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Player Character of BioShock Infinite. Booker is a former soldier and Pinkerton Detective who ekes out a meager living as a PI. His newest assignment: a faceless client wishes him to extract Elizabeth from the flying city of Columbia. In exchange, Booker's employer will wipe out all of his outstanding debts.Booker is world-weary and cynical, having been involved in his fair share of dirty business over the years, but he will do whatever it takes to complete the job.
- Action Dad: He was a father, but not any more. Except he still is; he just doesn't realize the child he gave up is by his side.
- Adorkable: Rarely, but whenever he is correcting Elizabeth, or trying to get her attention without starting a fight, he comes off rather awkward and introverted.
- The Alcoholic: If the bottles littering his office are anything to go by, he became this after hawking his daughter to get out of paying the bookies. Comstock chastises his drinking and gambling when he first addresses Booker.
- Alternate Self: Booker is the Columbia counterpart to Jack (with elements of Delta as well), beginning his journey at the foot of a lighthouse. This is a bit more literal than it appears at first. As Elizabeth explains, in every universe there is a man, a lighthouse, and a city. He's also a youthful version of Zachary Comstock, but only in a universe where he underwent baptism and became a new man.
- Amnesiac Hero: All of Booker's memories, up to the Luteces showing up in his office, have been systematically altered or erased. He doesn't even remember having a daughter, or his previous meeting with Comstock and the Luteces 20 years ago. Being as this twist isn't revealed until the end, it is an inversion.
- Anti Anti Christ: In a roundabout way, Booker is both a Christlike and a Satanic figure. As Father Comstock, he is destined to wreak havoc on human civilization, and likely won't stop until the whole world bows at his feet. As Booker DeWitt, it is foretold that he will burn Columbia to the ground and steal away the Prophet's daughter.
- The Antichrist: The Founders, a zealous religious faction, refer to him as the "False Shepherd". Given what ideology the Founders hawk, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Anti-Hero: Booker has done a lot of bad things in the past, and he's the "hero" of the story.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Yes, sure, a city at the bottom of the sea is ridiculous. Unlike all the other sights Booker has seen by that point, starting with a floating city in the skies and getting more insane from there.
- The Atoner: For his part in the Battle of Wounded Knee and the things he's done as a Pinkerton. Unbeknownst to him, he is also atoning for selling his infant daughter to save his own neck.Booker: Sometimes there's a precious need for folks like Fitzroy.Elizabeth: How come?Booker: 'Cause of folks like me.
- Badass Normal: How he starts the game. On the perimeter of Columbia, he acquires a Broadsider pistol at the raffle and fends off the cops for a while, before getting his first offensive Vigor and Gear (from a Fireman). He was also one in his past, during the Battle of Wounded Knee.
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Invoked. Booker does not consider himself a good or even decent guy, and unhesitatingly performs any of the unsavory tasks that Elizabeth is willing to do.
- Big "NO!": He lets one out when Anna/Elizabeth is being taken from him in the ending.
- Brooklyn Rage: He lives in New York and he's a very violent individual.
- Byronic Hero: Let's just say Booker's life isn't a road of sunshine and happiness, what with taking part in a massacre at a young age, being a thug Pinkerton Agent, alcoholic, and cynical as hell. And that's not even getting into the fact he sold his daughter...
- Chick Magnet: Before everything goes to hell women are Suprisingly all over Booker.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Served as this to Elizabeth for the first half of the game.
- Clothes Make the Legend: The incarnation of Booker who lives in Rapture wears a strikingly similar outfit, with a red necktie in place of the kerchief.
- Combat Pragmatist: The very first in-game fight sees Booker distract his would-be executioners by tossing a baseball into the air, grabbing one by the collar and dragging him to meet his buddy's Sky-Hook face-first, then stealing the Sky-Hook and turning it against its owner (rending flesh and snapping bones like kindling) before putting down another half a dozen police. It's not hard to guess how he might have been deemed too vicious for the Pinkertons — he never hesitates to kill nor is he ever particularly repentant about doing so in the name of protecting himself (or his charge, Elizabeth).
- The Comically Serious: Booker is this trope, which is why many of the things he says are so hilarious even though his sense of humor is almost non-existent. The funniest examples probably being:
- Booker: Elizabeth? Why is your mother a ghost?
Booker: It would appear... [panting] that your mother... [reloading] is raising... [running like hell] the dead!
- Cowboy Cop:
- If how he interprets his 'job' during the game is any indication, being an insanely violent loose cannon with a disregard for rules is probably part of what got him fired.
- Living in Rapture hasn't smoothed Booker's rough edges, if the conversation in Burial at Sea is any indication. This gumshoe makes Mike Hammer look like Andy Griffith.Booker: If Suchong had Sally, I'd know it.
Booker: Because I tied him him to a chair and asked him...
Booker: ... for fifteen hours.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Other Bioshock protagonists didn't talk and had no real indication of personality other than how the player chose to treat Little Sisters. Booker is neither of these things.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He was told to "bring us the girl" to "wipe away the debt". That's only the tip of a very big, very complex iceberg, which the game (and most of the spoilers on this page) revolve around.
- Dark is Not Evil:
- He is firmly opposed by the very religiously-flavored Founders and Comstock (often characterized by them as a devil, a satanic influence, or The Grim Reaper), and he did a lot of bad things in the past, the specifics of which we're probably better off not knowing. He's still more palatable as an individual than Columbia's collective jingoistic insanity, though, and becomes a better person over the course of the narrative.
- He also has a fairly progressive attitude racially (in that he treats everyone with an equal amount of indifference). His response to a black man he sees smoking and is afraid of Booker telling anyone: "Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em, pal. I ain't no gendarme." And if you choose to throw the ball at Fink instead of the mixed-race couple, there's the fact that he even does that, not to mention he sounds quite miffed at the situation. Considering the time period, such an action would be surprising even coming from a non-Columbian ten times nicer than Booker is. Not that there isn't a good reason for him to be more sensitive than most about racism. During the Battle of Wounded Knee (now called the Massacre of Wounded Knee, possibly because of him), he killed countless Native Americans, and burned teepees down with women and children still inside (ostensibly to gain the acceptance of his comrades after a comment about him having some Native ancestry.) Regret and self-loathing over this is largely why he is so fucked up. So opening up that wound by trying to stone a mixed-race couple probably isn't a good idea.
- Dead Man Writing: You find at least two recordings from him in an alternate Columbia where he was killed — including one he recorded as he lay dying.
- Death by ChildbirthElizabeth: So, Mr. DeWitt, is there a woman in your life?
Booker: There was. She died.
Booker: Giving birth.
Elizabeth: Oh... you have a child?
- Death by Irony: The Multiverse exists because he refused (and didn't refuse) his baptism. He dies by being drowned in the waters where he wasn't (and was) baptized.
- Demonisation: Columbia's religion, as devised by Comstock, presents Booker as an Anti Christ figure that will corrupt Elizabeth.
- Despair Event Horizon: Going hand-in-hand with his Moral Event Horizon, Booker losing Anna left him a broken man, consumed by alcoholism and gambling addiction to try and ease his pain. At the end of the main game, the realisation that he and Comstock are two versions of the same person is followed by him barely struggling as he allows Elizabeth to drown him.
- Determinator: He can and will weather all the hell Columbia throws at him to get Elizabeth out of Columbia, especially when his motives for doing so shift from business to personal.
- Dying as Yourself: The only way to finish off Comstock for good is to kill himself before he becomes the Reverend.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: One possible interpretation of the post-credits ending, though in the most extreme variation possible.
Through Booker's death at the baptism at the end of the game, the only universe which remained a constant was the one where he refused the baptism and never went through with selling his daughter — an outcome which leads to Comstock never being "born", Columbia never being built, and neither civilization coming to an end. Essentially, he had to kill himself in an infinite number of universes so he and Anna can presumably live happy, normal lives.
The part people argue about is whether he remembers what happened over the course of the story—events that, of course, were retconned out of existence by the ending itself—and will use them as motivation to get out of the bottle and NOT be willing to sell his daughter to clear debts.
- Empowered Badass Normal: With Vigors, Infusions and Gear.
- Even the Guys Want Him: At least three male NPCs around Columbia come at him with thinly-veiled overtures, including one as blatant as "Howdy, sailor..." (as well as "I'm fond of the Greco-Roman style. If you want, I could always teach you," and "If you're willing to go into that booth with me, I'm sure I could find you a set of trunks...").
- Exposition Fairy: A ghostly imitation of Booker Prime in Burial at Sea — the same one who drowned at the end of BioShock Infinite. He briefs Elizabeth (now playable) via the radio, provides instructions on how to navigate Rapture, and lends moral support where needed.
- Extreme Omnivore: You can make him eat food that has been thrown in the trash bin. At one point two oval objects are found in a toilet, they turn out to be potatoes. And yes, before you ask eating them will give you health just like normal. Given that he'd been struggling with debt, it's probably not a stretch to say that this could be in-character.
- Featureless Protagonist: Averted; unlike the previous protagonists in this series, he has a full name, an established personality, a consistent voice, and a backstory. His face is also seen in two reflections at the beginning of the game, in the Voxophones recorded by an alternate reality version, and is visible on the alternate versions running around the multiverse confluence in the finale.
- First-Person Ghost: Does not cast a shadow or have a reflection, except during some scripted events (e.g. the washbasin at the start of the game, or his reflection in the glass while being rocketed to Columbia). Jumping onto a skyline after the 15th wave in a Clash in the Clouds game shows he's just a pair of arms.
- First-Person Smartass: Particularly when encountering the Siren. To say nothing of his first impression of Rapture.Booker: A city at the bottom of the ocean? Ridiculous.
- For Want of a Nail:
- After the battle of Wounded Knee, a spiritually-broken Booker decided to cleanse himself through baptism. In one reality, he accepted Preacher Witting's offer to be "born again" and renamed himself Zachary Comstock; in another one, Booker didn't go though with it, and he rejected the whole notion of redemption, leading to a life of deep gambling debts.
- The bloodied form of Jeremiah Fink is holding a voxophone of Booker's last words — in this reality, at least. This alternate Booker was caught in a Vox-Founder crossfire and succumbed to his injuries because Elizabeth wasn't there.
- Future Me Scares Me: Booker avoided baptism at the last moment, while in an Alternate Timeline he took the baptism, found religion, and became Comstock.
- Good Counterpart: In Burial at Sea, Elizabeth leads "Final" Comstock like a lamb to the slaughter inside Rapture's deserted shopping mall, supposedly to rescue a Little Sister. Predictably, this raises the ire of a Big Daddy and Booker is brutally killed. But you can't keep a Pinkerton down: almost as soon as he drops, a ghost version speaks to Elizabeth on her radio. Elizabeth guesses that this Booker is her post-homicidal guilt given form. The Siren was said to have been pieced together from Elizabeth's resentment. This suggests that Booker manifested in a similar way, but with a benign purpose.
- Goomba Stomp: When hanging onto a Sky-Line or freight hook, Booker can perform a Sky-Line Strike when an enemy is in range.
- Heel–Face Door-Slam:
- Agreeing to hawk his infant daughter]] to the Reverend and his creepy minions — then having a last-minute change of heart and sprinting to get her back. He was too late, and Comstock fled through a tear, slicing off Anna's finger in the process.
- This applies to Booker in the game's ending. It is ultimately left up to players to decide.
- In the backstory to Burial At Sea, Elizabeth warps back to her kidnapping 18 years ago and tries persuading Comstock not to pull Anna through the tear. Unfortunately, her distraction merely delays Comstock, causing the baby's head to get caught in the closing iris and decapitated. The Reverend, irrevocably shaken by what he's done, escapes through a tear to get away from his troubles. Elizabeth hounds him to Rapture (where Comstock changes his name back to "Booker" and runs a modest detective office) and finishes him with a Big Daddy drill.
- Heel Realization:
- Wounded Knee made him come to the conclusion that he was beyond forgiveness, and he simply stopped seeking it by drowning himself in guilt.
- Finding out that he sold his own daughter to Comstock, and that she became Elizabeth, leaves him staggered and ready to commit suicide.
- Heroic Sacrifice: After realizing that Comstock exists because of his own crimes, he declares that he is both Booker Dewitt and Zachary Comstock before his daughters drown him — symbolically cleansing both his own sins and those of his other self.
- Heroic Neutral: Couldn't spare a damn about the corruption of Columbia or the budding revolution. All he cares about is finding the girl, and wiping away the debt. Everything in between is a means to an end.
- I Did What I Had to Do:
Elizabeth: You killed all those people! You're a monster!Booker: [sighs] What did you think was going to happen?
- Booker's fairly unrepentant about being forced to kill in order to protect Elizabeth and himself, which initially causes her to try to run away, scared out of her wits at witnessing such carnage:
- Indy Ploy: When presented with a problem, Booker tends to go in with both guns blasting, and in his case it seems to work really well.Elizabeth: You can get us out of here??Booker: Yes! I just... (mumbling quickly) need to supply enough weapons to arm an entire uprising.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's especially evident near the end of the game that he's become one of these, when he pleads with Elizabeth to go to Paris after dealing with Comstock and just getting away from his dark past. And then there's the event in which he recalls seeing Anna get taken away from him, in which he just starts become so regretful and horrified at what he's done.
- If you note the Lat/Long coordinates when they finally get the airship underway, they are actually headed to Paris.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: 20 years worth of his memories were changed.
- Liar Revealed: At the start of the game, Booker is only motivated to complete his job largely out of self-interest. He later goes as far as to lie to Elizabeth that he's bringing her to Paris just so he can finish his task.
- Lima Syndrome: At the start of the game, he lies to Elizabeth about taking her to Paris. By the end, he genuinely wants to take her there rather than take more unnecessary risks.
- Made of Iron: He does take a lot of punishment in the game, after all. In one particular scene, Booker gets hit in the head with a wrench by Elizabeth, wakes up only to get punched in the face by a Vox, and is pushed off an airship from a pretty fair height. What does he do? Gets up and keeps going.
- Manly Tears: Though we don't see them, we can hear Booker cry when he fails in trying to get Anna back from Comstock.
- Mark of the Beast: The "AD" scarred onto the back of Booker's hand mark him as "The False Shepherd" to any of Comstock's followers that bother to look.
- Mark of Shame: At the very end, it's revealed that the letters scorched into his right hand are self-inflicted: They are actually the initials of his daughter, Anna DeWitt a.k.a, Elizabeth Comstock, whom he sold off to the Reverend in 1893. After trying and failing to back out of the bargain, he branded himself as a reminder of his crime - a "hair shirt," as the Luteces put it.
- Meaningful Name:
- "Booker" - one who makes and binds books. "DeWitt" - the white. A blank book. Appropriate for a video game protagonist. And for the umpteen versions of himself — not just one blank page, but an entire book of them.
- Also possibly named after physicist Bryce DeWitt, who further developed Hugh Everett's many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Given the themes of the story, this is highly appropriate.
- Mixed Ancestry: Despite being nominally Caucasian in photographs, it's revealed that he has more than one Native American ancestor in his family tree and is capable enough at speaking Sioux. During the Wounded Knee Massacre, he acquired the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" for all the gruesome trophies he collected.
- Moral Event Horizon: Deliberately invoked to be Deconstructed, as his story shows what kind of psychological damage an ordinary person can do to themselves after they do something they consider irredeemable. As soon as Booker gave his daughter away to clear his debts, he went mad with grief and regret, chased down the people he sold her to, and tried to fight them to get her back. When that failed, the shame of what he'd done and the self-loathing it brought influenced his reconciliation sickness upon entering Comstock's universe, transforming a desire to get his daughter back into Fake Memories about someone asking for Elizabeth in exchange for his (now non-existent) debts being settled. When Booker realizes this, it breaks his heart so completely that he allows himself to be drowned by his daughter(s) so that his entire life is nullified.
- Morality Chain: In Burial at Sea, "Our" Booker returns to life minutes after his Rapture version bites the dust. This one is actually a figment of Elizabeth's subconscious, sent to remind her of their objectives. He serves as the voice of conscience during Episode 2.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Has this reaction after he remembers that he sold his daughter, Anna a.k.a. Elizabeth.
- Nice to the Waiter: Whenever he runs across a black janitor or attendant, Booker treats him much more politely and compassionately than the average citizen of Columbia, and often urges them to drop their usual Uncle Tom act around him."Hey, smoke 'em if you got 'em, pal. I ain't no gendarme."
- Nominal Hero: Kills plenty of enemies and only wants to bring Elizabeth out of Columbia to "wipe away the debt", even going as far as to lie to her about going to Paris.
- Noodle Incident: If you know anything about the Pinkertons' usual MO (and if you don't, Google it), then you really have to wonder just how in the hell someone gets kicked out of them. Especially for "Behavior beyond the Acceptable Bounds of this Agency."
- Not in This for Your Revolution: He temporarily helps out Daisy and the Vox solely for the purpose of securing an airship out of Columbia. However, in one alternate universe where he falls in with the Vox at a much earlier time, he ends up becoming a martyr for their cause without intending to be. He was killed in action, and Daisy Fitzroy decided to enshrine him to give the rebellion the spark she needed. Even then, however, he was only helping the Vox to get Comstock out of the way so that he could get Elizabeth..
- One-Man Army: An entire city of crazies with superpowers and guns won't keep him and his objectives apart.
- Papa Wolf: As the game progresses, Booker turns very protective and is willing to tear Columbia apart to get Elizabeth to safety.
- Parental Substitute: One possible interpretation of his relationship with Elizabeth. Turns out to have been her Disappeared Dad all along once you learn he actually is her father.
- Perma-Stubble: Meanwhile, Comstock grows from this to a Beard of Evil.
- Person of Mass Destruction: As Yahtzee has said, while BioShock and System Shock 2 has the protagonists arrive late to the party and have to piece together what happened, Infinite has Booker arrive just in time for the party, because the party is him. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy or not, Comstock was not wrong about Booker being an Anti Christ.
- Pet the Dog: Booker's racial attitudes for the time are fairly enlightened, in that he doesn't treat other races differently (aside from one player choice, of course). This may stem from his experience at Wounded Knee; while Comstock buried his guilt with a veneer of saintly righteousness, Booker instead became more humble and thus less likely to look down on others. He also surprisingly ahead of his time when it comes down to matters of gender, though this is not particularly saying much, as this is the general attitude in Columbia. (The Reverend is grooming his daughter to succeed him as the nation's spiritual leader.)
- Phone Call from the Dead: Elizabeth is nonplussed to hear Booker on her walkie-talkie, taunting her over the killing of his Rapture counterpart. This happens in the second chapter of Burial at Sea.
- Pinkerton Detective: Formerly. He was kicked out for being too brutal even for them.
- Player Character: In both Infinite and episode one of the Burial at Sea DLC.
- Although the latter is later revealed to be a version of Comstock.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Father Comstock first demonstrate his awesome powers by seeing into Booker's "bloody" past, triggering a nosebleed. The bleeding is actually caused by Booker's suppressed memories of his earlier encounter with Comstock in 1893.
- Redemption Equals Death: He allows Elizabeth to kill him so that Comstock is destroyed for good. It's even more pronounced considering how little he struggles as he runs out of air.
- Retgone: Booker kills himself in the dimension where he took the baptism and became Comstock, so all the Comstocks of every universe no longer exist. And seeing how Comstock was responsible for Columbia's creation and Elizabeth's abduction, apparently no Columbia and super-powered Elizabeth, either... which means the whole game's events are erased from existence. Perhaps.
- Retired Monster: Although he's become The Atoner for his Dark and Troubled Past, Booker still nonetheless has very few qualms about having to kill a lot of people during the game, something that initially terrifies Elizabeth.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: At first Booker is only interested in retrieving Elizabeth to do his job and wipe away his debts. However, as the story unfolds, he's willing to tear Columbia apart to get Elizabeth to safety. He goes on a more direct one after she's recaptured late in the game, blasting his way into Comstock House and potentially murdering in cold blood several of the unarmed scientists torturing her to get her back. To be fair though, those scientists may have chosen to turn the generators back on in alternate realities.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Whenever you touch fire.
- Self-Serving Memory: A rare case where this is a plot point. In the ending, when the Luteces recruit him, they mention that his memories are changing. "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt" thus becomes "rescue Elizabeth" rather than "I sold my daughter."
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong:
- Booker did not die in the version of reality where he rejected the baptism. He died in the version where he did get baptized and went on to become Comstock. Thus, Comstock / the "Evil" Booker is erased from existence, while the "good" Booker never crosses paths with his inter-dimensional counterpart, thus never selling Anna to him, and allowing father and daughter to finally have a normal life... as long as he can take care of that gambling debt.
- The Stinger shows Booker waking up in his office, and heading into the room where he keeps Anna's crib. The screen blacks out before we see if she is there. It is possible he remembers what happened during the story, but it's never indicated.
- Shadow Archetype: To Comstock. Justified because they're the same person, though post-Wounded Knee they diverge in how they cope with the crushing guilt of what they've done. If there's any trait that Comstock and Booker share, it's that they both have incredibly poor ability to handle their own guilt. Booker is crushed under the weight of his own sins, and too full of self-hatred to believe he could be worth any redemption. Comstock, however, constantly runs away from his own guilt, and is completely unable to confront his guilt and deal with the fact that he's a horrible person. As a result, Comstock is always seeking someone else's life as a form of escapism, taking any excuse to not be the murderous, guilt-stricken Booker DeWitt. However, where Comstock chose to dissociate himself from his own guilt, Booker is entirely too aware of what kind of person he is, and is broken by it. Still, at least he displays actual regret and responsibility for his actions, making his method slightly healthier. Slightly.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: He was traumatized by his own actions in the Battle of Wounded Knee. To put it in perspective, it is now known as The Massacre of Wounded Knee. It's easy to see how a baptism to "wipe away" all his sins would have been appealing; even easier to guess why he decided he didn't deserve it. At least, this version didn't.
- Significant Birthdate: According to his Pinkerton badge, it's April 19. It's less significant for him than it is for Comstock.
- Supporting Protagonist: Booker, The Protagonist, is a deep, three dimensional character who gets plenty of development in his own right, but the story isn't about him. The whole game is focused on Elizabeth, from the narrative to her importance in gameplay. Subverted at the end of the game, where the focus shifts to Booker's past and his alternate self. In fact, the sudden revelation at the end and all the foreshadowing in the game make it feel like the story was about Booker all along.
- Teens Are Monsters: He was only sixteen years old when he was at the Battle of Wounded Knee, which nowadays is often referred to as a massacre. It's implied Booker himself might be the reason why. It's revealed that Slate's soldiers gave him the nom de guerre of "The White Injun" because he collected so many grisly trophies from the dead, while Comstock's Voxophone recordings reveal that after he was (correctly) accused of having Native American blood, he decided to prove them wrong by burning tepees down with the inhabitants (women and children) still inside. Since this took place before the point of divergence where Booker and Comstock chose different paths, Booker is guilty of this as well.
- They Killed Kenny: His nigh-invulnerably is eventually subverted in the Vox Populi revolt, when it is revealed that not even his Heroic Resolve can overcome Songbird, and he has died in many realities attempting to do so. The future incarnation of Elizabeth gives him a remote control to tame the Songbird.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Zachary Hale Comstock is actually a Booker DeWitt who takes the baptism and a new name following the events of Wounded Knee.
- Trapped by Gambling Debts: The reason for his mission: "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt." Turns out that line actually means he had to sell his daughter Anna to Comstock (via the Luteces) in order to clear his debt. When he's dragged through a tear, his brain made up memories to give him the justification for finding Elizabeth.
- Unreliable Narrator: A rare, non-literary example; after getting his memories scrambled by a tear, Booker's own recollections can't be trusted. He thinks he's retrieving Elizabeth to settle his gambling debts. The Reveal is almost as much of a surprise to him as it is to the player.
- Unscrupulous Hero: He later starts to care about Elizabeth and genuinely wants to bring her out of Columbia so she can have a good life. That said, he still does kill a lot of people, and he initially isn't very interested in stopping Comstock, only doing so later at the insistence of Elizabeth.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: He gives little thought to much of Columbia, a flying city, and the advanced technology within it. This could serve as foreshadowing that he'd been there before, and was used to it by the time he arrived. On that note, he considers Rapture, a city at the bottom of the ocean, to be kitschy.
- The Watson: He knows enough about physics and combustibles from his time in the army. The higher technology of Columbia confounds him, though. He needs Elizabeth's giant brain to understand it ("Quantum particles suspended in space-time at a fixed height!"), and even then, Booker is often left in her dust ("So... not giant balloons").
- You Are What You Hate:
- In a recording of Comstock's, he rages about his fellows looking down on him because they guessed at his Native American ancestry, and did what he did in the Battle of Wounded Knee to put the "lie" to the idea.
- Also his rant at Comstock about abandoning his daughter, while killing him, is very likely directly just as much at himself — not that he knew that at the time.
Elizabeth Comstock/Anna DeWitt
- Voiced by: Courtnee Draper
- Action Girl: In the second part of the Burial at Sea DLC.
- Action Survivor: While she generally doesn't participate directly in combat, Elizabeth is quite helpful in a fight, either by using her Tears to open up new combat possibilities for Booker or by tossing items for him to use.
- Adorkable: Due to her life of confinement and limited real world experience, she tends to treat even the most mundane of things with a sense of wonder, and those can lead to some really funny moments. On the other side of the trope, she's spent that life of confinement becoming educated in a variety of fields.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Elizabeth, on account of Characterization Marches On and being Promoted to Playable for Episode Two. Further justified by having been Brought Down to Normal and focusing heavily on stealth rather than outright gunfights.
- Aesop Amnesia: After opening a tear into a new Columbia Elizabeth is disconcerted by the changes and admits that coming there might have been a mistake. A little while later, her and Booker's plan hits a roadblock with a conveniently located tear that would take them them to yet another Columbia and Elizabeth opens it without hesitation. Unsurprisingly, she comes to regret that as well.
- Alternate Self: She also is aware of her alternate Elizabeths, and even teams up with them in a combination of three incarnations to bring about Booker's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Analogy Backfire: Elizabeth is initially supportive of Daisy's revolution, even going as far to compare it to (what else) Les Misérables. She's forgetting a rather important detail from that book: namely that the rebels got creamed, but there is a certain romance to overthrowing a government, and Elizabeth is a romantic character.
- Animal Motifs: She is consistently referred to as the Lamb of Columbia in Founders' propaganda.
- She is also marked as a caged bird by the Luteces.
- In late stages of the game, she is put on a "leash" and compared to Ivan Pavlov's dog.
- Apocalypse Maiden: She was being raised and groomed to become one, ultimately through sheer suffering.
- The Atoner: Elizabeth in Episode Two is consumed with guilt over the fact that she exploited Sally in Episode One to lure Comstock to his death. The irony certainly isn't lost on her.
- Authority in Name Only: The Elizabeth of the 1980s forsook Comstock House, just as she had forsook her father's beliefs. However, like Columbia itself, the stronghold kept right on ticking even without her involvement. In this future, it's little more than an asylum; every floor is dilapidated, and snow is pouring in through the windows.
- Badass Bookworm: Being one hell of a bookworm? Check. Willing to smack those books at an intruding stranger? Double check.
- Barrier Maiden: Played with. (i.e. It's hard to say whether this played straight or an inversion.) The epilogue of Infinite reveals that Elizabeth lost her pinky when an (artificially-created) tear closed over it. Her severed finger was left behind in another reality, causing a disturbance in the multiverse. Even in adulthood, the symptoms linger on: Elizabeth's mere presence causes tears to open up all across Columbia and Rapture. In Burial at Sea, she makes a return trip to the Rapture world after being overwhelmed and killed by a Big Daddy. Elizabeth knows full well what will happen if she returns to a world where she is dead: the restoration of the natural order, causing all of the tears to vanish.
- Barrier Warrior: She cannot project force fields, but Elizabeth can leap into tears to escape pursuit. She can also summon up items, obstacles (like TORNADOES), and NPC friendlies. The reverse is also true: Elizabeth finally brings down the Songbird by transporting it to the sea bottom near Rapture; the water pressure crushes it to death within seconds.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. As the game goes on, she gathers a nice array of cuts and bruises, including a rather vivid-looking shiner under her left eye, which she sports for the last portion of the game. Zigzagged in Episode Two, as both of her corpses are modestly lacking in gore.
- Been There, Shaped History: Comstock's goal for her in Infinite. She achieves this in two very different ways, once in a Bad Future and again in Burial At Sea.
- Best Served Cold: Elizabeth forces the Final Comstock to relive his killing of her infant self in Alt-1893. This took months and several (some might say obsessive) levels of planning to pull off.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- She's sweet, innocent, adorable, and the single most dangerous thing in Columbia. And then there's that Bad Future.
- In the last act of the game, she graduates from being the single most dangerous thing in Columbia to being the single most dangerous thing in the multiverse.
- In Burial at Sea, what she lets happen to that version of Comstock.
- And of course in Burial at Sea Part 2, what she lets happen to the city of Rapture.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents:
- After shanking Daisy Fitzroy.
- And at the end of Burial At Sea, she gets blood splashed over her face when Final Comstock gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
- Brainy Brunette: Elizabeth is very intelligent, and extremely book-smart, growing up in a tower with nothing to do but read, practice whatever skills struck her fancy, and repeatedly attempt and fail to break out. However, being isolated in that tower with no other contact also means she is very inexperienced at actually interacting with people.
- Break the Cutie: The game is not kind to her, especially in the later levels. She starts out rather perky and somewhat childish, but gradually grows shell-shocked and steely.
- Symbolized by her losing her initial innocent Belle-like dress in favor of a more adult outfit, and along the way she gets a haircut, too.
- Brought Down to Normal: Her status as a living quantum superposition is undone when she returns to Rapture in Episode Two of Burial at Sea, due to entering a universe in which she has died. As further proof of this, her pinky is revealed to be restored.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: In Burial At Sea Episode Two, Elizabeth gets drunk from a single drink, as opposed to Booker who can put down several before the effects kick in.
- Changing of the Guard: Episode Two of Burial at Sea features Elizabeth as the player character due to Comstock's death at the end of Episode One.
- Character Development: She starts off as a Wide-Eyed Idealist. She goes through many different changes throughout the story.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Justified. As she was trapped in her tower since she was a baby and doesn't know how the world works.
- Clothing Damage: Receives some over the course of the game.
- Composite Character: The art book states she's inspired by a number of Disney princesses, and boy, does it show.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Her Bad Future self eventually became Comstock's heir and declared war on all mankind in the entirety of the multiverse.
- Damsel in Distress: Booker needs to save her at the beginning of the game. She also willingly gives herself to Songbird towards the end of the game, and Booker needs to save her. However it is downplayed the second time, as she saves herself as soon as Booker turns off the machine and frees her.
- Damsel out of Distress: Save for her capture in the Bad Future, Elizabeth is capable of taking care of herself when captured. The game also makes a point of indicating to the player that during battles, Elizabeth does not need protection.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments, especially in Burial at Sea.
- Death by Irony: In the DLC, Elizabeth lures a remorseful Comstock to his death in a toy store, but the Big Daddy that killed him pounces on Liz next. See "Out of Continues" below.
- Determinator: It doesn't matter what obstacles are in her way, she'll never stop. She spent her entire childhood trying to find a way to escape the tower she lives in, and events in the main game just give her a new goal to focus on. And in Burial at Sea: Episode Two, not even being Brought Down to Normal and permanently trapped in Rapture will stop her from saving Sally and making atonement for her mistakes.
- Deuteragonist: Infinite is just as much, if not more, Elizabeth's story than Booker's. Just about the only things keeping her from Protagonist status are 1) The Reveal about Booker's nature (IE he's Comstock) and 2) the fact that she's not the Player Character. (At least until the DLC.)
- The Dreaded: According to Booker, the residents of Columbia fear her, or at least fear what would happen should she escape confinement. For that matter, so does Booker.Elizabeth: Booker... are you afraid of God?
Booker: No. But I'm afraid of you.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: She gives off this vibe sometimes, especially in Burial at Sea.
- Fallen Hero: Her Bad Future self.
- Fanservice Pack: Elizabeth is even more attractive◊ in Burial at Sea, judging by the amounts of fanart and screenshots.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: The thimble she wears on her fingored pinky.
- Fashion Dissonance: The corset under her blouse which she exposes later in the game is of the wrong style for the era the rest of her first outfit accurately dates from. This is likely intentional given all the other intentional anachronisms in the game.
- Femme Fatale: Elizabeth in Burial At Sea, with a dash of AntiHero for good measure. It even turns out her entire purpose in hiring Booker was to get him/Comstock killed.
- Fingore: She's missing most of her right pinky finger, which she has not had since she was an infant. Specifically, she loses it to a closing Tear when she's stolen away by Comstock — as Anna DeWitt. Rosalind Lutece even theorizes that this may be why she's as powerful as she is, since a part of her exists in both her current and original timelines, and apparently "the universe doesn't like its peas mixed with its porridge".
- Flower Motif: Red roses.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: She's fascinated with all things French and Booker convinces her to leave Columbia with him by promising to take her to Paris. Part 2 of Burial at Sea opens with Elizabeth hallucinating about a highly idealized version of Paris.
- Friendless Background: She's been locked away her entire life with no one for companionship save for Songbird.
- Friend to All Children: In Shantytown, there's an optional scene where she sings Will the Circle be Unbroken while kindly offering an orange to a small boy who was hiding under the stairs. In addition, when Daisy Fitzroy attempts to kill Fink's son, Elizabeth fatally stabs her with a pair of scissors.
- Geeky Turn-On: In Burial at Sea, invokes this in the art and music stores to distract the owners long enough to allow Booker to sneak into the offices and look for the invitation mask.
- Girl in the Tower: Well, not exactly a tower, more like a very tower-like science facility inside of a tall statue, but since it's based in a literal flying city it's not like she can easily escape. The development team even refers to her as a girl "trapped in her tower."
- Go Out with a Smile: In Episode Two of Burial at Sea, upon regaining her memory after Atlas administered the deathblow to her.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Elizabeth and her counterparts choose to drown Booker to eliminate all the versions of him that would become Comstock, despite knowing that this would also erase them. After it's done, all but the main Elizabeth is shown to wink out of existence before the Fade to Black, leaving it ambiguous about her fate.
- Burial at Sea suggests that the older Elizabeth in Rapture is the same as from the main game and despite this, somehow continued to exist and retain her memory of the events of Infinite. Additionally, in Episode Two she sets in motion the events that would lead to BioShock, knowing that she would die but the Little Sisters would be freed.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: As Episode Two of Burial at Sea reveals, the Elizabeth that took part in Episode One was promptly killed by the Big Daddy she had manipulated Final Comstock into aggravating, as in its rage it considered her a threat to Sally and she couldn't get the chance to open a Tear and flee Rapture before it impaled her on some rubble. This, and her guilt over manipulating Sally, ultimately led to Elizabeth being Killed Off for Real.
- Honor Before Reason: Drives the plot of Burial at Sea: Episode Two: despite knowing full-well that returning to Rapture will strip her of all her powers as a quantum superposition, which means she will become mortal again, and be stranded in Rapture's universe forever, she still returns to Rapture to try and save Sally, even knowing it'll probably get her Killed Off for Real.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's around 5'6" tall. Booker is 6'1" tall. (Note: trope In Name Only; both she and Booker are above average height for today, much less 1912.)
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: When with Booker, she can pick locks if he has enough lockpicks for her, break codes pointing to hidden stashes, scrounge up ammunition, health packs, money, and Salts, and open tears that she is asked to open. She can also withstand point-blank RPG friendly fire without blinking an eye.
- Idle Animation: The developers gave her a lot of these to make her more life-like. She examines furniture, inspects merchandise, looks inside pipes, reads books, leans against walls, sits on benches, sidles up to people to overhear their conversations... trying to find every one of her behaviors is almost a game in itself.
- In addition to the above, there are also a number of occasions where, if Booker guides her to certain locations, complicated interactions with NPCs will result, such as the "medicine ball incident" on the beach. People find her first time eating cotton candy very endearing.
- Important Haircut: Cuts off her ponytail after she kills Daisy.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Considering the range of emotions she needs to exhibit, her big, sky-blue eyes are one of the most important aspects of her design. They serve as a form of visual shorthand. Her baby-self is instantly recognizable as Elizabeth by her distinctive eyes, despite lacking every single other distinguishing feature, and the scene being Deliberately Monochrome.
- In the Blood: In a possible future, Elizabeth finally snapped under pressure and was indoctrinated into Columbia's ideas. Booker gets to witness her prolonging Comstock's crusade by leading the New York assault."It wasn't the torture that broke me. It wasn't the indoctrination. It was time. Time rots everything, Booker. Even hope."
- Episode Two of Burial at Sea opens with Elizabeth making a pact with the Luteces, and losing her memory as a result.
- In between Episodes One & Two of Burial at Sea, Elizabeth engineers the capture of a Little Sister named Sally by Atlas' crew, all to entrap Booker/Comstock. According to Rosalind and Robert, Elizabeth felt remorse for abandoning the girl once the deed was done; she requested the scientists' help to steal back Sally (similar to how the Luteces helped Comstock exile himself to Rapture as penance for killing the Anna of his universe). Through her travels through space and time, Elizabeth learns that she is indirectly responsible for the creation of Songbird, the Big Daddies, and numerous plasmids and vigors being peddled by Suchong and Fink. She wonders if she's bound by fate to continue Comstock's violence, but is dissuaded by 'Head' or 'Ghost' Booker on the radio, who believes Elizabeth is following in his footsteps by rescuing a child — "settling the debt."
- Living MacGuffin: As the Arc Words say, "Bring Us The Girl and Wipe Away The Debt."
- The Load: Inverted. One of the selling points of the game is that Elizabeth can take care of herself, and she can. Enemies solely focus on (IE, shoot at) Booker, and she's Friendly Fire Proof for emergencies. In addition, she: throws you ammo, health and mana pickups if you're running low on those things; highlights Elite Mooks with a special cursor; alters the battlefield with Tears to give you additional strategic advantage; and resuscitates you if you die. There's only one section near the end where you're deprived of her company, and you will quickly notice how much you have come to rely on her for help.
- Luke, You Are My Father: She's actually Booker's long-lost daughter, Anna.
- Master of Unlocking: One of the skills she's picked up in the tower is lockpicking. As long as she has a hairpin, or a supply of lockpicks, she can bypass most locks.
- Men Act, Women Are: Enforced by the in-game mechanic: Earlier builds had her able to use weapons and vigors, but this likely proved too expensive to be feasible in the long-term. In the final build, Elizabeth is in more of an assistant role. In-Story, however, this trope is lampshaded and gradually subverted, especially in the game's final act.
- Mercy Kill: She's forced to do this to Songbird by drowning it outside Rapture.
- At one point, she heavily implies that she wants Booker to do this to her if she is captured again.
- Mundane Utility: After gaining complete access to her powers she teleports several feet instead of climbing a ladder.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: She's extremely thin and has no muscle tone, but she can still keep up with Booker on the skylines, not to mention deftly chucking various firearms at him.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- After she kills Daisy.
- Her Bad Future self also undergoes this. By the time that happens, however, she could no longer stop Columbia from destroying New York and the world.
- Her initial shown motivation for returning to Rapture in Burial at Sea: Episode Two.
- Mysterious Waif:Booker: They won't stop until they have you.
Elizabeth: Why?! What did I do to them?
Booker: You frighten them.
- Never My Fault: Zigzagged in Burial at Sea. Played straight in Episode One, where Elizabeth refuses to acknowledge that this version of Comstock only exists because she interfered with his attempt to abduct Anna and caused her to get beheaded. Zigzagged in Episode Two where she starts off accepting some, but not all, of the blame for her actions in the previous Episode, only to ultimately admit that what she did to Final Comstock wasn't really justified.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Burial at Sea: Episode One reveals she inadvertently caused the death of one of her infant selves (Anna) by stopping the exchange between Booker and Comstock in 1893. She then uses another girl, Sally, as bait to draw out Comstock, who by this time has sealed himself away in the Rapture universe. Due to the fallout from her plan, Sally is turned into a Little Sister and carted away to be mined for ADAM.
- In Episode 2, she is the cause of several events during the fall of Rapture, such as helping Atlas' army get back to Rapture, indirectly causing Suchong's death via Big Daddy and being the one who gave Jack's codephrase to Atlas in the first place. However, the latter is somewhat mitigated as it was part of a larger Thanatos Gambit to bring Jack to Rapture and ensure Atlas' eventual downfall.
- Nice Girl: Though she understandably gets mad at Booker a few times, because he keeps lying to her or acting in ways she finds morally repugnant.
- No Name Given: Her last name is never mentioned, but it's assumed to be Comstock, given that she's his heir and all. In reality, it's DeWitt.
- Non-Player Companion: To Booker.
- Not Afraid to Die: Elizabeth suffers a major case of Break the Cutie throughout the course of Infinite, eventually flat out telling Booker that she'd rather have him provide a Mercy Kill for her than go back to the tower.
- It gets progressively worse during Burial At Sea: Episode Two, to the extent that even Atlas' attempt to torture her for information fails when she taunts him that she's really Not Afraid to Die and that killing her would be doing her a favour. During her final confrontation with Atlas, she remains Defiant to the End despite knowing that she's walking to her death, jeering Atlas to simply get on with it.
- Note to Self: After dying at the hands of a Big Daddy, she pops back into the Rapture universe to look for Sally, which collapses Elizabeth's life back into a normal quantum state. In addition to switching off her powers, she awakens with a gap in her memory; anticipating this, Head Booker is planted in Elizabeth's mind to keep her on track.
- Of Corsets Sexy: After being forced to change into a new outfit, Elizabeth comes out wearing her corset outside her dress. While a corset is a period-appropriate piece of clothing (and Elizabeth is in fact wearing one beneath her first outfit), it would commonly be worn as underwear rather than outerwear in that era, suggesting that it is for a bit of light fanservice. Justified in the same scene, where Elizabeth notes that the hijacked airship (which used to ferry the now-deceased Lady Comstock) had nothing else available. Lady Comstock is depicted in the same outfit only with a proper shirt, so it can be assumed Elizabeth couldn't find it and/or just didn't bother.
- Older and Wiser: Elizabeth's Xenafication in Burial At Sea is justified in that, in addition to looking the part of the Femme Fatale, Elizabeth spent her time in Rapture learning much more than lockpicking.
- Older Than They Look: Due to her petite build, somewhat adolescent personality (from having grown up locked inside a tower her whole life), and the schoolgirl-like outfit she wears for the first half of the game, it's very easy to mistake Elizabeth for someone in her mid teens. She's actually about 20 years old. Indeed, your subjective impression of her age goes a long way towards whether you see her as a daughter figure, or as a potential romantic interest for Booker, which can really affect your impression of the ending revelations.
- The Omniscient: After her Power Limiter is destroyed, she dramatically increases in power and ability. She claims she can see "through every door" into an infinite number of alternate universes, and is able to guide Booker through his own flashbacks.
- Out of Continues: Booker's a lame duck without Elizabeth around as his backup, but the opposite is also true. Elizabeth finds that out the hard way when she kills Rapture's Booker in Fontaine's toy store, immediately getting tackled by a Big Daddy. Her suspended consciousness survives, but the Elizabeth of the Rapture universe is dead as a doornail. The Luteces warn her that if she ever goes back to Rapture world, her quantum state will snap back into place and she'll be stuck there for good. No more immortality, no more Tears.
- Phlebotinum Rebel: Having been inadvertently given Reality Warper powers by Comstock and the Luteces, she then ultimately turns this power on Comstock, who'd hoped to use her to Take Over the World and "purify it".
- Physical God: She becomes this after the tower Siphon is destroyed, able to open tears any time she likes, to wherever she likes and whenever she likes, into any existing or even merely possible permutation of reality. She's also totally aware of single one of these, which lets her know where and when to open a tear to get the result she wants.
- Plucky Girl: At the start of the game, but she loses this trait as the events of the game grind away her naive optimism.
- The Pollyanna: Averted. She starts out as a really cheerful, optimistic girl, but becomes increasingly jaded and more pragmatic as the game progresses.
- Portal Cut: How she lost her pinky finger.
- Power Glows: Near the end of the game, as the Siphon is destroyed, her eyes and hair begin to glow a dazzling white.
- Power Incontinence: Early in the game, a kinetoscope shows tears appearing all over the city, with the populace confused as to their origin. This is implied to be a result of Elizabeth creating them unknowingly prior to the Siphon being brought online.
- Power Limiter: Her tower is designed to siphon off most of her power. When she is removed from the tower, her power begins to grow and she gains further ability to manipulate tears. Once it's destroyed at the end of the game, she reaches godlike levels.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Can get these if she uses her powers too much, though this only appears in the first gameplay demo. However, use of her power can cause others to have nosebleeds when her manipulation of Tears in reality re-aligns their background and hence their memories.
- She gets one in Burial at Sea: Episode Two upon finding her dead self in Rapture. She's not pleased with being on the receiving end of reconciliation sickness.
- Reality Warper: Has the power to manipulate space-time "Tears" to do anything from manipulating objects to Time Travel.
- Red Baron: "The Lamb of Columbia" as she is referred to inside the city. Ironically, this leads to a Stealth Pun, as she appears to be the Columbia Alternate Self of Eleanor Lamb.
- Restraining Bolt: In the Bad Future Columbia, Comstock's scientists installed a device that would give her horrible shocks if she tried to use her Tear powers.
- Ret Gone: Her other selves — well, possibly except for the player's Elizabeth — cease to exist once they help Booker kill himself in the dimensions where he took the baptism and became Comstock. However, Elizabeth still exists, but now as the normal child Anna DeWitt, since Comstock is now gone and thus never abducted her or exposed her to dimensional travel in the first place.
- Burial At Sea suggests that the version of Elizabeth from the main game survived and retains her memory of the events of Infinite.
- Revenge Before Reason: This drives the plot of Burial at Sea: Episode One. Having caused one version of her baby self to get decapitated instead of merely losing a pinky by interfering with a Comstock's attempt to steal Anna, she then reacts to that Comstock abandoning his Comstock identity and all possible connection in Columbia to instead seek a new life in Rapture by setting up an elaborate ploy to get him to chase down and attempt to rescue Sally note only to be murdered by a Big Daddy when he finds her.
- Sheathe Your Sword: In Episode 2 of Burial at Sea, this is Elizabeth's rationale for using the tranquilizer bolts on splicers. Elizabeth (and, by extension, the figment of Booker on her radio) worries that she is treading the same path her father did.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Don't mistake her gentle appearance and sweet attitude, especially early in the game, for being weak.
- Social Engineering: Uses this to great effect in Burial At Sea, leading Booker to comment that she's a bit of a grifter. She acknowledges that she inherited her resourcefulness and ability to blend into a variety of roles from her father.
- The Scrounger: Searches anything useful for Booker, during and out of combat. She even calls it "scrounging".
- Shows Damage: Throughout the game, Elizabeth wears two fancy royal-blue dresses. Both of them get dirty and torn throughout the game. Elizabeth's hair and skin gets dirty during the game as well. And later in the game, after Elizabeth is kidnapped and experimented on, the bruises of the torture she endured are still visible, most notably a shiner under her left eye as seen in the photo above. And of course there is the Character Development scene where she cuts her long hair (off-screen) and wears a short hairstyle throughout the rest of the game.
- In Burial at Sea episode 1, Elizabeth begins showing scuffs and bruises after passing a certain point in the game. In episode 2, we don't see her face for much of it due taking on her point of view as the player character; therefore seeing the extent of her injuries in a mirror towards the end of the game is a bit of a shock.
- Averted in standard gameplay, where she can't take combat damage: she's immune to Friendly Fire, and the enemies focus exclusively on Booker. (The Founders' soldiers would of course want to avoid harming the Lamb of Columbia; why the Vox Populi show equal politeness to her isn't particularly addressed, though Fridge Logic can easily be applied.)
- Stockholm Syndrome: Which explains why she gets mad if you hurt Songbird, even if she considers being captured by it to be a Fate Worse Than Death. (Content was Dummied Out that depicted their relationship as having a greater emphasis on Songbird as an abusive spouse.)
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Despite never seen handling a gun at all throughout either Infinite or Burial at Sea Episode 1, other than when throwing them to Booker, Elizabeth is an instant expert with every weapon she comes across in Episode 2. Considering her powers, this may be a literal case of this trope; if she can "see through every door" it's not hard to guess that she picked up the ability to handle firearms somewhere along the line.
- Super Empowering: It's implied in one of the logs that Elizabeth has her Reality Warper powers not because of an inherent trait, but because a part of her was trapped in another universe. Most likely her pinky finger. It's further implied that the Luteces are completely aware of how to make this happen.
- Superpower Lottery: It's made very clear that Elizabeth is the most powerful thing in Columbia, if not the BioShock franchise in general. The only reason she can't just mop the floor with everything on her own is because there's a Power Limiter in place. Once that's removed, she becomes deific in power and capable of perceiving time "as it is", essentially omniscient.
- Take Up My Sword: The ending to Burial At Sea does it backwards, revealing that Elizabeth lured Jack to the city in BioShock. Though Elizabeth herself is beaten to death by Atlas, Jack completes her mission of freeing the Little Sisters.
- Temporal Sickness: Elizabeth willingly gives up her omnipresent existence in the multiverse to go back and fix her mistake in Rapture. The shock of existing in one place and time creates an hour-or-so block in her memory. Booker is on hand to fill in the gaps.
- Thanatos Gambit: In Episode Two of Burial at Sea, Elizabeth willingly sacrifices herself to trick Atlas into bringing Jack to Rapture, dying content in the knowledge that she'd brought about his eventual downfall and that Sally and all the other Little Sisters would finally be free.
- Took a Level in Badass: Elizabeth goes from being your non-action backup to knocking out Splicers and using guns in Episode Two. (Though it's up to the player to decide how deadly she should be; it's possible to complete Episode Two without Elizabeth killing anyone directly, though it can be difficult to complete without Elizabeth using Possession to get Big Daddys and turrets do the dirty work for her.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Elizabeth is much ruder to the Burial at Sea version of Booker than she was in the main campaign, because this Booker is actually an alternate version of Comstock, who had the Luteces scrub his memory and send him to Rapture rather than face the guilt of being party to the death of Anna in his reality. Elizabeth realizes this about herself in Episode Two: by using Sally as a means to manipulate Comstock and then leaving her to rot in Rapture when she was done, she unintentionally became no different than Comstock, who would also discard people who no longer were of use to him.
- True Blue Femininity: Elizabeth wears clothes that reflect the changes in her character throughout the story, ranging from blue and white dresses of varying maturity to a sexy but serious ensemble of purple, red and black in the last DLC.
- Video Game Caring Potential: She and Booker end up getting split up multiple times and, while fighting, there's no way she can ever be captured permanently. When it comes to the buildup of the Bad Future, this is effectively a Player Punch.
- This trope is used to ultimately heart-breaking effect in Burial at Sea.
- Vocal Dissonance: In the later parts of the game, when she's become quieter and more ragged-sounding when she speaks, when Booker asks her to pick a lock, her responses are still in her chipper Cheerful Child tone.
- Vocal Evolution: Of the tied-into-character-development type. She actually runs an impressive gambit of wide-eyed innocence, to disturbed acceptance of the violence and death Booker leaves in his wake, to barely-tolerant frustration, to a more cold cynical outlook, to a retention of warm belief, to post Break the Cutie vindictive Tranquil Fury, to creepy monotone omnipotence on the levels of Dr. Manhattan. It's especially noticeable because her mode of speech is unusual to begin with, archaic in word choice and poetic in cadence.
- What Have I Done: What kicks off the plot of Buried at Sea: Episode Two: when she realises that she's become as bad as Comstock by using Sally to get Final Comstock killed only to then abandon Sally to rot as a Little Sister in Fontaine Industries. She even starts to admit that, for all her hatred of him, Final Comstock at least was sincere in his drive to save Sally before she got him killed.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: According to her Bad Future self, Elizabeth didn't turn evil because she believed in Comstock's cause; instead, because the Booker DeWitt of her timeline was killed before he could rescue her from the Songbird, the specialists managed to convince Elizabeth that "The False Shepherd" had abandoned her. It was this sense of betrayal, more than any the tortures that had been used to indoctrinate her, that left her accepting Comstock's mantle simply out of a desire to see the world burn.
- Women Are Delicate: In Burial At Sea Episode Two, Elizabeth can't take as many bullets as Booker can, and doesn't carry as much weapons; which is used as an in-game justification for Episode Two's stealth option. In Infinite and Episode One, however, she's indestructible. At least up until the gap between the two episodes...
- Xenafication: She gains this in Episode Two of Burial at Sea.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:In Episode Two of Burial at Sea, after acquiring the "Ace in the Hole" for Atlas in exchange for Sally, Atlas kills Elizabeth.
"Father" Zachary Hale Comstock
Voiced by: Kiff VandenHeuvel, Troy Baker (Burial at Sea)
"And then, the Archangel showed a vision: a city, lighter than air. I asked her, "Why do you show this to me, archangel? I'm not a strong man. I'm not a righteous man. I am not a holy man." And she told me the most remarkable thing: "You're right, Prophet. But if grace is within the grasp of one such as you, how can anyone else not see it in themselves?""The leader of the Founders, and an embodiment of their ultra-nationalist, racist, elitist, xenophobic, and hyper-religious beliefs. Comstock is known as "The Prophet", and has turned Columbia and its people into a living shrine to himself. He is obsessed with the concept of cleansing the soul to achieve rebirth, and wishes for Elizabeth to follow in his footsteps.
- Abusive Parent: He had his daughter Elizabeth locked up in a tower for her entire life. She didn't even know he was her father! ... Though technically, he's not.
- Aesop Amnesia: Despite it being guilt over his atrocities at Wounded Knee that initially drove him to the baptism, afterwards, he started treating them as glorious achievements, played up his involvement and referring to himself as the "Hero of Wounded Knee".
- The Alcoholic: In both Comstock's quarters and the adjacent stateroom on the Hand of the Prophet, there is a fairly considerable amount of booze scattered around. Not terribly surprising, as while both he and Booker both spiraled into addiction after Wounded Knee, Booker eventually squared with his past. Comstock, who didn't, became a religious fanatic in order to justify his actions. Booker's reappearance might have reminded him, at least subconsciously, that he's a fraud and a murderer, and pushed him back Off the Wagon.
- Alternate Self:
- He seems to be this universe's version of Andrew Ryan, with an ideology similar to Sofia Lamb's. The big twist is that he's really this for Booker DeWitt.
- In Burial at Sea, it turns out the player character isn't an alternate version of Booker, but rather an alternate version of Comstock, who had the Luteces send him to Rapture to forget the awful things he had done.
- Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: He spearheaded the campaign that led to the creation of Columbia, a floating city, which is seven kinds of awesome. The fact he then turned it into a nightmarish, theocratic dictatorship is... somewhat less so.
- Answers to the Name of God: Comstock's last gasps ("It is finished") are traditionally attributed to Jesus' crucifixion in the Book of John.
- Arch-Enemy: By the end of the game, he is this to both Booker and Elizabeth, especially Elizabeth, who is willing to cross realities for the sake of ending Comstock for good.
- Archnemesis Dad: To Elizabeth, although he isn't really her father.
- Armchair Military: What drove the wedge between Comstock and his top general, Cornelius Slate. In the Prophet's ongoing biography he emerges, somehow, as a warrior god who foiled the Boxer Rebellion and won the day at Wounded Knee. Slate remembered it slightly differently... Comstock wanted to have his cake and eat it, too, insisting on a falsified service record to replace his old one — the one he redacted when Booker "died" and the Prophet was born. Slate was unaware of this.
- As the Good Book Says: While he does not use many exact quotes, he does pepper his speech very frequently with allusions to The Bible. Most of the Voxophone memos of him the player can listen to sound like sermons, and given his position and the echo in the recording suggesting a very large enclosed space, they may very well be literally recordings of sermons he made.
- Ax-Crazy: Truly, under his wise and forgiving act is a very unstable man.
- Becoming the Mask: Comstock works tirelessly to keep up his image as a religious leader. He boasts about Wounded Knee, even though Slate and his comrades knew him as DeWitt. He really was at Wounded Knee, but he would rather mark them as traitors than reveal his original identity as Booker. A Voxophone found in the Clash in the Clouds DLC has Rosalind say this of him explicitly.Rosalind: But at some point, the man became incapable of distinguishing his performance from his person.
- When he comes to Rapture and becomes Booker once more to escape the guilt of Elizabeth's death in Burial at Sea, he loses all traces of his "Comstock" persona, so that the ending once more comes as a shock.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Besides the above quote about distinguishing his performance from his person, it's telling that even after it's revealed that his prophetic abilities are mostly derived from the Luteces' machine, he refers to his visions as having come from an "Archangel".
- Big Bad: Undoubtedly — he's responsible for Columbia existing, and why it turned out the way it did.
- Beard of Evil: Cleverly, it keeps the player from noticing that his face is very similar to Booker's. It was way easier to tell in his previous incarnation, where he didn't have the beard and only sported slicked back hair.
- Boomerang Bigot: Possibly. An audio log implies that he is part-Sioux. Though Comstock vigorously denies this, he blandly remarks that he burned alive a good many "squaws" before his regiment finally accepted him.
- This is foreshadowing to his identity as an alternate universe Booker from an audio log found in Emporia of Preston E. Downs meeting of Booker and finding out that he speaks Sioux and one from Slate referring to Booker as "the White Injun".
- Cast as a Mask: Doesn't share Booker's voice actor, despite being the same person as him. Flipped on its head in Burial at Sea - still being (seemingly) younger and unaware of his past, he's voiced by Troy Baker again.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Just ask the Luteces; he had both of them killed because they knew the truth about Elizabeth. And killed his wife when she threatened to go public with that same truth.
- Crusading Widower:Except he killed his wife himself.
- Cult of Personality: The entire city of Columbia is essentially a cult revolving around Comstock and his twisted bastardization of Christianity.
- Cutscene Boss: Booker wrenches him away from Elizabeth, strangles him, hits his head against the baptismal font, and then drowns him in the water, all the while in a state of abject and frothing rage.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: It's revealed fairly early on that Comstock has been diagnosed with cancer, and does not expect to live to see Columbia conquer "the Sodom Below" — hence the reason why he needs Elizabeth to take up his mantle. Later entries reveal that he is also sterile and prematurely aged, all three conditions being a side-effect of his overexposure to the Luteces' machine.
- Dark Messiah: By naming his political party the "Founders", Comstock established a clear connection between himself and the founding fathers. His chicanery was convincing enough for Congress to loan him the money for Columbia's construction. His ego spiraling out of control, Comstock decided that the U.S. didn't deserve him and anointed Columbia as the "true" America; hence the grandiose flag sporting a single star.
- Deader Than Dead: To prevent the bad future from occurring, it would require removing the possibility that it could ever occur, and thus require the death of Comstock at the very moment he is born. As Comstock is a new identity created by Booker accepting his baptism, eliminating Comstock requires that Booker must die at that very moment. The Stinger implies, though, that only Comstock was essentially excised from the possible Bookers.
- It is confirmed in Burial at Sea that Rapture's Comstock is the last one; due to Elizabeth's interference in 1893, Comstock changed his name back to DeWitt to pick up where he left off, drowning in alcohol and IOUs. He manages to give Elizabeth the slip, but she eventually traces him back to Rapture and murders him in Fontaine's toy store.
- Death by Irony: Comstock's beginning as a villain was a baptism, and he forced all newcomers to Columbia to be baptized as a sign of loyalty to him. Fittingly, Booker drowns him in a baptismal font.
- Dramatic Wind: Pretty much every statue of him in the game is carved to make his beard be blowing noticeably to his right.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Baptism. Baptism is supposed to metaphorically make you into a new person, so the sins you have committed don't apply to you anymore. Comstock adopted a new identity after his baptism and came away believing that it had retroactively justified his sins into not sins, and therefore they were actually admirable deeds. He would go on to take his initial sins to horrifying lengths following this line of thinking.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- Played With in regards to Lady Comstock. In his rise to power, Comstock genuinely loved Lady Comstock and she meant a whole bunch to him. But as he become more megalomaniacal and monstrous, Lady Comstock couldn't take it anymore and was about to tell the truth about Elizabeth. Comstock then subsequently murdered Lady Comstock in a fit of panic.
- His relationship with Elizabeth is a subversion. He claims that everything he does to and for her is for love, but it all falls flat. And then there's getting into details to what he does to her in the Bad Future...
- In Burial at Sea he does seem genuinely concerned for Sally, a little orphan he adopted. He tortured Suchong for fifteen hours to find her and objects to a plan to flush her out by potentially burning her. However, when she refuses to come with him, he shows a darker side.
- Evil Old Folks: The one time Booker and Elizabeth meet him face-to-face, he's quite polite and talks to Elizabeth like a kindly old grandfather. Subverted in that Comstock is actually pushing forty. His wizened appearance is the result of abusing dimensional travel.
- Evil Overlord: Of Columbia.
- Evil Twin: Of Booker — well, a twin in (almost) the same sense as Rosalind and Robert.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Whenever he addresses you using the city's speakers, his voice has this effect on top of Voice of the Legion.
- Fallen Hero: Booker DeWitt with a baptism who no longer accepted the responsibility of his actions while basically considering himself God's most holy prophet.
- Faux Affably Evil: He behaves like a calm, loving and caring father-figure. In truth, he's an utterly ruthless megalomaniac with one hell of a god complex. He even says that forgiveness is the Lord's duty, and therefore, he doesn't have to forgive anyone, which means that he's free to kill anyone who has "wronged" him.
- Foreshadowing: Much of it at the start, beginning with pointing out the initials on Booker's hand to mark him as the "False Shepherd", even knowing about Booker's past along with his supposed "deal". It's because he is Booker and he knows everything about him, including that he would be coming to Columbia sooner or later to reclaim his daughter.
- Four is Death: The Founders are major evangelists of the Big Three: Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson—all rather machofied, idealized versions that look and sound nothing like the originals. Comstock himself, or sometimes the angel Columbia, tops the pantheon.
- The Fundamentalist: Both religiously and nationalistically.Comstock: Go back to the Sodom from whence you came!
- A God Am I: Well, he at least claims himself to just be following the will of God, but he's not very humble in general past that...
- Gone Horribly Right: He considers his true "birth" to have been his Baptism after Wounded Knee. To wit, this is to say he wanted to be granted forgiveness from the things that he did previously. It was supposed to make him understand that he had done wrong and could become better for it, but instead he became even worse and was convinced that he could do no wrong.
- Heel–Faith Turn: He claims that his discovery of faith saved his soul. In reality, it only provided him with the belief that he could do no wrong, which leads to a lot of suffering.
- Hitler's Time-Travel Exemption Act: Whatever moves Booker makes against Comstock, Comstock will still remain alive in at least one of his "tears" in the universes; the Luteces have already tried to enlist Booker numerous times to end the cycle — 122 times, to be exact, judging by Robert Lutece's coin-flip tally. Oblivious Booker is content to go back in time and strangle Comstock in his crib if necessary. Elizabeth and her alternates gang up on Booker and drown him to prevent him from ever becoming the Prophet.
- In Burial at Sea, Elizabeth exposes "Booker" as yet another Comstock. This version killed the Elizabeth of his universe by mistake, undoing all of his plans and ruining his self-image as a changed man. As penance, he fled to Rapture and retook the name of "Booker DeWitt", which spared him from the erasure.
- "The Lord forgives everything, but I'm just a prophet... so I don't have to."
- Also the fact that he accepts a baptism and changes his name and identity to try to free himself from the guilt of what he did at Wounded Knee, but he takes credit FOR THE VERY SAME DEEDS.
- I Hate Past Me: Both Comstock and Booker despise each other. Whereas Booker grows to despise Comstock over the course of the game, Comstock has held Booker in hostility long before he arrives in Columbia. They're both the same person, with different reasons to hate their shared past. Besides him thinking "it's Never My Fault", and quickly Becoming the Mask, and any related tropes, it may be his defining trait- The entire game happens because he doesn't want to be Booker. What makes this worse is they're the same age. The Twin's machine only makes him look older as it slowly kills him.
- Ignored Epiphany: It's implied he started using his religious faith as a shield against his guilt, rather than being forced to deal with it like our Booker — leading him to conclude the Indian Wars were justified and that America is still being undermined by undesirables.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How he meets his end at the drill of a Big Daddy in Burial at Sea.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: It's hinted that for all his dismissive comments about Booker, he's deeply envious of Booker's ability to come to terms with their past, as well as have a child that he cannot due to his sterility. Lampshaded by the Luteces in Burial At Sea, who imply that his decision to steal Elizabeth and try the same with Sally is simply transference for his self-loathing and desire to be someone else.
- Knight Templar: He sincerely believes in what he does as the will of a perfect and all-forgiving God, even knowing how harsh his actions often are.Comstock: Is it not cruel to banish one's children from a perfect garden? Is it not cruel to drown your flock under an ocean of water? Cruelty can be instructive, and what is Columbia but a schoolhouse of the Lord?
- Lack of Empathy: Comstock seems to be completely lost to human compassion.
- Large Ham: Though not always, he does occasionally chew the scenery, particularly in some of his Voxophone recordings and in the later half of the game.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In the Burial at Sea DLC, an alternate version of Comstock accidentally beheaded Anna during the jump between worlds. His overwhelming guilt led him to sentence himself to Rapture, where Anna did not exist and where he could again live as "Booker", with no memory of what he did. Unfortunately, this led him to end up losing his (adopted) daughter the exact same way as Booker Prime.
- Meaningful Name:
- Zachary is a shortened and Americanized pronunciation of the Hebrew name Zechariah, meaning "The Lord has remembered" in English. It is the name of two biblical figures: the priest Zechariah ben Jehoiada, and the prophet Zechariah.
- He shares his surname Comstock with a number of 19th century U.S. politicians and judges. One of the more noteworthy associations is with moral crusader Anthony Comstock, who, in his position as postmaster general, introduced stringent obscenity laws and prosecuted violators with such zeal (personally crediting himself with driving 15 artists/authors to suicide) that his name is synonymous with heavy-handed censorship laws.
- Hale is a name which is believed to have originated from either the Old English word halh, which refers to a nook or hollow where people may find shelter, or the Saxon term haelaeh, which refers to qualities of heroism such as courage or strength.
- Messianic Archetype: Comstock wields this trope like a bludgeon in Columbia; half the population are convinced that he's a prophet, and that Elizabeth is his divinely ordained successor.
- Misery Builds Character:
- Mistaken for Cheating: Lady Comstock thought he was having an affair with Rosalind Lutece. He wasn't, of course, but in her defense that sounds far more plausible than "Lutece helped me buy this baby from an alternate universe version of myself."
- Moral Myopia: The way his religion works. It's all a giant coping mechanism to keep himself from feeling guilt for his past. While forgiveness in Christian traditions typically means "Sin no more," inspiring people to do better, Comstock's religion tells him "You cannot sin, no matter what you do."
- Never My Fault: Comstock has severe trouble facing his own guilt, to the point that this is his most defining trait. He only exists because he's a version of Booker that accepted baptism and created a new identity to bury his guilt over Wounded Knee. Driving the point home further, Burial at Sea features an alternate Comstock who accidentally killed Elizabeth when he tried to take her from her own world, and then had the Luteces move him to another world so that he could escape his guilt over that, too.Rosalind Lutece: Comstock was never one to own up to his errors, was he, brother?
Robert Lutece: Never comfortable with the choices he made...
Rosalind: Always seeking someone else's life to claim as his own...
- Non-Action Big Bad: Despite his vast propaganda toward militarism, the most violent thing he does himself personally is grab Elizabeth's right arm and demand Booker tell her why she's missing digits from her pinky. After that, Booker smashes his head, strangles, and drowns him with ease. Of course, he's prematurely aged and terminally ill, so that's about all he could be expected to do.
- Not So Different: From Daisy Fitzroy or Booker DeWitt. All brutally dedicated to achieving their goals, whatever lies they have to tell or means they have to resort to. There is a reason for that. This is extremely emphasized in the first Burial at Sea episode: When he's left without his city and his resources, he's so similar to Booker that it's hard to tell the difference but for a few key differences in perspective.
- Omnicidal Maniac: He plans for Elizabeth to destroy human civilization on the surface world as his version of the final judgment.
- Orcus on His Throne: Comstock rarely attends to matters directly, preferring to let either his army or the Songbird deal with you; the only time he ever confronts you in person, it's to command a suicide bomber to destroy the airship you're riding. Of course, given the poor state of his health, this is justified.
- Pet the Dog: In Burial at Sea he is quite protective of Sally, a simple orphan he adopted. He fights through a small army of splicers to reach her and objects to Elizabeth's plan to try to force her into the open with extreme heat. How valid that is, and how much this redeems him, are subject to debate. He doesn't take it so well when Sally refuses to come with him, however.
- Phony Psychic: His directives supposedly all come from the Archangel Columbia, including his plans for a dynasty to take over before the cancer claims him. This is actually the standard playbook of a tyrant, but he rationalizes it through scripture. He's actually been using the Luteces' machine to peer into other realities, claiming credit for any wondrous discoveries he finds.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Via Deliberate Values Dissonance, which makes some of his positions seem monstrous to a modern audience, though merely "extreme" by the standards of his contemporaries.
- Also it's debatable how genuine his racism is. His identity as Comstock certainly is racist, but Booker doesn't appear to be, at least from his interactions with people of different races. Booker may have deliberately chosen this character trait for his new identity to feed Columbia's sense of isolation, superiority, and victimization, to better present himself as a savior and protector. When he started believing in what he was saying, however, his pretend racism may have shaded into the real thing.
- Redemption Rejection: In Burial at Sea Episode One, the playable Comstock after inadvertently killing Anna while trying to take her gave up his plans of building Columbia and burning the Sodom below and fled to Rapture where he could go back to being Booker and forget it all happened. In time, he adopted a young orphan named Sally and became violently protective of her, being willing to torture Suchong and fight through an army of splicers to rescue her after she was taken. Most notably, he objects strenuously to a plan that would hurt Sally for her own good, which was the main Comstock's entire philosophy for 'educating' Elizabeth. Nevertheless, Elizabeth and the Luteces view the entire sequence of events as him just trying to run away from his problems and arrange to have him brutally murdered even as he apologizes to Elizabeth. Fans are divided on how genuine his attempted redemption actually is, with opinions ranging from it was,note it wasn't and he deserved what happened to him, and it was but by that point he was already irredeemable.
- The Reveal: Comstock was at Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion because he is Booker, a version who accepted baptism and a new name with it. He still didn't lead at Wounded Knee, mind you (he was just a corporal), making Slate's protests still somewhat valid. But that single choice—to baptize or not—is the heart of the game, as Comstock goes on to found Columbia, become sterile from peeking into Lutece Fields, and arrange for the purchasing of some other timeline's Booker's daughter because of Heir Club for Men reasons.
- Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: An early 20th century version of this and it may even be taken Up to Eleven since he believes America isn't American enough.
- Sanity Slippage: A constant among the various identities - his newfound nationalist zealotry apparently consumed his original self in the wake of his baptism, and the advanced age and cancerous side effects from his exposure to the Luteces' Tears pushed him further into senility. Even his Burial at Sea counterpart, still younger at the time of Elizabeth's death, went into an outright fugue state upon creating a new identity in Rapture, and only learned who he really was by the time of his death.
- Shadow Archetype: For Booker. Justified because they're the same person, though post-Wounded Knee they diverge in how they cope with the crushing guilt of what they've done. If there's any trait that Comstock and Booker share, it's that they both have incredibly poor ability to handle their own guilt. Booker is crushed under the weight of his own sins, and too full of self-hatred to believe he could be worth any redemption. Comstock, however, constantly runs away from his own guilt, and is completely unable to confront his guilt and deal with the fact that he's a horrible person. As a result, Comstock is always seeking someone else's life as a form of escapism, taking any excuse to not be the murderous, guilt-stricken Booker DeWitt. However, where Comstock chose to dissociate himself from his own guilt, Booker is entirely too aware of what kind of person he is, and is broken by it. Still, at least he displays actual regret and responsibility for his actions, making his method slightly healthier. Slightly.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: Elizabeth tries talking sense to "Final Comstock", but when diplomacy doesn't work out, she and the Luteces wind up chasing him to Rapture and executing him. Subverted in that Comstock begs for forgiveness by the end — a day late and a dollar short.
- The Sociopath: Manipulated a city of people to die for him, imprisoned and tortured his daughter, and planned to have her destroy major cities on the earth just to avoid any responsibility for his actions at Wounded Knee.
- Sinister Minister: He's a kind old prophet... who has brainwashed a city and wants to declare war on the world to make it holy, and has a tendency to believe his own lies.
- Sympathy for the Devil: A Downplayed In-Universe example can be seen in Burial at Sea: Episode One — a conversation that Final Comstock and Elizabeth share after reaching Fontaine's department store makes it evident that he does have some sympathy for the splicers, and can even understand the addictive needs that drove them into embracing ADAM, but not so much as to blind him to how dangerous they are. He also implies he's seen splicers tearing Little Sisters apart in order to get their ADAM, which understandably undercuts his ability to sympathize with them.
- That Man Is Dead: His whole life before his baptism, when he was Booker DeWitt was supposed to be this. Eventually he loses his marbles and starts taking credit for the very deeds that drove him to seek absolution in the first place.
- Time Master: He's Nostradamus with heavy artillery; a formidable foe, indeed.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: He goes farther than either Andrew Ryan or Sofia Lamb in trying to make his vision of Eden a reality, ultimately plotting to have his utopia destroy "the Sodom Below."
- Villainous Breakdown: In the last third of the game, his repeated failures at capturing Elizabeth/killing Booker slowly make him more unstable. When confronted in person on the Hand of the Prophet, the previously Faux Affably Evil Comstock ends up flipping out at both in rage.
- Villain Protagonist: Of the first Burial At Sea DLC, though how much of a villain he is is unclear. Though how he acts before his death doesn't help him look any better...
- Villain with Good Publicity: He's regarded as the "Hero of Wounded Knee", despite that he murdered countless native american men, women and children just for the sake of gaining the acceptance of the other soldiers. Even more so, those people he killed may or may not have been his own tribe (he has native american ancestry).
- Visionary Villain: And an extremely charismatic one, too, able to secure funding to build a flying city on the basis of a few visions.Comstock: "And then, the archangel showed a vision: a city, lighter than air. I asked her, "Why do you show this to me, archangel? I'm not a strong man. I'm not a righteous man. I am not a holy man." And she told me the most remarkable thing: "You're right, Prophet. But if grace is within the grasp of one such as you, how can anyone else not see it in themselves?"
- Voice of the Legion: Often addresses Booker through speakers that cause a deeper-pitched delayed echo of his voice. On the other hand, this could just be Booker's perception; his brain's way of telling him that Booker and Comstock are one and the same.
- White Man's Burden: He is a big believer in this, taken straight into rationalization of slavery, detesting Abraham Lincoln as emancipating blacks from their "rightful place". He sees the duty of the white people to rule over and shepherd all the others.
- He also says the trope name word for word in an audio log.
- You Killed My Father: Daisy Fitzroy was accused of killing his wife. It is later revealed that Comstock had her killed because she wouldn't be willing to keep Elizabeth's secret. Fitzroy was a scullery maid in the wrong place at the wrong time he could use to deflect blame away from himself.
- Younger Than They Look: Comstock is the same age as Booker, but appears older due to the Luteces' experiments taking a toll on his health. It become more apparent in Burial at Sea when he shaves; he looks like a white-haired Booker.
Lady Annabelle Comstock
- Voiced by: Laura Bailey
- All-Loving Hero: Much loved by her servant staff for this reason, and why she stuck around Comstock despite his supervillainy. This did not end well. It's also deconstructed, implying that the reason she was like this is because she was codependent.
- And I Must Scream: As the Siren, she is both alive and dead, and completely aware of being both.
- The Atoner: In contrast to the saintly persona Comstock built around her, her personal Voxophone recordings reveal she was some sort of dangerous Femme Fatale before she joined up with Comstock. However, Comstock convinced her to seek redemption and she genuinely devoted herself to being a better person, which is why she remained so loyal to Comstock even after she began to realize just how much of a monster he was.
- Ax-Crazy: After being raised from the dead, infused with Elizabeth's hatred.
- Came Back Wrong: All those with Tear Sickness did, but the Siren is the only one to actually go Ax-Crazy. Partly because the Siren isn't just her, but also Elizabeth's feelings of who she would be. Once Elizabeth talks to her, she calms down.
- Damage-Sponge Boss: She's the strongest humanoid enemy in the game, bar none.
- Flunky Boss: Despite her high health, Lady Comstock herself is objectively a pushover. She only possesses a single, medium-range AOE attack, and she telegraphs it well in advance. What makes her dangerous is her small army of zombie soldiers which she can resurrect if they are killed (unless you vaporize them).
- Fluorescent Footprints: She leaves behind glowing footprints whilst traversing Emporia.
- Foreshadowing: She asks if it's possible to redeem Comstock. It was, by killing the man who would become him and leaving the alternate DeWitt who would never become him.
- Large Ham: As The Siren.Lady Comstock: BASTARD CHILD BASTARD!
- Last Name Basis: Only referred to as Lady Comstock; her first and maiden names are never revealed except by All There in the Manual.
- Leitmotif: A section of Mozart's Requiem is associated with her. As the Siren, she sings a heavily distorted version of the song.
- The Lost Lenore: So, so much. And so, so played with, given that the person she was the Lenore to was the one that murdered her.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Sings loudly enough to reach the other-world.
- Necromancer: Raises enemies from the dead as the Siren.
- Nice to the Waiter: According to Daisy, Lady Comstock treated her servant staff a lot better than most, especially considering who she was married to.
- Posthumous Character: Died nineteen years before Booker reaches Columbia. Until Comstock uses Elizabeth's powers to resurrect her as the Siren. But even that isn't really her.
- Red Herring: Believed to be Elizabeth's mother, but it's revealed that Comstock was infertile and thus couldn't have had a child with her. She didn't take kindly to that, thinking Comstock and Rosalind were having an affair behind her back. When that was debunked by Rosalind, she confronted Comstock, who murdered her and framed Daisy Fitzroy. There are hints, however, that she is an Alternate Universe version of Elizabeth/Anna's mother: Her first initial is A, which may mean that protagonist!Booker did the religious thing, and named his child after a dead relative.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: She's an example of where this trope doesn't work. Destroying the heads of her undead minions will kill them, but she can put the heads back. Complete vaporization, however, will do them in for good (most of the time).
- Simple, yet Opulent: Her blue dress has very few trimmings, but is still fittingly fancy for someone of her status. Most of the fanciest stuff — the pearls, lace, bodice, Nice Hat — aren't even worn when Elizabeth puts on the dress.
- Strong Family Resemblance: She looks quite similar to Elizabeth, especially when their clothing matches. She is implied to be an alternate universe version of Elizabeth's mother. The gate even mistakes Elizabeth for Lady Comstock when she has on the same dress.
- Tragic Monster: Gets turned into the Siren, born out of Comstock's mad science, grief, and Elizabeth's negative feelings for her.
- Voiced by: Bill Lobley
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Not that it helps him stop Daisy Fitzroy from shooting him in the face.
- Asshole Victim: Tears shed when Fitzroy kills him are probably very few in number. Or non-existent.
- Booker can make him this at the beginning by throwing the ball at him instead of the interracial couple.
- Bad Boss: Constantly makes excuses why he won't better pay his employees, give them any time off or make their workloads easier. Usually comes down to "The Vox are planting ideas in your head!" or "I don't want anyone taking advantage of you!" (Except him, obviously.)
- Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: His role in Columbia. Comstock certainly isn't a "good guy," but he's convinced himself otherwise. Fink comes to realize that Comstock needs him to oversee the less-than-heavenly aspects of life in Columbia to help keep his conscience clear.Fink: That's Fink timber, Fink's hammer, and Fink's hand to swing it. He needs me, less he soil his own.
- Big Bad Wannabe: It's clear he wants to be viewed as more of a threat, but Comstock is just too great of a monster.
- Bi the Way: Burial at Sea subtly implies he has some sort of obsession with Robert Lutece. It might have been part of why he was willing to kill the Luteces.
- Blatant Lies: Pretty much of his Canned Orders over Loudspeaker claiming that his unscrupulous treatment of his workers are for their own good.
- Boom, Headshot: How Daisy Fitzroy takes him out during the Vox Populi rebellion in the third universe that Elizabeth and Booker visit.
- Composite Character: He's more-or-less Dr. Suchong, working within the law rather than outside it to attain profits. He also mimics the theatricality and cowardice of Sander Cohen.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Of the "Robber Baron" sub-variety — he's a money-grubbing industrialist who enjoys trampling on his workers' welfare and maximize profits in any way he sees fit. He's practically everything wrong with unregulated 19th-century business tycoons, turned Up to Eleven.
- Dastardly Whiplash: Significantly more serious than most examples, but has the top hat, handlebar mustache, and utter lack of anything resembling human decency.
- Dirty Coward: Both used and averted. While he clearly is afraid of the Vox and runs from their forces, he does die trying to protect a child that may have been his.
- Egopolis: Finkton. The only part of town controlled by him. It is a Shantytown, though...
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Possibly, seeing as in his last moments before Daisy Fitzroy shot him, he was standing almost defensively in front of a child who may have been his son. Judging from Voxophones, he also seems to have at least some affection for his brother, Albert.
- Eviler Than Thou: Played with. In a few Voxophone recordings, it's shown than Fink has no scruples at all and is pretty much a sociopath, whereas Comstock at least feels somewhat guilty about some of the horrible things he does to keep Columbia operational (or at least, Fink seems to believe that he does). However, Fink ends up dying unceremoniously without actually doing much of anything about halfway through the game, while the last act of the game goes to great lengths to show that Comstock is much more evil and ruthless than he initially appears.
- Evil Genius: Like any industrialist, he no doubt outsources a lot of his work, but he's nonetheless shown to have a technical background, and is responsible for the production of much of Columbia's high technology, including Songbird and the Handymen. This is why Comstock hired him to assassinate the Luteces, as only he had the skill to sabotage their machine in such a way that their deaths would look like an accident.
- Family Values Villain: As part of his "upstanding follower of The Founders" public image, he insists he can't allow his workers any sort of leisure time, lest their idle hands turn to whiskey, women, and dice. As shown in Burial at Sea, his private altar is actually shrouded in dust, and mocking comments from Fink himself are scrawled on the floor and statues. There's even a knife jammed into The Word of the Prophet book on the pew.
- Faux Affably Evil: His jovial mannerisms do nothing to mask his arrogance.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Upon observing Booker in combat at the fairground, Fink starts sending him compliments by way of gifts. It turns out that he's actually hoping to employ Booker as his new security chief after the old one, uh, got the sack.
- Lack of Empathy: It is clear from the get go that Fink doesn't give a damn about anyone but himself.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Fink was selected to assassinate the Lutece twins because he knew how to make the incident seem accidental. It didn't stick, or at least in the way Comstock wanted to.
- Meaningful Name: The name "Fink" is actually pretty old and derived from finch — the bird — but these days, it holds general connotations of scumminess and dishonesty.
- Narcissist: Brought into sharp relief by the hundred-foot-tall golden statue of himself outside his factory.note And of course, the town being named "Finkton".Booker: [upon seeing the statue] *whistles*Elizabeth: Well, the man's got an ego.
- Necessary Evil: In a strange way, his position in Columbia. While Comstock is the beckon of hope and virtue to the people, he allowed Fink to oversee the unpleasant parts of life in the city and the day-to-day dirtiness that comes with keeping the city afloat (One Voxophone implied Fink first started taking aboard a servant-class to address civil unrest at Columbia not being as heavenly as promised). Having Fink handle these things means Comstock can believe himself to be uninvovled in the suffering it causes. Fink even comes to realize this in a Voxophone, pointing out that he's indispensable because he lets Comstock hold onto a clean conscience.
- Nice Hat: Sports a spectacular top hat. He's shot through it once Daisy Fitzroy catches up to him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: He seems to be inspired by various 19th century industrialists, notably George Pullman (who also built a town for his employees and paid them in tokens worthless outside company stores, exactly like Fink) and Henry "Most Hated Man in America" Frick who had similar attitudes toward strikes, at one point hiring 300 Pinkertons and siccing them on striking workers, the similarities being such that Frick was probably the direct inspiration for Booker's "I've worked for men like Fink" line.
- No Honor Among Thieves: According to Burial at Sea, he was working with Suchong for a mutual goal... until he succeeded by himself and then broke the alliance with the doctor, causing the two to go back to spying on each other.
- Odd Friendship: His correspondence with Dr. Suchong, a Korean, through the tears to learn how to derive the ADAM into salts is rather unusual as it goes against the racist doctrine of Columbia.
- Only in It for the Money: In the Voxophone recordings, he explicitly says this is the sole reason he works for Comstock.
- Plagiarism: Most of his tech is copied from things he saw through the tears, and a Voxophone in the Clash in the Clouds DLC by Rosalind accuses him of patent theft even before he found the Tears. Given Rosalind has no reason to lie, she's probably not wrong. This is taken further in Burial at Sea: Vigors are plagiarized from Dr. Yi Suchong's work with Plasmids.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In his very first appearance, he presides over the stoning of a mixed-race couple and when Booker hesitates, he teasingly accuses him of "taking your coffee black."
- A Voxophone recording found not long afterwards reveals that he was once involved in the transport of "Negro convicts" from Georgia to use as cheap slave labor in Columbia, and tells Comstock to pass them off as "seeking forgiveness" for "rising above their station" if it helps ease his conscience. Fink himself obviously doesn't care so long as he gets workers.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Compared to Comstock's stance as a Visionary Villain. While hardly anyone's idea of a saint, Fink is ultimately just a selfish, unscrupulous man whose political connections with Comstock gave him the means to run certain areas of Columbia like his own private fiefdom. His only goals are to further his own wealth at the expense of others. Even he likely would've been horrified by Comstock's plans for Columbia, and what it would mean for the people living below them.
- Sadist: He loves the "work" he puts his "employees" through.
- Smug Snake: Fink certainly has enough influence and cunning on his side to make him a formidable enemy, but his over-inflated ego and profound greed keep him from being truly impressive.
- The Alcoholic: Within the private church of his home Elizabeth finds over a dozen bottles of Absinthe.
- The Sociopath: Fink really doesn't believe any of Comstock's crap, and just wants to torture African American convicts, while getting paid for their work.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: The band of his hat is striped red, white, and blue.
A musician by trade and brother of Jeremiah Fink. Albert was the one who introduced his brother to the use of Tears, after finding one in his studio.
- Bit Character: The one time anyone gets to see him is when he's dead in his Magical Melodies studio.
- Plagiarism: All of "his" music is stolen from bands he observed through his Tear — which is the reason why songs like "Tainted Love", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", and "Shiny Happy People", among others, can be heard throughout Columbia.
- Posthumous Character: His only appearance is in the "Vox have guns" universe, where he's found lying on the floor of his studio after being killed.
SongbirdThe relentless mechanical guardian of Elizabeth. He resembles a cross between a dragon and a giant bird, and seems hell-bent on preventing Elizabeth from escaping Columbia.
- Achilles' Heel: For all his impressive strength and resilience, Songbird's body was not designed to cope with constant water pressure; after diving into Battleship Bay in an attempt to pursue and kill Booker, the pressure at less than thirty feet is enough to actually fracture one of its eyes and force it to retreat. In the finale, Elizabeth takes advantage of this weakness by teleporting the Songbird, Booker and herself to Rapture — ensuring that Songbird arrives at the bottom of the ocean.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Songbird's final moments are an unexpectedly peaceful and somber affair, with Elizabeth comforting him and Songbird reaching out to her before he calms and finally breaks down.
- Ax-Crazy: This thing's primary function is one thing, and one thing only, Destruction.
- Ambiguously Human: He's obviously not human anymore, but it's unclear if he ever was, and it's unimportant as far as Elizabeth is concerned. Early designs Fink was working on included tests on gorillas and dogs.
- Androcles' Lion: Episode Two of Burial at Sea reveals that all attempts to imprint Songbird to Elizabeth using pheromones, hypnosis, mental conditioning, etc, were colossal failures. Ironically, the solution came about from a simple act of kindness from the young Elizabeth, who took pity on an injured Songbird and reattached his loose breathing tube, leading Songbird to develop Undying Loyalty to her.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He immediately grows suspicious when Booker enters Elizabeth's tower, and quickly degenerates into tearing the place apart, along with trying to kill Booker every time the two meet.
- Creepy Crows: Sort of, has a raven motif going on along with the Songbird one.
- Disco Tech: He is activated by a series of notes that he can hear across Columbia. Playing the notes on a special set of pipes will summon him to the location.
- The Dragon: Elizabeth even refers to him as Comstock's pet.
- The Dreaded: You'll probably come to fear him anytime he shows up, due to how absurdly large he is, the way he tends to tear apart whatever structure you're in, and the fact that you can't harm him in any way.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted, Songbird's cries are very high pitched, like his namesake.
- Expy: In-universe, he was created based on Fink's observations of the Big Daddies of Rapture, which explains his need to protect Elizabeth, an alternate Little Sister. His eye color change is even identical. In terms of obsession and because of his mysterious past and transformation, he is similar to Subject Delta.
- Face Death with Dignity: Implied due to his eyes turning green.
- Feathered Fiend: Of the Steam Punk variety.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Such a lovely name for such a terrifying beast.
- Giant Flyer: Essentially a Big Daddy with wings and a bird-themed helmet rather than a diving bell. It's remarkably agile for its size and the fact it was apparently built in the late 1890s. Episode Two of Burial at Sea reveals that this is because Songbird is actually a fusion of technology from 1890s Columbia and 1950s Rapture, created in conjunction with the Big Daddies.
- Heel–Face Turn: He becomes your ally once you've acquired a MacGuffin from an alternate future Elizabeth to allow present day Elizabeth the ability to control him. He is incredibly useful in taking down those Vox airships that descend on you at that point.
- Hero Killer: The crux of Bad Future Elizabeth's message to Booker is that every iteration of him that confronts the Songbird in pursuit of Elizabeth dies in the process. In order to avoid this fate, she hands him a note for the younger Elizabeth to decode, which tells her how to control the Songbird.
- Implacable Man: You don't fight him so much as inconvenience him so you can run away some more... and given that he can destroy battleship-sized zeppelins and entire floating islands in seconds, you really can't inconvenience him much.
- Invincible Villain: Is immune to everything short of water pressure, and according to Elizabeth there is no timeline where the Songbird failed to kill Booker. Only by transporting him to Rapture does he finally die.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Inspired one about him.Songbird, Songbird, see him fly
Drop the children from the sky
When the young ones misbehave
Escorts children to their grave
Never back-talk, never lie
Or he'll drop you from the sky
- The Juggernaut: With the exception of water pressure, nothing can stop Songbird. Shooting at him is a waste of ammunition, and he tears through zeppelins with no effort at all.
- Leitmotif: Both this song and a short whistling tune which signals his arrival. It's actually the notes C-A-G-E played in sequence, and someone who plays it can control him.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Has been programmed to kill anyone who tries to help Elizabeth escape from him. Even if he reclaims her, he'll continue attacking in rage unless she claims responsibility herself and apologizes.
- Overprotective Dad: How he comes off in the final product due to his role in raising young Elizabeth, fittingly for a Big Daddy Expy. Lampshaded by Rosalind Lutece in the DLC:After all one might observe a baby chimpanzee to accept a wire replica for its mother. But I did not expect the brute to be capable of forming an attachment in return. Perhaps it [the Songbird] could prove to be a better father than the two she has known.
- Person of Mass Destruction: His very first appearance involves him ripping the Monument Island statue almost in half in his attempts to retrieve Elizabeth and destroy the intruder Booker; further appearances show that he's more than capable of knocking airships out of the sky and tearing the roofs off of buildings with his bare hands. During the finale, he not only destroys Vox Populi airships and zeppelins with ease, but obliterates what little remains of Monument Island, taking the Siphon along with it.
- Reality Ensues: Dies when Elizabeth transports herself, Booker, and him to Rapture. Unlike the Big Daddies, he isn't built for high pressure, so the undersea pressure crushes him.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Like the Big Daddies of Rapture, his eyes change color to indicate his mood: green means he's friendly, orange means he's neutral, and red means he's aggressive.
- Stalker with a Crush: To Elizabeth, explicitly meant to have undertones of an abusive relationship.
- Summon Bigger Fish: Booker gains control of the Songbird for air strikes in the end of the game using a whistle, until the whistle is damaged by the power surge from the Siphon being destroyed.
- The Unfought: Despite all of the foreshadowing and build-up, you never end up in a boss battle against Songbird. Instead, he joins your side for a battle against an army of enemy Zeppelins. In fact, it's stated that Booker will always fall to Songbird, and only succeeds when an Elizabeth from the future has him pass Songbird's control song over to her past self.
- Unstoppable Rage: When he finds out that Elizabeth has been taken, the resulting rampages destroys much of the city. And you're on the receiving end of much of it.
- The Unreveal: We vaguely learn how he was made, and that he was probably once human, but we never learn exactly who — or what — he was. He is by far the most mysterious entity in the game.
- Was Once a Man: One of Fink's Voxophone recordings reveals he is a cyborg. Given his sheer size, it must have taken a lot of augmentation.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Water, specifically water pressure. When he dives into Battleship Bay after Booker, what little water pressure there is causes his glass eye to crack. So you can imagine what happens when Elizabeth opens a Tear leading to Rapture...
- Yandere: What, the obsession and tendency for murderous rages didn't tip you off?
SaltonstallA Columbian politician, he was originally a major character. He was removed later in production.
- Ax-Crazy: Only in the gameplay preview, however. When Saltonstall spots Booker carrying one of the machine guns that he was giving away for free, he ends his speech to an audience of empty chairs, screams that Booker is an assassin, sics his Vigor-using goon on him, hops a Sky-Line, climbs into an artillery turret, and begins launching explosive rounds - not just from several miles away, but from a distance of no more than 20 feet, aiming directly at a populated building.
- Bald of Evil: Well, in the trailer, he's still got some hair on the back of his head. Enough for the Vox to scalp, anyway.
- Dummied Out: Was removed from the game despite being a major character in the trailers. The citizens still talk about him though, and his flayed scalp makes an appearance in the final game, so most likely he is just behind the scenes.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Because he's firing so closely to his target, Booker telekinetically catches the shell in mid-air and ejects it back at him, blowing both him and his cannon to pieces.
- Large Ham: In the 2010 demo.Saltonstall: CHARLES! ATTEND!!
- Voiced by: Kimberly D. Brooks
"When you forced deep underground, well — you see things from the bottom up. And down at the bottom of the city, I saw a fire burning. A fire's got heat aplenty, but it ain't got no mouth. Daisy... now, she got herself a mouth big enough for all the fires in Columbia."The face of the Vox Populi, working to free Columbia from the iron fist of the Founders so it can be seized by the iron fist of Daisy Fitzroy instead. Originally a hapless servant girl, she went on the run for the murder of Lady Comstock, which radicalized her. Daisy is highly intelligent and resourceful, with once-noble intentions that have been worn down over several years of fruitless fighting into an all-consuming thirst for violence. She returns in Burial At Sea where we get brief glimpses into her deeper motivations.
- Anti-Villain: She turns on Booker immediately after he completes her quest and leads a revolution against Columbia, which generally involves mass murder and setting buildings to blaze. Additionally, she proves more than willing to kill children in order to achieve her goals. However, she's got REALLY good reasons to hate Comstock's group and she's at least well-meaning and she only went through with the attempt on the child in question's life because the Luteces A: put her up to it and B: they assured her that she would be killed by Elizabeth before she could actually hurt the kid.
- Ax-Crazy: While the Daisy we meet is bossy and ruthless, she pales in comparison to Alternate!Daisy, who's more than willing to kill children if it means putting a stop to people like Fink. However, in Burial at Sea: Episode Two, we learn she was faking being that insane in a Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred maneuver.
- Big Bad Ensemble: It initially appears, from early press releases as well as the first few hours of the game, that Comstock and Fitzroy are equally positioned in terms of being the main antagonists of the story... however, Fitzroy is killed rather unceremoniously halfway through before the plot even really takes off, and the finale clearly shows that Comstock was always the main event, and that Fitzroy is entirely incidental to the multiversal destiny of the main plot.
- Black Boss Lady: Very competently runs the Vox Populi, making her a dangerous foe.
- Broken Pedestal: Elizabeth admires her for attempting to bring about a better lot for Columbia's underclass until she gets a glimpse of how Fitzroy's people operate.
- Cutscene Boss: You never get to fight her. DeWitt simply distracts her long enough for Elizabeth to kill her.
- Dark Action Girl: A radical who doesn't hesitate to take matters into her own hands.
- Dark Messiah: She is the violent messiah that will save Columbia from the Founders, whether it wants to be saved or not.
- Dirty Business: Hates that she has to fake her insanity and attempt to kill Jeremiah Fink's son, but the Luteces tell her that she needs to do so to make Elizabeth desperate enough to kill.
- Disc One Final Boss: Although her death doesn't slow down the Vox at all; up to the near-end of the game, they're still very much a threat.
- Driven to Villainy: After Lady Comstock's death, every Founder in Columbia wanted her head, but she evaded them for more than 15 years. Then she started going after them.
- Expy: Right before she can take the life of a little aristo, Daisy is cut down by Elizabeth. This is probably a reference to Madame Defarge in A Tale of Two Cities.
- Everyone Has Standards: She is not happy when she thinks the Luteces want her to kill a kid.
- The Extremist Was Right: An unintentional example. Daisy justifies her actions, most prominently attempting to execute a child implied to be Fink's young son, by stating that simply cutting down the Founders isn't enough, you need to "pull them up by the roots" before they can sprout again. This is meant to show how far she's crossed the Moral Event Horizon, but in the ending Elizabeth and Booker end up using the exact same logic to put an end to the entire cycle by killing Booker before he can become Comstock. Of course, the difference lies in that Booker chooses to kill himself to eliminate his proven inner darkness, rather than slaughter an innocent child under the assumption he might turn evil like his father was.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a fugitive scullery maid to a violent revolutionary.
- Good All Along: We discover in Burial at Sea that she sacrificed her life to motivate Elizabeth to kill Comstock by deliberately invoking A Real Man Is a Killer.
- Good Counterpart: Burial at Sea gives a pretty good comparison between Fitzroy and Atlas. Fitzroy comes out looking much better than she did in the main game when put up directly next to Atlas, who's shown to be pretty much pure evil, regardless of the persona he's putting up.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Well we do eventually get to learn it, but Booker and most of the Vox and Columbia regard Daisy as an Ax-Crazy psycho when she was actually a Stealth Mentor for Elizabeth to destroy Comstock and Columbia.
- Hero of Another Story: In Burial At Sea, she is shown to interact with the Luteces and seems familiar with Elizabeth.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Burial at Sea: Episode Two reveals that Daisy intentionally martyred herself for her revolution and that the attempted murder of the child was an act put on to force Elizabeth to kill her. According to the Luteces, this was the only way Elizabeth would have the necessary strength and resolve to ensure Comstock's downfall.
- Improbably High I.Q.: She scored extraordinarily high on an IQ test that she took, though this is because the psychologist that was testing her was using a highly-racist and sexist version that made the internal assumption that she would naturally score far lower than a white male. She, being a smarter-than-average intellectual, really threw it off.
- In the Back: Stabbed by Elizabeth from behind in order to save the kid she was holding hostage.
- Ironic Echo: While rallying the Vox Populi, she notes that Fink and Comstock see them as nothing but livestock. When she is about to murder a child, she compares him to a weed. Though this was all part of the plan.
- Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Declaring Booker an enemy for "confusing the narrative." Definitely when she tries to kill Fink's son simply for being the child of a Founder, however, Burial at Sea: Episode Two reveals that not only was it an act, she initially refused to go through with it, refusing to hold Fink's son accountable for his father's actions. She only agreed after the Luteces tell her that she'd be killed before she could go through with it and that her sacrifice would strengthen Elizabeth's resolve to take down Comstock once and for all.
- Malcolm Xerox: A rare female example. Burial at Sea reveals she's been overplaying her militant attitude to make it easier for the Luteces to have her killed. In the end, the Luteces observe she has more in common with Dr. King (they've met him, apparently) than with Malcolm.
- Not So Different:
- Both Booker and Elizabeth note she's Comstock by another name. Of course, she would die rather than admit it.
- In Burial At Sea, Elizabeth realizes that she and Daisy aren't all that different either.
- Rebel Leader: For the Vox. It's decidedly not a very sympathetic portrayal. Until Burial at Sea makes her more sympathetic, that is.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: When Elizabeth finds out her Hidden Depths in Burial at Sea.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Inspiration for the Vox Populi appears to include Leninist Russia, the French Directory, and the Khmer Rouge. These are not nice people.
- Subverted in the end, as Burial at Sea reveals through audio diaries that she had reservations about a starting a violent revolution (even though she felt her hand had been somewhat forced) because she knew innocents may be harmed and that her "soldiers" would go too far. In the end she was more like Emma Goldman than Pol Pot, but the loose coordination of her organization and later her death would keep her from keeping a handle on the Vox armies' more disgusting actions.
- Sadistic Choice: From the Luteces: Your part in the play (have Elizabeth kill her to give her the resolve to kill Comstock) or the play itself (the revolution will fail).
- The Scapegoat: She was framed for Lady Comstock's murder, in part because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- She Who Fights Monsters: In her quest to take down Comstock and everything he stands for, she becomes exactly what he always claimed her to be. Played with in Burial at Sea, where it's revealed that while she didn't really want the revolution to be civil she didn't want it be too violent either. Though she did try to kill Booker because his being alive didn't fit her narrative. Subverted in the case of trying to kill Fink's son; she never actually believed in murdering the Founders' children and was faking the attempt in the first place.
- Stealth Mentor: It is revealed that she served as this for Elizabeth in the main game, in Burial at Sea.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: She is charismatic and idealistic, as well as tough and clever — all admirable qualities — but bent solely upon destruction. However, as shown in Burial At Sea: Episode Two, most of the destruction is a subversion and Training from Hell.
- With Us or Against Us: Asks Booker this right out, even if his presence in the city has nothing to do with it.Fitzroy: There's already a fight, DeWitt. Only question is, which side you on?
- In an alternate universe, it's implied he joined forces with her, but was martyred, which gave the resistance the spark they needed to rise up against the Founders.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Seemingly attempts to shoot Fink's son in the head, stating that she has to start "pulling weeds from the roots". This is her Moral Event Horizon as far as Elizabeth is concerned. Also, a Voxophone from Downs reveals that Daisy uses kids as messengers, preferably non-English speakers who can't divulge anything if caught (something that Preston Downs considers an act of "low cunning"). But Burial at Sea: Episode Two reveals that Fitzroy was actually told to put on an act for Elizabeth by the Luteces, who told her that she needed to force Elizabeth to kill her in an attempt to harden her (and in exchange set forth the actions that lead to Comstock's downfall) and that she's actually disgusted with the idea of killing Fink's son.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: One of the reasons that the Daisy in the universe where Booker joined and died for the Vox wants Booker dead is that aside from thinking that he's an impostor or a ghost, she considers Booker more useful to her as a martyr than alive as a possible complication.
- Voiced by: Keith Szarabajka
"Veterans! You shed your hearts' blood for Columbia, lost limb and viscera in the godless Orient! Comstock did nothing! And yet — look up! Whose image squats above you, even now? At every angle an insult! If the Prophet would make a painted whore of our past, what fresh rape does our future hold? Let us now make our stand, and fill yonder hall with true Heroes!"A former high-ranking military leader who rebelled against Comstock after the latter re-wrote the history books of Columbia to take credit for many of Slate's own achievements.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Both if you do or do not accept to Mercy Kill him.
- Anti-Villain: Zig-zagged. He only wished for some recognition for his regiment for what they did, instead of Comstock stealing all of the credit, and was willing to give his men a warrior's death for their trouble; however, despite his emphasizing the notions of combat and valor, he doesn't shy away from the fact that his greatest battles were unprovoked massacres that killed hundreds of women and children.
- Bald of Awesome: Other than his impressive facial hair, he's got no hair on the top of his head. This makes his scarring (and apparent vigor mutations) more visible when you get up close and are given the chance to Shoot the Dog.
- Benevolent Boss: Was willing to die to get his men the credit they deserve.
- Berserk Button: He absolutely hates it when people talk about Comstock's "achievements", especially when he's around to hear it."It was SLATE who killed for his country at Wounded Knee! It was SLATE who stormed the gates of Peking! SLATE!!!"
- Comstock being heralded as the "Hero of Wounded Knee", when he wasn't even there. At least, he didn't fight at Wounded Knee as Comstock, but as Booker DeWitt. It's implied that Slate knows they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one.
- Blood Knight: As evidenced in his quote above, it's not fighting against a heathen foe that he cherishes, but merely victory in glorious combat.
- The Cassandra: Shades of this, as he spends the entire museum segment complaining about things we only understand later. Including his insistence that if Comstock plans to turn people into "tin soldiers"... which, based on the inmates in Patriot masks in the asylum, may not be that far off the mark.
- Cutscene Boss: He powers himself up with Shock Jockey and it looks like he's going to be an actual boss fight, but he just ends up tossing down a few pre-scripted lightning traps before summoning more men to fight you and then running away. By the time you catch up to him, he's too exhausted to fight and wants Booker to Mercy Kill him.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Comstock glorified Wounded Knee and the battles of the Columbian military as his own accomplishments, without so much as mentioning Slate's involvement or the sacrifices made by the men under his command. When Slate called Comstock out on this, he was removed from command and publicly disgraced.
- Enemy Mine: With Daisy Fitzroy.
- Eyepatch of Power: Lost an eye during the Boxer Rebellion.
- Fallen Hero: He eventually stops caring about anything but a soldier's death for himself and his men, killing anyone (soldier or otherwise) who crosses his path in hopes of provoking a lethal enough response."Tin soldiers don't fight wars... MEN DO!"
- Fate Worse Than Death: If he's spared in the Hall of Heroes, he's captured by Comstock's men and later found in one of Fink's interrogation cells, evidently mentally broken by torture or lobotomized.
- A Father to His Men: His men love him, and part of the reason he rebelled is because Comstock took the credit for his men's actions, not even acknowledging the loss of his men in Peking.
- A Good Way to Die: Wishes to die "like a soldier". His men also qualify for this, as they deliberately and recklessly throw themselves directly at Booker to force him to kill them.
- Honor Before Reason: He prefers dying with honor, rather than being Comstock's puppet.
- I Die Free: Knowing what would become of him if he were to fall into Comstock's hands, he'd rather die by Booker's.
- In Love with Your Carnage: He goads Booker by expressing admiration for his actions at Wounded Knee, as part of his gambit to have Booker kill him.
- Large Ham"YOU'RE A TIN MAN, BOOKER! A TIN MAAAAN!""IT WAS SLATE WHO KILLED FOR HIS COUNTRY AT WOUNDED KNEE! IT WAS SLATE WHO STORMED THE GATES AT PEKING! SLAAAAAAAAATE!"
- Mercy Kill: When you kill him after taking the Shock Jockey vigor, Elizabeth is initially horrified but she concedes that this was probably the best for him. If you don't kill him, you can find him in Fink Manufacturing, quiet and broken by the Founders. If you kill him then, Elizabeth notes it's what he wanted.
- Not in This for Your Revolution: Slate is only affiliated with the Vox Populi simply because he despises Comstock and otherwise has no real interest in their ideals.
- Patriotic Fervor: He and his men consider themselves true patriots, having fought bravely for America and later Columbia. That said, they would rather die with honor at Booker's hands rather than put up with Comstock's betrayal, since this would allow them to die fighting as soldiers.
- Pet the Dog: A Voxophone from a female soldier under his command talks of how he also commanded her father. Slate recognizes her, informs her that her dad always wanted a son, and tells her that he hopes her father isn't stupid enough to value her any less for being a daughter.
- Sanity Slippage: Slate seems to be slightly crazier at the end of his level in comparison to the start.
- Shock and Awe: He possesses the Shock Jockey Vigor, which is the main reason why Booker pursues him.
- Suicide by Cop: He wants Booker to kill him and his followers because he considers Booker to be the real hero and suspects that being caught by Comstock is a far worse fate.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He wants Booker to kill him and his followers, just to spite Comstock. It's subtly implied that he knows that they are the same person, but considers Booker to be the real one instead of Comstock."They haven't changed you, Booker... Not... one... bit..."
- Unperson: Although he was at one point featured in the displays (a statue of his likeness crediting him with heroism in Peking can be seen in storage), his angry rebuke of Comstock's "service" led him to be branded a heretic; summarily, his rank was stripped, and The Prophet's biographers erased all of Slate's military achievements and appropriated them as his own.
- Voiced by: Vic Chao
- Alternate Universe: After discovering that the original version of Chen Lin has died in Founder custody, Booker and Elizabeth attempt to get around this by "borrowing" another version of him from a different universe, assuming this trope is in play. It doesn't end well.
- Butt Monkey: No matter what version of him Booker and Elizabeth encounter, he is never afforded much of a happy ending.
- The first is arrested by the Founders and is revealed to have been tortured to death.
- The second was driven insane by "reconciliation sickness": contradictory memories about two different versions of his life. Worse still, his gunmaking tools, the only things that might have kept him stable, have been seized by the Founders.
- The third version of Lin and his wife are killed during the Vox Populi uprising. It's not even clear who did it.
- Came Back Wrong: "Reconciliation" or "Tear sickness" drives him insane and delusional after a living and a dead version of him are merged.
- Happily Married: One of the few constants throughout his alternate versions is that Chen Lin is married, and his wife whichever one he marries genuinely cares for him.
- Living Macguffin: He is a gunsmith whom Daisy sends Booker after to secure weapons for the Vox in exchange for his airship back. The plot is very unkind to him. He (well, his death at least) also prompts Elizabeth to push the limits of her Reality Warper powers beyond what she grew comfortable with during her imprisonment.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: One version of Chen is married to a white woman who is the sister of Sansmark, Fink's head of security, which prevents him from being convicted for helping the Vox. However, others do seem to have a problem with this.
Street Preacher Ray
Street Preacher Ray
Exactly what the name implies - he's a preacher recruited off the streets of Finkton who uses his fire-and-brimstone sermons to proselytize over Columbia's radios for the cause of the Vox Populi.
- Bit Character: Seen in person only once near the elevator entrance to Finkton, where he's railing about the class system to a small audience. Afterwards, he is only heard over gunship loudspeakers.
- Dragon Ascendant: His announcements serve as the 'face' of the Vox after Daisy's death.
- Large Ham: He sounds a little hammy if you stop to listen to him while in Finkton. He sounds really hammy when he preaches over the loudspeakers of a gunship.
- Turbulent Priest: Leads the spiritual arm of the Vox against the Founders' established rule.
Robert & Rosalind Lutece ("A Gentleman", "A Lady")
- Voiced by: Oliver Vaquer and Jennifer Hale
Two mysterious twins who keep appearing before Booker in the most improbable of places.
- Alternate Self: They are confirmed to be alternate universe versions of each other.
- Ambiguous Disorder: A lot of their character traits, such as trouble with empathy, their monotone voices, fixation on a small range of subjects (quantum physics) and occasionally rigid behaviors can come off as autistic. Robert is also seen stimming in one of Columbia's kinetoscope films.
- The Atoner: Having given Comstock the technology to build his utopia and directly aided in the kidnapping of Anna DeWitt, the Luteces assist Booker and Elizabeth in undoing it. Robert in particular feels the most remorse about the whole ordeal; Rosalind was indifferent to the status quo, but Robert threatened to leave her if she didn't help. Though they remain emotionally detached throughout the game, they do mention that Booker's presence serves as a "hairshirt" to them.
- Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Though they provide support at some key points, their answers to Booker's questions tend to be utterly useless. Justified by the fact that they're unstuck in time and by their beliefs about free will — from their perspective, there's no point in telling him anything, since they already know what will happen.
- Beware the Silly Ones: For the most part, the twins seem fairly lighthearted and comedic, despite the air of mystery about them. Then it turns out that they're complicit in Comstock's rise to power and a very nasty incidence of kidnapping; true, they're doing their best to make amends, but it's still quite jarring. For good measure, it's strongly implied that they are in the habit of murdering the less noticeable of Comstock's assassins before they can reach Booker — the first and most obvious instance being the lighthouse keeper found shot in the head.
- Big Good: A very, very bizarre version for the entire narrative. Thanks to their actions, Comstock is destroyed for good, ensuring their revenge, Jack manages to save the Little Sisters in Rapture in 1960, and, ultimately, both the hyper-nationalist Columbia and the hyper-capitalist Rapture are destroyed.
- Birds of a Feather: Taken to its most absurd conclusion.
- Born Lucky: Rosalind frequently bets against her brother, and loses nearly all of the time.
- By this point, Robert is starting to get annoyed at winning each coin toss.
- Bystander Syndrome: Of a sort. It's revealed that Rosalind originally agreed to work with Comstock for funds and his support for her theories. She couldn't care less for his plans for Columbia and "drowning in flames" the Sodom below; in fact, she privately considers his stint as a prophet an elaborate show. The only bright spot in her life was realizing she had an opposite-gender Alternate Self who was just as smart as she was, and also wanted to explore the possibilities of the Lutece Field. Once they are united in the same universe, Robert arrives with baby Anna, who is raised by Comstock as Elizabeth. Since they are among the very few who know Elizabeth's true origins, Comstock arranges to have them killed, which instead leaves them unstuck in time and space. Robert then decides to undo the entire chain of events leading to him kidnapping Anna for Comstock, forcing Rosalind to go along with him by threatening her with him leaving her reality if she refused.
- Catch Phrase: "X? Or Y?" Also, "[Blanks], [blank]ed, will [blank]."
- More specifically:Robert: Lives, lived, will live.
Rosalind: Dies, died, will die.
- Specifically for Robert:
- More specifically:
- Chekhov's Gunman: Their research and exploration into alternate dimensions set the events of the game into motion.
- Chessmasters: They're more or less intangible in their current state. To accomplish Robert's goal of eliminating Comstock (and, later, helping Elizabeth to free the Little Sisters), the pair relies on intermediaries to carry out tasks for them. Sometimes this involves less carrot and a lot more stick.
- Cloudcuckoolanders: They're very... out there.
- Coordinated Clothes: They wear nearly identical outfits.
- Creepy Good: They have no qualms about sacrificing the lives of others in pursuit of a bigger return.
- Creepy Twins: Especially when they're being unhelpful.
- Dead All Along: In a fashion. A Voxophone recording reveals that despite surviving their accident, albeit scattered in time and space, their original bodies did die and leave behind corpses for their funeral photographs to be taken.
- Deadpan Snarkers: Booker even calls them on it at a point late in the game.Booker: Well. They're sarcastic.
- The Dividual: Of the Twindividual sub-type, and taken to the most extreme conclusion possible.
- They remind one of the G-Man's transdimensional shenanigans... though they're not as creepy. They're also a considerably more human version of Dr. Manhattan given their relationship to quantum physics.
- Their role in the story is similar to Tenenbaum's from the first BioShock.
- Two very similar characters that have incomprehensible discussions about coin flips and similar shenanigans and are stuck in time? I wonder where I've seen something like that before.
- Fashion Dissonance: It's not so obvious but their outfits in 1912 are nigh identical with the flashbacks in 1893, which would make their attire late-Victorian at best. This isn't helped by the fact that both Luteces were presumably killed years before the game takes place.
- The Fatalist: Rosalind, in contrast to Robert's eternal optimist.
- The Ferryman: DeWitt's story is bookended by the Luteces shepherding him to a lighthouse by boat: first to Columbia, and later to his execution at the hands of Elizabeth. This is how Booker perceives the trip between "doors" in the multiverse. Once Elizabeth lost her ability to open Tears, she was forced to charter the Luteces' "boat", as well.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Lampshaded. They concede that while it is indeed weird that they finish each other's sentences, it would be weirder if they didn't.
- For Science!: Their primary reason for randomly popping up to bug Booker when not helping him.
- Friendly Fire Proof: Parodied and Justified. As they are scattered in time and space, you can't hurt them, but if you try they will casually comment. "Missed"
- Infact they have many hilarious responses after that when trying to shoot them again and again. "you missed", "missed..." (exasperated tone), "missed again", "four out of five?" "another miss..." "... aaaand a miss".
- Freak Lab Accident: Technically, it was sabotage intended to kill them and made to look like an accident, but the other particulars of the trope remain the same.
- Gender Bender: They're genderflipped Alternate Self versions of each other.
- Good Is Not Nice: They're the lead suspects in the torture and murder of the lighthouse keeper. He was probably killed to remove an obstacle from Booker's ascent to Columbia, while the implements could have extracted the passcode for the entrance bells.
- Greater Scope Villain: Columbia only exists because Rosalind was willing to let Comstock exploit her work if it meant she could finally bring Robert into her universe.
- Great Gazoos: Before long, Booker just stops questioning how they keep tailing him, or the source of their reality-bending powers. Though they do have his interests at heart, they treat Booker rather like a toddler who needs constant supervision and scolding.
- Half-Identical Twins: There's a justified reason for that.
- Hot Scientist: Purposely done - their character designer based them on the ideals of commercial beauty at the time — Robert is an Arrow Collar man and Rosalind a Gibson Girl.
- Immune to Bullets: It's impossible to hit them at all. They just repeatedly tell you that you missed, even at point-blank range, or if you just try to hit them with your fists, and subtly make fun of you if you keep trying.
- Incest Subtext: Played with. See Selfcest below. It's not explicitly stated, but the tone of some of Rosalind's voxophone recordings can be somewhat... suggestive.Rosalind: Brother, what Comstock failed to understand is that our contraption is a window not into prophecy, but probability. But, his money means the Lutece Field could become the Lutece Tear — a window between worlds. [earnestly] A window through which you and I... might finally be together.
Rosalind: You have been transfused, brother, into a new reality, but your body rejects the cognitive dissonance through confusion and hemorrhage. But we are together, and I will mend you. For what separates us now, but a single chromosome?
- You can explore the Luteces' house later in the game. There is only one bed... and it's a double-sized bed.
- In Burial at Sea: Episode Two one of the audio logs reveals that Robert wants to have children. Rosalind has apparently put a lot of thought into returning to a version of Columbia where they can go back to being ordinary humans and potentially start a family together, but she's hesitant to give up all the knowledge and power they've obtained after becoming Physical Gods. It's implied that this is the reason that Robert decided to attempt to save Elizabeth and Booker, even threatening to leave Rosalind if she didn't participate in the plan.
- At one point, you see the Luteces dancing together.
- Insufferable Genius: Both Luteces, but Rosalind especially. She didn't adjust her manners in the presence of Comstock or his wife, which probably shortened her lifespan.
- It's Up to You: They're having a devil of a time (no pun intended) trying to rub out Comstock in spite of their omniscience. The best they can do is nudge Booker along, forking over vigors and keys when the plot demands it.
- Karma Houdini: So, after essentially causing the entire mess by allowing Comstock to found Columbia and creating Elizabeth, what do they get? Why, all eternity to study The Multiverse in the company of each other, whom they are quite blatantly implied to be in love with. Some punishment.
- Leitmotif: The song Lutece always leads to them. Like them, it's quirky, upbeat, surreal, somewhat at odds with everything else, and has an undercurrent of menace and the uncanny.
- Like an Old Married Couple: 90% of their dialogue is idle bickering with each other. Which really doesn't help with the implied Selfcest angle mentioned above.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: There are no fatal explosions in Rosalind's world, only happy accidents. In Burial at Sea she drolly comments on Elizabeth's choice to give up immortality and return to Rapture. "You're trading omniscience and croissants for death and mildew?"
- Mad Scientists: It's soon revealed they designed both the technology that keeps Columbia afloat and the first interdimension travel machine. They are also a bit nuts.
- Meaningful Name:
- Their last name comes from the French word for the Roman city that became Paris. In a way, Booker did take Elizabeth to Paris as a baby.
- "Rosalind" is the name of the heroine from As You Like It who, like her namesake in BioShock, has a male alter ego. It's actually a very obscure hint as to the true nature of the "twins", as a more initially obvious Shakespeare reference would surely have been to name her "Viola".
- Morality Chain: Apparently, even after Comstock's attempted murder, Rosalind was just fine with letting things stand, having gotten what she wanted, i.e. an eternity to study science with her brother-self. Robert, having seen the natural end of all the Comstock futures (and possibly feeling guilty over the initial abduction of Anna), isn't as copacetic, and actually threatens to leave Rosalind forever unless she helps him fix things. So she plays ball, even if she thinks the whole thing's stupid.Robert: So you expect me to shoulder the burden?
Rosalind: No. But I do expect you to do all the rowing.
- Mother Nature, Father Science: Downplayed and inverted. Rosalind is the cold, intellectual one while Robert is the more emotional and the more morally concerned one, as he's the one that suggested they should fix what they caused.
- Mouth of Sauron: Robert willingly went along with Comstock's kidnapping plot and even acted as his emissary, greeting Booker in the traditional Columbian manner and promising that Father Comstock "has absolved" him of his sins. At the time, Comstock still resembled Booker in appearance and couldn't pitch the sale of Anna in-person.
- Mysterious Backer: The ones that hired Booker and put the whole game into motion.
- Narcissist: Given that they're technically alternate versions of each other, they take this to an uncomfortable level.
- Never My Fault: Zigzagged. Rosalind cares absolutely nothing for the fact that she is to blame for the rise of Comstock and Columbia, but Robert recognizes his guilt in the matter and is determined to make amends for it.
- Non-Linear Character: Due to being scattered across space and time, the Luteces can see the past, present, and future all at once. A good many of their personality quirks and supernatural abilities are derived from the fact that they can see all possibly realities.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The two tend to pop in and out all over Columbia offering random choices to Booker and Elizabeth — none of which change the eventual outcome.
- The Omnipresent: They were scattered across space-time by their accident, gaining the ability to appear wherever they wished. The metaphysics can be studied for ages, which is a good thing, because they aren't going anywhere soon... Although the whole experience makes poor Robert's head spin ("Had to have had been?" "I don't think the syntax has been invented yet.")
- Opposites Attract: Despire being Birds of a Feather, there are subtle differences in their personalities; Rosalind is more serious, while Robert is more of a goofball. Not to mention that, as Rosalind puts it, where she sees King Lear, Robert sees only a blank page — she is a fatalist, while Robert is more optimistic. Rosalind is far more intellectual and dispassionate, while Robert is more moral and idealistic.
- Other Me Annoys Me: Ultimately Averted: their frequent squabbles amount to nothing more than some friendly Sibling Rivalry to pass the time, and it's clear that they're actually very fond of each other.
- Physical God: A freak accident with Rosalind's dimension-bending machine made them able to bend the world to their liking, which explains how they repeatedly show up in random places doing strange things and how they can't be shot, even at point-blank range.
- The Power of Rock:Rosalind was able to cure Robert's reconciliation sickness with the help of music to calm his nerves.
- Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: Their combined research has allowed them to not only traverse alternate dimensions but also bend the laws of physics to their will, hence why Columbia manages to float at all. This also extends to surviving their own deaths, allowing them to exist across all time and space. Which would also explain why it's impossible to shoot them. The latter case is probably an instance of the quantum immortality thought experiment come true.
- A Real Man Is a Killer: Burial At Sea: Episode Two reveals that they manipulated the entire situation that lead to Elizabeth killing Daisy, believing this was the only way she'd have enough strength to bring down Comstock.
- Red Herring Shirt: These people turn out to have a lot more involvement in the plot than they initially let on.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Robert is the playful, optimistic, conscientious Red to Rosalind's stoical, fatalistic, and sometimes quite ruthless Blue.
- Though, notably, Rosalind has the general contentedness with their lot in life usually associated with the Red, while Robert's desire to see changes in their situation is more in line with the Blue way of thinking.
- Schrödinger's Cat: They keep popping up throughout the story. It's a side effect of dying when Comstock had Jeremiah Fink sabotage one of their machines.
- Science Foils: The Lutece twins are both brilliant quantum physicists, but Rosalind is driven and creative in her research, while Robert is more cautious and mindful of the implications of their work.
- Selfcest: As noted in Incest Subtext above their relationship is vaguely romantic. However, as they aren't actually siblings, rather, alternate versions of eachother, they are this trope rather than Incest Subtext.
- A Shared Suffering: Implied at the end to be partially why Robert is more sympathetic to Booker's plight than Rosalind, as he experienced firsthand the painful physical and psychological trauma that comes with jumping between realities.
- Sibling Rivalry: The source of their many minor squabbles.
- Spock Speak: Rosalind in particular; just listen to her Voxophone recordings.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Sometimes they don't even bother waiting for you to turn your back before they just vanish into thin air. Especially after it's revealed that actually they're omnipresent across the multiverse.
- The Stoic: Rosalind's Voxophone recordings and the conversation between her and Lady Comstock overheard through a Tear are invariably spoken in calm and indifferent tone, even when she's discussing something as presumably emotive as her ongoing attempts to cure Robert as he's dying of reconciliation sickness or, later, when he's seriously threatening to leave her; or Lady Comstock screamingly accusing her of being a "whore" and Comstock's mistress.
- This is one of the few traits that the Lutece twins do not remotely share: Robert definitely loses his composure a couple of times, notably when he's so afraid to cross through the first Tear to join Rosalind that he seems about to back out of the whole thing.
- Though even Rosalind is noticeably panicked in Burial at Sea: Episode 1 when she realises that the Tear is about to cut off Baby Anna's head.
- Teen Genius: They appear to be in their mid-thirties at the oldest at their technical time of death in 1909, meaning that they must have been in their late teens when they wrote Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel and created the Lutece Tear in 1893.
- Though Older Than They Look might be in effect, since they're Physical Gods. Comstock's premature ageing after too much messing with the Tear certainly seems to imply that physical signs of ageing, or lack thereof, might not mean much with people who've spent a lot of time hopping universes. Certainly, the Lutece twins don't appear to have aged in all that time, and the versions Booker meets in the 1893 flashback don't look or act like teenagers, but appear exactly as they do in 1912.
- Those Two Guys: As with many of their associated tropes, it's played to the extreme: the revelation that they were scattered across time and space by their accident means that they quite possibly literally can't operate independently even if they want to (though they clearly don't anyway).
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble: They complain that the English language doesn't have a tense to describe what they've seen.
- Troll: Most of their interaction with Booker that's not helpful, consists of them showing up to irritate him. A Voxophone recording similarly reveals that several days after their supposed death, they took the opportunity to show up and criticize the (terrified) photographer Rupert Cunningham of their funeral photographs for making them look "too lifeless".
- Understatement:"Frankly, she doesn't seem all that cooperative."
- Unexpected Character: At the end of Episode One of Burial at Sea, with zero foreshadowing.
- The Unfought: Their distinctly unhelpful advice and the way they treat Booker are vaguely reminiscent of Fontaine/Atlas's manipulation, so one can be forgiven for thinking they would betray Booker.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite appearing at the tail end of Burial at Sea: Episode One, they are shockingly missing during Episode Two (save for a cameo midway through). What makes this even more baffling is the fact that had they just given Elizabeth a heads up that the Big Daddy was about to turn on her, she could've potentially avoided everything negative that happened to her throughout the course of the second half of the DLC.
- Women Are Wiser: While they're equally brilliant, Rosalind seems to be the more mature. Exemplified by one scene early in the game, where the two of them can clearly be seen through the binoculars across from Monument Island: Robert is juggling while Rosalind looks on disapprovingly.
- Ultimately subverted when it's revealed that while Rosalind might be the wiser of the two, Robert apparently holds himself to a higher moral standard, expressing both compassion and regret for Booker and Elizabeth's situation and the role that they had played in it. Robert was also the one who decided that Comstock had to be stopped, even threatening to leave Rosalind if she refused to help.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Luteces were this for the Founders. Once Comstock had all he needed from them and was taking steps to conceal Elizabeth's true origins, he had Fink arrange for the pair to be offed in an unfortunate experimental "accident." It didn't exactly work as planned.
Preston E. DownsA bounty hunter who is employed by the Founders to track down Daisy Fitzroy. He never actually appears in the game, but multiple audio diaries by him can be found, which show his gradual shift from being a bounty hunter for Comstock to a member of the Vox. A model of him is also quite obviously used for Fink's head of security.
- The Atoner: Becomes this while hunting Fitzroy.
- Boom, Headshot: Apparently happens to him after he joins the Vox Populi in the second world Booker and Elizabeth go to, according to the wall of targets in the police station in Shantytown.
- Bounty Hunter: His trade and craft. At least, in most realities...
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- He set bear traps for Daisy Fitzroy's messengers, with the intention of catching them and interrogating them for information regarding her whereabouts. It worked, as he then discovered that Daisy was using children as messengers, which resulted in a young Native American orphan being mangled by his trap. After being forced to amputate the boy's leg, he takes on the responsibility of taking care of the child.
- Later on, he's sent to hunt down (alternate universe) Booker DeWitt, who turns out to be fluent in Sioux, the same native tongue as his ward. He then makes a Heel–Face Turn after learning why the boy is an orphan and why he is working for the Vox Populi.
- Great White Hunter: He even makes a habit of scalping his targets. In the case of Comstock, he states that he'll give the boy the honors.
- Heel–Face Turn: Depends on one's viewpoint. It matters little, though.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: He explicitly compares hunting people to hunting animals.
- Morality Pet: A Native American boy whose leg gets caught in one of his bear traps.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he accidentally cripples a child with one of his efforts to hunt down Daisy.
- Psycho for Hire: At first.
- The Unfought: Not any sign of him in the flesh is ever encountered in the game, though an alternate Booker does meet him at some point.
- Voiced by: Richard Herd
- For Want of a Nail: If he hadn't baptized Booker DeWitt, Comstock and thus pretty much the entire game would have never happened.
- Large Ham: His sermons are very enthusiastic.
- Preacher Man: His role in Columbia. In a slight twist, he seems to be more devoted to Comstock than to God.
- Prophet Eyes: His blindness isn't clear from his movements, but his eyes have thick cataracts. It is unknown if he was born blind or if he lost his vision later in life.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He assuredly had no idea that giving a troubled young soldier a baptism would lead to Comstock's rise to power.
Johnny Law is the first of the hostiles you'll encounter. They carry truncheons, pistols, or even Sky-Hooks. Interestingly for Columbia's gender dynamics, many of them are female and many of the female officers are highly ranked and obeyed without question.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The primary means of extracting information from suspects or witnesses is inflicting a lot of pain. In the game, you encounter at least one man they tortured to death and another effectively comatose from trauma in their cells.
- Killer Cop: They show absolutely zero hesitation in executing suspects.
- Old-Fashioned Copper: It's nineteen-twelve. They aren't enlightened.
- Police Brutality: Self-evident. These guys enforce Columbia's law with all the fervor of the most zealous patriots and religious fanatics combined, and with just as much violence.
- Rabid Cop: They certainly do a whole lot of yelling.
- Skewed Priorities: It is shown that will stop fighting Booker and pray when ordered to by Comstock; even if Booker starts killing them they will not stop praying.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Uniforms in white and blue, of course, and the higher-level female cops actually go into firefights dressed as Lady Liberty, spiked metallic mask and all.
SoldiersThe most common foe you'll face. Many of them are from the Founders' army, but others are disenfranchised troops led by Cornelius Slate, and still others are militant rebels of the Vox Populi.
- Cheap Costume: The Vox melee units go into battle in their working clothes and sometimes wear makeshift face masks.
- CloudCuckoolanders: Will shout random Bible quotes during battle.
- Cold Sniper: The Founder-loyal ones only. Vox Populi ones love to scream and yell at you.
- Color-Coded Armies: In contrast to the Founders' blue, the primary color of the Vox Populi is red.
- Cool Mask: Unlike the Splicers in Rapture, who wear masks to hide their deformities, the soldiers sometimes wear masks to intimidate opponents.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Many of the militants' outfits are asymmetrical, with ammo packs and belts on different parts of their uniforms.
- Fingerless Gloves: The female soldiers wear them.
- Goggles Do Nothing: The male soldiers wear stylish goggles just as part of their headgear.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. Snipers usually fight from only a reasonable distance away. Logical given Columbia is mostly winding streets and courtyards, so there's not much room for mile-away marksmanship.
- In the Hood: Certain Vox militants wear hoods with "devil horns".
- Intentional Engrish for Funny: Vox snipers have thick accents and tend to mangle their sentences a bit.Vox Sniper: I kill you now!
- Old Soldier: Slate's disenfranchised troops. They still remain loyal to him after forty years.
- Pipe Pain: The melee units affiliated with the Vox carry what look like rusted metal pipe fragments.
- Sniper Duel: Pretty much every area occupied by them will have a sniper rifle stashed somewhere nearby so Booker can duel them.
- Unique Enemy: The very first Sniper encountered in the game is one of Slate's troops.
Mechanical machinations that serve as a means of security for Columbia.
- Airborne Mook: The Mosquitoes, which are essentially gatling guns hoisted on balloons. You run into these late in the game.
- Bottomless Magazines: They never seem to run out of ammo.
- Mecha-Mooks: They're generally a bit more durable than human enemies, but for the most part are stationary aside from the Mosquitoes, so you can usually hide from them and fire from cover.
- More Dakka: The Machine Gun Automatons will just keep on firing upon you. So will those pesky Mosquitoes.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The spotlight turns from yellow to red when they spot you. Their lights turn green when you possess them.
- Steam Punk: You can see it clearly. Very clearly. The Machine Gun Automatons have World War I era helmets, while the Rocket Automatons sport Civil War kepis.
- Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The Mosquitoes are flying turrets suspended by balloons.
BeastsArmored soldiers who carry grenade launchers or rocket-propelled grenades.
- Armor Is Useless: Sure, they wear bulky blast armor. But it can so easily be shot off.
- Cloudcuckoolanders: They, like the soldiers, will shout random Bible quotes during battle.
- Cool Guns: They carry a Pig Flak, Hail Fire, or Barnstormer.
- Cool Helmet: Some of the Founder Beasts have golden lion helmets, while Vox Beasts wear helmets in the shape of bull heads.
- Mighty Glacier: It takes some effort to bring them down... unless you use Possession on them.
- Super Soldier: They are tougher and have more hit points than normal soldiers.
- Unique Enemy: The very first Beast you see wears the same uniform as Slate's troops.
FiremenHeavily-armored members of Columbia's military. Equipped with the Devil's Kiss Vigor, they are often sent into situations that ordinary police officers or soldiers cannot handle alone.
- The Atoner: According to the player's guide, Firemen are actually former Columbian criminals who've been captured by the Founders and sealed into iron maiden-like suits that constantly burn them, before being equipped with Devil's Kiss and put to work as shock troopers. Their dialogue suggests that they honestly believe they're repenting for their "sins", and that their fiery attacks are infernal judgment meted out against the enemies of the Prophet.
- Ax-Crazy: YOUR FLESH WILL BLACKEN AND CHAAARRRR! They have a tendency to spout many fire related threats, and sometimes even shout nonsense that has nothing to to do with the situation at hand.
- Clingy Costume: They have been sealed into those suits. Their exact appearance underneath is unknown, but it's implied that the suit helps keep them alive.
- Degraded Boss: Initially, the Fireman is encountered as a boss — or at the very least, a miniboss. As the game goes on, however, Firemen are frequently encountered as high-class mooks.
- Elite Mooks: After being degraded.
- Large Ham: Firemen are very shouty. Just listen.
- One-Way Visor: Presumably they can see out, but from the outside it looks mirrored. This is Truth in Television with welding masks. The mask is very reflective so the sparks from welding don't blind the welder with light alone.
- Playing with Fire: Hurling fireballs, using an AOE fireburst attack, and then potentially exploding when they die.
- Pyro Maniac: Implied, given that they're very enthusiastic about seeing Booker "BURN IN HELL!"
- Reformed Criminal: In a twisted way — they're only "reformed" in the sense that they're now serving Comstock instead of defying him. Once the Vox uprising is in full swing, they appear to be more commonly aligned with the rebel forces than with the Columbian military and police.
- Superpowered Mooks: Amped up by the Devil's Kiss Vigor.
- Taking You with Me: A critically-damaged Fireman will activate a self-destruct and charge in your general direction. Pretty painful if it connects, but they only have a few seconds to reach you and tend to be easily outwitted by using environmental cover or Vigors to stall them. They also detonate prematurely if you damage them enough.
- Tragic Monster: Some of their non-combat lines include "Let me out, it burns, it burns!" and "There's no forgiveness without sacrifice!" Sometimes they sound pained and exhausted even if uninjured. So... what kind of effect has constantly being steeped in Vigors had upon them?
Zealots of the LadyElite members of the Fraternal Order of the Raven, the Zealots of the Lady and their underlings are a religious movement that demonize Abraham Lincoln for his role in ending slavery in America and venerate his assassin, John Wilkes Booth, as a saint. While she was alive, they also worshipped Lady Comstock, hence their name; they blame themselves for failing to prevent her untimely death, and have sworn to vanquish the enemies of Columbia in their Lady's name. Furthermore, their devotion to blackbirds has led them to adopt the Murder of Crows Vigor as their weapon of choice, making the cultists challenging foes. Up close, they wield deadly swords to supplement their Vigor powers.
- The Atoner: How they view themselves. They've taken the death of the Lady Comstock personally, lashing large coffins to their backs and vowing not to rest until "the Lady's killer is in chains". Enemy chatter indicates that this vow is wearing on their already tenuous sanity."Pardon me Lady, please? [sobbing] Take this weight off my back, because I cannot bear it."
"Come back! Don't let me fail Her again!"
- Ax-Crazy: They're quite clearly mad, carrying around coffins and occasionally talking to the late Lady Comstock.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Apparently, the Order keeps around prisoners for exactly this reason.
- Creepy Crows: Quite so. They utilize the Murder of Crows Vigor, dress in black, and are perpetually surrounded by flocks of crows. Even their meeting hall is infested with birds; nests in their statues, straw all over the place, and a lavish feast laid out and left to rot presumably to attract them. They don't even seem to bother cleaning up the mess the crows leave everywhere.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: They're first introduced by one of their number using his Vigor to execute a Chinese captive in this way.
- Degraded Boss: At first, the only one encountered is the head of the Lodge, and is officially a boss; then, as Booker continues across Columbia and the other dimensions that contain it, he starts meeting them as mooks.
- Elite Mooks: After becoming a Degraded Boss. By the end of the game they show up with no fanfare.
- Heel Realization: Vox-aligned Zealots seem to have discovered they had been deceived by Comstock and are eager to make him and the Founders pay for it.
- The Klan: Strongly reminiscent of them, particularly with their hooded uniforms.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Yep, they unquestionably are.
- Mark of Shame: The Zealots have a clothing-based version of this in the form of the large wooden coffins they have chained to their backs, as a reminder of their failure to protect Lady Comstock."We wear our shame as a weight on our back. Lady, forgive those who deserve not your forgiveness."
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The Fraternal Order of the Raven takes this to an extreme — they're a turbo-charged, super-powered, government-sanctioned Ku Klux Klan.
- Religion of Evil: More of a cult; as a crazier version of the KKK, it fits. They do seem to portray John Wilkes Booth as a saint, after all.
- Secret Circle of Secrets: Fittingly, since they are the Klan Columbia-style.
- Superpowered Mooks: They can dissolve into a flock of crows to flit from place to place in a manner reminiscent of Houdini Splicers.
- Teleport Spam: Can teleport in and out of combat in the form of a Murder.
- Voice of the Legion: Zealots speak in strange, echoing voices. It's unclear whether it's caused by their masks or if it's some sort of side effect of their Vigor use.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting/The Worm That Walks: Each of them possess the ability to transform themselves into a flock of crows, which they often use in order to escape being injured in combat.
- You Can Run, but You Can't Hide: Much like the Wader Splicers in the first game, they have several quotes to this effect."You won't hide long from her! She knows no blindness!"
"I don't see you, but she does! She does!"
"I can't hide, and neither can you!"
- "The Lord judges. I act."
- American Robot: Animatronic versions of famous U.S. presidents who blare anthems, spout slogans, mount stars and stripes flags, and wield Peppermills.
- Attack Its Weak Point: The gears on their backs are their primary vulnerability, though head shots will do in a pinch until you've completely blown it off. They won't be dead, but pretty close.
- Though it's resistant to stunning, like all Heavy Hitters, damage from the Shock Jockey Vigor will ignore its armor and so can bring it down swiftly, especially if combined with burst weapons like the Shotgun and Machine Gun. If nothing else, the Shock Jockey will stun them just like every other enemy you use it on, giving you time to circle behind them to shoot them in the back.
- Clockwork Creature: They are composed of basic clockwork mechanisms — wires, gears, and a basic frame.
- Cloudcuckoolanders: They are constantly spouting non-sequiturs.
- Degraded Boss: The first time you encounter it, it's a lone boss match. It's extremely tough, it has a dynamic entry... and ten minutes later, you're fighting another one with a horde of soldiers. By the end of the game you're fighting two at once every few minutes.
- Evil Is Hammy: Their dialogue in general seems to be this way.
- Gatling Good: Wield deadly Peppermill Crank Guns.
- Giant Mook: They're almost twice as tall as a normal man and behave the most like a "standard" FPS Giant Mook out of any enemy in the series; they can take a lot of bullets, are equipped with a minigun-like weapon, and slowly walk relentlessly towards you while firing.
- Hazy Feel Turn: Regardless of whether a Patriot represents Founders or Vox, they have the same voice blaring from their speakers. Presumably, the man who recorded those messages switched sides.
- Horned Humanoid: The Vox version is based off the Order of the Raven's portrayal of Lincoln, which includes Devil horns.
- Implacable Man: Ken Levine has said that what makes these such dangerous enemies is that they have no sense of self-preservation and simply march forward through any damage and danger to focus relentlessly on attacking the player.
- Job-Stealing Robot: Slate doesn't think very highly of his replacements. The Patriots are called in as strike-breakers (of sorts) when the veterans go rogue.
- Large Ham/No Indoor Voice: They spout loud, bombastic propaganda in the middle of combat, whether dealing or taking damage.
- Lightning Bruiser: Patriots march forward at a steady pace, pumping bullets into their foes with deadly precision... until you manage to keep out of their line of sight long enough. Then watch those things double in speed and smack you with their guns before you know what's hit you.
- Losing Your Head: Their heads pop off if you shoot it enough times. However, unless their health is completely depleted, it doesn't stop them from continuing to attack you, though their accuracy does seem to suffer a little from it.
- Malevolent Masked Men: Masked robots, anyway, all wearing porcelain faces of old presidents; except for the ones on the Hand of the Prophet, who wear Comstock masks.
- Mecha-Mooks: They are entirely robotic and never waver from their pursuit.
- Patriotic Fervor: Built for it and noisy about it.
- Propaganda Machine: A literal one, embodying all of Columbia's values: cacophonic jingoism, raw militarism, and historical white-washing (pun intended).
- Robot Me: In the "Vox have guns already" Columbia, Comstock uses versions modeled after himself. Other versions are modelled after George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: They were originally used as tour guides: why would they need to be strong enough to carry a BFG? Since Columbia is paranoid about foreigners, they might be used to summarily execute any spies who've come under the guise of tourists.
- Uncanny Valley: Intentionally so on the part of the game's artists. The rigid painted George Washington mask on the mechanical frame really sells it.
HandymenHandymen are primitive cyborgs employed in Columbia as brute labor. They are created from the merging of a crude exoskeleton (with the proportions of an ape) and human bodies, most of them unwilling. Due to the imperfect nature of the process, most "Handymen" have lost their sanity and are in constant pain.
- Advertised Extra: They appeared prominently in almost every preview and trailer, and were billed as this game's equivalent to the Big Daddies. Booker fights four in total, and they have as much relevance to the overall plot as any of the other re-occurring enemies.
- And I Must Scream: Unable to sleep, suffering from constant pain and barely sane — all things considered, these guys were probably better off sickly and crippled...
- Apologetic Attacker: If you listen carefully, you'll realize that quite a few of their combat "taunts" aren't actually taunts at all. They're shouting at you to run away so they won't be forced to hurt you in the incoming berserk rage. And when they electrify the Sky-Lines, they'll preface it with "GET DOWN!" or "GET OFF THAT THING!", as a warning that if you don't let go, things will very shortly suck. Further emphasized by the fact that, in the Bad Future version of Columbia, a photograph of a Handyman has been added to a bulletin board of known sinners — the "sin" in question being ''pacifism".
- Attack Its Weak Point: A glaringly obvious one in the form of their still beating hearts on display in the front of their bodies. Justified by the fact that they were designed for labor, not combat — they might even have been intended to be easy to shut down in case they ever get out of control.
- Bald of Evil: Since no Handyman is shown with hair, presumably it's part of the transformation process. It doesn't help that it's stated most Handymen are to be made out of the physically infirm or terminally ill.
- Body Horror: A majority of their dialogue is them cursing Comstock for what he did to them, screaming about how their transformation has them in constant pain and demanding their original bodies back.
- Cheap Costume: Handymen loyal to Vox Populi go into battle wearing only strips of red cloth wrapped around their torso and face.
- Clothing Damage: Non-fanservice example; the Founder Handymen apparently were once dressed in formal-looking jackets and trousers, but thanks to the exertions of their work, their uniforms have been worn down to rags.
- Covered with Scars: What parts of them remain flesh are, at any rate.
- Cyborg: Steam Punk ones.
- Elite Mooks: Without a doubt, they are among the toughest enemies you'll face.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: One of their primary attacks. They can leap very far as well.
- Giant Mook: They don't start out small, but they get progressively bigger until they challenge Songbird for position of Largest Enemy in the Game.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Capable of picking up and throwing both friends and foes.
- Human Resources: The basic principle behind the Handyman? Take a sick, possibly dying person and cram them into a crude augmentic exoskeleton to keep them working. Worse, there's a rare quote from Vox Handymen that makes it clear that Comstock and Fink are willing to make Handymen out of perfectly healthy people if they think there's a need for them.:Comstock took my body away... wasn't even sick!
- Incurable Cough of Death: Sometimes after exerting themselves, they will stop and cough violently, pausing from their otherwise rapid rate of movement. Given many of them are implied to have been sick patients before being made into Handymen, this may be related to that, or difficulty getting enough oxygenation in their artificial bodies. This is the point at which they are most vulnerable to careful shots from the player.
- Kill It with Water: Though they're resistant to Shock Jockey, perhaps due to being powered by it, this means that the basic water blast attack of Undertow will temporarily paralyze them, giving you a better chance to land a heart-shot.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Handymen are terrifyingly fast and agile for their size. Their suits also give them Shock and Awe. And even if you attack their weakpoint, they can still take considerably more damage than most other enemies.
- The Quiet One: Handymen can talk, it's just that not many of them are in the mood to do so outside of combat.
- Shock and Awe: Can use their suits to manipulate electricity, throwing balls of it at Booker and electrifying Sky-Lines.
- Shrinking Violet: The first Handyman encountered in the game is clearly an example; exhibited at the fairgrounds before a sizable audience and at least one photojournalist, he is seen hiding his face with his hands and flinching at the camera flashes.
- Superpowered Mooks: Powered by Shock Jockey, capable of using it, and partially resistant to it as well.
- Uncanny Valley: Their massive hands are deliberately modeled after porcelain dolls of the era. And their feet are fashioned like hob-nailed boots (with some bent nails hanging out).
- Unstoppable Rage: Thanks to their current condition, the Handymen are often overcome with fits of berserk rage — combat being a very easy way to ensure a rampage.
- Was Once a Man: Ken Levine hints that there is something very sad as to why they are in mechanical bodies. The posters of their transformation at the 1912 Columbia Fair showing a bedridden and ill man in the "before" image hints at what this might be.
- When you reach Columbia's shipping district, you can find a Voxophone with a recording by a working-class woman that says her husband was dying of stomach cancer, and she permitted him to be turned into a Handyman because that's still better than him being dead. A Voxophone located in Fink's Handyman construction area in Burial at Sea: Episode Two (in a room filled with sickbeds) confirms that every Handyman you see in the game is what's left of a terminally ill workman in Fink's employ.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Most of the Handymen-to-be were disabled or in a critical condition around the time they were modified, and the adverts still emphasize the "rebuilding" aspect of the process. Of course, none of them mention the obvious problems in it.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The poor guys are in constant pain from the sensory overload they are subject to, clearly want to be left alone, and unlike the Big Daddies of Rapture, who have Little Sisters to love, they have no one. Late in the game you can find a group of Vox soldiers standing around a just-killed Handyman taking their picture with it like big-game hunters. That anecdote under Was Once a Man about the woman whose husband was terminally ill? The dead Handyman is clutching another Voxophone to his chest, this one of that same woman saying how proud she was to be his wife.
Boys of Silence
Boys of SilenceThe mysterious (and creepy) guards of Comstock House. If they detect an intruder, they raise the alarm and cause all nearby enemies to attack you.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Not quite to the same extent as the inmates of Comstock house, however.
- Child Soldier: Implied. Given that their school uniform-like outfits appear to be a few sizes too small for them, the Boys were likely recruited, trained and conditioned when they were children.
- Demoted to Extra: The featured Heavy Hitters trailer implied they'd be scattered throughout the game on the streets of Columbia. Instead, they only appear in one level towards the end of the game; you only encounter about five. It was also implied you could kill them if you were stealthy enough, but in the final version, hitting them just alerts them to your presence before they vanish.
- Enemy Summoner: When he detects you he calls in enemies to fight you.
- Eyeless Face: The helmets have giant ear horns and no visible eyes. Yet, the Boys of Silence use a light to spot any intruders.
- The Faceless: Via wearing a large, all-enclosing helmet which never comes off. The helmet is attached to a leather shoulder strap with metal clamps and padlocked shut. Word of God is that the mystery of what was underneath was what helped sell the idea as being really creepy.
- Future Shadowing: Their headgear can be found in Fink's Handyman construction area in Burial at Sea: Episode Two.
- Ironic Nursery Rhyme: Inspired one about them:"Watch where you step! Don't say a word!
You'll be in trouble if the Boys have heard!"
- Jump Scare: Right after you open the gate to Elizabeth's room in the security hall, you turn around to find one standing right behind you. He is immediately set off.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: To summon other enemies. When they detect you, they emit a piercing shriek that alerts anyone around to your presence.
- Patrolling Mook: This disturbing enemy scans the surrounding area for any intruders. If a Boy of Silence detects you, he will call in other opponents to attack you.
- Reality Warper: Able to pull in minions from other dimensions via Tears.
- Villain Teleportation: The Boys of Silence have a limited ability to open Tears of their own, allowing them to escape if threatened.