Half-Baked Redemptions

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A Half-Baked Redemption is when a villain who is written to be very evil suddenly redeems without any hints of redemption before this happened. This kind of redemption is a poor move in terms of writing and teaching mercy and forgiveness in fiction.

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Why this Happens

  • Many parents and writers think it is the right way to teach children the importance of mercy.
  • People often confuse the idea of justice with revenge or violence.
  • Some people are scared of the very concept of death and want to avoid it at all cost.

Why The Trope Sucks

  1. These redemptions are thrown in their stories, lacking any proper structure and skipping important steps of a redemption arc.
  2. It creates a misguided and false belief that everyone can AND WILL redeem.
  3. Many of these examples are villains who have already crossed what is called Moral Event Horizon, which means they have committed an act so evil or selfish or have crossed so many lines, that audiences won't want them redeemed anymore. Meaning these redemptions are forced down audiences' throats!
    • Also, making a villain commit terrible acts and refuse to give up, only to have the heroes force them to redeem is a waste of suspense!
  4. Insisting on this kind of redemption all the time can make audience members annoyed and become tired of the idea of redemption ALL TOGETHER.
  5. It is extremely limiting to viewers of all ages.
  6. While it does succeed in teaching that mercy is possible, it purposely leaves out the fact that it does not always work.
  7. This move means the villain is getting away with the terrible things they did without any punishment whatsoever and they are still a threat, and it’s being treated like it’s a good thing!
  8. Making characters who are supposed to be “heroes” force this kind of redemption and treat as a good thing turns those characters into one-dimensional, unrealistic, and worst of all...downright flat!


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