Makes Us Even

Alice does something for Bob, such as saving his life. Later, Bob returns the favor, and one or the other will say "that makes us even" or "I guess we're even".

A malicious variant is when Alice wrongs Eva (or at least Eva thinks Alice did), and when Eva gets her revenge, she will say "NOW we're even."

Compare Debt Detester; contrast You Owe Me.


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  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic and Knuckles save each others' lives during the fight with Metal Robotnik, and Knuckles declares that they're both even. Later, during the fight with Metal Sonic, Sonic steps on Knuckles' head (at Super Speed)! After the fight is over, Knuckle punches Sonic in the head and declares that they're even again.
  • Asuka does this for Shinji in Episode 11 of Neon Genesis Evangelion.


  • The Matrix Reloaded: At the end of The Matrix, Trinity saved Neo's life by giving him a How Dare You Die on Me! speech. In Reloaded, after she's mortally wounded he returns the favor. Afterwards:
    Trinity: I guess this makes us even.
  • Any Which Way You Can
    Jack Wilson: [after Jack rescues Philo in a brawl] I believe that makes us even.
  • Eragon: Murtagh saves Eragon's life part way through the film. In the final battle Eragon takes care of the enemies who have Murtagh surrounded:
    Murtagh: [Shouts as Eragon flies away] I guess we're even!
  • Batman Begins: The malicious variant of the trope comes up when Ra's Al Ghul burns down Wayne Manor and leaves Bruce to die.
    Ra's: Justice is balance. You burned my house and left me for dead. Consider us even.
  • Robin Hood Princeof Thieves: The Sheriff of Nottingham invokes the malicious version when he slashes Robin's chin with his sword before their Final Battle, as payback for Robin scarring his cheek earlier in the film.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: When Jack is exposed as a pirate after saving Elizabeth from drowning, he promptly takes her hostage in order to escape. He justifies it using this logic. "I saved your life, you saved mine. We're square."


  • Magic: The Gathering: In Agents of Artifice, Jace saves Baltrice's life on Kamigawa, and she returns the favor when she catches him trying to escape from the Consortium, but decides to give him a head start.
  • The Hunger Games: When Thresh saves Katniss from Clove at the feast, he says it's because he owed her for being kind to Rue and tring to save her. He then says that he doesn't owe her anything anymore.
  • In Mirabile, Annie Jason Masmajean rescues Kelly Crafter Sangster from an enraged kangaroo rex despite personally preferring the rex, and Crafter Sangster goes out of her way to find a way to help Jason Masmajean so they can be even. Jason Masmajean is bemused by the whole thing, since as far as she's concerned she was just doing her job and Crafter Sangster doesn't owe her anything.

     Live Action TV  

  • MacGyver
    Jack: Well, MacGyver, you saved my hide again. I guess that makes us even.
  • Roswell episode "Max in the City"
    Max: Liz. You brought me back.
    Liz: I guess that makes us even.
  • Mr. Chapel's Catch Phrase in Vengeance Unlimited is "We're even, and I'm out of your life forever." Invariably, the response to that is, "Thank God."
  • Supernatural: In the episode "Red Sky At Morning", Sam and Dean, while fighting the Monster of the Week, end up saving the life of recurring rival Bela; at the end of the episode, she gives them $10,000 in cash, saying that makes them even.
    Dean: So hocking over ten grand is easier for you than saying "thanks"? Wow, you're damaged.

     Tabletop Games  

  • At least in Forgotten Realms, Drow has an interesting variation: they usually just don't get a concept of altruism, but Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is counterproductive more often than not, so what to do? Keep scores. Drow being more inclined to act for sport than out of obligations, it's not a score of debt, but a score in the "game".
    Liriel: So, what's the score now?
    Fyodor: The score?
    Liriel: The score. You know: I've pulled your tzarreth out of the fire four times, you've saved mine three — that sort of thing. It says something, doesn't it?


  • In Halo 3, Sgt Johnson says "We're even... as long as we're only counting today," after being rescued by Master Chief, Johnson having found and revived Master Chief earlier.
  • In Star Fox 64, if you save Falco in the asteroid stage, he will appear a bit later and kill a couple of enemies, telling Fox "that makes us even". It is unknown how killing a few enemies that would heavily damage Falco is even to killing a few foes that would have great difficulty heavily damaging you.
  • A one-sided variant in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves from Nathan Drake toward Tenzin since they speak different languages. Nate catches Tenzin's hand and pulls him up to the ledge declaring "You owe me one, pal", of course, with Nate's luck this lasts about fifteen seconds before Tenzin has to save him from ground breaking beneath his feet.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, after helping out The King with a series of quests, he'll say that he owes you a favor, which you can cash in immediately for either a fake passport to The Strip, money or membership into his gang. However, if you hold onto it, during a quest where the NCR wishes to make peace with the Kings, you can use your favor to make him make him agree to settle things with the NCR, at which point he states that you're now even.
  • In Dragon Age II, Stroud will declare that he and Anders are even if Anders persuades him to save a tainted Bethany / Carver by making them a Grey Warden. Why he owed Anders is left to the player's imagination.
  • In Saints Row 2, Begging for his life, Julius Little attempts to convince the protagonist that they wouldn't be alive without his interference, and the protagonist responds, alerting Julius to the fact that the protagonist wouldn't have been in a coma if it weren't for him. In a grave voice, Julius mutters that this makes them even. The protagonist answers this with shooting Julius in the head, and dropping a "Not really."

     Western Animation  

  • Parodied on The Simpsons. Moe asks a man to open his store again, a few minutes after he's closed for the night, reminding him of when Moe saved his life by pulling him from a burning car. The man agrees but says that this makes them even.
  • When Demona battles the original Hunter in Gargoyles, she allows him to escape to save MacBeth. Years later, in the battle when MacBeth kills the original Hunter, he saves Demona, prompting the following exchange.
    Demona: Thank you.
    MacBeth: I owed you.
    Demona: Good. That means we're even.
  • Used and parodied in Phineas and Ferb. Baljeet one day saved Buford's life, and thanks to "The Bully Code" becomes his slave for the rest of his life. Baljeet quickly becomes creeped out and annoyed by this "60's sit-com cliche", and spends the episode trying to settle the score. Eventually he's convinced that having someone follow his every whim isn't such a bad thing... at which point Buford saves his life, making them even.
  • In Transformers Prime, Starscream name-checks this trope when he has Arcee at his mercy and spares her, pointing out that she had done the same in their last fight.
  • Similarly to the Phineas & Ferb example above, the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Spike at Your Service" has Applejack save Spike's life. Spike then reveals that thanks to the Noble Dragon Code, he has to serve her for the rest of his life. She quickly gets tired of his attempts to help her do everything, and her requests for him to stop get ignored. Rainbow Dash suggests that Spike should be given a task so pointless and impossible that he quits, but that plan doesn't work either. Eventually, the ponies engineer a situation in which Spike has to rescue Applejack to make them even.