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Playing With / If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten

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Basic Trope: Bad Guys ask somebody they don't know well to perform an evil act, to prove that he's with them.

  • Straight: "You want to join us? You'll have to kill this enemy agent to prove your loyalty."
  • Exaggerated:
    • "You want to join us? You'll have to blow up that orphanage to show your ruthlessness.
    • "You want to join us? You must prove you are an absolutely, irredeemably evil being who willingly execute acts of genocide on every specific group of targets who will be in our way. And you must not be pretending to be doing these. We will be watching you."
    • "You can join us, but only if you're truly evil and you commit every act of pure, unenviable evil, and come back to us. Only then will we accept you as a member of our group."
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • The villain organization needs people really disposed to commit evil acts.
    • The villain organization is specifically intended to be a specialized death squad. Naturally they want people disposed to commit evil acts.
    • The villain organization doesn't believe the person in question is honest, and deliberately pulls a test just to get them to back down.
    • The villain organization wants a record of the person committing a crime to hold over their heads in case they feel like going straight later.
    • There was once an occasion where the villain organization hired someone, only to be stabbed in the back by them for whatever reason. It only makes sense that they want to make sure that this new recruit can truly be trusted with this task.
    • The villain organization is considering promoting the person to an important position with access to the group's secrets, where they could bring the whole organization down if they're actually an agent for law enforcement.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
    • It turns out that the gun didn't have any bullets in it, and the character realized that.
    • Or, it turns out this was a Secret Test of Character and anyone who actually goes through with it is too mentally unstable to be reliable...
  • Double Subverted:
    • It turns out that the gun was loaded with blanks; but the second step is to hand the participant a live gun, just to see how the participant reacts to their mind being screwed with.
    • ... But it turns out the villains do have a position open for a man of such a disposition.
    • It turns out that the participant was being set up to see if he is evil enough to be used as the victim in someone elses Initiation Ceremony. Using real bullets this time.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: Bob is asked to prove his villainy, by petting a kitten. When he agrees he has a metal glove handed to him... only, it's just a grooming glove, and the cat enjoys it. But dies seconds later, because the glove is poisoned! The Big Evil comments "Since when do we poison grooming gloves? For that matter, who forgot to weld the spikes onto it?! You know George likes... well... liked feeling them against his fur!" The Big Evil lapses into tears, and then shoots the cat's corpse. It turns out to be a healing bullet that revived the cat. The cat then pounces toward Bob and kills him. "Good cat." The Big Evil then goes to the kitchen to grab a... knife, which he then uses to chop some meat up. His hand reaches for a vial of poison... before moving to the vial of vaccination, which he uses to prevent the cat from dying in the future, so he can use his knife to kill the cat for hims-no, wait, he was just cutting more meat.
  • Averted: The character gets in without any tests of loyalty.
  • Enforced: Show writers think that the audience really need an highlight on who is the bad.
  • Lampshaded: "I'm a veteran, I served under dozens of Evil Lords. Luckily, I like the taste of kittens."
  • Invoked: "Go on, ask me to kill one of my former allies. I know just the person, too..."
  • Exploited: The Reverse Mole is asked to kill one of his 'former' teammates, and so he kills the guy whose power is to come Back from the Dead.
  • Defied:
    • "What, you think I'm going to get my own hand dirty? I'm a schemer, I don't kill directly."
    • The hero secretly frees every kitten in the Evil Lord mansion before being tested.
  • Discussed: "I expect you're suspicious of my sudden change of heart, aren't you? Gonna ask me to prove my evil?"
  • Conversed: "What is it about villains that they feel like they have to demonstrate their evilness in such an over-the-top way?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • "You know, forcing all recruits to go through such a dehumanising act, to say nothing of the inherent lack of trust in your hiring practices this implies, may go a long way to explain why the crime syndicate over in the next city has three times your members since all they want is a simple referral. I mean, what does this even prove? If anything, if I go through with this should make you even more worried about my loyalties since it either proves I'm a complete sociopath nutcase, or someone who's ruthless enough to do such a thing just to keep my cover. I mean, imagine if I'm an undercover Action Hero: What do you think I'm going to do to you later for putting me through this?"
    • See Parodied. The character becomes sick and dies from infection after actually eating the cat.
  • Reconstructed:

If you're so evil, go back to If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten...You Monster!.