WARNING: This article contains massive spoilers for the Mass Effect series and the ending of Mass Effect 3.
Look, I’m on the same train as everyone else. Namely, the one-way train to a little village I like to call The Ending of Mass Effect 3 Was Bullshit.
Did it ruin the entire story? Not for me, no… but I can easily see how it would leave a sour taste in many gamers’ previously agape mouths. In a literal act of deus ex machina, the entire struggle against the Reapers is reduced to a single, bizarre choice posited by a heretofore unseen god-child.
For unexplained, unfathomable reasons, Commander Shepard fails to activate the Crucible superweapon and is ascended to an inexplicable room where the ghost of a boy he failed to save on Earth claims to be the Creator of the galaxy’s organic/synthetic cycle. The
boy ghost god thing then tells Shepard she has three choices:
- Control the Reapers, as the Illusive man wanted
- Destroy the Reapers, as the Alliance wanted
- Mix DNA with the Reapers, ending the war through magical interbreeding
None of these choices made any sense for dozens of reasons. Why was “God” letting Shepard decide the fate of the galaxy? Why did God create a room on the Citadel with giant, galaxy-altering laser beams? And why did God take the form of a boy that got blown to bits at the beginning of the story? The logic just isn’t there, unless… unless none of it was real.
The indoctrination theory
This may sound crazy, and I thought it was, too, but the increasingly popular theory that Commander Shepard is actually indoctrinated by the Reapers is the only reason the ending could be what it is.
- Why don’t the speeches of Anderson, the Illusive Man, and God make sense at the end?
They’re only happening in Shepard’s mind.
- Why would the Citadel have giant lasers that perfectly align with the game’s main conflict?
They only exist in Shepard’s conflicted mind.
- Why would Bioware, the masters of storytelling, create an ending that’s less than brilliant?
They fucking didn’t.
Everything that takes place after the final push to the Citadel Conduit isn’t real; it all represents Shepard’s internal conflict against the Reaper indoctrination fighting her willpower. The bizarre underbelly of the Citadel is a figment of Shepard’s mind, as is the battle with the Illusive Man and the death of Anderson. And that godlike boy offering Shepard an easy way out (or three)? Fucking Reapers, every time.
I won’t claim to have come up with this theory, but I wouldn’t have brought it up without significant evidence. Watch the video below or read this insightful essay and just try to tell me they’re wrong. Argue all you want, but the only possibilities are:
- Bioware fucked up their biggest franchise’s final plot point
- Bioware ingeniously sowed seeds that will blossom into an amazing ending
There’s nothing left to say; the real Commander Shepard would keep fighting against impossible odds for the best outcome!
Watch the proof below and start getting ready for the real conclusion of Mass Effect.