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Makes Us Even

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"We'll call it even."

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.

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


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  • 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 Books 
  • Jew Gangster:
    • After the Jewish Mob and the Italian Mob agree to be Friendly Enemies and mutually profit from the sweatshop-union feud, Monk shoots one of the Italian gangsters as equalization for them killing one of the Jewish gangsters earlier.
    • Monk invokes this to justify him raping Ruby's sister Rifke, in response to Ruby sleeping with his wife Molly.
      "We're pals, ain't we? Share 'n share alike. What's yours is mine an' what's mine is yours."

     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.

     Fan Works 
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: In To Bring You Back, when Lea, Sora and Riku approach Even and Ienzo about making new replica bodies for Roxas, Xion and Naminé, Even makes several jabs regarding Axel's murder of Vexen in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories:
    Even: What, as a 'favour' to you? Might I remind you that one of you killed me?
    Lea: (takes a step forward and seizes Even’s lab coat by the lapel) Might I remind you that somebody once kidnapped two fifteen-year-olds, shoved them in a room with a bunch of Heartless, and waited to see what would happen? The way I see it, Even, we’re even. Are we clear?
    Even: C-crystal.
    • It comes up again in fal-tor-pan: Unversed/Rebirth when Lea makes peace with Ienzo over his involvement (such as it was) with what happened to Lea and Isa and Axel ordering the murder of Zexion.

  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): Alice needs the vorpal blade, which is guarded by the Bandersnatch, so to win the creature's acceptance she returns the eye that Mallymkin the mouse had stolen from it earlier in the film. Alice, meanwhile, has an infected cut on her arm; the Bandersnatch licks the injury and causes it to heal, leading Alice to observe with a smile, "I suppose that makes us even, then." They remain allies thereafter.
  • 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!
  • At the end of Godzilla vs. Kong, after Kong saves Godzilla from Mechagodzilla and the duo take out the robot, it looks like Godzilla wants to have another fight with the ape, who is injured and doesn't seem like he wants to fight, so he drops his axe while Godzilla returns to the sea peacefully.
  • 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.
  • Mulan: After "Ping" destroys the advancing Hun army with an artificial avalanche, Captain Shang declares that he owes Ping his life and that Ping has his trust. Then Mulan is revealed to be a woman; Shang feels betrayed, but does not execute her.
    Shang: A life for a life. My debt is repaid.
  • 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.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Donkey Kong tells Mario "Now we're even!" when they escape from the Maw-Ray using a rocket, Mario having saved Donkey Kong from drowning earlier.

  • 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 trying 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 
  • The Invisible Man (2000): "Frozen in Time" sees the Agency investigating the disappearances of assorted scientists. By the time Darien and Hobbes realize Chrysalis is behind these abductions, they witness Alianora getting Kate (Darien's former Love Interest from an earlier episode). After other plans fail, Darien has to exploit how he let Alianora walk away in "Ghost of a Chance" rather than try to arrest her. In response, Alianora agrees to let Darien leave with Kate, but not without a warning.
    Alianora: We're even now. Remember that the next time we see each other.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. In "Initiations", Chakotay saves the life of Kazon teenager Kar on three separate occasions, despite the fact that he keeps trying to kill Chakotay. Kar is an Ungrateful Bastard because this disgraces him in the eyes of his clan, but he eventually stops Chakotay from walking into a Booby Trap, causing Chakotay to say, "Twice more and we'll be even." Kar then forgoes two further opportunities to kill Chakotay.
  • 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?

     Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Resident Evil 2 (Remake): At the end of the game, Leon ends up battling the Super Tyrant on the underground elevator. Ada throws him a rocket launcher to help him put the Tyrant down for good, declaring they're even after spending most of the game going back and forth saving each other. Keeping track of these instances shows that she did owe himnote  and throwing him the rocket launcher evens the score.
  • 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.
  • Star Fox: Assault: In the second half of the opening stage on Fortuna, Falco will get chased by several enemies, grumpily admitting he owes Fox for saving him. He pays it back by dropping off a Smart Bomb before reaching the enemy base, declaring "That makes us even!"
  • 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.
    • Played for laughs in "Vendettas", where Vinnie gets Restrained Revenge on Goliath for unintentionally ruining his life several times (via hitting Goliath in the face with a bazooka-fired banana cream pie) and says "Now, we're even." afterward.
  • 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.
  • Subverted in The Owl House. Early in the series, Eda is called on to babysit the Bat Queen's children and in return is given a whistle to call in a favor alongside a rather substantial monetary payment. Roughly a season later, Eda uses the whistle to arrange a Palisman adoption event at Hexside, but the Bat Queen is so thrilled to have gotten the abandoned Palismen under her care new owners that she tells Eda to hold onto the whistle for an extra favor (which, due to the show getting severely cut down by Disney, is never shown).
  • 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 cliché", 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]


Video Example(s):


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.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MakesUsEven

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