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Playing With / Armor-Piercing Question

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Basic Trope: A character asks a question that makes another character question their actions.

  • Straight: After Alice kills Bob for murdering Claire, her sister, Diana asks if Claire would have wanted it this way. This makes Alice have a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • Exaggerated: Eddie has crossed the Moral Event Horizon hundreds of times. When Diana questions him, he immediately pulls a Heel–Face Turn, and becomes The Atoner.
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  • Downplayed: Alice does reconsider her actions, but manages to comfort herself.
  • Justified: Alice was Brainwashed and Crazy, and Diana knew the only way to save her was to ask her the question.
  • Inverted: Alice is currently looking for the answer to a question, so she can turn evil. She does so when Faye accidentally gives her the answer.
  • Subverted:
    • Diana asks Alice if Claire would have wanted this, only for Alice to say yes...
    • Later on, Faye is able to communicate with Claire from beyond the grave...and it turns out that yes, Claire did want it.
  • Double Subverted: ...then she suffers an Villainous Breakdown.
  • Parodied: Diana's question isn't even related to what Alice did, like "Did you eat a whale this morning? It good to have your cells good for photosynthesis!". It still works!
  • Zig Zagged: Alice can't decide if she's bothered by Diana's question or not.
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  • Averted: Diana just uses The Power of Friendship.
  • Enforced: Alice is an Ensemble Dark Horse, and so the producers want Alice to stay alive, conflicting with the original idea. The writers decide this is the best way to do it.
  • Lampshaded: "Why did you ask me that question? Now I just feel guilty!"
  • Invoked: Diana has a crush on Alice, so she decides to think of a question to ask her so that Alice could perform a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Exploited: Alice notices Diana's plans, and goes along with it so she can corrupt Diana.
  • Defied: Despite her feelings, Diana decides to just arrest her.
  • Discussed: "What's the chance that Diana will beat up Alice?" "Very little, she's more likely to try to make her reconsider her actions or something."
  • Conversed: "Why didn't Alice think of that before she killed Bob?" "Maybe she wasn't thinking straight."
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  • Deconstructed: Alice is so broken from the question that she is either Driven to Suicide, or spends the rest of her life regretting the misery she brought and knowing that no one will forgive her.
  • Played For Laughs: Claire's question is simply Stating the Simple Solution that Alice never considered: "Why didn't you just call the police?"
  • Implied: Alice seems like she might turn fully evil after killing Bob, but doesn't. When asked why, she says, "I didn't have a good answer."

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