Follow TV Tropes

Dark Call Back

Go To

A moment is repeated specifically to show a character's fall.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
zoopyDoopy on Oct 8th 2017 at 12:50:52 PM
Last Edited By:
zoopyDoopy on Nov 6th 2017 at 10:35:15 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A story beat is repeated, sometimes a small moment, sometimes part of an event. However, this time the moment is used to express how a character has fallen from grace, fallen on tough times, or is otherwise undergoing a start of darkness. This may coincide with Cerebus Syndrome. The opposite of the usual flow of a story or character arc - rather than the character enjoying a victory, they suffer a decline.

Not to be confused with Dark Reprise, which is concerned with dark repeats of songs. For ironic references to old dialogue, see Ironic Echo.


Examples

Anime and Manga

  • In Your Lie in April, Kaori Miyazono's establishing character moment has her playing a mouth organ in a park, barefoot. This sets her up as a carefree character, in tune with music and herself. Later on she mimes playing a violin while barefoot in a hospital. This time she's on the verge of falling into despair due to her illness, and is once again barefoot. This time her feet are scraped and dirty, for drama.
  • Inverted in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Episode 10 reveals that Homura has been time-looping the previous month several times, trying to save Madoka from being killed. Episode 10 shows most of the moments from Episode 1 again, but Episode 10 shows them the first time they occurred. Before beginning the time loop, Episode 10 Homura was a wide-eyed innocent enjoying having friends for the first time. By comparison, the current Homura who is introduced in Episode 1 is a hardened warrior prepared to do anything to save Madoka. The trope is then played straight in Madoka Magica Rebellion: the first day sequence plays out again at the end of the movie, except now Homura has become the ruler of a false reality and the state of her sanity is questionable at best.
  • In the final episode of the Death Note anime, Light reuses his "the world is rotting" monologue from the very first episode in his Motive Rant to the Kira Task Force. While the first time Light made the speech, he was about to embark on his quest and was a powerful, determined figure, the second time he makes it he is desperately trying to save his own life.

Literature

  • The orphans in A Series of Unfortunate Events open the series on the beach, about to receive the bad news from banker Mr Poe that their parents are dead. They later return to the beach, older and much more world-weary, and embroiled in uncovering the mystery that led to their parent's death.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In a Season Two episode, Buffy is feeling down and goes up to the balcony of the Bronze to brood. She manages to pick herself up by the end of the episode. This beat is repeated in Season Six: a newly resurrected Buffy is depressed by her return to life, its responsibilities, and slaying. She goes up to the balcony again but instead of picking herself up she gets dragged down further by Spike. Buffy's depression then continues for the majority of the season.

Videogames

  • In Life is Strange: the first episode ends with Max and Chloe standing on a cliff next to a lighthouse as the sun sets, after Max wakes up from a vision of a storm that will destroy the town in 5 days; Chloe believes Max's claims about the storm and her new powers after a flurry of unseasonal snow. In episode 5, they find themselves on the same cliff as Max wakes up from a nightmarish vision, and Chloe tries to convince Max that the only way to stop the storm is to go back in time and let Chloe die before she and Max were reunited (not only erasing the last week, but letting Chloe die alone at the very lowest point in her life). The player gets to decide whether it's worth it.

Feedback: 11 replies

Oct 8th 2017 at 1:49:16 PM

Took the liberty to fix the Cerebus Syndrome markup.

This trope can be used as Book Ends.

Oct 8th 2017 at 3:33:09 PM

  • In Life Is Strange the first episode ends with Max and Chloe standing on a cliff next to a lighthouse as the sun sets, after Max wakes up from a vision of a storm that will destroy the town in 5 days; Chloe believes Max's claims about the storm and her new powers after a flurry of unseasonal snow. In episode 5, they find themselves on the same cliff as Max wakes up from a nightmarish vision, and Chloe tries to convince Max that the only way to stop the storm is to go back in time and let Chloe die before she and Max were reunited (not only erasing the last week, but letting Chloe die alone at the very lowest point in her life). The player gets to decide whether it's worth it.

Oct 9th 2017 at 12:47:12 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added the word "Examples".
    • Changed media section titles to All Caps.

Oct 12th 2017 at 1:51:40 PM

thanks for all edits and suggestions; included

Oct 12th 2017 at 2:03:40 PM

For ironic references to old dialogue, see Ironic Echo.

Oct 13th 2017 at 5:48:02 PM

Nov 7th 2017 at 10:41:49 AM

More from Life is Strange:

  • At the beginning of Episode 2, Max hops on the bus and travels through the town to meet Chloe at the diner, with a montage set to music. At the end of Episode 3, Max takes the bus and sprints the rest of the way to Chloe's house, having changed the timeline. There's quite a few changes (and much creepier music), but the real dark part of the scene is The Reveal that in this timeline, Chloe's confined to a wheelchair.
  • Near the end of Episode 2, Chloe drops Max off at the school after their adventure at the Junk Yard, their friendship restored after 5 years. Around the same amount of time near the end of episode 3, Chloe and Max discover that Rachel had a Secret Relationship with Frank, putting Chloe in a bad mood and causing them to have an argument in the car as Chloe drops Max off once again, parting on much less pleasant terms.
  • In a slightly more positive (but still dark because of the circumstances) example, Episode 5 has a repeat of the entire scene in Jefferson's class at the beginning of Episode 1. Except this time Max has both grown a backbone and knows he's The Man Behind The Man. Instead of the previous sequence of events of it being just another day in class, she warns David that Nathan has a gun via text, and then proceeds to passive aggressively taunt Jefferson without outright telling him she's about to take him down and hand in the selfie she was too shy to submit before.

Nov 6th 2017 at 10:35:15 PM

^^ I'm sorry, I should have expanded on it.

In any case, the OP seems to have done it anyway.

Top