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Playing With / Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work

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Basic Trope: A villain commits a villainous act that furthers the heroes' goals, allowing the heroes to benefit without getting their own hands dirty.

  • Straight: The Super Troper team has subdued Master Destruction, but they know that it's only a matter of time before he escapes his Cardboard Prison and wreaks havoc again. They refuse to kill him because Thou Shalt Not Kill. Luckily, Emperor Evulz shows up and kills Master Destruction for them.
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  • Exaggerated: Emperor Evulz appears and takes care of any uncomfortable act a Super Troper is faced with, from executing super villains to tactfully pointing out that, no, that new cologne really isn't very flattering.
  • Downplayed: The Super Tropers and Emperor Evulz are both fighting Master Destruction, and Evulz happens to be the one to land the killing blow.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Emperor Evulz likes to think he has standards, and as such won't execute an unarmed prisoner. The Super Tropers, on the other hand, are willing to do anything for the greater good.
  • Subverted:
    • Evulz offers to "take care of" Destruction, and drags him into an alley, loading his weapon. As soon as they're out of sight, he unties Master Destruction.
    • Master Destruction's death was actually a really bad thing, because he was either still needed by the good guys, or he was about to redeem himself.
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...then he shoots him as he's "trying to escape."
    • It turns out that Master Destruction was lying about wanting to reform/couldn't help the heroes even if he wanted to. Evulz was able to see through this and killed him before he could spread any more harm and lies.
  • Parodied: The heroes keep Emperor Evulz's phone number and call him whenever they need someone to Shoot the Dog.
  • Zig Zagged: Evulz draws his sword and advances on the helpless Destruction. Suddenly, Hero Harry interposes himself between the villains and says this is something he's got to do for himself. He puts a gun to Destruction's head... but he can't bring himself to pull the trigger. Evulz taunts Harry for his lack of moral fortitude and grabs Destruction himself. Then he flies into the air and escapes with the criminal. The heroes track him down, only to discover that Evulz is now subjecting Destruction to a Fate Worse than Death, as mundane execution is too good for him. Then said fate turns out to really be Training from Hell to make Destruction even more powerful and evil... so Evulz can then perform a body switch and dispose of Master Destruction in his own body.
  • Averted: The heroes never have to Shoot the Dog.
  • Enforced: Cold-blooded execution would make the heroes seem less sympathetic, so it falls to Evulz to permanently tie up Master Destruction's story.
  • Lampshaded:
    • "Oh, come now. Don't act so self-righteous. If I hadn't come along, you'd have had to do it yourself!"
    • "Super Troper! If you aren't going to kill Destruction, then I, Dr. Evulz will!"
  • Invoked:
    • The heroes take care to drive Master Destruction onto Evulz's stomping grounds before subduing him, and go out of their way to delay his extraction to maximize the chances of Evulz stumbling across them.
    • The heroes deliver a No Holds Barred Beat Down toward Master Destruction, only to kick him towards Evulz's office and leave Destruction at Evulz's mercy.
  • Exploited: "Wait, guys, are we just going to leave Master Destruction there unconscious? We didn't even tie him up!" "Don't worry about it, Evulz will probably show up and finish him off. We have more important things to do that babysit prisoners."
  • Defied:
    • The heroes Shoot the Dog themselves.
    • The heroes let a dangerous villain escape justice, possibly leading to a new storyline that could have been avoided.
    • Emperor Evulz refuses to kill Master Destruction for the heroes, either because he isn't really a killer or because he doesn't like cooperating with the heroes any more than he has to.
    • The heroes Take a Third Option and depower Master Destruction instead of choosing between killing or releasing him to do evil again.
    • As soon as Evulz shows up, Paladin Paul threatens to charge him with murder if he harms the prisoner.
    • Emperor Evulz deliberately lets Master Destruction live and sets up a moral dilemma for the heroes because he wants to force them to solve it themselves, either to see what choice they will make or out of pure sadism.
  • Discussed: "Looks like only the bad guy can solve this problem. Super Troper doesn't have the stomach for that sort of thing."
  • Conversed: "Emperor Evulz must be out of his mind! What kind of villain contributes to his own defeat?"
  • Implied: The end of the episode/movie shows Master Destruction waking up to see Emperor Evulz standing over him. The scene cuts to black, and Master Destruction is never seen again.
  • Deconstructed:
    • The fact that the heroes needed to rely on a villain to bail them out of a problem puts their convictions and abilities into question. The question on whether or not they'll need to become Necessarily Evil also comes in, as well as what they'll do when there isn't a convenient villain around that's inclined to do the dirty work for them.
    • While Emperor Evulz does take care of Master Destruction he is quite indiscriminate and unnecessarily violent about it, killing the innocent staff of the diner he was eating in at the time to leave no witnesses. This highlights why relying on this trope is not a good thing.
  • Reconstructed:
    • After receiving a "Break Them by Talking" lecture from said villain savior about being morally cowardly and ineffective, the heroes realize that now and then they will have to Shoot the Dog, but only if all other options fail first.
    • While it's obvious that Master Destruction cannot be allowed to live any longer, personally killing him would have a negative effect on the heroes' psychological well-being. Just because they were the ones to catch him doesn't mean they're the kind of people who can kill someone in cold blood, especially when it's up close and personal.
  • Played For Laughs: As the heroes surround the defeated Master Destruction, Evulz can be seen jumping around behind them begging to be allowed to kill Destruction.
    Evulz: Please please please can I kill him? Pretty please?

And just when you think the Big Bad has won, your old nemesis appears and takes you back to Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work!

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