Murderer's Row is a Red vs. BlueAUSlash Fic, written by Violent-Medic.Donut is given a life sentence and locked up in prison after he stabbed his roommate to death. Surrounded by conmen, blackmailers, murderers and other no-good criminals, Donut is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to live long enough to achieve parole. And just staying out of the way won't help, as he's immediately roped into the fighting between the inmates.And on top of that, his jumpsuit is incredibly itchy. Could things possibly get any worse?Yes. Yes, they could.This fic is set to span the twenty years between Donut's incarceration up until he achieves parole, and is mostly based around the fighting between the inmates. In particular, the fighting against O'Malley, an insane psychopath with a habit of picking 'favourites' to focus on.There are also 'flashback' chapters interspersed with the main fic, detailing how the main six inmates wound up in prison, as well as occasionally the backstory of other important characters.
Murderer's Row contains examples of:
A Lighter Shade of Black: There are few characters who aren't evil in some way, as basically every one of the main characters is a murderer. However, O'Malley is always a much darker shade of black than anyone else, being an unrepentant torturing, raping serial killer. In comparison, characters like Church and Wash can still be considered bad, but less so.
Abusive Parents: There are many sets of parents who could be considered abusive. Church's father is the most clear-cut example, neglecting both his sons, often throwing beer bottles around them and being very emotionally abusive to Epsilon in particular, blaming him for the mother's death.
Amicable Exes: Church and Tex, who are stated early on to have dated before Church was thrown in prison. Though slightly complicated due to the fact that Tex was the one who arrested him and Church was friends with the man who killed Tex's sister, they seem on very amicable terms despite their usual bickering and insults.
Ax-Crazy: O'Malley and the Red Zealot. Caboose is also a borderline example, though it recedes after Chapter 95. The Insurrectionist Leader is a literal example, as he has attacked people with tomahawks twice.
Back-Alley Doctor: After losing his doctor's licence, O'Malley became a back alley surgeon in the flashback chapters. It was the reason he was hired by Church's smuggling group.
Bad Dreams: These affect Donut after the death of his roommate and get much worse after O'Malley chops off his ear and he witnesses Walter's disembowelment.
Berserk Button: Do not hurt Church or Donut in front of Caboose. Just don't.
Wash can be set off by Donut insisting that he killed the Meta through luck or anyone pointing out his fear of the dark.
Better Manhandle the Murder Weapon: In Church's backstory, after Wash stabs Epsilon during his escape, Gary is the one to find him. He picks up the knife and is found immediately by Delta, who shoots him on the spot. However, this was also because he'd just returned from finding proof that Gary had betrayed them. (Though this also turned out to be wrong.)
Black and Grey Morality: No-one is completely clean in this. After all, the majority of the 'good' characters are convicted murderers. Even many of the guards are in the gray area, especially Wash. But there are completely irredeemable characters like O'Malley.
Church: I'm not a fucking snitch! I'm... just a blackmailer.
Black Sheep: Simmons is this to his family, being the only one who didn't look like they walked out of a commercial for the perfect family.
Tex is one, compared to her father and sister. She's a prison guard, formerly a cop, while they're both very big criminals. Though she was considered the favourite as well, likely due to her resemblance to her mother, while Carolina was heavily implied to be The Unfavorite.
Chess Motifs: Simmons attempts to explain the situation with Church during episode 100 with a chess metaphor. However, he doesn't have any chess pieces on hand and ends up using playing cards instead to represent the 'pieces.'
Cold-Blooded Torture: Wash was tortured by O'Malley, Gary and Meta for three months. At first for information, and afterwards for their pure amusement. Specified methods they used included pulling out half of his teeth and most of his fingernails and toenails.
Companion Cube: Caboose and his toy pigeon, Margretta the Fourth. Before he had the stuffed one, he kept accidentally killing live pigeons and bringing them into his cell to talk to.
Conman: Tucker and Jones in the main fic. The backstory also adds C.T, Joannes and Gary.
Contemplating Your Hands: O'Malley did this regularly during a stretch of time when he was on particularly heavy drugs. All Doc had to do was draw O'Malley's attention to his own hands in order to stop O'Malley from harassing him.
Coupde Grace : In the final flashback chapter, Caboose does this to Max Gain.
Much later, a particularly angry Donut threatens to cut off someone's face and replace it with an ugly, badly-coloured blanket.
Dark Fic: As well as the change of setting, there's the deaths (which tend to be more brutal than the ones in canon), the torture, the rape, the fact that several characters seem to be mentally ill (Donut and Wash both show symptoms of PTSD, and that's only the top of Wash's issues. That's also not even getting into Caboose...) the regular mentions of suicide attempts and that O'Malley's rather light-hearted possession of Doc in canon has been reverted into something very sinister.
Despair Event Horizon: Wash hit this in his flashback chapter, following his three-month torture session, eight months in hospitals and mental institutions, followed by over a year of homelessness, becoming sick through hunger and side effects of his medication, and then going off his medication and becoming even sicker from that. He lost hope entirely because he couldn't see a way out. He was seconds away from walking in front of traffic when York found him.
Disabled Love Interest: A strange case, as Church actually had feelings for Tucker long before he was blinded. Tucker only reciprocated after he was blinded, however, partly because he was terrified and needed something familiar to cling to.
Disappeared Dad: Neither Grif nor Tucker knew their fathers. And Donut can't remember his biological one, instead being adopted by two mothers.
Disguised in Drag: Tucker has disguised himself as a girl more than once in the past, for conning purposes.
Disproportionate Retribution: O'Malley is prone to over-the-top revenge for the tiniest of slights. Particularly for reasons relating to Doc, such as Church calling Doc a 'pussyfest' and Donut (with permission) using his mouthwash.
Driven to Suicide: Rumor has it that Tucker talked Jones into suicide. Tucker really did, but apparently it was an accident. He'd just been trying to convince Jones, using the shittier parts of prison as back-up for his argument, why messing with Church was a bad idea.
Drives Like Crazy: Grif. His reckless driving finally bites him in the ass in the seventh flashback chapter, when he crashes into Caboose which both stops any chance he had of escape from the police, and causes Caboose's off mental state.
Even Evil Has Standards: All the main inmates, despite being unrepentant murderers for the most part, do not approve of rape and will also defend those who they consider part of their group. Church also mentions that any criminals who fuck or murder children usually don't last long because the other inmates usually kill them for it. Something that Church experienced himself, as he's falsely believed to have killed his six-year-old brother.
Evil Redhead: O'Malley. This is even a plot point, when at one point he convinces the Red Zealot that he's a prophet of the flag by pointing out that the flag wouldn't bestow its holy colour on someone unworthy.
Expecting Someone Taller: Washington to Donut. Washington knew Donut had killed the Meta, and was expecting someone strong or vicious or with some characteristic which would have made it possible to stab the Meta to death. Instead... he got a tiny, extremely girly guy.
Happened once between Church and Tucker, once the truth about Church's crush came out. Church did it because he figured Tucker would hate him for the crush anyway.
For the Evulz: O'Malley is simply out for his own personal amusement.
Freudian Excuse: Averted. The one-shot 'Reasoning' shows what led O'Malley to start killing things. Turns out he simply wanted to see the insides of animals. Played straighter with the Reds and Blues, most of which have bad pasts that directly lead to prison.
Parodied when Tucker, during a therapy session, exaggerates and lies about his past to make it seem like he has one. He also shows contempt for the idea that a bad past justifies someone being a jerk.
Freudian Couch: Once Doc becomes the prison therapist, he insists his patients lie down on the couch. Although most of the time they don't listen to him.
Functional Addict: Grif is always a heavy drinker, but seems to function quite well despite that. Until after Simmons' death, at which point his drinking becomes even heavier and eventually his habits start to include drugs due to an inability to get fixes just from alcohol.
Gaslighting: A large part of Caboose's mental state in regards to his murders (namely, his belief that he never murdered at all) was caused by Church gaslighting him into believing he never murdered by talking to him over time. Church did it with semi-good intentions, but it really screwed Caboose up down the road.
The Ghost: Sarge's wife is never shown on screen. All we know about her is that she regularly tortures Sarge for his misbehavior by refusing to do his laundry and putting mayonnaise in his sandwiches. And that she can recognise Flowers' 'secretary voice' on the phone.
Good Parents: Caboose and Donut had good parents. The others? Not so much.
Goshdang It To Heck: Doc and Sarge occasionally curse using... strange words. Occasionally, Caboose will be on the edge of swearing and he will change the words to something less rude. Such as 'bullstupid' instead of 'bullshit.'
Groin Attack: A very vicious, non-comedic example. Grif and Simmons killed the guy who beat up Sister by cutting off his junk.
Grudging Thank You: Wash to Donut, after Donut stops York from being killed by the zealots.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Wash has anger issues. As does Caboose, who is friendly most of the time but pressing the wrong buttons can easily lead him into homicidal rage.
Hands-Off Parenting: Tucker's mother was continually drunk, and so didn't have much of a capacity to care for Tucker. Tucker grew up quite self-sufficient as a result.
Hannibal Lecture: O'Malley manages to do this a lot. Wyoming also got a turn at it.
Hellhole Prison: Varies. Many inmates refer to the place as a hellhole, but Valhalla Penitentiary isn't hellish on it's own. But it can be if you get on the wrong side of particular guards and inmates.
Heroic BSOD: Grif enters one after Simmons gets killed.
Delta enters a brief one after Sigma is killed and Theta is shot, and though he snaps out of the BSOD it has some effect on him for a while, making him act harsher and more erratic for the next couple of months. In both these cases, the 'heroic' part is heavily debatable.
Hired Guns: Church worked as one for Delta for a few years. Also, Carolina, Wash and South were hired guns for the Director.
Homosexual Reproduction: Tucker and Crunchbite, since they're both human in this. It's apparently the result of a science experiment. The details are... hazy.
Hope Is Scary: In his flashback chapter, Wash refused to trust York the first time he was offered help, despite the fact that he'd been in such a bad place that he'd nearly tried walking into traffic because he was convinced that York would either call in favors for it later (and that he wouldn't be able to pay it back) or would just betray him. He decides pretty fast that it's worth the risk.
It Gets Easier: In the original version of the fic, Church says the trope by name when Donut asks him if killing was always easy for him. In the rewrite, it's averted, as Church claims that it was always easy, acknowledging that he was probably sick for thinking it.
I Uh You Too: In the last flashback chapter, Grif and Simmons' way of saying they love each other is to argue about which one of them is going to be the prison bitch.
Legacy Character: In Church's backstory, it's mentioned that Delta's father was also known throughout the criminal underground as Delta, and that the current Delta took over the name and identity after his father's death in order to keep his work going.
Lethal Chef: A semi-example is Donut's mother Liz. She can cook, technically, but her food tends towards inhumanely spicy.
Manchild: Theta, who retains his child-like personality even as he ages in the backstory, being between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five during it. He also retains his childishness in his appearance in the present, despite being around fifty years old at the time.
Mexican Standoff: In the last flashback chapter, with CT and Joannes pointing guns at Tucker, and Tucker pointing a gun at CT. It ends with Tucker shot and Joannes dead.
Missing Mom: Church's mother died when giving birth to his little brother. Grif's mother ran away to join the circus.
The Mole: In Church's backstory, we are lead to believe it's Gary/Gamma. But it turns out to be Theta.
Mood Whiplash: Occurs often. The backstories are notable for this, as they'll start with Church's part, which is often depressing and/or bloody, and end with Donut's, which is usually fluffy and cheerful. There's also part 109, where Grif and Simmons are being fairly jokey and there's humorous callbacks to early Rv B episodes seconds before Simmons gets gutted and murdered by the Red Zealot.
Mummies at the Dinner Table: Caboose keeps trying to catch live pigeons for pets and killing them in the process... and he ends up keeping the dead ones and talking to them.
Mushroom Samba: Grif, after he takes some LSD in an effort to pass the time. Amongst his hallucinations are a suddenly gelatinous floor and Simmons, who'd died a decade ago.
Mutilation Interrogation: In the backstory, Carolina cuts off a couple of Jimmy's fingers to get him to tell her where Delta was. O'Malley and Gamma also did this to Wash in the past, by pulling out some of his teeth and fingernails.
My Sister Is Off Limits: Grif will chase anyone who goes after his sister up a tree. Including Simmons, once. He eventually revoked this with Simmons, once he was about to be arrested by the police and wanted someone to take care of Sister.
Averted with Caboose, as long as you don't sleep with more than one of his sisters. Like Tucker did.
Subverted when Miller and his gang administer one of these to Tucker, which leaves his ribs and breathing ability permanently damaged... but Miller is explicitly holding a lot back because he doesn't want to kill Tucker yet.
No Medication for Me: O'Malley tries to ditch his medication (although he rarely succeeds) because he simply can't think clearly when on them. Strangely, the medication seems to make him crazier, possibly because Doc isn't a very good doctor.
Oblivious to Love: Tucker is completely oblivious to the fact that Church is obviously crushing on him.
OC Stand In: Originally, North, Carolina, Sigma and Theta were all OC stand-ins, as at the time of writing North had only appeared in canon as a dead body and the others had only been mentioned. This is averted in the rewrite, which reverts them to their canon personalities.
One Degree of Separation: Reasonable enough in the main fic, since it takes place in one prison, but in the flashback chapters everyone seems to be connected somehow. Church and O'Malley were part of the same smuggling group, and they were responsible for Wash's trip to the mental hospital. Tucker slept with two of Caboose's sisters. Grif and Caboose were involved in the same car accident (which got Grif caught by the police and left Caboose mentally disabled), Simmons was once hired to delete Delta's files, and Donut's roommate was the Meta.
Out, Damned Spot!: Donut spends a long time scrubbing at his hands after having bad dreams about killing his roommate.
Pædo Hunt: Played with during a con in Tucker's backstory. In the con, they used the fact that Tucker looked much younger than he really was to set up a situation that made their target look like a pedophile, so they could blackmail him with the pictures.
Parental Abandonment: Grif and Sister's mother left them to join the circus. She only left a very casual note behind.
Parental Neglect: Church's father at his most benevolent. Tucker's mother, although she did love her son. She was just perpetually drunk.
Personal Effects Reveal: When Grif has to clean out Simmons' cell. No huge surprises, but it really hurts Grif to do it.
Prison Rape: Donut has a strong fear of this, especially early on, but it has yet to happen to him (apart from one attempt.) It does happen to Doc, despite the fact that he's not an inmate.
Promotion to Parent: Church to his little brother Eddie/Epsilon, after they killed their father. Also Grif to Sister after their mother joined the circus, although it's less pronounced.
Psychopathic Manchild: Caboose, though lighter on the psychopathic elements than some. He drops the psychopath part after Donut goes through some effort to teach him otherwise.
O'Malley is compared to a whiny child often, and comes off as very infantile in regards to Doc. Locus tells him to his face.
Locus: What are you, if not a small child throwing a tantrum?
Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Established early on, as despite trying to intimidate Donut by mentioning that rape is a strong possibility, Church makes it clear that he personally finds it reprehensible. Despite the fact that most of the characters are bad in some way, the only one who ever engages in rape is O'Malley.
Church: You're the closest thing this prison has to a woman, and I'm including Tex and South in that. They'll be tattooing their name on your ass and make you a prison trophy wife.
Donut: Please don't do that!
Church: What? No! No, no, no. Fuck, what kind of sicko do you think I am?
Reasonable Authority Figure: York is probably the most reasonable guard, particularly in comparison to Wash, who is nightstick-happy to say the least. As of the rewrite, North also qualifies.
Recursive Crossdressing: C.T, who at one point ends up dressed in a very girly fashion, while still keeping Tucker convinced that she's really a guy.
There are some Community references. Donut using his difficulty with walking to guilt Caboose into not running off in part 106 is a reference to Shirley doing something similar, Vic says, 'Cool. Cool cool cool' in a very Abed-ish way and there is reference to the 'Mexican Halloween' sex position.
Caboose mentions having a cousin who 'kept saying his name was not what his name was.' This is a reference to Wade (aka Durnt) from The Strangerhood, a different Rooster Teeth machinima, who shares a voice actor with Caboose.
Sinister Shiv: Many. O'Malley, notably, has a preference for sharpened screwdrivers that he usually gets off Wyoming. It's not specified what other characters make them out of, though the Red Zealot is particularly adept at making them.
Slasher Smile: O'Malley, pretty much all the time. Caboose does this on occasion, though he tries to stop once he does it while in view of a mirror and promptly terrifies himself.
Suicide by Cop: Grif attempts Suicide By Inmate by admitting to Caboose that he was responsible for his car accident and trying to enrage him enough to murder him. It didn't work, primarily because Caboose didn't want to upset Donut.
Sympathetic Murderer: Due to the nature of the fic, most of the main characters are this. Especially once the backstory goes into detail about it. Most had sympathetic reasons for killing, the main exception being O'Malley.
Teen Genius: Delta and Theta, when they're first shown in Church's backstory.
There Are No Therapists: Eventually averted, when Doc becomes the prison's therapist. While he's still terrible at his job, he does manage to improve Wash's mental state.
Locus: You think you are the hunter, and that Doc is your caged prey. But it is Doc who dictates the terms of this imprisonment. Keeping him requires conforming to his will. If you don't, he leaves.
O'Malley: He doesn't leave because he knows what I'll do if he dares to try!
Locus: Yes. You threaten others. The act of a small child breaking old toys because his mother wouldn't buy him a new one. ... The child wants ice-cream after dinner. The mother says no. The child breaks something in response during the ensuing tantrum. Next time, the mother gets ice-cream and the child assumes their basic attempt at manipulation succeeded. But then the mother starts using it as bargaining chip. 'If you clean your room, you get ice-cream. If you don't, you get nothing.' The child could trash his room, but he knows that ice-cream is guaranteed if he behaves. So he does as the mother says. And the mother retains the power. What are you, if not a small child throwing a tantrum?
These Hands Have Killed: Donut often thinks that his hands feel 'sticky,' usually after dreaming of the roommate he murdered.
Time Skip: Two occur within the main fic. One skip at Part 50 moves the story ahead five years and the second at Part 132 skips ahead a full decade.
Token Good Teammate: For the inmates, Donut is this. While a murderer like the rest of them, his was purely in self-defence and he retains his sense of morality despite what the prison throws at him, making him the closest to an innocent the prison has.
Tongue Trauma: O'Malley gets a chunk of his tongue bitten off by Donut.
The Tooth Hurts: During his three-month torture, Wash gets all the teeth on one side of his mouth pulled out with pliers by O'Malley.
Villainous Breakdown: O'Malley has one after Doc leaves the prison. It's the catalyst for a lot of screaming, wall-punching and bloody attacks.
Wham Episode: Part 109. By the end of the riot, Tucker is completely blind and Red Zealot, Miller, Wyoming and Simmons are all dead.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Wash and his fear of darkness. O'Malley exploits this during the riot by trapping him in a dark room just beforehand.
Window Love: Occurs sometimes in the visitor's room. Mostly between Sheila and Lopez as well as Tucker and Junior. Tucker calls it a 'window high-five.'
Yandere: O'Malley. He is extremely possessive when it comes to Doc.
You Are Worth Hell: A mundane variety. The last flashback chapter shows that Simmons could have avoided prison all together, but admitted to his part in the crime simply so Grif wouldn't be stuck in prison alone.