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Meaningful Echo

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It's quite a popular device in fiction to reuse lines of dialogue. The Ironic Echo is a common trope built around this—when a prominent line of dialogue is repeated later, but with a flipped or surprising new meaning.

A Meaningful Echo is similar to an ironic echo, but without the irony. It occurs when characters, in their usual way, say things to one another. Normally, these things aren't all that notable or special—they're part of normal dialogue. However, later on in the story, one of these "ordinary" lines is repeated. But unlike the original line, it isn't in a normal, throwaway context. It's at a moment of emotional height, when the viewer or reader is deep into the work, making a callback to an earlier scene. Suddenly, the line isn't simple or meaningless anymore. It's heartwarming, tear-jerking, or awesome. If it had meaning before—however minor—it's now been expanded to a much greater context. It's gone from being something ordinary to something extraordinary.

Note that sometimes either of the people (the one saying it, or the one hearing it) may be completely unaware of its meaning, or even that it is an echo. Other times it is linked to Something Only They Would Say, when this results in The Reveal.

Compare Ironic Echo, Gag Echo, Flashback to Catchphrase, Dialogue Reversal, and Arc Words.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • The Memories of the Rain arc towards the beginning of the manga has Rukia briefly flashback to someone telling her there are two types of fight (for life and for pride). Towards the end of the Soul Society arc we're given both the context of that comment and the identity of the person who said them.
    • Chapter 352 has a rather meaningful, though quite sinister, echo of Orihime's scream of 'Help me' to Ichigo. Ichigo comes back as a hollow, obsessed with protecting Orihime from everything, who is only capable of saying 'You. I'' Needless to say, it shakes Orihime up pretty bad.
  • In Trigun when the reason for the heaviness of Wolfwood's bundled cross is that it's "because it's so full of mercy!" The cross is actually a gun, the Cross Punisher, in disguise and Wolfwood's an assassin in disguise, and when he says it (in a slightly self-satisfied way) Wolfwood is basically enjoying a nice bit of sarcasm that no one else, at the moment, gets. Near the end of the series, shortly after a redeemed Wolfwood has changed his ways and died defending the cause of trying to save everybody that Vash desperately believes in, Millie gives the Cross Punisher to Vash. He comments on its heaviness and Millie (Wolfwood's love interest) tells him that's because it's so full of mercy. And this time it is.
  • Chrono Crusade:
    • Chrono reacts with shock when Rosette overlooks the lights of a city and remarks "[It's] like each light is its own life." A later flashback reveals why: Mary said something very similar to Chrono right before Aion ordered him to kill her.
    • In another scene, a demon screeches to Chrono that he has nowhere to run to, and Rosette retorts "The place where Chrono can go back to was already decided four years ago!" In the very last chapter of the manga, the line is echoed before Chrono and Rosette part ways, when Chrono tells Rosette "Wasn't it you who said "The place where Chrono can go back to was already decided four years ago"? And that place is...wherever you are. So I'll definitely be back."
  • In the Pokémon Adventures manga, at the climax of the final chapter with Red vs. Green for the title of champion, they both repeat lines which they used right back in the first chapter.
  • Digimon
    • The exact lines may have been different in the Japanese version, but there's a moment in the movie, the segment known as "Our War Game," in which the Mons are fighting Diaboromon and the kids are back home acting as Mission Control. When they're cut off, Izzy looks at Tai with his best Oh, Crap! face, saying "connection... terminated." Later, once they get everything sorted out and figure out how to beat Diaboromon, it becomes an awesome Pre-Mortem One-Liner when Omnimon ends the fight by introducing the enemy's skull to his BFS, and says triumphantly, "Connection... *kachunk!*...terminated."
    • In Digimon Adventure, when Yamato was convinced he was better off alone.
      Gabumon: I've waited in this world forever just so I could meet you, and only you!
    • In Digimon Adventure tri., when Gabumon, after losing his memories from the Reboot, asks why Yamato risked his life to save him.
      Yamato: I came to this world to see you, no one but you!
  • Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass has the philosophy that "The only ones who should kill are those who are prepared to be killed". He says it several times throughout the series, beginning with the climax of the first episode, directed at The Empire's soldiers who were about to execute him. Then in the final episode, he says it to his friend Suzaku to show that he's prepared to give up his own life for what he believes in as well as to atone for the countless lives he's destroyed on the path to that goal.
  • Death Note:
    • If you've seen the anime once, a couple of the shots in Episode Nine (the pencil and the closing smirk, to be specific) are going to stand out a whole lot more.
    • Throughout the first half of the series, Matsuda finds just about everything he says and does met with the response, "Matsuda, you idiot!" — mostly by L. This is always a throwaway line Played for Laughs. However, in the second half of the series, the story becomes bleaker and the joke fades away. Then Light revives it in the last episode in a context that is much less funny:
    Light: Matsuda, you idiot! Who the hell do you think you're shooting at?!
  • One Piece:
    • In one chapter, Vice-Admiral Tsuru tells Garp that "The sin rests not with you" in regards to Ace being found to be the son of Gold Roger. At the end of the chapter, Garp has a flashback to where Roger himself is telling Garp that "My child who is yet to be born bears no sin."
    • At Gold Roger's death, he told the whole world that his treasure is out there. When Whitebeard is about to die, he proclaimed that One Piece really does exist.
    • Queen Otohime always pinky swears with her children as a promise to make their future better. When she was dying, her oldest son Fukaboshi promises her that they will collect all the signatures she had long fought for and they will protect Shirahoshi, to reassure her that the future will be better. They seal the promise with a pinky swear.
    • In Mihawk's first appearance, he casually slices a ship in half. In Zoro's reappearance after the time-skip and having been trained by Mihawk, he slices a ship in half.
  • Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles has the phrase "what you can't see (on radar) you still can hit". First time, it's just a warning not to get cocky. Second time it's a means of getting determination to fight against superior (and stealthy) enemy.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • In the first episode, Kamina says to Simon, "Your drill is the drill that will pierce the heavens!" Then, much later in the series, Simon says to the Big Bad, "My drill is the drill that creates the heavens!" Which gets bonus points in the original Japanese for essentially acquiring this change of meaning by adding one syllable. There's also "Let's see you grit those teeth!"
    • Don't believe in me who believes in you... Don't believe in you who believes in me... Believe in yourself, Simon.
    • Kamina's last words of "Later, buddy." are heart-wrenching... But Simon joyfully shouting "Let's go, buddy!" back to him right before the series finale lets everyone know that yes, things are gonna be all right.
  • In the early episodes of RO Dthe TV the Paper Sisters occasionally hold "Three Sisters Votes". This is merely a bit of comic relief, since Michelle and Maggie always agree and Anita never gets her way. Then halfway into the series Nenene gets kidnapped, and Anita delivers a passionate plea to her sisters that they had to rescue her. When she's done, Michelle announces a Three Sisters Vote. This time the vote is unanimous.
  • Eureka Seven. Renton saying (in English) "I! CAN! FLY!!!"
  • A Tear Jerker on in Karin where her older brother Ren always gives her nudgies, much to her annoyance. In the end, for the first and only time, he affectionately pats her on the head, remarking how she always hated it when he was rough on her. Then, he wipes her memory of him and her vampire family. Karin's family was planning this from the very beginning, since they know that Karin isn't a normal vampire and was more human than vampire.
  • The title character of Irresponsible Captain Tylor has this: his first and last order to the crew in the series is "Do what you want to do." The first time, it leads to utter anarchy and mutiny. The second time, after Tylor has greatly defused the war, it takes on a whole new meaning, and the crew of the Soyokaze takes it to a broader level. Most of them quit the military; the marines become fishermen, while their dropship pilot and comm officer become models.
    • And then, they continue following it by joining up together again with Yamamoto and Tylor to recrew the Soyokaze after Yamamoto's been reassigned as captain of a new ship.
  • An example where the echo comes from the original speaker: Early on in the manga Dengeki Daisy, Kurosaki insults Teru by telling her "I'm not interested in puny, A-cup girls." Later, he tells the school council president, in response to her flirting, that "I'm only interested in puny, A-cup girls."
  • Early in Countdown to Heaven, the 5th Non-Serial Movie of Detective Conan, Genta chides Mitsuhiko when the later leaves some rice uneaten with "My mom says it's bad luck to leave even one grain of rice." When asked why he saves Ai at the end of the movie, during her attempt at a Heroic Sacrifice, Genta responds with the same line.
  • From Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • In Episode 16, Shinji, having a near death experience, relives a half-forgotten memory from his early childhood of being with his mother at a lakeside on a sunny day, where she tells him "Well, that's good for you." He later wakes up in the infirmary, to find Rei sitting on a chair by his bedside. Seeing that Shinji is awake once more, she starts to leave the room, telling Shinji that he can just stay in bed and relax for the rest of the day. Shinji protests that he is feeling just fine, to which Rei replies with "Well, that's good for you," in the exact same manner his mother said the line in his memory. Shinji instantly makes the connection and does an Eye Take in response.
    • In Episode 21, Gendo and Naoko Akagi have a conversation. He says he has no regrets about his work, and she calls him a liar, thereby offering the viewer a possible clue about Gendo's silent line in End of Evangelion, which was followed Ritsuko calling him a liar as well. It's further supported by the fact that Ritsuko was there and overheard them talking. She has a lot of issues regarding her similarities to her mother, making the repetition especially meaningful.
    • ...the "I'm home"/"Welcome home" exchange between Shinji and Misato. The first time, it takes place when Misato becomes Shinji's guardian and brings him home with her, more as a form of formulaic politeness: Shinji obviously still feels uncomfortable and out of place in Tokyo-3. The second iteration of the dialogue takes place after he ran away and was about to leave the city for good, but couldn't bring himself to get on the train. When he realizes that Misato came for him, these words show that he has accepted Tokyo-3 as his home. The third instance then takes place in The End of Evangelion, as Rei has decided to break free of Gendo's control, and come to Shinji's aid by reuniting with Lilith. She then calmly whispers "I'm home." as she looks upon the crucified white giant, before Lilith greets her with "Welcome Home" (via a capitation) and absorbs her.
    • A flashback shows Asuka desperately trying to get the attention of a man twice her age by exposing her chest to him, exclaiming "Look at me!". Soon after that, she is subjected to what was to become the Trope Namer for Mind Rape, and the deep rooted issues that caused her Attention Whore-like behaviour are unearthed. The chest she was showing were meant to prove that she's an adult, but she was actually acting like a kid that wants attention — therefore, the Mind Rape shows her repeating the "Look at me!" line at her mother, this time showing her as a small child, with her face full of tears and snot.
  • Done with an action rather than a word in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: In the first episode, Heero tears up Relena's birthday invitation in order to distance himself from her (saying afterwards, "I'll Kill You!"). In the last episode, Relena tears up the birthday letter Heero left for her in order to bring them closer (saying afterwards, "Next time, tell me in person").
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Karina/Blue Rose's not sure she wants to continue being a superhero anymore and asks why Kotetsu/Wild Tiger sticks to it so passionately when he gets even less appreciation or acknowledgement for it than any of the other heroes. He replies, "I just want to help people. What other reason could a guy need?" When Kotetsu asks if she's made her decision after she saves him at the end of the episode, she simply repeats the same his answer.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica Episode 9. "You can't carry her and fight because you'll get us both killed." First during a Big Damn Heroes moment, the second time right before a Tear Jerker Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In the 2001 anime of Cyborg 009, when Jet first picks up Joe, he jokingly asks him "Where do you want to fall?" Much later, he repeats the question as they're about to reenter the earth's atmosphere and burn up.
  • Naruto:
    • "Hey... you're not hurt are ya? Scaredy cat."
    • A massive Tear Jerker of one: Naruto tells Neji the reason he fights so hard is, "Because I was called a failure," then adds that Neji, being a "genius" should be able to do so as well. Over 400 chapters later, Neji tells Naruto the reason he gave his life for Naruto and Hinata is, "Because I was called a genius."
    • Near the beginning, Kakashi tells Sasuke, who's terrified upon facing Zabuza, the first opponent completely out of his league, that he will not let any of his comrades die. Much later, when Naruto and Kakashi are fighting Tobi, Naruto repeats this promise. This time, he's unable to keep it because of Neji's aforementioned Heroic Sacrifice.
    • When Sasuke was young and asked his older brother to train with him, Itachi would poke his forehead and say "Sorry Sasuke, next time." The last thing he does before dying is poke Sasuke's forehead and say "Sorry Sasuke, there won't be a next time." A complete and utter Tear Jerker.
    • In the very first chapter of the manga, Mizuki asks Iruka why he was trying to hard to save the demon fox. Iruka's response? "He's not just a demon fox...he is a member of Konoha. He is Uzumaki Naruto!" Nearly six hundred chapters later, Naruto releases the seal on the Kyuubi's chakra. "You're not just a demon fox... you are a member of Konoha. Let's go, Kurama!" One of the best uses of this trope ever, as Iruka's words were the first step to making Naruto into the person he is today.
    • When confronting Gaara, Naruto thought that the loneliness he had endured prior to finding friends was a "pitch black hell" which could have led him to becoming like Gaara. Years later Obito, who was often compared to Naruto, stated that the world became a "pitch black hell" after Rin died and he began his descent into villainy.
    • When asked why Zetsu fights for Akatsuki, his reason is stated to be "land". During the Fourth Shinobi War Zetsu reveals he is actually the will of Princess Kaguya, who intends to use the Elemental Nations as a nursery to grow an army of Zetsu clones.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • The protagonist Edward Elric's fatal flaw is his pride; he spends much of the story wielding godlike powers of creation and destruction and trying to find a way to surpass the law of Equivalent Exchange. He only admits to being only human twice in the story; once after his greatest failure, when he wasn't able to save Nina from her Mad Scientist father, and he is lamenting his own powerlessness. The other time is when he gave up his alchemy to save his brother's life, when he is choosing powerlessness over the loss of his sibling; his finest hour. In the echo, he calls back to the first incident with a similar statement to what he said then. The two speeches wrap up his Character Development nicely; the first time, he views his humanity as a weakness, and the second time, as the source of his strength.
      Edward: That's all I've ever been: just a tiny, insignificant human, who couldn't even save a little girl.
    • When Father kills the original Greed, he tells him "Return to whence you were born. Return to my depths and rejoin my soul. Return, Greed." This was him taunting Greed over the fact that Greed's greatest desire was to be independent of Father and live out his own ambitions. When Father is dying at the end of the series, Ed gives him a similar send off: "Go back to where you were born. Go back to nothing, Homunculus."
    • The series starts with Ed and Al battling Father Cornello, and ends with them battling another Father. Ed even repeats the final line of the first chapter after knocking Father to the ground: "Get up, you novice; I'm about to show you just how outclassed you really are!"
    • When Ed is first face to face with Truth at the start of the series, he asks him what he is, Truth replies "I am what you call the world, or perhaps the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps truth, or perhaps all, or perhaps one, and I am also you." At the end of the series, Homunculus/Father is standing before the Gate of Truth, and demands to know who he thinks he is. In his monotone voice, Truth gives him the same answer he gave Ed. Right before he gave a more Ironic Echo of Father's line about Truth delivering despair lest people become boastful and casting him into the darkness beyond the gate.
  • The protagonist of Wandering Son is transgender and whenever she talks about the issue she says "I want to be a girl" or "I wish I were a girl". The final line of the manga has her saying "I am a girl", which is the title of her book which is basically an in-universe version of the manga.
  • Uttered by Natsu in Chapter 329 of Fairy Tail, "I can hear it."
  • On the boat in When Marnie Was There, Sayaka's wants the diary to be her and Anna's secret which echoes the scene earlier at the same spot where Marnie asked to keep her relationship with Anna a secret. The connection is that Marnie's diary brought Anna and Sayaka together as friends.
  • The finale of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers has several, all of them used for Heartwarming Moment.
    • Shortly before splitting up to sabotage the Saint Cradle's engine, Vita tells Nanoha not to worry about her since she and Graf Eisen specializes in smashing stuff and "There's nothing in this world we can't destroy". During the penultimate episode of the season, while Hayate cradles a heavily wounded Vita who thought she failed to break the engine, Hayate tells her that against such valiance that she and Graf Eisen had shown, "There is nothing in the world that they can't destroy", just as a portion of Graf Eisen that had lodged itself into the engine causes an explosive chain reaction.
    • During an early episode, the six-year old Vivio trips while running to Nanoha-mama, and instead of helping her up, Nanoha encourages her to try her best "to stand on your own", until a worried Fate-mama protests and helps Vivio up. Come the penultimate episode, a worried Nanoha runs to the crater where Vivio was after Nanoha blasted her with five Starlight Breakers to free her from the control of the relic, and as she reaches the edge of the crater, a very bruised Vivio tells her not to come, "I can stand on my own", after all, she promised Nanoha-mama that she'd be strong.
    • The very first scene of the season is Subaru crying out for help, and Nanoha saving her and telling her that she tried her best and that everything is going to be okay. Subaru's part in the epilogue has the exact same dialogue, only she's playing the part of the rescuer rather than the child. Doubles as Bookends.
    • When talking about memories of her original owner in the third sound stage, Agito says "Strangely, my heart feels warm." Signum says the same thing to her the first time they unison.
  • School-Live! begins with Yuki lamenting about how much she loves her school. The lines are repeated in her head as she runs away panicking after killing her first zombie. Her happy delusions of school are shattering before her.
  • Mekakucity Actors: Both Episodes 1 and 11 begin with Shintaro and his power, the Retaining Eyes Snake, using Ayano's voice and form, having vague conversations about memory. About halfway through both sequences, there is a close-up of one of their eyes as it glows red, and the latter will ask Shintaro if he finally remembers what happened. By the second scene, he does.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: When Kobayashi tries to help Ilulu overcome her Tragic Bigotry towards humans in chapter 38, Ilulu says "You're trying to trick me." When all is said and done at the end of the chapter, Ilulu tearfully hugs Kobayashi and asks "Can you trick me?"
  • In The Royal Tutor, when prince Leonhard first warms up to the idea of Heine tutoring him, he only holds one of the fingers from Heine's offered hand, saying he would try that much. Later on, when Leonhard formally accepts Heine as his teacher, Heine only holds one of the fingers from Leonhard's offered hand. Heine even Lampshaded it, saying he was simply returning Leonhard's earlier handshake.

    Comic Books 
  • Sin City: "She says her name is Goldie." The first time he's referring to Goldie. The second time he's referring to Wendy, Goldie's twin sister, giving him his final night of passion before he's slated to be executed for the events of the story, who has just told him "You can call me Goldie."
  • "The dump. A breeding ground for insects and rodents," from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, referring to the Mutants gang. When Batman returns to the dump to take charge of the Sons of the Batman:
    Some rodents fly.
  • In issue #1 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a flashback shows Hamato Yoshi told that for the crime of killing his fellow Foot ninja Oroku Nagi, he must either live in shame or redeem himself via seppuku. After the turtles defeat Nagi's brother (and Yoshi's murderer) Saki, they offer him the same ultimatum.
  • During Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four, when everyone holds a birthday party for Franklin, his hyper-intelligent sister Valeria says, "Happy birthday, Retard." After the party, when mysterious stranger approaches Valeria to give her some cryptic warnings, Val recognizes him as an adult Franklin from the future and tells him, "Happy birthday, Retard."
  • In Astonishing X-Men, Kitty Pryde explains why she finally slept with Colossus in a You Only Live Once kind of speechnote . Three issues later, after Kitty is permanently phased in a shooting rocket lost in space and effectively dead, the same speech is used in narration showing the flip side of you only live once.
  • On their arrival in Copperhead Zeke complains about their new home; Clara justifies it by saying that these people need their help. Later Clara asks Zeke why he went into the Badlands and risked attack by the Natives; he justifies it by saying that Annie needed his help.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In chapter eighteen of Harry Potter and the Guardian's Light, Voldemort does a dark take on "you look so much like your father, but you have your mother's eyes."
    Voldemort: Well there's an interesting look. So... fierce. No fear like before. Reminds me of your father. [chuckles] Yes, you've no doubt been told that you have your mother's eyes. Even I noticed, and I didn't even know them that well! Of course, it's hard for me to forget the details of the night I died. Anyway, it is true that you have your mother's eyes, but that look... that look is your father's. It's the same look he had right before I killed him. Defiant until the end, he died like a Gryffindor. He died like a fool.
  • Happens several times in Kyon: Big Damn Hero, most notably after the student council calls Kyon to question him for fighting in the high school grounds.
    Kyon: I don't really believe that last part, but it's nice of you to say. I just want to point out, though, that a challenge against any one of us is a challenge against all of us.
    Haruhi: [after barging in the room] Trying to pick us apart by calling out my underlings when I'm not around, eh? Well, you've got a lot to learn! A challenge against one of us is a challenge against all of us!
  • In Luminosity, Bella tells a person who wants to be a vampire that being bitten — which is a requisite for turning — is "not fun". She is quoting, Alice, but the echo comes when Elspeth is with the werewolves. When saying that a friend is probably going to be ill for a week:
    Brooke: Bites are not fun.
  • In the Bleach Fanfic series Heirverse, these are are everywhere both subtle and blatant. Lie and I love are this to each other and Heir and cwst are full of painful Echoes to game.
  • In her debut episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Great and Powerful Trixie started her magic show (which ended up being her humiliating anyone who challenged her) with the phrase "Watch in awe as The Great and Powerful Trixie performs the most spectacular feats of magic ever witnessed by pony eyes!". At the climax of To Forgive Is Equine, she says it again, only this time it's in a much more heartwarming context as it's to mentally prepare herself to perform an extremely difficult spell which, at this point, is the only thing that can save Twilight Sparkle's life. Her stage name even becomes this whenever it's said after we know where she got it. It was her deceased father's pet name for her and a way to dedicate her shows to his memory.
  • The Back to the Future fanfic "Almanac Chronicles" ends with one from a quote from the Alternate Timeline from the trilogy's second movie. When Biff married Lorraine, he stated "third time's the charm". After killing Biff, she eventually married his son from a previous marriage and repeated Biff's line.
  • An example similar to the second listed echo for Naruto happens in doujin, in which Kakashi reflects on his ninja career, and believes that he failed to adequately instruct Sasuke and pass on his teacher, the Fourth Hokage's example. Naruto then repeats his line about not letting his comrades die, causing Kakashi to realize that he may not have gotten through to Sasuke, but Naruto is following his example.
  • Legacy of the Rasengan: Naruto: "Deception is an essential ability that all shinobi must have." Said by Sakura both times. The first is when she answers a question in class. The second after she royally fucks up with Naruto (stole something special to Naruto) and realizes he was using the sentiment to appear as the dead-last.
  • Two Halves: Naruto asks Hinata this question after they leave Konoha and before they go back: "Do you still want to be my partner?". Both times leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • In The Hunger Games fanfiction Some Semblance of Meaning, this device is used more than once. However, the most notable occasion would be when Vale reuses the "bedtime story" she told her district partner Kit on his deathbed, about a "place without districts" in the climax of the story, only this time, she is defying the Capitol, knowing very well that she will die for it.
  • Used in It's All in the Details, a Supernatural fanfic where Castiel at the end of Season Six goes back in time to the end of Season Two to change history; during his time in the past, he allows Jimmy Novak, his Vessel, to talk with Jimmy's past self in this new timeline, and later meets with his own parallel self, with both Jimmy and Castiel having similar introductions to their younger selves;
    Past Jimmy: Why the hell are you wearing my trenchcoat?
    Vessel Jimmy: Because I'm you, you idiot.
    —->Past Castiel in Claire: Who are you, who have taken her father?
    Castiel: I'm you... dumb-butt.
  • Relatively early in And Another Thing I Hate About You when Xander returns from an Expo in Las Vegas with Cordelia (whom he married), Buffy happily exclaims that he "brought back presents". After his Journey to the Center of the Mind, Xander brings back not only Cordelia but also, Faith, Oz, Ampata and Cordelia's long dead dog. Xander tries to play it off by claiming that he "couldn't go on a trip and not bring back presents."
  • Used in the Facing the Future Series where Ghost Tucker says the exact same things to Hotep-Ra when Hotep-Ra was conning Tucker.
  • Earlier in Apartment Gensokyo, it was noted that "interesting" was Reimu's favorite word and, from time to time, she would say it when describing something. Later, in the final chapter, she says it a final time.
  • In The Second Try, Asuka told her daughter Aki "Cry when you feel sad. Laugh when you're happy." so that latter wouldn't become a Stepford Smiler. When they're finally reunited at the end, Asuka tells her "Smile when you're happy. Cry when you're sad, and do both when you're happier than you've ever been."
  • In Volume VII of the supercrossover fanfic "The Terminators: Army of Legend", Alex "serenades" Ruby with "On Melancholy Hill"... He sings it to her (or tries to) again as she's dying in Volume X.
  • There are a number of recurring phrases in Those Who Stand for Nothing Fall for Anything, due to Light Yagami's Lemony Narration, which is dotted with catchphrases and Brick Jokes. One of these is his insistence that he only smokes socially - "My doctor doesn't even consider me a smoker." He says this at least three times where it's Played for Laughs, being one of the most obvious details where he serves as an Unreliable Narrator. Then, toward the end of the story, after Light has mostly completed his descent into madness, he throws out this quick line:
    Light: ...My doctor says I should stop smoking now.
  • The Sanctuary Telepath: John jokingly says to Janine that he "has the best sister in the world" when she tells that she'll cover for him and Helen. Almost a century later, when she saves him from the energy elemental he repeats and this time, really means it.
  • In This Bites!:
    • Robin tricks Cross into seeing her in her underwear because "It's an older sister's job to embarrass her younger siblings." A few chapters later, Cross finally gets his revenge on Robin that he hinted at back during the Alabasta arc by giving her a noogie.
    Cross: It's a younger brother's job to embarrass his older sister.
    • Earlier, Luffy assures Cross he does belong with the Straw Hat Pirates, by listing everything the rubber-man can't do by himself in a Call-Back to Arlong Park, to make Cross understand he can do that his captain is unable to.
    Luffy: I can't cook. I can't predict the weather, I can't swing a sword, and I can't lie. And I'm not that smart, either.
  • In the South Park fic The Mysterion Mythos, Karen McCormick gets a spectacular one when saving Kenny's life from the Cthulhu cultists who are planning to sacrifice his girlfriend to turn him into The Antichrist.
    Karen: Kenny McCormick is off limits.
  • In The Ever Twisting Wind: The Lightning Thief, Andi comforts Annabeth over her family issues by telling her they aren't worth it if they cannot see how amazing she is. Later, after Andi finally quits the Dursleys, Annabeth realizes how upset she is about their treatment of her and gently tells her:
    Annabeth: If they can't see what an amazing person you are, they aren't worth it. Someone very wise told me that once.
  • In the Dragon Age: Inquisition fanfic Walking in Circles, the first time Evelyn talked to Solas, she asks “Do you have anything that you wish to keep?” His answer was “My pendant.” as that necklace held the most personal value to him. Much later, when he remembers that question again while fighting a Templar who hurt Evelyn, his answer this time is “You (Evelyn).” as she looks on, wearing the very same pendant on her neck.
  • Advice and Trust: During the battle against Zeruel, Rei shouted "You... will not... harm them... I... will... not... permit... it!" while defending Asuka and Shinji. She shouts the exact same thing when protecting Kaworu from Armisael. In both cases, this happened soon after she realized she was in love with the person she was defending.
  • "Glory to the Maratine... long live Equestria." First said in How Do You Shoot A Gun With Hooves?? by Lord Tydal when he sacrifices his life to help Celestia and Luna defeat Discord, predicting just before how great of a nation the Princesses will create. He repeats it in The God Squad when he once more sacrifices himself to hold the line against Tirek, this time having seen the greatest of Equestria come to pass and choosing to die to save it.

    Films — Animation 
  • 9: "Sometimes, one must be sacrificed for the good of many..."
  • The Adventures of Tintin:
    Tintin: What was it you said, Captain? You hit a wall...
    Captain Haddock: You push through it.
  • Aladdin:
    • When Genie confides in Aladdin his desire for freedom, he mentions that he has "phenomenal cosmic power", but is bound to the magic lamp, an "itty-bitty living space". Aladdin uses this against Jafar in the climax when he tricks the power-mad tyrant into wishing to become a genie, himself.
    Aladdin: You want to be a genie?! You got it [...] and everything that goes with it! Phenomenal cosmic power...itty-bitty living space.
    • In the sequel Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, when Jafar shows himself for the first time to Genie and Abu, Genie tries to reassure Abu by saying that he's still a genie, "and genies can't kill anyone." Jafar, in response, turns his arms into dragons and blasts Genie, whereupon he revises his earlier statement: "But you'd be surprised what you can live through."
    • Jafar tells Jasmine to do what he wants, "if she wants her father to remain healthy". When prompted with the "genies can't kill" line, he reminds her "you'd be surprised what you can live through."
    • The line is used again when Jafar attempts to convince Abis Mal to use his last wish to free him from the lamp, providing him with all the treasure he could ever wish for as persuasion. Abis Mal is about to make the wish, but then asks how he can be sure the treasure won't disappear when he does. Jafar threatens his life in response, and when Abis Mal reminds him that genies can't kill, Jafar replies "You'd be surprised what you can live through."
    • And the last instance, when the heroes mourn Iago's Heroic Sacrifice, Aladdin mentions that he thought genies couldn't kill anybody. Cue Iago coughing up the Genie's earlier line, "You'd be surprised what you can live through."
  • Beauty and the Beast: "Please, let me go! I'll do anything!" Belle says it the first time, pleading for her father's life. Gaston says it the second time, pleading for his own life.
  • Big Hero 6:
    • Two characters at two different times exclaim that someone they loved is gone, to show how they've become corrupted by their own grief and rage.
    • When Hiro is having their breakdown and raging at Baymax.
      Baymax: Is this what Tadashi would have wanted?
      Hiro: TADASHI IS GONE!
    • When Callaghan is confronting Krei.
      Hiro: Is this what Abigail would have wanted?
      Callaghan: ABIGAIL IS GONE!
  • Cars
    • When Lightning discovers that the reclusive Doc Hudson is really a legendary racecar, the Hudson Hornet.
    Lightning: But you won the championship three times! Look at those trophies!
    Doc Hudson: You look. All I see is a bunch of empty cups.
    • And near the end of the climax, when Lightning forfeits the cup to help The King finish the race.
    The King: You just gave up the Piston Cup, you know that?
    Lightning: Ah, this grumpy old racecar once told me something: It's just an empty cup.
  • Frozen: "Only an act of true love can thaw a frozen heart."
  • Hercules:
    • After Pain and Panic botch their job to kill the hero when he's still a baby:
    Panic: Hades is gonna kill us when he finds out what happened.
    Pain: You mean, if he finds out.
    Panic: If. "If" is good.
    • Then when Hercules knocks Hades into the River Styx where the souls inside drag him to the depths:
    Panic: He's not gonna be happy when he gets out of there.
    Pain: You mean, if he gets out of there.
    Panic: If. "If" is good.
  • In Home, when Tip and Oh first meet, she locks him in a freezer and tells him "No, you cannot come into the out!" when he asks. In the climax, Oh locks Tip and Lucy in her car (to protect them from being crushed by the Gorg mothership) and tells her "Tip can't come into the out now."
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • "I did this..." — said first by Hiccup, then said again by his father after the final battle, when he finds Toothless without Hiccup, and believes his son is dead.
    • "We're vikings. It's an occupational hazard." said first by Stoick, then again by Hiccup right before fighting the Big Bad. Even though he did not overhear his father say it, he quotes his exact words.
  • Ice Age: The first movie has the line "That's what you do in a herd." It's first said by Manny when he saves Diego's life, and later by Diego when he saves Manny's life. Also, both instances happened in near-death situations, and in fact, Diego is apparently dying when he makes the same reply back to Manny, but somewhat differently, as their situations are reversed.
    Manny: You didn't have to do that.
    Diego: That's what you do in a herd.
  • The Incredibles.
    Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.
    Dash: Which is another way of saying no one is.
    • Paraphrased by Syndrome later on:
      Syndrome: And when I'm old and I've had my fun, I'll sell my inventions so that everyone can have powers! Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super... (evil laugh) will be.
    • Syndrome reenacts his "I'm your biggest fan" confession to Mr. Incredible as a call back to the time when Syndrome was just an excited boy, who wanted nothing but to be Mr. Incredible's sidekick and who was spurned by his idol and thus turned to evil.
    • "We're superheroes. What could happen?"
  • The Iron Giant:
    • The line "I go... you stay. No following!". Hogarth says it when he has to go home for dinner (and he obviously can't take a giant robot home with him). The Giant says it to Hogarth just before he saves the town via an explosive Heroic Sacrifice.
    • There's also Dean's advice to Hogart, "You are who you choose to be." Hogarth then tells it to the Giant to stop his rampage. And then it literally echoes in the Giant's memory as he heads off to his Heroic Sacrifice.
    • One word: "Superman"
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, the "Your story may not have such a happy beginning..." line is said twice, with a different ending each time. The first time it's "...but look at how it turned out!" and the second, more poignant version, is "...but that doesn't make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be."
  • The LEGO Movie: "See ya later, alligator." First time, Wyldstyle says this to Emmet as she leaves to access the control room in Lord Business' tower. Second time, Emmet says this to Wyldstyle as he forces himself to jump out of the tower, because it'll be the only way to disconnect the battery - that he's tied to - from the self-destructing mechanism that Lord Business had planned to electrocute everyone in the Think Tank. Role reversal, plus a drastic change of situation
  • Lilo & Stitch — "'Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten." Said first by Lilo, stopping Nani from taking Stitch back to the shelter and, without realizing it, saving his life. And then later, said by Stitch when he breaks Lilo out of Gantu's prison case.
    "You came back..."
    "Nobody gets left behind."
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride Kiara quotes Simba's previous 'we are one' speech back to him to make him understand that the outlanders are no different from them.
  • In The Little Prince (2015) there is the phrase "You're going to make a wonderful grownup." It's first said to the Girl by the Mother, who means that she will be a perfect adult, crafted from birth to be ready to become busy with matters of consequence. Later on, the Aviator repeats it to the Girl, now referring to her newly kindled resolve to grow up while holding onto her childhood memories, creativity, and the understanding that the superficial does not hold lasing happiness.
  • Madagascar:
    • "I'm thinkin' of a song."
    • Europe's Most Wanted: "Balloons for the children of the world."
  • Monsters, Inc.:
    • Albeit with a reversal:
      Roz: And I don't want to see any paperwork on this.
    • Monsters University
      "They're always hiring in the mail room."
  • In Mulan, there was a nice callback when the Emperor calmly told Shan Yu that "No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it" and after Mulan had stopped Shan Yu, the Emperor himself and everyone else bowed down towards her in gratitude.
  • Pinocchio: "Prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy."
  • Pocahontas:
    • The following exchange occurs between the title character and her love interest, John Smith, after the latter is arrested and sentenced to death by Pocahontas' father:
    Pocahontas: I can't leave you.
    John: You never will. No matter what happens to me, I'll always be with you. Forever.
    • Later, when John must return to England to recover from his gunshot wound and Pocahontas tearfully tells him that she has to remain with her village, she insists that he still return to England to recover.
    John: But I can't leave you.
    Pocahontas: You never will. No matter what happens, I'll always be with you. Forever.
  • The Simpsons Movie:
    • Subverted When Homer is trying to convince Marge to move to Alaska, he says, in a rather poignant scene, that in a marriage everyone gets one chance to say "I need you to do this with me" and have their spouse trust them. Later Marge repeats the line when they need to save Springfield, only for Homer to scoff. "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard!"
    • Played Straight: "Worst day/Best kiss of your life so far!"
  • Early on in Sing, Eddie tells Buster he should just accept that he's hit rock bottom and can't save his theatre, to which the eternally optimistic Buster responds "You know what's great about hitting rock bottom? There's only one way left to go, and that's up!" Later on, when Buster is in a Heroic B.S.O.D. after the theatre's literal collapse, Eddie repeats the line to him in order to lift his spirits.
  • The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water:
    • When Plankton is fighting with SpongeBob over the formula bottle, we hear this:
    Plankton: Come on, SpongeBob! Join me! And we'll be rich and powerful! Until I eventually betray you... Uhh... JOIN ME!
    SpongeBob: No! Never! I'm on Team Krabs for life!
    • And later at the climax:
    Burger-Beard: Come on, team up with me! We'll be rich and powerful! Huh?
    Plankton: No, thanks. I'm already part of a teamwork.
  • Tarzan:
    • The first time it's said, Tarzan is mistaking Clayton's name as a term for gunshot, with Clayton being confused by it. The second time Tarzan is calling out to Clayton for help, whereupon Clayton shows his true treacherous colors.
      Tarzan: Clayton!
      Clayton: ...Have we met?
    • Jane says "Jane stay with Tarzan" in Ape twice in the movie. The first time because Tarzan taught her to say it without telling her what it meant. The second, she knows full well what it means.
  • Toy Story:
    • In the first movie: "This isn't flying — it's falling with style!"
    • In Toy Story 2, Buzz tells Woody "You are a toy!", referring back to the first film where Woody says this to Buzz multiple times. Specifically, he shouts back Woody's exact line, with one minor change. "You aren't a collectible, you are a child's plaything!"
    • Toy Story 3: As a Call-Back to the second film, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head exclaim, "You have saved our lives! We are eternally grateful." after the aliens save them and the other main characters from a fiery death.
    • "The Claaaw..." in the first movie, the LGMs in the crane game have a religious reverence for said crane. In the third movie, the LGMs that have joined the group say it after using the giant crane at the dump to save everyone from falling into the incinerator.
  • WALL•E — "Directive."
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Has the motto of Bad Anon. When this is first said, Ralph doesn't join in and the villains there are trying to tell him to accept who he is. At the end of the movie, Ralph recites it as he's attempting to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
    "I'm bad and that's good. I'll never be good, but that's not bad. There's no-one more I'd rather be than me.".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Last Command: Russian general Sergius puffs smoke into arrested revolutionary Leo's face. Later, in Hollywood, where Leo is now a rich film director, and Sergius is an extra in his movie, Leo returns the insult.
  • In Forrest Gump, when Forrest tells Jenny he loves her, she annoyingly tells him he doesn't know what love is. Years later, he proposes to her, but she declines, telling him he doesn't really want to marry her. His response: "I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Jack says to Will: "you can accept that your father was a pirate, and a good man, or you can't." At the end of the film, this exchange occurs about Jack.
      Swann: He's a pirate.
      Will: And a good man.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Pintel saying "Goodbye, Poppet", and Barbossa saying "Farewell, Mrs. Turner" as Elizabeth walked away from the crew of the Black Pearl for the final time.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: "You are different. Are you not?" Said first by Syrena to Philip when she explains why she saved him during the mermaid attack; later said by Philip to Syrena when he explains why he came to save her after Blackbeard had tied her up in an attempt to get one of her tears.
    • Cross-film example: in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack tells Will that according to the Pirates' Code "Any man who falls behind, is left behind." Which leads to this exchange after Will abandons Jack to Barbossa:
    Gibbbs: Where's Jack?
    Will: He fell behind.
    Gibbbs: Where's the Commodore?
    Jack: He fell behind.
  • In The Bourne Series (the films) one of the assassins sent to kill Bourne in the first movie tells him to "look at us. Look at what they make you give", which stops Bourne from delivering a killing shot. At the end of the third movie Bourne says the same thing to an agent who has him dead to rights; the agent lowers his gun and lets Bourne escape.
  • Dirty Harry has a famous example. Early in the film, Harry gives his "Do you feel lucky, punk?" speech in a jokey manner to an inept bank robber. In the film's climax, Harry gives the exact same speech to Scorpio Killer, this time his delivery is full of venom and dead serious.
    • And with a completely different result.
  • In the School of Rock Freddy quotes Dewey's previous speech back to him in order to get him to come along to the show.
  • "To 1966! The year one!" — Rosemary's Baby. The second time is much more sinister.
  • Inception has many:
    • Dom's repetition of Saito's words about dying alone as an old man, filled with regret.
    • The entire You're waiting for a train speech given by Mal was originally said by Cobb, when he and Mal were stuck in Limbo. He says this as they lay their heads on a railroad track, so a train could run over their heads to wake themselves up.
    • "So, do you want to take a leap of faith?"
    • "No room for tourists on these jobs."
  • In the Veronica Mars movie, when Logan is leaving to serve in the Navy, there's a callback to this scene from the TV show.
    Logan: It's 180 days Veronica, what's 180 days to us? Our story's epic. Spanning years, continents.
    Veronica: Lives ruined. Bloodshed.
  • In The Thin Red Line Witt's monologue about his mother's death is mirrored by a later scene of his own death.
  • The Machinist:
    • "I'd like to report a hit and run" when Trevor finally regains his memories and comes to terms with his crime.
    • Trevor has the exact same conversation with Stevie (a call-girl) and with Maria late on. This is a clue that Maria doesn't exist and his only in his imagination.
    Stevie/Maria: Are you okay?
    Trevor: Don't I look okay?
    Stevie/Maria: If you were any thinner you wouldn't exist.
  • Batman Begins. Rachel Dawes reproaches Bruce Wayne for acting like a Rich Idiot with No Day Job. He tries to defend himself, but since he doesn't yet want anyone to know he's secretly a superhero, he just vaguely hints that there's a lot more to him than the playboy façade he wears in public. She isn't satisfied with his answer, telling him "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do, that defines you." Later, when Rachel asks Batman his name, Bats answers indirectly (in a way that, to most people, would come across as a simple refusal to answer) by referring to the last line of her prior reproach: "It's not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me."
    Doggett: What are you?
  • A Beautiful Mind Two examples:
    Hansen: You scared?
    Nash: Terrified. Mortified. Petrified. Stupefied... by you.
    • And:
    Hansen: Gentlemen, the great John Nash.
    • Later:
    Parcher: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Great John Nash!
  • Cool Hand Luke: "What we've got here is [a] failure to communicate."
  • Most phrases that the title character of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial learns to say, most notably "I'll be right here."
  • In Enchanted Giselle tells Robert in the beginning that she's searching for her Prince and True Love's Kiss, because it's "the most powerful force in the world." In the end, after Giselle has been put in an enchanted sleep by Queen Narissa, he remarks that only True Love's Kiss can save her—"It's the most powerful thing in the world."
    • Also, "Is this a habit of yours? Falling off of stuff?" "Only when someone's around to catch me." Only in the echo it becomes "Only when you're around to catch me."
    • A subtle one was that the first song sung in the film contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." The last song sung by Carrie Underwood in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue also contained the lyric "I've been dreaming of a true love's kiss." Also counts as a Book-Ends.
  • The Fugitive: "I don't care." Gerard means it the first time; the second time he's visibly conflicted, and by the third and final time he's pretty much blatantly lying.
  • "By Grabthar's hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!" This is established early on in Galaxy Quest as the Catch-Phrase of Dr. Lazarus. Alexander Dane, who plays Dr. Lazarus, has grown sick of hearing it from his fans. Eventually, though, he says it with real meaning as one of the Thermians dies in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Similarly, Truman Burbank of The Truman Show turns his catchphrase of "In case I don't see ya! Good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight." into this at the climax of the film.
  • In The film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry throws Umbridge's punishment back in her face:
    Umbridge: [being carried away by rampaging centaurs] Tell them I mean them no harm!
    Harry: I'm sorry, Professor. "I Must Not Tell Lies."
  • Killing Zoe gives us "I'll show you the real Paris." From what we see the first time, it's enough to make someone never want to venture from the tourism hotspots.
  • Love Story: "Love means never having to say you're sorry."
  • Miss Congeniality: The lead Grace is coerced into pretending to compete in the Miss America contest, and while being coached by Michael Caine's character is repeatedly told to say "Yes", never "yeah". Kathy Morningside, the head of the pageant, also reminds her that it is not a beauty pageant, it is a scholarship program. Later in the film, when Grace is escorting the villain of the story into a cop car...
    Morningside: They steal my life! They steal my beauty pageant!
    Grace: Hey! Hey! It is not a beauty pageant! It is a scholarship program!
    Morningside: Yeah, yeah...
    Grace: Yes. [slams cop car door]
  • Path to 9/11: Donnie Wahlberg's line "He won't let us down." is followed, much later, by "We let him down.".
  • At the end of Good Burger, Ed taunts Kurt as he's being arrested by echoing his Catch-Phrase: "Remember, when you mess with Good Burger, YOU go in the grinder!"
  • Speed Racer: At the beginning of the film, Speed flashes back to him and big brother Rex driving on the Thunderhead and Rex telling him about how the car is a living thing, and that Speed needs to listen to the car tell him what it needs. At the climax, when Speed is stalled in the Grand Prix, a watching Racer X echoes this, revealing to the audience that he's really Rex.
  • The HBO original Strip Search is an entire movie built on this trope. It shows parallel interrogations of an American woman by a Chinese soldier and an Arab man by a female American federal agent using the exact same script. Some lines are more intimidating in one context over the other (an offhand comment about visiting Israel is much creepier when delivered to the Arab man), but in general the movie draws most of its emotional power from seeing the Americans treat a prisoner exactly the same as China.
  • Star Wars:
    Palpatine: There is no doubt that this child is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
    Vader: How is that possible?
    Palpatine: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true.
    [Luke confronting Vader at Cloud City]
    Vader: No. I am your father.
    Luke: No... No... You're lying...
    Vader: Search your feelings, Luke. You know it to be true.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Anakin mentions that he once used "aggressive negotiations"; that is, negotiations with a lightsaber. Later in the film, during the battle in the stadium, Anakin asks Padme, "You call this a diplomatic solution?" Padme replies, "No, I call it "aggressive negotiations"."
    • The Last Jedi has Luke's line "Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong." The first time he says it, it's to sarcastically mock Rey's limited knowledge of the Force. Later, he says it in defiance of Kylo Ren's claim that he's about to crush the Resistance and end the Jedi forever by killing Luke.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
    • "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few... or the one." And echoed again in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: "Because the needs of the one... outweigh the needs of the many."
    • "I have been and always shall be your friend". The earlier line was: "You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been and ever shall be yours."
    • The new Star Trek:
      [after Kirk takes over as Acting Captain]
      Uhura: I sure hope you know what you're doing, Captain.
      [after Kirk is promoted to Captain for real, with a much more pleasant emphasis]
      Uhura: Dock control reports ready, Captain.
    • Also, in Spock Prime's first meeting with Kirk, he told him "I have been, and always shall be, your friend".
    • An interesting one, where both Captain Robau and Captain Pike both surrender themselves to Nero, to buy the rest of the crew enough time to either escape or fight back.
  • In Return to Oz, Doctor Worley recommends electroshock therapy, stating that it's "just the thing to cheer Dorothy up." Later on, during his Pet the Dog moment, the Nome King (Worley's counterpart in Oz) exclaims "I know just the thing to cheer you up!" a subtle indication that his offer is just as much a Death Trap as the shock therapy.
  • A Knight's Tale:
    • In the beginning, Roland mentions to William how God loves him and he replies because no one else will. Near the end, when William was in the stocks and being ridiculed by the crowds, Roland stands by his side and reminds him that God loves him and so does he.
    • "You have been weighed. You have been measured. And you have been found wanting."
  • In the Denzel Washington movie Déjà Vu, Doug Carlin asks Claire Kuchever, "What if you had to tell someone the most important thing in the world, but you knew they'd never believe you?" She responds, "I'd try." At the end of the movie, Claire asks Doug the same, and he responds the same.
  • Batman Returns.
    "Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it."
    "A kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it."
    • First time this exchange happens between Batman and Catwoman during a brief but sensual moment in a fight. When later they meet at a dancing party in their normal-life appearances (and unaware of each other's secret) they accidentally repeat the lines and thus recognize each other right away.
  • The Lord of the Rings has several.
    • Early in The Fellowship of the Ring, Sam tells Frodo that Gandalf told him not to lose him and that he intended not to. Then, at the very end, he tearfully repeats:
    I made a promise, Mr. Frodo. A promise. "Don't you leave him, Samwise Gamgee." And I don't mean to. I don't mean to.
    • In the second film, The Two Towers, Éomer and Théoden had made comments that hope isn't meant to be found in Rohan. Before the battle at Helm's Deep, a young boy drafted into the battle almost hopelessly mentioned to Aragorn that he has heard from others that there is no hope. Having heard Éomer and Théoden earlier, Aragorn simply replied back that "There is always hope". If you've read the appendices, you realize these are lots and lots of Anvilicious references to Aragorn's childhood name: Estel, pronounced the femmy way, is Elvish for "hope."
    • And an odd backwardsish one: In the theatrical version of The Two Towers, Faramir has two rather odd lines that don't quite mesh with David Wenham's usual delivery: "A chance for Faramir, captain of Gondor, to prove his quality," and "Tell him I send a mighty gift." A flashback in the extended edition reveals the source of the phrases he's repeating: both lines were spoken by Faramir's father in an earlier scene of heartbreaking emotional abuse.
    • Isildur and Elrond/Frodo and Sam's visits to and exchanges in the Cracks of Doom in the first and third films respectively.
  • In The Sound of Music, Rolf sings to Liesel "Sixteen Going On Seventeen", as him giving her advice, since he is older than her by a year. Later on, Maria (now married to Captain Von Trap) sings the song to Liesel after Rolf had acted indifferently towards her, in guidance on how she will someday find the right man.
    • The scene itself where Rolf and Liesel were singing together in the garden and proclaiming their love for one another is shown again when Maria and Captain Von Trap were singing together in the same garden, also declaring their love for each other. The Ironic Echo comes in when the first couple did not last, while the latter did and got married.
  • From The Mask of Zorro, in the beginning in the movie, Don Diego, the first Zorro, was telling his adventures to his baby daughter before abruptly changing the ending, as his wife was watching in amusement. Then, at the end of the movie, Alejandro, the new Zorro, was telling a story to his newborn child, before quickly changing the story's ending, as he noticed his wife (Don Diego's daughter) was watching him.
  • The 2010 Alice in Wonderland (2010) movie does it so much that you could make a drinking game out of it. There's at least half a dozen in the 90-minute film.
  • In the Mortal Kombat movie, Johnny Cage says "This is where you fall down" to his final opponent in the film shoot (who forgot to react like he was actually hit), and later to Goro, his final opponent in the tournament (who's hanging on by his fingers after being knocked over a cliff).
  • From the 2000s movie version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
    Peter: "Why can't you just do as you're told?"
  • Spider-Man:
    • The line "Don't tell Harry" is said at least twice. The first time is when Peter discovers that Mary Jane works in a cafe and she asks him not to tell Harry. The second time is when Norman just impaled himself on his own glider and his last words to Peter was not to tell Harry.
    • Mary Jane and Peter had just ran into each other and he tells her that "I was in the neighborhood". Later, when she was about to be attacked by some thugs, Spider-Man saves her and tells her the exact same lines.
  • Rush Hour: The first movie contains a scene where some henchmen beat up Carter. Sang, one of the villains, says, "Wipe yourself off, you're bleeding." Towards the end of the movie, Carter fatally shoots Sang and says, "Wipe yourself off, man. You dead."
  • Office Space: "Fuckin' A". First said by Peter's neighbor Lawrence, and then by Peter himself at the end of the movie.
  • Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation: The recording of the titular conversation is played over and over, but its true meaning isn't understood until the final repetition. Of course, it's partially implied that the ending was All Just a Dream anyway, and the recording might not mean that at all.
  • In Coldblooded, the veteran hitman tells the apprentice hitman "you're too close" (meaning he'll get splattered by blood from his victim) on his first hit. Much later, when the former apprentice pulls out a gun to kill the veteran hitman, his last words are "you're too close."
  • A terrifying twist in Being John Malkovich. Near the beginning of the movie Craig and Lotte are making dinner and the parrot is being annoying. When Lotte goes to put it up it says "Help! She's locking me in a cage!" and it's kind of cute. Later in the movie however when Craig goes crazy and stuffs Lotte in a cage, s/he screams "Help! He's locking me in a cage!". Not so cute.
  • In The Lovely Bones the last words Ray says to Suzie before she is murdered are "You are beautiful, Suzie Salmon". Later on when she enters Ruth's body so she and Ray could have their first kiss, [[he repeats the line.
  • In Executive Decision, when Dr. Grant is trying to land the plane.
  • TRON Legacy:
    • After rescuing Sam, Quorra attempts to make a jump with Sam telling her they won't make it. After she made the jump, she responds with "Made it." Later with their roles reversed, Sam rescuing Quorra from the command tower, she doesn't think they'll be able to escape. After jumping from the tower using Sam's BASE skills and landing safely, he says "Made it."
    • Sam announces that "I'm not a program. My name is Sam Flynn" twice. The first time is when Jarvis and Clu are inquiring his identity and Sam is trying to figure out what is going on. The second time is as a Badass Boast when he is confronting the guards in Clu's ship.
    • One that is hard to notice:
      Kevin Flynn: [in a clip at the beginning, talking about the Grid] In there is a new world! In there is our future! In there is our destiny!
      Clu: [near the climax, talking about Earth] Out there is a new world! Out there is our victory! Out there is our destiny!
    • A bit more obscure is Quorra's line "Then one day they came for me."
  • In 300:
    Theron: [just before raping Queen Gorgo] This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I'm not your King.
    Queen Gorgo: [just before killing Theron] This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your Queen!
  • In Yankee Doodle Dandy, when the 4 Cohans perform together, George M. Cohan thanks the audience by saying, "My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you and I thank you." At the end of the movie when President Franklin Roosevelt presents him with the Medal of Freedom, Cohan thanked the President with those same words.
  • X-Men: First Class:
    • Raven/Mystique encountering Charles in a kitchen in her true form when they first meet. However, the second time shows how they have both changed and starting to grow apart in ideals. Bonus for them switching positions. The first time, it was Raven by the fridge with Charles walking in. The second time was Charles by the fridge with Raven walking in.
    • Also, shortly after they first meet, when Erik's about to go off on his own again, Charles tells him, "Shaw's got friends. You could use some!" Later, after Shaw's attack on the CIA when Charles wants to send the new mutant recruits home, Erik tells him "Shaw's got his army, we need ours."
    • One of the Nazis Erik tortures in Argentina says he was only obeying orders (i.e. the Final Solution). When Xavier says this to stop Erik from killing the sailors who just fired on them, it turns out to be the wrong thing to say.
  • Maleficent: Aurora meeting Maleficent for the first time echoes how Maleficent first met Stefan when they were kids. In a cloathing example, Aurora's cloak is meant to invoke the robe Maleficent was wearing the night Stefan betrayed her.
  • In the first scene of Machete, when Machete's partner tries to talk him out of going up against the powerful drug lord Torrez, Machete asks him, "If not us, then who?" Towards the end of the film, when a pair of local teenagers offer to help Machete battle Torrez and his men, he blows them off until one of them asks him, "If not us, then who?" He relents.
  • Men in Black:
    • In the opening scene, Kay's partner Dee decides that he's no longer up to the job due to his age:
    Dee: I'll tell ya, Kay. I will miss the chase.
    Kay: No, you won't.
    • Kay then uses the Neuralizer on Dee. Later, at the end of the film, Kay decides it's time for him to retire as well, and has this exchange with his new partner Jay.
    Kay: See you around, sport.
    Jay: No. You won't.
  • I, Robot has "Save her! Save the girl!". First said by Spooner in the flashbacks to the accident that got him suspicious of robots in the first place, then repeated by him in the climax to Sonny. Although the meaning comes more from the different reactions to the words than the words themselves.
  • A variation occurs in The Decoy Bride. At one point Katie tells James that her ex-fiance was in a band, and that when he dumped her, he told her she was just one song, not a whole album. Later on, when James, who is a writer, rejects Katie because he's set on marrying Lara, Katie says: "This is where you tell me I'm just one chapter, not a whole book." This comment is then echoed in turn, as when James comes back to her at the end of the film, the dedication of his newest book says that "Sometimes a chapter can be a whole book."
  • Rock Star:
    • Chris, at the beginning of the movie, at a Steel Dragon concert singing along with the lead singer (reaching higher notes even) gaining a Fascinating Eyebrow from the singer. Later in the movie Chris is now up on stage and hears one fan doing what he did. Only he brings the guy on stage and gets him a mic so he can join in on the song. Both times the song sung is called "Stand up and SHOUT!".
    • "I told them I needed to take a piss... (Later) "Where you going mate?" "To take a piss." "Take your time."
  • Stanza XXVII of Horatius (The Lay) in Oblivion (2013) . Gets used three times. First time is just a random passage of a book Jack scavenged that he reads aloud. The second time it's said by Malcolm Beech to tell Harper that he's different from the army of Harper clone soldiers that assisted in devastating the planet, since he has curiosity and they were "soulless". The third time is said by Harper right before his Heroic Sacrifice by setting off the nuke inside of the Tet.
    "And how can man die better
    than facing fearful odds
    for the ashes of his fathers
    and the temples of his gods."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: The First Avenger:
      • "I had him on the ropes", said first by Steve when Bucky gets rid of a bully that is beating Steve up, echoed later by Bucky after Steve gives him the help necessary to kill a HYDRA soldier who has him cornered. This echo is particularly meaningful as it is Steve's first words to Bucky in the film, and Bucky's last words to Steve before falling from the train to his apparent death.
      • "I can do this all day", said by Steve twice: first to the bully who is punching him in the alley, then later, to Schmidt after he has allowed himself to be captured and Schmidt has just punched him repeatedly. He would later say these same words to Tony Stark over seventy years later during the fight that effectively ends their friendship. It's also called back to in Winter Soldier: "Please don't make me do this."
      • When Peggy asks Steve why he's never been dancing, he tells her that it didn't seem important once the war started and tells her "Figured I'd wait." "For what?" "The right partner." — Later, when Steve, Peggy, and Bucky are at a bar with music playing, Peggy remarks that she "might even, when this is all over, go dancing", to which Bucky asks "Then what are we waiting for?" and she doesn't look away from Steve as she responds with his earlier line: "The right partner."
      • After Bucky (apparently) dies saving Steve, Peggy goes to Steve to tell him that it wasn't his fault, and when he continues blaming himself she says: "Did you believe in your friend? Did you respect him? Then stop blaming yourself; allow Barnes the dignity of his choice. He must have damn well thought you were worth it." — Later, when Steve is on the plane and tells Peggy he has to crash it to save the world, he tells her simply "This is my choice.", echoing her line (not word for word, but clearly in meaning) about Bucky's choice to sacrifice himself for something important.
      • Steve's very first line is when a guy in the recruitment office asks him if news of all the war deaths is causing him to have second thoughts about joining the Army; Steve just says, "Nope!" In his final confrontation with Schmidt, when asked if he ever gives up, he repeats the sentiment.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
      • "I'm with you to the end of the line." First said from Bucky to Steve after the funeral of Steve's mother. Said again seventy years later. After stopping Project Insight, Steve drops his iconic shield into the Potomac below, and resolutely tells Bucky, now the Winter Soldier with no memories of the past, that he won't fight him. When Bucky starts beating the crap out of him and is about to deliver the final blow, screaming into Steve's face that he [Steve] is his mission, Steve simply tells him to finish it, "'Cause I'm with you to the end of the line." This stuns Bucky long enough for the glass beneath them to finally break and for Steve (who's also suffering several gunshot wounds on top of the beating just given to him) to fall into the river — only then to be saved from certain death by the Winter Soldier.
      • "There's a chance you might be in the wrong business", said first by Natasha to Steve in response to his remarks that she always lies about who she is and it's hard to know who she is, but that he'd like her to be a friend; later when she says she can't tell the difference between whose lies she's telling anymore, Steve echoes the line back to her.
      • At the beginning of the film, Steve trolls Sam by lapping him several times as they both jog on the National Mall, warning "On your left!" every time he passes. Near the end, when Steve wakes up in the hospital and Sam is sitting to his right, he looks over and tells him "On your left," and Sam smiles.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron:
      • Early in the film, Tony asks how the Avengers could possibly hope to defeat the next alien invasion of Earth.
        Steve: Together.
        Tony: We'll lose.
        Steve: Then we'll do that together too.
      • During the climax of the film, Tony and Ultron have this exchange:
        Ultron: How can you possibly hope to stop me?
        Tony: Well, like the old man said: together.
    • Doctor Strange:
      • During their first meeting, an extremely bitter and skeptical Stephen Strange dismisses the Ancient One's attempts to introduce him to magic by referring to her as "another tiny, momentary speck within an indifferent universe." Much later, while interrogating Kaecilius over his plans to bring Earth to Dormammu and bestow eternal life on humanity, Strange asks about the people who've had to die just to make this plan a reality, only for Kaecilius to dismiss them as "tiny, momentary specks within an indifferent universe." Strange is deeply shaken by the similarity - and Kaecilius notices.
      • After being caught practicing highly-dangerous time magic with the aid of the Book of Cagliostro - and being given a very angry warning of all the things that could have happened as a result - Strange sheepishly mutters "they really should put the warnings before the spells." Later, thanks to the pages he stole from the same book, Kaecilius is able to unleash Dormammu upon Earth... only to discover that the eternal life he wanted involves being transformed into a Mindless One and trapped forever in the Darkness Dimension.
        Doctor Strange: Yeah, you know, you really should have stolen the whole book, because the warnings... the warnings come after the spells.
  • In The Colour of Magic, the words, "goodbye world" are both used in bad instances, and both times by Rincewind. Firstly, he utters these words when he tries to jump into the river Ankh. The second time he says it, he's falling off the edge of the world and sees the star that the Disc is heading towards.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, when Katniss manages to make contact with President Snow, he mockingly says "Miss Everdeen; what an honor" - echoing Katniss's very first words to him in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
  • Early in Double Indemnity, Neff responds to an insult from Keyes with an ironic "I love you, too". At the end of the movie, when it becomes clear that behind his gruff exterior Keyes actually has a lot of affection for Neff, Neff repeats the line more seriously.
  • Purgatory: "Welcome to Refuge." First said to Blackjack's gang, then Dolly and the other recently-dead. Finally said to Sonny when he wonders why his fatal wounds don't hurt.
  • In Smiles of a Summer Night, Henrik quotes Martin Luther on temptation: "You cannot stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair." Later, he declares: "Let the birds nest in my hair."

  • All American Pups series: In Camp Barkalot. After Fritz's Freak Out! at the costume party is mocked, Rosie tells him, "Fritz, you're famous." At the end of the book, when the other dogs are crowding around to see "the hero", she repeats the words, this time without sarcasm.
  • The Bippolo Seed And Other Lost Tales: At the beginning of "Gustav the Goldfish", the boy says that the salesman, Mr. VanBuss, told him not to feed Gustav too much or something unspecified might happen. At the end of the story, the boy repeats the line and says that now he knows what would happen.
  • In Bridge of Birds, Ten Ox and Fainting Maid's first stroll through the gardens leads to them arguing about whether a bird is a cuckoo or a magpie imitating the sound of a cuckoo. Later on, Master Li induces Fainting Maid to faint right into a deep well after exposing her as the murderess of her father's concubine and lover and then tells her father that as far as he's concerned, all he hears is the sound of a magpie imitating the sounds of a scream and a splash.
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, "Go now, and Sin no more." First from Elijah Bailey to R. Daneel Olivaw, trying to make the robot understand the difference between enforcing the law and true justice: the second time, from Olivaw to the killer, showing that he has understood the lesson.
  • In Coraline, Ms Spink remarks that Coraline, who appeared to be talking nonsense (when she was trying to lure out the hand of the Other Mother), was an extraordinary girl. Then, later, when Coraline thanks Ms Spink and hugs her, she says the same line, only this time in amazement and gratitude, as no one had hugged her like that for a very long time.
  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, the princess tells Menelaus that they should not quibble about the new century beginning with 2401, as it's too widely accepted by the commoners; later she observes that she's not a queen, and he tells that given that it's so widely accepted, she should not quibble.
  • In the beginning of The Divine Comedy, Dante's mentor, Virgil, asks our hero "What are you thinking?" when Dante starts to listen to an adulterer damned to the Circle of Lust. Two-thirds of the poem passes by and with Virgil having left the journey, the newly-introduced Beatrice demands Dante repent of his sins until our hero is reduced to tears, prompting her to ask "What are you thinking," making it clear she is his new, and much more direct, mentor.
  • Divergent:
    Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
    I don't know. I don't know.
    Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here?
    I want to be.
    I can.
    I believe it.
  • Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Death Masks:
    • Harry Dresden is trying to negotiate with Don Paolo Ortega, a duke from the Red Court. During the negotiations, Ortega has a drink of beer, prompting Harry to ask why he drinks beer when all he needs is blood. Ortega responds with a profound "Life is more than mere survival." Minutes later, Ortega offers to turn Harry into a Red Court vampire, citing the upside as Harry continuing to survive. Ortega starts ranting at Harry, screaming at Harry that he will die. "I thought that life is more than mere survival."
    • Later, Harry echoes himself for the Tear Jerker. This:
      Harry: Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face.
      [becomes this]
      Harry: Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't a wizard's ghost standing beside you with tears in his eyes.
  • Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels:
    • In First & Only, Gaunt leads Tanith First — the "First and Only", since their planet was destroyed and no more regiments will be raised. In the Flashback where Gaunt learns how his father died, the woman telling him starts by saying that he is his father's "first and only" son.
    • Only in Death has a much darker version:
      Are we the last ones left alive? Are we? Someone, anyone, please? Are we? Is there anybody out there? Are we the last ones left alive?
  • In the Gentleman Bastard Sequence book The Lies of Locke Lamora, Locke defeats a rival gang as a child by trapping their leader in one place so that Jean, a significantly better fighter, can fight him without him running off, allowing himself to get beat up in the process. At the end, when he fights the Grey King, he repeats the same lines to him, this time using it to distract his opponent and winning the fight himself, though sustaining serious injuries as a result.
    "I don't have to beat you! I just have to keep you here...until Jean shows up."
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the former Trope Namer. The first time out, Dumbledore is escorting Harry somewhere, and expresses his confidence that Voldemort and his Mooks will not accost them because "You are with me." The second time, the same two have just gone out on a quest to weaken You-Know-Who, successfully, though at great cost to Dumbledore's health. Dumbledore expresses his confidence in Harry by turning the phrase around: "I am not worried, Harry. I am with you."
  • From Holes: Ms Katherine often asked Sam the onion man (who she liked, but couldn't act on her feelings due to Sam being black) to help her fix things in her schoolhouse, to which he would always cheerfully reply "I can fix that". Finally, when she couldn't think of any more excuses to continue seeing Sam, she told him that her heart is breaking. To which he says "I can fix that". And then, he kissed her.
  • In The Host, Ian and Wanderer are talking and Ian says "Strange world, isn't it?" to which Wanderer replies "The strangest." Then at the very end, Wanderer and Burns repeat the conversation, and this time Wanderer says "It's a strange world."
  • Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner: "For you, a thousand times over!" is heart-wrenching enough in its first appearance; its recall at the end demands several boxes of Kleenex.
  • Near the beginning of Knights of the Borrowed Dark, Grey says, "You know what they say: no plan of action survives first contact." He later repeats a variation of that line—"Well, you know what they say about plans."—after he shoots Vivian.
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles: In actions, the ending of Snigger and the Nutbeast mimics those of the ending of the third book. The hero (Conker/David) is dead, but there's Someone to Remember Him By.
  • There is an example in the The Lord of the Rings books that Lampshades Not So Different and War Is Hell: Even when the heroes have We ARE Struggling Together and the villains have an Enemy Civil War, both sides knew that their enemies will destroy them ruthlessly:
    • In the second book, the ork Gorbag said to Shagrat:
    But don't forget: the enemies don't love us any more than they love Him, and if they get topsides on Him, we're done too.
    • In the third book, after Frodo and Sam saw a little orc kill another of their own:
    For a while the hobbits sat in silence. At length Sam stirred. 'Well I call that neat as neat,' he said. 'If this nice friendliness would spread about in Mordor, half our trouble would be over.'
    'Quietly, Sam,' Frodo whispered. 'There may be others about. We have evidently had a very narrow escape, and the hunt was hotter on our tracks than we guessed. But that is the spirit of Mordor, Sam; and it has spread to every corner of it. Orcs have always behaved like that, or so all tales say, when they are on their own. But you can't get much hope out of it. They hate us far more, altogether and all the time. If those two had seen us, they would have dropped all their quarrel until we were dead.'
  • In Love You Forever, the mother sings a song to her son while she rocks him:
    I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.
    • At the end of the story, when the mother is dying of old age, her son picks her up and sings:
      I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be.
  • In Malevil, Manchild Momo had a Catch-Phrase, "Leave me alone for God's sake". At the end of the novel, his mother says the same thing before withdrawing from the group and suddenly dying.
  • In Midnight's Children, the beginning of the Wham Episode chapter "Drainage and the Desert" echoes the rambling, evasive description of the time and date of Saleem's birth at the start of the story. This is likely because Saleem considers the events to be of equal importance: while his birth gave him his power, the telegram eventually took it away.
  • "I am the thing you cannot kill. I am hope." These are the last words of Kelsier to the Big Bad in Mistborn. At the end of the same book, the Big Bad's killer turns these words into a Pre-Mortem One-Liner.
  • In Pink And Say Say tells Pink that he once shook President Lincoln's hand. Then he shakes Pink's hand and says "Now you can say you touched the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln." At the end of the story, the author says "When my father finished this story, he put out his hand and said 'This is the hand, that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand, that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln.'"
  • In Pinocchio's Sister, Iris' Catch-Phrase is a flippant "Help, help." Martha copies it toward the end when she is pretending to be Iris.
  • In Elleston Trevor's Squadron Airborne, a book about a Spitfire squadron during the Battle of Britain, there is a particularly tear-jerking one. At the beginning, the commanding officer dresses down a cadet for almost crashing his fighter on his first flight by mistake, pointing out that the RAF cannot afford to lose planes in stupid accidents, as the Luftwaffe so outnumbers them that the Nazis can lose five planes for any English one that they shoot down and still win the day. Later in the book, the Squadron is scrambled just after news have been received that all contacts have been lost with the hometown of another pilot after a vicious German bombing raid. The pilot goes on a Roaring Rampageof Revenge shooting down German after German and he finally crashes his Spitfire into a bomber in a suicide attack. His last thought? The number of enemy planes he has just shot down: "SIX".
  • A Thread of Grace: Whenever Claudia would complain about how a group of people were bad, her mother always told her to "name two." If she couldn't name two, it was just an irrational prejudice. Later on, after Claudia's become orphaned and widowed, she joins the Italian Resistance who managed to capture a group of Nazis. The Nazis had pictures of Jews they hung in the woods for "crimes." Claudia orders the the Nazi Officer to "name two" crimes. The officer couldn't. The Resistance proceeds to beat the Nazis to death. Also doubles as a Hope Spot.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Selfie Eliza and Henry get invited to the boss' ranch for the weekend, and Henry wonders why she got invited, since he thinks he's being vetted for a promotion. Eliza points out she might be in line for a promotion, and Henry says its more likely she's his plus one. Eliza reacts vehemently, saying "I'm not a plus one. I'm VIP bitches." (prompting Henry to say, "Bitches? It's just me. One bitch") Its quickly revealed Eliza is Henry's plus one, and at the end Saperstein says he invited her because she makes Henry more life-like. Henry then says "Actually sir, she is more than a plus one. She is a VIP."
  • Lister's pretty cool. He doesn't take any smeg. And even though he's disgusting, sometime he can be quite brave! (Red Dwarf - "Back to Earth")
  • Angel:
    • From episode 2x10, "Reunion": "And yet I just can't seem to care." Also doubles as an Ironic Echo.
    • Also, "Let's get to work", the final line of the series, was said by Angel in the first episode before he stormed the bad guy's lair.
    • In the episode "A Hole in the World", the episode begins with the characters light-heartedly debating who would win in a fight: Cavemen or Astronauts? Fred is infected by the spirit of an ancient demon and it becomes apparent that none of their powerful, modern magics can stop it. As she nears death, she whispers "Cavemen win. Of course the cavemen win."
    • In the Season 1 episode "Hero", the words Doyle says at the end of the commercial Cordelia films become painful when the commercial is replayed at the end, after he dies. "Is that it? Am I done?"
  • The Eureka episode "I Do Over" does this with several lines. Granted, you'd expect an episode centering around a time loop to repeat lines, but this episode does it in such a way that the lines echo, rather than simply repeating, and the meaning changes with the timeline.
  • Farscape - "Was it a bass or a trout?"
  • Smallville, in the episode "Reckoning" Jor-El tells Clark that they are not gods, and that altering the past can have unforeseen consequences, as Clark wishes to save Lana before she is killed in a car accident. He changes the past, by not reveling his secret to her, and Jonathan dies instead. At the end of the premiere of Season 9, a much darker Clark vehemently refuses to accept Chloe's request to save Jimmy from being killed by Davis stating: "I am not a god! The last time I tried to rewrite fate my own father died. He died right here in my arms because of me."
  • Firefly:
    • In "War Stories," Kaylee wins a game against River and jokingly declares "No power in the 'Verse can stop me." River uses the same line near the end of the episode after gunning down three of Niska's men with her eyes closed to save Kaylee, giving the line a much more chilling effect.
    • From "Message":
      Tracey: "When you can't run, you crawl. And when you can't do that... well, when you can't do that-"
      Zoe: "You find someone to carry you."
  • Lexx Kai died in the first scene of the series singing while flying to battle. Four seasons later, he beats the devil in chess to win a chance at life again, but the devil disappears and Kai still seems to be undead. A while later, in the series finale, Kai embarks on a dangerous mission that will save countless lives by destroying a monster, and the devil reappears unexpectedly to fulfill his end of the bargain by returning him to life. As an undead assassin, Kai had a chance of returning intact, but as a mere mortal, it's a hopeless suicide mission. That's when he starts singing again...
  • Used quite a bit in Lost, mostly with "live together, die alone," and "don't tell me what I can't do."
    • Most awesomely?
      Rose: Jack, if you say 'live together, die alone' to me I will slap you in the face.
    • A more plot related example occurs when the person posing as Locke reveals his true identity to Richard via a phrase—"it's good to see you out of those chains"—which the man, in his original form, said to Richard 140 years earier.
    • The physical therapist who taught John to use a wheelchair said, "You fell eight stories and survived, okay? I don't wanna hear about what you can't do."
    • And in the series final, when Jack tells Desmond "I'll see you in another life, brother." He does, literally.
    • Hurley's Berserk Button is people calling him "nuts", "insane" or "crazy", even if it's just in jestnote , leading to his other Catch-Phrase, a very insistent, serious declaration that "I'm not crazy". In the epilogue, Hurley visits Walt, a similarly "special" individual.
      Walt: They said I was crazy.
      Hurley: You're not crazy, dude. Not even close.
  • Mash:
    • In the episode "A War for All Seasons", Colonel Potter rings in 1951 with the heartfelt and hopeful toast "Here's to the new year. May she be a damn sight better than the last one, and may we all be home before she's over." After an episode taking place over an entire year where nothing changes, we end with Potter giving the same toast in a far more somber fashion.
    • In the season 3 episode "O.R.", visiting psychiatrist Sidney Freedman tells the 4077th staff: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." In the show's final episode, he repeats the line while departing camp for the last time.
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • In an episode, we meet McKay's sister for the first time, as they had been estranged for some time after she quit her education. She hated him particularly because he never even wrote or called, even on holidays (even before he was trapped in another galaxy). "Just two or three times a year? Are you happy? Are you okay? That would have been enough!" At the end, Rodney admits he's wrong (a very rare occasion), and as the two tearfully embrace, Rodney asks, "Are you happy? Are you okay?"
    • Rodney McKay said the following to Jennifer Keller when thought he was about to die, which Keller echoed several episodes later after Rodney saved her life:
      I love you. I have for some time now. I just thought you should know.
  • Teen Wolf has this. Scott said it to Allison at the formal, then after the fight, the exchange is reversed.
    Allison: Why did you do that?
    Scott: Because I love you.
    • It only becomes meaningful in hindsight, but Allison echoing Kate by shouting "COME ON!" to goad an unseen adversary foreshadows how very like Kate she becomes over the course of the season.
  • The Vampire Diaries has this:
    • As Liz, the sheriff, is torturing Damon for information and about to kill him, he says "But you're my friend." She says their friendship was a lie. Later on, when she's at his mercy, everyone expects him to kill her, but he reassures them he won't.
      Damon: "RELAX, guys. No one's killing anybody." (To the sheriff) "You're my friend."
    • In the Season 3 premiere Stefan who has become a Ripper greets Damon by saying "Hello, brother" which was how Damon greeted Stefan in the very first episode.
  • The West Wing has several, but perhaps the most moving is here:
    Leo: Don't help me.
    Josh: I'm gonna help ya, 'cause y'know why?
    Leo: 'Cause you walk around with so much guilt about everyone you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer?
    Josh: No, Leo, no, it's 'cause a guy's walkin' down the street and he falls in a hole.
    • This is an echo from the previous season when recovering alcoholic Leo explains why PTSD-suffering Josh doesn't need to worry about his job security.
    Leo: A guy's walking down the street and he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep, he can't get out. A priest walks by, the guy calls up, "Hey, father, I'm down in this hole, can you help me out?" Priest writes him a prayer and throws it down in the hole. A doctor walks by. "Hey, you, can you help me out?" Doctor writes a prescription, throws it in the hole and keeps walking. His friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me." The friend jumps down in the hole with him. Our guy says, "Are you stupid? Now we're both down here!" The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before, and I know the way out." (beat) As long as I've got a job here, you've got a job here.
  • In How I Met Your Mother:
    Barney: It's a poem,Ted!
    Ted: It's a poem, Barney!
    • Lily tries to force Barney and Robin to define their relationship in the aptly named "Definitions", but they're less than thrilled with the idea.
      Barney: The Talk sucks. You have to, like, talk. And be all, "I don't know... It's not that I don't like you, it's just that I haven't had a girlfriend in a really long time. Hope that doesn't make you mad." Blegh, who needs it?
      • Later, Lily forces them to have The Talk, with the help of the promise of bacon.
      Robin: "Where do you see this relationship going?" Oh my god, that sounds so cheesy. But, um... Where do you see this relationship going?
      Barney: [sincerely] I don't know. I mean, it's not that I don't like you, I just haven't had a girlfriend for a long time. I hope that doesn't make you mad.
  • Torchwood: "Children of Earth." In Day One, Jack gets Ianto out of a dangerous situation, saying "I can survive anything." In Day Four, he must add "but you can't." And Ianto dies.
  • The Sarah Jane Adventures has a real Shout-Out of an echo in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, featuring an appearance from the Doctor. Their last words to each other echoing a phrase spoken between them twenty years ago, with the Doctor asking her not to forget him: and this time Sarah Jane has an answer. Even more poignant is that this is almost David Tennant's last appearance as the Doctor. The next time she sees him will be the last, at least in this form.
    Doctor: Don't forget me, Sarah Jane.
    Sarah Jane: No one's ever going to forget you.
  • In the pilot episode of House, House says: "As the philosopher Jagger once said, "You can't always get what you want." At the end of the episode "Wilson's Heart" House has a vision in which she's on a bus with Amber, who just died because of a bus accident. He tells her that he wants to die; she responds: "Well... you can't always get what you want." The sheer amount of times that song is either referred to or played in the soundtrack approaches the level of absurdity.
  • Dexter:
    • Season 4: "It doesn't matter what I do, what I choose... I'm what's wrong." First said by Debra when she is breaking down in guilt over Lundy's death, and her ruined relationship with Anton. Later said by Dexter when he finds his son sitting in Rita's blood.
    • Dexter does this consistently throughout the series. Since he often doesn't know what to say in a given situation, or how to articulate his emotions, he ends up parroting other people's words, sometimes with success, sometimes inappropriately.
    • An excellent example is when he listens in to the police interview of a female stalker who has murdered a man she has never met because she was obsessed with him. Dexter later uses the bizarre outpouring of her feelings for this man as his word-for-word proposal of marriage to his girlfriend, Rita. Rita is, of course, thrilled by the romantic phrasing while the viewer, knowing the previous context, has chills down the spine.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Repeated twice by Tara in Buffy's dream in the season 4 finale, and then repeated by Dracula in the season 5 opener:
      "You think you know: what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun."
    • In the episode "The Gift", Buffy tells Dawn that "the hardest thing in this world is to live in it" before making a Heroic Sacrifice. Towards the end of "Once More With Feeling", Dawn repeats those words.
    • In Season 6 "As You Were" Riley Finn, having seen his relationship with Buffy collapse because she doesn't love him, returns to find Buffy at a low point in her life. He states that he loves her regardless, that nothing he's seen her do affects that in the least, and concludes by saying "You're a hell of a woman." In "Touched" Spike, having seen his own relationship with Buffy end for exactly the same reason, rallies her at a low point in her life with a Love Confession that concludes with the same words.
    • Dark!Willow says "Bored now" just before killing Warren. The line was used by the evil Wishverse vampire Willow, yet Willow herself had never heard the line being used, making its use in this context particularly chilling (well, that and the whole flaying-alive thing).
    • Angel tells Buffy just before they make love for the first time; "I love you. I try not to, but I can't stop." When Buffy becomes involved with another vampire, Spike, she insists their relationship is purely sexual, because she is terrified that history is repeating itself.
      Spike: I love you.
      Buffy: (upset) No, you don't!
      Spike: You think I haven't tried not to?
      (Buffy punches Spike clear across the alley) Try harder!
    • And that dialogue is then echoed in the series finale, as Spike makes his Heroic Sacrifice.
      Buffy: I love you.
      Spike: No, you don't. But thanks for saying it.
  • Doctor Who:
    The Doctor: (aims at the Master) Get out of the way. (shoots a console)
    The Master: (aims at the Doctor) Get out of the way. (shoots Rassilon)''
    • There's a lot of running in Doctor Who. In fact, the Doctor's first sentence in the new series is "Run." When the Eleventh Doctor is facing down the first major threat to Earth in his new body, what does he say to them, after a Badass Boast to end all Badass Boasts? "Run."
    • In the episode Blink, Sergeant Billy Shipton asks Sally out for a drink. Why? "Because life is short and you are hot." A few minutes later, when they see each other again, he's aged about fifty years and on his deathbed, he tells her that "life is long...and you are hot."
    • Two separate exchanges in "The Angels Take Manhattan":
      The Doctor: You just changed the future!
      River: It's called marriage, honey. Now hush! I'm working.
      (later, when Amy is prepared to jump off the building with Rory to set up a time paradox)
      The Doctor: What the hell are you doing?!?!
      Amy: Changing the future. It's called marriage.
    • In Asylum of the Daleks, Oswin's line to The Doctor as she blows up the asylum (and herself with it.) "Run you clever boy, and remember," with a sly glance at the camera. She later appears as Victorian Clara and dies, her last words being "Run you clever boy, and remember." Then modern day Clara says the same thing before running into the Doctor's time stream to save him - and then, two seasons later, a modified version becomes her final message and mission statement to the Doctor
    • The First Doctor casually uses a similar construction about 'going back, yes' in several significant scenes. "One day, we will go back. Yes, we will go back" ("An Unearthly Child"). "One day, I will return. Yes, I will return." ("The Dalek Invasion of Earth") Then, during his Heroic B.S.O.D. in "The Massacre": "I should go back. Yes, I should go back. ...But I can't. I can't." In "The Savages", he riffs off that version of the phrase when Security Clinging onto Dodo after his friend Steven leaves the team - "We must never look back. No, we must never look back." The changes in this phrase reflect his character development from an arrogant man who assumes he makes the rules to an enthusiastic eccentric learning when to break the rules to an insecure old man struggling to deal with his own loneliness. A few stories later he dies of old age and is transformed into another body.
    • In "Shada", variations of the phrase "he seemed like a nice old man" get used a lot, usually by characters describing Charm Person Professor Chronotis. At the very end of the story, however, it is used by the Doctor to describe himself.
    • Various companions and other characters ask "Doctor who?" after meeting the Doctor, and as well as a reference to the show's title, it turns out to be the oldest and most important question in the universe.
    • In the 2015 season, "I had a duty of care" starts out as the Twelfth Doctor expressing borderline-overprotection of his companion, Clara. When uttered at the end of the season, after the Doctor has spent 4 1/2 billion years on a Batman Gambit to try and save her life, risking all of time and space, it takes on a completely different meaning. Clara's response is to say "People like me and you, we should say things to one another," which is a meaningful echo of something said about two different people who had grown close during an episode earlier in the season.
  • Veronica Mars: The pilot establishes that "Who's your daddy?" is Keith's (somewhat oddball) way of saying he has his daughter's back. This is repeated twice later on: first is part way through the first season when Veronica's paternity is in question, he reveals after a test that he is indeed her biological father, and again in the last episode of season one where he rescues his daughter from being burned alive by the season's villain.
  • Ashes to Ashes - In the first episode of Series 3, Gene comments on how he accidentally shot Alex at the end of series 2, saying 'you fell all wrong', and Alex replies with 'Sometimes in life, you can't help which way you fall.'. At the end of the episode, a woman who got involved in a kidnapping because she was in love with a criminal repeats this exact line to Alex, which now has new meaning because it makes Alex think about whether she might be falling for Gene (in the metaphorical and not literal sense).
  • Scrubs: Season 5, "My Lunch" - Dr. Cox lectures J.D. about how, once you start blaming yourself for other people's deaths, it's a "slippery slope that you can't come back from," and that he's seen it ruin people. At the end of the episode, after the three patients, including Dr. Cox's friend, die from rabies, J.D. reminds Dr. Cox of the same thing. It almost does ruin him, as seen in the following episode. Guess who pulls Dr. Cox out of his slump?.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation - "The Most Toys": Interstellar thief, "collector", kidnapper and ultimately murderer, Kivas Fajo, tells Data in Evil Gloating that Data can't feel as he's "only an android". At the end, when Fajo's been brought to justice, Data tells him that his entire collection has been confiscated, leading to this:
    Fajo: It must give you great pleasure.
    Data: No sir, it does not. I do not feel pleasure. I am only an android.
    • His demeanor makes it quite clear that Data is lying (for the second time that day).
  • In Parks and Recreation, Andy does this to Ron… accidentally.
    Andy: A wise man once told me that we are adults and that means we don't run away from our problems. [Beat] I just remembered, it was you who said that, Ron. You told me that!
  • The last scene of the pilot of Supernatural features Sam (who has just lost his home and his girlfriend) tossing a shotgun into the trunk of the car and saying, "We've got work to do." Two seasons later, at the end of the season finale, Dean (who has just sold his soul) throws the Colt into the trunk and says the same thing.
  • Sons of Anarchy has visual examples. Jax finds an old picture of his parents posing together. In the fourth season finale, he and Tara assume the exact same pose, implying that they are recreating the tragic story of Jax's parents. In the fifth season finale, Jax and his mother assume the pose, but this time Jax is weeping and Gemma is consoling him.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • In a flashback of the second episode of Season 2, Regina tries to escape her abusive controlling mother. Her mother uses a spell to stop her, and tells her she can use magic to get what she wants. Regina desperately pleads "I don't want that. I don't want to be you. As an adult Regina uses magic to get Henry to come with her, uses the exact same spell her mother used when he tries to escape, and then they have the exact same conversation. This causes Regina to realize she has become the one thing she swore she would never be, her mother. She later lets him go, and tries to be The Atoner.
    • The pilot episode has "You have no idea what I'm capable of."
    • "Sorry I'm late" appears four times throughout the entire run of the show. It first appears in the Pilot, in its most sinister appearance, spoken by Regina as she crashes Snow and Charming's wedding. It appears again, much more sincerely delivered, in season two's 'The Cricket Game' when Regina arrives late at the welcome home party for Emma and Snow. It is spoken again by Regina in "Wish You Were Here" as she crashes Wish!Henry's knighting ceremony in an attempt to wake Emma up. It appears for a fourth and final time in the finale, spoken by Emma as she arrives late to Regina's coronation.
  • Castle:
    • In "Tick Tick Tick..." when Castle felt responsible for a serial killer inspired by his Nikki Heat novels (played for both drama and humor),
    Beckett: Really? Like The Beatles are responsible for Charles Manson because of 'Helter Skelter'? Or is it more like Jodie Foster's responsible for John Hinckley shooting Reagan?
    (Later, when Beckett is visibly disturbed by the killer using the character she inspired as an excuse to kill:)
    Castle: A very wise woman once told me, "You can't blame Jodie Foster for John Hinckley." But you can blame her for Nim's Island.
    • At the end of their first case ever, after Beckett turns down Castle's advances:
      Castle: It would have been great.
      Beckett(whispering teasingly in Castle's ear): You have no idea.
      (Four season later, after they finally get together):
      Castle: You were right. I had no idea.
    • In "Poof, You're Dead", when a street magician attempts to disappear in a cloud of smoke to avoid Beckett's questioning him regarding the murder of another magician, Beckett opens the chest he ducked into and says "Alakazam, jackass." Later, Beckett, with the help of the victim's twin brother, cons the real killer to declare, "You're dead, I killed you!" Beckett's response to the confession; "Alakazam, jackass."
  • One Tree Hill: When Dan has a heart attack, everyone related to him needs to get tested because the heart condition he has has a 1 in 2 chance of being passed on genetically. Keith gets checked and happily tells Lucas that he does not have the condition, hoping it'll encourage Lucas to get tested, to which Lucas replies, "1 in 2, right?"
  • In Mama ist Unmöglich (Mom is Impossible), episodes 1 and 4 both end with Carol saying "Mom, you are impossible". The first time, she says it in frustration but the second time, she says it in admiration.
  • Season 3 Battlestar Galactica episode "Maelstrom" had Kara say "I'll see you on the other side" to Lee before she got killed. During the series finale, Samuel Anders utters the very same words to Kara following their farewell before he directs Galactica and the rest of the Fleet into the Sun. Many fans take this to mean that they have both Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence and will be Together in Death, and that Lee will also gain that status when he eventually dies.
  • In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "Face My Enemy", while on a mission together, Coulson begins reminiscing about past missions, May gives a short but to the point speech about facing reality and not getting misled by sentiment. At the end of the episode, when May tells Coulson she won't Mercy Kill him if he becomes like The Clairvoyent, he gives the same speech back to her.
  • In the Horatio Hornblower episode "Retribution," Hornblower says of Captain Sawyer "he was a leader of men, and he died in battle" to Hobbs, who was personally loyal to Sawyer and suspected foul play in injury that removed him from command. In the present, Buckland testifies that Hornblower pushed Sawyer down the hatchway so that the surgeon would be forced to certify him incapable of command and calls on Hobbs as a witness. When Hobbs is on the stand, however, he looks directly at Hornblower and repeats the same sentence that Hornblower said to him, indicating that he will not corroborate Buckland's accusation.
  • ''Sherlock: "If you're looking for baby names". This is said ironically by John (along with his fall name, John Hamish Watson) as a joke in "A Scandal in Belgravia", when he sees Sherlock and Irene having a Held Gaze. Four episodes later, Sherlock states his full name (William Sherlock Scott Holmes) and the aforementioned quotation during his last conversation with John and his wife Mary, as Sherlock is heading on a MI-6 mission that could potentially get him killed, as penance for shooting the Big Bad in an attempt to protect John and his family. He is suggesting this because Mary is pregnant, meaning that he wants John to have someone to remember him by.

  • In the Barenaked Ladies song, "Tonight is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel" we hear, "You're the last thing on my mind." After the accident, the singer lies dying in his car, saying as the last line of the song, "You're the last thing on my mind."
  • At the end of The Beatles' last ever live performance, John Lennon stepped up to the microphone and said something that he must have said dozens of times during the band's teenage years: "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we've passed the audition."
  • George Strait's "Love Without End Amen" - the first chorus is a father talking to his son, the second the son passing the same wisdom on to his son, and the third implying Jesus telling the same thing to the son in a dream when he thinks he isn't worthy of entering Heaven.
  • Tim McGraw:
    • "Don't Take the Girl" repeats the title three times with gradually increasing meaning.
    • His "Nothin' To Die For" is similar, but subtle - the chorus the first two times says the main character would "Lay your life down for your country, for your Jesus for your friends." The third time (as the man crashes through a guardrail), he hears a sweet voice saying "Lay your life down for your country, for me and all your friends."
  • The chorus from Two Little Boys by Rolf Harris. The first time Jack breaks his toy horse and Jack repeats it almost word-for-word years later under different-yet-similar circumstances:
    "Did you think I would leave you crying
    "When there's room on my horse for two?
    "Climb up here, Jack, and don't be crying
    "I can go just as fast with two."
    • Turns into:
    "Did you think I would leave you dying
    "When there's room on my horse for two?
    "Climb up here, Joe, and don't be crying
    "I can go just as fast with two."
  • From Vocaloid, "Rolling Girl" by Hatsune Miku is about a girl who is implied to be bullied and how her world kept spinning out of her control, as she is seen spinning by herself. Throughout the video when the guy asked her if she was okay now, she would never quite answer the question. At the end, as he is holding her, the guy tells her that it's going to be okay now and they both spin together.

  • When the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl XXXII in 1998, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen dedicated the victory to long-time quarterback John Elway,note  declaring, "This one's for John!" 18 years later, with Bowlen dying of Alzheimer's disease, when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, now-team president Elway returned the favor, declaring, "This one's for Pat!"

  • Similar to the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix example mentioned above, several stage versions of the musical Annie have one particular sequence that uses this trope. Early in the play, Ms. Hannigan tells Annie that her one rule is "never tell a lie". At the end, when Hannigan begs her to tell the police she's been a kind and loving orphanage matron, Annie says "Remember the one thing you always taught me: never tell a lie."
  • In Children of Eden, Father says "No more questions, daughter Eve. It's time to sleep" twice. The first time is when she's an excited child tiring herself out with curiosity. The second is when she's a grandmother about to die, worrying about the future of her children and humanity.
    • "Oh Father, please don't make me choose/Either way it's more than I can bear to lose", is sung by Adam, Abel, and Noah.
    • 'Father's Day' is echoed by Cain's bitter "Is this what it means to be a father...?" The first time, the tune is innocent and soothing, and the second time, it's bitter and mocking.
    • Noah reprises "The Mark Of Cain": the first time, it was an epic number with the entire cast onstage, and his reprise is much more mellow but also more heartbreaking.
    • Mama Noah sings part of 'The Spark Of Creation' to Noah in the second act, telling him that he 'must be the father now.'
    • The tune of the titular song crops up first as Father presenting the garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, Eve saying goodbye to all her children in the first act finale, Yonah setting the dove free in the second act, and then by the cast to the audience at the very end of the play, with a different meaning each time. In case you can't tell, Children of Eden LOVES this trope.
  • RENT. The final chorus of "I'll Cover You."
    • Same idea, but somewhat subverted in Roger's words to Mimi in "Another Day"- "Who do you think you are/barging in on me and my guitar"- in that he changes them when he sings to her at the end of "Finale" to "Who do you think you are/Leaving me alone with my guitar". Cue Crowning Momentof Heartwarming.
  • Wicked features Elphaba's musical repetition of "unlimited" - from her solo "Unlimited / My future is unlimited" of "The Wizard and I" to her "Unlimited / Together we're unlimited" spoken to Glinda in "Defying Gravity" to her "Unlimited / The damage is unlimited" in the full version of "No Good Deed" to her final "I'm limited / Just look at me, I'm limited" in "For Good."
    • "I'm Not That Girl" being repeated, first being sung by Elphaba and saying that Galinda was 'that girl' and then sung by Glinda saying that Elphaba was 'that girl' in the second act.
    • Fiyero and Elphaba's exchanges where when they tell each other they're beautiful or handsome. The first time Fiyero tells Elphaba she's beautiful after he runs away with her, and then Elphaba echoes with the same words whenhe comes back after she fakes her death, saying the same words.
    It's just another way of seeing things.
    • "No One Mourns the Wicked" at the beginning of the musical, and then in "Finale" after the events have panned out and you know both sides more completely.
    • When Elphaba first meets the Wizard, he says to her, "Everyone deserves a chance to fly," justifying his request for her to give his monkey Chistery (and by extension all of the monkeys he gathered) wings. Later in the song "Defying Gravity", Elphaba sings, "Like someone told me lately, 'Everyone deserves a chance to fly!'"
  • In Curtains, the opening scene features Randy as the Rob Hood in the Old West character Parson Tuck saying a line to the titular character after he saves the town's schoolhouse. When the scene is shown again after Lieutenant Cioffi solves the murders, restores the love of the theater in the jaded company, and takes over as Rob Hood after Bobby gets injured, Randy's line has a more profound meaning.
    "You came to us as a stranger, rid this place of crime, and gave us a new hope in ourselves. That's gonna be one tough act to follow.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: "Teamwork Can Make a Dream Work"
  • In La Bohème, Mimì and Rodolfo quote lines from their Meet Cute while she lies on her deathbed.
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:
    Big Momma / Maggie: I love you.
    Big Daddy / Brick: Wouldn't it be funny if that were true.
  • Vanities: The Musical(the off-Broadway version): "Let Life Happen", the last song of the second act, is echoed in "Setting Your Sights (What You Wanted)", the first song of the third act. "One life, and all you have to do is let it happen..." Another echo, this time of the lyric "if you don't give (your obsessive organization) up, it's gonna drive you mad", occurs in "An Organized Life (1974)": "If that's how you organize your existence, you have an organized nervous breakdown... It's what you tried to tell me way back in college..."
  • In My Fair Lady, when Eliza went to Henry Higgins to ask him to give her speech lessons, he said "She's so deliciously low! So horribly dirty!" To which she indignantly replied, "I washed my face and hands before I come, I did." Towards the end, when Higgins was despondently listening to a recording of that same conversation, Eliza walked in and repeated her earlier line more softly and tenderly.
  • The original version of Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along had several, but in reverse due to the backwards order of events. For example, in the first act, a lovesick Mary sang a heartbreaking reprise of "Not a Day Goes By" to her unrequited love interest Frank; while in the second act, a newly-married Frank happily sang it to his then-wife, Beth.
  • In The Addams Family, Morticia finds out Gomez is keeping a secret from her. He asks to dance with her, and she replies, "Not today." Near the end of the musical, Morticia is leaving Gomez who's stuck wondering if this is the end of his marriage and their family. His decision? "Not today!"
  • In Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung Siegfried, after being struck down by Hagen, relives (a slightly abridged reprise of) the scene from Siegfried, act 3, where he awoke Brünnhilde, although what is echoed here is the musical sequence and less the text. This foreshadows that the two will be united in death at his funeral.
  • Hamilton: Hamilton's death monologue is almost entirely different meaningful echoes from previous points in the musical, from him and from everyone else.
  • Fun Home
    • The musical adaption has a somber echo in the song "Telephone Wire" from "Party Dress" As Allison semi-quotes a line that she said when she was 9 as a 43 year old woman recollecting the memory of her and her Dad's last drive before he kills himself.
    Young Allison in Party Dress: I Despise this dress!/ What's the matter with boy shirts and pants/This dress makes me feel like a clown,/I HATE IT!
    Regular Allison in Telephone Wire: Since like, 5 I guess!/I prefer to wear boy shirts and pants!/I felt absurd in a dress!/I REALLY TRIED TO DENY MY FEELINGS FOR GIRLS!
    • Another instance is Between the "I Am" Song "Changing my major" and the B.S.O.D. Song "Edges of the World". In Changing My Major, Allison relishes in her sexual awakening. In Edges of the World... Bruce kills himself.
    Medium Allison: Am I falling into nothingness?/Or Flying into something so sublime?/I don't know.../ BUT I'M CHANGING MY MAJOR TO JOAN!
    Bruce Bechdel: And I'm falling into nothingness/Or flying into something so sublime./And I'm A man I don't know./Who am I now?/Where do I go?/I can't go back...
    • Bruce sings "I might still break a heart or two" in both "Welcome to Our House on Maple Avenue" and "Edges of the World." In "Welcome" he's singing about how even though he's a middle-aged father, he still considers himself a Lothario. In "Edges", the hearts he's going to break are those of his family, because, well...
  • Les Misérables reuses melodies and motifs so very very often, and it's almost always meaningful.
    • "Prologue" and "Look Down" to highlight the fact that even "free" men and women in 1832 felt they were prisoners of the state.
    • "Lovely Ladies" and "Turning" are both songs sung by women who are mourning the unfairness of life both for themselves and the dead revolutionaries.
    • "Who Am I" and "One Day More" for turning points in Valjean's life.
    • "Valjean's Soliloquy" and "Javert's Suicide" have the titular characters' worldviews shattered by an act of unprecedented kindness; how they react is what makes the difference between the two men.
    • "Fantine's Death" and "Epilogue" use the same melody, and in some places, the same words, between Fantine and Valjean; often, the only thing that's different is who's dying.
    • "Do You Hear the People Sing" is given a glorious Triumphant Reprise at the end of "Epilogue", as the revolutionaries find that their worldview of freedom for all will eventually be found true in heaven.
  • In The Drowsy Chaperone, "As We Stumble Along" is "a rousing anthem about alcoholism", not intended to be taken seriously. The reprise is sung by a melancholy Man in the Chair, having had the finale of his show interrupted He is then joined by the characters from The Drowsy Chaperone, turning a cynical rant into a hopeful song about the future. Justified in-universe as it's his favorite song from the show and may have been able to gain some deeper meaning it than the show's writers ever intended.
  • Newsies: in "Santa Fe", Jack tells Crutchie that he would never leave him behind because they're like family. In the finale, Crutchie convinces Jack to stay in New York because they're like family, and family always sticks together. And in the tour-exclusive song "Letter from the Refuge" earlier in the show, Crutchie changes his signature from "your friend" to "your best friend" to "your brother".

    Video Games 
  • Cloud's comments about the Midgar train early in Final Fantasy VII - "No-one lives in the slums because they want to. It's like this train. It can't go anywhere except where its rails take it." It's profound at the time, though, to some degree, since it's the first emotional thing we hear Cloud say; Barret, The Lancer, points this out. For him, especially, it sticks, and a mangled version becomes his catchphrase - "There ain't no getting off of this train we're on!" It's eventually used by the rest of the cast to complete Cloud's recovery from Heroic B.S.O.D.. Except Cait Sith, who viciously mangles it: "This train we're on ain't got no stops!"
  • In Tales of Symphonia:
    • Shortly after the Angel Remiel tells Collete that he is her father, she gets a little confused about who she is and what that means for her. In response to this, Lloyd tells Collete, "It doesn't matter who your father is, you're still you". Much later in the game, while Lloyd is distraught after finding out that Kratos is his father, Collete delivers that same line right back to him. It was just the thing that Lloyd needed to snap out of it.
    • There's the cryptic "Don't die, Lloyd," that Kratos gives right before you head to the Tower of Salvation. It's a hint that, despite his apparent Evil All Along reveal, he may still be on your side. It's echoed in the final cutscene, and this time it's a Tear Jerker, and it's extended: "Don't die before I do, son."
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, Double H is prone to spouting random sayings from his military training manual; one of his favorites is the faux motivational mantra "D.B.U.T.T! Don't Break Up The Team!" His normal usage of the phrase is akin to "Hey! Wait for me!" However, in a later scene, he dives to catch the heroine Jade as she falls from a roof. When he catches her, he says, with a sigh of relief, "Don't break up the team..." showing his dedication for her.
  • Used very frequently in the Metal Gear. The series knows it has a mythos and isn't afraid to use it. A few of the more obvious ones:
    • "Kept you waiting, huh?"/"Sorry for the wait"/"Sorry to keep you waiting" (all the same phrase in Japanese) is used over and over as a reference to Snake speaking the line in the earliest Metal Gear Solid 2 trailers, and in a different, increasingly poignant situation every time. The most poignant is Otacon's melancholic Lampshade Hanging - "[Snake's] always keeping people waiting" - at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, after Snake has left him to kill himself.
    • Big Boss unconsciously 'repeats' Snake's "I've never been interested in anyone else's life" speech to EVA in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, after she asks him the same question Meryl asked Snake in Metal Gear Solid.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 - after helping Raiden get through a door, Emma says "Are you impressed?" with exactly the same intonation that Meryl used when she said it to Snake in Metal Gear Solid. Obviously an unconscious hint for where the story was heading.
    • The script on the Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 Making-Of disc has large amounts of stage directions for the actors saying things similar to 'This line should be said in the same way the line was said in Metal Gear Solid'.
    • One which crossed the voice-acting barrier - "I have no family", first said by Snake in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as a simple answer to a question about whether he was married or not, and later said by Snake in Metal Gear Solid to highlight his loneliness upon being asked about whether there was anyone who cared about him at all.
    • And another which crossed the voice-acting barrier - "TURN OFF YOUR MSX AT ONCE!!". Echoed by Campbell in Metal Gear Solid 2, as "Turn the game console off, right now!" Since Big Boss's order to switch off the MSX happens right at the end of Metal Gear just before his betrayal, it's fairly clear what it was trying to do.
    • Even the radio frequencies are like this, starting from Metal Gear 2. Your commander will use 140.85, the girl will use 140.15, the mentor 141.80, the save girl 140.96, the ninja 140.48 or 140.00, and so on. It's used to make a point in Metal Gear Solid, which plays around with assigning behaviours to Meryl and Naomi which we have seen in Metal Gear 2's Holly and Nastasha, and swaps around which girl is which at the last moment.
  • In Warhammer: Dark Omen, after the first battle Bernhardt crows he never loses a battle. (Which segues into a point that "I deal in gold for red blood, or green blood.") Towards the end the sentence is repeated, but the Commander's attitude has changed through fighting the Undead.
  • One meaningful echo was botched in at least one translation of the Kingdom Hearts games: If you're an English-speaking player, the first you saw or heard of the line "We'll go together" is as the closing line of both Sequel Hook trailers found in the original game—Another Side Another Story and Deep Dive. It appears again in the ending of Kingdom Hearts II from Sora to Riku, about returning home at last. The line's actual first appearance is in the opening, post-trippy-dream-sequence cutscene of the first game: Kairi to Sora, about leaving their home to go on an adventure, translated from "We'll go together" to "So what're we waiting for?"
  • Grand Theft Auto IV has Niko's cousin Roman saying "Welcome to America!" as he gets off a boat in the opening cutscene. If one takes the "Deal" ending in the game... After Roman dies, Niko hunts down Dimitri, he says the exact same thing before Dimitri dies of blood loss.
  • Star Fox 64 (aka. Lylat Wars): One of Peppy's catch phrases is "Never give up. Trust your instincts." It's later repeated twice by James McCloud's ghost as he guides Fox out of the exploding remains of Andross' base - the first time as "Never give up, my son" and the second time word-for-word.
  • At the end of the first Mega Man Zero game, Mega Man X (now just a literal Virtual Ghost) appears to the title character, the latter exhausted from battling the Big Bad. X asks Zero to protect the world in his stead while X rests for a while, and Zero's answer:
    I'll do what you want... Rest for a while. I will handle it, you can count on me. I won't stop! If an enemy appears... I'll terminate it.
    • The last three lines would be echoed (in different words, but still had the same general meaning) before the Final Boss battle of Zero 4, with Weil taunting Zero on his ideals of justice. Cue the awesome "World of Cardboard" Speech.
    I never cared about justice, and I don't recall ever calling myself a hero. I've always only fought for the people I believe in. I won't hesitate. If an enemy appears in front of me, I will destroy it!
  • In Modern Warfare 2, both General Shepherd and Captain Price note that "History is written by the victors." The point they're both making is that only they should be trusted to write the history of the events that occur in the plot. The twist is that Shepherd is the Big Bad, and Price, despite being He Who Fights Monsters, is one of the good guys.
  • At the beginning of Halo 3, Master Chief John-117 and Arbiter Thel 'Vadam are stopped from killing each other by Sergeant Johnson. Thel mutters "Were it so easy..." and stalks off. At the end, where Johnson is dead and Chief is MIA, Lord Hood tells Thel that he can't believe Chief is dead. Thel looks to the sky and sighs "Were it so easy...". This had to have tugged at some heartstrings.
  • "What can change the nature of a man?" - The question of Planescape: Torment. It's asked more then once during the course of the game and in the end it turns out to be the prerequisite of the whole story: the protagonist longed to atone for some crimes so hideous that a whole life of good deeds wouldn't suffice. Regret drove him to seek and obtain immortality.
  • In Final Fantasy X, the Arc Words of "This is my story" is often repeated by Tidus and Yuna, until eventually, Auron changes the words to "This is your story", referring to all the characters.
    • Auron echoes this awesomely in his appearance in Kingdom Hearts II when he bluntly tells Hades, "This is my story, and you aren't part of it."
  • Ace Combat:
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War: "Yo, Buddy. Still alive?" At first, this is Pixy acting surprised that the rookie he's been assigned to fly with actually pulled his weight on their first mission. Then, it's Pixy relieved that they both survived the ordeal that was their first battle over the Round Table. And towards the end, it's Pixy coming back from desertion—to fight a battle to the death against his former flight leader.
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: "I saw my death in my dreams, many times." First describing his nightmare, and then at the end describing him overcoming his nightmare.
  • Fallout: "War... war never changes."
  • In Deadly Premonition, the line "Welcome to Greenvale" is first spoken when York first arrives in town; it is repeated at the beginning of the second boss fight.
  • Metroid: Adam Malkovich ends every mission briefing with the line "No objections, right, Lady?" to acknowledge Samus. (Who, in turn, gives a thumbs-down just to be cheeky.) The Sector Zero cutscene in Metroid: Other M turns the exchange into a Tear Jerker as Adam departs on a suicide mission to destroy the sector.
    • Anthony's thumbs-down in the ending is also an Ironic Echo.
    • In Metroid: Fusion, the last game story-wise, Samus reminisces about Adam, saying the computer she's taking orders from reminds her of him, except that Adam finished his orders with "Any objections, Lady?" (The game was made before Other M). She accidentally calls the computer Adam to its "face" later in the story, in a moment of frustration. Moments later, the computer goes against the Federation's orders by ordering Samus to take out the planet and the station in one fell movement, finishing with "Any objections, Lady?"
  • While fighting your way through the raid content of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King'', you encounter Yogg'Saron, during the Battle in the Center of the Mind, he will tell you that "no King rules forever", referring to the Big Bad. These words are repeated by the ghost of Arthas' father after his defeat by the players. Yogg'Saron is also know as God of Death.
    • It's even better than that: Yogg's line is: "He will learn, no king rules forever". And King Terenas's line is: "You see, my son, no king rules forever".
    • A great one you can easily overlook: Arthas' Famous Last Words were "I see... only darkness before me." In the Forsaken's questline in Silverpine Forest, faction leader Sylvanas Windrunner, who as of Cataclysm is adopting more and more of Arthas' tactics and ruthlessness, briefly spends some time dead. Her words after coming back? "I saw... only darkness before me." Sadly, it's not an epiphany moment.
    • In the Horde version of the Icecrown Citadel raid, when you defeat Deathbringer Saurfang, his father, Varok Saurfang, comes to collect his body and, upon leaving, tells the players, "Honor, young heroes. No matter how dire the battle: Never forsake it." This comes back again in Cataclysm during Horde questing in the updated Stonetalon Mountains zone where Garrosh Hellscream repeats this line to a general who bombed a school full of civilians before picking him up by the neck and dropping him off a cliff.
      Garrosh Hellscream says: You! Are! DISMISSED!
    • In the trailer for Ulduar, Thrall says "You disappoint me, Garrosh" after Garrosh fought King Varian of the Alliance in what was supposed to be a peace summit. After Garrosh is defeated at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar, Thrall says it once again.
  • Assassin's Creed I: Malik Al-Sayf hates Altaïr after the protagonist got his brother killed during a botched mission. When Altaïr delivers the standard greeting of "Safety and peace" early in the game, Malik's bitter response is "Your presence here deprives me of both." At the end of the game and after some serious Character Development, Altaïr again says "Safety and peace," to which Malik replies "Your presence will deliver us both."
  • During the beginning of Max Payne, the titular character stubs out a cigarette in front of Alex and says "See? My last smoke. It's bad for the baby." Three years later, when B.B offers Max a cigar, Max retorts "I don't smoke."
  • Legacy of Kain: "Become my Soul Reaver", the Elder God tells Raziel at the beginning of Soul Reaver. This rather throwaway line comes back to haunt the player at the end of Soul Reaver 2
  • In Mass Effect 2, if you romanced Thane Krios and played through the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, you will learn of a letter that he wrote to you, to be delivered to you in the event of his death, which ends with the poignant line "I will await you across the sea." In Mass Effect 3, after Thane is stabbed through the chest trying to protect the salarian councilor from Kai Leng, during his death scene at the hospital with Kolyat at your side, your final words to him are "Bye, Thane. Meet you across the sea." *sniff*
    • Badass Bookworm Mordin Solus is one of the prime examples for a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate, being a leading scientist in bio-weapons that have been refered to as genocidal by many people and has also been described as an emotionless killer when it comes to dispatching his enemies. The mission and the greater good always comes first with no room for doubts or regrets. Considered both a genius and ruthless by his own people, he appears not to be too far from the truth when he ends the demonstration of his singing talent with the line "I am the very model of a scientist Salarian." In the third game, he appears to have had a major change of heart, at least as much as someone as him would admit, and put himself in extreme danger to revert the effects of his earlier works, working with and saving the species he used to fight. He is heard humming the line "I am the very model of a scientist Salarian." as his last words as he starts the machine that will cure the effects of the bio-weapon, as the facility is exploding around him.
    • "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong."
    • "My work, my responsibility". The whole storyline uses this trope a lot.
    • In Mass Effect 3, during the Rannoch arc, at one point Shepard wishes Legion "Good luck", to which it replies "Acknowledged." Later reversed, when Legion wishes Shepard "Good luck" when s/he goes to take down a Reaper on foot, to which Shepard cheerfully replies, "Acknowledged."
    • The Rannoch arc also gets a lot of mileage out of the phrase "keelah se'lai", which throughout the series has been a generic quarian expression. It's explained that it literally means "by the homeworld I hope to someday see", which obviously means a lot more when they're standing on that homeworld, or when Shepard uses it at the height of persuading the two sides to stand down (a double reference — to Rannoch, which the quarians can resettle on if they stop antagonizing the geth, and Earth, which s/he hopes the quarian-geth alliance can help retake).
    • A variation in the form of a repeated scene. Whilst in the Geth Consensus, Shepard discovers that Legion archived their first meeting within the Geth's important historical records. When questioned about this, Legion reveals this was the first peaceful interaction between organics and Geth in over 300 years!
    • "Are you saying submission is preferable to extinction?"
  • When Pious Augustus introduces his chapter in the Tome of Eternal Darkness, he says, "To think that once I could not see beyond the veil of our reality, to see those who dwell behind... I was once a fool..." Alex repeats this word for word in the denouement of each path.
  • Due to Shulk's visions, Xenoblade uses this beautifully. The first time you hear the line you're left wondering what it means due to the line being presented without context, but when the character actually says the line, you understand just why they said it. One particular line is Egil stating that the Monado did not cut deep enough, which was one of Shulk's first visions.
  • Soma has protagonist Simon Jarett twice say "You know, Indians thought cameras would steal their souls." Both times he is scanning his brain into a machine. The first time he is just making conversation with his doctor about his experimental brain injury treatment, but by the second time he knows what the brain scan actually does and the line suddenly becomes much more literal.
  • Spec Ops: The Line has this a couple of times - Walker's droll "Gentlemen, welcome to Dubai" at the start of the game is thrown back at him by Konrad when revealing some of the depths of what Delta have gotten into. The second time crosses into full Ironic Echo territory, if you choose to murder the squad sent to evacuate you and damn yourself fully in the epilogue, with Walker using their radio to broadcast the same message to the new rescue force.
  • In Infamous Second Son, Brooke Augustine often quips "Yeah, I'm told that hurts" when using her concrete powers to torture people. When Delsin Rowe uses those same powers to encase her in concrete during the Final Boss battle, he throws that exact same line back at her.
  • Fatal Frame V: Maiden of Black Water has this line: "No! I won't let you do it!" And in most of the listed examples below, an embrace from behind takes place as well.
    • Miu says this as she tries to call Yuuri back as Yuuri is walking deeper and deeper into the Black Lake. Her words and embrace jolt Yuuri out of her spiritually-possessed trance.
    • Miu does this again when getting Miku out of the Black Box that confines her.
    • The reason Yuuri reacts so powerfully to these words, as indicated in a flashback, is because these are what Hisoka says to her as she stops Yuuri from her own suicide attempt.
    • Yuuri herself says this to Hisoka to stop her from letting herself become a sacrifice.
  • In Issue #7 of The Secret World, the player teams up with a glamorous and decidedly mysterious agent of the Council of Venice, and after an Almost Kiss, the agent flirtatiously promises you that "the best is yet to come." Later, after revealing herself to be the Big Bad in disguise and stabbing you in the back with a syringe full of sedatives, she repeats her earlier promise in a much creepier manner as you lose consciousness.
  • Used to deliver a hefty gut punch right at the end of The Sexy Brutale, with the line "Time to move on, old man" making its return from the tutorial.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: "You said an older brother protects his younger sister, right?... Yeah. I'm the older sister. So I have to protect my younger brother." This is the result of the True ending of Heaven's Feel.
  • In Little Busters!, when Kyousuke declares 'Mission start!' in the early routes, it's just a fun, overly dramatic way of announcing one of the many silly missions Kyousuke sets up for his friends, while establishing him as a fun Big Brother Mentor. When Riki says it in Refrain as part of trying to take over Kyousuke's role, it's a sign of how he's no longer living in his shadow and only being dragged along on these adventures, but is beginning to initiate things and take care of his friends on his own.
  • Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!: Together, the Kazama family is invincible! Then, Yamato gets kidnapped, Momoyo is incapacitated, and this becomes "Weren't we supposed to be invincible when together?" But when all hope seems lost Yamato manages to escape, and during the Final Battle the original line is dropped once more.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • A Crowning Moment of Heartwarming for El Goonish Shive: Nanase has just come out to her ex-boyfriend and is terrified of how her mother will react. Elliot, not sure how to respond, pats her fairy avatar on the head and says "Normally I'd put my arm around you to comfort you, but I don't want to crush you." Later, after Ellen tells Nanase that she wants to be with her regardless of how hard it will be to keep it secret, she says "I'd give you a hug, but I don't want to crush-" before getting interrupted by a soapy mini-glomp.
  • Everyday Heroes: on the day Jane got out of prison, she told Mr. Mighty that even though she's broke, homeless, and unemployed, it's still the best day she's had in a long time. Years later, she repeats the line after telling her story to the neighbors ... and getting a hug from her daughter.
  • Goblins:
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Chapter 6, Antimony jokingly says, "I'll save you, little girl!" as she jumps out of the tree after Kat. Two chapters later, Kat repeats that line when she swoops in on her hovercraft and saves Annie's bacon. And in the flashback chapter "Ties", Mr.Thorn gives a young Eglamore some advice that shows up in one of the earliest chapters.
  • Homestuck does this pretty much constantly. The author even states that he's building a storytelling vocabulary so that the readers will get the idea quickly when he uses the same phrase again in a different situation. He even does it with visual gags, deliberately putting two different characters in identical poses in different parts of the story to symbolize some emotion or other plot relevance. One of the characters even runs his own webcomic, which the other characters are privy to and quote constantly as an inside joke. And then when the story cuts to a bunch of aliens, they do it all over again, copying the echoes from the humans story into the aliens story, to get the point across even more efficiently despite the fact that there is virtually no way the two groups could have known all each other's references in such a short time.
  • The Order of the Stick had this in the form of what was once a gag line, that is, Belkar referring to himself as a "sexy, shoeless god of war" (after killing a pile of hobgoblins, naturally). Later, when a hallucination of Lord Shojo forces Belkar to "scream" what he IS, he actually mumbles the line in the real world, which just happened to have been misinterpreted as the response to a question by a cleric, who then healed Belkar of his sickness and, yeah, awesome ensues. "Only the honor of a paladin is unbreakable..." ...even by Death itself.
  • Punch an' Pie has a big one when Angela runs into a friend of her ex-boyfriend's. She makes with the Self-Deprecation in trying to explain why they broke up, but the friend corrects her: his reasons were exactly the same as those of the woman who more recently broke up with Angela.
  • Starslip: Vanderbeam's suit costs more than Mr. Jinx's carapace wax.
  • In Unsounded, Jivi has a bad dream where his mother, apparently a ship captain, tells him the most disappointing thing about the world is that there's nobody left who's brave enough to stand up to the evils of the world and tell them that ain't the way it should be. Later, when Jivi pilots Uaid and crashes into the Red Berry Boys' hideout in an attempt to rescue the gang's captives, he repeats this line.
    Jivi: Starfish! This ain't the way it should be!
  • In O Human Star, the first thing that Al says to Brendan when they reunite is "Are you just going to stand there?" It turns out that that's also what he said right before their first kiss.
  • In Modern Day Treasure Seekers, Sam uses the phrase "I'm awesome like that" to brag, but later when she's disconsolate and crying, Cade uses the phrase "We're awesome like that" to cheer her up.
  • Syr'Nj, in GuildedAge, tells Byron "You have a choice" when trying to calm his berserker rage to prevent him from killing any more of their team, though it doesn't work. Later, when Syr'Nj is possessed by the angry wood elf goddess, Byron repeats it back to her, and this time it works and enables Syr'Nj to toss away the magical artifact she's being possessed through.
  • Zebra Girl: When Sandra was attacking her friends right before her banishment, Crystal tried to calm down Sandra by appealing to their friendship. Sandra cruelly told her she knew what she was doing and that "It won't work" (and it indeed didn't). Years later, when the two of them met again, Crystal and her friends are setting up an ambush, with Crystal acting as a scout/bait. Sandra contacts Crystal telepathically, telling her once again that, whatever she is doing, "It won't work", but that she wants to make everything right again with her, as she is no longer looking for a fight, is truly repentant, and is carrying an injured Sam with her. Except this time, Crystal doesn't trust her.
  • AskFriskAndCompany has a rather heartwarming example in its first arc. Near the beginning, Frisk was too scared to ask Kid out after they uncharacteristically missed that he was flirting with them. Sans shows them an encouraging message from an asker and provided some encouraging words of his own: "there's a lot of people out there who believe in you kiddo. you've just gotta believe in you. ...ya know? i hope that made sense." Towards the end of the arc, after Sans had been possessed by Chara and forced to relive all his worst nightmares to the point of breaking, a large swarm of askers chimed in with plenty of pep talk and Frisk returned the earlier favor. "There's a lot of people out there who believe in you Sans. You've just gotta believe in you. ...ya know? I hope that made sense." Sans heard everything and tearfully mused, "...yeah kid. it's starting to."
  • At the start of Lucid Spring's prologue, Viktor, hallucinating vividly and panicking, calls Repa an "unforgiving hell forest." Toward the end of the prologue when we can see in detail what Pacem and Viktor are seeing and find that it's aptly named, Pacem shouts, "We are not DYING... IN THIS UNFORGIVING HELL FOREST!!"

    Web Original 
  • Don't Hug Me I'm Scared:
    • When Red Guy sings a song about what an animate file would be like, the response is "That sounds really boring", a line said by Red Guy back in the first episode. He also asks "I wonder what will happen?" (from Episode 3) before pulling the plug on the machine and resetting the timeline.
    • When Red Guy messes with Roy's machine to make new teachers in the sixth, Yellow Guy yells "MAKE IT STOP!", which is the same thing he yelled when Tony made them rot alive in the second.
  • I Am Not Infected has Amanda repeating the phrase "I can't hear you through the door" to Hartley, who had originally told this to Handcuff Guy. Who could hear him perfectly.
  • Nan Quest: Though the gap between the original and the echo isn't very long, there is the Pilgrim's "Now die, and release me," and "No more words. I have waited too long. Now, you die." Though it's not repeated verbatim, Henry's "No more talk. You have to die. You have to release me," later in the chapter is very similar — only he's just finished explaining exactly what he means and why he believes it will work, so it's no longer cryptic nonsense.
  • In Worm, at the beginning of Chapter 22.4, Alexandria makes a speech about the inevitability of her actions. Skitter echoes this speech after suffocating Alexandria by coating her lungs with a layer of insects and spider glue.

    Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in an episode of American Dad!:
    Stan Smith: I forbid it!
    Judge: While I'm sure that's a meaningful callback to an earlier conversation...
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Iroh saying "A man needs his rest" Book-Ends the first season: the first use trying to calm down Zuko's Determinator nature, the second congratulating him for admitting he's "tired" of fruitlessly chasing the Avatar. The delivery makes it clear that Iroh thinks Zuko has become his own man. (He hasn't.)
    • Iroh's little song: "Leaves from the vine / falling so slow..." The first time, he uses it to comfort a crying toddler, and it's cute. The second...
    • In the episode "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", Prince Sozin gives his headdress to Roku as something to remember him by. Sozin is reluctant to take it, saying "This is a royal artifact. It's supposed to be worn by the Crown Prince." Later, at the end of the episode, Iroh says the same words while giving the once-lost headdress to Zuko.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, we have Baby Doll's Catch-Phrase "I didn't mean to!" used as a Running Gag in her in-universe Sitcom, but then used devastatingly at the end of the episode.
  • The CatDog episode "Meat Dog's Friends" had Cat say "You learn something new every day" twice. He first says it while showing cruel indifference to Dog being horrified that meat is made from animals. The second time is at the end of the episode, when he is surprised to learn that meat trees and Johnny Meatseed are real.
  • When she first arrives at her new high school, Daria is given a mandatory psychological test. She jokes that she sees the picture of two people talking as "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plains", and repeats the phrase when prompted to come up with a conversation the two people are having; she is then diagnosed as antisocial with low self-esteem. In the last episode, "Boxing Daria", a flashback reveals that Daria was given similar tests as a child for being antisocial, which put strain on her family. The therapist giving her a Rorschach test explained that people might see different things in the blots, including "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plains" - a Call-Back that transforms Daria's first sarcastic joke into a Tear Jerker.
  • In Ever After High, Cupid's diary recounts a time she tried to change herself to impress a guy. Raven noticed Cupid was unhappy and reassured her, saying "Follow your heart and everything else will fall into place."
    Cupid: That's good advice.
    Raven: I know. It was what you told me before Legacy Day.
  • In a Futurama episode, after God fixes the situation: "If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
    • The reason this is particularly significant is that God just told Bender the same thing, only Bender interpreted it as "you can't count on God for crap". Which he then uses as justification to save some God-seeking monks that would have otherwise starved after Fry says that they can ask God to help them. So...yeah.
  • In The Legend of Korra the inventor/businessman character Varrick is constantly telling his assistant to "Do the thing!" as his way of ordering her around and having her do whatever he needs her to do. In the fourth season when he asks her to marry him he does so by asking "Will you do the thing forever?" It is also part of their wedding vows, instead of saying "You may kiss the bride" Bolin who is marrying them says "You may do the thing."
  • The Magic School Bus: At a few points throughout "For Lunch", Miss Frizzle tells her students to "never say never" as a means of reminding them that anything's possible. Towards the end, when she realizes they'll have a harder time leaving Arnold's digestive system the way they came, one of her students repeats those three words to her, in order to boost her morale and help her believe they might just make it yet.
  • Metalocalypse has "That's my bread and butter you're f* cking with." First said by Charles Foster Ofdensen when he comes to rescue Skwisgaar and Toki at the end of Season One, and simply cool. In Season Two, Nathan repeats it when he saves a beaten and bloody Charles from the masked assassin who had finally managed to get ahold of him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the season 4 premiere "Princess Twilight Sparkle", Twilight has a magical flashback to the first time Princess Celestia and Princess Luna defeated Discord, before which they discover the Tree of Harmony and decide to use its elements. Twilight later recalls what Princess Celestia had said in the flashback about the Tree to figure out how to save the Tree of Harmony and destroy the ravaging plants.
      Princess Celestia: Even without these elements, the Tree of Harmony will possess a powerful magic. As long as that magic remains, it will continue to control and contain all that grows here.
    • In "The Mane Attraction", Coloratura's song "The Magic Inside" has two echoes to her earlier song "The Spectacle". The latter song has the hook "Razzle dazzle, glitz and glam" and ends with the lyric "Not just a pony, I am the Countess!" The former song has the lyric "There's more to me than glitz and glam" and the chorus begins with the line "For I am just a pony".
  • In ReBoot, although the line is usually a Running Gag, when the mysterious stranger who called off the Webrunner attack reveals himself as Bob, he utters the line "You can't talk in these things".
  • The Simpsons - in an early episode, Lisa finds a bright substitute teacher to be a better male role model than she ever found Homer to be. When he leaves she's devastated - as Homer awkwardly tries to console her, he talks about how she's going to grow up to be an exceptional, accomplished person. She looks surprised, as this is nearly verbatim what the substitute had told her, and she'd maybe judged her dad a bit harshly.
  • Early in the first season of The Spectacular Spiderman, Harry Osborn tells his father about his problems at school. Norman, coldhearted as he is, harshly tells Harry to "cowboy up" and deal with his problems. At the end of the second season, Harry repeats the phrase to his father (or rather, the Chameleon disguised as him) as he pilots a helicopter and destroys an apartment in pursuit of the Green Goblin.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In the episode "Space Race", an early conversation has Pearl bemoan that she's stuck on Earth, and when Steven cheerfully points out "With me!" her response, "Yes. With you," indicates that she knows he's trying but she still doesn't feel better. At the end of the episode, after Pearl makes a serious attempt to get back to space and fails, the same exchange happens, but this time Pearl is speaking in Sincerity Mode.
    • In "Log Date 7 15 2", Steven tells Peridot that a polite way to express gratitude is saying, "Wow, thanks!" She repeats it flatly at the end when Steven gives back her tape recorder. Then in "Gem Drill", she says it when Steven gives her a Cooldown Hug as The Cluster starts to take form.
      Peridot: Do you have any last words?!
      Steven: I love you, Peridot.
      Peridot: (teary-eyed) Wow, thanks.
  • This happens at least twice in Transformers Animated. Sari and Bumblebee have one in the three-episode-pilot ('You can trust this face, can't you?') and then there's Ratchet and Omega in the season three premiere ('We do what we must, even if, sometimes, it doesn't make sense.')
  • The first season of Transformers: Beast Wars, and Optimus Primal's "Sometimes, crazy works." Said the first time after a borderline-insane escape, and the second time before heading of on an apparent suicide mission.
  • Transformers Prime:
    • Ratchet's Running Gag / Catch-Phrase "I needed that!" is tragically played in the season 2 finale when it is revealed to Ratchet that Optimus Prime has destroyed the Omega Lock, which was the only hope of restoring Cybertron. "Optimus... we needed that."
    • Earlier, when Smokescreen joins the Autobot team, Bulkhead, who is suffering from a crippling injury, believes he will be replaced.
    Bulkhead: When what? When all of you will need an assist? Isn't that what the new guy's for?!
    Smokescreen: Assist—what the new guy's for!
  • The X-Men episode "A Rogue's Tale" did this. A flashback to Rogue's father discovering she was a mutant has him coldly tell her "You're not my daughter. Not anymore." At the end of the episode, Rogue says to Mystique "I'm not your daughter. Not anymore" to show that she resents Mystique for everything she made her do when she adopted her.

    Real Life 
  • The Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of the United States makes use of this. The Code begins with "I am an American," and Article 6 begins with "I will never forget that I am an American." Somewhat intentional, given that the Code was established largely in an effort to allow soldiers to "return with honor" in the face of brutal conditions during imprisonment, particularly in Vietnam, which resulted in many individuals breaking under the stress.
  • In 1970, as the Canadian government was facing the French Canadian separatist terrorists, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was asked how far he would go in ending their attacks, to which, he responded, "Just watch me!", and invoked the War Measures Act, which helped end the attacks. Decades later, in 2013, his eldest son Justin, an MP at the time, was asked whether he believed he could defeat then-PM Stephen Harper, he echoed his father by answering "Just watch me.". In 2015, he defeated Harper and became Canada's next PM.

Alternative Title(s): You Are With Me