->'''Robin:''' I'm going solo! ''(storms away)''\\
'''Commission Gordon''': What the hell happened?\\
--'''Jim Gordon''' [[AudienceSurrogate echoing the thoughts of the audience]], ''Film/BatmanAndRobin''

This is when, just before the [[ThreeActStructure third act]] and when things are at their worst, the protagonist is abandoned by their best friend. Here's how it normally plays out:

It's been a long, hard road for the protagonist. They've fought their way through rising complications, twists and turns, and unexpected outcomes, yet are the furthest from achieving their goal since the story began. Good thing they have their best buddy to help them [[DarkestHour when all other lights have failed]].

Or not. Apparently the stresses involved with TheQuest have taken their toll on the relationship, stretching it to the point of breaking. And then one last thing, one straw to break the camel's back, perturbs the protagonist, and in a moment of rashness, he lets loose a barrage of [[TookALevelInJerkass atomic Jerkassness]] on his best buddy.

Unfortunately the best buddy, the calm head and stalwart that promised to stick by the hero through thick and thin, he's got his breaking point, too, and the protagonist's last action just crossed the line. The best buddy abandons the protagonist, leaving them with nothing by way of support--and just at the worst possible time to boot. That is because the PlotMandatedFriendshipFailure is always set to go off right before the protagonist has to face his biggest challenge in TheClimax.

Expect a [[ChangedMyMindKid change of heart and a last minute save by the best buddy in the climax]], thus reinforcing ThePowerOfFriendship.

A staple of {{buddy picture}}s, where the friendship drives the plot.

Compare SecondActBreakup, in which the relationship in question is a romantic one. See also EtTuBrute, where the buddy betrays the protagonist instead of just leaving.
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!!Examples of this trope are found in the following works:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: AnimeAndManga]]
* Several episodes of Anime/{{Pokemon}} had Team Rocket fall apart. Ash himself has had incidents with May and Dawn early on in their respective sagas. A plot summary for one future episodes show that Ash and Iris will also go their separate ways like these two.
* Many early episodes of ''PrettyCure'' tend to have these episodes, especially ones where there's only two Cures and they usually happen in the eighth episode. ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure'', ''FutariWaPrettyCureMaxHeart'' and ''Anime/FutariWaPrettyCureSplashStar'' are those who fit this description. ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' still involved two, but was part of a FiveManBand, ''Anime/HeartcatchPrettyCure'' had their happen in the fourth episode and ''Anime/SuitePrettyCure'' is ''built'' on this trope.
** ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' actually defies this trope. When Iona reveals Hime's DarkSecret, Megumi ends up confiding in Yuuko that she still trusts Hime no matter what. It takes until the next episode for Hime to know that, though.
* This happens twice in the "Little Army" prequel manga of ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'', where Miho's team is less stable than Anglerfish Team in the anime. In Chapter 2, Chihiro and Emi have an argument over Emi's [[BrutalHonesty abrasive]] personality, resulting in Chihiro's best friend Hitomi talking to her, while Miho talks with Emi. In Chapter 4, Miho and Emi have a fight over Emi saying that she "hates" Miho's older sister, Maho, despite never having met her before. Miho comes up with an idea of having her crew get into a tankery match against her sister's, in order to help Emi understand Maho, but has to talk things over with Emi before she can agree to get her involved.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic]]
* Invoked in ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW''. [[spoiler:The Changelings trick the Mane Six into splitting up by disguising themselves as them and creating dissension between them, [[BatmanGambit knowing full well they will inevitably reconcile]]. Once they do get back together, the love between them peaks and becomes a greater energy source for the Changelings than ever before.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Animated]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}} the Third'', when Shrek and Artie are captured by Prince Charming, Shrek says how little Artie means to him. Artie seems very upset until, after Charming releases Artie, Donkey tells him Shrek did that to save his life.
* ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'': When Sully and Mike are banished to the Himalayas, and Sully's first concern is Boo, Mike tells him "you're on your own."
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' seems to have found a friend in little Vanellope Von Schweetz, an outcast girl who wants to race in her game Sugar Rush but can't because of her "glitch." When Sugar Rush leader King Candy tells Ralph Vanellope can't race because her "glitch" will cause the game to be rendered out of order and doom her in the game forever, Ralph buys it and destroys Vanellope's kart, which fractures their friendship tremendously. Only later does Ralph realize he got played by King Candy and goes on to make amends with Vanellope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
* A variant occurs in ''Film/StarWars'', where Han Solo leaves just before the Death Star arrives, on good, if bitter, terms with the heroes. His exchange with Luke in particular is pretty cordial, but his desire for money, not dying, and settling things with Jabba outweighs any loyalty he may feel. Until, of course, he comes swooping in at the last second to save Luke and secure his final trench run.
* TheMovie of ''Film/GetSmart'' features this split between Agents 86 and 99.
* ''Film/TheGreenHornet'' [[TheMovie movie]] has a falling out between Britt and Kato over who gets the girl and who the real hero is. It culminates with an argument over whether they're a boss and employee, or friends. They make up in time to face off with the BigBad.
* ''[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings The Lord Of The Rings: Return of the King]]'': Inverted. Just when he needs him most, Frodo ''sends'' ''Sam'' away [[VillainsNeverLie due to Gollum's ploy]]. Moments later [[spoiler:he's paralyzed by Shelob]]. Luckily, ThePowerOfFriendship prevails. (In the book, they're just separated in the maze of caves.)
* The ''Film/RushHour'' movies feature this betwen JackieChan and ChrisTucker.
* ''Film/ShanghaiNoon'' features such a split between JackieChan and OwenWilson.
* The ''Film/ScoobyDoo'' film begins with one of these, and it isn't completely mended until about the 3/4 mark of the film.
* ''Film/WaynesWorld'': After Wayne erupts into a total Jerkass and [[FriendVersusLover ditches him]] during a live taping of the titular show, Garth dumps him. Their make up leads directly into Wayne hatching the plan to defeat the BigBad.
* ''Film/TheRugratsMovie'': Phil, Lil and Chuckie abandon Tommy and Dil in the forest when the twins get sick and tired of Tommy constantly protecting Dil over them. In the twins' case, though, it may be more of WithFriendsLikeThese, as they've been shown to abandon ship whenever things go wrong for them.
* Inverted in ''Film/ThirtyMinutesOrLess'': The two main characters Nick and Chet actually have their falling out at the ''beginning'' of the film and are forced to get back together later after Nick gets the bomb strapped to his chest. Near the end, when things truly go to hell [[spoiler: and it's revealed that not only have the antagonists betrayed them but Nick's poor actions have led to Chet's sister getting kidnapped and held hostage]], Chet instead states what's done is done and that they just have to keep working to find a way to get out of this problem.
* This generally happens at one point in all three ''[[Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle Harold and Kumar]]'' movies.
* Played with but ultimately averted in ''{{Superbad}}''. Evan and Seth do start bickering late in the film, but never really split up.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'': [[spoiler:Alfred finally abandons Bruce, unwilling to watch him destroy himself any longer.]]
* Happens in ''Film/TreasurePlanet'' when Jim overhears Silver telling his men he was only pretending to be his friend to gain his trust.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Literature}}]]
* ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'': In the last book of the series, right before Roland is to meet up with [[BigBad The Crimson King]] and end his [[TheQuest quest]] to find The Dark Tower, [[spoiler:Susannah, the last human in his [[TrueCompanions ka-tet]] to survive, decides to leave Roland citing his obsession with the tower and the quest over the health of his friends. Notable in that she doesn't [[ChangedMyMindKid come back to assist him at the last moment]] to help him defeat the BigBad.]]
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', Ron and Harry argue over the lack of progress they're making in their quest, ultimately ending in Ron leaving the group. [[spoiler: He returns in time to save Harry's life and destroy a Horcrux]]. The third and fourth books also have "break-ups" (Ron and Hermione in the third, Harry and Ron in the fourth), but earlier in the structure.
* In the third ''{{Pyrates}}'' book, George upsets his friends with how dangerous the adventure has gotten, causing them to decide not to accompany him when he goes exploring again. However, they come to his rescue after he ends up getting lost.
* In the ''Literature/RainbowMagic'' series, if whatever Jack Frost stole is related to friendship, Rachel and Kirsty will argue. This is most prevalent in Juliet the Valentine Fairy's book.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:LiveActionTelevision]]
* One ''SavedByTheBell'' episode featured [[HighSchoolHustler Zack]] and [[HollywoodNerd Screech]] making a friendship bracelet business only to be upstaged by the rest of the SixStudentClique, who were selling [[ShamelessRipoff "Buddy Bands"]]. Before the last commercial break, Screech quits (albeit after Zack, desperate for sales, gives Screech away as a "friend for an hour"), leaving Zack alone. This example is unusual in that it did not result in a ThePowerOfFriendship moment, it instead resulted in Zack exacting revenge by destroying their business by buying a Buddy Band and giving it to the school principal, [[YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame whose proud display of it makes it instantly unpopular to wear]].
* The fourth-last episode of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' has all of Buffy's friends (including her own sister) remove her from leading them and kick her out of her own house after one bad mission that results in two dead Potentials and [[spoiler: Xander losing an eye]]. Played with slightly in that Giles connived things so that Spike and Andrew were sent away for the day, likely so they wouldn't be there to take Buffy's side.
** It should be noted that the Buffy-less group immediately goes and screws up in exactly the manner they accused Buffy of doing (recklessly falling into a trap that gets even more people killed). While they are doing that, Buffy heads off to complete the mission she was pitching when she got overthrown, succeeds on her own, acquires the MacGuffin that's key to saving the day, and kills the BigBad's [[TheDragon Dragon]]. She's magnanimous enough not to point out how much she got done all alone when they apologize and ask her to be in charge again.
** This also happened at the end of season 4 in "The Yoko Factor". This was actually {{exploited}} by [[TheDragon Spike]], who made it worse by getting all their problems out into the open to divide the Scoobies. They eventually make up and [[AllYourPowersCombined are stronger then ever,]] which helps them defeat the BigBad.
* BurnNotice: Michael is briefly abandoned by Fi and Sam while and because he is working with Larry. He calls them to make up but Larry has pulled a call forwarding trick on his phone to make Mike think they won't take his calls.
* The entire fourth season of ''{{Series/Supernatural}}'' leads up up this. A season of lying, mistrust and drinking demon blood comes to a head in a massive fight between Sam and Dean after which Sam leaves. Dean tries to call and apologize to Sam but [[DeusAngstMachina divine intervention]] changes his message, leading Sam to pass the DespairEventHorizon and [[spoiler: unwittingly [[NiceJobBreakingItHero start the Apocalypse]]]] with Dean arriving too late to stop him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: WebVideo]]
* ''MonsterIslandBuddies'': During the second season, Godzilla becomes addicted to drugs at one point. When he doesn't aknowledge this, Rodan and the other monsters fight and defeat him. Angrily, Godzilla runs away from Monster Island, with his past self as his only friend, while his friends try to use Gigan as a replacement.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** [[MeaningfulName Discord]] breaks apart the friendship between the mane six in the 2-part premiere of the second season. He cheats on this one; while he pretends that he's doing it via MoreThanMindControl, its quite clear that no, it isn't really more. He just [[ForTheEvulz gets kicks out of breaking them emotionally before brainwashing them to stop being friends]].
** It happens again in the finale for the same season, though it wasn't a form of mind control that caused Twilight's friends to break up with her, but rather a form of TheDulcineaEffect [[spoiler:and ShapeShifting]].
** And again in the comics, through [[spoiler: a more clever use of ShapeShifting]].
* Happened a lot in ''WesternAnimation/{{Trollz}}'', usually because of Simon. {{Justified|Trope}} as their friendship was the key to defeating him.
* "The Night Of The Living Burger," an episode of ''WesternAnimation/APupNamedScoobyDoo'', starts off right away with Shaggy and Scooby on the outs. It was never made clear what they were arguing about, but they end up reconciling at the conclusion.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'', Scooby and Velma were on the outs with each other, quarreling over Shaggy for a time.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' tend to have these plots in their earlier days, though neither involving all four main babies - either with Tommy and Chuckie or with both Phil and Lil.
* In the episode "Homeward Pound" of ''WesternAnimation/PoundPuppies2010'', VitriolicBestBuds Squirt and Niblet accidentally end up in Canada and after setting off for where Squirt thinks a town is. After a day, they get into a fight, and Niblet finally stands up to Squirt. The friendship is repaired once Squirt determines that not only was he wrong about which direction to go, but Niblet was right.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'':
** "The Promise" starts with everyone giving Gumball and Darwin the silent treatment and Banana Joe being mad at them. We never find out why.
[[/folder]]
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