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Temporarily a Villain

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"When a strange alien symbiote turns Spider-Man's suit black, his darkest demons come to light - changing Spider-Man inside as well as out."
Spider-Man 3 DVD back cover

This is for when a character who is normally neutral, good, or just normally non-villainous, temporarily switches sides and/or has a noticeable temporary drop in morality. May be caused and justified by a character being Not Himself. Otherwise Negative Continuity will likely play a huge role. The latter is especially true in nonsensical and farcical comedies where consistency is not a strong element. The character will go back to being his or her old self by either the end of the episode or the next episode.


Compare Face–Heel Turn & Heel–Face Turn, when a character either turns evil or good permanently or for a few episodes or seasons.

Contrast with Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and/or Moral Event Horizon, which are more permanent and generally take place in a series with a standard level of continuity (though the Moral Event Horizon can take place in a Negative Continuity show and overlap with this in some special cases). See also Compressed Vice for problems other than villainy (though they may be the cause for it) that last an episode.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Black Rose duelist arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena, some of the people Utena has to fight are her brainwashed friends.

  • During the late nineties, Iron Man went insane and became a villain, only to be replaced briefly by a younger version of himself from a different time. He also Took a Level in Jerkass and acted like a villain in the Marvel Universe for about a year after Civil War.
    • The Civil War thing was solved by a Heroic Sacrifice, that knocked his mind back to a 'him' made before the Civil War.
    • After the events of Axis, Tony has been reverted, yet again, to his former Jerkass ways.
    • And in All New, All Different Marvel he's back to being a good guy.
  • Axis: Numerous superheroes — Iron Man, Power Man, and the X-Men, to name a few — have their moral alignments inverted, resulting in Power Man becoming a ruthless gangster, and the X-Men deciding to carry out a genocide on all non-mutants.

  • While he doesn't quite become a full-blown villain so to speak, Spider-Man shows a semi-evil side in Spider-Man 3 when the symbiote he has on his suit results in a major increase in vengefulness and aggressiveness. He doesn't switch sides and keeps fighting against the same enemies as he was immediately before, but his "influenced" side has him doing things he severely regrets and that the series portrays as very clearly wrong such as hitting Mary Jane after a brutal (if silly) dance number meant to humiliate her.
  • Indiana Jones temporarily becomes a Thuggee cult member in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and nearly sacrifices Short Round and Willie in the process, but he manages to snap out of Mola Ram's mind-warping in time.

    Live Action TV 
  • The EMH on Star Trek: Voyager was reprogrammed to perform unethical-at-best medicine by the Equinox crew.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer briefly toys with the dark side a few times. At the opening of season two (induced by trauma) and in a brief arc in season three.
    • Done again in the Angel episode "Sanctuary" where Buffy is the villain because she wants to kill Faith out of revenge.
    • Willow at the end of season 6 when she becomes Dark Willow and eventually tries to destroy the world. She gets better.
  • Charmed:
    • In many episodes one of the Halliwell sisters will go to the dark side for a day before switching back by the end of the episode. A particularly notable one early on has all three sisters turn evil by the end of the episode, only for Leo to save them.
    • The episode where Paige does a spell to conjure up a 'Mr. Right' for 24 hrs which inadvertently also produces a 'Mr. Wrong' who she allows to seduce her with his seductive naughtiness.
  • Duncan Macleod on Highlander when he has the Dark Quickening.
  • Clark on Smallville when affected by Red Kryptonite.
  • The Time Lord Victorious from "The Waters of Mars." He comes to his senses very quickly, though.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Shawn Michaels was basically always a face after his comeback in 2002, but he turned evil for about a month to beat up Hulk Hogan. Literally the night after the match he was back to being a good guy.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was always an Anti-Hero Villain Protagonist, since he was a face who did heel stuff, but in the InVasion angle he temporarily joined the invading WCW side, which was by definition the "bad" side of the angle. As soon as the angle was over he was back to his old self again.
    • Actually, he was a villain even before the inVasion, forming an alliance with Vince McMahon and Triple H. He just went along with the rest of WWE against WCW/ECW as part of an Enemy Mine scenario, and (because he was WWE Champion), everyone in WWE assumed he'd stand with them.

    Video Games 
  • In the iOS game Highborn, in Chapter 2, Enzo becomes part of the Decay side for a while after marrying Jessica.
  • A slight subversion in Art of Fighting, in which King and Takuma were originally cast as villains who worked for series antagonist, Mr. Big. The former was forcibly conscripted after being beaten by Jack and his gang, while the latter was blackmailed, by Mr. Big, who had kidnapped Takuma's daughter, Yuri.
    • Shortly after the conclusion of the first game's events, King cut ties with Big and befriended the Sakazakis, while also becoming Ryo's Love Interest. And Takuma returned to his family, where he resumed his position as head of the Kyokuugen Dojo.

    Visual Novels 
  • Phoenix himself for the first half of the final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, going up against Apollo in court after having been hired by Paul Atishon to prove the Founder's Orb is legally his. Even when it becomes apparent later that Paul literally killed for the item, Phoenix doesn't let up and even tries to throw suspicion on someone he knows to be innocent, something he'd usually never do. It turns out he's being blackmailed by Paul's "benefactor", who claims to have Maya Fey held hostage.

  • Eerie Cuties: Chloe underwent a period of villainy when she donned the Doom Panties prematurely. This caused her crush on Layla's fiance, Dio, along with her feelings of inadequacy, to draw out her Superpowered Evil Side. Thankfully, she got better and is back to her lovable self. ...And promptly shipped off to a spin-off series.

    Web Originals 
  • All four main characters in Eddsworld are this for at least one episode. Edd in Tord's Adventure, Tom in Zanta Claus III, Matt in most of the Zombeh Attack trilogy and Matt Sucks, and Tord is revealed to be the villain of The End.
  • Agent Washington from Red vs. Blue is temporarily half of a Big Bad Duumvirate during the latter part of Red vs. Blue: The Recollection, but at the end returns to the heroes' side and stays there for the rest of the show.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy
    • Jimmy was an antagonist in the episode "If It Smells Like An Ed", when he turned out to be the one who got the Eds in trouble, as retaliation for Eddy giving him an atomic wedgie.
    • Ed himself is this in "Little Ed Blue" (where he was violently ill-tempered all day because of a pebble stuck in his shoe) and "The Day the Ed Stood Still" (when he dressed up as a space monster and got a little too into character).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this every now and then, typically with mild examples.
    • Spike the dragon is normally good, but becomes envious in Owl's Well That Ends Well at the attention Owlowicious is getting. This drives him to do some very morally objectionable things complete with a Dastardly Whiplash get-up, such as planting a fake mouse corpse to try to make it look like Owlowicious killed the mouse. note 
      • A more threatening temporary villainy occurs during Secret Of My Excess, when his greedy dragon nature gets out of control. When Rarity, not knowing he is the same Spike, talks about how generous Spike was, he feels ashamed of what he has become and immediately reverts back to his old self.
    • Twilight Sparkle has this in "Lesson Zero", when Twilight is driven insane in her rush to find a friendship problem, to the point where she deviously creates one herself. Her Apple of Discord plan, however, goes horribly right.
    • Babs Seed in "One Bad Apple" joins Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in their bullying of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Babs then sees the error of her ways and when the bullies confront the CMC again, she stands up to them and threatens to tell their mothers about their behavior.
    • Trixie goes from a Jerkass and arrogant but hardly evil stage performer to a rather sadistic villain who takes over Ponyville in "Magic Duel" thanks to the influence of the Alicorn Amulet.
    • Rarity becomes this in "Inspiration Manifestation" after learning a spell that allows her to alter anything with her imagination, wanting to make Equestria a more beautiful place. By which she means transforming everything into a golden, gem-encrusted, or otherwise impractically gaudy version of itself.
    • In "Tanks for the Memories", Rainbow Dash decides to stop winter from happening just so her tortoise Tank didn't have to hibernate, going as far as sneaking into the weather factory in Cloudsdale to stop any kind of snowfall.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • Buttercup was an antagonist in "Moral Decay", using teeth beaten out of villain for cash, then resorting to doing so those who had yet to do anything evil, which is one of her biggest Jerkass Ball moments.
    • Blossom's golf club-stealing incident in "A Very Special Blossom."
    • The Mayor becomes one in "Hot Air Buffon" when he tries to fight crime without the girls by using a hot air balloon with a boxing glove, but he ends up injuring innocent people, so the girls have to stop him.
    • Bubbles twice: "Bubblevicious" where she becomes too aggressive and "Los Dos Mojos" where she loses her memory and terrorizes Townsville under the belief she's Mojo Jojo.
  • In Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends, this happens to Sh'lainn twice;
    • Once when she suffers from an affliction called "the iron death", which causes a banshee to go insane and merge with all the machinery around her after staying away from nature for too long.
    • In another episode she's nicked by a vampire, who uses her blood to turn them both into vampire/banshee hybrids she resists when she's asked to drain Nick dry, giving The Alliance time to turn up, knock them out and reverse the process.
  • Spongebob Squarepants
    • Barnacle Boy switching sides over not getting enough food and respect.
    • Mrs. Puff has one in "Demolition Doofus" which gets her dangerously close to crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
    • Just about almost every main character have their moments of temporary villainy. Patrick Star, Mr. Krabs(whose case is less a few moments and more like 50% of the time), and Squidward Tentacles in particular.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Jorgen Von Strangle in the episode "Action Packed!". While he's normally merely a Jerkass (albeit with a Hidden Heart of Gold), Timmy's wish that his life was an action movie turns Jorgen into an action movie villain, who kidnaps fairies and uses a machine to suck the magic energy out of them and transfer it to himself, making him even more powerful and gigantically muscle-bound. Luckily, he's returned to normal when the wish is unwished.
  • Rocko in "Power Trip" after ignoring Mr. Smitty who told him, "Don't push the green button!"
  • Principal Skinner is turned into an antagonist in a few of the musical episodes of The Simpsons such as "The President Wore Pearls" and "Yokel Chords", even explicitly having an "evil plan" in the former. Superintendent Chalmers as well, although he's ordinarily a Jerkass anyway.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy most main characters have their own episodes as antagonistic threats, usually when they get the motivation to screw the rest of the cast over. A special mention goes to Irwin who in most episodes despite being obviously slimy and self-serving is merely the victim of some magical mishap but whenever he gets any sort of power it always gets to his stupid head and uses to take advantage and subjugate the other characters even his supposed friends.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Gumball himself becomes a Villain Protagonist in the episode "The Saint," doing a series of increasingly cruel and harmful things to Alan solely to prove that Alan can't possibly be as perfect as he appears and that something must upset him, going so far as selling Alan's parents to Elmore’s resident Monster Clown and showing Alan a tape of them being twisted into balloon animals; at this point, Darwin remarks that Gumball has long since crossed the line and will most likely go to prison.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, there are three different episodes in which a character is Brainwashed and Crazy: Baljeet decides to remove the atmosphere For Science! in "Cranius Maximus", Carl the Intern plots to rule the Tri-State Area in "Where's Perry?", Lawrence becomes king of the pharmacists in "Bullseye!", and in the "Star Wars" episode, Ferb is blasted with a Sith-Inator and attacks Phineas. According to Word of God, this was the only feasible way to orchestrate a fight between the brothers.

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