Trope Workshop:Apology Not Accepted

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"Okay. I don't forgive you."
—Herb Kazzazz, BoJack Horseman.
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Fiction loves to advocate for Forgiveness and Turn the Other Cheek. A person has done a terrible thing. They are truly remorseful and are willing to make amends. Will a simple apology do the trick?

Except real life isn't all about that; in addition to some people holding grudges, some actions are too heinous to earn Easily Forgiven. Apology Not Accepted happens when the injured party refuses a verbal, written or otherwise communicated apology. Most cases portray the person rejecting the apology as a grudgeholder and unsympathetic. There is the rare case where the media acknowledges that some things cannot be forgiven. The Aesop then becomes that an apology doesn't fix things, and no one is obligated to forgive you.

You will more likely see this trope into a drama, though there are comedic examples.

Note: On TV Tropes, this is referred to as the Rejected Apology. Changing it proactively.

Examples of Apology Not Accepted include:

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Anime and Manga

  • Pet Shop of Horrors had Leon's little brother Chris come to live with him after being raised by their aunt and uncle for a while. Why? Because Chris had thought his aunt and uncle were his parents; his cousin Sam rather brusquely broke the news that they weren't siblings, and he was indirectly responsible for his real's mother death, since she had him at fifty. This revelation traumatized Chris so much that he stopped speaking, much to his aunt and uncle's dismay. Despite them giving a What the Hell, Hero? to Sam, the damage was done. They decide it's best if he tries living with Leon to see if it helps. Leon doesn't blame Chris at all for what happened and freely makes room for his little brother and asking D to watch Chris while Leon works. While their aunt and uncle want Chris to come back with them for the winter holidays, they concede when seeing that Leon dressed up as Santa with presents for Chris. The final volume has Sam come to the pet shop where D is watching Chris, and says that she wants Chris back in her life. She apologizes for what she said, and asks if they can try again. At first, Chris isn't into it, and makes that clear despite his inability to speak. Not helping is D told Chris that the minute he can speak again, he won't be able to see Pon-chan or T-chan as humanoid. The thought horrifies Chris. He changes his mind, and reconciles with Sam as well as his aunt and uncle.
  • In her comic memoir Return to Society Punch!, Naoko Takeuchi recounted that everyone at Kodansha was so sorry because they lost several pages of PQ Angels, her follow-up series and they kept passing the buck about who had the pages. (This was in the days before digital backups and scans were a thing.) To add insult to injury, this was after she had been pressured to do another long-form series after finishing Sailor Moon, despite begging for a break, and she was burned out from working all the time. Takeuchi got so fed up that she quit Kodansha, took a long-needed vacation for a year, and went to work for Shueisha instead. To this day, the only series that one may consider finished would be Toki*Meca in addition to Sailor Moon.
  • Sailor Moon
    • An early episode has Shingo accidentally break his best friend Mika's handmade prizewinning doll at school, after hearing teasing that she's his girlfriend. He then clams up rather than apologize, and their classmates tell Usagi about this when she's getting out of detention that day. Usagi confronts Shingo, as he's crumpling up apology notes, and tells him to go to Mika's house and say he's sorry now, or she's telling their mom. Shingo tries, but by then Nephrite beat him to the punch and has compelled Mika to make dolls while not talking to anyone, under possession of a youma. She won't even hear him out; when Shingo asks Usagi for advice, she suggests maybe a present would do the trick. He makes a clay Sailor Moon doll, and brings it to Mika at her next doll exhibition. It's only then that he and Usagi realize a youma had possessed Mika, and drains her; Shingo's attempts to rescue her lead to the youma knocking him out in turn and smashing the clay doll. With that said, Mika revives, sees the clay shards as well as Shingo's apologetic look, and finally forgives him.
    • The S finale has Sailor Uranus and Neptune call out Usagi for the fact that she gave the Holy Grail to Mistress 9 in an attempt to help Hotaru fight from the inside and regain control of her body. That it ended up working doesn't negate the fact that Mistress 9 and Pharaoh 90 nearly brought about the Silence, and it was only Hotaru awakening as Sailor Saturn which allowed the Senshi to turn the tide, as Sailor Saturn sacrificed her life to stop the Silence. Super Sailor Moon barely rescued her baby form to deliver an alive Hotaru to her hospitalized father, finally free of his brainwashing. Usagi apologizes as her friends defend her from the Outer Senshi, saying she doesn't want them to fight. Uranus and Neptune assert that if she fights them, without her friends, they'll consider her apology. This ended up being a Secret Test of Character; when Usagi is pinned and faces a fatal attack, her Messiah powers awaken and knock down Uranus and Neptune. They then apologize to her for the insubordination to the real Messiah, something she accepts.

Art

Ballads

Comic Books

  • The Legend of Korra comic Ruins of the Empire
    • Kuvira says she is sorry multiple times for her actions in Book Four when she tried to make herself Empress of the Earth Kingdom, and no one accepts them. Suyin rightly tells off Kuvira of thinking she is entitled to forgiveness after what she did to Zaofu and the Beifongs, Opal remains snarky and cynical, and Asami outright warns Kuvira that if the latter tries to kill her girlfriend again after killing her father, there will be hell to pay for it. Only one rejection actually makes Kuvira start her Heel Realization: when her ex-fiance Baatar Jr. says he doesn't forgive her. He calls her out for trying to kill him when Korra took him hostage, and for assuming that he would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. Baatar Jr. admits that he fucked up in book four and his family , but unlike Kuvira, he wouldn't sacrifice someone he loved for personal power.
    • As for Baatar Jr., he is truly repentant about helping Kuvira take over Zaofu and imprisoning his family. From what we've heard, his mother is the only one who has forgiven him and petitioned the courts to change his sentence from life in prison to house arrest. No other Beifong has forgiven Baatar Jr. or trusts him, including his father. They all are pretty cold and awkward around him, with Opal being more forthright about her dislike. Baatar Jr. fully accepts that he deserves all this scorn in this Ironic Hell.
  • The Sandman has Dream apologetically and solemnly tell Rose this multiple times as he prepares to kill her to save the Dreaming, as she is an Apocalypse Maiden. Rose eventually shouts at him to stop apologizing, and get it over with already. Fortunately, her grandmother Unity appears and takes Rose's place.

Fan Works

Film

  • In Lilo & Stitch, Mertle says this word-for-word when Lilo apologizes for attacking her in dance class and biting her. Lilo's apology is sincere, but from her expression she knows that even if Mertle weren't The Bully and Alpha Bitch, she wasn't expecting any forgiveness.
  • One heartbreaking version in the sequel Lilo & Stitch: Stitch Has A Glitch. The climax has Stitch realizing that his DNA is coming apart, compelling him to attack everyone around him including Lilo, and he runs off after scratching her before her big recital. Lilo abandons the recital to rescue Stitch as he prepares to fly away and keep from harming her. She says that she's sorry for yelling at him earlier after Jumba finally tells her what the problem is, but please come back. Stitch says that he can't come back, to keep her safe, before glitching again and crashing into the mountainside. The other main characters fortunately find and save him, though it takes The Power of Love from Lilo to revive Stitch, something that Jumba says is scientifically impossible.
  • The Little Mermaid has Sebastian attempt to apologize to a sobbing Ariel for accidentally revealing her crush on a human to Triton as well as her grotto of human trinkets, which led to Triton destroying it all to "teach her a lesson". Sebastian only gets as far as her name before she tells him to go away. All he and Flounder can do is leave heartbroken, with Flounder also sniffling. Unfortunately, this leaves her vulnerable enough for Flotsam and Jetsam to convince her to visit Ursula. The pair does make up when Sebastian helps Flounder get Ariel's human form to the surface after Ursula transforms her, and he agrees that rather than tell Triton about this development, he'll help her win Eric's heart so she has a chance at happiness.

Literature

  • The novel 72 Hour Hold features the protagonist Keri delivering this to her mother when the woman gets sober and wants to reenter her life. Keri's mother was a drunk who often abandoned her daughter emotionally. The first time she tried to get sober, she messed it up. Most recently, it was that she remarried. Not helping is that Keri's daughter Trina has developed a form of bipolar disorder that has killed her chances of going to college, and Trina doesn't comply with a regular routine or meds, which leads to her getting kicked out of a program that was helping her. As a result, when her mother tries getting in touch with Keri again, Keri turns her down rudely to focus on managing Trina. Trina's father and Keri's ex Clyde notes that her mother might mean it this time. Realizing that she needs to prove she has changed, Keri's mother shows up and helps her out in her store of refurbished fashion, without pay.
  • Divergent has Al bawling when he apologizes to Tris for assisting in an attempt on her life, after she ranked first in the Divergent faction. Her response is that if he touches her again, she will kill him.
  • Harry Potter has this happen a few times in the past and the present:
    • Zigzagged with Percy in the last two books, because he doesn't apologize at first for turning his back on the family and making his mother cry. In fact, he doesn't talk to them period after the Wizarding World learns that Fudge was lying about Voldemort's return, meaning his father was right all along not to trust Fudge. The new Minister, Rufus Scrimgoeur, tries to use Percy to gain audience to the Burrow, where Harry is spending the winter holidays. Percy is given a few moments with his family, where he could apologize for being an ambitious ass, while the Minister talks to Harry. Harry refuses to spy on Dumbledore and tells off Scrimgoeur for imprisoning people based on what they say rather than if they're guilty, and Percy acted like the previous year didn't happen so his younger siblings tossed mashed parsnips at him, including Ginny. It took the year after, while being held hostage in the Death Eater-run Ministry, for Percy to realize how badly he had fucked up; even if he did apologize, the Burrow was under the Fidelius Charm after the coup and the Death Eaters would harm Ginny at Hogwarts if he did anything. Percy ends up apologizing before the Battle at Hogwarts, and fully admitting he was a "power-hungry Ministry loving moron" in Fred's words, which allows his family to forgive him.
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows showed in a flashback that Severus Snape made his worst mistake by calling her a "Mudblood" when she was defending him from James and his friends. It was the last straw, and she ended their friendship. When he camped out by the Fat Lady to offer an apology, she wouldn't accept it. Lily reveals that she spent years defending him to her other friends, but realized that she can't stop Snape from becoming a Death Eater and Voldemort worshipper.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • In the season 2 premiere, Buffy is suffering bad PTSD from the Master killing her, and it means that she's unusually sour with all her friends. Xander tolerates this until vampires kidnap Willow, along with Giles and Cordelia, to bring back the Master. Buffy is horrified and apologizes for being off her game. He tells her to shove it unless she can help mount a rescue, though they later make up once their friends are saved. Whether or not Xander had a point is muddied by the fact that Buffy doesn't have access to a therapist who would believe her about vampires, given in season six she revealed that she was committed before the show started for writing in her diary about Slayer duties shortly before she burned down her old high school.
    • "Lover's Walk" in season three has Cordelia and Oz learn that Xander and Willow were having an affair behind their backs, and Cordelia gets injured because of this fact. Xander is truly apologetic on seeing Cordelia in a hospital bed and tries to say he's sorry, but Cordelia won't even look him in the eye. Understandable, considering she gave up her social status for him in season 2 and her normal life to lend her car for Slayer duties. Oz takes more time to forgive Willow, telling her bluntly that he needs space and she can't just act like a few days of treating him like a prince will make the cheating okay. Oh, and Cordelia indirectly blames Buffy for causing this since she wouldn't have fallen for Xander if Buffy hadn't made them all her motley crew of Scoobies, and Buffy is too stressed about her disintegrating relationship with Angel, the Mayor's ongoing evil plans, and Faith management to give Cordelia the comfort she needs. She only makes up with Buffy and Oz takes back Willow in "Gingerbread" when they rescue both friends from being burned alive at the stake by their brainwashed parents (yeah, and Buffy takes a while to forgive her mother for this one offscreen considering Joyce knocked her out and tied her to a stake). Meanwhile Xander finds out that Cordelia's family is in jail due to tax evasion meaning she can't go to college, and buys the prom dress she wanted to at least mend part of the damage; she's able to forgive him since she was working shifts at the dress shop to buy that gown. Xander's second girlfriend Anya calls out Willow for her actions, saying that her "lips" broke Cordelia's heart; Willow can only respond that she's gay now and no longer attracted to Xander.
  • Like in the comic, The Sandman has these moments:
    • Death yells at Dream for worrying her and not calling for help when Burgess held him captive. She calls him so self-tempered and proud while confiscating the bread loaf he was using to feed pigeons. He gives a meek apology; in response she tosses the bread at him. With that said, Death does forgive him, and takes her with him on his rounds.
    • Dream say he's sorry to Rose in the first season finale because they realize that he needs to kill her to stop the damage to the Dreaming that she's causing as an uncontrollable Vortex. Dream was hesitating because he does not kill, he's come to genuinely like Rose when working with her to find the errant Dreams as well as her brother Jed, and she chose to save him from the Corinthian. Rose tells him gently, to stop. It's okay. She's fine with her death if it means her friends and little brother are safe. Like in the comics, Unity ends up taking Rose's place as the Vortex and dies in her stead.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • In the wake of Chuck McGill's death, Howard Hamlin innocently tells Jimmy that he suspects Chuck killed himself, which he did. Later, Jimmy's girlfriend and partner in crime Kim confronts him and completely tears into him, screaming in his face about how insensitive and selfish he was for offloading his guilt over Chuck's suicide onto Jimmy. Despite being genuinely apologetic and willing to make things right, Kim tells him to piss off and storms out of his office. But unlike most examples of this trope, Kim is the one who's clearly in the wrong. While she's genuine about her care of Jimmy, she's also hijacking Chuck's death and using it as an excuse to be nasty to Howard due to unresolved feelings of anger and betrayal over how their working relationship went sour. And later on, this rejected apology would serve as the starting point in her and Jimmy crossing the Moral Event Horizon and ruining his life and reputation out of petty spite.
    • Likewise, when Nacho dies, Mike visits his father to deliver the news. Mike, who had grown fond of Nacho but was forced to let him die on Gus Fring's orders assures his dad that there will be justice for his son's death and that he'll get revenge on the Salamancas, but he's not having any of it. As far as he's concerned, violence begets violence, and there's no true meaningful difference between the violence that took his son and the violence that will be inflicted on the Salamancas. After throwing Mike's words back in his face and making it clear that he's no better than the men responsible for his son's death, he ends the conversation right there and leaves.

Music

New Media

Newspaper Comics

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Pinball

Podcasts

Professional Wrestling

Puppet Shows

Radio

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

Tabletop Games

Theatre

  • The Little Mermaid goes further in the stage show with Sebastian being able to apologize to Ariel after accidentally outing her love for Eric and grotto to Triton. Ariel rejects the apology and says she's running away to find Eric on the surface. Sebastian doesn't help his case by starting "Under the Sea" to convince her to stay in the ocean, as she swims off in frustration.

Video Games

  • In Undertale, you can choose to not forgive Asriel when he says that he is sorry. He understands why, all things considered.

Visual Novels

Web Animation

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this happen in season 3:
    • A horrifying example in flashback: Zuko spoke out of turn during a war meeting about a general who wanted to use recruits as canon fodder, against Iroh's warnings, and had to settle the argument through an Agni Kai, a fire duel that can be lethal. He thought he would fight the general who brought up the plan he hated, but instead would have to fight his father, Emperor Ozai. Out of filial piety and fear, Zuko apologizes to Ozai for his breach of etiquette and says that he won't fight his own father. In response, Ozai burns off part of his face to "teach" a bit of respect, and exiled his heir. Iroh couldn't watch while Zhao and a young Azula cheered Ozai on with glee. Season 3 had Zuko realize this was super messed up of a father to do to their own child, over an interruption, and called out Ozai for this during the eclipse.
    • Zuko sincerely apologizes to the Gaang when trying to convince them to hire him as Aang's firebending teacher, after the Day of the Black Sun invasion failed and last time they saw him, he helped his sister Azula take over Ba Sing Se. Sokka and Katara aren't into it, and Aang is unusually hostile towards Zuko out of guilt towards the soldiers he had to leave behind. While they do later agree to take him under probation since he fought the assassin he hired, Katara makes it clear that any funny business, and she will "end" his destiny.
  • BoJack Horseman uses this to denote when BoJack has irreparably screwed up or damaged a relationship. He's not the only character to undergo these screw-ups, but he is the main one:
    • "The Telescope" has BoJack give an "I feel bad, I'm sorry" apology to his mentor Herb Kazzaz when the latter has terminal cancer. He had refused to stand up for Herb when the latter was outed as a gay man, fired from Horsin' Around, and blacklisted, and hadn't talked to him in twenty years. Herb delivers the first Wham! Line of the series: "I don't forgive you." He says that it wasn't getting fired that hurt; it was that he needed a friend, and BoJack wasn't there for him before or after the firing. Herb will never forget that his best friend abandoned him in his time of need.
    • In "Escape From L.A.," BoJack turns down Penny Carson's advances on him because, as he explains, she is seventeen and he is old enough to be her father. Even if she's seventeen, the age of consent in New Mexico, it would be wrong. Then after Charlotte turns down BoJack, she hears Penny's voice coming from BoJack's boat which is parked in the Carson backyard (long story), and climbs up, to find her daughter undressing BoJack. After a beat of silence, Charlotte sends Penny to her room. BoJack tries to apologize, but Charlotte cuts off BoJack, telling him not to even say it. She says that he needs to be out in thirty minutes, or she will call the cops. "And if you try to contact me or my family again, I will fucking kill you.".
    • A variant happens in "Fish Out of Water." While promoting Secretariat in an underwater city, BoJack spots Kelsey Jannings promoting another indie film to an audience of none. He remembers that he got her fired, and hides from her. Also, thanks to the aquatic suits they're wearing, BoJack can't verbally talk to her. His first attempts to deliver her an apology note leads to him on a bus that goes thirty nautical miles out of the city, and his second attempt is literally watered down as he tries to deliver it to her, but she points out that all the ink washed away in the sea current. Then he finds out after she leaves in a taxi that a button on his suit allows him to talk underwater, frustrating him to no end.
    • Princess Carolyn ends up on the receiving end of this in "Best Thing That Ever Happened" from BoJack of all people. The reason is that she screwed up his chance to be in two movies, one that would have mended his friendship with Kelsey since he got her fired from Secretariat. BoJack prepares to fire Princess Carolyn for her screwup, and much of the episode is about Princess Carolyn trying to apologize, beg, negotiate, and point out that she's had to clean up many of BoJack's screw-ups over twenty three years' worth of representation and one mistake shouldn't mar their relationship. It doesn't work, and it takes two more seasons for them to properly reconcile when BoJack gets enough Character Development to do a favor for Princess Carolyn and star in Philbert.
    • "It's You" has Todd shutting down BoJack's attempts to apologize for sleeping with Emily when Todd was trying to rekindle a relationship with her. While Emily is a consenting adult who shares as much of the blame, BoJack had been emotionally abusing Todd in a toxic friendship . He says that he's tired of how BoJack thinks an apology will fix all of the terrible shit that he does to the people he supposedly cares about, blaming it on the drugs or his abusive family. They do reconcile later, but Todd sets clear boundaries with BoJack and refuses to be his Butt Monkey or charity project to make BoJack feel better by default.
    • "The Old Sugarman Place" shows in flashback that BoJack's maternal grandparents Joseph and Honey had a variant after Honey drunkenly made their daughter Beatrice, BoJack's mother, drive their car after a party and caused them to crash. Why did Honey engage in these dangerous antics? Because she was grieving her older son Crackerjack, who died in the Second World War, and wanted to feel alive again. While covered in lacerations and scratches, Honey begged Joseph not to despise her for her "hysterics," apologizing for acting out, and Joseph yelled at her both for making a scene at a nearby party and nearly getting Beatrice killed. Beatrice tried to mediate by asking her father not to yell at her mother, but both parents ignored her. As befitting the time period, Joseph got Honey lobotomized to stop her "hysterics" when Honey begged him to fix her, making her an Empty Shell.
    • In "Free Churro," BoJack wonders if his mother was saying that she was sorry with her last words, "I see you" and he talks about that if it was an apology, it was a shitty thing to deliver to him on her death bed, when she wasn't lucid and he could receive no closure. He rejects it, saying that he wanted her to see him when she was alive, not when she was dying. While giving a eulogy at her funeral, BoJack realizes that she could have easily been reading the "ICU" sign in the hospital ward and that crushes him; Beatrice truly felt she had done nothing wrong to him.
    • "The Stopped Show" has a drug-addicted BoJack learn that he choked his costar and current flame Gina during a stunt gone wrong. When Princess Carolyn shows BoJack the footage reluctantly, after it got leaked online, BoJack is truly horrified. When he and Gina prepare to do a coverup interview, he apologizes to her before they prepare to lie that it was just acting. Gina refuses to accept it, still traumatized and wearing lots of makeup to cover the bruises around her neck. She says that they won't even talk about it; they are done, and will only be civil on-set. BoJack understands why, all things considered, and awkwardly plays along with the coverup interview because Gina doesn't want to be known as "the girl that was choked by BoJack Horseman".
    • "Xerox of A Xerox" ends this way, on an industry-wide level. BoJack and Princess Carolyn stage an apology interview after BoJack's friend group gets wind of a news story that will implicate BoJack in Sarah Lynn's death. While his remorse is sincere, all of his lines are spoon-fed to him and carefully edited so that he doesn't admit to any wrongdoing that would damage his reputation. It seems to work, and people love BoJack after it airs. But... he does a second one when the network executive in charge of the first interview suggests a followup to boost ratings. Biscuits Braxby goes from delivering softball questions to confronting him with evidence that he left Sarah Lynn to die and lied to the police about it. She goes from that Wham! Line to a troubling pattern that he has where people get hurt due to the power he has over them, all women but BoJack admits afterward that he has hurt men as well. During her curveballs, BoJack starts spluttering and throws fellow alcoholic Sharona under the bus while also asserting he already apologized to her. Let's just say none of the apologies in either interview are accepted by the next episode: everyone in Hollywoo hates BoJack, Sarah Lynn's abusive mother and stepfather sue for damages, and people at BoJack's Al-Anon meeting give him Death Glares and What the Hell, Hero? gestures for breaking the "anon" part of their groups while Sharona is nowhere in sight, implying she either had a relapse or had to join another group. The Xerox company also bankrupts BoJack in a lawsuit for mentioning their name.
    • "Nice While It Lasted" has a really sad one, in the series finale. BoJack finds Diane on the roof at Princess Carolyn's business wedding; she held the "family and friends only" wedding several weeks ago. He tries to start their old dynamics, but Diane shuts him down. She then reveals the voicemail that he sent before his suicide attempt, that he was going swimming because no one cares about him, and he would only stay out of the pool if Diane picked up the phone. Diane points out that she was asleep in Chicago, hours away, and she wouldn't have come to rescue him in time even if she had picked up the phone. BoJack, as it turns out, doesn't remember any of this; he was hopped up on drugs and alcohol, and sincerely apologizes to Diane. She doesn't accept it, explaining that he caused her to spiral into a near nervous breakdown, and she needed time to think when Guy and his son was moving to Texas. Fortunately, the year that BoJack was in prison and her blocking him gave Diane that time; she chose Dallas, and has revealed that she married Guy. With that said, she is still mad at BoJack for the power that he held over her. Diane also makes it clear their friendship is over, because she can't be his moral center. BoJack acknowledges that her reasons are more than fair, and says that Diane doesn't owe him anything, not even closure. She at least gives him that, thanking him for being in her life.
  • One Tom and Jerry short has a piano fall on Tom while he's tormenting Jerry. The cat at the pearly white gates says that Tom can't get into heaven unless he has Jerry sign a certificate of forgiveness within an hour. Tom returns to life, frantic; he tries to offer a cake as an apology to Jerry, only for Jerry to eat the cake and spray pen ink in the cat's face. Faking the signature won't work because both the cat angels and dog demons are watching. When they both see the dog demon laughing as the clock ticks, Tom starts to beg and mimes his predicament, and Jerry is bewildered but signs the agreement. Unfortunately, Tom is too late and ends up in Hell... until he wakes up by the fire where a stray coal had burned him and realizes it was a dream. He not only sighs in relief but also knocks on Jerry's mouse hole, thanking him with kisses. Naturally, Jerry is confused, and ends the short shrugging at the camera but not complaining. 
  • Total Drama has "drama" in the title for a reason.
    • While they were both at the resort for the eliminated contestants in season one, Harold reveals he tried to apologize to Courtney after rigging the votes and getting her knocked out of the competition, and admits it was immature of him to take out his frustration at Duncan and DJ on Duncan's Love Interest. Courtney spends the episode chasing him down, eventually wrapping a telephone pole around him. She says the only way he could make up for it is by voting for Duncan to win. Naturally, Harold refuses.
    • In an episode leading to the season one finale that has no eliminations except for "Mr. Coconut," the Companion Cube that Owen created, the final four contestants get stranded on a remote part of the island due to a freak flood. Heather cries on a confession cam when recapping the moment that Gwen and Duncan abandoned her in favor of sailing a raft to find civilization, after Duncan made an "every camper for themselves" credo, and apologized to Beth and Lindsay on-camera for using them to get her win. It didn't work; the followup special showed both girls refused to ally with Heather again.
    • Gwen and Courtney ended up trading this dynamic for a bit during and after season three. At first, Courtney was convinced that Duncan had a thing for Gwen; Gwen even told Courtney in season two that Duncan only had eyes for his girlfriend. Unfortunately, Courtney was proven right, and Duncan in season three kisses Gwen in front of the confession cam...and a shocked Tyler. Everyone finds out about Duncan's cheating next episode, and public opinion of Gwen becomes dismal. Gwen is truly apologetic when the truth comes out, because she considers Courtney a friend, and throws an elimination challenge that allows Courtney to stay. Courtney doesn't accept the apology until All-Stars where Gwen breaks up with Duncan for Courtney's sake and does a cathartic wrestling match with All-Stars. Then the roles get reversed in "Sunday Muddy Sundae" when Mal discovers that Courtney was going to throw a lot of her former competitors and now friends under the bus, including Gwen. Gwen isn't just upset about the betrayal but also about the principle of the matter, that in the end her atonement was All for Nothing. She's also disappointed that once again, Courtney's ambition overrode basic human decency.

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