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Crossing the Burnt Bridge

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"Be nice to those you meet on the way up. They're the same folks you'll meet on the way down."
Walter Winchell, or maybe Wilson Mizner

So you're never going to see those assholes again? Sweet.

Time to let them know what you really think of them! Tell the ex-girlfriend off, insult the constant jerk, rob the old neighbor, leave a ''surprise'' on the boss's desk, jack their last ice cream sandwich, whatever fits! They deserve it, and you're never going to have to live through the repercussions anyway.

Wait, what's that? You have a class with that ex? The jerk is your mentor's kid? You aren't moving or transferring after all? That terminal illness diagnosis was a mix-up at the clinic? You left your wallet in their freezer when you were stealing the ice cream sandwich?

Oh, hell...

This is when a character cuts ties with someone else in a hostile way, expecting never to have to see the people they're offending ever again, only to be forced to continue their acquaintance. Or even worse, seek their help. So now, they have to be on their best behavior, put up with all the same crap, and/or face the music for what they did, deserved or not. More dramatic works typically have an interval of several years to give the grudges plenty of time to fester; more comedic ones prefer to pull it within a couple of minutes, ideally the same scene.

May overlap with Off the Table, when the other party refuses to allow the bridge to be rebuilt. Similar to Always Need What You Gave Up.

Compare Not-So-Final Confession, We Meet Again, We Will Meet Again, Where It All Began, My God, What Have I Done?, The Exit Is That Way, Who's Laughing Now?, Fair-Weather Foe, and Take This Job and Shove It. A character who suffers from Karmic Shunning may do this, either out of remorse or convenience.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • There's a very dark example in Attack on Titan with Bertholt Hoover. As a Titan Shifter infiltrator to the Survey Corps, he's responsible for Wall Maria falling, a good chunk of the people within dying, and personally tries to kill his teammates. When he's about to be Eaten Alive by Armin in Mindless Titan form, he cries out and begs for his former comrades to save him, only to notice that they're not moving.
  • In SPY×FAMILY, George Glooman believes that the Desmond family is driving his own into bankruptcy and that he'll have to leave Eden Academy once his family's wealth runs out. He angrily tells off Damian Desmond, and gets the rest of his sympathetic classmates to follow his whims, since he has to leave them soon. Then George realises that his family isn't going bankrupt and he's still going to Eden after all. His classmates aren't amused.

    Fan Works 
  • Androgyninja's A Drop of Poison: After Sasuke humiliates Sakura in front of their whole class by declaring she'll never be anything more than glorified Cannon Fodder, Ino realizes that they broke off their friendship for no good reason at all. However, she's reluctant to make the first move; in fact, when Shikamaru suggests that she let Sakura know how she feels, Ino loudly denies wanting to reconcile with her, sabotaging their strained relationship further. This culminates in the two both hitting their Rage-Breaking Points during their preliminary match in the Chuunin Exams; afterwards, Ino attempts to defend her behavior only for Sakura to point out how she Didn't Think This Through.
    Ino: I was trying to get you to look at me.
    Sakura: I'm looking at you. Now what?
  • Build Yourself Up (Don't Let Them Break You Down): Izuku's old teacher Aoki realizes that he and the entire staff of Aldera Middle School have placed themselves in this position. After spending years demeaning Izuku for being Quirkless and enabling his bullies to run roughshod over him, they're now completely dependent upon him choosing to Turn the Other Cheek. Otherwise, one word from him could trigger a massive investigation that could ruin the whole school.
  • Cyberpunk: Another Daybreak: One interlude reveals that Katsuo's father has been pressuring him to mend his relationship with David so that they can hook up with Hiden. David responded by blocking his former friend's phone number.
  • A Dragon in Shining Armour: Craniamon finds himself in this position when he has to return to his hometown Caer Ygg, which he left on bad terms after an argument with his father.
  • In Everqueen, with the established attitude of the Eldar toward humans, it is to be expected Isha's efforts to seek refuge with the Emperor are met with much skepticism.
  • The Faith Chronicles: Faith faces this when she returns to Sunnydale in order to help deal with Glory.
  • In For His Own Sake, Naru Narusegawa, Kaolla Su, and Sarah McDougal all find themselves in this position. Defied with Mutsumi Otohime and Granny Hinata "Hina" Urashima, as both decide that attempting reconciliation is effectively pointless, instead trying to accept how their own actions are responsible for destroying what they once had.
    • When Naru's mother and stepsister tried reaching out to her, she hit the latter with a vicious Breaking Speech, projecting all of her own flaws onto Mei while accusing her of being a self-absorbed Attention Whore who couldn't stand not having the world revolve around her every whim. After Granny Hina cuts her off, she goes back to her mother, expecting Saori to Easily Forgive her outburst and welcome her back. Saori turns her away, revealing that she knows Naru had gone to her father first, as well as Keitaro, but got rejected by both. Saori notes that she'd warned her this would happen if she kept lashing out.
    • Kaolla Su was absolutely sure that somebody would get her out of jail, whether it was her family, Granny Hina, Keitaro, or the other Hinata girls. Over time, she slowly realizes how serious her situation is, losing hope. Eventually, she wants to at least apologize to Keitaro. Being denied even that, she accepts her fate and states that she hates Granny Hina for being a liar.
    • Sarah McDougal disowned her own father, Seta, expecting Naru and the other girls to come get her out of St. Clavius Academy. When she learns they aren't coming, she starts acting out more, getting into trouble with the headmistress and trying to attract his attention. Haruka comes instead, informing her that she's to remain at the academy until high school, as St. Clavius only extends until middle school. Sarah is forced to realize that she'd broken the bond she once shared with her father simply because she couldn't stand not getting her way.
    • Mutsumi Otohime finally realizes that her quest to get Keitaro and Naru back together was pointless from the start, and that she'd burned all her bridges in the process. She accepts her expulsion from Toudai with as much grace as she can muster, and doesn't ask those she hurt for forgiveness, figuring that they wouldn't listen to her or wish to see her again after all she'd done.
    • In the final chapter, Granny Hina finally recognizes she was wrong, and that her actions destroyed her relationship with her family. She hires lawyers for Naru and Mutsumi, informing both girls that this was the last time she's helping either of them out, before sadly leaving Japan and her destroyed relationships behind her.
  • In Future of Mewni, the school of Elfendor did nothing about Luminosa being assaulted, due to the culprit being being the son of a high-ranking member. After she leaves, the number of assaults on campus rises, the culprits emboldened by the lack of punishment. Luminosa then founds Mewniford, and people stop sending their children to Elfendor. The school sends her a letter begging for help, which she ignores.
  • Seen with a twist in He Can Only Blame Himself: After dating for a few years, Adrien cheats on Marinette with Lila after the latter convinces him that Marinette has put her career first. Gabriel then twists the knife by firing Marinette, when it was his overworking her that triggered Adrien's infidelity in the first place. When news of the breakup goes viral, Gabriel angrily orders his son to "fix things" by reconciling with his ex-girlfriend. Rather than making his appeal to her directly, however, Adrien calls his cousin Felix — Marinette has started working for his aunt Amilie, and Adrien decides that's a safer angle to tackle. This only serves to underscore how little he respects his ex, and Felix forces him to confront how he's let his relationships with their side of the family degrade as well, right up until he decided he needed something from them.
  • In the sequel of Hero Class Civil Warfare, part of the aftermath of the inter-class civil war is the now changed class dynamics and friendships after the Villain Team had thoroughly curb-stomped the Hero Team. Izuku struggles to keep his previous reputation as the class sweetheart and paragon after he terrified and defeated his friends and classmates as the Kingpin. Bakugou, meanwhile, thoroughly burnt his bridges with the rest of the Hero Team when his Bad Boss nature and Control Freak tendencies caused them to get curb-stomped by the Villain Team, which negatively affects his relationship with his class and reputation among his year.
  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: After several of their classmates attack Tokoyami, driving him out of the Hero Course, Shouji, Satou, and Kouda all transfer out of U.A. Later, the remaining students try reaching out and repairing their relationships, with mixed results; while Satou is willing to talk, Shoji refuses them outright.
  • Mean Rabbit: During the League's assault on the USJ, three of Midoriya's classmates are perfectly willing to leave him to the 'tender mercies' of the villains after finding him injured. Only Sero opposes them, and they're all forced to work together when they're attacked.
  • A common plot in Miraculous Ladybug post-Chameleon salt fics is Marinette's classmates breaking off their friendships with her due to Lila. Upon realizing their mistake (usually due to Lila being exposed as a Manipulative Bitch, losing all the things that Marinette used to do for them as their "Everyday Ladybug", or learning that Marinette is Ladybug), they attempt to get back into her good graces, only to be rebuffed.
    • The Karma of Lies:
    • LadyBugOut: Alya's relationships with Ladybug and Marinette fall apart when she uses the Ladyblog to spread Tabloid Melodrama about the superheroine, with Marinette "helping" her alter ego set up her own blog to counter Alya's Blatant Lies. Alya refuses to admit how she is responsible for said relationships falling apart, even after it becomes clear that Marinette was telling the truth when she warned her about Lila. Instead, she insists that it's on Marinette to cross the brunt bridge by apologizing to her, only to find that Marinette isn't interested in placating her.
    • Leave for Mendeleiev: While Marinette is more than happy to get away from her long-time bully Chloé, Mme Bustier repeatedly attempts to force her former student back across that bridge, trying to 'volunteer' her to tutor Chloé and otherwise make them spend more time together. All because Chloé wants more access to her favorite victim, and Bustier refuses to see the reality of the situation, insisting that she never noticed any problems before.
    • The Miraculous Ladybug Salt-Shot A Price to Pay has Adrien attempting this after betraying Marinette. While he initially assumed that reality being rewritten in the course of granting his father's Wish would ensure that nobody knew what they'd done, said Wish is granted in such a way so that everybody knows Gabriel Agreste killed Tom Dupain-Cheng in a car accident, then bribed his way to a "victory" in court, leaving him Convicted by Public Opinion instead. What's more, Marinette also remembers the original reality, so she's fully aware of the scope of his betrayal beyond just defending his father's flagrant disregard for the law. Played With in that that Adrien is so grossly entitled that he takes Marinette's support completely for granted, acting as though she's the one in the wrong for not accepting his Backhanded Apology and helping him "fix everything".
    • The Wolves in the Woods:
      • After it's revealed during Ms. Bustier's trial that Marinette was telling the truth about Lila, Alya becomes hellbent on reclaiming her as her bestie...despite the fact that she spearheaded the efforts that forced Marinette to transfer to another school in the first place. Alya absolutely refuses to acknowledge that she played any part in torching their friendship, even after it's revealed that she'd known the whole time that Lila was lying and intentionally exploited the situation to try and destroy Marinette's self-confidence and force her to remain entirely dependent upon Alya's "support".
      • Adrien's efforts to "repair" his ruined relationship with Marinette are similarly stymied by his continued insistence upon Blaming the Victim, to the point that he's outraged when Luka berates him for never apologizing for his Betrayal by Inaction and declares that "Well, if she hadn't tried to expose Lila like that, then this wouldn't have happened!"
  • In On The Care and Construction of Bridges, Rarity and Applejack refuse to confess their feelings towards each other out of fear of burning bridges that they will need to cross later, while Rainbow Dash reflects on her own burnt bridge with her friend Gilda. In the end, however, Rainbow Dash asks herself the question of what ponies do after a bridge burns down, and resolves to try and patch things up with her.
  • Ships Ahoy!: In Red Ships, three decades after they broke up, Oprah decides to consult O'Donahue for help in the Equal Evan case. She's extremely nervous about doing so, uncertain how well he'll react.
  • SV Wishes: This is Shen Qinqiu's main concern in I Wish You Were My Husband, as he has to painstakingly repair the relationships that were destroyed by his predecessor.
  • In A Thousand Answers, Dio ends up becoming a vampire earlier than canon due to having the Stone Mask fall on him during his and Jonathan's fight, and since he hadn't yet desired that kind of power, he hates being a vampire. Unfortunately, the only two people equipped to help him are Erina Pendleton (whom he gave his infamous Forceful Kiss to earlier) and Jonathan Joestar (who started fighting him specifically to avenge Erina's honor). He's not happy with this arrangement but sucks it up as best he can.
  • Tough Love opens with Bella threatening to move out if her father doesn't bow to her whims and let her do whatever she pleases. Charlie then calmly spells out for her just what that would entail, in exhaustive detail, revealing that he's aware of a lot more than she'd given him credit for. As well as the fact that the Cullens aren't as obscenely rich as she'd believed and won't be able to let her mooch freely off of them. Bella then attempts to take back her words, only to discover that Charlie is still kicking her out — a threat she still refuses to take seriously until he winds up packing her bags for her.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic/BioShock fanfic Vision, our Anti-Hero, Siren, due to a mix of Trauma Conga Line, Fish out of Water, and just not being all that nice to begin with, says some rather hurtful things to another character who was just being nice to her. As she walks away, she has a small My God, What Have I Done? moment but doesn't go back to apologize. Guess who she ends up at the mercy of later?
  • What You Knead (Naruto): Sakura broke off her friendship with Ino after realizing they were both interested in pursuing Sasuke romantically. However, after Sasuke recklessly endangers her life during the bell test, Sakura gets over her crush on him and decides to reach back out to her estranged friend, hoping to repair their relationship.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Amadeus (in the director's cut only): Mozart, who has already mentioned that he would prefer to spend his time composing and that he is only giving music lessons to pay the bills, lets himself be hired by a wealthy Viennese burgher to give piano lessons to his daughter. The attempt ends in a fiasco because the man refuses to leave the room while Mozart tries to teach his daughter (who is visibly embarrassed by her parents), insists on keeping his pack of dogs with him—who interrupt all music by yelping and howling—and generally behaves as obnoxious as possible, causing Mozart to rudely storm off with a sarcastic comment. Later, as Mozart's financial problems have worsened, he (obviously drunk and staggering) turns up at the burgher again and asks whether he can give music lessons to his daughter. As the daughter is married and away, Mozart further humiliates himself by asking whether he can borrow money and receives a curt refusal.
  • Flatliners was all about this, when the characters fry their brain cells in a medical experiment, only to be faced with their own consciences. To overcome their dilemmas, they all have to make amends somehow.
  • A good chunk of the third act of Iron Man 2 is spent with Tony trying to repent for his assholish behavior from when he was dying in the first two acts.
  • Home Alone: Kate is horrified when she realizes that she accidentally left her son Kevin home while the rest of the family went on vacation, especially because their last interaction was her sending him to the attic without dinner as the others heaped insults at him, all to avoid being in the same boat as him. So when she finally gets home near the end, Kevin isn't exactly willing to welcome her back right away, only doing so when she gives him a heartfelt apology.
  • The entire premise of Max Keeble's Big Move. Believing he is about to move, Max issues several So Long, Suckers! statements and actions towards everyone at his school that he doesn't like, then finds out that he isn't moving after all. This comes with the additional realization that even if he was moving, everyone he pissed off was just going to take their frustrations out on his two friends instead.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: In the Extended Edition, Saruman asks Théoden for mercy, invoking his long alliance with Rohan and ignoring the fact that his attack on Helm's Deep in the prior film nearly wiped out the entire kingdom.
  • Men in Black II: After Sarleena's attack on MIB headquarters forces J and an amnesiac K to evacuate, turns out that the only one with a deneuralizer to help bring back K's memories is Jeebes, the nebbish alien pawnshop owner who K had shot in the first movie, so K and J end up having to go to him to get his help. Jeebes, understandably is less-than-inclined to help the least until J shoves a blaster in his face and makes it clear that the bridge is officially rebuilt and Jeebes will help them with a smile on his face.

  • In the first Galaxy Games book, the whole world thought they were about to be wiped out by an incoming asteroid. So all the adults went crazy doing whatever - the teachers didn't teach, many of the main character's friends' parents quit their jobs, and so on. After the asteroid was revealed to just be an alien spaceship they all had to try and get their jobs back and return all the stuff they bought on an impulse. This was easy for some, but others, it was noted, had quit their jobs by telling their bosses what they REALLY thought...
  • Harry Potter: Cornelius Fudge spends the entirety of the fifth book going on a slandering campaign against Harry and Dumbledore, refusing to heed their warnings of Voldemort's return even when things continue to happen just as Dumbledore predicted and putting the whole magical community in danger. Once Voldemort shows up at the Ministry and Fudge sees him with his own eyes, he's forced to recant his previous statements, and the whole community immediately becomes enraged and demands for his resignation. The start of the sixth book reveals that Fudge made a last-ditch effort to stay in office by begging Dumbledore to help him get Harry's support, which naturally Dumbledore refused knowing that Harry would find the idea ludicrous after all the things Fudge did to antagonize them.
  • From Life's Little Instruction Book:
    291. Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  • During the second book of The Magicians trilogy, The Magician King, Quentin Coldwater's return to Brakebills goes awry when he gets into an argument with Dean Fogg over top-secret information. Quentin, who isn't exactly known for maturity or humility, haughtily proclaims himself superior to everyone at Brakebills, clearly believing that he'll be back in Fillory soon, living it up as a Benevolent Mage Ruler and will never have to deal with Fogg ever again... only for the book to end with Quentin getting deposed and exiled to the real world. The next book, The Magician's Land, features Quentin crawling back to Brakebills and admitting that he really needs a job. To his intense relief, Fogg accepts him into the faculty - perhaps recognizing that Quentin's humiliated himself enough.
  • In the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries, Elizabeth and Darcy are forced to ask Lady Catherine for help.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Brisco and Bowler recruit Pete Hutter for a mission while he's in prison, promising a full Presidential pardon for all his outstanding crimes. He accepts and proceeds to piss off his cellmate. Then Brisco tells him that they have to talk to the warden and he should be out in a couple of hours.
  • The first episode of the second season of Arrested Development, "The One Where Michael Leaves", is focused on Michael's attempts to leave his family for good, but repeatedly getting pulled back to them again because of the circumstances, mostly the results of said family's actions, forces him to.
  • Breaking Bad: In the pilot episode, after learning he has terminal cancer, Walter lashes out at his abusive boss Bogdan and dramatically quits his part-time job at the car wash. This ends up causing a bit of trouble in season four when Walt's wife Skyler decides to purchase the car wash (in order to use it as a front to launder her husband's ill-gotten cash), and Bogdan refuses to sell to her, despite her generous monetary offer, solely on the grounds of how insultingly Walt quit his business.
  • Cheers had an episode where Diane told off the gang, vowed never to return, and left...but forgot her purse.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm is basically this trope as the concept for a TV show. Plots are as follows: Larry David horribly offends a minor character, then realizes he needs their help. Larry tries to make amends, typically fails on an epic scale.
  • In one episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Buddy gets offered a job as head writer to Dan Howard, but first needs to break his contract with Alan Brady, so he provokes Mel to the point that he has Rob write a memo to Alan terminating his position. Unfortunately for Buddy, the job with Dan Howard falls through (mostly due to Dan looking to Alan for a reference on Buddy, who then reads him the termination memo), requiring Rob to help Buddy get his job with Alan back.
  • In the Doctor Who serial Inferno, the Doctor thinks he's got his TARDIS operational, and he's about to leave. So he says (about the Brigadier, in front of him): "I've had about all I can stand of this pompous self-opinionated idiot here!" But when he dematerializes, he only gets as far as the rubbish tip and walks back, covered in dust.
    The Doctor: Erm, Brigadier, my dear fellow, I wonder whether I could borrow a couple of your stalwart chaps to give me a hand in bringing the TARDIS back? It's landed in rather an inaccessible position.
    Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: "Pompous, self-opinionated idiot" I believe you said, Doctor?
    The Doctor: Yes, well we...we don't want to bear a grudge for a few hasty words, do we?
    • Still, he gets off really easy for this trope - just a moment of embarrassment and slight crow-eating.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will and Carlton trick Geoffrey into thinking he's won the lottery, causing him to cheerfully dance around and call everyone out before the truth is revealed. In a variation, while everyone forgives him (the boys take most of the blame) he's too embarrassed to return and is the one that needs to be coaxed back.
  • Gilmore Girls begins with Lorelai going to her estranged parents for a loan to pay for Rory's private school tuition. The conditions of the loan are the main justification for Richard and Emily's involvement throughout the series.
  • A Late Night with Conan O'Brien sketch had La Bamba (the Butt-Monkey trombonist of the house band The Max Weinberg 7) get a check for a large sum of money. To which La Bamba responds "Ha! I quit!" and try to tell off the performers. Right after leaving (and the audience cheering him off), Conan gets a phone call from La Bamba crying claiming that he spent all his money on gum and asking to come back. Conan lets him come back with no ill will (and then shows the outtakes from his phone call).
  • Married... with Children: When a rich man proposed to Kelly, Al quickly phoned his boss to do the bridge-burning, oblivious to Kelly rejecting the rich man in favor of a not-so-wealthy suitor.
  • NCIS: The plot of Season Three's "Switch" was kicked off when a Navy Petty Officer was caught sleeping with an officer's wife at Pearl Harbor; at first he wasn't worried because the husband didn't know who he was and he was due to transfer off the base the next day... only to learn that the husband was slated to be his new C.O. at Norfolk.
  • The Odd Couple (1970): In "The Hideaway", after Felix convinces Oscar that Ernie wants to be a cello player and that he has talent, Oscar tells Slim Daniels, the sports coordinator he contacted, that the deal is off, insulting him in the process. Then Felix finds out Ernie has no musical talent and was scouted for his ancestry (he's Inuit). Luckily, Slim Daniels wants Ernie regardless and guesses that he doesn't actually play the cello.
  • Saturday Night Live: Discussed by Norm Macdonald when he hosted SNL after he was fired from the show. He reminds the audience what happened and talks about how he thought it was weird that NBC would bring him in to host:
    Norm: How did I go from being not funny enough to be even allowed in the building, to being so funny that I’m now hosting the show? How did I suddenly get so goddamn funny?! It was inexplicable to me, because, let’s face it, a year and a half is not enough time for a dude to learn how to be funny! Then it occurred to me, I haven’t gotten funnier, the show has gotten really bad!
  • Seinfeld: George Costanza is a pro at this:
  • A mild case in The Thick of It; Hugh has decided that resigning would be better for his long-term political career, and on his way to make the announcement, he says a few unpleasant things about his department and the staff. Predictably, his resignation is no longer necessary and he comes back, but nobody really bears any grudge because (a) while he was honest, he didn't say anything too hurtful or spiteful, and (b) most of them hate each other anyway and they all know it, and consequently everyone has a lot of experience with swallowing their dislike and working together to brace themselves for the next stage in the eternal Humiliation Conga which makes up their lives.
  • Warehouse 13: The only way to free someone of Maelzel's metronome is to "make a pure start from whence one comes." In Jinks' case, this means reconciling with his mother, whom he refused to forgive for pleading for leniency for his sister's killer.
  • In the final episode of Wings, Brian and Casey make plans to run off to a tropical island, and Casey takes this opportunity to tell off every person on the island, including her boss and random people in the park. Unfortunately, Brian has an attack of family loyalty and decides to stay and run Sandpiper Air for Joe (who's also leaving), leaving a horrified Casey stuck on the island (and working Helen's lunch counter).

  • Taylor Swift's "Back to December" from her third album Speak Now is The Grovel in song form, with the narrator approaching her ex and hoping they can get back together, but fully admitting she has no right to ask, given how badly she treated him.
    You gave me roses, and I left them there to die.
    But this is me swallowing my pride, standing in front of you,
    saying I'm sorry for that night,
    and I go back to December all the time.
    It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you,
    wishing I'd realized what I had when you were mine.

    Puppet Show 
  • Downplayed case in the Lola Fanala episode of The Muppet Show, where Gonzo boasts that he's been given a Bollywood contract and will be leaving "the little people", leaving many other co-stars (particularly his chickens) jealous or betrayed. However, when Gonzo later breaks down from the weight of his decision, Kermit is supportive and lets Gonzo leave on amicable terms, but all the same, still needs to find a replacement act, and by the time he's booked one, Gonzo has realised his Bollywood contract is null and void (apparently, they intended a contract for Gonzo the Mediocre instead of Gonzo the Great).

    Video Games 
  • In World of Warcraft, Genn Greymane, the ruler of the Gilneas, left the Alliance after he grew tired of helping provide for its commonwealth for seemingly nothing in return. He then built a wall around Gilneas, separating it from the rest of the world, and refused to get involved in the Third War or the war against the Lich King, neither giving the Alliance aid nor allowing refugees to shelter within the walls. However, after Gilneas fell due to attacks by the Forsaken, as well as a worgen curse sweeping through the populace, a humbled Greymane attempted to rejoin the Alliance. However, King Varian Wrynn, the leader of the Alliance, was incredibly bitter at Greymane for his actions, and earning his respect and approval was not an easy task for the Gilnean king.

    Web Comics 
  • Played for Laughs in Gunnerkrigg Court when Parley with full sunset blush slams the door... then re-emerges to take the flower Smitty tried to give her in the first place.
    Parley: ...and ...give ...that! *SLAM again*
  • Subverted in Homestuck. Karkat thinks he's going to have to apologize to Vriska in order to get her to join the Red Team. When he finds out that Vriska's been kicked off the Blue Team, he instantly rescinds his apology and apologizes to himself for even making it in the first place.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "Rapture's Delight", Stan blames Francine for them not getting chosen to ascend into Heaven when the rapture occurs, and he abandons her when a man approaches him claiming to be Jesus Christ and that he can get him into Heaven. When the so-called messiah turns out to be a bum who wants oral sex from him, an embarrassed Stan tries to save face, but not only does Francine reject him and move out, but she also reveals that she's entered a relationship with the real Jesus.
  • Amphibia:
    • In "Croak & Punishment", Anne and Sprig try to search for a missing Blue Moon Shell, with Anne as the "good cop", and Sprig as the bad cop". However, Sprig takes his role a bit too seriously, yelling at various suspects and destroying their property. When his behavior ends up provoking Gunther, a Southern Tusk Frog, into Hulking Out, he and Anne try to find someplace to hide, but nobody is willing to protect them on account of how Sprig treated them.
      Stumpy: You think I'm gonna let you in here after you called me a thief?
      Sprig: ...Maybe?
    • In "True Colors", Sasha betrays Anne (again) and helps Grime overthrow King Andrias, causing a furious Anne to decide she's done with Sasha's manipulative behaviour and break off their friendship for good. Moments later, Sasha and Grime uncover Andrias' true nature as a Multiversal Conqueror, and with Anne and the others already working to restore him to the throne, they have no choice but to go back and try and explain why this is a bad idea. Having just burnt all her bridges, however, nobody listens to Sasha; she and Grime are defeated and Andrias is successfully restored to his throne. Things go downhill very quickly from there, and Anne (realising Sasha was right about Andrias and has reformed for real this time) eventually does patch things up with her.
  • Avatar:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In the second season finale, Prince Zuko is on the verge of joining Team Avatar when he suddenly defects to Azula's camp, betraying them. To make matters worse, he does this after he and Katara have an honest-to-god conversation, and the latter was willing to believe in him despite everything he did to Aang. Naturally, it takes a while for Zuko to rebuild the bridge with Katara after he chooses to support Aang for good in the third season; while the rest of Team Avatar welcome him the same episode he extends an olive branch, it is not until four episodes later that Katara is ready to do the same.
    • In The Legend of Korra, fourth season Big Bad Kuvira decides to conquer the city-state founded by her mentor, Suyin Beifong, and sacrifice her fiance and Number Two, Su's son Bataar Jr., by shooting a fantasy nuke at his location, since he's been captured by her enemies and she can kill them all off at once. They survive, and a shattered Bataar does what little he can to help stop her. Come the sequel comic Ruins of the Empire, Kuvira is trying to pull a Heel–Face Turn and needs Bataar's engineering expertise to stop some of her former subordinates. She also ended up having to beg for help from Bataar's mother and needed his grandmother to use her Living Lie Detector abilities to vouch for her.
  • Bojack Horseman:
    • In the episode "The Telescope" BoJack visits his former friend Herb Kazzaz when the latter is suffering from cancer, and whom BoJack left hanging when Herb was fired from Horsin' Around on account of a controversy over him being homosexual. BoJack wants to squash his beef before Herb is six feet under. At first, things seem to go well (apart from Herb chronically making jokes about how BoJack threw him under the bus), but when BoJack feels the need to apologize, Herb gives him one hell of a "Reason You Suck" Speech about how BoJack abandoning him when he needed a friend most was plain inexcusable and the horse then leaves his former friend with the bridge between them burnt forever.
    • This happens again in the season 3 episode "That's Too Much, Man!" when BoJack and Sarah-Lynn going on a drunk bender and making amends with the people they've wronged, only to actually worsen things.
    • Per Word of God, a character utilizing the show's once-per-season Precision F-Strike is meant to represent that character's bridge with BoJack being burned for good. Although Todd uses it in season 3, he and BoJack do eventully reconcile and regain their friendship, albeit never coming as close as they once were.
  • In Code Monkeys, this is the result of the Snap Back of Dave and Jerry's quit(s). Dave being, well, a Jerkass, actually forces this to happen to both of them, while Jerry tries to avoid it on the off chance they aren't as successful as they hope.
  • Danny Phantom: In the Grand Finale "Phantom Planet", when Vlad blows off Jack's Last-Second Chance to turn his life around so that he can successfully extort control over the Earth in exchange for saving it against an asteroid, said asteroid is revealed to be made out of ghost-proof material. Realizing he cannot stop it, he begs Jack for help, insisting that Jack would not turn his back on an "old friend". Jack morosely agrees with him, but then states that he will turn his back on Vlad. After which, he abandons Vlad in space. Vlad then faces the reality that he cannot return to Earth because he revealed his true self and since he cannot keep his end of the bargain to save the Earth, he will be hunted for all his life.
  • Family Guy:
    • Happens in the episode "April in Quahog", when Peter blurts out that he doesn't care for his children the moment before the world is supposed to end... only for said warning to be revealed as an April Fool's prank from the Quahog news team. Peter spends the rest of the episode trying to make it up to the kids.
    • Subverted in the episode "Lottery Fever" when Peter tells Lois about how he quit his job after becoming a millionaire. The way he talks about it, especially the part where he told his boss what she could do with his job, suggests he did or said something nasty but the flashback shows he was polite and professional (although at the very end, he quickly mentions there was "a giant poo on [her] desk"). Played straight later with how he treats his friends. They forgive him in the end.
  • Jem and the Holograms had too much of Eric's abuse while working on a movie they quit. Then they learn one of the foster girls at Starlight Foundation needed expensive surgery to avoid becoming blind so they had no choice but to come back. Eric got Jerrica to agree to become his assistant as a condition to let Jem and the Holograms back.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Forgotten Friendship, Sunset Shimmer returns to Equestria and has to seek the counsel of Princess Celestia. This was after Sunset turned into a cruel and manipulative Alpha Bitch under Celestia's watch. However, Sunset's undergone enough Character Development after her Heel–Face Turn to genuinely apologize to Celestia, and the apology is accepted.
  • The Owl House: At the end of Season 1, to save Eda, Lilith has to turn to Luz and King for help. Luz at first isn't interested, since Lilith is the one who captured Eda in the first place and used her as a hostage, but is willing to work with Lilith once Lilith explains why she cursed Eda and returns Owlbert. Even during their truce, Luz admits she doesn't like the lady's style.
  • Catra from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power spends most of the series betraying everyone who was ever close to her in her quest for power. However, halfway through Season 5, after being captured by Horde Prime, Catra decides to invoke Redemption Equals Death by heroically sacrificing herself to save Glimmer, fully expecting to be executed or mind-wiped by Horde Prime for her trouble. When the Best Friend Squad decide to rescue Catra anyway, she berates Adora for going through so much effort for her, as she didn't want to be saved. Adora quickly surmises that the real reason Catra didn't want to be saved was that she didn't want to face all the people she hurt, and Catra would only be hurting her further just by not being around anymore. Adora then tells Catra point-blank that she needs to suck it up and deal with her emotions like an adult, not keep hiding out in her room; Catra soon realizes she's right.
  • The Simpsons:
  • South Park:
    • Subverted when Eric Cartman finally pisses off his "friends" so badly that they end up ignoring him— making him think that he must be dead and stuck in Purgatory; and so he goes about trying to make amends for all the evil things he did, in order to get to Heaven.
    • Played straight in the episode "Gluten Free Ebola". The previous episode had the boys smugly ditching all their friends and classmates off-screen when they started their crowdfunding company. When their business failed, they returned to school to find no one wanted anything to do with them anymore and they had to spend the episode trying to appease them. This also signified that the show would now have continuity between the episodes.
    • Another example is in the episode "Naughty Ninjas". With the news of police brutality going around, the townspeople of South Park start shunning everyone in the police force, harassing them, and refusing to do business with them. Then the gentrified part of the town gets covered with homeless people due to the episode's B-plot. The townspeople realize that the only way they can get the homeless people out is to get the police to remove them. Needless to say, the policemen weren't really willing to help them out.

    Real Life 
  • In Josef Stalin's times, the study of genetics was all but destroyed in the Soviet Union, with the science itself branded a "bourgeois pseudoscience", to be replaced by a weird mishmash called "Michurin biology", now commonly known as Lysenkoism, after its most prominent leader. With Stalin supporting the new ideologically correct "science", Lysenko's camp was pulling no blows against its opponents. Of course, once Stalin died (according to some sources, even a bit earlier), the Lysenkoists started losing their positions. About a decade later, proper genetics regained its positions, and all the ideologically correct guys who, so recently, have been branding the geneticists as traitors, getting them arrested and often dead in The Gulag, were forced to elaborate on how Michurin biology does not contradict genetics, how genetics isn't ideologically incorrect, how a compromise between the two is possible...
  • Reddit has at least two stories by people who were framed by a relative for adultery and banished from the family, despite proclaiming innocence. Then the relative confessed to the deed while drunk, and now the family wants them back...


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hello Again Suckers, Crossing The Burned Bridge


Sunset and Celestia's Reunion

Sunset Shimmer returns to Equestria to find a way to restore her human friends' good memories of her. But to do so, she'll have to seek guidance from the one pony she had wronged before abandoning her old home: Princess Celestia, her former mentor. Fortunately for her, Celestia misses Sunset greatly and easily forgives her for her past misdeeds.

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Example of:

Main / BigDamnReunion

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