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Playing With / Surveillance as the Plot Demands

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Basic Trope: The villain somehow has the ability to watch the hero at all times.

  • Straight: Jake, the Big Bad, pulls up a screen showing what Bob is doing. The first one is a reasonable place to have a camera, the other two are either unusual places to plant a camera in the long run or otherwise should be impossible, such as in the middle of a burning building.
  • Exaggerated: The villain is watching the hero but, unknown to him, a rival villain is watching him, who in turn is being watched by someone else, who's also being watched by... (and so on, and so forth)
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  • Downplayed: Whenever he's in public, Bob can be watched from security cameras owned by companies. Otherwise Jake can't track Bob by video.
  • Justified:
    • The technology or method for watching the hero has an explanation, such as magic, futuristic technology of time-manipulation powers.
    • When questioned on how his spying works, Jake lifts a curtain to reveal a camera staring at a crystal ball.
  • Inverted:
    • The heroes have a method to watch the villain(s) all the time.
    • Jake is completely unable to learn even the slightest tidbit of information about Bob, even if Bob screams it out on live television.
    • Bob's single superpower is that he is invisible to all surveillance and this leaves Jake terrified.
  • Subverted: The society of villains ask their sorcerer, conqueror from the future or guardian of the timestream to watch for the hero. He replies he can't do that, that's beyond his powers.
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  • Double Subverted: The villain said that he can't watch the hero, but it was a lie, he wants to keep that a secret.
  • Parodied:
    • The villain watches the hero, but we find out later that he was not using a surveillance system, he was simply watching the hero in television.
    • Bob finds that no matter how many cameras he destroys, there's always another one waiting for him.
  • Zig Zagged: Jake tries to keep cameras on Bob at all times and mostly manages, but either he cannot put them in enough places to maintain perfect 24/7 surveillance or the cameras are limited by the technology they are made of and cannot catch some important angles. Never mind, though, because Jake's magical Enhance Button can take care of all of that after a few seconds of extrapolation. Soon enough, though, Bob has enough of a clue of how Jake's surveillance networks work to find some blind spots, and Jake rushes to try to fill those spots, which means Bob now has to smash anything that looks like it's holding a camera in the neighborhood (and mostly succeeds)...
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  • Averted: Jakes does not have cameras in every and all places.
  • Enforced: Executives think that Jake will be a more interesting villain if he's a representation of The Man and thus how Big Brother Is Watching You.
  • Lampshaded: "Hello, villain. I know you are in there somewhere, filming and watching me"
  • Invoked: Jake develops Nano Machines to see through Bob's eyes and uses a vast array of signal boosters so that he can always see whatever Bob does.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied: The hero seeks and destroys the cameras before doing what he came to do.
  • Discussed: "What? A device to watch the hero? Who do you think am I, a comic book villain? Well, let's go to the other room, perhaps we will find something useful at my Hero Watching Armoury"
  • Conversed:
  • Implied: The villain has powerful surveillance technology, and knows very well what is the hero up to. However, we never saw him spying on the hero ourselves.
  • Deconstructed: We see how the villain has to install cameras at difficult places, and most of the footage is empty (because the hero was not there at that moment) or irrelevant (because the hero is filmed doing trivial things).
    • Installing the cameras everywhere has massive operational shortcomings as it means more illicit cameras are out there to be found and exposed not only causing bad PR when caught but also making it easier to detect or subvert the network based upon existing examples.
  • Reconstructed: Despite not spying on the hero, Jake finds out all kinds of useful information for general use, including a list of blackmail threats and what gift to buy his crush. In the end, Jake not only becomes more powerful, but also more fleshed out as a character.
  • Played For Laughs: Jake's spying on Bob is clearly not being done to get information. Bob finds cameras in all sorts of things, even his cereal and shampoo bottle. It's clear Jake has a problem, to the point that, even when he sees his psychiatrist, he puts cameras everywhere.

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