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Villains inadvertently ruining their own plans in western animation TV shows.


  • In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Super Special Sonic Search and Smash Squad", Scratch and Grounder actually succeed in capturing Sonic and locking him in a cage. Then Coconuts shows up, and ties them up in a rope so he can claim the reward for himself. Sonic then points out to Coconuts that if the rope breaks, Scratch and Grounder will escape, and convinces him to put them in the cage. Coconuts does so, and Sonic escapes, locking all three robots in the cage.
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  • In one episode of Aladdin: The Series, Mirage uses a mystical music box to put the entire city of Agrabah to sleep, which in turn anyone who does so becomes one of her Brainwashed and Crazy minions. Aladdin is the last one left, but just as he is about to stop her he finally succumbs to the spell himself and falls asleep, which means within seconds he'll become one of her mindless zombies as well. Just as Mirage starts gloating, the mind-controlled Jasmine and Phasir burst in, which winds up waking Aladdin up long enough to close the box and return everyone to normal. Mirage's own mind-controlled minions wound up being the very thing that ultimately undid her plan!
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang has one of his chakras blocked by getting hit by Azula's lightning in the Avatar state. He can't get to that state anymore, and he's not skilled enough in the bending he's learned to take on Ozai. In the middle of the fight, Ozai goes in for the killshot, with Aang resisting with all the strength he has left. The blast throws Aang onto a small rock outcropping... right onto the scar caused by Azula's lightningbending attack. This unblocks the chakra, allowing Aang to reach the Avatar state and for asskicking to ensue. Cue Ozai's Oh, Crap! expression.
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    • Combustion Man manages to intercept a messenger hawk headed for the Fire Nation with the information that Aang is still alive, as Zuko wanted to eliminate Aang discreetly. This prevents the rest of the Fire Nation from learning about Aang until the Day of Black Sun.
    • Combustion Man also has another moment of this in The Western Air Temple. Prior to his appearance, the Gaang refuse to believe that Zuko has reformed and upon accidentally burning Toph's feet, are ready to take Zuko down. But once Combustion Man attacks, Zuko arrives just in time to help defeat him, earning him some favour for the Gaang that ultimately allowed Zuko to regain trust and friendship with them and subsequently, the Fire Lord's downfall.
    • Ozai committed this two years before the story started. If he had never banished his son, then he would've won. Zuko himself outright states this to him in the finale, calling it the best thing he could've ever done for him.
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    • Azula has instance of this in Book 3, when Zuko states he's angry over something he doesn't know about, some prodding by Azula (though Mai and Ty Lee took as well) caused Zuko spit out that he's angry at himself, which helps with his Character Development that leads to his Heel–Face Turn. Which leads to Mai's Heel–Face Turn a few episodes later when she sees Zuko about to be dumped in boiling water on Azula's orders. Which leads to Ty Lee's Heel–Face Turn in short order when Azula tries to attack Mai right in front of her.
    • Even before the scene during "The Beach", which the above example explains, Zuko was worried if Ozai would finally be satisfied with him after coming home with the reputation of killing the Avatar. Azula calls him dumb and tells him that the only person he should be trying to satisfy is himself.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Amon uses his powers to remove Avatar Korra's ability to bend water, earth, and fire, the elements she had mastered. He also inadvertently unlocked her ability to bend air, and to connect to her former lives, one of which gave her back all her bending, plus the ability to restore the bending of anyone else Amon had "equalised." As far as this trope goes, it's a doozy.
  • In the Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode, "The Conqueror", four of the Planeteers are convinced Zarm is a good guy, and refuse to believe Gaia telling them otherwise. Then, hidden in his spacecraft, Zarm complains about Gaia being a meddler, and makes a laser-like ray hit a silo's remains close to her and Ma-Ti. This results in the other Planeteers being much more willing to hear Gaia's version of the story, and choosing her over Zarm. In other words, if he didn't try to kill her on the spot, he could have won.
  • In the Donkey Kong Country episode, "Orangutango", Donkey Kong and King K. Rool face off in a dance-off where the prize is for one wish to be granted the Crystal Coconut, which DK takes over after the Kong's lead dancer, Funky, hurts his ankle. King K. Rool practices with Klump, who continuously partakes in a strange dance with fast-paced music with a kazoo in the background, resulting in a running gag where K. Rool tells him, "I wish you wouldn't do that!". At the end of the episode, K. Rool ultimately wins the dance-off, and prepares to declare his wish to take over Kongo Bongo Island. However, Klump celebrates by doing the kazoo dance again, bringing K. Rool to exclaim loudly, "I WISH YOU WOULDN'T DO THAAAAT!", unconsciously making his wish for the Coconut to bonk Klump on the head and go back to its holding place. The tide changes and the Kongs knock the Kremlings away with their traps.
  • In the five part DuckTales (1987) special "Super DuckTales", the Beagle Boys alter freeway plans to have them go through the property Scrooge's money bin is on. As a result, Scrooge hires Fenton Crackshell as his accountant. Not only does it improve Fenton's life, but he ends up becoming Gizmoduck, who would be the bane of the Beagle Boys' existence for the remainder of the series.
  • At the end of the first season of Frisky Dingo, Killface's son activates the Annihilatrix, which was designed to push the Earth into the Sun. Instead, it backfires and effectively reverses the damage caused by global warming.
  • Same with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero; a number of times the Joes are beaten, but Cobra Commander has to drive it in (often at the objections of Destro), somehow giving the Joes the chance to overcome their predicament. Strangely enough, Cobra's high-rankers prefer Serpentor to him because of this attitude, and yet Serpentor occasionally falls into this trope as well.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In the Season 1 finale, Gideon succeeds in taking over the Mystery Shack and stealing Dipper's Journal 3. Dipper and Mabel, seeing no way to stop him, sadly agree to leave Gravity Falls to stay with their parents since Stan can no longer take care of them — but then Gideon, mistakenly thinking that Dipper also has Journal 2, hunts down the bus he and Mabel are leaving in, which gives Dipper and Mabel the opportunity and renewed motivation to finally take him down, expose him as a fraud to the town, and get the Mystery Shack back. They even lampshade this, wondering while Gideon is chasing them down why on earth he's doing this as he'd already won against them.
    • Before Bill Cipher unleashed Weirdmageddon in Gravity Falls, the Pines family are on the verge of breaking down; Mabel has succumbed to depression not only having the worst birthday of her life but the fact that Dipper is soon going to leave her potentially forever, Stanley's relationship with Ford still remains strained as he has to abandon the Mystery Shack by the end of the summer and give Ford his identity and house back, Dipper is going to stay with Ford away from Mabel and who knows what influence Ford could have done to him. After Weirdmageddon, Stan and Ford finally reconciled their relationship and are going out on their childhood dream together, Dipper and Mabel are back together and having the birthday of their life where they are treated as heroes and depart Gravity Falls on a high note. In other words, Bill inadvertently gave them the happy ending that they couldn't have earned in the first place. The Oddpocalypse Brings Out the Best in People, after all.
  • In the stop-motion animation special Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Peter Cottontail and the villain Irontail are competing for the job of head Easter Bunny. Whoever delivers the most eggs wins. After missing delivering eggs on Easter, Peter tries to deliver the eggs on other holidays, but to no avail. In an attempt to make sure Peter never gets to unload his supply of Easter eggs, Irontail casts a spell on them that turns eggs green inside and out. Irontail believes that he's won—no one would want green eggs. But then, the next holiday Peter tries to deliver the eggs on turns out to be St. Patricks' Day. As a result, he successfully gives away all the green eggs, and becomes the head Easter Bunny. Irontail, meanwhile, is forced to sweep the bunny trail in the ending credits.
  • The beginning of season 2 of Jackie Chan Adventures has Valmont kicking the eponymous character off a cliff which results in Shendu possessing him and making them both less effective.
  • In Justice League "The Savage Time", Vandal Savage only freezes Adolf Hitler instead of, say killing him. As a consequence, when Vandal is beaten by the time-travelling Justice League, his subordinates release Hitler, who goes on to lose the war like he would have done in the first place, instead of another potentially more competent individual taking over. Even better Word of God is that due to Savage's interference the temporary removal of Hitler meant the Holocaust never occurred due to him being unable to implement it in the time left after Savage's defeat and Hitler's return to power.
  • The Kid vs. Kat episode "How the Test Was Won" features Kat attempts to make Coop miss school and automatically fail a test that he has to do. In a great deal of irony, they not only fail, but also give Coop pointers about the subjects he had to study for said test:
    • Gravity: He allows himself to fall through the hole in the stairs before Kat could run him over with the boulder.
    • Pendulum: The paint cans in the basement move in an arc-like motion, which Coop easily maneuvered past.
    • Centrifugal force: He swing a rope at a lamp and spins around to get Kat off of him.
    • Inertia: Remains upward while flying in the air after crashing the wagon on the fire hydrant.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the season 2 finale, Twilight Sparkle calls out Princess Cadance and calls her evil, which nets her a royal "The Reason You Suck" Speech from her brother, all her friends turn on her, and even Princess Celestia is disappointed in her. Twilight herself is ashamed of her behavior and apologizes. Of course, had "Cadance" who is really Queen Chrysalis in disguise just left it at that she would have won. Unfortunately that just wasn't evil enough: instead she banishes Twilight to the caves below Canterlot where she meets the real Cadance, rescues her, and brings her topside to thwart the entire masquerade. But that still isn't enough, Queen Chrysalis seals her own fate with four crucial mistakes...
      • 1) When Twilight and Cadence return to the wedding to call her out, Chrysalis foolishly reveals her true identity, when she didn't have to. She can still win though.
      • 2) Twilight and Friends were captured by the Changelings and brought to her. She doesn't bother imprisoning them. Chrysalis' victory is still absolute at this point.
      • 3) Chrysalis completely ignores Twilight and her friends and gets caught up in a Villain Song reprisal, Twilight goes to free Cadence, who breaks the spell in Shining Armor. Keep in mind now, Chrysalis is still in total control here...
      • And finally 4) Chrysalis scoffs at The Power of Love despite having used the same power to defeat Celestia just minutes earlier. It backfires in her face and she's is instantly defeated in seconds.
    • In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", if Tirek had stuck to his word to Discord, he wouldn't have given the Mane 6 the final key needed to beat him. Of course Tirek had no way of knowing it'd backfire at the time.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "The Team of Terror", the Warlock has Superman at his mercy and is killing him with a kryptonite beam. His ally Satana sends a giant snake made out of plasto to crush the Man of Steel. The plastic blocks the kryptonitebeam and allows Superman to recover and escape.
  • The "Tournament of Elements" arc of Ninjago sees an almost literally version of the trope example of 'kicking the dog and realigning a popped disc.' Lloyd is suffering back pain due to a poor mattress, and his roller derby performance is suffering because of it. Until the other competitors, trying to sabotage him, tackle Jay into him. This cures his back pain and helps him put up more of a fight.
  • Phineas and Ferb does this almost Once per Episode; Doofenshmirtz's schemes and inventions end up erasing all evidence of Phineas and Ferb's invention of the day, and in return, saves them from getting busted.
  • PJ Masks has a mayor one for Night Ninja in the season 3 episode "Meet An Yu". Night Ninja and his Ninjalino's steal the dragon gong from the museum, and take it to Mystery Mountain where he intends to order the dragon that resides inside the gong to help him rob the pagoda of all it's relics. Too late does he learn that the dragon is actually An Yu, the defender of Mystery Mountain who was imprisoned in the gong, and by taking the gong back to Mystery Mountain, he allowed her to finally break free, giving the PJ Masks a new powerfull ally in the process.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo is a recurring victim of this Trope.
    • The biggest example is the fact that he ended up inspiring the Professor to make the Powerpuff Girls, caused the Freak Lab Accident that created them, and gave them the drive to fight crime and made them accepted by the city, which was a crime-infested rat hole beforehand, pretty much making everything good in the series his fault to begin with.
    • In one episode, an alien force defeats the girls using every single idea Mojo Jojo had ever come up with. Jojo gets so upset at the alien stealing his ideas ("YOU HAVE BROKEN. MY. DREAMS!!!!!") that he goes primal and physically forces the alien leader to submit, driving away the attack and becoming the hero.
    • Mojo Jojo did this again when he used the Professor's time machine to go back to the day when he was inspired to create the girls and prevent it from happening. As it turned out, his kidnapping of the Professor leading to the girls having to rescue him inspired him to try and create three perfect girls of his own. It wasn't until they returned to the present that the Professor realized that the girls that rescued him were his own girls. In other words, if Mojo Jojo had never tried to change the past, Professor Utonium would never have been inspired to create the Powerpuff Girls.
      Mojo Jojo: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
      Narrator: Yes!
    • In yet another episode, the Powerpuff Girls become deathly afraid of a boy who wanted to kiss them because they believe that his "cooties" are some kind of horrible disease. Mojo Jojo learns this and kidnaps the boy to bring him out whenever the girls confront him, which causes them to become too scared to fight him and let him run rampant with his evil schemes. He'd have won for good, had he not decided to torment the girls (even though they weren't even trying to stop him at this point) by trapping them in a pit with the boy, which lets the boy finally kiss one of them and them to discover that there's no such thing as cooties. Their fear of the boy gone, they promptly beat the crap out of Mojo Jojo.
  • Invoked and lampshaded in the Regular Show episode "Do or Diaper". Muscle Man provokes Mordecai to agree to a bet which states that if Mordecai can kiss his Love Interest Margaret by Friday night, Muscle Man will have to wear a diaper for a week, and if he can't do it, obviously Mordecai would have to wear the diaper. Mordecai and Margaret go on a date, and in an unlucky series of events Margaret finds out about their bet when she notices Muscle Man and Rigby following them around the entire evening. Mordecai has to explain the bet he had with Muscle Man, which Margaret clearly isn't very happy about. Though to help her understand his actions and earn her forgiveness, he is forced to be honest and apologize to her, which leads to the Love Confession being dropped. It might seem like Muscle Man did Mordecai wrong by provoking him to agree to the bet and blowing his cover later, but he really made Mordecai learn something and helped deepen his and Margaret's relationship. Mordecai is even shown wearing the diaper with a smile at the end of the episode, explaining that "he's just happy because Margaret was having a great time on their date, and that means she must like him".
  • In a tie-in Rose Petal Place book, Nastina gives Rose Petal a letter for a recording contract that will take her away from the garden for weeks, and volunteers to be in charge of the garden while she's gone so she can take it over. Rose Petal agrees to a trial run as she plans her departure, but Nastina mismanages the garden so badly, including locking Tumbles in a cage, that she decides to stay and not leave at all.
  • In an episode of Rupert, the way to turn the villain's crystal palace into a Collapsing Lair is to strike a certain note on an organ. During the climax, Rupert and the princess are frantically hammering away at the keyboard, since they have no idea which key to hit, but can't find said note. A Fight Scene ensues where the villain, while trying to stop them, falls against the keyboard, hitting just the right note.
    Rupert: [sincerely] Thank you, Prince Lazuli — we were looking for that key.
  • Aku sending Samurai Jack into the distant future is revealed to have backfired in the 5th season, after the Time Skip. A side-effect of the spell has rendered Jack unaging, meaning that Aku has basically made the only warrior who could kill him functionally immortal, and he's become so skilled after decades of fighting off Aku's minions that he apparently can't be killed. And when Jack does get back to the past in the Grand Finale, the extra 50 years of experience allows him to give Past!Aku such a Curb-Stomp Battle it's not even funny. Well, maybe just a little bit.
    • In XCVI, Aku kills the Scotsman. However, the runes on the warrior's sword allows the Scotsman to come back as a Celtic spirit. In the Grand Finale, he's able to use his ethereal powers to fight against Aku's demonic sorcery, giving the Big Damn Heroes an edge in the final battle.
    • In the penultimate episode, Aku takes control of Ashi's body using the portion of his essence she was born from. In the finale, Jack helps her retake control through The Power of Love and she retains Aku's powers, including his power of time travel, which she uses to take Jack back to the past to destroy Aku once and for all.
      • Also in the finale, on top of all the above, Aku's message of Jack's capture ultimately let Jack's allies know he needed their help, bringing them together to give Jack the time to escape and turn Ashi back.
      • Also in the finale, the only reason Aku confronted Jack in the first place is because Scaramouche told him Jack had lost his sword, i.e. the one thing in all the universe that could actually harm Aku. Expecting a Curb-Stomp Battle in his favor Aku shows up to face Jack not realizing the sword was back.
  • At one point in the Sandokan cartoon, the Rajah (the Big Bad) has captured Sandokan's island fortress, locked him and his men in their own cell and set a Rube Goldberg Device to blow them up once he and his own forces are a safe distance away. The heroes have no hope of escape, they're doomed...except that meanwhile the other antagonist, the Rajah's ally Lord James, has put in motion a plan of his own to arrange the kidnap of Sandokan's friend's daughter in order to lure Sandokan into a trap. When she's kidnapped, her father's lieutenant hurries to the island to seek Sandokan's help, finds the heroes locked up and defuses the bomb in the nick of time.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: In "Horde Prime Takes a Holiday", if not for Skeletor trying to take over Horde Prime's warship, Hordak would have frozen She-Ra and He-Man.
    • Hordak and Skeletor unknowingly do it to each other in "Loo-Kee Lends a Hand". If not for Skeletor's plan to capture Prince Adam, who knows how long would it take Loo-Kee to find Prince Adam and ask for his help or how much damage the Horde would have done by then? Also, if not for Hordak freezing time for the rebels, Loo-Kee wouldn't have gone to Eternia and ruined Skeletor's plan to break into Prince Adam's bedroom.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Hungry, Hungry Homer", Homer is accused of being a liar when he tries to expose Howard K. Duff VIII, the greedy owner of the Isotopes' plan to move the team to Albuquerque. Homer actually stages a hunger strike, which the conniving Duff uses as an advantage, moving him to center field. But when it becomes clear that Homer will not give up, Duff unchains him and offers him a new deluxe hot dog, in front of a huge crowd. Homer very nearly succumbs to the temptation... but then notices the hot dog's toppings are all Southwestern ingredients. The crowd realizes this (and on top of it, the hot dog's wrapping says "Albuquerque Isotopes" on it) and Duff is unable to bluff his way out now, even Duffman turning against him. Moral of story: Never assume the Big Eater you're trying to Bribe With Food can't recognize it.
  • In The Smurfs episode "The Gallant Smurf", young Prince Godfry falls in love with a maiden named Pricilla, but his overprotective and snobbish mother Queen Felicity objects to him wanting to marry a "poor, pitiful, penniless peasant", and gives this condition for anyone wishing to marry her son: Show her something she's never seen before. Queen Felicity is a very old woman who has seen almost everything. Most every suitor fails, and it when it looks like Hogatha may well succeed (she captures Grandpa Smurf, whom even she has never seen among the smurfs) Godfry and Pricilla hug and make a tearful farewell, causing Felicity to groan and say she's "never seen such true love before". After Godfry asks her to repeat it, she realizes that she has just admitted Pricilla has met her condition. (Presumably, Felicity kept her word and let them wed, but we can only assume it.)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", when Plankton disguises himself as a psychiatrist to examine SpongeBob who's developed a fear of krabby patties and tries to learn the formula from him, his final attempt at such is to hypnotize him to sleep into telling it to him. This is what cures his fear however, giving him a dream where he conquers such, and with that, he is ready to cook again.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • "Zero Hour" has two examples:
      • Grand Moff Tarkin orders Grand Admiral Thrawn to capture the Rebel commanders during his attack on the rebel base, as Tarkin wants to Make an Example of Them. This ultimately lets those same commanders escape with their lives, as it's clearly shown that had Thrawn been left to his own devices, he could have easily killed them all via Orbital Bombardment.
      • Governor Arihnda Pryce, in the middle of a Villainous Breakdown due to the losses the Mandalorian fighters are inflicting on the Imperial forces, orders Kallus Thrown Out the Airlock when he starts taunting her about it, instead of just having him shot where he stood — which gets him off the bridge and gives him the opportunity to escape the Chimaera.
    • Pryce does it again and with much more severe consequences in "Jedi Night": She blows up her own base's fuel depot in an attempt to kill Kanan, Hera, Ezra and Sabine, only to fail when Kanan commits a Heroic Sacrifice by holding off the explosion with the Force. But by doing so, she blew up the entire Imperial fuel supply on the planet, severely compromising Thrawn's TIE Defender project at a time when he was already having to argue against Orson Krennic's Death Star project for additional funding. In "DUME", a seething Thrawn chews her out by noting that she handed the Rebels a victory they wouldn't have achieved on their own. Given that the Defenders had been shown to utterly outmatch Rebel fighters and the Rebels depend heavily on fighter superiority, she effectively cost the Empire the entire war.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Yellow Diamond's desire to secure the Cluster, a geoweapon incubating inside the Earth that could destroy the planet if formed, is what leads the Crystal Gems to find out that it exists at all, letting them devise a plan to neutralize it — and even more than that, as Steven manages to use his Astral Projection powers to befriend it and get it to bubble itself, turing the Cluster into an ally when Yellow wakes it up in "Reunited".
    • "The Answer": Ruby did this before defecting to the Crystal Gems: according to Sapphire's prophecy, Rose and Pearl would poof her and then be captured, bringing an end to their rebellion. Ruby, who did not hear the prophecy, saves Sapphire and accidentally fuses with her in the process, which stuns everyone so much that Rose and Pearl have a chance to get away.
      • It's later revealed in "Now We're Only Falling Apart" that Ruby's actions had even more consequences for Homeworld than that: Before then, Rose Quartz, aka Pink Diamond, had only had the goal of scaring the Gems off Earth. Seeing Garnet, the first known cross-Gem fusion, led Rose to change her goal to making Earth a haven for outcast Gems, which led directly to a full-scale war.
    • "Reunited": During the climax, Yellow Diamond knocks Steven unconscious at the beginning of the final fight. This lets him use his Astral Projection powers to speak to Yellow and Blue Diamond in their heads and finally show them definitive proof that he has Pink Diamond's Gem.
    • It turns out that the biggest example of this trope on the show comes from the actions of White Diamond. Thousands of years before the show begins, before even the colonization of Earth and the Crystal Gem rebellion, she took away Pink Diamond's original Pearl because they'd gotten too familiar and gave her a new Pearl, intended to be more sensible and keep to her proper place. Given that this Pearl, our Pearl, was the one who inspired Pink to don her Rose Quartz disguise in the first place and helped her rebel against Homeworld, none of the show, including Steven's existence and his helping to redeem the Diamonds, would have happened without this long-ago action of White's.
    • In Steven Universe: The Movie, Spinel holds a powerless Steven by his wrist hundreds of metres above the ground as she prepares to let him plummet to his death. However, she decides to first taunt Steven over how pathetic he is. Spinel mockingly asks Steven how the supposed 'Savior of the Galaxy' came from a weakling like him. This prompts Steven to realize that while he did indeed start as a powerless child who didn't know what he was doing, overtime he grew and changed to be who is today. This gives Steven the final 'piece' he was missing to re-unlock his powers and he is able to figure out that Spinel can't be changed because he wants her to, but because she wants to. This in turn allows Spinel to make a genuine Heel–Face Turn and befriend The Diamonds in order to move on.
  • In the older Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon Krang had made Super Rocksteady and Bebop robots, which were incredibly strong and intelligent, and could effortlessly defeat the turtles. Until the regular Rocksteady and Bebop accidentally expose them to lightning.
    • In the 2003 version, the Utrom Shredder did a much better job of “fixing it”. Although he committed many horrendous crimes that caused anguish to so many people (murdering Splinter’s master, burning down Casey’s father’s store – and possibly killing him too – and kidnapping dozens of New Yorkers and turning them into horrid monsters), as Donatello explains, he originally put into motion a set of Disaster Dominoes that led to the Turtles’ very creation and his own undoing. (And the biggest irony is, he never learned this.) To summarize:
      Donatello: If the Shredder had never made the Utroms crash in the first place, they’d have never developed the ooze, and if they’d never developed the ooze, we’ve never have been mutated, and if we’d never have been mutated, we’d still be eating fish flakes in some kid’s aquarium right now!
  • Teen Titans:
    • The season 2 finale shows Terra as The Mole, who promptly defeats all the Titans individually. She failed to finish the job, though, so five very angry Titans came back to teach her the error of her ways.
    • Another example, though not as big: When the Titans East had to watch Jump City while the core team was away fighting the Brotherhood of Evil, they have a very hard time getting the public to accept them. (Being newcomers and all, no-one recognizes them, or even worse, mistakes them for the core team). When Control Freak shows up gunning for revenge against the Titans, he's even worse; he doesn't accept them as "real Titans", and to prove it, sets up a series of attacks on the city designed to "test" them, which push them to their limits. (For example, Bumblebee has to stop a subway from reaching a certain station, as a bomb is mounted on the underside of the train which is timed to detonate upon arrival. The catch: She has to do it at miniature size.) However, the Titans East members avert all five disasters and pass with flying colors, and all of a sudden, they become heroes. You can't deny that they owed this to Control Freak. (They still arrested him, of course.)
    • Another major example: One big reason the Brotherhood of Evil was defeated at the end of season five was because Madame Rouge, whom Jinx had worshipped, treated Jinx like garbage, one of two reasons (along with a Dating Catwoman situation with Kid Flash) that not only prompted Jinx's Heel–Face Turn, but convinced her to act as a Double Agent for the heroes during the Final Battle.
    • A very interesting one concerning this show and Teen Titans Go! In the TTG episode "The Fourth Wall", Control Freak reveals to the Titans that their universe used to be the old series universe, but he rebooted it so he can win an award. While it doesn't fix the series, he ends up angering the Titans when they find out what their old world used to be.
  • In an episode of Thundarr the Barbarian called Prophecy of Peril, an evil wizard brought upon his own downfall in three ways:
    • First, by telling the heroes that the crystal he stole would tell how he would be defeated. While the heroes would probably figure out how to defeat him, it showed them to look for the 3 women to defeat him.
    • Second, he thought he would be one step ahead by kidnapping one of the women and locked her in his dungeon. But, the one woman he kidnapped was in the past when the heroes can't get to. Also instead of killing her or presuading her to join him, she believed that the wizard was a bad guy right away.
    • Third, when the woman he kidnapped escaped and got to the crystal, he hit her and the crystal with a beam that gives her angel wings and laser eye beams allowing her to escape to join to heroes to complete the prophecy.
  • In Transformers: Prime, a pair of Vehicon Mooks decide to Kick the Dog with an amnesic Optimus/Orion who is beginning to doubt Megatron's plans and protests against them. The beatdown causes Optimus's arm cannons to appear, the ones he had forgotten he had. Then, he uses them to easily defeat the Vehicons and head after Megatron.
    Optimus: I'm... armed?
    [Vehicons freeze in panic]
  • In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Shredder is revealed to have one weakness—the Technodrome's Death Ray. Just as the Turtles manage to push him into it, Bebop and Rocksteady accidentally unplug the thing—as Shredder gloats over his apparent victory, they plug it back in, annihilating him in the process. Bebop and Rocksteady saved the TMNT multiverse this way.
    • In Rogues in the House, the Turtles have been incapacitated and Shredder orders Karai to execute them to prove her loyalty. She's willing to do this and raises the blade, but Hun decides that this is too boring, and thus frees Leo so that they can duke it out. Leo lectures her during this fight, which ultimately persuades her not to kill them
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Handsome Ransom", the Monarch corners Captain Sunshine in his sanctum solarium at night, powerless from lack of sunlight and emotionally crippled from seeing him wear Wonderboy's uniform. Rather than just shooting him, Monarch makes a drawn out gloating speech and pulls out a solar beam gun intended to burn him off. It backfires horribly, recharging Captain Sunshine and allowing him to burn alive all of Monarch's mooks, winning the day.
  • Once in awhile on Wacky Races, Dick Dastardly's machinations would result in giving the other racers an advantage against him. In the debut episode, "See Saw To Arkansas", he gets the racers hung up on a cloverleaf highway exit system. When the narrator asks how he did, Dastardly turns the sign marking the exit around, and the racers immediately take it — flattening Dastardly in the process.
  • In an odd twist, Nox, the Big Bad from Wakfu, actually purposefully attempts to invoke this trope. He's a time mage who kills and drains people of their energy (the eponymous wakfu) in order to power an attempt to travel back in time to save his dead family. He is able to happily commit countless atrocities, draining entire nations over the years, because he believes that once he successfully travels back in time it will all be undone. He even manages to kill The Hero and wipe out an entire race in the finale. Unfortunately, his plan fails, and the wakfu that it took him 200 years to collect is barely able to send him back 20 minutes.
  • Happens a few times in Xiaolin Showdown. Notably, Jack had come up with a brilliant and for once successful plan, convincing Omi that he was destined to turn evil and had to stay away from his teammates at all costs. This was going perfectly until his idiot henchmen blabbed the entire plan, snapping Omi out of his despair and allowing him to win the day.
  • Yogi's Gang: When Yogi and his friends are ready to leave Smog City, Smokestag Smog tricks them into installing a motor that'll make their ark spread smoke through wherever they go. Once they wise up, they throw the motor away at the local dump, inspiring the townsfolk to stop polluting their atmosphere. Mr. Smog is even more responsible for his undoing because his smog is what ruined Yogi's gang's banana supply and made them land in Smog City in the first place.


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