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WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 19th 2019 at 8:08:42 PM

At the clean up thread, there's been a ton of debate over whether or not characters who cross the MEH need to be irredeemable, or at least never redeemed, within the work itself. To prevent more tangents, I've decided this should be discussed here.

The crux of the issue is that the description says one thing and thread consensus said another.

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
LostinLitigation from Behind you Relationship Status: If the gov't can read my mind, they know I'm thinking of you
Aug 19th 2019 at 9:45:05 PM

It may be productive to split the topic into a moral event horizon according to the rules set forth in the work's own world-building, and a YMMV moral event horizon for those tropers unhappy that the work's creater(s) disregarded the tropers' moral principles in allowing (or disallowing) a character's redemption.

Aug 19th 2019 at 10:44:53 PM

It actually made me sad we couldn't keep Moral Event Horizon as an objective trope rather than an audience reaction. Because there are ways of objectively pointing out specific moments where a character stepped over a line from noble intentions to unforgivable evil, typically because the narrative frames it or characters talk about it in such a way. Likewise, even if a character reaches an "unforgivable" stage there is a possibility years later that they might find some semblance of redemption. While we might be able to see a long-form character arc when all is done, it should not be obvious in the moment.

So that's my general thoughts. As is, though, being ymmv makes it more difficult to curate examples and so you need more concrete rules, otherwise it will grow unchecked. Bare minimum, if there is redemption it should be Redemption Equals Death because that marks the end of the character.

WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 19th 2019 at 10:54:40 PM

My take is, there's two equally valid ways to look at it:

  • 1. The character should be objectively irredeemable, with the YMMV part pertaining to which moment they crossed the line at.

  • 2. The character should be irredeemable in the eyes of the audience, and the MEH is the moment that convinced the fans of this even if the work disagrees. The YMMV part is what moment and if the character was redeemed or not.

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:33:24 AM

Event Horizon means point of no return so it kind of is the point of no redemption. That's what makes it a significant point in the character arc of a villain.

Edited by CryptidProductions on Aug 25th 2019 at 2:15:19 AM

Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 3:59:17 AM

The point of a Moral Event Horizon is that it can only be crossed once, and cannot be returned from. If a character is forgiven or redeemed for their actions In-Universe, then by definition they did not cross the MEH. This means that the trope can always be rescinded up until a character's story is completed, and is why MEH can often only be determined retroactively.

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Aug 23rd 2019 at 5:10:56 AM

And that is the weird conundrum behind the trope, any given example is merely theoretical because they are proposed before the conclusion of the work. The trope can literally be rendered non-existent due to new information. Add in the ymmv element and it just heightens the "this might qualify" vagueness the trope is built around.

Admittedly, I did once propose a "retcon trope" as a new Playing with a Trope type, where a trope is assumed to be in play but is undercut by new information (ie All Just a Dream invalidates a Tomato in the Mirror) but the trope still exists.

Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:38:29 AM

If a character is forgiven or redeemed for their actions In-Universe, then by definition they did not cross the MEH.

The thing is, if this trope is about acts that are so horrible that in-universe no one will forgive them, then it's covered under the objective trope This Is Unforgivable!. In that case, I don't see the need for a separate, YMMV trope.

However, if this is about audience reactions, then there's the retroactive problem. The audience can forgive a character despite claiming they never would, and then what do we do?

Edited by Discar on Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:39:01 AM

WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:49:39 AM

And, if it's about audience reactions, does it really change anything if, say, a scumbag child murderer suddenly becomes good before he dies- if the audience still sees the character as irredeemable?

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 9:54:24 AM

Quoting the trope definition:

The Moral Event Horizon refers to the first evil deed to prove a particular character to be irredeemably evil.

Note the word irredeemably. It is a demonstration of permanent evil: the moment which confirms that this character will always be a bad person.

If they ever stop being a bad person, then they cannot have been made irredeemably evil. The fundamental criteria for the trope do not exist, and therefore there is no example. It doesn't matter whether the audience thinks they're "insufficiently redeemed".

MEH is YMMV because people may disagree about what constitutes the "first evil deed to prove a particular character to be irredeemably evil", not whether the character is in fact irredeemably evil.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:57:48 PM

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Aug 23rd 2019 at 10:03:50 AM

Also quoting the definition:

The character can just be a bad person (and maybe even somewhat sympathetic); the Moral Event Horizon is a black mark in their history that can never be forgiven. A character who performs an act that should make them irredeemable but somehow gets away with it is a Karma Houdini. Unless they realize it, feel horrible, and work their ass off to atone for that crossing. Then maybe it'll evolve into Forgiven, but Not Forgotten; that one crossing certainly will stay as a black mark, but they're working to be a better person. Such instances, however, are rare.

The bold part says that a character can be redeemed after crossing the MEH.

Personally, I wouldn't be opposed to removing that part of the definition.

WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 23rd 2019 at 10:27:47 AM

Right, that's where the confusion is coming from. The description allows for both interpretations, and combined with this being subjective, it's only natural people will want to include, say, Anakin's child massacre.

Edited by WarJay77 on Aug 23rd 2019 at 1:28:56 PM

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
miraculous There have been many attempts to conquer... from South Africa
There have been many attempts to conquer...
Aug 23rd 2019 at 10:29:09 AM

[up][up]I would cut that bolded part.

It seems to be clashing with the entire rest of the definition.

..the earth. I've lost count. Not one of them has succeeded. Not a single one. They all lost and burned and ran. That's who I am.
Brainulator9 Regular garden-variety troper. from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Regular garden-variety troper.
Aug 23rd 2019 at 11:03:21 AM

Copy-pasting from here:

Honestly, since it's already The Same, but More to Kick the Dog that may vary between audiences despite it being limited to one event per character per continuity, I've been contemplating the idea of making Moral Event Horizon a definition-only page and saying "any applicable examples can be found on Kick the Dog".

Other comments I found interesting:

  • By nrjxll:
    Honestly, seeing this debate about the definition here sorta makes me wonder if this is another case where TV Tropes basically made up a concept out of thin air and people ran with it because it had a catchily vague name.
  • By Septimus Heap:
    I think the problem is that people are assuming that there can be only one. Sure, for a given audience member yes, but for an entire audience? There will be more than one such moment.

Honestly, I can think of at least two cases where the MEH is crossed at perhaps different points:

  • YMMV.JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood lists Dio Brando as having crossed it upon killing the protagonist's pet dog in response to losing a fight. Personally, I found that moment to be his transition into a vampire to be his true MEH, since at this point, he's ditched any potential pretense of humanity. Then again, he . If it sounds like
  • YMMV.Coco, as an old revision had listed it, had multiple points where the villain could be seen as crossing the MEH to different members, each later option serving to funnel out those who may have not seen them as crossing the MEH earlier (all spoiler-tagged, and I apologize if this is a bit hard-to-understand out-of-context):
    • Ernesto de la Cruz killing his partner Héctor to steal his music in the first place.
    • Ernesto believing said murder to have been necessary for his success nearly a century later and decades after his own death, showing no remorse for his actions despite having all of this time to think about it.
    • Ernesto leaving Héctor and his descendant Miguel - a child, mind you - to fade into non-existence in the bottom of a deep pit.
    • Ernesto throwing Miguel into an abyss of nothingness in order to kill him, too, so that his fame will not be tarnished.

Granted, I'm the type of person that believes that even the worst of actions can, in theory, be forgiven if the person manages to show sincere remorse for their actions and works towards fixing the damage they caused. That said, I do not want or need Moral Event Horizon to be clogged with a bunch of moments that make us look like overly judgmental jerks with no concept of redemption or forgiveness whatsoever, lest it fester into the same pits that make us look like extreme skeptics with respect to works of fiction where anything can happen or easily-frightened cowards.

You don't mean no-nothing at all to me...
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 11:18:33 AM

The description suffers from being overly long. My reading of the paragraph about Forgiven, but Not Forgotten seems to imply that the MEH no longer applies, but I can see how it might be confusing.

Kick the Dog is a moment wherein a villain (or occasionally anti-hero) does something unnecessarily and wantonly cruel, to prove to the other characters (or the audience) how evil they are. It may be an MEH crossing or it may not. Often times a villain who is already irredeemable will drown some puppies just to remind the audience, and at other times a character will strangle multiple kittens prior to crossing the line to full-on villainy. There is no direct correlation between the two tropes.

As an example, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn has a scene in which the main villain literally crushes a puppy beneath his boot, right in front of the protagonist. This character is already far, far beyond redemption, but it serves as a kind of In-Universe Establishing Character Moment. There is no defining place in the story where they cross from "Diet Coke evil" to "puppy murder evil"; it's just showing off.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 2:25:47 PM

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WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 23rd 2019 at 11:37:01 AM

I guess the issue is that the concept of irredeemability is hard to agree on as it is- and it's something that can only be determined after the work is complete (even some dead villains can be redeemed).

I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better for this to be the moment the character proved themselves evil in-universe, without making statements on whether or not the character can still be sympathetic, well-intentioned, and of course, redeemed.

It's much easier to determine the point when a character has cemented themselves as being an evil bastard, is all...

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:18:58 PM

Yeah, but the title Moral Event Horizon implies an uncrossable line, and that's going to cause issues with changing the definition any way you slice it.

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WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:20:03 PM

Indeed...

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Brainulator9 Regular garden-variety troper. from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Regular garden-variety troper.
Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:22:01 PM

If we're going off of that, then I have to question examples of Despair Event Horizon where the characters regain hope. If it means anything, it was renamed from Morale Event Horizon, a snowclone of Moral Event Horizon.

You don't mean no-nothing at all to me...
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
Aug 23rd 2019 at 12:29:13 PM

The problem with snowclones. I think people like the "Event Horizon" portion because it is witty and memorable, even if the resulting titles aren't perfectly indicative.

If we want to redefine MEH so it is about the moment when a character definitively proves themselves to be evil, regardless of redemption, then fine, but it needs the full TRS procedure, and we'll have to contrast it with Face–Heel Turn.

Edited by Fighteer on Aug 23rd 2019 at 3:36:41 PM

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4tell0life4 Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name
Aug 23rd 2019 at 2:41:24 PM

The name used to be "Rape the Dog", right? From Kick the Dog I can tell that MEH is about a moment - where the guy does something so bad that makes them irredeemable in the audience's eyes.

And I don't think anyone answered Fighteer's question yet - "what if the guy who crossed the MEH becomes good/redeemable In-Universe?" I want to know the answer too.

To the intellectuals, ignorants are slaves.
WarJay77 The googly-eyed monstrosity from Upstate New York Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The googly-eyed monstrosity
Aug 23rd 2019 at 3:33:09 PM

That's the exact problem we're having- some think that any in-universe redemption is automatic disqualification for the MEH, others disagree.

Female troper who likes Pokemon, ARGs, Writing, and more. / Links: Sandbox.Zero Context Example Thread - Sandbox.Roleplay Cleanup Thread
Aug 23rd 2019 at 4:33:51 PM

I know some pages use this trope to specifically point out when a series will try to redeem a character, and the audience will be like "what, no, he literally ate babies, we don't want him to get redeemed." For example, Once Upon a Time was famous for this. MEH got its own tab for that series, and to quote the very first line:

Oddly enough, the show seems to operate under the premise that there is no Moral Event Horizon and that, while redemption is no cakewalk, no one is "irredeemably evil". However, fans still insist on making their own judgements:

I'm just trying to demonstrate how I've seen the trope used across the wiki.

4tell0life4 Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name
Aug 23rd 2019 at 6:20:11 PM

"Fans disagree with canon" is a thing that we have, right?

To the intellectuals, ignorants are slaves.
Brainulator9 Regular garden-variety troper. from US Relationship Status: I get a feeling so complicated...
Regular garden-variety troper.
Aug 23rd 2019 at 6:23:25 PM

Well, MoralEventHorizon.Once Upon A Time is quite lengthy, and contains two examples so far that have "arguably" in them.

    The full contents 
Oddly enough, the show seems to operate under the premise that there is no Moral Event Horizon and that, while redemption is no cakewalk, no one is "irredeemably evil". However, fans still insist on making their own judgements:
  • Cora:
    • She arguably crossed it in her first scene by physically and emotionally abusing her own daughter, Regina.
    • She definitely crossed it when she murdered Daniel in cold blood and forced Regina into a marriage she didn't want.
    • Then there's killing Snow White's mother as part of her long-term plan to gain power. Even Regina is shocked when she finds out.
    • Another would be killing Johanna after Snow gave her the dagger she wanted.
  • Greg and Tamara:
    • Tamara's are either killing August in "Selfless, Brave and True" or shooting Neal in "Second Star to the Right".
    • Greg's Cold-Blooded Torture of Regina in "Second Star to the Right".
    • Together, they probably cross by deciding to wipe out Storybrooke and everyone in it.
  • Peter Pan is on the other side of it the first time we hear about him, how he kidnaps little boys from their families and takes them in Neverland, never permitting them to leave. It's said that almost every night is filled with the cries of children who miss their families and want to go home. This in addition to running a very long plan being The Man Behind the Man on "the Home Office", enslaving the Darlings, and sacrificing his son for a return chance at youth and unlimited power.
  • Others:
    • The original Prince James and Jacqueline's callous genocide of the giants in "Tiny". Overlaps with King George, as he ordered it.
    • Jiminy's parents' finding out about the curse he was desperately going to hit them with, then taking it and intentionally using it on Gepetto's parents to permanently turn them into puppets even though they had no reason to do so, all just to Kick the Dog.
  • Regina. It's very, very hard to pick just one, and it's very, very hard to agree on when, or if, she crossed it.
    • Her treatment of Henry: trying to convince him the curse isn't real, tricking Emma into calling him crazy (while she and his therapist were very cautious not to use that terminology), all in order to protect herself and the curse. Then trying to kill members of Henry's family—on multiple occasions—sometimes not even checking whether he was there and therefore doing it right in front of him. Then trying to put him under a love curse because she remains absolutely sure that having her loving him is the best thing that can happen to him and refuses to confront her flaws. Also, Regina telling Henry about her plan to destroy Storybrooke, kill everyone living there, and kidnap Henry back to FTL, then erasing his memory of the conversation. Worst of all, she always genuinely believes in the excuses she finds to keep him around and cannot understand Henry's reactions. Trying to become the mother she always wanted to have turned her into a ruthless abuser, and when she realizes this after countless traumas caused by her missing the significance of his relationship with Emma, it takes a very traumatic scene reminding her of her own mother to make her decide to turn herself around... a heartfelt resolution that gets thrown out the window the second her abandonment issues are resolved and her loneliness reawakened by her mother's semi-redemption and death.
    • The Queen killing her own father, explicitly the one thing she loved more than anything else. Though it is less of one for her and more of one for other characters if you were willing to accept the Sympathetic Murder Backstory on the death of her father (he watched her be physically and emotionally abused by her mother for years). Also, she feels enormous remorse about it.
    • Her ripping out Graham's heart for disobeying her orders, making him in to her sex slave under threat of death and later killing him certainly qualifies. Not helped by the fact that Welcome to Storybrooke confirms everyone's personalities were essentially chosen by Regina, meaning he had no choice whatsoever. Regina could even use his heart to direct him, like a puppet.
    • While Leopold was a neglectful bore of a husband who never made her happy, and expected her to stay faithful to him for all the duration of their marriage, despite how miserable she was, and may have planned to kill her potential lover, it was not necessary to pull a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on the Genie smitten with her, get him to kill Leopold for her, and then let him plunge into eternal servitude as her magic mirror. She could have just bribed a guard!
    • And if you were wiling to accept that and still forgive her, then the revelation that she kept Belle, who never wronged her at all, locked in a mental ward for twenty eight years, presumably either to keep her quiet or as some sort of bargaining chip against Mr. Gold might just do it. Although then again, Regina just shows a Cycle of Vengeance mindset (taking leverage material to deal with what she knows, is almost evil incarnate but with very human qualities such as a fondness for Belle, and nearly omnipotent), while Rumple already demonstrated his capacity to screw her life over more than needed at that point in the chronology. Regardless of how much Regina deserves pity rather than scorn, the point remains that she deliberately hurt an innocent victim, in cool blood, which makes her Not So Different from Rumple.
    • All the murders and the later kidnapping can be argued to acceptable losses to further her plans. But sending defenseless CHILD after CHILD into a cannibal witch's house to retrieve the poisoned apple crosses it. She's shown she could have taken care of the Blind Witch herself (via mirrors and fireballs), even though that would have costed her her revenge, making her look worse when she sends Hansel and Gretel in. Without remorse or hesitation she sent over a DOZEN kids to certain doom just to get a MacGuffin just to screw over ONE PERSON. ONE PERSON.
    • She was involved in Kathryn's disappearance and attempted to commit a murder. She then uses her supposed friend's death to screw over someone who's already miserable, and for kicks she also makes Sidney, who's hopelessly in love with her, confess to the crime.
    • What she did to Jefferson; deliberately screwing him over so that she could get her father back (who she'll kill later anyway, rendering the whole Wonderland trip meaningless) and then hypocritically shooting his words 'You don't leave family' back at him, before leaving him behind to be separated from his daughter forever - as well as from his head, if only for a while. BITCH. Though she gets a Sympathetic Murder Backstory-ish storyline AGAIN, since, before his daughter was even born, Jefferson was The Hedonist and helped drive her insane in exchange from some material help from Rumplestiltskin.
    • Regina trying to get Kurt and Owen to stay in Storybrooke and, when that didn't work, chasing them down like criminals, having Kurt arrested and thus depriving Owen of his father. Who cares if she cried in remorse? That was dreadful. To be fair, she was genuinely remorseful over what she did when she sees Owen crying for his father and she learned her lesson in the present time, as evidenced by destroying the love curse rather than forcing Henry to be her perfect, loving son, but still, her selfish actions back then have now put everyone in Storybrooke in jeopardy in the present day, as Owen is back and out to prove that magic exists to the whole world. (Oh, and she killed Kurt as well.)
    • Twisting Belle's memories and personality into a hard-partying Dark Chick. Did Belle do anything to Regina? Nope. It's all because Regina doesn't have the guts or power to face Rumplestiltskin directly, so she'll attack him through the innocent girl serving as his Morality Chain who did nothing more than support him and accidentally help framing her, in a dark mirrored version of what he did to Prince Henry.
    • In "The Evil Queen", she has a village destroyed and all its inhabitants slaughtered back in the Enchanted Forest. And even though she looks as if she just realizes what she asked when she finds them before the apple incident, in the present, she's planning on doing the same to Storybrooke and all the people in it, and mind-wipes Henry of this plan so that he won't try to stop her. This also ends up directly enabling Tamara and Greg's Moral Event Horizon of doing the same thing, making Regina doubly guilty.
    • She massacred Percival's village when he was a boy, burning it to the ground, smiling at him as she did so.
  • Rumplestiltskin. Like for Regina, there is no fan consensus on whether or not he is redeemable.
    • Having someone cast the Dark Curse to start with may qualify. While wanting to find his son is a sympathetic Freudian Excuse, ruining the lives of all around him to do so is just heinous, and even more when you realize there were other ways in 2x04 and he used the curse because it allowed him to keep his powers.
    • What makes all this even worse is that, when his son returns, he is happy spending his time with Belle. He doesn't visit him, try to repair the damage he caused or learn more about his grandson. To be fair, he has been shown spending a lot of time watching his son. Given how things played out in "Manhattan", maybe Gold doesn't know how to talk to his son.
    • Later, encouraging Regina to kill her own father. He starts by grasping her throat as if he was going to strangle her, then giggles through his whole rant, probably rejoicing because poor Henry ended up with the woman he loved in the past.
    • In The Price Of Gold, killing an innocent, benevolent woman whose job is to make desperate people happy without hidden side-consequences. This means he may have put thousands of Happy Endings into jeopardy, when he could have just locked her somewhere. Then, manipulating Ashley and trying to insult the memory of a beloved character whom, on a meta-level, he cheated of her usual importance.
    • What Rumplestiltskin did to Regina, as shown in "We Are Both" and onward. While Cora started Regina down the road to darkness, Rumple made damn sure she continued down it, but he always insisted that the choice was hers, and that it was her fault, not his. Made worse by the fact that this may still be Revenge by Proxy on Cora.
    • Torturing Robin Hood. He hurts him and heals him, just because he feels some perverse satisfaction in punishing others for challenging a power they can't handle. Made better by letting Robin Hood go after Rumple found out Robin Hood wanted the magic wand to save his pregnant wife. Belle evens calls him out on it.
    • Later on, trying to harm Henry, his son's son, without concern for Neal's happiness, or any demonstration of remorse, just out of self-preservation. Made better by his rescue attempt afterwards.
    • To start with a disagreeable pattern, ripping out Milah's heart, whatever your opinion on whether she had a right to seek her own happiness or should have stayed with a family who loved her. Though that one can also come across as a crime of passion and he really only begins to lose control when he calls her out for abandoning Bae.
    • Trapping the defenseless apprentice into the hat. Also, using Hook, who wanted to be removed of his hand that compels him to regress to his old ways, to do this and blackmails him with it if he ever reveals the truth to Belle about switching the real dagger with the fake dagger and tells Hook that the hand wasn't cursed at all and that he did them by himself, calling it his true nature. To be fair, Hook brought that on himself by trying to blackmail him in the first place.
    • Using Emma's trust to get her to be sucked inside the hat so that he can receive her powers was really pricky. Even when she's the mother of one of the two people he cares about, he still doesn't relent. Double points for chaining Hook to a fence so that he's helpless to stop it. Trying to kill Hook by crushing his heart in front of Emma. Although, the severity of these are greatly lessened when it's revealed that the darkness had all but consumed him at this point.
    • He doesn't have that excuse for what he pulls off during the Season 5A finale, however. He attempts to trick Dark One Emma into killing herself with Excalibur under the belief that it would destroy the darkness. He didn't plan on having Hook, his greatest enemy, sacrifice himself instead, but Rumple still got the exact result he wanted - the darkness is redirected to his newly-made dagger and thus back inside of him so that he's the Dark One again, making Hook's Heroic Sacrifice entirely meaningless and once again manipulating the trust Belle has in him. The kicker? Rumple came up with this plan without the darkness inside of him. Even when he isn't the Dark One, he's still hopelessly addicted to power and prone to doing bad things in order to get it. By his own admittance, "it's the man he is."
    • What he does to Milah in the Underworld could be this, though he was talked into it by Hades. Notably, it might be an in-universe case for Rumple, as the look on his face after he does it shows that even he is upset and disgusted at himself for sinking so low.
  • King George:
    • He dove over this line in "Child Of The Moon" by killing a man in cold blood, framing his murder on the innocent (and already guilt-ridden) Ruby, almost killing her, and then destroying the Mad Hatter's hat (which, in Storybrooke, is the only known way to get Emma and Snow back), all in the name of a grudge on Charming, not even any of the people that he screwed over during the episode!
    • Imprisoning Charming and attempting to have him executed just because he didn't go along with his Arranged Marriage, and then cursing Snow to a childless life. Evil Is Petty, indeed. Oh, and he killed his mother. And he arranged for the death of David's birth father! At least he got locked up, and David got the satisfaction of giving him a good punch.
  • Hook
    • Attempting to kill Belle, simply because she was of no use to him. Also then later shooting Belle and letting her fall over the Storybrooke line so she'd (temporarily, thankfully) lose her memories. Though by then it's become apparent Hook is more interested in making Rumple miserable and some kind of inverted Suicide by Cop, at least since he can't kill him.
    • A lot of people were put off by Hook stealing Aurora's heart while she was unconscious. Some viewers started shipping the two because of that scene. Some consider this a subversion, as Hook also ends up saving her heart when it's about to be lost forever.
    • Helping to trap Emma, Snow, Aurora and Mulan in a cage that was meant to hold the Dark One, and then calling Emma "dried up and useless" before leaving them to death by exposure.
    • Selling out Bae, the son of the woman he loved, to the Lost Boys. The tragic thing about this one is that they were genuinely bonding. Hook started out using him for information to kill Rumple, but they bonded over being abandoned and almost became a family. It all went to hell when Bae found out that Milah left his family for Hook and refused to be on the ship any longer. Rather than let him go, Hook sells Bae for his own safety and that of his crew. Though, he does genuinely regret this and influenced his decision to not flee a doomed Storybrooke in the second season finale and help the good guys save Henry, Bae's own son, in Neverland.. Oddly, it didn't seem to influence his actions much the next half season, even Baelfire himself seems to have forgotten all about it.
    • Trying to send the entire main cast sans Emma (who is also a Dark One at the time) to the Underworld just so that he can fulfill his revenge on just ONE of them - Rumplestiltskin, not caring about Emma's own feelings because he is angry at her for turning him dark against his will. Possibly him killing Merlin in order to cast the Dark Curse too, although that one is technically on Nimue, whom Hook merely channeled in that moment.
    • While he has shown remorse and regret for a number of things he's done (particularly to Belle), the most recent revelation that he killed David's father (without knowing who he was) is kind of treated as this by himself—because he thinks Emma and her family will never forgive him for it, despite how much he's done since then to show he's changed.
  • Zelena (Wicked Witch of the West)
    • Turning the Wizard of Oz into her first Flying Monkey, though it was borderline Kick the Son of a Bitch. Sending him to "divert" Emma (though said monkey is originally human, neither of them seems to have had full knowledge of their actions, paralleling Graham.)
    • Caging an obviously insane and tortured Rumple, and forcing Rumple to attack Belle using the dagger, after giving her a Hope Spot.
    • The above is topped later when she forces him to threaten Robin Hood's son, a CHILD.
    • Setting up Baelfire to be killed, and then torturing Rumple and Emma with it.
    • Planning to unmake all of reality and the timeline so Cora will keep her, proving to be just as ruthless as her mother in her devotion to attaining her goals.
    • And, to top the list, kidnapping a newborn baby to use in her time-travel spell, which may or may not have killed it.
    • In season 4, it is revealed that she killed an unconscious Marian in order to impersonate her and ruin Regina's happiness.
    • She continued the pretense while Robin had sex with her under the belief that she was Marian, meaning that she committed rape by fraud, possibly many times.
  • The Snow Queen
    • Nothing puts you over the edge faster than corrupting your nieces, turning one against the other and even getting the one you liked better trapped for at least 29 years.
    • And then there's her freezing the heart of what she thinks is an innocent woman in order to frame your niece for it. I mean, geesh!
    • Cursing the entire town (and innocent people who have nothing to do with her) with the Shattered Spell curse, although to be fair, she ends up having a Heel Realization and sacrifices her life to end the curse before it kills anyone.
  • Snow and Charming
    • The episode "Best Laid Plans" details exactly what they did to Maleficent's baby: turned it into The Antichrist and sent it to another dimension, with the "justification" that it wasn't human and was just going to be evil because its mom was. However, they were unaware that they'd targeted an actual human baby and not an Always Chaotic Evil creature, as the baby was inside a dragon's egg, and were horrified themselves when they realized just what they'd done. They'd also done everything solely to protect their daughter, so while their actions were terrible, how unforgivable they were is up for the viewer to decide.
  • The Author
    • He arguably goes over it in his first appearance: manipulating the characters he's supposed to protect and putting them through absolute hell, because it makes "a better story". He is directly responsible for everything everyone suffers.
    • He has clearly and undeniably crossed it by the Season 4 finale when he writes a new story that traps everyone except Henry in an alternate world where heroes are villains and villains are heroes and then sells the story as a book in our world, making him a best-selling author. You read that correctly: He screwed with everyone's lives so he could sell a book. Oh, and the reason why he has it out for Charming and Snow in particular? Not because they slighted him personally or did something terrible to him, but because they remind him of his former boss, successful and happy while he has nothing. He messed with them out of completely unjustified envy.
    • AND THEN once he and Henry end up in the AU-verse he knocks him out and leaves him as ogre-bait. When he goes back later he is pleading for Henry to be dead.
  • Cruella De Vil and Ursula
    • Cruella serially murders her father, her two stepfathers and her mother.
    • She and Ursula abandon Lily as a baby and use the magic egg to stay youthful.
  • Arthur
    • Forcing his squire to take the poison of Agrabahn vipers to keep from being forced to confess that he had stolen the contents of the reliquary at his behest, simply to manufacture an adventure and a villain to defeat so as to earn the trust of the main characters. All because he believes anything is justified in the name of protecting Camelot and its people, getting them home, and stopping the Dark One. After this, getting after Regina and the others for lying about her identity and Emma's seems rather hollow.
    • As if that isn't bad enough, the very next episode has him dive completely across it. Pretending the mushroom was lost to keep them from contacting Merlin, while skeevy, isn't truly deplorable since at this point we don't know what happened between them, what Arthur may be concealing, or how Merlin and his prophecies shaped him. But in "The Broken Kingdom" we learn that not only did he become so obsessed with finding the dagger and reforging Excalibur so he could fulfill the prophecy and properly rule a rebuilt Camelot that he ignored and neglected Guinevere, thus driving her into Lancelot's arms, but when she confessed the truth to him rather than use the Sands of Avalon on Excalibur, he used them on her. With the result that she now is under Mind Control to believe herself his loving and obedient wife who must support him in all things, especially the quest for the dagger. He also fashioned an illusion of a restored Camelot to fool the people, and in the present compelled her to cruelly spurn Lancelot and use the Sands on Snow and Charming, putting them under his control, too. This last is undone in the very next episode, but Guinevere remains his unknowing slave. This horrible act puts him right in the same camp as Regina with Graham and Zelena with Robin. Is it any wonder Merlin is disgusted when he is freed from the tree?
  • Hades
    • Forcing Gold to cast Milah into the River of Lost Souls to keep from being killed and/or ever able to return to Belle.
    • Gaining control of the contract for Gold's second-born, thus forcing him to be his servant (i.e. threatening both Belle and her unborn baby).
    • Manipulating Liam into betraying all his sailors just to obtain the Eye of the Storm so he and Killian can join the Royal Navy.
    • Manipulating Belle into indirectly causing Gaston to fall in the River of Lost Souls, and then not honoring the deal to tear up the contract because she did the deed rather than Gold.
    • Lying to Emma and Killian about the ambrosia tree, and then giving Cruella and the Blind Witch the power to trap the others in the library, all to keep them from making it back through the portal so he and Zelena could rule Storybrooke.
    • But probably above all, manipulating Zelena into helping him take over Storybrooke and destroy the heroes (even while he apparently really did love her), culminating in using the Olympian Crystal to kill Robin Hood. The fact his death immediately follows the latter would seem to make this his ultimate evil act, except it was actually as payback for the manipulation of Zelena.
  • The Evil Queen: For one thing, it's entirely possible she starts on the far side of the Horizon, being the incarnation of the darkness inside Regina.
    • Her putting a sleeping curse on Snow White and Charming's mutual heart, so that one of them is always asleep while the other is awake, preventing them from being together probably pushes her over the edge.
    • And if that doesn't do it, she most definitely goes all the way in the very next episode by placing the pregancy-acceleration powder in Belle's tea, knowing everyone would think Gold did it (and that no one, particularly Belle, would believe him if he tried to tell them the truth), setting off a chain of events that led to Belle sending their son away; she then taunts Gold, claiming that he effectively did it to himself and asking him how it feels to lose another child. And this in turn led to Gideon's kidnapping and corruption by the Black Fairy, although this immediately bites her in the ass by getting her turned into a snake.
  • Dr. Jekyll
    • He kills the woman he lusted after because she fell in love with his alter-ego Mr. Hyde instead of him and that "wasn't supposed to happen". And although the murder was partially accidental on his part, his immediate response to it happening and hearing people coming to the scene is to use his potion to turn into Hyde so that Hyde gets the blame and is hunted down as a murderer.
    • When Rumple pushes him to a breaking point, he decides to take revenge by trying to kill Belle...knowing damn well that she is pregnant with Rumple's child.
  • The Black Fairy
    • Ladies and gentlemen, the creator of the Dark Curse. That alone means she wants untold suffering of who knows how many people.
    • Kidnapping various babies (including Belle and Rumple's son) and making them work in mines to gather dark fairy dust with the added implication she tortures them as well.
    • Putting Gideon through a Secret Test of Character that ends with him being powerless to stop the death of someone he knew as a kid and regretted failing before ripping out his heart and forcing him to try and kill Emma so she can be released.
  • Rapunzel Tremaine
    • In her first scene she kills Cinderella's fairy godmother in cold blood after kidnapping her and cutting off her wings while she was unconscious.
    • If that wasn't enough, she murders the Prince for rejecting her daughter and frames Cinderella for it.
    • She is definitely on the far side of the line after deciding to sacrifice Drizella to resurrect Anastasia. She does learn the error of her ways, though.
    • It's hard to forgive breaking a child's spirit and causing her to become comatose, even if it was to bring back Anastasia. She learns the error of her ways with this one too, though.
    • She doesn't ever learn that she was in the wrong for poisoning a woman's heart and forcing her to abandoned her family, then abusing and enslaving her stepdaughter after surviving an accident that was not her fault.
  • Drizella
    • She murders her fiancé Gregor just to prove a point.
    • She poisons Henry to force Regina to cast the Dark Curse.
    • She attempts to steal her sister Anastasia's magic, and presumbaly was going to dispose of her if she were to obtain it. She does feel bad for what she did, though.
  • Gothel
    • Conceived a baby to take her place in the tower and left her to starve. 'Nuff said.
    • Double-crossing Drizella and dumping her down a well with her mother.
    • Manipulating Robin into joining her, then attempting to sacrifice her to revive Madame Leota.
    • Attempting to manipulate Anastasia into killing Drizella. Luckily, it fails.
    • Attempting to erradicate all of humanity.

You don't mean no-nothing at all to me...

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