17 Characters With The Best Alter Egos

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Watching characters do the same thing repeatedly over the course of a show's run can become monotonous. While it can be refreshing when characters take actions that can be considered out of character, it can also backfire spectacularly when there is no consistency in the characterization of a character.

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This is where the oft-used schtick of alter egos becomes a tremendous help. It gives the actors more material to sink their teeth into and they get to flex their acting chops in portraying characters that are quite often the opposite of what we're used to seeing them portray. 

That's not all. Alter egos can also be an artistic way of exploring a character's psyche which has made for some jaw-dropping reveals on TV. These 17 characters are among the few whose alter egos have left us wanting for more. 


1. Walter White/Heisenberg (Breaking Bad)

Walter White/Heisenberg (Breaking Bad)
After dipping his foot in the waters of the criminal underworld, Walter quickly realized he needed a cover identity to keep himself and his family safe from the dangers of that life. Enter Heisenberg, a necessary evil that gradually chipped away at family man Walter until he became the dominant personality and Walter became nothing more than an afterthought. Looking back now, it wasn't that bad a trade because Heisenberg handles his business with ruthless efficiency.

2. Betty Cooper/Dark Betty (Riverdale)

Betty Cooper/Dark Betty (Riverdale)
There is nothing particularly wrong with every day Betty, but there is just something about her darker half that makes her much more intriguing. And you can bet that some memorable stuff is about to go down when she shows up. Like that time she nearly boiled Chuck alive in a hot tub.

3. Zuko/The Blue Spirit and Katara/The Painted Lady (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Zuko/The Blue Spirit and Katara/The Painted Lady (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Zuko's daddy issues fueled his relentless hunt for the avatar, but after his soul-searching finally opened his eyes to his father's war-mongering ways, The Blue Spirit was born as the ultimate symbol of his rebellion against the fire lord's tyranny. Katara, on the other hand, adopted the facade of The Painted Lady to aid the people of a riverine village which couldn't be any more faithful to her characterization as a deeply empathetic girl, and she got to meet the real painted lady after everything.

4. Voq/Ash Tyler (Star Trek: Discovery)

Voq/Ash Tyler (Star Trek: Discovery)
Voq agreed to have his consciousness supplanted by that of the Ash Tyler and his body modified to look human. This was all done in the hopes that L'Rell will awaken him once the time was right. Obviously, things didn't go the way anyone expected them to, but we're excited to see where they take Ash's storyline now that Voq has been wiped for good

5. Elliot/Mr. Robot (Mr. Robot)

Elliot/Mr. Robot (Mr. Robot)
Elliot was always against corporate greed but constantly found himself unable to do something about it. Which is where his much more violent alter ego comes in. Mr. Robot isn't afraid to go after the corrupt ones at the top who are robbing the masses blind, and he'll mow down anyone who stands in his way.

6. Darius Tanz/Prof. Aguirre (Salvation)

Darius Tanz/Prof. Aguirre (Salvation)
With the tensions between the billionaire and Resyst at an all-time high, Darius turned to the persona of Dr. Aguirre to infiltrate the group. A notorious recluse and alcoholic, Darius created him as a kind of pseudonym in the scientific world to enable him to work on more outlandish projects away from the scrutiny of the public eye, or the board of directors.

7. Merlin/Emrys (Merlin)

Merlin/Emrys (Merlin)
His place as Arthur's servant means Merlin has to hold back some opinions and always try to be as polite as he can be despite the hell Arthur puts him through on a daily basis. But not when he is Emrys, a scrawny old man who gets a kick out of turning the tables and putting the once and future king of Camelot in some weird situations.

8. Clark Kent/Kal-El (Smallville)

Clark Kent/Kal-El (Smallville)
Clark eventually managed to reconcile his straight-laced reporter persona with the all-powerful hero that will one day be known as Superman but it was a long, winding road -- ten seasons long to be exact. But before we got to that point, we had to watch Clark switch intermittently between his two personalities (Sometimes with the help of Jor-El). And while Clark was only beginning to understand the true extent of his powers while Kal-El had a handle on every aspect of those abilities.

9. Caitlyn Snow/Killer Frost (The Flash)

Caitlyn Snow/Killer Frost (The Flash)
We all love Caitlyn but we can't help but be drawn to Killer Frost's charisma. Even the star labs team completely trust her now even though she was in bed with Zoom a couple of season's ago. But can anyone blame them? her fashion sense is off the charts, she rivals Cisco in delivering the best jabs at villains and it looks like she is going to be their most viable weapon against Cicada.

10. Mary/Typhoid Mary (Iron Fist)

Mary/Typhoid Mary (Iron Fist)
Typhoid Mary is the only other personality the mild-mannered Mary knows about. They started off fighting for dominance, with each one of them doing what they can to keep the other suppressed for as long as they could. Slowly, they both realized that there may be a supremely violent and possibly superpowered third personality that may not be as controlled or rational as the two of them. While Typhoid Mary is quite violent herself, she's at least rational and fights only to keep them both safe.

11. Angel/Angelus and Willow/Dark Willow (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel)

Angel/Angelus and Willow/Dark Willow (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel)
With his soul intact, Angel is still a competent fighter, but due to a curse placed on him, he loses his soul every now and then, and the demon Angelus takes over the empty vessel. As a result of Angelus' actions through the centuries, he became known as the most vicious vampire in all of history. He's not only stronger, but his intellect is also superior to Angel's, and he has got better one-liners. Willow, while not a terrible witch by any standard, is on a whole other level when she goes dark.

12. Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Gotham)

Edward Nygma/The Riddler (Gotham)
From lab geek with an eidetic memory working with the Gotham PD to criminal mastermind. Ed's path to becoming the riddler was a long one littered with the dead bodies of both enemies and lovers alike. This was aided in part by the emergence of his Mr. Hyde personality known as The Riddler.

13. Fiji /Dark Fiji (Midnight, Texas)

Fiji /Dark Fiji (Midnight, Texas)
Fiji was as surprised as everyone when she found out that she was a dark witch because we all know there is no way the loveable charm caster is evil. After pledging herself to her dark ancestor, she acquired a whole new personality and within a short period managed to put everyone in peril.

14. Jane Villanueva/Fun Jane (Jane The Virgin)

Jane Villanueva/Fun Jane (Jane The Virgin)
Jane wears a lot of hats: mother, daughter, lover. For this reason, she can be a little wound up and always on her game, that is until after a few drinks (or when she's with Adam), and fun Jane comes out to play. And remember, fun Jane isn't to be trifled with because she eats rap battle opponents for lunch.

15. James McGill/Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul)

James McGill/Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul)
We got to meet the man Jimmy transforms into on Breaking Bad before getting his origin story. But watching him headline his own show, witnessing his gradual metamorphosis from a lawyer trying to do the right thing into the sleazebag whisperer of the drug-dealing underworld we know he is going to be has been exhilarating.

16. James St Patrick/Ghost (Power)

James St Patrick/Ghost (Power)
The dichotomy between the two personalities was never sharper than in the first season. Whereas James St Patricks's life was messy and full of unnecessary drama, Ghost was bossing it up and handling his business with unerring efficiency.

17. Howard Silk (Alpha)/Howard Silk (Prime) (Counterpart)

Howard Silk (Alpha)/Howard Silk (Prime) (Counterpart)
For the uninitiated, this is basically two doppelgangers from alternate earths switching places and both trying their best to impersonate the other on their respective earths. While Howard (Prime) was failing miserably at being Howard (Alpha), Howard (Alpha) was killing it as Howard (Prime). It's only testament to J.K Simmons' pin-point performance as both Howards and how he infuses both characters with such distinct personalities that it's exciting to watch J.K Simmons playing Howard pretending to be other Howard and other Howard pretending to be Howard.

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