Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Memory Gambit

Go To

Basic Trope: A character's memories being erased or altered turns out to be part of the plan.

  • Straight: Bob erases his memories of being the Big Bad to get close to the good guys.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob has erased his memories of being evil to get close to the good guys.
    • Bob has transferred half of his soul along with all his memories to a Soul Jar to get close to the good guys.
  • Downplayed: Bob erases one memory of a crime he committed from his mind to prevent himself from incriminating himself while being questioned.
  • Advertisement:
  • Justified: Charlie, The Smart Guy, is a mind-reader, so if he manages to expose Bob as the Big Bad by reading his mind, then Bob's plan would be ruined.
  • Inverted: Alice implants Fake Memories of evil deeds into her mind to get herself close to the bad guys.
  • Subverted: It appears Bob has erased his memories of being the Big Bad, but it turns out he actually had them relocated to a safe part of his mind, which Charlie can't mind-read.
  • Double Subverted: Those memories actually do get erased.
  • Parodied: Bob accidentally erased ALL his memories and ruined his own plans.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob's attempt to erase some memories just results in uncontrollable multiple personality disorder; The memories keep returning and disappearing at random.
  • Averted: Bob doesn't alter his memories
  • Enforced: Producers force the writers to make Bob erase his memories, because otherwise Fridge Logic would dictate that Charlie should recognize him in an instant.
  • Advertisement:
  • Lampshaded: "You're gonna wipe out your memories?! Are you out of your mind?!!!"
  • Invoked: Charlie boasts about his mind-reading skills in hope that, to get closer to them, Bob will erase his own memories.
  • Exploited: David, Bob's right hand man, takes advantage of Bob's inability to remember who he is to take over the corporation.
  • Defied: Charlie has a device that allows him to see if Bob erased his own memories, so Bob don't do it, relaying on own cunning instead.
  • Discussed:
    Alice: And what if Bob is the Emperor Evulz?
    Bob: No way. I checked his memories.
    Alice: He might have erased them, you know.
  • Conversed:
    Bob: So, how did he make it?
    Alice: Well, he erased his memories and "joined" the Rebels.
  • Implied: Bob, the Bad Guy, suddenly has a Heel–Face Turn and joins Charlie's Five-Man Band with apparently no memory of his past. Later, while researching his ex-Supervillain Lair, they see archives detailing his evil self's experiments with memory wiping.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Because Bob erased his memories, he naturally forgets that he's a villain. He becomes less and less like a villain and more and more like a hero until he finally performs an accidental Heel–Face Turn.
    • Amnesiac Dissonance, Tomato in the Mirror.
  • Reconstructed: His memory becomes a separate consciousness.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob forgets he's a Bad Guy, so after joining Charlie's team, he's the one most eager to take down the Bad Guy. He's a terrible fighter, though, so he looks pathetic, especially in David's eyes.
  • Played For Drama: Bob becomes the mask and after he remembers being the Bad Guy, he struggles to balance his good self and bad self.

And when the trigger comes, you will remember how to get back to Memory Gambit.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: