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If I Do Not Return

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Llewelyn: If I don't come back, tell mother I love her.
Carla Jean: Your mother's dead, Llewelyn.
Llewelyn: Well, then I'll tell her myself.

The hero is about to undertake something that he must do on his own, leaving his Sidekick or support team behind. He plans to return in a certain period of time, but the contingency instructions are given to those left behind in case the unthinkable happens and he cannot come back to them. Usually he'll tell them to go on without him, or go for help. Occasionally, the hero will say "Tell my Love Interest I love them" and the Sidekick will reply "Tell them yourself."

Phrasing may vary along the lines of "If I do not return," or "If I don't make it back", of course.

In comedic situations, the hero will say "keep waiting" or "come rescue me" instead of "go on without me". In another semi-comedic variant, the hero's instructions may be something frivolous - willing a personal possession which is usually somehow comical to the other character, or telling them not to mess with the hero's stuff. If the hero doesn't say this, it may lead to If You Die, I Call Your Stuff anyway.

May also lead to a Video Will firing off if the hero does not return. See also Wait Here and Dead Man Writing. Occasionally this line follows or leads into More Hero than Thou or More Expendable Than You (particularly if the sidekick or anti-villain ally feels the call of Redemption Equals Death).

Contrast Planning for the Future Before the End and If We Get Through This….


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: In "Black Dog Serenade", Jet, on his way to a face off with an old foe, tells Ed to water his bonsais. Ed, being Ed, cheerfully agrees, and has thoroughly drenched the plants before bothering to let Spike and Faye know what's going on.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Roy Mustang is entering Central Command to confide in a high-ranking general about what he's learned regarding the plot. He tells his right-hand woman/bodyguard Riza Hawkeye to wait for him, but that if anything goes wrong, she should get herself out. (She refuses, of course.) Not only does she refuse to get herself out, but she refuses to even let him go until he promises that he will come back alive. He does.
    • When Buccaneer and a squad of Briggs soldiers are investigating the tunnel built by Sloth, they arrange for the tunnel to be sealed off after a set time, whether they come back or not (if they don't come back by then, they most likely got killed). They do manage to return to the tunnel entrance after an encounter with Pride, but after the agreed time, and are certain that Olivier has sealed off the tunnel. To their surprise, the entrance is still open. When they question the guard at the entrance after exiting, he tells them that their time hasn't expired, and shows them the broken watch Olivier gave him to prove it. It's worth noting that every single one of them understands exactly what she did, and why - they don't call her their "queen" for nothing.
  • Done in Monster Rancher, as Genki tasks Mocchi with finding the Phoenix should Pixie capture him along with the others.

    Fan Works 
  • A Diplomatic Visit: In chapter 10 of the sequel Diplomat at Large, when Celestia gets a message from Sunset Shimmer calling for help, her first act is to stop by Luna's room, inform her that Sunset needs her, and tell her that "If something happens to me, Equestria is yours."
  • Existence Is the Most Exciting Thing of All: just before Henriette goes off to commit a Heroic Sacrifice, she gives Carlos a hug, tells her to tell her student and son that she's sorry, and that he's the best project leader she's ever had. Carlos, who's pretty heavily drugged at the time, doesn't realize what's going on, and cheerfully tells her she can tell them herself.
  • Played for laughs in My Dream Is Yours, with Otis giving Olympia some final words before he goes to give Orchid's dream back to her via forehead touch.
    Otis: If I don't come back, you've been a great partner.
    Oren: [rolls his eyes] Yippee.
  • Son of the Western Sea: Played for humor in chapter 1, before Percy dives to see the ship that becomes the Firefly for the first time:
    Percy: If I'm not back in half an hour... just wait longer.

    Films — Animated 
  • 9: Used before the titular character goes to rescue 7 and 8 from The Seamstress.
    9: If I don't come back... destroy it.
  • Batman And Mister Freeze Subzero
    Batman: If I'm not back in time go without me.
    Robin: WHAT!?
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift:
    Sid: If I don't make it... find me a wife and tell her I love her!
  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Before B.O.B., Link and Dr. Cockroach head in to rescue Susan from Galaxhar, General Monger tells them:
    "I'll try to come back for you if I can. If I don't, it means I am dead... or late."
  • Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats: Used during the scene where they rescue Benny from the dog pound, but argue over who gets to go:
    Top Cat: Never mind, I'll go, but if I'm not back in 10 minutes, take off without me.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mad Max: Fury Road. Max invokes this to Furiosa when he goes off to deal with some enemies. She's shocked when he tells them to go on without him, because Max is proving to be someone truly trustworthy.
    Max: You need to take the War Rig half a click down the track.
    Furiosa: What if you're not back by the time the engines are cooled?
    Max: [Shrugs] Well you keep moving.
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux:
    "If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, you know what to do."
    "Go on without you?"
    "No. Wait another fifteen minutes!"
  • " the Pope!" (Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter)
  • Big Trouble in Little China:
    Jack Burton: Okay. You people sit tight, hold the fort and keep the home fires burning. And if we're not back by dawn... call the President.
  • Ace Ventura also did the "... just wait longer" line. Of course, Ace wasn't really going into dangerous territory. He was going down into an emptied dolphin tank to look around.
  • Mission to Mars did it straight, although obviously the guy disobeyed the order or we'd get a Downer Ending where they're stuck on Mars with no way out. In retrospect, it seems like they should have been asking the alien to hurry up the holographic history lesson since they gave the guy such a short time limit.
  • I Am Legend: "If I'm not back by dark... just... just go." And he's saying this to his dog.
    • To maintain his sanity; he's been totally alone for three years, save for the dog.
    • And some traitorous mannequins.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Kirk and company are trapped in an asteroid.
    Kirk: Captain Spock. If you don't hear from us within one hour, your orders are to restore what power you can, take the Enterprise to the nearest starbase and alert Starfleet Command when out of jamming range.
    Uhura: Sir, we won't leave you behind!
    Kirk: Uhura, if you don't hear from us, there won't be anybody behind.
    • However subverted in that Kirk was talking in code (hours meaning days) because he suspected Khan was tapping into the signal.
    • Star Trek (2009)
    Spock: Jim. The statistical likelihood that our plan will succeed is less than 4.3%.
    Kirk: It'll work.
    Spock: In the event that I am unsuccessful, please tell Lieutenant Uhura—
    Kirk: Spock. It'll work.
    • Also in the very beginning, when Captain Robau speaks with George Kirk before going to the Narada.
    Robau: If I don't report in 15 minutes, evacuate the crew.
    Kirk: Sir, we could issue...
    Robau: There isn't any help for us out here. Use autopilot, and get off the ship.
    Kirk: Aye, Captain.
  • Subtly alluded to in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. When Gibbs asks Jack Sparrow what they should do if Sparrow and Will Turner don't return, Jack's only reply is "Keep to the Code", meaning "if we don't come back, go on without us". Or thereabouts, they're more like guidelines anyway.
  • Hilarious subversion in Serenity:
    Mal: Zoe, ship is yours. Remember. If anything happens to me, or if you don't hear from me within the hour, you take this ship... and you come and rescue me.
    Zoe: What, and risk my ship?
    Mal: I mean it. It's cold out there. And I don't wanna get left.
  • In Sky High (2005) Will and Ron Wilson, bus driver, have this exchange:
    Will: If I'm not back in 30 minutes...
    Ron: Come in after you!
    Will: ...I was gonna say "get help".
    Ron: [crestfallen] Get help. Right.
  • Die Hard. John McClane is talking to his friend Sgt. Al Powell on the radio during the siege:
    McClane: Listen, I'm starting to get a bad feeling up here. I want you to do something for me. I want you to find my wife. Don't ask me how. By then you'll know how. I want you to tell her that...Tell her it took me a while to figure out...what a jerk I've been...that when things started to pan out for her...I shoulda been more supportive. And I just should have been behind her more. Tell her that she's the best thing that ever happened to a bum like me. She's heard me say "I love you" a thousand times. She never heard me say "I'm sorry". I want you to tell her that, Al. Tell her that John said that he was sorry.
    Powell: But you can tell her that yourself. You just watch your ass and you'll make it out. You hear me?
    McClane: I guess that's up to the man upstairs.
    [Note: Holly Gennaro (McClane's wife) was one of the hostages at the time.]
  • Outbreak: Sam is racing against time to find and stop The Virus and knows the odds are against him. He stops to warn his almost ex-wife that the military is making troubling decisions.
    Sam Daniels: If I'm not back by 1800 hours, and you're not symptomatic — leave.
    Robby Daniels: Wh-what?
    Sam Daniels: Leave. Town.
  • No Country for Old Men.
    Llewelyn: If I don't come back, tell mother I love her.
    Carla Jean: Your mother's dead, Llewelyn.
    Llewelyn: Well then I'll tell her myself.
  • Beethoven has this kind of quote when George goes and checks inside the lab for the whereabouts of the eponymous dog, he tells his wife and kids to call the police if he doesn't come back in 15 minutes. Subverted later by his wife Alice when she does go to call the police; she starts to say it, but then backtracks and tells the kids that she'll be back.
  • To Be or Not to Be (1983): Subverted when actor Frederick, disguised as Professor Siletski, has to go to Gestapo Headquarters in a suicide mission and talks to his wife maybe for the last time:
    Frederick Bronski: Listen, sweetheart, if I don't come back, then I forgive you for anything that happened between you and Lt. Sobinski.
    [He opens the door to leave, but turns back]
    Frederick Bronski: But if I do come back, you're in a lot of trouble!
  • Parodied in Gozu, where one Yakuza is brother giving this speech in a overly dramatic manner.
  • The Negotiator. When things are going badly and Danny Roman believes that he will soon be killed by the corrupt cops, he asks Maggie for a favor.
    Will you tell my wife something for me? Tell her I was trying to keep my promise.
  • Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies features a scene where Shane Douglas and Hacksaw Jim Duggan extract promises from each other that, should they die, they need the other to tell their family they died well. Then Douglas purposefully traps Duggan in a room full of zombies For the Evulz.
  • In Deadpool (2016), before confronting Francis in the climax, Wade tells Al: "If I never see you again, I want you to know that I love you very much. I also buried 1,600 kilos of cocaine somewhere in the apartment right next to the cure for blindness. Good luck."
  • In The Martian, when several misfortunes make it seem all but certain Watney will die on Mars, he asks Lewis to tell his parents that he's proud of what he's done and believes he died for something greater than himself. That said, Watney doesn't just give up then and there, being much too stubborn for that.
  • Dredd. Judge Dredd does a chilling version to the rookie Judge he's with, telling Judge Anderson that if he doesn't make it back and she gets cornered by the gangs hunting them, "you might not want to be taken alive. Your call."
  • Fletch Lives. Fletch confronts the Big Bad with evidence of his Evil Plan, saying that his Love Interest is ready to hand over everything he knows to the media if something happens to him.
    Villain: You're bluffing, Fletch.
    Fletch: No, I'm not.
    Villain: You think you're not... but you are. [The Dragon drags in Fletch's girlfriend at gunpoint]
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has Owen telling his former Love Interest Claire at one point, "If I don't make it back... remember you're the one who made me come here." He then makes it clear he's just trolling her, but she doesn't find it funny.
  • Steel Rain. Kwak suspects that a North Korean agent is holding his ex-wife (a doctor) hostage and forcing her to treat the leader of North Korea, who's had to flee his country after a coup. He walks into her clinic pretending he's just come to see her, but beforehand tells a friend to call him in exactly one hour and if he doesn't answer or his phone is dead, call the police...or On Second Thought special forces. Fortunately this happens without a hitch and the North Korean agent is smart enough to surrender when he sees a dozen laser dots on his chest.
  • The Wild Geese. The night before they go on the mission, Janders asks Colonel Faulkner to become a Parental Substitute for his son if anything happens to him. Faulkner says the idea is mad, because when not killing people for money he's an unemployed drunkard. Janders blithely replies that some responsibility might help him then. Janders not only gets killed; it's Faulkner who has to kill him, to stop him from being captured and tortured to death.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Luke has a brief conversation with Leia before going off to face Vader. One of the things he tells her is, "If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Rebel Alliance." Luckily, thanks to a certain Heel–Face Turn, it doesn't come to that.

  • In Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn novel Xenos, Eisenhorn goes out scouting and tells his retinue that he should be back within a couple of hours. When he is captured, one leaves after this time; which is why the navy arrives to save them from the Chaos cult.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, where the commander Johnny Rico tells his second in command as they're about to go out on a mission, "Have fun, and remember, if I buy it, you're the boss."
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, Skulduggery has pulled this on Stephanie, asking her amongst other things to not fiddle with the radio because he's just got it set right.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Nathaniel tells Bartimaeus to say hi to Kitty for him, which is as close as he'll get to a confession of love. Of course, there's not much of an "if" involved here.
  • In the Warrior Cats book Path of Stars, Thunder goes to help his adopted father against some rogues. He tells his best friend Lightning Tail that if he doesn't make it back, Lightning Tail needs to take over as leader of their group.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In 24 Day 8, a suicide bomber says "Tell my mother that I'm sorry." before he explodes.
  • Alias episode "The Box"
    Michael Vaughn: If I'm not back in a couple of hours, I'm probably dead.
  • Babylon 5: In the episode "Messages From Earth", Captain Sheridan and Delenn have to take the White Star to the Jovian moon Ganymede in order to destroy the Shadow vessel Preident Clark's forces found buried on the moon. Before leaving Sheridan informs the senior staff that he's leaving his uniform, link, and ID behind so if something goes wrong there will be nothing left to tie the White Star back to Babylon 5. He further instructs the crew if he doesn't return to put some organic material in his Starfury, send it out, and have it self destruct so the crew has a plausible story as to what happened to Sheridan.
  • In the Blackadder the Third episode "Nob and Nobility", Edmund, supposedly on his way to Revolutionary France, leaves Prince George with this touching message:
    Blackadder: If I don't make it back, please write to my mother and tell her that I've been alive all the time, it's just that I couldn't be bothered to get in touch with the old bat.
  • Blake's 7:
    • Played for drama when the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits first team up. Blake has to do a high-risk teleport (it's the first time they've used the technology) down to a prison planet, and tells the others they can leave with the Liberator if he's not back in four hours. Avon and Jenna then discover there's a fortune in jewelry stashed on the Liberator, and Avon seriously tries to convince Jenna to abandon Blake without waiting.
    • In "Moloch", President Servalan is searching for a missing legion only to find they've killed their officers and gone rogue. She tries the "if I don't return something bad will happen" routine but they're not impressed, pointing out that if her military strength was as powerful as she claimed, she wouldn't be gallivanting around the galaxy looking for a single legion to add to it.
    • In "Terminal", Avon insists on teleporting down to a planet alone (ironically in the hope of finding Blake). If Avon is not back in twelve hours, the Master Computer is programmed to take the Liberator to another planet before handing over control.
    • And from the audio play "Drones":
      Vila: Cally, I owe Avon... at least 1000 credits. Tell him... [long pause] tough.
  • Bones: Brennan wants to have a baby, and has asked Booth to donate the sperm for artificial insemination. He's ambivalent about it, and eventually says he doesn't want to donate if he won't be involved in raising the child; but when he goes in for Serious Brain Surgery he tells her "If I don't make it, I want you to have my stuff."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Green Death" has the Doctor begin explaining what to do if he doesn't return. The Brigadier assumes that means to come in and rescue him, but the Doctor clarifies that no, he'll be dead by then—they are to go in and destroy the BOSS before it takes over the world.
    • In "The Satan Pit", the Doctor — while hanging from a wire in a possibly fathomless chasm and planning to cut himself loose — asks Ida to tell Rose... "...Oh, she knows."
  • Zoe uses a serious version in Firefly: when Mal and Wash are kidnapped, she instructs the crew to get out of the quadrant should she not return from her rescue effort after a reasonable amount of time. Mal, on the other hand... well, his subversion is in the Film folder.
  • Game of Thrones: Tyrion asks Camp Follower Shae to shed a few tears for him if he's killed in today's battle. Shae asks how would he know if she wept for him if he was dead.
  • Jessica Jones (2015). Kilgrave has to go somewhere with Jessica, and in case she has the very good idea of killing him tells two men under his control, "Alva? Laurent? If I'm not back within two hours, please remove the skin from each others' faces."
  • The Married... with Children episode "T*R*A*S*H" has the following conversation:
    Griff: If I don't make it, would you look up my ex-wife and...
    Al: And tell her that you love her?
    Griff: No, tell her that she's a bitch!
  • M*A*S*H:
    • In the first Christmas Episode, Hawkeye (dressed as Santa) has to take a chopper to where a wounded soldier waits to be treated in the middle of gunfire. His exchange with Trapper:
      Hawkeye: If I don't come back... Merry Christmas.
      Trapper: Tell me when you get back.
    • Played for laughs in a later episode, when the nurses ask Hawkeye to fix their stove in the middle of the night.
      Hawkeye: B.J., if I'm not back in five minutes, don't come and get me.
  • Monarch: Legacy of Monsters: Before Hiroshi Randa left Cate, her mother, and his Secret Other Family in Tokyo behind to go on Titan-related work in the aftermath of G-Day, he left Cate with tickets to get her and her mother out of the disaster zone, and he told her to tell her mother that he loved them both before leaving. Sure enough, Hiroshi disappeared and was presumed dead afterwards due to his plane disappearing in a storm over Alaska and running afoul of the Frost Vark.
  • Monk: The first part of the series finale, "Mr. Monk and The End", shows Monk opening the final Christmas gift Trudy gave him; it's revealed that it's an "If I don't come back" tape that could have helped him solve her murder within days of her death.
  • In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians":
    Voldar: Now, if we're not back in three hours, you know what to do.
    Tom Servo: Go ahead and order without us.
  • Night Court: A group of naked people are protesting in Harry's office.
    Harry: If I'm not out in five minutes...give me half an hour.
  • One Tree Hill episode "Every Night Is Another Story"
    Haley James: I saw a gas station about a mile down the road, if I'm not back in an hour, tell my mom I loved her.
  • Person of Interest: When Root and Finch discuss the fact that, with Samaritan in control, their group doesn't have much of a chance of surviving without taking losses, this exchange occurs:
    Root: If the worst should come to pass, if you could give Shaw a message?
    Finch: I think she already knows.
  • In the final episode of Power Rangers in Space, Ashley catches Andros when he's about to go off on his own to try and bring back his sister from the dark side. He stops for a moment to tell her something in case he doesn't make it back, but she shushes him, assuring him they'll meet again.
  • Quark: After all the crew bar one has escaped from a Gorgon warship, Captain Quark tells Fiscus to blast off in four minutes if he hasn't returned with the last crewmember. Being an emotionless plant-person, Fiscus asks if that's four minutes from "now" or four minutes from the start of their conversation.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Daniel does this in the premiere episode.
    • Jack also does it in "The Other Guys", but stops himself before saying exactly what they should do.
      "If we're not back in five minutes..." [shrugs]
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • From the episode "The Enemy Within":
      Kirk: Spock, if this doesn't work... [beat]
      Spock: [nods once, his eyes downcast] Understood.
    • In "The Tholian Web", Spock and McCoy view the message Kirk left behind for this contingency when Kirk is lost and presumed dead.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In the episode "Visionary", when O'Brien undergoes a potentially fatal time-travel experiment, he tells Bashir that he recorded a message for his wife Keiko if anything should happen.
    • Garak has fun with this in the episode "Improbable Cause":
      Garak: If you go into my quarters, and examine the bulkhead next to the replicator, you'll notice there's a false panel. Behind that panel is a compartment containing an isolinear rod. If I'm not back in seventy-eight hours, I want you to take that rod... and eat it.
      Bashir: Eat it? You're joking.
      Garak: Yes, Doctor. I am.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: While her crew sometimes take this trope with a grain of salt, in "The Omega Directive", Captain Janeway has to go on a solo mission to destroy the Omega molecule which could create a No Warping Zone if detonated. So when she orders Chakotay to do an immediate Hyperspeed Escape if her plan doesn't work, she really means it because he'll only have ten seconds before Voyager is stranded in space for the rest of their lives.
  • Supernatural: Rejected by macho Dean when his little brother tries to get all soppy on him.
    Sam: Dean, if this doesn't go the way we want, I want you to know that—
    Dean: Oh no no no.
    Sam: No what?
    Dean: You're not going to bust out the misty-eyed goodbye speech, OK? I mean if this is going to be my last day on Earth, I do not want it to be socially awkward.
  • Torchwood: In one episode, Gwen (thinking she's about to die) turns to Ianto and says "Tell Jack I—" only to be cut off when rescue arrives. The only problem is that Ianto is Jack's boyfriend.
  • The Unit has a more cold depiction. Searching for his daughter, a US soldier kidnapped in Iraq, Jonas Blane walks into a mosque, explosives strapped to his chest, and calmly informs the occupants that he will count to three. If they do not help him, he will kill himself and everyone inside. He then tells his comrades to leave, and find his daughter for him.
  • The X-Files, in the episode "The Pine Bluff Variant":
    Mulder: If you don't hear from me by midnight... feed my fish.

  • "Bohemian Rhapsody", by Queen.
    If I'm not back again this time tomorrow, carry on, carry on.
  • "New York Mining Disaster 1941" by The Bee Gees:
    In the event of something happening to me
    There is something I would like you all to see
  • From "Rael" by The Who:
    If a yellow flag is fluttering
    Sickly herald against the morn
    Then you'll know my courage has ended
    And you'll send your boat ashore
    But if a red flag is flying
    Brazen bold against the blue
    Then you'll know that I am staying
    And my yacht belongs to you
    He's crazy if he thinks we're coming back again
    He's crazy if he thinks we're coming back again
    He's crazy if he thinks we're coming back again
    He's crazy, anyway
  • "Die With Honor" by Manowar.
    If I do not return
    Bring my body on my shield
    Tell my son I chose to die
    I chose to die than yield
  • "Warriors of the World" By Manowar.
    If I should fall in battle, my brothers who fight by my side
    Gather my horse and weapons, tell my family how I died
  • In "If I Don't Make It Back" by Tracy Lawrence, a man makes requests of what he wants his friends to do in his honor should he not return from battle. He doesn't.
    Have a beer for me, don't waste no tears on me
    On Friday night, sit on the visitors' side and cheer for the home team
    Drive my Camaro 90 miles an hour down Red Rock Road
    With 'Born to Run' blastin' on the radio
    And find someone good enough for Amy, who'll love her like I would have
    If I don't make it back"
  • The narrator of "If Something Should Happen" by Darryl Worley has a life-threatening condition. The song is his "If I Do Not Return" speech to a friend before going in for surgery, asking him to look after his wife, and be a father figure to his son and tell him about his father.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Zelda: The Wand Of Gamelon: "If you don't hear from me in a month, send Link!"
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while placing the Master Sword back in its pedestal, Zelda is about to convey something she wants to tell the slumbering Link to the Great Deku Tree. However, the Deku Tree notes that something she wants to tell Link would sound better coming from her own lips, in a variant of the "tell him yourself" response. After Link sees this memory upon retrieving the Master Sword, the Deku Tree says Link must now go rescue Zelda to find out what exactly she wanted to say. It's implied to have been an Aborted Declaration of Love, given later revelations from the conclusion of Kass's quests that Princess Zelda "only had eyes for her appointed knight".
  • Metro 2033: "If I am not back in three days, come to Polis station."
  • Graffiti in Left 4 Dead 2's "The Passing" is a Shout-Out to the 2004 Dawn of the Dead (2004):
    • "Went to save my dog. If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, Everyone drop everything and come save me. Nicole."
  • Impossible Creatures:
    Rex Chance: "If I'm not out in five minutes, save yourself and leave the island. No! Wait, that's silly. If I'm not out in five minutes, come and make sure I haven't locked myself in or something."
  • If you shot down a air-to-air refuelling tanker in Strike Commander, the pilot would say "Tell my wife I--"
  • In Saints Row IV, a slain Secret Serviceman says "Tell my wife…I had another wife."
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines gives us a nice little gem in the tutorial.
    Jack: Go on through there, and I'll meet you later.
    Player Character: If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, call the president.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, Trevor Belmont grimly tells his wife this before departing for Dracula's castle.
    Trevor: If I have not returned by dawn, take the boy and leave this place far behind. Take to the forest... Do not look for me.
  • Such a request is what launches the plot of the fourth Detectives United game. Before leaving on a personal secret investigation, Agent Brown entrusts Agent Shade (the team's Mission Control) with the knowledge of his destination and plans, and asks that she share the information with his partners if he doesn't return in a reasonable amount of time. After two months with no contact, she decides it's time to bring them into the loop, and send them to find out what happened. Unlike other examples, however, Brown isn't dead, nor do his partners expect him to be. He just knew that if the investigation dragged long enough, it would mean he wasn't going to be able to resolve it without their help.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Freakazoid!: "If I'm not back in five minutes... keep waiting."
  • The Simpsons:
  • The Fairly OddParents!
    • In "Ol' Black Magic", Timmy tells Cosmo and Wanda, "If I don't make it...tell my dad...he's weird."
    • In "The Gland Plan", Cosmo and Anti-Cosmo needed each other's fa giggly gland. Cosmo said that, if he doesn't survive, Anti-Cosmo must stay away from Wanda. Anti-Cosmo said that if he survives, Cosmo can take Anti-Wanda.
  • American Dad!: After getting shot, Stan says, "Tell Roger... he's annoying."
  • Futurama's Neutral Commander: "If I don't survive, tell my wife "Hello."
  • Rugrats: Chuckie was about to do something scary and said, "If anything happens to me, Tommy, I want you to have my potty."
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • "I Had An Accident": "If I don't come back, Chip... take care of Gary." ("Chip" is a potato chip he befriended when a severe injury left him afraid to go outside. When he left, Gary ate Chip.)
    • In "Snooze You Lose", Patrick asks SpongeBob to tell his parents he loves them when he's about to let out a huge burp.
  • In Daria's "The Road Worrier", Daria is quietly mortified that she is forced to get out of the van and pee in the woods because of them being stuck in heavy traffic. "If I'm not back in 10 minutes... Don't. Send. Help."
  • In one episode of the original ThunderCats, Mumm-Ra tricks Lion-O and Tygra into fighting each other, triggering a curse which causes the Sword of Omens to break in half and lose its powers. Lion-O embarks on a dangerous mission to get the Sword reforged and says that, if he doesn't return, Tygra will be the next Lord of the Thundercats.
  • In A Garfield Christmas, when Jon gets Garfield to put the star on top of the Christmas tree and Garfield accepts, he says, "If I'm not back in an hour, send a banana cream pie after me."
  • In the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "Turtlemania":
    April: If I'm not back in 10 minutes...
    Irma: Can I have your blue sweater?
    April: Call the Turtles.
  • In The Mighty B!:
    Bessie: (about to use a taffy puller) Happy, if anything happens to me, I bequeath to you the hive. (Beat; then, to her brother) You can have my shoes.
  • In Over the Garden Wall, when Greg is being turned into a tree, he gives Wirt the Fact Rock, and asks him to return it, saying that it was stolen. Wirt protests that it doesn't matter, and that he can do so himself.
  • The ninth episode of Around the World with Willy Fog revolves around the characters rescuing Princess Romy from the funeral pyre on which she is to be burned along with the body of her late husband. Rigodon, unwilling to let Fog risk his life and fortune, resolves to carry out the rescue himself and, knowing he may be killed in the attempt, asks Tico to look after Fog "if anything happens to him".
  • Steven Universe: In "Keystone Motel" Greg was going to meet someone who was selling car wash brushes online, and told Steven and Garnet "If I'm not back in an hour, call the police." Steven calmly agreed.
  • In the Defenders of the Earth episode "Audie and Tweak", Flash, Mandrake, the Phantom and Lothar attempt to infiltrate the underground base from which rogue computer Tycos (designed by Ming's eight-legged robot, Octon) is operating. But there's only one way into the base and that's protected by a powerful nerve gas which paralyses any human who attempts to enter. After the Phantom and Mandrake have both fallen victim to the gas, Flash tries (unsuccessfully) to evade it by wearing an oxygen helmet. Before entering the base, Flash tells Lothar to, should his attempt to avoid getting gassed fail, go back to Monitor for explosives and blow up the base. When Lothar attempts to object, Flash tells him that Tycos has to be stopped, implying that this must happen even if it means sacrificing three lives.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Skooled!", when Princess Pony Head thinks she's about to go into battle against the Big Bad, she tells her companion Princess Arms she has something she wants to tell her in case she dies.
    Pony Head: If I don't make it out of this, I want you to know... I hate you.
  • House of Mouse: In the short "Mickey's April Fools", Mickey tricks Mortimer into thinking he ran him over with his car, and the "dying" Mickey asks him to tell Donald that he never understood a word he said.
  • Snooper and Blabber: Snooper is on the trail of whoever has sent out robot duplicates of him on a crime spree. He and Blabber trail it an evil scientist's hideout. Snooper enters and tells Blabber that if he's not out in thirty minutes to call the police. Blabber mistakes the order as thirty seconds, so he called the police then.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the series finale, Twilight confides in her older brother Shining Armor that the mission she and her friends are about to embark on is essentially a suicide mission and if they die, all their hopes will be pinned on Flurry Heart, his infant daughter. This also serves as a goodbye from Twilight to her BBBFF (Big Brother Best Friend Forever) and as Twilight leaves, Shining turns away to cry while Flurry innocently waves goodbye to her aunt.


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Alternative Title(s): If I Dont Return


Honk Three Times and Drive

Just before Honeybee confronts Roy in his house, she tells Beef if she's not out in 15 minutes then he has to honk the horn three times and drive through Roy's front door.

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Main / IfIDoNotReturn

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