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Long Last Look

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Goodbye cruel world! Goodbye cruel lamp! Goodbye cruel velvet drapes with the cute little curtain-pull cords, cruel though they may be I... note 
"As he walked into the blinding golden light, he turned and looked back over his shoulder. He smiled at me … I never saw Superman again."
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Subtrope of Meaningful Look.

The characters have lived in their home for many years, perhaps even growing up there. But, unfortunately, plot happens, forcing them to leave the place, and they may not see it again. Maybe it's burning down, or perhaps the change is political. Maybe they have decided to move on their own volition. Regardless, the feels are deep...

As the character is leaving, they will take a moment to glance around, saying goodbye to their home, their possessions, and/or their past. They are being forced along by what is, but in this brief moment they cling to what was one final time. And then they leave.

May be followed by Watching Troy Burn.

Sometimes people will say goodbye to someone as well with one last look, especially dads who are disappearing or your loved ones who leave you. May be blended with Affectionate Gesture to the Head and other Body Language tropes, especially if the moment is shared by friends or family.

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This trope very often plays a vital role in a Grand Finale of any genre.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 
  • In the last episode of Azumanga Daioh, as the girls are leaving the school for the last time, Chiyo-chan takes one last look back at it and bows.
  • During the first arc of Sunday Without God, after her village has been massacred and burying all the dead as per her duty as a gravekeeper, Ai gives her now-empty village one last look before following Hampnie as he disregards his duel with Julie.
  • Naruto: A Flashback shows Itachi murdering the whole Uchiha clan, including his own parents. He's then seen by the young Sasuke; Itachi then immediately flees from the place, pausing midway to look back at Sasuke one last time with tears in his eyes.
  • The House Of Small Cubes by Kunio Kato centers on an elderly widower living in the uppermost chamber of a house. All the lower chambers are submerged due to rising global sea levels. When this man drops his best tobacco pipe down the floor hatch, he must don a pressurized diving suit to retrieve it. In each chamber during his descent, this man has a flashback to a memorable moment in his life, finishing at the ground level. It was there that he met his bride-to-be, and dreamed the grand dreams of youth. After one last look around, the man begins his ascent, pipe in hand.

    Fan Works 

    Film-Animated 
  • At the end of Toy Story, Andy's Mom tells him and his sister Molly, "Everybody say 'bye, house'!" as they leave to move to another house. Andy does, but as Molly is still a baby, she just makes noises.
  • This is invoked by Carl in Up when he asks the nursing home workers to let him "say one last goodbye to the old place." They feel sorry for him, so of course, they agree. In reality, he's stalling so he can launch the balloons to fly his house to South America.
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    Film-Live-Action 
  • The film of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has a scene similar to this when Harry and Hermione leave their respective homes.
  • In the film of Eragon, when Eragon and Brom are fleeing, Eragon pauses and looks back at his burning house one last time.
  • In The Day After Tomorrow, the President takes one last look around the Oval Office before evacuating to Mexico.
  • In James Bond film Skyfall, 007 takes one last look at his childhood home before it explodes in flames—and declares "I always hated this place.". Then he does it again two minutes later, Watching Troy Burn from a little further away and not inside it this time, but on the moor just as Silva catches him.
  • You've Got Mail: After selling off the stock and emptying The Shop Around the Corner, Kathleen returns for one last look of the empty rooms and bookshelves. For a moment she sees herself as a child, twirling with her late mother. Then she takes the little golden bell that hangs on the door, locks up, and leaves.
  • Played somewhat for Black Comedy in The Rocky Horror Picture Show when Riff Raff is preparing to kill Dr. Frankenfurter. He tells him to "Say goodbye to all of this!" while gesturing around with his gun. (The audience, of course, replies, "Goodbye, all of this!")

    Literature 
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Before Frodo leaves Bag End he wanders around the familiar rooms. He later says "Goodbye!" and waves his hand to the dark blank windows while standing outside it.
  • Mentioned at the end of a couple of the Gor books. Tarl looks back to see the terrain because his Friend of the Book has taught him that a native looks back on his journey every once in a while to see what it will look like on his return journey - even though Tarl knows that he won't be coming back there.
  • Cathy looks back on her life in Flowers in the Attic before she and her mother and siblings flee her childhood home, which is being taken by debt collectors, to go to Virginia to live with her grandparents. She gazes sadly around her peppermint-striped bedroom before her mother tells her they have to go.
  • After being rescued by the protagonist of The Night Land, Naani returns to the Last Redoubt with him. Before beginning to ascend the gorge which separates the land of the Lesser Redoubt (where Naani grew up and which is now utterly destroyed, along with everyone she has ever known) from the area between it and the Last Redoubt she takes a Long Last Look back. The narrator observes to himself that no other human being, through "all the quiet eternity," will ever see the place again.
  • A very old Hazel from Watership Down is visited by the spirit of Elahrairah, the Prince of Rabbits. Hazel is invited to join Elahrairah's inner circle, which means Hazel has come to the end of his life. Hazel takes one good look at the warren and its many rabbits, whereupon Elahrairah assures him: "They'll be fine. They, and thousands like them." Hazel then lays on the morning grass and breathes his last.
  • Persuasion:
    • When the Elliots must retrench and let their ancestral house Kellynch Hall, Anne Elliot wishes they settle in the country in the same neighbourhood, but her father and sister Elizabeth choose a house in Bath (which Anne especially dislikes). As the responsible one, she has to deal with packing and cataloguing their things. She also tells her sister Mary that her neighbours asked her to visit them to say goodbye.
      Anne: And one thing I have had to do, Mary, of a more trying nature: going to almost every house in the parish, as a sort of take-leave. I was told that they wished it.
    • Anne, pensive and solitary, spends some time looking around an empty drawing room at Uppercross mansion house where she spent her autumn, visiting her married sister and her in-laws. And moments later she looks at the house and the village as she leaves to stay with her friend Lady Russell. Her former fiance was frequenting the place as well but is still angry at her and likely to marry someone else.
      [A]nd yet, though desirous to be gone, she could not quit the Mansion House, or look an adieu to the Cottage, with its black, dripping and comfortless veranda, or even notice through the misty glasses the last humble tenements of the village, without a saddened heart.
    • Captain Harville talks to Anne about how it feels when a naval officer takes a last look at his family.
      Captain Harville: If I could but make you comprehend what a man suffers when he takes a last look at his wife and children, and watches the boat that he has sent them off in, as long as it is in sight, and then turns away and says, 'God knows whether we ever meet again!'

    Live-Action Television 
  • Doctor Who:
    • In episode "Closing Time", the Doctor believes he is going to his death. Before he goes, he stops and says goodbye to a group of random children.
    • In the episode "The Wedding of River Song", the Doctor glances around the TARDIS as he resolves himself to face his death.
  • On the final episode of ALF, the title character takes one last look around the Tanner family's house before leaving with them to go get picked up by his Melmacian friends.
  • Friends:
    • In the episode "The One Where Mr. Heckles Dies", Chandler learns a lesson while going through the titular character's belongings. Once the apartment is empty, Chandler is the last one to leave. He takes a moment of silence, looks at the place and says a farewell to Mr. Heckles before closing the door.
    • In the finale, the gang tearfully look around Monica and Chandler's apartment. It has been their base and hanging out place for most of their twenties and early to mid-thirties. Now Monica and Chandler decided to buy a house and move to suburbs with their twins.
  • Parodied by Genre Savvy Meta Guy Abed in Community. He spends part of the first season finale practicing this trope, deciding on what's the best one-liner to end the season and honing his "look meaningfully around the setting and walk out the door and turn off the light to signify it's over" act.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • "Lord Snow": Lord Eddard Stark and his wife Lady Catelyn share a tender farewell before she returns from King's Landing back to the north. He keeps watching as she leaves on horseback.
    • Missandei's only memory of her home is the view of her burning village as the boat she was on sailed away.
  • In the final episode of M*A*S*H, the various characters say goodbye as their home for so long is being dismantled around them. The only character who does not look back is Colonel Potter, a veteran of three wars, who rides his horse off into the sunset in a manner reminiscent of old-time cowboys. Hawkeye Pierce, almost the last man to leave, looks down from his helicopter seat at an arrangement of white stones which spell out the word "GOODBYE".
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Trope Maker for the Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: After their dismissal from the radio station, the characters sing as they file out of the studio for the last time. Mary Tyler Moore pauses in the doorway, looks around with a bittersweet smile, and turns off the lights.
  • Once Upon a Time: Snow White returns to her devastated castle and shows her (now grown) daughter the nursery she'd prepared for her. When they leave, Snow can't resist one last tearful look at the room, representing the life they should have had.
  • In one episode of The Jeffersons, Louise goes back to the small apartment she grew up in; after having some Flashbacks, she takes one final glance around before leaving.
  • In the final episode of Growing Pains, the family is splitting up; Maggie's new job is relocating her, Jason, Ben, and Chrissy to Washington, DC, while Mike and Carol are staying in the New York area. With their furniture on the moving truck, they have a picnic on the floor of the living room to indulge in a Bottle Episode before leaving. As they make their final exit from the house, Carol looks back at the empty rooms and calls, "...goodbye."
  • This is a factor in one episode of The Golden Girls when Blanche learns that her grandmother's old house is slated for demolition. She goes back and breaks in, originally intending to prevent the demolition, but ultimately contents herself with taking a forgotten wind chime which had belonged to "Grammy." She takes one last look around the downstairs before making her exit.
  • General Hospital's Dominique Baldwin takes a sad look at the apartment she shared with hubby Scott as they get ready to leave for the hospital—she's dying from a brain tumor and knows she won't be coming back.
  • Sisters. The women glance around at the end of the series finale, walking out of their now deceased mother's home.
  • Mad About You: When Paul and Jamie are leaving the apartment to have a baby, they stop and look back for a moment. They aren't leaving the place for good, but recognize that they are walking into a completely new phase of life.
  • The IT Crowd finale ends with Roy, Moss, and Jen heading out the room, Roy giving his signature line one last time ("Oh, just turn it off and on again") and Moss giving one last glance around the room before flicking the light switch.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: When Sophia breaks up with Jake, he brings a box of her stuff to her work. He expects her to give him one last look to express her possible regrets. She doesn't look at him though, and Jake doesn't turn to have a final glance at her either.
    Jake: [to a receptionist] Tell me if she turns back for one last look. [rapid-fire] She turning? Did she turn? Did she turn?
  • Breaking Bad ends with Walt taking a long last look over the meth lab that his enemies, a gang of neo-Nazis he joined killed off, made to force his old partner, Jesse, to make their blue meth in. He admires the instruments and the quality cook that had been made with them before succumbing to his wounds.
  • In the Living Single Series Finale, after everyone part ways and Scooter comes back to bring Khadijah with him traveling around the world, she leaves the apartment with him and says that she's not looking back. A moment later, she reopened the door and looked back on the place for a few seconds more, said "Well, maybe just a little" and then finally departed with him.

    Music 
  • Music/Don Henley song "The End of the Innocence" has a long last look mentioned in the lyrics.
    But, somewhere back there in the dust
    That same small town in each of us
    I need to remember this
    So baby give me just one kiss
    And let me take a long last look
    Before we say goodbye

    Theater 
  • In Anastasia, the main trio sings "Stay, I Pray You" along with the others boarding the last train out of Soviet Russia. It repurposes the tune of the movie's hammy Villain Song into a truly poignant moment, complete with a very Russian bass voice - the same actor who plays Anya's father, the tsar, in the flashback/dream scenes.
  • In Fiddler on the Roof, the cast sings "Anatevka" as they prepare to leave their village.
  • In Our Town, Emily has died and has a famous monologue that includes her saying goodbye to quite a number of things.

     Video Games 
  • Mass Effect: If Shepard romanced a squadmate in the first game but not the second, before leaving for the Omega 4 Relay in Mass Effect 2 s/he'll spend a long moment looking at the photo on his/her desk of his/her lover from Mass Effect.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Seen in the Dalish Elf Origin. The player character, who has been infected with the Blight sickness, has no choice but to become a Grey Warden in order to survive. Before s/he leaves with Warden-Commander Duncan, s/he takes a sad look back at the loving clan s/he must leave.
    • The camera angle in the Human Noble Origin suggests that young Lord/Lady Cousland is taking a long last look at his/her dying parents while escaping per their orders.
  • In Final Fantasy X, before Yuna and company leave Besaid for their pilgrimage, they stop at the top of a cliff to look over the village for one last time. Tidus wants to keep moving, but Wakka shuts him up, telling him to give them a moment. What Tidus doesn't know is that Yuna doesn't believe she will ever see this sight again, as becoming a High Summoner as she intends inevitably involves the summoner dying.

    Western Animation 
  • Played for Laughs in Futurama, when Farnsworth's about to be taken away by the "Sunset Squad" to a compulsory retirement home:
    Farnsworth: Goodbye, cruel world! Goodbye, cruel lamp! Goodbye, cruel velvet drapes with the cute little curtain-pull cords, cruel though they may be, I... *Sunset Squad robot gives up waiting and knocks him out*
  • In the episode "A Necessary Bond" of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hondo and his pirate gang are forced off their planet by General Grievous. Hondo is the last of the evacuating pirates to get off his bike and makes sure to shut it down properly before making his way to the ship. Ends up being a subversion, though. His next appearance in the show's chronology has them back at their base.
  • Jonny Quest episode "Attack of the Tree People". A fire accidentally starts aboard Dr. Quest's boat Sea Quest, requiring the protagonists to abandon ship. Before going overboard, Dr. Quest tells the boat, "I'll miss you, old friend." Moments later, it explodes.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, the episode "Over the Edge" sees Bruce Wayne having to flee from Wayne Manor, possibly forever. He looks at the painting of his parents and says, "I'm sorry." He doesn't spare a second thought for any of his many possessions.
  • In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, the idiot Billy says goodbye to various features of the house, licking each one. Grim has to advise him against licking the wall socket.
    Billy: Goodbye inch-and-a-quarter molding. You framed the room ever-so-nicely. *slurp*
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Home Sweet Pineapple", SpongeBob says goodbye to the spot where his pineapple house once stood before it was eaten by nematodes. Subverted as a tear that he sheds upon doing so allows a pineapple seed that he unknowingly planted to sprout and grow a new pineapple for him.

     Real Life 
  • Nazi notable Herman Goering had a major one of those in March 1945, when he realised he had to abandon his home at Karinhall as it was in the direct path of the Russian advance into Germany. He took a leisured final tour of the estate and mansion house whilst his escort fretted about the nearness of the Red Army and willed him to get on with it. then, in a Magnificent Bastard moment, Goering insisted on personally pushing the Plunger Detonator which activated the explosive charges to destroy the building, thus denying the Russians a propaganda trophy.
  • One story about Albert Einstein has him telling his wife to take a long last look at their house before they leave on "vacation," because she's never going to see it again. They were actually fleeing Germany so that his nuclear research would not be used by the Nazis.


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