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The Good, the Bad, and the Evil

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Many conflicts in fiction are about good vs evil. It's simple and easy to follow, but its straightforwardness might make it stale after a while.

Enter this trope - where a third faction is introduced, the "bad guys" - or the "grey faction".

That the good guys are good and evil guys are evil is a given, but it's the added "bad guys" or "grey guys and other good guys" that stirs the whole dynamic. They aren't quite good but not that bad, and their motivations might be either similar to one side, to both sides, or neither. There are multiple ways this can go about:

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  • The grey faction is presented as an antagonist alongside the black faction (who may either ally with each other or simply be running around at the same time), while the white faction opposes both. The white faction may either sympathize with the gray one and perhaps try to convince them to go good, or they may show the same animosity that they show towards the black faction until it's revealed that the gray guys may not be so bad after all.
  • The grey faction is presented as an ally to the white one, and both of them opposes the black one. Either the gray faction was simply a morally ambiguous faction without any relation to the white faction prior to the story, or the gray faction was once antagonistic and/or allied with the black faction, in which case the alliance is a case of Enemy Mine and that an Enemy Civil War had occurred.
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  • It can also be just an all-out Mêlée à Trois, where only one can win, depending on the story. Often in this case, all sides are after the same MacGuffin but for different reasons.

The "bad" guys most of the time have to be AntiVillains (any of its flavors) in order to clearly stand as morally superior to the "evil" ones, or if nothing else display that Even Evil Has Standards. The "black" faction (or at least, its leader/prominent members) may also possibly in just For the Evulz.

Compare Morality Kitchen Sink, in which characters from everywhere on the moral spectrum are present but aren't conveniently sorted into white, gray, and black factions. Compare also to Evil Versus Oblivion, where both sides can be as bad as each other, and one is nominally "better" (in only a Pragmatic Villainy way) than the "evil" guys, who might be the "Oblivion", whom the other factions decide that this faction absolutely must not win (although the reverse is not unheard of either). Also to Angels, Devils and Squid and Nice, Mean, and In-Between.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, the Future Foundation can be divided into the Good, which are Makoto, the survivors of class 78 and the ones helping them (Tengan, Great Gozu, Gekkogahara and Mitarai); The Bad, composed by the Radical Faction, Munakata, Sakakura, Kimura, Andou, Izayoi and Yukizome and The Evil, who is the one behind the Final Killing Game. As time goes on, it delves more into a Morality Kitchen Sink. Munakata goes into Sanity Slippage after Episode 5, and his actions seem to be a lot more within the Evil range, until episode 10 when it's revealed Yukizome was a despair and manipulating him (placing her in the Evil category), and Naegi manages to get through to him, and he ends the series in between Good and Bad. Gekkogahara is revealed to be a robot duplicate of the real person placed into the game by Monaca, who really just wanted to observe, however considering her past actions (and the fact that she killed the real Miaya), she's pretty clearly in the Evil category, even if the most she does is pretend to kill Hina. Tengan is also placed into the Evil category when it's revealed he masterminded the killing game, seemingly for the sake of pushing Mitarai to the breaking point in order to get him to brainwash the world.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED had this with the Three Ships Alliance as the Good, the two warring factions of ZAFT and OMNI collectively as the Bad, and Omnicidal Maniac Rau le Creuset, who is Playing Both Sides in an attempt to have them wipe each other out and drive humanity extinct as the Evil.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: the Three Ship Alliance which retains most of its membership, the Well Intentioned ZAFT forces under Chairman Durandal, and the Blue Cosmos/LOGOS forces under Lord Djibril, who are pretty much evil.
  • Hellsing has the Hellsing Organization (mostly good), the Iscariots (bad), and Millennium (evil). At the end of the series the Iscariots briefly leave Hellsing alone to fight Millennium but when Maxwell goes off the deep end and crosses the Moral Event Horizon by ordering the people of London killed for being Protestants, they end up being annihilated along with Millennium by Alucard.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The first third of Dragon Ball Z's Frieza Saga is a three-way war between Gohan and Krillin (the Good), previous saga villain Vegeta (the Bad) and Big Bad Frieza and his army (the Evil). The good and the bad end up joining forces when Frieza summons the Ginyu Force. The exact words of the trope were used by Cartoon Network to advertise it at one point, referring to Goku, Vegeta and Frieza respectively.
    • It comes up again in the Cell Saga, with the Z Fighters as the good, Androids 16, 17, and 18 as the bad, and Cell himself as the evil.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas; Athena's army is the good, and Pandora splits up from Alone upon learning that he was never truly possessed by Hades.
  • In Saint Beast, the Saint Beasts are the good, Lucifer is the bad, and Zeus is the evil, although initially the latter two seem the other way around. The angels know things aren't right with the missions Zeus is sending them on but reject Lucifer's offer to join him because they know he's responsible for demons attacking humans. However, when they finally decide to rebel against Zeus they end up on the same side as Lucifer without actually agreeing to work together.
  • Angel Sanctuary: Granted it's an oversimplification, but humans and Evils are generally the Good (in spite of the latters' name), Lucifer, the Satans and their ilk are the Bad, and the Angels are the Evil. Granted, there are a few good angels, (Adam Kadamon, Alexiel, Anael, Zaphkiel, Raziel and Gabriel), and a few others who are more neutral (Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and the Metatron), but the ruling powers (Rosiel, Sevothtarte, Sandalphon, YHWH) are all bad, and even the good angels are occasionally antagonists.
  • Fairy Tail.
    • Tower of Heaven: Fairy Tail is the good, Erza's old friends are the bad, Jellal (possessed by Zeref) and Trinity Raven are the evil.
    • The title guild enters the Grand Magic Games to reclaim the reputation they lost during the Time Skip. Sabretooth, the current #1 guild, isn't very nice to anyone trying to unseat them, but at least they aren't cheating like Raven Tail.
    • Erza is one of the few people who knows the true story behind Jellal's crimes. Kagura is in the dark, only knowing that Jellal killed her brother, Simon. So when Kagura sees Erza talking to Jellal, Minerva uses Kagura's rage (and holds Millianna hostage) to goad her into fighting Erza so she doesn't have to face them both herself.
    • The three God Slayers. Sherria (Good) is a cute, clumsy Little Miss Badass who quickly befriends her Dragon Slayer counterpart. Orga (Bad) is an arrogant Jerkass, but is a member of a legal guild and is horrified when his Guild Master seemingly killed one of their own. Zancrow (Evil) is an Ax-Crazy sociopath who kills his own men and is a member of one of the Darkest Guilds in the series.
    • Another example from the Sun Village arc: Fairy Tail is the Good, trying to save the frozen village and revive the Eternal Flame; the treasure hunters are the Bad, not caring about the village and trying to steal the flame for themselves; and Succubus Eye is the Evil, trying to kill Fairy Tail, the treasure hunters, and destroy what's left of the frozen village.
    • In the Tenrou Island arc, Fairy Tail is the Good, and while Grimoire Heart or Zeref could possibly be considered the Evil, there is a far greater Evil than them in play, that being Acnologia.
    • In the Alvarez Empire arc, Fairy Tail and all of the other Fiore guilds are the Good; the invading Alvarez Empire and its Spriggan 12 are the Bad; and Acnologia is the Evil.
  • Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable features more morally grey characters than previous parts, many of whom are young people just discovering their powers and have not yet been tempered by a a good ass-kicking. The only truly evil characters are Angelo and Kira, who have been monsters their whole lives, and as such are the only villains never offered redemption.
  • This situation happens at the turning point of Kill la Kill, when Satsuki betrays Ragyo. At this point, Ryuko and Nudist Beach are the Good, Satsuki and the Elite Four, who had been running a brutal fascist dictatorship for the eventual greater good, can be seen as the Bad, while Ragyo and her minions, at the forefront of an alien invasion, are the Evil. Satsuki and the Elite Four do come to regret the atrocities they have committed, and by the end of the anime they are also The Good.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force seems to have been heading this way before its untimely cancellation/permanent hiatus, with Hayate's Special Duty Section 6 as the obvious and traditional Good guys, the Hückebein as the (very) mercenary and self-absorbed Bads, and the Vandein Corporation and, in particular, its enigmatic leader Hades Vandein as the Evils. Interestingly, the manga started off by trying to present SDS6 as the Bads by having them pursue the new protagonist trio (Thoma, Lily, and Isis) and the Hückebeins as the Evils, by first introducing their more Ax-Crazy members. Only later did it turn out that Thoma's gang were pursued for their own good, while the Hückebeins eventually gained the third dimension by showing their more sane (and obviously more influential) members and also their familial interactions with each other and Thoma. Hades' apparent villainy, meanwhile, wasn't revealed until the last published arc.
  • The final arc of Aura Battler Dunbine causes the many factions to split into three such groups. The various resistance groups opposed to the villains rally around Queen Ciela (Big Good), the visionary and pragmatic Drake who leads a bunch of anti-villains and Noble Demon form the "Bad" and a splinter faction that broke away from Drake lead by King Bishott and made up of an Evil Overlord, a Mad Scientist and a bunch of Axe-Crazy minions form the "Evil". Drake and Bishott still technically have a nonaggression pact but Drake knows it's just a farce and Bishott will kill him once the heroes are gone so during the final battle he feigns an emergency and sends Bishott's army out first so that the heroes would shoot him down and then strategically places himself behind Bishott's battleship so he can't run away when things start going bad.

    Comic Books 
  • In Legacy, it is finally established for good in Star Wars canon. The Empire is split into Darth Krayt's Sith Empire (the evil) and Roan Fel's Empire (dictatorial but not really evil).
  • In GI Joe, this eventually happened in Cobra's ranks. Serpentor's splinter group the Coil fought against Cobra proper. Of course, matters only become more complicated when you realize that Cobra was already a little shaky, being an alliance between Cobra Commander's actual Cobra forces, Destro and his Iron Grenadiers, Zartan and the Dreadnoks, Tomax and Xamot and the Crimson Guard, independant contractors like Dr. Venom, Kwinn, Major Bludd, and Blackout, and Firefly and the Arashikage ninjas, with each group constantly vying for ultimate supremacy… Cobra's got to be one of the least stable factions in all of fiction, really.
  • Marvel's GI Joe Comics did this fairly often too. The Joes often went up against the Winter Guard (Chummy Commies) or Kwinn the Eskimo (purely mercenary), only for both sides to team up against the much Eviler Cobra.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Of course Wonder Woman is good and the Nazis are evil, but Ares, who was initially presented as evil does not actually support Nazi dogma and is only promoting conflict because he needs it to survive is bad but not evil, and Zeus, who was initially presented as good is acually at least as bad if not worse than the Nazis.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The film Hard Rain does this with its three main characters. Tom (Christian Slater)'s security guard is the good, with Jim's (Morgan Freeman) armed robber apparently the bad, as his gang attempts to rob Tom's armoured car, and were responsible for killing Tom's uncle Charlie (Ed Asner). In a twist, the Evil is the corrupt Sheriff who likewise goes after the money from the truck, which Tom had hidden. When Jim is revealed to have been in cahoots with Charlie and had not wanted to kill anyone, he teams up with Tom, kills the Sheriff and Tom lets him escape.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (which is unsurprisingly a partial Trope Namer) has Bounty Hunter Blondie (The Good) as the (antiheroic) Good, Bandito Tuco (The Ugly) as The Bad, and Professional Killer Angel Eyes (The Bad) as The Evil.
  • The Man From Uncle has America's best agent team up with Soviet Russia's against the greater threat of an evil crime syndicate building its own nukes. It's pretty subjective whether the American or the Russian is the Bad; indeed, a recurring point is that they're Not So Different.
  • Similar to "UNCLE", The Spy Who Loved Me has James Bond pressed into working alongside those Dirty Commies he usually fights to defeat a much more threatening villain.
  • Truth or Consequences, N.M. On one side, there's a gang of four Villain Protagonists who steal drugs from the Mafia and intend to sell them for money. On another side is the FBI chasing the misfits. And on another side is a gang of mobsters led by a ruthless hitman who has no problem torturing an innocent man by cutting off his fingers.
  • Thor: The Dark World does this with an Enemy Mine between Thor and Anti-Villain Loki. Loki is in prison for trying to subjugate Earth, but Thor needs his help to stop the Dark Elves, who plan to destroy the universe. The fact that Loki wants revenge for his mother's death helps, too.

    Literature 
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien 's The Silmarillion, the Noldor elves under Fingolfin and his and Finarfin's descendants could qualify as Good, showing the most respect towards both the Valar and the rest of the children of Illuvatar, while Fëanorians are certainly Bad and they both face Morgoth and his minions, who are nothing short of Evil. The individual differences of the members of the house of Feanor manage to even things out with characters such as Maedros and Maglor leaning more towards the nobler side while Celegorm, Curufin and Feanor himself have more similarities with the dark forces that they have sworn to fighting against.
    • In The Lord Of The rings, this dynamic appears again between the three main characters. Frodo qualifies as the good (despite failing at the end of the quest), or, if you consider Sam to be the true hero of the story, he falls in that category too (Sam might be a purer example). Then as the bad, you got Gollum: treacherous, corrupted, murderous, but ultimately driven insane by the ring and his dual personality, and a pitiful and sad being. And as the evil, you have Sauron, the lord of the rings, who is nothing but the closest thing to absolute evil, has no redeemable features, and is bent in dominating the entire Middle-Earth.
    • It also appears alongside the kingdoms and races. The elves, dwarves, and the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor, plus other wild men like the druedain, are clearly the good, despite the defects they might have. The kingdoms of Rhûn, Harad are the bad, they are servants of Sauron, but they are men, and many of them have noble and decent people fighting in the wrong side. And then, Mordor is the evil, with the orcs, trolls, Nâzgul, Shelob, and of course, Sauron himself.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, the popularity of southern-fried Psycho for Hire Billy-Ray Sanguine means that more often than not his later appearances feature him aiding the protagonists; first in order to contain the Remnant outbreak and later during the War of the Sanctuaries.
  • Honor Harrington does this with the second coup d'etat of Haven, firmly putting the Anti Villain group in control of the government, and a lot of the former SS and power hungry types out on the run as renegades. Notable for having it simply flip the status quo in a few areas: there're still bad Havenites, but now they're the exception rather than the rule. Even before the second change of government, Haven filled the role of "the bad" when it came to the relationship between Manticore, Haven, and Mesa/Manpower Inc. There were references that Manticore and Haven not only shared a loathing for Manpower, Haven was considered, even by Manticorans, to be the more dedicated opponent to slavery.
  • After the Emperor's death, the Empire in the Star Wars Expanded Universe started breaking up.
    • Various captains and admirals left with their forces and became warlords, sometimes rejoining the Empire later, sometimes the New Republic, sometimes becoming isolationist, and most often fighting everyone. The Courtship of Princess Leia and three books of the X-Wing Series deal with the New Republic's campaign against Warlord Zsinj. In Courtship he's a cardboard baddie, but in the X-Wing Series he's really clever and nasty. Enough so that both the Empire and the New Republic form task forces to take him down, and surreptitiously they end up working together, both aware that this wouldn't last and if this cooperation was ever reported they'd face treason charges.
    • Warlordism and the attrition that comes of a new leader rising to the fore, striking the New Republic, and getting beat down eventually whittled the Empire down small enough that Captain Pellaeon, who'd patiently served under each leader and picked up the pieces after, was forced to join a warlord. Eventually, during the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Daala talked the various warlords into meeting together to try and get them to join forces; she and Pellaeon sat out their arguing, then put on gas masks and watched the warlords die. Then Daala lost a good portion of this newly-replenished Empire and left it to Pellaeon. A few years later, and Supreme Commander Pellaeon worked to make peace with the New Republic, while other elements of the Imperial Remnant fought furiously to prevent this. Decades after that, Grand Admiral Pellaeon was one of the heroes' most reliable allies until he was assassinated by the Sith.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Johnny Marcone turned out to be such an intensely awesome Anti-Villain that he's on Harry's side more often than not. This irritates Harry, who really, really wants to be able to write him off as "criminal scum," but has some trouble with that when Marcone is going to incredible lengths just to try to get a girl out of a coma.
    • The purpose of the Winterfae is to protect humanity from the Outsiders. The purpose of the Summerfae, meanwhile, is to protect humanity from the Winterfae.
  • In Mistborn you have several levels of this—Vin, Elend, and Sazed are the good, Kelsier and most of the skaa rebellion are pretty good, the Lord Ruler and most of the human bad guys are the bad, and Ruin and the Inquisitors are the evil.
  • In the Warrior Cats book The Darkest Hour, ThunderClan and WindClan, the two heroic Clans, team up with ShadowClan and RiverClan, the two villainous Clans, to fight a worse evil; Scourge, who wants to take over their territory.
  • The later books of the Harry Potter series sets up this dynamic with the heroic Order of the Phoenix, the irredeemably evil Death Eaters, and the steadily more and more corrupt Ministry of Magic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • During season 4 of Lost, Ben, Affably Evil and Magnificent Bastard that he is, talks his way into sort of teaming up with the good guys against Psycho for Hire Keamy and his men, although Ben still had his own agenda the whole time.
  • The season 2 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends with Buffy teaming up with Spike to stop Angelus from destroying the world. As Spike explained it, he likes the world; lots of fun things to do and plenty of humans to eat. Although Spike decided "screw it" halfway through their team-up and left with Drusilla.
  • To say Dollhouse uses this trope a lot would be to understate dreadfully. While actives themselves are good, Paul Ballard is good-ish, and the entire LA Dollhouse staff is deeply grey. We all just agree Alpha is evil as are the people in charge of Rossum as a whole. And by the end this has fragmented even further. The surviving staff of the LA Dollhouse are firmly on the good side, and so is, surprisingly enough, Alpha. Victor and a few others have gone grayer, but by now the only true evil people are the remnants of Rossum.
  • The Flash (2014) has Barry Allen/Flash and his friends in Team Flash as the good and speedsters such as Zoom and Savitar as the Evil. As the Bad, Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash is a recurring ally and mentor for Team Flash while still remaining a murderous supervillain.
  • Sons of Anarchy takes this and shifts it a few steps down the morality scale. Through most of the show, the Sons are Nominal Heroes or Anti Heroes who team up with local law enforcement and other gangs to take out even worse gangs, like skinheads.
  • The Cape now seems to have established something like this with the Cape as the Good, the Carnival of Crime as the Bad and Fleming/Chess as the Evil. it may even be a fourway with Scales somewhere between the Carnival and Fleming or as Evil, just opposed to Fleming.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Juken Sentai Gekiranger, sort of. The GekiJyuKen school is the Good, represented by the heroes and their Martial Pacifist teachers. RinJyuKen school is the Bad — represented by our heroes' main rivals and some faux-Darwinist teachers. GenJyuKen is the Evil — not so much a school as a front for an immortal monster who wants to destroy civilization out of boredom.
    • Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger is set up like this, with the twist that the "Bad" faction, the Lupinrangers, are not actually villains. They're presented as heroes alongside the "Good" team, the Patrangers; but they're Anti-Hero Phantom Thieves that clash with the Patrangers on the police force who want to arrest them. Both are against the Evil, the Gangler crime syndicate, for their own reasons — the Patrangers want to serve justice for their crimes, while the Lupinrangers are after dangerous artifacts that the Gangler hold which could rescue friends they've lost.
    • Power Rangers Samurai, the first season featured a Nighlock called Deker, who while wasn't strictly evil, wasn't good either. He would sometimes ally with the Rangers to fight against the other Nighlock but he could just as easily oppose them such as when they almost killed Dayu, but ultimately all he wanted was a Worthy Opponent and that was to fight Jayden.
  • Season 2 of Nikita is shaping up like this, with Nikita and her allies as the Good, Division and their Man Behind the Man Oversight as the Bad, and Gogol and their Man Behind the Man Zetrov as the Evil. Following the status quo changing events about midway through the season, the list changed: Team Nikita is still the Good along with the Heel Face Turned last living members of Oversight, but Zetrov's head Semak is now closer to the Bad, and the Evil can be best represented by Amanda and her partner Ari (Semak's Starscream), with Percy still somewhere between Bad and Evil.
  • The Wire: Starting roughly in Season 3, the cops of the Major Crimes Unit (no angels, but on their side—most of the time) are the Good, the Barksdale Organization and Proposition Joe's Organization (well-established Baltimore drug dealers, willing to use violence but preferring peaceful settlements as better for business) are the Bad, and the Stanfield Organization (run by the utterly ruthless and cold-blooded sociopath Marlo Stanfield, who has zero compunctions about murdering anyone for any reason) is the Evil.
  • Breaking Bad has some elements of this, though who's where depends on which season. A few constants are that Hank is The Good, Pinkman is The Bad, and the various druglords and cartels that are the antagonists (Tuco, Gus, etc.) are The Evil. Where the protagonist Walt is depends on the season; he starts off on the lighter side of The Bad and starts settling toward the bottom from there; by the later seasons it starts to seem more like he's the Villain Protagonist.
  • Deadwood, once George Hearst shows up in season two. Seth Bullock is the face of the Good; he's not the morally purest person around, but his devotion to justice makes him at least more heroic than others. Al Swearengen's faction, Bullock's antagonists in the first season, are the Bad; they're a pimp and his cronies attempting to prevent the town from rising above the status of Outlaw Town so they won't have to deal with the government. Hearst, though, is a Nietzsche Wannabe mining magnate who will see the town utterly destroyed if it attempts to resist his complete domination.
  • Continuum has a variant of this in the third season finale. Good and Bad (Kiera, Brad, and Liber 8) team up to take out, not a bad guy who's Eviler Than Thou, but a former good guy ( the original Alec) who's sliding down the slippery slope. Overall, the show starts out with Liber 8 as the Evil and Kiera and the police (represented by Dillon) as the Good, but shows an increasingly Knight Templar-ish Dillon sliding into the Evil spot.
  • The second season of The 100 has the Arc dwellers aka "Sky People" teaming up with their former adversaries the Grounders to oppose the inhabitants of Mount Weather. Since the show operates on Grey-and-Gray Morality it's more muddled than the usual case but Mount Weather is definitely the darkest shade around.
  • In the first two seasons of House of Anubis, this applied. Sibuna and their allies were the good guys, the Secret Society were bad, and then Rufus Zeno was pure evil. In season 2 it's more complicated with another addition to the pure evil side—Senkhara—who was also competing against Rufus and the society as they all wanted the mask, and Sibuna were the ones who had to get it for her. So it was pure evil forcing good to end up fighting against bad and evil again.
  • Kamen Rider Drive has this. The Good are the Special Unit, who protect people from the Bad, the Roidmudes, who seek to dominate the humans because of their negative emotions programmed by the Evil, their inventor, who seeks to Take Over the World. The only thing though is that the Evil doesn't show up until the final leg of the show.
    • Similarly, Kamen Rider Zero-One has a similar dynamic. The Good are Aruto Hiden and his allies, and Metsuboujinrai.net, a terrorist cell of rogue HumaGears comprise the Bad faction. Like in Drive, the Evil faction only comes into play midway through the series, with Gai Amatsu and his ZAIA Enterprise not only providing an Eviler Than Thou foil, but is also revealed to be The Man Behind the Man.
  • Lost Girl in spades: the Light (good), the Dark (bad), and the monsters (evil). Though the Light and Dark are actually lighter and darker shades of grey.

    Music 
  • The band GWAR follows this heavily.

    Podcast 
  • In the The Bright Sessions, Dr. Bright and most of her patients are generally good, Damien is usually bad, and the AM is largely evil. However, there's an element of Black-and-Gray Morality and Morality Kitchen Sink, as Dr. Bright manipulating her patients for personal rescue missions is less than ideal, and Agent Green has good intentions despite being a party to the AM's evil.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer40000, the Tau Empire, Harlequins, the Imperium and the Craftworld Eldar are the Bad; the Necrons and Orks are the Evil; and Chaos, Dark Eldar and Tyranids are the Really Really Evil. The Tyranids are a threat for everyone so huge that all the other faction would unite and fight them in a united front if needed. Of course, the alliance won't last long, but still.
    • It's fantasy counterpart, Warhammer, has a similar setup. The Empire, Bretonnia, the High Elves, the Wood Elves, the Dwarfs and the Lizardmen are the Good; (At least as good as they can be.) the Dark Elves, the Greenskins, the Vampire Counts and the Tomb Kings are the Bad; the Warriors of Chaos, the Beastmen, and the Skaven are the Evil.
  • Endemic in the Old World of Darkness.
  • The "core" factions in both of the Iron Kingdoms lines fall roughly into this, although with four categories instead of three - call them Good (...ish), Fanatical, Bad and Evil for simplicity (whether a given Fanatical faction is better or worse than a Bad faction varies). Typically, the two factions in a given category don't get along either, to ensure grounds for any matchup - Cygnar and the Trollkin (Good) have a lot of bad blood, Khador and the Skorne (Bad) are both expansionistic and imperialistic and so are unlikely to find common ground, the Protectorate of Menoth and the Circle Orboros (Fanatical) worship mutually opposed Jerkass Gods (and the other major Fanatical faction, the Retribution of Scyrah, want to kill all non-Iosan mages and as such view everyone concerned as a potential targets), and Cryx and the Legion of Everblight (Evil) are mutually opposed because the dragons who lead them genuinely cannot coexist.

    Video Games 
  • In the Halo series, an Enemy Civil War ends up dividing the Covenant between the honor-bound Elites and the vicious Brutes. Many Elites, having already respected humanity as a Worthy Opponent, join forces with the humans against both the Covenant and the Flood, and eventually make peace with humanity when the war ends, with several Elites fully becoming the Good in their own right.
  • BioWare games often feature this setup:
    • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn has the Featureless Protagonist as the Good (canonically), the Shadow Thieves as the Bad, and Bodhi's vampires as the Evil. To emphasize how Evil the latter are, some party members will flat out leave your party forever if you deal with them.
    • Dragon Age: Origins had the Warden (the Good), Teyrn Loghain and his posse (the Bad), and the Darkspawn Horde (the Evil). In universe, mages and templars see themselves as the Good, each other as the Bad, and Abominations as the Evil.
    • Mass Effect 2 has Paragon Shepard, his/her crew, and Anderson as the only spots of good, the politicians and people like Aria in the grey area, and various mercenary groups, the Collectors, and the Reapers as evil.
    • Mass Effect 3 has Shepard, Anderson, and Hackett as the Good, Cerberus and particularly the geth (who can be pulled over to the Good side) as the Bad, and the Reapers as the Evil.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Republic as "good" and the Empire as "bad," though it's usually a case of Black-and-Gray Morality or Grey-and-Gray Morality, since the Sith Empire has some NobleDemons in their ranks and the Republic has some astonishingly corrupt officers and officials. From "Return of the Hutt Cartel" to the Ossus arc, this has been in play with a variety of "evil," ranging from greedy Hutts to OmnicidalManiacs.
  • In the Dune II, Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune games you have 3 playable factions (minus the subfactions, you can be allied to those) that fit this trope, the good House Atreides, the insidious House Ordos that is willing to do nasty things if necessary for it's endless pursuit of wealth and probably drugs its citizens to make them more submissive, vs. the evil House Harkonnen who are a royal house consisting almost entirely of perverted, deranged psychopaths who enslave, backstab, and a lot of other nasty things and their soldiers are more afraid of them than their enemy.
  • In the Freespace stategy guide, it describes the Terrans as the "Good Guys," the Vasudans are the "Bad Guys," and the Shivans are the "Really Bad Guys."
  • Mega Man Zero: Zero, Ciel, and La Résistance are the Good; Copy-X, the Guardians, and Neo Arcadia in general (or rather what Neo Arcadia has become) are the Bad; and Dr. Weil and Omega are the Evil.
  • Something like this happens in Fallout 3 with the Enclave splitting up. An interesting variation, as the player is actually given the option of siding with the more evil faction, but not the lesser one, so the game's final confrontation will always be against the same guys, regardless of moral choice.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas the Courier gets to choose whose side he or she can join: the New California Republic, Caesar's Legion, Mr. House, or none of them. Which ones are the good, bad, and evil depends on the player's perspective, but most characters in the game generally agree that the Legion are the worst of the three.
  • And in Fallout 4, we have four major factions, all of which the player can join. The Minutemen, the Railroad, the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute. Again, which ones are the good, the bad and the evil depend on your perspective, though the Minutemen are pretty unambiguously good, and most characters in the game are opposed to the Institute.
  • Command & Conquer, starting with Yuri in Red Alert 2, the Scrin faction in Tiberium Wars (double the fact that the Brotherhood of Nod has received even more fandom by this time). Not so much in Red Alert 3, since the 'bad guys' are technically still the Soviets.
  • BlazBlue also adheres this, although there's no pure Good or Bad due to the rather gray moralities of both sides. Oppositions of the NOL (Ragna, Sector Seven) is the Good. NOL is the Bad. Hazama/Terumi and Relius Clover are the Evil.
    • Chrono Phantasma mucks things up within it. The NOL and Sector Seven at large are Bad; some individual members of both groups, and all known entities unaffiliated with either, are Good. Terumi and Relius are still Evil. Things change at the end, however:
      • The Good: Jin, Noel/Mu, Makoto, Tsubaki/Izayoi, Hakumen, Jubei, Celica, Kagura, Rachel, Valkenhayn, Taokaka, Tager, Bang, Platinum (if Luna and Sena survive; Trinity is dead)
        The Ambiguous: Bullet, Amane, Carl, Litchi.
        The Bad: Azrael, Relius, and Nu
        The Evil: Imperator Saya/Izanami, Phantom/Nine by extension
        The Mindless: Arakune and Ragna
    • Central Fiction once again shuffles the alignments up. Most of the cast is established as the Good, so it's better to note the exceptions. Nu, Hazama and Azrael are definitely Bad. Izanami and Terumi/Susanoo are definitely Evil. Relius is Bad, if only because he decided Screw This, I'm Out of Here!. Carl, due to Relius's influence, has the potential to become either Bad or Evil. Nine is Bad for most of the plot, but ultimately performs a Heroic Sacrifice in order to aid the Good. Hibiki straddles the line between Good and Bad. And finally, Arakune is ultimately ambiguous.
  • Psychic Force, by the second game, exemplifies this. The Good is Anti-NOA (no official leader, the closest is Burn), the Bad is NOA (led by Keith), and the Evil is the Army (led by Wong). There are other forces such as magicians (Genma/Genshin) that don't take sides and instead be a Knight Templar and just target all three sides because they're Psychiccers and Psychiccers are EVIL (in their head).
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's Civil War storyline, the Empire and the Stormcloaks are the Good and the Bad, which one is which depending on whose side you choose to support. However, the Thalmor-led Aldmeri Dominion is definitely the Evil, one of the few things both sides agree on. Whichever side wins will inevitably have to deal with the Dominion down the line. And that's without considering Alduin and the return of the Dragons...
  • Final Fantasy VII: Oh yes. The main character is a mercenary employed by eco-terrorists. Your enemy is a Mega-Corp whose fuel usage is literally killing the planet. That becomes less important when this other guy comes along and plans to kill everyone via Colony Drop to ascend into Godhood. (Said Mega-Corp dedicates its operations to stopping said guy from that point onward.) You can count the named characters who have not killed many, many people (directly or indirectly) on one hand, and by far the most prominent one dies a third of the way through. Yeesh.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The three main factions play this trope straight. The protagonists (Ramza and Delita) as the Good, the Church of Glabados as the Bad, and the Lucavi as the Evil.
  • Vagrant Story has this going on from beginning to end with Ashley, Sydney and Romeo.
  • AdventureQuest Worlds has the forces of Good led by King Alteon being The Good and the forces of Evil led by Gravelyn being The Bad joining forces in order to fight the forces of Chaos led by Drakath.
  • Injustice 2: We have Batman's team as the Good (they want to rebuild after the events of the first game and bring justice back to the world), the remnant of Superman's Regime as the Bad (who seek to Take Over the World again and bring peace and order at the cost of basic freedoms) and Gorilla Grodd's group and Brainiac as the Evil (who stand in as different degrees of kill-happy maniacs: the one that wishes to Take Over the World and kill millions along the way and the Omnicidal Maniac, respectively).
  • The three factions of Planetside: the New Conglomerate, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits fighting for independence after the Terran Republic's massacre of Liberty's Call protesters; the Terran Republic, the totalitarian regime back on Earth seeking to retake control of Auraxis; and the Vanu Sovereignity, a cult of scientists "touched" by Precursor technology and looking to "enlighten" the rest of humanity whether it wants to be enlightened or not. 2 makes the New Conglomerate less sympathetic and the Terran Republic moreso, while keeping the Vanu crazy as ever, making the game Black-and-Gray Morality.
  • Tooth and Tail's factions more or less run on this, though with a healthy dose of Black-and-Gray Morality, given that they all engage in Eating the Enemy when it's not actually necessary. The Longcoats are an alliance of bourgeois upper-class types who want to abolish the Lottery of Doom system, and are the closest to "good" we can get. The Commonfolk want to institute democratic socialism instead...but the democracy they envision will be weighted so heavily in their favor they become tyrannical. The KSR is a State Sec organization that becomes a military dictatorship and supports the old regime, but they just want to end the war quickly and have some moral standards. (Both are "bad".) The "evil" is provided by the Civilized, the Church Of Evil that's responsible for starting the lottery in the first place and keeping the People Farms running. When the others agree to a compromise government, the Civilized destroy it because they can't be a part.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sora and his many friends act as the Good, often allying with fellow keyblade weilders and heroes from the various worlds he travels too. The Bad are represented by Maleficent, either accompanied by her second Pete or whatever Disney Villain (Hades, Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook and Oogie Boogie) she allies with in their attempts at conquering their worlds, though their limited perspective pale in comparison to the Greater-Scope Villain Master Xehanort and the rest of his 13 Seekers of Darkness, The Chessmaster who possess a universe-spanning threat through his intimate understanding of its cosmology and mastery over the Timey-Wimey Ball. All three factions are in constant battle with each other, Maleficent and Xehanort both wanting control over Kingdom Hearts and the godlike power it possesses and the warriors of light out to stop them.
  • Persona 4 has the three main players in the plot. The Investigation Team is obviously the Good, since they're fighting to save people's lives and find the killer. The Bad is Taro Namatame, a well-intentioned but misguided person who throws the party members and Nanako into the TV with the intention of protecting them from the real killer. The Evil is the real killer, Tohru Adachi, who killed two people, inspired a copycat killing, manipulated Namatame into throwing people in the TV and was willing to watch the fog engulf the world merely For the Evulz.

    Webcomics 
  • Blip. Heaven is run by Knight Templars willing to ruin the lives of humans for the sake of preserving order. Hell is run by a genuinely nice guy, who nevertheless wants to plunge the world into chaos by amplifying the titular blip in God's plan. The real good guys aren't allied with either side.
  • Sluggy Freelance has Torg and his friends (the Good) sabotaging Hereti Corp, No Fun, and other ruthless organizations (the Evil) by working for the supervillain Minion Master (the Bad).
  • Rather than splitting the evil, Sinfest splits the good. God and Satan Are Both Jerks, but Buddha acts as a neutral figure in the conflict, ironically acting more "good" than the supposed good faction. (The protagonists themselves are all over the place—Slick in particular has declared allegiance to all three factions simultaneously.)
  • Homestuck:
    • Although Bec Noir is incredibly powerful and is responsible for over half of the deaths seen so far, Lord English is powerfully evil, threatening the very existence of paradox space itself.
    • In the "Game Over" Mêlée à Trois, naturally, our protagonists are the "Good"; Aranea, a Well-Intentioned Extremist who does want to defeat Lord English, but goes to horrifically Knight Templar levels in doing so and kills several heroes in the process, is the "Bad"; and the Condesce, a genocidal fish-lady tyrant, is the "Evil". Played with, though, in that when the "Evil" kills the "Bad" at the end of the fight, the former is the more sympathetic one in this case. Gamzee, who plays a smaller role and is on his own side, also counts as an "Evil" here until he gets killed off fairly early into the skirmish.

    Web Originals 
  • There Will Be Brawl: Red, Peach and Luigi are Good; Link and the remaining mob bosses are Bad; and Kirby, along with Ness and Lucas, is completely batshit evil incarnate.
  • In Tales from My D&D Campaign, Humans are the Good, the Illud are the Bad, and the Deluvians are the Evil.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The second season broke down into this, with Aang and friends being the good, Zuko being the bad, and Azula the evil. At the end of the second season Zuko would subvert the opportunity for a Heel–Face Turn, but eventually do it in the third.
    • This is actually true for most of the show. In the first season, Aang and co. are the good, Zuko is the bad, and Zhao is the evil; in the first part of the third, the good and bad roles are the same, but with Ozai joining Azula in the evil. After Zuko's Heel–Face Turn the system breaks down, though at the very end you have the Gaang as the good, Azula as the vicious yet pitiable evil, and Ozai as the stone-cold irredeemable sadistic evil.
    • This even shows up among the main firebenders in the first season. Iroh is the Good, being Good All Along, Zuko is the Bad, chasing the Avatar while having a lot of standards in the chase and willing to reach out a hand to help his uncle or crew, and Zhao is the Evil, a Jerkass who is willing to cross the Moral Event Horizon if he deems it necessary.
  • Danny Phantom turned into this pretty early on and kept building on it. It used to be that Team Phantom was the good and the various ghosts he fought were the evil. Now, Team Phantom is good, Vlad and Valerie (along with a few more sympathetic ghosts) are the bad, and most of Danny's Rogues Gallery is the evil. By the end, however, Vlad is the evil and most of the Rogues Gallery is the bad.
  • The '90s X-Men animated series had one of the most memorable and sympathetic portrayals of Magneto ever to exist, out to defend mutantkind from its human oppressors, who were generally portrayed as pretty heavily bigoted. Of course the show couldn't have him be too evil with such a sympathetic cause, so he got thrust into Enemy Mine situations in all but his very first appearance against villains who were more evil than him at his worst.
  • Gargoyles did this often in the second season, most notably with Goliath and Xanatos (who may be the king of self-interest trumping morality, but isn't evil per se) teaming up against the out-of-control transformed Fox in "Eye of the Beholder" and the serial-killing Demona in the "City of Stone" arc.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man Spidey is the good and most of his Rogues Gallery are the evil, with Tombstone as the bad- he's unquestionably a villain and a very ruthless one, but he sees his criminal empire as a business first and foremost and tends to avoid pointless cruelty. He (briefly) teams up with Spidey on a couple of occasions against the blatantly psychotic Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus.
    • It's not just him, either - Sandman, Black Cat, and (to a much lesser extent) Rhino are just in it for the money, and don't really go out of their way to hurt anyone (except Spidey himself, in Rhino's case). Sandman even gets to team up with Spidey for Redemption Equals Death in the course of saving a little girl.
    • And Molten Man was working for the truly psychotic Green Goblin, but against his will - it was a pretty clear set-up for a Heel–Face Turn, but the show was canceled just two seasons in.
  • In the fourth season of Kim Possible, Affably Evil Dr. Drakken and his Deadpan Snarker dragon Shego developed into "the bad". First by toning down their evil throughout the season and in the final episode by putting them in an Enemy Mine position against a race of Always Chaotic Evil alien invaders.
  • The Teen Titans had an alliance with Slade against Trigon that lasted all of 2 episodes. In season 4, Red X also temporarily sided with the Titans, without accomplishing a full Heel–Face Turn. He originally competed with the Titans and every other villain involved, just to get a Macguffin for himself, but apparently had hidden reasons that made him let Robin win.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown there are varying degrees of bad and evil, while the Monks are unquestionably good, though they dip their toes in the darkside sometimes, there is Jack on the bad side but he wants to be the Big Bad. Chase could be considered bad also as he spends most of his time helping the monks while trying to fullfill his own goals. There is Wuya who is evil, but mostly harmless except when she reveals herself to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain, and finally Hannibal Bean who is very evil.
  • In the Grand Finale of Justice League, Darkseid was inadvertently revived by a ritual Lex Luthor intended for Brainiac but was sabotaged by Tala as payback. Luthor rather sensibly went straight to the League and explained there was going to be an alien invasion now and the planet needed saving, let us help. The League gave them a five-minute head start afterward.
    • Darkseid's role as the Evil of this trope was cemented early on the the series (even as far back as Superman: The Animated Series), in that he's the only one to whom Superman will show no mercy in battle, even to the point that he's fully prepared to sacrifice himself if it means that Darkseid goes down with him.
  • In the fifth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul tries to deal with other rogue factions in the galaxy:
    • In the first episode of the arc, Maul (Evil) tries to take control of Hondo Ohnaka's pirate gang (Bad) while the Jedi (Good) are hot on their tail.
    • By the end of the arc, Maul has teamed up with the Mandalorian Death Watch, and a split in the ranks has caused a civil war between the Evil faction loyal to Maul and a Bad one that opposes him. And then the Even More Evil gets involved, as the fighting catches the eye of Darth Sidious, who goes to beat some sense into Maul. While Good does have a part in the conflict, its presence is minimal; with Duchess Satine caught in the crossfire and Obi-Wan intervening to rescue her. Even so, the merely-Bad Death Watch does come to Obi-Wan's aid at the end.
  • The season three premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil does this, with Star briefly joining forces with her usual foe and Harmless Villain Ludo in her quest to defeat Toffee, who aims to destroy all magic in the multiverse. If only because Toffee has being using Ludo's body on-and-off as a Meat Puppet since the middle of season two, thus making this the only way to get close to him.

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