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Sanity Slippage / Live-Action TV

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  • Angel: With every emotional disaster dumped on Connor, his stability goes down a tick.
  • Blake's 7:
    • Avon, during the show's fourth and final series. The final straw comes with Blake's (apparent) betrayal. Considering what he's been through, the only wonder is it didn't happen sooner.
    • Also Travis, who starts off as cruel and obsessive, but rational, and ends up as a homicidal maniac who sells humanity out to alien invaders just to get a chance to kill Blake.
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  • Breaking Bad: Walter White displays this at the end of "Crawl Space" laughing maniacally after realising that Gus Fring is going to kill his family and Skyler gave his money to Ted Baneke. Many feel that this is the point where Walter White completely died and only his alter ego, Heisenberg, remained.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Several examples. Faith, portrayed as not the most stable of individuals, to begin with, begins by trying to strangle Xander to death and it goes downhill from there. After Tara's death, Willow thinks nothing of killing her friends if they get in her way of vengeance, before deciding that destroying the world would be a Mercy Kill. Even Buffy herself is prone to this: the stress of each season finale seems to bring out the worst in her (such as trying to drive her friends away, fleeing from Sunnydale, thinking she can't let anyone close out of fear of getting hurt, then It Gets Worse, oh boy does it ever get worse. Happens to Whistler and Angel bluntly tells him that he believes that being separated from The Multiverse and the Powers since the Seed was destroyed have made him crazy. And he may have a point.
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  • In Charité at War, Nazi nurse Christel becomes increasingly unhinged as the war is coming to an end and Berlin is about to fall. The more obvious the defeat of her regime becomes, the louder she spouts her propaganda lines, telling everyone around her whom she takes for a dissident (which is meanwhile just about everybody) that they'll be hanged soon and that Hitler is going to save them all.
  • In one hour-long version of the El Chapulín Colorado volatile energy extract story, Raul "Chato" Padilla's character asks Profesor Inventillo why did the walls and roof disappear from his house, to which Inventillo casually states that the extract causes any object that's been injected to fly away. The rest of the episode centers on Padilla as he becomes more and more unhinged, injecting more furniture in house and giddily laughing as his belongings fly off into the unknown.
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  • Degrassi: Eli Goldsworthy started to become this in the most recent season. First, he reasonably starts to become a little suspicious when a former bully keeps trying to talk to his girlfriend Clare, then he becomes even more possessive of her to the point of being controlling, and she responds by saying she needs some space and that they should take a break. How does Eli deal with this? He crashes his car in an attempt to get Clare back of course!
  • Mrs. Tishell on Doc Martin. Her crush on Martin went from "she's an odd one", to "what're those pills she's taking?", to Stalker Shrine, and finally a full-blown psychotic break, which was a bad interaction between two drugs she was taking.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master has always been rather unstable, try as he might hide it under his veneer of a Magnificent Bastard. However, this takes a turn for the worse in NuWho, when he complains of persistent drumming in his head, getting even worse after returning from the dead in the Specials Season. The main question is whether or not the drumming is real, making the Master even crazier (It is, turning out to be part of a Gambit Roulette by the Lord President of Gallifrey to free Gallifrey from the time-locked Time War). With this revealed, fans speculated on how bad the drumming was during the Master's previous incarnations.
      • Whatever she did to get out of the pocket dimension apparently pushed Missy completely over the edge into a perpetually cheerful, self admitted "bananas" borderline cloudcuckoolander who skips around, breaks into song apropos of nothing, and randomly switches between an English and Scottish accent. She's also the most sadistic and pointlessly cruel incarnation yet. Ironically, later on, she comes the closest any Master ever has to making a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Hell, the Doctor himself gets this sometimes! The Eighth Doctor undergoes this twice, in "Minuet in Hell" and "Zagreus". The Tenth Doctor has one in "The Waters of Mars" that temporarily turns him into the Time Lord Victorious. The final three episodes of Series 9 see the Doctor Freak Out and undergo a Protagonist Journey to Villain — becoming a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds for a while — when he proves unable to handle his anguish and rage over Clara's death. It's telling he needs Mind Rape — delivered unto him by no less than Clara herself (though he does this voluntarily) to help him return to his best self in the end. The revival series has made it pretty clear that without companions to keep him grounded, the Doctor would likely undergo these slippages all the time. Witness this exchange from "The Runaway Bride":
      The Doctor: I don't need anyone.
      Donna Noble: Yes, you do. Because sometimes, I think you need someone to stop you.
    • "The Shakespeare Code": The architect who designed the Globe Theatre was driven mad by the Carrionites once they were done using him.
  • Subverted on Famous In Love, actress Alexis gets her own reality TV show which is managed by Ida, mother to Alexis' friend Tangey. However, the show soon makes some bad moves that cost Alexis friends and threatens her acting career. Alexis seems to be slipping deeper into this as she's popping pills, cutting off her hair and videotaped in public playing the guitar and then arrested for breaking into a family's house. With her held at a psychiatric hospital, Ida reveals that Alexis' show has been cancelled and coldly leaves her. As soon as she's gone, Alexis sits up and, with, with friend Sloane, reveals she was faking this whole "breakdown" as the excuse to get the show canceled. The "drugs" were candy, the family whose house she "broke into" are friends of Sloane's and her "haircut" is a wig. Thrown at first, Tangey is happier Alexis is okay and congratulates her on this scheme.
    • However, in a case of Gone Horribly Right, Alexis discovers that she's under a 72-hour hold before a doctor can even see her. Meaning that it's going to be public that she spent the weekend in a mental ward which will affect her career.
  • Farscape: Half the fun.
    • The main protagonist, John Crichton, goes increasingly insane over the course of the second season. Partly it's due to having an Enemy Within surgically implanted into his head, but much of it is simply accumulated trauma. He gets better in the third and fourth seasons, but never completely.
    • Crais becomes increasingly unhinged over the first season, as his initially not-very-rational quest for vengeance over the (accidental) death of his brother gradually destroys his previous ideals and connections to others. He gets better at the end of the season, although it makes him even less predictable.
    • Stark, when initially introduced, is not completely stable but vastly exaggerating his madness to confuse his jailers. However, after being executed by disintegration and having to create a new physical body for himself in the second season, Stark returns with a distinct tendency towards panicky meltdowns and screaming fits; season three only makes things worse when his lover Zhaan dies, leaving him swinging wildly between near-catatonic despondency, psychotic rage, obsessive spells, and explosive paranoia - and that's when he isn't just twitching and mumbling to himself.
  • Firefly: One of the tie-in bits of promotional material for the movie Serenity is a short series of films called the "R. Tam Sessions," which depict River's traumatic time at the Academy. It starts off with River being a happy, eager girl who really wants to learn and push herself to her limits, but as the series progresses, she is shown slipping into madness due to the Academy's experiments. The series ends with River killing the man who has been interviewing her by shoving a pen through his throat (who, for those of you playing at home, was played by Joss Whedon).
  • From Dusk Till Dawn: Richie Gecko used to be a highly intelligent, methodical and dependable bank robber. However, while his brother Seth was in prison he became more and more unhinged, and it only gets worse as the series starts.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Ramsay Bolton. Not that he was ever stable, to begin with, but according to Word of God he is unable to process that he is losing from the moment where the Knights of the Vale arrived in "Battle of the Bastards" as he is used to being in control and get his way every time. He remains confident that his cunning and tricks will get him out somehow. When his army is absolutely destroyed by the Vale knights, he waves it off as nothing saying he still has Winterfell and can withstand a siege, never mind that the Arryn forces outnumber him and are prepared to besiege him. When he is being beaten by Jon, he thinks he will be spared because of Stark honor, without realizing Jon spared him so Sansa, Jon's sister, could be the one to deal the final blow. Even when he is chained up inside the dogs' kennel, he still thinks he will break out of this one for some reason until they are literally on top of him. This echoes the last days of Adolf Hitler, who acted much the same way regarding failure.
    • Cersei is much more calm, collected, and rational in the first season than she is in the second. Her loss of Jaime and Joffrey's increasingly out of control attitude, complemented by her father's suddenly dismissive attitude towards her don't seem to be doing well for her mental faculties. Her despair over her daughter Myrcella's impending Arranged Marriage can't help, either. She comes within inches of poisoning Tommen during "Blackwater" when she thinks that Stannis is about to break down the door. In "The Lion and the Rose", she's outright screaming with rage at Tyrion, as she believes he poisoned Joffrey, and by Season 5 she's noticeably resorting to alcohol continuously, further worsening her condition. By the end of Season 6, she's clearly gone off the deep end. She not only blows up the Sept of Baelor and dozens of nobles within, including her uncle Kevan and three of the four Tyrells, but she doesn't care at all that Tommen kills himself in the aftermath. She still believes she can create a great dynasty with her children dead and surrounded by enemies. In the Season 7 premiere, Jaime actually calls her out on this last point.
      Cersei: I understand whoever wins could launch a dynasty that lasts a thousand years.
      Jaime: A dynasty for whom? Our children are dead. We're the last of us.
      Cersei: A dynasty for us, then.
    • It's implied Aerys Targaryen's raving madness increased with time, and Pycelle describes the young Aerys thusly. In the books, when Aerys was first crowned, he was pretty normal. He had a bit of a temper when roused to anger, but nothing that wasn't forgiven after he calmed down. It was only as time went on that his insanity got progressively worse. Even in the TV series, Pycelle describes how horrifying it was to see his friend gradually melt away before his eyes over the years until there was nothing left of the man he knew. He was kept in check by his advisors for most of his reign but eventually grew paranoid and jealous of Lord Tywin (who, by all accounts, was a tremendously successful Hand of the King), in part due to Aerys's love for Tywin's cousin and wife, Joanna. The king went downhill after he was imprisoned by the rebellious lord of Duskendale for months.
      Pycelle: Aerys Targaryen. Of all the thousand thousand maladies the gods visit on us, madness is the worst. He was a good man, such a charmer.
    • Season 4 shows Tyrion facing this as he suffers betrayal and humiliation in a Kangaroo Court, feeling more powerless than he ever did and finding his father at his most unmerciful moreover. He finally snaps at his trial giving a bitter speech about his oppression as a dwarf and then upon being released by his brother, he pays a final visit to his father and murders him, after finding his lover Shae in his bed.
    • While never directly stated, it's clear that the several miscarriages Selyse suffered, combined with her embracing the cult of the Lord of Light, have taken a toll on her mental stability. She also had to endure starvation during the siege of Storm's End, which could have played a role too.
    • Years ago, it is said Euron lost his mind during a storm and cut out the tongues of his whole crew. He claims he's better now.
  • The version of the Joker in Gotham has undergone several instances of sanity slippage, some caused by chemicals, some due to his worsening mental condition. At the end of the fourth season, not long after he's introduced, he's sprayed by something called 'insanity gas' by his identical twin brother, who was the show's first take on the Joker. The insanity gas causes mad laughter like the Joker venom from the comics, but it also seems to make anyone exposed to it more aggressive than they were before. Before being exposed to the gas, he appears to be a harmless, if reclusive and brilliant engineer, but afterwards, he is a cold-hearted manipulative bastard who who lacks empathy to the extent that he can't even understand why his friend, Bruce, no longer thinks of him as a friend after he becomes a terrorist. After he succeeds at his goal of cutting off Gotham from the outside world, but doesn't succeed in driving Bruce to the point where he is insane enough to team up with him, he becomes so desperate to maintain any kind of bond with Bruce that he comes up with an insane plan to put Bruce through even more terrible ordeals, just so they can be connected forever by hatred rather than friendship. He also begins to talk and giggle to himself during this period, sometimes in the voice of his brother. Later in the season, he falls into a vat of his own chemical creation, which, like the insanity gas, also drives people insane, and he is severely burned by it. When he wakes up from the coma he went into after that incident, his sanity seems to have slipped even more; he admits that he only has some of his memories, and doesn't even identify with his own name and pre-Joker identity, anymore.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Happens a lot in this series, mostly to the Handmaids.
    • Janine. After having her right eye torn out, she's quickly and utterly broken down, and never recovers.
    • Emily seems to have experienced something of one, following the trauma of undergoing a clitoridectomy; she is shown to be capable of spontaneous acts of violence against authority figures in Gilead (e.g. her "joyride," poisoning the Wife in the Colonies, kicking a Commander in the groin after his heart attack, and brutally beating Aunt Lydia).
    • June undergoes this more than once, although she does recover both times. In season 2, she has a breakdown after she's captured after nearly escaping and discovers that both her fellow Handmaids and the family who helped her are being severely punished; she begins to get better when she realizes her baby has managed to survive both a lot of bleeding and a (possible; it's ambiguous) suicide attempt. In season 3, she's made to remain in the hospital keeping vigil over a brain-dead Natalie/Ofmatthew, who is being kept on life support until her baby can be delivered, and it's clearly taking a massive toll on her mental health. By the end of the episode she is doing better, and volunteers to stay at the hospital with Natalie until she dies.
    • Natalie has one as a result of being shunned by the Handmaids for getting the McKenzies' Martha executed and then publicly shamed for having doubts about her pregnancy; it results in her going Ax-Crazy and attacking Janine before holding June and Aunt Lydia at gunpoint and then being shot by the Guardians.
  • Hannibal: Somebody please help Will Graham.
    • Specifically, Will has extreme empathy (that he uses to solve murders) and encephalitis. Will's psychiatrist is a serial killer. Will's psychiatrist knows he has encephalitis, but as it worsens convinces Will that his hallucinations, sleepwalking, lost time and seizures have no physical cause. Will's psychiatrist encourages him to think that killing a different serial killer in the first episode felt good, manipulates him into shooting another serial killer while hallucinating the previous one, and frames him for multiple murders. Will actually copes remarkably well, given the circumstances.
  • Hemlock Grove: After Olivia contracts an anti-Upir virus, she slowly starts to lose her mind until she's actively hallucinating people who aren't there.
  • Heroes: During Volume 4, Sylar's already-unstable psyche takes a dramatic turn for the worse when he acquires the ability to shapeshift and starts to lose his sense of identity after using it repeatedly.
  • House: In late Season 5, House's mental state quickly begins to deteriorate into hallucinations of Amber and delusions of a romantic relationship with Cuddy. House agrees to be voluntarily admitted to Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: all of the characters become increasingly unhinged throughout the series, with Dennis deserving special mention. While he starts out as the Only Sane Man of the group, he is slowly revealed to hide anxiety, feelings of emptiness, and sociopathic tendencies beneath his Mask of Sanity. As he grows older, he finds it harder and harder to keep these issues under wraps, and he is eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and prescribed medication.
  • M*A*S*H: Although it's never shown onscreen, during the finale, after witnessing a traumatic event, Hawkeye begins to not-so-subtly show signs of a breakdown. Like being convinced one of the anesthesiologists was attempting to suffocate his patient with the gas mask, or crashing a jeep through the mess tent. Little indications of a stressful work environment.
    • In "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts", Hawkeye fakes sanity slippage in order to weasel some R&R in Tokyo.
    • This is also a subtle core theme for the show overall; the wisecracks and wacky antics are a lifeline of detached Gallows Humor for a camp full of people each slowly being driven toward the Despair Event Horizon in their own way.
  • Melrose Place: Kimberly, big time. Kimberly initially appeared as a wholesome and ethical doctor friend of Michael's, before beginning an affair with him. Then, a car crash in season 2 nearly killed her. From then on, she became more unhinged, with her acts running the gamut from running down Michael with her car, framing Sydney for the hit-and-run (and actually getting away with it), kidnapping Jo's baby, hiring people to assault Matt to prevent him from leaking revealing test results about her sanity, developing a multiple personality disorder, institutionalizing Peter whilst under one of her personalities, and most strikingly...blowing up an apartment building with people who didn't really do anything to her. By season 5, Kimberly began to regain her sanity...only to die from an unexpected aneurysm. Soap opera, indeed.
  • Merlin: Morgana starts out pretty sane, but after she goes evil she starts going off the edge. She is encouraged by her sister to isolate herself from everyone nonmagical, and when her sister dies becomes obsessive about gaining her revenge. During the Time Skip between seasons four and five, she was locked at the bottom of a well and didn't see the light for two years, which has damaged her beyond all repair. Even Mordred goes from idolizing her to being frightened by how unhinged she is and stabs her in the back when she tries to kill Arthur.
  • Misfits:
    • Simon Bellamy from this British sci-fi series is a painfully shy and intense introvert (and convicted arsonist) who has been bullied and ignored all his life; it's hinted from the onset that he's teetering on the verge of mental breakdown. As the series continues he accidentally becomes party to murder, is magically imbued with the power of invisibility (which, awesome as it sounds, greatly heightens his growing sense of alienation and his unhealthy tendencies towards voyeurism) and inadvertently causes the death of Sally - a woman he was starting to fall in love with. During the final episode of Season 1, the full extent of his sanity slippage is magnificently depicted as he casually munches on some left-over pizza while gazing serenely at Sally's corpse, which he has propped up in a large freezer. He got better though.
    • Series one also shows Sally the probation worker going through a (arguably milder) version of this. Tony, the previous probation worker was her fiance and she spends the whole season trying to prove that the gang is behind his mysterious disappearance. (and she's right about it), though she spends most her time stalking the misfits and by the end became completely obsessed by this.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Mr. Praline's attempts to buy a license for his pet halibut puts his sanity into question and it offends him.
    Praline: I am not a loony! Why should I be tarred with the epithet 'loony' merely because I have a pet halibut? I've heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabarrao has a pet prawn called Simon, and you wouldn't call Sir Gerald a loony, would you? Furthermore, Dawn Palethorpe the lady show jumper has a clam called Sir Stafford after the late chancellor. Alan Bullock has two pikes both called Norman and the late, great Marcel Proust had an 'addock. If you're calling the author of A La Recherché du Temps Perdu a loony, I shall have to ask you to step outside!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: More than a few experiments produce temporary insanity in the crew of the Satellite of Love through sheer force of Suckiness Is Painful. The most memorable (and funniest) include:
    • ''The Wild World of Batwoman", the prolonged ending causes Tom to scream "End! ENNNNNNNNNDDDDD!"
    • Invasion of the Neptune Men, in which Tom is so unnerved by the use of stock footage of World War II bombing runs (as indicated by the Hitler building) that he comes totally unglued.
    • Manos: The Hands of Fate, which was so bad that Joel, the most laid-back riffer on the show, eventually cried out "Do something!"
    • Starcrash leads to Jonah and the Bots recreating the climactic fight scene with such craziness that Kinga and Max are forced to consider if this counts as breaking them.
    • Although Dr. Forrester is established as a mad scientist from the beginning, and mentions performing acts such as blowing up or burning down the convention center when he loses the mad scientist competition, he seems to slowly get more insane as the series progresses (possibly as a result of his test subjects retaining their sanity no matter which films he shows them). This change is most noticeable when the Mike era begins, while in Season 4 he gets a crazier hairstyle which seems to reflect this.
    • Mike Nelson is probably one of the few hosts to suffer such moments a lot, though his slippage tends to lead to him crossdressing. In Red Zone Cuba, he believed himself to be Carol Channing and in Laserblast, he dresses up as Captain Janeway.
  • Newhart: Dick suffers a variant on this in one episode thanks to sleep-deprivation.
  • Orange Is the New Black: Implied; we still have no idea whether the chicken or the voice Piper heard in SHU are real. In the Season 2 premiere, Piper starts talking about her painting made of rotten egg yolks, Thirsty Bird, among various other incidents during Season 2. Vaults straight into Nightmare Fuel. Though, it is shown in Season 3 that the chicken is real and gets in and out of the prison through a hole in the fence.
  • Person of Interest: In mid-season four, after a season and a half of Sanity Strengthening, Root was, while still a bit of a lunatic, much more stable and caring about people's lives. After Shaw's Uncertain Doom, however, she slowly loses it, reverting to her more psychopathic tendencies and being more than willing to brutally torture people for information. She even decides to kill an innocent woman in order to protect Finch when there were several other options available to her.
  • Revolution:
    • Since this is a post-apocalyptic setting, it's a given that a lot of characters have experienced this.
    • It's suggested by several characters involved in the militia (like Jeremy Baker in episode 3) that Monroe's been suffering from this somewhat ever since Miles left him. episode 10 is when this trope becomes obvious for Bass Monroe. In episode 15, Emma Bennett, Monroe's high-school girlfriend, dies before she could tell him where to find their son, and that had to have added to his insanity. The first season finale reveals that it wasn't just Miles leaving him. It was also the fact that Miles tried to kill him while he was sleeping and leaving without an explanation. The fact that Monroe has a borderline erotic fixation on Miles did not help matters.
    • Ray Kinsey in episode 4 fell victim to this as a result of watching his daughter die.
    • Drexel in episode 6 has this going on, but he is a sociopathic drug lord who has likely become addicted to his own heroin.
    • In episode 12, Randall may have undergone one triggered by the death of his son, resulting in him co-opting the Mathesons' research to produce a superweapon—initially to end the war in Afghanistan but ultimately to destroy the world order and start anew.
    • Rachel Matheson has been undergoing this since the blackout, as revealed in a flashback in episode 19. It only got worse after the death of her son Danny in episode 11.
  • St. Elsewhere: Peter White suffers from this during his three seasons on the show, culminating in his wife throwing him out and his subsequent spiraling into drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, a DUI arrest, and ultimately his rape of several nurses, one of whom eventually shoots and kills him.
  • The Sifl and Olly Show: Olly is an odd case in that his sanity is only shown to ever slip during the "Precious Roy" segments, which his psychiatrist describes as "manic-compulsive salesmanship". Olly goes further and further off the rails each time the segment comes around, but as soon as the next segment comes, he's back to normal.
  • Smallville: Major Zod of the 9th Season started out bad and only got worse from there.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Antagonist Dukat. He starts off as a scheming, megalomaniac, yet charming villain, gets gradually worse, especially in season six, until it all finally boils down to a psychotic Motive Rant that is declared in-universe to be a Moral Event Horizon: "I should've killed every last one of them! I should've turned their planet into a graveyard the likes of which the galaxy had never seen! I should've killed them all."
    • Faked—probably—by Sisko in For the Uniform. He even slips into the Joran voice.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • To Spock, of all people, in "Amok Time" when the Pon Farr Blood Fever hits him. He begins by just going off food and being a bit more reclusive than usual. He manages to hide his condition well enough that Kirk doesn't even realise there's anything wrong. Then he threatens to snap Dr Mc Coy's neck when the latter gets worried about him and tries to give him a medical checkup. He begins to lose his temper - quite violently, at times, alarming his crewmates. Then Jim finds out that Spock has been giving orders to redirect the ship to Vulcan, and doesn't even remember doing it. Things begin to go rapidly downhill from there, culminating in a Duel to the Death with Kirk where the stoic, pacifist, loyal Vulcan is reduced to the state of a wild animal, fully willing to murder his dearest friend. Fortunately, Kirk's apparent 'death' at his hands shocked him out of the Blood Fever, and by the end of the episode, he seems to be returning to normal (though not quite all the way there.)

    • In "The Omega Glory," after Tracey learns all his evil deeds are All for Nothing, you can see him snap at the news and proceeds to threaten Kirk for weapons for a pointless fight on a planet they by now can leave any time.
    • The very next episode, "The Ultimate Computer", when Richard Daystrom attempts to convince the M-5 Computer to stand down after it has killed numerous crewmen on various ships, the fact that his creation, and by extension him, has done this weighs so heavily on him that he snaps, first ranting about how his colleagues laughed at him and took his work to make their own careers, then snapping at Kirk and declaring the two of them invincible at how powerful it becomes. Spock is forced to Nerve Pinch him before he brings harm to Kirk.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In "The Voyager Conspiracy," as Seven's cortical node degrades, she slips further into her delusions that everything around her is part of a giant conspiracy.
    • Captain Janeway is usually at her best when she's under pressure. The episodes "Year of Hell" and "Equinox," however, show us what she becomes when she's pushed past her limit, and the result is more than a little unsettling.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season seven does this to Sam across most of the season, culminating in The Born-Again Identity.
    • Also happens, during season seven, to Cas, when he absorbs all of the souls of Purgatory and later on, when he is possessed by the Leviathan.
    • After getting the Mark of Cain, Dean has become unstable and enjoys killing versus before when he would show remorse about it, and feels absolutely no regret about it. He even tells Sam that they do things his way and it's not a team anymore but a dictatorship. Culminates in him attacking Gadreel while growling at the end of "Stairway to Heaven."
  • Survivor:
    • Has some contestants who seem to have gone a little nuts during their time in the wilderness:
    • Survivor: Amazon had Matthew who freaked out his teammates by beginning to very meticulously sharpening the machete every day while staring creepily out into space, and Butch who suddenly gained a firewood fetish and forced his teammates to stockpile all the wood they could find which ended up burning their camp down when said massive woodpile caught fire. Even Matt thought that was a little messed up.
    • Panama had Shane who made the genius decision to quit a 3-pack smoking habit literally hours before getting on Survivor. Cue him yelling at his tribemates every single opportunity he got, treating a hunk of wood as a Blackberry, and looking more and more like a crazed animal the longer he stayed out there.
    • Heroes vs. Villains saw Russell get hit hard with this trope. Parvati thought it would be just peachy to keep a hidden immunity idol from him just to see him squirm. Once she handed them to Jerri and Sandra to nullify all of the Heroes' votes for the former, the Disaster Dominoes began. For both sides.
  • Taxi:
    • Reverend Jim Ignatowski was actually a Harvard freshman and Extreme Doormat called James Caldwell, but after he ate a "funny brownie" (at his girlfriend Heather's insistence) and his life totally changed, starting from using finger-paint on his term papers, while he thought that "Ignatowski" spelled backwards was "Star Child" when it was "Ikswotangi".
    • Only Sane Man Alex fell into this whenever he really got over the edge. In an early episode, Alex was given some pills he thought were aspirin, but these were actually "uppers". Their effects are practically immediate, with Alex talking very fast and singing "Bye-Bye, Love" after waving goodbye to the rest of the gang when he goes to see Mr. McKenzie. Later he ripped Louie's cage with his bare hands and threatened Louie because of his refusal to listen to him about re-hiring Bobby.
  • Teen Wolf: In season 2 Lydia begins hallucinating after being attacked by Peter, and in the first episode escapes from the hospital and runs naked into the woods. However, it's ambiguous how much of her 'insanity' is actually her going crazy and how much is Peter's ghost gaslighting her. It seems to be more the latter, as Peter is shown to be able to turn her hallucinations on and off, as well as having some degree of Mind Control over her.
    • Later comes up in season 3: after sacrificing themselves to the nemeton, Scott, Allison, and Stiles all begin exhibiting this. Scott can't control his werewolf transformations, Allison hallucinates her dead aunt, and Stiles is experiencing dreams and hallucinations so vivid (along with occasionally losing the ability to read) that he's no longer able to tell when he's awake.
  • The Walking Dead: Several survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse begin experiencing this from Survivor Guilt or just the stress of dealing with the Primal Fear day in and day out.


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