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Mook–Face Turn

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From 'trooper to TRAITOR!

"But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, 'Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.'

"Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'"

Well, the heroes just got themselves captured in a spectacular case of Cutscene Incompetence. Sadly, the guards are competent and won't let them leave. What are the heroes to do?

Talk to the guard.

No, seriously. Half the time they're part of a Weird Trade Union or are Punch Clock Villains and otherwise normal people. If somebody is Only in It for the Money, their loyalty can quickly change to whoever offers more money. Ask them if they know what their boss did to Bob, or plans to do to their family. Do they know the scar behind their left ear contains a mind control device? How about that their boss can remote activate a Cyanide Pill he had installed during their last trip to the dentist if things go south?

If that doesn't Scare 'Em Straight, then ask them about their wife and kids, hobbies, or sports team. An ounce of Character Development will make them a Mauve Shirt and get them to do a Heel–Face Turn faster than you can say "No Dental".

If that doesn't work, just bribe them. Filthy lucre can work remarkably well on the morally flexible, and just because you're heroes doesn't mean you can't exploit the inherent flaws of evil. If the villain keeps a Paid Harem nearby, seducing the concubines or appealing to their good nature usually works. Or just tricking them into getting the key; Mooks often aren't very bright.

Mooks turned allies this way might never graduate to the main cast, but even if they don't do a full Heel–Face Turn, the heroes will have made an important ally for the episode and the mook in question will get all the attendant perks and dangers of being a Mauve Shirt. This can be especially beneficial to some heroes, as these Mook Face Turners can be Defecting for Love. Even if the Mook doesn't fully complete a Heel–Face Turn, it can be useful to invole a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal and prove that The Dog Bites Back.

See also Not Always Evil, Merciful Minion, and Talking Your Way Out.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fist of the North Star, upon knowing Glen was being forced to serve his boss because all he knew was fighting, Kenshiro convinced Glen to quit the gang and live a new life. He agreed. Sadly, Glen was shot dead by his boss.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The Elric brothers are able to recruit all four Chimera soldiers from Central out from under Kimblee. Al does it by making them remember that they are still humans and can try to get their bodies back; the ones Ed gets don't mind being chimeras as much but join him because he saved their lives after Kimblee blew them all up.
    • In a later chapter, a platoon of soldiers sent to kill Olivia Armstrong on orders of their superiors, quickly join her side when attacked by Sloth and the alchemic zombies. Their greatest moment comes when they selflessly and at great risk try to slow down the superfast Sloth with a chain.
      "General, this is... our answer."
  • Gundam:
  • In One Piece, one of the Enforcers accidentally gets hit by Gedatsu's Swamp Cloud, and Chopper saves him. When Gedatsu denounces him for being weak, the Enforcer decides to help Chopper against him but is quickly defeated.
  • Sonic X: Decoe and Bocoe do this right after their Disney Death in Episode 48. After the following episode where they are seen hanging out at the Thorndyke Mansion, this plot development was seemingly dropped with no explanation. The anime also adapts E-102 Gamma's story from Sonic Adventure.

    Comic Books 
  • Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy: The Captain's two aides end up siding with the cadets after they overhear that the Captain plans to fire them as well.
  • Buck Danny: While stranded behind the DMZ in North Korea, Buck Danny talks a female soldier into helping him escape and defect to the South.
  • Bob of HYDRA in Cable & Deadpool was originally...well, of HYDRA. After Deadpool took him prisoner he slowly slid from being a terrified hostage to outright adoring the merc with a mouth. It's unclear how much Stockholm Syndrome is involved.
  • Jo, Zette and Jocko: When Tom announces to the mooks that he intends to kill Jo and Zette, one of them rises up and defends them.
  • In Last Daughter of Krypton the New 52 Supergirl is captured and tortured by Simon Tycho, who looks to "examine" her. One of his henchmen isn't comfortable with the idea of his boss eviscerating a fifteen-year-old girl and breaks Kara free. Sadly he gets gunned down straight after.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), when Sonic and Sally are attacked by a large group of mercenaries, Sally manages to bribe two of them into temporarily working on her side.

    Fan Works 
  • During a battle between Spider-Man and the latest Director of SHIELD, Norman Osborn in Because I'm Not Popular I'll Try To Out With A hero is when a single SHIELD agent begins shooting Osborn, realizing that he isn't a hero.
  • In An Entry with a Bang!, the Buron Cavalry, one of the various mercenary outfits involved in the attack on Earth, decides to make a mid-battle defection after seeing how many nukes Earth has. The half ton of gold President Ryan offered also helped.
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four, the sorcerer helping the villains out tries to defect and free Wonder Woman and her daughter when he realizes his bosses intend to destroy Earth. Unfortunately he gets caught by one of them and beaten up.
  • During the climax of Getting Back on Your Hooves, both Checker Monarch's butler Helping Hoof and the Diamond Dogs she's been employing as grunts turn on her, for different reasons.
  • HSETAU: According to DD's flashbacks, AR was an Authority Regulator at the Skaian prison where he and the Midnight Crew were held. AR defected from Derse's brutality and helped stage a jailbreak. His actions caused his batch of Authority Regulator clones to be "decommissioned" due to cloning defects.
    Regulators aren't supposed to have thoughts about the law they are cloned to enforce, or even outwardly reveal they have thoughts and feelings at all. They enforce the law only, as ruthlessly as possible. Occasionally they may be asked to follow orders from superior agents. For his crime of CRITICAL THINKING, AR was already signing his own death permits.

    Films — Animated 
  • This is how Fievel makes friends with Tiger the cat in An American Tail as Tiger is guarding the cage Fievel was locked into by the cat gang, garnering his sympathy by crying.
  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible has been captured and believes his family has been murdered by Syndrome. He is able to snatch Syndrome's right-hand lady, Mirage, and threatens to crush her if not released. Syndrome tells him to do it. Mr. Incredible can't bring himself to kill her and lets her go. Although Syndrome claims he knew Incredible was bluffing, Mirage is furious that he gambled with her life, and later aids the Incredible family in escaping the island.
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Zira's lionesses abandon her and join the Pridelanders after she threatens to kill her own daughter for not fighting.
  • At the end of The Lorax (2012), when Corrupt Corporate Executive O'Hare is the only person in town to ignore the epiphany, his own heavies attach him to a jetpack and send him over the horizon.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the end of Battleship Potemkin, the mutineers manage to convince the government's battleships not only to not fire on them, but to join them in escaping Russia. It's based on true events, too.
  • The climax of Four Brothers, in which the brothers bribe Victor Sweet's abused henchmen with the $400,000 they planned on trading with.
  • The Get Smart Movie had this be the main advantage of Maxwell Smart's analysis skills. He was able to reason with a henchman about his love life, and when the Big Bad threatened her...
  • This was actually a power of the titular child messiah in The Golden Child.
    • In the opening sequence where the villain kidnaps him with the help of Mongol mooks, one accidentally touches the child's hand, looks up with a contrite expression, and charges at the head baddy.
    • Later on he touches a mook on the hand, and the mook eventually helps Chandler Jarrell rescue him.
  • Played for laughs in Iron Man 3: Stark is in a shoot-out in the villain's lair, equipped only with one of the arms from his suit, and is surprised when the last remaining mook throws his hands up.
    Mook: Honestly, I hate working here. These people are so weird!
  • In Iron Monkey, the crooked Governor's chief of police, Chief Fox, starts growing disaffected with his work after seeing the Governor order an innocent boy imprisoned just to force his father, martial arts master Wong Kei-Ying, to stay in town and battle the Iron Monkey. After Wong Kei-Ying decides to ally with the Iron Monkey, the monstrously evil Imperial Minister orders Wong's son to be publicly tortured to draw both his father and the Iron Monkey into an immediate rescue attempt. At this, Chief Fox just plain flips out and tries to both single-handedly rescue the boy, and then kill his way through the Imperial Minister's Dragon and accompanying mooks. Being just a mook, he obviously fails, but he most certainly did try.
  • James Bond
    • In Moonraker, tricks Hugo Drax into talking about his plan to exterminate everybody who doesn't fit into his genetically perfect "master race" in front of Jaws, who then turns against the villains. Seeing his bespectacled, short, and somewhat plain-looking girlfriend standing beside the supermodel-level women that make up the female half of Drax's group didn't help either.
    • In A View to a Kill, the villain Max Zorin goes ahead and floods the mines fully aware that the workers and his Dragon Mayday are down there. Mayday and Bond survive. Upon discovering she was betrayed, and seeing her dead friends as well, she helps Bond remove the bomb and sacrifices herself, taking it out when it explodes.
  • Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road starts out as one of the War Boys, Immortan Joe's death-cultist minions. After three increasingly humiliating failures at a glorious death and a show of compassion by Capable, he ends up helping them out of a bog, and lays down his life to help Furiosa liberate the Citadel.
  • In Midwinter Night's Dream, Lazar defected from the Serbian army after being forced to participate in a particularly gruesome massacre against civilians.
  • Toad from Rock and Rule betrays and kills his boss Mok when the monster Mok summoned killed his brother Zip.
  • Eddie Valentine and his gang in The Rocketeer are fine with working for Neville Sinclair - until they learn he is a Nazi spy, after which they each betray the other.
    Sinclair: Come on, Eddie, I'm paying you well. Does it really matter where the money comes from?
    Eddie: It matters to me. I may not make an honest buck but I'm a hundred percent American... and I don't work for no two-bit Nazi.
  • This creates a major character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a stormtrooper (FN-2187, or "Finn") has a major crisis of conscience during his first battle and betrays the First Order shortly afterward. At first he just wants to get as far away from the First Order as possible, but later on he becomes a full-fledged member of the Resistance and even fights Kylo Ren using Luke's old lightsaber, although Ren nearly kills him.
    • In a deleted scene to The Last Jedi Finn confronts Captain Phasma backed by several stormtroopers. When Phasma accuses him of treason, Finn addresses his former comrades instead and reveals to them how he'd pressed Phasma into helping him destroy the Starkiller base. Despite Phasma's denial, it looks like the doubt is sinking in them, but before they can do anything, Phasma just drops them all with blaster shots.

  • The end of Animorphs #48. Rachel promises to get the goons more money than David's paying them, then double-crosses them.
  • Subverted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where Ford Prefect gets a Vogon mook interested in art and music... but the Vogon throws Ford and Arthur Dent into the airlock as instructed anyway.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Tumnus was supposed to kidnap Humans for Jadis if he ever met them. He was already very displeased with Jadis when he met Lucy, and they became fast friends. He let her return. Jadis found out and turned him to stone. He got better. He was with the Narnian envoy to Calormen in The Horse and his Boy.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King, Meghan appeals to Tertius, pleading that she just wants to rescue her brother. It perturbs him, but he must serve his king.
  • Blaggut in the Redwall book The Bellmaker is eventually pushed too far by Captain Slipp after Slipp kills Mellus. Blaggut snaps and strangles Slipp, then goes back to the Abbey to confess.
  • This is possibly implied in The Silmarillion where it is claimed at the end of the Second Age when Sauron was defeated all races except Elves stood divided, implying some orcs fought against him. This particular detail may have even inspired the plot of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Galaxy In Flames, Sindermann escapes the deck he's confined to by pleading to go to the medical deck to say goodbye to an old friend.
  • In the World of Warcraft novel The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, Stormsong leads a band of Grimtotem sent in to assassinate Baine Bloodhoof, but instead slips out and warns Baine about the plot, having believed that his leader Magatha went too far by killing Baine's father, the High Chieftain Cairne, whom Stormsong had respected despite sometimes disagreeing with. Stormsong then helps Baine escape and assists him in his quest to oust Magatha. After Baine succeeds, he exiles the Grimtotem except for those who swear loyalty to him, knowing that some of them did so for self-serving reasons and deciding to watch over them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Time Travelling Black Adder episode with Robin Hood's men - a subversion in that case since the Blackadder convinces them to defect on the basis of Robin Hood's honorable thieving not benefiting them.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Into the Dalek," this happens to a Dalek named Rusty. The Doctor accidentally restores it to its evil default, then tries to bring it back to its good state by establishing a mental link with it. However, from his perspective, he fails, as the Dalek sees the Doctor's hatred of the Daleks and decides to exterminate the Daleks. This also happened a few seasons earlier with Strax, a Sontaran who got punished for a transgression by being appointed as The Medic (a grave dishonor for a Proud Warrior Race Guy) and later ended up befriending two of the Doctor's allies in Victorian London.
  • Farscape had the Defecting for Love variation with Aeryn Sun. Later done again in "PK Tech Girl" with Gilina. In her case, she returned again to save John's hiney when he got captured, but their budding romance was cut short. What? Being a Mauve Shirt on an Anyone Can Die show is risky business! (Sad business, too)
  • This is how Jayne gets recruited in Firefly. Mal bribes the mercenary into his team with better pay and his own bunk. Mal was so persuasive that Jayne shot his former employer!
    • Jayne is more likely a Jerkass with a later developed hidden heart of gold. Although he did switch sides, it had nothing to do with good or evil, as neither side was obviously good or evil in that scene. Or the entire show - morality and gray areas were a major theme of that show.
  • Game of Thrones: Qhono went from one of Khal Moro's mooks to one of Daenerys's followers.
  • Subverted on Get Smart, where Maxwell Smart and 99 attempt to persuade a submarine crew to do a Mook Face Turn with the captain present and able to make counteroffers. First, Agent 99 pleads, "Think of your wives! Your children!" This gets the mooks to point their guns at the captain, for about two seconds, until the captain reminds his crew that they aren't married. The agents and the captain then get into a debate with offers and counteroffers.
  • Nikita: When Sara, an underperforming Division candidate, is sent on a suicide mission, Nikita intervenes and kidnaps her. When she finally gets Sara to accept that Division planned to have her killed, she is able to convince Sara to go into hiding after delivering one final blow to her former employers.
  • Stargate-verse: Most of an entire race of mooks did this over the course of the series. The Jaffa started out worshipping the Goa'uld as literal gods and served them as foot soldiers. In the pilot episode, a Jaffa leader defected from his people to help the main characters. Over the course of the series, it's revealed that he was long skeptical of the Goa'uld's purported godhood. He is a member of the team while contributing to a seditious rebel movement among the Jaffa at the same time. Eventually that movement grows and, with the help of the Tau'ri and other factions, defeats the Goa'uld. A democratic government of Jaffa is founded.
    • The re-edited "final cut" version of the pilot two-parter "Children of the Gods" makes Teal'c's defection look less like a sudden spur of the moment decision. It is made especially clear there that Teal'c was horrified by Apophis' atrocities (and the ones he himself committed in the name of his "god") and was planning to betray him all along, but only carried out his wish when he found potential allies with technology rivaling those of the Goa'uld: the Tau'ri.
    • A much later example in the series has a captive SG1 and Bre'Tac (and a few of their Jaffa fifth column agents) released by a guard after they convince him he's serving a charlatan who would have willingly thrown said guard to the wolves.
    • In the show's final moments (namely, the movie Ark of Truth), former Ori worshipper Tomin turns against them and helps SG-1 defeat Adria. It had previously been shown that Tomin was a decent, moral man who happened to be following evil aliens, and he had begun questioning their orders as of late, especially when so many orders consisted of the genocide of unbelievers.
  • Damar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wasn't a mook by the time of his Face–Heel Turn (though he started out as one), but the fact that the Dominion treated him like one even though he was nominally the Cardassian head of state was a major factor in his change of side.
    • A straighter example from the series finale comes after the Dominion glasses a major Cardassian city, as a warning/punishment for civilians beginning to join the rebellion (previously it was only Cardassian military officers who had taken action against them). Par for the course with this trope, it backfires, and rather immediately: Colonel Kira and some members of La Résistance are captured and about to be executed on the spot when two Cardassian soldiers gun down the Jem'Hadar in vengeance, and shortly thereafter the Cardassian element of the Dominion fleet defending Cardassia follows suit (as soon as long-range communications are restored and word reaches them) in the middle of fighting off the joint Federation/Romulan/Klingon taskforce that had been attempting to invade them. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!


    Video Games 
  • In Batman: The Telltale Series, you can convince one of Two-Face's goons to do this when Bruce Wayne is captured and taken to an alley to be shot. Unfortunately, if you do so, the other henchman shoots him.
  • Kyle Katarn is a more classic Mook Face Turn, starting as a mook, and becoming a FUCKING god!
  • One rather memorable occasion happens halfway through Divinity 2 after you've taken out the commanding Black Ring Battle Couple in an outpost. A Black Ring mook who saw the whole fight immediately says "We surrender!" and his friend replies "What? No, we don't, traitor!" The first mook points out that the protagonist just singlehandedly slaughtered their commanders, so the two of them (the only ones left) would stand no chance. The second mook admits that it's true and immediately offers to sell you stuff so he can be useful.
  • Toward the end of Fallout 2, the player can convince four Enclave soldiers to help fight Frank Horrigan.
    • It's possible to make raiders and other enemies friendly in Fallout 3 through clever use of the slave collar.
  • In Final Fantasy Tactics, you can use the Mediator ability "Invite" to cause a hostile unit to join your side, and Mediators also have the support ability Train that allows you to automatically invite a monster if you bring them to critical HP using certain attacks.
  • Occasionally in Fire Emblem, if you can get close, you can talk to one of the enemy units and get them to join you for various reasons, or you can kill them and just keep moving.
  • In 'Freedom Fighters (2003), you can patch up injured Soviet soldiers and they will return the favor by betraying the Soviets and helping you out.
  • In FTL: Faster Than Light, in rebel-controlled sectors you may be greeted by a rebel who beams unarmed aboard your ship, declaring peaceful intentions. If you accept their offer, they may join your crew... or they may screw you over, either damaging your systems, relaying your whereabouts to the rebel fleet or even killing your crew member.
  • Going Under: The last stretch of The Very Definitely Final Dungeon sees enemies from all three previous dungeons joining Jackie in the fight against Cubicle and its Mecha-Mooks, in order to take revenge against the company that drove all their startups under.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Juri was a normal soldier of the Erste Empire, the empire that antagonizes the playable party in the story, but he eventually joined the crew after finding out the darker depths of the empire he is serving. He still keeps his armor though, while his helmet is left in the hands of his superior who even respects Juri's decision.
  • In Haunting Ground you have the option of sparing the Obliviously Evil Debilitas, who in turn reveres Fiona as a holy figure. Not only is this the only way to get the best ending, it also gives you the option of pulling a Screw This, I'm Outta Here in a New Game Plus: Debilitas literally just gives you the key to the main gate of the castle, allowing her to just bail right then and there, skipping a solid two-thirds of the game and getting a particularly satisfying cutscene of the Big Bad having a Villainous Breakdown as he helplessly watches Fiona leave.
  • Subverted in Jade Empire: after you close or destroy the mechanism for the Two Rivers dam, a Lotus Assassin arrives with a squad of Imperial soldiers. You can try to talk the sergeant out of fighting, but he will say that he doesn't care for the lives of the citizens, only for serving the Emperor. Played straight with one of Gao's men and a soldier who was pressganged into the army to replace one the Lotus Assassin killed.
  • Jonathan Kane: The Protector have one stage where Jennifer is captured by the Scarlet Vengeance, a radical Middle-Eastern Terrorist Syndicate seeking to disrupt the World Peace Summit. However, one of their mooks realize their leader, Hakan Akhbar, is a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist and sets Jennifer free. Together with a lengthy explanation on why he's doing so:
    I want to help you escape, American. What he. Akhbar is doing, is not the way of my people. He would have us believe we fight for freedom, but he seeks only to destroy, poisoning the minds of our young men till we are blinded by his lies. For men like Akhbar, there is only hate... I cannot, I will not allow him to destroy our world's best chance for peace... Go! Find your artifact! Destroy it. May Allah go with you.
  • A very spoilery example in The Last Guardian, our friend Trico was one of many beasts controlled by the Master of the Valley (a sort of Magitek A.I. that controls Trico's kind via signals picked up by their horns). When Trico was returning with the boy for him to be processed, he was struck by lightning and crashed into a mountainside, breaking his horns in the process. With his horns broken he can no longer be controlled and becomes the boy's friend and the two eventually end up destroying the Master.
  • In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the palace guards of Yusnaan are bent on shooting Lightning full of holes to protect their Patron, Snow Villiers. However, in Snow's palace, she finds one guard who'd rather help her, noticing a tragic change in Yusnaan's Patron. He figures that the so-called "criminal" Lightning is actually here to help, what with her literally being called the "savior" and all, and is eager to help. He serves as a mid-dungeon item shop.
  • In Killzone 3, Sev and Rico pull this off in the intro tutorial and at the actual point in the game where they dress up as Helghast soldiers and reveal themselves to the Big Bad during a planet-wide broadcast to the entire Helghan nation.
  • In MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, the player is actually given this option on one mission. When hired to wipe out a group of insurgents, as you head to the insurgent base, you receive a radio transmission "Attention mercenary: whatever the Snakes are paying you, we'll double it. Just turn around and go back to your dropship."
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 3, Mega Man must at one point rise in the "ranks" of the Undernet in order to find a program capable of defeating Bass. He does this by finding certain Navis and challenging them to a battle. One of them however, just gives you his rank, claiming he's tired of the whole thing, and even gives you a hint to find the program you're looking for.
  • Played with in Mega Man Legends where a trio of the Servbots leave the Bonne Family Pirates team and decide to open a restaurant on Kattelox Island. The irony being that, despite how harsh she can treat them, Tron Bonne thinks of them as family and rather than simply leaving they clearly asked her permission to do it, and she not only gave it but actually helped them legally take out a loan to do it.
  • Johnny in the original Metal Gear Solid, was just one of the many faceless Genome Soldiers that Solid Snake encountered in Shadow Moses. For some reason, he fell in love with Meryl, the woman who took his clothes and left him naked, and then became one of her subordinates in Metal Gear Solid 4.
    • It runs in the family. Naked Snake encounters Johnny's grandfather in Metal Gear Solid 3 and can befriend him in an Easter Egg. While he's too scared of his boss to actually let you out of the cell, he'll tell you about his family and inadvertently give you the password to escape along with a weapon. It's eventually played straight in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, where Snake can recruit Johnny as a member of his unit.
  • Happens with alarming regularity in the Metal Slug series. Anytime a threat other/greater than General Morden's army appears, said army that you were just shooting to pieces last level is fighting alongside you. Not effectively, of course, but enough to partially excuse the final levels' preposterous volumes of enemies and add to the hectic/epic feel of those stages.
    • Could be justified. Usually bigger bad kidnaps their leader and rebels are, well, humans. They actually fight for Morden's ideals, not because they like killing people. So, bigger bad comes in and tries to wipe out humans and/or them, what do you do?
  • This is one of the main features of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Anytime you Brand an Uruk they join your army in your mission. The sequel, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, goes even further by having your Uruk's become genuinely loyal to Talion over the course of the game, to the point where the DLC features Uruks who join your side without any Branding at all. Notably, one of them, Ogg, The Bow of Morgoth, originally served none other than Morgoth himself.
  • In No One Lives Forever, the player character Cate Archer has to goad Magnus Armstrong into a fight and have him promise to let her go if she wins. When she wins, Armstrong keeps his word and says he doesn't plan to stick around and see how the Big Bad feels about his betrayal. A Noble Demon, Armstrong struggles with the morality of some of his mook duties earlier in the game.
  • Commander Saturn, along with the rest of Team Galactic in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl actually pulls one of these after you defeat their boss, Cyrus. He says that all they wanted was a better world, but realized that Cyrus went too far to achieve it. You can also see the beginnings of this if you talk to defeated grunts after battling them, where they wonder if they're really fighting on the right side.
  • Kasan Moor of Rogue Squadron starts out as an elite TIE Interceptor pilot for the Empire, but defects to Rogue Squadron, after the Empire used the Death Star on her home planet of Alderaan.
    • Similar to Kasan, One of the missions in the Third Rogue Squadron Game is to rescue a defector, Tycho, also from Alderaan?
  • In Scarface: The World Is Yours, after the Final Boss, Tony finds that one of the mooks had survived. Instead of blasting him, he hires the man as his butler. It works out nice. Daaaw. Mirrors the film quite nicely.
  • During one of the battles midway through Shining Force II, one of the Pegasus Knights in the enemy force inexplicably has an actual name. Sure enough, a few rounds into the battle, he decides to switch sides.
  • One of the character stories in Sonic Adventure is revolved around a robot mook of Dr. Eggman's, E-102 Gamma. At one point in the game, Gamma is sent to interrogate the imprisoned Amy Rose for her Flicky ally. In desperation, however, Amy pleads with Gamma to feel pity for the bird and release them. Achieving empathy, Gamma reluctantly complies, leading Amy to befriend the robot and convince him to turn sides. He sets upon a "rescue mission" to free the animals inside his mistreated E-Series brethren before ultimately destroying himself.
  • Inverted in South Park: The Stick of Truth as your character, the new kid Douchebag, is in effect a Mook of either Cartman or Kyle. During the battle between Elves and Humans at the school, the leader of the enemy faction (you can choose who to ultimately side with) will come over the P.A. system and attempt to use this trope on you, trying to get you to turn to their side.
  • Happens surprisingly often in the Super Robot Wars: Original Generation games, although the enemy is usually in the protagonists' captivity. Most of the examples wear a Mauve Shirt if not an Ace Pilot badge, but Ryoto gets a special mention for being such a low-level grunt that the bad guys decide to blow him up to kill you.
    • Happens often in the main Super Robot Wars games as well, naturally, since they incorporate many Anime plots that use this trope.
  • In a World of Warcraft short story, one Forsaken priest named Trevor who has doubts about the morality of his faction, allows an Argent Dawn member to free some prisoners in exchange for speaking with Leonid Barthalomew the Revered, an undead Argent Dawn member, about giving him admittance to the organization

  • Archipelago begins with a certain raven spirit being washed up on shore (along with the poor guy he's possessing). An unlikely set of circumstances results in him gaining a proper, human soul, along with proper, human free will, and pretty soon he starts choosing good instead of evil. He ends up as an essential member of the team and the heroine's Love Interest.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe has the protagonist try and befriend the attacking giant bird monsters. A giant sparrow becomes "intrigued by the prospect of identity, of a purpose beyond destruction, of not being shot by that badass purple dog", and becomes pacified enough to cease actively attacking. The protagonist needs to use his powers to elevate it to something more than a mindless mook, though, but then it becomes his loyal sidekick and gets a badass name.
  • General Protection Fault: Subverted in this strip and following. The Sharon twin from the alternate universe is a low-level flunky on the dark side turned informant for the resistance. However, as soon as the infiltrating heroes present her with the opportunity for betrayal, she immediately rats them out to her superiors hoping for a promotion. Her reward follows swiftly.
  • In the 2021 issues of Girl Genius, we learn that some of the Geisterdamen - warrior-priestesses that worship the setting's Big Bad - had renounced their faith and joined the heroes. One of them is Eotain, the first Geisterdame we ever saw back in the 2005 issues.
  • Minions At Work: a valiant attempt at least, and failure.
  • Played with in The Order of the Stick: One of the common Hobgoblins is found by an Elven Black Ops Team (yes, this is as heartless as it sounds) on the wrong side of the whip in an Azure City slave camp because he was racist towards one of the normal goblin immigrants. He pleads to defect sides. The elves proceed to lead him to the edge of the rooftop and throw him off.
  • Evil Soldier #347 in RPG World who becomes one of the lead characters despite the fact that he does not even get a name.
    • He does get heart-wrenching character development. Sniff.
  • Kirk from Suppression happens to be the first mook shown, and knocked out and left for dead in a flashback. The next time he's seen he's caught the plague and picked up a demon pet. He offhandedly changes sides when almost hit by stray fire by his former allies.

    Western Animation 
  • This is Plastic Man's adapted backstory in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, being a former minion of Kite Man before turning to heroism.
  • Mr. Beastly, the Minion with an F in Evil from Care Bears does this in one episode, but ends up running back to his boss after the good guys go a little too far in welcoming him.
  • In the first half of the Looney Tunes cartoon "Prince Violent", Yosemite Sam has a pink elephant helping him try to break into Bugs' fortress; however, with each failed plan, Sam yells at the elephant and occasionally clubs him, eventually telling him to get lost so he can do it himself. After a few more failures, Sam finally manages to get in, only to find that the elephant is working for Bugs now (both because Bugs is nicer and pays him with peanuts) and chases Sam away with a club.
  • This is Mike's origin story in Motorcity. In "Vendetta", a flashback from one year prior to the show's present-day revealed that Mike was a promising cadet under Abraham Kane; however, when Mike realized he was putting innocent lives at risk while following Kane's order, he defected from Kane's cause and joined the Burners.
  • My Little Pony 'n Friends: In the climax of "The Return Of Tambelon", the ponies and their human ally Megan, after MacGyvering their way out of the dungeon, get most of Grogar's army to ditch him while they go and defeat the old goat.
  • The Owl House: Steve the Guard, a recurring faceless mook serving Emperor Belos, has a change of heart after a road trip with King and joins the resistance, while also revealing his face. Even before then, there were hints that he would defect, as he showed up to congratulate Lilith on her new job in one episode and mentioned that he was starting to regret his life choices in another.
  • Hack and Slash, the Terrible Trio of ReBoot, switch sides in Season 3. Megabyte finally got tired of their incompetence and tried to have them killed off by sending them up against Hexadecimal. Phong, however, put them back together and from then on treat him as their new master.
    • Even before Megabyte gets rid of them they tend to help Bob whenever Megabyte isn't available to give orders, like when he turned into the mindless Megatruck or became Gigabyte. They have an odd relationship with Bob where they always secretly counted on him to stop them from going too far, and realizing he's no longer around to stop them from doing something horrific such as murdering Cyrus is what pushes them into pulling a Screw This We're Outta Here.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: After getting back from a mission rigged to make him fail, Buff Frog gets fired from Ludo's minions and kicked out of the castle. Star notices him sulking outside and starts feeling bad for him (along with questioning the morality of her family legacy). Since offering his help to take down Toffee, Buff Frog and Star become really good friends. She even tries to give him a job in the castle, but he leaves his position when it looks better to get him, his children, and his monster neighbors out of the crumbling kingdom of Mewni and its growing hostility.
  • Teen Titans
    • She's not exactly a mook, but Jinx has one of these thanks to the surprisingly sweet attention Kid Flash keeps giving her. It's completely in line with the comics, too. The Flash has an odd relationship with his Rogues Gallery.
    • Atlas' assistant abandons his former master after Robin points out that the robot is mistreating him.
  • This works especially well on bad guys who keep their minions in line through fear. In an episode of Transformers: Animated, a villain with metal-melting acid powers coerced the Dinobots into doing his dirty work, then ordered them to his aid when he was incapacitated. When Prowl pointed out that he couldn't harm them in his current position, they swiftly turned on their former master.
  • TRON: Uprising: When a bunch of innocents are captured and shipped off in a train to be killed, Beck breaks aboard and fights off one of the guards. He doesn't kill the guy, and when the train crashes, the Guard helps him find the prisoners out of gratitude and take them to safety. Tessler kills him on the spot.
    • In Tron's back story, he was pretty badly tortured, and then taken away in a Recognizer. One of the guards, Cyrus, witnessed the torture and commented with respect that Tron was one of the few who didn't scream. He later releases Tron, and seemingly sabotages the Recognizer, carrying Tron off, telling him that they can't let the revolution end before it has a chance to start. Though offscreen, he did a Face–Heel Turn and became even more evil.
  • Averted with (Two Ton) 21/Gary from The Venture Bros. He quits his job as henchman and realized he'd rather work as a good guy. Not because a good guy convinced him to, but because he got fed up with this all crap that was going on after having to accept the death of his best friend and co-worker. However he later decides he's not cut for heroism and goes back to working for the Monarch.
  • The Guardians manage to recruit a few of Phobos' minions in W.I.T.C.H., starting with a castle guard in the episode "The Rebel Rescue". They tend to his wounds, take him to Earth (where he learns that Earth isn't nearly as bad as Phobos told him it was), and he helps them break into the castle dungeons and rescue dozens of captured rebels.


Teal'c Turns

Teal'c joins the heroes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / MookFaceTurn

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