: All right. We don't have that much left. We have to be careful or we're going to run out. You go ahead and eat that, Mister Frodo. I've rationed it. There should be enough. Frodo
: For what? Sam
: ...The journey home.
Most characters in the thick of danger are living in the moment. What's happening now
has got their full attention, and they don't dare think about what might happen next (either because the hope might distract them or the dread might break them).
So it's jarring to hear one of the band speak up and declare that, when this is all over, they'd better come to her birthday party next week. 'Poor sweet wretch!' the audience may think. 'She's doomed herself. She's far too fresh and innocent for the hard situation she's in.'
This trope has several different shades of meaning, but the major one is that it reveals the optimism — perhaps even the heroic spirit — of one of the band. Perhaps no one else dares hope, but she does. Depending on where the work falls on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
, she may be proven entirely right. Her hope might even sustain her — she may be outnumbered 10-1 in the dark, but by gum she is
going to make it out just so she can go to that theme park
or eat sundaes with her friends. On the other hand, her words can be the voice of ironic doom, either for herself or for any character she mentions who is a) recognizable as a character and b) not so major that their death would totally alter things
. This use of the trope is entirely to twist the emotional knife — see how the situation has destroyed the one person who thought she could get out of it.
See also Retirony
, a major development a random Red Shirt
will never get to see, and Fatal Family Photo
. A kind of Tempting Fate
Anime & Manga
- A scene from Blood+ has one of these, mentioning a walk in Paris.
- InuYasha: It takes most of the manga for Kohaku to stop thinking that his only right is to die for the crimes he's committed in Naraku's name. It's lampshaded towards the end of the manga (shortly before the Final Battle begins) by Kohaku himself when he asks his sister if, when this is all over, he has the right to keep living, after all. Just as he asks his sister this, a hidden trap by Naraku is sprung, slicing through his neck to obtain the last shard needed to complete the Shikon no Tama... and incidentally removing the one single thing that was keeping Kohaku alive. He gets better.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion uses an extremely dark variant of this: during The Movie, in an attempt at Get Ahold Of Yourself Man mixed with Cooldown Hug, Misato French-kisses Shinji and promises to "do the rest" when he gets back... knowing full well that she has been mortally injured and is moments away from death.
- Happens tragically in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. They will never have the cake for augury celebration.
- Well, technically, they did. It's just that they got to it in what's effectively the afterlife.
- In RahXephon, one of TERRA's fighter pilots reveals that he wants to ask out his superior officer if he makes it through the next mission alive. Naturally, he doesn't.
- Sailor Moon: That thrice-damned chocolate parfait. One of the most well-done deaths in the series, and it's a villain death.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, this is done immediately after the legendary "kiss of doom."
- In the first episode of The Tower of Druaga, the heroes are stopped by a black knight, which prompts one of them to mention that this will be his last fight before he returns home to get married, leaving just enough time to ask why he mentions this right now before he is killed. Some scenes later, the same black knight appears to save the heroes from a dragon, but before he slays it, he has to mention that after this fight he will return home to get married, and instantly gets burned to death. At the end, they reach the Big Bad, who turns out to be the heroes father, who also mentions mentions that he will get married after this fight is over, at which point the Innkeeper shows up to proclaim that only he is allowed to kill the Hero. It goes on like this until Jiru finally wakes up from his bang to the head.
- In Gintama Tsukuyo gives Gintoki her pipe and tells him not to lose it, and if he does, he needs to buy her another one "on the surface" in the Hosen arc.
- In Betterman, during a particularly dangerous situation, Keita asks his partner and Childhood Friend Hinoki on a date if they get out alive. And they do.
- In Attack on Titan, before the trainee's first mission in Trost, Sasha managed to get her hands on a big slab of meat (a luxury since much land was lost to Titans). All the recruits decided they would share the meat once their duties were finished. Unfortunately for many of them, they never got the chance.
- In the Postboot Legion of Super-Heroes story "Widening Rifts," Saturn Girl tells Live Wire that if they get through this, she'll marry him. They end up as two of a group of twelve Legionnaires who are trapped on the team's satellite when it's sucked into a spatial rift, sending them who knows where and leaving them presumed dead by the teammates who stayed behind. The next story, however, focuses on this "Legion Lost," and gives the readers another whole year with them, alive, together, before they return home. Live Wire, however, doesn't come back with them. He does reappear later, though, in a very different shape.
- Proves as fatal as a family photo, and incredibly fast, in Arrowsmith.
- In Heta Oni, the countries all discuss how, after they ALL escape from the mansion, they're going to have a huge party, and what they're going to do there. And we all know what happens next.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has one of these in the middle (they jokingly discuss moving to Australia) but the same is notably missing from the ending where they actually do die — script writer Goldman said that omitting the reminiscing gives a sense of obscure bravery to the death scene, since once they realize that they really are going to die they completely refuse to act like it.
- In Rest Stop the policeman who has his legs broken says he wants to get home to his kid so he can apologize for the one time he yelled at him.
"What a fucking stupid thing to think as I'm dying."
He then realizes that the girl's life is more important than his own and orders her to kill him before they both get burnt alive. He gives her a gun, and tells her to shoot him in the head. She misses.
- On Get Smart Max told 99 that if they got through this one he'd ask her to marry him. Cue 99's utter annihilation of all the Mooks.
- In Return of the King (film), Sam announces apropos of nothing that he'd have liked to marry Rosie Cotton. Which, naturally, he later does.
- In Das Boot, the Captain tells the crew that "it's half a bottle of beer for each" if they can make it safely back to La Rochelle. They do, but they're hit with an Allied air raid almost immediately after docking.
- In the fifth Harry Potter film, Sirius tells Harry that "When all this is over, we'll be a proper family. You'll see." No, they won't. For anyone who read the book before seeing the film, this doubles as Dramatic Irony.
- Used to good effect in Serenity, as they're gearing up for a last desperate stand and Simon finally tells Kaylee that he regrets never acting on her obvious desire to hook up. Kaylee takes this as fuel for her determination, but to the Genre Savvy viewer, this (coupled with the recent realization that Anyone Can Die) creates more genuine fear for the characters' fate than most action movies produce. Of course it ends up being a subversion.
- Subverted in the film version of The Guns of Navarone. When the team is about to leave the seriously wounded Major Franklin behind with the Germans, Corporal Miller says "When this is over, you'll buy me lunch." Major Franklin survives.
- In Animorphs Jake does this in the next to last book, asking Cassie to marry him "when this is all over". Ends up a subversion, since they don't get married.
- In addition to the Lord of the Rings example above, Legolas and Gimli make plans to go traveling together if they both survive the events ahead of them.
- In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Mike asks Mannie if, "when this is over", he'll have time to discuss humor again (this being Mike's favorite pastime). Mannie promises he will. Of course, Mike doesn't make it. Possibly only a semi-example, because the exchange happens when no one's in immediate mortal peril (and in fact at the moment things are looking more optimistic for the good guys than they have in months).
- Irisis, in The Well Of Echoes is the only character who has any definite plans for what she wants to do when the war is over (become a jeweller), a fact which is casually mentioned a couple of times a book. After they finally managed to end the war - including finding a morally acceptable third option – she finally manages to reveal her love to Nish and have him agree to marry her. Just after that, Nish’s nightmare father turns up, everything goes to hell, and – on the second last page of the quartet – she is beheaded.
- Parodied in Blackadder Goes Forth, in which Wide-Eyed Idealist George states that he would like them all to come together once the war is over and reminisce about the good old times. Blackadder comments that the best way for George to 'reminiscence' back to the war would be to dig holes in his back yard for them to stand in and have his gardener hide in the hedge and occasionally shoot at them.
- The Grand Finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer has an odd example, when Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles get together and discuss going to the mall after the First's defeat (mimicking a similar conversation from the second episode of this series). Which member of this conversation doesn't make it through the battle? The mall—it and the rest of Sunnydale are destroyed when the Hellmouth collapses in on itself.
- Xander also proposes to Anya right before the battle with Glory. They both survive, but the wedding doesn't work out.
- A non-action example in Boy Meets World: Shawn's father, in the hospital after a heart attack, promises his sons that he will stay with them this time. He promptly dies.
- An exchange between two Mauve Shirts in the first Season Finale of the Doctor Who revival. She sarcastically asks if she's supposed to say "If we get through this, maybe we could go for a drink?" When he admits that'd be nice, she first says "Tough" but then winks at him. Unfortunately for them both, they're up against the Daleks.
- The Doctor himself has doomed many good mauve shirts by promising them their survival or inviting them, or they invite themselves, onto the TARDIS before the danger had passed. He really should learn to stop doing that.
- In Community episode Modern Warfare: "What are you guys gonna do if you win priority registration?" As soon as Shirley mentions her kids, you know she's out the game.
- In How I Met Your Mother, back in 1996, when College-Ted and Marshall got trapped in a blizzard while driving to Minnesota and were in danger of freezing or starving to death, Marshall, who had been previously boasting that he couldn't be tied down by a woman and Lily was just one of a long string of girlfriends he was planning on having, confessed to Ted that he just realized he was in love with Lily and if he got through this alive, he was going to marry her. Ten years later, he did.
- Parodied in Bottom, while trapped atop a ferris wheel, Richie remarks (in a vaguely American accent) that if he gets through the ordeal, he'll settle down with a good woman in the country, and raise a couple of kids. Eddie tells him they won't survive, and Richie replies by telling him to "hold on to the dream!" Eddie then asks Richie why they're talking such complete and utter BOLLOCKS!!
- A Cut Song from Little Shop of Horrors, We'll Have Tomorrow, was Seymour and Audrey singing about the wonderful life they were going to start tomorrow. "We'll have tomorrow/If we/Make it through tonight". They don't.
- In South Pacific, Lieutenant Joe Cable ultimately resolves that, if he makes it through the war, he will stay in the South Pacific with his girlfriend rather than returning to the United States. Of course, he dies.
- Averted in Persona: the party promises two side characters that they'll go to Dreamland. The epilogue shows the five meeting up in Peace Diner.
- Aeris in Final Fantasy VII does this on a near-constant basis. "One day, we'll look back on all this and laugh."
- In Final Fantasy X, Tidus in retrospect sounded like this to the rest of the cast, talking about seeing places oblivious to that in theory, their journey should be Yuna's last.
- This is practically metairony, given the late-game backtracking, retreading and levelgrinding typical to the franchise, he does get to see all places again. Then it becomes clearer that it'll be the last time he will get to see them.
- Until the sequel, that is.
- Inverted in Resident Evil 4 after Leon receives some backup in the form of some guy named Mike, who's piloting a helicopter, in that it's done after the danger has passed and it's the protagonist who invokes it;
Leon: When we get back, drinks are on me.
: Yeah? I know a good bar.
*Zealot shoots down the helicopter with a rocket launcher
- In the last level of Call of Duty 4, Gaz and Griggs talk about going out and getting drunk after the mission. Both of them die in the final showdown against the Big Bad and his henchmen.
- In Defense Grid The Awakening, the general will sometimes say during a battle, "if we get through this, I'd buy you a drink, if I could," since he's an uploaded brain with no physical body.
- Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu does this so much in chapter 5. All the lover convos are about going home, seeing their kids, Sigurd talks about getting compensation for everyone who helped him out in the war... And then come the flaming rocks. Whoever doesn't die at Bahara dies by some other means later, with the exceptions of Edain and Bridget.
- If the player pairs Eagle and Sami in the final battle of Advance Wars: Dual Strike:
Eagle: I want you to promise me something, Sami. Promise that if we both return from this battle alive...
- Metal Gear Solid has this exchange between Otacon and Snake after Sniper Wolf's death.
Otacon: "SNAKE! What was she fighting for? What are you fighting for? What am I fighting for?"
Solid Snake: "If we make it through this, I'll tell you."
Otacon: "...ok. I'll be searching too."
- Assassin's Creed III has an exchange late in the game between the modern Assassins, in which they discuss their plans for vacations and other forms of recreation once they've averted the impending destruction of all life on Earth. This turns out to be a tad optimistic.
- In Ib, at one point Garry says that if he and Ib make it out of the art gallery alive, he'll treat her to macarons. He then revises his statement by saying they will go out for macarons because they will get out alive.
- Mass Effect: A romanced Kaidan says he's "looking forward to some shore leave" with Shepard in their dialogue. You can either subvert this trope or play it straight by sparing him or leaving him to die on Virmire.
- He does this again in the Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3: "Hey, when this is all over, we'll carve out some time, just the two of us." Unless you were very, very careful with your War Assets and picked the Destroy ending in the Extended Cut...
- The fourth season of Winx Club gives this impression when Nabu proposies to Aisha in episode 11. Later, at the beginning of episode 24, Aisha tells Nabu that once everything is over, they can finally begin their lives together... shortly before Nabu sacrifices himself to stop the Wizards of the Black Circle.
- Danny Phantom does this in the Grand Finale Phantom Planet.
Danny: If we make it through this —
Sam: When we make it through this.
Danny: Right. When we make it through this, there's something I'd like to talk to you about.
- Anastasia has a literal example in dialogue.
Dimitri: If we live through this, remind me to thank you.
(which Anastasia repeats in the ending sequence before Dimitri cuts her off)
Anastasia: If we live through this, remind me-
Dimitri: You can thank me later.
- Peg to Pete, in Goof Troop, when a Zany Scheme results in falling really really far: "If by some chance we don't die... I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" (All involved wind up in Bandage Mummy status in the end, so she doesn't get to throttle him later.)
- Donkey Kong Country, when DK and Diddy are about to sneak into King K. Rool's lair;
Diddy: Oh boy. If we get out of this, we'll be the two luckiest apes alive.
DK: And if we don't, we'll be the two unluckiest apes-
Diddy: Don't say it, DK, Don't say it!
- Before crashing their heavily crippled jet, two pilots aboard United Airlines Flight 232 had this conversation:
Fitch: I'll tell you what, we'll have a beer when this is all done.
Haynes: Well I don't drink, but I'll sure as shit have one.note