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Recap / Miraculous Ladybug S 03 E 01 Chameleon

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Lila returns to school, still lying to everyone so that people will like her. This gets Marinette angry and Hawk Moth sends an akuma to school. However, Marinette resists the feelings just in time and Lila takes the akuma for herself. Bargaining with Hawk Moth, she willingly becomes Chameleon, turning into people through a kiss and putting them to sleep at the same time.


Tropes:

  • Alpha Bitch: Lila has taken up Chloé's old position as this. She wants to steal Marinette's friends, and take Adrien for herself.
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  • Bring It: Marienette's response to Lila's attempt at a Hannibal Lecture at the end of the episode.
  • The Bus Came Back: Lila has returned to the school, and seems set to become Marinette's new school enemy.
  • Call-Back: Several moments refer back to the events of "Volpina".
  • Capture and Replicate: Chameleon's modus operandi.
  • Conviction by Contradiction:
    • Marinette tries to catch Lila through this, as she later says her tinnitus is in her left ear instead of her right.
    • Earlier in the episode, she throws a napkin at Lila, which she catches easily despite claiming her wrist was sprained. When caught in this lie, Lila immediately covers it up by mocking pain and claiming the napkin was going to cut Max's eye.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Marinette wants to call out Lila on her lies. However, when asked for proof, she realizes that almost all of it involves secrets she doesn't want to reveal (i.e. her being Ladybug or the existence of a book on past Miraculous wielders).
  • Easily Forgiven:
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    • Marinette holds no ill will to Alya for her role in sending her to the back of the room, something she never apologises for at all.
    • In the following episodes, the class isn't shown to hold anything against Marinette from this episode despite thinking that she bullied Lila for her supposed illnesses.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
    • Adrien is very polite when he discourages Lila's lying. Lila accuses him of trying to be Holier Than Thou.
    • Marinette's calm reaction to Lila's Hannibal Lecture at the end of the episode baffles and angers Lila.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Marinette considers Lila worse than Chloé.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Lila attempts one at the end of the episode.
    Lila: I see you've made your decision, Marinette.
    *Lila leans in to whisper in Marinette's ear*
    Lila: From now on, you and I are at war. You will lose your friends and wind up all alone and Adrien will soon be mine.
    Marinette: We'll see about that, Lila, we'll see.
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  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When the class glares at Marinette after Lila pulls her first Wounded Gazelle Gambit, Chloé can be seen turning towards Marinette with an approving smile on her face.
  • Happy Ending Override: Season 2 ended on a heartwarming scene of the class, led by Adrien, acknowledging everything Marinette has done for them and calling her their "Everyday Ladybug". Season 3 opens with Lila rapidly turning the class against her with a Wounded Gazelle Gambit while Adrien does nothing about it despite knowing what Lila is capable of.
  • Heroic Resolve: Marinette uses this to resist being akumatized by Hawk Moth. In an interesting twist on this trope, she steels her resolve regarding the situation with Lila (which was what had made her vulnerable in the first place) rather than directly resisting the akuma itself. It helps that Tikki explicitly stated that the butterflies go for those who believe they have no other solution to their problems, so resolving to find one negates one of the key ingredients for akumatization.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Since Chameleon has to become whatever she kisses, Ladybug beats her by getting her to kiss a clam, trapping her in a form that can't act.
  • Hypocrite: Alya, repeatedly.
    • In the "Origins" two-parter, she stands up to Chloé over the seating plan, convincing Marinette to do the same, and asking who named her the "Queen of Seats". Here, she goes along with the rearrangement forced by Lila's supposed disability and gives up Marinette's seat to Nino without asking, forcing her into the back corner, alone. What's more, when the seating is changed back to (mostly) normal in the last minute of the episode, Alya claims that she would never let her BFF sit by herself, ignoring that she did exactly that for the whole episode.
    • When Marinette tries to tell Alya and Nino what she knows about Lila, Alya asks if she can prove it, claiming that "A good reporter always verifies her sources". Something Alya herself clearly never did with the interview Lila gave the Ladyblog back in "Volpina".
  • I Have Nothing to Say to That: When Lila goes right back to lying after being 'cured', Marinette is ready to get right back to trying to expose her, until Adrien points out that doing so publicly would humiliate her and would ultimately be counter-productive.
  • In a Single Bound: Chameleon can jump across long distances in the way other superhumans in the series do. This is what blows her cover when she pretends to be Adrien.
  • Jerkass Ball: Most of the class, who show No Sympathy to Marinette after the seating plan rearrangement, which she was given no say in, forces her into the back corner alone. Even the nicest students like Rose and Mylene act like jerks for no apparent reason.
  • Kick the Dog: After becoming Adrien, Chameleon immediately seeks out Nino, pretends to break off their friendship, insults his relationship with Alya, and steals his hat. Chameleon immediately blows the ruse by leaping from the second floor, so it was just to be mean.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: The first thing Lila does upon becoming Chameleon is tricking Adrien, the only person who knows she's a liar but genuinely wants to help her, and kissing him in order to transform into him. As Adrien, she performs the above Kick the Dog act and goes around popping balloons to spite the civilians.
  • Kiss of Death: Chameleon uses a downplayed version that only puts victims to sleep.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Lila's lying ends up backfiring on her at the end of the episode since it results in her sitting in the back of the class without Adrien.
  • Magic Kiss: Very reluctantly invoked by Plagg when he thinks that Adrien can be awakened with a kiss. Fortunately, he awakens before anything happens.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Like in "Zombizou", Hawk Moth would have unintentionally stumbled into a surefire victory had he managed to akumatize Marinette, especially since the akuma appeared to be going for her earrings.
  • Not Brainwashed: Lila willingly takes on the akuma when she sees it after Marinette manages to resist it. She even does Hawk Moth's monologue for him. After she's defeated again, Hawk Moth isn't too disappointed because he sees potential in someone so willing to do his bidding.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Lila pretends to be hard of hearing, necessitating she sit in the front of the class. Next to Adrien, of course.
  • Off-Model: One animator confirmed on Twitter that Adrien wasn't supposed to glare angrily at Marinette like everyone else in the classroom, saying it was an animation error on his part.
  • Rejected Apology: Unlike last time Lila seems to make up with Ladybug after getting turned back and they leave on good terms... except she gives her a dark glare as she's leaving, meaning it was yet another lie. And based on Marinette's attitude afterwards she didn't buy it either.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Chameleon is so determined to defeat Ladybug, that she ignores Hawk Moth's order to take Cat Noir's ring.
  • Running Gag: Twice again in this episode, an interruption occurs before Marinette and Adrien's future hamster can be named.
  • Shapeshifting: Chameleon is able to take on the appearance of anyone she kisses. Doing this results in the victim failling asleep and also allows her to access whatever powers the victim may possess. Considering how she's defeated, her shapeshifting may not be entirely voluntary.
  • Status Quo Is God: After all the trouble caused by everyone switching seats, at the end everyone decides to go back to their original seats. This has the effect of sticking Lila in the back row.
  • Swapped Roles: For the first time, Hawk Moth's akuma "victim" gives him the usual superpowers-for-Miraculous proposal.
  • Taking the Bullet: Once again, Cat Noir dives in just in time to stop the villain from affecting Ladybug, letting Chameleon become Cat Noir instead, including his power of Cataclysm.
  • This Means War!: Lila declares this to Marinette at the end, after Marinette has managed (if unintentionally) to get her stuck in the back row in class.
  • Toast of Tardiness: Marinette has a croissant of tardiness. This is France, after all.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: Chameleon is defeated after Ladybug tricks her into turning into a clam.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In the end after Marinette is convinced to just leave Lila be rather than keep trying to expose her lying, all her problems end up fixing themselves when the class ends up deciding to move back to their regular seats anyway, Lila ends up losing her hearing problem excuse in an attempt to fix this and she ends up getting moved to the back instead. Marinette would have even come out ahead of her by sitting with Adrien if she didn't zone out as a result. And all she had to do was endure with sitting in the back for one day.
  • With Us or Against Us: Lila's ultimatum to Marinette when Marinette confronts her on her lying.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Lila does this twice to trick the class into painting Marinette as the villain. The first is when she sadly expresses that she regrets moving to Paris because Marinette complained, and the second is when she lies about having a broken arm to get everyone else to deliver food for her and when Marinette debunks it by throwing a napkin at her, she says that she took a risk to save Max but her pain has worsened. In both these instances, Marinette nearly becomes upset enough to become Hawk Moth's target.

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