A normal person would be annoyed, upset, angry or downright furious at having gone through a near-death experience, having nearly gone to jail unfairly (or actually done some time there unfairly), nearly losing, or actually losing, their worldly possessions, loved ones, reputation, and so on, and so forth.
Some people might even, and with good reason, sue for damages, look for revenge or become emotionally scarred for life due to it.
Not so with characters in movies, anime, TV, some books, and so on, that get exposed to such dangers by a villain, by fate or even by the heroes themselves. As far as they are concerned, "All is well that ends well" is a saying to be followed utterly if they leave any experience with their health intact (or recoverable), to the point of not even minding the long hours of risk, pain, heart-wrenching pressure and emotional distress, along with possible property, reputation, love-life, and other kinds of damage, reversible or not, inflicted by the Villain, the Hanging Judge, and so on. They, rather, simply focus on how fine and dandy it is that they escaped their ordeal physically (never emotionally, sometimes socially) unscathed (or, depending on the show, not TOO beaten up or not too dead). This is frequent with secondary characters or unnamed ones: The show won't include them dying or anything too irreversible, but the near complete destruction of their property, loved ones or reputation is treated as an afterthought, and it's not uncommon to see them reacting very calmly to it.
Compare Easily Forgiven. Occasionally combines with Only The Leads Get a Happy Ending. When a main character utilizes this constantly in story, otherwise the plot would stop, it's Angst? What Angst?. Some characters involved may be Karma Houdinis
Not to be confused with the William Shakespeare play All's Well That Ends Well.
NOTE: If you link to this trope, make sure you do not use the contracted form of "all is".
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
Bleach: Uryuu Ishida uses his hollow bait to start a Hollow-hunt-off with Ichigo in the middle of a city. It attracts so many powerful hollows that the entire city is caught up in it to an extent Ishida never intended. Despite this, he ends up friends with Ichigo very quickly afterwards. Ishida does point out the amount of hollow bait he used should never have caused a hollow response like this and it's eventually revealed Aizen was the cause of what happened, not Ishida.
Considering that Mayuri essentially made Ishida his bitch, it's odd to see Mayuri, of all people, as an agent of tangential justice, but there you go.
Keiko Yukimura, from YuYu Hakusho, got kidnapped and nearly turned into a demon by Hiei in the early episodes. Once Hiei was part of the Nakama, however, she didn't mind him at all, and commented, quite calmly, on her former kidnapper's fights - rooting for him. She was pretty out of it around that time. She didn't really know who Hiei was past figuring he was one of her boyfriend's buddies.
In Gunsmith Cats, Rally and Minnie May get into an argument, after which Minnie May explodes Rally's car. After Rally takes a cab home, she is held up by muggers. Minnie May shows up and the two drive the muggers away. They go on to make amends despite the fact that Minnie May exploded Rally's very expensive (about 150,000 bucks) car.
Taken Up to Eleven when Misty Bown shacks up with Goldie Muso of her own free will at the end of Burst.
This happens to the main character in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann where Simon loses the love of his life, his friends, and becomes a hobo (or gardener, depending on your preference of ending) after finishing off the Anti-Spirals.
Subverted in Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe. Several X-Men are shot dead by Frank Castle after apologizing for an alien fight which killed his family. Then the killings continue...
Also subverted in the Sinestro Corps War in Green Lantern. After saving Earth from a bunch of yellow-ringed, blood-thirsty maniacs, the GL Corps sticks around to clean up. Buildings get rebuilt.
Played for Laughs in the Russian animated film "How mushrooms fought againt King Pea". Said king gets hit by an explosion which destroys his army and throws him back into his throneroom. He survives unscathed by landing in his bed and proudly proclaims: "well, I just nearly got hosed! But now all is OK!", despite loosing all his army.
In the movie Independence Day, the kids of the drunkard who crashes his plane into the soft spot of the alien mother ship are pretty sad because their dad just died only to be all "Hooray!" when Bill Pullman tells them "All their base are belong to us! The good guys win! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"
Well, their father, hitherto regarded by all and sundry as both worthless and crazy, has just:
Saved the world in a personal CMOA, heroism, skill, & style.
Possibly been vindicated on the very point everyone thought he was crazy about. (Or not).
While they should be glad the world was saved, cheers with tears would have been a bit more on target.
The oldest child does appear to be more solemn than anyone else, when a serviceman tells him "What your father did was very brave. You should be proud." And the teenager informs him "I am."
Averted in Quantum of Solace: Mathis was able to use his treatment after falling under suspicion in Casino Royale as leverage to get an early retirement, apparently with a rather generous package. On top of that, he's not exactly thrilled to see Bond (who pointed the finger at him in the first place) when he shows up asking for help.
In the movie Taken, the main character's daughter is kidnapped, forced into an addiction to drugs, and in the process of being sold into sexual slavery (and that's all that we hear about; can you imagine what we didn't?). At the end she gets into a cab with her mother, smiling and jovial and simply happy to be home. Presumably, her stepdad is going to get her some very expensive therapy. Her best friend died of an apparent overdose in one of the brothels.
The Game with Michael Douglas. He loses house, family, friends, gets shot at and almost dies several times. But it's all good because it was all just a big birthday prank from his younger brother. He's told from the outset that it is a game, although we never quite find out how clued-in he is.
My Super Ex-Girlfriend has a super-heroine (for a given measure of the word) destroying the protagonist's life. In the end, she offers to pay for... the car. He seems happy about it, never mind that he lost his job, had a shark in his house, etc...
But, you know, she's EXTREMELYcrazy, considering that she'd done all that, and in fact notes that she COULD'VE killed him for breaking up with her, but didn't because "Deep down, I knew you'd realize your mistake and come back to me." Sure, I bet he suffered a giant LOAD of emotional stress, but he would NEVER say it to her, lest she go crazy again.
Subverted in the 2010 French film The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. At the end of the movie all seems good and settled, and the titular heroine Adèle decides to relax herself by going on a cruise. Unfortunately for her, the ship that she boards is the Titanic. Pretty creepy, for an otherwise lighthearted movie.
In Date Night, even though the police know the protagonists are directly responsible for breaking and entering, information theft, the destruction of a New York City Cab, quite a few parked cars and a substantial number of police cars, they get off just fine in the end with nary a slap on the wrist. Seems like their Hero Insurance was paid up.
In the film Mystery Team, the characters seem pretty fine, despite the fact that they get chased through the woods by a drug dealer, held at gunpoint by a man they trusted, see two corpses, get shot (Jason), kill a man and lose their bikes.
Anger Management is a string of degrading humiliations for Adam Sandler's character. But that's okay, because it was all a hoax played by his girlfriend, for his own good.
The protagonist's wife in Face/Off was raped by the terrorist numerous times, while being under the impression that he was her husband, and the daughter, at the very least, had to watch all this. In Real Life, those people would be off to quite a few therapy sessions. Not so in movieland.
Played straight in the Trope Namer, Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, where a man in an arranged marriage is so unhappy with his wife that he'd rather risk dying in battle than be with her. The wife tricks him into giving her a ring and consummating the marriage, and when her trickery is revealed he resolves to love her for ever and ever. Bit of a Broken Aesop these days.
Subverted in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: at the end of the comedy, Malvolio, abused and humiliated, announces his intention to have his just revenge upon his persecutors, striking a discordant note in the middle of an otherwise happy ending to the action.
The Bible: The Book of Job is this... losing your kids is fine and dandy, as long as you get new ones later, right? Right???
Also not a happy ending, not even of the All Is Well That Ends Well kind, to Job's loved ones who died, nor for all the people close to him.
Who said it was completely happy? More of a comforting.
Watson in Sherlock Holmes is the most extraordinarily forgiving man in literature. Holmes puts him through hell, faking his own death and making him endure all kinds of bizarre situations. He forgives him instantly and in the main part, never refers to the incidents again.
Holmes becomes a much worse friend after coming back from the dead; before that, despite being a know-it-all and thoroughly annoying as a housemate, he was a reasonably pleasant comrade who clearly valued his friend-and-colleague, never seriously deceived Watson without a good reason, and certainly never forced Watson to do anything. The really impressive thing with Watson from the start is that his self-esteem appears to be under no threat one way or the other from hanging around with an insufferable know-it-all.
Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight series, has an immense amount of this in the closing chapters.
Ginny in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is possessed and emotionally abused for a whole year. After Harry rescues her and a night of sleep, she's "perfectly happy again". Admittedly, though, this is just from Harry's point of view and Harry is not the most perceptive of boys.
And in Prisoner of Azkaban she's shown being especially affected by the dementor on the train (but still not as much as Harry!).
The last line of the entire series is "All was well." Granted, it is 19 years later, but still.
In the Brother Cadfael mystery The Confession of Brother Haluin, the monk of the title is so overjoyed to discover that his youthful love and their child are both alive, rather than eighteen years dead thanks to an abortifacient he sent the girl, that he never spares a thought for the 'woman scorned' who lied to him all those years ago, even to forgive her. She simply doesn't count and neither do his years of grief and torment. He is a monk.
At the end of Larry Niven's The Ringworld Engineers, Louis Wu has this attitude despite the fact that he's been kidnapped by aliens, brought to (and trapped on) a huge alien artifact, believes he just killed millions of sentient beings in order to save billions of sentient beings, and had to kill his former girlfriend to do it.
In the Knight and Rogue Series Michael declares his plan to capture the wreckers a success. That his plans didn't include being tossed over a cliff by them and falling a distance that would have killed any normal person and very nearly killed him-or even actually encountering the wreckers-doesn't seem to matter.
This is the Gummick of Nin Redstone from Caro King's Seven Sorcerers series. After all is said and done, Nin regards Scerridge (who started all this by kidnapping her brother and then her) as her close friend, doesn't hold any grudge againt other (former) enemies, and seems completekly non-traumatised by the whole experience.
Subverted in Guus Kuiper's 'Polleke series. In one book, Polleke is lured into a car by a man, and quickly realizes he is a child molester. She can escape before anything bad happens, but she is still devastated by the encounter, holing herself up in her room for days, and fearing physical contact with her (male) friend.
Live Action TV
Pick an innocent freed, or one whose conviction was reversed, in a procedural drama, any innocent.
Subverted in the television series Life, whose protagonist, freed after twelve years in prison on overturned murder charges, shows the lasting social and psychological effects of his incarceration.
A mid season 2 episode of Hawaii Five-0 has an Everybody Laughs Ending, despite the fact that Steve had just undergone horrific torture, the Five-0 team, Joe White and his buddies had risked their lives to save him, Wo Fat escaped with his life and Jenna Kaye didn't. Yes, she had betrayed Steve and Five-0, but that should only have added to the gravity of the situation, never mind that she didn't (in this troper's opinion) deserve to die.
Quoted verbatim in Babylon 5 by Londo Molari at the end of the episode Deathwalker. Never mind an Vorlon ship just appeared out of nowhere, vaporized another in what normally would be an act of war and casually renders half the episode pointless. Her getting killed might not have been optimum, but anything that upset the Narn was a good thing as far as Londo was concerned. In doing so, the Vorlons had just foiled this Expy of Dr. Josef Mengele's scheme to throw the various civilizations into murderous chaos, killing each other for the chance of immortality
Simon: You've had the Alliance on you. Criminals and savages... Half the people on this ship have been shot or wounded — including yourself — and you're harboring known fugitives. Mal: We're still flying. Simon: That's not much. Mal:It's enough.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Genesis", the entire crew of the Enterprise slowly devolves into animals, several of them carnivores and both predatory and mating instincts are mentioned. After being transformed for quite some time, everyone is cured (the fact that some are likely dead is glossed over) and what does the episode close with? Troi remarking she'd better clear her schedule for the next few weeks...and it's hinted she's talking about Barclay as opposed to, say, the entire likely traumatized out of their minds crew. Mind you, this is the kind of thing Starfleet personnel can expect to deal with fairly often to go by the rest of the franchise, so presumably the selection process reflects this.
Speaking of TNG, "The Inner Light" had Picard basically living an entire life as someone else for decades, having children, growing old and witnessing the gradual coming of an apocalypse that will destroy his "new" civilization thanks to a probe from said civilization that beamed the experience into his mind. At the end, he regains his composure pretty quickly despite coming back in contact with an identity he hadn't assumed in several decades. Producer Ron Moore did regret this, claiming they were so focused on making a good episode (and indeed, this is considered one of the best episodes of the entire series) that they simply didn't realize that this would be the most life changing and profound experience of Picard's life.
At the end of Sonic Adventure, Tails says this. While looking out at the flooded ruins of what once was Station Square, devastated by what was for all intents and purposes a god.
Said devastation all happened within the space of, oh, 10 minutes, meaning that it's perfectly possible THOUSANDS of people died, as there was no time to evacuate and the water blew up several skyscrapers in the middle of the day, as well as every street. Plus all the lasers and whatever Chaos had besides.
And in Sonic Adventure 2, Eggman destroys the moon. In real life, this should bring about an immediate and devastating apocalypse, thanks to both the inevitable meteor shower and the flash flooding of 7/8th of the planet, but after this cutscene (and for the rest of the series,) it's just business as usual.
In Skies of Arcadia, defeating many of the evil pirates, bounties, and a gang of people that have been committing crimes using your likeness in order to completely discredit you [and when you confront them, they then step it up by hoping to murder you] ends up with them getting a slap on the wrist, if that.
Subverted in Final Fantasy X, when Yuna is recounting the story of her father's victory over Sin. As a child, she is initially elated and caught up in the celebrations as everyone tells her what a hero her father was. Once the initial excitement dies down however, she realizes that victorious or not, he's still dead. And that someday, it will be her turn.
Further subverted with that game's ending and sequel. Sin is gone, the world is saved, and... the dominant religion on the planet just got shattered. Oh, and several groups suffered partial genocides. Lots of people are rightly pissed with lots of other people. Swept under the rug? No. Fixing all this is the point of Final Fantasy X-2.
Similar to the FFX-2 example, this is subverted in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of a New World. The first game plays it straight, ending on an uplifting note, but the sequel introduces serious consequences to the first game's heroes' actions.
In an aversion in Disney's Gargoyles, one episode focuses on a character who stalks the Gargoyles with a giant bazooka in an attempt to get revenge for getting him fired from various mook and security guard jobs he held throughout the series up to that point. After an episode's worth of collateral damage from the Gargoyle's battles preventing him from even pulling the trigger, he finally gets one of them square in his sights and... fires a banana-cream pie at him. He also has a mook-job in a later episode, giving him an opportunity to save a Gargoyle's life, after which he decides to move somewhere that doesn't have Gargoyles.
It's really too bad he decided to move to Japan, where Goliath and Co's journey from Avalon already showed there were, in fact, gargoyles there.
Ralph the wolf and Sam the sheepdog fit this into one cartoon. Being a Punch Clock Villainand Hero respectively, at the end of the day, despite Ralph getting a severe pummeling, they shake hands and say "See you tomorrow" like it's just a day at the office.
In the show Samurai Jack, the main character initially fights the Big Bad, Aku, only to be thrown into a future where the villain has essentially won. Over the course of the series Jack faces numerous setbacks and near-victories in his attempts to return to the present and defeat Aku, preventing the future he is trapped in. Through all of these, Jack stoically faces each defeat of his purpose in what can be described as "Amor Fati" (Latin for "To love fate"), which nicely describes this trope.
It's partially justified in that if you're in a spot where you'd say "All's well that ends well", then you are most likely in a situation that, for the most part, can't be reversed or fixed. Not that you need to be all hunky-dory about it, but refusal to accept the reality of the situation can lead to some real problems. Obviously, that refusal has lead to major advances in science, politics and people's lives. But most mostly, well, shit happens.