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Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
aka: Jump Off The Slippery Slope

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"All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day."
The Joker, The Killing Joke

Jumping off the slippery slope is when a morally ambiguous character raises an ethical question by doing morally ambiguous things, but instead of answering those questions, the character closes the debate by going on to do something unquestionably and unforgivably evil. The actions remain pretty much ambiguous, while the character himself no longer is. It turns out that the character's point of view and ideology was more warped than what their initial actions suggested.

This is a condensed form of the Slippery Slope Fallacy — instead of Slowly Slipping Into Evil by gradually becoming more evil, they go straight from "may or may not be moral" at the top of the slope to "unquestionably evil" at the bottom, skipping all of the intermediate shades of gray — thus jumping off the slippery slope.


A form of Debate and Switch, because they never really address the question of whether the original ambiguous action was acceptable or not. Also helps to maintain the status quo by ensuring the main characters never question their own morality too closely, thus keeping the more simpler Black-and-White Morality from degrading into Grey-and-Gray Morality, as well as prevent a potential case of Strawman Has a Point. Compare Slowly Slipping Into Evil for a longer, more developed process of going from "ambiguous" to "evil".

Compare with Bait the Dog, Moral Event Horizon, Motive Decay, Aesoptinum, and He Who Fights Monsters. Can be a result of a Well-Intentioned Extremist realizing that there is No Place for Me There and becoming a full-time villain. Frequently accompanied by Then Let Me Be Evil. In case the characters in question were friends prior to Slope-Slipping, it probably triggers We Used to Be Friends. If the slippery slope has been greased with Applied Phlebotinum, that's The Dark Side.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Avoided in Higurashi: When They Cry. Shion goes insane and embarks on an attempt at revenge after the boy she loves, Satoshi, disappears. A lot of people are captured, killed or both, including her twin sister, her sadistic grandmother, and the village headman, who are all part of the village mafia. Then Shion goes after Satoshi's little sister, Satoko, because she's mad that Satoko's dependence on Satoshi wore him out. Shion captures Satoko and tortures her to death. Then she remembers that Satoshi's last request was that she care for Satoko for him. Shion was already crazy, but now she loses any pretense of acting for anything besides her own dark pleasure.
    • To add to the issue it's revealed their deaths were in vain. None of them had to do with Satoshi's disappearance, and if anything they all liked him.
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami begins using the supernatural notebook to rid society of objectively unforgivable criminals, but soon his blacklist expands to include anyone who stands in his way for any reason, starting with Lind L. Taylor, a patsy used by L to denounce and threaten Kira and the FBI. Along the way, he coolly manipulates the feelings of both people and shinigami. Repeatedly stating that he plans to become the god of the new world he is trying to create doesn't help matters, either.
    • For that matter, Teru Mikami uses the notebook to eliminate minor and reformed criminals. Eventually, he declares he will start executing people who are just lazy or do not contribute to society. Light has to work to stop him, not because he'd never want the book to be used like that, but because he believes it's too early to be going that far. Meaning that Light could very well be planning on going down that path, once he's rid the world of its more undesirable people.
  • Shu Ohma in Guilty Crown after Hare dies. Now regards all the 'F-Rank' Void users as worthless cannon fodder, sending them on suicidal missions to get supplies (including from a sunken ship, even the idiot Souta), eventually; after learning that breaking a void kills someone, in addition to a Trauma Conga Line, he starts on a path to The Atoner.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00:
    • Depending on your viewpoint, Celestial Being itself was doing a lesser version of this before Trinity even showed up. They certainly had no compunctions about blowing up a training facility for Super Soldier children, and all the civilians inside, as a revenge operation.
      • Allelujah certainly had his compunctions.
      • As did the rest of Celestial Being. Halleluah, Allelujah's dark half, enjoyed it and egged him on.
    • It must be noted that Celestial Being actively tried to avoid civilian casualties, such as Lockon shooting to disable enemy suits when possible, or Setsuna taking off their limbs but not gutting them or cutting them in half. Celestial Being attacked only areas of active combat and repeatedly tried to prevent situations that would increase civilian casualties, such as stopping a terrorist attack on a nuclear waste dump. Trinity, by contrast, repeatedly attacked civilians targets (including simple factories) and expressed neither remorse, guilt, or sadness for it, and then in a childish fit attacked a WEDDING. That's why the Trinities are portrayed as much farther down the slope.
      • Yet it must be pointed out that Gundam 00 was heavy on the All There in the Manual aspect and the side documents explained that the Trinities resorting to extreme measures and having sociopathic natures were not of their own intentions, but rather as a result of their development. (Nena, the one who attacked said wedding, was kept in stasis from her birth to her tenth birthday and thus has always the mentality of a little girl) Because their role was to make Celestial Being look bad, and then die immediately afterwards, their resorting to harsh measures was simply to cause a public relations nightmare with the group, and to ensure that Celestial Being would not bother helping the Trinity siblings in their hour of need (Setsuna did not intentionally save Nena, but rather was attempting to stop Ali al-Saachez from using a Gundam, especially since they used the Trinities' fight for survival as battle strategy for opponents).
  • The Big Bad of Air Gear jumped long before the series began. At one point he contemplated concepts such as mercy and forgiveness, then he put on a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses and became utterly ruthless.
  • The last two episodes of the first generation in Mobile Suit Gundam AGE shows Flit Asuno taking the dark descent to becoming a revenge-obsessed Earth Federation fanatic. His refusal to accept the UE as human beings and his Unstoppable Rage from seeing Yurin die only matters worse for him. As an adult, he leads a task force that purges the Federation government of any and all Vagan sympathizers, accusing them of collaboration and having them executed. When it's pointed out that this action will kill any chance of a peaceful resolution to the conflict, Flit merely says "Yes, I know. That was my intention from the beginning". Honestly, the man is getting dangerously close to the Moral Event Horizon here, if he hasn't crossed it already. Then he raises his grandson as a Child Soldier to take his place, is outraged when said grandson decides committing Vagan genocide would be bad, and advocates to have a captured base destroyed with an untested superweapon despite the presence of enemy civilians and Feddie prisoners.
    • Zeheart Galette has crossed it in the third generation by putting his full faith in Ezelcant's true Social Darwinist agenda, despite the fact that it involves killing Vagan citizens and Ezelcant himself admitting that he was insane. The next episode, he's fully willing to open the EXA-DB, a database of all weaponry from previous, devastating wars, despite warnings that it is basically a Pandora's Box. Before this, he was a committed Anti-Villain who made a point of remembering that The Dead Have Names, still acknowledged that Asemu had been a friend, and said that he was fighting to return his people to the "Eden" of the Earth Sphere.
  • Narrowly Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist when Roy goes batshit insane against Envy, but is talked down from dealing the killing blow by his friends. Also narrowly averted in the 2003 anime version when Ed almost uses the prisoners trapped in Lab 5 to create a Philosopher's Stone he's been searching for.
  • Twin Princess of Wonder Planet: Fine and Rein find out that Mirlo is in an Arranged Marriage with a rather undesirable dimwit, and are out to break it up. Reviewer Al1701 pointed out that this action seems short-sighted since the deal for the marriage is in exchange for dimwit's father repairing the Waterdrop Kingdom's cloudmaker. That is, until the whole Arranged Marriage turns out to be a big ruse by the Moon Kingdom chancellor. Doesn't stop this from being one of the best eps of the whole series.
  • In Berserk, no one ever really addresses Griffith's actions, since they're so amazed at how far he's willing to go in order to achieve his dream of having his own kingdom. Even if those actions may have included whoring himself out to an old pedophile to raise funds for his army, or planning assassinations to eliminate opponents or kidnapping kids and using them as leverage against other opponents. However, the audience is shown this from a more sympathetic light, and its relatively easy to see it as self-defense considering that they attempted to kill him first especially so after his one year imprisonment and torture which destroyed any chance of him achieving his dream since he speaks of his dream so noble and pure. And then the Eclipse happened. The audience lost all sympathy at that point.
  • In Durarara!!, Mikado went from an Ordinary High-School Student to leading a gang in a gang war to trying to kill a middle-schooler with a pen, all in the timeframe of about six months.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, where a massive buildup for Homura Akemi's morality struggle to break free from her own mental prison and Kyubey's ultimate plan ends up with a Sudden Downer Ending where Homura herself abruptly rebels against Goddess Madoka and becomes a Satanic Archetype.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Zamasu, a Supreme Kai of Universe 10, is first introduced as being distrustful of mortals. From his introduction, he's Slowly Slipping Into Evil... and he finally jumps off the slope when he learns of the Super Dragon Balls and the power he could gain from them, which spirals into him breaking into Zuno's temple and outright threatening his life in order to get information about them. From there, rather than simply wait a year for the Super Dragon Balls to be active again, he decides to kill his master Gowasu and steal his Potaras so he can use his Time Ring, jump ahead a year, wish for Goku's body, and begin his quest to wipe out all mortals. Zamasu freely admits that what he's doing is evil, but it's all to serve a greater good. At the same time, Future Zamasu deserves special mention. When Goku Black murders Gawasu, he is at first horrified and rushes to his master's side. After some words from Goku Black, he immediately joins his side and helps him murder all the other gods in the universes before going on to wipe out mortals.
    • Even before that, there was Baby from Dragon Ball GT. He is an artificially created parasite hosting the DNA of the last king of Tuffles, an advanced species that existed on the planet Plant before the Saiyans invaded and slaughtered them. Baby can hatch his eggs in other lifeforms, transforming them into his obedient puppets that consider themselves Tuffles. Initially, his goal is to make an entire universe of Tuffles by infecting every single sapient being (except for Saiyans, whom he wants to slaughter). So far, not exactly righteous, but at least somewhat understandable: he's been wronged and he's only trying to "restore" his species and punish their enemies. But as Baby grows more powerful, he starts becoming more and more cruel and selfish, and his motivations gradually degrade into more simplistic ones: "rule the world", "be the strongest in the universe", "kill Son Goku". This culminates when he's fighting SSJ 4 Goku and becomes a Golden Great Ape: Baby starts causing havoc and killing his own loyal servants just to trick Goku into thinking he's lost his mind, and then try to kill him with a surprise attack. By the end of his saga, he's just plain evil.

    Comic Books 
  • The Killing Joke is all about The Joker trying to break Commissioner Gordon. He fails. Ironically in virtually every adaptation of Joker's origin story, this trope is the main reason he... um, well... is the way he is.
  • The majority of heroes who meet The Punisher in the Marvel Universe are usually technical pacifists, so most of them think that this Anti-Hero has jumped off and is now gaily frolicking at the bottom. In fact, any Anti-Hero who lives in a verse that's on the idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism could be said to have jumped, at least from an in-universe perspective.
    • Averted sometimes when he doesn't kill (for various reasons, mainly when having to team with the majority of the protagonists), and averted in his MAX series where to date things have been almost entirely on the cynical side and... Then again, arguably he's not treated that nicely there either, it's just that his targets are apparently much, much worse, and the reason that he keeps a select few alive? Well...
      • Garth Ennis admitted that his sheer anger regarding human trafficking and sex slavery led to the infamous arc "The Slavers," which has Frank Castle graphically disembowel a slaver, throw his sister face first into a window repeatedly until the shatterproof window breaks off from the frame, and then set their father on fire... even after Frank admits that this won't make a big difference. The end of the arc is a brutal reality check on the fact that he has not made a dent in human trafficking, and the victims of it are forever scarred by the experience no matter what justice he provided.
      • In the miniseries Born it's pretty much stated the Punisher is a sociopath who's addicted to killing, and that if it wasn't criminals it would just be someone else. It is also sort of ambiguous as to whether he sold his soul to some sort of demonic entity, or was just going increasingly insane.
  • Mystique falls of the slippery slope after the death of her partner, Destiny. She hesitates for a while about crossing the line of killing the autistic minor, Legion, for revenge but quickly chooses to ignore her moral qualms and attempts to finish him off anyway. After this, she continues to spiral downwards into the more sociopath nature she is known for today.
  • It's arguable how far down the slope he already was, but the arc Superman: Ending Battle is this for '90s Anti-Hero Manchester Black. Initially, Black managed to just hover on the line between Unscrupulous Hero and Nominal Hero, but, after he learns Superman's secret identity, he leaps across the Moral Event Horizon; telepathically takes control of the supervillains (literally, all the supervillains) to attack anyone who's ever had any contact with Clark Kent, mind rapes the rest of the Elite (the only people who give a damn about him), and finally tortures and pretends to kill Lois Lane, all as part of a massive Thanatos Gambit to destroy Superman by goading him into breaking the One Rule pointlessly. When Superman refuses, Black suffers a major Heel Realization and telekinetically blows his own brains out.
  • Green Lantern: Hal Jordan, who got so pissed off that the Guardians forbid him to use his ring to temporarily recreate Coast City that he flew to Oa, maiming numerous other Green Lanterns in the way and stealing their rings, leaving them for dead in space, killed Kilowog, killed Sinestro, absorbed the whole power of the main battery (destroying it in the process), became the villain Parallax and then tried to destroy the universe in order to recreate it "the right way" actually, successfully destroyed the universe, but then the heroes hijacked his attempt to recreate it to make an acceptably similar replacement. In Green Lantern: Rebirth it was retconned as he being possessed by the fear entity Parallax.
  • Notably averted by Alan Grant's DC Universe character of Anarky: where originally the character was scripted to be willing to murder in pursuance of his anarchic philosophy, as written he upholds the same moral standards as Batman, which makes for some nice Not So Different interactions.
  • In Superman Annual 3 in the Armageddon 2001 crossover, Superman declared war on all nuclear weapons. At first, he just took away all nuclear weapons. Then, he started to steal from rich countries to give to the poor countries. Over the course of ten years, he became more intense and actually started sinking submarines that has nuclear weapons on them. When people started to die (accidentally), everyone started to get worried that Superman has gone too far. So, Batman decided that he had to kill Superman with the kryptonite ring.
  • Discussed in Robin when Robin and Spoiler foiled a convenience store robbery and Stephanie took a soda. Tim assumes she's going to pay for it, while she explains that she's earned it as they saved the whole store. She grudgingly puts down some money when Tim asks what prevents her from bending all the rules if she's willing to steal. Scans Daily commented on the scene with:
    "It just starts with stealing a soda after saving the store... next thing you know, you're hacking up people and putting them in your freezer!"
    • In the final issues of Robin Stephanie worries Tim is about to jump off the slippery slope when he uses Scarecrow's fear toxin to neutralize the beginnings of a gang war. She then straight up accuses him of doing so in Red Robin when she learns he was leading a portion of the League of Assassins for a while. He doesn't argue, though by the time she learns of this he'd already decided he was going to back away from making such compromises with his own morality.
  • In Star Wars: Legacy, Emperor Roan Fel is willing to use Sith powers to get his Empire back. He finally slips to the dark side when he plans to use a bioweapon on Coruscant to wipe out the Sith, unbeknown to him they are immune to it, but it will kill his allies and billions of lives still on the planet.
  • Dealt with in a two-issue arc of New X-Men: Academy X involving Prodigy, a student at the Xavier Institute with the ability to absorb the knowledge of anyone in the immediate vicinity, but only as long as they're in the immediate vicinity. When Emma Frost discovers that he's subconsciously put a block in his mind that prevents him from retaining the knowledge permanently, David asks Emma to remove the block, figuring he'll be able to do so much good for the world that way. The story then fast-forwards a few months, and David is already head of his own Mega-Corp that has developed cures for cancer and AIDS. How did he achieve this breakthrough? He killed his friend, the healer Elixir, and harvested his organs. Okay, that's certainly bad, but we're still at the point where it can be argued to be worth it. The next issue fast-forwards again, to twenty years later, and David is now the President and has united most of the world's countries into a utopian One World Government. And he's also planning the genocide of the Chinese because they refused to join. Okay, now he has to die. Fortunately the whole thing turns out to be an illusion, courtesy of Dani Moonstar, in an effort to convince him to leave the block in.
    • Another X-Men example in one of X-23's creators, Dr. Xander Rice: He forces Dr. Kinney to carry Laura's fetus to term by refusing to allow her to search for another host (so it's do it, or let the embryo die), shoves the girl into a radiation chamber at the age of seven to forcibly jump-start her healing factor by nearly killing her with radiation poisoning (when it's implied he could have gotten the same results with a "safer" dosage. Or just allowed her to manifest naturally), denies her anasthesia when he surgically removes her claws several days later to coat them in adamantium, uses Cold-Blooded Torture to condition her to the trigger scent, puts her in the "care" of an Ax-Crazy psychopath, treats her as an animal and subjects her to years of physical and emotional abuse, tries to kill her at one point by abandoning her on a mission, and oh yeah, sends her to kill the man who practically raised him from a toddler, and the man's wife and son (who is actually his son from an affair with the woman). Rice doesn't so much as jumping off the slippery slope as taking to it in a rocket sled. And then keep on going.
  • Jean-Paul Valley's tenure as Batman was exactly this. When given the mantle of the bat by the injured Bruce Wayne, he started out simple and was willing to follow rules. However, after the Scarecrow doused him with Fear Gas and the System kicked in, Jean-Paul's morality started to waver. He came close to viciously murdering villains such as The Joker, Tally Man, and Mr. Freeze, and nearly killed Tim when he tried to get Az!Bats to tone down the violence. After letting Abbatoir die by falling into a vat of molten steel, which ensured his captive's death, he decided to embrace his more vicious and brutal side once and for all, leading Bruce to come back and take the mantle from him by force. It's implied by some stories that Bruce's fear of going down that same path is why he adheres so rigidly to never killing villains, no matter how evil they are and no matter how likely they are to escape and kill again.
  • In the Chick Tract "Fairy Tales," a young boy named Harry has a shocking revelation that immediately causes him to go on a violent rampage and become a mass murderer, ultimately winding up next to Osama Bin Laden on the FBI's most wanted list. What was this world-shattering revelation, you ask? He realized that there's no reason for morality when he was told that... Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy aren't real!
  • Astro City has El Hombre, a former superhero who fell from grace after he became a Heroism Addict and tried to use Engineered Heroics to refresh his glory. He eventually masterminds a plan to slaughter hundreds of super-villains all so he could take the credit and make a name for himself once more.

    Fan Works 
  • I Will Not Bow series: Noboru starts out as a Dirty Coward who abandons Alice and Mai to save his own skin, but he's not exactly evil at first. Come Blazing Revolution, he, out of jealousy that Alice chose Ren over him, throws all moral concerns out the window, making a doctored video involving a fight with Laughing Coffin in an attempt to frame Kirito and Ren for murder, and outright assaulting Alice in real life while forcing her to grovel before him to prevent him from posting another video to completely ruin their reputation.
  • The Human Liberation Front, usually the go-to anti-pony La Résistance in TCB stories, went through this in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum. They first started off as a simple support group for people whose friends and family members had become newfoals, but it quickly attracted many unsavory characters when the war began and went further off the deep end, going from killing new foals to eventually killing all ponies on suspicion of them being Equestrian spies. Moreover, they also show a distinct lack of regard for civilian casualties, and at some point it became ordinary for them to post videos of themselves torturing ponies online while expecting gratitude for their horrible actions. Then they went after PHL ponies, who, by the way, are the ultimate defectors from decadence in the story, and only want to help humanity overthrow Celestia. The last straw came either when they tried to murder Ambassador Lyra Heartstrings (who had tried to reach out to them for aid), or the horrific crimes that they perpetrated on a PHL pony nurse. They're also a group of Right Wing Militia Fanatics of the highest order, who are considered to be downright dangerous, ineffectual and even suicidal, and their rabid anti-pony stance does way more harm than good.
  • Ho-oh from Poké Wars wants Pokémon-kind to live in a utopia and he limits his targets to humans only and tries to limit the damage he causes. He soon starts engaging in things like ordering the wanton killing of Pokémon contrary to his ideals, utterly ruining the environment and not giving a damn about it, and generally being a filthy hypocrite.
  • Summer Days and Evening Flames: Sergeant Sherry's logic for starting a gang war is sound, in a twisted sense, as it eliminated all the major players in the Farrington crime circuit. However, she somersaults off the ledge when she's about to be arrested for the indirect murder of dozens of city guards, where she shows little remorse and violently escapes. Sherry made a perfect landing when she pulls all of her connections to get Iron removed from his post and threatens him and his family if he pursues her.
  • Mass Effect Human Revolution's version of Toombs. It was one thing when he was hunting the Illuminati scientists who conducted unethical experiments on him, but he lost any moral high ground when he started taking hostages with intent to kill in order to force out into the open the one who rescued the final scientist.
  • In the The Dresden Fillies story False Masks, the plot is that the Order Triune, an ancient society have mistaken Harry Dresden to be their ancient foe, resurrected after 1200 years, and try to kill him. They attempt to poison him, and then kidnap the ponies close to him, like Twilight. When their coverts efforts fail, they take a direct approach. Summon HE WHO WALKS BEHIND (TWICE) to kill him, ignoring all the ponies around him that could have also died. And when that fails, they were ready go through the Mane 6 and the princesses to kill him and would have done so, had they not been sacrificed themselves to summon a demon. And it turns out that Obsidian never was resurrected, so they had committed all these crimes for nothing.
  • Allysion from Sonic X: Dark Chaos is an incarnation of this trope, at least according to the perspective of Jesus. Originally, she simply tolerated Angel excesses while focusing entirely on the defeat of Maledict. By the time of Dark Chaos, she's turned into a megalomaniac Blood Knight who channels God Is Evil and fully endorses rape and genocide simply to glorify herself, making her just as evil as Maledict if not even worse.
  • Sasuke in Eroninja goes from "Kill my brother to avenge my clan" to "Kill the ones who "made" my brother kill my clan"note  to "destroy the current shinobi system and kill people close to Naruto because it'll hurt him". Notably, Sakura gives up on Sasuke much sooner than Naruto but everyone (Naruto included) consider Sasuke past the Moral Event Horizon when he tries to kill his own mother.
  • Be All My Sins has Natalie, a sweet innocent girl thrust into the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium. She immediately offers her devotion to Slaanesh in order to live, then has to undertake a human sacrifice to prove her commitment, and from there it's pretty much a head-first dive into drugs, cannibalism, dark rituals and murder.
  • Harry's Madness: Harry Potter goes insane in Fifth Year and begins murdering all his real and perceived enemies, turning the DA into his dark legions of global conquest.
  • In Spring Trapped this is revealed to have been the case with Springtrap. He started off as a normal night guard at Fazbear Entertainment... until Golden Freddy started to attack him at night. Short on sleep and terrified for both his own and the customers' safety, he looked into the occult for solutions, eventually turning to blood sacrifices. The chickens he used worked... but slowly became less effective, so he used a child sacrifice, which gave him the Puppet to deal with. His job from then on became a downward spiral of more human sacrifices to keep the animatronics at bay and accumulating more and more haunted robots out for his blood, until he finally gave up, framed another employee for his crimes, and left his mess for Jeremy to deal with. Add in 30 years of being trapped in a saferoom after being messily killed by the Spring Bonnie suit, and you get the Springtrap of the third game- outright murderous with no ulteriour motive.
  • Arrow: Rebirth: Felicity Smoak did a lot of morally ambiguous and outright selfish things in the previous timeline, but the former were almost always for good causes so her loved ones were more willing to ignore the latter. Then she plots to murder Laurel (who doesn't even know her in this timeline) just to get Oliver back, chucking out any idea of moral ambiguity out the window and cementing her as a villain. When Oliver finds out what she was up to after she died, he's genuinely shocked, and it makes him wonder if he ever really knew her in the first place.

    Films — Animated 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: Human Twilight, after transforming into Midnight Sparkle goes from well-meaning but somewhat reckless investigator of magic to raging she-demon that tries ripping apart her own world to get to Equestria so she can study magic.
  • Frozen: In A Frozen Heart, a Tie-In Novel to the movie, once Hans gets his first taste of real power from controlling Arendelle in Elsa's absence, it goes right to his head and clouds his judgment, driving him to start dehumanizing everyone else, manipulate others and be desperate to cling onto power at all costs in order to escape his father's wrath and become king of Arendelle.
  • Narrowly averted in Big Hero 6 when Hiro attempts to use Baymax to kill Yokai/Robert Callaghan, but both his team and Baymax bring him back to his senses before he could kill him.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2: The introduction shows Lord Shen to be experimenting with a more destructive side of fireworks, which isn't downright evil in itself .... until he ordered the genocide of the pandas.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Yoda warns of the danger of The Dark Side, giving a slippery slope argument on how it works: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate... leads to suffering." However, it is exceedingly rare for somebody to not simply go to hate and Dark Side in the EU.
    • Anakin Skywalker from the prequels. Specifically, note how quickly he goes from agonizing over his role in Mace Windu's death to killing younglings without a problem. Anakin finally slips so far, his own wife, Padme Amidala, loses the will to live and eventually dies, and Obi-Wan Kenobi is forced to duel him, ending gruesomely. In order to keep Anakin alive, Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious subjects him to painful body reconstruction. The final push to the Dark Side comes from Palpatine himself- when Anakin asks if Padme is still alive, the Emperor tells him in his anger, he killed her. In pure disbelief of this, Anakin's true power flares up, and he screams out in despair, fully overtaken with pain and hate, completing his transformation into Darth Vader. What was especially loathsome of him was that, rather than desiring everyone's well-being, his honest desire for good was corrupted into infatuation and affection (he wanted to be together with her, alive, rather than desiring what's best for everyone); a desire to be with her for the sake of his pride; to feel good about himself for being able to keep the people he knows personally from dying (although, sadly for him, Palpatine never had any concern for his wife, to begin with).
  • The character of Amanda Young in the Saw series makes Jigsaw look downright merciful by the third movie. Of course, this was the fault of Jigsaw himself, who made her a murderer in an attempt to "help her", much to his shame when he realizes this. It didn't help any that Jigsaw's other protégé, Mark Hoffman, was already far down the slope, tugging on her leg at the time.
  • Magnum Force has Dirty Harry dealing with cops who have been executing guilty criminals who escaped justice due to technicalities. They murdered Harry's unstable friend, Officer Charlie McCoy, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, making them obviously bad guys even in a franchise glorifying Cowboy Cops.
  • Crimson Tide is often noted as quite admirably morally complex for a Jerry Bruckheimer film, with Gene Hackman's character given quite a bit of sympathy in wanting to launch the missiles. At least until the ending, when he makes a thinly veiled racist comment to Denzel Washington, which Washington promptly reverses on him.
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Koba begins the film as Caesar's closest friend and Blue Eyes's honorary uncle. Once humans are rediscovered and Caesar tries to make peace with them, he becomes paranoid. Spying on the humans and discovering an armory, Koba furiously berates Caesar leading to a fight between the two and destroying his loyalty. Koba then betrays Caesar by shooting him, framing the humans in the process, and after taking over the human settlement with human casualties, orders the humans rounded up, and when Ash refuses his orders to kill unarmed humans, he kills Ash and has any remaining Caesar loyalists imprisoned.
  • The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent didn't so much "jump off" as much as get kicked a little push from The Joker. This one ends up declaring that chance is the only fair and unbiased judge in the world and decides to force this upon those that he blames for the death of his fiance and his disfigurement which includes the dirty cops who put them in that situation and crime boss Maroni who had them follow the Joker's orders. The thing is he decides to also include in his new twisted worldview Gordon and his family for failing them, despite the fact that Jim really did the best he could.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd goes from wanting to just get revenge on two specific people to randomly murdering people off the streets who won't be missed and having them baked into pies about halfway through the movie (same thing goes for the stage version as well).
  • Major König in Enemy at the Gates might be a Punch-Clock Villain or a Worthy Opponent for most of the movie. He even shows a veiled contempt for brutal goons who beat up prisoners. And then he hangs a little kid.
  • In Super, Rainn Wilson's character decides to fight crime. This begins with trying to stop drug dealers, but turns into him brutally beating people with a pipe wrench (for cutting in line at the movie theatre).
  • A German Film Stahlnetz: PSI begins with two brothers kidnapping a rich girl actually she is not... for ransom. They reason a girl is a Spoiled Brat anyway and a few days in captivity won't hurt - and for her family, a million is only a pocket money, so it's not really bad. But then the younger brother decides that it is better to leave the girl to die, and when the other brother objects, beats him up and locks him together with the girl to die.
  • In The Star Chamber, the turning point comes, if not before, when Hardin and the rest go vigilante in order to pursue justice as they see it.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), EPA agent Walter Peck had a point that the Ghostbusters' operations needed some inspection, especially considering Egon was getting worried about the abnormal amount of spectral energy they are containing in their protection grid. However, he had the wrong attitude as he acted all important and showed his control-freak nature. When Peck later vindictively barges into the business with a court order and imperiously orders the grid shutdown despite the warnings of the Busters and the reservations of the accompanying utility worker, he is shown to be totally unreasonable and completely in the wrong. And he goes beyond his inspecting duties showing how petty his motivations are and how the most important thing for him is throwing his weight around. If anything it was he who pointed out it could be dangerous and therefore had no business toying with it. The fact that Peck then orders the Busters arrested for an explosion he himself clearly was responsible for makes him truly despicable.
  • Armored: Mike Cochrane, to the max, as observed by Tyler throughout the course of the plan going awry. Mike finding the opportunity to pull a $42 million heist irresistible to the point he had to pull Tyler in to get the necessary numbers for it was the first sign to Ty that things were going too far. Not abandoning ship (or letting Ty do so) once Baines broke their "nobody gets hurt" promise let Ty know that he couldn't trust Mike. From there, Mike would repeatedly hatch every plan in the book to try to get out with the money anyway as well as kill Ty and deputy Jake Echkehart to keep him from talking. This winds up forcing Palmer to kill first Dobbs, then himself, because of their consciences, and gets Quinn and Baines killed when Tyler decides to blow up the money in his car and they get caught in the blast. Finally, the fiasco ends... with Mike's soul so far gone that even with all the money burned and all his conspirators dead, he tries to viciously run over and kill his own godson with the armored truck rather than admit this whole thing went a million degrees wrong.
  • Juice: Bishop was originally just a Chaotic Neutral who was tired of constantly being harassed, who eventually loses it as he kills a store owner, his best friend, and nearly kills one of his other closest friends.
  • The Godfather: At first Michael Corleone got involved in the Mob War simply because he wanted to protect his father from a rival faction. He tried to get out of it but it was too late, after he actively participated there was no way out. That's why it could still be argued that ordering all the executions of those rival mobsters was in a way self-defense since they showed clear intent to kill him and it was a matter of who would get whom first. However, sending his assassins to also kill casino owner Moe Greene went clearly beyond that, as he posed no threat to him and only did it because he refused to sell him his casino. This is the part where it becomes obvious that Michael has fully embraced the life of a crime boss and has nothing else to live for.
  • Dogma: Bartleby and Loki are angels, exiled to Wisconsin. After the Tenth Plague, Bartleby convinced Loki to abandon his post as the angel of death. Dogma is about their ploy to get back into Heaven, through a loophole in Catholic rules. Throughout the movie, Bartleby seems to be the sane man to murder-happy Loki. But when they find out that the Last Scion (distant grand-niece of Jesus) has been dispatched to kill the two of them, Bartleby snaps. He goes directly from complacent in the antics of his empathy-lacking partner, to murdering clergymen and innocents indiscriminately because he's bothered about humanity being favored.
  • Adam starts This Is Your Death with noble—if morally dubious—aims: as a means of providing meaning to the deaths of those who wish to commit suicide, and to make the audience re-evaluate what their life actually means, with added goal of shocking television out of its complacency. However, he quickly capitulates to thechanges the network forces on him in order to keep the show on air; changes that makes he programme more of a game show, thereby diluting his original message. As the show becomes more popular, he is seduced by the fame and wealth it brings him. However, he jumps off the slope when he murders a woman who changes her mind part way through her suicide—despite the fact contestants are supposed to be able to pull out at any time—because her living would damage the ratings and go against the 'point' he believes he is making.

  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Fëanor in The Silmarillion starts out arrogant and slightly paranoid. Then Morgoth is released, and Fëanor starts doing things like drawing a sword on his half-brother, abandoning said half-brother to cross the Helcaraxë, and swearing/making his sons swear an oath to reclaim the Silmarils whatever the cost. This has nothing to do with Morgoth's corruption of the Elves, since Fëanor never trusted him as far as he could throw him; he does this all on his own.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Galadriel and Gandalf refuse the One Ring for fear of this.
  • Oh dear lord Jacen in Legacy of the Force. In the first book, he has a vision that the galaxy will fall into chaos and he will end up killing his mentor Luke Skywalker unless he listens to the Villain of the books, and is forced to kill one of his allies who refuses to listen to Jacen's reasoning. Cut to book two when he tortures a prisoner because she knows about a plot to kill his parents and accidentally kills her. Cut then to book three where it is he who is trying to kill his parents because "My parents are terrorist scum, and that is why I have to show no mercy towards them." This might be a clever showcasing exactly how "Falling to the Dark Side" works - turning the most justifiable cause into For the Evulz-Obviously Evil.
  • In Damon Knight's short story "The Analogues", a scientist invents a procedure to create a "better conscience" in the form of hallucinations that prevent you from committing crimes. This raises a lot of questions about the morality of removing free choice, but then it turns out the scientist plans to use it to take over the world, and has already used it on the protagonist to prevent him from stopping the plot.
  • In The Dresden Files, the White Council is extremely strict with their 7 Laws of Wizardry. First violation means an instant beheading unless a wizard on the Council bets their life they can reform the wizard, except in rare cases of self-defense (as in it's rare that they admit it was a case of self-defense). This is because Black Magic is almost always a slippery slope.
    • In Changes, Harry- after surviving a brutal Trauma Conga Line- decides that he will do anything to save his daughter and that the ends justify the means. He ends up making a Deal with the Devil, and personally considers himself evil from that point on. Once his daughter is safe, he commits suicide, not wanting to live if it means being the Winter Knight. But that only makes things worse. He eventually climbs back up the slope when Archangel Uriel tells him that just because Mab owns his loyalty doesn't mean she also owns his soul and he still has free will.
  • King Erius in Lynn Flewelling's Tamir trilogy starts by taking the throne from his insane mother, who was executing people left and right, in defiance of the divine edict that for no apparent reason essentially promises Bad Things if a man ever rules the country. Bad Things happen. You could debate whether or not he is really to blame for all that, but then he proceeds to institute sexist practices and start killing off his all female relatives.
  • Ho boy, does this ever happen in the eleventh book of Everworld to Senna Wales. K.A. "Ambitious, intelligent, controlling, Visionary Villain with a taste for power" into "batshit insane, power-mad, Genre Blind Bad Boss Evil Overlord."
  • In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, this trope in a nutshell is the Backstory of the Big Bad, the Sitha prince Ineluki. Once a purely heroic figure, his ambition and willpower darkened when the Sithi's lands were invaded by savage humans. Dismayed by his people's despair in the face of their approaching doom, he delved into These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know and constructed a weapon so terrible that his father the king insisted he destroy it. Maddened by this rejection and by his torments, Ineluki murdered his father and took the crown, leading a final, futile resistance against the humans that ended in his death via Dangerous Forbidden Technique. It is deeply unfortunate for the world of Osten Ard that he did not stay dead.
  • Rachel from Animorphs spends three years trying not to fall into this as her Blood Knight tendencies slowly but surely turn her into the team's Token Evil Teammate. She has high points and low points, but generally she manages to keep it together until the events of The Return and the subsequent unmasking of the Animorphs by the Yeerks. Once she's abandoned the facade of ordinary life entirely what little restraint she had left quickly follows, and one of the last books in the series, The Sacrifice, consists of her mostly just kicking one dog after another. Realizing she's fallen into this, she agrees to a suicide mission at the end, knowing she could never fit into normal society again.
    • David is an example too. Breaking into a hotel room because the alternative is sitting in a barn? That's entirely forgivable. A few chapters later, he's surrendering to the enemy, assaulting the Animorphs, and worse.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Theon was a jerk, but a pretty tame one by the standards of the series. However, after taking over Winterfell and losing his hostages he allows Reek to kill innocent people in a cover-up, including two children.
  • The Neverending Story: Bastian becomes an evil psychopath toward the end of the book due to Xayide's manipulation, but snaps out of it, leading to a breakdown.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 does so respectively with Tony Almeida and Jack Bauer in its final two seasons. In Tony's case, After his wife and unborn son were killed, he sets out to kill the mastermind in any way possible. But tactics he employs in trying to do so include things like murdering the director of the FBI, nearly exposing several innocent people to a lethal pathogen, and attempting to sacrifice Jack in order to get close to his target. As for Jack, after years of being tortured, screwed over, and having friends and loved ones taken from him, he finally loses it when Renee Walker is killed as part of the Russian's cover-up and the President betrays him by refusing to reveal the truth since exposing them would also expose their involvement in the murder of a foreign president, which in turn would ruin the chances of a peace treaty she's trying to have signed. Jack claims that he'll take justice into his own hands and expose the truth, but his doing so involves murdering The Mole solely because had been working with the Russians beforehand long before there was any movement made to kill Renee, slaughtering several members of the Russian government, opening fire on a crowd of innocent people (which although it was mainly to disable random pedestrian cars, it's still made perfectly clear that Jack could have easily killed someone with even the slightest slip-up and really didn't give a damn at all) and attempting to assassinate both Yuri Survarov and Charles Logan even though killing the both of them would be guaranteed to start a war between the USA and Russia that would likely lead to the deaths of millions. The series does its best to make sure that what he's doing isn't in any sort of heroic light.
  • The 100: At the start of season two, Finn Collins, who started the series as The Conscience, begins to slip as a result of trauma from the end of the first season and desperation to rescue his friends and love interest, Clarke, from presumed Grounder captivity. At one point, he executes a captured Grounder after his group interrogates him, justifying it by saying that the Grounder would've revealed their location. His companions, however, are shocked by his ruthlessness. Later, he ends up attacking an innocent Grounder village and rounding up its inhabitants for interrogation. After one of the villagers startles him, he shoots them dead, then continues firing into the unarmed, frightened crowd, killing 18. Even known murderer Murphy is shocked by this atrocity, and the show itself doesn't let him get away with it. Finn initially tries to defend himself, but eventually turns himself in to the Grounders. Clarke mercy kills him after she learns the Grounders plan to torture him to death for his crimes.
  • Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had an interesting ethical dilemma set up between S.H.I.E.L.D., who felt that people with superhuman abilities needed to be indexed and monitored to protect regular people from them in case they ever became dangerous, and the Inhumans, who felt their rights were being taken away and such policies would inevitably lead to wide-scale imprisonment or extermination. Any question of who had the moral high ground went out the window when Jiaying, the Inhumans' leader who had been corrupted by a brutal vivisection at the hands of Dr Whitehall, a member of HYDRA, murdered a S.H.I.E.L.D. representative in cold blood at a peace meeting and framed it to look like S.H.I.E.L.D. was attacking them, then set up a trap to draw as many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as she could to an aircraft carrier she had hijacked and planned to flood with synthesized Terrigen Mist, which would kill any non-Inhumans who were exposed to it. Her power, previously assumed to be longevity through a Healing Factor, was suddenly revealed to require her to literally drain the life out of other people to sustain herself (granted, she originally hated this power until her vivisection), which she attempts on her own daughter (who also happens to be an Inhuman) after she calls her out on the above plan and tries to stop her.
  • Angel: During Season 3, Wesley translates a prophecy reading "The Father Will Kill The Son". Not quite sure how to handle the situation, he takes the baby away - for good - and even strikes Lorne unconscious when he finds out what's going on. To make that even worse, Wesley gets his throat cut and the baby taken away from him. And it was a false prophecy, anyway. Now Holtz has the child and takes him with him into a Hell Dimension, raising him to hate Angel.
  • Battlestar Galactica: Given that the entire cast has been through hell backwards by the end of the pilot miniseries and it just goes From Bad to Worse after that, this trope is kind of understandable...
    • The "Pegasus" arc has been accused of this by some critics, with Admiral Cain taking about twenty minutes to go from merely being a hard-assed martinet to ordering the rape of a pregnant woman as a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and sentencing the crewmen who interfered to summary execution. In fact, the episode "Pegasus" had had to be radically trimmed to fit network time constraints; some of the footage that was lost (and reinstated on the DVD) implied the passing of more time than seems to go by in the episode as aired. The Razor movie, which came later, also expanded on her backstory; she was already a little unbalanced even before the fall of the Twelve Colonies, at which point something... broke, thus retconning the events of "Pegasus" into more of a Villainous Breakdown.
    • There's also the episode where the woman put in charge of a tribunal takes about 24 hours to go completely nuts with power, and attempt to accuse the commanding officer who appointed her of the crime she's investigating.
    • Similarly, in "Black Market", the leader of the organisation running it does a pretty good job of defending the need for a Black Market in the fleet. Then he talks about having child prostitutes, so Lee can shoot him without feeling guilty. Lee did acknowledge the argument about the need for a black market, though, given that he allows it to stay in business afterwards. He just wanted them to clearly understand where the Moral Event Horizon was.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In Season 6, Willow goes from killing Warren as revenge for Tara to trying to kill the uninvolved other guys from the Trio. Then to hurting Buffy, Anya (who initially sympathized with her), and Giles and finally to trying to end the world. All within a couple of episodes which together take place within less than one day.
    • The Initiative in season four was clearly using questionable methods in their study of demons, vampires, and other paranormal activities, but they were getting the job done and had effectively defanged Spike, one of history's most dangerous vampires. Then they decided that Buffy was a liability and tried to kill her. When it seemed like they were getting back on the slope, they took to torturing Oz (a good werewolf rather than an evil demon) and tried to kill the Slayer again.
    • Faith. When she first showed up, she had a lot of problems, not the least of which was that she enjoyed slaying a little too much, but she was definitely a good guy. Then she accidentally killed a man and the guilt (combined with all the speeches made to her about why she should be feeling guilty) made her snap and go NUTS. Later on this happens even more when she gets yelled at for her actions (such as when she tried to kill Angel or saves Buffy and an evil slayer).
    • Warren originally created a robot that would obey his every whim, but he eventually abandoned the android because he wanted a girlfriend that would be a partner in the relationship and he fell in love with a woman with her own ideas and personality. His creation of a Sex Bot and then abandoning it to "die" raises plenty of questions about his character, but he ultimately decides that he wants a woman that he can respect and interact with. In his later appearances in Season 6, he is a misogynistic bastard who tries to brainwash, and eventually kills, his ex-girlfriend because she would not submit to his desires.
  • Charmed has a twist on this in Season 2's "Morality Bites"; after the sisters use their powers to pull a vengeful yet relatively harmless prank on a man who continually lets his dog defecate on their driveway, Phoebe has a premonition of being burned at the stake for killing someone with her powers a decade in the future. One adventure later, they are sent back to that point in time to prevent falling prey to this trope, worded well by Phoebe:
    Phoebe: Once you break the small rules, it's just a matter of time before the big ones are next.
  • An episode of The Commish features a Vigilante Man who initially only humiliates bad guys who deserve it. But when an accused rapist/murderer is found not guilty (for good reason), the vigilante (who believes he got Off on a Technicality) clubs him to death, setting the team on his case.
  • Seems to happen about once a season in Doctor Who. A few notable examples;
    • In "The Mind of Evil", a scientist invents a machine that removes criminal impulses from the human mind, and offers it to the government as a means of dealing with dangerous criminals without resorting to the death penalty. Turns out its inventor is actually the Master and the device brainwashes people to serve him.
    • In "Genesis of the Daleks", Davros invents the Dalek (or "Mark III Travel Machine", as he initially calls it) ostensibly for the purpose of making life easier for mutated Kaleds. When his superiors start getting cold feet about the research, he has the entire Kaled race wiped out.
      • The audio drama Davros, released much later, showed that Davros was already lying in a heap at the bottom of the slope by this point. Not hard, when you're the leading scientist of a race of ersatz Nazis...
    • The original Daleks in "The Daleks" do this too. They're paranoid and threatening, but as the result of a nuclear war with another race that devastated their country and turned them into mutants incapable of surviving outside of travel machines in a specially-built environment with metal floors. While they trick the humans into it, all they really want is anti-radiation drugs which would allow them to leave their suits. It then turns out that their bodies have adapted to need radiation and the withdrawal sends them mad before killing them, so they decide to shoot out a load of radioactive waste onto the planet again when they realise they can't survive without radiation.
    • In "The Unquiet Dead", gaseous beings called the Gelth need to animate human corpses to house themselves and hence survive — creepy, if not evil. They ask to come to Victorian Cardiff, and the Doctor, dismissing the Squick of his companions, agrees. After the Gelth come through, however, it turns out they lied about their numbers and intentions. They want to take over all of Earth's living bodies — but even before we learn this, we can tell that they're malevolent, because shortly after getting the Doctor's go-ahead, they switch from pale blue to bright red and Satanic. Apparently, they were "demonic" all along, see?
    • In "Rise of the Cybermen", when the British government refuses to fund John Lumic's Cyberman research, he kills the leadership and begins forcibly cyber-converting the British population.
    • "Partners in Crime" begins with an alien conspiracy that... helps people lose weight effortlessly by giving them pills that cause one pound of fat to turn into an adorable little creature called an Adipose every night. While this comes off as slightly sinister, it's hard to see how they could ever be an enemy- until, of course, the "breeders" of the Adipose decide that their current method is too slow and try to make Adipose out of the entire body of their victims, killing them in the process. Jumping? More like a great, flying leap.
    • It's implied in "The Runaway Bride" and more-or-less stated in "Journey's End" that the reason the Doctor travels around with a companion is so that he has someone to remind him not to do this, since he has so much power and gets into such intense and painful situations it would be hard for him not to slip, and hard for anyone to stop him once he starts sliding. The Doctor officially jumps in two stories in which he is without a companion, though he does manage to return to the side of right in both:
      • The Tenth Doctor does this in the last 10 or so minutes of "The Waters of Mars". After having spent the whole episode with a group of people destined to die, the Doctor snaps and decides to save them after most of them have already been killed. Just moments after saving the remaining people (in the most epic way possible), the Doctor decides that he can mess with the timeline in any way he sees fit, completely ignoring his species' laws. At this point, the Doctor is almost antagonistic. Thankfully the Doctor is only in this state for one scene and is brought down a couple of pegs before he can really do anything.
      • The Twelfth Doctor does this in the Series 9 finale "Hell Bent". All season he'd been struggling with how much he could or couldn't do to save those around him — letting O'Donnell die and being willing to die himself but still trying to save his beloved companion Clara Oswald from a preordained death in "Before the Flood", and immortalizing Ashildr/Me in "The Girl Who Died" because it was the only way he could save her from the grave. In "Face the Raven", he considered going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that would have slaughtered innocents over Clara's actual death but Clara talked him down. But he spent the next episode, "Heaven Sent", not only imprisoned and completely alone but subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture. So in "Hell Bent", which takes place after he escapes, he is effectively insane and once again tries to alter a fixed point in time by undoing Clara's death altogether, which took place billions of years ago in-universe by the time he manages to get the means to do so; he has no plan to avert the destruction of the universe this would cause and basically hopes he'll get lucky, and justifies his actions by invoking his "duty of care" and Dude, Where's My Reward? For bonus points, he also intends to Mind Rape Clara of her memories of him. But Clara herself manages to talk him down, and he returns to his best self by not only giving up his Tragic Dream but losing his memories of her, which means he no longer is consumed by the horrors that drove him to extremes.
  • In the final season of Elementary, Odin Reichenbach is initially presented as a Well-Intentioned Extremist — he kills people, but only "bad people" and he sincerely believes he's saving innocent lives by doing so. Then, when Sherlock tries to show him another way, by rehabilitating one of the potential killers he's identified, he murders innocent people and frames the guy rather than admit he's wrong.
  • Fringe: Walternate originally just wanted to save his universe, even if it meant destroying a parallel universe and its inhabitants. Then he attempted to kill his son and the mother of his grandchild.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Theon condones the murder of two innocent boys to make it appear as though he has executed the Stark boys Bran and Rickon.
    • Tyrion has clearly snapped by the end of his trial, but his murders of Tywin and Shae cement how far he's gone from the noble anti-hero he once was. Oddly he sort of climbs back up the slope in later seasons, trying to protect his brother and sister from Daenerys's wrath (unlike his book counterpart who is openly in favor of killing everyone in King's Landing and even demands to Daenerys that he be allowed to rape his sister Cersei).
    • The most extreme case is Daenerys just flat-out snapping in the final season and burning most of King's Landing to the ground, soldiers and civilians and even children alike, an act that flies completely in the face of all the principles she ever held or espoused.
  • There are few series with more examples than Gotham.
    • The prime example that the whole series explores in his descent to murder and monstrosity is Edward Nygma. He was in love with Kringle and demanded her abusive boyfriend's face to leave her alone. He responded by assaulting him, and in the ensuing conflict he ended up stabbing him to death in an extreme move of self-defense. Things went really downhill when Kringle found out and during a psychotic outburst of panic he strangled her to death without even realizing it. When he saw what he did, he lost any resemblance of a conscience and murdered a possible witness and then he did two atrocities in one strike by murdering an innocent cop in order to frame Jim for the latter's murder.
    • The Balloonman is one of the only examples who can make anyone question what is right and what is wrong and where do his actions belong. The whole point of his character was that he was tired of seeing big criminals getting away with ruining lives because they were part of the system and started targeting corrupt officials. Even Jim looks uncertain and confused about the moral questions that arise during their showdown. Too bad he chose to close the debate he was winning by saying forget it and trying to shoot Jim despite knowing that Jim was a good cop.
    • Even the much darker Jerome Valeska whose later acts would need a page of their own, says that his mother (and his first kill) horribly abused and mistreated him and evidence shows that he is likely telling for once the truth.
    • By season 3 we get once more an almost textbook example with infected Captain Barnes who starts with killing serial murderers who get pardoned despite the overwhelming evidence to what they did (once again) and ends up being a walking, talking Black-and-White Insanity trope by himself once he tells Gordon that if he isn't with him, he is guilty too and tries to shoot him. And all this while rightfully pointing out that James did the same thing to Theo. Its an almost example, because he was infected and wasn't just being himself. It seems by now that Jim is one of the only who didn't go all the way over the edge.
  • Hannibal: Will goes from doing some morally ambiguous, but still understandable things, (such as trying to have Hannibal killed) to something unambiguously evil in "Naka-Choko". It turns out to be a con to convince Hannibal that he'd gone slope-jumping, which might not have been a con after all. It's complicated at best, mostly because Will's feelings towards Hannibal are also very complicated.
  • An episode of MacGyver involved a business owner attempting to have the Challengers Club shut down because one of its members stole a truck from his printing business. What could have been a two-sided conflict between a racist business owner - albeit one who had a legitimate axe to grind - and a teenager conditioned by poverty and racism to view white people as the enemy shifts step by step into a case of the boy being a clear-cut victim of The Man. First it turns out the business owner framed the kid for stealing the truck as a pretext to have the Challengers Club shut down. Then he escalates to murdering the club owner. Then it turns out he prints white supremacist propaganda and thinks "niggers should be drowned at birth".
  • Lincoln Potter was the Hero Antagonist of Season 4 of Sons of Anarchy, depicted as a largely well-intentioned but morally ambiguous Crusading Lawyer, with a manipulative streak that occasionally shone through. When he reappears as the de-facto Big Bad of Mayans M.C., he has become a cold, ruthless, Faux Affably Evil authoritarian who will use any means, legal or illegal, to achieve his goals. He explains that coming within a hairs breadth of bringing down SAMCRO and the Gallindo Cartel, only to be forced to walk away at the last second due to interference from the CIA, who want to keep Gallindo's gun and drug trade open for inscrutable foreign espionage purposes, made him decide that there was no point trying to bring justice to the world or make things better, and instead he should just maintain the status quo in favour of the powerful.
  • In the Merlin BBC series, Morgana was understandably angry and bitter, but nevertheless sympathetic. However, between seasons two and three, she transformed into a smirking villain.
  • In one episode of Monk, when Captain's Stottlemeyer's wife is gravely injured in the fallout of a union assassination, Stottlemeyer proceeds to teeter dangerously close to the edge in his hunt for the sniper. Near the end, he very nearly launches a raid on the suspected union until Monk manages to crack the case.
  • Season two of Murder One featured a storyline about Clifford Banks, a serial killer who tracked down and executed criminals who escaped justice, or had an unsuitably short prison sentence. He started out on this path through the murder of his retarded brother, he never kills innocent people, and throughout the arc, a few people comment that "sometimes the streets need sweeping." Any moral ambiguity is then done away with by the lawyers finding out that Clifford actually killed his brother himself over his frustration about giving up his whole life to care for him, causing a mental breakdown that directed his guilt outwards onto other criminals.
  • In the pilot episode of The Shield, Vic Mackey partakes in numerous dubious acts including the use of excessive force during arrests, working with a drug dealer and beating a suspect with a phone book in order to make him talknote , but other cops justify his actions by stating that he gets tangible results. Then, at the end of the episode, he shoots another police officer in the face to prevent him from gathering evidence against Vic's team, firmly establishing him as a Villain Protagonist for the rest of the series.
  • Holly in Slings & Arrows wants to streamline the Festival's business end and replace most of its William Shakespeare with musicals. This only marks her as a villain in the context of a show where Shakespeare is Serious Business, until she starts abusing her boyfriend and deliberately aggravating the heart problem of a board member who disagrees with her.
  • Smallville:
    • The season 8 finale took an incredible amount of heat for various reasons, and one of them was this trope.
    • Season 9 had multiple concurrent threads of Well-Intentioned Extremism colliding into one big Self-Fulfilling prediction of doom:
      • Tess Mercer established an alliance with the Kandorians to save Earth from mankind's destructive ways but in the Bad Future, she collaborated fully with Zod's despotic rule over a dying human populace.
      • Amanda Waller as the head of Checkmate employed threats, murders, and kidnappings to prepare for a coming war against the aforementioned Kandorians. Then she casually ordered the execution of a group of non-powered Kandorians, cementing her status as a Fantastic Racist.
      • General Zod's interest in restoring his and his fellow Kandorians' powers (against Clark's objections) made sense in light of the repeated violent threats they faced from Amanda Waller and other humans Properly Paranoid about aliens among them. After Zod and the Kandorians get their powers restored, he destroys Checkmate, kills Faora (and their unborn child) for going against him, and plans to take over Earth with the Kandorians loyal to him and make it into a New Krypton.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Gerak in season 9. At least he got a redemptive death, though.
    • The Ori could stray into this. At first, it seems that, while their practices are primitive, their ultimate goals are noble enough, helping others to achieve ascension. Then it's revealed that this is all a lie, and the Ori are manipulating people's belief to gain more power.
    • The rogue NID. At first, they're stealing alien technology with the purpose of using it to defend Earth, making them into Knight Templars. Then it turns out they're just in it for the money.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, it's revealed that after giving the Hirogen holographic technology from Voyager, the Hirogen quickly got bored with the standard holograms and started creating more intelligent holograms to make their hunts better. These holograms eventually became self-aware and rebelled, before freeing others hologram in the area. Even Voyager's EMH joins their cause, agreeing that this is technically a form of slavery. Unfortunately, they quickly move onto anyone who uses humanoid holograms at all, regardless as to whether those holograms are actually sentient. The Doctor is horrified when their leader brutally murders a man to free the holographic equivalent of Clippy.
    • Deliberately invoked by the writers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the case of Gul Dukat. Due to the charisma with which Marc Alaimo played the character, and his sometime-alliances with the main characters, a significant number of fans developed a Draco in Leather Pants effect, forgetting that Dukat had been a genocidal military dictator. To combat this in later seasons the writers had Dukat go mad, declare that he should have exterminated the entire Bajoran race, and finally become the series' equivalent of a Satan-worshipper.
    • Invoked in-universe in the episode "For The Uniform", Sisko realises that Michae edington is essentially living out a heroic fantasy as leader of the Maquis, and has come to view Sisko as an Inspector Javert-esque Anti-Villain consumed by his obsession with catching Eddington (which isn't completely inaccurate). Sisko starts acting like he's completely lost it and decided to indiscriminately bomb Maquis colonies, manipulating Eddington into surrendering by framing it as a Heroic Sacrifice to stop his mad rampage.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season 2, "Bloodlust". The Winchester brothers met rogue vampire hunter Gordon Walker while looking for a nest of vampires. Gordon seems like a decent enough chap and a worthy ally, and Dean likes his "kill all the monsters and enjoy the hunt" philosophy. Dean and Sam end up fighting when Sam reveals that other hunters say Gordon is bad news. Before this can go any further, Gordon takes a swan dive off the slope when the local vampires turn out to actually be peaceful, having sworn off killing humans, yet he still attempts to slaughter them. Then he tries to feed Sam to the head vampire to prove she's still a monster, and attacks Dean when they try to protect her. Bad move.
    • This is Castiel's entire character arc during Season 6. Desperate to defeat Raphael in the civil war in Heaven, Castiel begins performing many morally questionable acts, not the least of which is allying with Crowley, and rapidly skipping several shades of grey. This ultimately culminates in the season finale, where he jumps right into Villain Protagonist territory when he absorbs all the souls of Purgatory and declares himself the new God.
    • Whilst on a smaller scale, Castiel's ascension to God and later 'death' causes Dean to take a much harsher stance on supernatural beings throughout Season 7, most apparent in 'The Girl Next Door'.
    • Season 9 and Season 10 had this happen to Dean after he took on the Mark of Cain, with him becoming more violent and prone to murderous rages in Season 9. He allows himself to be killed at the end of the S9 finale in fear of what he's becoming, but the Mark wouldn't let him die, thus reviving him as a Demon, but he's cured and turned back into a human in the beginning of S10. The Mark, however, still remains, and he eventually relapses mid-Season 10, with Charlie's death being the catalyst for him giving himself up fully to the Mark's influence. The Season 10 finale has him summon Death the Horsemen in an attempt to have the Mark removed permanently, only for Death to refuse, because removing the Mark without passing it on to someone else will unleash the Darkness, an entity that was locked inside the Mark of Cain since before creation, and is the reason the Mark corrupts anyone who bears it, thus making it the ultimate Big Bad of the series, by proxy of being the original source of evil in Supernatural.
  • Teen Wolf: Lydia references this trope, warning Allison over the phone that Scott might fall off of it, starting with being thirty minutes late for dates and eventually ending up at domestic violence.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • Najara, a character who either converted or killed criminals. Rather quickly, Najara is revealed to be insane, and can't tell the difference between obvious criminals and lesser offenders.
    • Calisto has a legitimate beef with Xena (Xena killed her family and wiped out her village), but every time she shows up she racks up more collateral damage and Disproportionate Retribution, becoming increasingly less sympathetic in the process. A later episode reveals that Calisto, who has time traveled to the day her parents died, is the one who killed her parents and left her younger self to die. Note that none of this reduces her hate for Xena, showing that she doesn't even care at this point.

    Tabletop Games 
  • World of Darkness has a mechanic for this: Morality degredation. Every type of playable creature has some form of a Karma Meter that goes from 0 to 10, although some are stranger than others (Werewolves have to balance their opposing natures, so 5 Harmony is the ideal and breaking points get you to extremes, Demons' Cover measures how well they hide from the God-Machine, Changelings' Clarity doubles as a Sanity Meter, and so on). 10 is Incorruptible Pure Pureness, 7 is assumed to be the normal starting point, and at 0 your character becomes unplayable (Humans become sociopaths, Vampires become mindless monsters, Changelings completely detach from reality, et cetera). Commit some act that a person at your level of morality would view as 'bad' makes you roll for Degradation, and if you fail the roll you lose a point, and possibly gain a derangement. While each level down takes greater and greater sins (falling from 1 to 0 requires serious atrocities), as your morality gets lower and lower, you stop caring about the harm you're causing, which can make it easier for you to do worse and worse things.
  • Over in the fangame Genius: The Transgression, Genii have an alternate way of going off the slope- failing Unmada checks. Fail one check, and you're an Unmada, a genius who has lost their connection to real science and thinks that their Wonders are the way the world really works. While not necessarily evil, Unmada are quite dangerous. Unmada can take Unmada checks of their own, and if they fail that, they become Illuminated, just the same as if they had fully bottomed out their Obligation. It's actually much more common for Genii to become Illuminated in this way than by Obligation bottoming.
  • Chaos in Warhammer 40,000 is grease on the Slippery Slope. As Chaos is a sentient form of The Dark Side by way of The Corruption, this trope becomes rather understandable.
    • The entire theme of the Alpha Legion in 'Legion'. They are a secretive legion who achieve victory through the best means necessary, even if it means the deaths of hundreds of Guardsmen but are still loyal to the Emperor. However, at the end of the book, they join the forces of Chaos, believing it's what the Emperor would want. Though it is possible they only wanted it to look like they had jumped off the slope so that they could manipulate Horus into losing the war.
    • Tau as well, when one considers that it is for the greater good for sterilization policies, and special "helmets" for their bug allies.
    • The Inquisition contains two major factions: Puritans and Radicals. Puritans are the standard "burn the planet to ashes if there's a hint of Chaos on it" guys, while Radicals are the ones willing to use chaos against itself (i.e., get a guy possessed by a demon so he can use stupidly powerful magic or wield possessed weapons). Strangely, Radicals tend to be older than Puritans, it's implied seeing a lifetime of fighting against Chaos have so little effect they start using The Dark Side. Pretty much all of them end up falling to Chaos anyway.
  • Exalted: averted. Pledging yourself as an Abyssal or Infernal Exalt might seem like this trope, since it requires pledging loyalty to the Deathlords or Yozis, respectively. However, it's entirely possible (if not somewhat difficult) to go renegade and do your own thing, if you decide that being a Card-Carrying Villain is for suckers.
    • Then there's the demons, dead and raksha themselves, who tend to be less evil and more along the lines of a Blue-and-Orange Morality. Demon summoning is a fairly common practice for everything from construction to medicine to entertainment, some places in Creation have regular interactions with the denizens of the Underworld, and The Fair Folk makes great trade partners because of their ability to buy and sell immaterial concepts (like dreams and emotions).
    • Played straight with the akuma, who allow themselves to be completely remade as agents of the Yozis in exchange for power. However, given the circumstances that lead many to become akuma, they tend to be a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.

  • Transformers:
    • Some iterations have the Decepticons starting out with a legitimate grievance, only to gradually lose their grip on it and become full-time Robot Assholes from Space. Both The Transformers (IDW) and Transformers: Prime have Megatron as a rebellious miner whose vengeance twisted back on him and turned him into the mirror image of the corrupt Cybertronian system he fought to overthrow, for example.
    • In some continuities, The Fallen starts out as doing what he considers to be necessary For The Greater Good of the Thirteen as they help establish Cybertron's civilization. However, a dispute that leads to a civil war among the leaders eventually results in him killing his lover Solus Prime (sometimes accidentally, sometimes not) before abandoning their covenant. Sometimes this leads to him establishing the Decepticons, other times in him joining Unicron and becoming his herald.

    Video Games 
  • Spec Ops: The Line: The entire game's events have been one long one for Captain Martin Walker, with this game being about him becoming a Villain Protagonist. Starting out wanting to be a hero with a seemingly well-meaning goal of saving Dubai, he continues to make things worse for Dubai until he becomes its greatest threat; the "enemy soldiers" he's been killing throughout the game were soldiers trying to protect the surviving civilians, or civilians manipulated by government agents to act as the resistance. Walker's most infamous feats throughout the game are killing dozens of soldiers and civilians at a refugee camp with white phosphorus, and later helps destroy Dubai's water supply, and ultimately leads his own unit to their deaths. All the while he continues to blame Konrad so he can find some way to justify his deeds or ignore his conscience. When finally confronted by the hallucination of Konrad - a manifestation of his conscience - Walker has the choice to accept or deny responsibility for what he did, and can ultimately slaughter a squad of soldiers expressly trying to help him.
  • God of War: As shown in the prequels, Kratos was always a Sociopathic Hero on his very best of days, but he was perfectly capable of compassion and feelings of camaraderie. But then his mistakes start to add up, he spends every waking second being pushed and prodded and tormented by the gods, he loses half the things he cared about to his own failings and the other half is taken away. As of the second game, he's devolved into a straight-up Villain Protagonist. The game opens up with him waging war alongside the Spartans in Rhodes, and after Zeus betrays him, the man just snaps. It's all downhill from there.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us has a lot of this: Superman doesn't just jump, he flies down the slope at Mach speed after being tricked into killing Lois and then killing Joker in retaliation, establishing a totalitarian dictatorship where in exchange of his "protection", everyone that even dares to protest his methods gets a swift death, as exemplified by what happened to that universe's Green Arrow and later Shazam, and according to the backstory, Hawkman, causing Hawkgirl to retaliate in vengeance, only to be Brainwashed into servitude. He does it a second time when he goes from maintaining order with an iron fist — and demonstrably creating a peaceful world at the expense of a few lives, and freedom of course — to flattening cities himself because people don't agree. Via backstory, we see the only surviving Teen Titans being Cyborg and Raven; both end up disillusioned and Raven ends up giving in to Trigon's influence, gaining a lust for torture and becoming Trigon's worshipper instead of trying to prevent his coming. And while Damian Wayne did accidentally kill Dick Grayson, he didn't look back in regret and goes far worse than before because Superman, being his 'new father figure', convinced him to continue his extremist ways. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is unquestioningly convinced of Superman's "logic" for some reason, even after it gets clearly obvious she's doing the things he's supposed to be preventing.
  • Portal 2's Wheatley does this as part of his Face–Heel Turn after a core transfer with GLaDOS gets him Drunk with Power. He calls the escape lift to let Chell go, gushing over how cool his new body is, but when Chell is almost out, he starts laughing. The music turns dark, his laughter turns into a downright Evil Laugh, and the lift starts lowering again. He starts monologuing about how HE did all of this, and when GLaDOS points out that it was CHELL who did all the work, Wheatley gets so mad, he takes GLaDOS apart and sticks her in a potato battery, showcasing that the cute little personality core he'd been for the entire duration of the game has turned into a sadistic monster.
  • BioShock:
    • Harvesting even one of the Little Sisters gives you the bad ending; it is simply implied that you jumped off the slope and became ADAM- and power-hungry the moment you first harvested.
    • Andrew Ryan. The whole point of Rapture was to create a utopia where individuality and free enterprise were unrestrained by the government. Once Fontaine began to rise in power though, paranoia and a fear of losing his city turned him into an iron-fisted, totalitarian dictator, the exact opposite of what he set out to become.
  • BioShock 2:
    • If the player jumps off the slope so does Eleanor.
    • Sophia Lamb believes that humanity's root problem is that everyone is genetically predisposed to be self-serving, and happens to have taken over a city that has all but perfected genetic engineering. Does she work on developing a gene tonic that would cure the user of their selfishness? Nope, her plan is to turn the city into a hivemind, with her own daughter serving as its mother brain against her will.
  • In Neverwinter Nights, Aribeth leaps quite quickly down the slippery slope (partially excused as Morag is messing with her brain and her intentions)
  • Subverted in Rondo of Swords. After a very harsh Friend or Idol Decision that ends up on the favor of the Idol, Serdic experiences an immediate Karmic backlash, complete with title change, power swap, and costume switch to reflect his dog shooting. While his Nakama repeatedly accuse or suspect him of jumping off the slope, Serdic experiences no lapse in emotional or moral health. The epilogue also reveals that he was a just and well-loved ruler with a happy marriage.
  • CJ and Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Grand Theft Auto IV, respectively. Let's assume that they're good-hearted people at the start (if the cut-scenes are any indication), and let's assume the player doesn't do any killing not encouraged by the storyline (which is a stretch but go with it). Now watch how their lives unfold. CJ, in particular, goes from "I guess I'll kill this guy since he's been screwing with my gang" to "guess I'll just kill all these guys for no apparent reason" so quickly it might make you wonder if you're still playing as the same guy. By the end of the game, at least, he gets to see the awful results of his actions, and he tells his family outright in the final cutscene that they need to rein it in and be more subtle. It helps that he was being blackmailed for the entire game. His brother has fewer excuses, and the other Grove OGs have none.
    • Well, Niko may seem pretty nice at the beginning of the game, but the plot eventually reveals that he is a war criminal out to kill other war criminals. So there's a good argument that he starts the game as a major bad guy, and indeed committed even more horrible acts before the game started than you can ever do in it.
  • Mega Man X8 has Lumine, a New Generation Reploid, and director of the Orbital Elevator project. He's the Big Bad, not Sigma this time. It doesn't help that the whole of Lumine's tale plays on the game's subtitle, Paradise Lost. Lumine is the analog to Satan, rising against his creators and their vassals. He even seems to have enough truth in his words to shake up X into being completely unable to attack.
  • It used to be that when the Warcraft series needed a new villain, Blizzard would seem to throw a dart at a character board and have the one they hit go insane.
    • Kael'thas Sunstrider's goal was originally to improve his suffering people, and despite their re-branding as blood elves, they were a shining example of Dark Is Not Evil. Even when he allied with the naga, and the partially demonic Illidan, it was a move of desperation and managed to be the moral center of the group. In Burning Crusade, he's killed as part of Illidan's army, but then he Came Back Wrong to reveal he had betrayed him to the Legion and was trying to summon Kil'jaeden so the Burning Legion can destroy Azeroth, killing his own people when they tried to stop him. It's heavily implied that point either the feel magic reanimating him just threw him completely off the slope, or his corpse was just being used by a demon that took on traits of his personality and memory.
    • Illidan was always a self-serving Jerkass, but he had a more gentle side to him and never intended his collateral damage. After nearly being killed by Arthas, though, that gentle side was replaced in Burning Crusade with paranoia, insanity and a desire to crush anyone he deems as a threat, which happens to be everyone not on his side. The jump was severe enough that Blizzard went on record expressing a desire to bring him back for a proper redemption. He finally returns in Legion once more a morally ambiguous character whose positive sides are seen in the greater light. At one point, it seems a little exaggerated; there's a whole questline mostly dedicated to an Energy Being explaining everything in Illidan's past in a positive light as possible. However, when it actually encounters Illidan, it's shown that the god-like Energy Being is just being kind of dumb, and he doesn't conform to its expectations. He wants to be an Anti-Hero, not The Chosen One by someone else's rules.
    "The Light will heal your scars."
    "I am my scars!"
    • Malygos from World of Warcraft goes from a dragon who wants to rein in mortal spellcasters because he disapproves of their methods to a dangerously extreme tyrant who seems genuinely unaware that his plan to redirect and control magic has an excellent chance of destroying Azeroth.
    • Garrosh Hellscream was always a jerkass with Daddy Issues, but when Thrall put him in charge of the Horde, he began committing war crime after war crime (eventually addressed in the novel appropriately titled War Crimes). The most notable jumping point though was probably using a mana bomb (essentially a nuke, complete with its own analog for radiation) on Theramore, a city that was founded on and campaigned for peace. Just in case that wasn't enough though, he essentially says to heck with his own people, restores the heart of an Eldritch Abomination at the cost of a sacred location, and declares war on the world.
    • The Scarlet Crusade, at least those located within the Scarlet Monastery in Tirisfal Glades can be accused of this. This in contrast to their forces in the Eastern Plaguelands, who can be sorta excused for their most evil actions due to their leader being actually a Demon, who was manipulating them to fight the Scourge and the sentient undead of the Forsaken, and then following his Villainous Breakdown outright kills them all and raises them as undead.
    • And, while we're on Warcraft games, as you play the human campaign of Warcraft III, Arthas starts out as a dedicated disciple of Uther Lightbringer (even though Arthas is a prince, Uther's military rank is higher than Arthas's, and they both respect that) but gradually starts getting more and more desperate in his fight against the Undead. Eventually, he betrays Lordaeron, dons an evil looking armor, and murders his own father. In his case, though, while he had a decline, the jumping point was the result of taking up a cursed sword that he was too desperate to realize was a trap that stole the soul of anyone it touched.
    • Also happened to Sylvanas between Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm, although she was already on the thin line between Token Evil Teammate and Nominal Hero before. Long story short, she died, didn't like what she found there at all, and has done everything she could to avoid dying again ever since. In service of this, she's entered a pact with the ruler of the afterlife she witnessed and has begun providing him souls, starting with the civilian population of Teldrassil.
  • StarCraft:
    • Arcturus Mengsk of started out as a dashing rebel leader who saved you and Jim Raynor from the Confederacy for killing Zerg. The first time he used a psi emitter to summon the Zerg it was a military target and the rebels helped the majority of civilians flee. Then he dumped several on Tarsonis, a planet with a population of two billion, before attacking the Protoss who came to stop the Zerg, using the orbital defenses to stop anybody from fleeing, and abandoning his second-in-command to the Swarm (admittedly, said second-in-command was the assassin who'd murdered his family, setting him down the path of vengeance even though she didn't remember it). And it doesn't stop there: while he didn't count on Kerrigan returning from there as the superpowered leader of the Zerg, it leads to him using ever-more desperate measures to kill her:
      • Setting an imprisoned pal of Raynor's free in exchange for her death (even after seeing her restored to human-ish form);
      • Attacking a ship carrying his own son due to Kerrigan being onboard;
      • Relocating the artifact that has a huge anti-Zerg effect (crippling his own army);
      • Working with mad scientists to create Protoss-Zerg hybrids, inadvertently furthering the local Eldritch Abomination's plan to destroy Terrans and Protoss;
      • Blowing up a prison ship (with the crew still onboard) trying to kill Raynor and Kerrigan;
      • And finally, dropping nukes on his own home Planet Ville once the Zerg make landfall. Note that after his rebellion (caused by his family's murder), Korhal was nuked by a thousand full-strength missiles by the Confederacy, an event so horrific it rendered the planet uninhabitable for years and used as the justification for the Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke (while one Brood War mission had him use nukes on Korhal, it was still radioactive desert then). Talk about Became Their Own Antithesis...
  • Overwatch: the first truly evil thing we see Reyes do is to get in a fight with Jack Morrison that destroys Overwatch's Swiss HQ and "kills" them both, all because Reyes was passed over for leadership of Overwatch. This is what leads him to become the terrorist and master assassin Reaper. It's especially jarring given that, from what we see of Reyes in the "Uprising" event and corresponding comic, he's downright amicable if a little unhelpful, but certainly a far cry from the soul-stealing, death-obsessed maniac that is Reaper.
  • Saya no Uta has the revelation that the "fruit" Fuminori had been enjoying eating is actually human flesh. This presents two options for the player: have Saya fix your screwed perception of reality, which leads to an early end to the story; or embrace your newfound taste for cannibalism, which continues the story.
  • In Mitadake High it is common for someone to RP themselves going insane as a result of the madness going on around them. Unfortunately, not everyone is any good at it.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the country of Crimea is good with bits of gray, Daein is dark gray but with evil leaders, and conservative Begnion was in the middle with its corrupt Senate but well-intentioned leaders. When the sequel rolled around and Begnion became the main antagonist, it became more ruthless.
    • If Byleth does not ally with them after the Time Skip in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, both Edelgard and Dimitri succumb to their extremism and insanity, respectively. This ends up resulting in their deaths.
  • Final Fantasy VII - Sephiroth is initially the best SOLDIER in the world, but after finding out a certain fact about himself, he becomes a murderous psychopath, slaughtering the population of a village and burning it to the ground, and then sets out to destroy the world.
  • In Final Fantasy XI after the woman that he loved was killed and he was left for dead by Ulrich during the Multinational Expedition to the Northlands, Raogrimm kills Ulrich. Then he hunts down and murders the rest of the people in the Multinational Expedition because they knew that Ulrich had done something and didn't say anything about it. Then he gets a giant "Slip 'N Slide" and whisks down the slope gleefully as he declares war on the human nations and nearly destroys the world. Mind you, some of it may have been the Dark Divinity Odin fanning the flames of his rage, but still... Although, Ulrich's actions during the Multinational Expedition could be considered the ultimate slippery slope since they were the cause of pretty much all of the major, world-threatening troubles that Vana'Diel has faced in the following 30 years were stemmed from his (accidental) murder of Cornelia.
  • Minister Caudecus in Guild Wars 2 was always a political rival to the heroic Queen, casting him in a negative light. However, his political stance often made a good point about things that were going ignored. Even when he revealed himself to be the leader of an evil organization, he was still pointing out flaws in the heroes and was revealing actual truths about the past. Once he's actually confronted, among other things, he reveals that he backstabbed his own wife, shoots his own daughter dead, and is cackling about how evil he is, dispelling any ambiguity in bringing him down.
  • So many in Dragon Age II, a game where no one is really evil and no one is truly good. By the end of the game, both of the leaders of the two warring factions give into their inner demons with Meredith, the Knight-Commander of the Templars calling for the execution of all mages in the city of Kirkwall for the actions of just one rogue mage who also jumped off the slippery slope and First Enchanter Orsino, leader of the mages, using Blood Magic in an act of despair. Both slopes were greased with phlebotinum in this case; Meredith was being corrupted by the lyrium idol in addition to her own paranoia, and the rogue mage was possessed by a demon of Vengeance.
  • Adele in Arc Rise Fantasia jumps right off the slope and onto the crazy train the very instant she finds out that she's an Unlucky Childhood Friend, taking this trope to a terrifying degree.
  • The Protagonist from the Saints Row series gleefully leaps headfirst off of the slope, and then proceeds to nuke it. In the first game, you start off as a (mostly) silent henchman who more or less indifferently does what Julius, Gat, Lin, Troy, and others tell you without hesitation, and you seem to be a pretty sane individual. While you are killing, you're killing the other gangs for peace, and the cops you kill are corrupt anyway (of course, not counting civilian casualties in your gameplay rampages). But in Saints Row 2, after being betrayed by Julius and being blown up and disfigured to the point of needing severe plastic surgery (which is really just an excuse to make a new character), it's implied that you went insane and very much stated that you're paranoid, corrupt with power, take deep pleasure in murder, is only after the city, and nothing short of evil- the only people outclassing you are the gangs you fight and their leaders, but not by much. As the game goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer that you're not very interested in wiping out the city for peace anymore as your actions become more and more violent and Crazy Awesome, , especially after two of your homies, get murdered. The only person who ever stood a chance of stopping you, your old boss Julius, turns out to have done it because he realized that you were a dangerous person; you kill him while happily stating you have full intentions of taking over the city in any means necessary.
    • Johnny Gat qualifies as well.
    • Saints Row: The Third plays this with most if not all of the main characters, and they each suffer for it. Boss, Gat, Shaundi, Loren, Killbane, Kiki, Temple, and Kia are just some of the names who are guilty of this, and all either die or with the exception of Boss can be killed. Boss arguably gets it even worse if s/he chooses to jump off the slippery slope: s/he reverts back to being worse than ever, and a thoroughly despicable person.
  • Two examples from BattleTech:
    • The first, and main, example of this in the game is of Captain Samuel Ostergaard, who starts off as a relatively reasonable and calm commander of a small Taurian fleet. When his son killed by the heroes when the player raids an illegal gun-running facility, he is consumed by rage at the player and their allies. Afterwards, his navy is called in to fight the protagonists' faction due to attacks on his home planet (that were actually staged by the main antagonist in order to start a war), he sends wave after wave of soldiers after the heroes. While he's still somewhat stable at this point he fully loses it soon afterwards. When the truth that his "allies" framed the protagonists for attacking the civilians on his homeworld is revealed and is ordered to cease his attack, he starts a mutiny and seizes command of the fleet, barricades himself in the control room, and attempts to use the fleet to kill the protagonists, disregarding the order to stand down. After the heroes use a certain Chekhov's Gun to thwart his attempted attack by remotely detonating the fleet's fuel reserves, he dies when his ship collides with the planet he was going to attack - all to "avenge" the loss of his son.
    • The other example is played rather sympathetically. Victoria Espinosa starts off as a loving cousin of the player's friend, Queen Kamea Arano. When her father seizes power from on Kamea's coronation day, she ends up becoming Kamea's fiercest enemy. She participates in the aforementioned attacks on civilians, which takes a heavy toll on her. When her father surrenders and orders her to stand down, she snaps. Killing her is the final mission of the game.
  • The Illusive Man from the Mass Effect trilogy takes a flying leap off the slope in Mass Effect 3. Whereas before he was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who tended toward a lot of Shoot the Dog moments in his zeal to protect humanity, in the third game he flies straight off the rails and starts using Reaper technology to assemble a massive army of Brainwashed and Crazy Mooks, ordering the murders of civilians, and actively working to undermine the Alliance and the Council in their efforts to defend the galaxy against the Reapers. Eventually, it's revealed that he has completely hurdled the Moral Event Horizon with Sanctuary, a supposed safe haven for refugees from the Reaper attacks, which turns out to be a laboratory where the refugees are forcibly converted into Husks as part of his research into finding a way to control the Reapers. Explained by the fact that he was indoctrinated by the Reapers for the entire game.
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Irons is a firm believer that Hobbes Was Right, and plans to unite the world under Atlas after toppling the world's governments. After a conventional invasion of the United States fails and the free world unites against him, Irons' next course of action is to hit every military installation in the world with biological weapons that'll kill anyone not registered with Atlas.
  • In the Star Trek Online: Delta Rising mission "All that Glitters", Vaadwaur leader Gaul lures you to a meeting with what sounds like an offer of a peace settlement, with the stipulation that the Kobali release to him the cache of stasis chambers containing Vaadwaur soldiers from the 15th century whom they've been using as reproductive stock. Sounds perfectly reasonable at first, but then he says he wants the Alliance to pull a Face–Heel Turn. Upon being informed that the Federation-led alliance wants actual peace, as in an end to the Supremacy's war of conquest, he loses his shit, starts gunning down Talaxians, and blames you for it.
  • The Witcher games might as well be called "Radovid of Redania Jumps Off the Slippery Slope". In the first game, he's a pragmatist who seems genuinely horrified by what his allies of convenience got up to. In the second, he's a ruthless bastard who tortures people and takes every opportunity to expand his domain. In the third, he's a murderous fanatic who even makes Nilfgaard look good by comparison. All of this takes place over less than a year of in-universe time.
  • [PROTOTYPE]: In the first game, Blackwatch was at least attempting to contain the infection, if in a brutal, violent, and ruthless manner. By the second game, they've reached the point where they're deliberately kidnapping civilians just so GENTEK scientists can run "experiments" on them involving throwing Infected beasts at them and watching them get shredded. Dialogue from the Blackboxes also further underscores Blackwatch's expanding psychopathy, including a recording of a Blackwatch soldier shooting an autistic boy on the mere suspicion that he was infected, another Blackwatch soldier shooting a woman immediately after warning her he was authorized to use lethal force if she didn't step back, an officer threatening to discharge another Blackwatch trooper for saving a woman from being raped, a recording from Colonel Rooks explicitly stating that it isn't their responsibility to police the refugees even when they start killing each other, and an officer berating a subordinate for shooting an entire family because he was wasting ammo.
  • Halo:
    • The Ur-Didact, the villain of Halo 4. In the first two novels of The Forerunner Saga, he starts off as a conflicted general who strongly disliked humanity and believed that the Forerunners were the rightful masters of the galaxy, but nonetheless also grew to respect humans as fellow warriors, and believed that the Forerunners also had a responsibility to protect and preserve even those species who would stand against them (except the Flood, obviously), opposing the firing of the Halos to stop the Flood precisely because it would kill off all sentient life in the galaxy. And then he gets Mind Raped by the Flood Gravemind, an experience which magnifies his Forerunner supremacism and dislike of humanity into A Nazi by Any Other Name levels. Afterwards, he comes to the conclusion that the only way to defeat the Flood without using the Halos would be to transform his Promethean followers into robotic abominations; when he starts running out of volunteers, he begins forcibly converting humans (making him Not So Different from the Flood), with the intent to eventually wipe out all humans and any other species who oppose Forerunner rule. The Ur-Didact's transition from tragic hero to genocidal dictator in skeleton armor is covered in Halo: Silentium and the Halo 4 terminals.
    • The Reveal of Halo 5: Guardians pulls this with your AI companion Cortana, who in the previous game remained the Chief's friend even as her digital body collapsed and she struggled to remain sane, eventually doing a Heroic Sacrifice with the last of her strength. In the following game, she turns out to be alive and supposedly repaired, but now she's at best Well-Intentioned Extremist who's going to take over the galaxy with her army of enormous Guardian machines. While she keeps insisting that she has good reasons for doing so, it's clearly bordering on Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide", especially when she imprisons Chief and Blue Team in a Cryptum so they won't interfere with her schemes.
  • Super Paper Mario: Blumiere's father started out as a Control Freak who refused to let his son leave the castle. When he found out his son fell in love with Timpani, he blackmailed her into breaking up with him from behind the scenes. When that failed, he finally took a direct approach in an attempt to keep the union of his son and her from diluting his tribe's bloodline. He cursed her to wander between dimensions, almost killing her in the process.

  • In The Order of the Stick paladin Miko Miyazaki starts out as a narrow-minded, Holier Than Thou Knight Templar who the titular Order despise and even her own comrades tend to look for excuses to send her off on missions to distant lands that keep her out of town for long periods. Then she overhears Lord Shojo talking to Roy and Belkar about their plans to do the dirty work behind the paladins' backs, ignores his perfectly good arguments about why he had to do it, declares him guilty of treason and executes him on the spot. She's IMMEDIATELY stripped of her powers by the gods for murdering an unarmed octogenarian and goes into a psychotic breakdown when she refuses to accept that she could have been wrong.
    • Vaarsuvius took a jump, too. See comic #639. Though debates on whether this counts as Pay Evil unto Evil, and whether that stops it being this trope, rage on the forums endlessly.
      • As said by the fiends, the best way to get a good person to do horrible things is to convince them that they aren't responsible for their own actions.
  • Wanda from Erfworld. Ever since she attuned to the Arkenpliers, she has become more and more sadistic and cruel, to the point that, when the team's Foolamancer is injured and unconscious, she says they should kill and zombify him instead of healing him, simply to save on resources.
    • It ends up being subverted in that Jack knew something that Parson really needed to know, but Jack was contractually obligated not to tell anyone for the rest of his life.
  • The inspector in Chisuji. First, he decided to take justice in his own hands against the criminal who killed his wife and put his daughter in a coma; then he saw the killer's girlfriend holding said daughter's plush toy, and... snapped.
  • Eridan in Homestuck was introduced as a Butt-Monkey Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but some of his later appearances have shown that he pulled a Face–Heel Turn and plans to ally with the Big Bad, then proceeds to slaughter his teammates and destroys the one thing that could have saved his people, which he was trying to protect.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: At the beginning of the comic, Heather is seemingly sweet and somewhat naive, until she's initiated into the Bakerstown High cheerleading team, where she chose to become a vampire. At that point, she reveals her true colors, as her first order of business was to use her newfound powers to turn on her parents and, under Lori's instruction, made them her thralls. They spend the remainder of the story as her mindless slaves.
  • ReBoot: Code of Honor: In the original series, Turbo was a Reasonable Authority Figure and saved Mainframe from destruction by delaying the detonation of the bomb the Guardians planted on Mouse. Here, Turbo is a straight-up Knight Templar, berating Bob for the latter's beliefs in reformatting viruses instead of outright deleting them, blaming that for the Viral War getting as bad as it did. Turbo also complains about the Guardians being Obstructive Bureaucrats, despite them not really being portrayed as such in the original series.

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue: In the Recollection and Project Freelancer arcs, Malcolm Hargrove, the Chairman of the UNSC's Oversight Sub-Committee, is presented as a morally ambiguous figure and the closest thing to a Big Good that the series has. He shuts down Project Freelancer and attempts to arrest its Director for engaging in illegal, unethical and highly dangerous experiments involving A.I., but it's implied that his motives are insincere and that he's only in it to increase his own power. Hargrove arrests Agent Washington for assisting in the theft of the Epsilon A.I. unit but promises the agent's freedom when Wash says that he can recover it, but Hargrove also turns a blind eye to Wash's unsavory methods. Hargrove attempts to arrest the Reds and Blues when they steal the Epsilon unit again, but he gives everyone — including Agent Washington — a full pardon when they bring down the Director for good. In the Chorus Trilogy, Hargrove is revealed to be a Corrupt Corporate Executive who ignited the civil war on Chorus, orchestrated countless deaths — including some of his own personnel — kept trophies of the Director's downfall — including the gun that killed him, and Epsilon-Tex's head — and was willing and fully prepared to commit genocide on a planetary scale.
  • After Volume 3 of RWBY, General Ironwood has begun taking more and more authoritarian measures in order to circumvent the villains' plans- All of which fail. In Volume 7, the heroes spend just as much time worrying about Ironwood going too far as they are about the villains, and try to keep him grounded. Once Ironwood learns that not only has Cinder, the one who routed his forces during the Fall of Beacon, infiltrated Atlas, but that Salem herself is on her way to attack the kingdom, he snaps, decides to abandon Mantle to the Grimm, declare martial law, and begins lashing out at anyone who disagrees with his decisions.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • The episode "Lock-Up" introduced Lyle Bolton, the ruthless head of security at Arkham Asylum, who eventually goes crazy and becomes the supervillain Lock-Up. He starts off making some good points about his regime bringing Arkham's role as a Cardboard Prison to a halt. Fortunately - so to speak - he also turns out to be a sadistic monster who steps way past his boundaries, abuses his inmates, and eventually starts locking up politicians and media members, blaming them for allowing crime to run rampant in the first place, allowing Batman to take him down without any worries.
    • When new-vigilante-in-town The Judge shows up later on, attacking the villains and not caring whether or not he kills them, this is never even brought up. It is taken for granted that his actions are wrong, which (given the long, horrible careers of Batman's rogues gallery) seems like it would be open to debate here. The big jump probably comes moments before Batman intervenes, when he is about to kill a small-time corrupt politician who had helped him, but still. The Judge showed how extreme he can really get when he tried to kill Two-Face in his own escape room. As it turns out, The Judge is Two-Face, as he is a third persona made by Harvey Dent to fight crime.
    • Commissioner Gordon in "Over The Edge". After his daughter is killed in a fight with the Scarecrow, he blames Batman and launches a manhunt for him, going as far as to make a deal with Bane. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Justice League:
    • Cadmus. Their stated goals: Provide America (and her allies, probably) a defense against the super-powered types, especially the Justice League. What with Superman nearly taking over the world when being brainwashed by Darkseid, the Justice Lords in a parallel universe taking everything over, and the Justice League having an Orbital Superweapon pointing down, this seems entirely okay. Up until the cloning, torture, firing nuclear weapons, being allied with Luthor, creating Doomsday...
    • What made Cadmus utterly irredeemable was finding out that they were responsible for putting Ace (the youngest member of the Royal Flush Gang) through hell, robbing her of having a halfway normal life and, eventually killing her by overloading her brain to evolve her psychic powers, and triggering a fatal aneurysm in the process. However, she died naturally after Batman went to be with her in her final moments.
    • There is also the fact they tried to blow up the Watchtower before the League had ever done any harm, and that Gen. Eiling was willing to a nuke an island to "kill three birds with one stone," i.e. kill both Superman and Doomsday and stop the drug smuggling that came through it. Granted, only Eiling was behind this, and Amanda Waller is furious as soon as she finds out about the nuclear air strike.
    • And the Justice Lords from a parallel Earth. Superman abandoning Thou Shalt Not Kill to stop Luthor from starting a nuclear war: justifiable. The entire team doing away with the concept of Joker Immunity altogether and resorting to killing and lobotomizing on a semi-frequent basis: arguable. Setting up a totalitarian state in which elections do not happen until the Justice Lords say they do and people can be arrested for complaining too loudly: seems unnecessary.
    • And for that matter, Doctor Destiny's origin story in "Only a Dream". At first, he seems to be a fairly decent guy whose big mistake was simply getting hired as a guard by Lex Luthor, and the story starts raising questions about What Measure Is a Mook? and the hypocrisy of the henchmen going to prison and having their lives ruined while the villains themselves keep getting away scot-free. But once he gains superpowers himself, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge throws him right off the slippery slope, and into territory that even Lex never touched, with lemming-like gusto.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Jet's goal is to protect children like himself orphaned by the warmongering Fire Nation and to fight back. However, it's made pretty clear that Jet has jumped off this slope when he attempts to drown an entire town uninvolved with the war effort, murder innocent elderly people, and put his own life at risk for the purpose of revenge. He notably later attempts to jump back on the slope, but it doesn't turn out too well.
    • It's implied he had already fallen that far long before they met him- the plan was already in place and he had apparently been attacking travelers indiscriminate to their threat-level for a while now. Not to mention his "enforcers" thought nothing of Jet ordering them to kill Sokka. It's not entirely clear whether he truly regretted his actions for being morally wrong.
    • This is what leads to Zuko's eventual Heel–Face Turn. He'd been hesitating for a while, thinking that his family really were good people, despite all the massive evidence otherwise: it's when his father and sister plan to burn an entire country to the ground that he realizes they've jumped off.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Tarrlok starts out as a jerkass and manipulative Sleazy Politician. Then he goes completely off the deep end by imposing a curfew on all non-benders and arresting anyone who complains or even has connections with Equalists. He arrests Korra's friends to blackmail her to join him and when she refuses, attacks her and reveals himself to be a bloodbender. By the end of the episode, he's got her locked in the back of a Satomobile to take her somewhere she'll never be found.
    • Amon and the Equalists start off with a relatively valid complaint: Benders really do have all of the power in Republic City. Up until Episode 10, they had only committed a really extreme crime. Then, they jump fully on off the slope by launching a full-scale invasion of Republic City, complete with bombings and gas attacks!. Arguably, their point is also undermined by the fact that Amon is actually a stupid-powerful waterbender himself and uses his own bloodbending ability to destroy others' ability to bend, but whether that's this trope or simple Hypocrisy is open for debate.
    • Kuvira starts off Book 4 a Well-Intentioned Extremist with valid reasons for reuniting the Earth Kingdom under her own rule. She uses some questionable means to persuade cities to side with her, but given the incompetence of the heir to the Earth Kingdom's throne, people didn't fault her for refusing to relinquish her power to him as had been previously agreed, because she seemed much more capable of actually leading. Attacking the United Republic might have been going a little far, but a lot of fans could still sympathize with her point of view, given that it used to be Earth Kingdom territory. Then, when her fiance is captured and she is offered a deal that will basically allow her to take Bataar Jr. and go home as the uncontested ruler of the Earth Empire if she only agrees to leave the United Republic alone, she decides it would be a better idea to launch an attack with the spirit cannon that will kill her fiance because she believes it will kill Korra as well. The show makes a point out of the fact that Bataar Jr. is not okay with sacrificing his life for the cause.
  • Kim Possible: Each member of Team Impossible; went from just being a Punch-Clock Hero who wanted Kim to stop saving the world so they could get paid for doing it themselves, and basically straight to trying to permanently end her heroics.
  • Darkwing Duck has this happen with the most likable villain of the show Dr. Bushroot in his origin episode. He starts off by being driven to murder the people who bullied him, made him lose his job For the Evulz and mocked him after his mutation. Then he deteriorates morally by seeking revenge against the Dean who cut his funding and then against Darkwing and Launchpad for stopping the attempted murder and by the end he tries to mutate the girl that he liked against her will so that he could have company. Good Lord!
    • If Bushroot's descent was bad, the fall of Jim Starling for Darkwing's rebooted counterpart in DuckTales (2017) makes that one look tame by comparison. Starling used to be an actor who played a Show Within a Show version of Darkwing, which was cancelled in part because of his own egotism, leaving him with menial work and an unsalvageable career for years. Then, when he learns the series is being rebooted as a gritty movie, he gets so incensed that he's not reprising his role that he tries to sabotage the production, culminating in a battle between him and his replacement on a burning movie set. It's thanks to an impassioned speech from Launchpad that makes him realize he's gone too far, but in saving the pilot from an exploding pylon does Starling seemingly perish... only for that one act to drive him to think his replacement sabotaged him, driving him to become NEGADUCK.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Jump Off The Slippery Slope, Jumps Off The Slippery Slope, Jumped Off The Slippery Slope, Jumping Off Of The Slippery Slope


Grimdark villain

The story at first has a sympathetic villain, but then he does something so awful even TWA can't make it funny.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope

Media sources:

Main / JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope