- Roses are red, and violets are blue. One day we'll cruise down Blood Gulch Avenue.
This series provides examples of:
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More Than One Season
- Affirmative Action Girl: First Tex, then Sister in Season 5. Sheila becomes one of these gradually.
- All Just a Dream:
- Episode 28.5, "The Last Episode Ever".
- And one of the alternate endings to Episode 100 shows Church waking up after the tank shot all the way back in season one, along with Tucker and one of the other Blue soldiers, who wears green armor. Naturally, this is no longer in the running for canon.
- Art Shift: Several scenes set in the distant past were done in the style of Marathon, a trilogy of FPS games made by Bungie back in the '90s. And, of course, the series gets art upgrades with each new installment of Halo.
- Ascended Fanboy:
- Luke McKay originally began drawing his own fanart of the series and posting it on the main site. Later, he was hired by Rooster Teeth to do the comic strip on the site, after merely suggesting the notion.
- And Rooster Teeth themselves to a much greater degree.
- Attending Your Own Funeral\Last Disrespects:
- In Episode 83, Grif arranges for Sarge's funeral and delivers more of a roast while Simmons tries to take over as Red leader. Sarge himself bemoans how he was cut down in the prime of his life, before being asked to get in the casket.
- Church arranges for both his and Tex's funeral. Caboose delivers the eulogy. Church is less than impressed, and Tucker leaves due to it being "lame".
- Back from the Dead:
- Big "NO!":
- In Episode 9, Caboose expresses his anguish over Sheila getting bombed in this manner, directly following a Say My Name moment.
- In Episode 58, Grif provides one upon realising that the cave system leads directly to Blood Gulch.
- In Episode 98, Church also performs a Big "NO!" both of the times Caboose is killed in the time loop.
- Body Surf:
- The AI O'Malley moves around through open radio channels.
- As ghosts or rather, AI, Church and Tex can do this without the use of radio channels.
- Bookends: The series began and ended with two characters observing two other characters discuss their place in the world.Simmons/Caboose: Hey.Grif/Church: Yeah?Simmons/Caboose: Do you ever wonder why we're here?
- Simmons also gets the first and last word of the series.
- Brick Joke:
- In the first episode, Simmons asks Grif, "you ever wonder why we're here?" He replies with a lengthy speech about cosmic coincidence and the meaning of the universe. Simmons laughingly tells him that he meant why they were here, as in Blood Gulch, and Grif seems embarrassed. In the Season 1 finale, Simmons asks him it again, and Grif cuts him off with, "No. I never, ever, wonder why we're here. Semper Fi, bitch." This comes up again in the Season 5 finale, where the final scene is an homage to the first episode, with the roles reversed.
- In the first episode, Simmons brings forth the point that if they were to stop fighting and let the blues win, the only consequence would be that the Blues would have two bases in the middle of a box canyon in the middle of nowhere - "whoop-dee-fucking-do". In Episode 95, the Blues finally take Red Base while the Reds are in the caves. Church, unfulfilled with their success, adds "I guess now we have two bases in the middle of a box canyon", to which Tucker replies, "whoop-dee-fucking-do".
- Late into Season 1, Grif revives Sarge (who was shot in the head) via CPR. Sarge complains that his treatment was inconsistent with the wound, asking, "What would you do if they stabbed me in the toe? Rub my neck with aloe vera?" In Season 2, when Church shoots Caboose to get Doc to take care of him, he shoots him in the toe. Doc, a believer in "alternative medical treatments", just rubs his neck with aloe vera.
- In Season 3, Church, through a Stable Time Loop, ends up with an amount of copies of himself left on Sidewinder. One of them is coloured yellow, and when asked about it, he promises to tell the others the story ("Oh man, it seemed like such a good idea at the time..."). In the Season 5 finale, it's revealed that Yellow Church is Caboose's mental image of Sister, apparently Church's twin brother from the moon, who is caught in Church's explosion and ejected from Caboose's mind and got sent back in time by a dead Wyoming's temporal distortion unit.
- Butt Monkey: Nearly the entire cast to some degree or another. Especially Grif.Church: Omega is on the loose and I think he may have infected one of your guys!
Sarge: Infected? Initiate Emergency Plan Delta men!
(Sarge shoots Grif)
Grif: OW! What the fuck?! (collapses)
Church: I didn't say who! I think it's actually Simmons!
Donut: That's okay, that's how ALL our emergency plans start. (Sarge is kicking Grif)
- Call Back: It's probably easier to list jokes in the series that do not get a Call Back, Brick Joke level reference, or Running Gag.
- Color-Coded Characters: Mostly due to Halo's game engine, each character is visually identified with a color. This changes somewhat once the series upgrades to Halo 3, as the bonus armors and increased customization options allow for more variety.
- Commander Contrarian: Grif to Sarge, due to Sarge always having Grif suffer in his plans.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: One Wyoming: major threat. An army of Wyomings time-duplicates: Cannon Fodder for the Reds, even giving Simmons of all people a Crowning Moment of Awesome. Granted, the "Groundhog Day" Loop explains how Tucker could handle them, but not the Reds. Or CHURCH, who can be seen sniping a few while the Reds are observing from Blue Base. Notably, when there is only one Wyoming left, the negative effects of the trope apparently haven't worn off, as he is easily interrogated and executed. That said, the battle is coordinated between the Reds and Blues, and Wyoming is more of a Professional Killer than a straight up combatant.
- Possibly justified as it's basically stated that the reason Wyoming is so boss is because he spams time rewinds. Obviously in the last battle he had already made at least a dozen or two attempts, and one can assume that's normal for him. It can also be assumed that the reason they went down so easily in the final battle is that they didn't get the chance to rewind that time.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: Lampshaded.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Caboose, when the Berserk Button is pressed, goes on a killing spree, decimating the Battle Creek Grunts. He also has super human strength, being the only one initially able to pick up Andy. Church and Tucker theorize that this is "God's way of compensating."
- "Kittens covered in spikes! That makes me angry!"
- "My name is Michael J. Caboose and I hate babies!"Sarge: Great Paul's Bunyan, he's like an ox!Caboose: But I have no horns! Or lumberjack friends...
- "My name is Michael J. Caboose and I hate babies!"
- "Kittens covered in spikes! That makes me angry!"
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Usually any fight that Tex is involved in, including killing Church's teammates in a flashback in episode ten, and killing the Battle Creek Grunts in season 4. Caboose also effortlessly decimates the Grunts once his Berserk Button is pressed. And then there's the Reds vs. The Wyomings in episode 99.
- Death Is Cheap: By way of a Near-Death Experience in one case, and ghosts in two others. Subverted in The Recollection.
- Deconstruction: Just about every first person shooter video game trope is picked apart, generally for comedic purposes.
- Deus Exit Machina: Circumstances continually keep Sheila and the Warthog from being fully operational or otherwise able to affect the conflict. Both vehicles get totaled early in season 1; Sheila is fixed and re-totaled; the next season has a huge amount of time dedicated to the vehicles being repaired, only for Sheila to begin exhibiting more independent action. Sheila is then unable to accompany the teams on their teleports out of Blood Gulch, and has to have her personality moved out of the tank in season 5. The Warthog stops getting this treatment after season 2, once the conflicts scale up to the point where it can't tip the balance.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The early characters lacked most of their later Character Tics, for example Caboose wasn't nearly as dumb as he is now and was even a bit of a Deadpan Snarker. Donut was basically a red Caboose at the start before he ended up in "lightish-red" armour and started developing his fey personality. Sarge wasn't nearly as nuts, Grif wasn't nearly as much of a disgusting pig, Tucker was kind of girl-obsessed but not to the extent he is now, etc. Also the Church/Texas dynamic hadn't been fully established yet and there's a lot of the early stuff that seems at odds with subsequent revelations as to both characters' true natures.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep":
- Sister, whose real name is Kaikaina. Kaikaina is the Hawaiian word for "Little Sister", or, more accurately, the Hawaiian word for "younger sibling of the same sex".
- Also Sarge, though in later seasons we find out that actually is his real name.
- Also, Medical Officer Frank DuFresne, who is immediately nicknamed "Doc" by Church because he can't be bothered remembering his name.
- Evil Laugh: O'Malley's signature cackle while possessing Doc is an intentionally over-the-top parody of the Omnicidal Maniac character type.
- The Faceless: Everyone, by necessity, as the Halo games give everyone helmets; The exceptions are the alien, "Junior", and Vic. Semi-lampshaded when Church asks Tucker if he's black, after learning his first name (Lavernius).
- First Law of Tragicomedies
- Five-Bad Band:
- Five-Man Band: It could be said that Blue Team (more or less) plays it straight, while Red Team parodies it.
- Blue Team:
- The Leader: Church is the unofficial leader of the Blue Team since Captain Flowers died. He's certainly the most levelheaded of the group.
- The Lancer: Tucker is more laid back than Church and considers himself a lady's man. Technically, he outranks Church but is not interested in giving orders, so he takes them instead.
- The Smart Guy: Doc is The Medic and has two minds because O'Malley possessed him.
- The Big Guy: Caboose is freakishly strong. Tucker says it's "God's way of compensating' because of his low intelligence and loose grip on reality.
- The Chick: Sister is the only female soldier and will speak at length about her numerous sexual exploits.
- Red Team
- The Leader: Sarge is the undisputed leader, and even is the one to give a rousing speech at one moment.
- The Lancer: Grif, who is always the one to complain or fire off a witty remark.
- The Smart Guy: Simmons, the smartest person on their team, though with poor social skills and a professional ass-kissing attitude.
- The Big Guy: Lopez, who is the team's mechanic and the most proficient with any weapon, except arguably Sarge with a shotgun.
- The Chick: Donut, the effeminate Ambiguously Gay pink-clad team member.
- Blue Team:
- Flanderization: Almost everyone, though Tropes Are Not Bad as this led to Caboose and Donut becoming even more popular, and funny moments becoming much more common.
- Caboose goes from being just a bit slow at the start of the series to borderline insanity, unable to follow a simple train of thought. Also, in a weird way, anyone possessed by Omega has in-universe Flanderization.
- Justified. There is a notable shift in his intelligence after Church, Tex, and O'Malley had an explosive firefight in Caboose's mind.
- Tucker goes from being flirtatious to a sex maniac.
- Sarge's mild bullying of Grif goes to outright attempts at murdering him.
- Grif's initial laziness and apathy gets cranked up to a phobia of work.
- Donut goes from being ambiguously effeminate to Camp Gay.
- Again, justified. He started as just a normal, if effeminate man. When he got lightish-red armor, he definitely went down the slippery slope.
- Simmons goes from teacher's pet to groveling sycophant.
- Tex goes from being a skilled special-ops soldier to a legendarily powerful badass.
- Especially egregious, as most of this shift only takes place during the Recollection and turns her from a more powerful soldier into a super soldier to rival Master Chief.
- Doc begins a neutral pacifist without extensive medical training (but nevertheless treats Caboose during an active shootout), and ends a man panicked by any sign of conflict, completely incompetent in his supposed area of expertise.
- Caboose goes from being just a bit slow at the start of the series to borderline insanity, unable to follow a simple train of thought. Also, in a weird way, anyone possessed by Omega has in-universe Flanderization.
- Flip Personality: When O'Malley possesses Doc, their body frequently switches personality on a sentence by sentence basis; this is shown by voice and mannerism changes and camera angle changes. The two characters actually hold conversations with each other, or will cut in on what the other is saying to make some kind of wise-crack or amendment. For the most part O'Malley is in control of what they do, however.
- Foreshadowing: The Blue Base in Blood Gulch is referred to as "Blood Gulch Outpost Alpha." Later on, in Season 6, we find out that Church, the leader of Blue Team, is actually an AI designated "Alpha."
- When radioing Church in the Season 1 finale, Caboose refers to himself as "O'Malley".
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": ("To mark this message as 'urgent', please press eleven.")
- "THERE IS NO ELEVEN, YOU FUCKING WHORE!!!!"
- "For unconfirmed Dutch-Irish, press or say 1 too, as in also."
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Red Team: Sarge - classic Choleric, Grif and Lopez - classic Phlegmatic, Simmons - Melancholic, and Donut - Sanguine
- Blue Team: Church and Tex - Choleric, Tucker - Sanguine, Doc - Melancholic, and Caboose - neutral Phlegmatic, despite being a complete ditz.
- Friendship Moment
- Fun with Foreign Languages: Lopez's Spanish is intentionally bad, partly because it was obtained using an online translator full of mistakes.
- Fusion Dance: The Freelancers and their AIs. O'Malley's name is even a portmanteau of his designation (Omega) and Tex's real name (Allison) to form Om-Alli. Subverted with Gary, as that's just a reference to the name of Burnie's late cat.
- Actually played straight with Gary—Wyoming's name is Reggie, and his AI is Gamma.
- Gambit Roulette: By the end of the series, it appears that everything O'Malley, Wyoming, Gamma/Gary and Vic did was for the purpose of acquiring an Alien child and the sword that would elevate him to the status of leader of his race, so that O'Malley could possess the Alien and use his race as a weapon to win the war. The degree of planning and precision this would require, and using Wyoming and Gamma's time-bending powers to send them to the past
and futurein order to further manipulate them, is implausibly ridiculous, thus keeping with the tone of the series.
- Grand Theft Me: Multiple occasions varying from possession by ghosts to O'Malley jumping from body to body.
- Hilarious Outtakes (Each season has a collection of them)Simmons: The Blues are probably gearing up for an enormous attack right now! At any moment, they're gonna come over that hill, charging, guns blazing, yelling...(Gus loses composure)...fuck!"
(The Blues come running over the hill.)
- Hired Guns: Tex and Wyoming.
- Hopeless War: Played for laughs due to the fact that the teams are in a never ending game of Capture the Flag. The creators state that one side exists because the other side exists.
- Humans by Any Other Name: Apparently "Shisno", the word for humans in one alien language, literally translates to "the feces of the feces of the foulest smelling creature in the universe". Or something worse. It's also used, understandably, as an insult.
- The character translating it peters out when Church tells him that a skunk's feces doesn't crap. He probably had farther to go.
- Informed Attractiveness:
- Tex and Sister. Being that all the characters use the same Master Chief player model (which is male of course) the only way the audience knows that they're attractive is through comments from the male characters (specifically Tucker). Though there was an episode where Sister took her armor off for a physical and the surveillance cameras in Blue Base caught it all much to the delight of Simmons and Sarge (though we the audience don't get to see).
- Also, Tucker himself and his "striking metrosexual good looks," as noted by Captain Flowers.
- Ironic Echo Cut: Both played straight and played for laughs many times.
- It Will Never Catch On: Used when Church was insisting on using "Doc", and Dufre insisting that it wouldn't catch on. Cue a cut to his character intro for the opening labeling him as "Doc".
- Killed Off for Real:
- The Red Zealot in Season 3.
- Crunchbite in Season 4.
- York in Out Of Mind.
- Captain Flowers and Wyoming in Season 5.
- Lampshade Hanging: Church does this after one of the (usually 5-10 minutes long) episodes ends on a cliffhanger:Church: "Why is it that something dramatic seems to happen exactly every five minutes? I mean, I can't possibly be the only one out here noticing this trend."
(Red Team is looking at a security camera terminal that is looking at Blue Team's base)Sarge: "Simmons, what're they saying?"Simons: "I have no idea. I can't find the volume on this monitor. And without any sound it just looks like a bunch of helmets bobbing up and down."Sarge: "Is that how they talk? They look ridiculous."
- The series became increasingly self-referential and fourth-wall breaking as The Blood Gulch Chronicles reached its end.
- Left the Background Music On: Played with when music begins to drown Church out and he angrily demands to know where it's coming from — cue the Warthog coming over the hill blasting mariachi music on the stereo that Lopez left on. This turns into a Running Gag whenever the Warthog shows up, until the radio is broken in the season after Chronicles.
- Losing Your Head: Lopez in season 4 & 5.
- Love Triangle: Sheila to Lopez and Caboose. Type 4.
- For Caboose, this is also a case of Robo Ship.
- Made of Iron: Anyone can survive a devastating attack generally unharmed provided it would be funny for them to do so. Any pain or injury will be played for laughs and forgotten as soon as the joke is over. Conversely, this invincibility can be revoked at any point, if the character's death is important for plot reasons.
- The Man Behind the Man: Freelancer Command to the group, by way of Vic.
- Mental World: Caboose's mind.
- Mission Control: Vic, who it turns out to be the Mission Control for both teams.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: How Sarge refers to his soldiers. And Grif. There's also the occasional, "Men! Donut!"
- Noodle Incident:
- In Episode 41, there are only 49 Freelancer agents because there are only 49 states in the US. Poor Florida.
- In "Out Of Mind Part 2", The incident where York's eye was damaged is not elaborated on, though it is in Season 9.
- "What happened to Georgia???"
- Not in the Face!:
- Grif in Episodes 13 and 50.
- Tucker in Episode 63.
- One-Liner Echo:
- In Chronicles, we have "Team-killing fucktard" and "Parabola of Mystery."
- In Out Of Mind, we have "That's part of what makes us human."
- Once an Episode: Or once a season to be more specific. Once Tucker's "Bow-Chicka-Bow-Wow" catchphrase is introduced, he says it once and once only in each season (except for multiple times in one episode of season four).
- Only Sane Man: Church, who is usually the only person to both understand when a crisis is happening and be motivated enough to do something about it. Most of the other characters are either one but not the other, or neither. Tex might qualify in some episodes, but she has a habit of going Axe-Crazy, and often pursues her own agenda to the detriment of the others.
- Our Ghosts are Different: Church and Tex as of the end of Season 1 onward. Then it turns out they aren't ghosts at all. Washington is incredulous at everyone's belief that they are- reacting in much the same way a person would in Real Life.
- Rule of Funny: Whether or not people can understand Lopez tends to be based on how funny it is (most notably O'Malley, who is generally able to understand Lopez perfectly, and yet can still be tricked into insulting himself in Spanish).
- Rule of Three: The running "Son of a bitch" gag is usually done three times in a row.
- Running Gag:
Donut: It's not pink, it's lightish red!
- Among others:
- Tucker never gets the sniper rifle. The first time he did, he accidentally shoots Tex in the ass. Then he Took a Level in Badass with it.
- After this, Tucker's obsession with using the sniper rifle died down significantly. The fact that he found his own badass weapon (the Sword) also had something to do with it.
- Church's horrible aim, especially with the sniper rifle. He usually only hits people by accident, or when the Rule of Funny makes it possible. In Reconstruction this gets Flanderized to the point that he fires an entire clip at an enemy two feet away and misses every time.I swear to God, I think somebody fucks with the sights on this thing when I'm not looking!
- People who die say "HURK!...blehh." People react to hearing explosions by yelling "SON OF A BITCH!"
- In the "Kill Them All!" ending, everyone says, "SON OF A BITCH!"
- People being possessed say "HEEGAKURGURK".
- Tucker gets covered in "black stuff" whenever going through teleporters.
- Shotgun! (shouted by either Grif or Simmons every time a new vehicle shows up). Followed by "Fuck!" from whomever didn't win.
- Shout-Out: So many that it's probably not feasible to list all of them.
- The Smurfette Principle: Tex is the only girl in the show for quite some time, though in a case of Positive Discrimination, she's definitely the best fighter on either team.
- Snipe Hunt:
- Something Blues: "Blood Gulch Blues", the show's theme.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:Donut: Maybe, that blue guy who got killed by the tank, came back as a ghost, and now he's possessing Lopez's body. That could also explain why Sarge went nuts when we had the prisoner; the blue ghost probably possessed him too. And the jeep going nuts was probably just a weird set of coincidences, while the guy learned how to use Lopez's body.Simmons: I think I like the ray beam idea better.Grif: Yeah rookie, your idea sounds a little dumb.
- Most famously, episode two's "You mean like a puma?"
- "Monkeying about" in episode 53.
- Take That!:
Tucker: Naw. Hollywood doesn't understand apocalypse. They think that just one thing from everyday life goes away and that changes everything. Like in Road Warrior it was gas, and in Waterworld it was land.Simmons: What went away in The Matrix?Tucker: Sunlight.Grif: I thought the missing element was plot.Tucker: I'm talking about Matrix One.
- With regards to Red Bull, O'Malley says it is the taste of oblivion. And disgusting.
- In Episode 44, the characters discuss Hollywood post-apocalypse cliches.
Tucker: The sword is a key? Just when I thought this quest couldn't get any lamer.
- Also regarding his sword:
Church: We don't know anything about [the sword], though. Maybe it runs on radiation and it's poisoning him.Caboose: Or maybe it runs on solar power!Church: Wait now, why would solar power make him sick?Caboose: Is he Republican?
- A surprise political joke in Season 4.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Given the high amount of swearing, this one inevitably crops up
once in a whilequite a bit.
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Caboose started out in the series much more normal; but the creators decided to just make him dumber and dumber over time. As a result, he's one of the most beloved characters in the series. There is an in-universe explanation that he became this way due to having O'Malley screw with his mind and witnessing Sheila blow up, but he was still somewhat stupid anyway.
- Two-Act Structure: The second half of the Chronicles is far more plot-oriented (going so far as to induce a revision of some of the sillier gags from earlier in the series) and ends on a relative downer.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Most of the cast.
- Voodoo Shark: The explanation for the Yellow Church in episode 52 given in episode 100 breaks internal consistency in a bunch of different ways. It's implied in season 10 that Church looping through time never actually happened, and in fact was actually a simulation presented by Gamma. That doesn't explain how he managed to escape Caboose's head, and get a body, but that's probably just the Rule of Funny in action and nothing more.
- And Show It to You: A variant in Episode 10, where a man is killed with his own skull being used to beat him to death. Except the way Tex is said to have done this (tearing out the skull of the victim) doesn't seem physically possible. (Which were essentially the victim's last words.)Tucker: That doesn't seem physically possible.Church: That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming.Jimmy: This doesn't seem physically possible!
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Often through Caboose, to the point he's just plain ignored most of the time. For instance, during Episode 18:Caboose: I have an idea.
Caboose: (louder) I have an idea!
Tucker: Yeah, we heard you the first time, Caboose. We were just ignoring you.
- Artificial Intelligence: Tex has one inside his (or should that be her) armour. Season 2 reveals that the A.I. is called O'Malley, and transferred itself to Caboose upon Tex's death. Lampshaded in Episode 13 in a piece of dialogue that provides the page quote:
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Donut asking for new armour. He finally gets it in Episode 16, after getting blown up by Tex, only to find that it's pink.
- Blatant Lies: Tucker lies to hide the fact that they let Tex help after Church explicitly told them not to.
- Boom, Headshot: Caboose shoots Sarge, who was possessed by Church, in an attempt to help Church.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Caboose's dialogue after Tex is captured."Yep, he's definitely captured... or dead... captured or dead. (gasps) Or captured and dead!"
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- The season, the first few episodes especially, has significantly poorer audio quality than later seasons.
- The first episode directly references Halo, with Grif complaining about being stuck in the canyon after Master Chief brought down the Covenant on his own. The connection to the source material was quietly done away with once the series started developing its own mythos.
- Electronic Speech Impediment: Tex has this near the end of Episode 12, when her voice filter breaks.
- Also Lopez only being able to speak Spanish.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: Episode 2. It's even the reason why they end up naming the vehicle the "Chupathingy".Grif: No, like a puma. It's a big cat, like a lion.
Sarge: You're making that up.
- Later in the same episode:Sarge: (pointing at the front of the Warthog) Look, see these two two hooks? They look like tusks, and what kind of animal has tusks?
Grif: A walrus.
Sarge: Didn't I just tell you to stop making up animals?!
- Later in the same episode:
- Fun with Subtitles: One of the trailers for the season uses this to hilarious effect. Here it is.
- Insane Troll Logic: Caboose thinks that shooting Sarge, actually Church in his body, and freeing Tex will make Church become his best friend and forgive the whole team-killing thing.
- Insistent Terminology: Donut's new armour isn't pink. It's light-ish red.
- Knife Outline: Tex's introduction, using bullets against a wall, and Caboose as the outline.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: During his Near-Death Experience, Sarge regretted never telling this to Grif... to mess with him one last time.
- Mistaken for Badass: Tucker and Church think that Donut is the sergeant, and that he stole the blue flag in some kind of sneaky plan, when really Donut got lost and mistook blue base for a store.
- Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Tucker when he contacts command to send reinforcements.Tucker: I don't know what the technical military term is for it, but, uh, we're pretty fucked up down here. We need men!Vic: Dude, how long have you guys been down there?
- Near-Death Experience: Sarge has one after being shot through the head by Caboose while possessed by Church. He has a conversation with the "angel" that is Church before being revived.
- Subverted as of Season 8. Apparently he wasn't half-dead, but in Recovery Mode on his armour, making this Mistaken for Afterlife.
- Noodle Incident: We never do get to find out what happened in the Vegas Quadrant.
- Not Actually the Ultimate Question: could practically be the trope namer.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: The DVD had a parody of the FBI warning.
- Robotic Reveal: Lopez is revealed to be this in Episode 16. Grif is humorously slow to catch on, despite obvious signs that would indicate it.
- Samus Is a Girl: Tex, as revealed in Episode 12.
- Say My Name: In Episode 9, after the Blues' Scorpion tank AI Sheila gets bombed, the first thing Caboose and Tucker do is shout its name.Tucker: Wait...who's Sheila?
- Snipe Hunt: Grif and Simmons send Donut out for some elbow grease and headlight fluid.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The tank blows up the jeep, and then an airstrike blows up the tank.
- Tonight, Someone Dies: The cliffhanger on Episode 9.Sarge: I sure hope it's Grif.
- Unwanted Assistance: Sarge to Simmons in Part 3 about saying what robots love.
- Wham Line: In Episode 19, the season finale, introducing the Big Bad.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe with Caboose's mental images of the cast:Mental-Tucker: Man, I am so unbelievably stupid!
Mental-Church: My name is Church, buttwiping assmunch, [...] and I'm Caboose's best friend, so don't get any ideas about kissing up, you limp licking fuck sock!
Mental-Donut: (female voice) My favorite thing is pretty dresses!
Mental-Sarge: (pirate accent) Arr, I got termites in me leg!
- Apologetic Attacker: Lopez when he blows up the Warthog along with Sarge and Simmons in Episode 28:Lopez: I'm sorry, father.
- April Fools' Day: The reason for Episode 28.5, the "Last Episode Ever".
- Artificial Human: Simmons (or Simmons 2.0) becomes one in Episode 34, when his internal organs (and some of the external ones as well) are donated to a fatally injured Grif and replaced with robot parts to replace Lopez, who has been taken by the Blues.
- Back from the Dead: Tex as of Episode 29.
- Double Agent: Episode 38 reveals that Vic is working for the Blues and the Reds.
- Dude, Not Ironic: In Episode 38, the majority of the cast has an (off-screen) two-hour discussion about whether or not the situation they found themselves in was ironic. The opening lines to the discussion produce several examples of things which which aren't ironic, including this gem from Caboose:Caboose: I think it would be ironic if we were all made of iron.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Caboose has these moments from time to time.Tucker: I'm confused, that actually seems like a good idea.
Church: I know!
Tucker: ...But Caboose said it!
Church: I know!
- Evil Tastes Good: Averted:O'Malley/Doc: I will devour their hearts and crap out their souls! They will all taste oblivion!... Which tastes just like Red Bull... Which is disgusting!
- Grand Theft Me: Caboose getting possessed by O'Malley.
- Informed Judaism: Somewhat. When we see the gravestones of Church and Tex in Episode 20, one of them has a Star Of David. We don't know whose it is though.
- Involuntary Group Split/Party Scattering: The Cliffhanger of the season at the end of Episode 38.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Episode 31. Church and Tex enter Caboose's mind to kill O'Malley.
- Odd Name Out: The two robots Sarge builds for the blues in Episode 38:Sarge: Gentlemen, allow me to introduce... Francisco Montegue Zanzibar! ...And this one over here is Robot #2.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Church attempts this with O'Malley when he and Tex are in Caboose's mind in Episode 33, but fails utterly.Church: I've got half a mind to kill you, and the other half agrees!
Church: You're just one big headache, and I got a whole pistol full of aspirin!Church: You're about to split... personality!Tex: Payback's a bitch, and so am I.
- This episode has many of them, almost back to back.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: Episode 28 1/2, aka "The Last Episode Ever."
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Due to e-mail requests and concerns about younger audiences, episodes of the second season had fewer expletives in general, and bleeps over those that made it in. This caused an even larger backlash from people demanding the swearing be put back in. Rooster Teeth, as explained in the second season DVD commentary, responded by introducing Mental-Church, Caboose's mental image of Church, who was deliberately incredibly vulgar, and swore more than any other character. Third season episodes were offered in censored and uncensored versions before the idea of censorship was abandoned.
- Something Only They Would Say: Used for The Reveal at the end of Episode 29:Tex: Well, Buenos dias, cockbites! Guess who's back?
- Sound-Effect Bleep: Most swearing isn't censored, but in one instance, "Son of a..." is cut off by an Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
Doc: I'm a pacifist.
- Most of the swearing is intact on the episodes shown on Halo Waypoint; however a joke in Episode 20 which probably could be considered particularly offensive was bleeped out.
Caboose: You're a thing that babies suck on?
Tucker: No dude, that's a pedophile.
Church: Tucker, I think he means a pacifier.
- Split Personality: O'Malley appears to be one to Caboose. This is because O'Malley is actually Tex's AI who transferred to Caboose's armour upon Tex's death at the end of Season 1.
- Strangely Arousing: Sheila's response to Tex possessing Lopez in Episode 30:Sheila: I am confused. I thought your name was López. And I thought you were a man. This is all so strange. I feel like my circuits are crossed... And I like it.
- Title Drop: In Episode 38, courtesy of Tucker, given seconds before he was blown up by Doc/O'Malley:Tucker: I said, there's no Red vs Blue!
- Wham Line: One of the earliest reveals with major implications for the series as a whole:Vic: Oh, hey there Sarge, long time no see, sorry 'bout that I uh, anyway what can we do here for you at Red Command today?
- Yaoi Guys: Tucker, Doc, and French-speaking Lopez in "Last Episode Ever". The former two even get married.
- The Antichrist: In Episode 14, Caboose is assumed to be this by the Red Zealot.Red Zealot: It's the beast! The anti-flag, come to live among us and rule us for seven years! The end is nigh!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In Episode 45.O'Malley: I need that computer to compile my evil formulas, and to rebuild the weather machine. Also to download music! Wuhuhahahaha!"
- Ask a Stupid Question...: When Tex explains that each Freelancer has a U.S. state for a codename, Donut asks her what state she was. Her response? Nevada.
- Baa Bomb: The Blue Team tries calming down a bomb named Andy with imagination therapy. One of the images presented was a flock of sheep. "The kind that don't blow up."
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Sarge and Caboose do this when fighting the Battle Creek Reds and Blues.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Donut's play for explaining why the group is in the future.
- Big "NO!": Grif lets one out when he learns that the distress signal Red Team was following has led them back to Blood Gulch.
- Bound and Gagged: Tex is tied to a tree with rope thicker than most people's arms when captured by O'Malley.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Episode 39, when Donut is talking to Tucker after Doc/O'Malley shot him, and explaining why they can't make him a robot body to ease his pain.Donut: We can't! We're out of parts because we overused that joke!
- Gone to the Future: The entire cast, though Church takes a longer time than most. Subverted in The Recollection, when it's revealed that time travel is one of the training exercises, but not a real thing that happens.
- Human Ladder: Sarge and Caboose form one to see into a high-level window.
- I Am Not Shazam: A bit of an inversion In-Universe: When Tex explains that every member of Project Freelancer was codenamed for a state, Tucker responds by asking the soldier nicknamed Tex what her codename was. She responds, "Nevada." Plenty of fans believed her, though in their defense the series seemed goofy enough for that to happen, and she delivers the line completely straight.
- I Can't Do This by Myself: Tex has to rope in the Reds and Blues to carry a bomb for her because she doesn't have the upper body strength in her current body.
- If I Do Not Return: This, from Episode 39:Blue Soldier: Tell my girlfriend that I love her!
Red Soldier: She's my girlfriend now, bitch!
- Inappropriately Close Comrades: A demonstration of exactly why such laws exist:Capt. Butch Flowers: Men, your delightful tomfoolery puts a spring in my step and a bounce in my britches. If I weren't your Commanding Officer, I'd pick you both up, give you a big bear hug and make you call me "Daddy".Church: Uhh... Thank God for the Chain of Command?
- Obstructive Zealot: The Red Zealot, the most fanatical and devout of the Battle Creek Grunts to their flag-worshipping religion. He's just not very good at the "obstructive" part.
- The Quest: Tucker goes on one with the "Great Weapon" (his Laser Blade) at the behest of the Alien, with various "Great" things in parody of "The Great Journey". Subverted in that the only actual quest was to get him pregnant.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Caboose engages in this in Donut's play about how they ended up in the future.Donut: Caboose, stop reading your stage directions.Caboose: You told me I was supposed to read anything with my name in front of it.Donut: Just the lines, not the blocking. You're ruining my big debut!Caboose: I do not think we are meshing, artistically. I think you should talk to my agent.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Church in Episodes 50-52, failing every time to do anything but create the situations or fail to make any impact at all. With the revelation that the time travel there was a torture scenario in later seasons, however, this is something of an aversion in practice.
- You Already Changed the Past: Part of why it fails.
- Stable Time Loop: Episodes 50-52. Subverted. In The Recollection, it's revealed that the entire time loop was just a torture simulation by Gamma. The extra Churchs, however, were due to Gamma's use of the time dilation unit to keep him out of Wyoming's way.
- The Slow Path: In season 3, Church becomes trapped in the past and must wait until he catches up to the present...which takes about a thousand years. Fortunately, he has a robot body, which still somehow grows a beard. However, it could've been from Gary's deceit, since the whole time loop for Church with the bomb really didn't happen.
- Sword of Plot Advancement: Tucker's sword which he finds in Season 3 ends up being a key in season 4, and sends both him, the alien, and Caboose on a journey to redeem the aliens' race. The quest is really a ruse to get a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong from the Alien for Tucker, but the sword does give him Spanner in the Works Ripple Proof Memory in Season 5.
- Throw Away State: Florida. Also a Noodle Incident and Take Our Word for It.
- Why Am I Ticking?: At one point Church ends up in a body that Sarge had implanted a bomb into. Cue this line from Grif about him when it accidentally gets activated in Episode 41.
- Writers Cannot Do Math: In Episode 44. According to Simmons, he has a real knack for multiplying large numbers in his head. He doesn't.Grif: What's... 32 times 56?Simmons: 31,452.noteSarge: Is that right?Simmons: Yes.Sarge: That's pretty impressive!Simmons: I know. It's a gift.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Church's lesson from his Time Travel, as stated in Episode 52.Church: No matter how bad they seem, [things] can't be any better, and they can't be any worse, because that's the way things fuckin' are, and you better get used to it Nancy. Quit yer bitching."
- You Will Be Spared: When O'Malley and Vic ally to a degree.O'Malley: Then the universe will be mine and I'll crush every living soul in to dust, hahaha! Except for you of course Vic. I'll make you Assistant Crusher.
Vic: Okay, dude, looking forward to that.
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Grif after Simmons temporarily leaves during his Cassandra Truth where nobody believes that Blue Team has a tank.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In Episode 65, Sarge is able to accept Simmons imagining tanks and attacking his own teammates, but draws the line at Simmons painting himself blue.
- Cassandra Truth: Sheila, a tank, rolls behind Sarge, being watched by Donut, Simmons, and Grif, but he refuses to believe it is there, and the other Reds except Simmons also decide not to say they know. This extends to the point where Sheila is firing at the base after Simmons had his temporary Hazy Feel Turn.
- Cranial Processing Unit: Lopez the robot has his body blown up and spends the season as a disembodied head. Near the end of the season Sarge wants to retrieve a secret message that was hidden in his databanks, Grif asks if the data would actually be in his head, and Sarge cites the logic behind this.
- Everybody Knew Already: When Simmons is pretending to be a Blue soldier, Church immediately knows it's him, but pretends not to in order to torment him. Sheila also knows.
- Felony Misdemeanor: From Episode 65:Sarge: I can obviously understand why you'd wanna attack your own base.
Simmons: You can?
Sarge: But painting yourself blue? Dear God man, don't you have any shame at all?!
- Hazy Feel Turn: Simmons temporarily joins the Blues. Church goes along with it because he finds it amusing.
- Here We Go Again: Definitely the feeling the Reds get when they find their way to Blood Gulch again.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Said by O'Malley:(gunshot whizzes right past his ear)O'Malley: ...Now, suddenly it's too loud. I preferred it when it was quiet.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In Episode 62, Simmons tries to convince Sheila that she was supposed to protect Blue Base against "space pirate cowboy monkey ninjas" who were trying to round up some cattle.
- Mr. Seahorse: Tucker, via alien impregnation.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Aside from Lopez's typical Babelfish Spanish, we have Donut's high school Spanish in Episode 75."Lopez, do you know what time it is? I am going to the beach with my cousin who likes to play tennis. I ate a pencil. Adios!
- The Password is Always "Swordfish": During episode 74, Simmons regains entry to Red Base by guessing Grif's password, which is "password". Simmons suggests that Grif's new password be 2dumb2live.Sarge: Gentlemen. They know the code word. There's nothin' we can do.
Grif: Everybody knows our code words!
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In Episode 76.Sarge: Or my personal favorite: You just got Sarged.
- Worth It: Episode 59.
Out of Mind (Miniseries between Seasons 4 & 5)
- Darker and Edgier: The tone is much more serious than the rest of the Blood Gulch Chronicles, barring a few jokes by York.
- Foreshadowing: We discover through York and Delta that Wyoming's name is Reginald, and that he enjoyed stupid knock-knock jokes. Astute viewers will take this and the fact that "O'Malley" is a portmanteau of Tex's real name (Allison) and Omega, in order to realize that the time bending, knock-knock joke spouting A.I. Gary is actually Wyoming's partner.
- Mini Series: Five episodes.
- P.O.V. Sequel: This miniseries explains what Tex was doing after Crunchbite died.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: York and Delta spend almost all their mutual screentime snarking at each other, but it's clear they're fond of each other especially since Delta is willing to potentially sacrifice his own existence to ensure York dies comfortably.
- Achievements in Ignorance: While chasing O'Malley in Caboose's head in Episode 100, Church manages to achieve on Caboose's ignorance.Church: Alright "Tucker", quick. I need you to jump out there and kill 'em with your sword. If they die in here, they get forced out of Caboose's head.
- And the Adventure Continues: After all they went through - all the crazy things that happened, the people who died, everything - life was going to go on, the same way it had before.
- And Then What?: Church asks this in Episode 100:Church: Well what about after? You think Omega's just gonna stop after he gets a whole species for an army? He's gonna take over everything Tex, and you're not gonna be able to stop him!
- Back from the Dead: The aliens revive Butch Flowers only for him to be infected by Omega shortly after.
- Bittersweet Ending: Tex betrays the others and tries to help Wyoming and Omega escape with the alien. Instead she, and about a third of the speaking parts in the show, are seemingly killed in a massive explosion. Omega's plot is thwarted, but Church is left embittered and everything that's happened seems to have been for nothing. On the plus side, Grif finally gets shotgun!
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Doc delivers this:Doc: Tucker's kid drank half a gallon in one go! Isn't that cool? I think he is gonna be a linebacker. Or a vampire. Or a vampire linebacker!
- Buried Alive: Sarge allows this to happen to himself in Episode 83 when his dedication to Red Command orders causes him to think he's been killed in action.
- Call Back: When the Blues take control of Red Base (Because the Reds are underground), Church notes that the Blue Team now has...two bases in the middle of a box canyon, to which Tucker adds, "Whoop-dee-fucking-doo", which was basically Simmons' assessment of their "war" in season 1.
- Deadly Deferred Conversation: Blue team captain Butch Flowers explains to Church and Tucker that he will tell them the secret of beating the Reds tomorrow...only to die of an aspirin overdose that night. Though as Season 10 reveals, what Flowers might have been trying to tell Church and Tucker was more important than they thought.
- Downer Ending: Sort of... see Multiple Endings.
- While the canonical ending is probably the least "dark", it's still quite bleak; despite all his efforts and suffering throughout the entire series, Church fails to accomplish anything, including his ultimate goal of saving Tex, and everything goes back to the way it was at the very beginning, with no improvement at all. On the plus side, the Blood Gulch crew managed to stop Omega and potentially saved the galaxy, not that anyone outside the canyon will ever know or care.
- Everyone Knows Morse: Subverted in Episode 81. Sister knows it and tries using it early on, but the others don't understand her, with Church citing it as outdated.
- Fan Fiction: Apparently, Donut has written some of Harry Potter. It involves a bartender and a sailor.
- Foreshadowing: The fact that Church wasn't affected by O'Malley possessing him is strange until you realize in hindsight that it was a case of the fragment returning to the whole.
- Kill 'em All: The first alternate ending results in every single character dead.
- Have You Tried Rebooting?: The Blues try this on Sheila due to her erratic behavior. They also tried it to Caboose's armor once, which probably didn't help his mental state.
- Mangled Catch Phrase: Caboose in Episode 99.Caboose: Hey chicka bum bum!
Tucker: Caboose! What did I tell you about that?
- Multiple Endings: In addition to the canonical ending, there are six alternate endings to Episode 100, "Why Were We Here?"
Sarge: ... Aw, snap.
- "Fight! Fight!": A poorly timed comment from Sarge prompts a free-for-all that ends with everyone dead.
- "Insert Quarter": Sarge tries to call for support from Command, and when Vic proves uncooperative, Sarge destroys the computers controlling Blood Gulch, which then proclaim him the winner of "Red Vs Blue", the Japanese credits for which then roll. The episode then cuts to a Halo 2 postgame screen with the kill/death stats of the eight major characters throughout the series (Caboose's kills are at -1 because a teamkill subtracts from your score, Tex's kill count is at Halo 2's maximum of 99, etc.), revealing the whole thing as "the weirdest [death]match [they]'ve ever played". After some Xbox Live-style banter (which really makes it unclear whether it's the characters talking or just the creators using their handles in a game), they decide to play another match with "same teams" but a "new map".
- "Invasion": Starts the same way as "Fight! Fight!" but before Sarge can finish mocking the Blues, he is blasted by a Banshee. Everyone is killed by Aliens, who then proceed to take over the bases and act out the events of Episode 1.
- "Ruby Slippers": It's revealed that the entire series was a dream being had by Church back during Season 1, having only been knocked unconscious by Sheila's cannon fire. He describes his dream to Tucker, Caboose, and Jacobs, who he apparently forgot about, before Simmons and Grif show up. Church tries to speak to them about the events of his dream, but they just hose the Blues down with machine gun fire, killing them all. The Reds (complete with Sarge's original, nasally voice) then prepare to move on to the next zone.
- "Tex Wins": When Church screams for Tex to come back, the ship turns around (with Andy presumably having been deactivated). The ship then fires a missile at the Blood Gulch soldiers, killing them all.
- "Where Are They Now?": The death scenes from "Fight! Fight!" play in sequence, but as each character is killed, a short caption comes up, revealing a strange future for each.
- Multitasked Conversation: In Episode 88, before Sarge and Donut find Grif and Simmons after they fall into the cave beneath Blood Gulch, Sarge communicates with Simmons via their helmet radios. Donut's radio is broken, so he is completely unaware Sarge isn't talking to him.
- Noodle Implements: According to Episode 100, "Emergency Plan Traitorous Simmons Number 11" involves a steamroller.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When Wyoming's clone-army is about to kill the Blues, Grif gleefully points out that the Reds don't have to do a thing to win except watch. Sarge, of course, is not nearly so happy to let someone else defeat his enemy.
- Precision F-Strike: Sarge gives only one F-bomb in the first 5 seasons, in Episode 92.Simmons: Sarge, I'm not sure Grif knows what he's talking about.Sarge: Grif doesn't know what he's talking about, eh? Stop the fuckin' presses.
- The Reveal: Most of the season is spent trying to locate O'Malley after he jumps from Doc until he turns out in "The Wrong Crowd" to have infected Butch Flowers.
- Screw the War, We're Partying!: In Episode 98, when the Reds are in control of Blue Base due mostly to the Blues having more important troubles.Simmons: A Blue got killed by their own tank? Man, I just had the weirdest sense of déjà vu.
Grif: Hehey, speaking of getting tanked, we should see if the Blues have any beer around here.
- Series Fauxnale: Episode 100, the finale of the Blood Gulch Chronicles.
- Shot in the Ass: Tex in Episode 94, due to Tucker not knowing how to handle a Sniper Rifle. He blames it on Church.
- Shout-Out: To the then recent Halo ad campaign; when Simmons and Grif begin arguing about the plausibility of an ancient race being technologically advanced, Simmons exasperatedly exclaims "let's finish this fight later".
- Spanner in the Works: Tucker and Sarge in the finale. To elaborate, Tucker's acquisition of the energy sword gave him the ability to remember events from alternate timelines created by Wyoming's temporal device and kill him. Sarge then leaves a bomb in the Pelican simply to kill the Blues, and in the process stops Omega's plan to conquer the universe.
- The Woobie: Donut becomes an in-universe example when the other characters briefly believe him dead and spend some time lamenting their deep affection for him. Even Church admits to having liked him. Church doesn't like anyone!
- You Didn't Ask: Lampshaded when Simmons discovers that Sister is actually meant to join up with the Blues.Simmons: Oh my god, what's wrong with you? Why didn't you tell us you were a Blue?Sister: Because—Sister: But nobody did ask!
- It's Red versus Red and Blue versus Blue. It's I against I and me against you.