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(UPDATE: Whoops! I finally found out this trope is pretty much identical to “Gambit Roulette”, which was already a trope. Sorry.)

“It’s all part of the plan…”

One of the traits of humanity is that even if they hate a villain, they can be so impressed by their brilliance and cleverness in outwitting the protagonists that they’re forced to respect them and even admire them for their skill. One of those skills is the ability to anticipate what the protagonists will do and make that work to their advantage. Unfortunately, when a story is poorly written or the writer thinks they’ve done something clever, it can lead to the plot hole known as Villain Omniscience.

Villain Omniscience occurs whenever a villain goes beyond simply being clever or deducing a hero’s movements or even using a plot device such as foresight and prophecy, and simply seems to have the ability to see everything at all times even if there’s no logical explanation as to how. It’s basically a writer’s cheap way of enabling the villain to troll the hero and a weak attempt to either create or add prestige to a Magnificent Bastard.

If overdone, it can turn a Magnificent Bastard into a Villain Sue.

Not to be confused with an Overprepared Villain. Dr. Doom and other Marvel villains are not always omniscient…they just take a large number of precautions and make a large number of contingency plans. It has to be something that the villain should have had no way to prepare for.

Example:

In “Skyfall”, Silva sets off a bomb to distract Bond with a crashed speeding train during the subway chase. There is absolutely no way Silva could have done this unless he somehow knew months in advance he would use that exact escape route, would be cornered at that exact time, that he knew a train would be passing at that exact moment, and he was able set a bomb.

In “The Dark Knight”, while the Joker is usually a Magnificent Bastard, he somehow knew after being captured that he would be taken to the exact same police station where Lau was held (which makes no sense in the real world) which would also be the police station where the fat crazy guy would be taken who somehow wouldn’t have long since collapsed from his hasty surgery job or been killed by the police himself after killing a cop (they mention that’s why he’s there), and that the police would find out about the missing Dawson and Dent at just the right time to enable Batman time to arrive and banter with him for an exact length of time that he would need so that even if Batman and the police went after both of them, that there would be just enough time for Batman to save one but the police still wouldn’t arrive to save the other. And he did this all without the aid of a clock or timepiece, either at the station or on his person, which might not have been synchronized with the bombs in the first place.

In “Jaws: The Revenge”, the shark somehow manages to know the family members related to the man who has killed its brethren and is able to track them distances of hundreds of miles from the US to the Bahamas.

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