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If We Get Through This...

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Sam: All right. We don't have that much left. We have to be careful or we're going to run out. You go ahead and eat that, Mister Frodo. I've rationed it. There should be enough.
Frodo: For what?
Sam: ...the journey home.

Most characters in the thick of danger are living in the moment. What's happening now has got their full attention, and they don't dare think about what might happen next (either because the hope might distract them or the dread might break them).


So it's jarring to hear one of the band speak up and declare that, when this is all over, they'd better come to her birthday party next week. 'Poor sweet wretch!' the audience may think. 'She's doomed herself. She's far too fresh and innocent for the hard situation she's in.'

This trope has several different shades of meaning, but the major one is that it reveals the optimism — perhaps even the heroic spirit — of one of the band. Perhaps no one else dares hope, but she does. Depending on where the work falls on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, she may be proven entirely right. Her hope might even sustain her — she may be outnumbered 10-1 in the dark, but by gum, she is going to make it out just so she can go to that theme park or eat sundaes with her friends. On the other hand, her words can be the voice of ironic doom, either for herself or for any character she mentions who is a) recognizable as a character and b) not so major that their death would totally alter things. This use of the trope is entirely to twist the emotional knife — see how the situation has destroyed the one person who thought she could get out of it.


See also Retirony, a major development a random Red Shirt will never get to see, as well as Deadly Deferred Conversation and Fatal Family Photo. A kind of Tempting Fate. Compare Planning for the Future Before the End for cases where the imminent death of one of the characters is apparent. Also compare If We Survive This.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • A scene from Blood+ has one of these, mentioning a walk in Paris.
  • Inuyasha: It takes most of the manga for Kohaku to stop thinking that his only right is to die for the crimes he's committed in Naraku's name. It's lampshaded towards the end of the manga (shortly before the Final Battle begins) by Kohaku himself when he asks his sister if, when this is all over, he has the right to keep living, after all. Just as he asks his sister this, a hidden trap by Naraku is sprung, slicing through his neck to obtain the last shard needed to complete the Shikon no Tama... and incidentally removing the one single thing that was keeping Kohaku alive. He gets better.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion uses an extremely dark variant of this: during The Movie, in an attempt at Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! mixed with Cooldown Hug, Misato French-kisses Shinji and promises to "do the rest" when he gets back... knowing full well that she has been mortally injured and is moments away from death.
  • Happens tragically in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. They will never have the cake for augury celebration. Well, technically, they did. It's just that they got to it in what's effectively the afterlife.
  • In RahXephon, one of TERRA's fighter pilots reveals that he wants to ask out his superior officer if he makes it through the next mission alive. Naturally, he doesn't.
  • Sailor Moon: That thrice-damned chocolate parfait. One of the most well-done deaths in the series, and it's a villain death.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, this is done immediately after the legendary "kiss of doom."
  • Parodied to hell and back in the first episode of The Tower of Druaga, like everything else about the fantasy genre and anime:
    • When first meeting the crimson knight, Black Knight:
      Utu: Hey, Jil...
      Jil: What is it, Utu?
      Utu: You see... when this battle is over, I am going back to my hometown to get married.
      Jil: I see... Why are you telling me this now?
      (Utu charges and is instantly killed)
    • Later Black Knight returns and saves Jil from a dragon because he is The Only One Allowed To Defeat Him.
      Black Knight: And Jil, there is something else I must tell you.
      Jil: What?
      Black Knight: When this battle is over, I am going to return to my hometown and marry.
      (Black Knight is instantly killed by the dragon)
    • And finally the dark god in the final battle.
      "Jil... I am your father. And one more thing, once this battle is over, I plan to get remarried in my hometown."
  • In Gintama Tsukuyo gives Gintoki her pipe and tells him not to lose it, and if he does, he needs to buy her another one "on the surface" in the Hosen arc.
  • In Betterman, during a particularly dangerous situation, Keita asks his partner and Childhood Friend Hinoki on a date if they get out alive. And they do.
  • In Attack on Titan, before the trainees' first mission in Trost, Sasha managed to get her hands on a big slab of meat (a luxury since much land was lost to Titans). All the recruits decided they would share the meat once their duties were finished. Unfortunately for many of them, they never got the chance.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Inverted by Polnareff, who initializes this speech and turns out the only one of the three members presented at such time to survive the final fight of Part 3.
    • Played straight with Narancia from Part 5. In the climax, he briefly talks about everything he wants to do when he gets back to Naples, as well as when he sees Fugo, who parted ways with the group in Venice, again. Minutes later, the Big Bad suddenly attacks the group and kills Narancia.
    • Anasui thinks about marrying Jolyne after the fight. Like Narancia, he gets killed by the Big Bad before that will even happen.
  • In the final episode of Kill la Kill, right before the final battle, Satsuki stops her team from carrying out their tradition of breaking their teacups before a major battlenote , telling them that they will all be having tea again after the fight. This pretty much jinxes the whole thing. We get a false alarm when Gamagori gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice, but survives thanks to wearing a titanium undershirt. It's Senketsu who ends up dying, thanks to a Phlebotinum Overdose, which causes him to start falling apart. He uses the last of his strength to keep Ryuko from burning up in re-entry while having a moving last chat with her.
  • Invoked and parodied in Monster Musume. After Lala convinces the harem that Kimihito is doomed to die, Kimihito bravely stands up and declares to Miia, "If I make it home alive, I'm getting married!" Miia lampshades the fact this is a death flag, only for Kimihito to walk towards a road, spouting even more death flags, and then get hit by... a remote-control toy that's barely knee-high. Turns out he knew Lala's death omens were a bunch of baloney and he specifically invoked such a well-known death flag in order to prove it. (Strangely, Miia doesn't hold him to his promise.)
  • At the beginning of episode 23 of Fate/Apocrypha, Mordred and her Master make plans to celebrate their victory by going to a bar and demanding their best wines lest King Mordred wreck the joint... halfway through the episode, they're both dead.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Postboot Legion of Super-Heroes story "Widening Rifts," Saturn Girl tells Live Wire that if they get through this, she'll marry him. They end up as two of a group of twelve Legionnaires who are trapped on the team's satellite when it's sucked into a spatial rift, sending them who knows where and leaving them presumed dead by the teammates who stayed behind. The next story, however, focuses on this "Legion Lost," and gives the readers another whole year with them, alive, together, before they return home. Live Wire, however, doesn't come back with them. He does reappear later, though, in a very different shape.
  • Proves as fatal as a family photo, and incredibly fast, in Arrowsmith.

    Fan Works 
  • In HetaOni, the countries all discuss how, after they ALL escape from the mansion, they're going to have a huge party, and what they're going to do there. And we all know what happens next.
  • The Sanctuary Telepath, John and Janine and their world tour in case they finally defeat the elemental. They manage it, but things don't go exactly as planned.
  • In Son of the Sannin, Jiraiya promises Fukasaku and Shima that he'll complete his Sage training if he makes it through the Konoha invasion. And he does.
  • Serves as a Brick Joke in the The Mummy fanfic Fairy Tales and Hokum. Since Jonathan and his Old Friend Tom were going to the Sultan's Casbah before the Big Bad's mooks showed up and kickstarted the plot, Jonathan promises Tom that if they make it alive they will go there and he'll buy the rounds. They meet in a London pub in the epilogue and Jonathan does buy the rounds.

    Films — Animated 
  • Anastasia has a literal example in dialogue.
    Dimitri: If we live through this, remind me to thank you.
    [which Anastasia repeats in the ending sequence before Dimitri cuts her off]
    Anastasia: If we live through this, remind me-
    Dimitri: You can thank me later.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid discuss moving to Australia in the final moments of their Bolivian Army Ending.
  • In Rest Stop the policeman who has his legs broken says he wants to get home to his kid so he can apologize for the one time he yelled at him.
    "What a fucking stupid thing to think as I'm dying."
    He then realizes that the girl's life is more important than his own and orders her to kill him before they both get burnt alive. He gives her a gun and tells her to shoot him in the head. She misses.
  • In Get Smart Max told 99 that if they got through this one he'd ask her to marry him. Cue 99's utter annihilation of all the Mooks.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Sam announces apropos of nothing that he'd have liked to marry Rosie Cotton. Which, naturally, he later does.
  • In Das Boot, the Captain tells the crew that "it's half a bottle of beer for each" if they can make it safely back to La Rochelle. They do, but they're hit with an Allied air raid almost immediately after docking.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius tells Harry that "When all this is over, we'll be a proper family. You'll see." No, they won't. For anyone who read the book before seeing the film, this doubles as Dramatic Irony.
  • Used to good effect in Serenity, as they're gearing up for a last desperate stand and Simon finally tells Kaylee that he regrets never acting on her obvious desire to hook up. Kaylee takes this as fuel for her determination, but to the viewer, this (coupled with the recent realization that Anyone Can Die) creates more genuine fear for the characters' fate than most action movies produce. Of course it ends up being a subversion.
  • Subverted in The Film of the Book for The Guns of Navarone. When the team is about to leave the seriously wounded Major Franklin behind with the Germans, Corporal Miller says "When this is over, you'll buy me lunch." Major Franklin survives.
    • Subverted in the film as Andrea has stated his intention to kill Mallory after the war ends. Fortunately he decides to forgo his revenge.
  • In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve and Peggy make plans to go dancing together as Steve struggles to land the plane he's on safely. The plane crashes, and Steve misses his date by about 70 years.
  • Played for Laughs in Tango & Cash. Cash tells Tango that if he gets out of this alive...he's going to date Tango's sister Katherine. Tango is not pleased.
  • In Morning Departure, Armstrong was planning to the eponymous morning departure his final patrol, as he was planning to resign his commission and take up a lucrative job offer from his father-in-law. Needless to say, things to do not go as planned.

  • In Animorphs Jake does this in the next to last book, asking Cassie to marry him "when this is all over". Ends up a subversion, since they don't get married.
  • In addition to The Lord of the Rings example above, Legolas and Gimli make plans to go traveling together if they both survive the events ahead of them.
  • In The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Mike asks Mannie if, "when this is over", he'll have time to discuss humor again (this being Mike's favorite pastime). Mannie promises he will. Of course, Mike doesn't make it. Possibly only a semi-example, because the exchange happens when no one's in immediate mortal peril (and in fact at the moment things are looking more optimistic for the good guys than they have in months).
  • Irisis, in The Well Of Echoes is the only character who has any definite plans for what she wants to do when the war is over (become a jeweller), a fact which is casually mentioned a couple of times a book. After they finally managed to end the war - including finding a morally acceptable third option – she finally manages to reveal her love to Nish and have him agree to marry her. Just after that, Nish’s nightmare father turns up, everything goes to hell, and – on the second last page of the quartet – she is beheaded.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in Blackadder Goes Forth, in which Wide-Eyed Idealist George states that he would like them all to come together once the war is over and reminisce about the good old times. Blackadder comments that the best way for George to 'reminiscence' back to the war would be to dig holes in his back yard for them to stand in and have his gardener hide in the hedge and occasionally shoot at them.
  • Parodied in Bottom, while trapped atop a Ferris wheel, Richie remarks (in a vaguely American accent) that if he gets through the ordeal, he'll settle down with a good woman in the country, and raise a couple of kids. Eddie tells him they won't survive, and Richie replies by telling him to "hold on to the dream!" Eddie then asks Richie why they're talking such complete and utter BOLLOCKS!!
  • A non-action example in Boy Meets World: Shawn's father, in the hospital after a heart attack, promises his sons that he will stay with them this time. He promptly dies.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Grand Finale has an odd example, when Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles get together and discuss going to the mall after the First's defeat (mimicking a similar conversation from the second episode of this series). Which member of this conversation doesn't make it through the battle? The mall—it and the rest of Sunnydale are destroyed when the Hellmouth collapses in on itself.
    • Xander also proposes to Anya right before the battle with Glory. They both survive, but the wedding doesn't work out.
  • In Community episode "Modern Warfare": "What are you guys gonna do if you win priority registration?" As soon as Shirley mentions her kids, you know she's out of the game.
  • In Daredevil (2015), the season 2 finale has Daredevil declaring his love for Elektra and her talking about traveling abroad. Of course since Status Quo Is God, viewers saw her death coming from a mile away.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Throughout the revived series, the Doctor has doomed many good mauve shirts by promising them their survival or inviting them, or letting them invite themselves, onto the TARDIS before the danger has passed. They really should learn to stop doing that.
    • An exchange between two Mauve Shirts in "The Parting of the Ways". She sarcastically asks if she's supposed to say "If we get through this, maybe we could go for a drink?" When he admits that'd be nice, she first says "Tough" but then winks at him. Unfortunately for them both, they're up against the Daleks.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, back in 1996, when College-Ted and Marshall got trapped in a blizzard while driving to Minnesota and were in danger of freezing or starving to death, Marshall, who had been previously boasting that he couldn't be tied down by a woman and Lily was just one of a long string of girlfriends he was planning on having, confessed to Ted that he just realized he was in love with Lily and if he got through this alive, he was going to marry her. Ten years later, he did.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Averted Trope in "Change of Heart". Jadzia, bleeding out, tells her husband he should smile more. He replies that when the mission is finished, he will smile as much as she wants. The episode also averts Fatal Family Photo and I Will Only Slow You Down.
  • In Stranger Things' first season finale, Mike promises Eleven (who has been a human experiment her whole life, hence her name) that when the Demogorgon is defeated and Will is found, they'll have a normal life together with her as a member of his family (though Mike doesn't want to be Like Brother and Sister with Eleven, far from it), and also invites her as his date to the Snow Ball next month. Eleven disappears while saving Mike, Dustin, and Lucas from the Demogorgon. Mike learned she survived nearly a year later, but since she was taken in by Chief Hopper during that time, she doesn't move in with the Wheelers. Mike and Eleven do get to go to that year's Snow Ball, and do get their Relationship Upgrade, though.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, when Zaphod, Trillian, and Marvin are being eaten by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:
    Trillian: If I ever survive this, I'll get a job as Moby-Dick's dentist!

  • A Cut Song from Little Shop of Horrors, "We'll Have Tomorrow", was Seymour and Audrey singing about the wonderful life they were going to start tomorrow. "We'll have tomorrow/If we/Make it through tonight". They don't.
  • In South Pacific, Lieutenant Joe Cable ultimately resolves that, if he makes it through the war, he will stay in the South Pacific with his girlfriend rather than returning to the United States. Of course, he dies.

    Video Games 
  • Averted in Persona: the party promises two side characters that they'll go to Dreamland. The epilogue shows the five meeting up in Peace Diner.
  • Aeris in Final Fantasy VII does this on a near-constant basis. "One day, we'll look back on all this and laugh."
  • In Final Fantasy X, Tidus in retrospect sounded like this to the rest of the cast, talking about seeing places oblivious to that in theory, their journey should be Yuna's last. This is practically meta irony, given the late-game backtracking, retreading, and level grinding typical to the franchise, he does get to see all places again. Then it becomes clearer that it'll be the last time he will get to see them. Until the sequel, that is.
  • Inverted in Resident Evil 4 after Leon receives some backup in the form of some guy named Mike, who's piloting a helicopter, in that it's done after the danger has passed and it's the protagonist who invokes it;
    Leon: When we get back, drinks are on me.
    Mike: Yeah? I know a good bar.
    * Zealot shoots down the helicopter with a rocket launcher*
    Leon: Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike!
  • In the last level of Call of Duty 4, Gaz and Griggs talk about going out and getting drunk after the mission. Both of them die in the final showdown against the Big Bad and his henchmen.
  • In Defense Grid: The Awakening, the general will sometimes say during a battle, "if we get through this, I'd buy you a drink, if I could," since he's an uploaded brain with no physical body.
  • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War does this so much in chapter 5. All the lover convos are about going home, seeing their kids, Sigurd talks about getting compensation for everyone who helped him out in the war... And then come the flaming rocks. Whoever doesn't die at the Battle of Belhalla either vanishes or dies by some other means later, with the exceptions of Edain and Brigid.
  • If the player pairs Eagle and Sami in the final battle of Advance Wars: Dual Strike:
    Eagle: I want you to promise me something, Sami. Promise that if we both return from this battle alive...
    Sami: Oh no you don't! Stop it right there! If two people make a promise like that, one of them is going to end up dead! You might as well tell me that you're two days away from retirement! Save the promises for later, OK? We'll talk when we get back in one piece.
  • Metal Gear Solid has this exchange between Otacon and Snake after Sniper Wolf's death.
    Otacon: "SNAKE! What was she fighting for? What are you fighting for? What am I fighting for?"
    Solid Snake: "If we make it through this, I'll tell you."
    Otacon: "...ok. I'll be searching too."
  • Assassin's Creed III has an exchange late in the game between the modern Assassins, in which they discuss their plans for vacations and other forms of recreation once they've averted the impending destruction of all life on Earth. This turns out to be a tad optimistic.
  • In Ib, at one point Garry says that if he and Ib make it out of the art gallery alive, he'll treat her to macarons. He then revises his statement by saying they will go out for macarons because they will get out alive.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In the first game, a romanced Kaidan says he's "looking forward to some shore leave" with Shepard in their dialogue. You can either subvert this trope or play it straight by sparing him or leaving him to die on Virmire.
      • In a similar thread, Ashley will suggest taking her sisters around the nicer parts of the Citadel after everything's over. Like Kaiden, this depends on her survival.
    • In the Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3, Shepard's love interest will promise them some time off once they're done with the CAT6 crisis. Unlike most examples, they get to make good on it - the majority of the DLC consists of character interaction during shore leave.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair:
    • In Fuyuhiko's Free Time Events, he says that if he manages to escape, he plans on holding funerals for his sister, for Peko and for Mahiru, since he's responsible for the latter two's deaths. Fuyuhiko ultimately survives.
    • A somewhat shorter-term example in the fourth class trial, in which the lives of the innocent students depend on finding and uncovering the murderer. Hajime says that if they get through, he plans on revealing something he recently learned- that he does not, in fact, have a talent- since it's part of the reason why Nagito's acting even more oddly than usual, but they have more expressing concerns at the moment. Hajime and the other students, with the exception of the culprit, survive.
  • In State of Decay 2, a random survivor will occasionally muse that, when this is all over and society is restored, how weird it will be to have to go to work and clip coupons again.


    Web Original 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: After Krillin rescues Android 18, she thinks to herself "If we make it through this, I'm going to rock his four-foot world".

    Western Animation 
  • The fourth season of Winx Club gives this impression when Nabu proposes to Aisha in episode 11. Later, at the beginning of episode 24, Aisha tells Nabu that once everything is over, they can finally begin their lives together... shortly before Nabu sacrifices himself to stop the Wizards of the Black Circle.
  • Danny Phantom does this in the Grand Finale Phantom Planet.
    Danny: If we make it through this —
    Sam: When we make it through this.
    Danny: Right. When we make it through this, there's something I'd like to talk to you about.
  • Peg to Pete, in Goof Troop, when a Zany Scheme results in falling really really far: "If by some chance we don't die... I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!" (All involved wind up in Bandage Mummy status in the end, so she doesn't get to throttle him later.)
  • Donkey Kong Country, when DK and Diddy are about to sneak into King K. Rool's lair;
    Diddy: Oh boy. If we get out of this, we'll be the two luckiest apes alive.
    DK: And if we don't, we'll be the two unluckiest apes-
    Diddy: Don't say it, DK, Don't say it!

    Real Life 
  • Before crashing their heavily crippled jet, two pilots aboard United Airlines Flight 232 had this conversation:
    Fitch: I'll tell you what, we'll have a beer when this is all done.
    Haynes: Well I don't drink, but I'll sure as shit have one.note 
  • Subverted by Marshal Ney to General Drouet d'Erlon in the rout following the Battle of Waterloo:
    Ney: If we survive this, you and I will be hanged! note