No Guarantees YKTTW Discussion

No Guarantees
One admits they are not sure about an idea but suggests going ahead with it anyway.
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-26 06:02:45 sponsor: HiddenFacedMatt (last reply: 2013-11-20 04:51:10)

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Cobb: If I were to do this, if I even could do it, I'd need a guarantee. How do I know you can deliver?
Saito: You don't... but I can. So, do you want to take a leap of faith, or become an old man filled with regret, waiting to die alone?

This is when someone is asked if they're sure about a particular idea, and are quick to admit they aren't, but still make clear that they feel they should go ahead with it anyway.

It's often implied either that they're weighing risks and benefits, or alternatively that the other option is worse no matter what they do.

Sometimes they'll explain why, other times they won't bother, probably because they feel it's obvious.

EDITED IN: Bumping after a few months to see how it fares now.


  • Inception has Cobb asking Saito if he has a "guarantee" about the plan to plant an idea in someone's mind. Saito doesn't claim to, but simply compares the risks and rewards of that idea to its alternative.
  • Pixar characters use this from time to time:
    • Woody says this in Toy Story 2 when he has an idea on how to get off the plane before it takes off; he's not sure it'll work but he's willing to try, probably because he'd rather take chances now than have to stay on the plane that's headed for Japan.
    • Similarly, Finding Nemo has Dory using this on Marlin when they're in a whale, and the whale is telling them to let go so that the whale can push them to the back of the throat. Marlin asks "how do you know something bad isn't going to happen?" and Dory says "I don't." However, since they can't hold on forever, it makes sense to let go anyway.
  • The Underland Chronicles Book Two: "The Prophecy of Bane", when Gregor proposes taking the Bane to Ripred
    Gregor: Wait! Only tell me why we can't do it if you can come up with a better plan.
    Ares: I do not have a better plan, but this one has no possible good endings.
    Gregor: Probably not. So, should be give it a try?
  • Team Fortress 2's Meet the Medic trailer.
    Heavy: DOCTOR! Are you sure this will work?
    Medic: Ha ha! I have no idea! [Fires up Ubercharge]
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One, when Dog suggests throwing Gordon and Alyx across a bottomless chasm:
    Alyx: Well, Gordon, unless you have a better suggestion. He is a robot. He's done the math. ...You did do the math, right?
    Dog: *shakes his head*
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen uses a version of this when the League is scrambling to figure out a way to keep Venice from collapsing into the ocean. Captain Nemo in regards to the plan:
    Nemo: There would be no room for error, but I tell you it could work!
  • In the Firefly episode "The Train Job," Kaylee explains The Plan to Simon. He asks if she's done this before.
    Kaylee: (laughs) Oh, hell no! But I think it's gonna work. The captain jen duh sh tyen tsaitranslation  when it comes to plans.
  • Han Solo goes to town with this trope in The Empire Strikes Back.
Leia: "I hope you know what you're doing."
Solo: "Yeah, me, too."
  • Later, discussing safe havens and Lando Calrissian:
Leia: "Can we trust him?"
Solo: "No. He's got no love for the Empire, I can tell you that."
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