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Terrible Trio

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A Power Trio made up of a domineering character and two henchmen or Co-Dragons. The two henchmen usually look physically different (one short and fat, the other tall and skinny/buff) in addition to having different skills, often Brains and Brawn or an unreasonable facsimile; the position of boss may be gained simply by assertiveness. Their boss is usually convinced they're master criminals, even though the two subordinate characters usually fit the bill for Stupid Crooks. Terrible Trios are very rarely the real Big Bads, and the whole group tends to be played for comedy in the long run. They may have no dark motivations other than fortune or fame, and it's easy to sympathize with them through their repeated defeats. They usually have a certain degree of Karmic Protection.

Sometimes, there's a higher-up that the team's boss is accountable to. That higher-up is usually closer to True Evil, and considers the team, boss and all, to be ineffective at best. In a more serious story (or if Cerebus Syndrome is about to kick in), expect the goldfish poop to get flushed on most occasions.

In many anime, the boss is usually more attractive and the opposite gender of the lackeys. The Terrible Trio are often gangsters, who are strangely less competent than the psycho villain.

See also Evil Duo, Bumbling Henchmen Duo, Quirky Miniboss Squad, Big, Thin, Short Trio, Freudian Trio, Comic Trio, Goldfish Poop Gang, ˇThree Amigos!, Elite Four, and, when two or more Big Bads work together, Big Bad Duumvirate.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • The primary antagonists of Motu Patlu are John the Don, who loves to steal money, jewelry, and similar items, and his dim-witted henchmen, Number 1 and Number 2.
  • One chunk of the Rogues Gallery in Noonbory and the Super 7 is the evil pirate Wangury and his goofy henchmen, Mungury and Taegury.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami sports Mercury and her "henchmen" youma, Tiger and Jadeite as the three most powerful players in Mercury's empire. Jadeite himself is the boss of a subset, With Umbra and Mareki often filling a role similar to henchmen. These groups, however, are not only quite successful in battle, but heroic in nature — making this an inversion.
  • Titan's three henchponies Mysterious, Dementia, and Rep-Stallion from My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers's fanbase has a bit of a meme of calling France, Prussia and Spain the "Bad Touch Trio". Though it's subverted as despite the name, they're not depicted as that terrible, more like a trio of comical Harmless Villains at worst and a standard Comic Trio at best.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World; the three throwaway baddies outside the White Tower are nicknamed the Terrible Trio by the four, but they don't otherwise resemble the trope.
  • In Hexane, the Drow Pimp, Asterion and Laravieve from three, although they're far more competent.
  • The last quarter of Old West has Irvin Worst and his allies Johan Quall and Kepper. Rather prestigious members of the Gunslinger Court, they're enlisted by Dufayel to get rid of the Court's leader, Rattlesnake Jake, once and for all.

  • Patrick, Eddie, and Brent from A Nightmare on Elm Street: Protege.
  • Virtually lampshaded by Terry Pratchett in 'The Art of Discworld':
    "It's a Law of Narrative that if your gang consists of two people (a gangette) one will be the brains of the outfit and one will provide the muscle and speak like dat. They must both, of course, wear black suits. If there are three of them, that still applies but the new guy will be called Fingers."
  • Street Magic, the second in the Circle Opens quartet by Tamora Pierce:Lady Zenadia the sponsor of the gang, is always accompanied by an obese eunuch and whip-thin swordsman.
  • The Big Coffin Hunters, (Eldred Jonas, Roy Depape, and Clay Reynolds), from The Dark Tower series.
  • The "devils trinity" of Caine Soren, Drake Merwin and Diana Ladris in the GONE series, although it isn't played for laughs seeing as they are collectively responsible for the deaths of dozens of children. Drake is later replaced by Penny in LIES, and Turk replaces Diana in FEAR. Ultimately, by the end of FEAR, the devils trinity is officially disbanded.
  • Go to Sleep (A Jeff the Killer Rewrite): Randy is the domineering bully with two sidekicks, the overweight Troy and the slim Keith. The two hold Liu back when Jeff fights Randy, then they hold Jeff down for Randy to pour harmful chemicals on him in their next encounter.
  • Draco Malfoy and his henchthugs Crabbe and Goyle in the Harry Potter series. Their higher-up is Draco's father, Lucius Malfoy, and later, Voldemort himself, although he gives Draco an important mission to make his parents squirm as much as anything else. Lucius is a legitimately nasty piece of work, giving Ginny the diary that caused the events of the second book, but prefers a life of luxury with the occasional Muggle-hunting-party to being a full-time villain.
  • The Vendilion Clique faeries in the Magic: The Gathering novels for the Lorwyn/Morningtide megablock. Iliona is the leader, while Veesa and Endry are the henchmen, though Endry becomes more and more independent beginning in Morningtide. The faerie queen Oona is their boss.
  • Casper Gutman, Joel Cairo, and Wilmer Cook from The Maltese Falcon seem to be a more-competent-than-usual version of this team.
  • Måns, Bill and Bull from the Swedish Pelle Svanslös children's/satirical novels by Gösta Knutsson. They're cats, as are most of the characters. Måns is the leader, who dedicates his energy to trying to bully and humiliate his one-sided arch-rival Pelle (the protagonist), whom he hates for being different from other cats — "svanslös" means "tailless". Bill and Bull are his humorously dim-witted, identical henchmen. They don't have a higher-up, as Måns is sometimes the Big Bad himself.
  • Film/literary example: Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride (with Prince Humperdinck as higher-up). Inigo and Fezzik both join the Man in Black soon after fighting him, but Vizzini stays a bad guy to the end. Vizzini doesn't exactly have the opportunity to do a Heel–Face Turn, since he's dead after the Man in Black "fights" him.
  • The Saga of the Faroe Islanders: In the latter half of the saga, Thrand's nephews and foster-sons Sigurd Thorlaksson, his younger brother Thord, and their cousin Gaut the Red act as Thrand's top enforcers and are implied to frequently execute his devious schemes, even when they (as they often do) pretend to act independently from Thrand. Sigurd is the leader, on account of being the smartest, the oldest of the three, and generally the most accomplished and handsome, and Thord and Gaut mostly follow his leadership. All three are "big men and strong", but Thord is the biggest and strongest; Gaut does not display any unique traits.
  • Tigerclaw, Darkstripe, and Longtail in Warrior Cats. Tigerclaw is rarely seen without his loyal followers. They remain loyal until the end, at least until Tigerclaw is exposed as a traitor. Longtail chooses his Clan over his friend, but Darkstripe later joins Tigerclaw in exile.
  • Worm:
    • The trio of bullies that harass Taylor at school, Emma, Sophia, and the more childish Madison.
    • Later chapters have Bambina's crew of child supervillains, including August Prince and Starlet, all of whom are astonishingly sociopathic.


    Pro Wrestling 
  • Somewhat disturbingly, TNA gave this treatment to Christian Cage, Tyson Tomko and AJ Styles, despite them being staples of the main event.
  • 3MB: Jinder Mahal, Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre.
  • For a brief period of time Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee, and Big E. Langston made up one of these. Ziggler, the domineering one, decided he didn't need the other two.
  • "The Cutie Pie Club" of SHINE. Strangely, it's Candy Cartwright, not "Cutie Pie" Kiera Hogan, who is leader, something Aria Blake questioned under the mistaken impression Cartwright wanted her opinion.
  • In ECW, all incarnations of The Triple Threat stable.
  • Back when they were making their debut, The Shield qualified. They were also dangerous because they repeatly interfered in matches against wrestlers who they weren't even feuding with.
  • Toxic Attraction. Consisting of leader Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. They've taken WWE NXT by hook and crook as Mandy is the NXT women's champion and Gigi and Jacy are the NXT women's tag team champions.

  • The Heathers Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke in Heathers, based off of the film of the same name.
  • The Plastics Regina, Gretchen, and Karen from Mean Girls, based off of the film of the same name.
  • Don John, Borachio, and Conrade in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.

    Web Animation 


Alternative Title(s): Team Rocket