You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me.
Alice is always leaning on Bob for support. Whether it's because of poor physical health
, mental instability
or some other troubling factors, she's weak and dependent on Bob's kindness and care
to get her by in life.
Then something happens to upset this arrangement: Bob winds up wounded, incapacitated or possibly cornered by an army of bloodthirsty zombies. He can't get out of this mess by himself. He's clearly toast.
That is, unless Alice has anything to say about it. Which she does.
Whether it's because of Character Development
or a hidden Chekhov's Skill
that never proved to be much of an asset until now, Alice gets her chance to take the active role in the relationship and stand up for the one who has so long stood up for her, protect the person who protected her, take care of her caretaker
. The helped becomes the helper.
The reversal in roles can be emphasized with dialogue (such as the Trope Namer Stock Phrase
- "You carried me, now let me carry you") or by making the moment visually a clear parallel of earlier scenes, only with the parts switched around.
This trope very frequently results in a Heartwarming Moment
. Sometimes it also serves as a Moment Of Awesome for Alice
Compare Rescue Reversal
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Konoka to Setsuna in the cinima town chapter of the Kyoto arc of Mahou Sensei Negima!. Setsuna had always carried Konoka bridal style while protecting her. Having just unlocked her hidden healing abilities to save Setsuna's life, Konoka held Setsuna in the same manner to fully illustrate the reversal of roles.
- Mazinger Z: For all times Kouji shouted "You are always getting in the way!", "Stop hindering me!", "I could have won without your help!", etc. to Sayaka there were only so many times where Sayaka had been hurt or her Fem Bot disabled and he carried her back home in arms (one episode closed with a snapshot of Mazinger carrying Aphrodite in arms while they arrived to the Institute). In one occasion the roles also were reversed where Sayaka carried Kouji.
- Kisara in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Seto saves her life twice, and she repays the favor in spades.
- A twofer example in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. In the original timeline, as shown in episode 10, Madoka was a magical girl and Homura was the Muggle Best Friend who had to be saved by Madoka several times. Homura's wish when Madoka died was to go back in time and protect Madoka as Madoka had protected her. However, in the final episode, when Homura is about to turn into a witch out of grief at not being able to defeat Walpurgis Night, Madoka steps in and helps her, making the wish that would wipe herself and all witches from existence.
- Sakura in Naruto during the Chunin Exams. With Naruto and Sasuke out for the count, Sakura is left on her own to defend them. At first she is handily outclassed, but soon resolves to, for once, let the boys watch her from the background rather than lagging behind them all the time.
- Adult Gohan in Dragonball GT. Having been saved multiple times throughout the series by both his father and Piccolo, it's Gohan, untransformed and in a suit no less that charges into the battle his father is losing against Omega Shenlong to pull the injured Super Saiyan 4 Goku to safety. With his brother Goten working as distraction, to boot.
- Dragon Ball Z
- After saving Gohan and Krillin from Nappa, Goku sent them away so he could fight the much more powerful Vegeta without worrying about their safety. Then when Goku got into trouble during the fight, Gohan and Krillin returned saving him.
- After Piccolo sacrificing his life to saved Gohan, he goes through Hell and beyond to bring him back to life. Not to mentioning rushing Frieza when he almost killed Piccolo.
- When Goku fall sick during the battle with the androids, Yamcha, who has been protected and saved by Goku several times, physically carried him back to his house and helped cared for him along with his wife.
- In the Happy Happy Clover Manga series by Tatsuyama Sayuri, Clover's best friend Mallow is prone to getting sick a few times in the series mostly due to catching a cold. In a later volume, Clover catches a stomach ache as a result of her worrying about Mallow since she can't find a future job to work with. When Mallow along with Kale and Shallot see's Clover fall to the ground suffering from the pain, Mallow orders her friends to take Clover back home and decides to look up about dealing with stomach pains and other illnesses. In the end of the chapter, she reveals that Clover didn't eat breakfast since she was worrying about Mallow not being herself lately. Mallow later apologizes and tells Clover and friends that she wants to be a nurse.
- Subverted in the most tragic way possible in One Piece. After spending most of his life being saved and protecting by his older brother Ace, Luffy goes through hell and beyond to save him from execution. Just when it looked like Luffy succeeded, Ace dies saving him, protecting him to his very last breath. Luffy doesn't take this well.
Films — Animation
- Slight variation: In Quest for Camelot, Garrett is blind and has a falcon companion who "is [his] eyes." At the end of the movie, Garrett and his love interest Kayley must navigate an Absurdly Spacious Sewer which is very dark. Garrett helps Kayley through the tunnel, telling her, "Don't worry, I'll be your eyes."
- In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup takes care of Toothless for a majority of the story, from bringing him food to helping him fly after losing part of his tail. By the end of the story, it's Toothless's turn to help Hiccup when Hiccup loses his left foot and hasn't adjusted to walking with an artificial foot yet.
Films — Live-Action
- It happens in the book as well, with much the same line.
Live Action TV
- Sherlock: Sherlock and John have saved each other's asses more often than once-without the other knowing. When the other is threatened you know that one of them will do something to keep the other safe.
- In Smallville, Clark has saved Chloe's life many times without her knowing; once she learns his secret however, there are many heartwarming scenes in which she protects him insteadnote .
- In the second season of Buffy, Drusilla is physically healed in the same episode that Spike is horrifically injured, and she says a line very like this. The rest of the season has their relationship entirely inverted.
- Also, there's Kenneth and his mother: "You carried me for nine months, now let me carry you."
- In Merlin, Mordred is glad to take care of an injured Morgana, in thanks for her previously caring for him.
- The first season is mainly made up of Merlin and Arthur repaying each other for the continual saving of each other's lives.
- Guinevere travels to Ealdor with Merlin to defend his home against bandits, telling him that it's repayment for the time he saved her from being executed as a witch. She ends up saving his mother's life.
- At the end of the third season, the future knights of the Round Table all pledge their fealty to Arthur for past deeds rendered toward them. It's especially touching since Arthur is asking them to help save his father, and many of them have good reason to hate Uther's guts.
- Whenever a Companion shows up to save the Doctor's hide. Sometimes, they show up en masse.
- Subverted and almost lampshaded in "The Name of the Doctor" with the Doctor's plea to Clara
Doctor: Just this once, let me save you!
- "No, it's 'cause this guy fell into a hole, see?"
- Often happened in understated ways between Robin and Much in Robin Hood. At one stage Much trips over and urges Robin to carry on.
Much: Don't worry about me!
Robin: I like worrying about you!
- Doctor Wilson spends so much time caring for his maladjusted, emotionally crippled best friend that it's a wonder that he has time to practice medicine. Whenever Wilson faces a crisis, however, House will usually provide support—albeit in the most ass way possible.
- Used literally at the end of Chinese Paladin: when Tang'yu and Ah Nu have been turned into birds. Tang'yu, due to a prior accident, is wingless, and Ah Nu carries him.
- In Princess Returning Pearl, Er Kang has always been the stronger half of his relationship with Zi Wei, with Zi Wei always being the Damsel in Distress that needs rescuing. Then in series 3, Er Kang finds himself in a vulnerable situation, and it is only with Zi Wei's both physical and emotional support that he survives the ordeal.
- The Rolf Harris song "Two Little Boys" — when Joe and Jack are children, Jack breaks his wooden horse and Joe offers him a ride: "Did you think I would leave you crying when there's room on my horse for two?" Later, when they've both grown up and are cavalry officers at war, Joe's fallen to the ground and Jack picks him up on his horse, saving his life: "Did you think I would leave you dying when there's room on my horse for two?"
- In the Vocaloid song "A Faint Wish", Rin tells Len that he has always been there for her and it's his turn to go on after seeing a long montage of times when Len has died for her.
- In Siren, Blind Seer Miyako has to use player character Kyoya's eyes to navigate around the stages during Escort Missions. Later on, well after the two get separated, Kyoya gets caught in a blacked-out room with a bunch of shibito standing between him and his goal. Then he hears Miyako's voice in his head, prompting him to use her eyes. This allows him to see the auras of the shibito and run past them in the darkness. It is revealed soon after that Miyako is already dead at this point, but she goes on to serve as Kyoya's Spirit Advisor for the Final Battle.
- In BioShock 2, Eleanor, after getting her Big Sister suit and breaking you out, basically says this as she's lifting you to your feet. "You fought for me, Father, Now let me fight for you."
- In ICO, Yorda ends up carrying Ico to safety.
- In the ending of Dissidia [duodecim] 012 Final Fantasy, when the Warrior of Light is at the brink of death protecting Cosmos from the an army of Manikins, Cosmos sees he's in danger and unleashes her power and sacrifices herself in order to save him.
- In "Metal Gear Solid4 Essentially all of the game's final act is the people Snake helped throughout the series making last stands at various points in Outer Haven so that he can break into the server room. For all intents and purposes, Raiden does this for his entire fourth title, with one of his first lines being "Okay Snake, now it's time for me to protect you."
- As much as people hate to admit it, the Last Story of Sonic '06 features something like this. Princess Elise, who has been carried around and rescued by Sonic for most of the game, finally repays Sonic for all his hard work by bringing him back to life, after he had just been murdered by Mephiles the Dark.
- Baam was practically raised by Rachel and he grew so dependent on her that he followed her in to the titular Tower of God as she abandoned him. Through a series of misfortunes, she becomes paraplegic. That is when Baam decides to become her legs instead, so that they can scale the tower together. Then it is subverted by Rachel trying to kill Baam, revealing that in fact she is completely healthy and the misfortunes were staged plans. After Baam's disappearance, she gets the support of their unwitting True Companions.
- It is and has long been common for elderly parents to be looked after by their children.
- "Lafayette, we are here!"note
- This is probably the aspect of the evacuation of Dunkirk which made it such a morale booster (to the extent that Brits will still boast about it to this day) despite ostensibly being a humiliating defeat — civilians who'd been reliant on the armed forces for so long were suddenly needed to literally carry them to safety. As a result, the British were all but ready to roar to the Axis, "We Will Meet Again!" even as the coming Battle Of Britain was about give them their darkest time and their finest hour.
- Mel Gibson helped Robert Downey, Jr. out, kept a roof over his head while he was unable to find work, all he asked in return was for Robert to help the next guy in need. Said person turned out to be Mel Gibson himself after his drunken rant against Jews.
- Ideally all friendships would resemble this!