After a hard day of fighting the forces of not-niceness, the hero goes home for some much needed rest. But who should they see having tea with their mom but the Big Bad! The sheer, mind-breaking disconnect of the embodiment of strife, hatred, evil and missing-left-socks engaging in polite conversation over tea and snack will throw the hero into a combination of wordless shock and sheer panic. She invited him in.
This is usually a horrifyingly difficult dilemma for the hero, doubly so if they have a Secret Identity. Attacking the villain outright will endanger their loved one and reveal the secret... that is, if the villain isn't secretly training a gun on them as a form of collateral to enforce a civil, if tense, social exchange. What usually happens is the Big Bad gets the first move and delightedly forces the hero to play along, as if they really were having tea with a friend. Expect the hero, villain and Innocent Bystander to have a tense (and potentially hilarious) veiled conversation.
A few things can happen from here:
- If the Big Bad has discovered the hero's secret identity, and with it the location of their loved ones, he will use the drop in to play head games in order to convince the hero to back off for fear he might kidnap his mom or do much worse. Even if he does nothing, it proves beyond a doubt that no one (hero included) is safe.
- The Big Bad has discovered the hero's secret identity, and wants to propose an Enemy Mine or We Can Rule Together, with the above threats implied.
- The Big Bad doesn't know the hero's identity (but may find out once he enters the door), and is a friend of his mom's or even romantically interested. Awkward. If both recognize the other, the usual vibe is "let's wait 'til we're outside".
- The Big Bad was waiting for the hero, met his mom, and now wants to kill both.
- The hero's mom is an Action Mom herself, knows who the Big Bad is, and all hell is about to break loose.
- The Big Bad was waiting for the hero, met his mom, and now wants to date her.
See also Safety in Muggles. Compare Go-Karting with Bowser, Friendly Enemies. See also No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine and Why Isn't It Attacking?. May overlap with Villains Out Shopping if the encounter is not planned and is just a result of the villain's everyday, mundane activities unrelated to their villainy. A major reason things don't boil over is usually both parties respecting the Sacred Hospitality trope. Villain Over for Dinner is distantly related to Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?. Also see Nonviolent Initial Confrontation.
- An absolutely frightening example happened in Bleach. Ichigo comes home after a long day of training only to find the newest big bad who just spent the last few chapters nearly slaughtering his friends drinking tea with Yuzu. It goes downhill from there. Way down hill.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed finds Winry talking with Fuhrer Bradley after his second fight with Scar. This would've been more dramatic had he known Bradley was a Homunculus, but Ling tells him later that day.
- Several episodes later this happens again, this time on purpose with Kimblee. It's at this point the boys have to tell Winry that she's in a hostage situation.
- In one of the The King of Fighters mangas, Kyo Kusanagi gets really mad when he finds Eiji Kisaragi, a member of Iori's '95 team... having breakfast with his mother Shizuka. (She had caught him in the warehouse and calmly reduced him with words and her naginata.) Unable to just attack Eiji due to Sacred Hospitality, Kyo silently threatened him with death should he ever step foot in the Kusanagi home again.
- Funniest thing? Eiji later shows up again. And has dinner with the Kusanagi parents. Shizuka just laughs, Eiji and Saisyu act almost like man children.
- In Nabari no Ou, due to the series' Grey and Gray Morality, this is mostly played for laughs: Thobari finds his girlfriend letting an enemy ninja into the house. And serving him tea. And then holding hands and dancing around.
Thobari: I can't take this...It's just getting worse and worse...
Hanabusa: Ah, Thobari, you join in too!
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's inverts this late in the season. Yagami Hayate's de facto family is spending Christmas eve in the Hospital with her, then four of her friends (two of whom are trying to locate the master of the Wolkenritter and/or keep the Book of Darkness from being completed) drop by unexpectedly with presents. Uh Oh. As one of Nanoha's Muggle friends has been interacting with Hayate and the Wolkenritter since the first episode with neither side knowing their relationship to their enemies, the entire season was leading up to this scene and its associated Internal Reveal.
- Rurouni Kenshin - Saitou, who Kenshin knew from being on opposite sides during the Meiji Revolution, makes himself known to Kenshin by visiting the dojo while Kenshin is out, acting perfectly civil in his official role as a policeman. When Kenshin comes back, Saitou makes it absolutely clear that he could have slaughtered everyone there if he had felt like it. The revelation sends Kenshin into an Heroic BSoD.
- Has happened to Spider-Man a few times. Doctor Octopus once dated (and almost married) Aunt May. In Ultimate Marvel there is an infinitely creepier version when Peter comes home and finds Norman Osborn sitting on his couch watching TV and waiting for him.
Oh Peter... will you ever forgive me for bringing that awful, awful man (Dr. Octopus) into our home? It must have been excruciating for you, knowing what you knew. Here I was betrothed to a criminal psychotic with all those ugly secrets and you knew it all along.
- In another creepy example Peter came home one day to find Venom helping his Aunt May with the laundry. Venom was deliberately invoking this trope; Peter had tried to call in help from the Fantastic Four for their upcoming battle, and Venom was letting Peter know that he knew about the attempt and a second one would go very badly.
- Later, when Peter revealed his secret to aunt May, she had this exchange with Peter.
- Though they are still civil to each other next time they meet. Ock even saves her life, though it was partly his fault she was in danger in the first place (he was fighting a villain who copied his robo arms) and he left Spidey to die on the grounds that "you're not a civilian".
- A Marvel Adventures Spider-Man story opened with this trope when Aunt May took in Dr. Octopus in a prisoner-rehabilitation program. Spider-Man keeps a worried eye on Dr. Octopus, but gets chased off by May after mistaking Ock's household chores as attacks. Later, it turns out that Ock was trying to access a power line beneath the Parker home as part of a robbery scheme.
- The Spider-Man newspaper comic featured a storyline where Aunt May got engaged to Mole Man. This was exactly as insane as it sounds.
- There was also the time Norman Osborn slept with Peter's girlfriend Gwen and got her pregnant? Call this one "Did You Just Have Sex With Cthulhu"?
- In a less extreme example, you know how J.J. Jameson hates Spider-Man's guts? Yeah, J.J.'s dad is interested in Aunt May. They hook up. Peter and J.J. are basically step brothers.
- In The Iron Giant, Hogart goes down to breakfast only to find Kent, the agent looking for the Giant, sitting at the table. He has rented the family's spare room and now wants to ask him a few questions.
- Up: How does Carl and Russell first meet the film's main antagonist Charles Muntz? By having dinner with him at his place.
- Fright Night (1985) has this happen... immediately after learning that vampires can only enter your home when invited, Charlie comes home to see the vampire in his living room with his mom. Oh, Crap!.
- Fright Night 2: New Blood: Right after escaping from Gerri's lair after Charley witnesses her killing someone and bathing in their blood, he finds Gerri in his girlfriend's dorm room already waiting for him.
- In the first Spider-Man film, Norman Osborn has Thanksgiving dinner with Peter since he is roommates with Harry. This happens about 5 minutes after they fight in a burning building on the other side of town. Neither knows the other's secret identity, though Norman figures it out after seeing a wound on Peter's arm that matches the one he gave Spider-Man.
- In Disturbia, Kale comes downstairs, only to find the neighborhood's very own Serial Killer in his kitchen. Turns out Kale's mom invited him, and she gets really mad when Kale freaks out about him being there.
- Inverted in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Davy Jones, the Undead Cthulhu Pirate, storms into Becket's stateroom only to find him having tea with Will Turner.
- Blue Steel. Jamie Lee Curtis (playing the policewoman protagonist) goes to her parents home to find the killer she's investigating has invited himself there, claiming to be an old friend.
- In Derailed, Clive Owen's character has an affair with Jennifer Aniston but they get robbed in their hotel room by a vicious criminal who calls himself "LaRoche". He rapes Aniston and blackmails Owen with the knowledge that he cheated on his wife. Imagine Owen's horror when he gets home from work to find LaRoche, masquerading as a benign French businessman (if you believe in oxymorons), having tea with his wife while flirting with her and (disturbingly) their sixteen year-old daughter. When they leave the room, LaRoche pins Owen against the wall, gripping him by his testicles while threatening him. The wife's reaction after he leaves: "He seemed like a lovely guy."
- In A Muppet Family Christmas, the Muppet gang is staying with Fozzie's mom and Fozzie wants to show off his new stand-up routine. He gets the shock of his life when he sees Statler and Waldorf on the couch ready to unload yet another round of heckling, as his mom explains that they're her friends.
- The source of the main twist in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Aunt May drops Peter off at his homecoming date Liz's house, with the plan being that her dad will drive them to the dance together. Peter knocks on the door, and who should answer but her dad, Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture. Toomes doesn't recognize Peter (the only time he's encountered Spider-Man, he's been in a mask) but Peter recognizes Toomes, and by the end of the car ride to school Toomes has figured out that Peter is Spider-Man.
- Susan Cooper's novel The Dark Is Rising. While Will Stanton is enjoying Christmas morning with his family, the Black Rider (a Lord of the Dark) stops by to drop off a ring. He can get through the house's defenses because Mr. Stanton (Will's father) invited him to enter. Will can't force him to leave because using such powerful magic would endanger his family, so he has to be polite to the Black Rider until he leaves.
- There's an example of this in The Dream Merchant to mess with the hero.
- In Esther Friesner's Elf Defense, protagonist divorce lawyer Sandra Horowitz finds her mother having lunch with elven king Kelerison (whose ex-wife she's representing), who immediately has worked up all of her mom's Jewish Mother guilt against her.
- In Ghost Story, Peter, a teenage boy, sees his friend eaten by the servant of Alma Mobley. Terrified, he returns home to find a dinner party in progress, and Alma herself at the table. He's even pushed to sit beside her. Peter's parents make arrangements for Peter to spend some time with Alma, helping her with chores. Peter is paralyzed and mute with horror.
- In Hannibal, Hannibal Lecter is being hunted in Italy by a detective, who uses unethical methods. Lecter instantly befriends the detective's wife at a public event, while the detective is obviously horrified, and can't really tell his wife what's going on without seeming jealous. After the wife leaves, Lecter tells him that "I am seriously thinking about having your wife for dinner."
- In the second book of The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis, the main character Benjamin Laurenson gets home from school only to find the evil warlock having tea and biscuits with his sister. He doesn't take it well.
- In Pact, this is inverted when Blake Thorburn and his friends show up at the house of police officer Duncan Behaim, where they help his wife get her car out of a snowdrift before convincing her to call him, and then him his uncle. Duncan points out that it's very low to involve his wife in their dispute, and Blake, in turn, points out that Duncan's uncle had his cousin murdered, and as far as he's concerned he's being perfectly fair.
- The Hunger Games: At the beginning of Catching Fire, President Snow drops by for a terrifying "chat" with Katniss, during which he threatens to kill her whole family if she doesn't conduct herself properly on the Victory Tour. (Katniss' mother isn't present for this part of the conversation, but she does drop in to serve them tea. Katniss then has to conceal the conversation from her mother, telling her the president was just wishing her luck.)
- An Invoked Trope in Four Against The Mob by Oscar Fraley. Elliot Ness invites a suspected Serial Killer in for a friendly chat, even ordering dinner. He gets a bit nervous when the suspect is wielding his knife and looking at Ness with a mad glint in his eye, but takes comfort in the fact that his men are in the next room...until he goes to the next room and finds his men have gone off for dinner themselves! Apparently they heard Ness order dinner, so decided everything was all right.
- This has happened multiple times on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, possibly to the extent of a Running Gag.
- Played for Drama when Angelus dropped by Joyce's house in a late-S2 episode to inform her that he was looking for Buffy and yes, he'd had sex with her daughter. Fortunately, Buffy and Willow were a few steps ahead of him, having warned Joyce not to let him in and magically revoked the invitation.
- Buffy walks in on Spike having hot chocolate with Joyce in "Lover's Walk". Joyce had gotten the wrong idea due to an earlier Enemy Mine.
- Apparently, this happened more than once. At least, in the episode "Forever", Spike said, "I liked the lady! She was decent. Didn't put on airs. She always had a nice cuppa for me."
- Dracula ran into Joyce at her art gallery and also had dinner with her in order to get invited in, although we don't get to see it.
- Glory also lets herself in and threatens Buffy vaguely.
- Game of Thrones: Tyrion returns to his quarters to find Varys chatting with his mistress Shae, whose presence is supposed to be a complete secret. Varys makes friendly conversation but obliquely references to Tyrion what a shame it would be if Tywin learned about her presence.
- Sylar in Heroes has done this a couple of times. Once he was having lunch with Matt's wife to try to convince Matt to remove his powers. Another time he went to Bennet's home posing as a Primatech deliveryman looking for Bennet, only to have his wife entertain him while waiting.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dr. Moriarty kidnaps Dr. Pulaski. When Picard goes to resolve the situation, he finds the two literally having tea. Moriarty may have an evil scheme, but aside from that he's a Noble Demon.
- In Teen Wolf, Scott's mom gets asked out on a date by Alpha Peter Hale, much to Scott's horror.
- Arrow: Slade pops in to have a little chat with Moira, which Oliver walks in on. Oliver is totally disarmed, as can be expected.
- Supernatural. In "Form and Void", Dean hears someone has called in a priest to do an exorcism after the latest bit of supernatural weirdness, and is dumbfounded to find the demon Crowley in the lounge room dressed as a priest and sipping a cup of tea.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Luis walks in on his mum having dinner with her loanshark, who is a villain in the beginning of the game.
- In Team Fortress 2's "Meet the Spy", the BLU spy reveals to the team that BLU Scout's mother is in a relationship with the RED Spy.
- If you borrow money from the Carta in Dragon Age II, they will show up at Hawke's house early in Act 2, literally having tea with Hawke's mom. This is definitely the "implied threat" version. Snarky!Hawke's response? "Mother spends her days making cake. And poisons. Please tell me you didn't try the cake." (Interestingly, this is one of the few points in the game where there's no "diplomatic/nice" dialogue option available.)
- Persona 5: Sympathetic Inspector Antagonists like Sae and Goro will show up at Cafe Leblanc, the coffee shop you work at and live above, for coffee throughout the story. For Goro, this is actually a part of his Level-Up at Intimacy 5 Confidant side plot.
- In The Order of the Stick, the Monster In The Darkness (who almost seems designed from the trope Minion with an F in Evil) has tea with its "victims" the way a child has "tea" with it's stuffed animals (as in imaginary tea in empty cups, and yes, it has some stuffed animal friends too). It also cheers on those its fellow villains attempt to kill.
- In Roommates this is James Norrington's initial reaction to his mother seeing der Erlkönig (after he realized who he is, father of his best friend Jareth and the guy who tried to steal Toby so something dangerous and probably malevolent). Later subverted because the Cool Old Lady is hard to fool... she willingly romances "Cthulhu".
- In Supermegatopia, Dark Iguana stops by the Vayne manor to drop off Tiger Lass - "Some people just don't make good hostages" - and is promptly invited to tea by Weasel Boy's Mom.
- All-Star, a student at the Hyperion Academy, came home for the holidays to find the villainous Doctor XX (who didn't recognize him out of costume) sitting at his family's dining room table. Turns out the villainous doctor had gone to college with his mother and they were catching up on old times.
- Played with a bit in Dr. Horrible. The Villain Protagonist knows the girl he's hanging out with is dating his archnemesis Captain Hammer, but really doesn't want to run into him.
Cap: "Nice to meet you, Billy."
- It's actually a reversal of the trope, in that the "hero" is well aware of the Dr.'s secret identity and is only dating the girl in the first place because he knows he has a crush on her and it will drive him nuts (it really does). It all drives home the point that not only is Captain Hammer not The Cape, he's a total Jerk Ass who goes out of his way to torment a relatively harmless (up until then) villain in his personal time.
- Inverted in the aftermath of Afternoon Tea with the Devil's Daughter in the Whateley Universe. Phase and She-Beast, who knew each other in elementary school, get together and talk about books. Only Phase is the child of the powerful, mutant-hating Goodkind family, who are behind the MCO and the Knights of Purity, so She-Beast's friends think Phase is trying to trick her, and on the other hand She-Beast is the daughter of the dreaded supervillain Dr. Diabolik, so Phase's friends in turn think She-Beast is brainwashing her or otherwise tricking her into spilling team secrets. About the only two people not actually ascribing sinister motives to one side or the other are, in fact, the conversationalists themselves.
- Played with in The Guild. Bladezz gets framed for having dangerous weapons by a person in another guild, and comes home to find that he was now dating his mother.
- Done literally (well, almost) in an episode of 3 Way. Psycho Lesbian Leslie (who, truth be told, is actually more of a Jerkass than a villain) calls up ex-lover Geri to terrorize her. Frightened but angry, Geri demands to know where Leslie is, even wondering for a moment if The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House. Leslie explains that, no, she's at Geri's mother's house, enjoying a cup of tea. To prove this, she holds out the phone and asks for some more tea, and Geri indeed hears her mother gladly agreeing to the request.
- In Atomic Betty Maximus often dates Sparky's mom. In a later episode, Sparky's Mom almost married Maximus Sr.
- In Trollhunters Jim finds out his teacher Mr. Strickler has been his enemy in disguise all along, but comes home to find him currently on a date with his mother. The two fight and put on magical armor whenever Mom leaves for a few minutes to get a new dish.
- Danny Phantom, "Reign Storm," when Danny comes home and finds his Arch-Enemy playing chess with his dad. In this case, though, Mr. Fenton's friendship with the Arch-Enemy actually precedes the super-rivalry.
- Played for laughs in Invader Zim when Dib comes home to find Zim civilly chatting with the former's Dad.
- It gets interesting as it is stated in the commentary that Dib is a poorly made clone and it is quite possible that Dib's Dad and Zim are comparing notes on failed biological experiments.
- In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, at one point Peter finds Eddie Brock/Venom making small talk with Aunt May / Mary Jane (so he can show Peter he knows his identity/where he lives). Aunt May even comments on how such a polite person Eddie is.
- In The Spectacular Spiderman, Brock in this version began as a friend of Peter's, so this still plays out, but in a somewhat different way. When he first transformed, Aunt May was in the hospital at the time, and during a fight, Peter sees him climb toward her hospital window, and it's shown that Brock had sent her flowers- while Brock's gesture was kind of sincere, it has the same effect as this trope usually does. Also, after being depowered the first time, Brock does a Batman Gambit to trick Peter into leading him to where the symbiote is buried (by making Peter think that Brock had managed to access it/had regained his powers). This includes coming to Flash Thompson's birthday, and when he like the other guests leaves a video salutation for Flash, his includes a comment that the others should let Peter know he is looking for him.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, Mr. Krabs discovers that his mother is dating his arch-competitor Plankton and assumes it's all a plot to get to the Krabby Patty formula through her. Plankton, in fact had no idea he was dating Krab's mom, but now that he does...
- A non-villainous example in Batman Beyond: An elderly Bruce Wayne drops by Terry McGinnis's apartment to offer him the job of being Batman. They do this while Terry's mom serves coffee, all without her realizing what's actually going on.
- A mild version of this happens to Kyle in South Park when he sees Cartman talking to his mom and asking her questions about Passover.
- The Simpsons: Bart was aghast to discover that his Aunt Selma was engaged to his archenemy Sideshow Bob, whom she met as part of a prison pen-pal program and had been dating for months after his release. He flat-out told her that the man she planned to marry was a piece of scum.
Selma: "Then call me Mrs. Scum."
- In Tuff Puppy Dudley's mom once went out with Snaptrap, and after he dumps him, she's with The Chameleon.
- The Fairly OddParents!: Crocker invites himself over for dinner at the Turner's house, just so he can sneak away and look for proof of Timmy's Fairy God Parents. (Which just so happens Cosmo is hosting a Fairy Convention in Timmy's Bedroom, with every Fairy in the universe arriving)
- In Bret Hart's autobiography, he talks about how as a kid, he would watch Archie "The Stomper" Gouldie wrestle his father on television, including an angle in which Stomper broke Stu's arm, and then threatened to go to the Hart house and piledrive Bret's mom. As Bret had not been smarted up on how wrestling actually works, imagine the look of horror Bret must have had to see Stomper appear at the Hart House, only for him to hug his mother and collect his paycheck.
- Happen sometimes with occupying forces, depending on how strict the practiced policy is on fraternization
- This is how a lot of war brides meet their husbands.
- In places where militias are a primary means of combating gangs, efforts to improve relations with the community often involve this. Imagine being in the Baltimore ghetto and seeing a soldier having lunch with a middle-aged local woman. And it's the exact same guy who had lined four Crips against the wall that very morning and made everyone watch as they were bayoneted to death.
- There's a rather well-known story of American colonel Francis Marion having dinner with British colonel Banastre Tarleton at Marion's swamp base during The American Revolution. A writing later told of the surprise at how the Americans were so willing to keep fighting with so few supplies or even adequate clothing at times.
- Whitey Bulger was notorious for this sort of behavior towards the families of people had was trying to shake down, since while it was well known that he was a gangster he was also generally well liked by the residents of South Boston until the true extent of his bloodthirstiness, corruption and hypocrisy came to light after he fled town. On at least one occasion he actually picked up the victim's toddler and held her as they talked just to drive the point home. To this day many residents of South Boston tell stories about how Whitey would visit or eat dinner with their families like it was a perfectly normal thing.