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Mar 23rd 2021 at 12:09:00 AM •••

Linking to a past Trope Repair Shop thread that dealt with this page: Am I the only one confused by this trope?, started by nrjxll on Feb 28th 2011 at 1:44:50 AM

Jun 22nd 2020 at 9:45:45 AM •••

What is the precise definition of this trope, and how is it differentiated from Mooks?

Edited by doomquokka
Oct 17th 2015 at 9:40:27 AM •••

I think this comic is more to-the-point than the image being used for the page right now. I don't know how to switch them.

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Oct 19th 2015 at 4:17:53 AM •••

If you want help you might want to start a conversation in The Image Pickin' forum

Apr 29th 2014 at 8:03:04 AM •••

A comment should be made in the description that this page is for aversions or lampshade hangings, as that's what, well, pretty much every single example on here (including the quote and image) are.

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May 19th 2014 at 11:37:53 AM •••

I'm going to add in a comment that "Mooks being mowed down in droves by heroes is simply part of the definition of Mook, this page is for lampshades, aversions, or subversions of the concept" is no one has issue with it.

May 16th 2010 at 7:01:16 AM •••

  • Subverted in The Punisher MAX story arc, "Widowmaker". The antagonists are a group of women who have been widowed by the titular Vigilante Man and all their husbands are revealed to be nameless mooks that the Punisher killed onscreen in previous story arcs. Most notable of them is the leader of the widows whose grandfather, father, husband, and two sons were among the countless Mafia members slaughtered in the very first issue of The Punisher MAX.

  • The Stormtroopers are never seen out of their full-body armor. The ones in the prequels are conveniently explained to be clones, which are even easier to kill without dubious morality. (For some reason.)
    • It should be noted that only the movies fall victim to this. The expanded universe frequently attempts to avert this trope, giving names and personalities to hundreds of different clone troopers and establishing that many Jedi feel a personal connection to the clones they fight alongside. Some novels and comics even deal directly with this trope by having characters question the Republic's willingness to send millions of clones to die simply because they are expendable.
    • Hell, even the clones see themselves as expendable, which of course is the point: the deaths of billions clouded the Force so the Jedi couldn't see Order 66 coming.
    • The (CG) Clone Wars TV series averts the hell out of that. The clones take off their helmets regularly, and are even given individual personalities (and relatively distinctive looks, to the extent it's possible to). Doesn't stop them from getting killed off like flies, though.
      • At that point they are closer to a Redshirt Army.
      • Hell, one episode even has one of the clones working as a Sith spy because he objects to the way they're being treated as expendable by the Republic!
    • But do the heroes ever kill stormtroopers who weren't trying to kill them? Don't the Rebels have the right to defend themselves?
    • Jabba the Hutt is dead. Boba Fett is dead (sorta). Is it really necessary to blow up the sail barge at that point?

  • Very uncomfortably applied in the first The Matrix. The heroes are shockingly cavalier about offing regular cops and security guards who are unwittingly serving the machines. Granted that normal humans can be taken over at will by the enemy, but you'd think they would at least try and minimize casualties if at all possible. Neo himself doesn't even have the 'excuse' of being battle-hardened like Morpheus or Trinity.
    • The slaughter of the security guards is theoretically and morally consistent with the rest of the films if one examines the thematic framework established by the Wachowski brothers and mocked in this video. To wit: those incarcerated in the Matrix are given a choice (conscious or subconscious) to accept the program; those that do become "blue pills" and those that don't become "red pills." As a result: from the Wachowski perspective, the mooks in the lobby chose to be there and thereby chose to die. This troper feels compelled to note that the allocation of personal responsibility, taken to this kind of extreme, becomes victim-blaming and can lead to all manner of atrocities.
    • This is justified very early by Morpheus: anyone who isn't a rebel can become an Agent at any moment, logically meaning that using anything less than lethal force will likely result in the appearance of an unstoppable killing machine.
      • Also, these Mooks are too old to be "unplugged" safely.
      • The Unfortunate Implications arise in Morpheus' tirade against the Matrix; the Resistance is fighting an entire civilization that is unaware of its enslavement in a Platonic Cave, and to a "bluepill" unaware of the whole AI virtual-world-thing, Morpheus and his fellow rebels appear to be literal Terrorists Without a Cause - they just appear out of nowhere, crack computers, blow stuff up, then disappear just as quickly and mysteriously. Do you like your society? Are you happy with your way of life? Well, your leaders spend a lot of time oppressing and killing people you've never even heard of, and since you support them, you're part of the problem. Die, infidel.
      • Neo, Morpheus and Trinity casually walk away after accidentally crashing their helicopter into the office building, acting as if nothing happened. We're not expecting them to agonize or gush about it, but what the hell?
      • Also, how often did the "Agent takes over another person" deal actually occur? In the first film, none of the Agents intervened against Neo and Trinity during the lobby shoot-out. It's only when they made it to the landing pad that an Agent got involved. So much for being the eyes and ears of the machines.
      • To be fair, from what is seen in the first film, it generally takes an Agent a little while to transform a person, which would be incredibly obvious to someone who doesn't know what is going on, let alone someone looking out for that kind of stuff, which means that if they did transform in the Lobby, they would have been shot down almost instantly. That and the fact that, practically the lobby scene happens in about a minute. Considering the rapid response of the soldiers, they were just off the scene, leaving the Agents who were concerned with a closer and more important rebel to let things be. Perhaps.
      • Further, it is explained in the spinoffs that being take over by an Agent effectively kills a person.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Final Fantasy VII, the protagonists storm an underwater reactor under the city of Junon. They have to take the elevator to get there —and it's presently occupied by a girl, and two random Shinra mooks who are desperately trying to work up the courage to speak with her and ask her out. When they discover Cloud, though, they're bound by duty to try and stop him, and a brief battle ensues. The girl is horrified and laments the soldiers' death; Cloud and company don't even flinch. Similarly, another squad of Shinra soldiers tries to stop the invasion and scream "For Junon!" as they rush Cloud, and meet the same fate as their compatriots. The fact that Cloud himself was a faceless, nameless grunt a few years ago doesn't seem to bother him at all.
    • Averted, partially, in that you can choose not to kill the mooks on the submarine.
      • Justified; they're the same mooks you temporarily befriended during the parade, as shown by them swinging their guns around the way Cloud swings his sword. Dunno if that counts as Chekhov's gunmen though...

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the SNES. Stressed heavily that the main mooks you slaughter are the king's men, brainwashed. So much for the gene pool of Hyrule after you are done with them...
    • Crossing over with What Measure Is a Non-Human? are the bosses of the original Legend of Zelda. The pieces of the Triforce are hidden where they are because Zelda put them there. The monsters in front of those pieces are there because Zelda put them there. They're duly appointed guardians whose only crime was doing the job that the daughter of the reigning monarch gave them.
    • The fact that they still attack you even after you kill the brainwasher, it's probably permanent.
    • In the ending Link seems to use the Triforce to bring back all those killed by Ganon and the previously dead King is seen alive with the unmasked guard enemies. So hopefully this means they were brought back to life unbrainwashed.* The heroes of Diablo II (which may include a Paladin of Zakarum PC, and a NPC paladin in the dock camp) are charged with killing the corrupted leaders of the Church of Zakarum, and on their way to the temple they fight hordes of brainwashed cultists. It's up to the player to decide whether the heroes should be feeling any remorse at killing humans of the not-yet-undead sort.
    • Given that they still fight you after killing Mephisto, their brains are too scrambled to be brought back.
      • Actually, after some particular event (I don't remember exactly what) they'll all run away from you on sight. You can still chase them down and slay them.
  • Metal Gear Solid is a bit iffy on this. Solid Snake is a Shell-Shocked Veteran; Raven claims that Snake's would never find peace, as "...every step [he] takes is paved with the bodies of [his] enemies...". However, Liquid, in a speech delivered to both Snake and the Player, claims that they are Not So Different, and that Snake enjoyed slaughtering Fox Hound and the mooks.
    • Metal Gear Solid 3 averts this as well. When Snake is facing the Sorrow, he must face off against everyone he has killed up to this point; and the mooks are extremely vocal about how cruel their deaths were.
    • The whole series is in a way a moral testing-ground for this trope. Considering it's possible to get through an entire game without killing a single person, in a way the game tests you out just as much as you test it.
      • In fact the whole trope is Lamp Shaded in the entire series.
    • One game for the Gameboy Colour (outside main canon) mentions this trope at the start of a bossfight. During the pre-fight dialog Snake tries to take the moral high-ground. The boss responds by telling Snake just how many guards he killed just to get to him (and this is about halfway through the game, so you can expect to kill many more). This kinda hits you when you are 14 and treat the guards like automated robots.

  • In Jak and Daxter, the second and sixth games have you tearing through hordes of Faceless Goons. Though they don't hesitate to kill the Big Bads, they are still lauded as heroes. Made even worse in TLF when you know that the mooks you're killing are all Aeropans, who you see as Innocent Bystanders earlier in the game, that have been subjected to the same Dark Eco experimentation as Jak and are now evil because of it. Maybe Veger was right to throw Jak out of Haven City...
  • Also subverted in The Adventures of Dr McNinja, where the doctor gets it from the mother of a drug ninja he killed. This is played for laughs however.
    • Lampshaded in a more serious manner. Dr. McNinja once has a nightmare about all the mooks he killed coming back as zombies in an attempt to get revenge on him. Then the zombies come.
    • The Doctor also averts the dissonance aspects of this trope, as he doesn't treat the Big Bad any differently than the mooks. If anything, he's more vicious to the Big Bad.
  • We also have the character of Miko in Order of the Stick. As a stereotypical "detect first, smite second, ask questions never" Paladin, she makes it quite clear that the value of an Evil character is zero. Even if it is human. Even when her opinion of Evil by the end becomes "Anyone who doesn't agree with me."
    • The full moral implications of being a mook is explored thoroughly in the prequel book Start of Darkness. Needless to say, the Goblin race is NOT happy.

"Think about it first, if the Final Boss isn't treated any better than the mooks, then is the series an example that deserves mention?"

  • It is implied that Mega Man had an inability to harm humans (aka Wily) hard-coded into him, while the robot masters (who seemed awfully sentient most of the time, especially in the ninth game) are killed unblinkingly, but the series wore on so long it appeared that by the seventh Megaman was on the verge of overcoming that barrier anyways. Nine, however, has the odd instance that he laments the death of the fake policebot explicitly built by Wily, but not the robot masters whose sympathetic motivations for rebelling he had already learned of.
    • That's because all of those robots were rebuilt (most likely because Megaman asked Dr. Light to do so), you even see them in the credits. The fake-bot? Not so much.
    • Averted in the Mega Man X series, where X regretted how much power he had and wished he could find a non-violent way to stop the latest robot rebellion. Of course, he failed and had to blow the rebellion to kingdom come but oh well.
    • The dissonance aspect is also averted - once X commits to fighting, he kills both mooks and named villains with equal prejudice.
      • Not really that much of a dissonance, since that's how the general non-violent punchclock soldier functions, especially considering this is the 'heat' of battle. Also it's not like he's a 1337 enough ninja to hop on their backs and reprogram them all, though Dr. Light COULD have included an incapacitating ion cannon attachment... More a creator error than Megaman's fault, come to think of it.

This is actually closer to What Measure Is A Not Human.

Mar 8th 2010 at 4:52:18 AM •••

Is it so bad for heroes to defend themselves if the mooks try to kill them first?

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Mar 11th 2010 at 5:44:31 PM •••

It's about the difference in the treatment of mooks and "named" antagonists. That typically mooks may be mowed preemptively while villain after several mass murders should be captured with risk to the hero and bystanders is one of results.

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