Created By: Windsong12 on May 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on April 28, 2013

Relationship Revival

The writers revive a ship that was previously thought to have sunk.

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Trope

Rolling Updates.

Issues to be resolved before launching:

A lot of the time when writers sink a ship, they don't really know all the consequences that sinking that ship will actually bring around. Perhaps it turns out that the plot could be a whole lot better when that ship was around. Maybe they ended up actually liking the pairing in the end. In any case, that's when this trope comes into play.

Relationship Revival happens whenever the writers bring back the possibility of the ship happening again, even if they'd previously shown it being sent straight to Davy Jones's locker. Think of it as the Heel–Face Revolving Door of Shipping. This can be triggered by a Love Epiphany happened too late, or the love interest suddenly returning. Perhaps the Love Interest decided to choose the Betty over the Veronica on their wedding day. Whatever the case, the trope is basically a pairing that's been pretty definitively sunk that, with whatever reason, suddenly seems like it has a chance again.

Keep in mind, of course, that it does not have to be final. When this happens to a couple, there's just as much chance of them breaking up again, especially if the couple in question is not the Official Couple.

If this turns out to be well done - and it very rarely is - the rabid shippers who decided not to jump ship will be very delighted (and maybe so will those who did). Contrast Anchored Ship, where the pairing was never going anywhere to begin with, and Iron Clad, where the ship just won't sink.

Examples

Comic Books
  • The DCU semi-salvaged a ship that had been sunk for nearly twenty-five years. In the Silver Age Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainiac 5 had a long-running semi-requited love for Supergirl/Kara Zor-El. She famously died in Crisis on Infinite Earths and was retroactively erased from continuity. The Crisis also embroiled the Legion in an epic Continuity Snarl that resulted in its history being rewritten at least four times, including two total reboots. By the time Kara/Supergirl was reintroduced in 2004, the Legion was on its "threeboot" and B5 had another love interest. But post-Final Crisis the Legion has been "debooted" back to the late Silver Age, and it seems that the Brainy/Kara history/romance is back in continuity.

Film

Live Action TV
  • The Dating Do-Si-Do show that Glee is, it's done this a couple of times.
    • Finn/Quinn was thought to be done for when Finn learned that Quinn's baby wasn't his. Their breakup was pretty messy, but in the late second season it turns out he tries to forgive her, despite clearly having feelings for Rachel, and she cheats on her boyfriend with him. As of "Funeral," though, they've broken up. Again.
    • The episode "Funk" sunk Jesse/Rachel pretty definitively: The egging in the parking lot and all that. But now that The Bus Came Back with Jesse on board, one might take it with a grain of salt.
  • The Lost series finale in the sideways/Purgatory world does this three times, with Charlie/Claire, Daniel/Charlotte, and Sayid/Shannon --all ships that sank due to the deaths of one of the partners. Particularly notable in the case of Sayid and Shannon, since after her death he moved on by reuniting with his first love, married her, and was devastated when she died as well.
  • In the second series of the revived Doctor Who love interest Rose was sucked into a parallel universe and sealed up, the Doctor said a tearful goodbye and it was explicitly stated that if they ever saw each other again the multiverse would implode. Only for series 4 to decide that actually the parallel universe wasn't quite so sealed, allowing Rose to jump to and from and finally take a human clone of the Doctor she could live Happily Ever After with in her world.
  • Elliot and JD from Scrubs could be the banner couple for this trope. The writers dedicated a season-long arch to permanently sinking that ship, cumulating in the characters picturing each other naked and realizing that the romantic feelings just weren't there. The final season, that realization was hastily retconned as Elliot and JD being afraid of their feelings. They ended the show happily married, with a baby on the way.
  • Done in a very bizarre way in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Julian Bashir/Jadzia Dax was a popular ship among the Fan Fic writers, but got torpedoed when Worf showed up. Jadzia gets killed off, and Ezri Dax comes into the picture. For a number of reasons, it doesn't work out with Jadzia's husband, Worf...but it works out with the doctor...

Webcomics
  • Megatokyo. Miho and Piro had some Ship Tease early on, especially when it was hinted that she and Piro had something going on between their game avatars in Endgames. Then, more about the nasty way Endgames went down and more of Miho's dark, manipulative personality was revealed and the ship seemed throughly sunk, especially as Piro x Kimiko gained major ground. Then, even more about Piro and Miho's past relationship is being brought up and all of the sudden they seem almost as likely as Piro x Kimiko.

Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • May 17, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Not sure if I get what you're getting at.

  • May 17, 2011
    Windsong12
    ^What do you mean?
  • May 17, 2011
    Arivne
  • May 17, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    Your description is a bit all over the place. Sounds like you're saying: Characters who were in a ship, then broke up, and the writers had them get back together.

    • Ross and Rachel
  • May 17, 2011
    dalek955
  • May 17, 2011
    amazinglyenough
    But the writers never sunk the ship with Ross and Rachel, I don't think. They spent a lot of time broken up, but you always knew they would get back together.
  • May 17, 2011
    StarryEyed
    • Megatokyo Miho and Piro had some Ship Tease early on, especially when it was hinted that she and Piro had something going on between their game avatars in Endgames. Then, more about the nasty way Endgames went down and more of Miho's dark, manipulative personality was revealed and the ship seemed throughly sunk, especially as Piro x Kimiko gained major ground. Then, even more about Piro and Miho's past relationship is being brought up and all of the sudden they seem almost as likely as Piro x Kimiko.

    I like Salvaging The Ship.
  • May 17, 2011
    ginsengaddict
  • May 17, 2011
    Ardiente
    Glee does this with the Rachel, Finn, Quinn triangle, several times.
  • May 21, 2011
    Deboss
    Why must you produce more shipping tropes?
  • May 21, 2011
    Windsong12
    Was there something against creating more shipping tropes that I missed? Or is this not a valid trope?
  • May 27, 2011
    Cassis
    I think this is a completely valid trope, and a cute title.

    Suggestion for a page quote, from Michael Drayton's Sonnet 61:

    Now, at the last gasp of Love's latest breath,
    When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
    When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
    And Innocence is closing up his eyes, --
    Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
    From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

    Actually the whole poem would be good, but I don't know the rules on how long these quotes should be.

    Re: Glee examples--as I understand the trope, this is when the ship is out of play for a long time and it seems that TPTB have pretty much forgotten it, only to bring it back. So on that basis, the Finn/Rachel thing has never been out of the limelight and wouldn't qualify.

  • May 27, 2011
    jaytee
    I'm pretty sure that we're trying to avoid nautical puns with "shipping" tropes from here on out. I definitely thought this was about raising a sunken battleship or something.
  • May 27, 2011
    ginsengaddict
    ^ What's wrong with nautical puns? That new tropers might take them literally? I don't think we give them enough credit.
  • May 27, 2011
    Windsong12
    I didn't think the writers ever really sunk the ship with Finn/Rachel either, especially since it was obvious since the front thirteen that they would be the Official Couple.

    ^^I actually think the name is fine, considering how many shipping tropes are named after Shipping.
  • May 27, 2011
    Aielyn
    I think this trope name might be a little too much Snow Clone, as salvaging an actual ship is something that would happen in quite a few shows. "Ship Sinking" is borderline, but survives because it's rare for a ship to intentionally be sunk without the aim being to defeat it (and it would usually then be referred to as a sinking ship, rather than as ship sinking), but Salvaging The Ship, I think, is too unclear for those who don't know Shipping.

    Could I suggest, at least, going with the formula of Ship Sinking, and calling it Ship Salvaging?
  • May 30, 2011
    Windsong12
    Some examples:

    • The DCU semi-salvaged a ship that had been sunk for nearly twenty-five years. In the Silver Age Legion of Super-Heroes, Brainiac 5 had a long-running semi-requited love for Supergirl/Kara Zor-El. She famously died in Crisis on Infinite Earths and was retroactively erased from continuity. The Crisis also embroiled the Legion in an epic Continuity Snarl that resulted in its history being rewritten at least four times, including two total reboots. By the time Kara/Supergirl was reintroduced in 2004, the Legion was on its "threeboot" and B5 had another love interest. But post-Final Crisis the Legion has been "debooted" back to the late Silver Age, and it seems that the Brainy/Kara history/romance is back in continuity.

    • The Lost series finale in the sideways/Purgatory world does this three times, with Charlie/Claire, Daniel/Charlotte, and Sayid/Shannon--all ships that sank due to the deaths of one of the partners. Particularly notable in the case of Sayid and Shannon, since after her death he moved on by reuniting with his first love, married her, and was devastated when she died as well.
  • May 30, 2011
    SunnyV
    • Glee's pairing of Brittany and Santana was at best a Romantic Two Girl Friendship and at worst a Running Gag. Then the former and Artie became a couple, and it seemed to be done, but fan uproar caused this to happen, and Brittana was in the works and decisively canon.
  • June 6, 2011
    Windsong12
    Does the Brittany/Santana example count though? Just because Artie gets together with Brittany doesn't mean that the pairing is done for. I mean, half the drama on Glee is thanks to Love Dodecahedrons and Dating Do Si Do. How many people actually saw Sam/Mercedes coming?
  • June 6, 2011
    YourTimeIsNow
    TV
  • June 6, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^^^^^^That's exactly why. I didn't even realize this wasn't about raising literal sunken shipwrecks for about a week. If you're unaware of the concept of "shipping" (and most people are), it makes zero sense.

    Needs A Better Name.
  • June 6, 2011
    Tifforo
    The trope description needs to mention at least once that these are not physical ships.
  • June 6, 2011
    arrowyn
    Yeah I thought this was like how the Black Pearl was sunk in Pirates 3 but we find out in Pirates 4 it's not gone forever!
  • June 7, 2011
    Rolf
    I thought 4th movie is a pre-sequel?
  • June 7, 2011
    Darthcaliber
    ^^+^ The Black Pearl was sunk by Blackbeard in between 3 and 4 and 4 is set years after 3
  • June 7, 2011
    daijoubu
    [[Scrubs: Elliot and JD]] could be the banner couple for this trope. The writers dedicated a season-long arch to permanently sinking that ship, cumulating in the characters picturing each other naked and realizing that the romantic feelings just weren't there. The final season, that realization was hastily retconned as Elliot and JD being afraid of their feelings. They ended the show happily married, with a baby on the way.
  • June 8, 2011
    Allronix
    Done in a very bizarre way in Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Julian Bashir/Jadzia Dax was a popular ship among the Fan Fic writers, but got torpedoed when Worf showed up. Jadzia gets killed off, and Ezri Dax comes into the picture. For a number of reasons, it doesn't work out with Jadzia's husband, Worf...but it works out with the doctor...
  • June 8, 2011
    Miragician
    The Megatokyo example should be in Webcomics, not Anime and Manga.
  • June 9, 2011
    Windsong12
    ^fixed.
  • June 12, 2011
    Windsong12
    Go for launch?
  • June 12, 2011
    Rolf
    Dunno about title but rests good.
  • June 12, 2011
    KJMackley
    I would call it Relationship Revival, because this isn't actually about shipping since it has nothing to do with the fans. This isn't a YMMV or Audience Reaction trope, you can identify everything within the story. Because of that, let's get rid of the judgemental overtones (like saying it is decreed by the writers, heavily implying Writer On Board).

    The Big Bang Theory is clearly going for this with Penny and Leonard. Their initial relationship wasn't exactly rushed but both of them sort of have overly romanticized feelings about what it means to be together. After their break-up the show stayed rather adament that this wasn't just a brief phase, they weren't together for the entirety of season four, despite several obvious hints that they haven't completely gotten over each other.
  • June 12, 2011
    Windsong12
    I would say it is in fact about shipping, if Ship Sinking is - because it's one of the possible outcomes of sinking a ship. Ship Sinking is fairly final unless this happens. Two characters just breaking up and getting back together doesn't count (re: Glee). The ship has to be totally torpedoed first.

    Did that make sense? :|
  • June 13, 2011
    jaytee
    ^^Excellent point. This trope isn't even about shipping, so between that and that promise of confusion with actual boats, there is no good reason to keep the current title.
  • June 13, 2011
    KJMackley
    Shipping is all about the fandom, with some In Universe variations (but, of course, are In Universe and therefore not YMMV or Audience Reaction). So far the only example that even mentions the fandom is the DS 9 one, and that could be taken out and replaced with the CANON story of Bashir's crush on Jadzia. Ship Sinking is still about how the fandom reacts, and shippers tend to forget that a lot of the pairings have no real basis in the story. This trope is about the ACTUAL (In Universe) romantic relationship between characters being dropped and then revived.
  • June 14, 2011
    Windsong12
    All right, I'll switch the title and try to edit the description to make it seem less iffy.
  • June 22, 2011
    jaytee
    .
  • June 24, 2011
    Windsong12
    bump?
  • June 24, 2011
    countmall
    Clive Cussler Raised the Titanic.
  • June 25, 2011
    Deboss
    Please, please change the name. The fact that you have to leave a bolded statement shows why it's a bad name.
  • October 13, 2011
    Synchronicity
    ...bump?
  • October 13, 2011
    KJMackley
    I forgot about this one. I think it is pretty solid trope. Although the description could be improved upon a little (as well as take away some opinionated comments within the examples), but it isn't so bad that we couldn't launch this as is and let wiki magic clean it up.
  • October 31, 2011
    strontium
    bump...
  • October 31, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the season 5 finale of Cheers Diane goes away to write her novel on her & Sam's wedding day (actress Shelley Long left the show); in the series finale 6 years later Diane comes back and almost marries Sam again, but they decide to call it off.
  • November 3, 2011
    surgoshan
    • The writers of Friends knew that the Ross/Rachel relationship was pretty much dead during the latter half of the show's run, but were willing to go back to the well for humor. However, the last season toyed with a Joey/Rachel dynamic before hopping back on the R&R railroad for the series finale.
  • November 4, 2011
    cityofmist
    How I Met Your Mother looks to be going this way with Barney and Robin.
  • November 4, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Third Rock From The Sun: Dick and Mary. Again. And again. And again. The ultimate revolving door couple.
  • January 21, 2013
    Cassis
    Bump...? (speaking of revival...)

    I think there's a real trope here but its long dormancy and some of the examples suggested show that it's pretty confused.

    As I understand it (or at least where I think the trope lives) this would be distinct from Dating Do-Si-Do (eg. Glee) or Official Couples with a lot of problems/breakups (a la Ross/Rachel or Barney/Robin) in that the couple really seems to be OVER. One member is dead or off the show or involved in a long-term relationship/marriage with someone else. Maybe Word of God says that show is never going there. But--voila! There's a creative change of heart (or possibly a new creative team) and suddenly the old couple is back in play.

    Cases like the Cheers or Lost ones where a long-gone cast member comes back for a series finale or to escort a character off the show (pretty common in soap operas once upon a time) would qualify.

    Perhaps a new title of something like Relationship Resurrection would help clarify?

  • April 28, 2013
    Synchronicity
    Relationship Resurrection sounds good. The trope as it is sounds like Will They Or Wont They taken Up To Eleven.
  • April 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Added Namespaces and italization to example work titles.
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