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The Dog Bites Back

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When you abuse your minions one too many times, they will eventually turn on you.

"I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge."
Evil Overlord List, Rule #48

It's all gone to hell. The base is collapsing about your ears, your Evil Plan is in ruins, the heroes are lining up for the Humiliation Conga — what more could go wrong?

Well, remember that Mook? Or that victim you had cowed, or enchanted? Or that member of your band you left to the cops when they came knocking? Doesn't matter who it was specifically, but what does matter is that he's the one you've been abusing since you, and he, showed up.

He's got a knife. And he's ready to plant it right in your back. Oh, Crap!

Unlike the Bastard Understudy and The Starscream, this character attacks as a crime of opportunity. There is no danger that he will take over the villain's place in the grand scheme of things. There is however a possibility that he will menace the others as a True Final Boss. The backstabber often ends up dead — but this is not often a case of Redemption Equals Death, because the motive is often not heroic; even victims are generally motivated by revenge. The villain's only control was fear (or mind control), and when he's no longer afraid (or brainwashed)...

May shade into Give Me a Sword when the character fails to act rather than actively attacks him; a wounded and powerless Big Bad may be helpless unless his Mook throws him something, so he demands it, and the Mook — just doesn't. This can sometimes tie into an Ironic Echo if the Mook uses the Big Bad's own Villainous Demotivator lines as a reason he can't help.

Especially likely for the villain who holds It's All About Me. Can result from a backfired attempt at Being Tortured Makes You Evil. If the victim has also been evil he may also demonstrate this, by showing that from all the villain's crimes the one that he did against him mattered.

The Reverse Mole and the Fake Defector may launch similar attacks, for similar motives, but in their case, the attack was planned, or else the plan was to look for such openings. Losing control of a Tyke-Bomb or a Psycho for Hire may result in this as well.

One use of this trope is to spare the hero from the burden of personally dispatching the villain, in the same way as a Disney Villain Death or Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work.

Often occurs in the form of Bodyguard Betrayal. Very similar to Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal. Subtrope of Hoist by His Own Petard and Karmic Death. See also Nice to the Waiter. Not to be confused with The Dog Shot First. If the dog biting back does some puppy-kicking of its own, it's He Who Fights Monsters. If it's a pack biting back it's La Résistance, and The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized if they fall into evil themselves. If the hero deliberately sets this situation up, he's saying Do with Him as You Will. If it's the villain biting back against the world, he's saying Then Let Me Be Evil.

As a Death Trope, more than one Spoiler will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

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     Fan Works 
  • A Crown of Stars: Jinnai, do you remember Shinji and Asuka? That pair of teenagers that you and your former boss tortured physically and emotionally and used like disposable weapons and tools? One of which you virtually raped for two years? They are under the protection of a whole family of gods and leading an army. And they are out for your blood.
  • The Child of Love: After using, manipulating and treating his subordinates like crap, Gendo’s plans to use Asuka as a test tube to create a genetically-enhanced super-soldier with little regard for the mother’s survival or the baby’s welfare were the straw broke the camel’s back. Everyone turned on him, including Rei and he got ousted and locked.
  • Dirty Sympathy is about a "Strangers on a Train"-Plot Murder where Klavier and Apollo help each other get rid of their abusers. Exemplified when Daryan expects Klavier, who he physically and sexually abused for years, to get the murder charge droppednote , not realizing that Klavier fully intends to throw him under the bus and let him go to jail.
  • Hans Von Hozel: "The animals had had enough of being used by Panda, and gave humans location."
  • From Kiryuuin Chronicles, we have a mentally ill Ragyou doing this, after putting up with her husband's abuse for so long and she burns the house down with him in it (whether or not she killed him in the fire or before she started to torch the house is never said).
  • From the Gensokyo 20XX series, we have Yume Ni kicking Reimu in the face, to which she responded by stabbing her with a pair of scissors. Be this noted, the former was a bully and the latter had been putting up with her antics up until that point.
  • In Fate Hollow Fake, it's mentioned in Ruler's Servant Sheet that Jamshid, the man who struck Aingra Mainyu from the Avesta — thus turning them into the scapegoat that was blamed for all of Humanity's crimes so that they could live without guilt at Aingra's expense — "died cowering in a hovel, held down and cut into thirteen pieces that were fed to hungry snakes." Given Ruler's snake motif and the rest of their backstory, it's not too hard to guess who was responsible.
  • Like in the source material, Gangrel turns against his captors in Here Be Dragons: Memento Mori.
  • Charmeleon from Total Pokemon Island finally gets fed up with Weavile and works with Cacturne, Banette, and Houndoom to defeat her in a challenge. Unfortunately, the dog-kicker also bites back, and Weavile rigs the vote for Charmeleon to get eliminated.
  • Soul Eater: Troubled Souls: The entirety of the final battle between Crona and Medusa consists of the former venting all of his/her frustration towards the latter’s malice. Crona is no longer scared or weak-willed and wants to let Medusa know how horrible she is.
  • Wonderful!: Gang boss Squidmark began a gang war because he was fed up with being mocked by the remaining gangs, and it drove him mad that Nazis got more respect than him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: Subverted. The endgame of the story sees Ritsuko allying with Kluge (who unbeknownst to her is working for SEELE) in a bid to destroy Gendo for all the crap he has put her through, which, beside everything happened in the series, now also included making her his accomplice in an engineered accident that ended up costing the lives of half a million people. However, Gendo expected to be betrayed, he couldn't care less about her betrayal or her motives, and points out to her that all she had accomplished was allowing herself to being used again by a different puppeteer.
  • In Code Geass: The Prepared Rebellion, C.C. spends more than a year being experimented on by Clovis and his cronies. Once she gets free, she takes her revenge by shooting him dead after Lelouch finishes interrogating him.
  • A small version occurs with Ryuuko in Cellar Secrets, as Satsuki mentioned her mother having a bite-mark on her hand, implying that an abused child acted in self-defense against her mother's treatment.
  • This Bites!: Since all the Marines are tied up dealing with the aftermath of Enies Lobby, there is no one left to save Saint Jamolomew from his victims, bystanders and his own entourage when they've all had enough of his blustering crap.
    One of Jamolomew's entourage: What this is... is Justice.
  • In Loaded Bones, the final chapter has Ryou getting back at Yami Bakura in the midst of trying to help him. It's very cathartic.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, vampire mob boss Vladislav abuses every one of his subordinates. When Supergirl and Buffy bust his operation, one of his underlyings takes advantage of the chaos to stake him.
  • In The New Adventures of Invader Zim, learning that their mission is fake and they've been made a laughingstock is enough to make Zim and Skoodge rebel against the Tallest.
  • Earth's Alien History: After the Klingons and Romulans disrupt the Collector's control of Knowhere by killing a good chunk of his mercenary forces, his oppressed workers take the opportunity to rise up against him, helping to rout the remaining mercs.

  • So this little guy goes into a bar. There's one seat left at the end, and he takes it. Enter this big, body-building guy who looks like he could bench-press a truck. He walks up to the little guy, and says, "Hey! You're in my seat!" "Sorry, sir," says the little guy, "but I was here first. So unless you have a very good reason—" The big guy goes into a martial arts stance. "Tae Kwon Do from Korea!" the big guy interrupts. And WHAM! He knocks the little guy to the floor, and takes the seat. The next day, the little guy comes into a bar, with his head bandaged. There's one seat left at the end of the bar; he takes it. Enter the big guy, who goes up to the little guy. "Didn't I tell you that's my seat? Kung fu from China!" WHAM! The little guy gets knocked to the floor again. The next day, the little guy doesn't show up. The big guy comes in. There's one seat left at the end of the bar. He takes it; he's happy. Enter the little guy, with his head bandaged and one arm in a sling. He walks up to the big guy, and with his good arm... "Crowbar from Sears!" WHAM!

  • "I Remember Larry," by "Weird Al" Yankovic, is about a cruel prankster whom the narrator eventually gets his revenge on... specifically by breaking into his house and dragging him into the middle of a forest, where Larry is stuffed inside a garbage bag and left for dead.
    • It was a pretty good gag!
  • On "The Opheliac Companion", Emilie Autumn says that the song "Liar" could also be called "What The Fucking Dog Did." See the quotes page for her explanation of this trope.
  • "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks is about a woman who gets together with her best friend to kill her abusive husband.
  • "Janie's Got a Gun" by Aerosmith is about a girl who kills her father after years of abuse.
  • "Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts" by Bob Dylan.
  • Bruce Springsteen's anti-corporate song "Death to my Hometown" describes the plight of a town left economically ruined by Corrupt Corporate Executives and Morally Bankrupt Bankers. At one point Springsteen exhorts the townspeople to "Blow the robber barons straight to Hell," and at the very end of the song we hear what sounds like guns cocking, then firing, implying they may have taken his advice.
  • Literally in Mason Williams' "The Prince's Panties", in that the "panties" are the prince's dogs, that he mistreats.
  • "No More Pushing Joe Around" by Daniel Johnston seems to be about a man who's fed up with the world and decides to fight back.
    No more pushing Joe around
    No more pushing Joe around
    There'll be no more pushing Joe around
    He's up and punching now
  • "16 Miles" by Ego Likeness is about a woman fleeing across a wilderness after killing her abusive husband.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One Peanuts story arc had Charlie Brown finally having enough of the Kite-Eating Tree eating his kites and taking a big bite out of the tree. This ended up getting him in trouble with the EPA.
  • Most of the humor from Garfield comes from the titular fat cat playing pranks on, or downright abusing, Jon and Odie. To break the monotony, JimDavis has admitted that from time to time he'll include a strip where Jon, Odie, or both, will pull a fast one on Garfield.
  • Modesty Blaise: Kang, the Big Bad in "Death Symbol, is killed when he stumbles unarmed into the quarters of the Sex Slaves he has been keeping and abusing. A dozen girls dog pile on top of him and smother him to death.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Decade's goal in Ring of Honor started out as making sure people who walked out on the company but came back were not "rewarded" for it, but this gradually degenerated into breaking "rookies" (basically anyone with less time in pro wrestling than BJ Whitmer, Jimmy Jacobs or Roderick Strong, especially ROH trainees or recent graduates), and in the process they lost the respect of Cedric Alexander, who has been their most persistently encountered resistance.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, a crazed Cardinal named Bucharis was a ruthless tyrant who conquered entire systems from the Imperium. When his empire started to fall apart billions of people began to revolt against him, eventually he was cornered and the rebels tore him to pieces with their bare hands.
  • Chronopia: The One King united humanity as the Firstborn, to ensure that they would never be enslaved by the other races again(this includes the elves, the dwarves, and the Blackbloods).
  • In Genius: The Transgression, a Beholden who has been abused enough, or a moral Beholden told to do immoral things, gets to make a check to break free of their condition. A successful check means they're no longer dependent on their master, and are free to take out their anger on him.

    Visual Novels 
  • Sakura Matou in Fate/stay night. Her target is awesome, she's the love interest here and a good guy. But she seems to enjoy beheading Shinji Matou with pure magic or ripping Zouken Matou out of her heart, gloating and then crushing him a little too much for it to be 'heroic'. Plus the whole 'stealing the show and becoming an apocalypse in the form of a teenage girl' thing.
    • By that point, she's clearly not heroic (the 'killing Shinji' bit is where she ceases to be, even if he deserved it). She's also clearly not herself, and the rest of the route consists of Shirou and (eventually) Rin trying to save her from the darkness that is consuming her.
  • The first victim in Shion's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in the Cotton Drifting and Eye Opening chapters of Higurashi: When They Cry is Onryu, her grandmother. Given the cruel treatment she suffered for much of her life, quite deserved.
    • In the special Dice Killing Arc, Rika finds herself in a world where Satoko isn't her best friend but rather a Spoiled Brat and a bully who likes to make her life miserable. Rika puts up with it for a while, but finally reaches her breaking point and proceeds to beat Satoko with a chair over and over again.
  • In ClockUp's Fraternite, Shion finally turns the tables on her bullies, which takes place later in the True Ending route.
  • In New Danganronpa V 3, one of the Monokubs, Monodam, is said to have closed off his heart to others thanks to Monokid bullying him so much. Guess who the first Monokub is to die and who causes it? More specifically Monodam shoves Monokid into the iron maiden used to snuff out Kaede's lights.