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Makes Us Even

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Alice does something for Bob, such as saving his life. Later, Bob returns the favor, and one or the other will say "that makes us even" or "I guess we're even".

A malicious variant is when Alice wrongs Eva (or at least Eva thinks Alice did), and when Eva gets her revenge, she will say "NOW we're even." Can be a Disproportionate Retribution if a character thinks he's getting even, but goes overboard, which may lead into an Escalating War or a Cycle of Revenge.

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Compare Debt Detester and My Fist Forgives You; contrast You Owe Me.


Examples:

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     Anime  
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Asuka readily volunteers for the most dangerous part of the battle plan in Episode 11, explaining that she wants to get even with Shinji for risking his life to save hers in Episode 10.
    • In Episode 15, Misato realizes that Kaji is a Double Agent and confronts him with it at gunpoint. When Kaji sincerely apologizes for keeping his spying a secret from her, Misato lowers her gun and replies that she forgives him, saying that it makes them even for him seeing to it that she got home safely while she was drunk the night before.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, Sonic and Knuckles save each others' lives during the fight with Metal Robotnik, and Knuckles declares that they're both even. Later, during the fight with Metal Sonic, Sonic steps on Knuckles' head (at Super Speed)! After the fight is over, Knuckle punches Sonic in the head and declares that they're even again.

     Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin "kidnaps" Susie's Binky Betsy doll and demands a $100 ransom for her return. Susie leaves an envelope by a tree as the note said, but instead of money, Calvin finds a note simply saying "Now we're even!" Calvin is confused, but then sees Susie running off with Hobbes.

     Film  
  • Any Which Way You Can
    Jack Wilson: [after Jack rescues Philo in a brawl] I believe that makes us even.
  • Batman Begins: The malicious variant of the trope comes up when Ra's Al Ghul burns down Wayne Manor and leaves Bruce to die.
    Ra's: Justice is balance. You burned my house and left me for dead. Consider us even.
  • Eragon: Murtagh saves Eragon's life part way through the film. In the final battle Eragon takes care of the enemies who have Murtagh surrounded:
    Murtagh: [Shouts as Eragon flies away] I guess we're even!
  • The Matrix Reloaded: At the end of The Matrix, Trinity saved Neo's life by giving him a How Dare You Die on Me! speech. In Reloaded, after she's mortally wounded he returns the favor. Afterwards:
    Trinity: I guess this makes us even.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: When Jack is exposed as a pirate after saving Elizabeth from drowning, he promptly takes her hostage in order to escape. He justifies it using this logic. "I saved your life, you saved mine. We're square."
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: The Sheriff of Nottingham invokes the malicious version when he slashes Robin's chin with his sword before their Final Battle, as payback for Robin scarring his cheek earlier in the film.
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     Literature  
  • The Hunger Games: When Thresh saves Katniss from Clove at the feast, he says it's because he owed her for being kind to Rue and tring to save her. He then says that he doesn't owe her anything anymore.
  • Magic: The Gathering: In Agents of Artifice, Jace saves Baltrice's life on Kamigawa, and she returns the favor when she catches him trying to escape from the Consortium, but decides to give him a head start.
  • In Mirabile, Annie Jason Masmajean rescues Kelly Crafter Sangster from an enraged kangaroo rex despite personally preferring the rex, and Crafter Sangster goes out of her way to find a way to help Jason Masmajean so they can be even. Jason Masmajean is bemused by the whole thing, since as far as she's concerned she was just doing her job and Crafter Sangster doesn't owe her anything.

     Live Action TV  
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Enemies"The Mayor hires a mysterious sorcerer to forcibly remove Angel's soul. Instead, he only pretends to do so in order to help the heroes with a Fake Defector scheme. His job done, he declares that his debt to Giles is repaid, with an added warning not to call upon him again.
    Willow: His debt to you is repaid? What did you do?
    Giles: I introduced him to his wife.
  • ''Friends: In "The One With The Boobies", Chandler accidentally walks in on Rachel stepping out of the shower topless and she feels humiliated. So she decides to find a way to walk in on him in naked in the shower to make then even... but ends up walking in on Joey instead. So Joey tries to get revenge on Rachel in the same way, but walks in on Monica instead.
  • MacGyver
    Jack: Well, MacGyver, you saved my hide again. I guess that makes us even.
  • In the Russian miniseries Messing (about the life of the so-called psychic Wolf Messing), the young Wolf is blackmailed by Baron Heinrich Canaris to use his Psychic Powers to help him cheat at a casino. Wolf helps him make a fortune on just a few bets at the roulette and then forces the casino owner to allow them to leave with the winnings. Canaris is grateful and leaves. Years later, as Hitler is bringing Germany closer to war, Messing encounters Canaris again, who is now a high-ranking Nazi officer. After Messing is declared an enemy of the state (for publicly foreseeing Germany's defeat and, well, for being a Jew), Canaris starts a manhunt on him. Messing is eventually captured at his home village in Poland. Canaris tells him that the reward for his head is about as much as Messing helped him win back in the day, so he allows him to leave, citing this trope. This doesn't last long, though, as Canaris catches up to him pretty quickly and takes him captive. Messing is able to flee Germany into USSR. Eventually, near the end of the war, he visits a prison camp and encounters Canaris for the final time. The broken man is no longer able to resist Messing's powers and is mind-controlled into trying to escape, resulting in the guards shooting him.
  • Roswell episode "Max in the City"
    Max: Liz. You brought me back.
    Liz: I guess that makes us even.
  • Smallville: In "Warrior", Clark is hypnotized by Zatanna into making out with her, but he regains control and spends the rest of the episode worrying over how Lois will react to this. He finally confesses what happened to Lois, who is quick to forgive him... but then grabs a random guy and kisses him just to even the score.
  • This is part of Shran's M.O. on Star Trek: Enterprise. Anytime Captain Archer does him a favor, he quickly finds a way to repay him, simply because he hates being in anyone's debt.
  • Supernatural: In the episode "Red Sky At Morning", Sam and Dean, while fighting the Monster of the Week, end up saving the life of recurring rival Bela; at the end of the episode, she gives them $10,000 in cash, saying that makes them even.
    Dean: So hocking over ten grand is easier for you than saying "thanks"? Wow, you're damaged.
  • Mr. Chapel's Catchphrase in Vengeance Unlimited is "We're even, and I'm out of your life forever." Invariably, the response to that is, "Thank God."

     Tabletop Games  
  • At least in Forgotten Realms, Drow have an interesting variation: they usually just don't get a concept of altruism, but Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is counterproductive more often than not, so what to do? Keep scores. Drow being more inclined to act for sport than out of obligations, it's not a score of debt, but a score in the "game".
    Liriel: So, what's the score now?
    Fyodor: The score?
    Liriel: The score. You know: I've pulled your tzarreth out of the fire four times, you've saved mine three — that sort of thing. It says something, doesn't it?

     Videogames  
  • In Dragon Age II, Stroud will declare that he and Anders are even if Anders persuades him to save a tainted Bethany / Carver by making them a Grey Warden. Why he owed Anders is left to the player's imagination.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, after helping out The King with a series of quests, he'll say that he owes you a favor, which you can cash in immediately for either a fake passport to The Strip, money or membership into his gang. However, if you hold onto it, during a quest where the NCR wishes to make peace with the Kings, you can use your favor to make him agree to settle things with the NCR, at which point he states that you're now even.
  • In Halo 3, Sgt Johnson says "We're even... as long as we're only counting today," after being rescued by Master Chief, Johnson having found and revived Master Chief earlier.
  • In Saints Row 2, Begging for his life, Julius Little attempts to convince the protagonist that they wouldn't be alive without his interference, and the protagonist responds, alerting Julius to the fact that the protagonist wouldn't have been in a coma if it weren't for him. In a grave voice, Julius mutters that this makes them even. The protagonist answers this with shooting Julius in the head, and dropping a "Not really."
  • In Star Fox 64, if you save Falco in the asteroid stage, he will appear a bit later and kill a couple of enemies, telling Fox "that makes us even". It is unknown how killing a few enemies that would heavily damage Falco is even to killing a few foes that would have great difficulty heavily damaging you.
  • A one-sided variant in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves from Nathan Drake toward Tenzin since they speak different languages. Nate catches Tenzin's hand and pulls him up to the ledge declaring "You owe me one, pal", of course, with Nate's luck this lasts about fifteen seconds before Tenzin has to save him from the ground breaking beneath his feet.

     Western Animation  
  • Gargoyles: When Demona battles the original Hunter in "City of Stone", she allows him to escape to save MacBeth. Years later, in the battle when MacBeth kills the original Hunter, he saves Demona, prompting the following exchange.
    Demona: Thank you.
    MacBeth: I owed you.
    Demona: Good. That means we're even.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Spike at Your Service" has Applejack save Spike's life. Spike then reveals that thanks to the Noble Dragon Code, he has to serve her for the rest of his life. She quickly gets tired of his attempts to help her do everything, and her requests for him to stop get ignored. Rainbow Dash suggests that Spike should be given a task so pointless and impossible that he quits, but that plan doesn't work either. Eventually, the ponies engineer a situation in which Spike has to rescue Applejack to make them even.
  • Used and parodied in Phineas and Ferb. Baljeet one day saved Buford's life, and thanks to "The Bully Code" becomes his slave for the rest of his life. Baljeet quickly becomes creeped out and annoyed by this "60's sit-com cliche", and spends the episode trying to settle the score. Eventually, he's convinced that having someone follow his every whim isn't such a bad thing... at which point Buford saves his life, making them even.
  • In the Reboot episode "When Games Collide", Bob saves Megabyte from a Tyrannosaurus with a tank for a head while the two are in a game. Later, when Megabyte has Bob and his friends dead to rights at the end of the episode, he lets them go, saying that now they are even.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons. Moe asks a man to open his store again, a few minutes after he's closed for the night, reminding him of when Moe saved his life by pulling him from a burning car. The man agrees but says that this makes them even.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "The Antilles Extraction", Kallus gives this explanation when asked why he's helping Sabine, Wedge and Hobbie escape Skystrike Academy:
    Kallus: Tell Garazeb Orrelios, we're even.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Starscream name-checks this trope when he has Arcee at his mercy and spares her, pointing out that she had done the same in their last fight.
  • Teen Titans: During the Wacky Racing episode "Revved Up", Red X turns up to compete for the briefcase containing a prized possession of Robin's. After Robin saves his life, however, Red X repays him by knocking just about every other villain out of the race.
    Red X: [to Raven] Tell Robin we're even - for now. [teleports away]
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Remember How That Feels

After Clark confesses to Lois about kissing Zatanna, she forgives him, but not before planting a kiss on a random guy passing by, just to make them even.

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