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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
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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.

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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) and due to the G.I.F.T., Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things (when fans do it).

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

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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!


Examples:

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    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 under the justification that she was technically now a different person in the legal sense.
  • 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...
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • 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, and then kill Sonic and then everyone else.
    • 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.
  • The Elseworlds storyline JLA: Created Equal has an interesting case of this; after most of Earth's male population is wiped out by a strange disease, the only two men to survive the virus are Superman and Lex Luthor (Superman because it couldn't get through his super-immune system and Luthor because he sealed himself away before he could be infected). While sperm samples from Superman are used to begin repopulating Earth, Luthor determines that Superman is still a carrier of the virus, forcing the Man of Steel to leave Earth so he doesn't kill his children. Years later, Luthor has manipulated several of the male children to see him as a 'saviour' against the 'oppression' of the women who are 'holding them back', even after Superman returns to Earth, having discovered a cure for the virus in his travels even if it can't remove the virus from Superman due to the same immune system that stopped the virus killing him in the first place. However, when Luthor attempts to kill Superman with kryptonite, the kryptonite poisoning actually weakens Superman's immune system just enough for the antivirus to 'infect' him, purging Superman of the virus and allowing him to work on safely raising both his own children and the children Luthor had created in a lab and kept contained until he had eliminated Superman's offspring.
  • 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. Worse still, Immortus was trying to stop the Avengers becoming the Avengers Stellar Corps and the rise of the First Terran Empire—and he'd ensured it took its first steps to 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.
  • In Hex Wives, Aaron goes to great lengths to make sure the witches don't accidentally cut themselves and thereby activate their Blood Magic. Then he tells Isadora to make sure she washes the black-handled knives by hand as putting them in the dishwasher blunts them. Isadora, who was already in a strange headspace, decides to cut herself to see what happens.
  • It's revealed that Wolverine's resurrection in Return Of Wolverine was the result of this as Persephone's powers is to animate the dead to act as extensions of herself to carry out deeds — only when she did this to Wolverine, it reactivated his Healing Factor, actually bringing him back for real.

    Fan Works 
  • Adventure Time: Frozen Hearts: By forcefully abducting Betty into the Ark, Damon inadvertently saved her life from the nuclear explosion of Mushroom war and allowed her to reach out to Simon withing his Ice King persona. Simon even acknowledges this trope to him and for that, decides to give him the mercy-killing he deserved.
  • In A Witch, A Wizard, and a Mechanic, when the Aurors raid a Death Eater mansion, they discover victims of human trafficking. In among the victims is a dwarf. When the other dwarves find out what happened, they demand that those particular Death Eaters get the death penalty or else the dwarves will declare war on the wizarding world. Corrupt politicians, obstructive bureaucrats and lawyers all try to keep the Death Eaters out of court and away from a guilty verdict, and the Aurors despair as the dwarves get impatient. Meanwhile, Voldemort decides his minions have failed him for getting caught red-handed, so he lethally siphons all the magic out of them. Nice job averting war with the dwarves, Voldemort!
  • 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.
  • In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, Scardemort's attempt to take over Hogwarts by summoning the Death Eaters not only fails, but ends with the arrest of most of the Death Eaters whom Barty Crouch had broken out of Azkaban earlier. The Dark Side as a whole was much better off without his interference.
  • 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.
  • The Supernatural/NCIS fic When Worlds Collide basically begins with two of Gibbs’ deceased enemies suggesting to Crowley that he arrange a scenario where Gibbs will go after the Winchesters after Crowley convinces the NCIS team that the Winchesters are a genuine threat. Instead, not only do the Winchesters ward the entire NCIS building against supernatural intrusion, but go on to confirm the existence of the supernatural to the US government and make arrangements to ward the White House and other relevant buildings, as well as force Crowley to make a deal agreeing that he will leave all elected officials alone.
  • In the Harry Potter/A Nightmare on Elm Street crossover We Are Nothing, Umbridge's attempt to question Harry about the recent murders in Hogwarts using Veritaserum backfires horribly against her; not only can Harry honestly answer that he didn't kill anyone, but he also uses the opportunity to confirm that Voldemort is alive, with Umbridge giving the investigating aurors sufficient evidence to arrest her when she nearly poisons Harry with an overdose of the potion trying to make him stop 'lying'.
  • 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.
  • The final chapter of Kimberly T's Gargoyles fanfic Escape from Avalon reveals that the author planned for this trope to apply to events in another storyline; Oliver Grimm, the funder of the Quarrymen, attempted to stage a home invasion of criminals wearing gargoyle costumes to suggest that the gargoyles had killed a Quarryman lieutenant and his family while the true gargoyles were hunting for kidnapped allies, but when the lieutenant kills the invaders before realising they were just humans in disguise, it gives the rest of New York 'evidence' that the gargoyles' previous home invasions may not have been genuine, thus preventing the clan losing any of the good will they've gained with the average New Yorker to date.
  • In Infinity Crisis, Hela gives the heroes a new fighter when she has Thanos recreate Mjolnir for her; unaware of Mjolnir's new worthiness enchantment, Hela can't use the hammer herself, but drops it in a manner that allows Jane Foster to pick up the hammer and use it herself as a new hero (later adopting 'Thunderstrike' as a code name).
  • Applies to a degree in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic "Anything for You", when a father and son capture and drug Spider-Man to try and make him 'confess' to the Avengers' role in the 'Blip' and later events; while they refuse to let Peter properly explain Thanos's history and the reason he came to Earth, when they ask him about Mysterio's death Peter is able to tell the truth about Quentin Beck's agenda, which prompts an outpouring of online support for Spider-Man before the rest of the Avengers rescue him, particularly when Peter is shown protecting the also-captured Morgan Stark.
  • 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 the How to Train Your Dragon medieval AU "The Imposter", Dagur has almost succeeded in leaving Hiccup psychologically broken by convincing him that all of his 'allies' think he's a traitor, and then sends Hiccup into a fight to the death against his champion... only to give Hiccup the perfect ally when the 'champion' is revealed to be the imprisoned Stoick, who was captured years ago and convinced that his family were dead.
  • In The Blacksmith's Apprentice, Snotlout finally ruins his chances to become Chief when he tries to rape Astrid, finally committing an act that Stoick can’t try to overlook with the argument that Snotlout just needs time to develop.
  • In Rebirth, Ra's al Ghul unwittingly ruins his own plans when he attacks Laurel rather than Thea; when Laurel is put in the Lazarus Pit to save her life, a fluke event causes her to emerge with her Canary Cry, which she instinctively uses to kill Ra's by throwing him into the wall behind him. As a result, Oliver will be able to choose who becomes heir as Ra's can no longer force him into the role, and Laurel will not be troubled by the bloodlust that previously plagued those who were reborn via the Pit as she has killed her killer.
  • In It's All in the Details, Naomi and Zachariah abduct Alastair just as he's attacking Dean, believing that Alastair has become the last Seal following Lilith's death. However, when they attempt a ritual intended to complete Alastair's transformation into the Seal, it instead causes him to explode as the true last Seal was initially Anna but has recently become Abaddon after she arrived in the future.
  • In Unconquerable Souls, Darla essentially sabotages her own plans to remove Angel's soul when she fed the soul of 'Amy Madison' to the soul-eater she summoned; unaware that Amy's body had been stolen by her mother Catherine, the disappearance of Catherine's soul allows Amy's to return to her original body, which leads to Amy giving the Scooby Gang vital information.
  • The Star Wars fanfic The Finer Shades of Why is basically all about Dooku doing this; realising Palaptine's intention to replace him with Anakin, Dooku kills Palpatine himself, triggers Order 66 (resulting in the death of Yoda and various other Jedi), and captures Obi-Wan and Anakin with the intention of corrupting Obi-Wan to the Dark Side while using Anakin as a hostage. Not only does Dooku fail to corrupt Obi-Wan, but he failed to take into account that Palpatine's plan depended on him being in charge of both sides of the conflict, with the result that Dooku encourages opposition against himself from the Republic forces from the beginning where Palpatine could have presented himself as the Chancellor or Darth Sidious depending on which side won. On a more personal note, Dooku's attempts to taunt Obi-Wan with the 'truth' about Anakin, such as him killing the Sand People after his mother's death and his marriage to Padme, actually just help Obi-Wan and Anakin confront the issues Palpatine had attempted to create in their relationship and acknowledge Anakin's need for emotional support, with the result that Anakin affirms his dedication to the Light Side even in the face of Dooku's taunts.
  • Ironically, Palpatine basically does this in Take My Hand; learning that Mara Jade, the woman he had come to love, was actually the Emperor's personal assassin, was initially a shock to Luke, but the revelation that the Emperor has had someone that close to his inner circle for the last few days gives Luke 'evidence' to support his argument that the Empire's knowledge of the Rebel Alliance's attack is new rather than them walking into a trap. As a result, Luke maintains a clearer control of his emotions during the duel on the Death Star, culminating in him convincing Mara to join him in fighting Vader and the Emperor, with Luke making a more positive showing of his own skills in his duel with Vader and convincing Vader to turn on the Emperor with greater ease.
  • 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.
  • In the first chapter of Old West, Tomson tells Sheriff Rango that he's looking for a snake without giving specifics. This leads Rango's thoughts to Rattlesnake Jake (the only snake he knows) whom he seeks out and hires to protect the town against the mercenary harassers. Jake's presence makes it a lot harder for Tomson's employer, Dufayel, to claim the lands in his campaign to get the underground gold.
  • Loved and Lost:
    • Prince Jewelius usurps Equestria's throne and turns the public and Twilight Sparkle against the princesses, Shining Armor and Twilight's friends by using the disastrous Changeling invasion to disgrace and banish them from Equestria. However, to flaunt his ego and satiate his desire to personally murder Celestia and Cadance, Jewelius sets in motion a scheme that includes luring the banished heroes back to Canterlot and telling them that he set Queen Chrysalis to commit her invasion before betraying her at the last minute, and what plans he has in store for Twilight. This gives the fugitives — who've been blaming themselves for the invasion ever since their banishment — every reason to bring him down and expose him for the monster he is. After the heroes and the Changelings have escaped, Jewelius refuses to do anything about the Changelings until he's done with the heroes, even though Twilight and Canterlot's citizens acknowledge the Changelings are a more urgent matter. When he's had enough of Twilight's insistence, he stops pretending and shows he's as evil as the fugitives told her. As the result, Twilight escapes from Canterlot with the Elements of Harmony and fully reconciles with her brother, friends and mentor before the final battle. Also, when Jewelius threatens Canterlot's citizens for wanting to pardon the heroes, he loses his good PR entirely, and the citizens start really wishing the princesses were still ruling them.
    • When Queen Chrysalis escapes from Canterlot's dungeons and tries to kill Jewelius for his betrayal, Twilight faces her in battle. Unable to best the unicorn, Chrysalis tells her about Jewelius the same Cassandra Truth the disgraced heroes tried to tell Twilight in the previous chapter. When Twilight is about to shrink the Changelings a second time, Chrysalis voices the possibility that Cadance (the only fugitive who Twilight still trusts and respects) is in danger from Jewelius, making Twilight conflicted enough to let the Changelings escape. However, Chrysalis' act of instilling in Twilight the first seeds of doubt regarding Jewelius' trustworthiness, along with his above-described behaviour supporting Chrysalis' claims, leads Twilight to realize how unwell things are in Jewelius' hooves.
  • In Heart of the Inferno, Smaug at first refuses to involve himself and his soulmate Kathryn in the War of the Ring when Gandalf and members of the Free Peoples ask for their aid. The dragon changes his mind when Kathryn is psychically assaulted by Sauron just as her labour begins, vowing to destroy the Dark Lord.
  • The One to Make It Stay:
    • In The Radio Still Plays, Gabriel inadvertently puts himself back on Ladybug's radar. While Marinette had stopped considering him as a potential candidate for being Hawkmoth after he staged his own akumatization, she becomes suspicious of him again after Hawkmoth strikes at Summer Sesh twice. Thanks to Master Fu, she knows that the Butterfly Miraculous doesn't have enough range to reach Marseilles from Paris, and after Marinette encounters Adrien at the festival and later learns his father was there in person to handle Clara's outfit, she considers that he might be working with Hawkmoth.
    • I Owe You Every Joy of Love and All the Laughs We Had in the Past imply that Lila tampered with Alya's phone, disabling her ability to receive important notifications. Whatever her reasoning for this move was, it proves to be key in helping Alya realize that she was a False Friend all along, weakening her sway over them.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf:
    • While unaware of his influencing things one way or another, the Wolf's interference allowed several characters to survive their canon deaths, such as Wun Wun, Theon Greyjoy and Beric Dondarrion.
    • His dispatching a Crow Brother to the Winterfell crypts allowed the civilians inside to escape, as the wights were concentrated on killing it instead of them.
  • Hikigaya Hachiman was planning on dropping out of the U.A. High School Hero Course in My Hero School Adventure Is All Wrong As Expected. Then, the League of Villains attacked U.S.J. and he found out about Zaimokuza's fate, thereby providing him all the motivation he needed to continue on his path to becoming a hero and make the LoV pay for their crimes.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Jafar trying to kill Aladdin after he gave Jafar the lamp lead to Abu secretely stealing the lamp and biting Jafar's arm, causing him to chuck them both into the cave. He realizes too late that the lamp is gone. Aladdin then finds out what the lamp does, using it to win over Jasmine and becoming a famous hero across the land, defeating many more villains along the way. All because Jafar wanted to screw Aladdin over by killing him when he could have just let Aladdin live after paying him off.
  • 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. Even worse, Miguel saw the film clip and put the pieces together, too, filling the missing piece of his family history (Hector had never abandoned his family) and is able to convince them to help Hector live after they learnt the truth. With two in on his secret, Ernesto has a Villainous Breakdown that ends up getting caught on camera, disgracing him in front of the entire Land of the Dead. Worse, when Miguel returns to the living world, he spreads the truth, not only healing his family's hatred of music and redeeming Hector, but also disgracing Ernesto in the living world, too, putting him on the path to obscurity and Final Death.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 hypnotized, 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!
    • Scar goes ahead and does it again not long after that. After the two lions run to the top of Pride Rock, Scar starts to bargain with Simba for his life, during which some hyenas (Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed) follow them, ready to help Scar fight Simba. Then Scar ruins it by trying to pin everything he's done on the hyenas, making them back away from the fight 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.
  • Wonder Woman Blood Lines: In a Pyrrhic Victory sort of way; Veronica gains access to Themyscira as planned, but Medusa's attack gave Diana the chance to reconcile with her mother and people. Now that Diana has figured out Veronica's involvement, all Amazonkind is ready for Cale's future invasions.
  • 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.

    Films — 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.
  • 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.
  • In the first live action Asterix 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Brewster's Millions (1985), 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 another half an hour.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 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]
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Home Alone has the Wet Bandits Harry and Marv robbing homes in a neighborhood full of vacationing families. Marv floods the houses they just burglarized, which Harry says is "a sick thing to do". When they are arrested, this comes back to bite them. One of the officers sarcastically thanks them for identifying the houses they hit.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Stable Time Loop in Interstellar would never have formed without the betrayal that made it necessary to drop Cooper into a black hole.
  • 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?
  • Johnny Reno: Reno would have ridden right by the Conners bothers if Ab Conners hadn't taken a shot at him. The ensuing gunfight winds up with Ab dead and his brother Joe captured. Reno hadn't even known that the Conners were wanted men, but attempting to kill a U.S. Marshal sets in motion a chain of events that exposes an entire criminal conspiracy.
  • 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.
  • Little Giants: If not for Spike hitting Junior, Becky wouldn't have returned to the Giants.
  • 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.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, once Thanos sees Captain Marvel not even flinching at being headbutted, he removes the Power Stone to give himself a Megaton Punch that blows her away. This clues Iron Man on how to beat him - he takes out all the Infinity Stones from the Gauntlet and puts them in his own glove. Thus the "universe-destroying Badass Fingersnap" is blocked, while also enabling the "villain army-destroying Badass Fingersnap".
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Red Eye: Rippner's assassination on Charles Keefe could have been a success if he didn't blurt out the fact that the latter has his family with him.
  • In Sky High (2005), Will's powers manifest when he really needs them while fighting his enemies. The first instance is when Warren is relentlessly attacking Will (who's currently powerless) in a Curb-Stomp Battle; Will suddenly gains super strength when Warren intimidates Will's friends, allowing him to fight back. The second is when Royal Pain tosses Will out the window; Will gains flight, which keeps him from falling to Earth and enables him to fly back up to the school.
  • The first thing Norman Osborn does as the Green Goblin in Spider-Man is bomb a test flight of Oscorp's top competitor, killing the general who seconds earlier had reflected how he'd love to put Osborn out of business. Rather than cripple his competitor, Osborn instead causes the company to recapitalize and expand, which allows the board to justify ousting him by accepting an offer from the competitor to purchase Oscorp outright.
    • 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 Osborn, 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.
  • Star Wars:
    • Rogue One: Tarkin's 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.
    • 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.
      • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • During the climax Wonder Woman (2017), Ares probably could have convinced Diana of his philosophy had he not badmouthed her love interest, whom she had just watched die in a Heroic Sacrifice. Instead, Diana embraces Humans Are Flawed and brings a beatdown only an Amazon and daughter of Zeus can on the War God.
  • 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.

    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.
  • Angel:
    • At the end of the "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"...
    • With at least one exception, where he expresses not only humility but gratitude to Endora for temporarily turning him into a child (this is one of the episodes where Darrin was played by Dick Sargent instead of Dick York), because it was while he was in this state that he discovered that what was causing the slow sales of the food product he was promoting was not in the advertising, but in the taste itself.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Daleks in Manhattan"/"Evolution of the Daleks": Dalek Caan's decision to betray Dalek Sec after the latter turns himself into a Half-Human Hybrid leads directly to the Daleks' plans being ruined and, at the end, Caan left the only Dalek alive before his escape.
    • "The Stolen Earth"/"Journey's End": After Donna and the metacrisis Doctor arrive in the Crucible with a plan to stop the Daleks, Davros takes out both of them by shooting electricity from his prosthetic hand. It works just fine on the Doctor-clone, but with Donna, it activates her half of the biological metacrisis and makes her half-Time Lord and making her smart enough to stop the Reality Bomb while unrestrained and with none of the villains paying attention to her.
    • "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 Master: YOU DID THIS TO ME. ALL MY LIFE! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
    • "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.
    • "The Pandorica Opens"/"The Big Bang" plays this in a complicated fashion. The Pandorica was built by a Legion of Doom in order to imprison the Doctor. However, the Doctor is then able to use the Pandorica to reboot the universe. But since the Pandorica was built to imprison the Doctor so the universe wouldn't be destroyed, building the Pandorica worked out alright for the Alliance in the end.
    • "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.
    • Euron boasting about his plans to take the Ironborn's fleet and ply Dany's affections with it gives Theon and Yara the idea to do the same before he can get the chance to. They ultimately succeed in this, so Euron changes strategies with brutal efficiency.
  • 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.
  • More than a few Kamen Rider villains have done this sort of thing at least once:
    • Kamen Rider OOO sees Dr. Maki, growing impatient with the rate at which Eiji's purple Core Medals are corrupting him, forcibly stuff two more into him in order to make him go berserk. These and the five he already had become ammunition for the final attack that undoes Maki's plans.
    • Kamen Rider Build lead villain Evolt deliberately created the hero, the hero's supporting cast, all of their equipment and all of the other villains, all for the purpose of empowering himself. For the most part it even works, he just doesn't know how to quit while he's ahead, and ultimately is foiled by the fake heroes he created.
    • Kamen Rider Zi-O could have ended at episode 16 with the hero willingly throwing away his powers and the other protagonists returning to the future, allowing the Time Jackers to run wild. Instead they decide to try and kill Sougo to absolutely guarantee that he won't become the king they're trying to overthrow, only for this to be what causes him to make a comeback.
  • 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 turnover and falling into a coma, which 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.
  • A.J. Lee'snote  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/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.

    Radio 
  • 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.
  • Chronicles of Darkness:
    • Mage: The Awakening: The primary conflict of the game focuses on a war between two factions of Mages, the Diamond Orders, who wish to free humanity from the tyranny of entities known as the Exarchs so everyone may use magic, and the Seers of the Throne, who serve the Exarchs and want to keep humanity under their servitude. At some point however, a third large faction of Neutral Good mages known as the Nameless, who were annoyed with the traditional approach of magic and wanted to try modern methods, developped. They initially didn't see eye to eye with the Diamond Orders, and were in fact on the verge of going at war with them... until the Seers of the Throne decided to step in and approach the Nameless, offering them a We Can Rule Together. As it turned out, they had fundamentally misunderstood their motivations, and the Nameless took it as a personal insult, to the point they formally allied themselves with the Diamond, renaming themselves Free Council in the process.

    Theatre 
  • 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 parentage, crushes a rebellion, makes himself a favorite with the crowds again, appoints Adorno as 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.
    • In The Magic Flute, the Queen of the Night and the Three Ladies do more helpful deeds than evil ones. They save Tamino from a giant snake and send him to "rescue" the Queen's daughter Pamina from her enemy Sarastro, not realizing that Tamino is destined to join Sarastro and strengthen his community against them. They also give Tamino the titular magic flute, thinking it will help him defeat Sarastro, but instead he and Pamina use it to succeed in Sarastro's trials and join his brotherhood. At the same time they give Papageno the magic bells that bring his true love to him in the end, and they entrust the young men to the Three Boys' wisdom, only for the Boys to give them pro-Sarastro guidance throughout.
  • 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.
  • 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."

    Visual Novels 
  • In The Pirate's Fate's DLC path, after Mila and the villainous pirates led by Rourkie have been captured together and slated for execution, they get an opportunity to use the Queen's magic crown, which has been enchanted so that whoever wears it becomes the Queen's younger sister. Rourkie snatches it up and puts it on, fully intending to use his new royal status to escape while leaving the others to die. What he didn't count on, however, was that the coin operates by Cosmic Retcon. Since she was suddenly always a princess, Rourkie the pirate simply never existed, and thus he managed to undo every single act of murder and destruction that he ever performed, and in the process wound up making some of his rivals very happy.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.
    • Ever since Ruby wounded her at the Fall of Beacon, Cinder has held a huge grudge against the rookie huntress. When Salem sends her team to strong-arm Raven Branwen into helping retrieve the Relic of Knowledge from Haven, Raven demands that they kill Qrow in return. Seeing this as a chance to pay Ruby back, Cinder eagerly accepts, even though it sacrifices their advantage of Haven being empty. During the battle, Cinder, Raven, and Vernal, the supposed "Spring Maiden" slip away but before any of them can open the Vault of the Spring Maiden, Cinder reveals she has a Grimm arm and kills Vernal to steal the Spring Maiden's power — except Vernal was just a decoy, Raven was the Spring Maiden! Cinder loses the ensuing battle, leaving the Relic to be claimed by the heroes. In short, Cinder's lust for power and vengeance costs the villains the victory.
    • Just before that, Cinder retaliated against Jaune by attacking and badly wounding Weiss... which led to Jaune unlocking his Semblance and saving her life.

    Webcomics 
  • 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:
  • Girl Genius:
    • The main character, 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 and 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 Endgames 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 fills the fighter with a vengeful resolve, and forces him to grapple the lich bare-handed. He promptly hurls Xykon into a trap-warded gateway, which blows 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 concludes 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 BSoD, and giving V advice that's made him/her more effective than s/he'd been even before the Heroic BSoD.
    • 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  backfires doubly: It gives Vampire-Durkon his free will back. Durkon immediately kills one of Nale's teammates and rejoins his friends. Then he throws the feat back in Tarquin's face as proof of how he doesn't need or want Tarquin's protection. Malack was Tarquin's best friend and fellow party member.Filicide ensues and the Order is 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 them 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.
  • 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.

    Web Videos 
  • 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.


 
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Pryce's Big Mistake

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