated by how it not only seems angered by Palpatine's suggestion to kill it and seeks revenge on him specifically as soon as it escapes captivity, but how it, according to Word of God, realizes that Palpatine is secretly evil.
  • The Beetle Drones of Samurai Jack generally seem like mindless robots who enforce Aku's rule without hesitation. However, in the 3-part series premiere, after Jack destroys almost an entire army of them, one of the remaining robots seems to have recognized that defeating Jack is impossible and takes a step back. Jack quickly tells the drone there is no escape and destroys the rest of them. In another episode, a group of Beetle Drones are attempting to stop Jack from reaching a time portal; Jack predictably cuts them all down, but the last one seems to realize that it can't beat Jack and instead destroys the portal before Jack can stop it. Played for Drama in season 5, where Mad Jack uses this fact against Jack in an attempt to finally break him, tearing down Jack's 'they're just mindless robots' mindset and hammering home that the countless bots he's killed are no different than if he had been slaughtering an army of humans.
  • Transformers:
    • Tankor from Beast Machines, after god only knows how long of mindlessly following orders and roaring Tankor... SMASH, suddenly reveals he's a lot smarter than his allies thought. He used to be Rhinox, after all. This isn't the first time Megatron has turned Rhinox into one of his own... with the same result.
    • Predaking from Transformers: Prime displays surprising intelligence for a supposed beast in all of its appearances. At one point, we even see him reading a screen when everyone leaves the room, playing the role of a mindless smasher until he's ready to reveal his true intelligence. The episode "Plus One" ends with Starscream ranting about having to deal with such a stupid beast, while the beast in question is logging into one of the warship's data terminals with Starscream's password. This culminates in "Evolution" when he responds to Starscream's latest abuse by transforming and threatening to kill Starscream. Megatron for one is very unhappy with this turn of events. He wanted a mindless beast he could control. Instead, he got a powerful, intelligent, and ambitious warrior who is a potential threat.
      Predaking: I only recently became aware of my abilities. All I remember of my beginning is hunting, and battle, and the wounding of my pride. Thus I'd begun to burn with questions. "Who am I?" "Where did I come from?" The warship's data banks provided historical fact, but still I possessed no memory of my own past, so I began to reconsider my place in the present and wondered, "Could I be like the others?" And now I know.
  • A gag in Over the Garden Wall has Wirt, Gregory, and Beatrice dining in the manor of an eccentric man, sharing the table with the horse they stole last episode. When Beatrice and Gregory discuss robbing the man, it's suddenly revealed that the horse is sapient and sentient.
    Beatrice: I was thinking more like flat-out stealing from [their host].
    Wirt: What? No way.
    Beatrice: Why not? We already stole a horse.
    Wirt: No, we didn't. Fred's a talking horse. He can do whatever he wants.
    Fred the Horse: I want to steal.
  • The New Adventures of Jonny Quest features the plant monster in "Creeping Unknown." Initially it seems as if it's just a mindless walking mass of living squicky plant matter... but then it's revealed it has genius-level intellect, making it one of the Quests' most dangerous enemies in any incarnation of the show. Or at least it would be if it didn't have such a Weaksauce Weakness.
  • What If…? (2021) has the zombie superheroes featured in Episode 5. While they aren't as sapient as they were in the Marvel Zombies comic, they still demonstrate enough knowledge to make use of their powers or gadgets to effectively catch prey. They're even smart enough to talk (Happy Hogan is still calling his repulsor blasts after being infected), and to mourn (zombified Scarlet Witch sadly cradles Vision's corpse after he rips out the Mind Stone for the survivor group).
  • Primal (2019): The "Madman" initially seems like a feral, primordial beast with no real thought process beyond killing anything in sight, but as the night goes on and it hunts the Historical Society, it displays increasing amounts of cunning and observational skills that make it clear there is some intelligence behind it's savagery. Most notably, when it gets ahold of Blakely, it seems like it's going to kill him like everyone else it's gotten so far… until it notices Darlington and Charles taking aim with their guns and holds up Blakely as a human shield before tossing him at them and fleeing in the confusion, having clearly realized (correctly) that the other men wouldn't shoot through their friend.


Video Example(s):



In the fictional parody sequel to Jurassic Park, the Velociraptors are shown to be far more intelligent than it seems.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItCanThink

Media sources: