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Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!

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He was trying to kill them at the time, but this happened instead.

"Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself, and do good that he does not intend."
Gandalf the White (discussing Gollum), The Lord of the Rings

Basically, the heroes have a problem. It could range from personal, to being vital in their quests. Then an antagonist does something, either accidentally or deliberately but with an unintended effect, that instead fixes this problem nicely. It's like a Kick the Dog, but instead of hurting the dog, it pops one of the dog's dislocated bones back into place.

Sometimes it can be a single act. Sometimes it can be just one too many moves The Chessmaster makes, and the villain becomes their very own Spanner in the Works.

Say the Evil Overlord decides to smash the hero's Orphan's Plot Trinket just For the Evulz, and then it turns out that trinket was a Power Limiter that the hero wasn't able to break himself (or wasn't aware had that function), and now The Hero lays a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on the overlord.

This is often Played for Laughs. Sometimes the Minion with an F in Evil is responsible for this.

This trope on its own just has the villain do this independently of the heroes. If the heroes trick the villain into fixing their problem, then this trope combines with either Briar Patching or a Batman Gambit.

May overlap with Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat if the villain had victory in hand before he did whatever he did.

Compare Hoist by His Own Petard (when the villains foil their own plans), Villain Ball, Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work, Poke the Poodle, Phlebotinum Rebel (when the villain creates the hero), Tactical Suicide Boss (when an enemy can only be beaten by exploiting a certain move).

Contrast Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, From Bad to Worse, Two Rights Make a Wrong.

Super Trope to Create Your Own Hero.

This is not villains hurting their own plans or failing to break something (like resistance against them). "Fixing" in this case means solving a problem they did not know existed, or were trying to exploit.

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead!


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     Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon's Team Rocket trio has had a few moments of this, such as when Delibird accidentally healed a critically wounded Pikachu.
  • In Pokémon Special, there seriously should've been no way for Sapphire to come out on top when in an airtight Drowning Pit. The bad guy there with her, Team Aqua's Matt, (who provided himself a means to breathe) could have simply waited a couple minutes until she ran out of air. But no, he provided her with the means and time to escape by bringing out his Sharpedo, letting her break its teeth off, and not noticing her using said teeth to cut open a hole in the wall. Needless to say, he got owned pretty damn badly.
  • Digimon Adventure's Devimon, the series' first Big Bad, accidentally triggers the one Digimon that could beat him into Evolving/Digivolving by threatening its partner's life. Vamdemon/Myotismon was strong enough to beat all seven of the Chosen Children/DigiDestined and could have done so, if he hadn't spent so much time searching for the eighth, and allowing her to find her Digimon.
    • It gets even more ironic considering Vamdemon/Myotismon that he trained Tailmon/Gatomon to begin with and brought her to the human world, allowing her to meet her partner. He then kills Wizardmon directly in front of her, allowing her to evolve into the one Digimon predestined to kill him. If he'd just left her wandering the Digital World, he'd have won.
    • Piemon/Piedmon of the Dark Masters falls here. In taking his sadistic pleasure in dealing with the Chosen Children/DigiDestined, he causes Angemon to finally evolve into Holy Angemon/MagnaAngemon who proceeds to undo his magic, allowing the Chosen Children/DigiDestined to kick his butt, ending with him being sucked into Heaven's Gate/Gate of Destiny...which, considering Digimon live forever unless they're killed, was a Fate Worse than Death.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, BlackWarGreymon nearly suffers the same fate when he slams Angemon against a holy artifact.
  • In Judge, the first judging is supposed to end on a tie, with everyone voting for themselves to not sacrifice anyone and simply reset the timer to another 12 Hours. But as it turns out, Ryuhei did not vote for himself and ultimately got Noboyuki killed because he had the majority of votes with a total of 2. Fast forward to another judging where it's revealed that, if there is a tie in votes with more than one person have the majority of votes, these people must fight to the death! So... Ryuhei unwittingly caused the manga to not end after only 3 Chapters.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, part of the Big Bad's plan is to get Sakura (and friends) to walk the multiverse and collect physical memories by scattering Sakura's own memory-feathers, so she'd have to find them all again. This eventually proves somewhat counterproductive to his own plan, when the two Sakuras use their immense power of the magical feathers themselves, which makes them now practically invincibleOh, Crap!.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza had survived a Spirit Bomb, the heroes were out of battle power, and Piccolo had just been given a near-fatal injury. Just for fun, Frieza decides to implode Kuririn/Krillin and then threatens to do the same to Gohan. Both which triggered Goku's rage enough that he was able to turn into a Super Saiyan. Frieza then gets his ass handed to him. Oops.
    • Frieza's genocide of the Saiyans. Yeah, it was terrible that he betrayed his workers who did years of genuinely loyal service for him, but given how ruthless and evil the Saiyans were, Frieza did the universe a favor by all but wiping them out, especially if they succeeded in usurping him. The Saiyans were so bad that another race actually tried to kill them with a virus. There is also the added kick in the nuts to Frieza that his genocide was the reason why Goku was sent to Earth to begin with. If he hadn't, Goku would have been raised as a Saiyan and the universe wouldn't have its grand savior. So, thanks for fixing it twice, villain.
    • Frieza does it again in Resurrection 'F. Him committing his entire army on the invasion of Earth ends up saving the universe. Not only was his army defeated by the Earth's defenders, he ruthlessly kills his own men for their failure, leaving only Sorbet alive who is killed by Vegeta. With Frieza's final death, all the planets that remained under his empire's control are now free and he saves thousands if not millions of lives that would have been lost in planetary uprisings. Sorbet's attempts to revive the trade empire to its former glory by bring back Frieza actually helps put the final nail in its casket. Thanks Sorbet and Frieza.
    • Frieza does one better in Dragon Ball Super. In the retelling, he manages to kill Piccolo who died protecting Gohan, causing Gohan to have a major Heroic B.S.O.D., blaming himself for Piccolo's death. After Frieza is dealt with, Gohan asks Piccolo to train him again so he can protect his family from people like Frieza. So, thanks again Empire of Evil.
    • Frieza's brother Cooler did an even better job of Fixing it. As shown in Dragon Ball Z: Cooler's Revenge, he and his squadron were watching as his younger brother destroyed the homeworld of the Saiyans, and had a chance to fire on an escaping space-pod. Cooler let it go, saying his brother was "too soft" for letting a child escape and it was his problem. He wouldn't realize his mistake until years later. (As incredible irony, his realization would not come until he realized he had lost the battle with Goku, and he was mere seconds away from hitting the Earth's sun.)
    • And again when Cell tries pressing Gohan's Berserk Button. He uses his Cell Juniors to pound the Z-Warriors to hell. This, along with him crushing Android #16's head right in front of him causes Gohan to reach Super Saiyan 2. This was an instance of Be Careful What You Wish For, as Goku had warned him about what would happen if he made Gohan lose his temper. At least Frieza and the audience at the time didn't know that it would lead to the Super Saiyan transformation. Cell, meanwhile, was an incurable perfectionist and wanted to fight his opponent at his strongest, believing himself to be incapable of losing due to being... well, perfect. You'd think that since he had some of Frieza's cells, he would have learned from his mistake…
    • From the original series, Commander Red. Him contracting Mercenary Tao to kill Goku completely backfired. Because Tao murdered one of Goku's friends, it changed Goku's focus from only searching for the Four-Star Dragon Ball to finding all of them. He also forced Goku to become much stronger to beat Tao, which made him close to invincible when he came to the Red Ribbon Army base. He also made the mistake of making things personal with Goku, which made Goku more ruthless since he wanted to destroy the Red Ribbon Army instead of simply taking the Dragon Balls.
    • Another incident from the original series has King Piccolo on the verge of death spitting out the egg which would form his "son", through whom he would exact his revenge. Even setting aside Piccolo's help in Dragon Ball Z as a whole, this also allows his Good Counterpart to survive, which allows the titular Dragon Balls to be used to undo the horrors that King Piccolo had done.
    • It goes even deeper than that. The reason King Piccolo was released in the first place was because Emperor Pilaf wanted someone strong enough to defeat Goku. Instead, doing so granted Goku a powerful ally in the long run who would help Goku against other powerful threats.
    • Dr. Gero's motive in the Cell arc was that he wanted to kill Goku as revenge for taking down the Red Ribbon army. However, if he'd just waited it out, Goku would have eventually died due to a heart disease. Instead, Gero building Androids 17 and 18 creates a Bad Future for Trunks, and causes him to go back in time to give Goku heart medication so that he can defeat the Androids. Granted, Goku does die at the end of the arc anyway from Perfect Cell, but dying from an explosion instead of a heart condition made it possible for Goku to be revived in the next arc. And just to rub salt in the wound, 17 and 18 also prove to be very valuable allies for the Z-fighters. When one factors in the Majin Buu saga, Dr. Gero inadvertently saved the entire universe since he allowed for the revival of the only person who could stop Majin Buu. Of course, letting Goku die of natural causes hardly qualifies as revenge. Waiting out his death or hoping for it at the hands of another was never an option.
      • It goes deeper for Dr. Gero in Dragon Ball Super, where one of his creations to made to get revenge on Goku, Android 17, not only saves the earth, not only saves the galaxy, not only saves the universe, he saves the entire multiverse. Yeah, nice job fixing it, Dr. Gero.
  • In during the Duelist Kingdom arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Dinosaur Ryuzaki (Rex Raptor) was about to win the duel against Jonouchi (Joey), but thought about wanting to use Joey's Time Wizard against Mai. The former had to bet his most powerful card, the Red Eyes Black Dragon for the latter to bet Time Wizard. Joey agreed to the bet, but got the idea to use Time Wizard's special ability to win. In the end, Jonouchi got 2 more star chips and a Red Eyes Black Dragon that would help him out in future duels.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • In an early episode, Manjyome's older Corrupt Corporate Executive brothers try to stage a hostile takeover of Duel Academy, eventually able to convince Kaiba to wager it in a duel against Manjyome stacked unfairly in their favor. (Manjyome can only use monsters with 500 points or less.) Their clear goal is to humiliate him, but he takes their condition even further, using a deck that only has monsters with zero attack points, and then winning. His brothers realize that not only has the plan backfired tremendously, Manjyome has become a hero.
    • Brron. He thought by killing Juudai's friends, he would be able to defeat Juudai. Instead, it unleashes Juudai's Unstoppable Rage and the secret powers of darkness within him and Brron gets stomped flat. Then Juudai goes on to be an even greater villain himself. Thanks, Brron! We couldn't have saved the world without you!
    • Of course, Brron was working under Yubel, and bringing out Judai's dark side is what Yubel had actually wanted, but they couldn't have predicted the end result of it. (Which actually caused them to achieve their goal—just not in the way they had planned.)
  • Note to V.V. from Code Geass. When you send out an assassin, make sure he has no unrequited loyalties to the matriarch of the target. You just might have a Heel–Face Turn in the works.
    • Had V. V. not murdered Marianne, Lelouch may have never stumbled upon his parents' Ragnarok Connection plan.
      • Hell, had V.V. not murdered Marianne, the entire plot would never have come to pass.
    • And when assigning a loyal assassin to act as a safeguard against possibly rebellious people that you're using in some diabolical plot under the cover of being their sibling... Don't make their cover so good that even they forget that they aren't a loyal, loving brother.
  • In Space Pirate Mito, Aoi wears a bracelet that he believes is a good luck charm and the audience is lead to believe is the key to a powerful weapon. He also starts having random bursts of powerful energy when the bad guys attack. Near the end of the series, Ranban removes this bracelet and tells Aoi it was an enhancer that brought out his powers, making him helpless without it. Cue Aoi causing an explosion with power even greater than he used before, and Mito telling Ranban that the enhancer was actually a limiter to keep Aoi's powers in check.
  • InuYasha:
    • Sesshomaru has a tendency to inadvertently help Inuyasha almost every time he fights him. His attempts at obtaining Tessaiga for himself led to losing an arm, Inuyasha getting it, and subsequent attempts to take it help Inuyasha master it. However, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sesshoumaru is moving away from this trope into I Was Just Passing Through as begins warming up to his brother (in a The Only One Allowed to Defeat You sort of way).
    • Late in the story, Sesshoumaru's hit rock bottom, lost his weapon and Naraku realizes that now is the time to take back the last shard by sending out the evil spirit of the Shikon Jewel to destroy Sesshoumaru. Magatsuhi utterly curbstomps both Sesshoumaru and Inuyasha before discovering that stabbing Sesshoumaru through the chest doesn't kill him. Instead, it pushes his powers beyond his known limits into a level even he didn't know he possessed. Conclusion? Naraku makes one of the strongest characters in the story even more powerful. Oops?
    • In the anime, Bankotsu and Inuyasha have been repeatedly fighting to a stalemate, with Inuyasha unable to use the Backlash Wave because Bankotsu is not a demon. In their final fight, however, Bankotsu manages to bring his demon kill-count up to 1000, upgrading his Banryu into a demonic weapon...which finally allows Inuyasha to use the Backlash Wave to reflect its strongest attack, shattering the weapon and finally defeating Bankotsu.
  • YuYu Hakusho:
    • Shinobu Sensui kills Yusuke toward the end of the Chapter Black saga, causing him to come back from the dead as a super-demon and kick ass on a nearly-cosmic level. Especially funny since it follows directly after a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, when said hero insisted on fighting Sensui at his full, Shinobu strength, so he could have a good fight, rather than wiping the floor with 'I Do The Sick Work' Kazuya and saving the world. Ironically, Sensui wanted to die at the hands of a demon, so his actions worked out perfectly.
    • In the Dark Tournament arc Toguro "kills" Kuwabara so Yusuke will be able to fight at 100%, somewhat subverted because he knew exactly what he was doing and would probably end up losing.
    • Yeah, one of the big themes from the moment Younger Toguro appears is the concept of what is more important: Victory or the fight itself. Pretty much everyone does this to some degree, and about 75% of them were intentional.
    • During his fight with Kurama, Ura Urashima whips out a mystical container called the Idunn Box, which releases a bluish-purple fog that de-ages the victim into an earlier stage of their life (a child, an infant, or even a fetus). Unfortunately for Ura, this ends up reverting Kurama to his original ancient demon form, Yoko Kurama. He then proceeds to easily turn the fight in his favor.
  • In Naruto, Pain has Naruto utterly beaten, pinned to the ground and paralyzed. When Hinata jumps in to try and save Naruto, Pain blows her away, knocking her out. Then, just to make a point about suffering (or possibly just to be a dick), he stabs her, apparently fatally. This triggers Naruto's Unstoppable Rage, going straight to his 6-tailed form for the first time, Do not pass Go-style, then eventually to his 8-tailed form, and is tempted to go fully to 9-tails. Presumably Pain thought he could win, since his ability was keeping Naruto paralyzed and with disrupted chakra. He would have been dead wrong if the 4th Hokage's safeguard hadn't brought Naruto back from the brink but even so it directly brought about his own defeat by freeing and re-empowering Naruto. Nonetheless, when Naruto finally snaps out of it, Pain isn't nearly as confident anymore.
    • Mizuki's attempt to get Naruto to steal the scroll for him by promising to let him graduate if he learned a technique off of it ended up helping Naruto learn Shadow Clone Jutsu, which comes into play in most of his other techniques, and enabled him to graduate from the academy despite the fact that his promise was insincere.
      • Don't forget, it was Iruka who enabled him to graduate since Naruto had learned a more powerful version of Bunshin No Jutsu thanks to Mizuki.
  • The anime of Soul Eater has this happen at least twice during the Gecko Ending: Mifune causes Black Star to get an Eleventh Hour Super Power and a round of Heroic Resolve after killing him in a Single-Stroke Battle (though in that case said sequence part was lifted from a part of the manga that took place under some different circumstances); later Asura does this to Death the Kid by stabbing him to death in the middle of his Transformation Sequence.
    • The equivalent moment in the manga for Kid fits the trope—Mosquito Curb Stomping him triggers his questionable Super Mode, but Black Star's final fight with Mifune does not. Black Star had already been 'fixed' by his negotiation with Nakatsukasa/Masamune and the Single Stroke Battle sequence which ends his fight specifically, IIRC, does not involve an Super Mode.
  • In Future Diary, the sixth diary holder, Tsubaki plants a "Take That!" Kiss upon protagonist Yukiteru right in front of his Yandere partner, Yuno. Cue Death Glare. Thinking everything's gravy, Tsubaki checks her diary and sees that it predicts her imminent death. Oh, Crap!.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Major Armstrong is injured in his fight against Sloth, until Sloth delivers a blow that accidentally pops his shoulder back into place, giving Armstrong his second wind.
    • Though Armstrong probably deliberately placed himself so that Sloth would attack in such a spot that his shoulder popped back.
    • During Roy Mustang's raid on Central City, he takes Mrs. Bradley hostage. The soldiers sent after him are told to kill everyone except him, since the villains need him for their plans. The fact that the military is willing to kill Mrs. Bradley makes it easier for Mustang's group to win the support of the populace, and suggest that the Central city soldiers they're opposing are fighting against the current regime.
    • Envy decides to gloat about killing Hughes. To Roy, the victim's best friend. Who can throw fire around. That was a really bad idea.
    • Pride would've assimilated Ed's body, if he hadn't made a point about Homunculi superiority at the wrong moment, causing Kimblee to stop him because he really doesn't like hypocrites. Speaking of which, eating Kimblee was also a bad idea in hindsight, since he proved to be crazy enough to retain his identity after being absorbed into Pride's Philosopher's Stone.
    • But bigger and longer in the making than all of the above would have to be the series Big Bad, who caused his own downfall by one act of kindness. The Dwarf in the Flask (AKA: Father) saved Hoenheim from becoming a human sacrifice along with the rest of Xerxes and split the resulting philosopher's stone with him, which extended Hoenheim's lifespan well beyond its natural end (both as thanks for being the reason he existed, as Hoenheim's blood was used by an alchemist to create Dwarf in the Flask). Without that, Hoenheim never would have had the opportunity to set up the giant reverse transmutation circle that gave the heroes the chance they needed to fight back in the end. Not to mention fathering Al and, more to the point, Ed, who ultimately foil the Big Bad's plot.
  • In Sonic X's third series the Metarex kidnap Sonic's friends in order to blackmail him into revealing all his abilities to them. Given that Sonic was on a superpowered crazy kick thanks to Dark Chaos Emeralds littering the building at the time, this turned out to be an even worse idea for them than threatening Sonic's friends usually is. Whether the good guys or the bad guys won, it looked bad for everyone. It's Eggman and his allies who burst in, destroy the attacking Metarex, save Sonic's friends while nobody's looking and ends with Eggman of all people reprimanding Sonic for losing his temper.
  • The witch hunter Sastre in Witch Hunter Robin beats Robin to the fragment of wisdom, which increases a Craft user's power beyond what is controllable (she had this object previously, but it was lost because she couldn't use it safely). He and Robin have a confrontation and he's winning... until he destroys the object, at which time the wisdom within it gives Robin the power they feared her getting all along.
  • In Jack and the Witch, Squeaker the Mouse, now turned into a ghostlike harpy, taunts his imprisoned animal friends by making them watch a crystal ball showing their human friend Jack (plus his ally the harpy Allegra) being tormented by the vicious Harpy Queen; in the course of his teasing he knocks the ball loose, letting it roll, fall, and shatter, thus destroying the Queen's power and freeing the others.
  • Kyubey in Puella Magi Madoka Magica pushes Madoka to make a contract with him, and make a wish, because he knows she will make an extremely powerful magical girl, and, in turn, the most powerful witch in existence, Klimheld Gretchen. In the process of trying to break her, he reveals the existence of magical girls throughout humanity's history, and that they all died in despair. When she finally agrees to the contract, her awareness of the suffering that has happened in the past drives her to force through a Cosmic Retcon—which Kyubey has no choice but to grant. On top of that, the only reason she's so powerful in the first place is because he granted Homura's wish to save Madoka in such a fashion as to send Homura off on her quest through alternate universes, each of which adds a bit more to Madoka's power...
    • In the PSP game, his inability to understand emotions can cause his actions to calm the girls down instead of breaking them down, thus preventing them from becoming witches.
    • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion Kyubey uses Homura to enact an experiment that will provide him the information he needs to begin reversing Madoka's wish, bringing back the old system of magic. Not only does the experiment fail, but it leads to Homura becoming a being that can actually control him.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, during Season 2, Hecate, one of the villains, infiltrates the school that Yuji is going to through a sort of poorly disguised covert agent named Konoe. Konoe then tries to get close to Yuji, much to the consternation of Shana and Yoshida. While gathering feelings and emotions, one thing that Konoe discovers is that birds seem attracted to her, and she often reaches out with her hand to let them land, making her happy. Later on, this comes back to bite Hecate in the behind when said memory inside the Statue of Pride triggers when it sees Shana flying towards it, looking like a little bird. Instead of attacking her like it had been, the statue instead reached out with its hand, allowing Shana and Yuji the opening they needed to reclaim the Reiji Maigo from it, as well as defeating said statue. Cue Hecate looking on in shock and wondering exactly what just happened.
  • Muhyo and Roji, after their time apart, are faced with the task of getting their office back from Goryo's group. Luckily, around this time, Ark kidnaps Goryo, and after Muhyo and Roji save him from Ark, Goryo returns their office in return.
    • In the Arcanum arc, while Roji is having some difficulties with Muhyo, The Mole tells him a story that causes him to realize that Muhyo is pushing himself as hard as he is for Roji's sake and the belief that he can improve. Roji does manage to make effective contributions to the next battle. The Mole later points out that the help was to ward away suspicion and that Roji's talent was an unpleasant surprise.
  • In episode 19 of Magical Project S, Ramia has transformed Misao into Misa in the day where her father comes to visit her. Her plan not only fails, but also leads Sasami and Misao to have angst of discovering their magical girl identities.
  • Bleach: Charlotte has no idea that Yumichika refuses to release his true power in battle because he doesn't want to reveal that power to his colleagues. When Charlotte unleashes his Finishing Move, it encases them both in a supernatural rose bush that's designed to drain Yumichika's life-force. The rose bush has a secondary effect of completely isolating Yumichika from the rest of the battlefield so that no-one will see or sense him die. As a result, Yumichika is finally given the opportunity to unleash his true power while protecting his secret. Charlotte is instantly one-shotted.
  • In episode 4 of Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!, a thief breaks into the school where Hakone and Iono attend. He steals both the student council's funds, along with Iono's gift to Sento, Hakone's brother. Plug and Sento decide to help Iono out of her depression by trying to find the thief, but have no luck whatsoever. Arresta, a coworker/rival of Plug, meanwhile watches them a little bit, then decides that while its noble of him to help her out, she's got a job to do. She decides to continue her job of zapping people, and one of the people she zaps suddenly decides he's going to turn himself in. Although she's wondering what the heck she just did, she inadvertently caught the thief and helped recovered the stolen money and Iono's gift.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Mr Maverick pats Kaede on the head when he meets her, unwittingly transferring his memory-altering power to her. This later allows her to restore the memories that Maverick had scrubbed from the heroes as part of his plot to frame Kaede's father for murder. Thanks, Mr. Villain!
  • In the hentai short Demon Princess Birth by Inoino, the heroine is captured and raped by ogres, with her powerless to resist, but this causes her to turn into a succubus. The final page has her inflicting Out with a Bang on them.
  • During the finale of .hack//ROOTS and revisited in the first volume of Dot Hack GU, if not for encountering TriEdge/Azure Kite in the Hulle Granz Cathedral and being data drained, thus being reverted to a low-level Player Character and losing his broken class upgrade, Haseo might have never been able to ever gain access to the abilities of Skeith Due to Harald's Tampering or calm his head enough to stand any chance against the real threats he would have to face. note 
  • In Honoo no Alpen Rose, the maid Anna is an accomplice of Manipulative Bastard Toulonchamp, whose plans relay on his daughter Mathilda acting as the Body Double of female lead Jeudi. Thing is, at some point Anna attempts to murder Jeudi via dropping a flower pot on her head... but fails, and Jeudi "merely" gets her ankle hurt. This very dumb move not only alerts the people around about how far Toulonchamp is willing to go (which reduces their willingness to collaborate), but it also scares the crap outta Mathilda herself and pushes her to drop part of the truth on Lundi... and it starts to plant the seeds of doubt in the heart of Jeudi's Ill Girl mother Helen.
  • Want to know how Fist of the North Star's Kenshiro ended up joining in the race which would lead him to becoming the 64th successor to Hokuto Shinken? His elder brother Raoh started teaching him Kung Fu when he was a kid.
  • Played pretty much straight with Gauron from Full Metal Panic!, of all people. Despite all that he's done and/or tried to do to Sousuke, his words end up have an eventually positive impact on the kid. For example, his lecture in TSR contains not only vital information that he willingly passes on to Sousuke (in order to get revenge on his former organisation, but mostly "as a favour to you"), but it also poses Sousuke one of the most important questions in his personal arc: "Did you sell your soul to those bastards in Mithril?" Sousuke gives his answer during his confrontation with his Mithril superiors at the end of TSR: "I dont' remember selling my soul to you." Also, on every occasion after Gauron's death (uh... the final, definitive one, I mean...), that someone mentions Gauron, it only serves in making Sousuke try harder. He uses his 'Kashim' personality to reach his goals, knows some of his enemies better because they were Gauron's associates (and they fear/respect him because they know how Gauron... felt about him) and he eventually confirms his and Gauron's almost identical nature to Leonard Testarossa's face, with no shame or guilt, merely pointing out the one thing that made them different: the enjoyment they each took in the act of killing (or lack thereof, in Sousuke's case). And in hearing Leonard's words about Gauron's opinion on the delicate subject of changing history/fate, Sousuke received confirmation of his own beliefs (apparently, he trusted Gauron's judgement on this matter, at least). All in all,not a bad job from the resident psychopath of the series.
  • In Mai-HiME, the Obsidian Prince goes to great lengths to make sure Mai wins the Festival. He also has Mikoto in reserve in case Mai won't join him. But for that to work, he needs Mikoto to be willing to kill her—and he himself had just finished convincing Mikoto that Mai would still forgive her! (This was part of the plan to eliminate another HiME.) She might still have done it if Mai had been really out for blood, but the prince should've known her better than that.
  • In Attack on Titan, Eren points out the greatest mistake of Annie, Reiner and Bertolt was teaching him how to fight.
    • Had Annie/the Female Titan not spared Armin's life as the former was slaughtering soldiers, he would have not figured out her identity.
  • In the movie Uchuu Senkan Yamato Revival, the crew of the titular ship were stopping to watch the last moments of the Earth, which was in the path of a rogue black hole. Cue the villain of the film, whom they thought they had already defeated, showing up to taunt them about how they had been the ones to send that black hole at Earth, in order to pull it into their universe. Cue Kodai and the crew, whom had already come to accept the impending loss of the Earth, using the Yamato to destroy the black hole and save the world once again.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Guame televised his fight with Simon and broadcasted it to every underground human village as a means to demoralize them. It backfired when Simon defeated him for everyone to see and in turn, inspired humans to turn up as The Cavalry in the penultimate battle at Teppelin.
  • One Piece:
    • Blackbeard's attack on Drum Island helped them to overthrow the despotic and idiotic ruler, as he fled for his own safety.
    • During the Impel Down Arc, Luffy's first confrontation with Magellan in Level Four of the complex is a Curb-Stomp Battle with Luffy on the curb, with the result being Luffy poisoned with Hydra, a venom that kills in 24 hours. Magellan then tells the other guards to send him to Level Five, despite the fact that he'll die anyway. Unfortunately for Magellan, Luffy is eventually found there by Ivankov and the other members of the Newkama Land colony (which not even the guards know about) and Ivankov is able to use his Horu Horu no Mi Devil Fruit power to aid Luffy in fighting off the poison, which he eventually does. As a result, Magellan soon has a crisis on his hands as Luffy's trek through Impel Down continues with even more gusto. (Of course, one can hardly blame Magellan, as nobody had ever survived the Hydra. Even Ivankov said that his help would only raise Luffy's nonexistent chance of surviving to about 5%.)
    • Magellan poisoning Luffy has more repercussions than that. Magellan’s poison’s potency can be adjusted and when he engulfed Luffy in his poisonous cocktail, Luffy’s body got exposed to toxins of all kinds of degrees. Now normally this would have meant certain death for him. But thanks Ivankov, he survived, and in the process his body was able to live long enough to produce absurdly strong antibodies to combat poison. By poisoning Luffy so severely, Magellan has inadvertently given Luffy the ability to shrug off most types of poison, as demonstrated when he was fighting Caeser. The mad clown tries to kill him by enveloping him a giant cloud of Deadly Gas, and Luffy simply breathes it all in at once without any issues. Subverted, Luffy isn't completely immune to poisons, as one being extremely fatal is able to injure him seriously, meaning Magellan is still a credible threat to Luffy.
    • Doflamingo's seemingly fool-proof plan to prevent Luffy enacting his Spanner in the Works tendencies results in this. His plot involved a tournament for Ace's devil fruit, in order to distract Luffy from destroying the SMILEs factory. Sure enough, Luffy enters, and finds himself in a pickle when he can't leave the tournament without being noticed and allowing the devil fruit to fall into Burgess's hands due to being in the finals, until Sabo arrives (apparently as a Revolutionary) and trades places with him. The thing is, Sabo's appearance is largely Doflamingo's own fault. Chances are the Revolutionary Army would have never taken action on Dressrosa and Sabo would have never appeared had it not been for the tournament for the Mera Mera no Mi. What proceeds afterwards is a domino effect that complete derails his plans, to the point that, in hindsight, setting up the tournament was the first step towards his downfall.
    • The tournament becomes Doflamingo's worst plan in another way—the rest of the fighters, once they've lost their matches, are turned into Living Toys and made slaves of the Don Quixote Family. Once Usopp stops the curse and everyone goes back to normal, these same fighters are now royally PO'd at Doflamingo and bound and determined to wipe him out. In the ensuing battle, several of the Don Quixote Family's officers are taken down by these champions. It's stated that Doflamingo's actions have united an otherwise random assortment of champions, rogues and weirdos into an Army of Thieves and Whores. Even worse, these people (totaling over 5,000) ultimately unite behind Luffy. Thanks to his meddling, Doflamingo has just created the biggest pirate alliance since the legendary Whitebeard. This is bound to have repercussions long after his defeat.
    • A minor one was when Baby 5 was believing that Sai was proposing to her, her ally Lao G was telling his opponents that she was only a "convenient" underling. Along with Sai promising to marry her, Baby 5 defected from the Don Quixote Family and joined the Happo Navy that becomes part of the Straw Hat Grand Fleet.
    • During Whole Cake Island, the Charlotte siblings, the main body of the Big Mom Pirates, end up making things easier for the Straw Hats and harder for themselves. First, Pudding gloats about their plans to kill the Vinsmokes and take their technology...unaware that Sanji, the White Sheep of the family, is listening. Meanwhile, Opera, who was supposed to have killed Luffy and Nami in the prison, ends up losing his prisoners to Jimbei, and lies about what happened to avoid a You Have Failed Me death. Smoothie, hearing that there's some kind of ruckus in the prison, has the entire level sealed off to keep Big Mom from finding out and upsetting her. This allows the Straw Hats to plan their own counter to Big Mom's plans. When they begin, part of it involves having dozens of animals transformed into Luffy by a captured Devil Fruit user as part of a distraction. Katakuri, who has epic Combat Clairvoyance, tells everyone to focus on the real Luffy...and completely misses Brook, wearing a Paper-Thin Disguise, who manages to complete the first step of the counterattack.
  • Alejandro Corner from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 would have succeeded in his plan had he not assassinated Aeolia Schenberg and activated the Gundams' Trans-Am Systems.
  • In Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the first enemy they fight upon reaching Egypt completely sabotages his own opportunity to defeat them. He decides to crash the helicopter of the Speedwagon Foundation agents who had already completed their mission in dropping off the Sixth Ranger and giving supplies and intel. Discovering the crash lets the heroes know that an enemy is nearby, which gives them just enough time to not get killed by his surprise attack. Since, even with that, he manages to injure one of them enough to keep them in the hospital until the end of the story, his surprise attack almost certainly would have killed them had he not blown his cover to attack some defenseless Red Shirts.
  • In Il Sole penetra le illusioni, Cerebrum trapping Akari in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and forcing her to relive the day she killed her Daemonia-possessed cousin Fuyuna over and over was meant to break her spirit, but in the last loop Fuyuna reaches out to Akari instead and they have a heart-to-heart talk, finally allowing Akari to understand why Fuyuna became a Daemonia and to come to terms with her cousin's death, and that grants Akari the power to break free of Cerebrum's illusions and finally defeat him.
  • Dangan Ronpa 3: Generally in this franchise, if Junko's plans fail, it's because she deliberately left a loophole for them to fail. However, in one of them, there was one thing she didn't think to factor in: what executing Izuru's Morality Pet Chiaki would do to him. While it certainly did push Chiaki's classmates into despair and bring them under her sway, it pushed Izuru out of despair simply through sheer anger, and thus out of her service. Because of this, he would go on to mastermind the events of the second game, leading directly to her downfall there and the salvation of not only Chiaki's friends, but the Future Foundation as well.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first story arc of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, the villain gets hold of the amulet containing the hero's power, and during the climactic battle (which he was winning anyway) he decides to destroy it, figuring that will leave the hero powerless and easy to defeat. Instead, destroying the amulet merely releases the power, which flows back into the hero, making him more powerful than he was before...
    • ...and then in an almost hilarious turn of events, Morpheus, the eponymous Sandman, completely forgives said villain, tells him that he actually did him a favour and dismisses the pitiful, Gollum-esque creature with a pat on the back. And this for a "hero" that has been fond of Disproportionate Retribution in the past...
  • In the Tournament Arc of Knights of the Dinner Table, the knights get a bunch of "Doomsday" dice by rubbing their dice against the dead body of the guy who made the game. Only they end up cursing their dice, every die in their possession and every die of every friend they lent dice to, meaning the dice now produce the worst results possible, making just about anything a critical fumble. Everyone on the Knights' team was given this and they seem to be in a hopeless position as they face their Smug Snake rival team... except she reveals she learned of their "advantage" and eBay'd some of the dice, believing they were blessed and very ironically leveling the playing field.
  • The Hulk's raison d'être: if you're going to kill him, at least try to make him happy about it. This makes Ultimate Nick Fury pretty smart since he did JUST THAT. Pity Loki intervened.
    • The Onslaught saga springs to mind... "And Hulk is ANGRY!!!!"
  • The XXXenophile short Wish Fulfillment starts with the heroine being defeated by a usurping general who declares that "henceforth you shall be my captive flower". This gives the Literal Genie who granted her three wishes before the option to grant "my captive flower" 3 wishes as well.
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: Soapy Slick would have managed to steal Scrooge's mine, but he decided to humiliate him, read his mail aloud and joke about his mother's death. No one knows exactly what happened after that, except that somehow a piano flew through the window, the steamboat exploded, and Soapy Slick ended up in jail.
  • One of Loki's schemes against Thor (tricking him into fighting Hulk) ended up creating The Avengers. Considering that this superteam saved the world many, many times in Marvel Universe, this is THE Nice Job Fixing It, Villain for Loki...
  • In Sonic the Comic Sonic's Superpowered Evil Side Super Sonic was sealed in the Black Asteroid but was able to escape by charging himself up so much that he made himself into a sort of electron bomb in order to destroy the Asteroid. The explosion produced an electro-magnetic pulse that spread all over planet Mobius, which caused the totally unintentional side effect of deactivating all of Robotnik's Badniks and computers, and contributing to the end of Robotnik's dictatorship; all Super Sonic intended to do was to escape the Black Asteroid.
    • On the subject of Sonic, Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide has Sonic and Mega Man attempt to use Chaos Control to fix their worlds. Mega Man's set back to normal, but Eggman's desperate attempt to win ends up messing up Mobius, turning it into a different world... as well as voiding all of his victories, restoring the Freedom Fighters to the point where they Took a Level in Badass and giving them more allies to use in their fight. His actions also had the benefit of cancelling out, at this time, nearly all of the other villains and assorted threats in the comic, with only those from the games and American cartoons still around.
      • To top it off, as Eggman adapts to the new timeline he says that his new memories will overtake his old ones. It was his realization that Sonic's an embodiment of chaos that drove him to make the tech that led to the crossover and slowly tear apart the Freedom Fighters to begin with. Once his memories fully adjust, he'll become less of a threat than before.
  • Forever Evil: By moving the moon out of orbit, Ultraman creates havoc with Earth's oceans. The resulting flooding destroys the burial site of Black Manta's father. He's understandably a little pissed.
  • During the Secret Invasion arc of Runaways, the evil Skrull Chrell managed to capture every non-Skrull member of the Runaways and hold them hostage, threatening them with death unless Xavin handed over Changeling of the Young Avengers. He almost had Xavin over a barrel, but then he made Klara Prast cry. And then Klara's powers kicked in and she damn near impaled him on a tree, breaking his concentration and allowing the Runaways to escape.
  • Early in Superior Spider-Man, Doc Ock does the unthinkable and erases Peter Parker's memories and his Soul Fragment from his mind. Ten issues later, Ock is forced to try to find one of those memories in a massive case of Hoist by His Own Petard. Doing so allows Peter's Soul Fragment to start coming back.
  • In the Vampirella story "... And be a Bride of Chaos" Lucretia, who wanted to become the Bride of Chaos and was jealous that Dracula had chosen Vampirella instead, freed Vampirella from her bonds to take over.
  • In one Captain America story, Cap's shield had been shattered and the shattered remains were set to be used to stop the vibranium that was following suit and heading for its anti-vibranium counterpart. Cue Klaw, who uses the crisis to amplify his amazing sound-based power. Destroying Cap's photonic shield, Klaw proceeds to finish off the helpless hero as Cap grabs his shattered and taped up shield out of reflex. The shield takes the brunt of the attack and, to Cap's surprise, it repaired it fully. Not only that, but it also stopped the incoming disaster. Cap then proceeds to disperse Klaw by slinging his Mighty Shield once more and smacking him with it.
  • A What If? issue, "What If Magneto and Professor X had Formed the X-Men Together?" spun off from an old Chris Claremont story where Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr (the future Magneto) fought against Nazi and future-Hydra founder Baron Strucker over a cache of Nazi gold. In the original story Lensherr took the gold to finance his own campaign against humanity. In the What-If, Xavier and Gabrielle Haller argued that his proposed war against humans would make him no better than the Nazis. Strucker contemptuously added, "By all means, mutant, listen to these dreamers. It will make my inevitable victory all the sweeter." Lensherr turned to Strucker and answered, "I'm glad you feel that way, Nazi. It makes my decision...easier." Strucker was later executed for war crimes, and Lensherr and Xavier became allies.
  • In Swordquest, the protagonists were destined to grow up as submissive servants in fear of the Big Bad... only to become emboldened to rebel against him only after one of his captains killed their foster parents in a moment of pettiness.
  • In Chassis, Twist once set her personal droid to sabotage Chassis's aerocar during a race. His sabotage initially puts her behind. However, he then causes one of her rocket engines to explode. The sudden boost of power propels her to the lead and allows her to win.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme changes the figures in Reed Richard's N-Zone experiment, and winds up transforming himself and the Fantastic Four. Turns out that if Victor hadn't altered the calculations, Reed would have made first contact with the Skrulls and doomed the human race to extinction.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: In the story "Kaiso", Usagi befriends a kaiso (seaweed) farmer who suspects a farmer from a neighboring village of poaching his seaweed and selling it to a kaiso-broker, while the other farmer accuses the first farmer of poaching his seaweed. In the end, Usagi uncovers the truth; the broker was poaching seaweed from both farmers, in order to sow mistrust between the two villages. He feared that if the two farmers formed a partnership they could sell their seaweed without his assistance and drive him out of business. By the end of the story, the two farmers decide to form a partnership, and even make a point of thanking the broker for giving them the idea in the first place.
  • When Avengers Forever went about undoing the damage wrought by The Crossing, it was retconned that Immortus was manipulating Iron Man since Operation Galactic Storm, not Kang since the Avengers' first battle with him. What put this in this trope? During the events of Galactic Storm, Immortus had tried to instill Tony with a sense of xenophobia to try to drive the Avengers to go back home and keep them from interfering in intergalactic affairs. Instead, this caused Tony to go into a murderous rage after the Supreme Intelligence allowed a bomb to go off that killed most of the Kree Empire to try to jumpstart the Kree's evolution and Tony led a group of Avengers to kill it.
  • In the last issue of Astonishing Ant-Man, Scott Lang was on trial for robbing a Corrupt Corporate Executive to rescue his daughter, Cassie (who now goes by Stinger). As things look bad for Scott, Yellowjacket, Egghead, and Crossfire showed up for revenge. A major fight happened in the courtroom with Cassie joining in with her Stinger costume to help defeat the three villains. The battle showed Scott's ex-wife how much of a hero and good father Scott really is. So thanks to Yellowjacket, Scott was not only on better terms with his ex-wife and daughter, but Cassie can fight crime again with her father as Ant-Man and Stinger.
  • Childrens book "You're A Hero, Daley B" by Jon Blake. Selfsame hero is a rabbit who doesn't know who he is and where he belongs. And what his overlarge feet are good for. His fellow rabbits easily could have told him... Along comes the weasel Jazzy D and tells him he is a rabbit and her designated lunch, incidentally also solving the feet conundrum (they are good for kicking bloodthirsty weasels to kingdom come).
  • In Street Fighter, Rose left behind an amnesiac Killer Bee (renamed Cammy) at a British Embassy to begin a new peaceful life, but some terrorist attacked which triggered her Killer Bee Mode that made her defeat all of the terrorists in front of Delta Red. She was invited to join Delta Red and helped them against Shadaloo from then on.
    • Vega did this twice in the comic:
      • The first was when Cammy was being reprogrammed into Killer Bee, but stopped it, since he believes beautiful people shouldn't be punished that way. That caused Cammy to sneak Chun-Li and Guile into the Shadaloo base to foil Bison's plans.
      • Another was when he nearly defeated Ken, but instead of ending it quickly, he read him a letter from Eliza saying she's pregnant giving Ken a second wind and defeated the assassin.

    Fan Works 
  • Mortality Smith captures Holmes, tortures him with an inch of his life, and gloats over the guy while he's dying. Basically, Smith unknowingly tripped off protective instincts.
    • The captured criminal, especially. Watson is trying to get information on his friends whereabouts, and said "If your master's actions destroy him whom I regard as the best and wisest man I have ever known, make no mistake that I shall hunt down to a man everyone who played a part in his destruction." Cue idiotic criminal most likely begging for remorse in playing a part in Holmes's long-term imprisonment, which leads to said idiot being killed IN COLD BLOOD.
  • Advice and Trust: Bardiel grew a S2 organ into Unit 03 when it hijacked the giant mecha. Thanks to that NERV got an Eva would not run out of power, which saved Shinji and Asuka when they used Unit 03 to fight Zeruel and they ran out of external power.
  • In the Deva Series, the Al Hantheans were an unknown factor. Only the Yagami Academy and the Circles were unambiguously aware of the threat they posed to Earth; other nations and parties might have considered trying for non-aggression or even collusion. Then they tried to kill off Noriko and the Japanese Imperial family, hoping to take one of Earth's nations and one of Hayate's fighters out of the picture. However, the attempt did not completely succeed, and with their villainy exposed, the survivor gave a speech that will probably rally the nations of Earth into properly uniting against them. One of the higher-up villains even does some Lampshade Hanging on this.
  • In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, assuming that Dark is the hero, L does this when he shoots and kills Light, but accidentally revives him with the Life Note. Light then seeks out L for revenge, enabling Dark to trick them into killing each other.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • Discord's Mind Rape of the Mane Cast before his downfall leads to the entire Mane Cast becoming better off than before hand, with such things happening as Applejack becoming a Living Lie Detector and Pinkie Pie becoming much more Crazy Awesome than normal by performing a Split-Personality Merge and healing herself of a serious mental condition, which wouldn't have happened if he hadn't done it. Not only that, but thanks to him the Mane Cast gets two Sixth Rangers and new Elements of Harmony, one of which he made himself. The most extreme example of this happened in the backstory. Discord was the one who accidentally created the Elements of Harmony in the first place. That's right, Discord created the only thing that could defeat him.
    • Queen Chrysalis initially has the upper hand against Princess Cadance and mocks her for not fighting at her full potential, as Alicorns have the powers of all pony tribes. This causes Cadence to suddenly realize she can shape-shift like a Changeling does, which turns the tides.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: Bardiel inadvertently shields Asuka from the kryptonite radiation coming from Unit 01's kryptonite reactor when Gendo engineers a slight radiation leak.
  • The Immortal Game: Near the latter end of the story, Titan captures Twilight Sparkle during an attack on the Loyalists' base and proceeds to torture her. But in the process of doing so, he causes her split personalities to fuse back together and restore her full power. This proceeds to really, really, backfire on him.
    • Terra's attack on Ponyville, which served no purpose other than emotionally hurting the protagonists, ends with the Elements of Harmony—previously rendered inert by Titan—reignited, and Terra herself stripped of all power.
    • Titan raising the Citadel for the Final Battle enables Harmony's last gambit, which transforms Twilight into an alicorn capable of facing Titan in an even fight, allowing her to defeat him.
  • In the Mai-HiME fic Stain, Nao tells Shizuru that her killing her mother enabled the Reset Button that happened in the last episode to bring her out of her coma in addition to resurrecting her.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha / Sailor Moon fanfic, White Devil of the Moon, some mistakes in communication lead to the Sailor Senshi coming off as suspicious to Nanoha and Fate, when they are trying to convince Nanoha to join them as their princess to fight the Dark Kingdom. When one of Beryl's lieutenants, Jadetite, attacks Nanoha's brother's wedding with an army of youma, Nanoha and Fate start believing the Senshi and then begin to work together against the Dark Kingdom.
  • Canonical examples aside, Rise of the Galeforces has a case of this that works three-fold. Firstly, if Mr. Ludlow hadn't gotten the idea to clone the Supers who had died in the Golden Age, they wouldn't have contributed to the Aperture's downfall. Secondly, if he hadn't turned Violet into a T. rex, she wouldn't have had the power to wipe the floor with him and his men. And third, if he hadn't jumped into the storyline a couple dozen chapters too late and tried to kill everyone participating, thus throwing a spanner into Ripper's Evil Plan, the Supers would never have found a reason to join forces against the enemy, and thus the ending might have turned out a whole lot worse.
  • In The Teacher of All Things, Apocalymon's deletion of Zeromaru's V-pet proves to be a double-whammy: First, the sheer callousness of this act emotionally pushes Tai to the breaking point and causes him to unleash the power of the Digimental, which was within him all this time without his knowledge, and second, due to Apocalymon's nature, this action causes Zero to finally be reborn inside his mindscape, the latter event preventing Apocalymon from destroying the Digidestined with his Total Annihilation attack.
  • Turnabout Storm: Because of prosecutor Trixie's ego and personal grudge against Twilight and her friends, she lets Phoenix get away with casting suspicion on Fluttershy to get more time to investigate, since she cares about making Twilight and her friends squirm more than anything. Phoenix himself points out that she could have secured a conviction and denied them a chance to gather more evidence by shutting down this line of argument.
  • Anthropology: After explaining his intentions to her, Discord turns Lyra back into a pony. However, this allows Lyra to use the necklace Princess Celestia gave her to return to Ponyville and gather the Elements of Harmony.
  • Earth and Sky: If Diamond Tiara (who runs her husband Blueblood's airship company for him) hadn't downsized her staff, leading to Pipsqueak becoming unemployed, he wouldn't have been free to become Harmony Aeronautics test pony, meaning they wouldn't be in a position to threaten the company's business.
    • Also, in chapter 38, Chrysalis manages to throw ponies off her trail, only to end up shooting herself in the hoof when she tries to avoid getting arrested for crimes committed by Diamond Tiara (who she was impersonating).
  • A Brief History of Equestria: Sullamander thought that, by killing the only general on her Joint Chiefs-of-Staff who outright opposed her, she could cow the Staff into doing whatever she wanted. Instead, the General that replaced her was Wind Whistler, who proceeded to No-Sell Sullamander's nonsense and pointed out how the the Articles of Command allowed her to kill the Commander for her actions if she didn't back off. She would continue to defy Sullamander for the rest of her life, eventually launching the coup that led to both of their deaths and the rise to power of Sullamander's rival (and Wind Whistler's lover) Hurricane.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: Abaddon tries to kill the Emperor while He is still on the Golden Throne. This ends up being just what the Emperor needs to heal himself and turn the Siege of Terra against the forces of Chaos.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic, Sonic the Hedgehog: Redemption and Revenge, has Lien-Da suggesting to Eggman, who is upgrading Mecha Sally, to put her original Spark which results in restoring her free will. Way to go, Lien-Da.
  • In Perfection is Overrated:
    • Miyu, by destroying Akane's child, kills the first of the SUEs, Mariko, who had the power to win over everyone she met. This proves to be a double example, as Mariko's bonding to Akane with her powers enables Kazuya to survive.
    • Hitomi, who starts off by mind-controlling and robbing people before moving on to mass murder, comes to Midori's attention, who contacts Mai and lets her know that she might be linked to Nao's alleged attack on Yukariko in some way. As a result, Mai and Natsuki delay going after Nao, and the group is able to cooperate against Hitomi and the other SUEs (even Nao overcomes her reluctance to associate with the other Himes by virtue of how horrific Hitomi's crimes are and out of a sense of self-preservation).
  • The one-off criminal Tom accidentally causes his partner Bill to suffer a Rake Take to the groin in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
  • In 3 Slytherin Marauders because Lucius Malfoy insists on gloating to Arthur Weasley, Arthur's bosses assume he must be very important and well-connected and this has greatly advanced Arthur Weasley's career.
  • Children of Time:
    • In "The Manhattan Conspiracy," Dalek Caan's decision to "study" a Time Lord's regenerative energy at work results in said Time Lord using a burst of energy against him, which saves the lives of the hybrid Daleks.
    • In "Every Good Fairytale," Professor Moriarty has already corrupted Sherlock Holmes into his own image. The results having backfired on him, he now seeks Revenge, pure and simple... and gets it by breaking Holmes to restore his humanity. This backfires even more spectacularly, as Holmes's redemption is half of what was needed to restore Time.
  • The Nuptialverse has multiple examples:
    • In the backstory, as shown in Metamorphosis: Discord makes Celestia and Luna immortal to torture them, and lets them take the remains of the orb containing the Energy of Friendship. This gives them the time they need to become alicorns and turn the pieces into the Elements of Harmony. Longtime viewers of the show know how well that would have turned out for Discord.
    • During the climax of Families, Olive Branch's men manage to turn their kidnapping of Twilight, Applejack and Pinkie Pine into a complete 180 merely by telling Twilight that Spike will die.
    • As Luna gloatingly tells Olive Branch himself after he's arrested, his half-assed plan and the actions of himself and his lieutenants have caused the anti-Celestia movement to lose almost all support, not only allowing the royals to focus once more on searching for Chrysalis rather than defending their position, but now no one will object to Twilight officially adopting Spike.
  • In Guide To Recent Equestrian History, before the Reign of Discord, the ponies of Equestria are teetering on the brink of civil war. Good thing that Discord showed up to give them someone to unite against.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act I chapter 30, Rarosun and Surason have Dark and Rason tricked into thinking that they molested the other's respective girlfriends, and have Mizore and Kurumu restrained and are making them watch the fight. However, the two get tired of waiting and decide to morph into Mizore and Kurumu and give the boys the final push to kill each other; instead, Dark and Rason see through their disguises, promptly kill the Kiyo brothers, and subsequently realize they were duped. In short, Rarosun and Surason screwed themselves over through their own impatience and sadism.
    • In Act IV chapter 19, when Hitomi petrifies Moka, it allows Inner Moka to bypass her seal, break free of the petrifaction, and kick her ass.
  • In Monsignor George Ryan's backstory in Angel Of The Bat, his parents were part of a superstitious sect of the Irish Mob, who agreed to forgive his father's debts if they raised him to be a priest. The plan was this would allow the mob to wash their hands of their sins and go right back to doing them, but Ryan's religious conviction became too strong to be swayed by them and he eventually abandoned them and began working for the betterment of Gotham.
  • During the Opelucid City fight in Pokemon Black & White: Tale of a Legend, Zinzolin mocks Bianca and Volan for taking on his Weavile with unevolved Pokémon... and as one, they decide that now is the time to evolve them. And that's how a Weavile ends up losing to a Grass-type and a Flying-type.
  • The Mortal Kombat fanfic In with the Old, Out with the New. Nice going, Kano. Not only did you kidnap and rape Cassie, both Sonya and Johnny Cage are hell-bent on seeing you dead for what you did to their little girl.
  • In The Elements of Friendship, Book IS: Bonds, Trixie's Alicorn Amulet-powered conquest of Ponyville and enslavement of its citizens gives Queen Selena the motivation and catalyst she needs to regain her full power for the first time since she was purified of NightMare Moon.
  • This Bites!:
    • Intent on getting the fight with Luffy that he has waited for without Lucci getting in the way, Jabra takes out Blueno before he can regroup and report back to Spandam, solving the Straw-Hats' problem of the foolproof backup plan to get Robin out of their reach.
    • The fact that Jabra kept a Six Powers cheat sheet in his room for review greatly helped Boss when he got his flippers on it.
    • Thanks to Spandam having such a superiority complex that he kept an operational black book for CP9, a black-ops organisation whose actions are all but clandestine, in his possession, Cross is able to broadcast on the SBS enough Dirty Business to permanently tarnish the WG's reputation.
    • During their Cat Fight, Kalifa attempts to use her Bubble-Bubble Fruit to wash Nami's mind blank of any thoughts, but all she ends up doing is washing away all of Nami's stress instead. As such later, she doesn't hesitate to jump into the churning waters between the Tower of Justice and the Bridge of Hesitation, in order to get to and activate the controls that close the Gates of Justice.
  • crawlersout: After Fem!Harry admits she wouldn't be able to stand by if people were being persecuted, Gellert Grindelwald deems her a threat and tries to kill her. It backfires horribly: since Harry is the Master of Death, she is immune to the Killing Curse. Worse, Grindelwald used the Elder Wand to cast it; as Harry's ownership of the wand trumps any other claims, no matter the time or place, the curse rebounded. The only reason Grindelwald survived is because Harry saved him, leaving him life indebted to the woman he just tried to murder.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: During the Fuchsia Tag Tournament, Ash and Red have a heated argument over the use of their bloodliner powers in competitive battling that causes their teamwork to fall apart during the semifinals. Then Paul decides to release his Raichu for losing one too many battles, not even bothering to properly heal her. This action prompts Ash and Red to forget their differences and work together to ensure that Paul doesn't win the tournament.
  • In Earth's Alien History, the Mekon's attempt to keep the neutral Vulcans and Andorians from getting involved in his war with the Terran Treaty Organization is to try and use his Romulan allies in a False Flag Operation to get the two species fighting each other. When this is exposed, however, it just leads to both entering the war on the side of, and later formally joining, TeTO.
  • Double Agent Vader begins with Darth Vader being sent by Emperor Palpatine on a mission to his former homeworld of Tatooine; Palpatine's intention is to taunt him by reminding him of what he's lost, but the actual result is that he finds a way to reconnect with his roots, reclaims his identity as Anakin Skywalker, and dedicates himself to bringing down Palpatine and the Empire from the inside.
  • Ultimate Video Rumble 3 sees M. Bison gain godlike power atop the hotel. Alex has a Mineral MacGuffin to supercharge himself to similar levels, but loses it off the side of the roof before he can activate it. Whereupon Bison taunts: "Just once I would love to see a competent opponent challenge me." This is Rolento's cue to climb onto the battlefield with the missing MacGuffin; Bison belatedly realizes that his new power over reality may have made his taunt true.

    Film — Animated 
  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: Bradley's attempt to disqualify Team 99 by launching PJ out of the stadium actually repaired the father-son relationship between Max and Goofy with Goofy filling in at the last second. Bradley does it again when he betrays his right-hand man Tank by leaving him to die in the burning X-Games logo along with Max. His betrayal leads to Tank pulling a Heel–Face Turn and helping Max win, then slingshooting Bradley onto the X-Games zepplin flying above.
  • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Professor Poopypants does this twice. The first time was when he had the Turbo Toilet 2000 "eat" Captain Underpants. In doing so, he exposed CU to the pretty much radioactive leftovers from the school cafeteria, and it results in him getting real superpowers. The second time is when he's seemingly won after erasing George and Harold's sense of humor. He mentions the planet Uranus, which triggers the memory of how George and Harold first met, and gets them laughing again.
  • Capture the Flag: Carson tries to sabotage NASA by making their rocket leave Earth before anyone boards it and the plan fails because Mike and Amy snuck in and Mike's grandfather went there to get them out. Had Carson not tried this, he'd have about ten more hours to get rid of the flag and anything else that might be used as evidence that the original Moon landing wasn't a hoax.
  • In Cars 2, had Miles Axlerod not spilled oil onto the carpet, Mater wouldn't have become a spy and foiled his evil plan!
  • At the musical finale in Cats Don't Dance, Spoiled Brat Darla Dimple attempted to sabotage the performance of the animals who could threaten her career. However, each of her sabotage attempts only made the performance a bigger hit, thus ensuring the animals' careers. Then she went and screamed at the animals about the accident she caused and framed them for, thus clearing their names and resulting in her and her career literally going through the floor.
  • In Coco, if Ernesto de la Cruz hadn't been so stupid as to recreate Hector's death in one of his movies with himself as the victim, Hector would never have realized that he'd been murdered, let alone that de la Cruz murdered him. Since Hector's daughter Coco, the last living person who remembered him, was dying of Alzheimer's (in the setting of the movie, when a dead person is completely forgotten by the living, they suffer Final Death), it's likely that de la Cruz's dark secret could have stayed safe forever if he hadn't gone to the effort of betraying himself.
  • In Coraline when The Beldam tosses Coraline into the mirror for disobeying her. Of course, that's where she also left the souls of her previous victims who speak to Coraline and give her the resolve to defeat the "Other Mother".
  • For a bit of Fridge Horror in Despicable Me, that little kid in the beginning would've died had Vector not stolen the real pyramid and replaced it with an inflatable.
  • In Frozen, Hans tries to kill Elsa, and Anna throws herself in front of the sword before the curse freezes her solid (and shatters the sword in mid-strike). Because Anna did that to save Elsa, it was an act of true love that would break her curse, something she might not have been able to do had Hans not given her the opportunity.
  • The Incredibles:
    • The Omnidroid trying to rip Mr. Incredible apart actually fixes the crick in his back, getting him back in the fight.
    • The mook who punched Dash off the vecilopod accidentally saved Dash's life because the vecilopod crashed onto a cliff seconds later.
    • Syndrome does this when he first meets Mr. Incredible. He has the hero captured and helpless in his "zero point energy" field. But he can't resist tossing him around and gesturing dramatically during his "I win" speech and accidentally flings him away. Although he is captured again later, it is this that allows Mr. Incredible to discover Syndrome's evil plan.
    • Syndrome programmed the Omnidroid to adapt to any situation. Then he arrogantly stopped during his fight with it to boast to the bystanders, giving the robot the time to figure out it was being controlled by Syndrome's bracelet. It then removed it from him, and the heroes used it to destroy the robot.
    • Before Syndrome, the Parr family was in a rut, trapped by monotony, dead-end jobs, and the memories of what once was. Even Bob and Helen's marriage was on the rocks. And for superheroes in general, public opinion was negative, and they had to live in hiding. After Syndrome, superheroes were allowed to operate openly once more, the public liked them again, and, most important of all, the Parrs were happy, proud, and very closely-knit, making them even better superheroes than they ever were as individuals.
  • Shere Khan in The Jungle Book unwittingly saves Mowgli's life. Kaa has Mowgli fast asleep and in his clutches, when Shere Khan drops by and asks Kaa for information on Mowgli. The distraction is long enough for Mowgli to wake up and escape.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Lord Shen attempting genocide on the pandas not only enabled Po to complete the prophecy, but also provided the Valley of Peace with a way to stop Tai Lung in the original film.
  • The Lion King:
    • Scar has Simba utterly on the ropes and is about to knock him off the edge of a cliff, when he insists on making a But Before You Die speech.... freeing Simba from the guilt he had been carrying around and giving him the heroic resolve needed to stop Scar. Doh!
    • Later, when trying to bargain with Simba for his life, some hyenas are about to help him. Then he goes and ruins it by trying to scapegoat the hyenas, making them back away in anger. Not only does this mean that he has to fight Simba without any backup, but it also gets him torn to ribbons by a pack of justly angry hyenas, after Simba had chosen to spare Scar's life and exile him.
  • Monsters, Inc.: "I'll kidnap a thousand children before I let this company die!!!"
  • Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights: Haman uses his second wish to become ruler of the universe, which enlarges the palace. It enables Aliyah-Din to leave the cell she and the Prince were locked in and eventually reclaim the lamp.
  • Lord Farquaad, the Big Bad of Shrek, did this on a series spanning level. He sent Shrek to rescue Fiona, which messes up his own plan by allowing Fiona to meet her true love that would break the curse and allow Donkey to meet Dragon, who helps Shrek and Donkey stop his wedding and eats Farquaad. In the second movie, Prince Charming's goal to rescue Fiona and thus Fairy Godmother's intention to rule Far Far Away through him are foiled because Farquaad sent Shrek to rescue her already. Most importantly, it foiled Rumpelstiltskin's attempt to get Fiona's parents to sign a Deal with the Devil with him, letting him erase them from existence and conquer Far Far Away because Shrek rescued Fiona and rendered the deal pointless. Even further back, the only reason Shrek interfered at all in any of this was because Farquaad's deporting all the fairy tale creatures to his swamp ticked him off. Really Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
  • Toy Story 3: The moment Lotso smashes Big Baby's locket. Cue Big Baby becoming extremely pissed and throwing Lotso into the dumpster.
  • In Zootopia, Assistant Mayor Bellwether intervenes on Judy's behalf when she was about to be fired by Chief Bogo. She just didn't expect that Judy would discover she was behind the conspiracy causing Zootopian predators to go savage with the same determination Judy showed in finding the missing mammals.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Addams Family: Tully Alford and Abigail Craven have her son Gordon dress up and pretend to be the long-lost Fester as a means of trying to con the family out of their fortune. Not only does Gordon grow to care for and love the family through Craven's constant berating and controlling of him, but when she finally drives him to give her and Tully each a Disney Villain Death, the circumstances under which it occurs reveals that Gordon was the real Fester with Amnesia the whole time.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, the Empire would have won if a nameless TIE fighter pilot hadn't panicked at being shot at by Han and collided with Vader. See for yourself.
    • Even earlier in A New Hope, if Tarkin had waited possibly even just a few hours to order Alderaan's destruction, Luke, Han, Obi-Wan, the droids, and the all-important Death Star plans would have been on the planet, Leia would eventually have been executed, and the movie and the Rebellion would have ended right there. If he hadn't destroyed Alderaan at all, he would have left some of the Rebellion's key leaders alive, but the Empire would still plausibly be able to pass the rebels off as mere terrorists fighting their perfectly decent and reasonable government just to be troublemakers. Instead, they proved conclusively to the galaxy just who the bad guys were, virtually guaranteed Leia's rescue and the plans' survival, gave rebel recruiters all the help they could ever need, and Tarkin eventually got himself killed for his trouble.
      • Tarkin did it again(before?) in Rogue One: His destruction of the base on Scarif meant the only person in the Empire who knew of the Death Star's weakness was killed before he could tell anyone.
    • Luke is struggling with the dark side in Return of the Jedi, but it's actually the Emperor's constant taunting—and explicit goading him to fall—that keeps Luke from going over. Not only that, when the Emperor decided to forgo turning him and instead try to kill him, he ended up getting the exact opposite: instead of Luke turning to the Dark, Vader turned back to the Light in order to protect his son. Even Irregular Webcomic! spoofed this, with Vader complaining he could get Luke to turn if the Emperor would just stop butting in.
    • In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren's attempted Mind Probe of Rey, and her successful resistance to that probe, seems to awaken her Force abilities. Near the end, Kylo even realizes that he played an unwitting role in her growth as a Force-user and offers to train her for real.
  • Superman II: In an overlap with Batman Gambit, Supes confides in Lex a means to Depower the escaped Kryptonians and save Earth. Something that is in Luthor's interests since they've repeatedly shown they care nothing for him or honoring their deals. Of course, Lex betrays Supes and tells them the plan... but instead, he's actually been tricked by Superman and helped him depower them! It seems Lex is so predictably evil, Supes could count on him always being his own Starscream.
  • UHF where R.J. Fletcher does this twice:
    • First, he fires Stanley for something that was actually his own fault. George takes pity on Stanley and hires him for U62. After discovering U62's falling fortunes and ratings and his girlfriend leaves him, a despondent George walks out of a taping of "Uncle Nutsy's Clubhouse" and lets Stanley take over. Stanley ends up being so popular, he gives U62 a huge ratings boost and allows them to make more shows.
    • In a later scene, R.J. Fletcher gives a penny to a panhandler, who thanks him sincerely. It turns out that the penny was extremely rare and valuable, so the panhandler was able to sell it for enough money to buy several shares in the station Fletcher was trying to close down.
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, the protagonist, Sing, is rewarded for his Heel–Face Turn... by getting his face beaten into a pulp by The Beast. This however, clears up his chi flow, turning him into a true Kung Fu master, and he soundly defeats the Axe Gang and The Beast.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Marty and George's plan to make Lorraine fall for George goes awry when Biff shows up and tries to have his way with Lorraine. Although intimidated, George stands his ground against Biff. He tries to throw a punch, but Biff intercepts it, then begins twisting his arm. Lorraine tries to intervene, but Biff forcefully pushes her aside. After he does so, he laughs. This gives George the resolve he needs to punch Biff out and later, win Lorraine's heart.
    • Marty's original plan—pretending to have his way with Lorraine, only for George to jump in and play Superman—was failing hard because Lorraine wanted to jump him. Biff's intervention unwittingly set things back on course.
    • Not only did Biff end up repairing the status quo, but he ended up completely reshaping his own future. George goes from weak-willed pushover constantly being taken advantage of by Biff, to a confident and successful author. Biff, meanwhile, waxes George's car.
    • Biff was drunk out of his head and not capable of making any kind of coherent plan. This is sufficiently established by him doing this in the first place—if not for George turning up, he could very well have ended up in prison for a long time.
  • In Popeye, the eponymous sailor-man hates spinach, so Bluto force feeds him an entire can, just to be mean. You can probably guess what happens next.
  • In Ben-Hur (1959), The titular character taunts the man who sold him into slavery with this.
    Messala: By what magic do you bear the name of a Consul of Rome?
    Judah: You were the magician, Messala. You had me condemned to the galleys. When my ship was sunk, I saved the Consul's life.
  • Highlander II: The Quickening: General Katana, for no good reason, sends his mooks to try and kill Connor MacLeod decades after he becomes mortal because he's worried Connor would return to try and kill him. During the altercation with the mooks, Connor beheads one of them and as a result, regains his immortality, and becomes young again, and then is later able to take out the shield that is causing harm to the planet.
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town features this trope at the climax. Deeds is lethargic and disinterested in his own defense because of the constant betrayals he's suffered throughout the film, including from Love Interest reporter Babe. When it looks like he's finished, Babe desperately takes the stand to offer up the defense he won't. The prosecutor, frustrated by her emotional pleas, requests that he be allowed to treat her as a hostile witness since "she's obviously in love with the defendant". This breaks Deeds out of his depressed stupor, and the next time he's prompted to speak in his own defense, he does so—and lays out an epic verbal smackdown on the prosecutor's entire argument.
  • In Face/Off, Castor Troy has a bit of a Pet the Dog moment when he saves Archer's daughter from being assaulted and gives her a butterfly knife so she can defend herself against future attackers. She uses it on Castor himself at the end of the film.
  • Ultraman Zearth:
    • Zearth is stricken with an overwhelming fear of dirt and germs. Benzene Seijin, in a bid to conquer Earth, decides this is the perfect way to beat him, and torments him with tar the entire film. However, he puts the final nail in his own coffin by forcing Zearth to cross a lake of tar to save his friends. This gives Zearth the motivation he needed to overcome his fears, kill Benzene's pet monster, and kick Benzene himself into orbit.
    • In the sequel, his wife, Lady Benzene, has Zearth's spirit crushed after her robotic copy, Ultraman Shadow defeats him with ease, making him unwilling to transform. Then, she has to go call him out to try and stop her so she can destroy him. Her taunting causes Zearth to train, take another level in badass, and overpower Shadow. Then, she goes and broadcasts the fight around the world to try to crush humanity's spirit, this backfires when Shadow finally has the upperhand, the people of Earth all chant Zearth's name, giving him to strength to destroy Shadow once and for all.
  • In Cliffhanger, while hero Gabe is retrieving the first briefcase of money for the thieves, Big Bad Qualen remarks that they don't need two guides and instructs his crew to kill Gabe when he comes down. Of course, he says this while standing next to Gabe's partner Hal, so Hal naturally yells to Gabe not to come back down, allowing Gabe to flee and become the fly-in-the-ointment to Qualen and crew. Had Qualen kept his mouth shut until Gabe came down, or instructed his men out of earshot, he would've saved himself a lot of trouble.
  • In Braveheart, when the Scots struggle to ram open the gates to York, the English help them unwittingly. First they pour boiling tar on the attackers and then they shoot Arrows on Fire at them. The arrow sets the tar-soaked ram on fire which in turn sets the gate on fire. Problem solved for the Scots.
  • The Matrix franchise:
    • During the scene with the Oracle in The Matrix, she explains that Neo technically isn't the One, but he will probably be one in a later life. Later in the film, Agent Smith kills Neo. However, Trinity manages to revive him and Neo awakens as the One. Nice job fixing it, Smith.
    • In The Matrix Revolutions, Smith copies himself over Neo in their final battle. Since Neo is connected to Deus Ex Machina, Smith is promptly deleted.
  • In The French Connection, narcotics cop Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle is tenaciously chasing down a major heroin deal. At one point, with one officer dead and little in the way of results, his superiors order him back to his regular work and close the case, effectively leaving the deal to go ahead as planned. Unaware of this, and concerned that he's giving their US clients cold feet, the French traffickers authorize a hit on him. The hit goes badly wrong and Doyle runs the hitman down. He gets the case re-opened on the strength of that, ultimately intercepting the heroin and most of the traffickers.
  • Batman Begins: When Bruce Wayne goes to confront mob boss Carmine Falcone at his favorite hangout, Falcone gives him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. It's intended to break his will, but Bruce actually agrees with everything Falcone says about him. He immediately leaves the restaurant and embarks upon his journey to become Batman.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: If Loki hadn't ruined Thor's big day and incidentally gotten Thor banished, Thor wouldn't have learned humility and would have remained the same reckless and arrogant god that he was, instead of maturing like he did. Loki visiting Thor in his cell was what changed Thor into a better man. Also near the end of the movie. Loki was in charge, Thor was trapped on Earth and mortal. But Loki had to send the Destroyer to finish Thor. That gave Thor the chance to make the Heroic Sacrifice that restores his powers.
    • Iron Man 2: Justin Hammer's deal with Ivan Vanko turns out to be a mistake from his perspective. Vanko proves impossible to work with, uses Hammer's resources and technology for his own single-minded vendetta, ruins Hammer's Expo showing (while placing thousands of people in immediate danger, we might add) and ultimately leads to Hammer's arrest when it's discovered that he's behind Vanko's escape. The real kick in the pants? It was all totally unnecessary. If Hammer had simply waited, Tony Stark would have self-destructed completely on his own, been discredited in the eyes of the public, probably died from palladium poisoning, and Hammer would have still gotten his hands on the War Machine armor and been allowed to study/weaponize it as the premier US military contractor.
    • The Avengers (2012): After so carefully sowing the seeds of dissent among the already volatile heroes, Loki takes out Agent Coulson, literally giving them something to avenge, which brings them together as a team.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
      • Loki banishing Heimdall means he won't be in Hela's way when she hitches a ride on the Bifröst. This makes him an unknown Spanner in the Works for her, allowing him to steal the sword, trapping Hela, and be Thor's guy on the inside.
      • Surtur really does live only for that one evil deed of destroying Asgard. Or so he thinks - by destroying the city, he saves the Asgardians from Hela - which was Thor's plan all along.
  • The Devil in the Scare 'em Straight flick Escape from Hell, when the protagonist Eric arrives after inducing a near-death experience. Rather than attack him outright, the devil just tells him exactly who has gone to hell and why, and that his recently converted father didn't go there. He only attacks him just as Eric is brought back to life, then chases him into a church for good measure in case Eric needed any more help converting to Christianity. The Devil Is a Loser indeed.
  • In Immortals, the villain is on the verge of victory, and possesses a magical Energy Bow that can fire infinite shots, which destroy men and rocky walls alike. So when it comes time for the final battle, he fires said bow exactly one time at the giant wall the Greek soldiers are hiding behind. Which creates exactly one small opening for his massive army to use, giving the Greeks plenty of time to defend such a small area.
  • Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:
    • Viktor's decision to kill his only daughter for loving a Lycan kicks off the war between vampires and werewolves that leads to the death of Vampire Elder Amelia. Not only that, his decision to spare Seline because of her striking resemblance to the daughter leads to the death of him and Markus, also Elders. Without any strong leadership, the vampire covens fall apart and become fairly easy pickings for the Lycans by the events of Underworld: Awakening.
    • Considering that his fear of a vampire-lycan hybrid was a primary motivation for his actions, his initial refusal to believe Seline ultimately results in the (re)creation of Michael as a vampire-lycan hybrid; his murder of Singh leads to his rival Markus being reawakened and becoming a hybrid.
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, Shady Tree discovers just in time that the diamonds were fake and got James Bond out of the retort Wint and Kidd had put him in. Bond takes the opportunity to casually stroll out of Slumber, Inc. during the inevitable questioning and later figures out that someone's bumping off the diamond smugglers when Tree gets shot later on.
    Shady Tree: [after the casket is out of the retort] You dirty double-crossing limey fink, those goddamn diamonds are phonies!
    James Bond: Now don't tell me... you're St. Peter?
    Shady Tree: Paste! Glass! Where's the real stuff, Franks?
    James Bond: Where's the real money?
    Morton Slumber: What do you mean?
    James Bond: You wouldn't burn up 50,000 real dollars, now, would you?
    Shady Tree: One last break, Franks. Where are the real diamonds?
    James Bond: You get me the real money... [climbs out of the casket] and I'll bring you the real diamonds.
    Shady Tree: Where the hell do you think you're going?
    James Bond: I hear that the Hotel Tropicana's quite comfortable. My condolences, gentlemen!
    [Morton Slumber slams the now-empty casket shut as James Bond leaves]
  • Venom/Eddie Brock, in Spider-Man 3 does this in a more drawn out sense. After the symbiote bonds with him and he gains all of Parker's memories, you'd think maybe he'd catch Peter unawares, or at the very least if he wanted an ally, go to Harry Osbourn, who was still hating Peter at that time. But no, first he recruits Sandman and then he kidnaps Mary Jane. Which leads to Harry's Heel–Face Turn, Big Damn Hero moment, and the Heroic Sacrifice that saves Peter and results in Brock's demise.
  • The Dark Knight Rises:
    • If Talia had just kept her mouth shut about flooding the fusion reactor basement to the heroes, they would have continued to waste time dragging the reactor to the location to attempt to reconnect it, which would not allow Batman to relocate the explosion in time.
    • Bane releases all of the Gotham City's incarcerated, including Selina Kyle/Catwoman, who manages to unceremoniously blow him away in time to stop him from killing Batman at the film's climax, leading the above-mentioned Fix-It moment.
    • Bane's calling out of Commissioner Gordon's cover-up leads to Batman once again being looked upon as a hero and a symbol of hope for Gotham city. His plans for anarchy unravel from that point on.
  • In the musical 1776, Judge Wilson (who is against independence) mentions the they must first "define the nature of the beast," later, when it looks like the move might be defeated, Adams and Franklin use this as the means to delay the vote until they write The Declaration.
    • If Dickinson (the face of the anti-independence faction) hadn't basically began gloating about how his vote would kill the independence vote, Franklin wouldn't have had enough time to call for a delegation poll, leaving the final vote (and the fate of the United States) in the hands of Wilson, who sides with the independence voters because he doesn't want to be remembered in history as the man who killed American independence.
  • Little Giants: If not for Spike hitting Junior, Becky wouldn't have returned to the Giants.
  • In Airheads, SWAT team leader Carl Mace reveals to everyone that Chazz Darvey used to be a huge geek named Chester when he was in high school, in an attempt to make people less supportive of him. Instead, it makes everyone more supportive of him, as they reveal their own geeky pasts.
  • Elysium: The plot to open up Elysium to everybody on Earth is only possible because of Delacourt's desire to overthrow the current government, requiring a virus that can reboot the system. Then Max gets a hold of it...
  • In Super Mario Bros., King Koopa gets bitten in the tail by everything he ends up de-evolving. The de-evolved Toad is the reason the Goombas, his entire army, become incapacitated, and the second his two cousins are evolved to become smarter they realize it sucks working for him and they immediately turn on him. And of course the fungus which is actually the de-evolved king does everything in its power to hold him back every step of the way.
  • Mayor Augustus in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! not only wrecks his own materialistic drive on Whoville, but also leads to the Grinch's Heel–Face Turn. He ends up doing this when he decides to humiliate Cindy Lou Who for her decision to bring the Grinch into the town's celebrations the night before, which leads to the Grinch's thievery because of his own asshole-ish decision to humiliate the Grinch there. By humiliating Cindy Lou, her father, Lou Lou, stands up for her and realizes that Christmas isn't about the gifts, but about family. When the Grinch goes to listen for the sounds of sorrow and ends up getting singing, this ends up leading him to realize the same thing.
  • The entire point of But I'm a Cheerleader: Megan would never have even noticed her repressed and rationalized lesbian desires, much less embraced and pursued them, if her parents hadn't sent her to a Cure Your Gays camp to get rid of them.
  • In the 1985 Brewster's Millions, Brewster would have failed to meet the conditions of his full inheritance if the junior partner of the crooked law firm that stood to profit from the failure had just kept his mouth shut for half an hour.
  • In the first live action Astérix movie, Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar, Asterix and Obelix infiltrate a roman camp to free Panoramix, with Obelix having to pretend to be a roman legionary until Asterix gives him a signal to stop acting. Unfortunately, the two get separated with Obelix becomming Detritus' right hand man and Asterix being sentenced to die in an arena filled with wild animals, unable to give Obelix the signal since he is out of hearing range. And then Detritus unknowingly helps Asterix give Obelix the signal because he is curious what exactly Asterix is shouting to Obelix and uses his skills of lip reading to find out.
  • Transcendence:
    • Before RIFT's attack, all the AI research teams were working independently and were probably decades away from a true AI breakthrough; Max flat out admits that a thinking machine is essentially a pipe dream and that their progress toward that goal is more productive in its incidental advances in other scientific fields. After the attack, key research ends up being transferred to the Casters at the same time Will is told he will die in a matter of weeks, giving them both the necessary research and the motivation to apply it. Thus, RIFT's actions create the very AI they sought to prevent. If they had done nothing, the research would still exist, but it would be very unlikely that human trials would be put into play any time soon, nor would it be likely these independent teams would share data, since Will specifically notes that he's never taken defense contract cash (which is where the research comes from).
    • This also plays out later in the film. After Will's upload and relocation to Brightwood, he had kept to himself, working on peaceful advances in technology that were completely benign. Bree has fliers distributed accusing the Brightwood Data Center of human experimentation, which was a complete lie, and not long after that two guys mug Martin and beat him nearly to death. Will uses his nanomachines to save Martin's life, in the process upgrading him into a networked superhuman, again kickstarting the very thing RIFT sought to stop. It did succeed in getting their cause greater recognition, though, so, by accident if nothing else, it wasn't a total backfire.
  • In Need for Speed, the antagonist Dino made a critical mistake of not getting rid of the red Koenigsegg which he previously drove that killed Pete, enabling Tobey not only able to use it for the De Leon race, but it is also the critical evidence Tobey needed to clear his name of Pete's death.
  • The Stable Time Loop in Interstellar would never have formed without the betrayal that made it necessary to drop Cooper into a black hole.
  • In Suffragette, the antagonists want to discourage women from joining the suffrage movement, but achieve exactly the opposite. At the beginning of the film, protagonist Maud just wants to listen while her co-worker reads a report about her daily work to the men in power. However, said co-worker is beaten up by her husband, to the point that she's green and blue and bleeding from her nose. She wants to read her report regardless, but the other women are convinced that the men in power would not listen to a woman who doesn't look nice. Therefore, Maud has to talk for the suffrage cause in public, something she had not planned and would not have agreed to had she had more time to think about it. Later on, the government decides to publish the photos of some women who don't yet seem fully supportive of the movement but turned up at a speech, to... shame them into quitting, or something. That results in Maud's husband throwing her out of the house, which leads to the suffragettes organising a place where she can stay... and from that moment on, quitting is not really an option, as her husband won't take her back and even gave up her son for adoption without her consent. In short, the antagonists, government and misogynist men manage to turn shy, unpolitical Maud, who actually only agreed to go to a suffrage meeting because her coworker was so pushy about it, into a committed suffragette.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Colonel Stryker. By capturing Mystique and co., he inadvertently allows Jean Grey, Cyclops and Nightcrawler to infiltrate his compound and gain access to a new plane. Without his actions, the good guys would have a much more difficult time trying to stop Apocalypse from taking over Charles' body.
  • In The Conjuring 2, Lorraine Warren mentioned that by knowing the name of the Demon grants power over it, allowing a successful exorcism to be performed. The Demon Valak would had succeeded in killing Janet & Ed if it did not reveal its name to Lorraine during her previous encounter with Valak.
  • Throughout Die Hard with a Vengeance, John fights a hangover in addition to Simon. When he complains about it to Simon while being held captive, Simon tosses him a bottle of aspirin. John manages to escape his predicament and try to take an aspirin only to find the bottle is empty. But he also discovers the bottle has the address of the hotel where Simon is staying printed on it.
  • The entirety of Tora! Tora! Tora! can be considered as this for the Japanese military as a whole, considering what happens to them later on.
  • The main antagonist of John Wick: Chapter 2, Santino D’Antonio, literally doomed himself & his organization by antagonizing the renowned assassin John Wick, fully aware he is retired & stubbornly insisted on him to carry out the marker's oath. Even Winston warned Santino in their conversation:
    Winston: You have no idea what's coming, do you?
    Santino:: I have everyone in New York looking for him. I doubt we will see him again.
    Winston: Do you now? You stabbed the devil in the back and forced him back into the life that he had just left. You incinerated the priest's temple. Burned it to the ground. Now he's free of the marker, what do you think he'll do?

  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Frodo ultimately fails in his quest to destroy the ring, as he succumbs to its influence. Gollum tries to take the ring at that moment, falling into the fires of Mt. Doom with the ring, and completing the quest.
    • In The Two Towers, Saruman sends his orcs out to capture Frodo and Sam and The Ring. Unfortunately they end up capturing Merry and Pippin and carry them to Fangorn forest where they escape, meet Treebeard and convince him and the Ents to rise up and destroy Saruman.
  • This is Spenser and Baldwin Furnshill's chief method of solving crimes without evidence. Annoy people until they try to kill you, then find out who they worked for. Though Baldwin doesn't actually try to annoy people; usually the bad guy who falls into this trap hates him for his rank and title, or his loyalties and suspected beliefs, said series taking place in a particularly hectic time of English history. Spenser, on the other hand, is actively trying to invite this trope a lot of the time. A lot of his cases would have been a lot shorter (and unsolved) if the villains had been smart enough to just shut up and leave him alone.
  • The Draka: after the Final War nearly destroys the eco-system, the Draka respond by invoking strict environmental standards to ensure stability. Nature preserves are created from entire continents and the population levels are kept low.
  • Just like their opponents, the villains of Horus Heresy have problems with this:
    • Lorgar's attack on Calth is supposed to power up the Ruinstorm, destroying the Ultramarines and cutting them off from both helping the Imperium and getting help. Instead, the Ultramarines survive Calth and, thanks to Ruinstorm blocking ways in and out, they're safe from the civil war ravaging the rest of the galaxy and keep the Imperium together afterwards.
    • Istvaan III Massacre should purge any loyalist elements left in traitor Legions. Instead, it gives the loyalists incentive to escape and warn the Imperium that Horus is coming.
    • In Vulkan Lives, Konrad taunts Vulkan by giving him his teleporter-hammer and taunting him that he can't do anything anyway, as teleportation function is off. Vulkan proceeds to remind him that a hammer is also, well, a hammer, and cripples him with it. It also turns out that Curze did not, in fact, disable the teleporter and so Vulkan escapes.
    • The Alpha Legion blocking Jaghatai's fleet on Chondax. If they just let them go, the Khan would be on his merry way to slaughter the Space Wolves and join Horus. As it happened, he stays in system long enough for message from Dorn to arrive and explain what really happened. Given it's the Mind Screw: The Legion we're talking about, it might've been done on purpose.
  • The Swallows and Amazons book Great Northern? has a textbook example of this. The protagonists, while sailing through the Hebrides, encounter what they're pretty sure is a rare bird, but have to leave before they can verify it, and accidentally let its existence—but not location—slip to an egg-collector, Mr. Jemmerling. Captain Flint, their designated adult supervision, is going to make them leave before they can go back, leaving Jemmerling free rein to find the birds. Instead, Jemmerling tries to convince and then bribe Captain Flint to tell him where the birds are, and succeeds only in convincing him that they're worth going back to find.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Plan of Attack, the Russians conduct nuclear sneak attacks on the US, supposedly to create nuclear parity. Our Military Maverick protagonist Patrick McLanahan for once obeys an explicit order of the POTUS to hold on a retaliatory strike against the Russians. When the Russians prove their continued hostile intentions by attempting a nuclear bombing of the base Pat had forward-deployed to, one that had no nuclear weapons, it shows them for the liars they are and gives him a casus belli.
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, one character describes how gangs putting out hits on suspected rats leads to cons ratting out for real.
  • In Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the South, Afrikaaners use Time Travel to help the Confederates win The American Civil War, hoping to build a strong white supremacist nation that they can ally with in the future. Though their plans are impeded by Robert E. Lee, who wins the presidency of the Confederacy on a platform of gradual slave emancipation, there are still enough Pro-Slavery Confederate citizens and congressmen to defeat any sort of government action to actually end slavery, and there is even talk amongst some states of seceding from the Confederacy and starting their own nation (again) to preserve slavery indefinitely. However, the AWB then launches an assassination attempt against Lee on his inauguration day, which slaughters dozens of civilians and many ranking members of the government, which unites the entire country behind Lee and gives him the political clout to ram through his gradual emancipation bill.
  • In A Crown of Swords, Moghedien freaks out upon catching sight of Nynaeve in Ebou Dar and loses character long enough to balefire the boat she had just gotten on. At that moment Moridin strokes her Soul Jar, causing her to involuntarily convulse and miss Nynaeve and only sink the boat. Nynaeve is trapped in the rapidly sinking wreckage, at which point the resulting despair causes her to permanently break free of the mental block that had been preventing her from channeling at-will since the beginning of the series.
  • In Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Evil Sorcerer Pryrates' attempt to pull a Faustian Rebellion on the freshly summoned Storm King at the climax of the story fails spectacularly, as one might expect. However, his attack and subsequent Karmic Death have the side-effects of weakening the Storm King at a critical moment and freeing two of the heroes from paralysis, leading directly to the Storm King's defeat.
  • Harry Potter, in chronological order, starting with book four:
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire The Mole, in order to surreptitiously abduct Harry from the school, plants him in the Triwizard Tournament and then oversees his victory by giving hints. One of those hints drives Harry to master a specific spell that he otherwise failed at, and then he uses this spell to escape from Voldemort in the finale. Even better, in the interest of presumably staying in character while impersonating Mad-Eye Moody, he insists that Harry is able to completely resist the Imperius curse after he witnesses him doing so better than his classmates. Guess what he also does successfully in the aforementioned finale. (Mildly justified in that he was utterly insane.)
    • Voldemort takes it up to a whole new level in the aforementioned finale of Goblet of Fire. He takes Harry's blood so that he too can have Lily Potter's protection. By doing this, he winds up tethering his own life to Harry's, almost ensuring Harry's survival. Dumbledore smiles triumphantly when he learns this, knowing what will happen.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort stops dueling with Dumbledore to take possession of Harry's body, using it to both mock Albus and torture the boy. Doing this opens Voldemort up to the feelings of grief Harry is experiencing over Sirius, causing him so much pain he's forced to flee the battle.
    • Dolores Umbridge gets an honorable mention. In the fifth book, she passes a decree that ''bans'' The Quibbler (which had an interview with Harry about Voldemort's return) and states that any student caught with it will be expelled. As Hermione gleefully points out, the ban ensures everyone will read it! And they do, which makes people believe Harry and not the Ministry!
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the heroes spend most of the story in vain searches for the Big Bad's Soul Jars. At one point they are captured by the villains and, long story short, one of the villains suspects that they might've sneaked into her bank vault. She freaks out so much that her dreadful master might find out about it, and spends so much effort torturing the heroes just to find out whether they did or did not, it gives Harry an inspiration for a leap of logic, and he correctly deduces that the Soul Jar must be in the vault.
    • Then, after the Big Bad realizes the heroes have been seeking out his Soul Jars, he has the Death Eaters who are already within Hogwarts stationed inside the common room of a House he believes Harry might visit, in the hopes of nabbing him there. Harry does go there, but he's not alone, with the results being that, not only do the Death Eaters stationed there end up tied up and left there for the duration of the night while the final battle takes place, but Harry, through this incident, knows for sure what he should be targeting next.
    • More directly, later in the same book, the Big Bad "kills" Harry himself... only not only did he also destroy another of his own Soul Jars in the process, his brazen act of vanity in an earlier book allows Harry to survive anyway. A two-for-one deal!
    • And then Big Bad does this AGAIN. In order to... make an example out of a rebellious youngster, it seems, he summons the Sorting Hat, puts it on the kid's head and sets it on fire, but the Hat, as had already been shown, can provide the weapon needed to kill his last Soul Jar.
    • And in general, his decree that no one was to kill Harry. Thus his minions' hands were basically tied when dealing with Harry, even though he and his friends would frequently run into those minions.
    • In a non-Voldermort related note, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them retroactively gave the Dursleys this treatment with the introduction of Obscurials. Obscurials are young wizards who repressed their power which developed into a powerful dark creatures called Obscurus. The Dursleys' fervent denials of Harry's nature, which made Harry miserable for his entire childhood, also kept him in the dark about his power all his life. As Harry didn't believe in magic, he didn't try to suppress, thus not developing an Obscurus.
  • Even the original Count Dracula did this:
    • In Stoker's novel, he forced Mina Harker to drink his blood to form a Psychic Link between them that he could use for Mind Control and to spy on the rest of the heroes through her so he could see whatever they were planning against him next. Unfortunately for him, the link worked both ways, allowing Mina to warn the others when he was coming their way and figure out where he was hiding or heading during the climactic Stern Chase. He gives the heroes a ticket to his mind that he can't revoke even when he eventually tries to do so.
    • Ironically, many later versions of this story have picked up the weird trope that Mina and Dracula had some kind of love between them; in the original Mina loathed the monster and was probably second only to van Helsing in importance in bringing about his downfall.
  • A minor version in Lin Carter's The Quest of Kadji: the Big Bad has captured one of the two young people who've independently sworn to destroy him, and taunts her that her sweetheart won't be able to act while she's his hostage. She gloomily says the boy is not in love with her. The villain can't resist sneering that, just like her, young Kadji is under a "no-fooling-around-until-you've-killed-the-bad-guy" vow, which is the only reason neither has made serious advances to the other. Yes, in an attempt to mock her, the villain has actually raised the girl's morale.
  • In Starfire by Charles Sheffield, the detective protagonist figures out the murderer's identity, but has no proof. He draws the murderer out into the open by announcing he found a supposedly missing victim, and where he stored the corpse. The villain can't help but go check on the body, where they are confronted by detective. Even then the villain could have saved the situation by simply feigning ignorance and leaving. With the security cameras on, the detective could not exactly initiate violence. Villain solves his problem by drawing a weapon first—on camera. Detective is a much faster shot. Nice going!
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Falling Free, the heroes at one point want to rescue someone from the villain. Since they're in outer space, they need the help of a spaceship pilot, and the only one they've got is not one of the heroes; he's helping them for pay, and is unwilling to risk himself on some harebrained rescue scheme. One nasty phone call from the villain later, and he's on the heroes' side. This is not the last time someone helps the heroes due to the villain's Jerk Ass tendencies.
  • Another Lois McMaster Bujold example: in The Curse of Chalion, Chancellor dy Jironal stabs and kills the protagonist, dy Cazaril. His death allows the Lady of Spring to undo the curse and fix the realm.
  • In Death Masks, book five of The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden is in a Duel to the Death with Paolo Ortega, Warlord of the Red Court of Vampires who has already killed half a dozen wizards. The duel is going solidly against Harry, and likely would have fairly resulted in his death in honest combat, but then Ortega attempted to threaten him into submission and allowing himself to be killed. Ortega did this by explaining that, should he (Ortega) die in the duel, his feudal retainers had been sworn to hunt down Harry and kill not just him, but also all his friends and loved ones. This statement, which went directly against their agreement to not seek retribution in the aftermath of the duel, gave Harry the rage and motivation to turn the tide of the duel against Ortega. Ortega himself was killed by Colony Drop when one of said friends heard about the threat.
    • Nicodemus Archleone makes a few such blunders, notably forcing Harry into picking up Lasciel's coin in Death Masks, which only results in him having the power of a Fallen angel to draw on—saving his life on many occasions—and resisting the temptation to become a Denarian until Lasciel's Shadow makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Harry, ridding him of the burden. This allows Harry to get the drop on Nicodemus himself in Small Favour, and also causes the archangel Uriel to gift him with Soulfire to replace the Hellfire he gave up. Nicodemus also provokes Murphy into shattering Fidelaccius, the Sword of Faith, in Skin Game. Only to find that it's more powerful than ever after Waldo Butters's faith—in Star Wars—converts the hilt into a lightsabre.
  • Safehold:
    • Vicar Zahspahr Clyntahn's actions throughout the series tend to do as much as help the Empire of Charis as it does to hurt it. A specific example occurs in How Firm a Foundation. The island Empire of Charis needs an ally in the mainland, the Republic of Siddarmark would be perfect, but they're right next to the Temple Lands, which are content to leave them be, and even let them get away with ignoring a Church-imposed trade embargo against Charis, so long as they don't act outright against the Temple Lands. Cue Clyntahn going behind his fellow Church Leaders' backs creating riots in Siddarmark forcing them to go independent and opening the door for Charis and Siddarmark to ally at the earliest opportunity.
    • An earlier example would be his assassination of Prince Hektor and his eldest son in By Heresies Distressed. Cayleb of Charis had spent the entire book conquering Hektor's princedom of Corisande with the knowledge that any surrender Hektor offered would only last until Hektor could backstab him. Clyntahn, knowing Hektor may be forced to surrender, left orders to have him killed and Cayleb blamed for the attack in that event. This succeeds and makes Charis' occupation of Corisande very difficult in the short term. In the long term, people realize that Clyntahn is a more likely suspect. More importantly, Hektor's surviving children realize this, seek asylum in Charis, befriend Cayleb and Sharleyan, and pledge Corisande to Charis' cause. Clyntahn's actions made Cayleb's job more difficult as intended, but ultimately replaced a ruler who would've betrayed Cayleb with rulers who were loyal to him.
    • During the land phase of the war, Clyntahn's insistence that the Army of God not give up any of the ground it took initially and his resistance to Allayn Maigwair's attempts to relieve a field commander who is also one of Clyntahn's favorites results in an incompetent commander in one part of the battlefield and leaves a competent commander woefully undersupplied and vulnerable because he's unable to pull back to a better position, ultimately resulting in the defeat of both forces.
  • In Gösta Knutsson's Peter No Tail, the antagonist, Måns, usually schemes for Peter to get in some kind of trouble, but either Måns or his helpers, Bill and Bull, screw it up most of the time, and not seldom, putting Måns in the trouble instead of Peter.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine is so affronted by the idea of Mr. Darcy marrying Elizabeth Bennet that she confronts Elizabeth and tries to extract a promise from her not to accept Darcy's proposal. When Elizabeth refuses to promise any such thing, Lady Catherine has a similar confrontation with Mr. Darcy... which gives him reason to hope that he still has a chance with Elizabeth, since he's well aware from her emphatic refusal of his previous proposal that if Elizabeth still hated him she'd have no problem telling his aunt so. Had Lady Catherine not seen fit to get involved, each of them could have gone on indefinitely believing that any chance they had with the other was long gone.
  • In A Brother's Price, a woman refuses to give her consent to the Arranged Marriage her sisters are very keen on, until she hears that a family she considers to be villainous has also made an offer for the man. That immediately causes her to change her opinion. As he is a real sweetheart, this ends up fixing things for her, too. The same family's prior villainous actions actually put the reluctant bride and her family in a much better position to foil the Big Bad family's scheme. See the entry for the book for more (potentially spoiler) details.
  • In The Night of Wishes, an evil sorceror and his witch aunt brew a potion on New Year's Eve which grants the opposite of any wish spoken aloud after a drink, gleefully intending to make a grand show of fixing the world in front of their unsuspecting pets, while actually wreaking havoc. Only those are onto them, find a loophole in the spell, and with a little outside supernatural help manage to destroy the reversing part of the potion without the villains noticing. The world's people are not gonna believe how much luck and prosperity they are going to have next year.
  • As a meta-example, Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust proclaims that he is "Part of that Power which would The Evil ever do, and ever does the Good."
  • At the climax of Flinx in Flux, the Animal Wrongs Group that has been hunting Flinx down in order to "make him normal" shows up just in time to accidentally rescue him from the Big Bad who wishes to experiment upon him instead. As a double example, Flinx finds that the sedation method that the Big Bad used on him has also woken a new form of his empathic powers, which he subsequently uses to defeat both groups of antagonists.
  • Some of Agatha Christie's stories involve this:
    • In Evil Under the Sun, the murder of the adulterous Arlena greatly improves the situation for her widower Kenneth and his daughter Linda.
    • In Death on the Nile, the curious choice of words used by a blackmailing witness (who is then murdered) is what reveals the solution to Poirot.
      • Also, the final murder victim was in a sense standing in the way of Rosalie's freedom.
  • Also in Sherlock Holmes:
    • In The Second Stain, the entrance of Edouard's murderous wife is the only thing that allowed Lady Hilda to recover the papers.
    • In The Beryl Coronet, the main crime in the story is what allowed the opportunity for Arthur to show courage and chivalry, effectively repairing his relationship with his father.
    • As Holmes himself notes, the presence of crime and villainy is what gives his life meaning and stops him from spending his days moping and taking cocaine.
    • In The Norwood Builder, the titular villain fakes his own death and frames the son of his enemy, fabricating a perfect set of clues that managed to fool even Holmes. Later, he decides to add one ultimate clue in form of a bloody fingerprint on a wall... after Holmes has already scanned every inch of the house, which leads to the discovery of the villain's hideout.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Big Bad, Kronos plans on overthrowing the gods, but needs a mortal host in order to escape Tartarus and eventually come back completely. He uses the fact that gods tend to ignore their children against them, finding someone with a grudge against the gods and using him as his host. Only problem is the person he picks has enough willpower to overcome Kronos' influence when Kronos attacks the girl he has a crush on. He ends up killing himself, taking Kronos down with him and scattering the Titan to dust. Not to mention that as a result, the gods promised to claim all their children, making the training camp for demigods even stronger then it was before. Good job bad guy.
  • In Tanya Huff's Smoke and Shadows, the Shadowlord, an evil wizard from another world sends shadow minions, and later comes to Earth himself, in search of a wizard who escaped during his conquest of their world. He feared they would return to overthrow him. Ironically, the wizard in question was a bit of a coward and had no intention of ever going back or fighting the Shadowlord. Only the fact that they are now being actively pursued motivates them to take a stand.
  • In Lords and Ladies, the Elf Queen has Magrat on the ropes and proceeds to hit her with the full force of elfin glamour, making Magrat feel absolutely worthless and completely stripping away her ego... exposing the iron-hard core of will at the heart of every witch, even a soppy one like Magrat. Cue the Queen getting her ass kicked.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Zigzagged in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Lord Shadowspawn claims that Luke is the rightful heir to the Empire and plans to put him in that position; his top officers, the notable one being one Captain Klick, are old Jango Fett clones and therefore particularly obedient. Shadowspawn is actually a character, the man behind the curtain being Blackhole, an actual villain who also wants to take over Luke's body and identity. When his initial attempt to do so fails, he orders Klick and his men not to let anybody out of the place in question, only for Klick to kneel to Emperor Skywalker instead. However, Luke does not abuse his new position as much as one might expect, and Blackhole realizes at the same time that Leia's body would be even better. Late in the novel, when all Hell breaks loose, Luke finally promotes Klick to Air Marshal and, through him, has the Imperials work with the Republic forces. To his horror, Blackhole is able to control their mind and makes them run amok.
    • Nute Gunray kicks off the plot of Labyrinth of Evil when he returns to his home planet to retrieve some of his treasures, drawing the Republic there in an attempt to capture him. While he escapes, he leaves behind an item that confirms the existence of Darth Sidious, and contains a vital clue to the Sith Lord's whereabouts and identity.
  • Near the end of Les Misérables, Thenardier tries to blackmail Marius with the knowledge that his father-in-law Jean Valjean is a criminal. He produces an item (a scrap of cloth taken from a coat in the book, a ring in the musical) which he claims came from the body of a murder victim that Valjean was carrying through the sewers... which proves that the "dead body" was Marius himself and that Valjean saved him from certain death at the barricade. The knowledge enables Marius and Cosette to reconcile with Valjean shortly before the latter's death.
  • In Ozma of Oz, Ozma and her entourage intended to convince the Nome King to release the royal family of Ev, whom the king has turned into ornaments that decorate his palace. The Nome King is too powerful for them to force him to comply, but he's willing to propose a contest - which he claims is easy, but actually overwhelmingly rigged in his favor. note  The heroes would have been trapped forever if not Billina gained an easy guide to recognizing a victim (and confirming the Nome King's true intentions, and that his power comes from his bejeweled belt) by overhearing the villain boasting of his "system" to a subordinate. (done by color; purple for the royal family, green for Oz natives, and solid gold for anyone made of inorganic material. She is able to free almost everyone easily.
  • In Protector of the Small, Joren tries to sabotage Kel by giving her weighted training lances. However, Kel soon starts using all weighted weapons for the same reasons pages and squires intentionally do—they help to build up strength and endurance, and using weighted weapons on top of the exercises she started when she failed with the lance quickly removes any disparity between her and the boys. When she does get a regular lance later on, it actually throws her off because she's so used to the weighted ones. This explanation for her bad performance quite impresses Lord Wyldon—another thing Joren did not want happening.
  • From Honor Harrington, a cataclysmic attack by the Big Bad on the Manticoran home system ends up breaking five years of diplomatic gridlock between Manticore and Haven by spurring President Eloise Pritchart of the Republic of Haven to take a good chunk of her Cabinet and sail straight to Manticore itself, whereupon she sits down at the table with Queen Elizabeth III, clears up roughly a decade of diplomatic misunderstanding between them, offers a peace treaty, and then proposes a military alliance. Elizabeth takes her up on it. Awesome ensues for Tom Theisman and Honor Harrington (who get to team up on the command deck), Sonja Hemphill and Shannon Foraker (who head out to Haven's technological playground and get busy), the Manticoran and Havenite navies (who get to take the results of their Lensman Arms Race and go play), and Elizabeth and Eloise themselves (who get to mastermind it all)—but not for the Big Bad, who is oh so very screwed in an infinite variety of ways. And he knows it.
    • They do it twice: by deciding to euthanize the "genetically defective" daughter of one of their top researchers, they inspire his Heel–Face Turn as well as another member of the Mesan Alignment who does a Heroic Sacrifice allowing the escape from Mesa of the scientist with the best pair of superspies Manticore and Haven have. They then show up just in time to bring their information to the aforementioned summit meeting, which gives Manticore, Haven, Grayson and their allies the how of the attack, and more importantly, the why. Centuries of an Ancient Conspiracy are blown apart as the new allies promptly make sure everyone knows Mesa's secret.
  • In The Riyria Revelations (specifically, Rise of Empire) Regent Saldur unknowingly sows the seeds of his own ultimate defeat by appointing Amilia as the new Imperial Secretary. Amilia's kind and compassionate care brings Modina out of her perpetual catatonia, giving her the strength to start throwing her weight around as Empress rather than just being a figurehead. Amilia also has the Empress moved to a new set of bedchambers, unknowingly putting her in a room with a window right below Saldur's office where she can listen in on all his secret meetings. After months and months of eavesdropping, Modina wound up learning every aspect of Saldur's secret plans and was duly prepared to foil them at a crucial moment. This not only saved both Modina and Amilia from Saldur's wrath but also turned the Empire from a powerful enemy of the protagonists to their most stalwart friend.
  • The murderous villain in Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes sends a gloating letter to the ex-cop protagonist hoping to provoke him into committing suicide. It instead snaps the target out of his downward spiral and probably saves him from shooting himself.
  • In The Hunter's Blades Trilogy of The Legend of Drizzt, Gruumsh, patron god of orcs is a Chaotic Evil deity of slaughter and destruction who is convinced to empower the warlord Obould Many-Arrows, who claims he will lead the orcs to a path that will give them strength beyond anything they have ever had before. It turns out that Obould is a Visionary Villain who has recognized that orcs live such awful lives because their traditional lifestyle is self-defeating; he uses his status as Gruumsh's Chosen to found the first ever orcish homeland, forcing the other nations to recognize the Kingdom of Many-Arrows as legitimate. Decades later, although there are still "traditionalists" who complain, orcs have prospered in the kingdom by developing farming and trading. There is even enough peace between the nations that orcs and humans are voluntarily marrying each other.
  • In Kill Decision, Odin reluctantly wanted to recruit Mordecai, but Mordecai initially wanted nothing to do with Odin's quest. Then the villains repay him for tipping them off about Odin and Linda by trying to have him killed too, which drives him into Odin's arms.
  • A short story for Superman had the Weird Sisters come together to work a scheme to corrupt the legendary incorruptible Superman by manipulating him into a moment of weakness that will give them dominion over a shard of his soul which would let them further his corruption. Sacrificing much of their power they cast a spell to make it so Superman and Lois Lane never meet and become a couple in order to seduce Superman into selfishly asking for them to undo the spell, except the one who came up with the scheme at the climax in order to dig the knife in goes on about the perfect, happy life Lois now has resulting in Superman letting her go only caring about her happiness which breaks the spell restoring things to how they were. To add insult to injury it causes Superman to open up to Lois as he hadn't been willing to before (and they'd bickered about at the start of the story) so it improves their relationship.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive): When Adolin ends up in a four on one duel, he tries to surrender within the first couple minutes, but Sadeas bribed the highjudge to ignore any such attempts so that he can be "punished." This gives Kaladin time to jump down and help Adolin fight, turning a Curb-Stomp Battle into a narrow victory. If they had just let him surrender, the Kholin family would have lost all their Shards, and Dalinar's plan would have completely failed.
  • In Kris Longknife: Audacious, Vicky Peterwald's amateurish attempts to have Kris assassinated not only fail miserably, but inadvertently lead to her uncovering and bloodily defeating the Peterwald bloc's attempt to overthrow New Eden's government (the group of would-be assassins that kidnapped Kris's great-grandmother Ruth Tordon as bait store her in one of the same buildings where they're stockpiling heavy weapons for The Coup).
  • In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, Garth's malicious plan to get Shan fired, by freeing the wolverines, saves Shan's life.
  • In Tides of Darkness, Lord Anduin Lothar's Number Two Turalyon (a paladin) has been having a Crisis of Faith, wondering why the Holy Light would create a race as evil as the orcs. During the climactic battle at Blackrock Spire, the orc Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer succeeds in killing Lothar in a Combat by Champion. Devastated, Turalyon can only collapse and watch as the orc shout in triumph and declare The Horde supreme. However, during his speech, Orgrim mentions that the orcs are not native to the world of Azeroth (having come from Draenor). His crisis resolved (i.e. the Holy Light did not create the orcs after all), Turalyon picks up Lothar's broken sword, while glowing with the Holy Light himself. He easily defeats the shocked Doomhammer and knocks him out, sending the Horde into a rout. Nice going, Orgrim, a casual slip of the tongue results in the orcs spending the next several decades in captivity.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: In "What They Become", Ward unties Skye from captivity (though she shoots him right after due to his previous betrayals of the team), and doing so allows her to stop Cal from beating Coulson to death for taking his kill of Whitehall from him.
  • At the end of Angel's "permanent midnight" mini-arc, Angelus, being Chaotic Evil and all, decides to double-cross the Lawful Evil villain who'd blotted out the sun over Los Angeles. The Beast is nigh invulnerable, until Angelus uses a bone dagger made from its body to kill it. Unfortunately, as foreshadowed by a mystical dream Angel had earlier, that undoes the spell and brings the sun back. Hundreds of rampaging vampires die instantly, and Angelus is sent scrambling for the nearest safe shadow.
    Angelus: Aw crap! You mean killing the Beast really does bring back the sun? I thought that was Angel's retarded fantasy!
    • Then there's the series finale, where Hamilton, newly favored by the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart, beats the crap out of Angel... until his boasting reveals the source of his power, to a vampire.
      Hamilton: Let me make this as clear as I can. You cannot defeat me. I am part of them, the Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart. Their strength flows through my veins! My blood is filled with their ancient power!
      Angel: (grins and pops his fangs) Can you pick out the one word there you probably shouldn't have said?
  • On Bewitched, most of the malicious pranks that Endora played on Darin often benefitted him. For instance, in one episode, where Samantha took an interest in sculpting and Darin was having his boss and a client (who was clearly an alcoholic) over for dinner, Endora made Sam's shabby bust of Darin a better likeness, added one of his boss, and then brought them to life. When the client saw them talking, he thought it was because he was drunk, and after making the deal, left quickly, swearing to quit drinking. ("When it goes from pink elephants to talking rocks, it's time to get on the wagon!") Unfortunately, Darin never seems able to say "thank you"...
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The End of Time", things look bleak indeed. The Doctor has just crashed through the skylight of the Naismiths' mansion and is badly hurt, Rassilon and the Time Lords have escaped the Time Lock with the Master's help and plan to end time itself so they can Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. They practically had victory in the bag, but Rassilon, the Lord President of the Time Lords, tells the Master he's outlived his usefulness. Not what you want to tell the Master, who isn't quite sane at the best of times and has just won the Superpower Lottery. Then Rassilon lets slip that he is responsible for the drumbeat that the Master's heard all his life and that has driven him steadily more crazy. The Master tells the Doctor to "get out of the way" and uses his life force to electrocute Rassilon, protecting the Doctor from him until they all disappeared back to the Time War.
    • "The Time of Angels"/"Flesh and Stone": The army of Weeping Angels are low on power from being stuck in the catacombs for eons, so they start draining power from the crashed ship they're currently on, the Byzantium, in order to survive. This has the side effect of deactivating the ship's artificial gravity, causing the unprepared Angels to fall into the crack in time and be erased from existence.
    • In "The Day of the Doctor", a Zygon gets too into character impersonating Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, and forgets that when you're The Mole you're supposed to stop pretending to be on your enemy's side before giving them everything they need to stop you.
    • "Extremis": The Prophets of Truth have created multiple highly realistic simulations of Earth in preparation for their planned invasion, in order to account for all possible variables. However, in their latest simulation, as its version of the Doctor is all too happy to point out, they made it a little too realistic: the technology is good enough for the simulated Doctor to email the real Doctor a warning about the imminent invasion.
  • Dollhouse: Alpha's entire goal in "Briar Rose" and "Omega" was to turn Echo into a composite like himself. Composite!Echo's first act was to hit Alpha with a pipe. Justified in that, since he was a doll, most of his personalities are hopelessly lovelorn romantic rape-slaves specifically designed to put their assigned sexual interest on an absurdly high pedestal, and many of them were tailored to work with Echo specifically. Not all that many of the fractured components of his personality were dispassionate, experts in psychology and engineering, or particularly smart in any field but infiltration.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Locke's maiming of Jaime, while removing his ability to fight with a sword, made him a much better person.
    • Myranda showing Sansa Reek and letting her know just what sort of monster Ramsay is actually helps Sansa into both thinking of how to escape and spurring Theon's Heel–Face Turn and they both end up escaping Winterfell, killing Myranda in the process.
  • Gossip Girl has Blair, who seems to create this and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! in other people (depending on whether she's the good guy at that point or one of the bad ones). Chuck gets her latest boyfriend's mother to come break them up? In one party Blair gets her approval. Chuck tries to seduce her only to be caught by said boyfriend? Blair finally gets laid by new boyfriend. Jenny tries to beat Blair and become Queen B? Within a few weeks, she's back and dangerous. Vanessa tries to blackmail Blair? Humiliated by episode's end. Vanessa tries to break up her and Nate? They're closer than ever by episode's end. And most of this is just the first two seasons! She's still going—at the end of Season 4 Serena's attempt to hurt her actually leads to her relationship with the prince becoming public, her being approved by his mother, and finally her getting engaged to him. Lampshaded by Dan — "Only Chuck and Blair could go to war and end up happier than when they started." Also, his attempt to attack them that episode? Ended up with Chuck and Blair having fantastic sex on a piano. Let's face it, no one can hurt Blair without helping her.
  • In The Last Ship, the Chosen managed to find a hacker who was sympathetic to their cause to give them access to a network through which they could spread their virulent anti-Navy propaganda. Said propaganda ends up working a little too well, causing a bunch of riled-up, paranoid Americans to attack an oil platform after they spot a naval chopper landing on it. Said oil platform turns out to be the hub through which the propaganda network operates, and thus, not only is the propaganda network disabled, but the Chosen have also alienated the hacker.
  • In the LazyTown episode, "The Laziest Town", LazyTown must stay active all day to raise the energy meter to 100 in order to keep from being the laziest town on Earth before 5PM. Robbie believes that if LazyTown gets this title, Sportacus will leave LazyTown for good out of embarrassment. At literally the last second, when Sportacus finally loses all his energy and can no longer do tricks to keep the meter active, Robbie becomes overjoyed and does a victory dance that ends up being active enough to raise the bar instantly from 0 to 100, saving LazyTown. The Mayor, Stephanie, and the rest of the cast gather to congratulate and thank Robbie and give him three cheers. Robbie is overcome with regret and runs back to his lair.
  • The serial arsonist in the first season of Lie to Me burns down two houses for revenge... but winds up accidentally doing the families in question a favor of sorts. The first family were up to their ears in debt, but their house was insured before the economic bubble burst. Burning it down not only gave them an economic fresh start, it also brought the family closer together by revealing that their daughter knew that mommy was cheating on daddy, pushing them to focus on the children and set aside their differences. The couple living in the second house were already divorced and stuck living together because they couldn't sell the house—again, since it now burned down, they could split the insurance money and go their separate ways.
    • Okay, so the first family DID lose their grandmother to the fire, but hey, we only see her for a few seconds right at the start, so as viewers, it's hard to feel sympathy on that count.
  • In the Lost Season Six Finale, it turns out that the Big Bad's centuries-long Gambit Roulette worked exactly as planned except it also completely stripped him of all his powers and enabled Jack to beat him to death and toss him off a cliff. Also, his murder of Sayid, Jin, and Sun gives the others the Heroic Resolve to kill him instead of simply leaving him on the island like they had planned, leading to the above success of his plan.
  • In MythQuest, an evil god named Gorgos tries to destroy myths by causing the protagonists to accidentally change them. Unfortunately Gorgos says Alex's name a bit too soon and distracts Alex, which causes him to inadvertently re-enact the myth correctly and save the world.
  • In Once Upon a Time, if Regina had not been completely hellbent on running Emma out of town, she would have left completely of her own volition.
    • Up to Eleven in the Season 1 Finale where Regina bakes a turnover with a poisoned apple to put Emma under the sleeping curse. To get the poison apple she makes a deal with Jefferson. Henry winds up eating the eat turnover and being in a coma, and this leads to Emma breaking the curse!. She also reneges on her agreement to erase Jefferson's memory of his fairytale life, causing him retaliate by releasing Belle and sending her to Mr Gold. The real kicker on this was that she didn't give Emma the poisoned turnover until after Emma had already told Regina that she believed her presence was hurting Henry and was going to go away, leaving Henry to Regina: Regina had already won, and she knew it, but she still couldn't resist trying to poison Emma.
    • The candle Cora had given Snow allowed Snow to kill her and save Rumple's life. Also, she wanted to "turn Snow White's heart black as coal" for revenge against Snow's mother. She would succeed but it comes back to bite her hard.
      • Doubly so when you consider what caused the candle situation in the first place. She wound up screwing over Captain Hook, who wound up taking matters of revenge into his own hands and attacked Rumple with a slow-acting poison.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In the Season Finale of season 3, Sabrina and her twin Katrina were subjected to several tests to figure out who the evil one was (all Spellman family members have an Evil Twin) Sabrina flunked two of the three, the one that clearly buried her chances being an act described as "selfish, involved civil disobedience, and was extremely messy". Even Sabrina herself thought she was the evil one, until Katrina proved otherwise by failing the final test (a Secret Test of Character) miserably. When told that the good twin had to shove the evil one into a volcano, she did without hesitation, something no good twin has ever actually done. (Although the judge claims that Hilda had come awfully close.) Simply resisting this urge would have labeled Sabrina as "evil" forever and given Katrina free reign to accomplish any machinations she desired, but she was much too evil to resist.
  • Scream Queens (2015) has a twofold example in the Season 2 finale. The final killer, Nurse Hoffel, drains the swamp behind the CURE institute to fuel a bomb to blow up the rest of the cast with, and unplugs Dean Munsch's experimental cryo-chamber to power it. However, unplugging the chamber wakes up Denise, who was recuperating in it, and enabling them to disarm the bomb. And then, while Hoffel is attempting to flee, they fall into a field of quicksand created by draining the swamp, drowning in it.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, the Romulans attempted to disrupt possible peace between the Andorians and Tellarites by using an advanced holoship which could disguise itself as any other ship to attack both sides. Because one of the Andorian ships they attacked happened to belong to Shran, a friend of Archer, Starfleet got involved and the ensuing mess resulted in the beginning of the Federation, their greatest foe for centuries to come. They really dropped the ball on that one.
  • In VR Troopers, Grimlord does this with Dream Master, growing impatient at how long it was taking him to defeat Ryan Steele. At this point, Dream Master had weakened Ryan with mind games about his father and he had connected him to an electrocution chain. Had the gunbots and tankbots not interfered, Dream Master would have beaten Ryan Steele, since JB was occupied with another monster and Kaitlin was too weakened by Dream Master's nightmares. But after the gunbots interfered and the two of them escaped fire, Dream Master continued with his shock chain only for Ryan to find a chain in this new location to redirect the current before delivering a beatdown on what was supposed to be a Monster of the Week.
    • Similarly, different times, a Monster of the Week has a trooper on the ropes, then the air force comes in for a distraction, apparently hitting both the monster and the trooper, giving the Trooper time to think of a new battle plan while bazookaing down the airforce.
    • Another time, Arachnobot nearly had the Troopers beaten, but Doom Master himself killed Arachnobot out of jealousy. Thanksfully for his sake, he thought it was the Trooper that did it, not Doom Master.

    Myths & Religion 
  • One folktale tells about a woman who was so beautiful, Satan himself became hopelessly enamored with her. After she refuses him one too many times, The Devil simply decides to Cut The Knot and steal her beauty for himself. After returning to earth, he finds that the same woman is now hideous as a boot, but is also now Happily Married with an equally ugly husband and child and free of stalkers.
  • In The Bible's Book of Esther, Haman goes to ask king Xerxes for a death warrant for his hated rival Mordecai, the representative of the Jews. Xerxes, who happens to have been reading the royal archives, asks Haman how he should reward a man who has done a great service to the king. Haman thinks he's talking about himself and proposes an elaborate celebration, only to find to his horror that the king is actually talking about Mordecai, who had saved the king's life a while back. Haman winds up having to carry out his own plan to publicly honor Mordecai. This is just the beginning of his Humiliation Conga.
  • In renditions of the part of The Bible where Jesus tells Judas that he's going to betray Him, it's often said that "at that moment, Satan entered into him" or something to that effect. So what we're saying here is that although Satan may have caused Judas to betray Jesus, the results of Jesus' death led to the cleansing of humanity's sins and the founding of Christianity, which means that Satan's plan (if there was one) failed. Nice job fixing it, Satan!

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Faarooq replacing Ahmed Johnson, who he felt was overshadowing him in The Nation of Domination with Rocky Maivia, who ended up taking over the group and kicking Faarooq out.
  • Ray González is the head of La Familia del Milenio, pretty much holds an iron grip on WWC until he starts antagonizing camera man Carly when he finds out he's the son of the company founder. Carly had no desire to be a wrestler prior but because of that he trained and beat every member of La Familia, including González for the WWC Universal Title.
  • During the Chavo and Chris Benoit feud on Smackdown, Chavo Guerrero used the lure of Kurt Angle, whom Benoit hated, to lure Benoit into a beat down in the locker room. Thing is, Angle didn't like the Guerreros too much either and soon he and Benoit were teaming up against them.
  • AJ Lee's efforts to torment all of her former lovers after becoming the general manager of Monday Night Raw. Did her efforts have the desired effect? Judging how successful they ended up being, Hell No!
  • Wink Vavasseur's punting assailANT into Chikara's Colony in 2012 for being the "weak link" of GEKIDO lead to assailANT's Face–Heel Turn and prevention of deviANT's attempt to burn down the Wrestle Factory.
  • Then nCw Femme Fatales International Champion Mercedes Martinez took two steps to fix the problem that was herself. First by offering an open four way challenge for a shot at her belt (which she won, admittedly) and then interfering Courtney Rush and Cheerleader Melissa's #1 contender match to keep either from getting a shot. Having already put the idea in their heads, she was put in another fatal fourway with both of them and Femme Fatales founder LuFisto(Rush won the belt).
  • Cody felt that Kenny Omega was not acting like a true leader of Bullet Club and turned on him at New Beginning in Sapporo. The leadership feud ultimately ended at ROH Supercard of Honor XII with Cody beating Kenny, however it ultimately did nothing to fix the divide within Bullet Club (as well as the divide between his fellow BC/Being The Elite members which was caused by him) and nearly all of the members (including Kota Ibushi whom is not a BC member, rather one half of The Golden Lovers) have to face each other at Wrestling Dontaku. Way to go Cody.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode "Spectrum Strikes Back", the Mysterons try to kill a committee taking a look at some anti-Mysteron prototype equipment that could be useful. In the end, all the Mysterons essentially achieve is provide a spectacularly successful field test for the stuff that proves its worth.

  • In the comedy fantasy series Elvenquest, Lord Darkness, the Big Bad, frequently ends up unintentionally saving the protagonists from the consequences of their own mistakes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the the world of Innistrad in Magic: The Gathering, the angel Avacyn used to lock demons away in an artifact called the Helvault, until she was tricked by the demon Griselband and the two were sealed together. Losing its guardian angel, lots of bad things happened in Innistrad, until the necromancer Liliana Vess decided to break the Helvault to kill Griselband without knowing that it would also release Avacyn.
  • In Exalted, when the Great Contagion was killing the majority of Creation, The First and Forsaken Lion got The Fair Folk to invade, destroying fully half the territory and killing many of the Contagion's survivors. The problem? The Balorian Crusade was repulsed, and the infusion of Wyld energies may very well have helped Creation fight off the effects of the Contagion, thereby allowing it to survive. Falafel's Neverborn master was quite angry, to the point where it bound him into his armor. Painfully.
    • And exiled him to a fortress that was essentially in the middle of nowhere.
      • Which of course delayed and inconvenienced any number of his extremely effective war plans to destroy Creation more thoroughly this time. So... nice job fixing it...Cthulhu
    • The Neverborn seem to have a history of sabotaging their own plans to further the cause of Oblivion. Between the First and Forsaken Lion getting spot-welded into his own armor for not destroying enough of creation, and Princess Magnificent almost getting thrown headfirst into Oblivion for losing to the gods behind the city of Great Forks, there's a reason most of the other Deathlords have been twiddling their thumbs for millennia. They don't want to see what the Neverborn will do to the next guy who fucks up.
      • Alternative Character Interpretation: We're told, explicitly, that most of the Deathlords only agreed to kill the world so they could enjoy using the power they were given to rule over its dying husk. Is it really a surprise that most of them drag their heels? You can't rule the world if you kill it.
    • We also have the Ebon Dragon, the literal inventor of the concept of Card-Carrying Villain, existing to screw people over. Due to certain psychological problems this brings, this goes equally for the Ebon Dragon himself.
      • Here's a short list of the ways the Ebon Dragon bollocksed up the Reclamation. First off, he included rules that make the Infernals have to act like B-movie villains every so often, but said nothing about who they have to do it to. Instead of granting the Infernals their own innate Charms, he and the other Yozis decided to make it so they share Charms with their patrons... which means not only do the Infernals get access to the high-level Charms that make the Yozis worlds/gods, they could conceivably make their own Charms and infect their own patrons with their particular mindset. Oh, and then there's the Heresy Charm Set... So basically, what you've got is a Hell-forged superpowered being who needs to act like a bastard to someone, has access to god-like power, and can sever the ties with their demonic masters. That sound you just heard was the Shadow of All Things realizing he just invented his Bastard Understudy... Which, again according to his basic nature, might be All According to Plan.
    • And, of course, the big one that sets the whole setting off. Creation has been in a precarious position for centuries, with the overworked Sidereals, the Lunars driven to the edge of the world, the heavily corrupt (or absent) gods, the almost equally corrupt Realm, the forces of the Underworld massing, and the Fair Folk being just barely kept in check. Into this comes the person controlling the Realm (and its big superweapon that keeps most of the other big enemies at bay) mysteriously disappearing, bringing it to the verge of a civil war that could tip Creation over the edge. And then... the Neverborn and the Yozis conspire to break open the Jade Prison, and use its captives to make their own Exalted. Half of those captives escape them. They become the Solar Exalted.

  • Opera villains (like many other characters in opera) often tend to be Too Dumb to Live:
    • Paolo Albiani in Simon Boccanegra, a skilled politician who has been in the limelight for more than 25 years, seems to have grabbed an Idiot Ball somewhere after his first meeting with Amelia Grimaldi. He kidnaps Amelia after she rejects him and leaves her in the house of a rather cowardly mook, enabling Amelia to run away and make an appeal to Simon. Then, vowing revenge on Simon, he slips a very slow-acting poison into his drink, so that Simon would suffer for long. Between drinking the poisoned water and finally dying, Simon: reconciles himself with Gabriele Adorno and Jacopo Fiesco, revealing them Amelia's true parentages, crushes a rebellion, makes himself a favorite with the crowds again, appoints Adorno the next Doge, and sends Albiani to the gallows, on his way to which he is forced to hear the choir at Adorno and Amelia/Maria's wedding. Thank you, Paolo, for allowing the Doge to organize a proper happy ending.
    • Ptolemy in Giulio Cesare by George Frederic Handel has grand plans and an actually competent army. But his actual acts ruin whatever potential he has. He sends Pompey’s head to Caesar, and Caesar denounces him as a murderous tyrant and wages war on him. He insults and degrades his sister, causing her to join Caesar’s cause. He tries to rape Pompey’s widow, which results in his own right-hand man who’s in love with her deserting him and aiding the heroes. Finally, he lets Pompey’s son live (when the latter practically waltzes into the palace, too) and doesn’t even keep him under a good guard, and, big surprise, the boy ends up killing him.

    Video Games 
  • The heroes of The Legend of Dragoon agonize about possibly having to kill Shana because she's an Apocalypse Maiden. In most stories, they would Take a Third Option. Here, though, the Big Bad takes Shana's power onto himself, leaving the heroes free to punch him out.
  • In Super Robot Wars the villains have brainwashed one person's girlfriend to forget they fought together, and make her think he was an enemy. By reminding her of a memory of when they were together, she gets paralyzed and stands there, indecisive. Then a group of said villains minions show up and threatens the guy's life, accidentally triggering the girl's memories of her relationship, immediately snapping her out of the brainwashing and rushing to protect the guy. Whoops. Gets Lampshaded.
  • In Shadowverse, the Black Dragon of Malediction's curse on Rowen turns into an unexpected case of this in the later chapters of Rowen's story. While the dream world could generate illusions to satisfy its inhabitant's desires, it cannot remove the curse that Rowen carries with him. The presence of this curse alone is what shattered the illusion for Rowen, allowing him to break out of its clutches early and giving him the opportunity to save Isabelle.
  • Happens a lot of Ace Attorney, as a lot of times the culprits themselves do or say something that ends up backfiring horribly on them. Some notable cases:
    • In the original, Damon Gant accidentally makes a piece of incriminating evidence legal and incriminates himself, instead of Ema.
    • In Justice for All, Phoenix is trapped in a no-win scenario: either he gets his (guilty) client off the hook and send an innocent woman to jail so he can get his assistant back, or he throws his (guilty) client to the wolves and gets his assistant killed. The guilty client himself accidentally provides a third option: because he was going to use the crime scene videotape to blackmail his assassin, Phoenix gets the assassin to let go of his assistant of his own accord by proving his client's deceit. Then Phoenix is free to send his client to jail with no repercussions, and even if Phoenix decides to go the Cruel Mercy route and let his client go free (so that the client will be open to attack by the now-vengeful assassin), the client decides to plead guilty instead.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, Luke Atmey would have gotten away scot-free with murder if he hadn't slipped up once and revealed he knew Ron was wearing his costume when supposedly Luke wasn't even at the crime scene.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix falsely presents a bottle of ear medication as the poison Furio Tigre used to kill the victim. Tigre calls him on it, and in his rage, describes the real vial that he used. Of course, Tigre, having been absent when the real bottle was presented in court, only had one way of knowing that information...
  • Releasing the Cornstalker in the final chapter of Touch Detective 2 1/2 would seem to fall under Stupidity Is the Only Option... except that this is all he manages to pull off—his efforts to steal the treasure only succeed at helping Mackenzie safeguard it and escape the aliens who have abducted them.
  • In one of the endings of Mega Man X2, Sigma leaves the protagonist (X) at a total dead end, leaving him alone with his Brainwashed and Crazy old friend, Zero. However, after he leaves Zero to fight X, Zero is able to break out of his craziness and actually opens an otherwise unreachable path to the final boss.
    • In Mega Man X5, Sigma may or may not have done so again, as Zero is severely injured and possibly killed offscreen. He miraculously recovers, possibly with Sigma's intervention, but his Superpowered Evil Side has been reawakened (definitely Sigma's work), which gives him only one objective: to kill X. However, as with X2, he eventually ends up turning good again and actually saves X from Sigma after X is weakened from a fight, something he probably wouldn't have been able to do if he was still stuck in the wreckage of a spacecraft and/or dead.
  • In Left 4 Dead, many an eager-to-help Tank user has freed a Survivor from the clutches of a Hunter or Smoker, or the Charger in Left 4 Dead 2, by going to attack said Survivor.
  • In Half-Life 2, toward the end of the game, Gordon Freeman (the player character) goes through a weapon confiscator created by the Combine (the enemy faction). It destroys all his weapons except for the Gravity Gun, which the confiscator is unable to destroy. Instead, the confiscator malfunctions and actually ends up making it more powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it completely outclasses every other weapon in the game.
  • The Collectors' attack on Shepard at the beginning of Mass Effect 2 ends up putting Shepard in a position where he/she has no choice but to cooperate with Cerberus...who happen to be the only power in the galaxy who actually believes the Reapers are coming and is prepared to throw their full backing behind Shepard's quest to stop them.
  • In Portal 2, Wheatley, when suffering from test withdrawal, he decides a good way to fix it is to move the test chamber Chell and GLaDOS are in as close as possible to his lair.
  • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Over the course of R-03, villains Jetstream Sam and Monsoon relentlessly taunt Raiden by drilling holes in the logic behind his desire to protect the weak, claiming that simple blood-lust is the only reason he that he continues to remain on the battlefield. Their aim was to demoralize and mentally destabilize him, rendering him easier to kill. Except, whoops, Raiden ends up agreeing with them and taps into his Ripper persona to make himself stronger than ever, giving him the edge he needs to defeat and kill Monsoon. One thinks that there may have been better ways to deal with the repressed homicidal battle-monger than egging him on into abandoning his more benevolent tendencies.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Lezard Valeth in the best ending. Most of his appearances and villainous actions actually are required for the best ending to even occur. Lezard Valeth kills Mystina, who becomes very loyal to Lenneth, which is why she refuses to serve Hrist and helps transfer Lenneth's soul temporarily to a homunculus. Lezard kills and mutilates the body of elves to create a homunculus for himself and Lenneth, which is needed to store Lenneth's soul when Hrist takes her body. Lezard transfers his soul to a homunculus and sacrifices the Philosopher's Stone to survive Ragnarok and grant himself immortality, which allows him to be present to fight Hrist. He is one of the four people willing and able to fight Hrist to retake Lenneth's body due to his obsession with her. The only villainous thing Lezard that does not contribute to getting the best ending is killing Lorenta and her husband (it is required to see this event to get the best ending, but Lorenta is a basic einherjar that never gets mentioned in the plot after she is recruited).
    • It gets taken up even further when it's revealed that Odin (in this game) is half-elf, and Lenneth becomes this when she's put in Lezard's homunculus body, which itself is made from an elf. In this universe, godly beings, while almighty, have a fixed level of power that cannot grow due to their immortality. As Odin is half-elf, half divine, he can actually grow and obtain even more power on a divine level than he could have if he were simply a god. The same thing happens to Lenneth once she's in her new body, and...well, she isn't called "Lenneth the Creator" for nothing in the second game.
  • In The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon, Spyro, Cynder, and Sparx have been frozen in crystal for three years, allowing Big Bad, former Sealed Evil in a Can Malefor to run rampant over the world with an iron claw and is days away from succeeding in his ultimate plan to destroy the world. Then some mooks decide to break them out of the crystal to sacrifice to a giant monster, they escape, allowing them to turn the tide against Malefor and save the world. They also tethered the two together with a pair of magic necklaces, but this allows the two to work together much more effectively and ultimately makes them realize their love for one another.
    • Also, in a way, Malefor is guilty of it for what he did to Cynder, as it gave Spyro something important to fight for, something Spyro himself even makes mention of when Cynder is corrupted again.
  • In Chrono Trigger, when Dalton steals the Epoch, he converts it into a flying vehicle. Without this modification, the party would never be able to reach most of the side quests. This is even lampshaded, probably unintentionally, with multiple party members having lines such as "I guess we are actually in his debt." after the fight.
  • Jade Empire. Master Li manipulates the Player Character into murdering the Emperor so Li can take his place, but instead of offering a We Can Rule Together, Li makes a permanent enemy of the Player Character—the only one who can stop him—by murdering the player in cold blood. In his defense, he would have gotten away with this scot-free had the Celestial Bureaucracy not had a vested interest in bringing the Player Character back to life, something Li had no possible way to anticipate.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky: Had Dusknoir not taken you and your partner into the Bad Future, neither of you would actually realize that the entire world was in danger.
    • This actually happens again at the end of the game when Darkrai (disguised as Cresselia) actually tries to kill you because to him, it's the only way the world will be saved, and that Darkrai was actually behind everything all along. Fortunately, the real Cresselia shows up and exposes Darkrai's true identity. Had he not done this, you wouldn't have known about his backup plan in the first place.
  • In Halo, mankind is right on the cusp of extinction in its war against the technologically and numerically superior Covenant, and then the Prophet of Truth makes the decision to betray the Elites, which results in a huge portion of the Covenant allying with the humans; during the last large space battle in Halo 3, it's the Elites who are largely responsible for wiping out Truth's fleet.
  • In MOTHER 3, Porky introduces the world to the evils of materialism and money. This seems to just be a distraction from his true plan to destroy the world. If he didn't indulge in this, the protagonists may have very well stayed at home, allowing his masked assistant to pull the Cosmic Keystone and destroy the world without any interference.
  • In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, this turns out to be the result of Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach. It turns out that the "Princess Peach" the brothers rescued from beneath the Koopaseum was actually Princess Shroob in disguise, and was planning on assuming her guise. Bowser, however, thwarts this plan by taking her away.
  • Cave Story. After you defeat the Corenote , Misery and the Doctor pop in to (sort of) save the Core because it's the only thing keeping the island afloat. Misery then tries to kill you by flooding the chamber... which opens the way out of the Labyrinth, ultimately allowing you defeat the Doctor for good.
  • Terranigma actually has this occur when Ark opened Pandora's Box in the beginning. By doing so, Beruga was killed and his plan of using a toxic gas to commit genocide was stopped. Although this is only told to the player after they have just resurrected Beruga. Great.
  • L.A. Noire has Cole demoted to Arson due to his affair with Elsa being exposed. But the good news is that he could get close to the Suburban Redevelopment Fund. The best news is that Roy Earle, the one who exposed his affair, is not happy about this.
  • World of Warcraft (as opposed to what it usually does) has this when Fandral Staghelm is revealed as Raganaros' new majordomo: He overloads Thrall's connection to the elements, causing his mind to be broken into four separate pieces embodying each respective element-which allows him to examine his inner conflicts from an objective prospective. When you help him put himself back together, he's found his old HeroicWillpower, no longer divided against himself.
    • Also happened in Wrath Of The Lich King in the Death Knight intro sequence. The eponymous Big Bad has just thrown the order of The Knights Of The Ebon Blade at a small church in the western plaguelands as a Batman Gambit to lure out one Paladin, Tirion Fordring. Not only does this succeed in bringing Fordring back out into the world from Exile, but it causes the merging of two paladin orders to focus on killing The Lich King. Much worse is that in the process of causing this, a long time cursed sword that was in the hands of the commander of the Ebon Blade is purified by the mere touch of Fordring. The Sword? Ashbringer. It ends up shattering Frostmourne into pieces and ultimately causes the Big Bad's defeat at the top of Icecrown Citadel.
    • Sylvanas' backstory is also an example of this. During Warcraft 3, while Arthas is invading Quel'thalas, Sylvanas and her squadron are a major thorn in his side. Despite him (depending on the player) outnumbering her quite a bit, Sylvanas' determination and ingenuity make her a major threat to him. Then, Arthas finally kills her, and instead of breathing a sigh of relief that he'll never have to deal with her again, he decides to resurrect her so he can enslave her and make her miserable. This backfires when Arthas' power weakens temporarily, and Sylvanas immediately frees herself, and although she was unable to kill him she founds the Forsaken by taking command of the other resurrected who were freed from Arthas' control, the Forsaken being eventually instrumental in his destruction (even if there was collateral damage). So Arthas created one of his biggest enemies, when he could simply have let her stay dead.
    • The attempt to silence Vol'jin in Pandaria during the 'Dagger in the Dark' scenario may have began Warchief Garrosh Hellscream's downfall, as Vol'jin survived his assassination and hid out till the time was right to start his Darkspear tribe's revolt against Garrosh's Horde. He was able to gather a number of Horde heroes, unite every other Horde member nation leadernote  against Garrosh, and even forge a truce with the Horde-opposed Alliance and their heroes, all who very much had a bone to pick with Garrosh. And in a twist of irony in the end, Garrosh Hellscream is dethroned by the heroes and detained by Taran Zhunote  while Vol'jin was nominated by Thrall as the new—and first non-orc—Warchief, with all of the other Horde faction leaders bowing to him to signal their own assent.
    • Baine Bloodhoof was a particularly bad one to piss off with the assassination attempt on Vol'jin, considering that the tauren of Mulgore were the only non-orc nation that Garrosh respected (for their strength), were the next geographically next closest nation to the Durotar peninsulanote , whereas almost every other Horde or Alliance nation would have had to cross the Great Sea or the waters surrounding northern Kalimdor to reach the Durotar peninsula, and crucially formed a sizable and possibly highest non-orc percentage of the Horde's forces.
    • The Old Gods are revealed to have done this in the World of Warcraft: Chronicle. They created the "Curse of Flesh" to turn the metallic and stone servants of their enemies into flesh and blood beings that would be much easier to kill. As a side effect, it also granted them qualities that the Old Gods didn't anticipate: courage, resolve, and heroism. Most of the races afflicted by the curse of flesh would go on to foil the Old Gods' plans time and time again.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind's Tribunal expansion, Almalexia tasks you with reforging True Flame, the Flaming Sword of the original Nerevar, to use against a deranged Sotha Sil. However, it turns out that she is the villain, having already killed Sotha Sil, and basically handed the Nerevarine one of the best swords in the game to use against her.
    • Skyrim:
      • The entire game might not have happened if not for Alduin pulling this trope. The Last Dragonborn would have died a nameless nobody in Helgen if Alduin hadn't interrupted their execution by trying to kill them. (Possibly justified, or at least excused, given that Alduin's colossal Pride probably made him want to be the one to kill the Last Dragonborn directly.) And had the Captain not been so hell bent on killing Dovahkiin s/he might not have allied with the Stormcloaks like many a player have, using her actions as justification.
      • In Dragonborn expansion, the main quest starts with cultists attacking the player. One of the cultists has a note with orders from Miraak, the first Dragonborn. If he had never tried to get cultists to kill the player, the player would not have known about him, and he would have been able to leave Apocrypha and take over Solstheim.
  • The F-Con trio in Tron 2.0 make some really foolish mistakes. Yes, they kidnap Alan and successfully intimidate him into forking over the information needed to make the digitizer run...but then they lock the man who programmed Tron and Ma3a in a room full of old computer parts, giving him the ability to at least make contact with his son and upload Mercury to help. Then, they decide to dispose of him by shooting him into cyberspace, reuniting him with his son and Ma3a and giving him access to crash the datawraith server from the inside.
  • On a low level every time you come to a dead end in Doom3 some minion will burst through the wall / locked door or knock over something you can use as a bridge. In a more serious example the bad guy's plan to lure you to hell has the minor flaw that hell contains the only weapon that gives you the possibility to thwart his evil scheme.
  • Devil May Cry has Trish revealing herself to be working for Mundus. By doing this, Dante severs his ties with her until they finally made up in the end.
  • The villain in Max Payne 3 is Victor Branco. One of the major facets of his plan involves getting his entire extended family killed by local extremist groups, which means he'll inherit direct control of his family's money from his late brother Rodrigo. As such, he needs a security guard who's good enough to protect his family from casual threats, but not good enough to protect them from Victor's conspirators. His solution is to hire Max Payne, a drunken slob with a history of violence. Unfortunately for Victor, Max is very bad at keeping people alive, but he's very, very good at making people pay for their crimes. If Victor had hired almost anyone else on the planet to be his fall guy, his entire plan would've worked out just fine.
  • In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Hazama / Terumi sends his subordinate Makoto to the far-flung NOL branch in Ibukido to keep her away from feuding friends Noel and Tsubaki, furthering his plans to Mind Rape them both into serving him—the former as Omnicidal Maniac super-weapon Mu-12, and the latter as a Brainwashed and Crazy Yandere. In the end, he ends up regretting this decision badly, as young Makoto ends up causing more damage to his plans than pretty much anyone else in the cast—and given everything she learned, she stands in a position to do so again.
    • And that's exactly what happened, as Chronophantasma sees Terumi fouling up again with the Battle of Ragna the Bloodedge, and this time Relius is on hand to help him foul up. The aforementioned battle is a massive tournament where people compete over who gets to claim the bounty on Ragna's head, which is really a trap to lure Azrael out, and one Kagura repurposed to ensnare Tsubaki Yayoi as well. But rather than think to investigate the competition themselves, they sent Tsubaki alone and unsupervised. This is not entirely true, as Relius did send Terumi there, but only to investigate the dampened seithr concentrations in the region; either way, none of them thought to look after Tsubaki. The reason this is a problem? In addition to the aforementioned trap, neither of them entertained the possibility that Jin Kisaragi, Noel Vermillion and the aforementioned Makoto were either on-site already or in a position to get there quickly, something which an attentive individual like a Captain of Intelligence could have cottoned on to. TL;DR: Relius and Terumi literally hand Tsubaki over to their enemies on a silver platter, and both come to face the consequences for this oversight. And all Terumi bitches about is being caught at the epicenter of the seithr disruption when he finally tracks down Ragna, which said disruption was concealing from him.
  • Fallout: New Vegas used this trope on purpose. Nice job, Ulysses, arranging a lethally dangerous delivery mission for the person you wish death to. Turns out, that person is hardier and tougher than they look, and the mission turns out to be marvellously rewarding. Now it's them and not you who became the NCR/Legion's top field agent, Mr. House's second-in-command, or simply gave New Vegas its independence and has the support of a grateful population.
    • Fallout 3 has a similar situation, in which the protagonist is almost killed by the Big Bad only to be rescued by another figure from the same evil faction in order to broker a deal - which backfires horribly when the decision is upheld, starts a mutiny, and potentially the destruction of an entire base as well as the undoing of the faction's leader.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask begins with the Skull Kid turning Link into a Deku Skrub. Link is able to find a way to reverse this and swap between human and Deku forms at will.
    • At one point in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Zant curses Link to stay in wolf form by putting a black crystal in his head. This comes to bite him in the ass later, as the power of the Master Sword allowed Link to return to human form and keep the black crystal, allowing him to switch forms at will. This is lampshaded by Midna right before you actually fight Zant. In fact, Zant does this repeatedly by sending his Shadow Beasts after you. They fall from the sky via a portal that remains when you kill them, which you can then warp out of whenever you want with Midna's power.
    • At one point in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker you have until daybreak to get to Outset Island and acquire one of the MacGuffins before the pirates do. However, it's not a Timed Mission because Ganondorf's curse makes the night last forever, giving you all the time in the world to get there. Thanks, big guy!
    • In the fine tradition of villains accidentally giving Link a transformational power when trying to curse him, Yuga from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds tries to trap Link in a painting for all eternity. Thanks to the bracelet he had been given earlier, Link gets the ability to turn into a painting at will and move while in this form.
  • A monumental example hails from Fire Emblem Awakening, where God of Evil and resident Big Bad Grima single-handedly creates a loophole that allows it to be permanently killed. Following Lucina and her comrades in the past, it creates a timeline where TWO versions of Grima exist. How is that a problem? The only person capable of killing Grima... is Grima itself. And the present Grima (also known as the player's Avatar) is a good guy more than ready to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to destroy his alternate self forever. Plus, the reason the Avatar is so intent to do this is because the Future Grima tried to merge with his past self at a point when the past self was weak; this caused the present Grima to lose all memories, create deeper bonds with the people who find him/her and be more ready to stop the Future Grima. Oopsie daisy.
    • Really, all future!Grima had to do was stay put in the bad future and the most that could've been done would be Chrom sealing Grima with Falchion. However, Grima wasn't aware that time travel causes a timeline split, and so he was afraid that Lucina and co. would actually destroy him and erase everything he had done. To add salt on the wound, the damage he had done to the bad future was restored shortly before the events of Fire Emblem Fates, by another dragon, as Grima wasn't around to prevent it.
  • A complicated case in Final Fantasy IX: Nice job booting Zidane down to Gaia from Terra, Kuja. If you hadn't done that, he might have actually joined your cause, instead of forgetting his birthplace and purpose and developing sympathy and attachment to Gaia. In the end this does disrupt Garland's plans more than Kuja's, and Kuja's pretty successful at murdering everyone anyway, but still, it certainly made things a lot more complicated for everyone.
    • Also, creating the Black Mages was certainly a good plan...except that your Super Prototype is highly likely to be one of the four people killing you at the end of the game.
  • In Ib, Garry suffers Laser-Guided Amnesia if he is captured by the dolls and is unable to escape. Mainly he forgets what he just learned about Mary. Namely, that she's a painting. Later on, Mary tries to attack him...which causes him to remember everything he forgot. Oops.
  • The Gloria's Theater level in Psychonauts revolves around finding new scripts and producing a series of plays so Raz can ascend the stage to the catwalks and battle the Phantom, and oddly enough, the first script you find, the one that sets almost the entire solution process in motion, is given to Raz by the Phantom himself, aka Jasper.
  • In Batman: Arkham Origins the Joke Boss Electrocutioner is brought in to kill Batman. Joker kills him for his earlier defeat and general impudence. But the mere fact of his existence at the meeting allows Batman to find them. Furthermore, his electric gloves are vital to proceed, culminating in saving Alfred and allowing Batman to stop Bane's heart and later restart it long enough for Joker to willingly leave his death trap set up to force Batman to kill someone.
  • Star Trek Online episode "From the Ashes", mission "Turning Point". Colonel Hakeev of the Tal Shiar tries to bust up the international summit on Khitomer and pin it on the Romulan Republic, in order to prevent the Federation and Klingons from giving protection and aid to the Republic. He gets caught red-handed by Captain Ja'rod of the IKS Kang, and after Commander Temer dies shielding Ambassador Woldan from a Tal Shiar bomb the two superpowers are greatly impressed and decree that the Republic has the right to exist as an independent nation (and therefore can receive military support from them).
  • The third and final Monster Girl Quest has Ilias, who's spent God only knows how long trying to kill monsters and keep them and humans apart, finally just decide to kill both and rebuild the world anew. Humans and monsters band together and join forces to fight her attack off, which greatly helps the two groups come to understand one another and start to co-exist.
  • In the 1st Tantei Opera Milky Holmes PSP Game, the Big Bad Phantom Thief L's very idea of forming Milky Holmes and bringing back old time rival Kobayashi Opera from retirement to act as their mentor figure ultimately foiled his master plan to destroy Yokohama using crystalised form of plutonium as an energy bomb.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition's Trespasser DLC reveals that Corypheus of all people is guilty of this. By failing to die when he unlocked the orb (and subsequently claiming it for himself), he prevented it from reaching Solas, who would have promptly used its power to tear down the Veil and remake the world, causing untold amounts of death and destruction. By detonating the orb and creating the Breach, Corypheus actually prevented an even more cataclysmic event from taking place.
  • Happens sometimes in games where healing mechanics don't discriminate between friend and foe.
    • Players in Battlefield 3 benefit from standing next to medkits and ammo crates that the opposing team has laid on the ground.
    • This trope occasionally occurs in particularly hectic battles in EVE Online. With hundreds of players in a close fight, poor communication and misclicks can cause repair teams to accidentally fix ships in the opposing fleet.
    • Enemies who place a healing spring away from their main base in Age of Mythology are basically donating one of the games very few healing tools to any invading army that wants it.
  • The Talos Principle: Depending on your choices when speaking with Milton, eventually you can reach a point where Elohim will allow (or depending on your point of view, force) you to shut down the Milton program. Doing so resets the security blockade on the stairway that leads to the Tower, allowing you to climb it against Elohim's wishes.
  • Grim Fandango: Manny's Mean Boss Don Copal puts enough pressure on him to make a good sale to tempt Manny to steal a client from his rival Domino, the kindly Mercedes Colomar. This leads to Manny falling in with the Lost Souls Alliance and unraveling Hector LeMans' evil plot to steal Number Nine Express tickets.
  • Fallen London: During the Light Fingers ambition quest, once you stumble upon the Orphanage its enforcer, Poor Edward, will invite you for some tea to tell you that you can either make a tea from the herbs he just gave you to forget all about your quest and never get bothered again, or keep snooping and get Buried Alive (he's not bluffing about the latter). Once you find the two sisters you were looking for, one tells you the other has been so thoroughly Mind Raped she won't want to leave the Orphanage as long as she remembers it, and that memory-wiping herbs are too rare for them to have any hope... and are also the same herbs Edward himself gave you to wipe your own memory.
  • Starbound: The Apex are ruled by the Miniknog, a totalitarian government that constantly oppresses its populace, where every act of perceived dissention (up to and including trying to have non-standard furniture or pets) can get you dragged off to "Thought Reassignment" or volunteered for terminal science experiments. The Miniknog is also troubled by the constant emergence of rebel cells, suspecting that in fact every Apex community have or will develop one (or several, in the case of larger cities). It doesn't occur to them that they are responsible for this. After all, when an otherwise peaceful and content citizen realizes they could get executed for wanting to have a green pet fish, becoming a rebel can't really make things much worse.
  • Diablo III: Maghda. Dear Lord, Maghda. Taking it from the top:
    • The first time she appears, she tells the Nephalem (i.e., you) that the first part of the stranger's sword belongs to her, summons her ineffectual minions to deal with you, and then, once you're finished mowing them down like the weaksauce mooks they are, helpfully tells you that you can't reach the next piece because it's in a place guarded by the Ancients - literally all the clue needed to figure out exactly where it is.
    • She does successfully send you on a wild goose chase after the third piece and takes the opportunity to not only steal all three pieces, but kidnap Leah, Cain, and the stranger in an attempt to force Cain to remake the sword... But torturing Cain is enough to provoke Leah into unleashing her powers, wiping out every mook in the room. Maghda gives it up as a bad job and disappears with the stranger, and Cain's dying act is to remake the sword in time to hand it over to YOU. And never mind the fact that a being feared by angels and demons alike is now out for her blood...
    • Add this to the fact that she absolutely cannot believe that her boss - Belial, the LORD OF LIES - could possibly intend to sacrifice her to distract you while he carries out his plots elsewhere, and she's not even borderline Too Dumb to Live.
  • At the start of Grand Theft Auto 3, gangsters from the Colombian Cartel raid a prison transport to kidnap an elderly, Asian gentleman. In the process, the game's protagonist Claude escapes and eventually eliminates the Cartel from Liberty City. Additionally, bomb maker 8-Ball escapes and Claude buys explosives from him to destroy a ship used by the Cartel to transport drugs. Furthering the irony even more, the entire reason Claude was in the prison transport was because he was betrayed by the Cartel's leader, Catalina.
  • Haldos from Nexus Clash was the first-ever Lich who built his fortress out of the dead or undead bones of millions of people, until the demonic god Tlacolotl suckered him into attacking the Nexal death god Hashaa, one of Tlacolotl's principal rivals. One Bolt of Divine Retribution later, Tlacolotl became unintentionally responsible for Haldos' death and the end of his reign of terror.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, Nidhogg does this to himself. Having taken possession of the Azure Dragoon Estenien, he crashes the peace conference between the Ishgardians and the dragons of Dravania, stabs Vidofnir and gloats that the Dragonsong War will never end. Instead, the people watching are so sick and tired of the war that they began chanting "Death to Nidhogg!" - he wanted to remind them that the war will never end, instead just gave Ishgard a face to punch and once Nidhogg is slain for good, the war comes to an end.
  • According to the Splatoon artbook, the Final Boss of Splatoon 2 was one of these. At the end of the first game, the Squid Sisters' performance of the Calamari Inkantation apparently caused a number of Octavio's minions to break free of his influence and start clamoring for a reconciliation with the Inklings. Octavio's answer to this? Kidnap one of the Squid Sisters, brainwash her, and hold a massive concert for your subjects so she can publicly denounce the Inklings. Unfortunately, he didn't count on the other Squid Sister recruiting the player to rescue the one he captured, break the brainwashing, and expose even more of his mooks to the song than if he had just not bothered with the whole plan in the first place.

    Web Comics 
  • Casey and Andy: "No! Wait! My inventions must not be used for peace!"
  • In Darths & Droids, Pete gets egotistical and gives everyone a + 1 morale boost just by watching R2-D2 fly. This gives Annie enough of a stat boost to dodge a quintuple guillotine.
  • Agents of the Realm has a bear-bleed attack Norah after she discarded her Transformation Trinket. This causes the amulet to return to her and her to change into Magical Girl Warrior, which is definitely against the intentions of Ruby, who may be behind the recent incursion of bleeds.
  • In an early story arc in Dominic Deegan, Greg, a white mage, is infected with the "Blight of the Undead", a curse that would essentially turn him into an undead abomination. It was kept in check by his devout use of White Magic. Later on, in a confrontation with his eldest brother Jacob (a Necromancer), he rips the blight out of his body through his un-blighted parts. Jacob then learns the hard way that the Blight was acting as a magical Restraining Bolt, and with it gone, Gregory's magical power increased exponentially. And have we mentioned that White Magic is already exceptionally effective against necromancy, and that just to set the tin lid on it, Gregory (who'd been making excuses for Jacob for years) is now extremely pissed off? The ensuing fight is very short and very one-sided.
    • During the battle between Dominic and Celesto in the Storm of Souls arc, Celesto uses his powers as the Champion of Chaos to trap Dominic and try to use him as fuel for the Weapon of Mass Destruction. Cue Dominic gaining a level in badass when it turns out he's actually the Champion of Balance and chaos was the last force he needed to experience in order to gain full power, beat Celesto, stop the Storm, and save the world.
  • Freefall: According to the author on the Nice forum, if Mr. Kornada hadn't interfered with Florence's scheduled meeting with Mr. Raibert, she would have been present to hear Mr. Raibert ordering the release of Gardener in the Dark to be delayed, and thus have no need to take further action, while not knowing of Kornada's plan to violate the order to have it released anyway.
    • Additionally, Florence lampshades that she would not have been aware of Gardener in the Dark in the first place if not for Edge trying to save himself from it, nor would she have been able to stop it without Sam's criminal knowledge of social engineering and sabotage.
      Florence: All my life, I've been taught the values of being a good citizen. No one ever told me that when the chips are down, civilization needs the rotten ones.
  • The main character of Girl Genius, an orphaned young lady named Agatha, wears a locket-type amulet with pictures of her parents in it. The locket is her most prized possession, given to her by her paternal uncle Barry shortly before he mysteriously departed, leaving Agatha in the care of her adoptive parents, the Clays. She never removes the amulet for very long and is never far away from it. Agatha struggles to be an engineer and inventor, like her beloved uncle, but fails constantly due to the severe and sudden migraine headaches she suffers whenever she tries to concentrate. Near the beginning of the story, a pair of drunken soldiers accost Agatha on the street. One snatches her locket, planning to sell it for a little quick cash. It turns out Barry designed the locket to suppresses Agatha's "spark", her innate intelligence and engineering talent. With the amulet gone, Agatha becomes a super-genius. She converts a steam-powered tractor into a complex robot programmed to seek out the amulet and return it to her, an impressive feat in and of itself made even more so by the fact SHE LITERALLY DOES THIS IN HER SLEEP!
    • It also turns out the waves emanating from the amulet are extremely dangerous to anyone other than Agatha, as the loutish soldier who stole it soon finds out. The amulet ends up killing him by slowly destroying his brain. His fellow soldier, actually his younger brother, realizes the amulet is the source of his brother's demise when it is accidentally broken open, revealing the mechanism within. The young soldier uses the address engraved on the back of the locket to track Agatha down, looking for vengeance. Normally, the amulet would dampen Agatha's genius ability when brought in close proximity to her, but the young soldier was nice enough to switch the thing off. The now brilliant, clear-headed and more confident Agatha easily out-smarts and overpowers her would-be attacker and turns the tables on him, tying him up and reclaiming her beloved keepsake.
    • Later in the story, an evil entity known as "The Other" possesses Agatha and gloats over an incapacitated Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, sworn enemy of The Other who is also hunting down Agatha so he can lobotomize her and permanently destroy her spark. The Other notices Klaus is carrying Agatha's amulet, which has a trilobite design on it, the symbol of Agatha's real family, the Heterodynes. The Other decides to use the amulet to pass itself off as a legitimate Heterodyne heir and lay claim to their family castle, stuffed full of amazing and highly dangerous technology & research. As soon as The Other slips the amulet around Agatha's neck, however, she is able to regain control. That's TWO villains each cancelling the other out.
  • Homestuck: Jack Noir can't bring himself to kill Jade Harley because the prototyping of her dog Becquerel caused Jack to inherit his Undying Loyalty to her. Instead, with no other options open to him, he orders the Courtyard Droll to kill her. Much later, during which time Jack has started following Jade around like a lost, harmless dog, the Droll actually succeeds... right in front of Jack, who promptly flips his shit and kills the Droll. Visibly saddened and enraged by Jade's death, he takes her body to her Quest Bed, causing her to ascend to the God Tiers, gain power well beyond Jack's, and use it to escape their dying session.
  • In the backstory of MegaTokyo, Tohya Miho used a hidden statistic in the End Games servers to enslave large portions of the in-game populace, even doing so to a certain extent with the in-game identity of one of the protagonists of MegaTokyo, Piro. Only she made the mistake of manipulating Piro by founding a real life relationship with him, trying to take control of his in-game character while breaking his heart in the process. The result? Piro broke the in-game emotional control she used, ultimately whipped her ass in-game, destroyed the character she used, and got her completely and totally banned from the game in which she tried to take control. Nice job, Miho.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon breaking Roy's beloved sword both filled the fighter with a vengeful resolve, and forced him to grapple the lich bare-handed. He promptly hurled Xykon into a trap-warded gateway, which blew the undead sorcerer's body to pieces: something Roy certainly wasn't powerful enough (yet) to accomplish with sword strikes.
    • Also, Xykon is an epic-level sorceror, the Order has no chance of defeating him. Except, Xykon broke Roy's sword, and Nale sent Roy on a dangerous sidequest to get it fixed, which has resulted in Roy's sword being made of a material that is very effective against undead.
    • One arc concluded with Xykon's attempt to Breaking Lecture the recently defeated Vaarsuvius not only failing, but actually lifting V out of a pre-existing case of Heroic B.S.O.D., and giving V advice that's made him/her more effective than s/he'd been even before the Heroic B.S.O.D..
    • Nale's actually pretty good at this. Elan took a level in the Dashing Swordsman prestige class because Nale stole his identity. Later, one of his more impressive momentsnote  backfired doubly: It gave Vampire-Durkon his free will back. Durkon immediately killed one of Nale's teammates and rejoined his friends. Then he threw the feat back in Tarquin's face as proof of how he didn't need or want Tarquin's protection. Malack was Tarquin's best friend and fellow party member.Filicide ensued and the Order was down one recurring nemesis.
    • When Bozzok had Crystal turned into a flesh golem, he paid extra to have her retain her sentience. This allows Haley to reason with her and turn Crystal against Bozzok.
    • Instead of turning to incorporeal mist and hiding, the High Priest of Hel possessing Durkon's body decides to fight with Roy instead, and attempt a Breaking Speech. This has two consequences. First, Roy realizes that the High Priest is not actually Durkon, and so stops holding back. Second, Roy wills the Greenhilt Sword into a Weapon of Legacy.
  • Slightly Damned: All that was needed to remove Kieri's magic restraining cuffs & collar was for her name to be spoken. Guess what the villain shouts out between swears at the top of her lungs.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta features this trope in spades. When fighting Milon, he offhandedly says that he's invincible as his unobserved power is infinite—which causes Lucca to use her SightScope to observe his power and turn it into a finite number. Later on, Palom casts Virus on Milon, enraging him and making him use his "Eternity In A Second" attack to take the next few thousand turns. He says that he'll enjoy watching everyone squirm, unable to do anything—and then dies. (Turns out Virus inflicts Sap, which depletes a little HP each turn—and when Milon takes thousands of turns in a row...)
  • In Dragon City, during an Arc that explored the relationship between Kim and Jonas, Erin (not an antagonist Per ser, but still a very callous and selfish character that only occasionally display a good heart) finds out about their relationship. While tolerant about it, Erin, being the former's best friend and the latter's big sisters, isn't amused with the situation and warns them that with either broke the other's heart, she will beat them up. Given her temperament, neither protested, but as noticed by Rachel, scaring them into commitment will only get they closer, much to Erin's chagrin.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "The Stormbreaker Saga", Zoë, trapped in the past, is prophesied to defeat the demon K'Z'K but also about to be executed by the fairly dim-witted King Sighard of Trent. All she has left is a shotgun (they let her keep it because no-one has any idea what it is) with one shot. That wouldn't do much good, except that K'Z'K has turned the executioner into one of his undead minions, and he tries to kill the king instead—giving Zoë a chance to use that one shot to save the king and impress everyone with her "magic", convincing them that she is The Chosen One. Thus, K'Z'K unknowingly helps a far more dangerous enemy survive when trying to eliminate a lesser one.
  • One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic shows a mad scientist mixing poison to kill all the world's children, and the subtitle states that coincidentally, he released it on the same day that aliens secretly took over the bodies of all of Earth's children. His face is being added to Mt. Rushmore as we speak.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-4357-J, "Cooperative Demon", is the embodiment of this trope Played for Laughs. He underestimates the Foundation's ability to contain him to the point where he straight up tells them how to do it.
  • Saga of Soul: For several chapters, Soul feels growing doubts about her own humanity. Downfall is able to sense it, and prepares a massive speech to break her spirit. But he ends up being so heavy-handed about it, he ends up accomplishing the exact opposite, showing Soul exactly how silly her doubts were in the first place. Cue Curbstomp Battle.
  • Worm has the ABB. Their actions caused Skitter to join the Undersiders, the superheroes and supervillains of the city to join forces against them, and Lung's second loss to Skitter when he attempts revenge for their first fight. It also allows her to carve out his eyes when she beat him again, making him easier to capture by the heroes. This wipes out the ABB.
  • This Cracked List tells this all.
  • Noob:
    • In Season 3 finale of the webseries, Roxana, just For the Evulz, decides to kill Sparadrap's pets in front of him. That's how we find out that the series Stupid Good Kindhearted Simpleton has a Berserk Button. The novel version of the scene reveals that The Cavalry arrived in time due to Roxana taking time to Kick the Dog rather than immediately killing Sparadrap and his teammates (which she could have done easily).
    • That season / novel also has the leader of Relic Hunter guild get Caught on Tape from gloating about his plans in front of the very people who ended up in a Frame-Up because of him. That group includes a player that is frequently loading videos of in-game events on her blog.
  • Parodied in this video, where all of the evil deeds the villain does only ends up helping the city in some form or another, all as informed by Commander Fistfight. The villain shoots Fistfight in response... only for him to reveal he fixed his shoulder instead.
  • RWBY: During the Battle of Beacon, Adam vows to Blake that his revenge for her abandoning him will consist of him hurting everything she's ever loved. In Volume 5, Blake and Sun are unsuccessfully trying to convince the Faunus population of Menagerie to rise up and protect the humans of Haven from a White Fang assault led by Adam. The Menagerie population, however, are tired of humanity's racism towards them and live there to escape the pain in the rest of the world. They have no interest in protecting humans from anything, least of all the White Fang, which claims to act on their behalf. When Adam hears about Blake's attempt to raise an army against him, he rants about Blake's family being a thorn in his side and decides to make good on his promise to Blake: he sends an assassin to kill Blake's parents and capture Blake alive. When the assassination attempt fails, the fact that the White Fang was willing to turn on its own people just for disagreeing with their methods, unites the Menagerie population against Adam's cause. As a result, a Menagerie army shows up to Haven with the Mistral police force in tow; the heroes weren't in a position to stop the villains from carrying out their plans, but Menagerie's intervention completely ruins both Adam's attempt to destroy Haven Academy and the Big Bad's secret plan to steal the Relic of Knowledge from Haven's vault using the White Fang assault as cover.
  • New Deal Coalition Retained:
    • Iran's military gasses unarmed Kurdish civilians in an attempt to warn off others from rebelling. All they do is horrify and anger just about the whole world (including their own allies), give Iraq a massive PR victory, and convince the entire Kurdish population to rise up against them.
    • During World War III, the Soviets launch coordinated air raids (referred to as the Second Blitz) on several NATO nations in an attempt to break their spirit and bring them to the negotiation table. Instead, it just enrages the various nations and makes them even more determined to fight back.
    • Following onto the above, the Soviets retaliate against South Korea's material support of Japan's Siberian invasion by launching an air raid which devastates Seoul, which causes South Korea and all the other anti-communist nations of Asia to abandon neutrality and declare war on the Soviets. And on top of that, China — which had been planning to declare war on Japan, counting on NATO not wanting to expand the war further by getting involved directly — realizes that it's now not a viable option, so has to resort to merely sending volunteers to fight for the Soviets.
    • The Bolivians practice a particularly hardline version of communism, which involves arresting anyone who even remotely disagrees with those in power. When they do this to a popular army captain in command of a frontline division one the eve of a major battle with the Allies, the whole division mutinies and defects, opening a massive hole in the communists' defenses. This turns the whole battle into a Curb-Stomp Battle in the Allies' favor.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad", Scratch and Grounder actually succeed in capturing Sonic and locking him in a cage. Then Coconuts shows up, and ties them up in a rope so he can claim the reward for himself. Sonic then points out to Coconuts that if the rope breaks, Scratch and Grounder will escape, and convinces him to put them in the cage. Coconuts does so, and Sonic escapes, locking all three robots in the cage.
  • In one episode of Aladdin: The Series, Mirage uses a mystical music box to put the entire city of Agrabah to sleep, which in turn anyone who does so becomes one of her Brainwashed and Crazy minions. Aladdin is the last one left, but just as he is about to stop her he finally succumbs to the spell himself and falls asleep, which means within seconds he'll become one of her mindless zombies as well. Just as Mirage starts gloating, the mind-controlled Jasmine and Phasir burst in, which winds up waking Aladdin up long enough to close the box and return everyone to normal. Mirage's own mind-controlled minions wound up being the very thing that ultimately undid her plan!
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang has one of his chakras blocked by getting hit by Azula's lightning in the Avatar state. He can't get to that state anymore, and he's not skilled enough in the bending he's learned to take on Ozai. In the middle of the fight, Ozai goes in for the killshot, with Aang resisting with all the strength he has left. The blast throws Aang onto a small rock outcropping... right onto the scar caused by Azula's lightningbending attack. This unblocks the chakra, allowing Aang to reach the Avatar state and for epic asskicking to ensue. Cue Ozai's Oh, Crap! expression.
    • Combustion Man manages to intercept a messenger hawk headed for the Fire Nation with the information that Aang is still alive, as Zuko wanted to eliminate Aang discreetly. This prevents the rest of the Fire Nation from learning about Aang until the Day of Black Sun.
    • Combustion Man also has another moment of this in The Western Air Temple. Prior to his appearance, the Gaang refuse to believe that Zuko has reformed and upon accidentally burning Toph's feet, are ready to take Zuko down. But once Combustion Man attacks, Zuko arrives just in time to help defeat him, earning him some favour for the Gaang that ultimately allowed Zuko to regain trust and friendship with them and subsequently, the Fire Lord's downfall.
    • Ozai committed this two years before the story started. If he had never banished his son, then he would've won. Zuko himself outright states this to him in the finale, calling it the best thing he could've ever done for him.
    • Azula has instance of this in Book 3, when Zuko states he's angry over something he doesn't know about, some prodding by Azula (though Mai and Ty Lee took as well) caused Zuko spit out that he's angry at himself, which helps with his Character Development that leads to his Heel–Face Turn. Which leads to Mai's Heel–Face Turn a few episodes later when she sees Zuko about to be dumped in boiling water on Azula's orders. Which leads to Ty Lee's Heel–Face Turn in short order when Azula tries to attack Mai right in front of her.
    • Even before the scene during "The Beach", which the above example explains, Zuko was worried if Ozai would finally be satisfied with him after coming home with the reputation of killing the Avatar. Azula calls him dumb and tells him that the only person he should be trying to satisfy is himself.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Amon uses his powers to remove Avatar Korra's ability to bend water, earth, and fire, the elements she had mastered. He also inadvertently unlocked her ability to bend air, and to connect to her former lives, one of which gave her back all her bending, plus the ability to restore the bending of anyone else Amon had "equalised." As far as this trope goes, it's a doozy.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode, "The Conqueror", four of the Planeteers are convinced Zarm is a good guy, and refuse to believe Gaia telling them otherwise. Then, hidden in his spacecraft, Zarm complains about Gaia being a meddler, and makes a laser-like ray hit a silo's remains close to her and Ma-Ti. This results in the other Planeteers being much more willing to hear Gaia's version of the story, and choosing her over Zarm. In other words, if he didn't try to kill her on the spot, he could have won.
  • In the five part DuckTales (1987) special "Super DuckTales", the Beagle Boys alter freeway plans to have them go through the property Scrooge's money bin is on. As a result, Scrooge hires Fenton Crackshell as his accountant. Not only does it improve Fenton's life, but he ends up becoming Gizmoduck, who would be the bane of the Beagle Boys' existence for the remainder of the series.
  • At the end of the first season of Frisky Dingo, Killface's son activates the Annihilatrix, which was designed to push the Earth into the Sun. Instead, it backfires and effectively reverses the damage caused by global warming.
  • Same with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero; a number of times the Joes are beaten, but Cobra Commander has to drive it in (often at the objections of Destro), somehow giving the Joes the chance to overcome their predicament. Strangely enough, Cobra's high-rankers prefer Serpentor to him because of this attitude, and yet Serpentor occasionally falls into this trope as well.
  • Before Bill Cipher unleashed Weirdmageddon in Gravity Falls, the Pines family are on the verge of breaking down; Mabel has succumbed to depression not only having the worst birthday of her life but the fact that Dipper is soon going to leave her potentially forever, Stanley's relationship with Ford still remains strained as he has to abandon the Mystery Shack by the end of the summer and give Ford his identity and house back, Dipper is going to stay with Ford away from Mabel and who knows what influence Ford could have done to him. After Weirdmageddon, Stan and Ford finally reconciled their relationship and are going out on their childhood dream together, Dipper and Mabel are back together and having the birthday of their life where they are treated as heroes and depart Gravity Falls on a high note. In other words, Bill inadvertently gave them the happy ending that they couldn't have earned in the first place. The Oddpocalypse Brings Out the Best in People, after all.
  • In the stop-motion animation special Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Peter Cottontail and the villain Irontail are competing for the job of head Easter Bunny. Whoever delivers the most eggs wins. After missing delivering eggs on Easter, Peter tries to deliver the eggs on other holidays, but to no avail. In an attempt to make sure Peter never gets to unload his supply of Easter eggs, Irontail casts a spell on them that turns eggs green inside and out. Irontail believes that he's won—no one would want green eggs. But then, the next holiday Peter tries to deliver the eggs on turns out to be St. Patricks' Day. As a result, he successfully gives away all the green eggs, and becomes the head Easter Bunny. Irontail, meanwhile, is forced to sweep the bunny trail in the ending credits.
  • The beginning of season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures has Valmont kicking the eponymous character off a cliff which results in Shendu possessing him and making them both less effective.
  • In Justice League "The Savage Time", Vandal Savage only freezes Adolf Hitler instead of, say killing him. As a consequence, when Vandal is beaten by the time-travelling Justice League, his subordinates release Hitler, who goes on to lose the war like he would have done in the first place, instead of another potentially more competent individual taking over. Even better Word of God is that due to Savage's interference the temporary removal of Hitler meant the Holocaust never occurred due to him being unable to implement it in the time left after Savage's defeat and Hitler's return to power.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic:
    • In the season 2 finale, Twilight Sparkle calls out Princess Cadance and calls her evil, which nets her a royal "The Reason You Suck" Speech from her brother, all her friends turn on her, and even Princess Celestia is disappointed in her. Twilight herself is ashamed of her behavior and apologizes. Of course, had "Cadance" who is really Queen Chrysalis in disguise just left it at that she would have won. Unfortunately that just wasn't evil enough: instead she banishes Twilight to the caves below Canterlot where she meets the real Cadance, rescues her, and brings her topside to thwart the entire masquerade. But that still isn't enough, Queen Chrysalis seals her own fate with four crucial mistakes...
      • 1) When Twilight and Cadence return to the wedding to call her out, Chrysalis foolishly reveals her true identity, when she didn't have to. She can still win though.
      • 2) Twilight and Friends were captured by the Changelings and brought to her. She doesn't bother imprisoning them. Chrysalis' victory is still absolute at this point.
      • 3) Chrysalis completely ignores Twilight and her friends and gets caught up in a Villain Song reprisal, Twilight goes to free Cadence, who breaks the spell in Shining Armor. Keep in mind now, Chrysalis is still in total control here...
      • And finally 4) Chrysalis scoffs at The Power of Love despite having used the same power to defeat Celestia just minutes earlier. It backfires in her face and she's is instantly defeated in seconds.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", if Tirek had stuck to his word to Discord, he wouldn't have given the Mane 6 the final key needed to beat him. Of course Tirek had no way of knowing it'd backfire at the time.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Team of Terror", the Warlock has Superman at his mercy and is killing him with a kryptonite beam. His ally Satana sends a giant snake made out of plasto to crush the Man of Steel. The plastic blocks the kryptonitebeam and allows Superman to recover and escape.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo is a recurring victim of this Trope.
    • The biggest example is the fact that he ended up inspiring the Professor to make the Powerpuff Girls, caused the Freak Lab Accident that created them, and gave them the drive to fight crime and made them accepted by the city, which was a crime-infested rat hole beforehand, pretty much making everything good in the series his fault to begin with.
    • In episode, an alien force defeats the girls using every single idea Mojo Jojo had ever come up with. Jojo gets so upset at the alien stealing his ideas ("You've. Ruined. My. DREAM!!!!!") that he goes primal and physically forces the alien leader to submit, driving away the attack and becoming the hero.
    • Mojo Jojo did this again when he used the Professor's time machine to go back to the day when he was inspired to create the girls and prevent it from happening. As it turned out, his kidnapping of the Professor leading to the girls having to rescue him inspired him to try and create three perfect girls of his own. It wasn't until they returned to the present that the Professor realized that the girls that rescued him were his own girls. In other words, if Mojo Jojo had never tried to change the past, Professor Utonium would never have been inspired to create the Powerpuff Girls.
    Mojo Jojo: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
    Narrator: Yes!
    • And there's the pictured example above.
  • Invoked and lampshaded in the Regular Show episode "Do or Diaper". Muscle Man provokes Mordecai to agree to a bet which states that if Mordecai can kiss his Love Interest Margaret by Friday night, Muscle Man will have to wear a diaper for a week, and if he can't do it, obviously Mordecai would have to wear the diaper. Mordecai and Margaret go on a date, and in an unlucky series of events Margaret finds out about their bet when she notices Muscle Man and Rigby following them around the entire evening. Mordecai has to explain the bet he had with Muscle Man, which Margaret clearly isn't very happy about. Though to help her understand his actions and earn her forgiveness, he is forced to be honest and apologize to her, which leads to the Love Confession being dropped. It might seem like Muscle Man did Mordecai wrong by provoking him to agree to the bet and blowing his cover later, but he really made Mordecai learn something and helped deepen his and Margaret's relationship. Mordecai is even shown wearing the diaper with a smile at the end of the episode, explaining that "he's just happy because Margaret was having a great time on their date, and that means she must like him".
  • In a tie-in Rose Petal Place book, Nastina gives Rose Petal a letter for a recording contract that will take her away from the garden for weeks, and volunteers to be in charge of the garden while she's gone so she can take it over. Rose Petal agrees to a trial run as she plans her departure, but Nastina mismanages the garden so badly, including locking Tumbles in a cage, that she decides to stay and not leave at all.
  • In an episode of Rupert, the way to turn the villain's crystal palace into a Collapsing Lair is to strike a certain note on an organ. During the climax, Rupert and the princess are frantically hammering away at the keyboard, since they have no idea which key to hit, but can't find said note. A Fight Scene ensues where the villain, while trying to stop them, falls against the keyboard, hitting just the right note.
    Rupert: (sincerely) Thank you, Prince Lazuli — we were looking for that key.
  • Aku sending Samurai Jack into the distant future is revealed to have backfired in the 5th season, after the Time Skip. A side-effect of the spell has rendered Jack unaging, meaning that Aku has basically made the only warrior who could kill him functionally immortal, and he's become so skilled after decades of fighting off Aku's minions that he apparently can't be killed. And when Jack does get back to the past in the Grand Finale, the extra 50 years of experience allows him to give Past!Aku such a Curb-Stomp Battle it's not even funny. Well, maybe just a little bit.
    • In XCVI, Aku kills the Scotsman. However, the runes on the warrior's sword allows the Scotsman to come back as a Celtic spirit. In the Grand Finale, he's able to use his ethereal powers to fight against Aku's demonic sorcery, giving the Big Damn Heroes an edge in the final battle.
    • In the penultimate episode, Aku takes control of Ashi's body using the portion of his essence she was born from. In the finale, Jack helps her retake control through The Power of Love and she retains Aku's powers, including his power of time travel, which she uses to take Jack back to the past to destroy Aku once and for all.
      • Also in the finale, on top of all the above, Aku's message of Jack's capture ultimately let Jack's allies know he needed their help, bringing them together to give Jack the time to escape and turn Ashi back.
      • Also in the finale, the only reason Aku confronted Jack in the first place is because Scaramouche told him Jack had lost his sword, i.e. the one thing in all the universe that could actually harm Aku. Expecting a Curb-Stomp Battle in his favor Aku shows up to face Jack not realizing the sword was back.
  • At one point in the Sandokan cartoon, the Rajah (the Big Bad) has captured Sandokan's island fortress, locked him and his men in their own cell and set a Rube Goldberg Device to blow them up once he and his own forces are a safe distance away. The heroes have no hope of escape, they're doomed...except that meanwhile the other antagonist, the Rajah's ally Lord James, has put in motion a plan of his own to arrange the kidnap of Sandokan's friend's daughter in order to lure Sandokan into a trap. When she's kidnapped, her father's lieutenant hurries to the island to seek Sandokan's help, finds the heroes locked up and defuses the bomb in the nick of time.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday", if not for Skeletor trying to take over Horde Prime's warship, Hordak would have frozen She-Ra and He-Man.
    • Hordak and Skeletor unknowingly do it to each other in "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand". If not for Skeletor's plan to capture Prince Adam, who knows how long would it take Loo-Kee to find Prince Adam and ask for his help or how much damage the Horde would have done by then? Also, if not for Hordak freezing time for the rebels, Loo-Kee wouldn't have gone to Eternia and ruined Skeletor's plan to break into Prince Adam's bedroom.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Hungry, Hungry Homer", Homer is accused of being a liar when he tries to expose Howard K. Duff VIII, the greedy owner of the Isotopes' plan to move the team to Albuquerque. Homer actually stages a hunger strike, which the conniving Duff uses as an advantage, moving him to center field. But when it becomes clear that Homer will not give up, Duff unchains him and offers him a new deluxe hot dog, in front of a huge crowd. Homer very nearly succumbs to the temptation... but then notices the hot dog's toppings are all Southwestern ingredients. The crowd realizes this (and on top of it, the hot dog's wrapping says "Albuquerque Isotopes" on it) and Duff is unable to bluff his way out now, even Duffman turning against him. Moral of story: Never assume the Big Eater you're trying to Bribe With Food can't recognize it.
  • In The Smurfs episode "The Gallant Smurf", young Prince Godfry falls in love with a maiden named Pricilla, but his overprotective and snobbish mother Queen Felicity objects to him wanting to marry a "poor, pitiful, penniless peasant", and gives this condition for anyone wishing to marry her son: Show her something she's never seen before. Queen Felicity is a very old woman who has seen almost everything. Most every suitor fails, and it when it looks like Hogatha may well succeed (she captures Grandpa Smurf, whom even she has never seen among the smurfs) Godfry and Pricilla hug and make a tearful farewell, causing Felicity to groan and say she's "never seen such true love before". After Godfry asks her to repeat it, she realizes that she has just admitted Pricilla has met her condition. (Presumably, Felicity kept her word and let them wed, but we can only assume it.)
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Zero Hour" has two examples:
      • Grand Moff Tarkin orders Grand Admiral Thrawn to capture the Rebel commanders during his attack on the rebel base, as Tarkin wants to Make an Example of Them. This ultimately lets those same commanders escape with their lives, as it's clearly shown that had Thrawn been left to his own devices, he could have easily killed them all via Orbital Bombardment.
      • Governor Arihnda Pryce, in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown due to the losses the Mandalorian fighters are inflicting on the Imperial forces, orders Kallus Thrown Out the Airlock when he starts taunting her about it, instead of just having him shot where he stood — which gets him off the bridge and gives him the opportunity to escape the Chimaera.
    • Pryce does it again and with much more severe consequences in "Jedi Night": She blows up her own base's fuel depot in an attempt to kill Kanan, Hera, Ezra and Sabine, only to fail when Kanan commits a Heroic Sacrifice by holding off the explosion with the Force. But by doing so, she blew up the entire Imperial fuel supply on the planet, severely compromising Thrawn's TIE Defender project at a time when he was already having to argue against Orson Krennic's Death Star project for additional funding. In "DUME", a seething Thrawn chews her out by noting that she handed the Rebels a victory they wouldn't have achieved on their own. Given that the Defenders had been shown to utterly outmatch Rebel fighters and the Rebels depend heavily on fighter superiority, she effectively cost the Empire the entire war.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "The Answer", Ruby did this before defecting to the Crystal Gems: according to Sapphire's prophecy, Rose and Pearl would poof her and then be captured, bringing an end to their rebellion. Ruby, who did not hear the prophecy, saves Sapphire and accidentally fuses with her in the process, which stuns everyone so much that Rose and Pearl have a chance to get away.
      • It's later revealed in "Now We're Only Falling Apart" that Ruby's actions had even more consequences for Homeworld than that: Before then, Rose Quartz, aka Pink Diamond, had only had the goal of scaring the Gems off Earth. Seeing Garnet, the first known cross-Gem fusion, led Rose to change her goal to making Earth a haven for outcast Gems, which led directly to a full-scale war.
    • "Reunited": During the climax, Yellow Diamond knocks Steven unconscious at the beginning of the final fight. This lets him use his Astral Projection powers to speak to Yellow and Blue Diamond in their heads and finally show them definitive proof that he has Pink Diamond's Gem.
  • In the older Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon Krang had made Super Rocksteady and Bebop robots, which were incredibly strong and intelligent, and could effortlessly defeat the turtles. Until the regular Rocksteady and Bebop accidentally expose them to lightning.
    • In the 2003 version, the Utrom Shredder did a much better job of “fixing it”. Although he committed many horrendous crimes that caused anguish to so many people (murdering Splinter’s master, burning down Casey’s father’s store – and possibly killing him too – and kidnapping dozens of New Yorkers and turning them into horrid monsters), as Donatello explains, he originally put into motion a set of Disaster Dominoes that led to the Turtles’ very creation and his own undoing. (And the biggest irony is, he never learned this.) To summarize:
    Donatello: If the Shredder had never made the Utroms crash in the first place, they’d have never developed the ooze, and if they’d never developed the ooze, we’ve never have been mutated, and if we’d never have been mutated, we’d still be eating fish flakes in some kid’s aquarium right now!
  • Teen Titans:
    • The season 2 finale shows Terra as The Mole, who promptly defeats all the Titans individually. She failed to finish the job, though, so five very angry Titans came back to teach her the error of her ways.
    • Another example, though not as big: When the Titans East had to watch Jump City while the core team was away fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, they have a very hard time getting the public to accept them. (Being newcomers and all, no-one recognizes them, or even worse, mistakes them for the core team). When Control Freak shows up gunning for revenge against the Titans, he's even worse; he doesn't accept them as "real Titans", and to prove it, sets up a series of attacks on the city designed to "test" them, which push them to their limits. (For example, Bumblebee has to stop a subway from reaching a certain station, as a bomb is mounted on the underside of the train which is timed to detonate upon arrival. The catch: She has to do it at miniature size.) However, the Titans East members avert all five disasters and pass with flying colors, and all of a sudden, they become heroes. You can't deny that they owed this to Control Freak. (They still arrested him, of course.)
    • Another major example: One big reason the Brotherhood of Evil was defeated at the end of season five was because Madame Rogue, whom Jinx had worshipped, treated Jinx like garbage, one of two reasons (along with a Dating Catwoman situation with Kid Flash) that not only prompted Jinx's Heel–Face Turn, but convinced her to act as a Double Agent for the heroes during the Final Battle.
    • A very interesting one concerning this show and Teen Titans Go! In the TTG episode "The Fourth Wall", Control Freak reveals to the Titans that their universe used to be the old series universe, but he rebooted it so he can win an award. While it doesn't fix the series, he ends up angering the Titans when they find out what their old world used to be.
  • In an episode of Thundarr the Barbarian called Prophecy of Peril, an evil wizard brought upon his own downfall in three ways:
    • First, by telling the heroes that the crystal he stole would tell how he would be defeated. While the heroes would probably figure out how to defeat him, it showed them to look for the 3 women to defeat him.
    • Second, he thought he would be one step ahead by kidnapping one of the women and locked her in his dungeon. But, the one woman he kidnapped was in the past when the heroes can't get to. Also instead of killing her or presuading her to join him, she believed that the wizard was a bad guy right away.
    • Third, when the woman he kidnapped escaped and got to the crystal, he hit her and the crystal with a beam that gives her angel wings and laser eye beams allowing her to escape to join to heroes to complete the prophecy.
  • In Transformers Prime, a pair of Vehicon Mooks decide to Kick the Dog with an amnesic Optimus/Orion who is beginning to doubt Megatron's plans and protests against them. The beatdown causes Optimus's arm cannons to appear, the ones he had forgotten he had. Then, he uses them to easily defeat the Vehicons and head after Megatron.
    Optimus: I'm ... armed?
    (Vehicons freeze in panic)
  • In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Shredder is revealed to have one weakness—the Technodrome's Death Ray. Just as the Turtles manage to push him into it, Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally unplug the thing—as Shredder gloats over his apparent victory, they plug it back in, annihilating him in the process. Bebop and Rocksteady saved the TMNT multiverse this way.
    • In Rogues in the House, the Turtles have been incapacitated and Shredder orders Karai to execute them to prove her loyalty. She's willing to do this and raises the blade, but Hun decides that this is too boring, and thus frees Leo so that they can duke it out. Leo lectures her during this fight, which ultimately persuades her not to kill them
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Handsome Ransom", the Monarch corners Captain Sunshine in his sanctum solarium at night, powerless from lack of sunlight and emotionally crippled from seeing him wear Wonderboy's uniform. Rather than just shooting him, Monarch makes a drawn out gloating speech and pulls out a solar beam gun intended to burn him off. It backfires horribly, recharging Captain Sunshine and allowing him to burn alive all of Monarch's mooks, winning the day.
  • Once in awhile on Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly's machinations would result in giving the other racers an advantage against him. In the debut episode, "See Saw To Arkansas", he gets the racers hung up on a cloverleaf highway exit system. When the narrator asks how he did, Dastardly turns the sign marking the exit around, and the racers immediately take it — flattening Dastardly in the process.
  • In an odd twist, Nox, the Big Bad from Wakfu, actually purposefully attempts to invoke this trope. He's a time mage who kills and drains people of their energy (the eponymous wakfu) in order to power an attempt to travel back in time to save his dead family. He is able to happily commit countless atrocities, draining entire nations over the years, because he believes that once he successfully travels back in time it will all be undone. He even manages to kill The Hero and wipe out an entire race in the finale. Unfortunately, his plan fails, and the wakfu that it took him 200 years to collect is barely able to send him back 20 minutes.
  • Happens a few times in Xiaolin Showdown. Notably, Jack had come up with a brilliant and for once successful plan, convincing Omi that he was destined to turn evil and had to stay away from his teammates at all costs. This was going perfectly until his idiot henchmen blabbed the entire plan, snapping Omi out of his despair and allowing him to win the day.
  • Yogi's Gang: When Yogi and his friends are ready to leave Smog City, Smokestag Smog tricks them into installing a motor that'll make their ark spread smoke through wherever they go. Once they wise up, they throw the motor away at the local dump, inspiring the townsfolk to stop polluting their atmosphere. Mr. Smog is even more responsible for his undoing because his smog is what ruined Yogi's gang's banana supply and made them land in Smog City in the first place.