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Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure

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"You know that scene in every movie ever, where at the end of Act 2, the best of friends decide that they hate each other so much that they want to break up the friendship that's going to last forever for five to ten minutes, usually because of a stupid misunderstanding?"

This is when, just before the third act and when things are at their worst, the protagonist is abandoned by their best friend. Here's how it normally plays out:

It's been a long, hard road for the protagonist. They've fought their way through rising complications, twists and turns, and unexpected outcomes, yet are the furthest from achieving their goal since the story began. Good thing they have their best buddy to help them when all other lights have failed.

Or not. Apparently the stresses involved with The Quest have taken their toll on the relationship, stretching it to the point of breaking. And then one last thing, one straw to break the camel's back, perturbs the protagonist, and in a moment of rashness, he lets loose a barrage of atomic Jerkassery on his best buddy.

Unfortunately the best buddy, the calm head and stalwart that promised to stick by the hero through thick and thin, has got his breaking point too, and the protagonist's last action just crossed the line. The best buddy abandons the protagonist, leaving them with nothing by way of support — and just at the worst possible time to boot. That is because the Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure is always set to go off right before the protagonist has to face his biggest challenge in The Climax.

Expect a change of heart and a last-minute save by the best buddy in the climax, thus reinforcing The Power of Friendship.

A staple of buddy pictures, where the friendship drives the plot.

Compare Second-Act Breakup (in which the relationship in question is a romantic one), Achilles in His Tent (where any friendship might be clearly secondary to a fighting alliance), and see also Et Tu, Brute? (where the buddy betrays the protagonist instead of just leaving). May be due to a Third-Act Misunderstanding. Could necessitate a Third-Party Peacekeeper.

Examples of this trope are found in the following works:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bakuman。, this happens a few times with the main characters.
    • While Mashiro and Takagi are still trying to get serialized, Mashiro gets an offer to become Eiji Niizuma's assistant. Mashiro happens upon Takagi kissing Miyoshi and accepts the offer, believing that Takagi isn't committed enough. Eventually, Mashiro gets an idea of his own, and strongly considers going solo, not realizing that Takagi essentially came up with a similar idea himself, but didn't tell him. Luckily, with some help from their editor, the two patch things up.
    • The second time happens after the group learns that Perfect Crime Party, while successful, can't get an anime due to Moral Guardians. Around this time, one of their assistants, Shiratori, comes up with a good idea but needs some help on the writing, so Takagi offers to help, and Mashiro, against his better judgment, accepts. Eventually, tensions come to a head, and the two stop speaking to each other until Takagi helps Shiratori learn enough to work independently, and the two make up with apologies and a fistfight.
    • Averted on a third occasion when controversy over a group of real-life PCP copycats gives Takagi a crippling case of Writer's Block. The Power of Trust prevails, though, with Mashiro trusting Takagi to think of something, and Takagi coming through.
  • After spending the first three quarters of Digimon Adventure as friends, Taichi and Yamato have an explosive confrontation spurred on by the group being stressed out by their fights with the Dark Masters (which cost the lives of four of their friends). After their fight is halted, Yamato (notably the one representing friendship in the group) withdraws from the group for a while, and it also causes their team to fracture for at least 5 episodes.
  • This happens twice in the "Little Army" prequel manga of Girls und Panzer, where Miho's team is less stable than Anglerfish Team in the anime. In Chapter 2, Chihiro and Emi have an argument over Emi's abrasive personality, resulting in Chihiro's best friend Hitomi talking to her, while Miho talks with Emi. In Chapter 4, Miho and Emi have a fight over Emi saying that she "hates" Miho's older sister, Maho, despite never having met her before. Miho comes up with the idea of having her crew get into a tankery match against her sister's, in order to help Emi understand Maho, but has to talk things over with Emi before she can agree to get her involved.
  • Happens on occasion throughout Lupin III. The most common form is for Lupin to side with the traitorous Femme Fatale Fujiko one too many times, causing the rest of his gang members to storm off and leave him to deal with the mess she's put him in. Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo probably has the best example, with Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon nearly coming to blows over Fujiko's treachery before the latter two abandon Lupin in the wilderness. They end up coming back to help him later when he ends up in Mamo's hands.
  • Monster Rancher:
    • Genki deliberately invokes this during "Tiger's Battle with Destiny", acting so frustrated at Tiger's willingness to walk into Gray Wolf's trap that he angrily declares he doesn't care what happens to him. After Tiger leaves with his cabalos escort, Genki immediately drops the act and joins the others in secretly following them. Given Tiger's reaction when they show up to help, he legitimately bought what Genki was selling.
    • Played Straight in "Tiger and the Mandy Cup Challenge", where Genki gets so annoyed by Tiger's stubborn insistence that he doesn't need any training or advice that they're unwilling to even talk directly to each other on the day of the tournament. Holly has to step in and ensure Genki is registered as being able to advice Tiger during his battles so that he can do so later after the wolf gets a slice of Humble Pie and is more willing to listen.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Team Rocket falls apart quite a few times.
    • Ash himself has had incidents with May and Dawn early on in their respective sagas as well as one with Iris near the end of hers.note 
    • And later done with Ash and Serena's Mirror Selves with Main!Ash helping to patch things up.
  • Many early episodes of Pretty Cure tend to have these episodes, especially ones where there's only two Cures and they usually happen in the eighth episode. Futari wa Pretty Cure, Futari wa Pretty Cure MaX Heart and Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star are those who fit this description. Yes! Pretty Cure 5 still involved two, but was part of a Five-Man Band, HeartCatch Pretty Cure! had their happen in the fourth episode and Suite Pretty Cure ♪ is built on this trope.
    • HappinessCharge Pretty Cure! actually defies this trope. When Iona reveals Hime's Dark Secret, Megumi ends up confiding in Yuuko that she still trusts Hime no matter what. It takes until the next episode for Hime to know that, though.

    Comic Books 
  • Berrybrook Middle School:
    • A relatively minor case with Peppi and Jaime. The latter catches the former returning the remote Mari stole from the science club, and looks rather offended that she took part in such a reckless scheme to ruin his club's chances. However, his overall reaction is less fury and more disappointment.
    • "Brave" has a much more severe example when Jenny and Akilah come to verbal blows over the scandal involving Felicity's suspension. It escalates to the point of Akilah quitting in frustration, resulting in Jenny hitting her Rage-Breaking Point, angrily forcing everyone else to Get Out!.
    • "Crush" is a unique case in which the pair in question always seems to be on the edge of this happening. But needless to say, Liv grows increasingly frustrated with Garrett putting more time into trying to get in James' good graces while not doing anything else of value. After she finds out that he was the one who (unintentionally) got Jorge in big trouble, she breaks all ties with him for a long time.
  • Played for drama on the close of an issue of Clean Room: a demon is recruited to aid the Mueller organization, then says he won't, then does anyway next issue with minimal persuasion.
  • Invoked in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW). The Changelings trick the Mane Six into splitting up by disguising themselves as them and creating dissension between them, knowing full well they will inevitably reconcile. Once they do get back together, the love between them peaks and becomes a greater energy source for the Changelings than ever before.
  • During the Spider-Man portion of the Acts of Vengeance event, a rival photographer of Peter's shows off pictures of Peter and Mary Jane talking while Peter is unmasked as Spider-Man. Peter is able to deflect suspicion that he's actually Spider-Man, but Robbie Robinson is so off-put by this, as Peter is usually the source of Spider-Man pictures, that he forbids anyone at the Daily Bugle from accepting his photos anymore, which confuses and upsets Peter. Both Peter and Mary Jane believe, and Robbie later confirms when they patch things up, that he was punishing Peter over the mistakes that put Robbie in prison over the criminal Tombstone.

    Fan Works 
  • Re: My Hostage, Not Yours: In Chapter 11, Gaz briefly gets hit with some of Larb's memories from the PAK attached to her back, specifically regarding Zim's status as a Defective. She proceeds to mention it to Zim, unaware that having his status brought up is his Berserk Button; this leads to an intense argument that seems to end their budding friendship and romance. Fortunately, this only lasts a couple of chapters before they make up.

    Film — Animated 
  • Towards the climax of Aladdin, this happens between Aladdin and Genie because Aladdin says he can't keep his promise to free Genie due to realizing he can't keep up his prince facade without him. Unfortunately, this has a double negative consequence as not only does it lead to Aladdin accidentally leaving the lamp behind and allowing Iago to steal it, but because Aladdin didn't free Genie at that moment, Jafar was able to use him to take over Agrabah. Aladdin regrets his mistake very quickly, and frees Genie upon Jafar's defeat.
  • In The Bad Guys (2022), Mr. Wolf failing to give the signal to steal the Golden Dolphin at the Gala triggers a nasty falling out between him and the rest of the gang while in prison, especially with Mr. Snake, who sees Mr. Wolf wanting to reform for real as backstabbing his friends. After being broken out of jail, they go their separate ways. They eventually reconcile, with Mr. Shark, Mr. Piranha, and Webs saving Wolf and Diane from a death trap, while Mr. Snake uses the argument as cover for faking his defection in order to sabotage Marmalade's scheme, reuniting with Mr. Wolf and the gang in the end.
  • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, in light of the Joker's return, Bruce tries to convince Terry to retire being the Batman because Bruce doesn't want what happened to Tim Drake (explained later in the film) to happen to Terry. Because Bruce wouldn't actually explain the reason why, Terry instead just angrily quits on the spot. Unfortunately, this leaves both of them open for attack: Terry, without the Batsuit, gets ambushed by the Joker's goons, and Wayne Manor is open for a personal visit by Joker himself.
  • In Coco, despite a successful performance at the contest, Miguel and Héctor have a falling-out after the rest of Miguel's family comes searching for him, so Miguel goes to find Ernesto alone.
  • Happens in The Emperor's New Groove when Emperor Kuzco thinks Pacha lied to him about Yzma and Kronk wanting him dead. This turns out to be a mistake when he learns that Yzma and Kronk do want him dead, and he just abandoned his only friend and chances of getting home, becoming human again, and regaining his throne for nothing. Kuzco is resigned to accept his fate...but a chance encounter with Pacha sets things back on the right track.
  • Home on the Range has a moment during a flash flood where Ms Calloway snaps at Maggie and blames her for losing Patch of Heaven. Cue the sad music.
  • The Lion King 1 ˝ has Timon and Pumbaa arguing after Simba leaves to fight Scar. Timon is selfish and demands to stay in "Hakuna Matata", while Pumbaa is more concerned about going in to help Simba on his quest. Timon realizes how miserable his paradise is without his two best friends, and so later reconciles with Pumbaa and helps him find Simba and defeat Scar.
  • In Luca, Alberto becomes jealous of Luca and Giulia's growing friendship. After an argument, Alberto reveals his identity as a sea monster to Giulia, freaking her out. Luca does not do the same and instead acts afraid of Alberto, leaving Alberto to retreat to his hideout, heartbroken by the act of betrayal.
  • Mary and Max has a unique example as it regards pen-pals rather than face-to-face. Mary sends Max a prototype of her book that discusses him along with a potential cure for autism. Max, who had earlier in the film established he does not feel his condition is something that needs to be cured, is understandably upset by this and, unable to express his words, decides he can only cut off contact with Mary by sending her the 'M' key from his typewriter, and is very hesitant to accept her eventual apology. Thankfully, he forgives her when a tussle with a hobo outside his apartment has him remember that nobody's perfect, and his forgiveness letter saves Mary from killing herself and her unborn child.
  • In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Twilight Sparkle, overwhelmed by the stress caused by the events of the movie thus far, accuses the other Mane Five of being horrible friends. The others are hurt by her accusation and Twilight horrified by what she said, but the five decide to give her space and walk away so they cool down from their anger, though they're obviously hurt. However, when Spike tells them that Twilight's been kidnapped, the girls spring into action to go save their friend.
  • In Moana, after the first bungled attempt to defeat Te Kā, Maui is enraged, blaming Moana for having his powerful fishhook damaged, as one more hit means his powers are essentially gone. Moana shouts back, noting that Maui stealing the Heart of Te Fiti was what's caused all the trouble in the first place. He then takes off, believing the ocean was wrong for choosing Moana, and leaves her stranded on the ocean. But not for long.
  • Monsters, Inc.: When Sulley and Mike are banished to the Himalayas, and Sully's first concern is Boo, Mike, having spent most of the film exasperated with Sully's efforts to bring her home, tells him "you're on your own." He does come back, recognizing his friendship with Sully was more important.
  • The Rugrats Movie: Phil, Lil, and Chuckie abandon Tommy and Dil in the forest when the twins get sick and tired of Tommy constantly protecting Dil over them. In the twins' case, though, it may be more of With Friends Like These..., as they've been shown to abandon ship whenever things go wrong for them.
  • Shrek:
  • This trope is lampshaded early in the second act of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run when SpongeBob and Patrick have an argument for no reason before resuming their journey like nothing happened, just because it's what you do in a buddy comedy. It's later played straight in the third act, when they lose the coin that Sage gave them on their journey.
  • Toy Story:
    • In Toy Story 3, Andy's toys decide to stay at Sunnyside Daycare and refuse to go back to their owner, convinced he's moved on from them and that they need to do the same. Woody, incensed that they would abandon Andy so quickly when their being in the Daycare was entirely by accident (and the toys again refusing to believe him), refuses their offer to join them and storms off. He only goes back when he learns Lotso', the Daycare's head toy, is running the place like a prison camp, and heads out to bust them free.
    • In Toy Story 4, Bo Peep, after agreeing to help Woody rescue Forky, leaves him when the mission ends up going south and he refuses to back down, questioning her grasp of loyalty for being a "Lost Toy." She does come back to help him shortly thereafter.
  • Happens in Treasure Planet when Jim overhears Silver telling his men he was only pretending to be his friend to gain his trust.
  • At the end of the second act of Turning Red, Ming discovers Mei has been transforming to hustle enough money to buy concert tickets and catches her in the act at Tyler's party. However, she furiously blames Mei's friends for manipulating her into it, and Mei, desperate to retain her mother's approval, doesn't defend them when they ask. Once Mei realizes that she wants to keep the panda, the first thing she does is seek reconciliation with them.
  • In Wolfwalkers, Robyn promises to help Mebh find her mother Moll, who's been missing for some time. When Robyn does find Moll imprisoned in the Lord Protector's castle, Moll insists that Mebh leave the forest without her, fearing for her daughter's safety should she stay any longer. Robyn tries to convince Mebh to leave as Moll asks, but Mebh refuses to leave without her mother and feels betrayed when Robyn seems to go back on her promise. It gets even worse when Robyn has the local children restrain Mebh when she tries to get Moll back herself, forcing Mebh to watch as the Lord Protector displays Moll in chains and an angry mob calls for her mother's death. Thankfully, Robyn manages to help Moll escape and this lets Mebh forgive her.
  • Wreck-It Ralph seems to have found a friend in little Vanellope Von Schweetz, an outcast girl who wants to race in her game Sugar Rush but can't because of her "glitch." When Sugar Rush leader King Candy tells Ralph Vanellope can't race because her "glitch" will cause the game to be rendered out of order and doom her in the game forever, Ralph buys it and destroys Vanellope's kart, which fractures their friendship tremendously. Only later does Ralph realize he got played by King Candy and goes on to make amends with Vanellope.
    • Happens again in the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet where Ralph's clinginess leads him to make stupid decisions that cause Vanellope to renounce their friendship. They reconcile by the end.
  • Zootopia takes this trope and adds an even more tragic element to it. It involves Judy, during a speech, making some terrible choice words about predators, by saying that the Psycho Serum caused them to revert to their savage natures. Even though it's what she overheard during a conversation, it was still not very wise to say this to the public. This not only hurts the relationship between her and Nick, who is very sensitive about being labeled as "Cunning Like a Fox" due to his background, but also between the predator and prey species, and the last act of the film involves Judy trying to fix both.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in 30 Minutes or Less: The two main characters Nick and Chet actually have their falling out at the beginning of the film and are forced to get back together later after Nick gets the bomb strapped to his chest. Near the end, when things truly go to hell and it's revealed that not only have the antagonists betrayed them but Nick's poor actions have led to Chet's sister getting kidnapped and held hostage, Chet instead states what's done is done and that they just have to keep working to find a way to get out of this problem.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Alfred finally abandons Bruce, unwilling to watch him destroy himself any longer. He deeply regrets it when it appears Bruce died during Bane's siege of Gotham.
  • Towards the end of Dragons Forever, the three titular dragons - Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao - ends up blowing their friendship when they believe they're being used by each other. But they patched up just in time for the final battle.
  • The Movie of Get Smart features this split between Agents 86 and 99.
  • The Green Hornet movie has a falling out between Britt and Kato over who gets the girl and who the real hero is. It culminates with an argument over whether they're a boss and employee, or friends. They make up in time to face off with the Big Bad Duumvirate. And for the record, the Girl makes it clear she's not interested in being the romantic interest for either of them.
  • This generally happens at one point in all three Harold and Kumar movies.
  • Because it necessarily leaves out much of the context from the book, Ron's falling out with Harry in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire seems somewhat jarring and puzzling.
  • Enforced in Josie and the Pussycats, where the villains Fiona and Wyatt engineer drama between Josie and the other Pussycats in order to keep them too distracted by infighting to stumble upon their Evil Plan. They give Josie a "remix" of the band's latest single that's actually full of subliminal messages designed to brainwash her into becoming a bitchy diva who wants to go solo and ditch her bandmates, while also repeatedly snubbing Valerie in order to make her think that Josie is hogging the spotlight. The moment they learn the truth, however, the infighting ends.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: Inverted. Just when he needs him most, Frodo sends Sam away due to Gollum's ploy. Moments later he's paralyzed by Shelob. Luckily, The Power of Friendship prevails. (In the book, they're just separated in the maze of caves.)
  • Now You See It...: Danny and Allison slowly go from being enemies to becoming close friends, even inspiring a touching moment together in the basement. However, once Max "proves" Danny doesn't have real powers, Allison jumps to the assumption that he wasn't only faking it, but faking it to make her look bad, and calls off the friendship. Of course, as soon as she realizes Max's evil plan of manipulating and killing Danny, she immediately tries to reconcile with and save him. In the end, the day is saved, and they're friends again.
  • The Rush Hour movies feature this between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker.
  • The Scooby-Doo film begins with one of these, and it isn't completely mended until about the 3/4 mark of the film. Most of it boils down to Velma tiring of Fred's ego and her not receiving credit for solving the mysteries, and Daphne tired of playing damsel in distress (with Shaggy and Scooby largely being blameless in the affair).
  • Shanghai Noon features such a split between Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson.
  • Subverted in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). It looks like this is going to happen when Sonic finds out Tom is considering moving away from Green Hills - he grew up without friends, so he cannot understand why someone would willingly leave theirs behind. While at first Sonic sees this as a personal betrayal, he's only angry for a couple of scenes, and gets over it after a while and apologises to Tom for this just before the climax.
  • Star Wars:
    • A variant occurs in A New Hope, where Han Solo leaves just before the Death Star arrives, on good, if bitter, terms with the heroes. His exchange with Luke in particular is pretty cordial, but his desire for survival, money, and settling things with Jabba outweighs any loyalty he may feel. Until, of course, he comes swooping in at the last second to save Luke and secure his final trench run, only seconds before the Death Star fires on Yavin IV.
    • He ends up pulling this again in The Empire Strikes Back, albeit unintentionally so. After an encounter with a bounty hunter on Ord Mantel, he decides to go and pay off his debt to Jabba, which even the Rebellion's top general acknowledges as being a necessity. Leia, however, doesn't see it that way and accuses Han of trying to up and run at a critical moment in their campaign against the Empire.
  • Played with but ultimately averted in Superbad. Evan and Seth do start bickering late in the film, but never really split up.
  • Eddie and Venom fall out halfway in Venom: Let There Be Carnage after a fight in their apartment due to the latter's obsession with wanting to eat more people.
  • Wayne's World: After Wayne erupts into a total Jerkass and ditches him during a live taping of the titular show, Garth dumps him. Their make-up leads directly into Wayne hatching the plan to defeat the Big Bad.
  • Whip It: After Bliss' skates are confiscated by her parents, who have just found out in the worst way possible that she's been lying to them about where she's going and what she's doing during her "SAT class," Bliss is disowned by Pash in a cutting "The Reason You Suck" Speech. And then she has to reveal to her team that she lied about her age and discovers that Oliver is cheating on her with a groupie...

  • The Dark Tower: In the last book of the series, right before Roland is to meet up with The Crimson King and end his quest to find The Dark Tower, Susannah, the last human in his ka-tet to survive, decides to leave Roland citing his obsession with the tower and the quest over the health of his friends. Notable in that she doesn't come back to assist him at the last moment to help him defeat the Big Bad.
  • The Dresden Files: Murphy does this in both Storm Front and Fool Moon, before learning to trust Harry on supernatural matters.
  • Ellen and Otis: Happens between Ellen and Austine in Ellen Tebbits due to the slap the former gives the latter.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Ron and Harry argue over the lack of progress they're making in their quest, a situation worsened by the Soul Jar that Ron wears making him progressively more irrational and irritable, ultimately ending in Ron leaving the group. He returns in time to save Harry's life and destroy a Horcrux. The third and fourth books also have "break-ups" (Ron and Hermione in the third, Harry and Ron in the fourth), but earlier in the structure.
  • In The Mouse Watch, Jarvis (a rat) finally gets fed up with Bernie's persistent anti-rat bigotry and takes off just as they're about to confront Dr. Thornpaw. True to the trope, Bernie gets captured almost immediately, and Jarvis eventually comes back for her.
  • In the third Pyrates book, George upsets his friends with how dangerous the adventure has gotten, causing them to decide not to accompany him when he goes exploring again. However, they come to his rescue after he ends up getting lost.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, if whatever Jack Frost stole is related to friendship, Rachel and Kirsty will argue. This is most prevalent in Juliet the Valentine Fairy's book.
  • Happens to Bo and Agnes from Run after Agnes finds out Bo was searching for her dad and was never trying to find a place for her and Agnes. Agnes abandons her and calls her parents to take her home, but fortunately, they make up by the end.
  • In Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, after months of blackmail, Abby, Leah, and Nick find out that he's been manipulating them all to try and get Abby together with Martin. Of course, this has to happen right after he gets outed and loses his entire sense of security in the world anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Empty Places" has all of Buffy's friends (including her own sister) remove her from leading them and kick her out of her own house after one bad mission that results in two dead Potentials and Xander losing an eye. Played with slightly in that Giles connived things so that Spike and Andrew were sent away for the day, likely so they wouldn't be there to take Buffy's side.
    • It should be noted that the Buffy-less group immediately goes and screws up in exactly the manner they accused Buffy of doing (recklessly falling into a trap that gets even more people killed). While they are doing that, Buffy heads off to complete the mission she was pitching when she got overthrown, succeeds on her own, acquires the MacGuffin that's key to saving the day, and kills the Big Bad's Dragon. She's magnanimous enough not to point out how much she got done all alone when they apologize and ask her to be in charge again.
    • This also happened at the end of season 4 in "The Yoko Factor". This was actually exploited by Spike, who made it worse by getting all their problems out into the open to divide the Scoobies. They eventually make up and are stronger than ever, which helps them defeat the Big Bad.
  • Burn Notice: Michael is briefly abandoned by Fi and Sam while and because he is working with Larry. He calls them to make up but Larry has pulled a call forwarding trick on his phone to make Mike think they won't take his calls.
  • In the "Going Rogue" episode of The Flash (2014), both Barry and Dr. Wells are not impressed in how Cisco created the Cold Gun, a Kryptonite Ring to use against the Flash in case he turns up bad (Cisco mentions that he created the gun before getting to know Barry better). Barry would refuse to listen to Cisco for the rest of the episode until they make up near the end (after Cisco saves Barry's life).
    • It happens yet again in Season 3 when Barry's messing with time leads to the creation of the "Flashpoint" reality, and his undoing it creates a timeline where Cisco's brother died due to a drunk driver, and Barry evidently refused to go back and save him. Cisco is incensed to learn of what had transpired when Barry reveals the truth, but puts it aside and reconciles...until a few episodes later, when he learns his brother was still alive in the old timeline and only cooperates with Barry because of an alien invasion, making it abundantly clear he wants nothing to do with him beyond that. Even the rest of Team Arrow (sans Oliver) and the Legends (sans Jax and Martin) stop trusting him when they learn about Flashpoint, considering his actions entirely selfish. It's only through Barry's efforts (and Cisco inadvertently making things worse via time travel) that he properly reconciles with them.
  • Happens in the penultimate episode of Series 2 of Grantchester between Sidney and Geordie, to the point where they literally come to blows over the death penalty, Gary's execution being the final straw for Sidney.
  • Happens with Carly and Sam a couple of times in iCarly, during the episodes "iDon't Wanna Fight" and "iQuit iCarly".
  • One Saved by the Bell episode featured Zack and Screech making a friendship bracelet business only to be upstaged by the rest of the clique, who were selling "Buddy Bands." Before the last commercial break, Screech quits (albeit after Zack, desperate for sales, gives Screech away as a "friend for an hour"), leaving Zack alone. This example is unusual in that it did not result in a The Power of Friendship moment, it instead resulted in Zack exacting revenge by destroying their business by buying a Buddy Band and giving it to the school principal, whose proud display of it makes it instantly unpopular to wear.
  • Sherlock: At the end of "The Six Thatchers", with Mary dead and a pile of ashes, her widowed husband John Watson is mentioned as wanting nothing to do with Sherlock, blaming him for her death.
  • The entire fourth season of Supernatural leads up to this. A season of lying, mistrust, and drinking demon blood comes to a head in a massive fight between Sam and Dean after which Sam leaves. Dean tries to call and apologize to Sam but divine intervention changes his message, leading Sam to pass the Despair Event Horizon and unwittingly start the Apocalypse with Dean arriving too late to stop him.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In Season 11 Howard and Raj have a falling out that lasts for a few episodes after Raj's father points out how shabbily Howard seems to treat him. Howard has thrown mean spirited and sometimes racist insults at Raj for years which Raj has always brushed off as friendly teasing but after realizing that Howard's comments have actually impacted his self-confidence he decides to break things off for a bit.
  • Wednesday: Wednesday tricking Enid into sneaking into the Hyde's lair, and subsequently destroying the sweater Enid gifted her as part of a plan to catch the Hyde, end up being the last straw for Enid, who promptly moves out of their shared bedroom. It's the first time Wednesday finds someone being mad at her upsetting.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Math Emergency", Sheldon and Dr. Sturgis's friendship sours when the former accuses the latter of unfairly grading him over Maxwell's equations and only scoring him 95% on his most recent Quantum chromodynamics exam. Dr. Sturgis on the other hand is offended because Sheldon harshly denigrated his professing abilities.

  • One of the most recognizable scenes from Be More Chill is when Michael confronts Jeremy about the dangers of the SQUIP at the Halloween party. But, since Jeremy has just gone through a traumatic experience and is very stressed out, he takes out his anger and frustration on Michael. He calls his friend a loser, storms out of the room, and leaves Michael alone.
  • When Evan's lies start catching up to him in Dear Evan Hansen and he goes to Jared for help writing more fake emails. When Jared, who has up until now claimed to only hang out with Evan so his mom will pay for his car insurance, laughs at his predicament, Evan calls him out on actually having no other friends. This leads to Jared storming off, holding back tears.

    Video Games 
  • God of War Ragnarök: Sindri cuts ties with Kratos and Atreus after Brok's death, blaming them for taking advantage of his generosity and unwittingly allowing Odin to infiltrate their party and kill Brok. Notably, although Sindri does pitch in with the finale, the friendship is not repaired by the end and Lunda takes over providing upgrades.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: This happens at the climax of chapter 17, between the two main characters Kiana and Mei. The former, who's already in a bad condition and only has a few months left to live, tries to stop an impending disaster with her "hidden powers", even if it might be her last moments. The latter, who wishes to repay Kiana's kindness to her and save her friend's life, ends up having to deal with a villainous organization, World Serpent, to find a way to treat Kiana's condition. Mei succeeds with their help and Kiana is now better off, but as part of their deal, Mei would have to join their group. Kiana is disheartened when she finds out about this; Mei, who wishes for Kiana to not push herself to death to help her friend anymore, decides to Break Her Heart to Save Her. They end up having a bitter fight, as Kiana tries to stop Mei from joining the Serpents while Mei tries to beat some sense into her friend - particularly about how Kiana means the world to her. In the end, Mei wins and leaves Kiana away. In the aftermath, after Kiana is found by her other friends, she's said to be still grieving over what Mei did.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Kingdom Hearts: Sora ends up arguing with Donald over landing in Deep Jungle. For most of the visit, the two are complete jerks to each other and even fight over things they agree on. But they stop fighting and apologize for their actions after Clayton is defeated and Tarzan makes them see the importance of having friends.
      • Another incident happens much later on in Hollow Bastion, when Donald and Goofy are forced to perform a Face–Heel Turn after Sora loses the Keyblade to the Rival Turned Evil since their mission is to follow the Keyblade Wielder. However, they later realize they can't bring themselves to abandon the friend they've been traveling with for the whole game and rejoin him.
    • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: Sora abandons Donald and Goofy when they begin to question their memories and tell Sora off for obsessing unhealthily over rescuing Naminé. They eventually save him from being killed by Larxene, and he realizes his mistakes.
  • A wide-scale case happens in "The Answer" segment of Persona 3. The party, having acquired all the Keys of Time, has a very short amount of time to decide what to do with them- return to their own time or try to save the protagonist from his death. The disagreements between those who want to go back(Yukari and Mitsuru), those who don't(Akihiko and Ken), those who want the group to be united behind one answer(Junpei and Koromaru), and the undecided (Aigis, Metis and Fuuka) come to a head and eventually result in the various factions fighting each other. Once Aigis' group prevails, the group reconciles and comes together to fight the Final Boss.
  • Later on in Persona 5, a more heated than usual argument between Ryuji and Morgana over the latter's usefulness results in the latter temporarily leaving and striking out to find and steal the heart of the Thieves' next target on his own. Fortunately, he comes back.
  • In chapter 5 of Sakura Wars (2019), Seijuro Kamiyama gets two in quick succession. First, he has a brief falling out with Sakura Amamiya over their childhood promise, so he returns to the Grand Imperial Theater alone. Seconds later, he has another one with Hatsuho Shinonome over what happened with Sakura. Fortunately, all three of them reconcile shortly before the battle with the London Combat Revue.
  • The titular characters in the first Ratchet & Clank game start off on good terms until Planet Umbris, where they suddenly start fighting over stopping Drek or going after Captain Qwark in a murderous rage after his betrayal. It is not until Qwark's defeat and Ratchet's Heel Realization over Oltanis being destroyed where they stop fighting and ultimately become close companions.
  • In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the reveal that Chloe was hiding from Nadine that she and Sam Drake are working together, causes Nadine to feel outright betrayed. When Chloe tries to explain, or more like excuse, why she hadn't told Nadine earlier, Nadine punches her in the face, then takes the Jeep and leaves Chloe behind. Luckily it doesn't last long thanks to the rebels blowing up the Jeep, and a ride on an elephant after freeing her from fallen debris is enough to bring them back together.

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in Double Homework. The protagonist is convinced that Johanna and Tamara can never get along again after competing for him. However, they decide to share him, not having a better way to resolve the situation.

    Web Animation 
  • "Friendship" is a stretch considering the extent of their relationships, but in Red vs. Blue, the "Project: Freelancer" arc sees both the Reds and the Blues refusing to help Church and Carolina take down the organization when the former gives a very scathing (though accurate) "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the entire team for their constant blundering and general idiocy, primarily because they're tired of being treated like crap by the two of them. Two episodes later, they go back, in spite of all that was said, because they do care for Church, and have actually grown fond of everyone due to all they've been through together.
  • In X-Ray & Vav, the titular heroes are split up in "The Anti-Vav Ray" thanks to The Mad King initiating a Sadistic Choice on Vav in trying to save either X-Ray or Ash Samaya. When Vav saves Ash, X-Ray is furious and storms off hurt. What Vav doesn't know, what X-Ray won't tell him, and what Hilda is hoping would get through their minds is that X-Ray is jealous of Vav's infatuation with Ash and they're both acting like a bunch of children. What X-Ray won't tell anyone is that this was because the Mad King manipulated X-Ray and used the Sadistic Choice to prove it to him.

  • In Lovely People, Peony, Marigold, and Peppermint are close friends for much of the story, and while the latter two's social credit score is lower than the former, she hopes that her score rising will help them. However, late in the story, Marigold and Peppermint's scores plummet because of their respective husband and daughter, threatening Peony's score (since being friends with an individual with a low score hurts your own score). Peony pleads for them to reconsider, and when they refuse and invite her to join them in running away from society, unfriends them. She almost immediately rejects her decision when her so-called other "friends" approve, and eventually gets herself labeled an Un-person and rejoins her friends.
  • The Witch and The Bull: This ends up happening when Aro manages to find a cure for Tan's bull transformation. See Tan, at the start of the comic, had shut down Aro's cafe over his bias against witches and later had to rely on Aro who was the only one who could reverse the curse, forcing them on a journey together. However, he never told her who he really was and kept putting it off. So when she finally lifts it, naturally she recognizes him and isn't too happy with him for not coming clean sooner and assuming he was just using her before he has a chance to explain himself, despite having mellowed since then and having a better understanding of where she comes from.

    Web Video 
  • Monster Island Buddies:
    • During Season 2, Godzilla becomes addicted to drugs at one point. When he doesn't acknowledge this, Rodan and the other monsters fight and defeat him. Angrily, Godzilla runs away from Monster Island, with his past self as his only friend, while his friends try to use Gigan as a replacement.
    • Season 3 ends with Fire Rodan getting into another fight with Godzilla after learning that he had an affair with Mothra from King Kong, this time though, he's the one that ditches his friends after inadvertently killing Mothra during his fight. Mostly a case of Heroic BSoD and a mix of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, but because he was genuinely pissed at Godzilla over what he did (and this event would later become a Berserk Button for Rodan, while still being played as a Running Gag) it still qualifies.
    • During Season 5, Rodan is forced to end his relationship with Mothra when she and King Ghidorah have some unfinished family business to tend to, and because she found Ghidorah to be much more hotter than Rodan. Although Mothra tries to justify her actions as being for the greater good, Rodan sees her love for Ghidorah as genuine, and for a time, legitimately breaks off all contact with her. In turn, Mothra suffers a Heroic BSoD as well and winds up leave Earth for a while. They eventually get back together, permanently, in Season 7.
    • Played for Laughs during Season 7's finale, when Varan and Biollante break-up due to Varan (who is a pacifist) not taking kindly to Biollante's more violent approach at facing opposition. They quickly get back together by the episode's end.
  • The Nostalgia Critic is not a fan of this trope, which he refers to as the "Third-Act 'I-Don't-Like-You' Part".

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Promise" starts with Banana Joe being mad at Gumball and Darwin. We never find out why.
  • A villainous example happens in Avatar: The Last Airbender when Azula's friendship with Mai and Ty Lee comes to an end. This leads to Azula's mental breakdown and her defeat at the hands of Zuko and Katara.
  • The Franklin episode titled "Franklin's Favourite Card" has Franklin and Bear end their friendship briefly when Franklin refuses to believe that Bear didn't lose his favourite card. They soon reconcile when Franklin realises that his friendship with Bear is more important than his favourite card.
  • The Gigantosaurus episodes titled "The Five Friends" sees the 4 young dinos have a disagreement over how to start their morning, resulting in them arguing and finding what Ayati calls the Crest of the Five Friends, a stone with their faces on them. Unfortunately, they wind up breaking it after arguing over who gets to see it. To make matters worse, Giganto throws the pieces into different parts of Cretacia. After that, the four young dinos decide to split up and find their pieces alone, only to begin missing each other as they find the pieces of the crest. Once they return, their friendship is fixed.
  • Hey Arnold! has the episodes "Part-Time Friends" and "Partners" for Arnold and Gerald.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the season two premiere, where Discord breaks apart the Mane Six. Invoked in that it happens through him "cheating" rather than any actual in-fighting; while he pretends that he's doing it via More than Mind Control, its quite clear that, no, he's just getting his kicks out of breaking them emotionally before brainwashing them to stop being friends.
    • It happens again in the season two finale, with everyone abandoning Twilight due to thinking she's being a paranoid jerk about her soon-to-be sister-in-law being evil. Turns out she was half-right.
    • And again in the comics, through a more clever use of Shapeshifting.
    • In "No Second Prances", Twilight's distrust and paranoia towards Trixie's friendship with Starlight leads to Trixie showing how many hooves she can fit in her mouth when she boasts about how great it was to finally one-up Twilight, making Starlight believe that their friendship was fake. The issue is solved just in time to stop Trixie from, for all intents and purposes, committing suicide.note 
    • Played with in "Rock Solid Friendship", Pinkie Pie's insistence in controlling the way that her older sister Maud Pie and Starlight bond leads a frustrated Maud to move away from Ponyville. The issue here wasn't that Maud and Starlight had a falling out, but that Pinkie couldn't even give the two the breathing room needed to even begin a good friendship.
  • Defied in The Owl House. At the start of "King's Tide", while the kids are on their way to the Head to save Luz, Hunter and Alador get into a shouting match over the latter's ability to pilot the airship. Gus proceeds to yell at Hunter for distracting the pilot, and Amity, wanting to get to Luz as fast as possible, joins them all in shouting over each other. Their Palismen interrupt the fight by dragging over a crate of food, and everyone decides to just eat something instead of bickering over nothing.
    Amity: Look... We're all exhausted and terrified. Let's focus our energy on helping Luz instead of fighting each other.
  • In the episode "Homeward Pound" of Pound Puppies (2010), Vitriolic Best Buds Squirt and Niblet accidentally end up in Canada and after setting off for where Squirt thinks a town is. After a day, they get into a fight, and Niblet finally stands up to Squirt. The friendship is repaired once Squirt determines that not only was he wrong about which direction to go, but Niblet was right.
  • "The Night of the Living Burger," an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, starts off right away with Shaggy and Scooby on the outs. It was never made clear what they were arguing about, but they end up reconciling at the conclusion.
  • Rugrats tends to have these plots in its earlier days, though never involving all four main babies — either with Tommy and Chuckie or with both Phil and Lil.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Scooby and Velma were on the outs with each other, quarreling over Shaggy for a time. Mystery Incorporated also got put through the wringer a few times, when their various life expectations (primarily Fred's obliviousness over Daphne's romantic feelings towards him and the aforementioned lovers' quarrel over Shaggy) split them up, then again when they learn the truth about the original Mystery Incorporated, leading Fred to dissolve the team and break off his engagement to Daphne, causing her to refuse to come back for a time.
  • A Spongebob Squarepants episode "Naughty Nautical Neighbors" has Squidward tricking SpongeBob and Patrick into hating each other, which backfires when both of them want to be friends with Squidward instead.
  • Steven Universe: In "Dewey Wins," Steven returns from a visit to Homeworld and Connie is mad at him. She feels he should have stayed and confronted the Homeworld Gems together, as they had promised. Steven doesn't understand at first, and Connie ends up giving him the Silent Treatment. Steven realizes what Connie meant, and calls and texts her to apologize, but she doesn't respond. This makes Steven think she hates him for several episodes. In "Kevin Party," Steven and Connie finally see each other again. Connie explains that she just needed some time to process things, and that's why she didn't respond to him. She also says that she was going to come talk to him in person, but he was on vacation when she tried. They make up and hug.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the season 2 premiere, April's father was mutated into a mutant bat. When she learns the turtles were responsible, April goes ballistic she cuts all ties with them. Several episodes later, Donnie approaches her and tries to apologize, but was shamed from talking. However, when Casey Jones explained he accidentally destroyed his friendship with his former friend before and then told her some things can't be controlled, she realizes she is wrong and apologizes to the turtles for being hard on them. after forgiving them when they saved her from Karai's attacks.
  • Happened a lot in Trollz, usually because of Simon. Justified as their friendship was the key to defeating him.


Judy and Nick

Nick is aghast that Judy believes all predator will return to their savage ways, himself included.

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlotMandatedFriendshipFailure

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