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Face, Nod, Action

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It didn't take our party long to realize Kalmar the Bloody had been replaced. His doppelganger spoke less and listened more. He was slow to anger and quick to apologize when he gave offence. He even stopped claiming every piece of treasure for the massive iron-bound chest his warhorse carted along behind it.
One night at the campfire, after the impostor had excused himself to his tent, our party shared a moment of silent eye contact over the crackling flames. A round of nods. A wordless pact.
We like the new Kalmar. He's easy to get along with. The only awkward part is ignoring the pounding coming from inside the locked chest.

Two or more characters are put in a situation where they need to work together. After silently assessing the situation:

  1. The characters face each other.
  2. Both (or all) of them nod (or something equivalent) at each other, maybe exchange one or two words.
  3. They then perform an action.

Sometimes coupled with Hand Signals inserted, with the "nod" being the cue to execute. If there is a plan involved, it's often unspoken beforehand (especially if silence is a necessity), or else it's an Indy Ploy (if improvisation is the only option).

It often works as an unspoken version of You Know What to Do. Compare Meaningful Look. See also Badass Minds Think Alike.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens near the beginning of Ghost in the Shell (1995) when Section 6 police raid a meeting. When the armed guards inside detect the raid, they nod at each other just before opening fire. Watch it here, starting at 2:55.
  • Occurs in Naruto between Kakashi, Asuma, and Kurenai in Itachi's first appearance.
  • Happens in the film Jack and the Witch while Jack and Barnaby Bear are facing off against some harpies in front of the evil queen's castle. They make scary faces and jump in the air, scaring off the harpies.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Team. In La Verite episode 11, Taro and Konoe Tsuragi look at each other and nod before escaping the underground area where Mariel was being held.
  • Cowboy Bebop episode "Boogie Woogie Feng Shui". The two gunmen pursuing Jet and the girl do this just before they enter the bar.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Episode "A Poached Ego". Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) do it just before performing a heroic You Shall Not Pass! so their Pokemon can escape a poacher.
    • Episode "Oh Do You Know the Poffin Plan!" After Forsythia's Roserade realizes it doesn't need its scarf to be a hero and attacks Team Rocket, the protagonists (Ash, Brock and Dawn) and Forsythia look at each other, nod their heads and unleash their Pokemon on Team Rocket.
    • Episode "Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon?" Team Rocket is trying to kidnap two Nidoran named Maria and Tony. While they're in the grasp of Jessie's Arbok, Maria and Tony look at each other, nod, and bite down on Arbok holding them, causing it to release them.
  • In several episodes of Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream, Yumemitchi and Kiraritchi give a face and a nod to each other before running to use their Yume Kira bags to transform and resolve whatever conflict.
  • Dragon Ball Z Kai episode 98 "Bring Peace to the Future!". Androids 17 and 18 are facing off against Future Trunks. Android 18 says to get him, both androids look at each other, nod, and then attack Trunks.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 6 episode 3, Big M. and Little M. exchange a quick look and nod before the latter jumps into a portal leading into a spaceship.

  • One of Dave Chappelle's acts talks about how during a hostage crisis on a plane, he and a Nigerian fellow nodded at each other, which made a nearby white couple think that they were going to save everyone.

    Comic Books 
  • In Scott Pilgrim, Knives starts to annoy Evil Diva Envy Adams by doing a fangirl gush over her when invited backstage. After one of these instances, Envy looks over at her drummer, and gives a little nod. The drummer then punches Knives so hard that the hair dye flies out of Knives' hair.

    Fan Works 
  • In With Strings Attached, Paul and John scream at each other in an inane argument over whether Paul should break a ledge to jump across a canyon. Meanwhile, behind them, the Hunter is skimming floating stepping squares over the canyon. George and Ringo try to get the others' attention about this, but they're ignored, so, after looking at one another and nodding, Ringo telekinetically messes them up a bit so they quit arguing and pay attention.

    Films — Animation 
  • Heavy Metal
    • ''Harry Canyon". Rudnick's two flying goons look at each other and nod briefly before following Harry's cab.
    • As Den and his companion Korg are about to enter the Queen's quarters, they look at each other, both nod and push the door open.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: The Mario Brothers face each other and give themselves an affirmative nod to signal when to go into action when they're invincible and about to knock down Bowser's army.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's aunties do this twice during the climax. First, at the beginning of Ming's rampage and later after Mei needs help dragging Ming into the ritual circle.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Occurs twice in Our Man Flint.
    • Rodney, Gila and Gruber nod to each other before Gruber uses a device to destroy a dam.
    • Gila and Gruber do it before trying to assassinate Flint in the restaurant.
  • In Like Flint. A "chain of nods" occurs when the female commandos from Fabulous Face nod at each other before beginning "Operation Smooch".
  • I, Robot did this, but with winks.
  • Laurel and Hardy are always nodding to each other. What follows isn't always cool, but it's funny.
  • The Boondock Saints: In the bar brawl, the brothers look at each other, down their shots at the same time, then attack simultaneously.
  • Return of the Jedi. As Luke is about to be executed by Jabba the Hutt, he looks at Lando Calrissian (who's disguised as one of Jabba's guards) and nods. Lando nods back, and Luke starts to execute his plan.
  • Subverted in The Losers; the main villain, dissatisfied with how his negotiations with a doomsday device developer are proceeding, nods to his henchman... who then throws the scientist off the roof. The villain immediately calls his henchman on this - noting the waste of talent - but then negotiations resume with the surviving scientists.
  • Near the beginning of Johnny Dangerously, Dundee and his gang are about to enter Maroni's club. But first they all nod at each other, several times, before Dundee blurts out "No more nodding!"
  • In Superman Returns, this happens between two cops before apprehending a heavily armed thug.
  • Done in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. When their Bavarian Fire Drill method of leaving the Spaniards' camp starts to fail, Jack and Barbossa share one of these before going into Bash Brothers mode.

  • Happens, in a way, in Solo Command. The viewpoint character can only put it thusly.
    Wedge didn't answer immediately. Donos could see the top of his head as the commander looked left and right, communicating with the other senior officers by what might have been a combination of shared experience and telepathy.
  • Subverted in Redemption Games. John Rain exchanges a look with Dox, takes his nod for agreement, then kills the man they're interrogating. Turns out Dox had no idea he was about to do that.
  • The Pendragon Adventure: In The Reality Bug, overlapping with Meaningful Look; Bobby and Aja exchange a look and nod before they head into the gym to get Alex's controller, signifying that they are on the same page. This marks a turning point in their relationship; up till this point, it's largely been one of clashing and disagreement, but now they are ready to work together as fellow Travelers.
    We had to go together. Aja and I then shared eye contact in a way that hadn’t happened up until this point. Though we were both Travelers, our relationship had been a battle from the get-go. But now we were about to step into danger. The look between us said it all. We were in this together, like it or not. I gave her a quick nod, and the two of us stepped into the gym.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 1960's Batman: in the episode "The Bookworm Turns", the Dynamic Duo are surrounded by the Bookworm's henchmen. Two of the henchmen look at each other, nod, then both take a swing at Batman.
  • Continuum: in the pilot episode several members of the Liber8 terrorist group were about to be executed. Two of them looked at each other, nodded their heads, then each member of the group tossed a part of a device together and created a time vortex that sent them all to the past.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, some aliens are blathering on about how superior they are to humans. With nothing more than a few nods, Picard communicates to Riker and Data that they should erect a forcefield around the aliens.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In the pilot episode when Captain Janeway suggests to Chakotay they form an Enemy Mine alliance to get out of their current situation, Chakotay looks to his Number Two Tuvok, who wordlessly nods in approval. Chakotay then agrees, not knowing that Tuvok is actually an undercover agent for Janeway!
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In the Mirror Universe episode, Archer exchanges a nod with Mayweather, who karate-kicks Admiral Black's bodyguard in the head while Archer disintegrates the admiral.
  • Letterkenny season 3 episode 6, 20 minutes, at the puck faceoff, opponent Loggers makes sexual comments about Ferda duo's ex girlfriend. (brown beard) "Who brought the fuckin' rocket boys?" (blonde beard) "Who's billet sister's a fuckin' rocket boys?" 4 members of the Letterkenny Irish glance at each other. "Yup." *nod* "Yup." *nod* "Yup" *nod* "Yup" *nod* and after this sequential nodding-while-yupping, they drop gloves and start a bench-clearing brawl against the Loggers.
  • Battlestar Galactica: In the episode "Saga of a Star World", the fleet arrives at the planer Carillon. Starbuck and Boomer go exploring on the planet in a vehicle. When they encounter an alien building, they draw their weapons and get out of the vehicle. They look at each other, nod and move out to check out the building.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "Hush", the Monster of the Week steals everyone's voices, forcing people to communicate by Talking with Signs or Facial Dialogue. Willow and Tara are trapped in a room by the demons who are about to break in. Their eyes meet as they link hands, Tara nods, then they simultaneously face the door, using their combined magic to move a heavy vending machine to block the door.
  • The Professionals. In "Mixed Doubles", Bodie is bodyguarding a foreign head of state when an assassin calmly walks down the staircase. The two men have met each other before, so they exchange a surprised look, a wry smile and nod as they realise what the other is there for, then a Quick Draw. Fortunately Bodie is quicker on the draw.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Used to be prevalent in the WWF: Two wrestlers who usually don't team up would be paired in a tag team ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Undertaker for example); they walk up to each other backstage and rather than discuss any strategy or anything, just silently nod to each other as if to say "Let's do this!" and head out to the ring.
  • A common occurrence in battle royals involves the two biggest men in the match cleaning house and leaving everyone else down and out, and end up on opposite sides of the ring. They will then look around, face each other, stare down, nod, and battle it out one on one.

    Video Games 
  • Donkey Kong 64: the two Kritters who control King Kutt-Out do this at the end of the battle before running away.
  • In a cutscene toward the end of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, Pops, Grimm and that journalist guy look at one another and nod before making a run for it from Perrault, who is holding them at gunpoint.
  • Persona 4: done twice by Chie and Yukiko when deciding to give the boys the curry they made and pushing them off a cliff into a pool of water.
    • Done by Yu and Yukiko when joining Chie and Teddie in the water in the Beach Episode in Golden.
    • Done by the entire team before they fight Izanami.
  • At the end of Alpha Protocol, if Conrad Marburg, considers Mike a Worthy Opponent and is made to question working for Henry Leland, the confirmation of him just leaving takes the form of this.
  • In BIONICLE: The Legend of Mata Nui, after Akimai and Wairuha defeat some Manas, a Mana-Ko appears behind them. The duo does this, resulting in beating the Mana-Ko and knocking it off the platform, and again after.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer and Snowball II (yes, the cat) both walk into the tavern at the same time and stop look at each other. After an awkward silence, Homer says, "I won't tell if you don't tell."
    • In "Homer the Vigilante", Homer and Principal Skinner, after a redundant exchange concerning the elusive cat burglar, weapons in hand and all, both nod at each other in increasing frequency, with the ever-ominous Fugue for Friday playing in the background.
  • Used by T.J. in the opening titles of Recess.
  • In Family Guy's parody of Return of the Jedi, the show takes the nodding scene from the original and turns it into one of their infamous Overly Long Gags.
    Judge Smails: Well? We're waiting!
  • Motorcity: In "Reunion", Mike and Chuck do this before trapping Kane in his Humongous Mecha in an energy ball.
  • Tom and Jerry: In "Tennis Chumps", Tom and Butch look at each other, exchange nods, and silently agree to set their differences aside and go after Jerry.

    Real Life 
  • Happens in this clip from a candid camera-esque social experiment looking at what people would do when witnessing a child abduction. Happens around two minutes in.


Video Example(s):


The Sarlacc Battle

The music is rooting for Luke as he fights back against Jabba's forces

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThemeMusicPowerUp

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