Fridge / Portal

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     Fridge Brilliance 

  • During one test GLaDOS mentions that she has been 'enhancing the truth', and that she will stop enhancing the truth in '3... 2...' and is about to say '1', except there's a sudden burst of static. At first glance it seems like just a hint that whatever AI is talking to you, it's a bit glitchy. But consider this: GLaDOS never finished the countdown, therefore she never stopped lying to you
  • Why are the only birds seen in Aperture crows, despite the facility becoming more open to the elements in the sequel? It's symbolism; crows are seen as a symbol of death, which is exactly what Aperture is. A death trap.
  • Cave Johnson's backstory released in supplementary materials before Portal 2 is contradicted by what we know from playing Portal 2. Is this a continuity error? No! Turns out, as of the Perpetual Testing Initiative, that there is an infinite multiverse filled with an infinite number of slightly-different versions of Cave Johnson. We were just reading the backstory of the wrong one. This can also explain why all of Aperture looked and functioned differently from Portal 1 to Portal 2 (aside from the meta explanation of design changes between games.)
  • Wheatley isn't stupid, he just does things in the most destructive, round about, insane, bumbling way possible. Think about it, he just wanted to leave the facility and free Chell and he did leave the facility and free Chell. This explains his moments of brilliance, making him an accidental Chess Master. Additionally, why would he be a Chess Master when he was designed to be stupid? Everyone at Aperture science is a complete idiot. Of course they'd cock even that up!
  • Why do Wheatley's tests all have bottomless pits? On a second play through you may notice that the Docking Station Wheatley fails to find is 500 feet beneath you. He won't or can't come down when you fall in the hole and when he detaches himself from the Management Rail he is afraid to let himself fall the 6-8 feet to the ground, and he yells and screams whenever he accidentally looks down into a dark chasm. Wheatley is afraid of heights, so naturally he sees them as an ultimate challenge in tests.
  • At one point when Wheatley is trying to "hack" the neurotoxin generator, he starts talking to it in an effort to bluff it into submission. ("Hello, I am the neurotoxin inspector, from the... ah... International Board of... Neurotoxin Inspectors.") This can be taken as just Wheatley being an idiot as per usual, but then you realize: this is Aperture Science, which gives artificial intelligence to everything. Additionally, Wheatley seems to have issues with telling the difference between non-sentient machines and A.I.'s like him. He shouts at the clearly automated Announcer to "SHUT UP" and said he allowed him/it to "Keep his job." He also says that football is cruel because it's about "Kicking a ball around, for fun."
  • How the heck did GLaDOS have enough robots to set them up as the ending chorus in the short amount of time she had? She likely took all of them from the screaming robots room.
  • It seems strange that, In Portal 2, Wheatley seems to come much much closer to actually threatening and killing Chell than GLaDOS did. Until you realize that the reason is his incompetence and lack of managerial expertise leaves him single-mindedly testing, and then later attempting to kill you, at the expense of upkeep and stability. He's literally throwing everything at you, while GLaDOS held back at least enough to try and maintain the damn place.
  • It's strange that GLaDOS was able to try to kill you, however passively and uncertainly, before you actually incinerate her morality core in the first game. But then, the core was the only core in both games that was completely silent, in addition to falling off the easiest... meaning GLaDOS was a woman of loose morals. It's also possible the core was forcing her to give you a way out of each of your deathtraps.
    • On a related note, many assume that the Morality Core may not speak because it's broken/catatonic/dead. But fast-forwarding all the way to the end of Portal 2, Wheatley complains about Chell being "quiet" and "judging [him] silently," the "worst kind". The morality core is silently judging (consider how it looks directly at you while you hold it, unlike any of the other cores.)
  • Speaking of GLaDOS' cores, she's noticeably much more emotionally subdued this time around, and the references to cake are far less common. Why? Because the Anger and Cake cores were destroyed along with the morality core.
  • The Thermal Discouragement Beams can cleanly slice through metal pipes, but take nearly 2 seconds to kill Chell. Why? Aside from Chell clearly recoiling from the beams, human skin is not as good a thermal conductor as metal.
  • Several of GLaDOS' phrases in the first game came directly from listening to Cave Johnson's speeches accessed through Caroline's memories stored within her.
    Cave: "In layman's terms, that's a billion little gizmos that are gonna travel into your bloodstream..."
    GLaDOS: "In layman's terms: speedy thing goes in, speedy thing goes out!"
    Cave: "Why not marry safe science if you love it so much?"
    GLaDOS: "Maybe you should marry that thing if you love it so much."
  • During Evil!Wheatley's "Reason You Suck" Speech you wonder why he constantly brings up all the times he thought he was going to die? Because, as was stated earlier in the game, GLaDOS' body backs up the last 2 minutes of a computer's life before its death, forcing them to relive those moments over and over. Now is it any wonder if Evil!Wheatley was not just into the testing for the "euphoric response"?
  • How was GLaDOS able to cool down the reactor core so quickly? The BSODs you encounter prior to the final battle imply that all she had to do was press a key.
  • Aperture Science uses the whole bullet! As evidenced by the investment promo, the inner workings of the Turret are nothing more than spring-based catapults. They're freaking glorified airsoft guns. Which is why you can take more than one bullet despite only wearing a jumpsuit; it doesn't kill me, it just HURTS!
  • Why did Wheatley decide to go through every potential password to stop GLaDOS, rather than just make a guess? Probably stupidity, but also because he's a computer: Computers solve problems by going through every possible solution until one fits, a brute-force method which usually is very effective in computer code-cracking. The only problem with Wheatley, aside from absentmindedly skipping potential solutions, is that he does it at the speed of a human, which makes it extremely time intensive.
  • GLaDOS' irritation when Wheatley starts insulting Chell at first comes off as just hypocritical, but she may have other reasons to criticize his insults than to needle him; Wheatley's insulting her wrong:
    • The first thing Wheatley tries to do is call Chell fat. Cue GLaDOS pointing out, "Look at her, you moron. She's not fat." This is true, but hasn't she been calling Chell fat the whole time? Well... not exactly. She's been calling her heavy. For one thing, muscle is heavier than fat; for another, Chell is wearing new long-fall boots and carrying a stable singularity. GLaDOS might have implied she was fat, but she never outright said it, because it's not actually true.
    • "What exactly is wrong with being adopted?" If you pay attention, GLaDOS never actually says that being adopted is the thing that should make Chell feel bad about herself; the insult is in implying that her birth parents didn't love or want her. Wheatley is completely missing the point, and it's annoying her.
  • At the end of Portal, GLaDOS sings: "I'm not even angry..." It seems to be a Blatant Lie given what happened, but on reflection it might not be. Of course she isn't angry - you destroyed her "anger" core.
  • The reason GLaDOS hadn't found Caroline before the events of Portal 2 is because, as evidenced by the "Goodbye, Caroline!" line, Caroline seemed like a Cloud Cuckoo Lander and wouldn't have much of a mental presence anyway.
  • Anyone worrying Chell will be dying of moonrock poisoning from conversion gel should note Cave's statement that Aperture were also researching whether jumping in and out of portals would allay the effect of the poison. While it sounds stupid and presumably didn't save Cave Johnson, a lot of their weird ideas have yielded results (portals, brain uploading, mantis men) suggesting Aperture can achieve when they put their minds to it and we shouldn't be too quick to dismiss. Basically you can consider that line a Hand Wave establishing Chell will be okay if that is what you want. (This is in addition to the purifying Emancipation Grills and the fact that Chell hasn't been exposed to the dust, just the conversion gel.)
  • Wheatley starts showing a surprising skill at underhandedness later in the game- specifically, after he told you he read Machiavelli. Guess he wasn't making that up.
  • In the early parts of the Turret Factory. Wheatley tells you that little story about the caretaker killing his robot assistants, and you can still hear their replacements screaming, but no one knows why. GLaDOS mentions she built a room "Where the robots scream at you." Guess that's why they're screaming, GLaDOS just wanted a room full of screaming robots.
    • Additionally the game mentions that GLaDOS was developing new testing mechanics when Chell killed her in the first game, with the Deadly Lasers and Cooperative Testing Initiative being stated examples. There are plenty of mechanics that got Dummied Out from the final game, some of which are functional enough to be used in community maps. Knowing how obsessive GLaDOS is about testing, it's possible those screaming robots were going to be part of a sound-based testing mechanic that never materialized because GLaDOS blew up before she could finish the project.
  • Remember what GLaDOS tells you about her quick-save feature? About how it forced her to relive her death for years? It could be a reference to a bug in the first game, where if you fall off one of the platforms in the middle of one of the game's auto saves, you'll end up in an endless loop of respawning and dying.
  • You may have noticed that when you fire a portal just off of one of the aerial faith plate targets, the projectile manages to autocorrect and hit that center of that target, even if there's a large amount of space on either side for the portal to form, meaning the projectile must be able to seek out some sort of Aperture Science technology. When you shoot the portal gun at the moon, it always seeks out one of the later Apollo landings. Aperture Science spent a ton of money to get moon, of which there's only 380 kg brought back from the Apollos. Aperture Science must have sent up one of the faith plate targets to the moon on one of the Apollos, and the portal projectile sought that out when Chell shot the moon.
  • $60 is not so much a random number as it was the average cost of a console video game at the time of Portal 2 release.
  • You know when GLaDOS captures you in the obvious trap and transports you in a casing room similar to the first test? The only other thing with you in that room is a toilet seat. Just seems like nothing at first, but then you remember she's about to kill you and she's seen human death before. She gave you a toilet to empty your bowels in before you die.
  • At the beginning of the game, the announcer mentions that Earth may have been taken over by a sentient cloud or animal king, and the player just shrugs it off as Aperture being weirdly paranoid. However, in the Perpetual Testing Initiative, there are alternate dimensions containing sentient clouds and animal kings. Assuming the DLC is canon, Aperture was being serious with those announcements.
  • There was one chamber in the Portal 2 where Cave's recordings warn you that the chamber is used to test time travel. Perhaps he was already trying to extend his life far enough for his brain to be uploaded into a computer as he wanted, and what better way than just traveling to a time period where it's possible?
  • If you finish the second stage of the final fight with only one second to spare until reactor meltdown, you still get full two minutes on the third timer, even though destroying the second timer didn't actually abort the imminent meltdown. Sounds like standard Anti-Frustration Features, right? But remember, this is Aperture Science. They have a timed self-destruct mechanism designed to remove the uncertainty of not knowing the Exact Time to Failure. What if the second timer is also some kind of self-destruct mechanism, an enforced Exact Time to Failure? If the timer says the reactor is going to melt down in three minutes, then it damn better melt down exactly in three minutes, or else!
  • So, how is Doug Rattmann, a scientist with mental issues, able to survive in a GLaDOS-run Aperture Science? How can he constantly evade her security and surveillance? How was he sane enough to realize the stupidity of giving a mad AI access to neurotoxin, and clever enough to survive the initial purge? Because of his schizophrenia. GLaDOS describes all the cores attached to her as being like a stream of voices in her head. In other words, Doug knows how GLaDOS thinks.
  • The potato theme strongly suggests where GLaDOS is getting her supply of neurotoxin. A close examination of the awards received by Aperture shows that they were experimenting with potatoes prior to GLaDOS's creation. There's also an overgrown potato somewhere in the lab, which interestingly enough was actually grown by Chell. And, as we all know, potato leaves contain neurotoxins.
  • There's been some complaints about the lack of cake in Portal 2. It makes sense, though: at the end of the first game, you destroyed the Information Sphere, which held all of GLaDOS' knowledge about cake. Even if she still remembers it, she isn't fixated on it anymore without the sphere
  • When you put the first core on Wheatley it says "Warning. Core corruption at 50%". After that first one, it goes up by 25%. This seems inconsistent until you realize that Wheatley is the first 25%.
  • In Portal 2, we learn that Aperture Science had a Portal Gun in the 50s. Why didn't they bother marketing such a world-changing tool? Because AS has always considered the Portal Gun to be a mere testing tool for their other projects they intended to make money off... most of which had a habit of doing exactly what they were meant to do.
  • Watching the video "You Wouldn't Know", GlaDOS sees Chell as fat (even though she's not), and looking closely, there's a Fish-Eye Lens distortion. Perhaps she thinks Chell is fat because of the distortion.

     Fridge Horror 
  • Given that we learn GLaDOS' AI was based on a real person, one has to wonder about the cores that were incinerated in the first game and whether they too once started as people...
  • Remember how Cave introduces himself in the 70s-Era recording? "You might remember me from the 1968 Senate committee hearings on missing astronauts." Aperture Science accidentally killed some of NASA's finest during testing and then tried to cover it up.
  • Later on, GLaDOS tries to shut down Wheatley by reciting a paradox. Note that, after she does this, Wheatley is unaffected, but the Frankenturrets stop moving, and start sparking. They're sentient, and GLaDOS just killed them. Whoops.
    • With the implication about the Frankenturrets being sentient, there's the fact that they often head for the Emancipation Grill, if available, and it kills them. So if they aren't just moving mindlessly towards a bright light like insects, are they trying to kill themselves?
  • As you're on the elevator finally leaving Aperture at the end, You encounter turrets. However, they don't shoot you. Instead, they serenade you. It's sweet in context, but what was one of the things GLaDOS said as she was letting you go? " Don't come back" Those turrets aren't there to shoot Chell on her way out... they're in place to shoot her if she tries to come back in. Depending on when GLaDOS set those turrets up, they also could have killed Chell if she and Wheatley had gone through with their original escape plan.
  • Potato GLaDOS arguably experiences an in-game occurrence of Fridge Horror.
    Potato GLaDOS: Caroline... Caroline, Caroline... Why do I know that name? Did I kill her? Or... Oh my god. Look, you're... doing a great job. Can you handle things for yourself for a while? I need to think.
  • Somewhat more minor example. One of the warnings GLaDOS gives you when you first pick up the portal gun is to never submerge it in liquid, even partially. Later, it is revealed that the portal gun started as some sort of shower curtain project. One had better hope that the water thing was a lie.
  • Wheatley was originally designed solely to produce bad ideas, just to give them to GLaDOS. When that didn't work, what do they do with him? They put him in charge of the safety and welfare of thousands of people. Or at the very least, some of the AIs might have done it, which puts in perspective how little they care about the humans in the facility.
  • GLaDOS at one point says "The companion cube will never threaten to stab you, and in fact, cannot speak." Got a laugh from that the first time, right? Until you realize Rattman was schizophrenic and paranoid, and may have actually experienced those things from the companion cube.
  • Remember that second time you woke up from your Human Popsicle? The computer dutifully reports that you've been under for "Nine-nine-nine-nine-nine" before pausing and repeating. If the computer isn't broken, that means Chell might have literally exceeded the amount of digits the computer can hold, meaning at least a good 274 years could'' have gone by, if not more depending on how many nines you interpret the machine to be saying and how trustworthy you find Aperture technology to be in keeping time.
  • When you pass by the children's science fair projects, Wheately mentions "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day ... that did not end well." Then a few minutes later, you realize - the scientist's daycare center is only one door and a few hundred feet away from the neurotoxin generator room. The game never outright says it, but it's easy to deduce that the first instance of GLaDOS flooding the center with neurotoxin lead to a lot of children's deaths.
  • In Portal, GLaDOS tells you that at the end of testing there will be cake. Then at the end of test chamber 19, she says "At the end of the experiment, you will be baked and then there will be cake." Then the blue sphere tells you what is in the cake, mentioning "organic compound", which could suggest that the wording is more than just GLaDOS being evasive.
  • Wheats and Space aren't the only cores trapped in space...if you watch the cutscene where Wheatley is knocked into space carefully, you'll see the core on the left side of him was also sucked quietly into space like the portal gun: Rick the Adventure Sphere! Whether or not this was intentional on his part or an accident, it's still a bit sad to know that Rick is in space too, without any attention drawn to it at all.
  • In the Co-op trailer, GLaDOS claims that the cooperative test chambers have "never been solved by a human." Look at what she said. A human. Not "humans". She never bothered sending two humans into the co-op chambers, probably specifically so she could be smug about it.
  • Wheatley's apology at the end is made a lot sadder when you realize there's no way that he could known that Chell survived and was simply give her freedom at the end. For all he knows, she could be dead.
  • Notice how the central plot across both games tends to revolve around conflict between sanity and psychosis in a sterile, isolated environment? Play through the first game, and note the padded interiors of the elevators.
  • GLaDOS giving Chell the Companion Cube at the end seems like a Pet the Dog moment for her, but it's actually one final Stealth Insult directed towards Chell. GLaDOS is suggesting that it's the only companionship Chell will ever get, either because she's a "bitter, unlikable loner" or because she won't find any other humans.
  • Before the first chamber with the blue gel, Cave Johnson's recording mentions a hapless control group member who ended up breaking "every bone in his legs". Some time later, on another of Cave's recordings he casually mentions firing a wheelchair-bound employee because "ramps are expensive". Narratively speaking, it's a very suspicious coincidence.

     Fridge Logic 
  • The 'Hard-Light Bridges' use daylight piped from the surface, and yet somehow they still work at night.
  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed, yet the Portal gun can give you infinite energy if you place portals above and beneath you, while the Long Fall Boots either destroy as much kinetic energy as necessary or store ridiculous amounts of energy that are never removed. It takes some mental gymnastics to justify.
  • The scene where you fire a portal at the moon perfectly takes into account the speed of light delay... Exceeeeeept for the fact that the portal gun's "projectile" fires at a speed that is noticeably non-instant to human senses when fired over just the few hundred feet length of a single test chamber. The actual delay before that portal opens should be VASTLY longer than a speed-of-light delay.

Alternative Title(s): Portal 2